Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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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.

Again, my point being that you have some SERIOUS moral myopia if you think BRUTAL MURDER isn't controversial in itself to depict, while vague patterns the existence of which you argue extremely ineffectively are.

The genetic fallacy comment was not directed specifically at you, but at people who complain that a woman's opinion on gender in videogames is somehow naturally more weighty than a man's SOLELY on the basis of being a woman, which is a serious flaw in thinking.

And you're committing a strawman fallacy by arguing against things that haven't been said. Again, I don't think anybody in this thread wants to impose censorship on videogame writers, so "you can't do x or y" is a pretty huge exaggeration of what has been said.

See above. I am specifically noting how hilariously blind we are as a culture to certain forms of violence in favor of others, not against claims for or against censorship. Perhaps you should be more careful to read into what is being said before you go off throwing around the word "strawman".

MC Final Sigma offered an explanation for why the scene in question was/is considered controversial, and I have given my own thoughts on it a few posts up as well. I think a lot of it has to do with the way in which the scene is portrayed: it's nowhere near as blatantly over the top as some of the other execution scenes, he's not ripping off her arm and using it to stab out her eyes or anything like that, but he basically just grabs her by the face/throat and slams her into the wall repeatedly, and the camera specifically zooms in quite closely on her face.

It's disturbing to me exactly because it's relatively subdued and realistic, so it calls to mind associations with real life analogues such as domestic violence, and yeah, I think there definitely is a sexual element in there too. This is obviously very subjective, but hopefully it can show some insight in why the scene generates controversy.

That said, I don't think the scene itself is that problematic, even if it were explicitly made to be disturbing. After all, we already know Kratos basically is a raping, pillaging mass murderer, so a disturbing scene like that is relatively in-character for him. I take more issue with the achievement name than the associated scene.

In principle, I'm just as not-okay with slut-shaming as you are. However, achievement names are generally attempts at using a common saying to humorously complement whatever you just did that warranted said achievement. In this case, "Bro's Before Ho's" is irreverently appropriate to the situation.

EDIT: Additionally...

MC Final Sigma, you would probably have a much better time discussing things with people if you stopped thinking tautologically. What you think is not 100% right all the time. When people call out something you say, it may well be that there's something wrong with what you said.

Edited by relyanCe

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I agree that sexism is discriminatory by definition, but I strongly disagree that it always has be intentional. I gave an example earlier of a job interviewer who hires men over equally qualified women. I can't describe this in any other way than sexism: he is rejecting people based on their gender. The problem is that this can, and does happen without the job interviewer even realizing it. So there's no intent, but it's still sexist.

That's where our opinions differ the most I believe. If he's doing it, he knows he's doing it and why. Something like that doesn't happen in an "oops" moment of forgetfulness in my opinion (which seems to be in the minority at the moment).

... but going by the dictionary definition I think it's still accurate to refer to situations such as the... DiD trope as sexist.

Maybe it's easier to think of sexism as a spectrum rather than a binary thing... but I think that (over)use of the DiD trope, though obviously pretty minor on a case by case basis, still counts as well.

The coach? No doubt. The "damsel" trope? Well, as before, that's something we'll just have to agree to disagree about, that way we don't wind up going in circles so much, that we wear a rut into the virtual floor (assuming we haven't already :lol:).

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Again, my point being that you have some SERIOUS moral myopia if you think BRUTAL MURDER isn't controversial in itself to depict, while vague patterns the existence of which you argue extremely ineffectively are.

I'm not "hilariously blind" to the brutality, I'm just on-topic, unlike you. In context, I'm saying that the target of the violence is not sexist, since Kratos brutally murders members of both genders. If you want to talk about the hypocrisy of decrying sexuality and not violence, make your own thread about it. In the meantime, I'll be criticizing how this scene fetishizes violent rape. Nice straw man attempt, though.

The genetic fallacy comment was not directed specifically at you, but at people who complain that a woman's opinion on gender in videogames is somehow naturally more weighty than a man's SOLELY on the basis of being a woman, which is a serious flaw in thinking.

Agreed. It's often better to communicate arguments than to just say "OMG, genetic fallacy," though.

EDIT: Responding to your edit, relyanCe.

EDIT: Additionally...

MC Final Sigma, you would probably have a much better time discussing things with people if you stopped thinking tautologically. What you think is not 100% right all the time. When people call out something you say, it may well be that there's something wrong with what you said.

I've changed many opinions in my lifetime, including "converting" to feminism. I just don't happen to see much to get me to change my thinking here. Also, do you know what a tautology is? Maybe I don't and you do; if so, show me the error of my tautological ways.

