Tropes vs. Women Protagonists

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Acrisius:
No, defining masculinity and the manly "ideal" is pretty easy. That's why writers do it all the time. James Bond is an example.

James Bond is an emotionally dead, womanizing mass murderer. Hardly what I would call ideal.

Buretsu:

Acrisius:
No, defining masculinity and the manly "ideal" is pretty easy. That's why writers do it all the time. James Bond is an example.

James Bond is an emotionally dead, womanizing mass murderer. Hardly what I would call ideal.

=/

Really?

KrystelCandy:
I'm fine with it, but if given the choice I'd rather play a woman doing most of those bad ass things without the seeming need for developers to decide I only deserve 1/3 as much clothing for being female, or need to have needless amounts of emotional baggage attached to my badassery, while still you know... being feminine.

And part of the problem is people equate those two things with being "feminine".

The first Mass Effect was a great example of a game where the protagonist could be a genuine, Ripley-style badass female protagonist with two truly badass female squadmates (and a blue space-nymph with armor). In fact, my second playthrough was as bitchShep, complete with needless executions of people that annoyed me.

Alas, EA got its paws on the franchise and the second Mass Effect put all your female squadmates in miniskirts. Miranda running around in a dentist's NO2 mask and spandex, while involved in firefights, IN A FUCKING VACUUM, could be construed as horrendously offensive to women and it interfered with my suspension of disbelief. Seriously, I don't really care if we're going to have women wearing slut uniforms, but you can't do that shit on a battlefield, you have to make it part of the narrative.

sunsetspawn:

KrystelCandy:
I'm fine with it, but if given the choice I'd rather play a woman doing most of those bad ass things without the seeming need for developers to decide I only deserve 1/3 as much clothing for being female, or need to have needless amounts of emotional baggage attached to my badassery, while still you know... being feminine.

And part of the problem is people equate those two things with being "feminine".

The first Mass Effect was a great example of a game where the protagonist could be a genuine, Ripley-style badass female protagonist with two truly badass female squadmates (and a blue space-nymph with armor). In fact, my second playthrough was as bitchShep, complete with needless executions of people that annoyed me.

Alas, EA got its paws on the franchise and the second Mass Effect put all your female squadmates in miniskirts. Miranda running around in a dentist's NO2 mask and spandex, while involved in firefights, IN A FUCKING VACUUM, could be construed as horrendously offensive to women and it interfered with my suspension of disbelief. Seriously, I don't really care if we're going to have women wearing slut uniforms, but you can't do that shit on a battlefield, you have to make it part of the narrative.

>Mass effect lore breaks almost half of all scientific laws entirely
>WOMEN IN SPANDEX IN A VACUUM OSHITNO TOO FAR
>But It's not because i care about the slut uniforms

FYI Jacob Wore skin tight spandex with a dentist mask, and thane wore a ski mask.

Azuaron:
It's interesting that you mention Bayonetta as made for guys, because I've heard from women gamers (including Susan Arendt, an editor at my favorite website) that they love Bayonetta as a strong female character.

Further, if you compare Bayonetta to Japanese eye-candy characters (Dead or Alive, for instance), she has a number of design elements that were intended to make her more feminine (instead of sexy), and her sexiness was suppose to come more from her mysteriousness and intelligence than her body. For instance, she has normal-sized breasts, her hips are rounder, and her limbs are exaggeratedly long--which also makes her incredibly tall and tower over other characters (not something that most guys look for in their fantasy women, since height has implicit power implications).

Note: I haven't played Bayonetta; I'm mostly just regurgitating what I've heard Susan say on a podcast and interviews of Mari Shimazaki, Bayonetta's lead character designer, that I've read.

To Kamiya, the core theme of the game and its protagonist's attacks is "sexiness".[3][29] He said Bayonetta's ability to transform into a panther reflected the developers' desire to "make her a sexy witch".[7] To emphasize "her femininity and sexuality", the developers made Bayonetta lose rose petals instead of blood when hit, and used a butterfly motif that manifests in her wings (which appear in her shadow and during double jumps), her giant fist attack (a butterfly appears on the back of the fist), and the arms of her glasses.[30][31] Her giant boot, fist, and monster attacks reveal some of her body-her hair is magically formed into clothes but must be temporarily reallocated to forming offensive weapons-and when the player targets an enemy, red lips mark the enemy's chest; this led IGN to call the developing game a mix of "action and a great big helping of fan service".

I got that from the wiki article on the game. The bottom line is that feminists have every right to attack Bayonetta. In fact, I feel like a lot of the stuff that comes out of Japan tends to sexualize women, but I guess that's because the Japanese refuse to let their culture be affected by western culture, and feminism is a western idea.

Of course, in a capitalist society you will always have games that sexualize women because that's what the market demands, though I have no idea why.
Seriously, hear me out. 20 years ago there was no internet, so seeing sexy women make sexy-time in games and movies was easily made a selling point because seeing a sexy woman was more novel. Now, with the internet, I can see anything I want at anytime I want, so why would I be drawn to a movie or game with sexy characters?

