On Sexual Objectification as a Complaint

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Lilani:
You'll never see me complain about the sex scenes (if you can call them that) in the Mass Effect series, because it's handled with a degree of subtlety and taste that is closer to what I want to see in a sexual relationship between characters in a game. It's not just about seeing Shepard in his or her panties, it's about the relationship between the two characters and where they are in relation to the rest of the story (the sex scenes always happen before the biggest fight--literally making love like there's no tomorrow, because there might not be). Say what you will about the relationships being shoehorned in, but I think they handled it very well.

Except for the fact they still conform to the teen-male social norms surrounding sex, that is. What do you get after you screw somebody in the ME games? An achievement.

Sex = achievement.

The American Pie mindset in action!

Gold:

DevilWithaHalo:
I have no complaints regarding sexual objectification.

Neither. Having a penis certainly has its advantages.

Hmm, i have a penis and yet sexual objectification still bothers the hell out of me. Is this a problem? Should i see a doctor?

evilthecat:

Male body.. now that's very easy. The ideal male body is strong, athletic and tough. It's a useful body, it's a body which does things. It's a body which exerts power in the physical environment. It's a body which commands respect.

Female body. Much harder. What does it do? The answer is actually kind of sad, because really the ideal female body is simply there to look nice. Its only social purpose is generally to be appealing to men. It has no value beyond that. It is not attractive because it denotes any particular capability beyond (arguably) the ability to bear children which is common to almost all women.

That's not entirely true at all. I know very few women who like over the top bodybuilders, while certain muscularity is preferred pushing it too far is disliked. If we follow your rational that shouldn't be true.

And the preferences for female bodies can be easily explained. For instance, in poorer areas fat women are preferred because it is a sign of wealth and health. In developed countries, where more people die of obesity than starvation and where people are fat because of bad eating habits, it's the opposite. You can find many reasons which explain the standards of beauty which surpass the "simply to look attractive" part.

More on topic: I personally don't mind "sexualization" of female characters unless it hurts the game environment. Eg: i despise bikini armors in RPG games simply because it doesn't make any sense at all, regardless of how you look at it.

evilthecat:
*snip*

i don't see it solely in those terms.

it may be bad and clichéd pseudo science and i know all the debate and logic students hate me talking like this but consider this just for a moment:

firstly the actual clothes..."well all know" men and women have a different attitude to clothes and not just in terms of styles but in terms of numerical variation...then there's interior decorating...and good gardening...and faces on cars...ok the last one is a joke, but still...

i suggest women might be actually be more "visually stimulated" than men. perhaps not those exact words. perhaps "responsive". one way or another i think there's a difference in "taste" and by that i also mean possibly in intensity. and no i don't think it's wholly a product of prevailing social trends or "evolution" or "genetics" (although i suppose it could have something to do with having different visual priority's).

i dunno what it is.

but i think there's a difference.
because that's what i've seen.
on average.
with exceptions ofc.

and i've known girls who've grown up their whole lives being told they are beautiful and still end up the same as discussed before somehow seemly through "osmosis" but you'd have to be giving someone a power of verbal abuse to get them into the angst ridden mental state some can reach over their appearance and if was just the result of men personally doing it...well i've seen man doing it...but i also know hardly anyone else lives like that (thankfully) and its not an easy thing to hide...and tbth i don't think the vast majority of men either want it or are now causing it to the vast majority of women.

no guy wants to have one of those horrible conversations where they have to try and forcibly convince a woman she is actually beautiful because they're having a self esteem crisis.

apart from anything else if you get hit with the line "ye, but you're just you" what do you actually say ?

where is the language of logic and debate then ?

"yes, my aesthetic opinion is purely subjective." isn't going to cut it.

...well not unless you can deadpan REALLY well...

Lilani:

There isn't any problem with sex, or sexuality for that matter. Women have sexuality, and don't mind expressing it. However, we like to express these things on our terms. The thing with games is female sexuality is everywhere, but it's never on our terms. It's never how we picture our sexuality, and it's never for our personal enjoyment. It's how men picture female sexuality, and it's for the enjoyment of other men. When a woman pictures her ideal sexual self, it generally doesn't involve double F breasts barely contained in a strapless bikini. It's more subtle, elegant, mysterious, and a bit wild and dangerous. It's less about big tits and more about fire and energy. We prefer to leave a bit to the imagination, lure you in rather than just laying it all out on a silver platter. There's a certain amount of class and elegance to it. We'd rather be the million dollar heiress beckoning you with a finger from behind a velvet curtain, than the 10 dollar tramp straddling a pole in some trashy nightclub.

And all you ever see in games is the 10 dollar tramp. That is how deep female sexuality is in games, and that's why women and many men find it disgusting. It's not that the issue of sex itself is the problem, it's the trashy, unreal, and idiotic ways it's represented that are irksome. You'll never see me complain about the sex scenes (if you can call them that) in the Mass Effect series, because it's handled with a degree of subtlety and taste that is closer to what I want to see in a sexual relationship between characters in a game. It's not just about seeing Shepard in his or her panties, it's about the relationship between the two characters and where they are in relation to the rest of the story (the sex scenes always happen before the biggest fight--literally making love like there's no tomorrow, because there might not be). Say what you will about the relationships being shoehorned in, but I think they handled it very well.

I think this puts it in a way ive never thought about it before. Having read and thought about it now i think this is the major issue behind sexualising characters.

I think, ironically, the problem is that the male demographic of games is (on the whole) terrified of sex and female sexuality. Its complicated and deep and nuanced and not something thats easy to understand on a person by person basis in the space of a few short hours knowing a character. I think the response to this is one of escapism. Female sexuality in a way that is TOTALLY non threatening with no mystery and no depth. A sexuality that men can understand in about 4 seconds which is basically "HERE ARE MY BOOBS LOOK AT MY BOOBS LETS HAVE THE SEX". Again this isnt because this is what guys want. I think its because the alternative is threatening and a simplified crude version sits easier in the minds of guys who dont want to have to relate with a character to understand her sex appeal and image. Its almost a mirror image of how male sexuality is usually seen by other men but in women, making it ultra easy to understand since its just us but in a pleasing body.

EDIT: Disclaimer. I realize this post is somewhat sexist in generalizing guys, ive corrected my view below to remove the faux superiority my post described.

BiscuitTrouser:

Lilani:

There isn't any problem with sex, or sexuality for that matter. Women have sexuality, and don't mind expressing it. However, we like to express these things on our terms. The thing with games is female sexuality is everywhere, but it's never on our terms. It's never how we picture our sexuality, and it's never for our personal enjoyment. It's how men picture female sexuality, and it's for the enjoyment of other men. When a woman pictures her ideal sexual self, it generally doesn't involve double F breasts barely contained in a strapless bikini. It's more subtle, elegant, mysterious, and a bit wild and dangerous. It's less about big tits and more about fire and energy. We prefer to leave a bit to the imagination, lure you in rather than just laying it all out on a silver platter. There's a certain amount of class and elegance to it. We'd rather be the million dollar heiress beckoning you with a finger from behind a velvet curtain, than the 10 dollar tramp straddling a pole in some trashy nightclub.

And all you ever see in games is the 10 dollar tramp. That is how deep female sexuality is in games, and that's why women and many men find it disgusting. It's not that the issue of sex itself is the problem, it's the trashy, unreal, and idiotic ways it's represented that are irksome. You'll never see me complain about the sex scenes (if you can call them that) in the Mass Effect series, because it's handled with a degree of subtlety and taste that is closer to what I want to see in a sexual relationship between characters in a game. It's not just about seeing Shepard in his or her panties, it's about the relationship between the two characters and where they are in relation to the rest of the story (the sex scenes always happen before the biggest fight--literally making love like there's no tomorrow, because there might not be). Say what you will about the relationships being shoehorned in, but I think they handled it very well.

Fucking.... wow... just... wow... sorry heres a gif.

image

I think this puts it in a way ive never thought about it before. Having read and thought about it now i think this is the major issue behind sexualising characters.

I think, ironically, the problem is that the male demographic of games is (on the whole) terrified of sex and female sexuality. Its complicated and deep and nuanced and not something thats easy to understand on a person by person basis in the space of a few short hours knowing a character. I think the response to this is one of escapism. Female sexuality in a way that is TOTALLY non threatening with no mystery and no depth. A sexuality that men can understand in about 4 seconds which is basically "HERE ARE MY BOOBS LOOK AT MY BOOBS LETS HAVE THE SEX". Again this isnt because this is what guys want. I think its because the alternative is threatening and a simplified crude version sits easier in the minds of guys who dont want to have to relate with a character to understand her sex appeal and image. Its almost a mirror image of how male sexuality is usually seen by other men but in women, making it ultra easy to understand since its just us but in a pleasing body.

You know, I'm getting really, really sick of this attitude present among a minority of feminists and the majority of their male white-knights that portray men, as a group, as being barely-conscious drooling neanderthals.

And don't give me the usual qualifications; if a person describes the behaviours of "women" as a whole, they are rightly called sexist, even if they try and make after-the-fact exceptions to their broad-brush rules.

And for you, Lilani; feminism, as a whole saving a few nutters, has generally adopted the position that while there are minor physical differences, in average terms, between the genders, those differences are not substantial enough to account for the inequality in society, nor are they serious impediments to individuals of either physical sex should they wish to adopt a role or activity outside of traditional gender constraints.

