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DragonKnight (User)

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"Respect is not something to just be given. It is the result of accepting principles as worthwhile."

Feminism and Popular Culture

DragonKnight | 1309d ago
User blog

I didn't want to make a blog about this. I really didn't. But I have no choice. I'm just sick and tired of seeing this subject come up over and over and OVER again. It is tiresome, old, and I'm here to tear it down.

Feminism. What is it? Well the easiest definition of feminism is that it is a movement that advocates that all women should have the same social, politcal, and in fact all the same rights as men. So basically rights such as equal pay for equal work, no gender descrimination, that kind of thing. Basically it's that women want to be treated the same as men (except when it comes to prison sentences, then you'll see the difference). A feminist then is an advocate of this movement. Someone who believes in it and follows it and actively supports it.

Here's the thing though, feminism isn't being used the way it was intended to these days. Feminism is now being used as a platform for politically correct morons and other whiners to find a reason to complain about something. It combines "White Knight Syndrome", Political Correctness, and various separate agendas and uses them under the banner of feminism. It's so annoying too.

It isn't feminism to complain about how a woman looks in a video game. A video game isn't real, no one thinks of it as real, no one acts in real life as though it is real unless they have pre-existing mental issues. To make any complaint about a woman's appearance in a video game as being offensive and portraying unrealistic female appearances is to say that you are upset over something that isn't real. What? It's ok to go around murdering thousands in a game, but it's not ok for a girl to have a large chest and dress in a bikini? Why is that? Well the answer is self-image. You see there are different types of people who are not comfortable with their own image and, rather than do something about it, they would rather complain about anything perceived to be better looking than they are. Women aren't allowed to be damsel's in distress because that is a portrayal of weakness. Women aren't allowed to have large breasts, skinny waist lines, and dress in revealing clothing because the average woman allegedly doesn't look like that.

Well, I'm sorry to burst your bubble ladies but A) Damsels in distress is not a gender weakness, it's a story device that no one takes seriously and which has actually been used BY WOMEN THEMSELVES IN VARIOUS ART FORMS and B) There is no such thing as an average woman, and there are women who have large chests, skinny waist lines, and who like to go to the beach in revealing clothes.

Do any of you feminists even bother to look at how men are portrayed in games? If we men were like you, you'd see incessant whining about how all men are made to appear to be either steroidal morons suffering from roid rage and possessing below average intelligence. Or, if you're the Japanese version of the "perfect male" you have a borderline effeminate pretty boy look, wearing more product in your hair than the entire cast of Jersey Shore, with the build of a petite swimmer yet possessing the strength of Hercules. Here's the thing though, WE DON'T CARE! We're too busy playing the games to give a damn about how our gender is being portrayed, and in our real life we're not being treated as though we should be steroidal morons or thin girly men. I guess it's a result of gaming being a predominately male hobby for so long, but the core truth remains the same. Pick your battles. A woman getting paid less for doing the same or more work than a man is something to b*tch about. A woman dressed in g-strings and having her breasts bounce while fighting a giant cat or something in a fictional world is NOT something to b*tch about. IT ISN'T REAL!

If anyone you know has treated a woman differently because of a game, then it's not the game's fault. It's not society's fault. IT'S THE IDIOT WITH A MENTAL PROBLEM'S FAULT!

I am really sick and tired of pseudo-journalists pretending to be the White Knight coming to the rescue of women everywhere and making article after article about how there is too much sexism in games, or booth babes are immoral, or other such nonsense. Have any of you ever heard of characters like Chun Li, Sonya Blade, Lara Croft, Meryl Silverburgh, Nariko and countless other female characters who are attractive and strong enough to kick your a** before breakfast? These days, there are so many strong female characters for girls to look up to, yet they are not being focused on by the feminist groups or the pseudo white knight journalists who are constantly whining about how women are allegedly being treated as nothing more than objects or weak individuals. Why is that? Real feminists LEAD by example. They live the best lives they can live. They teach by that example that women are strong by what they do, how they perceive themselves. Not by complaining all the time, not by caring what others think, especially when it involves fictional characters.

