Electronic Arts VP Says Sexism Complaints Are "Misguided"

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lacktheknack:
You seem to have mistaken "Boobs Exist" with "I think women are of less value than men".

And you missed my point completely. You know what all those boobs have in common? They're on display. Most of those games involve violence or running/climbing/sliding around, and the presence of cleavage, bared midriffs, arms and legs are extremely impractical, and practically no woman in their situation would walk around with so much skin showing (as layers of clothing could prevent scrapes, friction burns, cuts and abrasions). In fantasy games, those women either need to wear proper plate like the men do, or (if they aren't armoured warriors) they should be wearing standard mage robes (that cover her from neck to toe without exposing her skin to cold weather or the rough and tumble of adventuring) or proper leather armour (again, like the one the males wear). There is a reason that women (and men), IRL, when they are involved in extreme sports, wear outfits that cover them practically from head to toe. Stripperrific outfits are impractical, uncomfortable, they can very well hinder movement, and serve no purpose but to titillate the male gaze.

lacktheknack:
The Saints Row: The Third example, for instance, was a derp on my part... and yours. Shaundi is not a sexist portrayal, unless you're going to tell me that being aggressive and having boobs are incompatible. A better example would be mentioning every single female gang member wearing slinky getup (almost true), or the strippers in the hideouts.

It's not having boobs. It's the unnecessary cleavage. But if you think it proves my point better, go with the gang members or the strippers.

lacktheknack:
Mentioning Catwoman, however, is entirely missing the point. As in, firing in entirely the wrong direction. Same with Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Bayonetta, and even Lara Croft.

Right, because Catwoman's zipper needs to be that far down, Cybill needs to walk around with a cleavage that would get her fired if she was an actual police officer, Bayonetta needs to be wearing that skin-tight catsuit (again, with cleavage) and put herself in suggestive poses, and Lara Croft cannot possibly wear anything like Nathan Drake (who does more or less what she does, and in similar climates).

lacktheknack:
My original point was the lack of "stereotypical secondary chunk of meat", the vast majority of your examples are anything but. I admit there are examples in there I didn't think of (How did I forget Duke Nukem?) but the majority of your list was compiled with entirely the wrong idea in mind.

So you're emphasising the "secondary" part, then? Because that's usually a different kettle of fish. Alan Wake's wife, for example, is more or less a plot device that motivates him. Furthermore, I can save myself a lot of quoting and copypasting by just linking you to TV Tropes in The Smurfette Principle. I usually try to stay away from TV Tropes out of distaste, but occasionally it proves useful as a compiler of lists.

Furthermore, take any game with a male main character and see if the women in the game are three-dimensional, fully realised characters that have the same depth and vibrancy as the main character or if they're just two-dimensional carboard cutouts meant to titillate, provide the hero's motivation or progress the plot.

I will also link to this article, What Women Want In Female Video Game Protagonists, which highlights some of the issues I've touched ("If I'm a soldier, I want to look like the rest of my squad. If I'm escaping a zombie apocalypse, I want shoes I can run in and clothes that minimize the likelihood of getting bitten. If I'm a warrior of song and legend, I want a set of plate mail that will silence a room when I walk in. None of these things require a trade-off of my sexuality or femininity." and "And if she's in an outfit that says "sexy" while all her male counterparts are in outfits that say "powerful," that's a red flag - especially if she's the only woman there." and "honestly, how many more gruff, emotionless dudes with dead wives/girlfriends do we need?").

lacktheknack:
Also, I dislike Jimquisition and disagree with much of what he says. This week is included.

So you support the idea of censoring any possible discussion of an -ism in a videogame? Of reacting violently whenever someone raises what could be a valid point (or not) instead of allowing a calm discussion to take place? Because what he's saying is quite sensible.

lacktheknack:

Keep in mind that testosterone/estrogen may cause brains to work differently based on how much is present. Some stereotypes exist for a reason.

(I'm not saying which ones because I don't presume to know which are accurate, so don't feel the need to viciously attack me for being open to unpopular possibilities.)

Also keep in mind that studies have shown that male college students performed better at mathematical tests and female students performed worse if they are reminded of their gender right before taking the test. Likewise, both groups performed better if they were told their school usually had high scores on a test and performed worse if they were told their school usually had low scores on the test. You can read more about this in Delusions of Gender (Fine, 2011).

Basically, the conclusion is that we internalize what we perceive to be external expectations of ourselves and these expectations influence how well we do certain things. This can be something as simple as women not getting into math or performing well at math because "it is a man's field" or men finding themselves dumbfounded when supposed to take care of a baby or have a sensitive conversation about a friend's break-up.

Women not getting into gaming is kind of like men not getting into nursing. All my male colleagues can relate a story about how they've been either implied to be gay or have been asked outright, simply because they work as RNs. And considering the kind of treatment Felicia Day got last year (being compared to a booth babe by a journalist and having loads of gamer step up to his defense), are we really surprised many women stay out of gaming?

Darken12:

lacktheknack:
You seem to have mistaken "Boobs Exist" with "I think women are of less value than men".

