Jimquisition: Objectification And... Men?

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PrarieDog_319:
Regretful snip

Huh.

This is an idea that I had not considered.

Very interesting. Thank you for posing this view.

Heh heh, "Your fantasies are horrible and you should feel bad for having them. Don't like that? Toughen up!"

Oh the martyrs this will spawn.

Jim, every time you make one of these videos, you seem to miss the mark. Other posts have already tackled this, but there's more to objectification than sexual.

And you do no favors to the argument, yours or the argument feminists have as a whole, when you try to make up statistics or pretend that the same thing happened to a different group of people isn't as bad because it's a different group of people.

Jim, the reason people bring up the objectification of men is because the objectification of women isn't unique. It's not part of some evil patriarchal conspiracy to destroy womenkind. It's simply the result of lazy character development. It's just laziness, it's just developers working for less when they make their characters.

Why is this distinction important? Because you seem to make this argument that this problem would just disappear, or become a minority if only there were more enlightened developers or better female characters as a whole. But it's not, this problem is never going away, because it's not a problem with video game women or portrayals of women, it's a problem of shoddy characterization.

And that is always always always going to be around. This idea that a character only needs a motive (if that) and a few hastily made drawings to be manifested inside of a game is not going to just disappear one day. As more games are made, it's really only going to get worse, we're really only going to see worse and worse examples of characters.

And not framing it in the light of developers being lazy and instead trying to frame it in the light that it's a symptom of something wrong with the demographic as a whole really bothers me Jim, it's the ultimate act of victim blaming to say that the developers being lazy jackasses is somehow my fault and that I should feel ashamed that it's happening. I really can't put into words my disgust this past year of being told that everything wrong with the games industry is somehow my fault over and over again.

If this continues, I can easily see myself canceling my internet service and just playing Doom for the rest of my days. At least there I don't have to think about gender politics or social justice or how it's my fault when I'm just trying to enjoy my hobby. Feel free to call me a "dudebro" if you think that it will somehow help your argument.

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...

Congratulations, it wasn't the Dragon's Crown fiasco, the deal with Tropes vs Women, or even this video which made me register an account after all these years of lurking.

It was the sheer ignorance and disdain expressed in your very post that finally did it. You should feel accomplished, this is something not too many internet trolls have managed to do.

I'm actually pleased that you were here to flaunt around this little red herring. Like somehow because angry, fuming internet trolls in an Anita thread made the argument, that it somehow has no weight or isn't a very valid criticism.

Sound ridiculous? This is the argument you're pushing. When you say that somehow my argument isn't a valid argument because it's been brought up before by someone you deem to be a lesser person for holding an opposing viewpoint, you're displaying the true scope of how closed minded that you are.

I feel the entire thread is a little worse with you having shared that bit of insight to your personal beliefs, I certainly hope that you don't share these sentiments in real-life because posts like these are the reasons I hate discussing this, it's the reason I hate even thinking about it. And that's not what your posts should be doing if you want to convince the industry at large that there is a problem with how women are portrayed in games. You're not going to win any friends telling the other side that they're a bunch of jerks and then just thinking that this somehow vindicates your dumb, childish argument.

Finally, someone who understands the difference between objectification and idealization! Hopefully one day this will actually become a well-known thing, instead of someone like me being told to "get the f*** over it, men have this problem too, so shut the f*** up," or "not this topic again!" It's like they haven't considered that my problem or their problems might be different, or that if topics keep reoccurring its because they have yet to be solved or are still in debate.

And yes, someone has actually said that to me. I've also been told that I'm "over-sensitive" for not liking what they like.

The problem also is that this isn't exclusive to video games, but also permeates in every media, and even in daily society. One day, they'll look back on this day like we do the 1950s now, and wonder why we were so backwards.

Question:
Why is it always the men who are defending "the objectification of women"?
I almost never see, you know, ACTUAL WOMEN complaining about this, and when they do, they always come across as vapid as the objectified characters they complain about.
Every female i spoken with on the issue who isn't a mindless soccer mom has absolutely no problem with it, because they understand it's a fantasy.
Media reflect the society that creates them, gaming is not the issue here.

