I tried to verbalize this in my feelings on this topic on twitch. I did poorly so I’m going to say it again in text! Everyone likes reading more than listening! Here is a play by play of my first and likely only experience where I sort of understood where women are coming from with the complaint about male protagonists being all over the goddamn place. Note: I respect women and do feel they should be able to be themselves in games. I just always thought about the issue like “who cares what gender a character is”. The following events helped me quantify the problem better.
Alright! I got this game called Defender’s Quest! So far so good! It has a Start button and a Quit button! What’s that? Bonus Goodies? Nah bro…nah. Real men don’t click anything but Start!
Import? Whatever I don’t click no French button! Hell no buddy! I click New Game! Because I am new and this is a game and everything is aligning just as it always does. We are about to go balls to the walls and defend the heck out of some quests.
Oh cool! It has a female character by default! That’s cute I guess I’ll switch it to male because I have man parts and that’s just more comfortable for me. I’ll just…
Wait a minute…
Wait a gosh darn…
There is no button to change gender! I looked! I have proof. Here are all the places I checked.
My brain was lost and deeply confused. I sat there for a moment stunned by the lack of options to represent myself in the game. I smiled because for a second I kind of got it. I understood why girls get upset when they have nobody to look up to in games and media. That feeling of dissonance and unease that had just hit me like a freight train was a woman’s entire experience with the media. Naturally I did what any person would do.
I sat down and I thought hard.
If I’ve got to be a woman in this game I’m going to need the perfect name.
A name that will show everyone I am a man who is creative and can think not only outside the box but outside of my own gender!
I scavenged every corner of my mind.
Every edge of my psyche.
Every ounce of my essence.
And I came up with the perfect name to set out on my journey with lady bits!
(but seriously we should really diversify our protagonists and antagonists.)