The Big Picture: Gender Games

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It's an interesting angle, too bad it had to be covered so briefly.

I also think it ties in nicely with the longer and much more focused episode of The Game Overthinker on Bayonetta.

Oh, and that article at Comics Alliance is really great (albeit really saddening).

Unfortunately most players (as in those who have more disposable income for games and free time) are 12 to 18 make year olds who are into that kind of stuff. Those of us who are mature enough not to care either don't have enough time or enough money to spend on video games. From a business standpoint boobs make sense, whatever feminists like it or not.

this article linked below the video is interesting, along with this video.
there are a lot of examples that seem to go against this...
i mean, where theres image there is image
but i suppose the problem is that voldo is shown as a mute freak thats supposed to disgust you, and ivy is pretty much shown as a posh dominatrix thats supposed to be sexy?

yeah, i suppose youre right...
wheres the rule63 of image and image?
they dont exist, probably because it wouldnt be attractive, to a mainstream audience at least...

if youve played star ocean and seen how the camera angles up for a shot of Reimi's arse, youll know that thats certainly not going to happen to any male characters today.
and, though i dont know much about her, She-Hulk is a great example of how an incredibly masculine figure turned into a female still results in the same female bodyshape you see on every superheroine, despite the fact that it is completely unrepresentative of female bodybuilders, when it should be way beyond, like the male hulk.

so... i guess we need less hyper-sexualised women with no personality and more hyper-sexualised men being created.

Sounds to me like more female character designers are needed.

Hey, for once Bob didn't sound like he's the "Great White Patron Saint" of the oppressed minority. He actually related the issue to games in an objective way. It was relevant, poignant, and entertaining.

Good job Bob, and please, try and do this *objective* and *interesting* kind of analysis with other issues without the oft-seen pseudo-righteous indignation.

for the most part I do know a lot of games who avert this its mostly fighting games and hack and slash games really.
then again fighting games are holding games back in general so that's nothing new.
Also how do you know torneko last name?

That's actually surprisingly accurate.

This reminds me of the term "Why can't my hips unsway?"

Good episode, Bob.

But just like last time, you seem to take the internet too seriously, chill out dude.

IceStar100:
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.

Way to miss the point.

1 - Ashley was given the unkind role of representing the less popular opinion. Most gamers are geeks and most geeks' reaction to a society like Mass Effect's is 'Cool! Aliens!'... so you can assume that the default reaction of most people will be pro-alien. However, in order to have a well balanced opinion in the party, somebody had to be anti-alien. That happened to be Ashley.

2 - Yes, Thane is religious (I personally disliked Thane partly because of this) but it's a made up religion in a made up setting. This will intrigue some people. A fair amount of gamers however, don't believe or aren't christian. A fair amount of gamer play videogame to escape daily life. Having someone bring up christianity in a videogame can be jarring to those people.

1+2 = Ashley would have been disliked even if she had been a man.

The fact that she can end up killing Wrex (a beloved character) doesn't help either... how many people do you think loaded their game after Wrex got killed to make sure they had gotten his armor from the side quest to make sure he didn't die... because of Ashley.

She is both the 'unpopular opinion' & the 'link to reality that may make people uncomfortable' character on TOP of possibly murdering one of the fan favorite character of the game serie - and that's regardless of gender.

I'll also add that Kaiden isn't much liked either.

No Bob, there is not an issue.

You, and others making arguements like this, tend to overlook the poses struck by male characters for the most part as being equally revealing in their own way. The overwhelming majority of those characters are showing off features like their oversized arms, or smooth, pretty boy looks in the course of striking those poses. If you didn't know anything about the characters in question, they would just be generic musclemen, male models, or chippendales, the same way how Mai would just be a pretty girl.

When commenting on the greater diversity among male characters, that's not really an issue either. Both genders represent something of a physical ideal in video games, granted it might be a fringe ideal, but it's still there. To use E-Honda for example, there are people who work their entire lives trying to get a perfect build for Sumo like he has.

When it comes to support characters just like your portly merchants and such, you have the matronly barmaids and old crones and such filling out the nooks and crannies of villages. Not all of the spectators in the backround of say a fighting game are universally good looking for example.

