Tropes vs Women Ep.2

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JayBlanc
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 30 May 2013, 12:04

Matt wrote:Joss Whedon is well regarded within feminist circles for his writing of strong female characters. He's not perfect (dollhouse) and he's seemingly blind to issues of race (Firefly) but he does a lot better than most writers.


To be fair to him Dollhouse is kind of a special case, in that Joss sold the show to Fox entirely intending it to immediately dump a "rewritable super-spy" premise and shift gear into Hard-SF "Mind Games", and make it explicitly a lot darker. But the series premise that Fox held him to contract on was a "rewritable sexy super-spy" one, and so they insisted that was what must be delivered.

If you stuck with it you did eventually get to the Hard-SF "Mind Games" premise. But there was a ton of crap in the show from that demand to stick to the original premise for almost all of Season 1.

What we don't know is if Joss understood he hadn't actually sold the "Mind Games" premise to Fox, or what those exact contract terms were. But it's within imagination to think he and his agent thought they had sold "We pretend it's rewritable super-spy, but really it's Hard SF Mind Games", while Fox had bought "Rewritable Sexy Super-Spy", and the terms of the contract giving Fox the power to conclude ambiguities. Add that to wanting to use a female lead, and you get into a bad situation where you're contractually obliged to produce almost the exact opposite of what you wanted to do. It was perhaps his mistake in pitching on a purposefully misleading premise in the first place.

There's a reason why it took a lot to bring Joss back to creating content for TV. And it is still a big indicator of the entrenchments and pitfalls that are in front of you if you want to commercially produce pro-feminist mass-market media.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby MattAn » 30 May 2013, 13:05

AlexanderDitto wrote:Wait, hang on... did you watch the Feminist Frequency video?!? Because she enumerates dozens of them. What are you doing in this thread discussing it if you haven't?! Go watch the video! :P

I've already stated my reasons in this thread. I tried to watch it. I stopped part way through due to the snarky attitude and the term "male power fantasy", which I will constantly argue is not a term, because it is horrendously over-abused, even when the female character is "empowered", it's a male power fantasy because apparently women with power is sexy. This is legitimately a feminist complaint. It may not be your feminist complaint, but it's very much happening in sections of the "movement", which is why I don't like calling myself one. Too much negative shit aligned to it. I prefer to simply advocate Equality.

That is exactly my point. Maria wasn't relevant to the game EXCEPT to make Dom feel something. She exists not as a human being, not as a character, but as a narrative device. She exists only as a damsel, as an object for the main character to retrieve. Do you understand what I'm saying? That is the trope. Maria is not relevant as a woman. She is an object. Otherwise, I think she'd have more than, you know, three sentences about her on the Wiki. How the heck are we supposed to care about her otherwise?

Much like I stated, she's very much cared about. It's a sad situation and feels were had. In a third person shooter. Third person shooters aren't known for their "feels". But it was the most loved part about that game, by many fans. I mean, I ain't a Gears fan, by any means, but I know it was loved.

Aughblaugh. You're missing my point. Shrugging and saying, "who KNOWS why Nintendo treats Princess Peach like an object whose only purpose is to be rescued by Mario?!? It's an absolute MYSTERY!!!" I'm telling you why. Because it's a trope. Because instead of fleshing out a character and making a cool game, Nintendo would rather rely on the same hacknied stereotype of women being damseled and men having to rescue them, and people eat that shit up, because she's the princess. She's supposed to be kidnapped. She exists for no other reason but to be kidnapped. That's what we're talking about here: that video games are saturated with disempowered women, and that kind of sucks! Do you get my point?

How am I "missing the point"? I just said it would be totes neat for the game I described to exist. It doesn't. That's why I said I'm not Nintendo and therefore do not conduct their decision-making. You'll need to take that issue up with them. And.. Who said that's Nintendo's intended message? That's the perceived implication people are forcing on them, assuming that MUST be what it is.. Without actually asking them properly? Seems like a totally rational way to be. Except not that. :/
Has anyone actually bothered asking these apparently sexist game developers? Y'know, spoken to the actual creators about their intended message, rather than being instantly blamed and shamed for something that hasn't exactly been officially proven? The "princess is always kidnapped" thing was never started by Nintendo, therefore it's rather silly to blatantly accuse them so harshly. Many things existed before games. You realise that there are still women (and girls raised by those women) who believe in the traditional things? Like men being the workers, women being "in the kitchen" (I say it in quotations because I hate that term. I'll fucking make my own god damn sandwich! I hate that this exists).. Men being the one who have to propose marriage to women. I never started these things, they've existed long before I was even born. Both/All genders should help both/all genders equally. Opening doors, etc.. All that traditional nonsense. It's been a thing long before games, so I hardly think it's games that caused any of this. There are women who are totally okay and expect to be the "princess/Rapunzel in the castle, saved by a knight in shining armour". This exists even without video games. It's in general society. Games changing is still not going to change anyone not associated with the games industry or gaming. I've already made it abundantly clear how much I dislike this shit, man. Abundantly. Clear. I want change, just as much as anyone else. We've been over this.

