Why is feminism in games such a touchy subject?

Kevin of Xboxer360 writes, "I find feminism really interesting, especially in the history of media. It’s interesting to look back over the last few decades of film for example, and see how the depictions of women have changed over time. The same can be said of many different sects, such as race, age and sexuality (I just finished writing my dissertation on elderly women in the media, which had me looking at such patterns).

But for some reason, when the issue of feminism is brought up in the gaming community, people cry foul, sometimes in extremely offensive ways, just see the treatment of Anita Sarkeesian as proof.
People seem fine slapping Twilight about for having a horrible representation of women and setting the image of women back 50 years, but when someone mentions the “Princess is in another castle” trope, armies are rallied. Why is that?"

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v0rt3x1850d ago

I don't understand how feminism, and sexual orientation can be such a touchy subject in general in this day and age.

SilentNegotiator1850d ago (Edited 1850d ago )

Any time you make a general attack on a group making them out to be bad people, you're going to get backlash.

For instance, the woman (whose name I refuse to mention, thus drawing attention to her) that is cited as the author's "proof" got a bunch of attention because some psychos attacked her on the internet. And then it became an issue of "gamers". Suddenly we "all" had a problem as a group as misogynists. But that isn't all of us. That isn't even the majority of us.

People in the 21st are too apt to create stereotypes to stop stereotypes to protect their own interests.

I'm a white, American, Christian, video gaming you have ANY idea how often I have to read one of those categories get generalized and attacked? I'm white, so I must be rich and racist. I'm American, so I must have voted for Bush and love war. I'm Christian, so I must believe that the earth is 6000 years old and be stupid. I play video games, so I must be a misogynist loser. I'm a male, so [insert about a hundred implications here].

It simply isn't fair.

SugarSoSweet1850d ago

I understand your frustration I do agree many white males are unfairly characterized as the "attacker"

However I do have to be honest in saying the majority of misogynists and racists in the gaming community do tend to be white males.

Again I'm not saying all white men in the gaming community are misogynists but what I am saying is a lot of it does come from them.

Hicken1850d ago

The majority of misogynists may be white and male, but that doesn't mean the majority of white males are misogynists.

That's the problem: people are taking the general description of the offending group, and assuming anyone who is similar fits into that group of offenders simply by their similarities.

Just as Silent has his problems, I've faced problems of being considered a criminal and a thug because I'm a black male from the inner city. Never been in trouble in my life. But in order to better get a grasp on things, certain people see fit to label me as such.

That's what's going on in gaming: so someone can make a point, they're attacking an entire population based on the deplorable actions of a few. And ever the opportunists, what passes for gaming media outlets hop quickly onto a small problem and turn it into something to world "needs" to know.

More than anything else, it's annoying how persistent people are in pushing forth with their willful ignorance. And, as too often happens elsewhere, people start believing untrue things simply because they're said over and over again.

admiralvic1850d ago

It's typically a touchy subject because a lot of people go about it the wrong way and in turn only angers people.

The girl @SilentNegotiator referenced (same with the article) only brought up some very tired and dated examples on a tired and dated story line in an effort to make things better. The thing is that she gave the "it's wrong" and gave her reasons for it being wrong, but she didn't offer any way to resolve it or even what her goal is.

The same thing happened with the "Bros before hos" trophy. From what I understand (didn't buy GoW... sorry ><), it takes place in a place where there are whores and a guy saves Kratos from one of them. Thus the trophy is not sexist per se... just a moderately clever play on words.

However, I feel this subject is touchy because a LOT of these complainers don't actually have a point. Take the overly sexualized women topic, since it's pretty straight forward. It starts with someone pointing out how X women are too sexy and ends there. Rarely (if ever) do they touch on the idealized male, contextually logical (like a girl wearing less clothing in a fighter or looking thin because they fight), accept that not every woman in a game is overly sexualized (there are countless examples...) and overly generalize. Needless to say, why is someone going to listen to your point or even care what you have to say if your argument only works if you ignore this, accept that, forget these and because thus.

cleft51850d ago

I beat the new God of War game, without patching it so I could see the game in the original context.

The "Bros before Hos" trophy isn't sexist in the least and it has nothing to do with whores or even violence against women. In fact, it has nothing to do with anything Kratos does at all.

So, Kratos is basically trapped and about to be killed and another character, male character, saves Kratos from the Furies, who are female, that are about to kill him and by doing so he sacrifices himself for Kratos.

