Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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No, it should not be okay. That's what they call a "double-standard". It's hypocrisy all the way around.

You can't say to someone that "race is just a social construct" but then turn around and call someone from your own "race" a racist name and then say that someone from a different "race" can't say that same word. Because "race is just a social construct and doesn't really exist".

Your inability to appreciate the nuance here has me in awe. Please do go on about how we live in a post-racial society.

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Your inability to appreciate the nuance here has me in awe. Please do go on about how we live in a post-racial society.

Nah,

I'm just gonna go back to watching you "academic" types fight it out. Meanwhile, I'll be here, playing this video game and won't let whether what I just saw was sexist or not keep me up at night.

Edited by AngelCityOutlaw

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The message of video games, being to help those in need, is more important than arguing over the inferred sexism of the plots. Whether the kid is a boy or a girl, they will receive the same message from these games. That message is to be a hero and help those in need. It's not "Haw I'm gonna save this dainty woman because she's weak and should make me a sandwich." To get rid of gender roles (whether in video game or society in general) you would have to eliminate gender and human nature. There is not an easy way to change something that has been a part of human nature since the beginning, not to mention gender roles to some extent are something that emerges naturally in children, even without any kind of example or strict enforcement of roles taking place. Part of it is biology. (ง ͠° ͟ل͜ ͡°)ง

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The message of video games, being to help those in need, is more important than arguing over the inferred sexism of the plots.

so how does it feel to be a sexist

Gotta call bullshit on this one. There is a stereotype that men are expected to save the damsel.

stereotypes don't really count if they're a positive thing you're doing a thing called false equivalence

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Even djpretzel agreed (1000%) with Vig when he pointed out that women have much more of a reason to be offended by sexist depictions of their gender than men, because women have had to deal with actual real-life sexism for thousands of years.

Yeah, I think that one's a given. However, I think you're missing the flip-side of the "agency" coin: for thousands of years, men have been considered more expendable. The trade-off for all of our beloved & coveted "agency" has been death, en masse, at the whim of whatever shaman, warlord, or government demanded it. Do women suffer in war as well? Absolutely. But, almost universally, men have been the ones drafted, cajoled, threatened, & enslaved into fighting. Mario's "agency," if you're going to insist on framing these obviously reductionist fairy tales in real-world terms as Anita does, grants him a single decision: to risk his life, and probably die (repeatedly, even!), for something the trope is telling him is vital. What an empowered, modern, free male is he!! (sarcasm)

Gender equality, tropes and sexism are cultural; they are not a product of a particular time in history. It's not a modern concept at all. In Ancient Egypt, women could participate in politics, own land and even initiate divorce. There are some cultures in the modern day where women can't do any of those things.

And yet true matriarchy is anthropologically elusive. I agree with the point, in general, but be wary of overstating the reach & influence of social construction & culture... there's a lot of similarity out there, and I believe that most of it is biologically rooted.

A woman being offended at being portrayed as an object is not promoting that attitude. It's the opposite. On the other hand, if a man is portrayed as being incapable of saving a woman, that is not promoting an attitude or behavior based on traditional stereotypes. It's... the opposite. It's a play on the trope.

Thank you, culture police :) I'd like to point out that whether a man is portrayed as capable OR incapable of saving a woman doesn't actually speak to whether he too is being treated as an object. This art form of ours often involves a good deal of very utilitarian objectification and reductionism to begin with, and you ARE cherry-picking, by my reckoning.

Having a problem with sexist depictions of women is not discrimination or devaluation of women. It's the opposite. As the DEFINITION says, sexism refers to active discrimination i.e. restricting what someone can do based on their gender. There is no longstanding gender stereotype that men are incapable of saving damsels. Therefore, using that in a game is not sexist.

I think you're missing a component, here... the idea is that a man incapable of saving a woman is depicted as being impotent; it's supposed to be embarrassing, diminishing, etc. Of course, in a perfect world, it wouldn't be, but it can still VERY MUCH play to a harmful trope, being that any male incapable of saving any female is in some way deficient. It's the other side of the DiD coin, it's legit, and I'm surprised to hear you so decisively concluding that it's not problematic or sexist in any way. I think this betrays a systematic lopsidedness in your thinking, personally.