And you missed my point completely. You know what all those boobs have in common? They're on display. Most of those games involve violence or running/climbing/sliding around, and the presence of cleavage, bared midriffs, arms and legs are extremely impractical, and practically no woman in their situation would walk around with so much skin showing (as layers of clothing could prevent scrapes, friction burns, cuts and abrasions). In fantasy games, those women either need to wear proper plate like the men do, or (if they aren't armoured warriors) they should be wearing standard mage robes (that cover her from neck to toe without exposing her skin to cold weather or the rough and tumble of adventuring) or proper leather armour (again, like the one the males wear). There is a reason that women (and men), IRL, when they are involved in extreme sports, wear outfits that cover them practically from head to toe. Stripperrific outfits are impractical, uncomfortable, they can very well hinder movement, and serve no purpose but to titillate the male gaze.

lacktheknack:
The Saints Row: The Third example, for instance, was a derp on my part... and yours. Shaundi is not a sexist portrayal, unless you're going to tell me that being aggressive and having boobs are incompatible. A better example would be mentioning every single female gang member wearing slinky getup (almost true), or the strippers in the hideouts.

It's not having boobs. It's the unnecessary cleavage. But if you think it proves my point better, go with the gang members or the strippers.

lacktheknack:
Mentioning Catwoman, however, is entirely missing the point. As in, firing in entirely the wrong direction. Same with Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Bayonetta, and even Lara Croft.

Right, because Catwoman's zipper needs to be that far down, Cybill needs to walk around with a cleavage that would get her fired if she was an actual police officer, Bayonetta needs to be wearing that skin-tight catsuit (again, with cleavage) and put herself in suggestive poses, and Lara Croft cannot possibly wear anything like Nathan Drake (who does more or less what she does, and in similar climates).

lacktheknack:
My original point was the lack of "stereotypical secondary chunk of meat", the vast majority of your examples are anything but. I admit there are examples in there I didn't think of (How did I forget Duke Nukem?) but the majority of your list was compiled with entirely the wrong idea in mind.

So you're emphasising the "secondary" part, then? Because that's usually a different kettle of fish. Alan Wake's wife, for example, is more or less a plot device that motivates him. Furthermore, I can save myself a lot of quoting and copypasting by just linking you to TV Tropes in The Smurfette Principle. I usually try to stay away from TV Tropes out of distaste, but occasionally it proves useful as a compiler of lists.

Furthermore, take any game with a male main character and see if the women in the game are three-dimensional, fully realised characters that have the same depth and vibrancy as the main character or if they're just two-dimensional carboard cutouts meant to titillate, provide the hero's motivation or progress the plot.

I will also link to this article, What Women Want In Female Video Game Protagonists, which highlights some of the issues I've touched ("If I'm a soldier, I want to look like the rest of my squad. If I'm escaping a zombie apocalypse, I want shoes I can run in and clothes that minimize the likelihood of getting bitten. If I'm a warrior of song and legend, I want a set of plate mail that will silence a room when I walk in. None of these things require a trade-off of my sexuality or femininity." and "And if she's in an outfit that says "sexy" while all her male counterparts are in outfits that say "powerful," that's a red flag - especially if she's the only woman there." and "honestly, how many more gruff, emotionless dudes with dead wives/girlfriends do we need?").

lacktheknack:
Also, I dislike Jimquisition and disagree with much of what he says. This week is included.

So you support the idea of censoring any possible discussion of an -ism in a videogame? Of reacting violently whenever someone raises what could be a valid point (or not) instead of allowing a calm discussion to take place? Because what he's saying is quite sensible.

I'm still talking in not-all-caps, aren't I? If I wanted to censor discussion, I'm doing a particularly terrible job at it, aren't I? I don't think I should have to accept that games are oh-so-sexist, though.

For each of your counters, I offer a counter-counter:

Catwoman: Her sex appeal is one of her weapons. She knows it disarms guys a bit, and uses it to full effect. That's not sexist, that's a character choice with rationale.

Cybil: She's *SPOILER* a tailor-made-to-you hallucination to make you uncomfortable. When I played, she didn't have the epic cleavage. She's the way she is because you made her that way, not because she reflects anything in reality.

Bayonetta: She exists in a completely alternate universe where her attacks are powered by sex appeal. I don't really approve, but I'm 99% sure it ain't sexist.

Also, Lara Croft spends the majority of her time in gear that covers her breasts just fine. Even when she rips her flaming jacket off in Legend, she's wearing a turtleneck sweater underneath. A TURTLENECK. The only REALLY fanservicey moment I can think of in the last three games was the "Japanese corporate work party turned Yakuza sting" level.

And no, I'm focusing on secondary AND "chunk-of-meat" mentality. Lead women are rarely, if ever, viewed as a sexual object and little else (even Lara Croft has motivations and backstory). That's already a good sign. And even if a woman's breasts ARE on display (although you and I seem to have difference ideas of what "on display" means"), it's not an instant indicator of "chunk-of-meat" mentality. As I mentioned before, Shaundi is somewhat sexualized, but she's her own character who has a distinct personality and helps drive the story.

