5 Feminist Video-Game Characters Countdown: Number 2

By Ray L Martin
Editor at Large
10th August 2012, 18:43 GMT

Classic video game characters from Ninetendo

In continuation of the article countdown, we’re now onto our 2nd Feminist Video Game Character, bearing in mind:

There are very few female characters out there that are both empowered and feminist.  So I decided to do some searching in order to find a least five feminist game characters.

So, I’ve established this criteria:

  • Fights for a Noble Cause: The character would have to fight for a cause that is just and noble, which is a rather broad term and ultimately, if the character’s role is to destroy evil, then virtually every female character’s cause is noble.  But for a character’s motives to be considered feminist, certain “self-serving” interests would not apply.  This means that one who fights for money, fame or power over others could never be considered a feminist game character, as this is more in keeping with historically male philosophies.
  • Own Philosophy of Life: It is important for a woman to have her own mission and purpose in life; that men and in general patriarchy do not define these foundations for her. The same is true with a female character.  When the female lead plots her course for the game, it’s done by her will.

    The lead should have complete control over her actions and her actions should never be defined by the state, an agency or any other type of patriarchal institution.

    She should have sole discretion over her decisions as well as be able to manifest her own destiny.

  • Sexy yet Dignified: Once it is established that the lead is both fighting for a just cause and is in complete control over her decisions, the lead should appear strong and dignified; in other words, no form of sexual objectification is allowed for this character.  While this is not exactly a dominant requirement for all waves of feminists, in a video game world filled with huge breasted women with tight skirts and bikinis, it helps that a strong female lead is also the least exposed and visually exploited.

Now that we have established the criteria, the number 2 game is as follows:

Jade

Jade from Beyond Good & Evil. Photo courtesy of gamereactor.se.

Arguable the most real to life female character in video gaming, Jade debuts from Beyond Good and Evil.  Jade is also perhaps the most overtly feminist, as she works both as care taker of orphan children and as an environmental photographer, cataloging rare species for a science museum – dressed comfortably and highly intelligent. While Jade isn’t the first character to take care of orphan children or expose government corruption, one should take special note of Jade’s physical persona.

Jade. Photo courtesy of darkdiamond.net

No glitz, no glam, no assault guns, no body armour; just a hard-working young woman concerned about the well-being of the children that she cares for.  Her care for others is further demonstrated by her drive to investigate and dismantle a horrific governmental conspiracy of human trafficking.  And she is able to do this most effectively with a camera and a bow staff; no assault rifles or grenades are necessary.

Jade-vs-DomZ. Photo courtesy of the-void.co.uk

The lack of overt glamour just enhances the appeal of Jade, proving that buxom and naked isn’t necessary to keep guys interested in playing a game.

She a woman’s woman who simply wants to get the job done and she doesn’t have to exploit her body or carry big guns to do it.

Stay tuned for the TOP Feminist Video Game Character!

8 thoughts on “5 Feminist Video-Game Characters Countdown: Number 2

  1. 🙂 Hi Martin….hmmm…here’s x2 women so far saying, “Hey we’re okay with her and she is great”.
    You are 1 guy saying,”No, you’re wrong.”
    I’m saying to you don’t tell women what to think or not think based on how sexual they are.
    You are saying I am deciding that it is just guys wanting you to be like that.

    …in a way…can you see a very different Status quo being maintained here?

    🙂 I’d love to see you include Lara Croft but have a bit more open discussion about how her character divides opinions. Maybe that is also why she is such a successful character and not just the big boobies?

    Its not that simple, it takes a hell of a lot of brains to make that much money out of 1 game. Really.

    Thanks for responding. CC

  2. Hey, Cecilia Thanks for viewing my article.

    I think that Lara Croft is a great all around female character but seeing as how the original concept of Lara was changed to a more sexualized character in order to attract the male audience, I’d be hard press to believe that she’s sexual because she wants to be as oppose to the creators wanting to pander to the misogynist market. In the gaming world, the great majority of the female characters out there are very much sexualized in order to attract the male audience; I wanted to use characters that would help break that mold. Ideally, there is nothing wrong with a female character being sexy and provocative, especially if it’s her choice. However, in a male dominate video game world where the majority of female characters follow the same trend of over-sexed female characters, it looks less like female choice and more like the maintaining the status quo.

    Thanks for commenting,

    Ray

  3. Hey Mcharleenocry…thanks for your response.

    As I said, I liked Ray’s concept, I just wanted to get a word in on this notion of “Women & Sexuality”…

    It goes without saying that a strong, adventurous, empowered woman would be sexy….to both men and women! 🙂 Why avoid it?

    Honestly, its not rocket science, what I worry is as Camile Paglia and Germaine Greer put it, the modern backlash against women is in trying to convince women that being “sexy” is somehow anti-feminists..thus buying right back into the idea that “A sexually empowered woman is in fact considered Deviant compared to the usual Mother-figure roles!”

    I did have an afternoon drink with the developer of Lara Croft years ago…the conversation surrounded the issue of a Lara Croft model deciding to pose for Playboy…and the discussion was very intellectual and feminist…it takes brains to do these things in an intelligent way…Feminism isn’t about describing how your “dream girl who should be sexy but not overt blah-blah..” ….there is no such “thing” as this one thing called Feminism…there are Women, empowered women and less than confident ones….lol.

    I like that your blogs don’t presume to know but just try to put interesting topics up for discussions. Good one! 🙂 ceciliawyu.wordpress.com

  4. Hi Cecilia, that is interesting you said that, because I always “related” to Lara Croft as well. But the author, Ray L Martin is a guy – and I think that’s what clouded his judgement regarding feminist characters. Like his article “Men Know Better” – I think he wanted characters that didn’t tick a guys sexist button. I remember speaking to him, and he distinctly said to me that the reason he DIDN’T want Lara Croft is because the designers (who aren’t women) had Lara showering for the players (for no apparent reason) in the game; amongst other mildly sexual irrelevant overtones in his estimation. Lara always represented strength to me, I think that’s why the movie moguls thought she would be so marketable. Aside from my old Atari, I wasn’t interested in gaming again until I saw Lara – which must count for something but I’m not sure what (and I call myself a Philosophy Editor). I can’t wait to hear Ray’s thoughts, because I’m not that well played myself…

  5. Reblogged this on Sustain-Able 余 : Cecilia's Blog and commented:
    I like the concept of your article. But truth is Lara Croft has always been my favorite. In the postmodern feminist sense, if she decides to be sexual, between consenting adults, there is nothing wrong with that. Lets not paint a character that is uni-dimensional…as empowered women are in fact Also driven by personal motives….I don’t think it is the job of any woman to tell another what, where or how…to be their own sexually empowered person..to focus only on one aspecsts of feminity e.g. being maternal or ultruistic is to Negate all the other aspects of the full person. That is a very limited view of FEminism, indeed. .ceciliawyu.wordpress.com.

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