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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."

Changing Games To Be Feminist Friendly.

DragonKnight | 1053d ago
User blog

Thanks to Anita Sarkeesian and Adam Sessler, the subject of "misogyny" and "sexism" have popped up a lot lately. There are individuals out there who want gaming to change. Rather than discuss possible future changes, I've decided to focus on how games would be if they were more "realistic" according to what feminist groups think. This means having no "sexualized" women and having no women acting as weak even though in real life both genders have their "weak" members. So, for the sake of this blog, we're going to assume what would typical events in games be like if they were remade according to this theory.

Super Mario Bros: The issue with this game is that apparently Princess Peach is portrayed as a ditsy blonde who's always kidnapped and objectified. How could we remake Super Mario Bros to change that? Well, there's the misandrist way and the realistic way. The misandrist way is that Peach knees Bowser square in the gonads when he tries to kidnap her and her guards take him away. The game ends before it starts and Mario isn't needed. The realistic way involving 2 different scenarios is as follows.

Scenario 1: Peach is kidnapped because Bowser's overwhelming military might can't be stopped by the comparatively non-existent military strength of the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario, being the Hero of the Mushroom Kingdom, is commissioned to attempt a rescue of Peach. Meanwhile, Peach is in a cell screaming for someone to help her. She has no weapons, is alone in her cell, and needs to get out. What does she do? Well, nothing. How is she supposed to effect her own rescue against Bowser's forces? Mario gets the help of abilities he finds along the way (Fire Flower, Star, etc.) and help from allies, that's the only real reason he can do anything against Bowser at all. Alone and with nothing he probably wouldn't fare too well. But let's assume the Princess manages to unlock her own cell, she has little combat experience against the Koopa Troop so her best bet is stealth. Sneaking through 8 worlds and hundreds of enemies. Yep, very likely she'll succeed all by herself.

Scenario 2: Being a monarch, as soon as Bowser attempts to kidnap the Princess, her Royal Guard immediately moves her to a safe location, completely removing her from the game at all. Bowser succeeds in taking her palace and institutes himself as the new King of Mushroom Kingdom. Peach tries to command her own forces in a desperate, yet futile, retaliation against Bowser's military force and Mario tries to get a rebellion going using every trick he's learned over years of facing Bowser. What proceeds is a long drawn out campaign where the Princess still takes no real action and Mario still does all the work.

Soul Calibur: The problem with this game is the portrayal of the female characters as sex objects. So we need a more realistic woman in these games. If we were to look around the world, we couldn't come up with what an average woman is supposed to look like because the average person in the Western world is overweight. In the 3rd World they are dangerously underweight. So you have to choose between a woman too obese to use her weapons, or too hungry to move. But let's say there is an inbetween like Talim. This is a game set in the 16th century. Women wouldn't be fighting and we have to keep things realistic right? It's unrealistic for a woman to have breasts the size of bowling balls and a butt to match, but it's completely fine that she is fighting demon monsters in the 16th century. So Ivy is about 110 lbs fighting against Nightmare, who is a living suit of armor wielding a sword that looks to be about 100lbs. Cool, she'll do really well. Of course, that's completely disregarding the unrealistic "living swords and demons" element of Soul Calibur.

God of War: The problem here seems to be all over the place, but we'll say it's Kratos beating down on women. So, let's say Kratos has a chivalrous attitude. You know, that attitude women LOVE but won't directly admit to because they want that and at the same time they want a jerk? Ok, so Kratos' family was killed thanks to Ares and Ares knows Kratos won't harm a woman. Kratos brutally slaughters everything in his path until.. a female boss. So, Kratos sheaths his chain blades and goes "I cannot strike down a woman, no matter what race she is." Then the female boss proceeds to kill him, end of game. OR the Olympian Gods proceed to toy with Kratos. They purposely piss him off so he'll start a rampage then throw in women everywhere so he has no choice but to stop. Either way, the game sucks.

Now obviously this blog only deals with games if they were left as they were character wise. We could rename Super Mario to Power Peach Sisters in which Mario is kidnapped by Bowser for some reason (because Peach would have to remain the ruler so that it's fair. We all know that royalty routinely go out and fight their own battles) and Peach has to go rescue him. But then, that's reverse objectification right?

Soul Calibur could continue to be unrealistic and have women of the 16th century have complete knowledge of martial arts wearing full battle armor to be indistinguishable from men, only then they'd have to be just as brutal as men of the era and then the complaint would be that men are fighting against women. MISOGYNY!

God of War could be Goddess of War but it would still be sexist and misogynistic.

I wonder how long the industry would last under this, admittedly glib, interpretation of how things should be.

