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Gender Diversity / Politics in games (was Tropes Vs. Women)


Unofficial Who
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18 hours ago, Majora said:

It's going to be a long time before you get a cover of a game like COD or Destiny with a woman front and centre. Still, let's take progress where we can get it, eh?

 

It's sad that COD haven't done this already, they keep looking for a way to refresh the series and there it is staring them in the face. The multiplayer could be the usual shooty shooty successful template for the hardcore COD fans but if the single campaign was focused on a female soldier it would instantly make the whole thing seem more refreshing. As long as the woman isn't just a 'skin' and is woven both into gameplay and story you could have an action packed campaign that feels more personal and humane than ever before. To me it was the earlier more humane moments in the first few MW games that stood out to so many. They had 'controversial' moments that stood out, with a woman at the helm there is a lot of new opportunities to have some incredibly controversial moments that get people talking about COD again. For example, I think if they were to go in this direction that would HAVE to address the huge ongoing issue of sexual assault that so many women face in the military. As long as it was well handled obviously.

 

We're now getting to the point where no longer publishers can use the excuse of 'Games with women on the cover don't sell' because as we know, as long as the game is good it will sell regardless. Horizon is a huge recent  'fuck you' to that way of thinking. if a game is great, nobody cares (or even thinks) about the gender.

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Horizon is a brand new IP. Call of Duty has been around for many many years and accumulated a massive community. You can not copy an element from Game A, paste it in Game B and expect a success.

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On 06/04/2017 at 18:05, SozzlyJoe said:

Haha, gotta love that one. "What we have to put a black guy in? Let's make him come last, behind a woman in heels. And falling over."

Because black guys are so bad at running, right?!

 

There was that thing a few years back where 1 in 5 Americans believed black people physically couldn't swim because of their "bone density". That they would literally just sink like stones if they got in water. :lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting but I think the two Naughty Dog examples are quite poor. Chloe in Uncharted more obviously so as she, along with the other main female characters throughout the series, are always shown as equally adept as the main character in combat and traversal. If the sole issue is her complementing the character then that's a bit odd since the male characters in the series do the same thing too. I have no issue with the women shouting 'good shot!' or whatever, if they're portrayed as equally competent. As she says in the video, it's simply positive reinforcement regardless of gender. 

 

I also don't have a problem with Ellie in The Last Of Us. For starters, she's a young girl who has very little experience of the world outside where she grew up, which is why she can't swim. It's essential to the plot that she and Joel not only have to develop a bond but also that the bond is one resembling a father/daughter relationship, one in which Joel feels compelled to protect her. 

 

It would be far more incongruous if a young girl was suddenly thrust into the world able to swim and wield guns adeptly, and it would probably be detrimental to the story arc. Regardless of Joel having to help her across water or up ladders, she is shown as smart, capable and the tables turn when she has to look after herself and take care of Joel later in the game. 

 

I do enjoy the tropes videos but occasionally they do have a tendency to rob things of their complete context in order to make a quick point. 

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14 hours ago, Majora said:

Interesting but I think the two Naughty Dog examples are quite poor. Chloe in Uncharted more obviously so as she, along with the other main female characters throughout the series, are always shown as equally adept as the main character in combat and traversal. If the sole issue is her complementing the character then that's a bit odd since the male characters in the series do the same thing too. I have no issue with the women shouting 'good shot!' or whatever, if they're portrayed as equally competent. As she says in the video, it's simply positive reinforcement regardless of gender. 

 

I also don't have a problem with Ellie in The Last Of Us. For starters, she's a young girl who has very little experience of the world outside where she grew up, which is why she can't swim. It's essential to the plot that she and Joel not only have to develop a bond but also that the bond is one resembling a father/daughter relationship, one in which Joel feels compelled to protect her. 

 

It would be far more incongruous if a young girl was suddenly thrust into the world able to swim and wield guns adeptly, and it would probably be detrimental to the story arc. Regardless of Joel having to help her across water or up ladders, she is shown as smart, capable and the tables turn when she has to look after herself and take care of Joel later in the game. 

 

I do enjoy the tropes videos but occasionally they do have a tendency to rob things of their complete context in order to make a quick point. 

The Last of Us leans really heavily into the damsel in distress trope. Druckmann and co. do a very good job of putting their relationship within a believable context, but I feel they're also guilty of relying too heavily stereotypical views of men as protectors of relatively helpless women. I think the story wouldn't have worked as well if they'd made Ellie a boy and tried to develop a father/son relationship by making the son vulnerable for the majority of the game in order to make the player feel protective of him. I feel like they played on lazy stereotypes of women, and perceptions of the father/daughter relationship.

 

Speaking purely from my own experience, but before I had kids I thought I'd be very protective over my daughter, but the reality is that I'm certainly no more protective over my daughter than I am of my son. She's tough, spirited and ferociously independent, and I find myself nurturing these aspects in her rather than trying to protect her from the harsher realities of life.

