female characters

pat_mathis 101 Dec 22, 2004 at 02:13

Often when me and my friends start talking about movies, books, or games one topic keeps coming back up. What is it that makes a good female character. All my buddies agree that the “I’m a hot chick with a gun, ka-pow…” (as seen in resident evil, dark angel, or blood reign) is way to played out, and my opinion once was too many. You don’t seem to see a genuine drive in these characters any more. Most of the time they are a hard ass becouse the story flat out tells you that they are as oppose to showing that they are. They just glare and pose. LAME!

So we furthered this discussion with making examples of good female characters. Such examples as Auska from EVA, Beyatrix Kiddo, the mother from Requim for a Dream, Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, and my personal favorite, Ripley from Aliens (I am such an Aliens nerd).

Let me make an example of why I thought she was so good. Ripley was never a hard ass. In the first movie she was a woman trying to assert her self as an officer to several different guys that would other wise never show her any respect. Her drive was simply to survive, human enough. By the second movie she had lost every thing and sat around in a mental health physility, until she was offered the job of going to the colony. When she got there she was very worn out from every thing, and still was fighting for her cause out of habit if nothing else, until Newt.

Newt was a big determining factor in Ripley’s character. She gave Ripley a reason to live, as a motherly figure. Then when she was taken Ripley disregaurded her self completly, as any motherly figure would, and well… kicked alien ass. I still get quivers when she steps out of the loading bay in the power loader and say, “Get away from her you…” But now I’m getting side tracked.

My point is, if a female is a hero, then she just poses and acts tough. If not, she’s a love interest who is made bludgently clear in her first shot what her purpose in the movie/game is. Van Hellsing is a prime example, when the girl shows up she’s the only “movie pretty” girl up to that point and they show her in a supposid rustic picture with her all dolled up an shot in cheese cloth (A film prosess that makes white scatter).

So what do you guys think?

12 Replies

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NomadRock 101 Dec 22, 2004 at 06:25

My girlfriend absolutely loved the female lead from The Longest Journey. She was not fantastic in any normal way, but she had an attitude. She wasn’t horribly mean, but through her thoughts, you knew she was thinking the same thing you would.

pat_mathis 101 Dec 22, 2004 at 09:11

Oh, yeah… I forgot that game even exisisted. It was a pretty good adventure game. But that’s what I mean when I say a good strong character.

You know, I’ve noticed that some of the best film makers always have strong and unique characters, especially female ones. Gorge Lucus (Pre Episode I), Tarantino, Scorcese, Spielberg, and Shyamalan; all of there characters stand out.

I think games could benifit from strong characters as well.

fyhuang 101 Dec 27, 2004 at 01:23

Could this lack of convincing female characters be due to the number of male game developers as opposed to female? A female writer/developer/etc. might be able to more effectively create a good character because she’s not ‘gender biased’ towards them. Perhaps the industry just needs a couple more writers. It could be lots of things. Games could definitely benefit from strong female characters though - it really makes the sense of immersion ‘complete’. I personally don’t believe that I’ve ever played a video game with a female character that has a deep personality.

anubis 101 Dec 27, 2004 at 13:15

i liked the main character from beyond good and evil. she wasn’t chest oriented at all and had quite a deep character for a game. another game that comes to mind is syberia which i never really played though

Ed_Mack 101 Dec 27, 2004 at 14:41

Beyatrix Kiddo and Ripley are my favourite film characters too :) I’d add to the list the female from the film ‘The Long kiss goodnight’, who’s main drive like the first two was to save her child.

Perhaps the moral is never get into the way of a child-less mother?

bladder 101 Dec 27, 2004 at 16:07

I dont think there is a lack of well developed female characters. Not any less then well developed male characters that is. You cant say the role of female characters in games/movies (or stories) is either a love interest or a tough girl. Being a love interest is not a problem though. What’s wrong with females being a love interest. You always have a male love interest with female lead characters. You want a list of well developed female characters from games/movies:

Elly from Xenogears (sorry, had to mention that game)
Lulu from ff 10
ripley from aliens
the lead in the movie twisted
whats her face from “life or something like it”
Lara croft is NOT just a pretty face (If people complain about AJ then might as well complain about the Indiana Jones guy)

… just to name a few - there are many more.

