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Feminism in VideogamesFollow

#1 Mar 07 2013 at 9:17 PM Rating: Decent
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I couldn't decide where to put this thread so it ended up here, Becuase while about video games, the subject is more definitely about about the social issues in it.

So a friend of mine that is a game programmer posted a video on my Facebook.

Anita Sarkeesian’s Damsel in Distress: Part 1 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games
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I heard all about this a few month ago or so. Didn't really pay attention, I didn't care if she made a video or not, I would check it out to see what kind of opinions are to be had on the subject. Also keep in mind through most of this, that gaming in general was marketed at boys and teens, for the last few decades.

But wow this kind of threw me for a loop, I mean there's opinions then there's lies or twisting the truth to make you seem better or make the subject worse than it actually is.

I understand where shes coming from but she omits the facts that go into this trope. She constantly keeps saying "Women are objects for the men to play with" Um, WHAT?

Mario and Peach are in a "relationship" least that's the idea I get from the trope, or you're trying to save a loved one. I've never played a Mario game and went, "You know I need to go get back the princess from Bowser because shes so weak and stupid and have my way with her" More of a "Awe **** Bowser took Peach because she is the princess of the Kingdom he wants to rule, and Mario likes her so hes going to save her"

She glosses over there is tons of games that you try to save your brother or buddy, because they detract from her agenda. Seriously I understand some of the old games were limited and could only do so much, so much is implied in graphics.

As for Zelda, again a love story to a part, I've never once looked down at either of these characters because they are girls as less able, but the video depicts men as "Only wanting the object i.e. girl" The motivation of the character isn't I want my woman back, its I love her therefore I'll fight for her. If the woman was just a prize or object, then wouldn't it be just as easy to go get another? Why is X girl character worth so much to X main guy character.

Her comments about how this awesome game was in development but they cannibalized it and made it a "Male hormone trip", this happens a lot in the game industry. They do this to save money and time, It so happened a character that RARE was making would fit nicely in a Starfox game, so Nintendo buys the assets from RARE, and puts their own spin on the character, to fit it in with the TITLE CHARACTER of the game, and? Whats so bad about that, RARE probably didn't feel the game was going to do as well as the offer from Nintendo, nothing to do with a the character being a girl.

As for the Double Dragon thing, really? Would it have been better if the guy was a girl that punched her in the stomach? Does it make it more 'right'? I mean she gets punched once the characters get punched much more then that. As for the panties comment, what relevance does it have?

I don't know this just pressed my buttons bad, I was hoping her little series would actually be insightful or interesting, but instead it feels like propaganda and reverse sexism. Also take note that up until recently homosexual relations were a big taboo in most cultures, and is still a hot button topic, so if you're trying to appeal to a broader range of players a male/female relations is usually a safer option, and since most games are targeted at guys in general. Where in her assessment that it's just because they are weak girls, is wrong.

A great line to describe this, from Chronotrigger:
Frog: "This is no ordinary woman, meet the magician, Flea."
Flea: "What the...? Hey, I'm a GUY!!"
Flea: "Male....Female...what does it matter? Power is beautiful, and I've got the power!"



Edited, Mar 7th 2013 9:18pm by BeanX
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#2 Mar 07 2013 at 9:21 PM Rating: Excellent
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It also ignores the fact that fantasy video games are heavily influenced by fairy tales, where the guy always saves the princess.

