The Truth about Little Girls

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Lampdevil:

Ayup. It was a fantastic movie visually, and it was unblinkingly brutal to everyone in the cast, Ofelia included. If the fantasy world was real? Alright then. If it was her imagination? I like that a movie could grant that a young girl could be capable of such a morbid, frightening dreamscape.

I believe that if more movies, games, comic books, what have you allow children to die on-screen, or even die at all...well, then frankly, children will be able to be put into REAL peril.
Did anyone, even for a second, think that the kids in Jurassic Park (doesn't matter which one. take your pick.) would die? Of course not. Kids never die. I had no tension, even as a young child, watching the first film because I KNEW that the kids were gonna survive. Of course they were, kids never die!

If we slowly change the role of children in media, from indestructable brats/tech wizzes to...mortal people, then they will be more viable to use in a wider variety of roles.

Likewise, if women appear in more media as anything but sexy eye candy or too-old-to-be-sexy wise crones, they will be viable in a wider variety of roles.
Ergo, if anyone in this thread becomes a videogame creator (and I have high hopes for myself in this regard), I implore you, make real characters, real worlds and let anyone fall into real danger, and even die.

Media has shown people as "men, women, children" and not "People, people, people" for far too long in my opinion. Every Alyx and Ofelia added into media will slowly tip the scales towards balance. And that CAN'T be a bad thing.

Didn't Earthbound and Secret of Mana have kids in them? Granted, Secret of Mana also had a mouse/puffball hybrid as a character, but still.
I realize you're more talking about FPSs and such things, but I'm just saying, Earthbound is a good example of a game that had kids, and you had a girl as a main character.

I, too, have found this post most interesting.

Lampdevil:

Novan Leon:
Is there really a problem affecting me if I can't see it?

Well no one said the problem was affecting YOU, right? ;) And that's the key reason for a lot of the reactions in this thread (and other threads like it!) "Hey, I don't see anything wrong! Ergo, nothing's wrong. Stop saying things are wrong!" But just because you don't see a problem doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Crazy men in tinfoil hats aside, just because you can't see the fire two towns over doesn't change the fact that a building is burning down.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I'm sure many of us here probably hate that saying, but that's the exact mindset of a lot of people. So there's a few problems, a few things that can run better? The whole thing WORKS, doesn't it? Why change it?

Because it takes work. Because it takes looking at things a new way. Because it ISN'T EASY!

People ALWAYS want to take the path of least resistance, that which makes their lives most comfortable and worry-free. For example, online bill payment and banking is considered much faster and easier than paying bills traditionally, right?

Not if you don't know *and aren't willing* to use a computer.

My point with this statement is that not only do some people look the other way at blatant problems, but some other also acknowledge them, yet refuse to try and change anything about it. Not if it involves making an active effort or changing the normal way of doing things. And that's how alot of these sterotypes are viewed - as the "social norms", unfortunately.

And completely unrelated, I like caramel.

propertyofcobra:

I believe that if more movies, games, comic books, what have you allow children to die on-screen, or even die at all...well, then frankly, children will be able to be put into REAL peril...

...If we slowly change the role of children in media, from indestructable brats/tech wizzes to...mortal people, then they will be more viable to use in a wider variety of roles.

I doubt that putting children into real danger in the fiction sense means that they'll be put in danger anymore than they have to in real life. Children are often very, very cherished by society. If any major disaster occurs, who get evacuated the first? The children. And whose death's ALWAYS hit home hardest? The children. There's something especially sad about seeing a person with 70 good years of life ahead, and less than a decade's worth of life lived, die (or at least, for me). This especially hits hard for parents and family - no one wants to see their child die.

Of course, this is what can make that such a powerful literary point. Nothing screams pure evil quite as much as slaughtering small, defenseless children (babies are even worse). Nothing also screams hopelessness quite as much as when children are forced to take up arms and fight to defend a country, town, or home. Coming back to stereotypical society views, children are supposed to be happy and carefree - their biggest worries should be whether to play "cops 'n robbers" or "tag". Portray them in different roles..and it can send quite a strong message. If done sparingly, of course. By no means am I advocating every new evil villian should slaughter everyone in a nursery as his first act. But it's something to think about.

Lampdevil:

DeathWyrmNexus:
Why do I not want to play a little girl? Well, I find it hard to relate or care about somebody who basically was bitching about cooties or how they were made of sugar and spice and everything nice while I was made of snails and puppy dog tails. So based on my own experiences, a game with a little boy reminds me of the positive parts of my childhood. The guy that would get in trouble with me while we were covered in mud and laughing about frogs. The girl just reminds me of the person who tattled. I didn't have the luxury of knowing nice tom girls growing up so I don't relate to little girls now.

There are lots of places I could begin... but why should I want to play as a boy? Boys call me names and throw mud at me, and talk about stupid stuff, and they're dirty. Why should I want to play a game as a man? Men are dismissive towards me, and rude, and tell me that my feminist ideas are silly and wrongheaded. A game where I play a boy would remind me of all those meanieheads that hurt me! Games should remind me of playing with all my little girlfriends, running around in the woods and playing tag and building forts, of playing dress-up and making messes and getting in trouble, not of those stupid boys breaking our things and calling us dumb!

Y'see? Doesn't feel so good, does it? I still play games with boys and men in the lead. Haven't got much of a choice, do I? I can still find them fun and engaging and exciting, even if I don't get the extra sprinkles and frosting of a character that I can more readily identify with. Surely, it's not too hard for an enlightened, intelligent fellow (nerdy or not) to do the same thing?

Would you miss out on the next Portal, the next Katamari Damacy, the next Legend of Zelda, because it has a little girl in the lead? Man. I'd feel bad for you, if you did. Great games are great games.

I suppose that is an attempt to make me feel bad for my opinion? I don't recall asking you to play Anything. I simply stated my preferences and reasoning. Personally I don't see what vested interest you have in my opinion. I already stated that I believe that there should be games out there with more girl characters and more feminine games.

