Jimquisition: Boob Wars and Dragon Crowns

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Yuuki:
I remain to be convinced that using people in marketing to push a product is a bad thing though. Next thing you will say is that an advert about a Theme Park showing people having fun is also wrong, they should advertise...err...what instead? Just the theme park logo and empty/vacant rides, because showing happy smiling people having fun is simply objectifying them for the sake of bringing more people (i.e. wallets) to the place?

I don't think using people in marketing is such a bad thing (although I do generally have a low opinion of the marketing profession). Showing someone using a product how it is used in the real world is quite different than merely draping an attractive model over something for sex appeal.

Further to this point - you mentioned "air hostesses" as a "female job" that is done for the attractiveness of the workers. I thought this had died out by the 1980s. They aren't called "hostesses" anymore, I believe they are called "flight attendants" and come in both genders and all levels of attractiveness. The role is primarily about flight safety and customer service. If any airline is hiring attendants based on their attractiveness, rather than their competence, they are doing it wrong. It's actually a very demanding job, which requires awareness of safety codes, composure under pressure, long shifts, etc. Not something you just hire eye candy for.

Anyway, we're probably both coming at this from entirely different perspectives, and I don't personally begrudge yours. I just think there's little value to jobs that employ women merely for their looks, as women tend to have brains which are much more valuable than their other physical attributes.

Sexual Harassment Panda:
We've all got opinions, boring, boring opinions. If you want my 2-cents(which you don't), I think that objecting to another cultures obsession with bouncy animated boobs whilst being all but indifferent to the considerably more local-developers pumping out games based on real world conflicts(ended and ongoing) is indicative of a fucked up world view.

Can't I object to both?

I actually object more to the casual portrayal/glorification of war in gaming than I do to exaggerated boobs. But neither sits very with me. But hey, I'm a malcontent on the internet, so there's that.

There are too many fucked-up world-views to be confined to just one topic, and that's just in gaming!

Sexual Harassment Panda:
I'm getting really bored of politics surrounding gaming.

I actually think it's quite an interesting and fertile area. Because unlike some other areas of politics, it hasn't matured yet and is still forming. It's one of the few areas where young people will actually respond to political subjects - because few seem to be at all interested in the actual political process of democracy and our elected representatives.

But on this particular topic, what fascinates me the most, more than any sexual politics, is the way that Jim says in his video that he's so concerned about having a proper discussion, but then refuses to participate in the discussion attached to his very own video!

Lektrik:
I am under the impression that homophobia requires malicious intent -- otherwise, it's not homophobia.

Yeah, that's not true at all. I'm not sure where you are getting that impression from. You might want to get better sources of information.

Homophobia requires no malicious intent towards gay people, just as arachnophobia requires no malicious intent towards spiders, or acrophobia requires no malicious intent towards elevated locations.

Want rational discussion about gaming issues? Talk to people while in their physical presence. Wanting rational discussion about anything on the internet is a fool's errand. There are people who will argue over whether the sky is blue or cyan.

Aardvaarkman:

Sexual Harassment Panda:
We've all got opinions, boring, boring opinions. If you want my 2-cents(which you don't), I think that objecting to another cultures obsession with bouncy animated boobs whilst being all but indifferent to the considerably more local-developers pumping out games based on real world conflicts(ended and ongoing) is indicative of a fucked up world view.

Can't I object to both?

I actually object more to the casual portrayal/glorification of war in gaming than I do to exaggerated boobs. But neither sits very with me. But hey, I'm a malcontent on the internet, so there's that.

There are too many fucked-up world-views to be confined to just one topic, and that's just in gaming!

Sexual Harassment Panda:
I'm getting really bored of politics surrounding gaming.

I actually think it's quite an interesting and fertile area. Because unlike some other areas of politics, it hasn't matured yet and is still forming. It's one of the few areas where young people will actually respond to political subjects - because few seem to be at all interested in the actual political process of democracy and our elected representatives.

But on this particular topic, what fascinates me the most, more than any sexual politics, is the way that Jim says in his video that he's so concerned about having a proper discussion, but then refuses to participate in the discussion attached to his very own video!

Hey, you're alright, man.

I don't agree with you, necessarily. But at least I see consistency.

UrKnightErrant:

Sexual Harassment Panda:

UrKnightErrant:
OMG the rampant idiocy on this thread is just STAGGERING. Bigots NEVER have "malicious intent". They never see their hurtful actions as inappropriate and are invariably quite benign about their hateful words and actions.

Homophobia, Racism, Sexism, etc do NOT require "malicious intent". They are or they aren't, and when they are they are harmful and inappropriate REGARDLESS OF INTENT.

Awesome.

Now all we need is for an unquestionable authority to set in stone the conditions under which "they are" and "they aren't" in a way that transcends geographical borders as well as every known ideology. Think you're up to the task, UrKnightErrant?

Come on, man. Only you can prevent forest fires. Get involved.

Don't be an asshole. I never claimed to be any kind of ultimate authority on sexism. I was addressing the nature of bigotry.

In this instance, since I have not actually stated a position on the OP... yes, I believe that the Sorceress is an overtly sexist art asset and the developer's excuses ring exceedingly hollow to me. I completely believe they don't understand why people are all upset. I don't believe George Katamari had any "malicious intent". I also believe he is being a bigot, both with his caricature and with his overtly homophobic response to the ensuing criticism. Again, I totally believe he is too disconnected from his own bigotry to understand that it's even a problem. Most bigots are. I have no doubt he was stunned by the public response.