I do not believe, however, that Nintendo, or any other company, are intentionally doing something hateful or malicious. I've also already stated that a game starring Princess Peach saving Mushroom Kingdom her own damn self would be fucking rad. I would pay money dollars for that. MONEY. DOLLARS. But y'know what this requires? People actually contacting Nintendo (or literally any other company). E-mailing them. Asking for such a game. Companies predominantly rely on marketing/things that will sell. If enough people want it to warrant it being made, here's the kicker, it will most likely be made.
Example; I played Final Fantasy XI Online for almost religiously for roughly.. 4-5 years? I regularly gave feedback for updates, as did many others. Enough people requested a particular thing.. Lo and behold, thing changed. Because people asked. Instead of complaining, or saying how much the current thing sucks, they asked for change, directly to the source.

People often like to say, regarding Final Fantasy XIII-2, "Oh look, a sequel nobody wanted of a game nobody liked!" I find this very thing hilarious. People absolutely enjoyed FFXIII, Final Fantasy is immensely popular in European countries, and to a lesser extent, Australia. A lot more popular than it is in the United States. Fans sent letters and e-mails to Square Enix, genuinely asking for a sequel. I can't say I was one of those people, but there were enough for Square Enix to warrant spending their money yendollars in making a sequel. They did it because people wanted it. I assure you. If people wrote to Nintendo, sincerely, logically, without any brutal demand or harsh words.. They will most likely consider making it happen. This is what I've been saying this entire time. I want results, I'm not seeing results. All I'm seeing is people complaining to no one even remotely relevant. Random Internet Moron #65643576547457 is not the person people need to be ranting to. That's a waste of time. People can't just sit around scratching themselves, then wonder why X company hasn't made the EXACT thing they want.

Do you realise how long Pokemon fans have wanted a proper 3D Pokemon game? From what I've heard through various Japan-enthusiast friends, developers and companies regularly survey their fans, be it through magazines like Famitsu or Shonen Jump, etc.. They're conversing with their fanbase. I don't know why, but for some reason, it's a completely different issue in the West. In Western regions, people seem to think yelling at the Internet will instantly solve the problem. The "Throw money at my computer screen until something happens" mentality. Nobody seems to consider actually talking to the developers.
Another example; I (much like Graham) am a BIG fan of Saints Row, ever since the second game. It's insane, it's over-the-top and it's rather gratuitous.. But that's how it's designed. And it just wouldn't be Saints Row without it. The humour is crude and often immature, but nobody cares, because it's a video game that doesn't take itself seriously, so why should anyone do so? Grand Theft Auto is designed to be REALISM and extremely serious, therefore it has a lot more negativity directed towards it, especially from non-gamers. Is this making any sense at all? Can you at least see where I'm coming from here? I'm not just making up words and hoping it makes sense. I wouldn't waste my time. No, I care enough to sit here for.. Roughly 30-45 minutes writing this. It's almost 4:30am here. Do I give a shit what time it is? Not at all, because I'm here. Writing this. At 4:30am.

I'd be really interested in knowing the source for this stuff. Can you point me in the direction of some of the stuff you've seen? Other than some fringe clearly crazy-pants blogs I've stumbled across that nobody reads, I've really not seen much of it.

Are you sure it's not just that certain high-profile men complain about feminists acting in this way, and so you've gotten the impression that they do? Because THAT I've seen a lot of, especially in the main stream. "Feminazi" is a word that has become very popular among certain radio personalities....


It's certainly not just men. I just probably pay way too much attention to society/humanity outside of games, comedy/podcasts and nerdy things. I like games, comedy/podcasts and nerdy things so much more. I guess there's http://www.mamamia.com.au, which, from what I've gathered, is a Australian "motherhood and parenting" blogger site. Granted, they have some respectable articles/posts, most notably the recent one about Sydney Swans AFL footballer, Adam Goodes, and the recent perceived racist remarks a TV/radio personality (and chairman/president, if I remember correctly, of an opposing football club), Eddie McGuire. Other than that, there's often a lot of hyperbole and vitriol thrown around, Mia Freedman is rather known in Australia for being rather.. Jaded? ABC1's televised politics/social issues show "Q&A" often has a variety of different discussion issues, with relevant guest panellists.. There was a "feminism" panel a few weeks ago, which I watched (I barely ever watch Q&A), the 4 female guests (the host is male) were arguing with each other for most of the show, about the exact same things they're supposedly "supporting". It was hard to tell what stance was.. The right one. One of the panellists was Mia Freedman, one of the staff that runs MamaMia. She quite often excludes LGBTQ from Feminism because apparently "they aren't women and Feminism is about men and women. Women come first, everyone else can wait." I wouldn't be so adamant about all this if I didn't honestly think it still exists. I don't care for any American radio personalities. I'm Australian.

I do respect the view of stand-up comedians who say "You're quite welcome and within your rights to *not like* certain jokes or things we talk about, but that doesn't mean we have to change. We're comedians, we're going to commentate on social happenings and society in general. We're probably going to say some seriously harmful shit, but we're within our rights to voice it." Female comedians go on stage and make jokes about themselves, their gender, the opposite gender.. I mean, comedians like Bill Burr are incredibly harsh and critical, towards anyone and everyone (insult comics are the same). Some people have said "I definitely disagree with Bill Burr on many things, but the way he performs on stage, he makes it believable. He makes you want to believe otherwise." It takes some major guts to do so, but there are some very talented comedians who are social-commentator experts. Jon Stewart is another example, since hosting The Daily Show, he's become one of the most trusted sources for news/politics.. But he's a comedian, it's his job to criticise/make jokes.

