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


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That post by new member is pretty much the benchmark for any subsequent stupid responses to any of the topics discussed in this thread. It's almost perfect in the way it hits every single thicko cliche: hasn't read the thread, hasn't read any of the videos the thread is about, hasn't bothered to think about the issue any more than the time it takes to compose a knee-jerk response to a wholly imagined threat that he isn't going to be allowed to look at sexy womens any more.

All it needs is a spurious argument that men are just as subject to objectification and sexism ACTUALLY, and it'd be a flawless example of the weird sexist paranoia that pops up in this thread with such grim regularity.

There was a post fairly early on by Kyoma/Piro/Whateverthefuckhescallinghimselfnow that pretty much set that standard already, though I'm not sure if this has beaten it yet. For those that dont remember, he essentially bowled in seemingly not having read the thread and asked what the fuck her problem was, referring to her as a feminazi, and asking such gems as "why dont they like rape, but murder and torture is fine?", worries that she's trying to get rid of sexy women in games and then starts questioning why she wants so much money.

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Where does this bizarre paranoia - in which any sort of progression or improvement towards equal treatment of women will instantly result in blokes not being allowed to like tits anymore - come from? I see it now and again and it's just bewildering. Fuck knows what's going on in their heads.

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The 'Men are sexualized because they have muscles' comments always get to me. There would be much less a conflict if all women in games had big muscles too but they hardly ever do, ever. This is a classic comeback that anti feminist people love yet blindly miss the point with;

He-Man_a51a94_4798301.jpg

Dunno, it IS gender stereotyping. The classic male stereotype of the tall, strong, broad shouldered, square jawed ubermensch is the visual counterpart of the cultural indoctrination that men must be strong - preferably both physically and emotionally - and tough. And I bet it makes a lot of short, narrow shouldered, chinless, emotional or otherwise 'soft' males feel just as uncomfortable.

What IS missing the point in the picture is that it claims feminists have double standards; I'm sure plenty of feminists or other people dealing with gender equality are opposed to any kind of gender stereotyping, whether it's about men or women.

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Where does this bizarre paranoia - in which any sort of progression or improvement towards equal treatment of women will instantly result in blokes not being allowed to like tits anymore - come from? I see it now and again and it's just bewildering. Fuck knows what's going on in their heads.

I asked about the difference between objectification and sexuality in the "Embarrassing thing you don't know." thread so I'll try a shot at this.

If you have an involuntary biological reaction to a certain female aesthetic, and are commercially bombarded with it from all mediums since childhood, and aren't familiar with any feminist writing or thought (which is going to account for an enormous percentage of men) then are exposed to the concept of objectification it (incorrectly) may seem like an assault on your sexuality and taste.

Myself and others asked questions and did some rudimentary research, and others...didn't.

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It also now becomes clear why new member makes all those crazy posts about the new Robocop film looking decent.

I never said it looked decent, I was just providing potential reasons for what was being seen in trailers.

As for the comments following my post, it kind of highlights what I was talking about. I made no judgement on anyone, you can all have your thoughts and opinions. I expressed an opinion and I'm called an idiot and so on. Who is the one in the wrong? The man that holds a differing opinion and accepts others ideas or the man who abuses other men because they don't conform to their ways?

And no, I haven't read the thread entirely because most of it seems to be pretty dull. I have seen some of these woman's videos though and most of the comments I've read here seem to be backing her up. Much like some of the comments in the hitman thread going on about the assassin nuns and general portrayal of women being disgusting.

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I never said it looked decent, I was just providing potential reasons for what was being seen in trailers.

As for the comments following my post, it kind of highlights what I was talking about. I made no judgement on anyone, you can all have your thoughts and opinions. I expressed an opinion and I'm called an idiot and so on. Who is the one in the wrong? The man that holds a differing opinion and accepts others ideas or the man who abuses other men because they don't conform to their ways?

And no, I haven't read the thread entirely because most of it seems to be pretty dull. I have seen some of these woman's videos though and most of the comments I've read here seem to be backing her up. Much like some of the comments in the hitman thread going on about the assassin nuns and general portrayal of women being disgusting.

You didn't read the thread but nevertheless adopted an accusatory tone and invented the positions of other contributors and now you're upset because some are suggesting there is too much empty space between your ears.

