“You Shoot Like A Girl!”: The Female Protagonist in Action-Adventure Video Games

Grimes Sara M.
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

This paper was inspired by the popularity of female video game protagonists despite girls’ and women’s continued hesitance to participate in digital gaming activities. The pilot study examines how the imagery and narrative structure of popular, contemporary video games construct a paradigm of the ideal female heroine. An in-depth content analysis of three best-selling action-adventure video games was conducted. Key findings indicate the recurrence of a paradoxical interplay between beauty ideals and characterization, wherein the female protagonist must reconcile traditional ideals about beauty and body type with the decidedly untraditional gender roles and actions she engages in.