Stop Microsoft’s Marginalization of Women in Video Games


Target: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Goal: Demand games with female protagonists for the Xbox One, to be featured prominently at promotional events.

At the recent E3 press conference, Microsoft unveiled new games for its next generation video game console, the Xbox One. Although many of the games were highly anticipated by men and women gamers alike, not even one game revealed and promoted at the event featured a female protagonist. By continuing to marginalize female characters and, by extension, female gamers, Microsoft is continuing a history of misogyny in video games, where more often than not violence is acted upon helpless women instead of matching equal wits and strength between male and female characters.

The sexism that is bred and harbored by this continued tradition of marginalization is evident in the pushback from some of the gamers themselves. When Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency tweeted her disappointment in Microsoft’s approved lineup, the backlash from certain gamers was specifically and caustically sexist. Sarkeesian is no stranger to this kind of harassment, and the energetic abuse aimed at her is a clear symptom of a poisonous ideology. As if to assert their inability to comprehend the seriousness of diminishing women and their experiences, Microsoft employees even used a callous rape joke when demonstrating one of the games..

Women warriors have fought and died in actual, physical conflict for thousands of years, and have promptly been forgotten by history because they don’t align with preconceived notions of femininity. Sign this petition to break this tradition of sexism and marginalization and to send a message to Microsoft that their consumers are not satisfied with their output. We demand to see more prominent female characters in future games.


Dear Steve Ballmer,

At the recent E3 press conference Microsoft unveiled several games for the Xbox One, not one of which featured a female protagonist. Your consumers consist of both male and female gamers, and the dearth of prominent and effective female characters in these upcoming games is unacceptable.

You have set a precedent for the new gaming console that reflects poorly on your company’s standards. To continue in this tradition of marginalizing women in games is to demonstrate your brand’s myopic worldview, and it doesn’t bode well for the innovation of the creators. In fact, it’s a disappointing step backward.

Please take action to incorporate more progressive female characters in your games, and be sure to feature them prominently during press conferences.


[Your Name Here]

Image: Evan-Amos

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