235: Riot Grrrls Wanted

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Hope Chest:

BonsaiK:

I'd love to see an FPS where instead of playing a Duke Nukem tough guy (or a tough guy in a girl's body, such as Tomb Raider), you play some average kind of girl who likes nothing more than going out on the weekend and partying, who is thrust into a weird violent situation and she has to deal with all sorts of strange but realistic scenarios to achieve a goal which isn't saving the world but might be something more personal (like getting the hell out of the warzone alive). Where if you pick up a gun you may not be able to aim and shoot or relaod it very well because your character just isn't that good at shooting guns because she's never had to shoot one before. Where you can't jump big holes in the floor because you're not a freaking athlete in combat boots. Where you have to use social skills, networking and street-smarts to overcome obstacles, and violence as a last resort (actually, Shogun on the C64 was a little like that, but that wasn't an FPS). There's your riot-grrl game.

Mmm, not too sure about that--riot grrl was all about refusing to be pushed to play the bass (because it's considered the 'easiest' instrument) in your brother's band, it was about at most drop tuning your guitar. Riot grrl was all about challenging the idea that being a girl in a band--or in the crowd--should be any different from being a boy. I don't think a riot grrl game would think of violence as a last resort anymore than riot grrl music though of loud, aggressive guitars as the domain of boys. Riot grrl didn't want to be your Joni Mitchell: it wanted to be yr Joey Ramone.

Most of the riot grrl literature that I have definitely isn't "girls trying to be like the boys" and while there is symbolic violence against the patriachal system none of it advocates physical violence against people in a literal sense except in self-defense (i.e as a last resort). The movement was certainly about having equal access to the same things but it's also about saying "I'm a girl and that's okay, I don't feel the need to fit into male stereotypes just because I reject female ones, I can decide who I want to be independent from all that". Thus, Bikini Kill doesn't sound like Joni Mitchell but it definitely doesn't sound like The Ramones either. Because being a girl in a band, or in the audience, IS different from being a boy, of course it is, on all sorts of levels. The better riot grrl practitioners acknowledged that.

Most computer games right now have female characters that fit into two stereotypes:

1. Idealised beautiful woman who doesn't do much except look pretty
2. Hard-ass (but attractive) bitch who is basically just a male jock in a female suit

I think the solution for gender representation in computer games is to make the portrayal more realistic of what BOTH genders are actually like. However computer games tend to favour hyper-inflated realities, because the nature of the medium has so far usually been fantasy, not reality. So, when and if it will ever change is anyone's guess. Realistic portrays of women (and men!) will probably never be very popular, but I'd like someone to give it a decent go though. Maybe as the medium matures we'll see things improve. But the "tough guy" female characters I see in most games these days, they're not really genuinely female at all. They're just what some nerdy game designers imagine females to be, so they tend to fall into the stereotypes that those sort of people hold dear.

Hulyen:
I have to say that it IS depressing to see any mention of female gamers tends to have one of two reactions: "Female gamers are all attention whores" or "Female gamers are mostly women who play casual games or their husband's games once in a while" with very little middle ground.

So true! I feel like being a female gamer is a weird identity crisis, in a way. I'm proud that I can hold my own in the world of video games, but I desperately don't want to be an "attention whore" because I feel that, when women make a big deal about them being "a gamer girl," they call to attention the fact that there aren't many women who play video games, and therefore reinforce the stereotype that women don't game.

But secretly, there's a part of me that likes the fact that I'm one of relatively few girls who plays video games. I was talking about this to a guyfriend at college who does ballet. He confessed that he enjoys doing ballet for exactly the same reason: because it makes him unique. And yet we both wish that the gender stereotypes around our passtimes would disappear.

I agree that I would love to see more games featuring women who aren't either in need of rescuing or attractive badasses acting like men.

But I also seem to bond more with male main characters in video games than with the female ones. Maybe it's partly because it seems that most of the females were designed to seduce me, but--weird as this will sound--I feel like I bond with male protagonists, like FFVII's Cloud, or Legend of Zelda's Link, or--most recently--Wander from Shadow of the Colossus. I develop a bit of a crush on them, and it's my feelings for the character that make me especially distressed when I die and lose, and which make me work that much harder in fights.

I think articles like this one are important, even if we don't entirely agree with them, because they make us criticize video games as a medium in order to improve it.

BonsaiK:

Most of the riot grrl literature that I have definitely isn't "girls trying to be like the boys"

Didn't mean it in that sense, meant it in the sense that a lot of what was considered until then 'boy stuff' riot grrl tried to say was just *human* stuff.

and while there is symbolic violence against the patriachal system none of it advocates physical violence against people in a literal sense except in self-defense (i.e as a last resort).

