Why are video games so sexist? You may find this seemingly-frivolous topic introduced in the media every once in a while. According to a study by the game developers Naughty Dog, 57% of gamers are women. But you wouldn’t know that if you were watching TV. Video games are often marketed towards men and they often feature male protagonists. This leaves many women feeling like they’re not part of the video game community. So are video games only designed for men? What’s the deal with that?
It’s no wonder that people have the notion that video games are only for men – look at all the male protagonists in video games! From Super Mario Bros to Grand Theft Auto V, gaming is a medium that has long been dominated by male protagonists. But why does it matter? Because when you get down to it, video games are a powerful tool for expression and self-actualization. When we’re playing as a female protagonist, it not only helps us imagine ourselves as women (which can be empowering in its own right), but also helps us try on different identities and scenarios that might not come naturally to us.
There are some out there, but there could be a lot more. There are a lot of reasons why women may not be interested in playing games with male protagonists. For one thing, studies have shown that when women play a game with a male lead character, they tend to identify less with the character and enjoy the game less.
Some iconic ones
When it comes to female protagonists in video games, one of the most iconic is Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. First appearing in 1996, she has become one of the most recognizable women in gaming history and her popularity has spawned two feature films starring Angelina Jolie. Another popular female protagonist is Ellie from The Last of Us. She was introduced as a teenage girl who is immune to a deadly fungal pandemic that has ravaged humanity. In order to survive she must rely on Joel, who has been tasked with escorting her across America to find a cure for the virus. One more great example would be Samus Aran from Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Metroid Prime: Blast Ball. Samus was introduced in 1986 along with her eponymous game Metroid; she is regarded by many as an icon of gaming culture and one of the most memorable characters ever created by Nintendo.
Video games are definitely not only for men. Moreover, there are more female than male gamers nowadays. Why not empower them more with video game characters that they can identify with and look up to?