Increasingly skinny women in video games?

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Nokshor:
I think one thing that tends to be lost in these sort of conversations, is that realistically speaking you need to be in pretty good shape to do what most game protagonists do.

Now - here is the British swimming team for the 2012 olympics.

^That is what an accomplished female athlete looks like.

If you notice, she's fairly thin.

Now I agree, that even ^her body type isn't necessarily realistic, depending on the setting. I wouldn't expect her to be able to swing a warhammer as large as she is... but then, I wouldn't expect the other two guys to either.

In both cases, I think we'd be looking at a much broader body type - like Hammer from Fable2, for instance?

So essentially what I'm advocating here is not necessarily equal representation (as being larger isn't necessarily helpful for acrobatic combat and such), but more realistic representation overall.

Not that stylised characters are a bad thing. Just... unless your entire game has the same unrealistic proportions, try and keep the size 0 barbarians to a minimum.

Just so ya know, not sure if you played Fable 2, but Hammer was huge. Amazonian even. It was the joke.

DigitalAtlas:

Nokshor:
I think one thing that tends to be lost in these sort of conversations, is that realistically speaking you need to be in pretty good shape to do what most game protagonists do.

Now - here is the British swimming team for the 2012 olympics.

^That is what an accomplished female athlete looks like.

If you notice, she's fairly thin.

Now I agree, that even ^her body type isn't necessarily realistic, depending on the setting. I wouldn't expect her to be able to swing a warhammer as large as she is... but then, I wouldn't expect the other two guys to either.

In both cases, I think we'd be looking at a much broader body type - like Hammer from Fable2, for instance?

So essentially what I'm advocating here is not necessarily equal representation (as being larger isn't necessarily helpful for acrobatic combat and such), but more realistic representation overall.

Not that stylised characters are a bad thing. Just... unless your entire game has the same unrealistic proportions, try and keep the size 0 barbarians to a minimum.

Just so ya know, not sure if you played Fable 2, but Hammer was huge. Amazonian even. It was the joke.

I have, but not in a long time. So I admit, my memory might be a tad fuzzy.

DigitalAtlas:

Kahunaburger:

DigitalAtlas:

The only time, in all mediums and genres, a character should look imperfect is horror, which can use the fear of imperfection to mess with somebody's head.

Ahahahahahahahaha no. How about we design characters that make sense in the context of the work we put them in? How hard is that to do?

I don't even know what you mean by that. Just.... Seriously? Is it that hard to comprehend we've used tricks like this for almost a century now?

You know who had visually "imperfect" major characters? Akira Kurosawa. You know who is arguably the greatest director of all time? Akira Kurosawa.

Or take Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who creates movies that are incredibly aesthetically pleasing while featuring many actors with strange or unusual faces. See also: the Coen brothers.

SL33TBL1ND:

OtherSideofSky:

zefiris:

That's nice, but it is the definition of feminism. You can similarly believe that the moon is made of cheese, but that doesn't make it so. Opinion =/= fact. Sorry.

It does, actually, describe them 100% accurately. Researching what "all major feminists and feminist organisations want" does not mean that you watch fox news for 5 minutes and conclude you know everything now. It would imply actually talking to and listening to said feminists.

In other words: You did not do your research. Complete and utter research failure right there.

No, the only one that isn't educated here is you. Again: Please stop watching foxnews for your education.
As many studies and examples like you prove, that drives your level of information down, not up. You are, indeed, not really worth speaking too until you start doing your research.

The way you are talking about feminists is, hilariously enough, the exact way whiny people claim feminists act:
Taking a few individuals out of context and pretending the whole is like that. Using your flawed logic, all men are clearly terrible. I can just copypaste your flawed arguments in there to support that. So go you, crusader for faulty logic and bad research :)

Ad hominem. How nice. That certainly shows you're arguing in good faith and it's certainly a great way to convince someone who was just complaining about formal logical fallacies.

Calling out someone on committing ad hominam is itself the fallacy of argumentum ad logicam. Nice.

It is certainly true that some, quite possibly even most feminists work for equality, but working for equality cannot be an inherent quality of feminism because there have been, and are still, groups which identify themselves as feminist and are not in favor of equality.

Then they are wrong. The definition of feminism is: The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
Therefor, if they aren't an advocate of equality, they aren't feminist.

