Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Gaming Misogyny

I've covered before the subject of gender choice in games, and how it's important (the post was literally called Gender Choice In Games if you want to read it, I think) and now I'm going to talk about gender outside the gaming world. A girl gamer called Anita Sarkeesian has set up a kickstarter project for a series of videos in which she will "explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games.  The series will highlight the larger recurring patterns and conventions used within the gaming industry rather than just focusing on the worst offenders." Basically she's going to examine how women are portrayed in video games.

Now, girl gamers is a whole other rant. I love you guys, really, but you can get on my nerves sometimes. Like I said though, whole other rant. Male gamers can piss me off too, THAT is what this rant is about. See, she's managed to get a lot of unwanted, unnecessary, and quite frankly unkind (that's a tame word for it but I love alliterations) "criticism" from the gaming community. It effectively amounts to "HURR DURR GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN". But it's still wrong.

Girls portrayed in games may have a tough break, but times are improving. Normally in games when girls are protagonists they're typically wearing very little, display whorish behavour, and are often over emotional. I'm looking at you almost every girl in a fighting game and in Warcraft ever. Especially World Of Warcraft. I read a post on their forums once where someone was complaining about how tight and revealing the armour is.

Like I said though times are changing. A lot of games these days have a choice between genders. There are some strong female protagonists out there. Look at the Final Fantasy games. A lot of their protagonists are female, and most of them are just more than a pair of tits. Rikku doesn't count. Boy was she over-sexualised. Yes Yuna (in X-2 at least), Ashe and Lightning wore trace amounts of clothing (plus Penelo I guess) but for the most part they were strong individuals and very good characters. Seth Balmore from Lost Odyssey is another example. The best example though is probably Samus Aran from Metroid. Yes she got a lot more stereotypical in Super Smash Brothers Brawl but there was a long time when not many people knew it was a woman under that armour. She was just the ultimate badass.

Women in games have come a long way, and  they will continue to do so. Male characters are sexualised as well I feel I should say. A lot of things are sexualised in this day and age. For some reason. Times they are a changing. This for me as an example of the majority ruining it for the minority. Not every male gamer is a sexist pig, and I hope the girl gamers out there know this. We're not all bad. There are many art forms and mediums where women are portrayed the same way.

Rather than call every guy out there a huge sexist dick we have to meet in the middle. By blaming eachother we're just delaying the inevitable, and good, result that will come from this. A more acceptable view of women in every form, not just games. We're working on it. We can only get there together though.

Wow it's been a while since I had a good old fashioned rant like that.

23 comments:

  1. should I start learning online games? :D

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  2. I have a feeling that Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite will be my favorite video game character. Until that game is released, and I am still upset that the date has been pushed back, I absolutely love Samus.

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  3. I'm curious to know what your feelings are are on Female games--that whole other rant business. I don't do any MMOs or online gaming in general. But I play lot-o-games and am pretty up on the current game projects in the works.
    Girls in games have come a long way but the chainmail bikini is something that follows me into real life.
    For instance, one summer I was landscaping. It's a great way to make money, workout and get some sun in the summer time. The unspoken dress code for girls who do this is cut off denim shorts. What I mean is, if I want to be perceived or even if I just feel pressure to feel perceived as feminine in a manual labor intensive trade I am expected to exude this hyperfemininity. Meanwhile in Gotham--holy crap, Batman, using the weed wacker is painful--so much exposed skin!
    If my outfit keeps me from the task they'd say, oh look she can't handel the work.
    But if I dress like the men in long pants and boots I'm some sort of threat to their manliness. Or a gay slur. Or both.
    But I digress, I saw the really cool two parter video Anita Sarkeesian did on legos and how girls have been systematically excluded from their marketing. She's fantastic. Can't wait for her gamer vid to come out, and I think this video sums up why: http://vimeo.com/44117178 Debate is a good thing.

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  4. Don't laugh, but, I played a bit of D&D in my day - but I was late to the whole D&D craze of the 80's by about 15 years LOL. Anyway, I played a male dwarf because I had read the Dark Elf series and loved the dwarf in it. I guess I'm a bit of a geek, huh?

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  5. i use that line all the time, "youre opinion is invalid, as this discussion is not taking place in a kitchen" gets em mad too. lol.

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  6. This is one area of life that I've never been able to get into. Well, I beat the highest level of Tetris on Gameboy... but I don't think that counts!

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    1. Wow, I didn't even know there WAS a highest level.

