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Author Topic: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?  (Read 13627 times)

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Offline consortium11

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #350 on: January 02, 2015, 09:58:50 AM »
I've said before how I disagree with much of what Sarkeesian says and generally think her approach to how she examines games (assuming good faith) is wrong.

But the best argument for more Sarkeesian is still to watch most of the "rebuttal" videos.

And I'm not sure how anyone can seriously argue that female main characters aren't a tiny minority of the main characters in video games and especially big/AAA titles. Yes, we can all name examples to counter that... Samus, Lara etc etc... but that still leaves us with what, a dozen? Two dozen at most. Compared to how many male leads?

The reply to the point that there aren't many female leads isn't to try and list the few there have been. It's to discuss why having female leads is important. Is it a case where we need to have characters who match some characteristic of ours for us to identify with them? Is it that we could tell better stories with more female leads? Would more female leads bring us better games?

Edit; typo correction ("are" to "aren't")
« Last Edit: January 02, 2015, 10:28:58 AM by consortium11 »

Offline Wajin

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #351 on: January 02, 2015, 10:15:38 AM »
I have a lot of friends who identify both strongly as gamers and strongly as feminists who HATES what Anita Sarkeesian is doing. Our nanny, one of my old high school mates, said it like this:

"Anita goes into the game purely to find these alleged acts of sexism and misogyny, even going so far as to disrupt the defined gameplay style of the game. Take her video featuring Hitman Absolution. In her video she failed to even once acknowledge that the game severely punishes you for disrupting the gameplay style that the room with the strippers is supposed to represent. Killing civilians and non-target villains makes the game harder in the long run by bumping up the difficulty noticeably. Furthermore, despite it being a shit game, Anita fails to acknowledge that there are games like Final Fantasy XIII, so packed with strong female protagonists who are, for the most part, much more enjoyable than the males. Fang, Vanille and to a degree Lightning, are much more enjoyable to play around with as they are portrayed as strong women who are just as, if not more, capable than the males in the game. To illustrate this point, Square put one of the most powerful, most recognizable and most badass symbols of the Final Fantasy series, the dragon Bahamut, under the control of Fang. Fang who is a badass spear wielding woman from a wilderness filled with insanely powerful beasts that has to defend herself from"

And I agree, Anita nitpicks the worst of the worst games, and I as a sane, adult consumer of video games knows when I am doing something horrible, so I don't do it. I play according to the gameplay theme of the game, so if I play the hitman games, I fucking play an assassin I don't go around killing innocents. If I play Watch_Dogs, I don't go around looking at women being sold into sexual slavery, I go about my mission so I can get the fuckers who are doing this shit.

Not to mention how she steals footage without given proper credit, but that's a topic for another thread.

I've said before how I disagree with much of what Sarkeesian says and generally think her approach to how she examines games (assuming good faith) is wrong.

But the best argument for more Sarkeesian is still to watch most of the "rebuttal" videos.

And I'm not sure how anyone can seriously argue that female main characters are a tiny minority of the main characters in video games and especially big/AAA titles. Yes, we can all name examples to counter that... Samus, Lara etc etc... but that still leaves us with what, a dozen? Two dozen at most. Compared to how many male leads?

The reply to the point that there aren't many female leads isn't to try and list the few there have been. It's to discuss why having female leads is important. Is it a case where we need to have characters who match some characteristic of ours for us to identify with them? Is it that we could tell better stories with more female leads? Would more female leads bring us better games?

I actually, personally, would love to see more female representation as protagonists in games, but the way to go about getting these new protagonists, isn't making videos condemning the people who make games or play them as misogynists 

Offline Slywyn

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #352 on: January 02, 2015, 10:20:11 AM »
90% of the content directed as "rebuttals" of her videos only act as even more proof as to why her videos need to exist and why we need more people like her. (Not JUST like her obviously because there are a lot of problematic things with her videos). But people along the same vein nonetheless.

Offline Shjade

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #353 on: January 02, 2015, 12:49:06 PM »
And I agree, Anita nitpicks the worst of the worst games, and I as a sane, adult consumer of video games knows when I am doing something horrible, so I don't do it. I play according to the gameplay theme of the game, so if I play the hitman games, I fucking play an assassin I don't go around killing innocents. If I play Watch_Dogs, I don't go around looking at women being sold into sexual slavery, I go about my mission so I can get the fuckers who are doing this shit.
Which completely misses the point that the games are designed with those options included on purpose because they expect the majority of the playerbase will want/enjoy them, even if you don't.

It's representative of a problem in design. It's not about the actual players at all.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #354 on: January 02, 2015, 02:06:43 PM »
Which completely misses the point that the games are designed with those options included on purpose because they expect the majority of the playerbase will want/enjoy them, even if you don't.

It's representative of a problem in design. It's not about the actual players at all.

Take GTA for an example.  You are able to go around killing women, some of them prostitutes, for the sole purpose of doing so.

However, you're able to go around killing anyone you want for the sole purpose of doing so.  That doesn't mean that the game encourages violence against women if it encourages violence against everyone.

Now, I won't say there aren't problems with GTA and female representation.  I do think it would be interesting to see a playable female protagonist, and if you said that sex workers in the game are too prevalent and represented poorly, I'd probably agree with you (though note that I have yet to play a GTA game myself, so it wouldn't be a very strong agreement until I've gotten around to playing it and seeing it for myself in context).  But to infer that the game allowing you to kill anyone means that you're encouraged to kill women (as if you're killing women exclusively - or worse, the men you're killing at the same time don't matter).  The simple fact is that if a game allows violence against everyone, you can't claim it encourages violence against only a specific group in that "everyone", even if some people get some perverse enjoyment out of doing so.

