BCM215 Digital Artefact Pitch – The Evolution of Gender Representation in Games

Society is constantly evolving. An evolution of values, ideas and beliefs that is clearly reflected in the media we consume. The gaming communities and industries are no exception, and in regards to gender representation have made some of the most bold mistakes and corrections seen in media.

An article titled A Brief History of Female Representation in Video Games, discusses the over sexualisation of women in video games, and why it was so accepted by the audience, a predominantly male one at that.

Recently and on the other end of the spectrum, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, plays an important role in communicating the gender equality of this generation. Blinkhorn writes, “Animal Crossing was designed to let players express themselves”, and this has been emphasised with their gender neutral experience in game.


Harveston, K 2017, “A Brief History of Female Representation in Video Gameshttps://www.headstuff.org/topical/female-representation-in-video-games-history/

Blinkhorn, A 2020 “Gender Not Found in Animal Crossing: New Horizons“, https://www.popmatters.com/animal-crossing-new-horizons-2645979937.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

Garcia, A 2017 “Privilege, Power and Dungeons and Dragons“, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10749039.2017.1293691

Flores, N 2017 “Is That Comfy? A Critique on Female Fighting Characters’ Clothes“, https://naomiflores.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/is-that-comfy-a-critique-on-female-fighting-characters-clothes/

Noony, L 2013 “A Pedestal, A Table, A Love Letter: Archaeologies of Gender in Videogame History“, http://gamestudies.org/1302/articles/nooney

8 thoughts on “BCM215 Digital Artefact Pitch – The Evolution of Gender Representation in Games

  1. jonolow

    Hi Lorena, gender portrayal is such an important subject that needs higher recognition particularly in the gaming community. When we think of gamers we frequently associate it with the male demographic when in truth gaming shouldn’t be entitled to a particular gender but should be free for everybody to play freely. Polygon is an incredible YouTube channel, I have watched a few of their videos and found a lot of their information will be very relevant to the topic you are diving into! Reddit is a great media platform to investigate, I highly recommend looking at r/truegaming as its a subreddit devoted to meaningful, insightful and a great conversation for all subjects on gaming and even non-gamers (you might find some more relevant information here 🙂 Animal Crossing is a great reference you have included as the free customisation and fashioner design tools allows players to be expressive whether that’s through gender or physical appearance! A great video pitch, I am looking forward to working with you this semester!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jackywu53

    Hey Lorena, I found this pitch extremely interesting as I never really considered the gender inequality amongst the characters in games. As a social gamer I’ve I can understand how this may have a negative portrayal towards the gaming community and thought the perception in the character roleplay. I would recommend using discord as a media format to connect with active players to collect information on the community, as initially primarily use for gaming this network can allow you to connect to many active gamers that will be more then happy to share their options for your research. I found some discord servers for you below:
    I like how you have discover so many resource already, thought the articles and polygon. However, I feel you could refer to the Mario franchise as iconic reference as it popularity is a prime example as Princess Peach has been depicted as a helpless damsel in destress. Overall, I hope my comment was helpful and all goes well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Lorena!
    This is such a fantastic idea which I can see you’ve already put so much thought and effort into. The format you’re choosing is brilliant; those Polygon videos are some of the best video game discussions out there.
    Have you seen the YouTube channel Feminist Frequency? They have a series called Damsel in Distress which talks about the video game tropes relating to women which I think may be helpful to you. Additionally, definitely check out the reading Chris attached in week four for week six, it has a lot of ideas about gender and video games which will absolutely be of benefit!
    One thing I’d recommend for your DA is creating a blog post accompanying your final YouTube video with the script (or closed captions) from the video. I feel that this would make your DA more accessible to viewers.
    Great work, Lorena. Can’t wait to see the final product!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your Digital Artefact is an interesting one to me, as I agree with how women are portrayed in video games like Tomb Raider. Not to mention how many ‘white protagonists with stubble’ there are!
    Your video format is a good idea as it allows you to show the audience what is bad about the person in question while talking about it.
    I would like to know why you are focusing on Animal Crossing since it is a very cartoonish style to be focusing on and have arguably have no distinctive ‘features’ of a woman or man. I am aware that you can change your ‘gender’ in Animal Crossing, but that amounts to little, since the things you can only change are hairstyles and clothing. For being a round head and a cylinder, they don’t give me any gender cues.
    What I would suggest is to look at older video games such as Mario. To simplify their 64-bit style, they had to make the princesses (Peach and Daisy) with exaggerated features to be identifiable. It would be awesome to see a comparison of what aspects they used to identify genders back then, compared to now.
    An article I would recommend is this one on masculinity in video games. It talks about how video games could reinforce toxic male beliefs of violence and discourage empathy.

    I enjoyed your pitch and I’m looking forward to see where you go with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Pitch Comments and Reflection – The Jono Journal

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