I'll leave the rest to the person you actually replied to.

You got me there. I'll have to be more careful with my rhetoric in the future.

As for your definition, where does it come from? Who wrote it and what authority did they have to define feminism, an ideological movement (or perhaps a series of ideological movements) with no hierarchical structure or central authority of any kind? The various factions of feminism have been arguing about the definition of feminism for decades, with no end in sight. Some of the most prominent third wave thinkers have even argued that any given woman is free to define their own feminism as they see fit. My own definition is just that: a working definition I arrived at to describe all the various groups of people which use or have used the name.

Feminism is a movement made up of many smaller movements and organizations spanning more than two centuries with no bar to admission and no one with the authority to kick people out. Does it really offend you so deeply that a movement like that ends up being to broad to define in terms as narrow as you would like?

You appear to argue in a later post that how feminism, or any other ideological movement, started is the definition of what it will always "really" be, but how many feminists alive today have even heard of Mary Wollstonecraft, let alone actually read "Vindication of the Rights of Woman"? Of those who have, how many would consider that the basis of their ideology or hold any appreciation for the context of the time in which it was produced (remember, universal rights for men was almost as radical an idea in 1792 and Wollstonecraft had written another "vindication" on that subject two years previously)? Would it really be fair to either party to hold that the definition of feminism cannot have changed? You referred to the socialism of Marx in that other post; don't you think the influx of Marxist ideas and terminology during the second wave could have radically altered the nature of the movement (this is only an example, of course, there have been other, equally significant shifts)?

Naeras:
Honestly, I've been thinking about a fighting game concept lately where one of the characters would be a chubby/muscular woman. Why? Simply because I've never seen important female characters in games be anything but skinny, and thus it'd be somewhat original.

Well there's Helga in Clay Fighter...

More seriously, Bloody Roar has Mitsuko. There's also Angela Belti from Power Instinct - a franchise that also features several elderly women as playable characters.

And for what it's worth, the execrable Strip Fighter series has several muscular women in the cast - but the less said about these games, the better.

Eh, I find it hard to blame this on game developers. It is mostly the fault of lots of immature gamers. I mean, I look at all the mods on Skyrim to turn all the women into what they "should be" and it is this totally out of place hyper sexualized plastic sex doll, wearing hardly any clothes at all.
Not my cup of tea, but that is me. A woman can be very attractive, even in a game, without being designed for sex appeal. Most of my favorite female characters aren't hyper on sex appeal.

Haven't read the whole thread, so someone may have ninja'd this already, but in Dragon's Dogma, you can make female characters of just about any shape and size.

Personally, I'd just like to see more female characters who look like they'd be able to support the weight of their weapons and armour (if they're lucky enough to get any). By which I don't mean fat or "chubby" or whatever (though more variety would of course be a good thing), but muscular, like the majority of their male equivalents. I want my badass warrior to look like the athlete she is, not some supermodel. That also happens to be the look I favour in real life, both for myself and for the women I admire physically, but putting that aside, it just makes more damn sense.

And on the subject of armour: please, for the love of all that is holy, stop trying to make heavy armour look "attractive". Just stop. I can understand showing off a woman's (or man's) figure in a mage's robes or something, but full plate armour is NOT figure-hugging. It's bulky, thick, HEAVY. You know, the way it looks on a male character?

This is all I'm asking for: http://womenfighters.tumblr.com/ (13 pages of fan-drawn goodness, linked to me by Kahunaburger, for which, thanks). Not difficult.

/rant

But yes, variety. Please, more variety. I accept that the majority of men in games all look the same as well, but the situation with women is just comedic. Just one example (though it is recent) and I've posted it before, but check out the (relative) variety in male body shapes and then compare it to the cookie cutter females: http://en.playpw.com/heroes.html

One look at that page alone killed any interest I had in the game.

OtherSideofSky:

SL33TBL1ND:

OtherSideofSky:

Ad hominem. How nice. That certainly shows you're arguing in good faith and it's certainly a great way to convince someone who was just complaining about formal logical fallacies.

Calling out someone on committing ad hominam is itself the fallacy of argumentum ad logicam. Nice.

It is certainly true that some, quite possibly even most feminists work for equality, but working for equality cannot be an inherent quality of feminism because there have been, and are still, groups which identify themselves as feminist and are not in favor of equality.

