The Counterpoint

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The Lunatic:

Rainboq:
I'm not referring to gender, but to a person's sex, there's a massive difference. That said, personal taste does factor into it, but you can't forget authorial intent. Kratos was meant as a fantasy persona for men, as evidenced by how he's characterized (and the sex minigame).

Same thing in common conversation.

Nor is it hard to work out if you hold loftier definitions.

I don't think authorial intent is all that big of a factor to be honest. It may nudge, but, it doesn't render interpretation completely moot.

Added to that, people have different perceptions of authorial intent.

For some Kratos is a character to ogle and assuming one is of a submissive personality, the sex game is almost like a fan fiction with a female character they could insert themselves into the role of.

I suppose it's an unconventional thing however.

Women tend to be held to standards in which such a thing is unacceptable. That's where the issue is, I suppose.

That's not really the case, as the player is controlling Kratos, and the mini game pretty much panders to men.

Also, gender is your identity, sex is what you are, they are massively different and conflating the two is a huge mistake.

And as a counterpoint to that argument, look at Bayonetta.

You'd think that the users here would take the hint from the comic: The reason why fire is the metaphor used is because this comic is flame bait...

Grahav:

Rainboq:
Sure men may be objectified, but they're objectified for men. The main objection that feminists have isn't about objectification itself, but that it caters primarily to men.

After following the links (thanks Grey) I think that the objetification and stereotypes that are done by men for men do damage as well, but in a different way. Since it "desirable" to be an expendable, blank "300" or "Call of Duty" soldier is a male fantasy why fight against it?

I agree that it does damage, but look at the figures provided, the ideal 'manly man' in the USA is generally perceived as a muscled stoic figure.

Gasbandit:
Actually, it's an excellent counterpoint. The entire implied premise of the original assertion (Women are depicted badly in media) is that a gender disparity exists.

And a disparity does exist. Most, if not all of the counterclaims are false equivalence.

Moth_Monk:
You'd think that the users here would take the hint from the comic: The reason why fire is the metaphor used is because this comic is flame bait...

Doesn't mean that a few reasonable conversations can't take place.

Scars Unseen:

Zhukov:

Gasbandit:
The reason why DOA girls are all jiggly, wasp-waisted waifs is the same reason why Kratos is 7 feet of steel-reinforced steroid.

No, actually, it really isn't.

The DOA chicks look like that because that's what guys (at least, the guys who play those games) want to look at.

Kratos is the way he is because that's what guys want to look like, and therefor play as.

I wonder who all those guys are that want to look like Kratos. His physique is utterly ridiculous. Then again, I can't stand God of War so perhaps I'm just not in the right demographic to judge such things...

I really don't think it's a stretch to say that a lot of guys like the idea of being powerfully built and physically strong.

I know I certainly do.

Irridium:

According to what I can dig up, women make up almost half of the general gaming audience. About 47%, and one of the fastest growing markets. If the ESA is to be believed, at least.

People dismiss it based on methodology and the assertion that they all play Cooking Mama or something.

Moth_Monk:
You'd think that the users here would take the hint from the comic: The reason why fire is the metaphor used is because this comic is flame bait...

Where exactly is your line between 'flame' and 'conversation'? Not quite where it should be, I think.

18-25 year old men are the target market to AAA videogames.

Who'd have thought it.

OfficialJab:
I said male or not, not being female. Whether you're a woman or man, the physical strength to overcome someone who wrongs you is just a human desire. Not for 100% of the crowd maybe, but even for them it stimulates something.

Their personalities aren't really being discussed here, because it's a case-by-case whether their gender is incorporated into the story enough for it to matter. I'd say GF is a good example as well, because gender isn't exploited in any way. I don't think dialogue too often enforces the stereotyping. Maybe that's not true, but I can't think of any examples.

I missed that bit about male or not, sorry. I can't say I agree that people want to be able to physically overcome anyone who wrongs them, but I can't say I know what others want either, so I am not going to argue that.

I really don't like considering mute protagonists as characters, they might be good avatars, but if you say that Gordon Freeman is good because gender isn't exploited in any way, that isn't a good argument, as that should be the bare minimum in any character (we might disagree on what "exploited" exactly entails, but we both agree that it is what we consider stereotyping, basically, which is what we are discussing as bad in the first place).

