Wednesday, September 04, 2013

GTA With A Female Lead

Watching the promo last night for Grand Theft Auto V, I began to wonder what the series would be like if there were a female lead. RockStar is a very male character dominated company, and while they don’t typically go towards misogynistic tendencies, some tropes do make their ways into their games. Damsel in Distress is one of the more popular that you can see in practically every game, from Red Dead Redemption to, well, any GTA game. Very rarely do we see women in a powerful role. And when we do, there is still that element of sex or submission that we expect from those characters. Bonnie from Redemption, probably one of the strongest female characters, emotionally, in the game, is still portrayed as love-sick when she’s around John. She is still subdued in her position in the game because of her “feminine emotions.”

GTA games are notorious for not giving the most…sensitive light to any race, religion, creed, or gender. Stereotypes are common and, in many ways, that’s part of the humor of the game. We can’t take it seriously. Gangs are typically cultural oriented, with over the top voice acting or one liners that reinforce the stereotypes. So it’s no stretch that there are only female prostitutes roaming the streets of the city, that women in the circle of a gang are half-naked, with a foul mouth, and considered objects of desire. They are stereotypes that we expect from the series.

So what would happen if we deviate from them? What would a GTA world look like if we had a strong female lead character instead? I don’t mean turn the tables and put it from the perspective of one of CJ’s girlfriends or a woman of the night. What I’m referring to is supplementing the main male character with a woman. She wouldn’t be the norm for a GTA game, but above it. There are female hit men, crime lords, and drug smugglers too. It is very plausible to create such a character as a lead. So why hasn’t RockStar done this yet? They seem like they would be the type of company that would want to push the envelope and bring something new to the franchise.

Fear. Uncertainty. I don’t really have an answer to that question. But I do think that it would be a bold step in the right direction for the franchise. And before I start imagining the sexist jokes, no this woman would not be at home, in the kitchen all day, cooking and cleaning. She would be on the streets, collecting drugs, making shady deals, the whole 9 yards on what we expect a male GTA lead would do. She's sassy, classy, and foul mouthed, but she doesn't take crap from anyone. She can hold her own with a gun or her fists. She sends the misogynists to their graves without the need for high heels. And yes, male prostitutes. It's only fair guys.

Something to think about.

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