Gena Davis institute on Gender in media tries to link violent games to mass shootings and police violence

CriticalGaming

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I don't think I need to prove that to you. You said it yourself, that it's the reality of business.

I'll give my favorite example though: Annie Oakley. Oakley is famously portrayed in the musical Annie Get Your Gun. In the musical, she's a great sharpshooter who falls for another sharpshooter, Frank Butler, who isn't immediately interested. Over time, he falls for her but repeatedly runs from her because she's more talented than he is and his ego can't bare it. Ultimately, they end up together only when she deliberately loses a shootoff with him so that he can have his girl and be the star of the show.

In reality, Frank Butler was a sharpshooter who lost to a younger and more talented Oakley the first time they met, he fell for her, got her to join the travelling show he was in, they got married, he gladly acted as her sidekick, and after she died he didn't know what to do without her so he just stopped eating and died himself.

The musical centers around the line "you can't get a man with a gun", because the theme is that guys want dainty and untalented women. In reality, Annie Oakley got not just a man with a gun, but her entire life and career too, with people to this day questioning how she could be so accurate with the technology of the time.

So like, there are a few reasons I love the example. 1) There's zero question of whether the message of the musical is sexist. "Women can be more talented than men, but they shouldn't" is not a theme any reasonable person can say isn't sexist. You can't get lost in questions about the real differences between men and women in there, Annie Oakley in the musical is more talented than Frank Butler, and for the sake of their love has to pretend not to be. 2) The contrast with reality is so blatant, entertainment really is worse to women than reality. In real life, Oakley was famous and celebrated, and then they made a musical about her and did her dirty. 3) That musical was conceived of by a woman, written about a woman, and presumably targeted at an audience of women. There's no argument that Annie Get Your Gun was made to fulfill male fantasies. Put it all together, the fiction is full of sexism, far more than reality, because for some reason that's the fantasy both sexes want to watch.
None of this works as proof of your argument or my question.

You said that people do discriminate between male and female performers, both in the industries and the audience.

What proof do you have that audiences are not going to see plays, films, or tv shows specifically because they are sexist. I didn't ask for you to showcase that proof in a fictional work, although that was your only option because your opinion on this matter is fictional.

There is no proof that people didn't go see the all-girl Ghostbusters because they were sexist. And if you can find a source in which the movie-going public said they weren't interested in a bunch of chicks staring in a movie, then cite your source. Because if you can I will delete my account on this website. If you can find any public survey or official report that proves sexism is why that movie or any all female film failed.
 

BrawlMan

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How is that an issue? It's not an issue. Celebrities make money based off the box office draw that they have, just like professional athletes.

Crub your sexism at the door and think rationally and realistically. What female movie star draws the biggest crowd? Do any of them pull a bigger audience than someone like...I dunno The Rock? The answer is no. It's not sexism, it's the reality of business, end of story.
You're really clueless, ignorant, and naive. Sorry to say it, but it's true.

 

CriticalGaming

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You're really clueless, ignorant, and naive. Sorry to say it, but it's true.
In what way? Seriously?

Look I'm not denying the existence of sexism and all that shit. One only needs to look at Blizzard and Riot games for proof of that.

But in terms of storytelling? Come on. Using a trope is not rooting in sexism. It's a merely a reliable proof of concept that audiences enjoy and continue to pay money to see, nothing more.
 

Satinavian

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OK, OK OK OK stop a second.

Firstly: I'm enjoying the irony that you're arguing that things shouldn't be considered sexist, yet the only one of the two of us who has actually directly accused someone ot sexism... is you.

Secondly: several actresses gross more than The Rock. Scarlet Johanssen for one. But that's not really relevant. Male actors who don't gross well at all get heroic saviour roles, while women who gross far better get to be saved.

Writers have not looked at who grosses best and written their scripts around that. They've written their scripts around old, tired tropes about what genders fit what roles.
Are we still talking video games ? I alread said that that particular trope is way more common in film and TV. But where its pervasiveness in games did annoy me 2 docades ago, i have hardly seen it recently in games.




Like when you go into a kids toy shop, and find all the boys toys involve soldiers, monsters, fire trucks, cops and robbers. And all the girls toys involve princesses, housewife barbies, hair accessories.

Tell me that's nothing to do with stereotypical ideas of what genders like/ do.
Now that is yet another topic. If we start to pull every controversity in the same thread, we can never discuss anything properly.
 

