God, Women, and Video Games

There has been a recent surge in discussions about women in video games or the lack thereof. I have read articles about #gamergate, and have watched Feminist Frequency, and enjoyed Anita Sarkeesian’s videos as well (Caution: some videos are very graphic!). Check out the links to get some background information about what I’m going to speak about below.

Mirrors-edge-faith-profile-ponder

Faith from Mirror’s Edge

Mistreated Women in Video Games

After reading a post from Mel over at God and Gaming (which is funny, because she has the opposite domain name as mine) she mentioned various games (She did her homework!) that don’t show women in a positive light, but as the typical half-naked or overly sexual female. It’s nothing new, because we have seen women portrayed negatively in every form of media from books, movies, music, or the internet.

It shouldn’t be surprising that it happens in video games, right? Well, that depends. Unlike most forms of media where we just watch or listen, video games are played thus giving the user an experience into the world of the developer. You are taken into the world they created and can respond to them by either supporting the game financially or not. When you play their game, you are also being exposed to their beliefs. When something is created, a person’s beliefs and faith will be poured into it, even indiscreetly.

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Most games are made by men, and whether you like it or not, lust (in men especially) sells. If you enjoy music, you would know that nowadays the videos with the most hits on YouTube are usually not safe to watch for minors. They are full of women shaking their stuff, almost naked and rubbing up against someone while many watch and say how “disgusted” they are, yet the video will have 50 million plus views. People want their lust to be satisfied, and that temptation leads to sin and sin leads us to death:

James 1:13-15
13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, β€œGod is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

No matter how many people stand up against the way women are portrayed in gaming, it’s going to happen because of the sinful nature in all man (men and women). Look at the Middle East, where women are treated horribly, beaten to submission, not allowed to dress the way they want, poorly educated if at all, and have no voice in society. Their impact is reduced to nothing because of their gender. This is not the verdict for every single person in the Middle East, but it is culturally accepted and allowed by their governments.

When an idea is thought to be OKAY by a culture or race, the only way to eliminate it is to present another idea that will convince the majority of the population. For now, the idea is that women can be shown however developers desire in games, but the rise of talking about the “elephant in the room” has had people really thinking. Has it been obvious this whole time? Yes. The problem was nobody made a platform large enough to talk about it, until recently (see above links).

jesus-christ-and-the-woman-at-the-wellGod and Women

The core of the problem isn’t video games, but man (humanity). No matter what we do, our sinful nature will always exist until we get to Heaven. Every culture degrades women. Men take advantage of the female nature or women will use their body to manipulate or attract attention. There will always be another group of people that will try to abuse women in some form or another.

If you’re a man reading this, then man up! We need to look at women as they are, God’s creation and made in His image. Man (male and female) were both created by God, not just the male (Adam). Women (Eve) share God’s image and likeness. Just because some parts are different, males and females make up humanity together. Honoring, respecting them, and yes, even protecting them should be common for men, but unfortunately it’s not.

Genesis 1:27
27 So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

What’s the solution? God is the only solution. Receiving forgiveness from Jesus Christ is the way to change people’s ways of thinking. Men and women both need to repent of their sins, and men need to ask God to renew their minds of how they see women. Lust and sin is at the root of this whole discussion being brought up by these feminist who are angry at game developers and players.

Women are amazing, talented, leaders, entrepreneurs, and are able to do anything a man can do. They might not be as physically strong in most cases, but muscles aren’t needed to change the world or impact someone’s life. I am blessed and proud to be married to a woman, and do pray that the gaming industry will continue to change its way of reflecting women in their products.

How do you think the industry should change to help women be seen in a better light than they are? What are your favorite games with female characters as the lead?

Thank you for reading and God bless.

Michael M.

Michael is a child of God, husband, teacher, business owner, anime lover and a life long gamer. When not conquering distant world's via console, he can be found reading, watching anime or Netflix, writing, or just enjoying life as a geek in the city of Miami. He aspires to travel to Japan and possibly...never leave.

7 Comments

  1. John Canary on March 6, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I particularly enjoy working with Sarah Kerrigan in the second StarCraft II game, “Heart of the Swarm.”

  2. Grayson Harvey on February 25, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Yeah, this is the main problem I have with the Metal Gear Solid series. In almost every game of the series, there are many hidden sexual ‘jokes’ and there is always some female character that is overly exposed and sexualized. It’s sick.

    • Michael M. on February 26, 2015 at 1:49 am

      Agreed, that’s a great point. MGS does have all those posters in the lockers….plus the scenes with Meryl in part 1.