The point is that some stories are not supposed to be deep and meanigful. Some are just there for the sake of entertainment. It’s just like when people complain about the backstreet boys and brittney spears - they dont realize that they are not mucisions, they are just entertainers…

Stories have a purpose and a medium through which they try to fill their purpose. A story in a Tomb Raider movie is just there for the heck of it - ie: you can have a million and one different story lines with those kinds of movies. A story like “The English Patient” or “The four feathers” are deep and the authors really try to hit a spot in the heart or the mind. Other stories is just for adrenalins sake.

SYS49152 101 Dec 27, 2004 at 16:07

for me a female chr. must have first 2 big bump-maps !!!!!
rest not count. hehe :)

sorry just a joke.

i like the woman from resident evil and 7th element.

  • Andy
pat_mathis 101 Dec 27, 2004 at 21:39

Well, I do agree that it is possible to have a pretty and interesting female character. But I also think that not every girl in the world of fiction must be ready to do the catwalk for victoria’s secret. If I want to see boobies, I’ll rent a porno, go to a massage parlor, or call up one of my many ex-girlfriends.

You know, when I first played Halo 2, the first thing I noticed was… well the fact that it was pulled out of the oven way to early, thus loading it with bugs and making it glitchy. But the second thing that I noticed was that the commander was not what I would call media pretty, at all. She had multiple blimishes, bucked teeth, and growing crows feet under her eyes. And the strange thing is, I think that all that actually made her more atractive, she seemed more realalistic. I’m sick of Barbie doll Lora Crofts.

And to rebudle on the whole entertainment vs good writing thing is a little crass, if you ask me. A good story should be entertaining, and something entertaining has a good story. They are one in the same. I couldn’t help but churn in my seat during Van Hellsing, Resident Evil, or other such movies. I personally blame devil music and drugs that lead our youth of America to fall into such decline as to let the bar for stories take such a dive. The Mass Media will always hit just barely above the bar, and people contribute to this when they go out and see a bad movie.

But hey, I guess Mass Media really is a teenager’s whore. A person of my age dosn’t really account for much of the idustry. That’s why I often just drink heaviely instead, the world seems just a little more surreal, and yes most of the female character’s personalities are less then believable, but at least I can see they’re boobies. :ohmy: (oYo) :ohmy:

john 102 Dec 27, 2004 at 22:06

pat, i enjoy reading your posts. you have great ideas, i think you would make a good game designer ;)

SYS49152 101 Dec 28, 2004 at 14:01


She had multiple blimishes, bucked teeth, and growing crows feet under her eyes. [snapback]14750[/snapback]

bah!!!!! i dont like femals with bucked teeth. hehe

well i know what you are talking about. and i have to agree in few points.
but good looking bump-maps on a female hero will always sell good. :tongue:

ofcourse its because iam a typical german ‘BRATWURST’. hehe :)
and most of the time iam thinking about coding and sex.

but your are right in most of the things you post before…..

  • Andy
pat_mathis 101 Dec 28, 2004 at 22:42

thank you andy, thank you john

bladder 101 Dec 29, 2004 at 00:03

Yeah you’re right, every character definetly dosent have to be a victorias secret model. But it’s usually male designers in the drivers seat so… heh. Also, I think you misunderstood my story writing vs entertainment. I didnt say good writing is not entertaining. Writing I just meant that some stories are there just for the hell of it. You *can* have entertainment without nice stories. Take Devil May Cry - I thought that was an awsome game. but the story was horrible. Same with the Tomb Raider games. Dude where’s my car (the movie) and movies like it. So you can get enterianment with crappy or no stories, especially in videogames.