Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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Yeah, going to have to agree that her attack on Spelunky is a bit overzealous. The ability to gender/species swap the 'damsel' actually should show just how unimportant the gender (or even species, if that kind of thing bothers you) actually is, in the context of the game. The very option completely deconstructs the context of the damsel trope by making the gender irrelevant.

You could argue that making the woman the first choice still makes her the most obvious one and argue some discrimination from there. Her to claim that it compares women to dogs is ludicrous and nonsensical, though, considering it compares the man to a dog, too - he's yet another option for the damsel.

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she'd be a lot easier to take seriously if she didn't say, like literally say, out loud, it's fine as long as it's not happening to women.

like 'historical context' can go screw itself seriously. i don't see minorities being like 'yeah police brutality and harassment is fine as long as it's not happening to minorities like it historically has,' or women saying 'sex trafficking is alright as long as it's not girls,' or people in Africa suffering from wars and genocide being like 'genocide would be fine if it were just happening to someone else!' the point of fighting for equality and respect is that you wouldn't wish your problems on ANYONE. if it's not okay for it to be done to you, it's not okay to be done to anyone. that's what equality means.

if she seriously thinks it's fine for the problems she's so vehemently attempting to combat to just be someone else's problem, that's indefensible. the problem with her series is she started with a small, simple idea that everyone can get behind; better opportunities for women in game narrative. let's call it a fruit tart. tasty, who wouldn't enjoy it? and then she just pulls down her pants and shits all over it with bias, combative language and generally poor rationale, until no matter how sweet and tasty that original fruit tart was, the shit that is now covering it ruins it beyond repair.

Edited by The Derrit

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she'd be a lot easier to take seriously if she didn't say it's fine as long as it's not happening to women.

like 'historical context' can go screw itself seriously. i don't see minorities being like 'yeah police brutality and harassment is fine as long as it's not happening to minorities like it historically has, etc. etc.

You've built a nice straw man. She's not talking about real police brutality, she's not talking about real kidnapping or real murder. She's talking about media. Stories. There are no actual people being hurt; the damage she's talking about is purely to the consumer of the media, not to the victims themselves, who don't actually exist.

No one damsel story is going to cause the viewer to become a misogynist. The problem arises when it becomes such a common story that it's routine. In the case of women, these stories reinforce deep-seated cultural conventions, that women are weaker than men, and can't take care of themselves. If you're talking about a male damsel in distress, there is no such culturally ingrained assumption of weakness.

So no, a male damsel story is not problematic because it doesn't reinforce existing sexist presumptions (men are weaker than women?) while a recurring pattern of female damsels does in fact do damage by reinforcing the very real marginalization of women throughout history.

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No one damsel story is going to cause the viewer to become a misogynist. The problem arises when it becomes such a common story that it's routine.

so what's the vector through which we determine how common is too common

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Her talk about Super Princess Peach didn't really make much sense to me. If you actually play the game, you understand that it's void of any PMS joke about frantic female emotions.

The whole point of the Vibe scepter is that it throws people's emotions out of control. That's how Bowser's minions were able to kidnap Mario and Luigi in the first place. Hell, even Bowser doesn't have complete control over the scepter and experiences the exact same "mood swings" as every other character in the game when he uses it. Peach benefits from not being effected by the scepter at all. In other words, while everyone else on the island has their emotions thrown out of whack, Princess Peach is the only character who does, in fact, have complete control over them.

Not only that, but the idea of using emotions to attack others doesn't seem delved in any sort of gendered stereotype to me. I think we can safely say that we've seen rage and sadness used as weapons of sorts for a variety of characters, regardless of gender.

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You're over-thinking or reading too much into the sentence. People in this thread (and elsewhere) have defended new retro-style games with a very generic plot device like the damsel in distress as being throwbacks, so therefore it's OK. Anita's point, which I agree with, is that you don't HAVE to have a damsel in distress to have a throwback game. This is really not a controversial idea. You can have a game with sweet 8bit graphics, music, and retro gameplay without the princess being kidnapped.

