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drdistracto707

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Consider yourself a rat: Homophobia on N4G.

Four days ago I submitted an article titled "The Fight to Get Gay in Video Games" (you can find it here: http://n4g.com/news/1465453... Submitting any sort of article is something I don't do very often. I also don't comment very much. One of the reasons I am a slack contributor is the rampant homophobia that needs addressing on this website. The reason I put up something so apparently "out there" was to get fodder. Consider you, as part of the N4G community, my (terribly biased) sample for my (terribly biased) social experiment.

Mass media effects, in a theoretical point of view, is understood to be less about what media do to us than it is about what we do with media. The moment any news item or opinion piece mentions the least bit of transgression, N4G users hive around it to mine their conservative short-sightedness. The media is not shoving something down your throat, it is giving you an opportunity to stand on your soapbox. Homophobic comments like this one from Hozi89 – "Please don't. I won't spend my money for gay games. I am straight" – go to show the insecurities of many posters here that are gratified by the oppression of anything considered "other."

"Other," by the way, includes anything that isn't male, heterosexual (yet not sexually active for any purpose other than child rearing), thin, white, middle-class, and Christian. You are othered from this community and many at large if you are fat, gay, black, latino, asian, or even hair-colored. Take note, because a gamer is also "other." A gamer is in their own marginalized group. Why? Because you don't abide social normality of leisure. Leisure of tradition is reading; reading latin.

We are all marginalized in some way or another. The reason media has to be progressive is in the hopes that someday, most people of this world won't have to feel labeled by language, but rather feel incorporated into it. You may think that your idea about "gay is wrong" is equally valid, but really you are just trying to defend the heteronormative ideal that, for centuries, has killed, persecuted, and enslaved humans that have no defense against their "poorer genetics," (according to you).

Some of the terrible comments on "The Fight to Get Gay in Video Games" are as follows:

DoggyBiscuit: "I dont mean to sound homophopic but why us gamers gotta cater to gays what ya expecting a game based on Unicorns and Rainbows"

Conan-O-Brady: "All part of the gay agenda first proposed by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. This is just the beginning. If you don't like it prepare to be labeled homophobes."

starscream01: "I'm so sick of hearing about gay issues all the time......I think it's wrong. If you're a homo fine but don't expect sympathy from me. I have the right to feel it's wrong.The media tends to push gay rights too much.whats next pedophile rights? It's u natural and sick. Some people argue gayness is found in nature....so is parents of certain animals eating their own young make in that argument invalid."

Wheelman_Vince84: "What is world coming to? this is too much! it's bad enough that christian ran companies are getting sued because they don't believe in same-sex marriages so they won't make them a wedding cake at a cake shop or a get flowers from a flower shop, so they end up filing a lawsuit against that company because of their religious beliefs because of hate speech? BS! it's not hate speech! they have they're rights to say yes or no to things just like the next person. So they're going to target video game companies to sue next because there's no gay ppl in video games? this is waaaaaaay out of control! game companies better get ready for the lawsuits because they're arming themselves with attorneys! i don't have a problem with gays, but this just needs to stop, and it won't at this point!"

PSNintyGamer: "Why is the media always trying to shove Gay down our throats?"

This is sick. I hope that some of you can reflect on the comments you wrote or read. In fairness, though, I want to hi light some surprisingly thoughtful or respectably defensive comments:

DarkLord1003: "This thread shows what's wrong with the gaming community. You're a bunch of whiney young male hypocrites who have no problem jerking off to lesbian porn. But as soon as two male would kiss you somehow feel threatened and scared. And what exactly is the gay agenda? It's the most ridicilous thing I've ever heard. You guys live in a dream world - in a bubble absolutely unaware of the real world and the problems people in it are fighting every day."

ElementX: "You can't compare the relationship of two consenting adults to an illegal relationship with a minor. There is a huge difference. Same with animals eating their young, there a difference between attraction and what you decide to consume. Everybody should have equal rights for employment, housing, marriage, etc. These are social rights that other groups have. I can't believe you even mentioned those two examples, they are completely irrelevant."

These comments, in and of themselves, are not eloquent. They aren't utopian or perfect in their argument (neither am I), but they are in the right direction. They have grounding, understanding, and empathy.

