SilentNegotiator (User)

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The "Sexism Debate" Would be Accepted if...

SilentNegotiator | 428d ago
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Sexism has become a very tricky issue in the gaming world. Not just as an issue itself, but also as a debate of whether gamers are ignoring it entirely. Many gamers do pawn it off quickly, but perhaps not entirely by their own fault, considering the way that the debate is so often poorly framed. With proper frame and a focused debate, the issue could be accepted and discussed fluidly - as long as gamers remain open and mature to the people who DO have balanced things to say.

Let's start by getting this out of the way; yes, sexism exists in the gaming world. Like any modern debate, the issue is quickly forced into a question of existence, and never about extent, and that rhetoric is quickly adopted by the loudest and most stupid. For example: "Yes, racism does and always will exist, but do we really need to impose special laws on certain states because of race issues in the 50s? Is the modern state truly dealing with the issue to such a degree that they still need such measures?"...that's how intelligent debate is framed, not..."Does racism exist in that state?" In the same way, we need to avoid discussing "existence" of sexism in gaming and start openly and directly debating what is really in question: "How bad is sexism in gaming?" (or, "Is sexism in gaming any worse than the general public itself?" as is sometimes argued)

Moving past that rhetoric nightmare, how do we debate the issue? How do we fix the issues with the debate of the issues?

For the side arguing on sexism being a major, specifically game industry/community issue:

1) Don't use forum posts and 12y/o's on XBL as "proof" of sexism of the overall industry and community. Neither forum posters or 12y/o's on COD are goalposts of the general gaming public.

2) Stay on point. Just the other day, I read an article that said "Stop denying talented developers opportunities because they have ovaries" ( http://n4g.com/news/1310609... ) ...as if to suggest that women were being denied work. If you start making up problems and going off topic, the real problems that you discuss won't be taken seriously.

For gamers arguing that sexism is more of a minimal issue in the industry/community, or else not specific to the game industry:

1) Can the f***ing sandwich jokes for a second. I know that you aren't necessarily a sexist for making a sexist joke the same way I don't get up during standups that involve racial jokes and shout "DUUUUURR RACIIIIIIST!" But fish-out-of-water sites like Yahoo that make up entire articles about N4G comment sections (because apparently there's nothing more important to report on - http://news.yahoo.com/gamer... ) do not understand that. It still looks bad.

2) Make sure that you ARE listening to the good arguments. There are plenty of people discussing the issues without overblowing them. Civil debate with such persons can only improve the situation and detract from extremists of both sides.

Right now, debate on the subject simply isn't very civil. Both sides feel ostracized by the other. It's time that we discuss the issue's extent in a balanced way.

dedicatedtogamers  +   428d ago
Excellent blog. I think one of the main obstacles is that there's a ton of emotion clogging any real issues of sexism, either in the game industry or in videogames themselves. So what happens is people on both sides get easily upset. It doesn't help when certain sites (like Kotaku) jump on every. Single. Possible. story that MIGHT have a sexism-spin to it.

Personally, that's why I tend to tune out people complaining about "sexism". Gaming journalists have done such a p***-poor job of representing the issue. I'll take it one step further: some journalists have hijacked real issues of sexism and blown them out of proportions to push an agenda and drive hits to their site. When I see stuff like that, it makes it difficult to take any "serious" discussion seriously.
MEsoJD  +   427d ago
I think it's vocal minority making this more of an issue than really is. If the majority of consumers have a problem with a game than they shouldn't buy it and support the ones that are more in line with their ideals. Game devs/artist shouldnt be censored and consumers should vote with their wallets. I see nothing wrong with the majority of games coming out these days because they're catering to an audience and I respects their artistic vision.
Anthotis  +   428d ago
The games industry is one of the few that has never seemed to have a problem with placing males and females on the same level(even though men are superior). For as long as i've been a gamer, i've always seen strong characters to represent both sexes, and that's fine because this is fantasy.

The sexism crap we have to hear from Sarkeesian and similar scum has less to do with the roles of women in games and more to do with what women are wearing and how they're using their bodies. It's almost as if they won't be happy unless all female characters are fat and unhealthy, but the reality is that such characters aren't very appealing which goes for both sexes, hence the reason male characters are also healthy and able bodied.

Femnazis don't like attractive women benefiting from their appearance in general, because femnazis can't do the same. They've also managed to convince self loathing beta males to do their bidding, and these beta males do so because they can't get attractive women, and this is about the only way they think will get them laid.

Unfortunately, these types have now brought their agenda into the realm of games.