Well yeah--I though we were making some kind of analogy between riot grrl music and a hypothetical riot grrl game. My point is that what you were talking about was a game where a girl uses stuff identified with girls like "social skills, networking and street-smarts" instead of the "violence" associated with men. That...that's not how riot grrl came across to me. Riot grrl came across as 'we can sing rock & roll words and play loud electric guitars--we don't have to be a singer-songwriter who plays the piano' so in game terms, why wouldn't a riot grrl game have her wielding a BFG?

The movement was certainly about having equal access to the same things but it's also about saying "I'm a girl and that's okay, I don't feel the need to fit into male stereotypes just because I reject female ones, I can decide who I want to be independent from all that". Thus, Bikini Kill doesn't sound like Joni Mitchell but it definitely doesn't sound like The Ramones either.

But it does. Well, in a broader sense: riot grrl was about what I said above, the idea that women can be part of rock & roll. Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney was a *huge* fan of Pete Townsend, with the windmill guitar playing and all. Riot grrl wasn't a rejection of rocking out, it was--to me, anyways--about the idea that you didn't need to be a boy to do so. The reason I picked The Ramones is because, well, there's a Sleater-Kinney song called "I wanna be yr Joey Ramone."

Because being a girl in a band, or in the audience, IS different from being a boy, of course it is, on all sorts of levels. The better riot grrl practitioners acknowledged that.

Sure, but not in a way that a hypothetical riot grrl band would eschew violence.

image

Most computer games right now have female characters that fit into two stereotypes:

1. Idealised beautiful woman who doesn't do much except look pretty
2. Hard-ass (but attractive) bitch who is basically just a male jock in a female suit

I think the solution for gender representation in computer games is to make the portrayal more realistic of what BOTH genders are actually like. However computer games tend to favour hyper-inflated realities, because the nature of the medium has so far usually been fantasy, not reality. So, when and if it will ever change is anyone's guess. Realistic portrays of women (and men!) will probably never be very popular, but I'd like someone to give it a decent go though. Maybe as the medium matures we'll see things improve.

There's another article in this week's issue about video games as wish fulfillment. I don't know how much more 'mature' realistic portrayals are than hyper-inflated ones. I mean, think of Gears of War: huge dudes in ridiculous armor. A game about a 'space marine' who tried to save his father and failed. A game designed by a guy whose father died while that guy was still a teenager.

Gears of War is kinda CliffyB's Silent Hill.

But the "tough guy" female characters I see in most games these days, they're not really genuinely female at all. They're just what some nerdy game designers imagine females to be, so they tend to fall into the stereotypes that those sort of people hold dear.

Well there you go--maybe the problem isn't the "tough guy" female characters, it's that they're "what some nerdy game designers imagine females to be." Maybe we could have a really great "tough guy" female character if we had better designers on the job.

Bellerophone:

Hulyen:
I have to say that it IS depressing to see any mention of female gamers tends to have one of two reactions: "Female gamers are all attention whores" or "Female gamers are mostly women who play casual games or their husband's games once in a while" with very little middle ground.

So true! I feel like being a female gamer is a weird identity crisis, in a way. I'm proud that I can hold my own in the world of video games, but I desperately don't want to be an "attention whore" because I feel that, when women make a big deal about them being "a gamer girl," they call to attention the fact that there aren't many women who play video games, and therefore reinforce the stereotype that women don't game.

But secretly, there's a part of me that likes the fact that I'm one of relatively few girls who plays video games. I was talking about this to a guyfriend at college who does ballet. He confessed that he enjoys doing ballet for exactly the same reason: because it makes him unique. And yet we both wish that the gender stereotypes around our passtimes would disappear.

I agree that I would love to see more games featuring women who aren't either in need of rescuing or attractive badasses acting like men.

But I also seem to bond more with male main characters in video games than with the female ones. Maybe it's partly because it seems that most of the females were designed to seduce me, but--weird as this will sound--I feel like I bond with male protagonists, like FFVII's Cloud, or Legend of Zelda's Link, or--most recently--Wander from Shadow of the Colossus. I develop a bit of a crush on them, and it's my feelings for the character that make me especially distressed when I die and lose, and which make me work that much harder in fights.

I think articles like this one are important, even if we don't entirely agree with them, because they make us criticize video games as a medium in order to improve it.

