i been a gamer chick for ten years and unfortunately i still see sexism on some games we are as good as the males and love our games just as much
The comments in this article and this article to a lesser extent inspired me to write this blog. The subject of women in gaming is a touchy subject that always seems to rustle a lot of jimmies. Frankly, the ignorant dribble in the comments section of the first article just makes me shake my head in disgust.
Sexism in the gaming industry is a serious issue that shouldn't always be brushed off as "A bunch of stupid, entitled, dumb broads whining". Its a very real issue that is still prevalent today. Some of the complaints are legitimate issues that need to be addressed and fixed. And its sad that the issue is brushed off BECAUSE of the few but LOUD misandrists who parade themselves as feminists, or the fake girl gamer who's never experienced real sexism is screaming "Respect me! I have boobs!" There needs to be a clear distinction between what is whining and what is a legitimate issue. There's a line between a whiny girl gamer and a female developer who is actually being discriminated against and disrespected.
I think there should be BALANCE. I dislike both of the more extreme sides of the issues equally. I dislike the misogynistic, immature, little boys who say "oh no girls have cooties, they're going to ruin my gaming, don't let them in the industry!" I also equally dislike the hateful and annoying misandrists posing as feminists who think that women should get special treatment and be put on a pedestal above men. How about we establish some middle ground?
Now why don't we take a look at a few of the issues and sayings and weed out what is whining, what is just pure hate and ignorance, and what is not whining.
"There should be more women in the gaming industry."
Sure why not? I wouldn't mind more Jade Raymonds, Amy Hennigs, Kim Swifts, and Soraya Sagas in the gaming industry. But this issue is so complicated. Some of the extremists would probably suggest a quota system, sort of like affirmative action. While things like affirmative action have good intentions, they tend to cause talented people to be rejected in favor of someone who is supposedly disadvantaged but could be less qualified. This is the "women getting special treatment" thing and I don't agree with it. This would only tip the balance and put men in the disadvantaged position. And I know some people will say "Let them see how it feels for once!" but come on. Don't think like that. Then we're back to square one. What we want is equality. I have another method to suggest: education and reaching out.
Encouraging young girls who have an interest in video games to try to get a job in the industry. Educating them so they make good choices for themselves and women to come. Once we get more women in the industry, it will start to change for the better. The best way to change it is from the inside. And there's no need to tell men to get out just for being men. Men and women can coexist peacfully and make their own games that different people will be happy to spend money on. But again, we shouldn't suggest putting women at an unfair advantage over men. Remember, we want equality, as well as qualified people.
"I have boobs and a controller! Respect me!"
Now this is annoying and has GOT TO STOP. Female gamers, you earn respect by being good at gaming and being a good sport and person. Having boobs does not automatically mean you deserve respect. You also don't need to capitalize the fact that you're a female. You're a GAMER, so just be one and have fun.
But there's always two extreme sides to the issue. The comments like the one you see at Fat, Ugly or Slutty are unnacceptable and should not be tolerated. A girl should be able to game peacefully and not be harrassed by some immature douchebag going "Omg show me yer bewbs!"
Is this whining? A lot of the time it is. But you can see where this is stemming from right? One extreme side sparked up because of another extreme side. Don't expect special handouts for being a girl. But at the same time, harrassment in online gaming is a serious problem that shouldn't be ignored.
"So many female video game characters are sexist/misogynistic and needa go!"
Another complicated issue. The word sexist is thrown around so loosely that its lost most of its severity and venom (as is the word racist). I'm going to copy and paste a comment I posted on the second article:
I hate how the term misogynistic and racist are just thrown around so loosely. I acknowledge that they are still prevalent problems in America today, but when those terms are thrown around so much, it loses its power and gets an eye roll from people instead of a sense of urgency. Now everything from saying the word "black" to a woman in a video game with big boobs is suddenly "racist" and "misogynistic." How are the young 'uns going to know whats genuine racism and misogyny and whats just some guy drawing a girl with big boobs or randomly deciding that he wanted his characters to have blue eyes and blonde hair?
Also, I don't like the idea of shoehorning minorities in just for the sake of diversity. If you're going to put them in there, then good for you, but make them good characters. I liked CJ, Sazh, Barret, Rodin, Faith, Bayonetta, Madison Paige, etc but that's because the creators took time into making them good characters and not capitalizing on their race or gender. I guess my point is, make good characters, don't just throw in a minority for the sake of "diversity." Also, there are bigger issues in the world to deal with than a fictional character's race.
And you really can't fault a guy for creating a woman in his ideal image. I'm sure a lot of artists do that. We are not going to stamp out sexism by complaining about sexy women in video games. Nowadays, games as appalling as Beat 'em and eat 'em and Custer's revenge would never EVER see the light of day. So since we don't have any grossly and blatant sexism and racism such as that, people scrutinize games and cry foul play on games that aren't either of these things. Do you really think the creator's of Bayonetta, Tomb Raider, or Dead or Alive wanted to force some secret subliminal woman hating agenda on us? Do you think Square enix or Rockstar wanted to force some subliminal racist messages on us with Sazh, CJ, and Barret? Doubt it. Tetsuya Nomura stated himself that he likes Sazh even more than Lightning.
My suggestion is again, to get a wider variety of people in the industry. With this, we get more diverse characters, racial, personality, and gender wise. But I don't agree with forcing developers to change their characters just for the sake of diversity. I mean hey, I like Dante, Nathan Drake, and Niko Bellic. I'm not going to say they should dissapear because they are white men. They can coexist alongside female characters and characters of other races too. The most important thing is that they are good characters.