------------Spoiler Warning----------------

So the male character that save Kratos is the only known male Fury in the game. The other female Furies are his mothers basically. The Furies capture Kratos and are about to kill him, and then the male Fury steps in and warps Kratos away and openly defies his mothers in order to save Kratos. He does this because he is moved by how badly Kratos was betrayed by Ares.
----------------------------- ------------------

After this happens you get the trophy for "Bros before Hos." The trophy is nothing more than a pop culture reference. You get it not for attacking women or having sex with whores. You get the trophy because of the sacrifice made on the part of another character, he is looking out for another person he cares about over the Female Furies who are trying to kill you.

In short, the God of War thing was a complete over reaction by guys that think it is there duty to "protect" women.

dedicatedtogamers1850d ago

The majority of media has been absorbed by feminism over the last few decades. Books, movies, and TV programming especially are all geared towards women, or at the very least they have to be friendly towards women. I'm not talking about paid-for specialty channels. I'm talking about prime-time TV channels that everyone gets. How many shows do you see portraying the clueless, bumbling, I-just-can't-get-anything- right husband/boyfriend paired up with the intelligent/witty/beautiful/sa ssy woman? Plenty. How many shows do you see about a strong man and a bimbo woman? None. It would be "offensive" to women, so boo-hoo we can't show stuff like that.

Gaming is just the next aspect of media that will follow this route. 50% of gamers are women, after all.

TotalHitman1850d ago

If that stat was really true, why aren't there more women on N4G?

rainslacker1849d ago

According the the ESRB, the actual percentage(in the US) is 40% are women. It's worth pointing out though that those numbers include all gaming(casual, hardcore, console, PC, smartphone, etc). I know of no study that can say what percentage of women would be considered hardcore gamers like us.

I can only speculate on why there aren't more women on here, and actually know that some don't even make their gender known. I personally don't think gender matters in a discussion though, except maybe if the discussion is on gender...but whatever.

SilentNegotiator1850d ago

......but a trophy was called "bros before hoes"!


And I really don't buy that 50% of gamers are women. Unless you count anyone that has touched a controller, mouse, or phone as a "gamer"

ShaunCameron1850d ago

And isn't it a coincidence that whenever women rise, society and (the standards of) everything in it falls? Education. Employment. Media. Politics. Economics. If anything, feminism is just communism with TA&V.

<Gaming is just the next aspect of media that will follow this route. 50% of gamers are women, after all.>

You have only Nintendo and Apple to thank.

And I bet most of that 50% are iPhone Facebook gamers with much of the rest being Jenny-come-lately Nintendo gamers. After all, Nintendo has the biggest female userbase of all the hardware-manufacturers.

admiralvic1850d ago

Eh, I think the 50% is just in terms of the actual population and has nothing to do with the actual number of female gamers.

Donnieboi1850d ago (Edited 1850d ago )


I already posted this a while ago in another article, but I think it feels just as appropriate here:

If women want to be represented more in gaming, then feminists have to understand that ALL types of females will be portrayed...not just the strong, smart ones that they'd conveniently like to see portrayed. In the REAL world, there are princesses who sadly seek men to rescue them in life, there are tough, business minded women too. There are also promiscuous women, evil women, violent women, manipulative types, scandily-clad women walking the streets, and frilly weak-minded types too. Just like with men. So whenever she complains about the portrayal of women in games, I would have to ask her why SHE is so the one being so narrow-minded: As there are plenty of women in games, however, they just don't fit the role that Anita would LIKE them to be in. However, there are like-minded women in the world that can be compared to these characters too. It's great when we see more strong female roles in games like Jade from Beyond Good & Evil; The new Lara Croft; Elena Fischer of Uncharted, etc.

But the reality is that there are ALSO women in the world that are comparable to Cruella De Vil who are passive-aggressive and calculatingly cold (instead of heroic, as Ms. Sarkeesian would prefer their image to be white-washed as being), and other women who are unfortunately similar to Princess Peach who act as if they are helpless to save themselves. But just like Princess Peach, if Women are ever going to see the types of characters that they want to see, they are gonna have to do it themselves. Stop trying to pass guilt on the male counterparts of the industry. THEY are not women, so they only put female characters based on the one's they are familiar with in real life.

