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Thread: Of "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games" - and the internet

  1. #26
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    In all seriousness now. Dema, feminists who want to discuss equal rights without the use of logic can get lost imho. First of all you can't come to the table with a different set of rules altogether or the card game won't work. Secondly; if you're talking about something as logically solid as "equality" you'd better be prepared to use logic to get there.

  2. #27
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: 4 doors down, bad side of town
    If a discussion over feminism/equality turns into an argument over logic vs. emotion then the discussion is over because it's stupid. I haven't really seen any feminists arguing against logic because it's a male domain, though I suppose someone like that may exist, but more likely they're arguing against people who think their logic alone is the correct logic. "Universal reason" usually isn't, as dema rightfully pointed out.
    Last edited by dethtoll; 17th Jun 2012 at 10:30.

  3. #28
    I view feminism the same way I view racial inequality. At this point in history, it's fairly pointless to blame white males for your problems when there's so much parity opportunity-wise between all kinds of people. Do sexism and racism exist, and are they a problem? Sure as hell. It still seems to me like it would be more productive to target people within your own group who perpetuate sexist/racist stereotypes.

  4. #29
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: 4 doors down, bad side of town
    Whites aren't a minority and men have more power. It's a systematic imbalance. The thing is, we've been on top for so long we have no idea what the bottom looks like -- not that we've ever been there to begin with. It's not about "blaming whites/men for your problems" -- and it's a gross oversimplification to claim thus. (Though, unfortunately, there's people out there who are mentally lazy enough to just say "oh it's white man's fault" and leave it at that, as if that explains everything and if white men (or whites and men) disappeared the world would turn into a magical fairy land. They're just a vocal minority and not worth anyone's time -- they certainly don't represent the whole of the feminist/racial equality movement.) It's about pointing out, often to people who simply haven't noticed it before, issues inherent to this traditional imbalance. That's why discussing the way women are portrayed in video games is important -- it needs to be discussed, because we're still making a big deal over strong female characters who aren't a pair of tits that fire bullets.

    But it's true, feminist messages shouldn't just be spread by women alone; dudes need to get involved too. Dudes need to start telling the subhuman shithampers who rage about Sarkeesian et al. to shut the fuck up and go play Starcraft, and dudes need to teach other dudes -- the non-troglodyte kind whose only crime is ignorance -- why the shit that comes out of their mouths is harmful.

  5. #30
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: 4 doors down, bad side of town
    And, in turn, I want to hop on something before someone else picks up on it and things get out of hand:

    The Men's Rights Movement in its current incarnation is a big fucking joke. It pretty much qualifies as a hate group (Southern Poverty Law Center certainly seems to think so) and it cares little for men or their rights, despite the name. What it is, is a group of throwbacks terrified by the changing role of men in society and family in the last few decades. The notion that women don't really need their assistance to survive is driving them out of their minds. Like white supremacists, their whole message is based on fear.

    Men have rights, far more than we realize. Male privilege far outstrips that of any other demographic, especially among white heterosexuals. Let's be real here, the man's place in traditional society was pretty damn comfortable. Pursue whatever job you want, come home and all the tedious and mundane chores of housekeeping and childrearing are done, and you can focus on your career and things that interest you with a loyal "helper" to take care of the shitty boring stuff. MRAs are terrified that this is going away. Say what you will about the community college dropout who took a couple of phil classes and now claims that men should be used as breeding stock and then slaughtered for meat -- as cartoonish yet depressingly real as she is, she is a very vocal, very small minority relegated to tiny dark corners of the internet and has no real power. MRAs are, by definition, men, and several aspects of their viewpoint, built on debunked bullshit, are shared by many, though perhaps without the same level of vitriol.

    Discussion of men and their rights as their place and role in society changes is worth pursuing, but it has to be centered on something other than misogyny and anti-feminism. The Men's Right's movement isn't for men so much as it's against women -- and some of their ideas about men are pretty fucking harmful to boot.

