My Epiphany About Gender in Video Games

I know that the audience for video games is getting increasingly more diverse. It was not until recently that I really knew the extent of it. This post will be more personal than my other ones. I will admit, this is a personal bias on my part but I think it illustrates an important point.

PC mods are amazing. It is a great way to lengthen a game by allowing users to create content for particular games.

The one of subject here is Skyrim. It has been out since 2010 so there are quite literally thousands of mods available for it. I was over on Skyrim Nexus, a mod hosting site, recently and I stumbled across something I had not seen before.

It was a mod that added a third gender to the game that could be chosen at the start of the game. It added a transgender character.

Immediately my first thought was that someone made this mod as a joke, so I clicked on it and went to the comments. That is when I found something unexpected. It was created by a person who was transgender; she wanted representation in the game.

This was one of the comments taken from the mod page at Skyrim Nexus.

This was one of the comments taken from the mod page at Skyrim Nexus.

There has been a lot of talk about gender and video games recently. Much of the discussion was sparked by Anita Sarkesian, a feminist blogger that made a series of videos about women in video games.

The ESA released a 2013 study that revealed 45% of all gamers are women.Even with all this talk, the thought of transgender people never occurred to me. There has been some, albeit limited, discussion about homosexual characters in games. It was clear to me there has to be a sizable transgender audience that actively plays video games.

The big take away here is that video games are a mass medium being played by everyone. The stereotype about games being for teenage males no longer applies. This illustrated to me how much things are changing. It also requires a change in the nature of the discussions being had about gender, it is a discussion worth having.


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