Now that we’ve seen all of the research and all of the statistics involving the different aspect of women and gaming, we know that the demographic is definitely growing. What we should also realize is that there are still a good number of deterrents that are keeping even more women from picking up controllers or mice. Anybody who has been involved in the video game community for a couple of years will tell that it is one industry that is catered almost exclusively to males.
Of course, catering to men makes sense from a business perspective, or at least it used to. But statistics indicate that’s no longer the case. And for some reason, many video game companies are just not willing to change to accommodate that shift. Maybe it’s part of the whole industry, so deep-seeded, that executives and producers can’t think outside of the box (geeksaresexy).
I have read that a lot of women like video games the way they currently are because they like to think of themselves as “entering a man’s domain” or something to that extent. While this sounds like a cool thing, it should be noted that the number of women who feel this way about video games should only really be considered a small niche. Given that so many women are now playing games and even considered “the average gamer”, you would think that more and more gaming developers would take this into consideration when they go to create games and characters to include in these games.
Aleah Tierney, in an article on pbs.org, refers to what she calls “The Lara Croft Syndrome”. Lara Croft is one of the most beloved and memorable characters in video game history. “The Lara Croft Syndrome” refers to the fact that game developers who created the game “Tomb Raider” in which Lara Croft appears, actually took the time out to make the main character of their video game a woman, however they decided to give this woman huge D cup breasts and put her in a white t-shirt and short shorts. This made women cheer that they finally got a woman main character to play as in a major video game, but at the same time they made her so sexualized that it was hard to even take her seriously. As Tierney said “I couldn’t wait to load and play Tomb Raider when it first came out, but when I saw Lara, I just couldn’t take the game seriously. The giant twin pyramids mounted onto her chest look like something she could use to impale her enemies. In many ways her kick-butt presence is a triumph, but the designers’ decision to sexualize her to the point of deformity angered me. I couldn’t get past her proportions, so I put the game away. I’m waiting to see if Lara (or her designers) will evolve in future versions of the game” (Tierney).
Tierney, Aleah. “What Women Want” http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/women.html