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Author Topic: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?  (Read 13557 times)

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Offline Assassini

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #125 on: September 10, 2014, 08:39:07 PM »
So you are arguing that Anita Sarkeesian is not going about this issue correctly while not even being sure what exactly she is doing?  I mean, there is at least a reasonable expectation that she cannot play or know every video game in existence although people seem to want her to play through a multitude of them before she can make her argument.  Yet people willing say, “yeah I didn’t watch it all but she’s wrong.”

Right, that's simply unfair. I've made it clear from the start that my interest was entirely to do with video games and I clearly have enough of an idea of what she does to argue against the points she makes within that particular spectrum. If she is also trying to fight for cultural change, good for her, but I don't particularly care (and I'm sorry if that sounds callous).

You are certainly allowed to not believe what you want, but those are the facts.  Law enforcement actively says they are not out to punish the person buying the prostitute, but the prostitutes and people managing the prostitution.  This is despite the ineffectiveness of this tactic and the growing theory that buy making the act more expensive, greater fines and penalties, more people would be deterred from partaking in the act of prostitution.  Reading to also support this would be The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi and also Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara.

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/prostitution_and_exploitation_of_prostitution/


But that's... If they are arresting prostitutes and their pimps then it will be because it's against the law? Yes? So how is that anything to do with video games or sexism? That's simply a law, possibly an ineffectual and misguided one, but not exactly something that can be argued against. If you are a prostitute in a place where prostitution is illegal then... Well... You getting arrested seems perfectly reasonable within the system. Sure the law might be needing changed, but the police definitely aren't in charge of which laws they can and cannot enforce.

The pay gap is pretty real.  Honestly to say that a pay gap is “not that big a deal” is pretty ridiculous.  Someone is saying, quite blatantly, that the same work is worth less because a woman is doing that work.  If you went into a store and were hired to do a job alongside someone else and found out he was being paid .25 cents more an hour to do the same job, you would probably be pretty miffed.  This would probably be worse if you discovered that the reason behind the pay bump was because the person doing the hiring thinks people with a hair color you don’t have just…deserve more money.

Well if that were the case then you can file a suit against them for discrimination. The law actively attempts to prevent and discourage this. Also, while the pay gap does exist it also doesn't take all the statistic into account and so it's to a far lesser degree than the number you just quoted. The fact is that the whole 75 cents to the dollar thing does not take into account the fields of study undertaken by men and women, where men are more drawn to fields like maths, engineering and petroleum manufacturing (or something similar with the word petroleum in in) women are more drawn to fields like teaching and being. The unfortunate result being that the men with those degrees end up with better paying jobs. Obviously this is not always the case but I very recently saw a stat sheet showing just how male dominated high paying degrees like business and engineering were. So the main cause of the pay gap is quite simply because women do not choose to go for careers which pay as highly and the 75 cents to the dollar stat does not take this into account. Neither does it take into account women who decide to spend more time with their children, which also mostly comes down to personal choice. I have just spent 20 minutes trying to find the .PDF that informed me of this, but unfortunately I can't and I also can't remember it word for word so I'll hope you take my word as reasonably accurate. Although I'm sure there are articles which will refute this, I suspect that things like this exist is at least some proof that the wage gap is not as high as is suggested.

Chell from Portal who has a gender neutral name, almost no backstory or really dialogue and is largely a gender neutral presence on screen.  There is no actual identification between a female and that character, so a player can pretty much ignore that the character is even a woman.  That really isn’t a female lead. 

Entirely incorrect. She has a female character model. You can actually see that if you position two portals in a corner and look through them. Besides a great number of male video game characters have little backstory and no dialogue (Gordon Freeman and Link spring to mind), does that mean that you can ignore that they are male?

A female Shepard is neat except the story is not really centered on a female character.  The story is kept neutral since the character can be male or female.  Not really a step forward of a female character just because someone has the option of giving a male character breasts.  I will disclose that I did not enjoy Mass Effect and so did not play the game at length.  After hearing about the ending, sort of glad I didn’t.  Might as well claim X-Com, Skyrim and Civilzation are also games with female leads.

I would argue entirely the opposite actually, especially regarding Mass Effect. I would say the game is tailored to both the male and female equally, with no preference either way. The fact that the female version of the character is as compelling, if not more so, than the male version, attests at least to the fact that video games can have strong female leads and I think FemShep should definitely be included on the list of powerful female characters. As for Skyrim, well I'd argue that the fact that it's again a neutral result seems to show that gender is not really an issue for the game. While X-Com and Civilisation are bad examples completely because there is no real protagonist.

Also, in the interest of keeping it light. I'd say that the thing I most took issue with was that you did not enjoy Mass Effect. How could you be so wrong? :P

I am also not familiar with Mirror’s Edge.  So I really cannot comment on the character.

