17: Women Monsters and Monstrous Women

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Women Monsters and Monstrous Women

The survival horror genre stands out among others as having the most gender-equal character roles. Bonnie Ruberg explores this phenomenon, and discusses how female heroines, damsels, and monsters are used to provoke emotional responses from the player.

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"The world has yet to see a horror title that features a bold female character forced to drag around a weak, whimpering male NPC."

Wrong. Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Steve Burnside... good lord... X(

I am not sure how choosing to be a female monster is different that choosing to be a big ole heroine, except that the sexiness is removed? The inate power of the character, its Bad Ass-ness, is what you are left with. In other words, a typical male character.
I think women have plenty of choices in playing bad ass female characters...that have the regular male oriented action set. Whats needed is some different actions and game systems that allow for some other kind of positive action besides killing your opponent. Games should let you play 'like a woman' if you want.

Geneforge is pretty good for gender neutrality. Some of the strongest enemies you can fight are of the female persuasion.

chexfan2000:
"The world has yet to see a horror title that features a bold female character forced to drag around a weak, whimpering male NPC."

Wrong. Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Steve Burnside... good lord... X(

Wait a minute, wasn't the lead character in Silent Hill female?? Pretty sure a couple dumb ass men got butchered in that game ...must...read...article...

I tried, I couldn't keep reading after

Men, as the ones most often holding the controllers, exercise control over playable female characters, redistributing the power balance in favor of the male.

(groan. For the most part I'm pretty sympathetic to feminism in games, but this kind of bookish analysis tends to put me off ever since college.) I really hope there's some reason in there why women aren't "exercising control over playable male characters, redistributing the power balance in favor of the female" in there somewhere.

Woah, digging deep in the archives on that one!

So... If the female character in the survival horror game is weak and realistic, she's a stereotypical damsel in distress.
But if she's empowered and courageous, she is put in a submissive relationship with the (presumably male) player because...apparently the game creators had the sheer gall of letting you control the main character? I'm unsure of this.

I can completely and entirely one hundred percent agree that Ashley is not very far removed from Princess Peach in terms of utter helplessness and old-timey videogame female standards.
But saying that Jill Valentine or Cheryl "Heather" Mason (Resident Evil and Silent Hill 3, respectively) are equally bad because you, gosh golly on a stick, PLAY them is a bit out there.
Is Samus also, then, an extremely submissive feminine whimpering gal because despite the powered armor, the laser gun/rocket launcher for an arm and a plethora of bombs, she's PLAYABLE?

Saying that female monsters are scarier because they subvert the normal views of girls (and of course, as usual, men are the guilty part here. How dare we all, apparently, presume that all girls are submissive, cute and exist only to polish our knob when we order them to?. God knows I constantly think that about every girl I meet.) is probably flawed too.
The monstrous examples of women in Resident Evil, be they Lisa Trevor or the pitchfork-wielding women in RE4, are NOT scary because of subverted female ideals.
It's pity.
Lisa used to be a normal girl, but was turned into this face-wearing thing. You are expressly told so, and asked to pity her because of it. The same does not hold true for Tyrant, which we know was once human, but lacks a name and background. They're both equally monstrous in nature, but we're only told to pity the female death machine.
Likewise in resident evil 4, before you see even ONE female attack you, you can find one suspended in the air by means of pitchfork through the face. The women are not treated fairly in the seemingly peaceful little village. The girls aren't feminist crusaders masked as knife-wielding psychopaths. They're prisoners, both in their minds and in the village. The men on the other hand are only prisoners in their own mind, because of the parasite. We see no inwards agression in the village towards males, only females.

The article asks me to see Lisa Trevor as the ultimate feminist, but Samus Aran or Claire Redfield as only further subverting of an entire gender. I don't buy it, personally.
It's an interesting read, yes. It's well written, yes.

But I disagree, respectfully of course, with what I'm asked to think about both empowered female player characters, and of the evil female monsters I end up killing.

