259: Vaginophobia

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I don't really care if my in-game character is a man, woman, sentient being, dog, whatever. I don't need to beat women to death in games or take out any anti-feminine aggression via gaming.

Still, I do find the characterization of both sexes in video games to be flat-out ridiculous. I'm not saying I want my character to be an ugly fatass with no reasonable appeal, but you're usually stuck between "Joe Bodybuilder" and "Sassy Boobage".

I applaud games that portray people as the flawed creatures that they are and allow me to play as an average human. I mean, there are times where I'm ashamed to play games in front of my girlfriend or friends just because I know that they're gonna see the character and be like, "Nick, seriously? That girl's boobs are ridiculous. And you enjoy this? What a pig. What a sick pig."

Take Dragon Quest 8 for instance. My Dad and I used to play the Dragon Warrior games for the NES together when I was a kid, so I showed him the PS2 game years ago to show him how the combat was still largely the same, the music resembled the old and the difficulty was up to par. What did he notice? The female character's boobies jiggling all over the screen. Great.


What they fear is kind of more dangerous than what you fear, and this can tend to make them quite angry when the fears are compared.


http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/2140,news-comment,news-politics,rapex-the-internal-anti-rape-device -this came into big discussion recently because of the World Cup. It's sad it has been driven to this. (I only bring it up because this made me think a bit about the whole 'weakness' situation and basically *blaaaaaaaaaaah* all over here.)

... wait, are you only talking about what's most important in terms of heterosexual people meeting each other with the intent of forming relationships? That puts a slightly different spin on what you're saying. Because I'm baffled at the idea that you would evaluate an artist or mechanic or manager solely on her appearance.

Stop trying to reframe the debate when you're losing it. If I meet an artist or mechanic or manager, unless they already happen to be my friend, the last thing I'm interested in is "forming relationships." The first two (the good ones, anyway,) are statistically likely to be men, for one thing. And the third is far more likely to be fantasizing about relationships with her male managerial betters to pay attention to me, though with enough game a one-night stand is possible.

Besides, being a man, I DON'T NEED TO SEE A PERSON TO EVALUATE THEM, I JUST NEED TO SEE THE RESULTS OF THEIR WORK. I am perfectly comfortable with evaluating a person sight unseen. Don't most of us already do that when reviewing videogames on a videogame-centric site?

Men don't generally 'form relationships' outside of a very few trusted friends that they meet every day. (And even then, unless they share a few very specific interests, not likely.) Men are, however, better at forming and maintaining 'acquaintanceships,' which is why they can actually create jobs and promote economic growth far more reliably than men.

"Honestly, do any of these people ever lift their heads up past their own genitals to see the world around them? Do they sit through every movie thinking nothing but "I'd do her. Would do her. Wouldn't do her. Gotta fart. Ah, just farted. Might do her. Would TOTALLY do her AND her sister. Gonna think about that for a while. Yeah, I'd back-door the sister while the first one sat on my face. That'd be good. Then they could buy me a hamburger and tell me how cool my Transformers fan-art is. Yeah, gonna think about that some more. Wait, where am I? Oh, the lights are on and everyone's leaving? Guess the movie's over. Hey, look at that girl over there, walking out. Yeah, I guess I'd do her if there wasn't anything good on TV.""

Yes, that's a man's primary interest in making movies. That's why when we were kids we watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That's why when we were old we watched Master and Commander. That's why when we were any age, we watched Die Hard and Aliens and Indiana Jones and The Great Escape. Sexy was the main theme of these movies and totally not something worked in as an afterthought for the dates that some men might bring.

This is also why Showgirls was such a box office success.

Sorry, but for men, sex is a prime motivator, not the prime motivator. Masturbating to Trinity fan-art takes all of a few minutes, but debating with each other about the implications of technology, or statistics, or systems, or technique, or truth, is a real, positive, pleasure, and can take years. To paraphrase the great G.K. Chesterton:

[i]Men speak to the topic. Women speak to each other.[/i]

No - from about 100% to under 5%, thus averaging out at around 50-60% overall.

