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Posted by l4wd0g (1926 posts) -

Does anyone else find it strange that we find ourselves talking about women being exploited in video games, but not in real life? I mean we have talked about what Lara Croft is wearing in the New Tomb Raider, the art of Dragon’s Crown, the censorship of Bravely Default, and the like. No one is really talking about the daily news shows of IGN, GameSpot and Polygon.

Let me be clear with my point of view. Women can be, and should be whatever they want. If a woman chooses to be a doctor, a nurse, a striper, an escort, a soldier, a programmer, or whatever, that is great; if that is what they want to be, go for it. Moreover, a woman can wear whatever she wants. That having been said, I do feel like IGN, GameSpot and Polygon are exploiting their daily news hosts for page views/ad revenue. All of them are attractive (depending on your taste in women) white women.

This picture inspired them. At least the one in the center…

I also believe that games, generally speaking, are a product targeted at white middleclass males from the ages of 15 to 40. That is the target audience, not that more people do not enjoy them, but that is their market. That is also who IGN, GameSpot, and Polygon are also targeting by virtue of covering video games. This largely explains why they have the hosts that they do.

It really began with Jessica Chobot when she landed a job at IGN after the pictures of her, sensually licking the PSP, blew up on the Internet (whether or not that was related I could only speculate). However, she was the regular host for IGN’s "Daily Fix." There were a few episodes where there were guest hosts, but she was the star. She was the "Daily Fix." Jessica Chobot is still doing stuff for IGN’s YouTube Channel Start show “Mix’d Reviews.” Lately there has been a lot more Daemon Hatfield, but it is still mostly Jessica.

Now Naomi Kyle hosts IGN’s show. It is the same deal with Jessica Chobot, she is the main host and is synonymous with the "Daily Fix." She is also the host of and IGN show called "Cheap Cool Crazy" where you are shown items that are vaguely nerd culture related and readily available for sale. IGN seems to go the extra mile with her and has her wearing different costumes to promote different games and prizes. They also really love posting pictures of her on Instagram.

GameSpot uses Jess McDonell form their Australian offices. She does both the daily news video, cleverly tilted "GS News," as well as a show every Monday called The Gist. Stop me if you have heard this one, but she does the daily news show exclusively, unless she is out of the office for some reason, then Chris Watters covers for her. Here is the thing that really bothers me about this one. GameSpot has fantastic talent and diversity. Why not have Carolyn Petit cover the news? She is a transgender woman who does well on camera. Why not use her? Oh right, ad revenue. I forgot.

Finally Polygon. Polygon, despite all their diversity news stories fell into this hole too. They used Alexa Ray Corriea for their daily news show titled "Speed Run." For the first 80 or so episodes, it was exclusively Alexa, but to Polygon’s credit, when the users started calling them out on this, they started using other site personalities. And as their reviews editor Arthur Gies would say, Polygon even started using “brown people“ (I hate that term and fuck him for saying it. It is Samit Sarkar and he is pretty awesome). There is still a lot of Alexa, but it is not bad. As someone on the outside looking in, when you see other hosts (mostly Samit) being utilized regularly, it does not look as exploitative for Alexa.

So what do you think? Do sites use T&A for pages views? Is that OK if they do? Alternatively, is this just a nonissue? What expectation are these women establishing for women who want to be in the gaming press?

#2 Posted by Ekami (256 posts) -

I don't mean to derail the conversation or dimiss the topic but I, several times over, misread the topic as "Exploring women". This caused in a me a chilling dread.

#3 Posted by Brendan (7734 posts) -

Uh oh.

#4 Edited by Coafi (1483 posts) -

So, what you are saying is that GB is missing their own sexy video game lady?

#5 Posted by Spoonman671 (4588 posts) -

@coafi said:

So, what you are saying is that GB is missing their own sexy video game lady?

I want to audition.

#6 Posted by Wilshere (291 posts) -

I think GB is exploiting Drews handsome looks.

#7 Posted by TrafalgarLaw (1106 posts) -

I like looking at pretty faces so...sue me? The only person I can't stand is Chobot, the rest of them are legit gamers.

"What expectation are these women establishing for women who want to be in the gaming press?"
To look at your best on screen and not like you've just woken up in a drug den (like some jounalists).

#8 Posted by Strife777 (1511 posts) -

I don't think that's quite what exploiting means. These women are not forced to do anything and I don't know about their salary or work conditions, but I would guess they are doing fine.

If your point is simply that they are using good looking women so more people watch their videos, than yeah, of course they are. Is that right or wrong? I don't know, I think that's for those women to decide.

#9 Posted by Coafi (1483 posts) -

@coafi said:

So, what you are saying is that GB is missing their own sexy video game lady?

I want to audition.