...Well, I'm rambling, but I'd like to hope some of this is relevant somewhere..

I think what Matt means is that their voices are not perceived as important to people who are actually acting to advance feminist causes, or people who study feminism in a scholarly fashion.

Whether that's what it is or not, it comes across to the public (as an outsider, anyway) as an assault. That may be because of the "scholarly" part, but if any feminists want to get their message across to "the public at large", they need to be less wordy/scholarly, and more "get to the actual point". Purely from a neutral perspective, I could absolutely understand why non-feminists would feel uncomfortable wanting to even associate with it.. Just saying..

EDIT: Quick addition to JayBlanc's post.. It wasn't just Joss that created Dollhouse. Eliza Dushku was also a key executive producer. She wanted to do it. A bunch of old Buffy producers were in on it too.. I think Drew Goddard?

EDIT EDIT: I would just like to add that it was post-5am when I finally clicked Submit.. And I still had to fix quote format errors. I am now officially broken. I am done. I can't words anymore. No, really. I just can't do this anymore. I've said my points, I've also repeated those points. I refuse to be labelled an MRA for having neutral views with a little of Column A and a little of Column B. I'm not talking in extremes, I'm just trying to make sense of everything. When it hits an extreme, I really can't begin to take anything further seriously.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 30 May 2013, 13:21

Here's the thing, Intent is not the be all and end all. If you accidentally knock someone off a ladder, you don't say "stop trying to treat his broken leg, I didn't mean to break his leg so we should just ignore it".

It is possible to not intend to be Sexist, but still end up doing something that is Sexist. A huge huge part of this is recognising that it's possible to unintentionally do bad things.

Also, "If enough people want it to warrant it being made, here's the kicker, it will most likely be made" is flat out false. No creative industry actually works like that. Following that kind of thinking generally leads to financial/creative failures. People wanting something does not equate to a product being successful. People "wanted" a new Duke Nukem game, only actually it turns out they didn't really, they just had nostalgia for the 90s. And there are plenty of things that huge numbers of people want that don't get made, for a variety of reasons.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby AlexanderDitto » 30 May 2013, 13:24

MattAn wrote:I refuse to be labelled an MRA for having neutral views with a little of Column A and a little of Column B.


I don't know why you keep coming back to painting yourself as a victim. Nobody in this thread is calling you an MRA! We're just saying you have a weird view of what feminism is.

But if it's 5 AM your time, you should go to sleep, seriously. :/ If you're not feeling it, you really don't have to post anymore, it's OK.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby MattAn » 30 May 2013, 13:34

JayBlanc wrote:Here's the thing, Intent is not the be all and end all. If you accidentally knock someone off a ladder, you don't say "stop trying to treat his broken leg, I didn't mean to break his leg so we should just ignore it".

It is possible to not intend to be Sexist, but still end up doing something that is Sexist. A huge huge part of this is recognising that it's possible to unintentionally do bad things.

Also, "If enough people want it to warrant it being made, here's the kicker, it will most likely be made" is flat out false. No creative industry actually works like that. Following that kind of thinking generally leads to financial/creative failures. People wanting something does not equate to a product being successful. People "wanted" a new Duke Nukem game, only actually it turns out they didn't really, they just had nostalgia for the 90s. And there are plenty of things that huge numbers of people want that don't get made, for a variety of reasons.

Asking still doesn't hurt. At all. It does nothing merely complaining about it. Has anyone actually legitimately spoken to Nintendo staff? Y'know, all civil-like? I don't believe they have, otherwise Nintendo would have actually said something amid all these Mario games. That, or they're not being told there's any issue, so they'll keep making games for people to buy.

AlexanderDitto wrote:I don't know why you keep coming back to painting yourself as a victim. Nobody in this thread is calling you an MRA! We're just saying you have a weird view of what feminism is.

But if it's 5 AM your time, you should go to sleep, seriously. :/ If you're not feeling it, you really don't have to post anymore, it's OK.

Maybe I have a hard time telling the difference between "being a male", "being sexist" and "being an 'MRA'". Sometimes I think (and from what I've been told outside of this forum, being a man means I'm an MRA, because I have man-thoughts and am a man. Y'know, rather than having my own individual opinion which isn't aligned to any 'group'. I hate sexism, why the hell would I want to be sexist? I can have opposing views to Feminism and not be sexist. It's called having my own human thought..

I understand folks here aren't calling me and MRA, per se.. But it's the connotations of "not agreeing with everything Feminism" somehow possibly meaning "MRA".

Also, I barely sleep as it is. When I do, it's mostly American hours.. XD I probably still think it's Thursday, but it isn't. Because the future.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Matt » 30 May 2013, 14:18

MattAn wrote:there's definitely a large group of these people who target men as the sole and only blame and don't allow any man at all to comment on feminism because "it involves women only so stay out!" I'm not kidding, this is happening. The sheer notion that any males in this thread are discussing it would send them into a whirlwind of hatred. I do like how you perceive that "their voice isn't as loud anymore, so they're not really considered to be in the mainstream of feminism anymore".


I am aware of these perspectives. But even your description of them here actually misses the nuance of that particular standpoint.

There exists within feminism (and within several other social justice movements) a contingent that says that wormen's (or black, or gay or trans*) issues are for women (or black people, or gay people, or trans* people) to sort out, and that men (or whites, or straights, or cis people) should stay out of it. Yes. The why of that perspective, though, is important.