Rather than the idea of female monsters as distorted and metaphorical sexual predators, perhaps it's more accurate to say that the fear and violence towards female monsters in specific is because they represent the social role of the guardian of their territory; where men in the real world must get through a female's defenses in order to gain access to her inner sanctum (both emotionally and physically speaking), protagonists like Kratos of God of War fame must dispatch the gorgons to gain access to their temples as well. In this way, the predominantly male gamer population finds a way to come to terms with any misgivings they may have in dealings with the so-called fairer sex, in a cultural language they know very well: simulated violence.

That really, really hurt to write. I haven't expressed my B.S. gland like that in months, maybe years. I don't know how people can get all metaphorical and symbolic *all the time;* losing that much touch with reality would kill me.

Perhaps if the author had more extensive game experience, she might have avoided some of the obvious and therefore incomplete conclusions in her article. Onimusha:Warlords was dubbed "Resident Evil in feudal Japan" when it was released. It features a playable female ninja (Kaede) who not only fearlessly kicks butt and takes names, she also rescues the hero. (Indeed, Onimusha 2 and 3 both feature playable females who assist and/or rescue the hero.)

Considering escort missions are some of the most reviled gaming gimmicks, I see no value in having a female character escort a sniveling, useless male character. It won't make me think more of women in games or women in general. It will just make me bored, frustrated and wishing that part of the game were over already.

WilyWombat:
I think women have plenty of choices in playing bad ass female characters...that have the regular male oriented action set. Whats needed is some different actions and game systems that allow for some other kind of positive action besides killing your opponent. Games should let you play 'like a woman' if you want.

What, exactly, does playing "like a woman" entail though? I mean my ex, for example, used to like Viva Pinata because you could smack the pinata around with shovels.

I assume "playing like a woman" continues the tired old idea that girls are cute, small and like talking about problems and that guys on the other hand are superviolent psychos who'd rather kill a hundred people than even suggest that you sit down and talk about your differences.

So "playing like a woman" would be using diplomacy to your advantage, I think.

If my S.O. is any indication, playing like a woman means kicking my ass up, down, and sideways in UT, taking on Big Daddies with a wrench and a smile, and playing Garrett like he's Rambo, and winning.

For an analysis of the phenomenon of female protagist in the horror genre (specifically with regards to film), see "Men, Women, and Chainsaws" by Carol Clover.

edit: Specifically, she does some analysis on how the female leads in these movies (often non-traditionally feminine in looks (Jamie Lee Curtis in the Halloweens) and/or character name, serve as both traditional objects of the male gaze (sorry for the film theory talk, I don't really know how to get around it) and as points of identification through which a theoretical male viewer is drawn in to feelings of vulnerability.

Which I think may relate to games more broadly than just the survival-horror genre, if someone wanted to do an analysis of the experience of male users conciously choosing to represent "themselves" with female avatars.

I'm actually kinda glad Chexfan beat me to it - that way it's right near the top.
Stevie Burnside was a snivelling piece of crap and yes, you had to drag his sorry backside around a large portion of the game (can you say "crazy island"?).

Speaking of which, for all her complaints about playing sexy women, can someone please tell me the last time they played a fat, slovenly male? Has the male protagonist being a well-muscled, studly "strong but (usually) silent" type become so engrained that she hasn't even noticed ( I suppose every now and then we're treated to the "loser who gets better", but typically in RPGs so they're usually still good-looking).

Maybe she has, but she's given it no mention. It'd be nice to address the "other" side of this with an angle other than "they're whining about nothing".

As for female villains, has nobody heard of Max Payne? I'd mention things like Curse of Enchantia (a real classic from the Monkey Island days) but the villain's an evil sorceress, obviously there to remind us that women are witches and not to be trusted. Or some shite. Kantaris from Time Crisis for PSX? Various female villains from the Tomb Raider series (though TR's always a bit of a tight-rope walk due to the mixed opinions of whether it empowers women or objectifies them)? That doctor from C&C Renegade?

Now, I never played the later Resident Evils so I can't speak for 'useless damsel X', but if you want an accompanying female, why not go for Alyx from HL2? She's strong, smart and not particularly sexy (and recently got voted second best woman in gaming ever on Game Trailers). Jade from Beyond Good and Evil was rather similar, and her male companion was literally a pig.

