The Counterpoint

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Aureliano:
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.

But the point is, "I'm on fire and I'm fine with that" Is not a good reason to shut down someone else who is trying to put themselves out, it might be a reason to say you're not in a position to help them sure, but it's no reason get in their way. Grey said it in the original post.

It's a mini-tragedy how some people only start looking at and for damaging male tropes in media when they're hunting for ammunition to use against those pesky feminists.

Pointing out harmful male stereotypes is a good thing! The only feminist that won't agree that they exist are the hardline nutters (who are far less common than people make out, they're just very noisy). I'd love to see more games with diversity in appearance and personality for both genders. But it's really hard to see it as anything but derailment when people who otherwise don't seem to give a shit any other time start banging on about it because some women say hey, there are some games they would really enjoy if it weren't for the fact that the one-dimensional, anatomically impossible female characters are distracting and alienating.

DTWolfwood:
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."

Your numbers make no sense. Even in the scenario where 100% of social gamers are women that would leave 29% of female gamers unaccounted for. Not to mention that there are plenty of guys out there who play social games (though I guess whether they admit it is another matter :P ).

Further to that that 33% says nothing about *exclusively* playing social games. Some chunk of that group will overlap with other groups, yes including those that play AAA games.

At the end of the day the ESAs little infographics are interesting but pretty useless without some information about the raw numbers behind them and the techniques used to gather the data.

So since my quick googling hasn't gotten me any hints of a decent analysis of the subject, I guess I don't have any answers for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy baseless anecdote I can tell you that I've been an avid part of the gaming community (both tabletop and video) in my local area for coming up to a decade, and I've been noticing the proportion of girls involved increase steadily over that time. Hell a friend of mine recently started up a serious monthly video-game discussion group and that's roughly a third girls. Sure we're a minority but we exist and we can be just as passionate about the medium. Hell, doesn't the fact that people are complaining at all indicate that? Why get too involved complaining about something if you don't want to get involved in it?

mdqp:
"Lots of things" (I like arguing with someone who can communicate and spell, for a change!)

I agree that there are a lot of different kinds, but you're admittedly saying that one isn't really worth talking about, even though it's the dominating discussion. A lot of the issues that women bring up about representation in gaming is that they're mostly balloon-chested and skinny, and that's worth addressing.
It's not just in the 'porn games' like DoA Volleyball, but something like Bayonetta or Ninja Gaiden illustrates the same problem - their leads are strong and independent, there are complex stories, but they're still guilty of oversexualizing. However, the porn games don't have to do it either, let alone have to exist in the first place. The fact that their business model is built around it shouldn't exempt them from blame, or discussion.
Not that what we say here will change anything, anyways.

But if we're only discussing the other one, I'm not denying the existence of character-based stereotyping, but saying that they're both pretty equal. I actually mentioned somewhere in here that a franchise like CoD (by-and-large is just fine) can reduce their footprint in this mess by introducing female characters for the online component - just making them 100% the same, other than using a female voice actor. That would ring true for just about every major series.
I was with a lot of people who were a little disappointed that GTAV doesn't star a female, actually. We had no reason to expect it, other than they're sorely overdue for it, and they're ironically pretty good at avoiding this whole thing. I'd say Fallout is close to being a gold standard for equality - gender and otherwise.

TLDR-
There is character stereotyping with no visual stereotyping.
There is visual stereotyping with no character stereotyping.
They both get out of hand from time to time.
I think we actually agree, we're just focused on different things.

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

Well, you are surely dropping some big names, but would they be considered "heroines", in the strictest sense? They are main characters, but not protagonists. I love Lucca and I have mixed feelings about Liara (I liked her in ME1, didn't quite like the direction they took in ME2 & 3), generally speaking.

I can only think of April Ryan (the protagonist of The Longest Journey) as a female main character who is really well done (not in the sequel, though, there they managed to suck the life out of her and make a whiner out of her, with an emo streak... God, I hate Dreamfall... Uhm, nevermind, ignore me), but I surely wonder if there is more to see around...

franksands:

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?

Women are obviously more sexualized, but there are plenty of male characters stereotyped as Marcus-Fenix-esque roid-rage no-emotion 2D killing machines, etc, or feminine androgynous emo jrpg-protagonists. And there are plenty on both sides that are just poor, flat, cliches.

It depends on what you view as a negative stereotype. I'm not going to say either side has it worse because some people like those kinds of characters and don't see them as negative, and I personally don't care enough about it. A character is a character to me, there is no "perfect" character, you can strive to make a character more "realistic" and humanly "flawed" but that just strikes me as insincere.

