259: Vaginophobia

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Vaginophobia

Videogames have long been characterized by the mainstream as an adolescent medium, played by stunted males who have trouble associating with the opposite sex. Those who play games might scoff, but is there actually a fear of the feminine within the content? Michael Thomsen takes a scholarly look into the accusations of vaginophobia.

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Is it just me, or have I see this before?

Here it is: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_235/6978-Vaginophobia

Still, interesting article.

MercurySteam:
Is it just me, or have I see this before?

Here it is: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_235/6978-Vaginophobia

Still, interesting article.

i thought thi all looked familiar
it is a good article though

I never, ever felt the need to beat a woman to death in a videogame, but maybe I'm just strange like that.

Seriously though, I have nothing against vaginas, they're cool beans in my book and I never got the impression of the vagina looking like a castration wound.

Ouch. Busted recycling your own articles. How embarrassing for you.
I am not gonna read the same article again but I do remember thinking it was a load of crap last time.

Konrad Curze:
Ouch. Busted recycling your own articles. How embarrassing for you.
I am not gonna read the same article again but I do remember thinking it was a load of crap last time.

You know thats it's a 'best of' thing right?

Gosh I'm glad I was brought up the way I was. I watch all this masculinity business from some way away.

Anyway, we had something like this before, so... why again?

Tip: Buy the Puscifer album "V is for Vagina" and overcome your fears. ;)

I always thought that was the fear of knees but I don't know why.

That's... really random. LOL

So... wait. I can claim to be a creature that potentially inflicts horror upon others?

Sweet.

(I second the random comment)

I don't understand how people can obsess over sexes and sexual stereotypes and insecurities and blahablahoblahargh. I really couldn't care less about "vaginophobia" in games.

Also, a castration wound? Seriously? What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Mortagog:
I really couldn't care less about "vaginophobia" in games.

At least not when the games that was presented in the article are all more or less the most "macho" games out there.

I would argue that the way a game like Mass Effect 1 and 2 handles romance and females is far from how it is in this article.

In the end we will always find proof for our hypothesis' if we go looking for only them

It's interesting that in today's entertainment world you have strong female lead characters murdering scores of big male adversaries, from Joss Whedon's River and Buffy to Ultraviolet (or basically anything Mila Jovovich is in), and fan boys LOVE it. It's still all about murder, though, and often the female characters could just as easily be swapped out for males, but it's still happening, and in games, too. Like Bayonetta.

I'd also comment on the sexual appearance or even impractical attire of the female characters, but that would be a waste of time, because male characters are often given the same degree of mass- marketing sex appeal- impossible abs, flawless skin, rugged good looks, huge muscles, chiseled features, etc. Remember, just because it doesn't appeal to you...

While there might be something to vaginophobia, there also might be a backlash as well.

Uh, no.

When I play a game, the "primal instinct" I feel is called fun and I do not derive fun from the act of killing and sexual imagery, I derive fun from challenge (which combat can offer, so can dialogue), good story and well made characters.

Give me a female main character, make her beat people up non-lethally, make her talk to her male friends in a non-sluttish manner, make her dress in battle fatigues and proper clothes...
I don't see why ANYONE would be bothered about it, really.

I honestly think the feminists are just as up their own arses as the so-called "men-children".

Aurgelmir:

Mortagog:
I really couldn't care less about "vaginophobia" in games.

At least not when the games that was presented in the article are all more or less the most "macho" games out there.

I would argue that the way a game like Mass Effect 1 and 2 handles romance and females is far from how it is in this article.

In the end we will always find proof for our hypothesis' if we go looking for only them

In Mass Effect 2, I kept several women on the line. I didn't commit to anyone until I had to (totally went for Jack in the end, bitch was crazy and unfortunately that seems to be my type) and they all seemed OK with the fact I was clearly flirting with all of them. Hell, I probably even told them all that I loved them at some point. It did eventually get to a point where Jack asked me to make my choice, but still; I was the handsome space stud who managed to make just about every female member of my crew moist by merely chatting to them. Let's not even get into discussing how I could choose to dress them up in skimpier or more dominatrix-esque outfits. I suppose you could say the difference is that in that game, you can choose to play a female character, but male Shepard is still the canon one.

I think the author has a point. Take a look at Bayonetta; supposedly a game with a strong female protagonist, which doesn't reflect the vaginophobia idea. On the other hand, she dresses like a hooker, the developers bragged about the amount of time they spent making her arse move realistically, and she has a tendency to get naked. Can you see Marcus from GoW or Master Chief doing that?

I was sick of this arguement when it was first published and I'm still sick of it.

I was gunna make a big point here but it was stupid...