Now, I will also say that there is also a bit less practical diversity in women for the kinds of games presented, because there is some relevency to this in real life. If you look at female dancers and martial artists and such you'll notice they all tend to wind up with the same, or very similar builds. In comparison guys, who are designed differantly for physical activity, can be greatly more varied in the way they develop. There are books on bodybuilding and body sculpting that are dedicated to this kind of thing. Saying that say Mai and Chun-Li have more physical similarities than say Ryu and Sagat is simply the kind of results your going to see from the training given the building blocks. To use perhaps a better example comparing say a Zangief to say Tina (Dead Or Alive), or say again Mai, you could say "well why isn't Tina bulked up like that, and is instead still built more along the martial artist lines", look at the real world pro-wrestlers those characters are based off of. A girl who does all the same moves that the guys do, and trains the same way, still winds up developing along those same basic lines, where a guy can show more signifigant differances in overall body bulk and mass.

In most cases game developers are looking at the sources that inspire the fantasy, and producing idealized versions of it. Do Zangief seem like idealized fantasy versions of live performers like the old Nickolai Voldkoff or Sable (back before she got kicked from wrestling)? Yes... they cover that well.

The reason why feminists are treated like they are making an issue out of nothing, is because they are. Their basic arguement is that we shouldn't have idealized depictions in video games or fantasy... or at least not of women. Generally because they feel men can't handle it or whatever (but of course their Chippendales stuff is fine ironically).

There is no pretension that the audience is a bunch of teenagers, heck the gaming media has been talking about the average age of gamers rising for a long time now, and the female characters we're talking about are frequently from "M" rated games (because of the sexual aspects that might be present). Teenagers couldn't have kept this arguement going on as long as it's been going on through the gaming community, they would have been stomped by the feminists long ago. The battle isn't being fought with kids, but between adults.

I don't see this as a case of being concerned about feminists "ruining our fun" so much as the whole arguement as being stupid. Especially seeing as when women produce idealized, fantasy artwork, it comes out exactly the same way.... which is a point that is almost universally sidestepped in these discussions.

WOW... Nice!~ pointing out the poses, This is so true... nicely delivered!

You can't please feminists, bitching is their claim to fame and they get what they want most of the time. It's why we have schools that strongly favor girls now, it's why the courts strongly favor mothers for custody, it's why criminal courts favor women and it's why entitlement programs exist more for women than for men, from college enrollment to health programs. They are still not happy in any of the areas where they have privilege.

So in this area they will bitch and complain until men lose interest in gaming the way boys and men have lost interest in everything else feminists have destroyed.

Just my two cents, not interested in getting into a huge debate and getting banned. You don't agree with me, it's fine with me.

Falseprophet:

-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.

Ugh, first thing that came to my mind was the Black Mageweave set from Vanila WoW
This is what it looks like on a male

This is the exact same set, when worn by a female.

Though, In Blizzard's defence, newer armour models have all but replaced these and are far more identical for both genders.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Problem

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

Isn't that more why men in general fight against feminists? Gamers specifically seem to be more upset over feminist's perceived disapproval and contempt for their entertainment medium as a whole.

I think part of the problem is generalization. Feminism encompasses so many different movements, philosophies and ideologies, but we only have one blanket term that we use for all of them. Myself, I don't have a particular problem with the ideas behind most feminist movements, but I do have a problem with one particular subset of people who call themselves feminists; the group of people for whom it is an excuse to be complete bitches. They don't know anything about the history of the movement they claim to espouse, nor the history of women in general and claim that what they imagine is a history of evil evil men beating up poor defenseless women is an excuse to treat anyone who doesn't agree with their flawed outlook on gender politics as though they were either idiots or mad dogs who need to be put down.
But see, there's no term for this particular group of people, nor is there really any well known terms for describing the different approaches to feminism. In fact, nobody really talks about the differences between the approaches - not even the feminists themselves. This might seem like a semantic argument to some, but it really does make for an huge barrier to communication.
But this video? Yeah, totally agree with that. Mostly because its bad on an artistic level. Also, the "sex sells" approach really bugs me just because it says something about the way that the studios behind games and movies thinks about me as a consumer. Like I'll buy anything that gives me a hard-on regardless of its actual quality.

