Jimquisition: The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

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Moonlight Butterfly:

Blue Ranger:

Moonlight Butterfly:
Oh look more people saying women aren't real gamers.

Excuse me I'm going to go take my anger out on some guys in Bioshock Infinate on max settings and no your not invited.

And who is saying girls aren't real gamers, or can't enjoy games like Bioshock? Oh, that's right, no one, that's who.

But go ahead, be sexist and take it out on guys in games, or on here, like you always do. And you wonder why some guys want to take there anger out on girls like you.

Pretty sure I've seen plenty of people in this thread say we only play casual games and by guys I meant the enemies, not just men. sigh.

Saying that girls play casual games is not the same as saying girls aren't allowed to play games like Bioshock, or any other non casual game.

Milk:

Moonlight Butterfly:

Pretty sure I've seen plenty of people in this thread say we only play casual games and by guys I meant the enemies, not just men. sigh.

Sounds like you need to reread those comments again and work on your comprehension skills.

No I think I understood them pretty well

'Girls can't say anything because the majority of the don't play REAL games'

It's so old and tired.

There are probably tons of reasons for those stats like their boyfriend/husband is the one registered on the console or whatever. Doesn't mean they don't play the games.

That's even if you don't count The Sims 3 and Angry Birds as real games (which considering Space Invaders is counted as a 'real game' is a little stingy)

Blue Ranger:

Saying that girls play casual games is not the same as saying girls aren't allowed to play games like Bioshock, or any other non casual game.

It is when they are using it as an excuse as to why we can't have decent female protagonists. We are basically being told our opinion doesn't count because we apparently aren't as invested.

Treblaine:
snip

I'm gonna step back for a moment, I went to a dark place on that one and I apologize. I clearly inferred concepts that didn't exist and I owe both you and the conversation more than that. I'll reduce what I was saying to something that is... more focused. I mentioned the that there are instances where sexism or racism are cited that it's simply not the case. You insisted that the theory of Implicit Egotism is dressed up bigotry. It's not. That's all. I don't owe you an explanation for that. It's simply not that. Many great psychologists have studied it and found it to exist. They have shown that it affects, statistically, the choices people make. I don't, personally, feel that marketing based on focus groups equals sexism. I'm not going to get into an argument about making points out of minor statistics being important or why we should concentrate on them. I'm not a CEO of videogame publishing company.

Many fine people have commented on how they do not have a preference but that is impossible. I do not have a strong preference, but I do have a preference. More often than not I play games as myself, given the choice. I make choices in games like Mass Effect that are choices I personally would make in that situation. Going back, I couldn't stand to let Myrle die in Metal Gear Solid because I personally would not let someone die when I had the chance to save them.

I always, at some point, play a game as if I was the person in the game. If a game allows me to really customize the appearance of my character (like Dragon Age Origins did) I will spend a pain staking amount of time creating myself in that game. It's not because I'm selfish, or I don't like women, or black people, but because I'm a white guy who has high self esteem and self respect. Making that character look like me makes it all the easier to be engrossed in a great game. That is what implicit egotism is, it's finding comfort in things that are familiar. That does not equal hating things that are different, it means preferring that which is familiar, which all people do. Not just in reference to people though. If you grow up with dogs as pets, you are more likely always to favor having a dog over a cat. If you spent your formative years in a hot tropical environment, you are not likely going to move to Alaska as that is a much more alien environment than you are used to. It's a preference, that people are more than entitled to. And preferring the play a game as a male, if someone actually cares about that, shouldn't be treated as if it's some great catastrophe or that the person is some evil human being.

Edit: I forgot to put this. At no point am I saying that racism or sexism doesn't exist. I'm simply saying that it may not always be the case, as some people such as yourself seem to purport is the definitive case here. Jim as well.

RafaelNegrus:

I think it's overly simplifying to call it ONLY racist or sexist. It can lead to that, but it's a more universal phenomenon. People that are alike have more in common, and so they're more comfortable spending time together. I'm all for experiences that push the boundaries, but those can and are often supposed to be uncomfortable as they challenge preconceived notions, and the vast majority of people aren't going to seek those out all the time. And this would doubtfully show up amongst all people all the time. If most of us, for instance, saw Elizabeth on front cover we would be perfectly fine with it, but it might not stick out as cool to the guy who is just casually browsing whereas that soldier game might. He's not really saying in his mind "Ew, a girl game" he's just saying "Ooh look, a soldier game!" Kind of like the way I react to dinosaurs or spaceships.

Is that sexist? Eh, kinda, but it's also not really conscious and not something that can be easily changed. And as long as games have such huge budgets that they need to pull in a more casual/mainstream crowd then that's the kind of thing we're going to have to deal with.

(That's why I've been buying so many indie games lately)

Well I'm simplifying for brevity, but I believe the principal still stands, that you can't excuse this trend by a psychologist's study proving that it's real and to do with ego.

I don't have a particular problem with Elizabeth not being on the front cover. The game - after all - it is a shooter and Booker is the protagonist.

I can't fault any single game because no single game does this but it is the absence of games with a female lead.

The point is not that they chose the protagonist with a gun over a girl in a dress. The point is would they have still chosen the man over the woman if it the hero had been a woman with a gun, saving a vulnerable male? That's the interesting question. Do a Rule 63 Booker DeWitt, same rough style of clothing, same gun, same stance, yet clearly a woman. Would the focus group have been equally have been turned off the game?