I agree with you on pretty much every point! It's sort of refreshing to see someone get what I'm trying to say without having to spell it out, heh. Kill midgets in Borderlands with me some time?

Read the first couple posts, then skipped the rest, forgive me; my attention span isn't the best.

But; I'm not sure where all this power to the woman! things come from. Someone said earlier; 40% of gamers are women; which I find hard to believe. I suppose the interests of women and men do differ; which is why it is very hard to find women in FPS, while I would have no problems finding them in RPGs. (Generalisation, I really have no proof of this, I guess.)

Again, I'm not sure what the problem is; do women find games that portray themselves as being helpless maidens offensive? Because, well, it's not just games that have that problem, and as I said earlier, there is a line between the two sexes, and speaking for myself, I'm not that offended by not being able to play as a male horse custodian. Instead of crying foul about ignorant depictions of the opposite sex, why not enjoy the differences?

As for the unbalance in the development grounds; I put that blame to, again, differences in interests. You do get a few that are genuinely interested in the game industry, and to those in this thread, good luck to you all! But the classes I take are all, 'scuse the term, sausage-fest. You can't just force people into jobs for the sake of balance between the sex; it all comes down to your interests and such.

Jonesy911:
Why is that woman stamping on that poor mans head?!

Talk about sticking it to the man...lol

I have yet to read the article I just thought I'd sound of a pre-read idea; I think the Barbie and Hanna Montanna type 'girl' games are a really condecending. I know plenty of girls who like Left 4 Dead, Fallout 3 and WoW. When we start designing games for a specific gender instead of just designing games that are awesome in general, that's when we tread the line of sexism. Just keep making sweet games and men and women will see the greatness in them and will enjoy them.

Alright, it's offical: The Escapist is whoring itself out for hits. There's no other explanation for why you'd publish three or four self-righteous articles about girl gamers within 24 hours. I'd lost much respect for your News section when Michael Thomsen's article was published, but now I'm wondering if it's even worth the time to come back here anymore.

As for the whole issue of a girl gamer "riot", I think it's all a load of bullshit. They don't need any sort of revolution, because they aren't being mistreated. Games will continue to cater to male interests because that's what sells well, and it will not stop in the future.

If you want to break gender barriers, go right ahead, it's your right. Just don't complain and whine about how you want it to be adapted to your liking.

Dooly95:
Read the first couple posts, then skipped the rest, forgive me; my attention span isn't the best.

But; I'm not sure where all this power to the woman! things come from. Someone said earlier; 40% of gamers are women; which I find hard to believe. I suppose the interests of women and men do differ; which is why it is very hard to find women in FPS, while I would have no problems finding them in RPGs. (Generalisation, I really have no proof of this, I guess.)

Again, I'm not sure what the problem is; do women find games that portray themselves as being helpless maidens offensive? Because, well, it's not just games that have that problem, and as I said earlier, there is a line between the two sexes, and speaking for myself, I'm not that offended by not being able to play as a male horse custodian. Instead of crying foul about ignorant depictions of the opposite sex, why not enjoy the differences?

As for the unbalance in the development grounds; I put that blame to, again, differences in interests. You do get a few that are genuinely interested in the game industry, and to those in this thread, good luck to you all! But the classes I take are all, 'scuse the term, sausage-fest. You can't just force people into jobs for the sake of balance between the sex; it all comes down to your interests and such.

Yes well, a lot of women didn't really WANT to get to vote either. It was just not something they'd ever even thought of as possible, it was not on their horizon. In the same way, I think many women just dont see working with games as a viable choice. Doing so would require the person to make an active choice instead of just following the fold. Like how perhaps it's not a viable choice for most men to become hairdressers or pre-school teachers.

What I'm saying is, our perception of what is male and female has changed dramatically. Just saying that women and men are different, that we should be happy about that, is in some ways correct. Most men don't have a vagina and most women don't have anything close to a penis, nor do the majority want that. But where those changes stop being biological and become constructed, to that there's no simple answer.

I've got a small question that's been nagging me for a bit now.
I've read that "women are 40% of gamers" quote a number of times now, especially as a reason for why people feel the "business excuse" isn't valid for the gender discrepancy, but I never see anything more specific. I'm not saying women shouldn't be represented better in games (in fact I think quite the opposite), but it's never struck me as a particularly helpful statistic. Are there are sources for, say, how much the two groups spend on games and accessories, what kind of games those are, and/or how much they talk to others about those games? These are probably more important to the "commercial reasoning" than the vague category of being a "gamer" or not.

Jonesy911:
Why is that woman stamping on that poor mans head?!