Sexism, like racism and prejudice and other forms of "hate" continues because you let it continue. Morgan Freeman has a video in which he is talking about how he doesn't like Black History month and wishes it didn't exist because no other ethnicity has their own special month and none deserve to have one. When asked what he's talking about, he says that racial divides will always exist so long as we keep talking about them like they still exist. We actively create these problems. How can sexism end if there is always going to be that one person looking for the smallest reason to complain? How can gaming move towards being a pure form of expression, if there will always be shackles created by insecure people keeping things down?

I'm really tired of these themes constantly being shoved in our faces when, as gamers, all we should be caring about is what kind of game will come out next? Will it have gorgeous graphics, unique gameplay, an amazing story? I feel sorry for people who don't even think of that and instead rage over what a girl is wearing or if a guy is rescuing her or if she isn't a chubby girl with acne and glasses.

Grow up people. They are just games. Stop taking them so seriously, and maybe the media won't be able to blame them for causing increases in violence as well.

Most of the people in my life are women, my own sisters are core gamers, and they don't give a damn about what a girl looks like in a game. They're too busy trying either to overcome me, or to outperform themselves in the games they play. They are true feminists even though they hate modern day feminism.

Be happy. You're supposed to be having fun in these games.

Nate-Dog  +   1309d ago
That's a damn good blog there my friend, well said.

On the subject of it, one thing I don't get is why people complain about what is perceived to be sexism in video-games when sexism is still an issue in many sectors of modern society and is prevalent in other art / media forms such as music. They say things like "video-games are immature and can never be seen as an art form" yet at the same time they seem to expect them to lead the line in the fight for equality in the world, what sort of logic is behind that?
MacDonagh  +   1308d ago
Games cannot be art; not because games are immature but because gamers are immature. The reaction to the FeministFrequency kickstarter was one thing, but it has indirectly proven her point about sexism in video games, but not because of her flawed argument about the way females are objectified in video gaming. It has proven that the majority of gamers are incredibly fragile when it comes to any criticism to their hobby whatsoever; especially by a woman who happens to be a feminist.

Oh and inb4 WhiteKnight hur hur hur. ¬_¬

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DragonKnight  +   1308d ago
I respectfully disagree. Not with the statement that gamers are immature, that is an eternal inherent flaw in a medium that allows for all ages to participate. I disagree with the premise that gamers can't take criticism to their hobby. And the only reason I disagree with that is because there is a history when it comes to criticizing gaming. None of it is good. Gaming is still largely treated as a hobby for children and social outcasts. Only within the industry itself is there any legitimate and constructive criticisms, and you'll notice that gamers do pay attention and discuss legitimate criticisms. Proof of that is in the debate of dedicated gaming platforms versus mobile devices, or the use of cloud streaming.

But, generally speaking, those outside of the industry who are criticizing it only see what they want to see. Their agenda speaks for them and is rarely deterred. For example, the FeministFrequency kickstarter is a flawed project in that it ignores the large amount of strong female presence within the industry. It has a negative focus and that's why many gamers will either dismiss it entirely as hogwash, or argue against it. Now if it was a legitimate, broad based analysis of women in gaming and included a non-biased review, then maybe we could look and say "yeah, I can see that women are used as objects" but it's not like that.

Most feminists in gaming have a serious flaw. They go in only talking about negatives and not focusing on positives in any form. Men aren't represented any better than women in gaming, but when is the last time you saw a guy kickstarting a project focusing on negative male representation in pop culture? You won't find it because we don't care, we're too busy enjoying the entertainment value.

Give us a legitimate criticism, and maybe we won't appear so "fragile." Give us a B.S. criticism and be prepared for backlash.
coolbeans  +   1308d ago
-"For example, the FeministFrequency kickstarter is a flawed project in that it ignores the large amount of strong female presence within the industry."