Because the gun is important, to spite Bioshock Infinite's unique aspect of Flying City of Columbia and Elizabeth's role, the pivotal aspect is that this game is a shooter. If you can't play shooters you cannot play this game.

But where are the shooters with female leads?

Male gamers want cool male protagonists in their escapist fantasies, who knew? I guess the only solution is to call dude bros insecure closeted homosexuals in order to feel like a big man!

Don't blame culture, blame biology and economics. You have to accept that most males, especially males that play shooty games, are going to want to play as strong males and want their games to have an air of machismo to them. Most males are just programmed to be that way, if you make them a single struggling single mother in their action game looking for love while simultaneously filling the role of the strong male action hero, then you're just going to be ruining their entertainment for the sake of your own agenda.

If you want to make a change, try starting a movement actively boycotting "dudebro" shooters and game publishers who hinder developers from making games with strong female characters with genuine feminine traits. They'll start caring more about the damage to sales more than they ever will the condemnations of some overweight gamma male on the internet.

Reyold:

canadamus_prime:
Ok let me get this straight, Publishers don't want to do female protagonists out of a fear of HETEOsexual intimacy? ...what?

Yeah, you'd think they'd at least be cool with it... but maybe that's also partly because gamers (or rather, the dudebros) may assume she's the dominant one in the relationship by virtue of being the player character (which kinda makes sense)... and they probably won't like the idea.

And while we're speculating, perhaps said dudebros don't like the idea of women being portrayed as anything other than a living sex doll. Say you have a female protagonist in a healthy, long-term relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Do you know what keeps these kinds of relationships alive? Sacrifice,love, commitment, time. In this type of relationship, you now have to consider the other person's feelings and desires. You may have to sacrifice things for their benefit. Things like these don't fit very well with a dudebro's idea of a relationship.

The only way to be in that kind of relationship is to understand that the other person is not your puppet or toy, available to use at your convenience, but a living human being with dignity, free will, and desires and goals of their own. In this relationship, she is your cherished equal. Again, things that do not fit within a dudebro's idea of a woman.

But again, this is merely speculation.

And we wonder why figures such as Anita Sarcesian keep popping up.

Moonlight Butterfly:

Blue Ranger:

Saying that girls play casual games is not the same as saying girls aren't allowed to play games like Bioshock, or any other non casual game.

It is when they are using it as an excuse as to why we can't have decent female protagonists. We are basically being told our opinion doesn't count because we apparently aren't as invested.

You can't have decent female protagonist because people who make games, for the most part, right shit female characters. I don't think anyone said it's because girls only play casual games. If you see insult, you will find it, even when it is not offered. That is not to say there aren't plenty of idiotic pigheaded people in gaming "culture" (used very loosely, of course). Couple that with the fact that no one seems to be able to decide what exactly a good female protagonist is. If they are remotely brave enough to put some female only traits, they usually get torn a new asshole for it. Do you know what the average male character is? They are a meat train. They are something you point in a direction and tell them kill everything in their path. That is a terrible thing and an incredibly shallow character that does not mimic real life in any way. I don't know any guys who are exclusively machines of destruction and quite frankly, it's not flattering at all. But we don't care so much about it either. That is one of the ways men and women are different.

Treblaine:

RafaelNegrus:

I think it's overly simplifying to call it ONLY racist or sexist. It can lead to that, but it's a more universal phenomenon. People that are alike have more in common, and so they're more comfortable spending time together. I'm all for experiences that push the boundaries, but those can and are often supposed to be uncomfortable as they challenge preconceived notions, and the vast majority of people aren't going to seek those out all the time. And this would doubtfully show up amongst all people all the time. If most of us, for instance, saw Elizabeth on front cover we would be perfectly fine with it, but it might not stick out as cool to the guy who is just casually browsing whereas that soldier game might. He's not really saying in his mind "Ew, a girl game" he's just saying "Ooh look, a soldier game!" Kind of like the way I react to dinosaurs or spaceships.

Is that sexist? Eh, kinda, but it's also not really conscious and not something that can be easily changed. And as long as games have such huge budgets that they need to pull in a more casual/mainstream crowd then that's the kind of thing we're going to have to deal with.

(That's why I've been buying so many indie games lately)

Well I'm simplifying for brevity, but I believe the principal still stands, that you can't excuse this trend by a psychologist's study proving that it's real and to do with ego.

I don't have a particular problem with Elizabeth not being on the front cover. The game - after all - it is a shooter and Booker is the protagonist.

I can't fault any single game because no single game does this but it is the absence of games with a female lead.

The point is not that they chose the protagonist with a gun over a girl in a dress. The point is would they have still chosen the man over the woman if it the hero had been a woman with a gun, saving a vulnerable male? That's the interesting question. Do a Rule 63 Booker DeWitt, same rough style of clothing, same gun, same stance, yet clearly a woman. Would the focus group have been equally have been turned off the game?

Because the gun is important, to spite Bioshock Infinite's unique aspect of Flying City of Columbia and Elizabeth's role, the pivotal aspect is that this game is a shooter. If you can't play shooters you cannot play this game.

But where are the shooters with female leads?

That's why I think it'd be important to know the numbers of players. Because assuming men want a male lead and women want a female lead then what determines the lead would be the numbers of each gender in the intended audience.

