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Videogames and Sexism


Tensei
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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.

Except that every time I ask a real live woman the question, they never say it's because of sexism. Never. Ever.

Go ask some yourself! Go to the supermarket, there's lots of women there. Hit up your waitress next time you're out. Ask your female cashiers, bank tellers etc. If you don't know how to open the conversation just tell them you're doing a survey about women and video games. 99% of women will be glad to participate. And be specific, mention sexism and ask them directly if that effects their choice to play or not to play video games.

You can sit behind your computer and theorize all you want, but until you actually go out and get real results then you're just blowing smoke out of your rear.

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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.

Why must one conclude that sexism is involved? Is your viewpoint based on actually asking women why they don't play games? Darangen's answer is a valid one, maybe it's because there aren't many games that appeal to women.

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Guys, anecdotes about how this one girl you met totally doesn't think games are sexist aren't valid evidence. I can guarantee you that for every example you come up with I can dig up a feminist blog post about how the portrayal of women in most videogames DOES bother them, but that isn't the point at all.

maybe it's because there aren't many games that appeal to women.

Exactly!

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Guys, anecdotes about how this one girl you met totally doesn't think games are sexist aren't valid evidence. I can guarantee you that for every example you come up with I can dig up a feminist blog post about how the portrayal of women in most videogames DOES bother them, but that isn't the point at all.

What counts as valid evidence?

Exactly!

So just because many games don't appeal to women means they are automatically sexist? So when a movie or tv show appeals to women is that sexist?

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I guess that anecdotes about how this one feminist blog post thinks that women in video games bothers them isn't valid evidence either then, right?

No, you see, what I am saying is that there are women out there who are bothered by sexism in videogames. I would only need a SINGLE example to prove that.

What you have been saying is that if you ask a woman why she doesn't play videogames, it will NEVER be because of sexism. See where the difference lies?

What counts as valid evidence?

The only valid evidence in this case would be to literally interview every single woman in the world and prove that none of them are bothered by sexism in videogames.

So just because many games don't appeal to women means they are automatically sexist?

When there are more games that are made to appeal to men than to women, then yes. That's sexist.

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No, you see, what I am saying is that there are women out there who are bothered by sexism in videogames. I would only need a SINGLE example to prove that.

What you have been saying is that if you ask a woman why she doesn't play videogames, it will NEVER be because of sexism. See where the difference lies?

Of course some women are bothered by sexism in video games. I don't think anyone here is saying the answer will never be because of sexism, read the posts again.

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No, you see, what I am saying is that there are women out there who are bothered by sexism in videogames. I would only need a SINGLE example to prove that.

What you have been saying is that if you ask a woman why she doesn't play videogames, it will NEVER be because of sexism. See where the difference lies?

I didn't say they will never say it's because of sexism, I said none of them have said it. See the difference there?

Finding one girl who's bothered by something doesn't mean that every girl is bothered by it. With my real life test results it shows that those who are repelled by it are in the vast minority.

And like Darke just said, the girls who are bothered by it probably already play video games, so it's not what's keeping them away.

What I'm saying and have been saying all along is it's because games are usually marketed towards males. Just like make-up is marketed towards females, you don't see many guys rushing to the store to pick up some eye-liner. Which brings me to Zircons point that the most likely solution to the "problem" is to get more females involved in the creation of games so that they're made with an appeal for women as well.

You also need to start taking my posts into context when quoting them as well. When I said they're definitely not because of sexism I was referring to the 10 girls I asked at chili's. Read the whole post.

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Yeah but you think that interviewing 10 girls is enough to conclude that women who are repelled by it are in the vast minority. I'm sorry but that's not nearly a good enough sample size to be making a statement like that, which is why I brought up the argument that I can find plenty of evidence to the contrary and that it's actually pointless to be bringing up singular anecdotal examples.

You also seem to assume that when a girl says she isn't 'interested' in videogames, that couldn't possibly be because of societal expectations, while it could very well be an indirect result of having to deal with the stereotype that videogames are for boys her entire life.

