Author Topic: Sexism in Video Games  (Read 2724 times)

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Offline nCogNeato

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Sexism in Video Games
« on: July 05, 2012, 02:40:49 PM »
[Game Developer magazine EIC Brandon Sheffield makes the claim that the game industry at large still treats women primarily as a vehicle for the display of boobs and butts, not only in games, but within the culture at large, saying this is a natural extension of who we put in charge.]


I won't pretend to be above biology: I like boobs and butts as much as the next hot-blooded heterosexual male. They're just about the most aesthetically pleasing configurations of fat and muscle you can find on a person, and I am far from being immune to their charms. But women are a lot more than boobs and butts. That may seem obvious, but the game industry and its fans are demonstrating their ignorance of that fact time and time again.

Video games and Male Gaze

Recently I did an interview, an excerpt of which you can find here, with Hitman Absolution director Tore Blystad. If you haven't been keeping up with the franchise, a recent trailer for the game got the internet up in arms, as it depicted sexy dominatrix nuns being violently dispatched by the protagonist Agent 47. Blystad is a nice, well-meaning man that simply doesn't understand why anyone is mad about the trailer for his game. This is actually a very large part of the problem.

Blystad isn't sure why this trailer in particular upset people, when he feels this is the way the series has always presented itself. When I asked him why these ladies were in dominatrix gear, and why they had to remove their nun costumes before coming to kill Agent 47, he said the ladies are "dressing as something less conspicuous, getting up to their mark, and revealing their true colors."

He does not realize that giving these women dominatrix outfits as their "true colors" is the problem. Think about it logically for a moment -- if you were going to assassinate someone, would you wear the tightest thing possible? Would you expose your breasts to the world, essentially creating a target for a bullet? Probably not. Ryan Consell writes about this clothing phenomenon (and how to fix it) to excellent effect in his article Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXs5v-t9NwI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXs5v-t9NwI</a>

But I'm not stupid -- I know why we put ladies in these ridiculous costumes, and I know why Blystad doesn't get what the problem is. It's because we, the people making the decisions on these games, are largely men, largely heterosexual, and as such we like looking at boobs and butts, and we are making this game for others who feel the same way, which is inherently limiting. This is the very definition of the Male Gaze theory, which is at the heart of much of the discussion we're having about women in and around games these days.

I'll back up for a second -- Gaze, as an analytical term, refers to the relationship between the viewer and the viewed. The one who gazes, the viewer, is generally looking at the viewed object (or being) with some desire or fantasy projection -- why else would it be a gaze, not a glance? The theory goes that when one is gazed at, the person being viewed loses some sense of autonomy. You realize you are the subject of scrutiny, and it makes you self conscious, or at least more self-aware. This can even happen when we scrutinize ourselves in a mirror.

Male Gaze, then, has to do with the relationship between a heterosexual male viewer, and a female that is being viewed. The theory poses that in media like film, photography, and I would here add games, when a heterosexual male is in charge of the viewing of a female, the resulting media necessarily reflects that male's gaze. In the case of games, this may be more of a collective gaze.

In cinema, for example, if a camera follows the curve of a woman's body, or keeps her cleavage in primary screen real-estate, that is an example of Male Gaze. Or in games, consider the Golden Axe Beast Rider trailer in which the camera pans down from the protagonist's butt to reveal enemies in the distance. This was a conscious choice someone made when creating this trailer. Note also that the two top-rated comments are in reference to this scene, which altogether should give you a pretty good idea of what Male Gaze means, and the simplest forms it takes. [Note: the original version of the trailer linked is this one which has more views, and has the mentioned top-rated comments. It was not viewable in the U.S., so was replaced. -ed.]

Real ultimate power

Some folks argue that these women are strong, kill lots of men, and thus are positive characters. But take a look at these ladies from Tera Online. They may have crazy superpowers, sure. But they are nearly naked to the eye of the player, and the target player here is clearly male. All their power is stripped away; their primary function, the reason they were created, is to be sexy for a male gaze, to draw males to stare at them. When you look at that picture, do you see "powerful mage" or do you see "hot girl." Let's be honest here! I know what I see.

