The Big Picture: Gender Games

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Once again, you missed a large part of the previous conversation. I was saying that if 40% of the market for video games are women, as cited by the person I was arguing with, and those women forgo games that objectify them, then the market will correct itself. 40% is NOT a niche market.

Once Again, you accuse me of not understanding your position, due to a lack of reading comprehension. My Argument was that the market will NOT correct itself.

No, I understand what you're saying. If women are 40% of the market and they decide to boycott sexist games then the market will DEFINITELY correct itself. As I was arguing against the previous person, I don't think women make up a large portion of the market for the games that objectify them so I DON'T think it will correct itself. But if you combine the argument that these games are harmful to women because of the body image they represent AND the argument that the market won't correct itself because women don't buy these games then you've essentially neutered your own position. If women aren't buying the games then it's hard to see how it will affect their body images. If, however, women do buy the games and don't care, then you're essentially arguing that we need to step in and do their thinking for them.

If you instead try to educate the women themselves instead of pressuring developers, then the women WILL boycott the games that objectify them, and this WILL be an example of the free market correcting itself. Do you understand? When people talk about the market correcting itself, they are talking about 'correction' in an ECONOMIC SENSE, NOT A MORAL SENSE. If women are fine with these games and buying them anyway, or if only men are buying these games, then the market doesn't need correction. The market's job is to supply people with a product that they desire, not to enforce some moral code.

If your argument is that games will warp the fragile minds of young men so that they objectify women then you're wrong. Games don't turn perfectly chaste young christian boys into perverted freaks any more than they turn placid and peaceful people into murderous psychopaths. The imagery in games and the media is an EFFECT of the popular male psyche more than it is the cause of it. It might have some slight effect of reinforcement but that's about it.



The point was that the objectification of women cannot be corrected merely by censoring the media, because its primary cause is the male sex drive. It's been happening before the first printing press.

You don't get it do you? It's not about capitalism being good for society, it's about society being free. If people want to buy smut or insipid crap, that's their business. If you don't like it, don't buy it. And you're dead wrong about men, they're affected JUST as much as women. All the crap about suppressing your emotions and acting like a mindless jock is a good example. You're basically suggesting that no one can think for themselves so the government has to step in and do their thinking for them and censor the crap out of everything. While I agree that very few people can think for themselves, I don't care to have that type of government thank you very much.

Get your posters and march if you have to. Get the word out to as many people as you can. Boycott industries and protest. But if you can't change peoples minds it doesn't mean that you have the right to force them or take away their freedom.

I do agree that education is the best way to counter this though.

I like how you placed this last quote at the end even though I was responding to it. My point was that education is the only way.


Not once have I advocated government intervention on this matter. Go ahead trying to smear me as being favor of some sort of repressive socialist society though, I'm sure it's easier to just ignore what I say and fill in the blanks. Makes it easier to strawman me, I suppose.

I have been doing two things: 1) responding to your criticism of the free market and 2) showing how the images in the media are the RESULTS of our values and not the cause of them. My arguments against censorship fall into my first response. I am arguing that because of the free market system, if someone wants a product, someone will produce that product. My point is that the only way for you to stop these images is either through government censorship or by changing the fundamental nature of human beings. Here I focused upon the former, even if it is not your position. I focused upon making the latter point elsewhere. I am telling you that pressuring the developers is the wrong way to go and won't accomplish much of anything. You have to change the desires of the public, not their ability to buy things based upon those desires. Even if you pressured developers (without outright government censorship) to stop making games, you haven't changed the fact that people want those types of games.


I'm not arguing that men hiding their emotions and being bombarded with images of hypermuscualar athletic macho men is not bad. It is also bad, but as I have stated before, muscular men do not solely represent sexuality, but also a heroic ideal of sorts. Women characters are typically denied this sort of representation in favor of a solely sexualized one, the implications should be obvious.

The implications are not obvious. I sincerely doubt that a bunch of 13 year old girls are going to run away to Mexico to get breast implants so they can look like Kasumi from DOA. I've played plenty of Gears of War, yet I've somehow resisted the impulse to inject myself with horse steroids. You're making mountains out of mole hills. I could maybe see this as a valid argument against actual actresses who are pop culture idols and thus something little girls actually look up to, but come on: video games? Video games are almost always set in complete fantasy.

Sure, I acknowledge that there probably are detrimental effects to women in the way these games present them. I just don't think these effects are NEARLY damaging enough to justify trying to ban games, or really even launching negative campaigns to try to get people to stop making them. I think you're better off trying to teach people how to distinguish between reality and fantasy. It's fine to indulge yourself in gratuitous sexual or violent content as long as you don't let it get to your head.

What you're proposing is something akin to the absolutist Temperance movement. Instead of telling people that they should drink in moderation, you're trying to get people to stop drinking altogether. (Note that I'm not comparing you to the Prohibition movement which wanted to legally ban alcohol, so don't accuse me of a straw man fallacy.)


