The Virtual world is an area where fantasies can come to life. At the same time, a line has been crossed when it comes to these fantasies and will be seen in the sexualization of characters in games.
It baffles you when you are playing Tomb Rider and you are not wearing the garments of an explorer. Instead, you are wearing a costume that is more to the appeal of the sexual gaze of the audience. This starts the sexualization of women and men in games. The natural design gives the falsehood of what a proper body should look like and introduces the narrative of unrealistic body types.
In one example an article speaks about “the increases self-objectification and decreases body satisfaction”. This quote demonstrated the dark side of the fantastical land of the virtual world. It shows how it is easier for people to compare themselves to the characters.
The gaming industry should not be focused on making a bust bigger or showing off muscles but more on the actual theme of the game. The false expectations are seen when games started to be popular. One woman stated that you found many people compared themselves to the characters of the games. They started to doubt whether the world around them is judging them for their body.
Gender Women and Men
With the sexualization of men, it is seen that they are not as over-sexualized as women. But men are urged to have the persona of the character from the virtual world. At the same time when it comes to women in action games the representation is more fixated on the male gaze and the sexual appeal their bodies can give them.
This was seen in girl games. Women are designed to be in total ruins and to impress a guy she must get dolled up to gain back his favor. Although, these games are marketed primarily toward women we can still see the influence of the male gaze in the female characters presented.
The opinions on this topic have highlighted the demand for change. One gamer that I met recently stated that there needs to be a diverse staff when it comes to games. Men and women are made into objects of the game and are then taken to be what the normal body figure is in the real world. Another stated that the body armor for men and women is different. Highlighting a sexualized appeal to the body rather than the game.
Meeting in the Middle
Middle Ground must be found within games. One spoke of a more mixed-gendered team so that equal representation of the body is given. Another woman suggested showing the depiction of different body types. For is that not what the Virtual world is about in games, to be equal and free? Then it should be the same for the outside.
In conclusion, the virtual world relays on a world of fantasy. Yet we still deal with the sexualization of characters that negatively impacts the way we view ourselves today. In reality of it, games should be created for the thrill. Not to appease the gazes of the sexual characters.