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Roughly twice as many male characters as female characters in season one.

posted by Flog61 on - last edited - Viewed by 4.1K users

There are roughly twice as many men as women in terms of main characters. I just wondered why this was.

I don't think the reason could be that women are less likely to survive, as there are pretty much even numbers of male and female walkers.

As for who I am counting, the 'maths' goes as follows:

Males: Lee, Kenny, Larry, Duck, Hershel, Shaun, Doug, Ben, Mark, Andy, Danny, Glenn, Vernon, Omid, Chuck, Total: 15

Females: Clementine, Carley, Lilly, Katjaa, Brenda, Christa, Brie, Molly, Total: 8 Even if we include very minor characters like Irene, Joyce, Clive or Boyd, the numbers are still way out of balance.

I wouldn't speak up if the numbers were like 60% male, 40% female as this seems to be a common theme with most games and books and stuff, but I just found it very noticeable.

58 Comments
  • I really do hope (as a woman) it won't turn into a sexist debate...

  • Yeah, but pretty much every single one of them was/is a badass (Carley, Lilly, Christa, Molly, ...). + We get to play as Clem now. What more could you ask for?

  • Quality, not quantity.

    Look back. How well-written was every female character in season one?

  • As long as the characters are well written and interesting, I don't really think it matters what the ratio of Men to Women, Black to White, or anything else is.

    • I of course want every character to be well written.

      And I wouldn't mind at all if it wasn't just so far from the actual figures we have today, namely 49-51% of people in America being female.

  • I'm not entirely sure why the post is getting thumbs down. I mean, I'm posting facts aren't I?

    Aside from the facts, I ask why it was. Which doesn't really warrant thumbs down, does it?

    I didn't even say that there should automatically be more female characters. I'm just saying there were more men than women (true) and why (which was the point of the thread, and for which no-one has really offered an argument)

  • So what ?

    What do you want us to discuss ? Is it about gender stuff again ?

    • I don't believe I've ever talked about gender on the walking dead forums here before...

      I've talked about sexuality on one thread, but that's an entirely different issue altogether.

      • Well you know, by "gender stuff" I mean all those societal issues that are no doubt fundamental to the quality of video games...

        I just can't wait for the exciting whole new opportunites season 2 will give us to discuss the degree of sexism in these or those player decisions, the subconscious prejudice behind the criticism against this or that character, wether some choices hinder the empowerment of Clementine and God knows what else

  • I don't think there's a good answer to your question outside of "That's just the way it happened." The Walking Dead may be a somewhat realistic take on a zombie apocalypse but that doesn't mean that its cast of characters needs to be a completely random sampling of the US population. Lee just happened to encounter more men than women on his journey. He also happened to encounter a disproportionate number of cannibals. There's no rhyme or reason to it. That's just how his story unfolded.

    Sure, they could have added a few more female characters or made one of the male characters into a female character (especially ones whose gender wasn't particularly important like Mark, Vernon, or Chuck), but if the only purpose of that is to reach some kind of quota, it would feel really empty and cheap. I think it's better just to let Telltale include whatever kinds of characters they think would be interesting to add to the story and if one group happens to be more represented than another group, I say so be it.

    • I do agree with pretty much everything you say, at a basic level. However, if these things were reversed or amplified, I doubt that people would ignore it as they pretty much have with this issue.

      Would people notice if there were 20 black people and 8 white people?

      Would people be okay with it if there were 27 gay characters and 3 straight ones, just because the main character happened to meet them? Something tells me that in this situation, people would say 'that's statistically unlikely'.

      Well so is the gender issue here.

      But I do completely understand what you mean, and I'm fully behind letting Telltale write the game as they see fit. I've just seen female characters misused, over-sexualised, or vastly under-represented (this game is a saint compared to others in that regard; yes I am looking at you Far Cry 3, Assassin's Creed and Just Cause) too much in modern games, films and TV shows, and it's made me a bit bitter :/

      • I won't pretend that gender/race representation in the game industry hasn't had issues, but it looks a bit disingenuous to make accusations of it here. Their was a diverse cast and female characters played a solid part in it.

        If your only complaint is that there wasn't an exact gender allotment in each episode, then you could be going out of your way to look for discrimination.

      • Would people notice if there were 20 black people and 8 white people? Sure. And I'm sure some of them would object were that the case. But those people would be kinda racist. It's entirely plausible for someone to meet more black people than white people in a given area, depending on the racial demographics of the area in question, and Georgia has a significant black population. It would not be likely outside of certain heavily black areas, given that the state still has a significantly larger white population, but certainly not implausible.

        Would people be okay if there were 27 gays characters and 3 straight ones? Probably not. And in that case, their objections would have a lot more merit, unless the story of the zombie apocalypse had some focus on LGBT issues, which would frankly feel pretty out of place in The Walking Dead. In any case, such a one-sided sampling would be wildly improbable outside of a few contexts, such as a pride parade or gay bar.

        Now, on to the situation at hand: 15 males and 8 females. If you were to walk into an office building or down the street or wherever else and see during the course of your journey 15 males and 8 females, would you even bat an eyelash? I wouldn't. Such a ratio is not implausible at all; you just happened to meet more men than women, of which there are plenty of both in the world.

