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New Damsel In Distress YouTube Series Examines Women In Games

The role of women in video games has been changing, and it will likely continue to change in the future. This involves both females who enjoy the hobby and how the fairer sex is portrayed in the interactive entertainment industry.

If you're interested in the subject, you might want to check out a new YouTube series from feministfrequency that takes an in-depth look at the history of female roles in games. The first episode is called "Damsel in Distress" and Part 1 focuses on the concept in question. Of course, it isn't new and dates back thousands of years, as cited in the video (Perseus saving Andromeda being one of the first examples).

There's no doubt that as social norms and perspectives change, our entertainment alters to reflect those changes. How women are depicted in games has always come under much scrutiny, especially during the days when Lara Croft was nothing but a sex symbol and most all women were...well, oddly and unrealistically built. But things do appear to be changing for the better, and speaking of Lara there's no better evidence of this than the recent Tomb Raider reboot.

Keep an eye out for future episodes if you find this informative.

Thanks, dmiitrie!

Tags: gaming industry, women in games, female gamers, girl gamers

3/11/2013 9:12:25 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (12 posts)

Knightzane
Monday, March 11, 2013 @ 10:26:16 PM
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Not gunna lie, im going to miss rescuing princesses. It won't be the same when their saving themselves.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, March 11, 2013 @ 11:00:27 PM
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I don't have the energy to care. When men in games aren't subjected to the exact same stuff I'll pay attention to gender foibles in gaming.

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dmiitrie
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 @ 1:11:30 AM

Men aren't put through the same shit at all. Not even a little bit. I can't recall a single game where a guy is frozen, in little more than his underwear, while the female protagonist talked about how hot he is. I'm also having trouble coming up with a game where the male characters where clothing specifically designed to highlight their crotches.

It's one thing to have stuff like DoA or Leisure Suit Larry; it's camp and not intended to be taken all that seriously. But when mainstream titles (damn near all of them) do very similar things, we need to recognize that women are treated differently.

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FxTales
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 @ 3:00:23 AM

You don't have to care, but I do World. I care that both men and women are portrayed unfairly in videogames. What you need to realise is that as a person who grew up playing videogames from the age of 4 (am 24 now) it's hard for me as a women to not criticise the female role. The male role is more diverse. I'm not trying to upset any gents here but you can't say that there's fairness.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying abolish the same old storylines and archetypes, I'm saying give us more variety.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 @ 5:18:51 PM

People simply don't notice the hypersexualized males because they fit the hero archetype already. The female roles aren't as bad as everyone says, people just point to the worst examples to make their point. We have bigger problems like not enough women in the Senate and House.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 3/12/2013 5:21:34 PM

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LegendaryWolfeh
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 @ 8:35:50 PM

It's a video game. Why bother to get worked up about it in the first place? People play them to get away from real life, not have to have people's morals and other things thrown in their face for 'right and wrong'. That's why games let people make their own decisions sometimes.

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PSN French
Monday, March 11, 2013 @ 11:25:36 PM
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maybe we can make a game where the female protagonist has to fight dirty dishes and laundry while the male protagonist is held hostage for 8 hours a day at a dead end job... j/k :)

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Snaaaake
Monday, March 11, 2013 @ 11:49:19 PM
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Lately there hasn't been some games with sweet love story has there?
I know, I know, I'm a guy but a guy can also love him some good romance.

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dmiitrie
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 @ 1:21:29 AM
Reply

Thanks for the shout out Ben!

I didn't necessarily agree with everything that was said, but it did make me think about some things. I'm really shocked that we don't have more games with female protagonists. Growing up, I never had a problem with the way things were, but my little sister did. She loved playing as the princess in SMB2 or Mario Cart, but never seemed to get into games where there were only male characters. In the early 90s, I guess that was just playing to demographics, but it's a little sad to see that things haven't changed that much 20 years later.

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FxTales
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 @ 3:04:08 AM

Glad you brought it up. I caught the first episode over the weekend and while I too don't agree with all her criticisms she does highlight a lot of really good points.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 @ 2:40:17 PM

Princess was the best in smb2. I was always her too.

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johnld
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 @ 5:03:58 PM
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I actually watched the video of this and kinda found it annoying that she has a good topic but a couple of her example just seem like shes looking for enemies where there arent any.

one example that stood out was about the shiek/zelda bit where when zelda was disguised as shiek, she was highly capable of taking care of herself but as soon as she revealed her true identity, she was suddenly powerless and got caught right away. she basically took that incident out of context with the whole story. she didnt get captured because she was a woman, she got captured because that was the moment where she let her guard down. if you actually look at the story as a whole, then theres really no problem. bad guy wanted a piece of the triforce so he captured the person thats not the character that youre controlling.

then theres that n64 game about a female lead that was turned into starfox game for gamecube. business wise it was a sound decision for nintendo. starfox is a more visible title, so more people would pay attention to that. nintendo isnt really known for new IPs. the games i payed attention to was their go to franchises. so i can see why they chose to use the story for starfox instead of a brand new ip for what i am assuming an end of cycle new IP for the N64, since it became a starfox game for their next gen console. sure nintendo mightve over done it with the whole character introduction, but a plain intro would be forgettable.

basically, if someone was gonna set an arguement or try to convince me of one thing. i would prefer it to be a concrete example and not some out of context example or one that is a one sided. i did understand what she was trying to say from her other examples and wouldnt stop anyone from watching the video.

Last edited by johnld on 3/12/2013 5:04:27 PM

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