However, I also simply stated that I don't have a vested interest as I don't play games to get in touch with my feminine side. I play games to do all the pathetically testosterone driven nonsense I could never do in real life. I play games to vent my anger or fuck with my head. Most of my friends are lovable ladies and I am engaged to an absolute sweetie of a girl. Perhaps I just want to kick some ass and get more of my masculine side out when I play games.

I am sorry that you seem so threatened by my opinion when I already validated yours. I don't ask you to play anything you don't wanna play. Why are you trying to insult me because I don't wanna play as a little girl?

EDIT: Haven't played Portal yet, but I will. I stopped caring about Zelda after Super Nintendo as it is basically the same damn game, Yahtzee hit that one. As for Katamari... Haven't had the urge or care to play it.

Lampdevil:

Novan Leon:
Is there really a problem affecting me if I can't see it?

Well no one said the problem was affecting YOU, right? ;) And that's the key reason for a lot of the reactions in this thread (and other threads like it!) "Hey, I don't see anything wrong! Ergo, nothing's wrong. Stop saying things are wrong!" But just because you don't see a problem doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Crazy men in tinfoil hats aside, just because you can't see the fire two towns over doesn't change the fact that a building is burning down.

Novan Leon:
I think both sides are justified but neither really has the power to shape the way society sees things on their own.

Wait, wait, so if you add up the side that's all traditionally female, plus the side that's all video games and workboots, then... that's all the women, isn't it? There's a wide scale of behavior between conservative soccer mom and liberal activist chick, but when you add 'em all up, it's all still women.

So do you mean to say that women in general don't have the power to change the way society sees things on their own? Does that mean men have the power to do that? I'm not sure that's what you're saying either, and it's sure not what I'm saying. Do you mean that NO ONE has the power ot change the way society sees things?

It's unlikely that one person standing on their front porch (or posting on an Internet forum) is going to kick off the Revolution. But still, stuff doesn't change unless someone stands up and says or does something. We are, as a whole, part of society. While we are all just one tiny drop in the bucket that makes up the world, I'm gonna be trite and say that a lot of little drops can make a tidal wave. Or at least make your roof leak.

Yes, your preferred kind of video game hero is a matter of preference. I'd love to live in a world where we all get to pick exactly what we want. As it stands, it's a bit like going into a candy store where the inventory is mostly gummi candy, with a small weekly shipment of caramel or peppermints. Now I like me some gummi candy, but it sucks when there's no caramel in stock when I feel like having some caramel. Maybe I'll just go home and make my own caramel, and open my own candy shop? :D

My point is, if I'm a teenage girl and I don't have a problem with the way society stereotypes females, why is it a problem?

At some point we have to understand that people generalize and not take it too seriously. Even the statement that "society stereotypes women" is a huge generalization, especially given that the male:female population ratio is roughly 50:50. For the majority of society to stereotype women, women would have to be stereotyping themselves... or maybe the stereotype contains an element of truth.

UntrodTripod:
Didn't Earthbound and Secret of Mana have kids in them? Granted, Secret of Mana also had a mouse/puffball hybrid as a character, but still.
I realize you're more talking about FPSs and such things, but I'm just saying, Earthbound is a good example of a game that had kids, and you had a girl as a main character.

Earthbound had kids. The three main characters in Secret of Mana were in their late teens or early twenties. Actually, the sprite character was over a hundred years old I believe.

DeathWyrmNexus:
I suppose that is an attempt to make me feel bad for my opinion?

It was more of an attempt to show to you how your opinion looked to me. It came across, in a way, as hurtful. Yes, I had an emotional (even butthurt!) reaction to it. Your opinion is valid, but I'm equally validated in responding to it.

DeathWyrmNexus:
I already stated that I believe that there should be games out there with more girl characters and more feminine games.

Sorry if I missed that part of your post. Perhaps I hastily jumped to the conclusion that your "I don't want to play a game like that" carried an unspoken "and no one else would want to play a game like that, either." My apologies. My bad.

DeathWyrmNexus:
However, I also simply stated that I don't have a vested interest as I don't play games to get in touch with my feminine side. I play games to do all the pathetically testosterone driven nonsense I could never do in real life. I play games to vent my anger or fuck with my head. Most of my friends are lovable ladies and I am engaged to an absolute sweetie of a girl. Perhaps I just want to kick some ass and get more of my masculine side out when I play games.

As a female gamer, does this mean that by playing mainstream stereotypical games, I'm "getting in touch with my masculine side?" Why is it that shootin' guns and savin' worlds is an inherently "man thing"? Why would a game where the only difference is a young girl in the lead suddenly become unmanly enough to keep you from playing? Just because a girl is in the hero spot doesn't mean that the whole game is going to have buckets full of glitter and kittens and pretty ribbons, where we all hold hands and talk about our feelings after having a sing-along. There's still a bit of a double-standard at play in your post. And yes, while you've got a great girlfriend and female friends... please recall that they were little girls once? Little girls that your opinion showed something of a hostility towards?

DeathWyrmNexus:
I am sorry that you seem so threatened by my opinion when I already validated yours

I am sorry that you seem so threatened by my disagreement with your perspective? ;)

Novan Leon:
My point is, if I'm a teenage girl and I don't have a problem with the way society stereotypes females, why is it a problem?

At some point we have to understand that people generalize and not take it too seriously. Even the statement that "society stereotypes women" is a huge generalization, especially given that the male:female population ratio is roughly 50:50. For the majority of society to stereotype women, women would have to be stereotyping themselves... or maybe the stereotype contains an element of truth.

I've had discussions like this before, and it hasn't even been about games, or even feminism or stereotyping or caramels. It doesn't matter who the person saying "well I don't see it" is, even if they're a teenage girl. One teenage girl does not speak for all teenage girls. One teenage girl does not even speak for all women. One man does not speak for every man, much the same way. If the teenage girl in question has no problem with games as they are? Good for her! But I'm not her. And I and other people like me have objections to voice.

