Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female gamer

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Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female gamer

#1 Post by kara24601 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:06 am

Sorry...a lot of whining from me about gaming.

People are always quick to go "but there's so many games out there today where you can play as a female."
That may be true on a certain level, but many games - (even my favorites can have something sexist about them in one way or another) - are , (again...just IMO)
well...sexist towards girls. (and sorry yes I'm gonna whine about sexism when it comes to girls......I don't complain much about any sexism in games towards guys - although I think I have stood up for guys before and would stand up for them - but sorry as a female gamer of course I'm going to be more focused on "is this offensive to me as a female? It this what counts as offensive to girl gamers like me?" or whatever...know what I mean? Sorry guys.)

I know it's not always a guy's fault but there's still more male creators out there or at least they have more of their stuff out than female creators.
(or so it seems) and it seems most of them give little to no thought about what kind of impact their games will have on females or how a female will feel about it.
I think that even if a guy is expecting most people playing his games to be male, he should give just as much thought - (if not more) to how females will take it.
Especially if he doesn't even give them the option of playing as a female.

And if one does include the choice to play as a female, the female should get pants as part of their default outfit too. Especially in mmorpgs. Let the dresses and skirts be optional, not mandatory! Shorts and pants = default / mandatory for both genders...Please.

And please give female players more variety / choice of clothing style...some girls like to be covered up more...some girls like to be "cutesy" style, and some girls get a kick out of wearing as little clothing as possible :roll: :lol:

On the flipside, if I choose to play as a guy, I like it when something allows me to "girly up" my guy. Give him long hair, put him in a dress or shirt and skirt outfit.
Put lipstick and nail polish on him. Depending on the guy, I'm going to want to play with him that way sometimes. And sometimes I enjoy him in "regular guy" clothes.

It's just not a personal hatred against them, but colors like Pink and White are usually painful to/on the (or at least mine) eyes

Pink shouldn't automagically / automatically = girl!
One should not assume that all females everywhere of any age LOOOOVE Pink. Because, no. Not all of us do.
Sticking a bow on a character or having them covered from head to toe in Pink as a way to emphasize "omg character is either female or pretending to be one!" enrages me too
Female characters as "unwanted" sidekicks = rage mode
Strong female characters , female characters as one of the main characters and "respected and/or beloved among the male characters" female character = awesome and I love you

It's sad that some supposedly "female" gamers will be a huge witch about other female gamers, like if you don't play Halo and such you're "not a real gamer" ? What a load of crap. And so what if I let people know I'm a female gamer? BS that I'm just attention seeking. There's nothing wrong with letting people know you're a female and guess what, you happen to love/play games.

Some women like to make a big deal about "too sexy" female characters. Since I'm bi I rarely complain about that sort of thing. Sometimes it annoys me too though.
But I love the "sexy" game characters...male or female. :lol:

I'm sure there's more I could be ranting about but I'm done for now.

Agree? Great! Disgree? Fine, let's agree to disagree. Hah.

BTW these are feelings I've had for a long time as a self-confessed "gamer who just happens to be female at the same time" and I've complained before in different places a couple of times about stuff like this....
Last edited by kara24601 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#2 Post by Aleema » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:51 am

Welcome to feminism, fellow gamer! We have a seat already warmed up for ya.
Here's a website I like to visit, and maybe you will, too: http://borderhouseblog.com/

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#3 Post by LVUER » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:03 am

Just remember a game with female character is not the same as a game for female player.
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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#4 Post by Fawn » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:21 am

What kind of games are you playing, though? Duke Nukem? Yeah, that's definitely a good example of a horribly sexist game, ha- though, I am female and I love Duke Nukem because I just don't take it seriously. But, I don't really count as a female in mind I guess... I've always thought more like a guy for some reason =3=

Anyways, back on topic... I always use the example of Bethesada's games (Skyrim, Fallout, ect) as games that are equal to both genders, since there's not really much difference between the female and male choices that I've seen (besides you can't marry a gay male as a female, ha). Also, Mass effect- Fem Shep is a BAMF, she's always wearing pants... Not to mention she has plenty of hot space men to go after. (I'm totally furry for Garrus <3) Good enough for me!
RPGs like that are becoming more and more popular and I think they're great for men or women alike- But, I've been told they don't really count for some reason.

