Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female gamer

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#46 Post by PyTom » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:20 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote:Treating any human like an object is a bad thing.
But in games, we're not dealing with humans, are we? We're dealing with with scripts and sprites and code and models and so on.

Part of the thrill of computer games is that we can do the sorts of things that we could never do in reality. Here in the boring real world, we all have the higher parts of our brains that make us know that these things are wrong in reality. But in fiction, and especially in escapist games, we can crush our enemies, see them driven before us, and hear the lamentation of their women.

Objectification in real life is bad. It - or things that are similar to it - are also attractive, to a lot of people. If it wasn't, why would it show up at all? The appeal of games is that we can trade on those emotions without hurting any actual person.
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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#47 Post by DrakeNavarone » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:34 am

PyTom wrote:But in games, we're not dealing with humans, are we? We're dealing with with scripts and sprites and code and models and so on.
But the thing is, these characters are more than just the sum of their parts, than bits of code and a few shiny graphics. In a very realized way, thanks to the power of the video game medium, these characters actually become symbols of women. And there's no doubt that they are being identified as such. The reactions from the male audience these female models and sprites get are so vastly different from the reactions they have towards other things in the gaming environment ( the male characters, the animals and monsters, the background scenery ). Whether consciously or not, it means they are being identified as women and not pixels. And while no specific real person is being harmed directly from this objectification, it doesn't exclude the chance of this depiction doing damage to a male player's view of women as a whole.

[ Even Madarame explains here how easy it is for the brain to associate an image/symbolic representation with its real life counterpart, and there's no doubt these same connections are being made by thousands upon thousands of male gamer brains. It's made all the easier with the advances in technology and graphics. ]

I personally don't understand why the want to "create something I want to create" has to always be in conflict with the responsibility one has to be respectful to other people, especially a whole gender, but I'll leave that argument for the rest of you to make.
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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#48 Post by Aleema » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:43 am

It's not a victimless crime. The attitude towards women in games, and other mediums, teaches society how they should treat and react to women. It's damaging, because it furthers stereotypes and conditions horrible expectations. Did you read "Nerds and Male Privilege"? The beginning has a specific real-world anecdote about a man interacting with a real woman. Think he's just one guy? There are countless reports of women being harrassed at cons, cases ranging from severe ogling to cat calls to slut-shaming to groping to physical domination, and worse. Add to that fact that booth babes are usually at those cons, who are real women being objectified for straight male pleasure.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#49 Post by Sapphi » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:36 am

DrakeNavarone wrote:And while no specific real person is being harmed directly from this objectification, it doesn't exclude the chance of this depiction doing damage to a male player's view of women as a whole.
Just this.

Also, I think we can notice it's more than just pixels and code when there are grown men who marry 2D characters. At the end of the day, I doubt that most players step back from their computer screen (or couch potatoes from their televisions, or bookworms from their novels) and think to themselves, "Well, that was fun, but it wasn't real." In some way, it was real. They still had an experience, albeit a vicarious one.

Anyway, I find it kind of contradictory to make the argument that "it's just scripts and sprites" if you enjoy dating games. If the love interests are just a bunch of code, why bother? What's the point? On the flipside, if you do take a genuine liking to a character, is she really just a bunch of scripts and sprites, to you, at that point?
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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#50 Post by AxemRed » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:20 am

Aleema wrote:Mm hmm, sure. Picking me apart doesn't make what I said any less true, you know. Have you read the link Camille posted? I totally didn't write that! :D
The reason why male privilege is so insidious is because of the insistance that it doesn’t exist in the first place. That willful ignorance is key in keeping it in place; by pretending that the issue doesn’t exist, it is that much easier to ensure that nothing ever changes.
>Picking me apart doesn't make what I said any less true, you know.
If you ignore all counterarguments, why are you participating in a discussion?

Why did you quote the bit about male privilege? I don't recall denying it exists.
papillon wrote:This is one of the problems with using the word 'privilege' in discussions - it has a specific academic meaning for a specific group of theorists, but unless you are already on the inside of understanding the issue, it sounds like an attack word and tends to get people's hackles up and prevent them from hearing what you're actually saying.
I'm aware of the academic meaning. The term was used as a personal attack in this case.
papillon wrote:
I ask because I don't see the insurmountable issues preventing females from enjoying the majority of video games. Telling me I lack empathy isn't helpful.
Women are not prevented like a roadblock from enjoying videogames, but they do often face a hostile environment.