Women have had to deal with sexism since the beginning of the history and billions of women around the world deal with it even today. I'm not talking about tropes, I'm talking about actual real-life sexism like being killed because you were raped, or not having the right to an education, or not having the right to vote, etc

When did the history begin? Just curious... But I agree, women HAVE had to deal with sexism for centuries. It's just this: so have men. There are upsides and downsides, but a cursory review of the storied past of our species should give you a pretty good idea of how hundreds of thousands of men were persuaded/forced to fight and die for any given cause. For most of human history, if you were given the chance to choose your sex at birth, you'd be choosing between equally unsavory options... to frame it any other way is pure bile, in my opinion, and trivializes the tragedy wrought upon both man AND woman throughout the relatively brief slice of time we refer to as "recorded history"... we are our own worst enemies, and we have NOT spared our males.

No, it should not be okay. That's what they call a "double-standard". It's hypocrisy all the way around.

You can't say to someone that "race is just a social construct" but then turn around and call someone from your own "race" a racist name and then say that someone from a different "race" can't say that same word. Because "race is just a social construct and doesn't really exist".

Apparently, you can. This ship has sailed. When one group is systematically enslaved and discriminated against, and then want to re-purpose a racial slur as a term of in-group affection and/or recognition, I think that's something you just kinda accept. At least I do... It's not about logic, in a vacuum, at that point. It's about coping.

Gotta call bullshit on this one. There is a stereotype that men are expected to save the damsel. Whether we're talking about a princess locked in a tower, or that girl in the bar that's getting treated like shit by some guy. If you don't save her, you're less of a man/a pussy.

Unless you're zircon. Nah I kid; absolutely agreed. The corollary to "Damsel in Distress" is something like "Foregone Conclusion Testosterone Hero"... he's here, he's heterosexual as FUCK, and he's gonna save the lady or DIE trying!! If he doesn't, he's probably queer, and that's NO GOOD!! Gay!! And you know what? That actually speaks to a lot of dudes!! As I've articulated previously, the male-female protective instinct isn't the worst thing in the world, and fiction that caters to it isn't likely to go out of style. It's a question of calibration, not invalidation. I have faith that Andy & Alex and many others will eventually come around to this realization. It is subtle and needs to be reasoned out at length, but I believe it is the correct endpoint.

Nah, I'm just gonna go back to watching you "academic" types fight it out. Meanwhile, I'll be here, playing this video game and won't let whether what I just saw was sexist or not keep me up at night.

You go. As for anything here being "academic," there's a core problem in that Anita is not framing an academic argument. I think some of us thought she would be, and have been disappointed. I'm unclear on whether Andy is still under the impression that her argument is academic in any way, shape, or form.

Edited by djpretzel

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stereotypes don't really count if they're a positive thing you're doing a thing called false equivalence

Did you just make that up? You can take almost any stereotype and find positive aspects to it.

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stereotypes don't really count if they're a positive thing you're doing a thing called false equivalence

How about the stereotype that if you can't protect your woman, you're hardly a man at all?

EDIT: Beaten to the same exact argument by DJP.

To get rid of gender roles (whether in video game or society in general) you would have to eliminate gender and human nature. There is not an easy way to change something that has been a part of human nature since the beginning

Brandon, you bring up good points about gender roles. Everyone, what if -- and I'm just hurling this out devil's advocate style -- What if greater polarization of gender roles tends to benefit society overall? It's not a popular idea at this point in time certainly, but science and truth care nothing for popularity. Two different, specialized hardware sets (genders) each with their own separate tasks (or tendencies) could very well outperform both hardware sets given the same tasks. It works in computing, why not with meatware?

Scientifically inspecting the question of gender role separation is awfully tempting. Just take a set of candidates who respond as being very aligned with their gender stereotypes, another group who identify only weakly with their gender, and a control group. Set them a several group tasks and see how they perform. But the fatal flaw here is that only a single context is considered: working with strangers in an unfamiliar environment. How can we possibly extrapolate that to all aspects of social life? Perhaps with some devious cunning an unbiased experiment could be designed, but I just don't see it.