Okay, I've written too much here so I'll wrap up. I'm all for empowering (or simply 'equalising' if you prefer) females in and with games, and I agree with the gist of what she's saying. But she's twisted it into a lose/lose situation, rolled it up into a "lose stick" and beat us about the head with it while crying foul. A woman doesn't have to become a monster just to be powerful (and does no one remember all the shite developers got into for "perpetuating violence against women"?).

EDIT: Just regarding female avatars - I'm a guy but I happen to like Marle (another strong female team-mate). Hence, avatar.

image

Do you think a bunch of lesbians write the scripts for women in games? lol
seriosuly there like all im going to kick the shit out of you
especially resident evil lol

Take a week off for that one. - Joe

"The world has yet to see a horror title that features a bold female character forced to drag around a weak, whimpering male NPC."

Television shows and movies have those in abundance. Just look for anything branded as either a "sitcom" or a "rom-com". Anime and manga especially feature that sort of relationship, taken to the extreme, often featuring the "strong and independant" female leads beating up the "weak and pathetic" male leads. When it comes down to games, however, does anybody really play games for the satisfaction of their character being limited by fears and doubts?

Wow, I feel vaguely insulted by reading that... Does she even Play games?

I'm a sexist jerk if I control a female character? I guess it is gender reassignment for me because I am no longer allowed to play strong female characters in games because I have a penis, but if I play a game with a strong male lead, then I am sexist because I am not playing as a girl.

I just got a headache halfway through page 2 as my ability to be insulted by ignorance reached its peak.

EDIT: I forced myself at mental gunpoint to read the rest of it and the last couple paragraphs seemed like an insult to women. To be gamers, they have to be inhuman monster? Am I on Earth still? I love the female gamer, never considered her a monster. Ugh, okay, I'm done.

DeathWyrmNexus:
I love the female gamer, never considered her a monster.

I like women who share my interests, but I can never find anyone in my area. Or my age.

And am really sexist for playing a female character? Never thought of myself as dominating the female character in a game...
I suppose I should just stick with the Chief, wait damn he's protecting Cortana.
Maybe I'll play Metroid, wait damn that's a woman, so I'm a sexist prick.

Oh wow.. Jeebus..
"Men, as the ones most often holding the controllers, exercise control over playable female characters, redistributing the power balance in favor of the male"
So, it's only sexist if a man is playing the game. The one where we have NO CHOICE in who to play...
"..given the less-sexualized depiction of males in games, and the significantly smaller percentage of women holding the controllers, the implications of such a phenomenon would be almost negligible"
Less-sexualized? Since when? I have never looked a a hero (well, Mario maybe) in a game and said, "Yeah, that guy is a slob."

"Why do only men get to be the bad guys? We still have to keep in mind that most gamers are male. Do we really want to provide more women for them to hunt down and kill?"
Well, to answer that, you have to go back to loincloth and club days in conjunction with your own comment. Men are the primary creators and players of violence oriented games. That's just a fact. Game companys like to make money. That is also a fact. Now, to the past: men were originally and are.. even now.. raised by our mothers, fathers, grandparents, teachers, and even society as a whole to be the protector, provider, and to put women first. At the same time in modern days, we are constantly bludgeoned with the 'women are equal stick' when most of us *never* felt that was *not* the case. So, we end up with a confused mentality that we must be the wall between the bad stuff and women, doing polite acts for them that are expected that we wouldn't usually do for other men (This is true even of my very feminist friends.), and then treating them as equals for all other aspects... What we have then is that if a man doesn't stand up for his mate, allowing her to fend for herself against another man, we suck. If we don't step ahead and hold a door for a woman (an ingrained reaction in most men I know) then we are rude and we suck. If we DO stand up for a woman in any situation, then we are being overbearing and we suck... oh well, went off a bit there... the point is, we are ingrained to be the protectors. We know, all of us.. that a woman is just as dangerous as a man. *More so* often enough, due to the alien way of thinking that we are not able to figure out. As the 'protectors' it would be uncomfortable to shoot a mostly female enemy line up.
I know I was half rambling, but I have had a ton of coffee and my inferior apparently sexist brain is in overdrive surfing the ADD wave.