I mean, basically, you're saying that when romance novels were the exclusive and unregulated domain of women, being raped by the alpha male was the near-uniform plot point. But now that the rest of society has grown up and gotten all old and wrinkly and tired and interconnected and aware of everyone else's existence, all the old media forms have gotten tired of rape in their nostalgia.

And yaoi and slash fiction, also of the Rape is Love variety and also nearly all written by women, do a roaring trade.

However, some people will try to use this to argue utter nonsense about biological destiny and how menz want to raep and wimminz wants to be raped and therefore we should just let them go at it... when this is very much not the case.

In my experience, men, in general, don't always want to rape. Actually, very few do. But women always, without exception, want the deniablilty option for every sexual encounter. They are the ones that are afraid of shame. They are the ones who will not face their fears, and thus instead blindly seek control, social or otherwise. They are the ones who will act before talking and marry and divorce without thinking, based entirely on feelings and fantasies unreflected on. They are the ones who think the opinions of their girlfriends matter more than the opinions of their husbands, or perhaps even the opinions of prior received wisdom.

Not really. See Twilight, for example. Now, I must admit up front that I have not read it, I've only read a lot of reviews and essays discussing it. But it's VERY popular, there are hordes of female readers, and plenty of them are young.

And it introduced Mr. Bazillion-Abs thug RapeWolf as a major character as soon as possible. And it's view of vampires is far more implausible than the many reimaginings that male authors and directors made. And it's entirely about women socially subverting their way through an established system, rather than being heroes and trying to bring the system down. And it's a rip-off of a much better series that stars a much hotter and much more intelligent Kate Beckinsdale. It's a female masturbation fantasy that is beneath my notice, though I do like the reimagining as Mormon apologetics.

I'd rather watch Van Helsing.

The 'hero' is still creepy as hell

Creepy is a female weasel word that imputes danger without specifics. It's not 'creepy' if the guy stalking you is Aryan Sparkly Jesus. (But if it's George McFly, quelle horror!)

and stalks the pure innocent heroine. But what he does not do is rape her. Social standards have changed and fantasies have changed with them - instead, as I understand it, she spends a few books begging him to sleep with her while he refuses because he doesn't want to besmirch her chastity!

Also see: "This is a recognized female fantasy that will never, ever happen, because feminism has killed chivalry dead, dead, dead."

Modern romance novels find that idea squicky. Characters are pushed together in forced marriages, but the sex in general now tends to wait until both partners consent.

Modern romance novel readers find that idea squicky. New media read by younger, prettier females goes for rape-is-love with gusto.

If fully-consensual sex six months after getting married when you've finally come to love and trust each other counts as "almost raped" in your worldview, it'll be difficult to have anything resembling a sensible discussion here. :)

If a majority of women truly expect that they can marry someone and not have sex with them for six months, their understanding of male sexuality has left all semblance of reality, and neither I nor anyone else who still has a firm grasp on reality will rush to their or any other women's aid when 'marital rape' is called. Nor will policemen, judges, and jurors of anything but the most heavily influenced by feminism variety.

Romance novels (and fanfic) like to use weird situations to shove characters together because that allows for conflict and that builds the drama. A story about two people who like each other, get married, have sex, and live happily ever after is kinda dull. A man forced to marry his enemy's daughter in order to save his family castle and attempt to woo her while fending off invading vikings or whatever - that's a story!

An unrealistic fantasy. Far more unrealistic than anything Michael Bay ever made. In reality, daughters in the ancient world were married off according to value like cattle, and were expected and trained to please their husbands regardless of how they were treated. It may come to that again, given current birthrates and the resurgence of Mormonism and Islam.


You have made no arguments powerful enough to justify rolling your virtual eyes at me, wench.

Most people who play fantasy games involving swords and monster fighting wouldn't particularly want to be in a real life-or-death battle, either.

