Discussions of gender portrayals in games,movies, etc.

Uriel_Hayabusa

New member
Apr 7, 2014
418
0
0
I consider discussions of gender portrayal in pop culture a good thing, but I feel the debate is often hijacked by personal bias, specifically confirmation bias.

To put it simply, when I see discussions on whether or not a work of fiction is sexist, the arguments often boil down to:

''I'm a feminist and I like this work. Ergo, this work is feminist.''

or

''This work is sexist and anyone who does like it is also sexist.''

I get the feeling that many people use the debate to make something they like look good, or make something they dislike (and those who do like it by extension) look bad.

Here's a comparison to illustrate my point:

Michael Bay's movies often feature scantily clad models as background decoration and racist caricatures, respectively. For this, some people label his work as ''sexist''.

Edgard Wright made Scott Pilgrim vs The World, a movie where a young white man is literally fighting over a woman (who has no say in the matter), and where the only Asian character is a young woman whose screentime is spent being led on and, in one instance, being punched in the face, which is played for laughs. How many people have accused Edgar Wright of being a misogynistic racist?

(Oh, and cards on the table: No I didn't like Scott Pilgrim)

Bottom line is that I want to see more people praise a work's female characters regardless of whether or not they like the work itself.

Does anyone else feel this way?
 

crypticracer

New member
Sep 1, 2014
109
0
0
Remember Me has a great lead female. The game is severely mediocre and not that fun to play. That was easy.

In truth I am more critical of the portrayal of Gender in work I love. But you are correct that it is easier to excuse problems in things we love.
 

Uriel_Hayabusa

New member
Apr 7, 2014
418
0
0
TheKasp said:
Uriel_Hayabusa said:
''This work is sexist and anyone who does like it is also sexist.''
Wow. Care to provide examples, maybe from this site? Because I literally have never seen this argument. Not even Anita, the big bad boogeyman, argues that.
Truth be told that was an exaggeration/hyperbole. Though I've seen posts to that effect on other game forums.
 

Johnny Novgorod

Bebop Man
Legacy
Feb 9, 2012
17,580
1,791
118
Uriel_Hayabusa said:
Does anyone else feel this way?
About Scott Pilgrim? I liked the movie. I think it goes on for a little too long, and they could've benefited from splitting the movie in two or removing a couple of exes/Scott's fake-out fight with Gideon. But overall I liked it. I've only read the first couple of issues and it looks like a pretty good adaptation.
 

DementedSheep

New member
Jan 8, 2010
2,654
0
0
No actually, a lot of the time I see people specifically put in disclaimers saying that "This work is sexist and anyone who does like it is also sexist" is not what they're saying but people take as a personal attack anyway.

People tend to spend less time watching or thinking about things they like in stuff they otherwise don't so you're not likely to get that very often. You're more likely to get the reverse. People talking about things that get in the way of something they would otherwise like or like more. I don't generally play games I don't like the gameplay of so I can't really talk about the characters in them.
 

Twintix

New member
Jun 28, 2014
1,023
0
0
Uriel_Hayabusa said:
Edgard Wright made Scott Pilgrim vs The World, a movie where a young white man is literally fighting over a woman (who has no say in the matter), and where the only Asian character is a young woman whose screentime is spent being led on and, in one instance, being punched in the face, which is played for laughs. How many people have accused Edgar Wright of being a misogynistic racist?
I was always under the impression that (from the perspective of someone who's only seen bits of the movie) people were okay with it because the movie supposedly doesn't take itself seriously. It's a clichéd plot with a bit of a twist, and it's just so over-the-top in everything it does. And if a man getting punched in the face can be played for laughs, why can't the same happen to a woman? (I can't comment on the "racism" too much, though; I think I need to see the movie to understand it better. I might also be wrong about the "cliché" part)

I believe in equal opportunity. In fact, one of my most hated tropes is "abuse is hilarious when a woman is doing the abusing" [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DoubleStandardAbuseFemaleOnMale]. If I start reading a manga, and it starts with a portrayal of this trope, I immediately get turned off of it. Because I've seen it so many times. (Also, feel free to lynch me because I referenced TVTropes) Buuuuut, that's just how I feel.

Ooops, I went on a bit of a tangent. Sorry.

While your examples were a bit..."off" (Like the others, I have never seen the second example happen, and you yourself said you exaggerated a little), I think you might have a point about confirmation bias.
 

