UPDATE: Video of Females on Female Characters Panel

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Programmed_For_Damage:

The Morrigan:

Susan Arendt:
We discussed why her version of sex appeal is so much different than, say, that dumb whore from X-Blades.

Oh man, if I had made it up to the mike, I had every intention of asking you about X-Blades. *grins*

The Random One:
My problem with sexy women in games is - how many women you know that are that drop-down gorgeous? Real women are rarely sexy, at least not to video games' inflated standards. If you want to create deep characters start with someone who is at least average looking.

I think that the problem isn't so much that "real women are rarely sexy" as it is that real women (and men, and everything in between) are sexy in ways that go far beyond physical appearance. I can find someone who is not at all conventionally attractive to be extremely sexy, based on other factors (personality, interest, whether he can recite a plethora of TNG star dates to me, etc). I think it's probably harder to develop that type of charisma, though, for a video game character, which is why most of them are created to conform to our societal stereotypes of sexiness.

That's very true actually. I've known women who were borderline "ugly" in terms of aesthetics but the way they carried themselves and communicated made them strangely sexy. Then I've known women who were gorgeous to look at and you'd notice them in any room but were so awkward and ill at ease in their own skin that you wouldn't consider them sexy.

"Sexy" is something that is hard to define in real life, which would make it a nightmare to have to convey in digital form. Big tits and ass doesn't necessarily equal sexy; a couple of my red-blooded hetro friends don't even find that appealing. Hell, even back in the day Eddie Izzard was sexie ;-)

I, personally, don't really find people physically attractive. Like, ever. People arouse me when they act sexy. I've never been in on the conversation of physical attractiveness anyways, so I don't feel any MORE left out when I don't get the sexy scenes. It occurs to me though that I COULD be aroused by sexy scenes. People don't care to convey them as such, though, I suppose, as it would delve far into the territory you are discussing.

Tally LRR:
Curious to know whether female Commander Shepard came up during the panel. I find her to be an excellent video game character, and I believe her strong portrayal is due both the to the writing and voice acting. Also an interesting situation as, to the best of my knowledge, male Commander Shepard has largely (if not entirely) the same diologue options. But I never got the sense that female Commander Shepard was overly masculine. So there's a case where they've taken one character, given it two possible genders, and (I feel) managed to make them both come across well. At least, the female comes across well. I haven't played as male Shepard, so don't really know for sure.

Male Shepard's voice acting comes across very flat and emotionless. It's kind of painful to listen to. The dialogue options are the same, but the presentation, while I suppose could be construed as more masculine, just lacks dimension. I guess there's a lot more to read between the lines in Fem Shep's dialogue than Male Shepard's, stuff I honestly can't imagine not being there, which makes Male Shepard's performance all the more jarring. Anyways, she's a great example of a female character, of a character in general. She's multidimensional in a way I haven't seen much of outside of good movies.

Yeah, but that's Jennifer Hale. If Snooki had Jennifer Hale's voice I might find her halfway attractive.

conflictofinterests:

Sir John the Net Knight:
I have to wonder if 90% of the people who opine on character development have ever tried to develop a character. It really is not that easy.

Not suggesting anything specific, just putting that out there as a hypothetical.
I think it's pretty stupid that I have to constantly make disclaimers to avoid mod wrath.

I really enjoy P&N RPG's, and in particular fleshing out a character and figuring out what he or she would do in the situations he or she finds him- or her-self in. Not sure I could do that for all the NPC's that matter in a game in a reasonable amount of time to make said game, and prolly people don't feel like hiring enough "me"s to get the job done, so I see your point... It's just kind of disappointing to see the graphics so fleshed out when the writing isn't.

I'm sorry, P&N RPG? I've never heard that term before. Can you embellish?

Formica Archonis:
Damn, this is some interesting discourse. Did anyone record (audio or a/v) the actual panel?

The Morrigan:
Yup, Samus definitely came up. I believe that revulsion could best describe the reaction to her in Other M (correct me if I'm wrong, Susan).

Revulsion works. I once explained the plot to someone and he said parts of it sounded like "bad torture fantasy".

Our reaction was a collective "I am disappoint."

Yes, various recordings were made, but we're trying to get both the panel and the Q&A...so far we only have the panel.

Sir John the Net Knight:

conflictofinterests:

Sir John the Net Knight:
I have to wonder if 90% of the people who opine on character development have ever tried to develop a character. It really is not that easy.

Not suggesting anything specific, just putting that out there as a hypothetical.
I think it's pretty stupid that I have to constantly make disclaimers to avoid mod wrath.

