Discussions of gender portrayals in games,movies, etc.

murrow

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I'm going to quote here the best point I've ever seen made about this issue. It was made almost a century ago by none other than Virginia Woolf, who has made more to encourage plurality in art than any contemporary 'cultural critic':

All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority, belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are 'sides', and it is necessary for one side to beat another side, and of the utmost importance to walk up to a platform and receive from the hands of the Headmaster himself a highly ornamental pot. As people mature they cease to believe in sides or in Headmasters or in highly ornamental pots.
Divisive, conflict-oriented 'cultural criticism' as it is practiced by the gaming media is not only pointless; it leads to the infantilization of society. We can do better than that. We should be doing better than that.
 

happyninja42

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Uriel_Hayabusa said:
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.
Good for you, thanks for sharing that opinion on what you want other people to start doing.


Uriel_Hayabusa said:
Does anyone else feel this way?
I'm sure they do, they just didn't feel the need to start a thread simply stating what they wanted others to start posting, and using poorly worded paraphrases of other posts.

Plenty of people state their positive opinions on female characters in media. I'm pretty sure I started one at one point, and if I didn't I know I responded to someone else's thread that was specifically asking people to discuss positive, good female characters that they have enjoyed in entertainment. So the answer is yes.
 

Uriel_Hayabusa

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TheKasp said:
Rahkshi500 said:
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.
Then they should try to argue against that criticism or why they disagree and not try to misrepresent the arguments. It is really not that hard to not be a tard about this whole thing, yet I see people fail at it left and right.
If my clumsily put forth point upset you that much then I apologize; but to use the phrase ''be a tard''? If you're referring to the word I think you're referring to I gotta say that's not very classy.
 

Burgers2013

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TheKasp said:
Uriel_Hayabusa 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.

Dude. I love so many bad shit. I love the crap out of it. But I can also sit down and prepare whole assignments about their failures, how their portrayal of race, men, women or anything is plain bad because it is either based on negative stereotypes or misinformation.

No. You are not sexist for liking a game that has certain sexist undertones. No one gives a fuck if you like it. But please, for the love of god, don't try and sell me the notion that the whole argument boils down to that false assumption where you can't even provide any evidence for.
Totally agreed. Where was everyone in high school English? Criticizing books and stories is very similar to video games, at least in structure. Criticism isn't the same thing as hate, and criticizing a work of art is not the same as criticizing the creator(s) or the audience. That would be silly, especially considering how much the meaning of a work can change depending on its audience regardless of the intent of the artist(s).

I've never seen anyone, even on YouTube comments say that if you like a work with sexist elements, then you are sexist. However, I do think one of the problems with video game criticism in general is that many times it's done carelessly and accompanied by unnecessary personal insults. I've had conversations with people (online) about a particular gender aspect of one game or another, and I've noticed it can quickly go from the normal, logically oriented argument of: I think A because of b, c, and d. No, A is wrong because e, f, and g. to something more along the lines of: No, it's A, which you would realize if you weren't an idiot. Stop talking.

So, perhaps it's a problem on both sides to an extent. Maybe many people are automatically on the defensive due to the tendency of some people online to jump from arguing based on the merits of the work to personally insulting others. I make sure not to insult people personally for their views, even when I think they're way off base. Personal insults aren't constructive at all and sort of indicate that you've run out of good arguments.

And in any case, whose favorite game of all time DOESN'T have any flaws? Obviously they all have some flaws, so why does it seem harder for people to talk about social issues in games than problems like poor mechanics or disappointing boss fights? I really enjoyed Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but the boss fights were underwhelming for someone who chose the no-kill, stealth track. I really enjoyed Resident Evil 3, but I think it was a poor design choice that they put Jill in a miniskirt and tube-top when she knows she's working in a city currently being overrun by zombies; it made no logical sense and gave off the sense of unnecessary sex appeal. Both of those arguments seem viable and reasonable to me. I wouldn't say that anyone who played DE:HR preferred the kill track due to the boss fights. I also wouldn't say that anyone who liked RE3 is a sexist because Jill's outfit was ludicrous.

I think this would be a non-issue if people would argue logically. I think talking about gender issues in games is best done on a game-by-game basis (at least at first) because otherwise you run the risk of making broad statements without having enough evidence for a nuanced argument. That's how other mediums do it. You can't write a 10 page English paper that encompasses all gender issues in literature in the last 20 years (not well, anyway). It would be a book-length endeavor requiring citations from other, smaller-scope works. I expect the same goes for video games.
 
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I think a writer and/or director have the right to tell a story about anyone they want and cast whomsoever they choose for a role. It's nice if the casting is close to a character's description.

I don't care if a woman is sexy or a love interest. I don't care if a protagonist is a straight man. I don't think "inclusivity" needs to undermine every existing work of fiction.
 

Lieju

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My main complaint tends to be that there isn't enough diversity.
It's fun to have different things! Character who look different and have different personalities!
Look at something like Team Fortress 2, fun, different character designs.
(Now imagine how they could have been even more fun and diverse if they also had different women with widly different body-types.)

Men, women, third genders, mythical beasts, aliens...
I also want more genderqueer dragons.
Also spiders, maybe hyenas.Plus dinosaurs are always nice.

Really, the thing that mostly offends me as a someone with interest in biology and history is the utter laziness and lack of understanding how shit works in creating fantasy/scifi-worlds.

"I dunno, let's just make these aliens exactly the same as humans with weird ears."

TheKasp said:
Uriel_Hayabusa said:
Truth be told that was an exaggeration/hyperbole. Though I've seen posts to that effect on other game forums.
*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.