Her point is arguing against something that was never even put forth - no one said you HAVE to have a damsel in distress trope in order to evoke nostalgia. No one said it was requisite. People merely claimed that it was serving that function. To pick a game like Fez and point out that the trope is not needed, in that game, to evoke retro-nostalgia, is an almost meaningless argument. Plenty of things aren't needed in art, because art is (again) not solely about necessity. Of course it's not a controversial idea, because it's a straw man argument that frames the employment of tropes in terms of need & necessity, and as I said, that's not how they work...

As a side note, you ignored most of what I wrote and instead chose to simply state that I was over-thinking everything. I personally find that to be a rather effortless response... and I don't mean graceful. Especially when the primary theme of my posts has been that you are oversimplifying everything...

You've built a nice straw man. She's not talking about real police brutality, she's not talking about real kidnapping or real murder. She's talking about media. Stories. There are no actual people being hurt; the damage she's talking about is purely to the consumer of the media, not to the victims themselves, who don't actually exist.

No one damsel story is going to cause the viewer to become a misogynist. The problem arises when it becomes such a common story that it's routine. In the case of women, these stories reinforce deep-seated cultural conventions, that women are weaker than men, and can't take care of themselves. If you're talking about a male damsel in distress, there is no such culturally ingrained assumption of weakness.

So no, a male damsel story is not problematic because it doesn't reinforce existing sexist presumptions (men are weaker than women?) while a recurring pattern of female damsels does in fact do damage by reinforcing the very real marginalization of women throughout history.

Given your relationship history, I would have thought you'd have a perspective a little more informed by evolutionary psychology :-P

I don't know how many times I have to point this out, but people keep framing damsel-in-distress as a cultural stereotype that reinforces the perception that females are weak and incapable. That sounds so terrible! I don't want ANY of that! Keep it out of my video games, thank you kindly! Go away with your WRONG IDEAS!! I'm tired of this motherfuckin' patriarchy in these motherfuckin' GAMES!! It's all lovely and earnest and heartfelt, but it's thoroughly lazy and should be a mentally unsatisfying explanation for the prevalence of this trope. That many of you seem so comfortable in accepting it really troubles me. I think the trope speaks far more to male attitudes of being protective than it does the corresponding sentiment that all females are weak and need protecting. I think it appeals to a natural male instinct to protect women, and provides contexts - some more plausible than others - that allow this instinct to be fulfilled on some level. Now, does this particular instinct ever misfire - does it lead to irrational decision-making about what women can and can't do? Absolutely, all the time.

So what can we DO about that?

You would apparently say, "We can repress the instinct entirely through culture, by working towards sanitizing our art!!" This means getting rid of examples of BOTH rational/plausible protection of women by men AND irrational/implausible protection of women by men, because audiences are TOO DAFT to know the difference, and widespread depictions of helpless females could easily lead to increased over-protectiveness and sexism! (not that we can measure those...) Great job, everybody, we've cured the human race - we can all go home, high-fives all around, etc.

Yeah, fantastic job. Except that you've:

  1. Cut out the good aspects of protective sentiments along with the bad...
  2. Completely ignored any aspects of human psychology; these tropes COME from us, and SPEAK to us on some level, otherwise they would never have appeared in the first place, and/or would not persist...
  3. Diminished the assumed intelligence and agency of the audience...
  4. Based your entire argument around a (currently) unmeasurable phenomenon, namely that this trope has real-world effects of an almost subliminal nature that are not outweighed or corrected by real-world experiences...
  5. Overestimated the ability of culture & overplayed the role of culture on a very fundamental level...

Mazel tov!

Now, does culture itself evolve? Absolutely. Can it help us overcome many of our instincts that made much more sense 10,000 years ago than they do today? Absolutely. But the most effective strategy towards accomplishing this goal seems to be playing to our inherent strengths while attempting to minimize our inherent weaknesses. I believe that any instinct we possess to protect the weak is actually a strength!! Silly me, right?? Beyond that, I believe that the male instinct to protect females - in contexts that make rational sense - is actually a strength. I think you probably do as well. I think most people do. Beyond seeming somehow natural, sentiments like "women and children first" during evacuations also have a very pragmatic aspect to them - men are simply more expendable resources, in the eyes of nature AND in the eyes of civilizations. Sorry fellas! Going back VERY FAR in our evolution, the genes that tended to favor this dynamic are the genes that tended to be passed on. The man who refuses to risk his own life to protect his progeny, and by indirect means his wife, is simply less likely to do well in the gene pool. Note that there ARE alternative strategies that certain males take - fathering prolific amounts of offspring and "playing the odds" by caring for NONE of them, and also rape, which is a terrible permutation of that. Given the alternatives, I think the caring, protective male instinct is actually rather preferable... call me crazy.

