Jimquisition: Objectification And... Men?

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PrarieDog_319:
snipasaurous

You know, I was going to come in here and write like a paragraph on why it's still objectification, and the argument made by people with working brains was that if we're going to talk about objectification in video games, it should be about the objectification (not necessarily sexual) of both genders, not that "They're both equal so there's no problem", which actually seemed to be shoehorned in there pretty clumsily. But this guy, this guy here, nailed it. Well done sir. Well done.

Jim, I've gotta say I disagree with you this week, and a lot of that is because you've sort of straw man'd (totally a word) and entire argument using one NeoGAF user. Men are objectified. It doesn't mean we shouldn't talk about women being objectified, and implying that people who say the former usually say the latter is just weak. If you're going to argue against a point of view, you have to argue against where the view is strongest, otherwise there's no point.

Karadalis:
Thats all pretty nice but on the topic of "All female chars have to be beautifull" Uhm... yeah? Wich woman would want to play an old hag that looks like the hunchback from notre dam.. or who wants to play the super fat lady from borderlands 2? Among males and females.. i would say no one. Or have you ever seen a female player make a ugly fem shep and say "Yup... thats who i want to play as"

I do, for one.

I like characters who look like they have history behind them, wrinkles, untidy hair, tattoos, scars, etc.
I like playing mage/scientist characters who pay no attention to their appearance and who can be more unique-looking than the standard female character I get in everything.

But way too often, I can't even choose not to give my female character huge boobs...

At one of my Dragon Age origins playthroughs I made my female character as ugly on purpose as I could, looking like she had had her face smashed in, and that she was angry all the time, and then played her as a total brute who had the IQ of a toddler but was some kind of a fighting-savant.

JediMB:

1337mokro:

Orekoya:


There you go.

We have solved one of the greatest mysteries in the world! Now for the other one.

Why DID he shave his legs? :D

As I recall, Clark shaved with his own fingernails in Smallville.

I can only imagine that he trims those, in turn, with his teeth.

Being a Kryptonian god sure makes these things complicated.

Don't ever ask him to scratch your back then. Razor sharp nails plus super human strength? OUCH!

Mr F.:
I mean to say, Brienne in a computer game would come across as female and utterly, UTTERLY badass.

Considering Brienne herself pretty much tries to not be female as much as she's capable of doing so, I'm not sure that's the case.

Maybe I misread, but from what I remember of the story Bri pretty much would be a male character with a female skin if she were in a video game. It's what she'd try to be at the very least.

DVS BSTrD:
I recall having a similar discussion about the portrayal of men vs the portrayal women in popular culture overall. For from objectifying men, this other person seemed to think that men were unfairly stereotyped as fat idiots who were completely dependent on women to save them from themselves. Now I want you to look at these pictures and ask yourself
imageimage
Which standard is harder to live up to?

But which would have more dignity?

Fat, slovenly man children are the hyperbolic stereotype of the modern man. Which is a far, far worse thing than objectification in my opinion.

Ashoten:
I have heard this argument before when people talk about comic book women being objectified. This is the best response I have seen.

image

Make of it what you will.

Is this from the Hawkeye(guy) Initiative?

Abandon4093:

DVS BSTrD:
I recall having a similar discussion about the portrayal of men vs the portrayal women in popular culture overall. For from objectifying men, this other person seemed to think that men were unfairly stereotyped as fat idiots who were completely dependent on women to save them from themselves. Now I want you to look at these pictures and ask yourself
imageimage
Which standard is harder to live up to?

But which would have more dignity?

Fat, slovenly man children are the hyperbolic stereotype of the modern man. Which is a far, far worse thing than objectification in my opinion.

Kinda hard to have dignity when you're married to that male stereotype. (Which was kinda the whole point of using those particular examples)

Oskuro:
Sorry if I'm late to the party, but videos on this subject always result in a million replies per second.

DVS BSTrD:
For from objectifying men, this other person seemed to think that men were unfairly stereotyped as fat idiots who were completely dependent on women to save them from themselves. Now I want you to look at these pictures and ask yourself
imageimage
Which standard is harder to live up to?

Funny that this example has been brought up. These fat slobs, like Homer Simpson, or Peter Griffin, tend to have hot women at their side, who not only settle for fat, lazy and stupid men, but dutifully endure all their shenanigans and take care of them.

