Sunday, July 30, 2006

Grrrl power?

I was considering submitting to a gaming site(that will go unnamed here)that was specifically aimed at the female market. It's been a bit busy in my world, so I haven't had a chance to go and actually read the content until today. After reading a bit, I realized I didn't want to submit my work to them after all. And here is why.

As much as I am concerned about women's issues in games, this tone that was present throughout most of the articles had one theme that was pounded into one's head none too subtlely-women, women, women, women, women. I know this is the mantra of the average 17 year old, and rightfully so, but since I have no immediate need to plow something with an avaliable opening, the mantra seems a bit more tired when present in writing. The thing is, games receded into the background. The issues of how men react to Lara Croft's breasts moved so far up into the foreground that her shadow effectively covered the real issues. And let's get real here girls-Lara's tits look GOOD. And there is nothing wrong with noticing, or even better, saying so.

It seems to me that regardless of what female gamers do, we have to admit to the obvious-we are playing in a male dominated culture, and it's going to stay that way. But I don't think the answer is necessarily waving the pride flag and dissing everything that men think and feel about attractive females in games, whether real or digitized. Get real, chicks. We are dealing with men, and no amount of indignation over skimpy character outfits is going to change the fact that men love seeing women looking sexy. Now, here's a eureka moment-could we possibly enjoy that we're being admired physically? Or stop pissing on men for being themselves?

For this gamer, the proof is in action-I pick up my controller and I play. This is an awesome world to be a part of. I still love it as much as I did when I was 8 years old and holding my Atari controller for the first time. It seems to me that the more I riot about the nature of women in games and how they are treated, the less attention I get to pay to the real heart of things-my passion for playing games. I don't block out the fact that there are women's issues in this culture, and I'm not suggesting any female readers do either. Just don't let it absorb so much of your attention that you lose perspective. In fact, all that time you spent bitching could have been much more effective if you just sat down with a guy and whipped his ass at Halo. Point eloquently made.

Now, if anyone wants to bitch about the male centeredness of the XBox, I'm up for that. But only if we play while we discuss.

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