Girls & Games
For the most part, my academic interests in games tend to exclude gender issues, but on a personal level – as a mom of 9 and 13 year old girls, the issue of gender and games is unavoidable. They are both very aware of the sexual connotations and gender roles written into most games. Today, my other half (gamer extraordinaire heh) brought them to EBGames for some saturday afternoon fun. Along with the obvious game choices they brought home (The Incredibles and Van Helsing) they also brought home a game called Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat. Now, I have not seen the game played yet, so I have no idea if it is good or bad, but what struck me was my girls’ reactions when they came home from the store. “Mom! We found a pirate game where the hero is a girl!” my youngest exclaimed, and “And she’s pretty covered up to!” as my oldest daughter shows me the back of the box depicting a well dressed female pirate with some modest(?) cleavage.
My girls understand the media and its use of sexuality. They have seen my EverQuest character get a breast augmentation in year three of the game’s release, and have watched countless, action packed hours of sexy heroes and villains on television, movies, video games and magazines. Although they often display an air of irrelevance to the scantily clad women, their reactions today made me realize that given the choice, they wouldnt mind seeing a little less flesh while being entertained.
To be fair, I understand that while children play video games, unless explicitly created for a 12 and under audience, most games are not geared towards children. I take the images and content with a grain of salt and a good chat with the girls, but I have to say, I was glad to see them so excited over a potentially positive game model for girls.
I’ll let you know how it pans out =)