The Big Picture: Gender Games

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 NEXT
 

Gender Games

Those (not so) pesky feminists.

Watch Video

How a character poses is VERY open to interpretation. Morrigan Aensland gives that pose, because she's a succubus, and could kill you seven times before you blink, so she can afford to show off. Cammy has a stronger fighting stance then almost the entire SF roster, there's nothing feminine about that.

By the way, nice use of Marcus Fenix (360) and Nathan Drake (PS3) to cover the Nintendo fan-boyism. Not gonna quiet the crowd though.

See, THIS is the kind of thing I loved about the Game Overthinker. And while it's still there, I pretty much go to The Big Picture for stuff like this.

Have you ever been looking at a thing that probably would make sense but didn't make sense no matter how hard you scrutinized it then suddenly a new perspective was presented to you which fit all the pieces together perfectly and suddenly the thing you were trying to make sense made perfect sense and you discovered the meaning of life the universe and everything? This was pretty much that without that last bit about the universe and whatnot. Thank you for that.

Have to agree with the first answer on that one, in the case of Morrigan at least... she is a sex demon (succubus), her looking like a tramp is actually part of the character concept.

The problem comes from all the non-sex demon chick doing the same thing.

Heck, Ivy, one of the most well known T&A character in Soul Caliber, is supposed to be all monastic... from my understanding, she cloister herself after destroying the sword if you beat the game with her... is this really what her look convey? :P

One of the thing that surprised me was how good of a job Space Marine did of presenting a female officer in it's storyline (And it's not just me: http://designislaw.tumblr.com/post/10076180504/warhammer-40-000-space-marine-most-suprisingly)... of all games, a shallow futuristic military male-ego boost porn game (And I'm saying that as a huge W40K fan, just look at my avatar, I actually painted the little guy myself :P) isn't the one I expected to have a good grasp of female character design!

IMO, this issue won't change until the gaming landscape, or demographic changes more then it has. Yes, not ALL games are hetrosexual males between the ages of 13-35, but the overwheling majority is... And companies will contiune to market to that demographic. And so long as 13-35 year old hetorsexual males ACT like typical 13-35 year old hetrosexual males, it's going to contuine to work. So either you work on changing how boys/young men think and act...(good luck with that, dispite the fact I firmly belive they SHOULD have more respect for women...) or the demograpic of gamers has to shift to a more balance one...(again, good luck with that...) Either way, i don't see is changing anytime soon. *shrug*

So it's not about the skimpy outfits per se, but how they are posed in said outfits....

Perhaps I have too much testosterone, but could someone provide an example of the difference?

So your saying that the underlying problem is that games are generally made specifically for guys, with no regard for a female audience? I can't say I disagree. I was reading something similar about TV shows and movies the other day. Someone was saying that the prevailing notion was that girls would watch "guy" shows, but guys wouldn't watch "girl" shows. As a result everyone defaults to making movies, shows, whatever with male leads and the like. Its probably even worse with games because producers may assume that there aren't even any girls to sell games to (something patently untrue, but whatever).

A solid show Bob, thanks!

I don't completely agree that all of the female pics showed only sexuality, but all of them mixed sexuality into the visuals.

Problem

Gamers fight against Feminists because Men are badly portrayed.
Feminists fight against Gamers because Women are badly portrayed.

Designers...badly portray both genders.

Those same designers who re-build, re-write, re-make, overcharge, DRM-enable, squander, flanderise and sequelise every other aspect of game play.

Because their bosses say if they don't...they're fired.

So...

We can stop buying those games!

Except...

The "not-gamers", who buy most of the games, buy the girls with the big pixels.

The "feminists" rail against every portrayal of women in games - but different levels of feminists against different portayals of women.

So designers remove all positive portrayals of women as feminists can't seem to make up their mind, and sell them back to the boys who...let's face it...love to stare at beautiful women.

Why isn't this being done as much to the men? It is. Just in a different way.

(obvious hetero sterotypes are obvious)

Hormone enhanced men like boobs/butts and legs - sometimes personality as well.

Hormone enhanced women like deep, strong men - which is, like Bob says, how they're portrayed - name a wimpy, cowardly male that holds any sort of IP with women.