Oh, and Bob: for the future, if you tell me to look something up, please give me the proper spelling for the thing you're asking me to look up. It won't take all that much extra time on your part, but it will save me some considerably if I happen to mishear how you pronounce it.

Edit: Also, when you asked why Nathan Drake is always smiling like an idiot, my first thought was, "I always just assumed he *was* an idiot."

IceStar100:
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.

She was hated because of those two reasons, because she was well-written. And Bioware almost certainly intended her to be hated.

Her history and dislike of aliens makes people rage because she comes off as a bigoted, ignorant dolt who has a sore ass because her family got spanked by the Turians in the First Contact War, rather than say the Illusive Man or Miranda who at least seem to have put some logic and thought into their dislike of aliens.

Thane's religion is seen as "awesome" because his comes off as a more reflective, personal philosophy while Ashley gives the very clear impression that her religion is far closer to our modern day "Believe what I say my skydaddy says or I'll hurt you" religions.

Now Now Bob the developers care more then just hetrosexual males

Like lesbians, who are we say that they don't enjoy seeing the women do all the poses?

and I bet there are some gay players who just dreams about some male characters (like Nathan Drake)

Falseprophet:
[quote="sleeky01" post="6.314951.12793356"]
-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.

Jiggle is also used for hair and cloths

just so you know

I really don't feel strongly one way or another about this matter. Sex sells and will continue to sell for the foreseeable future. It's just the way things are.

Let's not kid ourselves though. There are plenty of females in the geek culture that eat this shit up with a spoon just as much as the guys do. Hell go to any convention and you can't swing a dead cat without hitting some random female convention goer dressed up in a way that would make most whores blush.

While this topic surely makes for interesting discussion I think the actual number of people who give two tosses beyond discussing it are an extremely small number. Furthermore, when you look at what's being done rather than what's being said on this issue it sure looks like there are vast numbers of men and women alike that are happy as pigs in shit sticking with the status quo.

God damnit Bob. Don't ever say something's an exception that proves a rule. Exceptions are evidence against rules.

Yeah I know it's nitpicking but it's a pet peeve major psychotic fucking hatred of mine.

Windknight:

Master Chief

I both love and hate you for bringing this to my attention... While insanely hilarious, I'm sick... so laughing that hard hurt badly...

So... thanks? I a guess? You suck?

Ser Imp:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Problem

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

Isn't that more why men in general fight against feminists? Gamers specifically seem to be more upset over feminist's perceived disapproval and contempt for their entertainment medium as a whole.

I don't think so. Feminists seem to be disapproving of the entertainment medium because of the glaring "I AM SEX OBJECT 1" that gets plastered on some of the characters - which it's difficult for guys to see.

Gamers counter with "MEN ARE ONE-DIMENSIONAL TOO".

The "MY BODY IS READY" plastered over some of the men *cough* Nathan Drake *cough* is difficult to see past.

Feminists counter with "YOU ALWAYS BRING MEN INTO THIS"

Gamers counter with "GET ME A SAMMICH!"

Feminists counter with "YOU HAVE NO LIFE OR CHANCE OF GETTING LAID!"

Gamers count with "LOL TITS OR GTFO". Feminists report and storm off to make a thread on how all men are pigs.

and so on...

Both sides are arguing over the portrayal of characters they care about, but both sides are arguing into the stereotypes. Gamers and Feminists don't really have any direct conflict as far as I can see - because neither is taking from each other. The extremists on both sides are asses, but they're on both sides.

faeshadow:
Well done, Bob.
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.

I can't disagree that these kind of figures aren't nearly in the majority they should be I think if you're struggling to think of a handful you either have little imagination or too high standards. This year alone we've had Lt Mira, Faridah Malik, Megan Reed, Chell and Aveline Vallen. That's not enough to offset even Marvel vs Capcom 3 but you have to accept it as progress.

Paragon Fury:

IceStar100:
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.

She was hated because of those two reasons, because she was well-written. And Bioware almost certainly intended her to be hated.