Marge is average looking, but they do show how they fell in love and they always have an episode where the husbands have to do something to save their marriage (because they screwed it up in the first place).

Oskuro:

In other words, even comedic parodies of male stereotypes objectify their women,

I'm starting to think you're using objectify to mean 'any portrayal of women I don't like'. Those women do have agency, they do make decisions for themselves.

Oskuro:

portraying them as the "prize" that all men, fat, lazy or stupid, are somehow entitled to.

Where are they shown to be a prize?

So what about the evolutionary psychology arguments? Such as that men are more attracted to things that represent fertility in women such as full breasts, youth, health (clear skin, hence skimpy outfits), child baring hips, etc. Hence bikini babes.

While women instinctively put more emphasis on ability to perform (because he has to provide for all when she's incapacitated with pregnancy for 9 months) such as strength, skill, status, and all the "alpha male" stuff. Hence all the fluffy chick lit that is generally a feminist nightmare about damsels and controlling men (Twilight, 50 shades, etc.)

And yes I know those are extreme examples and we don't follow our caveman instincts everywhere.

Do we really sexualize each other the same way?

Mr. Q:

I can understand your statement on what is the proper portrayal of a female protagonist and its something I'd like to see explored. What about a female protagonist who is a mother of two trying to survive in a zombie-filled wasteland while having to make drastic decisions to protect her children (I.E. does she kill another human being to take his/her food rations to feed her kids)? How about a female soldier having to deal with PTSD and re-adjusting to civilian life? There are hundreds of ideas to be explored but as long as the industry caters to the teenage male demo, video games will never evolve any further.

Wanted to reply back and let you know that I agree wholly that it would be GREAT to see a wider variety of characters, particularly females ones, in all media. I also very much want to see various view points, ideals, values and morals written in to my games. However, I don't think we need to worry about any sort of proper way of characterization and simply worry about expansion into new ideas. Creativity will come with incorporating new ideas, not simply lambasting the old. That's why I took exception to the idea of 'proper' characterization of a gender. I like T&A and I also like punch-ups or shoot-em-ups, and I can like them both while admitting that both contain objectification, stereotypes, bad writing and poor characterization. I think we can move forward and see the medium grow and develop and that we don't have to silly things to do it. This isn't a zero sum game where in order to see more well rounded female or male characters, we have to do away with all the ones that aren't. We can have our deep, riveting stories and meaningful characters and still keep the cotton candy crap too. Literature's been doing it for a very long time.

DVS BSTrD:

Abandon4093:

DVS BSTrD:
I recall having a similar discussion about the portrayal of men vs the portrayal women in popular culture overall. For from objectifying men, this other person seemed to think that men were unfairly stereotyped as fat idiots who were completely dependent on women to save them from themselves. Now I want you to look at these pictures and ask yourself
imageimage
Which standard is harder to live up to?

But which would have more dignity?

Fat, slovenly man children are the hyperbolic stereotype of the modern man. Which is a far, far worse thing than objectification in my opinion.

Kinda hard to have dignity when you're married to that male stereotype. (Which was kinda the whole point of using those particular examples)

More dignity than a useless slob.

I don't say there isn't an inequality, but I will say that this whole ridiculous notion of 'objectification' is philosophically stupid (I can't find any evidence, but I'm pretty sure it's from the existentialists). Sure, the way they are represented in games is unrealistic, but it's a fantasy. As per usual it comes down to one of my favorite sayings: "Don't like it, don't play it."

Thanks Jim. Something to link when people bring this tired and completely false argument up. I've actually had people tell me I should find Kratos sexy and if I don't I must be doing it wrong.

I don't like sexual objectification because it reduces a person down to one aspect. Just look at the posters of Ivy from Soul Calibur where they cut her head off. She wasn't even allowed her head!

I don't think this is a problem for the game characters themselves (that's silly) but it is a problem when you think than gaming is the largest medium in the world. In that medium women are largely portrayed as sexual objects. Is that good for society and how young men see women? Probably not.

I know people are going to come at me with 'But videogames aren't real they don't cause violence either!' That's true. But something like objectification is subtle, it's insidious. It's the media telling us how to view a gender.