I can't totally speak for guys but the main problem seems to be that guys just don't understand what girls want in gaming. There's a stigma that all girls are interested in is casual fluff games and don't care for more "hardcore" games with actual plots and game play. It's a gender-role thing in society- girls don't like what guys like, and the opposite. So, if most people in the game industry are guys- guys who have no idea what women actually want from their games- then you'll most likely get games that guys THINK girls will like due to gender stereotypes.


So, also- what games have you played that make you feel this way? It'd be nice to have a list of things you've played and see why you don't like them.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#5 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:35 am

I'd say welcome to gaming, but it's more like welcome to life, where what you want is presumed by other people.

We had this discussion a little while back http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... nt#p152702 and there is an interesting podcast at the top about what women want from female characters.

Unfortunately, communicating about it can be difficult mostly due to the partriarchl nature of pretty much everything.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#6 Post by Aleema » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:57 am

Fawn wrote:What kind of games are you playing, though? Duke Nukem? Yeah, that's definitely a good example of a horribly sexist game, ha- though, I am female and I love Duke Nukem because I just don't take it seriously. But, I don't really count as a female in mind I guess... I've always thought more like a guy for some reason =3=.
It shouldn't matter if one identifies as a woman or not - dismissing, ignoring, or justifying sexism only enables it.

Pointing out that Tetris (Portal, Metroid, etc.) exists is not how you solve a problem in the gaming industry. Pointing at a diamond in the rough doesn't negate the fact that the whole thing is still mostly rough.

I recently watched the new Sherlock Holmes movie with my family on Christmas and was dismayed to find that a good female character was pointlessly fridged (killed). When I expressed how this almost ruined the whole movie for me, I was told by my family that Sherlock Holmes was not a movie for women. Keep in mind, I had personally drug them to the theater to specifically see it. It's even more devastating to hear that from another woman, like my sister. That kind of sentiment is the very definition of sexism; that something isn't for a particular gender. It's more offensive than the actual content being debated. The OP didn't play the "wrong" types of games to get to this conclusion. If you can't see it, that's not your fault, but you must trust those that do, because it is their reality and their burden.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#7 Post by Keilis » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:42 am

LVUER wrote:Just remember a game with female character is not the same as a game for female player.
Yeah, I actually prefer playing as a male character. Feels more natural, just because I know that the game's made with the mindset of its male creators. Plus, I'd rather look at a guy than a girl for the 40 hours I'm playing that game. Works the other way around, too; guys often prefer playing girls, just because they don't wanna stare at a man's ass for so long.

And I don't think it's that hard to find a female gamer; however, finding a female gamer playing a game that's catered mainly towards guys (like CoD, Saints Row, Duke Nukem) is definitely hard. But that works the other way around as well; you're not gonna find a whole bunch of guys playing Harvest Moon, for example.

@kara24601: I think the reason why MMO's tend to have girls wearing skirts and stuff is because it helps distinguish people easier. If everyone wore pants, it would look a little monotonous. On the issue about girls dressed in pink, I think you're referring to older Japanese games, like from the 90's or before, when there was always that one sugar-sweet girl healer with pink hair. Some Japanese games still tend to really separate gender roles, though to be fair, our cultures are different.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Final Fantasy XIII, Bayonetta, and Shikkoku no Sharnoth: What a Beautiful Tomorrow have some decent female characters in their main rosters. Games that have male protagonists are fun for girls too; I personally don't mind playing Assassin's Creed, other Final Fantasies, Dragon Quests, other Castlevanias, etc. Then there are also games that you can play as either, like fighting games (Street Fighter, Blazblue), hack 'n' slash (Dynasty Warriors, Sengoku Basara), Pokemon, etc.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#8 Post by Fawn » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:51 am

@Aleema: Maybe they meant "not specifically for women" by "not for women"? That's the flaw I see in a lot of the "feminism" arguments, that because something's less than half geared towards women, it's not acceptable. Anything that doesn't feature strong female roles isn't "fair". It just seems like more trouble than it's worth to try to stress over.