The "but she's powerful! She's a strong character!" argument has been the line of defense for Lara Croft fans for decades. And it's true that recent games have made an effort to decrease her bust size, and her overall sexualization in certain ways. But with the new Tomb Raider, the idea of Male Gaze takes a more complex form. Her grunts and groans throughout the game's ordeals have been dubbed "torture porn," and that's certainly one aspect. But then there are the threats of sexual assault, which the team hopes will inspire you to "protect" her. As producer Ron Rosenberg told Kotaku, "When people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character, they're more like, 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of, 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.'"

Why don't people project themselves onto Lara? Because "people" means males. Nobody (well, almost nobody) wants to be Lara Croft, not even women, because Lara is very much the subject of Male Gaze in her games, and who wants to open themselves up to that sort of scrutiny? Getting a bit deeper, while many women do want to be attractive to males, which is part of why women's magazines often take a Male Gaze perspective as well, they don't want to be only that. They don't want to be stared at all the time, by everyone. Lara is at no point "just a person."

At some point in the new game Lara will have to survive an attempted r*pe [Crystal Dynamics has since attempted to back away from this description -- ed.]. It is possible that the team will attempt to address issues of gender and sexuality in games in a way that will push the medium forward. But allow me some skepticism, when the game is coming from a decidedly male perspective.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkBZ6kKeoTI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkBZ6kKeoTI</a>

As an example, when the camera pans down and looks down her cleavage in a cutscene, what does that show? The developers and the game's viewers are being made to be complicit in Lara's sexualization. These shots are planned carefully -- there aren't a lot of accidents in a large-scale production like this. If the camera says "I want you to be able to see her cleavage" versus "I do not want you to be able to see her cleavage," this makes subtle, but undeniable statements to the player. And it is certain that this statement is being made by a male, generally for other males.

There's a lot going on here. Certainly, almost all heterosexual men like to look at sexy ladies. This is why advertisements ask us to associate access to boobs with Bud Light, or Nascar. May I submit that this is not a positive or progressive way to deal with women, and that this attitude is running rampant in the game industry as a whole, not just in middle America. Even the new Tomb Raider, which is trying its best to be different, seems to be taking a rather uncomplex look at female power. There are a lot of ways to make a strong woman without confronting her with sexual violence. Consider the power dynamics in the movie Labyrinth, for example. Back to the idea of loss of autonomy -- Lara can't choose whether people are looking at her cleavage, that choice is being made for her. Sure, she's digital, and maybe we shouldn't care so much about sexual fantasy. But we also do this with real-life women in our industry.

Booth babes and a fall of confidence

Walking around E3, I was rather embarrassed by the proliferation of booth babes that had been hired to shill product. The argument I made on Twitter was that if you need to rely on breasts to sell your game, you undervalue your product by essentially admitting it can't get attention on its own, and you make a statement that your game is directed primarily toward heterosexual men.

I recognize that sex sells, but E3 is meant to be a trade show, in larger part. It's billed as a gathering of professionals, and that includes female developers and executives. It's insulting that my fellow professionals, who hired these booth babes, think so low of me and my peers that they think they should attract us with boobs in push up bras. Are we all 14 years old over here? It's patronizing, even as a male. Imagine being a female game developer walking through that environment.

On Twitter, folks made the argument to me that these girls are getting paid, and thus there's nothing to complain about. Well, their choices aren't for me to judge. There's always someone willing to do something for money. That doesn't mean it's positive. (As an aside, I heard tell of one booth babe putting deodorant on top of her shoulder, given how many sweaty armpits people were putting around her.)

I got a little flack for speaking ill of the booth babes, especially from folks saying "well, it's everywhere." But I'll tell you who got it much worse than I -- game industry veteran Brenda Brathwaite (Garno), who made essentially the same arguments on Twitter that I did. The big difference between us, aside from her having more followers to rile up: She's female, I'm male.

This is where the concept of Male Gaze comes back in. The reactions boil down to, essentially, "I like this, and who are you to say otherwise?" People are offended at the idea that anything they're doing or enjoying could be wrong, and lash out as a result.

Then why do you wear makeup, slut?

The anger that is directed toward women who speak their mind about gender issues in the game industry is astounding. A few weeks ago I wrote an article about and subsequent interview with the creator of a card game called Tentacle Bento. This is a game where you play as a tentacle monster, and grab as many girls as possible for your own "nefarious purposes." I found the game extremely problematic, and that it trivialized the idea of r*pe from a cutesy male perspective. You can read those links for my full thoughts, but suffice it to say that others vehemently disagreed with me.