I guess it's hard for me to see and understand because I personally have no qualms with those kinds of sexualized characters, being male, so I can only begin to understand how people do feel about those kinds of characters through listening to their complaints. I haven't reached a conclusion yet.

mdqp:

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

Well, you are surely dropping some big names, but would they be considered "heroines", in the strictest sense? They are main characters, but not protagonists. I love Lucca and I have mixed feelings about Liara (I liked her in ME1, didn't quite like the direction they took in ME2 & 3), generally speaking.

I can only think of April Ryan (the protagonist of The Longest Journey) as a female main character who is really well done (not in the sequel, though, there they managed to suck the life out of her and make a whiner out of her, with an emo streak... God, I hate Dreamfall... Uhm, nevermind, ignore me), but I surely wonder if there is more to see around...

Yeah, April's a pretty classic example. Jade from Beyond Good & Evil, Hope from Mirror's Edge, Maya from Summoner 2 and Kate from Hydrophobia are the others I can think of. Alyx from Half-Life 2 is worth mentioning since whilst she's a support character she's considerably more fleshed out than the lead ;).

And that's the biggest problem. There are tons of 1-dimensional space marines or whatever out there, but there are also tons of more interesting male characters. I think there'd be far fewer complaints from women about how they are portrayed if someone who has played many hundreds of games over the past two decades from every genre under the sun, could think of more than five interesting female leads. I'd still get squicked out by the OTT objectifying games but I could just shrug and settle down with a nice counterexample to each one.

mdqp:

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

Well, you are surely dropping some big names, but would they be considered "heroines", in the strictest sense? They are main characters, but not protagonists. I love Lucca and I have mixed feelings about Liara (I liked her in ME1, didn't quite like the direction they took in ME2 & 3), generally speaking.

I can only think of April Ryan (the protagonist of The Longest Journey) as a female main character who is really well done (not in the sequel, though, there they managed to suck the life out of her and make a whiner out of her, with an emo streak... God, I hate Dreamfall... Uhm, nevermind, ignore me), but I surely wonder if there is more to see around...

Anything after ME1 is horrible in my opinion, I mean, they hired Yvonne Strahovski and modeled a completely shallow character just to show close-up shots of her ass. And I didn't like what they did with Liara either. I didn't play ME3 and have no intention of playing it in the near future.

I heard a lot about The Longest Journey, but never stopped to actually playing it.

OfficialJab:

I agree that there are a lot of different kinds, but you're admittedly saying that one isn't really worth talking about, even though it's the dominating discussion. A lot of the issues that women bring up about representation in gaming is that they're mostly balloon-chested and skinny, and that's worth addressing.
It's not just in the 'porn games' like DoA Volleyball, but something like Bayonetta or Ninja Gaiden illustrates the same problem - their leads are strong and independent, there are complex stories, but they're still guilty of oversexualizing. However, the porn games don't have to do it either, let alone have to exist in the first place. The fact that their business model is built around it shouldn't exempt them from blame, or discussion.
Not that what we say here will change anything, anyways.

But if we're only discussing the other one, I'm not denying the existence of character-based stereotyping, but saying that they're both pretty equal. I actually mentioned somewhere in here that a franchise like CoD (by-and-large is just fine) can reduce their footprint in this mess by introducing female characters for the online component - just making them 100% the same, other than using a female voice actor. That would ring true for just about every major series.
I was with a lot of people who were a little disappointed that GTAV doesn't star a female, actually. We had no reason to expect it, other than they're sorely overdue for it, and they're ironically pretty good at avoiding this whole thing. I'd say Fallout is close to being a gold standard for equality - gender and otherwise.

TLDR-
There is character stereotyping with no visual stereotyping.
There is visual stereotyping with no character stereotyping.
They both get out of hand from time to time.
I think we actually agree, we're just focused on different things.

Now that we are talking about games like Bayonetta and Ninja Gaiden, I might be more inclined to agree with you. I mean, it's the games that don't exactly sell themselves as "a feast for the eyes" so to speak, that are really the issue here. Who cares how man and women are represented in porn? That would be silly, they are there to cater to the sexual fantasies (the keyword is "fantasy" here) of the audience. I think they are harmless, they don't really have a hidden message, or something that could misinterpreted: everything is upfront, and cleary false, too (the pizza guy usually isn't a sex machine, and those who order a pizza aren't just women whose "husband isn't home right now" or whatever the current "plot" is). They are specifically built to please someone, and demand anything from them means that you clearly aren't their target to begin with, and nothing should be done about it (it's a relatively free world, with people relatively free to film what they want).