I stopped caring about gender in video games a long time ago on a playground, playing Mario and Pokemon with boys and girls alike. No one cared about genders, it was all about the fun game. It's impossible for me to comprehend why anyone would care about the genders when it's the game play that counts... Does one need to identify with someone of the same gender to be able to enjoy a game?

I'm not saying OP played the "wrong" kind of games. I would just like to understand which games she played and what she didn't like in these games, what she thought was lacking. What's fun to a girl that's not in games these days besides "strong female roles", and the stereotypical "let's go shopping and put on makeup and date sensitive pretty boys!" game play that has been assigned to females?

As Keilis mention there's a lot of games that are fun for both... It might not be the genders at play, maybe it's just the game in general that's not to taste for you.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#9 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:55 am

It's not really about being able to identify with a character of the same sex as you, it's about being able to identify with the story, which is where the problems crop up. I have no problem at all playing as a male character. If that's how the game is set up, I'm fine with it. What I have issues with is the story is so overwhelmingly male, the thinking is male, all the females are portrayed from a male perspective, all the males are portrayed from a male perspective and the exceptions to the rule are far and few in between. It's not a gaming problem, it's a social problem. Male is default and female is alien. Even games like Mass Effect struggled at a number of points resulting in jarring gameplay from a female perspective. Females don't necessarily want equal screen time or strong role models (though that would be really nice), they want their perspective to be understood and respected, not half arsed or mocked by gaming developers or male gamers.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#10 Post by gekiganwing » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:29 am

Fawn wrote:I stopped caring about gender in video games a long time ago on a playground, playing Mario and Pokemon with boys and girls alike. No one cared about genders, it was all about the fun game. It's impossible for me to comprehend why anyone would care about the genders when it's the game play that counts...
That's how it should be. There are decent numbers of video games which are just worksafe entertainment, and meant to appeal to a diverse assortment of people. This type of game can not be easily stereotyped as "boys only," "girls only," or sometimes even "kids only."

But people take their entertainment far too seriously. We can't get along and agree that Kirby and Sonic and Simcity and King's Quest are awesome for just about everyone. There seem to be people who believe that video games shouldn't be accessible to just about everyone -- apparently they can't accept other people as equals in fandom. Meanwhile, some games are designed to be complex, and come across as intimidating and unappealing for people who aren't already fans.

There's countless video games that can be accurately described as "fanboys making games for other fanboys," with tacked-on sex, swearing, violence, etc. Perhaps as recently as fifteen years ago, it seemed like offensive games would never be made for popular platforms without a lot of censorship, never get much distribution, and/or never appear in English. But now it seems like more than a few games which sell millions of copies include a lot of gratuitous stuff.

Video games have generally been shelved into a "ghetto," right alongside other pop culture entertainment such as sci-fi, fantasy, and comics. It's part of a subculture which is ignored on good days, and demonized on bad days. People outside of the fandom look down on fans because they enjoy games about sports (rather than playing or watching the real sport), or games about music (rather than listening to music, or writing your own). And so we end up with small demographic groups who have rivalries over trivial things.

So if you're a woman, and if you're having trouble finding video games which appeal to your interests, then this (along with other factors) is why you can't have nice things. I wish fandom were better... We gotta improve it one day at a time, one game at a time.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#11 Post by AxemRed » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:47 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote:What I have issues with is the story is so overwhelmingly male, the thinking is male, all the females are portrayed from a male perspective, all the males are portrayed from a male perspective and the exceptions to the rule are far and few in between.
Concrete examples please.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#12 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:23 am

AxemRed wrote:
Auro-Cyanide wrote:What I have issues with is the story is so overwhelmingly male, the thinking is male, all the females are portrayed from a male perspective, all the males are portrayed from a male perspective and the exceptions to the rule are far and few in between.
Concrete examples please.

