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Eight Women, Eight Responses, and One Dead Island Riptide Statue

A collection of reactions to last week's questionable marketing tactic from a variety of women in the video game industry.

Deep Silver likely did not anticipate the intense reaction to its UK-specific Zombie Bait bundle for Dead Island Riptide when it was announced last week. The news came alongside other bundles for the sequel, but the Zombie Bait bundle received attention for a statue of a torn apart woman that featured nothing more than her bikini-wearing torso.

Deep Silver’s issued a questionable apology in response to the furor. The company did not discuss how this bundle even came into existence, and still hasn’t said whether it will be sold or not. One would hope not? I’ve asked the company for further clarification on that point, but as of publication, nothing has come back.

Here's the company's previous statement in full:

“We deeply apologize for any offense caused by the Dead Island Riptide “Zombie Bait Edition”, the collector’s edition announced for Europe and Australia. Like many gaming companies, Deep Silver has many offices in different countries, which is why sometimes different versions of Collector’s Editions come into being for North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

For the limited run of the Zombie Bait Edition for Europe and Australia, a decision was made to include a gruesome statue of a zombie torso, which was cut up like many of our fans had done to the undead enemies in the original Dead Island.

We sincerely regret this choice. We are collecting feedback continuously from the Dead Island community, as well as the international gaming community at large, for ongoing internal meetings with Deep Silver's entire international team today. For now, we want to reiterate to the community, fans and industry how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again.”

The story featured my own opinion on the subject, as do most pieces of content on Giant Bomb. You might have suspected part of my response, based on previous articles I’ve filed at the site, and the reaction was along the lines of the last conversation about #1reasonwhy. When I was mulling a follow-up, I didn’t want to have the same back-and-forth, and hoped to introduce some new voices.

So, I reached out to a number of women members of the video game community, and asked them to provide their individual reactions. There are voices from everywhere in games, from development to fellow writers. I didn't specifically seek out people who had expressed an opinion about Dead Island, I just figured they had one. Some chose to speak directly to what happened, some didn't. There weren't any rules.

I’m also going to start something new here. I won't guarantee it’ll happen every time, but for big features, I want to make sure there’s a dedicated time slot for spending time responding to comments. It won’t happen until the story has been up for a little while, and people have had a chance to digest it. In this case, it’s going to be for 30 minutes at 11:30 a.m. PST. As always, anything I don’t get to can be addressed in PM, on Twitter, or through my Tumblr site.

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Rhianna Pratchett, writer (Tomb Raider, Mirror’s Edge)

I’m both a horror fan, and a Dead Island fan. But my initial reaction to Riptide’s mutilated torso was one of shock, bewilderment and confusion. I wasn’t morally outraged. It was more a deep sigh and eye roll of “Oh come on… really? REALLY?” Yes, horror and sex have been intertwined forever, but there was something about the visual depiction of this one that was unexpectedly disgusting for a number of reasons. A mutilated corpse (of either sex) is pretty disturbing, sure. A sexed-up (and there no other way to describe the perfectly round, barely covered up and non-zombified knockers) female corpse, offered up as a reward, has particularly nasty connotations. Especially when combined with the fact that it’s described as 'bait'--a confusing title for what was apparently meant to be (according to the developers) a zombie’s torso, rather than the mutilated and cut up human torso that it actually looked like. Zombies are not normally known for the penchant to chew down on the flesh of other zombies.

I’m accustomed to game companies marketing towards men. But rarely is it quite so blatantly i.e. "Here are some tits!" It’s a mistake to ignore the legions of female gamers out there, who enjoy their zombie killing just as much as the guys. It’s an even bigger mistake to outright annoy them. Believe me, I know this. I’ve got first-hand experience of being caught-up with a video games "controversy" on Tomb Raider, and so I know that marketing and the way we speak about and depict our characters and games is important. Industry and player debate about how we go about this is also valuable.

I was glad to see Deep Silver apologising for this rather large misstep, although I was a little perplexed by the fact that they seemed to use the fact that players apparently do this in the game (or at least have the option to) as some kind of get-out-of-jail card. I’ve done some horrendous things in games. I don’t particularly want to see them immortalised in statue form.

There’s been a lot of talk about whether it would have been okay if it was a male statue. But the fact that it isn’t (and we can only really talk about what we’ve been presented with, not what we haven’t) combined with the way the torso’s been depicted, strongly suggests that the marketeers would never have done that. A sexed-up male torso (and even with a six-pack it’s not quite the same) wouldn’t have appealed to the intended audience (straight men) in the same way. If they’d wanted to keep up this mutilated torso theme then a male torso and female torso, leaning against each other in zombie-baiting harmony, would’ve been a better way to go about it. And, given that the first game had a 50/50 male to female ratio of player characters and a similar ratio in the AI, rather more in keeping with the general tone of the game.

Better still, something like AMC’s Walking Dead collector’s edition head would have been more appropriate and arguably less offensive.

Follow more of Rhianna's work at www.rhiannapratchett.com and on Twitter.

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Clarice Meadows, writer and former sales operation manager at Take-Two Interactive

When marketing departments come up with various tchotchkes to get people to buy a video game, there are a lot of factors that come into it. Theme, desirability, originality, and more. It's a matter of making something unusual and interesting enough, and yet appropriately themed for the game, that fans will absolutely HAVE to buy it. I like to think that there are focus groups involved in the choice of object, or at the very least more than just a bunch of marketing types being locked in a room for days fueled by caffeine and junk food until they come up with an idea and are let out. Sadly, I am pretty sure the latter is usually the case. The zombie torso created specifically for Dead Island Riptide was, in my opinion, a marketing catastrophe. I've heard many responses to this particular item. From "well women don't play games anyway" to "by getting mad about it and yelling, you guys are giving this company free advertising" to "it's like a classical sculpture of antiquity, but a zombie!" So let's break this down a bit.