Do I believe that developers should start to open their minds a little on the way they deal with their characters? Sure. Some would point out as the inevitable consequences of an almost completely male industry might be responsible for this, and in vicious circle, the current status of the industry discourages women from finding a job in it, preventing them from bringing their point of view on the matter in a more direct manner. It sounds like an excuse, but probably accounts for part of the problem.

I was mainly speaking about character, because I feel that's where the problem really lies: Some women do have huge, ahem, "assets", so I can get over it, somehow (I hate all that bikini chainmail bullshit, though), but when they turn women into either nymphomaniac or completely incompetent just to appeal to certain parts of the audience, I surely feel the issue, too. Actions are what define characters, for the most part, and that's the real problem in most games. It's a matter of scale, with far too women not being legitimate characters since their actions condemn them at marginal or secondary roles (or they simply feel wrong, in the rare chance when they get the main role).

RPGs generally shine in this department (I love the Fallout series, although I have a few issues with Fallout 3... I haven't tried New Vegas, yet), with most of them doing a good job at leaving the main character relatively alone and leaving you to shape him/her yourself. But since in an RPG you directly and indirectly have far more control over the protagonist compared to other genres, they don't provide a good benchmark for the whole spectrum of games.

Of course, there are all kind of ways to make a character wrong, I just feel that the pandering isn't really worth being mentioned, it's like the infamous booth babes, eyecandy for the sake of itself, and easily avoided. Is the more subtle (and sometimes less subtle) appearance of characters without substance around other genres, that cause the problems.

Illessa:

Yeah, April's a pretty classic example. Jade from Beyond Good & Evil, Hope from Mirror's Edge, Maya from Summoner 2 and Kate from Hydrophobia are the others I can think of. Alyx from Half-Life 2 is worth mentioning since whilst she's a support character she's considerably more fleshed out than the lead ;).

And that's the biggest problem. There are tons of 1-dimensional space marines or whatever out there, but there are also tons of more interesting male characters. I think there'd be far fewer complaints from women about how they are portrayed if someone who has played many hundreds of games over the past two decades from every genre under the sun, could think of more than five interesting female leads. I'd still get squicked out by the OTT objectifying games but I could just shrug and ignore them if I had somewhere else to go.

Jade! I had completely forgotten about her! As a matter of fact, how long do we have to wait for BG&E 2?

franksands:
Anything after ME1 is horrible in my opinion, I mean, they hired Yvonne Strahovski and modeled a completely shallow character just to show close-up shots of her ass. And I didn't like what they did with Liara either. I didn't play ME3 and have no intention of playing it in the near future.

I heard a lot about The Longest Journey, but never stopped to actually playing it.

Anything after ME1 is horrible in my opinion...

Would you marry me? I don't care about gender and political beliefs right now... :D

On a more serious note, I seriously think I felt sick when they killed and resurrected Shepard in the first ten minutes... The cheapest, sloppiest plot device I ever saw... The ass shots were just too hilarious, I almost fell off the chair the first time they showed one. At least they did a decent work with the side quests for the supporting cast (ME2 main plot was actually one giant side-quest, though, and that was a really big issue), and that tricked me into trusting they would work things out for the end of the trilogy... Don't buy ME3, you are fine without it, believe me.

If you like graphic adventures, you should really try The longest journey. I think it stood the test of time, although it suffers from a couple of "this hurts you" puzzles. I hate with all my heart its sequel, for both the story and the gameplay (almost absent), but I am the minority on this one, so I don't know, maybe I have turned into an old, grumpy man at the old age of 26...

As a male, I often feel insulted how women are in video games. Especially since they seem to think I like what they portray them as, and I'm supposed to like that.

No, I find it an insult to mine and many others intelligence, and wish it would stop. Unfortunately, they are always going to "need" to put big boobs on women and such in games for the foreseeable future because as an industry, gaming still has growing up to do. It still wants to cater just to young boys a lot of the time (I am talking the AAA market) and that's part of the problem, I know some teens that wish that games weren't as stupid about it as well though. It's just dumb a ll around.

As you can see, I'm a big Metroid fan, Fusion is one of my favorite games off all time too, and I think it was a great way of representing a strong female character without having to show any skin at all. It can be done, there are other great examples too, we just need to get more of this going in the industry as a whole.

Illessa:

Yeah, April's a pretty classic example. Jade from Beyond Good & Evil, Hope from Mirror's Edge, Maya from Summoner 2 and Kate from Hydrophobia are the others I can think of. Alyx from Half-Life 2 is worth mentioning since whilst she's a support character she's considerably more fleshed out than the lead ;).

And that's the biggest problem. There are tons of 1-dimensional space marines or whatever out there, but there are also tons of more interesting male characters. I think there'd be far fewer complaints from women about how they are portrayed if someone who has played many hundreds of games over the past two decades from every genre under the sun, could think of more than five interesting female leads. I'd still get squicked out by the OTT objectifying games but I could just shrug and settle down with a nice counterexample to each one.