On any given axis of oppression there exists a class of people who institutionally benefit from a system of oppression and those who do not. Those who institutionally benefit from that system also support that system by definition. (ie. those with male privilege benefit from society's sexist institutions, and cannot "give up" their male privilege, thereby their sheer existence continues to support and reinforce the institutions that provide that privilege.)

One of the manifestations of this privilege is that "it's only real when a man says it" - that is, a widely held regularly stated fact about women's experiences often goes ignored by the privileged group until it is restated by a member of that privileged group. Some would argue that the advancement of rights causes is not served if messaging to the oppressive class must always come at the whim of the oppressive class. If the oppressors continue to regard the perspective of the oppressed class as unworthy of being heard, that power dynamic remains in place.

Another extension of privilege is the opposite case - the belief that one is entitled to have one's opinion heard and respected in all cases and circumstances. It is a common lament among feminist groups (which include men) that men will join discussions claiming to be feminists themselves, but then proceed to take control of the conversation - talking over the women, dictating their experiences, and in effect 'telling women how to do feminism'. One answer to this problem is to exclude men from the discussion for the purpose of securing a platform from which women can discuss the issue they face and share their experiences without having to work against sexist power structures that inform those issues and experiences in the process.

Obviously, (being that I'm a dude and love to discuss feminist perspectives) I don't subscribe to that particular school of thought. It's my opinion that progress will come more quickly if men are included in the conversations and brought along on the journey (there's more to be gained than lost through the inclusion of men, in other words) - however, it still behooves men to be aware of the ways in which they are privileged and how they extend that privilege, so that they can better understand the ways in which their perceptions are affected, and how they might be treating others in oppressive ways without even realizing it.

This tangent of conversation could go own a huge rabbit hole of "the good ally" and whatnot, so I'll just leave it there, but it should illustrate that even in cases of seemingly hard-line radical feminist perspectives, the positions are often shaped by much more nuance and reasoning than is often apparent on the surface, and that claims that these groups simply "hate men" is typically a simplification and mischaracterization of the reality of the situation.

Some people are just jerks, but most people (even most of the ones you might think are just jerks) are operating on a series of understandings and motivations that may simply be hidden from view.

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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 30 May 2013, 14:19

MattAn wrote:Asking still doesn't hurt. At all. It does nothing merely complaining about it. Has anyone actually legitimately spoken to Nintendo staff? Y'know, all civil-like? I don't believe they have, otherwise Nintendo would have actually said something amid all these Mario games. That, or they're not being told there's any issue, so they'll keep making games for people to buy.


It's my understanding that yes, such things as "Would you ever do a Legend of Zelda game with a female Link?" or "Would you ever do another game with Princess Peach as the main playable character?" have been directly asked of Nintendo. And Nintendo's response is invariably not to respond.

It's also important to understand that "Tropes vs Women" is part of the dialogue with games producers on this. Rhianna Pratchett certainly thinks so, and has said the dialogue and debate it's prompting is important to the industry.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby MattAn » 30 May 2013, 14:56

JayBlanc wrote:It's my understanding that yes, such things as "Would you ever do a Legend of Zelda game with a female Link?" or "Would you ever do another game with Princess Peach as the main playable character?" have been directly asked of Nintendo. And Nintendo's response is invariably not to respond.

It's also important to understand that "Tropes vs Women" is part of the dialogue with games producers on this. Rhianna Pratchett certainly thinks so, and has said the dialogue and debate it's prompting is important to the industry.

Somehow, I don't think it's being asked the right way.. Or to the relevant people who can actually do anything.

I still believe Anita Sarkeesian is the last person I think should be presenting something like this. Literally anyone else. This is not because "she's a woman!".. Far from it. Others have stated much earlier in the thread how it'd be better if it were from someone else. Rhianna Pratchett does come to mind.

Sarkeesian comes across as incredibly snarky, it's difficult to watch because it feels like there's some form of radical agenda in the way she presents things.. The lack of "detailed" research doesn't help either. It just isn't quite fair (to me, anyway) to throw blatant, unconfirmed accusations at people who, most likely, don't mean any harm. At all. To a wide playerbase, they are "just games". There is a wide population who generally hate video games entirely (my older brother and sister, for example, still think I'm wasting my time playing them at all). There are others who ignore gaming entirely, for many reasons.

It's already been said here in this thread that there's no "agenda" to completely eradicate all of it from happening, but if it still exists.. Then it's still a "problem". So how is that solving anything? People just continue ranting about it until it ends? I don't know where this escalates to. I've already mentioned fanservice and how sexuality =/= sexualization. Many women find it "empowering" how both men and women are portrayed via fanservice. It doesn't harm anyone, it's purely for the fans. Women do like fanservice. It seems like Anita Sarkeesian.. Doesn't. Or she doesn't fully understand what the point of "fanservice" is.

It is interesting how one woman is "pointing out sexist flaws in games", while there are plenty of other women who disagree with her view of what is "sexist". Yes, individual people have individual opinions, have been raised in specific local cultures (American, Japanese, Australian, British, etc), I think it's very brave and extremely difficult that an American (not to be racist against Americans, but there's some pretty severe hatred towards Americans (the "yanks") from around the world, a lot of it is probably unnecessary, but it really is telling how it's mostly Americans who feel that they must dictate how other cultures should be just like them. (Again, going from experience here. It's predominantly Americans telling every other country how they should act..) There's somewhat of a passive-aggressive hostility. This is entirely observation and speculation. I'm just being extremely cautious, that's all.

