Is it bad that videogame characters are sexualised?

MirenBainesUSMC

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I don't care either or if its too much it usually doesn't sell and gets put in the bargain bin, if its done well, most gamers usually award such efforts with strong sales.

For instance --- Mass Effect 1-2-3? Epic Wins

Duke Nukem Forever? --- 0.
 

TheMysteriousGX

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What I'm getting out of this thread is that, besides the shitposts, the answer seems to be "it depends."

Which is what I was coming in to say myself. Like many things in games, sexualized characters aren't inherently bad. Poorly written/acted/shown sexualized characters are bad. Like Miranda. Only played ME1 and ME3 myself, but when she started showing up in 3 I was convinced the cutscene camera was bugged. Poorly written/acted/shown characters/stories/mechanics tend to be a problem in making games in general.

I'd chalk it up to laziness more than sexism, because writing is hard, but sometimes the output is indistinguishable.
 

Rahkshi500

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Windknight said:
If I can go off on a tangent, I've personally found a lot of dudes who will cite Conan, Kratos or even a fully clothed Superman as 'objectified men' will react hostilely if presented with male characters or art of male characters sexualised for the female gaze without any concession to male dignity/ power fantasies. They'll be disgusted, angry, freaked out and will often resort to homophobic terms to describe the art/characters... and yet will never consider this is maybe what its like for women to be presented overwhelmingly with over sexualised female characters.
Personally, I have yet to meet these dudes who would react with hostility to such things, but you certainly won't here it from me at least. I would rather let people enjoy what they enjoy(and vice versa), rather than trying to push my beliefs onto them.
 

mecegirl

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Windknight said:
LifeCharacter said:
Gorrath said:
There is only one justification required for making a game; you, the artist, want to make it (even if "want" here is purely driven by profit.)
The "justification" isn't in the sense that developers needs justification to design-by-committee a game while their fans harp on artistic freedom, it's in the sense that people like to point to Kratos as a counterclaim to sexism in the industry. He's the counterweight to the DOA's plastic children in that people like pretending an ugly rage monster is just as sexualized as whatever dumb female character the industry vomited forth that week.
If I can go off on a tangent, I've personally found a lot of dudes who will cite Conan, Kratos or even a fully clothed Superman as 'objectified men' will react hostilely if presented with male characters or art of male characters sexualised for the female gaze without any concession to male dignity/ power fantasies. They'll be disgusted, angry, freaked out and will often resort to homophobic terms to describe the art/characters... and yet will never consider this is maybe what its like for women to be presented overwhelmingly with over sexualised female characters.
On a lighter note.
 

omega 616

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Personally, having the odd dragons crown game isn't a bad thing but when the vast majority of games have women being nothing but sex appeal, their is a problem!

The op said "where it makes sense", which I agree with but it doesn't make sense in most games. Lara Croft has outfits such as cocktail dresses! In the ice caves she is wearing booty shorts!

In just about every main stream game women are depicted as sexual objects. You don't get an ugly woman in games with a flat chest and no butt ... you get an angel with more front than Florida and an onion butt (a butt so nice it brings a tear to your eye).

For a long time devs have hidden behind "artistic design" but I've always thought otherwise and games like "the boob feeling simulator" and the game where you creep around a girls bedroom, lend a lot of weight to my point of view (I think) that gamers still have this "never had a gf before" vibe.

You can't get a gf so you make these outrageously beautiful women who you can do what you want with. All I can imagine is that pc gamer meme (guy with the long black hair, spots, whispy neck beard, squinty eyes) who knows he can't get a supermodel gf, so he goes a bit Sim-one (remember that film?) and makes a supermodel.

Look, I know many devs and gamers are married and this view is mostly wrong but when I see so many female characters look and dressed like that, I can't help but think it. I bet people looking in from the outside think so to.

It might even come from when devs where in school and they were in love with the cheerleader but they couldn't date her 'cos he was just that dork, but that's just below amateur rank psychology.
 

endtherapture

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theSteamSupported said:
In all sexual contexts, there are subjects and objects; subjects act and objects are acted upon. When it comes to sexual contexts in pretty much all fiction, including video games, it is explicitly the norm that men are depicted as subjects and women are depicted as objects. That is what is the actual problem, not that women in video games appear in a specific way, that has more to do with the fact that most vg artists are straight men or supervised by straight men.
Quoted directly from the lovely Ms. Sarkeesian I say?