1) I am a woman, and I play video games. I am not particularly unusual in my gender group in choosing to play video games. I grew up in the 80s, video games were around, and I liked them. I also happen to know quite a few other women who play games, including games like Dead Island. By ignoring women as a market demographic for a video game, companies are losing out hugely. By assuming women will only buy pink, glittery items or games that are about clothing and boyfriends, these companies are losing money. By putting out a completely sexist and crass marketing ploy, they are losing money. Seriously, isn't the point of triple-A games to make scads of cash? I really don't get making choices that lead to losing it instead, can you tell?

2) By yelling about something offensive, we're making a case that offensive marketing is unacceptable. By not yelling, we're giving silent consent to continuing crappy and cheap marketing choices. And trust me, this is crappy, cheap AND lazy marketing. Oh look, a pair of boobs! How innovative! Apparently these marketers think the only people playing video games are under-sexed pubescent mole men. I mean… seriously? Lazy.

3) The last time I checked, classical sculptures did not have boob jobs. Also, the last time I checked, real boobs did not do that while in a string bikini. There's this thing called gravity… And if we're going to have an argument that this torso is not overly sexed up and has turned a live woman (or live lady zombie) into a bunch of sex organs, then… well… someone is lying to themselves. Is it appropriate? Is necrophilia really acceptable now? Because that's what this feels like it's promoting to me.

Lazy and cheap marketing ploys don't make money, they cost money in PR nightmares and hours of dancing around apologizing. It doesn't take much to be smarter, and who knows? Maybe a new market full of lots of money will open up and be willing to spend that money on video games! I mean, didn't you hear that women have jobs and make money and LOVE to spend it? Think big video game companies. Think about all that cash you're letting slide right through your fingers, and play it smarter.

Follow more of Clarice's work at Plays Like a Girl and on Twitter.

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Kate Lorimer, composer and writer

For my part, yes, I found it offensive, it was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” (though I am sure it won't be the last such incident) after a year of dodgy marketing (Hitman, Booth Babes, Tomb Raider, Girlfriend Mode, Anita Sarkeesian). And from a personal viewpoint, even a close friend expressing his being fed up with online “outrage” and “Feminist point-scoring pandering” from game websites like Rock Paper Shotgun--his words--and his complete (and somewhat deliberate) misunderstanding of the concept of Feminism (being supposedly more about pursuing Women’s interests above male's, as opposed to actually being about equality for both genders).

Unfortunately, amongst teens and younger players in general (but as Jenny Haniver has shown, far from exclusively) there’s likely to be a kneejerk reaction backlash at the outrage and offence caused by it, as kids love a bit of blood'n'gore, and certainly amongst the heterosexual hormone fueled boys that whole “cor... boobies” thing has an attraction. See: http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/153593/yes-ah-tah

The reasons for it being offensive are obvious to the clear of thought--it's objectification at its worst. Remove the person from the body, inexplicably leaving a pubescent boy’s idea of the perfect female figure, with balloon boobs (mysteriously untouched by hungry zombie snacking) and a peek at a panty enclosed crotch--of course, hiding the vagina within--which would likely be too offensive/edgy to the same boys!

Would the situation have been mitigated had there been an alternative option of a male torso? It might have slightly balanced the equality issue, though of course there is a special obsession with boobies--especially globe-tastic ones on an itty bitty waist! But the fact that it's just a female torso they decided to go with speaks volumes about their marketing, and the usual narrow-minded targeted demographic. It might have been just as grisly but slightly more in line with the zombie ethos to have had a scary looking zombie head?

Follow more of Kate's work at K8-bit and on Twitter.

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Elizabeth DeLoria, staff writer at Gameranx and cosplay photographer

In September last year, Jill Meagher, a 29-year-old ABC employee, went missing while walking the short walk home from a popular Melbourne street. Thanks to a somewhat viral social media campaign, the entire country began to follow the case, people everywhere wanting Jill to be found alive and well and brought home.

When she was found murdered, buried in a shallow roadside grave after being kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a complete stranger, the entire country went from hopefully to angry. Angry that someone would do this, angry that she wasn't alive and well as we'd hoped, angry that she was minding her own business in her own suburb when she was attacked. People were so angry that when the alleged killer's name leaked, social media erupted with people from every walk of life wanting his head. An entire nation was in mourning, and thousands in Melbourne marched in her honor.

I mention this because we know it's not okay to kill people. We're angered and heartbroken when women are violently murdered (and that's just the cases we hear about.) The news of Jill Meagher, as an example, was devastating to thousands that didn't even know her. Yet at the same time, we're sent these messages that sexualize, glamorize and exploit a woman's decapitated torso. That use violent murder for the purpose of sex appeal and thus profit.

When I see the same people who I saw march for Jill, whose heart sank when they heard the news of her death ask me why this torso statue is "such a big deal," I don't even know how to begin to explain to them how they've come so close to the right thing, yet they sit so far from it.

I'm not really offended, I'm just mortified at how easily we seem to forget.

Follow more of Elizabeth's work at Gameranx and on Twitter.

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Vanessa Hunter, artist and game design graduate

We need to start at the beginning if we are to stop the pervasiveness of sexism in gaming culture, and by sticking this statue in a set that will be received by kids and young adults, Deep Silver is reinforcing an already warped attitude toward women held by the gaming community.