But then, how CAN we reel it in a bit? It can get out of whack if it goes unchecked... How do we point out that being protective towards women is not always rational, or appropriate, or optimal, or fair?

I believe that art is actually a FANTASTIC medium for expressing this! Games like Fez, by the way, do NOT particularly express this. Absence of protecting a woman is not really strengthening the good part of the protective instinct OR diminishing the bad. Great game, strange creator; I'm not dissing it, I'm just pointing out that not every game READS on this particular dynamic. I don't think it's wise or effective to obliterate or de facto deem as harmful - without a shred of evidence - those games that speak more to female characters who, within the game world, appear to genuinely require physical protection or rescuing.

I think games that play with this trope and turn it on its head are a great thing, but they are actually FAR MORE EFFECTIVE in a world where the trope is still employed!!

In other words, the ideal state of things is not a world where games have been "freed" from some of these tropes, but where numerous counterexamples exist. We need to see both versions. We need our instincts validated in some sense, but we ALSO need them calibrated...

Consider that ample contrast is the most effective tutor, in this instance and many others.

If this trope were excised entirely, not only would we lose the potentially helpful reinforcement of the positive aspects of the protective instinct AND an outlet for it, but all of the exceptions that specifically point out how it can go awry, or be reversed, or not apply, would be less powerful! Men don't need to be told NOT to protect women or that women NEVER need protecting, they need to be told to not ASSUME that it is the best, most reasonable, or only valid position to take on any given relevant issue! There's a CHASM OF DIFFERENCE between these two concepts!

Please chew on the big sentence above for at least a few minutes; I put it in the large fonts and the big bolds for a reason. You don't improve human nature by denying it.

Edited by djpretzel

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No one damsel story is going to cause the viewer to become a misogynist. The problem arises when it becomes such a common story that it's routine. In the case of women, these stories reinforce deep-seated cultural conventions, that women are weaker than men, and can't take care of themselves. If you're talking about a male damsel in distress, there is no such culturally ingrained assumption of weakness.

something that does not exist on a case by case basis and cannot be proven in the aggregate means nothing.

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Men don't need to be told NOT to protect women or that women NEVER need protecting, they need to be told to not ASSUME that it is the best, most reasonable, or only valid position to take on any given relevant issue!

Best one-sentence summary of the issue I've ever seen.

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I really enjoyed reading your post Dave, and I agree with most of it. Unfortunately most of it is in response to opinions I never expressed.

The only thesis that existed in my post was as follows: "Women are regularly marginalized in media and in society, and therefore women have more reason to be upset about the overuse of such tropes than men do."

All the other opinions you attribute to me are extrapolation on your part.

Given your relationship history, I would have thought you'd have a perspective a little more informed by evolutionary psychology

It is. Entirely. I know I used the term "culturally ingrained," a bunch of times, but I was discussing our culture and its canon of media. If I had discussed at all where those culturally prevalent ideas came from, I would have brought up evolution. But that was outside of the scope of what I was talking about.

people keep framing damsel-in-distress as a cultural stereotype that reinforces the perception that females are weak and incapable. I think the trope speaks far more to male attitudes of being protective than it does the corresponding sentiment that all females are weak and need protecting.

Good point. I agree, however the marginalization of the object female damsels is inevitably an effect of the trope, even though it is probably not the objective.

So what can we DO about that?

You would apparently say, "We can repress the instinct entirely through culture, by working towards sanitizing our art!!"

What? No, I never said anything remotely like this. All I said is women have a lot more historical reason to be irritated and hurt by being portrayed as helpless objects than men do. Don't put words in my mouth.

For the next while you rant about the ineffectiveness of censorship which I'll just leave you to in peace because it has nothing to do with what I actually said.

