The Big Picture: With Great Power

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Sorry, I've missed a few things in the last week. Let me correct my errors.

Tribalism:
Just gonna conclude our discussion, JimB, not trying to get the last word in or anything. I've got to say, despite my immediate reaction, this is one of the few internet-based discussions I've not felt was a waste of time.

Thanks. I won't respond to your post since you want it to be a conclusion, but if it needs to be said, I feel you're a perfectly reasonable person yourself. The same should be said of runic_knight, incidentally, even if I do get pissed off sometimes.

Speaking of:

runic knight:
I don't get where I am letting fear silence anyone when I have been arguing against creators having their games silenced to suit your personal tastes on what tropes or patterns are sexist.

You seem to be arguing that any fear of being wrong should be a cause for silence, because being wrong might make you oppress someone.

runic knight:
If they can prove that, then you suddenly have a valid reason because at the point another right would be threatened (that of life).

Okay, just checking. I originally planned a whole "Well, if the right isn't absolute, then let's argue about where the line is" discussion, but oh, never mind.

runic knight:
I could apply those same words too your friend, where the hurt she feels is merely a response to her own inadequacies and personal demons and she is going to have to overcome that problem because I can not fix it for her.

Which inadequacies are those?

runic knight:
This relates back to why I dislike trying to guilt trip creators as it is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.

I'm not specifically trying to guilt creators just because I don't care what they feel about their products as long as their products stop annoying me, but even so, what's wrong with emotional manipulation? It, like anything else, is just a tool, and tools are only bad if they're used for the wrong job.

runic knight:
The traits in games you dislike are treated as negative. Skimpy outfits - negative; shallow characters - negative. Does this fit correctly?

Er...I guess, as a general rule, though here's the usual disclaimer about context mattering and blah blah blah. I'm suspicious of this, though, because I feel like you're saying my disliking it is what causes me to perceive it as negative rather than my perception of it as negative causing me to dislike it.

runic knight:
Maybe that is the answer? You seem to keep going on about this one but I don't quite get why. Why does there even have to be a reason behind it in the first place?

Partly because cause and effect are real, so if there is an effect for which there is no cause, then the universe operates on principles of magic. Mostly, though, I keep on it because it's being offered as an argument, and there's no response to that. There just isn't. It's this enormous, featureless, impenetrable wall of "no" that no possible argument could ever pierce because its own assertion of "just 'cause" cannot be overcome. Nothing I or anyone could ever say could overcome that position, because you can always fall back on, "No, it's not that, just 'cause." It is everything-proof armor.

runic knight:
If I make a game with a strong, deep and engaging female character, it could have the utmost sexist motivations behind it. I could be doing so in order to pander to the female gamer market that is high in demand right now. I would be treating my customers based on stereotypical gender (not traditional gender role here but rather the stereotypical gender role rebellion) and designing the game to fit that like a glove. The end result could be a very progressive, insightful game that wouldn't be sexist in its own right.

I think you're equating actions with products. The distinction is fine, but relevant.

(I have long since lost the thread of this conversation, so if my saying that counts as conceding a point, please let me know. We could be agreeing with each other here for all I know.)

runic knight:
Yet the result is getting people to ask why you think it is so.

And I'll keep answering the question if it seems useful to do so, but that's not the point.

runic knight:
You can have a story about someone seen through the eyes of an onlooker.

I'm not real familiar with that kind of story, so honest question: Do such stories usually have the conflict centered around the POV character and the struggles he has to overcome?

runic knight:
Except it is only telling of what the maker thinks the gamers want.

And why would he think that?

I would argue that it is more telling the respect of the audience then of women in general. I think the way games have been and are marketed and even designed would support this idea as well. Gamers are shallowly pandered to a lot, rather then assume it is because the developers think so terribly of women that it reflects on their decisions, a simpler, more rational explanation would be that they think so little about the expectations or maturity of the audience itself. The industry views its audience as the teenage geek stereotype, so they would make their product with that audience in mind, no?

runic knight:

JimB:
I think if someone wants to ignore the majority of the population (fifty-one percent) as irrelevant or undeserving of representation, then that person has some deep-seated problems.

Except they aren't ignoring that much of their market.