If this statue had been reminiscent of Venus de Milo or the statue of David, and posed in a beautiful, creative way, perhaps I could have even admired it. But as a hunk of flesh plopped into a lifeless pose and trussed up in a string bikini, I seriously have to question the thought behind it.

My main reaction to this statue, however, is that it presents a woman as a literal piece of dead meat. It beheads all personality and life and strips away individuality to present the viewer with what is simply a hunk of flesh in a gaudy bikini. This figure gets up and screams "all I am worth is to fulfill your pleasures"

To a woman like me, it's sickening because it represents how some men see real-life women every day.

From someone who has seen firsthand how a monster who holds this attitude can choke the life out of someone beautiful and radiant, this bust is a nightmare come true. And what's worse is that the attitudes behind such an object reinforce this behaviour as okay.

As for Deep Silver's "apology" placing the blame on its fan base, many of whom view them as a role model, teaching them that sexism is okay if someone else has done it before is unacceptable. They need to grow up.

Follow more of Vanesssa's work through Instagram and on Twitter.

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Anonymous

I didn't feel offended by the Dead Island bikini statue. I did, however, find it quite tiresome. I don't think that it can be denied that the statue is an obvious example of sexual objectification--a mutilated torso with perfectly untouched breasts.

Sexual objectification of women is everywhere, and it's impact is a massive discussion that goes way beyond video games. What I found most tiresome about the statue wasn't the objectification but that making a statue such as this suggests a number of things that Deep Silver assumes about their audience. They assume that the audience are young shallow men whose main interests are tits and violence. It's insulting to men and its a common assumption in video game marketing. Women are not even considered as part of the possible audience. It's outdated thinking.

I've been playing video games since I was a kid, and it's probably the main thing I do for entertainment. I have as many female friends as male who play video games. It is tiresome to be constantly excluded--and if I am included then I am considered a novelty. Women who play games are a sizable chunk of the audience and have been around for as long as video games. Objects like this statue show that we are not really considered to exist.

This individual chose not to share their personal information for fear of potential backlash.

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Melissa Cooke, writer for FemmeGamer

Personally, I think that it's rather disgusting that Deep Silver decided to sell this. The usage of a female chest and abdomen I assume was originally used as a shock tactic to grab the eyes of the media, obviously this has worked, but what made it sexist in my eyes was the way it was dressed up and the proportions on the body.

The breasts are very unrealistic in the way they're being held up by a string bikini, not to mention that there are no wounds on the breasts, making them all the more obvious.The stomach is also very flat, and the bust looks almost anorexic, which is a very damaging image to promote.

The bust lacks also a face or any other feature that makes this bust look human, which could be interpreted as Deep Silver saying "Look this isn't a human, it's a woman, look how her breasts are positioned for your enjoyment, isn't that cool?"

Overall, this is a rather shameless grab for attention on Deep Silver's part, and all this sort of stunt does is give the non-gaming public the idea that games and the people who are playing them are immature, and push any progress the industry has made back a few more years.

Follow Melissa's work at Femme Gamer and on Twitter.

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Anna Kipnis, senior gameplay programmer at Double Fine Productions

It's really hard to approach this topic in any kind of novel way. At this point, it's hard to bring round people who have made their minds up that feminism threatens to ruin their entertainment; to convince them that it's troubling to have games openly revel in dismembering decomposing women in bikinis. Yet I don't believe in censorship, either. Personally, I push this sort of thing into the same category in my brain as boob mugs (which I respect more for at least cutting to the chase and showing actual nudity). I'm not sure why someone would want a headless, bloody, dismembered corpse of a woman's upper torso, with grotesquely fake boobs obscured by a sadly implicated union jack proudly displayed on their mantle, but they're not a person I can imagine seeing eye-to-eye with on many things.

I honestly believe you can have sexiness and violence in games, even at the same time, if that's what you want. I can't think of a great example of a game that has done this particularly well (no doubt there is one), but there are many examples in film. For instance, Quentin Tarantino has made plenty of movies over the years that feature sexy women in violent situations. Even women getting dismembered (Kill Bill Volume 1, Death Proof), and yet it's never felt sexist or misogynist to me. I walk away from the theater generally thinking of those women as role models, not victims.

I think it's on us, game developers, to prevent controversies like this one. I'm a game programmer and I would be pretty bummed if I was working on what was essentially a game equivalent of a boob mug. You're appealing to the lowest, most vulgar aspects of your audience at a time when games are widely criticized for being juvenile, senseless, and immature, only to then complain that the medium is not being taken seriously as an art form. We should strive to treat our medium with the respect it deserves.

Follow Anna's work at Double Fine Productions and on Twitter.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
2527 Comments
Posted by Floope

@RoyCampbell said:

@heatDrive88 said:

@RoyCampbell said:

This just screams "I needed justification for my outrage so I gathered up a handful of women's responses and regurgitated it on my LiveJour- I mean Giantbomb's front page."

You're a huge piece of shit of a person. Sorry.

Thanks. Feel free to let me in on any other insights you possess.

Im with Heat.

Edited by misquared

Thank you for the great article! I really appreciated it-- these women are more articulate than I am, and they perfectly summarize the issues that I have with this statue. It's a shame that the people who I want to read this article seem to have no interest in actually reading it, but I guess that's the way of life.

Posted by SirOptimusPrime

I think the purpose of this article was to... uh, keep talking about it. Like the guy I quoted said. Keep talking about it and people will have to eventually respond, especially if the voices keep getting louder and louder. Hopefully the voices diversify and bad marketing ploys - that unfortunately work - will just stop.

