Jimquisition: The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

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When the Entertainment Software Association, the lobbying arm of the video game industry tells the rest of the world that forty-seven percent of gamers within the United States are women, but then actual industry that finances the ESA behaves in such a manner that would cause any sane, skeptically-minded and rational observer to question whether or not the validity of those particular statistics are as crooked as a dog's hind leg, then one has to weigh up the likelihood of one of two scenarios.

That forty-seven percent of gamers are women, despite the video game industry's behaviour.

Or that the notion that forty-seven percent of all video gamers are women is as near enough to a blatant lie as to qualify statistics from the Entertainment Software Association for awards normally reserved for works of complete fiction.

undeadsuitor:

If they wanted an easy job they wouldn't have become game designers now would they?

What's the point in making your job harder on purpose?:) The audience that is already invested in specific type of games is better than chasing mythical audience that in reality translates to eg. 18% people who even bothered with female ME protagonist. Obviously, competing for the audience of "brown fps games", carries own issues, but they are free to select the type of crap they want to deal with:)

undeadsuitor:

Besides, writers seem to have no issue writing aliens, are you really saying that women are more foreign and hard to write than say.......every alien race ever.

Except that aliens do not complain about "unrealistic and specie-ist image of Salarians and Chiss" so we have no way of judging a degree of "antropomorphism" (scratch that, pretend I used some version of "heteronormativity" ^^)those flawed portrayals include. Though I guess that also means losing access to a tasty controversy that can at least keep people talking about your game for one more unimportant reason.

Paradoxrifts:
When the Entertainment Software Association, the lobbying arm of the video game industry tells the rest of the world that forty-seven percent of gamers within the United States are women, but then actual industry that finances the ESA behaves in such a manner that would cause any sane, skeptically-minded and rational observer to question whether or not the validity of those particular statistics are as crooked as a dog's hind leg, then one has to weigh up the likelihood of one of two scenarios.

That forty-seven percent of gamers are women, despite the video game industry's behaviour.

Or that the notion that forty-seven percent of all video gamers are women is as near enough to a blatant lie as to qualify statistics from the Entertainment Software Association for awards normally reserved for works of complete fiction.

I believe it's the latter, mate.

http://www.esrb.org/about/video-game-industry-statistics.jsp

ESRB reckon it's 40%, but also reckon 80% of those women are primarily wii players... and wii owners don't but too many games. Then there's the possibility that they're factoring in social, iphone and facebook games(like I've seen some do), then the stats would be irredeemably bad.

Not intending to make any points about what qualifies as a "gamer". But people playing wii-sports and bejewelled aren't necessarily the crowd that's going to buy "The last of us" or whatever, so those numbers probably shouldn't be trotted out.

Sexual Harassment Panda:

http://www.esrb.org/about/video-game-industry-statistics.jsp

ESRB reckon it's 40%, but also reckon 80% of those women are primarily wii players... and wii owners don't but too many games. Then there's the possibility that they're factoring in social, iphone and facebook games(like I've seen some do), then the stats would be irredeemably bad.

Not intending to make any points about what qualifies as a "gamer". But people playing wii-sports and bejewelled aren't necessarily the crowd that's going to buy "The last of us" or whatever, so those numbers probably shouldn't be trotted out.

Exactly.

I would like to sincerely know when it became not alright for anyone who isn't comfortable with gender-bending into the role of a woman who is on the verge of helping herself to a great big & steaming helping of cock, or having their cock sucked by Jim Sterling for that matter (Jim's tits are probably more far luscious then any female character design that has been designed to be taken seriously.), to be not comfortable with it or more importantly than that, to not be comfortable paying for that. If people don't see what is wrong with trying to shame people into doing and paying for something they are not comfortable with doing, then I cannot help them.

And using homophobia to try and sell his argument? That was, is and will always be sleazy as all fuck.

Lightknight:

Darthbawls77:
Im a 27 straight male thats been playing video games since I was 2 and I switch between male and female characters all the time and could care less what sex they are. When they say males only play males they must be talking for themselves cause even with my other male friends who game this has never been a topic because we never felt it needed to be. I think people these days are too sensitive and need to calm down for real.

Yeah, I've seen a number of males play as females all the time. If given a choice I like to pick an avatar that resembles me but if not I don't really care.

I think the main opposition to this one was that she was a girl as much as that she has a relationship in the game. So the question takes it a step further. If you role play as a girl are you ok with your character getting some action from a guy? As I said earlier, I'd posit that guys spent all of the early Tomb Raider franchize mentally undressing Lara and a sex scene would have just been an opportunity to see her undress moreso than insult them in some way where their avatar is doing something that they wouldn't.

As a straight male I would love for Lara to make out with another hot chick lol, but to be honest I wouldnt mind if she got some from a guy either cause that happens too. I guess as long as it is done right and doesnt seem forced and badly written or executed I'd be fine with it. It kinda reminds me of porn cause although girl on girl is always good I would say my average video is between a man and a women. I guess as long as I see some boobies Im happy but thats talking for me of course. And for my gay brothers out there I wouldnt mind playing a male lead in a game that was gay as well.

Paradoxrifts:

Sexual Harassment Panda:

http://www.esrb.org/about/video-game-industry-statistics.jsp

ESRB reckon it's 40%, but also reckon 80% of those women are primarily wii players... and wii owners don't but too many games. Then there's the possibility that they're factoring in social, iphone and facebook games(like I've seen some do), then the stats would be irredeemably bad.

Not intending to make any points about what qualifies as a "gamer". But people playing wii-sports and bejewelled aren't necessarily the crowd that's going to buy "The last of us" or whatever, so those numbers probably shouldn't be trotted out.

Exactly.

I would like to sincerely know when it became not alright for anyone who isn't comfortable with gender-bending into the role of a woman who is on the verge of helping herself to a great big & steaming helping of cock, or having their cock sucked by Jim Sterling for that matter (Jim's tits are probably more far luscious then any female character design that has been designed to be taken seriously.), to be not comfortable with it or more importantly than that, to not be comfortable paying for that. If people don't see what is wrong with trying to shame people into doing and paying for something they are not comfortable with doing, then I cannot help them.