Now, does culture itself evolve? Absolutely. Can it help us overcome many of our instincts that made much more sense 10,000 years ago than they do today? Absolutely. But the most effective strategy towards accomplishing this goal seems to be playing to our inherent strengths while attempting to minimize our inherent weaknesses.
This is purely speculation, but I would tend to buy in.
I believe that any instinct we possess to protect the weak is actually a strength!! Silly me, right??
YES YOU'RE SILLY OKAY GET OFF THE DAMN PHONE

Alright the rest of what you say is generally about why the damsel trope should not be abandoned because it represents positive male traits, and how it is of benefit to provide a more nuanced palate of gender roles etc. which is great and I agree and this has nothing to do with what I was talking about.

You don't improve human nature by denying it.
Okay Captain Extrapolation. It looks very much like you read my post as though it was my dissertation on all things gender-related. In fact, it was a very narrow response to the point: "Women have no more reason to feel marginalized by the use of the damsel trope than men do."

That's the point I was addressing. The origin of gender-based streotypes? I didn't address that at all. It's evolution. What should be done if anything about these stereotypes portrayed in media? I didn't address that either. Honestly I'm leaning towards "nothing."

I get the feeling you read

a recurring pattern of female damsels does in fact do damage by reinforcing the very real marginalization of women throughout history.
and ignored everything else I said, choosing the lazy and ironically not-at-all-nuanced path of treating me like a blank-slate Nurture Only liberal quack, which as far as I can tell is a theory of human psychology that hasn't been accepted since the nineties.

Video games didn't create gender role stereotypes. Those stereotypes exist for evolutionary reasons. I make no claim as to how prevalent these tropes are, but to have them rehashed over and over in media would, I imagine, frustrate women who would try to move outside of those traditional gender roles. Full stop. Everything else you talk about is the argument YOU want to have, not a response to anything I said.

As always Dave, your tools of persuasion are sharp. Unfortunately your reading comprehension in this case left something to be desired.

Edited by Vig

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I was kinda expecting that by the end of the third video, she would have explored how the presence of the trope affects our psychology.

Because when I hear: "it reinforces the idea that women need to be sheltered", I want to know how. How does exposure to a recurring trope in some form of media really influence the way we think?

I know that violence in media has been subject to a lot of controversy (and for much longer) and, so far, I haven't found any conclusive research that demonstrates that exposure to violence in video games (which is much more prevalent than so-called "sexist" tropes) makes people more violent. Therefore, I'm wondering how toxic this damsel in distress trope really is. It seems that she is pulling stuff out of her ass and relies a whole lot about the fact that her arguments 'seem to make sense' instead of presenting valid scientific evidence.

Some people are undeniably offended by this trope, but by not presenting it as a genuine issue and not explaining the ramifications she talks about, she fails to make me care.

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"Women are regularly marginalized in media and in society, and therefore women have more reason to be upset about the overuse of such tropes than men do."
All I said is women have a lot more historical reason to be irritated and hurt by being portrayed as helpless objects than men do.

Agreed, 1000%. The debate would seem to be surrounding what level of irritation prescribes abandoning reason, however...

I agree, however the marginalization of the object female damsels is inevitably an effect of the trope, even though it is probably not the objective.

Explain how this is inevitable, in detail. I am skeptical of most inevitabilities, actually - it's this disease I have...

I get the feeling you read
a recurring pattern of female damsels does in fact do damage by reinforcing the very real marginalization of women throughout history.
and ignored everything else I said,

I did focus on that specific statement, yes. Is that unacceptable in some way, though? I mean, you clearly said other things, many of which I do completely agree with, but did any of those things actually change the meaning of that statement, with which I do not? Did I misinterpret that specific statement in my response? I didn't think so, personally. You made a statement of fact - "does in fact" - without providing any facts. And I'm not allowed to focus primarily on that? Please understand, I'm not even saying that it does or does not do damage; I'm saying that we can't state either possibility as a fact. Proceeding as if we can, and have proven such a fact, is irresponsible.

choosing the lazy and ironically not-at-all-nuanced path of treating me like a blank-slate Nurture Only liberal quack, which as far as I can tell is a theory of human psychology that hasn't been accepted since the nineties.

Read this thread; it's more accepted than you'd think here in 2013, and that's a large part of what I was responding to. In fairness to you I could have made that a smidgen clearer, by actually mentioning it, I suppose. As for lack of nuance, well, I really, really like nuance... but I do prefer specificity.