The amount of ire I got, which was a lot, was nothing compared to the anger directed against female friends of mine who discussed the article. One friend turned off her Twitter for a few days after too many threats of "well maybe you should be raped." Keep in mind, I was the one who started the discussion, and these ladies who merely took up the banner bore the brunt of the assault.

More recently, female blogger Anita Sarkeesian started a Kickstarter for a web series investigating female tropes in video games. The response she received was nothing short of disgusting. There was support, to be sure, but there was also a lot of this. Puerile, juvenile responses from men getting upset about a perceived threat to their world. Comments such as "Why do you put on makeup, if everything is sexism? Why don't you shave your head bald, stop wearing makeup and stop wearing huge slut earrings. You are a fucking hypocrite slut."

Now, I don't know what Sarkeesian plans for her web series, or whether she's even got the background to do it properly. I hope she does, because this subject deserves proper discussion. But I certainly know she doesn't deserve this sort of ignorant treatment.

Where does this knee-jerk anger come from? There is no anger quite like that of the privileged. Here we see it in the raw. In this instance; "We heterosexual males like boobs in our games, and we'll be damned if you're going to take them away." Because they feel threatened, they lash out without thinking about it, like a dog that thinks you want to take its bone away. The behavior seems nonsensical, but it's predictable.

I see it everywhere the gender status quo is challenged. Kotaku Australia's Katie Williams' experience at E3, in which a male PR person decided for himself that she probably couldn't play PC games, is another recent example. The assumptions people make about women in our industry are further examples of Male Gaze, in an industry that is only 10% female. Is it any wonder that the number is so low, with the way we depict women in games? With the way we treat women, professional and hired, at trade shows? With the fact we clearly pay them less than their male counterparts, as the Game Developer magazine salary survey shows?

Worse than the initial presumption that she wasn't able to play games were the reactions to her complaint. A thread began in Neogaf, ever a bastion of progressive thought, in which people posted images of her they'd found online, discussing whether (and how) they would have sex with her. This is a rather obvious negative example of Male Gaze. Or take the situation of a female player in Capcom's reality show Cross Assault, in which her breasts and thighs were filmed, along with commentary from the competitor who was manning the camera. She was essentially forced to quit the show to stop being harrassed.

Believe it or not, this sort of behavior happens constantly, albeit on a more subtle level, at industry events. I introduced Mariel Cartwright, lead animator of Skullgirls, to a male developer at a party at the last GDC, saying she worked on the game. He immediately responded, "oh cool, you mean like in PR?" instantly presuming she couldn't have possibly done any "real" work on the product. Indie game dev Mare Sheppard (N+) frequently has things she's said about code in games attributed to her male partner Raigan Burns instead, or is ignored in a technical conversation. Erin Robinson (Puzzle Bots, Gravity Ghost) told me when it comes time to meet people at parties, she's the only one who awkwardly doesn't get a handshake. Several other women noted that this had happened to them as well.

Everyone looks at opposing genders differently, but above all, we need to imbue our professional interactions with feelings of respect, and not make value judgments just because someone is female and understands how to dress themselves.

Nobody does this to men in the industry. Nobody says Cliff Bleszinski is wearing such a tight shirt today, and oooh I'd love to rub my hands all over him. At least not to the point where he's uncomfortable at tradeshows. Likewise nobody sexualizes male characters. Some may argue that Kratos represents an unrealistic image of a male, but there aren't massive forum threads dedicated to whether and how people would like to have sex with him. Kratos, Marcus Fenix, and their ilk, are the object of power fantasies, not sexual fantasies. There is a huge difference there. You want to be as cool and powerful as Kratos. Again, nobody wants to be Lara Croft all the time.

Defeating Male Gaze

If this is how we depict women in games, and this is how we represent them at tradeshows, and how we treat them in professional interview settings and on the internet at large, we not only make ourselves look like children, we keep women from wanting to enter the industry. If that doesn't strike you as a problem, then more fool you. A balanced industry has a balanced perspective.

Female sexuality isn't inherently negative in media, and I do want to stress that. Sexual dynamics can bring up a lot of interesting mature themes across the board, when treated with intelligence and purpose. But most of the time in games it's treated without any sort of thought, as was the Hitman: Absolution trailer. Most of the time the thought is simply, "well... we have to make the female character sexy, so let's show off her boobs and hips." It is an absolute given that female characters must be somehow sexy. We don't have this same rule for male characters.



