June 18, 2013 Leave a comment
A few months ago, I was watching Disney’s movie Sky High with my niece and nephew. In the movie, kids from super hero families go to Sky High, a high school for super heroes. When the main character’s mother came on screen, my niece exclaimed in an incredulous voice:
“What!? Girls can’t be superheroes!”
I was caught completely off-guard. “Sure they can!” I responded. “What about the Powerpuff Girls?”
She stared at me for a moment. “No, Uncle Zach, girls can’t be super heroes.”
This moment has stuck with me. It has downright bothered me. My little brother has run around the house pretending he’s Spider-Man, fighting invisible villains taking over our living room. My niece not only wouldn’t do that, she couldn’t even conceptualize the idea of a girl being a super hero in the first place.
Whenever I hear about gender-related issues in games, movies, or other media, I think of this one moment. Whenever someone says, “Come on, it’s not really a problem,” or, “I’m a female and I don’t have trouble with relating to male characters,” I can’t help but think of my niece. To the most adorable little girl I know, girls can’t be bad-ass heroes that save the world. Only boys do that.
I’m making it my personal goal to fix this problem. One cannot change things overnight, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. I want to make a video game for kids, one where someone like my niece can actually be that awesome hero who saves the day. I plan to post updates here on my progress. If you have any suggestions, ideas, or feedback, or if you are interested in helping out, I would love to hear from you!