Society stereotypes EVERYONE. In a society as large as ours, where we have contact with so many people in the course of our lives, the ability to make a snap decision about someone or something is vital. We humans search out the little cues and signs that allow us to make up our mind. Stereotypes DO contain an element of truth, which is what makes them so useful and persistant. And so, stereotypes become an easy way for say... a writer or an artist or a character designer to convey an idea. A man with thick glasses, labcoat, doesn't say much? That's a scientist. A nerd. Probably not brave or nothing. Square-jawed fella with muscles and a glare and a gun? Hey, maybe he's an action hero. Maybe we get to control him shooting that gun? Woman in a slinky dress, posing with a wine glass? Ooh, sexy seductress, bet she hits on the hero. Maybe she's with the villain! So it goes.

Now, my point? I'd like games to convey some more subtle ideas, or some ideas that go beyond the standard toolset of expression that stereotypes provide. Stereotypes and stock characters are a perfectly valid place to start. It's the truly memorable entertainment that then goes BEYOND that. The quiet fella with the glasses and labcoat, what if he picked up a crowbar when everything went to hell in the lab one day...?

Don't take it so seriously? Well no, I haven't gone and gotten any picket signs ready, but is talking about something passionately on an Internet forum "too serious?" ;)

Lampdevil:

Novan Leon:
My point is, if I'm a teenage girl and I don't have a problem with the way society stereotypes females, why is it a problem?

At some point we have to understand that people generalize and not take it too seriously. Even the statement that "society stereotypes women" is a huge generalization, especially given that the male:female population ratio is roughly 50:50. For the majority of society to stereotype women, women would have to be stereotyping themselves... or maybe the stereotype contains an element of truth.

I've had discussions like this before, and it hasn't even been about games, or even feminism or stereotyping or caramels. It doesn't matter who the person saying "well I don't see it" is, even if they're a teenage girl. One teenage girl does not speak for all teenage girls. One teenage girl does not even speak for all women. One man does not speak for every man, much the same way. If the teenage girl in question has no problem with games as they are? Good for her! But I'm not her. And I and other people like me have objections to voice.

Society stereotypes EVERYONE. In a society as large as ours, where we have contact with so many people in the course of our lives, the ability to make a snap decision about someone or something is vital. We humans search out the little cues and signs that allow us to make up our mind. Stereotypes DO contain an element of truth, which is what makes them so useful and persistant. And so, stereotypes become an easy way for say... a writer or an artist or a character designer to convey an idea. A man with thick glasses, labcoat, doesn't say much? That's a scientist. A nerd. Probably not brave or nothing. Square-jawed fella with muscles and a glare and a gun? Hey, maybe he's an action hero. Maybe we get to control him shooting that gun? Woman in a slinky dress, posing with a wine glass? Ooh, sexy seductress, bet she hits on the hero. Maybe she's with the villain! So it goes.

Now, my point? I'd like games to convey some more subtle ideas, or some ideas that go beyond the standard toolset of expression that stereotypes provide. Stereotypes and stock characters are a perfectly valid place to start. It's the truly memorable entertainment that then goes BEYOND that. The quiet fella with the glasses and labcoat, what if he picked up a crowbar when everything went to hell in the lab one day...?

Don't take it so seriously? Well no, I haven't gone and gotten any picket signs ready, but is talking about something passionately on an Internet forum "too serious?" ;)

No, I'm not accusing you of taking it too seriously, per say, I'm just trying to emphasize the fact that a lot of things mainstream society says/does/glorifies are incorrect or ridiculous, and it's important to take everything with a grain of salt. This is especially true when you realize that a relatively small minority of people generate the vast majority of the entertainment and news media that we see every day. I believe the TRUE majority of the population thinks very differently from the VAST majority of the media that we see every day. This can be hard to remember when you're constantly bombarded with the media's point of view (ie. stereotypes) and you rarely see anything else.

Your points are all reasonable and completely understandable, but I will point out what I see as unreasonable (IMPORTANT NOTE: I'm not accusing you of ANY of these, just making a point of caution for anyone reading):
- Trying to convince someone that doesn't have a problem with the way they are treated, that they SHOULD have a problem, is a disservice to that person, regardless of how noble your cause is.
- Asking a market dominated by a demographic that likes intense action and voluptuous women to ignore it's demographic just to make a minority of women happy is unreasonable.
- To play games obviously oriented towards young men and expect them to cater to mature women is unreasonable.

Novan Leon:
IMPORTANT NOTE: I'm not accusing you of ANY of these, just making a point of caution for anyone reading

Duly noted!

Novan Leon:
- Trying to convince someone that doesn't have a problem with the way they are treated, that they SHOULD have a problem, is a disservice to that person, regardless of how noble your cause is.
- Asking a market dominated by a demographic that likes intense action and voluptuous women to ignore it's demographic just to make a minority of women happy is unreasonable.
- To play games obviously oriented towards young men and expect them to cater to mature women is unreasonable.

-Trying to persuade someone to see your point of view is a bad idea? I do at least understand that smacking people with your pet issue over and over and over again when they've made it clear that they're not listening is not worthwhile. You have to pick your battles, and know when to cut your losses. But battles are still worth having in the first place.
-Asking the gamer demographic to give up all hot chicks and guns forever and ever is certainly unreasonable. There's probably someone out there trying to argue that, and I argue in response that they're silly. Asking for a little more diversity isn't cause to "ignore that core demographic", though. Not every game absolutely has to be an exercise in realistic world-building and character development with deep plot and character motivations. Sometimes I just wanna blow shit up and look pretty, too.
-I hardly expect "games oriented towards men" to meet my every psychological need. (Hell, I try not to expect games to meet my psychological needs other than the "PUSH BUTTAN, GET PRETTEH COLORS" need that I've fostered over the years.) Perhaps we just need more "games oriented towards people?"

I don't think we're actually arguing over much, here. We're on the same side? Hey, who doesn't want a bigger variety of games to play? I think the perspective that we're getting scared of here is the caricature of the censorship-happy shrieking harpy of a feminist that wants to destroy all fun and excitement. I'm sure she's actually out there, somewhere. I wouldn't like her very much, though.

Lampdevil:

It's unlikely that one person standing on their front porch (or posting on an Internet forum) is going to kick off the Revolution.

I won't if everyone believes that! Maybe you're that final drop in the tidal wave, to paraphrase your metaphor. Also, I'm laughing hysterically at the irony of your posting rank in her being "paperboy".

