ONTD Political

Gears of War 3: Adding a Female Character?

8:16 pm - 04/14/2010
Gears of War 3: Adding a Female Character? (originally via Kotaku, but don't read the comments there unless you want to start curbstomping people--which is why I went for the original blog post rather than the Kotaku article.)



Gears of War 3 hasn't been announced -- although the game's teaser debuts a week from today, and the game itself will be out in April 2011 or later. So, why am I thinking about Gears right now? Well, the recent "Girls & Games" PAX panel and its accompanied discussion about female characters made me think about how difficult it is to portray women in a male-centric story without making it seem like the entire gender has been forgotten and/or passed over.

Gears of War, one of my favorite franchises, is a story of hyper-violent meatheads packed with brawn and lacking in brains ... and it's almost completely female-free. The Gears series is a celebration of masculinity, almost to the point of parody: the men in this game look like they eat steroids instead of Wheaties for breakfast.

The female panelists at the PAX panel cited the Gears guys as examples of "idealized" men in an attempt to defend the bajillions of idealized, over-sexualized female characters in, oh, every game ever -- but these men aren't idealized sexually. They're idealized for their masculinity: they are physically fit to the point of absurdity, and they can even be emotional without seeming like sissies.

Gears' lack of romance and female influence actually makes the game seem ... well, kinda gay. (Think Achilles and Patroclus, not Boy From Oz.) I am not the only person who has picked up on this. Even though Dom has a wife, Maria is a MacGuffin, not a character, and she only has a couple of throwaway lines in a flashback.

The only female character, Anya Stroud, is a lieutenant -- but you'd never know it, since the petite blond spends the game getting in and out of helicopters, narrowly escaping danger (off-screen, of course), and staying out of the real action while advising male soldiers over her headset. She must have been a heavily armored COG at some point, in order to move through the ranks -- but if that's the case, where are all of the other female COGs?

Apparently, the reason why we never see any women in Gears is that they're all busy ... having babies.Collapse )

--

...Seriously, the only role the creators of Gears of War see for women in the future is baby makers? And the only way not to be relegated to 'incubator' is to incapable of bearing children? Really? Really?

This reminds me of the game devs who wrote off creating female characters in favor of realistic wall damage. :/
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antiotter 14th-Apr-2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
The only female character, Anya Stroud, is a lieutenant -- but you'd never know it, since the petite blond spends the game getting in and out of helicopters, narrowly escaping danger (off-screen, of course), and staying out of the real action while advising male soldiers over her headset. She must have been a heavily armored COG at some point, in order to move through the ranks -- but if that's the case, where are all of the other female COGs?

...or the heavily armored COGs are enlisted infantry, and she took an officer's commission in the Intelligence branch?
eyetosky 14th-Apr-2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU
antiotter 14th-Apr-2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
I mean yeah, I spent my formative years in a Recon battalion, but even before I walked into the recruiter's office, I kinda had some grasp of the difference between officers and enlisted, and that not everybody was a fucking Airborne Ranger, and that there was everything from computer geeks, to cooks, to mechanics, and a shitload of other specialties that didn't involve kicking down doors and shooting people in the face.

I love when some know-it-all doesn't know what the fuck they're talking about.
heartvscliche 14th-Apr-2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
i think you're missing the entire point of this post. are you male?
antiotter 14th-Apr-2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's a crappy third-person shooter, with horrible writing, that is both sexist and racist.

I get that. I'm curious why the author couldn't be arsed to spend a few minutes of research to get the details correct.

If she had bothered researching Lieutenant Anya Stroud, it would have revealed that her mother was Major Helena Stroud, a female infantry officer, who actually trained the male playable character.

She could have asked why the obviously non-sterile MAJ Helena Stroud was allowed into the infantry, since it seems to conflict with the game's explanation as to why they're just now adding this sterile female infantry COG.

"Criticizing the author's fact-checking" ≠ "disagreeing with the author's overall point"

heartvscliche 14th-Apr-2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
are you making that up, or is that an actual part of the game?
antiotter 14th-Apr-2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
It was an educated guess, considering nearly every military in the world has a similar "officer/enlisted" and "Combat Arms/Service & Support" structure.

Which seems to be correct:

http://gearsofwar.wikia.com/wiki/Anya_Stroud
our_innocence 14th-Apr-2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
IDK. It is disgusting, but also something mentioned in the books; because of the toll that it took on humanity's population, people were forced into primitive roles. Not that it makes it right, but I think it should be said that what happened to the people- men being turned into cannon fodder and women being turned into breeding machines- is not necessarily the opinions of the developers themselves. It's a universe created of desperation and despotism.


In the books there are several examples of strong females leads; Anya Stroud's mother Helena is a single mother, who is a Major in the army and one of the most respected leaders around. Bernie Mataki spent literally years crossing the continent on foot to rejoin the Gears after being medicaled out due to a broken leg. She's also a master sniper and survivalist who joined the Army at 18 because a recruiter told her that girls don't make good soldiers, and she went in and proved him spectacularly wrong.
c_yo_yus 14th-Apr-2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
NEWS AT 7: CliffyB is a joke.

And at least the girl's not wearing a practical full suit of combat armor, so we can see her tits.

squidb0i 14th-Apr-2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
That image. Is tank girl?
homasse 15th-Apr-2010 01:56 am (UTC)
From the article:

This brings us back to the picture at the top of this post. Who's that redhead in the COG armor? That would be Alex Brand, a character from the Gears of War spin-off comic books.
squidb0i 15th-Apr-2010 03:22 am (UTC)
Aaaah. Thanks.

Only skimmed.

Looked like TankGirl.
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