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It makes sense. No one wants to think that their actions and behaviour has been harmful and / or damaging to someone else. Rather than think 'Oh shit, maybe I messed up', the natural defense mechanism of 'it must be someone else that's wrong' kicks in. And the fact that our culture is dripping with harmful and damaging messages - that women are to be consumed, that men must be MEN or they are nothing - makes it easy to retreat into that bubble that your ideas are right and anyone else with a differing opinion must be wrong headed.

Just thinking about it is a start, even if you disagree.

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Round we go again.

Sexualised - generally speaking, men may be handsome or muscly or whatever in games, but they almost always have their own agency. If there's some that don't have agency, they are in the minority and they're more than balanced out by those that do.

Women generally tend to be not only sexualised, but objectified. And objectification is demonstrably harmful. And also so common, insidious and widespread that we don't even blink an eye at it.

If some men in some games (or other media) are also objectified that doesn't make it okay or even the scales. It just makes things even worse.

Video on objectification because I'm guessing the 4 part essay I posted last time this came up is TL;DR

I don't disagree strongly on any particular point here. What I was attempting to say was that both male and female portrayals in computer games both count as idealised and that I would have liked to have seen some effort by the "Tropes" series to provide her definition of what counted as a sexualised or objectified character. It's an extremely difficult concept to describe what is or is not objectification, but just a personal opinion of Anita's on this would have at least (in part) raised the videos to the level of academia.

I believe it would have made a more interesting video because this issue has been explored many times without proviso, and for me at least, the "Tropes" series skims the issue in a way that I find extremely disheartening.

I think that the almost ubiquitous hate for her opinions on YouTube might be lessened if Anita attempted to clarify her positions on these. Maybe it's just that people don't want to give her the benefit of the doubt. As it stands she has a whole bunch of antifeminists against her, as well as a great number of differently minded feminists, and a vast contingent of trolls so perhaps she's always going to have videos that are just unpopular.

From my experience in different forums and boards I see alot more criticism than support, but I might not be getting the full picture on this.

What I was also attempting to ask was is sexualisation something that is inherent because of market conditions, or could it be that culture can be changed to lessen demand for titillation? I'm of the opinion that it cannot be changed by cultural intervention, but possibly by law (which I am not in favour of). I am also of the opinion that the more women are paying for the market share of games, the less problem there will be with female objectification. Male objectification might just step in and take up the reins, though I personally don't see that as a major issue, at least not right now.

As for agency, I'm not convinced that a sexualised woman with agency simply makes it all fine and dandy. Agency is an even more nebulous concept in what is already an extremely muddy issue.

I probably would not self identify as a feminist. But I did, for years. Naomi Wolf is a personal heroine to me and I remember first reading about objectification and how it applies to both men and women from her.

And Laci Green? I've been watching a lot of YouTube for years and I remember the videos she was putting out back then. Although her video is interesting enough, it does come from an author who is definitely guilty of what Naomi Wolf would call "self-objectification". I'm not saying she's a hypocrite, I'm saying this issue demands that we consider carefully what constitutes objectification, who profits from it and in what instances does it devalue the artistic or critical statement at hand.

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I don't disagree strongly on any particular point here. What I was attempting to say was that both male and female portrayals in computer games both count as idealised and that I would have liked to have seen some effort by the "Tropes" series to provide her definition of what counted as a sexualised or objectified character. It's an extremely difficult concept to describe what is or is not objectification, but just a personal opinion of Anita's on this would have at least (in part) raised the videos to the level of academia.

I believe it would have made a more interesting video because this issue has been explored many times without proviso, and for me at least, the "Tropes" series skims the issue in a way that I find extremely disheartening.

I thought that she's done a very good job in "Damsel in Distress" of laying out what she means by "objectification", in that it's the tendency for a character to lack agency and be the subject of events rather than an active participant. They're literally an object, like buried treasure or a magic ticket that says "Time to do some revenge", rather than a character. Sexualisation she doesn't lay out in the same way because it hasn't been the subject of an episode but I suspect that it'll similarly come down to the issue of whether this is something that's for the character's benefit (Snake's wonderful beard makes him look like a badass) or the viewer's (Eva's ridiculous cleavage only exists to be stared at by Snake and the player, albeit for a plot purpose in the former case).

I'm not sure that Sarkeesian could've been much clearer on the objectification issue at this point. One of the things that's really remarkable about the videos, given the response to them, is that they're actually saying very simplistic things about gender, usually with a tonne of repetition of definition then example as their main rhetorical device. They seem to be constructed to convey the most basic ideas as straightforwardly as possible and asking more of the series just because a bunch of idiots online can't bear up to even that level of analysis isn't fair on the series' purpose.