PopRocks359  +   1053d ago
It probably would not last very long since it would alienate a lot of male gamers. But I think that's an extreme point to make anyway.

Games are not inherently misogynistic or have any sexist themes within them (usually) so I don't think it's a massive issue. It's more about perception (remember Cooper Lawrence and her shitty assessment on the Mass Effect sex scene?). However I would appreciate strong female leads who are not sex objects as well. The new Tomb Raider and Mirror's Edge come to my mind; they are about strong women in lead roles (who don't look like supermodels but are still arguablyattractive) in dire situations that they need to overcome. In many cases, alone.

Metroid (I'm ignoring the trash that was Other M's crappy writing) is one of the longest standing forms of this kind of hero. Samus embarks on her adventures in total isolation and has to solve every one of her problems with nothing but her gadgets and her wit. She's also in full body armor which gives her a less feminine and more robotic appearance (though she is still an 'attractive' blonde underneath).

More of that is not a bad thing, I think. If the next Gears of War had Anya as the lead, I would be completely satisfied with that. Hell, Japanese games like Persona and Fire Emblem also have some really strong female characters (even if they are not the primary characters of their respective games).

I think the good female role models and the tough male heroes can coexist. If films, comics and novels can do it, so can games.
DragonKnight  +   1053d ago
I completely agree with you. The problem I have isn't with the introduction of more strong women as lead characters. I don't think ANYONE has a problem with that unless they are scum.

The problem I have is the people who actively look for something negative about even Samus or Lara Croft or Faith (isn't that her name in Mirror's Edge?). I mean, I've already seen mention that Lara Croft is weak in the new Tomb Raider. They've taken away the large polygon chest and tried to make her more human, but that's not enough. There is no simple middle ground apparently.

Still, I would like to be able to see the alternate universe in which the games I described were released.
PopRocks359  +   1053d ago
And I agree as well. To suggest the new Lara is "weak" is utter bullshit. She is human is what she is and as one she has to go through a lot and mature. The original demo showed her getting impaled through the side after a nasty fall and someone I knew kept complaining that Lara was "crying" throughout the demo.

My response: Listen here, asshole. I'd like to see you get stabbed through the side and act like it's nothing. Lara is reacting as any normal human would. The fact that she can take that blow without bleeding out or going into shock is downright badass.

Your alternate multiverse idea was... interesting. To be honest, I wouldn't mind a Mario game with Peach and Daisy as the leads/playable characters. Assuming of course it held the same the same level of quality and fun. Goddess of War would also be an interesting idea. Kratos' daughter or something? But yes, still TOTALLY misogynistic lol.


Super Princess Peach was a small step in that direction. In that game Mario was the damsel! And Peach used amplified emotion powers, which were pretty cool.

I'm still waiting for a Zelda game where you play as Zelda or even a female Link. The backstory in the prequel manga dictates neither can happen, but I can dream, no?
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DragonKnight  +   1053d ago
She doesn't only get impaled either. She takes all kinds of beatings in the game and keeps going. She's actually pretty tough and strong willed. There are moments where her dialogue doesn't do her justice, but as a character you can see how they are trying to make her develop and I think they do a decent job of it.

Power Peach Sisters is an awesome name I think. Lol. It could be a funny change of pace but Nintendo would never go for it. Goddess of War is a possibility though. But still... MISOGYNY!! GRRR!!!
Theo1130  +   1053d ago
"The original demo showed her getting impaled through the side after a nasty fall and someone I knew kept complaining that Lara was "crying" throughout the demo."

It wasn't that she sounded like she was crying, it sounded like hardcore porn lol. I got bored durring that conference and I started doing something else, once that demo started I literally though that I had gone to some porn site.
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DragonKnight  +   1053d ago
Well, a lot of times pain and pleasure sound the same. Doesn't mean anything.
zerocrossing  +   1053d ago
You know when I look at these games and listen to the problems many of these "feminists" and so called "white knights" have against them, I just cant help but think that they are complaining for the sake of complaining, I mean seriously now we're talking about a medium that exists solely to entertain us and for a very long time now the games industry has been male dominated, of course we are going to have overly sexualised female characters but the vast majority of them are doing no harm, I know of movies that over sexualise women way worse yet they get a pass, why?

Id be lying if I said there wasn't some problems that need ironing out, but to keep bringing up the over sexualisation of women or even men for that matter, as a negative is kinda stupid, if games are to be taken seriously as an art form then should it really matter if women are overly sexualised if it suits the plot or the style of the game? take movies for example if a female character is to be over sexualised because the plot calls for it then surely that should be considered negative but guess what it's not.