And no... I do not think his apology was adequate.

But this is all admittedly just my opinion.

The post you quoted is not about that. It doesn't even address it. This post is a direct response to Lektrik's assertion that, "homophobia requires malicious intent -- otherwise, it's not homophobia." THIS IS BULLSHIT. When you behave in a bigoted manner you your intent is irrelevant and the harm is the same whether you are acting from malice, ignorance, thoughtlessness, or just plain stupidity.

I'd also like to say that it has been rightfully pointed out by the freedom of expression crowd, of which I am a proud member, that the only real power art has is the power to offend. I absolutely agree with this, but it clearly does not apply in this situation. If an artist is using art to make a statement I would expect him to take responsibility for that offense and stand by it. If this was some kind of artistic expression the publisher and artist should be reveling in the offense they caused, but that's not what happened here. Instead they made a mealy-mouthed apology for it after the fact. This makes it crystal clear that the Sorceress was not an attempt to make an artistic statement. So the question clearly is not, "What is the artist trying to say?"

It's much more like, "WTF was he thinking?"

I'm not going to take behavioural advice from a poster that breezes in, declares "rampant idiocy" in the first post, and then accuses me of being an asshole in the second. You might be the "asshole" here, you know? If there are any assholes at all.

I've met bigoted people who know that their opinions are anti-social and/or wrong, but just don't give a shit that it's wrong. So I don't buy "NEVER".

I think the mistake that Kamitani made was thinking that his words weren't going to be put under a microscope. This is the biggest load of BS in this whole mess, to my mind. Why does an artist have to self-censor like you would expect a politician to? It doesn't make a lick of sense to me. "Well maybe you're gay" falls well within the boundaries of friendly ribbing, tongue firmly planted inside cheek. Even if it's not for silly shock value, there's still a kind of humour where the joke is that it's a stupid thing to say, hardy hardy har!. We're dealing with a language barrier, a cultural barrier, and the drawbacks of communicating solely in text form.

With that considered, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

"If an artist is using art to make a statement I would expect him to take responsibility for that offense and stand by it. If this was some kind of artistic expression the publisher and artist should be reveling in the offense they caused, but that's not what happened here. Instead they made a mealy-mouthed apology for it after the fact. This makes it crystal clear that the Sorceress was not an attempt to make an artistic statement. So the question clearly is not, "What is the artist trying to say?" "

Wait. So... the facebook comment is art? I believe he stands by his designs, but not a throw-away comment that was very likely supposed to be funny. That's what he apologised for. He said he already had the dwarf picture prepared as a little "fuck you" of sorts to the promoters who wanted to work the "sexy female character" angle too hard, and likely threw it in on a whim and AS A JOKE.

What was the problem again? That this guy made the mistake of publically acting the way everyday non-under-the-microscope people act? Oh, the tits, right?

"But this is all admittedly just my opinion."

Such is the nature of offence.

Can I get a Jim Sterling playable character in Dragon's Crown?
He'll be the commentator class--you know, the staple archetype that every DnD campaign can't go without.

UrKnightErrant:

Sexual Harassment Panda:

I'm not going to take behavioural advice from a poster that breezes in, declares "rampant idiocy" in the first post, and then accuses me of being an asshole in the second. You might be the "asshole" here, you know? If there are any assholes at all.

Guilty as charged. I'm a complete hard-ass and I don't cut anyone any slack, especially where bigotry is concerned. But if it takes one to know one you can trust me when I say that I am not the only asshole on this thread. And just FYI if you had bothered to read the entire thread you would have seen that those were actually my third and fourth posts.

Also... nitpicking nomenclature is not arguing. But if it makes you feel any better I will concede there may be few bigots who are self aware enough to know what they are is wrong and still cling to it out of sheer malice or psychopathy. Your willingness to suffer their company suggests I am speaking with one now.

I retract the word "NEVER" and replace it with "for all practical purposes never". Better?

Ok, third and fourth. I've read the thread, I wasn't running you a tally. I'm very sorry.

Have you never had a job where you've had to deal much with the public? Have you ever been to a bar and spoken to people? Do you see where I'm going with this? Speaking of malice... plenty of it in your comments. It's just the kind of baseless, assumptious, bile ridden crap that is rife in the bigotry that you claim to so loathe... it belies your superior attitude, it really does.

I was a bartender for four years, actually. I prefer the term "legal dope dealer", though.

Aardvaarkman:

Lektrik:
I am under the impression that homophobia requires malicious intent -- otherwise, it's not homophobia.

Yeah, that's not true at all. I'm not sure where you are getting that impression from. You might want to get better sources of information.

Homophobia requires no malicious intent towards gay people, just as arachnophobia requires no malicious intent towards spiders, or acrophobia requires no malicious intent towards elevated locations.

Very well said.

I hate the term Homophobia. It's a misnomer. A phobia is a fear. What we call "homophobia", while it's certainly rooted in fear in many if not most cases, is a prejudice. It's much more akin to racism and sexism than it is to arachnophobia. Sexual Orientationism does sound pretty stupid, though, so it's easy to see why we choose to use an alternative in the common vernacular.

Still, there's a very old expression...

"A gentleman who calls a spade a spade ought to be made to use one."

I disagree strongly with this sentiment. A gentleman who doesn't know a spade from a shovel is an idiot and should be told so to his face.

