According to the ESA’s (Entertainment Software Association) 2013 sales, demographic and usage data survey, 45% of people who play video games are women and girls and 46% of all video game purchases are made by women . But while women make up about nearly of all game players and consumers, only 4-5% of video game protagonists are actually women . But that doesn’t mean there are actually less female characters in games, there are plenty, it’s just that very few of them are given the lead role, as characters with depth and agency and purpose of their own . Like most other western visual media, women in video games are often still represented in limited, narrow ways that perpetuate patriarchal culture’s standards of femininity .
For my final project this semester, I want to create a blog (The Aerith Effect) and a short companion video exploring these representations in a way that decontextualizes the images from the games they come from- because regardless of the intentions of the game developers behind these depictions, these images exist in a culture where the representations of women as damsels, victims or sexual objects are all too commonplace and their affect on gamers, both men and women can be harmful . The blog will be used to collect, expose and critique the various images of women in video games, focusing three main tropes: female characters as sex objects, as damsels and as victims of violence. While these themes may feel broad or overreaching, they are all so ubiquitous throughout video game history that it is important to bring attention them in this way. The medium of the tumblr blog allows for a high level of image-sharing and spreading, so that I am hoping with these images tied to the search tags reflecting those three main tropes will create discussion about how it is that women have been, and continue to be represented in video games.
The Aerith Effect will be updated regularly, and its companion video will be posted onto this blog as the final half of the project.
And many video games. The name of the game images come from will be tagged/sourced on each blog post.