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Woman Vs. Internet: How Anita Sarkeesian beat the trolls

Woman Vs. Internet: How Anita Sarkeesian beat the trolls

Tue 10 Jul 2012 6:55am GMT / 2:55am EDT / 11:55pm PDT
Politics

The Feminist Frequency founder on games, Kickstarter and what she wants to change

Gaming, undeniably, has an inherent problem with gender equality.

Our industry is largely dominated by men. As a medium it has, for most of its history, targeted itself firmly at the young male demographic, making the vast majority of its money from men aged 14-25. Games are made by men, for men.

More recently that has begun to change, the advent of new business models and forms of distribution opening new genres to female audiences of all ages - proving to developers and publishers alike that there's money to be made from broadening games' appeal. Exact numbers vary, depending on who you listen to, but it's widely accepted that somewhere between 30 and 45 per cent of all gamers are female, with many titles counting women of various age-groups as their most profitable demographic.

"Women across the internet are attacked for speaking out on a variety of topics but there seems to be a particular entitlement-based rage directed at any woman who dares to say anything critical about video games"

Anita Sarkeesian

And yet, the business still alienates and marginalises huge numbers of potential female customers by proliferating harmfully stereotypical and insulting portrayals of women. From casual sexism to full-on misogyny, many core games continue to commit a litany of abuses against 50 per cent of the population.

It's partly an issue of workforce. Just 11 per cent of all game developers are women, according to recent figures, with TIGA's most recent Game Developers' Salary Survey putting that figure even lower, at just 6.6 per cent. Initiatives, such as Womeningames.com are tackling the issue, as are grass-roots movements in schools and universities. Online debate is helping, but the problem persists.

I'm absolutely not suggesting that the industry is littered with misogynists and sexists intent on culturally repressing women, but men, it seems, are more likely to make games which appeal largely to men, especially when the market data tells them that it's in their interest to do so. Sex sells, and if you're selling to a straight male audience, that means sexualising women. It's economics, but it's no excuse for culturally retrograde action.

There's an obvious vicious cycle of logic here, one which the forces of capitalism will hopefully begin to rectify as core games are forced to look for new audiences, but it's not just the type of games or their portrayals of women which are driving females away from the medium - online abuse from gamers is often well beyond that experienced in almost any other setting, anonymity and distance giving false courage to the voices of idiots.

There are plenty of hardcore female gamers who are happy to queue for midnight launches of CoD but will never use voice chat for the fear of the gender-focused abuse they'll encounter, MMO players who'll spend six hours a day raiding, but will hide the fact that they're female to shield themselves from the howls and unwelcome sexual advances of male counterparts.

If you're in any doubt as to how virulent and unpleasant the hate can be, take a look at some of the messages received by female gamers at FatUglyorSlutty, a website established by the targets of this abuse to highlight the situation. It makes for difficult reading, despite the light-hearted tone of the site's own mocking ethos.

Someone who has experienced the full spectrum of the problems outlined so briefly above is Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency. A long-term fan of games, and an established media commentator on the representation of women, Sarkeesian decided to try and turn what had been a passion project and sideline into a full-time occupation, opening a Kickstarter appeal to fund a series of videos called Tropes vs. Women in Video Games examining the way in which women in games are represented.

The floodgates were opened. Sarkeesian was bombarded with hatemail of the most graphic and disgusting stripe. Her Wikipedia page was vandalised, visual 'memes' were created, hate sites established, threats made.

Vicious, hateful idiocy made itself heard. Bile and frothing entitlement poured forth. Sarkeesian prevailed, her Kickstarter smashed its target gathering over 15 times the original cash target and enabling her to extend the reach and scope of her project well beyond her original goals.

A victory of sorts, then. Reason has, in this instance, triumphed over troglodytes and trolls - but has much changed? Sarkeesian certainly hopes she can make a difference. Below, GamesIndustry International speaks to the critic about her aims for the project, her experiences online and who she feels has portrayed female characters properly.