  6. #31
    Guys like titties and dick jokes. I don't really see this as an inherently bad thing. Guys who like titties and dick jokes make games for other guys who like titties and dick jokes. And guns. If you don't like titties and dick jokes and ultra-macho violence, then awesome, no one's asking or forcing you to participate in anything and you can pretty much ignore it since it's not doing anything to you. I find the vast majority of popular culture (including subculture) offensive; I could let it ruin my day or make a documentary about how culturally vacant most people are, but fuck it, I could do something productive like enjoying or creating things I actually like.

    Now if your sex is keeping you from getting a job or is resulting in being harassed on the street or whatever? If sexism is invading your personal space? Yeah, that's bullshit. If you're simply being offended by someone else's taste or opinions? Eh, eat a dick (I don't mean that literally, unless of course you're into that then by all means).

    If I were that chick (what's her face, the one with the tits in that kickstarter video) I'd take that money and make a documentary about games that create believable, positive female characters. Or I'd help fund someone who is trying to make such a game. Creating a documentary about women being portrated as silicon fuckbags and then basically saying "here are a bunch of games that portray women as silicon fuckbags, omg that is sad" doesn't really seem to serve a purpose. Now, if you interviewed the designers of those games, that would be potentially illuminating. If you managed to secure an interview with some 14 year old who posted "OMG, SOME1 SHUD KILL THIS DYKE" that would be interesting. Making a documentary where the premise basically tells you everything the film is going to before you watch it? I don't see the point.

  7. #32
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Shit, dethtoll, when did you get into my brain and steal my thoughts? It's fucking scary!

  8. #33
    If they want to change things, they should get into the industry and do it instead of whining from the outside. Stop pretending there's something stopping you. Men aren't stopping you from doing anything unless you count publishers who think males will only buy games with male leads. That is usually the case sadly and it's a male dominated hobby.

    If women are so annoyed, they could even make some indie games. There's nothing stopping them. Indie games are pretty huge now. Yet I don't see any games with female leads being made by women. As a matter of fact, an indie game that cleverly addresses the issue would be way more effective than someone merely talking about it because you'd be reaching out to the very people you're trying to convince.

    I guess it's way easier to complain than actually do something.

  9. #34
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: 4 doors down, bad side of town
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Moyer View Post
    Guys like titties and dick jokes. I don't really see this as an inherently bad thing. Guys who like titties and dick jokes make games for other guys who like titties and dick jokes. And guns. If you don't like titties and dick jokes and ultra-macho violence, then awesome, no one's asking or forcing you to participate in anything and you can pretty much ignore it since it's not doing anything to you. I find the vast majority of popular culture (including subculture) offensive; I could let it ruin my day or make a documentary about how culturally vacant most people are, but fuck it, I could do something productive like enjoying or creating things I actually like.
    But when games full of titties and dick jokes and ultra-macho violence (exaggerating but you get my meaning) are the vast fucking majority of games, well, you can imagine how some people would feel a bit... excluded.

    And that's the whole crux of the matter. So much of pop culture is geared towards men, to the exclusion of all else. Comic books, video games, movies -- all are made by guys for guys. Nothing wrong with their existence, but there's a real sense of segregation here: women's pop culture is often either insultingly vapid (OMG HERE'S A MOVIE ABOUT GIRLS BUYING SHOES) or deeply obscure, and either way there's going to be a few primates who want to smash it just for existing, despite the fact that it only takes up a very small slice of the whole.

  10. #35
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: 4 doors down, bad side of town
    Quote Originally Posted by Dresden View Post
    If they want to change things, they should get into the industry and do it instead of whining from the outside. Stop pretending there's something stopping you. Men aren't stopping you from doing anything unless you count publishers who think males will only buy games with male leads. That is usually the case sadly and it's a male dominated hobby.
    What is with this notion that pointing things out about portrayals of women constitutes complaining? It's not complaining. It's pointing shit out. Again, a lot of people simply have not noticed this sort of stuff before because it's so pervasive that they're not given the opportunity to think "hmm something seems a bit out of whack here." And why does it keep being pointed out? Because people keep not noticing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dresden View Post
    If women are so annoyed, they could even make some indie games. There's nothing stopping them. Indie games are pretty huge now. Yet I don't see any games with female leads being made by women. As a matter of fact, an indie game that cleverly addresses the issue would be way more effective than someone merely talking about it because you'd be reaching out to the very people you're trying to convince.
    No it wouldn't, because "indie game with a message" isn't nearly as popular as "quirky physics-based portfolio fodder." And anyway all your post really boils down to is "critical analysis is pointless complaining."

