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Author Topic: Character designs: sexism and objectification  (Read 5163 times)

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Online gaggedLouise

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2013, 12:32:18 PM »
The Conan pic linked by consortium makes me think of Peter the Great for some reason. I figiure it's both his dark, flowing hair and the fact that he's standing in front of a medieval fortress which could all but be the Kremlin. And like Trie, I don't find him that sexy. I like this wild man better, Great, effortless pose and a sense of confidence.

(The stone-age guy with the club is a heraldic figure, he turns up o more than one local coat of arms up north: this one's from Lapland).

Offline Moraline

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2013, 12:40:09 PM »
...

@Moraline: That actually makes me wonder, I've noticed it tends to be more "acceptable" for women to find other women attractive than it is for men to find other men attractive.  Is this just a result of society, or are women more likely to be "bi-curious" than men are?  Or, another idea is that for at least some women, being overly sexy is as much of a power fantasy as being overly beefy is a power fantasy for men, is that true at all?  (Honestly have no idea on either of these, not trying to say that it's the reason for this.)

..
In my opinion, I think that sexual acceptance is based on societal pressure. However, social behavior is an evolutionary process and waxes and wanes through generations based on differing cultures. Women are not more likely to be bi-curious but men are more likely to be repressed (at least in North America.)

And yes, being "overly sexy" for a woman is as much of a power fantasy as being overly beefy can be for men. However, that's largely dependent on individual perceptions as much as it is also a part of societal pressures and evolutionary process.  Of course these are all just my opinions.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2013, 12:43:13 PM »
The bicurious part is interesting because on media this plays more into the male fantasy of having two women more than the female fantasy of wanting to be with a woman.  Notice many times the women are touching and teasing each other, in front of the male or in an attempt to tease male audience members.  There really is very little story between the two female characters and typically their bi-curious nature is either at the insistence of a male or with a male partner nearby.  Men touching and teasing each other does not appeal sexually to a heterosexual male, but two women doing so is appealing because the man envisions himself being in there as well.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2013, 12:56:02 PM »
And yes, being "overly sexy" for a woman is as much of a power fantasy as being overly beefy can be for men. However, that's largely dependent on individual perceptions as much as it is also a part of societal pressures and evolutionary process.  Of course these are all just my opinions.

In MY ANECDOTAL experience, being sexy is very much a woman's power fantasy.

  I know at least two girls in my area who WANT to be the woman in this picture.  I also know a few of them here on E that don't mind being her.

  And they (the two I know personally) also want to be Red Sonja here as well.  And I've had at least one E-lady say she wanted to play a Red Sonja/Xena Warrior Princess analog.  I'm pretty sure there's more out there too, who what to be sexy and/or kick ass.

My favourite game store held this demo for the Marvel Superhero game (may it rest in peace), we had this one girl come in (a couple of times) and wanted to play Catwoman (wrong world) but chose Spiderwoman for the simple fact that she has a pheromone power that makes men want her, and she could use her body to mess with mens' minds.  She didn't care that the hero was an accomplished fighter, or that she was an excellent detective, or that she could blast enemies with a 'venom' power, nope all she wanted was to screw the villains over by making them want her or fear her (The power can control emotions on a primal level.)

So I've come to a sneaking suspicion that what men and women view as 'power fantasy' might be...  Completely different.  What each gender thinks is 'cool' may be complimentary, but may also opposite.  In that what a woman wants to be, compliments what a guy wants to be in their respective power fantasies.

There will be some overlap, but I think it's difference in what the genders like is what makes humanity awesome to me.

Your Mileage May Vary.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 12:57:04 PM by Chris Brady »

Offline Vekseid

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2013, 01:01:01 PM »
Is the character an actual character or just a prop in human skin?

1) Does they have their own goals and ambitions, outside of the context of others?
2) Their own history, outside of the context of others?
 - Specifically names. "Married three times, divorced all of them. Moving on - might flesh this out later but for now those three people are not relevant, this character stands on their own."
3) Their own effect on the story (or setting, in the case of more open games like RPGs), outside of the context of others?
 - E.g. are they actually in the foreground from time to time, generating effects without requiring the aid of, or worse, being as mere support of others?
4) Could an entire act starring this character be done with the gender swapped and, if the reader/player had no other knowledge of said character, nothing at all would seem amiss?
 - It's not required that this be the case for every possible story, merely, that a good portion of the character's time should not be defined by their gender.

