The topic of women in the world of video games has been a very hot subject as of late with many misogynistic and hateful remarks being thrown about, but one must not ignore the games that represent an array of strong females. As the presence of feminine strength in the video game industry continues to be brought forth, one can only hope that acts favoring the aforementioned hatred, like the GamerGate journalism discrimination, will eventually be stopped.
Although females face a large amount of misogyny in the world of video games, there are many figures that stand out, breaking that previously-known status quo. Perhaps the most famous of these individuals is that of the iconic tomb raider herself, Lara Croft. As one of the most well-known video game characters in history, the figure of Lara Croft has given females a very strong platform in the gaming community.
Lara Croft’s presence became known to gamers with the release of the original Tomb Raider title for the very first Sony PlayStation in 1996. The character embraced all aspects of femininity, but with gusto and drive that had previously been unseen in virtual protagonists. The character design still accentuated the figure in a sensually appealing manner, but still respected who Lara Croft is as a person and never removed any of her forceful drive.
The Tomb Raider series has continued to remain a very successful line of video games with a sequel to the 2013 revamped edition releasing next year. The film adaptations of the series of video games also gave actress Angelina Jolie, who portrayed Lara Croft, a huge opportunity to soak up the Hollywood limelight for strong female roles.
As the technology of gaming improved, so did the acceptance of placing females in titular roles. The Resident Evil saga of games has featured many women figures as the main protagonist throughout its history. Stand-alone titles began bringing a wide age range of female characters to the forefront all whilst attempting to appeal to a male audience as well. Titles like Heavenly Sword were featured as a PlayStation 3 launch game which includes the use of a coming of age story of a young female royal who, in turn, serves as the primary hero of the entire game. Kameo: Elements of Power served as an Xbox 360 release title and incorporated the use of high fantasy and cartoon-modeled characters using the elvish princess, Kameo, as the leading force in the story.
The increase in customizable content games such as Fable and The Elder Scrolls allowed players to create heroes of their own, choosing a male or female. Whether the player chose a female avatar or not, both of the aforementioned sagas still exude a fair amount of gender equality for being considered period pieces.
Fable, for example, is a rather crude title at times with many adult themes, but the gender issues are not biased. The prostitutes within the title include both female whores and male gigolos. Also, male computer-generated characters in the game could be seduced and bedded just as equally as any female could. Although many argue that video games such as Fable and The Elder Scrolls are inadequate for other reasons, the argument for gender inequality cannot necessarily be made in these titles.
With the growing production of video games that represent strong females, the gaming community will hopefully discontinue activity such as that as the GamerGate issue. Women characters are running amuck in today’s games, if one will simply step away from blowing everything to smithereens in their first-person shooters for a moment to focus on the actual educational story lines, perhaps that fact will be realized.
By Cody Collier