On the topic of boys/girls as video game characters, we need to stop teaching children that it matters what gender you are. Boys playing as girls? Cool! Girls saving princes? Wicked! Boys playing as Arnie from Predator? Neat! Girls playing as Lara Croft? You get the picture.
The point is to have fun, and teaching kids (and adults) that they should constantly be thinking about what gender they are, and are playing as, strikes me as wrong. Gender neutrality is not the answer, that has the same effect as "hate crimes", you're still making it glaringly obvious that the sexes are supposedly different. The answer is gender ignorance. If the story calls for a female, put a female in. If it calls for a yoshi, put a yoshi in. It doesn't matter, as long as you're enjoying yourself.

You could argue the negative facts about any game/movie/book being stereotypical or unfair. Pokemon for example? Awesome game, and you can choose to be a girl or boy. But what about the animal cruelty? Trapping wild creatures and forcing them to fight each other? I'm exaggerating, of course, but my point is that almost everything will have some sort of negative quality to it. You could argue that violence in games, is not good to put into a child's or anyone's mind constantly.

As for women being objectified sexually in games? I never thought it was objectification. I always saw it as honoring women. Why would you want to be portrayed as uglier than men constantly? I mean, men are pretty ugly so......phew....that's like....that's like klingon ugly. Women are hot! All of you! Hell yeah, be proud! Being seductive isn't being submissive, it's using your guile to manipulate someone dumber than you. Why not use the tools you've got?

Phew.... </disorganized rant>

Lampdevil:
As a female gamer, does this mean that by playing mainstream stereotypical games, I'm "getting in touch with my masculine side?" Why is it that shootin' guns and savin' worlds is an inherently "man thing"? Why would a game where the only difference is a young girl in the lead suddenly become unmanly enough to keep you from playing? Just because a girl is in the hero spot doesn't mean that the whole game is going to have buckets full of glitter and kittens and pretty ribbons, where we all hold hands and talk about our feelings after having a sing-along. There's still a bit of a double-standard at play in your post. And yes, while you've got a great girlfriend and female friends... please recall that they were little girls once? Little girls that your opinion showed something of a hostility towards?

Eh, I don't wanna be a girl in a game. The only reason I ever put up a female skin in a game is when I have played it so much that the addition of a wiggle makes it interesting. When I cue up Oblivion or Champions of Norath where Gender doesn't matter at all, the only time I pick a female character is because I want to just see a female form. Otherwise I don't bring them as it doesn't matter to the game and I prefer the gender I grew up with.

Feel free to call that misogynistic or pigheaded but eh. Lara Croft's personality always got on my nerves because I don't really dig self centered people so a guy with the same personality would annoy me.

I was simply addressing what the article was talking about when it was stating that games should make more Female friendly games. Sounds like something I won't get into.

As a bit of thought on female protagonists, I will present my absolute favorite. Storm. God I love that girl. She has confidence, she has a slinky side, she doesn't have to be a bitch to get what she wants, win freaking win. She just has that super cool inner strength and you have no idea how much I can respect that, adore that even.

I am sorry that you seem so threatened by my disagreement with your perspective? ;)

Well, I didn't use Butthurt to describe my reaction so I can't say I was really threatened. I just decided to address a post that basically labeled me a Poopiehead.

McWipp:

Lampdevil:

It's unlikely that one person standing on their front porch (or posting on an Internet forum) is going to kick off the Revolution.

I won't if everyone believes that! Maybe you're that final drop in the tidal wave, to paraphrase your metaphor. Also, I'm laughing hysterically at the irony of your posting rank in her being "paperboy".

On the topic of boys/girls as video game characters, we need to stop teaching children that it matters what gender you are. Boys playing as girls? Cool! Girls saving princes? Wicked! Boys playing as Arnie from Predator? Neat! Girls playing as Lara Croft? You get the picture.
The point is to have fun, and teaching kids (and adults) that they should constantly be thinking about what gender they are, and are playing as, strikes me as wrong. Gender neutrality is not the answer, that has the same effect as "hate crimes", you're still making it glaringly obvious that the sexes are supposedly different. The answer is gender ignorance. If the story calls for a female, put a female in. If it calls for a yoshi, put a yoshi in. It doesn't matter, as long as you're enjoying yourself.

You could argue the negative facts about any game/movie/book being stereotypical or unfair. Pokemon for example? Awesome game, and you can choose to be a girl or boy. But what about the animal cruelty? Trapping wild creatures and forcing them to fight each other? I'm exaggerating, of course, but my point is that almost everything will have some sort of negative quality to it. You could argue that violence in games, is not good to put into a child's or anyone's mind constantly.

As for women being objectified sexually in games? I never thought it was objectification. I always saw it as honoring women. Why would you want to be portrayed as uglier than men constantly? I mean, men are pretty ugly so......phew....that's like....that's like klingon ugly. Women are hot! All of you! Hell yeah, be proud! Being seductive isn't being submissive, it's using your guile to manipulate someone dumber than you. Why not use the tools you've got?

Phew.... </disorganized rant>

All I can say is Fucking Thank You... I agree.

Lampdevil:
-Trying to persuade someone to see your point of view is a bad idea? I do at least understand that smacking people with your pet issue over and over and over again when they've made it clear that they're not listening is not worthwhile. You have to pick your battles, and know when to cut your losses. But battles are still worth having in the first place.

I totally agree, I think these battles are always worth having.

The problem arises when the battles become more subjective and less objective. Whether GirlA is happy or not is entirely up to her. For GirlB to try to convince GirlA that she is being discriminated against, and thus project her own personal problems upon GirlA, seems a bit self-serving to me.

I'm not sure how this originally tied back to video games, but, oh well.

Lampdevil:
-Asking the gamer demographic to give up all hot chicks and guns forever and ever is certainly unreasonable. There's probably someone out there trying to argue that, and I argue in response that they're silly. Asking for a little more diversity isn't cause to "ignore that core demographic", though. Not every game absolutely has to be an exercise in realistic world-building and character development with deep plot and character motivations. Sometimes I just wanna blow shit up and look pretty, too.

I totally agree.