Yeah, I should have mentioned Jade, too, considering I really like Beyond Good & Evil (will they ever do the damned sequel? It would be an insta-buy for me). I am not sure about Hope, though, I feel like the story doesn't develop enough for her to be considered a good character (she doesn't suffer from dumb design choices, though, that's for sure... On a side note, I am acrophobic, so playing Mirror Edge is an absolute thrill for me).

I own a copy of Hydrophobia, but I just gave it a short run to see if it worked properly, do you think she makes for a compelling character?

Never played summoner 2, so I can't say anything about Maya.

Yeah, Alyx is a nice character (though when she kind of hits on Gordon remains one of the most awkward moments in gaming history to me... Was I the only one that felt it was completely out of the blue?).

Yeah, that's the main problem. Who cares about those who fail? The problem is that almost nobody succeeds in making good female characters... Sometimes, it can be annoying.

Thank fuck someone is bringing up this point - it gets my goat that everytime we have a discussion on female portrayals (basically every day on the escapist), some chump comes along and starts saying how men get portrayed badly too. Yes they do, but:

1) We weren't talking about men, we were talking about women. Start a thread about men if you genuinely give a shit. (The fact that there are comparatively few male portrayal threads implies they don't).
2) Male portrayals, in the balance of things, are still more varied, numerous and positive than female portrayals. You don't even get ugly or old female protagonists in games. At least, not unless you messed around with the character customisation in Mass Effect. Trying to suggest that men and women are treated equally as bad (and that women aren't more denegrated in games) is just plain bullshit.
3) The fact that male portrayals are problematic takes nothing away from the fact that they are problematic for females. As an argument it means nothing. That's what the comic is all about.

I was actually going to start a thread about male portrayals, just to see if those who make the "whataboutthemen" arguments actually chip in and have a proper discussion that needs to be had. Guess there is no point now.

Every industry needs regulation in order to keep everyone from taking too much of the pie, which is why we have anti-trust laws to break up monopolies.

So, against the oppression of visual bias that spills over into media, perhaps the answer is for the government to mandate equality in that wise? Perhaps laws to mandate the presence of at least some unidealized or even ugly characters, in major roles, in every movie, book, and video game? Look no further than how there are quite a few ugly male actors but you never really see ugly female actors.

That's the sort of unfair disparity that's being addressed here.

mdqp:
Yeah, I should have mentioned Jade, too, considering I really like Beyond Good & Evil (will they ever do the damned sequel? It would be an insta-buy for me). I am not sure about Hope, though, I feel like the story doesn't develop enough for her to be considered a good character (she doesn't suffer from dumb design choices, though, that's for sure... On a side note, I am acrophobic, so playing Mirror Edge is an absolute thrill for me).

I own a copy of Hydrophobia, but I just gave it a short run to see if it worked properly, do you think she makes for a compelling character?

Never played summoner 2, so I can't say anything about Maya.

Yeah, Alyx is a nice character (though when she kind of hits on Gordon remains one of the most awkward moments in gaming history to me... Was I the only one that felt it was completely out of the blue?).

Yeah, that's the main problem. Who cares about those who fail? The problem is that almost nobody succeeds in making good female characters... Sometimes, it can be annoying.

That's the really sad thing, I included Hope and Kate more because they're female leads that were capable but not perfect and not blatantly set up to be eye-candy - but in both cases the game kind of squanders their potentially interesting setups by not making any special effort to really expand on them further. Main thing that stuck with me about Kate was I thought they played up the reluctant hero angle nicely, it's just a shame they claimed she was scared of water (and in the Prophecy edition, actually put in some backstory around that) then did naff all with the fact that she's suddenly having to deal with it constantly. Also the fact that any drama inevitably gets squandered by annoying comic-relief man on the radio.

I suppose I shouldn't have included them - else I might as well have gone with Naija from Aquaria or freaking Chell.

Maya's a bit of a funny one, right from the outset she's a queen and is worshipped as the rebirth of a goddess, and she's exactly as arrogant as you would expect from that kind of upbringing. Yet after the initial shock of your main character imperiously ordering people around, she still turns out quite sympathetic, and I just think having a main character who is in a position of power all through the game (ish) is interesting. Mostly I just love Summoner 2, it's got its fair share of problems, but there's some wonderfully freaky visual design (even if the actual humans are kinda butt-ugly) and it's generally a bit of an underrated gem.

And yeah Alyx hitting on Gordon did feel an awful lot like "We feel obliged to do something around sexual tension with the sidekick since she's female n all". On the other hand with a silent protagonist it's always going to feel a bit odd...

