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Videogames and Sexism


Tensei
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That depends on what you define as male eye candy. I think the battle-worn, Hollywood-rugged (real war wounds tend not to be as pleasant) male characters we see in games can be seen as attractive.

Again, though, that's a male power fantasy. There's no real way to gauge this universally, but polls often suggest that the big, rugged space-marine types are not favoured by women. Men designed for men, women designed for men.

And again, it's not just attractiveness that's the problem, it's objectification. If these rugged war heroes were going around in daft-looking armour designed to show off their asses, that would be one thing, but it rarely happens. Men are allowed to cover up. They are allowed to wear armour that looks like it'd actually protect them. Women get, you know, the video I posted earlier.

And unless you want to say that girls who have breast implants and/or show off their cleavage and/or stand with their hips stuck out are sexist, I don't see your point.

Are you even listening

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That depends on what you define as male eye candy. I think the battle-worn, Hollywood-rugged (real war wounds tend not to be as pleasant) male characters we see in games can be seen as attractive.

We've been over this. Battle-worn, Hollywood-rugged male characters are very much intended as a male power fantasy rather than something that broadly appeals to female gamers.

If you look at male characters in media that are specifically aimed at women, you end up with characters like Edward from Twilight or even friggin' Justin Bieber. No doubt there are women out there who are into gruff, hairy and muscular dudes, but I strongly doubt those make up the majority (or the characters from Twilight would look very different).

And unless you want to say that girls who have breast implants and/or show off their cleavage and/or stand with their hips stuck out are sexist, I don't see your point.

Women CHOOSE to dress that way, or to get implants, or take a seductive pose. Characters are created by writers and designers. A fictional character doesn't stand in a seductive pose because she 'chooses' to stand that way (no matter what her backstory might say), but because her designer has explicitly portrayed her like that with a specific purpose in mind (most likely for cheap pandering!).

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That female characters are often designed for the pleasure/satisfaction of males is pretty obvious when you consider that most people in the game industry are males. So, of course when you have primarily men making games, they are generally going to make games that appeal to them. That's why there are tons of adrenaline-pumping FPS action games and skimpy female outfits. Does anyone really disagree with this? It would be more shocking if things DIDN'T turn out that way (eg. if a male-dominated industry produced content that appealed to both sexes exactly equally).

The solution is to find ways of getting females more involved with the game industry.

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That female characters are often designed for the pleasure/satisfaction of males is pretty obvious when you consider that most people in the game industry are males. So, of course when you have primarily men making games, they are generally going to make games that appeal to them. That's why there are tons of adrenaline-pumping FPS action games and skimpy female outfits. Does anyone really disagree with this?

No, but so what? Just because something is an obvious consequence doesn't mean it isn't a problem. Being a man doesn't force you to design women with huge tits. The more people become aware of this issue, the more people are going to say "Hey, women might want to play this game too, maybe I should rein in the male-pandering a bit."

The solution is to find ways of getting females more involved with the game industry.

Except that the reason more women aren't involved in the game industry is basically "sexism".

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Because girls don't play Call of Duty.

As an added note, I like how you and zircon seem to have this idea that women are genetically predisposed to not liking FPS games, rather than, I dunno, this being an issue with the whole male-dominant marketing thing. Again.

EDIT: And horrible misogynist online communities, of course.

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Except that the reason more women aren't involved in the game industry is basically "sexism".

No, I don't think it's because of sexism in the sense that skimpy-clothed boogeygirls are scaring them away. I think it's because of more deeply rooted social values. And even if we do get more women in the industry, I don't believe we'll be seeing that many more "modest" female characters because both boys and girls like to look at exagerrated pretty things, as I've seen from how many female players customize their avatars in fantasy games.

Women do play FPS games like Call of Duty, but they tend to not make themselves heard for obvious reasons. Probably not as many as those who are into fantasy and MMO games, but definitely a lot more than RTS.

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No, but so what? Just because something is an obvious consequence doesn't mean it isn't a problem. Being a man doesn't force you to design women with huge tits. The more people become aware of this issue, the more people are going to say "Hey, women might want to play this game too, maybe I should rein in the male-pandering a bit."

When did I say it wasn't a problem?

Except that the reason more women aren't involved in the game industry is basically "sexism".