So why do some feminists still insist that women have some inherent, indefinable, completely-different-from-men quality to their sexuality? It's a fantasy. If you were hooked up to some intimate sensors, put under an fMRI machine, and shown images of stereotypically "attractive" men, guess what, almost exactly the same parts of your brain will light up as when a man is given a similar test. And more than being a fantasy, it's a fantasy that is damaging to the legitimacy of the feminist construct, because not only is it an attempt to separate men and women to a degree completely unsupported by evidence, not only does it attempt to assign female sexuality positive attributes in order to place it above male sexuality, it's a fantasy that is usually presented as you present it; accompanied by base and stereotypical assumptions about and generalisations of men.

Magichead:

You know, I'm getting really, really sick of this attitude present among a minority of feminists and the majority of their male white-knights that portray men, as a group, as being barely-conscious drooling neanderthals.

And don't give me the usual qualifications; if a person describes the behaviours of "women" as a whole, they are rightly called sexist, even if they try and make after-the-fact exceptions to their broad-brush rules.

This isnt just for men. Relating to a real person in media is hard, especially when it comes to their sexuality. The existence of twilight proves this is the case. The fact of the matter is i enjoy some games with flat characters. Its a good thing when i want to come home and not have to deal with a complex emotional range of people like i do in real life and at home. Ill readily READILY admit to the behaviors i described on occasion, ill never hold myself above others when making a broad statement. I didnt say people were barely conscious drooling neanderthals just that some parts of the human psyche are scary and complicated and that on the whole people dont usually feel like trying to understand them when they want to sit down and play a game. Ill also ignore the "White knight" bit since that lacks any substance whatsoever. The fact is that in some cases people dont want to go into a deep exploration of something like sexuality or be faced with a deep complicated character when that might not be the experience they want. That doesnt make them stupid. Or neanderthals. Or anything negative at all. What it does do is limit the range of experiences because companies know that these experiences are popular. Its nice to have games where i dont need to care about a characters depth. It would also be nice to have more games where i do.

Teenagers, on the whole, dont relate well to sexuality. Its new and developing and weird. Again ill cite twilight and other similar things to display how, in both genders, people find it difficult to properly relate to a functional healthy portrayal of sexuality. It was sexist of me to label teenage boys like that in a generalization or imply female sexuality is "Superior". Youre right. However ill stand by the fact that, for this demographic in this age range regardless of gender, a more "flat packed" idea of what sexuality is meant to look like is way easier for them to understand than something with more depth. Ill just drop the gender labels here. Youre right, this applies totally equally and it was my mistake to make it implicit that it applies to only men.

Lets not pretend though that culturally female sexuality isnt shaped and formed to be different from mens in the minds of teenagers. People develop with different ideas of their sexual identity. It doesnt make one superior to point out they are different or that people have a large range of images that they identify themselves as. Its just a little sad to see only one protrayed for both men and women in games.

To answer the question in the most accurate and factual manner: It's not an issue. People make it an issue to troll and have something to talk about more than they try and raise a legitimate point. It's been around in the nerd culture for so long it's almost a stereotype.

At it's core there is also a hope among a lot of nerds who are generally unappealing to women (the stereotype exists for a reason) that by championing a women's right issue, even one of their own creation, will in some way make them more appealing and garner female attention.

A lot of people hate and resent this analysis, but that's pretty much the bottom line, and has been nearly forever. This basic reality has also been the counter-punchline to a number of nerd-centric jokes over the years, especially when the community was smaller. Especially ones dealing with con-behavior, which involves depictions for example of a bunch of pizza-faced guys all running around burning pictures of barbarian women to try and get the attention of one half way attractive girl at a gaming table... who happens to be playing a character exactly line the one in the images and trying hard to ignore them.

It also figures into nerd-centric fiction, things like say "Back To The Future" or whatever where a lot of the plot revolves around trying to teach some hot (or at least attractive) girl that they should be with this nice, fairly nerdy, introverted, guy instead of these macho jerks that they wind up dating. In the movies typically the nerd wins. In real life, well real hot girls tend to like guys who objectify them to an extent. It might not seem to be logical to a lot of outside analysis, but you watch the behavior and who "scores" especially casually, and who winds up sitting around playing D&D unable to get a date, and it becomes pretty obvious.

Of course it DOES get more complicated than this, because people tend to be envious of those who have things that they do not. Women who generally aren't attractive have a tendency to scorn those who are, especially those who are proud of their looks and use them. It might not be fair, but that's the way things are. With women in paticular there can be a huge differance in social status, privlege, and perception based entirely on a "genetic lottery" far more than there is with men (though it still definatly exists there as well). A lot of the issues with objectification come from women who are envious of other women basically being able to lead men around by the nose, and get to do all kinds of cool stuff, and have fun just because of how they look. You walk up to a club, and can't get past the doorman, but your hot friend does it and not only gets in, but gets free drinks all night and complimentary access to a VIP room in back to bang the guest of her choice if she wants (even if not officially stated). Stuff like that happens all the time and it burns, and it fuels politics. People don't like to admit it, but a lot of these complaints are largely fueled by women who are themselves jealous.

To put things into further perspective, while there are women who might say "no", in real life if some guy attached to one form of media or another shows up and offers a girl a chance to do something for money based on the way she looks, she is going to say "yes". If you work for a modeling agency (for real) and 'discover' someone, the girl is going to be bloody ecstatic, ditto for if you want them as a movie extra, or to pose for a painting or whatever. You give a girl the chance to be a model for a half naked barbarian your going to put on a fantasy novel, the odds of her saying "no" exist, but are very small. I'll even go so far as to apply this to porno as well, if you check the bios for some of the ladies hired for that kind of thing, a lot generally came down to some scout for one label or another spotting a girl who had a nice look that they felt could be conveyed well on camera and saying "hey, want to make pornos, I'll pay you good money".

I'll also say that for all the romanticized mysticism of picking women up, I'll be blunt they get horny and decide to head out and get laid just like everyone else. Done right in a nightclub I've actually seen the line "Nice tits, want to fuck?" work not once, but about a dozen times, albiet it was the same guy and he really was something else, and allegedly had an 11" penis, though for obvious reasons I've never been able to verify it (though the rumor probably helped). Both Casinos I worked security at had nightclubs... so to say I have some pretty crazy stories gathered over a period of time would be an understatement even if it's normal most of the them. While unrelated to this one of the most crazy things was this little old man who used to be popular with the ladies (though he never scored, or was trying to really) and he used to goof off by doing a mime of an erotic dance using a scarf periodically while drinking (I kid you not).

The point I'm getting at, and trying to make, with the full knowlege I'm going to get dozens of flames, trolls and attacks in all likelyhood, is that women are not some fragile thing that demand to be put up on a pedestel and constantly protected. Sexuality is part of who women are, most get it, especially the ones of the sort who tend to be objectified. To say women as a whole do not want these media protrayals, play these roles, and want it done away with is a gross misjudgement and just as crazy and detached from reality as someone who thinks that porno is the same as real life, albiet in the other direction. Like most things involving humans there are a lot of variables to this "issue" but most of them involve people projecting to create it for one reason or another, rather than there being much reality to the basic core arguement that these images of sexed up girls are bad, or things that girls don't want.

To be honest, I'll also direct you to creations by women, ranging from novels, to teenage fanfictions. One thing you'll notice is that whether "reasonable" or "total mary sue" the protaganist in these things is always at least attractive no matter what the author looks like. Saying that women want average, or even ugly, looking women as protaganists in fantasy is silly when you really examine it, since given the option women do not generally create characters of that sort. There might be an exception somewhere, but in general when a lady creates a fantasy character, even one for a female audience, she's going to come pretty bloody close to some of that fantasy art in the final equasion, far more so than your typical nerd projection of what women "really want to see". A point compounded by the simple fact that your typical nerd isn't going to have much luck dating real girls, which kind of demonstrates how in touch they are to begin with (meaning your typical geek-themed message board is a bad place to form your opinions, and most issues coming up involving things like fantasy art, video game characters, etc.. in those communities are going to reflect what is fundementally a bad point of view).

cobra_ky:

Gold:

DevilWithaHalo:
I have no complaints regarding sexual objectification.

Neither. Having a penis certainly has its advantages.

Hmm, i have a penis and yet sexual objectification still bothers the hell out of me. Is this a problem? Should i see a doctor?

Only if it doesn't go away in about 4 hours or so.

Lilani:
snip and we will count this for all three points.

Ok lets begin. First off Lara has a outfit that is somewhat unrealistic, but it fits with the tone of the game. It looks like something a woman who prefers revealing clothes might wear while hiking. Sure, its not realisticly great great for exploration, but for the tone of the game it is realistic enough to pass.

On the next point, yes I was mostly thinking of Anime in that post, though many games as well. I just don't see how fanservice automatically destroys emotional attachment. And no all games shouldn't have fanservice and sexulisation. It doesn't go well with the tone of many of them. Call of Duty for example would look rediculous if it tried to include fanservice and sexulisation. That doesn't mean it is not a option for some games. It is a sylistic choice that should be made with care just like every other stylistic choice.

