There is a certain game coming for a certain handheld system that has caused quite a lot of outrage with both fans and critics alike. I understand where the outrage comes from, but while everyone was having more knee jerk reactions than a person afflicted with an epileptic seizure, I remained bizarrely calm. I was forced to ask myself why this did not bother me, because it has bothered me in the past. The answer I eventually came to was that it did bother me, but not for the same reason as most people.
When I heard about the outrage over a certain character in Dragon's Crown I though that every side was going about the debate the wrong way. The author of the original piece, the artist for the game, and in no small amount, the internet in general. What I find the worst about this is that the issue of sexism, and more specifically I refer to the objectification of women in video games, has become a norm, and we are just now jumping on some kind of altruistic bandwagon to retroactively prove that we are not sexist. The problem is, that is not how this works. As a community we cannot go back and suddenly have Cammy from Street Fighter not fight in a high-rise leotard, we cannot take away the Zero Suit from Samus, or restore normal proportions to Bayonetta, and we cannot edit the sprite pallet so Mai Shiranui from King of Fighters (Art of Fighting for those that are really old school) does not almost but not quite flash her breasts with every movement. Compared to some of these female characters the Sorceress is practically dressed as a nun. That's hyperbole, for those that believe me to be serious. To act outraged about it now is putting the cart before the horse, the games are out there, and at this point we can do little to stop it. This brings me to the other problem.
As a community we have to actually want to stop this sexism that has entered our world, and it seems the amount of people that actually wish to stop sexism make that difficult. I am on the side of the fence that generally feels pretty ridiculous when a game forces me to play as an overly stereotyped male OR female. I have played enough white thirty-something-males with stubble to last three lifetimes. All males seem to have chiseled features like a quarter-back for a NFL team. Almost all of the males today would sooner shoot a person in the face than actually sit down and sling witty banter at oneanother. A good portion of the "wit", and you can make those quotations as heavy as you want, happens after the enemy is dead or dying. Most of the females in games I have played are also white, but they do vary more than males most of the time. They at least have different color hair. Also, their chests tend to range somewhere between normal and physically/anatomically impossible.
Males and females in video games are both sexualized in different ways, but females do tend to take the brunt of it. The problem is, journalists in general have seen this as the new bandwagon to jump on, so when someone speaks out about the sexualization of women in video games it starts to not just sound repetitive but downright cheap. Nobody is saying anything new, everyone is just telling gamers what they have known for years already. Women get very little respect in video games. Very little could also be none at all. What I want to say is that this needs to change, and we are the ones that can make it change, but only through the sheer refusal to accept the norm that has been forced on us by creators. If a person really feels strongly that a character in a game is demeaning we have the option to not buy the game, it is a simple go to answer that many people will object to, and for good reason. I would feel pretty pissed myself if a game was good but a single character kept me from playing it. The thing is, this is the strongest option one has. If one buys a game with multiple characters, they do have the option to not play as the character that has been sexualized, though this would be very difficult as is indicated by my above paragraph about both genders being sexualized. The problem with this option is that this says nothing to the creators of the game. They made their money.
This is what actually made me so outraged, it was the fact that there was so much outrage in general about something that has existed since video games were able to render sprites to actually look vaguely humanoid. If you do not believe me, go and look up an old game called Custer's Revenge. All I am really saying is that we need to actually do something if we are going to act this outraged over some fictional woman showing skin, but I fear, and it would make me happy for people to prove me wrong, that this is not going to happen.
Edit: Thanks to LamPham for the correction to the name of the game in the last paragraph.