Women in Gaming: Just Let Them In
Editor’s Note: Gaming vlogger @UncoloredPage has joined the #FanBros family to provide commentary and videos on the social issues surrounding gaming. He also does game walk-throughs, live streams, and his “Bad Reviews” video series on his YouTube channel.
Women in Gaming video transcript provided below:
Hi, my name is Nygile, and I hate women. Just kidding, that’s our president. But seriously, as a gamer, I can’t help but notice that we aren’t very nice to women. Whether virtual or real life, they’ve always gotten the shorter end of the stick in the gaming industry, unfortunately. But why is that? With so many iconic women protagonists, how come we don’t let them game with us? Representation is important, so maybe we need even more women protagonists to normalize women in gaming to the few that don’t agree with it. Women are half of America’s population, so why not represent that?
One of the biggest games this year was Horizon Zero Dawn, starring a woman named Aloy. It sold fantastically and garnered critical acclaim. So why don’t we see more of these? Because game studios don’t think female protagonists sell. There are many games with female protagonists that are far, far less successful, not because of quality because some of them are quite good, but because they aren’t marketed very well. Developers make a game with a female protagonist and publishers see that and go, “That’s not Nathan Drake.” and don’t put money behind it and then use those bad sales to say that female protagonists don’t sell. They’re literally sabotaging themselves to make a point that isn’t necessarily true. Games actually succeed if you market them. Who would’ve known?
Of course the first thing you want to think about as a game developer is just making the game good, which should always be top priority, don’t get me wrong, but all I ask for is creativity in the stories you create. You can’t say that it would be hard to do in a medium built on creativity (if you don’t count all the trends and Steam Greenlight). I feel the easiest way to remedy this is to hire more women in the industry, designers, programmers, artists, whatever. According to a study done in 2015, only 22% of game developers are women, which is probably an issue if anyone wants to make games for women or starring women. I mean, who knows women more than women? Who can write female characters, design female characters, and voice female characters better than women? Not to mention the games that do have female leads happen to be super creative and different. So I vie for more Aloys, Faiths, Max and Chloes, and even Bayonettas, let’s have them.
Earlier I mentioned using representation to normalize more women in gaming, which I believe is a great idea. By representation, I don’t mean oversexualization to the point where they become objects and not characters as we see in some games. They make both men and women uncomfortable. A good portion of people who play video games are women, when you bring that up, there’s always some dickweed that says “But those are casual/mobile games!” For one, all games are games. For two, seeing more women as characters in games would probably help these dudes understand that it isn’t a boys only safe space. It really never was. So when we see women in a game or women playing a game, we should just see them as another fellow gamer instead of attacking them or treating them any different. I want this medium to be for everyone. Gaming has come a long way to be accepted as a form of artistic expression and form of media. We aren’t just that clique in the arcade holding the cabinet so our friends get to play anymore. Women aren’t coming to take our toys away, they just want to enjoy the same hobby we enjoy without being judged, harassed, or objectified. Gaming is just barely respected by groups outside of it. So we shouldn’t be dividing ourselves by calling every game starring a woman “SJW propaganda”, or harassing women in the industry, we should let them in.
Just let them in.
Sources cited: “Why Are So Few Women Developing Games?”