PM your resume and your most recent selfie.

#10 Edited by alwaysbebombing (1554 posts) -

@wilshere said:

I think GB is exploiting Drews handsome looks.

Not enough, if you ask me.

#11 Posted by rickyyo (132 posts) -

I think you should mention the whole Jade Raymond thing. I feel that whole saga has some interesting things related to the topic. Just in terms of observation and the fallout versus probably what the intended effect was.

#12 Edited by believer258 (11773 posts) -

Enthusiast press sites use fairly good-looking women to tell some news related to the website's topic of interest? CONTROVERSY!

Women can be, and should be whatever they want. If a woman chooses to be a doctor, a nurse, a striper, an escort, a soldier, a programmer, or whatever, that is great;

I mean, in one of your first sentences, you say that it's OK for a woman to be a stripper or an escort, but then you talk about this as being exploitative?

I just don't see you bringing forth much in terms of evidence for anything. You've come up with something and leaped to conclusions.

#13 Edited by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@l4wd0g said:

Does anyone else find it strange that we find ourselves talking about women being exploited in video games, but not in real life?

Who says we aren't? Nothing's stopping you from doing both.

#14 Posted by Clonedzero (4196 posts) -

If they have a problem with it then its up to them. Making up some weird crusade cus a pretty lady is the host of something is fucking crazy.

I can't really see any downside to what they're doing? They're not being forced to wear slutty clothes or anyhting, just sometimes video game themed stuff.

Wait what the fuck is the problem? Even if they did dress slutty and read game news in a thong and pasties, if she's cool with it then uh, she's not being exploited.

#15 Posted by wjb (1653 posts) -

I don't know about Gamespot or IGN, but I sometimes visit Polygon, and I was always under the assumption that Alexa was used because she's in New York where the The Verge offices are located.

Everyone at Polygon is all over the world, with only so many people living in NYC. I assumed Plante and Russ were too important to do a daily news feature, so they gave it to Alexa since she was lower on the ladder. Or maybe she volunteered or Samit didn't want to do it all the time. Who knows?

(Cool dig at Gies when he doesn't even have anything to do with the topic).

#16 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3179 posts) -

lol you just noticed?

#17 Posted by Superkenon (1408 posts) -

I see your point. We should fire all the women.

#18 Posted by hippocrit (238 posts) -

I wonder how lady gamers feel about it? As a dude I find it hard to judge.

I don't think it's only up to the news caster to feel exploited or not, though. Audience opinion matters, and there are plenty of female gamers who may or may not care.

#19 Edited by pyromagnestir (4283 posts) -

There is not enough useful information on how to exploit women in this thread.



#20 Edited by Slaegar (697 posts) -

The buck doesn't stop there. Game websites are way into exploiting sexual minorities and white knights and have been for a while now. Websites constantly spam clickbait material in hopes to get more ad revenue.


That URL leads to a page where someone compares a vampire drinking blood to RapeLay. I'm not even joking.

"Sexualized imagery is nothing new in vampire fiction, but this scene is kind of stunning for how blatant it is with its allusions to rape. It's a scene that forcibly reminds me of the boxart from RapeLay, down to the woman protecting her child and the disembodied arms (your arms) reaching out from the camera. Regardless of the intentions in constructing the scene, the imagery is ghastly."

The scene being a family going down the street and a hungry Dracula kills the husband (but that part doesn't matter, right?) and sucks the blood of the wife. Companies are making articles like this so people with Social Justice Warrior tendencies will flock to them and people who hate them will also run to it. You make money on friends and enemies alike in this case so its a win-win.

Things like this are making light of real issues because they want to hop on the band wagon to cash-land. How is "I bet I could make a buck off this" so much more noble than being a bigot in the first place? That's why I outright hate that kind of journalism and there is a thick blurry line of what is trying to help people gain their rights or what is helping yourself gain a fatter wallet.

#21 Edited by Wolfgame (699 posts) -

I just don't know anymore, I am as guilty as anyone in riling up these sexism topics in past, but it feels like we are at a speculative impasse.

EDIT: @Slaegar : Well said, the click bait isn't even unique to women centric topics, it is anything to stir up a rise out of a gut reaction, you notice these and similar topics always rely on the compulsive element of emotion to begin attacking and spreading hate. They rarely call for intelligent discourse, they are about shaking the ground as much as possible for personal gain on top of issues that deserve respect in the realm of a real discussion, but one can't be had when the basis of these discussions is entirely profit driven.

#22 Posted by Brodehouse (9770 posts) -

Oh God if I wring my hands any harder the bones will come out.

#23 Posted by Vuud (1944 posts) -

Sheesh, I wish some women would exploit me once in a while.

#24 Posted by LikeaSsur (1507 posts) -

I think you're taking something and blowing it way out of proportion, as is the cast in most of these "sexism" topics.