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I think we have a fundamental disagreement on what makes a clear definition in that case. From watching the video again she does repeat the same point over and over. I think you are right that she does attempt to do this in order to convey what is to her a simple idea. But the problem I see is that her definition is amorphous. She states that objectified women are acted upon and lack agency, but then later on states that those damsels that helped out the hero by having independent thoughts and actions are still objects because it was for the good of the hero's ordeal. To me this appears to be shifting her critical expectations to meet her world view rather than providing a clear definition.

She also mentions subject object dichotomy which I looked into and it appears to be a philosophical concept regarding consciousness. To me that's a conflation and muddies the definition even more. I can't see how one could consider this clear.

Also with Eva, that's a great example. Because Eva is undoubtedly sexualised for the player. But she also has a great deal of agency and her character is quite complex and has her own intentions. Anita clearly states that serialisation is a form of objectification. So is Eva objectified or not? I would have liked to have seen that sort of example explored further.

To be clear I don't think this sort of issue debunks Anita or anything, but I hope it has explained at least why I can't see it as an issue she explored particularly well.

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The 'Men are sexualized because they have muscles' comments always get to me. There would be much less a conflict if all women in games had big muscles too but they hardly ever do, ever. This is a classic comeback that anti feminist people love yet blindly miss the point with;

He-Man_a51a94_4798301.jpg

So the best example of a unrealistic male role model for children that the "yeah...but" community can find is from a 30 year old cartoon?

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Leccy: I think we're on the same page, but I view the show's lack of nuance as an intended tradeoff rather than a weakness. It's very broad strokes. Of course the benefits of that approach in making it easily digestible by a potentially hostile audience never materialised.

Certainly the show has itself said things to the effect of "these issues don't obviate the positives of a game or a character", albeit perhaps too infrequently, which suggests an awareness of the broader debate. If she does a "sex objects with agency" episode - and frankly that might be inviting too much controversy - it would be very interesting.

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I think people need to remember that these videos, as far as I recall, are mostly aimed at school children, and giving them the tools necessary to start questioning and debating what they see. I think they're perfectly successful at that. Anyone wanting to delve deeper into subject/object dichotomy can easily do so on their own.

Leccy: why do you not identify as a feminist now?

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Certainly the show has itself said things to the effect of "these issues don't obviate the positives of a game or a character", albeit perhaps too infrequently

I'm pretty sure she says it about twice per episode, as if people can't untangle the idea of exploring tropes in games and the idea of criticising games.
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I think people need to remember that these videos, as far as I recall, are mostly aimed at school children, and giving them the tools necessary to start questioning and debating what they see. I think they're perfectly successful at that. Anyone wanting to delve deeper into subject/object dichotomy can easily do so on their own.

Leccy: why do you not identify as a feminist now?

That's kind of my point. I would have a big problem with the videos being used in an academic sense. I don't believe she draws her arguments in such a way that withstands critiscism or demonstrates critical evaluation. Perhaps I am judging them too harshly, I feel her detractors are allowed far too much ammo against her due to strange inconsistencies. Still it's early days and as Alex correctly pointed out they might be addressed in a future video. It's just the standard so far does not leave me hopeful.

I don't really know how to answer the why I can't identify with feminism question without sounding disrespectful but I will attempt to and please don't take offense. I've met far too many and read far too many articles by unscientific, hyperbole ridden radicals in the past few years. I am ( very broadly speaking ) anti censorship and anti authoritarian and find less and less to identify with in the movement although still sympathetic to the overall goals. Ironically it was partly motivated by one of Anita's early videos where she appeared to be in favour of male female apartheid and a social media post where she strongly condemned slutwalk that got me looking at what her detractors ( non troll ones ) were saying.

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Are you talking about radicals as in 'radical feminism'? If so that would be enough to put anyone off. I would say that offshoot is pretty outdated and most people of note these days would place themselves - if forced to categorise - under 'intersectional feminism' and with good reason.

I also think that you can pick apart any prominent feminist and find something problematic. Naomi Wolf being a great example - her The Beauty Myth was an important book in its time, but Wolf herself has said many problematic things that one could find fault with. Just because people are flawed and don't agree on EVERYTHING doesn't erase the good things they do put forward.

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All feminism means at its basic level is believing in equal rights for women, while someone might not agree with the views of particular proponents, if someone say they're not a feminist they''re essentially saying "I don't believe women deserve equitable treatment to men". Which is why I always find it funny when the word is spat out with such venom by some.

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