Gender Tropes

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend. Going off of last week’s post about Healer Tropes, I thought I would share my thoughts on Gender Tropes. Remember, kids, sexism shouldn’t have a place in the real world or video game worlds!
When I was writing up my Fire Emblem Fates review, one of the biggest issue I had with the newest trio of Fire Emblem games was the treatment of the sister characters from the two quartets of the avatar’s siblings.
From Nohr was Camilla and Elise, while Hinoka and Sakura were from Hoshido. I felt that they got a bit pushed to the side after being created to be the cute healers and tough female warriors. It was the brothers that got more development, that were the wielders of the other divine weapons, that had stronger ties to the avatar character. While I enjoyed all the characters for the most part, I still maintain that it may have worked better if the royal siblings were cut in half, with one side having an older sister and younger brother while the other side had the older brother and younger sister.
Thinking back on my Healer Tropes post where I mentioned both Elise and Sakura, I also realized that the brothers also followed stereotypical male tropes as well. The strong older brothers are the leaders, Leo is the cool, calculating, aloof character, and Takumi is the brooding, hotheaded one. Many of the other Fire Emblem games have the older brother characters as the leaders, as the strong ones, while the women tend to favor gentler routes.
Case in point is the cover of Shadows of Valentia. Alm is with his sword, a fighter, while Celica is praying, looking much more passive. I wonder what would have happened had the game switched it up, with the woman being the more aggressive while the man is gentler.
With the brief introduction of the Champion characters in Breath of the Wild, I’m finding that they also follow typical gender tropes. While I personally haven’t met all of them in-game yet, plenty of Internet sources have given me a glimpse of the Champions’ personalities. Mipha and Urbosa are common female tropes, being the gentle, soft-spoken healer and tough, action woman. Daruk appears to be the jolly, father figure and Revali is the arrogant bad boy.
Mr. Panda actually made a comment on the Healer Tropes regarding how White Mages in Final Fantasy games are always female, and how he’s waiting for the day that they can be male as well. Something that I believe Fates did right was take off the gender-restricted classes, such as having a male Pegasus Knight and a female Fighter. It’s a step in the right direction to help combat the more common gender tropes found in video games.
There are always exceptions, of course, and I understand that gifting every video game character a full-fledged developmental arc within the game would be a bit time-consuming. However, as a gamer whose favorite element of a game is the story and the characters, I would like to see more characters having their personalities be based on their thoughts rather than their genders.

What kind of common gender tropes are in your favorite games? Any examples of games that break the normal tropes?

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Readers Comments (4)

  1. Excellent, important post about gender tropes in games! Thank you for the shoutout too! Back when Tomb Raider was big, I remember another issue being that girls in video games always had to be tough like Lara Croft or they’d be the damsel in distress. But I’m glad we’re not seeing girls that are strong protagonists but not like Lara, or an option for your main character like in Pokemon.

    • You’re very welcome for the shout-out, it was deserved! I’m glad to see more female protagonists as well — representation is so important! I still remember how excited I was when first playing Pokemon Crystal and how I could play as a female, especially since her default name was Kris!

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