Sexism is not a problem in the world of fantasy, and it's unlikely that it ever will be. The only problems are the ones that exist inside the heads of jealous, irrational and vindictive women, as well as the cowardly invertebrates that masquerade as men.
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darkpower  +   428d ago
The problem that Sarkeesian has is that she uses confirmation bias a LOT in the videos (as in, it's painfully obvious she's doing so), and then tries so hard to cover up that she goes into that weird catch-22 area where it's too hard to criticize her style without someone saying "well, she brought it up, so she gets a pass" or calling everyone concern trolls.

And that's the problem everyone of her supporters seem to have. They cannot see any criticism of her work as anything other than a personal, sexist-charged attack on her, and push and push to where it's impossible to get anyone to even listen. Either that, or you get this thing where everything is always you trying to censor their right to discuss a topic.

The gaming sexism debate has been taken over by her because every time she is putting some video out, we never stop hearing about it, and there's always SOMETHING there that someone wants to bring up as a GOOD thing she says. No one in the gaming industry (I'm talking, like, BIG names) will ever call her out because they give her free passes, and someone always gives her just enough good publicity that people HAVE to pay attention and never once think that perhaps she relies heavily on confirmation bias to sell her point.

If we keep leaning on feminists like THAT to dictate how the debate and views on this will go, we'll never get anywhere because it'll never end well.
wordthrower   428d ago | Bad language | show | Replies(1)
SilentNegotiator  +   428d ago
"The games industry is one of the few that has never seemed to have a problem with placing males and females on the same level(even though men are superior)"

Are you going for parody? I can't even tell...
Donnieboi  +   428d ago
Btw, Great blog dude.
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-Gespenst-  +   428d ago
Anthotis: When I read stuff like your post I just think all people like you should just live on another planet. I sincerely hope this is parody or you my friend are utterly, utterly clueless. Like the epitome of clueless.
admiralvic  +   428d ago
The problem with this debate is the concept of what is sexist and what isn't sexist in terms of gaming. A common example is the overly sexualized woman, though many will point out how there are several attractive male characters too and several (like ellie in Borderlands) unattractive women in games too. This is true of just about every other topic, which is why this sexist debate goes nowhere. In a lot of ways I am reminded of my feelings while playing The Saboteur.

The game was about an Irish drunk that raced cars and fought Nazi's. How apparent was this image? Well here's the first line from the Wikipedia (not the most factual source, but just go with it) entry "The game's protagonist, Sean Devlin (based on William Grover-Williams), is a hard drinking Irish racecar mechanic,[1] ". Now I expected someone to yammer on about how the game is relying on negative Irish stereotypes, but people pretty much let the game be. The interesting thing is that you can easily go for that point or you can simply view him as an Irish guy that drinks (stereotype or not, there are Irish drunks like any other group) and that is pretty much where the sexism talk needs to go. Every fit lady isn't a jab at fat girls, just like every weak girl isn't a secret message that girls are worthless next to men... they're simply characters that have certain attributes, which may or may not be positive.
dedicatedtogamers  +   428d ago
Agreed, there are stereotypes everywhere, but this is the entertainment industry.

One thing that we NEED to do is separate the discussions of sexism in videogames (fictional, digital people) and sexism in the videogame industry (real people).

It is one thing to argue that women need more inroads into the game industry. It is another thing entirely to lump a scantily-clothed polygonal woman - who is a collection of lines of code - into that same category. The kicker is that we're told buxom women with barely any clothes on is "bad", but these same people cannot create a framework for what is a "good" representation of a woman. They just point the finger and say "sexist! Sexist!"
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PopRocks359  +   428d ago
"yes, sexism exists in the gaming world. Like any modern debate, the issue is quickly forced into a question of existence, and never about extent, and that rhetoric is quickly adopted by the loudest and most stupid."

Couldn't have said it better myself. It seems very strange to me how anytime sexism is brought up in any sort of context relevant to video games there's always this knee-jerk reaction from people who insist that there is absolutely no sexism of any kind in the medium and those who talk about it are either automatically unintelligent or are the types of crazy fanatic feminists who believe in gender superiority as oppose to equality.

Thank you for saying, "Hey, we can TALK about this and that's not a bad thing." Great blog.
-Gespenst-  +   428d ago
I agree, but let it also be known that feminism does not necessarily equal craziness and "female supremacy".

In most cases, at least in the canon of feminist studies, equality IS sought after. This is done so by disturbing ideologically charged assumptions about reality and about gender, only to make us realise that everything we think we know about gender is socially and culturally constructed. That there's nothing essential (in the sense of essence) about any of it. It's all power relations and random historical ruptures. The feminists that come under fire are the mentalists who haunt the internet, not actual scholarly figures.
PopRocks359  +   428d ago
"I agree, but let it also be known that feminism does not necessarily equal craziness and "female supremacy"."

