Video Game Character Sex Change?

This does not necessarily pertain to the division of labor we are currently speaking about, but I thought this article was extremely relevant to our class. It describes how Hoye, the father of a three-year-old daughter, hacked a Legend of Zelda video game so that it described the male protagonist as a female instead. Hoye ultimately wanted to demonstrate to his daughter that women could also be heroes. His actions reveal something inherently wrong with the gaming community: the treatment of women. Hoye believes women “get treated terribly by every part of the gaming industry—as protagonists, in games’ storylines, in gamer culture in general.” The fact that Hoye gave the main character a sex change not only exposes the truth about the industry, but also highlights how children, especially girls, can be negatively impacted by the lack of positive female character portrayals. The historical view of only males as the heroes is obviously still a deeply rooted issue. Lorber’s viewpoints of gender being socially constructed and opportunity-limiting are illustrated extensively here. Instead of “choosing people for the different tasks of society…on the basis of their talents, motivations, and competence,” gender, race, and ethnicity are utilized (Lorber 115). In these video games, gender stereotypes evidently contribute to women being misrepresented. However, I am not sure Hoye’s actions are all that positive. If his daughter started to identify with the male protagonist hero, I do not see a problem with that. Though there obviously needs to be a change in the representation of females in video games, I do not feel as though his daughter’s identification with a male character calls for changing that character into a girl. It just seems to reinforce the very system that Hoye is trying to overcome.

Lorber, Judith. “The Social Construction of Gender.”

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