Side-note: I find it hilarious that people hate Patrick's opinion being injected into his articles on a website centered around personalities. Maybe you dislike a personality (hey, I think most of Alex's writing could be copy pasted with liberal use of the F3 key to generate new articles) but you just move on.

@DazzHardy said:

It kind of saddens me that people think that not talking about these things is the best way to get them to stop. Simply ignoring the problems won't make them go away. This is one of those cases were it needs to be talked about often enough and as publicly as possible so that people understand why it's not a great idea to do dumb stuff like this. When it's been talked to death, that's when I think we'll start seeing it not come up so often, and thus not need to be spoken of so much.
Posted by Tidel

@Stymie said:

I totally agree this statue was lame (but I wouldn't use the word "offensive"; you kind of have to be above things like this). However, I really, truly wish we could have these conversations without the constant tones of "the industry obviously only treats women like this."

How many men do any GB readers know with the super muscular, broad shoulder, 0% body fat, perfect-chizzled-chin look that virtually every male video game character has? Video games are suffering no shortage of manwhores.

The difference is, while the male form is often idealized, it is rarely objectified. It's an important distinction. When male characters are presented as solely a function of desire instead of active participants with agency, then you'd have a similar scenario. But that doesn't happen; and even if it did, it doesn't justify anything. The idea that 'men have it just as bad' doesn't excuse the fact that sexual objectification -- of anyone -- is problematic.

This statue represents the most base scenario of the objectification of women -- it's just a pair of clean, pert tits framed by the gory removal of all possible agency. It doesn't represent the entirety of women in games or gaming, but it exemplifies the persistent inequality in how gender and sex is represented, and to who, and why.

Just because you (or I) are not the 'idealized' man, that doesn't mean the idealized man is reductive of us or reflective of us; it represents a power fantasy. This statue also represents a power fantasy. That's the whole problem.

I think it's worth talking about. I think it's sad and telling that so many duders come out of the woodwork to 'be offended at your offense' and feel embattled.

No one should feel threatened by this discussion. Criticizing a tits-out statue is not defaming men, manliness or threatening any man's right to like tits. It's problematizing the persistent idea that women are frequently reduced to functions of the sexual gratification of men.

Posted by mrfluke

@SlashDance said:

This article is completely one-sided,

That said, I would've liked to read some counter arguments.

I thought annas one was the best, as it seemed like the most level headed well rounded opinion out of the bunch. like personally i wouldn't be surprised if 7 of these ladies are labeled feminists by the community (id say about 4 i think are feminists) but people are crazy if they label anna as a feminist.

Online
Posted by Talis12

where were these women when a giant penis erupted on stage at the VGA awards? owwwww right.... it only counts when its female body parts. my bad...

Posted by audioBusting

Nice article, those are some interesting perspectives to read about. Maybe it is a bit ill-advised to have just women chime in though, like some of them said sexism isn't really the problem anymore. People are tired of the discussion from that angle. A few comments from marketing people would probably be a newer perspective on these issues, I think.

Anyway, here's to another thousand comments!

Posted by crcruz3

@Xeirus said:

@BlastProcessing said:

At least Patrick didn't quote himself this time. Still, this progressive, Kotaku-esque clickbait shit needs to stop, It's a horrible statue made in bad taste, nothing to cry about.

I'm guessing you're a guy, who hasn't delt with sexism. You shouldn't dismiss things you have no experience with.

What? Direct experience is required to talk about something? So history is a non-subject.

Posted by BlastProcessing

@StarvingGamer said:

Wait, so half the women writing here were complaining about the breasts look like implants... so does that mean it would have been ok if they were more naturalistic looking ones...?

It'd be ok if it was a man with an inadequate penis.

Posted by Floope

@dr_mantas said:

@RobbleWobble said:

Human evolution has stalled.

@pinochet said:

Gamers are worthless trash

Both very measured, necessary comments, that bring value to the comments section.

/s

What would you like to hear? How can I get your stamp of approval? Please, It means so much to me.

Posted by RoyCampbell
@RobbleWobble said:

@RoyCampbell said:

@heatDrive88 said:

@RoyCampbell said:

This just screams "I needed justification for my outrage so I gathered up a handful of women's responses and regurgitated it on my LiveJour- I mean Giantbomb's front page."

You're a huge piece of shit of a person. Sorry.

Thanks. Feel free to let me in on any other insights you possess.

Im with Heat.

Posted by Brodehouse

@Incapability said:

Pro tip: If reading these articles pisses you off, don't read them.

There was a lot of mansplaination last time, about how this was totally not sexual in any way and/or at all pandering to a certain audience. It was gross then, it's gross now.

You have just made an overt, publicly sexist statement. You have reduced any sort of argument, evidence or logic to 'mansplaining'. Unfortunately, logic is logic and will continue to be, regardless of how you want to use personal attacks and sexist generalizations.

Posted by Sweep

I don't understand why the opinions of women were actively sought out in this instance. Are their opinions somehow more valid? Are women entitled to be more insulted? Why is it a big deal that women are weighing in on this?

Moderator
Posted by Carryboy

I'm slightly perplexed by this articular if i'm honest. I don't need a women to tell me this is dumb.

Posted by BlastProcessing

@RoyCampbell said:

@RobbleWobble said:

@RoyCampbell said:

@heatDrive88 said:

@RoyCampbell said:

This just screams "I needed justification for my outrage so I gathered up a handful of women's responses and regurgitated it on my LiveJour- I mean Giantbomb's front page."