Lampdevil:
-I hardly expect "games oriented towards men" to meet my every psychological need. (Hell, I try not to expect games to meet my psychological needs other than the "PUSH BUTTAN, GET PRETTEH COLORS" need that I've fostered over the years.) Perhaps we just need more "games oriented towards people?"

I agree.

Lampdevil:
I don't think we're actually arguing over much, here. We're on the same side? Hey, who doesn't want a bigger variety of games to play? I think the perspective that we're getting scared of here is the caricature of the censorship-happy shrieking harpy of a feminist that wants to destroy all fun and excitement. I'm sure she's actually out there, somewhere. I wouldn't like her very much, though.

Neither would I. I'd also like to reference back to one of my earlier points, namely, that the majority of the most successful games out there DO avoid a lot of these stereotypes. Cliches and stereotypes may feed the shallow minded for only so long before people want something new, fresh and real. The best games are based on this principle.

I'll be honest about this. I want my male characters to be men, and I want my female characters to be women. I don't want masculine women or feminine men. I don't want men who are submissive to women because they don't have a spine, and I don't want women who dominate men just because they feel they should have the right since the men do it. I want REAL people who do things for a good reason and are completely natural about it, not because of any preconceived notions that they have about the way society wants or doesn't want them to be in this current day and age.

*Ramble ramble*

UntrodTripod:
Didn't Earthbound and Secret of Mana have kids in them? Granted, Secret of Mana also had a mouse/puffball hybrid as a character, but still.
I realize you're more talking about FPSs and such things, but I'm just saying, Earthbound is a good example of a game that had kids, and you had a girl as a main character.

AND the girl in Earthbound wasn't the healer. Sure, her HP was pretty low compared to the boys, but her PSI power was phenomenal. Seriously, next to Ness (Rockin' is like instadeath at the lower levels), Paula had the best PSI attacks. She got me out of many sticky situations with Freeze. (Earthbound is one of my favourite games. Can you tell?)

Novan Leon:
I'll be honest about this. I want my male characters to be men, and I want my female characters to be women. I don't want masculine women or feminine men. I don't want men who are submissive to women because they don't have a spine, and I don't want women who dominate men just because they feel they should have the right since the men do it. I want REAL people who do things for a good reason and are completely natural about it, not because of any preconceived notions that they have about the way society wants or doesn't want them to be in this current day and age.

I don't really get what you mean. Are you saying that feminine men and masculine women aren't real? Because we are, and sometimes we even do things for a good reason. Mostly we just sit around and cry because you don't like us. ;_;

Another thing: women aren't allowed to dominate men because men dominate women and that is the way it should be? Because if that's what you're saying, I'm going to get offended.

Novan Leon:

Novan Leon:
Is there really a problem affecting me if I can't see it?

My point is, if I'm a teenage girl and I don't have a problem with the way society stereotypes females, why is it a problem?

You realize those are two different questions? That there's a big difference between whether an unseen problem affects me, and not thinking something is a 'problem' in the first place?

I bring it up because if you and Lampdevil are trying to answer two different questions, you run the risk of talking past each other. Maybe you two should nail down if you're talking about, for example 'but what about the girl who doesn't think the oppressive image pushed by Barbie is harming her' or you're talking about 'but what about the girl who doesn't accept that the image Barbie is pushing oppresses her in the first place'.

Novan Leon:
I'll be honest about this. I want my male characters to be men, and I want my female characters to be women. I don't want masculine women or feminine men. I don't want men who are submissive to women because they don't have a spine, and I don't want women who dominate men just because they feel they should have the right since the men do it.

My question to that would be: what does that actually mean? How do you define 'masculine' and 'feminine'? Isn't spinelessness as undesireable in a woman as in a man? And shouldn't dominating others be considered as ugly when it's done by a man as it's done by a woman?

I want REAL people who do things for a good reason and are completely natural about it, not because of any preconceived notions that they have about the way society wants or doesn't want them to be in this current day and age.

Yet I've never met anyone who didn't want to play a totally fake character who dedicated their life to vengeance with an unnatural commitment to learning the martial arts all so they could seek revenge on the king who killed their family for the bad reason that that's the way their society wanted them to be in that day and age.

Which brings up another point: how much does how we want to 'play' say about who we are? What if I want to go around murdering women in the Godfather game? What does that say about my gender politics? Does it say any more or less or different than if I enjoy rough sex? It's interesting to see the parallels between the politics of sex and the politics of games, since in a sense they are both a form of 'play' where people have very strong reactions to what is supposed to be simply fantasy.

For instance: are you as adverse to playing a submissive, spineless woman as you are to playing a submissive, spineless man? To playing a woman who dominates men just because men do it, as you are to playing a man who dominates those around him just because society tells him he should?

Maybe the hang-up in this argument is that we're acting as if wanting to *play* as something in the fantasy of a video game is always the same as wanting to *be* that something in real life. And more specifically, *not* wanting to play as something means not wanting it to be the way the real world works.

Maybe what we really need is to tease out where the line is between not wanting something in a video game because of some sexist belief, and not wanting something in a video game for the same reason we wouldn't want something in our sex lives: it just doesn't turn us on.

Lampdevil:

Yup! Pokemon. Good game, female protagonist, nothing the least bit wrong with that. Now, think we can get a few more games out there that do that? :)

And yes... if you swapped Link for Zelda, the game WOULD stay the same. That's a point that I didn't get around to making. Because a silent protagonist, no matter the gender, can be just as heroic. And the game can be just as good. And a Zelda game where you DO play as Zelda wouldn't be boring, would it?

Why are you pushing for something that you know is wrong? Nearly every game I have been playing lately either allows the player to choose a female, or has a preset character that is a female that you play through. Instead you pick certain titles like "Mario and Link".

Mcwipp I heart you.

It doesn't matter what gender the character is if you can make a character with personality that you can empathize with, along with making a solid game. I like playing as the Valkyrie in Odin Sphere, I think she was an interesting character. Not once did I think "geez a man would fill this position so much better". Not once did I think "Tanya would be a better infantry hero if it was a man" (Old school Red Alert).

All this being said, I am currently looking around my gaming area. There are six games where you are forced to be a male exclusively, there are four where you are forced to be a female exclusively. The remaining 25 or so let you choose or have a preset series of events with some men and some women. I don't think that's too bad.