BrawlMan

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But in terms of storytelling? Come on. Using a trope is not rooting in sexism. It's a merely a reliable proof of concept that audiences enjoy and continue to pay money to see, nothing more.
Not exactly, but there are tropes that are rooted in racism and sexism. Not all, but they had existed before and some of them unfortunately still stick around. Just because they're always useful doesn't make them automatically good or convenient. It still can be lazy, bad writing, or actual negative belief on the writer or director's part at worst.

There's a reason why the tropes such as magical negro and sassy black woman get called out on. Both of those are rooted in either racism or beyond cliche stereotypes. And they still unfortunately exist. Just because some of them are used "positively" does not make up for the years of harmful writing and racial stereotyping. The magical negro trope is mainly used to uplift or make white characters feel better about themselves. While that said black person is usually just part of the background, a prop, or just there to support or be a crying hand for that character that is white. That is where the root comes from. And at worse, it implies that blacks or those of color are more than happy to always be in a subservient role. That's what it's true purpose was.
 
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CriticalGaming

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Not exactly, but there are troops that are rooted in racism and sexism. Not all, but they had existed before and some of them unfortunately still stick around. Just because they're always useful doesn't make them automatically good or convenient. It still can be lazy, bad riding, or actual negative belief on the writer or director's part at worst.

There's a reason why the tropes such as magical negro and sassy black woman get called out on. Both of those are rooted in either racism or beyond cliche stereotypes. And they still unfortunately exist. Just because some of them are used "positively" does not make up for the years of harmful writing and racial stereotyping. The magical negro trope is mainly used to uplift or make white characters feel better about themselves. Wow that said black person is usually just part of the background, a prop, or just there to support or be a crying hand for that character that is white. That is where the root comes from. And at worse, it implies that blacks or those of color are more than happy to always be in a subservient role. That's what it's true purpose was.
Sure and if you break it down those will likely continue to exist. However, if the rest of the stuff around the character is written well it will be overlooked. Because as we've discussed on this very forum several times, you can make anything sound sexist/homophobic/racist if you want to. What has to happen is good writing around those tropes in order to advocate covering up the trope enough to be acceptable by people.

Basically we want to encourage better writing all around and that is something we all can agree with I think.
 

tstorm823

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None of this works as proof of your argument or my question.

You said that people do discriminate between male and female performers, both in the industries and the audience.

What proof do you have that audiences are not going to see plays, films, or tv shows specifically because they are sexist. I didn't ask for you to showcase that proof in a fictional work, although that was your only option because your opinion on this matter is fictional.

There is no proof that people didn't go see the all-girl Ghostbusters because they were sexist. And if you can find a source in which the movie-going public said they weren't interested in a bunch of chicks staring in a movie, then cite your source. Because if you can I will delete my account on this website. If you can find any public survey or official report that proves sexism is why that movie or any all female film failed.
Proof is a dumb standard. "Where is your proof" is not a question worth asking outside a court of law.

You're being a bit silly, really. You aren't to my knowledge, disagreeing with the idea that people treat men and women in fiction differently. But you're getting very upset at other people not proving malicious intent to you. I'd just like to sort of state the terms of the argument first, because I'm not sure that you really disagree about the reality of the situation, so much as people's response to that reality. Like, I think you accept that men and women are treated and portrayed differently, and just don't think that's a bad thing, but you're asking me to prove wrongdoing by people doing things that you might agree that they do.
 
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BrawlMan

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Sure and if you break it down those will likely continue to exist. However, if the rest of the stuff around the character is written well it will be overlooked. Because as we've discussed on this very forum several times, you can make anything sound sexist/homophobic/racist if you want to. What has to happen is good writing around those tropes in order to advocate covering up the trope enough to be acceptable by people.