Isn't that a little overly simplistic for an industry that can show the horrors of war, the sorrow of losing a child, and other complex scenarios? We can clearly do better. But our views of women are almost always coming from a single perspective; the Male Gaze. When you diminish the female perspective in sexy scenes, and guide the viewer's gaze, they wind up reinforcing stereotypes and tropes that appeal exclusive to heterosexual male sexuality.

There are deeper societal issues at root here, and we can't change all of society. But the fact is we are not all of society. We are an elite group of people that make games that show what we think and feel about the world. We can't change everyone, but we can change our industry, and we can change the depiction of women in our medium. If we do that, we may even influence public opinion.

By representing women in this mono-dimensional manner, both in games and at industry events, we show, subtly or overtly, that we think women are nothing more than boobs and butts. Simultaneously, we males represent ourselves as nothing more than a cock and balls. As males, through our depiction of women in media, and how we treat them in the industry and community, the message we're pushing hardest is the one Katie Williams unfortunately stumbled into; "I would or would not have sex with you."

Right now, any women who are standing up and talking about these issues are being attacked by game communities and the internet at large. Sarkeesian's kickstarter is up to almost $160,000 now, which is amazing. But it also shows that her supporters are largely silent, because how much have you really heard on her behalf? Her detractors on the other hand, are decidedly vocal. I encourage those who see issues like this not to back down in the face of overwhelming adversity. And I encourage game developers to think about this issue of Male Gaze, and how we can minimize it with the addition of female voices in positions of power. At the very least, we can be aware of our own gaze, and take it to task.

And that's just it. Above all: think. Think about the statements you make with your art, your stories, your characters. Publishers at E3 think we're all still 14 year old boys. But we're not ... are we?

[Gamasutra]

Offline Windedprism

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2012, 04:05:37 PM »
Men or boys? answer = only boys like boobs, so movies are not guilty eh, eh?! Or how about the magazines that you yourself probably buy author!
Nasty internet backlash? answer = modern keyboard warrior and general internet scummy standards.

There are immature gamers out there but don't drop the jiggle, hell the latest Dragons Dogma patched upped the jiggle to three levels!

No seriously the only issue is the whole tweeting thing, that's beyond trolling.

Imo and this is just my opinion but there are plenty of games that do not promote women as stereotypical eg.:

Rose of Sharyn Cassidy - Fallout New Vegas
Morrigan - Dragon Age Origins
Liara T'Soni - Mass Effect - Ok she's not human but damn she's hot, she's intelligent and she' slick.
Just about any female character in Skyrim.
Lightning/Fang - FXIII+2

And this is to name a few so do just a little bit more research. Oh and the video game industry has never portrayed the horrors of war, at least not in a deep believable way, unless the author means COD then I say gtfo troll. :)

But I leave it with this:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reTx5sqvVJ4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reTx5sqvVJ4</a>
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Offline Sload

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2012, 04:49:20 PM »
It's no wonder why the gaming industry is the way it is. It's built up by and for nerds.

Oh, and why did he censor rope  ???

Offline zerosum

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 05:42:37 PM »
Lots of interesting points made in that article. I understand the argument being discussed and the importance (or presumed importance) of games as a growing and responsible medium. Especially now that games are much more mainstream and profitable (with great power comes great yada, yada, yada), but I'd hesitate to use Hitman: Absolution as an example of a game that's attempting to present a "realistic" point of view.

Quote
Think about it logically for a moment -- if you were going to assassinate someone, would you wear the tightest thing possible? Would you expose your breasts to the world, essentially creating a target for a bullet? Probably not.

That whole game and franchise seems to be a caricature of a subculture far less indicative of day to day life and situations. Let's not try to call a speech impediment a sophisticated accent.

If we were to think about most games in a "logical" manner, we'd quickly have to dismiss 99% of the games ever created. The games that attempt to present male/female relationships in well represented forms are few and  far between. At the time, the first that comes to mind is Red Dead Redemption. That's not to say that games shouldn't attempt to move more in that direction, it'd be pretty refreshing actually.