Haliwali:

DeathWyrmNexus:
I love the female gamer, never considered her a monster.

I like women who share my interests, but I can never find anyone in my area. Or my age.

And am really sexist for playing a female character? Never thought of myself as dominating the female character in a game...
I suppose I should just stick with the Chief, wait damn he's protecting Cortana.
Maybe I'll play Metroid, wait damn that's a woman, so I'm a sexist prick.

It's okay, I will save you a spot at the execution chamber when they decide to cull us.

Though I will say this, female gamers are awesome. My fiancee' became a gamer through exposure of being around me. I didn't force her to do anything and she wanted to hang out so it just sorta clicked. She doesn't have a lot of aggression or quick reflexes so she prefers to play more passive or support roles. She actually gets psyched at being the healer. It's rather endearing and she makes a mean supper. Mmmm, good times. I am going to give her a back rub when she gets home. /sap

monodiabloloco: I actually found that to make a lot of sense. I have a lot of protective instincts around the women I care about. I don't think they are weak, I just want to do things for them because I care.

But yes, I can save you a spot at the execution chamber too if you like.

WilyWombat:
I am not sure how choosing to be a female monster is different that choosing to be a big ole heroine, except that the sexiness is removed? The inate power of the character, its Bad Ass-ness, is what you are left with. In other words, a typical male character.
I think women have plenty of choices in playing bad ass female characters...that have the regular male oriented action set. Whats needed is some different actions and game systems that allow for some other kind of positive action besides killing your opponent. Games should let you play 'like a woman' if you want.

I really can't disagree with you more. I don't think "Bad Ass-ness" is a trait typical of male characters. There may have been a preponderance of empowered and physically capable male characters but that is definitely changing to be more balanced. Samus is an excellent example.

Games can't let you "play like a woman," because there is no such thing as a male or female gaming style. Of course this all goes back to how you feel about gender roles and stereotyping, but I like to think that a woman and a man are both very capable of receiving the same amount and type of joy from COD4 and Halo and RE, etc. The issue seems to lie in people confusing what it means to be a strong male or female. Can they be the same thing? Why not? You can't argue that sheer physical stature makes up the ability to be a strong person. It's really just a socialization issue, in my opinion. Think about it. It hurts my head to read articles like the one above, they are in my mind a part of the problem. It will only be resolved when people realize that there is no (and we should not expect there to be) difference in humans because of gender. The differences appear to exist because we are taught to place them there. People are all unique.
I firmly believe that someday there will be just as many female gamers as male gamers. And just as many strong female characters as male. I can't wait.

article...retarded.

Also, I saw no mention of Ada Wong from RE2 or 4 in there. She's a strong woman, who is not being protected by the main character, and she is not really playable.

Arguably, she is playable in RE4, but only as a small aside to the game, it's more of a look into her motives and actions, as well as how she aided Leon's progression through RE4.

It's rather interesting.

but article fails. Hard.

goodpoltergeist:
article...retarded.

Also, I saw no mention of Ada Wong from RE2 or 4 in there. She's a strong woman, who is not being protected by the main character, and she is not really playable.

Arguably, she is playable in RE4, but only as a small aside to the game, it's more of a look into her motives and actions, as well as how she aided Leon's progression through RE4.

It's rather interesting.

but article fails. Hard.

Oooooh, Ada Wong. Good point there, old chap. She even patches Leon's dumb ass up in RE2 if I remember correctly. She is a good example of the female character I like. She is strong, keen minded, and manages to do so without being a man hater. Very refreshing.

DeathWyrmNexus:

goodpoltergeist:
article...retarded.

Also, I saw no mention of Ada Wong from RE2 or 4 in there. She's a strong woman, who is not being protected by the main character, and she is not really playable.

Arguably, she is playable in RE4, but only as a small aside to the game, it's more of a look into her motives and actions, as well as how she aided Leon's progression through RE4.

It's rather interesting.

but article fails. Hard.