I also take issue with your "Physical Activity = Full Covering" idea. You've never gone climbing, have you? Clothes are annoying, clothes get in the way, clothes catch on to things and wreck your plans. Lara's classic outfit:

image

... while admittedly skimpy in the legs, is ideal for most of the situations she's in. She didn't fight lots of gunmen in the first game, it was just her against the elements, animals, and rocks. She would have been scuffed, yes, and she probably has legendary callouses on her knees, but that's approximately the type of outfit I would wear if I went cliff climbing again (except with kneepads and shorts instead of hotpants). Formfitting is good in these situations, because it's immensely less likely to catch on things.

Same with Faith from Mirror's Edge, which I mentioned a while back.

Also, I like how you mention Dragon Age Origins, because while a few woman are underdressed, MOST OF THEM AREN'T. Even better, people always mention Morrigan's barely-there clothing, but no one remembers that you can put her in something else that's more practical. It's up to you, you know. The only consistently underdressed group in the game is the lust demons, and gee, I wonder why?

Taking up your challenge of male leads, females supporters:

Starcraft: Success! (If anything, Kerrigan is MORE interesting than Raynor.)

Street Fighter: Success! (NO one is well developed.)

Myst: Success! (Catherine is more competent, more interesting and more headstrong than Atrus. If you read the books, it gets even more so.)

Cave Story: Success! (Again, lack of development.)

Those are just off the top of my head, now I'm having that awkward moment where I'm browsing my library of games and not finding ANY games that fit your stereotype, by having an unknown protagonist (Darwinia), a selectable protagonist (Tropico), a female protagonist (Alice), or no real female supporting protagonist (Rayman). I guess "Gish" fits your stereotype, if you can consider a blob of tar who doesn't say anything to be an interesting lead character.

And regarding "What Women Want In A Character": Again, Dragon Age, XCOM, Tropico, Mirror's Edge, later Elder Scrolls, Fallout... the list actually does go on.

(I'm realizing that my dislike of FPS games might be clouding my perception of what's popular, since most stereotypes that people talk about seem to be originating from there, a genre I never play.)

That's the kind of feminism I support. Women shouldn't just say "it's not fair" and make biased YouTube videos, but take charge and make the effort to change it.

Gethsemani:

lacktheknack:

Keep in mind that testosterone/estrogen may cause brains to work differently based on how much is present. Some stereotypes exist for a reason.

(I'm not saying which ones because I don't presume to know which are accurate, so don't feel the need to viciously attack me for being open to unpopular possibilities.)

Also keep in mind that studies have shown that male college students performed better at mathematical tests and female students performed worse if they are reminded of their gender right before taking the test. Likewise, both groups performed better if they were told their school usually had high scores on a test and performed worse if they were told their school usually had low scores on the test. You can read more about this in Delusions of Gender (Fine, 2011).

Basically, the conclusion is that we internalize what we perceive to be external expectations of ourselves and these expectations influence how well we do certain things. This can be something as simple as women not getting into math or performing well at math because "it is a man's field" or men finding themselves dumbfounded when supposed to take care of a baby or have a sensitive conversation about a friend's break-up.

Women not getting into gaming is kind of like men not getting into nursing. All my male colleagues can relate a story about how they've been either implied to be gay or have been asked outright, simply because they work as RNs. And considering the kind of treatment Felicia Day got last year (being compared to a booth babe by a journalist and having loads of gamer step up to his defense), are we really surprised many women stay out of gaming?

While that all has an effect, I actually did a rudimentary Google check, and yes, the levels of hormones found in each gender causes different things to happen in your brain, affecting cognitive function and other things.

So maybe (GASP) it's a combination of both reasons.

Well last year i met (not counting the random match being random) more felamle gamers than male ones. granted some of them were "out there", but then so are the males. so i guess this will bring influx of female game designers as well later on when these gamers grow up and want to work in the industry.

Despite the average gamer age being well in the adult age, gamers community is mostly childish. these are the kind of gamers that have most time on their hands and do not have the knowledge to use it for anything mroe than just flaming others. so the community turns into spitpit.

Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

i am an accounting major. There are 3 males (myself included) and 30 females in the group. saying that accounting is a "male job" is laughable.

Also, I like how you mention Dragon Age Origins, because while a few woman are underdressed, MOST OF THEM AREN'T.

i havent palyed DA:O (shame on me) so i dont know how it is in whole game. but when i watched a trailer i kept thinking "well they are climbing a mountain, in a snowstorm, the males are dressed on warm clothes and the females are... pretty much naked. why are they not bloody freezing to death?" Its not so much a sexual appeal as why woudl you be 80% naked in a snowstorm? that doesn't make sense.

Strazdas:

Also, I like how you mention Dragon Age Origins, because while a few woman are underdressed, MOST OF THEM AREN'T.

i havent palyed DA:O (shame on me) so i dont know how it is in whole game. but when i watched a trailer i kept thinking "well they are climbing a mountain, in a snowstorm, the males are dressed on warm clothes and the females are... pretty much naked. why are they not bloody freezing to death?" Its not so much a sexual appeal as why woudl you be 80% naked in a snowstorm? that doesn't make sense.

Different experience than mine, then. The women in my party, Leiliana, Wynne and Morrigan, all had conservative armor/robes (Morrigan starts in half a shirt, but that changes).