And then even if the numbers break down to something like 85-15, we would then ideally like the leads to be representative, so 85-15 there again. But each of those games are trying to sell to the entire audience, so they all go for the 85% men, and so the leads look like what we have.

All of this totally hypothetical of course, because we don't know the numbers.

That's why I liked this video so much, because it really captures how messy the situation is. It's not really anyone's fault but it's kinda everyone's fault but there's nothing any one person or company can really change, and no one's super likely to do so, but it's obviously bad right now.

Once again, smaller scale indie games, get one with a female lead that goes big and maybe when that hapens they'll get more adopted as leads. Maybe.

Quite frankly, I don't want my male protagonist having a romance subplot either. Fuck that shit.

Baresark:

Moonlight Butterfly:

Blue Ranger:

Saying that girls play casual games is not the same as saying girls aren't allowed to play games like Bioshock, or any other non casual game.

It is when they are using it as an excuse as to why we can't have decent female protagonists. We are basically being told our opinion doesn't count because we apparently aren't as invested.

You can't have decent female protagonist because people who make games, for the most part, right shit female characters. I don't think anyone said it's because girls only play casual games. If you see insult, you will find it, even when it is not offered. That is not to say there aren't plenty of idiotic pigheaded people in gaming "culture" (used very loosely, of course). Couple that with the fact that no one seems to be able to decide what exactly a good female protagonist is. If they are remotely brave enough to put some female only traits, they usually get torn a new asshole for it. Do you know what the average male character is? They are a meat train. They are something you point in a direction and tell them kill everything in their path. That is a terrible thing and an incredibly shallow character that does not mimic real life in any way. I don't know any guys who are exclusively machines of destruction and quite frankly, it's not flattering at all. But we don't care so much about it either. That is one of the ways men and women are different.

A crap female protagonist would even be welcome at this point I'll take what I can get -,-

Also again, people HAVE said in this thread the reason why there are male protagonists is because girls only play casual games.

Funny, I just got a game with a female on the cover today. Granted, Hyperdimension Neptunia isn't exactly a feminist ideal...

The solution to the chicken and egg problem you see is simple: use this internet thing in front of you to market the hell out of it. Facebook, twitter, youtube, forums, there's no reason why under the radar games have to be under the radar, and we shouldn't just be buying and playing only the big AAA games the gaming websites tell us to (most of us would take that idea as an insult). If some sleeper / indy game with a female lead became a big hit from the female demographic, it would do more to shatter these dopey stereotypes far faster than all the Sarkesian videos and internet whining we could muster. I understand reluctance. Failure spells out the stereotypes are legit and that companies really are smart by pandering to the "boys club" so it's easier to bitch on the net about all the ways the system is rigged, but the market won't change unless there's proof there will be something to meet it. Remember Me is going to send a strong signal to the industry now that it's getting press, so pimp it, and get the sales up because if this one flops, it'll only tell the industry they were right about female gamers, female characters, and mens' attitudes toward them.

Moonlight Butterfly:

Blue Ranger:

Saying that girls play casual games is not the same as saying girls aren't allowed to play games like Bioshock, or any other non casual game.

It is when they are using it as an excuse as to why we can't have decent female protagonists. We are basically being told our opinion doesn't count because we apparently aren't as invested.

Yeah, that's the terrible logic of "majority rules" when a minority is still a significant proportion.

But I don't see this as "the many must suffer for the few" as if is not a suffering to have a female lead and it's not even for a "the few".

53% of men (on wow) choose a female character. CHOOSE being the key there, what larger percentage would that be coming to acceptance. Suddenly the proportions of gamers who are both "men" and "will only play as the same gender" is pretty insignificant.

Female leads are good for male gamers, female gamers, straight, gay and bi. It's good for the industry, it's good for the arts. This is not a special interests case to have women in gaming.

The "special interest" is keeping women OUT of gaming, and it is the twin threat of dude-bro jocks and professional character assassins. The latter will have individuals of many different non-overlapping belief but the combined result is clear: to consistently attack women in any and all forms they appear in video games with such an endless tirade of fallacies, disingenuous critique, and down right malicious lies that no one can get a fair trial.

They'll of course say they are going after the male writers (even when it's women like Rihanna Pratchett) but they can't be so blind to the result that such heavy double-standards just conditions developers to avoid women altogether. It's less controversial to have a part of your game be about massacring Russian civilians in an airport with belt-fed machine guns than to have a woman in your game...

Back in the supposed "bad old days" there was very high depiction of women in gaming, Resident Evil had a 50-50 mix for the first few games. But now, no female role can escape character assassination.

Dorian Cornelius Jasper:
Stuff.

You seemed to have missed my point. In relationships, I'm talking about those who think it is weak or wrong that a woman can fall in love with a man because they automatically assume the woman is being submissive to the man and giving in. No, I was not speaking of a lesbian relationship for men as fanservice, either. I'm talking about the ones who obviosuly have a problem with men, and think women shouldn't really have anything to do with men. Yes, they do actually exist.

How many games do we actually get with men in god mode? I mean great games, not crappy games with poorly-written characters and story. Though, the main reason I have a problem with it is because the female protagonists seem to oddly beat up soley on men most of the time. If it was the other way around, with a male protagonist beating up female bad guys, people would, and have, called it misogynist. There has been discussions on that on these forums before. If we can have female heroes doing these things, then we can very well have female villains being used as cannon fodder as well.