I'll use the movie Alien and Aliens for an example here, in both movies Ellen Ripley is the female protagonist who ends up killing a whole bunch of Aliens and a big oll queen, and in both those movies there are scenes in which Ripley strips down to her under garments, was it for the sake of the plot? Well yeah you could argue it was connected, or was it done to appeal to the male audience? Oh you bet you arse it was! yet I don't hear anyone complaining about that.

Games are just the latest form of medium to go through that of what books, music and film have all gone through, I don't think we absolutely need to show Women in a more realistic light simply because games are there for entertainment purposes, Im not at all against female characters being shown in a more positive light, but not when it gets in the way of creativity and just ends up where games are being made with the intent of abiding by and appeasing to those who believe there is a bigger problem than there actually is.

Anyway good article, you made some excellent points.
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DragonKnight  +   1053d ago
I think what's funny is stuff like Kotaku's article that's up today about killing sexy girls. Totillo seems to think that equality means that Kratos should be stomping on the nuts of the male enemies if he's going to shove his sword through the chest of female enemies. The ironic thing is that God of War is probably the most non-gender biased game in existence and it's still called out for inequality. So I think you're right that people are complaining for the sake of complaining.

I'm going to be interested in seeing how Address The Sess goes tonight since he was a catalyst for all the recent garbage we've had to endure over unrealistic characters being portrayed unrealistically.
Theo1130  +   1053d ago
"Im not at all against female characters being shown in a more positive light, but not when it gets in the way of creativity"

360, PS3, and PC release for Jan - March 2013 = 65 +-2

Out of those 65, only Tomb Raider was the only one with a female protagonist. Damn Laura, stifling that creativity.
DragonKnight  +   1053d ago
Firstly, you've proven nothing.

Secondly, it's Lara, not Laura.
admiralvic  +   1053d ago
First off, you're wrong. While I am not going to go down a list of games that came out to prove you wrong, I can tell you off the top of my head...

1) Neptunia Victory (March 2013) has a mostly female cast and female pro tag.
2) Atelier (like March or late Feb 2013) has a female lead and is about finding her sister.

So there are at least 2 others, not saying I disagree with your point, but I am saying everything is based off how much you know / how hard you're trying to make a point.
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matgrowcott  +   1052d ago
I want to say Scarlet Blade, but something tells me that would probably work towards your point...
Qrphe  +   1052d ago

Someone like Anita would find excuses to disregard your examples. She'd probably say that those games portray young girls as sexual objects to pander to the male audience. If they manly girls, she'd say they were try-hard apologists female characters to feign diversity.

There is no winning with Anita (you can't win against fallacies)
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TuxedoMoon  +   1053d ago
When you present a game...or any kind of media for that matter, you're not going to please everyone. Someone is always going to have a problem with whatever is out there. Not everyone likes Dark Souls and Zelda.

I'm not a feminist, nor have a side in this issue, but I really don't understand how a feminist-friendly game would work and be a good game. Even Tomb Raider has its feminist-flaws with one of the female characters having to be saved (Damsel). Even Lara herself might come under fire for being too pretty. The quick time events with the men would have to change, since men shouldn't over power women. Instead Lara should have the same physical strength as the men. Even that's unrealistic though...The savages in Tomb Raider would have to be very scrawny and weak...which won't really make them that dangerous.

This whole sexism thing is getting out of hand. Yes, there are inequalities in games...but that's the sad realism of the real world. Not everyone can be pleased.
Deadpool616  +   1053d ago
I guess this is one of those topics that won't go away for a while...this is about as annoying as the "Jack Thompson" era.

The people that start these topics are not just trolls. They're essentially what I like to call "Game Industry Mosquitoes". They swoop in, they suck up, they leave an irritation, and the scratching commences. They come back to another spot and continue to repeat the process for their own benefit.
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Ravenor  +   1053d ago
I actually took someone to task for calling out specifically Ivy Valentine from Soul Calibur. In that series she is the only one who is truly sexualized, the rest are very reserved and I would say far more "realistic" in their portrayals. Which just leaves Ivy as the odd ball, which I've put probably more thought into than I should.

I just look at it like Ivy is a in charge kinda lady if you know what I mean. Reading to far into it or that she is how women are commonly portrayed in that universe just isn't true. Also her alternate costumes are usually a lot more "normal", and we are talking about a series of games that has Hilde in it.
Deadpool616  +   1053d ago
It all balances out because of Voldo...he's the odd ball on the male side.
DragonKnight  +   1053d ago
I always thought Taki was "worse" than Ivy. I mean, yeah Ivy looks like a dominatrix, but Taki has an arguably bigger chest and wears form fitting spandex. But meh, maybe it's just me.

