Over on the The Escapist, there’s an article by game journalist Michael Thomsen called “Vaginophobia,” which tackles the oft-commented portrayal of women (and more importantly femininity) in video games. This topic lies close to my heart because I wrote an undergraduate thesis of the portrayal of women in science fiction movies from the perspective of gender. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to write about this.
Thomsen starts off with a story from his childhood about his male bluster to his friends and how it actually was his desperate attempt to hide the fear of rejection. Then he goes into the tried-and-true observation that games tend to be marketed towards males, specially teenage males. But he takes it a step further too, and extends the critique beyond that typical demographic, arguing that games reinforce the male hegemony of strength, independence, and general bluster and alleged bad-assery.
His basic argument is that the portrayal of women in gaming is less about minimizing or marginalizing women as a whole and more about reinforcing the male anxiety about the emasculating presence of women, and the iron-bound boundaries we put between the genders.
Again, as per my custom, I won’t repeat verbatim what you can read via a click. It’s a great article, my only qualm is, as with most blog articles I’ve been finding, the arguments are somewhat undeveloped and the piece ends a bit abruptly. Thomsen make’s some great points and gives a slightly different perspective on what’s becoming a common critique of video games and women.