The issue of men vs. boys is always going to crop up. The heads of game companies are always trying to appeal to that new target demographic (new blood keeps the beast alive) and the LCD (Lowest Common Denominator). Men or boys? It actually has no bearing, the issue's really about how educated boys and men are with regards to the topic. And honestly, while gaming may and can contribute to that education, if we're looking to entertainment as a prime source of it, we're in a far more deep sh*t than previously thought.

Offline Windedprism

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2012, 12:55:02 PM »
Some nice points there Zero. Sex sells and that's been in a lot of types of media  long before video games even existed. I just felt that the article actually ignored the fact that not all female characters are stereotyped. Sure there are still some crude images still around eg Lollilop Chainsaw but hten that's the point of the game, Duke Nukem was great when you were young but it doesn't resonate the same when you're older. One of the longest running series has a female lead in Metroid's Samus I rest my case on that one. I think most stereotyping actually comes from movies/magazines so maybe changing the source is something to consider.

If I was to go put a list of 100 female game characters what percentage would be stereotypical?

The whole balance of the article's argument is off, it's actually stereotyping in itself.

It would be interesting to hear what our female brethren on here think about the subject.
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Offline Dankinia

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2012, 05:10:25 PM »

Thoughts on the original post from a female gamer. 


[Game Developer magazine EIC Brandon Sheffield makes the claim that the game industry at large still treats women primarily as a vehicle for the display of boobs and butts, not only in games, but within the culture at large, saying this is a natural extension of who we put in charge.]



This is true to a point.  Female characters are generally shown wearing the most outrageous scanty outfits that any male could ever dream of and most women would never wear.  They are impractical and not all of us are blessed/cursed with a chest so big we are too top heavy to walk upright. They are desisgned this way with the male gamer in mind because sex sells and most gamers are male so they are focusing on the core consumer of the product. Does this offend me or turn me off video games? Not at all.  From a marketing standpoint, this just makes good business sense.  If I was a game designer I'd probably use the same tatics to sell my product. 


On the topic of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider....


My parents got me a computer for christmas the year the first Tomb Raider game came out.  The first game I bought for it was Tomb Raider.  I liked the idea of playing a strong female character who looked hot and kicked ass.  I didn't want to "be Lara Croft" I wanted to escape from reality for a little while and have fun "playing as Lara Croft."  My opinion on this might be tainted by the fact that I've never wanted to be anyone other then myself.  I'm a realist.  I'm not a hot chick that runs around raiding tombs and killing the bad guys.  I hate bugs, I'm afraid of heights, and I'm more likely to fall off of something and kill myself then do a graceful back flip.  So in reality, that's not the life for me, but as a short escape, it's great entertainment. 


To be honest what bothers me is not how the industry dipicts women in games, because they are, after all, just games, but how women are treated by gamers outside of the games.  I wasn't really surprised when the article mentioned the horribly inappropirate comments and remarks made to and about women in the industry.  I've gamed with azzhats that sent me innaproprate messages just because I'm female.  I'm glad to say they are in the minority, but because what they say is so offensive and inapproprate, they tend to make the most impression on people.  And I don't see how females are depicted in a video game directly corralates to people making inappropriate comments because those type of comments were made long before video games were popular.

Everyone looks at opposing genders differently, but above all, we need to imbue our professional interactions with feelings of respect, and not make value judgments just because someone is female and understands how to dress themselves.


This statement should apply to every industry not just video games.


Offline Dankinia

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2012, 05:22:06 PM »
Some nice points there Zero. Sex sells and that's been in a lot of types of media  long before video games even existed. I just felt that the article actually ignored the fact that not all female characters are stereotyped. Sure there are still some crude images still around eg Lollilop Chainsaw but hten that's the point of the game, Duke Nukem was great when you were young but it doesn't resonate the same when you're older. One of the longest running series has a female lead in Metroid's Samus I rest my case on that one. I think most stereotyping actually comes from movies/magazines so maybe changing the source is something to consider.

If I was to go put a list of 100 female game characters what percentage would be stereotypical?

The whole balance of the article's argument is off, it's actually stereotyping in itself.

It would be interesting to hear what our female brethren on here think about the subject.


To be honest, I can't really think of 100 female game characters that were more then just a support role.  Since most games are geared to males, most of the "main characters" are male.  Which does make sense.  I do prefer to play games with a strong female character, but it's not a requirement.  Most of my female friends are not gamers, and I don't think a female character would change that. 