Labyrinth:

Gethsemani:

As for Chell, I feel she's one of those non-examples. She never speaks or acts in any way that is not prompted by the player...

Ohh, but it would. So much of that narrative is around notions of humanity, especially the co-op of Portal 2. I can certainly see arguments for them not being characters in the same sense as someone who is given a voice and forced to perform particular actions in cut scenes or scripts, but I don't think that makes them less of a character. The way that other characters respond to them is influenced by who they are. Take the fat digs in Portal 2 as GLaDOS's way of reinforcing that Chell is a bad person for the vicious, horrible murder of an AI who was only dedicated to Science. I would perceive that as gendered...

Where'd your sense of humor go? You better go find it, pronto.

Seriously, Glados's fat jokes were being used as a humorous vehicle to point out that our modern societal conditioning regarding the bodyfat percentages of women has caused genuine self-esteem issues that can easily be targeted and manipulated, and the ultimate irony is that a dying machine with a female personality, with no other means to attack Chell, does so with...

oh my God, you're astounding lack of humor actually drained some of the humor from me, and I was explaining a joke. Well played, humorless one.

sunsetspawn:

Where'd your sense of humor go? You better go find it, pronto.

Seriously, Glados's fat jokes were being used as a humorous vehicle to point out that our modern societal conditioning regarding the bodyfat percentages of women has caused genuine self-esteem issues that can easily be targeted and manipulated, and the ultimate irony is that a dying machine with a female personality, with no other means to attack Chell, does so with...

oh my God, you're astounding lack of humor actually drained some of the humor from me, and I was explaining a joke. Well played, humorless one.

Your own description points out that the jokes are gendered. Not sure where your opposition to my comments comes in. In addition, you should check your own dry humour detector, they Hyperbole Sensor seems to be playing up.

Labyrinth:

sunsetspawn:

Where'd your sense of humor go? You better go find it, pronto.

Seriously, Glados's fat jokes were being used as a humorous vehicle to point out that our modern societal conditioning regarding the bodyfat percentages of women has caused genuine self-esteem issues that can easily be targeted and manipulated, and the ultimate irony is that a dying machine with a female personality, with no other means to attack Chell, does so with...

oh my God, you're astounding lack of humor actually drained some of the humor from me, and I was explaining a joke. Well played, humorless one.

Your own description points out that the jokes are gendered. Not sure where your opposition to my comments comes in.

So we agree, the jokes were terrific. I thought you were pointing out things you didn't like. I can never tell what people are really thinking on the internet.

sunsetspawn:

So we agree, the jokes were terrific. I thought you were pointing out things you didn't like. I can never tell what people are really thinking on the internet.

I'm pointing out that the jokes have a gender basis which is part of Chell's character, and GLaDOS's as well, which is part of the reason that you cannot just replace Chell with an amorphous blob.

Labyrinth:

sunsetspawn:

So we agree, the jokes were terrific. I thought you were pointing out things you didn't like. I can never tell what people are really thinking on the internet.

I'm pointing out that the jokes have a gender basis which is part of Chell's character, and GLaDOS's as well, which is part of the reason that you cannot just replace Chell with an amorphous blob.

You know what, I immediately assumed that due to the fact that you were pointing out that the jokes were gender biased you were also somehow pointing out that they were bad and didn't belong in the game. I am an argumentative jerk, and you are spelling Glados a little too correctly.

Labyrinth:
In addition, you should check your own dry humour detector, they Hyperbole Sensor seems to be playing up.

We're bad at dry humor over here. See "Team America" for examples of our dry humor. It's as wet and ridiculous as can be, but because it's delivered a bit deadpan it counts.

My objection to Sarkeesian is that she's a rather vile person, her analysis is shallow and blatantly slanted, and she asked for thousands of dollars to make the same (terrible) vlogs she already makes. And then she got that money, because the internet had to go and get stupid over it. That applies both to her idiot supporters and the screaming neckbeards who turned the whole thing into a gender war.

That's one of the things I love about Saints Row 2 (and to a lesser extent 3). Because you can create either a male or female protagonist (or something in between), the entire story is gender neutral. It has to be, because the developers have no idea which gender you are playing. The story goes the same either way, so whatever the male protagonist would do, so would the female protagonist.

And with the customization options in the game, you can do whatever you want with that character. Sure, you can make a female bimbo if that's what you want. Or you can make a female biker or a goth chick or a business woman. Or a male equivalent of any of those, it's totally up to the player.

When I play either of those games, I actually usually play a female character. Just because it's so refreshing to play a female protagonist that isn't a trope. I wish more games would go that way. Give the player the option to play the gender and style they want to play. Then everyone is happy :)

sunsetspawn:

You know what, I immediately assumed that due to the fact that you were pointing out that the jokes were gender biased you were also somehow pointing out that they were bad and didn't belong in the game. I am an argumentative jerk, and you are spelling Glados a little too correctly.

Ahh, glad we cleared that up. Have a kitten.

You see, I was with you all the way to the end of the article, but then you said that Mirror's Edge was a bad game and so I have to hate you forever no matter how much I enjoy Spoiler Warning. le sigh...

Glademaster:
snip]

1.
being both male and female; hermaphroditic.
2.
having both masculine and feminine characteristics.
3.
having an ambiguous sexual identity.
4.
neither clearly masculine nor clearly feminine in appearance: the androgynous look of many rock stars.
5.
Botany . having staminate and pistillate flowers in the same inflorescence.

Most JRPG protagonists fulfil 3 of those definitions. Your example at the top fulfils 4. They are both androgynous.

Scars Unseen:
You see, I was with you all the way to the end of the article, but then you said that Mirror's Edge was a bad game and so I have to hate you forever no matter how much I enjoy Spoiler Warning. le sigh...

I actually came to the comments to post exactly the same thing.

Mirror's Edge is apparently a downright bad game? Where's Shamus Young's head at?

Shamus Young:

Dexter111:
I couldn't really make it past the second paragraph, I know this may be a foreign concept but if you want your points to be heard maybe try being less disrespectful of different opinions and not calling people you disagree with names.

Are you REALLY suggesting that she made all of the hate-mail up? Did she also write the videogame where you punched her in the face?

Think about that. Someone sat down and made a videogame where the objective was to beat her into a bloody pulp. That required time and effort. I've said a lot of things over the years. I've pissed off a ton of people in the course of this gig, and I've NEVER encountered anything that was even close to that level of hostility.

In any case, your defense is illogical. Remember that I wan't just calling out her critics, I was specifically talking to people who reacted with talk of violence and rape, along with the other awful stuff. Consider:

1) If she fabricated ALL of that hate mail (an amazing feat!) then nobody insulted her. Therefore my insults weren't aimed at anyone.

2) If the insults were genuine, then I was only talking to the people who entered the debate using name-calling FAR more vile than anything I've ever printed ANYWHERE, much less the extremely tame insult of "murloc".

They're either guilty or they don't exist. Either way, you've got no reason to object.

It's the internet. Every provocation has an equal and hostile reaction. Consider that too. In fact, the more you know about feminism (most of my friends are feminists) the more provocative Sarkeesan is, because not only is she pissing off people who don't agree with her, she's misrepresenting and pissing off people whom she claims to associate with. But there's people for everything. People have been getting hate mail and threats of all kinds for as long as anyone can remember, but rarely do they turn it in their favor by sharing it and giving it attention to create more support. Most people just delete it and move on with a simple "haters gonna hate". I don't hate Sarkeesan, I just really really really really reaaaaaally dislike her. And I feel sorry for anyone who believes any of her crap, because I know how wrong she is about 99% of everything she says in her videos.

GoaThief:

Scars Unseen:
You see, I was with you all the way to the end of the article, but then you said that Mirror's Edge was a bad game and so I have to hate you forever no matter how much I enjoy Spoiler Warning. le sigh...

I actually came to the comments to post exactly the same thing.

Mirror's Edge is apparently a downright bad game? Where's Shamus Young's head at?

Also this :P

Chairman Miaow:

Glademaster:
snip]

1.
being both male and female; hermaphroditic.
2.
having both masculine and feminine characteristics.
3.
having an ambiguous sexual identity.
4.
neither clearly masculine nor clearly feminine in appearance: the androgynous look of many rock stars.
5.
Botany . having staminate and pistillate flowers in the same inflorescence.

Most JRPG protagonists fulfil 3 of those definitions. Your example at the top fulfils 4. They are both androgynous.

    1. No definitely not,
    2. No have a wirey frame and gelled hair isn't very feminine nor is the face particularly rounded/feminine,
    3 No there is no ambiguous sexual identity,
    4 Last I checked women don't wear some strange half wife beater thing.
    5. Not a plant so no

The only 1 you could make a point for is maybe number 2 but since the character doesn't not act feminine just like a twit I don't see. As to most filling it they most certainly do not there is a very limited pool that even remotely comes close to it. Even in FF the series accused of being most guilty of this I struggle to think of protagonists that even come close to this aside from Vaan. Even then I do not think it is a strong case.

The problem I'm seeing in this thread is the constant use of the term "gender neutral." I'm assuming (possibly wrongly), that this mean the game treats you the same regardless of the gender the player chooses. I COMPLETELY disagree with this notion. Not because I don't think men and women should be treated equally (in fact, my ideal world would be a "gender neutral" world), but this would be completely negating the role gender plays in our modern world. I'll accept the concession that maybe it shouldn't matter in RPGs or games where you create a character because there is only so much you can do with the world's reaction to the characters that accounting for every difference in skin color, gender, or sexual preference would add on hours, days, or even weeks onto development.

