#1 Posted by MisterFaulkner (44 posts) -

I just happened upon this website thanks to Patrick Klepek's tweet. Sexism is definitely a concept I take for granted, as I'm certain I am frequently sexist in ways of which I am innocently unaware; however, as I grow older and continue to foster a love for video games, the immature culture of video games has become more apparent to me. Feminist Frequency aims to refine video games in a way I think is necessary for my favorite medium to taken seriously as entertainment and, more importantly, as art. While I realize the "games as art" discussion is a long and arduous one with two very dominant opposing forces, I think that the existence of a predominantly masculine, at times misogynistic, culture within the world of gaming is obvious and undeniable.

I am sure that I am not the only gamer whose has had his enjoyment of multiplayer sessions destroyed due to others' disparaging comments, sexist, racist, offensive comments. Granted, I have become callous to this behavior and have learned to ignore it, but it is certain that when individuals start behaving offensively I choose not to participate voice chat. When I should be jumping into a Team Deathmatch game in Max Payne 3 ready to coordinate with my teammates and share vital information, instead I am playing without a headset listening to muffled words of other players in the background. I realize that when groups of friends are playing together, it's easy to fall into a comfort zone and just let the words fly; but when the game is public and others are subject to offensive remarks, it at the very least deters gamers like me from adding anything vocally. That's just me, and I am thick skinned! My wife would certainly never jump into a multiplayer game ready to trash talk and call out obscenities. I realize that this could be construed as arrogant, but I sincerely mean to speak honestly. I know that offense is subjective and that not everyone is bothered in the slightest by comments made online, but I think that if more players demonstrated a bit more tact in public, it would greatly strengthen the integrity and appearance of our gaming community.

Of course, I call game developers to task in this as well. Though I am not against the sexualization of women and of men entirely, a lot of work can be done here to strengthen the integrity of games. For instance, I think there is a place for the sexualized character Juliet Starling in Lollipop Chainsaw. I personally think the depiction of that character is justifiable within the context of the tone and style of that game; however, other female characters in games that take themselves more seriously, like Tomb Raider, are often sexualized for seemingly no artistic purpose. I think that Bonnie McFarlane from Red Dead Redemption is a good example of a character who breaks the sexist standard of females in video games. In other words, I think that developers oftentimes sexualize female characters unknowingly, and Feminist Frequency will help to bring a little more awareness.

The work Feminist Frequency is conducting will greatly improve gaming culture. I think this is a worthy cause and will ultimately bring games one step closer to becoming immediately recognized as art. Thank you to those of you who took the time to read my inspired message.

#2 Posted by Salarn (465 posts) -

@MisterFaulkner: I'm glad you took the time to read the article and then post your reflections on it.

You hit on a lot of good points. Nobody is asking for the complete removal of all sexy female characters, there is a place for it. However, right now the skew is to the heavy extreme on the side of eye candy side characters for the typical male audience. Especially if you consider that the 2011 numbers showed that 42% of players were female, order of magnitude higher than the number of games that allowed female characters, let alone other under represented groups. The most important thing about feminism is that it's not just about women, it's about equality of all people.

#3 Posted by Anund (931 posts) -

Maybe it's that I am male, but I just don't see that much sexism in games. Both men and women are taken to the extreme: the men are all fit and unrealistcally muscled, the women are thin with big breasts. That sort of provides eye candy for both sexes.

Now, the behaviour of the actual people playing the games... that is a different thing all together.

#4 Edited by believer258 (12017 posts) -

Two things

1) Please, people, remember that there's a difference between misogyny and a sexy character. Also know that there's such a thing as taste and tact - two words that the games industry could definitely use some more of these days, when it comes to pretty much everything story and dialog wise.

2) Bonnie Macfarlane got on my fucking nerves.

EDIT: Also, we need more female characters that don't come across as small beardless men with breasts and higher-pitched voices.

#5 Posted by konig_kei (647 posts) -
@Salarn

@MisterFaulkner: I'm glad you took the time to read the article and then post your reflections on it.

You hit on a lot of good points. Nobody is asking for the complete removal of all sexy female characters, there is a place for it. However, right now the skew is to the heavy extreme on the side of eye candy side characters for the typical male audience. Especially if you consider that the 2011 numbers showed that 42% of players were female, order of magnitude higher than the number of games that allowed female characters, let alone other under represented groups. The most important thing about feminism is that it's not just about women, it's about equality of all people.

42% seems like way to sweet a number, does that include Facebook and iPhone games by any chance?
#6 Edited by mystakin (100 posts) -

@Anund said:

Maybe it's that I am male, but I just don't see that much sexism in games. Both men and women are taken to the extreme: the men are all fit and unrealistcally muscled, the women are thin with big breasts. That sort of provides eye candy for both sexes.

Now, the behaviour of the actual people playing the games... that is a different thing all together.

Mario, Nathan Drake, Max Payne, Link, Niko Bellic, etc. are fit and unrealistically muscled? I think you're over-representing that stereotype. Also, this comic should explain the phenomenon you're describing. In short, men are creating what men want, and women either have to learn to like it or get pushed aside.

I had the fortunate opportunity to talk to Anita before this firestorm actually happened(you can view that here </shameful plug>). I love the work she's doing and it's a shame so many people have kneejerk reactions to actual research and social science. It's clear from a simple e-mail interview that she loves games as much as the rest of us; she's just very critical.

#7 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Salarn said:

@MisterFaulkner: I'm glad you took the time to read the article and then post your reflections on it.

You hit on a lot of good points. Nobody is asking for the complete removal of all sexy female characters, there is a place for it. However, right now the skew is to the heavy extreme on the side of eye candy side characters for the typical male audience. Especially if you consider that the 2011 numbers showed that 42% of players were female, order of magnitude higher than the number of games that allowed female characters, let alone other under represented groups. The most important thing about feminism is that it's not just about women, it's about equality of all people.

I think the key is learning what's appropriate sexy, and what's gross sexy. Look at Alyx from Half Life 2. She has more skin exposed than needed, she's a very attractive lady, and I think she's probably one of the sexiest ladies I've seen in a video game. Granted, I think jeans and a jacket are pretty sweet on the ladies.

@Anund said:

Maybe it's that I am male, but I just don't see that much sexism in games. Both men and women are taken to the extreme: the men are all fit and unrealistcally muscled, the women are thin with big breasts. That sort of provides eye candy for both sexes.

Now, the behaviour of the actual people playing the games... that is a different thing all together.

Men in games are fit, and that's the extreme? Soldiers keep in shape. That's not unrealistic. There are those that are unrealistically muscled, ie Gears of War, but that's not the overwhelming majority of them. You don't really see a lot of Ryan Reynolds-esque bodies on male video game characters (sadly...). I don't see a lot of extremely fit, and even less extremely muscular video game characters. And male video game characters are RARELY attractive. Nathan Drake and Nathan Fillion('s likeness) being some of the few exceptions. But short of having a beefcake or kinda ugly grizzled soldier fet, (I'm ignoring eastern character design, because it's dumb) those attracted to males probably don't get that much eye candy.

@believer258 said:

EDIT: Also, we need more female characters that don't come across as small beardless men with breasts and higher-pitched voices.

I liked the ladies in Gears though! Believe it or not, lady service members (Dear god please don't let any of them read this) are often basically breardless men with breasts and feminine voices. I am speaking from experience. Fuck, even the poolees are harder and manlier than most of the guys were at my highschool. It'd be a bit odd to see a really girly feminine girl in a flack vest or MARPAT. Combat tends to attract a particular kind of person, generally considered more masculine.

TO BE CLEAR this doesn't mean they aren't capable of being feminine and lady-like and quite attractive, it just means they are just as capable of spitting to the side and trash talking and swearing like a sailor in ways that more fem ladies tend to be incapable of.

If you're asking for fewer soldier-type characters in general then, that's cool I guess. But I don't want to see some girly girl trying to be passed as a hardened soldier/operative any more than I want to see some punk frat bro trying to be passed similarly.

#8 Edited by Anund (931 posts) -

@mystakin said:

@Anund said:

Maybe it's that I am male, but I just don't see that much sexism in games. Both men and women are taken to the extreme: the men are all fit and unrealistcally muscled, the women are thin with big breasts. That sort of provides eye candy for both sexes.

Now, the behaviour of the actual people playing the games... that is a different thing all together.

Mario, Nathan Drake, Max Payne, Link, Niko Bellic, etc. are fit and unrealistically muscled? I think you're over-representing that stereotype. Also, this comic should explain the phenomenon you're describing. In short, men are creating what men want, and women either have to learn to like it or get pushed aside.

I had the fortunate opportunity to talk to Anita before this firestorm actually happened(you can view that here </shameful plug>). I love the work she's doing and it's a shame so many people have kneejerk reactions to actual research and social science. It's clear from a simple e-mail interview that she loves games as much as the rest of us; she's just very critical.

That comic is quite weird actually. I don't find women with obscenely large breasts attractive either, therefore it's not objectifying women? That aside, let me comment on your examples:

  • Nathan Drake: Not impossibly muscular. Incredibly manly though, witty, good looking. You also have to take into account the other characters in the game. Is Elena some kind of sex object? No, she isn't, quite the opposite, she's a very capable woman who saves Drake's ass on more than one occasion. I think if you want to prove how sexist games are, stay away from the Uncharted series.
  • Link, same thing here. Women aren't depicted as purely sexual objects in the Zelda games. Except perhaps the objection is that the princess needs rescuing?
  • Max Payne... I haven't played the new game yet. I don't remember any unrealistically portrayed women in the old games, but it's been a while.
  • Niko Bellic is the one point you get.

In general though, in the games where the men are portrayed realistically, so are the women.

EDIT: Why did that chick in the comic want a Batman who looks female... Guess I am glad I am already married, because I thought women liked men.

#9 Posted by mlarrabee (2999 posts) -

I've never seen any misogyny in video games. Male chauvinism, however...

#10 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Who is and why are we singling him out?

#11 Posted by mystakin (100 posts) -

@Anund said:

@mystakin said:

@Anund said:

Maybe it's that I am male, but I just don't see that much sexism in games. Both men and women are taken to the extreme: the men are all fit and unrealistcally muscled, the women are thin with big breasts. That sort of provides eye candy for both sexes.

Now, the behaviour of the actual people playing the games... that is a different thing all together.

Mario, Nathan Drake, Max Payne, Link, Niko Bellic, etc. are fit and unrealistically muscled? I think you're over-representing that stereotype. Also, this comic should explain the phenomenon you're describing. In short, men are creating what men want, and women either have to learn to like it or get pushed aside.

I had the fortunate opportunity to talk to Anita before this firestorm actually happened(you can view that here </shameful plug>). I love the work she's doing and it's a shame so many people have kneejerk reactions to actual research and social science. It's clear from a simple e-mail interview that she loves games as much as the rest of us; she's just very critical.

That comic is quite weird actually. I don't find women with obscenely large breasts attractive either, therefore it's not objectifying women? That aside, let me comment on your examples:

  • Nathan Drake: Not impossibly muscular. Incredibly manly though, witty, good looking. You also have to take into account the other characters in the game. Is Elena some kind of sex object? No, she isn't. Perhaps then, Uncharted is not one of the games relevant to this discussion.
  • Link, same thing here. Women aren't depicted as purely sexual objects in the Zelda games. Except perhaps in that the princess needs to be rescued.
  • Peach is overly sexualized?
  • Max Payne... I haven't played the new game yet. I don't remember any unrealistically portrayed women in those games.
  • Niko Bellic is the one point you get.

In general though, in the games where the men are portrayed realistically, so are the women.

The point is men like muscly guys like Marcus Fenix because it's a power trip for them. Men aren't designing guys with big muscles to appeal to girls, it's to appeal to men.

- Uncharted: Elena is a damn fine character; I'm not saying Uncharted is sexist but rather that Nathan Drake is not one of the muscled up guys you were referring to. Also, isn't Chloe introduced in UC2 by crawling all over Nathan in a hotel?

- Zelda: As before, Link isn't muscled as you had suggested and is usually a child most of the time. Zelda is a classic case of damsel in distress, which is something Anita talks about in the Kickstarter.

- Mario: Nah, Peach and Daisy are certainly never sexualized. :P Even if they weren't, it's like Zelda... classic damsel in distress.

- Max Payne: Again, I wasn't naming examples of sexist games, just non-buff characters. Max is a pretty normal guy and in MP3 he's pretty unattractive. Also, they have a character named Mona Sax (Moan-uh Sacks) in the series. Pretty explicit, although not all that harmful.

Here's a game for you, though. Think of a playable character in video games with a love interest you don't play as. Pretty simple. Drake, Link, and Mario fall into that category (for the most part, obviously some games let you play as Peach or Zelda). Can you name one character that fits that description and is female?

#12 Posted by Animasta (14715 posts) -

Let's wait and see what Lollipop Chainsaw is before giving it a free pass, eh?

Feminist Frequency is great, very well reasoned and smart and stufffff.

Online
#13 Edited by MisterFaulkner (44 posts) -

@believer258 said:

Please, people, remember that there's a difference between misogyny and a sexy character.

There's a difference, but it's a fine line. When you find a woman to be sexy, that is subjective. You find her to be sexy for this or that reason. When game developers sexualize their female characters, that is, when they objectify them, that is itself an act of misogyny. I think there are different levels of misogyny, in much the same way that there are different levels of racism, and even in the most innocent case of a developer completely unaware of committing misogyny, a message is sent.

Again, I pointed out that I am fully guilty of misogyny at times when I am completely unaware of it. Finding a female character sexy is not a crime. Developing a character to be sexy by objectifying her can possibly be negative for games. I think there is a legitimate awareness in the objectification of Juliet from Lollipop Chainsaw, I'd also say this depiction fits stylistically and thematically, but I think the objectification of Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite is arguably misogynistic.

#14 Posted by Veektarius (4932 posts) -

People love to throw out Lara Croft as the defining example of female characters in gaming (and goddammit, because I happen to like large breasts), but you might as well claim Quake is symbolic of the modern FPS. Where is this sexism? Fighting games? Okay, granted. Eastern MMOs? Likewise. Where else? RPGs, like Skyrim and ME2? Those girls weren't unrealistically proportioned. Shooters? They rarely have girls in them, and when they do (Gears of War? HALO?) there's nothing sexual about them. So where are we looking? Strategy games? Puzzle games? Point and click adventures? The biggest complaint I've been privy too lately has been Bioshock Infinite, which is, let me point out, about tits that are too big on a girl with a head bigger than your average watermelon. She's not sexy.

I propose that while we've been navel-gazing, the gaming industry has already moved on beyond the 1980s and 90s along with the rest of popular culture. Aside from niche markets where games are largely designed by totally different (and more patriarchal) cultures (Japan/Korea) that are not our problem, we're looking under stones and pulling examples to flagellate ourselves with from our far-flung past. Well, with one exception - games that wear their rampant sexism as a badge of honor. Now, I'm fine with that, but I'm also fine with hot chicks in games. So if you're looking to ferret out the sexism in games today, overlooking games like Saint's Row 3 & Lollipop Chainsaw is akin to throwing the needle out of the haystack. Think what you want, but for god's sake, be honest to yourself about what that is.

#15 Posted by Getz (3114 posts) -

Maybe it's too early to say, but could it be that people are actually wanting to have this conversation instead of instantly dismissing it as a non-issue? God bless you Giant Bomb.

Also, Youtube is a fucking cesspool.

#16 Posted by MisterFaulkner (44 posts) -

@Veektarius said:

Think what you want, but for god's sake, be honest to yourself about what that is.

I'll try not to let you down

#17 Posted by Keen314 (76 posts) -

@Getz said:

Maybe it's too early to say, but could it be that people are actually wanting to have this conversation instead of instantly dismissing it as a non-issue? God bless you Giant Bomb.

#18 Posted by mystakin (100 posts) -

@Veektarius said:

People love to throw out Lara Croft as the defining example of female characters in gaming (and goddammit, because I happen to like large breasts), but you might as well claim Quake is symbolic of the modern FPS. Where is this sexism? Fighting games? Okay, granted. Eastern MMOs? Likewise. Where else? RPGs, like Skyrim and ME2? Those girls weren't unrealistically proportioned. Shooters? They rarely have girls in them, and when they do (Gears of War? HALO?) there's nothing sexual about them. So where are we looking? Strategy games? Puzzle games? Point and click adventures? The biggest complaint I've been privy too lately has been Bioshock Infinite, which is, let me point out, about tits that are too big on a girl with a head bigger than your average watermelon. She's not sexy.

I propose that while we've been navel-gazing, the gaming industry has already moved on beyond the 1980s and 90s along with the rest of popular culture. Aside from niche markets where games are largely designed by totally different (and more patriarchal) cultures (Japan/Korea) that are not our problem, we're looking under stones and pulling examples to flagellate ourselves with from our far-flung past. Well, with one exception - games that wear their rampant sexism as a badge of honor. Now, I'm fine with that, but I'm also fine with hot chicks in games. So if you're looking to ferret out the sexism in games today, overlooking games like Saint's Row 3 & Lollipop Chainsaw is akin to throwing the needle out of the haystack. Think what you want, but for god's sake, be honest to yourself about what that is.

If you think gender misrepresentation is a thing of the 80s and 90s I suggest you take a look at this video. While we've generally moved past blatent images of sexism, women still don't get their stories told very often and their representation in the media is limited if not totally absent. The issue isn't that women are sexualized, that's just a piece of the puzzle. The problem is female characters don't get the same kind of character development, stories, or representation that male characters get.

#19 Posted by WMWA (1162 posts) -

I'd say the games are getting way more cognisant of sexism and it's been toned down a lot. It's the gaming community/culture and the way shit is marketed that's still disgustingly sexist more often than I'd care to admit

#20 Posted by High_Nunez (218 posts) -

Oh, this again.

#21 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

I like the idea of what she's doing, but I don't see why she needs thousands of dollars to make YouTube videos.

brb dropping $1000 on a Skype call and some stickers.

#22 Posted by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

It seems like every year someone recycles the same old tired argument about video games. Far, far less games come out today with sexist undertones compared to the 90's. Now about the video game community? That's a whole bag of shit you're dealing with. Sexism is only one of the many problems there.

The only games that I can think of that still objectify women (as well as men) are fighting games/brawlers. One of the reasons why I've always hated those types of games (plus they're really fucking boring). I was glad to see them go away. Hopefully with this new resurgence, fighting games can finally grow the fuck up.

#23 Posted by MisterFaulkner (44 posts) -

@Getz said:

Maybe it's too early to say, but could it be that people are actually wanting to have this conversation instead of instantly dismissing it as a non-issue? God bless you Giant Bomb.

This

#24 Posted by Salarn (465 posts) -

@konig_kei said:

42% seems like way to sweet a number, does that include Facebook and iPhone games by any chance?

Whoops, looks like the 2012 numbers are finally available, it's now 47%. That includes all gamers, I didn't see a break down of game type by gender, might have missed it.

Of course, there isn't much that can be said here. I wouldn't doubt that there is more female gamers in the casual/mobile games areas, however they are only being marketed to in that category. The vast majority of your sales go to who you market to.

#25 Edited by YI_Orange (1163 posts) -

@MisterFaulkner: I don't have anything meaningful to add right now, but I'm pretty sure the design of Elizabeth has been addressed by Ken Levine, might be worth looking into. I don't remember the details, but the gist was "relax, we didn't design her to be sexualized". And personally, for the general aesthetic of the game, I don't see Elizabeth as being sexualized at all.

I will admit there's some really "what the fuck?" designs (Miranda to name one), but I think people make this problem out to be far larger than it is. I guess I see the complaint of women not getting their share of lead roles(correct me if I'm wrong since I've been a bit out of touch, but movies and TV are the same way), but as for the women that DO exist in games being over sexualized and having no substance I don't really see.

I would love some examples. I say this with genuine interest in discussing the topic.

#26 Posted by believer258 (12017 posts) -

@MisterFaulkner said:

@believer258 said:

Please, people, remember that there's a difference between misogyny and a sexy character.

There's a difference, but it's a fine line. When you find a woman to be sexy, that is subjective. You find her to be sexy for this or that reason. When game developers sexualize their female characters, that is, when they objectify them, that is itself an act of misogyny. I think there are different levels of misogyny, in much the same way that there are different levels of racism, and even in the most innocent case of a developer completely unaware of committing misogyny, a message is sent.

Again, I pointed out that I am fully guilty of misogyny at times when I am completely unaware of it. Finding a female character sexy is not a crime. Developing a character to be sexy by objectifying her can possibly be negative for games. I think there is a legitimate awareness in the objectification of Juliet from Lollipop Chainsaw, I'd also say this depiction fits stylistically and thematically, but I think the objectification of Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite is arguably misogynistic.

When part of a fictional woman's characterization is her being and showing off her sexiness to both other women and to men, that is not misogyny. That is something that happens - often - in real life.

When a fictional woman's sole characterization is a pair of breasts and a perfect ass, then that's a bit misogynistic, yes, but I'd say that it isn't incredibly so. Generally, men like nice boobs on a fit (read: skinny, but not bony) woman, so when a character is placed onscreen as a bit of fan service then there isn't anything wrong with that.

The only time that I ever find something really misogynistic is when a woman is portrayed as completely and utterly helpless in every category of life. If we're talking about a few things, fine, but it's when women as a whole are portrayed as being less than men as a whole is when it becomes misogynistic.

@MordeaniisChaos said:

@believer258 said:

EDIT: Also, we need more female characters that don't come across as small beardless men with breasts and higher-pitched voices.

I liked the ladies in Gears though! Believe it or not, lady service members (Dear god please don't let any of them read this) are often basically breardless men with breasts and feminine voices. I am speaking from experience. Fuck, even the poolees are harder and manlier than most of the guys were at my highschool. It'd be a bit odd to see a really girly feminine girl in a flack vest or MARPAT. Combat tends to attract a particular kind of person, generally considered more masculine.

TO BE CLEAR this doesn't mean they aren't capable of being feminine and lady-like and quite attractive, it just means they are just as capable of spitting to the side and trash talking and swearing like a sailor in ways that more fem ladies tend to be incapable of.

If you're asking for fewer soldier-type characters in general then, that's cool I guess. But I don't want to see some girly girl trying to be passed as a hardened soldier/operative any more than I want to see some punk frat bro trying to be passed similarly.

Yeah, I guess you're right. A girly-girl doesn't make sense on the Battlefield. But to see a side of them that isn't essentially male with breasts and a higher pitched voice would be nice. More female characterization. Also,

@mystakin said:

Here's a game for you, though. Think of a playable character in video games with a love interest you don't play as. Pretty simple. Drake, Link, and Mario fall into that category (for the most part, obviously some games let you play as Peach or Zelda). Can you name one character that fits that description and is female?

Uhhh... I'll get back to you on that. Doesn't the main character of Velvet Assassin already have a husband and child or something?

#27 Edited by pekoe212 (454 posts) -

@mystakin said:

@Veektarius said:

People love to throw out Lara Croft as the defining example of female characters in gaming (and goddammit, because I happen to like large breasts), but you might as well claim Quake is symbolic of the modern FPS. Where is this sexism? Fighting games? Okay, granted. Eastern MMOs? Likewise. Where else? RPGs, like Skyrim and ME2? Those girls weren't unrealistically proportioned. Shooters? They rarely have girls in them, and when they do (Gears of War? HALO?) there's nothing sexual about them. So where are we looking? Strategy games? Puzzle games? Point and click adventures? The biggest complaint I've been privy too lately has been Bioshock Infinite, which is, let me point out, about tits that are too big on a girl with a head bigger than your average watermelon. She's not sexy.

I propose that while we've been navel-gazing, the gaming industry has already moved on beyond the 1980s and 90s along with the rest of popular culture. Aside from niche markets where games are largely designed by totally different (and more patriarchal) cultures (Japan/Korea) that are not our problem, we're looking under stones and pulling examples to flagellate ourselves with from our far-flung past. Well, with one exception - games that wear their rampant sexism as a badge of honor. Now, I'm fine with that, but I'm also fine with hot chicks in games. So if you're looking to ferret out the sexism in games today, overlooking games like Saint's Row 3 & Lollipop Chainsaw is akin to throwing the needle out of the haystack. Think what you want, but for god's sake, be honest to yourself about what that is.

If you think gender misrepresentation is a thing of the 80s and 90s I suggest you take a look at this video. While we've generally moved past blatent images of sexism, women still don't get their stories told very often and their representation in the media is limited if not totally absent. The issue isn't that women are sexualized, that's just a piece of the puzzle. The problem is female characters don't get the same kind of character development, stories, or representation that male characters get.

In film, for example, here are the numbers of female directors, female speaking parts, writers, producers, etc. in 2008. I remember reading that the percentages for female directors and female speaking parts are the same as they were in 1920s Hollywood (90 years ago!). Women in actual leadership roles in government or business is still mainly in the teens and single digit percentages. However, the last century has been the world's time of struggle with changing/breaking down gender roles. Women haven't even had the right to vote for 100 years yet in USA. So I think the pace of change and representation of women in the media will gain steam much more quickly now and videogames will be a big part of that. I hope we won't be stuck in 1920s percentages for film roles 90 years from now. Also you guys are awesome.

#28 Edited by jakob187 (21691 posts) -
  1. Oh, the places this thread will go.
  2. How is she going to prove that sexism exists in gaming based on comments on YouTube videos? I mean, it's fucking YouTube. Most of the comments are inane babble written by 4-year-olds anyways.
  3. Oops. That last comment might be bigotry towards 4-year-olds. Can I take that back?
  4. Games aren't art.
#29 Posted by Brodehouse (10104 posts) -

@mystakin: And I got to add, I really fucking hate the idea that sex is defined by men. Men define what looks good on men, men define what's good on women? If it were as simple as that, wouldn't it have stayed the same for the last six thousand years? Or maybe the things that we find attractive are cultural and not gender-dependent?

I find it amusing that men (or me) get criticized for not noticing the new haircut, or the new blouse or whatever, and then I get criticized for forcing women to dress that way. God.

#30 Edited by pyromagnestir (4327 posts) -

@YI_Orange: Miranda at least was, in the fiction, explained to have been genetically designed to be the way she was, so I can give a pass for that. I guess.

Elizabeth, however, with the cleavage, the tiny waist, and the wide hips, they can argue she was not designed to be sexualized, but it's hard to argue she isn't to some extent.

Online
#31 Posted by Animasta (14715 posts) -

@PeasantAbuse said:

I like the idea of what she's doing, but I don't see why she needs thousands of dollars to make YouTube videos.

brb dropping $1000 on a Skype call and some stickers.

I'm pretty sure she rents out part of a studio to shoot her videos. Maybe. I have no idea, but that's the only thing that makes sense to me.

Online
#32 Posted by Brodehouse (10104 posts) -

@pyromagnestir: Personally I think there's a wide difference between attractive and sexualized. Elizabeth is made to be attractive (like everyone else in every visual medium). There's nothing about her that seems especially cockthirsty.

#33 Posted by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

Man, I'm sick of this Goddamn argument.

I say no more Nathan Drake, no more Chris Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy, no more Marcus Fenix. They cause depression and body issues.

No more pretty actors either, it's not fair.

This please. Observe, a true pop culture hero with, god forbid, a bit of a belly. I know this isn't the core of the thread - I will post something on the core discussion in the morning, but this tangent is also important. Games are designed with characters which look good. Even in Heavy Rain, there's like one overweight character in the whole thing, and they make a big deal out of that with his asthma and whatnot. In the same way we apparently live in a world where we cannot portray a woman with strength without making a huge deal that this is a woman who has strength, we also can't portay an imperfect man without making a huge deal about that. There's bullshit on all sides of gender representation, for all people, everywhere, in all media. Obviously, it's worse for some than others, but the narrow view of perfection that movies and games seem to portray is bullshit.

I'll be back with more to add to this here debate in the morning, because it's a topic that does bear discussing.

#34 Posted by Animasta (14715 posts) -

Also I thought up an answer to your question , I'm pretty sure in Persona 3 Portable, as feMC, you can romance Ryoji and he's not playable.

Online
#35 Posted by spartanlolz92 (511 posts) -

@mystakin said:

@Anund said:

@mystakin said:

@Anund said:

Maybe it's that I am male, but I just don't see that much sexism in games. Both men and women are taken to the extreme: the men are all fit and unrealistcally muscled, the women are thin with big breasts. That sort of provides eye candy for both sexes.

Now, the behaviour of the actual people playing the games... that is a different thing all together.

Mario, Nathan Drake, Max Payne, Link, Niko Bellic, etc. are fit and unrealistically muscled? I think you're over-representing that stereotype. Also, this comic should explain the phenomenon you're describing. In short, men are creating what men want, and women either have to learn to like it or get pushed aside.

I had the fortunate opportunity to talk to Anita before this firestorm actually happened(you can view that here </shameful plug>). I love the work she's doing and it's a shame so many people have kneejerk reactions to actual research and social science. It's clear from a simple e-mail interview that she loves games as much as the rest of us; she's just very critical.

That comic is quite weird actually. I don't find women with obscenely large breasts attractive either, therefore it's not objectifying women? That aside, let me comment on your examples:

  • Nathan Drake: Not impossibly muscular. Incredibly manly though, witty, good looking. You also have to take into account the other characters in the game. Is Elena some kind of sex object? No, she isn't. Perhaps then, Uncharted is not one of the games relevant to this discussion.
  • Link, same thing here. Women aren't depicted as purely sexual objects in the Zelda games. Except perhaps in that the princess needs to be rescued.
  • Peach is overly sexualized?
  • Max Payne... I haven't played the new game yet. I don't remember any unrealistically portrayed women in those games.
  • Niko Bellic is the one point you get.

In general though, in the games where the men are portrayed realistically, so are the women.

The point is men like muscly guys like Marcus Fenix because it's a power trip for them. Men aren't designing guys with big muscles to appeal to girls, it's to appeal to men.

- Uncharted: Elena is a damn fine character; I'm not saying Uncharted is sexist but rather that Nathan Drake is not one of the muscled up guys you were referring to. Also, isn't Chloe introduced in UC2 by crawling all over Nathan in a hotel?

- Zelda: As before, Link isn't muscled as you had suggested and is usually a child most of the time. Zelda is a classic case of damsel in distress, which is something Anita talks about in the Kickstarter.

- Mario: Nah, Peach and Daisy are certainly never sexualized. :P Even if they weren't, it's like Zelda... classic damsel in distress.

- Max Payne: Again, I wasn't naming examples of sexist games, just non-buff characters. Max is a pretty normal guy and in MP3 he's pretty unattractive. Also, they have a character named Mona Sax (Moan-uh Sacks) in the series. Pretty explicit, although not all that harmful.

Here's a game for you, though. Think of a playable character in video games with a love interest you don't play as. Pretty simple. Drake, Link, and Mario fall into that category (for the most part, obviously some games let you play as Peach or Zelda). Can you name one character that fits that description and is female?

yeah but women likes heroes theres a reason why alot of girls like princess movies and the like

plus dont tell me women dont want to look extremely attractive is that why on almost every womans magazines there is a chick bearing alot of cleavage?? although if your complaining about how women wear skimpy clothing in a ton of games i can see a good point there.

#36 Edited by mystakin (100 posts) -

@Animasta said:

Also I thought up an answer to your question , I'm pretty sure in Persona 3 Portable, as feMC, you can romance Ryoji and he's not playable.

That's a good one. Technically FemShep is the same way since she can romance Traynor. The point of the question, though, is the point out how easy it is to come up with male examples, and how difficult it is to find female ones. Even feMC and femShep are a bit of a cop-out since they're female versions of relatively gender neutral characters. Still good examples, but not as strong as they could be.

I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at, but okay. Sex isn't defined by men, but most media is. If not by male developers, then for male audiences. It's worth reiterating that gender inequality and sexism isn't limited to sexualization of characters. It has more to do with poor representation of women in a multitude of ways, just one of which is being objectified. That's why Tropes vs. Women has videos planned for topics like "Damsel in Distress," "Women as Reward," and "Background Decoration."

#37 Posted by pyromagnestir (4327 posts) -

@Brodehouse: Heh. That's an interesting way of putting it. Also it's kind've a sad statement on the bar for women in a games. Yeah, she may be excessively cleavy, but at least she ain't rubbing her business against anything with a penis!

As excited as I am for that game, though, something about that character's design has put me off from the moment I saw her. The cleave, the hips, the waist the size of a soda can, the big anime eyes. They could have done something more, I don't know, natural? I don't normally look at a female character in a game and shake my head, but I did for her. I guess I expect more from Irrational.

However if it is just a matter of the art design is such that the character had to look like this or else it wouldn't blend with the rest of the game, I guess I won't hold it against them.

Online
#38 Edited by PixelPrinny (1030 posts) -

@mystakin said:

Here's a game for you, though. Think of a playable character in video games with a love interest you don't play as. Pretty simple. Drake, Link, and Mario fall into that category (for the most part, obviously some games let you play as Peach or Zelda). Can you name one character that fits that description and is female?

Chizoru from Hakuoki! Do I win a prize?

Seriously though, you provide an excellent point, and as a woman myself, it sure would be nice to see some more female leads with male love interests (nothing against same sex relationships; I'm all for love in all of its forms, but more often than not in gaming when it's two women it's generally there as male wish-fulfillment. But if they can get a same-sex relationship that feels genuine and well-done, then all the power to em).

Hell, just trying to think of even one fighting game femme fatal with a love interest (even one that is another fighter you play as) is pretty much impossible. Outside of RPGs (where you can typically play as both characters who are in love), there's pretty slim pickings.

Edit: Edited the hell out of this post! Keep on thinking of things I want to say then stopping myself. This whole sexism in gaming flavor of the year has got me wanting to rant and rave, while at the same time hide under my covers until it all blows over. I like my video games. I like attractive men and women in them and generally don't care about how sexist a game is unless it slaps me in the face with its male ego. I can deal with tropes and archetypes and fantasies as long as they're reasonable.

I use characters like Cammy and Chun Li and wait! Sophitia is totally married circa Soul Calibur IV. Although they never mention who she is married to.... those jerks. And her kids are pretty fucking terrible.... >.> What was I talking about again? Oh right, video games.

Well, while I'm on the subject of video games, I think Bayonetta is a pretty awesome character, dammit! Woulda been cool if she had a love interest, and I suppose you could extrapolate that she gets it on with that one dude in the game she meets, but that's completely up to the player's imagination and they never confirm such a thing would happen.... *rants and raves*

#39 Posted by Totori (559 posts) -

People are complaining that the girl in the vita Assassin's Creed game is not sexy.

#40 Posted by DukesT3 (1934 posts) -

Money.

#41 Posted by McShank (1629 posts) -

@konig_kei said:

@Salarn

@MisterFaulkner: I'm glad you took the time to read the article and then post your reflections on it.

You hit on a lot of good points. Nobody is asking for the complete removal of all sexy female characters, there is a place for it. However, right now the skew is to the heavy extreme on the side of eye candy side characters for the typical male audience. Especially if you consider that the 2011 numbers showed that 42% of players were female, order of magnitude higher than the number of games that allowed female characters, let alone other under represented groups. The most important thing about feminism is that it's not just about women, it's about equality of all people.

42% seems like way to sweet a number, does that include Facebook and iPhone games by any chance?

I was never in any poll to show what gender i was and that i played vij da games. I call shenanigans on that percentage and whatever source you read it from!

#42 Posted by artgarcrunkle (970 posts) -

How is Feminist Frequency going to make major publishers lose money over games with bad female character design?

#43 Posted by Giantstalker (1695 posts) -

Women still can't be infantry in the US Army or Marines, and today's bestselling games are in the Call of Duty series. How do you reconcile that difference?

#44 Posted by Veektarius (4932 posts) -

@pekoe212 said:

@mystakin said:

If you think gender misrepresentation is a thing of the 80s and 90s I suggest you take a look at this video. While we've generally moved past blatent images of sexism, women still don't get their stories told very often and their representation in the media is limited if not totally absent. The issue isn't that women are sexualized, that's just a piece of the puzzle. The problem is female characters don't get the same kind of character development, stories, or representation that male characters get.

In film, for example, here are the numbers of female directors, female speaking parts, writers, producers, etc. in 2008. I remember reading that the percentages for female directors and female speaking parts are the same as they were in 1920s Hollywood (90 years ago!). Women in actual leadership roles in government or business is still mainly in the teens and single digit percentages. However, the last century has been the world's time of struggle with changing/breaking down gender roles. Women haven't even had the right to vote for 100 years yet in USA. So I think the pace of change and representation of women in the media will gain steam much more quickly now and videogames will be a big part of that. I hope we won't be stuck in 1920s percentages for film roles 90 years from now. Also you guys are awesome.

Okay. If we're not talking about disproportionate women in games anymore, then the problem is not that people aren't trying. The problem is that people aren't buying. It's an established truth in media that women will watch movies that feature men but the reverse is not true. Naturally, when female-led movies/shows/games are not successful, fewer are made. As you've pointed out yourself, we're no longer talking about a phenomenon that's restricted to gaming, and attempting to tackle it in gaming, a male dominated activity, before it is conquered elsewhere seems unlikely to be successful.

I'll admit to being part of the problem. I don't read books with female leads, for the most part, I don't read books by female authors, and I rarely watch a film with a female focus. I think the last one I saw was Memoirs of Geisha, sometime late last year. I've thought about this. But the question to me is, is this because I'm sexist? After all, I thought Memoirs of a Geisha was too girly for me, after watching it, and thus my behavior was reinforced. Could anything be done to make me more interested in the sorts of stories women want to see, or is that something that would have to be done during a child's upbringing? Is it really important enough to alter people's tastes in entertainment for that to be worthwhile?

#45 Edited by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

I know that Youtube spam isn't wanted here but I'm going to post this video as it basically explains why I think this kickstarter is really stupid.

EDIT: Happy 300 posts to me!

#46 Posted by A_N_Artist (6 posts) -

Sexism is funny because it's archaic.

Things will only change when more people of the feminine pursuasion start being involved in gaming and the gaming community...and when they stop wearing those stoopid bunny / cat ears and skirts so short one can see what they had for breakfast.

#47 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

I really hope her kickstarter gets removed for fraud. Who needs 50 grand to make a shoddy webseries?

#48 Posted by endaround (2147 posts) -

@Totori said:

People are complaining that the girl in the vita Assassin's Creed game is not sexy.

Pretty sure that is more racist than sexist but there is some of each there!

#49 Edited by mystakin (100 posts) -

@ahaisthisourchance said:

I really hope her kickstarter gets removed for fraud. Who needs 50 grand to make a shoddy webseries?

She only asked for $6,000, and her videos are professional quality. I'm pretty sure a Kickstarter can't be removed for fraud purely because it was overfunded.

#50 Posted by Apathylad (3067 posts) -

The internet as a whole is a hateful place. I always thought that this whole "fixing the sexism problem within our gaming community" is simplifying a much bigger issue. Especially since we're talking about Youtube. I'm sure many of you have seen racist and homophobic slurs being used on videos that had nothing to do with gaming. YouTube users will find anything they perceive as a flaw and use it as an insult, be it your gender, your race, your weight, or your ideas. C'mon people, before you start to say our community is bad, you make it sound like non-gaming sites don't have trolls.