Sexualized art/poses/etc. are usually an outgrowth of this, probably made most famous by the various "We must show both her tits and ass at the same time" promotional/fanart/etc. poses and their criticism.

Almost all of e.g. Anita Sarkeesian's critiques of female presentations in stories/games come down to not just objectification, but the above specific sort of it. The above thing isn't a person being objectified - it isn't actually even a person.

Try writing a story with a main male 'lead' where the answer to all of the above questions is a definitive, unambiguous 'no', and then shop around and see who actually likes/cares for the guy or what happens to him.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2013, 01:06:44 PM »
The last nail was driven in that false equivalence's coffin years ago: http://www.shortpacked.com/2011/comic/book-13/05-the-death-of-snkrs/falseequivalence/
I don't think fighting one false equivalent with another is exactly the right thing to do. :\

Women don't have power fantasies? I find that a little hard to believe. Everyone's got one, even women. There's some idealized thing women have to want to be.

Also, you could thing down Batman without making him look homosexual or uncomfortable to the male power crowd, they've done it. Batman Beyond's Batman is a good example. I think that's an obviously hyperbolic example played chiefly for laughs. Also there are objectification of men as an ideal as well so it actually rings a little hollow to me.

For example: BOD Man Football Commercial

Are you really saying that I would want to wear a body spray because it would make me a hunka-hunka burning love and fulfill some power fantasy? Because someone would have to be real dumb if they thought a body spray was going to pick up chicks. Guys have self-image issues too. Hell look at the Old Spice Guy ads. They're objectifying men.

So I don't think it's right to have double standards on both sides.

 

Offline meikle

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2013, 01:11:45 PM »
Gettin' all the fallacies goin' on here.  "This happens to men sometimes too, so it's not a problem."  Check!  "I know some people who disagree, and they're women, ergo the problem doesn't exist."  Check!  "This doesn't personally bother me, so it's all good!" Check!

Let's keep it up!

Meanwhile, I'm going to go ahead and say that people in this thread suggesting that a man with pretty lips is "homosexual" and the implications that confidence and power are 'masculine' while subservience is feminine (subservience as a female power fantasy, even!) is proof of how damaging this kind of thing.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 01:16:11 PM by meikle »

Offline Moraline

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2013, 01:14:38 PM »
Gettin' all the fallacies goin' on here.  "This happens to men sometimes too, so it's not a problem."  Check!  "I know some people who disagree, and they're women, ergo the problem doesn't exist."  Check!  "This doesn't personally bother me, so it's all good!" Check!

Let's keep it up!
I hardly think that having an opinion is a fallacy.

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2013, 01:16:15 PM »
I don't think fighting one false equivalent with another is exactly the right thing to do. :\

Good thing I didn't.

Women don't have power fantasies? I find that a little hard to believe.

Good thing the strip didn't say that.

Because someone would have to be real dumb if they thought a body spray was going to pick up chicks.

Unless that ad is pitching that spritz to women, that's exactly the message it's supposed to convey. It's a stupid message, but there it is.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2013, 01:18:05 PM »
Gettin' all the fallacies goin' on here.  "This happens to men sometimes too, so it's not a problem."  Check!  "I know some people who disagree, and they're women, ergo the problem doesn't exist."  Check!  "This doesn't personally bother me, so it's all good!" Check!

Let's keep it up!
Actually my point is that it happens more times to men than people are willing to acknowledge and when someone does try to talk about it the old power fantasy comes out. It is a problem on both sides. It's a double standard wrapped in a double standard.

I don't disagree, and I don't care what your gender is it's still a double standard.

It bothers the hell out of me along with this entire page Double Standard.

I don't like it whether it's happening to men or women, and yes it happens to both.

Offline meikle

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2013, 01:24:28 PM »
I don't disagree, and I don't care what your gender is it's still a double standard.
It's not a double standard; it's the exact same standard, and it is dangerous to both genders, yes.  At its heart, though, are ideas that have been expressed in this thread: men are powerful, women are subservient.  Men who aren't powerful are feminine, they're homosexual.  Follow Moraline: they're not following cultural norms, they're undesirable.  Follow Chris Brady: women are supposed to be subservient, they're told to be subservient, and so when they learn to be subservient, it's okay, that's our power fantasy. 