"It's the white man's fault!"
I really didn't want to get racial here but...
NO. This needs to stop too. White men may dominate the industry but we are not going to solve anything by pointing fingers at them and making them all feel like crap. Then we are putting them in the position of disrespect and ridicule, which isn't any better than the men who ridicule and demean women in the gaming industry.
Now if someone is in a position of power and they are abusing it, then forget their race or gender, they need to be kicked to the curb. If a company is adopting and keeping hiring practices that favor one group over another, then that is unfair and needs to change. It's not one gender's fault and its not one race's fault. And pointing fingers and fuming isn't gonna help. We need to take action.
Finally...How do we fix this problem?
I've already listed a few suggestions in this little blog. As you can probably tell, I am someone who believes in balance. I'm in the middle of pessimism and optimism. I've tried to be in the middle of this issue too. I acknowledge that there is a problem. The inbalance of men and women in the gaming industry as well as sexism is a very real issue.
But we can't simply talk, talk, talk about it. How many decades have we been talking about this issue? How many years have we been saying that this needs to change? How many times has the percentage of female gamers shot up each year, while the number of women in the gaming industry has crept up at a snail's pace? Ladies, its not enough to talk, go DO. Unfortunatley, we will never completley stamp out racism and sexism. But that doesn't mean we have to bend over and take it.
It saddens me that some male gamers are acting like 5 year olds and saying "Ew don't come to the game industry, you'll ruin it with your cooties." It also saddens me when some female gamers say "Ew go away, we don't need you! Shutup complaining you stupid feminist! This isn't even an issue!" No one is saying that the current male developers and their respective game should go away and be replaced by female developers. I wouldn't want that. No one wants that.
But there's no harm in changing hiring practices that favor men. There's no harm in more variety. And I don't mean diversity for the sake of diversity, I mean leveling the playing field to allow talented and qualified women to enter the industry without having to jump through hoops and endure constant harrassment and ridicule. And I know there are a myriad of other issues in the gaming industry. I could write blogs on that too. But because of those articles above and their subsequent comments, I decided to focus on this issue. You can roll your eyes, facepalm, and go "not this again" all you want, but this issue isn't going to go away anytime soon. Its here to stay until people get up and start doing something about it.
There is no need for such extreme hatred on either sides of the spectrum. And despite the hate and negativity surrounding the issue, I'm sure the video game industry will change. Because, although we still have a long way to go and could still do more, as we speak talented women are working in the industry or working their way to it. And I doubt annoying, sexist, trash on the internet is going to stop them.
Because most of those idiots don't run anything but their mouths.
As a male I do get backlash from the (predominantly male)community when I do stand up and turn away from the games that portray the stereotypic image of how females are represented in games. It's very refreshing to here another intelligent view on this subject.
While I agree with a lot of what you said, the bit about creators trying to slip in subliminal messages seems a little off. It may not be their purpose, but that doesn't mean the image they are portraying aren't exactly flattering even though they think it is.
I'm not exactly proud of Cole Train, Big Bo, Barret (I know you're ok with him, but as an African American, I am not proud of this character), Balrog, all Apone-esque marines and various others. CJ is by far more stereotypical than these, but he's slightly different in that the game is quite literally about him being a gangster in Los Santos (LA) and GTA has always been about being a stretch of real America.
Bottom line, I think they do need to be a little aware of the characters their putting out and should take into account how your ideal image of X race/sex might be received at this current time.
@Super_Panda You're right, I do believe that companies need to be aware of the characters they are putting out.
Actually, I'm black too, but I'm still reluctant to call characters like CJ and Barret as well as their creators "racist." I'd classify the characters as stereotypical and their creators as maybe careless or thoughtless.
My main point was that calling someone a racist is a serious accusation and shouldn't be made lightly. I don't think it was Square Enix's, Rockstar's, or Epic Game's intention to promote bigotry and the idea that black's are inferior to everyone else. It just seemed to me that they were careless and in a way they were reinforcing stereotypes. And so yes, these companies need to be more careful about that and think about how people are going to receive these characters.
Of course, with the characters you listed, I could understand someone getting a little mad at them. But man, the nitpicking that people did with Sazh from FF XIII was infuriating. He was one of the most tolerable characters in that whole game and is in no way racist (at least not in my eyes). I could understand thinking of him as just a little suspect because of the afro, the guns, and the way he talked but man...calling him racist? That there was a perfect example of people misusing the word racist. The guy was a loving single father, was the most sensible of the bunch, mature, had a gentle and carefree personality, and was Tetsuya Nomura's choice over Lightning to appear in a sequel. I fail to see the racism here.
I just wanted to add to Lucky_Krystal. Sazh was literally the only male lead in that game that i liked. found Snow annoying, and hated Hope(less) wonder boy..
For many of the same reasons she just posted as well.
