MC Final Sigma

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Posts posted by MC Final Sigma


  1. So, Kratos, let's break this down... you can crush her face, that's cool, but you can't stab her. DO NOT STAB HER. Or do any kinds of grabs or throws, no-go on that either. People might get the wrong idea. Just crush her face okay? No one will think you have unsavory intentions if you do that.

    Also, seriously, people, GENETIC FALLACY.

    Not what I said. The imagery is clearly coded as sexual, and specifically so in this case - compare every other god/goddess kill in the series. None of these actions is particularly lurid by itself, but it makes a strong combination. And it's not a "genetic fallacy" because you can't see the obvious.

    Also, Cash and Change, women are more adversely affected by this sexist trope and possibly, on the whole, more acutely aware of it, but they are not the sole arbiters of what's sexist or not. Anyone can give their point of view, and it's not like we've been somehow excluding women. I don't know the gender of half these people.


  2. I thought my point was clear, it's a bad thing that very few people responded to the limited female input. Maybe if more people actually acknowledged when a woman posts, more women would participate in these types of discussions.

    I guess we should treat women differently.

    Seriously, though, why should we pay more attention to women? I suspect their opinions will vary as much as men's will. And if they do have a monolithic opinion, I guess that means they must agree with Anita Sarkeesian, huh?

    Also @Brandon: I don't think that either the achievement name or the fact that it's a woman receiving the violence is what's wrong with that clip (although many people do). Instead, I think the violence has pretty clear sexual undertones: dragging her waist-first toward him, almost mounting her, lifting her up on his shoulder caveman-style, and then penetrating her lower abdomen with a giant phallic spike. So, the violence in GoW is normally fantasy violence, but it's not usually a rape fantasy, which you may agree is crossing a line. The curb stomp didn't particularly bother me, Kratos does much worse to Helios in another game.


  3. This is an awesome concept! If anyone needs a rapper, I'm down. In particular, I think the "Virus Battle 2" would be a great rap track, as well as Bowser's theme and the somewhat stronger boss battle theme. I also like Mallow's theme for the weather puns. Anyway, I'll do whatever, hit me up, and good luck with this!

    Also:

    1) Do you guys have a plot worked out beyond the teaser, or would the contributors be in some ways co-authoring it?

    2) Gotta work in a Luigi cameo somehow in the parade at the end, Mario RPG-style, and

    3) This theme should find a way into this album:

    I would love to see it in a corny Monster Mash/Love Shack-style... if that makes sense... Would be happy to contribute!


  4. You're right that there's a distinction between the hero's perspective and the player's perspective, but that is where to me the problem lies. In older games where the plot and characters really aren't expanded upon, we as the players don't actually know why Mario wants to save Princess Toadstool, because she doesn't really appear or do anything in the game. The way the game presents it really is just "X got stolen from you, go retrieve it/her", and that's where the problem lies.

    I thought the golden wrench analogy was brilliant, but it's actually unnecessary because we have a real example to work with. In Super Mario Land 2, Wario steals Mario's castle (yes, that's right, his Marioland stronghold), which spurs on the action of the game. So in SML 2, the "damsel" is literally an object, and it made zero difference to the player (and, presumably, to Mario).


  5. I have to ask here. How is Kratos curb-storming the Harpy worse than any other ultra-violent act he's commited to countless male characters over the course of the franchise?

    Certainly "bros before hos" is reprehensible, particularly in connection to violence against women. As to the violence itself: this doesn't refer to the harpies, but a reviewer for the new GoW game said this about how Kratos kills a female enemy in the new game. I think it speaks to the difference between male and female violence in GoW:

    Yes, this character is an antagonist, and yes, you kill other female characters throughout God of War: Ascension. But there's an almost pornographic level of intimacy to the violence here that pushed things too far for me. The brutal, bone-shattering assault on a realistic female avatar was horrific regardless of its context, the imagery too loaded for me to shrug it off as just another God of War Moment TM. And then the assault was robbed of any narrative impact whatsoever by a throwaway story device. It didn't matter. I had to watch it happen and then it didn't mean anything. And then approximately 45 seconds later, I unlocked a trophy called "Bros before Hos."