And using homophobia to try and sell his argument? That was, is and will always be sleazy as all fuck.

Agree fully. It irked the fuck out of me when the quote mining for misogyny bizarre-as-fuck witch-hunt thing was happening too. Exactly what qualifies these people to so liberally levy these accusations against people? I think it's pretty shitty and you could make the argument that it's irresponsible too. It's certainly not the behaviour of thoughtful, level-headed people, which is how those people seem to see themselves.

All of these products are opt-in propositions. Usually when someone is being negative about a game, or a film, or... whatever, that's met with "don't fucking buy it then" which is a perfectly sound course of action. Apart from in this instance, when apparently that's both not acceptable and massively bigoted.

Can't please everyone.

I'm pretty sure this is just publishers being stupid. The other reasons are just absurd. Male gamers feel uncomfortable playing women? They feel gay when their female protagonist has a relationship with another guy? That doesn't make any sense at all. It's like, a paradox of role playing. On the one hand, you're getting into the role well enough to care about the character's relationships. On the other hand, you can't roleplay well enough to realize that her sexual preferences might be different from your own??

I think a more likely explanation is that publishers find that the best sellers in gaming are the testosterone-fueled shooters, so they assume the protagonists of those sorts of games will be preferred in all games.

Sexual Harassment Panda:
It irked the fuck out of me when the quote mining for misogyny bizarre-as-fuck witch-hunt thing was happening too. Exactly what qualifies these people to so liberally levy these accusations against people?

A liberal arts degree? :P

Sexual Harassment Panda:
I think it's pretty shitty and you could make the argument that it's irresponsible too. It's certainly not the behaviour of thoughtful, level-headed people, which is how those people seem to see themselves.

There is a difference between behaving like a thoughtful, level-headed person, and presenting your opinion in the firm belief that a thoughtful, level-headed person couldn't disagree with either your point, or your methods.

Sexual Harassment Panda:
All of these products are opt-in propositions. Usually when someone is being negative about a game, or a film, or... whatever, that's met with "don't fucking buy it then" which is a perfectly sound course of action. Apart from in this instance, when apparently that's both not acceptable and massively bigoted.

While the big video game publishers might have very good & solid reasons behind not financing what I'm about to suggest, I do think that the medium suffers terribly from not having an equivalent to taking a franchise direct-to-DVD. From my perspective I don't see any reason why the next title in the Dead Space franchise couldn't have been budgeted to reflect what the next game was likely to earn instead of cancelling it because it just couldn't earn what EA had expected it to earn.

But then I'm neither a publisher or a developer. But again, from my point of view it just seems like a waste.

Paradoxrifts:

And using homophobia to try and sell his argument? That was, is and will always be sleazy as all fuck.

He did not imply that people who are not comfortable playing female characters are homophobic. He did however imply that people preferring beefy male hunks with huge weapons are probably latent homosexuals or at least sexually frustrated. He wasn't trying to shame such people he was simply making fun of them.

He was not trying to "sell" any arguments either. He pointed out that there are gender inequality issues in the game industry without putting a blame on anybody specifically.

Sirevien:

Paradoxrifts:

And using homophobia to try and sell his argument? That was, is and will always be sleazy as all fuck.

He did not imply that people who are not comfortable playing female characters are homophobic. He did however imply that people preferring beefy male hunks with huge weapons are probably latent homosexuals or at least sexually frustrated. He wasn't trying to shame such people he was simply making fun of them.

I don't know exactly what planet you're from.

The one where I'm from however, when one man tells another that he's being insecure about taking on the role of a woman who is actively seeking sex from a male partner, and then goes on to tease that same man with a joke that relies heavily on an understanding of outdated and medically unsound Freudian pop-psychology about how liking anything vaguely masculine means they have a deep buried desire to pound other men up the butt, and then tops it all off with a standing offer to suck the insecurity out of him through his cock like a drinking straw, that man is trying to utilise homophobia to make his point.

We're all presumably grown adults here. We all know Jim isn't going to attend gaming convention, after gaming convention, doggedly lurking the halls slurping the straight right out of frightened heterosexual men like some sort of big gay vampire. But if his intention was to communicate anything beyond the point of you're a homosexual if you don't want to dress up in drag and have sex with a man, it was lost on me.

Paradoxrifts:

it was lost on me.

This is actually what i was thinking before writing a post. "Yet another point wasted on (some of) escapist audience".

It wasn't about homophobia, masculinity (or lack thereof) or about sucking cocks at gaming conventions. It was about gender inequality, misrepresentation and/or underrepresentation of womens in games. Those are the points i got from the video. His style of presenting his viewpoints and the way he mocks some of the stereotypically insecure gamers got almost nothing to do with the main message of the video.

He did not shame anybody for being homophobic, and while i don't see anything wrong with "Freudian pop-psychology" which often proves to be relevant when sexuality/gender roles are being discussed - this isn't what that video was all about. The victim in this case isn't you or anybody else who's "uncomfortable" playing female character. The victim is... a female character. Its that simple.

Paradoxrifts:
[quote="Sirevien" post="6.404244.16752088"]

We're all presumably grown adults here. We all know Jim isn't going to attend gaming convention, after gaming convention, doggedly lurking the halls slurping the straight right out of frightened heterosexual men like some sort of big gay vampire. But if his intention was to communicate anything beyond the point of you're a homosexual if you don't want to dress up in drag and have sex with a man, it was lost on me.

For me it taps into an irony that seems to creep into misogynistic arguments presented by teen boys.

I once inquired on an anonymous toy related board as to whether Samantha Byrne, my favorite character (and my go-to multiplayer character) from gears of war, was going to get a toy.

I was told, repeatedly, I had infected myself with gayness by wanting to be the 'female' (their terms were not so polite), and there were numerous comments spewing misogynistic bile at her and the other female characters in the game, especially Bernie as she dared to be an old woman and not hot. These posts often went in at length about how awesome all the male characters were and why hadn't they made a figure of 'this guy I love so much for being awesome'.

To reiterate, I was 'gay' for liking women (I had not stated my gender or sexual orientation), whilst they gushed unreservedly over the male characters they worshiped.