Yep, that's why middle-class white kids who live in peaceful rural and suburban communities playing video games and D&D never, ever join the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. And why they never do great acts of bravery, rebuild difficult countries, and stay loyal to their teammates over repeated deployments, ever. Yep, men have no acumen for life-or-death situations, no sireebob.

No, men who are of good alignment

Men that have been fooled or indoctrinated.

support feminist legislation because they support equality and human rights.

And then the men are divorced (often while serving overseas) and raped in court in large numbers because women don't give a flying fuck about an abstraction like 'human rights' when their own money is on the line.

Men who are not of good alignment laugh and point and squawk about how ugly all the feminists are, and how clearly they'll never be able to get a man. Somehow missing the point that diehard feminists don't give a shit if Joe Random thinks they're ugly and doesn't want to screw them.

Neither diehard feminists nor your standard women ever wanted to have sex with Joe Random. They wanted Joe Department Head, or Joe Celebrity, or Joe Pimp. However, women, and the last three types of Joes, generally need Joe Random's support in order to survive in a functioning society, so they told Joe Random lies about human nature from the beginning of his life. The lies are now starting to crack, thanks to our new revolution in global communications. And women and Joe Alpha are scared shitless that they'll lose their protected social status, and will do everything to keep the lies alive.

The useful idiots will be the first to go.

I remember this article, and I remember thinking "On the one hand, this article nearly makes a good point in misogyny involving gamers, and I personally have seen what was described as a fear that women will "break into the clubhouse" among some gamers. But on the other hand, this article is totally fucking laughable because it seems to assume that all male gamers are bunch of destructive power-tripping misogynistic wankers, and that any scene in gaming in which a man is manly or a woman is womanly it must be dripping with horribly sexist subtext, and in doing so, simply enforces harmful gender divides."

So yeah. Seriously, there ARE some pretty ridiculous portrayals of men and women in gaming, and then there are groups of gamers (usually 14 year-old COD fans and your occasional nutjob chauvanistic dickspurt)who have a shitty attitude towards women, but for god's sake, this writer seems to have an attitude towards gamers that's almost as bad as the attitude he PERCEIVES us as having.

*massive snip*

Just out of curiosity, have you ever had a significant amount of difficulty connecting to or communicating with women, or have a few women simply fucked you over in your time?

Holy shit this article is still being commented on.

this kinda makes sense seeing how games sometimes give people a chance to act out on many things that would get them arrested in then real world, I play fallout as I would act in that situation, which means I tend to avoid conflict (except when I decide to act snarky) but I know many people who would go on an all-out rampage in the game for no real reason and you can often see any prejudices they may have during these rampages, depending on which characters they enjoy killing.

Holy shit this article is still being commented on.

You're surprised? Nothing makes gamers more insecure than a serious discussion about women.

I would have mentioned more about MGS4, like maybe how all the bosses are women?

..or how they hug you to death, how Hal warns you about them grabbing you, or them all being archetypes of psychotic girlfriends.

Or how Hal can't bring himself to drop his act in front of Naomi, but scores anyway :D

Imo, the core of the article is very true. There are a lot of adolescent children running the industry. To the point where they are catered for in Uncharted 2 even when Amy Hennig writes the script. In the sense that it's never possible to really treat the "mainstream gamer" as someone who likes to be treated as if they were slightly more mature.

The games that did that, and didn't simply cater shamelessly to that emotionally stunted male child, they aren't made any longer, simple as that. Example: Obsidian's Kotor2, Troika's Bloodlines, Jane Jensen's Gabriel Knight, Adventure games of various kinds, Tim Schafer's games like Grim Fandango or Psychonauts. These games are excellent games, but the industry doesn't want games like that to be made in favour of adolescent fantasies.

..the article just uses made up facts to make the idea seem more likely. Not really a good idea.