(I'm assuming LGBT stereotypes work in reverse - but I can't be sure)

So....finally - Feminists and Gamers are the same people - arguing for and against the same things - but are kept in constant stages of fighting by...

not wanting to talk to each other.

Which is why we're Feminists and Gamers in the first place. Otherwise we'd just be making sweet monkey love together. :)

Any talk of the main audience being hormonal males has already been disproved. It's just they're the EASIEST to get to.

-waits for everyone to spout flimsy arguments once again because of overt intellectual cowardice-

While I DO despise Bayonetta (finding her to be paper-thin spank material for her creator), I do believe there's nothing wrong with sexualizing a character (though actually dealing with the actual act of sex is something games are WAAAAAAY behind on). However, gaming does need to get away from the overt sexualization of women. There's nothing wrong with a pretty girl or even a sexualized girl, but doing so in a way that's SOLELY for male eye candy is one of the reasons that gaming is thought of as a medium that caters solely to a teenaged male mindset.

It's always nice to have a deep think once in a while.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
How a character poses is VERY open to interpretation. Morrigan Aensland gives that pose, because she's a succubus, and could kill you seven times before you blink, so she can afford to show off. Cammy has a stronger fighting stance then almost the entire SF roster, there's nothing feminine about that.

The pose of your own avatar does say a lot about Armstrong's personality: Authority and confidence

Love the analysis and the episode. My only complaint is that you seemed to break off in the middle with no real resolution. When you said "I'm Bob and that's the big picture" I was vaguely surprised that it had ended. Other than that top notch as always.

As said, poses are horribly open to interpretation, and most of those supposedly purely eyecandy female poses could and can be interpreted otherwise. The last picture of the axe-holding redhead is a shining example. To me, her expression did not convey sexiness, it conveyed, via the smirk, and the slightly shifted pose, a dislike of whatever she was seeing (probably "not another god-damned fight").

Funny how you, on the opther hand, are fine with the eyecandy for girls presentation of male characters. Do you think Jim Raynor looks and poses the way he does to only adress males? Hell no.

Ser Imp:
It's always nice to have a deep think once in a while.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
How a character poses is VERY open to interpretation. Morrigan Aensland gives that pose, because she's a succubus, and could kill you seven times before you blink, so she can afford to show off. Cammy has a stronger fighting stance then almost the entire SF roster, there's nothing feminine about that.

The pose of your own avatar does say a lot about Armstrong's personality: Authority and confidence

General Olivier Mira Armstrong wouldn't be caught dead posing for an invisible camera. Exactly what I mean.

I was going to go with the good ol "Men have the macho stereotype in all of their characters to counterbalance it" argument... but that one picture of all the street fighters shows quite a bit more diversity than anything I've seen that involves woman in games. So... I'll settle for...

Hurr... I like boobies...

I think there are a lot of similarities about the complaints feminists target at video games and porn. "Objectifies women," "creates a false standard of beauty," or "blah blah men are evil."

The problem with their arguments being usually the men in both situations are just as equally used. Not all women are skinny and have Double D's, but not all men are muscular and have 12 inch dicks either. I've seen terribly written female characters in the Dead Or Alive games, but I've also seen just as terribly written male characters in countless macho, manly shooter games. Feminists view those situations with a tunnel vision, only seeing what they want to see, and completely ignore the fact that people on both ends just like seeing beautiful people get used. You could argue it's human nature. Who would really want to see an average looking person fighting aliens?

In a medium, such as gaming, where the majority of the people playing your games like boobs, of course people are going to use boobs to market towards their interest. It doesn't make it a good thing to do, but it works, and profit is pretty much all that matters. Look at all the Fabio romance novels, they're just as bad if not worse than what gaming is doing, but they sell.

Lately I have been noticing better female characters in games. Lt. Mira in Space Marines for example or Xian in Dead Island. Or my favorite example, Chell. I never knew she was female until I messed around with the portals a bit. The game didn't try to drive home the fact she was female, she was just a character.

Tarkand:
Have to agree with the first answer on that one, in the case of Morrigan at least... she is a sex demon (succubus), her looking like a tramp is actually part of the character concept.