HOWEVER, in a game with a linear story and established characters, gender should NEVER be disregarded. The developer's decision to have a male or female protagonist should be reflected in the world around the character. For example, a game like Silent Hill (when it was good) or even Tomb Raider, the characters SHOULD treat the character differently because she is a woman. That's just how the world works. BUT, if they decide to not have the world focus on her gender, there should be a reason. A good example is Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Monkey doesn't seem to really give a shit that Trip is female. They bond, and there are even hints that they have a romantic interest in each other after a while, but he doesn't focus on her gender. And the reason for this is because the world that they are in (on the run from mechs, constantly struggling for survival) doesn't allow for such petty differences. if gender roles were still a hotly contested issue in this world, the human race wouldn't last very long. Necessity overrides the tradition of the past.

IN SHORT: Unless the game world is written otherwise, games with story SHOULD focus on the differences between genders, because this difference is quite important to our human interactions, and to simply disregard this for equality reasons would be to deny the reality that surrounds us. Should women in games be treated better and EQUAL to men? Yes. Should women be treated the SAME as men? No. And I feel the same way about race or sexual preference. To simply just ignore this element of a character and how it might affect their interactions in the world around them would be an incredibly foolish decision.

Okay, see? This is why you need me to write video game stories. Most of my characters that I've created are strong, female leads, who you properly should feel badass while playing, and not because they're bros *brofist*. They simply go against the common Weak Female X trope.

Really, though, I haven't seen Anita's first video. Can't find it. Will look later. Then edit post. But really, though, almost everything can be summed up in a trope. Anita's original intent was to expand the narrow list of tropes that the video game industry is comfortable with. That's it.

So give her a stage. What's the worst that could happen? A bunch of murlocks overreact and ruin it for the rest of us?

Okay, that's pretty bad, and it's been happening. Know what? The best thing to do would be to act mature and give her a chance at this point.

brb watching video. Or not.

Buretsu:

Acrisius:
No, defining masculinity and the manly "ideal" is pretty easy. That's why writers do it all the time. James Bond is an example.

James Bond is an emotionally dead, womanizing mass murderer. Hardly what I would call ideal.

you sir, have not seen enough Bond and it shows. Calling him a heartless mass murder pretty much shows you have only seen trailers.

Womanizing sure. But if saying woman fall for attractive, smart and powerfull man is sexist you have just lost your touch with reality.

Shamus Young:
Tropes vs. Women Protagonists

Women want to play games too, and right now, games are failing them.

Read Full Article

I have to say this whole subject is making me loose a lot of respect for women and the credibility of the idea of equality of the sex's.

Every time some nutjob goes on a spree killing binge and blames heavy metal , play by mail role playing games or currently computer games ive rolled my eyes and claimed that normal people can tell the difference from fantasy and reality and this individual was actually mental and that was the problem not violent lyrics/roleplay/games.

Now we seem to be suggesting there an entire gender that doesnt recognise the difference between the fantasy world of games and reality and if they dont see self images in them they cant relate.

Now as a 40 year old fat long haired , anti social , nerd i personaly have pretty much never seen myself represented in a video games character, women might at least find the litany of low brow dumb meat heads games are populated with attractive to me they have been enemies more often than not. You see the thing for me is the gameplay i like games, if the game is good i dont really give a stuff about the protagonist. this whole argument seems to me to go counter to the idea of women being gamers to. it makes it sound like they all need it to be dress up Barbie.

zumbledum:
this whole argument seems to me to go counter to the idea of women being gamers to. it makes it sound like they all need it to be dress up Barbie.

How on earth did you reach that conclusion?

I completely agree with this arguement. Guys should not feel bad for any panderous or fan service games. they should feel bad that the same is not given to there female compatriots. Thank you sir cutting through sarks bs and getting to the real issue.

Rblade:

Buretsu:

Acrisius:
No, defining masculinity and the manly "ideal" is pretty easy. That's why writers do it all the time. James Bond is an example.

James Bond is an emotionally dead, womanizing mass murderer. Hardly what I would call ideal.

you sir, have not seen enough Bond and it shows. Calling him a heartless mass murder pretty much shows you have only seen trailers.

Womanizing sure. But if saying woman fall for attractive, smart and powerfull man is sexist you have just lost your touch with reality.

I fall for smart powerful women that rip me heart out lol

The answer to this is simple... Go out to a major city, pick my hometown of Seattle if you want, take about 1000 pictures of different women at random, find the most common clothing style and body shape and pick that.... Then give the character a happy medium persona between, Elizabeth Bennet (strong willed but fairly weak in ability of affect change..... and Daenerys Targaryen...... Strong willed and will melt you with her dragons if you cross her.

Stick her in whatever scenario you please: spy thriller, fantasy epic, modern war shooter.... Pick something.... and you have it a woman that women will identify with because despite being strong and capable she has to deal with stereotypes and overcome them, (lets be honest 90% of women still have to deal with this crap even though they shouldn't) but at the end completes the hero's journey and wins respect and a sense of accomplishment.

delete plz double post

Acrisius:

It's the internet. Every provocation has an equal and hostile reaction. Consider that too. In fact, the more you know about feminism (most of my friends are feminists) the more provocative Sarkeesan is, because not only is she pissing off people who don't agree with her, she's misrepresenting and pissing off people whom she claims to associate with. But there's people for everything. People have been getting hate mail and threats of all kinds for as long as anyone can remember, but rarely do they turn it in their favor by sharing it and giving it attention to create more support. Most people just delete it and move on with a simple "haters gonna hate". I don't hate Sarkeesan, I just really really really really reaaaaaally dislike her. And I feel sorry for anyone who believes any of her crap, because I know how wrong she is about 99% of everything she says in her videos.