Homophobes are bigots. Pure and simple.

You know what, the game looks good. I had not seen much footage of it in action but it looks good and frantic. You barely get a chance to leer at the bouncing breasts with all those fireballs and hurricanes and monsters being tossed about.

That being said, I do think the Elf is attractive indeed, she goes for that cute approach rather than the overbearingly sexy one. That being the case, I think it actually somewhat absolves the game.

Often times it is said that the issue with sex appeal is that it only comes in one flavor. It only allows for women to be sexy in a single specific way. Well, Dragon's Crown has the Elf, that's an entirely different way, that fixes things, or so I'd hope.

There are several annoyingly predictable patterns/lines of thought that pop up every time this issue is discussed.

Firstly, a lot of people like to jump from "objectification" straight to "sexualization." I think this is completely false. Hypothetically, if I hang out with a girl solely because she is funny and view her as nothing more than "funny-bone candy" or what have you, I am objectifying her just as much as the guy who only hangs out with her because she has large breasts and views her as nothing more than eye candy. Yet I, in this hypothetical scenario, will likely never be called out on my objectification by these people because mine is non-sexual, whereas the other guy will practically be hanged for it simply because his objectification is sexual.

Secondly, a lot of people like to jump from "sexualization" straight to "objectification." I think this is also completely false. The logic that says sexuality implies superficiality and other object-like qualities is essentially the same logic that says buff guys have to be stupid and smart guys have to be wimpy, because otherwise it isn't "fair." I think EVERY character (and person--that's a different point, tho) should have the equal opportunity to have a personality, but sadly sexualized female characters rarely have this opportunity. The Sorceress is a fantastic example of this, because no matter how deep of a story they craft for her, no matter how well they characterize her and make her a believable and relatable character, she will always be written off as masturbation material, even though she is quite frankly over-sexualized to the point of being unattractive. The Elf is much more attractive and sexy.

Thirdly, a lot of people like to jump from "sexualization/objectification of characters" straight to "sexualization/objectification of real people." It has already been mentioned that characters are objects: literally, because object-oriented programming is the greatest thing ever, and figuratively, because these characters were created solely for entertainment and have no facets or aspects beyond that purpose. Objectifying an OBJECT is hardly objectionable behavior. In the same way, treating a person like a dog is wrong, but it is utterly insane to criticize someone for treating a dog like a dog--in earnest, I mean, such as feeding them mainly dog food, giving them a kennel to sleep in, leashing them to take them for walks or to do their business, etc. Of course, characters can and do propagate harmful stereotypes, but that is a separate discussion that is rarely brought up in this context.

Fourthly, a lot of people like to throw around accusations of objectification despite having no clear concept of what that word actually means. I personally feel that the definition of "objectification" is more subjective than most people realize, mainly because although everyone pretty much agrees that objectification means to reduce someone down to the status of an object, people still have different personal definitions of what constitutes an object or what counts as reducing someone to that status. There's too many examples to get into, but many accusations of objectification, carried to completion, actually imply that there is no possible way to NOT objectify someone. While this may or may not be true, depending on your personal opinion, it certainly makes the accusation ring quite hollow.

Fifthly, a lot of guys like to get all high and mighty and try to act like they know what girls want in games, based usually off of one or two friends, while the real issues fly over their heads. As a guy myself, any judgment I make on the subject would be hypocritical, so I'll avoid elaborating on this topic. And no, I don't mean to ignore the related topic of guys who get overly offended by accusations of objectification and use that as an excuse to go on a rant, but ... let's just say that in all likelihood I will also be accused of objectification just for stating "annoying lines of thought" and why I personally find them annoying.

Those are just some of the things I notice. I'm curious about what other people notice in debates about gender in games.

(Admittedly, not curious enough to read 300+ comments about it. So sue me.)

ferrishthefish:
There are several annoyingly predictable patterns/lines of thought that pop up every time this issue is discussed.

Firstly, a lot of people like to jump from "objectification" straight to "sexualization." I think this is completely false. Hypothetically, if I hang out with a girl solely because she is funny and view her as nothing more than "funny-bone candy" or what have you, I am objectifying her just as much as the guy who only hangs out with her because she has large breasts and views her as nothing more than eye candy. Yet I, in this hypothetical scenario, will likely never be called out on my objectification by these people because mine is non-sexual, whereas the other guy will practically be hanged for it simply because his objectification is sexual.

Secondly, a lot of people like to jump from "sexualization" straight to "objectification." I think this is also completely false. The logic that says sexuality implies superficiality and other object-like qualities is essentially the same logic that says buff guys have to be stupid and smart guys have to be wimpy, because otherwise it isn't "fair." I think EVERY character (and person--that's a different point, tho) should have the equal opportunity to have a personality, but sadly sexualized female characters rarely have this opportunity. The Sorceress is a fantastic example of this, because no matter how deep of a story they craft for her, no matter how well they characterize her and make her a believable and relatable character, she will always be written off as masturbation material, even though she is quite frankly over-sexualized to the point of being unattractive. The Elf is much more attractive and sexy.

