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Submitted by TheMrFraz 405d ago | opinion piece

Talking Misogyny: Rescuing Lovers vs. Reclaiming Possessions

Do damsels in distress represent objectified possessions that must be won as Anita Sarkeesian suggests in her "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" series? Or is there an underlying aspect of love that makes these Rescue The Princess stories much less misogynistic than they may seem on the surface level? Always the lover, Gamers Association editor Luke Frazier argues for the latter. (Anita Sarkeesian, Culture)

admiralvic  +   405d ago
Sigh~ I really hope this isn't the next big hot button topic that 20+ sites have to weigh in their opinion on. Please, give me more Simcity hate or even the ____ console is dead topics are better than this...

Anyway, this is one of the better articles I've read on N4G, which surprised me. With this being said, I've always thought of this trope as the lazy out of story telling. Ignoring all of the stories theme, depth, and details, it's commonly used simply because it doesn't require a lot of effort to do. You have 2 characters and the antagonist one is obviously the person that took something from you, from here you have the very simple motivation needed to justify the events of the story.

Sadly some people want to over think these things and imply negative connotations to them. * Let me start by saying, despite having posted my 2 cents in all of these topics so far, I've yet to watch said video and will continue to do so as to not support it. *The first problem with this is the fact of "ownership" the author mentions she talks about. Typically the hero is just a righteous character that is doing this out of DUTY, not greed / selfish desire or anything of the sort. I never got the impression that Mario, Link or any other character in this theme was fighting to reclaim what was THEIR property, it was just the right thing to do. Additionally we've seen some stories put a spin on this classic trope, like Sheik being Zelda in OoT. I wouldn't say Zelda really NEEDED Links help in that story (to be fair she probably helped him more than her...) and guess what, that's also among (if not the) most popular Zelda game to date.

As I've said in other articles, I can understand / respect she wants to make things "better", topics like DiD in stories is an overly generic and weak argument. Typically this wouldn't mean a lot, but when you attack a tired issue with one of the most tired arguments as your first step for change, it doesn't imply that the future installments will be that bright.
Wenis  +   405d ago
Its interesting that we always hear how aweful it is when video games stereotype women, yet we never hear anything when the same is done to men.

Look at Duke Nukem, portraying men as being overly muscular studs who only think about killing things and sex. And look at Gears of War, the men are again portrayed as overly muscular bros who are all about killing. As a man I find this SO offensive. Actually I don't because I know its just a game so I don't get my panties in a bunch over it.

But when we get a zombie in a bikini.. SOUND THE ALARMS
#1.1 (Edited 405d ago ) | Agree(12) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
Ravenor  +   405d ago
Hey that plastic gross looking torso was all about men objectifying women...and Bikini's...somehow.

Both genders get stereotyped and portrayed in often very inaccurate ways. Both genders "Objectify" in the sense that just as a man may desire a women, women generally have some male person in their lives that make them tingle.

The demonizing of male attention is not a healthy way to bring attention to silent victims of Sexual assault. For years what kept victims of these s silent was "Slut Shaming" the idea that a sexual assault was the victims fault, that issue was largely created and propagated by WOMEN (Not 100% but a large factor in it).

Oh is this article about Anita Sarkeesian and her ridiculous tropes argument? Does she ever bring up Samus Aran and how amazing that character is? Focusing in on the damsel in distress trope at a time when story telling in console games was incredibly basic just seems like cherry picking.
yog-sothot  +   405d ago
In my opinion, the "Duke Nukem cliché" is not the same stereotype applied to men, because being a muscular badass is mainly a male fantasy (even though it may offend you, it is clearly made to please men and not women), exactly as is the damsel in distress.
TopDudeMan  +   405d ago
Some might say that the woman in the video is reinforcing the same stereotypes by covering her face in make-up and wearing massive hoop earings.

Feminism is something I can never really come to terms with. How can you really say another race or sex has it better when you've never grown up and lived as the other half?

I agree with wenis. Stereotypes are everywhere. Everyone has to deal with them, Making a video whining about them is not going to defy them.

When I play a game, sure, it's refreshing to play as a female protagonist, but I, personally like to put myself in the game. Developers know that the majority of gamers are male, so that is why there are more male protagonists.
TopDudeMan  +   405d ago
Also, what this woman is saying is that if she's ever in need of rescuing- don't do it. It'll just offend her.
admiralvic  +   404d ago
Yup, though I would go a step further and point out that the DiD trope can be taken 2 ways...

