Is the Witcher 2 sexist?

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So I've been vaguely interested in the Witcher 2 a while now as I've heard "it's like a bioware game but better" but I remembered how awfully misogynistic the first game was and murmurs that the second game was pretty bad too. So I watched some videos of the game and wow oh wow that opening scene with Triss was bad. Really bad.

Now, I'm still interested in the rest of the game but I was wondering if it improves later or continues/gets worse? I find most games presentation of woman pretty bad but this just looked awful. Does it get better?

And I should probably just add to keep the conversation civil. I know stuff like this can get out of hand so I hope we can try and attempt to not let it and act like reasonable people.

EDIT: From what I'm reading I think the game is less sexist and just really pander-y. And the reason I found Triss's first scene kinda sexist was that we have a guy who's got some clothes on whereas she is completely naked and this is the first time we've seen the character. They linger on her body for a full 30 seconds and it just kinda says "I'm here to look pretty". But from the sounds of things it gets better so I guess I'll pick up the game.

Depends on your view of misogyny. Sure, there are plenty of naked women to be found and several prostitutes scattered about. Some of the female characters can also be seen as more of bad cariactures of women too.

But on the other hand, there are several good female characters in the game (Triss, Vos and the leader of the rebellion to name those I can think of on top of my head) and some of the male characters are pretty cariacture too.

I, as a woman, did not find Witcher 2 very sexist. It is set in a sexist world, just like Game of Thrones (but unlike GoT, I do not get the vibe that CDProjektRed get a turn on from writing submissive women), but the game itself never felt like it tried to convey the idea that this sexism was a good idea to me. Quite the opposite, considering that at least 2 of the women in the game are very capable and driving to the plot.

SPOILERWhen you uncover a man that has been keeping an elf woman as his sex slave everyone who finds the woman, including Geralt, are apalled by how cruel and monstrous she's been treated. If the game had been misogynistic, this scene would have merited little more than a shrug, but as it is narrated it is quite obvious that we are supposed to think this is a major crime, much worse then public executions and harsh repression of your villagers that the enslaving character has been doing previously.

Of course it's sexist. It's set in a sexist setting.

That's not necessarily a bad thing; I certainly find it more believeable than the gender-blindness you find in a lot of games.

How is that opening scene bad? It's common for lovers to sleep naked together and to remain naked when alone together. She immediately covers herself when the soldier barges in.

Also just because the setting is sexist doesn't mean it's a bad game. Mount & Blade openly admits the game is harder for female characters, as it would be in medieval times.

To me it came across as blatantly pandering rather than outright misogynistic.

When I came to the scene in the second act where Geralt walks in on Phillipa - the only interesting female character in the game - whipping her naked young lady assistant with a riding crop my eyes damn near rolled out of my head.

I mean, really, guys? I... er, appreciate the imagery and all, but really? And you expect me to take this game as anything other than a joke? Really?

That scene doesn't even serve any narrative purpose either. Geralt was there to talk about something completely unrelated and nobody ever mentions it again. It's just kinda... there.

No. For gods sakes, no.

The context is sexist. The game is not. And I get rather annoyed when people seem to mistake the two.

I suspect now that Witcher 2 is due for release on the 360 we'll see another spur of these topics, was to be expected I guess. At least it keeps people talking about the game I suppose.

As for an answer to the question, no, not really. The setting itself is blatantly sexist just as it is racist. It's a violent world in the Witcher, not the more kids friendly version of ye ol' medieval times typically seen in media. Full of hate, mistrust and violence. Definitely not kid-friendly stuff!

Game itself however I never felt was sexist, worst it can be a bit pandering as Zhukov mentions. Even then I'd say it's still far better than most. At least the women in Witcher 2 are capable of being more than eye candy which isn't something that can be said, sadly, for many if not most games. Pretty sad state of affairs I might add, but there you go.

Zhukov:
To me it came across as blatantly pandering rather than outright misogynistic.