Oooooh, Ada Wong. Good point there, old chap. She even patches Leon's dumb ass up in RE2 if I remember correctly. She is a good example of the female character I like. She is strong, keen minded, and manages to do so without being a man hater. Very refreshing.

No, no, no, don't you get it? Because she uses her sex appeal to get what she wants from Leon, she's not empowered at all, she's just another silly little walking Tit-legs-and-ass like all men think all women are!

*The above comment seems to roughly encompass the article writer's thoughts*.

God, after re-reading this article, I hate it even more. I'm a disgusting machuvist pig if I do, and a disgusting machuvist pig if I don't. People like the article writer give feminists a bad name.

(And of course, the article writer gave us "The truth about little girls" and while it started a good debate, the base article itself was pretty much "How dare men have penises? You filthy disgusting men think all girls are super-sexualized and exist only to gratify you when you command it! That's why there are no little girls in games!")

propertyofcobra:

DeathWyrmNexus:

goodpoltergeist:
article...retarded.

Also, I saw no mention of Ada Wong from RE2 or 4 in there. She's a strong woman, who is not being protected by the main character, and she is not really playable.

Arguably, she is playable in RE4, but only as a small aside to the game, it's more of a look into her motives and actions, as well as how she aided Leon's progression through RE4.

It's rather interesting.

but article fails. Hard.

Oooooh, Ada Wong. Good point there, old chap. She even patches Leon's dumb ass up in RE2 if I remember correctly. She is a good example of the female character I like. She is strong, keen minded, and manages to do so without being a man hater. Very refreshing.

No, no, no, don't you get it? Because she uses her sex appeal to get what she wants from Leon, she's not empowered at all, she's just another silly little walking Tit-legs-and-ass like all men think all women are!

*The above comment seems to roughly encompass the article writer's thoughts*.

God, after re-reading this article, I hate it even more. I'm a disgusting machuvist pig if I do, and a disgusting machuvist pig if I don't. People like the article writer give feminists a bad name.

(And of course, the article writer gave us "The truth about little girls" and while it started a good debate, the base article itself was pretty much "How dare men have penises? You filthy disgusting men think all girls are super-sexualized and exist only to gratify you when you command it! That's why there are no little girls in games!")

Ya, the no win situation aggravated my fiancee' too. That and being called a monster because she likes game. I noticed that women don't like being called monsters, at least most of the ones I know.

DeathWyrmNexus:

propertyofcobra:

God, after re-reading this article, I hate it even more. I'm a disgusting machuvist pig if I do, and a disgusting machuvist pig if I don't. People like the article writer give feminists a bad name.

(And of course, the article writer gave us "The truth about little girls" and while it started a good debate, the base article itself was pretty much "How dare men have penises? You filthy disgusting men think all girls are super-sexualized and exist only to gratify you when you command it! That's why there are no little girls in games!")

Ya, the no win situation aggravated my fiancee' too. That and being called a monster because she likes game. I noticed that women don't like being called monsters, at least most of the ones I know.

I found nothing that registered as male-bashing in either of these two articles. Also, the article writer also gave us:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_43/258-Kink-A-Question-of-Play

which I think might put a different spin on anyone's perception of the author.

edit: I hope I'm not 'outing' the author here or anything by highlighting this line but maybe the part of the article under discussion that goes:

"And while there's something innately sadistic about this interaction, there's also something highly voyeuristic."

might be read in a different light after reading this in that third article:

"Maybe it's because, as a sub myself, I unknowingly seek such people, or maybe because a dash of BDSM goes nicely with many so other kinks."

The Damsel portion of her theory reminds me of Final Girl trope in horror movies, where the last survivor is a young woman who started out as a weak victim but through the course of the movie acquires the strength to kill the monster. Now I can't remember where I read it, but I recall one writer talking about how, in a horror movie, the viewer starts by identifying with the male killer, often literally seeing the world through his eyes, (or I would say, identifying withg the male protector who often is or becomes the Final Girl's love interest) but slowly moves toward identifying with the Final Girl. This can be done with some subtlety by changes in direction and dialogue.