I know D:

I'll have a game for all them "girl gamers"
image
It saddens my heart to see a women get out from the kitchen.

And in all seriousness, I've yet to see a good girl gamer. Besides majority of those "girl gamers" are playing games that barely deserve to be called like that (I'm a game natzi).
Girls play no shooters, strategies, RTSes, hack and slashes. I've seen a small number of girls playing wow but they were mostly pve carebears and I hate to see how all the nerds start hitting on that girl and giving her special permissions, not minding their flaws. It's like those guys have never seen a girl before and are oh-so-carring. And when I started arguing with one of such girls, the firs thing she done was to run to the officer so he would go knight-in-the-white-armor on my ass. And those girls I meet on TF2 keep chatting/flirting/hell knows what instead of playing (and my god do they suck). And when I told one of them one thing, half of the server jumped on me to leave her alone.
I hope one day I'll meet a girl that can kick my ass so hard I start respecting girl gamers. Still, what everyone nowadays forget, respect has to be earned, not given.

I guess I'd support it. Not sure how big it will go over, but it would be nice to see

cieply:
I'll have a game for all them "girl gamers"
image
It saddens my heart to see a women get out from the kitchen.

It's one of the few times I get to use that joke

It would be helpful if creators made games that didn't expect you to have years of gaming experience. I find that with all the girls I have tried to introduce to games find FPSs particularly difficult. I'm always sitting on my hands and gagged just not to shout "USE BOTH STICKS AT THE SAME TIME!!" as they run helplessly into the nearest wall.

I don't think trying to get in touch with girls feelings is the answer, instead make a game that helps develop the skills required to play these very complex games. Like how to strafe would be a good start.

gee this topic is driving me quackers ,trying to respond in a non offending way , interesting post ... a gta game with a female main character would be cool , but it's still a gta game ... the sex of the designer mean nothing to me , just as long as the game doesn't suck ... now get off your soap box and get to work ... toodlez

Hulyen:
I have to say that it IS depressing to see any mention of female gamers tends to have one of two reactions: "Female gamers are all attention whores" or "Female gamers are mostly women who play casual games or their husband's games once in a while" with very little middle ground.

What other reaction are we allowed at this point? Women don't want our "manly" games (well according to the media anyways) with our big manly chest beating characters. And of course the female characters are all triple D wearing a piece of string so no woman wants to see that. So until they create special games catering specifically to women these are the types of reactions we are allowed. Gaming isn't one size fits all gender, race or religious views afterall. And never will be while these stereotypes exist. And no matter what a game has to offer women it really doesn't matter since this is an unwinnable battle. Even if someone created the perfect "female" game people will still point at X-Blades or Ivy's outfit to prove that games are sexist.

While I agree that the article has a point, I don't agree that women are so scarce in production because "its a man's world and women are pushed to the back." It's because fewer women want to be involved than men.

When I had my internship that a studio that is contracted to do motion capture for game developers, there were two women in the whole place, but the rest of us didn't treat them differently or act differently, and they were as enthusiastic as the guys about the subjects being worked on. They certianly didn't seem like they felt pushed aside.

On the flipside, at my college, which also had interior design courses, there were much more women than men involved in them, does this mean men weren't wanted and pushed out because they historicly have been labeled clueless about the subject?

To be honest I'd like to see an article about what Girls/Women *do* want in gaming as opposed to what they *don't* want. For no other reason than to freshen up the formulas a bit.

I fully understand that women don't want to play games that reinforce existing stereotypes (Either of the "Barbie Horse Adventure" or "DOA: Jigglefest" varieties.)

I think that's part of the problem with the gaming industry, they don't really know how to market to the female gamer and in the past they didn't have to.

I do remember that the core gameplay of Portal was developed by female game designers in college, or am I remembering that wrong?

As a woman, I don't get the big deal here.

There are less women playing games, and therefore there are less female developers. Okay?

I'm all for games that appeal to women, but I can't even think of what that would be.

The "street smarts" thing that's been mentioned already just sounds like stealth gameplay mixed with frustrating movement controls in the "Where you can't jump big holes in the floor because you're not a freaking athlete in combat boots". Honestly, a game where I do nothing but run around (at a reasonable pace) and apparently manipulate people into doing what I want sounds really boring.

Psychologically the games are aimed at men, though. I can recall several games that involve a father/son relationship, but I can't think of many at all involving a daughter/mother relationship, or even a son/mother relationship. So I suppose that something that WOULD be refreshing.