I really enjoy P&N RPG's, and in particular fleshing out a character and figuring out what he or she would do in the situations he or she finds him- or her-self in. Not sure I could do that for all the NPC's that matter in a game in a reasonable amount of time to make said game, and prolly people don't feel like hiring enough "me"s to get the job done, so I see your point... It's just kind of disappointing to see the graphics so fleshed out when the writing isn't.

I'm sorry, P&N RPG? I've never heard that term before. Can you embellish?

Oops, didn't catch the typo. I meant P&P

Pen and Paper Roleplay Games

Dungeons & Dragons and the like, though I'm getting into this Dresden Files one that seems much more roleplay intensive than D&D is won't to be.

Wonderful panel, this really needed to be discussed! Now the problem will be actually making a difference.

I too don't get the hate on Lightning. I think people who hate her tragically misunderstand the character (maybe because of the length of game in which it develops :D) People think she's meant to be a strong female character because she's always lashing out at people and we're meant to like that.

But it couldn't be clearer that that's just her personal flaw. Not a flaw of women, but a woman who can't trust people. Over the course of the game she softens up, loses her war wounds, becomes quite maternal (and in a lovely softly softly manner) with hope and in the end realises that her violence is hurting other people, instead of other people hurting her and comes to terms with it.

So yeah.

How come people hardly if ever bring up characters from Final Fantasy like Celes, Terra, Beatrix and Freya to name but a few in these arguments. The are arguably some of the best examples of good female characters out there in the industry.

Silk_Sk:
You know I though this was going to be something else. Oh well.

Aeshi:
You really need to rephrase that title.

/agree

I really wish more people would play The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, and take points from it at how to write characters. Hell, if those are too old, Gray Matter, Samantha Everett is a great character.

I think it's the politics attached and panels like this that make female characters hard to write, rather than anything being intristically difficult about it. The thing is that a female character has to meet with approval from so many differant groups and points of view that your just not going to come to any consensus.

For example using Lara Croft as a bad example of a female character, for those that have done so, is enough to discredit anyone making the claim. Like it or not she's pretty much one of the defining female video game characters, and the one who opened the door for them to the extent we currently see. Complaining about it, is like trying to complain about "Bond Girls" simply because the notties decided that style of empowerment wasn't fair to them since they weren't hotties (so to speak).

I'm being a fairly simplistic about things in general, but hand picked panels (which this seems to be) are by their nature fairly loaded, as even the people representing "the other side" or playing "Devil's Advocate" are selected by those setting the purpose of the panel. There are ways of dealing with this, but I doubt this panel was selected and balanced by anyone that could be considered a balanced third party, looking to see all sides of the issue expressed.

Now, a lot of people will probably get upset by this point, but one thing you will notice is most of the women on that panel are pretty much in the average catagory apperance wise. That's one of the big problems with feminism (especially if you've learned much about it in school), there are differant opinions based on how good looking a girl happens to be. That's the focus of so called "catfight feminism" where the differance between exploitation and empowerment depends entirely on whether the person making an arguement has the power and oppertunities availible to a good looking women. Typically it's the "notties" who are the ones who are all upset about the ultra-hot female characters and such, even ones created by, or modeled for by, actual women.

If your going to build a balanced panel on feminism, or addressing anything from a female perspective, a third party has to do it, and believe it or not you need to put some real babes on that panel. Of course if you put a few models or porn stars on that panel (and as we know from this site, a number of them game) I'm not sure most of them would agree with some of these points. Of course given the fact that on such panels (dedicated to any subject) you usually see the women start ripping into each other, and that's why the unofficial term "catfight feminism" comes from.

Of course I say this from the text, I haven't listened to the video as a whole, but I'm guessing the summary is probably pretty accurate.

I know many people will disagree with me, especially seeing as I'm not being very politically correct, but that's my opinion. Whether it's a good or bad thing, physical apperance has a huge influance on feminism. Anyone who has listened to people talking about banning porn, modeling, and similar things for the exploitation of women, and then listened to people in those industries defend them and their work, and claim it's empowering and trying to counter the whole stereotype about how everyone involved is abused and exploited... your probably familiar with the basics. Put those people togethr and the claws come out, and blood is usually shed.

Where was the hair pulling and/or pillow fights? I kid I kid! Good video ladies !

Therumancer:
I think it's the politics attached and panels like this that make female characters hard to write, rather than anything being intristically difficult about it. The thing is that a female character has to meet with approval from so many differant groups and points of view that your just not going to come to any consensus.

For example using Lara Croft as a bad example of a female character, for those that have done so, is enough to discredit anyone making the claim. Like it or not she's pretty much one of the defining female video game characters, and the one who opened the door for them to the extent we currently see. Complaining about it, is like trying to complain about "Bond Girls" simply because the notties decided that style of empowerment wasn't fair to them since they weren't hotties (so to speak).