Basically it's like this, in a very generalized kind of way:

Women in video games (often) are the way they are to satisfy male sexual fantasies.
Men in video games (often) are the way they are to satisfy male sexual fantasies. (i.e. "I wanna be that guy.")

Problem:

The sexuality of men is generally more tied to direct visual/auditive input and therefore quite easy to address by means of multimedial content.

The sexuality of women does NOT work that way.

Legion:

Gasbandit:
Actually, it's an excellent counterpoint. The entire implied premise of the original assertion (Women are depicted badly in media) is that a gender disparity exists. Pointing out that it also happens to male characters disproves the inequality along gender lines.

This is my stance as well. People don't do it to say that it's okay, they do it because the vast majority of the time people talk about how women are misrepresented in the media, they do so with the opinion that it is down to gender inequality, and that it is sexist.

If both genders are misrepresented then yes, it sucks, but it isn't down to sexism or discrimination, so the argument is invalid. If people want to complain about poor portrayals in the media, then they need to do so without trying to play some sort of "victim" card. That's what people take issue with, not the idea that there are poor portrayals.

Let's take South Park for instance. It was once used as an example of people being discriminated against (Jews for example), but it makes fun of everyone and everything. It doesn't choose one group to make fun of and leave others alone, so you can't complain that your particular group is being "picked on", because it isn't.

Not to mention that comparing a woman being physically hurt (objectively bad) to women not liking large breasted fictional characters (subjectively bad) is a poor example. Obviously it was done for comedic value, but it helps when it works with the message you are trying to make, rather than against it.

I'm glad someone was able to put to word what I was thinking. These are both arguments I can get behind; unfair and degrading representation isn't a good thing, but feminists can't -really- claim that it only happens to women. I'll concede it's happened to more women than men, but it's still not exclusive. The only difference is more men tend to just shrug it off when a male character is made out to be a dumb-as-a-brick beefcake in a loincloth or jock strap, whereas more women tend to feel insulted when a female character has big breasts, a big butt and is a bubble-headed tease.

I think this is one of those cases where this argument only holds water with those who have the following mentality:

"I had a lousy morning; I was taking a shower and the hot water ran out while I was in it."

"That's nothing; yesterday I stepped in the shower, and I got a blast of ice cold water."

"But that's just what I said!"

"Yes, but my story's worse because it happened to ME."

mdqp:
I really don't like considering mute protagonists as characters, they might be good avatars, but if you say that Gordon Freeman is good because gender isn't exploited in any way, that isn't a good argument, as that should be the bare minimum in any character (we might disagree on what "exploited" exactly entails, but we both agree that it is what we consider stereotyping, basically, which is what we are discussing as bad in the first place).

Again, we're not really talking about whether they're a quality character or not, just whether they are an example of pandering to gender, which they're not. I have no opinion on either of them as characters (Samus from Fusion is great, though) for the purposes of this conversation.

Ugh, "feminism" Tuesday again?

If you're on fire, put yourself out. But don't expect sympathy from other people who are on fire. You're going to be sorely disappointed. And by sorely disappointed, I mean still on fire.

Thank you for this comic. A worthy subject that must be repeating again and again until people finally understand, which you tackle wittily and smartly. It never ceases to amaze me how you use your voice to denounce what's wrong with gaming culture rather than simply pander to your audience and/or pointlessly mimic Penny Arcade as many would.

SO OF COURSE YOU MUST BE FLAMEBAITING THE FORUM YOU TROLL LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Zachary Amaranth:

Irridium:

According to what I can dig up, women make up almost half of the general gaming audience. About 47%, and one of the fastest growing markets. If the ESA is to be believed, at least.

People dismiss it based on methodology and the assertion that they all play Cooking Mama or something.

You're too late, someone dismissed it by saying they are all playing Farmville on the last page!

Of course if half the people playing games are women and they have almost no voice it must be because they are all playing girly casual games, and not because they are understandably reluctant to join a culture eager to label them as attention whores, fakers or sluts, and the only way to prove themselves worthy is to internalize that culture (therefore becoming themselves eager to label others as attention whores, fakers and sluts).