Tell me, defenders of this argument, what's your endgame? what do you want to see happen? in a perfect world, how would women characters be different?
Don't tell me what they wouldn't be, i understand that anything that reminds you that women have tits frightens you so, but what would they be?
There is far too much demonizing and no-one is trying to fix anything.

Jim, the topic used to be interesting, but you have added literally nothing to the debate since the last time you made a video about it. A discussion is fine, but you have since left the realm of any actual discussion, and you are veering dangerously close to white knight territory.

Izzyisme:

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).

But, as has been argued, simply having agency does not preclude one from being objectified either. A tin soldier may have agency, but it is still an object. What's more, there are endless male characters in games that lack agency on a consistent basis. How often do we see the less physically capable male scientist who needs saving? Objectifying men who have brains instead of brawn happens constantly, and the argument in Jim's video is that male characters don't get objectified. Sexual objectification isn't the only form of objectification there is and 'nerds' are almost never given agency in games, are desirable to save/acquire by the protagonist, and are simply goals to be gathered in a mission more times than not. Based on that I think we can throw out this notion that male characters are not objectified.

bloodmage2:
snip

I have a problem with it *waves*

Because I'm a gamer and I have been for a long time. I want to experience the fun of the gameplay without having to sit in a stripclub to do it...I also want games where I feel empowered. I don't think that's so bad.

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.

I concur you're excellency. /Thread

Moonlight Butterfly:

bloodmage2:
snip

I have a problem with it *waves*

Because I'm a gamer and I have been for a long time. I want to experience the fun of the gameplay without having to sit in a stripclub to do it...I also want games where I feel empowered. I don't think that's so bad.

who is asking you to sit in a strip club?

Perhaps my brain operates differently from yours, but i can feel empowered regardless of my main character's gender.
Why does a single dis-empowered female automatically mean YOU are dis-empowered? if a game was release that featured a society in which all females were slaves, i would agree, that can't feel good to play. Are you incapable of not internalizing everything as indicative of yourself?

The problem with society is that in striving for perfect equality, gender differences are demonized, thus destroying any efforts at equality. some things are clearly designed for men, some things are clearly designed for women. an example as jim is so...oddly insistent on using is DOA beach volleyball. i don't find it appealing myself, but some men do. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. no-one is telling you that you need to be like them.

Moonlight Butterfly:

bloodmage2:
snip

I have a problem with it *waves*

Because I'm a gamer and I have been for a long time. I want to experience the fun of the gameplay without having to sit in a stripclub to do it...I also want games where I feel empowered. I don't think that's so bad.

Then don't play those games, don't give them attention, don't give them money, don't chastise the people who do.

Just ignore them. Were you really going to buy Dragon's Crown, Code of Princess (I think that's the name? I don't actually know for sure?), or any of the material that you would deem sexist and offensive anyway? Because if you didn't, then you don't have much say into how they conduct their business or not. And that's okay, that's how consumerism should work.

I find it far more offensive as a whole that we're perfectly okay with a new CoD every year that glorifies the genocide of people who the game considers "foreigners". I voice this opinion by not playing the game.

Can I suggest some other games which may be empowering to you? Perhaps Serious Sam 3 if shooters are your thing? Or how about Alpha Protocol if you can look past a couple of flaws the game has? if RPGs are more your thing, I've never gone wrong recommending Baldur's Gate to someone.

bloodmage2:

Moonlight Butterfly:

bloodmage2:
snip

I have a problem with it *waves*

Because I'm a gamer and I have been for a long time. I want to experience the fun of the gameplay without having to sit in a stripclub to do it...I also want games where I feel empowered. I don't think that's so bad.

who is asking you to sit in a strip club?

Perhaps my brain operates differently from yours, but i can feel empowered regardless of my main character's gender.
Why does a single dis-empowered female automatically mean YOU are dis-empowered? if a game was release that featured a society in which all females were slaves, i would agree, that can't feel good to play. Are you incapable of not internalizing everything as indicative of yourself?

The problem with society is that in striving for perfect equality, gender differences are demonized, thus destroying any efforts at equality. some things are clearly designed for men, some things are clearly designed for women. an example as jim is so...oddly insistent on using is DOA beach volleyball. i don't find it appealing myself, but some men do. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. no-one is telling you that you need to be like them.