Q: The tremendous success of your Kickstarter must be hugely welcome after the horrendous abuse you had visited upon you. Are you more confident that your aims can be achieved as a result?

Anita Sarkeesian: It's a bit of a double edged sword. I'm immensely grateful for the overwhelming support I've received from people of all genders and from all over the world. On the flip side however this type of intense and sustained harassment can be difficult to deal with to say the least.

Initially my Tropes vs. Women in Video Games project aimed to examine the patterns of stereotypical representations of women in video games, but given the intensity of the hate I've been subjected to for simply announcing the video series, the project will now be expanded to include a component about the epidemic problem of harassment in gaming spaces.

"Faith from Mirror's Edge and Jade from Beyond Good and Evil are featured as the heroic protagonists of their own games without being sexualized, objectified or otherwise reduced to their gender"

Anita Sarkeesian

In the past my video series has been a passionate side project funded out of pocket and via small donations on my website. Now because of the fantastic success of the Kickstarter I will be able to commit to working on Feminist Frequency projects full time, which is very exciting.

Q: Do you feel that the vehemence and unpleasantness of the abuse is particular to the gaming community, or is it representative of internet commentary on a larger scale?

Anita Sarkeesian: I've received some sporadic harassment for my past critiques of movies or TV shows but the sheer ferocity, intensity and coordination of this wave of abuse and threats is on a scale I've never personally experienced before. I should point out though that this is not unique to my situation. Many other women have been the targets of online harassment such as Bioware writer Jennifer Hepler, gaming icon Felicia Day and British columnist Laurie Penny (just to name a few). Women across the internet are attacked for speaking out on a variety of topics from pop culture to politics but there seems to be a particular entitlement-based rage directed at any woman who dares to say anything critical about video games.

It's also important to keep in mind that the gaming industry is currently in the process of transforming as more and more people from across the gender, sexuality and racial spectrums come to love gaming. I have been encouraged by the number of gamers and game developers alike who have sent me supportive messages communicating their outrage at the sexist backlash and expressing their desire for a change in gaming culture.

Q: One of the issues raised in the discussion around the events of the last few weeks is that games are poor at representing anything with any degree of accuracy, leading to claims that the industry is equally misandrist. That has now resulted in a Kickstarter of its own, albeit one which appears to have less than educational motives. Do you think that there's a case for that argument?

Anita Sarkeesian: There is a lot embedded in that type of argument which I think is helpful to try to unpack briefly. Unfortunately it seems that any attempt to examine representations of women or sexism in video games is immediately met with the predictable knee-jerk "What about the Menz!" reaction. It's a classic derailment tactic with the goal of re-centering every discussion on men and away from the concerns about the stereotyping, over-sexualization or objectification of women in the medium.

There is also the issue of the false equivalency. The fact is, many of the ridiculously macho male characters are created as a power fantasy for straight male gamers while at the same time many female characters are created as sexual fantasies for those same straight male gamers. I'll be addressing this false equivalency issue in more detail as part of my bonus video on the 10 most common defences of sexism in games.

That said the question of harmful representations of men and masculinity in video games is an important topic which would be an interesting one to examine through a sociological lens. It should be noted though that any honest look at the issue would show that the hyper-macho, overly-aggressive, empty, emotionless depictions of many popular male characters has nothing to with "misandry" but is rather a harmful product of a system of patriarchy itself. For those genuinely interested in learning more about how patriarchy and misogyny can harm men too I'd suggest the books "The Will to Change" by bell hooks and "The Gender Knot" by Allan G. Johnson.

Q: What games, if any, do you feel offer a positive or realistic representation of their female characters?

Anita Sarkeesian: Faith from Mirror's Edge and Jade from Beyond Good and Evil are two of my all time favourite female characters. Both are featured as the heroic protagonists of their own games without being sexualized, objectified or otherwise reduced to their gender. I also really appreciate the fact that Chell is the star of the amazing Portal series even though she is a silent protagonist.