IMHO many people don't understand, that there is no sexism in the gaming industry or other male-dominated fields. The sexism is on the outside!

What I mean: There will be some exceptions, but 99% of all men in male-dominated fields are not sexist, but are really happy, if women work there; hell you may not notice it, but we men in these industries love women (most of the time ;) ). I don't know a man (like I said, there may be some exceptions, but I don't know one personally) in the technology business, that is saying "what is this woman working here? Better she get's back into the kitchen!". It's not happening!

The sexism comes from the outside, people not working in this business! THEY are saying: "What? She is an engineer? Ha, got propably in there with her tits and has no skills!" or we also can do it the other way round with a man that is working as a "kindergarten teacher" ("What a pussy! Go work in construction!"). My mother is working at an elementary school and she always talks about that they would reaaaally like some more men working there too, but they aren't!
So the "idea" that you have to change the gaming business and do something about the non-existing sexism in there to attract more women is stupid; you have to change how people think on the outside!

The game industry doesn't NEED women any more than the nursing industry NEEDS men. You don't hire people trying to even out gender representations, you hire people based on increasing the overall standards of the game industry. If I was given a choice between hiring a woman and hiring a man who is better qualified (and interested), I'm NOT going to hire the woman no matter how much idiots yell at me "but we NEED women!". No...we need people who are motivated, dedicated, talented, etc. And if 95% of those people happen to be male, I don't have a fucking problem with that. Do you?

Nobody except the politically-sensitive nutters with megaphones (whom I consider slightly less important than the earthworms in my backyard) have a problem with that.

Gabrielle Toledano is a business-woman, not a game developer. In fact she has absolutely NOTHING to do with gaming in her entire life if the biography is to be believed, her career has revolved around Human Resources. As vice president of EA (a publisher) the job is 99% people management and business dealings, games are nothing more than products at that level. Even in our own company we have women like that...in high managerial positions with nothing more than extremely basic IT qualifications, if any (lol). It's about managing people, knowing the right people, being able to sell a product, making a good quarterly statement, etc etc.

A woman in such a position saying "the game industry needs women!" means squat. She shouldn't even be using the word "game", she has nothing to do with games. You can call me a cynic but if you see here: http://www.ea.com/executives
I really, really wouldn't be surprised if EA only has her over there in order to say "see? We AREN'T run solely by greedy ower-hungry men...look, a woman!". And I hate to say such things, I'm sure she is damn good at her job...but the odds of her gender being a factor to her being there is a fair possibility.

lacktheknack:

While that all has an effect, I actually did a rudimentary Google check, and yes, the levels of hormones found in each gender causes different things to happen in your brain, affecting cognitive function and other things.

So maybe (GASP) it's a combination of both reasons.

Sure. The problem here is that, as was pointed out in the thread on male domestic abuse in this very forum, the only way to reliably ascertain hormone levels in the brain is to extract cerebrospinal-fluid via a lumbar puncture. This is, as also pointed out, a medical procedure with quite some risks associated with it and thus not performed for "simple" research reasons.

Once again I refer you to Delusions of Gender (Fine, 2011) because Cordelia Fine does an admirable job at pointing out the often lacking evidence for neurological differences between the genders. I'd also point you to Bennett et al. for their ability to succinctly point out why most modern research using MRI-scans should be taken with a huge pinch of salt: Because their threshold values are simply set too low, allowing technical interference and residual brain activity in a dead fish to register as statistically significant.

Since I work daily in psychiatry, I'm quite keenly aware of the role the transmitor substances in our synapses play in determining how we behave and how altered hormonal levels can affect mood and cognitive functions. However, I am all in favor of not making grandiose statements about "natural" male or female ways of being, because they tend to be built on shaky evo-psych reasoning and they also tend to be quite exclusionary to the large sections of both genders (and those that don't conform to either) that doesn't fit the proposed "natural".

This thread seemed interesting until I got to the part were being a man means I probably haven't and never will experience sexism ever... I am literally too confused and saddened by such a massive declaration of ignorance. Such ignorance is... it's just too much?

Yeah, listen to Mrs. Fake Smile 2012, you morons. EA doesn't treat you like shit because you're a woman.
It's company policy to treat you like shit, regardless of gender. ^^

LMAO my wife saw me reading this, looked at the picture, and said "oh yes because everyone will take her seriously in a shirt that is down past her sternum!" Ranting about asking for a double standard in clothing ensued. Thanks escapist.

Well I never really thought there was specifically 'sexism' in the industry, I.E from employers/co workers, but more of just social pressure that 'women can only do ____'. But there is definitely sexism in the gaming community, just play an random online console game, and you're bound to see it a few times. Though I'll admit I havn't actually been in any workplace.

Why would anyone have to brand themselves gamers, just because they work in a gamecompany?
I don't brand myself a sailor because I work with ferries. I'm borderline phobic of being out on the sea.

Anyway, I don't think sexism is an issue, as much as a womans fear of not being part of a percieved boys club. Besides, they're practically sterile environments, workplaces like any other office, where hobbies MAY intersect and probably often do, but it isn't granted.