Jim points out the fact that men are idealised....depression has become an increasingly bad problem with young men. I don't think it's a coincidence.

I think showing Drake from uncharted might have been counteracting your own argument. Drake is a very sexualized character.

Also the thing is men and women objectify each other in different ways. Women tend to be a lot more subtle, which is why Drake in particular is a great example. He fits a perfected stereotype that women see in fashion magazines and such. He's muscular, but still slim, has a nice clean haircut which is also styled properly, his release was around the time there was a trend for men to wear scarves for the sake of it, and he was conforming to that fashion criteria. He's unshaven, but only for a few days giving him stubble, but not too much.

Don't get me wrong, they are sexualized and objectified in different ways, and women moreso than men. But Drake is a terrible example.

Also what is the solution? Is there a need to sexualize men more? Will it bring more women to the videogame industry?

As I'm pretty sure sexualizing women less would lose them customers...

thewatergamer:
Yeah I am with you on this one Jim
objectification of men isn't a problem like moviebob put it
"They weren't rendered that way for them fellas (girls) they were rendered that way for YOU, to be male alter ego's for you to strive to be" (something like that not perfect quote)

image

Oskuro:

Besides I often hear of males turning down girls because "You aren't obedient and sexy enough for me"

but I don't see many girls turning down guys because "You don't look like Kratos"

You really think only men are shallow?

Wanna be horribly depressed? Read all the, "I respectfully disagree" comments here. Then, go find a discussion about, "Tropes vs Women", and read all the angry comments. Then, realize that the arguments being made are extraordinarily similar. Sure, Jim is funnier, but something tells me that that isn't the reason for the lopsided outrage...

On an unrelated note, is there a place I can stock up on flame shields in bulk? I...uhh...may need them.

Reeve:
Here's another thing: An ideal woman, even from a woman's point of view, would look attractive to most men. Because who doesn't want to look attractive?

The problem there is that, well...this is attractive to most men


...heres some other women who are considered attractive


I'd say that clearly, one of those is a kind of attractive that women would consider an ideal worth wanting to aspire to in a manner similar to men wanting to aspire to most male protagonists, and the other is not.

We need to get to a point where this is no longer rare

Moonlight Butterfly:
Thanks Jim. Something to link when people bring this tired and completely false argument up. I've actually had people tell me I should find Kratos sexy and if I don't I must be doing it wrong.

No one actually told you this.

If you want to make a message be heard and be taken seriously. Don't shit on your audience. Smart ass is the fashion of internet videos? Trying to prove you are smarter than people doing the same thing elsewhere by just acting it? Insecure much?

Captcha - peter out < or the viewership will do this

CrossLOPER:

Moonlight Butterfly:
Thanks Jim. Something to link when people bring this tired and completely false argument up. I've actually had people tell me I should find Kratos sexy and if I don't I must be doing it wrong.

No one actually told you this.

Omg I didn't realise you have been with me ALL OF MY LIFE. holy shit.

Do you have cameras in my room?!?!

Hm. A bit disappointed to be honest, I thought you would be much more open-minded about that topic. It didn't go as deep into the topic as I was hoping.

You acknowledge the fact that men are objectified too, yet - for whatever reason - you decide it's less important than female objectification.

May I ask why? When it comes to objectification you can't simply say "This is worse!". It's all about the feels.

I think the problem runs much deeper than sexualisation, which is mostly what you've addressed. Sexualisation isn't the only form of objectification. Objectification also applies to actions of characters, i.e. We only care about that person as long as the person serves a purpose.

I really don't understand why you keep using Kratos and the bro-dudes from Gears. You're not helping your case. They are not men as much as they are things. Kratos is a killing machine. He has no ideals. He loves to get sidetracked whenever there's more violence to gain. Remember GoW3, he had no real reason to chop Gaias hand off but that didn't stop him. He's as empty and shallow as those walking boobs and every little character he had in GoW1 is gone. He became a caricature of what he was.

Kratos and the bro-dudes are things. They are machines. They have to work or they won't have any worth.

I also find it curious that you completely left out male characters like Dante or any male character from Final Fantasy. I'm sure you know the term bi-shonen. Remember that Cowboy dude from FF8? What was he if not a female fantasy? He could be on the cover of some sex-romance novel right now and you couldn't tell the difference. There is a reason why women are much more likely to feel attracted to games like Devil May Cry and Final Fantasy 8 and it's not just the combat system.