1) As a sexist trope that only applies to women and is limited to women because of whatever reason.
2) Speaking in terms of story structure, the DiD story could apply to virtually any story that involves you fighting a villain to rescue something be it male or female. I suppose this is where I fail to understand the argument, since I look at it in terms of nuts and bolts.

Either way, I can vaguely understand where she's coming from, but in COMPLETE honesty, I would like to know how many people actually look at these things in the light she portrays them in. I suspect a lot of the "hate" and disagreements these "righteous" people face isn't due to hate, but simply not reading into things. Like I never thought about Mario saving Peach during Super Mario Bros., I just played the game. I suspect a lot of people feel more like me and in turn simply don't understand where she's coming from.
arbitor365  +   405d ago
i dont see the mario games like mario is "rescuing his object." if anything, he is getting the **** end of the stick. he is clearly getting friendzoned by peach. he saves her in every game and what does she do? she bakes him a cake.
ShaunCameron  +   405d ago
It figures. Peach is attracted to "bad boys". And Mario is a "nice guy". At least he managed to get a kiss from her once.
PeaSFor  +   405d ago
someone know if there's some sort of bug spray to keep Anita Sarkeesian away from gaming medias?
Megaton  +   405d ago
Feminists give women a bad name. Like vegans and vegetables. Or hippies and weed.
#4 (Edited 405d ago ) | Agree(6) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Antarsh  +   405d ago
Again, why should we care what a feminist has to say? It's only a video game. It's not like video games don't stereotype men too. It goes both ways. I can't believe people are actually giving this chick attention.
Megaton  +   405d ago
Agreed. Had no idea who this person even was until N4G got its panties in a wad over her. They've delivered her a resounding victory on a platter by talking about her so much.
admiralvic  +   404d ago
Actually, I would say the N4G attention is quite negative and might give her views, but her goal isn't views, it's to resolve the problem, which everything I've read suggests that she's failing at.

According to what others have said, she blocked comments on her videos. While I will assume it's to not hear trolls / idiots complain about her, it also prevents her from taking feedback / knowing how things are being received and ultimately shows that you don't care about your message.

Additionally, a lot of people remember her from Kickstarter (something I learned when I first saw this video) where she asked for 6,000 to do this. Now truth be told, I don't exactly know what about this mission requires support, since I could see her at most needing a few hundred for a camcorder. Ultimately she got 150,000+ for her mission, so people are expecting a lot from her and it WILL be a big thing people use to discredit her, since some people put a lot of faith in her.

Finally, it seems none of the comments really take her side and even the positive ones just say they understand where she's coming from. So if she isn't getting people to change or even care about what she has to say, then she's ultimately failing.
rainslacker  +   404d ago
Not all feminist are like this. Some actually do work for positive change in the interest of equal rights for women.

Others ignore society as a whole and work towards special rights, which only segregates women more from society because they are counter-productive to the broader women's rights movement.

Using story tropes as a proof for underlying misogynistic views within the games industry serves no purpose. To effect real change you have to look at the actual industry and who it's made up of, how women are treated in the industry, and where to go from there. There are certainly more pressing issues to resolve than the DiD scenario, and it is the most shallow of ways to launch a real discussion on what is reportedly a real problem in the world...not just the game industry.

Coming across as accusatory, and making men the bad guy has historically been ineffective, and only serves to reinforce the bad feminist viewpoint.
from the beach  +   405d ago
It's actually quite shocking that the new Double Dragon reprised that scene.. and that the NSMBU games feature a palette-swapped toad rather than Peach as a character.
Ravenor  +   405d ago
The story involves saving her from Bowser, how was she supposed to participate in saving herself?

It really doesn't take much to "Shock" you eh?
from the beach  +   405d ago
Yeah, because changing the story would definitely spoil Super Mario. There's no way Nintendo could tamper with that, the most important aspect of the series, which is for many people the sole reason why they play.
Alos88  +   405d ago
If the story isn't a big deal then why does this bother you in the first place?
from the beach  +   405d ago
Clearly because the story is problematic - and can easily be fixed - independent of the game's mechanics.
Sketchy_Galore  +   404d ago
Ugh, I tried. I honestly tried but if there is one stereotype that video does not dispel its the stereotype of feminists being utterly humourless and desperate to bring any fun or enjoyment to a screeching halt.

