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Videogames and Sexism


Tensei
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Jade might be a good example of a great female character...or rather, a great character in general...but does the game itself appeal to women? I'm having trouble trying to find the right way to say this, I suppose, but should we worry about the characters not being sexist, if the game itself doesn't appeal to the gender we're worried about offending?

are you implying that there are genres of games that women are somehow incapable of finding appealing

because that would be sexist

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Alright, so then, here's my next question. What's the best way to translate this into actual video games? Social/interpersonal would lead to adventure games or maybe RPGs, but then RPG characters by their very nature aren't 'plain'.

Jade might be a good example of a great female character...or rather, a great character in general...but does the game itself appeal to women? I'm having trouble trying to find the right way to say this, I suppose, but should we worry about the characters not being sexist, if the game itself doesn't appeal to the gender we're worried about offending?

Right, sometimes it doesn't matter. As an extreme example, hentai game developers don't have to worry about offending or appealing to females.

The thing is that there could/would be a lot more females playing games if more games were (successfully) designed to appeal to them. Japanese games tend to "solve" this problem NOT by de-objectifying female characters, but by including objectified MALE characters in the cast that genuinely appeal to female gamers. It doesn't exactly promote realistic/ empowering portrayal of either gender, but it works as far as garnering female fanbase is concerned.

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so being a gentlemen to the girls isn't a good thing?

That depends on what you mean by "being a gentleman".

This is like the "Holding the door open for a woman isn't sexist!" thing. Yeah, maybe not in and of itself, but if you feel compelled to do it for women and only women, that's probably indicative of some sexist attitudes, because why the hell do only women deserve courtesy?

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so being a gentlemen to the girls isn't a good thing?.

Whether or not it's a good thing, yeah, that's technically 'sexist'. Whether or not it's acceptable is another issue entirely, but people who are trying to reduce everyone's 'sexist' argument (and for that matter racist) to 'it's violent/hateful' is really simplifying the argument and creating strawmen, in the process. There are plenty of things that could still be hurtful to society in one way or another without being spiteful or violent.

I can give you this and it's called Cho Aniki.

You apparently haven't heard of it. That pretty much says it all.

No I haven't heard of it... wow, that's incredibly gay.

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I'm not saying male stereotypes are as prominent, or even as negative of the over-sexing of women in video games. I'm just saying it exists. Really though, how many men think of these characters as "male power fantasy"? It's not just me personally, but can people really say most men have this "male power fantasy"? Have any studies been done on how many men ascribe to or agree with this power fantasy? Obviously men are represented in greater variety than women, but does that make stereotypes about men invalid? It seems like some people are saying men should just suck it up and ignore the stereotypes.

It's not a conscious thing, but we do identify with these kinds of concepts. You see it a lot in comic books. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine; all of these characters feed into this whole, subconscious "it would be cool if I could do that" mentality. It becomes more pronounced in video games because well, you can do the things that a guy like Commander Shepard does. You are doing those things when you play the games.

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.

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That depends on what you mean by "being a gentleman".

This is like the "Holding the door open for a woman isn't sexist!" thing. Yeah, maybe not in and of itself, but if you feel compelled to do it for women and only women, that's probably indicative of some sexist attitudes,

To be honest with you its a built in response.

That is as you could call it, cultural brainwashing.

I do hold doors open for everyone but usually if a girl asks for something i will usually go out of my way to get it

I don't think that type of sexism is bad but pff i really don't know anymore.

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^^ Yeah the "1 female gamer for every 100 males" thing was brought up by Darangen, but I think it's much closer to a 60/40 split, if not even more than that.

That's exactly what makes the sexism that much more jarring; there are a plenty of potential female customers, but the majority of the industry just chooses to 'play it safe' and keep on pandering explicitly towards men.

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It's not a conscious thing, but we do identify with these kinds of concepts. You see it a lot in comic books. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine; all of these characters feed into this whole, subconscious "it would be cool if I could do that" mentality. It becomes more pronounced in video games because well, you can do the things that a guy like Commander Shepard does. You are doing those things when you play the games.

