Agree that we should de-focus on the business-side. I only brought it to light to show motivation and causation, not justification. I think we all agree it is independent of whether something is classified as sexist / unbalanced or not. That and to determine whether you thought other mediums where "sexist" in your eyes or not, which would help me understand your position better (as well as me explain mine).
I have a little more time today, so I will try to be a bit more thoughtful than my last post lol :)
I totally understand what you are saying here, and I completely agree, that my idea of sexism is too broad. You are correct that sexism, the term, indicates negative associations. I do not feel the characters in DC are devalued for their portrayal. I think they were depicted unequally. So .....I will use "unequal treatment of gender" (which...waaaaaay in the future, I would like to not be done) to describe this from here on out. However, I will probably skip some of your examples, except to clarify where I may be coming from, as I do believe that sexism can be occuring in those outside examples.
I hope that makes sense? lol
I'm not trying to be stickler, but I am using a textbook definition of "sexism" versus yours. Your definition is more about distinguishing based on gender where as a textbook definition is based on devaluation based on gender. But I think we ultimately agree what the "bad" kind of sexism is and you helped clarify this by saying you didn't think all forms of sexism were "bad" (again, if we used your definition. By the textbook definition, all forms of sexism would be bad).
Agreed. The only way I would say that sexism is occurring in DC is the unequal treatment of all women in video games, meaning they cannot appear any other way. Which is not the case, especially as more games continue to change and become more well rounded. (There is still sexism in games, but IMO, it predominately involves women being allowed to be the main characters, and that is also slowly changing) Also, if you look at the very original designs, the sorceress looked nothing like she does now, so she would have been in the game, regardless of being hyper-sexualized (she was younger and had no breasts actually lol).
If the only way she was getting in the game was to be sexualized, then it would be sexism.
Her portrayal is simply unequal in comparison to how the men (playable ones) are portrayed.
In terms of balance and trying to strive for meeting everyone's needs. While I think its admirable, I think it would also inherently flawed by design as we all know that you can't make everyone happy all of the time. Grahav gave a good example with food. You did express that you think it is possible to appeal to "everyone" and I'm going to try and challenge that notion here.
Only in my "utopia" do I think that is possible, LOL, sorry I did not make that more clear.
For example, the hyper-sexualized characters of DC, will not appeal to everyone, I was saying it could have been done for the playable male characters and the target audience, IMO would not have been upset. I am not saying we should have done it to try and please everyone, simple that it could have been done and made the depiction between the playable gendered characters more equal.
Let me tell you that you gave me shivers with that last part. I sincerely hope I never seen an ad with a sexualized parent next to children. LOL
To answer your question (and trying not to go too far off topic), the males are depicted differently but not on a sexual front. They typically are shown in a significantly less affectionate (loving? primary care? not sure what the right word is here) manner and more utilitarian way. More of a help for the mother, rather than taking the same role or vice versa. That doesn't mean they are all like that, but the vast majority (like 95%) are. My wife had made a comment that she had heard some time ago that a reason why advertisers have gone this route is not only due to some stereotypes people may hold, but also due to studies that showed single-mothers being less attracted to packaging that included a male or depicted a male utilizing the product in question. Since the primary consumer base was decided to target women, they tend to opt for the approach that appeals primarily to women instead of men. I sadly don't have a source to point to for that study ATM but don't think its ultimately important since my overall point for all of this is to say while I find that "unbalanced", I would not call it "sexist" despite a differentiation being made based solely on gender. It limits appeal, it is more exclusionary, less inviting, etc. but at no point is there any evidence that states men should NOT be a parent, cannot be a parent, are less valuable as parents, etc. You can certainly project something like that, but it is not inherent in what is being presented by simple virtue of one gender's needs / appeal being absent.
I agree with you and this would still fall under the category of "unequal treatment of gender" for me, because studies show, fathers pick up those traits when the mother is not in the picture, meaning both sexes can embody that. Now, from a marketing stand point, you don't want to make everyone the same and depict them the same, but IMO, that means the populations views of mothers and fathers is unequal....
Is that sexist...I guess it depends, and we could discuss that more, but I am going to keep moving on for now.
I'm guilty of almost insinuating this in my above piece, just because it happens elsewhere should not be indicative of correctness. What I will say is that Jacob is definitely sexualized. Is he hyper-sexualized, no because that would be really hard in live-action, but his purpose is one of primarily being eye candy first, then everything else. Which again, when done to males, people tend to be less prone to rob them of the rest of their traits, but when done to women, people tend to devalue them.
Agreed, but for DC, IMO. it shows that we could have hyper-sexualized the playable men and it been ok
Yes, I even think its ok to hyper-sexualize the men and the men alone. It is not problematic or sexist in my eyes. Limits appeal? Yes Devalues men? No.
Agreed. Doing it only because they were men, is leading into sexism though, which is my argument for the women. In DC, it is only unequal treatment.. I guess for me, I was discussing with my BF last night, that sexism draws up too many negative ideas and people become definsive, so like I said earlier, its not want I want to use for this discussion.
I believe so, I just think its hard to conjure up because its not as common in the same capacity (again, once the business side figures it out, you can count that it will be exploited as a strategy more). The trans-gendered sorceress example I gave earlier could work but not a perfect fit for what you're looking for with respect to a straight female.