While I agree with some of what you say, I must disagree on one point in particular. I don't think we should look at these things as designed for men or for women, but for people that like x and people that like y. For all I know, lots of women might LIKE a game where every woman is a slave and some men might find it creepy as hell or boring, or whatever. I only object here because I'd like people to think of things less as x is for men, y is for women and more, people can enjoy x regardless of gender and people can enjoy y regardless of gender.

Sticky:
snip

bloodmage2:
SNIP

I'd buy Dragon's Crown, mostly because I can tolerate the elf.

That's what this is mostly about, choice. GT5 ignores my gender so I'm going to buy Saints Row 4 instead. Yes I enjoy Baldur's Gate, I played it when it came out. Games existing where you can get away from certain portrayals of women is great. However, it does bother me when there are certain situations where I can't feel comfortable in a game. The Witcher was a good example. I loved the gameplay and the premise...they way it portrayed women? Made me feel ill. To me that seems unfair and exclusionary as that series seems pretty epic. Fighting games seem like a problem lately too. I used to play Tekken, Street Fighter and Soul Calibur but I don't anymore because I find it hard to see myself playing the female characters in those games. Lara Croft is one of the only female characters I identify with outside of gender swappable games. That's one character...out of all games since the early 1980's. :S

I have giant tits... I don't find the sorceress figure from Dragon's Crown offensive because of that. What I find offensive is how she is portrayed. As something to titillate men rather than a kickass spell caster who just happens to be curvaceous.

It's easy for you guys to say this isn't a such a big deal because you are the ones being catered to. You don't *see* the problem.

Society imposes certain expectations for men and women, which we feel we are judge for so we judge ourselves by these qualities. These are completely different things between men and women, but that doesn't mean everyone is not equally molded apart from the opposite gender. It's also important to remember that every one of us is part of the society we live in, no one is innocent of these expectation even if we do not agree with them or are the gender these unfair roles have been thrust upon.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of the qualities society wants for either gender. A woman needs to beautiful, nurturing and kind. A man need to be strong, tough, and brave. These are all nice qualities in anyone, its the unbalance focus that puts unfair pressure on everyone.

It doesn't take much observation to see how many sources tell girls they need to look pretty, how many products exists to help them look better, or how much of the activities and even thoughts of women must be devoted on their physical self-image compared to men. However, just because this treatment is more exposed doesn't mean its more pervasive than the expectations men face. Men are down right stoic about it, and wouldn't complain even if they were shown unfairly, but cause that would show weakness. It's much quieter, but the amount of effort and practice boys spend learning to save face is remarkable. Ask yourself would you rather see a man you respect die or break down and cry?

The world is unfair, and we're all unfair to each other. It's easy to point out an industry seems to be genderly imbalance, but the truth is we make our own demons, these roles are as much a fault of our own gender as it is our opposite. Sure, the other gender probably isn't going to understand why you behave the way you do, especially when filling in the harsh role, but that's because they didn't grow up with the expectation and reminder from all their childhood friends and fictional programing every day of their life. We are difference and exploring those differences in art is something I think makes it more interesting. As for society, the more freedom anyone has the better off we all are. The less women need to feel they have to fit into some objectified sexual role, the better. Sure it won't make it more acceptable for men to wear dresses, but one step at a time, soon we will be a society of people who can be whatever they want to be.

The fact is the most offensive portrayals of women are in games with the shallowest characters in general, so it is kind of unfair they get judge for having hollow female characters, when I can usually point to a token race character or any other stereotype. And while I would like to dismiss these hack designers for games I've never played as proof of Sturgeon's Law, there is some truth that this bad art is still resonant of what the current state of our society is. These poor arts just aren't capable of crafting an illusion the hides what they see us as. So don't blame the industry, or its dumb fans, or any particular group, because this art came from all of us. Whatever poor depiction it displays reflects on what we are are lacking, because when have you had the courage to nurture anything more from the people around you than what society expected?

I am not much of a motivational speaking, but even if I only get through to one person who reads this post I ask you to be more than what the world thinks you can be. I know we never move past the expectations people have for us, but I expect more from you and you should too.