Next, I didn't mean to offend with my point on personal opinoin. I wasn't implying that you said that your opinoin determines what others may and may not enjoy, merely that your opinoin, which is understandable, is just one of a myriad of diffrent ones.

On the next point, I would argue that outfits being diffrent between males and females is not neccassarily a sexist thing. Men and women tend to wear diffrent clothes in real life as well. Though I do dislike the chainmail bikini personally. Mostly for its impracticality, and I see your point on a lack of choice. I feel skimpy armor should be avalible, for those who wish it, but shouldn't be mandatory. That just undermines choice.

Ok, moving on. No sexulisation is not the default. It is, however fairly common, in video games and other media. In the end it is a stylistic choice. However to say that it should only exist in either a game where it is the entire point is both very restrictive and somewhat odd. If you can do something that would make people enjoy your game more, without compromising other aspects of the game it is a good idea to do so. There are many games where the sexulisation is both perfectly fitting for the tone and setting, and enjoyable. Devil May Cry is a good example of a series where sexulisation totally fits. It is a over the top, not concerned with realism, and tended to have odd costumes anyway. Sexulisation in this case, is both perfectly fitting, and arguably benficial to the majority of the audience. Fighting games in general have much the same thing, especially Dead or Alive. There are games where sexulisation is both fitting and nice. And when devlopers are designing a charecter then sexualising should be a perfectly valid choice. Not in every game of course, but some games.

As for my representative of your gender point, I mostly made that because you seemed to be saying that since you and most women would rather be "million dollar heiresses" rather than "10-cent whores" seems to imply that you see female charecters as representing you. They do not. Also I find your slut-shaming in this comment fairly deragatory. There is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to have casual sex with relative strangers, nor is there anything wrong with being a prostitute, at least in my opinoin. People can do as they wish with their money and their bodies. Many men prefer the idea of more casual pure sexual stories over longer emotional and romantic ones. This is fine, it is a matter of prefrence and is hardly demeaning.

And yes, sex sells is a perfectly legitimate strategy. Not every franchise needs to use it, it is up to them if they want to. I am certainly not going to complain because Lord of the Rings didn't have enough tits. But if you want to use sex as a selling point, especially with the male demographic, then fine. More power to you. If people like what they see they might buy the game and enjoy it. Sexulaisation doesn't need to be in every franchise, nor is it neccassary to attract the male demographic. I am just saying it should be a option.

As for Alyx, again judging based entirely on appearance is a shallow and stupid thing to do. A sexulised charecter can still be intellegent, strong, witty ect ect. Just because the charecter in question tends to prefer skimpier clothes doesn't cancel out all her other traits. Or at least it shouldn't.

As for the slavering beast point, I am fully willing to admit that humans, men and women included, are animals. We have instincts and desires, that are fully biological. My point is that men are capable of simaltenously thinking "wow... nice body" and "what a interesting charecter, they are extremely well-written and I would like to learn more about them." Yes sex sells. That doesn't mean that nothing else will, nor does it mean that men can only focus on sex, it just means that men like oggling attractive women, and if a devloper wants to use the "give the people what they want" strategy of selling games and having people enjoy them I am fine with it, and I think everyone else should be too.

BiscuitTrouser:

Magichead:

You know, I'm getting really, really sick of this attitude present among a minority of feminists and the majority of their male white-knights that portray men, as a group, as being barely-conscious drooling neanderthals.

And don't give me the usual qualifications; if a person describes the behaviours of "women" as a whole, they are rightly called sexist, even if they try and make after-the-fact exceptions to their broad-brush rules.

This isnt just for men. Relating to a real person in media is hard, especially when it comes to their sexuality. The existence of twilight proves this is the case. The fact of the matter is i enjoy some games with flat characters. Its a good thing when i want to come home and not have to deal with a complex emotional range of people like i do in real life and at home. Ill readily READILY admit to the behaviors i described on occasion, ill never hold myself above others when making a broad statement. I didnt say people were barely conscious drooling neanderthals just that some parts of the human psyche are scary and complicated and that on the whole people dont usually feel like trying to understand them when they want to sit down and play a game. Ill also ignore the "White knight" bit since that lacks any substance whatsoever. The fact is that in some cases people dont want to go into a deep exploration of something like sexuality or be faced with a deep complicated character when that might not be the experience they want. That doesnt make them stupid. Or neanderthals. Or anything negative at all. What it does do is limit the range of experiences because companies know that these experiences are popular. Its nice to have games where i dont need to care about a characters depth. It would also be nice to have more games where i do.

Teenagers, on the whole, dont relate well to sexuality. Its new and developing and weird. Again ill cite twilight and other similar things to display how, in both genders, people find it difficult to properly relate to a functional healthy portrayal of sexuality. It was sexist of me to label teenage boys like that in a generalization or imply female sexuality is "Superior". Youre right. However ill stand by the fact that, for this demographic in this age range regardless of gender, a more "flat packed" idea of what sexuality is meant to look like is way easier for them to understand than something with more depth. Ill just drop the gender labels here. Youre right, this applies totally equally and it was my mistake to make it implicit that it applies to only men.

Lets not pretend though that culturally female sexuality isnt shaped and formed to be different from mens in the minds of teenagers. People develop with different ideas of their sexual identity. It doesnt make one superior to point out they are different or that people have a large range of images that they identify themselves as. Its just a little sad to see only one protrayed for both men and women in games.

To be fair sexulaity isn't always complicated. It often comes down to two people finding each other attractive and thus having sex. One night stands are a thing, which exists and which females participate in. Sure whether due to culture or biology, many females have a more understated view of sexuality with more romance and mystery, others don't. I would say video games focus alot on the more simplisitc desire based view of sexuality for a few reasons. It is easy to convey and sells well, because romance is often not really a major point in the game it allows for more sexual relation without derailing the plot, and it is what most of many games fans prefer. It is the same reason many romance novels exist, they play to what the people who buy them like and what they can do effectively.

Lonewolfm16:
Ok lets begin. First off Lara has a outfit that is somewhat unrealistic, but it fits with the tone of the game. It looks like something a woman who prefers revealing clothes might wear while hiking. Sure, its not realisticly great great for exploration, but for the tone of the game it is realistic enough to pass.

Uhm, no. Hell no. Nobody in their right mind would hike in booty shorts, unless they have never in their life been hiking and didn't bother to ask what they should wear. So no, it's not just unrealistic, it's idiotic. When hiking you don't choose the clothes you "prefer," you choose the clothes that are good for hiking. It only gives Lara less credibility as a character because if the booty shorts were a conscious choice of hers, it just shows she is a terrible and ill-prepared hiker.

And the original Tomb Raider came out in 1996. While the interests of females are on the minds of developers now, in 1996 they didn't give a rat's ass about trying to make characters that are appealing to women.

On the next point, yes I was mostly thinking of Anime in that post, though many games as well. I just don't see how fanservice automatically destroys emotional attachment. And no all games shouldn't have fanservice and sexulisation. It doesn't go well with the tone of many of them. Call of Duty for example would look rediculous if it tried to include fanservice and sexulisation. That doesn't mean it is not a option for some games. It is a sylistic choice that should be made with care just like every other stylistic choice.

I said in there that it doesn't necessarily destroy emotional attachment, but it is a distraction that can change the tone and how the audience perceives the character.

On the next point, I would argue that outfits being diffrent between males and females is not neccassarily a sexist thing. Men and women tend to wear diffrent clothes in real life as well. Though I do dislike the chainmail bikini personally. Mostly for its impracticality, and I see your point on a lack of choice. I feel skimpy armor should be avalible, for those who wish it, but shouldn't be mandatory. That just undermines choice.

And that was exactly my point. Yes, men and women wear different clothes, and yes some women prefer to wear revealing things. However in games practicality and context can matter. Skyrim would feel like a very different game if the male characters had their full sets of armor, and for some reason the females lost all of theirs except for little bits that cover their breasts and bushes. Or, for an even better image, if the women had full armor and it's the men who get to run around in nothing but their chest hair and iron codpieces.

Ok, moving on. No sexulisation is not the default. It is, however fairly common, in video games and other media. In the end it is a stylistic choice. However to say that it should only exist in either a game where it is the entire point is both very restrictive and somewhat odd. If you can do something that would make people enjoy your game more, without compromising other aspects of the game it is a good idea to do so. There are many games where the sexulisation is both perfectly fitting for the tone and setting, and enjoyable. Devil May Cry is a good example of a series where sexulisation totally fits. It is a over the top, not concerned with realism, and tended to have odd costumes anyway. Sexulisation in this case, is both perfectly fitting, and arguably benficial to the majority of the audience. Fighting games in general have much the same thing, especially Dead or Alive. There are games where sexulisation is both fitting and nice. And when devlopers are designing a charecter then sexualising should be a perfectly valid choice. Not in every game of course, but some games.

I guess I was being hyperbolic in saying it should be the game's entire point, but there certainly are and aren't times to have sexualization, and to say it doesn't have some effect either for men or women in how they perceive the situation is just being naive. Can there be good characters who simply enjoy dressing in sexually evocative ways? Yes. But that needs to be evident in the rest of the character's behavior. You can't just throw anyone into a skimpy outfit and say, "They dress like that because they're confident!" No, it's just a poor excuse for bad characterization, and not owning up to your real intentions.

