Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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No one played Double Dragon for the express purpose of enjoying the assault and the panty shot.

point taken but i think a more interesting question is whether anybody did not play double dragon because of it. it's pretty well established that men greatly outnumber women when it comes to gaming (as developers and as players), but is it because "well i guess women just dont like games hur" or is it because men have created yet another space that is deliberately exclusionary to women? to address manoo2k's question of why fuckin bother, if video games are a medium which are actively telling women to sit down and shut up (and yes the "damsel in distress trope" is key part of this), can we really shrug our shoulders and say "it just works!" ? i would go a step further and suggest that it is not an accident that the most technologically crude games this side of pong relied on this trope - for whatever reason, it was the easiest way to make a clear, direct appeal to men. and it's something thats worth addressing, because it's deep in the bones of our culture

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I really want to agree with her points, but I'm waiting to see where she casts the blame; whether it's the media or actual consumers. I've gone on enough "publishers vs. consumers" rants here to last a lifetime, so I'll just point out the main points in my thesis which honestly should be self-evident to anyone with an IQ above 100: Consumers consume things. Consumers like sex ergo consumers will buy/consume sex. Media companies sell things that consumers like, ergo they sell sex. It therefore stands to reason that if consumers stop buying sex, then media companies will stop selling it, along with a slew of other things that people here seem to dislike.

She mentions in her video that video games are becoming more and more culturally relevant. Ignoring the fact that were this true, I'd be street passing MANY times more people on my 3DS which I'm not, it totally ignores the "feedback loop" between media and consumer(AKA the above point), not to mention that she's going to have a hard time defending her(personally speaking) seemingly one-sided case when she talks about the art and aesthetic side of the whole argument.

I'll be watching and hoping, but also keeping my expectations relatively stable.

I think the purpose of these videos is less about pointing fingers and more to just bring this kind of stuff to peoples attention. You're right that you can't just tell companies to stop doing those things because they're ultimately out for money, but what you can do is create awareness, and I feel like that's exactly what she's trying to do.

Also, how does 3DS popularity equate to cultural relevance? What cultural relevance means is that gaming is 'growing up' as a medium in its own right. Just look at the growth of esports, the increase in indepth meta-discussions on the medium (20 years ago nobody would have asked "Can videogames be considered art?") as well as an increase in social awareness and reflection among the videogame community (evidenced by this video series itself, as well as similar shows such as Extra Credits). Then there's the ubiquitously recognizable icons and mascots such as Mario and Sonic, indie games, smartphone gaming, kickstarters, people who pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year creating virtual clothing for videogame characters. In short, gaming becoming serious business. That's what is meant by cultural relevance.

I don't think gaming excludes or pushes women away.

I'm sure you, being woman, would know all about that, right?

Edited by Tensei

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Well the 3DS bit was more of a dumb little quip than anything else, but I think it still serves to illustrate to a degree what I feel cultural relevance means: something that is widespread to the point of consuming or defining a zeitgeist. Games are definitely eons bigger of a deal than they were even 10 years ago, that is true, but outside of the casual markets and those that buy their Call of Duty or Madden every year, I honestly don't feel that the "core" market - the "gamers" that consume the largest glut or variety of games, has grown much at all as much as they've mostly just gotten older and opened bigger checking accounts. That's the point I was alluding to earlier; The actual market for the types of games we enjoy is growing about as fast as it did when we were young, which is to say not as fast as bean counters and NPDs would have you believe.

Of course I also don't think that the examples of games you point out are anywhere close to being over-sexualized.

I'm sure you, being woman, would know all about that, right?

And I'm no internet dad, but look at what you're doing by immediately antagonizing BS's post, thus killing any hope for a meaningful dialog with him on the subject. Stop being so maddeningly defensive all the time.

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And I'm no internet dad, but look at what you're doing by immediately antagonizing BS's post, thus killing any hope for a meaningful dialog with him on the subject. Stop being so maddeningly defensive all the time.