The problem comes from all the non-sex demon chick doing the same thing.

Heck, Ivy, one of the most well known T&A character in Soul Caliber, is supposed to be all monastic... from my understanding, she cloister herself after destroying the sword if you beat the game with her... is this really what her look convey? :P

One of the thing that surprised me was how good of a job Space Marine did of presenting a female officer in it's storyline (And it's not just me: http://designislaw.tumblr.com/post/10076180504/warhammer-40-000-space-marine-most-suprisingly)... of all games, a shallow futuristic military male-ego boost porn game (And I'm saying that as a huge W40K fan, just look at my avatar, I actually painted the little guy myself :P) isn't the one I expected to have a good grasp of female character design!

Warhammer gives us the best look at females, the frightening powerful and miles-away-from-a-bikini look of the Adeptas Sororitas (my personal faves).

As the poster once said:

"The battlefield IS their kitchen, and they'll be glad to get back in it, and finish what YOU couldn't."

Hubert South:
As said, poses are horribly open to interpretation, and most of those supposedly purely eyecandy female poses could and can be interpreted otherwise. The last picture of the axe-holding redhead is a shining example. To me, her expression did not convey sexiness, it conveyed, via the smirk, and the slightly shifted pose, a dislike of whatever she was seeing (probably "not another god-damned fight").

Funny how you, on the opther hand, are fine with the eyecandy for girls presentation of male characters. Do you think Jim Raynor looks and poses the way he does to only adress males? Hell no.

Hell yes he does. Hes like something out of an army recruitment poster. There aren't any abs, or pecs, or oiled muscles. There is a giant suit of (mostly practical) armor and a look of grim determination. I would say the Raynor example proves the rule more than anything else.

As an aside, maybe there are girls who find grim determination sexy. I don't know. But the fact is that they are finding something about his characterization personality attractiveness, which is being communicated visually. Its the difference between Alyx Vance and Sophita.

Aiddon:
-waits for everyone to spout flimsy arguments once again because of overt intellectual cowardice-

While I DO despise Bayonetta (finding her to be paper-thin spank material for her creator), I do believe there's nothing wrong with sexualizing a character (though actually dealing with the actual act of sex is something games are WAAAAAAY behind on). However, gaming does need to get away from the overt sexualization of women. There's nothing wrong with a pretty girl or even a sexualized girl, but doing so in a way that's SOLELY for male eye candy is one of the reasons that gaming is thought of as a medium that caters solely to a teenaged male mindset.

I blame Tomb Raider almost entirely for this conflict. Yeah, the problem existed before that in games like Street Fighter and others, but I think as a whole the issue can be traced to the success of the character who had ridiculous proportions that were created as a joke by the developers.

EDIT:
image

Whoops, nevermind. It looks like ndepren caused this issue. Who woulda thunk it?

TheCakeisALie87:
Love the analysis and the episode. My only complaint is that you seemed to break off in the middle with no real resolution. When you said "I'm Bob and that's the big picture" I was vaguely surprised that it had ended. Other than that top notch as always.

Yeah, had a good lead up, proving that the author is familiar with the issue, but sorta trailed off.

...

Oh, and in before shitstorm. Draft, custody, suicide, worse in Africa etc

NameIsRobertPaulson:
How a character poses is VERY open to interpretation. Morrigan Aensland gives that pose, because she's a succubus, and could kill you seven times before you blink, so she can afford to show off. Cammy has a stronger fighting stance then almost the entire SF roster, there's nothing feminine about that.

By the way, nice use of Marcus Fenix (360) and Nathan Drake (PS3) to cover the Nintendo fan-boyism. Not gonna quiet the crowd though.

Morgan character as being sexuality is probably her entire point, being a succubus and all, but Cammy, she still has her outfit riding straight up her ass, with her intro pose in SF4 being a straight look at it. TARGET ACQUIRED!

Lol, fanboys. This mostly applies to anyone under the age of 18. If you discredit someone because of being a fanboy despite making a completely valid point, for shame. There has already been several videos he posted on the subject already though.