(Omitting turn-based RPG's, as they mostly include women characters that melt face whome I like better than the main character)

ChrisP.Lettuce:

It doesn't matter what gender the character is if you can make a character with personality that you can empathize with, along with making a solid game.

Actually, I think the turn the discussion has taken is that there are some kinds of personalities where it *does matter* what gender the character is. Where we can empathize with a woman with, say, the personality of a helpless victim, but not with a man with the same personality. Compare those 29 games where you play as a woman to the 31 where you play as a man--what's *different* about the games is the question here, not the numbers.

It's like that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where Lancelot gets all sketchy about saving a prince from being married off by his father when he'd have no issue with saving a princess. Same thing in games. Now why is that?

McWipp:

As for women being objectified sexually in games? I never thought it was objectification. I always saw it as honoring women. Why would you want to be portrayed as uglier than men constantly? I mean, men are pretty ugly so......phew....that's like....that's like klingon ugly. Women are hot! All of you! Hell yeah, be proud! Being seductive isn't being submissive, it's using your guile to manipulate someone dumber than you. Why not use the tools you've got?

Phew.... </disorganized rant>

Heh, the enthusiasm is awesome, but, fact is there are some ugly-ass women out there. It's just true. The problem is if you're an ugly-ass woman: if the only women people see are beautiful, well, then beautiful becomes a necessary characteristic of being a woman. Which makes people regard ugly-ass women as somehow not really 'women' in the way attractive women are.

As for not using the tools one has, here's the reason: it gives someone who can't be manipulated an excuse to keep you down. It makes all your accomplishments suspect: are they due to actual talent and hard work, or are they due to manipulation and guile? As long as women manipulate men with guile, men have the excuse to take out-of-proportion defensive measures against women to protect themselves from that manipulation and guile.

Rodge:
I don't really get what you mean. Are you saying that feminine men and masculine women aren't real? Because we are, and sometimes we even do things for a good reason. Mostly we just sit around and cry because you don't like us. ;_;

Another thing: women aren't allowed to dominate men because men dominate women and that is the way it should be? Because if that's what you're saying, I'm going to get offended.

I'm saying that women shouldn't be masculine and men shouldn't be feminine just because they want to rebel against the stereotypes that say they shouldn't be, as is more often the case in the entertainment world. If a man is feminine, so be it, but society is encouraging him to be feminine just so they can flaunt it in the face of traditional values. The same goes for women with traditionally masculine traits. Call it a rebellion against tradition if you will. Anyone that lets society form who you are as a person is in for a difficult time.

I'd rather not go off on this tangent, but whether or not you get offended is up to you.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

ChrisP.Lettuce:

It doesn't matter what gender the character is if you can make a character with personality that you can empathize with, along with making a solid game.

Actually, I think the turn the discussion has taken is that there are some kinds of personalities where it *does matter* what gender the character is. Where we can empathize with a woman with, say, the personality of a helpless victim, but not with a man with the same personality. Compare those 29 games where you play as a woman to the 31 where you play as a man--what's *different* about the games is the question here, not the numbers.

It's like that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where Lancelot gets all sketchy about saving a prince from being married off by his father when he'd have no issue with saving a princess. Same thing in games. Now why is that?

Simple answer: It's not romantic.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Novan Leon:
I'll be honest about this. I want my male characters to be men, and I want my female characters to be women. I don't want masculine women or feminine men. I don't want men who are submissive to women because they don't have a spine, and I don't want women who dominate men just because they feel they should have the right since the men do it.

My question to that would be: what does that actually mean? How do you define 'masculine' and 'feminine'? Isn't spinelessness as undesireable in a woman as in a man? And shouldn't dominating others be considered as ugly when it's done by a man as it's done by a woman?

The problem is, more often than not in today's PC climate, a woman dominating a man (even if it's just being the dominant partner in a relationship) has already become perfectly acceptable in today's society, where a man dominating a woman (even in the smallest way) is almost automatically seen as sexist. The issue occurs when people begin using media as a barometer for what should or should not be acceptable behavior. Just be yourself for goodness sakes, don't judge yourself according to the PC standard. Likewise, I want to see characters who are formed as unique individuals and not taken from the PC template.

I want REAL people who do things for a good reason and are completely natural about it, not because of any preconceived notions that they have about the way society wants or doesn't want them to be in this current day and age.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
Yet I've never met anyone who didn't want to play a totally fake character who dedicated their life to vengeance with an unnatural commitment to learning the martial arts all so they could seek revenge on the king who killed their family for the bad reason that that's the way their society wanted them to be in that day and age.

Which brings up another point: how much does how we want to 'play' say about who we are? What if I want to go around murdering women in the Godfather game? What does that say about my gender politics? Does it say any more or less or different than if I enjoy rough sex? It's interesting to see the parallels between the politics of sex and the politics of games, since in a sense they are both a form of 'play' where people have very strong reactions to what is supposed to be simply fantasy.

For instance: are you as adverse to playing a submissive, spineless woman as you are to playing a submissive, spineless man? To playing a woman who dominates men just because men do it, as you are to playing a man who dominates those around him just because society tells him he should?

Maybe the hang-up in this argument is that we're acting as if wanting to *play* as something in the fantasy of a video game is always the same as wanting to *be* that something in real life. And more specifically, *not* wanting to play as something means not wanting it to be the way the real world works.

Maybe what we really need is to tease out where the line is between not wanting something in a video game because of some sexist belief, and not wanting something in a video game for the same reason we wouldn't want something in our sex lives: it just doesn't turn us on.

I tend to project myself into the games that I play, so obviously I want to play as a character that I can relate to. This tends to exclude female characters or characters with a disposition or character at odds with my own. This is just me. On the other hand, I notice that most guys like to play female characters because they are *ahem* easier on the eyes. I've never understood this because that's just not how I roll. This also speaks to why I never could get into the GTA games; I can't relate to the actions of the primary character, and have no desire to do so.

