Women and Video Games

We’ve all seen it…the ridiculous outfits female characters wear, the way their personalities are portrayed, the over sexual scenes they are found in, the list can go on and on. In many fighting or action games the woman is nearly always wearing a skimpy outfit and showing a lot of skin and cleavage. For instance, in the MOBA game Smite, nearly every female character has large breasts and tons of exposed skin. This game is about gods from many different pantheons such as Greek, Roman, Norse, Celtic, Japanese, Chinese, Hindu, Egyptian, and Mayan mythologies that battle it out against each other using unique abilities assigned to each character. All of the gods are based on their cultural roots, lore, and traditions, yet the goddesses in the game are almost entirely perceived to look slutty.

From left to right Neith, Aphrodite, and Nemesis

Each of these three characters feature large breasts and tons of exposed skin. Nemesis being the most conservative of the three has the least amount of cleavage and exposed skin but the other two are a bit ridiculous. The traditional depiction of Neith is a woman in a dress while this depiction is wearing a bikini (if you can call it that). The depiction in Smite of Aphrodite is actually more clothed than the traditional view of Aphrodite. The original Greek Aphrodite is almost always completely naked, however that is besides the point. Aphrodite is still over sexualized and in her other “skins” or outfits she has even more exposed skin than the original.

Not all of the goddesses are over sexualized. The Roman goddess Bellona is very respectfully dressed.

Bellona

However, like stated in the article by Alex Layne and Samantha Blackmon they state that even in today’s age female characters are “typically either portrayed as a sexual object to be gazed upon and controlled, or is simply a female “skinned” version of the male protagonist.” Bellona clearly has some very distinct male features with the short hair, thick armor, strong muscles, and a powerful voice. Other than having a female face and breasts she has no real female qualities that would make her stand out as a female character. I have actually had a friend play as Bellona before in a game and think she was a man before someone explained she wasn’t. Therefore, like said before, Bellona could be considered a female “skin” for a male character.

Smite isn’t the only video game guilty of sexualizing women. Games like Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto V, Tomb Raider, and Mortal Kombat feature women in very skimpy clothing. In the video game Witcher 3 the main character Geralt, is constantly having sex with women and trying to have sex with the other main character and witch, Yennifer. Women are pretty much perceived to be sex objects in Witcher 3 throughout the entire story.

So why do companies exploit women in games? It’s pretty obvious that sex gets the attention of gamer’s and sells very well. The same could be said for female video game streamers. Video game streamers are people that either tape or live feed their gaming and display it on the internet. Female streamers utilize the fact that the majority of people that watch video game streams are young boys. They exploit this by wearing clothing that shows off their cleavage.

Female Twitch Streamers

The three women above have streams on the popular site “Twitch” that are over saturated with viewers that are young boys for fairly obvious reasons. Each of these women can be considered attractive, especially to young boys. I’m not saying that every female streamer is like this, however it is the common and possibly unfair stereotype given to female streamers. These streamers aren’t helping the case trying to be made that women aren’t sex objects when each of the three are exposing themselves in that manner. Why not wear a t-shirt or at least anything that covers up their cleavage? Because that doesn’t turn heads or make you famous. As much as people hate that female characters are sexualized nothing will ever change because that is what keeps sales high and the market happy.

Resource: http://adanewmedia.org/2013/6/issue2-layne-blackmon/