As for myself, my name gives me away, I'm Arab-American. the only good guys who'se are Arabs i've seen is Altair Ibn Lahad of Assassins Creed 1, and Farid in Black Ops 2. I love the Prince of Persia series (sands of time trilogy and 2008), but he's Persian. yeah sure, they're both Middle Eastern, but to us folks within the culture(s) those differences do kinda matter. It's kinda mistaking a Chinese person for Japanese or vice versa. anyways, not THAT important really - just saying.
and hell, i'm from a demographic that gets shot up, A LOT in video games :P. Most times it doesn't really annoy me. but what does usually is i want the why answered. why are they the bad guys. I'm ok with my demographic being the bad guy sometimes. Like i loved Battlefield 2 with the fictional Middle Eastern Coalition (MEC), but it had no campaign no narrative, just multiplayer. so in a weird way i could give myself a narrative if i opted to fight for the MEC against the US Marine Corp. and vice versa if i played team USA. in Batttlefield 3, were invading Iran, and i don't have the faintest clue as to WHY were going there - we just are. In a sense my main complaint is just poor storytelling and world building for the sake of only being fixated on big military explosions.
but i am definitely with Lucky_Krystal on the point to be weary of using the phrase sexism or racism so often. I usually reserved using the phrases with games that want to be taken seriously, where it's plainly obvious. Not with games like Saints Row the Third, GTA, Lollipop Chainsaw, or Dead or Alive.
Oh I agree with you both completely. I would never say any of those characters creators are racist. To do so would be akin to the claims that Sazh was a caricature or RE5 being racist because Chris is shooting a bunch of black enemies. These things just serve to muddy the word and are gonna bring it to the point where people won't be able to take it seriously (a point which we're almost at tbh).
I also don't mean to say that the characters can't be enjoyed and should be boycotted or anything of the sort. They're just not characters I'd go to if someone asked for a good example of a black character in video games. I don't mind Cole Train or Barrett, I just think we could do with a few less of these type of characters and few more positive (if that makes sense) ones.
The number of women in the gaming industry may be "creeping up" but i've read a handful of articles which i can't remember so i can't post so i'm going to quote wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_computing):
"In the United States, the number of women represented in undergraduate computer science education and the white-collar information technology workforce peaked in the mid-1980s, and has declined ever since. In 1984, 37.1% of Computer Science degrees were awarded to women; the percentage dropped to 29.9% in 1989-1990, and 26.7% in 1997-1998. Figures from the Computing Research Association Taulbee Survey indicate that less than 12% of Computer Science degrees were awarded to women in 2010-11."
A drop from ~37% in 1984 to 12% in 2011 is MASSIVE. from what i understand about the situation, the problem stems neither from gamers, games, the gaming industry or the technology industry. for evidence, read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_science#Statistics_of_Women_in_Science:
""leaky pipeline" model, in which the proportion of women "on track" to potentially becoming top scientists falls off at every step of the way, from getting interested in science and math in elementary school, through doctorate, postdoc, and career steps. Various reasons are proposed for this, and although the existence of this trend in many countries and times suggests that there is a genetic or hormonal causal component, the vast differences in the "leakiness" of this pipe across the same countries and times argues also for a causal component that is cultural."
this isn't an issue restricted to gaming, it's just more apparent in gaming because of the following:
1. female characters in gaming allows for foul cries of "sexism!"
2. the number of women playing games is seeing massive increases.
the statics don't favor good change, but that doesn't mean it can't or won't happen. sorry for the long post, i just thought i'd mention this.
@Kh1ndjal Or this maybe a little far-fetched, but maybe they show a little what we call "sexism" so then girls will become part of and stop complaining about what the gaming industry is and become *part of the gaming industry as a whole and understand what they want as gamers and as what they want they're gender portray who they are.
Good read. I'm Glad to see that you looked at this issue from both sides which a lot of people fail to do.
This comment has been deleted
@ermhm If posts such as this bore you then I don't see why you tortured yourself by clicking on it. But everything in your post points to you having looked at the title, got annoyed, and then came in her to insult me (and to advertise your blog that I've already read weeks ago).
Come on man, refute my points. Argue against me. What have I said to make you think that I am privileged or that I am missing the point and don't know how to put myself in someone else's shoes?
Otherwise your post just sounds like a more sophisticated way of saying "tl;dr and btw you suck!"
@Lucky_Krystal Now I know this will sound ridiculous, but my reply went to the wrong blog. :D I actually completely agree with you, and would never write such a stupid reply to your entry. And my intentions were never to advertise, I hate that. My apologies! Friends?
@Lucky_Krystal Yay, thanks ^^ That's karma I guess, I was being negative and even though it was directed at someone else (who deserved it from my point of view) it still bounced back at me. Being negative really does only bring more negativity. I should listen to my own advice more often :D Keep up the good fight
@ermhm LOL ok. It's cool, mistakes happen. :)
This is a well written and thoughtful opinion piece.
My comment concerns "I have boobs and a controller! Respect me!". It is often difficult to balance trash talk - where is the line? I think all gamers will have had both good and bad experiences with trash talk.
The mistakes come when moderators employ punishments without trying to change to culture of the population playing that game. A game which succeeds in moderation is league of legends - which aims for a sense of self regulation through the tribunal system (where cases of bad behavior are judged by higher ranking players) - changing the culture and attitudes of those who play. Women rising to the top of this system can influence the culture and maintain high standards.
Such as system would be difficult to implement in games like COD/Halo but has potential still.
it is sad to think that maybe gaming industry is giving us exactly what we want. They consider this a man's business, they have studied men nature and now they are giving men what men want... It is maybe not sexist, but just pure marketing. Now, you think men should not think like that? Well, IF men think that way naturally, who are you to go against nature? IF men think like that because of publicity or other ways to impose truths, then, yes, you are doing the right thing...
Television, Web, Movies or any kind of advertising.. are always focused on eroticism.. and games, always have some of that.. bad or good? Does'nt really matters..
I honestly don't care who is making the games I play, as long as they're making the games I play good. Great read!