Sorry if my comment suggested I thought otherwise. I'm well aware of the true meaning of feminism. I'm a firm believer in it (gender equality specifically). However, there are indeed those extremists who distort the whole concept and make the entire philosophy seem like a Dictator-esque power struggle.

I was happy for Silent pointing out that the discussion of sexism does not directly correlate with those extremists and that gamers in question should show some more decorum on the topic as well as how to do so.
madjedi  +   428d ago
Yeah about that even on neogaf you don't really have much debating on sexism, you have plenty of people just waiting for someone to say something remotely considered sexist/racist ect.

So they can plant an axe into the poor bastards skull, for even daring to not view the ism issues with as much importance as they do.

Show me the gamers, that refuse to play a female character, that believes all female characters should either look like jessica rabit or be a helpless princess to rescue. Maybe 1% of the gaming population if that, your(not the author) is creating a convenient boogyman to point to as a example of a sexist gamer as though all gamers are just as bad).

Looking at the countless other media apparently it's a perfectly acceptable to exploit a characters sexual appeal or physique to make a product/character more appealing. And yet apparently only is it viewed as a negative in gaming as though we are held to a much higher standard than other media forms.

If gamers are sexist than so is probably 80-90 of the general public, but then again it's the internet so god know what definition of sexism is being used by said debate starter.

Alot of people aren't going to read through 5 pages of social crusaders attacking anyone that doesn't agree with them that example a is a perfect example of a insert ism/ist. To get to the very tiny handful of posters actually trying to have a relevant discussion.

Most posters want a punching bag to boost their ego on not dialogue.
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-Gespenst-  +   428d ago
"Looking at the countless other media apparently it's a perfectly acceptable to exploit a characters sexual appeal or physique to make a product/character more appealing."

That's just not true. Stop playing the victim. Cultural studies, film studies, literary criticism, and many other fields have been tackling these issues in their chosen mediums for decades.

Gaming as a medium isn't even nearly as mature as literature and film, and it's only been around for like 3 decades. Literature and film have produced hundreds of thousands of immensely complex works, while games remain objects of mass culture, and are therefore super broad and shallow. It doesn't help that companies are fixated with AAA budgets. The risk this entails means they create broad, ham-fisted, unsophisticated experiences.

Why should we be lenient to someone who "doesn't view the isms with as much importance"? Again, you're just playing the victim. You're not even trying to understand by subsuming the whole debate into little buzzwords and pejoratives like "isms". We shouldn't be lenient because the future of our civilization rests on how we live together as a species. There should be no leniency until every person on this planet understands how to critique their culture instead of basing all their arguments on their spoonfed position from within it.
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rdgneoz3  +   426d ago
"Gaming as a medium isn't even nearly as mature as literature and film, and it's only been around for like 3 decades. Literature and film have produced hundreds of thousands of immensely complex works, while games remain objects of mass culture, and are therefore super broad and shallow."

First off, literature, film, TV have never used sex to sell anything at all... 50 Shades of Grey, Desperate Housewives, Basic Instinct, Striptease (demi more)... And with them having been around for a long time, they've definitely matured quiet well within the past few decades as well...

http://www.youtube.com/watc...

As for gaming being shallow, guess you've never played games like Journey, Flower, Last of Us, ... They definitely don't hold a candle to such great works as 50 Shades of Grey or most of Eddie Murphy's films...

"The risk this entails means they create broad, ham-fisted, unsophisticated experiences." This can be applied to all of Uwe Bolls movies as well as bombs like Will Smith's After Earth and (You sunk my) Battleship.

"There should be no leniency until every person on this planet understands how to critique their culture instead of basing all their arguments on their spoonfed position from within it."

You're basically giving literature and film a pass / being lenient because it's been around for a while...
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-Gespenst-  +   426d ago
I never said ALL games are shallow. Of course there are exceptions. The same applies to films. MOST films that do well in the box office are just as empty-headed as most AAA games.

My point is that, having had MUCH more time to develop as a medium and to develop within itself subcultures and expermintation, film and literature has thus produced far more enduring and deep works than games have. Games don't even come close.

Perhaps the Indie scene represents games finally gaining an intellectual niche, but as it stands, the cultural hegemony of triple A bullcrap means games are by and large stuck in stupid mode. As the indie scene grows, and provided it's not co-opted by big, broad, lowest common denominator game corporations, games should start to become something more noticeably worth taking seriously. Not that we shouldn't take AAA games seriously as cultural artifacts.
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-Gespenst-  +   428d ago
Those who agree that sexism is an issue in games already know it "exists". The "existence" question is running and running because one side won't accept it. They approach the subject with chimerical constructions and preconceptions about what sexism is and what feminism is. They have their own little spoonfed internal logic that bears no relation to reality.