If you need to preface your comments with "most of my friends are feminists" to convince others that you are somehow have some authority on what feminists think, you probably don't have such authority. Its like saying "most of my friends care about gay rights". If you were homophobic, your standards for what does and doesn't count as pro gay rights would be lowered, so your friends who proclaim that they are "pro gay rights" might just be saying such to cover up their homophobia.
You also misunderstand feminism at its core, or you did 4 months ago, and aren't yourself a feminist.

Acrisius:

I second that. Again, living in Sweden, you basically have to call yourself feminist if you want anyone to take you seriously. Saying that you're not a feminist makes it sound like you're against equality and a misogynistic asshole. I kinda dislike feminism, a lot. Because it's not about equality. It's about bringing men down and raising women up, as if it's that simple. And as if equality is all about your gender. Fuck that bullshit. I believe in egalitarianism/equality, across every ethnicity or socioeconomic class, regardless of gender. A bunch of women getting together to protest about how wrong it is that we're living in a society controlled by men that systematically and intentionally disfavors women, saying that it will all fix itself if you do as they say...Yeah right.

Feminism refers not to promotion of the female gender, but to the behaviors assigned to men and women via the masculine/feminine divide. For example, the cultural belief "A women's place is in the home" assigns women the housework and taking care of the children. Likewise, the cultural belief that men should do the work puts them in danger more often. feminism is the support for the elimination of this divide, and is not "about bringing men down and raising women up" as you call it.
Also, your pity of people who agree with anything Sarkeesian says is condescending. Stop it. You don't like what she says because you don't agree with feminism, not because she is a radical feminist. While I myself go 50/50 on agreement with what she says, simply because of some fact checking errors and Sarkeesian taking a hard line position in certain gray areas, she isn't as controversial in feminism (and in general) as people make her out to be.
Additionally, for someone who claims that feminists make claims that people are indoctrinated, you sure do a lot of claims of indoctrination yourself.

Acrisius:

How can you expect to fix anything if you're not allowing a debate by shooting down anyone who disagrees at all and brand them misogynist and all their opinions invalid? Or even more fun, when a woman says something "un-feminist", she's apparently indoctrinated and unfit to decide her own opinions. "Poor you", they say, "you've been so abused by the patriarchy that you can't even see how repressed you are. Anything you say that contradicts our view is obviously lies that you've been spoon-fed by this repressive man-dominated society"

Clearly, us feminists are misinformed and pitiable for believing in something you don't agree with, and when us feminists claim that women are misinformed by society and pitiable for disagreeing with something we believe in, a claim we do not make without good evidence except as a point against the irritating "My girlfriend agrees with me on my beliefs, so I must be pro women's rights!1!" point that makes us rely on points that are quite difficult to explain without calling them the "Uncle Tom"s of women's rights, we are wrong to do so.

On why many don't accept feminism, and why feminism gets push back, and why some women don't accept feminism: Feminism is a hard truth to swallow. For women, it involves accepting that you have at some point or other been harmed intentionally or unintentionally by people, male or female, due to your gender for problems unlikely to be solved because they remain ingrained in our culture, stains left behind from when women got the vote and feminist progress stopped. This stands in contrast to continuing as you are, not requiring you to acknowledge that you have been harmed for your gender, making you not feel like a victim. Likewise, if you are male, it involves acknowledging that your actions may at some point or another, harmed women or contributed to harm of women intentionally or unintentionally. Acknowledging both the harm one has received intentionally or unintentionally for your gender and the harm one has contributed to or caused intentionally or unintentionally to others for their gender are not required by society. A person can easily surround themselves with people who agree with them on this issue, or people who feel no need to challenge the harm others give and receive for their gender, and never need to either care or discuss such issues. The absence of requirement to change and the negative feelings accepting such truths induce push people away from feminism in absence of clear, concise 100% certainty of the existence of a problem with an obvious solution, whether it be bills to vote against or laws to pass, as awareness of the existence of a problem in absence of a clear solution remains so unpleasant to acknowledge that we struggle to even look for solutions to problems.

Toriver:

DioWallachia:

KrystelCandy:

Indeed.

Empowering.

As for 'power implications' not being attractive well... there's an entire market that revolves around that kind of thing. You might have heard about it, if not, someone else can inform you I'm sure.

Nearly everything Bayonetta does is eye candy, her entire voice and the lines she says is filled heavily with innuendo and breathyness.

The only thing empowering about Bayonetta is she's female and can fight.