SEX IS No 1 for humans, if you still not get it, stop sitting on computer 12/24 and get a guy instead trying to 'study sex' here in GamesSpot!
I apologise for the long comments. While I agree with some parts of this article I feel the need to point a few things out:
"? its sad that the issue is brushed off BECAUSE of the few but LOUD misandrists who parade themselves as feminists, or the fake girl gamer who's never experienced real sexism is screaming "Respect me! I have boobs!""
- First of all the idea of a 'fake girl gamer' is a completely facile and vacuous concept. What exactly constitutes a real gamer and who makes this judgement? Other than one cringe-worthy Girl Gamer Manifesto video (which was lambasted and is not representative) I don't know of any females who are asking for special treatment online. Most female gamers simply want to be a member of a community where their gender is largely irrelevant and isn't highlighted negatively or positively.
"There needs to be a clear distinction between what is whining and what is a legitimate issue"
- It is ridiculous to think that any group of people would complain about something just for the sake of it. Please could you please point me to examples of this baseless 'whining'?"
"There's a line between a whiny girl gamer and a female developer who is actually being discriminated against and disrespected."
- To dismiss members of the gaming community who have suffered abuse because of their sex as "whiny" is infantile. This is an example of an attitude held by many in society which demonise the victim merely for speaking out.
"I think there should be BALANCE".(like zerg?)
"I also equally dislike the hateful and annoying misandrists posing as feminists who think that women should get special treatment and be put on a pedestal above men."
- Again please point me to any of these women who are calling for special treatment.
""There should be more women in the gaming industry."
Sure why not? I wouldn't mind more Jade Raymonds, Amy Hennigs, Kim Swifts, and Soraya Sagas in the gaming industry. But this issue is so complicated. Some of the extremists would probably suggest a quota system, sort of like affirmative action. While things like affirmative action have good intentions, they tend to cause talented people to be rejected in favor of someone who is supposedly disadvantaged but could be less qualified. This is the "women getting special treatment" thing and I don't agree with it. This would only tip the balance and put men in the disadvantaged position. And I know some people will say "Let them see how it feels for once!" but come on. Don't think like that. Then we're back to square one. What we want is equality. I have another method to suggest: education and reaching out."
- The gaming industry is so male dominated that it is doubtful a few female appointments would tip the balance. When 46% of games are purchased by women even Stevie Wonder could see that the current lack diversity is not even close to balanced. Taking measures to ensure the appointment of more women would certainly not rob men of the chance to enter the profession.
"Encouraging young girls who have an interest in video games to try to get a job in the industry. Educating them so they make good choices for themselves and women to come. But again, we shouldn't suggest putting women at an unfair advantage over men. Remember, we want equality, as well as qualified people."
- While education leading to equality is a lovely concept I think it is quite naive to think that anything will change without people being brave enough to draw attention to the problem, something which you seem to dismiss as whining.
""I have boobs and a controller! Respect me!"
Now this is annoying and has GOT TO STOP. Female gamers, you earn respect by being good at gaming and being a good sport and person. Having boobs does not automatically mean you deserve respect. You also don't need to capitalize the fact that you're a female. You're a GAMER, so just be one and have fun."
- It's quite insulting to think that women can't grasp the concept of earning respect. The issue here is not that women are asking for special treatment it is that attention must be drawn to several sexist aspects of gaming. While there may be a few examples of people attention seeking (by highlighting their sex for example) in the gaming community they are far outweighed by the majority of women who want nothing more to enjoy their hobby free from any issue being made about their gender. The fact that these women feel the need to speak up shows how endemic the problem is. This is not born from an attention seeking sense of entitlement, there are issues that at least need to be recognised and debated.
"Is this whining? A lot of the time it is. But you can see where this is stemming from right? One extreme side sparked up because of another extreme side. Don't expect special handouts for being a girl. But at the same time, harrassment in online gaming is a serious problem that shouldn't be ignored."
-This is a confused argument and really does not make sense. Again you seem to be confusing whining with people voicing their opinion.
"I hate how the term misogynistic and racist are just thrown around so loosely. I acknowledge that they are still prevalent problems in America today, but when those terms are thrown around so much, it loses its power and gets an eye roll from people instead of a sense of urgency. Now everything from saying the word "black" to a woman in a video game with big boobs is suddenly "racist" and "misogynistic." How are the young 'uns going to know whats genuine racism and misogyny and whats just some guy drawing a girl with big boobs or randomly deciding that he wanted his characters to have blue eyes and blonde hair?"
- You can't attribute the way women are portrayed in video games to a notion of "political correctness gone mad." I think many people would agree that the diversity of women as video game characters is both narrow in appearance and in their narrative role. This in its self makes this an issue of sexism and does not devalue the word.
"Also, I don't like the idea of shoehorning minorities in just for the sake of diversity. If you're going to put them in there, then good for you, but make them good characters. I liked CJ, Sazh, Barret, Rodin, Faith, Bayonetta, Madison Paige, etc but that's because the creators took time into making them good characters and not capitalizing on their race or gender. I guess my point is, make good characters, don't just throw in a minority for the sake of "diversity." Also, there are bigger issues in the world to deal with than a fictional character's race."
- There is absolutely no reason why the inclusion of non-white males should harm the quality of a game. Of course the narrative should be true to its historical setting (when that is the case) but as designers usually take free liberty in this regard in video games I do not understand why this would be an issue at all.