Then they are wrong. The definition of feminism is: The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
Therefor, if they aren't an advocate of equality, they aren't feminist.

I'll leave the rest to the person you actually replied to.

You got me there. I'll have to be more careful with my rhetoric in the future.

As for your definition, where does it come from? Who wrote it and what authority did they have to define feminism, an ideological movement (or perhaps a series of ideological movements) with no hierarchical structure or central authority of any kind? The various factions of feminism have been arguing about the definition of feminism for decades, with no end in sight. Some of the most prominent third wave thinkers have even argued that any given woman is free to define their own feminism as they see fit. My own definition is just that: a working definition I arrived at to describe all the various groups of people which use or have used the name.

Feminism is a movement made up of many smaller movements and organizations spanning more than two centuries with no bar to admission and no one with the authority to kick people out. Does it really offend you so deeply that a movement like that ends up being to broad to define in terms as narrow as you would like?

You appear to argue in a later post that how feminism, or any other ideological movement, started is the definition of what it will always "really" be, but how many feminists alive today have even heard of Mary Wollstonecraft, let alone actually read "Vindication of the Rights of Woman"? Of those who have, how many would consider that the basis of their ideology or hold any appreciation for the context of the time in which it was produced (remember, universal rights for men was almost as radical an idea in 1792 and Wollstonecraft had written another "vindication" on that subject two years previously)? Would it really be fair to either party to hold that the definition of feminism cannot have changed? You referred to the socialism of Marx in that other post; don't you think the influx of Marxist ideas and terminology during the second wave could have radically altered the nature of the movement (this is only an example, of course, there have been other, equally significant shifts)?

Look, all I said in my original posts, was that in general conversation, people usually use the term feminism to mean equal rights between sexes. Which was why, in my original post, I was surprised to read that the initial person said very specifically that they were not a feminist. I took this to mean they were against equality between sexes, which is an absolutely ridiculous position to hold. They later elaborated on this to say they were not against that, but rather for it. In general conversation with every person I've ever spoken with until now, this has been the accepted definition of what feminism is.

Nokshor:
I think one thing that tends to be lost in these sort of conversations, is that realistically speaking you need to be in pretty good shape to do what most game protagonists do.

Now - here is the British swimming team for the 2012 olympics.

^That is what an accomplished female athlete looks like.

If you notice, she's fairly thin.

Now I agree, that even ^her body type isn't necessarily realistic, depending on the setting. I wouldn't expect her to be able to swing a warhammer as large as she is... but then, I wouldn't expect the other two guys to either.

In both cases, I think we'd be looking at a much broader body type - like Hammer from Fable2, for instance?

So essentially what I'm advocating here is not necessarily equal representation (as being larger isn't necessarily helpful for acrobatic combat and such), but more realistic representation overall.

Not that stylised characters are a bad thing. Just... unless your entire game has the same unrealistic proportions, try and keep the size 0 barbarians to a minimum.

How about:

image

or

image

I'll never understand why people complain a fictional work does not represent real life accurately.
As this thread has illustrated, if one particular piece of fiction doesn't do things the way you like there are always many that do.

It's all just aesthetics anyway. Surely it would be more offensive to have female characters of all different sizes and shapes, sexualised and no, but the actual content of the game shows them as damsels in distress and subservient to the men.

Anyone who's worried about inequality or objectification would do well to turn their attention to things more relevant to reality - like fasion magazines.

Smeatza:

Anyone who's worried about inequality or objectification would do well to turn their attention to things more relevant to reality - like fasion magazines.

It's all part of the same problem. The argument that "thing A is shitty and stupid, so let's not talk about thing B being shitty and stupid until we fix everything about society that causes thing A's shittiness and stupidity plz" is not a good one.

Interestingly enough the fiction does represent the real world more accurately than people admit. If you have ever been to a gym (and judging from this forum, no one has) try it sometime. There are women there dressed exactly like some 12 year old with a tissue box by his keyboard selected their outfits. Yet they *gasp* chose to dress that way. And while for every girl there wearing enough cloth to account for half a t-shirt on me there is five dressed more conservatively. The girls wearing less just seem to stand out more.

Nimzabaat:
There are women there dressed exactly like some 12 year old with a tissue box by his keyboard selected their outfits.

Actually, they're dressed like some woman who wants to go to the gym has selected gym clothes to wear to the gym. Context, people.