It all comes from the same place, and that place is the belief that women are weak, subservient, and often, objects to be taken and controlled.  If you're a woman, embrace it!  If you're a man, don't be like women.

Ending the theme of women as weak, as objects, undermines the problem on both ends.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 01:26:45 PM by meikle »

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #36 on: April 30, 2013, 01:31:38 PM »
It's not a double standard; it's the exact same standard, and it is dangerous to both genders, yes.  At its heart, though, are ideas that have been expressed in this thread: men are powerful, women are subservient.  Men who aren't powerful are feminine, they're homosexual.  Follow Moraline: they're not following cultural norms, they're undesirable.  Follow Chris Brady: women are supposed to be subservient, they're told to be subservient, and so when they learn to be subservient, it's okay, that's our power fantasy. 

It all comes from the same place, and that place is the belief that women are weak, subservient, and often, objects to be taken and controlled.  If you're a woman, embrace it!  If you're a man, don't be like women.

Ending the theme of women as weak, as objects, undermines the problem on both ends.
So, what am I saying?

Offline meikle

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #37 on: April 30, 2013, 01:33:19 PM »
So, what am I saying?
"Let's talk about men instead."

No, let's not; let's talk about the problem, which is the same, which originates in the same place, for everyone.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #38 on: April 30, 2013, 01:44:57 PM »
"Let's talk about men instead."

No, let's not; let's talk about the problem, which is the same, which originates in the same place, for everyone.
I don't think so.

Offline Kazyth

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #39 on: April 30, 2013, 01:54:03 PM »
Alice would just like to point out that societal ingranations are dumb and that she really is all for Conan's dick showing ^_^. She suggests that the representative from the state of Trie come for a summit on primary vs. secondary sexual characteristics to be held at a local clothing optional pool/bar ('cause yes, we have those. I love this town).

The representative from the Kaztatorship of Kazbeast requests a seat at this upcoming summit, and is willing to bring the junk in his trunk (along with any other needful bits) along for the discussion.  Dick showing optional.

OT: Honestly, I would be just as bothered by female fanservice as I am about male fanservice.  I don't tend to play female characters in a game, I could care less about their tits and ass when I am playing.  If I want porn, even softcore, I can find it.  I have -all- the porn at my fingertips.  It's called the internet.  When I play a game, be it a fighting game, a first person shooter, an RPG, or what have you I'm not doing it to be titillated.  I'm doing it to either use my pixels to beat up other pixels, use my pixels to shoot other pixels in the face (or in the junk, if I am feeling juvenile), or to get my pixels awesome pixel gear with good stats.  For my pixels.  Do I want the characters to be nicely rendered?  Yes.  Hell yes.  But I have no interest in playing Lord Thrustington Mancandy Cunnilingual III anymore than I want to play Hooterella VonBaDonkaDonk Esq.  I want believeable characters, or at least only slightly exaggerated characters, a pretty world, and that's it.

The fact that game developers in the main seem to feel that they -have- to have T&A to sell their games, or to at least get more money out of them, seems more to me to be a money grab or an attempt to direct attention away from parts of their games that might not be so great.  "Who cares about that crash bug?  They have TitphysicsTM, and that new AssJelloTM rendering!".  And it works.  For some.  Then they get ripped apart by the folks who don't notice that stuff, lose business from those who won't support it, and somehow seem to come around to the idea that the next game needs "Moar Sexxors!".  Maybe that's just cynical of me, but at least there have been little tremors of change here and there.

Offline Moraline

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #40 on: April 30, 2013, 01:58:27 PM »
...  Follow Moraline: they're not following cultural norms, they're undesirable. 
I never said that and it's extremely judgmental of you to say so.

I'm done with this conversation.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2013, 02:00:58 PM »
The representative from the Kaztatership of Kazbeast

(Fixed.)

Offline meikle

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2013, 02:01:51 PM »
I never said that and it's extremely judgmental of you to say so.
Quote from: you
I can assure you that I don't find feminized men to be attractive.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2013, 02:10:13 PM »

That's... I don't know what you're trying to prove but I don't like that.