  11. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by dethtoll View Post
    And anyway all your post really boils down to is "critical analysis is pointless complaining."
    Except Women vs Tropes isn't critical analysis. It's cherry picked ignorance.

  12. #37
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: 4 doors down, bad side of town
    And that therefore invalidates everything I've fucking said. Okay. I'll just go smash my balls with a hammer then.

  13. #38
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2007
    Location: Finland
    As a person who's studies are closely related to gender studies, I find this debacle quite fascinating. First of all, the shitstorm is just a reminder of what comes when anonymity and general backwardness is combined. Backlash was to occur, but the scale is quite astonishing. It doesn't really give a nice picture of american men (saying american, because most commenters are most likely americans, not that this couldn't happen in other countries).

    What is annoying about this thing is that the series isn't even made yet, so everyone is bashing without any kind of reason apart from prejudgement from her previous work. I must confess that I haven't looked at her previous work, thus I do not know how qualified she is to do a series like this.

    What I'd like to point out is that gender studies used to be women's studies and used to employ vast amounts of pseudoscience and bullshit. This is one of the reason why feminism as an ideology is tarnished even though gender studies nowadays is intriguing and as valid as any other studies. The "problem" is that feminism often seems to be stuck in women's studies instead of gender. An example: most feminists and their organisations still tout "women's euro is 80cents" here (in Finland, might vary in other countries). They always fail to explain that women get exactly the same amount of money as men from the same job, they're just usually in fields of employment that have lesser wages (which in turn, are a product of multitude of things, which can include discrimination). Stuff like this just makes them look mischievous or stupid.

    Women in video games are depicted most often than not from male game developer's point of view. Thus, it's natural that women are depicted in certain ways that could differ, if the developer was female. It's a structural problem in which I would love to see more female developers. I am not saying that men are necessarily idiotic, when portraying women, but I would wager there's a difference.

    However, I would be really careful, when analysing games in this perspective of women. Satire, humour and irony bloom in video games, because they're easier to create than serious games. The thing is that mainstream gaming, or media altogether, is focused on the surface, which means that most stuff produced does not have the capacity to create complex enough characters and stories. This creates these tropes she is going to investigate. The problem is that she should not go at it from a feminist point of view, because she is going to miss the big picture, if she is not really careful.

    ps: lots of games have interesting female characters as well, so handpicking examples can feel discriminatory. You also have to actually do really good research on the games to determine how it actually depicts female characters. For example Bayonetta is more subtle than people think. Same goes for Lara Croft, who is a peculiarly transsexual character.

    Also, I think we are progressing swiftly in this area. Games like Heavy rain and forthcoming Beyond: Two Souls are good on this regard. Also looking at the new Tomb Raider coming, it is also easy to see the differences compared to the earlier games.

  14. #39
    Well, the people who get butthurt about this stuff are generally insecure, snivelling, weak little rat-men. What's interesting is how much she seems to strike a nerve. I seem to get the feeling that most of the posters enjoy their video game titillation, and are reacting out of a sense of rage that someone dare criticize their vice. It just doesn't seem that far removed from the people who get livid over somebody insulting their favorite console. If your identity is so weak that you depend on stuff like that to maintain a healthy ego, what does that say of the rest of your life?

  15. #40
    Member
    Registered: Jun 1999
    Location: Procrastination, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Moyer View Post
    If I were that chick (what's her face, the one with the tits in that kickstarter video) I'd take that money and make a documentary about games that create believable, positive female characters.
    ...
    Making a documentary where the premise basically tells you everything the film is going to before you watch it? I don't see the point.
    hoho with your edgy jokes. That'll show 'em. Who, I don't know. Or what, for that matter. But I'm sure they're shown...something, whoever they are.