UPDATE:

There's already some good conversation going on, that's exactly the reason for this blog.

jackanderson1985785d ago

me personally i've no issues with a dev putting in a lead gay character... what i do have an issue with is people putting pressure on devs to purposely build games around gay males, female leads, lesbian females etc etc... if a dev wants to do a macho male as their lead character that's their choice

over the last year I've seen plenty of articles with headlines like "lack of female leads is a disturbing trend" or something along those lines....this is pressuring devs and publishers alike to adapt games to suit what is a minority... the majority of gamers wouldn't give a flying f***, i don't opt not to play a game based on the leads gender or sexual preference... i play if it's good (or ridiculous cheap, so many cheap crap games i blame steam)

in the end let the devs decide they'll do what they want and stop trying to force their hand to cater to the vocal few

SugarSoSweet784d ago

Most devs aren't even willing to TRY female leads, gay leads etc etc that's the problem

coolbeans784d ago

I think you're confusing devs aren't willing to try female leads with 'what they've been TOLD by publishers not to try' (in regards to AAA industry at least).

http://www.gamesindustry.bi...

Bimkoblerutso784d ago

Don't be angry at heterosexual male gamers and developers because they want characters they can more easily relate to.

Yes, it is a shame that the gaming industry is structured in such a way that games that cater to those demographics are ridiculously difficult to develop for, and I think a good chunk of heterosexual male gamers would even support the idea of making that process more accessible, but it is unreasonable to assume that female and homosexual characters should be getting as much exposure as heterosexual male characters in an industry that still consists mostly of heterosexual males.

FriedGoat783d ago

I don't see the reason why sexuality is even being discussed. Who gives a shit if pacman likes the D?

nirwanda782d ago

I personally believe the sexuality of the character you control should not even feature in a game, hardly any games have sex scenes for instance because its hard to bond with another character you can't touch or feel in real life.

It works in film because your viewing it in 3rd person and other people's emotions never have to reflect your own and the actors are also mostly human and beleaveable (some of the time) and we haven't reach that level of beliveablity in game.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 782d ago
pixelsword784d ago (Edited 784d ago )

There's not a lot of variance in terms of racial diversity as well; in gaming, groups are not just facing a sexual glass ceiling in not having women in games, but a racial one as well.

It's up to us programmers, developers, writers, and designers to make sure the voice of the voiceless is heard.

nirwanda781d ago

A lot of things that work in cinema won't work in gaming without a huge change in attitude towards gaming as a media.

Could you imagine the uproar if you controlled the lead character from African history X or was a was a slave in a game about slavery.
The same is vice versa for film even a plot driven game like BioShock wouldn't have worked or could you imagine flappy bird or Terri's.

I think more could be done with online gaming it could do so much more with co op storys,.

NYC_Gamer785d ago (Edited 785d ago )

I don't really care about a characters sexuality in gaming or a persons in real life..I'm fine with developers adding gay characters long as they aren't doing it just for shock value...It's hard for certain folks in society to accept things that differ from the belief they follow/were taught while growing up.

rdgneoz3784d ago

Yep, one that really sticks out is how Last of Us handled it. It was there, but not blatantly in your face for shock value.

"It's hard for certain folks in society to accept things that differ from the belief they follow/were taught while growing up."
Luckily this generation seems to be turning in the right direction, which will hopefully continue.

Christopher785d ago

People in general are at least slightly homophobic when it comes to people changing things they like.

Imagine if you will that there's this really nice Enchiladas Norteno platter you like at a restaurant. It has just the right beans, the right tortillas, the right sauce, the right rice, and even a nice and properly prepared 6 oz. carne asada on the side.

Now, imagine if one day you went to the restaurant and they changed the beans from what you like to perhaps a white bean instead. You try it out, but it's not the same. It's different and, to you, not as good as it was before.

When you ask the waiter why it was changed, they inform you that they made this change to show support for a "special" group of people who like those type of beans (probably some whacky Pacific NW people).

This is kinda of like how it is with video games. People liked how they were and they feel that adding in the options changes what they liked. Many people like not having to "deal" with sexual issues in their games (though, you could argue they do deal with them by asking them to be ignored, thereby showing an underlying desire for the whole thing to just go away as a whole). And when you make it a big change and put focus on it, it annoys them.

tl;dr I'm hungry and white beans should never go with a traditional TexMex platter.

Cat785d ago

;)

I feel like I should get some sort of credit for inspiring this droll anti-white beans in tex mex composition.

bicfitness783d ago

Except your analogy operates under the assumption that the restaurant is "replacing" one type of beans with another. Acceptance and equalization of rights for race, creed, religion - yes, Christianity IS a freedom - sexual orientation and gender is not about removing liberties but extending them to minorities. So in this case the restaurant would offer white beans AND black beans. Outside of highly scripted or budget conscious games,there's no reason not to offer a female character, or even have a cursory dialog tree for you to make a pass at your commanding officer in military FPS #28972629 (perhaps only to get shot down, because hey, not everyone is gay - but at least the choice is present). Its about choices. No one's rights or liberties are being infringed upon simply because there is inclusive content in a game.