This got me thinking that, maybe we are looking at a technical limitation in the structure of horror games that makes them unable to make a similar transition. There is no way to gradually switch the player's character identification. There's the PC and the NPCs. That's it.

But then I thought, wow, that would make a pretty neat game twist, wouldn't it? You are playing a horror game, you're some heroic dude who is rescuing the damsel, and throughout the game, maybe you have opportunities, through conversation choices, gameplay, equipment, etc. to level her up as well, though she will still rely on you as her primary protector. Then, halfway, two-thirds of the way through the game, you hit a truly unbeatable boss, Rescue Guy dies, and now all of a sudden, you are playing the girl instead. You have to escape and pretty much start leveling up all over again, and if you didn't bother to give her the skills and equipment she needs when you were playing the guy, beating the game will become a total nightmare.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

DeathWyrmNexus:

propertyofcobra:

God, after re-reading this article, I hate it even more. I'm a disgusting machuvist pig if I do, and a disgusting machuvist pig if I don't. People like the article writer give feminists a bad name.

(And of course, the article writer gave us "The truth about little girls" and while it started a good debate, the base article itself was pretty much "How dare men have penises? You filthy disgusting men think all girls are super-sexualized and exist only to gratify you when you command it! That's why there are no little girls in games!")

Ya, the no win situation aggravated my fiancee' too. That and being called a monster because she likes game. I noticed that women don't like being called monsters, at least most of the ones I know.

I found nothing that registered as male-bashing in either of these two articles. Also, the article writer also gave us:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_43/258-Kink-A-Question-of-Play

which I think might put a different spin on anyone's perception of the author.

edit: I hope I'm not 'outing' the author here or anything by highlighting this line but maybe the part of the article under discussion that goes:

"And while there's something innately sadistic about this interaction, there's also something highly voyeuristic."

might be read in a different light after reading this in that third article:

"Maybe it's because, as a sub myself, I unknowingly seek such people, or maybe because a dash of BDSM goes nicely with many so other kinks."

Eh, I found the part where I am being sexist for not playing a girl and then games being sexist for putting the female character in a man's control to be male bashing.

Yeah, I'm not going to take crap for something as confusing as all this. People make games with male heros, I play them. I understand the concept of the equality, but really they would probably do even more sexist things with a main female character, ie: huge tracks of land, and things everyone knows Capcom will do. Don't tell me about being equal with the characters. If the main is female or male, I'll play, don't really care either way.

DeathWyrmNexus:

Eh, I found the part where I am being sexist for not playing a girl and then games being sexist for putting the female character in a man's control to be male bashing.

Could you point those parts out? I'm guessing maybe I might have a different spin on things for you to consider in assessing those parts.

Bonnie:
"The world has yet to see a horror title that features a bold female character forced to drag around a weak, whimpering male NPC."

Julie - FAKK 2
Kate Archer - NOLF/NOLF2
Joanna Dark - Perfect Dark
The Spartans in Alpha Centurai
Metroid?
Julie (again?) in Splatterhouse.
One of the Ninjas in the Ninja Warriors was a fembot.
X-Com, Jagged Alliance, Final Fantasy 7 ffs? Cloud becomes crippled.

Hellraiser, Nightmare on Elm Street, Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy in the Movies...

Lost, Mutant X, Hex, Charmed, etc. on TV..

And as for playing like a woman, one of my ex's used to use the hookers in GTA and then blow their brains out to get the money back.

And that's not to mention Chun Li, Jill Valentine, Rainbow Mika, Rose, Cammy White, Pai Chan, Firiona Vie, Blue Mary, Mai Shirunai, Angel, Vice, Athena Asamiya, Cham Cham, Charlotte, Queen Antonia Bayle, Sister Psyche, Ghost Widow, Number 1, Sasha, Ella and that's the ones I can name just from memory.

The_root_of_all_evil, I don't think those characters you listed are relevant to the quote: for example, _Charmed_ is a *TV show* let alone being a "horror title."

Cheeze_Pavilion:

DeathWyrmNexus:

Eh, I found the part where I am being sexist for not playing a girl and then games being sexist for putting the female character in a man's control to be male bashing.