#25 Posted by YOU_DIED (702 posts) -

You must have a really weird definition of 'exploited'

#26 Posted by LibrorumProhibitorum (346 posts) -

Exploiting? Not really. I do see what you're getting that though, essentially using the promise of women to get ad revenue and for people to click and continue clicking, but I personally believe these four women's talent for this job is rather well established at this point, they've pretty much earned their place (less so Jessica, she licked things I guess?)

Though, there is something to be said for not using one woman over the other if that has occurred, similar to Carolyn. When you see one women being chosen to be centre host over another woman for obvious reasons then there's an issue with morality. Here, with the examples you've provided outside of the Carolyn example, there are just examples of women doing their job, nothing really skeevy about it.

#27 Posted by afrofools (1337 posts) -

Not all of the women you mentioned were chosen for their looks. They are charismatic people who just happen to be women. It's like saying a male video game 'journalist' is being exploited and chosen only for their appearance. Polygon has done a video documentary interviewing Jessica C, and it shows how she has been hurt emotionally by everyone discrediting her from the stupid PSP licking picture. Sure she unfortunately likely got her job almost entirely due to her appearance, but that does not mean she should be derided for it continually when she is an actual 'gamer.' She, like the other women you mentioned would be extremely knowledgable about the topic.

Pushing women away because they are women and most guys like women and so it's almost entirely due to expatiation. 3/5 of the women you mentioned have rather average looks. Removing women from the spotlight would be a form of censorship, that comes from of a lack of understanding and immaturity greater than those who deliberately seek to exploit. OP, if you are a woman you are doing your entire gender a disservice. Keeping women that game out of the media will only prolong the gender imbalance. I'm sure most women would enjoy hearing about their choice of entertainment not just from men. Only self-defeating feminists and perverts (at either end of the spectrum), will prevent everyone from participating and having fun.

#28 Edited by csl316 (8349 posts) -

IGN can be an offender. Elsewhere I mentioned a photo link featuring cleavage, whose description is just two dudes talking about wearable tech. I don't even think Naomi's in the video. I don't mind the daily news shows, but this specific example sucks hard.

She's cool and all, and she did modeling so she's comfortable with it. I dunno, it's weird but IGN knows their audience. Thank god they started cleaning up their horrid comments section.

The best way to feature female staff? Just treat her like everyone else. Kim Wallace at Game Informer is awesome. Good knowledge of games and a big time RPG nerd. She was there for months before even appearing on video (well, aside from her voice). Just another cool member of the staff. Like Sara Lima was at CV.

But whatever, if someone is comfortable on camera, they should be able to be on camera.

#29 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

This kind of thinking is cancerous. I could write a thousand pages of how I feel you're wrong, but honestly when you start with this there is no changing your mind. I'll just say, like a lot of game journalism writing, it's self serving bullshit that doesn't actually represent women in gaming, or actually women anywhere.

#30 Posted by crithon (3111 posts) -

you may call me politically incorrect, but I got most of my views through Russ Meyers and Roger Corman films.

#32 Edited by JasonR86 (9650 posts) -

There's not really a good way to talk about this on the internet. I will say that if anyone is being exploited for any reason that's gross. If they know that is what they are there for and are ok with it it seems less gross I suppose? Because that's just someone taking advantage of an opportunity right? Also a pretty lady who is the on-screen talent because that's what she's good at doesn't necessarily equate to exploitation. I've never gotten the sense that Naomi Kyle on IGN has been exploited for example and the Chobot like thing happened before she worked at IGN I believe.

#33 Edited by Ozzie (180 posts) -

Honestly it's in so many other mediums there's no reason to bring attention to it unless their doing something over the top, like the psp thing you mentioned and the dressing up part for IGN is kinda weird.

But you mention the gamespot women, Carolyn Petit, and why she doesn't cover the news. I'm just gonna say this and it's not be an ass. Do you know her, have you two talked about how she really wanted that job but it was taken from her? Probably not, you don't know she wanted to even do the news every day maybe she didn't, but don't assume because they put another women on camera and not her it's because she's transgendered. The only people who would know are currently working their now.

I would say that whoever they picked probably was a hard worker who fit into the role well (which was probably someone who looked good on camera and is charismatic), but who knows I don't know any details either.

Whether their using it for getting more views or not really I could careless, that's the way companies work they want that money nothing changes that. So long as they're just doing their job and not doing anything degrading then let them work in peace.

#34 Posted by falserelic (5394 posts) -

Get some smooth mood music going on and exploit the hell out of em.

You do what you must do, no questions asked.

#35 Edited by tourgen (4458 posts) -

sooooo.. you want video personalities with 0 charisma and on-screen presence?