I'm being a fairly simplistic about things in general, but hand picked panels (which this seems to be) are by their nature fairly loaded, as even the people representing "the other side" or playing "Devil's Advocate" are selected by those setting the purpose of the panel. There are ways of dealing with this, but I doubt this panel was selected and balanced by anyone that could be considered a balanced third party, looking to see all sides of the issue expressed.

Now, a lot of people will probably get upset by this point, but one thing you will notice is most of the women on that panel are pretty much in the average catagory apperance wise. That's one of the big problems with feminism (especially if you've learned much about it in school), there are differant opinions based on how good looking a girl happens to be. That's the focus of so called "catfight feminism" where the differance between exploitation and empowerment depends entirely on whether the person making an arguement has the power and oppertunities availible to a good looking women. Typically it's the "notties" who are the ones who are all upset about the ultra-hot female characters and such, even ones created by, or modeled for by, actual women.

If your going to build a balanced panel on feminism, or addressing anything from a female perspective, a third party has to do it, and believe it or not you need to put some real babes on that panel. Of course if you put a few models or porn stars on that panel (and as we know from this site, a number of them game) I'm not sure most of them would agree with some of these points. Of course given the fact that on such panels (dedicated to any subject) you usually see the women start ripping into each other, and that's why the unofficial term "catfight feminism" comes from.

Of course I say this from the text, I haven't listened to the video as a whole, but I'm guessing the summary is probably pretty accurate.

I know many people will disagree with me, especially seeing as I'm not being very politically correct, but that's my opinion. Whether it's a good or bad thing, physical apperance has a huge influance on feminism. Anyone who has listened to people talking about banning porn, modeling, and similar things for the exploitation of women, and then listened to people in those industries defend them and their work, and claim it's empowering and trying to counter the whole stereotype about how everyone involved is abused and exploited... your probably familiar with the basics. Put those people togethr and the claws come out, and blood is usually shed.

Chicks, eh?

ShadowsofHope:

Wakefield:

ShadowsofHope:
Some valid points in there, for sure.

I'd strongly disagree on the character of Lightning in FFXIII due to actually liking that game (and the character), but I know well I'm in the minority on that opinion (in terms of the game as a whole itself in perspective), so I'll just leave it at that.

I'm a huge fan of FFXIII (Unlike a lot of people as you mentioned) Lighting had more depth then a lot of people give her credit for, and Fang was my favorite character.

Other then that, good panel, great to see women talking about this. Hopefully the hate on this board will be minimal.

It seems rare these days I actually find another in my minority group of liking FXIII, and Lightning as a character.

Let's be fri- Oh, invite already?

image

I bought FFXII 5 days ago, mainly because it was on sale and "I should give it a chance". It taught me something: stop listening to the general internet rage. With the exception of Vanilles annoying voice and personality, I cant say I share any of the "general" opinions people have had about this game. Maybe Im just able to enjoy stuff instead of getting annoyed and pissed at every single flaw I encounter. Im probably very different from the average forumer :D

OT: Werent games about having fun? I think its a joy to watch Lightning kick ass, me (and my girlfriend) couldnt care less if she "lacks true female qualities". Same goes with Fang. Seriously, we(at least many of us gamers) are becoming too elitist when it comes to games.

This have only made me confused... Wasnt Samus an awesome character BECAUSE she was tough, cold headed and professional (not very distinct female characteristics in my book...)?

Therumancer:
I think it's the politics attached and panels like this that make female characters hard to write, rather than anything being intristically difficult about it. The thing is that a female character has to meet with approval from so many differant groups and points of view that your just not going to come to any consensus.

For example using Lara Croft as a bad example of a female character, for those that have done so, is enough to discredit anyone making the claim. Like it or not she's pretty much one of the defining female video game characters, and the one who opened the door for them to the extent we currently see. Complaining about it, is like trying to complain about "Bond Girls" simply because the notties decided that style of empowerment wasn't fair to them since they weren't hotties (so to speak).

I'm being a fairly simplistic about things in general, but hand picked panels (which this seems to be) are by their nature fairly loaded, as even the people representing "the other side" or playing "Devil's Advocate" are selected by those setting the purpose of the panel. There are ways of dealing with this, but I doubt this panel was selected and balanced by anyone that could be considered a balanced third party, looking to see all sides of the issue expressed.

