Video games are undeniably increasing in popularity in today’s society. This is widely attributed to the advances in technology that the world has seen over the past decade. Video games are most commonly seen in the media today as the root of violence in a lot of criminal cases; little is ever mentioned on other issues in video games such as the major amount of sexism that can be seen both in the games and of those who play the games.
Video games would be nothing if there were no one motivated to play them. Luckily, there are many individuals who are highly motivated. Video gaming is traditionally done by a guy and is seen as something masculine, albeit not necessarily masculine as a gender role more so as masculine in a social setting. What I mean by this is that the stereotype of being a “nerd” so to speak has much less machismo to it as opposed to that of a “jock”, but is still considered masculine because of the lack of females. Taking the notion of the title of “gamer” and filing it under “nerd” as a stereotype, the first image that pops into someones head is probably that of a guy wearing a headset and holding a controller. Some could modify this, saying that the person could have anger problems, be overweight due to lack of physical exercise or activity, or modify it some other way as society sees a gamer. However, on almost all accounts, one can be assured that a female will not be the first thing that is brought to mind.
Secondly, there are those who would even argue that video games are themselves sexist. In most video games, the protagonist that the player takes the role of is more often than not a male. There are enough examples of female protagonists in order to say that the majority is not as vast as one would think, but it is certain that the majority goes to males. Furthermore, however, is that women in video games often are stereotyped as weak. They are constantly taking on the archetype of the damsel in distress, such as is seen by Princess Peach in the vastly popular Super Mario series. This was a topic that got recently approached by a feminist and, to my surprise, was well funded by donations from supporters, making over 160,000 dollars. The entire project was completed by a feminist named Anita Sarkeesian and can be found at this link here. The video below is her announcing of the project, and was met with much criticism.
Surprising to me most is how strong the issue had become in that she was able to raise 160,000 dollars to fund the project, which is much more than necessary when asking what she was asking for. People must have felt like it was a pressing issue. It brings me to my conclusion, and almost in full circle to the question that is in the title of this blog. Are girls allowed to play video games as well? Or will gaming forever be something normal only to men?