I should note that I will be detailing examples of positive female characters throughout my Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. I'll be providing counterexamples for each negative or stereotypical trope I cover and I'll be making an entire video focusing solely on the more positive representations of women in games.

"The predictable knee-jerk 'what about the Menz!' reaction is a classic derailment tactic with the goal of re-centering every discussion on men and away from the concerns about the stereotyping"

Anita Sarkeesian

Q: Do female characters have to be positive role models in order to be welcome, or should they be represented across the moral spectrum?

Anita Sarkeesian: The overall goal is not necessarily "perfect female role models" though more heroic women would certainly be a welcome change in all gaming genres. I think the ultimate goal is for the industry to provide a larger and more diverse range of complex female characters from across the moral spectrum. It's important to remember however, that entertainment media doesn't exist in a vacuum - that characters, stories and universes are an integral and growing part of our cultural landscape outside of the game. As such game developers should understand that their creations are always interacting with (and have an effect on) the widespread pre-existing stereotypes and negative perceptions about women in the real world.

Game characters and game narratives are powerful bits of culture and they can be employed to either reinforce harmful stereotypes about women or to actively challenge or subvert those regressive perceptions. Ultimately, I want complex, engaging and flawed yet heroic female characters with transformative story arcs instead of boring, marginalized, overly sexualized, cliched stereotypes

27 Comments

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

527 786 1.5
Popular Comment
The abuse isn't exactly surprising given how no online system makes any effort to prevent it. Xbox Live, could allow you to record voice communications from a particular player and then forward them to a moderator as evidence and get them banned, rather than it just be "your word against mine". There needs to be some kind of consequence to these idiots' behaviour.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Victor Zuylen Editor, Killzone Community, Guerrilla Games

6 13 2.2
Agreed; the current report/moderation options for both Xbox Live and PSN seem inadequate to deal with the problem of sexist abuse and sexual harassment efficiently. I'm not sure how other online services like Steam handle it, but I suspect they face similar problems. Sometimes I wonder if removing the anonymity from these services - by forcing people to use their real identity, like Facebook - would have a positive impact, or whether it would simply exacerbate the issue.

Ideally, I would like to see an industry-wide response to this problem, like a program or a set of values and guidelines that developers agree to adhere to.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

527 786 1.5
Tom, that's the kind of thing I'd volunteer to do for free, if it were coordinated and I thought it might actually make a difference. Unfortunately it wouldn't do much good, with me not being female and not on the receiving end of the abuse.

Posted:2 years ago

#3
In Casino Royale it is widely accepted that the scene where Bond comes out of the water in his blue underwear is a tip of the hat to the Ursula Andrews scene in Dr No - A new Bond for a new age. But anyway that's hardly the point.

I'm looking forward to her examples of "proliferating harmfully stereotypical and insulting portrayals of women." - I hate when people state sweeping statements like this with no examples to back their claims up.

As for the issues of abuse, I agree I can't stand online voice in games either. It's basically a load of kids swearing and being generally angry and abusive. Same for a lot of the stuff you get on the internet forums etc. I'm not really too sure what can be done about it except for some sort of moderation system be it self-moderating or overseen by someone which quite frankly should already be in place. As for those Hot Or Not like websites, they really are aimed at our lowest instincts by allowing us to sit in judgment of others and in return making ourselves feel better (a bit like American Idol) and quite frankly I wouldn't give them the publicity or time ( American Idol too :-) ). Although I suppose that's her job and what pays the bills.

We all want games with more rounded characters and the industry needs that to move away from it's comic book routes but that will come with advancements in technology allowing us to tell those stories. At the moment it's easier to walk into a room and blow stuff up than it is to have a conversation - that's the real problem.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer

163 24 0.1
I stopped using my micro when playing because of the 10 years old kittens and fathers always yelling at their children... But as we all got ID tags online, why don't we just bann ID manually. This way you choose who to play with. This is easy to do and efficient.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Liam Farrell

66 13 0.2
What confuses me is the sheer reaction to the project. She wants to make some videos about female characters in video games. From the frothy mouthed, hordes of nay sayers (to put it lightly) you'd think she was using kickstarter to build a death ray to blow up every copy of COD in existance. If she could make a death ray that would blow up every COD player...