So anyway, On the point about GOW2 for example. The reason Dom' wife was given a measly cut-scene I think you'll find is not some deep seeded fear of emotions and love but the flow of the story. Dom's wife was set up as some a goal to acheive, basically a princess to be rescued from a castle (Thats not an obvious masculine idea... Whose side am I on). So when we actually got to her, deep in the castle we were leading up to a finale which gameplay wise is going to be fast pace,enemy heavy and difficult. Having to do a escort mission in the middle of that would of been both fustrating and pace destroying. So that descision is more due to gameplay than story.

Eh, vaginas are pretty scary, soul-eating things but at least they arn't violent, pulsing rods that you stab into poor innocent victims in a act of power, control and anger.

According to the ESA, 40% of people playing games are women. There are almost twice as many women over the age of eighteen who play games than there are boys under the age of seventeen.

I know this is not all women gamers, obviously, but these statistics aren't accurate because they count "playing farmville on facebook all day" as gaming. These are not gamers and should not be grouped together with "actual" gamers.

MercurySteam:
Is it just me, or have I see this before?

Here it is: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_235/6978-Vaginophobia

Still, interesting article.

This week's issue is Best of, The best articles of The Escapist Magazine from January - June 2010.

I don't understand how people can obsess over sexes and sexual stereotypes and insecurities and blahablahoblahargh. I really couldn't care less about "vaginophobia" in games.

If it's not you that people are belittling, it's much easier not to give a shit. :)

these statistics aren't accurate because they count "playing farmville on facebook all day" as gaming. These are not gamers and should not be grouped together with "actual" gamers.

PLZ try to think of some descriptive term other than "real" and "fake" gamers, ok? I'm not interested in facebook either, but it has tons of players and they're clearly enjoying doing something which is gamelike in at least some aspects. It's not the same kind of game as an FPS. Neither is a text adventure. That doesn't make them automatically "not games". (It makes them "not fun" to me personally, but Deer Hunter Xtreme isn't fun to me personally either.)

I don't personally meet a whole lot of people who try to tell me I can't be a gamer because I'm female, but I do run into a lot of people who strictly divide games into "real games for manly men" (ie guns, gore, and tits) and "games for kids". The idea that there might exist ANY other market is foreign to them (and I don't just mean 'women' either!). So they look confusedly at me and ask when I'm going to start working on REAL games, because if you can't make somebody's head asplode, it's not a proper game to them... and in many cases if they don't like it, they don't think it should even exist!

This article is one of the best so far this year? You've got to be kidding me. This article was idiotic when it was first published and it's equally idiotic now, if not more so. Not that it might not have the inklings of a point - I think he's probably fundamentally right, to a certain extent, but it's buried under a whole heap of transparently malformed arguments laced with hints of the casual misandry that pervades our society. I would tear it apart point by point, but I have things to do so I'll just say this: this is a poor article and I disagree with it on multiple levels.

Genderizing everything makes this misogynist a sad man.

Not everything is about penises or vagina's. Some times it's just about pretending to have a big gun, and killing stuff.

I dunno girls are not so....er...... dandified these days I do not think you have to go out of your way to make something more suitable for them. Then again look at manga/anime it is mainstream to all demogrphics while gaming can't really get out of the comic male teen phase.

Then again with DLC, wiiware/VC you can hit most demographics so I dunno..... maybe it all boils down to less unrealistic gritty realism and better writing/story telling with more feeling and emotion put into it other than generic and bland action scripts.

Lack of data does not evidence make.

Seriously. I applaud your determination to explore this subject. But I could just as easily postulate that games these days really pander to very female fears, by pointing to the success farmville and other "tending" games. You know, even Starcraft could be evidence for a particularly female-infused movement in games: bugs are known to scare the weaker sex, after all. And it's all about nurturing your troops anyway. [/sarcasm]

Don't pick *some* games, analyze them all from a given period. Include the Wii as a platform, but don't limit yourself to it. List exactly the criteria which you think are specifically about male insecurities, and the criteria which you think are specifically about female insecurities. Point to studies that prove, as much as possible, that these insecurities are common enough to matter. Then gather data according to these criteria, and present the results. Be sure to question gamers, non-gamers, people who consider themselves secure in their sexuality, and people who don't. Include a control group, and feed them things that aren't considered games (e.g. pointless clickery) but show the same things, and record their reactions. And so on.

Until and unless someone does something like the above, I'll dismiss any arguments about gender issues in games.

It's not that I don't think they exist - I'm sure they do, and my impression is that they're frustratingly common and particularly blatant. But opinion pieces about them don't help, and just serve to perpetuate stereotypes, not to further our understanding of games.

How about unlocking/unhiding the discussion from the original thread, rather than just reposting it?

Dom kills his wife to end her pain, and not as to eliminate a potential burden...

I don't anticipate a massive overhaul of the way women are portrayed (or not portrayed) in games anytime soon. However, all I can say is: when I unlocked Chris' 'Warrior' outfit in RE5 I heaved a sigh of relief, in that it was at least fair, not progressive by any means, but fair. I played through it again out of spite, just to see his huge nipples basking in the zombie infested fields.