I suppose it's true when you put it that. In that case, I don't really see a problem with this sort of power fantasy. Wanting to perform the actions of these heroes isn't necessarily sexist or degrading towards women. I guess if "male power fantasy" includes scantily clad women it could be considered sexist.

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.

Yeah, agreed. My 26-year-old sister plays all sorts video games, I would even say she's a hardcore gamer. She's currently playing Skyrim, and occasionally plays Minecraft with my brother and I. There was a fair number of women in the video game club at my school. I've also noticed more women in the Game Design major at my school. Although I graduated from the program, I've sat in on a few classes. The number of female gamers is not as small as people think, and it's on the rise.

This is a question for the women here: are you offended by how women are portrayed in video games or do you generally ignore it? Or is it more a case by case sort of thing? I should ask my sister at some point.

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I suppose it's true when you put it that. In that case, I don't really see a problem with this sort of power fantasy. Wanting to perform the actions of these heroes isn't necessarily sexist or degrading towards women.

It's not, but here's the thing. Every time this issue comes up, people will always say "Yeah, but men are objectified too! Look at all these buff rugged etc. etc." as if that balances out all the boobladies in bikini plate. The problem is that both of these things are oriented towards men, so people are trying to claim sexual equality where there is none. It's not sexist to enjoy a power fantasy of being a space marine or whatever, but the fact that these space marines exist does not excuse how women are portrayed.

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To be honest with you its a built in response.

That is as you could call it, cultural brainwashing.

I do hold doors open for everyone but usually if a girl asks for something i will usually go out of my way to get it

I don't think that type of sexism is bad but pff i really don't know anymore.

The moral of the story here is everyone is a sexist asshole.

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The moral of the story here is everyone is a sexist asshole.

With society the way it is, yeah, everyone's probably at least a tiny bit sexist, or racist, or homophobic or whatever.

The question is, do you make the effort to change that part of yourself? If you do, congratulations! You are not an asshole!

EDIT: At least not in that particular area of life. If you go around throwing bricks at people you should still probably stop, even if it's completely indiscriminate.

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The moral of the story here is everyone is a sexist asshole.

Even the nice guys :U

To answer you question archaon i believe i do, i used to be homophobic till i found out all my school friends had been gay, so yeah that hit me for a homerun, changed my way of thinking.

my way of thinking is forever changing.

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It's not, but here's the thing. Every time this issue comes up, people will always say "Yeah, but men are objectified too! Look at all these buff rugged etc. etc." as if that balances out all the boobladies in bikini plate. The problem is that both of these things are oriented towards men, so people are trying to claim sexual equality where there is none. It's not sexist to enjoy a power fantasy of being a space marine or whatever, but the fact that these space marines exist does not excuse how women are portrayed.

This isn't about excusing how women are portrayed, and I don't think anyone here is trying to claim sexual equality in video games. Men are objectified, that is a fact. It may not be as prominent as objectification of women, and it certainly doesn't balance anything out, but it is a fact that men are objectified. It may not be a big deal, but it's there. That's all I'm saying, I'm not trying to discredit that women are clearly objectified.

One question though, why are men expected to ignore male stereotypes, yet when it's against women, we shouldn't ignore it? Certainly women are capable of ignoring such things, they're not weaklings who need protection. I'm not advocating that we ignore how much women are objectified, just a question.

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This is a question for the women here: are you offended by how women are portrayed in video games or do you generally ignore it? Or is it more a case by case sort of thing? I should ask my sister at some point.

The general portrayal of women wouldn't bother me so much if it was based on a believeable reason as to why they behave and dress in the manner they are portrayed.

Examples: Ashe (FFXII). Royalty in hiding, and a woman in a 'resistance' effort wouldn't be wearing a skirt so short. Not only would men be staring, the knights around her wouldn't be letting her fight as one of them and not question propriety. I'm sorry, princesses do not equal street walkers, even if they're trying to blend in.