But I mean, take a look at Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. If you take the plot and story step by step, you see a tendency that pervades other games like it as well.. which is an enumerated list of things that are too violent to be aimed at children, but still too childish to be taken as seriously as it takes itself. I called it something like "apparently made for adolescents over eighteen" in my review, because that's what it is. R-rated children's games. Bayonetta is exactly the same - it's Sonic, just exclusively for adults.

And it's just too true that a lot of gamers - specially the ones bravely championing their right to bash hookers in with a dildo on the internet, without this actually saying anything at all about their personality - are exactly like that. They obsessively purchase games, and want to think that no one else are different from that.

Just like it's the case that if the games-industry is to ever expand to more than fps-games, etc., then it needs to grow up, and give other types of games real coverage and focus. I mean, seriously, you see attempts to make man-child fantasies more deep games. And they're hailed as grand story-telling genius. IGN and Gamespot all have at some point or another hailed Bungie and IW for their "story-telling genius", for example.

Or what do we get with reviews, also on this site? Gears 3 is treated with revered respect for fantastic story-telling achievement brilliance - and Alpha Protocol reluctantly gets some sort of unspecific plus in the margins for being "quite good, actually". But no one ever really manage to explain why.

The reason why the vagina spike was more taboo than the neck tentacle has nothing to do with it's association with female genitalia but with genitalia period! You would be just as unlikely to come across an enemy that beats you to death with a massive spiked penis.

I vaguely remember reading this a while ago. I refuse to read it again.

Anyways, I am not afraid of gaming culture attaining a bisexual status. Gaming has been homo for way too long.

Just out of curiosity, have you ever had a significant amount of difficulty connecting to or communicating with women, or have a few women simply fucked you over in your time?

Neither. I have had greater success by both being able to connect more readily with women (often better than their boyfriends or husbands, which was kind of weird when they were dragging their significant others along to talk to me,) and by avoiding the type of women who genuinely would fuck me over. I already know that I'm smarter than the average bear due to genetics or upbringing or luck or education or training or what have you; my concern is for those men who aren't, and who WILL get fucked over by women at the first opportunity. I can be fairly level-headed and even-handed about this whole thing because my friends (and relatives) have taken the brunt of the emotional and psychological damage that I could see coming.

The real news isn't that videogames are occasionally anti-woman, the news is that our society and laws are anti-men, and this manifests itself in roaringly ignorant statements by our female members and their male defenders here. Now stop trying to impute nasty motives to me and speak to the topic like a real man.

The reason why the vagina spike was more taboo than the neck tentacle has nothing to do with it's association with female genitalia but with genitalia period! You would be just as unlikely to come across an enemy that beats you to death with a massive spiked penis.

Does an enemy that IS a giant, tentacled, spiked penis count?

Now stop trying to impute nasty motives to me and speak to the topic like a real man.

:/ any time you're ready..

Example: Obsidian's Kotor2, Troika's Bloodlines, Jane Jensen's Gabriel Knight, Adventure games of various kinds, Tim Schafer's games like Grim Fandango or Psychonauts. These games are excellent games, but the industry doesn't want games like that to be made in favour of adolescent fantasies.

I think it's more the "industry" (publishers and producers) don't think they can SELL as many of those kinds of titles vs Gears of War(etc).

WANT is the territory of dreamers, developers, consumers and fans. Most of the big decisions on what creative license gets issued is, ultimately, in the hands of the publishing companies and money men.


I think it's more the "industry" (publishers and producers) don't think they can SELL as many of those kinds of titles vs Gears of War(etc).

Or that they can't fit the titles into their existing advertisement schemes. Just like console mags can't write about anything else.

There was this curious string of articles about how difficult it was to label certain kinds of titles a while back. The premise was that "fps" and "shooter" was an eminently easy sell. But "puzzle" and "role-playing" was, oh, gruesomely difficult.

And that's the problem. "These titles" can't be sold in the same way as shooters. Or as adolescent male fantasies. They've even tried - Psychonauts was marketed as an arcade psycho power shooter, for example.

