How can I stop making sexist games?

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ludeshka
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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#61 Post by ludeshka » Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:33 pm

WARNING: INCOMING WALL OF TEXT! BRACE FOR IMPACT!


Look, I pretty much played all the games the original commenter mentioned.
That was just a person's opinion, as is mine. It's not like my words negate hers or anybody else's.
I apologize if I'm reiterating things that have been said already, but I wanted to talk about the games you've already made, and I think nobody had done so yet (yesterday, when I first read this topic)

I really, really don't think Metropolitan Blues is problematic. I think Writer is just as developed and just as important as Ghost.
And although I never got the true ending, I did get endings in which she dumped me or exorcised me. She made the choice.
Writer has agency. She doesn't exist for Ghost's benefit. If Ghost is a jerk, that's his problem.
Ghost is a first person narrator, but he's not meant to be right about everything. He can be generous, and he can be petty. He's a very nuanced character.
I didn't think we were supposed to admire him at all, or think he was "more worthy" than Writer of a happy ending...
No, I might be blinded by my own liking of the game, but I really disagree with the anonymous commenter's view of the story
(I just think it's a great game)

I played Romance is Dead recently, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
I read the commenter's opinion and thought "Naaah."
Wait, that's not an useful counteropinion, let me elaborate.
I think it's a convention of romance games that, well, you make choices to hang out with the character you want to end up with.
And, besides, RiD has several endings without romance that don't punish the player.
I dumped Maurice after he screwed up and didn't feel punished in my decision, I thought "You're better off without him, Maddie." Her life went on.
I befriended ...eh...the James Dean guy, and I thought it was a very fulfilling ending.
Yeah, I'm not making much sense, but my personal opinion is that RiD was a very good, enjoyable game.


Now, Adrift. Adrift is a great game.

But it has a character I found problematic, and that I think exemplifies the things you were critiqued for.

Hinami. That storyline was the worst of an otherwise really good game.

There are several ways to read the character.

1-Hinami is a child.
2-Hinami is a young neuroatypical lady. (I'm not a psychoanalist, I wouldn't diagnose her)
3-Hinami likes cute things, and acts childish but is otherwise a person who can perfectly understand the world around her.

The best ending can only be achived if you lie to her.

So:

1-Supervisor is a jerk who lies to children.
2-Supervisor is a jerk who lies and belittles neuroatypical people
3-Supervisor is a jerk who lies and belittles somebody just because she acts childish and girly.

In Hinami's ending Supervisor is a jerk.


(I really want to make clear than writing a jerk narrator is 100% cool with me. I like narrators who lie. I like evil narrators. I LOVE IT when narrators are unreliable and less than perfect. But if that's not what you intended, you might keep your eyes on it)

Now, in Sachiko's route, you have to lie your face off. Why is that not a problem? Because Sachiko is lying right back at you. Supervisor doesn't underestimate Sachiko, on the contrary, he admires her cunning. (Sachiko is a great charater, I loved her storyline)

The difference is you have to "protect Hinami from the truth" or something like that. Hinami can't take it.

I think you might have written her that way because of common stereotypes in anime and games.
You know, the cutesy girl, the "little sister" type.

Well, that stereotype is pretty sexist. -_-

The game is otherwise really fun and interesting! The characters are cool! I love the soundtrack!
I don't watch to bash your game. What I mean is that any of us can inadvertedly write something hurtful in a story without thinking much about it, just because we've seen similar things done that way before.

I'm not judging you for the anime you watch/watched as a kid.
The stories we read in our childhood are stories we don't really question, "That's just how they were, just how they were written..."
But you're a writer. You're writing the stories now. It's okay to question yourself.

You know, when she mentioned the mother in The Loyal Kinsman...I don't find it a particularly sexist game (it was set on a sexist era), but the point she made applies to lots of stories....

An older woman? A woman you're not supposed to romance? Ugh, gross, who cares, she's wrong about everything.
A way not to make a game sexist is to make sure that any woman can be cool. That women can be cool in many different ways.
That she doesn't have to be "pretty" or "available" to be cool.

Writing stuff the way "it's done" perpetuates the way it's done.
If you want to write differently, you can.