Moonlight Butterfly:

It's easy for you guys to say this isn't a such a big deal because you are the ones being catered to. You don't *see* the problem.

Not once did I say this was not a big deal, or even that I didn't *see* the problem. Please do not attempt to sweep my argument under the rug with the pretense that I'm somehow numb to it because I'm the one who is being privileged.

I'm saying that *you already have the tools needed to tell the developer that you do not approve of the game*. You can use those tools by posting on the internet (which I am not against) or not buying the game.

The wrong approach that causes so much hate and confusion on internet forums is blaming the opposite gender or the people who have different opinions on the game, which is something both sides are equally guilty of doing every time one of these arguments come up.

Hate the product, not the consumer.

Spearmaster:
Internet-"Hey! There is a problem"

Me- "What is it?"

Internet-"Women in games are over sexualized!!!"

Me-"Why is that a problem?"

Internet-"because some people don't like it"

Me-"Well I don't like tomatoes on my tacos"

Internet-"Derp,Derp'Derp"

Me-"Is it hurting people?"

Internet-"Well there is absolutely no evidence but we say it is... so yes it is hurting people."

Me-"Ohh, so what do you plan to do about your problem?

Internet-"Just another wave of over entitled bitching about someone's art form and how things have to change"

Me-"Really? I just don't buy tacos that have tomatoes on them, some people like tomatoes on their tacos so I don't think it has to change"

Internet-"Derp,Derp,Derp"

**Disclaimer**
This was a fictional dramatization of a typical conversation with the internet.

Is there a solution in this mire of sexism in video games that doesn't trample all over an artists creative design? Or is it nothing more than a whine about stuff people don't like. I hear thousands of people AGAINST sexism in video games and AGAINST over sexualized women and now even the idealization of men. Never once have I heard someone FOR a solution to this supposed problem, just whiners and the supposed moderates that say we should have discussions about it which is just a cowards way of supporting the whiners by giving credence to their argument.

There 3 things to take issue with here.

1st is the idea that anybody is really suggesting that the industry courting and service of heterosexual teenage male gamer fantasy "hurts anyone". It doesn't but when that is the only thing provided it excludes others, and that is worth complaining about.

2nd is the idea that complaining that a media is exclusively designed for the teenage male mind-set is somehow being entitled. Entitlement is a word that has been bandied around a lot recently to effectively belittle opinions without addressing them. In this case it effectively says that those of us that are repulsed by, vexed by, or even just plain bored by the current state of gaming are so entitled that we are not even entitled to express that opinion and that we should just shut up and play what we've been granted by the lords of the industry.

3rd is the idea that "artist design" isn't already being trampled over by the commercial demands of publishers and designers. When you have publishing houses actively denying designers female protagonists or Ken Levine refusing to put Elizabeth on the cover of her own game because it "won't sell as well" then isn't artistic freedom already compromised? Is it still "art" if the artist wanted to draw a sensible or interesting female character but gets told by a designer/publisher to put bigger tits on it?

Gorrath:

Izzyisme:

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).

But, as has been argued, simply having agency does not preclude one from being objectified either. A tin soldier may have agency, but it is still an object. What's more, there are endless male characters in games that lack agency on a consistent basis. How often do we see the less physically capable male scientist who needs saving? Objectifying men who have brains instead of brawn happens constantly, and the argument in Jim's video is that male characters don't get objectified. Sexual objectification isn't the only form of objectification there is and 'nerds' are almost never given agency in games, are desirable to save/acquire by the protagonist, and are simply goals to be gathered in a mission more times than not. Based on that I think we can throw out this notion that male characters are not objectified.

I respectfully disagree. Having a culture that glorifies and fetishizes violence is certainly problematic. I agree that making physically strong men the ideal is a problem. But there are two key differences:
1) Not all male characters fit this archetype, or to be more precise, there is a smaller percentage of female characters who are not sexually objectified than there are male characters who are not physically capable. Gordon Freeman is a scientist who has to save security guards. Even in terms of characters who don't use physical violence, such as wizards, there is a stark difference between male and female portrayals.
2) The more important point is that you say that often, weaker male characters need to be saved by stronger male characters. Thus, there are both types of male characters in games, even if one is often depicted as superior in some way. The problem is that there are no options for female characters. It's sexually objectified or the highway. That's why the problem is sexism. Women as a whole are depicted a certain way. If you have different types of male characters, but some are portrayed as the ideal, that is difference in kind from the sort of issue facing female characters.

