Sexism in Video Games

Since the 70s, there has been a looming question: Do video games affect our psyche? The argument usually centers around violence and teenagers playing games like Mortal Kombat or Grand Theft Auto. A new issue is whether or not some video games are making gamers, especially those who are male, sexist. The idea comes from the supposed lack of representation of women in video games. This is a popular belief even though there have been powerful female characters in video game such as Samus in Metroid (1986) and Alyx Vance in Half-Life 2 (2004).

Lara Croft from Tomb Raider who has been a symbol of feminine power but also sexism due to her appearance.











Some say activities you can perform in games like Grand Theft Auto and Dead or Alive — a fighting game featuring bikini-clad women– and part of the Gamergate controversy have perpetuated the idea of sexism. Gamergate was a controversy that began in August 2014 and was centered around sexism and progressivism in video games as well as a misrepresentation of gamers by supposed gaming media. The sexist part began when an independent game developer, ZoĆ« Quinn, released her browser-based game, Depression Quest. After the release of this game, she was bombarded with threats of rape and murder because the game received undeserved attention according to those sending threats. Sending threats anonymously became popular and #Gamergate was trending on Twitter at one point. Even though some media outlets, even those featuring video-game-related content, have made all male gamers out as sexist, what the internet trolls did only perpetuated the falsehood of it.


Although there are still people that think that women do not have a place in video games, as characters or developers, some developers are showing that women have a place. The Last of Us (2013) features a strong female lead in Ellie alongside Joel as a father figure. The sequel, assumed to release in late 2017 or early 2018, is set to feature an older Ellie. Overwatch also features a diverse cast of characters that include women. Tracer, the face of the Overwatch advertising campaign, is a popular female character as well as one of the more popular homosexual characters in video games. There are plenty of examples of prominent females in games showing that the companies producing them are pushing for more inclusion in the long run.

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