It's become a recurring theme in this thread that modern-day sexism isn't blatant but insidious and affects people on a much deeper level where they don't realize that what they say or do might be sexist.

It's good that we've established that the fact that fewer women play videogames than men is the result of most games being explicitly marketed towards men, now you just have to see how that is sexist.

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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.

And our point is dispelling the idea that women don't play videogames because they find the over sexualization of female characters degrading, which while is just ONE element in the whole picture, is one that's been hammered constantly by several posters.

If asking structured questions to a random sample group of girls(IE the affected population) in a natural setting counts as "anecdotal" evidence, then ladies and gentlemen, social sciences are indeed a sham. Admittedly though, it IS a small sample, but what if Darangen came back with the responses from 50 girls? 100? What would it take to convince you?

And why can't girls just not like videogames without us making any potentially false assumptions about it?

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Any person with even a cursory knowledge of statistics will tell you that a sample size of 10 on a population of ~4 billion is completely inconsequential, and there is absolutely no way you can make accurate statements about the entire group based on ANYTHING you get from that.

My secondary argument was that you can't say for sure that when a girl says that she has no interest in videogames, it's not because of sexism.

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Any person with even a cursory knowledge of statistics will tell you that a sample size of 10 on a population of ~4 billion is completely inconsequential, and there is absolutely no way you can make accurate statements about the entire group based on ANYTHING you get from that.

No, but EVERYONE will tell you that it's enough of a start for making a testable hypothesis from which you can build with more evidence. I for one would rather trust the answers from a random girl in a restaurant than a blogger with an agenda on a subject that ostensibly affects the majority of a given population, as said girl would more than likely represent the everyman, or in this case everywoman I guess.

My secondary argument was that you can't say for sure that when a girl says that she has no interest in videogames, it's not because of sexism.

And you can't say that it is, which is why you ask instead of making blind assumptions.

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You also seem to assume that when a girl says she isn't 'interested' in videogames, that couldn't possibly be because of societal expectations, while it could very well be an indirect result of having to deal with the stereotype that videogames are for boys her entire life.

You're completely right, just like I stated in this post in this thread about how I assume that society has no influence whatsoever.

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And you can't say that it is, which is why you ask instead of making blind assumptions.

Well, if we go back to the make-up analogy: I'll speak for myself here, and say that I don't wear make-up. If someone questioned me about it I'd probably say that I don't consider it necessary, or maybe even say that it's 'weird'.

In the end, though, I feel like this all stems from being conditioned my entire life in a patriarchal society that expects men not to wear make-up, and stigmatizes it as something exclusively intended for women. And yes, I consider this sexist as well.

Given this reasoning, I wouldn't be surprised if at least some women hold very similar ideas with regards to videogames. They might not have thought it through all the way or identify it as sexism, but it would be hard to deny that society as a whole (which includes the way videogames are marketed) could have at least SOME role in the thought process.

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I don't think anyone here has argued that society doesn't have a role in regards to girls and video games.

I've never denied that myself at least.

What I have argued is that sexism (read: the portrayal of women in video games) is not a significant contribution to the reason girls don't play games.

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Then what is?

E: It's not just the portrayal of women in videogames that's sexist, that's just a symptom that everyone seems to be very intent to focus on. Obviously the way videogames are marketed, the way many female gamers are treated, and societal expectations factor into the sexism of it as well.

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I should also point out that I'm in the process of asking several of my friends via the facebook messenger(from several different cultures, PRican and American) several questions.

1. Have you played or do you play video games and do you enjoy them or not?

2. If so, do you feel that the sexualized look or oversexualization of female characters makes you uncomfortable or prevents you from playing certain games?

3. If not, is it due to the previously mentioned reason(I gave a short preamble of our discussion) or for any other reasons?

The general response from 4 girls I've asked thus far not including 3 friends I had dinner with last night was that over sexualization doesn't bug them. In fact, some of them LIKE the oversexualized female fantasy characters.