I did not say they're ignoring the market. I said they're ignoring the population.

runic knight:
Most of the gaming market is male (think something to the effect of 70%). That they would maintain the base first is not surprising. You assume the entire population will be considered as potential customers, when it is more likely broken down into high and low risk tiers based on past habits. So if male gamer A has a 60% chance of buying a game this month but female gamer B only has a 20% based on past spending habits, who would you try to respond to first, especially considering your competitors will be releasing products of their own. I said it before, the industry is conservative, and while I think it is foolish in the long run, there is still a logic to its decisions devoid of sexist motivations.

Okay, let's grant that women won't buy video games. How, by creating games with almost entirely male casts and with female characters who exist only as objects to be pursued by the male characters, is the industry not supporting an atmosphere of sexual segregation?

runic knight:

JimB:
If the core demographic is so afraid of women it won't even deal with imaginary women on a TV screen, then the core demographic is pretty fucking sexist.

If the core demographic is thought of as that way.

If the core demographic is that sexist, then it's sexist. If it's not but the industry thinks it is, then we're back to my Shakespeare quote about the industry projecting its sexism onto us and then telling us our sexism is what they're responding to.

runic knight:
Toadette? I don't even know how to respond to that one really. Seems like a poor attempt to appeal to females by putting in a female character just for the sake of being able to say they have put in a female character.

I can't disagree with you there. Perhaps I made a misstep when I said "Toadette is a real character" rather than "The character of Toadette actually exists;" my point was only to illustrate that the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom have sexual characteristics, not to claim that she's a good character.

runic knight:
No, it is because you brought up the trolls at all in a conversion that had a tangent on discrediting her or the faults of her stance. At no point should trolls have been a valid thing to bring up any more then if I brought up all the people who insulted Al Gore in a discussion about global warming.

I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you that in a conversation about whether a culture is generally sexist, it is not okay to mention examples of that culture behaving in sexist ways.

runic knight:
Applying a label with a negative stigma does sort of suggest you will frown at the people enjoying the games with those traits or even those traits themselves outright. It comes off as saying "I am not saying you can't, but you will be a horrible person if you do."

No, it means I think the games are sexist. That's as far as it goes.

runic knight:
You want the gaming industry to change, yet nothing short of some sort of pressure (from a government body, as they would be the only ones with the authority to do so selectively) would be able to change the gaming industry in such a way when the rest of the culture is not changed.

That I am choosing to begin my push for change in the video games industry does not mean I want it to end here. These things ripple. As a component of the larger culture, change in the microcosm will lead to change in the macrocosm.

runic knight:
But the question I have to ask is how will you get the change? Your disapproval does not reflect the majority opinion, we have gone over that already, thus you aren't creating an atmosphere of disapproval but rather voicing complaints.

Voicing my complaints is the only method I have of convincing people to agree with me, until and unless some freak science accident gives me Jedi mind powers.

JimB:

runic knight:
I don't get where I am letting fear silence anyone when I have been arguing against creators having their games silenced to suit your personal tastes on what tropes or patterns are sexist.

You seem to be arguing that any fear of being wrong should be a cause for silence, because being wrong might make you oppress someone.

Not quite, more so any fear of being wrong should at least have you delay any action that would deny or unduly pressure someone's decisions. Base on a sort of "innocent until proven guilty" mentality here, if you aren't sure, you definitely should not be supporting or promoting any decisions that would curtail the rights or creative choices of others.

JimB:

runic knight:
If they can prove that, then you suddenly have a valid reason because at the point another right would be threatened (that of life).

Okay, just checking. I originally planned a whole "Well, if the right isn't absolute, then let's argue about where the line is" discussion, but oh, never mind.

Fair enough. Not unreasonable here, just feel you promote something that would restrict the choices available to game makers but have not yet given a valid enough reason to justify that restriction on them.

JimB:

runic knight:
I could apply those same words too your friend, where the hurt she feels is merely a response to her own inadequacies and personal demons and she is going to have to overcome that problem because I can not fix it for her.

Which inadequacies are those?

I don't know, the point of that was to show that telling people to deal with it doesn't solve anything, especially when it can just be flipped back anyways.

JimB:

runic knight:
This relates back to why I dislike trying to guilt trip creators as it is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.

