Today, Jezebel posted something about video games and gender stereotypes. I found it interesting and it got me thinking about what I like/don't like about video games (as I do play quite a bit on my Nintendo DS). I've played various games, including: Sims, Final Fantasy, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Animal Crossing, etc, etc. I enjoy games with concrete story lines and strong characters. The most recent game I've played is Chrono Trigger (similar to Final Fantasy). I like it a lot, but it irritates me that games like this often place male characters as the "lead." Sure, there are females in the game, but mostly as secondary characters. Also, these female characters are usually big-breasted, curvy, and there to fulfil the heterosexual male gamer's fantasy. I know Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger both do this. And how can we forget Tomb Raider's busty, scantily-clad protagonist, Lara Croft? I sincerely doubt that, as an archeologist, Ms. Croft would be wearing those booty shorts and that tight tank-top.
Another way female characters are incorporated is by being "saved." For example, in most of the Zelda games, Link must "rescue" or "save" Princess Zelda. As per usual, the female is "helpless" while the male is "heroic." What do you think this kind of rationale says to young women and men? It perpetuates the societal stereotype/dichotomy of men versus women and heroes versus victims; and men are *always* heroes.
For so long, the gaming world was male-dominated, but that's changed to some extent. More women are playing video games these days, so let's start making some games with kick-ass female leads, damnit! It's not like there isn't an audience for it.