Basically we want to encourage better writing all around and that is something we all can agree with I think.
The story can have all the best writing at wants, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still a stereotype. Sure it's not as bad as the other stereotypes, but that's only by comparison. If they're already great characters, then those stereotypes are not needed in the first place. It's still a freaking problem, regardless of you whether to see it or not or something that is just completely "innocent and heartless". It's why a lot of black people got tired of Chris Tucker's Uncle Tom foolery in a lot of movies. He was playing allow wax stereotype or just a more exaggerated version of himself. It's wide Tyler Perry movies get a lot of crap on them, cuz it's mostly stereotypes that think they're trying to be interesting or deep. And Tyler Perry just plain sucks with a lot of his writing, yet he still gets work. No offense to the man, but I'm glad I stopped watching his stuff after his third movie. He didn't play good Baxter Stocktman though. I am glad there are so many better Black riders now stepping up to the plate, but way more still needs to be done. Like I told you before, there are still plenty of black celebrities and actors who either don't get enough work or only allowed to play bit parts and stereotypes because of their skin color. So it is a huge problem regardless if you want to see it or not. I don't want to hear another story about how your stepfather is black and all that. Hollywood couldn't give a rat's ass. Nor does that make everything not a problem like you think. We already had part of this conversation before. Either you get it or you don't, there is no more in between. I'm sick of hearing this shit.
 
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CriticalGaming

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Proof is a dumb standard. "Where is your proof" is not a question worth asking outside a court of law.

You're being a bit silly, really. You aren't to my knowledge, disagreeing with the idea that people treat men and women in fiction differently. But you're getting very upset at other people not proving malicious intent to you. I'd just like to sort of state the terms of the argument first, because I'm not sure that you really disagree about the reality of the situation, so much as people's response to that reality. Like, I think you accept that men and women are treated and portrayed differently, and just don't think that's a bad thing, but you're asking me to prove wrongdoing by people doing things that you might agree that they do.
Okay yes. I think we are finally having some common ground here. Men and women are treated differently, and in some ways it's very bad (like with the Blizzard situation), but in other areas like storytelling I don't think it's a bad thing. But more importantly i don't think it is right to base the treatment of fictional characters in a story with any sort of malicious label, which I why I get a rub on when people call it sexist. Because i think that people see a concept of something in a story or game or whatever like the damsel in distress trope and they immediately want to call it sexism to put a negative intent on the creator of that work.

Oh Peach always needs saving because Nintendo is sexist. No, that is just the basic loop for a Mario game. It's a gameplay formula and a thin excuse for the game to happen. There is no evil intent there.

That's my problem.
 

Buyetyen

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Look I'm not denying the existence of sexism and all that shit. One only needs to look at Blizzard and Riot games for proof of that.
But you are saying that the situation is so intractable that there's no point trying to do anything about it. Cynicism is a very lazy excuse for inaction, which is why so many people do it.

What has to happen is good writing around those tropes in order to advocate covering up the trope enough to be acceptable by people.

Basically we want to encourage better writing all around and that is something we all can agree with I think.
Then why don't you encourage writers to stop using lazy tropes? Why don't you tell them to take a scalpel to those tropes? How can you get improvement if you're willing to settle for mediocrity?

Because i think that people see a concept of something in a story or game or whatever like the damsel in distress trope and they immediately want to call it sexism to put a negative intent on the creator of that work.
And of course, there's absolutely no other motive or reason someone would not like something. /s
 
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Silvanus

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Who says the military toys, trucks, nerf guns, and all that crap is for boys? Is there something that says girls can't play with them? Is there something that says boys can't have barbies?
The signs in the shops tend to literally state that on them.

Or is it that kid just gravitate towards that shit naturally? Marketing can only explain so much, because marketing picks up on the trends and highlights the market in which their sales are already gravitating towards. If a company sees boys buying the toys more often than not, than naturally the marketing is going t focus on that to keep encouraging the sales.
Marketing explains a hell of a lot, actually. D'you think girls "naturally" gravitate towards pink, and boys towards blue? It used to be the exact opposite.


Stereotypes exist for a reason, they aren't made up out of thin fucking air otherwise they would be too rare to be called stereotypes.
Obviously. In this case, stereotypes about men saving helpless women stem from the chivalric tradition, which in turn stems from the warrior-cultures that existed before it. But those things do not exist any more. And what we're left with is a bunch of out-of-date stereotypes used by risk-averse PR men to make easy sales.

It's inventing a problem for no reason because you feel like it should be classified as a problem.
If wanting greater variety in fiction is "inventing a problem", then I suppose so. I think variety, divergence and innovation stop fiction getting staid and dull.

If we never challenged the tropes of the fiction we consumed, we would be endlessly reading long-form nigh-impregnable epic odes in the vein of Gilgamesh or the Iliad. "But those are the only things people read!" Well, yes, because alternatives were limited. It's not just because people inherently preferred them. We'd never have had the modern novel.
 