"And you really can't fault a guy for creating a woman in his ideal image. I'm sure a lot of artists do that. We are not going to stamp out sexism by complaining about sexy women in video games. Nowadays, games as appalling as Beat 'em and eat 'em and Custer's revenge would never EVER see the light of day. So since we don't have any grossly and blatant sexism and racism such as that, people scrutinize games and cry foul play on games that aren't either of these things. Do you really think the creator's of Bayonetta, Tomb Raider, or Dead or Alive wanted to force some secret subliminal woman hating agenda on us? Do you think Square enix or Rockstar wanted to force some subliminal racist messages on us with Sazh, CJ, and Barret? Doubt it. Tetsuya Nomura stated himself that he likes Sazh even more than Lightning."
- The problem that arises is that if women continued to be portrayed as sexualized objects it becomes more and more likely society will view them in this way. To think that the portrayal of women would have no effect on the perception young women have of themselves is very short sighted. Video games are not alone in this regard but as games such as Call of Duty make more money than blockbuster movies, the effect video games have on society should not be underestimated. Furthermore the view that men simply want to see tits and asses from female characters in video games is incredibly outdated and offensive to their intellect. Surely men have the ability to understand the complexities of a female character the same way they do a male.
Out of the characters you've listed at least half have their gender or race as their defining characteristic. Although it would be nice to think that the creators of these games and characters aren't purposefully trying to be sexist, it is naive to think that these companies don't include these aspects to sell units. They are insulting the intelligence of the male population by insinuating that the inclusion of pixelated boobies will involuntarily cause a man to part with his hard earned cash.
"My suggestion is again, to get a wider variety of people in the industry. With this, we get more diverse characters, racial, personality, and gender wise. But I don't agree with forcing developers to change their characters just for the sake of diversity. I mean hey, I like Dante, Nathan Drake, and Niko Bellic. I'm not going to say they should dissapear because they are white men. They can coexist alongside female characters and characters of other races too. The most important thing is that they are good characters."
- I don't think anybody is asking for a "vagina-wash" of all male characters just simply a better representation in new video game franchises. I think there is an argument that inclusion of more diverse character would increase the interest and enjoyment of the games. Aren't we all a bit a tired of identical fps "war simulations" with cliched ensembles and a distinct lack of innovation.
"Finally...How do we fix this problem?
I've already listed a few suggestions in this little blog. As you can probably tell, I am someone who believes in balance. I'm in the middle of pessimism and optimism. I've tried to be in the middle of this issue too. I acknowledge that there is a problem. The inbalance of men and women in the gaming industry as well as sexism is a very real issue. But we can't simply talk, talk, talk about it. How many decades have we been talking about this issue? How many years have we been saying that this needs to change? How many times has the percentage of female gamers shot up each year, while the number of women in the gaming industry has crept up at a snail's pace? Ladies, its not enough to talk, go DO. I believe that's what all this fuss has been about..."
- When you draw attention to an issue and campaign for change you increase the likelihood of somebody actually taking notice and change occurring.
"Unfortunatley, we will never completley stamp out racism and sexism. But that doesn't mean we have to bend over and take it."
- Then what is the point of not bending over is the first place? There is a rich history of the minority fighting against seemingly overwhelming odds and succeeding to bring real change. The fact that women can now vote, racial segregation has now ended and we have some semblance of worker's rights are all testament to this. You claim change has to be made but dismiss anybody who highlights the issue as 'whining'.
I agree with some of the points you have made in this article (especially the last few sentences) but in my view the fundamental problem with your argument is that you have been dismissive of those who are actually trying bring about change and too quick to label any woman who wants to champion this cause as a radical feminist who wants to live in a matriarchy. The only way to bring about true change is too have some form of consensus between male and female gamers in the community and to demand this change from the large corporations making the games. Sexism does not only affect women, it affects society as a whole and I hate for us to lose this opportunity to make our community an example of inclusion and creativity because too many people took the middle ground and saw this as a problem without a solution.
@Alfvenwave "The problem that arises is that if women continued to be portrayed as sexualized objects it becomes more and more likely society will view them in this way."
I think you are looking at this the wrong way. Just because there are beautiful women in video games, doesn't mean they are being "portrayed as sexualized objects." As the OP points out, many of these characters are interesting. Take Alyx Vance for instance. She is awesome. She is actually rather plain looking by video game standards, but her personality and charm are second to none. Alyx is easily one of the coolest supporting character in any video game. Bayonetta seems overly sexualized but it works well in the confines of the game. Everything is so extreme that it's funny and frankly she is a very endearing character beyond just her looks. Jade from Beyond Good and Evil is not even sexualized. She is a cute character, but more than that she's an interesting protaginst. The girls from DOA are scantily clad and since there isn't much of a story, all they have is visual style to make them memorable (just like the guys). Also, it's rather hard to focus on thier looks when they're kicking you through a brick wall. I think your comment would be better directed at the growing porno industry, although I doubt they're making society go backwards with regards to women.
"You claim change has to be made but dismiss anybody who highlights the issue as 'whining'."
This is not true. The OP clearly stated "Sexism in the gaming industry is a serious issue that shouldn't always be brushed off as "A bunch of stupid, entitled, dumb broads whining". Its a very real issue that is still prevalent today." Just because the OP criticizes certain aspects of the sexism issue, doesn't mean they are part of the problem.
As for more women in the industry, I'm all for it. So long as the people companies hire are the ones who can do the job best, I'm 100% okay with it. What I'm not okay with is companies trying to hire people for the sake of gender/race/whatever diversity. Real equality is colorblindness/gender-ignorance.