    If I wasn't reviewing the game, this would have been where I stopped.

    Review found here:

    http://www.polygon.com/game/god-of-war-ascension/3611

    Also:

    All this talk has really got me thinking that a co-op Link and Zelda game could be a lot of fun.

    Agreed!

    In the end, I think sexism in videogames is more of a reflection of current societal norms rather than something completely unique to the videogame industry. I showed the video to my wife and she thought this was a terrible use of time when there are so many other - much larger - women's issues that could've been addressed with the money she received.

    The thing is, culture does not simply reflect our ideals, it "pushes back" and acts back on its makers, generating more culture. Thus it is problematic if videogames are sexist in certain ways because they foster an environment for more sexism. Are videogames the worst problem for women right now? Of course not. But why not solve big and little problems, especially if the little ones contribute to the big ones? "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

    EDIT: I also think that diagnosing sexism in videogames and other media is a good "gateway drug" for thinking about gender issues in general.


  6. @Tensei:

    The discussion is not so much semantic, because the statement "Women and men have equal rights, ergo X is sexist" is a statement I thought deserving of clarification. You can't really discuss something with someone unless you actually know what they're saying. There sure is a whole lot of harassment directed towards me though.

    I never made that statement. You're not making sense.

    EDIT: I mean no one made that statement. I saw the "@ Tensei" :)

    I'm not playing a moral relativism game, though. I am quite opposite in inclination. You don't have to show me why anyone deserves 'any type of moral treatment in any circumstance.'

    All I was directing my inquiry towards were your comments regarding 'societal norms,' and it's clear that there is a somewhat confusing nature to these norms which you are arguing for, which was based around a vague notion of 'equality.'

    What are you talking about? You're confused about what gender norms are in society? What?

    The problem was that you never told me what your scruples were.

    You quoted them in this very post. It's where I explain my argument and why I feel that way.

    I think there are indeed normative sentiments/universally granted premises, especially in regards to gender equality.

    Yeah, apparently not, hence our current debate. What I mean is there is no unambiguous point of agreement on any moral issue that every human being can assent to. This raises the problem of moral relativism. Relativism is definitely not any weaker when it comes to gender.

    I think they are allowed some looser restrictions in works of fiction. I have yet to deny the existence of sexism in media, and I have yet to deny problems in adequate portrayal of genders in video-games. I have a hard time seeing old elements of standard story-telling as the entirely negative and corrosive force you have painted them out to be.

    "Traditional" does not mean harmless. The trope implies through its ubiquity that women are powerless. That contributes to and normalizes real-world sexism. That's bad, mmmmk?

    The question begs to be asked though: how much disempowerment is actually occurring? Does this amount logically transfer to an argument about the nature of an entire gender? I'd say not.

    I'm not saying something so simplistic as "if it weren't for videogames, there'd be no sexism." BUT videogames do contribute to sexism via this trope. We've discussed that mechanism elaborately. I think degrading women is wrong, not good; most people agree. What's your reason for disagreeing? And if you don't actually disagree, come out and tell us your viewpoints.

    I'm starting to wonder if you actually misunderstand me or just don't want to understand me.


  7. @Radio:

    I don't know how Sarkeesian's list of examples has anything to do with my request for a clarification on MC Sigma's part, outside of your opportunity to [in]directly insult me.

    what do you think makes it possible for horrible, inconceivable violence to occur against women every day?

    I don't think it's video-games.

    sexual violence or discrimination, implicitly support or enable these acts by performing, witnessing, and accepting acts which are not so overt, yet are undeniably cut from the same cloth

    I point to my question above - is rescuing women naturally degrading? Is rescuing naturally degrading in and of itself? Please answer this for this statement to make more sense to me.

    No, it is not naturally degrading.


  8. There's no need to get emotional in an academic discussion. All I'm doing is asking questions.

    Doesn't the concept of 'degrading women' implicitly rely on a definition of rights that preclude against degradation? What are these rights?

    By using the term 'innate morality' are you implying that it's naturally degrading to rescue a woman? If so, is it naturally degrading to rescue a man? Is rescuing itself degrading? I'm confused as to what your argument is.