I'm not being defensive, I made a snarky remark about Brandon not checking his privilege. By which I mean that being a guy, you're probably less qualified to make calls on whether games are appealing to the other gender.

I didn't even comment on the statement that the damsel in distress archetype is okay because twilight is popular (what?)

Edited by Tensei

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You're just making flimsy arguments intended to take jabs at people. That's what he was saying and that's what you're doing.

It's not rocket science. There are girls who play games in this community and millions of them worldwide, that's a fact. I don't have to be a female to point out the obvious.

Edited by Brandon Strader

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I want to be extra clear that I'm not trying to pigeon-hole everyone who voices disagreement with Anita as being one of the "trolls." The point of the above video, really, is that it's not good for our gaming community when we brush off the trolling as unimportant because it's "just trolls being trolls." Not that that's what Cash and Change was saying exactly-- I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth-- but I don't think it's healthy for our community when we help legitimize that kind of trolling or ascribe to it the most soft-ball, optimistic motives imaginable.

I want to be perfectly clear here. I am in no way legitimizing or justifying any form of trolling. I did not say it is unimportant, I think it's a problem. I no longer use voice chat when playing games online because of all the garbage I would hear. I only use voice when playing with friends, even then I still mute other players.

Saying something for the sole purpose of making another person angry doesn't sound like an optimistic motive if you ask me.

Certainly I like to give the benefit of the doubt to people, and sometimes trolls are best left ignored. But in the case of the tidal wave of hate that came for Anita before she even released her first video, it seems clear to me that that facet of the response to Anita has gone beyond a baseline level of trolling. Truly, the reaction to Anita's kickstarter has been so fierce and disproportionate to anything else I've seen, it's hard for me to accept that it's just trolls doing their thing. My faith in humanity has its limits.

What is the proportion of the hate comments though? I took a look at her kickstarter YouTube video, there are more than 14,000 comments. I scrolled through 10 pages and could only find a few disgusting comments. From what I see, the worst comments are in the vast minority.

I don't know, I've heard death threats, rape threats, and threats of violence before in an effort to anger. Those types of comments are certainly not outside the realm of trolling. I think it's naive to assume trolling has limits. Again, this does not suggest that it's no big deal, or it should be tolerated. My point is that people will say anything to get a rise, no matter how misogynistic or threatening.

I guess my point is that it is impossible to determine the seriousness of threats from anonymous comments. We can argue all day about whether this is trolling, or something worse, but at the end of the day it's all just speculation.

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By which I mean that being a guy, you're probably less qualified to make calls on whether games are appealing to the other gender.

And with gender roles and concepts being as outdated as they are today, I have to laugh at this statement.

That will be my only contribution to this discussion. I seriously think we have bigger things to worry about, even in the videogame industry, than the damsel in distress trope that only get a fraction of the discussion and action in relation - EA's handling of the recent SimCity controversy, for example.

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If women are so against the damsel, then why is Twilight so popular?

That's actually an interesting point, when tied into the consumer/producer argument. It's a relatively well-known fact that movie studios love to bandwagon genres based on breakout blockbusters, and whatever else Twilight is, you have to concede the fact that its fanbase is (bafflingly) huge. Hence why we got so many similar IPs trying to start up franchises (Hunger Games, Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments all come to mind, off the top of my head), because Hollywood and the publishing industry look at Twilight's success and see easy $ signs. If you know there's a huge crowd of people - women, in this case - sitting out there, wanting to spend large amounts of money on similar things, you produce those similar things, because it makes good business sense. It's the same reason Hollywood went on a massive action film producing spree a few decades back: because people were shelling out huge amounts of money to go see ripped men blow stuff up with their fists. It made sense to continue funding that kind of film, so long as it kept making that kind of money.

Taking it a step further, it's pretty easy to see video game companies, looking at the success of the Twilightesque IPs, and thinking, "Well, that's how we'll reach the untapped female demographic. We'll create games with storylines/concepts similar to the character dynamics of Twilight, because if we can even get a quarter of the women who spent money on that stuff to spend money buying our games/system to play that game, we'll make a nice, tidy, easy sum of money."

