Are dating games misogynistic?
Yes
25.8% (39)
25.8% (39)
No
74.2% (112)
74.2% (112)
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Poll: Are dating games misogynistic?

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My friend and I were having a discussion today about dating games. She said that because dating games portray women as things to be "won", it objectifies women. She said that it portrays women as a problem for men to overcome. I took the stance that they are probably not misogynistic because they don't actively "hate" women. The discussion got me thinking though, do dating games objectify women?

No, they're just games. Games aren't to be taken seriously. Life is better if you have some fun every once in a while.

OF COURSE THEY OBJECTIFY WOMEN.

What's the difference between a slutty romance 'novel' and a dating game?
It's the same idea.

I'm not entirely sure "misogynistic" is the perfect word to describe them (there are ones where you date dudes, too - I think they're called Otome?) but based on what I've seen of them (never actually played one) the game mechanics give off an (unintended?) manipulative vibe. That's also something I'd say about most games where you grind for love interest approval points.

Yes, there are Otome games.

I think that there are a lot of themes in them which are sexist. There's definitely problems in the genres. Loads, really. Some of it is just laziness with the genre.

Dating games aren't all the exact same, though. And there's nothing wrong with the concept. Can one honestly argue the concept of games revolving around dating and romance are worse than games about violence?

Honestly, they ought to go down the Love Plus route, but better. It'd be nice to see a game about not only romance, but realistic and interesting romance that is a somewhat beautified version of a real life marriage. A lot of Japanese people feel they would like a wife but feel they cannot have one. And a lot of people seem so attached to idols and fictional characters they act almost as if they are dating partners.

You would think someone would find the time and effort to actually put this into a game. Heck, I would play that. It would be interesting to see a game do an amazing job of portraying love and marriage.

LilithSlave:
Yes, there are Otome games.

I think that there are a lot of themes in them which are sexist. There's definitely problems in the genres. Loads, really. Some of it is just laziness with the genre.

Dating games aren't all the exact same, though. And there's nothing wrong with the concept. Can one honestly argue the concept of games revolving around dating and romance are worse than games about violence?

Honestly, they ought to go down the Love Plus route, but better. It'd be nice to see a game about not only romance, but realistic and interesting romance that is a somewhat beautified version of a real life marriage. A lot of Japanese people feel they would like a wife but feel they cannot have one. And a lot of people seem so attached to idols and fictional characters they act almost as if they are dating partners.

You would think someone would find the time and effort to actually put this into a game. Heck, I would play that. It would be interesting to see a game do an amazing job of portraying love and marriage.

agreed

*future world where game is released* in other news, japans birth rate has dropped to zero! Fox News believes it's those evil cartoon characters!

Misogynistic - exhibiting or reflecting hatred or mistreatment of women.

Since most dating games are based around the fact that the people playing them like women, and enjoy dating women, even virtual women, I think calling dating games misogynistic is rather backwards and silly.

Misogyny just seems like a buzzword these days that's used by people who don't quite understand what it means, and just use it as a synonym for sexist.

there is a lot of generalization going on lately this i just another example of that. some are like that but some are based around romance and have good stories to them for example my girlfriend is the president. yes i play them and yes i'm a pervert but i still like them to have good stories

Anything that only caters to one gender's point of view is biased against the opposite gender by default.

So...

Wait, I can't drink copious amounts of Alcohol at local bars to raise my charm?

Damn! It almost worked too!

Jokes aside, I don't think they are. The point of Dating is to, well, court a girl. You have a goal in dating at least, sometimes it's an inappropriate goal, sometimes it's just to find your true love. I just think Dating Games create the allusion of being misogynistic because, when you're playing it, you know it's a game. Really, in a way dating can be considered a game in itself, it just takes a computer monitor for most people to realize it.

LilithSlave:
Yes, there are Otome games.

I think that there are a lot of themes in them which are sexist. There's definitely problems in the genres. Loads, really. Some of it is just laziness with the genre.

Dating games aren't all the exact same, though. And there's nothing wrong with the concept. Can one honestly argue the concept of games revolving around dating and romance are worse than games about violence?