Cephei Mordred:
Every industry needs regulation in order to keep everyone from taking too much of the pie, which is why we have anti-trust laws to break up monopolies.

So, against the oppression of visual bias that spills over into media, perhaps the answer is for the government to mandate equality in that wise? Perhaps laws to mandate the presence of at least some unidealized or even ugly characters, in major roles, in every movie, book, and video game? Look no further than how there are quite a few ugly male actors but you never really see ugly female actors.

That's the sort of unfair disparity that's being addressed here.

I don't think this is a good idea. There are legitimate reasons for an all-male or all-female cast in a show or a game. The government shouldn't interfere with any creative process. But we as individuals can and should go after these offending parties.

mdqp:

franksands:
Anything after ME1 is horrible in my opinion, I mean, they hired Yvonne Strahovski and modeled a completely shallow character just to show close-up shots of her ass. And I didn't like what they did with Liara either. I didn't play ME3 and have no intention of playing it in the near future.

I heard a lot about The Longest Journey, but never stopped to actually playing it.

Anything after ME1 is horrible in my opinion...

Would you marry me? I don't care about gender and political beliefs right now... :D

i'm sorry, I'm already married ;-)

I think the problem we have today is with AAA games. We don't have, at least I haven't seen, this kind of problems with independent games.This should be reason enough for us to encourage good indie games getting as much coverage and attention as possible.

franksands:

Cephei Mordred:
Every industry needs regulation in order to keep everyone from taking too much of the pie, which is why we have anti-trust laws to break up monopolies.

So, against the oppression of visual bias that spills over into media, perhaps the answer is for the government to mandate equality in that wise? Perhaps laws to mandate the presence of at least some unidealized or even ugly characters, in major roles, in every movie, book, and video game? Look no further than how there are quite a few ugly male actors but you never really see ugly female actors.

That's the sort of unfair disparity that's being addressed here.

I don't think this is a good idea. There are legitimate reasons for an all-male or all-female cast in a show or a game. The government shouldn't interfere with any creative process. But we as individuals can and should go after these offending parties.

I thought this was a matter of oppression and favoring the Male Gaze over everything else, in which case surely it would be appropriate for the government to do something about that, the same as with other oppression issues in the past.

OfficialJab:

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.

I may have exaggerated your quote, but I don't think you realize how damning even bringing that fact is. One has an opinion. One hears a fact that proves, without question, that their opinion is wrong. One then, instead of trying to find out what's wrong with their opinion, tries to find out what's wrong with the fact.

There is no reason to bring up Farmville and social gaming unless you are trying to reach the foregone conclusion that the amount of women that play core games is significantly smaller. If I came up with data saying that the 47% figure does not, in fact, include such games, someone would suggest that those are sales data and not usage data, and that it's schewed due to women buying games to their significant others.

If 47% of women play games, 47% of women play games, period.

[

secretsantaone:

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.

If your point is that a kind of player doesn't exist because publishers don't cater to them I need only to point you towards Kickstarter. Just because publishers haven't nailed that market does not mean that 1) it doesn't exist or that 2) they haven't tried.

Did you know there is a thriving community of text adventures made by and for genderqueer people? You can bet that is not a market and we will not see Activision trying to cash in on it. It may not be a market, but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I'd say it's much more likely that if 47% of women play games then 47% of women play games.

Cephei Mordred:

franksands:

Cephei Mordred:
Every industry needs regulation in order to keep everyone from taking too much of the pie, which is why we have anti-trust laws to break up monopolies.

So, against the oppression of visual bias that spills over into media, perhaps the answer is for the government to mandate equality in that wise? Perhaps laws to mandate the presence of at least some unidealized or even ugly characters, in major roles, in every movie, book, and video game? Look no further than how there are quite a few ugly male actors but you never really see ugly female actors.

That's the sort of unfair disparity that's being addressed here.

I don't think this is a good idea. There are legitimate reasons for an all-male or all-female cast in a show or a game. The government shouldn't interfere with any creative process. But we as individuals can and should go after these offending parties.

I thought this was a matter of oppression and favoring the Male Gaze over everything else, in which case surely it would be appropriate for the government to do something about that, the same as with other oppression issues in the past.

But then, the government would only be creating more oppression.

franksands:

Cephei Mordred:

franksands:

I don't think this is a good idea. There are legitimate reasons for an all-male or all-female cast in a show or a game. The government shouldn't interfere with any creative process. But we as individuals can and should go after these offending parties.

I thought this was a matter of oppression and favoring the Male Gaze over everything else, in which case surely it would be appropriate for the government to do something about that, the same as with other oppression issues in the past.

