Tropes and sexism in gaming.

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ShadowNeku
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Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by ShadowNeku » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:25 pm

For those with the time and an interest in the subject, a video discussing the representation of female characters in gaming, namely those in the oft used "Damsel in Distress" role. This is the first in a running series:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 6p5AZp7r_Q

Just interested to see where the people on here stand on this. This was posted on Joystiq earlier and the comments section exploded with an overwhelming negative response from male gamers who viewed it as a non issue or resorted to attacking the presenters physical appearance.
Some of the examples she uses are problematic but i think she highlights a good point. Women are often given roles to act as weak and helpless victims in gaming and even in stronger lead roles they are oversexualized as a sort of compromise (Bayonetta, Lollipop Chainsaw, X Blades, Onechanbara, the Dead or Alive girls). The latest Tomb Raider on the other hand has done a lot for positive female leads.
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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by will2097 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:45 am

Where does one begin?

Firstly, it's typical of a prissy middle-class American to assume gaming is all about Nintendo.

1. While she laments the image of women in games, she happily assumes all men are so stupid in real life that they can't differentiate between a video-game and reality. Men, according to her contrived theory, can't tell the difference between a really-real woman, and princess peach. This is the same as Mary Whitehouses assumption that watching a video nasty would immediately turn everyone into a deranged murderer. And while this sensationalist viewpoint is attractive and headline grabbing, it just isn't true.

2. She willfully ignores games like Metroid, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, Tekken and any game that suggests that yes, women are different to men, yet at the same time equal. Which is likely a version of reality this feminist can't in truth deal with.

3. She's an attention seeker. No better than a person who turns up at a packed football stadium with a megaphone with the intention of screaming to high heaven how much they hate football, and how much everyone should watch cricket. She wants the insults she gets because it proves her version of reality. I'd bet she gets quite cross when men open doors for her, or give up their seat.

4. She willfully ignores the fact that not all women are like her. The contempt she clearly holds for men, must pale to insignificance for any woman that ever donned a short skirt and laughed at a crap joke told by a man she fancied. This woman can't accept that everyone is not like her. Mills & Boon made a roaring trade selling trashy books, made by women, for women, about Antonio Banderas type men swashbuckling their way through hoards of villains, to save them from their slightly moist easily removable knickers. The feminist in the youtube video again forgetting that all humans are capable of telling the difference between fantasy and reality. 50 shades of grey? Every second article in cosmopolitan? Oh wait? Women have stupid fantasies as do men? Will2097 are you suggesting than men and women are stupid as each other? Yes. Yes I am. And yet the world still turns?

5. While she seems beside herself with smugness at highlighting the problem, she is unable to provide a solution. Sexually ambiguous blob sets out to rescue equally sexually ambiguous blob from a larger hairier (gingham shirt wearing?) sexually ambiguous blob for the purpose of making bean curd soup? I don't know, it's not GTA 3 is it?

6. She willfully ignores the fact that women aren't represented in games, because women historically have been a tiny demographic of the game playing public, and you run the risk of alienating your core demographic (i.e men) by pandering to them. This isn't sexism, it's capitalism.

7. Women in sexy outfits = bad. Firstly, again, in a free society, people should be free to wear what they want. A bin liner or bikini, be they man or woman. And secondly yes, i have noticed that women in games have long legs and big boobs, but i also noticed that many of the men are 6 foot tall, muscle bound, good looking tanned strong hero's. That fantasy, reality things again isn't it?

This woman just hates men. She probably hates most women too. Her points of view are contrived, purposefully inflammatory, condescending and down right irritating -- but semi intelligently presented so she can be the victim when the hot heads show up. She presents a pseudo-scientific case by only selecting the facts that help her to prove her own agenda.

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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by DoraemonTheCat » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:46 am

Sexism in gaming is always going to be a part of the gaming landscape, as it is "predominantly" a Male past-time/hobby. The majority of games are made by guys, and the guys who play them are not interested in rescuing anything other than a female. Are there any games where a central male character has to rescue a poor homosexual from the clutches of doom?? It would be a very original premise, but it's unlkely to happen (or has it in some game I've not played?)

Games are like movies.

In the movies, it is generally the male that is the hero, only this has changed along with the times, as equal opportunities has kicked in and women have been more dominant in their work/social life, this has now inevitably filtered down to pop culture and movies of course.

TV and films generally had a male as the hero, but there were shows such as Cagney & Lacey, Charlie's Angels and just how amazing was Ripley in the Alien films?? Was also great to see Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor) move with the times and the shift in gender equality to "man-up" in her reprised role for Terminator 2.

Female "heroines" are ten-a-penny in movies and TV shows nowadays - I could give the name of a hundred of each that features a non-stereotypical damsel in distress.

Games DO and HAVE championed powerful female characters, but it is generally in a specific genre - namly, Fighting Games. Chun Li, Mai Shiranui, Pai Chan, Sonya Blade, Taki etc, etc........

In other genres, not so much so. There have been a few - Nintendo making the central character of Metroid a female was a masterstroke. Characters such as Claire Redfield (or whatever she's called) from Resident Evil. I can't actually think of any in any major FPS's - but I don't play that many.

Watching the video and listening to her go on......she obviously thinks she has good reason to champion the women's cause further - yet she obviously hasn't done a great deal of research. She has found a platform to air her views, which would appear to be quite wide off the mark.