    Perhaps because you haven't been paying attention? And this is hardly an "academic" discussion. Anyway, I'm not going to play the moral relativism game with you. I can't show why anyone deserves any type of moral treatment ever under any circumstances. You can't prove a normative sentiment because there are no universally granted premises. So, necessarily, my opinion derives from my own scruples. What's the problem?

    My argument is that these narratives, through constant reinforcement of the figure of the disempowered female, communicate that women are themselves naturally helpless and thus need men. I think that's a sexist notion, and I am against it. I have repeatedly said that it's the pervasiveness of the trope, not the act of rescuing itself, that is the problem. Please read this carefully, because I think you'll agree that all this repeating myself is getting rather annoying.


  9. You still use the word "right" but you haven't told me what you think it means. I don't see how we can have a discussion on terms without definitions. The passive-aggressive use of 'friend' was a nice touch though. No need to be cranky.

    Would you rather I called you an ass? It's your call, friend.

    I can't define rights. Maybe you can enlighten me. But my basic, innate morality tells me that it's wrong to degrade women, whether we're talking about mass media or not.


  10. No, I just wanted to hear your definition of rights, and how this applies to fictional examples.

    Stop assuming my lack of empathy, because someone might construe that (ie you) as being myopic.

    Construe away, friend. I think children have the right not to be trained to only experience half of their humanity, and that toward that end videogame narratives like these are damaging. Doesn't mean I'm against free speech, it just means I wish people weren't so shitty. If you think that makes me close-minded, so be it.


  11. I would have to argue that Midna is just as much a main character as Link is. She is, after all, the titular Twilight Princess, and most of the game's plot involves her and her story. She factors heavily into the actual gameplay too, moreso than a lot of Link's other sidekicks.

    That being said, if anyone in Twilight Princess is a disempowered female, it's Midna. I am curious to see if Anita actually brings her up in her video, though I don't think she will.

    I wouldn't make too big deal out of the title, as "Zelda" is in all of the titles and look what's been done to her from day one. I mean, I see where you're coming from and I too look forward to the video.


  12. I think my point is pretty clear.

    MC Final Sigma writes "Women and men have equal rights. Ergo, damsels-in-distress are sexist and toxic and should be shamed out of cultural use"

    I ask "In what way do rights function like that? How does the presumed right of equality (I say presumed because MC leaves it vague and ill-defined) have any bearing on individual fictional examples?"

    What do you want me to say, EC? Rights come from God? Governments? You can't prove that rights "exist," so obviously I can't prove that women have the right not be degraded in the media. That said, your lack of empathy is astounding.


  13. I dunno, I did ask a woman why she didn't work in a steel mill, and here was the conversation:

    Me:

    Hey, have you ever considered working in a steel mill?

    Woman:

    Haha no

    Me:

    Any particular reason? I'm just curious!

    Woman:

    Not my cup of tea

    Me:

    Too dangerous, or?

    Woman:

    Not into that type of work . Why do you ask?

    Me:

    I was just curious! It's interesting to me. Were you ever interested in working at, maybe, a coal plant or mine?

    Maybe in construction?

    Woman:

    No way. I'm not into physical jobs that would require me to become dirty.

    I would be the person who held the stop sign at construction. But I would never do construction

    You see, you can gather all the anecdotal evidence you want, it doesn't prove that women are naturally given to certain roles and men to others. We (as a society) socialize our children differently depending on their gender, so it's a self-fulfilling prophecy to say that girls will naturally like pink, housework, etc. more. Do you think we see less women in STEM jobs because they're naturally worse at it, or because they've been conditioned not to incline toward them?


  14. Her only hope isn't from a man. It's from a man AND a woman. Midna had just as much to do with saving Zelda (If not more!) as Link did.

    I'm going to have to disagree with your fun fact, too. Linebeck was possessed by Bellum in Phantom Hourglass, and I'm pretty sure there's been at least one other example elsewhere in the series.

    Eh, I suppose. I would argue that Link's status as main character and "the Hero" is pretty significant there, though. I look forward to Anita's video on sidekicks, as maybe she'll weigh in on that one. Also touche on Linebeck, you're right.


  15. How is it voluntary when you are clearly implying that it should be the societal norm, with clear pressure put on individuals? And please, don't bring up racism, because a) you don't understand it, and B) we aren't talking about it.

    It should be the societal norm because men and women should have equal rights. Everyone should voluntarily come to this conclusion.

    And as to racism and sexism, explain to me the difference, please. Why is saying one group of people are naturally inferior (or "separate but equal?") different from saying another group is naturally inferior, etc.?


  16. Let's all become stay at home husbands and teachers and send our wives out to work in construction plants, steel mills, etc... only then will we truly have equality!

    Ask a woman you know "Have you ever considered working in a Steel mill?" and post their answer here... I might try this... hmm

    Lol. Way to out yourself as a person who doesn't understand feminism. It is for equal rights, not a reversal of existing power structures. And since women have been socialized (just as men have been) to prefer certain things, you can't use that as evidence that the gender roles are somehow natural.


  17. 'Irresponsible'? Really?

    Better burn all our copies of Grimm, folks. The only permissible cultural inculcation material will be Shrek 3.

    Yuk yuk yuk. These are straw men, and pretty weak ones at that. There's a difference between asking for voluntary, principled self-"censoring" and mandatory censorship like book burning. I'll use another race example b/c it's actually a very similar civil rights issue. I don't want to see historical racist documents burnt, but I also don't wish to see modern people espousing racism or telling new, pro-racist narratives, even if they claim it's somehow "traditional." I think it would be best if everyone agreed that racism is bad and that we should leave it (intact) in the dustbin of history.


  18. If that's what you're saying (the fact that the majority of damsel in distress plots have a man saving a woman is indicative of the existence of sexism in the wider culture), then I don't disagree. What I was arguing against was comments like these:

    ...which I took to mean that each, individual use of the trope made the work that used it sexist. You seemed to be saying that the trope itself is inherently sexist, regardless of anything else. As in, any work that used that trope automatically became sexist, even if the same work had other, anti-sexist elements (like strong, independent female characters). If that's not what you meant, then I apologize for misunderstanding you.

    OK, I see the confusion. Let me keep quoting you first, for things I agree with, and then I'll clarify my thoughts.

    No, that's not what I've been saying at all. I'm saying if one negatively-portrayed black character existed in the same work as a bunch of positively-portrayed black characters, you'd be silly to call the entire work racist. In other words, it's possible to have a negatively portrayed member of a group without it being a negative reflection on that group as a whole -- whether you're talking about gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever.

    I already conceded SS, and I'll go ahead and explicitly concede your point: one damsel does not spoil a bunch of strong female characters, in theory (I think that the context/history of Zelda being a classic videogame damsel does sour her brief disempowerment in SS, but it's a relatively small gripe). BUT that's not what happens in most games, especially in the games Anita was talking about in her video. As I've been saying over and over, you very frequently see ONLY damsels in games that use this trope; the only women are damsels. And THAT is problematic, no? Examples like SS are actually quite rare when stacked against the huge list of damsel-only titles.

    I'm saying that looking at trends can reveal the existence of sexism on a large scale, but when talking about individual works you have to look more closely. Having a male hero rescue a female damsel in distress isn't inherently sexist -- there's nothing wrong with wanting to tell a story about a male hero with a female love interest that he must protect, especially if other female characters are stronger, more positive portrayals. But if the vast majority of stories being told are about male heroes with female love interests that they must protect, you have to ask why no one seems to want to right about female heroes, or male heroes with capable, independent love interests, or anything besides male heroes with disempowered female love interests. The answer to that question may well be sexism.

    In other words, it's a lot easier to say that "this trend is indicative of sexism" than it is to say "this specific work that contributes to that trend is sexist".

    I agree it's difficult to indict any particular work, but let me be clear: I think the first time the DiD trope was used, it wasn't sexist. Same goes for the second, third, maybe fourth time as well. But today, this trope is literally thousands of years old, and it's disappointing that game makers CONTINUE to use it. It supports many stereotypical and misogynistic ways of viewing women, and it's irresponsible at best for game makers to keep using it. So today, I would indeed consider the trope toxic in and of itself, even though on the abstract level I concede that it's not inherently, without context, a sexist trope.


