Friday, November 18, 2016

WLW Ask: Where Are Queer Butch Women In Video Games?

In the media landscape of video games, there has been a noticeable rise in the amount of visible queer characters in everything from indie games to AAA big-budget titles. Queer men have a number of different types and portrayals, from Grand Theft Auto's Gay Tony and Dragon Age's Iron Bull, to Mortal Kombat's Kung Jin and Dremfall Chapter's Kian Alvane.

But when it comes to queer women, Femme Hype's Aria argues that there is much less diversity of representation, and that that women who love women are the poorer for it. As Aria explains:

As much as gamers should applaud the industry as a whole making those steady strides to create women who are not sexualized for men, one of the hard points of women that have yet to be presented in games at all is ardent female masculinity, especially within the context of butchness as a trait in women... we have very few characters in the gaming industry who would fit a description of “butch.”  
Though their butch-ish coding may be recognizable to many players, these women are not in games that explore their characters’ stories or personalities, much less their sexualities, leaving any possible hope of butchness up to speculation and easily written off due to their environments and not their specific expression of their sexuality. Indeed, in may of the games in the FPS genre where some of these more “masculine” women exist, players can only speculate about the romantic and sexual modalities of these women—if their lives are explored at all—as the main men usually have their romantic lives explored.
Some would argue (though it's an argument I've only seen put forward by men-- well-meaning or otherwise-- that explicitly coding a woman character as butch could be reinforcing stereotypes. As Aria points out, however, this argument is rather lacking:

The absence of these types of women is not a testament to the gaming industry being uncharacteristically sensitive to queer stereotypes, it’s a testament to how female masculinity is rarely presented at all—and that, in fact, it must be overcompensated through clear heterosexuality. Not only does this prevent diverse representations of women, it upholds standards of women made for consumption by men. Having more butch bisexual or lesbian characters would subvert those standards and create a wider landscape of women for everyone to enjoy and admire.

SO I turn this over to you, dear readers. DO you have any game recommendations, indie, AAA or in-between, that feature butch heroes?

No comments:

Share This Post