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10 hours ago, geekette said:

and whilst it has ended in a very low key way

 

Yeah I was thinking this, felt like in the end she just wanted it done. Not that I could blame her if that was the case and she just wanted to move on, it sounds like she's going to just continue doing what she did before this with a focus on sexism throughout all forms of entertainment media. I'm not sure how this could have ended in a grand way, perhaps with a 30-60min show where she is interviewed about the entire journey. Am sure that will come through in some form through presentations, podcasts, interviews at some point when she's ready to revisit all this from a fresh perspective.

 

I just hope we don't eventually (as in 5+ years from here) go back to square one where to even suggest a game has signs of sexism is constantly met with phrases like 'It's just a game' or 'Sex sells'. I'm hopeful that there will be journalists/writers who continue to talk about it and that reviewers will bring it up in reviews, I also am hopeful that there will continue to be AAA developers that will continue creating games with interesting strong women. 

 

Does the end of the series mean the end of the thread? Hope not, I'd like this thread to go on and be a place where people can feel comfortable debating how women are presented in games (old and new).

 

 

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Yeah, the thread should continue. Maybe @Unofficial Who could alter the title to reflect the broader focus? I need to catch up on the videos. Stopped watching them because of wanting to avoid spoilers. Not teally the target audience but they were good to introduce ideas that I could bring into undergrad seminars. 

 

Teaching Angela Carter to first years next week and have asked them to think about what feminism means to them so should be interesting. I've noticed a definite split in recent years between those who clearly identify as feminist and those who buy into the negative twists on the term.

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3 hours ago, MechE said:

The Last of Us leans really heavily into the damsel in distress trope. Druckmann and co. do a very good job of putting their relationship within a believable context, but I feel they're also guilty of relying too heavily stereotypical views of men as protectors of relatively helpless women. I think the story wouldn't have worked as well if they'd made Ellie a boy and tried to develop a father/son relationship by making the son vulnerable for the majority of the game in order to make the player feel protective of him. I feel like they played on lazy stereotypes of women, and perceptions of the father/daughter relationship.

 

Speaking purely from my own experience, but before I had kids I thought I'd be very protective over my daughter, but the reality is that I'm certainly no more protective over my daughter than I am of my son. She's tough, spirited and ferociously independent, and I find myself nurturing these aspects in her rather than trying to protect her from the harsher realities of life.

 

Would or wouldn't? If you didn't make a typo above, you critique doesn't make a lot of sense. If you did mean Ellie would have been better as a boy, then you have just written a strong female character out of the game entirely which would hardly seem to improve things.

 

(Hmm, what if it had been a boy and the Joel character was a woman? I really don't think that would have the same resonance though.)

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2 hours ago, earlymodernsteve said:

Yeah, the thread should continue. Maybe @Unofficial Who could alter the title to reflect the broader focus? I need to catch up on the videos. Stopped watching them because of wanting to avoid spoilers. Not teally the target audience but they were good to introduce ideas that I could bring into undergrad seminars. 

 

 

I might be a while catching up too, in the meantime I'd welcome suggestions for a name change for the thread.

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8 hours ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

Would or wouldn't? If you didn't make a typo above, you critique doesn't make a lot of sense. If you did mean Ellie would have been better as a boy, then you have just written a strong female character out of the game entirely which would hardly seem to improve things.

 

(Hmm, what if it had been a boy and the Joel character was a woman? I really don't think that would have the same resonance though.)

Wouldn't.

 

I think the story works because it falls back on a stereotype of the father/daughter relationship, to make the assumed male player feel protective towards Ellie. I don't think the player would have felt as protective if they were escorting a young man. I think a better way of doing it would have been to make Ellie actually fight and be vulnerable to attacks, so you're protecting her through the game play mechanics, rather than the weird "invisible to zombies" thing they had going on. That way the player would be literally protecting her, and she protecting you. I think the bond may have even been stronger.

 

8 hours ago, PeteBrant said:

The last of us completely flips Ellie  from being almost completely dependant on Joel and Tess to in Spring, to being able to withstand and best a total psychopath in Winter. She turns from the person that needs protection, to the protector.

 

Ellie isn't a damsel in distress. She is a child growing up in a world that has gone to shit. I think it is completely false to use the Last of us as an example of the damsel in distress trope.

I don't deny that Ellie ultimately steps up in the later part of the game, but I do think that up until that point she serves as someone to be protected at all times. But we know from Left Behind that by the time she meets Joel she's already capable of holding her own. It would have been nice to see some of that in the story up until winter.

 

I ultimately think The Last of Us is a very positive step forwards for the portrayal of women in video games, but it does rely on the damsel trope where it really doesn't need to.

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4 minutes ago, MechE said:

Wouldn't.

 

I think the story works because it falls back on a stereotype of the father/daughter relationship, to make the assumed male player feel protective towards Ellie. I don't think the player would have felt as protective if they were escorting a young man. I think a better way of doing it would have been to make Ellie actual fight and be vulnerable to attacks, so you're protecting her through the game play mechanics, rather than the weird "invisible to zombies" thing they had going on. That way the player would be literally protecting her, and she protecting you. I think the bond may have even been stronger.

 

 

I see what you mean, though I think I remember reading a retrospective about the making of TLOU, and they said the fact that Ellie had pretty much no gameplay impact was because protecting an AI has never been fun so they kind of cheated on that one for the sake of playability.

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