I don't mean to sound sexist here but why does one gender have to be devalued for the other to be "empowered"? why should ANY game be targeted at a specific gender instead of just being a good game that doesn't treat it's audience like an idiot. A game like X-blades is just as offensive to an intelligent man as an intelligent woman.

If its 40% then why do we need more girl games when that statistic implies girl gamers are already happy with what they've got?

Korth13:
It would be helpful if creators made games that didn't expect you to have years of gaming experience. I find that with all the girls I have tried to introduce to games find FPSs particularly difficult. I'm always sitting on my hands and gagged just not to shout "USE BOTH STICKS AT THE SAME TIME!!" as they run helplessly into the nearest wall.

I don't think trying to get in touch with girls feelings is the answer, instead make a game that helps develop the skills required to play these very complex games. Like how to strafe would be a good start.

I've just been laughing like a drain at this! Very funny and I have been that girl. It was a while ago now mind you, but I once spent a very entertaining afternoon with two male friends watching me try to master a game on my new PS2. The strangled frustration and hopping up and down from their direction of the room was hilarious. Unfortunately it made me rather under-confident too so I didn't get very far with the game while they were watching.

BonsaiK:
Most of the riot grrl literature that I have definitely isn't "girls trying to be like the boys" and while there is symbolic violence against the patriachal system none of it advocates physical violence against people in a literal sense except in self-defense (i.e as a last resort). The movement was certainly about having equal access to the same things but it's also about saying "I'm a girl and that's okay, I don't feel the need to fit into male stereotypes just because I reject female ones, I can decide who I want to be independent from all that". Thus, Bikini Kill doesn't sound like Joni Mitchell but it definitely doesn't sound like The Ramones either. Because being a girl in a band, or in the audience, IS different from being a boy, of course it is, on all sorts of levels. The better riot grrl practitioners acknowledged that.

Most computer games right now have female characters that fit into two stereotypes:

1. Idealised beautiful woman who doesn't do much except look pretty
2. Hard-ass (but attractive) bitch who is basically just a male jock in a female suit

I think the solution for gender representation in computer games is to make the portrayal more realistic of what BOTH genders are actually like. However computer games tend to favour hyper-inflated realities, because the nature of the medium has so far usually been fantasy, not reality. So, when and if it will ever change is anyone's guess. Realistic portrays of women (and men!) will probably never be very popular, but I'd like someone to give it a decent go though. Maybe as the medium matures we'll see things improve. But the "tough guy" female characters I see in most games these days, they're not really genuinely female at all. They're just what some nerdy game designers imagine females to be, so they tend to fall into the stereotypes that those sort of people hold dear.

What BonsaiK said above.

I think this is a deeply interesting topic and something that should be discussed. I for one want to but that's probably because I'm a woman gamer - I mean woman - I'm 40.

I've got a couple of analogies to make, so please bear with me. :)

I have always like sci-fi, even when I was very little. But the female sci-fi characters on TV or in films then were rubbish - about the best you could get were the horrible lip-glossy pilots in the old Battlestar Galactica. YUCK! My dad took me to see Star Wars when I was 7 and I spent the next 5 years running around my garden with a laser-gun-shaped stick pretending to be Han Solo's younger sister. I wanted to be a cool smuggler girl NOT a weedy princess. Until I was 12 and then Han developed other possibilities I hadn't considered before. But I often think about how brilliant it is that now there are loads of excellent, strong, interesting female characters in Sci-fi and Fantasy. Thank the gods!!

The riot grrrl analogy is an interesting one. In my teens, the charts were devoid of any female artists remotely of any interest to me. Then in my 20's there was an explosion of all-girl noisy guitar bands who were good. I think up until that point, I just didn't think it was possible for women to make the kind of loud, nasty music the guys were making and which I loved. I was so relieved. But most importantly, before it happened, I couldn't imagine what it would be like.

Comics are also a good example. Maybe, a decade or two ago, the world of comics would definitely have been regarded as a bastion of male geekhood, but I don't think you could say that was the case now. Comics have been very cutting edge in creating strong, un-stereotypical female characters. And women love them.

It's not that girls and women don't like the games that are out there, we just want them to be better and to be more relevant to us. I don't want to stop killing things in games to go and bandage the legs of little lambs or something, but I wish there were MORE and BETTER story lines, characters and action that spoke to ME. But, a bit like my 'girl-band' blindness of my teens, I can't quite see how that would manifest itself. Hopefully, those storylines would be so good that the guys would like them too - as they do with those in film and comics etc.