Most games really, especially mainstream ones. Duex Ex, Drake, Assassian's Creed, Skyrim, Fall Out. (And please nobody say that these are male games because if they are, that doesn't leave a lot for females to choose from -.-) Those are the ones I have played recently. What gets me is that these games are not directly targeting males like COD, God of War or Duke Nukum do. Instead they 'default' into male perspective. This would be more forgivable if the story was a direct reflection of the main character, who is usually male. That I could understand. Our world is naturally coloured by who we are. Instead they are a result of their creators and the way they present the main character, the other character and the story is male. Females perspective is not generally considered and you can feel it when you play the games, ranging from slight disconnection to actual eye rolling.

Games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect have taken steps to address female perspective which is why they are so popular with female gamers. There are a few hiccups with how they portray some things but it's such an improvement that I can't really complain too much. There is a lot of polarisation that goes on sometimes but I applaud their diversity and their willingness to take risks.

Other exceptions that have some good moments that I have seen personally are Bayonetta and Heavy Rain. I'm picking out major titles because they are most assessable to the public and are a good example of what I'm talking about.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#13 Post by papillon » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:12 am

It's impossible for me to comprehend why anyone would care about the genders when it's the game play that counts... Does one need to identify with someone of the same gender to be able to enjoy a game?
If no one cared, then there would be no problem with making games have a breakdown of characters that vaguely matched reality, because boys would have no problem playing games with female leads.

But that's blatantly not the case.

You can find example after example of developers and producers having discussions where they decide that it's inappropriate to have a female lead (except maybe if she's a Super Sexy Half Naked Female Lead) because "no one would believe she could be the hero" or "nobody would play that".

And if you actually kinda want to play a female lead who's not white? Well, there are a few RPGs that will let you design your own character... some of which will make you still belong to a white family. (I got a small number of extremely happy customers who found Date Warp and said that they'd *never* seen a video game with an Indian girl as the lead before.)

I loved playing Princess Peach in the US version of SMB2 - I've even blogged about it. It was awesome that she no longer had to sit in a castle waiting to be rescued, she was an equal member of the team, and she had a cool power that I quite liked. Also, we didn't have voice acting yet in those days, so she wasn't SQUEALING all the time.

I suspect any girl who plays video game can and has enjoyed games with male characters in the leads. There's nothing WRONG with having a male character in the lead of your game. But it is very tiring to time and time again be faced with a range of options for men and a tiny sliver of boob-baring options for women. When you see it again and again and again you start losing the appreciation for each game's individual merits and start being really fed up with the trends.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#14 Post by Joey » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:30 am

Fawn wrote:I stopped caring about gender in video games a long time ago on a playground, playing Mario and Pokemon with boys and girls alike. No one cared about genders, it was all about the fun game. It's impossible for me to comprehend why anyone would care about the genders when it's the game play that counts... Does one need to identify with someone of the same gender to be able to enjoy a game?
I have to agree with Fawn here, I'm one of those types who don't read too deep into the games I play and hence never really have much of a problem with them. Games are merely a form of entertainment, and saying that they're supposed to be a fair representation of society, etc. is kind of asking too much from them. ;;

It might be because this is a gaming forum, but the demands of a lot of the females I've seen here seem to be different from those I meet in reality. I know a lot of girls here like action/horror games, etc. and are more averse (?) to maybe casual gaming, but I've got quite a few female friends who got bored playing Dragon Age/Portal at my house and instead settled for Cooking Mama 3 on my NDS... So maybe it's not that the game devs are chauvinist, but maybe that they think their female playership is negligible enough that they think it's unnecessary/too costly to spend more time tweaking their game to suit them. Furthermore you can't blame it all on the developers; a team of game devs consisting entirely of women might end up, um, objectifying men or something equally sexist. If you know what I mean ;; /poor explainer
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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#15 Post by AxemRed » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:33 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote:
AxemRed wrote:
Auro-Cyanide wrote:What I have issues with is the story is so overwhelmingly male, the thinking is male, all the females are portrayed from a male perspective, all the males are portrayed from a male perspective and the exceptions to the rule are far and few in between.
Concrete examples please.
Most games really, especially mainstream ones. Duex Ex, Drake, Assassian's Creed, Skyrim, Fall Out
You misspelled every game title except Skyrim
I find the claim of "most games" dubious, but let's ignore that for now.

I still don't see it. What's so overwhelmingly male about the storytelling in those games that it makes them hard to enjoy?

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