Video games didn't create gender role stereotypes. Those stereotypes exist for evolutionary reasons. I make no claim as to how prevalent these tropes are, but to have them rehashed over and over in media would, I imagine, frustrate women who would try to move outside of those traditional gender roles. Full stop. Everything else you talk about is the argument YOU want to have, not a response to anything I said.

I again agree 1000% with the above statement, as written. However, look what you CHANGED!!! What was JUST a second ago "in fact" "very real marginalization" and "inevitable" is NOW "I make no claim" and "I imagine"... this is a veritable sea change of tone, from absolute certitude to considerate possibility, in the blink of an eye. I strongly agree with the reasonable, second Jesse; the first one still seems a bit off.

As always Dave, your tools of persuasion are sharp. Unfortunately your reading comprehension in this case left something to be desired.

Well, in fairness to my reading comprehension, my response wasn't really directed solely at you, and I basically used specific statements from your comments as tent-posts in a larger point I've been thinking about lately. So yeah... the "personal touch" was lost, and I thought it was basically transparent that was intentional (or at least understood), but if you wanna chalk it up to my reading comprehension, I'm an adult, I can take the hit :)

Edited by djpretzel

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Explain how this is inevitable, in detail. I am skeptical of most inevitabilities - it's this disease I have...

It's the very definition of the trope as used in this discussion, coming from the video we're discussing. She explicitly defines "damsel in distress" as requiring the damsel to be powerless to rescue herself. In a story where the kidnapee has some degree of agency, she is no longer a damsel in distress. For the purposes of this discussion.

Also, if we're trying to appeal to the male protective instinct, that WOULD seem to require a complimentary character who is weak and needs protecting.

I did focus on that specific statement, yes. Is that unacceptable in some way, though? I mean, you clearly said other things, many of which I agree with, but did any of those things actually change the meaning of that statement? Did I misinterpret that specific statement in my response? I didn't think so, personally.
No, and I don't think the statement is wrong. I think we probably have different ideas of what I meant by the word "damage."
Read this thread; it's more accepted than you'd think here in 2013, and that's a large part of what I was responding to.
Yikes. Well come on you can give me more credit than that.

I

n fairness to you I could have made that a smidgen clearer, by actually mentioning it, I suppose. As for lack of nuance, well, I really, really like nuance... but I do prefer perception.
We share blame for this. My fault because I did not make my broader opinions clear (I limited the scope of my response), and your fault for assuming you could draw broad conclusions about what I think based on the microcosm of the issue that I was addressing.
I again agree 1000% with the above statement, as written. However, look what you CHANGED!!! What was JUST "very real marginalization" and "inevitable" is now "I make no claim" and "I imagine"... this is a veritable sea change of tone, from absolute certitude to considerate possibility, in the scope of a single post. I strongly agree with the reasonable, second Jesse; the first one still seems a bit off.
Well for one thing. at the top of this very post you tell me you agree with Marginalization Jesse 1000%.

Yes, the language changes because the scope and content of what I'm discussing changes. When I was attacking the asinine assertion that women have no right to be offended by the overuse of female damsels because they aren't offended by the occasional male damsel, it makes perfect sense to speak in terms of inevitable marginalization given the our historical context.

But then all of a sudden I'm on the defensive from attacks on my evolutionary...preferences because I had the gall to discuss cultural context as a reason for women to feel shitty about damsels, of course I'm going to use a different tone. All of a sudden I'm going from "If you were a woman you'd probably feel pretty shitty about being constantly portrayed as an object" to "No, I do not believe that Shigeru Miyamoto invented the penis and the vagina.." Yeah, the tone of the discussion has to change along with what I perceive as the expectations of my audience.

Well, in fairness to my reading comprehension, my response wasn't really directed solely at you, and I basically used specific statements from your comments as tent-posts in a larger point I've been thinking about lately
This is fair.

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Well for one thing. at the top of this very post you tell me you agree with Marginalization Jesse 1000%.

Right, I agree with the statement that women have historically been and are still marginalized in media and society, 1000%. In no way should that infer that I believe that the damsel-in-distress trope has been conclusively linked to that phenomenon. It seems superficially like a relatively reasonable hypothesis, but then I might tend to ask, what else does this trope accomplish? Why is it used? How many cultures does it appear in? Does it remain popular even after being removed for long durations? Does its removal cause any noticeable change in men's attitudes, for better or worse? Or especially, is the best and most effective solution a combination of the trope alongside other works that clearly poke fun at the trope, as opposed to "no trope at all"? Furthermore, I wouldn't be in a position to test most of these things conclusively. I would be so upset, and sad... But I would be neither upset nor sad enough to start claiming that I'd proved it outright, that it was inevitable, that it was self-evident, or anything of the sort.