Posted:2 years ago

#6
Alas, the internet being a microcosm of society means put bluntly there are never ending supply of idiots ready to mouth off drivel at the drop of a hat, until AI's get smart enough to work out trolling from messaging the best one can hope for is to simply use blocking and privacy tools to edit out the annoying trolls from our life, though it is worth noting the headline of the above article is quite literally troll bating and will get them frothing at the bit. Whilst females aren't necessarily ideally portrayed in games, frankly neither are males I never heard of any females concerned about the hulking brainless conan types in most games yet never heard the end of a similar obvious female character, I think I might be a bit more inclined to care about such portrayals if females were similar incensed( by using the same logic which brands some female characters in a negative light) by similarly portrayed male character's.

They aren't, So frankly I dont care about portrayal's but I do from a gamers and from an industry workers prospective dislike the childish attitude to females in game chat and forums, which depresses me and makes me feel ashamed for the industry in equal measure, working on changing this is a positive action to support but ultimately most trolls have no life, literally if females were willing to descend in number and force into forums and force out the trolls they could, but they aren't because trolls have no life and the only way to fight a troll is to give up any semblance of life and spend all day typing on forums to idiots.

Which isnt very appealing whilst attitudes need and require working on, its still pretty daft to expect the same chat populated by under 12's and adult's will maintain mature non-sexist themes, and alas due to parents not caring about mature ratings a mature game is little guarantee of a mature audience.

So without frankly an AI capable of detecting troll posts and messages and separating them safely from ordinary posts or the odd perfectly legitimate rant in real time, I seriously doubt this problem will go away any time soon, even reducing may well be an impossible task, there are adults who spew never ending torrents of idiocy and bile expecting kids to act more mature then adults is always asking for trouble yes, some probably already are but most aren't and some never will be and as long as more little boys play certain games then little girls then any hope of any form of chat balance is doomed.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Jean-François Boismenu Software Developer, Autodesk

3 3 1.0
I'm looking forward to her examples of "proliferating harmfully stereotypical and insulting portrayals of women." - I hate when people state sweeping statements like this with no examples to back their claims up.
To be fair, she already has a series of videos covering TV, books and movies where she does exactly that. She is now simply focusing on video games exclusively with this series.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Victor Zuylen Editor, Killzone Community, Guerrilla Games

6 13 2.2
Popular Comment
Whilst females aren't necessarily ideally portrayed in games, frankly neither are males I never heard of any females concerned about the hulking brainless conan types in most games yet never heard the end of a similar obvious female character, I think I might be a bit more inclined to care about such portrayals if females were similar incensed( by using the same logic which brands some female characters in a negative light) by similarly portrayed male character's.
That's a false equivalence. The hulking male Conan types are male power fantasies, created to appeal to male players. The female sex bomb types have nothing to do with female empowerment; they're designed that way to sexually appeal to - again - male players. Given the growing segment of female gamers, I think Anita Sarkeesian's message warrants careful consideration.

Also, while I agree that the constant hulking male Conan stereotype is problematic, I'd like to point out that limiting the scope of her research to the portrayal of women in no way invalidates Anita's point.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
+++++ Victor.

I also absolutely agree that we need some kind of industry crackdown on voice chat verbal abuse, but I genuinely don't have any good ideas about what to do about it. It would take a new sort of system that doesn't exist. I do hope it happens though... and soon.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Stephen Richards Game Deisgner

68 28 0.4
I'm not sure about the male 'power fantasy' dis-analogy. Yes we're engaging in fantasy when we play these games, but at least for me it was always about what you can do in them, not how you appear. If I can shoot lighting bolts or jump ten feet into the air then that's what makes me feel powerful, not looking like a virtual Schwarzenegger. I also don't like the misleading use of 'power fantasy' and 'sexual fantasy' in the same sentence: in the vast majority of cases the sense of power you feel has nothing to do with sex.