As for the assholes online who say things like "Shut up bitch and make me a sammich", they're assholes trolling for attention. That's what they do. They use everything available to them to try to hurt people, they're (probably) not really a sexist prick in real life, it's just a tool for them to try to hurt people. There's a really cool way to stop all of these assholes. It's called the mute button.
On the topic of females being oversexualized in video games, I can't agree with the standard "feminist" viewpoint. First I have to say: look at how men are portrayed in video games. Do you think most men out there live up to the ridiculous totally-ripped chiseled perfect males we see in video games (and movies AND magazines AND pictures AND everything)? I do not expect women to live up to the ridiculous standards set by video games. As I don't think women expect me to live up to the ridiculous standards set by all media.
If I were to go out and complain about how unrealistically men are portrayed in video games, it would be either ignored, or I would be told to "suck it up". Female gamers, you are not children. This is the real world, full of assholes and perverts and sex. You should be smart and confident enough to know that nobody expects you to live up to Lara Croft or the Dead or Alive beach volleyball women. If you cannot give me that much, then you're showing you are children and need to be protected, and not the strong, independent females you so desperately want to have portrayed.
Men are objectivised just as much as women in games. Women are usually thin with big boogs. Dudes are half naked ripped mass of muscles with taned and oiled body parts. Or they are pretty boys.
And yet I don't see men complaining "oh no, that dude in my game has muscles twice the size of my body, and I can see my receding hairline reflected on his oiled skin...I feel so insecure now and I can't enjoy the game", I don't hear feminists complaining about that either. So why the double standard?
And has anyone seen the dudes in women centered movies, tv shows, mangas, games? They also shame most of the male population in the whole word. Like 99.999999% of them.
Really, it goes both ways. I just hate the "I am the victim" game.
Having more women in the industry won't change a zit. It's not about it being male dominated. Are the women (and men) in the movies any better? No? What a surprise.
They are work of fantasy, characters are prettier, sexyier, more ... "perfect". In games the characters are made from scratch, they are representation of visions/dreams/fantasm from the devs.
So really, it's not about who is in charge (seen who is in charge of Halo 4? And yet the AI is now a sexy lady). It's about the target audience, and the medium that is separate from the real world. Men enjoy some things and women others.
Personally the depiction of dudes in some teenager shows and books gives me goozebumps and I'm pretty sure I am close to barfing. But so what? The readers get their dream boy in a fantasy world, and I'll get my dream girl in my next game. So stop being so insecure and complain every time a women is sexy in a game !
Simple. Stop behaving like the leader of guild personal prostitute and you will start earning respect as a player. Most if not all women behave like whores in games, seducing virgins and retards to get rewards. Make a simple test. Create a female character and be cute, gentle and flirt lightly with guild members. You will notice that you will get tons of help for your quests and freebies that male players never get unless they have good friends or beg for help.
There should be no gender in games but most women make sure others know about it.
@MegamanX2011 People should be able to be themselves of they want to, otherwise you are oppressing their freedoms. If I wanted to be openly lesbian, I shouldn't have to deal with homophobia. Also, there is the stigma that the player is a male. That means we don't have to declare we are male. Suppose people kept referring to you as a she? Wouldn't you be kind of annoyed? In either case, some other people do get annoyed at that thus they want it to be known they are girls. Understand where I'm coming from?
Is a good attend to try to promote equality Kristal ;) much better than that two Gamespot girls, that they have not Idea what they talking about.
Sadly... as far as Feminism goes, people like you is in a minority. It is the loud and narcissistic Activists, that constantly give woman's a bad reputation.
Funny... The political movement that suppose to encourage equality.. is the very thing that is pushing men and woman, more farther apart than never before...
I think you so sensitive about this matter ! Y u dont complain or i complain about guys on games with big muscles and nice body ? Do u know what its better u stop complaining or if we all think in this way we going to atari ages BETTER ? Only ducks and cars or planes u can play with oh and if u lucky u get someone u dont know if he or she is there ...... And not making fun here but i think u females are so sensitive.... In my opinion the have to rate games also as male or female so each one get his own .... And female game industry issue games for u girls that fit your mentality and expectation and if there is any male in that game i ll sue the company is that right ? Is this what u want ?
Krystal, your article is far and above 100x better than the drivvle posted by those Gamespot feminists. I was one of the comments that you probably disliked in the other "article" - something along the line of "Women whining, shock." But that's all their article was - a feminist whine with no specific problems highlighted or potential solutions, just "WAH WAH WAH SEXISM WAH WAH". Yours is different, yours is constructive. You point out the problems, and the solution you wish to see (which is equality). So props to you.
However, I can't help but feel that the issue isn't as great as it's being made out to be though. If it's anything like EVERY-OTHER-MALE-INDUSTRY, then women actually have it much much easier than guys. While there may be 10 guys to every 1 woman applying to a position, the woman is more likely to get the position BECAUSE she's a woman - I can't count the amount of positions I've been passed over for in favour of a woman simply because the company/gym had very few women (I'm a Personal Fitness Trainer, very male dominated industry) - now that to me is sexism, being passed over purely for having a wang -- but I understand the reason why it happened and just leave it be. I can't help but feel the games industry would be much the same, simply having a vagina would give you brownie points over an equally qualified male because of the "rarity" of women in the industry and more women in the industry would actually have the reverse effect and make it more of a level playing field for applicants.