So it's not that you're not hiring that many women, it's that women are too shy to apply for the jobs.

No I'm kidding, I don't see any problem with this. Honestly. More males play games -> more males go into gaming jobs, it sounds logical to me. If the userbase was 50/50 it wouldn't make sense, but it isn't. I'm not getting into society vs nature here, but I think it's pretty safe to say neither side can prove where gender career trends come from. Especially in a modern society where you can study whatever you want.

Darken12:
Bayonetta needs to be wearing that skin-tight catsuit (again, with cleavage) and put herself in suggestive poses

Bayonetta is just playing everything completely over the top, similar to it's spiritual prequel, DMC. The game isn't even taking itself seriously, why are you?

I think it depends on your field - I mean, where programming is concerned - sorry ladies, but men are better at it, our brains are wired better for programming. Deal with it. But other fields like art, design, sound etc it's usually a much more level playing field.

I certainly don't mean that to be offensive, actually to be a good programmer I'd say people need some negative personality traits - like arrogance. Really there is quite a specific mindset that I think makes a good programmer, and it's just a case that there are more men with that mindset than women, and women with that mindset tend to do better in other fields - medical research for instance.

Darken12:
-WAAAH WOMEN ARE OPPRESSED-

Ooh, is it time to wheel out my white knight picture again?

image

It would be a good idea for you to go through your lists again and see how many games also contain extremely idealised male characters. There are just as many, if not more, "super-macho Übermensch" male characters as there are "overly-sexualised" female characters because video games are FANTASY and are supposed to be UNREALISTIC.

If it's not sexism, why am I finding it excruciatingly difficult to find prominent women in the gaming industry?

The Plunk:

It would be a good idea for you to go through your lists again and see how many games also contain extremely idealised male characters. There are just as many, if not more, "super-macho Übermensch" male characters as there are "overly-sexualised" female characters because video games are FANTASY and are supposed to be UNREALISTIC.

Sure, I can agree with most of that. So, why is it that you guys get the wish-fulfillment fantasies while us women get female characters that are characterized and sexualized for the benefit of guys? This never struck you as odd?

lacktheknack:

Cybil: She's *SPOILER* a tailor-made-to-you hallucination to make you uncomfortable. When I played, she didn't have the epic cleavage. She's the way she is because you made her that way, not because she reflects anything in reality.

image

Yeah, I can see the epic cleavage on the first two versions of her, that's for sure.

The third one is literally the one that you see if you've been trending towards the "Sleaze and Sirens" ending at the point. Hint: That's the "Harry was a horndog, and the reason Cheryl hallucinated them in the first place was because he was cheating on his wife, with all of them" ending. I had the middle Cybil in my playthrough.

BreakfastMan:

DVS BSTrD:

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

I agree that society enforced gender rolls can go fuck themselves. But I have to wonder, even without preconceptions, just how different men and women really are in human terms.

Not by much, really. Beyond predispositions towards certain body-types, men and women have little to no differences, psychologically.

And with that, I take my leave of this thread. I have seen enough of these type of threads to know how they go. Pretty soon Phasmal, Vault101, or evilthecat will show up, then Therumancer, mathew_lane, or someone similar will make an appearance, and the entire thread will descend into flames. So, excuse if I want to get out now when the getting is good, now that I have said my piece.

You're a wise guy. I think I shall do the same thing. Have a good day.

Something that would be interesting to see is if EA or some other big game company put out some figures with an article like this. Something along the lines of "In the last five years we had X female applicants and we hired Y. The average for the industry is Z. Of those that were hired, Q went into development positions, R into QA, and S into other positions."

I think an article like this would have a lot more heft to it if there were numbers attached.

Andy Chalk:
Electronic Arts VP Says Sexism Complaints Are "Misguided"
"Sexism is an unfortunate reality of our times,--- "

Source: Forbes

Permalink

I'm pretty sure that sexism used to be worse, and that great strides have been made in the last 50-100 years. pretty sure sexism was pretty much a way of life for, o I don't know, the existence of the human race.

just annoys me when people take this kind of stuff out of perspective, if you really want to help oppressed woman the west isn't the place where the most work needs to be done...

Darken12:
Right, because Catwoman's zipper needs to be that far down...

This is a little pet peeve of mine and I'm sorry to cut away the rest of your mostly-agreeable post to pick on it, but Catwoman's costume design in Arkham City is broadly identical to her contemporary depiction in the comics.

I can't speak as to the zipper, but I get a little annoyed when I see people complain about the Arkham City devs "sexualising" Catwoman. Rocksteady's art department didn't really sexualise her or even change her that much at all - she's been drawn like that for years now. I mean, yeah, a skin-tight catsuit with an inexplicably low zipper is obviously there for fanservice, and it's why they do it in the comics as well, but that's not Rocksteady's fault. They're just being faithful to the source material.

And if you want to talk about egalitarian fanservice...Batman is ludicrously buff in that game. And there are plenty of shirtless and very chiseled crooks around, if you're of the bad boy persuasion. I mean, I don't know if some sexualised guys cancel out some sexualised girls, but I can say that when my sister played the game, she used to deliberately try and position Batman so that his cape blew aside and revealed his perfectly sculpted buttcheeks in their litte bat-underpants.

