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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Video game hero(ine)s (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Video game hero(ine)s
Beppie
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quote:
I guess what I was trying to convey is that it can be natural for men to want to sexualize women in a video game.
Okay, slow down here. Don't you think it could be the case that video games (plus a whole lot of other media) teach men to value women in terms of the sexualisation, rather than as people? So it then creates a market for more of the stuff, because men are acculturated to think that it's only "natural" for them to seek out overly sexualised images of women.

All that stuff about men being naturally more visual than women is all phooey, by the way. It's a convenient excuse that men use to get away with objectifying women in all media. However, if we look at visual achievements, we can note that many cities in the US have major transport infrastructure systems designed by women, we can note that there are plenty of women who are excellent artists (although of course men tend to get more fame for their art), photographers-- heaps of things that tell us that women are very much capable of responding to and incorporating the visual into our thought systems.

I also think that your "but it's natural for me to sexualise women because I'm a man" arguement completely ignores the factor of women as people here-- isn't it completely natural for women to hate being sexualised above everything else*, having our conformity to society's standards of conventional sexuality be valued more highly than our brains and/or our talents?

I'm sorry but, "let me see you as an object in relation to my own sexual desires, because I'm a man" just doesn't hold water with me.

*Note that I am talking about sexualisation as something being imposed upon women here-- I am not talking about a woman choosing to express her own sexuality on her own terms, which is of course something positive.

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000
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Simply to add on to Beppie's arguments (b/c I don't have a lot of time here), /this/ "The majority of female gamers probably wouldn't care about seeing sexualized males, where as the majority of males would like to see sexualized females" is also highly questionable, at least to the extent that you're implying women don't like to ogle at good-looking guys. They do. But they also generally respect dudes as people, and it's culture that creates that particular gender difference.

Just as there are many cultures where women are seen as having sexual power, in many of these cultures women are also valued highly for non-visual traits, such as survival skills or wisdom. Also, the desire of older women to look younger (b/c they don't receive a great deal of respect for other things, relative to appearance) is pretty exaggerated in our culture. In itself, the sexual power thing can take on different forms. Why, I have read of numerous cultures in Africa and the far east where there appeared to have been quite a bit more pressure on males to please their partners sexually than there has been until quite recently in Western culture. (check out East Africa, and Ancient China here for starters)

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Ben1980
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I have come to the conlusion that there is a lot of anger here on the forums about gender issues. Strong feministic views are okay, but when it creates a hole that everything boils down into, it kind of defeats the purpose of the discussion.

It always seems like both male-sexists and feminists just can't seem to recognize the positive differences in our genders and learn to accept them. Just because one doesn't like being different, doesn't mean it's bad to be different. If your definition of being equal is being exactly the same,(capabilities, expectations, etc.), and of course there are always exceptions in many areas, then you may never find equality in the way of men and women. They are different for a reason. There are differences sexually, physically, emotionally, etc.

Beppie,

I was certainly not implying in my previous post that females are not capable of fully enjoying and understanding things requiring "visual" aptitude. I was merely stating that the majority of females care less about physical attraction than males, especially when it comes to sex. I am willing to debate why that is...but nonetheless it is still true. If you dont believe me I can give you some research sources.

On another note, what about the pressures that face males regarding this video game issue? I have found that if I dont live up to having a "tough" image and strive to be strong, then I wont be sexually attractive either. Many women are strongly attracted to only men with big muscular frames or who live up to other "manly" standards. Many times when I feel a certain way, it is hard for me because I feel like if I behave in a certain way, it wont live up to other's expectations of me being a man. What about the pressures of being a "bread-winner" or taking care of and protection your family? Much more violence happens between males because of this dominance issue we have with eachother. All this could be caused by this issue. Females AREN'T the only gender that has pressures or become stereo-typed in some way. Much of this could be caused by being exposed to these "mind-altering" views when we are young. It is a two-sided street and the pressure goes both ways.