So of the three, only one actually has what might be considered a defined female lead?

I believe that discounting the other examples isn't fair either. So I disagree with your 1 in 3 there. Entirely.

My turn.  Immortals: Gods Among Us.  Story centers on Superman going insane because Joker killed his wife and child.  Woman in the fridge much?  Wonder Woman, the icon of feminism for comic books, is used in the trailer promo to summon Superman by Lex Luther beating her and essentially torturing her to call for him, her savior. 

I'm confused. What is the issue here? The fact that Lex Luthor tortures Wonder Woman and that this summons Superman? If the issue is that it's a bit "damsel-in-distress-y" I have to point out that I'm fairly certain, even with my limited knowledge of the DC Universe, that Lex Luthor has bested Superman before and so he has had to be rescued. It's not out of character for a hero to almost be bested.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty.  Kerrigan, one of the most badass and powerful women of gaming is reduced to a nude figure being cradled to safety by John Raynor.  An ending so bad few of my friends could stomach buying the second episode of Starcraft II, including me.

You say "nude", I say now with an armoured exoskeleton which has come about because she becomes the Queen of Blades. But perhaps this is a fair example and not one I can exactly argue against.

Dishonored..save the princess and avenge the dead queen….yeah here we have damsel in distress and woman in the fridge.

Utterly irrelevant. You are the one bringing up their gender. It could just as easily have been a benevolent emperor and his son.

Batman Arkham City where Catwoman, another prominent female character, moans and has her clothes ripped off with damaging attacks while at the same time wrapping her legs around men and crawling on all fours. 

Another good example which I have no rebuttal for. Other than that Catwoman has always been something of a salacious character, always very seductive and sexy and so perhaps that was what they were trying to portray. I have to admit that I too found her attacks a little over-the-top with the "sexiness". However, Batman's suit becomes ripped as well during the course of the game, so that's not exactly a fair point. Crawling on all fours... Well it is CATwoman. Not Womanwoman.

Hitman Absolution…badass girl child assassin needs rescuing by male assassin.

This strikes me as another bad example because again her gender is entirely irrelevant. That said I never bought into the whole genetic super Assassin thing so I will admit I wasn't fond of her character at all anyway.

The Witcher where a player is rewarded with nudity cards for having one night stands with women.

I suppose it makes more sense than in Fable where you got to collect STDs? Sorry, joking around is probably a little inappropriate... :/

How is that bad though? You seem to be all in favour of arguing for prostitution as a "fine profession" but one night stands are entirely unacceptable then? Is that not a little hypocritical?

Offline Assassini

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #126 on: September 10, 2014, 08:42:48 PM »
Somewhat off-topic, somewhat on.

It strikes me as interesting (if not ironic) that right now 4Chan are arguably the community doing the most to help women trying to get into game design.

It actually very much amuses me that a Vivian James video has been posted in this thread because as far as I am aware there have been many feminists like Zoe Quinn and (possibly) Anita Sarkeesian who have actively been against the inclusion of the character of Vivian James as a female character for a video game developed by women. There has actually been a fair amount of back-lash by the "feminist" community against this particular game-jam and the character in question.

Also, apologies for just posting that previous post without reading the responses since, it was an automatic thing and I wasn't entirely paying attention.

Offline ningyou

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #127 on: September 10, 2014, 09:48:45 PM »
It actually very much amuses me that a Vivian James video has been posted in this thread because as far as I am aware there have been many feminists like Zoe Quinn and (possibly) Anita Sarkeesian who have actively been against the inclusion of the character of Vivian James as a female character for a video game developed by women. There has actually been a fair amount of back-lash by the "feminist" community against this particular game-jam and the character in question.

Also, apologies for just posting that previous post without reading the responses since, it was an automatic thing and I wasn't entirely paying attention.

Uh....you do know Vivian James isn't exactly a game character, right? She's an imaginary Cool Gamer Girl Who Doesn't Bother Us With That SJW Crap that 4chan made up and literally paid someone to put in a game, and it's as disingenuous as everything else the channers have been doing. :v

Also l m a o putting feminist in scare quotes

Also also I think Anita Sarkeesian has bigger concerns rn than VIVIAN JAMES, UNFAIRLY SCORNED FEMALE GAMING VOICE #notyourshield, like the whole death threats against her and her family forcing her into hiding thing. Or the doxxing.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 09:52:24 PM by ningyou »

Offline Assassini

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #128 on: September 10, 2014, 10:20:32 PM »
Uh....you do know Vivian James isn't exactly a game character, right? She's an imaginary Cool Gamer Girl Who Doesn't Bother Us With That SJW Crap that 4chan made up and literally paid someone to put in a game, and it's as disingenuous as everything else the channers have been doing. :v

Also l m a o putting feminist in scare quotes

Also also I think Anita Sarkeesian has bigger concerns rn than VIVIAN JAMES, UNFAIRLY SCORNED FEMALE GAMING VOICE #notyourshield, like the whole death threats against her and her family forcing her into hiding thing. Or the doxxing.

