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From Princess Peach to Lara Croft: the Spectrum of Femininity in Video Games

Analyze the diverse spectrum of female characters in video games. First, how exactly do we define femininity? What makes these female characters and their femininity unique? How is their femininity addressed or portrayed? How has femininity in video games evolved over time? Can certain characters fall into more than one "type" of femininity (for example, Lara Croft, who has been both sexualized and emasculated on different occasions and through different games in the series)? It might be helpful for the writer to condense his/her list into a "top five" of female characters that best represent this varying spectrum of femininity in gaming.

  • It would also be a good idea to touch on the BioWare games (Mass Effect and Dragon Age) to show how the female NPCs are treated, and talk about the fact that the protagonist can be either male or female, and how that affects each story. – Tarben 8 years ago
  • A very big problem with a lot of older/classic games is the treatment of female characters in them. More often than not you'll find a character like Princess Peach, whose only defining characteristic is that she is female. I've always found it particularly interesting that Zelda plays a minor role in the Legend of Zelda games despite the entire franchise being named after her -- especially when you consider that one of the key times that she gets to play a major role, she is disguised as a man (Sheik). – tbarker 8 years ago