A lot of wise women have said a lot of wise words about what feminism is. Ani DeFranco, a pretty cool folk musician, summed it up pretty nicely: “My idea of feminism is self-determination, and it’s very open-ended: every woman has the right to become herself, and do whatever she needs to do.”
I love this quote because she’s essentially saying that being a feminist is being whoever you want to be, and absolutely owning it.
One of my favorite teachers in high school had heavily ingrained this into me, and I consider it to be one of the strongest things I have ever learned in school. You can be any kind of woman you want, as long as it’s you that wants to be that way.
You can be the type of woman that throws herself into her career, not needing a man. You can be a woman who dreams of becoming a stay-at-home mom. You can be a single girl who just loves to date around and have fun.
It really doesn’t matter how you live your life and hold your values — if you want to live your life that way, live it. No one can tell you that you’re wrong, that it can make you less of a woman or that it isn’t the way you’re supposed to do it. If you want it that way, just do it. Just like Backstreet Boys and Nike say you should.
When it comes down to it, I believe that most men can agree with this, or at least the ones I’m blessed with knowing. Most men want the women in their lives to be smart, successful, strong and independent — or whatever the heck she wants to be.
For some reason though, a lot of our mainstream media is still a little behind with feminism, not seeing women in the light they should. We have horrible portrayals of women that we see every day in everything we watch and view. We rarely see normal women. Instead there’s busty sidekicks, ditzy best friends or sad single women.
If you’ve been sticking around with me this past semester, you know video games fall into the same trap. Even though around half of gamers are women, games are still extremely male-dominated in their creation and in the characters portrayed. It’s the men that get to do all the gratifying things, and women are just there for them to push around.
This is really sad, considering how many kids now grow up playing video games. I never had a console when I was younger, but now it’s rare to find a family without one. Kids play with their friends and on their own. They play online with people all throughout the world and learn a lot about how to interact with other people their age.
While it might be easier for adults to ignore these images, it becomes ingrained into the kids playing them. They think it’s a normal view to have, because they see it displayed so often in the games they play.
All this being said, we need to make more of an effort to change the side of women we show. I’ve said it time and time again — women are so much more than the way games show them. Sure, there are a few standouts, but those are few and far between.
None of this matters if we can’t change it. While we can’t change what the game designers do, we can change our perspective. Pay attention to what you’re hearing, watching and playing. You can keep on doing the things you love, be realize what it all is saying. Avoid making these things come into your real life.
Keep on gaming, but focus on all the good things it will offer to you, not the overused and incorrect stereotypes.
Sophie Kruse is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University and a columnist for The Post. What games do you play? Email Sophie at email@example.com.