Saturday, 23 February 2013

1up Blog #95: Five Female Stereotypes in Gaming (06/21/2012)

Brought on by this week’s cover story from 1up, I decided to bring my own take on gender issues in gaming. Although this is definitely far less thought-provoking and hopefully won’t instil the divided, rage-filled comments this topic tends to bring.
I suppose I could have done the same for male characters, but then I would just have a list of Gears of War characters! Anyway, just because a character appears here doesn’t make them necessarily a bad character. In fact, Chloe from Uncharted is probably among my favourite female characters despite being somewhat of a stereotype.
Annoying and Clumsy – Selphie Tilmitt

In JRPGs, this type character seems to be almost a requirement. From the Final Fantasy series alone we have Yuffie, Selphie, Rikku, and Vanille. One might think I found it difficult to choose a character that best suits this stereotype, but Selphie easily takes the cake from the others. From uttering phrases like "That is sooo vague!" to falling over after every battle, I don’t think even Vanille and her annoying voice overtake Selphie. Now, one might think this wouldn’t be such a bad stereotype in games (as I know some female teens whom could be seen as both annoying and clumsy), but it looks pretty bad when they appear in every freaking JRPG!

Sultry and Vulgar – Chloe Frazer

I’m sure Chloe is not the best example of this stereotype in games, as in some ways she does defy it, but it’s honestly the only one I could think of as I type into the wee hours at night. Chloe is anything but what one would stereotype as the "proper lady." She constantly curses and is more than willing to leave a wounded man behind if it means she can get away faster. However, she’s also not against using her, shall we say, “assets” to her advantage; such as faking her relationship with Flynn to use him in a heist. In some ways, this is a typical depiction of many women in games where they need to use their sex appeal in order to succeed.

"Busty" and Hyper – Hitomi

This one probably goes without explanation but I’m doing it anyway! This type of character typically runs around in skimpy, revealing clothes while giggling and smiling a lot. This is obviously a common stereotype in gaming used typically for fanservice. There’s nothing terribly inexcusable about Hitomi’s portrayal of this stereotype until you look at the Dead or Alive series as a whole which features likely over a dozen other "busty" women. Ah well, the series might cease to exist without ‘em!

"The Fantasy" - Catherine

At first glance, this character may seem to be the similar to the one above; however, it goes a little deeper than that. This character laughs at all of the main characters jokes, drinks alcohol, and is visually everything you want her to be. Catherine gets a pass on being a negative stereotype as she is the literal dream girl of Vincent in the story. There are however, other examples of this stereotype such as the zombie-killing, chainsaw-wielding, cheerleader protagonist of Lollipop Chainsaw or the Bikini Samurai Squad. “The Fantasy” also stretches into other mediums such as the skilled hacker, fighter, leather-clad motorbike rider, and bi-sexual punk heroine of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!

The Damsel in Distress – Princess Peach

Ah, who could forget the damsel in distress and what better example than Super Mario Bros.’ Princess Peach? Infinitely in need of being rescued by our hero Mario, Princess Peach also often appears frail, wears a frilly dress, and will say something like “Oh!” in the most girly voice possible. Besides always being in need of saving and reinforcing patriarchy, Princess Peach (and other damsels) has few traits that would deviate from the once “expected” characteristics of the female. However, I don’t think many people really care because without Peach who knows what one of the greatest gaming franchises would have become.

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