A great quote here courtesy of The Mary Sue, a thoughtful piece about men playing female characters in games, and what that says about the too-prevalent sexism in gaming culture. More importantly, it says something very important about the unexamined assumptions people make about men, women, and sexism.
I spend a staggering amount of time thinking about video games. I’m constantly chewing on the reasons for the character choices we make and how people are represented within games. I’ve spent a lot brainpower mulling over that stuff from a woman’s perspective, and I confess that for a long while, I hadn’t dedicated many neurons to wondering how our brothers-in-arms felt about those very same things.
I knew that there was a big difference between the groovy gamer guys I hang with and the snarling trolls that lurk elsewhere. I knew that some men do not speak for all men, and that male gamers are every bit as diverse as women gamers. But there was one point that I had made a rather mindless assumption on: that for most straight male gamers, the main reason for playing a female character was to have something nice to look at. I mean, if you’ve spent any time in a multiplayer game, you’ve heard the following phrase: “If I’m going to look at an ass all day, I don’t want it to be a dude’s.” Even the most egalitarian gentleman can enjoy a bit of eye candy (who doesn’t?), and surely the plethora of cheesecakey box art and booth babes meant that the industry knew it was a view that most dudes shared.
But a few occurrences over the past few months got me thinking there was a lot more depth to the “target audience” than was being talked about.
Mmmmm, thoughtful reexamination of gendered assumptions… I think that may be my new fetish.
Seriously, I for one love hearing these issues talked about in a sensible, adult fashion, don’t you?
Image courtesy of Destiny 2L