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Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games


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#31 Matt G

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:11 AM

The horrific misogyny this has attracted has sadly probably also made a larger audience aware of it. I would probably have never heard of it otherwise, let alone be interested enough to go and watch some of her earlier youtube videos, which I actually found quite interesting. The similar series on tropes in Film and TV did highlight a rather ridiculous stereotype in 'the Straw Feminist' and I'd be intrigued to watch the rest of them.

But I don't feel the need to donate to the kickstarter, especially now it has achieved about 20 times its original goal and given that the results will be freely available it does seem a bit weird. I have no problem with it being a video series over a blog though, tons of people use this format and I think it can make it more engaging, plus easier to mix in the actual examples of what you're talking about than sending people off to watch a youtube clip every other paragraph.
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#32 Unofficial Who

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:18 AM

I'd love to see the series expanded with a look into the new guard.

Auntie Pixelante with her BDSM themed indie games might be a bit too much for most school curriculums but there's been some pretty brave stands of late by some of the bigger studios, especially EA/Bioware standing firm on allowing male gay choices in their latest RPG's.
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#33 Lag

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:44 AM

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While I obviously don't condone any abuse, I imagine that at least some of the ire thrown at this project stems from the fact that it's got to be one of the most ridiculous Kickstarter projects I've ever seen - and that's saying something.


Instead of posting vile abuse, how about moving on?

Honestly, asking for money for a series of videos about about sexism in videogames? The problems with this are:

1) Why on earth do you need to do this as videos? A blog would be just as effective, and on the plus side could be skim-read for whatever banal points they have to make rather than sat through.


Don't watch it if you're not interested.

2) Even if we assume that a video series is required, just fucking do it with a webcam. There's no need for RED cameras to achieve a bokeh effect.


I can't see mention of RED cameras.

3) I literally cannot imagine a more boring concept for a video series than a daring expose of sexist "tropes" in videogames that we've all known have been there for decades. Oh shit, are they going to talk about Lara Croft's tits?! Videogames' biggest controversy of 1997 revealed!


You're not obliged to watch it.

Two years ago, they either wouldn't bother making this, or just do it off their own back like a sane person. Kickstarter has done some good stuff, like letting Tim Schafer et al make a game we all want, but it's also opened the floodgates for people who feel entitled to beg to the world for actual money to fund whatever vanity shit they've had an idea for.


I don't see a sense of entitlement. It reads like, "I have this project I would like to do, if you're interested please donate, I'd really appreciate it."

Unfortunately, in this instance a bunch of internet wankers acted like internet wankers and so attracted a million white knights desperate to defend the most dull product of feminism in ages and therefore lent the whole project a level of credibility it absolutely doesn't deserve.


"Welcome to the Internet."
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#34 Unofficial Who

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:57 AM

Damn it! Did I miss someone using the white knight line? (takes a belated swig from his beer.)

One interesting arguement I've seen gaining traction about this kickstarter project is the 'will hurt won't work' line.

It seems to run this way

1 This project will hurt the hobby that doesn't need to be changed or examined at all and it needs to be squashed so the feminazis don't ruin it for the bros.

2 Besides, it's not going to change anything anyway so it's just a waste of everyone's time.

I tihnk a lot of sexism and abuse becomes so invisible that we don't even notice it. I know I didn't notice some of the nastier examples in comics until I heard about Women in Refrigerators. This doesn't mean that we should be calling for a ban on certain games. But we should be allowed to criticise and debate certain games. For instance I loved Dear Esther. A lot of people didn't and have criticised it or have created fantastic parodies of it. Interestingly enough the authors weren't bombarded with threats of sexual violence, and the supporters of Dear Esther haven't demanded that all games become walking with emo grief simulators.
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#35 Liquid Myth

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:57 AM

I imagine that we're talking about the quality of the video because it's a more interesting topic than the astonishing and jaw-dropping revelation that people on the internet are cunts.

Internet wankers make sexual threats towards women because they know women will be offended by that. They don't make sexual threats towards men because they know men don't give a shit. I'm not saying this means that women shouldn't be offended by sexual threats, but I'm saying it's just the nature of the beast. They are out to cause the maximum amount of offence possible. And no amount of hand-wringing blogs or forum posts (of which there are thousands) is going to change that.