McWhipp:
As for women being objectified sexually in games? I never thought it was objectification. I always saw it as honoring women. Why would you want to be portrayed as uglier than men constantly? I mean, men are pretty ugly so......phew....that's like....that's like klingon ugly. Women are hot! All of you! Hell yeah, be proud! Being seductive isn't being submissive, it's using your guile to manipulate someone dumber than you. Why not use the tools you've got?

Men are ugly? Well, you're probably a heterosexual male. I think men are pretty damn nice to look at, myself. ;D Hurr hurr.

I'm gonna be honest. I am not a good looking woman. I'm average, on a good day. And there are tons of women out there that look like me... and I can't recall much representation of the 'average' woman in most games. This is not a request to fill all the games with "ugly women". I don't want to be "constantly portrayed as uglier than men", (which would require some effort if men are already workin' the ugly thing already, prosthetic Klingon foreheads indeed!) I just would like that the non-beautiful women have the occasional representative. I want a game to say "this woman kicks ass", without having to have the almost-mandatory "this woman is SMOKIN' HAWT" that goes along with it. Beauty is power, power is beautiful, and beautiful women are the ones that get to fling that power around, generally speaking.

Honoring women for beauty? Sometimes, that seems like it's all that women get honored for. And the average ladies out there don't get much of that 'honor' as a result. And a dubious honor it is, at that. Beauty doesn't last. Beauty's hard to keep up. Seduction and wiles are only in a woman's arsenal for so long, before age sets in... and in the end, isn't it dishonest? And, as Cheeze_Pavilion has said, it gives the unmanipulatable a reason to think ill of women. "Oh, she's just trying to mess with your head! Forget her." or "She just slept her way to the top! She's not actually any good at that job!" Nasty, nasty stuff, that.

Speaking of Cheeze_Pavilion....

Cheeze_Pavilion:
I bring it up because if you and Lampdevil are trying to answer two different questions, you run the risk of talking past each other. Maybe you two should nail down if you're talking about, for example 'but what about the girl who doesn't think the oppressive image pushed by Barbie is harming her' or you're talking about 'but what about the girl who doesn't accept that the image Barbie is pushing oppresses her in the first place'.

You've got a good point, man. I think Novan Leon and I are both just sliiiightly off-center from each other, flailing our metaphorical arms at nothingness.

So, to take the restated argument? The "Oh I don't mind oppressive images" versus "Oh that's not oppressive, I don't mind" are separate ways of saying "not my problem." At least the "that's not oppressive" camp is more... honest and pure? Because if you know something's iffy and you're okay with it anyway.... eeeehn. But now we're just beating a dead horse.

Novan Leon:
I want REAL people who do things for a good reason and are completely natural about it, not because of any preconceived notions that they have about the way society wants or doesn't want them to be in this current day and age.

Real people! Yes, the gaming world needs more characters who are believable as real people! ...and then we can all have us a long debate over what constitutes a real person? Tricky business, that. Because there are some real men that are submissive, and some real women that feel that the NEED to be all GRR RAR BOW BEFORE ME, WORM. Myself, I just like that my characters are believable within the context of the narrative that they find themselves in. Their actions should not be dictated by some kind of crazy agenda, be it the old stereotypes or some sort of new-wave conception of gender roles.

Things are certainly better than they once were! But there are still things that make me wanna grab the developers by the collar and go "WHY DID YOU DOOOOOO THAAAAAAAT!?" See: Alarming conceptions of how breasts work in the upcoming Dead or Alive game. Yes, boobies are fun, and I've gotten many hours of enjoyment out of my boobies, but if I was going to go out and engage in Epic Combat I'd bring a well-padded sports bra. I swear, some of those outfits, someone's going to do a backflip and slap herself in the face with her own chest! But now I'm digressing again...

It also occurs to me that while lots of the extremely successful games have great characters and reasonably fair gender representation... well, what about the less successful games? The second-stringers? The rest of the stuff that fills those gaming shelves? They do still get played. Not everyone is a fussy well-informed gamer that reads the review sites and picks the best of the best. Lots of folk go down to Blockbuster and rent games because the cover looks cool or their friend told them it was good. I'm pretty sure there's some sexism still lurking... I was recently speaking with my game-loving aunt, and she told me about some random skateboarding game she picked up for her GameCube. "So all the guys are wearing t-shirts and skater pants and shorts but the only options the girls get are... like... skankwear. I really don't like that. I don't want [young cousin of mine] to play that when he comes to visit me." Her opinion of the game and the series that it's from has been damaged, as a result. And said damage could likely have been prevented by letting the ladies have a baggy outfit or two.

Novan Leon:
I'm saying that women shouldn't be masculine and men shouldn't be feminine just because they want to rebel against the stereotypes that say they shouldn't be, as is more often the case in the entertainment world. If a man is feminine, so be it, but society is encouraging him to be feminine just so they can flaunt it in the face of traditional values. The same goes for women with traditionally masculine traits. Call it a rebellion against tradition if you will. Anyone that lets society form who you are as a person is in for a difficult time.

What if men what to be feminine and women want to be masculine because it works for them? I don't want to be obligated to get married, nor do I want to have to let my boyfriend/husband make all the decisions in my life. I want a career. I want to make my own money. I want to stand up for myself when someone does something bad. I want to play video games! And if I were to not "rebel against stereotype", well, I wouldn't get to do that. And that wouldn't be much fun, would it?

If you're a woman and you're joining the football team and taking shop class because it's the feminist thing to do, even though you hate football and would honestly prefer to take home ec, then that's bad. Hell, it's silly and ignorant. If someone in the media is portrayed as doing this, then the creator in question is doing a sloppy, ignorant job. Gender equality shouldn't be about making people do a certain thing. It's giving the freedom to do what people really want to do. Anything else is just opression dressed up in different colors.

One thing that's been bothering me - why do we continuously compare games to the real world. Surely, it is the only thing we as people know. But wouldn't the most fantastic "fantasy" worlds and realities do away with some common truths of our reality?

Here's a hypothetical situation. What if you played a game where the primary race had a symbiotic relationship with a chicken? Furthermore, the chicken could mind control other people. And what if this was only true for the males of the species? The females of the species instead had wings and could fly anywhere. However, due to the lack of chickens, it would be quite easy, and a common occurence, for the females to be dominated by the males.