You're a huge piece of shit of a person. Sorry.

Thanks. Feel free to let me in on any other insights you possess.

Im with Heat.

Oh god, that just made my day! Thank you, kind sir (or ma'am)!

Posted by Ravenlight

@ElixirBronze said:

Hey, what if we dropped the debate about this plastic statue (which the creators withdrew and apologized for already) and started talking about the important stuff instead?

There is a problem with the gaming community and women for sure, but we should tackle the heart of the issue -- being thousands of women misstreated daily by things like office bullying and sexual harassments -- not sit around and talk about this torso because that is the easy thing to do

You get a follow for being the first comment I've seen that's actually been insightful.

I think it's easy for the average gamer to turn a blind eye to sexism/objectification since these sorts of things have been (to a certain extent) part of video games/video game marketing for a long time. We (the gaming community) need to do a better job of calling out stupid shit like this. The torso thing was called out and we got a (perhaps half-assed) apology. But I can guarantee that we won't see the same sort of stuff from that company again. Now we need to call out how stupid the latest incarnations of EDI and Cortana are. Seriously, what the fuck. EDI was a glowing circle in ME2 now she's an inflated escapee from Space Channel 5. If any real change is going to happen, we need to stop bickering with each other and call out actual bullshit.

Posted by Phoenix654

@Zornack said:

Huh, thought I clicked a giantbomb link. How'd I end up on Kotaku?

Not a single opinion that it's simply a stupid statue no one gives a fuck about, just eight paragraphs about how hateful, sexist and misogynistic the video game industry is.

Quality journalism.

Are you a female? Is this a perspective you often hear on any major site, from people who actually work in the industry? I come to Giant Bomb because opinions like this are interesting, different and because Patrick is a great writer. Keep up the good work, Scoops.

Posted by Jumbs

@Tidel said:

@Stymie said:

I totally agree this statue was lame (but I wouldn't use the word "offensive"; you kind of have to be above things like this). However, I really, truly wish we could have these conversations without the constant tones of "the industry obviously only treats women like this."

How many men do any GB readers know with the super muscular, broad shoulder, 0% body fat, perfect-chizzled-chin look that virtually every male video game character has? Video games are suffering no shortage of manwhores.

The difference is, while the male form is often idealized, it is rarely objectified. It's an important distinction. When male characters are presented as solely a function of desire instead of active participants with agency, then you'd have a similar scenario. But that doesn't happen; and even if it did, it doesn't justify anything. The idea that 'men have it just as bad' doesn't excuse the fact that sexual objectification -- of anyone -- is problematic.

This statue represents the most base scenario of the objectification of women -- it's just a pair of clean, pert tits framed by the gory removal of all possible agency. It doesn't represent the entirety of women in games or gaming, but it exemplifies the persistent inequality in how gender and sex is represented, and to who, and why.

Just because you (or I) are not the 'idealized' man, that doesn't mean the idealized man is reductive of us or reflective of us; it represents a power fantasy. This statue also represents a power fantasy. That's the whole problem.

I think it's worth talking about. I think it's sad and telling that so many duders come out of the woodwork to 'be offended at your offense' and feel embattled.

No one should feel threatened by this discussion. Criticizing a tits-out statue is not defaming men, manliness or threatening any man's right to like tits. It's problematizing the persistent idea that women are frequently reduced to functions of the sexual gratification of men.

Thank you. This is exactly it, and I wish people would take what you have written on board.

Posted by emilknievel

@Fungiefips said:

Hey cool, more Kotaku-level clickbait bullshit from Klepek. About a subject that was slightly crass, definitely out-of-touch, and a shade misogynistic, yet "DONT CALL HIM GABEN - Patrick Tricky Scoops Kleptok" decided it was worth posting another one of his "look at me I'm so advanced with my views about the patriarchy". This shit should have been a complete non-issue, yet Klepek continues to muddle up the front page with this bullshit. But I guess it got a reaction, and since Klepek's only possible value is to push bullshit like this to get page views, I'll have to grow accustomed to seeing more of this shit.

Wow. You really don't like Patrick huh?

Posted by dr_mantas

@crcruz3 said:

@Xeirus said:

@BlastProcessing said:

At least Patrick didn't quote himself this time. Still, this progressive, Kotaku-esque clickbait shit needs to stop, It's a horrible statue made in bad taste, nothing to cry about.

I'm guessing you're a guy, who hasn't delt with sexism. You shouldn't dismiss things you have no experience with.

What? Direct experience is required to talk about something? So history is a non-subject.

Exactly. Saying that someone can't talk about a subject "because they haven't experienced it" is the easiest way to try and shut somebody's opinion down.

Statements should be judged on their own merits, not on the person who says them.

Posted by MysteriousBob

By choosing all female opinions, Patrick has made this about Sexism, when it really isn't. The issue is that its just fucking gross.

Posted by GrantHeaslip

(I posted this in another thread about the subject.)

I think the Dead Island thing has been blown drastically out of proportion because we’re so incapable of objectively looking at anything vaguely sexual. Nothing about that statue was “sexy” or sexual — it was just plain disgusting, weird and baffling.

I think a lot of people looked at it, saw something disgusting, and because breasts were involved, called it “sexist.” I can’t speak for those who thought it up — I can’t really empathize with anyone who thinks that people want a severed torso statue — but I doubt they thought people would find it sexy. So setting that aside, what’s sexist about it? Is it some kind of woman-hating slasher thing? Was it made to appeal to the small but desirable serial killer demographic? I think we’re attributing to malice something that’s more obviously just plain stupid.