When I came to the scene in the second act where Geralt walks in on Phillipa - the only interesting female character in the game - whipping her naked young lady assistant with a riding crop my eyes damn near rolled out of my head.

I mean, really, guys? I... er, appreciate the imagery and all, but really? And you expect me to take this game as anything other than a joke? Really?

That scene doesn't even serve any narrative purpose either. Geralt was there to talk about something completely unrelated and nobody ever mentions it again. It's just kinda... there.

To be fair they pull the same thing with the male wizard

*shudders

Zhukov:
That scene doesn't even serve any narrative purpose either. Geralt was there to talk about something completely unrelated and nobody ever mentions it again. It's just kinda... there.

What, jokes that mess with ambiguity and expectations are suddenly bad?

You might as well hate Iorveth's Lord of The Rings joke, the 10 rings of power serve no purpose to the narrative.

Gethsemani:
[Spoiler="Also, this mild spoiler of Act 1"]When you uncover a man that has been keeping an elf woman as his sex slave everyone who finds the woman, including Geralt, are apalled by how cruel and monstrous she's been treated. If the game had been misogynistic, this scene would have merited little more than a shrug, but as it is narrated it is quite obvious that we are supposed to think this is a major crime, much worse then public executions and harsh repression of your villagers that the enslaving character has been doing previously.[/spoiler]

Gotta love how Roche just did not give a fuck. Also, your spoiler tag did not work.

OT: No. Its not sexist. I have a copy of The Witcher 2 sitting on my shelf and its been nothing but indifferent when I had females over.

Norrdicus:

Zhukov:
That scene doesn't even serve any narrative purpose either. Geralt was there to talk about something completely unrelated and nobody ever mentions it again. It's just kinda... there.

What, jokes that mess with ambiguity and expectations are suddenly bad?

You might as well hate Iorveth's Lord of The Rings joke, the 10 rings of power serve no purpose to the narrative.

a) It wasn't a joke. Jokes are funny.

b) "Hey look, they're lesbians and she's whipping her bare arse with a crop and she's totally into it, isn't that hot" constitutes "messing with ambiguity and expectations" huh? Now that is a joke.

c) Yes, Iorveth's LotR joke was pretty stupid too, but for different reasons. Also, pathetically unfunny.

My copy keeps giving contemplative "Mmmhmmmm" sounds when they're around

Zhukov:
a) It wasn't a joke. Jokes are funny.

b) "Hey look, they're lesbians and she's whipping her bare arse with a crop and she's totally into it, isn't that hot" constitutes "messing with ambiguity and expectations" huh? Now that is a joke.

a) Just about the most subjective topic in the world and thus I'm allowed to pull out the "You just didn't get it" card because frankly that comment of yours deserves it

b)

Norrdicus:

Zhukov:
That scene doesn't even serve any narrative purpose either. Geralt was there to talk about something completely unrelated and nobody ever mentions it again. It's just kinda... there.

What, jokes that mess with ambiguity and expectations are suddenly bad?

You might as well hate Iorveth's Lord of The Rings joke, the 10 rings of power serve no purpose to the narrative.

Thev scene is there to show that Philappa and Cynthia

I think. That's what I got from it.

Just as much as it's racist.

Really? the opening scene is sexist?

How?

It's a fictional representation of a violent, fantastic medieval society in which a racially despised central character slays monsters for money.

The question isn't, "is it sexist?" but "why on Earth would you try to apply real world socio-moral standards to a piece of artistic escapism?"

Personally, I don't play the Witcher to worry about whether women are being portrayed in a properly 3 dimensional fashion, just as I don't attend a meeting at work and expect the women in the room be dressed as prostitutes and serve the tea silently.

I dont think it is sexist.

I just think there are a select few who are over sensitive.

Off topic: I liked the new captchas better...

...until I keep getting "the all-new chevy sonic" shit, these captchas about the sonic have done nothing but convince me that I should never get a fucking Chevy

FelixG:

Off topic: I liked the new captchas better...