Now, a lot of people will probably get upset by this point, but one thing you will notice is most of the women on that panel are pretty much in the average catagory apperance wise. That's one of the big problems with feminism (especially if you've learned much about it in school), there are differant opinions based on how good looking a girl happens to be. That's the focus of so called "catfight feminism" where the differance between exploitation and empowerment depends entirely on whether the person making an arguement has the power and oppertunities availible to a good looking women. Typically it's the "notties" who are the ones who are all upset about the ultra-hot female characters and such, even ones created by, or modeled for by, actual women.

If your going to build a balanced panel on feminism, or addressing anything from a female perspective, a third party has to do it, and believe it or not you need to put some real babes on that panel. Of course if you put a few models or porn stars on that panel (and as we know from this site, a number of them game) I'm not sure most of them would agree with some of these points. Of course given the fact that on such panels (dedicated to any subject) you usually see the women start ripping into each other, and that's why the unofficial term "catfight feminism" comes from.

Of course I say this from the text, I haven't listened to the video as a whole, but I'm guessing the summary is probably pretty accurate.

I know many people will disagree with me, especially seeing as I'm not being very politically correct, but that's my opinion. Whether it's a good or bad thing, physical apperance has a huge influance on feminism. Anyone who has listened to people talking about banning porn, modeling, and similar things for the exploitation of women, and then listened to people in those industries defend them and their work, and claim it's empowering and trying to counter the whole stereotype about how everyone involved is abused and exploited... your probably familiar with the basics. Put those people togethr and the claws come out, and blood is usually shed.

Speaking as someone who actually attended the panel, I can without a doubt say you're incorrect in your assumption that this was about a panel of "average" looking women being put out about being "notties". Outright generalizations of feminism aside (also why should the entitlement of a female's opinion on a gender issue be based on their own attractiveness?), the discussion actually touched on how ALL characters are underdeveloped (male, female, gay, bisexual, trans-gender, etc.)and how the industry could tackle that problem. I would highly suggest actually watching the videos.

Silk_Sk:
You know I though this was going to be something else. Oh well.

i hope you werent thinking what i think you were thinking!>:(

Susan Arendt:

Formica Archonis:
Damn, this is some interesting discourse. Did anyone record (audio or a/v) the actual panel?

The Morrigan:
Yup, Samus definitely came up. I believe that revulsion could best describe the reaction to her in Other M (correct me if I'm wrong, Susan).

Revulsion works. I once explained the plot to someone and he said parts of it sounded like "bad torture fantasy".

Our reaction was a collective "I am disappoint."

Yes, various recordings were made, but we're trying to get both the panel and the Q&A...so far we only have the panel.

All of the talk on female characters of the present is well and good, but how about some focus on good female characters from the past?

Say.....Terra, Celes and Relm from Final Fantasy 3? They may not have the graphic edge as some of the other characters you mentioned, but I can almost guarantee they have more depth and heart. Terra's journey of self, the mini story with Celes and Locke and Relm's history. OI!

You don't need to have good graphics to have awesome female characters!

Myan:

Therumancer:
I think it's the politics attached and panels like this that make female characters hard to write, rather than anything being intristically difficult about it. The thing is that a female character has to meet with approval from so many differant groups and points of view that your just not going to come to any consensus.

For example using Lara Croft as a bad example of a female character, for those that have done so, is enough to discredit anyone making the claim. Like it or not she's pretty much one of the defining female video game characters, and the one who opened the door for them to the extent we currently see. Complaining about it, is like trying to complain about "Bond Girls" simply because the notties decided that style of empowerment wasn't fair to them since they weren't hotties (so to speak).

I'm being a fairly simplistic about things in general, but hand picked panels (which this seems to be) are by their nature fairly loaded, as even the people representing "the other side" or playing "Devil's Advocate" are selected by those setting the purpose of the panel. There are ways of dealing with this, but I doubt this panel was selected and balanced by anyone that could be considered a balanced third party, looking to see all sides of the issue expressed.

Now, a lot of people will probably get upset by this point, but one thing you will notice is most of the women on that panel are pretty much in the average catagory apperance wise. That's one of the big problems with feminism (especially if you've learned much about it in school), there are differant opinions based on how good looking a girl happens to be. That's the focus of so called "catfight feminism" where the differance between exploitation and empowerment depends entirely on whether the person making an arguement has the power and oppertunities availible to a good looking women. Typically it's the "notties" who are the ones who are all upset about the ultra-hot female characters and such, even ones created by, or modeled for by, actual women.

If your going to build a balanced panel on feminism, or addressing anything from a female perspective, a third party has to do it, and believe it or not you need to put some real babes on that panel. Of course if you put a few models or porn stars on that panel (and as we know from this site, a number of them game) I'm not sure most of them would agree with some of these points. Of course given the fact that on such panels (dedicated to any subject) you usually see the women start ripping into each other, and that's why the unofficial term "catfight feminism" comes from.