Could you point those parts out? I'm guessing maybe I might have a different spin on things for you to consider in assessing those parts.

"This role is a common representation of women in historical storytelling, if not in survival horror games. Here, as elsewhere, it reinforces stereotypical gender expectations. When danger arrives, men will act bravely and women will need saving. The world has yet to see a horror title that features a bold female character forced to drag around a weak, whimpering male NPC. The image of the damsel, of course, has implications for the perceived role of women within our larger culture. But it also reflects on the industry's lack of awareness and respect for the female gamer, who, in order to identify with a character, must either strip herself of her femininity and subsume her gender with the masculine, or in retaining her sex assume the position society has prescribed for her, that of the helpless damsel - or simply refuse to identify, and exist in an identity-ambiguous middle ground."

In shorter words: BAD men for being sexist and playing men, seeing girls you need to save as whimpering slaves for you to rescue!

"While their presence does speak to certain pro-gender equality ideals - more representation of capable women in games, more opportunities to play as women - their submissive relationship to interactivity puts them once again at the mercy of male gamers.

Men, as the ones most often holding the controllers, exercise control over playable female characters, redistributing the power balance in favor of the male. And while there's something innately sadistic about this interaction, there's also something highly voyeuristic."

BAD men for, y'know, playing as female characters in horror games.

Men are damned if we do (play females in games) because we're voyeristic sadists, but we're also damned if we don't (play females in games) because we're just reinforcing the gender sterotypes we want to see, that all girls exist only to be saved by us big masculine guys.

Ergo, no matter what we as men do, we're evil machuvist pigs. And the "monstrous women are the only feminists" crap is bull as well, as I explained in my first post on this thread.

propertyofcobra:

"This role is a common representation of women in historical storytelling, if not in survival horror games. Here, as elsewhere, it reinforces stereotypical gender expectations. When danger arrives, men will act bravely and women will need saving. The world has yet to see a horror title that features a bold female character forced to drag around a weak, whimpering male NPC. The image of the damsel, of course, has implications for the perceived role of women within our larger culture. But it also reflects on the industry's lack of awareness and respect for the female gamer, who, in order to identify with a character, must either strip herself of her femininity and subsume her gender with the masculine, or in retaining her sex assume the position society has prescribed for her, that of the helpless damsel - or simply refuse to identify, and exist in an identity-ambiguous middle ground."

In shorter words: BAD men for being sexist and playing men, seeing girls you need to save as whimpering slaves for you to rescue!

Uhh, I don't see anywhere she blames *men* for anything. I see her blame "common representation of women in historical storytelling" and "the industry's lack of awareness and respect for the female gamer" but I don't see anywhere in that selection where she talks about *men* and blames them for something.

"While their presence does speak to certain pro-gender equality ideals - more representation of capable women in games, more opportunities to play as women - their submissive relationship to interactivity puts them once again at the mercy of male gamers.

Men, as the ones most often holding the controllers, exercise control over playable female characters, redistributing the power balance in favor of the male. And while there's something innately sadistic about this interaction, there's also something highly voyeuristic." Ergo, no matter what we as men do, we're evil machuvist pigs.

Aren't you leaving out the next part of the article where she talks about men in the hands of women gamers?

"Granted, women gamers could be said to be doing the same thing when they play as men, but given the less-sexualized depiction of males in games, and the significantly smaller percentage of women holding the controllers, the implications of such a phenomenon would be almost negligible."

I mean, maybe you disagree with why she chooses not to address that phenomenon, but, it's a bit one-sided to only deal with one part of what she writes, don't you think?

And the "monstrous women are the only feminists" crap is bull as well, as I explained in my first post on this thread.

Maybe. But why would it be 'man-bashing' for her to be wrong about that? Not to mention I don't think that's exactly what she was saying when she wrote: "[t]he woman monster stands as well outside the normal sexual boundaries of complacent femininity." I think she's saying that the 'woman monster' is the only/most feminist *game character design choice* and is not talking about the character herself being a feminist or not.

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