    The game idea is an interesting one (although when you consider the shit Hey Baby got, why would women want to get into indie games? Not that that was a game exactly, more of a comedic statement. Hell, The Path copped a fair bit of stick too. Probably would have got more if people could understand it).
    Anyway I don't get this defensive objection thing of yours. What about it tells you what it's going to be like at the end? She doesn't seem especially angry or offended (she does use the Misogyny grenade though. I often think feminists should go easy on that one because it's taken as so inflammatory). It sounds like mostly a descriptive application of female character tropes to games. You can tell already if she's going to do a good job?

    I don't think you get how education works either. It's a waste of time telling people things that are already known? (by some) Since when? That's the basis of all knowledge you're talking about there.
    Likewise, if you think criticism and theory has no role in shaping art I don't think you've been paying attention.

    It's like you're reacting to some sort of ball tearing activism in your head that you don't like and criticising this for not being that at the same time. (you caught that some of the videos are devoted to industry trends and good female characters, right?) It doesn't make a lot of sense. Dresden can toddle off and fight with the feminism he made up. Here I think we can do better.

  16. #41
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Rochester, NY
    I think we can all agree that sexist portrayals of women in games are due to the target audience of teenage males, but I don't think that's really a good 'excuse' for the industry. We're in an era where gaming is just starting to be recognized as something of an art form, and having the majority of games be full of shallow fantasies (burly macho men and sex object women) doesn't really help make the case that games can be art and not just entertainment.

    'If they're annoyed they should make their own game' seems a non sequitur to me. What, I guess instead of making a movie like Super Size Me (for example), the team involved should have opened a healthy fast food restaurant? That's not getting the message out there.

    I'm interested in seeing what this documentary ends up being. If it's just a long description of various games in which women are marginalized, then it'll be pretty pointless as it's not like people are denying sexism exists in games, but if it goes a little deeper than that it could be a decent documentary.

    Edit: Just want to say I agree with every one of Dethtoll's posts in this thread, spot-on.

  17. #42
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    Quote Originally Posted by dethtoll View Post
    But when games full of titties and dick jokes and ultra-macho violence (exaggerating but you get my meaning) are the vast fucking majority of games, well, you can imagine how some people would feel a bit... excluded.
    When this happens we'll have the debate. But it hasn't, so I won't bother.

  18. #43
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: Yangon, Burma
    I think we must be one of rarer gaming forums that's leaning on the feminist side on this, and not just settling short with an anti-anti-feminist line.

    I'm on board with more crit indie games. Indie gaming is like the biggest untapped potential for a lot of cultural stuff IMO. I scripted a semi-feminist crit game of Red Riding Hood with my pomo feminist girlfriend, but there's only so much I can work on. I'd actually hope it'd become a lightning rod -- get people's reaction on front stage so they can pay attention to it -- so opening itself up to ridicule shouldn't be a hurdle.

    I sort of have a love-hate relationship with post modernism & pomo feminism. I think they usually have the right point, and the kind of stuff I'd argue myself, but packaging it with arguments they don't have to use, like bad philosophy of language or epistemology.

    As I understood it, the idea with the tropes and use of language isn't so much that they'll literally oppress someone confronted with them, but that they're symptoms of the real problem, which is that the language & thinking itself is infected with a whole worldview that already has women knocked down a notch whatever they say (like the old way people would say "he" for 3rd person singular generic without thinking about it). It's a good point, but to make it they don't need to argue that language & knowledge itself is entirely socially constructed, & "power" & "hegemony" (whatever those are supposed to be) are what's really at the root of all truth IMO... Just make the case straghtforward... You say X but it's assuming this contingent worldview that doesn't apply like you think if you pay attention.

    In my own thinking though, it comes down to people needing to come to terms that the human brain & consciousness is a messy machine with countless cogs that construct people's gender & sexual orientation & identity, etc, not always very airtight... So the line between masculinity & femininity to begin with is messy & punctured with holes between the two that people go out of their way to paper over. But if people came to terms that that's how "being human" works, then I think it'd transform how people treat all other groups right there... But for the grace of some totally arbitrary & careless cog in your brain, you'd be in that other group too, and imagining yourself as one of them could be easier than you think; your consciousness itself literally doesn't care. Think about that before you say something.