So while I do believe equality is the right path, I don't believe the issue is as unbalanced as it's being made out to be. Yes, there are douchebags who harass girl gamers, there are also others who basically worship them for simply being a girl. There are also girls who not only expect respect/attention for being a girl, but fucking GET IT - and in excessive amounts, an example would be a streaming site such as Twitch TV.. The amount of female casters on there who do nothing different to most of the male casters (in fact a lot of them are less entertaining), get triple the viewers (and this can/does equate to money). Why? Female.
So in summary, perhaps the divide is not so great. There are issues, no doubt, but when we take everything and look at the big picture - how unequal is it really?
Just a viewpoint from the other side of the fence.
The reason why we have "sexism" in games e.g. sexy female characters is becasue the young male audience is the largest consumer of videogames, including these themes such increases interest in that demographic and thus profits. if there were as many female gamers consuming as their are males then things would almost certainly be different. What we need to do is increase the amount of girls who play games, this is done by teaching kids from childhood that gaming is not just a "boy thing" but that it is ok for them to join in to. The only way it can be fixed is to even the demographic of males and females that play video games as long as a skew exists in the demographic then this will an issue.
@glassfish8 Well I see where you're coming from, but my thought process was a little different. I don't mind sexy female characters and I don't see many of them as sexist. Very VERY rarely do we get flat out offensive material, but 99.9% of the time its in an adult game with a preposterous title like Battle Raper or Sexy Beach. Hm...a lot of people bring up how women are portrayed in games but I really mostly wanted to talk about the industry, what goes on behind the scenes.
And women in gaming (the hobby not the industry) make up almost half the demographic. About 30 - 45% depending on your source and its been slowly creeping up every year. The demographic is well on its way to being split 50/50.
But what I wanted to know is why its not the same in the industry. A lot of people inside and outside the industry (mostly outside) grieve about how there aren't enough female leads and female designers, writers, etc but what do they do about it? Your idea of letting women know that its not just a "boy thing" and encouraging women to go in to the industry makes sense, though its only one small solution to the problem.
But its pretty well known that gaming as a hobby isn't just a boy thing. The industry jobs though, are still getting called a "boy's club" by some.
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@Suikogaiden I lol'd too. I didn't say that nor did I want to force anyone to think anything. Learn to read please.
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@Suikogaiden How am I not neutral for pointing out something that is true? The video game industry is mostly comprised of white males. Numerous statistics will tell you that. And yet I go on to say, there is no point in pointing fingers and painting all white men in the industry as the big evil bad guy.
Also, I'm in favor of abolishing any hiring practices that favor any kind of group over another, not just men over women. I also said that I would NOT be in favor of an affirmative action type hiring where women or minorities would be favored because that wouldn't be fair either. The playing field should be leveled.
And no, I don't believe women are the only ones who get harassed online. I said "Harassment in online gaming as a whole is a serious issue that shouldn't be ignored." For the purpose of keeping on topic for the article, I decided to focus on women who get harassed.
So, how am I promoting hate here? I don't think I'd put myself on the same level as those women that hate men and want to be put on a higher pedestal than them or the guys who hate women and don't want them to "ruin" their gaming.
Seems like you looked at the title, got all offended, then skimmed the blog for sentences that you could take out of context.
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@Suikogaiden Huh? I pretty much said that I DID NOT find sexy female characters like Bayonetta, Tomb Raider, etc sexist and that the people hopping on these characters are not going to win any wars on sexism (real or imaginary) by calling them sexist because they clearly aren't. I even said you really can't fault a guy for creating a female character in his ideal image.
And the only distaste I expressed for anyone was the hateful extremists on both sides of the issue who's intents and words are very malicious.
Again, READ! Also, why did you delete your other comment?
@Suikogaiden I lol'd.
So are you saying women should be playing games instead of cooking and ironing and cleaning? What the hell? Massive fail!
I think sexism and the idea of it can almost entirely be attributed to overly sensitive and entitled women. I mean come on, video game girls with big boobs? yeah, guys like big boobs, what of it? And we all know that guys represent the majority of gaming audience. Besides, girls tend to like guys with lean muscles, and you dont see men screaming sexism over all the musclemounds in dead or alive. As for sleazy/rude comments, just return the favor, and move on. Its not like guys dont get bashed for all sorts of stuff all the time. Basically, to all who complain about sexism - get used to it or get over it. Youre making an issue out of nothing. Still this is a trend of the times i guess, as we live in a day and age where complaining minorities are afforded way more attention and slack than they deserve. Its true that women are a minority in the video game industry today, but i dont think this is because women are in some way discriminated against. Its just that the industry is more appealing to men. Its like you dont find alot of women in car workshops or men in perfume stores. Now im not bashing you or anything, you come across as respectful and abstain from much of the usual feministic crap, which is more than can be said about most women who bring up these subjects. Still i kinda feel that most of the issues you talk about, are really non-issues. Bottom line, if you are a talented and qualified developer, youll likely get a job. If not, then you probably should think about finding something else to do. Because chances are your gender doesnt have as much to do with it as you think.Oh, and if you decide to pursue a career in the game industry someday, then good luck to you!
I think if more people, guys and girls, would stop whining and complaining about this pointless topic we could have more content about video games not just frequent he said , she said bs.
I think the main problem though is the fact that male gamers are very frequently looked down upon by females (and to a certain extent other males) who are not themselves gamers (and that makes up a significant majority of the population). We're called geeks, nerd and other negative conotations for simply doing what a lot of us love doing. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to defend why guys (and myself as well) play video games to a bunch of girls and even after explaining it, they still look think that we're all just a bunch of idiots who need to grow up. When that happens, it's only natural for guys (although I'm not saying it's right), to want to bash female women at every turn.