I feel like it's mentioning here that I love Saints Row the Third. It is over the top and hilarious, and I have no problem with the hypersexualization on either end because I knew it was going to be there going in, and it fits with the context of the situation. And there are certain mixes that can work. But to say it doesn't have some affect on the atmosphere even when it "works" is just naive. The costumes in Final Fantasy X were off the wall, and while aesthetically it all works, you have to wonder when they're on the snowy peaks of Mount Gagazet how Wakka was doing without a shirt, how Tidus was doing in shorts, and how Lulu was was doing it with all that cleavage showing. and nothing but a net of belts sealing off her skirt.

As for my representative of your gender point, I mostly made that because you seemed to be saying that since you and most women would rather be "million dollar heiresses" rather than "10-cent whores" seems to imply that you see female charecters as representing you. They do not. Also I find your slut-shaming in this comment fairly deragatory. There is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to have casual sex with relative strangers, nor is there anything wrong with being a prostitute, at least in my opinoin. People can do as they wish with their money and their bodies. Many men prefer the idea of more casual pure sexual stories over longer emotional and romantic ones. This is fine, it is a matter of prefrence and is hardly demeaning.

I didn't mean they were representing me personally, I meant they are representing female sexuality. I remember some complaints a while back about how apparently Twilight was making girls believe guys should be like Edward and Jacob (very hot, very romantic, dedicated and loyal to the point of self-destruction) and how guys didn't like those expectations being heaped upon them. I don't know if it was actually an issue, but it's sort of a contextual mirror for what I'm talking about. The "10-dollar whore" is an example of female sexuality that represents a vast minority of women. That whole attitude of in your face bumping and grinding and boobs smashed together exists only for women who work at or like to hang out at bars and clubs. Most women aren't like that.

So to see that male fantasy of female sexuality all over media is frustrating more than anything else. It's not that it's offensive, or even that it makes me feel inferior. It's just so transparent. It's that it's a blatantly obvious false representation. It's just not how women are. I mean hell, you don't even have to be a woman to know this. If you get to know just a handful or two of women it's painfully obvious. So it's not that developers are ignorant of the concept, it's that they consciously choose the other.

As for Alyx, again judging based entirely on appearance is a shallow and stupid thing to do. A sexulised charecter can still be intellegent, strong, witty ect ect. Just because the charecter in question tends to prefer skimpier clothes doesn't cancel out all her other traits. Or at least it shouldn't.

I think you need to read what I write more carefully, because I remember I specified that people who comment on Alyx not being sexualized aren't just excited about her appearance. It's her depth as a character and her strength along with her non-sexualized appearance that makes her unique. She's almost (*gasp!*) like a real human being!

As for the slavering beast point, I am fully willing to admit that humans, men and women included, are animals. We have instincts and desires, that are fully biological. My point is that men are capable of simaltenously thinking "wow... nice body" and "what a interesting charecter, they are extremely well-written and I would like to learn more about them." Yes sex sells. That doesn't mean that nothing else will, nor does it mean that men can only focus on sex, it just means that men like oggling attractive women, and if a devloper wants to use the "give the people what they want" strategy of selling games and having people enjoy them I am fine with it, and I think everyone else should be too.

Yes, I'm sure men are capable of that, but that is not the logic behind sex sells. Selling sexualized characters and characteristics relies upon men seeking only those sexualized things and nothing else of depth beyond that. The Victoria's Secret "Angels" don't exist because VS is counting on men wanting to sit down and have a meaningful conversation with them. They're counting on men picturing their significant other in the lingerie and either buying her something nice, or at least not complaining as much if they go into the store together.

And just so you know, this will be my last post in this thread. I've said all I want to say, and it's getting to the point where I'm doing more repeating than discussing, so I'm done.

I think this issue is just overblown all to hell.

So a female is wearing some revealing clothes. So what? She decided that's what she was going to walk outside wearing that day(in context to the game at least). I don't see why you have too be that distracted by it. It's such a miniscule part of the game.

It should go without saying, but a character is defined by their personality and their actions. Not the size of their tits. And if the developers want to give their male demographic some a bit of fanservice, who cares. It doesn't detract from the overall experience.

Lonewolfm16:

But charecters can be both capable and pretty. And besides, some charecters are minor and therefore serve only as eye-candy. One could argue that comedy relief charecters are treated the same way (capable or funny?) all for the viewers pleasure. Charecters exist to serve the desires of the audience, to evoke some kind of response.

Sure they can, I even acknowledged that in my post. The problem is that female characters are disproportionately portrayed as pretty over capable, with pretty as the defining feature. It should also be argued that even minor character should exist with more justification in the narrative than as "eye candy", either way it is a silly and moot point since minor female characters exist for eye candy reasons to a much higher degree than male characters do.

Lonewolfm16:

As for strip clubs, its not that all women exist for the viewing pleasure of men, the idea is this.
1. Men like viewing women. It is something they find desirable.
2. They are willing to pay money in exchange for the pleasure of doing something they find desireable.
Therefore: strip clubs exist and games devlopers sexualise some chareceters. Besides, if I go to a grocer do I get the message "employees exist only for my aid in aquiring food."? No, I recognize that they perform a service in exchange for money. Same thing with strip clubs.

I understand the basic commercial idea behind a strip club, thank you very much, but it has no bearing on the sociocultural idea behind a strip club. The idea is that the female body exists to arouse men or please male sexual urges (if this wasn't the idea, strip clubs wouldn't get any business). By visiting a strip club you are reinforcing the idea that the female body is, in extension, something that exists, in part at least, to satisfy the male need for something fine to ogle. Whatever or not this is mutually profitable for you and the stripper falls within the purvey of economics, the cultural reasons why women are strippers and men watch is in the purvey of social sciences. You'd do well to keep them apart, as gender theory and discussion on sexism usually stays in social sciences.

Lonewolfm16:

You are claiming that female charecters represent all females. They do not. They represent individuals within a narrative who happen to be female. Strippers represent females who are in the business of serving men's (and possibly some women's) sexual desires.

No, I am claiming that the way women are portrayed in media (and in strip clubs) has a broader bearing on how women are perceived in every day life. By constant reinforcement of the idea that the female body is an object for men to watch or use for their sexual arousal or pleasure these female characters are perpetuating sexual objectification of women as a gender. It is literarly the very definition of objectification and your only argument against this is "women profit from it too" and handwaving the issue.

Gethsemani:
snip

First off, yes female charecters are used as eye candy. And many male charecters are used as cannon fodder, to be slaughtered to raise the stakes or show off someones power. Smaller charecters tend to have fairly unimportant roles, meanwhile major charecters might have important roles.

As for the sociocultural idea of a strip club you are blatantly ignoring aspects of human sexuality. The purpose of the female body is not to be looked at, but due to evolutionary forces and neccessity of reproduction we are attracted to members of the opposite sex, at least usually. The fact that men enjoy ogling women is simply a biological fact, and hardly something to be ashamed of.

In addition I find the idea that someones view of HALF THE POPULATION of the planet could be forged by means of small parts of media and culture is ludicris. Yes, some men go to strip clubs... but these men have met women before. They likely had a mother, mabey a sister, female friends and relatives, female teachers ect ect. No one really holds the idea that the only purpose of women is for men's pleasure, at least no normal reasonable non-sociopathic person. Men recognize that women are fully capable human beings, and blatantly ignoring human biological instinct and getting angry at people for doing things that are both fully natural and pleasurable and hurt no-one is not going to help social issues.

Gethsemani:
...
No, I am claiming that the way women are portrayed in media (and in strip clubs) has a broader bearing on how women are perceived in every day life. By constant reinforcement of the idea that the female body is an object for men to watch or use for their sexual arousal or pleasure these female characters are perpetuating sexual objectification of women as a gender. It is literarly the very definition of objectification and your only argument against this is "women profit from it too" and handwaving the issue.

Seeing a real stripper in a real strip club doesn't really entail seeing other women in other contexts as stripperific. Seeing a fictional one in fictional media even less so.

You claim that there is a "broader bearing", so I assume you have the hard empirical evidence of a noticeable influence from media portrayal onto real life views/actions, which the puritanical pundits denouncing "violent media" lack? Otherwise, your claim is ultimately little different from that of those who claim that the media depicting a "homosexual lifestyle" will lead to no shortage of cultural catastrophes.

Also, it's really nobody's business what fictional material private companies sell to private consumers. There are people who'll pay for movies/games featuring what you call "objectification", hence it should be available to them. Whatever cultural concerns you might have does not override the Freedom of Expression to produce them, nor the Freedom of Information to acquire them.

The private is not political. It's private.

Gethsemani:
The idea is that the female body exists to arouse men or please male sexual urges (if this wasn't the idea, strip clubs wouldn't get any business). By visiting a strip club you are reinforcing the idea that the female body is, in extension, something that exists, in part at least, to satisfy the male need for something fine to ogle.

Well, that is a function of it whether you want to define it as a purpose or not. The problem to me is not objectification but the hypocritical social opprobrium attached to encouraging oneself to be objectified. We're all objects. And the only thing that attaches social opprobrium to utilizing that fact is a poisonous attitude toward so-called 'whores'.