Here is a video that may help (not really) to understand Bayonneta. Courtesy of Movie Bob:

Sorry, I usually agree with Movie Bob, but I totally disagree with him here. While she may be more naturally proportionate than other female characters, even Bob admits she was designed to be primarily a sexual character for the enjoyment of male gamers, just in a different way than other characters, such as Bob's examples of Chun-Li and Cammy, are. Knowing what I do of feminism, there are certainly different strands of feminism that would react to Bayonetta's characterization in different ways. Some, from what I gather, would indeed see it as Bob does, that her intimidating sexual nature can be a source of empowerment. But given the average demographic that most game developers shoot for, and reading the interviews with Bayonetta developers such as those quoted above, I don't believe that's exactly what the developers were going for, and I think the game speaks for itself in that matter: Bayonetta, in her visual character design and her moves, while certainly badass, is meant to be primarily eye candy for male gamers. She was not meant to be an empowering figure for women. I mean, just look at the way she fights in-game. Standing on her head in flexible, suggestive poses to fire the guns on her feet? Transforming her hair, which is also her clothing, into weapons, effectively stripping her clothing off to use her ultimate attacks, also standing in suggestive poses while doing that? Yeah, that's TOTALLY in there to be empowering to female players... (/sarcasm)

As I said before, I do agree with Bob on a lot of things, but we just don't see eye-to-eye when it comes to women in pop culture designed for nerds, such as Sucker Punch and Bayonetta (though we do agree about Other M). A lot of other gamers don't agree with his views on women either. But he has his own view on it, I have mine, and female gamers have theirs, and there will be differences of opinion.

I would have to slightly disagree with you there. I think that a female character can be sexually stimulating to the male demographic and still powerful and empowering. Besides that, her intelligence and fighting skill combined is something that made me add her to my very small list of female characters I like.

Here is the thing Shamus, a key point that pretty much torpedos everything those who want to "examine" this issue instantly and irrevocably, and is also why people have reacted to Anita on this level:

Men and Women aren't that differant and they want pretty much the same things. Yes, those strong female characters might titillate men, but then again girls want to be attractive to men (or each other if that's actually their thing) the same way that men want to be attractive to girls.

In fantasy both genders reach towards a physical ideal, portray their characters in what amount to fairly outlandish outifts at times, and have them doing over the top things.

We sit here and point to games like Lollipop Chainsaw, Bayonetta, Lara Croft, and others and say "well yeah, they are strong characters, but they also appeal to men so they don't count, especially given some of the attached innuendos", but your not considering that those characters are EXACTLY the kinds of characters most women will create for themselves, or for products aimed at women. Seriously, look at artwork produced by female fantasy artists, or actually read fantasy novels directed at women, and you will notice there are absolutly zero differances except maybe tonally in how the story is told. In the end you have some gorgeous babe (whether she sees herself that way or not) dressed in a way only a few people could pull off, kicking massive amounts of butt. Anita Blake, Rachel Morgan, Dante Valentine, and other popular female protaganists created by female writers for a primarily female audience (even if it has crossed over) make the point 100% better than I ever could, and pretty much demonstrate that there is no issue here at all.

Heck, if the above point doesn't do it for you, take the time to read some abyssmal fan fiction written by teenage girls, and then tell me what your literal "Mary Sue" resembles. A big hint, it's going to probably nail at least a dozen or more of those "tropes" being complained about. Not because of women being conditions, but because it's how things are. It's also exactly the same thing you see with the he-men of fantasy.

Like it or not the bottom line is simple. Those who complain about tropes, or support people like Anita, are generally nerds who have no luck with girls at all, or happen to be in a relationship with a domineering woman (whether they admit it or not). The idea is that by taking an ignorant "anti-exploitation" angle they effectively make themselves more sympathetic, and thus more attractive to female attention... or pretty much please the woman they are with by making an over the top demonstration of how their attention doesn't wander.

Now there are exceptions to the above (no need to rant if you, or anyone else reading this happens to be one of them) which amount to someone simply being wrong without the underlying motive. That's still the general gist of things though, and why it's a non-issue.

Anita got attacked, and I think it came from BOTH genders (women are even more vicious than guys when it comes to things like rape threats, a point most people tend to overlook, I wouldn't be surprised if someof the most intense threats came from girls acting anonymously or in male guise), because what she's doing is basically a threat to fantasy in general, especially if she was to acheive the platform she was after (which sadly she did). The concern being her, and the deprived nerds she's catering to for attention and a pedestel creating a voice that might actually convince publishers that there is some validity to
what she's saying. The last thing we need is the perception that users want more political correctness in gaming, when it's already wrecking things, games aren't quite the avenue of free expession that they should be, and tend to walk a fine line of staying out of taboo territory unless it's only "taboo" in the sense that it's a recent avenue of attack for the political correctness brigade.