Of course I say this from the text, I haven't listened to the video as a whole, but I'm guessing the summary is probably pretty accurate.

I know many people will disagree with me, especially seeing as I'm not being very politically correct, but that's my opinion. Whether it's a good or bad thing, physical apperance has a huge influance on feminism. Anyone who has listened to people talking about banning porn, modeling, and similar things for the exploitation of women, and then listened to people in those industries defend them and their work, and claim it's empowering and trying to counter the whole stereotype about how everyone involved is abused and exploited... your probably familiar with the basics. Put those people togethr and the claws come out, and blood is usually shed.

Speaking as someone who actually attended the panel, I can without a doubt say you're incorrect in your assumption that this was about a panel of "average" looking women being put out about being "notties". Outright generalizations of feminism aside (also why should the entitlement of a female's opinion on a gender issue be based on their own attractiveness?), the discussion actually touched on how ALL characters are underdeveloped (male, female, gay, bisexual, trans-gender, etc.)and how the industry could tackle that problem. I would highly suggest actually watching the videos.

You have a decent point about the video, as I said I read the summary.

As far as my comments on feminism goes, that isn't a gross generalization. It's one of the major problems with the entire movement, and one that's not easy to address. I'm not saying someone of only average apperance doesn't have the right to have an opinion on the subject, just that on a lot of issues it winds up leading to arguements being made based on personal bias.

The basic point is this. A lot of feminists will go off about how things like video games, fantasy artwork, modeling, porn stars, and whatever else, talking about how they encourage the exploitation of women, and set an unreasonable standard for girls to try and live up to.

On the other hand if you take someone like a model, who gets paid ten thousand dollars an hour to stand around in a bikini while someone takes pictures, they are hardly going to tell you they are being exploited. Their success due to winning "the genetic lottery" being no differant than a professional athlete who exploits their natural gifts. Sure, not every model remains pretty forever, and a lot don't prepare for the future, but that happens with pro-atheletes to as they spend all their money thinking they are immortal, get old, can't compete, and then wind up trying to make ends meet by selling autographed memorbilia out
of the back of their car to nostolgic fans. Someone like Leon Spinhx [SP] (who wasn't that good in my opinion) had one moment in his career, he beat Ali. He could have lived his entire life over that, but he wasted all the money, and is now a "where are they now" story. The same kind of thing that feminists argue about when they go on about the exploitation of women, except with a differant kind of industry.

In the end the women argueing such things are ultimatly doing it from the perspective of jealousy, because they don't have those gifts, nobody should be able to exploit them. It's unfair that someone should have that kind of an advantage just due to a twist of genetic fate.

It's not an unfair criticism of the movement, and it's been made by a lot of people over the years.

My comments on the panel are however based on the summary of the things they discussed, and I really think knocking a character like Lara Croft says a lot about the motivations of anyone looking to make an overall statement, no matter what else they might say. Lara has been criticized as a sex object from the very beginning of the character, and been under a lot of pressure for that reason. HOWEVER at the same time she's responsible for the increased presence of female characters since her creation. There is really nothing bad you can say about the character or it's influance on the industry, unless you want to make complaints about the way the character looks and the intended sex appeal.

A major part of why writing females seems to be difficult for males is that they have such rigid expectations of what "female" is. I've had a man tell me I didn't act enough like a woman (in a chatroom) to be one! And here I thought the only requirement was having a vagina . . .

I disagree completely with the idea of the option to pursue romance with all characters in an RPG (comes up during the question half hour). In fact, I think it's important that there are some characters you can't do this with.

In the real world, sexuality is rarely all-embracing. People have different tastes, orientations, or occasionally no orientation at all and these attributes hugely affect a person's life. While you as the player should be able to shape that aspect of your character, when it comes to NPCs, which themselves all have pre-written backstories, giving the player the ability to command such an important aspect of their character, in my eyes, devalues them as a whole.

For example, ME2 is mentioned as a specific example for where free romance should be used. Mordin however, is a Salarian. Salarians are an asexually orientated species, it actually says this in the codex entry. It would have made no sense at all for him to be a romance option.

In the end, my favourite characters from ME2 were Mordin, Samara and Legion. All 3 of which are non-romance (Slight question mark over Samara, but ultimatly all attempts are rebuffed by her, thank god). Somehow I doubt this is a coincidence (I am asexual myself, by the way). I think that, as a character, it makes little sense for Samara to find Shepard attractive. She's amongst the oldest Asari in the galaxy, long past her Maiden stage quite literally a matriarch, a mother.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that romance options are fine, but not if they don't make sense as part of that character. The game should be able to turn around and say, "Ok, you want to pursue the romance option with this same-gender NPC, but this NPC is heterosexual. So you can't. Tough luck." Forcing the NPC into a position that makes little sense based on their character backstory is even worse than them not having one at all.