This isn't an example of someone outside of the industry though, like Roger Ebert has admitted to being. I'm pretty sure that woman has stated how much she enjoys video games; I think she even mentioned growing up playing them.

Even before this vid series has been released, with us not knowing what will be included in the final edit, she's been receiving sexist, masochistic, and anti-semitic remarks on her youtube page just for the announcement of this research. Even one person has released a Flash game where you get to beat her up: http://www.escapistmagazine...

I've heard her youtube history is quite biased and disagreeable. Fair enough, I'll state right now that I don't see the problem in the hesitancy of gamers wondering what she'll do with $150,000, or raising the question why she needs the $$$ in the first place. But surely you can understand the average gamer/non-gamer assessing, at the VERY least, some level of immaturity by our gaming culture in the very notion of carpet-bombing this woman before an argument has even been made.

-"Men aren't represented any better than women in gaming,. . ."

I'm not following this part. Two of gaming's most popular heroes are an overweight plumber and a slightly feminine elf, that's been hero in both adult and child form.

-"You won't find it because we don't care, we're too busy enjoying the entertainment value."

Personally, I believe the real reason why male gamers don't complain about the typical, although more varied, body frames is b/c both the attractive male and female characters are specifically used to stimulate US, the male gamer.

Most female characters in games: Sexual image fantasies for the average gaming audience.

The buff male characters in games: Sexual self-image fantasies for avg. gaming audience.
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TopDudeMan  +   1308d ago
"Do any of you feminists even bother to look at how men are portrayed in games? If we men were like you, you'd see incessant whining about how all men are made to appear to be either steroidal morons suffering from roid rage and possessing below average intelligence"

Love this.

As for my opinion, I think the world really needs to get over itself and stop overdoing political correctness. a game is a game and a joke is a joke, nothing more. It's gonna get to the point where you can't say anything without being paranoid about people being up in arms about assumptions you might have made without realising it and who might get annoyed because of how a developer has portrayed their gender, ethnic group or other through one of their characters.

If you give these people what they want, it will get to the point where every single video game character has to be completely average and neutral in every way so as not to offend anyone. Where would be the fun in that?

No one is playing these games and judging an entire gender by one fictional character and their appearance/personality do not mean anything in the real world. That's all I have to say on the subject. Let the games be games.
DragonKnight  +   1308d ago
Bubbles for intelligence.
TopDudeMan  +   1308d ago
Why thank you, and congrats on an excellent blog. I quite enjoyed reading it!
MacDonagh  +   1308d ago
There may have been unjustified criticism from various media outlets on the effects of video games corrupting young people but one must be careful to not be prey to irrational emotions. What I mean by that is that the majority of gamers who cannot simply abide an opinion that is contrary to their own, react in a completely undignified manner to make us all look like fools. The reason why media outlets see gaming in such a way is because it is a threat to them and it's easy to see why. The game industry took in more than double of the music industry, it's a quarter bigger than the publishing industry and it's catching up to the Hollywood machine. Can you blame them for attempting to drag gaming through the muckraker, especially while the gaming industry seems like it is booming while their own business are stagnating and suffering from falling ratings?

To address the concern of the FeministFrequency debacle; while I do not care either way about it, it is incredibly galling how defensive people can get when someone deigns to examine the negative aspects of female characters in video gaming. The common argument goes that it's the same for males is slightly disingenuous because there is certainly a lot more variety for males (well, there is that trend with 30 year old white males with brown/black hair in most games) when it comes to video game protagonists. For instance, you can get your macho men like Marcus Fenix, your Hollywood stud muffins like Nathan Drake, your slightly feminine/sensitive(?) blokes like Vann from FF 12 and the most popular video game mascot is a short, chubby plumber with a mustache. Can you say that the same amount of variety exists with female protagonists? For some, this may not be a legitimate concern, but for others it is something that has to be addressed.