There are some people who think "selling your body" is inherently different from selling your labor (in something like a 19th century coal mine, for example) to the point that voluntary prostitution is regarded as a form of slavery or rape. I find such a position absurd. Prostitution is just another form of service or manual labor. To me it is no less respectable than being a shop assistant or machinist. If everyone saw things my way, objectification would cease to be considered a problem by anyone.

Lonewolfm16:
The fact that men enjoy ogling women is simply a biological fact, and hardly something to be ashamed of.

1. Prove it is a 'biological fact'.

2. I feel like punching you. Is that a biological fact? I see no reason to be ashamed of it. Does lack of shame mean I ought to do it?

Lilani:
snip

I have seen people hike in a tank top and shorts. Not rock climbing, or very strenuous hikes, but still. Its not meant to be realistic, just have enough realism in the stories context to avoid compaints.

And the fact that sexualisation doesn't fit some tones isn't enough to complain about it in tones where it does fit. Again, I find it quite similair to comedy relief in movies. No it doesn't fit every tone, and it can break a story, but done well it is a little extra that helps the story flow.

As for your cod-piece statement I can't help but be reminded of Kratos from God of War or Conan from... well Conan. In fact alot of male charecters have very skimpy armor, usually when they are something akin to a berserker (though considering the true origin of that word they should be clad in furs, but whatever.) of course your point was specifically on RPGs where equipment is customisable, so that aside is not quite relavant. At any rate, I like the idea of skimpy armor being a choice myself as I can see how some people dislike it.

As for their being diffrent times for sexualisation, yep pretty much. But I find the majority of sexualisation is in fairly reasonable contexts. It could be toned down a bit, certainly, but it is not as big a problem as opponents make it out to be. Especially with games like Dead or Alive where it is fairly appropriate. Also with Alyx and your point here I feel the need to clarify my position. Yes many sexualised charecters are poorly written and shallow, but that has nothing to do with being sexualised. A sexualised and complex charecter is both possible and superior to a non-sexualised but shallow charecter.

As for Twilight, it does seem a teen romantic fantasy. From my expierence with it I dislike the story, but the issue is not that it romantisises and fantasises elements of romance. Fiction is all about fantasies, and telling a story that people enjoy, even if it isn't the kind of thing that usually happens in reality. As for female sexuality, I think you are ignoring some females. As I said earlier to someone else, casual sex is a thing which many females participate in. Along with that some females don't mind wearing more skimpy clothes. No it is not representative of the majority of females, but then games tend to vastly overestimate charecter traits in heroes, I don't see how female sexuality should get a pass at being fantasised to fit the story.

And back to the point on male response to sexulisation, no most men watching victoria secret commercials or reading Playboy probably aren't interested in complex philosophy at that very moment. But I have enough trust in my gender to feel that when given both a complex, gripping, emotional story and sexy images our brain doesn't instantly shut down at the thought of processing both. Men are intellegent thinking human beings, just like women. Like women we have both evolutionary instincts and drives, and we are capable of complex thought while still filling those desires and drives.
To summarize we can ogle sexy images and understand complex stories, we can also do both at the same time.

Dijkstra:

Lonewolfm16:
The fact that men enjoy ogling women is simply a biological fact, and hardly something to be ashamed of.

1. Prove it is a 'biological fact'.

2. I feel like punching you. Is that a biological fact? I see no reason to be ashamed of it. Does lack of shame mean I ought to do it?

Ok, well lets examine basic evolution. Every living thing has the evolutionary goal of propogating their genes. As such we have criteria for choosing mates. Choosing a good mate, and trying to propogate your genes are both massively advantagous to the survival of your genes and have thus been selcted for. Sexual arousal is designed by natural selection for the purpose of reproduction.

Moving on, I would wonder what inspired such anger at me. I don't remember saying anything so incredible controversial, unless a defense of human sexuality as not being something sinful angers you. But yes, that is a biological instinct, anger is a perfectly natural emotion. No you should not act on it as in this case following your instict leads to undue and unnessaccary harm to another sentient being, something I think we can agree should be avoided. Sex carries no such classification. It is pleasurable and, as long as it is done safely and consensually, is not harmful.

Lonewolfm16:
As for your cod-piece statement I can't help but be reminded of Kratos from God of War or Conan from... well Conan. In fact alot of male charecters have very skimpy armor, usually when they are something akin to a berserker (though considering the true origin of that word they should be clad in furs, but whatever.) of course your point was specifically on RPGs where equipment is customisable, so that aside is not quite relavant. At any rate, I like the idea of skimpy armor being a choice myself as I can see how some people dislike it.

Missing the point a bit there, it's not about skimpy armour, it's about one gender very often having skimpy armour while the other gets to wear sensible armour.

If the game has everyone wearing similarly foolish or similarly sensible armour, fair enough. If there's a general trend for there to be a gender difference, which goes one way, then that is worth noting.

thaluikhain:

Lonewolfm16:
As for your cod-piece statement I can't help but be reminded of Kratos from God of War or Conan from... well Conan. In fact alot of male charecters have very skimpy armor, usually when they are something akin to a berserker (though considering the true origin of that word they should be clad in furs, but whatever.) of course your point was specifically on RPGs where equipment is customisable, so that aside is not quite relavant. At any rate, I like the idea of skimpy armor being a choice myself as I can see how some people dislike it.

Missing the point a bit there, it's not about skimpy armour, it's about one gender very often having skimpy armour while the other gets to wear sensible armour.

If the game has everyone wearing similarly foolish or similarly sensible armour, fair enough. If there's a general trend for there to be a gender difference, which goes one way, then that is worth noting.

As I said, it was a largely off-topic point.

Lonewolfm16:

Dijkstra:

Lonewolfm16:
The fact that men enjoy ogling women is simply a biological fact, and hardly something to be ashamed of.

1. Prove it is a 'biological fact'.

2. I feel like punching you. Is that a biological fact? I see no reason to be ashamed of it. Does lack of shame mean I ought to do it?

Ok, well lets examine basic evolution. Every living thing has the evolutionary goal of propogating their genes. As such we have criteria for choosing mates. Choosing a good mate, and trying to propogate your genes are both massively advantagous to the survival of your genes and have thus been selcted for. Sexual arousal is designed by natural selection for the purpose of reproduction.

I didn't say conjecture, I said fact. You gave some reason to think there could be a reason for it, you didn't actually prove anything. Nothing you said proves 'ogling is enjoyable' is a biological fact.

Moving on, I would wonder what inspired such anger at me. I don't remember saying anything so incredible controversial, unless a defense of human sexuality as not being something sinful angers you. But yes, that is a biological instinct, anger is a perfectly natural emotion. No you should not act on it as in this case following your instict leads to undue and unnessaccary harm to another sentient being, something I think we can agree should be avoided. Sex carries no such classification. It is pleasurable and, as long as it is done safely and consensually, is not harmful.

Swing and miss, I'm not religious.

I am, however, opposed to shitty arguments. And shifting to arguing about not feeling shame is bad logic when previously talking about action.

Dijkstra:

Lonewolfm16:

Dijkstra:

1. Prove it is a 'biological fact'.

2. I feel like punching you. Is that a biological fact? I see no reason to be ashamed of it. Does lack of shame mean I ought to do it?

Ok, well lets examine basic evolution. Every living thing has the evolutionary goal of propogating their genes. As such we have criteria for choosing mates. Choosing a good mate, and trying to propogate your genes are both massively advantagous to the survival of your genes and have thus been selcted for. Sexual arousal is designed by natural selection for the purpose of reproduction.

I didn't say conjecture, I said fact. You gave some reason to think there could be a reason for it, you didn't actually prove anything. Nothing you said proves 'ogling is enjoyable' is a biological fact.

Moving on, I would wonder what inspired such anger at me. I don't remember saying anything so incredible controversial, unless a defense of human sexuality as not being something sinful angers you. But yes, that is a biological instinct, anger is a perfectly natural emotion. No you should not act on it as in this case following your instict leads to undue and unnessaccary harm to another sentient being, something I think we can agree should be avoided. Sex carries no such classification. It is pleasurable and, as long as it is done safely and consensually, is not harmful.

Swing and miss, I'm not religious.

I am, however, opposed to shitty arguments. And shifting to arguing about not feeling shame is bad logic when previously talking about action.

Listen, people being aroused by members of the opposite sex in order for reprodcution to occur is fairly basic evolutionary biology. As for being ashamed, I was merely responding to the tendency of some to assume that actions that are harmless that are driven by our biological imperative to reproduce should be a thing of shame. My primary argument is that these actions are harmless, not demeaning, and not morally wrong.

Dijkstra:
1. Prove it is a 'biological fact'.

Hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution is proof enough that the two genders have a biological drive to fuck each other. We tend not to fuck the things that don't appeal to us on an aesthetic basis, at least, not in the normal sense. Alcohol and limited options has provided gateways to the sexually undesirable.

Dijkstra:
2. I feel like punching you. Is that a biological fact? I see no reason to be ashamed of it. Does lack of shame mean I ought to do it?

