I am passionate about realistic and rounded portrayals of women in video games. I long for the day when this is the norm and not a feat to be celebrated. When female protagonists controlled by the player are not in the minority, and game developers are not driven by default to emphasise male protagonists to make games sell – as was the case with Bioshock Infinite, which was really a game about Elizabeth and not primarily Booker.
As a feminist, I want more than the occasional, revolutionary female character like Clementine from The Walking Dead, Ellie from The Last of Us, GLaDOS and Chell from Portal. I want more than a long line of busty, one-dimensional love interests and eye candy, more than mute and helpless damsels in distress. I want more than token female characters in a sea of male protagonists, defying the female-heavy ratio of the modern world. I want more than the sexualised objects of The Witcher and Hitman: Absolution, more than the scantily clad caricatures of Grand Theft Auto V and Batman: Arkham City, and more than the odd pop-up token females pervading male-centric video games everywhere (Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Alan Wake, LA Noire, Red Dead Redemption – and the list goes on).
I want real women on video game screens. Real women with hopes, drives, strengths and weaknesses. Real women who are not defined by their bone structure and body size, who have a voice and a mind. Women who are game-changers and world-changers in their own right.
I want as many complex, three dimensional female characters in video games as there are complex, three dimensional male characters.
I am a feminist because I believe that men and women are equals. I am a feminist because I believe in justice and freedom for the marginalised and exploited. Around the world, women form a large part of this group. I am passionate about gender equality because I believe that it is the way things should be.
The issue of women in video games means a lot to me, and I plan to write about it regularly, with reference to specific games and characters. You will find all posts on women in video games and media here.
I hope you will share my struggles and triumphs on this journey.