Um... No that's not right at all. There was an open contest to create a video game characters for a game. People were to design characters, send them in to the devs and there was a chance they'd be included in the game. I don't remember all the details, but I'm pretty certain the majority of what you said there is not true. Especially as she is supposed to be a "not-bothered-by-anything-just-a-girl-who-plays-games" and not quite as evil as you make it sound...

Offline Kunoichi

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #129 on: September 10, 2014, 10:40:24 PM »
Uh....you do know Vivian James isn't exactly a game character, right? She's an imaginary Cool Gamer Girl Who Doesn't Bother Us With That SJW Crap that 4chan made up and literally paid someone to put in a game, and it's as disingenuous as everything else the channers have been doing. :v

Also l m a o putting feminist in scare quotes

Also also I think Anita Sarkeesian has bigger concerns rn than VIVIAN JAMES, UNFAIRLY SCORNED FEMALE GAMING VOICE #notyourshield, like the whole death threats against her and her family forcing her into hiding thing. Or the doxxing.
Um... No that's not right at all. There was an open contest to create a video game characters for a game. People were to design characters, send them in to the devs and there was a chance they'd be included in the game. I don't remember all the details, but I'm pretty certain the majority of what you said there is not true. Especially as she is supposed to be a "not-bothered-by-anything-just-a-girl-who-plays-games" and not quite as evil as you make it sound...

Vivian James is the product of 4chan's /v/ board, which is for videogames and gaming subculture.  Members of /v/ decided to collectively donate to The Fine Young Capitalists Indiegogo Campaign to support women in gaming, and when they noticed that they had donated enough money to hit the $2000 backer reward, which was getting to design a character who would appear in whichever game wins the game jam they're holding, they started talking about and holding polls for the character design.

The Know Your Meme page on Vivian James has the full story.

Offline ningyou

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #130 on: September 10, 2014, 10:55:49 PM »
Um... No that's not right at all. There was an open contest to create a video game characters for a game. People were to design characters, send them in to the devs and there was a chance they'd be included in the game. I don't remember all the details, but I'm pretty certain the majority of what you said there is not true. Especially as she is supposed to be a "not-bothered-by-anything-just-a-girl-who-plays-games" and not quite as evil as you make it sound...

Kunoichi already replied to the meat of what you said, but l-o-l how do you get "evil" from anything I said?

Also lmao "i don't remember the details but you're probably lying"

Also also her being "a girl who just plays games and isn't bothered by anything" (read: "doesn't make a fuss when we say sexist/racist/homophobic/etc. shit or engage in weeks-long harassment campaigns against people because omg sjws sleeping around") is kind of the point I was making?

Offline Kunoichi

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #131 on: September 10, 2014, 11:01:35 PM »

Offline ningyou

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #132 on: September 10, 2014, 11:18:11 PM »
It is enlightening in the same way that some rando's BENGHAZI EXPOSE!!! is enlightening. And....it's really telling how these people who are party to weeks-long campaigns of harassment go YOU SAID CISHET WHITE MEN ARE [DELUGING WOMEN WITH RAPE THREATS AND BILE] I'M A GAY MAN CHECKMATE FEMINISTS like it's some kind of relevant point.

I'll see your #menghazi and raise you this storify full of logs of 4channers working out their harassment campaign against Zoe Quinn.

Online SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #133 on: September 10, 2014, 11:31:49 PM »
I think we're getting away from the main topic of discussion here.  I'd like to cut this sidetrack before we need to get mods in here.  Please make a new thread if you'd like to continue.

Offline Kunoichi

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #134 on: September 10, 2014, 11:45:53 PM »
Ironically, the piece I linked to was written as a response to the piece that ningyou linked to.  It pretty much covers everything I would want to say on the subject of #gameovergate, though I had originally linked to it simply because it's the most accurate timeline of events I've been able to find thus far.

But yes, this is starting to get rather off-topic.  Has there been any recent news about Anita Sarkeesian?

Offline Shjade

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #135 on: September 11, 2014, 01:22:47 AM »
Of course there is some elements of sexism within video games. While I personally think sexism within the industry is something of a non-issue and is vastly over-sensationalised by media outlets such as Kotaku (god I hate Kotaku)... It does exist, I can't deny that. However, I still think that while more and more women are playing games, it is still a male-dominated culture (or at least mainstream gaming is) and so it makes sense that developers will cater to that. It's an issue with the industry, the whole "sex sells" thing.