But then, the government would only be creating more oppression.

By creating more equality in the media for women? So that everyone must needs be acknowledging unideal and unattractive women, whether by men giving in by doing the right thing and dispreferring their standards of attractiveness, or by government mandate?

The Random One:
There is no reason to bring up Farmville and social gaming unless you are trying to reach the foregone conclusion that the amount of women that play core games is significantly smaller. If I came up with data saying that the 47% figure does not, in fact, include such games, someone would suggest that those are sales data and not usage data, and that it's schewed due to women buying games to their significant others.

We are indeed largely talking about 'core games' since that's where most of the gender stereotyping etc exists. The study is almost too irrelevant to be in this conversation - a more appropriate one would be:

"How many men/women play these games: -list of games identified as creating damaging stereotypes-".

How many women play FarmVille is just as irrelevant as how many men play it, as is how many play Brain Age etc etc, which is why bringing that broad study into this debate is misleading. Just the mention of it gives readers the impression that women and men play every game 60/40 (or whatever it was), which isn't true. Whoever didn't get that impression were people who realized that it wasn't providing the necessary evidence to be of any value here.

The study that was brought up back on page 1 was, as I understood it, to support that female gamers should have more clout when it comes to developers who are only marketing to males. That argument is only relevant to gamers who play the types of games those developers make, though. Unless "gamers, period" play every type of game, that study is too broadly targeted to help or hurt anyone's point, let alone prove anybody wrong or right. If "47% are playing games, period" is as deep into the groups as you'll go, then you're missing a lot of important details.

mdqp:
Yeah, I should have mentioned Jade, too, considering I really like Beyond Good & Evil (will they ever do the damned sequel? It would be an insta-buy for me)

Last I heard, Ubisoft was using a small studio to make it in order to "preserve its soul", but I feel like that was about a year ago. Then again, a long development cycle might be just what it needs. I also heard, sometime since then, that Silicon Knights was working on "their most requested game", geez whiz what could that be? (yeah its ED2) But they're in shaky financial shape I guess, if they still exist at all. I haven't heard from them since Epic handed them their ass in court.

Krantos:
Grey and Cory are baiting the forums again?

image

Anyone have popcorn?

what is this "women" you speak of?

I just want to voice my approval of this comic. This is so very true and the fact that seemingly the only people discussing how men are mistreated in modern society are assholes who try to silence discussions about how women are mistreated breaks my cold dark signal generator.

OfficialJab:

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?

http://blog.pricecharting.com/2012/09/emilyami-sexism-in-video-games-study.html

This study also reaches the 40/60 split between men and women but moreover argues that there is no discernible difference in the type of games women play and the type men play. Now the study also notes that male gamers usually play more than female gamers so the 40/60 split is not the whole picture but it's clear that women are a vary large part of the audience.

secretsantaone:

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 know right, because it couldn't possibly be that they're just incompetent.

I think I'm done reading Critical Miss. I enjoy most of the plot and characters, but it's gotten to the point that every other week Corey and Gray deliberately bait the forums to generate views and comments.

I'm all for discussing these topics, but when someone states a political or ethical opinion in a webcomic, it feels like they're shoving it down my throat, because there's no way they're going to bother reading the comments because they KNOW there's a shitstorm there. Not to mention the internet is the last place you're going to find rational, levelheaded discussion. So, consider this my farewell to Critical Miss. I depart now for shores that don't pull this crap.

Andy Shandy:

Krantos:
Grey and Cory are baiting the forums again?

image

Anyone have popcorn?

I have plenty.

image

Now let us enjoy.

image

But to have something to say vaguely related, instead of both sides complaining at each other, why not work together and complain about both things at once?

That'd require us to reach a level of peace, love, and mutual understanding that is simply unacceptable.

That said: while female objectification is clearly more condescending, I inwardly groan whenever a chainmail bikini or walking fridge appears on my monitor. It's an authorial ploy so lazy I can feel my brain cells committing mass suicide.

On many of these issues, I increasingly feel like there's a problem in the lack of separators or gradations between things many men could sympathize and/or agree with- "this is hurtful", "this prevents the medium from moving forward", "this makes us all look bad" and "GET AS ANGRY ABOUT THIS AS I AM RIGHT NOW OR YOU'RE PART OF THE OPPRESSIVE EVIL MONOLITH THAT'S KEEPING US DOWN, GRAAAAAA!"