It's not so much that men "don't care", but rather that women are overwhelmingly the victim of sexual and gendered attacks/assaults (physical or verbal). It's a very real, day-to-day problem for most women - being told by others about having to look out for themselves, to not go anywhere alone, to avoid darkened areas etc. - because the culture of violence against women is a continued element of our society, regardless of how much of a "developed" nation we are.

An interesting point to reflect upon is how many negative terms are loaded with the female sex, as you unironically threw out "cunt" without a second thought.

I'm not saying there's not a sexist side to the wider gaming community - because there obviously is - but in this case I imagine that heads were mainly turned by the ridiculous nature of the Kickstarter than the actual basic content. If she'd just written some blog posts about sexist "tropes" in videogames I'm sure it would have immediately sunk into obscurity as it's such a banal topic.


She has a whole series of videos on Youtube about tropes in other media that easily extend to videogames for most cases, with terms presented in very clear formats for those without academic experience in reading about feminism, but given that you haven't even been bothered to watch those, it's quite apparent that you would have never started to look for a list of tropes on misogynistic elements in videogames.
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#36 Unofficial Who

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:00 AM

Yeah, we're kind of missing the part where it's "Internet wankers make sexual threats and racist, and generally misogynistic comments towards women because said women choose to discuss the portrayal of women in games, or about the potential for offering players the option to dial down action scenes in games, or lead a development studio, or in some other way exist within the industry and choose to make their voice heard".

But I'm sure that men in the same position get exactly the same response, right Comrade? John Walker and Peter Molyneux and Cliffy B are regularly accosted by tens of thousands of bile-filled, vitriolic comments attacking them as people, threatening and insulting them for merely existing, every time they make any sort of statement, right?


Just to throw in here, apparently John Walker et al have been getting a lot of angry comments, the nastier ones they aren't publishing, the lesser ones accusing RPS of White Knighting.
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#37 Staplehead!

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:22 AM

To see the extent of misogyny (or at least dodgy gender representation) in videogames all you have to do is look at how many women in gaming are shown as strippers, prostitutes and sex objects. It's been getting worse every generation.
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#38 Lag

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:34 AM

"You're a woman, I am a man. You posted something that I find banal and I disagree with you that it should be researched at all; I certainly don't think it should be in video form or that people should donate to the project, so I've decided to write abuse on your YouTube channel and on your Kickstarter page and tweet abuse at you and Facebook abuse at you and write abuse on your Wikipedia page - but I'm not a misogynistic dickhead. By the way, welcome to the Internet, one of the most incredible inventions in human history, allowing us to freely share information and hopes and dreams, it even facilitates revolutions against oppressive regimes. I hope you get raped and die of cancer you hooker cunt..."
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#39 Staplehead!

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:43 AM

You forgot 'yours sincerely.' Or is it 'faithfully', I can never remember the etiquette of internet abuse.
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#40 Retroid

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:51 AM

Fuck it, sexism within games will always exist if we allow characters to have genders! I hear-by declare that every character should have gender-neutral names like Rory and Sage; should only have colours that aren't related to any real life race and need to have 90° bevelled crotch, with the words "you make me sick" finely textured into it in-case some weirdo gets a kick out of it.
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#41 Lag

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:56 AM

"All the best,"
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#42 ZOK

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:10 PM

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No surprise that this has caused outrage - people rarely like to have a mirror held to their faces. The only real surprise is that there are so few people on rllmuk who have publicly scorned it. There are many people on here that I would class as casually misogynist at best.

Also no surprise to see people who are unashamedly anti-mysogynist being labelled 'white knights'. Anyone who uses the phrase in critique instantly exposes the deficiencies in their own mindset, of course.
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#43 Pixelbark

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:10 PM

Fuck it, sexism within games will always exist if we allow characters to have genders! I hear-by declare that every character should have gender-neutral names like Rory and Sage; should only have colours that aren't related to any real life race and need to have 90° bevelled crotch, with the words "you make me sick" finely textured into it in-case some weirdo gets a kick out of it.


Oh, then you wont be interested in this?

http://www.indiegogo...he-Arkh-Project

:(
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#44 Pixelbark

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:24 PM

No surprise that this has caused outrage - people rarely like to have a mirror held to their faces. The only real surprise is that there are so few people on rllmuk who have publicly scorned it. There are many people on here that I would class as casually misogynist at best.

