Girl Fight, the video game pitting two female fighters, took center stage at last week’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco. I was given a great demo of the product, so have a look at the video first, then we’ll look at why it’s controversial to some people.
Now Girl Fight is considered sexist by some. Here’s what Beefjack.com reported about it last week:
Yesterday, I saw a big batch of screenshots for upcoming fighter Girl Fight. As the name suggests, it features an entirely female cast, brawling it out in one-on-one matches. It does a fantastic job of highlighting exactly what’s wrong with female characters in fighting games – presenting women as sexual objects first and foremost, not as the fighters they should be.
Personally, I disagree with this. And because you can take a male-to-male video game like Mortal Kombat (which does have women fighters) and the men are depicted as having muscular bodies, and they’re shirtless. By contrast, the women in Girl Fight are not topless. I don’t understand why the woman has to be, to take Beefjack’s view to its logical conclusion, ugly and a fighter for the game to be ok to show women. The fact is, no one wants to see that, and it’s purely sexist to put a woman in a less-than visual category in a video game to a male counterpart.
I can’t speak for the terrible words of Capcom Street Fighter Gamer Aris Bakhtanians, who made this comment on sexism in gaming “This is a community that’s, you know, 15 or 20-years-old and the sexual harassment is part of a culture, and if you remove that from the fighting game community, it’s not the fighting game community.”
I also can’t speak for the fight game community, but I can say that I once saw a Mortal Kombat contest between a large male character and a smaller female character. And even though the person behind the female character was holding their own, it was just plain unsettling to see that contest played out. I kept thinking “Why not a girl-only fight game?” That’s what Girl Fight is.
Also, as one who’s a fan of women’s sports, women athletes, and strong women, I prefer Girl Fight to any video game of this type I’ve seen before.
Look, fighting in video games is not the most desirable activity, but we have to deal with the fact that it sells, even to young girls. Listen to this 14-year-old (at the time) girl tell me that she prefers the violence in Dante’s Inferno, saying “Oh, heck yes!”:
Something tells me she would like Girl Fight too.