I think it's difficult for men to understand how lacking it is because they are catered to in their gaming so readily. That's not a pokey insult from me, it's just the way it is. Imagine if 80% of all game characters were female and all the storylines were written from a female POV, would you feel a bit alienated and marginalized?

I am absolutely certain that for the female contingent to be properly integrated into the games themselves, there needs to be an increase in the number of female developers, it's just a no-brainer to me. But bear in mind that there is a generation of girls on the way up for whom gaming is not a weird, un-girly thing to do, hopefully they will begin to redress the balance. I just wish it would happen a bit sooner. However, I don't necessarily think that making better games with women in mind needs to fall squarely at the feet of female developers. Again, TV, film and comics have had their male feminist champions (Joss Whedon? Alan Moore? Martin/Hewlitt? Gaiman?). It would be nice if it was a joint effort.

The other thing is 'The Game' is a burgeoning art form (makes me think of comics again) but at the moment, it's soooo behind the times. The other media I've mentioned have done much to redress the gender balance, but Games are really laughably 'the 70s' when it comes to enlightenment. Just a thought.

I would also like to know where the '40%' has come from and how it was calculated - purely from a scientific view point, it's a pretty useless statistic to comment on if you don't know that

But guys, there are A LOT of gamers out there - 40% of that is no small number, we are legion. I know LOADS of girl and women gamers and they do NOT play Peggle and Bejeweled, they are fighting the smelly Alliance (For the Horde!), hacking up zombies and spraying bullets at mutants just like you are. Also, we aren't going to steal your stuffs and make games all about periods and shopping - I promise!

And finally, you know that real girl gamers are the coolest. Be nice to us. Or else. ;)

[P.S. I'm sorry if this has a load of grammar/typo horror - I've been up all night playing Mass Effect in prep for 2]

[edit: Just been thinking about the possibilities for a game about periods and shopping. I've decided it would be hilarious.]

G-Mang:
I've got a small question that's been nagging me for a bit now.
I've read that "women are 40% of gamers" quote a number of times now, especially as a reason for why people feel the "business excuse" isn't valid for the gender discrepancy, but I never see anything more specific. I'm not saying women shouldn't be represented better in games (in fact I think quite the opposite), but it's never struck me as a particularly helpful statistic. Are there are sources for, say, how much the two groups spend on games and accessories, what kind of games those are, and/or how much they talk to others about those games? These are probably more important to the "commercial reasoning" than the vague category of being a "gamer" or not.

I wish someone would answer your question, because it is an excellent one! But I think nobody has the answer. The "40% of gamers are girls" statistic is, by itself, meaningless. As far as market research goes, that is just one number of many that would be needed to understand the market.

Kojiro ftt:

Every female software engineer I ever worked with hated the job.

Granted, this is software engineering I am talking about, not game development, and a limited sample at that (~12). But 100% of any sample over 3 is a trend in my book. "Grrrls" just don't like it.

I wanted to get into software engineering until I realized that the people I would be working with would all be software engineers and a remarkable number of them do not have as many interests as I do. I didn't become one for social reasons. I wouldn't be surprised if that is a reason why only a small percentage of women enjoy software engineering.

Also, in general men have an easier time learning math because their brains are better made for that. (Don't get your ass math owned by Marilyn vos Savant though!)

Nobody's stopping women from stepping up and making their riot grrl games.

Hmmm, well in reading the article I see a lot of problems here, problems I have had with the movement and similar ones.

For starters looking at a sidebar, I see a comment reinforcing the article talking about how girls make up 40% of the game market, but 12% of the developers. Well the problem with that is that not many girls go into game development. To be honest I have run into very, very, few girls who are interested in becoming code monkeys or developing games. Oh sure a lot of girls DO have ideas about games, but few ever want to go into a position to do anything about it. That's something women need to deal with on their own. I don't think there is anything discouraging them from doing it, it's just that they don't gravitate to it. Being loud and getting in someone's face about a problem has ALWAYS been far easier than sitting down and doing something about it other than making noise.

I see it as being similar to Don Cheadle opening his big mouth about "reading comics, but thinking there should be more black super heroes" over "Iron Man 2". Heck it seems we get something similar to this every time a super-hero comes up in the mass media. The thing is though that there aren't many blacks who set out to write comics and such. In this case however I *DO* believe there is an anti-education subculture that encourages whining and loudmoth displays, but discourages developing any real skills to do anything and "selling out". People like Bill Cosby and others have touched on the issue far better than I can however. I see it as being a similar situation however (and reason) which I mention for comparitive purposes).