The handsome knight rescuing the damsel in distress may not take into account every argument for gender equality and the plight of every individual encountering the ignorance of society at large but guess what, that's why they were the most popular type of story in the early days of videogaming. People just wanted to bounce the silly character off of floating platforms and needed a simple unobtrusive story to hang this activity on. The oldest and most popular story outline since the dawn of time probably seemed like a good fit.

In fact, Mario subverted this old, old story by replacing the handsome knight with a regular Schlub plumber. You can argue that this just makes things more sexist but then what would your argument be, that Mario isn't hot enough? See, the old tale of the handsome knight rescuing the damsel in distress has proved so popular because there are as many young girls throughout history who's hearts have raced with the thought of being swept off of their feet by the handsome knight in shining armour as there are young boys who have delighted in the idea of rescuing the Princess. That story speaks to an inbuilt genetic drive in both genders. The woman with the slow reproductive cycle therefore more value to the species being rescued by the man who can impregnate 12 different women a week, therefore is less valuable to the species as an individual. If you want to eschew those traditional gender roles I honestly applaud but to deny that the story of the damsel in distress has just as much value to the traditional genetic drives of both genders and just as much unfair bigotry against them is just crazy. As much as you may resent being expected to play the part of the precious jewel in need of saving I resent having to play the part of the expendable grunt who has to save you.

Okay, I am ranting but let's just end it with this little thought experiment. If I as a male (just about) and you as a female were spending a lovely day out at the Zoo (not likely I know but stick with it) and we came across two terrified people who had fallen into the Komodo dragon enclosure and needed saving from one of the angry beasts. One of these terrified people was a short stocky plumber with a moustache and the other was a dainty well dressed young lady. Which one of us would be expected to climb into the enclosure and save them and who would we be expected to save first? Can you argue that anything other than me climbing in and saving the girl would have me shunned by society and had it angrily suggested that I'm not a 'real man'?
kB0  +   404d ago
I honestly respect the video and the message, but I think it's a little out of place to be accusing rather than looking for solutions.

Rescuing the princess is more about art than sending a message. Video games rarely ever send a message worth hearing.... I mean take for example Mario...sending the message to eat Shrooms and somehow shooting fireballs from flowers....I mean who would be influenced by that?

Anyways, although there are some pretty powerful games that have women as a main protagonist (Metroid being one that actually raises the bar)

Now getting to brass tax, I think that women should, instead of dissecting or tearing down walls start a venture that bring women into video games. There are plenty of indie devs out there waiting to bring something new to the public and I've seen some great examples, like Gina sisters, they bleed etc...

Instead of trying to influence the gaming market and trying to change these big heartless corps...you could naturally be letting the users decide the fate and have them influenced by a change in gaming and feminism.

Indie devs are those that will have great pull in the gaming market, since they are the last Art forms of gaming instead of the institutionalized gaming we've been seeing lately.
admiralvic  +   404d ago
Thats the problem with most of these messages, since they usually come off as limited in scope and most importantly, never properly explain their stance to those that don't understand.

LIke I mentioned above, I don't exactly grasp what makes a DiD story different than a male rescue story. Is there even a difference? Perhaps if we started by explaining why your stance makes sense, we could start to see change. However, I think too many people have came in with 1 sided arguments for people to give them a chance now a days.

Also it's a lot easier to make a point, than to make a good point.
kB0  +   404d ago
^ exactly.

People think any information is good information to back up the point.

The stance on women in video games is far too complex to generalize much like the video did.

To sum up, right target and mission, wrong approach and strategies.

I would love to see a balance between female and male players not only to give balanced power to females but to also encourage a LONG overdue balance of female gamers among the community.

Like I've stated, if the future changes, it starts with the public, not the government.

Indie Devs being the public (personal touch), while big game corps being the government.

Good Luck,

You have my support, just avoid preaching because it's frowned upon and has troll bait attached to it.

I would love to see a video progress to congratulate or praise those that HAVE made the attempt to empower or equate men and women:)
jessupj  +   404d ago
I wonder how much money I would get from kickstarter if I had the same qualifications as Anita, and the same marketing, but instead of just focusing on one side of the sexes (as feminists always do), I would investigate both sides.

I wonder if I would have gotten any near Anita's $156,000.

Imagine how many starving men, women and children around the world you could feed with that money. But instead it goes to a feminist to keep spreading mistrusts and misinformation and to completely ignore a whole half of the subject matter. Because God forbid she might found out men are objectified too. But of course she dam well it goes 'both ways', but that would be inconvenient to the message she's trying to tell.

The sooner feminism dies, the sooner society can start repairing it's self.

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