Thirdly, a lot of people like to jump from "sexualization/objectification of characters" straight to "sexualization/objectification of real people." It has already been mentioned that characters are objects: literally, because object-oriented programming is the greatest thing ever, and figuratively, because these characters were created solely for entertainment and have no facets or aspects beyond that purpose. Objectifying an OBJECT is hardly objectionable behavior. In the same way, treating a person like a dog is wrong, but it is utterly insane to criticize someone for treating a dog like a dog--in earnest, I mean, such as feeding them mainly dog food, giving them a kennel to sleep in, leashing them to take them for walks or to do their business, etc. Of course, characters can and do propagate harmful stereotypes, but that is a separate discussion that is rarely brought up in this context.

Fourthly, a lot of people like to throw around accusations of objectification despite having no clear concept of what that word actually means. I personally feel that the definition of "objectification" is more subjective than most people realize, mainly because although everyone pretty much agrees that objectification means to reduce someone down to the status of an object, people still have different personal definitions of what constitutes an object or what counts as reducing someone to that status. There's too many examples to get into, but many accusations of objectification, carried to completion, actually imply that there is no possible way to NOT objectify someone. While this may or may not be true, depending on your personal opinion, it certainly makes the accusation ring quite hollow.

Fifthly, a lot of guys like to get all high and mighty and try to act like they know what girls want in games, based usually off of one or two friends, while the real issues fly over their heads. As a guy myself, any judgment I make on the subject would be hypocritical, so I'll avoid elaborating on this topic. And no, I don't mean to ignore the related topic of guys who get overly offended by accusations of objectification and use that as an excuse to go on a rant, but ... let's just say that in all likelihood I will also be accused of objectification just for stating "annoying lines of thought" and why I personally find them annoying.

Those are just some of the things I notice. I'm curious about what other people notice in debates about gender in games.

(Admittedly, not curious enough to read 300+ comments about it. So sue me.)

100% agree with all of this. For illustrations sake i would like to point out that i have never had a desire to have sex with an object. I do not own a fleshlight or a real doll. Most guys actually do not and find the idea unappealing. Usually when a guy does make mention of having sex with an object it is as a joke or an exaggeration of their affection for something(hyperbole).

On the other hand, many if not most women own/have used a dildo/vibrator at some point. They seem more able to reduce sex to an object. I think the whole outrage over seeing sexual qualities reduced to a mere object(objectification) is more of a female tendency that they project onto men. I believe that this is the case with a lot of the things women claim about men, because they can't fathom just how differently we see things. It's understandable.

Men make the same mistakes a lot of the time for the same reasons when it comes to women. The recent nice guy/friend zone threads that have popped up lately where guys assume that being nice is all they need because that is all they would want from a female partner is a great example.

I believe that so much of this is just people jumping to conclusions about what things mean/are based on how they see the world, rather than understanding that their ideas aren't as universally true for others as it is for themselves.

Here's my view on the situation:

Some gamers say that there is no material available for people who don't want oversexualized content.
This is false.

Some gamers say that intent doesn't matter and that there should be no room for sexualized content.
This is intolerant and works against any form of equality that people supposedly want.

Some gamers say that there is no room to make games that appeal to both sexes.
I believe this is false as well, due to my first statement, but I believe there should be room for more of these games, especially because my favourite games and what I believe are the best games of all times, do not have over sexualized content. Even games that do have sexual content, such as Mass Effect are not good because of that, but because of the rest of the content. Lucky for you, you get to choose most of what you want to see, with the exception of Miranda, who's a walking slutfest(That the games are self-depricating about).

What Jim doesn't state, again, is that there are people who calmly explain this is a non-offensive manner(something I that I admit I'm personally not always being able to do and honestly don't feel I should be). By far most of the journalistic articles and videos, like Jims' vid here, put the blame on the minority who is angry and over emotional about this and elevate their opinion to be the one of every gamer who doesn't see the industry as massively sexist. I see games that certainly are, but that's hardly the same.

I don't believe in a world where we can't have any sexual or sexualized content that puts the occasional man or woman in a objectified position. I don't want that, but that doesn't mean I exclude the possibility of games not having these things. That's simply how I feel, but people will line up to tell me that I'm wrong and I'll tell them that they're wrong.

So here's the discussion part, what can we do about this:

I'd like an experiment, where someone would do a kickstarter for a new company that wants to do things differently.
I believe that it should be led by women, exclusively, but that men can work there, just not lead.

This company should strive to do a few games, one for women gamers as the intended audience, one that is gender neutral and one that they think would appeal to men, without making it Dead or Alive Beach Volley Bouncy Boobs edition.

The point is to make games and do it right, without resorting to what almost the entire industry is accused of doing.

I think it would be an interesting experiment, I have an idea of how it'd go and I foresee a lot of challenges to be overcome, but this would be a step in making gaming better as a whole, if they could pull it off.

I don't think you can change the gaming community by much, seeing as it's shifting constantly with new blood. All you can do is raise your kids not to be douchebags and let time take its course. Just don't raise them to be closeminded and think that their way is necessarily the right one or the only one out there.

/sigh

When did sexism go from "discrimination based on gender" to arguing about what some artist decides to draw in his art.

The designs actually look really good!
I didn't know about the game before all this controversy, but that some mighty good art, it's on my radar now.
Good thing the Kotaku guy apologized to the designer, no teenager that I know would be able to do such great work.

The Elf reminds me of Alicia from Valkyrie Chronicles 2. Must be the boots. Boy did I love Alicia... I like the character designs in this game. The males are all macho and 100% unrealistic, while the females get both a parody of a sex doll with one ton jugs and a parody of a muscle-girl. They're so unrealistic that they actually point to the main problem, a slap in the face to exactly the sort of thing activists complain about in games. Love it... So I find it so ironic that it's being called sexist. HA! Nothing like a good irony to get big-mouths to crawl from their lairs and make a fuss.