Edited by MC Final Sigma

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I'm not "hilariously blind" to the brutality, I'm just on-topic, unlike you. In context, I'm saying that the target of the violence is not sexist, since Kratos brutally murders members of both genders. If you want to talk about the hypocrisy of decrying sexuality and not violence, make your own thread about it. In the meantime, I'll be criticizing how this scene fetishizes violent rape. Nice straw man attempt, though.

See here's the problem. You are so focused on your one little molehill that anyone who sees a problem with what you say is immediately discarded as "not seeing what you're saying", "not getting it", "missing it", or "not communicating their argument". It doesn't help that you talk down to anyone who doesn't think your way. Again, probably because you're so convinced about how right you are already.

Also, your petulance is pathetic. You should work on being more respectful of the people you're attempting to engage with.

Agreed. It's often better to communicate arguments than to just say "OMG, genetic fallacy," though.

No, see, it is okay to complain about the rampant flawed thinking going on in a discussion, especially when I include a handy link explaining what I'm talking about. That IS communicating what I have to say. If you feel uncertain about the point of something someone else is saying, you should ask for clarification, not jump off and throw around "OMG STRAWMAN", to put in your ever-erudite way of saying.

Additionally, I didn't come in here with anything to argue. I don't have a horse in this race at all. I noticed a common flaw in your thinking and highlighted such. If you think that's "off-topic" or some such, don't minimod about it. You're free to ignore it.

I've changed many opinions in my lifetime, including "converting" to feminism. I just don't happen to see much to get me to change my thinking here. Also, do you know what a tautology is? Maybe I don't and you do; if so, show me the error of my tautological ways.

Again, your petulant condescension is pathetic, and more than indicative of what I'm calling you out on. Your close-minded approach to this topic is going to damage the way you perceive other people's thoughts, which is evidenced by the childish way in which you treat others. (EDIT: seriously the "shrink" comment was totally uncalled for. We're not assholes here. Don't do that shit.)

Stop thinking what you have to say is made of platinum. It's one of feminism's great mistakes. Engage other people's ideas. Try to figure out what they're getting at. If multiple people within a conversation all think you're seeing something that isn't there, PERHAPS you should consider the possibility.

Remember, YOU'RE the one on the soapbox here. When you go out and throw around your opinions, people are going to critique them. If you can't or won't communicate what you're saying clearly enough for people to get behind it (which is what some in this thread have a problem with), it's on YOU to clarify and defend it.

Edited by relyanCe

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This thread could really do with a lot fewer tone arguments and personal attacks. God of War is one game that may or may not be interpreted as problematic. I think the points made about it have been exhausted. Maybe you should agree to disagree about that specific example and move on to discuss the more general topic.

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How can something be sexist, when there's no sexist intent within it?

That's sort of like saying "how can something be dangerous, when there's no intent to cause harm?" The intent and the effect are two separate things. You can do something dangerous without realizing that it's dangerous (say, walking across a slick surface that you didn't notice was wet). You can do something dangerous without meaning to put anyone in danger (say, washing a slick floor without putting up one of those CAUTION signs). The intent of your action (to walk across a hallway, or to clean the floor) is different from your effect of your action (creating a situation where it's likely someone will slip and fall).

The same thing applies to sexism. Sexism is simply treating someone differently because of their gender. Holding a door for a woman (when you would have held it for a man, too) isn't sexism -- but doing something like automatically carrying something heavy for a women (when you wouldn't have for a man) is sexist, even if you didn't realize it was or didn't mean it to be. It's not exactly a cardinal sin, and it doesn't make you a "pig" (though it could make you sort of a jerk, if someone points out that kind of behavior and asks you to stop and you keep doing it anyway) -- but it's still an example (if a small one) of sexism.

It doesn't help that you talk down to anyone who doesn't think your way. Again, probably because you're so convinced about how right you are already.

Also, your petulance is pathetic. You should work on being more respectful of the people you're attempting to engage with.

I would like to note that i find this entire exchange hilariously ironic. That is all.

Edited by Native Jovian

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As someone who's had a modern liberal arts education, I honestly got bored. This video is Feminism for Dummies. There were zero surprises in this video for me. I have to say watching a big long montage of woman being punched or dragged off made me realize how creepy it all is.

I'd be much more interested to see her take female video game characters who are touted as "strong" and have her tell us how they are still sexist.

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I'd be much more interested to see her take female video game characters who are touted as "strong" and have her tell us how they are still sexist.