Aren't there a lot of male characters out there that are just bland, underdeveloped objects of female desire, too? Not saying that sexism against women in video games isn't present, just that I feel it might be a double edged sword.

Truly-A-Lie:
It surprises me that they didn't mind Bayonetta. As a male gamer, I personally felt awkward for pretty much every second of the demo. It felt like her sexuality was being forced in my face, from her poses to her mega-legs to the fact that her clothes kept coming off. If I was meant to find it attractive, I didn't. It just felt like it was trying to sell me the game based on the concept that big moves are rewarded with nudity.

That's what bothered me about her too. I don't care that she's sexy. I do care that I feel like I'm being treated like a horny barely teen.

InevitableFate:
I disagree completely with the idea of the option to pursue romance with all characters in an RPG (comes up during the question half hour). In fact, I think it's important that there are some characters you can't do this with.

In the real world, sexuality is rarely all-embracing. People have different tastes, orientations, or occasionally no orientation at all and these attributes hugely affect a person's life. While you as the player should be able to shape that aspect of your character, when it comes to NPCs, which themselves all have pre-written backstories, giving the player the ability to command such an important aspect of their character, in my eyes, devalues them as a whole.

Not to mention real world romance can be a very long and rocky process. I'm honestly tired of romance in games that seem to have short time spans. Even if you do form a relationship from being together for work or travel those relationships don't tend to last long. Having true relationships just spring up so easily seems to cheapen the real thing. Maybe short term love blooms are common for a some but they're way too overrepresented. For most it's not that easy. It never was.

Just like my comment on writing different types of women the real problem with real vs fake is that there is barely variety between types of anything. From character traits, natural attraction, and relationships it's way too samey.

Therumancer:

Myan:

Therumancer:
I think it's the politics attached and panels like this that make female characters hard to write, rather than anything being intristically difficult about it. The thing is that a female character has to meet with approval from so many differant groups and points of view that your just not going to come to any consensus.

For example using Lara Croft as a bad example of a female character, for those that have done so, is enough to discredit anyone making the claim. Like it or not she's pretty much one of the defining female video game characters, and the one who opened the door for them to the extent we currently see. Complaining about it, is like trying to complain about "Bond Girls" simply because the notties decided that style of empowerment wasn't fair to them since they weren't hotties (so to speak).

I'm being a fairly simplistic about things in general, but hand picked panels (which this seems to be) are by their nature fairly loaded, as even the people representing "the other side" or playing "Devil's Advocate" are selected by those setting the purpose of the panel. There are ways of dealing with this, but I doubt this panel was selected and balanced by anyone that could be considered a balanced third party, looking to see all sides of the issue expressed.

Now, a lot of people will probably get upset by this point, but one thing you will notice is most of the women on that panel are pretty much in the average catagory apperance wise. That's one of the big problems with feminism (especially if you've learned much about it in school), there are differant opinions based on how good looking a girl happens to be. That's the focus of so called "catfight feminism" where the differance between exploitation and empowerment depends entirely on whether the person making an arguement has the power and oppertunities availible to a good looking women. Typically it's the "notties" who are the ones who are all upset about the ultra-hot female characters and such, even ones created by, or modeled for by, actual women.

If your going to build a balanced panel on feminism, or addressing anything from a female perspective, a third party has to do it, and believe it or not you need to put some real babes on that panel. Of course if you put a few models or porn stars on that panel (and as we know from this site, a number of them game) I'm not sure most of them would agree with some of these points. Of course given the fact that on such panels (dedicated to any subject) you usually see the women start ripping into each other, and that's why the unofficial term "catfight feminism" comes from.

Of course I say this from the text, I haven't listened to the video as a whole, but I'm guessing the summary is probably pretty accurate.

I know many people will disagree with me, especially seeing as I'm not being very politically correct, but that's my opinion. Whether it's a good or bad thing, physical apperance has a huge influance on feminism. Anyone who has listened to people talking about banning porn, modeling, and similar things for the exploitation of women, and then listened to people in those industries defend them and their work, and claim it's empowering and trying to counter the whole stereotype about how everyone involved is abused and exploited... your probably familiar with the basics. Put those people togethr and the claws come out, and blood is usually shed.