But why is advertisement tailored to that narrow audience so specifically? I mean, it's not just Microsoft that does this - where they are deliberately capitalizing on their fanatic fanbase. It's companies that actually have made a completely different product: they still sell these games as if they were adolescent fantasies.

It's a strange question, right? Makes no sense to market something on what it's not - until you read a console magazine, or hear anyone covering E3, who are arguing deliberately like this: "if most people like it, then I like it too". Where "most people" are the other bloggers and console fans who think exactly in the same way, and who are fans of the exact same type of game as them.

Because the truth is that it's never actually been tried to actually sell games differently. If you look at Heavy Rain, for example, I think anyone who actually followed what Sony did here will agree that it sold as well as it did - because it wasn't advertised for at all. I mean, I chatted with the producer about it - they had serious and dominating doubts about even trying to sell it as film-narrative and film-art translated to games. And.. of course they're right - because if you look at the console-magazines, they are uniformly trashing the game for not being anything special, and compare it to Mass Effect. That happened on the escapist as well.

So they were very skeptical when a lot of different people actually were really interested in that type of story-telling in games. Had the same skeptical attitude when Uncharted 2 came out, and it was even worse with Killzone 2.. So U2 was marketed as a popcorn movie - and that was the excuse that allowed anyone to market it as something that contained film-direction of any kind, as opposed to shooting and arcade murdering fun.

..but if you judged it all by the reaction in the console mags alone - then you really would see even that as a complete failure. Not because the game didn't actually have good direction, but because the ones who cover it - loudly and prominently, while dictating their own loud fans - just don't have any idea what to actually look for.

They're the kind of people who would review a movie like this: "great movie, liked it a lot, characters are dumb at times. 7/10".


The reason why the vagina spike was more taboo than the neck tentacle has nothing to do with it's association with female genitalia but with genitalia period! You would be just as unlikely to come across an enemy that beats you to death with a massive spiked penis.

Does an enemy that IS a giant, tentacled, spiked penis count?

Holy Freudian nightmares Batman! I totally forgot about those things, and they are from one of my favorite games too!

is that nightmares wife in the background ?

that was an interesting read though.

"Why should a tentacle popping out of a woman's crotch be less acceptable than a tentacle popping out of a man's neck in Resident Evil 5?"

Because a person's head isn't a sex organ? I find one popping out of a woman's crotch more horrifying simply because seeing one pop out of a neck isn't scary. That being said, I have no opinion either way as to one being in a video game, but I'd say they should both be rated R or Mature or whatever. There are things that children shouldn't be exposed to, and I'd name Resident Evil games as one of them, just the same as a child shouldn't be exposed to pornos in their developing years (or at least until they are teenagers.)

"if you watch the Aliens series, the chances are whatever is horrible has to do with vaginas, pregnancy, childbirth, wet stuff. It's just all there."

The one really good rush I remember was at the dinner table. It was unexpected and scary as hell when I saw it. It does have to do with child birth I suppose, if you consider an alien being eating the hell out of your stomach and then bursting out of it as a part of the natural order.

I do not see the connection to vaginas though, unless they mean the Alien mouth with hundreds of teeth that are the color of blackest night. The kind of vagina that would eat your whole damn body if it could, that does scare me a bit I must admit.

"GTA IV contains misogynistic experiences while still being a sarcastic swipe at populist entertainment? Can it be that male gamers, while not completely defined by vaginophobia or femiphobia, still experience feelings of insecurity around women?"

Does a bear poke shit in the woods?

Also if a woman plays Grand Theft Auto I'm sure she will probably be running people over with cars, gunning down hookers and generally all of the bad things you do in those games. Analyzing the "do everything wrong" game that is the Grand Theft Auto series does not really seem like a valid arguement to me, nor does most of this article. This whole article does not really appear to be a good arguement simply because it only focuses on game of the year bullshit that is most likely decided by the dudes at various gaming websites.

Issues. We all have them. I'm not going to discuss mine in this forum.

