Getting rid of the token female

Videogames, just like many cartoons and movies, suffer from the Token female syndrome. The token female is the Smurfette to the Smurfs, the character who’s defining attribute is to be female and nothing else. Sure there have been token males in history but an exemple doesn’t spring to mind right now. How often do we look at a cast of characters and go:”Here’s the jock, here’s the nerd, here’s the popular one and there is the girl” as if girls can’t be jocks or nerds or popular? It’s very bad and it’s nearly subliminal, we are used to it and don’t notice it anymore.

Links about token females:
Urban dictionary
Kalinara’s blog

What solutions are there? Well, education! Don’t let token females fly under the radar! Including a cast of females with personalities in your games/books/movies/shortstories. Fight stereotypes! You can have a girl mechanic and her hairdresser brother in your web comic or your game, why not.

There is also Bechdel’s law for movies (but really, it works on most stories) coined by Alison Bechdel which goes like this:

  • Does it have at least two women in it,
  • Who [at some point] talk to each other,
  • About something besides a man.

Do your games pass Bechdel’s law?

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