Looking forward to your next work. :)

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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#62 Post by Lesleigh63 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:42 am

Give your female characters their own goals and maybe try to project a little ahead of where women may feel they sit at the moment - I think someone else mentioned that we might be tired of hearing about women trying to break through the glass ceiling - so what if there was no ceiling - what would the woman's goal be then - possibly the same as a male in the same situation [get to the top by overcoming whatever obstacles they (male or female) may face]?
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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#63 Post by michan » Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:56 am

Am female, played Daemonophilia and Romance is Dead; didn't find either of them sexist at all. They're both well-plotted and have interesting characters. (Granted, I watch a lot of anime, and I've only gone 'argh, too sexist to watch! :evil: ' on Bakuman, and the more overtly moe-pandering anime, so...) Different strokes for different folks? :lol:

My advice would be to put yourself in your female (or male) character's shoes. If you were to do so-and-so, how would you feel? Would your motivations/actions/thoughts hold water regardless of what gender or sexual orientation you have, considering your character's personality?
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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#64 Post by Laniessa » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:59 am

Well, this might be a controversial opinion, but watch the videos by Feminist Frequency - it's a pretty insightful thing to watch to see how certain tropes can be taken apart and may be sexist at it's core. I'm not a huge fan of the channel because of the entire art banner issue, but it might be a start!

Otherwise, feminism blogs and stuff that analyse works and pop culture can be interesting to read.

(@michan: gosh, I love Bakuman but damn is it sexist!)

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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#65 Post by Taleweaver » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:26 am

Laniessa wrote:Well, this might be a controversial opinion, but watch the videos by Feminist Frequency - it's a pretty insightful thing to watch to see how certain tropes can be taken apart and may be sexist at it's core.
That's exactly the problem. I never intended for any of my games to be sexist or demeaning to women, or to present a patriarchical worldview, but it's apparently not that hard to interpret them that way. That's why I started this thread: to improve on my writing.

However, seeing the lots and lots of (partially conflicting) advice I get, it's going to be tough. I know FemFreq, but the videos mostly point out what's wrong from a feminist point of view and offer little advice as how to do things right. Then again Anita Sarkeesian is a critic, not a creator, so maybe she has little constructive advice to offer. Another reason to ask the LSF crowd instead.
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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#66 Post by Fungii » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:49 am

Honestly, I think this is a kind of lose-lose situation. Make a woman who isn't defined via feminine traits? You're saying a woman has to have those traits. Make a woman who is completely-anti feminine? You're saying that in order to be a good character you have to make them masculine. A mother who is dedicated to her family? Defaulting women to maternal instincts. A woman who has no problems using her sexuality to a means? You can see where I'm going.

The problem is with most 'touchy' sort of subjects, there's always going to be a way to twist it to be negative. Like the whole 'weaponised feminism' angle can be troublesome because again, you're limiting women to only have power in feminine aspects.

Though on the more helpful side of things, if you're worried about it being a subconscious thing that's happening (which I think affects most of us in one way of the other), I trick I use is to simply sex-swap a male character into female later down the road. I can't explain how that works exactly, but even I admit there's some kind of subconcious programming going on in my head whenever I make a female character that leads them down the same pitfalls.

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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#67 Post by Caveat Lector » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:00 am

@Fungii

In your first paragraph, I think the best solution would be to give the character a series of balanced traits to make them well-rounded and not just be defined as "the mom", "the anti-feminine", etc. If they're defined solely by those roles instead of other aspects to them, then it becomes a problem.

@Taleweaver

On the other hand, though, maybe you could apply some of those criticisms to think of what to do right even if Anita Sarkeesian doesn't directly say as such? Like, for example, if she's criticizing violence against women being used as a backdrop device or for cheap tension, then you could take that to mean "treat domestic abuse with dignity and respect and levity". I do something similar with reviews of various movies and books. Sometimes, critics can provide helpful advice without realizing it.
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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#68 Post by Aviala » Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:39 am

Fungii wrote:Honestly, I think this is a kind of lose-lose situation. Make a woman who isn't defined via feminine traits? You're saying a woman has to have those traits. Make a woman who is completely-anti feminine? You're saying that in order to be a good character you have to make them masculine. A mother who is dedicated to her family? Defaulting women to maternal instincts. A woman who has no problems using her sexuality to a means? You can see where I'm going.