After I asked them, 2 of them offered that they feel that they'd play more games if there were more that were designed for female players, so there's definitely some sentiment that games are designed for males however.

More study is required.

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To be clear, I'm not arguing that the sexualized look of female characters is the ONLY factor that contributes to videogames being less appealing to women. If I ever said something to imply that I was wrong and I apologize.

Another example to look at would be the way female gamers are treated in certain communities. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a female gamer who hasn't had to deal with comments on her gender in the past.

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Then what is?

E: It's not just the portrayal of women in videogames that's sexist, that's just a symptom that everyone seems to be very intent to focus on. Obviously the way videogames are marketed, the way many female gamers are treated, and societal expectations factor into the sexism of it as well.

Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is defined as prejudice or discrimination based on sex; or behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. Sexism is a form of discrimination or devaluation based on a person's sex, with such attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes of gender roles. The term sexism is most often used in relation to discrimination against women, in the context of patriarchy.

Sexism involves hatred of or prejudice towards a gender as a whole or the application of gender stereotypes. Sexism is often associated with gender-supremacy arguments.

The only thing in that definition of sexism that refers to society is social roles. I'd hardly relate playing video games to being a role, it's a hobby. A role is more of a duty or obligation. I don't see video game developers discriminating against females when they're making their games, they're just usually developed with a male audience in mind - not against women, just towards men.

The way girls are treated by PEOPLE in certain communities is not a reflection of the video games themselves. The people making and marketing the games are not the people treating female gamers poorly. That's a community problem, not a development/marketing problem.

I'm going to go ahead and bow out of this discussion for now and just spectate. It's become evident to me that evidence isn't really accepted here and when you exile evidence you can't have an honest and open debate. As a result it's become a circular argument that's based on ideas instead of facts.

If the tone changes and evidence is accepted into the discussion I may return.

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You're misreading your own 'evidence' (in as far as a dictionary definition and anecdotes count as such). The sentence about stereotypes of social roles based on sex definitely DOES apply to this discussion.

What you're essentially implying here is that "Women do chores around the house" is sexist, but "Woman don't play videogames" isn't, according to your own flawed definition of social roles.

A role is more of a duty or obligation.
A role or a social role is a set of connected behaviours, rights and obligations as conceptualised by actors in a social situation.

One of the examples given on wikipedia is the act of playing soccer, which isn't a duty or obligation either.

E: This is getting way too tangential: The main point of this thread is to point out that both female characters and female players are treated pretty badly in a lot of videogames, and how that's kind of a bad thing. What you guys have been doing for the last few pages is trying to convince me that I'm wrong because some women might not feel that way. I know that I'm guilty of addressing the validity of arguments instead of staying ontopic, but ultimately all the stuff that has been brought up on the last few pages is largely irrelevant towards the thread.

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2. If so, do you feel that the sexualized look or oversexualization of female characters makes you uncomfortable or prevents you from playing certain games?

3. If not, is it due to the previously mentioned reason(I gave a short preamble of our discussion) or for any other reasons?

The general response from 4 girls I've asked thus far not including 3 friends I had dinner with last night was that over sexualization doesn't bug them. In fact, some of them LIKE the oversexualized female fantasy characters.

After I asked them, 2 of them offered that they feel that they'd play more games if there were more that were designed for female players, so there's definitely some sentiment that games are designed for males however.

You're asking the wrong questions. The presence of oversexualized female characters is not the main factor that drives females away. Look at the covers of women's magazines. Airbrushed photos of models in bikinis are not uncommon at all. Those may not be as sexualized as typical sexy video game characters, but 'sexiness' and 'over-idealized' factors are definitely present.

The key is this:

if there were more that were designed for female players
there's definitely some sentiment that games are designed for males

It's not the presence of oversexualized females. It is the SHORTAGE of characters/ elements designed for females. It's the imbalance.

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