I think there should be less "Here's what you're doing wrong!" and more "Here's some friendly advice that I'm not going to force down your throat, but please really consider it." If the individual game developer ignores it, then sure, they're a jerk. Stop giving them your money for their games. Simple as that. Vote. With. Wallet. Not buying their products does a lot more than people seem to think.
I mean.. Look at DONTNOD's Remember Me. Dozens and dozens of publishers turned it down because "a female lead just won't sell units". I get that there's a problem, I KNOW this. You don't need to tell me. But the extreme "Why is it always men!?" really gets old.. It. Does. Nothing. Literally nothing. It is like yelling at the top of your lungs and your head is firmly pressed against a double-brick wall, because it's not doing anything. It's saying rather than doing.

I really don't want to be going around in circles again, so really, I'm stopping from this post. If you have a question specifically for me, please just PM me. Please.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Matt » 30 May 2013, 15:06

MattAn wrote:It just isn't quite fair (to me, anyway) to throw blatant, unconfirmed accusations at people who, most likely, don't mean any harm.


I'd like to ask you to please quote from the video transcript provided on the Feminist Frequency Website a single line that acts as an accusation directed at any individual or company, please.

You can find the video transcript here.

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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 30 May 2013, 15:13

Just want to point this out... Rhianna Pratchett is a supporter and financial backer of "Tropes vs Women". And it's quite possible for her to also say things on her own too.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby AlexanderDitto » 30 May 2013, 15:40

MattAn wrote:I really don't want to be going around in circles again, so really, I'm stopping from this post. If you have a question specifically for me, please just PM me. Please.


You've said this in this thread before, and you keep responding to stuff, so I don't know if you want to keep discussing but you're tired, or you want to change what we're talking about, or what. If you really mean it, I'll respect it. But I don't mind having this discussion. It's ostensibly what this thread is for.

If you're interested in continuing the conversation, you'll find it spoilered below. Don't read it if you don't want to. I'm serious! You should probably be sleeping anyway. Sleep is delicious. @[email protected]

---

MattAn wrote:I hate sexism, why the hell would I want to be sexist? I can have opposing views to Feminism and not be sexist. It's called having my own human thought..


Let's go back to definitions, because as we've covered before, I think they're a bit unclear to you. Let's keep things simple.

Feminism as it's most widely defined, from Wikipedia:

Wikipedia wrote:Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.


That's it. If you support equal political, economic, and social rights for women, you support feminism. By default! Whether you want to or not.

Sexism's definition:

Wikipedia wrote:Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person's sex.


Because rejection of equal rights means you must discriminate (by the dictionary definition of the word discriminate; you must "tell apart"). If you don't support equal rights for women, then yes, you're sexist. By definition. Just as if you don't support equal rights for Black-, Latino-, and Asian-Americans, you're racist. By definition, because you reject equality.

Regarding the MRAs (Men's Rights Advocates) group,

Wikipedia wrote:It branched off from the men's liberation movement in the early 1970s over its rejection of feminism. The men's rights movement contests claims that men have greater power, privilege or advantage than women and focuses instead on issues of male disadvantage, discrimination and oppression that they have identified.


MRAs reject feminism, but they go a step farther. They are convinced that not only should men and women not be equal, but men currently have it WORSE than women. That women are disadvantaged, discriminated against, and oppressed. Most point to women (and the feminist movement in particular) as the cause of that discrimination. They're convinced that women are the bearers of power in society, and reject that feminism can be interested in men's problems. They deem that society has been "feminized" by the women's movement (and, apparently, deem that a bad thing). Citations abound.

All of this stuff, of course, is patently absurd, and goes beyond a rejection of equality to a complete misunderstanding of where power is concentrated in society. Also their rigid understanding of gender makes them fail to realize WHY men are often discriminated against. (Hint: it's usually tied to inequalities in how we treat women! SURPRISE IT'S SEXISM'S FAULT.)

MattAn wrote:I understand folks here aren't calling me and MRA, per se.. But it's the connotations of "not agreeing with everything Feminism" somehow possibly meaning "MRA".


Don't read into our words what's not there.

Also,

MattAn wrote:Sarkeesian comes across as incredibly snarky, it's difficult to watch because it feels like there's some form of radical agenda in the way she presents things.. The lack of "detailed" research doesn't help either. It just isn't quite fair (to me, anyway) to throw blatant, unconfirmed accusations at people who, most likely, don't mean any harm.


Seriously? "Unconfirmed accusations?" Again, I'm venturing to guess you haven't actually watched virtually any of the video. All Sarkeesian is doing is pointing out the use of tropes in games. She literally has clips of video games where a women is damseled. It's there.There's nothing unconfirmed! You can literally watch the clips of women being kidnapped by the devil, over and over again. She's not saying the game designers are sexist pigs. She's not saying the games shouldn't have been made. Heck, she even starts out the video by saying, explicitly, that you can ENJOY something and still be aware of it's problematic aspects. You are clearly reading things in these videos that simply aren't there, and I'm baffled as to how that's possible if you watched half the video, as you said you had.