She will probably address that a lot more in the following upcoming episodes:

The Fighting F#@k Toy - Video #2

The Sexy Villainess - Video #4

Mrs. Male Character - Video #8

Man with Boobs - Video #10

This video looked like it was meant to be more of a basic introduction to people who aren't really primed to see sexism yet.

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I still don't get what the difference between "Mrs. Male Character" and "Man with Boobs" is supposed to be.

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I still don't get what the difference between "Mrs. Male Character" and "Man with Boobs" is supposed to be.

shot in the dark but i think "Mrs. Male Character" is meant to be a play on the "Mrs. [husband's name]" way of referring to a married woman (ie. a woman whose entire identity is as the property of a man)

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Hmm, that's an interesting way to look at it, like old, racist cartoons. Cartoons like this:

Yeah, like that! The games she looked at were, what, 20 to 30 years old? Recent games aren't perfect, but women are portrayed better. Still no way near perfect. (at least lose the heels spy womens! ~_~)

My sister is also a gamer, and she's always happy to have the choice to play a female character. Most open world games (Skyrim), as well as RPG's with moral choices (Mass Effect), give you the option to be female, which is nice. I agree the metal bathing suit armor is silly, it's not really practical to go into battle with skimpy armor. Or to walk around in snow.

mm I just think it's silly. And uncomfortable. And cold. And uncomfortable. And unsafe. And stupid. But as developers listen to women more, the problem will become less and less until it's gone for most games.

I also didn't say women are the sole arbiters of sexism. Obviously women aren't because the word sexism refers to both sexes. I'll take into account opinions of men, myself included, but I feel that women would know best on this issue (within reason of course, perhaps not the best word choice). Perhaps there are more women in here, good point. Though I get the impression that there are mostly men, but I could be wrong. As for few responses to female input, I only said that because Vilecat posted earlier, in relation to why Anita talked about Mario and Zelda, yet no one really seemed to address the post. That was my impression, maybe I'm wrong.

Women are better today at recognizing sexism, although don't always recognize it: some internalize sexist behaviour after dealing with it on a day to day basis.

This is only a bit related, but when I was growing up, women would chastise women who were really into sports or computers, saying they weren't real or normal women. I think we're moving past that. :3

Rose arguably rescues the main character Dart twice in Legend of Dragoon, once in the opening sequence, and (arguably) once at sea (although that second time immediately follows Dart trying to rescue her, to be fair.) In fact, she's one of my favorite female characters (see my avatar), because she's far stronger emotionally than any of the men in her game (except maybe Lavitz), and even when she does have vulnerable moments they don't cheapen her as a character, but further emphasize how strong her resolve and personality are. Which is actually a bit weird, considering that she's cast opposite Shana, who's a pretty bad DiD in about 97% of the game.

*nods* If they just treat the character as a person who's not helpless, most of the problem would be solved right there. ^_^

Also, another strong female character that I'm surprised no one's mentioned (although I might have missed it, tbh) is Naiji, from Aquaria.

Oooh I didn't know of Naiji :D Yes, she looks cool. :)

And I, too, refused to play that horrible Other M. Once I found out the direction they took her character, my intentions of purchasing the game were instantly gone.

*shakes head* -_- They really messed up Samus, that's for sure. :( Now I just pretend that any Metroid game with Adam in it does not exist.
She will probably address that a lot more in the following upcoming episodes:

This video looked like it was meant to be more of a basic introduction to people who aren't really primed to see sexism yet.

:) Yeah, definitely a basic introduction. I'm interested in seeing how she'll handle modern games.

About all the God of War talk... unless the creator comes out and says that spike+harpy=phallic metaphor, I won't believe it. Then again it may be so: I read an interview where one of the creators or designers of Alien saw the alien face-hugger as phallic rape of men... or something like that. blah :b

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(Disclaimer: I know this is somewhat derailing the thread, but I just gotta respond to this guy)

Sorry if my tone offends you relynCe! Whatever you do, PLEASE don’t call me petulant again! ;)

Seriously, though: disagreeing with you doesn’t make me close-minded, and gee, sorry I didn’t immediately back down from my point of view cuz you deemed the issue “a little molehill.” You claim I think everything I say is perfect and that I refuse to be convinced; in reality, I'd be happy to be convinced, but your argument doesn't have any substance to it. If you don't read the sexual symbolism here, fine, but by any serious interpretive standard this couldn't be a more overt analogy without literally being a rape scene. I’ve presented an argument as to why I feel this way; you’ve presented ad hominems and straw men (and yes, it is a straw man to criticize me for something we weren’t discussing - namely whether or not violent depictions are reprehensible). It’s not mini-modding to call a straw man a straw man, either – unfortunately for you, I guess, cuz it and ad hominem seem to be your favored forms of disputation. It’s not insulting to have a shrink and you’re a bigot for thinking it is. I’ll stop being an asshole when you stop being a hypocrite. Hope that was clear enough for you. When you want to actually discuss ideas instead of A) just saying “Nope, don’t see it;” B) attacking my tone; or C) calling me close-mined – that’s when I’d be happy to read a post of yours.

