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November 19
2013

Ms. Male Character – Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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The newest entry in Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs. Women in Video Games video series has arrived, focusing this time on the Ms. Male Character trope. Worth noting is that this video, despite being the fifth in the series, is actually only the second episode from Anita’s original list of planned topics.

This trope hits home for me as a big fan of characters like Pretty Bomber, Dixie Kong, and Amy Rose. These characters have, of course, come into their own over time (with Dixie taking the starring role in Donkey Kong Country 3, and Amy Rose having taken major roles in many Sonic titles) but it’s still worth noting how problematic their initial conceptions were.

Also very interesting is how the use of supposed ‘feminine’ signifiers affects the portrayal of trans and gay characters in video games.

What do you think about the Ms. Male Character trope? Let us know in the comments!

Catch up with the rest of the series at the official Feminist Frequency Youtube channel, and keep up with Anita on twitter @femfreq.

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About Sal Mattos

(Managing Editor and Writer) Sal lives in the beautiful city of San Francisco where he splits his time between playing games, watching copious amounts of television, and occasionally going outside. He has written for GayGamer and Gamezone. He studied creative writing and theatre at SFSU, and when not gaming can most likely be found on stage somewhere. You can keep up with him on twitter @salmattos

3 Responses

  1. avatar Samus says:

    Great video! I also live in SF, and I go to SFSU :) I totally agree with what is being said in this video. It is very boring to see the same generic female characters in video games. I’m not defending video game developers, but I think this is why they do it: There are more straight males who play video games, and they have to market their products to their target audience. You will typically see a male protagonist in games, and you will see women taking secondary roles.
    I think the video also makes a good point when it talks about the absence, and the criticizing of LGBT characters. Being absent also sends a terrible message.
    Money is a big deciding factor about what’s going to be sold. Sticking to the old trusted money making formula of “story” telling is what our entertainment business is all about!
    Personally, I love characters who fall outside the norm. But even then, it can be a bit hard to find them, or they fall under being Caucasian. I’m not a racist, but lets face it, our lead protagonist is typically going to be white/European decent.

  2. avatar The_French_guy says:

    Ahh yes, then “gender binary” issue. It’s something that always bothered me for so long. We got the warrior, we got the magician, we got the archer… and then we got “the woman”. What does she do? Who cares, she got a chain bikini and does girly stuff. And boy, did i facepalm when the video with the wonderful 101 part came up. I cringed as well when misses pink was on screen. It’s like every thing a five years old boy think a girl is.

    I also lover her mention that when the gender portrayal is reverse, it’s usually for cheap laughs and homophobic jokes (more true in Japanese games then U.S if i may add). I constanly seek a game that would show reverse gender portrayal with more dignity and maturity. Cept for some indie games here and there, it’s a hard find.

    I was told that her next video will be the fighting f*** toy. Now that one will totally bring up some eyebrow but i just can’t wait till anita tears a new one on ivy!

  3. avatar Xario says:

    I really like her series. Just commenting to let you know the link to her channel doesn’t work, because you prefixed it with this article’s address.

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