Her history and dislike of aliens makes people rage because she comes off as a bigoted, ignorant dolt who has a sore ass because her family got spanked by the Turians in the First Contact War, rather than say the Illusive Man or Miranda who at least seem to have put some logic and thought into their dislike of aliens.

Thane's religion is seen as "awesome" because his comes off as a more reflective, personal philosophy while Ashley gives the very clear impression that her religion is far closer to our modern day "Believe what I say my skydaddy says or I'll hurt you" religions.

I'm going to be honest I had more but I've done this before on gamefaqs so it made me more hateful. Simeple fact is I find those fact BSed. I promise if Ashley looked like she does now people would think she was Aswsome. There a reason in real life hot girls get away with more.

As far as another poster said missing the point. Not really I just know things will not chance becuase they work and why change what sells. Anytime some tries something new it bomb or at best sell only somewhat well.

Bob is right really, in most works of art and design there's a certain level of exaggeration or romatacism that goes into character design, Bob pointed this out with the talk of characters poses and how they reflect the characters personality.

What I thought of a lot through this part of the video was Trishka from Bulletstorm, in writing she was supposed to be a tough talking bad ass marine who happened to be female, the in game character though was more sexualized, sure a vest top isn't all that kinky but then there's her slender body, the makeup, the well groomed hair, all this on a hostile planet of nutters while everyone else wears combat armour Trishka has to look good. Also as the narrative (if it can be called that) progresses we eventually get to see the weaker side of Trishka in order to make her more endearing, the whole point of her badass character gets lost in a stupid love/hate "witty banter" force romance between herself and Grayson aka Macho Ex Space Marine Hero Guy. I'd rate her as possibly one of the worst female characters of the year.

Of course in any talk of female characters Alyx Vance gets brought because she really is a good character, identified by much more than her sexuality but not by making her ugly or unappealing to the audience, just by making her seem somewhat human instead of a member of this strange race whose only goal in life is to be taken by a stronger man.

All that said sexualizing a character can sometimes help, the example I'll use here is Mystique from X men, her power allows her to change her appearance completely into another person regardless of gender yet in her normal blue form she still keeps a very sexual and dangeorus allure to her character. Mystique isn't just a sexually liberated character but uses it frequently as a weapon to get the upper hand on someone making her a very dangeorus enemy indeed. Then again Mystique is very independent and strong willed character (unless you're counting X men First Class where she craves attention but I'll let that slide since it's her teenage years)

Anyone want to guess what almost ALL the examples of negative female portrayals in games have in common? Hint: Island nation in the Pacific.

I'm Commander Average Guy, and this is my favorite view of feminism on the Escapist.

Funny thing.

Maybe it's just because of the particular parts of the I hang out, but I tend to see a lot of guys complaining about the sexualization-of-women-in-games thing. I don't see a whole lot of what Bob seems to be railing against.

For example, anyone remember that sexed-up Liara statue thing? There weren't many guys rushing to defend it.

However, granted, throwing the word "feminism" into a gaming forum can cause all kind of ugly stupidity to start oozing out of the walls.

Mister Linton:
Anyone want to guess what almost ALL the examples of negative female portrayals in games have in common? Hint: Island nation in the Pacific.

Umm . . . Japan? I don't think that's accurate if that's what you're getting at.

Dear Bob,
On behalf of feminist gamers everywhere, THANK YOU!

Mister Linton:
Anyone want to guess what almost ALL the examples of negative female portrayals in games have in common? Hint: Island nation in the Pacific.

Mortal Kombat
BulletStorm
Warcraft
God of War

These are just a few examples not from said island nation but I do agree that a lot of this stuff does come from Japan, very unfair to suggest it's only them doing it, christ look at western comics, someone already posted a helpful link about Catwoman and Starfire.

Edit: I forgot the most obvious one, DUKE NUKEM

Paragon Fury:

IceStar100:
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.

She was hated because of those two reasons, because she was well-written. And Bioware almost certainly intended her to be hated.

Her history and dislike of aliens makes people rage because she comes off as a bigoted, ignorant dolt who has a sore ass because her family got spanked by the Turians in the First Contact War, rather than say the Illusive Man or Miranda who at least seem to have put some logic and thought into their dislike of aliens.

