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“Girl Gamers” Episode 3 Runs Down the (Short) List of Notable Videogame Heroines

Latoya Peterson’s “Girl Gamers” series at Fusion has tackled a lot of tricky topics, such as the nebulous idea of “gamer” identity (in Episode 1), and the various challenges faced by women game creators (in Episode 2). This third entry in the five-part series discusses fictional female characters in games — from how they’re presented to how they’re perceived.

This episode, like the others, has to cover a lot of ground in its short length, but it still manages to slip in a few nuanced and important arguments. I loved that Final Fantasy X-2 got a mention, for example — I think it’s a game that gets undeservedly sidelined for being about feminine trappings in general (e.g. its three heroines’ fighting styles are represented by their sartorial choices). Bayonetta, and the complicated and sometimes contradictory feelings that many women players have about her, also gets an important spotlight in this video.

It’s hard as heck to find ways to reclaim feminine signifiers while also existing and creating art within a system that demonizes all things feminine. In some ways, Bayonetta and Yuna are good examples of that reclamation and subversion — but their style might not work for everybody. Women aren’t a monolith, after all, and that’s why it’s so valuable to have more characters, so as to display the breadth of our experiences.

What do you all think about the latest episode?

(via Fusion)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).