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Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies


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Celes maybe. Terra's whole schtick was being helpless or otherwise in need of male characters to take care of her for half the game. But I guess that's made less problematic because Celes provides more of a contrast.

Terra's character is problematic? I remember all her drama coming from the fact that she was used because of her magic and then learning she was an esper. If that's sexist then I'm really not getting what the hell is allowed to do when writing characters.

To be fair I do remember disliking her character a bit for all the drama but I never thought it was a consequence of the character being a girl.

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Andy, I do think there's a line between criticism and advocacy (or, on an extreme end of the spectrum, propaganda)... criticism would be primarily interested in the merit of a work; advocacy would use

Well said; I just don't view it as zero-sum, nor do I view "hardcore" gaming as something that necessarily needs to evaporate to let the medium truly flourish. It can't be the standard-bearer for the

The nuance is that he doesn't believe that belief has anything to do with it, and that a person's actions are inseparable from their character or that there is any belief beyond what is in accordance

Guys, don't derail the thread please. It has already been split, the latent/learned sexism topic included, in here.

Stick to videogames and Sarkeesian's video/upcoming serie, please?

Edit: Terra's character can be seen as a bit problematic because of the beginning, although it isn't THE goal of Locke to save her. She does end up having to rely on him to finally be in control of herself again. Although in that case, it could have been anyone saving her. You can't quite claim any sort of objectification since it happened in the prologue/beginning of the game, and she's part of a good chunk of the player's experience with the game. Personally, it's a bit of a stretch to claim so.

Edited by Vilecat
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Terra's character is problematic? I remember all her drama coming from the fact that she was used because of her magic and then learning she was an esper. If that's sexist then I'm really not getting what the hell is allowed to do when writing characters.

To be fair I do remember disliking her character a bit for all the drama but I never thought it was a consequence of the character being a girl.

The drama in FF6 is a really interesting one...

It's commendable that the women are never clessed as less than excellent fighters, their just as capable (if not more so) than the males in many respects, and arguably of 2 of the 3 most dominant single characters in the game are female (Terra, Celes & Locke, but again, that's arguable)...

But then again Terra switches so erratically from super-powered badass to helpless wench, back and forth, several times, before finally coming to accept herself for what she is (half human, half esper), and she even becomes a role model mother figure for a group of children. It's a good journey but some points along the way are pure DiD trope and it's not strictly 'necessary' to the story for it to play out as it does.

Celes on the other hand...

Personally I'd say FF6 was extremely enlightened on this subject.... As far as video games went 'for it's time'...

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...Terra's whole schtick was being helpless or otherwise in need of male characters to take care of her for half the game...

Terra isn't "helpless" because she was female; she was "helpless" because up until the starting point of the game, she was essentially a mute doll used as the bringer of mass destruction by a lunatic while feeling the alienation being the spawn of a union between a human woman and what is essentially a monster. The fact of the matter is that for whatever reason there were mostly male characters, ergo they'd be the people she'd reach out to, but there were several instances where she reached out to Celes as well. Her entire "shtick" is her coming to terms with and eventually overcoming those issues throughout the game's entirety.

Good job completely demolishing a great character to fit into a trite and myopic argument.

Edited by Malaki-LEGEND.sys
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I don't think of sexism w ffvi characters eithe, mostly because the characters do have tropes but also break those molds a little, sometimes unpredictably. Terra was weak and sappy but that was because of her past and completely within character. It was thematic, if a bit simply played out. Though I do guess that her being SO sappy was easier for her to get away with as a female. I found her slightly annoying because of it sadly. Locke was also sappy but they troped him up w the adventurer anyway. His character was kinda in limbo too. He was more feminine but considered strong and commanding. They give him a past where he's a guy trying to save women over and over. Tongue in cheek maybe?

I thought the interactions between Terra and Celes were interesting. Terra reached out to Celes I believe first out of everyone but Celes coldly brushed her off for being too forward.

For all their complexity there probably is sexism but for its time ffvi was very forward thinking.