No, Jennifer Hale is not better than the male voice actor. I enjoyed the male voice actor very much. It's your opinion that she is better, nothing more. I also found nothing interesting with the other classes. Everything I want to do, I can do just fine as a solider class.

Treblaine:

Well I'm simplifying for brevity, but I believe the principal still stands, that you can't excuse this trend by a psychologist's study proving that it's real and to do with ego.

LoL, it's not a psychological study. It's years of psychological studies showing how peoples preferences are determined. It's part of a much larger arena of psychological study that shows how people are not rational (as in a normative concept of reasoning in the sense that rational people should derive conclusions in a consistent way given the information at disposal). This is an offshoot of work that has literally changed the way of how science understands the motivation of people and why people make the choices they make. You can't reduce years of a two mens life and a Noble Prize to racism and sexism. It just doesn't make sense to view something that is essential to who people are and their driving motivations in a given situation to that.

RafaelNegrus:

That's why I think it'd be important to know the numbers of players. Because assuming men want a male lead and women want a female lead then what determines the lead would be the numbers of each gender in the intended audience.

Well that's a false assumption and even if that were true that utterly denigrates video games as an art form and opens it up to censorship on the grounds that it's not an art form about expression, it's about pandering to the lowest common denominator of the mere majority.

And then even if the numbers break down to something like 85-15, we would then ideally like the leads to be representative, so 85-15 there again. But each of those games are trying to sell to the entire audience, so they all go for the 85% men, and so the leads look like what we have.

All of this totally hypothetical of course, because we don't know the numbers.

That's why I liked this video so much, because it really captures how messy the situation is. It's not really anyone's fault but it's kinda everyone's fault but there's nothing any one person or company can really change, and no one's super likely to do so, but it's obviously bad right now.

Once again, smaller scale indie games, get one with a female lead that goes big and maybe when that hapens they'll get more adopted as leads. Maybe.

I don't give a damn if gaming is 100% +/-0.0000% males that's no reason to exclude depiction of women from video games, even from lead roles.

It's utterly crazy that men are expected as being unable to imagine they are playing as a woman when they are able to imagine so many other completely unreal things, like rocket jumping, flying around overhead rails in a flying city, even dying. But cannot work if they have to play the role of a woman? Or a black person?

This doesn't need an indie game, this can be changed right away.

Jimothy Sterling:
The game industry doesn't want female characters

sad, jim.. but probably true.

I, and many others have downloaded mods for skyrim, and other games that allow kissing, 'intimacy' and other forms of 'interaction' that games devs don't allow, i think this shows some lateral ability to understand that a character is not equal to the player, by at-least some gamers, and that it's quite likely publishers simply don't want to deal with the backlash from the vocal minority groups 'yet again' over a topic they don't feel compelled to tackle to actually make a game

personally i have no problem playing a male or female role, straight, gay, robot on dog or martian on marmot whatever the dev feels is appropriate, and honestly there can be no backlash if they bury these options in obvious romancing dialogue, because.. well you asked for it?

it really is just chicken / egg. so maby we should send a publisher a crate of chicks to show them that hatching eggs works, now and then.
i mean, honestly how can a developer / publisher be in the wrong to show a healthy relationship where consent in dialogue and or actions matter? are they afraid gamer guys will be getting laid too often with their social skillz +1 to play the latest game? .. i wouldn't put it past them, actually.

Moonlight Butterfly:

Baresark:
snip

A crap female protagonist would even be welcome at this point I'll take what I can get -,-

Also again, people HAVE said in this thread the reason why there are male protagonists is because girls only play casual games.

That is fair, there aren't a lot of female protagonists. There are almost all really crappy male characters out there. Also, I have not personally seen a post that said "Girls only play casual games, so they can't have a female protagonist". I think you must be responding to a troll or two out of hundreds of comments.

Baresark:

Treblaine:

Well I'm simplifying for brevity, but I believe the principal still stands, that you can't excuse this trend by a psychologist's study proving that it's real and to do with ego.

LoL, it's not a psychological study. It's years of psychological studies showing how peoples preferences are determined. It's part of a much larger arena of psychological study that shows how people are not rational (as in a normative concept of reasoning in the sense that rational people should derive conclusions in a consistent way given the information at disposal). This is an offshoot of work that has literally changed the way of how science understands the motivation of people and why people make the choices they make. You can't reduce years of a two mens life and a Noble Prize to racism and sexism. It just doesn't make sense to view something that is essential to who people are and their driving motivations in a given situation to that.

A study of studies is still a study.

Just because people have a tendency to act irrationally doesn't mean such irrationality should be indulged. This is kind of a "ministry of the bleeding obvious" as "people are prejudiced" and "prejudice is irrational" DUUUUUUUUUUDUUUUUUUUUHH! The significance is finding a measurable basis for this, but downvotes for you for acting like this is any sort of defence for such tendencies.

You'll have to do better to excuse such favouritism than "oh no, science proves they really do have this prejudice".

Bigotry isn't acceptable just because the majority do it!

And I think YOU are the one guilty of reducing their work by bringing up their work in such trite terms, so don't you start making any accusations.

Treblaine:

It's utterly crazy that men are expected as being unable to imagine they are playing as a woman when they are able to imagine so many other completely unreal things, like rocket jumping, flying around overhead rails in a flying city, even dying. But cannot work if they have to play the role of a woman? Or a black person?