You excuse sexual exploitation of women in games again and again as being 'natural', and say that it is fine that men buy and consume this material, but you ignore that the brand of sexuality being marketed to men does not represent a form of beauty that has been historically eternal or universal. (hint: Teenage boys are *not* biologically hardwired to enjoy the sight of breasts, different cultures have historically emphasized different aspects of the human body as desirable) The sexuality marketed in today's games is a more or less recent development, and treats women as objects. This consumption is not limited to personal fantasies or to the game world being marketed, it effects perceptions in the real world, which is why it is important to raise awareness on the subject.

What exploitation? Listen, slavery is exploitation. Prostitution is exploitation. Indentured servitude is exploitation. Child labor is exploitation. Hiring people to work in your coal mine and then charging them for their pick axes is exploitation. Video games do not exploit women. Perhaps they objectify them, but that is a completely different thing. I could maybe see this argument made against the porn industry because a lot of the actresses probably have mental health issues (i.e. were sexually abused as children), but not in video games. Who is being exploited? The pixelated characters that don't actually exist? Perhaps it's the voice actors, but I doubt it. I'm pretty sure none of the voice actors are addicted to crack. In fact, they probably have a beast of a union, actors are notorious for that.

Sure it objectifies women. People, both men and women, are hard wired to view each other as sexual objects. The problem arises when they only view each other in this manner.

You seem to be conflating two separate but related issues: 1) the objectification of women in video games and 2) the unhealthy body image portrayed by video games. What I think you fail to realize is that whatever body image is popular, skinny, fat, giant nose rings or plates in one's lip, it's still possible to objectify women.

So what do you want to stop? Both? I'm telling you right now that men are always going to want to consume a product where women are treated as sexual objects. The male sex drive is such that sometimes a guy just wants sexual gratification. There's a lot of evolutionary psychology on the matter, but the essence is that men have been pressured by evolution to spread their genetic material as much as possible. But just because men have a drive to some times treat women as sex objects, it doesn't mean that they also are incapable of love or respecting a woman for her mind. It just means that SOMETIMES all a man wants is sex. It's OK for people to want meaningless sexual gratification, it's perfectly natural. By arguing this point I am not somehow advocating that we repeal women's suffrage. Products that treat women as sex objects are aimed at men who are in a certain mood. They are not the expression of some male chauvinist worldview. Anyone who is dumb enough to derive their sexual worldview from a video game has much deeper issues.

As far as body images go. I am disgusted if I can see a woman's ribs. I am also turned off if a woman is obese. Go ahead and tell me that I'm a terrible person, I could care less. In some societies where resources are scarce fat is a sign of wealth and is considered attractive. This is a trend in Polynesian societies. However, in OUR society, we have an abundance of resources. Thus if a person is muscular and fit this signifies that that person has the time and resources to take care of their physical appearance. They can afford a membership to a good gym and possibly a physical trainer.

Personally, I agree that anything under 10% body fat is unattractive. But anything over 20% is also both unattractive and unhealthy (actually that's for men, I think it might be 20-30 for women, but you catch my drift). Frankly, fat rolls and cellulite are unattractive, and they SHOULD BE. We're living in a society plagued by obesity where people are dying of heat disease and diabetes, so we shouldn't be telling anyone that they can be obese and yet still be attractive. Not only is it wrong by our current ideals of beauty, it's downright irresponsible.

Every so often, I and Moviebob align in opinions.
This is one of those times.
As someone who aspires to be a writer, either for video games or for regular novels, one of my biggest problems is portraying female characters. From test reads of what I'm working on right now, I'm doing a decent job at it, maybe because I force myself to try and keep in mind personality and motive over gender, sexuality or appearance.
Granted I don't visually design girls in any way, but now that I've started viewing everything from the perspective of a creator, rather than just a spectator, I started getting bothered by EXACTLY what Bob is saying, and it's making me dislike games I used to love.
Great Show Bob! We agree on something perfectly at last!
(Oh forgot to mention, still in high school, so yeah that's what I meant by "Aspiring")


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.

Which I wouldn't have a problem with, except we're replacing the fearless adventurer with the frightened college student in a horror movie.

The big problem I think isn't so much sexy or pose, but how women are portrayed in games period.

Did anyone else notice a majority of the examples Bob posted were from fighting games? Games where characterization is crammed into 3 minutes of ass kicking, or outside the fight in bio blurbs which few people read or care about. Not a whole lot of room for character development. If most folks have to look up Mai on wiki to get the gist of the character, it's cause she yet another female character in a sea of fighting rosters.

But hey it's not Bobs fault, if you look out side fighting games, you pretty much get a sausage fest. Though fighting games don't exactly have equal rosters themselves, most end up looking pretty hotdogged, that is to say you'll end up with more hotdogs to a pack then you will buns.

Female characters more often then not serve as love interests to be avenged, rescued, lamented over, or back ground characters who sole purpose seems to be to make the game less homoerotic.

