Gendering Game Violence There's another great post at Vorpal Bunny Ranch, this one looking at the issue of female game protagonists and game violence — there seem to be different expectations placed on the reaction of female protagonists to violence that is par for the course for male characters. Oh, sure, violence may still be there, but it takes on a different tone. Is this societal expectations playing out on our consoles and PCs?:
We want to believe females not capable of such acts. We do the same with serial killers as I'm seeing occurring with our females' foes, often painting them in mystic tones and making them less than human—no human could do this, erego inhuman. At the same time, the draw of a female protagonist is also to play the market in a heteronormative fashion: appeal to the male libido and assure females they can play as someone of their own sex. The female gaming market is growing, especially in the cases of The Sims, Harvest Moon, and other such titles. These are generally non-violent games (give a tool to anyone and they'll manage to play around its original intent), which grows the expectation we've been given in general society: females are not violent. Which is a lie. Reading bell hooks's Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, I was reminded of a fact we often overlook: just as many cases of domestic violence are perpetrated by women against their own children. These are often either ignored or not reported, so it becomes difficult to navigate that terrain, especially when children are not given the tools or rights to speak up on their own behalf; to believe females are generally pacifist and have little capability of violence or prefer such is very likely just a fallacy in which we like to believe. We just prefer the idea of a father who is abusive physically and a mother who may be more critical with her words—this makes sense to us.
Anyways, well worth a read — a really thoughtful piece on some gender issues that crop up in games, and issues that go far beyond gaming. Gendered Violence [Vorpal Bunny Ranch]