Sticky:
snip

Oh female gamers like myself ARE trying to let developers know that we want certain things from our games. I'm a backer of various kickstarter projects and I provide input on what I would like to see. I talk to people like CliffyB and Rhianna Pratchett on twitter.

We have been receiving pushback from *some* guys though and when we complain about certain portrayals of women and say they outright offend us, some gamers are quick the defense of those portrayals sometimes to a very vicious extent.

Moonlight Butterfly:

Sticky:
snip

bloodmage2:
SNIP

I'd buy Dragon's Crown, mostly because I can tolerate the elf.

That's what this is mostly about, choice. Yes I enjoy Baldur's Gate, I played it when it came out. Games existing where you can get away from certain portrayals of women is great. However, it does bother me when there are certain situations where I can't feel comfortable in a game. The Witcher was a good example. I loved the gameplay and the premise...they way it portrayed women? Made me feel ill. To me that seems unfair and exclusionary as that series seems pretty epic. Fighting games seem like a problem lately too. I used to play Tekken, Street Fighter and Soul Calibur but I don't anymore because I find it hard to see myself playing the female characters in those games. Lara Croft is one of the only female characters I identify with outside of gender swappable games. That's one character...out of all games since the early 1980's. :S

It's easy for you guys to say this isn't a such a big deal because you are the ones being catered to. You don't *see* the problem.

At least in the most recent croft game, she is depicted as some cosmic rag doll, a big pity sink for the men to feel bad about not being able to protect. that's real objectification, the idea that women are just there to be protected and cannot operate on their own.
Simply having a large bust and lots of sex is not being objectified.

here's a list of empowered women in gaming off the top of my head:
alyx vance
samus (pre-other M)
recette (from recettear)
i can't remember her name but the girl who owns the general goods store in megaton in fallout 3
zoey from left 4 dead
terra from final fantasy VI
the 2 sirens from borderlands 1 & 2
the entire damn cast of touhou

something tells me you are just looking at the wrong games.

don't tell me i don't see the problem. i see the real problem, i see the actual objectification and marginalization, where young girls are swayed against STEM fields and into lower paying jobs, not that a fictional character's breasts had a square inch more skin revealed than puritan standards allow.

Sticky:
Jim, every time you make one of these videos, you seem to miss the mark. Other posts have already tackled this, but there's more to objectification than sexual.

And you do no favors to the argument, yours or the argument feminists have as a whole, when you try to make up statistics or pretend that the same thing happened to a different group of people isn't as bad because it's a different group of people.

Jim, the reason people bring up the objectification of men is because the objectification of women isn't unique. It's not part of some evil patriarchal conspiracy to destroy womenkind. It's simply the result of lazy character development. It's just laziness, it's just developers working for less when they make their characters.

Why is this distinction important? Because you seem to make this argument that this problem would just disappear, or become a minority if only there were more enlightened developers or better female characters as a whole. But it's not, this problem is never going away, because it's not a problem with video game women or portrayals of women, it's a problem of shoddy characterization.

And that is always always always going to be around. This idea that a character only needs a motive (if that) and a few hastily made drawings to be manifested inside of a game is not going to just disappear one day. As more games are made, it's really only going to get worse, we're really only going to see worse and worse examples of characters.

And not framing it in the light of developers being lazy and instead trying to frame it in the light that it's a symptom of something wrong with the demographic as a whole really bothers me Jim, it's the ultimate act of victim blaming to say that the developers being lazy jackasses is somehow my fault and that I should feel ashamed that it's happening. I really can't put into words my disgust this past year of being told that everything wrong with the games industry is somehow my fault over and over again.

If this continues, I can easily see myself canceling my internet service and just playing Doom for the rest of my days. At least there I don't have to think about gender politics or social justice or how it's my fault when I'm just trying to enjoy my hobby. Feel free to call me a "dudebro" if you think that it will somehow help your argument.

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...