Kahunaburger:

Smeatza:

Anyone who's worried about inequality or objectification would do well to turn their attention to things more relevant to reality - like fasion magazines.

It's all part of the same problem. The argument that "thing A is shitty and stupid, so let's not talk about thing B being shitty and stupid until we fix everything about society that causes thing A's shittiness and stupidity plz" is not a good one.

My point was that fictional works are just that, fictional.
It's the equivelant of saying that "Sex and the City" doesn't portray men in a fair and balanced light. It's not supposed/trying to, and that's why it works.

geK0:
I find this woman to be the most attractive person to ever appear in a video game!


But she sets such an unrealistic standard of beauty that no woman can ever hope to achieve! I hate when women are objectified like this!

Yup.
Sexy as a cenobite.

Smeatza:

Kahunaburger:

Smeatza:

Anyone who's worried about inequality or objectification would do well to turn their attention to things more relevant to reality - like fasion magazines.

It's all part of the same problem. The argument that "thing A is shitty and stupid, so let's not talk about thing B being shitty and stupid until we fix everything about society that causes thing A's shittiness and stupidity plz" is not a good one.

My point was that fictional works are just that, fictional.
It's the equivelant of saying that "Sex and the City" doesn't portray men in a fair and balanced light. It's not supposed/trying to, and that's why it works.

There are many things wrong with Sex and the City, and I'm not convinced the portrayal of men even makes it to the top five. I'm also of the opinion that we can think critically about Sex and the City, games, and magazines, and our ability to think critically about one of these things doesn't detract from our ability to think critically about the rest of these things.

I see this has quickly devolved from increasingly skinny women in videogames which I would disagree with as most have been thin (not skinny) to an argument about the sexualisation of women in games...again.

Well ignoring the fact that games are not the only form of media which sexualise woman or portray either sex unrealistically why not portray them as they are? obviously it seems to sell but only to an extent as usually if you go overboard it actually puts people off, I dont think they are making any political messages with their way of designing women.

If you are really against it then dont buy those games and if you say but the games good so I want to play it then you obviously dont care to much about its portrayal of woman so your arguing about something simply because you feel you should for some reason (because you have been told something is wrong so want to make a show about caring even though really you dont care that much).

As for them dressing impractically I dont mind as long as it fits the style of the game obviously if they were going for total realism it would be different but those games are pretty rare. Im not sure its doing much harm either I mean who thinks I want to be just like this video game character so im going to grow a mustache and become a plumber only to find that unfortunately in RL jumping on turtles is actually considered animal cruelty, basically they are not role models they are not real people the only bearing they have to reality is in how much the artist decided to portray.

Maybe that can be our next topic the portrayal of animals as enemies that will harm or kill you when in actuality they are mostly quite afraid of humans. Im sick of this injustice done to our 4 legged (and 2,6,8,100, whatever) friends and am afraid it is warping peoples perspectives sure you get helpful animal companions but they are usually token companions with little depth designed just to make you go awwww or as a walking detector for buried treasure. Animals are not enemies and are certainly not tools so why do games keep portraying them as such?

Paradoxrifts:

Don't read this the wrong way, I love the first two films in the Aliens franchise to death as much as the next geek, but are female gamers really crying out for the chance to play games taking on the role of a protective mother figure?

There are also huge problems with surgically removing what makes Ripley awesome from the medium of film and transplanting it into a game. In the films Ripley's key motivation to answer the hero's call to action, defy genre expectations and survive her horrific circumstances stems from her being a mother, whether that role is acquired through biological means or frontier-style adoption of orphans. Firstly you just cannot have an unlikely hero like Ripley in a video game precisely because the medium tells you who the main character is as soon as you start playing with the movement controls.

In other words, Ripley is an awesome female character because she's a realistic woman who ends up on the Hero's Journey and kicks ass. Ordinary person rising to extraordinary circumstances and all that.

But I disagree that is impossible in a videogame, for all the limitations of game narrative. Isn't that exactly what the characters in the Left 4 Dead franchise are? Come to think of it, Zoe from L4D1 is a pretty rocking female character-- cute, sure, but comes across as regular gal who discovers her inner zombie kicking soul when circumstances require.

dimensional:

If you are really against it then dont buy those games and if you say but the games good so I want to play it then you obviously dont care to much about its portrayal of woman so your arguing about something simply because you feel you should for some reason (because you have been told something is wrong so want to make a show about caring even though really you dont care that much).