As an aside, there's a blog post that I think is an interesting read, that goes into some thoughts about how society's double standard of women and giving them an inherently positive outlook is harming their inclusion in games.  The blogger mentions if Booker from BioShock were female, and imagines what kind of reaction people would have if the game were full of female instead of male characters:

Quote
Booker is an absolute monster.  Would people be as accepting to a woman who sold her daughter?  Who was an alcoholic?  Who committed war crimes?  Who was unapologetically racist as Comstock and who killed her husband?  Who kept her daughter locked in a tower?

And Booker is violent.  How do you think people would react to you brutally drowning and bashing the head in of a female Comstock?!  How do you think people would react to a female booker snapping the necks of female police officers?  How would you feel about gunning down a dozen members of “The Sorority of the Order of the Raven”?

There's a lot more to the blog that I'd like to hear opinions on.  Link is here: http://thespectacularspider-girl.tumblr.com/post/102919064149/representation-of-women-in-video-games-the

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #355 on: January 02, 2015, 02:11:26 PM »
Honestly, the first three minutes of this video sort of shows how he is no more interested in researching his own points or coming from an unbiased perspective than he claims she does.  Extending that to four minutes just really drives home the point this person has very little to offer the discussion.

Also of the four characters put forward, 3 are less than 2 years old.  Of those three that are less than two years old at least two are wrapped up in various scandal and problems.  The reaction to Lara Croft's breast reduction and more athletic figure construction lead to threats of rape against female game developers and Jody's shower scene debacle was a horrible slap to women.  Four characters from the history of gaming is not a short list, it's an anomaly. 
The point of the video is to show how flawed her so called methods are and how they can easily be used to prove the opposite. Watch the whole thing and see. He does add to the discussion and raises valid points. Anita seeks to point out how women are victimized. Thunderf00t seeks to prove how the same approach can be used for men. I didn't say he was unbiased in his video, simply that he counters her with her own methods.

The scandals and ages shouldn't matter. What matters is that they are examples of GOOD protagonists. I didn't say about the amount just that they are an examples  of good protagonists in video games that people have tended to gloss over when complaining about there being nothing but sex objects in video games.

The only reason the shower scene even came out is because someone accessed the debug menus with a developer kit. That is it.  It isn't even Ellen Page's body it was a model's body. I own the game and have completed it and you don't really see much of any nakedness. Generally game developers use naked motion capture so they know what to censore. In this case Ellen Page did not feel comfortable doing naked motion capture so they got a model to do it in her stead. They then would have used camera angles and such so they could give a realistic scene all the while keeping the integrity of the character. They did the same for Madison Page and Ethan Mars in Heavy Rain. In fact they show more skin in Heavy Rain on Ethan Mars than they did in Beyond; Two Souls on Jody.

Ethan: http://download.gamezone.com/uploads/image/data/1149913/heavyrainQTE.jpg

David Cage is a perfectionist and does not shy away from details. He was angry when he found out someone had gone out of their way to spoil his work and had upset an actress he holds in high regards. Ellen Page was also angry at the people who found and released these files rather than Quantic Dream for having the content in the first place.

The allegation that female developers in Crystal Dynamic were threatened is completely false. If anything it was the MALE developers that were threatened just because one of the trailers featured a implied rape scene. From the start they said they wanted us to know Lara from her roots and the experiences that changed her. However, due to the backlash that they suffered they quickly back peddled and were forced to explain themselves thus giving out more information about the game than they initially wanted to at that point. It was also Rhianna Pratchett who has written this whole reboot (And is seen as somewhat an icon in nerd culture) and has said nothing about being threatened for any changes that have been made by her story telling or the concept artists.

If you could link me to an article that features threats then I would be grateful.

The reply to the point that there aren't many female leads isn't to try and list the few there have been. It's to discuss why having female leads is important. Is it a case where we need to have characters who match some characteristic of ours for us to identify with them? Is it that we could tell better stories with more female leads? Would more female leads bring us better games?

Edit; typo correction ("are" to "aren't")
I said "good protagonists" not the general amount of female protagonists. One of the things Anita complains about are the bad representation of females as protagonists and totally ignored the good. For example; she refers to Bayonetta as a quote "Fighting Fuck Toy." She totally ignores the fact that Bayonetta has a very full of life personality and that she uses her sexuality to get her places and enjoys it. She has a LOT of power and doesn't take crap from nobody. Even angels~ ;)

The same creator that made Bayonetta also made the original Devil May Cry. Both Dante and Bayonetta have the same attitude of "Get the job done, have fun, give no fucks."





Unfortunately Anita doesn't focus on her personality or how she is as a person. She simply talks about her appearance and nothing more and just discredits her and the game she is featured in.

To answer your questions though:

Is it a case where we need to have characters who match some characteristic of ours for us to identify with them? Not really. They just have to show what we identify as "humanistic" characteristics. Video game psychology makes use empathesis with the character on screen because they talk and feel like we do. Therefore relate to them.

Example:

Kingdom Hearts II:



Saying goodbye to anyone is hard, especially children. This part of KH2 reminds us of that childhood innocence and having to say goodbye when you don't want to. I think anyone with a heart will smile yet feel something upon watching that.