Calling that thing “sexist” was such an easy, knee-jerk thing to say, and I think that’s at the core of why people were so (un)surprised that Patrick insisted on calling it out and is now using it as a premise for an entire article.

There are real issues with the way women are treated in and around the games industry (and in the industry, a lot of the problems relate to our educational systems and latent gender roles, not individual companies or personalities, which I think would be a genuinely interesting thing to write about). This may be one of them to some extent — if just because it’s insane it made it out the door at all — but it’s not worth the time that’s been spent on it.

Posted by leebmx

I think this a much better way to present this than just hearing your opinion all this time, which while I agree with can start to seem like a personal crusade, although I enjoy the way it is enraging certain parts of the community

It might be good to hear the other staff members opinions on things like this because I don't think people understand whether this is Giant Bomb editorial opinion or just your point of view.

Posted by NMC2008

2013 the year the female gender became taboo.

Seems like any and everything with a woman in it will be eye'd and then scrutinized, it's way past ridiculous as it seems like you can't do SHIT! to a woman in videogames these days.

Kill a woman brutally - let's discuss this

Design a sexy woman in a sexy outfit - let's discuss this

A woman isn't in a position of power - let's discuss this

A woman isn't a main or optional playable character - let's discuss this

A woman is talked to or about in a harsh manner - let's discuss this

I couldn't imagine the reactions we'd see if Team Ninja went ahead and made another DOAX or Konami made another Rumble Roses, or Grasshopper made another Lollipop Chainsaw, it seems like whenever a woman is center stage we have to have a discussion about it.

Now you notice that I didn't make male comparisons here, well, that's because if I did I would get yelled at and told that's not the point, so I won't do it, I would have but I won't, i'm sensitive and don't like being yelled at. -_-

If I could cut my addiction to NeoGAF and Giant Bomb I would and just stop visiting but I can't. I guess we're entering the "No Sexy Fun" age.

Posted by MMann

@Sweep said:

I don't understand why the opinions of women were actively sought out in this instance. Are their opinions somehow more valid? Are women entitled to be more insulted? Why is it a big deal that women are weighing in on this?

Because last time this issue was brought up a whole shit-tonne of people made comments saying that P.Klep should do some "real reporting" and go get feedback from actual women instead of just giving his opinion and treating the site like a livejournal.

So he did.

Now people are angry about that too.

Posted by oldenglishC

The whole " Where are the women with opposing viewpoints? " is my favorite argument in the thread so far. That's like being angry at a textbook for not having a counter point to the whole " the earth is round " thing.

The statue to me is still just a silly piece of B-movie kitsch, but the guest writers did an excellent job of explaining why it does have so many people up in arms.

Also: boob baseball cap > boob mug.

Edited by algertman

What a dumb article.

Posted by Milkman
@Brodehouse

@Milkman said:

@InsidiousTuna

Klepek's closing statement from a previous article on games industry sexism is exceptionally relevant.

"I’m a guy, I’ve never had to deal with any of these problems. But I’m willing to admit where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire, and listening is helpful, informative. If you don’t want to listen, you don’t have to. No one is forcing you. Just stop shouting down others who want to."

New strategy for these comments. Instead of going back and forth with people who make the same arguments over and over again, (by the way, I'm seeing a lot of familiar names from the other articles trying to shout down the sexism discussion again...very interesting, maybe that should tell us something) I'm going to point out all the posts that I agree with and make great points. Like this one!

Here's a significant problem.

When one side presents an argument that states that there is sexism in the industry, another side will make a counter-argument based on the evidence shown within the original argument (if there is any). These arguments range in quality, but there are many that rely on the logical presentation of reason and evidence to unravel spurious claims made by the original.

At this point, rather than logically identify and examine the counter-argument, the original makes such claims as "they're trying to shout me down" and "you don't have to read it if you don't like it". In this method, they completely bypass logic and prey upon red herrings; that of 'I have a right to my opinion' being irrelevant to the actual discussion at hand, or that of the very act of disagreeing in some way is a denial of free speech. Both are clear logical fallacies, and should be immediately identified as such.

But why is the counter argument even necessary? I think we all agree that there is sexism in the games industry (I hope we do anyway) and other forms of media, even if you don't think this particular instance is sexist. And that's okay if you don't think so. But some do think it is so why do others feel the need to try to shout these people down? What is being gained by telling people that do think it's sexist that it's not and that you personally are declaring it "not a problem?"
Online
Edited by dr_mantas

This isn't about sexism.

Posted by morrelloman

Here's a random thought. Maybe whenever Patrick writes a female centric story he gets crazy laid. It would both justify and explain.

Posted by Langly

@posh said:

"why is patrick being all political by respecting women" i'm sorry the comments some people on here make are hilarious

you have to laugh or otherwise it's too depressing

Posted by Darji

@NMC2008 said:

2013 the year the female gender became taboo.

Seems like any and everything with a woman in it will be eye'd and then scrutinized, it's way past ridiculous as it seems like you can't do SHIT! to a woman in videogames these days.

Kill a woman brutally - let's discuss this

Design a sexy woman in a sexy outfit - let's discuss this

A woman isn't in a position of power - let's discuss this

A woman isn't a main or optional playable character - let's discuss this

A woman is talked to or about in a harsh manner - let's discuss this

I couldn't imagine the reactions we'd see if Team Ninja went ahead and made another DOAX or Konami made another Rumble Roses, or Grasshopper made another Lollipop Chainsaw, it seems like whenever a woman is center stage we have to have a discussion about it.

