What makes female protagonists special?


As someone who loves the world of comics I can say there are a ton of great female characters in Marvel and DC, and they’re all quite different from each other and have engaging qualities distinct to them and their gender, including the ones who happen to be female counterparts to often longer running male heroes. You even get ones like Carol Danvers who as the modern Captain Marvel has completely overshadowed the male Mar-Vell she originally was a supporting cast member of.


back then , I only had access to the ones I named .

Took years , before I found there was a female hulk!!! and she looked so AWESOME!!!


Oh yeah, She Hulk is a favourite heroine of mine, she’s a lawyer and Bruce’s cousin and definitely one of those ‘sexually confident’ comic types like Power Girl, Black Cat and Emma Frost. But I like her for her heroism and fun nature as much as her attractiveness.


and don’t forget them ABS!!! very very veryyyyyyyyyy important them ABS ! :kissing_closed_eyes:


Lol, I think if any female pulls off sexy muscles in fiction it’s She Hulk. :sunglasses::muscle:


In my youth I mostly played RPG´s and adventure games. In RPG´s you could choose female characters, but the Games were more dungeon crawlers so the gender really didn´t matter. The first adventure, I remember, featuring a female MC was a part of the King´s Quest series. Perils of Rosella. It was not common to have female characters, I guess because female players were not so common, at least the corporations thought so^^. I think the change that is going on is due to realizing that females are a market worth pleasing too. The change for me is best explained with the above mentioned Lara Croft. The first Lara games seemed to be just there that males could admire her butt and not really to represent a female protagonist. I personally know many male WoW Players that chose female characters just to watch them. As a proof take a look at female armour^^

The new Lara Croft is a lot different, but that might be related to games having generally more background in it, than most of the older games(not all though).

Another thing that may make female protagonists special is that today I think they are designed to please the female market, and the corporations seem to think that only female players like deeper stories( that may be a reason male whites like to chose female characters, if they do), so sometimes such stories seem to have more weight put on emotions and stories and the inside of characters, at least it seems to be this way. Just my opinion :grin:


I kinda wish there was a female hulk that was misshapen and monstrous like the actual Hulk. She-Hulk is just kind of a woman with green skin. She’s super strong but her design only makes her juuuuust muscley enough to stay within the bounds of traditional standards of beauty.

I think having Sexy Hulk is fine but what about just a regular old Hulk with female characteristics? Totally untapped potential there.


Jennifer on occasion has become more like her cousin, but it’s usually when she gets really angry (which makes sense given the mantra of all Hulks - the madder they get, the stronger they get).


For the sake of science, I will acknowledge the possibility that heterosexual attraction is a subconscious factor.
Possibly. But the first person so start quoting Sigmund Freud gets jettisoned out the airlock.

I am actually kind of okay with prejudice in games, so long as it’s an intentional part of the story.
In a game that handles it well, it forces you to re-think how you approach problems. Kind of plays into my fondness for cranking games up to the hardest difficulty for my first playthrough. In fact, it could probably be a point all on it’s own.

Point 3: Difficulty


This is a bit less universal than points 1 and 2, in that not every game with female protagonists or even good female protagonists has it, which is probably why I didn’t include it originally.
I absolutely love when games have male and female options, and the differences between those options are more than just anatomical. Unfortunately for me, there is a relatively low number of games that even have it as an option. And among those that do, there is an even lower percentage of it effectively changing things other than character model and some minor stats.