So I ask: What if equality -- which seems so fair -- is unintuitively the wrong way?

Edited by Moguta

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[everything]

So much agreement.

Just because men have possessed the obvious power benefits does not mean that there is no benefit to being a woman. For example, men also tend to occupy the lowest rungs of power, too. Most homeless are male. And society tells women that every one of them is valuable, while a man is NOTHING unless he can make something of himself.

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Did you just make that up? You can take almost any stereotype and find positive aspects to it.

maybe if you're a straight white guy, yeah

How about the stereotype that if you can't protect your woman, you're hardly a man at all?

yeah see that's not really stereotype that's a cultural attitude

two entirely different things

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It's the other side of the DiD coin, it's legit, and I'm surprised to hear you so decisively concluding that it's not problematic or sexist in any way. I think this betrays a systematic lopsidedness in your thinking, personally.

Since I know you don't believe the tropes can be proven as actually harmful one way or the other (hence our earlier disagreements), let's assume for a moment that trope X actually enforces real-world stereotype X. OK. I don't see how the stereotype - forget the trope of the stereotype - of impotent men is harmful. If anything I'm MORE confident about that because, well, I'm a man and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. That stereotype has never affected or hurt me, or anyone else I know, nor do I see men elsewhere in the world being affected by it (or if they are, it's not on any scale that I've observed personally, or read about).

Maybe it is problematic on some level, but the fact that most men appear not to care about it at all - relative to the vocal crowd of men AND women speaking out against female tropes in games - seems to indicate that it's not as problematic as the female tropes. You'd think that if it were actually troublesome to males, that the loud vocal contingent of male gamers out there would speak up. But they haven't, so either we as a gender are afraid to speak our minds (this is the internet, seems unlikely) or it isn't harmful.

... we are our own worst enemies, and we have NOT spared our males

Yep, that's very true. Human history has been pretty terrible for humans. I still think that, all things considered - including the modern state of gender affairs - women have had it slightly worse. In the developed world, aside from rape, pay gap, sexual harassment and reproductive rights issues, it's not as bad as it was 50-100 years ago, but if you look at the entire world including developing and third-world countries, women have it bad.

It's a question of calibration, not invalidation

I agree with you on this. I want to see game stories mature and do less objectification of women, but that doesn't mean the trope should be totally eliminated (which would never happen anyway.) Just balanced out with other stuff.

How about the stereotype that if you can't protect your woman, you're hardly a man at all?

True, this is a stereotype... but I don't think it's a big deal. It's not something that I think negatively affects our gender on a deep or wide scale. It's certainly never hurt or affected me personally, or anyone else I know. We have our problems but I don't think they compare in magnitude of what women have to deal with (see: reproductive rights)

So I ask: What if equality -- which seems so fair -- is unintuitively the wrong way?

It's possible, but does that matter? It seems like most developed countries have adopted a system of values where we tend to let people do what they want, even if the result is not as utilitarian as possible. It's pretty much undeniable for example that end-of-life healthcare is grossly expensive and provides the smallest benefit relative to providing health care and preventative services to younger folks, but obviously nobody would dream of enforcing laws that say we can't care for our elderly if we so choose...

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maybe if you're a straight white guy, yeah

Why is this kind of racism acceptable?

And you can't just assume everyone is white in this day and age. I've got some native american and possibly even some black in my lineage.

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my point is that straight white dudes responding to the idea that women (or gays or non-whites) have it pretty shitty by arguing that they also have it pretty shitty is more or less the conversational equivalent of straight up admitting to being selfish and ignorant

like if your opinion is really that 'sexism in video games doesn't matter' then by all means you're entitled to have it but people with functioning brains are going to treat you like an idiot (because you're being an idiot)

(re: racism, a white guy saying he 'has some black' in his 'lineage' is missing the point so hard that it's like a guy standing in a batting cage just wailing away and not hitting anything and then you realize that nobody even turned the machine on and oh wait this isn't even a batting cage it's a padded cell in an asylum for closet racists [or more pertinently, sexists])

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my point is that straight white dudes responding to the idea that women (or gays or non-whites) have it pretty shitty by arguing that they also have it pretty shitty is more or less the conversational equivalent of straight up admitting to being selfish and ignorant

like if your opinion is really that 'sexism in video games doesn't matter' then by all means you're entitled to have it but people with functioning brains are going to treat you like an idiot (because you're being an idiot)

Is it actually even possible for you to ever just simply disagree with someone? Or do you just have to be a condescending asshole about it all the time?

