Saturday, 30 January 2016

Women in Modern Media (Books, TV, Games)

In modern media, women have beome something of a debate. To sexualise or not to sexualise? Sex sells, according to directors, producers and almost everyone working in the media industry, and this is a problem that has been an issue in books, television, and video games.
This is a book blog, though I feel it is important to address this issue across all media platforms: books inspire other media, and other media inspires books. Do you think this is an issue? I'm going to be debating this especially with regards to video games, that I have grown up with.

In almost all forms of media, it has become almost essential to over-sexualise. In games such as Gears of War, and television shows such as SCREAM, even the most innocent of characters can be somewhat seen as sexual objects -- this highlights a need in society for more equality between the sexes.
Whilst it might not be important to some people, thinking of females as humans rather than objects is something that is the pinnacle of feminism. I, personally, do not brand myself a feminist. Feminism is no longer as needed as it was during the initial feminism movements; even though there is not true equality in the world, yet, I still believe that there is hope.
The world is growing and as authors, game devlopers, actors and writers, it is important for us to realise that women shouldn't be presented as objects... but the same goes for men, too.

If, in fact, sex sells, why do men get the easy end of the deal? Not all men, of course. In fact, men are very much under the same amounts of pressure as women: it would be wrong of me to say all men are the same. It's simply not true. So, where's the evidence?

Well, pick up a book, and you'll see that a lot of female characters (and male characters) are perfect. The epitome of beauty. Even though Mary Sues are shunned by the writing community, they still seep into our writing and I am no excpetion: the character of Vicky in Crows Among Doves is a perfect, slim, beautiful women with a great personality and a bad ass attitude. However, what's the best example I can think of? Bella Swan from Twilight is my best example. She's widely heard of and commonly critiqued for her lack of emotion in the films. But have you read the books? She's perfect in a lot of ways -- I can't think of a single flaw in her being, her personality, her looks... the list goes on. Is she sexualised? No. So, what's the issue?
Well, the issue here is that she's perfect -- sexualisation is one aspect of the perfection which can cause issues. Sexy women are perfect. So, let's look at Sookie Stackhouse from The Sookie Stackhouse Novels. Charlaine Harris has wrote such a great series of books which has also become a great television series with the beautiful Anna Paquin playing the role of Sookie: a mystical woman with a rare talent. She's beautiful: blonde haired, blue eyed, petite... and she's the sexual desire of almost everyone in the series. This book series is aimed at older women, and I'd misre a guess at older women around 30-40, as Harris herself is a little older. And as older women, we'd like to think we're not overly impressionable... but that's just not true! There is a big problem with these beautiful women being made the sexual desires... whilst I appreciate thinking a lot of people lust after me (judging from the Facebook messages I get), it gets a little creepy when you throw in some of the issues thrown at Sookie, and a lot of other female characters.

Video games has been a very prominent issue for feminists. Games like GTA V have been so controversial, that people have tried to have them banned! But do you know what I think about this? Men are treated just as poorly in the game, and I can't think of any part of GTA V where you have to go and torture a woman because she's a woman. That's not sexism, whatsoever. In fact, I can recall one controversial torture scene (you torture a male), but I can't think of any mission where you need to torture a woman. What do you think? Sexism? I don't think so.
But what of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? I love this game with all my heart. It's such a wonderful game, and the studio behind it have done a brilliant job. Can I name you any characters that are sexualised? Yes! Astrid is a murderer - she's beautiful, she's sexy, and she speaks in raspy tones that echo what real world women have been told for years: control your voice, nothing beautiful speaks quickly and with haste. But, Skyrim  is a game which gives you control of the game, and you can play as a powerful woman if you so wish! The same goes for Dragon Age, Fable, GTA V...
What about games that don't let you play as a woman? Sexist? Not really. Games like Bioshock simply have no room for a female protagonist. The games are built a specific way... and they're made for a specific audience. Lately, the uproar with Assassin's Creed not featuring a female assassin has become a talking point. But, is it really so bad?

I'd love to hear your opinions on the issue. Many people claim that these things are negative, and of course, there are times when this overt sexualistion hurts society as a whole... but I don't agree with all accusations.

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