Many video games, all female characters exist primarily for sexual purposes - they prance around in skimpy outfits, they offer themselves sexually to the PC and other men around them, while male characters do not behave similarly. That can be grating, especially if it keeps happening.
I agree with that. Lack of consideration for their female audience makes a large number of games less enjoyable, but not unenjoyable.
Auro-Cyanide wrote:Those games are not entirely unenjoyable
So you also disagree with: "it's hard finding a game to like as a female gamer"?
Auro-Cyanide wrote:Have you tried thinking about it from a female point of view?
Yes, but I mostly see minor annoyances.
Auro-Cyanide wrote:In short, main male characters are ego boosters for males, females are objectified, emotions are limited to sarcasm and anger, feminine is weak and the entire story usually revolves around the main character and his ego.
That's objectively poor writing. With "females are objectified" and "feminine is weak" thrown in. Do you have any examples of "feminine is weak" in games?

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#51 Post by Fawn » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:34 am

It seems the main complaint here is not actually of sexist males, but of people who cannot separate fantasy from reality.
At the end of the day, I doubt that most players step back from their computer screen (or couch potatoes from their televisions, or bookworms from their novels) and think to themselves, "Well, that was fun, but it wasn't real."
From what I've seen, most people can. Usually people learn that fantasies aren't real by pre-teen-hood and begin treating them as such: escapes that don't actually affect their lives besides providing entertainment and stress relief.

Those who can't, who let fantasies become part of their life as if they're real and apply them to the rest of the world, most likely have not grown up yet, have not had necessary life experiences, and/or are a little bit off in the head. The people who are most complained about here for being sexist towards women are, ding ding ding- sheltered nerd men who have most likely not had much social experience, so they take cues from what they've seen through fantasies.

If they let their fandom define their life and believe real life should be like in their entertainment they will most likey not act appropriately. That is the person's problem, not the game's problem. It's bad parenting in most cases- parents let the TV do the parenting, so the child takes cues from the entertainment.

No one was there to suggest "Son, this stuff isn't real. It's just for fun, nothing like that happens in real life. Real people are not like this." ect. Feel free to disagree, but I've noticed people who have more attentive (yet not overly sheltering) parents seem to be able to separate fantasy from reality.

There ARE nasty people out there of both genders who go so far as to treat people inhumanely due to not being able to identify with reality, and unfortunately a lot of them are so far gone it's nearly impossible to bring them to reason. (If you're not too squeamish and of age I suggest reading /cgl/'s cosplay horror stories... plenty of proof there...) But it's not fair to judge the majority of people like this. Most people are sane, the reason there's so many more negative experiences is because negative experiences tend to be more emotionally stirring; people love to share what awful things happen to them.

TL;DR: If you're mature enough to know what's a fantasy and what's reality, you will most likely not become sexist due to entertainment. There are plenty of people who are not mature enough to separate them that cause problems, but most normal people will not become so irrational due to some 3D boobies or gorey hack-slash movies.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#52 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:04 am

@AxemRed, No offense, but just because you don't see problems doesn't mean no one else does. This isn't a new concept and the very fact you have an awful lot of women in agree that something is wrong is a bit of a sign that something just might be wrong. You even have guys like the gentleman who writes DrNerdLove that can see why there may be problems. This isn't a figment of our imaginations, please don't treat it as such.

And good thing I'm not a writer than, huh. I don't need examples in games. Femininity is seen as weak in the entirety of society. If a man is seen as a woman, it's an insult that he is weak. Our gender is used as an insult. Nurturing is weak, emotions are weak, females are weak. They are not only weak, they are less. That is not a part of entertainment, that is a part of our lives.

What do you have against females seeking greater representation anyway?

I'm not worried about people getting bad impressions from games. I have always been against the idea violent games cause violence. I'm worried about why those ideal are so prevalent in media in the first place and why there are few other options. Why a female character has to be offensive to other females for her to be attractive to males. That is what I question.

Oh, and please note I'm not talking about changing ALL games so females can like them. That's silly. Just greater diversity in what already exists would be nice so it's not so much a case of deal with it or don't play. That is what I would like to see change, not getting rid of everything males enjoy. Everyone has the right to entertainment they enjoy :)
Last edited by Auro-Cyanide on Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#53 Post by Aleema » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:06 am

@Fawn: No, the main complaint is sexism. People who sexually harass women in real life are symptoms of it, and perpetuate it. I'm sure we'd all like both to go away forever - but justification for them seem to be prevalent in this thread for some reason. When will we stop justifying a problem, and start solving it? Redefining what's offensive, or explaining how it came to be, doesn't make it any less so. The OP will still be stuck in a game where she can't give her avatar pants, because it needs to be eye candy for someone else.