So yeah, bad character design for women? I don't even understand why this is still an issue when people have the internet and a simple google search can get any amount of nakedness you could want. This applies for any media that tries to use sex to "enhance" the experience. I just find it pandering.

I think what game developers fail to realize is that they can have female characters who are incredibly hot without showing off their curves all the time.
Like Kat in Halo: Reach, or more simply the female SPARTAN model. It doesn't contain any less armor than the male version does(except the smaller codpiece, for obvious reasons), and yet many gamers could probably still jerk off to it, if they were that kind of person. What I'm trying to say, though, is that it works both ways. I'm sure there are some people out there, possibly women, who find the male SPARTANs attractive, and are similarly enthralled by the shape of their butts. However, no one is angry about this, because no one feels like they're watching some weird space pornography. They're simply enjoying seeing what some would consider idealized human forms in armor that is both functional and badass.

Boy, what an episode! This probably gets right to the core of why I watch MovieBob's shows. Granted, I never agree all the time with him, but it feels great when our opinions do align. Or eve better like today, when the opinions are the same, but he makes great points I never had thought of before!

Wait, Marth is a guy?

jk, :P

I found the discussion on stance and poses very interesting.

Daaaah Whoosh:
I think what game developers fail to realize is that they can have female characters who are incredibly hot without showing off their curves all the time.
Like Kat in Halo: Reach, or more simply the female SPARTAN model. It doesn't contain any less armor than the male version does(except the smaller codpiece, for obvious reasons), and yet many gamers could probably still jerk off to it, if they were that kind of person. What I'm trying to say, though, is that it works both ways. I'm sure there are some people out there, possibly women, who find the male SPARTANs attractive, and are similarly enthralled by the shape of their butts. However, no one is angry about this, because no one feels like they're watching some weird space pornography. They're simply enjoying seeing what some would consider idealized human forms in armor that is both functional and badass.

Or maybe make a female character that you don't want to fuck? Just a thought. Maybe have an actual person who happens to be female, and not an object of sexual desire?

NameIsRobertPaulson:

Warhammer gives us the best look at females, the frightening powerful and miles-away-from-a-bikini look of the Adeptas Sororitas (my personal faves).

As the poster once said:

"The battlefield IS their kitchen, and they'll be glad to get back in it, and finish what YOU couldn't."

I wouldn't get too carried away... 40k has plenty of immature T&A stuff. Such as the entire Dark Eldar army.

I think a lot of people should read this article: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/09/22/starfire-catwoman-sex-superheroine/ before jumping to defend games. The link is from the main page of this video and, while a little long, its very good at conveying what is wrong with popular media (in this case: videogames; in the case of the article: comics) depiction of women vs depiction of men.

Well done, Bob.

Body language is everything in a visual medium. There are countless male leads who's body language screams determination, strength, character, nuttiness, and a number of other vastly diverse personalities.

Sadly, I think I can almost manage to scrape the barrel and get a handful of women who aren't practically bent in half (forwards or backwards, it doesn't really matter) just to say, "HEY! Look at my boobies!" or "Isn't my ass hot?"

And while that's fine in moderation, the fact that I have to strain to think of enough to count on one whole hand is a sad, sad thing. And if that makes me one of those dirty feminists who are ruining the boys' fun, well...so be it.

hermes200:
I think a lot of people should read this article: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/09/22/starfire-catwoman-sex-superheroine/ before jumping to defend games. The link is from the main page of this video and, while a little long, its very good at conveying what is wrong with popular media (in this case: videogames; in the case of the article: comics) depiction of women vs depiction of men.

Huh, very intriguing. This is similar to what Moviebob talked about in one of his Overthinker episodes about depictions of men vs depictions of women in, well, ALL MEDIUMS. Just think about all the men who can have outright ugly as a positive trait (leaving out just ordinary or neutral men), but name me ONE woman who isn't depicted as a stunner (though, granted, I also have a hard time thinking of women designed/created by women who aren't also depicted as attractive)

Sex sells

I'll use Ashley from Mass Effect. Deep she has beliefs and a history. Nothing really skimpy about any of her outfits.

And she was hated by at least to most vocal people. Being called a bigot because she didn't trust aliens even after the first contact war. The first time we made contact with alien a lot of people got killed and the fact it ruined her family name in the military.