The interesting issue is the claim made about the intentions of creators behind making certain kinds of characters. No doubt this is true to an extent (cough, cough, Soulcalibur), but one would hope for some direct evidence from industry insiders who are willing to confirm sexual portrayal has been a consideration in their meetings.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Ryan Leonski

25 7 0.3
The people from Extra Creditz seem to have some great ideas to help moderate harassment. Check them out!
Extra Creditz - Harassment

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Victor Zuylen Editor, Killzone Community, Guerrilla Games

6 13 2.2
Thanks Ryan, will definitely watch.

With regards to the undercurrents of misogyny that seem to be present in certain areas of the wider game community, Bioware cinematic designer John Epler is putting together an initiative that aims to address the issue from the industry side. Developers who would like to be a part of it are encouraged to get in touch with John via Twitter at @eplerjc.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

527 786 1.5
Another problem is that when these issues come up it's usually a load of men going "I'm sure it's not that bad, they're just blowing it out of proportion" and think if you ignore it, it'll go away. Or that you should just accept it, because that's just the way it is. I'll be honest, for a while I thought that - mainly because I'm a guy and I'm not on the receiving end of all this crap, and when you hear about it from girls my natural reaction was "so just mute/block/ignore them then". Which would be fine, if it were just one or two, but when it's going on relentlessly every day, it's not going to be possible to ignore. I think pretending it's not a problem is almost as harmful as actually taking part, because women are vastly outnumbered and can't change this by themselves.

Posted:2 years ago

#14
I'm looking forward to her examples of "proliferating harmfully stereotypical and insulting portrayals of women." - I hate when people state sweeping statements like this with no examples to back their claims up.
That's what Sarkeesian's video project aims to do...
Whilst females aren't necessarily ideally portrayed in games, frankly neither are males...
Unfortunately it seems that any attempt to examine representations of women or sexism in video games is immediately met with the predictable knee-jerk "What about the Menz!" reaction. It's a classic derailment tactic with the goal of re-centering every discussion on men and away from the concerns about the stereotyping, over-sexualization or objectification of women in the medium. - Sarkeesian, in interview above.
I never heard of any females concerned about the hulking brainless conan types in most games yet never heard the end of a similar obvious female character, I think I might be a bit more inclined to care about such portrayals if females were similar incensed( by using the same logic which brands some female characters in a negative light) by similarly portrayed male character's
There is also the issue of the false equivalency. The fact is, many of the ridiculously macho male characters are created as a power fantasy for straight male gamers while at the same time many female characters are created as sexual fantasies for those same straight male gamers. - Sarkeesian, in interview above.

C'mon guys.

Dave Herod,
Which would be fine, if it were just one or two, but when it's going on relentlessly every day, it's not going to be possible to ignore. I think pretending it's not a problem is almost as harmful as actually taking part, because women are vastly outnumbered and can't change this by themselves.
Exactly - it's sustained and endemic abuse, bullying and harassment.

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Victor Zuylen Editor, Killzone Community, Guerrilla Games

6 13 2.2
I'm not sure about the male 'power fantasy' dis-analogy. Yes we're engaging in fantasy when we play these games, but at least for me it was always about what you can do in them, not how you appear. If I can shoot lighting bolts or jump ten feet into the air then that's what makes me feel powerful, not looking like a virtual Schwarzenegger. I also don't like the misleading use of 'power fantasy' and 'sexual fantasy' in the same sentence: in the vast majority of cases the sense of power you feel has nothing to do with sex.
I don't claim that the 'hulking male Conan' type is a good or particularly effective male empowerment fantasy; I think it's frequently used because it's an easy way to visually convey "This character is extremely masculine and powerful!" which is what a lot of designers and marketing types (either consciously or subconsciously) think male gamers will feel empowered by.

