What’s wrong with dark-haired white guys? Commenter Daemon_Gildas thinks they represent an unfair percentage of our video game heroes, and tells us all about it in today’s Speak Up on Kotaku.
You know what needs to stop in video-game?
Dark-haired white guys in Gaming.
Now, we’ve already heard about how there are too many white guys in Gaming, and I agree wholeheartedly. However, I think it’s also worth pointing out, too, that not all white guys have dark hair, either. Some of us have blonde, red, or even lighter, richer shades of brown.
Honestly, there are so, so many shades of natural hair-colors that it’s damn-right shameful how present “Really-dark brown” is. Hell, even straight-up Black hair seems a rarity by comparison.
It may seem a superficial thing, but being able to relate to a character’s appearance does help us connect with characters. And no, you don’t get points for trying; either you feel like you look similar to your character, or you don’t.
Case in point: I have red hair. Growing up, I got picked-on for it quite a bit for it. There were some advantages to the bullying (such as learning to stick up for myself), but one consequence was that I always identified myself as “redhead”. As such, when I first played Chrono Trigger, I was probably much more attached to Crono than most, simply because I was like “Dude with red hair, heck yes!”.
That’s not to say I demand characters to look like me, either, to be able to enjoy them. L.A. Noire and Red Dead Redemption were both really engrossing, despite having very little in common aesthetically with any of those characters. Luis was the character I related to the most in Left 4 Dead, But, honestly, why cater to one super-specific idea of what a male looks like? Furthermore, have they stopped to consider how it impacts those males who don’t?
I firmly believe that, because of the dwindling presence of light-haired males in the media (be it movies, shows, games, whatever), it reinforces a notion that somehow those characters are “less serious” or “less masculine”. While it doesn’t seem much of an issue now, perhaps it’s worth considering how big an impact the media has had on women’s perceptions of themselves, and maybe trying to learn something from that.