  19. I'd argue for Twilight Princess at least partially averting the trope. Zelda's not 'kidnapped', she's imprisoned in her own castle. In the cutscene showing the taking of the castle, it also shows her entire royal guard failing to stop Zant and his forces.

    Yes, she ends up in Ganon's clutches towards the end of the game, ending up literally possessed by him, but only after she's sacrificed herself to save Midna.

    Then, after you break the possession, it's Midna that brings her back to life, then she immediately joins you in fighting off Ganon for the next part of the final fight. There's very little weakness shown in Zelda throughout the game, and personally I'd argue TP is the strongest representation of her as a character in the series.

    It's still Zelda being made powerless, and her only salvation comes from a man. It's almost more reprehensible because of Zelda's history as a damsel and the fact that even the strongest woman can't save herself.

    Possession, by the way, is as disempowering as you can get, because you can't even control your own body. Fun fact: no male is ever possessed in the Zelda universe. The closest we ever get is impersonations of the King of Hyrule in MC, but it's established that he's not actually possessed, he's locked away in the basement. For women, though, we have Nabooru in OoT, Zelda in Tp and ST, and Impa, Nayru, AND Ambi in OoA... There may be more, I'll have to think on it.


  20. Is it sexist to say that males, when compared to females, are more physically efficient and muscular, and thus are more suitable, for example, as sword-wielding heroes in rpg's?

    No, but since when have videogames had to obey the rules of biology? Can Italian plumbers really jump ten feet in the air and shoot fireballs? I mean, Link is practically a 10-year-old in many of his games, so why couldn't a woman do what he does? Sexual differences aren't as developed that young. And many games have pulled off female sword-wielders effectively. A great example is Riven from League of Legends, who is a totally OP bruiser (not a mage, which is a fairly evenly gendered category, and not a support, which is mostly female because of women's stereotypical gender roles as nurturing and motherly):

    http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/Riven

    I was mostly just reacting to MC Final Sigma's blanket attitude that any use of the trope is sexism, forever, period.

    Dude, I've addressed this over and over. It's not that men saving women is sexist, but the PROPORTION of female damsels to male "damsels" swings overwhelmingly in the female direction, and that PROPORTION is what makes it sexist.

    In addition, in many games, the only ways of being female are to be a helpless damsel. Consider the Marioverse: until maybe Rosalina, your options are Peach, Daisy, Pauline... all damsels. And that constant reinforcement implies that all women are powerless.

    Allow me to put it to you another way. If I wrote a show where the only black character was an illiterate dumbass criminal who has like 16 children by different mothers, is a deadbeat, etc. etc., would that be racist? By your logic, it would be hunky dory because it's just one black guy, I'm not saying all black men are like that, etc. etc. But that black character exists in a context, a context in which those attributes are stereotypes, stereotypes that are/were widely attributed to black men in real life. And to reinforce them in this way, where the only type of black person in my story conforms to the stereotype, is racist. I think you can do the math and see that representing the women in your story according to their stereotypes is sexist in the same way. Or do you think videogames and other cultural narratives spontaneously arise from some alien, context-less void?

    Having 90% of the stories being written feature male heroes and female damsels is an argument that sexism exists on the cultural level, yes -- but you can't point at a specific story that's otherwise not sexist and say "it's got a male hero rescuing a female damsel! That makes it sexist!" -- especially if that story contains other elements (like strong, independent, empowered female characters) that are the opposite of sexist.

    Now, I don't really understand your position. You're saying that use of the DiD trope in games is not sexist, even though the lack of female heroes is sexist, and that the DiD trope is a product of a sexist society and reflects the fact that sexism exists in our culture? So I guess videogames as a whole are sexist products, but individual games are not? Okay, man. Whatever. My opinion is that if DiD existed in a vacuum, it would not be sexist, but adding fuel to the fire is irresponsible and reinforces sexist readings.