Did anyone actually say that?

Treblaine:

Baresark:
snip

A study of studies is still a study.

Just because people have a tendency to act irrationally doesn't mean such irrationality should be indulged. This is kind of a "ministry of the bleeding obvious" as "people are prejudiced" and "prejudice is irrational" DUUUUUUUUUUDUUUUUUUUUHH! The significance is finding a measurable basis for this, but downvotes for you for acting like this is any sort of defence for such tendencies.

You'll have to do better to excuse such favouritism than "oh no, science proves they really do have this prejudice".

Bigotry isn't acceptable just because the majority do it!

And I think YOU are the one guilty of reducing their work by bringing up their work in such trite terms, so don't you start making any accusations.

I'm gonna try this one more time. Having a preference isn't the same as bigotry. You make choices every single day that mean you prefer one thing over another. If I want grapefruit juice with breakfast, that doesn't mean I hate or have something against oranges. There work explains that people make choices and have preferences that do not always follow a set of concise rules. It shows us that if people have every single reason in the world to make the same choices from day to day, they will not make the same choices from day to day.

I revere their work. You are reducing simple preferences to earth shattering bigotry, racism and sexism. I'm not allowed to prefer to play a game as a certain protagonist why exactly? In one playthrough of Dark Souls I play someone who is like me, large and physically powerful. Likewise, sometimes I have an inkling to play as a female character I modeled after my girlfriend (small, athletic, quick on her feet). Both of these things are wrong to you? Afterall, I'm making a choice based on a preference, which by your definition seems to be a result of bigotry to the opposite character.

Irrationality isn't "indulged". It's who people are. You act as if people are making a choice to be that way. They aren't. The opposite is true actually. In a given situation, people ALWAYS think they are being rational, even when they are not being rational.

Baresark:

Treblaine:
snip

I'm gonna step back for a moment, I went to a dark place on that one and I apologize. I clearly inferred concepts that didn't exist and I owe both you and the conversation more than that. I'll reduce what I was saying to something that is... more focused. I mentioned the that there are instances where sexism or racism are cited that it's simply not the case. You insisted that the theory of Implicit Egotism is dressed up bigotry. It's not. That's all. I don't owe you an explanation for that. It's simply not that. Many great psychologists have studied it and found it to exist. They have shown that it affects, statistically, the choices people make. I don't, personally, feel that marketing based on focus groups equals sexism. I'm not going to get into an argument about making points out of minor statistics being important or why we should concentrate on them. I'm not a CEO of videogame publishing company.

Many fine people have commented on how they do not have a preference but that is impossible. I do not have a strong preference, but I do have a preference. More often than not I play games as myself, given the choice. I make choices in games like Mass Effect that are choices I personally would make in that situation. Going back, I couldn't stand to let Myrle die in Metal Gear Solid because I personally would not let someone die when I had the chance to save them.

I always, at some point, play a game as if I was the person in the game. If a game allows me to really customize the appearance of my character (like Dragon Age Origins did) I will spend a pain staking amount of time creating myself in that game. It's not because I'm selfish, or I don't like women, or black people, but because I'm a white guy who has high self esteem and self respect. Making that character look like me makes it all the easier to be engrossed in a great game. That is what implicit egotism is, it's finding comfort in things that are familiar. That does not equal hating things that are different, it means preferring that which is familiar, which all people do. Not just in reference to people though. If you grow up with dogs as pets, you are more likely always to favor having a dog over a cat. If you spent your formative years in a hot tropical environment, you are not likely going to move to Alaska as that is a much more alien environment than you are used to. It's a preference, that people are more than entitled to. And preferring the play a game as a male, if someone actually cares about that, shouldn't be treated as if it's some great catastrophe or that the person is some evil human being.

Edit: I forgot to put this. At no point am I saying that racism or sexism doesn't exist. I'm simply saying that it may not always be the case, as some people such as yourself seem to purport is the definitive case here. Jim as well.

Okay, you're missing a pretty big part as to why people can successfully argue that a lot of things (even if you don't see it that way) are racist/sexist/etc.: Status Quo. Since I'm American, I'll use the US as an example. This is a country that was, essentially, "born" when a group of white people sailed over and decided they were the best, and have since operated under that very assumption. From the near eradication of the First Nations, to slavery, to internment camps, to segregation...all of it has been buolt off the foundation that if you weren't white, you were lesser. And it hasn't even been a century in that many of the ethnic races have been legally granted equal rights. So this is a country that is still crawling out of a pit of racial bigotry. And for those member of the marginalized groups, the effects of this are still being dealt with. NDNs are scattered or segmented off )and with appalling living arrangements to boot), African Americans still deal with a steady stream of distrust and limited opportunities, Asians are regularly slighted, or used as scare tactics. So if a society that is still operating under stereotypes in regards to race, how can a focus group - or a majority of people, not hold racist viewpoints, even if they're minor. Because there are great swaths of the nation that honestly think such ridiculous things about non-white races, even in 2013.

And you can easily take that racism argument and apply it to women. This is a world that would blame a rape victim for being raped. So are you seriously going to say that sexism isn't a prevalent thing that women still have to worry about? Because I'd call you either blissfully unaware, or willfully ignorant. When being called a girl is still seen as a huge insult, can you really say that sexism isn't alive and well?