Just because her likes happen to fall within "cultural norms" doesn't mean she thinks effeminate men are weak, just that she finds them unattractive to her personally.

I find some women unattractive but I don't think they should have to live up to some norm of society just to be considered attractive, or that they're unattractive to everyone. They're not weak to me, just unattractive.     

Offline Moraline

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2013, 02:11:53 PM »
Okay, one last post because it needs to be done.

"I don't find feminized men to be attractive," is what I wrote.

It is vastly different then...

... they're not following cultural norms, they're undesirable.

What I said was my personal tastes in men. You expect me to apologize for that?

You're trying to make me look like I'm a bad person for liking men that are big and masculine looking. It's not a cultural normative issue. Men have hair, men are large that's just the way an average man is built. I like them that way. Others may not, I don't judge them for it.

What you are doing is judging me for it and trying to use it as a point of order.

And I'm shocked that you don't see the difference in what I said and what and how you said what you did.

Offline meikle

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2013, 02:23:01 PM »
What I said was my personal tastes in men. You expect me to apologize for that?
No.  I'm trying to draw attention to the fact that you think that strength and force are masculine, and softness and prettiness are feminine.  These are the cultural traits I'm highlighting, and the problem is not in your taste, the problem is that your taste is distinguished by cultural norms which are hurtful to men and women -- and not because of you, specifically, but because they are pervasive throughout our culture.

You're an adult, and I don't think it's really in any adult to significantly change their taste through force of will.  I don't think you should apologize and I don't think you need to change.  I think we should change our attitudes about certain traits being "masculine" and others being "feminine" because those ideas are foundational to so many gender issues in our culture.

tl;dr, the issue not that you like strong men, the issue is that you think that a man who is less strong is "feminized", and so do so many other people that it becomes culturally accepted that women have to be weak, or if not have to be, then are by default.

Edit: and, equally, it inspires our culture to treat men who express those "feminine" features as if they're somehow not really men, as if having soft features and full lips is transgressing some kind of barrier.  That's how we get to ripped, topless men on unicorns selling body spray, saying, "You're not man's not me, but at least he could smell like me!"

edit 2: Exact quote: "Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady."
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 02:32:27 PM by meikle »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2013, 02:38:10 PM »
THE FLIP SIDE WORKOUT Watch the video Yahoo! Screen

Bit of humor to lighten the mood, though also does highlight a role reversal.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2013, 03:22:51 PM »
The advertisement is playing toward men.  This is supposed to make men want to buy the body spray because this is the lifestyle of a man that uses this type of body spray.  An image of an athletic man moving around with other athletic men in competition, of women fawning over them from the bleachers is one that is attractive to men.  A woman is not looking at this commercial thinking that they want their man to wear this spray because their man will run around a football field with cheerleaders watching them.  Such an advertisement is especially directed at men, not women. 

"Ricci Ricci" Perfume Commercial with Jessica Stam

Here is a perfume commercial for women.  See the woman as playful, wearing a beautiful dress running along rooftops carefree.  A well dressed, handsome man is drawn to her.  This is designed for women because the advertiser is saying, “women don’t you want to be this carefree and beautiful, wear this perfume and you could be.”

Notice though that in the male cologne commercial the women are dressed in shorts and bikini tops, whereas in the perfume commercial the man is stylishly dressed and covered. 

There is nothing wrong or unusual about a woman wanting to be attractive.  If a girl is drawn to the Spider-Woman character because of their pheromone ability than that is simply her preference to play.  Perhaps that is her ideal character, a seductress.  My question is why does a character with such a physical presence of kicking ass and spitting venom suddenly have this “make men want me” power.  I have not seen Spider-Man with such a similar ability.  Whereas women are naturally drawn to Spider-Man’s abilities and his physicality, they are not drawn to Spider-Woman?

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2013, 03:37:58 PM »
My point behind the BOD commercial was that it doesn't always appeal to a since of power-fantasy. Sometimes it's just like a woman seeing a bikini model and getting self-conscious of her body image. Men get hit that way too by stuff. That was all. 

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2013, 03:45:05 PM »
A woman seeing another woman in a bikini and feeling self-conscious is not objectification of women though.  That has more to do with body image.  Just as that commercial making another man insecure or wanting to be those men is about body image, not objectification of men.