And yet true matriarchy is anthropologically elusive. I agree with the point, in general, but be wary of overstating the reach & influence of social construction & culture... there's a lot of similarity out there, and I believe that most of it is biologically rooted.

I would agree that there is a biological root to a lot of it, actually. However, most of these social "scientists" seem to refute any evidence that stems from the natural sciences. It's like when I took some sociology and communication courses last year most of my teachers didn't believe that human nature is a real thing in any way. The thing is, that if there are some gender roles that could possibly have a biological explanation somewhere along the line, no social scientist I've met is willing to give it a chance.

That's why I dropped out of social science type courses. Because unlike natural science, there are no real, concrete answers. Only flawed theories that often have little to no compelling evidence to back them up.

but anyway, I'm just gonna back away slowly and exit the thread like I said I would.

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I never said I had it shitty. If you've got a problem with whites or men talking about these topics then... leave?

it's not that I have a problem with people talking about it, it's that I have a problem with a bunch of dudes saying that sexism in video games doesn't matter because they don't feel particularly oppressed, and not having the intellect to perceive how moronic that is

I brought up race to illustrate that it's more or less the same as a white person saying that they don't think society is racist - it's incredibly stupid for a white person to say that because racism is an issue that they've rarely if ever had to deal with, it's no longer an issue in any capacity, and as such whether or not it's a problem that is relevant to them is more or less irrelevant

that being said my point here is that you're not 'talking' about this, you're repeating in increasingly stupid ways that you basically don't think that a problem that doesn't affect you in any way is therefore not a problem, which is essentially admitting to not caring about the plight of the oppressed opposite sex, which is essentially being sexist

and if you don't like being labeled a sexist how about you just stop posting your dumb crap in this thread and come back when you've grown the ability to experience empathy

Is it actually even possible for you to ever just simply disagree with someone? Or do you just have to be a condescending asshole about it all the time?

what would be the polite way to disagree, here

'brandon I respect your opinion that everybody who cares about this issue is wrong and wasting time, please tell me more about how sexism doesn't matter because you're not the one being oppressed'

I mean I know I've been a huge fuck a lot in the past on these boards and I've been making a big effort to not be such an asshole but sometimes I think posts/opinions might just be idiotic enough that it's impossible to respond to them without something that at the very least resembles condescension

The thing is, that if there are some gender roles that could possibly have a biological explanation somewhere along the line, no social scientist I've met is willing to give it a chance.

so what you're saying here is that sexism is okay as long as there's a biological reason for it to happen? do you possibly know what the word 'ethics' means

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so what you're saying here is that sexism is okay as long as there's a biological reason for it to happen? do you possibly know what the word 'ethics' means

No. See, this is you putting words into peoples mouths again.

What I'm saying is that if there was/is some biological reason for some of it and if there is/was evidence that says so, then that doesn't mean it's totally socially created now does it?

For example, I've heard the theory before that the gender role of men working while women tend to children at home may have stemmed from the early days of humanity when disease and shit was rampant. The men hunted and gathered because women were necessary to produce more children (which could very likely die anyway) and hunting animals and shit was dangerous and if you're going to choose one of the sexes to gamble on such a task, it is only logical that you would sacrifice the men. I also imagine it would have been difficult to adequately hunt and build shit while perpetually pregnant. Over time that just lead to men doing "work" type things and women being caretakers as civilization advanced. Problem is, such a system was no longer needed by that point.

Now, I don't know if that theory has much archaeological evidence to support it, I'm just saying I've heard it and it makes sense in theory. However, if there is indeed some evidence to support such a theory that gender roles originated out of biology, survival tactics or whatever; such evidence of its origin shouldn't be refuted and you can't just say "oh it's all socially created".