On one hand, comparing unrealistic female stereotypes to unrealistic male stereotypes may be silly; those who point out that muscular men-of-action have as much to do with how male gamers wish to self-identify as anything may have some mileage, and probably more so than those who suggest that those images are actually there to entice female gamers. But on the other hand, I think it _is_ worth pointing out that the typical male gamer doesn't necessarily have all that much sway over the way his avatar is portrayed either, and that while many male gamers may not "mind" the way men are portrayed as much as some women dislike the way female characters are portrayed, if we're to seriously contemplate the idea that portraying women as sexual objects and rewards is somehow harmful, doesn't the portraying of men as unfeeling uber-macho death machines who are never supposed to express things like doubt or pain or remorse and whose entire worth is based upon their ability to inflict violence also deserve at least a glance?

Illessa:
That's the really sad thing, I included Hope and Kate more because they're female leads that were capable but not perfect and not blatantly set up to be eye-candy - but in both cases the game kind of squanders their potentially interesting setups by not making any special effort to really expand on them further. Main thing that stuck with me about Kate was I thought they played up the reluctant hero angle nicely, it's just a shame they claimed she was scared of water (and in the Prophecy edition, actually put in some backstory around that) then did naff all with the fact that she's suddenly having to deal with it constantly. Also the fact that any drama inevitably gets squandered by annoying comic-relief man on the radio.

I suppose I shouldn't have included them - else I might as well have gone with Naija from Aquaria or freaking Chell.

Maya's a bit of a funny one, right from the outset she's a queen and is worshipped as the rebirth of a goddess, and she's exactly as arrogant as you would expect from that kind of upbringing. Yet after the initial shock of your main character imperiously ordering people around, she still turns out quite sympathetic, and I just think having a main character who is in a position of power all through the game (ish) is interesting. Mostly I just love Summoner 2, it's got its fair share of problems, but there's some wonderfully freaky visual design (even if the actual humans are kinda butt-ugly) and it's generally a bit of an underrated gem.

And yeah Alyx hitting on Gordon did feel an awful lot like "We feel obliged to do something around sexual tension with the sidekick since she's female n all". On the other hand with a silent protagonist it's always going to feel a bit odd...

In their defense, they probably planned something more for Mirror Edge at first, so maybe things could have been different, but I guess they decided to keep her relatively neutral to "Gordon Freeman-ize" her and allow the players to project on them (the game has a few cutscenes, but they are relatively rare). Kate sounded like she had more personality-wise, but as I said I just moved the first steps to take a general look at the game (I guess the reason they didn't work on her fears, is because they didn't find a way to build some gameplay mechanic around that concept, and the game had a somewhat troublesome development, if I remember well).

Yeah, a lot of protagonists just lack... Character, so to speak, making them a poor subject for a discussion.

I never had the chance to play Summoner 2 (I guess it was a PS2 exclusive?). If ever find a copy, I might give it a try.

Having Alyx talk pull the move on Gordon was really odd, I guess she is into the silent type... Or maybe they played the "suspension bridge effect" card, who knows? :D

The funny thing about all this is in LoL, the only people offended by the female champ design in that game are men.

Every single woman I know that plays the game doesn't care. Every thread in the LoL forums I see pop up about the subject is created by a dude.

While I'm at it, white knighting is far more sexist than a sexy female character design.

"DONT WORRY WUMAN I TELL U WEN U SHUD BE OFFANDED U NEED MY HALP TO PROTACT U"

No. If they were offended, they'd say so themselves guy.

franksands:
i'm sorry, I'm already married ;-)

I think the problem we have today is with AAA games. We don't have, at least I haven't seen, this kind of problems with independent games.This should be reason enough for us to encourage good indie games getting as much coverage and attention as possible.

You sir, are a tease... ;p

Well, we first would need to know how many indie games might fit the bill. What I mean is that a good chunk of indie games will never be able to pander, because they employ stylized graphics, or because they are in a genre that doesn't allow such design to get into their characters in the first place (I mean, in a platform game or a strategy game, what are the odds of having an oversexualized character? I am not saying impossible, I have seen a few myself, but I think we can agree that it is unlikely). Also, having a tight budget makes the developer necessarily focus on the core of the game, you have less time for unnecessary pandering. And anyway, a lack of female leads remains true even in the indie world, so, who knows?

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, at which point the only available argument is "well, it's bad that humans of both genders are depicted unrealistically" which is a banal and asinine assertion, because, well, fat ugly and stupid people of both genders don't entice audiences.

There's a reason the movie "Hackers" starred Angelina Jolie and Johnny Lee Miller, and not two eczema-riddled overweight basement dwellers. The reason why DOA girls are all jiggly, wasp-waisted waifs is the same reason why Kratos is 7 feet of steel-reinforced steroid.

Nicely put. It's always sad to see a Critical Miss so off base.