But that's exactly the point, Assassini. That is the problem: assuming the majority of gamers are male and want this kind of sexist content. Devs make this assumption, so they cater to that market, so that market buys their product, encouraging them to further cater to that market, and thus the cycle of women being exploited in games.

They have to break that assumption-based cycle of thinking only guys play games if they ever want to have a broader audience buying and playing their games en masse. If the culture is male-dominated, it's because the games are encouraging male dominance in their market.

(I'm pretty sure there's been coverage on the gender balance of gamers in the "casual" games market to back this up with the number of female gamers buying and playing these games that aren't so gender exploitative, but it's late and I'm tired and don't feel like doing the research right now. z.z)
« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 01:25:49 AM by Shjade »

Online SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #136 on: September 11, 2014, 02:38:46 AM »
But that's exactly the point, Assassini. That is the problem: assuming the majority of gamers are male and want this kind of sexist content. Devs make this assumption, so they cater to that market, so that market buys their product, encouraging them to further cater to that market, and thus the cycle of women being exploited in games.

They have to break that assumption-based cycle of thinking only guys play games if they ever want to have a broader audience buying and playing their games en masse. If the culture is male-dominated, it's because the games are encouraging male dominance in their market.

(I'm pretty sure there's been coverage on the gender balance of gamers in the "casual" games market to back this up with the number of female gamers buying and playing these games that aren't so gender exploitative, but it's late and I'm tired and don't feel like doing the research right now. z.z)

I think that brings up the question of, does the hardcore game audience consist of mostly men because the games are made for and cater to men, or is it something more basic, that men are simply predisposed to become hardcore gamers more than women?  Physically, there's a significant difference between men and women - men are generally much stronger and more muscular for instance.  It could simply be that the personality needed to enjoy large games shows up in men more often than in women.

It's something I've been pondering for a while, though I think I need more sleep before I think about it further.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #137 on: September 11, 2014, 02:50:27 AM »
I think that brings up the question of, does the hardcore game audience consist of mostly men because the games are made for and cater to men, or is it something more basic, that men are simply predisposed to become hardcore gamers more than women?  Physically, there's a significant difference between men and women - men are generally much stronger and more muscular for instance.  It could simply be that the personality needed to enjoy large games shows up in men more often than in women.

It's an interesting question and something that I think we'd need to study in depth to ever get to the real answer.

However I personally suspect that isn't really the case. If this were true, then you'd expect men with strongly anthrogenic features to be more commonly hardcore gamers whereas my experience doesn't really support that. Difference between men and women (especially psychological) are generally only two slightly separated parabolas on a statistical graph, they may peak in different places but they'll usually overlap extensively. For something to be strongly gender-skewed for physiological reasons, it almost always has to be rare still even within the gender that experiences it more frequently. There are some notable exceptions (colour perception in women, hemophilia in men, etc) but these are quite notable, rare and usually specifically linked to traits on the X or Y sex chromosomes.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #138 on: September 11, 2014, 11:58:06 AM »
Entirely incorrect. She has a female character model. You can actually see that if you position two portals in a corner and look through them. Besides a great number of male video game characters have little backstory and no dialogue (Gordon Freeman and Link spring to mind), does that mean that you can ignore that they are male?

I would argue entirely the opposite actually, especially regarding Mass Effect. I would say the game is tailored to both the male and female equally, with no preference either way. The fact that the female version of the character is as compelling, if not more so, than the male version, attests at least to the fact that video games can have strong female leads and I think FemShep should definitely be included on the list of powerful female characters.

So... to sum up, your argument appears to be "Murdering those strippers in Hitman is totally optional, it shouldn't count. But doing this totally optional thing in Portal totally counts as demonstrating a strong female lead, as does this game where even being female is completely optional." Am I getting this right?

I'm confused. What is the issue here? The fact that Lex Luthor tortures Wonder Woman and that this summons Superman? If the issue is that it's a bit "damsel-in-distress-y" I have to point out that I'm fairly certain, even with my limited knowledge of the DC Universe, that Lex Luthor has bested Superman before and so he has had to be rescued. It's not out of character for a hero to almost be bested.
There's a big difference between "almost bested" and "killed off to give the (pretty much always male) protagonist a motivation". Guess which of these happens overwhelmingly to female characters? Guess which one you're completely ignoring here like it's not even a thing?

Utterly irrelevant. You are the one bringing up their gender. It could just as easily have been a benevolent emperor and his son.
Yes, it absolutely could have. Which should be raising the very important question: Why isn't it? Like, damn near ever in any story?

