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Author Topic: Character designs: sexism and objectification  (Read 5165 times)

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Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #150 on: May 16, 2013, 09:26:53 AM »
Barbie - World of Pink

The Barbie Dreamhouse Palace, where even the kitchen is pink, has opened the doors to its first European operation in - former East Berlin. German feminist action groups are urging to "occupy Barbie's house" (see here and here), while Mattel may also be counting on that some controversy would have publicity value.

Now this is a "game world" I would agree is blinkering and objectifying in a not so good way, and stifling to girls' perception of what it means to be female sometimes. But of course it's about smaller girls (and their parents and friends), not about adolescent or adult gamers. But Barbie Dreamhouse is very much an online game thing too, with wide appeal around the worl (on the other hand,the Dreamhouse would make a fabulous gurlesque setting!), and that kind of pinkification and plain gender streamlining does warrant some discussion.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 09:43:48 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #151 on: May 16, 2013, 05:28:56 PM »
Mostly in the college setting where I was effectively told . . .

See, I've been around the college setting more than a time or two -- especially the humanities, where critiques of white male privilege are likeliest to happen -- and I've seen the kind of arguments that get summarized this way. And I've seen how often those summaries are actually incompetent, kneejerk defensive, unfair, nonsensical or even just flat-out lies... and how often their authors then have the nerve to complain about other people being shrill and irrational.

Now, whether or not you're actually doing any of that I can't know. One time in a hundred there actually may be someone literally saying "white male = eeevil." It happens just often enough to be theoretically in the realm of possibility. But let's just say I'm very, very skeptical. The number of times I see this claimed to have supposedly happened to a white guy -- who also just happens by the way to think, or imply, that criticizing sexism in comics (just for example) is vicious abuse --  is wildly disproportionate to the amount of times it is likely to have actually happened. And I have seen how you reached far too easily, with far too little cause, for the "you're just being shrill and irrational" cudgel in this context.

Quote
Somehow I doubt Martin Luther King would wish to subject me to violence because I disagree with you in a debate.

Yes, Tairis, it's what we call a figure of speech.

Quote
But I refer to the comparison as the Godwin's law of these debates


... because you're not paying attention to whether people are proposing learning from the tactics of the CRM and whether they're claiming their circumstances are equivalent. And having failed to pay that attention, you're complaining about other people's rationality. Between this kind of carelessness and your constant strawmanning, which Ephiral has already pointed out... well, I wouldn't quite go so far as to say that you're not truly interested in rational debate. But I would say that you present the picture of a man ignorant of the fact that he's the problem (or at minimum of the ways in which he's contributing to the problem).

Basically, next time you want to wade in and accuse people of being shrill and irrational, have better reasons for doing so than you did when you tried it on this thread. You might get a more sympathetic response.

(I'd just be repeating the above points to most of the remainder of your post, so I'll leave this at that.)
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 10:04:10 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #152 on: May 17, 2013, 09:19:29 AM »
As a staff reminder, civility is one of the most important rules in this part of the forum.  Condescension is just as improper a debate tool as strawmanning.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #153 on: May 17, 2013, 02:26:09 PM »
Heh, curious, I thought that was a lot more civil than my last response to Tairis. Condescension wasn't my intent at any rate, but I guess it didn't come across that way. My bad.

Offline Didact

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #154 on: May 18, 2013, 09:52:05 PM »
Barbie - World of Pink

The Barbie Dreamhouse Palace, where even the kitchen is pink, has opened the doors to its first European operation in - former East Berlin. German feminist action groups are urging to "occupy Barbie's house" (see here and here), while Mattel may also be counting on that some controversy would have publicity value.

Now this is a "game world" I would agree is blinkering and objectifying in a not so good way, and stifling to girls' perception of what it means to be female sometimes. But of course it's about smaller girls (and their parents and friends), not about adolescent or adult gamers. But Barbie Dreamhouse is very much an online game thing too, with wide appeal around the worl (on the other hand,the Dreamhouse would make a fabulous gurlesque setting!), and that kind of pinkification and plain gender streamlining does warrant some discussion.

Slightly off topic, so spoiler:

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
See, I've got a problem with that. Not the idea of disapproving of Barbie and not wanting Barbie dolls for your girl-children - I get that. I don't like Barbies. It's the whole "occupying" thing that bugs me. By making people have to brave a crowd of angry activists, aren't they basically telling other people what they should or shouldn't be able to do, and implicitly passing judgment on people who don't do what they want? How is that better than letting kids buy the toys they want? And if they really wanted to send a message to Mattel, why not protest at their regional headquarters?

It also seems like they're unable to distinguish between normative and non-normative depictions, which is a recurring problem with activists of all political stripes. And that's not mentioning the burning cross.

Offline meikle

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #155 on: May 21, 2013, 12:10:15 PM »
One time in a hundred there actually may be someone literally saying "white male = eeevil."
Mm, straw feminists.

Offline Skynet

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #156 on: May 21, 2013, 12:15:14 PM »
Mm, straw feminists.

Given the GIFT, Skarka's Law, and the Internet, when I do run across somebody exemplifying the traits of a strawman I sometimes wonder whether it's the genuine article, or a troll trying to be annoying and/or damage the name.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 12:17:25 PM by Skynet »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #157 on: May 21, 2013, 12:46:38 PM »
See, I've got a problem with that. Not the idea of disapproving of Barbie and not wanting Barbie dolls for your girl-children - I get that. I don't like Barbies. It's the whole "occupying" thing that bugs me. By making people have to brave a crowd of angry activists, aren't they basically telling other people what they should or shouldn't be able to do, and implicitly passing judgment on people who don't do what they want? How is that better than letting kids buy the toys they want? And if they really wanted to send a message to Mattel, why not protest at their regional headquarters?

Well, I think the word "occupy" was used in a sense that was a bit less literal than that. It's not as if those German feminist groups could actually form human picket chains around the building all day long, week after week,  physically stop tourists from getting in and so on. If they as much as took the holidaying visitors gently by the arm or the elbow, if they would frequently go that far while trying to make contact and get the talk going, many of them would get arrested for trespassing and obstruction in public for sure. And as to the numbers of activists, this kind of thing is nothing like Zuccotti Park. The loan of the word "occupy" is a half ironic nod to Occupy Wall Street or the student occupations and sit-ins of the sixties, rather than any kind of literal description of what they're up to.

You could argue of course that the place in front of the Barbie Dreamhouse is a private property - it is now owned by Mattel. Just as Zuccotti Park was a privately owned area. But demonstrations and public rallies for specific causes have a right to be  part of life in any major city, and it's unreasonable to claim that you should only be allowed to organize a rally or a demonstration in the city if it's a cause and an event for which you have already secured the support of a majority of those living in the town.

By the way I suspect that the "occupation" or attention-raising scheme was also aimed at Berlin's city council. If Mattel were able to buy this spot in a very attractive area (near one of the main squares of eastern Berlin, and of pre-Nazi Berlin) and build an extremely striking house there, a house that jumps out like a pink elephant and not in a good sense, then they must have gotten clearance from the city planning and building office (allocation of buildings of this kind is less of a free-for-all in Europe than it sometimes is in the U.S.). You wouldn't get permission to set up a McDonald's within fifty meters of the Brandenburg Gate; I understand there have been some questions whether it was a good idea to put the Barbie house where it is now.