Slightly OT:

In relation to this article though, I have one abiding memory of a guy I worked with who exhibited serious mysoginistic flaws in his daily life, and came up with this statement about GTA III (this was a while ago). He said to me, "haven't you ever wanted to walk up to a prostitute, beat the sh!t out of her with a baseball bat and steal her money? This game is great!". I think he was actually serious too, at least, he wasn't really laughing.

My answer: No, not really. Not at all in fact.

I knew one escort personally (we flatted together, not as a customer) who got money for sex and loved it - no pimp, she workled for herself alone. Fair enough. But most street-workers are drug dependant, abused and under-privileged women who are beaten by their pimps for not working hard enough and refused access to anything like what most of us would consider to be a normal life. Why the hell would I want to assault women in this situation? (Even simulated - the fact that GTA III went for some form of realism means that there is a part of the brain considering this as an appropriate action). Point me in the direction of the men who pushed these women into this life instead, and then we'll see some violence.

Freud was a weird f*cker. He thought little children went through natural stages of incestuous lust for their fathers and mothers.
While there is merit to almost everything said here, I take issue with the questioning of why a tentacle coming out of a woman's crotch should be any worse than one coming out of a man's neck. The issue is that you, Mr. Thomsen, are an idiot not to recognize an extreme phallic symbol when a tentacle is slithering wildly out of anyone's groin--particularly in an article that examines video-game gender politics.

Michael Thomsen:
"Rather, the problem is the psychological cost of developing a male identity in a culture that disparages the feminine and insists that the boundaries between the masculine and the feminine remain unambiguous and impermeable."

Exactly! We need to break down these boundaries. Because I enjoy dressing up in women's clothing, but I don't enjoy people calling the police when I go to the ladies room and pee while standing up. Because I don't appreciate the looks people give me when my 5 o'clock shadow starts poking through my rouge and matte finish. Because my boobs are just as good as my girlfriend's even if mine can't lactate.

Epoetker lost any credibility he might've had when he chose "The Spearhead" for sources.

AND "Citizen Renegade"? Yowee.

I'm sorry, this will be a long post; but my wife and I have both had this on our minds for a while, and this seems to be a good avenue to share it.

What we have to realize is that we live, in fact, in a rather misandrist culture. We have actually REGRESSED in that arena from misogyny to misandry. It's such a little-thought upon idea that even the spell-checker thought I was trying to type misanthropy. Look at all of the media commercials and sitcoms of the day...fat, balding, underpaid, ill-spoken-of and ill-speaking, uncoordinated, undersized [you know what I mean], wishy-washy pussies of men [or any combination of these traits and others] who happen, by some mystery, to enjoy the love of Mary Sue, who is obviously much too good for this schlub in any sense.

The only reason all of these statistics exist to be measured and all of these opinions are floating around to be heard is because, plainly, more women in more nations all over the world have more rights and comforts than they ever had in all of human history. The right to vote, the right to free speech, the right to work, the right to dress, the right to spend money, the right to choose who they marry...the list goes on and on. Naturally, this will cause dissension whenever a woman is depicted in ways "unbefitting" in pop culture, as it should. The debate should continue until peaceful resolution is achieved.

But...we have tipped the scales inadvertently the other way. We need to stop hating on our men, and stop hating on how they express themselves in Escapism through Fantasy, where they fulfill their base biological desires by objectifying men AND women both...not often do we hear of how impossible Kratos' form is to achieve without drugs that would desiccate his testicles, do we? No, we hear about how big [you know what I mean] he and Snow must be.

Seems like I'm going all over the place, but I'm really not; what I'm trying to illustrate is the existence of a double-standard. Very unpopular to hear, but not any less true. Women want to be accepted and recognized for their independence, but when men treat them as an individual who can take care of themselves [most women have no idea the amount of degradation, insults, and general abuse that occurs in male circles as the social equivalent of displaying their plumage, which requires that one show his plumage back; often called "locking horns"], they lash out at their oppressors, and decry for a return to chivalry...only to scream at its approach when it comes, saying, I Am Woman, I can take care of myself, who are you insinuate I need your financial security? Yet, this does not abate the tide of marriages of convenience, gold-digging, and the proliferation of divorce.