All I have to say is the subject/object dichotomy as she describes it, is one of the most poorly thought out theories I have ever seen someone enact, a close second to her "The more you think are you unaffacted by something, the more likely it is to affect you".

omega 616 said:
The op said "where it makes sense", which I agree with but it doesn't make sense in most games. Lara Croft has outfits such as cocktail dresses! In the ice caves she is wearing booty shorts!
I'd say this is okay in some games because what is Lara Croft known for back in the 1990s? Her outfits and being a female character in gaming.



Yeah she's wearing shorts, but she's also put a jacket on, and you have to keep at leas one memorable aspect of your character in order for it to be recognisable to people. I don't know if there's an ice level on God of War but if there is I don't expect Kratos to put a top on for that.
 

wauwau

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Sexual exploitation of art is absolutely fine, but you can't expect to be taken serious if you choose to take this route. Gaming is growing up as an art form but censorship is the absolute worst thing you can do, nobody has the right to tell you, how you should create your game, how is doing that different from facism?

It all comes down to, if you don't enjoy certain art, don't consume it. That's the nice thing about culture, there is something for everyone.

Now, if you want to tell a impactful story, sexualising characters is a pretty bad idea unless you have a really, really good reason in context of the plot.
 

Aaron Sylvester

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wauwau said:
It all comes down to, if you don't enjoy certain art, don't consume it. That's the nice thing about culture, there is something for everyone.
But some people want to criticize a certain kind of art whenever and wherever possible (e.g. Anita). If you tell them "don't consume it" they will yell back "I have the right to CRITICIZE it! Free speech!".
There's nothing you can really say to that other than shrug your shoulders, shake your head and walk away.

Unfortunately instead of doing the above, the general gamer base MASSIVELY over-reacted to that kind of criticism and now it's always a huge deal, always a controversy. Sigh.
 

endtherapture

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Aaron Sylvester said:
wauwau said:
It all comes down to, if you don't enjoy certain art, don't consume it. That's the nice thing about culture, there is something for everyone.
But some people want to criticize a certain kind of art whenever and wherever possible (e.g. Anita). If you tell them "don't consume it" they will yell back "I have the right to CRITICIZE it! Free speech!".
There's nothing you can really say to that other than shrug your shoulders, shake your head and walk away.

Unfortunately instead of doing the above, the general gamer base MASSIVELY over-reacted to that kind of criticism and now it's always a huge deal, always a controversy. Sigh.
The thing about Sarkeesian is that she is not just criticising it, she's subtly claiming it indoctrinates gamers to commit hate crimes vs women.

She opened, I believe, with statements like "Women are objects to be acted upon, men are subjects" and then "The less you believe you are affected by something, the more you are affected by it", and then going on her criticism of various "tropes" like the damsel in distress and women as background decoration.

What I got from the whole watching of her video is the message that I am a bad person for enjoying games with these tropes in, I am being indoctrinated to hate women by games developers, and if I deny that I am affected by the game, then I am actually extremely affected by it. She's set herself up in a win-win scenario which no one can argue against and it's stupid.
 

lord canti

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IT varies honestly, Is being sexualized the characters one trait? then no. Does being sexualized go completely against the characters personality and development? then no. Does it make complete sense for the characters to be sexualized given their personality and world? then yes. The context of the sexualization is what determines if it's okay or not. If the girls of persona 4 were sexualized outside of a few select shadows then I would be bothered by it because none of these characters come off as liking to be sexy or live in a world where it would make sense.
 

Arean

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I would argue that a character being sexualized in and of itself is not automatically a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with some over-the-top fanservice from time to time. I would consider it a problem if it was as prevalent and one sided as some people make it out to be.

However, a sexualized character will often be shallow and pandering, and there is a clear difference between a sexualized character, and an actually sexual character. For examples of actual sexual characters you can see for example Triss Merrigold of Witcher fame, or Isabella from Dragon Age. These characters are both sexualized to a degree, but they are fully fleshed out, powerful characters, which take them from sexually objectified to empowered and sexual.

Again, I don't see stupid pandering like for example Mortal Kombat as somehow harmful. Those games are ludocrious in every direction, and in general extremely over-the-top. I would consider it a problem if shallow sex objects were the norm, but I don't really think that's the case.
 

Norithics

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Is there a problem with the cheap way that sex appeal is used across the board? Yes.
Does that mean that individual games shouldn't be able to have it if they so choose? No.