Madmonk12345:

Acrisius:

It's the internet. Every provocation has an equal and hostile reaction. Consider that too. In fact, the more you know about feminism (most of my friends are feminists) the more provocative Sarkeesan is, because not only is she pissing off people who don't agree with her, she's misrepresenting and pissing off people whom she claims to associate with. But there's people for everything. People have been getting hate mail and threats of all kinds for as long as anyone can remember, but rarely do they turn it in their favor by sharing it and giving it attention to create more support. Most people just delete it and move on with a simple "haters gonna hate". I don't hate Sarkeesan, I just really really really really reaaaaaally dislike her. And I feel sorry for anyone who believes any of her crap, because I know how wrong she is about 99% of everything she says in her videos.

If you need to preface your comments with "most of my friends are feminists" to convince others that you are somehow have some authority on what feminists think, you probably don't have such authority. Its like saying "most of my friends care about gay rights". If you were homophobic, your standards for what does and doesn't count as pro gay rights would be lowered, so your friends who proclaim that they are "pro gay rights" might just be saying such to cover up their homophobia.
You also misunderstand feminism at its core, or you did 4 months ago, and aren't yourself a feminist.

Acrisius:

I second that. Again, living in Sweden, you basically have to call yourself feminist if you want anyone to take you seriously. Saying that you're not a feminist makes it sound like you're against equality and a misogynistic asshole. I kinda dislike feminism, a lot. Because it's not about equality. It's about bringing men down and raising women up, as if it's that simple. And as if equality is all about your gender. Fuck that bullshit. I believe in egalitarianism/equality, across every ethnicity or socioeconomic class, regardless of gender. A bunch of women getting together to protest about how wrong it is that we're living in a society controlled by men that systematically and intentionally disfavors women, saying that it will all fix itself if you do as they say...Yeah right.

Feminism refers not to promotion of the female gender, but to the behaviors assigned to men and women via the masculine/feminine divide. For example, the cultural belief "A women's place is in the home" assigns women the housework and taking care of the children. Likewise, the cultural belief that men should do the work puts them in danger more often. feminism is the support for the elimination of this divide, and is not "about bringing men down and raising women up" as you call it.
Also, your pity of people who agree with anything Sarkeesian says is condescending. Stop it. You don't like what she says because you don't agree with feminism, not because she is a radical feminist. While I myself go 50/50 on agreement with what she says, simply because of some fact checking errors and Sarkeesian taking a hard line position in certain gray areas, she isn't as controversial in feminism (and in general) as people make her out to be.
Additionally, for someone who claims that feminists make claims that people are indoctrinated, you sure do a lot of claims of indoctrination yourself.

Acrisius:

How can you expect to fix anything if you're not allowing a debate by shooting down anyone who disagrees at all and brand them misogynist and all their opinions invalid? Or even more fun, when a woman says something "un-feminist", she's apparently indoctrinated and unfit to decide her own opinions. "Poor you", they say, "you've been so abused by the patriarchy that you can't even see how repressed you are. Anything you say that contradicts our view is obviously lies that you've been spoon-fed by this repressive man-dominated society"

Clearly, us feminists are misinformed and pitiable for believing in something you don't agree with, and when us feminists claim that women are misinformed by society and pitiable for disagreeing with something we believe in, a claim we do not make without good evidence except as a point against the irritating "My girlfriend agrees with me on my beliefs, so I must be pro women's rights!1!" point that makes us rely on points that are quite difficult to explain without calling them the "Uncle Tom"s of women's rights, we are wrong to do so.

On why many don't accept feminism, and why feminism gets push back, and why some women don't accept feminism: Feminism is a hard truth to swallow. For women, it involves accepting that you have at some point or other been harmed intentionally or unintentionally by people, male or female, due to your gender for problems unlikely to be solved because they remain ingrained in our culture, stains left behind from when women got the vote and feminist progress stopped. This stands in contrast to continuing as you are, not requiring you to acknowledge that you have been harmed for your gender, making you not feel like a victim. Likewise, if you are male, it involves acknowledging that your actions may at some point or another, harmed women or contributed to harm of women intentionally or unintentionally. Acknowledging both the harm one has received intentionally or unintentionally for your gender and the harm one has contributed to or caused intentionally or unintentionally to others for their gender are not required by society. A person can easily surround themselves with people who agree with them on this issue, or people who feel no need to challenge the harm others give and receive for their gender, and never need to either care or discuss such issues. The absence of requirement to change and the negative feelings accepting such truths induce push people away from feminism in absence of clear, concise 100% certainty of the existence of a problem with an obvious solution, whether it be bills to vote against or laws to pass, as awareness of the existence of a problem in absence of a clear solution remains so unpleasant to acknowledge that we struggle to even look for solutions to problems.

Aw, you keep track of what I said 4 months ago? That's so sweet :)

Uuugh, this again? What am I doing, reading all of these perspectives? I know I always get a headache from it. Let me explain this, hopefully I can answer my own question...

I feel like most of this debate seems to be about changing other's perspectives, which would be fine if it's a non-issue, like tenmar said. 'No, I am right and you are wrong!' Maybe I'm just generalizing, but I'm getting frustrated by people wording everything in a way that kind of sounds accusing. And yes, I'm pointing the fingers at you guys.