This strikes me as another bad example because again her gender is entirely irrelevant. That said I never bought into the whole genetic super Assassin thing so I will admit I wasn't fond of her character at all anyway.
The point you seem to be missing in all these examples is that there is an extremely strong trend of making it female characters who get killed off, or raped, or otherwise rendered helpless, so a male character can come in and rescue them, even when the female characters are supposed to be equal in capability. In this context, yeah, gender kinda matters.

How is that bad though? You seem to be all in favour of arguing for prostitution as a "fine profession" but one night stands are entirely unacceptable then? Is that not a little hypocritical?
The problem here, and I can't believe this needs pointing out, is not "one-night stands", but "reducing women to literal collectible eye-candy trophies".

I think that brings up the question of, does the hardcore game audience consist of mostly men because the games are made for and cater to men, or is it something more basic, that men are simply predisposed to become hardcore gamers more than women?  Physically, there's a significant difference between men and women - men are generally much stronger and more muscular for instance.  It could simply be that the personality needed to enjoy large games shows up in men more often than in women.
Um. You do realise that the topic of discussion in this thread is a video series about the extreme prevalence of elements that push women away in video games, right?

Offline Assassini

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #139 on: September 11, 2014, 04:05:20 PM »
Vivian James is the product of 4chan's /v/ board, which is for videogames and gaming subculture.  Members of /v/ decided to collectively donate to The Fine Young Capitalists Indiegogo Campaign to support women in gaming, and when they noticed that they had donated enough money to hit the $2000 backer reward, which was getting to design a character who would appear in whichever game wins the game jam they're holding, they started talking about and holding polls for the character design.

The Know Your Meme page on Vivian James has the full story.

Apologies, I wasn't aware of the Indiegogo element of this, I thought it was a competition to design a character and /v/ was the one who produced something that the campaign decided was close enough to their feminist message and decided to use her. I was aware that she was designed by /v/ though, I should have mentioned.

Kunoichi already replied to the meat of what you said, but l-o-l how do you get "evil" from anything I said?

Also lmao "i don't remember the details but you're probably lying"

Also also her being "a girl who just plays games and isn't bothered by anything" (read: "doesn't make a fuss when we say sexist/racist/homophobic/etc. shit or engage in weeks-long harassment campaigns against people because omg sjws sleeping around") is kind of the point I was making?

Well, you seemed to be implying that /v/ and 4chan directly paid off the developers to force them to include Vivian whereas it was simply a reward that any potential backer of the Game Jam could have obtained. And also, I said I didn't know the full story but I feel I was a little closer to the truth than your description of both how the character was submitted and how she is portrayed (even though, with the former we were both wrong really).

And you appear to still be missing the point about that. She doesn't make a fuss when there is no fuss to make. She doesn't care about politics. It's all about the games.

Plus this is a Game Jam that is all about getting women into developing video games, it's a feminist campaign designed in the spirit of going against sexism. There have been a fair amount of articles that I've read that seem to show how this feminist agenda has been attacked by other so-called feminists because they accepted donations from a group of "cis men"... Essentially.

But yes, this has gotten a little off-topic now and so I'm going to refrain from any further defence of Vivian and the Game Jam here.

But that's exactly the point, Assassini. That is the problem: assuming the majority of gamers are male and want this kind of sexist content. Devs make this assumption, so they cater to that market, so that market buys their product, encouraging them to further cater to that market, and thus the cycle of women being exploited in games.

They have to break that assumption-based cycle of thinking only guys play games if they ever want to have a broader audience buying and playing their games en masse. If the culture is male-dominated, it's because the games are encouraging male dominance in their market.

(I'm pretty sure there's been coverage on the gender balance of gamers in the "casual" games market to back this up with the number of female gamers buying and playing these games that aren't so gender exploitative, but it's late and I'm tired and don't feel like doing the research right now. z.z)

This is true I suppose. And I've tried to make my stance clear that I am aware that sexism does exist and that there is still progress to be made. More female protagonists would always be a better start. Plus, I'm certain you are right about the casual games market. All that said... I want to go back to an original point I made that I feel that any "hardcore" female gamers out there would maybe be on my side in this, in that I feel they would argue about games not based upon the genitals of the protagonist but about whether it is a good game or not. Or about whether the protagonist is a good/believable character.

So... to sum up, your argument appears to be "Murdering those strippers in Hitman is totally optional, it shouldn't count. But doing this totally optional thing in Portal totally counts as demonstrating a strong female lead, as does this game where even being female is completely optional." Am I getting this right?

I'm confused. How are these in any way linked? Also... What optional thing in Portal? Nothing in Portal is optional... It's an entirely linear game... And my point about Mass Effect was that she was a strong protagonist in spite of being optional... So. Yes? You're getting it right? Sort of?

There's a big difference between "almost bested" and "killed off to give the (pretty much always male) protagonist a motivation". Guess which of these happens overwhelmingly to female characters? Guess which one you're completely ignoring here like it's not even a thing?

