Gender equality is an important issue in the United States, and one that still has a long ways to go. With the increasing popularity of videogames as an entertainment medium, they serve as a platform similar to television and film, one which many people’s opinions might be influenced by. Because that is the case, it is quite troubling that there is many games that handle gender equality very poorly, and many go so far as to objectify one gender or the other.
Over-sexualization is a prominent issue in many games. From women with exaggerated bosoms, to men with unrealistic musculature, people are hard-pressed to find games that escape fully from this trend. One particularly bad case of this occurred in recent memory with “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” which featured a prominent female character, named Quiet, wearing little more than a torn bikini top and tights. While the game itself was generally fantastic, and was one of the better games of 2015, characters designed in such a way are simply unnecessary fan-service, and do nothing to better the game. Quiet could have easily been an interesting character without her exaggerated proportions and unrealistic attire.
As well as objectification, there is also a trend in many games of treating women as inept, or unable to handle themselves. Often the female characters simply sit around waiting for the males to help them, instead of doing things for themselves. All this does is prolong an already unnecessary stereotype about women, and has no place in an industry that is at its core about nothing more than having fun. 2015 horror release “Until Dawn” in particular was quite bad about this. While the player was given control of many different characters, of either gender, the women were almost completely inept, with the exception of Sam, who had a few moments of power. However, the male characters, especially Chris and Mike, all seem more able to handle the horrifying events occurring around them. They show actual physical prowess, as well as crisis aversion skills, things that the female characters never really do.
Of course, there are many games that do not follow this pattern, and have handled the presence of both genders beautifully. However, the fact that there are still prominent, AAA titles such as the ones mentioned above that handle this in such a poor manner is a serious problem, and one that the gaming community should be seriously bothered by. One of the general tenets of gaming is that it is simply for enjoyment, and that everyone should be allowed to enjoy it. The misrepresentation or mistreatment of any person of any gender could prevent people from fully enjoying a game, and that’s a true tragedy. “Metal Gear Solid V” and “Until Dawn” were each exceptional games in their own right, and were enormous amounts of fun. However, they failed to give equal treatment to characters of either gender, and it simply detracts from what are otherwise enjoyable games.