    And let me quote myself to answer another of your points:

    no one said the whole games are sexist; they're only sexist insofar as they participate in the trope.

  21. Nobody is saying that writers should be forced to keep an exact 50/50 quota on male/female rescue missions. The goal of these videos isn't the creation and enforcement of some arbitrary rules or quotas on videogame writers, but an attempt to generate awareness within the community, so it will hopefully 'fix' itself.

    Well said, I second that.


  22. Then talk about them, specifically, instead of painting the entire medium of video games with the same brush.

    Here's a list:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DamselInDistress?from=Main.DistressedDamsel

    Because I'm not saying that disempowerment of women is a little thing -- I'm saying that disempowerment of a single character who happens to be female amidst a whole host of strong, positive female characters doesn't constitute disempowerment of women as a whole. It's treating "disempowerment of a single character" as if it were "disempowerment of an entire class of people" that's turning a small thing into a big thing.

    It stops being the disempowerment of a single character who happens to be female when it's single characters who happen to be female getting disempowered 90% of the time. Makes you think that they don't just "happen to be female," huh?

    So, it's only okay to write a story with a damsel in distress as long as I get together with (at least) one other writer and make sure they're working on a story that doesn't have a damsel in distress? Or if I write at least one non-DiD story for every DiD story I write? That's silly. If something is bad, it's bad regardless of how often it's said. Yelling out "women are weak and powerless!" is bad even if I (or someone else) immediately follows up with "women can be strong and independent!". Of course, that doesn't actually address my argument, which is that having a damsel in distress doesn't automatically translate to "women are weak and powerless" in the first place.

    Look at it this way. If two candidates apply for a job, one black, one white, and the white guy gets the job, that's not necessarily racist. But what if the black guy never got the job, or only 10% of the time? We have 2 options - either racism is afoot, or black people are, in fact, almost always inferior applicants (i.e., racism is justified and true). Which do you support?

    Put another way: actions exist in context. There is nothing inherently wrong with some things, like a swastika, but in our current context, it's an extremely offensive symbol. Likewise with this trope - one instance is not offensive, but writers are recycling a trope in a market already glutted with instances of that trope. That context makes the trope offensive by suggesting that all women are helpless because the huge majority of major female characters in videogames are disempowered.

    So, what's the alternative? Men can never save women? Men can only save other men, but women can save both men and women? How is that any better?

    Can you read? I literally just addressed this in the quote you just responded to. Anyone can save anyone, but when the gender relationship moves in one direction the vast majority of the time, it creates the impression that one gender is stronger than the other. It's not rocket science.

    Sexism is an attitude, not an event. If you have a cast full of strong, positive female characters, and one of them is rescued by a man one time, that's not sexist, and saying that "they used the Damsel in Distress trope, therefore that entire work filled with strong positive female characters is sexist!" is ridiculous.

    Review my previous posts. Your skimming is ridiculous.

    If everything were precisely equal, then men would still be rescuing women 25% of the time (it would be split evenly between man rescues woman, man rescues man, women rescues man, and woman rescues woman). Of course, it's not precisely equal -- largely because it's "hero rescues love interest", which (for most people) is going to be the opposite gender. Of course, it's still "man rescues woman" more often than any of the others, because men are the hero more often than women -- which is a problem and I absolutely think there should be more female heroes.

    So because 25% of the time seems oddly precise, it should be allowed to be 90% of the time? And yes, the lack of female heroes is significant as well, and rather serves as a corollary to this trope. This trope disempowers women, whereas the male hero trope empowers men (and, thus, not women).

    But that doesn't mean that having a male hero, or even having a male hero rescue a female love interest, is inherently in-and-of-itself sexist.

    I've agreed to this several times. The problem is the distribution greatly favors male power, not female power.


  23. Oh.

    Well, I still wanna know about the whole Lara saving Sam and whether or not that's sexist.

    I won't speak for the whole Tomb Raider series, which I've never played (although I know its reputation). But from what you've indicated, I would say, "No, it is not." And to repeat myself from earlier, even single instances of men saving women are not sexist - it becomes a problem when that's the gender relationship the huge majority of the time.