Video Game Sexism

I have to admit…I profile when I assign abilities to my video game characters.
Now, long gone are the days when it’s socially acceptable to write a video game with a character like Leena from Chrono Cross who fights with a frying pan, or Marge Simpson from the Simpsons Arcade game who fights with a vacuum cleaner.
But honestly, who actually CHOSE Marge or Lisa when they played that game? Statistically speaking, a jump rope or a vacuum cleaner is probably more likely to do more damage than a bowling ball that never left your hand. Also it shouldn’t really matter anyway because none of the characters in that game were actually different from one another.
One could argue, I guess, that people just played to be their favorite character, which makes sense, because I remember playing Ninja Turtles as Raphael whose weapons used while battling the wily Foot Clan were about as effective as using a fork.
But we have been taught to profile from the wee early years of Final Fantasy. Profiling wasn’t all bad. I never got to finish FF3, but I really liked the premise of some weird green-haired chick who was the only one in the empire who could do magic. Of course, that just meant — HEALER! And so has it for games to come.
Every so often, someone throws in a wild card like Tifa or Lara Croft to let nerds know that girls can still kick your ass while having anatomically impossible breasts. Or perhaps with her anatomically impossible breasts. But underneath so many of the games, it was understood that boys fight, girls heal.
Yeah, sure, I play a female hunter in World of Warcraft, but it’s only because I get to have a cute panther friend I named Chairman Meow. I also made a priest, mainly so more people would be my friend, and I’m actually wearing really low-level robes…because they’re prettier than my stronger ones. Don’t tell anyone in my guild, though. I’ll lose all my street cred.
I say that to say that I buy into this profiling. Final Fantasy X was the epitome of easy character building, because everyone fit neatly into their peg. Boys fight. Wussy legacy of the future girl – HEALER. Weirdo goth — BLACK MAGIC. Spunky robot-loving chick — uh…Steal? And like…backup healer. Or something.
But I’m having a lot of trouble with Final Fantasy XII. I don’t know who I want my main healer to be. I guess it could be the weird bunny girl with the accent I hate, but she’s kind of scary looking. Like she could put your eye out with her stilettos. So maybe she’s black magic. Then we’ve got a warrior looking girl, so she can’t be a healer, because I have to beef up her armor and sword stats. Then there’s Penelo, (who I cannot stop pronouncing “Peen-olo” in my head) who doesn’t really seem to want to be good at anything.
I’m just upset that it’s not more clear. I play video games to relax, not to dole out abilities with regard to political correctness and social impact.
Maybe I should make Vaan and Basch the healers and throw a wrench in the system. I won’t actually be able to win the battles, but I can make them last for hours! Or maybe I should kill off all the characters except Balthier because I have an unhealthy crush on him. Ooh, I always like the bad boys.
Well, I’m off to search the internet to look for Balthier/Spike from Buffy yaoi fan-fictions. Because you just KNOW some exist.

Comments are closed.