Hey there, Nasties! Mod Aria here for another thrilling installment of Tropes in Gaming. Today’s trope is a fairly simple one, but one that I personally find particularly detestable. It’s called the Faux Action Girl, and just buy it’s name, I’m sure you can tell what exactly this trope entails. So let’s get started.
The Faux Action Girl is the other side of the coin to the Action Girl. Both have pre-established roles for women: that they are bad-ass fighters who usually have some kind of high ranking position or rumored skill set. From the get go, the media in which they appear establishes their dominance over many people (sometimes even the main character). However, the difference between an Action Girl and a Faux Action Girl is night and day. I’ll talk more about the Action Girl later, but the Faux Action Girl usually doesn’t get the chance to really shine, as she is constantly defeated in battle or needs to be rescued by the main character.
Faux Action Girls are most notably seen in American spy thrillers. The girls that claim they’ve been taught to shoot by their “five brothers”, and therefore discards the “weak” part of their female identity. But they absolutely appear in video games as well. Some examples are Rebecca Chambers from Resident Evil, Amy Rose from Sonic (though not it a few of the 3-D Sonic games where she is a playable character) and Talia al Ghul from Batman: Arkham City. These girls are gun-wielding, hammer-toting ass kickers who spend most of their time either pining for the hero of their game or getting into trouble.
I don’t think I have to spell out why exactly this is frustrating, do I? Too often women in video games are placed in roles where they are supposedly formidable foes, but never really get the chance to prove that. Games or anime or movies that are riddled with Faux Action Girls claim that they are helping women have better representation, but in reality, it’s doing quite the opposite. It’s further cementing this idea that women involved in combat or special ops are there to be seen, not to participate. They are not meant to take an active role; that’s the job of the male characters. And it always will be unless we force a change.
The reason why this trope angers me so much is that, as a female gamer, we are often deceived by game developers who claim they want to have “better female representation”, but deliver a disappointing and false product. I play games and wait for the female character to shine, only to be heartbroken by seeing her in yet another support role that eventually turns into a forced heterosexual romance. We are being lied to, plain and simple. Yet again, these games are giving in to the idea of gender roles; I cannot begin to describe how outdated that mindset is. There is only so much we can take before we abandon the games that let us down over and over.
Games that allow you to create your own character have shot up in popularity for this reason. More and more women are gaming, and game companies that aren’t willing to acknowledge this will find that their revenues will crumble when they continually pump out video games with boring white male protagonists with his Faux Action Girl white partner who is there to be protected and to ogle her forced love interest. And I encourage all my readers to not give in. Do not support these game franchises that refuse to admit that they don’t know the first thing about representation.
When we can take a lead role and feel empowered by saving a galaxy or defeating a demon god, why would we settle for anything less? Do not get complacent. We are not Faux Action Girls. We can be anything we want to be; believe this with all your heart.
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