Offline Windedprism

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2012, 07:48:03 AM »
Exactly the bad impression leaves the biggest impact. I think for the most part game leads have mostly been male due to the consensus that most gamers are male and so it ties into the whole wanting to be your hero scenario of course those numbers have changed now. Also male characters are easier to create for many reasons. There are a lot of trolls out there and it's not cool to get that kind of abuse over a game chat. It shows who the littler people are. Imo the imagery in the industry has changed significantly over the last few years, and you're right a good portion of female characters are in supporting roles. At the same time you could argue that males are also stereotyped, but who's gonna fight that corner cuz I ain't.

But Kini's right is the surrounding image of gamer to gamer fairplay that's the main problem. A troll's a troll and one of the main reasons we have communities like Fahrenheit so we can shut out some of that bull.
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Offline Failed

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2012, 05:36:10 PM »
I blame the women. They're the ones that put those clothes on, what not real life. Whatever, so they hired babestation outcasts as assassins. Perhaps the oldest profession isn't sex and is assassination.

I think it's more pertinent to approach games as a way to desensitize people against violence, rather than the demotion of female power. I mean, GTA made me kill several people this week, they were crying and i was thinking ... geez, i'm the one who has to walk home alone.

Offline nCogNeato

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2012, 02:20:57 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTGh0EMmMC8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTGh0EMmMC8</a>

Offline Autarch Kade

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2012, 09:47:51 AM »
I'm not sure why Anita Sarkeesian needed $6,000 to make a video series for youtube, when she's already made a video series without kickstarter in the past.  I also wonder where the 160,000 dollars she did receive went.  This isn't me being sexist, mind you, I'd question it even if the person making the video series was male.

Also, men may not be portrayed as sex objects in video games as often as female characters are, but they are portrayed more, in my experience, as the muscle-bound hero.  Aren't both cases simplifying a sex into their perceived role?

I do think it was rather wrong of the people given in example above to discount a persons abilities just because of their lack of a Y chromosome and choice of attire.

Bottom line for me: Women and men are equals, but not the same.
I like my women how I like my coffee: ground up and in the freezer.

The doctors say his chances are 50/50... but there's only a 10% chance of that.

Offline zerosum

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2012, 06:32:25 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZAxwsg9J9Q" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZAxwsg9J9Q</a>

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 02:49:37 PM »
I'm happy to see Adam Sessler has returned to the public eye & joined Revision3.  He had this to say last month in his new Sessler's Soapbox Sessler's Something.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Umj2dnACo64" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Umj2dnACo64</a>

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Offline Dankinia

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Re: Sexism in Video Games
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2013, 01:30:20 AM »
I agree that the  bullying needs to stop.  And I also know that a lot of video games depict the whole "damsel in distress" plot that can be considered sexist.  That story line doesn't bother me too much because it's a pretty mainstream plot device going back to the fairy tales we were told as kids.  If the story is well written and the game play is fun, I'm fine with it.  I do however like to see strong female characters in games.  I always have and if I have a choice between playing a two equal good games one with a female lead and one with a male, I'll pick the female every time.  However those games are few and far between.  I like playing GoW.  Yes the main characters are male, and very unrealistic, but the games are fun and while the female characters are more "support" characters, they are not treated as sex objects.  They can take care of themselves and fight along side the male characters as the series progressed.  It's not so much how they depict  females in games that bother me, it's how female gamers and developers are treated.

For example, when I play Halo I expect trash talk and celebratory crouching from the other team.  That's part of playing the game.  What I also expect, because of prior treatment, is my own teammates (randoms) to make comments about my gender and body type, make suggestions as to what I should do with parts of their bodies, or that I should just give up because as a girl I 'm too stupid and unskilled to play the game.  That's what shouldn't happen, but does way to often.  I know I'm not that great a games, but I doubt my gender is the reason.  I've played with guys and against guys who were worse then I am.  (ok not many, but a few)

I have read a few posts on other forums recently about this topic by a few female games who tend to show a very one-sided view.  Some of those come across as though the author wants special treatment or just wants to point out the men are pigs.  I have a problem with this too.  The guys I game with that I've met here or through friends, don't hit on me, make me feel uncomfortable, or make statements that I would consider sexist or insulting.  Painting all male gamers with the sexist brush isn't accurate and I'd prefer to see a little bit more balance in some of  the posts that I've read on other sites. 

 

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