That's up for debate. Keep in mind the video game/software industry has been around since the days when it was impossible to actually render a scantily-clad female to begin with. There are a lot of theories as to why females are generally less interested to pursue a career in math, computer science, engineering, etc. Aptitude doesn't seem to be related, though some people have suggested females that are good at math (etc) also tend to be good at verbal skills, so given the option they pursue a career involving the latter. It's also been suggested that women avoid careers that may make it harder to become a mother (something that requires flexibility in time + scheduling). The game industry is notorious for requiring grueling hours, crunch time, and so on. It does not lend itself to flexible schedules and people taking lots of time off due to pregnancy/childbirth.

Even if the problem were simply, "the game industry is sexist" and there were no other factors at work, the solution would still be to address some of the related issues. eg. Make it easier for women to take time off and have flexible schedules (reduction in crunch time, which is a problem for both genders), have more support in public schools via programs/grants/clubs for women to get into CS/programming/design... the solution is not forum threads and telling males to be less sexist. That's idealistic. It's to create an environment where more women want to get involved in the industry DESPITE any existing sexism, since simply having more of a gender balance will help address issues across the board.

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Yeah, sometimes it's a little too over the top, but the only legit issue here is people actually being offended by works of fiction.

So you're saying that people should not be allowed to be offended by works of fiction?

Honestly, I'm getting kinda weirded out by the dismissive attitude towards this subject.

Also yeah, I don't think the lack of women in the industry is necessarily the cause of the problem. Keep in mind that a lot of people, whether they be male or female, probably aren't that aware of the sexism in videogames, unless it's extremely blatant. I think it's much more a matter of raising peoples' awareness towards the subject.

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There is nothing wrong with sexy girls in games, comics etc. Yeah, sometimes it's a little too over the top, but the only legit issue here is people actually being offended by works of fiction.

Yeah, why would a black person find that KKK ethnic cleansing shooter offensive? It's only fiction! Grow a thicker skin, guys!

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That female characters are often designed for the pleasure/satisfaction of males is pretty obvious when you consider that most people in the game industry are males. So, of course when you have primarily men making games, they are generally going to make games that appeal to them. That's why there are tons of adrenaline-pumping FPS action games and skimpy female outfits. Does anyone really disagree with this? It would be more shocking if things DIDN'T turn out that way (eg. if a male-dominated industry produced content that appealed to both sexes exactly equally).

The solution is to find ways of getting females more involved with the game industry.

This^

As I said before,

Sex+Audience+Appeal+????= Profit= Happy Customers

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When did I say it wasn't a problem?

If you aren't saying it isn't a problem, what are you saying? "Is anyone surprised that a male-dominated area turns out things that pander to men?" No! Not really! When did anyone say they were?

Keep in mind the video game/software industry has been around since the days when it was impossible to actually render a scantily-clad female to begin with.

Keep in mind that "scantily-clad females" are not the entirety of the problem.

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I'm not sure if this has been brought up, but there is also sexism towards men. Take your standard fps hero, such as Marcus Fenix. A grizzly, massive dude with a gravely voice. Your standard hard ass who shows no feelings. Certainly not every soldier behaves like this. I can't think of a game off the top of my head in which a man shows real emotion, actual feelings. Actually, some of the older Final Fantasy's, such as 9 and 6 have male characters with complex emotions. Most men, at least in action games or shooters, are either macho badasses (Nathan Drake), emotionless dudes with refrigerator armor (Master Chief), or the strong, silent type (Gordan Freeman). I think the emotional state of males is more complex than that. Men can have emotions to, and I'd like to see this more often.

I do of course acknowledge that many games objectify women, probably more than men. Let's not forget that men are often not presented in a realistic way either. Darangen made a good point.

IMO, if you wanna see realistic men and women, go to the mall or walmart or wherever. Don't play games if you're expecting them to perfectly depict reality. In a fantasy world you're allowed to have fantasy.

It seems to me that whenever people discuss sexism in video games, or anywhere, they seem to neglect mentioning sexism towards men, which does exist.

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I'm not sure if this has been brought up, but there is also sexism towards men. Take your standard fps hero, such as Marcus Fenix. A grizzly, massive dude with a gravely voice. Your standard hard ass who shows no feelings. Certainly not every soldier behaves like this.