Let me just reiterate what other posters might have already said: Just throw gender out of the window. There might be gender specific issues we deal with, but first let us create female characters that aren't meant to be sexualized. And make them characters first and foremost.

Really, the question should be how we can change this behavior in society. I think that's a tough one and I'm not sure how we can do it. We can only do it in baby steps and it will probably take multiple decades before we can reach equality in all media.

PS: Ugh, at least that feels a little better to get that off my chest.

@Therumancer: I was moderately with up until you started generalizing and putting down the people complaining. You did say there are exceptions, but it still struck as pretty ignorant of you.
Anyway, I generally agree with the main point, though I'm not sold on the political correctness thing (spend a while on the Escher Girl's tmblr and you get an idea that there is a certain gender bias to depictions, to the point where some artists don't even realize they're doing it.) Also, I don't think the similar way men and women portray male and female characters in their work invalidates the discussion. For one, you have the potential to discuss the reasons why they do this (cultural, psychological, and so on) and whether working to change it would be good for new, and potentially better, stories and characters. I would say that part of your argument works to answer the posed questions, though I imagine there's a fair bit of variability in how both men and women have shown they respond. After all, there's making an attractive women, and then there's floor length hair and pendulous breasts in skimpy outfits as one runs cross country and stabs large creatures, yet still being helpless when a bad man holds your arms behind your back. At some point you notice things getting a bit ridiculous.

I'd say a lot of it comes down to context and perception. Good reason for those clothes/strength/body shape/helplessness? You can get away with a lot if it doesn't clash too much. Who wondered excruciatingly why Gordon Freeman was the only young scientist in Half Life and why he could reliably use all those weapons as well, or better, than the trained military. There were pretty well established gameplay formats and cultural stereotypes of scientists for those questions, but take some of Fallout 3's story. Man or woman, at some point, regardless of your skills, you are rendered helpless by a flash grenade for several minutes, and you can do nothing to survive "deadly" radiation for 30 seconds no matter what protections you take. In all games, those sorts of uncontrollable context clashes can really grate.
Likewise, perceptions come in based on who you are, or, for example, when you play game after game after game where this formerly competent person becomes helpless, or every single female seems to be useless in helping themselves. Particularly in games, where you're more connected to the characters, you can build and carry a lot of perceptions through the games and some can get tiring. I'm more Otacon than Snake, but I get really tired of the useless wimpy nerd characters. I don't want to have games constantly making fun of someone that is fairly similar to me. I don't care if I see it once in a while. People are different and there are tons of them. Of course a game will feature some that are similar to me, or anyone else, but if that useless character that I had a lot in common with showed up in a third, half, or more of the games I wanted to play, then that would get old fast.

Acrisius:

GoaThief:

Scars Unseen:
You see, I was with you all the way to the end of the article, but then you said that Mirror's Edge was a bad game and so I have to hate you forever no matter how much I enjoy Spoiler Warning. le sigh...

I actually came to the comments to post exactly the same thing.

Mirror's Edge is apparently a downright bad game? Where's Shamus Young's head at?

Also this :P

Well, it's not quite Shamus, nor is this thread quite the right place to discuss it, but http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=9145

Here are a couple of facts:

1. Sarkeesian is a non-objective instigator that is fighting against a gender issue by sterotypical means.

(Whether she's an intentional instigator is not clear, but it seems more likely that she's working towards blaming the industry rather than just creating a debate. Maybe that's what it takes, but whatever the intention it created conflict instead.
As for why she's being stereotypical should be obvious to anyone who's actually seen some of her presentations.)

2. The gender issue is only as bad as we make it. There are no intentional malignant forces at work in general in the game industry, undermining the depicting of women or their rights to be equal in our societies.

Keeping those two things in mind, there is considerable weight against her work and demeanor, putting the issue to the side.

But those of us who have a problem with her objectivity and approach to the debate or issue, have been buried beneath the drama and we're getting no publicity what so ever, because objective journalism is gone and all we're seeing is pandering to the masses.

For once I'd like to see an article on what she's actually doing and whether or not it has any merit. I'd like to see questions asked regarding the way she's doing it and what her reason for her approach is.

I suspect it will leave her exposed as an overeager person trying to blame the game industry for being genderbiased(which it certainly is from an economical standpoint).
We may be surprised though and if there's merit to her stance we can begin a proper discussion.

And for the record, I am biased against her, because I sure as hell can't sympathize with her standpoint the way she's presenting it. You don't have to be a man to be a douche.

Well at least there is half the protagonist of the Resident Evil seriw who allow us to play strong independent femelle character that are not just a pair of ass and tits.... Not that they are without flaw... But still way better than what most Triple A franchise offer... And they are doing since the 90's
http://images.wikia.com/residentevil/images/a/a9/Jill_Valentine_B.S.A.A..jpg
http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/2218/221067-claireredfield1_lg.jpg
http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/5822/residentevil5conceptart.png

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