One of the things that attracted me to Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door was the fact that on the cover they had female characters. And when I read up on it, that
Mario has female companions to help him the battles.
This is something that is rarely scene even in newer video games. Most video
games (especially violent ones) are notorious for the macho male roles and
women as the damsels. As a female I have always found this irritating since I
despise most “damsels in distress” that awaits for their man to rescue them.
Not that I’m saying it’s wrong, I’m just the type of girl that would rather
fight my own battles and kick ass than wait. This is one of the reasons why I
don’t like many of the first person shooter games because it does not allow you
to select a female to play. So, I decided to play Paper Mario: TTYD because I
thought it would actually maybe surmise some of these tropes among video games
(especially Mario’s) however, it still
lacked very much. I figured on the whole rescuing Peach (who I loathe by the
way) by some kidnapper’s hands, but I was excited on having a female in battle.
To my great disappointment, Mario only
enhanced the gender stereotypes especially in the fighting female roles.
The first female partner that
gets to join his team is Gumbella: a student that went to
(a town within the story) to study underneath the Professor. Gumbella’s only real talent within the game is
to “tattle” a notorious female gender stereo type about females “gabbing” too
much. While this can be useful in some battles, she is otherwise utterly
useless. Rogue Port
The second female partner that
encounters is Flurrie: An actress (go figure) that decided she wanted out of the
limelight and when to live with some of the little creatures in the
forest to get away from the hum drum city life. At first I was extremely happy to get Flurrie
because she was actually a powerful partner (though one of her moves were gail winds (blowing, yes I’m aware how perverted this
is) except I came to realize that she played on the fat female stereotype. She
was infatuated with Mario (making inappropriate statements) and did very well
at body slamming FLATTENING the opponents, using the whole “you can sit on the
person and squash them” statement that people pose towards fat females,
especially when they are angry. Of course this move would be powerful *eye
The third female partner to join
party is Vivian: the abused sister of
Siren sisters that are working for the bad guys to resurrect a demon. Vivian eventually switch sides to help Mario on his question. Vivian
is basically useless within the battle and sometimes useful during the game.
One of her key moves is hiding and essentially sneaking. This is kind of stereotypical of women as we are known to “snoop” around and hide to find things.
I also found it irritating that she essentially was a weak character in the
There are some more partners that
gets: Koops (Koopa), Admiral (bombomb), and my favorite, a Yoshi (we names ours
Punk). These three single handedly are the most useful in the game and in
battles, often being able to wipe the enemy out before the next round. While I
like these players, they are also annoying because they play on the male macho
At the end of the game,
Mario rescues Peach and it’s
assumed they are together forever – well, until Peach gets kidnapped again. Ezra
Gweon states “That once you save the damsel in distress, love will occur. This
idea highly affects our perception on women. Women are seen more as sexual
objects that can be attained,” which is a common reoccurrence within video
games and stereotypes. Even now, there is women being taught that if you’re
smarter than a man, you must not show it; you must hide behind the scenes.
There is men being taught that they have to be the macho men. They have to
provide for their family, have muscles, etc. All gender stereotypes that are
taught at an early age.
SPOILER ALERT One of my new favorite books “Ready Player One” even slightly touch base on the roles of gender within video games (and in the world) with the character Aech (who by the way, is one of my all time faves now). When Aech is first introduced it’s as
Wade’s best friend inside OASIS and
even outside of OASIS even though they have never met in person. His avatar
portrays him as a Caucasian male. At first, he seems like a typical male until
close to the end when we find out that Aech is an rubenesque African American lesbian.
Seriously, I love her! She is very very kick ass! But this is besides me point.
When Wade finally meets him in person,
she confesses that the male avatar was her mother’s idea. That her mother sold
things online and business would be far better if she is portrayed and thought
of as a white male instead of a black female. There is racial stereotypes in
here as well as gender. It used to believed that women weren’t smart enough to
be able to run a business and it was considered disgraceful. Now, most of us
know better. However, it doesn’t change the fact that even in a virtual world
as huge as OASIS that gender does play a role in how people view you.
Gender roles shouldn’t be displayed in videogames. It hinders everything that humans have striven to drive out of our culture. Why don’t they have a game where Peach (who I loathe) is the heroine out to save
instead of how it normally is? Why are
females viewed as weak sexual creature in the games? Whether or not you believe
videogames affect your outside life, it does. It sends subliminal messages to
all of us, especially children that are still developing their outlook on life.
I think we should push for a change in the stereotypes and gender roles within
videogames. Demand more female games, I’m not meeting the cooking games geared
towards girls (another gender role), but female fighting games where women are
anatomically correct. Hell, even a rubenesque woman fighting game that has
nothing to do with sex or sexual implications would be amazing.