The Missing Gender

ImageIn the paper by S. Craig Watkins he talks about the way in which video games educate the kids that play them about race and race culture in the society. He argues that video games can be an effective tool for learning but that they expose the users to “popular view of urban culture” along with race and thus create a truth or knowledge for the kids leading them to believe that is the way urban culture actually is.

However I want to talk about something else that he mentions that i find quite interesting is that in most video games the main character/s is a male. He mentions that, “of the 1,716 characters identified in the study, 64 percent were male, 19 percent nonhuman, and 17 percent female,” (pg 148). It’s interesting that the video game designers choose, in almost every game, to have the characters be males. I don’t know if this is subconscious decision or intentional, but it suggests to the kids that men have a dominant role in culture and society.

I have to admit before reading his paper I never gave it any thought I just took it as granted that it would be a male character. I actually don’t know of a game from EA Sports that has one designed where it is a women league. It just moves the removes the awareness of female athletes in the real world or rather as missing from culture. With the increase of better or enhanced graphic capabilities the games are replicating more and more reality. On the flip side the more the games replicate reality the more the kids playing them to that to be the truth.

There are games that include female characters or have them exist as the lead character like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider or a Female player in NHL 2012, however since the majority of kids that play video games are boys they don’t play as the female character. Video games as a new media are a good tool for a powerful learning environment, but is the messages that are being sent to the users that are creating a false or unrealistic knowledge.

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