It's a fact, because you admitted it. A biological argument may be made regarding the neurons in your brain responding to stimuli, but that's a bit of a stretch for anyone to swallow. However, there is credence to arguments involving levels of aggression based on the balance of hormones in the human body. It's these same hormones that are responsible for the levels of arousal we feel toward others as well. When a woman smells good to me, I have the biological urge to mount her. I don't, because I know better than to get accused of sexual harassment, but enjoying someone on a purely visual basis doesn't cause them any harm and many people openly choose to act in accordance with the consequences of being enjoyed visually by others.

thaluikhain:
Missing the point a bit there, it's not about skimpy armour, it's about one gender very often having skimpy armour while the other gets to wear sensible armour.

Sensible armor? In games? You're pulling my leg. ;)

Gethsemani:
Stripper Snip.

So... how does your gender specific rant work in regard to male strip clubs (and male strippers) and female voyeurs?

Lonewolfm16:

Dijkstra:

Lonewolfm16:

Ok, well lets examine basic evolution. Every living thing has the evolutionary goal of propogating their genes. As such we have criteria for choosing mates. Choosing a good mate, and trying to propogate your genes are both massively advantagous to the survival of your genes and have thus been selcted for. Sexual arousal is designed by natural selection for the purpose of reproduction.

I didn't say conjecture, I said fact. You gave some reason to think there could be a reason for it, you didn't actually prove anything. Nothing you said proves 'ogling is enjoyable' is a biological fact.

Moving on, I would wonder what inspired such anger at me. I don't remember saying anything so incredible controversial, unless a defense of human sexuality as not being something sinful angers you. But yes, that is a biological instinct, anger is a perfectly natural emotion. No you should not act on it as in this case following your instict leads to undue and unnessaccary harm to another sentient being, something I think we can agree should be avoided. Sex carries no such classification. It is pleasurable and, as long as it is done safely and consensually, is not harmful.

Swing and miss, I'm not religious.

I am, however, opposed to shitty arguments. And shifting to arguing about not feeling shame is bad logic when previously talking about action.

Listen, people being aroused by members of the opposite sex in order for reprodcution to occur is fairly basic evolutionary biology.

Listen, you need to check your dictionary. Ogle is not 'to be aroused by members of the opposite sex'. And I'm going to question whether that's even evolutionary biology and not you just tacking evolutionary on to make it sound more official than just it being a fact.

As for being ashamed, I was merely responding to the tendency of some to assume that actions that are harmless that are driven by our biological imperative to reproduce should be a thing of shame. My primary argument is that these actions are harmless, not demeaning, and not morally wrong.

What is the point of practically vomiting the word biological everywhere? Who cares if it is or is not when it is an action one can choose to do or not to do? It sounds like you're trying too hard to give legitimacy to it.

Lonewolfm16:
Now I have heard a lot of discussion on sexism in the videogame industry (as is evidenced by the above statement about comments), however I do not see one key point being addressed. Why is objectification, and specifically sexual objectification such a negative thing? The argument is that it demeans women by treating them like pieces of meat, yet this argument is not applied to many other areas where one could claim the same.
I would like to give one example people tend to use of a positive female character. Alyx from Half-Life 2 and episodes. Now people have many reasons for liking her, most of which I agree with, but in almost every conversation I have heard about her one thing is mentioned. "And she has a reasonable bust size". Wait what? When did having average/small breasts become a requirement for being a good female character? There is alot of complaining that video game females have large breasts to appeal to the male consumer base, and that this is a bad thing, but I don't see it. Yes many females are idealized to societal standards of beauty, but I don't see the issue here. Video games are using the fact that straight males make up a majority of their consumer base to their advantage, yet I don't see the harm. The male gamers get eye candy, characters that are appealing and attractive to the eye, and female and homosexual male gamers get... well not much, but they don't lose anything either.

There are many things to comment on about that paragraph. Firstly, just because a demographic is the majority, it doesn't mean that minorities aren't commercially viable. After all, if the straight male demographic makes up 51% of gamers (this is an example, I know the actual percentage is larger), then catering to females and non-straight males will net you 49% of all gamers, which is almost as much profit. If a demographic is commercially viable, it makes commercial sense to cater to it. This is why we have vehicle simulators, for example, because the demographic that likes that (small as it may be) is considered commercially viable.

Secondly, this isn't a problem exclusive to the videogame industry. Appealing to the straight male, regardless of whether they are the majority or not, is a problem in the entertainment industry in general, and it's a symptom of society-wide gender inequality. Women and non-straight men exist and enjoy entertainment (in all forms) just as much as straight men do, but there's a vicious cycle where they don't feel compelled to consume entertainment because it panders blatantly to straight men (and makes them feel excluded) and the entertainment industry doesn't pander to anybody else because most of its audience is straight men (and as long as the dollars keep rolling in, they don't have much of an incentive to change). This also goes back to basically all of human history, where women and non-straight men were marginalised and not considered worth aiming at, from a social perspective (and we're only breaking out of such deeply rooted traditions nowadays).

As for "they don't lose anything", we do. We feel alienated. We feel much like a foreigner lost in a strange country where nobody speaks our language. I tell you what. Spend at least 1 hour surfing the net for gay porn or bury yourself in yaoi manga or M/M fanfiction, to the exclusion of all other forms of media. The discomfort that you will feel, the clear and palpable sensation that this is not for you and that you are trespassing in a space where you don't fit: that's the constant background in our realities. And it fucking sucks.

Lonewolfm16:
I don't understand why people are so angered by sexualised depictions of charecters, I just don't see who is being harmed here. You could argue that people don't care about the women as a character, but only as a means of satisfying desires to which I would respond not necessarily, afterall I don't know about other men but I am perfectly capable of finding someone sexually attractive and simultaneously realizing their other features. I know men are stereotyped as drooling dogs, barely capable of anything when a sexualized image is within a mile of us, but come now I think males as a gender deserve more credit than that. Even assuming this was true, so what? Lots of characters serve the purpose of interesting the viewers. The messenger who brings word to the king serves the role of setting up exposition and delivering information to the viewer/player. But is he being objectified? We certainly don't care about him as a person. Same goes for the almost always male legions of faceless goons mowed down in video games and other media. These characters exist because the creators of media thought we would enjoy them. A character might serve as eye-candy or comic relief, whatever the creator things will make people like his creation. What's the problem with sex, specifically?

Again, here I have to dissect what you're talking about in several parts:

Firstly, as I demonstrated above, the sexualisation is not egalitarian. That is not cool. The free market doesn't HAVE to cater to us if it doesn't want to, but we are just as free to bitch about it. For as long as the free market wants to exercise its freedom of catering only to the demographic it wants, we shall continue to make use of our freedom of speech to complain as loudly and as constantly as we can about how much our situation sucks.

Secondly, I am not a woman, but I've heard women saying that the main reason they hate the objectification of women is because they don't want to be constrained to sex objects. Again, this is because the main audience is straight men, so the industry doesn't have much of a use for a female character unless it exists to please or benefit straight men. Therefore, women are reduced to the role of "family member or love interest to tug emotional heartstrings", "bystander to protect/save so that the man can feel heroic", "sex object/decoration" or "distant, idealised female non-person to inspire or fight for, who is not allowed to have flaws, agency or much of a personality because she exists to serve the man, and a man cannot fight for anything but a perfect, flawless woman." All these depictions have in common the fact that the female role exists to serve the straight male protagonist or the straight male player. Even when the protagonist is a female, she is heavily sexualised to please the audience controlling her. This sends the message to potential female players that A) These games are not meant for them (thereby turning them off, as I explained before), and B) They are not as important as males. This, tragically, reflects on a lot of the sexist baggage we have as a society, where independent women still have to contend with societal pressures to somehow base their lives around men, if not their fathers or brothers, then their boyfriends, husbands, sons or grandsons.

Also, by the way, the whole "Alyx's boobs being modest is cool" thing probably comes from women with modest busts feeling like they're being told "it's okay if you don't want to get yourself plastic surgery, back pain and other downsides of big breasts just to please the men around you, we think you're just as worthy a female type to represent in our games as all the big-breasted girls", and for a lot of women, that is a wonderful thing.

Lonewolfm16:
There is also the argument that the same thing often happens to male characters, which can be countered by saying they are more male power fantasy then attractive options for the ladies, which can itself be countered by pointing out the demographics of most video games, along with wondering why scantily clad women cannot be female power fantasies (yes I know, not all women want to look like that, but then again breast implants are a industry, and people often complain about unrealistic body standards so clearly at least some females want to.) but we will leave that off for now.

"Pointing out the demographics" is not a valid counter-argument under what I have explained before. It is not the fault of women and non-straight men that the entertainment industry doesn't cater to them when the entertainment industry does it damnedest to cater to the straight male industry to the detriment of any other demographic. Lying back on the metaphorical couch and refusing to move a finger for your fellow human, insisting that if they want to sit on the couch, they have to climb to it (and you won't move to make room, either) despite the couch being absolutely unyielding to newcomers, while at the same time saying "shhhh, stop complaining, I'm trying to enjoy the couch" is perfectly allowed by your freedom, yes, but it's douchey as fuck.

Also, sexy women ARE a power fantasy for SOME women, but power fantasies for men run the gamut for body types, sexualisation and personalities, while these would-be fantasies for women are all eerily similar.