Congratulations, it wasn't the Dragon's Crown fiasco, the deal with Tropes vs Women, or even this video which made me register an account after all these years of lurking.

It was the sheer ignorance and disdain expressed in your very post that finally did it. You should feel accomplished, this is something not too many internet trolls have managed to do.

I'm actually pleased that you were here to flaunt around this little red herring. Like somehow because angry, fuming internet trolls in an Anita thread made the argument, that it somehow has no weight or isn't a very valid criticism.

Sound ridiculous? This is the argument you're pushing. When you say that somehow my argument isn't a valid argument because it's been brought up before by someone you deem to be a lesser person for holding an opposing viewpoint, you're displaying the true scope of how closed minded that you are.

I feel the entire thread is a little worse with you having shared that bit of insight to your personal beliefs, I certainly hope that you don't share these sentiments in real-life because posts like these are the reasons I hate discussing this, it's the reason I hate even thinking about it. And that's not what your posts should be doing if you want to convince the industry at large that there is a problem with how women are portrayed in games. You're not going to win any friends telling the other side that they're a bunch of jerks and then just thinking that this somehow vindicates your dumb, childish argument.

This guy seems to understand my point of view well. Especially with the idea of looking to the source of where the games come from in the first place.

I would add 2 things though. First, how companies are lazy, but also aim for profit. This would be why they copy successful ideas and why tropes repeat themselves on and on. Secondly would be a rebuttal to an obvious comment that would be raised. If companies are lazy, gamers still reward them by buying the game, thus supporting the project. My rebuttal is every DRM practice out there and how it would be like claim that is the fault of the consumer as well, since buying games with it supports DRM. It doesn't, it is rather sludge people have to wade through in either case to enjoy the game, but till the decision of the companies themselves.

RaikuFA:
Theres some other issues that need to be addressed in this debate. Like the fact that Senran Kagura might never make it outside of Japan due to the west being prudish and crying sexist at anyything that has boobs.

Oh yeah, "the West" is so prudish and upset over boobs... much more so than Japan. Because, as all of us who have been to the country know, Japan is such a haven for sexual liberation and empowered women. There's certainly no sexual repression or misogyny in Japan.

WTF?

Also, who the hell is Senran Kagura?

Jim is arguing a straw version of the argument; the idea that men are objectified as well isn't a recurring thought because sexists want to silence debate, but because focusing on one gender lacks clarity. Jim whittles the idea of objectification down purely to sexual objectification and concludes that men are idealized therefore not objectified. It gets even wackier when merely a moment later he argues that female protagonists are both idealized and objectified. While true that someone can be both, and I'll argue that men are both in a moment, by narrowly defining objectification as sexual he misses completely how men are objectified.

Let's take a look at one of the most iconic video game characters of all time, Link from Legend of Zelda. While he would be held up as a character of agency and contrasted with the damsel Zelda, it's important to note that the "Hero of Time" is little more than a plaything of fate. From childhood Link had his life, his agency, co-opted by destiny; Link was never given the option to sit down and let someone else save Hyrule, he was thrust into it. Link's very life belongs to the world, to Hyrule, it's his duty to save it and has it beaten into his head that he's the only one who can. Hell, if you believe the timeline theory then Link is constantly reincarnated so he can fight, sacrificing his body and mind facing down a multitude of horrors more powerful than himself.

This isn't an isolated incident, it's a recurring theme in all of fiction that male character's lives belong to the state/world/their family/fate/the gods and that they ought to be acting in their benefit. They aren't given a choice in the matter and men incapable of acting in defense of another are usually portrayed as cowards, weak and not worth as much as the male protagonist. Worse, men are often portrayed as only being useful in very limited ways. How many male characters are noted for being very intelligent or clever? Now how many are the protagonist because they're the best fighter or the luckiest? The option to address the issue non-violently, or by manipulating proxies, is generally not there and often a characteristic of the villain.

Yes, I agree entirely that the form of objectification women face is generally sexual objectification which is bad. It isn't simply the loss of agency (another issue entirely) but that is promotes poor body-image. This is essentially the same issue with men. These ripped, athletic and powerful men are promoting poor body-image. There's some naivete in thinking that, because heterosexual men approved of the character of Nathan Drake, that his rugged good-looks were made for their benefit. Or that of any "pretty-boy" character in gaming for that matter.