Thane's religion is seen as "awesome" because his comes off as a more reflective, personal philosophy while Ashley gives the very clear impression that her religion is far closer to our modern day "Believe what I say my skydaddy says or I'll hurt you" religions.

On the other hand, it drove me up the wall what they did to the outfits in ME2 - Ashley and Liara wore the same armour as femshep in ME which was sensible and made sense in context. In ME2 the Justicar and Jack go into battle with their tits out and I'm not even going to start on Miranda's ludicrous buttocks. I couldn't face taking them on missions because every conversation seemed ridiculous (Didn't take Jacob much either since he didn't wear any armour, which seemed equally stupid). Ashley was a professional soldier and hey, some soldiers are bigots. I didn't use her either but that was because my Femshep filled the same role.
My point is, yes Ashley was unlikeable, but that's a step forward, because she had a believable personality.

I always hold Tifa Lockheart and Faith as the 2 most "practical" game girls. Now, I've never payed a Final Fantasy game, and couldn't tell you which one Tifa was in (was it... 7?), but from looking over her character design... ignoring the massive balloon tits... I would have to say that she dresses for success more than the "Armor Rating" decree.
image
I mean, if I had to pit Ivy and Tifa in a fight, taking away Ivy's advantage where tight metal and cloth doesn't mean shit, I would put my money on Tifa. I mean, srsly guise, have you ever seen a woman try to run or be acrobatic in high heels?
Then there's Monster Hunter, which while many of the armor sets are designed for eye candy, *cough*femalekirin*cough*, most of the armor at least seems a bit practical to be that acrobatic with. I mean, going back to female Kirin armor in MHFU, I could totally see a girl running around and flipping the fuck out in that. I WOULD be looking, because, have you actually SEEN Kirin armor? Here, I'll put a pic:
image
I think that the second one would fall into this catagory:
image

Mister Linton:
Anyone want to guess what almost ALL the examples of negative female portrayals in games have in common? Hint: Island nation in the Pacific.

Wait! I know this one!

It's Canada, right?

Damn Canada...

Three things:

1) I agree. There's nothing that says women in games can't look sexy without thrusting their anatomy around the place.

2) PONIES. I SAW PONIES.

3) I really, really despise the word heteronormative.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Ser Imp:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Problem

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

Isn't that more why men in general fight against feminists? Gamers specifically seem to be more upset over feminist's perceived disapproval and contempt for their entertainment medium as a whole.

I don't think so. Feminists seem to be disapproving of the entertainment medium because of the glaring "I AM SEX OBJECT 1" that gets plastered on some of the characters - which it's difficult for guys to see.

Gamers counter with "MEN ARE ONE-DIMENSIONAL TOO".

The "MY BODY IS READY" plastered over some of the men *cough* Nathan Drake *cough* is difficult to see past.

Feminists counter with "YOU ALWAYS BRING MEN INTO THIS"

Gamers counter with "GET ME A SAMMICH!"

Feminists counter with "YOU HAVE NO LIFE OR CHANCE OF GETTING LAID!"

Gamers count with "LOL TITS OR GTFO". Feminists report and storm off to make a thread on how all men are pigs.

and so on...

Both sides are arguing over the portrayal of characters they care about, but both sides are arguing into the stereotypes. Gamers and Feminists don't really have any direct conflict as far as I can see - because neither is taking from each other. The extremists on both sides are asses, but they're on both sides.

'Tits or GTFO' seems more like a prerequisite than an insult in video games (lol). But the whole "men are One-dimensional to" is really more of a justification for the objectification of women in video-games rather than it's own issue. Gamers just don't get as upset over shallow male leads as much as feminists get over the abundance scantily bimbos. I don't think anyone has pinned the cause of Nathan Drake being a smart-ass pretty boy as a shameless sex appeal used to entice female gamers (even though that probably did occur to some extent.) Men don't care about depth when they're blowing shit-up or dislocating jawbones.

Mister Linton:
Anyone want to guess what almost ALL the examples of negative female portrayals in games have in common? Hint: Island nation in the Pacific.

Did you follow the Comic Alliance link Bob provided?

There are some video games that treat women like actual characters and not like skimpy outfits models, like Gears of War series or the Infamous series.

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