#Gamergate: A Feminist Content Analysis on the Depiction of Women in Video Games Part 4

By Russell Barnes

The following article is part of a multi-part series of excerpts from the author’s senior thesis. Start at the beginning here.

Discussion and Conclusion: The Ideal Female Video Game Character

We all have ideal definitions of various phenomena that we encounter. In video games, there is an ideal character model that developers heavily base their characters on for success. It’s not just the physical characteristics of the ideal that are emulated in the final product, but also the personality and social traits. Most video game characters are presumably developed with hopes of creating a product that generates a profit. Many female video game characters whose depictions come under critical scrutiny, such as Lara Croft, lead their franchises to commercial success. Critical success could be analyzed as well, yet it is not always reflected in financial gain, which helps further finance the development of future video games for the company.

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#Gamergate: A Feminist Content Analysis on the Depiction of Women in Video Games Part 3

By Russell Barnes

The following article is part of a multi-part series of excerpts from the author’s senior thesis. Start at the beginning here.

Damsel in Distress

#Gamergate’s concerns involve the concept of hegemonic masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity promotes the dominant position of men in society. This is linked to the patriarchal societal structure of many Western societies, where men occupy a majority of leadership roles. With the high occupancy of men in leadership positions, this leads to the socialization of genders and the further implantation of the gender binary. As this step occurs, masculine-associated traits, such as physical strength, financial wellness and bravery, are rewarded with higher social standing, while female-associated traits, such as kindness and beauty, are associated with weakness and social inferiority to their male counterparts. This social and power inequality affects the dynamic of gendered relationships, often resulting in stereotypes being perpetuated through various social mediums.  This cycle eventually repeats itself, and video games are guilty of perpetuating hegemonic masculinity, especially when it comes to reinforcing that women are damsels in distress.

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#Gamergate: A Feminist Content Analysis on the Depiction of Women in Video Games Part 2

By Russell Barnes

The following article is part of a multi-part series of excerpts from the author’s senior thesis. Start at the beginning here.

Analysis of Tropes – Hegemonic Masculinity in Video Games

The thesis takes a look at three popular tropes that female video game characters are often subject to in the medium: the male gaze, the damsel in distress and the female “clone.” The male gaze is often depicted as a “perception” that things are created for the man. The damsel in distress trope often involves the depiction of a character, usually a female, being rescued by a male in the matter of competition or bribery, while potentially serving as the rescuer’s love interest. The female “clone” trope involves a female character being created from a male template, and/or borrowing traits from a pre-existing male character. A major component to how these tropes work, as well as hegemonic masculinity, is character interaction – particularly with male and female characters.

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