At this point, everyone knows that Skyrim is an awesome game. This statement should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been on the internet recently. I decided that instead of bothering with a big, long post that restates all of the virtues the rest of the internet has already brought to light, and then adding my own woman-centric reasons for loving Skyrim, I’m just going to make a list. These are the most important reasons why Skyrim should be praised, in terms of its fair treatment of women.
(Disclaimer: This should not be considered a complete list of reasons to love Skyrim. There are many more, like all of the Elder Scrolls lore and dragonsomgomgomg.)
1. Women who use magic aren’t inherently evil.
A typical fantasy trope is the evil sorceress. It’s everywhere, and I’m sick to death of it, especially because evil sorceresses are usually anti-clothes-wearing, and it promotes the idea that magic = power, and, naturally, that women with power = evil. I face that presumption every day, so why would I want it in fantasy?
2. Women are a wide variety of classes.
Fighters, student mages, bandits, hired thugs, farmers, merchants, etc. Women do everything men do. They do it the same way and with the same amount of clothing on. Sometimes they’re leaders, and sometimes they’re not. Regardless of who and where they are, they never seem like tokens. They seem to belong to their surroundings in the same way that the male characters do.
3. Women have personalities.
Skyrim does a pretty good job with the characters, both men and women. Everyone has a personality, and I never feel like I’m encountering “the mean fighter who has to play tough to survive in a man’s world” or “the shrewish farmer’s wife.” The women aren’t either too dumb, or mean, or hot, or nurturing to be believable. Both the men and women of Skyrim seem like real people.
4. Women fighters actually seem to have the muscle mass to fight.
One big issue with video games and artwork of women fighters is that they never seem sturdy enough for their profession. The men are big hulking masses, and the women are much frailer. It always seems like people who design the women didn’t want to sacrifice potential hotness in favor of realistic muscle mass. These concerns didn’t seem to bother the creators of Skyrim, who seemed to think that fighters of both sexes should be physically strong.
5. Women’s bodies don’t all look the same.
Despite the fact that the women in Skyrim were built off the same hourglass figure women are always based off of, there is some diversity in their shapes in sizes. Some are thinner, some are bigger, some have larger breasts, some have breasts you don’t even notice. They aren’t all clones of each other, and their body type makes sense based on their class. Priestesses are thinner than warriors, etc. And every woman’s waist size isn’t 15.
Poor Lydia. “Sworn to carry your burdens,” she has the thankless task of carrying your improbable hoard of stuff, and help defend you in battles. I could make an obvious, trite statement about women as burden-bearers of society, but I’m not going to. I don’t think that the creators of Skyrim wanted me to see Lydia as a “chick-bodyguard” or something, so I’m not going to look at her like that. She just happened to be the warrior hanging around whenever you were being made thane and needed to be granted a vassal. She is a warrior before she is a woman.
To conclude, women are people in Skyrim. I couldn’t be happier that a mainstream, highly-acclaimed game has created such a fair portrayal of women. It gives me hope.