Female Leads are a bit of rarity, most gals are lucky to get one game that manages to be successful. While others might be part of rotating cast of characters like some franchise time share. As it stands there's really only two gals that have carried their respective franchise throughout, Samus Aran and Lara Croft. Both who have been "reinvented" to be more vulnerable. I'm not saying that vulnerable female characters are a bad thing, but does it have to be those two? The Lady Croft and Samus I fell in love with did run around and lose there shit every time something scary happens.

Anyway what we need are more gals in the foreground in games, ones that have character, and can be the star of the games themselves. We're getting there, but we're no where near the level of say comic books, which have a whole slew of female led teams, female teams and female lead characters.

And while we're on that subject where the hell is my Wonder Woman video game? Aquaman gets a game but not the Amazon Princess herself? Whats up with that?

Thank you, Moviebob, for putting it into words so well. (I should probably state, however, that many of the posts in this thread are...well, about what I'd expect.)

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?

In some people's opinion, that apparently defeats the entire purpose of the character being female to begin with. (Hell, I've heard people whining about the female characters in Rift.)

The real question, as far as I'm concerned, is whether or not so much of the market should be catering so heavily to that particular segment.

I reiterate: I LOVE YOU, MAN <3 Thank you for spreading awareness.

I think it all starts with language, especially with the whole industry only wanting to target their product to heterosexual, teenage boys instead of anyone else. It demonizes everyone who are and everything that is stereotypically, and I use that word lightly, feminine (ex: homosexual teenage boys, transgender people, and women). For instance, "lady gamers" sound just as ridiculous as "lady reader" or a "lady writer" or a "lady dancer". By referring to male gamers as just "gamers", you exclude an entire demographic. Women can be gamers too. They're gamers.

Another example would be the usage of "fag" when playing Call of Duty. I get all kinds of troglodytes using the word and it degrades homosexual men typically thought to be feminine (but aren't; there are homosexual men who are the most masculine people I know). That kind of language has to stop, especially if you don't mean it the way it sounds.


Well there's some studies, but sadly I'm gonna have to put those squarely in the "numbers may not lie, but I don't believe it anyway." category. Where are all these girl gamers? 42% of game players are women? Are they talking GAMES games or are they talking FACEBOOK/ZYNGA games? Because my eyes don't deceive me. Go to any game store you'd like to name and hang around for a day and survey how many women come in to buy games (for themselves) and how many males do. I didn't bother looking up "video game demographic information" because casual observation, the basis of scientific inquiry, tells me a different story blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

Sorry, but I'm not convinced. At all.

If companies just want to turn a profit, then they should be investing in the same bejeweled/angry birds ventures that you offhandedly dismiss - these are the games that have the highest investment-profit ratios compared to trip-A titles.

What's your point? Economics rule? Social incentives don't matter? We shouldn't have any consumer conscience? Only cater to your target market (counter-example - look at your profile pic)? Moar Sex and violence?

Because you've said a whole lot of nothing so far. Maybe you just need to play more Orgasm Simulator - you need the link again, bro?


I agree and those changes would be most welcome. I do think though that if you reform the system (add female programmers such) , you will see an increase in games that focus less on sexuality. At the same time though i believe you will see little decrease in sexuality in gaming as it stands today. Sex has a very heavy influence in all arts.

I do believe I said "MOAR SEX PLZ"

and I meant it. Keep it "coming."

If you guys need a good facepalm look at this


90% of these anime/pony loving morons don't know what characterises a strong woman/or person in general (even if you leave the sexualization out of the argument, cringeworthy to say the least)

I feel the need to come back to this Video, mainly because I was so offended by it.

I used to think "Wow bob's a pretty smart guy,"
But now, I see him for what he really is: a Mangina.
Somehow, you feel the need to put down all us "gamers (read: men)
for liking the female form, then you come up with this ridicules argument about poses. Anyway, other people have already stated the MANY flaws with this video, the only thing that disappoints me is how many people AGREED with this crap.

Here's for you bob:

I used to like your stuff, but now I want nothing to do with it. No more. You are pathetic bob.

Oh, yes. How dare he call us possessers of the Y-chromosome out?! We must never forgive him! It's our right to stare at cleavage to our heart's content, and calling us out on it is verboten, and an obvious attempt at taking away what makes us real men!

Well, with my poor attempt at sarcasm out of the way... No, MovieBob is not being pathetic here, he is proposing his points, and I can agree with most of them. At least they are more cohesive than that disgusting link you have provided. It is filth that does not belong in a time that wishes itself to be enlightened and progressive.

This is not an assault upon your person. This is not some part of a massive conspiracy to undermine your rights. It is simply MovieBob explaining his view on why genderrolls in a game is offputting to some. And also a request for the gaming community in general to stop rushing to man the trenches at the very murmur of gender equality. One that haven't been heeded here, obviously...

Furthermore, explain to me why half of our species' population's wish for equal rights is a threat to you.

Is it bad that I could barely pick up on the feelings of those poses?

I suspect that it is considered improper of me to add to a thread this old, but I really, really, really had to say that by George, Bob, you can be amazing.

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