It should also be noted that feminism in most of it's forms relies on a perception of oppression that does not exist. One of the big problems here is that someone coming into the game industry or whatever desiring to make a game about "the oppression of women in a male dominated modern society" is basically looking for a fight, and trying to create issues where there really aren't one. Whether it's gender related or race related there is a perception that equality means dominance, not simply oppertunity. Given the limited amount of time, combined with modern lifespans and the time it takes for generations to pass, the civil liberties victories of the 1960s and 1970s might as well have been yesterday. There are even still people alive who were there when a lot of those rallies and such went down. Even the big leaders at the time made it perfectly clear that nobody should expect sudden, radical, change. To be honest I feel one of the biggest problems facing society today are people who are in a position of waiting for changes to catch up, and no battles to fight in the meantime. The thing is that to be a good developer, a woman or a black or whomever would need to be able to develop without a political agenda and ranting about oppression or whatever because all that is going to do is basically irritate people and start fights.

Or to put things into perspective, the guys holding the jobs back in the 1960s are in many cases the same guys who are holding those jobs now, or passing them down through their family. Nobody was ever talking about shooting these people and giving their stuff to people that were admitted to having been treated unfairly. Oppertunity exists, but frankly the lack of those oppertunities being open is a major issue sociologists saw coming. Pretty much this entire generation in general (Gen X) was "skipped" and it happened to coincide with civil liberties victories. So when people see nothing happen consider that it's not happening for pretty much everyone in this generation. Saying the problems are because your black, or a woman, or whatever is stupid. I'm a white male, despite my problems was pretty well educated, and at my high point I was a bloody security officer (this was not on my "what I want to be when I grow up" or even a rut I fully expected). Nobody oppressed me, the problem was the same one everyone has: Baby Boomers not dying and retiring. Heck right now we've even got old folks being medically pumped up and coming out to compete for low end jobs.

So basically, if someone makes a game about women being oppressed by men, it might go over well with a certain crowd, but in the end it's nothing but an attempt at electronic rabble rousing. As a result few people are going to let someone develop something like that.

Basically the whole problem with "Riot Girls" is that while it can be fun to be loud and subversive, in the end screaming for change is a lot more entertaining than making change happen (which involves exactly the opposite behavior), and both are vast improvements from simply waiting for changes slowly developing due to victories to become more prominant in a society where people are living 80-90 years and the passage of a couple of generations could take centuries.

Basically I feel that most social movements won't have valid room to cry until like 2160. This being 200 years from 1960 and basically amounting to 2 and half generations (ie your Grandchildren's Children) meaning that the group in power them will have fully moved on, and all of the jobs/roles/etc... will have opened up down a generation themselves. Only then will you be able to fairly look at how things spread out and if they worked or not.

If a game called Riot Girls was made it would be like The Warriors but it would be a gang consisting of Riot Girls.

The first page of this thread was moderately interesting, the second page has suddenly devolved into stereotypes and excessive generalities. Yeeesh.

I identify myself as a girl, female, woman and if I;m in my steampunk outfit, lady. Whenever this subject comes up I hear what do girls/women/females/ladies want in a game? So here is my gaming bucket list.

I want to be able to play a tom-boy who doesn't grow a size DD rack. I want to see more realistic sizes both in women AND men. I want to buy armor from the shop and have it cover my whole leg and chest (seriously, do the costume designers really think we're not going to notice that most armor is so holey that we would die in real battle?). I want more creativity, why stop? We've had amazing games in the past that did not focus on manly men doing manly things or manly women doing manly things.

I think that is all for now.

The first page of this thread was moderately interesting, the second page has suddenly devolved into stereotypes and excessive generalities. Yeeesh.

Well do YOU know where the 40% thingy comes from Mr Clever?

Yeah. It was a poll done by the ISDA several years ago, I believe. And it didn't necessarily include any percentage of playing time, or how "hardcore" the games involved were. Bejeweled was as much of a game as Call of Duty.

But that's not what I was complaining about. The crappy stereotypes I was complaining about were things like:

"Girls play no shooters, strategies, RTSes, hack and slashes. I've seen a small number of girls playing wow but they were mostly pve carebears and I hate to see how all the nerds start hitting on that girl and giving her special permissions, not minding their flaws. "

"Well the problem with that is that not many girls go into game development. To be honest I have run into very, very, few girls who are interested in becoming code monkeys or developing games."

"Also, in general men have an easier time learning math because their brains are better made for that."