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#3 Mar 07 2013 at 9:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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I heard about her during the whole "Attacked by internet trolls when she dared to speak out for women in video games" thing. While I obviously don't condone people threatening and belittling her, I wasn't impressed with her whole schtick either. She seems to be casting an extremely wide net in her quest to point out how oppressed and demeaned women are in video games. Here are her categories for topics:
Quote:
Damsel in Distress - Video #1
The Fighting F#@k Toy - Video #2
The **** Sidekick - Video #3
The **** Villainess - Video #4
Background Decoration - Video #5
Voodoo Priestess/Tribal Sorceress - Video #6
Women as Reward - Video #7
Mrs. Male Character - Video #8
Unattractive Equals Evil - Video #9
Man with Boobs - Video #10
Positive Female Characters! - Video #11

Setting aside the final topic, you can take ANY female character in a game and pigeonhole them into one of those. Not because there's some problem (maybe there is, but this isn't proving it) but because you have so many catch-alls. She's in trouble? Damsel in Distress! She's a kick-*** fighter? "Fighting Fuck-Toy!" Oh, she fights but she's not ****? Well, Man with Boobs then! She's evil and hot? **** villainess! Evil and not hot? How dare you... "Unattractive equals evil!" So on and so forth.

It reeks of "I'm going to prove this is true, by God!" and then setting such low standards for being offended that you're guaranteed that everything is an example worthy of offense.
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#4 Mar 07 2013 at 10:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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On a related note Adam Sessler reviewed God of War Ascension and holy ********* batman, the outcry over his opinion on a certain moment in the game borders on the ridiculous. Essentially Kratos kicks a fury's face in (mind you the fury is female) during a cutscene and right after the cutscene ends you get the achievement "Bros before hoes". Neither one of those things are bad on their own but the association between the two has caused a massive upheaval in the Youtube comments (not to mention gave a reason for trolls to come out and be... well... trolls). Personally I have no qualms with either the action or the achievement but when they married the two, it just feels like they are pushing the envelope a bit too far. I am curious on Sessler's reaction to peoples reaction of his opinion. Oh and here is a link to the video.

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#5 Mar 07 2013 at 10:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:

It reeks of "I'm going to prove this is true, by God!" and then setting such low standards for being offended that you're guaranteed that everything is an example worthy of offense.


Yeah she isn't helping her cause by pointing at everything and finding faults in things where there are no faults. Yes, there are some issues in video games that we need to look at and fix. But to point at everything and say "All this is wrong!" when it clearly isn't is a sure way to get more people against you than for you. Talk about swinging the pendulum all the way in the opposite direction. Smiley: oyvey
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#6 Mar 07 2013 at 10:21 PM Rating: Good
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We told you "Girls can't play video games." So you played.
We make fun of you for being a girl playing a game. So you get good enough to beat us.
We invent the term "Gamer Girls" to further isolate you. So you integrate into every gaming community. Ever.
We even make funny internet memes mocking girls who only pretend to know/like games to be popular with guys. So you rage against other girls who would dare sully the image of female gamers. Weeding them away. Leaving only genuine girls who enjoy gaming.

Now you love games, and we have gamer girlfriends.
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#7 Mar 07 2013 at 10:28 PM Rating: Excellent
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Relevant.
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#8 Mar 07 2013 at 10:47 PM Rating: Good
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I don't know this just pressed my buttons bad


Clearly!

I don't know what video you watched, but the one that I saw didn't have any content resembling the hyperbolic nonsense that you're alleging that it does.

Quote:
I mean there's opinions then there's lies or twisting the truth to make you seem better or make the subject worse than it actually is.


Indeed.
#9 Mar 07 2013 at 10:55 PM Rating: Decent
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/shrug

Lara Croft, anyone?
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You guys keep tossing facts out there like they mean something.


#10 Mar 07 2013 at 11:08 PM Rating: Excellent
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Disclaimer: I did not watch the video, and I have never heard of Anita Sarkeesian.

I have often ranted that video games are sexist. I know it's because they're marketed at males, but it's annoying as all ****. I have raged about video games that have all of the female versions of equipment designed to show tits and ***, and which obviously would never stop an arrow / bullet / projectile of choice.

Then again.

When I play a video game, I want my character to be as pretty as possible. In WoW I always turned off the helm visual so I could see my character's pretty face and hair.

So now I only rant about video games that won't give me a female character to play and call it even.