Also no surprise to see people who are unashamedly anti-mysogynist being labelled 'white knights'. Anyone who uses the phrase in critique instantly exposes the deficiencies in their own mindset, of course.


The problem is, that a select group of individuals have effectively removed our right to have an opposing opinion on the project by going so far beyond the line of decency. No one wants to be associated with the petty name callers.

I for one don't agree with the subject of the video, mainly due to the fact that we can say the very same thing about the male protagonists. Over-sexualised, ripped, angry beefcakes that don't represent the majority of male gamers. But thanks to the actions of a few dicks on 4chan, I can't express that without being brushed the same colour as these gits.

"I can't be arsed to come up with a well rounded argument, so instead, I'm just going to insult her", which only goes further to promote and validate her polemic.
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#45 Wiper

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:29 PM

I for one don't agree with the subject of the video, mainly due to the fact that we can say the very same thing about the male protagonists. Over-sexualised, ripped, angry beefcakes that don't represent the majority of male gamers.


But why is that an argument against it? Genuinely, I don't see why the fact that men in games are mostly portrayed in sexualised, stereotypical ways means we can't discuss the fact that women in games are mostly portrayed in sexualised, stereotypical ways. Unless she at some point explicitly states that only female characters are stereotyped? Incidentally, I'd be very happy to see a program all about the way in which male characters are represented in computer games (and media in general).
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#46 Kelthink

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:30 PM

Fuck it, sexism within games will always exist if we allow characters to have genders! I hear-by declare that every character should have gender-neutral names like Rory and Sage; should only have colours that aren't related to any real life race and need to have 90° bevelled crotch, with the words "you make me sick" finely textured into it in-case some weirdo gets a kick out of it.


Don't be stupid.
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#47 Rudi von Starnberg

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:33 PM

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But why is that an argument against it? Genuinely, I don't see why the fact that men in games are mostly portrayed in sexualised, stereotypical ways means we can't discuss the fact that women in games are mostly portrayed in sexualised, stereotypical ways. Unless she at some point explicitly states that only female characters are stereotyped? Incidentally, I'd be very happy to see a program all about the way in which male characters are represented in computer games (and media in general).

Also men are not portrayed in sexualised ways in basically any game. Idealised male forms, a lot of the time, but not in a sexualised manner. Take Arkham City as an example - Batman may be buff as hell, but his combat moves aren't specifically designed to be sexual. He doesn't bend goons over and thrust at them while punching. Then you have Catwoman, who, well. Is most definitely sexualised in every single way.

To reinforce what I mean with an image (from movies this time), here's a re-interpretation of the Avengers if all the male characters were as sexualised as Black Widow:

Posted Image
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#48 ZOK

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:34 PM

The problem is, that a select group of individuals have effectively removed our right to have an opposing opinion on the project by going so far beyond the line of decency. No one wants to be associated with the petty name callers.

I for one don't agree with the subject of the video, mainly due to the fact that we can say the very same thing about the male protagonists. Over-sexualised, ripped, angry beefcakes that don't represent the majority of male gamers. But thanks to the actions of a few dicks on 4chan, I can't express that without being brushed the same colour as these gits.

"I can't be arsed to come up with a well rounded argument, so instead, I'm just going to insult her", which only goes further to promote and validate her polemic.


Hmm, of course it doesn't. If you can articulate your reasoning for being against something, it will stand.

The real problem you'll have opposing this is that, of course, there is no reason to oppose it. If someone wants to make a series of videos exploring aspects of creative endeavours, and other people want to fund it, then they can and should.
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#49 Pixelbark

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:43 PM

Very true, while I see it as pointless myself, she still has the right to make it.

I just wish it was a more well rounded polemic on the industry as a whole, rather then only taking the feminist stance.
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#50 Kelthink

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:56 PM

The likelihood is that if game developers start to improve the image of women in video games then the image of men will also have more thought given to it. It's clear that the representation of women in video games is far more troubled than men, so that is a more pressing issue.
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#51 ZOK

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:59 PM

Very true, while I see it as pointless myself, she still has the right to make it.

I just wish it was a more well rounded polemic on the industry as a whole, rather then only taking the feminist stance.


Sure, but you can only expect people to explore the areas that they find personally worthy of study.