Uriel_Hayabusa

New member
Apr 7, 2014
418
0
0
DANGER- MUST SILENCE said:
Uriel_Hayabusa said:
TheKasp said:
Uriel_Hayabusa said:
''This work is sexist and anyone who does like it is also sexist.''
Wow. Care to provide examples, maybe from this site? Because I literally have never seen this argument. Not even Anita, the big bad boogeyman, argues that.
Truth be told that was an exaggeration/hyperbole. Though I've seen posts to that effect on other game forums.
Well, you've just shot your own argument in the foot then and demonstrated precisely why we in the gaming community can't have nice things - because some people get all hyper-sensitive when you criticize something they like and assume that the only possible conclusion is that you're also criticizing them. This isn't just limited to sexism debates, this has been a constant in video games for as long as I can remember. We had the "Console Wars", where people ended up acting like which video game brand you say you liked determined your quality as a person. And heaven help anyone who complains about a Zelda game to a Nintendo fan.

Most people who play video games are perfectly normal, psychologically healthy people in my experience. But there's a certain percentage of gamers (perhaps a small but vocal percentage) who instead of building self-esteem from their accomplishments and from their achievements in life, builds their self-esteem on what media they consume. When you threaten that media, you threaten their definition of themselves, and therefore you threaten them. It's an unhealthy arrangement that leads to much unnecessary drama.
Harsh but true, I only want to say in my defense that I didn't intend for it to come off as so defensive. I should've put more thought into the opening-post.
 

Vault101

I'm in your mind fuzz
Sep 26, 2010
18,863
15
43
oh for fuck-

Uriel_Hayabusa said:
''I'm a feminist and I like this work. Ergo, this work is feminist.''

or

''This work is sexist and anyone who does like it is also sexist.''

?
does anybody actually say this?

look if I have a problem with something in media then I point it out, it DOESN'T mean I'll writ it off...I might or a might not, that depends on a lot of factors and you might find other "people" do that to

its not so black and white, things we like canhave problematic elements

TheKasp said:
*sigh* My problem with this whole 'debate' is that people are projecting. They are projecting really, really hard. They assume that criticism of a thing is somehow criticism of them and that they are somehow "xyz-ist" for liking it.
.
yes! that's it too!
 

the December King

Member
Legacy
Mar 3, 2010
1,580
1
3
TheKasp said:
*sigh* My problem with this whole 'debate' is that people are projecting. They are projecting really, really hard. They assume that criticism of a thing is somehow criticism of them and that they are somehow "xyz-ist" for liking it.
A lot of people think that criticism is a personal attack- like if you decide something is sexist, then people who like it are sexist, even though a game is made of many parts, and most likely has some positive qualities- properly done, constructive criticism includes praising and deconstructing the good elements in a game, as well as calling out the bad.

But it's important to also see that some people use 'criticism' (or at the very least can be perceived as doing so), as a thinly veiled and easily denied attempt to do just that- call people who like something out as "xyz-ist" (good term, by the way).
 

the December King

Member
Legacy
Mar 3, 2010
1,580
1
3
TheKasp said:
the December King said:
A lot of people think that criticism is a personal attack- like if you decide something is sexist, then people who like it are sexist, even though a game is made of many parts, and most likely has some positive qualities- properly done, constructive criticism includes praising and deconstructing the good elements in a game, as well as calling out the bad.

But it's important to also see that some people use 'criticism' (or at the very least can be perceived as doing so), as a thinly veiled and easily denied attempt to do just that- call people who like something out as "xyz-ist" (good term, by the way).
The thing is: I don't care. I have yet to experience it in any way that justifies this hyperbole. Or the whole attitude of the gaming community towards attitude in the whole.
Oh. Well, if you don't care, then, I guess it would be hard to see how some people might. Care, I mean.

I was just trying to explain what I saw, is all.
 

Thaluikhain

Elite Member
Legacy
Jan 16, 2010
16,156
1,717
118
Well, this got off to a fine start.

Now, naturally, the examples given by the OP are rather poor (shall we say), but rephrase them and there's an element of truth. People do not consider themselves sexist, in a simple binary way, so naturally they only watch shows that aren't sexist. People saying that the shows are sexist are saying they are sexist.