Edited, Mar 7th 2013 11:08pm by Belkira
#11 Mar 07 2013 at 11:11 PM Rating: Good
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I don't have 23 minutes to watch that.

Men buy games that include male fantasies. They throw a lot of money at those games so companies keep making them. That isn't going to change anytime soon. In contrast my wife watches made-for-TV movies on Lifetime. I'm fairly certain there's no poor male stereotypes there. Smiley: rolleyes

Belkira wrote:
I have often ranted that video games are sexist. I know it's because they're marketed at males, but it's annoying as all ****. I have raged about video games that have all of the female versions of equipment designed to show tits and ***, and which obviously would never stop an arrow / bullet / projectile of choice.


That's crazy talk. This is completely practical.

Edited, Mar 7th 2013 9:15pm by someproteinguy
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#12 Mar 07 2013 at 11:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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someproteinguy wrote:
I don't have 23 minutes to watch that.

Men buy games that include male fantasies. They throw a lot of money at those games so companies keep making them. That isn't going to change anytime soon. In contrast my wife watches made-for-TV movies on Lifetime. I'm fairly certain there's no poor male stereotypes there. Smiley: rolleyes


Ya know, my husband would always make some comment about "So did her boyfriend try to kill her, hit her, or just cheat on her in this one?" and I'll tell you the same thing I told him.

Not all Lifetime movies make men out to be jerkfaces. They portray pretty women as heartless ******* almost as often.

Then I usually have to tell him the guy hit her in this one....
#13 Mar 07 2013 at 11:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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Smiley: lol
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#14 Mar 07 2013 at 11:19 PM Rating: Decent
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Belkira wrote:
Then I usually have to tell him the guy hit her in this one....


Exactly. Lifetime is a network built around the empowerment of the female persona. It's the counter to all that is driven by male fantasy. Mostly everyone gets it. 99% of hetero males stay as far away from it as possible.
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gbaji wrote:
You guys keep tossing facts out there like they mean something.


#15 Mar 07 2013 at 11:19 PM Rating: Good
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BrownDuck wrote:
Lifetime is a network built around the empowerment of the female persona. It's the counter to all that is driven by male fantasy.
For the next two hours Lifetime is airing Project Runway.
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#16 Mar 08 2013 at 3:20 AM Rating: Good
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A fairly similar topic came up recently on another forum I frequent, though it also included the behavior outside of games in addition to the characterization of women in games. I swear, the way they were talking over there, I felt like I needed a set of horns and a pitchfork to go with my genitalia.
#17 Mar 08 2013 at 4:23 AM Rating: Excellent
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I haven't watched the full video, but I agree with what some other people are posting about it. $160k for a bunch of YouTube videos with minimal production value?
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#18 Mar 08 2013 at 5:07 AM Rating: Decent
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Yeah I was noticing that also, to me they had kind of a Walmart training video vibe. I mean BFF report here on Zam seemed to have a higher production value.

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#19 Mar 08 2013 at 6:42 AM Rating: Decent
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Women are being portrayed as women in video games!! Smiley: eek





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#20 Mar 08 2013 at 7:18 AM Rating: Good
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Of course there's a lot of sexism in video games. I made peace with that a long time ago, and I don't play (or purchase) games that go over the line I've drawn internally vis-a-vis how they portray women and/or acceptable behavior. This, to me, is common sense.

You want to combat this? You have to do it via economics. Support and promote games that portray women in an acceptable light. Railing against the others, particularly by name, really only gives them free publicity, and a certain outlaw panache.

Change takes time. As more women and girls play games, we'll have more influence on the market.
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#21 Mar 08 2013 at 7:42 AM Rating: Decent
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Samira wrote:
I don't play (or purchase) games that go over the line I've drawn internally vis-a-vis how they portray women and/or acceptable behavior. This, to me, is common sense.
Have there been games you really wanted to play but didn't because of over-the-top sexism?



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#22 Mar 08 2013 at 7:42 AM Rating: Good
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This seems like a great thread to have an open discussion, in good faith, about the portrayal of women in video games.

