>[Edited to fix some minor formatting issues.]
The other day I stumbled across a link to the sort of game that makes me cringe – Imagine Fashion Party. According to Amazon, the key features are:
- Express your individual creativity in workshops including hair, makeup, clothing and accessories
- Use the Wii remote and nunchuck as scissors, hair brushes, makeup applicator and more
- Make your models perform the right moves to show off your designs in front of fierce judges
- Design in Creation mode, compete in the Reality Show, and challenge friends in mini-games
- Roll out your collection in a photo shoot and catwalk show, and share it with your friends via wi-fi
But then I noticed that this trainwreck of a “game” was by Ubisoft! I was curious about what other “girl’s games” they might have in their lineup, so I did a little poking around and discovered that Imagine is actually its own line of video games with at least thirty-seven titles for the DS and Wii. (I think there may be a few that aren’t showing up on Amazon.)
Even with the duplicates, that’s still a pretty impressive number of titles. Most, though not all, games revolve around an occupation. Admittedly, a few of the titles are duplicates; there are three fashion designer titles, two rock star titles, two teacher titles, and two vet titles. But there’s still a pretty impressive list of careers represented, including things like… Fashion Designer. And Fashion Stylist. And Makeup Artist. And Salon Stylist. In fact, a large portion of the careers represented by Imagine titles are stereotypically feminine roles. And even the ones that aren’t are ridiculously infantalized or feminized.
For instance, instead of “Imagine Veterinarian”, there are two “Imagine Animal Doctor” titles. Do they think that girls are too stupid to understand words longer than 2 syllables? And what about “Resort Owner” and “Boutique Owner”? Are these the only types of businesses that little girls should aspire to own? Even the sports titles are for sports that are traditionally “acceptable” female sports like cheerleading, ice skating, and gymnastics.
Just for shits and giggles, I made a tally of represented careers counted by job categories that were totally made up by me. Duplicate careers are counted – which means that all three “Fashion Designer” titles were counted under Fashion, etc. I also color-coded the resulting chart to help illustrate my point. (“Medicine” is orange because it is a bit of a stereotype, but the titles are for doctors, not nurses – which is a more traditional stereotype.)
Even then – EVEN THEN – I might have been able to forgive them if I hadn’t gone looking for screen captures of Imagine games:
This is from one of the many fashion design titles. I forget which.
From Champion Rider. Because all girls love horses, amirite?
So all of this “games for girls” bullshit is just another way in which the gaming establishment (read:men) is telling gaming women that “YOU DO NOT BELONG HERE”. And now I seriously want to buy as many copies as I can find of these horrendous games and set them on fire like the trash that they are.