Edited by Monobrow
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I don't think of sexism w ffvi characters eithe, mostly because the characters do have tropes but also break those molds a little, sometimes unpredictably. Terra was weak and sappy but that was because of her past and completely within character. It was thematic, if a bit simply played out. Though I do guess that her being SO sappy was easier for her to get away with as a female. I found her slightly annoying because of it sadly. Locke was also sappy but they troped him up w the adventurer anyway. His character was kinda in limbo too. He was more feminine but considered strong and commanding. They give him a past where he's a guy trying to save women over and over. Tongue in cheek maybe?

I thought the interactions between Terra and Celes were interesting. Terra reached out to Celes I believe first out of everyone but Celes coldly brushed her off for being too forward.

For all their complexity there probably is sexism but for its time ffvi was very forward thinking.

Okay, I am persuaded that Terra isn't a particularly problematic character, though I think Swifthom's points are valid. Thanks Vilecat and Monobrow. Malaki, you don't have to be a jerk just to make a point. I am open to changing my mind upon hearing well-reasoned arguments.

Edited by Ab56 v2 aka Ash
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My 2¢ on FF6 can mostly be found on page 2 of this thread:

http://ocremix.org/forums/showpost.php?p=908079&postcount=47

Some additional thoughts:

Terra is wishy-washy because she's been asked to go be a strategic weapon. I don't care how indecisive she gets in this case, because this is a sufficiently momentous issue to deserve as much consideration as they could possibly portray. A long segment is everyone waiting on her choice! She is not an example of female disempowerment.

Moreover, her emotionality is simply trying to come to grips with even having emotions. She's not over-emotional on account of being a woman, but because she's really new to this whole being her own person idea, and hasn't got a personal foundation until nearly the end of her story arc.

Nope, not really. The article you bring up is simply a pragmatic attempt to solve the problems American social psychology brings to our discourse without attempting to address said problems at all. But that's for another time.

What?

It's got nothing to do with American social psychology and everything to do with effective problem solving. AND it ends up proposing a solution. You know, the one in the title of the page.

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Okay, I am persuaded that Terra isn't a particularly problematic character, though I think Swifthom's points are valid. Thanks Vilecat and Monobrow. Malaki, you don't have to be a jerk just to make a point. I am open to changing my mind upon hearing well-reasoned arguments.

I HAVE TO BE A JERK!!!! :<

...I'm sorry for being a jerk. :-(

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What?

It's got nothing to do with American social psychology and everything to do with effective problem solving. AND it ends up proposing a solution. You know, the one in the title of the page.

See the words "pragmatic attempt" and "not addressing the problem at all".

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See the words "pragmatic attempt" and "not addressing the problem at all".

Okay, so it's meta? Yes, of course it's meta. It's a site devoted to advancing the conscious understanding of and applications of rationality. Since when has this got anything to do with American social psychology in particular? It's like saying a screwdriver is made for opening the battery compartment on a toy car.

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Here's a question I'm curious about: can anyone think of an example of a positively portrayed female video game protagonist who isn't mute (NPCs don't count)? 'Cause I can't.

Fall-From-Grace and Annah (Planescape: Torment)

Iji (Iji)

Sheena and Raine (Tales Of Symphonia)

Jade (Beyond Good and Evil)

Faith (Mirror's Edge)

Kreia, Mira ( Knights of the Old Republic II)

Recette (Recettear)

Lucca (Chrono Trigger)

Rydia and Porom (Final Fantasy IV)

Celes and Terra (Final Fantasy VI)

Freya (Final Fantasy IX)

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Recette by herself could be questionable. She's a bit of a ditz and requires a lot of help from Tear at the beginning. She does end up becoming a good shopkeeper though and I did like the character development. Arche, from Fortune Summoners (same indie devs) would be, imho, a stronger example.

Prier from La Pucelle Tactics(or many of NIS and Atlus female characters) are generally well-developped (good amount of depth to them), but most of the time their outfits are ridiculous.

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So ThunderF00t just made a response video critiquing The first Tropes video here:

http://youtu.be/QJeX6F-Q63I

I think this is where I come from. It's just not well-researched despite the huge amount of money she got, and totally biased towards feminism. He loses me at some points, but I'm mostly on board with his opinions.