NuclearShadow:
If we put male tropes into the same severity and problematic as females I hardly can see how this justifies the female tropes. Regardless of the severity that the males ones face even if it was somehow worse. It's a pathetic argument and if one is offended by the male tropes (which no one who uses this defense is) then the rational thing to do would to be to oppose both not shrug it off.

If a family was starving to death due to extreme poverty conditions that were the fault of their government's harsh conditions and they complained and tried to reason with the government. The government pointing out that the families neighbors are also starving along side them does not make everything okay. That makes it even worse.

But this is the flawed logic those who use this argument are taking.

The problem with that, is that tropes are a mindset, not a life-threatening result of tyranny.

There's no huge deal here, there might be an issue that's worth investigating and MAYBE we should do something about it, but no threatening issue that is about to throw all of mass media over a cliff and start a genuine war between genders.

The issue is being presented as depiction of the female gender as a whole, not the fact that there's a group of players out there who are annoyed at the fact that the industry isn't catering to them, instead of the typical male audience.

This isn't about women being treated poorly, it's about the complete ineptitude of the internet audience and their lack of ability to discuss the core of the problem.
Add to that a major scumbag comic that keeps stoking the fires all the frickin' time and we keep getting nowhere.

First agenda on the order is to realise that this is nowhere as important or major as it's set up to be.
Second, there is no threat to male dominated gaming, because there is always a market for these games and thus companies will keep catering to it.
Third, we need popular gaming sites such as the escapist to stop igniting flame wars everywhere with ridiculous articles and yes, even comics. Every good write/artist combo knows when to poke the hornets nest, and when not to, ESPECIALLY when it tries to be a face of the gaming community.
Christ, even that article "I was male and I got raped" was a horrible piece to put up. Yes, it was sad, it was a despicable situation, but it had no relevant point to the gaming community, because we shouldn't start treating everyone as rape victims. That would just make everything worse.

Fourth, writers and journalists need to read comments that aren't flared up with full caps promising a rape fest on any female that speaks up. There are tons of good points and thoughts out there on the debate that have gone completely unnoticed and are all buried beneath the rubbish, including the poor journalism.

Fifth, if we want a real debate, no one want Anita Sarkeesian as one of the outspoken people here: Suffice it to say that she's so biased that we'd never get a proper discussion.
There are plenty of female gamers out there with very valid points.
If I were the escapist, I'd hunt these down and get some great examples.

OfficialJab:

Last I heard, Ubisoft was using a small studio to make it in order to "preserve its soul", but I feel like that was about a year ago. Then again, a long development cycle might be just what it needs. I also heard, sometime since then, that Silicon Knights was working on "their most requested game", geez whiz what could that be? (yeah its ED2) But they're in shaky financial shape I guess, if they still exist at all. I haven't heard from them since Epic handed them their ass in court.

Well, now you made me sad... Really sad. I knew some of the troubles they were having with development (I even heard something about the possibility of a sequel tied to the success of a different game), but I had forgotten that bit about the financial problems, and those are usually the ones that kill games and/or companies... :(

Scars Unseen:

Zhukov:

Scars Unseen:

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.

You are nitpicking on irrelevant points.

My point was that both Kratos and the DOA girls are intended to appeal to guys, but in different ways.

Kratos' visual design is intended to convey an impression of raw physical power and aggression. These are things that appeal to guys. I would say to most guys, at least on some level. Thus Kratos is intended to appeal to a male audience.

The healthiness of his exact body type is irrelevant. Whether or not wanting to be like that is healthy is also irrelevant.

We are dealing with fantasies here. Your analogy of women wanting to look like magazine models is actually very appropriate. It might be bad for them to want that, but they still want to look like that.

Man, those poor women and all of the female characters in video games that they don't like. I mean every time you go to a comic con, you see almost only Jade, April and Alyx, and no Lara Croft, chun-li or skin tight rubber costume x-men girl! (irony.)

Also fun fact, stars like Rihanna and Britney Spears, you know, the ones that are sexualized everywhere without limits, those stars have a 80% female fan croud. Go to a Rihanna concert, it's just a million 15 year old girls screaming as Rihanna shakes her bikini.

IT'S ALMOST AS IF FEMALES ARE NOT OPPOSED TO THE THOUGHT OF THEM BEING HOT AND ATTRACTIVE for fucks sake

And men agree, therefore we see many scantily clad dressed women.

Females on the other hand seem to be crazy over Ezio, the guy with the most textile on his body in all of gaming history. They just have more taste, that's why you don't see so many half naked men in products made for women. Although Twilight with the Werewolfs sort of changed that.

But yeah, not all games are made for women nor should they.

Deal with it or make games about naked men. I'm fine with that. I would even play it.

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