Speaking as someone who actually attended the panel, I can without a doubt say you're incorrect in your assumption that this was about a panel of "average" looking women being put out about being "notties". Outright generalizations of feminism aside (also why should the entitlement of a female's opinion on a gender issue be based on their own attractiveness?), the discussion actually touched on how ALL characters are underdeveloped (male, female, gay, bisexual, trans-gender, etc.)and how the industry could tackle that problem. I would highly suggest actually watching the videos.

You have a decent point about the video, as I said I read the summary.

As far as my comments on feminism goes, that isn't a gross generalization. It's one of the major problems with the entire movement, and one that's not easy to address. I'm not saying someone of only average apperance doesn't have the right to have an opinion on the subject, just that on a lot of issues it winds up leading to arguements being made based on personal bias.

The basic point is this. A lot of feminists will go off about how things like video games, fantasy artwork, modeling, porn stars, and whatever else, talking about how they encourage the exploitation of women, and set an unreasonable standard for girls to try and live up to.

On the other hand if you take someone like a model, who gets paid ten thousand dollars an hour to stand around in a bikini while someone takes pictures, they are hardly going to tell you they are being exploited. Their success due to winning "the genetic lottery" being no differant than a professional athlete who exploits their natural gifts. Sure, not every model remains pretty forever, and a lot don't prepare for the future, but that happens with pro-atheletes to as they spend all their money thinking they are immortal, get old, can't compete, and then wind up trying to make ends meet by selling autographed memorbilia out
of the back of their car to nostolgic fans. Someone like Leon Spinhx [SP] (who wasn't that good in my opinion) had one moment in his career, he beat Ali. He could have lived his entire life over that, but he wasted all the money, and is now a "where are they now" story. The same kind of thing that feminists argue about when they go on about the exploitation of women, except with a differant kind of industry.

In the end the women argueing such things are ultimatly doing it from the perspective of jealousy, because they don't have those gifts, nobody should be able to exploit them. It's unfair that someone should have that kind of an advantage just due to a twist of genetic fate.

It's not an unfair criticism of the movement, and it's been made by a lot of people over the years.

My comments on the panel are however based on the summary of the things they discussed, and I really think knocking a character like Lara Croft says a lot about the motivations of anyone looking to make an overall statement, no matter what else they might say. Lara has been criticized as a sex object from the very beginning of the character, and been under a lot of pressure for that reason. HOWEVER at the same time she's responsible for the increased presence of female characters since her creation. There is really nothing bad you can say about the character or it's influance on the industry, unless you want to make complaints about the way the character looks and the intended sex appeal.

Given that we spent about half the panel saying that sexy is a good thing (and that I personally defended Lara Croft for being a fantastic female character with many admirable traits, attractiveness simply being one), I'd say your assumption about our discussion is pretty off. I may not be a supermodel, but I'm not a narrow-minded dumbass, either, and neither were the ladies on the panel.

You're not wrong that many women who self-identify as feminists seem to think that "feminism" means "rejecting any female attribute that men find favorable," which includes physical beauty. That's not my particular definition, however.

Susan Arendt:

Given that we spent about half the panel saying that sexy is a good thing (and that I personally defended Lara Croft for being a fantastic female character with many admirable traits, attractiveness simply being one), I'd say your assumption about our discussion is pretty off. I may not be a supermodel, but I'm not a narrow-minded dumbass, either, and neither were the ladies on the panel.

You're not wrong that many women who self-identify as feminists seem to think that "feminism" means "rejecting any female attribute that men find favorable," which includes physical beauty. That's not my particular definition, however.

Point taken, I'll concede your point, as I wrote that based on the summary rather than having seen the video as I explained.

My own fault entirely. I'm actually involved in a number of online discussions simultaneously right now, and responded based on how I read the text.

Nocturnal Gentleman:

InevitableFate:
I disagree completely with the idea of the option to pursue romance with all characters in an RPG (comes up during the question half hour). In fact, I think it's important that there are some characters you can't do this with.

In the real world, sexuality is rarely all-embracing. People have different tastes, orientations, or occasionally no orientation at all and these attributes hugely affect a person's life. While you as the player should be able to shape that aspect of your character, when it comes to NPCs, which themselves all have pre-written backstories, giving the player the ability to command such an important aspect of their character, in my eyes, devalues them as a whole.

Not to mention real world romance can be a very long and rocky process. I'm honestly tired of romance in games that seem to have short time spans. Even if you do form a relationship from being together for work or travel those relationships don't tend to last long. Having true relationships just spring up so easily seems to cheapen the real thing. Maybe short term love blooms are common for a some but they're way too overrepresented. For most it's not that easy. It never was.

Just like my comment on writing different types of women the real problem with real vs fake is that there is barely variety between types of anything. From character traits, natural attraction, and relationships it's way too samey.