Now you notice that I didn't make male comparisons here, well, that's because if I did I would get yelled at and told that's not the point, so I won't do it, I would have but I won't, i'm sensitive and don't like being yelled at. -_-

If I could cut my addiction to NeoGAF and Giant Bomb I would and just stop visiting but I can't. I guess we're entering the "No Sexy Fun" age.

This is a great post bravo!!!!!!

Posted by JRock3x8

I guess I don't understand the point of this article. Was anyone expecting to read this and go "OH! THAT'S why it's offensive..." We all knew it was offensive and asking women to confirm that is sort of like asking water to stay wet. Duh.

So what if you got the Cards Against Humanity guys on the phone? If there's anyone who is an EXPERT on what is offensive (and how to toe the line between what is acceptably offensive and unacceptably offensive), it's those guys. What's their take on this?

Posted by TehChich

Waited and read a bit before posting again. This statue is demeaning to the target audience and gamers in general, not all women. It's not sexist, it's just tasteless. It speaks volumes about our being uncomfortable with anything even remotely sexual and how incredibly desensitized to violence we've become, yet that's never brought up.

Posted by Brodehouse

@uomoartificiale said:

@TopCat88 said:

It is a shallow attempt to sell more copies of their game to boys. I agree that it's daft. It is not sexist. Sexist is hating women, not hiring or promoting a woman because of gender or giving a woman a lower salary. A collectible statue of a woman (dismembered, naked, alive, dead or otherwise) isn't sexist. It is distasteful.

No matter how to you put it, "not hiring or promoting a woman because of gender or giving a woman a lower salary", it's sexist and hateful. You see sexism is a social phenomenon based on hate towards women, either explicit or implied. It doesn't matter. Not hiring a woman, "because she's a woman", it's exactly that.

Now, just saying "it's distasteful" is the kind of word juggling we don't need. The attempt to reduce the complexity and gravity of things doesn't help anyone. This case is layered with several things that make it a bad PR stunt: the statue is sexist (again, implicitly or explicitly, it doesn't matter), it's distasteful, and it's a cry for attention. These three points of view don't exclude each other.

You have failed to grasp the grammatical construction of his statement. The comma used entails he is continuing a thought, not reversing as such. "Sexism is hating women, [or] not hiring or promoting because of gender". He did not saying "Sexism is hating women, [not] not hiring or promoting a woman because of gender".

Posted by Bishop113

I'm sure Patrick will be ignoring all these comments and mine will likely be lost in the sea of black and white back and forth hate comments.

But I'll say that the reason this article and all of Klepeck's articles on this subject offend, no frustrate me isn't because it's something different or that I disagree and think that the industry is perfect or that this statue had nothing to do with sexism, I don't, honestly I don't. However what does bother me is that these articles aren't serving to better the industry, they aren't serving as news either, especially this on, you've made an article on this subject, why are you making another one? You're suppose to be the news guy on the site not the shock value click bait guy.

These articles are focusing on telling everyone that men are bad and women deserve better treatment than men because women are special and different, you said it yourself in the previous article "It's different when it's a woman." But if instead you were focusing on the fact that Deep Silver's marketing shouldn't be generalizing their consumer base, if you were trying to show gamers and publishers that gaming has a more diverse crowd than 18 year old dudes then I would be all the way on board. Instead we get this article that talks about nothing but how you and these specific women you chose to put in your article think that the statue is some sexist marketing ploy.

Posted by LarryDavis

@Zornack said:

Huh, thought I clicked a giantbomb link. How'd I end up on Kotaku?

Not a single opinion that it's simply a stupid statue no one gives a fuck about, just eight paragraphs about how hateful, sexist and misogynistic the video game industry is.

Quality journalism.

I look forward to Tim Rogers becoming a contributor here at Giant Bomb Dot Com, so I can have more endless walls of text.

Posted by handsomeb

Things like this statue always come off as more exploitative than sexist or misogynist to me. To call it sexist or misogynist implies there is something more to the reasoning than hype and the bottom line. That is something the game industry has struggled with for years. All forms of entertainment media have some aspect that is exploitative of women, but it has always seemed like the ratio is much higher in gaming. These companies have known for years that their target audience was young males with a disposable income, and have designed and marketed themselves in accordance with that data. But as demographics change, and games become more main stream, that sort of mindset has to change. We'll never get rid of the stereotype of the lonely neckbeard in his mother's basement if companies continue to market themselves like this as more and more people are paying attention.

What I found most disturbing about the statue was that Deep Silver thought anyone would want one of these in the first place. I've never been one for special edition junk anyways, just give me the game. I don't have room in my life for items with absolutely no function.

Posted by SniperXan

@Sweep: Because speaking as a man, too a bunch of men about an issue surrounding the exploitation of women is kinda silly? I think it's just common sense to obtain the view of the supposed "objectified" party to see if they actually feel exploited...and it turns out that they might.

Seems simple to me.

Online
Posted by Ravenlight

@RoyCampbell said:

Followed.

Edited by CircleNine

And cue the scores of men telling women that a statue that objectifies women and is definitely indicative of a larger issue of sexism in gaming doesn't actually objectify women and couldn't possibly be a sign of a larger problem and how sexism goes both ways so maybe ladies should shut up and not get so emotional about it and maybe take an objective step back to reevaluate the situation that they're just too close to while the men talk about how sexism negatively effects them.... now.

Every fucking time. Every single fucking time. Jesus. You pedantic, completely disingenuous pricks.