The problem is with most 'touchy' sort of subjects, there's always going to be a way to twist it to be negative. Like the whole 'weaponised feminism' angle can be troublesome because again, you're limiting women to only have power in feminine aspects.

Though on the more helpful side of things, if you're worried about it being a subconscious thing that's happening (which I think affects most of us in one way of the other), I trick I use is to simply sex-swap a male character into female later down the road. I can't explain how that works exactly, but even I admit there's some kind of subconcious programming going on in my head whenever I make a female character that leads them down the same pitfalls.
I don't agree with your first paragraph. Of course you can't please everybody but it's not impossible to create a story that has female characters who are interesting and feminist-friendly. You just need to make the characters well-rounded.
For example, Orange is the new Black is a wonderful series with a diverse cast of female characters. I don't know a single person who has said that the show is sexist (even though people like that probably exist). All the characters have their own backstories, personalities and motives. Because the story is set in women's prison most of the characters are naturally female, which is very refreshing - usually the ratio of men to women is something like 5:1.

There are a lot of characters in that show, including moms, daughters, masculine women, feminine women and women who are openly sexual. All the things you happened to mention. But what makes the show feminist-friendly and those characters interesting? Well, I think it's the diversity, and the fact that the women are treated as people with personalities and feelings. The moms of the show aren't just moms; they also have other goals, likes, dislikes and motivations. The sexually active character's whole personality doesn't revolve around the fact that they like sex.

The one point I agree with is that it probably wouldn't hurt to try to make a male character and do a genderswap. It might be a good way to help you figure out what's wrong or different with the way you write women. Though I don't recommend that you do this with every female character. It's okay to write characters that are very feminine, and are designed to be female from the start as long as your all of your female characters aren't like that.

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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#69 Post by Kia » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:48 am

you don't have to stop being sexist! the only thing you need to do is deciding on your "target audience" and mention it on your very first page.
best way to learn this trick is looking deep into Japanese anime and manga genres. check the link below and read a little about: what kind of anime targets who. it helps you aim for the right audience.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:A ... emographic
the next thing you should consider is peoples fetishes. there are many type of people out there and each find a different thing satisfying so you should consider their "needs" when creating your story.
--------------
the problem in the game industry is the majority of gamers are men and as a game developers we have to target the bigger market to increase our profit. it comes natural that the majority of the game come out one sided. you can try to please both side in one game but the chance of success is thin because of difference in the taste.
my advise: make one for girls and one for boys. ^_^

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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#70 Post by trooper6 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:09 am

b3vad wrote:you don't have to stop being sexist! the only thing you need to do is deciding on your "target audience" and mention it on your very first page.
best way to learn this trick is looking deep into Japanese anime and manga genres. check the link below and read a little about: what kind of anime targets who. it helps you aim for the right audience.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:A ... emographic
the next thing you should consider is peoples fetishes. there are many type of people out there and each find a different thing satisfying so you should consider their "needs" when creating your story.
--------------
the problem in the game industry is the majority of gamers are men and as a game developers we have to target the bigger market to increase our profit. it comes natural that the majority of the game come out one sided. you can try to please both side in one game but the chance of success is thin because of difference in the taste.
my advise: make one for girls and one for boys. ^_^
According to the Entertainment Software Association, 48% of gamers are women. Also according to the ESA's statistics for this year, "Women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (36%) than boys age 18 or younger (17%)." And looking at the Lemmasoft survey, there are more women here than men. So, is just deciding to alienate a large part of the gaming population really a good idea? I don't think so.

Further, you cannot assume that all men will have a "taste" for sexist media. I certainly don't.
And you cannot assume that just putting on your front page "we make sexist media for men" is going to solve all problems...that people will accept that. If I saw a developer who put on their front page "we make sexist games for men," I'd be boycotting that developer really quickly. And then I'd be telling all the places that I know that care about not being jerks about that developer so that they could also boycott that developer. I don't think, with the American VN community, losing women and men who care about not consuming sexist material would be a good thing.
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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#71 Post by Kia » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:26 am

trooper6 wrote:According to the Entertainment Software Association, 48% of gamers are women. Also according to the ESA's statistics for this year, "Women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (36%) than boys age 18 or younger (17%)." And looking at the Lemmasoft survey, there are more women here than men. So, is just deciding to alienate a large part of the gaming population really a good idea? I don't think so.
don't get me wrong I don't suggest to write this is sexist in the game. simply mention "Yaoi, Yuri, BL, straight and other keywords that describe the content" to attract that kind of audience and give the player a big picture to decide on. this will avoid offending people who are offended with this categories.
I said one for girls and one for boys and I mean it. the things that girls demand from games are too different from things boys want to fit in one game that easy. and wow I had no Idea there is that much gamer girls out there :shock: I was thinking about 20-25%.