Sora is 16 at this point and travels many worlds and has to move on. Pooh and friends are very child-like characters because they were made for children and have to stay in their own world. The conversation that takes place is one that will take place on a varying level and not with exact words in the real world. We have all been in one or both roles at one point too; Feeling sad that someone is going away and not wanting them to go, while on the other hand there is needing to go and feeling sad that you have to say goodbye to a loved one and they don't want you to go. 

We know how that feels and so we relate to the characters on screen. Much like scenes in a movie.

Is it that we could tell better stories with more female leads? Not really, no. I personally don't think gender or sexuality matters in video games. I think it is more on the merits of the writer, artists, voice cast and music composers that make a good story.

Would more female leads bring us better games? I will refer to my above reply and add that it is down to developers to coding, writers writing and publishers doing a good marketing job.

90% of the content directed as "rebuttals" of her videos only act as even more proof as to why her videos need to exist and why we need more people like her. (Not JUST like her obviously because there are a lot of problematic things with her videos). But people along the same vein nonetheless.
Do you mean we need people like her to show how petty people can be and how people like her can trigger passionate counter responses that prove her wrong?

Offline Lynnette

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #356 on: January 02, 2015, 02:14:31 PM »
I was hoping I wouldn't be driven to post here, I don't really like this whole case overall, but I just feel it's in its place.

Yes, a vast majority of females in video games suffer from either sexualization or end up as damsels in distress. I remember back when Bioshock Infinite was being made, the original cover featured both main characters but the committee designing the cover-art decided to change it to the (male) main character holding a big gun, simply because it would drag in more people. Whenever the Tomb Raider came out, there was large doubts if it would sell just because the game had a female main character, but it did, and I think it served as an eye-opener for many game producers, that they could try to widen their horizons as well.

Females are vastly oppressed in video games, yes. Not just there either, it happens a lot in movies as well.

However, the problem with a lot of the videos that Anita Sarkeeisian produces and her arguments overall is that they are so one-sided. Many games that have male main characters also have strong female leads, or at least doesn't lack on female characters. I just recently finished the game Fire Emblem Awakening on the 3DS, and there was just a singe "weak" female character, and that was just a personality thing, she was still one of the arguably most useful characters in the game. The game had a more or less equal ratio of female and male characters, and the male characters also had some weaker characters, it wasn't just the females.

Another example to this, also a relatively resent title, would be Final Fantasy 13, yet another Japanese game. Half the main cast is female and when it comes to "strong characters" I'd argue that the female characters present were overall at least as useful if not more useful than the male characters in battle, and none of them were very "weak" characters either. It's not just the most recent installment either, it's the whole franchise.

Recently, I've been playing Dead or Alive 5 and Soul Calibur IV again, and yes, the females are very sexualized, and it's not something that I support and I would like to see less of it. However, many of the male characters were just as scantly clad.

Are we trying to sink down to the point where games can only consist of black boxes without commentary or voices, because regardless of what happens, it'll end up being sexualization or making "weak" characters?

A lot of these games are Japanese though, so let us pull it back to the west. Dragon Age Inquisition was just recently released, and the series as a whole (Apart from Dragon Age 2) has allowed you to make your character yourself, and the character is always a "strong" role. Same with the side-characters, it's always women who can handle themselves.

Yes, it's a flawed industry, but I refuse to accept Sarkeesian's way of putting it. She is making a one-sided slaughter-fest. Just that she calls her feminist in itself makes me want to throw up.

Equalitist? Can that be the new thing? I don't want to be in her trope at least.

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #357 on: January 02, 2015, 02:38:36 PM »
... her so called methods are ...

That made me laugh.  What on earth are "so called methods".  For future reference, I think you've misunderstood what "so called" means.

/Kythia's contribution to the discussion.

Offline Lynnette

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #358 on: January 02, 2015, 02:41:49 PM »
That made me laugh.  What on earth are "so called methods".  For future reference, I think you've misunderstood what "so called" means.

/Kythia's contribution to the discussion.

So-called methods is the effective act of going forward in something in an outlandish or silly manner that most would consider to be ridiculous, stupid or destructive. A bit like your reply.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #359 on: January 02, 2015, 02:43:32 PM »
If you want the conversation to continue then behave.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #360 on: January 02, 2015, 03:01:28 PM »
That assessment of killing prostitutes is fairly simplistic and without much context in regard to the game.  Grand Theft Auto as a franchise has continually employed this “shock” technique in order to gain attention and promote their supposed realism.  Rockstar is very much aware of how this comes across and has been told much in regard to how this portrays women.  The company has decided to take a freedom of speech and art excuse for their continued use of this, now cliché, mechanic.  Their only adjustment, as was pointed out much earlier in this discussion, was they removed an active incentive to kill the women by getting the money back spent on them.  To say though there is no encouragement is not necessarily true as young men, the target audience, are going to be drawn toward scantily clad imagery.  That these images are then able to be killed in a violent method indulges the other part of this activity, as the game is after all played for its violence.  Nobody plays GTA for the diplomacy options if there are even any. 

So Rockstar puts forward a scantily clad image with a seductive voice to lure a player’s attention and then allows that player to carry out violence on the image.  Now because these are prostitutes and in the real world are a vulnerable population, Rockstar does not give as much consequence as say driving up and killing a rich, white business man.  Certainly this could be done, but Rockstar is very clear about who the victims are to be here.  Much as Hitman setup, scantily clad woman in a bikini at a strip club is an easy kill while the rich, white man in a suit is the hard kill.  Let us be clear then in acknowledging that the path of victimization there is clearly set and encouraged.