While excessive objectification is in fact a deal-breaker for me in video games, I don't think that we can say that people who dislike objectification in media are somehow undermining their own case by not boycotting all media that they find politically questionable. People can in fact enjoy problematic things while being aware and critical of the problematic aspects for the same reason that people who read and enjoy the Odyssey aren't endorsing ancient Greek political views.

Well the answer is simple. In fact its at the top of your screen right now.

Escapism.

You see when you play a game or read a book you want to be in a story. Just for a bit. You want to play a role. For thousands and thousands of years all these stories have contained characters who are perfect. This is because people want to fill these "perfect" roles. They want to escape for a bit from their "normal" or average lives to something fantastic and flawless, into a place where they have the power and influence and importance. Almost all games give you this. Youre special. Youre important. You are going to make a difference. And above that youre physically peak. Pretty much all art of women and men has portrayed them as physically perfect or much better than they could be in real life. The persuit of perfection enhances a work because people want to fill this unatainable role of perfection for a moment because they realise it cannot be done in real life. This is healthy and normal.

Even in games with real characterisation youll rarely find a character as inherently flawed as everyone is in real life. Its very rare. People do not want to fill a role worse than the one they currently fill. What would be the point? They dont want to fill a role of a weaker person because they want to feel stronger than they are already. There is a place for these stories. They are engaging and gritty and really make you think. However it is not for everyone.

What is NOT healthy and normal is to decide these things are attainable in real life or should be. You cannot be a perfect adonis or aphrodite, with infinite power and influence. It cannot be. You fill this role for a moment to, in effect, take joy from the role playing of such a character.

This is why all the women are sexy and the men are buff. People want perfect roles to fill for the most part. Everyone does from time to time. There IS a place for stories with real flawed characters and they SHOULD be represented. However to remove these completely would damage the medium. Some women want to be intelligent, attractive, strong and heroic from time to time. Sometimes i want to rip entire armies apart with magic while being morally perfect and just and attractive. Sometimes i want to explore the flaws in a character. This range of experiences is good.

All the issues arise from the inability to seperate this role playing from reality. Being physically perfect from societies standards is fantastic. But impossible. And although we may fill a role to explore this fantasy its important to remember it is impossible and its exactly what it is. Fantasy. Real life should never be held to its standards. Its just a role to play. There is no pressure to be an adonis or an aphrodite and we need normal characters to reinforce this. There is a place for adonis's and aphrodites though. It shouldnt taint peoples views just because they exist.

Kahunaburger:

Smeatza:

Kahunaburger:

It's all part of the same problem. The argument that "thing A is shitty and stupid, so let's not talk about thing B being shitty and stupid until we fix everything about society that causes thing A's shittiness and stupidity plz" is not a good one.

My point was that fictional works are just that, fictional.
It's the equivelant of saying that "Sex and the City" doesn't portray men in a fair and balanced light. It's not supposed/trying to, and that's why it works.

There are many things wrong with Sex and the City, and I'm not convinced the portrayal of men even makes it to the top five. I'm also of the opinion that we can think critically about Sex and the City, games, and magazines, and our ability to think critically about one of these things doesn't detract from our ability to think critically about the rest of these things.

It is your right and priveledge to critisize. However to say there is an inherent problem (as many in this thread have) is sensationalist.

BiscuitTrouser:
And although we may fill a role to explore this fantasy its important to remember it is impossible and its exactly what it is. Fantasy.

Or, more specifically, heterosexual male fantasy.

Guys in (most) video games are the guys that teenage males want to be. Girls in (most) video games are the girls that teenage males want to fuck.

In a nutshell:

image

Smeatza:

It is your right and priveledge to critisize. However to say there is an inherent problem (as many in this thread have) is sensationalist.

There is an inherent problem. Hence the criticism.

Kahunaburger:

While excessive objectification is in fact a deal-breaker for me in video games, I don't think that we can say that people who dislike objectification in media are somehow undermining their own case by not boycotting all media that they find politically questionable. People can in fact enjoy problematic things while being aware and critical of the problematic aspects for the same reason that people who read and enjoy the Odyssey aren't endorsing ancient Greek political views.

