A Female Lead In GTA? Good God No
There's probably no avoiding a fair amount of backlash, but I will attempt - vainly, perhaps - to list out a series of important disclaimers. Please read:
First and foremost, I firmly believe in equality on any and all levels. That should cover a lot of territory, I hope. Secondly, I agree that this industry requires more in the way of significant female roles. More games should have female protagonists; there are multiple unique storylines that could be created specifically for women, and more women might get interested in the hobby, too. Thirdly and lastly, I don't view women as helpless, fragile creatures who can't defend themselves, and who wouldn't make for powerful, capable characters in a game. Lara Croft is a bad-ass.
That all being said, I am not in favor of having a female lead in Grand Theft Auto V. I see a lot of discussion on this topic recently, and although I'm sure I'm once again in the minority, I really wouldn't want this to happen. As a reference point, I think Madison in Heavy Rain could have her own game; she was an intelligent, strong, independent and interesting woman, who felt authentic and real. And being an investigative journalist, good writers could pen some excellent scripts for her. But Grand Theft Auto? Just no. There's simply too much wrong with that picture and to be perfectly honest, I might be uncomfortable playing GTA as a woman.
There's a heckuva lot of violence in GTA games. Now you can call me old-fashioned if you wish, but I see violence against women as a grave offense that is twice as grievous as violence against men. And although it isn't a popular viewpoint in today's ultra-liberal world, I'm not the biggest fan of gender confusion, either. No, women aren't supposed to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. But that doesn't necessarily mean they should be toting Uzis in an alley. Again, it's not that I don't think a woman could and not even that I think a woman should; it's more that it just isn't a good idea. Do people really think a lead female role in GTA would be a step forward for women in games? Outside of potential popularity, I don't see that.
GTAV could boast a great story, I don't know. All I do know is that story is never the focal point in such games. Personally, if I were a woman and I wanted to see games make strides in the realm of female characters, I'd want a script of which to be proud. I'd want to see a role that would be challenging, that would show a different angle of the world that men may not easily recognize. Putting a woman in the lead role in GTAV wouldn't accomplish this. I say, pick your battles. By all means, write a great script for a female protagonist. I'm all for it. GTA? Why? Just to prove that a woman can do anything a man can do? Aren't we bored with that yet? How's about a script that celebrates the differences between men and women?
Celebrating difference is what we're all about now, right? I find it exceedingly odd that certain people crow about "celebrating differences" when apparently, all they want is for everyone to be exactly the same...
11/9/2012 Ben Dutka