Okay, well I watched the whole video and deconstructed it. It is another bad criticism for the following reasons:

1. The video spends a long time focusing on one example Ms. Sarkeesian used and the fact that the kidnapped woman punched a big guy in the groin at the end. He bemoans this point about how caring for others is natural, which Ms. Sarkeesian never even implicitly disputed. The whole point of pointing out the DiD trope, which this video maker missed, is that this one game stands in the context of hundreds of others in which this trope is the dominant image of how women are depicted in the medium. This guy really didn't get what the video is about.

2. Patriarchy harms men and Ms. Sarkeesian never said it didn't. This is a false equivalency anyway, as if to say patriarchy affects men and women in the same way.

3. Developers choosing to create products a certain way to appeal to a market does not make them immune from criticism when the results are a problematic portrayal. If it was profitable to use black face caricatures, that would not make their use less reprehensible. The gaming market has changed dramatically since the 1980s anyway, and the developers have not adapted as well as they could. Ms. Sarkeesian is pointing out one reason why she thinks that is, and developers are free to do with that information what they will. In the 1980s, 20% of gamers were female. Now 50% are, and the age range has changed a lot. Moreover, it's really unclear to what extent the developers have defined their own market through the types of games, plots and characters they have made.

4. He is telling Ms. Sarkeesian to go create a game with positive images if she wants to promote change. It's patently ridiculous to task critics with personally fixing everything they critique.

5. Fifteen minutes in, he starts talking about her master's thesis, like the guy in the other video. Do these people have no legitimate arguments, so they need to pick at something irrelevant?

6. He says that Ms. Sarkeesian constantly moves the goal posts to paint women as the victims no matter what. If this were true, why does she plan to do a whole video about positive video game characters?

7. At the end he starts off on this overly drawn on point about why women are physically weaker and the difference between scientific research and feminist research. This is a really dumb point for two reasons: (a) it's clear that when Ms. Sarkeesian talks about women being portrayed as "weak," she means "weak-willed," not merely physically weak, and (B) the creator of this video acknowledges himself at the very beginning that Ms. Sarkeesian is a pop culture critic, not a scientist. She is focusing on learned attitudes, not physical differences that may or may not exist. Unless this guy has a masters or higher in sociology, or some other established credentials, I'm not sure why he is somebody we need to be listening to more intently than Ms. Sarkeesian anyway.

Edited by Ab56 v2 aka Ash
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Just an FYI. Both Thunderf00t and TAA are widely regarded as trollbait anti feminist atheists and TAA is super MRA to the point of telling a guy rape victim on reddit that he hopes he's raped again (and was very sexually explicit) because he though the victim was a woman. These guys arguments usually unravel pretty quick on their own but IMO they're like the angry Rush Limbaughs of the net. TF was kicked off some main atheists site for this very reason.

This is just to say, these guys kinda have an agenda and bone to pick and their audience appeal is to that angst group. There's a LOT of bias and straw men swinging. I've seen them repeatedly posted as go to responses so I wanna address this. They're not trying to be objective. Might as well have posted Kent Hovind's response.

Edited by Monobrow
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I'll try to stick to the topic, so if I don't address an issue, it's because I don't want to derail.

1. The video spends a long time focusing on one example Ms. Sarkeesian used and the fact that the kidnapped woman punched a big guy in the groin at the end. He bemoans this point about how caring for others is natural, which Ms. Sarkeesian never even implicitly disputed. The whole point of pointing out the DiD trope, which this video maker missed, is that this one game stands in the context of hundreds of others in which this trope is the dominant image of how women are depicted in the medium. This guy really didn't get what the video is about.

His main point is that the argument that the DiD trope is objectification of women is subjective and that you can see it any way you want to twist it. Hence, him reversing the argument to the side of men.

3. Developers choosing to create products a certain way to appeal to a market does not make them immune from criticism when the results are a problematic portrayal. If it was profitable to use black face caricatures, that would not make their use less reprehensible. The gaming market has changed dramatically since the 1980s anyway, and the developers have not adapted as well as they could. Ms. Sarkeesian is pointing out one reason why she thinks that is, and developers are free to do with that information what they will. In the 1980s, 20% of gamers were female. Now 50% are, and the age range has changed a lot. Moreover, it's really unclear to what extent the developers have defined their own market through the types of games, plots and characters they have made.

