Portrayal of Pregnant Women in ‘Fallout Shelter’ Attacked by Feminist Cultural Critic

Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda Softworks

On June 14, 2015, Bethesda Softworks released Fallout Shelter, a simulation game about managing the populace of an underground fallout shelter in which female characters can become pregnant. But the reactions that the pregnant characters have to in-game events were criticized by feminist cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian:

As suggested by other Twitter users, the “hysterical” nature of the pregnant character above seems to be justified considering the fire that appears to be directly on her, the flames licking at her womb. Some commenters noted a biological explanation for why these pregnant characters might behave erratically:

But Sarkeesian also lamented what she perceived as a generally sexist system of gameplay:

Based on other simulators like SimCity, Fallout Shelter is described as a game in which “you manage a vault and its dwellers to try and make sure everyone is happy.” The vault’s inhabitants have skills that the player can improve while purchasing them new clothes and gear. Fallout Shelter’s reproduction mechanic serves as a way of introducing new members to the player’s population. Gamers must manage their citizens’ food, power, and water and can send their population outside to explore the wasteland.

Fallout Shelter is currently available on Apple products, with Bethesda Softworks stating the Android version will be “hopefully out in a few months.”

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