Chobot is the worst though. But Petit isn't any better.

#36 Edited by Lyisa (340 posts) -

You're right. We -do- need to put Patrick on camera to read the news!

The page clicks will just start rolling in!

#37 Posted by Dick_Bonerflex (46 posts) -
#38 Edited by EpicSteve (6479 posts) -

I mean, the majority of the demographic is male. Women tend to be more likable and friendly. Even to other women in a lot of cases. It's why most servers at restaurants are women and the men are hidden away in the back making the food. I feel like "exploited" tends to suggest the woman is getting a negative outcome to the job. Without knowing their side of the story, I assume they dig being on camera and don't mind that the majority of people like looking at a pretty face instead of some overweight dude.

Non of those women are (for lack of better term) "outrageously sexy". They're all normal looking pretty women. It isn't like Polygon is spending tons of time getting their girl caked in make up and showing off cleavage. Plus, most of us can admit this is a largely male dominated industry. So there's nothing wrong with putting females in the spotlight if your intention is to de-Sausage Party this industry a bit.

But all the Chobot and Olivia Munn bullshit back in the day was embarrassing.

#39 Posted by wjb (1653 posts) -

Commercials for retail stores and fast food restaurants use pretty white girls (who probably wouldn't work there in real life) all the time. McDonalds might drop in pretty girls from different races, but it's common everywhere. White girls are the least threatening type of individuals to most people, probably.

(Also, what's wrong with the white woman to the left in the picture? Is she not Aryan white enough?).

#40 Posted by OurSin_360 (842 posts) -

Chobot exploited herself, the women on GS aren't sexualized at all and just do their job like everybody else on the site, and i don't go to polygon or whatever so i can't comment. Seems like you think it's "exploiting' women just because you find them attractive? which seems a bit weird honestly

#41 Posted by Slag (4222 posts) -

This is a tough issue to talk about at all, but especially so on the internet.

I guess it really comes down to whether or not you think a person's appearance should be allowed to matter in hiring for entertainment jobs. This is certainly not a just a gaming media issue, It's everywhere in media. What usually seems to happen, based off what I've heard from people I know in the News business, is that they have tons of amazingly talented applicants for the jobs and looks are often used as the tiebreaker for hires.

So the talented young beautiful woman is nearly always going to get the job over the talented older homely woman. Unless that changes I don't see this practice going away regardless of the morality of the practice.

I really don't have the answer for this one. This practice definitely has unintended consequences though for society's perception of women in general.

#42 Posted by mak_wikus (511 posts) -

Look at all these comments you got!

#43 Edited by NMC2008 (1237 posts) -

@mak_wikus said:

Look at all these comments you got!

That's nothing, if he were to post this on GAF then this thread would be 11 to 15 pages by now. As far as I can tell nobody is being exploited.

#44 Posted by Flappy (2188 posts) -

I'm not ashamed to say that I found Morgan Webb attractive back in the day. You'd think that she was the reason why I watched X-Play religiously, but it's because I thought the show was both entertaining and informative. Man, TechTV/G4 was awesome ten years ago.

Wait, what? If we want more clicks, just put Drew's face on every thumbnail.

#45 Posted by NMC2008 (1237 posts) -

It's funny because if all the women were unattractive then there would be 0 issue but since they are pretty they are being exploited? That's so weird. The fact that you recommended they put a person whom has 0 charisma on camera instead of the people who have that charisma kinda makes it weirder. *shrugs* Ah well.

#46 Edited by joshwent (2156 posts) -
Put a mask and gloves on, you HUSSY!

Seems like you think it's "exploiting' women just because you find them attractive? which seems a bit weird honestly

That should be the end of the conversation. GS has a bunch of other recurring shows with Danny O' Dwyer and that British guy, and they also do Quicklooks with randos just like GB does, except you can see the people in the videos. The only reason that Jess' show could bring up these concerns, and not the other ones, is her gender.

If the same exact situation is exploitative for one gender and not another, your argument makes no sense.

#47 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3050 posts) -

It's talked about daily, just maybe not on gaming forums.

#48 Posted by Random45 (1114 posts) -

Chobot exploited herself, the women on GS aren't sexualized at all and just do their job like everybody else on the site, and i don't go to polygon or whatever so i can't comment. Seems like you think it's "exploiting' women just because you find them attractive? which seems a bit weird honestly

You know, Cracked actually had an article I read the other day somewhat related to this. Basically it boils down to men find watching other men to be more comfortable and funny, while watching women who are funny tends to make them feel uncomfortable and they don't tend to find them as funny or funny at all. While cracked mostly applied it to humor, I think it applies to general news casting as well. I do agree that it's not really exploitative, it's just psychologically uncomfortable to some people due to their upbringing.