I played DMC3 in front of a female friend and she started forming a creepy smile on her face when she saw Dante fight off hordes of enemies half-naked. She went animalistic when she saw the new Dante flying completely naked through his trailer. Did you forget about that? That's male sexualisation right-fucking-there!

Do you think your idea of Idolization applies to any of the protagonists from the GTA series? Because I don't think so.

You continue to show DoA Beach Volleyball, but we all know that this is a game for a specific target audience. And that's what it all boils down to: Target Audience. Let's be serious here, female gamers are still few. They are not the 47%, unless we start counting Facebook game users and we shouldn't. Because those wouldn't touch a game like Tomb Raider even if you payed them too and these are the only games we care about.

I'm not a fan of the DoA series, but I remember the female characters had personality and not just boobs. But that was not the goal of the spin-off. Yes, DoA BV was a spin-off, not an AAA-Title. If you want to make a bigger point, you need to use bigger and more examples. I think games like DoA BV are terrible. Embarrassing even. I don't play them and I might even skip Dragon's Crown because of the design. I simply do not like this kind of design.

And you know what? That's okay. I'm not the target audience. That's all that this is about. Women who want to play videogames already play them. I'm not even mad at Vanillaware for their objectification, because their MALE characters are just as objectified as the female characters. I won't play it, but it's their right. They should do what they want.

We shouldn't let the Anita's, who barely cared about Videogames 2 years ago hijack videogames with their ideology that everything should bend to their needs and wants, that their voice is the only one that needs hearing. Which seems to be something you contribute to, Jim, as you said at the end "It's a different problem and it's not equal."

Why not? If we want the change, then we should attack the subject on both ends and not leave one group behind. We already did that in real life and it shows in the high suicide rate among men/boys.

We need to push games for more than just female characters that look ugly or male characters that look like the wet-dream of a 14 year old Bieber Fan. Games need better writing. They need better goals. They need to stop giving a fuck about numbers and stop listening to marketing people. Seriously fuck those rim-jobbers. They are ruining the creativity of the industry.

We need to do things differently, ask new questions.

Why should Link save the princess? What if he refuses to do so? Is Zelda the object that needs to be saved, or is Link the object that constantly has to save her?

Maybe we should ask those questions.

Or maybe not. Maybe we should leave some games be the way they are. I hate Mario games. I think they are boring. I don't want to change them, because I'm not their target audience.

Oh and btw:

Instead of saying that publisher's claim that "Female main protagonists don't sell" is absurd, why don't we look at the reason of why they would believe that? What do the numbers look like? How much truth is behind that statement?

And what if some men enjoy playing as a man more? After all Gender seems to be important to the identity of a lot of people. So is it really bad? Is a man who rather plays Drake than Lara an asshat? Is a woman who rather plays Lara than Drake an asshat?

Why?

btw²:

Check out this website and guess the target audience of these novels:

www.romancenovelcovers.com

Let's hijack that shit.

Xanadu84:
Wanna be horribly depressed? Read all the, "I respectfully disagree" comments here. Then, go find a discussion about, "Tropes vs Women", and read all the angry comments. Then, realize that the arguments being made are extraordinarily similar. Sure, Jim is funnier, but something tells me that that isn't the reason for the lopsided outrage...

I can't say I'm familiar with the angry comments on the tropes vs women front, but what I am seeing mostly from this thread is some people disagreeing that males in games aren't objectified and the response to that disagreement bordering on ad hominem. I am not disagreeing with Jim out of outrage, and to suggest that I am is fallacious and dodging the point. Several individuals have tried to show where objectification of male characters is pretty blatant, and that idealism can be a form of objectification, and the largest part of the response to that has been to call into question the emotional state, the delusional state or the academic understanding of the poster. I am simply looking for answers and understanding, not claiming anything is or is not correct, and yet there seems to be this continued attempt to undermine persons disagreeing with Jim instead of their arguments. That's depressing enough for me.

Jimothy Sterling:

cookyy2k:
Well I took one look at the title and my reaction was "oh for f*** sake", watched it and like every "gender politics in games" jimquisition or anything on the internet my reaction was well founded. I am do sick of hearing about this "issue", I get it, I really do.