Those few games that break the mold, however, end up holding a special place in my heart. Most game’s I’ve seen do this provide pros and cons for each gender, with males being the choice for the standard form of difficulty, and females being the choice for a more nuanced form.
My favorite example would be in Crusader Kings 2. A medieval politics simulator where you take control of a influential dynasty from history, and basically play the game of thrones where you win or you die. There is no middle ground. Now, it being a realistic depiction of medieval politics, everyone hates girls. Doesn’t stop you from playing as one, though line of succession tries to avoid it from happening, it could very easily happen on accident or on purpose.
Playing as a female ruler comes with some serious detractors right from the beginning. Your vassals will have an automatic dislike toward you, several marriage opportunities are closed off, you’re blocked from certain positions, and pretty much any relative with an army can up and say ‘I should be king, because girls are icky,’ prompting a civil war.
But for as many doors are closed, there are clever ways to force them back open. If you still want to go down a martial route, than living next to a Muslim nation goes from a headache to an opportunity, assuming you can keep your army strong enough to fight off their steady stream of Jihads, giving a massive bonus among your vassals for protecting them from infidels. And if you don’t have a nice convenient foreign religion trying to kill you all, you will probably be forced to go down a more diplomatic route, playing much more carefully and weighing the importance of each decision.
In a way, the prejudice of the world forces you to identify your difficulties and find clever ways to turn them into opportunities. One of my best moments was when I used a bit of seduction and diplomacy to ingratiate my queen to the leader of a neighboring kingdom about the same size as mine to the point where our nations were the best of friends. Then propped the question, ‘Hey, you know what would be awesome? How about I marry your third born son?’ Now ordinarily, marriage prospects for a female ruler in the 900s were abysmal, but that’s where a bit of lateral thinking comes into play. After all, he really liked me and who really cares about third born sons anyway? They never inherit anything!
Two assassinations (three if you count the first born’s son) later, and I built my first empire. A masterstroke of political intrigue, opportunism, and spitting in the face of the medieval patriarchy. One I was so embarrassingly proud of that I bragged about it on a thread centered about gender politics in video games.

Cough. Anyway, my point is, prejudice in video games can add a bit of spice to a playthrough to make it into something really special. Completely defying expectations and defeating opponents who thought nothing of you despite numerous roadblocks in your way is really another type of power fantasy, if you think about it.
And that’s primarily focusing on games centered around social interactions, like is the case with most CoG games (who I think, really miss a goldmine of opportunity by being so staunchly anti-prejudice. I remember when I walked into Choice of Broadsides and thought ‘woah, I can play a female captain in a patriarchal world? What kind of new scenarios does that cause? How do I deal with a caste system directed against me while still being an effective military- Oh, I just magically switch the genders around…well what’s the bloody point?!’). In action oriented games, I also enjoy playing games that acknowledge that there was a reason males were primarily hunters and females were primarily homekeepers, in the savage back-when days of B.C.
No offense to modern Lara Croft, but I find it hard to be inspired by her heroic resilience in the face of hardship when she is effortlessly mowing down hordes of mercenaries, no matter how many pained noises she makes. I am much more interested by characters like Rebecca Chambers, who are absolutely not physically equipped to be dealing with zombie hordes, but has to do it anyway.
Because y’know, sometimes life just ain’t fair.

Well, yeah, that’s kind of the pre-requisite for liking anything.
But at the same time…

There are definite differences between male and female. Positive and negative depends on situation.
Personally, I do not care for female characters that think, act, and are treated exactly the same as male characters. Likewise, I do not care for male characters that think, act, and are treated exactly the same as females.
Unless it’s a plot point in-story that they are breaking mold, then I’m just going to be thinking…what’s the point? (Much like was the case in my first interaction with Choice of Broadside).

That’d certainly be a plot twist, now wouldn’t it?
If that’s the case, stop eating junk food! My job requires minimal athletic standards and you’re making me fat!

It’s okay. You tried your best.

Honestly, I’m kind of the opposite in regards to the reboot. Now, I never played much Tomb Raider prior to the Reboot, but from what I remember, old Lara was much more enjoyable to be around than new Lara. Old Lara was in control, adventurous, sexually confident, and didn’t need any excuse to go on adventure plots, she just wanted to. Not everyone can pull off a character like that, but her voice actress for me was perfectly able to get across the kind of person who was just that confident and somewhat bored to do it.
Meanwhile, I feel like the new games is trying a bit too hard to tug at my heartstrings. I’m supposed to tear up at her strength because what, she got beat up a lot in the game? Lots of people in video games get pounded on. If I had a picture of every character who had ever survived a stab wound, I could wallpaper my entire house. It’s even harder to sympathize in the sequels, when she is willingly putting herself in these situations, and yet I’m supposed to be inspired by her determination rather than unnerved by her apparent masochism. As Zero Punctuation put it “I just want Lara to say ‘you know what, I don’t have to zip-line off this tower over some flaming spikes and onto a savage tiger. I’m going to because I want to!’” I liked the reboot game, but mainly as one of those ‘play the game, skip the story’ kind of deals.
Which, to be fair, is also the case with the old Lara. But that game is self-aware about it.

I guess it plays into what Poison_Mara said. A story has to be well-written before anything else comes into play.

No prob, Bob.