And therein lies the devil of this subject: that there is no happy medium. You can't kind-of complain about something. I thought Dragon's Crown got hammered on completely unfairly, to the point of shaming the creators as invalids. I think that was completely uncalled for. At the same time, I don't ever want to go back to the time when nobody ever talked about this kind of thing, because keeping the concepts alive in the minds of the public and therefore the developers is important.
 

Arean

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Norithics said:
Is there a problem with the cheap way that sex appeal is used across the board? Yes.
Does that mean that individual games shouldn't be able to have it if they so choose? No.

And therein lies the devil of this subject: that there is no happy medium. You can't kind-of complain about something. I thought Dragon's Crown got hammered on completely unfairly, to the point of shaming the creators as invalids. I think that was completely uncalled for. At the same time, I don't ever want to go back to the time when nobody ever talked about this kind of thing, because keeping the concepts alive in the minds of the public and therefore the developers is important.
Agreed, there seems to be no neutral ground to be had here. I would agree that there are some games that can be seen as "problematic", but there seems to be no distinction between a game containing for example misogyny, and a game promoting misogyny, the two are very different.

Do we consider everyone who ever made a slasher film a rampaging misogynist for all the women being sliced up on screen? No, because it's not seen as promoting that behavior. Then why are games like for example GTA being framed as somehow promoting sexism, because the world it is presenting contains it?

I find the Dragon's Crown hysteria laughable. The game's art style is so deliberately over the top that complaining about the "over-the-top-ness" (I know that's not a word) of one aspect seems quaint, at least to me. I mean, look at this: http://www.spriters-resource.com/resources/sheets/54/57242.png does anyone think this reflects a real representation of anything?
 

QuicklyAcross

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Arean said:
Norithics said:
Is there a problem with the cheap way that sex appeal is used across the board? Yes.
Does that mean that individual games shouldn't be able to have it if they so choose? No.

And therein lies the devil of this subject: that there is no happy medium. You can't kind-of complain about something. I thought Dragon's Crown got hammered on completely unfairly, to the point of shaming the creators as invalids. I think that was completely uncalled for. At the same time, I don't ever want to go back to the time when nobody ever talked about this kind of thing, because keeping the concepts alive in the minds of the public and therefore the developers is important.
Agreed, there seems to be no neutral ground to be had here. I would agree that there are some games that can be seen as "problematic", but there seems to be no distinction between a game containing for example misogyny, and a game promoting misogyny, the two are very different.

Do we consider everyone who ever made a slasher film a rampaging misogynist for all the women being sliced up on screen? No, because it's not seen as promoting that behavior. Then why are games like for example GTA being framed as somehow promoting sexism, because the world it is presenting contains it?

I find the Dragon's Crown hysteria laughable. The game's art style is so deliberately over the top that complaining about the "over-the-top-ness" (I know that's not a word) of one aspect seems quaint, at least to me. I mean, look at this: http://www.spriters-resource.com/resources/sheets/54/57242.png does anyone think this reflects a real representation of anything?
Indeed so.
Its kinda like complaining about the sun being too hot or lemons being too sour.
The complaint itself isnt the problem its the unreasonable logic behind it
 

wauwau

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Aaron Sylvester said:
wauwau said:
It all comes down to, if you don't enjoy certain art, don't consume it. That's the nice thing about culture, there is something for everyone.
But some people want to criticize a certain kind of art whenever and wherever possible (e.g. Anita). If you tell them "don't consume it" they will yell back "I have the right to CRITICIZE it! Free speech!".
There's nothing you can really say to that other than shrug your shoulders, shake your head and walk away.

Unfortunately instead of doing the above, the general gamer base MASSIVELY over-reacted to that kind of criticism and now it's always a huge deal, always a controversy. Sigh.
Where did I say, you can't criticize? Just said that you can't impose your will upon them, censor them (like a lot of feminists on twitter do by flagging users, prominent youtuber 'thunderf00t' is a good example).
 

grassgremlin

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slo said:
Enlighten me, what does "attractive man" look like? Besides looking rich and having all the money in the world like Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne.
Ask and you shall receive.




 

Danbo Jambo

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Depends in which context you view it.

what I would say though, is that with video game becoming more and more realistic we're starting to tread slightly dangerous ground IMO. With the internet boom we've now porn and Hollywood films which paint a false picture of what women and sex actually are. Add gaming into that mix and we've a whole wave of entertainment media creating a false perception of both men and women.

Titillation has it's place, but I'd like to see it balanced by realism. E.g. Dragon Age 2's 36DD populace should be sorted.