Everyone's a perv!

OT: What she says is mostly sensible, and as she's inside the industry I can't really dispute her credibility. Of course, she may be getting the push to say this by someone higher up in EA, but we'll never know that.

What I think is interesting is questioning whether women aren't getting into the industry because they're afraid the industry is sexist and male-dominated, or whether the industry is sexist and male-dominated because women just don't want to work for video game companies. Bit of a circular conundrum, there. If it's the latter I can't blame them; I would never be able to bear the shame of being a male nurse (the fact that you have to say "male nurse" speaks volumes about the gender rigidity). Peer pressure! Causing problems for people since the dawn of civilisation!

This... actually seems fairly reasonable? Wow. I need to go have a lie down.

It boils down to:
Women assume the industry is sexist because there are few women in the industry.
Therefore few women join the industry.
Which perpetuates the idea that the industry is sexist.
And on it goes.

Chicken, meet egg.

bastardofmelbourne:

OT: What she says is mostly sensible, and as she's inside the industry I can't really dispute her credibility. Of course, she may be getting the push to say this by someone higher up in EA, but we'll never know that.

She's the VP. There aren't exactly a lot of people 'higher up' to put pressure on her.

I cant wait for feminism to die. Its just a bunch of crazy man blaming man hating anti men professional nagging under the guise of equality, when in reality the world will always cater to women and always has.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Gethsemani:

The Plunk:

It would be a good idea for you to go through your lists again and see how many games also contain extremely idealised male characters. There are just as many, if not more, "super-macho Übermensch" male characters as there are "overly-sexualised" female characters because video games are FANTASY and are supposed to be UNREALISTIC.

Sure, I can agree with most of that. So, why is it that you guys get the wish-fulfillment fantasies while us women get female characters that are characterized and sexualized for the benefit of guys? This never struck you as odd?

I'm sure there are some women that find characters like Bayonetta empowering. Not all women, obviously, but then there are a lot of men that hate the uber-macho male characters too.

The Plunk:

I'm sure there are some women that find characters like Bayonetta empowering. Not all women, obviously, but then there are a lot of men that hate the uber-macho male characters too.

Missing the point. Characters like Bayonetta aren't designed to appeal to women, they are designed to appeal to men. Even Alyx Vance, the usual figurehead for good female characters, was written explicitly to appeal to male gamers. Not all men might like the male characters presented in all games, but that doesn't change the fact that just about every character in most games is designed to appeal to men, not women. Not even female protagonists are designed with the intention of appealing to women and if they do so it is more out of pure chance than actual effort from the developers.

Don't you see the problem? Because for me, as a woman, it is quite clear.

alphamalet:

IF YOU ARE A WOMEN INTERESTED IN DEVELOPING GAMES, THEN PURSUE THIS INTEREST!

That's what this boils down to, also

This is the sentiment I've echo'd in alot of these 'gurl gamerarz!!1' threads. Women are just as responsible for pushing themselves through all the bile to make a statement in the industry. Far more than just sitting on the internet complaining about it.

I've no other reason than to be studying what I do than to eventually break into the industry in my own way. But alas time is my only enemy in this regard. Nothing else.

Atmos Duality:
If it's not sexism, why am I finding it excruciatingly difficult to find prominent women in the gaming industry?

Perhaps because there are far less women CHOOSING to pursue a career in the gaming industry? Nah, that would be ridiculous.

lacktheknack:
I'm still talking in not-all-caps, aren't I? If I wanted to censor discussion, I'm doing a particularly terrible job at it, aren't I? I don't think I should have to accept that games are oh-so-sexist, though.

And why not? Do you think that, if society is sexist, then somehow its products will not be? That's quite the fallacy.

lacktheknack:
Catwoman: Her sex appeal is one of her weapons. She knows it disarms guys a bit, and uses it to full effect. That's not sexist, that's a character choice with rationale.

And you find absolutely nothing sexist with that description? Why does the "villain who uses sex appeal" has to be a woman? Why can't it be a man? And why does she have to use her sex appeal, when she could be using anything from fear gas to freeze guns? Why doesn't she have a catbelt with all sorts of useful gadgets?

lacktheknack:
Cybil: She's *SPOILER* a tailor-made-to-you hallucination to make you uncomfortable. When I played, she didn't have the epic cleavage. She's the way she is because you made her that way, not because she reflects anything in reality.

Yes, the entire "highly sexualised" path given by having a high Sex PI is full of examples like Cybil's epic cleavage. That doesn't mean it's not objectifying women, particularly when the person having the hallucinations is

I'll tell you why. Because the high Sex PI path is shameless fanservice aimed at straight males.

lacktheknack:
Bayonetta: She exists in a completely alternate universe where her attacks are powered by sex appeal. I don't really approve, but I'm 99% sure it ain't sexist.

