Sexism cuts both ways in video games


Billy Macom, Staff Writer

As an avid gamer, hearing that video games are sexist against women is a real head-scratcher. For those of you who don’t play many games and don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll first mention Grand Theft Auto 5, a game that attracted media attention. Although most of my time was spent entering cheat codes and persuading sharks to eat me while I was invincible, news stations focused on the grittier elements. The focus seemed to be on the fact that in GTA5 players can commit murder, theft and countless other acts of violence.  At a first glance the attention seemed reasonable, but when I realized media outrage existed only when the violence was happening to women, and that some people think that somehow this makes the game sexist against women. There was no doubt in my mind that these people weren’t gamers.

As a veteran of the great “Call of Duty” and “Battlefield” franchises, I question whether or not those who claim video games are sexist against women have ever played a game in the first person shooter genre. In the campaigns of the early games, the only enemies were men, and this still is the case with recent first person shooters.  If so many people are concerned about the treatment of women as objects in video games, why don’t people care that men are portrayed as death objects?

Some people say there aren’t enough strong female characters in games, but that isn’t true at all. Lara Croft from the “Tomb Raider” games, Ellie from “The Last of Us” and Samus from “Metroid” are just a few examples of strong female characters in games. While men play the main protagonist role more than women do, people who suggest there is something wrong with this are clearly missing the point. Gamers aren’t worried about the gender of characters, gamers just want a good game.

A point that many adults seem to just accept without questioning is the over-sexualization of women in video games. I admit that there is, but what good does it do to ignore the reality that men are also over-sexualized? At least the women are attractive, whereas my male avatar usually looks like a single yet large muscle. Sadly, I probably will never get to have the character that truly represents me. I don’t think there will ever be “Mortal Kombat” character who spends most of his time on the computer while listening to philosophical debates, and has the Jesus-like power of being able to turn water into Dr. Pepper. Both genders have their problems, but we should start games with the knowledge that representations of things in the real world are typically extreme in most video games.

Despite the ways I described sexism against men in video games, I don’t mind it. I just want the game to be fun, but what I don’t want is people gaining support and attention for false claims that somehow video games are sexist towards women.