Lonewolfm16:
Now I hope you will forgive me, but I feel the need to transition from fiction to reality to illustrate my next point. Strip clubs are another thing people complain about being objectifying and demeaning once again because women are being treated like objects. But why is this complaint only extended to strip clubs? If I get my coffee from a cafe I certainly don't care all that much about the guy who delivers it to me. I want him to do something I would find advantageous to me, so I give him something he wants. Capitalism. I pay grocers for food, but I am not really concerned with who the cashiers are as people. In the same way, if I wanted to experience sexual arousal I would go to a strip club. I would, of course, pay money in return for something I enjoy. Both parties are satisfied with the trade and everything works out, in each of these situation, yet only the strip club situation is anyone being "objectified" according to some feminists. Again, what makes sex such a terrible thing?

I would go into how I feel violence against women arguments for why media is itself, a sexist argument but I fear this is already far too long. So Escapists what do you think on the issue? Do you feel sexualising female charecters in games is objectification, or just giving the people something you think they will enjoy? Please be polite and kind, and hopefully this doesn't erupt into a flame war.

The problem isn't the act itself. I know some people have problems with prostitution, stripping, porn and the like, but I don't have a problem with them on principle. I have a problem with them on practice. Being on a porn film is a career killer for anyone who wants to make it in the entertainment industry (I'm sure there are exceptions, but they are just that: exceptions). Being a prostitute, a stripper, or even simply having too much sex is actually harmful for women, socially. The "slut" prejudice is still very much alive and kicking, and the problems with women who enjoy their sexualities is societal condemnation. Rapists and sexual abusers still get away with their crimes if they can successfully prove that their victim was sexually "promiscuous" (and therefore that means they are always consenting to sex, even when they outright say aren't? I don't know, rapist logic doesn't make much sense), and it is commonly regarded by society that women in such professions are to be afforded far less respect (or even none at all) than women who earn a living by other means.

I have a couple of links regarding slutwalks and slut-shaming, and they're worth a read. They're long, but comprehensive, and often help paint a good picture.

What Is Slut-Shaming and Slutwalk: Why They Walk, Why I Walk.

In short, there isn't a problem with sex. There is a problem when society denigrates women who work in highly sexualised professions (particularly sex workers), and it is similarly reflected in videogames.

Videogames don't exist in a vacuum. They exist within a societal context that a lot of straight men are blissfully unaware of, because they haven't experienced it themselves or cared to step out of their comfort zone. When people complain about sexism in videogames, they don't do it because they're hateful assholes and bitches who want you to stop enjoying stuff. Nobody wants you to stop enjoying stuff. Nobody wants to stop sexualised games from being made. In short, we just want to be heard and taken into consideration like your preferences and viewpoints have automatically been taken in consideration since the entertainment industry took its first steps. That's all.

Dijkstra:

Lonewolfm16:

Dijkstra:

I didn't say conjecture, I said fact. You gave some reason to think there could be a reason for it, you didn't actually prove anything. Nothing you said proves 'ogling is enjoyable' is a biological fact.

Swing and miss, I'm not religious.

I am, however, opposed to shitty arguments. And shifting to arguing about not feeling shame is bad logic when previously talking about action.

Listen, people being aroused by members of the opposite sex in order for reprodcution to occur is fairly basic evolutionary biology.

Listen, you need to check your dictionary. Ogle is not 'to be aroused by members of the opposite sex'. And I'm going to question whether that's even evolutionary biology and not you just tacking evolutionary on to make it sound more official than just it being a fact.

As for being ashamed, I was merely responding to the tendency of some to assume that actions that are harmless that are driven by our biological imperative to reproduce should be a thing of shame. My primary argument is that these actions are harmless, not demeaning, and not morally wrong.

What is the point of practically vomiting the word biological everywhere? Who cares if it is or is not when it is an action one can choose to do or not to do? It sounds like you're trying too hard to give legitimacy to it.

I was more aiming for the reason ogling is pleasurable. You know, the whole sexual desires being a part of every sexually reproducing species thing? As for it being evolutionary biology, it could be considered any number of biological fields, but I prefer evolutionary since it offers a explanation as to why exactly. As for giving it legitimacy, why would the action not be legitimate?

This is my take.

Lonewolfm16:

I would like to give one example people tend to use of a positive female character. Alyx from Half-Life 2 and episodes. Now people have many reasons for liking her, most of which I agree with, but in almost every conversation I have heard about her one thing is mentioned. "And she has a reasonable bust size". Wait what? When did having average/small breasts become a requirement for being a good female character?

I would suggest they can't properly vocalize that aspect of why they like Alyx. It's most likely "Her boobs don't define her". This can obviously exist independent of bust size, but since a large bust size is so often pegged along with having them stuffed in the viewer's face as much as possible, the mental link is made to large bust instead of the use of them as a crutch being the reason that character exists.

Someone who actually meant that they like Alyx because of her boob size are just doing the sexual objectification thing too.

There is alot of complaining that video game females have large breasts to appeal to the male consumer base, and that this is a bad thing, but I don't see it. Yes many females are idealized to societal standards of beauty, but I don't see the issue here. Video games are using the fact that straight males make up a majority of their consumer base to their advantage, yet I don't see the harm. The male gamers get eye candy, characters that are appealing and attractive to the eye, and female and homosexual male gamers get... well not much, but they don't lose anything either.

We usually lose out on characterization. This is not to say deep characters we should emotionally connect with and care about are appropriate in every game. Far from it. There are games where impossibly shaped characters in ridiculous clothing are appropriate. But when the former is the intent of a developer, just showing off a rocking set of knockers as if that's supposed to get us to care about that character is hollow, lazy, and insulting. It's bad writing.

I know men are stereotyped as drooling dogs, barely capable of anything when a sexualized image is within a mile of us, but come now I think males as a gender deserve more credit than that.

As above, I would say this is a primary issue here, with the belief that developers are taking shortcuts and just pandering to this stereotype, its accuracy notwithstanding.

What's the problem with sex, specifically?
------
Again, what makes sex such a terrible thing?

Because we have a fading taboo against sex and it gets more public scrutiny than anything else.

The harm that comes from objectifying women (or men, or anyone on the gender spectrum) is subtle, but it adds up. Now, this is especially a problem for women because it is so pervasive. These messages, that women exist only as bodies to be oggled at and not as full human beings, build up over time in what one author who I forget who it was so aptly called a "drip-drip" effect. One woman who is objectified may not seem like a big deal. But when the media and public space is saturated by this message, the effect is telling. It tells people that it's okay to stare at women, to see them only for their body parts. And if they are only body parts, not people, it must be okay to harass and touch them without permission. Plus, since these messages are everywhere, it tells those people who are not very awesome that they can go ahead and commit violence, especially sexual violence, upon women because no one will care. Everyone is treating women as objects anyway, so there's less of a chance that people will care if I hurt one. And then you get Steubenville, Ohio.

The problem in video games is that it's clear that women are dressed in this way specifically to appeal to the male audience, which means that the industry actively objectifies women and presumes that all men just want to stare at boobies rather than have an decent plot with actual realistic and fleshed out characters. It's insulting to both genders.

The difference between scantily clad women in video games and the extras you get to mow down/your local bag boy IS sex. It is not to say sex is bad, because in and of itself, sex is good (by which I mean the best thing ever). But sex is a powerful force, and in the US, as well as other countries, our perception of sex is fucked up beyond all reason. It's another issue all together. Over time, certain sections of humanity have managed to turn sex into an evil, sinister, forbidden thing while also constantly thrusting it in everyone's face all the time, telling them that THEY MUST HAVE IT OR THEY SUUUUUUUUCK. This mixed with dangerous messages given to young boys that being a man means taking what you want no matter what the cost, being dominant, and generally being violent, has led to an out of control amount of sexual violence, and most of that (not all, NOT ALL) is committed against women, because we are what men are supposed to want, we are the end goal (our vaginas are, anyway), we are there for the taking, and anyone who gets in the way of that goal is to be struck down. It's a messed up thing to do to men, and it also creates the whole issue of women going after assholes rather than nice guys.

It's an incredibly complex issue. I could go on for a long time. But the TL;DR of it all is that there is a lot of sexual violence around the world, and a disproportionate chunk of this is committed by men against women. I don't like it any more than you do, but that's reality. And when you depict women as sexual objects, you contribute to this reality, because you contribute to the view that women are not people, they're body parts for the taking.

LetalisK:
snip

Again, I don't see how sexulisation and bad writing go together. You can have a sexualised charecter without that being all the charecter is about, alot of fanservice style stuff gets added in as a kind of "ok, we can go with skimpy or less skimpy for our charecter... well less skimpy doesn't have any real advantages, and more skimpy is a little extra eye-candy so lets go with that." It doesn't have to be a big deal, and in alot of cases it wouldn't be if we would stop making it.

As for the sexual taboo... yeah pretty much. Though I really really despise the puritanical taboo and wish it weren't there it does exist.

Sonofadiddly:
snip

I don't mean to offend, but you don't seem to have a grasp on general western culture... violence against women is stigmatized way way more than violence against men. We have the stupid "don't hit a woman. Hitting a guy is alright, but not a lady." the massive and repeated outcry against rape. I am not saying rape is not a terrible crime, but quite a few people say it is worse than murder somehow, people tend to suggest sadistic punishments for rapists over other criminals, and as has been the subject of some debate here, video-games portray murder all the time but rape is still a massive controversy in any game it appears in. Honestly it always seems to me like culture idolizes women as delicate flowers of perfect innocence that must be protected, so I don't see this massive increase in violence against women. In addition, as someone earlier pointed out how is it that when someone suggests that violent games cause real-world violence people scoff, but when someone suggests that video game charecters being made to be sexually attractive would somehow lead to sexual violence people don't dismiss it so quickly.