Regardless of the way I feel though, I still feel it's okay for there to be overly buff men and overly endowed females in games. It is just not an issue for me.


quote:
It's a convenient excuse that men use to get away with objectifying women in all media.
I'm having a hard time identifying with this statement. So you are telling me that the women who are being objectified by men are doing this under the influence of men, but in reality they dont want to be objectified? If women want to stop being objectified in the media, I think they should stop objectifying themeselves maybe. What is the excuse?

[ 10-06-2006, 12:20 PM: Message edited by: Ben1980 ]

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Heather
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quote:
It is just not an issue for me.
Then howsabout you let the people talking for whom it IS an issue, who haven't told us now several times it isn't for them, talk about it now?

If something is a nonissue, it's pretty darn silly to take up scads of space in a topic about it BEING an issue --and about the issue of women, specifically -- for some.

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Ben1980
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quote:
I still feel it's okay for there to be overly buff men and overly endowed females in games
This is the way I feel ON this ISSUE.

I can tell that you dont want me on these forums, and that's okay. At first I thought I found a pretty neat website where I could discuss and learn about different issues regarding all these types of topics, while at the same time, maybe helping someone now and again in the process.

What I think I have found is a biased feminist forum used for venting rather than discussing. Most of my views have been supressed, downgraded, and snuffed out (censored).

I will not be back to this site, which I'm sure you will be glad, and I will also make sure to spread to all my media contacts how I feel about it. I'm disappointed that many people on this site having problems must succumb to such biased advice.

Regards

[ 10-06-2006, 12:38 PM: Message edited by: Ben1980 ]

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Beppie
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Although Ben won't be back, I'm going to respond to this for the sake of others who might be reading this thread.

The idea that women are less turned on by physical attributes during sex is still simply silly-- however, I would certainly be willing to believe that our culture teaches young men to place an overt emphasis on the physical attributes of their sex partners, because often women are completely reduced to physical attributes anyway, or these attributes are given more importance than other attributes.

I don't think anyone has denied that unrealistic representations of men can be damaging too, although Heather did point out earlier that in a game where a character was engaging in demanding physical activities, a muscular physique makes sense, whereas overly large breasts do not. Really, one would expect that overly muscular women would feature in these games too, given some of the feats they are supposed to achieve, but that doesn't happen. Nonetheless, I certainly don't think that men who have body image issues as a result of unrealistic representations in video games should be silenced; there are plenty of steps that these men can take to change things-- not spending their money on games that portray unrealistic body types, and raising awareness, for instance. However, I don't see how saying "I am allowed to dismiss the concerns of women who feel objectified by video games because I enjoy ogling fake boobies" helps that cause at all. I don't believe that anyone here was suggesting that men are not allowed to have concerns about the way that men are represented-- simply that men having or not having those concerns does not invalidate women's concerns.

Furthermore, the argument that Ben has presented here contradicts itself-- firstly he claims that women's sexual arousal is not visual. Then he claims that women's desire for muscular men-- that is, our desire to view certain physical attributes-- is putting the same degree of negative pressure on men that women face.

All that was happening here was that people, mostly female, were discussing the ways in which video games pressure us to act as sexual objects in all contexts. We refused to allow those concerns to be dismissed because a man comes in and tries to tell us that we should not be concerned, due to his belief that his culturally ingrained desire to objectify women is part of his masculine nature. We reasserted our right to have our concerns about objectification. That is all.

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000
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that was quite a clear and concise little essay, Beppie
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Menthol
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Heh, that's what I love about Phantasy Star Online. Character customization. I can make a short fat elvish-person that actually resembles me.

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~Ayn Rand

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Djynnjah
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It's pretty weird to be calling this site sexist if your tack is "You women shouldn't be concerned about this because I'm not and as a man, I'm entitled to enjoy your objectification no matter how it may be hurting you."

In relation to the line of thought that video games should be made more appealing to women in general, I think Square-Enix figured one thing out a long time ago. Every Final Fantasy game is practically guaranteed to have at least a few fine looking young men in the cast of characters. Not the bulky kind, but lean-muscled androgenous pretty boys that some girls definitely lean towards (when it comes to virtual eye candy, at least).