Posted by crcruz3

@jaks said:

HAY GUYS LETS FIND OUT WHAT FEMINISTS THINK OF A STATUE OF A PAIR OF BLOODY BOOBS

Seriously, just stop. Patrick, you're in touch with your feminine side. We get it. I know you're going to shake your head and lament about the state of the comments section on the internet while you pat yourself on the back for being Mr. Smartypants, but this is article really lame. Sex is used to sell basically every product in the world other than Polident. Get used to it because it isn't going to stop. That lame Dead Island statue thing was stupid because it was a stupid thing, not because it was a symbol of male chauvinism in a male dominated industry.

You are going to continue to see shit like this because hot people are still the single most effective way of selling products. You're going to continue to see sexy college ladies in bikinis and cowboy hats on beer commercials and you are going to continue to see hot ex NFL players wearing just a towel hawking Old Spice because it has been determined that a lot of women buy their husband's/boyfriend's toiletries.

So just stop.

Please don't try to use common sense here. We are just enjoying ourselves in this very repetitive multi-article discussion about a female torso zombie statue.

Posted by psylah

I enjoy my opinion articles as open-ended discussions.

Posted by heatDrive88

@dr_mantas: Hey, I meant it when I said "sorry" about the comment I had just made. I'm not sorry he has such a poor perspective and assumption of Patrick's intentions for this article, however.

Posted by MrGetBonus

You know where the women are who don't think this is sexist? They are off living their lives somewhere because they don't care about this trivial nonsense.

Posted by L6M

This zombie torso has created a zombie article with zombie opinions with zombie comments by zombie posters.

braaaaaaaaaaiiiiinsss...

Edited by Bollard
GUYS SHE'S GOT HER BOOBS SHOWING IT MUST BE SEXIST GUYS

Seriously though, fucking terrible choice for a picture.

Also hilarious.

Oh man, her Twitter account gets better and better.

Posted by Dookysharpgun

@Darji said:

@Dookysharpgun said:

Vanessa Hunter has said everything that needed to be said on the matter really, and it's the exact same thing that I mentioned in the previous thread about this. It's literally putting forward a headless, legless, armless corpse with two perfect breasts - effectively removing any resemblance to a woman - to market to what Deep Silver thinks is their fanbase: a collection of necrophilia-worshipping, classic 'nerds' who are so repressed and feel that women are 'against' them, that they want a representation of the perfect woman. This is not the case, this was never the case, and the fact that they go so far as to attempt to absolve themselves of all blame is shocking and stupid to an extent I can't quite fathom.

Not only is this fucking disgusting, but it paints a pretty grim picture of what Deep Silver actually think of their fans, and the industry in general. I fail to see the reason behind the backlash against the outrage, seeing as the outrage is justified. If you don't feel offended, grand, nobody is saying you should and is attempting to shame you into thinking otherwise, what they are saying is that you should understand how it makes other people feel, and take into account how it represents and affects the position women in general, instead of saying 'it doesn't offend me, why does it offend you?' or what essentially equates to: 'I didn't read the article, but I'll leave an uninformed anti-feminism comment because being progressive is dumb'. As for the guys trying to use the old: 'what if it was a man's corpse?' crap...just go away, go back to your sandbox and don't pull the girl's pigtails just because you think they get special treatment over toys. Christ.

You have serious issues my friend. People who have bought this would not haven been classic "nerds" what ever that is. It would have been horror and expoitation fans. That is exactly what these kind of movies with zombies and gore movie represented back in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

...you just honed in on exactly that one thing and rolled with it, didn't you? What did I say there exactly? Lets just look at it one more time: That it's what Deep Silver thinks of their fanbase...they shunned the blame to their fans in their apology letter, if that doesn't tell you enough about it, then I can't convince you otherwise. Even so, despite your reply, does it make it any better? No. It doesn't. It's an offensive and distrubing piece, and serves no other reason to exist other than to be a testament to the poor decision making that pervades videogames lately...it's common sense, don't put a disassembled, prestinely-breasted model as part of a 'zombie-bait' (that's a whole other kettle of fish) edition of a game out into the public as that is fetishising death and depersonalising women in general. Deep Silver never took into account just what they were really saying with this, oh we know what they initially thought they were saying, but ignorance can only be tolerated to a certain degree, but not for a company that exists in the same environment as the rest of the industry. And I'm totally sure that argument will be used by even Deep Silver, but no. It's a videogame in 2013, that shit got old fast and it's time to grow up and move on.

Posted by dandead

This is going to sound strange but I can't help but feel that Deep Silver has already won. They have achived EVERYTHING that this tacky collectors statue was set out to do and that's get people saying the name Dead island Riptide and EVERYONE is being played like fiddles.

Listen I am all for womens rights, everyone no matter what cred, sex or race should have the same oppertunties in life no matter what their occupation or hobbies are. But this statue was made to do one thing, shock people and cuase offense. Guess what? It worked and not only that but they are now getting three diffrent full length articles on this website so in a sense PATRICK IS CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM as he is giving marketers exactly want they want, more exposure.

The marketers must be feeling pretty smug about themselves right now, I thought the people on this site would know better...

Posted by MMann

@JRock3x8 said:

I guess I don't understand the point of this article. Was anyone expecting to read this and go "OH! THAT'S why it's offensive..." We all knew it was offensive and asking women to confirm that is sort of like asking water to stay wet. Duh.

Because whenever this issue comes up people post comments saying that P.Klep should do some "real reporting" and go get feedback from actual women instead of just giving his opinion and treating the site like a livejournal.

So he did that. He did exactly what people said he should do. And that is why this article exists.