March 26, 2013
Battle Of The Sexes: Men vs. Women In Video Games (Part 3)
After watching Anita Sarkeesian’s video “Damsel in Distress: Part 1- Tropes vs. Women in Video Games,” the Internet was set ablaze with a slew of videos containing heated opinions. This time, I talk about my personal reaction to the video.
First I will talk about the video itself. For one thing, Anita is very selective with her evidence. She uses about ten examples (not to mention old examples) to try and condemn a whole medium of entertainment. One of her main points is that females aren’t featured enough as the protagonists of their own games, which is totally false. All the Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect 1-3, Bayonetta 1-2, Mirror’s Edge, Beyond Good & Evil, Super Princess Peach, Bullet Witch, Halo: Reach, Okami, Metal Gear Solid, ALL the Tomb Raider and Metroid games, all of these titles are just a fraction of the hundreds of titles that feature prominent female heroes and protagonists.
My second problem with this video is when she mentions Sonic CD and Double Dragon. In Sonic CD, almost halfway through the game, there’s a small sequence where a young Amy Rose gets kidnapped by Metal Sonic because she was following him around. First off, Amy is 8 in that game. She’s not able to do anything to resist against a robot. Logically, she’s going to get captured. Secondly, Sonic isn’t even on his quest to save Amy. He was out to save the planet from Dr. Robotnik, and Amy just happened along the way. The game would’ve been no different if Amy wasn’t included. SEGA just wanted to introduce a love interest, so having Sonic save her would be the best way to do it. Finally, Anita points this out as a problem because SEGA re-released it as a port to Windows Phone, Android, and iPhone with the same story of Amy being captured. They released the same game twice; they aren’t going to change the story to make Amy a more powerful feminine character.
In Double Dragon, the opening sequence shows Billy Lee’s girlfriend, Marion, being punched in the stomach and carried over the shoulder away by the game’s main villain. While it could be controversial by showing violence towards women, Anita points out the problem being that she’s helpless in that situation, and that every remake of the game features this sequence. Again, scientifically, women are weaker than men. A normal woman will not be able to escape on her own from a whole gang of guys without outside help or some kind of weapon. Anita specifically points out Double Dragon Neon for showing this same sequence in HD. Ironically, in this same game, Marion becomes one of the final bosses through Skullmageddon turning her into Evil Marion. After the guys beat her in her evil form, she becomes a major hero and fights alongside them to defeat Skullmaggedon. That definitely doesn’t sound like a woman being degraded and shown as weak and helpless.
Finally, while I acknowledge Anita’s arguments towards her cause, I personally don’t see any of it as significant from a big picture standpoint. For one, she only uses characters that are from 15+ year-old games. Sexism was still in issue then; we’ve progressed more than that. Even in those old games when the man saves the woman, guys don’t play the game acting that they’re on a quest to retrieve a stolen object. That’s simply a plot device so people know why the character IN THE GAME is killing people. For us, it’s nothing but a video game. We’re playing to beat up bad guys, or solve puzzles. It’s the adventure that people play video games for, not to save a girl. No male is going to play a video game and think, “Oh, Mario always saves Peach, I guess my girlfriend isn’t as good as I am.” That just doesn’t happen. While she’s spending her $150,000 in kickstarter money on video games, she could be trying to help fight for equality in other countries where women can’t own property, or even go to school.
I’m done ranting now.
That brings us to the conclusion of this series. As with anything dealing with equality between genders, this video has sparked a lot of controversy. So, now that I’ve rambled on about my opinions, it’s about time you spoke your mind. Are these games really degrading to women? Or is she just spitting hot air? Leave a comment below, tell me what you think!
Image Credit: Photos.com