But even if it does have a biological explanation, that doesn't mean it's okay.

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Now, I don't know if that theory has much archaeological evidence to support it, I'm just saying I've heard it and it makes sense in theory.

what you're saying here is that it makes more sense to assume that an archaeological hypothesis that supports sexism is inherently preferable to the (intelligent) assumption that a complete lack of reliable information makes the historical accuracy of sexist ideals irrelevant at best

I don't know if that theory has much archaeological evidence to support it

see right here where you're outright admitting that you don't even know that this shit is true but it makes sense because it's sexist?

But even if it does have a biological explanation, that doesn't mean it's okay.

yeah see this is true

but the thing is that it doesn't have a biological explanation

everybody talks about the 'men work, women care' idea as if it's this big thing that over the past century science has decided was based in genetic or historical fact but when you actually go and look up whether or not that's true it turns out that Science At Large's response is essentially

istockphoto_1239117-scientist-shrug-on-gray-gradient_1303327265.jpg

so we have an idea here that has little to no factual basis beyond hypothesis and more importantly is largely irrelevant so the question becomes why do people keep bringing it up?

well you're trying to say here that you aren't sexist even though the only reason anyone ever brings up this idea is to generate support for the idea that sexism is biologically coded into people (and is therefore okay); so instead of assuming that you're just sexist I'll ask you straight out why does this matter at all

Bleck you just need to calm down bro. It's not like video games murdered anyone.

I think you should stop posting

not just in this thread just, in general

Edited by Bleck

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Is it actually even possible for you to ever just simply disagree with someone? Or do you just have to be a condescending asshole about it all the time?

You ARE talking to a dude with a very condescending attitude towards people for deigning to like World of Warcraft after all...

That's why I dropped out of social science type courses. Because unlike natural science, there are no real, concrete answers. Only flawed theories that often have little to no compelling evidence to back them up.

Dude, I have a master's in I/O psychology, and this is pretty much why I gave up on it: social sciences are far, FAR too transient, dependent on cultural context, and subject to the worst kinds of bias to really be taken seriously. I can't even count the amount of people I know who dropped out of the programs for that very reason...

Edited by Malaki-LEGEND.sys

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You ARE talking to a dude with a very condescending attitude towards people for deigning to like World of Warcraft after all...

world of warcraft is a pretty bad game

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Brandon, you bring up good points about gender roles. Everyone, what if -- and I'm just hurling this out devil's advocate style -- What if greater polarization of gender roles tends to benefit society overall? It's not a popular idea at this point in time certainly, but science and truth care nothing for popularity. Two different, specialized hardware sets (genders) each with their own separate tasks (or tendencies) could very well outperform both hardware sets given the same tasks. It works in computing, why not with meatware?

First off, I love posts like these, because being open-minded means asking questions that some people find inherently offensive. As long as those questions are legitimate lines of scientific inquiry, I've always had problems with the idea that anything was sacrosanct or off-limits, so long as whatever information science discovers is tempered with reason and ethics. As for the answer... well, some people like to operate under the very comfortable notion that homo sapiens is a snowflake, immune to selective pressures and developmental processes that have governed all OTHER life on Earth. But we need only look to the higher apes, then primates, then mammals, to see that so-called "gender roles" ARE indeed a viable genetic construct, and our understanding of natural selection should at least make us suspect that this separation of duties, however subtle, is an adaptation that often enhances survival...

Now, does that mean it makes sense for us? 10,000 years ago, my answer would have been... probably. In the modern age? I think it's somewhat less clear, but then so are our goals as a species. We no longer seek to simply survive, or even to explore and settle the Earth. Our eyes are now on other, more abstract and/or loftier prizes. What is the OPTIMAL configuration for a species that simultaneously desires peace, increased quality of life, and technological innovation? I don't know, but I don't think those goals are playing by the same set of rules that nature optimizes for.

Anyways, great post, I love thinking about this stuff!