Anyway...

About all the God of War talk... unless the creator comes out and says that spike+harpy=phallic metaphor, I won't believe it. Then again it may be so: I read an interview where one of the creators or designers of Alien saw the alien face-hugger as phallic rape of men... or something like that. blah :b

I’m not suggesting this was consciously done, but it’s pretty hard to deny it’s there. Think about ALL the possible ways they could’ve killed this goddess (GoW is extremely creative when it comes to killing); instead of the many alternatives, they chose a very charged conglomeration of symbols. Watch the position of her legs, Kratos’ hands, and, of course, the position of the spike. Lots of other people have been stabbed in GoW, but did Kratos penetrate Zeus’ midsection? And you have to admit, this violence is uniquely “intimate” for Kratos’ usual brand of brutality, as the reviewer from polygon.com I quoted earlier pointed out.

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Everyone becomes Bill Maher vs. Piers Morgan in these types of threads, as long as we all continue to maintain a mutual respect and civility it's no biggie. Everyone has raised a lot of valid points, and although we may not all agree, the views and opinions (and the individuals who shared them) deserve some respect. :-D

Just saying... this isn't directed at anyone.. !

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*nods* If they just treat the character as a person who's not helpless, most of the problem would be solved right there. ^_^

I think there's an important distinction that can be drawn from this, that game writers could use to make the damsel/kidnapping scenario fresh and different: make the situation, not the person, helpless. Or hopeless, if you prefer.

To wit: In most Mario games, Peach sits around doing jack all. I mean, seriously, she might as well bake a cake for Mario to eat when he arrives, for all she accomplishes on her own. She is a helpless character, because that's how the game writers made her.

But what if they introduced some sort of element into the game to give Peach some sort of agency over her situation... say, optional and EXTREMELY hard side levels that you're allowed to play at the end of each world as Peach, wherein she manages to break free from Bowser and attempts to escape. She never actually succeeds, of course, but what if however far she gets determines the strength of enemies Mario has to face - if she gets pretty far, for instance, maybe Bowser has to pull back troops from the world Mario's at now to reinforce his guard on Peach. All of a sudden, Peach is a lot more sympathetic of a character.

Or, to use an example that's actually in a game: Alma, from Final Fantasy Tactics. We see several times that Alma isn't useless, that her skills are more geared toward supporting other fighters, or toward using her heart/brain to persuade people toward her viewpoint. So when she's kidnapped, our first thought isn't, "Sigh, not another 'save the helpless girl' mission, game makers," it's, "Well, in all fairness, it's kind of hard for a cleric to take on several demon-infused holy knights without any kind of foot soldier back-up, but I bet when her brother gets here with his troops she's going to help him kick the bad guys' ass." It's still the same old trope, but because it's clear that Alma is a capable individual who just helped fight off several attacks before her kidnapping, it doesn't affect our view of her as a character nearly as much.

You know what DiD game I'd like to see? Start out with your typical girl gets kidnapped, prophesized hero must free her... then at the halfway point, have hero free the girl, only to be killed by the big baddie. The second half of the game you play as the girl, who in spite of the Neo-wannabe being dead and the prophecy being failed, is determined to try to stop the big baddie herself. Starting with this seemingly helpless individual who slowly has to become tougher and demonstrate how capable she is in a pinch, all while dealing with the emotional fallout of her brother/friend/boyfriend's death and the strong likelihood that she can't actually beat the big baddie (since, again, Neo's dead) but won't give up in spite of that. Now that's a damsel I'd love to watch.

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I’m not suggesting this was consciously done, but it’s pretty hard to deny it’s there. Think about ALL the possible ways they could’ve killed this goddess (GoW is extremely creative when it comes to killing); instead of the many alternatives, they chose a very charged conglomeration of symbols. Watch the position of her legs, Kratos’ hands, and, of course, the position of the spike. Lots of other people have been stabbed in GoW, but did Kratos penetrate Zeus’ midsection? And you have to admit, this violence is uniquely “intimate” for Kratos’ usual brand of brutality, as the reviewer from polygon.com I quoted earlier pointed out.