@Darkwrath016 The women I have met that talk down on gaming in general to me, towards their boyfriends, in group conversations are all pretty much addicted to Farmville and other games like that. They never realized that they were just talking crap about themselves.
@merigoldsass Actually a rather interesting dynamic about that is the fact that those people actually don't consider that "gaming". They view gaming as games that are played on the game consoles.
At least here in the States, I think it's safe to say that the VAST majority of gamers are male. So, logically, it would make sense for the gaming industry to be predominantly composed of males. Eventually, gaming will become more mainstream among females, and, consequently, more females will work their way into the industry.
@freedomspopular Actually, it is not safe to say that, based on the demographic information released by the various gaming companies that do the surveys to identify such things. The split is more like 65/35, rather than a "vast majority."
@slong @freedomspopular Actually, the Entertainment Software Association puts out demographic info every year and the split was pretty well 50/50 based on data gathered last year (2011) I'm fairly certain, though that included all games, not just those on consoles. I believe they did have data specifically for that segment as well, but I don't remember it.
@Master_Bassist @slong True. When I think of "gaming," I forget that crap Facebook, mobile, etc. games are considered "gaming" as well. I'm still going to stand by my original sentiment though: the "hardcore" (I hate using that word), the "dedicated", the "serious" gamers, who are very passionate about video games, passionate enough to want to pursue a career in it, are going to be predominantly male, at least from every thing I've seen.
How is there sexism in the gaming industry? They employ people who address the companies needs and wants, not by their gender. They can't just employ some woman just because it makes them appear nonsexist and has no real advantage.
It's also very annoying of you to tell other women to not talk but go do instead, seriously? When all you're doing is complaining in a blog?
And half looking through the rest of your 'blogs', all you apppear to do is complain, about nothing. You say that you've never had to deal with sexism or other female themed abuse but you act like you understand and know what you're talking about in response to it. You complain that games aren't catered for you. Since when were games catered to people?? They are made by the developers, they make what they like and try to sell it. If you want a game catered to female gamers and you want women in the gaming industry, do it you're god damn self like everybody has to (sorry it's literally how the world works), make your own development team of females and make a game catered to females, because apparantly you women who demand equality and sexism to be rid of want a game catered especially for you, because you must like something different than males??
That is all. Goodbye.
@EmiPark I must have missed the part were she said that games weren't catered for her. But even if she did, games aren't catered to people? Really? Where have you been living? Games are catered to specific audiences of course. All entertainment products are! You look at film and television, some made for a more mature older crowd, some for kids, some for teens and so on. And in the gaming industry, just look for instance at the specific tastes of japanese gamers, and all games catered to them. Even the business models. Why do you think COD is coming free to play for the chinese market and nowhere else?
@jomipira @EmiPark I guess you missed the part where I said "And half looking through the rest of your 'blogs'". They said it in another blog and that is what I was referring to. Oh sure because a game programmer or whatever job title you like really thinks 'Damn I hate war games, think I'm going to go help make one.'. They are created for the audience by the audience, does that make sense? COD is an already created franchise, you can't really use that here, and honestly isn't much of a game anymore, it's something else entirely.
They questioned why games aren't catered to females, then they talk about equality and sexism but expect a game that caters to them to be made by apparantly a male majority industry.
What bugs me the most is that they are complaining on a blog and telling other females to go and 'do' something, you read that part right? Is that not completely insulting? If the blogger is a female, she better be working in the games industry making a 'difference' (forget about all the wrong in the world) or she can ...certainly do something I'd rather not bother going into.
Nice talking to you.
@EmiPark Like @Lucky_Krystal said in her response, it's absurd to comment on a blog complaining about something that the blogger didn't say, just because other bloggers might have. It's a clear sign of a biased view upfront, and honestly, really weak arguments.
Games are not created by a programmer, except for some small indie titles. Games, are created by teams. Like movies are created by teams. Usually created by people that like the types of games they are creating, although I'm sure that there are, like everywhere else, some projects where some people just do it for the money. That doesn't mean the games are created for the tastes of the creators instead of being created for a specific audience. Barbie games are created for young females for instance, and of course are not created BY children! Now, this is at the heart a stupid debate, because @Lucky_Krystal never said she needed games created for her, or for women in general. In her blog, in the comments of a specific post, it makes sense to comment on what she said, doesn't it?
And by the way COD is not a game? What is it a ham sandwich?
You're attacking me for my other blogs? Even I'll be the first to admit that those other two could have used way more polish and better explanations.
Anywhoo, how is it insulting that I suggest that women do something? Not all women of course, but the ones I talked about who think they are doing something good by pointing fingers at "the white man" or sexy female protagonists and white male leads in games, or the girl gamers who's bright idea to call attention to the fact that there are more female gamers is to scream "BEWBS! LOOK! RESPECT NAO PLOX!"
These methods aren't working and instead of spreading the good word, its pissing people off and making them apathetic to the issue of more women going in to the gaming industry. The best way to change things is from the inside, and I am encouraging women who have an interest in going in to the industry to go ahead and do it and change the industry for the better, because we've just been merely talking and attacking needlessly for too long.
Also, I plan on being one of the women who goes in to the gaming industry quite a few years down the line, just in case you think I'm just sitting on my ass telling other women to go do the dirty work for me. I am not.