Agreed again, however, lets take the audience out. Was the original intent to include the sorceress as transgendered (like Poison from SF right?) and was is scrapped only because she was transgendered, that is unequal treatment, and devalues the transgendered demographic IMO.
The male traits that are typically "exaggerated" per say, would be non-physical ones. Ones of dedication, self-worth, meaning, etc. (ie. how often is a man who is nothing without his woman romanticized, wants to change solely for her, finds no meaning or self-worth without them, etc.). So the "unbalance" is there, just not on the same factor(s).
I agree with this, but that is still unequal treatment. Again, take out the audience, why aren't those non-physical traits being exaggerated for the women and only for the men. Why is it only physical (I know it deals with the target it audience, but if you have an idea, for how you want your female character to be, and you cannot do it, only because she is female (and vice versa) for men, then it is unequal treatment, and we are starting to step into sexist territory). I don't want to keep going with that example, because I'm pretty sure you know I will then ask the question does the depiction devalue the character, etc...
Why not? Let me make a leap here. I'm assuming that you think doing so would lead to discrimination based on whatever factor the depiction hinges on. But just because it can lead to, does that mean it ought not to be done? Isn't that the argument people would make with respect to violent media?
Exactly, I do not think it would / should lead to discrimination. I feel, in media, (esp since we keep bring up that target audience LOL) that the depiction is cause by the discrimination that already exists. So that is why I want to discuss the unequal treatment of the characters in DC, so we can be aware of it and become aware of our own biases. How will we move forward without knowledge and understanding.
With your broad definition of sexism, yes. By textbook, no because its a business decision (not model) based on risk. Like choosing one cooking style over another (say Italian over Indian). That's not discriminating against Indian people, its striving for appealing to Italian's first (or I should say people who like Italian food).
Side-note: This is the benefit of true Indies, they are able to bring their ideas to fruition unfiltered due to the lack of someone else trying to make a business decision over their vision.
I agree with you completely, but I am going to play devils advocate and say it is still unequal treatment, lol, its not wrong, but it is unequal...and thats ok. I am trying very hard to look at this argument without discussing, who it is catering to. I don't care who it is for...is unequal treatment there? Once we answer that, then we can look into why and why not and if it is sexist or not. I think that is a much clearer representation of where I am coming from lol
As I mentioned above, if there was a (definitive) market that would be attracted to exaggerated and hyper-sexualized depictions of penises, it would be done.
Agreed, but we also both agreed it could be done, regardless of target audience. Now, lets discuss the women again, I am curious of your thought on my question, do we, as American's know that the male characters are male (wizard and knight) only because they do not have bulging breasts and butts?
It doesn't matter what the target audience is, is the unequal treatment there, must women be depicted with their sexual assets exaggerated so we know they are women? (I feel that is why people are saying the game is sexist, that the women cannot appear in this game otherwise)
Do we treat and depict the transgendered differently only because they are transgendered? That is the point I am trying to make with my argument. We should not depict them differently only because of what they are.
You threw me off here. But they are different and they are depicted differently. We should just not value them any less. Is that what you meant?
Ok, so we have a love story with 1 transgendered person and another love story a heterosexual couple. Are the couple depicted differently only because of their sex. I.E. Does the transgendered character look trashy, or not put together, or disorganized, or unattractive, only because they are transgendered. The decision was made that they must be this way because of their sex.
I think you and I are on the same page, they should not be depicted differently, only based on their sex, but obviously they are different, so they may have different plot lines in their stories, however, the key peaces of a love story would all be there, you know?
Well, likely, it was the other way around (the artist was already there and it was his vision he/she presented, not the other way around). Even in your situation, I would say you can't just create anything like you would a table. An artist would have a certain style and strengths. There's nothing wrong with research and all that, but I would always encourage an artist to go after his or her own vision and not a business requirement or decision.
I feel like this is semantics, you can ask people, including artists to re-do something until it meets the original creators intent. Hmmm...Like, if I was the creator of DC, and I wanted all of my characters hyper-sexualized, I would say look at Roland and make the other, playable male characters sexualized like him, I would give him examples of Wizards that I thought were sexy. It doesn't mean my strength is in seeing males sexy. does that make sense?
Now, i would also encourage an artist to go after their vision, but they are hired for a job, not always for their creative vision. And again, I am not saying the artist is wrong or that the men he drew are not "sexy", but the sexualized versions are just not equal between the sexes, and he drew a character (Again I use Roland) to show that he was capable of hyper-sexualizing the men more...again IMO
I am sorry, I feel like I just talked in a circle.
I would agree with what you said though. I do believe that men, in general, are more accepting of their physiology being put on display for the sake of sexual arousal compared to women (again, in general). I think history and the fact that women have been oppressed for these very same factors makes it a much more sensitive and sore subject for them than it does for men, who while they have also been oppressed or treated unfairly at different times, it wasn't typically due to a sole focus on their physiology.
I love this statement, because it shows you have a clear understanding and ability to view others view points as to why they may feel this way. I wish others who were having this debate /discussion could be so clear and open.
Not at all, great job. Some amazing points being made.
I feel like we are coming even closer to a clear understanding...at least of the depictions of characters in DC :) LOL
Plus, it means our wall will get smaller LMAO
Also, I would just like to add, that the characters in DC do not have established personalities or backgrounds, so its not like the women were closer to "normal" in one game and then all of a sudden hyper-sexualized for this game only because they are women. That would be closer to sexism.