Also, just because someone "didn't mean any harm," doesn't mean they're immune to criticism, if their work is harming people, or contributing to a harmful theme. Or if the games are just hackneyed shit. I really, really doubt people's feelings are going to be hurt by Ms. Sarkeesian's videos. And even if they are? Informed criticism is a necessary part of the creative process. She's not saying "THESE GAMES ARE SHIT BURN THEM ALL." She's painting a picture of the patterns that emerge when you look at them all in concert. There's a pattern. That much is undeniable.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Duckay » 30 May 2013, 17:31

Matt wrote:It is a common lament among feminist groups (which include men) that men will join discussions claiming to be feminists themselves, but then proceed to take control of the conversation - talking over the women, dictating their experiences, and in effect 'telling women how to do feminism'. One answer to this problem is to exclude men from the discussion for the purpose of securing a platform from which women can discuss the issue they face and share their experiences without having to work against sexist power structures that inform those issues and experiences in the process.


I just wanted to weigh in here and say that yes, in the past, I have been frustrated with men (individual men, not all men as a homogenous group) doing exactly this. I don't think there's merit in excluding men as a whole from the discussion from the word go, but I definitely don't think there's a problem with telling those specific men who are perpetually talking over women and telling them that they're 'doing it wrong' to back off from the discussion or rethink the way that they're handling it.

That might read as me trying to silence men, but personally, I see that more as asking someone who is being actively unhelpful to either stop the unhelpfulness or disengage.

Maybe that provides some of an insight into why these things happen, even if sometimes they happen in ways that are in and of themselves unhelpful.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby MattAn » 30 May 2013, 17:34

Matt wrote:
MattAn wrote:It just isn't quite fair (to me, anyway) to throw blatant, unconfirmed accusations at people who, most likely, don't mean any harm.


I'd like to ask you to please quote from the video transcript provided on the Feminist Frequency Website a single line that acts as an accusation directed at any individual or company, please.

You can find the video transcript here.

-m

Spoken word, Matt. Says a lot more than text does. I was referring to the tone.

I really find it difficult to believe some of the examples as well. Almost like clutching at straws, finding very context-lacking scene-grabs.. People scream when they are in danger. And this is supposed to be news? Or educational?
The tone the introduction takes with "I just want to caution viewers that as we delve into more modern games we will be discussing examples that employ some particularly gruesome and graphic depictions of violence against women. I’ll do my best to only show what is necessary.."

Yes. So do horror movies. They always have. That's.. Kind of what happens in gruesome situations. I get there's this mostly happening to women thing.. But to go on a quest to solely find these examples.. Without a single piece of context, and completely disregarding/paying honourable mention to games that DO IT CORRECTLY. I'd be more inclined to trust Anita or take her words more seriously if she actually showed the good with the bad. Show examples of what TO do, not what NOT to do! Show credit where credit is due!

"As a trope the damsel in distress is a plot device in which a female character is placed in a perilous situation from which she cannot escape on her own and then must be rescued by a male character, usually providing an incentive or motivation for the protagonist’s quest."
I notice Anita neglected to note that women also save men and women also save women and men also save men. This all exists. Why is solely "Here's everything that's bad and negative about the industry!" and not "Here is what it should be more like!" Otherwise, it solely looks like an agenda against everything that should be eradicated. She doesn't say that "it's okay that this exists in moderation, but it needs to be less common, and there should also be more original ideas". No. None of that. It's as if it's all absolutely terrible and "Why aren't games exactly how I want them to be?" Again, this is solely from an outside perspective, looking at this, wondering where any of the positives are.

"Now and then Damsel’d characters may be well written, funny, dynamic or likeable."
Ahem, I stand somewhat corrected. Somewhat. That's only one line. In an essay of negativity. I forgot that I stopped taking it seriously after the "male power fantasy" thing. Because I whole-heartedly find that term hateful.

"However this extra character development tends to make their eventual disempowerment all the more frustrating. Damsels on the more sassy end of the spectrum may struggle with their captors…"
Oh. False alarm. And to think I was beginning to come around! Try again, Anita... :/

"… or even attempt an escape on their own but inevitably their efforts always prove futile."
...Well it'd be a short game, that's for damn sure. There's also games where the character DOES escape. For some reason, I keep going back to Final Fantasy here. Female characters DO have their weak moments, but they also DO break through those barriers. Or was Aerith's death in FFVII totally for naught and she just.. Y'know, died. Rather than *fucking saving the entire world from within the Lifestream*. This is why I mostly play JRPGs. Female characters aren't always portrayed as "incompetent". The male characters fuck up a lot as well. I ignore the majority of gaming for good reason.

"Periodically, game developers may attempt to build a more flushed out relationship or emotional bond between Damsel’d character and the male protagonist."
Right. So female protagonists don't exist. Females saving females supposedly don't exist. Right. I'll just.. Okay, what games have I been playing then?

"As we discussed in our first episode, when female characters are damsel’ed, their ostensible agency is removed and they are reduced to a state of victimhood."
This isn't because they're a woman. That's Anita's implication. They're a victim. ANY victim would feel threatened/unsafe. I know I fucking would! Oh, and discussed? Who's the other side of the discussion? It's a one-way discussion. A discussion requires two or more people to involve.. Discussion. One person speaking without a reply from someone else is a presentation.