I agree about obsessive objectification being a deal breaker for many people (which is why most games only go so far) I also agree with people being able to enjoy things without endorsing but then its not really a problem youre not endorsing it or condemning it (if you are condeming it you should not be playing it), so theres no problem you just enjoy it for what it is. Which is why I find it strange people think there is a problem in the first place sure you can (and should) critique games and their portrayal of women (and men) but its not a problem its pretty inconsequential really. Things will always change though and then we can have different `problems`.

Kahunaburger:

BiscuitTrouser:
And although we may fill a role to explore this fantasy its important to remember it is impossible and its exactly what it is. Fantasy.

Or, more specifically, heterosexual male fantasy.

Guys in (most) video games are the guys that teenage males want to be. Girls in (most) video games are the girls that teenage males want to fuck.

In a nutshell:

I think its a bit strange to attack fantasies in a medium thats sole purpose is the living of fantasies.

That said I think a real issue is the mediums inability to cater to everyone. I personally am NOT uncomfortable with that portrayal of batman. I think if women want to play games where every character is perfectly orientated and designed to fill their every fantasy (for some this is twilight) more power to them. They can have that. I more games should try and do this. Let everyone playout their whims and desires in games. The only issue i raise is that it should be for everyone and no one should have the right to rain on another persons parade.

Games are for fantasy. I say more fantasy for everyone! And of course when im feeling more serious i want well rounded perfectly normal games too where people are real characters and are purposely flawed in many ways like i am.

Kahunaburger:

Smeatza:

It is your right and priveledge to critisize. However to say there is an inherent problem (as many in this thread have) is sensationalist.

There is an inherent problem. Hence the criticism.

Would you say there is an inherent problem with people cliffhanger endings being used in fiction?
Or is there an inherent problem with the fact that Twlilight movies are being released?
Because both of these things have been widely critisized.

You not liking something is nobodies problem but your own. You can say that something is not to your personal tastes, but to say that all media should uniform itself to suit your particular tastes, and presenting it as a moral issue is silly.

Smeatza:

You not liking something is nobodies problem but your own. You can say that something is not to your personal tastes, but to say that all media should uniform itself to suit your particular tastes, and presenting it as a moral issue is silly.

Despite what TvTropes would have you believe, someone calling out racism/sexism/homophobia/etc. in media is neither advocating censorship, nor required to keep their objections to themselves so that people who would rather not think critically about media can continue to do so in peace and quiet.

BiscuitTrouser:

Kahunaburger:

BiscuitTrouser:
And although we may fill a role to explore this fantasy its important to remember it is impossible and its exactly what it is. Fantasy.

Or, more specifically, heterosexual male fantasy.

Guys in (most) video games are the guys that teenage males want to be. Girls in (most) video games are the girls that teenage males want to fuck.

In a nutshell:

I think its a bit strange to attack fantasies in a medium thats sole purpose is the living of fantasies.

It's not the fantasies themselves he's attacking. It's whose fantasies are being focused on that he's taking umbrage with. As a female, I would much rather be a badass character that looks like this:

Than a badass character that looks like this:

I'm pretty sure when most men are fulfilling a power fantasy as a badass who slices dragons in half just for fun, they aren't imagining themselves doing it in nothing but a golden thong.

Kahunaburger:
Or, more specifically, heterosexual male fantasy.

The majority of games which seem to be the target of this 'games are sexist for their portrayal of women' are made by heterosexual males, aimed at a heterosexual male audience.

... So, why shouldn't they pander to the fantasies of their target audience? I don't whinge about every romantic comedy ever for the way they portray the male role in a relationship.

People of both genders are objectified by the various media types out there - Books, Magazines, Films, TV Shows, Advertisements, Talk Radio, Music, Video Games, Board Games... I could go on and on, for each of these I could find examples of sexism/objectification for both genders - I would argue that for every example of a busty, slim woman wearing bikini-armour in a video game, there's a picture of Robert Patinson/One Direction/Whoever in the back of heat magazine with their shirts off.

Now, in video games specifically, I would say there probably is more objectification of women than men, so the question then becomes - Do I think there could (possibly should?) be more games not aimed at this straight male audience? Maybe make more games aimed at entertaining people outside that audience? Sure, after all that could only be good for the industry right? I mean, you get explosive action films, and romantic comedy films, each as dumb as each other but pandering to a different audience so why not do something similar in games?

