No Women Police Officers in Videogames?

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As Aiden Pearce in that irritatingly repetitive but nevertheless entertaining game called Watch-Dogs, I have killed many policemen and escaped from many others. In squad cars, helicopters and motor-boats they came after me and either shot me dead or got punished big time. But they were all men! As far as I know, women police officers are not that uncommon in the United States. Indeed, I see many of them even on Calcutta streets and certainly loads more at the airport here  than I did back in them days. I trained a group of policemen in English language skills quite a while ago and as I hung around with them quite a bit, so I should know. Strangely, however, there are no women police officers in Watch Dogs. Or GTA or Mafia 2 and you will certainly struggle to find me a name. No women police officers in videogames? Why, I wonder.

Maybe, in  games like Mafia: City of Lost Heaven or L.A. Noire that are set in the late 40s and early 50s, there would be less of a chance of expecting them but by and large, the police in videogames are male. Obviously, this is a stark contrast to films. Hollywood movies are full of them and I remember Rani Mukherjee as a police officer in Mardaani (which received mixed reviews from feminists in India) and Tabu is all set to star as a tough cop in the forthcoming film, Drishyam. While I was writing all this, I've had a couple of people correct me on Facebook: Shantam Basu reminds me of Mia in Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Arno Görgen  says that the 'only one I remember is a undervover cop in Deus Ex: Human Revolution'.  So there.

Bollywood film star Tabu as a police officer in the film Drishyam

Undercover, yes, but what's the problem with depicting women police officers in uniform. Is it discrimination or just a sense of bad form (which, for me, might be a similar thing)? Arno suggests in his Facebook comment that 'it seems easier to implement women as soldiers than as police officers. Maybe the morality of police work in games is related to 'masculine' values like honour or 'heroism' while military shooters are amoral and therefore more open to female characters?' Maybe so. But then it is a privileging of 'honour' and 'heroism' that is reversed in movies such as the ones I've mentioned. So if we can have a female archaeologist (Lara Croft is that and much else) and a female spy (Cate Archer of No One Lives Forever) kick ass, then why not have women police officers?

Well,  just a thought developers ... In any case, this could be seen as symptomatic of a broader (and more serious) issue. 

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