On the other hand, I'm sick of hearing about issues in games, be it sexism, violence, guns, story. I play games to forget about real life, not to be reminded of it and the bucket load of crap we call society. I guess that's exactly why lately I've taken shelter in flight simulators, Minecraft, the awesome Kerbal Space Program, not to mention reinstalling Open Tycoon Transport. No dialogue, no controversy, just build, use and blow things up.

Dear Jim,

Are we not missing out on a serious positive note here? After all, in the course of the spat the Dwarf character was outed as being gay. Surely that is a positive example of a gay character in gaming: the character is not defined by his sexuality, nor is his gameplay dependent upon it.
The sexuality of the characters is irrelevant to the game and largely unmentioned, but it just so happens that this dwarf is gay and it matters not a jot. Bravo to Vanillaware for this decision.

(...less serious...)
Come to think of it: Dwarfs are traditionally heralded as a dwindling race, they have a Spartan-like respect for warriors and frequently depicted as having skewed population ratios (sometimes as much as 7 male to 1 female), making same-sex relationships very likely. Heck, all the arguments about female dwarves having beards might be based on genetically male dwarves taking on societal roles viewed as 'female' roles by humans.
Jim... can you give us the low-down on the sexual politics implicit in the stereotypical fantasy dwarf society?

Aardvaarkman:

I don't think using people in marketing is such a bad thing (although I do generally have a low opinion of the marketing profession). Showing someone using a product how it is used in the real world is quite different than merely draping an attractive model over something for sex appeal.

Further to this point - you mentioned "air hostesses" as a "female job" that is done for the attractiveness of the workers. I thought this had died out by the 1980s. They aren't called "hostesses" anymore, I believe they are called "flight attendants" and come in both genders and all levels of attractiveness. The role is primarily about flight safety and customer service. If any airline is hiring attendants based on their attractiveness, rather than their competence, they are doing it wrong. It's actually a very demanding job, which requires awareness of safety codes, composure under pressure, long shifts, etc. Not something you just hire eye candy for.

Anyway, we're probably both coming at this from entirely different perspectives, and I don't personally begrudge yours. I just think there's little value to jobs that employ women merely for their looks, as women tend to have brains which are much more valuable than their other physical attributes.

I realise your post is two days old, but I thought I'd have something to add.

There's a thing, which you may be aware of, called the Halo Effect [1] [2], which states that people are more likely to assign positive characteristics to people that they find attractive, particularly those of the opposite sex. Characteristics like kindness, intelligence, social competence, happiness etc.

So there's absolutely every chance, and I would be very, very surprised if it wasn't the case, that airlines tend to hire attractive male and female flight attendants. And they're not necessarily doing it wrong, because that same Halo Effect that takes place during the interview also takes place during the flight, which regular Joe's like you and me. Because the flight attendants are attractive, we assume they know what they're doing.

And if you're going to hire people that are effectively the face of your company for anywhere between one and twenty hours (depending on the length of the flight), there's going to be a tendency to hire the more attractive applicants. It happens in hospitality (my father owns a restaurant, you can be damned sure they hire attractive waitresses over plain ones), it happens with receptionists, it happens in PR. There are plenty of studies that suggest that attractive people just get a leg up when it comes to finding work. [3] I'm sure you've seen at least some of them.

Now, it would be daft if people were hiring incompetent supermodels to do their work, clearly that isn't the case. There hasn't been a trend of dopey flight attendants with chiselled features opening doors mid-flight and dooming the plane. I'm sure that better qualified people do get the shaft, and that's a shame. When employers both sub-consciously and consciously pick pretty people for jobs, you're going to get some inequitable outcomes.

So yeah, perhaps in an ideal world those that work in Human Resources wouldn't give two fucks about whether the people they hired cracked mirrors, but clearly they do. And I can't really argue with that, because there are tangible benefits to using sexy people. Those damn sexy people, ruining it for the rest of us.

Seriously late to the party (been busy IRL) but I figured I'd throw in my two copper pieces here again at the tail end.

The problem with having a discussion on an issue like this, is that a discussion requires there to be more than one legitimate point of view being present. That isn't the case here. The entire arguement about the objectification of women in video games, and how it creates a hostile enviroment for women, and explains why less women play games, etc... has absolutly no legs to stand on... at all. All of this "objectification" is exactly what women themselves want from fantasy, a woman creating a work of fantasy is going to create a character a lot like "The Sorceress" from Dragons Crown, which you can see if you bother to take a look at the work women create with an assumed audience of other women. What's more when you sit down and read fan fictions, tween writing, etc... you'll notice that if anything teenage girls are worse than the boys are, and again this is exactly the kind of physical perfection they create. The term "Mary Sue" in regards to writing, which refers to a perfect, unstoppable, protaganist, exists largely because of the ultra-beautiful, perfect characters written by young girls. Anyone who wants to argue this point is simply ignorant, and really, as I've said before, I recommend you sit down and actually go out and read things like the "Women Of The Otherworld" novels, or Kim Harrison's "Hollows" series, or the writings of Llith Saintcrow, as well as making note of the artwork which does a pretty good job of representing the characters in those novels. Perhaps most importantly I recommend reading at least a dozen or so fan fictions written by young girls, starting with the masterwork (lol) known as "My Immortal". I'm *QUITE* familiar with this kind of thing to be blunt, and as a result I call poppycock on anyone claiming an issue here, because there simply is not one, never has been, never will be. The entire arguement is fueled by insecure guys who think they will meet more girls in their hobby, and those girls will like them better, if they try and create a straw-man feminist issue to beat up on, in the meantime the girls who have an interest in fantasy will largely be creating or playing characters a lot like "The Sorceress" and similar things, generally creating them out of a vaccum if given a complete free hand with an RPG or whatever. Exceptions exist of course, but for the most part you aren't going to see many characters created by women that come accross anything like that elf... again, read some fan fictions and stuff. Exceptions do exist, but for the most part it goes into similar places as "My Immortal" where you see constant focus on the protaganist's hawt goth wardrobe or whatever.