A game does not have to be puzzles and fashion makeovers to appeal to women. I've watched my brother fiddle with the uniform customization in his Fifa games and I swear there's so much more in the way of options and details than I ever recall in some Barbie game. Other than the over-the-top sexuality of female characters in general, I have practically no problems with the kind of gameplay available today. I like smacking the crap out of things, blasting things to pieces and killing bad guys in general. At least in the places I frequent, it would appear that games appeal to women for the same reasons they appeal to men. There's just so much more that women can find unappealing.

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Pan
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I'd just like to point out that if anybody- male or female- were running around, killing things, and running away and all that, it would probably be best if they weren't wearing baggy clothing that would probably get them caught/killed...

Just a point...

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LostYellowPages
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Woooowww. That's was great. I just read this entire thread.
Good debate. Golly. Wow, that was good. Hahahaha. Okay.
I would like to state that as a regular gamer (of Gamecube), I mostly stick with games that either have male characters or are geared towards the younger audience.
I play games like Mario, sport games, skatebaording, Take and the power of Juju, and Prince of Persia.
I had a choice to get XBox or Playstation 2, but I chose Gamecube because they had games that weren't as violent and sexual.
When I was growing up, I was close to these boys that lived down the street. They were a lot older than me and they always played Nintendo 64. I remember they used to put in James Bond just to watch the girls on it.
Since then, I've just been subconsciously compelled to turn away from video games such as that.
While I am a lesbian, I just don't like the idea of watching a girl with triple Z cups running around and looking sexy in tights. It feels demeaning to me even though the girl in the video game isn't even real.
Also when my old guy friends would laugh and talk about the girls on the videos to their other guys friends, I'd always feel really low about myself, and I'd yell at them and either leave or just shut down.
This was a good issue to bring up.. and the sad thing is I strongly feel that this isn't going to be changing in the next fifty years.

P.S. Another good video game to play with a lead female character that kicks butt and has normal sized yoohoos and regular clothes is Beyond Good & Evil.

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James the Dark
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Let me first prefice this by saying that I'm an avid gamer, and of the male gender. And having said that, I too am thoroughly irked by the 'holocaust survivor with two melons on her chest' look that seems to be pushed these days.
Tomb Raider is especially guilty of this. I'd much rather have an actual strong woman, of the school of Firefly's Zoe Washburne, or BSG's Kara Thrace. A lady with muscles, an attitude, and NEVER enters a fight without wearing extensive body armor. You don't care that you'll never see her naked, because she's just damned interesting and cool.
My entrants into the 'reasonable woman' catagory are of course Metroid's Samus Aran (Revenge motivated, power-armored, genocide instigator that she is), and Parasite Eve's Aya Brea (Tough, intelligent, firepower, and super powers. Moreover, she has to hold onto her sanity as she learns that she's no longer exactly human). The list is admittedly somewhat bleak in console games. That's why I prefer RPGing, where the chances you'll run into a Kara Thrace or a Zoe Washburne are astronomically higher. Of course, chances are, they'll want to kill you, but I digress.

Media being what it is (ie. run by non-gamers, ironically enough), I can't see the issue being solved any time in the near future. Much as I'd like it to. Come on, people, would it be so hard to create one damned game where the women aren't half-dressed, half-witted and at the mercy of anybody who can grab them? To hell with the damsel in distress, I say. Let somebody else be in distress for a change.

Of course, I could be wrong on this.

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"And you're really asking me if I prefer injury to embarrassment? That's not even a choice. I don't know anybody who's literally died of embarrassment."

People are annoying sometimes.

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Narwhal
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Ah, Browncoats on the forum...I LOVE it! *warm fuzzies all around*

Baldur's Gate was OK on the "not portraying scantily clad females who are all clones of each other." You could pick the gender (and a number of other features) of the main character, and add an assortment of men, women, good or evil characters to your party, with widely varying skill sets. Although when I played it with a female main character, this stupid paladin fell in love with my character and then ditched us in the middle of a fight and almost got us all killed--and then I was apparently supposed to go rescue him. That was basically a fluke in the timing, though, not a deliberate attempt on the part of the game's designers to mess up my character's life.