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DragonKnight  +   1308d ago
Actually I kind of can. While I freely admit that there are far more male protagonists than female, there is a variety there too. You also have to consider the theme of the game as well. Take Lara Croft, especially in the reboot, she doesn't seem like a DoA girl now does she? She's a Tomb Raider so she's athletic no doubt, but she isn't a poor description of women because of it. Then there's that girl from Mirror's Edge, she doesn't look like Ivy from Soul Calibur and she's a positive example of strong women in a game.

There are just as many strong female role models as there are supposedly poor role models. People tend to focus more on negativity though, and that's where the problem is. Where is the feminist gamer making a project about the strong women in gaming? Nowhere. Why? Because it doesn't generate sensationalism and people love/live to b*tch about something. They also ignore themes. Would you expect to see a heavy set woman playing beach volleyball? Would you expect a fat dude to be a soldier? You have to pay attention to the whole, because when you only focus on one aspect you begin to look stupid and no one cares about your agenda then. And it is an agenda.

I would love to ask feminists what their end game is as it pertains to video games. Since there is no such thing as an average person, what do they want women to look like in games? Do they want the idea of looking at gorgeous women in games to vanish? Because it won't. Men have a biological inclination to like attractive women. Hell, women like looking at attractive women. Women have a biological inclination to like attractive men, but it's not as strong as males. It seems to me that feminists know that they can't control anyone's innate desires or curiosities, so they seek to control their ability to view them to prop up their own insecurities. At least as it pertains to video games. Video games have literally no impact on life beyond possible addiction. A game won't make a person view another person differently, or affect their job prospects or earnings, or remove voting rights or anything like that. Since they are fiction, complaining about it is silly. It literally is about your own self-image, that's all. Until there is actual evidence of a game causing a woman to be treated like an object in real life, then there is nothing there.

It's like complaining about Michaelangelo's David. A statue of a physically fit, anatomically perfect male. Or the Venus de milo. Those were, when they were created, someone's representation of the ideal male/female form. But no one thought of it like that, no one thinks of it like that now. They merely saw it for what it was, a person's artistic expression. And that's how all forms of artistic expression should be viewed. That is until they start becoming heinously graphic, in that case have some sensitivity to people's emotional states.
TheKindRoost  +   1308d ago
Sir you are a scholar and a true gentleman, this blog deserve a medal.

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SageHonor  +   1308d ago
Great blog
I had a bad feeling about reading this and im happy to say.... great job
SeraphimBlade  +   1308d ago
Okay, here's the thing about the portrayal of men and women:

Men are depicted the way they are in games because that's simply how they want it in the story. Nathan Drake is dashing and witty because that makes for a neat character. I want to play as a character like that. I can't really vouch for whether men are attractive or not, but I would think he is rather handsome. Thing is Drake isn't constantly doing sexy things, nor does he have an unlockable thong outfit. Hell, his best outfit is the one where he's 300 pounds. Lara Croft, on the other hand is (or was, man I hope this reboot works out) constantly having her TnA shoved in the player's face. The worst is the Underworld cover which cuts her off at the neck, showing only her body. When that's your first priority in character design in an otherwise fairly realistic game, that's a massive problem.

I don't have a problem with any specific example of the sexy or damsel-in-distress characters. I don't mind having to save the girl in Zelda, Uncharted or Mario. I don't have a problem playing as Bayonetta, Ivy or Juliet Starling. (actually I really hate using Ivy, but for different reasons) I have a problem with the OVERWHELMING majority of games where women are just support roles, unless they have a D-cup or higher. Or where the men wear advanced futuristic armor and the one or two women in the whole game wear bikinis.

Hell, The Witcher II (you know, the one with actual full-frontal female nudity) even gave its leading lady a surprisingly decent and covered-up outfit outside of the sex scenes. THAT is how you be mature. Leaving the sexiness for appropriately sexy parts. (not that she wasn't plenty hot with her clothes on) But Mass Effect 2's Jack can't even be asked to put on an actual shirt until you do her loyalty mission.