Also, Anita does not call people that play these video games misogynistic.  Certainly she highlights there are misogynistic players in these groups and these players do make up a vocal group within the gamer communities.  Still she does go out of her way to avoid labeling all video game players misogynistic and even states in various points that she does not view video game manufacturers as desiring to promote misogyny.  Honestly she blames much of this on laziness of the writers and developers. 

As for there being importance to finding common factors with protagonists, there is an important link.  Research and time have repeatedly shown how minorities benefit from seeing people in positions of power so that they too can aspire to be in those positions.  Women were once a small portion of those in scientific fields, but a concerted effort has been given to put women on display in engineering and medical fields.  Now universities have an ever increasing number of women in those departments and moving into those professions.  Few could dispute that seeing a black President of the United States is an inspiration to children in the black community, just as few would argue that seeing homosexual men get married on court house steps is an important image for other homosexuals.  Seeing someone else do something, even if fictional, is an important drive in the culture and for people.

As for story development, certainly there will be an increase in the quality and differences.  Men and women do have different perspectives and a story told from a different perspective is a different story.  So there may indeed be better story telling quality if the demand and expectation are there.  Anita does speak to that desire in her work.  Indeed the “7 second” intro of Double Dragons would not exist if people expected more context than woman hit by man, man rushes out from garage to save woman.

The age of the characters is referenced because these are coming on the heels of an effort to see more women in gaming.  The Kickstarter for these videos was started around 2012 with a massive influx of money, showing a public interest in the critique.  People were looking at the video game industry already as a boy’s club before these videos were even produced; she merely added a popular spin to them and used her social media access to distribute.  That three of those four characters were released during a time of such upheaval and public interest only shows that her videos have helped cause a healthy conversation and did produce something.

Scandal shows the sensitive nature of there being these strong women coming forward in these storylines and indeed showing that there is a problem.  Did anyone leak a nude shower scene of a male protagonist?  Did I somehow miss a hot scene with a man in this video game?  No?  Seems to me the point is simply made.  As for Lara Croft, I will admit my information comes from a PC Gamer magazine I browsed over before the release of Tomb Raider.  The article was an editorial piece written by a male employee at the company who was amazed at the backlash a female colleague that handles their message board received.  Though I can direct you toward the multiple threads on Lara’s breast size and their seeming reduction.

So that said, just look at the imagery posted here for Bayonetta and Dante.  First image, Dante is holding her wrist that has a gun in a rather twisted maneuver to angle the gun away from him.  He also has a gun pointed to her head and she to, what might be a shot to his…arm?  Side?  So obviously he is the dominate force in the image.  Her breasts are prominent, eyes are on him but his eyes are on the viewer.  She looks worried and he is smirking.  Seriously…this is the image to highlight her badassness?

Next image..Dante and Bayonetta side-by-side comparison.  Dante standing full front, broad shoulders and full dressed.  Confident with palms lifted upward and a smirk.  He is wearing jeans, chaps and a characteristic red leather jacket.  Bayonetta is turned sideways in a classic female stance with obvious exaggeration of leg and bottom.  High heels, skin tight outfit, flashy boots and guns out and pointed around.  Lots of flashy jewelry and so forth.  So here we have jeans and jacket with a sword sheathed looking all cocky, whereas over here are exaggerated legs and bottom with a wink and guns flashing around.  These images honestly highlight the problem, not support a revolution of women.

As for personality, isn’t the sex to move up and have fun a bit cliché by now for women?  The idea that a woman uses her body to get into places whereas the man uses charm or strength to get into those same places seems a bit overplayed.  I am not debating that Bayonetta might be a fun character to play, but I can certainly see where someone might say she is a “fuck doll” due to her drawing and the description of her personality given.  Now do I think it’s fair that a woman is called a “fuck doll” because she wants to enjoy sex and her body, certainly not.  At the same time, I doubt the person that draw those two images of her above was thinking about advancing the place of women in gaming when they were made.

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #361 on: January 02, 2015, 03:25:26 PM »
The Soul Calibur example is pretty interesting, because the dudes are often just as scantily clad as the gals. However, the Western world either doesn't hold it as the same (a double standard) or men are just tripping on power fantasies when they play male characters in such games.

Well two questions:

One, why can't a woman feel as equally empowered? You can argue that it's "not for the women", but... isn't part of why guys want to be Conan the Barbarian the fact that their half-naked musculature would attract women? I'm sure some women love eating the beefcake as much as guys like the eye candy. Is it really so different between the sexes or is it something that's enforced by both sides of the argument? Because to do it you'd have to hold female and male sexuality to a different standards. If you truly held it to the same standard I think one would have to acknowledge that the game in general is oversexualized.

Two, why does it seem that men can't feel insecure about such unfair representations of men? By the same token is a male held to a different standard of attractiveness. Not everything is a power-fantasy. Just like a woman might feel insecure about the bikini model on the billboard, why wouldn't some men feel just as insecure about the half-naked dudes getting with women in the cologne commercials.  The argument I see most on this is, "Well the cologne is telling the male buyers, buy this and get hot chicks," which other than blanketing men as generally stupid I would have to say that this line of reasoning is insane.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #362 on: January 02, 2015, 03:37:46 PM »
So that said, just look at the imagery posted here for Bayonetta and Dante.  First image, Dante is holding her wrist that has a gun in a rather twisted maneuver to angle the gun away from him.  He also has a gun pointed to her head and she to, what might be a shot to his…arm?  Side?  So obviously he is the dominate force in the image.  Her breasts are prominent, eyes are on him but his eyes are on the viewer.  She looks worried and he is smirking.  Seriously…this is the image to highlight her badassness?