Aeris (FFVII). Wow, a girl who has almost a fullsize dress on? Admittedly it was designed with a split, but I can believe she'd need to wear something like that to run in while in a party.

Female Heroine (Pokemon Black/White). Why is it necessary that her cutoff shorts basically give you a panty shot every time she throws the pokeball out? How is this even comfortable when running around collecting pokemon? How does this protect your legs from chiggers in tall grass?

Bianca (Pokemon Black/White). This bothers me. She's got a cute little skirt on, stockings, etc. But she's portrayed as a complete ditz while her childhood friend "Female Heroine" is considered the stronger personality. Why do I feel like if I dress modestly I must be some sort of dumbass?

These are just a few examples. Fully clothed, strong minded women are few and far between in video games. Hell, I'll accept tight clothes on a woman if it's reasonable. If I question the ability to do what they do while dressed in what they're dressed, I have a problem taking the game seriously. I realize I'm not supposed to do this but again. If developers are moving towards realism to immerse me in their game (graphics, physics, gritty story), then for the love of God make your characters wear clothes that make some fucking sense.

http://www.creativeuncut.com/gallery-03/art/tp-zelda-render.jpg

Zelda wore this while riding a horse and firing arrows at Ganondorf. The skirt looks wide enough that she can do that. That means this girl doesn't need leggings, a bare midriff or sexy boots to be badass.

To answer your question, it seems to be a case by case thing with me. However, when female characters are just 'there' rather than a beleiveable ally that actually helps, it's hard to not be disappointed.

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One question though, why are men expected to ignore male stereotypes, yet when it's against women, we shouldn't ignore it?

This kind of ties into what I was saying earlier, because more often than not, when people say "But men are stereotyped/objectified too", they're suggesting that that does, in fact, make everything hunky-dory. That's why they get shouted at.

It's not that these stereotypes should be ignored entirely, but we need to accept that they aren't nearly as prominent and don't have as big of an effect. Let's be honest, men haven't exactly got the short end of the stick in society. Most of us will hardly have to deal with sexism in our lives, if at all. Women do, every day. Sometimes it's overt, sometimes it's subtle, but it's always there.

EDIT: And to Irish, don't hotlink to Creative Uncut because it doesn't work, and don't hotlink in general because don't be a jerk.

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With society the way it is, yeah, everyone's probably at least a tiny bit sexist, or racist, or homophobic or whatever.

The question is, do you make the effort to change that part of yourself? If you do, congratulations! You are not an asshole!

True

I recall this discussion in school once as to whether or not holding a door for a girl is sexist. Of course, everyone seemed to feel that it's only sexist if it's a guy holding the door for a girl. Any other combination is not sexist....

I think it should be said that being too worried about "being sexist" or whatever can be a bad thing. Using doors as an example again, I shouldn't have to feel like a sexist douchebag just because it was a woman that I held the door for.

A little girl once told me, "I wish I wasn't white." A 7 year old girl for christ sakes. You know why she said that? "because then I wouldn't be racist." ....I can say without a doubt that this girl was not racist at all. She's lead to believe that because society has successfully brainwashed many people into believing that being racist is exclusive to white people. Just as it has brainwashed people into believing every sexist person is male. I had an English teacher, she was hispanic. Most racist bitch I have ever known. She didn't seem to figure her flat-out hate speech against white people on the first day of class counted as racism.

I guess what I'm trying to say with this post is...Yes, people should treat each other fair regardless of gender, race etc. but if you drill it into everyone's head too much, you get the reverse problem. People start feeling ashamed for doing nice things because the person they did the good deed for just so happens to be the opposite sex or whatever.

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True

I guess what I'm trying to say with this post is...Yes, people should treat each other fair regardless of gender, race etc. but if you drill it into everyone's head too much, you get the reverse problem. People start feeling ashamed for doing nice things because the person they did the good deed for just so happens to be the opposite sex or whatever.

I agree with this.