I'll agree almost completely here. The disagreement is off-topic though.

4. He is telling Ms. Sarkeesian to go create a game with positive images if she wants to promote change. It's patently ridiculous to task critics with personally fixing everything they critique.

I can agree to a certain point. However, since she went way above and beyond her asked Kickstarter amount, it would've been great to see her in turn, raise the amount of rewards or promises in a similar way Extra Credits did when they did the KS for Allison's surgery, in the form of investing in a pro-feminine focused indie game.

6. He says that Ms. Sarkeesian constantly moves the goal posts to paint women as the victims no matter what. If this were true, why does she plan to do a whole video about positive video game characters?

He can really only go off of what she's already made, not to mention it's a critique of this video specifically.

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Prier from La Pucelle Tactics(or many of NIS and Atlus female characters) are generally well-developped (good amount of depth to them), but most of the time their outfits are ridiculous.

I almost want to lump most of NIS's females into "Made to appeal to males" category. While sometimes they get a good amount of depth, and get some fleshed out character arc, more often than not they come across as not "Show that women can be strong" but more "Give guys boners" Which just amps the creepiness up.

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His main point is that the argument that the DiD trope is objectification of women is subjective and that you can see it any way you want to twist it. Hence, him reversing the argument to the side of men.

Yeah, but I'm saying it really doesn't matter. There are different ways of looking at these subjects and reaching different conclusions through these perspectives. Ms. Sarkeesian looked at it from a women's perspective. If the topic was Tropes vs. Men, maybe she would have focused on how patriarchy affects men in this medium. But that wasn't the topic. More importantly, we are not focused on specific intent to be sexist; we are concerned that the prevalence of certain images will influence people to think in a certain way that sets women back.

I can agree to a certain point. However, since she went way above and beyond her asked Kickstarter amount, it would've been great to see her in turn, raise the amount of rewards or promises in a similar way Extra Credits did when they did the KS for Allison's surgery, in the form of investing in a pro-feminine focused indie game.

I don't think we know exactly what her money has gone to, but it's irrelevant. It's her prerogative to use that money however she wants as long as it's in the scope of her project. If she finds her method of advocacy more effective in promoting the kind of change she may hope to achieve, then she can use her money on that. Why does this even matter anyway? It's a personal attack rather than a response to one of her arguments.

He can really only go off of what she's already made, not to mention it's a critique of this video specifically.

It's a completely unfair point for him to make because it is stated very clearly on her Kickstarter page that this is only one part of one episode in a full series, the topics of which she has expressly listed. We know she's going to cover positive gaming images. Thus, it makes no sense to say she's moving the goal posts. It also makes little sense to condemn an entire series based on one episode when the rest of it isn't even out yet to more fully develop the themes. If anything is clear, it's that this guy is guilty of exactly what he is accusing Ms. Sarkeesian of: poor research on his discussion topic.

Edited by Ab56 v2 aka Ash
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I almost want to lump most of NIS's females into "Made to appeal to males" category. While sometimes they get a good amount of depth, and get some fleshed out character arc, more often than not they come across as not "Show that women can be strong" but more "Give guys boners" Which just amps the creepiness up.

Yeah, hence the ridiculous outfit mention. Doesn't help that a good amount of them are aged between 14 to 19. Dat loli.

...

Ewuhuhuhuhuhu *shudders*

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Yeah, hence the ridiculous outfit mention. Doesn't help that a good amount of them are aged between 14 to 19. Dat loli.

...

Ewuhuhuhuhuhu *shudders*

Oh my god, something that depicts the social fantasies, ideals, and institutions of non-American culture disturbs me!

I dunno, I guess Japanese society's ages-old infatuation with youth just doesn't bother me.

Also: Moviebob tackles a few of my unstated personal thoughts on Sarkeesian's video.

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Oh my god, something that depicts the social fantasies, ideals, and institutions of non-American culture disturbs me!

I dunno, I guess Japanese society's ages-old infatuation with youth just doesn't bother me.

Sexual objectification of girls that young bothers the hell out of me, and it bothers me mildly that it doesn't bother you.

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