My kids play video games. Not just my boys, but Annalise too. I think it is interesting that most games are targeted for boys or girls. I’d like to know the research that occurs for these creative decisions to take place.
Yes, some kids prefer games that allow creativity, some prefer strategy, some like the achievement of defeating the bad guy, but others can find competition too confronting…Anyway I digress.
Having brothers Anna is exposed to what might be traditionally seen as “boys” games. Recently her and her brothers have been playing a Lego game that has super heroes in it. Tonight we were chatting and she said she wanted a spidergirl costume. She then described spidergirl’s attributes in detail. She sounds very cool. Throwing firey spiderwebs and all that, but she wasn’t too keen on any of the other girl super hero characters. She left it at that.
I then had a discussion with Ryan, 11. Who is his favourite superhero? He doesn’t have one, he uses them all in the game, depending on the strength needed for the challenges (a strategist). I asked how many girl heroes there were. He said “Not many”. I asked him why he thought that might be the case – he said that maybe people thought boys might be more “capable”. I asked him what he thought of that. He said “I don’t think it’s right”. No, me either.
Is it fair that males are seen as more “capable” and “stronger” even in the innocent world of imagination? As an adult I am bombarded with images, music, advertising and stories of women that are less “capable” than men. Selena Gomez on the radio, telling me about looking good for her man, to make him happy!
What message are we sending our girls? And our boys?
Even in this seemingly innocent game, my girl gets the message that to have the best superpowers you need to be a boy.
I was pleased with her choice of hero, (although as a sidekick to a male I have questions there too!) so I went on line to look at costumes. Most choices revolved around tutus or skin tight latex- neither of which is fitting for my crime fighting nearly eight year old.
So now we are making our own superhero – one with the super powers of persuasion – I wonder whether she’ll use this for good or evil. Perhaps she’ll use it to change some minds about what girls “should” like and what girls are “capable” of.