Where Ivy's concerned though, I would think having a demonic biological father, a step father who died following in the biological father's footsteps, a step mother who died not long after, and an artificial soul would cause anyone's self-perception to be shattered. Ivy's "sexualization" could be a result of a broken psyche for all we know. Plus, like Deadpool said, there's Voldo.
Ravenor  +   1053d ago
Spandex that supports AND separates!
rainslacker  +   1052d ago
They're all stereotypes based somewhat on reality. The truth is that people are very diverse, and in every day life you can go around an see people that behave, dress, or think the way any game characters does(hopefully not shooting people or making impossible jumps or squishing turtles).

To ignore that the reality exists makes all these arguments weak, because it seems that people confuse the feminist ideal of equality, with the thought that all women need to be exactly like men in every way.

All people do what they feel is the best for themselves in regards to how they present themselves to the rest of us. Some do it based on preconceived notions that the media portrays as "normal", others do so because they feel that how they act or dress is representative of themselves based on the perceptions that society has placed on a particular style.

There are definitely games, movies, art, and every other medium out there that use over-sexualization to sell their products...but that is more about what sells, and that's more telling of society as a whole, and not a problem that the game industry(or any other industry) should have to deal with, because quite honestly, from what I've seen, gaming tends to be pretty tame.
rainslacker  +   1052d ago
Nice blog dragon. Loved your realistic descriptions of the games.:)

Anyhow, to all these people going on saying how the industry has to change, or that us gamers need to change how we behave, I have a better idea.

Why not take all that effort that is being put into criticizing what you feel is not right, and using it to actually make a game that is representative of what you feel is appropriate to portray within a game. I believe that Sarkeesian woman made enough money off her kick starter to make her own independent title with. Lets see how creative she is, and how great and meaningful her particular game would be.

That being said, I don't believe one has to know how to make a game in order to criticize it, or even suggest that change needs to be made. However if your going to call out such things, and make a big deal about it, how about at least offer alternative solutions to the problem. Expecting others to do the work for you isn't going to happen, particularly in this industry. A good idea is a good idea, and if it's good enough someone will listen. If they can make it work then it can provide positive change as a whole.

@TuxedoMoon above(kind of off topic)

One thing I found rather silly about the whole TR controversy is that Lara was stranded on a island with a group of ruffian castaways who were obviously not the type to go to church every Sunday. Now, while I hope that situation never happens to anyone in real life, if it were to happen, what exactly do you think would happen to a woman who was put there? If that had happened in real life, and that same woman were to go off and kill all those people who tried to hurt her, and went on to save her friends who were stranded with her, she would be played up as a hero in the media to no end. But do so in a game and it's sexist.

That being said...her apparent troubled thoughts after killing her first person is not that far off base. Even police officers who shoot someone(particularly the first time) have to go through psych evaluations in order to return to duty. Killing a person is a traumatic experience. Lara has empathy for others, so obviously it would trouble her.

Anyhow, I haven't gotten far enough into the game yet to make a real critique on her character in the game, I can only go off what's been said in articles.
darkpower  +   1052d ago
I have an idea: Let's stop talking about it until we make that waste of a feminist Anita go away.

Seriously, not trying to say that discussion on the topic shouldn't exist, but the only reason why people are rushing to defend their wanting equality is because she made a flame bait video in which she skewed facts or just blatantly ignored them for the sake of it fitting her viewpoint, used the posts of master trolls that were attacking her (which were disgusting, don't get me wrong) to gain sympathy on Kickstarter for this crap, having her "Anita Defense Force" (fuck me senseless for having to use a "Defense Force" term for anything) call anyone sexist or generalizing others whenever they try to bring up if she has any right to talk about this topic, and then disable any way to track the popularity of her video. All while never giving any time table for the rest of her series.

She's making us not take anything she says seriously, and it's obvious that she wants attention and is seemly daring people to make more nasty comments towards her. She's giving this serious topic nothing more than fluff and FUD. Any one rushing to defend their equality stance, fair or not, is going to be looked at as not being completely serious because we have to first separate Anita with this serious topic because of her FUD. Yet none of her Defense Force is allowing us to do that, trying to make her the flag bearer so much that any question on her knowledge and credibility on this is an attack on the topic and an attack on women (and that you're generalizing the people who are just wanting to talk about the topic).

Simply put, as much as I hate to have to say that we shouldn't talk about it right now since I think it's a topic that should be talked about, if that's what it takes to get a pitiful excuse for a feminists to go the hell away, then we should do that. I don't know if I should even respond to anything else you wrote for this reason, DK, because of the fear that it would legitimize this bitch even moreso.

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