Sexism in Video Games

Violence, no matter the definition, is prevalent in modern society. It has plagued the country for centuries, through wars, terrorism and even entering homes through the media. The violence has become so prevalent that the partaking in violent tendencies is becoming quite acceptable.

The video game industry has taken advantage of this desensitized craving and made the target audience young male gamers. Cutting out violence from such an impressionable demographic was even ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2011. Ruling against the ban of sale or rentals of such games to children left open another market for more military and action games.

However, the pursuit for more a casual market of gamers was pushed towards women and older adults, but, the core audience remains with younger suggestible males. As referenced in Chapter 5 of the book “Race, Culture, and Gender in the New Media Age,” the author says that, because the demographic of the video game industry has grown tremendously male-dominant, sexism towards women is only growing (Wilson ll, 120-121).

One of the best known female characters in video games is Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. Though her bravery and strength throughout her virtual adventures can be seen as power to women, it can also show the mass sexualized nature towards women, each to be seen as just their bodies. This is rampant when Croft’s signature outfit is shorts and exposed midsection and arms in a tight tank top.

The character even took life in film when the most sexualized women at the time, Angelina Jolie, portrayed the character on screen. She was and is still sought after because of her large lips and breasts and this is only the basic form of sexism that happens throughout video games and media. Treating women as objects, for just their bodies, changing appearances and proportions of body parts, even virtually, in order to sell, is sexism.

The male demographic has so much control over the marketing and creative attention of the gaming industry, which women are being left out of even the production line of video gaming creation. The reading speaks of the 2007 survey by Game Developer magazine, saying that barely 20 percent of the gaming industry’s work force was female and only a low three percent of women were actual game programmers.

A small victory for women involved or affected by the gaming industry was in 2006 when E3 banned “booth babes,” who were women appearing scantily clad to attract the male gamers passing by. The book author quoted Simon Carless, publisher of the Game Developer magazine, who said, “It’s important for women to be involved creatively because we need to broaden the reach of games…They should be a universal art form.”

Sexism will only cease if women and men alike stand against such broodish behavior, because sexualizing women in games does not empower women of this modern age to be treated as equal and as fairly as the controlling male demographic that is still in power today.

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