Research Project

Not Just Sex Objects: How Strong Female Characters in Video Games Changed the Gaming World 


This analysis will be a discussion of the changing role of female characters in video games. Female characters as background or side characters have been a staple for the video game industry since the beginning of video game history. The damsel in distress trope has been used over and over to the point that female representation was barely visible in the plot or story of the game. Additionally, the female character was usually dressed in an unrealistic and provocative fashion, propelling the oversexualization trope in video games. However in more recent times the gaming industry, though flawed, has begun to make steps towards feminine representation. With the portrayal of strong female protagonists instead of male protagonists, the gaming industry has made progress in broadening the demographic of gamers. For female gamers, having a feminine representation can embolden and empower the player.  This essay will briefly go over a short history of feminine representation in video games and how they fall short in the face of modern feminism. In addition, this essay will  go on to explore and assess the influence of strong female characters using examples and how these representations affects female gamers in a positive way.


Sources for images:


Sources for paper:

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Kraft, Jason and Eliezar M. Manarang, and Jessica Manella, “Gender Roles in Video Games.” Gendergames (2012).

Platinum Games. Bayonetta. Osaka: Sega, 2009-2017.

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Team Ninja. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Tokyo: Tecmo, 1967-2017.