I'm not saying that's what's happened in video games in the past, mind, although I wouldn't be surprised if something similar was happening. But I'm pointing out that, like Malaki-Legend was saying, these are companies who are built around providing the product they think the consumer wants. And when you look at the kind of IPs that are thought of as selling well in the female market, you can understand why they would keep producing products that cast females in that particular vein.

To be perfectly honest, I'm just surprised we haven't seen a Twilight game yet. (And no, I don't count this.)

Disclaimer: This is not to say that I believe all women love Twilight, or espouse its views.

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You're just making flimsy arguments intended to take jabs at people. That's what he was saying and that's what you're doing.

It's not rocket science. There are girls who play games in this community and millions of them worldwide, that's a fact. I don't have to be a female to point out the obvious.

You're arguing a fallacy. A lot of women playing games doesn't mean that more women wouldn't play games if the medium and its community were less misogynistic. Moreover, a raw number of gamers doesn't really tell anyone much because there might be wide disparities in who plays games in different genres across genders, and what the perceptions of those gamers are.

And with gender roles and concepts being as outdated as they are today, I have to laugh at this statement.

That will be my only contribution to this discussion. I seriously think we have bigger things to worry about, even in the videogame industry, than the damsel in distress trope that only get a fraction of the discussion and action in relation - EA's handling of the recent SimCity controversy, for example.

Have you ever cracked open a book on gender studies? I suspect you have not if you think gender roles don't impact society today. The reason you don't think this issue is a big problem is because you're not in the demographic this problem affects, nor the demographic that pays attention to these phenomena because they wants to see their friends, sisters, and daughters feel more accepted and equal in gaming. That's okay. Just don't brush it off because it doesn't affect you.

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There's a crucial difference between 'YOU SUCK BALLS' comments and 'I know where you live, I have a chainsaw, I'll be around next Tuesday.'

The kind of comments she was received were the latter.

I know where you live, have a milk-crate full of dildos, and your body better be ready on Tuesday.

Also, Ganondorf doesn't give two shits about Zelda aside from that insanely powerful artifact of the gods hiding in her wrist. This has been more or less the case from day one.

I know this is rare these days but:

At least I know I still enjoy some things for what they are. :)

I seriously wonder what girl gamers think about going into a nightclub in a video-game and beating up a bunch of crazed rave-fanatic junkie chicks.

My thoughts, as a white Christian male, are "this is really cool!" but that might expose my deep-seated chauvinism. :nicework:

I felt the same playing God Hand. So many mohawks. So many mohawks.

In God Hand, the spanking is a bit much, but everything is a bit much in God Hand.

I'm not being defensive, I made a snarky remark about Brandon not checking his privilege.

Quite possibly this is the first time I've ever heard this phrase uttered outside of 4chan, and possibly used seriously. My due, heteronormative male reaction.

Also, does everyone forget that at least half, if not a majority of owners of the Wii were in fact female? And guess what the best-selling console of the generation was?

Edited by EC2151

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Quite possibly this is the first time I've ever heard this phrase uttered outside of 4chan, and possibly used seriously. My due, heteronormative male reaction.

Also, does everyone forget that at least half, if not a majority of owners of the Wii were in fact female? And guess what the best-selling console of the generation was?

Male privilege is a thing, and academics who know a lot more about the subject than you or I talk about it seriously. I'm going go out on a limb and ask you to check your privilege.

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The fact that 'Check your privilege' is a stock phrase for strawman feminists doesn't diminish my point:

If you're not part of a minority, you're inherently less qualified to be speaking for that minority. That's the whole point of privilege. I'm a white heterosexual guy who has never been on the receiving end of neither racism or sexism. Does that mean that racism/sexism don't exist? No.

Anita Sarkeesian says that certain games drive away women? Well guess what, she's a woman, so SHE WOULD KNOW.