I'm not specifically trying to guilt creators just because I don't care what they feel about their products as long as their products stop annoying me, but even so, what's wrong with emotional manipulation? It, like anything else, is just a tool, and tools are only bad if they're used for the wrong job.

Indeed. Tools are bad when used for the wrong job, or also used incorrectly, over used to the point of damage or used in place of a better tool, or used when not very effect. Emotional manipulation can be described as a couple of those. Beyond even that though, in terms of debate itself, it is admitting a lack of reason for the change. It is the very basis of its own fallacy even. If nothing else, it comes off as saying you have no good reason to do so, thus manipulate instead.

JimB:

runic knight:
The traits in games you dislike are treated as negative. Skimpy outfits - negative; shallow characters - negative. Does this fit correctly?

Er...I guess, as a general rule, though here's the usual disclaimer about context mattering and blah blah blah. I'm suspicious of this, though, because I feel like you're saying my disliking it is what causes me to perceive it as negative rather than my perception of it as negative causing me to dislike it.

Sort of what I was going for, though again, not quite. The two options are very well tied and often human nature will play tricks on the way we look at things, where traits we dislike are seen as negative first, then justified by claiming they are negative, thereby explaining the dislike in the first place.
The problem here is that traits like above aren't negative. as you so put it, traits are tools and only bad if used the "wrong" way. Though, wrong being subjective to opinion makes the whole thing a bit of a "I don't like this" in the end.

JimB:

runic knight:
Maybe that is the answer? You seem to keep going on about this one but I don't quite get why. Why does there even have to be a reason behind it in the first place?

Partly because cause and effect are real, so if there is an effect for which there is no cause, then the universe operates on principles of magic. Mostly, though, I keep on it because it's being offered as an argument, and there's no response to that. There just isn't. It's this enormous, featureless, impenetrable wall of "no" that no possible argument could ever pierce because its own assertion of "just 'cause" cannot be overcome. Nothing I or anyone could ever say could overcome that position, because you can always fall back on, "No, it's not that, just 'cause." It is everything-proof armor.

You are presuming to know the motive of something based on the end result. I first explain that there could be a plethora of reasons that could all result in the same end result, but that doesn't seem to satisfy. Eventually, I can't offer an explanation so I just gave up and admit I do not know and can only guess with no actual reliability of the truth of that guess. Maybe there is no reason.
The only argument it is being used here to support is the one that challenges your presumption of motive based on the end result. Aside from the other reasons I gave as options, there is always the option of "just because", one that if often forgotten because people see the need to derive meaning from every decision even when sometimes there wasn't one.
Thus I am not saying "no, it is not that, just 'cause'.", I am saying "no, that is not the only valid option"

JimB:

runic knight:
If I make a game with a strong, deep and engaging female character, it could have the utmost sexist motivations behind it. I could be doing so in order to pander to the female gamer market that is high in demand right now. I would be treating my customers based on stereotypical gender (not traditional gender role here but rather the stereotypical gender role rebellion) and designing the game to fit that like a glove. The end result could be a very progressive, insightful game that wouldn't be sexist in its own right.

I think you're equating actions with products. The distinction is fine, but relevant.

You seem to feel that games with traits you find sexist are sexist because those traits determine the end product. You justify that by appealing to the motives behind those traits and the reasons those traits are popular or still exist. You seem to be claiming the actions of choosing those traits are equivalent to the end product being sexist. My analogy here was merely trying to highlight that by showing that motivation and end product are separate, and even sexist motivation and action can result in non-sexist product. Thus it can stand to reason that the inverse may also be true.

JimB:

(I have long since lost the thread of this conversation, so if my saying that counts as conceding a point, please let me know. We could be agreeing with each other here for all I know.)

I don't know if it does or not. I think ti might be best to let this thread go, seems to have meandered too far from the road and now I don't see how to get back right now lol)

JimB:

runic knight:
Yet the result is getting people to ask why you think it is so.

And I'll keep answering the question if it seems useful to do so, but that's not the point.

What is the point then?

JimB:

runic knight:
You can have a story about someone seen through the eyes of an onlooker.

I'm not real familiar with that kind of story, so honest question: Do such stories usually have the conflict centered around the POV character and the struggles he has to overcome?

