Video Games

Ms. Male Character – Tropes vs. Women – Reaction

Anita Sarkeesian has released another video in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series, Ms. Male Character, and I take back every horrible thing I’ve ever said about her. Well, almost everything.

The video focused on a specific character design that game developers use to portray femininity to the player. Unlike her last videos, she touched upon games from the 80s and up through modern times, such as Disney’s “Where’s my Water?” and  Rovio’s “Angry Birds” giving this presentation a more relevant message, since this trope is still widely used in gaming today. The most obvious and main example would be Ms. Pac-Man who’s sole existence is a female counterpart to PacMan.

How do know she’s female? “Put a bow on it!”

While the actual character of Ms. Pac-man is somewhat outdated, all the points made in this video can be summarized using this one example. Ms. Pac-Man was created as a sequel of sorts to the original Pac-Man arcade game. *Interesting note: Pac-man was created to appeal to the female gamer, watch the video and find out why* To distinguish her as “female” (because clearly calling her Ms. Pac-Man is not enough) she was designed with stereotypical feminine features, pink bow, long eyelashes, and a mole. This also brings up the point, which Anita executed very well, that the creation of a “female” Pac-Man automatically defaults Pac-Man as male.

These are excellent points that still continue in gaming today. Anita touches upon how “Angry Birds” was, for the most part, genderless, until introducing female versions of characters in their Valentines episodes in “Angry Birds Seasons.” Sporting the pink bow, longer eyelashes, and makeup, these female counterparts are distinctly different, the audience defaults the original characters into the “male” category. It’s not enough to present them with female names, or voices.

 Is the answer to create female characters that look like their male equivalents, or not introduce them at all?

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