It's the gaming majority that can't move on because of toxic assumptions about these subjects.

Scholars of many fields including cultural studies have been involved in the "extent" question since like the 70s, across all forms of everything. The majority of gamers are practically prehistoric in their views and they remain completely oblivious.
matgrowcott  +   427d ago
Most people treat others how they want to be treated. Most people, while playing Call of Duty, keep their mouth shut just to play and enjoy. Most people don't give a damn if you stick Lara Croft or Nathan Drake in front of them.

Most people are the sort that you're calling out, because the people with an irrational hate of women aren't going to be swayed by "well, that's not very nice, is it?" (which is the extent of your argument).

Pick your battles a little more specifically and maybe you and people like you will get a little support. Painting a 300+ million strong group as "practically prehistoric" is ridiculous.
spartanlemur  +   427d ago
I completely agree that gamers need to do more to encourage friendly and respectful treatment of women in multiplayer games. That goes without saying, and misogynistic attitudes are totally unwelcome and must make females feel unfairly awkward and possibly even saddened just for playing the games they purchase. The onus is on all of us to condemn those who make such attacks.
As for women getting jobs in the industry, I'd like to think that employment policies are fair and gender-neutral.

I reject the sexist argument where it concerns:
1: The gender of the player character and
2: The portrayal of women in games, in certain cases

because

1: I am a male in his 20's and want to play characters who are similar to me for immersion. Where a character creator isn't possible, I'd somewhat prefer a story where that factors is considered because it means I can embody the player more. Not that this is a massive deal though; I enjoyed the Tomb Raider reboot hugely after all, but it certainly makes me marginally more likely to buy a game, because immersion is an important aspect for me, and I expect other gamers feel the same way. As more females play games we'll get more female leads; the makeup of lead characters, I believe, will loosely always reflect the demographic.

2: We can't complain about the portrayal of female characters in game worlds unless things are taken to extremes because this genuinely ruins atistic freedom. Women underdressed? Why not simply argue that men are overdressed? If women are portrayed as weak in a historical/pseudo-historical context then we should be applauding devs for accuracy, but then other games should have full artistic license, and rather than attacking devs we should be analysing the philosophy and discussing the game; namely whether or not how well that society connects with our own, it's virtues and failings.
Games are works of art, and a key part of art is the freedom of choice on the devs' part. We ought to see a strong array of games with strong portrayals of both sides of the argument; games which are masculinist, feminist, womanist, completely equal, and everywhere surrounding that. If games are truly to become art then we must demand we see opinions which truly go against the grain shown (part of why Bioshock was such a great series) and so content is not an issue we should be criticising devs for rather than discussing for the sake of how it might relate to views on our own society. Artistic license is paramount.

That said, games are becoming less artistic as multiplayer, F2P and microtransactions plague the industry. I suppose I'd agree that only games which do have a genuine artistic objective should be free from criticism (Bioshock Infinite), while games more focused on competition and casual play should be criticised for normalising controversial views.
AceofStaves  +   427d ago
Great blog. I'm not going to address the issue of sexism within the hiring practices of the game development industry, since, as an outsider, I don't know enough about that aspect of the industry to comment on it. Instead, here's my two-cents on the sexism in games themselves, the portrayals of female characters, etc.

As a woman who's been gaming for several decades, most of my life, in fact, I find the whole issue of sexism in gaming (i.e. in the games themselves) a non-issue. I've always enjoyed male protagonists in games because the storytelling tradition of Western civilization is fundamentally based upon a hero-centric narrative. It's the reason I prefer to create male protagonists if I'm given the choice to do so. I don't see the supposed lack of main female game characters an issue, just as I don't expect the epic poetry of Homer or the tale of Beowulf to be female-centric.

I also prefer to look at attractive male characters. I don't play games to immerse myself in them. I enjoy them the same way I enjoy action movies or bestselling novels. I like to experience the story, the visuals, and the music/sound as a watcher. I don't put myself in the game. I play the game to experience the story and the characters of that game. If the main character is female, that's fine. If it's male, that's fine, too.

Maybe it would be a bigger issue for me if I wasn't disabled. Video games don't represent 'me' as it is (nor would I want them to, frankly. I enjoy the sense of escapism from the confines of my crutches/wheelchair that they have always provided me).
coolbeans  +   426d ago
"...as if to suggest that women were being denied work. If you start making up problems and going off topic, the real problems that you discuss won't be taken seriously."

Although that does seem to indeed go too far from the actual news regarding this topic, the less-sensationalized "tech industry isn't a pure, gender-unbias meritocracy" argument holds some weight.

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