Darken12:

Secondly, this isn't a problem exclusive to the videogame industry. Appealing to the straight male, regardless of whether they are the majority or not, is a problem in the entertainment industry in general, and it's a symptom of society-wide gender inequality. Women and non-straight men exist and enjoy entertainment (in all forms) just as much as straight men do, but there's a vicious cycle where they don't feel compelled to consume entertainment because it panders blatantly to straight men (and makes them feel excluded) and the entertainment industry doesn't pander to anybody else because most of its audience is straight men (and as long as the dollars keep rolling in, they don't have much of an incentive to change). This also goes back to basically all of human history, where women and non-straight men were marginalised and not considered worth aiming at, from a social perspective (and we're only breaking out of such deeply rooted traditions nowadays).

As for "they don't lose anything", we do. We feel alienated. We feel much like a foreigner lost in a strange country where nobody speaks our language. I tell you what. Spend at least 1 hour surfing the net for gay porn or bury yourself in yaoi manga or M/M fanfiction, to the exclusion of all other forms of media. The discomfort that you will feel, the clear and palpable sensation that this is not for you and that you are trespassing in a space where you don't fit: that's the constant background in our realities. And it fucking sucks.

Pretty much this.

This is what made me feel so apathetic about Batman: Arkham Asylum and which actually made me give up on playing Batman: Arkham City. In Arkham Asylum there were a whole bunch of interesting and diverse male villains who came in all shapes and sizes: The Joker, Bane, Killer Croc, Zsasz. The only two female villains you meet are variations on the theme of "hot young chick". Harley Quinn was taken out of her harlequin costume and dressed up like a teenage Greenday fan. Poison Ivy wanders around half-naked and using her evil villainess pheromones to seduce men, and her boss battle consists of Batman throwing Batarangs at the clitoris of a giant plantgina.

Then Arkham City came along, and I was pretty hopeful that they might be able to avoid the softcore porn character treatment of the women in this one. Hey, you even get to start off playing as Catwo-


*Sigh* Of course. So Catwoman is running around Arkham City in a catsuit that is unzipped most of the way to her navel. Miraculously, her boobs don't fall out of it when she's tied up upside-down by Harvey Dent, passively waiting for Batman to come and rescue her. Then, when he does rescue her (twice in the space of about five minutes) all she does is drop hints about how much she wants to jump his bones. Her dialogue was so cringeworthy it made me want to punch something. Harley's still running round in a new variation of her teenage Greenday fan outfit (hey, it's got patches, it's kind of harlequinnish!) Meanwhile, the selection of male villains includes the horribly disfigured Two-Face, the short squat cockney Penguin, baldy bearded old Dr Strange, skinny crazyman Joker...

I stopped playing about two hours into the game. Maybe at some point later on the female characters developed a purpose beyond titillation for the straight male demographic that Arkham City was blatantly marketed towards, but somehow I doubt it. I get that the games are adapted from comic books, and so the developers didn't have much to work with in terms of diverse female characters, but they really didn't try very hard.

I hear it's a great game. But if Batman was running around in a skintight tanktop and leather thong, and the cutscenes consisted primarily of close-ups of his ass and crotch, and the constant rainfall kept causing his clothes to cling to him and forcing him to toss his head gracefully to shake the drops of water away, his body arching in an almost sensual slow-motion contortion that emphasised the firm shields of his pecs and the strong muscles in his back and biceps, and his every line of dialogue implied that he was hiding a pretty healthy erection under his clothes...

Yeah. I think even the most hardcore Bats fans might have started to feel uncomfortable after a while.

Lonewolfm16:

Sonofadiddly:
snip

I don't mean to offend, but you don't seem to have a grasp on general western culture... violence against women is stigmatized way way more than violence against men. We have the stupid "don't hit a woman. Hitting a guy is alright, but not a lady." the massive and repeated outcry against rape. I am not saying rape is not a terrible crime, but quite a few people say it is worse than murder somehow, people tend to suggest sadistic punishments for rapists over other criminals, and as has been the subject of some debate here, video-games portray murder all the time but rape is still a massive controversy in any game it appears in. Honestly it always seems to me like culture idolizes women as delicate flowers of perfect innocence that must be protected, so I don't see this massive increase in violence against women. In addition, as someone earlier pointed out how is it that when someone suggests that violent games cause real-world violence people scoff, but when someone suggests that video game charecters being made to be sexually attractive would somehow lead to sexual violence people don't dismiss it so quickly.

Ah, what you speak of is what they call "benevolent sexism." It is very much a problem to depict women as delicate flowers who need protection, and I hate that very much. Same goes for the idea that it's okay to hit men but not okay to hit women. Men who are victims of domestic violence have massive problems getting any kind of help, and it's terrible. It's part of our cultural gender roles that say that only men can hurt people physically and sexually, which is NOT true.

Now, I'm almost guaranteed to get shit for this, but I do absolutely believe that the depictions of violence in ALL media is harmful if not mitigated by parents who need to explain to kids that you can't shoot a dude in the head and expect no consequences because that guy will not respawn in real life. This is also part of the culture that tells young men to shoot first and don't bother with the questions because you need to take what you want and who cared about what anyone else feels? Of course I do NOT believe in censoring video games. But it's telling that these messages are so pervasive, and needs to be addressed in general by our society.

As for the "increase" in violence against women, if you are referring to the fact that men commit more violence against women than vice versa, I pulled that from widely documented statistics. I would not say that the introduction of video games caused an increase in violence against women. It's just part of a larger puzzle that needs to be addressed.

And as for the difference between rape and murder, well, Jim said it better than I ever could have. Thank God for him.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/5972-Rape-vs-Murder

Darken12:
snip

Well first off I have to say that this is honestly one of the best written and well thought out arguments I have read on the subject of objectification in a while. Bravo. Now to how I respond to your various points.

Well first off, yes a game doesn't have to appeal to the majority demographic. However when a large part of your audience likes a particulair thing (in this case the thing being sexualised female charecters) it is a fairly good idea to use something that you know a large portion of your audience is going to like. Yes you can totally make a profit from smaller demographics, but marketing is much more difficult. Besides how precisely would one market a game to females and non-heterosexual males? You could use male fanservice, but you stand the risk of alientating your larger fan base just as much, also for whatever reason sex sells seems to apply less to women. There are far fewer male strip clubs and male prostitutes to service women than female equivilants for men. You could go with less fanservice... but that isn't neccissarily a great marketing strategy. As you said games can try to appeal to smaller demographics, but heterosexual males represent a massive demographic in many kinds of games which can be easily marketted to. Still we will leave discussion of demographics off for now.

On to the next point, I belive what you are refering to, if I may use the TvTropes name, is the so called "girl show ghetto". Generally that media is either meant for everyone, but focusing mostly on men, or it is meant for women and women only with no crossover. This is a pretty fair complaint. And while I would say that scantily clad people of a gender you are not attracted to shouldn't make you feel uncomfortable... I can hardly control how you feel and it would be insensitive of me to merely dismiss it. I can understand that point alot better than many others. Still it would help me if people would refer to the fact it makes others uncomfortable rather than tired arguments about it being sexist to admit that most men like ogling sexy women and using that to make fun and profit. But I digress. But seriously, porn is a terrible terrible example. While most of the things which use fanservice tend to be games or shows with plenty of content besides the sexulisation, but porn is quite literally all about the sexulisation. That is all that is there. Wouldn't a better example be something like Twilight? Or another generally female medium like romance novels or chick flicks? Or shoujo anime? I understand some series have alot of sexuilisation, but no where near porn amounts.

Moving on to the next point,I would argue that while there are not as many female charecters that are main charecters as there should be, it is hardly as terrible as some would suggest. Also sexulisation doesn't mean a charecter needs to only be eye candy, charecters who are designed to be sexy can still be competant, interesting and independant (though I would argue there is room for some female charecters to be submissive without it being sexist, not every charecter needs to defy stereotypes, just enough that the stereotype isn't in play in the medium much.) As for life revolving around men, women in secondary roles or love intrest roles are expected to react to the protagonist, that is how most stories are structured. As for Alyx, I would say she doesn't need big boobs, but if she had them would that really ruin her charecter so much? I am not opposed to Alyx having smaller breasts, just people claiming that is what makes her charecter good.

On your couch anology, I would say there is room for every demographic. Again not all games need sexulisation, but I have no issue with people having it. And it would help if people stopped arguing that it is misogynistic somehow. But once again I have digressed.

Moving on, I was mostly complaining how feminists tend to imply that strip clubs somehow victimise women by using the fact that men like ogling women for profit. And I totally agree that slut-shaming is awful and sexist and society needs to stop doing it. In many posts I have mentioned how much I hate the societal taboo against sex, and the double standard that comes with it.

Regarding your closing paragraph, yeah I honestly agree with alot that you have said, and would like to see the industry incorporate as many tastes as possible since that just means that more people get to enjoy media.

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