Since I know you don't believe the tropes can be proven as actually harmful one way or the other (hence our earlier disagreements), let's assume for a moment that trope X actually enforces real-world stereotype X. OK. I don't see how the stereotype - forget the trope of the stereotype - of impotent men is harmful. If anything I'm MORE confident about that because, well, I'm a man and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. That stereotype has never affected or hurt me, or anyone else I know, nor do I see men elsewhere in the world being affected by it (or if they are, it's not on any scale that I've observed personally, or read about).

Wow... where to begin. First off, you're absolutely right, I found your earlier claims that the DiD trope was subconsciously causing pervasive inferiority complexes to be unsupported. I don't believe I ever stated that tropes can never be proven as harmful, simply that we haven't, and that it would be difficult to do so. Secondly, your confidence here seems woefully misplaced, and is basically hinging on a textbook anecdotal fallacy. If you don't think male machismo, pissing contests, bravado, insecurity, etc. have ever affected you or anyone you know, and you don't see ample evidence of their harm in the real world, I'll tactfully inquire: which planet are you living on?? The idea that the man has to rescue the woman to prove himself, or that many men compete to see who can rescue her first, and that any man failing to work towards such a goal is effeminate is to me just as real a reflection of male stereotypes surrounding boasting, competition, insecurity, etc. I guess all I can say here is... be more observant??

Maybe it is problematic on some level, but the fact that most men appear not to care about it at all - relative to the vocal crowd of men AND women speaking out against female tropes in games - seems to indicate that it's not as problematic as the female tropes. You'd think that if it were actually troublesome to males, that the loud vocal contingent of male gamers out there would speak up. But they haven't, so either we as a gender are afraid to speak our minds (this is the internet, seems unlikely) or it isn't harmful.

So the volume of the complaint is directly correlated to its validity, in your mind? Okay, interesting... not sure I agree, but I'll just quickly point out that in this case, because the trope/stereotype specifically has to do with insecurity & machismo & "being a man" (like the Mulan song playfully says), the effect it has is to make any questioning of its nature seem effeminate. In other words, by questioning the trope that makes men seem effeminate if they don't rescue the lady, the questioner himself appears effeminate. Perhaps men are simply more worried about appearing "effeminate" than women are about appearing "masculine"... just a thought.

Yep, that's very true. Human history has been pretty terrible for humans. I still think that, all things considered - including the modern state of gender affairs - women have had it slightly worse. In the developed world, aside from rape, pay gap, sexual harassment and reproductive rights issues, it's not as bad as it was 50-100 years ago, but if you look at the entire world including developing and third-world countries, women have it bad.

I don't know why anyone would feel compelled to say that X gender has had it worse, historically. Are you counting up the "terrible" points? Is there a 4X multiplier for torture? Does lack of suffrage AND land ownership count as a combo? How do you do it? More importantly... why? To even make the statement requires the notion of putting quantitative measurements on human pain & suffering; are you proposing a new unit of measurement? The "zircon"? This is the type of statement Anita would make... it falls apart upon investigation. At any rate, I agree with you about the developed world and the developing world... but most video games are coming from the developed world, and being played primarily by the developed world. Our open, pluralistic approach to media & art is part of what makes us developed!!

I agree with you on this. I want to see game stories mature and do less objectification of women, but that doesn't mean the trope should be totally eliminated (which would never happen anyway.) Just balanced out with other stuff.

Yeah, we're on the same page more or less, I'm just very concerned with the WHY - I don't think the justification for this desire/goal should be coming from the wrong place. In fact, I think it's paramount that it comes from the right place. In my mind, the wrong place is one filled with specious, hypocritical sociological arguments. The right place is one filled with a desire to see the art form fulfill its true potential.

It's possible, but does that matter? It seems like most developed countries have adopted a system of values where we tend to let people do what they want, even if the result is not as utilitarian as possible. It's pretty much undeniable for example that end-of-life healthcare is grossly expensive and provides the smallest benefit relative to providing health care and preventative services to younger folks, but obviously nobody would dream of enforcing laws that say we can't care for our elderly if we so choose...