Hey, I made it clear that I didn't understand her point not that I was ignoring it. I've never played Injustice and so I had no idea what she was talking about. Also the phrase "women in the fridge" is something I've never heard of and still don't particularly understand... Although I feel like I'm getting a picture now.

I have a new response then to the original argument, though I suspect like you aren't going to like it. This still feels irrelevant. Superman is simply a more recognisable character than Wonder Woman. Obviously people know Wonder Woman and you don't even have to know much about Marvel to know much about her. BUT Superman is the more popular character (I don't think that's too unrealistic to assume that is the case) especially as Wonder Woman did pretty much start off as a female Superman (as far as I'm aware). So perhaps in this case they wanted to use Superman because he is the more recognisable of the two... Although I am aware that this feels very much like an argument to make in retrospect and not one they actually had at the time.

Yes, it absolutely could have. Which should be raising the very important question: Why isn't it? Like, damn near ever in any story?
The point you seem to be missing in all these examples is that there is an extremely strong trend of making it female characters who get killed off, or raped, or otherwise rendered helpless, so a male character can come in and rescue them, even when the female characters are supposed to be equal in capability. In this context, yeah, gender kinda matters.
The problem here, and I can't believe this needs pointing out, is not "one-night stands", but "reducing women to literal collectible eye-candy trophies".
Um. You do realise that the topic of discussion in this thread is a video series about the extreme prevalence of elements that push women away in video games, right?

And why does it have to be male then? Is that the future of gaming? You will have a team of 4 soldiers: Jim, Bob, Necessary Female One, Necessary Female Two? Otherwise everybody loses their minds that there are more men than women in the game (like this whole bloody kerfuffle over the "bro-op" in Assassin's Creed Unity).

I understand what you mean, and you know it is something that could do with changing. I can't even count the number of games where you are out to avenge your wife/sister/mother or some other helpless woman who had no strong man to protect her. I get that. However, I also feel like too big an issue is made of it. Maybe that's because I'm male, but maybe that's also because I'm judging the games/characters based on the merit of the games/characters and not their genitals (my favourite point you may see, because I've made it twice now).

I would also point out that games in which the character is motivated by revenge, all too often aren't too great on their own merits. Vengeance is all well and good, but it's done to death and is something of an easy excuse for developers who can't write. "Why does he have to kill him?" "Oh... Erm... Dunno... Vengeance! Yeah Vengeance!" It's lazy and boring.

I also feel I ought to point out that in many of the examples used previously the females wouldn't have an equal capability (take Dishonored as an example there, which is set in a Victorian style era where women were considered inferior to me and definitely would have had fewer opportunities, including the opportunity to learn how to fight).

As to the Witcher thing. I actually don't have an argument against that. I suppose I can see why you feel this is derogatory and sexist. And I feel very reluctant saying that because I'm aware the Witcher is a fantastic game and one I really want. Can you at least collect cards for sleeping with men as well (I don't know if you have the option of being gay in the game)?

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #140 on: September 11, 2014, 04:15:14 PM »
Ephiral has pretty much covered what my response would have been to those inquired very well, nicely concise and pointed.  My only addition would be in emphasizing as Ephiral did that a female lead cannot have a “more compelling” storyline than the male lead when being female or male is optional.  The female lead can only be more compelling because the gamer enjoys looking at the character model more or is playing on the “female image needs to be more protected” ideology that game developers employ to make male gamers care more about their female shaped avatars.  Sidenote as well if you watched the Anita Sarkeesian videos that are you in a debate revolving around she dedicates an entire episode early in the series to the "women in refrigerators" trope.

As for the muscle mass theory, if this had foundations in truth than body building competitions would double for electronic fairs and gaming conventions.  Testosterone levels is probably more of what you are thinking and while men do have more of this hormone which increases muscle mass and is tied to aggression, gaming enthusiasts have for a long time fought against video games elevating aggression. 

The physical differences between men and women, while significant in terms of reproduction, are not so significant predictors of hobbies or interests.  More than likely there are more male hard core gamers because the culture of gaming rewards and encourages men to behave in manner they desire and have power inside their associated community.  Essentially increased involvement rewards male gamers for being male.

Also, no the Witcher is not rewarded for sleeping with men and one day I will probably play Mass Effect all the way through but I'm pretty back logged on video games right now. 

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #141 on: September 11, 2014, 04:35:44 PM »
Ephiral has pretty much covered what my response would have been to those inquired very well, nicely concise and pointed.  My only addition would be in emphasizing as Ephiral did that a female lead cannot have a “more compelling” storyline than the male lead when being female or male is optional.  The female lead can only be more compelling because the gamer enjoys looking at the character model more or is playing on the “female image needs to be more protected” ideology that game developers employ to make male gamers care more about their female shaped avatars.  Sidenote as well if you watched the Anita Sarkeesian videos that are you in a debate revolving around she dedicates an entire episode early in the series to the "women in refrigerators" trope.

