Sunday, July 20, 2014

Countdown to Comic-Con: 3 days to Go

or I Have a Dream (Women in Video Games and the Women of Comic-Con)

It's an important conversation: The portrayal of women in video games and the role models that are there for our daughters.

If you are really into video games then there are certain Conferences that you follow every year.

PAX: is a great conference to preview new games that are coming out on the market.

Regional Comic-Cons: Even though San Diego is the Mother Ship and THE Comic-Con that got it all started there are several CC's around the country that are really pretty exceptional.  Emerald City Comic-Con, Phoenix CC, & New York are just a few of the exceptional conferences held throughout the year in the name of Comic-Con.

E3:  The Electronic Entertainment Expo is known for making major announcements for video games that are soon to be released.  E3 is particularly interesting because not only is there the excitement of the big reveal about what is going to be the big game of the holiday season but there are also some fantastic rivalries played out by various game and console makers.

This year the Big Buzz at E3 (as far as my crew was concerned) was the announcement that there were not going to be any female playable characters in the new Assassins Creed game coming out because programming women into video games was just too challenging.  

Women in Video Games

The explanation that the game producer gave for the lack of women in this game varied slightly between "it would have been too challenging" to "there really were no female assassins in the french revolution".  My crew went wild over this announcements and most of our conversations in the first part of June were based on portrayal of women in video games and actual female heroines in history.   

This one controversy at E3 created a buzz of really interesting articles in June about Women in Video Games. A couple of female cosplayers responded to this announcement by cosplaying as Women in Video Games at a conference held shortly after E3.  READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE & see their cosply costumes. 

Women in Comic Books have gone from Betty & Veronica from the Archie Comics to highly sexualized caricatures as seen in the Violet Lantern.  Read Gender Stereotypes and Over-Sexualization of Women in Comic Books.

Women and Cosplay

There are a number of reasons why we love Cosplay. One of my favorite female superhero's growing up was of course Wonder Woman played by Linda Carter.  She had those fantastic bracelets, a rocking bod that she was fully confident with, and an invisible plane.  How could you not love that!  I do love dressing up but have not attended a conference in Cosplay. 

As far as Cosplayers go I am a big fan of Ardella (and her mother who is just as interesting but not a famous cosplayer). Here is what Ardella had to say about her boobs:




There is a good reason why we need more playable female characters in video games and more women cosplayers at conferences.

I Have a Dream

The dream is that the more representation of women in video games the more we will break down stereotypes and cliches.  The dream is to have a world where women are seen for the interesting characters that they are and not just for their boobs.

There are some interesting female characters that are being developed by companies like Rooster Teeth (see the RWBY series which is not a video game but an anime series.  Volume 2 is being released this Thursday on July 24th) with characters that not only kick ass but they are also fun to play as cosplay.

In Martin Luther King's famous I have a Dream speech given in August of 1963 he said:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
This concept is more true today than it was even back then but there is a video game twist: 

I have a dream that our daughters and sons will one day live in, and grow up in, a nation where they will not be judged by the color or shape of their skin but by the content of their character.

This is why playable women characters are so important in video games and why we need more rockin' women cosplayers.  We need to break down old perceptions that what it means to be a woman is somehow tied in to how we look as opposed to how we think and contribute to society.

(More to come on this line of thought along with some amazing research studies that have been done to back this up - but right now I have to go pack the car and do all those last minute tasks before heading out on the #SDCCroadtrip!) 

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