And yes, there ARE those japanese dating games where men are all Godsent dreamboats. And you're right, we guys don't give a crap. And that's because the presence of male characters like that is COMPLETELY dwarfed by their female counterparts.

So is it fair to attack one game for ruining everything for the image of women in pop culture? No. Is it fair to hold them responsible for perpetuating that general image, even if they're "harmless" on their own? I think so.

When a lead character in a AAA game is female and not a sex symbol, that shouldn't be a big deal. But it is. And that's terrible. And that's worth discussing and doing something about.
sjaakiejj  +   1307d ago
"Thing is Drake isn't constantly doing sexy things, nor does he have an unlockable thong outfit. "

Neither does Elena, or Chloe. Nariko didn't have one, and I don't recall Shepard having one.

You have to keep things in context, and consider that portrayal of any characters in games is the result, not cause, of societies principles, where thanks to the Fashion Industry a bigger emphasis on looks for females is created. Games are products, most of all, and a game with a fat woman on the cover just won't sell.
SeraphimBlade  +   1307d ago
I think you missed my point about Drake. I used Drake and Lara as examples, because both are witty, attractive treasure hunters in fairly similar franchises, but only the female one is actually sexualized in the games and marketing. If a woman thinks Drake is sexy, that's great, but game companies normally won't cater to that the way that they will to a male audience with a female character.

As for what you're saying, I can't quite get your point either. It sounds like you're saying it's okay for games to sexualize women so much because that's what everyone else does. Why shouldn't we strive to be better? I'm not saying we need more ugly women or more sexy guys. Sexy is great. I love sexy. It's just when "sexy" is a character's only primary trait that I have to groan. And I can't help but notice that it's usually a woman when that happens.
sjaakiejj  +   1307d ago
So how many female characters in games can you think of where "sexy" is their only trait?

Sexualisation only occurs when the character, both visually as well as personally, is nothing more than an object for the man to have sex with. Honestly, I can't think of many games that do this. The only ones that come to mind are God of War 3 mini-games, and the Hot Coffee _mod_ for San Andreas.

As for my point, you can try to solve a problem by attacking the results, but the problem will continue to exists as long as you do not eradicate the source. They are the ones that _actually_ sexualise women.

As for Drake and Lara - the difference is that Lara is considered a sex-symbol, Drake is not. If you're trying to argue a case for sexism, don't take a dude from one game, and a woman from another - you have to look at a game by game basis, otherwise you're generalising.
Forum Pirate  +   1308d ago
Thats his point. The image is all in your head. It doesn't reflect reality because its not reality. If people like you stopped focusing on the negative, you'd see that.

Games are frequently targeted at men ages 14-30. In games made for that audience, expect beautiful women and skimp outfits, because that audience likes it.

If you don't like it, play games with different or wider target audiences.
Citizen_King  +   1308d ago
I've seen more scantly-clad women in video games show more strength of character and morals than scantly-clad women in real-life...
jessupj  +   1308d ago
I don't have a problem with someone pointing out the sexism in video games, because I'll admit, it's there and I'll be the first to say I much prefer to look at attractive virtual girls then plain ones. I'm a guy and that's what I like and I'm not ashamed of my sexuality. But I would trade it in a second if it meant more girls would be less threaten and therefore more inclined to join this great hobby.

But I do have a problem when someone focuses on one side of an argument and leaves out an entire group. Feminists seem to do that exclusively.

Anita is only going to research about female victims and completely disregard the male side of the argument. Right there I can see the information she will report is going to be bias and sensational.
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sjaakiejj  +   1308d ago
Great post, I completely agree with everything you said but this:

"A woman getting paid less for doing the same or more work than a man is something to b*tch about. "
Whether her lower pay grade is something to b*tch about is debatable, as you have to consider the risk of investment. There's a good chance a woman you employ will get pregnant sometime during her employment. That money you'll have to pay her in the time she is absent has to come from somewhere. I'd say it's not an issue of sexism, but more of understanding the differences in genders and anticipating problematic situations that are likely to occur.