As for the muscle mass theory, if this had foundations in truth than body building competitions would double for electronic fairs and gaming conventions.  Testosterone levels is probably more of what you are thinking and while men do have more of this hormone which increases muscle mass and is tied to aggression, gaming enthusiasts have for a long time fought against video games elevating aggression. 

The physical differences between men and women, while significant in terms of reproduction, are not so significant predictors of hobbies or interests.  More than likely there are more male hard core gamers because the culture of gaming rewards and encourages men to behave in manner they desire and have power inside their associated community.  Essentially increased involvement rewards male gamers for being male.

Also, no the Witcher is not rewarded for sleeping with men and one day I will probably play Mass Effect all the way through but I'm pretty back logged on video games right now.

It's not her story which is more compelling, it's the character. Many people have argued that FemShep is superior to MaleShep partially because of the way she reacts (I.e. in a way which MaleShep cannot react) and partially because the female voice actor did such an excellent job of her voice. It's nothing to do with the character model itself. I'm struggling a little with really getting this argument across because I am actually one of those who preferred playing MaleShep, so this is me arguing the perspective of a majority (I believe) of which I am not a part of.

Yeah, I also agree that physical and biological traits won't have any impact whatsoever on what games you play (or whether you like games at all). I think, on the flip side, I'd also disagree with with your more psychological based theory. I think, that the reason violent video games and things of that nature exist is because it's bloody good fun... But we're also good people so we don't actually want to go out and chainsaw a bunch of a random folk... Which has nothing to do with being male. Because I'm certain that women find the violence in the games fun as well!

Offline Vorian

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #142 on: September 11, 2014, 04:43:49 PM »
The female lead can only be more compelling because the gamer enjoys looking at the character model more or is playing on the “female image needs to be more protected” ideology that game developers employ to make male gamers care more about their female shaped avatars. 

Actually, personally I find FemShep more compelling because of the voice acting. MaleShep presents a fairly flat character of a sort that's been done to death, FemShep has much more command presence and is all in all more convincing in being able to cut through the politics Shepard has to deal with to get things done. I've mostly seen similar reasoning from others who prefer her.

... Of course there's at least one glaring exception that makes me want to throw a certain character out the airlock every time I have to talk to him, but for the most part that holds true throughout the series.

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #143 on: September 11, 2014, 04:46:01 PM »
Actually, personally I find FemShep more compelling because of the voice acting. MaleShep presents a fairly flat character of a sort that's been done to death, FemShep has much more command presence and is all in all more convincing in being able to cut through the politics Shepard has to deal with to get things done. I've mostly seen similar reasoning from others who prefer her.

... Of course there's at least one glaring exception that makes me want to throw a certain character out the airlock every time I have to talk to him, but for the most part that holds true throughout the series.

THIS guy knows what is up!

Online SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #144 on: September 11, 2014, 05:24:01 PM »
Um. You do realise that the topic of discussion in this thread is a video series about the extreme prevalence of elements that push women away in video games, right?

Of course, I made the thread after all.  But looking at the history of games, there does seem to be a line of thought that I'd like to explore.

Right now, we say that games aren't very inviting to women because of sexist elements, yes?  (For the sake of discussion I'll simply agree that yes, this is correct, although there are other elements I'd like to debate later.)  However, how did we get to the current point?

Gaming has always been a male-dominated hobby.  Yet the culture of games, and specifically sexism in games, had to start somewhere, right?  Assuming all other things being equal, when games were in their infancy, we would expect them to be enjoyed by both men and women roughly equally, right?  Yet that wasn't the case, and this was before everyone started looking at the sexism in games.  Essentially, we're going around in circles: games are sexist because they're pandering to a primarily male audience, there's primarily a male audience for games because the games pander to them... the cycle had to start somewhere, yes?

Now admittedly, this may not be something biological like I was suggesting; it may have much more to do with social stigmas at the time when games came out that ends up being carried forward today.  But it is something that's been nagging at me that I haven't really thought about much until now.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #145 on: September 11, 2014, 05:29:48 PM »
Not really.  When video games were coming out women were discouraged from electronic pursuits.  Early computers, Atari and later Nintendo were designed by almost entirely male staff and still had the male bias.  Early games feature almost exclusively the damsel in distress trope.  Early games also features a lot of military elements and hulking male figures.  Women did not really get into computers, engineering and such until the late 90s and turn of the century.  Women are now descending on those fields in droves, but a lot of that does have to do with the high paying tech market and the encouragement of the feminist movement toward those doors being opened.  Originally women were actively discouraged from using and making use of those systems.