There comes a point where, if a child sticks his tongue in an electrical outlet enough times, we must ask if it's the child's fault he keeps involuntarily shitting his Teddy Ruxpin pajamas.

That...was...beautiful, Jim. Simply beautiful. ;w;

OT: I have being waiting for something like this. It might not do much to stop the arguments against it, and the same people will go on and on about wanting the debate over so they can crawl back into their safe forts of blankets and games, but at least something is going on, and hopefully the right people will do something. At least, I hope so.

YoungZer0:

You acknowledge the fact that men are objectified too, yet - for whatever reason - you decide it's less important than female objectification.

No he didn't he said that males are 'idealised' which is probably why depression is increasing in young men.

So you think the standard of writing and visuals that games should aspire to is romance novels, usually just above fanfiction.

Oh goodie.

Jim, I understand that you feel for this issue and want to discuss it but god damn can we talk about something else for a bit? You have done four episodes on this subject. I understand you want things to change but at this point you are just kind of beating a dead horse.

Nurb:

Imp Emissary:

Nurb:

image

image

No one is evil for liking or hating these characters. The only bad thing about them is that they are used too much.

As for the "male, female, at the end of the day, we're just a bunch of dang avatars made of bits and polygons", while true, the problem is more with the art(how the characters look), and the story(how the characters act).

Things that are not always in control of the player.

Also, that is a cute cat(picture and your avatar).
You may like this user group: Catoholics anonymous. If you are in already, sorry, I didn't see your name when I looked at the members list.

That's the point of fantasy, though. Not all games do this depending on what they are of course, but in some, a busty, sexy female character or being a perfect looking guy that can do damn near anything is just nice to imagine. Games are ment to get away from reality.

Though there's also this false presumption that because men enjoy video games in a larger number than women, it must be because developers and gamers are actively trying to keep women out of the hobby, which just isn't true. We're talking demographics, and some things appeal to some people more than others for whatever reason. Just as there's not a huge number of guys into romance novels, and it's not that authors and fans want are trying to keep guys from young guys from reading them and why "But vampires don't sparkle!" falls on the deaf ears of fans and Twilight Moms. XD

and if you're on the internet you're suppost to like cats. It's a rule I think.

:D That last part is without a doubt true. On this we can agree.

uanime5:

Chemical Alia:
From this moment forward, I will model all video game characters as 75-year-old female bodybuilders, just to ruin your fun. Even the male ones, and there's nothing you can do to stop me. I have convinced all other industry artists I know to do the same (way more than 15+). The plan has been set in motion. Watch out, I'm coming for your fun.

Go ahead. I know how to use modelling programmes, so I can easily make a mod to replace the default models and textures with more aesthetically appeasing ones.

And then I will make mods of your mods that turn them back into beefcake grannies and post them online for all my friends to see, thus furthering my agenda.

I have noticed how women in games really lack flaws, in physiche obviously but in personality as well, or what would be considered flaws in real life like over-dependancy and submissiveness are portrayed as something that is almost good, because they can be considered feminine qualities.

This whole thing isn't the fight of sexism in the industry, it's the fight of market forces.

Despite the claim that 50 of gamers are women, less than 50% of AAA gamers are women. The market is currently exploring the female demographic but there are inherent risks with dropping a AAA budget on something that isn't tried and true. There's also the issue of a game that might focus too much on having a female lead that it comes off as pretentious.

Then again, I haven't bought Gears of War, DoA Beach Volleyball, God of War, Beyonetta or any other game that has had this sexism controversy surrounding it - though I am looking at Dragons Crown because I loved the arcade Dungeons and Dragons games and I actually like the bombastic art-style... I think the worst 'offender' in my library is the recent Mars: War Logs where a female companion insists on wearing nothing more than shredded garments despite the protagonist insisting how impractical it is. Oh, she also wants to have sex with you... a lot. It's also a French game so maybe there's some culture I'm not picking up on.

Games are starting to have more developed female characters as the market is hesitantly dipping its toe into those uncommon waters. If female or feminist gamers show they are very interested in those games and vote with their wallets we'll see even more of them. They might also be good enough games that the "dudebro" crowd pick them up also, and we'll have a new market to exploit.

