Feminism as a political cause is on such wobbly knees that it must rely on charges of rampant sexism that have no basis in reality. The current Exhibit A is "Think Progress" blogger Alyssa Rosenberg, who surely scrunched up her face in disgust as she wrote the headline "Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?"
Serious long-term video game fans should laugh at Rosenberg's ignorance and laziness. This headline had all the style and finesse of a belly flop into an empty swimming pool.
To document the first half of the headline, she referred to a new report on demographics from the Entertainment Software Association, which found that women 18 and older make up 31 percent of the video game-playing population. Another study released by Magid Advisors found that 70 percent of women between the ages of 12 and 24 play video games. The study also found 61 percent of women between the ages of 45 and 64 also play games, compared to 57 percent of men in that age group.
The videogame culture has evolved, and there are many more female "gamers" now. But surveys counting more female "gamers" are very broad, reflecting that anyone who occasionally plays "Angry Birds" on their smart phone gets counted as a "gamer."
At least there's more evidence on the audience than on the silly second half, the question "Where are the Female Video Game Characters?"
Rosenberg turned to feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian, who reported that the makers of the new Xbox One console were harassed at the recent E3 electronic-entertainment expo for failing to promote games with female characters (which in itself isn't evidence of a lack of female characters). But for Rosenberg, this apparently underscored "why it's so hard to convince the branches of the entertainment industry that they ought to try harder to offer up female characters and characters of color."
What's hard is to get Rosenberg to try a simple Google search. Type in "female characters in video games" and you're sent to a Wikipedia page where it reports on 110 entries on female characters, and that's only a fraction of them.
Just how wrong is Rosenberg? Even her ally Sarkeesian admits in one of her YouTube video lectures that "we have seen a moderate increase in the number of playable female characters."
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