There also the fact he has one part about believing in some kind of God. SHOVING RELIGOUN DOWN OUR THROAT.

Thane who his religion is a major part of his character is awesome it seems.
Go look up ME1 Ash vs ME3.

Simple fact is most gamers are male and don't like strong females.
Might as well as every romance author to write a book that closer to what a real male is. Guess what no one would read it.
The fact is if you want a real life woman go outside if you want one who's a perfect 10 and you would still have a chance with play a video game.

sleeky01:
So it's not about the skimpy outfits per se, but how they are posed in said outfits....

Perhaps I have too much testosterone, but could someone provide an example of the difference?

Ok, lets take Samus Aran. Shes a power armoured bounty who works alone, and who has confronted and defeated countless enemies.

Now consider the followig picture for Smash Brothers. What does it show to us about Samus? That shes contorted herself into an uncomfortable pose so we can ogle her backside and her boobs at the same time. We don't see strength, resolve, confidence, power, we instead see 'sexy pose that shows us boobs and ass', and we're not supposed to think about how uncomfortable it must be for her to stand like this.

its interesting to note there is a spoof art of the above picture featuring the Master Chief. Once you've looked at the picture, check out the comments, and see how many screaming teen boys go on about how it burned their eyes and physically hurt them. In other words - girls on show is fine by us, but we don't like it when guys get the same treatment.

sleeky01:
So it's not about the skimpy outfits per se, but how they are posed in said outfits....

Perhaps I have too much testosterone, but could someone provide an example of the difference?

The character's pose communicates more about them than what they're wearing does (although the outfit can still be important).

Take the new Tomb Raider designs that have been put out: whilst she's still wearing a vest-top and has some great cleavage, her facial expressions and poses are what you're more drawn too. The tits aren't the centre of attention.

Compare that to the Underworld box art where they've literally cut her head out of the picture to maximise her tits and short-shorts.

OT: Considering the majority of opinions that are put out on the majority of relationship threads on this website, waiting for gamers to stop acting like women are evil is going to take a while.

image

Ahahaha, are they serious? Saw it on that comicsalliance link.

sleeky01:
So it's not about the skimpy outfits per se, but how they are posed in said outfits....

Perhaps I have too much testosterone, but could someone provide an example of the difference?

Well, Bob showed quite a few in that video, but some common ones are:

-When in a standing pose, the female character thrusts out one hip to the side and often points one of her toes. This is common among swimsuit models because thinner women often have visible hip bones and this pose hides them. But it's not a relaxed pose and definitely doesn't convey "ready for action".

-Bending over at the waist for any reason that isn't i) picking up something in a non-ergonomical manner or ii) part of a dance/fitness routine. Otherwise this pose tends to convey the message that: i) my assets are on display for you, or ii) I'm ready for rear-entry sex. For most characters, this pose makes no sense.

-The pose from behind where she twists at the waist and looks over her shoulder or off to the side shows off both booty and side-boob. A great way to convey how hot the character's body is, but conveys almost nothing else except "FUCK MY SPINE HURTS!"

-Limiting facial expressions to "come hither", "I'm such a cutie" and blow-up doll pornface. Sometimes there's a good reason to use these, but female characters whose role is more than just trophy or object of lust should probably have other facial expressions from time to time. That doesn't necessarily mean going to the opposite extreme and giving every action-oriented female character the same angry expression. To be fair, male game characters could also use more variety in their facial expressions.

-Jiggle physics. Really, most women engaged in athletic activities secure them, Baywatch notwithstanding. And not every woman has a D cup or larger, especially the athletic ones.

-Skimpy clothing. This depends on context because although chainmail bikinis are worthless as armour, so are loincloths, so a game where the male characters regularly get away with the latter can probably justify the former, for example. But if the male characters get full suits of practical armour while the females always have midriff-baring tops, that's a problem. Basically, if the male outfits seemed designed from a practical standpoint, so should the female ones.

Those are just a few common ones I've noticed as a guy, or heard of from the women I talk to/read; I'm sure the lady-gamers out there can probably point out some more.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here