Honestly, they ought to go down the Love Plus route, but better. It'd be nice to see a game about not only romance, but realistic and interesting romance that is a somewhat beautified version of a real life marriage. A lot of Japanese people feel they would like a wife but feel they cannot have one. And a lot of people seem so attached to idols and fictional characters they act almost as if they are dating partners.

You would think someone would find the time and effort to actually put this into a game. Heck, I would play that. It would be interesting to see a game do an amazing job of portraying love and marriage.

Now if only you could get those people that fall in love with video game girls poor...poor things they are and hook them up with other people that play these games? Kinda like, an online chat thing within the game? I have no problem with dating games, but thinking you can't have a marriage so you turn to a 2d picture is a problem, and it is fixable, for the greater good of these people.

That one Japanese game "Rapelay" is pretty misogynistic.

I suppose it's kind of like a dating game, you stalk the women of this family and rape them when you get the chance. Nothing that comes out of Japan surprises or shocks me anymore.

*the endings to that game are weird too... I knocked one of them up so I killed myself :P

*edit: Here's proof I didn't make it up :P http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RapeLay

Emiscary:
Anything that only caters to one gender's point of view is biased against the opposite gender by default.

Misogynistic =/= biased against women

It's like the difference between "hate" and "dislike" or "prejudice." They don't mean the same thing even though dumb people use them interchangeably.

Also, quite a few women make and play those games, especially in japan, even though they predominantly cater to a male audience, which I don't think would happen nearly as often if women felt like the games were about hating the female gender.

Sex... Is something to be won. Competition for mates is one of the most basic experiences for any animal.

Obviously a game is not going to accurately portray the complexity of a human relationship, but I don't think there's anything wrong with creating a model of "dating". Like Lilith Slave said, you can't argue that it's worse than a game about killing people.

I'd love to see this genre taken more seriously, especially here in the west, where it's usually looked down on. I feel like the market is here. If you look at BioWare games, a big part of the appeal there is the relationships. I, for one, would be down if some big dev attempted to make a good, AAA dating sim.

Dirty Hipsters:

Misogynistic =/= biased against women

Actually, in most cases it does. It means that someone hates women. One can express that in ways that are not explicitly hate. For an excellent example, see The Pick Up Artist.

Dirty Hipsters:

It's like the difference between "hate" and "dislike" or "prejudice." They don't mean the same thing even though dumb people use them interchangeably.

Hate and dislike mean the same thing. The difference is a non-definable variation of degree of disgust with the thing in question. Generally speaking, hate is seen as more severe than dislike but trying to find purchase in a minor semantic argument like that is a bad place to go. Prejudice is the one that stands apart because it does not intrinsically mean hate; however, the most common use of the word generally relates strongly. Of course, one can be prejudiced in the good direction as well and while examples of this are common enough, it is rarely referred to as prejudice.

But, on the topic, prejudice and misogyny are strongly linked. The first is simply (and literally) a judgment cast before the relevant facts are known. Misogyny is simply a very specific example of prejudice. Defining something as misogynistic is easy enough of course. Simply find a thing that presents a negative view of a female purely on the basis of being female.

Dirty Hipsters:

Also, quite a few women make and play those games, especially in japan, even though they predominantly cater to a male audience, which I don't think would happen nearly as often if women felt like the games were about hating the female gender.

This argument is pure fallacy. It is akin to saying "Some people jumped off a bridge therefore jumping off a bridge must be safe!".

I won't say all Dating Sims are misogynistic - I simply don't have the experience with the genre to make such a claim. What I can say is any examples that I've been pointed to are wholly and obviously textbook examples of misogyny. But then the only ones that come to my attention tend to be the really creepy ones.

LilithSlave:
You would think someone would find the time and effort to actually put this into a game. Heck, I would play that. It would be interesting to see a game do an amazing job of portraying love and marriage.

I have had nothing to do with the genre, and I have not played the game, but is that not Catherine? At least in general story and not gameplay?

Well, you can't really label an entire genre with single adjectives like that. For example, the FPS genre may have call of duty, but it also has bioshock. So is it dumb or smart? It's neither. An entire genre can't simply be described as one word. Maybe a game can, but definitely not a whole genre.