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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#72 Post by trooper6 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:00 am

I think this idea that men and women want radically different things is not universally true.
Women play World of Warcraft just as much as men do. There are women who play Halo and Lineage. There are women who play all sorts of things! And men who play all sorts of things!

Women tend not to enjoy being insulted when they play...and there are also men who don't need to have their video games insult women. Video games are made that appeal to multiple genders. It isn't impossible. Because men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. We are all human beings.
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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#73 Post by fioricca » Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:12 am

I don't know if this will help, but I draw inspiration from female characters that I like more so than what people tell me I should create. For instance, I tend to prefer mature women like Jeane/Kika/Seneca from the Suikoden series, so I find myself writing about them. I also tend to love really weak/cowardly girls who go through a lot of character development like GoT's Sansa. And then there's generally fun girls like Yuffie or nearly all of the hostess girls in Yakuza! (I love everyone in the Yakuza series.) Sometimes there's also that one girl with a really cute smile and I'm content with her just sitting there looking like the angel that she is. I also love all the girls in Otoyomegatari/The Bride's Tales, even though that manga is basically all about gender roles and girls finding love.

Really nice shoujo works, off the top of my head:
--- The Bride's Tales (Kaoru Mori)
--- Four Daughters of Armian (ancient manhwa, Shin Il-suk)

More shonen works which feature a good cast of female characters:
--- Gintama
--- Angel Beats
--- Tiger&Bunny
--- Uchuu Kyodai/Space Brothers (!! SERA IS SO CUTE.)

I agree that people are going to have different opinions about how female characters can be better written, and I don't think there's one set way to do it. So I just find stories/characters I like and work off those.

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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#74 Post by Caveat Lector » Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:43 am

b3vad wrote:you don't have to stop being sexist!
Being sexist is, well, bad. Really, really bad. If someone is taking the time to work past a certain mindset like this, that's a good thing. That should not be discouraged.

Also, keep in mind you're on a forum where the majority of game makers and participants are female. Just keep that in mind.
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Re: How can I stop making sexist games?

#75 Post by Kia » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:20 pm

:mrgreen: guess I need to step back and redeem myself. people see me as a hardcore sexist now. :twisted:
all I meant is: Taleweaver. you don't have to change the way you make your games. they spouse to come out of your brain the way you thinks. there is no reason to change the way you tell your stories. it's natural to men have such fantasies about girls because girls have their own kind of fantasies about men so continue being yourself.
and yes men and women are different. and I'm not talking about things like eating, drinking, having hands and feet and etc ... yes all humans do those things so do most of animals. I'm talking about the way we think.
-men enjoy round and bouncy things.(like err... ehm... balls :mrgreen: and all kind of sports that involve any type of ball. football, baseball, basketball and ....)
-women enjoy a good detailed story. (it's a long story to tell but I learned lots of things like this fooling around music industry)

I can go on about how to win men or women audience for ever but there is no point in that. just tell me how it's possible to write a single story that can work both ways and I'll show you your mistake.
about those anime and mangas:
The Bride's Tales/ is Seinen (marketed to a male audience aged roughly 17 on into their 40's.)
Four Daughters of Armian/ is Shōjo (marketed to a female audience roughly between the ages of 10 and 18)

Gintama/ is shonen (aimed at a male audience. It appeals to a large age group, ranging from about 10 to 42 years old) and a very good comedy in harem genre.
Angel Beats/ is Seinen (I think / didn't watch it and can't say anything about it)
Tiger&Bunny/ is Seinen
Uchuu Kyodai/Space Brothers/ is Seinen

all I'm saying is: know your client.

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