Just a bunch of phobic shit from execs. Anything that isn't trying to do a "more marketable" version of something that's already proven successful is too much of a risk on their money.
That and people have a need to project themselves into characters, and their preferences in whom they choose can say a lot about their insecurities.

Windknight:

.... there were numerous comments spewing misogynistic bile at her and the other female characters in the game, especially Bernie as she dared to be an old woman and not hot.

Always this. Why always this?

I've always been of a massively creative intellect, and I've never made an attempt at making a proxy of myself in a game. I don't need to see this fake me running around. I get to be me all day, and in games I can witness an entirely new experience. As long as I have a good time with the story or gameplay I don't really care who I'm playing as. I played Female Shepard in Mass Effect and actually found myself torn between Mordin and Thane. My original plan had been to play as an homage to Captain Kirk, in the body of a woman. And then through the magic of immersion I'm not only pursuing the admiration of two different aliens, but MALES!

I always appreciate the chance to play as a female character and I don't need reassurances from the cover art that I'm not a sissy for it.

Sexual Harassment Panda:
I believe it's the latter, mate.

http://www.esrb.org/about/video-game-industry-statistics.jsp

ESRB reckon it's 40%, but also reckon 80% of those women are primarily wii players... and wii owners don't but too many games. Then there's the possibility that they're factoring in social, iphone and facebook games(like I've seen some do), then the stats would be irredeemably bad.

Not intending to make any points about what qualifies as a "gamer". But people playing wii-sports and bejewelled aren't necessarily the crowd that's going to buy "The last of us" or whatever, so those numbers probably shouldn't be trotted out.

Wow... that's a pretty clear difference in gaming style. It's also some of the information I was looking for, thank you for linking it. It's in line with what I suspected.

Regardless, I still don't think that having a female avatar is a problem. Have people really forgotten the success of Lara and her two companions?

Darthbawls77:
As a straight male I would love for Lara to make out with another hot chick lol, but to be honest I wouldnt mind if she got some from a guy either cause that happens too. I guess as long as it is done right and doesnt seem forced and badly written or executed I'd be fine with it. It kinda reminds me of porn cause although girl on girl is always good I would say my average video is between a man and a women. I guess as long as I see some boobies Im happy but thats talking for me of course.

That's about the way I think many guys would view a female hero getting straight action. So I find their concern a little out of touch. When I play as Lara Croft I don't think "That's me" like I would with a male avatar. That doesn't detract from games at all in my opinion, it's just a different way to play. So it isn't like if something happens to her I think it's happening to me. So if companies think that's the problem they're wrong. A lot of guys pick a girl avatar because, to quote someone I heard espouse this belief, if they're going to be looking at a character's ass for hours it might as well be a girl. Crass or not, I think these companies are out of touch in withholding female characters and their respective love interests.

And for my gay brothers out there I wouldnt mind playing a male lead in a game that was gay as well.

Unfotunately, there would likely be a problem with a gay male avatar in mainstream gaming. Society has a big enough double standard that a gay male character would likely have significantly more push back than a lesbian character would. There's also a bunch of push back towards homosexuality in general so I would expect there to be a problem there, if I were to be honest regarding my opinion of society. With the gay population being so small (if Wikipedia is to be believed at around 3.5% LGB and .3% T), it would be significantly more risky for game companies to put out if even just because of the limited number of people it'd appeal to (as opposed to assholes specifically against it existing at all, like they have to play the game or something). The problem in a mainstream game may also not be from bigotry, it may be from the unappealing nature of it. For example, while I wouldn't have a problem with it myself, it wouldn't appeal to me (I assume a girl sticking her tongue down a male's throat isn't appealing to a gay male either). Something not being appealing is a legitimate reason not to participate in something. Contrast that with Mass Effect one where just there being a choice made people mad. Even though they never had to make the choice themselves and so Bioware removed the option...

I expect that games will start being able to be made the way movies are as games become cheaper and easier to make. Some of the stuff that indie developers are putting out is incredible. But just as movies are able to be made for special interest groups, I expect we'd see some smaller games being put out to appease smaller niche markets. Then again, there is always the possibility of Brokeback Mountains.

The biggest thing we need to help with is to make sure that we help overcome peoples' personal bias from trying to stamp down IP's that cater to those needs. There's a lot of people out there who honestly care what other people have access to and how other people play games, like it's actually their business or like it actually impacts them in some way. These people prevent legitimate games catering to these demographics from being released and it's really time to help them mind their own business seeing as they're not being forced to play these games.

Bad Jim:
Jim! You can't just claim that female protagonists never initiate any intimacy or have any agency and completely ignore Kerrigan in Heart of the Swarm.

It's one of the biggest franchises around, and it's was only released about two weeks ago. How can you not be aware of such a glaring counterexample to your thesis? Did you record that a month ago or something?

A single example doesn't absolve the industry.
I often herald Alyx as a GREAT female protagonist. Yet her existence does not give the Industry an excuse to just throw their hands up in the air and continue to make females props rather than people.

I remember reading all about this last week.
The story actually done two things for me:
1. Shows Anita Sarkeesien may have a point about sexism in the industry.
2. Further highlights how pointless her first video actually was by highlighting the fact she is focusing on minor points when we have major things like this going on. I mean imagine if her first video was less of a rant on Princess Peach and more of a discussion on how female protagonists are rejected by publishers, it would have been a million times more relevant and credible.

If my posts are long, perhaps it is because I am putting more effort into thinking about what I am saying? This isn't a race. You can certainly ignore me, but perhaps I am just exploiting your crusade to serve as a teachable point for everyone else who wants to bother reading it? Who knows, I certainly don't for sure.

Treblaine:
This has not been proven. This is publishers being hysterical and paranoid as usual...snip...

You are failing Hanlon's razor because you have assigned malice to that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. You are failing Occam's razor because the simpler explanation, that greed alone is at fault, is "better" than that they are both greedy and sexist. The burden of proof is on you to show that they are actually sexist and not just greedy.

Saying "they are" isn't sufficient evidence.

What, you think they are running this like a science?!!? No...snip...can do art by the numbers...snip...

Doing "art by the numbers", you mean like with statistics? Which is part of math? Which is a foundational concept to science?