        Lee just happened to meet more men than women. Maybe that means the writers are being sexist, but I highly doubt it. I think it just means they thought of more interesting males characters to write than female characters, and didn't get hung up on keeping the numbers even because maintaining a quota of how many males/females you must have to maintain balance is dumb.

        • I guess we'll see what happens in the further seasons of the walking dead.

          I mean, surely if we ALWAYS meet many more men than women then there is something that warrants discussion?

          The thing is, video games usually seem to have more male characters than female characters.

          • I'd rather they focus on continuing to produce quality female characters rather than worrying about the ratio of men to women, which really isn't particularly important. Lilly, Carly, Katja, Christa, Clementine and most of the others were well-written characters with their own motivations, strengths and weaknesses. None of them existed to provide fanservice and none were one-dimensional damsels in distress or the like.

            If you want to go after the depiction of women in games, then you're definitely going after the wrong target.

            • I'd want them to focus on continuing to produce quality characters, regardless of gender.

              • Same here. Which is why the gender ratio doesn't bother me.

                Really, if there weren't so many other aspects of the series which are obviously excellent viewed from the perspective of gender equality, this 'problem' might bother me a bit more. As it stands, it seems a bit petty. They can produce a wide variety of female characters with their own personalities, motives and issues, who exist outside the orbit of the male protagonist in a way Hollywood often fails spectacularly to achieve, then follow up with a second season that has a girl as the protagonist, and yet Telltale is being criticized because they ended up with a larger number of male characters than female for Season 1?

                About twice as many male characters as female doesn't bother me. If Season 2 has the reverse, it won't bother me, either, but neither will it make me feel Telltale is being more 'progressive'. I don't want them sitting around debating whether they have their quota of a certain type of character, be it based on gender or race or whatever else. I just want them to make interesting characters.

      • Um excuse me sir, you're now overdoing it there isn't 27 males and 3 females in the first place! Yeah hell peolpe would notice then but there isn't. And your making it worse by ranting about gender in group being close to 50% 50%.

  • Besides, if you really want to raise gender issues, here's an idea for you : the male overrepresentation among negative/evil characters. The two St John brothers, f*cking all of em bandits, Crawford's leader and doctor, the Stranger...

    Evil female characters : Brenda St John, that's all.

    If we follow this road of looking for gender things, we could note that men are still represented as more prone to turn to antisocial, predatory behaviors than women.

    Anyway, I'm personally okay with that, and I believe there are some reasons (among which biological ones, that's right, I said it) that justify this, but, you know, just sayin'...

    • Actually, there was a female bandit. Linda. And Brenda was suggested to be the mastermind behind the whole eating people thing. Also, Lilly may not have been a villain per se but she got pretty close there towards the end.

      More importantly though, Flog61 was arguing that there was no basis for why there would be more male survivors than female survivors, whereas you fully admit that there is a basis for why men would be more antisocial and predatory.

      That being said, I would actually like to see another female antagonist that displayed some antisocial, predatory behaviors. In a zombie apocalypse scenario, I can imagine a femme fatale type person using her charms or perceived vulnerability to get others to let their guard down so that she can rob them of their stuff. And, yes, I know. "Zombieland already did that." But a more serious take on that might be interesting.

      Too bad it doesn't quite work with Clem as the protagonist...

      • Wasn't a huge fan of the girl in Zombieland (mainly because I still nitpick over the idea of someone basing a con on thinking that other survivors would hesitate to shoot your "infected" sister..) but I like the idea of having more clever variants of bandit showing up.

        Playing up the manipulative angle doesn't have to be femme fatal though. I think it can get tiresome when a character's only deemed as a threat based on who they can seduce.

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    Vainamoinen Moderator

    It is a misunderstanding that feminist gamers would ask for 50% female characters in games. "Strength in numbers" is about the last thing to be concerned about.

    What we should protest against is the stereotypical and derogatory roles of women in video games. In Telltale's game however, there's quite a diversity noticable. These diverse characters do have their stereotypes too, but I think that situation is comparable to the male characters.

    What feminists like Anita Sarkeesian do ask for are more female protagonists in games... which we'll get in Season 2.

    • Right. Numbers mean a whole lot less than presentation, and in presentation the female characters come out just fine in TWD...or rather, with the same mix of strengths and flaws as the male characters, which is how it should be.

      • I don't think anybody here would argue against presentation being first and foremost when it comes to equal treatment for male and female characters in games. All things being equal, though, if males characters still consistently outnumber female characters 2:1 in a game for no apparent reason, wondering why that might be the case is a reasonable line of inquiry.

        It still seems a little nitpicky to be zeroing in on such a minor issue for a game that's been so good at representing female characters, especially considering how much more poorly other games have done so, but if the disparity is there, it's worth noting. For me, it's a pretty minor note, though. Addressing it would, at most, make a shining example of fair treatment of female characters in video games a tad bit shinier.

    • Is it completely wrong to merely point it out when the figures in a 'realistic' game are so far from reality?

      I'm not asking for 50% female characters at all.

      However, having them be slightly closer to real percentages would be nice, as 2x as many is quite a lot.

      • I'm sorry, but I just don't think the disparity between the male and female characters here is as huge as you're making it out to be.

        Do a handful of bit part characters like Shaun and Glenn being male really hurt the standing of the well developed female characters in the group?

  • feminists are as bad as misogynists

    • Feminism: 'The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes'. How is that bad?

      I don't think men are better than women, nor do I think women are better than men.

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