"So narratives that frame intimacy, love or romance as something that blossoms from or hinges upon the disempowerment and victimization of women are extremely troubling because they tend to reinforce the widespread regressive notion that women in vulnerable, passive or subordinate positions are somehow desirable because of their state of powerlessness. Unfortunately these types of stories also help to perpetuate the paternalistic belief that power imbalances within romantic relationships appealing, expected, or normal."
Okay, if anyone even attempts to believe that's "desirable" or power imbalances are "expected".. Anyone who has those thoughts, I have one simple message directly for you. Jump off a bridge. Whilst on fire. Also you're a fucking idiot. No, really. Anyone who is like or thinks like the person Anita is describing here, die in ALL the fires. You aren't human. (YES I'M FUCKING MAD AT THIS.)

"Over the past decade game companies have been desperately searching for ways to stand out in a market increasingly oversaturated with very similar products. As a consequence we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of games attempting to cut through the clutter by being as “dark and edgy” as possible."
Actually completely valid point, Anita. Bravo. I tip my hat respectively. Well, this was already obvious anyway, so.. Point reiterated! Again. Blame predominantly Western developers. (Lookin' at you, DmC reboot, you vile piece of shit. #DARKANDEDGY)

Oh look, she mentions the "disposable woman"! So, we're all just supposed to forget how the past was full of "women and children first, men are disposable and go down with the ship!" Right. This is like a rollercoaster! I agree with one line/paragraph.. And then she destroys it. I just.. I can't.

"This trading of female characters lives for something meant to resemble male character development is of course part of a long media tradition, but the gruesome death of women for shock value is especially prevalent in modern gaming. The Women in the Refrigerator trope is used as the cornerstone of some of the most famous contemporary video games. It provides the core motivational hook behind both the Max Payne and the God of War series for example."
Aaaaand we're back to making sense. Let's see how long this lasts.. I have the same (or very similar) hatred for "the most famous contemporary Western games", so have at 'em. JRPGs are (mostly) designed to be completely balanced to both genders, even having non-gendered characters.. Or.. Whatever FFIX's Quina was.

Okay, I completely understand the "wife is brutally murdered, daughter requires saving" trend. This is a perfectly valid point. Well played, Anita. I will admit this is accurate. (Though to be fair, what other option is there? Leave the daughter to die too and move on with life? Yeah, that's not better. So... How about daughter is murdered, wife is captured? No? Also bad. Huh. Hm.. Okay. The dude is captured AND killed and the wife and daughter mourn the loss briefly, then carry on with life. Good? Good. (Note my heavy, joking, sarcasm. I'm intentionally being a twat there.)

Right, so it's at the point where she's combining everything and I quickly turn into "You're being very specific and still ignoring any actual context, Ms. Sarkeesian. But please, do go on. It's fascinating, really." Using words like insidious too.. It's rather.. I dunno.. Snarky?

"This trope-combination can be traced back to old school sidescrollers like Splatterhouse 2 and Ghouls’n Ghosts but the Damsel in the Refrigerator has definitely become a more popular trend in recent years."
Watch every single horror movie. It didn't start with games. Horror movies will lead to horror games, and they both have the same things.

As has already been stated, Shadows of the Damned is purposefully like that. That's what Suda51 does. Here's why I can't agree with Anita's entire point of this series. Not giving anything context doesn't explain anything. It's so very one-sided. One view to one person will never be the exact same view when another plays the same thing. Reviewers often tear games apart, yet the game is successful to consumers. Other games, reviewers will score them rather highly, and the game bombs horribly. IT'S AN OPINION. Nothing more. All Anita is doing is... Literally what every other armchair critic does. How is this supposed to be different, exactly? I'm not hearing/reading an alternative from her. She's just throwing all the negatives, with little to no positives.

"Developers must be hoping that by exploiting sensationalized images of brutalized women it will be enough to fool gamers into thinking their games are becoming more emotionally sophisticated, but the truth is there is nothing “mature” about most of these stories and many of them cross the line into blatant misogyny."
That's another opinion. Full of bias. Isn't this meant to be neutral analysis? Oh, and "Developers must be hoping that". Right. Way to put words in developers mouths where they can't respond! There's so much snark in that alone! Fact is something that is proven. Have developers admitted this is how they feel/exactly how or why they design their game? If it isn't, then she's merely voicing an opinion, not stating any facts.

Sure, Max Payne 3 is extremely violent and "mature". It's a film noir game. Look at every single film noir. It's based on film noir. I never cared for the game or the series. I don't like over-exaggerated violence in games anyway. Gender irrelevant. ANY violence. Just thought I'd make that clear. Also, yes, 2009's Bionic Commando was a horrid pile of shit, even without the odd wife-arm thing. Need I mention Halo 4
s creepy superhumansoldier-artificial intelligence romance subplot? It's creepy. It's why I still say VOTE WITH WALLET. Don't fucking buy it if it's got this shit in it! All it's doing is encouraging more of the same! ARGH.

