The debate over female roles in video games (and the gaming industry as a whole, really) is by no means a heated topic that only just warmed up. If you recall any shred of last year’s muddled gaming culture war dubbed “Gamergate”, you’re very aware of the issue. But what do young male gamers really want?
Rosalind Wiseman, creator of the activist program Owning Up Curriculum and author of Mean Girls source material Queen Bees and Wannabes, decided to find out where the gender lines are drawn for young gamers. In collaboration with her colleague Charlie Kuhn and gaming expert Ashly Burch, Wiseman’s team surveyed 1,400 middle and high school students identifying themselves as gamers around the country.
So what was the stunning conclusion? Most boys want stronger female characters in video games. 55% of boys said there should be more female heroes in video games, and 57% even went on to say female characters are too often treated as mere sex objects.
The latter trend actually grows with age, as 47% of middle school boys agreed with the sentiment while 61% of high school boys.
Furthermore, boys and girls alike don’t care about a game protagonist’s gender to begin with (78% of boys, 70% of girls).
If the statistics are accurate, it seems the gaming generation growing up right now is going to cheer on their heroes, no matter who they are.