Kotaku's Mike Fahey reports on Jessica Cernadas, a 17 year old girl gamer who made a piece for NPR about her frustrations being a girl gamer. In it she argues that girl gamers don't get the respect they deserve, and that the oversexed representation of female characters is getting tiresome.
I hear and read a lot about the state of the online nation. Girl gamers who reveal themselves are taunted and harassed, flirted with and propositioned. Girl characters in games are often oversexed and under appreciated. Jessica brings up Bayonetta in her discussion, specifically the fact that Bayonetta loses layers of clothing for her finishing moves and that, says Cernadas, is the cancer that is killing gender equality in gaming.
There are silver linings, and challenging arguments that can be made to run circles around Jessica's piece. I argue that Bayonetta is one of the best examples of a truly strong woman character, and that her attacks are part of that. Kat, from Halo Reach, is a very down to earth, scarred, cyborg-limbed super soldier who kicks it with the boys club the entire game. Lots of little exceptions to the rules...but where is the true root of the problem? What are we really able to do?
Online communities offer the safety of anonymity, but they are a two edge sword: reveal any information about the real "you" outside the screen...and suddenly you invite criticisms from any of the faceless many you're gaming alongside. Can we truly censor the voices, the taunting? No, not really. But we can ban people who break rules. Can we have female characters in games that don't lose their clothes when they attack? Yes, we do.
This is a real issue, however. A lasting and hard to tackle problem that splits a community based on shared experiences into victims and predators and that's not something we as geeks/nerds/gamers should consider "part of who we are" or "part of the reality". There are ways around it. Listen to the story of Jessica Cernadas. What we want is right there, now we just have to keep moving towards it. Have we thought of any really good solutions yet? That remains to be seen.
A Teenager Tackles Respect For Girl Gamers [via Kotaku]