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Videogames and Sexism


Tensei
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This thread needs more lady opinions.

Let it be known for the record that I have XX chromosomes.

I really don't care about door holding (though I can imagine exceptional cases, like if some crazy dude insisted how all females were fragile ladies to be treated like noble ladies or whatever), but I do have an opinion on objectification of characters of both sexes in fiction.

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This is just the "But there are bigger problems!" argument again. "Trivial" sexism is still sexism.

Just like male stereotypes in video games, they may not be as widespread, but they are still an issue. Certainly we can address issues of men and women at the same time.

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Has been proven wrong by countless generations of slavery and extreme male dominance in many parts of the world throughout history. Concepts like "sexism" didn't even exist back when people took sexism for granted.

I agree that overdoing the awareness thing can do more harm than good, but just shutting up and ignoring it entirely isn't the answer, either.

I'm not so sure that constitutes that notion being "proved wrong." I don't really feel like researching this at the moment, but I'd be very surprised if there had never been a female-dominant culture throughout all of recorded history, or at least one where gender didn't matter. The existence of even a single one of those would allow for the result of the hypothetical social experiment I proposed to be a possible outcome.

Doubtful, but even if we accept this as true, the problem is that it requires the actual racists and sexists to shut up as well, not just the people who complain about racism. Otherwise the bigoted get free reign, nobody's speaking out against them, and all the social progress we've made goes to shit.

Oh, certainly, but what I was suggesting was more of a hypothetical than a "LET'S DO IT!!!" I more meant that if *nothing* were said by *anyone* about sexism, racism, etc., then I thought the problem might remedy itself through extinction. If it's all a learned perception, then not allowing the possibility for it to be learned should abolish the perception.

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For the record, I'm also not saying that door-holding is some pressing issue that needs to be dealt with RIGHT NOW. It was just an example. However, if I did meet someone who held doors open for women and only women, I'd still point out that it was sexist. Not because I think it's eeeevillll, but because it shows that the person believes, on some level, that women are "others", that they need to be treated differently, and it might be worthwhile to reflect on why they think that.

Certainly we can address issues of men and women at the same time.

You can. I'm not saying you shouldn't. I'm just saying "Don't act like they're equivalent or that they negate one another."

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You can. I'm not saying you shouldn't. I'm just saying "Don't act like they're equivalent or that they negate one another."

I totally agree with that, they aren't equivalent at all. Nor do they cancel each other out. Murder is more serious than theft, but theft is still an issue. Maybe a bad example, but you get the idea.

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-if a man doesn't want kids no one thinks much about it, if a woman doesn't want children she's stigmatized

Stigmatized? I do roll in some pretty open-minded circles, but the childfree women I've known are not outcasts. They all have plenty of friends, those with child and without. As a man, I've caught flak for choosing not to have kids.

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I also want to...not really dispute...but question the idea that a lot of folks in this thread are throwing around: that lots of women don't play video games. Where exactly is that idea coming from? Because it seems very much like an outdated stereotype. This is purely anecdotal, so I'm not talking about majorities or anything and I'm not going to say "most" women play, but I will say a lot of women play video games; RPGs and puzzle games in particular. And not just JRPGs or MMOs. Single player WRPGs like Dragon Age are very popular with women because things we generally see in "chick flicks" like relationships and social interactions are integrated into the gameplay. I see a lot of girls and women in video game fandoms; Zelda, Sonic, Final Fantasy, etc. A lot of classic stuff that's been around for decades. Just some food for thought.

I'll respond to that because I'm one of the people who made the insinuation in a round-about way. Even though I didn't really say there weren't a lot of gamer girls.

There are definitely lots of girls who play games, and that number grows daily, but taking the amount of guys that play games and doing a comparison - relatively speaking there aren't as many girls playing games.

I think it's largely a generational thing as well, where girls who are now in there 30's or so grew up when Nintendo was just starting their video game lines. It wasn't as popular then and as a result there aren't many gamer chicks around that age group or older. Then fast forward to today where you have iphones and androids everywhere and technology is really boomed, this generation is growing up with an already saturated market and it's a bit more socially acceptable for girls to play video games. And now some of those older girls are jumping in to the gaming world as well because of games that you mentioned like Dragon Age and whatnot.

Not that it was ever socially unacceptable for girls to game. Just wasn't as common.

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For the record, I'm also not saying that door-holding is some pressing issue that needs to be dealt with RIGHT NOW. It was just an example. However, if I did meet someone who held doors open for women and only women, I'd still point out that it was sexist. Not because I think it's eeeevillll, but because it shows that the person believes, on some level, that women are "others", that they need to be treated differently, and it might be worthwhile to reflect on why they think that.

Personally, my parents taught me that women should be respected. I tend to be a bit nicer to my triplet sister than my brother. :-P This doesn't really affect my door opening, though, since I tend to hold it for most people. So what if I tend to be a bit nicer to the opposite gender? It's not like it hurts anyone, and when it comes down to it, how I treat people mostly depends on how they treat me.

On the subject of videogames, They way overdo it with the sexualization of female characters. It's annoying, to say the least. The thing is, I guess this is due to the demographic of gamers who they are aiming for.

My sister tends to play more RPG-ish games like the Tales series or Disgaea; she does really like the Mega Man Zero series and Castlevania, and she plays TF2 with her friends at school also. She doesn't like overly gory or scary games like Left 4 Dead or Dead Space, and she tends to not play FPS or fighting games. She might be an exception, though.

