Opinion by Lindsay M.
In my last entry for this month-long excursion I questioned why most women in games have the same body type time and time again. What I boiled it down to is that — at least in my mind — this is because the bulk of the women represented need physical strength as much as their male counterparts in order to battle monsters without death. But I felt that there were characters that didn’t necessarily need this physique, so I’ve decided to look further into women in video games to see if I can find anyone that breaks the mould.
Nuna, Never Alone
Let’s start with someone who does break the mould, at least a little bit: Nuna from Never Alone. Nuna is a young Iñupiaq girl from Alaska. She battles the elements as well as local animals and spirits, all while fully clothed! And I mean head-to-toe clothed, as is appropriate for the snowy North; Nuna is wearing fur-lined boots, snow pants, and a heavy parka with a fur-trimmed hood that is more up than down. Nuna needs to restore balance by finding the source of the blizzard, so her warm protective clothing is needed.
Lightning, Final Fantasy XIII
Lightning is a firecracker, and I love her. Often perceived as bitchy — a term often used to reference head-strong women but not their male counterparts — I prefer to see her as knowing what she wants and going for it. Her outfit seems reasonable enough for her quests, while giving her some style and edge. However, she is that same body type as always: slender, white, undoubtedly very pretty. This could make her seem less accessible to women who can’t look past her appearance.
Bulky armour means you can’t see her body in Metroid (who didn’t love the surprise reveal at the end of the first game?) but when it is removed in Super Smash Bros. a bikini-clad figure is revealed — SERIOUSLY?! That’s all I have to say about that.
Aveline de Grandpré, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation
A playable woman of colour — what a novel idea! Not only that, but Aveline is a downright badass. Her usual outfit allows for her to blend in without screaming “woman!” but she’s able to don other clothing as required, such as when she wears a gown to attend a governor’s ball. My favourite outfit is the third in the above image: it’s feminine thanks to the colours, not overly girly but certainly not something a man would wear. Aveline is actually a wonderful representation of a woman in a video game, not only due to being black but also because her body type and outfits match the situation instead of objectifying her.
Faith Connors, Mirror’s Edge
Faith is skinny but she has to be to be running and jumping all day long! The lovely part about Faith is that she’s not sexualized: her outfit comprises of cargo pants, a tank top, and sneakers. The coolest part? Her tattoos! Her hair is short and black, her makeup harsh, she’s another favourite when it comes to female representation in games.
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider — Original vs Reboot
Lara Croft is an anomaly in this list, as I need to consider her original design as well as that from the rebooted Tomb Raider series. Lara Croft has the typical female video game body: she is slim, fit, and white. Her original outfit was completely inappropriate for raiding any tombs, as a sleeveless crop top and teeny shorts leave an awful lot of skin exposed to booby traps. Her updated design keeps the same physical traits but covers her up a bit more. The tank top now covers her stomach and her shorts seem to be made of a tough material. She’s still a skinny white girl though… no variety here.
- Lindsay M.