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  7. Too bad the stereotypical sexist pig male gamer is actually a large majority, as it seems. But people take the stereotype too much into a "first impression" whilst they're actually projecting that stereotype onto the person.
    Point in case, bluh.

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  8. When I read this I read it as if you said it calmly and then when at the end you said "rank like this" I was like "this is him ranting?"

    I agree with much of this. Men are sexualized in games too! Seems like if a guy charater wears skin tight clothes its normal but if a girl character does it its "sexist". Bodies are bodies.

    I'm surprised that woman was able to raise over $100,000!!! Dang, just to make videos?! I wish I was a girl!!

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  9. I think it's the capitalist, money driven system that causes female characters in games to be sexually objectified. Go to Iran or Saudi Arabia (Islamic states)where the emphasis is not on money but religion, and all the female characters in video games are covered from head to toe with burkas.

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  10. True. Most female characters in Tekken and Mortal Kombat and stuff have either their mid riff or all their legs or something showing.

    But I agree with you, not all guy gamers are sexist dicks!

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  11. My rugby coach laughs like HURR DURR DUUR! But yes, I know what you mean x

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  12. Basically, all this can be cured if online multiplayer required an entrance exam to participate. When I play COD on xBox, I mute all the players in the lobby because it's unbelievable how immature and annoying they are.

    Not only are children guilty of this, but I've actually witnessed 20-something-year-olds act like children as well (taking on the roles of the "internet tough guy").

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  13. I'm not really offended by sexualized game characters. Many games out there are fantasy based and I can see the potential for exploitation style characters. Can these characters be sleazy or tacky? Sometimes, but after all meant to be entertainment and everyone has differing taste levels.

    The thing that bothers me is the online assholes. I don't use a mic anymore when I game because there have been guys that have harassed me for being female (when in reality my lagging performance was from a horribly slow internet connection). I know not all men gamers are dicks. I think there is huge ratio of good guys/gals and a only a small fragment of shitty people. Those shitty attitude gamers are just insecure people in general. I just wanna play the fuckin' game with minimal negativity from others.

    With all that being said there are some girl gamers that think they are badass because they are female. They are just as annoying as the 'HUUR DUR, GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN' guys.

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  14. I've met some serious female gamers that can compete with some of the best male competition. Unfortunately for them, they have to be twice as good to get half the respect as their male counterparts.

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  15. I think it's because until recently there were about as many girls who played video games as cricket. The overwhelming majority of gamers used to be boys and they marketed the games as such.

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  16. That's always the issue in an industry that is fueled by the almighty dollar. It's nice seeing women having more of a presence in the video game industry, but the problem is that cash rules everything around them, and men fuel the industry, not women. Until women gamers can throw up the same percentage of sales as boys and men, games will be skewed toward scantily clad warrior-ladies and hypersexualized, anthropomorphic female animals, neither of which are as good as their macho male counterparts

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  17. I'm not into gaming, but understand how immature people on the internet can really try to bring down people. Though you won't reveal your age, Mark, I can tell you are very mature.

    I am currently being harassed by someone who is around 18 and can't stand that my character wears a pink dress because another blogger who hasn't blogged in over a year used that same color...sigh. Some people just need to move on.

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  18. I love gaming and all (racing cars! wuut wuut!) but I'm not a part of the whole gaming society. The only thing I've noticed there and that made me raise my eyebrow was the female characters in the games seemed to always have VERY tight clothes on and massive tits. LOL.

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  19. I am going to assume you saw this already:
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/5808-The-Positive-Side-to-Punching-Nuns

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  20. I think the game Dead Or Alive Beach Volleyball single-handedly pushed the feminist movement back several decades.

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  21. Didn't write about this on my blog because I don't like to go negative. Upsets me that this woman who already has a camera and can make the film right now without kickstarter raises so much money, yet a guy falsely accused of rape who spent 5 years in prison can only raise a fraction of her donations for a documentary.

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  22. I dunno, methinks it's more like the mass media WANTS us to believe your modern-day gamer is the kind of sexist, chauvanistic pig that feminazis (not real feminists, keep in mind) want to believe exists.

    I have yet to truly meet any gamer in real life that IS sexist, y'know? Perhaps they're not displaying such traits when I'm around (hey, my parents raised me right - say thank you, please, hold a door open or chair out for a lady and never hit anyone unless they hit you first), but I doubt it.

    Or perhaps I just don't hang with this kinda crowd. I dunno.

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