And as for you argument on customization? That's a pretty lazy argument to make. Games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls, and plenty of MMOs that allow for high levels of customization aren't sexist/racist because they leave it up to the players to create who the want to be. It's the marketing that is the issue in games such as that. Yea, the ME series is a smash hit, and sure, only a small portion played as fem!Shep, but the marketing would have you believe that Shepard was only a male. Skyrim ads showed a male dragonborn, as did the cover, but you could still roll as a woman. The industry is still in the mindset that only dudes are into games. And by staying on that path they, in effect, alienate girls/women. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. The movie industry has finally started to inch away from that mindset when they FINALLY looked at numbers and realized the biggest spenders weren't men, as they long thought, but women (and PoC...but they're still failing on that front).

But for other games? When the 'default' for a hero is the slightly grizzled white dude, in an industry that spans the entire globe, you have a real disconnect issue. And when developers do take the chance to break the mold, unless it's a solid franchise (and even then, as with Bioshock, that's still not a sure bet), the publishers are eager to watch it fail without their support so that they can point and go, "See, players don't like being chicks!" You don't stand at the finish line and claim the runner up is just inferior because they started at the actual starting line.

Blue Ranger:
(Really just quoting as a

I realize point-by-point rebuttals are always awkward to read, but unlike most we don't have that many points

On relationships and the like, talking purely outside of the realm of games, there's a large wealth of media with female protagonists engaging in romance. If you really have a problem with people complaining that women shouldn't enter into relationships for fear of appearing "submissive," it's a simple matter of pointing out that media for women and by women, with female protagonists, can and have depicted romantic relationships. (Of varying quality, mind.) Yes, you're right that these idiots do exist, but their views should be treated as the dross that they are and shouldn't be factored into reasonable discussion. Indeed, with the Mass Effect series, people clamoring for FemShep not to have a romantic relationship with a male character for fear of her submitting to a male character's authority are a very clear, absolutely tiny minority, if such an opinion even exists--and I'm speaking theoretically, as the majority of discussion re: Mass Effect romance is very enthusiastically pro-romance.

Most feminist opinions regarding romance in games generally support having More Representation and choices for women, especially on par with the choices men have, as it's very noticeable when, say, the male Bhaalspawn in Baldur's Gate 2 has three love interest choices of which two are rather interesting while a female lead only has one throwaway bard guy.

On godmoding, whether these are good games or not is a bit of a moot point. Arguably, those poorly-written games involving male protagonists mowing down swathes of mooks are on the same level as poorly-written games involving female protagonists doing the same. And I'm willing to wager you feel the same. Personally, I would say the Uncharted series is pretty decent as far as writing and characterization goes, but the extent to how much Nathan Drake is a one-man army stretches belief. Characterization is almost as good as the first Die Hard, but that's undermined a good deal by having even more action than the later Die Hards. (That good writing is juxtaposed against that much of a power fantasy is odd and has been noted by people before.)

By the female cannon fodder remark I suppose this is a reason, if any, to mention Hitman Absolution's trailer fiasco. Let's just say that the fact that the not-nuns were all women was only part of the fuel to the fire. It's that they were all practically dressed like strippers that brought everything down a notch from, "Okay, all female hit squad, kind of silly," to "Okay, this is kinda sleazy." That said, there does exist female cannon fodder in games, but few games (I can't name a single gunbro game that qualifies) even think to put women or visibly humanoid female figures into a combat role that might actively threaten the player. Those that do either do so for a reason (Silent Hill 2's nurses were a reflection of James Sunderland's own character flaws) or fit them in within context (it's hard to really complain about the hypersexual Joy angels from Bayonetta compared to stripper nuns because they don't stand out from the rest of the game's tone or content AT ALL.)

As an aside, on Bayonetta and feminism: She's a divisive character because she's so extremely sexual, but she's also strong and in charge, including of said sexuality. She's cut from the same cloth as the original DMC's Dante and is arguably a female counterpart to him, and it's impossible to discuss her outside of the wider context of Platinum Games' oeuvre. One will find many feminists complaining against her (mostly on the grounds of her creator, Kamiya, being a creep and the game's content shows this), but you'll also find feminists defending her because in her context she's a great character in a great game who isn't undermined by unfortunate assumptions that plague the writers and creators of games featuring other sexy, otherwise strong heroines. Of which we can all probably name a few.

And finally, on ME again: Man what. These opinions you have, I don't share them. At all!

Ok.... Men and Women of the Escapist forum... Ehem.... Calm the hell down.... I came to see is i could get two simple questions answered: who the hell is Melcolm Gladwell and why did Jim reference him. I come in to find comments the size of book pages... And to sum up the argument raging very quickly out of control in this thread,... if a more,... ill say progressive thinking, community as we have here at the escapist can get its hackles up when faced with a controversial issue, chances are that issue is in some way lagit (god what a long sentence... count the grammar mistakes?). Whether that issue is from women being objectified or whether the issue is a non-existent problem made real by outcry is tough to empirically say (personally I lean more towards the side that videogames don't do so well in regards to any gender issue, male or female, due to financial constraints. Ususally, however, the men get portrayed better and tend to be more fleshed out (not literally of course)). Sooooo ya,.... Melcolm Gladwell or whats-his-face.... who and why.... thanks.