If anything, I'd say that this shows if someone did want to explore male stereotypes in the same way, Kickstarter will probably net you quite a bit of cash to do so. You may well find your study being funded by a load of sexist dickheads making what they think is a point in $10 increments, but hey ho, that's the joy of capitalism!
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#52 Lag

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:00 PM

People are free to make their own videos and create their own Kickstarter pages.
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#53 Unofficial Who

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:05 PM

The problem is, that a select group of individuals have effectively removed our right to have an opposing opinion on the project by going so far beyond the line of decency. No one wants to be associated with the petty name callers.

I for one don't agree with the subject of the video, mainly due to the fact that we can say the very same thing about the male protagonists. Over-sexualised, ripped, angry beefcakes that don't represent the majority of male gamers. But thanks to the actions of a few dicks on 4chan, I can't express that without being brushed the same colour as these gits.

"I can't be arsed to come up with a well rounded argument, so instead, I'm just going to insult her", which only goes further to promote and validate her polemic.


I see your point but yes you can follow that line of debate. It's been done here before, especially in regards to Gears of War. Shit, it's half the reason I pick a female avatar whenever possible.
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#54 Unofficial Who

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:10 PM

To see the extent of misogyny (or at least dodgy gender representation) in videogames all you have to do is look at how many women in gaming are shown as strippers, prostitutes and sex objects. It's been getting worse every generation.


I don't know about that...the bar was set pretty low pretty early. I can't see the market ever getting away with Custer's Revenge (Atari 2600 circa 1982) ever again.

http://en.wikipedia....uster's_Revenge

Custer's Revenge (also known as Westward Ho and The White Man Came) is a controversial video game made for the Atari 2600 by Mystique, a company that produced a number of adult video game titles for the system. The player character is based on General George Armstrong Custer.[1] The game was first released on October 13, 1982, and has received significant criticism because of its crude simulation of a rape of a Native American woman.


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#55 Matt-H

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:15 PM

To reinforce what I mean with an image (from movies this time), here's a re-interpretation of the Avengers if all the male characters were as sexualised as Black Widow:

Posted Image


That picture is wrong because it sexualises them as women. They were already made to look appealing to the opposite sex, ask a girl if they are attracted to any of them in the original poster and they'll probably say yes about at least one of them.
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#56 Retroid

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:17 PM

Also men are not portrayed in sexualised ways in basically any game. Idealised male forms, a lot of the time, but not in a sexualised manner. Take Arkham City as an example - Batman may be buff as hell, but his combat moves aren't specifically designed to be sexual. He doesn't bend goons over and thrust at them while punching. Then you have Catwoman, who, well. Is most definitely sexualised in every single way.

To reinforce what I mean with an image (from movies this time), here's a re-interpretation of the Avengers if all the male characters were as sexualised as Black Widow:

Posted Image


I'm going to point out the obvious here but as awesome as the picture is there's a difference between what the average male/female finds sexy and lots of women will find the poses they were already in sexy. Ask my girlfriend who likes Thor.

Edit: What Matt said.

Edit 2: I personally have no problems playing as the stupid and inoffensive characters in Gears of War. And camp can be quite cool too!
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#57 Lag

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:21 PM

I'm going to point out the obvious here but as awesome as the picture is there's a difference between what the average male/female finds sexy and lots of women will find the poses they were already in sexy. Ask my girlfriend who likes Thor.

Edit: What Matt said.


Woosh.
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#58 Zonk Knuckle

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:21 PM

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I find it disgusting that men are stereotyped as hyper-capable physically perfect supermen seemingly above limiting concepts such as morality. The fact that women in videogames are generally screen furniture or sex objects should be largely irrelevant until we can make sure (preferably white) males have a voice!
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#59 Retroid

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:22 PM

BANG! Noises are fun...
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#60 K

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:42 PM

I find it disgusting that men are stereotyped as hyper-capable physically perfect supermen seemingly above limiting concepts such as morality. The fact that women in videogames are generally screen furniture or sex objects should be largely irrelevant until we can make sure (preferably white) males have a voice!

Exactly. While you could argue that, say, Nathan Drake is as much of a stereotype as Lara Croft, you will note that Drake, for example doesn’t raid tombs wearing hotpants and no shirt.
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