"Alright, it's offical: The Escapist is whoring itself out for hits. There's no other explanation for why you'd publish three or four self-righteous articles about girl gamers within 24 hours. "

Intelligent conversation.

Therumancer, you make some good points, but note that a generation in sociology is considered to be a 20-25 year period, not an entire lifespan, and if you're speaking about cultural shifts, I think you need to use the sociological and not the biological definition of generation.

But that small point aside, overall, I agree with you: What is lost in all these cries of discrimination/objectification/oppression is the fact that change is in fact occurring. Compare that nebulous 40% number to what it must've been just 5 years ago, then again to 10 years ago; while I have no hard numbers, I would imagine that it has skyrocketed. It just takes a long. fucking. time for it to propogate across society as a whole. Remember the 'glass ceiling'? Yeah, it's still in place -somewhat- but there are now 13 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies-- in other words, things are improving. Is there any reason to not expect the trend to continue?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that females who feel mistreated, ignored, etc. should take steps to try to improve their situation: don't try and change The World-- you'll only be disappointed. Instead change your world, and not only will you be happier, you'll also likely be contributing to cultural shift as you influence those around you. (Imitative learning being a very strong force, regardless of culture.) But even still, remember that there will always be people who do not agree with your point of view (in othere words: dicks) regardless of how 'enlightened' most of us may become.

As for female programmers, I work for a large, large software company that I'm sure you all know, and the dev team I work with is almost 50% female. I'm sure that the gaming industry will follow. (In fact, I know that at one game developer, they have about 30% females... but admittedly, many of those are in the art department.)

as a last post-script, the guys who do the whole "I won't respect a girl gamer until she kicks my ass in a game..." really make me laugh... talk about putting the cheese in machismo. The truth is they would probably feel threatened and insult her even more. (re: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/4/8/)

I used to play survival on l4d with a girl quite regularly, got a lot of gold medals with her. Guns aren't phallic, they're shaped that way because it's an optimal shape for accurately firing bullets. Dicks are gun-shaped, so we can accurately piss on toilet seats.
If 40% of gamers are women, that means they already found games they like, or they wouldn't be gaming.
And what is everybody's problem with casual gaming? Stereotypically, as a guy, I mostly play fps and racing games, at pretty hardcore levels, but I sometimes enjoy an hour or so of Tetris or Bubble Bobble as well, I love those games.

solidstatemind:

Therumancer, you make some good points, but note that a generation in sociology is considered to be a 20-25 year period, not an entire lifespan, and if you're speaking about cultural shifts, I think you need to use the sociological and not the biological definition of generation.

But that small point aside, overall, I agree with you: What is lost in all these cries of discrimination/objectification/oppression is the fact that change is in fact occurring. Compare that nebulous 40% number to what it must've been just 5 years ago, then again to 10 years ago; while I have no hard numbers, I would imagine that it has skyrocketed. It just takes a long. fucking. time for it to propogate across society as a whole. Remember the 'glass ceiling'? Yeah, it's still in place -somewhat- but there are now 13 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies-- in other words, things are improving. Is there any reason to not expect the trend to continue?

Well, we were pretty close to an Equal Rights Amendment in 1979--three states away, right? I'd say we're a lot further from that now. Feminism went from being synonymous with women's rights to being a dirty word in our culture.

It's tough, the question of whether things are improving. In some areas things get better, in others it seems to get worse. Overall I'd say it's better, but, I think it's a complicated question.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that females who feel mistreated, ignored, etc. should take steps to try to improve their situation: don't try and change The World-- you'll only be disappointed. Instead change your world, and not only will you be happier, you'll also likely be contributing to cultural shift as you influence those around you. (Imitative learning being a very strong force, regardless of culture.) But even still, remember that there will always be people who do not agree with your point of view (in othere words: dicks) regardless of how 'enlightened' most of us may become.

The funny thing is, that's exactly what Riot Grrl did: they founded their own record labels, made their own music, published their own zines.

Rowan Kaiser:
The first page of this thread was moderately interesting, the second page has suddenly devolved into stereotypes and excessive generalities. Yeeesh.

I'm surprised it took that long.

Rowan Kaiser:

But that's not what I was complaining about. The crappy stereotypes I was complaining about were things like:

"Alright, it's offical: The Escapist is whoring itself out for hits. There's no other explanation for why you'd publish three or four self-righteous articles about girl gamers within 24 hours. "

Intelligent conversation.

Yeah, because it's not like The Escapist has ever published a bunch of articles about girl gamers before...

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I usually just read the articles - I'd hoped that the tone of comments was at least somewhat similar. And it was for a while!

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