If everyone shut the hell up about racism and sexism and whatnot for a generation, I could see the successive generation treating everyone else as equals or nearly so because they were never handed the lens to see those who are different as *fundamentally* different or deserving of special/reserved treatment.

Or maybe I'm wrong. But I'm not sure all of this "awareness" business is advancing the overall goal of universal equality and consideration. I'm well "aware" of how annoying it and its deformed cousin "sensitivity" (or as it's called on the streetz "political correctness") are becoming...

And for what it's worth, I don't believe in chivalry, and I think it's a regressive behavior :P It just perpetuates the myth that women are dainty little flowers whom the providers, men, should constantly support and shower with gifts, compliments, etc. If we're equal, we're equal. And that means I'm not paying for your dinner, and you're not paying for mine. You'd figure most women would find that obnoxious, but I've never dated a woman who found that to be unreasonable. Maybe that's just my type? Glad my fiancee is ok with it :P

And for more direct relevance to your thread, Tensei, yes, women are indeed marginalized and sexualized in video games. I don't much care about the sexualization even though the lack of reciprocity seen in male characters evinces an obvious agenda, but the marginalization isn't fair, plus it limits what developers can do with a game's characters and story (and gameplay??). $$$ is important, but creativity and progression are hindered when that's all developers or publishers think about.

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If everyone shut the hell up about racism and sexism and whatnot for a generation, I could see the successive generation treating everyone else as equals or nearly so because they were never handed the lens to see those who are different as *fundamentally* different or deserving of special/reserved treatment.

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.

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I think it should be said that being too worried about "being sexist" or whatever can be a bad thing. Using doors as an example again, I shouldn't have to feel like a sexist douchebag just because it was a woman that I held the door for.

Anyone who would call someone else a "douchebag" for holding doors open for women is being hyperbolic.

The thing to understand is that doing a sexist thing doesn't automatically make you a terrible person, because mostly, people just don't realise that it's sexist. People rarely say "This is sexist and I don't give a fuck!". However, they often say "But this isn't sexist!" when it is. That's what's so insidious about it. That's why you have to point it out.

If everyone shut the hell up about racism and sexism and whatnot for a generation, I could see the successive generation treating everyone else as equals or nearly so because they were never handed the lens to see those who are different as *fundamentally* different or deserving of special/reserved treatment.

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.

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If everyone shut the hell up about racism and sexism and whatnot for a generation, I could see the successive generation treating everyone else as equals or nearly so because they were never handed the lens to see those who are different as *fundamentally* different or deserving of special/reserved treatment.

This.

Just this.

Also

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.

If this all happens then the world will be a much better place.

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If this all happens then the world will be a much better place.

Arguably, but again, how do you plan to silence the racists/sexists? Are we supposed to just go up to them and say "Look guys, we're not going to complain about sexism anymore, so you guys have to stop being sexist, it's only fair"?

That wouldn't work even if it were a simple "us vs. them" scenario, which it isn't. Prejudice is everywhere. It's in "them", it's in "us", it's in you. Ignoring it just allows it to fester.

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I think that's actually completely counterproductive though. I mean, we're already in a similar situation right now, where a lot of people prefer to delude themselves into thinking of racism and sexism as things of the past, while that is evidently not the case.

That is honestly the biggest problem right now; sexism is no longer something as blatant as denying women the right to vote, but it takes a much more subtle form where people don't realize that certain things they say or do might be sexist. Making people aware of that is the key to solving it IMO.

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That depends on what you mean by "being a gentleman".

This is like the "Holding the door open for a woman isn't sexist!" thing. Yeah, maybe not in and of itself, but if you feel compelled to do it for women and only women, that's probably indicative of some sexist attitudes, because why the hell do only women deserve courtesy?

I find that my feminist girlfriend is much more worried about things like

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

-Most people who volunteer/work for non-profits are women but the vat majority of non-profit CEO's are men

-Most politicians are men

-Most of the people arguing over abortion/birth control are old men

rather than trivial bullshit like door opening. This thread needs more lady opinions.

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