Personally, your grammar and sentence structure needs work, it was difficult to separate the main points from each other, and you tended to repeat a lot of the same points, so I’d probably give this essay a C+.
Nonetheless, you were the first to meet the minimum word requirement. PM me later.

It is?
…Can someone look this up?

Yes, unfortunately this is a very subjective topic, so pure logic can’t really be a deciding factor and it’s hard to make a good argument for every single point in my case (there were a few more points, it’s just that those two were the only ones I could logically argue).
When it comes to feelings, it can be pretty hard to explain in a format like an essay or a blog post. A lot of the logic involved could be rock solid for the person speaking, even if factually the reasoning is flimsy and in some cases self-contradictory. Cause, well…people.

This right here is just as perfectly a valid of reasoning as my point-by-point analysis. In fact, it’s kind of where I started, I just decided to one day analyze the reasoning behind it out of scientific curiosity.
And then posted it on a forum thread out of the arrogant assumption that anyone cares what I think. :man_shrugging:


Honestly one of the reason I have fond CoV memories. It’s not something I mind. Feels like more effort than “everything’s the same but switched”


Difficulty is definitely a factor in a games replayability. Most cogs are an escapist fantasy no matter if that escapism comes in many forms.

Still not quite a fan of "oh you’re female so shits harder now, good luck if you want to win without using your tits but rather say brute force. Also comes with the toxic mentality that women can only achieve things through male seduction and deception.
If it is done fairly and with nuance then great! But I understand it can be quite tricky for a greenhorn author.

Granted it’s definitely a valid way to play a female character. It can be great fun if you want to play the long con, a grand game of chess!

It just gets a tad tiring to see that theme repeated until it becomes a norm. (Its mostly a thing outside of cog anyways.)


Hm, well to be frank, I don’t play many video games that allow you to choose in the first place, and those that I do are mostly CoG and those tend to have the policy of “gender has no impact except pronouns”, so I just go male since it makes it simpler to immerse (although I will go female for experimenting with some ROs). The one type of media where I feel really strongly about this topic though is in literature. I think your first point is completely dead when talking about novels, considering a lot of the classics star a female protagonist. I feel like it depends when it was written when discussing whether I prefer female or male protagonists. Older novels such as the Wrinkle in Time series were quite amazing and that was at least in part because of how awesome of a protagonist Meg was, and I feel like many other older novels lend themselves to that trend of amazing female protagonists, but when reading modern fiction, it seems to go the opposite way. I’m not sure why it is, but it feels like the “strong independent female lead” has kinda been watered down and it’s lost its unique qualities. It almost is like an insult to older novels to read a book with a stereotypical ““strong”” female lead. Male leads on the other hand only seem to be getting better as authors experiment with giving more leeway to male protagonists in terms of their feelings, and it’s like they’re going through their own transition just like female leads had before. So in short, this was not really connected to the main topic, but hey, this was posted in the off-topic category anyway! :stuck_out_tongue:


Frankly I find the “seductress” and “woman must fight against maschilist scum” tropes so overused I yawn just reading the post about those.
Maybe for males expecially can be fun, because is actually going into someone else shoes? I guess usually man don’t having to fight constantly against bigots ostracyze you just by looks much, makes for a fun change from the usually always accepted main protag.
And I don’t think there are many opportunities to play the sultry seductor with no attachmant-just for the job either. Usually male seductor are depicted as just someone who bed many women for his own fun, not for other motivations.

But for me, as a woman, I feel like is always the same stuff over and over and over.

Is an incredible breath of fresh hair have a female protagonist (in games or otherwise) that doesn’t have to expose her boobs because man are stupid and think with the brain in their pants than with the one in the head. (Really, is not insulting being depicted with such stupidity for guys?)

Same for the misoginy. Probably because is still easy being bitted by it in RL, and because is such a common trope, I don’t find it fun anymore.

I would prefer to see more the inversed trope: amazon society with women on top and men having to work really hard, proving themselves at every step, to get to the top, and even then being looked down.


I’ve been watching all the drama surrounding BF V with the female soldiers with cyborg arms in WW2 and thought that if DICE and EA admitted they intended on doing a alternative universe WW2 and not tried to paint all the fans with issues under the one banner whilst insisting that it’s still historically accurate, they would be getting better sales. Never mind the fact they’re already stuck between COD BO 4 and RD2…