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #146 on: September 11, 2014, 05:37:20 PM »
Of course, I made the thread after all.  But looking at the history of games, there does seem to be a line of thought that I'd like to explore.

Right now, we say that games aren't very inviting to women because of sexist elements, yes?  (For the sake of discussion I'll simply agree that yes, this is correct, although there are other elements I'd like to debate later.)  However, how did we get to the current point?

Gaming has always been a male-dominated hobby.  Yet the culture of games, and specifically sexism in games, had to start somewhere, right?  Assuming all other things being equal, when games were in their infancy, we would expect them to be enjoyed by both men and women roughly equally, right?  Yet that wasn't the case, and this was before everyone started looking at the sexism in games.  Essentially, we're going around in circles: games are sexist because they're pandering to a primarily male audience, there's primarily a male audience for games because the games pander to them... the cycle had to start somewhere, yes?

Now admittedly, this may not be something biological like I was suggesting; it may have much more to do with social stigmas at the time when games came out that ends up being carried forward today.  But it is something that's been nagging at me that I haven't really thought about much until now.

I agree with everything you say, and there is one theory which I think holds some merit. I think a lot of people forget that even to this day there is a lot of social stigma attached to video gaming. I mean, it's obviously much better now, you can say "Oh I play video games" and no one will shit themselves in shock. However, even to this day I would be very hesitant about mentioning that I classify myself as not just someone who plays games but as a "gamer" to certain people. I wouldn't do it on a first date for example. I suspect it would throw up red flags and the girl would walk away (not literally but you get what I mean).

So back when gaming started, it was practically frowned upon as an inferior and socially unacceptable hobby. And so it, as so many things do, comes down to sex. gaming became the refuge of the guys who "couldn't get laid". The sporty guys got laid and played football whilst the nerds played pac-man and had a cheeky wee wank (I realise this is probably exaggerated but I don't think it's too far from the truth). Combine this with the fact that it tends to be easier for a girl to get laid, and the social stigma behind video games starts to rise up as being that all gamers are lonely neckbeard nerds who live in their parents basement. And that's where the cycle starts, the first people who got into video games and thus the first generation of developers and enthusiasts have all lived with very little female involvement in their chosen hobby. Obviously this has changed now, but much of the social stigma remains and I feel that this same stigma may actually be very related to whether or not girls actually do decide to play games.

I realise that this may be a little out of place in a serious argument but this particular joking image from 4chan does have a sort of element of truth buried within it:



Edit: changed the size of the image

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #147 on: September 11, 2014, 05:40:58 PM »
Wow...that's...so sexist.

Offline ImaginedScenes

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #148 on: September 11, 2014, 05:45:22 PM »
I assume it will come up in the videos eventually because it's too obvious to miss, but if one wanted to pick out an issue of objectification, titillation, exploitation and blatant fan service from Hitman: Absolution, surely The Saints are the perfect example.

In short it's a group of highly trained assassins who all happen to be female and all happen to wear a bdsm/fetish take on a nun's outfit.

Why nuns? Well, the fluff within the game indicates it was so they could use it as a cover for missions, going in as a "spiritual group". But the issue there is that when we see them in disguise they wear a full habit over the rest of their costume; so why the need for the fetish clothing underneath? The game attempts to lampshade it by having a character point out that the outfit is ridiculous and makes no sense... but they still wear it for the game don't they?

There's literally nothing about their role in the game that requires them to be 1) female 2) sexy 3) dressed as nuns 4) dressed as sexy nuns. A group of generic male "grizzled mercenaries" doing the role basically requires nothing but a model change.

Solid point, mate. If Anita was talking about things like this proportionately, her series would be completely respectable.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #149 on: September 11, 2014, 05:51:52 PM »
A female Shepard is neat except the story is not really centered on a female character.  The story is kept neutral since the character can be male or female.  Not really a step forward of a female character just because someone has the option of giving a male character breasts.  I will disclose that I did not enjoy Mass Effect and so did not play the game at length.  After hearing about the ending, sort of glad I didn’t.  Might as well claim X-Com, Skyrim and Civilzation are also games with female leads.

I find this one interesting. I've heard it before - the 'male character with breasts' - and I really don't understand what that statement is supposed to mean. It seems to me to imply that there ought to be some difference between male and female characters. Which I thought was contrary to what we were actually trying to achieve.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I understand that you can have a deep and strong female character and still have her behave in a way that would seem strange for a male character ( well - Gears of War might disagree ), as I believe the Tomb Raider reboot demonstrates - it at least tried to demonstrate this, according to the writer herself in an interview.

Still, I don't understand - why is 'male character with breasts' a thing? Why is it a bad thing? Is it even a bad thing?