And there is this very nasty and very recent idea...snip...as much profit as possible regardless of logn terms sustainability...snip...

This isn't new. Any thorough study of industry would show that it has always been bumping up against the borders of legality and abuse. Ever heard of child labor? Chemical dumping? Smog?

...snip...And it's not greed, it's stupidity....snip...they think because they are invested they are qualified...snip...

I don't disagree the publishers are stupid, but I have yet to see one major problem that another industry hasn't already gone through, or is not still struggling with. This snowflake syndrome can't pass soon enough.

Or perhaps you aren't aware that the automotive industry has, after almost 50 years, still not figured out how to advertise to women? When the majority of drivers are (as of 2010) women, and women play a role in the majority of car buying decisions?
http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/03/car_ads_for_women_does_the_industry_get_it_all_wrong.single.html

...snip...My point was you were working in absolutes...snip...

Numbers are absolutes. Science itself relies on absolutes to work. With absolutes you have a "right" and "wrong". Without absolutes, there is no "right" or "wrong", and what becomes "right" and "wrong" is merely a matter of dates.

...snip...Irrelevant to the discussion. We are talking about how they are excluded is vital...snip...

Then you're straw-manning. If their inclusion is not vital, their exclusion is also irrelevant.

...snip...No, artistic integrity is the goal as to spite how low brow it might sometimes be...snip...

Who is buying art for "artistic integrity"? Art is a form of entertainment. If there is no entertainment, nobody is going to care about the art. How could we change that? It should sound very familiar: education. Teach people how and why to appreciate the art.

Otherwise it's just oppression for the sake of beliefs, and we know how well everyone loves that.

...snip...NO! If they are in it JUST for the money they should have stayed hedge fund managers...snip...

You don't seem to understand how money works. The "better" games got, the more money could be earned by them, and the bigger the pockets of the people who are interested in the industry. Investors jumped onboard to try and "get theirs" out of greed, because they apparently don't care about the medium. If greed is supposed to be the solution, how can greed also be the problem?

Do you understand why the video game crash of 1983 happened? Do you understand the role that consumers played?

No, you are still claiming to know what all gamers think and feel!

It's sad because we have the same goals, but you're so busy trying to wage an imaginary crusade that you can't tell friend from foe. Despite using things like "I" and "I believe", somehow I am talking for everyone else? Is it so hard to believe that there can be more than "two sides" in an issue?

I claimed to speak for myself, something you then confirm one sentence later, so where are you wrong? Do I or don't I speak for myself?

...snip...Don't try to deny you haven't repeatedly perpetuated the myth...snip...

So it was a straw man then. I haven't been editing my posts after I submit them, so if you can't substantiate your claim, the failure is yours.

...snip...You have never established "don't want"...snip...

The thread is about "don't want". The controversy is "why" and "what should be done about it?". You and I agree on the "what we want it to look like", but disagree on the "ok how do we do it".

...snip..."Preference for male player character" equals "actively reject game with female player character"...snip...

Nope, it doesn't. There's a difference between a predisposition and a state of being. It's the difference between "I have alcoholics in my family and am at risk for alcoholism" and "I am currently an alcoholic". The two aren't opposites, and one does not need the other for either to be true.

One can be an alcoholic without a predisposition, and one with an alcoholic predisposition isn't required to be an alcoholic.

...snip... well considering male-shep is the default, the one that is on box art, one in ALL the advertising...snip...

So players are too stupid or lazy to figure out a character creator? People are too stupid or lazy to re-play the game multiple times with different characters? I wonder how you could improve lazy, stupid, people.

...snip...Any and/or all. There is no reason to delay. Just make the damn games!...snip...

A perfectly irrational statement. What did you say about accomodating people's irrationalities?

Your answer to shotgun the industry and force female characters for the sake of female characters. How does one maintain "artistic integrity" if one is forced to select a gender based on parity and not the validity to the story?

...snip...Female player-characters are good for all gamers...snip...

So you have outright stated that you are speaking for all gamers here. Apparently, despite the push back you've received from other users, you do talk for all gamers. Double standard much?

...snip...It's just a MYTH...snip...

It wouldn't be a myth if there were numbers to try and run the art by. If you want to argue that the interpretation of the numbers is wrong, be my guest. Asserting myth contradicts the claim that they tried "running art by numbers". You can't argue interpretation of the numbers being stupid, and then try to deny the numbers are even there.

...snip...To hell with boycotts, there is too much interference in the system for those to work...snip...

If the publishers are so stupid, why aren't the consumers smart enough to get around the "interference in the system"? I am always amazed that "stop spending money on a luxury commodity" is somehow not an answer. The solution to keep supporting game companies in spite of the fact they don't support a specific niche is the very behavior which lead to the bad statistics that companies like EA are using to try and do "art by the numbers". The consumers created this monster, and it's our responsibility to kill it.

...snip...You are pushing for education over an imaginary problem!

If this is an imaginary problem, why do you assert that consumers aren't smart enough to figure out how to not spend their money on a luxury item? Consumers can't be dumb as stumps with no agency and yet also not be the problem when companies make money off of them.

Either consumers are smart or dumb. If we're smart, then we're to blame for allowing ourselves to be exploited because we should have seen this coming. If we're dumb, then we're to blame for not being able to recognize we're being exploited. There is nobody holding a gun to your head forcing you to play video games.

The solution in both instances is to educate the consumer, and act with ones's wallet on that education. Did you think the food industry wanted to put labels on food to identify it as GMO/non-GMO? Do you think that car companies wanted to move away from leaded gas and develop/install restrictive filtering systems in the exhaust? Nope, in both cases ther were consumer based concerns which changed what the company was producing. These changes also occurred because regulation was introduced which required the manufacturers to comply or they couldn't sell their product. Do we really want an external agent acting as "mommy" and regulating what kinds of games are made?

The consumer is the one that holds the power when it comes to luxuries and disposable commodities. The sooner we stop acting like "not playing video games is the end of the world", the sooner we can mature as a medium, and the sooner we can demand quality be what sells, not exploitation.

Just to get kinda technical here:

Fictional characters in video games, male and female, ARE objects. They're polygonal tools put together for gamers to move around for their own entertainment. Many like pretty girls, and a way to experience this without actually doing anything or affecting anyone is gaming, their form of escapism. That really isn't bad in and of itself. I know my hobbies don't actually mean anything in reality, and I'm sure most are the same way.