...until I keep getting "the all-new chevy sonic" shit, these captchas about the sonic have done nothing but convince me that I should never get a fucking Chevy

I like to reload until I get one of the "use any words to describe this brand", fill the box with swears, and laugh when it gets accepted anyway.

Which kind of seems to defeat the purpose of captcha in the first place...

I find it odd people would consider The Witcher 2 sexist.

I mean Mass Effect, especially it's latter two sequels objectify women all the fucking time. Look at Miranda, look at how she's modeled and look at her sex scene and tell me it doesn't play out like a scene straight out of a porno film.

But yet Mass Effect gets off scott free and when the Witcher 2 decides to put *gasp* a nude model into the game and imply the main character actually had sex, or that it is implied a female character could possibly be raped by an antagonistic character. Suddenly it is sexist?

Bare in mind 95% or so of the Witcher 2 has nothing to do with any of this and it more focuses on the storyline revolving around Geralt hunting the Kingslayer and the RPG gameplay but no. We have to focus on boobies and whether or not the developers care about them.

HHammond:
how awfully misogynistic the first game was

So Grand Theft Auto isn't called misogynistic (or it was above being called a murder simulator and a bunch of other labels) for being able to have casual sex with prostitutes and later murder them in a darkened ally to get your money back. But the original the Witcher allowing you to have sex with a prostitute and have an extremely tame censored scene which only implies sex is happening, is misogynistic.

I mean I'm not even going to go into the relationship Geralt has with Triss/Shany (which I rather liked in that game) I just hate the double standard. A LOT of games objectify women, it is absolutely nothing new. It's just the Witcher is more upfront with it's dark and cynical world it uses it as a device rather then a sales hook. If you do get beyond the opening scene you'll notice most of the female characters in the game are interestingly developed (well Triss aside, I always preferred Shany in the original The Witcher but beggars can't be choosers). The game just doesn't have as much fear with presenting them in their entirety.

Res Plus:
The question isn't, "is it sexist?" but "why on Earth would you try to apply real world socio-moral standards to a piece of artistic escapism?"

I can't agree with this any more.

The scene itself lasts for less then a few minutes and hardly even milks it. It's just there, to add to the atmosphere of the scene and it continues along with the story.

Zhukov:
To me it came across as blatantly pandering rather than outright misogynistic.

If they were pandering I'd expect the scene to last a lot longer, and for significantly more scenes involving this model.

But the scene itself, the way it's directed seems disinterested with Triss. It focuses more on Geralt and what he's talking about, and you focus more on him dressing himself then you do with Triss's naked body.

I can't stress this enough. Other games objectify women significantly more then the Witcher 2 does. It's nothing new, it's been done many, many times before and no one has cared until now because the Witcher 2 just doesn't care about the need not to show nudity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aai4pbtw660

Linked for emphasis. This is a far more objectifying scene then anything in the Witcher 2.

Zhukov:
a) It wasn't a joke. Jokes are funny.

3. a matter that need not be taken very seriously; trifling matter: The loss was no joke.

Source: Dictionary.com

Well if anyone wants to be offended by it then it most certainly gives you enough fuel for that.
Now it just depends on what you look for in a game...

HHammond:
So I've been vaguely interested in the Witcher 2 a while now as I've heard "it's like a bioware game but better" but I remembered how awfully misogynistic the first game was and murmurs that the second game was pretty bad too. So I watched some videos of the game and wow oh wow that opening scene with Triss was bad. Really bad.

Now, I'm still interested in the rest of the game but I was wondering if it improves later or continues/gets worse? I find most games presentation of woman pretty bad but this just looked awful. Does it get better?

And I should probably just add to keep the conversation civil. I know stuff like this can get out of hand so I hope we can try and attempt to not let it and act like reasonable people.

Why exactly is it misogynist? Because the game had the audacity to show tits? Because some random foot soldier is a dickhead. Gee, that stuff never happens in real life ever. Seems like your definition of misogyny is not being scared of girl's bodies.