I think we are past the days of Night Trap.

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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by DreamcastRIP » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:16 am

will2097 wrote:... their slightly moist easily removable knickers.
You just put me off my breakfast! :o :lol:

(Otherwise a great post though. :D )
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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by FatTrucker » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:26 am

Simple marketing really. Many games are still primarily targeted at the male teenage market so women are portrayed as sexy and/or vulnerable. There are loads of exceptions and as demographics continue to broaden, more and more stuff is put out to cater to other groups too. But primarily, if you look at the imagery used to market and within games they're still remarkably immature.

Its a lot of the reason they aren't taken seriously in non-gamer circles or as an art in their own right. It also highlights why most devs won't touch on real adult themes (not just in a sexual way) or stories of any real depth that deal with real issues, because while games are rated for age, they're clearly created, designed and marketed to appeal directly to people under the recommended age limit, making the industry as culpable as any other factor in its own stunted growth creatively and its lack of parity intellectually and culturally with film and music.

But mostly its just about what sells best.
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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by r0jaws » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:23 am

It could also be that the damsel in distress meme gives an easy framework around which a game can hang. Save a damsel, save a city, it's pretty much the same thing.
I agree with will2097, she has deliberately picked and chosen from the genre to support her argument, whilst completely ignoring any evidence to the contrary.

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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by killbot » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:11 am

Whatever the rights and wrongs of her argument, the reaction to it proves that many gamers are pathologically sexist.
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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by r0jaws » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:18 am

Are you talking from the thread here, or to the reaction on her YouTube video? Comments have been disallowed there, and TBH I think pathologically sexist is a bit strong for what has been said so far in this thread.

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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by FatTrucker » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:22 am

killbot wrote:Whatever the rights and wrongs of her argument, the reaction to it proves that many gamers are pathologically sexist.
In fairness as men we're pathologically sexist. Most of us learn not to be, but we are genetically hardwired to determine wether we need to f**k, feed or fight other people. Look at the would you thread etc. Difference is it takes time and experience to recognise the animal in us and sit on it. Hence why sex and sexual imagery sells, mostly to males and even more specifically to teens. Since most non casual gamers are males under 30, most games not aimed at casual gamers are marketed accordingly.

So its a problem that perpetuates itself, games are marketed at young men/teens because they buy the most games, and they buy the most games because they are made to appeal to them.

Even games with a strong female lead are heavily sexualised and stereotyped. Take Tomb Raider, it was an excellent game in its own right and its often pointed to as an example of women being represented in games. However the hook it hangs off is that the woman in question is a fit, pony tailed, large breasted woman in a tight top and hotpants....with guns. If you look at most games featuring women in a strong role, they're invariably dressed in underwear, swimwear, tight leather outfits, tiny waists and big t*ts, stereotypically sexualised.

Problem with the woman in the OP is she seems to be a pathological feminist, arguably as damaging to her gender as sexists are. The vast majority of people aren't so polar and sit in the vast area between the two extremes.
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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by will2097 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:24 am

killbot wrote:Whatever the rights and wrongs of her argument, the reaction to it proves that many gamers are pathologically sexist.

I don't think so mate. You'd have to be hung like a donkey, a billionaire, or muslim to get away with being pathologically sexist in todays world.

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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by Sixteen Plus » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:30 am

will2097 wrote:Where does one begin?
.....
I'll end your long post right there for neatness, so to summarise the rest of it in all it's fullness, you're spot on. Post of the day for me Image

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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by Liamh1982 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:41 am

What are the chances she acts like Millie Tant i.e. all her principles go out the window as soon as she sees a bloke she fancies and turns into a sop?

I'd say about 98%.

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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by nakamura » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:17 am

Sixteen Plus wrote:
will2097 wrote:Where does one begin?
.....
I'll end your long post right there for neatness, so to summarise the rest of it in all it's fullness, you're spot on. Post of the day for me Image
Yeah have to agree. Pretty much every thing I was thinking when watching the video.

Also I love how comments and ratings are disabled. It seems a very one way opinion.
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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by Sixteen Plus » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:41 am

FatTrucker wrote:
killbot wrote:Even games with a strong female lead are heavily sexualised and stereotyped. Take Tomb Raider, it was an excellent game in its own right and its often pointed to as an example of women being represented in games. However the hook it hangs off is that the woman in question is a fit, pony tailed, large breasted woman in a tight top and hotpants....with guns. If you look at most games featuring women in a strong role, they're invariably dressed in underwear, swimwear, tight leather outfits, tiny waists and big t*ts, stereotypically sexualised.
So what do the programmers do, create unattractive overweight flat-chested heroines in baggy jumpers and trousers with a bun hairdo? These feminists will always find something to complain about.

Guys could complain that males are misrepresented in games as being either either large brainless muscly bound goons with a 6 pack and a machine gun, or silly short fat little round headed dungaree wearing buffoons with a huge round nose, a large gay tache and a silly voice, but that would be neurotically idiotic.

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Re: Tropes and sexism in gaming.

Post by HalcyonDaze00 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:04 am

killbot wrote:Whatever the rights and wrongs of her argument, the reaction to it proves that many gamers are pathologically sexist.
good grief

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