It only matters insofar as any claims being made that one way of doing things is more natural, and therefore preferable. Some folks have actually come close to making the argument that all sexism is cultural, and that biology is a complete scapegoat in the equation - in essence saying that, if we were only to behave more naturally, we would be peaceful, and free of sexism, and it'd be like that pastoral scene in Fantasia, and everyone would be happy. If you buy all that, I can't help you... Hobbes has been validated repeatedly, and modern science has disproved the blank slate and the noble savage, thoroughly. And so, as you almost say, the point isn't that we should behave "naturally," but rather that we should play to the strengths of our nature, attempt to minimize our weaknesses, and act in a fashion that moves our entire species forward. Some folks seem to think that the second you articulate a biological catalyst for sexism or gender roles, you are excusing or even legitimizing sexism, bias, or even violence. This is closed-minded; investigation and (partial) explanation aren't even in the same ballpark as justification and recommendation.

my point is that straight white dudes responding to the idea that women (or gays or non-whites) have it pretty shitty by arguing that they also have it pretty shitty is more or less the conversational equivalent of straight up admitting to being selfish and ignorant

Not when you're talking about the entirety of recorded history, which we were for awhile. Also, must the discontent of one group trump the discontent of another for it to be valid, and/or actionable? Who quantifies this stuff? I think some straight white males make this argument because they feel like the topic is actually being approached this way - "MY grievance is bigger than YOUR grievance!!" Reminds me of "MY god is better than YOUR god!!" - and sounds about as mature. So of course it will elicit that reaction. Also, you forgot some demographics... A "straight white male" can still be:

  • poor
  • mentally disabled
  • physically disabled
  • atheist
  • etc.

... any of which could marginalize him quite a bit. Just sayin'

what you're saying here is that it makes more sense to assume that an archaeological hypothesis that supports sexism is inherently preferable to the (intelligent) assumption that a complete lack of reliable information makes the historical accuracy of sexist ideals irrelevant at best

You're conflating "supports" with "suggests" - and also archaeology with anthropology, and "sexism" with "gender roles" for that matter. Nothing is "intelligent" about your assumption that we have a "complete lack of reliable information" - that's just downright wrong, and extraordinarily lazy on your part. We're not talking about "sexist ideals," we're talking about gender roles, and there is ample evidence that gender roles have played a factor in every known human culture to date. So yeah... you're apparently uninformed, and what makes matters worse, you're characterizing your lack of information as being intelligent... ouch. Now, what those gender roles ARE certainly varies from culture to culture, and we have taken strides to blur the lines and make things more equitable in recent centuries.

As for sexism - sexism isn't the existence of gender roles per se, it's the attitude that they can/should never change or that we are powerless to change/overcome them.

but the thing is that it doesn't have a biological explanation

Bullshit. I mean seriously, where did you pull THAT gem from?

everybody talks about the 'men work, women care' idea as if it's this big thing that over the past century science has decided was based in genetic or historical fact but when you actually go and look up whether or not that's true it turns out that Science At Large's response is essentially

istockphoto_1239117-scientist-shrug-on-gray-gradient_1303327265.jpg

so we have an idea here that has little to no factual basis beyond hypothesis and more importantly is largely irrelevant so the question becomes why do people keep bringing it up?

Wow... have you done the research? Science's response to that question is much more than a dismissive shrug. There is plentiful evidence that gender roles are rooted in biology AND deeply affected by culture. The consensus response is that "nature vs. nurture" is moot, and the answer is that gender roles are attributable to both environmental AND genetic characteristics. Again, homo sapiens is not a snowflake - we are affected by the same evolutionary process & constraints that other species are. At least we were, up to a certain point in our history.

Your willingness to speak authoritatively about the current body of scientific knowledge surrounding this topic (or lack thereof) makes me think that you're either an expert, or talking out of your ass. I would hope that you've at least done a LITTLE reading on the topic before making these assertions? Enumerate?