Edit: Well, there are always exceptions. :b

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Oh man, the door thing reminds me of one time I held open a door for a female friend of mine; well it was a double set of doors and she held open the second door for me with the biggest grin on her face.

I'm pretty dense so I didn't realize the implications of that until several hours later.

When they do that I intentionally start expecting them to always open the door for me, vocally if they forget.

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you realize that the reason behind there being 1 female gamer there are 100 male gamers is because the medium is sexist, right?

I look forward to reading the study that shows this link. Where might I find it?

Also I agree wholeheartedly with the topic. Look at how Ms. Pac Man clearly resembles a boob. You aren't fooling anyone, Namco!

you can do the things that a guy like Commander Shepard does.

That's sexist. MY Shepard has always been (and always will be) female.

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I look forward to reading the study that shows this link. Where might I find it?

Bleck is not the one who brought up that number in the first place, his main point was that if there is an imbalance of male vs. female gamers, it's because the medium is sexist.

According to Wikipedia the percentage of female gamers is something like 40%.

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I went to chili's last night with my sister and saw a table of 9 girls. Because of this discussion, I decided to go up and ask them some questions about video games and sexism.

- I asked them if they do or have ever played video games. 3 of them said they either have played or do play video games.

- I asked the 3 what kinds of games they played/play, they were mostly rpg's, but one of the three plays call of duty online regularly. I asked why the one plays call of duty, she said because her boyfriend got her into it.

- I then asked the remaining 7 why the didn't play video games and got a buffet of responses which include but are not limited to: They're boring, I don't have time to play games, I have better things to do, I don't understand them, They're a waste of time, I don't have a playstation/xbox/wii/gaming pc, it just doesn't interest me, and so on. Not one of them said they did not play video games because they're sexist.

Since none of them brought up sexism, I decided to bring it up myself by blatantly asking if they thought video games were sexist. None of them thought they were. I asked the two who played rpg's if the female characters in the games bothered them or made them uncomfortable. One said only a little, the other was fine with it.

To take it a step further, I asked the 7 who didn't play games if female characters with oversized breasts and unrealistic body shapes would deter them from playing games in the future. They all said no.

Now, I realize this is just 9 girls in a random town, 10 including my sister who games regularly and doesn't think games are sexist, but every time I bring this up with women I usually always get the same responses.

Sexism isn't what's driving/keeping girls away from gaming. A lot of them just aren't into it.

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So according to Darangen, correlation is causation %^(

I mean I see what you're trying to say here (that the apparent reasons for female disinterest in games is not related to any sort of gender biases), but really? The culture in which we live in in the USA is pretty hostile to women in general, and the gaming subculture even more so. Magically changing games to suddenly not objectify women as much won't change anyone's way of thinking immediately and of course is not going to be any reason for the vast majority of nongamers to suddenly say "hey, video games are great!" But fostering a less hostile environment would definitely encourage a more open dialogue between male and female gamers as well as game developers. You keep driving in the point that "it isn't sexism driving them away, they're just not interested" without speculating on why they're not interested, and that is more what I believe Tensei wants to address rather than bickering back and forth with anecdotes about what girls say.

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So according to Darangen, correlation is causation.

No, the assumption that A) games tend to oversexualize women, B) a lot of girls don't seem to like video games, therefore C) oversexualized women keeps women from playing videogames(which is the spiel going on here) is an example of assuming correlation is causation.

What Darangen is doing is trying to establish whether or not there IS causation by ASKING WOMEN how they feel on that parameter specifically, and is getting answers that point to no relationship.

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I mean I see what you're trying to say here (that the apparent reasons for female disinterest in games is not related to any sort of gender biases), but really? The culture in which we live in in the USA is pretty hostile to women in general, and the gaming subculture even more so. Magically changing games to suddenly not objectify women as much won't change anyone's way of thinking immediately and of course is not going to be any reason for the vast majority of nongamers to suddenly say "hey, video games are great!" But fostering a less hostile environment would definitely encourage a more open dialogue between male and female gamers as well as game developers. You keep driving in the point that "it isn't sexism driving them away, they're just not interested" without speculating on why they're not interested, and that is more what I believe Tensei wants to address rather than bickering back and forth with anecdotes about what girls say.

There's no doubt in my mind that if they made games geared toward women that more women would start playing games.

As Darkesword already pointed out, games like Dragon Age are doing just that.

What I don't believe (and is supported every time I ask a girl the question) is that they don't play games because of the way they portray women. They types of games out there just don't interest many women, or the women who don't play games just aren't aware of some of the games like Dragon Age that they might enjoy if they took the time to give it a shot.

It's like a food preference really. I hate olives. Why? Because at a younger age I tried them and disliked the taste. Do I still dislike olives today? Yes. But is that because I already decided years ago that I didn't like them or is it because I haven't had enough dishes with olives in them to realize that there might be a situation where I do like olives?

I'm pretty sure if I gave each dish a fair shot I'd eventually find one that I wouldn't mind having olives in. Hasn't happened yet though.

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What Darangen is doing is trying to establish whether or not there IS causation by ASKING WOMEN how they feel on that parameter specifically, and is getting answers that point to no relationship.

All the answers point to one of two things: either women are somehow naturally predisposed towards disliking videogames (i.e. sexist evopsych bullshit), or there is SOMETHING that makes videogames less appealing towards women as a whole, perhaps without them being conscious of it (i.e. societal pressure, the way videogames are marketed).

My point is that by accepting the idea that fewer women play videogames than men as a fact, one can only conclude that sexism is somehow involved.

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