Last week I wrote a Guest Blog post at RockMeFabulous that explored and discussed how women were portrayed in the media, and got asked some pretty interesting questions that I would like to explore.
The comment read like this: Great post! Curious: If you could write yourself into media, how would you do it? What would you look like? What would your secret powers be? And who would be your arch nemesis?
I know it sounds like most women complain about how they are portrayed in the media, yet don’t provide a solution for the problem, but that is because you look at the solution every day. All we ask is that we are portrayed accurately, just as you see us.
If I could write myself into the media, I would write myself in with all my successes, failures, confidence and insecurities, because that is me. I know Girls on HBO isn’t the greatest example of diversity in characters but its a great place to start. I caught a glimpse of the show as I changed channels and watched in awe as girls from different walks of life experienced issues that probably one of the many 20 somethings today are dealing with. I felt relieved that somebody finally showed that we are not always confident in the choices that we make, that we are afraid to take risks, that we have days when we feel like being beautiful and sexy, and days where sweatpants will do the trick.
I know in videogames its quite different as there has to be fantasy, a back story to keep players engaged, but there have been successful franchises in the last decade or so that have made strides in the right direction, games that I enjoy playing because there is someone I can see myself as. Take Mass Effect for example, I was not familiar with the game as Shooters are not my specialty, but my roommate told me that there was more to it than that, that I could be a woman, that I could have a story. Don’t get me wrong, I like being the strong male character as much as the next person, but being a woman gives it a personal touch, so I customized my own female Shephard. I was now the commander of a ship, the leader of my team , on my way to save the world. I was looking at a woman in full body armor, with her head held high, holding her own among the rest. I wanted to play her story, I wanted to be her. Its not about creating a sexy female with no substance, its about creating a female character that we can identify with. A character who succeeds and fails, is confident, and doesn’t have to prove she is a good fighter by being sexy, but shows that she is valuable because of her accomplishments. Not only does that make her more human but that makes her us, how we truly want to be perceived. Honestly, I have never heard of a woman celebrating that she got hired because of how good she looks.
Regarding an arch nemesis, take a look at what stops you or me from reaching our goals every day, its that simple. Our enemies are the images we see, the articles we read, and all the things that surround us that tell us who we have to be, who we should be, and how we should get there. It is why some us gravitate towards games like Dragon Age and Fable where the fate of where we go and how we get there is up to us. With no clear cut storyline, or path to follow, everybody’s story will have different outcomes, and that is reality. Our choices define us and who we become, so our characters shouldn’t constrict us to a mold. The mold is your arch nemesis, and You are the hero.