But if you want to talk "Strong Female Protagonist" gender politics, I'm afriad Jim is in the wrong here according to the Tropes VS Women creator, Anita Sarkessian. In her masters thesis written on female characters in television (Which she has since taken down from her site), everything Jim identifies as a positive for female characters is actually a bad thing because "He and the developers" are forcing them to act like a man to re-enforce patriarcle values.

"Female roles in Science-Fiction and Fantasy television that are viewed as strong and empowered embody many masculine identified traits maintainting a patriarchal division of gender roles. For example, the values adopted by female characters... Maintain that traditionally masculine attributes such as rationality, cool headedness, and physical strength are superior and preferred over traditionally female attributes such as cooperative decision making, and being emotionally expressive and empathetic"

-A. Sarkeesian, I'll Make A Man Out Of You; Strong Women In Science Fiction And Fantasy Television

So I'm afriad you're just wanting to perpetuate a patriarchal idea of what a woman SHOULD be, Jim, because all the women in your clips were forced into masculine roles instead of urging peaceful resolution. All joking aside, you would never have a female protagonist without some vocal group claiming she's a bad example for whatever reason. It's why even women can't write one without getting yelled at, the author of that twilight crap caught hell for making her protagonist so submissive to the male characters among other things.

If you want to see the roots of all this gender BS, you can read Ellen Willis' (of the original 60's feminist movement) 1984 essay "No more nice girls", where she discusses modern radical feminism and some of them attempting to put themselves back into the position they were in at the 1950's without even knowing it. "Cultural Feminism" as she calls it

Google Book Page Link
http://tinyurl.com/br475q7
http://tinyurl.com/cz29mwo

Zydrate:

Bad Jim:
Jim! You can't just claim that female protagonists never initiate any intimacy or have any agency and completely ignore Kerrigan in Heart of the Swarm.

It's one of the biggest franchises around, and it's was only released about two weeks ago. How can you not be aware of such a glaring counterexample to your thesis? Did you record that a month ago or something?

A single example doesn't absolve the industry.
I often herald Alyx as a GREAT female protagonist. Yet her existence does not give the Industry an excuse to just throw their hands up in the air and continue to make females props rather than people.

True, but if you actually want to change something, you should do more than simply say they can be profitable, you should help them be profitable by highlighting the good female characters in front of an audience that cares. Simply saying "nope, no good female protagonists this year" discourages gamers who might otherwise have gone looking for them.

Nurb:
Just to get kinda technical here:

Fictional characters in video games, male and female, ARE objects. They're polygonal tools put together for gamers to move around for their own entertainment. Many like pretty girls, and a way to experience this without actually doing anything or affecting anyone is gaming, their form of escapism. That really isn't bad in and of itself. I know my hobbies don't actually mean anything in reality, and I'm sure most are the same way.

But if you want to talk "Strong Female Protagonist" gender politics, I'm afriad Jim is in the wrong here according to the Tropes VS Women creator, Anita Sarkessian. In her masters thesis written on female characters in television (Which she has since taken down from her site), everything Jim identifies as a positive for female characters is actually a bad thing because "He and the developers" are forcing them to act like a man to re-enforce patriarcle values.

"Female roles in Science-Fiction and Fantasy television that are viewed as strong and empowered embody many masculine identified traits maintainting a patriarchal division of gender roles. For example, the values adopted by female characters... Maintain that traditionally masculine attributes such as rationality, cool headedness, and physical strength are superior and preferred over traditionally female attributes such as cooperative decision making, and being emotionally expressive and empathetic"

-A. Sarkeesian, I'll Make A Man Out Of You; Strong Women In Science Fiction And Fantasy Television

So I'm afriad you're just wanting to perpetuate a patriarchal idea of what a woman SHOULD be, Jim, because all the women in your clips were forced into masculine roles instead of urging peaceful resolution. All joking aside, you would never have a female protagonist without some vocal group claiming she's a bad example for whatever reason. It's why even women can't write one without getting yelled at, the author of that twilight crap caught hell for making her protagonist so submissive to the male characters among other things.

If you want to see the roots of all this gender BS, you can read Ellen Willis' (of the original 60's feminist movement) 1984 essay "No more nice girls", where she discusses modern radical feminism and some of them attempting to put themselves back into the position they were in at the 1950's without even knowing it. "Cultural Feminism" as she calls it

Google Book Page Link
http://tinyurl.com/br475q7
http://tinyurl.com/cz29mwo

It's safe to say at this point that feminists are by no means a "united" force, every feminist holds a slightly different opinion and some feminists often seem to directly contradict other feminists. It's like asking particle physicists for a definite answer on dark energy, except with all the math/logic thrown out the window.

But really, to sum it up all women are asking is a slightly better footing in videogames. If it involves simply taking a male character and giving it a female face/body, so be it! At least that is 10x better than having the females play almost no actual role, or being pointlessly dragged around for the convenience of the plot.

Obviously with less than 1 out of 10 game developers being women (goes to show just how interested women are in making games lol), the overwhelmingly male developers need to make a start. So they don't know a female's mind from inside-out, that's alright. So they don't know the subtleties of how females tend to think and deal with situations compared to males, that's alright too! It would be foolish to expect every developer to understand that, hell I'm still trying to comprehend how men's minds work (grr grr).

Just make the female characters play an active role, give them some personality, some agency! Don't oversexualize them just for the heck of it, at least give it some context!
Unless it's a game specifically TARGETING that kind of perverted audience, in which case go right ahead because I believe all games have a right to exist, just like all movies and all art have a right to exist. I'm not going to walk into a strip bar and tell all the men to get out, it should be VERY obvious when a certain game is not down people's alley that they should steer clear of it. It's when certain aspects of said games start bubbling into mainstream games just for the sake of pandering to the male audience, that's when it gets irritating.

This isn't something women would've been complaining about if it was specific to just a small bunch of games. It's the fact that it has been happening repeatedly, over and over again.

TheSniperFan:
Talking about female characters...
WHERE IS MIRROR'S EDGE 2??????????