Also, while I didn't exactly use 'power fantasy' and 'sexual fantasy' in the same sentence, I should clarify that I meant that the 'female sex bomb' type characters are visually designed to appeal to male gamers through their sex appeal rather than through empowerment. Hence the bared cleavage/midriff/legs, lack of sensible armor, inconveniently large breasts, non-muscular physique, photo model looks, long hair, etc.

P.S. Ryan, I just watched that Extra Credits video - the metrics analysis is an interesting approach to the problem. I'm not convinced such a system can't be abused, but it's certainly technically feasible and it doesn't seem to require a lot of extra moderation on the part of the developers.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Victor Zuylen on 11th July 2012 12:14pm

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Stephen Richards Game Deisgner

68 28 0.4
I don't claim that the 'hulking male Conan' type is a good or particularly effective male empowerment fantasy; I think it's frequently used because it's an easy way to visually convey "This character is extremely masculine and powerful!" which is what a lot of designers and marketing types (either consciously or subconsciously) think male gamers will feel empowered by.
That's probably true, but we should at least make an effort to be sympathetic when judging designers' intentions - they aren't always aiming at the epitome of masculinity.
Also, while I didn't exactly use 'power fantasy' and 'sexual fantasy' in the same sentence, I should clarify that I meant that the 'female sex bomb' type characters are visually designed to appeal to male gamers through their sex appeal rather than through empowerment. Hence the bared cleavage/midriff/legs, lack of sensible armor, inconveniently large breasts, non-muscular physique, photo model looks, long hair, etc.
I was actually referring back to one of Anita's comments:
The fact is, many of the ridiculously macho male characters are created as a power fantasy for straight male gamers while at the same time many female characters are created as sexual fantasies for those same straight male gamers.
I agree females are sometimes designed to appeal to the male demographic, but I think this comment unfairly creates (suggests) an impression that male characters are somehow part of the same sexual fantasy, e.g. to appeal to the male desire for sexual domination (Hitman trailer). If you focus on the intentions rather than the results of gender portrayals in games then yes, you will find a non-equivalence. But you need a bit more evidence if you want to claim a result was intended as well as produced.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Craig Page Programmer

384 220 0.6
I think the best way to beat the trolls is to answer their riddles.

Posted:2 years ago

#18

Victor Zuylen Editor, Killzone Community, Guerrilla Games

6 13 2.2
I agree females are sometimes designed to appeal to the male demographic, but I think this comment unfairly creates (suggests) an impression that male characters are somehow part of the same sexual fantasy, e.g. to appeal to the male desire for sexual domination (Hitman trailer). If you focus on the intentions rather than the results of gender portrayals in games then yes, you will find a non-equivalence. But you need a bit more evidence if you want to claim a result was intended as well as produced.
Ah, I see what you're saying now. To be honest I hadn't thought about interpreting it like that, but I understand how the wording might give the impression that male characters are part of the same sexual fantasy. I'm fairly certain that's not what Anita Sarkeesian is insinuating, though, nor have I ever seen any of the other critics who've written about this issue make such an insinuation, let alone an explicit connection.

With regard to intent versus result: I don't think (most) designers are purposely trying to create overtly sexist character stereotypes, but at the end of the day all that's visible is the result of their labor, so that's what they're judged on. Like Dan says in the article:
I'm absolutely not suggesting that the industry is littered with misogynists and sexists intent on culturally repressing women, but men, it seems, are more likely to make games which appeal largely to men, especially when the market data tells them that it's in their interest to do so. Sex sells, and if you're selling to a straight male audience, that means sexualising women. It's economics, but it's no excuse for culturally retrograde action.