Through these and other techniques, men are objectified, as well...there is a reason that 9-inch dildos and larger are the highest-selling masturbation products on the market; not all of them are gag-gifts, and not by a long shot. Do women hear men saying, "All you want is a big, hard, steaming wang to punish you until you scream with delight, that's all we are to you!" No, men go out and research crazy ways to make their schlongs larger and harder, from pills to hormones to devices to surgery, and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on them, all so they can give what they believe to be a woman's fantasy to them in reality. Men now spend factors of their income on skin, facial, and hair products, along with clothing, baubles, and trinkets, to please women. Men traditionally spend two months income on an engagement ring for women, that they may compete with other women in the who-has-the-biggest-shiniest-rock-regardless-of-how-many-human-lives-it-cost contest...when you are fascinated by a rock that sparkles, you, also, are no better than prehistoric-man-with-club. Men, however, do hear women tell them all the time that they are just degrading them to their biological components, and that kind of hypocrisy isn't right.

The hard, brutal truth is this--and I know it will upset many men and women, but truth it remains: The world has long been the domain of men; ruling it, policing it, protecting it, trading amongst it, deciding for it. The push from the codependency/opression of women through suffrage to their independence and campaign for equal [or NOT equal, if you actually listen to some arguments] power and control has happened too quickly. The human body and brain cannot evolve beyond tens of thousands of years [only measuring from the time we developed culture, mind you, it took millions of years to evolve from our reptilian traits] of culture and biology in less than a hundred, or even a thousand.

What is the solution? Is it for women to lie down, taking whatever position their man requires? No. Is it for women to beat men into submission, taking control for themselves? No. The solution is that men need to act a little more like women, and women need to act a little more like men. Men, be more supportive and emotionally understanding...not of women only, but of all people; being a little more diplomatic might not hurt, either. Women, take a side and stick with it...either you can open the car door for yourself, or you think it would be noble of the man to do it; choose and stop vacillating!

Remember the age-old truth: Whenever two people in a room are telling the same story, the truth is never one or the other, it is always somewhere in the middle. The same principle applies here. Another good one to remember is Postel's Law, dictating the potential interactions between computers not running on the same [spoken or programming] language: Be liberal in what you allow, conservative in what you do. Sounds a bit like Christ, doesn't it? If everyone did that, by consciously making the choice to do so, against all Pavlovian response, then we would need neither to be liberal in what we allow nor conservative in what we do, the median would work itself out...and in relatively short order, too.

Disagree with what I've said? Think I'm hitting off of the mark? Well, then ponder this:

What would be the fallout if the response to "vaginaphobia" was a call to Vaginophilia? A series of literature and films, ranging from "The Idiot's Guide to the Female Genitalia, All of it's Working Parts, and How to Please It Satisfactorily Without Degrading It," to "Dr. Strangefist, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Cunt"?

Tell me it wouldn't be hypocritical.

Isn't it somewhat ironic that you chose to describe "fear of WOMEN" as "Vaginophobia". Fear of *women* is gynephobia. Vaginophobia would be fear of vaginas. While the one possesses the other, the two are not interchangeable.

I wonder if the problem with anxieties about sexuality doesn't derive from the fact that we generally let members of the SAME sex inform our attitudes and standards for our sexual characteristics, leading to this spiral where the various anxieties of the involved parties feed off each other creating ludicrous and impossible standards.

For instance, if you read women's magazines (predominately written BY WOMEN and "effeminate" men) you could very easily come to the *incredibly* mistaken conclusion that if you're not some kind of super-model sex machine slathered in makeup and the latest fashions, no man could POSSIBLY be interested in you. I suspect that men have the same problem when most of what they guess about women is derived from the B.S. they hear out of *other men* who are no better-informed than they are.