I did read an article in the New York Times a couple of years ago which reported that video game makers find that, as male gamers grow older, they are more interested in games with a complex storyline rather than just shoot-em-up games. The article went on to say that these were the games that female gamers tend to prefer at any age, and that if the game companies had been paying attention to what girls wanted all along, they wouldn't be running to catch up now that the men's tastes have changed. Although, in light of this discussion, I wonder if there's an alternate explanation for this gender discrepancy: could it be that games based on a complex storyline are less likely to include stereotyped, oversexualized female characters, and that this is why female gamers preferred these games? I wish I still had the article so I could quote from it.

And James: "Start with the part where Jayne gets knocked out by a 90-pound girl, 'cause I don't think that's ever gettin' old." Moment of Wash.

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James the Dark
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...I'm going to have to retract Aya Brea from my recommendation, having just played the second Parasite Eve. Damn you, shower sequence!

Seriously, it's damned hard to find a legitimate, unstereotyped female character. Final Fantasy's various itinerations have a few, like VII's Aeris, IX's Garnet and Beatrix, and X's Rikku (She scores damned high on the cute meter, though), but then they whip out a Tifa or a Lulu and it's right back to Square one... Dang it, I just punned.

I still remember, though, the first time my father saw me playing Resident Evil, and beheld Jill, a shotgun, and a lurching zombie. His exact words were "who's the chick with the firepower?". I answered with a 12 guage decapitation. The look on his face drew a laugh, it did.
*sigh*

We really need to put Joss Whedon in charge of reworking a few video game characters. I can just imagine 'Joss Whedon's Super Mario Brothers', getting to the end of an utterly empty castle, with a bewildered lookin' Toad at the end, muttering "sorry, the Princess went to take out another Castle".

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"And you're really asking me if I prefer injury to embarrassment? That's not even a choice. I don't know anybody who's literally died of embarrassment."

People are annoying sometimes.

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-Lauren-
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Beatrix kicked some serious butt. She was one of my favorites. I mean, come on, chick with an eyepatch who was the best swordsman in the game!

I find most of FF's women stereotypical. Aeris might have been an exception, but Garnet/Dagger was still on the "Princess-Save-Me" side. And do NOT even get me started on Rinoa from FF8; I found myself yelling "Stop hunching and hugging your knees and fight!!!". I admit to liking Quistis, but she had emotional problems, not to mention her weapon as a whip and status as teacher was waaay fan service.

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James the Dark
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With regards to Garnet, I was talking about how she struggles with an inner turmoil, and in the end, reinvents herself to continue. There's a reason there was an entire FMV sequence to her shearing off her hair.

And I notice that after that, her portrait in the character menu has the slightest smirk on it.

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"And you're really asking me if I prefer injury to embarrassment? That's not even a choice. I don't know anybody who's literally died of embarrassment."

People are annoying sometimes.

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Menthol
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quote:
Originally posted by Dzuunmod:
The difference though, blaze, is that 13 year old boys can legally buy video games.

Women get beat up all the time in video games, and no one blinks an eye. If women were beat up (and killed) on film, the way it goes down in video games, I imagine we'd see a bit more of an outcry.

And men get beat up and killed more often.

It's not real, and while yes, it's rather enforcing of the stereotypes, anyone who takes these depictions to heart and uses it as a scapegoat to shoot up a school or run down and rob a streetwalker would have found a different excuse anyway.

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"I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction."
~Ayn Rand

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Beppie
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I think, Menthol, the problem is that in the vast majority of instances, the person doing the beating is male, creating this idea that violence is intrinsic to masculinity. Male players of the game all have the option of identifying with the aggressor, while female players do not. As such, it still creates an unequal gender dynamic.

Of course, instances in which men beat up other men also create unequal dynamics, often on the basis of race, nationality, religion and/or social class. This is important to address, but it is not a gender based thing.

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