And it doesn't matter how you justify the number of harassment reports - it shouldn't matter if there was only 1 case of convention harassment reported in a year, that's one too many. Keep in mind that we're not all outliers when it comes to fellow nerds and sexual harassment. PAX right after the Dickwolves fiasco was a frightening place for me, with people going around yelling "Team Rape!" Situations just like the one at the beginning of the article happened - people actually say the "get back to the kitchen" joke out loud - you are ogled and objectified right to your face. It's just mind-boggling that one can't even escape that world in real life. But that's beside the point, because the main issue that the OP brought up was that it's difficult for female gamers to find a game they truly love, because of sexism, not only in the games, but in the community. Like how the fact that sexism in the gaming industry is even a controversy at all. Barely any one even believes me that I don't want to see a woman's ass all the time, and then if I say so, I have to give a detailed, cited essay as proof.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#54 Post by AxemRed » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:26 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote:@AxemRed, No offense, but just because you don't see problems doesn't mean no one else does. This isn't a new concept and the very fact you have an awful lot of women in agree that something is wrong is a bit of a sign that something just might be wrong. You even have guys like the gentleman who writes DrNerdLove that can see why there may be problems. This isn't a figment of our imaginations, please don't treat it as such.
Reread my posts, I never denied there being a problem. I deny the problem is so severe it prevents women from enjoying most games.
Auro-Cyanide wrote:I don't need examples in games. Femininity is seen as weak in the entirety of society. If a man is seen as a woman, it's an insult that he is weak. Our gender is used as an insult. Nurturing is weak, emotions are weak, females are weak. They are not only weak, they are less. That is not a part of entertainment, that is a part of our lives.
If you refuse to support your statements with arguments, you make it impossible to have a discussion.
Auro-Cyanide wrote:What do you have against females seeking greater representation anyway?
Nothing, and I don't recall saying anything that would lead you to believe that's how I feel.

I'm still waiting for your answer on this one:
So you also disagree with: "it's hard finding a game to like as a female gamer"?

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#55 Post by Keilis » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:46 am

Aleema wrote:@Fawn: No, the main complaint is sexism. People who sexually harass women in real life are symptoms of it, and perpetuate it.
How's sexually harassing a woman considered sexism? That just means a) you dig women and b) you're fucked in the head.
papillon wrote:Many video games, all female characters exist primarily for sexual purposes - they prance around in skimpy outfits, they offer themselves sexually to the PC and other men around them, while male characters do not behave similarly. That can be grating, especially if it keeps happening.
Hell, I don't even see why people are complaining about girls being sex objects or whatever for guys. I'm talking about games with fan-service, not the games like Duke Nukem where you do shit to women (I have no experience with those games). I'm female and I have no issues with women dressed in skimpy outfits, because you know what? It happens vice versa as well, with the most blatant examples being in otome games. These male "characters" live and breathe for the heroine. They exist solely to please her, to receive her recognition. It's just as insulting, IMO. Just because it's not visual, doesn't mean it's not offensive. Fan-service for females differs from male fan-service, but it's just as good/bad if we're expected to like that stuff. Honestly, I think women take skimpy outfits too seriously. Where visuals are fan-service for males, personalities are more so for us. There are both good and bad kinds of visuals and personalities, and that's when it can get insulting.

Why fan-service is more scarce for females than males should be obvious; the market for female gamers is smaller. Why the market is smaller is a different matter, and I don't really care to answer that. I just wanted to say that skimpy outfits aren't that bad. Hellooo, Bayonetta.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#56 Post by papillon » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:02 am

Keilis wrote:
papillon wrote:Many video games, all female characters exist primarily for sexual purposes - they prance around in skimpy outfits, they offer themselves sexually to the PC and other men around them, while male characters do not behave similarly. That can be grating, especially if it keeps happening.
Hell, I don't even see why people are complaining about girls being sex objects or whatever for guys. I'm talking about games with fan-service, not the games like Duke Nukem where you do shit to women (I have no experience with those games). I'm female and I have no issues with women dressed in skimpy outfits, because you know what? It happens vice versa as well, with the most blatant examples being in otome games. These male "characters" live and breathe for the heroine. They exist solely to please her, to receive her recognition. It's just as insulting, IMO. Just because it's not visual, doesn't mean it's not offensive. Fan-service for females differs from male fan-service, but it's just as good/bad if we're expected to like that stuff. Honestly, I think women take skimpy outfits too seriously. Where visuals are fan-service for males, personalities are more so for us. There are both good and bad kinds of visuals and personalities, and that's when it can get insulting.
Let me draw your attention to the relevant points here, since it seems like nobody listens to me no matter how many times I yell that there is nothing wrong with making games for a male target audience and there is nothing wrong with having girls in skimpy outfits. Even though I keep repeating those points over and over, sometimes with exclamation marks.