Posted:2 years ago

#19

Stephen Richards Game Deisgner

68 28 0.4
Fair enough, maybe I read into it too much. Though I think the intention-result distinction is worth discussion. Because if it's the results that are the issue, then the reply that the intentions behind unrealistic male portrayals are different to the intentions behind female portrayals doesn't seem so relevant. It isn't clear that the feminist issue is particularly pertinent in the context of a generally unrealistic portrayal of human characters.

Posted:2 years ago

#20
It's not a false equivalence to say the conan types are just the same as the girls with a small waist and big boobs in games.

The similarity is that it highlights the basic stereotypical ideal of both men and women. It spells out that you need to be a certain type to be a "hero" and that is probably just if not more damaging to young male's psychi especially considering they're the ones playing the game :-)

I actually don't think it has much to do with sex but more the idealized human form.

But as I've said before, it's a consequence of the industry not having the means, technology and largely the market to sell other stories. Ultimately it's entertainment, and this is what boys find fun. There's plenty of games for girls and as that market grows so will the number of games.

In the meantime there's plenty that cater to both and quite frankly they tend to be the better games.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Owens on 12th July 2012 2:50am

Posted:2 years ago

#21

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

322 1,290 4.0
"It's not a false equivalence to say the conan types are just the same as the girls with a small waist and big boobs in games."

Except it really is. Conan types are a power fantasy for the player. The muscular, powerful male character on screen is someone the player projects aspiration onto - you want to be that guy swinging a giant sword around and cleaving through hordes of enemies.

The big-boobed girl is a sexual fantasy - you don't want to be her, in with ridiculous skimpy chainmail bikini and improbable proportions - you're supposed to want to have sex with her(or just 'win her affection'). Because the hypothetical 'you' is the stereotypical young male gamer who sees boobs and goes 'ooh!'.

There's nothing more complicated or consciously sinister about it, because I certainly doubt that many game designers are doing this because they hate women and want to see us objectified and subjugated at every turn - it's just how the train of thought goes. "Let's put a girl in this, and make her totally hawt and sexy because that's what I want to see."

Posted:2 years ago

#22

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

322 1,290 4.0
And the reason it's the young men that are playing these games is because games made by men that primarily appeal to men with no realistic or even aspirationally-ideal female characters turn off many would-be female gamers.

Posted:2 years ago

#23

Emily Rose Freelance Artist

82 36 0.4
John - It's a stereotypical ideal of women defined BY men. You seem to have missed the point.

The technology and the market does exist, but it's the opposite of the path of least resistance. It's very understandable why devs follow that path, but that's not really the same as justifying it.

Posted:2 years ago

#24

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

461 172 0.4
@Victor

Well the overwhelmingly male populated gaming industry tried. I don't exactly buy into the Conan male power fantasy (Conan sucks imo) and did imagine it was a woman thing. Maybe we need to get some women to envisage their fantasies within games instead of bashing men for doing just that.

You're an editor, so you know how much of videogaming is about doing cool and awesome sh*zz and realizing ones imagination, usually fantasies too. Instead of making this all about bashing men for their sins, why can't we just encourage women to do it too so that we can at least understand on a basic level what women fantasize about too. Logically I see that as being instrumental to getting women to play videogames in the first place.

Posted:9 months ago

#25

Rui Martins Senior Software Developer

11 1 0.1
I believe that games while representing a fantasy world just show a reflection of our real society.

Why do TV comercials, have musculated guys and girls in short bikinis with big boobs ?
Why do women provoke/attract males by specifically selecting short clothes, were they expertly define the ammount of "skin" they want to show ?

Games while portraying fantasies, tend to exacerbate the real world scenarios.
Obviously, this does not mean that we should indulge or portray the same objectionable scenes in the fantasy world. But if someone actually does that, it's just a reflection of how society works, which in turn is a consequence of how individuals (man and women) relate in the physical world.

The real problem in this matter, is that old adage "everyone is a potencial criminal, if he believes he can't be caught".
Networked chats, audio, video, etc... provide a level of anonymity that makes people believe they can't be caught.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rui Martins on 17th January 2014 6:17pm

Posted:9 months ago

#26

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