The question following on from that is - why aren't these games being made?

I dunno, you tell me female game makers/gamers/people(of any gender) who want these games made...

Seriously, rather than looking at trying to stop boys from making boy games, why can't we just encourage girls to make girl games? I often worry that in a desperate attempt to make everything neutral, and avoid any kind of stereotyping, objectification, or acknowledgement that men and women, by and large, have a lot of fundamental differences in what they enjoy out of life, we ignore the simplest solution of just making a wider variety of things.

Finally - I accept that there is PLENTY of crossover between the enjoyments of men and women(and any other genders for that matter), between what gays, straights (and everybody else) wants. I'm well aware that when I say 'boys like Y(X), girls like X(X - see what I did there? :p)', that I'm making generalisations that will probably offend or upset someone, who will then go on to try and point out my ignorance and foolishness... Save yourselves the time, and don't bother - I still live in the real world, where I can see that there is still a marked difference in the habits of the MAJORITY of Males and Females, and that many of those differences are exploited by companies in order to turn a profit.

...However, my opinion in all this will undoubtedly not count, because I'm a white, mid-20s, male.

BiscuitTrouser:
That said I think a real issue is the mediums inability to cater to everyone. I personally am NOT uncomfortable with that portrayal of batman. I think if women want to play games where every character is perfectly orientated and designed to fill their every fantasy (for some this is twilight) more power to them. They can have that. I more games should try and do this. Let everyone playout their whims and desires in games.

I hear a lot of people say stuff like this in defense of objectification of female characters. Then, when a game rolls around that features something like gay people or female protagonists, tears are shed. So, no, your average dudebro gamer generally only supports games as ways to act out fantasies when said fantasies are heterosexual male fantasies.

Also, what if my fantasy is to play a bunch of AAA games that feature prominent characters of multiple sexes/races/sexualities and do not feature sexism/racism/homophobia in aesthetic and/or writing? Guess I'm SOL.

BiscuitTrouser:
The only issue i raise is that it should be for everyone and no one should have the right to rain on another persons parade.

Nobody's advocating censorship, here. If hearing reasonable objections to a thing you enjoy causes you to enjoy that thing less, it's an indication that your enjoyment of that thing is not something that you are entirely comfortable with. And this is okay - it's perfectly normal to value a design choice that does not perpetuate sexism over a design choice that does.

Lilani:

It's not the fantasies themselves he's attacking. It's whose fantasies are being focused on that he's taking umbrage with. As a female, I would much rather be a badass character that looks like this:

Than a badass character that looks like this:

I'm pretty sure when most men are fulfilling a power fantasy as a badass who slices dragons in half just for fun, they aren't imagining themselves doing it in nothing but a golden thong.

What im trying to say is that if the game industry had sense, and we should be encouraging them to do so, they would make games aimed at you and people like you to play as a badass character than looks like this:

While at the same time ANOTHER part of the medium should be making games for a target audience that wants this:

If a niche of people is large enough to demand a game its nonsensical that the industry wouldnt find a way of using this to make money. We should put pressur on publishers to experiement and take the plunge in making games NOT centered at this current audience. But at the same time let them continue making games for this target audience.

Kahunaburger:

I hear a lot of people say stuff like this in defense of objectification of female characters. Then, when a game rolls around that features something like gay people or female protagonists, tears are shed.

Also, what if my fantasy is to play a bunch of AAA games that feature prominent characters of multiple sexes/races/sexualities and does not feature sexism/racism/homophobia in aesthetic and/or writing? Guess I'm SOL.

BiscuitTrouser:
The only issue i raise is that it should be for everyone and no one should have the right to rain on another persons parade.

Nobody's advocating censorship, here. If hearing reasonable objections to a thing you enjoy causes you to enjoy that thing less, it's an indication that your enjoyment of that thing is not something that you are entirely comfortable with. And this is okay - it's perfectly normal to value a design choice that does not perpetuate sexism over a design choice that does.

"what if my fantasy is to play a bunch of AAA games that feature prominent characters of multiple sexes/races/sexualities and does not feature sexism/racism/homophobia in aesthetic and/or writing? Guess I'm SOL."