Not always. Often, if there is a plot, it is tangential and simple in order to concentrate on the true target. Think a story about a newspaper writer who needs a scoop on some actor. The true plot is the actor's life story, but the framing device is a simpler plot about the writer designed to justify the telling of the actor's story in an entertaining way or with a justified audience proxy asking obvious questions.

JimB:

runic knight:
Except it is only telling of what the maker thinks the gamers want.

And why would he think that?

Because games are a product, a luxury one at that, and a huge industry. Especially true of the triple A section, they pay attention to what the customer responds to. They may not be the brightest about doing so, but they do notice the patterns of sales and figures. Thus they would think gamers want a certain product based on what sold well before. Dirt brown corridor shooters for instance.

JimB:

runic knight:

Except they aren't ignoring that much of their market.

I did not say they're ignoring the market. I said they're ignoring the population.

Why would they care about the population as a whole? What business does in that regard? I don't quite get where you are going on this one, could you elaborate? Keep in mind they are not making decisions with intent to alienate the female gender, ratehr they are using traits that seem to be responded to well. Now yes, those traits also display a gender variation in sales and what either gender seems to want, but that is different then outright ignoring the female demographic. It is like saying McDonalds is ignoring the demographic who don't like fast foods when they concentrate on maintaining the market they have by adding more fast food to the menu.

JimB:

runic knight:
Most of the gaming market is male (think something to the effect of 70%). That they would maintain the base first is not surprising. You assume the entire population will be considered as potential customers, when it is more likely broken down into high and low risk tiers based on past habits. So if male gamer A has a 60% chance of buying a game this month but female gamer B only has a 20% based on past spending habits, who would you try to respond to first, especially considering your competitors will be releasing products of their own. I said it before, the industry is conservative, and while I think it is foolish in the long run, there is still a logic to its decisions devoid of sexist motivations.

Okay, let's grant that women won't buy video games. How, by creating games with almost entirely male casts and with female characters who exist only as objects to be pursued by the male characters, is the industry not supporting an atmosphere of sexual segregation?

First, few games I can think of have female characters as objects. Not very developed, certainly, but few are actual objects any more then other support characters within the same stories. Toad in the mario games is as much an object as princess peach at base value, and you save 7 of them before the single female rescue. As such, you seem to be complaining that the only character with actual agency is the player character, something expected of games to be honest, and possibly the villian.
As for supporting sexual segregation though? Not quite.
There is no actual segregation being done, there is choices by individuals who buy the games on if they want that sort of not. this is like saying there is a sexual segregation being supported in fashion magazine subscriptions if the traits of the product appeal more to the female gender then the male in that. it is supporting the traits you dislike, yes. And those traits have trends along gender lines, true. But there isn't some force outside the individual keeping one gender out. The decision is still ultimately up to the person buying it if they want to participate or not, with nothing but their individual tastes determining if they do or do not. Now the culture within gaming might be a more of an argument for segregation given how some can try to force out or deny entry, but the product itself doesn't do that. The only thing a product that has skimpy clothed women does is appeal to those who want that, and repel those who do not. You mistake the overall sales pattern with the product itself in assuming the traits that show a disparity in popularity among males or females is itself segregating things when the truth is any supposed gender segregation is individual choice, though probably more influenced by cultural expectations on what a gender should or should not like.

JimB:

runic knight:

JimB:
If the core demographic is so afraid of women it won't even deal with imaginary women on a TV screen, then the core demographic is pretty fucking sexist.

If the core demographic is thought of as that way.

If the core demographic is that sexist, then it's sexist. If it's not but the industry thinks it is, then we're back to my Shakespeare quote about the industry projecting its sexism onto us and then telling us our sexism is what they're responding to.

I don't like ranch dressing. Never sat well with me. I do like chicken though, and often get something chicken at fast food places I go to. Now, most of those places assume I will want ranch with my chicken sandwich because that is what the sales figure patterns have shown to them. I usually get it if I don't request otherwise. The problem is it isn't even 50% that do, but rather the largest percent out of many competing options of sandwich and dressings. Furthermore, when offering ranch as the first choice, it increases the pattern as some just take what they are given.
In games, the largest demographic may respond to what you call sexist traits. The response being purchase. It is more complex then that though as the traits themselves may not be the intent in buying the games, but rather details just assumed to increase sales. This is one of the reasons I keep saying you can't assume motivation so simply. This is why I also say that the games made can only reflect what the makers assume we like. are you familiar with the Allegory of the Cave by chance? (assume that is the correct name of it). Where a man in a cave can only see the shadows of the ideas on the wall, not the actual ones, and therefore can only guess on the bit he sees.