    Anyway, so I see a lot of these things falling out of people clinging to what they think the -should- be, that's the bigger war, and feminism is just one battle in it. But it's still part of it, so I'm fine with projects like this for what they're worth.

    I also worry that her scope may be too narrow & out of touch with what's actually going on in gaming though, like whoever criticized her for knocking Ms. Pacman, or if she doesn't focus on how games really play and just jumps on some cherry-picked examples that only raise an eyebrow on the surface. I think it'd be great if she made it much more ambitious; get into the complexes people have that drive them into game worlds to begin with, and the way those game worlds are constructed... What's the player's core MO and why are the objectives like this. What's really driving this whole thing? For that matter, what's the economics going on here behind the scenes driving people to buy the game & prop it to their friends to begin with. This goes beyond just woman NPCs, but what's her role w.r.t. the whole driving MO... Game worlds are special IMO because the creators can really create their own ideal world from the ground up, into the very laws of the universe, and then make a pitch to pull players into that world... Those are some places to go to really get to the heart of the matter.

    ...................................

    Edit: Yeah, another point, games that have a problem with the portrayal of women already have another problem with appealing to some pretty shallow motivations in players, exactly the kinds of things that usually kill much chance for a very deep gaming experience on top of whatever message it's making about women. The usual suspects are already games I didn't like very much because they weren't taking me anywhere I wanted to go, at least the parts that make shallow appeals like that.
    Last edited by demagogue; 17th Jun 2012 at 15:04.

  19. #44
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: California
    Quote Originally Posted by catbarf View Post
    I think we can all agree that sexist portrayals of women in games are due to the target audience of teenage males
    No, I'm not so sure we can agree on that. Most of the "sexist portrayals of women in games" are really just due to most developers being unimaginative retards, which is curiously enough also the reason we get so many shitty Call of Duty clones. A horrid abuse of cliches and stereotypes is a problem in just about every aspect of modern games, not just female characters. So then, why all the hubbub over female characters?

    Ironically, if she had made her Kickstarter about cliches and stereotypes in general she probably would have gotten less money. Something about feminism gets people on both sides majorly asshurt.

  20. #45
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: 4 doors down, bad side of town
    Quote Originally Posted by Subjective Effect View Post
    When this happens we'll have the debate. But it hasn't, so I won't bother.
    It's already happened. That's the whole point of the entire debate. When did you get this fucking stupid? You didn't used to be this fucking stupid, even when discussing gun cont-

    oh, nevermind.

  21. #46
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: 4 doors down, bad side of town
    Can we just lock this thread already? It's pretty obvious the retard zombies are in the building now; best to just burn the whole structure down.

  22. #47
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: California
    Quote Originally Posted by dethtoll View Post
    Can we just lock this thread already? It's pretty obvious the retard zombies are in the building now; best to just burn the whole structure down.

  23. #48
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    But when games full of titties and dick jokes and ultra-macho violence (exaggerating but you get my meaning) are the vast fucking majority of games
    What is wrong with you dethtoll. I accept your exaggeration but even so the vast majority of games are not of this type. Sure, the really popular ones may be, but the majority?

  24. #49
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: Yangon, Burma
    Maybe in terms of sales volume. There are a lot of games out there to be sure, but the ones with the most share are the most unscrupulous in pushing the twitch-buy buttons. Most games don't get much share (cf how brutal it is for small studios to survive) but least of all those that take alienating moral stands, I think. Anyway most of this thread is either pomo 101 or media studies 101 stuff. I don't think it should be closed though. There's still more signal than noise IMO.

  25. #50
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2007
    Location: Finland
    Fucking hell it's annoying, when Dethtoll starts shitting on threads like this. Doesn't matter he is wrong or right, he'll just start slinging shit as soon as someone disagrees with him long enough.

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