Dude. I love so many bad shit. I love the crap out of it. But I can also sit down and prepare whole assignments about their failures, how their portrayal of race, men, women or anything is plain bad because it is either based on negative stereotypes or misinformation.
Yes, this.
You should be able to discuss things you like and their possible failures.
 

rorychief

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I would agree as far as discussion of gender issues needs to move away from the editorial soapbox angle it seems mired in. So many critics seem to use an example of pro/anti- woman aspects in media to launch into a self congratulatory spiel on how right minded they themselves are. This approach has a place and might be entertaining for some, but my god, is there is a lot of it. And I don't mean in relation to all criticism, feminist articles are fairly far and few between, just extremely visible in terms of the drama/page hits they get. It's the neglect shown for analysis of the trope or aspect in question and how it contributes or detracts from the experience intended, in favor of run on statements like 'Women are human beings, ok? Got that? Good? Lesson adjourned, class dismissed. I'm so sick and tired of having to repeat this point'
Attitudes like this seem designed to address only those who have no interest in the subject,(why? if your point is they'll never change) or in some cases just to antagonize them and publicly distance the writer from a point of view no one had accused them of having.
I get the need to vent frustration at people who derail discussion or insist there needn't be a discussion at all. But so many intelligent writers, even here on the escapist (Moviebob for example) seem more interested in reiterating their ideals and morals ad nauseum, as though justifying the existence of criticism to people who have no respect for criticism is a priority over criticism itself. And would put their energy behind cheerleading their own liberal progressiveness rather than using their stance and knowledge of the medium to put personal gripes in context, and use their gift with language to articulate how the presence of shitty things in a good thing makes the good thing shittier.
Starting a point with a line like 'being presented with a hilariously outdated token black guy took me out of what was supposed to be a very serious scene' shouldn't have to be followed then by forty lines prophesying the presence of racist trolls in the comments section.
(Why are so many articles written with the debates in the comments section in mind? Preemptive defense against hypothetical people is important? It would be petty to appear in the forums and engage these people directly, so I'll get it out of the way here).
Ie. I can hear those trolls now and one thing they'll never understand is, and a massive thing that separates me from them is, what reminds me of the ku klux klan protesting the civil rights movement most of all is, perhaps one day we'll live in a world where trolls like that don't exist and I can make my point, my point about how the trolls believe my point should never be made, what was my point again?

(TL/DR) Less narcissism and self concern from the critics- more insight, analysis and focus on the piece of fiction in question.

Whoo. Long rant. One o those days.
 

Lieju

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rorychief said:
I would agree as far as discussion of gender issues needs to move away from the editorial soapbox angle it seems mired in. So many critics seem to use an example of pro/anti- woman aspects in media to launch into a self congratulatory spiel on how right minded they themselves are. This approach has a place and might be entertaining for some, but my god, is there is a lot of it. And I don't mean in relation to all criticism, feminist articles are fairly far and few between, just extremely visible in terms of the drama/page hits they get.
Isn't that a problem with the user-base and people commenting?

I mean, think of the GTAV review where it was but mentioned that the reviewer disliked the portrayal of women, but still liked the game, and what kind of controversy that drew.
Or how no-one would have ever heard of Sarkeesian without all the people complaining about her.

Statements that are pretty much just 'Women are human beings, ok? Got that? Good? Lesson adjourned, class dismissed. I'm so sick and tired of having to repeat this point' should not be controversial. Somehow they are.

And if those kinds of things draw ire from a group of people, is there any wonder people making those kinds of statements start to look down on their audience that reacts like that?
 

death525

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BigTuk 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.
Look up anything Ms. Anita has said in her videos.. she's pretty much walking breathing proof of that statement. COnsidering the lengths she goes to skew anything to wards an 'attack on women'.

OP you pretty hit the nail on the head why I basically riff on such discussions, they go no where and much like racism, it's not going to be fixed by people talking.. America is no less racist than it was 40 years ago... people just don't say their thoughts out loud as often.. except where they accidentally let something slip out or are overheard.

You can see anything as racist, sexist, etc if you squint hard enough...conversely you can see something as empowering if you squint just as much...when the suspension of disbelief required to call your argument true are equal or greater than the amount required to prove your argument false...then well...your argument probably not well grounded.

A film where a woman is subjected to violence and physical assault sexist, misogynistic, promotes violence against women. So what does that make the hundreds of action movie where it's the male protagonist that's getting punched , stabbed, shot, and thrown through every window? Misandrist? No? Why? Because the person is a man?


Por every time someone complains about a woman being a 'damsel' in distress you can also complain about a man being forced to undertake great peril to save a woman because society expects and obligates him to do so lest he be judged unfit as a man. Never mind that the woman is capable he must undertake the dangers to save this woman just because if he doesn't he will be branded by society. Why do men have broad shoulders.. to bare the crushing weight of the expectations and obligations society forces upon them.
Again people keep saying Anita thinks people who play the games she discusses are sexist when she puts a disclaimer at the beginning of every video stating you can enjoy these games and not be sexist, and these games are not sexist in themselves, but contain tropes that are. It doesn't make the game sexist, she just finds it as a lazy out for game designers instead of doing something interesting with female characters

OP: The issue is no one says that. Dead or Alive is a little sexist (towards both genders to be fair), but no one says "Oh you like Dead or Alive, YOU HATE WOMENS!" The issue is everyone on internet arguments dives so far into extremes and hyperboles that no real discussion can be had.