Someone asked for an explanation of why 'good' games could be offputting to female players through being obviously male-focused. Thus I pointed out as one example that in some games, all female characters are bouncing around nearly-naked... and not just games that are obviously about that sort of thing. Complaining about nudity in a Playboy game is silly, because that was obviously the point of the game in the first place. Finding a game that you thought was about a subject that would be fun to you and then being faced with this environment, suggesting that you are VERY much not someone they expected/wanted to play the game, can feel frustrating.

Your counter-example is otome games, which a) are an incredibly small fraction of the western gaming world, since if you're not counting us indies, you can count the games on sale on one hand, b) clearly labeled as being about the pretty boys, so it doesn't come as a shock and c) MOST GUYS WON'T PLAY BECAUSE THEY FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE.

Exactly like many women are complaining about feeling uncomfortable with these other games.

Except that in the case of many female gamers, the problem extends way beyond bishoujo games and playboy and duke nukem, games where you would obviously expect that sort of thing and just not go there if you didn't like it, and into 'mainstream' gaming.

If there were a reasonable amount of games catering to different perspectives, and not a crazy, angry, defensive fanbase shouting down all requests for such with nasty insults (Not this thread. I do not mean this thread. I mean the aforementioned comments threads on other places around the 'net.) then it would not be such a problem.

Again, for emphasis - there is nothing inherently wrong with making games targeted at a young white heterosexual male audience and featuring women in skimpy costumes.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#57 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:13 am

@AxemRed... So, me, Aleema, Papillion, the OP, Sapphi and the the numerous other women who have mentioned we have a problem with current games are not valid examples of there being a problem with sexism and games...? Then I don't know what is. We have brought up a lot of examples, we have explained how we feel. How is that not enough to demonstrate that we have a problem with games? Do I need a university study to prove how I feel? Yes, it's hard to find games that even remotely address me as a female. I can find games enjoyable if I shift myself to male thinking and ignore a number of issues from scantily clad women with no personalities to treating my female character like a man as default, but I don't think I should have to do this all the time. I would like to have more games that truly see me as an audience instead of having to make do. I'm not even talking about games directly targeting males, but those that just do it be default. If you can't see that or you don't agree with that, it's fine, but it doesn't make my point of view any less valid. The majority of games I have played are less enjoyable for me because of their inability to be respectful to women or to acknowledge my point of view. If you don't think that's a problem, good for you, but it doesn't make it any less of a problem for me. I really can't make myself much more clear than I have and others have done a better job at it. I would appreciate not having my concerns dismissed as they are just as valid as yours.

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#58 Post by AxemRed » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:32 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote:@AxemRed... So, me, Aleema, Papillion, the OP, Sapphi and the the numerous other women who have mentioned we have a problem with current games are not valid examples of there being a problem with sexism and games...?
Reread my posts, I never denied there being a problem. I deny the problem is so severe it prevents women from enjoying most games.

You keep accusing me of things I never claimed.

And do you, or do you not, agree with the statement: "it's hard finding a game to like as a female gamer"?

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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#59 Post by Sapphi » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:19 pm

Fawn wrote: From what I've seen, most people can. Usually people learn that fantasies aren't real by pre-teen-hood and begin treating them as such: escapes that don't actually affect their lives besides providing entertainment and stress relief.
I know that they can, but do they always? Maybe I'm not the model example of sanity, but I've actually lost sleep before because something that happened to a character upset me.

Speaking of life experiences and maturity, it isn't just 14-year old girls who went gaga for Twilight. I know a married mother in her twenties with children who stopped reading the books for awhile because by her own admission, she was beginning to feel resentful that her husband did not act like Edward Cullen.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that the fact that most people understand that fiction is fiction does not necessarily prevent it from affecting their lives in some fashion. Your suggestion of a lack of maturity, experience, or sanity is probably correct. The problem is that there are a LOT of (grown) people in this world who lack maturity and experience (and sanity can be something hard to qualify). Even if it is, as you say, the person's problem and not the game's problem, the outcome is the same. A skewed or sexist view of women is still being perpetuated.
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Re: Why, IMO, it's hard finding a game to like as a female g

#60 Post by J. Datie » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:05 pm

Sounds like we're getting into what Extra Credits calls "lazy design." They talk about it in the episode about propaganda games. I recommend giving it a watch.

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