Quote:
As for Zelda, again a love story to a part, I've never once looked down at either of these characters because they are girls as less able, but the video depicts men as "Only wanting the object i.e. girl" The motivation of the character isn't I want my woman back, its I love her therefore I'll fight for her. If the woman was just a prize or object, then wouldn't it be just as easy to go get another? Why is X girl character worth so much to X main guy character.


There are plenty of situations where this holds where I'm sure you would recognise the relationship as possessive. Traditionally, someone stealing your woman is a sign of disrespect, whether you care about her as a person or not. Specifically, you might want to think about honour killings, marriage in the 17th century etc etc.

It's also important to note that something that's fine on its own can be part of a toxic pattern; that is, it's fine for a woman to be rescued by a man. When women are constantly being rescued by men and not the reverse it portrays women as helpless. Analagously (the causation is reversed), you can't say that any one extreme weather event is caused by anthropogenic climate change, though it aeffects them all.

Quote:
Setting aside the final topic, you can take ANY female character in a game and pigeonhole them into one of those. Not because there's some problem (maybe there is, but this isn't proving it) but because you have so many catch-alls. She's in trouble? Damsel in Distress! She's a kick-*** fighter? "Fighting ****-Toy!" Oh, she fights but she's not ****? Well, Man with Boobs then! She's evil and hot? **** villainess! Evil and not hot? How dare you... "Unattractive equals evil!" So on and so forth.


That's definitely a problem with diagnosing characters in that kind of simplistic way, yeah. Diametrically opposed charater archetypes can be stupid and/or sexist in certain ways, it's true. Sexism like any kind of status related prejudice worth its salt is pretty resilient and entirely capable of internal inconsistency. But presenting it in the way she does obscures rather than explains these things.
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#23 Mar 08 2013 at 7:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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Elinda wrote:
Have there been games you really wanted to play but didn't because of over-the-top sexism?

Samira's just waiting for the chance to catch the DoA Beach Volleyball wave.
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#24 Mar 08 2013 at 7:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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Kavekk wrote:
It's also important to note that something that's fine on its own can be part of a toxic pattern; that is, it's fine for a woman to be rescued by a man. When women are constantly being rescued by men and not the reverse it portrays women as helpless. Analagously (the causation is reversed), you can't say that any one extreme weather event is caused by anthropogenic climate change, though it aeffects them all.


That's pretty much my stance on it as well. While no singular example may be particularly damning, when taken as a whole it's pretty apparent that there's an issue. Sort of like the Bechdel Test for films.
#25 Mar 08 2013 at 8:01 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Elinda wrote:
Have there been games you really wanted to play but didn't because of over-the-top sexism?

Samira's just waiting for the chance to catch the DoA Beach Volleyball wave.
Should probably work up to that by playing something a little less blatant.

Like Bayonetta.
#26 Mar 08 2013 at 8:17 AM Rating: Decent
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Eske Esquire wrote:

That's pretty much my stance on it as well. While no singular example may be particularly damning, when taken as a whole it's pretty apparent that there's an issue. Sort of like the Bechdel Test for films.
Perhaps my gaming is limited, but I just don't see it. Video games are fantasy. Fantasy is full of romance. I think video games are probably ahead of media in general in equalizing women.

I don't buy into the whole 'objectifying' thing. That's simply a construct. Sure Peach is viewed as an object to Bowzer, a means to an end, - but that's why he's the bad guy. She's not treated like an object by Mario or Luigi. Also she's a formidable opponent - my pick in Mario Racing every time. I don't see a problem with her being taken captive and the Bros' going after her. That's what fantasy gaming is all about. Link is not simply saving Zelda, he's saving Hyrule. Sure the game wouldn't be the game with the link - zelda relationship, but what's so out of whack about it? Do young men not fall for pretty young girls iRL? (young men are still far and away the major demographic in combat gaming)



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