You do realise that's just an excuse, right? Do you honestly believe that the game developers were crying themselves to sleep because their game idea (an alternate universe where attacks are powered by sex appeal) forced to make their heroine an objectified woman? Because I assure you, they weren't. They knew exactly the kind of game they wanted to make and then they handwaved an excuse to make it sound less obviously sexist.

lacktheknack:
Also, Lara Croft spends the majority of her time in gear that covers her breasts just fine. Even when she rips her flaming jacket off in Legend, she's wearing a turtleneck sweater underneath. A TURTLENECK. The only REALLY fanservicey moment I can think of in the last three games was the "Japanese corporate work party turned Yakuza sting" level.

I don't know, I'm pretty sure this is unnecessary cleavage. And that the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot could have her wearing an ordinary t-shirt, right? Just because a female character doesn't have an excessive cleavage doesn't mean she's not sexualised. Lara's hot pants, for example, or anything that emphasises her ass, bares her legs, midriff and arms/shoulders, is exposing most of her body to the audience without necessarily giving them cleavage.

lacktheknack:
And no, I'm focusing on secondary AND "chunk-of-meat" mentality. Lead women are rarely, if ever, viewed as a sexual object and little else (even Lara Croft has motivations and backstory). That's already a good sign. And even if a woman's breasts ARE on display (although you and I seem to have difference ideas of what "on display" means"), it's not an instant indicator of "chunk-of-meat" mentality. As I mentioned before, Shaundi is somewhat sexualized, but she's her own character who has a distinct personality and helps drive the story.

Just because the character is given a two-dimensional personality and a token backstory doesn't mean it's treated the same as her male counterparts (see: any FPS ever, which have an overabundance of male characters (often in the name of "realism") and female characters get token development while the spotlight remains fixed on the 2-3 main male leads). And just because a female lead character might be three-dimensional and have a rich backstory, doesn't mean that if we put her in a DoA bikini she suddenly isn't sexualised.

lacktheknack:
I also take issue with your "Physical Activity = Full Covering" idea. You've never gone climbing, have you? Clothes are annoying, clothes get in the way, clothes catch on to things and wreck your plans. Lara's classic outfit:

image

... while admittedly skimpy in the legs, is ideal for most of the situations she's in. She didn't fight lots of gunmen in the first game, it was just her against the elements, animals, and rocks. She would have been scuffed, yes, and she probably has legendary callouses on her knees, but that's approximately the type of outfit I would wear if I went cliff climbing again (except with kneepads and shorts instead of hotpants). Formfitting is good in these situations, because it's immensely less likely to catch on things.

As I mentioned above, cleavage is the easiest way to show that a woman has been sexualised, but hot pants, bare arms and legs, and extremely tight and form-fitting outfits (accompanied by suggestive camera panning) are just as valid forms of sexualisation. While I agree that form-fitting outfits are an advantage in certain rough activities, there's a difference between "comfortably form-fitting" and "so tight it actively hinders movement". While I cannot say if Lara's classic outfit is the former or the latter, it's certainly got a significant degree of sexualisation.

The lack of proper accessories that might get in the way of the sexualisation (like knee-pads, as you mentioned) are often another way to tell when a woman has been sexualised.

lacktheknack:
Also, I like how you mention Dragon Age Origins, because while a few woman are underdressed, MOST OF THEM AREN'T. Even better, people always mention Morrigan's barely-there clothing, but no one remembers that you can put her in something else that's more practical. It's up to you, you know. The only consistently underdressed group in the game is the lust demons, and gee, I wonder why?

Right, Morrigan just happens to be the main female character (Warden non-withstanding), appears in most of the promotional art (and never in an outfit that isn't the one you find her in) and then the best outfit you can get for Morrigan in the game is actually the same one she starts with, but with better stats.

Also, the lust demons are yet another case of "aimed at straight males", because you never see a male lust demon, and (to my knowledge) you never see one of them tempting or seducing a lesbian (though if they did, one could argue that it's done for the titillation of straight males too, so that's a lose-lose).

lacktheknack:
Taking up your challenge of male leads, females supporters:

Starcraft: Success! (If anything, Kerrigan is MORE interesting than Raynor.)

Street Fighter: Success! (NO one is well developed.)

Myst: Success! (Catherine is more competent, more interesting and more headstrong than Atrus. If you read the books, it gets even more so.)

Cave Story: Success! (Again, lack of development.)

I'll give you Starcraft and Myst, but "nobody is well developed" is not a point in your favour. It's not a point in my favour either, but more of a "this doesn't count" case. I still get Street Fighter nailed for blatant sexualisation of women.

lacktheknack:
Those are just off the top of my head, now I'm having that awkward moment where I'm browsing my library of games and not finding ANY games that fit your stereotype, by having an unknown protagonist (Darwinia), a selectable protagonist (Tropico), a female protagonist (Alice), or no real female supporting protagonist (Rayman). I guess "Gish" fits your stereotype, if you can consider a blob of tar who doesn't say anything to be an interesting lead character.

This is just nitpicking, I know, but Tropico assumes your character is male (by calling you "El Presidente" instead of "La Presidente/La Presidenta" even if you pick a female avatar).

lacktheknack:
And regarding "What Women Want In A Character": Again, Dragon Age, XCOM, Tropico, Mirror's Edge, later Elder Scrolls, Fallout... the list actually does go on.

(I'm realizing that my dislike of FPS games might be clouding my perception of what's popular, since most stereotypes that people talk about seem to be originating from there, a genre I never play.)

Except from Mirror's Edge, all the others have neutral-gendered protagonists where the promotional material clearly indicates that the main character is intended to be male (such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, the Elder Scrolls, Tropico, probably Fallout, etc). While you could point out that these games seem egalitarian, the promotional material clearly intends to sell the game to male gamers, where the female option is an afterthought or there to please the eyes of the straight males (such as the stripperrific armours in WoW, LoL and other fantasy games).

Also yeah, you have to look at all the genres before you can say that the gaming industry's portrayal of women isn't sexist.

lapan:
Bayonetta is just playing everything completely over the top, similar to it's spiritual prequel, DMC. The game isn't even taking itself seriously, why are you?

Is that supposed to be an excuse? I can get a pass for sexism, homophobia and racism if I say you're not supposed to take me seriously? That's a wonderful idea, I'll start making misandrist and heterophobic comments and asking people why are they taking me seriously when they get angry. Wonderful idea!

Just because something doesn't take itself seriously doesn't mean it can't be sexist/homophobic/etc.

The Plunk:
Ooh, is it time to wheel out my white knight picture again?

image

How is it whiteknighting when there isn't a woman to impress here? Or when I'm not interested in earning brownie points with women?

The Plunk:
It would be a good idea for you to go through your lists again and see how many games also contain extremely idealised male characters. There are just as many, if not more, "super-macho Übermensch" male characters as there are "overly-sexualised" female characters because video games are FANTASY and are supposed to be UNREALISTIC.

Sexual fantasy =/= power fantasy.

Those super-macho men are power fantasies for men, not sexual fantasies for women. Do you want to see what men look like as sexual fantasies for women? Google "yaoi" or "bishonen" at your own expense. Some women do like incredibly buff men, yes, but you can't possibly tell me that game developers are targeting them explicitly. Because they aren't, any more than putting an epic cleavage on a woman with a DD cup is deliberately targeting lesbians.

bastardofmelbourne:
This is a little pet peeve of mine and I'm sorry to cut away the rest of your mostly-agreeable post to pick on it, but Catwoman's costume design in Arkham City is broadly identical to her contemporary depiction in the comics.

I can't speak as to the zipper, but I get a little annoyed when I see people complain about the Arkham City devs "sexualising" Catwoman. Rocksteady's art department didn't really sexualise her or even change her that much at all - she's been drawn like that for years now. I mean, yeah, a skin-tight catsuit with an inexplicably low zipper is obviously there for fanservice, and it's why they do it in the comics as well, but that's not Rocksteady's fault. They're just being faithful to the source material.

That's how sexism works! Very few men wake up one morning and say "Oh boy, I feel extra misogynistic today! I'm going to come up with new ways to oppress women!". Most men simply do what they think it's normal. It's a vicious circle; ingrained sexism in society makes men think it's okay to do sexist things and thinking that it's okay to do sexist things ingrains sexism in society. Everyone who has ever done a sexist thing can point out to another person who has also done a sexist thing and say they don't see what the problem is. Nobody wants to step up and admit to sexism, because everyone uses them as a scapegoat to avoid looking at their own failings.

If we all keep shoving the hot potato onto someone else's hands, nothing is ever going to change.

bastardofmelbourne:
And if you want to talk about egalitarian fanservice...Batman is ludicrously buff in that game. And there are plenty of shirtless and very chiseled crooks around, if you're of the bad boy persuasion. I mean, I don't know if some sexualised guys cancel out some sexualised girls, but I can say that when my sister played the game, she used to deliberately try and position Batman so that his cape blew aside and revealed his perfectly sculpted buttcheeks in their litte bat-underpants.

Everyone's a perv!

Yes, everyone's a perv. However, your sister has to position Batman carefully to get a good look at his ass, or look around for the shirtless men (which, I bet, aren't given any different treatment. They're just shirtless. I bet my right arm that the camera doesn't lovingly pan over their abs and pecs the way it would pan over Catwoman's cleavage or ass), while a male player has to sit back and let the fanservice come to them without making any effort. This is a lot like the first Mass Effect, where the straight male players could get their M/F or F/F on, while straight women had no M/M and, if they wanted to play a female character, had only one romance option instead of two. Not to mention the asari, a monogendered race that just happens to look like female supermodels, and are often put in stripperrific outfits (or at least massive cleavages).

Sexism.. It's racism 2.0

Everyone just throws that word into a debate when male / female diffrences are around, but probably only 1% of the people actually know what they're talking about.
The lack of women isn't there because the male workers / ceo's think women aren't capable of doing it or trying to keep them out of the field or anything (By the number of "we need more women" shoutouts quite the contrary i'd say).

It's just that alot of women themselves can't see them pursuing a job in this field since ... well, look at Big Bang Theory what the average guy/girl thinks of "nerds".

DarthSka:

Perhaps because there are far less women CHOOSING to pursue a career in the gaming industry? Nah, that would be ridiculous.

Actually, it is ridiculous without an underlying reason...which you haven't provided.
Though seeing how the only response I've received is empty snark, I have to wonder if this is even worth my time.

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