‘She’s a soldier, not a model’: Feminism, FemShep and the Mass Effect 3 vote | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 7, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1757-191X
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1928



In the summer of 2011, Bioware held a Facebook vote to determine the ‘official’ face of Mass Effect 3’s female Commander Shepard, who was then to be featured in a game trailer and on the box art. It was presumably a feminist step forward for the Mass Effect franchise, which, although it allows gamers to play as either male or female, had always showcased a male Shepard in its advertisements and other marketing materials. The resulting ‘FemShep’ vote, however, created controversy in the gamer community. This article considers how FemShep’s distaff status affects her gender positioning, and further incorporates online articles and fan comments in arguing that Bioware’s vote positioned Shepard primarily (and predictably) as a sexual object for the pleasure of a straight male audience, thus corrupting Shepard’s already fragile status as a feminist lead.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Bioware; feminism; gender; marketing; Mass Effect; video games
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