ITPython782d ago

There was a recent Kotaku article saying that we shouldn't expect to see gays in video games anytime soon, and that article specifically said that games like Mass Effect didn't count because you could CHOOSE to be gay.

Here's the article in case anybody wants to read it:

http://kotaku.com/dont-expe...

And I quote from the article:

"Note that he's not talking about games like Mass Effect, where you can choose to be gay. Nor is he talking about a peripheral character, or some DLC. He's talking about picking up the controller and knowing that a blockbuster game's main protagonist was gay."

Apparently the freedom to choose isn't what gays want. They prefer shoving it in our faces forcefully and demanding that we accept homosexuality, or else we be labeled as homophobes.

Interesting thing about gays accusing others of being homophobes. There is absolutely no way to disagree with homosexuality without being labeled as homophobic in return. Kind of strange, don't you think? Also homosexuality goes against Christianity beliefs in a very black and white way. Which automatically means that if you are gay, or agree that being gay is perfectly Ok, then you probably aren't a Christian and/or would start doubting your Christian beliefs.

Hmm, anybody see a pattern developing here? You know, Christians being the enemy because they don't believe that homosexuality is right. And how you can only agree or disagree with something as long as it fits a certain criteria, otherwise you get labeled as homophobic, racist, bigot, etc?

The day is coming when people will fear disagreeing with homosexuality because it will paint a big fat target on them to be ridiculed, harassed and even have their lives, and/or their families lives threatened. It is already happening, anybody remember the Chic-fil-a stuff? Or the Duck Dynasty stuff? The amount of HATE gays have for those who don't agree with their ways is very extreme and volatile.

I always find it hypocritical that gays say that everybody should accept their beliefs and lifestyle, but strangely enough they refuse to accept other peoples beliefs and lifestyles that disagree with their own. It's basically "You should have to agree with us, but we don't have to agree with you" kind of mentality. ie, hypocrisy.

bicfitness782d ago

Nowhere, in any of my reply did I say Christianity was under-attack or less of a right than the choice to live a gay lifestyle. This is the typical straw-man that people who ALREADY have freedoms tend to use. No one is asking for Christians to be marginalized. However, it may feel that way when the accepted, ideal, societal standard is to be anglosaxon, Christian in America. To people who fill that category, other minority groups being brought into the fold of societal acceptance certainly feels like an 'attack'. Christians already have the freedom to practice their beliefs, congregate and openly wear signs of their faith. There's nothing else for them to fight for, and yet, the religious right spends vast amounts of time and resources dedicated to suppressing the voices and choices of minority groups. So there is a conflict in logic here. You can't enjoy freedom of speech and lifestlyle yourself, then claim that you are A.) being maltreated or B.) Turn around and say that someone else's choices are affecting your freedoms.

Its doesn't work that way. Muslims are opposed to certain Christian beliefs, that doesn't mean they should be marginalized in America. Gay people have conflicting attitudes toward Christianity. That doesn't mean that one or the other should simply "shut up" or go away for the sake of the ones who decide to take offence. Part of an inclusive society means that you almost surely will not agree with every choice and word that comes from your neighbor. It goes both ways, and often hardcore Christians forget that they have been top of the pile for centuries now. So I can understand the aggression and fear that they may suddenly have to share the spotlight for religions, beliefs and lifestyles that they don't agree with. Oh, well. Life goes on.

Fez782d ago

I think you're analogy falls over because people are not even willing to try the new recipe. When they hear the restaurant is thinking about changing to white beans there's an outcry that "white beans are wrong". Even though the new beans will only slightly change the taste of the overall dish, the customers have been brought up in a society where white beans are not acceptable beans.

It's funny how people think even suggesting that there should be more diversity in games will force developers and specifically writers to make games they don't want. But I think most writers would prefer to right a story that's a little different. The negativity towards diversity in gaming will most likely lead publishers to make more of the same, meaning this viewpoint will actually limit what developers have the possibility of doing.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 782d ago
ContinuePlay785d ago

Some of the comments highlighted there are disgusting and the people who made them should be ashamed of themselves.

Just goes to show that the gaming community still has a long way to go before it will be taken seriously or granted any sort of respect by the wider mainstream culture.

Conzul785d ago

Since when has being respected by mainstream culture meant that you are doing something *right*?

I'd be terrified if the masses approved of me. A sure litmus that I myself am vapid and irrelevant.

iliimaster785d ago

mannn i say enough with all this its not needed in games clearly... or it woulda been im tired of this being such a huge issue now