Next image..Dante and Bayonetta side-by-side comparison.  Dante standing full front, broad shoulders and full dressed.  Confident with palms lifted upward and a smirk.  He is wearing jeans, chaps and a characteristic red leather jacket.  Bayonetta is turned sideways in a classic female stance with obvious exaggeration of leg and bottom.  High heels, skin tight outfit, flashy boots and guns out and pointed around.  Lots of flashy jewelry and so forth.  So here we have jeans and jacket with a sword sheathed looking all cocky, whereas over here are exaggerated legs and bottom with a wink and guns flashing around.  These images honestly highlight the problem, not support a revolution of women.

As for personality, isn’t the sex to move up and have fun a bit cliché by now for women?  The idea that a woman uses her body to get into places whereas the man uses charm or strength to get into those same places seems a bit overplayed.  I am not debating that Bayonetta might be a fun character to play, but I can certainly see where someone might say she is a “fuck doll” due to her drawing and the description of her personality given.  Now do I think it’s fair that a woman is called a “fuck doll” because she wants to enjoy sex and her body, certainly not.  At the same time, I doubt the person that draw those two images of her above was thinking about advancing the place of women in gaming when they were made.

I need to collect my thoughts a bit more before I reply to the rest of your post, but I did want to point out that the first image is fanart, not anything official, and while it might not be the most ideal image to use to highlight the characters it's also not how they're officially viewed.

Just browsed around real quick and I found an article that has a few women talking about what they think of Bayonetta's character, and it's kind of interesting to see some of the different perspectives.  If you're going to say that she's a bad role model because she's made to be sexy, you might want to take a look at some of the opinions here: http://www.negativeworld.org/feature/11720/female-gamers-speak-about-the-bayonetta-franchise-part-1-of-2#.VKcPZHvQNsd

Offline Lynnette

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #363 on: January 02, 2015, 03:41:45 PM »
That assessment of killing prostitutes is fairly simplistic and without much context in regard to the game.  Grand Theft Auto as a franchise has continually employed this “shock” technique in order to gain attention and promote their supposed realism. Rockstar is very much aware of how this comes across and has been told much in regard to how this portrays women.  The company has decided to take a freedom of speech and art excuse for their continued use of this, now cliché, mechanic.  Their only adjustment, as was pointed out much earlier in this discussion, was they removed an active incentive to kill the women by getting the money back spent on them.  To say though there is no encouragement is not necessarily true as young men, the target audience, are going to be drawn toward scantily clad imagery.  That these images are then able to be killed in a violent method indulges the other part of this activity, as the game is after all played for its violence.  Nobody plays GTA for the diplomacy options if there are even any. 

Excuse me but... What?

The whole game is a shooting gallery. You can practically kill anyone. Prostitution is a line of work. Banker is a line of work. Does that mean that I should be punished less if I shot the banker instead of the prostitute? Because really, what you are saying here is a bit... Silly. The game doesn't promote that you kill the prostitutes, but they are there, yes. You can shoot them, and they can have money. However, if you shoot anyone else on the street, they can have money too. Granted, the games have gone a bit far when in GTA San Andreas there was a separate category for leveling called "Sexuality", however it has been cut away. Maybe it was promoting back then, but that game is old now, and we can't change the old games, but we can change the new.

So Rockstar puts forward a scantily clad image with a seductive voice to lure a player’s attention and then allows that player to carry out violence on the image.  Now because these are prostitutes and in the real world are a vulnerable population, Rockstar does not give as much consequence as say driving up and killing a rich, white business man.  Certainly this could be done, but Rockstar is very clear about who the victims are to be here.  Much as Hitman setup, scantily clad woman in a bikini at a strip club is an easy kill while the rich, white man in a suit is the hard kill.  Let us be clear then in acknowledging that the path of victimization there is clearly set and encouraged.

You do know that the majority of the characters and such displayed in the loading screens were main characters and police, right? If anything, it promotes violence towards police far more than it does to women. You are punished more or less equally when killing either in the GTA franchise, the difference is that the likelihood of someone seeing you killing the prostitute is a fair bit lower than if you walk up to someone on the street and put a gun in their mouth. Your arguments imply that you haven't played the games much.

Also, Anita does not call people that play these video games misogynistic.  Certainly she highlights there are misogynistic players in these groups and these players do make up a vocal group within the gamer communities.  Still she does go out of her way to avoid labeling all video game players misogynistic and even states in various points that she does not view video game manufacturers as desiring to promote misogyny.  Honestly she blames much of this on laziness of the writers and developers. 

You see... There is this thing, it's called "They need to sell it". The video game market is currently dominated by males, and the actions that the game producers take are done because, well, they need to sell it. It's the gamers that set the guidelines for how games should be produced, not the game producers. Blaming it on the ones that make the stuff is stupid, blame it on the ones who demand it. A writer writes what he's paid to write, a 3D-modeller models what he's paid to model. They are told to write it by a creative committee that decide this based on what the gamers want. GTA5 was such a gigantic success because it gave the gamers exactly what they wanted - Violence, car chases, attractive women and pop-culture references, something of which they got. Movie franchises like Fast and the Furious are no better you know.

As for story development, certainly there will be an increase in the quality and differences.  Men and women do have different perspectives and a story told from a different perspective is a different story.  So there may indeed be better story telling quality if the demand and expectation are there.  Anita does speak to that desire in her work.  Indeed the “7 second” intro of Double Dragons would not exist if people expected more context than woman hit by man, man rushes out from garage to save woman.