Spinozaad:
Genderizing everything makes this misogynist a sad man.

Not everything is about penises or vagina's. Some times it's just about pretending to have a big gun, and killing stuff.

"OH BUT THE BIG GUN IS A PHALLIC SYMBOL" :P

Mortagog:
I don't understand how people can obsess over sexes and sexual stereotypes and insecurities and blahablahoblahargh. I really couldn't care less about "vaginophobia" in games.

The latter is rather indicative of the former.

Still an excellent article. The ongoing, adolescent machoism in videogames is one of the major obstacles to overcome in the struggle to make games become art.

Bealzibob:
I was sick of this arguement when it was first published and I'm still sick of it.

I was gunna make a big point here but it was stupid...

So anyway, On the point about GOW2 for example. The reason Dom' wife was given a measly cut-scene I think you'll find is not some deep seeded fear of emotions and love but the flow of the story. Dom's wife was set up as some a goal to acheive, basically a princess to be rescued from a castle (Thats not an obvious masculine idea... Whose side am I on). So when we actually got to her, deep in the castle we were leading up to a finale which gameplay wise is going to be fast pace,enemy heavy and difficult. Having to do a escort mission in the middle of that would of been both fustrating and pace destroying. So that descision is more due to gameplay than story.

Eh, vaginas are pretty scary, soul-eating things but at least they arn't violent, pulsing rods that you stab into poor innocent victims in a act of power, control and anger.

We are many who would like to know why you are sick of this argument. To condemn the discussion or the opponent's views without any points or facts are simply an attempt to make the opponent seem stupid, a desperate measure to be used when one has no real chance to win the debate.

For the GOW2 thing, this is an excellent example of how the developer believes us all to be immature adolescents with machoistic fantasies, and them being completely correct about it.
Dom's wife's death is the sacrifice of story for satisfying the whims of impatient gamers. With proper storywork, an escort mission would have been the correct, justified, heroic and manly thing to have. Instead, they take the fast and macho way out, killing her as an escort mission would have been a burden to us.
A crime against the hope that games, someday, will become proper art, instead of just a craft.
For the difference between manly and macho see Yatzee's definition: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/7597-Extra-Punctuation-Male-Protagonists

Article:
For many men, masculinity is a hard-won yet precarious and brittle psychological achievement that must be constantly proven and defended, (...) this fantasy of being under constant siege by a multitude of external feminizing forces is really an unconscious defense that is employed to keep out of mind something even more disturbing - an identification with women.

I personally know several of these; males that seem to have a strong fear of their manhood falling off if they identify with anything even remotely feminine.

Maybe I'm strange but I've never killed a prostitute in any GTA game or felt the urge to. I instinctively avoid killing women as much as possible in games. So I find it odd that killing prostitutes in GTA is brought up so often. I much prefer protect the "princess and hold her hand" gimmick of Ico. I must be some kind of women liking deviant, lol.

image
Forgive me if I find the first part a little hard to believe

"In Gears of War 2, Dom kills his wife in an alien prison because she would be a burden"

That wasn't why he did that. It was because she was too far gone to save, and all he could do was end her suffering. If you really thought he did it becuse she'd be a "burden" then that just shows your own misogony and idiocy.

As others have pointed out this is a very poor article.

*jumps on the terrible article bandwagon*

On the other hand, she dresses like a hooker, the developers bragged about the amount of time they spent making her arse move realistically, and she has a tendency to get naked. Can you see Marcus from GoW or Master Chief doing that?

I read a scientific article on the way men and women's sex appeal works. Obviously it was generalizing, but the reason guys don't randomly strip unlike women characters is because visual stuff doesn't appeal as much to heterosexual women as it does to hetero men. I can't remember the article.

RobCoxxy:

Spinozaad:
Genderizing everything makes this misogynist a sad man.

Not everything is about penises or vagina's. Some times it's just about pretending to have a big gun, and killing stuff.

"OH BUT THE BIG GUN IS A PHALLIC SYMBOL" :P

Yeah... Well... SO IS A WOMAN'S FINGER!
And... eh... MY PENIS. Oh, wait. Yeah...

Anyway. I feel that most games featuring macho gorilla monkey men wearing space armour protagonists who grunt and growl at women while fingering their triggers are aimed at teenagers/young-adults.

They like that. Just as much as they like boobies. There is no Freudian attitude. Some times people are, in my honest opinion, trying too hard to find psychological depth in every thing. Some times a turd is, indeed, just a pile of shit and not a statement.

Blue-State:
image
Forgive me if I find the first part a little hard to believe

Stastically speaking 97% of all statstics are made up.

OP: It was an OK article. I agree that modern culture does tend towards a lack of responsibility, insecurities and being afraid of intellectual discovery.

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