Then let your voice be heard. By these games. Encourage studeos to invest. What makes you think I dont enjoy these games? Personally ive been big on darksouls and starcraft recently and not much else. Its valid for me to defend a medium of games i dont personally enjoy. You assume because i defend something i have an invested interest. I do not. This is a false assumption.

First of all id NEVER respond with tears to the intoduction of these characters. My outlook is not so hypocritical. The key underpinning of my arguement is:

Every niche thats large enough to merit attention should have something to play with for the sake of sensibile business. The heterosexual male fantasy is a valid and popular one. So games aimed at this can and will exist. This is why i defend them. With THAT SAID, (important bit here) your particular whims are equally as valid considering how popular they are. I will fight tooth and nail to see these games i would also enjoy. I want to be able to enjoy a variety of experiences. If it means making LESS games full of male heterosexual fantasies so be it. What i dont like the sound of is the idea we should prohibit or on some way discourage their existance at all.

Where did i ever indicate i enjoy the things i like less because others dont like them? Its moot anyway since i dont tend to enjoy these games in the first place. Im just happy for those that do.

Stu35:
I dunno, you tell me female game makers/gamers/people(of any gender) who want these games made...

I'm sure they are trying, as much as filmmakers had to try for decades upon decades to get women to be portrayed as anything in films and television other than the main cause of trouble and the reward for the leading man just before the credits roll. But the problem, as you've said, is a lack of knowledge for the market. So it causes a deadly spiral: Developers don't want to risk a lot of money in an unexplored market so they don't, which causes the market to be constricted and negatively viewed by those excluded.

The lack of female games being made isn't their fault. It's a male dominated market, both in leadership and in customer base. To be able to make the games developers want to make, you HAVE to be able to appeal to that male audience, whether you're male or female. But since knowing how to appeal to females isn't a requirement, you've got an industry filled with a majority of people who have not the slightest clue as to how to appeal to anyone who isn't in that limited market.

What I think they should do is just get their heads out of their asses and take the risk. It's not the responsibility of one gender or the other to get it done. It's the responsibility of the businesses as a whole to get the people they need if they want to be relevant to the largest possible market. I'm not going to say it's totally their fault or that they intentionally made the market favor males. That's just sort of how things go. But I think it's pretty arrogant to say the lack of a female market is our fault for not trying hard enough. Excuse the fuck out of me, I didn't realize men were so creatively constipated they could manage to fill up an entire industry with a bunch of one-trick ponies who only know how to appeal to one market.

Stu35:
Seriously, rather than looking at trying to stop boys from making boy games, why can't we just encourage girls to make girl games? I often worry that in a desperate attempt to make everything neutral, and avoid any kind of stereotyping, objectification, or acknowledgement that men and women, by and large, have a lot of fundamental differences in what they enjoy out of life, we ignore the simplest solution of just making a wider variety of things.

Here's a good analogy:

The video game gender gap occurs for similar reasons, and is problematic for similar reasons.

Also, some developers *do* try to make more gender-neutral games. For instance, this is the viewpoint a good chunk of Valve's lineup comes from, and that is at the source of a variety of design choices behind the Sid Meier games. There's even some of this in more recent Halo titles. I don't think it would be controversial to say that these are very good, very popular games.

BiscuitTrouser:
What im trying to say is that if the game industry had sense, and we should be encouraging them to do so, they would make games aimed at you and people like you to play as a badass character than looks like this:

While at the same time ANOTHER part of the medium should be making games for a target audience that wants this:

If a niche of people is large enough to demand a game its nonsensical that the industry wouldnt find a way of using this to make money. We should put pressur on publishers to experiement and take the plunge in making games NOT centered at this current audience. But at the same time let them continue making games for this target audience.

That I can agree with. I just wanted to make it clear that the markets DO NOT always intersect, as much as people claim they do. Yes, Lara Croft is fierce and independent (if a bit of a psycho and klepto), but she's also walking eye candy and is never allowed to go anywhere without at least 60% of her skin uncovered. Just because you've got a strong female character doesn't mean she's automatically going to be a hit with the female market, and that doesn't mean the female market should be expected to like her. You can't just throw a bunch of female leads who know how to use a gun at the market and expect women to bite.

I'm not saying you personally believe that, but that's a common sentiment I see expressed in discussions like this. "You've got Lara Croft and she's a badass, what do you mean she's not an appealing character to women?"

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