As I said earlier, the producers need to sell their produce, and they will make their produce on what they know will sell. Female protagonists have a tendency of selling less than male protagonists. Every rule has its exceptions, but we have seen this over and over and over and over and over. The audience wants male main characters, so it gives them as well.

The age of the characters is referenced because these are coming on the heels of an effort to see more women in gaming.  The Kickstarter for these videos was started around 2012 with a massive influx of money, showing a public interest in the critique.  People were looking at the video game industry already as a boy’s club before these videos were even produced; she merely added a popular spin to them and used her social media access to distribute.  That three of those four characters were released during a time of such upheaval and public interest only shows that her videos have helped cause a healthy conversation and did produce something.

Thing is... Sure, it might have been a boy-club, but females are not told to leave because of this. In many cases, women that play video games is considered another attractive feature about them. Just because the industry is led by male gamers, it never kicks females away. When you go to a game store, the clerks never tell you to leave or frown at you, they will just treat you like any other customer, which is how it should be. I can't really say that her videos have contributed to healthy conversations though... I mean really... The whole GamerGate thing was anything but healthy... At this point, it feels more like "which side can pour the most gasoline on the fire". I mean we are discussing it here, and up until starcry posted, from what I saw, it was for the most part a one-sided slaughter.

Scandal shows the sensitive nature of there being these strong women coming forward in these storylines and indeed showing that there is a problem.  Did anyone leak a nude shower scene of a male protagonist?  Did I somehow miss a hot scene with a man in this video game?  No?  Seems to me the point is simply made.  As for Lara Croft, I will admit my information comes from a PC Gamer magazine I browsed over before the release of Tomb Raider.  The article was an editorial piece written by a male employee at the company who was amazed at the backlash a female colleague that handles their message board received.  Though I can direct you toward the multiple threads on Lara’s breast size and their seeming reduction.

I'm done. Play the game and come back. If you want to participate in an argument, have sufficient material to back your cause.

So that said, just look at the imagery posted here for Bayonetta and Dante.  First image, Dante is holding her wrist that has a gun in a rather twisted maneuver to angle the gun away from him.  He also has a gun pointed to her head and she to, what might be a shot to his…arm?  Side?  So obviously he is the dominate force in the image.  Her breasts are prominent, eyes are on him but his eyes are on the viewer.  She looks worried and he is smirking.  Seriously…this is the image to highlight her badassness?

First of all, I would like to clarify, the top picture is fan art, not official art. It's not something that a producer from either game has made.

Next image..Dante and Bayonetta side-by-side comparison.  Dante standing full front, broad shoulders and full dressed.  Confident with palms lifted upward and a smirk.  He is wearing jeans, chaps and a characteristic red leather jacket.  Bayonetta is turned sideways in a classic female stance with obvious exaggeration of leg and bottom.  High heels, skin tight outfit, flashy boots and guns out and pointed around.  Lots of flashy jewelry and so forth.  So here we have jeans and jacket with a sword sheathed looking all cocky, whereas over here are exaggerated legs and bottom with a wink and guns flashing around.  These images honestly highlight the problem, not support a revolution of women.

Pardon me, but if you go out to a party, what do you see? Women in tight outfits standing sideways to display their sexuality and males dressed in looser clothes standing up front to look tough. I will agree that Bayonetta's figure is rather silly and doesn't help on the ongoing discussion of beauty standards, but let's not bring that in here. And why do you refer to it as the "revolution of women"? That's just stupid, call it the "revolution of equality" or something. The aim shouldn't be to make women more prominent than males in video games, but to put them more so on par with the males, a cause that I would support if Anita's arguments weren't so one-sided.

As for personality, isn’t the sex to move up and have fun a bit cliché by now for women?  The idea that a woman uses her body to get into places whereas the man uses charm or strength to get into those same places seems a bit overplayed.  I am not debating that Bayonetta might be a fun character to play, but I can certainly see where someone might say she is a “fuck doll” due to her drawing and the description of her personality given.  Now do I think it’s fair that a woman is called a “fuck doll” because she wants to enjoy sex and her body, certainly not.  At the same time, I doubt the person that draw those two images of her above was thinking about advancing the place of women in gaming when they were made.

Another classic example of "Play the fucking game". The Bayonetta gameplay is far more ridiculous and extravagant than the gritty and darker gameplay of Devil May Cry. Bayonetta is the incarnation of "Strength". Really, what other games can you fight on top of a falling plane? She is overall a strong character, though of course, if you haven't played the games or even spent the time to look it up, I can't expect you to know.

Arguments like these is why I refer to feminism as a big fat joke. Feminism, if anyone actually bothered to look it up, is the pursuit for equality, not the pursuit to make up for all the years of oppression. The goal isn't to make men weak, it's the pursuit of getting on par with men.

#EqualismBetterThanFeminism?

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #364 on: January 02, 2015, 03:44:47 PM »
Keep it civil in here.  You can attack the arguments but not other members.

Offline Remiel

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #365 on: January 02, 2015, 03:56:20 PM »
I find it sad and telling about humanity in general that our go-to response, when faced with a voice we don't agree with, is: shut it down.  Silence it.  Drown it out.

This applies to both Sarkeesian herself, as well as to the legions of Gamergate supporters who wished to silence her and Zoe Quinn.  It seems like we can never have a reasonable, civil discussion anymore; we have to dismiss the other side as ridiculous and without merit.

I've never understood the furor about this issue, or why people even care at all.  Of course video games are sexist.  Of course they are.  The reason is simple:

1. for many years, video games were the domain of a predominantly young male audience.  This is changing--there are more female gamers than ever before, and there are older gamers than ever before, and there are more gamers who don't self-identify as "nerds" than ever before.  But I don't think it's a fallacious claim to say that young (13-29 year old) males still make up the majority of gamers.