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And certain games drive away men. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing that games appeal and are marketed specifically towards certain demographics. Boys and girls have different interests and inclinations, biologically and I would argue psychologically, and it would be foolhardy to deny that. A shootemup will never really appeal [large-scale] to women (and it never has if you look at sales charts), nor say, a submarine or flight sim.

Again I point out that Pac-Man was designed specifically to appeal to women, and it was a hit (among both boys and girls). But not every game is Pac Man!

@Ab56, I'll have to ask you to go out on a limb and make me give a shit. Unsurprising that in a topic like this it's hard to take an obvious joke.

Edited by EC2151

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But I'm not even saying that there aren't any games that drive away men. Why are you bringing that up?

My point is that Brandon isn't a woman, therefore he's not really qualified to say "Well, I don't think games drive away women."

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But I'm not even saying that there aren't any games that drive away men. Why are you bringing that up?

My point is that Brandon isn't a woman, therefore he's not really qualified to say "Well, I don't think games drive away women."

It is his personal observation, as a supposedly privileged white male, that women, in his experience, have not been driven away by games.

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What I think is funny is who are the people that like the DiD trope? Most of the defenders in this thread seem neutral to it at best, and are content to explain why it started rather than say that they like it. Let's face it, even putting aside sexism, it's a really tired cliche. So why do developers continue to use it? My guess is it's laziness rather than "it sells", so I think any video that can raise awareness of that kind of thing could be helpful in breaking these tired, minorly sexist attitudes in games. I liked the video overall and I'm interested to see more.

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My point is that Brandon isn't a woman, therefore he's not really qualified to say "Well, I don't think games drive away women."

I'm qualified to say whatever I want. I went to college, and I'm an American.

What I think is funny is who are the people that like the DiD trope? Most of the defenders in this thread seem neutral to it at best, and are content to explain why it started rather than say that they like it. Let's face it, even putting aside sexism, it's a really tired cliche. So why do developers continue to use it? My guess is it's laziness rather than "it sells", so I think any video that can raise awareness of that kind of thing could be helpful in breaking these tired, minorly sexist attitudes in games. I liked the video overall and I'm interested to see more.

Agree 500%

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I generally enjoyed the informative nature of the video, and it offered a more understandable approach of the idea, coming from a woman herself.

That said, the use of the word "patriarchy" turns me away for her videos. It makes me feel like a villain for existing.

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@Ab56, I'll have to ask you to go out on a limb and make me give a shit. Unsurprising that in a topic like this it's hard to take an obvious joke.

This is a discussion forum, so I assume that if you're going to post something, you're trying to make a point. You were being overly dismissive about a topic that you implied you know little about, so I called you on it. Don't get huffy with me for that.

I'm qualified to say whatever I want. I went to college, and I'm an American.

Being a college-educated American doesn't give you the personal experience that would make your opinion more informed. By your reasoning, you would be the right person to talk about advanced theoretical physics even if you had never studied it very deeply.

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Being a college-educated American doesn't give you the personal experience that would make your opinion more informed. By your reasoning, you would be the right person to talk about advanced theoretical physics even if you had never studied it very deeply.

Everyone's entitled to have and share their opinion. I didn't even make a controversial or false statement. Calling me out on it was childish and lead to a tangent that shouldn't be occurring.

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No one said you're not allowed to speak your mind. You were told to check your privilege, which is not childish. It means someone believed that since you are not in the specific group harmed by the content we're discussing, you should measure your comments accordingly and be more open to listening to those who are claiming harm. That's not the same thing as being told to stop participating in the discussion.

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Im a guy so i have no real view point on the sexism in gaming because i cant say whether games are inherently sexist and are generally insulting to girls.

Yes pop culture in general has been sexist for years, kinda the same with racism a few years back (after all have you noticed older movies the african american dies first in horror/action movies)

i feel the culture itself is slowly evolving (aside from the big breasted and physically impossible body shapes of female characters which hopefully will die out during that evolution.)

but when it comes to harassment from trolls and stuff both online and ingames online? extra credits explained it alot better then i ever could.

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