Moth_Monk:
You'd think that the users here would take the hint from the comic: The reason why fire is the metaphor used is because this comic is flame bait...

The irony is that the discussion's been surprisingly civil thus far. I imagine it will have fallen off the deep-end by the end of Page 3 though >.>

Hey, Foldable Human! I like that show. And remember that episode.

In all seriousness: yeah, that is a problem. People seem to think that both sides having problems means we need to ignore them both. And that the fact that both sides have problems means that both sides are equal in just how much of a problem it is.

The Random One:

You're too late, someone dismissed it by saying they are all playing Farmville on the last page!

Of course if half the people playing games are women and they have almost no voice it must be because they are all playing girly casual games, and not because they are understandably reluctant to join a culture eager to label them as attention whores, fakers or sluts, and the only way to prove themselves worthy is to internalize that culture (therefore becoming themselves eager to label others as attention whores, fakers and sluts).

If women were as big of a market as you say they are, developers and publishers would have doubtless tried to appeal to them. Surprisingly enough, they like money.

I'd say it's much more likely that most women play more facebook and smartphone games than AAA titles.

You're changing Zombie Tintin? But Zombie Tintin was the best one! D:

OT: Fire hipsters. That's a fun image to remember when people try the old "it doesn't matter because it hurts multiple people" argument.

Mike Fang:

Legion:

Gasbandit:
Actually, it's an excellent counterpoint. The entire implied premise of the original assertion (Women are depicted badly in media) is that a gender disparity exists. Pointing out that it also happens to male characters disproves the inequality along gender lines.

This is my stance as well. People don't do it to say that it's okay, they do it because the vast majority of the time people talk about how women are misrepresented in the media, they do so with the opinion that it is down to gender inequality, and that it is sexist.

If both genders are misrepresented then yes, it sucks, but it isn't down to sexism or discrimination, so the argument is invalid. If people want to complain about poor portrayals in the media, then they need to do so without trying to play some sort of "victim" card. That's what people take issue with, not the idea that there are poor portrayals.

Let's take South Park for instance. It was once used as an example of people being discriminated against (Jews for example), but it makes fun of everyone and everything. It doesn't choose one group to make fun of and leave others alone, so you can't complain that your particular group is being "picked on", because it isn't.

Not to mention that comparing a woman being physically hurt (objectively bad) to women not liking large breasted fictional characters (subjectively bad) is a poor example. Obviously it was done for comedic value, but it helps when it works with the message you are trying to make, rather than against it.

I'm glad someone was able to put to word what I was thinking. These are both arguments I can get behind; unfair and degrading representation isn't a good thing, but feminists can't -really- claim that it only happens to women. I'll concede it's happened to more women than men, but it's still not exclusive. The only difference is more men tend to just shrug it off when a male character is made out to be a dumb-as-a-brick beefcake in a loincloth or jock strap, whereas more women tend to feel insulted when a female character has big breasts, a big butt and is a bubble-headed tease.

I think this is one of those cases where this argument only holds water with those who have the following mentality:

"I had a lousy morning; I was taking a shower and the hot water ran out while I was in it."

"That's nothing; yesterday I stepped in the shower, and I got a blast of ice cold water."

"But that's just what I said!"

"Yes, but my story's worse because it happened to ME."

OK so this is very concisely why this argument doesn't work:

Alleged discrimination against men happens because men are portrayed as powerful, emotionally dumb testosterone factories.
The social outcome of that portrayal is that men must be physically strong and have no feelings.
Being physically weak and too emotional are traits current society ascribes to women.
Therefore, alleged discrimination against men is itself against women as well, because it says it's bad to have traits perceived as feminine.

Also I rewrote your shower metaphor reversing the roles:

"I had a lousy morning; I was taking a
shower and the hot water ran out while I
was in it."

"That's nothing; yesterday I stepped in the
shower, and I got a blast of ice cold water."

"What? Mine is much worse. I was already in the hot water so it felt even colder. Plus, my boiler's been leaking so this happens all the time. How about we go down to see what's wrong with it?"

"FUCK YOU, DIDN'T I JUST SAY I GOT A BLAST OF COLD WATER ONCE? EVERYONE IS EQUALLY FUCKED! GO TO HELL!