At any rate, the point here is that there is nothing to discuss. What apologies and such you see, seem to more be forced politically and due to the backlash of those championing a straw man issue than anything else.

What's more I get kind of tired of people trying to claim nobody wants to "take your games away" or "change anything" while arguably demanding that we start designing games based around some kind of academic ideal formed by naive men who really have no idea what kind of fantasy women create and consume on their own. It is very much a matter of wanting to "take games away from everyone else" by trying to force a compromise by which characters like this won't exist, or at least will represent an exception alongside a "mainstream" of sanitized female characters which at the end of the day won't appeal to anyone on either side of the gender spectrum. One thing you'll rapidly notice for example is that when it comes up female authors rarely if ever have normal looking protaganists, in many cases you will see protaganists who "don't make a big deal about their appearance" or have little body confidence, but have the truth conveyed by the rest of a supporting cast that finds time to go 'ga ga' at appropriate moments.

In short there is no issue here, there never has been one, there never will be one. Sure there are going to be exceptions, and I'm sure there are probably a few women who agree with these issues and aren't just looking for attention, but your dealing with what is such a tiny minority in the scope of fantasy that it's hardly something that should be used to make arguements about policy or what fandom in general should be doing.

Likewise, as I've mentioned before, this entire arguement can probably be blamed for the "cull" of female protaganists in video games. I'll be honest, right now I'd want to stay away myself as a businessman because I'd be put in a position where I can either make a good character that weill perform well with men and women, but deal with a major headache from a bunch of rabble rousers that will such away all joy before it, or I can create something that this group of rabble rousers might approve of, but is likely to fail utterly with both male and female gamers. At the end of the day the women want their ideal characters too, the ones that look like the protaganists from their own fiction come to life in artwork. On a lot of levels this entire arguement stems around people saying women can't have that because it (gasp) also appeals to men.

Nothing I haven't said before, but I figured I'd put it up here for completeness, and I suppose it's one of my better summaries. It also kind of answers Jim's more or less rhetorical question about why there isn't a dialogue on this subject, at the end of the day I do not think I'm alone in thinking that there just can't be one. Oddly the more you know about fandom and fantasy in general, and the more works of female creators your familiar with, as well as what women on the "fan" level churn out as creative writing level on the internet (and guys are just as bad in their own way, so don't misunderstand that), the harder it becomes to take this seriously. I suppose on an academic level it's possible to see how someone who has little or no knowlege of fantasy created by women (or realized it if they did) might see a "problem" with the sorceress and similar characters and jump to conclusions. But if you are familiar with that stuff you pretty much just have to look at it and go "so what?". It's the kind of thing that comes to exist on it's own, not because of some testosterone club dominating everything, as this exists just as much in estrogene-ville.

RJ Dalton:

And I still want to know why that dancing wizard mouse isn't a playable character.

Surely it will be DLC. They can give us everything upfront. Some things must be withheld and charged for $10 later.

To be on topic, Jim said the phrase that would cause Deadpool to have a massive tingling to his common sense. Their needs to be more discussion and less arguing among developers, publishers and gamers alike. The Tropes vs Women thing would benefit greatly from rational supporters and rational detractors politely duking it out at length. The topic LGTBQ themes in and around gaming definitely needs to be balanced by rational discussion. With every topic it boils down to two perspectives: "YAY for gay in and about EVERYTHING!" vs "Gay is now the norm. What's the big deal?" Those two sides would definitely benefit from understanding each other.

If you want examples of good female protagonists while STILL being apart of Vanillaware's games. Play Odin Sphere, or Muramasa: The Demon Blade, or even Grimgrimoire. And theres even good Male protagonists in these games, minus Grimgrimoire, you can only play as a female character. They're not overtly sexualized characters, they are well developed, likeable, even relate-able on certain levels. Even ones that are established as evil, have their reasons for such actions and turns out, aren't really evil. I love Vanillaware's games for their stories and how they write each characters backgrounds, motivations, and progression through their stories. I believe Odin Sphere is the best example. If you have not played this game, definitely look it up and maybe try it out. The gameplay isn't for everyone, but if the story is engaging to you from what you read up on, you will not be disappointed.

Therumancer:
All of this "objectification" is exactly what women themselves want from fantasy, a woman creating a work of fantasy is going to create a character a lot like "The Sorceress" from Dragons Crown, which you can see if you bother to take a look at the work women create with an assumed audience of other women.