CriticalGaming

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If they're already great characters, then those stereotypes are not needed in the first place.
Yeah but those great characters more often than not still fit into a stereotype. So what's the excuse there? Is it simply forgiven because it's well written? If so, then the trope isn't the problem.

It's wide Tyler Perry movies get a lot of crap on them, cuz it's mostly stereotypes that think they're trying to be interesting or deep. And Tyler Perry just plain sucks with a lot of his writing, yet he still gets work.
I always had a theory that not even Black people like Tyler Perry lol.
 

Buyetyen

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Yeah but those great characters more often than not still fit into a stereotype. So what's the excuse there? Is it simply forgiven because it's well written? If so, then the trope isn't the problem.
Now for the chicken/egg question: which came first, the stereotype or the character? Gotta start somewhere.
 
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Dwarvenhobble

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Ok I'm going to step in here and try to point out how I think people are on different pages here.

On the most technical definition level sexism = Treating men and women different based on sex.
This is different (or should be but often it's conflated with or used in place of) Sexual discrimination = Treating a person differently in a negative way because of their sex.
So using the most technical level definition Medicine is sexist because due to men and women being different they get different treatment literally due to necessity.

The issue is Anita and others only accept and allow 1 kind of treatment to be ok while claiming others are sexist.

I'm sure some women would enjoy the idea of being seen to have such value men and willing to fight and die to protect them. Some women don't want that as see it as belittling their abilities especially as more modern weapons eliminate the need or advantages of strength.

With the Annie Oakley example it could be argued the changes were sexually discriminations towards men because it's based on he stereotype that men can't accept a woman being better than them at something.
 

CriticalGaming

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Obviously. In this case, stereotypes about men saving helpless women stem from the chivalric tradition, which in turn stems from the warrior-cultures that existed before it. But those things do not exist any more. And what we're left with is a bunch of out-of-date stereotypes used by risk-averse PR men to make easy sales.
Well also you have to remember that the boyhood fantasy of being the heroic warrior that saves the town and the princess or whatever is a long standing idea in fiction. As i mentioned before, I don't think that just because this is a trope doesn't mean it's rooting in any sort of sexism. It's just the heroic fantasy,, not some seeded desire to keep the ladies oppressed.

If wanting greater variety in fiction is "inventing a problem", then I suppose so. I think variety, divergence and innovation stop fiction getting staid and dull.
Agreed. But just because it's getting dull doesn't make it a sexism problem. I absolutely want good writing in all things. Better writing.....because let me remind you. I have ALWAYS said, "Good writing will fix the diversity in media." Back when the diversity debates were going on, my stance has always been that better writing would fix those problems automatically and wouldn't require tokenistic hirings when it comes to casting or painting characters a specific way.
 

BrawlMan

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Yeah but those great characters more often than not still fit into a stereotype. So what's the excuse there?
Two wrongs don't make a right.

If so, then the trope isn't the problem.
It's the people that started it and continue to reinforce it that's the main problem. Whether it be unwittingly or forced in on purpose. It's not just a trope itself, which is what I've been saying from the very butt fucking beginning. Systemic racism is at play, freaking deal with it.

It's why Joss whedon got called out by the actor who played Cyborg in the Justice League theatrical cut. It's a problem with the system, when Hollywood fat cats keep letting people like that walks on in and ruin things for everybody.



always had a theory that not even Black people like Tyler Perry lol.
There's plenty of black people that still do, but it's mostly older folk. There are still people my age or younger that like him too, but not as much.
 
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Buyetyen

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It's worth repeating at this point that tropes are tools in a toolbox. Not every tool is suited for every task and while it's hard to say there is a right way to use tropes, there is a lazy way. The problem is that many writers are lazy and use tropes as such.
 

Dwarvenhobble

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Then why don't you encourage writers to stop using lazy tropes? Why don't you tell them to take a scalpel to those tropes? How can you get improvement if you're willing to settle for mediocrity?
Ok firstly everything is a trope on some level because it's an inherent understanding between the audience and the creator that they don't need to explain certain things. Some tropes are actually highly cultural some more universal. Tropes are just shorthand in story telling.

Taking a Scalpel to all tropes that could be seen as lazy / offensive isn't possible to do because in reality you'd just be shifting the problem or setting impossible standards no-one can ever meet .