This is totally failing to grasp the issue, of course, but it's a common problem. People need to be able to recognise that the stuff they consume might have issues, and that doesn't mean they automatically stop liking it.
 

Rahkshi500

New member
May 25, 2014
190
0
0
TheKasp said:
*sigh* My problem with this whole 'debate' is that people are projecting. They are projecting really, really hard. They assume that criticism of a thing is somehow criticism of them and that they are somehow "xyz-ist" for liking it.
Well these things don't exactly exist in a vacuum. If people like certain things, then they would want to see and have more of those things.

thaluikhain said:
This is totally failing to grasp the issue, of course, but it's a common problem. People need to be able to recognise that the stuff they consume might have issues, and that doesn't mean they automatically stop liking it.
Except there's more to it for people than just them liking certain things; they feel good by it, and arguably feel empowered by it. Saying that such things are bad and we shouldn't have it is a slap in the face to those people. You can try to disclaim liking something that's problematic won't make the consumer problematic, but if you frame it in a certain way, you're still gonna say that it makes the consumer problematic. Personally, this is what gets me about people who like to argue the "You like whatever you want, but what you like is still awful!" because they don't see the ramifications and effects that kind of speech can have on people. And that's another problem with people who wanna make criticism; they can criticize it, but that doesn't mean that they can go unchallenged, and it doesn't mean that people can't defend what they like either.
 

Fox12

AccursedT- see you space cowboy
Jun 6, 2013
4,828
0
0
Uriel_Hayabusa said:
Edgard Wright made Scott Pilgrim vs The World, a movie where a young white man is literally fighting over a woman (who has no say in the matter), and where the only Asian character is a young woman whose screentime is spent being led on and, in one instance, being punched in the face, which is played for laughs. How many people have accused Edgar Wright of being a misogynistic racist?

(Oh, and cards on the table: No I didn't like Scott Pilgrim)

Bottom line is that I want to see more people praise a work's female characters regardless of whether or not they like the work itself.

Does anyone else feel this way?
Well, the thing is, you're not supposed to like Scott Pilgrim. He's an asshole. He's a funny asshole, sure, but uses women repeatedly, he's lazy, he's not too smart, he went to college so that he could mooch off of his best friend and refuse to get a job, and he's frankly a bit of a hypocrite. All the other characters are growing and moving on with their live, including his younger sister, but he's suffering from a sort of arrested development. His whole character arc is that he realizes this and resolves to change, and to make amends to the people he's wronged. It's actually quite brilliant, since the reader just assumes he's the hero of the story, when he's really not. The books themselves are quite critical of the character, but they don't beat you over the head with it. Unfortunately the film lost all of the nuance present in the books, and I don't think Michael Cera did a very good job portraying his character, since he was basically playing Michael Cera and not Scott Pilgrim.

As for racism, the writer is actually Asian Canadian, which is why the books are a collection of mange about slacker rock stars from Toronto. I don't think he meant any disrespect to Asians or to Knives, who is actually one of the most sympathetic characters in the books, since she tends to get mistreated by the people around her. Ramona is also a character with a lot of agency, and she can break up with anyone she wants whenever she wants. Her past relationships are actually supposed to mirror Scott's past relationships, and the way he mistreated people, which is only barely touched on in the film, but is explored in depth in the books.

OT: But anyway, I think different aspects of a work should be criticized separately. If a bad game has good characters, then we should criticize the first and celebrate the second. What we shouldn't do is turn something into a political football. I think that's what you were trying to say, correct?
 

QuietlyListening

New member
Aug 5, 2014
120
0
0
I don't really recall accusations of those who enjoy or, largely, even those who make a sexist/racist work bigots based on a single instance. A work that has sexist tropes (and even here I refrain from using the phrase "is sexist") can have great artistic merit, or be hugely entertaining. It's entirely possible to like something without liking all parts of it.

Take HP Lovecraft. Really good horror. Really racist. I enjoy reading Lovecraft stories because they are chilling. I find the racist language he uses to be uncomfortable. Were it possible to change or remove that language, I'd probably dig it. If Lovecraft were alive and I could talk to him, I'd urge him to cut that shit out. However, neither of those things are possible. The works stand as they are.

For people currently making art, we have options though. There's nothing wrong with, hey, that thing you made was great, but this part of it is actually pretty offensive. Marks off for that. Try not to do that in the future and I will enjoy your work a lot more.