It doesn't help here that YOUR definition - the most limited version, where the damsel is completely and utterly incapable of even a helpful or proactive thought - is far more limited and specific than Anita's version, which appears to encompass, well, almost any woman in a game who's having a bad day. It's more difficult to defend one-dimensional characters in general, though... and they tend to co-habitate in worlds FULL of other one-dimensional characters, where NO ONE really has all THAT much agency, or personality, or intelligence, or free will, or ego, or id... etc.

Edited by djpretzel

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Her point is arguing against something that was never even put forth - no one said you HAVE to have a damsel in distress trope in order to evoke nostalgia. No one said it was requisite. People merely claimed that it was serving that function. To pick a game like Fez and point out that the trope is not needed, in that game, to evoke retro-nostalgia, is an almost meaningless argument. Plenty of things aren't needed in art, because art is (again) not solely about necessity. Of course it's not a controversial idea, because it's a straw man argument that frames the employment of tropes in terms of need & necessity, and as I said, that's not how they work...

It almost seems like you're being deliberately obtuse to avoid making any sort of concessions of any kind. Obviously I understand nothing in art is 'necessary', including the use of tropes, don't be patronizing. If someone said "I made a game with a damsel in distress trope to make it retro", I think an acceptable and understandable English language response would be "You don't need a damsel in distress to make a retro game. You could do something else instead, such as x, y, or z."

Do you have some sort of philosophical problem with that statement? Do you think it's offensive, or encouraging censorship, or whatever, to suggest or consider alternatives to an overused trope? Because that's what you're arguing against here. Whether or not you agree with all the various other points in the videos, in this thread, etc., this particular thing pretty much sounds exactly like what you've stated repeatedly that you support, i.e. more variety in games in general and less use of any one-dimensional or overused tropes. Why all of a sudden do you have such a problem with it?

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Can we stop with whole "don't patronize me" fad? Just because someone explains something you either a) didn't think of before but realize was a pretty simple point or B) already knew before but hadn't thought to put forth yet doesn't mean that person is subtly maligning your ability to think.

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I didn't realize it was a fad? I think it's the first time I've said it in 50+ pages, and IIRC nobody else has brought it up either. If anything the 'straw man' logical fallacy has been used or pointed out repeatedly. I just get a little annoyed at what I view as Dave talking down to me, or other people. Big bold + red text, size 24 font, instructing people to 'chew on' what he's written for several minutes, etc. It's more of a response to the general tone, if anything.

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Can we stop with whole "don't patronize me" fad? Just because someone explains something you either a) didn't think of before but realize was a pretty simple point or B) already knew before but hadn't thought to put forth yet doesn't mean that person is subtly maligning your ability to think.

I'd rather we cut down on comments from the peanut gallery about how the debate ought to be conducted. That's been quite the fad, I've noticed.

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It almost seems like you're being deliberately obtuse to avoid making any sort of concessions of any kind. Obviously I understand nothing in art is 'necessary', including the use of tropes, don't be patronizing. If someone said "I made a game with a damsel in distress trope to make it retro", I think an acceptable and understandable English language response would be "You don't need a damsel in distress to make a retro game. You could do something else instead, such as x, y, or z."

Do you have some sort of philosophical problem with that statement?

that it really doesn't need to be said in the first place, at all.

"I used some chiptune elements to give my OCRemix a retro sound."

"You don't need chiptune elements to give your song a retro sound. You could do something else, such as x, y, or z."

"Yeah but that's what I felt like doing so I did it."

and yeah i am comparing chiptune to DiD. they're both about as tired, both stopgap, and both harmless.

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I would be so upset, and sad... But I would be neither upset nor sad enough to start claiming that I'd proved it outright, that it was inevitable, that it was self-evident, or anything of the sort..