I've been waiting on BG&E2 since the teaser came out 6 years ago.

Sirevien:
Its that simple.

Gender inequality in video games is a well-publicized fiction. For there to be gender inequality in video games there would have to be a closer to equal amount of female gamers paying for the end product. I'm not at all convinced of the statistics released by the lobbying arm of the video game industry when here we have a clear cut case of them saying one thing but doing another completely different thing in practice.

As far as misrepresentation goes that's bullshit too, and lets be absolutely clear about this, people who are angry about the misrepresentation of women in video games are not upset because they feel women are being misrepresented.

They're angry chiefly because they feel that women are not being misrepresented in what they feel is the correct manner. The video game industry didn't achieve success by accurately reflecting the human condition back at the people who play their games.

And finally,there have been plenty of posts by women who claim that they feel uncomfortable when behind the wheel of a male avatar. I have never seen anyone accuse them of being insecure about it. Nor have I seen anyone imply that it must be their latent homosexuality getting in the way of them playing a game as a man.

Windknight:
I was told, repeatedly, I had infected myself with gayness by wanting to be the 'female' (their terms were not so polite), and there were numerous comments spewing misogynistic bile at her and the other female characters in the game, especially Bernie as she dared to be an old woman and not hot. These posts often went in at length about how awesome all the male characters were and why hadn't they made a figure of 'this guy I love so much for being awesome'.

Because anonymous boards like 4chan are renown throughout the land for being the epicenter of sane rational discourse. And are certainly never been known specifically for leaping onto the backs of anyone who makes the mistake of showing the slightest hint of their humanity online, before tearing them to shreds like a pack of mad dogs in a competition to see who can be the biggest asshole.

Right?

Paradoxrifts:

Sirevien:
Its that simple.

For there to be gender inequality in video games there would have to be a closer to equal amount of female gamers paying for the end product.

What are you saying, that for a blatant lack of female protagonists or just female characters in active roles to be considered an issue there needs to be at least a 50|50 split between gamers gender-wise? I find that logic questionable at best. In issue doesn't cease to be an issue simply because the people it primarily concerns with aren't a majority. And even now that split is at the very least 30|70. 30 percent of all gamers is nothing to sneeze at.

Tamara Persikova:

Paradoxrifts:

Sirevien:
Its that simple.

For there to be gender inequality in video games there would have to be a closer to equal amount of female gamers paying for the end product.

What are you saying, that for a blatant lack of female protagonists or just female characters in active roles to be considered an issue there needs to be at least a 50|50 split between gamers gender-wise? I find that logic questionable at best. In issue doesn't cease to be an issue simply because the people it primarily concerns with aren't a majority. And even now that split is at the very least 30|70. 30 percent of all gamers is nothing to sneeze at.

I have no way of being absolutely certain how the demographical representation is divided, but I do know that it can't be very high if what the director of Remember Me proves to be true.

Lets just say you're correct, and that it is a 30/70 split.

My question is thus; what if an equal percentage of either gender is uncomfortable enough with slipping on the role of the other gender that they'd be unwilling to buy a game that meant they had to play such a protagonist?

Whatever that percentage might be, high or low, if the audience is split seven men to three women then a game would stand to lose more of it's audience by including a female protagonist than a male one.

Dorian Cornelius Jasper:

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. ;)

Point taken. As for my "difficult to answer empirically" statement, i referred to the fact that both objectivity and data are required. Not many studies have been done on this subject, and to turn to the internet forums for answers is to gather lots of anecdotal evidence that adds up to absolutely nothing scientifically. It's interesting and valuable info, but not useful scientifically. Although, that's not to say there isn't a glaringly obvious problem, you're right about that. One thing i will disagree with however is saying that games are bad at representing things. There is more to the human experience then race, gender, sexuality, etc. Games such as silent hill 2 do a great job of invoking fear, COD did a great job (unintentionally) of pointing out how monotonous and dehumanizing modern warfare can be, hell Reccetear does a damn good job of giving the player the feeling of anxiety, the repetition and fear of failure that comes with being in debt. Video games can do a great job at representing things well, the real hurdle is who's making the game, and what they want to convey.

Oh btw I'm guessing that you didn't mean just race, sexuality, ext. The wording of the sentence implied an absolute-statement, and some impressionable you people could be watching =). Just pointing out that there's more to think about. As for the answer to my question, i had already wiki'ed the dude before writing the post. I didn't really understand it until i tried to explain to someone else who Malcolm Gladwell was.... anyways flame on semi-anonymous forum posters, god knows i certainly intend to =D

Tomb Raider.... what else can I say?

Paradoxrifts:

Windknight:
I was told, repeatedly, I had infected myself with gayness by wanting to be the 'female' (their terms were not so polite), and there were numerous comments spewing misogynistic bile at her and the other female characters in the game, especially Bernie as she dared to be an old woman and not hot. These posts often went in at length about how awesome all the male characters were and why hadn't they made a figure of 'this guy I love so much for being awesome'.

Because anonymous boards like 4chan are renown throughout the land for being the epicenter of sane rational discourse. And are certainly never been known specifically for leaping onto the backs of anyone who makes the mistake of showing the slightest hint of their humanity online, before tearing them to shreds like a pack of mad dogs in a competition to see who can be the biggest asshole.

Right?

Except my point was about how anti-women sentiment amongst said 'mad dogs' can often slip into coming across as male worship with homo-erotic undertones. Not 'oh my god, these guys are horrible.' More the irony in the 'liking women is gay' and 'worshiping the hot beefcake is heterosexual' ideals they espouse with all the implications these guys don't seem to realise their giving off.

the_green_dragon:
Tomb Raider.... what else can I say?

Haha!

Tomb Raider didn't solve sexism in the same way that electing Obama didn't solve racism.

I mean Tomb Raider is a great game and Lara is a good character, but even that game didn't make it to shelves without it's publishers first wedging their feet in their mouths when talking about Lara. Even when we get it right, we can't seem to get it completely right.