Practically all of your examples are either by girls, actual PARODIES (My Immortal wasn't written in seriousness, which I feel I shouldn't even have to say), or with girls in mind - not women. You said it yourself, actually.. This kind of character is hardly critically acclaimed, let alone objectively good. As a female artist who does, sometimes, design female characters I can tell you the Sorceress is NOT what I like to design or play, and not what a huge chunk of the female audience wants to see. Why did Alyx Vance get so much positive feedback compared to any generic Tits McGee you see out there? Because she's reasonable, memorable, and not insulting or uncomfortable to play. If MOST male game protagonists were like the male characters in those same Mary Sue stories, I bet a lot of guys would be sick to death of them as well.

I agree that a lot examples of sexed up female characters really aren't a big deal. Personally I loved, say, Muramasa and the hilarious boobs just didn't bother me in that. As you said, it's fantasy, and when both male and female characters are idealized in that way it can't really be an issue - it's just the style. But it's sort of this constant background noise that lead females in fiction, including games, have to be super sexy or no one will find them interesting or want to play them. I think that's what a lot of women are getting fed up with, and now that a much wider audience is playing games and voicing opinions on them, even silly things like this will attract some heat.

For me the problem wasn't "oh look how it's depicting women!" or "look at those dwarves, eww!"
For me it was simply "This character design... Kinda ugly, not gonna lie... Well... How's the gameplay?"

Another problem about game industry and press is the fact that only dirt is being discussed, so most of the time it seems like there's nothing besides dirt at all.
I do not read a shithole of a site that is kotaku, but I double bet there was no article titled "Muramasa the Demon's blade and it's character designs are bloody gorgeous".

ensouls:

Therumancer:
All of this "objectification" is exactly what women themselves want from fantasy, a woman creating a work of fantasy is going to create a character a lot like "The Sorceress" from Dragons Crown, which you can see if you bother to take a look at the work women create with an assumed audience of other women.

Practically all of your examples are either by girls, actual PARODIES (My Immortal wasn't written in seriousness, which I feel I shouldn't even have to say), or with girls in mind - not women. You said it yourself, actually.. This kind of character is hardly critically acclaimed, let alone objectively good. As a female artist who does, sometimes, design female characters I can tell you the Sorceress is NOT what I like to design or play, and not what a huge chunk of the female audience wants to see. Why did Alyx Vance get so much positive feedback compared to any generic Tits McGee you see out there? Because she's reasonable, memorable, and not insulting or uncomfortable to play. If MOST male game protagonists were like the male characters in those same Mary Sue stories, I bet a lot of guys would be sick to death of them as well.

I agree that a lot examples of sexed up female characters really aren't a big deal. Personally I loved, say, Muramasa and the hilarious boobs just didn't bother me in that. As you said, it's fantasy, and when both male and female characters are idealized in that way it can't really be an issue - it's just the style. But it's sort of this constant background noise that lead females in fiction, including games, have to be super sexy or no one will find them interesting or want to play them. I think that's what a lot of women are getting fed up with, and now that a much wider audience is playing games and voicing opinions on them, even silly things like this will attract some heat.

Actually, that's far from the truth, most of what I mentioned are intended entirely seriously. "Women Of The Otherworld", "The Hollows", the writings of Llith Saintcrow, etc... not to mention the entire "Paranormal Romance" genere. All intended for an adult audience of women, written by women. What's more "My Immortal" is famous because it was intended seriously, it's just heavily mocked, because it's kind of the quintessential "this is what's wrong with fan fiction" story, saying "I was kidding" after the fact doesn't really apply here, since if it was a parody it wouldn't be as famous as it is. Likewise the term "Mary Sue" came into existance the way it is for a reason.

As I said from the beginning exceptions exist, and your own work might represent this, however that does not make you the standard or what women want. Sure, people liked Alyx Vance, but don't confuse the projection of people that agree with you saying "this is what a female character should be" with the reality of it, the reason why that represents a minority prescence is because at the end of the day that's not what either men or women want. Women dream of being the physical ideal the same way guys do. Men want their huge, impossibly sculpted muscles (which most women find extremely attractive, though like everything there are exceptions), women want their toned bodies with large, firm breasts. There is no more benefit in having breasts as big as your head as there are in having arms that are so "pumped" that realistically they would be incapable of bending, but there you go. The whole thing with fantasy art is universal, it's just that is more attention to be garnered by complaining about the girls since you can put an "ism" or "ist" on it to give it the apperance of legitimacy as a bunch of liberal sheep are driven around. For every girl you have with a pair of DD+ breasts bouncing around you've got some dude not wearing sleeves so he can show off his massive biceps which are just as laughable, for every girl in a "battle bikini" there is a male counterpart of some dude running into battle in a furry thong stretched tight to show off his massive package, overdeveloped muscles, and a perfect 6 pack. I mean think about it, with guys it's worse, sure women might have a huge rack and dress in skimy costumes, but with the dudes we're supposed to believe that they take the time to oil themselves up like for a body building competition before walking around anywhere. Guys get their hooters and chicks dressed like strippers, girls get their huge muscles and packages
and dudes dressed like chippendales. Maybe your one of those girls who isn't into muscles, but your kind of a minority as shown by the massive success of things LIKE Chippendales.

Likewise, while your arguement is fundementally incorrect in saying "girls only" even if it was true, you'd pretty much be undermining a lot of the arguements you want to make anyway. It goes from "artwork designed for a teenage boy" to "artwork designed for teenagers" in general... and wow, you know while there are a lot of adult gamers out there this is still a huge market and perhaps the most profitable. An action packed brawler like "Dragon's Crown" or shooter games, which are aimed at teens and young adults (despite their labels) and infamous for all the kids on chat, featuring artwork that would appeal to that demographic? OMG, tell me it's not so.