Again I think you're mischaracterizing me. What exactly do you think I'm claiming is self-evident? The statement I made, which I stand by, is that in a story where a male character has to protect or rescue a female character, that female character by definition must lose her agency. Become "marginalized" as it were. I don't see why you find that to be such a controversial statement.

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I'd rather we cut down on comments from the peanut gallery about how the debate ought to be conducted. That's been quite the fad, I've noticed.

you've spent the past page or so claiming that the thing you said wasn't actually the thing you said and then getting mad that djp had the audacity to maybe direct some of his post to things that people other than you have said

I think you might need to take a step back and re-evaluate how you're presenting yourself in this thread

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It almost seems like you're being deliberately obtuse to avoid making any sort of concessions of any kind. Obviously I understand nothing in art is 'necessary', including the use of tropes, don't be patronizing. If someone said "I made a game with a damsel in distress trope to make it retro", I think an acceptable and understandable English language response would be "You don't need a damsel in distress to make a retro game. You could do something else instead, such as x, y, or z." "

Do you have some sort of philosophical problem with that statement? Do you think it's offensive, or encouraging censorship, or whatever, to suggest or consider alternatives to an overused trope?

First off, deliberately obtuse? No, I think I'm being surreptitiously acute, apparently... And yes, I do have a problem with that dialogue/exchange, because it presupposes that the artist/creator thought that they needed the DiD trope, as opposed to simply wanting it. It's operating on the assumption that the only avenue by which one could arrive at a story that employs the trope is by way of being uncreative or unimaginative, and hence by way of perceived necessity. I completely agree that that is often the case, but not always, and hence my objection. Suggesting alternatives, however, is neither offensive to me personally, nor would I consider it censorship. In fact, it's almost identical to what I've been saying this ENTIRE time - that improving the variety and depth of female characters (and really ALL characters) in video games is a fine goal that doesn't require outdated, partisan ideology to justify! But see, it's not the suggestion we've been talking about, is it? It's the justification for the suggestion...

As for using large fonts and what not, I really try to do that for legitimate emphasis. I don't know why you'd think it's any better, or worse, than calling someone "deliberately obtuse"... seems like splitting hairs. I can rock 12pt if you prefer, I just think some people stare at a giant wall of text and find it off-putting...

Again I think you're mischaracterizing me. What exactly do you think I'm claiming is self-evident? The statement I made, which I stand by, is that in a story where a male character has to protect or rescue a female character, that female character by definition must lose her agency. Become "marginalized" as it were. I don't see why you find that to be such a controversial statement.

It's the "damage" (that you're claiming as factual/inevitable) that flows from fictional depictions out into the real world that I'm saying is a nebulous construct. As for the statement above, as written.... a male character HAS to protect or rescue a female character? As in MUST?? As in, is faced with no other options? Sounds about right to me, and damn... it also incidentally sounds like he doesn't have much "agency" either... right?

Edited by djpretzel

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So, despite her positive examples near the end of the video, I'm still not sure what would make her happy re: damsels in distress, except to avoid the entire concept. She doesn't like damsels in distress. She doesn't like inverting damsels in distress (using dudes in distress instead), because that doesn't go far enough in combatting the damsel in distress image. She doesn't like parodying damsels in distress, (making fun of the whole concept by exaggerating it to a ridiculous degree) because she apparently believes that that means making fun of the damsels, and thus women in general, rather than making fun of the trope. She doesn't like subverting damsels in distress (when rescuing the damsel results in punishment for the player rather than reward), because that makes the damsels look evil.

Apparently we're just supposed to avoid the whole idea of someone rescuing someone else entirely. Oh, but even that's not enough if the playable character is male.

So, in order to make a non-sexist game, you have to have a female or androgynous playable character, who isn't allowed to help anyone else (unless, in attempting to do so, they actually fuck up the plans of the much-more-competent person they were "rescuing").

Except that, at the very end, she says "of course, I'm not actually saying everything I've been saying for the last twenty minutes", just like the first two videos.

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At this point she feels like she is a talking head from a cable news network. So take what she says with a grain of salt and be angry that she tricked a large amount of people out of money like a televangelist.

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At this point she feels like she is a talking head from a cable news network. So take what she says with a grain of salt and be angry that she tricked a large amount of people out of money like a televangelist.

Now now, don't compare her to televangelists, they at least appeal to the consumer in a positive way even if their money-grubbing ways are despicable

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