Windknight:

Paradoxrifts:

Windknight:
I was told, repeatedly, I had infected myself with gayness by wanting to be the 'female' (their terms were not so polite), and there were numerous comments spewing misogynistic bile at her and the other female characters in the game, especially Bernie as she dared to be an old woman and not hot. These posts often went in at length about how awesome all the male characters were and why hadn't they made a figure of 'this guy I love so much for being awesome'.

Because anonymous boards like 4chan are renown throughout the land for being the epicenter of sane rational discourse. And are certainly never been known specifically for leaping onto the backs of anyone who makes the mistake of showing the slightest hint of their humanity online, before tearing them to shreds like a pack of mad dogs in a competition to see who can be the biggest asshole.

Right?

Except my point was about how anti-women sentiment amongst said 'mad dogs' can often slip into coming across as male worship with homo-erotic undertones. Not 'oh my god, these guys are horrible.' More the irony in the 'liking women is gay' and 'worshiping the hot beefcake is heterosexual' ideals they espouse with all the implications these guys don't seem to realize their giving off.

The issue there is that all that is is pop-psychology nonsense that doesn't actually have any sort of record of proving to be true. It's simply something people say to try to add some sort of coming-of-age teen film "bully gets it in the end" irony to the things people say. Nothing more and nothing less.

The issue I take with these subjects is the sensationalism. Jim speaks about women's issues. But, and I'm not saying this lightly, he demonstrates a strong penchant to exploit the fears of women and those who care about them in how he handles these things.

Look at the title... "The Creepy Cull Of Female Protagonists." All that fear-mongering going on. Anti-women sentiment implied but also throw the word "creepy" in there because that's the word women often use to describe men that make them feel uncomfortable. I can't see how one can't see how exploitative the whole thing is.

One should be able to raise an issue without contributing to it.

The biggest question is... Is a FIGHT really the answer? Is the best approach REALLY to turn female and male gamers against each other for and present to them that their sensibilities are at war and that it's a zero-sum game?

It is if you want those views and hits. Jim has showed numerous times that he's not afraid to use the sexism cause to create a nice cushy install base of fans. His aforementioned video title makes that all the more clear to me.

Everything can't be the worst. Things can be bad but not everything can be the worst. You can't have the worst of all problems because some problems contradict themselves. A guy can't hate women, fawn creepily over women, hate homosexuals, secretly be gay, be stupid and inconsiderate but also calculating and deliberate all while being a silent and complicit contributor to a cause he is the mastermind of. But opposing elements get roped in together at all times.

I'm also tired of hearing how people have grown up dealing with games that have primarily attempted to appeal to male, white 20-somethings. I hate arguments born in convenience. That's the prime demographic now that a bunch of gaming's original Nintendo era fans have grown up but the industry has grown with those people. And it has changed heavily.

When I was younger there were a lot more games centered around my age group, the prime age group of players. One thing I noticed was that PC game tended to have more mature content. That's how PC games were. The demographic seemed to be a little older. Back in the day, Japan heavily dominated a lot of the scene and Japanese sensibilities were flagrant everywhere you looked. Everyone wanted to be Mario. Then everyone wanted to have an RPG. That, of course, is now being attributed to male white patriarchy when really it was just Japan made the games and so Japanese stuff was in them. Sort of like how the industry is largely Westernized now and so Western sensibilities now dominate the games with games like DmC reflecting this trend.

It will be a tough battle to fight if people keep presenting female representation as a problem that needs to be fixed like male representation was fixed because male representation was never viewed to be "broken." Imbalances in representation (with Japanese sensibilities dominating the market and Guilty Gear blatantly calling the Japanese a superior race) weren't "fixed" so much as Western developers rose up with no real organized campaign and just started making games that appealed to people like themselves.

I don't see why women need a war. Men didn't. They just made the games. One can talk about patriarchy but I simply don't think that the cards are distributed evenly among men. I'm not ready to say that every woman is worse off than every man or that women are incapable of overcoming some of the same hurdles that some men have. I happen to believe that, while there are stigmas and societal expectations and whatnot that people have to work through, wealth is probably the biggest controller in the entire front. And people like Anita prove that it can be acquired.

People like Jim need to stop starting wars and putting the very people you want to support you at odds. We have to stop ignoring the roots and looking at things in vacuums, taking snapshots and going HEY! I don't call Hockey racist because it's predominantly white players nor would I walk into a bar that regularly plays hockey games on the television and say it's discriminating against other races based entirely on the fact that they are not patronizing that establishment because it doesn't appeal to them.

People often get frustrated with these conversation because they often come down to telling a bunch of other people what they need to do to make you happy before you decide to invest rather than looking for options to create what you want to see.

Fiairflair:

Treblaine:
Yes, they are representations of reality, but they are still - technically - object within a world. I don't think it is fair for Jim to attack developers for struggling to overcome this technical limitation by how they limit what there NPCs can and do do. Like the girl in Last of Us, he takes pot shots at how she has simplistic interaction... but that's a game that strives constantly to make her a real rounded character when in fact it's a polygon model controlled essentially by an unfeeling robot... and if you do the wrong thing s
This is like someone attacking drawing of a woman and a man, then that someone points at at the woman in the picture (but not the man) "why isn't she moving! your drawing has just turned her into an object for your amusement!" missing how that's inherent to a drawing and the man isn't moving either.

The flaw in this analogy is that the man in the picture is not like male characters in video games. In the case of the drawing the person complains about how a woman is portrayed when the portrayal of both people is comparable in quality. In video game males and females are frequently portrayed not just differently but with unequal effort. Imagine if the woman were a stick figure and the man resembled Rembrandt's polish rider.

There are two main issues that this video has raised. Firstly, the under-representation of female protagonists in gaming. Secondly, the ways in which female characters are portrayed in games. The first is empirically demonstrable and judging by other comments you've made I expect you agree. In relation to the second I want to say no more or less than this: there is inequality in many video games between the character development given to females and males. Males in games frequently have more intricate and complex personalities than their female counterparts. This is both regrettable and worth discussing in the hope of encouraging change.

Well that gets back to the inherent differences between characters that comes with the medium when you have player controlled character on one hand and a robot controlled NPC on the other. The problems with robot controlled characters is as evident with male companions as female ones.

I don't think the under-representation of females in gaming is helped by attacking developers for struggling to overcome the problems with AI.