2.  Sex appeal sells.  Period.  The entire advertising industry has been built around this fact.  I would even go so far to say (although I'm too lazy to properly research this assertion) that women as well as men prefer to see an aesthetically appealing female form over a male one.  Just hop over to to the Finders and Seekers thread here on E, and tell me whether there are more pictures of women or men.

3.  As technology becomes more and more advanced, and video games become more and more expensive to create, the companies which produce the games are increasingly interested in turning a profit.    I would argue that yes, games are art, but the impetus for creating them remains, first and foremost, to make money.   If you make two games, alike in all other aspects, but one of them features a scantily-clad female heroine while the other features a generic male, which one do you think will sell more?  Which version of Shepherd became the fan favorite in Mass Effect 3?


Therefore, it can be logically deduced that games will tend to feature attractive female characters who may or may not be in supporting roles.   There is an inherent sexism built-in, and it will not stop until our cultural norms of visual appeal, what we tend to see as attractive body types, change. 

But by the same token, this also explains why Anita Sarkeesian and her supporters are mistaken: game developers are not, and never have been, out to make games with the sole intention of oppressing women or turning them into sex objects.  They are out to make money, pure and simple.

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #366 on: January 02, 2015, 04:02:39 PM »
1. for many years, video games were the domain of a predominantly young male audience.  This is changing--there are more female gamers than ever before, and there are older gamers than ever before, and there are more gamers who don't self-identify as "nerds" than ever before.  But I don't think it's a fallacious claim to say that young (13-29 year old) males still make up the majority of gamers.
You'd be wrong, apparently. I was curious about this myself and a quick search brings up several generally reputable organizations stating that the numbers are close to half. I think there was also an Extra Credits video (a web series done by game industry people) that stated that it was close to half, but it'd take me a while to track down.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/tech/gaming-gadgets/female-gamers/

Now, whether the industry actually knows this and monopolizes on it remains to be seen. I'm actually kind of heartened by this ratio myself.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2015, 04:07:21 PM by Inkidu »

Offline consortium11

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #367 on: January 02, 2015, 04:47:07 PM »
You'd be wrong, apparently. I was curious about this myself and a quick search brings up several generally reputable organizations stating that the numbers are close to half. I think there was also an Extra Credits video (a web series done by game industry people) that stated that it was close to half, but it'd take me a while to track down.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/tech/gaming-gadgets/female-gamers/

Now, whether the industry actually knows this and monopolizes on it remains to be seen. I'm actually kind of heartened by this ratio myself.

This sort of leads us back into the whole "what constitutes a gamer" argument though. The ESA doesn't present their methodology for that study (except to note that they surveyed 2,200 households) so we can't tell what definition they used but other surveys that have noted the large increase in female gamers also noted that the vast majority of the "new" female gamers tended to be those who played casual tablet or mobile games; think Angry Birds or Candy Crush.

Does that constitute someone being a gamer?

Maybe. But when it comes to who games are marketed and targeted at it does mean that they are of lesser importance. Someone who spends sub-$30 a year on a couple of mobile/tablet games and doesn't make many (if any) micro-transactions isn't as valuable to a producer as someone who buys pretty much every AAA title (some of which they may well either pre-order or get special editions of), buys most of the DLC and then buys lots of other games. And from the studies I have seen that group... the "core" gamers who drive the AAA games industry... are still predominantly male.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #368 on: January 02, 2015, 05:21:49 PM »
First, since this was brought up twice, I will address the picture criticism.  The image was posted up by the other member as an example of Bayonetta going up against, “angels.”  I am guessing this angels part was in reference to Dante’s heritage.  Anyway, the image placed there was meant to portray her badassness which I eluded to in the last sentence of my critique of the image.  If the image is placed there as an example to reinforce an argument, then I have the right to then critique that picture’s imagery and show the falsehood of the claim.

Secondly, I did not say that Bayonetta was a bad role model or a bad character.  I simply said I can understand someone seeing that image, hearing the description and making that observation.  I would make the argument that her being in such an unrealistic and obviously fantastical setting does dissuade her from being considered a serious representation of women being “strong” in gaming.

Also, the blog post of opinions praising Bayonetta is a bit misleading.  For one the author details his methodology as placing a questionnaire into his own social media contacts and pulling from them a select sampling of replies.  So in essence he distributed a questionnaire to his own favorite areas and then picked ones that he would then write about.  Not a random, representative or even applicable sampling.  Similar to screaming, “Does anyone agree with me?” out of your back porch.  I can find a sampling of women that believe that men should beat their wives and who would be happy for women to not be in college as well.

While I don’t have any evidence on hand (just not feeling well, sorry), I would tend to believe consortium’s critique of the data.  Women are growing in their video game usage and make up a large part of the market, but this also coincides with an explosion of tablet and cellphone games which seem to be included in this sampling I think.  Hardcore gamers, I would think, are still largely men and so while more women are buying games the amount of money coming to the game industry is probably still male influenced.

Offline ofDelusions

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #369 on: January 02, 2015, 05:23:06 PM »

2.  Sex appeal sells.  Period.  The entire advertising industry has been built around this fact.  I would even go so far to say (although I'm too lazy to properly research this assertion) that women as well as men prefer to see an aesthetically appealing female form over a male one.  Just hop over to to the Finders and Seekers thread here on E, and tell me whether there are more pictures of women or men.



