The Size 16 Heroine

Whilst browsing the forums of I came across this post in an article that is discussing women in power. The user posted:

“…it’s been proven that women make up a huge percentage of the game market but I suspect that game manufacturers are far too scared that they’ll have to ‘stick ponies in’ to make games for appealing to the woman gamer- but that is ridiculous, women like a lot of the games that men play they just don’t appreciate the sexualisation of the female form, that constantly appears in games. When was the last time that a female heroine was a good ol’ (UK) size 16? Mind you, there are similar problems with the representation of women in mainstream film.”

The sentence I’m interested in I put into Bold. Now I do agree with what this user has to say, I don’t think I’ve ever played the character of a size 16 heroine in a game. However, (and this depends on the genre) characters need to be in good physical condition. Would the game be any more believable watching the size 16 heroine run for hours at a time without getting tired, fighting off other characters/creatures. Surely by the end of the game the character would of lost weight and ended up looking similar to the females already starring in current games? The problem I have with the way most women are portrayed in games is their appearance and attire (I thought it would be interesting to mention the avatar of this poster was the face of a beautiful female character).

Just to make sure this applies to all genres, I browsed for a full list. Looking at each one, I questioned what shape the character must be in, in order to believably act out the story. 3 out of the 21 genres mentioned came across as not needing a character to be in peak physical shape. These were adventure, racing games and sport.

Adventure games mostly involve story and puzzle solving. Therefore the character can pretty much be any shape or size (within reason) in order to do this.

Racing games such as Mario Kart already include larger characters. Mario isn’t buff, nor is Wario. However, I can’t say the same for the blonde, beautiful and slender Princess Peaches. Despite this, physical shape would make little difference when driving a car (unless the game is a serious driving game where weight may slow the car down).

Sport games depend on what sport it is. Football is obvious, if the games are serious. And usually base their characters on real footballers, which are always in good physical condition. The same applies to Basketball. However, my 78 year old grandma and 80 year old grandpa plays golf and they aren’t exactly muscled out to the max. Real life golfers don’t need to be either, unless they choose to of course.


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