Simply taking a (traditionally) male "role", and replacing it with a female skin is not being genuinly "female". It will take a woman to make one. So stop pestering the guys about it. There is good and bad found in both genders, and YES, those differences are distinct between the genders, based on culture, up-bringing, and gender roles in their respective homes/communities. So if she wants to see improved gender roles for women, I would instead ask her to consider ALL possible roles for women in fiction, that are common in the REAL world. Not just heroic. But all. That way, REAL issues about female roles can be addressed (Hint: it won't be found by insinuating thaf Mayamoto's Peach character is some clever conspiracy to demean women). Women can find games as a medium to explore these roles and the cause/origin of said roles (especially if women help make the games themselves). But don't beg the men in the industry to make that change for you. They are not women. And this constant "entitlement" that Ms. Sarkeesian has that ALL women should be portrayed as heroic, is not going to solve the real issues women have in society, nor change anyone's perception of the many other types of women that exist in this world who are not heroic, smart, loving, kind, motherly, powerful, rich, or mentally stable. It would just be swapping a male for a female (even though said male is not even real). So please stop begging for a fake, forced-equality via Political Correctness. Seriously, it's as pathetic as a food-stamp/welfare hand-out. If you want the truth about women to be portrayed in games, Ms. Sarkeesian, then your gonna need to portray every angle, truthfully.

Because sitting around and waiting on men to do it out of some perceived "obligation", is no different than Princess Peach sitting around and waiting for Mario to obligatorily save her.

TongkatAli1850d ago

I will never forgive those Nintendo fanboys for making Anita rich. It is the biggest fail I have ever seen, they couldn't ignore her, no no, they had to say the most disgusting things you can say to a female thus making her rich out of pity, karma.

cleft51850d ago

It wasn't just Nintendo fanboys bro. There are a lot of little idiots out there. Ultimately this needed to happen. I am not against this issue being explored and it does present an opportunity. Unfortunately, if the first video Anita made is proof of how this series will go than it will just be her pushing propaganda on people.

It's one thing to educate and talk about a big issue like this, it's an entirely different thing to point out flaws and then push propaganda.

Anita has a chance to do something good here. The real question is if she can separate her personal bias from these issues and act in the role of the outside observe and be objective while educating the community on issues. She started to do that with the first part of that video, but by the second half she was knee deep in propaganda. Making wild accusations without providing any proof or semi-concrete evidence that what she said was true.

JsonHenry1850d ago

How? Because the bulk of the people playing the game are men? Sounds like an easy enough explanation to me. Especially when the average "feminist" is not fighting/debating for equal rights but an empowerment and advantage over men. Whatever happened to the Humanist that wanted to elevate the status and well being of all mankind?

DigitalSmoke1850d ago (Edited 1850d ago )

The "male" logic used by Donnieboi isn't going to make things "equall" for Feminist.
These women are damaged goods, they don't wan't "equall" rights, they want to function on the same level as men but instead of performing/producing like men, they want the bars to be lowered on all plains so they get head starts, less expectations, more respect /freedom/ income and entitlements then men.

Equall rights my ass, they are out to dominate the male species in ways beyond most ppl's imaginations.
Their end goal is excactly this, and men across the world are suffering to a point that they are so demasculated to the core, that they walk around sick depressed and dominated by the head of the familie, the women...

And she won't be happy, no, she wants a real man, and make's him aware of this daily, wile all he can do is try to cheer up and please her...

Now they try the medium video games, they will succeed, but not with this guy, I'm there worst nightmare.

Donnieboi1850d ago (Edited 1850d ago )

WHAT??? You are senseless. THAT is what u came away with after reading my response? I'm every bit as much a femenist (albeit a male one) as Ms. Sarkeesian is, without any agenda to see one gender gain at the expense of the other. I am a masculinist--the male equivalent of the first wave of feminists--meaning that I care for the betterment of ALL human beings, not just men, SO LONG as it isn't serving an agenda to tip the favor too much to one side. And I challenge both feminists and misogynists equally. That hatred crap is just lame.

What in the hell are YOU talking about. Your not very smart if u came away with the notion that my statement was in any way malicious towards feminists, women, or even Ms. Sarkeesian. And I say this, because u claim that I am using "male" logic.

THEN u start a rant against women that makes no sense. I don't what side your on, but i'm on neither of the 2 extremes of your rant.

Maybe DigitalSmoke needs to pay more attention whatever hallucination he's been puffing on.

DigitalSmoke1850d ago

You're a pathetic "White Knight"...
Enough said.

jeeves861849d ago

You guys are both hilariously paranoid.

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