They're misogynistic inasmuch as they turn seducing women into a series of emotional hoops to be jumped through. The same can be said of games like The Sims and Persona, though, or any game that tries to emulate and game-ify human interaction--out of their context, they're degrading to all parties involved.

Then again, my experience with dating sims is pretty limited, and if I found anything rapey on my (real) dates' gameshelves I would promptly defenestrate myself and run for the hills.

not by definition, but... yeah, they tend to be. a little.

The only game that has those elements I've played is Harvest Moon (GameCube version). You have a choice of 3 girls that you can marry, you can choose one, convince them - otherwise the game will just give you a random girl.
Those cutesy games like Harvest Moon, and Animal Crossing - well they can be pretty dark sometimes. Anyway theres this one girl, little redhead, probably the coolest female character, free spirit hobo girl with a killer rack. Anyway I planned to marry her, but could never convince her, got really annoying. I'd go and speak to her, offer her a fish, or whatever - and she'd come out with stuff like ''Don't be so keen, just to say hello''... Like damn, this girl thinks I'm a loser! WTF!
Ended up marrying the farmers daughter, she's ok, but it feels like I settled for her. How depressing is that, when a game can resemble life so acutely... I was kinda in a relationship with someone I detested, we had a kid, and better options were coming out of the woodwork - my life was basically mirrored in Harvest Moon.

In Skyrim, I married Leia - again, one of the coolest female characters, and marrying seemed to just make her pointless. Now she sells the stuff I give her, she gives me money, she'll make me a pie if I ask her... but I do miss the days when we'd go out, owning bandits and generally kicking arse, how we'd laugh when she caught me checking her side boob. Those days are gone - taking her on a quest would feel like a chore now, I'm actually concerned that she'll get killed or something, we'll argue on the way, she'll embarass me in front of my enemies - so she's a trophy housewife now, nagging me everytime I accidently Fus-Ro-Da the crockery and no sex drive whatsoever. In Fable, wives sometimes give you crap weapons... is that what game programmers think marriage is about!?... monotomy? - sometimes I think it would be cool if she made me a pie without me having to ask, or washed her face, wore a nice dress now and then, ate breakfast in her underwear... anything that you don't already get with man-hands Lydia.

To me, marriage in videogames is usually pointless, and when it has a point, when its a facet of the core gameplay, it can be bloody depressing. I guess I don't understand why people would choose to play a game where relationships are the sole focus, that just seems sad, like when some Animal Crossing bastard psycho analyses you, and get's it completely right.

Women are "objects" to be won. Courting is, in effect, trying to get a woman to like you most of the time. Generally speaking, women choose, men are chosen. Thus, men try to prove themselves as good suitors to woo a woman. Hypergamy at its finest and most blatant.

Really, I think the only problem with all of this is the whole "object" thing. If you're disregarding a persons humanity then you're doing it wrong. It doesn't matter what person you're doing it to, either. Seeing men as nothing more than faceless drones to work and die for whatever collective you choose isn't any better than seeing women as nothing more than baby-making facilities.

So that leads to a question: Do war games like StarCraft and the like objectify men? After all, the vast majority of the characters of these games are men and they are being mowed down for little more than strategic use. Do they create a greater narrative that men are good for nothing more than dying in conflict for women and children?

Furthermore, these are games. These "women" are not real. You cannot collect real women in the same way you could collect virtual women. They're an artists rendition of a particular idea of what a woman could be like. I think the far more heinous aspect of these types of games is the fact that the women aren't usually believably real. They're one dimensional and flat. That's the worst part of it.

Probably, but I look at them with the same sense of seriousness as when I look at those romance/sex novels depicting the 'perfect man' for woman. They're meant to be that way because it's simple fictional escapism.

Depends on the game? After all, if all dating sims are bad, then real-life dating is also bad - there's no way around it. I tend to believe that a dating sim that accurately portrays a real-life relationship with tact and sensibility doesn't count as mysoginistic, sexist or objectifying anything.

Does dating objectify women?

Any game that simplifies 'romance' as a multiple choice question where you're supposed to somehow please the character of opposite gender into loving you is goddamned stupid, regardless of whether it's a 'dating sim' or the latest rpg.