But at the moment, people complaining on the internet about female sexual objectification is not a pledge to buy a game. It is still a risky endeavor and under intense scrutiny.

plainlake:
I have noticed how women in games really lack flaws, in physiche obviously but in personality as well, or what would be considered flaws in real life like over-dependancy and submissiveness are portrayed as something that is almost good, because they can be considered feminine qualities.

I'm not so certain about that. Certainly female antagonists are very often flawed and usually in the same ways male antagonists are. Portraying submissiveness might offend some, though I'll be the first to caution anyone that automatically assumes submissiveness somehow makes a person inferior. Over-dependency might be used as a trait for any character who lacks agency, female or male. But even with those two out, other flaws often bubble up. Racism (speciesism) is a part of Ash from ME3 just as an example. I can cite more if you'd like but I'm mostly just wanting to throw out there that it does exist to some degree.

Jimothy Sterling:
Objectification And... Men?

A common argument in the ongoing debate over gender and videogames is that women and men both are equally objectified. Is that really true?

Watch Video

When did Dragon's Crown become the face of objectified women?

I mean, over-sexualized / objectified women are as old as the video game industry (Custer's Revenge anyone?) but Dragon's Crown? Really? Do we really need to lob one of the few games that actually tries to do something with it's art direction in with the rest of them which are far more overt about what they intend to do?

I'll just chime in here and point out the one BIG logical fallacy that, when you realize it, Jim's argument completely falls apart. And that is this:

Objectification is a reflection of desire, and, generally speaking, what men want and what women want are two very different things. By having men as portrayed in a way that puts Fabio to shame and thinking this will result in some form of equality is, at best, complete and utter bullshit.

Shjade:

Mr F.:
I mean to say, Brienne in a computer game would come across as female and utterly, UTTERLY badass.

Considering Brienne herself pretty much tries to not be female as much as she's capable of doing so, I'm not sure that's the case.

Maybe I misread, but from what I remember of the story Bri pretty much would be a male character with a female skin if she were in a video game. It's what she'd try to be at the very least.

Well, yes, which is why she would be an awesome character.

A woman whos sole motivation is trying to be accepted for who she is, not trying to do something womanly. You know, an actually deep character. Would be good.

AyaReiko:
I'll just chime in here and point out the one BIG logical fallacy that, when you realize it, Jim's argument completely falls apart. And that is this:

Objectification is a reflection of desire, and, generally speaking, what men want and what women want are two very different things. By having men as portrayed in a way that puts Fabio to shame and thinking this will result in some form of equality is, at best, complete and utter bullshit.

You are missing the point. Objectification is not just about desirability. It's about agency. While the male characters are usually heroic and in control, the female character are just objects to be oggled and acquired (with exceptions obviously).

I think a big problem is people are confusing objectification and idealization. The big difference is one is attached to something else. One is the object of another. Women are objectified to appear sexual to men, they're entire appearance is a subtle call to their purpose of being there to serve the wants of the male audience. Meanwhile, men like Kratos are idealized for the male audience, presenting a standard for the male audience to want to strive for. One is an attempt to elevate the gender by setting the standard, or by presenting an antithesis in the form of antagonists or characters having traits clearly marked undesirable by the narrative. Just because a male character is big and buff doesn't necessarily mean he's being objectified, it's also a form of idealization created by men, for men that a man should be big and buff and strong, yada yada. Meanwhile, the typical female video game character is created by men, for women, that present an "ideal" of being solely for the purpose of male sexual gratification (at least for the eyes of the audience, regardless of the female's actions in game). That's why it's objectification instead of the male idealization.

TL;DR: It's objectification for women because they're only there for the purposes of the men. It's idealization for men because they're presenting a standard men should live up to (for better or worse) that doesn't turn the character into the object of another.

We certainly still have a long way to go as a culture and industry. It's sad to see that the norm is still "lol ur gay har har" and women are just a pretty trophy or tool for the strong male lead. It's a shame that the metroid games went from "Samus is a kick ass merc who just happens to be a female, no biggie" to turning the strong female lead into a whiny bimbo obsessed with her baby. It's pathetic that both companies and focus groups are so afraid of even having anything but a strong man with his big powerful gun on the box cover.

It's not just a game (or gamer) problem...it's a problem with our society as a whole that needs to just grow up.

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