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.

At what point did Jim ask for the problem to be fixed by turning male characters into Fabio clones? He isn't asking for male characters to be brought down to where female characters are. It's just the opposite: he's asking for female characters to be given the same amount of agency, purpose, and character as male characters. He never said the fact that male characters tend to be more developed and complex is bad. He said the fact that female characters aren't given the same treatment is bad.

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

To your detractors, there is something I wish could be adequately conveyed:

Something doesn't get knocked off the "talk about" list simply because it got talked about. It gets knocked off the "talk about" list when it gets something DONE about it.

If you're hungry, and I have all of the food, and you tell me, "I'm hungry," and I give you no food... do I then get to say, "Oh, please, you've already covered that," the next time you say you're hungry? No, because it's still completely true because I did something between Jack and Shit about it.

Saying, "Oh, please. Dead Horse, dead horse," is counter-productive, especially if the discussion is specifically about finding out who murdered the damned horse. It's a non-commital vote for the status quo, cast by people two weak in their convictions to simply say, "I love things just as they are, because this reality reflects my personal value set."

bloodmage2:
snip

You can list empowered females in games in a single post in an internet forum? You don't see that as a problem at all?

As for other women's issues? Just because your fence is broken doesn't mean you can't fix the hole in your roof.

Good job not really listening to anything I had to say at all though. I'm really glad I wrote that post...

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.

Woah now there, that has nothing to do with the topic at hand! Kratos is a sexual beast, and if you are not attracted to him you are obviously doing something wrong and need to report to a therapist or maybe psychiatric ward this instant!

image

Shiit, I mean look at those soleful eyes and award winning smile. If you dont want to rip off your cloths and throw yourself at him you must admit you are the one that is defective!

(This was a joke dont mind me ^.^)

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.

On this one though I think you are quite wrong, there are a large number of social influences at work, with games being a majorly tiny part. Hell, I would say music is a far higher influence. If I knew how talentless but rich Bieber was and I was his age, I would be depressed as hell too.

Moonlight Butterfly:
You can list empowered females in games in a single post in an internet forum? You don't see that as a problem at all?

Of course it's a problem, I don't get the feeling that he was saying it wasn't a problem. The issue is that the objectification of men is either ignored or the very idea ridiculed. There's a deep-rooted idea ingrained into our culture that men aren't worth protecting or fighting for. Imagine how well a homosexual main protagonist fighting to save his very male life-partner would go over? Hell, imagine a male character fighting to save his transwoman love interest. Aside from the publishers shooting down such an idea because focus-test groups allegedly said "ew das gay", you don't get the feeling that society looks down on men who can't help themselves?

Moonlight Butterfly:

bloodmage2:
snip

You can list empowered females in games in a single post in an internet forum? You don't see that as a problem at all?

As for other women's issues? Just because your fence is broken doesn't mean you can't fix the hole in your roof.

Good job not really listening to anything I had to say at all though. I'm really glad I wrote that post...

if i actually sat down, i could list way more, those were just the ones that sprung to mind.
and really, are modern male game character anything to aspire to? angry, gravely voiced chimps with no emotion beyond angry and grim determination, and no function beyond killing more people than the Spanish flu? you could gain from a bit of perspective.
i'm not suggesting this isn't something to fix, but that there are more pressing issues at hand, your priorities seem to be a bit skewed towards things that don't actually matter.
and before you jump at me that i don't know what its like, its been said before in the thread, but it bears repeating:
just like i can't name more than 10 or so empowered female characters in gaming, i'll bet you would be hard pressed to name as many male characters in your average daytime TV show who isn't a bumbling idiot whose wife/girlfriend has to clean up his mistakes while rolling her eyes and sighing "oh men".
we live in a society whose ideals and stereotypes are in dire need of changing, and by acting like you are the only victim seeks to ensure that nothing is ever fixed.

Politeia:
snip

Men aren't objectified though they are idealised as Jim pointed out.

This is as harmful as female objectification and it's just as insidious. It's probably the reason a lot of young men, I know a lot do on this site, have depression.