The people who complain about this stuff are such a minority that it's barely a blip on sales, it's just a very vocal minority on the internets. That's why we see the current artwork trends continue, as it's what the majority of people, of both genders, want from their escapism. Every once in a while you see an exception to this rule, and something lionized by this vocal minority and it's excuses, and that's fair, as the exceptions are largely in accordance with the demand.

At the end of the day the overwhelming majority of female creators are going to produce stuff exactly like this, their own empowerment fantasies, representing an ideal, which appeal to their audience. Your also going to see the same thing from dudes. Sorceress-like characters are going to bounce merrily into battle and people of both genders are going to like it, and dudes like Marcus Fenix are going to continue their dogged resistance to wearing sleeves (shrapnel? fragments? richochets? what are they?). Welcome to the wild world of FANTASY, where it's all about ideals and what
looks cool.

With you All the way Jim!

it's ridiculous, sure I am a guy and a teen at that but I would prefer if I could see girls that are properly proportioned and aren't dressed like prostitutes

There are very few games that come out that actually give you an option when it comes to covering up a female protagonist
the best MMO out there is probably guild wars 2
but even it has some pretty revealing armor sets, (especially on wizarish classes)

There needs to be more calm and rational discussion and more games with options when it comes to female characters or protagonists.

Therumancer:
snip

At the end of the day, you're making an assumption on what a demographic wants. It may behoove designers to *gasp* step outside of cliche now and again.

Plus, fantasy may be all about cool-looking detail, but this doesn't look cool. It looks like a mutant who is 85% ass and thigh - or in the case of the sorceress, a solid 30% tits. There are simply better ways to stylize things.

Aramis Night:

ferrishthefish:

(Admittedly, not curious enough to read 300+ comments about it. So sue me.)

Imp:Fair enough, as long as you at least skimmed them.

100% agree with all of this. For illustrations sake i would like to point out that i have never had a desire to have sex with an object. I do not own a fleshlight or a real doll. Most guys actually do not and find the idea unappealing. Usually when a guy does make mention of having sex with an object it is as a joke or an exaggeration of their affection for something(hyperbole).

On the other hand, many if not most women own/have used a dildo/vibrator at some point. They seem more able to reduce sex to an object. I think the whole outrage over seeing sexual qualities reduced to a mere object(objectification) is more of a female tendency that they project onto men. I believe that this is the case with a lot of the things women claim about men, because they can't fathom just how differently we see things. It's understandable.

Men make the same mistakes a lot of the time for the same reasons when it comes to women. The recent nice guy/friend zone threads that have popped up lately where guys assume that being nice is all they need because that is all they would want from a female partner is a great example.

I believe that so much of this is just people jumping to conclusions about what things mean/are based on how they see the world, rather than understanding that their ideas aren't as universally true for others as it is for themselves.

:/ I don't think I can agree with you about women objectifying men more because they use dildos. To be fair, I am no woman, and have also not used a dildo, but I'm pretty sure they don't use it to represent all men or even just one man. It's more of a case of using something as something else. Same for the fleshlight. They are fake things, not people.

But lets get on to something besides the sex toys.

Objectification and sexualization(the escapist thinks this word is being misspelled, but google doesn't....weird. Anyway.) are different, but they do get involved with each other a lot in games. The "fighting sex doll" trope being a big example. True, making a character "sexy" doesn't make them objectified, but if they are made to be defined by only being sexy, they can be "over-sexualized", and that can lead to Sexual Objectification by making the character not much more than a sexual object in the story/game.

I don't know as the game isn't out yet, but I don't think Dragon's Crown will do this to the female characters(or male characters). It's probably safe to assume they will all have their reasons for doing what they do(killing mosters, hunting dragons, finding treasure, you know the deal).

That said, while I don't think they are being sexually objectified, I do think one could say they are being over sexualized, but the games artist (after making an ass of himself, and calming down) gave some interesting reasons as to why it was done. I still don't like the looks, but I kind of like the idea behind them. (Though, one could argue that this is something of an argument of semantics, but that's another thing.)

All in all, it's like Jim said. We just need to calm down, and talk about it nicely. That way we can find something to do eventually that most everyone can agree on. :)

Vegosiux:
Jim, allow me to try and one-up you here.

"Why, let's just go back to stick figure characters. I'll be taking bets on how many people find something to get offended by even then."

Oh my sides XD

At times like these, I recall that there is likely an internet rule on this.
I do believe it is rule 332... if Rules of the Internet correctly informs me. The rule being that if it exists, someone is offended by it.

grumpymooselion:

I want it all. I want variety. I don't want just one thing. I WANT EVERYTHING. I want the industry flooded with a variety of styles, and no, "WE HAVE TO DO THIS TO BE POPULAR!" or, "WE HAVE TO DO THIS TO BE RESPECTFUL" or any other, "WE HAVE TO DO THIS BECAUSE ______" line of reasoning. I want it all. I want variety. I crave it. I have different moods, and different styles help me find something more fitting to my mood, not just visual style either.

I actually just crave some variety in design myself in the game media, less bold space marines please, you could give them a mane, or dreadlocks?

Badass goatee :D

Don't care about the controversy, but damn, that game is pretty. Was going to buy it anyway since I like that kind of gameplay though.

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