... hmm, will watch again. Gross though. Definitely not a series for quick, efficient deaths. n.n

... ... The way he throws her down. -_- The way he drags her so that her legs are spread apart then mounts her. I guess the mid-section puncture is phallic. It just doesn't seem like that to me 100%, but I could image that it might be that way.

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I think the ultimate conclusion here is that women should be given a choice to play as a woman in games. Like in the Mass Effect series. I don't think the damsel in distress trope is inherently bad, because as has been stated you can have that even with a female main character (like in Mirror's Edge). And if you could choose to play as a female and still have a female be kidnapped, would it still be the same issue? The issue is not that there's a woman being kidnapped so much as that she is being rescued by a man. Everyone has their moments of weakness, even men, and anyone can be kidnapped or attacked, that much is undeniable. I think the one real thing that the gaming industry CAN DO is allow people to play as women. It wouldn't even require much change to stories, though it's good that certain things like Dragon's Lair and Double Dragon (with the panties) are not really made any longer and should continue to fall into obscurity unless it's some kind of satirical spoof. It should be a matter of skill rather than sex, Faith is a skilled runner/fighter and her sister is not.

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I think there's an important distinction that can be drawn from this, that game writers could use to make the damsel/kidnapping scenario fresh and different: make the situation, not the person, helpless. Or hopeless, if you prefer.

...

To wit: In most Mario games, Peach sits around doing jack all. I mean, seriously, she might as well bake a cake for Mario to eat when he arrives, for all she accomplishes on her own. She is a helpless character, because that's how the game writers made her.

Definitely! If the girl was able to try to fight back somehow or escape from overwhelming odds... that would make me happier. :) Not just inactive or helpless. At the very least, show the kidnapped woman badmouth the villain in a cutscene, even if she's helpless and chained to the wall.

Ha! Peach does bake a cake while Mario's trying to rescue her. ;) In Paper Mario, I think.

YES! There are lots of little plot tweeks that can be done to make the basic plots more interesting. Now who will be the first to do it?

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I think I mentioned it before, but IMO the best way to tweak Mario would be to slightly change Bowser's motivation. Just have his goal switch from kidnapping the princess to wanting to take over the kingdom. Bam. Now Peach can avoid kidnapping and it makes perfect sense for her to be a playable character who can defend her own kingdom. It would really do a world of good if the more modern games would take a page from Mario 2 and give you multiple possible characters to play as against a common foe.

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Just have his goal switch from kidnapping the princess to wanting to take over the kingdom. Bam. Now Peach can avoid kidnapping and it makes perfect sense for her to be a playable character who can defend her own kingdom.

have you ever like

played any mario games

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Looking back at my game history, I was shocked to realize that I've mostly played series where there is no main character (TIE Fighter, Civilization, SimCity) or where the main character is completely customizable (Daggerfall, Morrowind, Mass Effect). I think this was more chance than any high moral road of my own, though, because gaming consoles were forbidden in our house, and PC games tended to be a bit more open-ended. If not for my parents' restrictions, I'd probably have much more personal experience with the classic damsel in distress scenario.

While I agree that the points she raises are worth discussing, I find it distressing that she plans on harping for 11 videos and discussing positive roles in only 1. Honestly a little worried that it won't leave much opportunity to discuss what exactly these positive images entail.

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Well, I don't think there's necessarily a problem with her approach. The series is primarily about identifying tropes which are lazy/sexist toward women, etc, not saying "this game is sexist and this one isn't". Like she said, you can have a good game that happens to have a stupid trope in it, or even a good character that gets put in an eye-rolling scenario (or skimpy armor or whatever).

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Well, I don't think there's necessarily a problem with her approach. The series is primarily about identifying tropes which are lazy/sexist toward women, etc, not saying "this game is sexist and this one isn't". Like she said, you can have a good game that happens to have a stupid trope in it, or even a good character that gets put in an eye-rolling scenario (or skimpy armor or whatever).

Checking off a laundry list of games would be dull & unnecessary, I agree. But I do feel that in any critical analysis, it's just as essential to thoroughly review what has been done well (or what exactly should be done better) as it is to point out shortcomings. Just hoping to hear more of such counterpoints in future videos.

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That guy seems to make no actual points about her arguments in this video. It's just a critique of her masters thesis and her other videos. For the most part, he just makes personal attacks against her and attacks abridged misrepresentations of her arguments while showing that he sort of completely missed her point.

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