I never see any guys complain about it outside sexism threads though. If you want to see more normal guy heroes you (male gamers) should say. There's no shame in it.

Moonlight Butterfly:

Sticky:
snip

We have been receiving pushback from *some* guys though and when we complain about certain portrayals of women and say they outright offend us, some gamers are quick the defense of those portrayals sometimes to a very vicious extent.

It's because they have every right to like those games and those portrayals. And they have every right to defend their point of view from people they deem are encroaching on it.

It doesn't mean you should stop or even not try to communicate and try to make the games industry more friendly to your tastes, absolutely not. But you have to always remember that you're not alone in the industry, that people of all genders from all walks of life enjoy all different kinds of games. And they deserve a say in this just as much as you do.

bloodmage2:
SNIP

And yet you are trying to negate and distract from my problems by saying you have it worse.

Did I say anywhere that guys don't have problems? No.

All I said was that I think games developers could try to portray women better and I would like to see that. I didn't say that negates any and all complaints male gamers may have about the world around them did I?

Politeia:

Moonlight Butterfly:
You can list empowered females in games in a single post in an internet forum? You don't see that as a problem at all?

Of course it's a problem, I don't get the feeling that he was saying it wasn't a problem. The issue is that the objectification of men is either ignored or the very idea ridiculed. There's a deep-rooted idea ingrained into our culture that men aren't worth protecting or fighting for. Imagine how well a homosexual main protagonist fighting to save his very male life-partner would go over? Hell, imagine a male character fighting to save his transwoman love interest. Aside from the publishers shooting down such an idea because focus-test groups allegedly said "ew das gay", you don't get the feeling that society looks down on men who can't help themselves?

If I understand you, you're saying that societal expectations of men having agency are just as problematic as societal expectations of women not having agency. I have to disagree with that, unless you think agency isn't an important value. Also, there are many cases in video games of men rescuing other men. Even physically strong men saving other physically strong men.

Sticky:

It's because they have every right to like those games and those portrayals.

Sometimes they really are harmful and exclusionary though. Surely you can see that? Women aren't just their body. They are people. They can be attractive without that attractiveness being their only or central quality and being posed and animated solely for male titillation.

To women it's as jarring as seeing Marcus Fenix fighting in just his speedo giving it the wiggle waggle at the screen now and again and winking.

Thank you for this video, Mr. Sterling.

Moonlight Butterfly:

Sticky:

It's because they have every right to like those games and those portrayals.

Sometimes they really are harmful and exclusionary though.

Harmful to whom? Who are these mystical people who are harmed by video games?

If people are seeing things like Code of Princess (which btw, I find waaay worse than Dragon's Crown because they are at least attempting to wear clothes there) and being harmed psychologically by them, how is this not a sign of a much more urgent problem with that individual?

Moonlight Butterfly:

Politeia:
snip

Men aren't objectified though they are idealised as Jim pointed out.

This is as harmful as female objectification and it's just as insidious. It's probably the reason a lot of young men, I know a lot do on this site, have depression.

I never see any guys complain about it outside sexism threads though. If you want to see more normal guy heroes you (male gamers) should say. There's no shame in it.

but therein lies the difference, i DON'T care, because i understand it's NOT REAL.
Nobody demands i be marcus fenix.
Nobody demands you be kasumi.
beyond that there is no discussion.
i can enjoy myself playing a brave, smart adventurer (male or female), and idiot, a whore, a vacuous muscle-head, or an eldritch abomination.
why?
because its about the game, and what i do. notice the name of this website, "the escapist", its about escaping from who you are, and what your normal views are to transplant yourself into another world.
if you cannot do that because you worry about if your character is sexually desirable, you have my pity.

i don't ask you to enjoy the games that portray women poorly, just that you ignore what is incapable of doing you or anyone else any harm.

Sticky:

Moonlight Butterfly:

Sticky:

It's because they have every right to like those games and those portrayals.

Sometimes they really are harmful and exclusionary though.

Harmful to whom? Who are these mystical people who are harmed by video games?

You don't think portrayals of men and women in the media can be harmful to society at large. Perhaps you would like to explain that to all the women who have eating disorders or the young men who have depression?

Media is more influential on how we think than you realise.

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