Actually there are studies that discredit the idea that sex automatically sells so its not really cut and dry issue. Mostly its probably just advertisers being lazy and relaying on the "common knowledge."

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #370 on: January 02, 2015, 06:09:07 PM »
This sort of leads us back into the whole "what constitutes a gamer" argument though. The ESA doesn't present their methodology for that study (except to note that they surveyed 2,200 households) so we can't tell what definition they used but other surveys that have noted the large increase in female gamers also noted that the vast majority of the "new" female gamers tended to be those who played casual tablet or mobile games; think Angry Birds or Candy Crush.

Does that constitute someone being a gamer?

Maybe. But when it comes to who games are marketed and targeted at it does mean that they are of lesser importance. Someone who spends sub-$30 a year on a couple of mobile/tablet games and doesn't make many (if any) micro-transactions isn't as valuable to a producer as someone who buys pretty much every AAA title (some of which they may well either pre-order or get special editions of), buys most of the DLC and then buys lots of other games. And from the studies I have seen that group... the "core" gamers who drive the AAA games industry... are still predominantly male.
Honestly, if you're going to just quantify it into something meaningless then what's it matter? Does a person who only reads one book a month not a reader? Does someone who only watches independent films a moviegoer? Of course not.

If someone asks you if you're a gamer and you say yes, then you are a gamer.

EDIT: To elaborate, video games are the only medium where people bother to distinguish between gamer and non-gamer. Music, books, and movies don't do this, but video gamers feel the need to make this rather pointless distinction.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2015, 06:12:59 PM by Inkidu »

Offline consortium11

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #371 on: January 02, 2015, 06:32:54 PM »
Honestly, if you're going to just quantify it into something meaningless then what's it matter? Does a person who only reads one book a month not a reader? Does someone who only watches independent films a moviegoer? Of course not.

If someone asks you if you're a gamer and you say yes, then you are a gamer. .

1) Remiel's post that you replied to was giving his thoughts on why games contain primarily male leads and scantily clad females and the conclusion was that it was largely marketing to an audience. Your reply was that the audience was now almost half female. My reply was to note that while given a wide definition "gamer" this may well be the case when it comes to looking at the people who spend significant amounts of money on games and drive AAA sales then men remain the significant majority.

You may think it's meaningless to differentiate between someone who downloaded Candy Crush and plays it while waiting at the bustop and someone with a list of 789 games on their Steam and three AAA games on pre-order (including two special editions) but the publishers who decide what AAA games make it past the pitch stage it certainly isn't.

EDIT: To elaborate, video games are the only medium where people bother to distinguish between gamer and non-gamer. Music, books, and movies don't do this, but video gamers feel the need to make this rather pointless distinction

You've never heard a "true" fan of a genre of music complain about the watered down stuff that makes the charts? You've never heard a movie fan complain about the mass-market remakes of what he views as cult classics? Never heard someone complain about the US version of their favorite Japanese horror film?

I'd actually argue the exact opposite. Video games is one of the few things in life where people attempt to classify everyone who ever engages in it in one category. Lots and lots and lots and lots of people drive... does that make them all car buffs or petrol/gearheads? Lots of people watch movies... does that make them all movie buffs? Lots of people drink wine... does that make them all wine enthusiasts? Etc etc. In almost every other case we are more than happy to accept that there is a difference between those who do something casually and those for whom it is something of primary importance.

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #372 on: January 02, 2015, 06:42:50 PM »
I just remembered what fallacy you're using: The No True Scotsman Fallacy.

Offline consortium11

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #373 on: January 02, 2015, 07:05:34 PM »
I just remembered what fallacy you're using: The No True Scotsman Fallacy.

Huh?

"No True Scotsman" is the idea of saying "well, no true *insert thing here* would do that" as a way to avoid the *insert thing here* having negative connotations attached to it. And that's nothing at all like I'm saying.

You're a fine wine maker.. It costs millions to make your wine, it's expensive to purchase and if it doesn't sell a certain amount you're going to go out of business. Who do you target that wine at... the people who buy the odd bottle of "Two Buck Chuck" or people who are members of The Cellar Plan. After all, they both drink wine and so isn't it supposedly meaningless to differentiate them?

I mean, we can use examples within video gaming itself. You're Obsidian Entertainment and you're about to try and crowdfund your new project, a homage to the Infinity Engine games and other "classic" RPG's. Do you target it at the sort of people who go to places like RPGCodex and love hardcore RPGs or do you target it at the sort of people who buy Madden/FIFA each year and no other games? They're both gamers aren't they?

But one sort of the gamer is the one who's more likely to spend money on your game.

And in the case of AAA titles that sort of gamer generally remains male.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #374 on: January 02, 2015, 07:08:16 PM »
Also, the blog post of opinions praising Bayonetta is a bit misleading.  For one the author details his methodology as placing a questionnaire into his own social media contacts and pulling from them a select sampling of replies.  So in essence he distributed a questionnaire to his own favorite areas and then picked ones that he would then write about.  Not a random, representative or even applicable sampling.  Similar to screaming, “Does anyone agree with me?” out of your back porch.  I can find a sampling of women that believe that men should beat their wives and who would be happy for women to not be in college as well.

Not every opinion in that article likes Bayonetta though (seriously, scroll down to the third question and read the first two responses, you hit both ends of the spectrum there), and in the first few paragraphs he says that while it's certainly not a perfect methodology and he did only poll people he could immediately reach, he also didn't cut any responses and posted everything he got, so it's not just him quoting people that agree with him and ignoring dissent.