So are dating sims misogynistic? I don't really think so. I think they're stupid. I also find them a bit creepy, but not misogynistic... at least not intentionally. Mind you it's worth pointing out my only experience with the genre are a few reviews I read by a poster on these forums named Neutral Drow awhile back so I'm not exactly qualified to judge the entire genre.

salinv:
I have had nothing to do with the genre, and I have not played the game, but is that not Catherine? At least in general story and not gameplay?

Not quite but it's... close in some ways.

LilithSlave:

salinv:
I have had nothing to do with the genre, and I have not played the game, but is that not Catherine? At least in general story and not gameplay?

Not quite but it's... close in some ways.

See, I think Catherine's a good example since it's like a dating game but at the same time doesn't feel misogynistic since both K/Catherines are fairly realistic as far as they can be given that one's a

and makes a point of calling out all the men who are cheating douchebags. Which is GOOD but it also shows most of the women in it as being very posessive and keen to put a ring on it. Except Erica

But yeah, Otome games stand out, shows dating games as a genre aren't misogynistic. They might be sexist but they don't hate women.

Sorry for the Spoilers but didn't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't played the game >_>

I can't really speak with a great deal of authority here(considering I haven't actually played any) but I think that its difficult to judge these sorts of things without having tried them yourself. I mean, how do you know what they're like if you haven't played them? Maybe they aren't so bad.
That just got me thinking, I wonder if there are any dating simulators for women. I cerainly haven't heard of any, although I don't really know much about this stuff.

They're not inherently misogynistic. Some are, some aren't.

Most of the ones I've seen have been, though

As a general concept, no more than women's magazines that treat men as problems to be solved!

Actual article titles I have seen:
"Top Ten Tips for Catching the Man of Your Dreams (and keeping him once you've got him!)"
"Get His Attention: The Style Tips That make Him Take a Second Look"
"Stop Him Straying: The 5 Essential Rules for Keeping Your Man Loyal"

And a fantastic article (that I can't remember the title of) which advised using "simple, straight-forward language" when talking to your man (presumably to stop his caveman brain overheating) and to "remember to praise him" if he does something well (like remembering to take the bins out). Because being in a relationship has a lot in common with training a dog. Right?

Going back to dating games specifically: It would depend on the content.

I don't think they are, but I would love to see more visual romance novels aimed at women.

MetalMagpie:
As a general concept, no more than women's magazines that treat men as problems to be solved!

Actual article titles I have seen:
"Top Ten Tips for Catching the Man of Your Dreams (and keeping him once you've got him!)"
"Get His Attention: The Style Tips That make Him Take a Second Look"
"Stop Him Straying: The 5 Essential Rules for Keeping Your Man Loyal"

And a fantastic article (that I can't remember the title of) which advised using "simple, straight-forward language" when talking to your man (presumably to stop his caveman brain overheating) and to "remember to praise him" if he does something well (like remembering to take the bins out). Because being in a relationship has a lot in common with training a dog. Right?

This is something that drives me up the wall about that sort of magazine, no matter what gender it's written for. What I've seen of dating games definitely gives me a similar creepy vibe, as does the Bioware sort of in-game romance.

Some do some don't (and it is done on both genders), pick your flavor and go at it, or alternatively try the real thing ... much better graphics :P

As for your friend, she seems to have fallen out of the ignorance three and hit every branch on the way down.
Because everyone is trying to figure out everyone else, and it is never gender limited she just likes to see it that way.

We we talking about actual dating sims or romantic visual novels?
Actual dating sims are pretty awful, IMO.

BluebellForest:
I don't think they are, but I would love to see more visual romance novels aimed at women.

Well, the traditional words-on-paper romance novels are almost all aimed at women. I wonder if there's a trend that women generally prefer using their imagination (e.g. prompted by reading a book) over viewing images.

I imagine they can be pretty sexist, creepy, and possibly retarded at times, but I wouldn't say that's the same thing as a deliberately misogynistic game. I'm no expert on dating simulators, why the hell would I ever play one of those in the first place? I'm not a guy and I hate "romance".

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