The Random One:
You're too late, someone dismissed it by saying they are all playing Farmville on the last page!

Let's have a look at the quote....

"Different markets, I'd imagine. For the purposes of surveys, something like FarmVille will count as well. But even further from that, you'd need to break down genres. How high a percentage of the AAA-action genre is male/female? I'd wager significantly different from 60/40. To some extent, females may feel isolated from those games just because the heroes are men, but how many?"

So the brief mention of FarmVille was not, in fact an assertion that "they are all playing Farmville", but part of a larger point that most of the gender stereotyping exists in specific genres, which "I'd wager" have a very different breakdown that surveys don't always take into account.

I even take your point that there are probably women who would play more titles if they weren't put off by the depiction of women in them - we only differ in how strong we think that influence is.

Mike Fang:

I think this is one of those cases where this argument only holds water with those who have the following mentality:

"I had a lousy morning; I was taking a shower and the hot water ran out while I was in it."

"That's nothing; yesterday I stepped in the shower, and I got a blast of ice cold water."

"But that's just what I said!"

"Yes, but my story's worse because it happened to ME."

My thoughts exactly. In my opinion this comic is a prime white knight example of how when men are degraded, it's just not as important or relevant. Men are men, "they can take it". My god how I hate that sentence.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind people who stand up for other people, I mind assholes who set out to invalidate a point because SOME abuse it.

The point of this comic is very poorly laid out.

If someone wants to make a statement with a comic, how about focusing on the guys who have very valid arguments or the ones who make good examples of our gender, instead of focusing on the douchebags that threaten to rape or kill on the internet.

For fucks sake, I feel like I should feel bad because of my gender.

OfficialJab:
Again, we're not really talking about whether they're a quality character or not, just whether they are an example of pandering to gender, which they're not. I have no opinion on either of them as characters (Samus from Fusion is great, though) for the purposes of this conversation.

But isn't that a narrow point of view? I am sure pac-man doesn't pander to genders (well, there is the pink ghost that ends up always having a ribbon whenever is depicted outside of the game, I guess... ;p ) , but what's the point of debating just plain and simple pandering or not pandering? I doubt it has any real value, if it isn't put into its context (that being the fact that, GM isn't a character, so it could only pander with his looks, and looks for male protagonists are still mainly within the "limits", as far as I have seen).

If you dismiss their quality as characters, you are also removing a lot from this discussion, I have dozens of games with characters so poorly introduced/explained/developed/whatever that they could never be considered to be pandering to one gender or the other, but that's because they can barely be considered characters. The soldier I played in the first Medal of Honor on my psx didn't pander either. It also bears no meaning into this discussion because of its nature of a "non-character".

mdqp:
But isn't that a narrow point of view?

I have dozens of games with characters so poorly introduced/explained/developed/whatever that they could never be considered to be pandering to one gender or the other, but that's because they can barely be considered characters.

I don't really understand what you mean here. That physical pandering doesn't exist if there is no attached personality? The girls in DoA: Beach Volleyball are poorly introduced, explained and developed (I imagine), so are they not pandering to a very specific audience? This is kind of a rhetorical question...

I also wouldn't consider the fellas from Gears of War as 'within physical limits', but again, it's supposed to be a symbol of strength, not an attainable image, so that doesn't really matter I guess.

I was on fire before it was cool.

*reads some comments*

Who would've thought something as unambiguously bad as being on fire would be misread as some kind of desirable state for people to be in...

OfficialJab:
I don't really understand what you mean here. That physical pandering doesn't exist if there is no attached personality? The girls in DoA: Beach Volleyball are poorly introduced, explained and developed (I imagine), so are they not pandering to a very specific audience? This is kind of a rhetorical question...

I also wouldn't consider the fellas from Gears of War as 'within physical limits', but again, it's supposed to be a symbol of strength, not an attainable image, so that doesn't really matter I guess.

