Jag hade tänkt posta den här på AltDevBlogADay, men jag vet inte. Den är kanske lite för aggro. Så jag testskriver den här istället.
This topic is one that I usually get into sooner or later. In this case perhaps sooner than I’d like, having hung out here less than a few posts. But still, and with regards to the column posted at Gamasutra, I’ll get into something that is very close to my heart. Women in games. The reason is of course that I’m a woman. And a game developer, and incidentally also an avid gamer.
In the column that I’m referring to, Ben Abraham challenges his readers to think about sexism and to take an active part in changing the world around us. From the final punchline:
Gamers and game developers are some of the best and brightest people on the planet. If anyone can address this and other problems like it, we can.
If we are indeed some of the best and brightest people on the planet, let me ask you this: why does sexism, ableism, racism and other isms still have a place in games? In fact, why aren’t games at the forefront of challenging gender stereotypes and racial stereotyping? Why, indeed, does Ivy from Soul Calibur have breasts that keep growing and growing for every new installment of the game? Why are games like The Witcher, Bayonetta (no, she’s NOT a strong woman secure in her sexuality. I could write a book about it…) and Duke Nukem (okay, that last one was a cheap shot) still being made? Why do we still sell games with sex? Why are the women’s stories still so scarce in games? How come there’s a beauty pageant for FemShep (the female version of MassEffects protagonist Commander Shepard) where she looks as if she’s barely out of school and just had her hair done, while the BroShep version is grizzled and believable?
Where are all the stories featuring strong women? We have Lara Croft, sure, but how often is she not associated with the size of her boobs? We have Samus Aran, but look what happened to her.
If the game developer community really want to address the issue of sexism, I’m pretty sure we can. But it will require change. It will require not seeing the world as one giant playground for men, by men. It will require seeing gamers not as adolescent, white males but as women too. As all kinds of ethnicities. As all kinds of people, able or not, women, men, Hispanic, Asian, what have you.
It will require that the game developers no longer choose to ignore women (or for that matter other game minorities), because “it will be expensive to add another animation rig and set of animations”, or whatever other handy excuse presents itself when push comes to shove. It will require thinking twice before making female models with nipples showing through the armor plates, or a suit that’s so tight you don’t really have to imagine that much to remove completely (yes Miranda Lawson from Mass Effect 2, I’m looking at you and the spectacularly sexist camera placement that gave Mass Effect the nickname Ass Effect for a while). In short it will require an effort to actually think twice and change.
Are you prepared to make the leap? Are you willing to risk it? Are you ready to truly not be sexist?