JimB:

runic knight:
Toadette? I don't even know how to respond to that one really. Seems like a poor attempt to appeal to females by putting in a female character just for the sake of being able to say they have put in a female character.

I can't disagree with you there. Perhaps I made a misstep when I said "Toadette is a real character" rather than "The character of Toadette actually exists;" my point was only to illustrate that the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom have sexual characteristics, not to claim that she's a good character.

Fair enough I guess. Though the reasons for that still sort of baffle me. Now I wonder about every thing in the kingdom having eyes...

JimB:

runic knight:
No, it is because you brought up the trolls at all in a conversion that had a tangent on discrediting her or the faults of her stance. At no point should trolls have been a valid thing to bring up any more then if I brought up all the people who insulted Al Gore in a discussion about global warming.

I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you that in a conversation about whether a culture is generally sexist, it is not okay to mention examples of that culture behaving in sexist ways.

How well they relate and how fitting they are to the conversation are important to note though. I could talk about how horrible Christians are in our culture by mention of the Westburo Baptists. Or how bad Germans are because of the whole Nazi thing. The thing with mentioning examples is that when you just to the extremes, it appears you are looking at the outliers on the data table, not the general trends or overall picture. It presents a farce of intellectual honesty. When discussing feminism, I could just as equivalently bring up the blog supporting all men being castrated. It is an extreme opinion, not shared by most. It doesn't help the conversation and actually hurts it by changing the dynamic from discussion to association with the extreme. It makes people more polarized and is a cheap emotional tactic. But hey, it IS an example of feminist interpretation, am I right? Do you see why I protest your example here?

JimB:

runic knight:
Applying a label with a negative stigma does sort of suggest you will frown at the people enjoying the games with those traits or even those traits themselves outright. It comes off as saying "I am not saying you can't, but you will be a horrible person if you do."

No, it means I think the games are sexist. That's as far as it goes.

It can be inferred though. Hard not to even, when using labels with stigmas. Hell, it is rare that someone saying "this is bad" doesn't continue on to "you are bad for liking it"

JimB:

runic knight:
You want the gaming industry to change, yet nothing short of some sort of pressure (from a government body, as they would be the only ones with the authority to do so selectively) would be able to change the gaming industry in such a way when the rest of the culture is not changed.

That I am choosing to begin my push for change in the video games industry does not mean I want it to end here. These things ripple. As a component of the larger culture, change in the microcosm will lead to change in the macrocosm.

But a change in this way not only always fails (see music, d&d, drugs, etc), it can backlash. Any time you try to get a change in a microcosm that is based in getting people to stop doing something, they keep doing it. The attempt to get them to stop only gives publicity and encourages others to do it (in this case, to ride the controversy. See ads for Wartune). It sparks defensiveness and in the end makes it a harder beast to change. Furthermore, you add to the rift between those who want change and those who feel what they like is under attack by outsiders, allowing opportunists to take advantage.

JimB:

runic knight:
But the question I have to ask is how will you get the change? Your disapproval does not reflect the majority opinion, we have gone over that already, thus you aren't creating an atmosphere of disapproval but rather voicing complaints.

Voicing my complaints is the only method I have of convincing people to agree with me, until and unless some freak science accident gives me Jedi mind powers.

I prefer rational arguments myself. I have some faith that in general people are intelligent enough to hold conversations and be compelled by convincing information if done in a manner that is not abrasive or offensive to them and does not push them or their hobbies on the defensive. No one wants to listen to other people just complaining, but people are very receptive to ideas, suggestions and discussions. And arguments, people seem to enjoy those too.

Renegade-pizza:
In connection to the Tropes vs Women reference, I don't take Alisia Sarkeesian seriously.

Watch her episode, then Facts vs Women and you'll see why.

It doesn't matter if you agree or not, it was the horrific outcry of (mostly) guys who feared for their fandom and cried not all that quieter than a Banshee scream far before the video's were even made.

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