That's unrealistic, but is not sexist because characters like those are male empowerment fantasy. They hold no appeal to the majority of actual female consumers.

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I'm not sure if this has been brought up, but there is also sexism towards men. Take your standard fps hero, such as Marcus Fenix. A grizzly, massive dude with a gravely voice.

MALE. POWER. FANTASY.

At least try and act like you're reading the thread!

It seems to me that whenever people discuss sexism in video games, or anywhere, they seem to neglect mentioning sexism towards men, which does exist.

Well it seems to ME that whenever people discuss racism against blacks they seem to neglect mentioning that racism towards WHITE people exists!

It's not like one is a much bigger and more widespread problem than the other or anything!

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If you aren't saying it isn't a problem, what are you saying? "Is anyone surprised that a male-dominated area turns out things that pander to men?" No! Not really! When did anyone say they were?

A number of people in the thread seem to be in disagreement about whether sexism exists, I guess?

Keep in mind that "scantily-clad females" are not the entirety of the problem.

Don't be pedantic. My point is that the industry has been male-dominated since before we could even get to the point of making male-fantasy characters, when it was all pure text and abstract graphics with no stories or characters whatsoever. The sexism that we see today with female characters is a symptom, not a primary cause, of women not wanting to be involved. Make sense?

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Yeah, why would a black person find that KKK ethnic cleansing shooter offensive? It's only fiction! Grow a thicker skin, guys!

You know what's sexist? All the internet jokes and shit about women and "the kitchen" "sandwiches" etc. Video games favouring hot, scantily clad women is really not "degrading".

Are you people forgetting that the guys who make these games have wives and families of their own? Just recently I read about a guy at Crystal Dynamics' wife gave birth to a little girl....whom he and his wife named "Lara". AFTER the supposedly "sexist" character his company makes games about for christ sakes.

Just because they emphasize sexuality does not mean they actually believe women to be nothing more than sex objects.

Just like I doubt Matt Groening thinks the only reason Indian people exist is to work tirelessly at 7/11

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So you're saying that people should not be allowed to be offended by works of fiction?

Honestly, I'm getting kinda weirded out by the dismissive attitude towards this subject.

Are you allowed to be offended? Sure.

Being offended doesn't automatically justify the demonization of what offended you though.

I could be offended by people wearing their hats backwards. Does that mean I should get weirded out when people are dismissive about it? Or should I accept that my views aren't, and shouldn't be required to be everyone elses view as well?

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That's unrealistic, but is not sexist because characters like those are male empowerment fantasy. They hold no appeal to the majority of actual female consumers.

Wrong. Theoretically, I could say "Tifa ends up being stronger than most MALE characters, subverting sexist stereotypes".

Marcus Fenix is a gruff brute of a man, nearly careless for anything he does in battle. He is barely given emotion. Men DO get offended by that.

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Funny how gender roles and expectations are only wrong when they're female...and yet it's only men in this topic that are angry about it :roll:

That's because we're talking about gaming in an online gaming forum. There aren't that many women to talk about the issue because women generally are not as interested in gaming as men. The fact that I could count the women I know on this forum on the fingers of my hands should only serve to reinforce this.

Catering to men only further removes real women from our medium, which really, really sucks for everyone involved in the end, male and female alike. If you claim that there is no problem with females being removed from the medium in this manner, let me ask if you've ever heard this question before...

"You're a gamer? Why don't you go out and get a girlfriend, instead?" or the like. See, if women were able to partake in the activity as much as men then you wouldn't need to give up or hide your passion in order to balance your love life, as it could be an activity you share with them. There are exceptions to this where women actually do enjoy gaming with their boyfriends, and it's wildly awesome when you find someone like that, but it's still a rare exception - most women still do not want to be around men when they're enjoying games, which isn't ideal when it comes to relationships.

Wouldn't it be nice if being an active gamer didn't mean often finding difficulty holding a relationship due to not spending enough time with your girlfriend? Give that some thought before you claim there's no harm in alienating the female audience - most other activities (even other male dominated activities such as playing a contact sport) don't have this stigma on them. That's at least one thing that's a horrible consequence to sexism in gaming that even affects us male gamers negatively. :whatevaa:

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