Photo by Sofia Sforza on Unsplash
Last night, the only thing disturbing the peace at the Palace of Bundance was the sound of far-off gunfire and muttered commands.
But fear not, we were not living some dystopian future that had me laundering red robes and changing my name to OfKev. (Guess what we watched last night). Instead, Boy Two was shooting pretend people in the company of his school chums on his XPSbox thingy.
He often does this and, I suppose, it’s preferable to skulking in an underpass. Anyhow, I ventured into his lair on some domestic pretext or other and was taken aback by what I saw.
The gunperson he was pretending to be had a pink camouflage gun and purple nail varnish. (Not entirely sure what environment you’d expect to be hiding in with that get-up. A Germoline factory?) (And, of course, pinky purpliness is not strictly female, but, in this case, the warrior was a woman.) One of his gun-totin’ mates was also swaggering around the urban war zone in the guise of a girl. Who knew?
Obviously, the whole Lara Croft – male fantasy figure or female action role model – thing had been going for a long time before Boy Two was even born. And it’s possible that LC – with her grunting and gravity defying bosoms – has blazed a trail through the male-dominated world of computer games and virtual violence.
I asked the teenager about his choice and, once his eyes had stopped rolling, they gazed at me perplexed and he said: “So what? I picked the character with the skills and ability I was looking for. She’s the fastest. The gender doesn’t matter. Mum, you have no idea. In fact, you’re a dinosaur.”
Am I? Have things moved on so much that the only thing that matters to gaming teens is the speed and fire-power? Am I somehow unreconstructed because I even noticed?
Good for him. Glad to hear a female fighter had the skills and strength he needed. Perhaps we’re raising a generation which will believe in equality – we can only hope.
But in answer to your question (Am I sexist?) I think we all are, no matter how much we try not to be.
Why do I admire single dads for their strength in raising kids alone – but I don’t congratulate single mums for doing the same? A kind of reverse sexism, but sexist just the same.
Most of the time I do think that our boys will not have sexism as their default setting quite so much. It’s good to talk about it with them. Mine roll their eyes every time I do!
Hey there – was just doing some research for a video game course I’m on, when I stumbled upon this post 🙂 I’m a gamer, so you’ll have to forgive me if this is too much for your blog, I think you’ve raised a very interesting point, though. The trend of females in video games has been growing for the last couple of years, and is becoming more and more important to developers. Examples in the past, like Lara Croft and characters in games like World Of Warcraft, have almost always been overtly sexual. And, so, I don’t think these are well-placed or appropriate. But, in more recent examples of games, such as Call of Duty and Overwatch, females are being portrayed in a much more accurate light.
Overwatch is my favourite modern example of this. The pool of characters in the game is based on diversity, as the game is set in a future where all humans have had to work together to fight greater challenges. You have characters from all over the world, from a range of backgrounds, creeds, and even genders. I think this may have been the game you were talking about above, too. Your description of the character you mentioned sounds exactly like a girl called Sombra – a Mexican hacker. Alongside Sombra, you find the likes of Mei, a meteorologist. And, DVA, an ex-pro gamer from South Korea, piloting a mech against her enemies.
Of course, this simply shows the diversity in one game. But, this trend is becoming more and more wide-spread. But, why exactly? Personally, I think there’s a mix of reasons for this. To start, there are more female gamers than ever. And, this crowd needs to be satisfied. But, along with this, games are simply becoming more realistic. You won’t find a modern war without female fighters on one or both sides.
You’re not sexist… it’s understandable that it comes as a shock that the gaming world has come forward in this way. But, it’s something you can expect to see more of! I, for one, love to be able to play as a badass character, whether they are a boy or a girl 🙂
Hi Cheeno, Thanks for your comment. I really hope you’re right that gaming simply reflects a more tolerant and diverse society.
Do have been dismayed occasionally about the portrayal of women in the ‘scenery’ of some games. Is it GTA I’m thinking of that had a strip club? Do you think that’s changing?