Would you be bothered by the fact that, in this purely fictional setting, that the women were easily dominated by the men. Despite the fact that, in this world, there were also a whole slew of customs and traditions different from our own. What if the roles were reversed, and it were the females with the mind-control chickens?

Despite the somewhat silly nature of this example, I think the answers to this question would say a little bit about how much a person brings their conceptions of the real world into a fantasy game world with them, and how much it affects their enjoyment of it. As a game developer trying to create a successful game, they have to be somewhat aware of these sore spots. The more of 'em touched on..the more the sales might be hurt.

My point? Fiction is fiction and reality is reality. Perhaps keeping the two separate might increase enjoyment of the fictional world a little more. Granted, this theory doesn't hold water as much with the realistic games our there.

Necrohydra:

My point? Fiction is fiction and reality is reality. Perhaps keeping the two separate might increase enjoyment of the fictional world a little more. Granted, this theory doesn't hold water as much with the realistic games our there.

Yeah, in almost all games though, they're close enough to our world that it's very hard to shrug and say "they are separate".
Look at the Witcher, Yahtzee's apparent love of softcore pornography aside, every single woman in that game looks like a cross between a DoA girl and a porn star, and has clearly been raised with the conception in mind that if any platinum blond men should pass through, they should "service" them any way they can.

This means that, even though it's a fantasy world, the extreme misogynistic nature of it still heavily spills into reality and annoys most people who aren't misogynistic themselves.

Lampdevil:

Novan Leon:
I'm saying that women shouldn't be masculine and men shouldn't be feminine just because they want to rebel against the stereotypes that say they shouldn't be, as is more often the case in the entertainment world. If a man is feminine, so be it, but society is encouraging him to be feminine just so they can flaunt it in the face of traditional values. The same goes for women with traditionally masculine traits. Call it a rebellion against tradition if you will. Anyone that lets society form who you are as a person is in for a difficult time.

What if men what to be feminine and women want to be masculine because it works for them? I don't want to be obligated to get married, nor do I want to have to let my boyfriend/husband make all the decisions in my life. I want a career. I want to make my own money. I want to stand up for myself when someone does something bad. I want to play video games! And if I were to not "rebel against stereotype", well, I wouldn't get to do that. And that wouldn't be much fun, would it?

If you're a woman and you're joining the football team and taking shop class because it's the feminist thing to do, even though you hate football and would honestly prefer to take home ec, then that's bad. Hell, it's silly and ignorant. If someone in the media is portrayed as doing this, then the creator in question is doing a sloppy, ignorant job. Gender equality shouldn't be about making people do a certain thing. It's giving the freedom to do what people really want to do. Anything else is just opression dressed up in different colors.

But in your case it doesn't sound like you're rebelling against the stereotype, you're just being yourself, and more power to you. If you insisted on joining the football team just because they say it isn't proper, in order to prove your independence, then you're letting society drive your actions. You'd be surprised how many people feel like they have something to prove when the essence of being secure in who you are is NOT having anything to prove.

By the way, unless someone is physically or verbally abusing you to your face, oppression is what you let it be. If you're truly independent, nobody will be really able to oppress you.

Novan Leon:

Simple answer: It's not romantic.

Complex question that simple answer raises: why isn't it romantic?

propertyofcobra:
This means that, even though it's a fantasy world, the extreme misogynistic nature of it still heavily spills into reality and annoys most people who aren't misogynistic themselves.

Yup. Just because a fantasy world exists doesn't mean that I have to buy in to that particular fantasy world. It's just fantasy, and it ain't real, but I ain't putting up with bad fantasy. Some things you can let pass, while others are so glaring that you just have to put the game/book/movie down and keep going. Anyone here ever hear of the Gor series of books? Wait, no, we probably shouldn't head down that path...

Although I'm fascinated by this mind-controlling chickens concept. Chickens are inherently funny.

Lampdevil:

So, to take the restated argument? The "Oh I don't mind oppressive images" versus "Oh that's not oppressive, I don't mind" are separate ways of saying "not my problem." At least the "that's not oppressive" camp is more... honest and pure?

I would say it goes farther than that--"Oh that's not oppressive, I don't mind" isn't just saying "not my problem" it's saying "not anyone's problem." If something isn't oppressive, well, then it's not a problem, right?

Novan Leon:
The issue occurs when people begin using media as a barometer for what should or should not be acceptable behavior. Just be yourself for goodness sakes, don't judge yourself according to the PC standard. Likewise, I want to see characters who are formed as unique individuals and not taken from the PC template.

But the question is: don't you see that characters are often formed from non-PC templates? You're making it sound like if we just avoid designing characters from the PC template they'll 'naturally' come out as unique individuals. I think the point of the author, Lampdevil and I is that there are plenty of other 'templates' that characters are created from which make those individuals less than unique.

I tend to project myself into the games that I play, so obviously I want to play as a character that I can relate to. This tends to exclude female characters or characters with a disposition or character at odds with my own. This is just me.

So then you understand perfectly why some women want more female characters in games :-D

Seriously--think of your female analog: wouldn't she be the loudest voice in this discussion clamoring for more female characters?

I'd like to say I feel pretty secure in my choices, Novan Leon. ;) I just wish that everyone could be so lucky. The big grand overarching force of "society" is hard to struggle against, whichever direction it cares to push at any given moment in history.

Novan Leon:
By the way, unless someone is physically or verbally abusing you to your face, oppression is what you let it be. If you're truly independent, nobody will be really able to oppress you.

That, I could argue against. I'm not about to declare that people holding opinions different from my own is any sort of oppression. But there are forms of oppression beyond physical violence or petty insults. I think that's an argument for another day, though.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
I would say it goes farther than that--"Oh that's not oppressive, I don't mind" isn't just saying "not my problem" it's saying "not anyone's problem." If something isn't oppressive, well, then it's not a problem, right?

That's one of the points that I was originally trying to make. If it's "not anyone's problem", then why should anyone do anything to change it? It's not a problem! So let's all get back to what we were doing, and not rock the boat. Shhh! Sit down! Be quiet! You don't want to make anyone mad, do you? [/sarcasm]

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