Being a woman in a video game would not be easy. There’s not a single decent, complete set of armor in the world that fits properly. Your mammary glands swell until you’re so top heavy that your skeleton may well warp. There’s plenty that’s already been said about how women are outwardly portrayed in games—as pornographic caricatures of an adolescent boy’s masturbatory fantasy—but what about female characters’ behaviors and mentalities? Women in games are useless as NPCs and passive, powerless agents when they’re controlled.
It’s nothing new to notice the sexualization of women in media, especially games. Neither the men or women of games are meant to look like people, they’re molded to fulfill a function—for men their function is violence, for women sex. The difference is that men are given justification. They are given motivations. They think and are driven by purpose. Women have no power outside of their ability to be consumed by men. They have some influence on when and which man they will be consumed by but otherwise they lack agency.
The easy fix seems to be to make more competent female characters. Characters that can be strong without defying their identity as women. They need not be warriors or even wholly suited to their circumstance nor do they have to defy every feminine stereotype (indeed, building a character opposite to a set of stereotypes is still acknowledging and yielding to them). What seems to elude developers so frequently is a female character that is able to make her own decisions and manage the consequences. She doesn’t have to have full control. She doesn’t even have to be the lead. She just has to have her own identity that doesn’t depend on a man.