Exploring unknown territory is always a bit scary. In most other situations, we can get a map, advice, a compass maybe. But how scary does it become when the map you've been given is wrong, the advice terrible, and your compass broken? Better to explore blind--and know you're doing it--than to trust guides of this kind. Unfortunately a lot of us don't have the time/opportunity to do everything ourselves, just like how we don't all go out and discover fire and agriculture for ourselves. We depend on transmission of knowledge for progress, so a lot of us wind up using the broken guides *even though we know they are broken* and trying to cobble together SOME kind of at least semi-functional result out of the mess.

Lastly, don't go thinking that this is a man's problem (or that the men are adolescent). Women have just as many absurdly mistaken ideas and anxieties about sexuality as men. I'd suspect that the #1 most common one is the idea that the whole issue is somehow the MEN'S fault and their responsibility to fix. Women need to take the responsibility to do their share of the exploring and communicating. We may think we're not "adolescent" because we're (maybe) more in touch with our own feelings/desires--but we SUCK at communicating both of them in any constructive manner, which is no mature attitude either. You could very well translate the perpetual female demand for "sensitive" guys into "I want someone to read my mind and give me what I want without me ever having to say anything."

Men may have ingrained anxiety, but women have ingrained silence that often erupts into less-than-helpful vituperation. So let's all admit that nobody's got a good map and set out to make a new one as best we can.

the writer seems to be projecting pretty damn hard in this article.

Umm... that statistic is only true if FarmVille counts as a game. Seriously, I can guarentee that number would reduce at least fourfold if you de-classified FarmVille as a game.

Men do seem to be scared silly about being portrayed in any way that could suggest they are slightly feminine. Girls are more likely to be ( or claim to be) bi in my school, since if a guy even vaguely hints that he is interested in other guys he is shunned and some how girly. They are also insecure about playing sports with girls. In PE if a girl starts to beat a guy she's either an exception to most girls or they give up and don't take the game seriously.

Videogame-wise, I don't consider guys who only play sports games or Gitarre Hero/Rock Band to be gamers. It's like farmville for boys. I say the same for guys who only play Halo/Call of Duty or just "manly"(read:childish) shooters. I can't talk with any guy in my grade about games since they only recognize Halo and Call of Duty as "real games." In my mind, a gamer plays more than one type of game or at least can respect other types of games.

There is the perception that girls hate games because they're girls and don't like "manly" things. BS. The main reason is that they only see obnoxious boys sitting around their parent's basement boasting about killing imaginary people.
Many boys who play games are introduced through shooters, sports games, or fighting games (from what I've seen/heard). All the girls I know who are gamers have been introduced through RPG's (not neccisarily JRPGs) or action/adventure/exploration games. Or Pokemon. Video games can appeal to girls, just not always in the same way as guys.

Also: for a previous poster (don't know/care which post), don't assume girls are attracted to overly buff men. Sure, it's nice if they are some what muscular, but there is a limit. If I remember correctly, the whole overly buff thing actually is aimed more at men than women, implying that the character/ person is more manly than you. If you are the character, you can be caught up in the fantasy and imagine yourself more manly.

Good article, although it seems it has mostly fallen an deaf ears. Video games are for escaping and fantisizing and those who make said games are guys who are making games for what they see as a male audience. If you read and analyze romance novels (the ones with the racy covers) or Twilight that are made to be an escape for women, you can find issues women have with their sexuality and men. The main difference is that videogames are a medium and romance novels are a genre.

Awesome article, with some very interesting links mixed in. I tried to find a video for the Rant you talked about but unfortunately couldn't find one. Not exactly sure what the general public could do about the situation but at least now I'm thinking about it. Also, I haven't played many of the games you talked about in the article.

To be fair the vagina isn't exactly the most aesthetically pleasing part of the human anatomy.
Also Vagina dentata!

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