On the whole, whether romantic or plationic, RPG relationships come down to the same things: Keep the person in your party for a while, agree with them in the chat trees, and do a side quest. This is understandable, as game thus far are nowhere close to replicating real friendships let alone romances. Overall, the inclusion of romance options in a game seems to be used as a vehicle to give the NPCs some back story and let you hear their opinions on things. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I like doing side quests. It just doesn't make me any more immersed in a game to have one of the characters say they love me.
I'm using the KOTOR, Dragon Age, and Neverwinter Nights games as my basis here, which are all Bioware, so if some other company has done things differently, I'd be happy to hear about it.

I just want to say this was a fantastic panel and I'm glad I got to see it. It seems these kinds of topics always hold a lot of interest and I hope that people take this and other discussions with them. It goes to the larger point of bad writing in games for any gender as well as race but hopefully we will keep getting better.

BrotherRool:
I too don't get the hate on Lightning. I think people who hate her tragically misunderstand the character (maybe because of the length of game in which it develops :D) People think she's meant to be a strong female character because she's always lashing out at people and we're meant to like that.

But it couldn't be clearer that that's just her personal flaw. Not a flaw of women, but a woman who can't trust people. Over the course of the game she softens up, loses her war wounds, becomes quite maternal (and in a lovely softly softly manner) with hope and in the end realises that her violence is hurting other people, instead of other people hurting her and comes to terms with it.

So yeah.

Thank you. This is true of most of the characters from that game. But no one seems to be able to get over the characters' flaws to see that overcoming those flaws is what drives character development and growth in the game.

I loved this panel. I agreed with everything said with the possible exception of Bayonetta. I say possible because I haven't actually played it so these are just my (probably wrong impressions of it) while I've heard that Bayonetta is a great female character and I have no reason to dispute that. My issue with the game is that they had to resort to hyper sexualization in order to get their game with a great female character.

The game sold well and got lots of attention and they're may be a great character within it, but that was still a game with a character who got naked constantly. And I wonder if the game would have had as much success without that. Which I find a little troubling if I'm right.

Also, Enslaved was one of my favorite games of last year. I'm a man and I thought Trip was fantastic and had no issue with her putting the slave collar on Monkey.

Truly-A-Lie:
It surprises me that they didn't mind Bayonetta. As a male gamer, I personally felt awkward for pretty much every second of the demo. It felt like her sexuality was being forced in my face, from her poses to her mega-legs to the fact that her clothes kept coming off. If I was meant to find it attractive, I didn't. It just felt like it was trying to sell me the game based on the concept that big moves are rewarded with nudity.

ditto on being male and feeling a bit.. wierd... playing bayoneta.

Mabye wierd is the wrong word, mabye more intimidated (insofar as one can be intimidated by the sexuality of a fictional character).

I think that the fact she was obivously meant to be sexual but as they put it in the panel shes not doing it for 'you'. Personally I like that, I think its interesting that a character has this effect on a male audience..

Awesome, video!
Also:
Awesome video!

"All characters are hard to write" indeed...so how about genuinely trying ay, gaming industry?

In the case of female characters: if Bayonetta is lauded for advancing female character development (she accepts her sexuality...but doesn't need your approval)...then the road ahead is going to be a long one.

TheAbominableDan:
I loved this panel. I agreed with everything said with the possible exception of Bayonetta. I say possible because I haven't actually played it so these are just my (probably wrong impressions of it) while I've heard that Bayonetta is a great female character and I have no reason to dispute that. My issue with the game is that they had to resort to hyper sexualization in order to get their game with a great female character.

The game sold well and got lots of attention and they're may be a great character within it, but that was still a game with a character who got naked constantly. And I wonder if the game would have had as much success without that. Which I find a little troubling if I'm right.

Also, Enslaved was one of my favorite games of last year. I'm a man and I thought Trip was fantastic and had no issue with her putting the slave collar on Monkey.

The hyper-sexualization in Bayonetta was so incredibly over the top that it could almost be called satirical. Frankly it would have been a run-of-the-mill action game without all the attention to detail, and the superb writing as well as the eye candy stuff. Also the rest of the cast was well drawn out as well. So even though the game centers on Bayonetta, the people around her are also well fleshed out. Except Enzo, who is a fat-assed Joe Pesci wannabe. But since that was the intention of the character, to be parodius comic relief, I'll let it slide.

Fallout NV: Dead Money does the slave collar thing a lot better than Enslaved does. In fact Dead Money is nerve-wracking and creepy at times. Where as Enslaved just seems annoying.

Silk_Sk:
You know I though this was going to be something else. Oh well.

I did too man. I dd too.

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