I also think the criticisms of female representation has left the message of "next time, don't even bother" as it's not really criticism in the sense of "we want more of this, and less of that" or "why can't we have more characters like these".

When was the last time you heard PRAISE for a female character in video games? Even looking at a small aspect, any "criticism" fails to be constructive with the agenda of "is this character good or bad". More often bad. We can't talk about how awesome a female character is without a load of people coming in with how awful that female character is.

Males in games frequently have more intricate and complex personalities than their female counterparts.

Really?

The trend I see is of protagonist/player-characters being men and then being "blank slates" or as close to blank slates as possible, for various reasons. It's the supporting characters who very often end up being women and they have a lot to reveal about their character... even have a character arc.

For example, I can say a lot about what Alyx Vance would or would not do... but Gordon Freeman. Well, he'd do really whatever I'd do.

But still there is definitely a male "role" as the protagonist, he IS driving the story forward even if there isn't much to his character often with the simplest or down right inexplicable motivations.

Gladys Knight:

People like Jim need to stop starting wars and putting the very people you want to support you at odds. We have to stop ignoring the roots and looking at things in vacuums, taking snapshots and going HEY! I don't call Hockey racist because it's predominantly white players nor would I walk into a bar that regularly plays hockey games on the television and say it's discriminating against other races based entirely on the fact that they are not patronizing that establishment because it doesn't appeal to them.

Except, you know, he's not starting a war. He's not declaring war. He's not trying to turn this into a war. And neither am I. We're just pointing out there is a problem that needs to be looked at, thought about, and dealt with. With dialogue.

The problem is when this is brought to light, there are people on both sides willing to start a fight, or turn this into a fight. And often, the first salvo is fired by people who reduce feminist leanings to strawmen they saw in a tv sitcom, or some stand-up comic made jokes about, or some right-wing radio jockey has told them want to castrate them and wear their balls as a trophy.

Geuss what? when he made his offer, he wasn't making it to you. Let me give a personal example - on xbox live I've had heckling asking me if I'm gay, or of I'm 'a fag', etc. My response - 'Why, do you want a boyfriend?'. That is what he is doing. His comment is aimed specifically at the small minded, raging types who would take offence to being asked that sort of thing because of their emotional insecurities. He's trolling the trolls, and if your not a troll, it shouldn't offend you.

Portal, L4D 1'n 2, Phantasy Star, Lunar of something . . .

Tombsite:
As is often the case I more or less agree with all Jim had to say. Two points though:
1. All sex/intemecy sceens in games are crepy. It is more or less a set of virtual Barbie and Ken dolls getting mashed together. Not sexy and not interesting really.

2. Could we try to not have "love" and sex being the only relationships men and women can have in games (I know there are exceptions but they are few)

Oddly TOR did it well, the screen simply fades to black and nothing no sound not odd screen wobble nothing, and its well acted post and pre.

Bioware is good at this (not the scenes themselves) usually sadly they've got worse over the years.

i would be happy, really happy if during a games story they told a compelling love story with no sex scene, like super happy.

Treblaine:
Length snippin

1. The problem is that there was legitmate criticism, and praise for Bayonetta (was there ridiculous hate from some areas? Sure, but even CoD has it's dedicated hater base in critics). But those get overlooked. Because it's easier for a developer/artist/publisher to point out the full stop negative articles and use it as an excuse to not try again.

They don't want to here the constructive criticism. Especially publishers. They want unfettered praise, or they'll take their toys and go home. And only on issues that they could care less about. Because ME3 got such shit for it's ending - and quite a bit of that wasn't constructively expressed. But players were rewarded for their harsh words. The Dark Souls community is in a bit of a civil war as fans tear into each other in regards to the game's difficulty. Hardly were kind words used when addressing the dev team. but they got results. Critics, and players alike, tore into Duke Nukem Forever...and no one's insisting that they reword their feelings to not desparage future attempts at shooters. Plenty of FPSes get shat on, but no one blinks twice at it. There are plenty of occaissions when people have gone whole hog, gleefully, into tearing a game apart. And that never stopped the industry from pumping out more. And yet, it's when women as leads is up for debate that it becomes an issue. We already know that guys will play a game with a woman taking top billing: Kate Archer, Lara Croft, Lightning, Jill Valentine, Bloodrayne, Claire Redfield, Rebecca Chambers, Heather Mason (which is impressive since the entire tone of SH3 was birth and motherhood), Valkyrie.

And still the industry needs to be coddled and told how awesome and amazing they are for taking the bold steps to have a female lead in a game. There's already proof that this dudebro demographic that they're catering too isn't as vast as often portrayed. They already have proof that gamers can play as a female with no problems in multiple genres. So why is the argument always made that they need more proof? Why is it always up to women (and those that agree with them) to use placating words/gestures and guide them on how not to make a piss poor female lead? They just have to jump back a few years and look at their own history.

2. Marcus attractive? That's...debatable. Personal standards, and all. But none of the men were designed to draw in women/gay men. They're male power fantasies. Whereas Bayonetta, old school Lara Croft (and even new!Lara, to a much smaller degree) are designed to appeal to straight men (if a bi/lesbian woman likes it, that's a bonus, but not their intent).

When women/gays say they fancy Marcus, or any of the COG team, it's in spite of the design's intent. it's no different in how it works in comics. Very few male leads are created with the intention of appealing to non-straight men, or women. Especially in a game aiming for wide appeal. Raiden is one of the first ones that come to mind - and even that backfired to a degree. As Kojima once confessed that MGS2 was an attempt to appeal to women, and Raiden's look was based off of popular BL manga tropes. And while the focus groups loved it, when the game came out, most women were unimpressed and demanded Snake back. But it surprised him, and many in the industry as well. Raiden was everything they were told women wanted: nice hair, lean physique, just enough hip to toe the line of androgyny...and yet, women responded better to Snake's scruff and scratchy throat, and more pronounced muscles.

The comic industry is in the same boat. Though a lot of new blood in the artist side has jumped on that and is starting to use it to their benefit.

Treblaine:

For example, I can say a lot about what Alyx Vance would or would not do.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-3gcVICiCs

about 4mins in he talks about Alyx......

also i wanted to spread more campster!

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