Just like with the Pandering to Casuals/Dark Souls topic...yeah, I knew this one was coming.
Of course, last time I commented on this topic, stating the bleeding obvious (yes, the industry is very sexist) got me flamed.

There is no chicken-and-egg scenario anymore; as far as I'm concerned the cycle is so developed that everyone is to blame.

Personally, I love strong female characters. My favorite video game characters are strong females and with rare exception (Samus Aran, Jade from BG&E) they are relegated to secondary roles (Freya, Agrias in War of the Lions).
Partly because female characters that aren't written as love-bait, slut-smut eye-candy "bad girls", or a damsel is rather rare.

Even though the demographic for video gaming has grown beyond the 9-25 White Heteorsexual Male (emphasis on teens especially); even though progressive society is making headway in most every other aspect; even though gaming is now supposedly an art form (to the point where a strong female lead could be considered avant-garde); we're still stuck in the mid-90s marketing mindset.

No love for Alice from American McGee's Alice/Madness Returns?

The movie industry is having the same problems. Can't have an unattractive woman unless she's fat comic relief. Can't avoid being in a relationship,. needs to think about relationships, sex, romance, children, makeovers, & shoes, can't have a female protagonists unless it's in a romance drama or rom com.

The industries are ruled over by petulant rich elderly people who think they know best & refuse to listen to reason or catch up to modern thinking. The only way you can punish them is by not giving them money & letting them know why.

& whatever happened to the talking animal protagonists of the 90s? It's boring playing a human all the time. The only good that comes of their absence is no fodder to feed the furry porn artists on DA.

Well, publishers have never seemed all that bright, or particularly in touch with their own industry. I am a male, comfortable in myself, who is not only willing to play a female character, I much prefer them. When given a choice of gender in a game I will almost always choose a female one, and I am always very disappointed when a game only offers a male protagonist.

I'm just shocked 'gender' is a problem in gaming.

Truth be told, I want the game to be amazing and have the right protagonist for it whether it'd be a man or woman, or it. I'm always seeing how the guy gamer wants to place himself into the main character, but who's to say you couldn't do it with a female? You're basically living the story of a character just through gameplay.

Also, most females are sadly portrayed as sexy models in the games, never to really have an impact and if they are meant to be taken seriously- they're usually in the background or not "as important". I just want the gaming industry to try looking into the game overall, and add who fits the role and not just try pleasing the fans with having a male protagonist and the female is going to need saving.

animeh1star1a:
(Quite a lot of ellipses, with words sprinkled in between, all ultimately camouflage for a simple question made impossible to answer by Google thanks to a simple spelling error. Frankly, I should've ignored this because the poster put no effort into it but it's actually kind of funny trying to read the thing)

Before I get to your question, games are pretty shit for representing anything in general, be it race, gender, sexuality, whathaveyou. It's even worse than Hollywood because at least chick flicks can actually get made and we're not inundated with movies that only star a 30-something brunet white males (not to say they're not a majority, just not an overwhelmingly depressingly large one). This is why there's such a fuss about representation in games--it's not a "tough" thing to "empirically say," there's loads of evidence and it gets carted out all the time. Hence, the argument in thread. One of many hundreds on this site alone, and among millions across the internet abroad.

As to your question, which I'm surprised you couldn't have looked up yourself, a quick googling of Malcolm Gladwell brings this up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Gladwell

He apparently wrote Blink, which is a somewhat interesting and trendy pop psychology book that was being discussed over the past decade. Why did Jim mention him? Well, you don't have a monopoly on not giving a toss. ;)

Moonlight Butterfly:

Baresark:

Moonlight Butterfly:

It is when they are using it as an excuse as to why we can't have decent female protagonists. We are basically being told our opinion doesn't count because we apparently aren't as invested.

You can't have decent female protagonist because people who make games, for the most part, right shit female characters. I don't think anyone said it's because girls only play casual games. If you see insult, you will find it, even when it is not offered. That is not to say there aren't plenty of idiotic pigheaded people in gaming "culture" (used very loosely, of course). Couple that with the fact that no one seems to be able to decide what exactly a good female protagonist is. If they are remotely brave enough to put some female only traits, they usually get torn a new asshole for it. Do you know what the average male character is? They are a meat train. They are something you point in a direction and tell them kill everything in their path. That is a terrible thing and an incredibly shallow character that does not mimic real life in any way. I don't know any guys who are exclusively machines of destruction and quite frankly, it's not flattering at all. But we don't care so much about it either. That is one of the ways men and women are different.

A crap female protagonist would even be welcome at this point I'll take what I can get -,-

Also again, people HAVE said in this thread the reason why there are male protagonists is because girls only play casual games.

Not that many women play those types of games and a female lead wouldn't change that.
Granted I want a female leads more often.
I'm tired of male leads they aren't interesting anymore.

Atmos Duality:
Just like with the Pandering to Casuals/Dark Souls topic...yeah, I knew this one was coming.
Of course, last time I commented on this topic, stating the bleeding obvious (yes, the industry is very sexist) got me flamed.

There is no chicken-and-egg scenario anymore; as far as I'm concerned the cycle is so developed that everyone is to blame.

Personally, I love strong female characters. My favorite video game characters are strong females and with rare exception (Samus Aran, Jade from BG&E) they are relegated to secondary roles (Freya, Agrias in War of the Lions).
Partly because female characters that aren't written as love-bait, slut-smut eye-candy "bad girls", or a damsel is rather rare.