Please keep in mind, by saying that there's ample evidence - historical and biological - to support the existence of gender roles that favor more prominent/active roles for men and more nurturing/nesting roles for women, I am not at all saying that this is the way things SHOULD be. As I keep repeating, we should endeavor to overcome our biology, because it was adapted to an environment & a set of challenges that no longer satisfy us. What we are should never be allowed to dictate who we are, and who we can become...

well you're trying to say here that you aren't sexist even though the only reason anyone ever brings up this idea is to generate support for the idea that sexism is biologically coded into people (and is therefore okay); so instead of assuming that you're just sexist I'll ask you straight out why does this matter at all

First of all, I've been repeatedly bringing up this idea, or something vaguely resembling it, but with a key exception - it doesn't make it "okay". Plenty of instincts we possess have biological roots and are not "okay". Classic examples would be phobias - irrational fears that are essentially exaggerated versions of instincts that at one point in time would have served us quite well. All of this matters because the truth of things matters; that should be a sufficient answer to that question, which was also a rather lazy inquiry. Once again, for the 234,872,923rd time: investigation & explanation of human behavior should not be misconstrued as justification of or recommendation for that behavior. I can't see why this is so difficult to grok...

Edited by djpretzel

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While I do agree strongly with djpretzel that no trope should be discredited from media simply because it is offensive, and to honestly question whether "gender stereotypes" have a biological basis and thus be explored and approached in such a way. (Arguably, to find the best ways of subverting them if needed), I still have some questions

Not when you're talking about the entirety of recorded history, which we were for awhile. Also, must the discontent of one group trump the discontent of another for it to be valid, and/or actionable? Who quantifies this stuff? I think some straight white males make this argument because they feel like the topic is actually being approached this way - "MY grievance is bigger than YOUR grievance!!" Reminds me of "MY god is better than YOUR god!!" - and sounds about as mature. So of course it will elicit that reaction. Also, you forgot some demographics... A "straight white male" can still be:

  • poor
  • mentally disabled
  • physically disabled
  • atheist
  • etc.

... any of which could marginalize him quite a bit. Just sayin'

While I do not contest that "white straight males" do not experience oppression in the form of classism/ableism/etc. A white straight male still cannot be said to fully conceptualize the effect of racism/sexism/homophobia on their lives IN ADDITION to any problems that may already experience as a consequence of being human. A straight white male has many privileges that can cater to the problems that he experiences. A white child born to drug-using parents? Tragic. Call child protective services. A black child born to drug-using parents? The status-quo, throw him into juvie and the world keeps turning. I realize I am making a generalization and these may not apply to many parts of how society operates, they are still larger "social tropes" that illustrate the inequality (and at least, radical difference) in the problems that each "group" experiences.

I am not arguing for a pissing contest of who suffered more, but I am saying that the worst thing that anyone can do is to deny that suffering and injustice has occurred. The pissing contest, is at it's heart a clamor to get one's problems solved first and given the most attention. If anything, all human love martyrdom. This is a very human problem and honestly, I don't see anyone being "mature" enough to put down their plate to assist others. (Although by no means am I saying that struggles against oppression are futile, just that everyone loses)

Wow... have you done the research? Science's response to that question is much more than a dismissive shrug. There is plentiful evidence that gender roles are rooted in biology AND deeply affected by culture. The consensus response is that "nature vs. nurture" is moot, and the answer is that gender roles are attributable to both environmental AND genetic characteristics. Again, homo sapiens is not a snowflake - we are affected by the same evolutionary process & constraints that other species are. At least we were, up to a certain point in our history.

What is this evidence? Science itself is not infallible and can lead to social ideas being codified into hard science without question. For example, for many decades scientists thought that the egg did nothing as sperm penetrated into the nucleus. However, recent evidence suggests that the egg actually does assist in bringing sperm in using filamentous protein fibers. The relevance of this becomes clear when you see how this process is described differently by scientists. Some will say the sperm is "harpooned" by these fibers and dragged in (Trope: femme fatale, consuming mother), while others maintain that the fibers play a more passive role and the primary energy is provided by the "complex and powerful" machinery contained within the sperm. (Tropes: DiD and powerful rescuing male). Even in describing the language, the social tropes show.

tl;dr

Science is still an old boys club, and it's descriptions and findings would be radically different depending on the composition of it's scientists. Also, all scientists are humans, and thus still falliable.

(Not saying science is a bunk, just that this is why peer-review and criticism is paramount)

Further reading:

http://www.math.jussieu.fr/~daubin/cours/Textes/Martin_EggSperm.pdf

Edited by Final_metroid

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