"he says that racial divides will always exist so long as we keep talking about them like they still exist"
And I couldn't have said it better myself.
Pozzle  +   1307d ago
True, but a woman shouldn't get paid less on the off chance that she MIGHT have a baby. That would be like paying an employee (woman or man) less on the off chance they MIGHT get injured and need to take injury-leave or MIGHT get bored and decide to use up all their entire paid vacation. There isn't a guarantee that she'll get pregnant, and all female employees shouldn't be painted with the same brush because of it.

If all employees are doing the same amount of work at the time, then they should definitely be getting paid the same amount of money. It's up to the company to put away money for maternity leave, injury/sick leave, paid vacations, and retirement/superannuation. Not take it from the employees of a certain gender, age, or any other factor they cannot help. That is discrimination, tbh.
sjaakiejj  +   1307d ago
"That would be like paying an employee less on the off chance they MIGHT get injured and need to take injury-leave or MIGHT get bored and decide to use up all their entire paid vacation."

... They already do... It's called risk assessment. Do you think they get the money for paid leave out of thin air? They take it off your hourly rate. It's riskier for a company to take on a woman than it is to take on a man, and even with lower pay, the woman often ends up costing the company more.

Injury is a lot less likely than pregnancy, and a lot less expensive for the company, so it's a pretty poor analogy.
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Pozzle  +   1307d ago
It might be a poor analogy, but it doesn't ignore the fact that it is inherently unfair to pay women less based on the fact that they are women (which is something they can't biologically help) or on the fact that they might get pregnant (which is something not every women even wants). If an employer can't handle paying their employees' wages without needing to cut the pays of their female employees, then they should either employ less women or hire a better accountant. Because pregnancy is a part of life and women shouldn't be punished for it. Same goes for injuries, death, leave, and so on. These things are all going to happen, and a company should factor it all into their budget. Not punish certain employees for it. Everyone should get paid for the work they do, not for the work they might not do.
sjaakiejj  +   1307d ago
You suggest not hiring women.. But isn't that discrimination?

Reducing pay to account for future expenses is _not_ a punishment for anything. It's the result of risk assessment, and fundamental in making a company sustainable.

Accountants don't conjure up the money out of thin air, so hiring a better one won't do you any good. A company prepares for future expenses, and in the case of women pregnancy is one of them. Besides, it's not like the woman gets paid _radically_ less. In critical jobs, she may be paid some 80-85% of that which is paid to males (note that these statistics do not take experience and position into place. It's important to remember that women often have lower-end jobs than males do, which logically reduces pay), which is fair enough considering it's not unlikely that the company will have to pay for a year of maternity leave (or even more).

"and a company should factor it all into their budget"
And that's exactly what they do by taking it off the hourly salary. If you reduce the salary of males to match that of women (be real here, it's never going to be the other way around) you risk discrimination in the work place.
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coolbeans  +   1307d ago
The problem in using the "off-chance they'll get pregnant LATER so let's give them (on average) 15%-20% less than what men make NOW" excuse, which I still fail to see why anyone would think this a legitimate reason, is that women's median weekly earnings actually shows a wider disparity to men's median as they reach those menopause and retirement years.

The chart is about a 1/5 down the page:

I know it's wikipedia, but that chart does have an original link.
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Ashriel  +   1306d ago
I disagree, sexism in games is a problem and should be dealt with. No one says ALL games must change to please "feminists".

Some people just want more variety, that's all. Is that too much to ask? Men come in almost all forms and shapes in video games, from Mario, trhough Gordon Freeman, to Kratos, but what about women?

Besides, it's a lie that "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games" will only talk about the negatives, since there will be a video about "Positive Female Characters".

Oh, and some women you know don't care about this, it must mean NO ONE should, right?
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