Edit: This post is now locked because it apparently "went downhill" I found many of the comments to be informative and see the locking as classic censorship. I responded to most people individually by pm on their comments. if I havn't responded to you feel free to PM me.
Thanks to those who commented constructively for and against it made it more interesting for me.
I would like to note and perhaps I should have been clearer. Women do have issues with how they are portrayed with media, but to say they are the only victims is wrong. Both groups are victims. I do not consider myself an MRA. My main argument is that Klepek should make comments on how game media portrays both sexes not just females.
Klepek Vs Males
Warning: my grammar sucks.
Firstly let me say, I love Patrick Klepek, I love worth Reading and I think he is one of the greatest additions to the Giant Bomb staff. However, Sometimes I read through his worth reading and have to shake my head in disappointment. He is very deep and insightful, however when it comes to the issue of feminism he jumps on the “Women are Victims” bandwagon and chooses not to look deeper at the issues surrounding gender roles. By only talking about female issues/Homosexual issues in gaming we ignore the problems that plague straight male stereo types in games.
What am I talking about?
Recent research into male and female behaviour showed that 5 times out of 5 females give more concern to female issues then male. This is not surprising what is surprising is 4 times out of 5 males give more concern to female issues then males. This means that a very small minority of people are looking out for men’s issues. The feminist world is full of half-truths as they claim victimhood for male oppression. For example they will claim that men get paid more than women, yet neglect to inform people that 99% of work place deaths are men (one of the many appropriate reasons men get paid more). The half-truths are rampant throughout society and it disappoints me that such a deep thinker as Patrick Klepek does not address them. Addressing only female issues victimises them and is unfair to males and Giant Bomb users.
Instead of complaining about Patrick’s bias towards gender roles in games I am going to look at some of the core issues that plague men in the world of gaming.
The disposable male
Patrick recently posted some articles about “The Castle Doctrine” in which Cameron Kunzelman attacks The Castle Doctrine for being an unethical game. One of the reasons it’s unethical you cannot play as a female. Let’s get down to brass tact’s on this one, Jason Rohrer argued that his decision to only be able to play as a male was a socially informed one. He argued that in the 90’s (when this game is set) it was the Male’s role to ensure that a family’s home was safe, even if this meant his own death or injury. It’s not just the 90’s however, in every time period men had to protect females. The Castle Doctrine is a parody of this, I mean it doesn’t matter if you are weak or shy away from violence if you are male you must protect female. The only issue I see is that the attackers can only be male which assumes that females are never perpetrators of violence. This is something I will talk about later.
In Donkey Kong, you play the role of Jumpman in his attempt to rescue a Damsiel from Donkey Kong. Many feminists jump up and down about how this portrays females as weak and unable to look after themselves. I actually see this from the other side I mean think about it seriously think about it. You are a working man dressed in overalls having to risk life and limb avoiding barrels and pits so that you can rescue a lady. When you get to the end of the path you face a giant gorilla that is twice your size. Often you will die, that is the nature of the game. If you win or lose the female gets to live and the male has to die. We should have female protagonists to prevent men from unnecessary death. How many men's lives have been lost in order to save one lady?
Why should all this matter, well it’s to the male disadvantage that he risks his life for others. I stated earlier that 99% of work place deaths are males as we take on more dangerous jobs. I have stated this to a few female feminists and their response is that it’s because men are “stupid”. So now not only do we have to protect females but we also don’t get any respect for it because by protecting females we are being oppressive. The times haven’t changed and women do not risk life and limb to rescue males. If someone broke into my house I would stand up to protect my wife even if it meant my death so that she could live.
In conclusion I don’t expect games to change away from the social agreement with the disposable male. I really just think that males should be respected for their sacrifices and games should not be criticised more having male only protagonists. Male only protagonists are a reflection of how society actually is and the male only protagonist should remain. Unless of course women start becoming more disposable and sacrificing themselves for men.
Males are the predators
What do the following game franchises all have in common? Far Cry, Crysis, Call of Duty, Tomb Raider, Super Mario Brothers, F.E.A.R, Grand Theft Auto, Batman Arkham Asylum, Just Cause, Deus Ex, uncharted, and Infamous. The majority (if not all) of the low level enemies/grunts are Males. Whenever you have to fight a female it’s an intellectual boss type character (For example Poison Ivy or Halequin). As soon as you have to physically punch this character it can all of a sudden lead to politicians and people of importance crying misogyny. But the real problem is the continual perpetuation of males as predators.
A recent study into sexual assaults at college universities found that .5% of males were predators on campus. This means that the overwhelming majority of men are great kind people. This image has been distorted by the media and public perception. Go read some news articles about teachers having relationships with students in schools. Whenever it’s a male teacher he is labelled as a sexual predator or rapist. If it’s a female teacher then it’s seen as an underage consensual relationship. The problem with having males as the enemies is that it strays away from the truth of who commits acts of violence. 50,000 women in America are victims of domestic violence each year whereas 60,000 men are victims of domestic violence usually from women (I will provide the link to this study). These games that show men as predators really put more fear into women about men and teach men how to behave as men. It is a destructive message but one that is often used. It implies that women would not involve themselves in violence for pay but men would.
Bethsheba however is a totally different story; it was really refreshing to have common enemies as female. Going into a bandit camp usually meant taking out both male and female bandits. This was a refreshing thing to walk into as man was no longer the enemy. The bandits were the enemy, not men, bandits! I could then feel that I was attacking a group of people that truly were a bad bunch.
Those were just two examples of how men are discriminated against in video games. We can’t simply let female gamers claim victimhood in gender bias. For every claim made by feminists there is an equal one to be made for males.
I really don’t want games to change to pander to a particular gender, male or female. I want stories to be told and worlds to be explored. I just believe if you are going to look into gender issues give it an equal look. My hope is that Patrick Klepek chooses to investigate deeper into gender issues in gaming and that we get deeper considerations into gender roles.
Other male video game Issues that could be expanded upon:
- Man is slave to a women’s needs
- Making games for a male demographic is sexist yet making games for a female demographic is not
- Females only appear as smarter or more intellectual in games
- Sexy women is objectification, but Sexy ab ripped men is not
- Dead Island’s riptides Zombie Bust (What if it had been a man’s torso?)
- Supply and Demand (How the larger demand of male gamers affects what is in them)
- Men having to do the dirty work (Men having to kill and maim)
- Men not having the option of simply staying put helplessly and asking for help
Probably all I can think of at the moment.
Women being half the problem of domestic violence: