Dead Island Statues, Sexism and Gamers.

Well, women in gaming talked to Klepek about that stupid Dead Island Riptide statue, and the response in the comments section were mostly as expected.

It's disheartening that so many gamers have such a vitriolic, hateful view of anyone who speaks out against disgusting shows of blatant sexism in this industry.

It shows three undeniable truths about the industry.

1) No matter what the ESA wants to tell us, it seems pretty obvious that the overwhelming majority of gamers, once you get outside the mobile space, are male. If it was anywhere near parity, you wouldn't see this tribal reaction by gamers.

2) Most gamers, at least those who go on websites like this, would rather push us women out of "their man-cave" than have a serious discussion. It's rather like the sports fandom, really.

3) Men working in the gaming industry mostly don't care about this issue until the non-gaming media uses it to make the industry look bad and the government comes knocking.

With this in mind, it shouldn't shock anyone that there are scads of gamers trying to downplay or even defend the shameful display by Deep Silver and Techland here. However, while the mostly male gaming audience's reaction surprises me not one iota, the lack of industry men standing up and saying "WTF are we doing?"

Not to say there aren't male gaming voices out standing up against this nonsense, otherwise we wouldn't have Klepek writing the article in the first fucking place. However, it seems that when sexism-related articles featuring gaming personalities' views are published, 99% of the time it's from women, and at least one of them in every other article has one woman staying anonymous because she fears backlash.

Is it really that difficult to find men in this industry who give enough of a fuck to say that maybe it's not okay for sexism to run rampant in this industry? Is it so one-dimensional?

This whole blog post might seem strange coming from a Valis fangirl, but that series was never as condescending as most games seem to women today, at least the few that deign to have female characters at all. It is possible to be sexy without resorting to tired objectification, it is possible to make women that are both empowering and alluring in this medium, indeed, this medium is capable of so much more, even within its established genre, if the gaming industry made even the slightest efforts to appeal beyond the base.

Now, let's not get it twisted here. I'm no advocate for making women in games sexless, lest the setting calls for it. To strip a woman completely of her sexuality solely in the name of inoffensiveness is a form of sexism in and of itself. And no one will ever convince me that there aren't sexualized male characters in gaming as well. However, male characters aren't anywhere near as pigeonholed as women into stereotypical archetypes. The reason The Boss was such an amazing character was that, despite her being clearly female was that she was never reduced to being a "game woman." She was devious, conniving, motherly, introspective and ruthless in equal measure. However, if MGS3 were helmed by anyone other than Hideo Kojima, The Boss would have almost certainly been made a guy at some point in development, because 90% of decision makers in this blighted industry can't wrap their minds around the idea that a woman can be something other than T&A fanservice.

I'm probably going to get ripped a new one by anyone who sees this, but you know what? I don't fucking care at this point. I just felt angry and needed a place to vent. I'll get back out of your man-cave now.

16 Comments
16 Comments
Posted by YukoAsho

Well, women in gaming talked to Klepek about that stupid Dead Island Riptide statue, and the response in the comments section were mostly as expected.

It's disheartening that so many gamers have such a vitriolic, hateful view of anyone who speaks out against disgusting shows of blatant sexism in this industry.

It shows three undeniable truths about the industry.

1) No matter what the ESA wants to tell us, it seems pretty obvious that the overwhelming majority of gamers, once you get outside the mobile space, are male. If it was anywhere near parity, you wouldn't see this tribal reaction by gamers.

2) Most gamers, at least those who go on websites like this, would rather push us women out of "their man-cave" than have a serious discussion. It's rather like the sports fandom, really.

3) Men working in the gaming industry mostly don't care about this issue until the non-gaming media uses it to make the industry look bad and the government comes knocking.

With this in mind, it shouldn't shock anyone that there are scads of gamers trying to downplay or even defend the shameful display by Deep Silver and Techland here. However, while the mostly male gaming audience's reaction surprises me not one iota, the lack of industry men standing up and saying "WTF are we doing?"

Not to say there aren't male gaming voices out standing up against this nonsense, otherwise we wouldn't have Klepek writing the article in the first fucking place. However, it seems that when sexism-related articles featuring gaming personalities' views are published, 99% of the time it's from women, and at least one of them in every other article has one woman staying anonymous because she fears backlash.

Is it really that difficult to find men in this industry who give enough of a fuck to say that maybe it's not okay for sexism to run rampant in this industry? Is it so one-dimensional?

This whole blog post might seem strange coming from a Valis fangirl, but that series was never as condescending as most games seem to women today, at least the few that deign to have female characters at all. It is possible to be sexy without resorting to tired objectification, it is possible to make women that are both empowering and alluring in this medium, indeed, this medium is capable of so much more, even within its established genre, if the gaming industry made even the slightest efforts to appeal beyond the base.

Now, let's not get it twisted here. I'm no advocate for making women in games sexless, lest the setting calls for it. To strip a woman completely of her sexuality solely in the name of inoffensiveness is a form of sexism in and of itself. And no one will ever convince me that there aren't sexualized male characters in gaming as well. However, male characters aren't anywhere near as pigeonholed as women into stereotypical archetypes. The reason The Boss was such an amazing character was that, despite her being clearly female was that she was never reduced to being a "game woman." She was devious, conniving, motherly, introspective and ruthless in equal measure. However, if MGS3 were helmed by anyone other than Hideo Kojima, The Boss would have almost certainly been made a guy at some point in development, because 90% of decision makers in this blighted industry can't wrap their minds around the idea that a woman can be something other than T&A fanservice.

I'm probably going to get ripped a new one by anyone who sees this, but you know what? I don't fucking care at this point. I just felt angry and needed a place to vent. I'll get back out of your man-cave now.

Posted by Video_Game_King

A.) How are you defining "gamers"?

B.)

And yet you still manage to paint with a larger brush.

C.)

However, male characters aren't anywhere near as pigeonholed as women into stereotypical archetypes. The reason The Boss

*snrk* Really? That's your example of a female video game character who isn't pigeon-holed into a role based on her gender?

Posted by jimmyfenix

It was nice knowing you

Posted by FancySoapsMan

You know, I think the statue was pretty bad but the worst part about that god damn thread are the posters who think they're better than anyone who doesn't think it's sexist.

it's ok to have people disagree with your opinion bro. Not being bothered by the statue does not make one immature, nor does it mean they hate women.

Posted by TheHumanDove

Anyone that disagrees with you is an unintelligent sexist!

Neato beans

Posted by Vinny_Says

I just played MGS3 last night and couldn't roll my eyes any harder when that motorcycle lady, EVE, just had to unzip her vest to reveal her awesome bikini. I don't know where the rest of the game is going but arguing that Kojima is some higher standard of game developer might not be the best bet.

Were the comments on that story really that awful? I posted a small comment but I didn't look through them.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Vinny_Says said:

I don't know where the rest of the game is going

In terms of female characters? Not good places.

Posted by xMEGADETHxSLY

Sex Sells

Posted by TheHT

@Video_Game_King said:

@Vinny_Says said:

I don't know where the rest of the game is going

In terms of female characters? Not good places.

Boss isn't an acceptable female character? I haven't played the game, but everything I've seen/read about her makes her seem like one of the coolest aspects of the Metal Gear universe.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@TheHT:

But then he shows up.
Posted by TheHT

@Video_Game_King: Say no more! I'm still going to play MGS3 sometime soon.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@TheHT:

I'd recommend that you would. Just be aware of all the dumb shit you'll have to put up with.

Posted by reichaos

I think that you're making some pretty broad generalizations of gamers, and people who work in the industry in any capacity. I don't think you're wrong though: it's pretty clear that strong sexualization of women, arguably to the point of objectification, is prevalent in the industry. And it's pretty obvious that there are enough people who condone it to let these decisions get made in the first place. However, where do you draw the line between 'sexualization' and 'objectification'? At what point should we applaud the developers for making a sexy female character and when should we chastise them for playing up a woman's sexuality to appeal to a bigger audience?

I don't want to seem like I'm defending the industry for this, but it sure as hell isn't as easy a problem to solve as some people are making it out to be. I also don't want to use the word sexism because it's such a charged word and isn't incredibly easy to define.

Posted by DeathbyYeti

but what does Patrick think?

Posted by UlquioKani

The problem with that article for a lot of people was that it felt kinda pointless. There were 8 responses basically saying the statue was bad. No shit. Also, don't insult the reader and make sweeping generalizations. Most of the people here agree that there are many games that are sexist and objectify women. I don't think I've read many games writers, journalists or reviews supporting sexism. It's just sorta obvious that this thing was a terrible idea in the first place and to comment on it much more is to give it more attention than it needs. The industry is the past couple of months has been attempting to combat the sexism in it. The fruits of this are showing with this new Statue which was torn to shreds pretty much right after announcement. 10 years ago, that may not be the case. There was a thread posted a couple of days ago showing all the sexist shit associated with games in the past that I completely missed. We still have a long way to go but that doesn't mean there are no men standing up against this shit.

Posted by MB

I'm going to close this because it is essentially a response to an article, and most replies here are really just extensions of or duplicates of discussion that is happening elsewhere. We really, really don't need multiple instances of this.

I know this is a "blog" but when you elect to cross-post blogs to the forums, they become subject to the same rules as if they were forum threads themselves.

Moderator Online