But there's a sex scene with Triss in the first act, and there's a scene with Philipa being creepy in the second act, then there's a part where a character gets raped, but that's pretty much it.

There's nothing at all like the sex cards though.

how can an object be sexist?

but in all seriousness, i dont think its worse nor better than 1st. but if you were somehow offended by 1st part, well, you might as well be offended by second so keep that in mind.

So many spoilers in here. I've had to skim read everything, you bastards.

I'm still playing through Witcher 1, and I have to agree with Zhukov. I don't know that it's SEXIST, necessarily. And I think that word is being misused a little here, although maybe I'm just misunderstanding it. There are plenty of strong women with agency in The Witcher (almost a comical level of sexual agency, at that). But there is a glorious shitload of PANDERING. And whether or not you're the sort of person to find said pandering offensive or irritating is largely dependent on whether or not you find The Witcher's juvenile take on sexuality enticing or silly.

Obviously I can't say for sure whether 2 is as bad as 1, but based on what I've skimmed in this conversation, it sure sounds like it is.

Gethsemani:
Depends on your view of misogyny. Sure, there are plenty of naked women to be found and several prostitutes scattered about. Some of the female characters can also be seen as more of bad cariactures of women too.

But on the other hand, there are several good female characters in the game (Triss, Vos and the leader of the rebellion to name those I can think of on top of my head) and some of the male characters are pretty cariacture too.

I, as a woman, did not find Witcher 2 very sexist. It is set in a sexist world, just like Game of Thrones (but unlike GoT, I do not get the vibe that CDProjektRed get a turn on from writing submissive women), but the game itself never felt like it tried to convey the idea that this sexism was a good idea to me. Quite the opposite, considering that at least 2 of the women in the game are very capable and driving to the plot.

Basically this.

Also OT: I actually consider Witcher games significantly less sexist than your average Bioware game. So if you played the Mass Effect games and nothing significantly bothered you, the stuff in Witcher 2 probably won't either.

No.

The world it takes place in is sexist, plenty of the characters are sexist, the game itself is not sexist.

I'm not sure why you think the opening scene with Triss is bad; its no different to how Game of Thrones handles a number of its scenes. There's nudity, there's sexism, there's racism, there's violence; that's the world of the game. There's no sense of anything leery or misogynistic coming from the developers themselves as you play.

But yes, the first game was a bit "Look! Naked women!", whereas the second is firmly in the "Yes, there's naked women" category.

Yes, because EVERYONE knows that REAL women never want to have sex and no REAL man has EVER slept with more than one woman.

I can see the original posters point which can only mean one thing - we need more naked men in games and more male on male action. Balance things out nicely.

No, Just because a game portrays some "sluts" doesn't mean all the women in it are sluts, The same way some of the characters are racist, Doesn't mean they all are, It simplys portrays a dark gritty world.

Just because a game has titties doesn't make it misogynistic.

Google "ryona", that's misogynistic.

Nhenfrey:
I can see the original posters point which can only mean one thing - we need more naked men in games and more male on male action. Balance things out nicely.

But we already have MGS, what more do they want?

Rocklobster99:

Nhenfrey:
I can see the original posters point which can only mean one thing - we need more naked men in games and more male on male action. Balance things out nicely.

But we already have MGS, what more do they want?

Just more.

DVS BSTrD:
Yes, because EVERYONE knows that REAL women never want to have sex and no REAL man has EVER slept with more than one woman.

No, people do have sex, but they do it with they're clothes on. I mean, ew, taking your clothes off before sex? What are you, an animal? That's just disgusting!

It's not sexist. It's just that the world in The Witcher is not a nice place to live in. It's full of racists and sexists. It's a shithole. Don't worry though. You get to kill most of those racists and sexists.

Like pretty much everyone has said, the game itself isn't sexist. Hell, one of the main cast and most powerful ally in the game is a woman. It's the fact that it's set in a sexist place/time period.

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