Female Characters in Video Games

Chapter six mentions some about female representation in video games, and while, for the most part, I agree with what most of it is saying, there were a few paragraphs that struck a chord (or dischord) with me, and I’m using this space to elaborate on what about the few paragraphs at the end of page 160 that I did not necessarily agree with.

April Ryan from The Longest Journey (1999) is mentioned as a character that may be seen as overly sexualized but on the contrary is the opposite of all first impressions because of a myriad of other reasons, such as her resourcefulness, her part to play in the game itself so to speak, and because she is the protagonist.

While I haven’t actually played the game in question, and I have been unable in my light internet scouring to find a fair representation of the sexual objectifying that was mentioned in the reading, I do want to make the argument that characters from all genres of video games can be both a sexual object, and an independent and resourceful character. Just because April Ryan is the focal point of the game does not take away any objectivity given to her by her looks (although I may argue the validity of the just how sexually objectifying she is as a character).

There are other video games that I think provide a far better representation of how women are sexualized and objectified. While Dragon Age: Origins, is my favorite game series, it also has the best example to showcase why I disagree with how the chapter made it seem like objectification is an either/or sort of thing with female characters.

Morrigan is the Witch of the Wilds in Bioware’s Dragon Age series. She plays a crucial role to the overall storytelling of the first game in the series, Origins, where she is a playable character and she is also heavily included in the main storyline, along with numerous personal side quests that may or may not be completed over the telling of a playthrough. She is also absolutely a sexualized character, in fact, if the player chooses to make their Grey Warden a male for the playthrough, she is also a romanceable character.

Morrigan is the perfect example of a sexualized character that also holds all the benefits of being the protagonist. She’s strong, she is able to save both Grey Wardens if the player choses or is able to choose that route by the end of the game, and she depends on and trusts no one, not even her own mother Flemeth. Simultaneously, she is overtly sexualized, her outfit speaks to that on its own, and as stated previously, it is possible to romance her and get a love-making cut scene with her as a male Warden.

Overall, this was just a flow of my thoughts to disagree with one paragraph in chapter six that makes it seem ludacris as if anyone would suggest a protagonist of the game, be seen in a sexual light. Which of course I think that they absolutely can, but not they the should. For example, The Last of Us, Horizon Zero Dawn and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey all have amazing female leads and zero objectification.

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