Even though the demographic for video gaming has grown beyond the 9-25 White Heteorsexual Male (emphasis on teens especially); even though progressive society is making headway in most every other aspect; even though gaming is now supposedly an art form (to the point where a strong female lead could be considered avant-garde); we're still stuck in the mid-90s marketing mindset.

What think Bayonetta is sexist down to her core? You seem to be implying it, best to not judge a book by it's cover.
Like some people would say skullgirls is sexist... when there are only girls and they are the dominating force.
Only just now is there going to be a male in the form of DLC. For all the complaining done things have moved forward.
People just need to fight for it that includes men not just women.

Treblaine:
No, that's not objectification.

You seem to mistake "object" as in "physical thing without life" and the original use of the term, in Grammar.

Alex finds Jessie

"Alex" is the subject and "Jessie" is the object.

Sexual objectification is the sense of women being the objects in a sexual sense.

"David is dating Sarah"

David is the subject, Sarah is the object, the verb phrase is to do with sexual relations.

There can also be violent objectification.

"Captain Price shoots the platoon of Russian Soldier"

Price is the subject, russian platoon is the object, violence is the verb phrase.

Objectification CANNOT be at work when the playable character is a woman, they are de-facto the subject, everything is through their perspective.

The term "sexual objectification" has been carried over whole from film criticism and applied to games with no understanding of what it actually means.

The problem is in fact sexual SUBJECTIVITY, because where the player character is female then they are the subject and the player is identifying with them in sexual preference. It's not that they don't like the idea of a woman being in love with a man...

... it's that they are imagining they are that woman.

How can we damn this as regressive, that men are wholley considering themselves in the role of a woman. They are not passive observers, they are living this avatar.

This is why where there is romance it is in RPGs where you pick the player-character's gender and pick what relationships they are in.

The definition of objectification is more complicated than the explanation you gave.

objectification, n.

1. The action or an act of objectifying something; a material thing which embodies or expresses an abstract idea, principle, etc.

2. spec. The demotion or degrading of a person or class of people (esp. women) to the status of a mere object (see objectify v. 2); reification; (also) behaviour or an attitude characterized by this. sexual objectification: the regarding of a person or class of people (esp. women) only as a sex object.

objectify, v.

1. trans. To express (something abstract) in a concrete form; to render objective.

2. trans. To degrade or demote (a person, class of people, etc.) to the status of a mere object; to treat as an object; to reify. Also: to identify (a person) with a particular stereotype; to stereotype.

- Oxford University Press, accessed 26 March 2013. http://www.oed.com.ezproxy/view/Entry/129625?redirectedFrom=objectify#eid and http://www.oed.com.ezproxy/view/Entry/129623?redirectedFrom=objectification#eid

The objectification referred to by Jim and by others is the latter of those definitions (#2 in each instance). Not Jim nor Legion were at fault in referring to objectification as "a lack of agency or control."

As a guy who actually prefers to play as female characters, I don't understand people's problem with having a female character the protagonist. If it's one of those predominately-Japanese games that has a female lead, but dresses her in practically nothing and makes her overly sexualised, however, then I won't be playing that game.

CommieCatGirl:
Male gamers want cool male protagonists in their escapist fantasies, who knew? I guess the only solution is to call dude bros insecure closeted homosexuals in order to feel like a big man!

Don't blame culture, blame biology and economics. You have to accept that most males, especially males that play shooty games, are going to want to play as strong males and want their games to have an air of machismo to them. Most males are just programmed to be that way, if you make them a single struggling single mother in their action game looking for love while simultaneously filling the role of the strong male action hero, then you're just going to be ruining their entertainment for the sake of your own agenda.

If you want to make a change, try starting a movement actively boycotting "dudebro" shooters and game publishers who hinder developers from making games with strong female characters with genuine feminine traits. They'll start caring more about the damage to sales more than they ever will the condemnations of some overweight gamma male on the internet.

Welcome to the ESCAPIST,LOVE your avatar,Brilliant first post,Don't go into the basement,Goodbye.

Freezy_Breezy:
Quite frankly, I don't want my male protagonist having a romance subplot either. Fuck that shit.

I hate to say it but I agree with you.

The shoehorned in love interest that consisting of titties, ass or some combination thereof seems to have become another tickbox for the AAA gaming scene, right along-side multiplayer and DLC.

What I don't understand is why the "defenders" of the current status (as in, people who say it is perfectly fine that most characters are male, blahdibiblah), try to argue against more female characters in general. Why do the two have to be mutually exclusive?

Why can't there be an equal (or at least more equal than it is now) cast of male and female characters in games, diverse, different, interesting? There will still be (always), the strong male lead in games. No one is trying to take that away from anyone. But instead of having 1 strong female lead for every 10 male leads, it would be nice to have...oh, I don't know...5? Maybe 6...dare I say 10? You know....equality and all that.

Of course, we won't get more games, just because we want more diverse characters. So it'd be more like...instead of 9 males and 1 female, we'd have 5 males and 5 females. Sounds fair?

Or is this taking too much away from the people who NEED a male avatar to be happy?

In any case, I don't know what all this anger is about. The main point Jim was making is a very valid one and a sad one. It was a good video and hopefully some food for thought for people.

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