Lets use the example of Anita's argument vs women as background characters. Well to have no women background characters without their own stories you'd have to make sure every background female character had her own full story and then every female side character in that story also has her own story and so on and so fourth so the only solution allowed under Anita's rules would be having a load of male characters with no fleshed out backstories which guess what, would be sexual discrimination. Anita ignores male side characters often getting treated the same.

E.G. The Useful Damsel....... well that's Happy in Iron Man 2


Black Widow takes down a corridor of guards while he manages 1 dude.
 

tstorm823

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Okay yes. I think we are finally having some common ground here. Men and women are treated differently, and in some ways it's very bad (like with the Blizzard situation), but in other areas like storytelling I don't think it's a bad thing. But more importantly i don't think it is right to base the treatment of fictional characters in a story with any sort of malicious label, which I why I get a rub on when people call it sexist. Because i think that people see a concept of something in a story or game or whatever like the damsel in distress trope and they immediately want to call it sexism to put a negative intent on the creator of that work.

Oh Peach always needs saving because Nintendo is sexist. No, that is just the basic loop for a Mario game. It's a gameplay formula and a thin excuse for the game to happen. There is no evil intent there.

That's my problem.
I'm with you, but like, I don't think many here are going to be accusing creators of being malicious. Peach in distress is the thin excuse for Mario to do his thing, and it's done that way because it appeals to an audience that's comfortable with that formula, I don't think anyone thinks the creator was fantasizing about kidnapping princesses. But if we imagine something more horrendous, like an audience that's comfortable with white supremacy as a protagonist's motivation, you could pretty easily use the same justification: it's not that they're promoting white supremacy by fictionalizing it, it's just a tool give the audience a comfortable starting point, and in that example one may question if it's moral to appeal to an audience that's comfortable with white supremacy.

I don't think that's a reasonable comparison myself, I don't think damsel in distress type tropes are heinously immoral (and I'm inclined to believe they appeal more to women than men anyway), but I conceptually understand the broad framework of the argument that an artist may have some moral accountability for whom they try to make comfortable with their work. And like, that's what tropes do, they put people into a comfort zone. They give you a general sense of familiarity with a work even as you experience it the first time.
 

Silvanus

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Are we still talking video games ? I alread said that that particular trope is way more common in film and TV. But where its pervasiveness in games did annoy me 2 docades ago, i have hardly seen it recently in games.
I'd actually say in most major mediums (including video games), we're moving fairly quickly in a better direction.

Well also you have to remember that the boyhood fantasy of being the heroic warrior that saves the town and the princess or whatever is a long standing idea in fiction. As i mentioned before, I don't think that just because this is a trope doesn't mean it's rooting in any sort of sexism. It's just the heroic fantasy,, not some seeded desire to keep the ladies oppressed.
"Sexism" doesn't solely refer to sneaky efforts to oppress women. I don't believe any of these stories are written for that purpose (...well, almost none of them). I believe a lot of them are simply written because they're (1) risk-averse, (2) unimaginative and a little lazy, or (3) not recognising that they're doing it. This isn't malice and these people probably don't actually hold particularly sexist attitudes on an individual level.

But when it becomes ubiquitous, and the trope is so common that it's inescapable in media, then kids can hardly help but internalise the message that boys and girls are supposed to be certain ways. That starts to happen when it's all they see, over and over. And the broader impact of that on a kid's idea of gender roles can be restrictive and dispiriting.

Agreed. But just because it's getting dull doesn't make it a sexism problem. I absolutely want good writing in all things. Better writing.....because let me remind you. I have ALWAYS said, "Good writing will fix the diversity in media." Back when the diversity debates were going on, my stance has always been that better writing would fix those problems automatically and wouldn't require tokenistic hirings when it comes to casting or painting characters a specific way.
I consider the notion that men are the only ones who can be brave, and save people, and take up arms for a righteous cause, to be sexist; and I consider the notion that women must be passive, and cannot save themselves, to be sexist.

But each individual piece of art that employs the "damsel in distress" trope isn't necessarily sexist in itself. Just like a game that reverses the roles wouldn't be "misandrist" or whatever.

This is a game of numbers. The aggregate effect of the one trope being so common has the potential to reinforce a sexist/restrictive notion. Perhaps that's a better way to explain it in a way that doesn't come across as accusatory, because to be clear, I'm not trying to be accusatory.
 
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