Pandering is also about attitude. If there is a good looking girl in a bikini, is that necessarily pandering? If it is out of place, yes, but if the location is a beach? It depends on what they did with the character. At the same time, you can pander without having almost-naked girls, representing a woman as a "tease", for example. It doesn't mean that one can't do pandering without a character, I am saying that not pandering without a character is extremely easy, you just need to make sure that the design isn't a joke, and thousands fit the bill (all the protagonists of the whole GTA series, the whole Call of Duty series, the whole Medal of honor series, practically 95% of the RPGs I can think of, a bunch of strategy games, etc.). If a game is basically a porn with a fighting game attached, I don't even care to talk about it, because it's like complaining about people being sexualized in a porn movie. Maybe I am too cynical toward DOA and I don't expect anything from it, who knows?

Just to make myself clear, I don't see anything inherently wrong with pandering, the problem is that it is widespread and overabused, in my opinion, but this is another discussion.

You name Gears of War, but the games mentioned above by me surely are normal in their physique. I said the majority, which implies that some don't respond to this rule, and expecting all games to fit the bill would be weird.

Irridium:
See, I'm puzzled. People (usually men) always say men are just as objectified and it's just as bad, yet men are almost always the big damn heroes who save the day while being awesome while women are almost always side characters who exist primarily for eye-candy (if they even appear on screen at all).

These don't seem like equal problems.

DTWolfwood:
When women buy games in the same numbers as men do, then things will change. The issue will not be addressed until there is money in it for the industry to do so. Its about catering to the audience that spends more, right now, that's men. Sorry ladies.

Of course one can argue that its because of this misrepresentation that women don't buy games in the same numbers as men, and that the cycle is a vicious circular reference.

According to what I can dig up, women make up almost half of the general gaming audience. About 47%, and one of the fastest growing markets. If the ESA is to be believed, at least.

http://www.theesa.com/facts/gameplayer.asp

They're buying, and playing, games just almost as much as men (I wouldn't be surprised if it was pretty much equal by the end of the year). The audience, and money, is there.

Statistic includes social and "casual" games, games that are either free or at the $.99 price point. Of the 33% of social gamers, how much would one like to bet of the 47% at least 98% of that belongs in the 33%. So in short you are only dealing with a fraction that are putting down the money for your $60 AAA releases, which i might add all(most) of the exploitative representations of women belong to.

Yes they are half, but they are on the half that doesn't affect the other half that they complain about. My girlfriend is a gamer by ESA standards, she wouldn't know how to use a gamepad, but give her an iphone and she is a wiz with them "games."

Eh who cares. Let the big tits be and let the ridiculous steroid masses of flesh kill stuff angrily.

mdqp:

franksands:
Any female character from Atomic Robo. I'd specially point out The Sparrow.

Isn't that a comic character? I meant videogame characters, sorry if I wasn't clear (I might take a look at that, though, because it sounds interesting).

The only ones that comes to mind right now is Lucca from Chrono Trigger and Liara from Mass Effect 1.

I'd be curious as to how this topic will be revisted when the 50 shades of grey movie comes out (the argument is about the media in general, not just video games).

It doesn't justify it happening at all but its a perfect counterpoint against them trying to say women have everything worse.

Zhukov:

Scars Unseen:

Zhukov:

No, actually, it really isn't.

The DOA chicks look like that because that's what guys (at least, the guys who play those games) want to look at.

Kratos is the way he is because that's what guys want to look like, and therefor play as.

I wonder who all those guys are that want to look like Kratos. His physique is utterly ridiculous. Then again, I can't stand God of War so perhaps I'm just not in the right demographic to judge such things...

I really don't think it's a stretch to say that a lot of guys like the idea of being powerfully built and physically strong.

I know I certainly do.

Physically fit is one thing. Kratos's muscles are defined to an highly unhealthy level similar to the extremes some bodybuilders go to drop their water weight just before a competition. It's just as bad as women wanting to look like unrealistic airbrushed models.

If it was an issue of "All characters are portrayed pretty crappy in video games" it would be a bad counterpoint, yes.

But the argument is "Women are being treated worse than men in terms of video game characters", to which that counterpoint is far more legitimate.

sethisjimmy:
If it was an issue of "All characters are portrayed pretty crappy in video games" it would be a bad counterpoint, yes.

But the argument is "Women are being treated worse than men in terms of video game characters", to which that counterpoint is far more legitimate.

Do you honestly think that women are being treated as decently as men are in video games? Why isn't there a male version of DOA? or Bayonetta? Do you really think a video game of a guy that is pratically naked and does everything with pubic hair would sell?

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