      It was done as a ‘joke’ but of course, women got the blunt of it all.

  3. Matthew on February 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    The only problem that I have with this post is your referencing Anita Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency. While I whole heartedly agree with how we as Christians are called to treat women, it should be noted that Mrs Sarkeesian has been proven multiple times to be a fraud, a con artist and a lier. She has made numerous conflicting clames about whether or not she even is a gamer. Many of her videos drastically misrepresent the games that she talks about, one of the worst examples of this was when she did a segment on Hitman Absolution, and spent the entire time blasting the game for ‘encouraging’ the player to kill some of the women in a relatively short level in a strip club, when anyone who has actually played the game will tell you that you are actively discouraged from harming innocent bystanders and heavy penalties are placed on the character if they do. Even all of this by it self wouldn’t be quite so bad, if it were not for the fact that Mrs Sarkeesian refuses to acknowledge or accept any form of critisism, everything from disabling the comments section on all of her pages to blocking anyone who disagrees with her on twitter, she goes out of her way to silence anyone who might point out the falsehoods in her clames, going so far as to call anyone who does; Sexists, Mysoginists, Neck-beards, Fedora Wearers, and Nerds who live in our parents basements. She then goes and complains to the mainstream media about all the harassment that she endures, and being the media they just report it with out checking the facts because its anti video game and apparently that sells these days. Finally I feel that it is worth pointing out that for years people were claming that video games make people more violent and anti social, well as I’m sure that you’re aware, recent studies have shown that in fact the opposite is generally true, I just wonder how long it will take for people to realise that this could apply to sexism as well.

    • Michael M. on February 9, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      Hi Matthew, thanks for the long comment on my post! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Yes, I did link back to Anita, and yes, I do agree with some of the points your saying. I am NOT an Anita critic, nor am I fan of the way she poses as a “gamer” nor the way she took $150,000 to make a few videos anyone could have made by using footage that is ALREADY in games….to end my rant, the point that I linked to her and her videos is because I do AGREE with the root of her crusade.

      She is complaining on how women are portrayed in video games. That is the one thing I can agree with, and if I’m going to talk about this topic, I have to mention her since she’s at the forefront of the conversation. It’s like talking about Christian Hip Hop and not mentioning Lecrae…

      This is my own opinion, but I do believe that video games do influence people whether a study says so or not. God makes it clear, and obvious through life itself, that what you spend time with will affect you positively or negatively. Whether you want it to or not.

      In regards to sexism, and the way women are viewed, it’s also very obvious that society (talking about the United States) definitely looks at women in a much more vulgar way than we used to. It’s always been there, but it’s much more apparent and accepted now. Not going to go into a rant or discussion of that point, but just be exposed to some media and you’ll get the picture.

      Thanks again for reading, and I hope you got something good out of it.

      • Dane H. on March 7, 2015 at 6:21 am

        How can you agree with the root of Anita’s crusade, when the root DOES NOT EXIST. Video games and their creators are no different than ANY OTHER ART OR ENTERTAINMENT MEDIUM. They have the freedom to create whatever they want, and gamers, doubly so, have the right to play what they want. Anita is not god, and she has absolutely no right to lecture gamers and the industry on what SHE wants.
        Now, as Christians, we have the ability to discern what is right and wrong in the eyes of our Lord. For as far as it depends on us, we should be in right standing with our savior.
        What I mean to say is that you are targeting the wrong beast here. If some game should lead you to temptation, DON’T PLAY IT. It’s similar to alcohol, if you think partaking in a few beers will lead to sin, don’t do it.
        We have the right to NOT play games we don’t deem appropriate, and we should exorcise that right. But we do not have the right to judge OR dictate what others do.

        • Michael M. on March 7, 2015 at 2:05 pm

          I said I agree with the fact that women could be portrayed better in video games, BUT I don’t follow her approach to the problem. She’s just pointing out an issue in gaming, that’s all. How she goes about it….I don’t 100% agree as I stated in the comment above.

          As Christians, yes, we have the right to discern what is right and wrong, ok. But, as Christians, we can also be agents of change to make games that will have biblical values (which include respecting women or not having them pure sexual objects).

          True, a game that leads you to temptation, DON’T PLAY IT. I agree πŸ™‚ I just see Christians many times complaining or saying “I won’t play/do that” instead of actually DOING something about it. We are too quick to hide and complain instead of going into the very industry and making a difference, as I feel that this article and Geeks Under Grace is doing.

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