"In Breath of Fire 4 (2000) Elina has been turned into a hideous monster and then begs you to kill her.
In Gears of War 2, Dom is motivated to rescue his captured wife Maria. When he finds her, she has been starved and possibly tortured into a catatonic state; and so he shoots her."
Cooooonteeeeext is necessary~. Dom doesn't want to shoot his own wife. Marcus is just as shocked as he is when they find her. What else is he supposed to do? Let her lie there and rot? That's literally the only other option. I'm not getting the issue here properly. As for Breath of Fire 4.. Would it have been better if there was a potion/cure? Fucking sure. There, I just fixed Breath of Fire 4. MONEY PLEASE, DEVELOPERS. *holds hands out* But seriously. What's the other option? She's turned into a monster (haven't played the game, so I don't know how/why), I'm fairly certain she doesn't enjoy being a monster. What's the alternative, run away and leave her, so she goes full monster and goes on a rampage? GIVE ME A SOLUTION.

She mentions Shenmue.. But I don't think she quite understands Japanese culture. In older Japanese times, if you (regardless of gender) disgraced your family or.. I can't remember it exactly, you must commit Seppuku. "The entire point of a seppuku ritual was to die while maintaining one's dignity and honour." So, you must cut out your own stomach. Japanese people feel they disgrace others if they lack their dignity and honour. Cutting down the princess to get to the villain.. Helps to explain why the princess was in the way in the first place. Context. It helps.

Don't get me started on GTA3. It was heavily designed to be like that, and I don't support any of that gameplay design. Carry on.

"In the Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles remake if you don’t rescue Richter Belmont‘s beloved Annette, she will turn into a vampire and you’ll then have to kill her."
Fair point. This is dumb game design. Just straight up dumb game design. Why can't you just.. Let her be a vampire? OH WAIT, BELMONT'S A VAMPIRE KILLER... Well, she could have just disappeared without having to kill her. There, better plot device. MONEY PLEASE. *arms out again* WHY CAN'T I HOLD ALL THIS NEW MONEY?

"Another popular Gearbox game, Borderlands 2, also uses this plot twist when Angel asks the player to murder her as a way to try and thwart the villain’s evil plan."
As far as I'm aware, Angel is an AI program. Not a real human. Am I mistaken here? That's not to say it isn't a dumb plot twist. It most definitely is. Just curious. (Also I want that sweet, sweet Gearbox money by fixing their game.)

"The Wii game Pandora’s Tower includes one ending in which Elena begs you to kill her before she completes her transformation into a monster."
Again with the monster thing? You could have mentioned this one right next to Breath of Fire 4. Still, context please. What caused the transformation? Why would Elena want to live on as a monster? Clearly she doesn't want to..

"In the 2006 shooter Prey, when the hero finally reaches his abducted girlfriend she has been hideously mutilated and fused with a monster, which you must fight while she screams for help over and over again. After being incapacitated she begs you to kill her and the player can’t advance in the narrative until you shoot her in the face."
OKAY. I GET IT. Games be fucking wack, yo. I'll absolutely admit that this example.. Is fucking messed up. I'm going to be sick.

Mentioning God of War: Ghosts of Sparta, is it or is it not based on Greek mythology? Blame Greek mythology. In the same way you can blame the Bible for a great many shitty things that still exist today. Again, I highly doubt the developers actively did it this way because of sexism or hatred of women. It's a very serious claim to make and there's no evidence that it was intended malice by the developer. So currently, it's empty accusations.

"The final boss in Shadows of the Damned turns out to be your own girlfriend…
Clip- Shadows of the Damned
“Where is my freedom?!”
…who you must shoot down."
It's a Suda51 game, we've been over this. Vast majority of his games are social commentary and deep messages. This is why context helps. Also, HOLY SPOILER ALERTS, BATMAN... For a game I was never going to play. Continue~.

"But just because a particular event might “makes sense” within the internal logic of a fictional narrative – that doesn’t, in and of itself justify its use. Games don’t exist in a vacuum and therefore can’t be divorced from the larger cultural context of the real world."
It absolutely does. This is implying that none of it should happen. This right here. This implies that all these examples should not exist and are bad. That's, in a sense, censoring game developers. Sure, games don't exist in a vacuum. Valid. But it isn't the game's fault. At all. It's entirely a virtual product. Y'know who it DOES rely on? Human beings not being dicks. Just stop being dicks. It's not exactly "sacred". This does imply that men being mutilated is perfectly fine. I'm really not looking forward to Part 3 of this, if so..

"It’s especially troubling in-light of the serious real life epidemic of violence against women facing the female population on this planet. Every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States and on average more than three women are murdered by their boyfriends husbands, or ex-partners every single day. Research consistently shows that people of all genders tend to buy into the myth that women are the ones to blame for the violence men perpetrate against them. In the same vein, abusive men consistently state that their female targets “deserved it”, “wanted it” or were “asking for it”,"
I agree that it's horribly shitty how abusive men can be and are. I know. I've experienced it. My father, to be exact. He was an absolute fucking arsehole to my mother. I do find it interesting that she only mentions the statistic of women and not any statistic about male to male violence and female to male violence (and female to female violence). It doesn't matter which is affected more. It's NOT a competition. It never was and hopefully never will be. ALL HUMAN VIOLENCE IS WRONG. Just like humans harming animals is wrong. Simply not admitting that violence does occur both ways.. It's biased and one-sided. Need I remind you, my father abused my mother while I was barely 18 months old. I have dealt with violence as a child. I despise violence. I was beaten daily at school. By both genders. I was the weakest link. I didn't fight back. Where's my medal? I don't want one. I just want people to admit that it's NOT solely men attacking women, regardless of statistics.

ANYWAY.

"Even though most of the games we’re talking about don’t explicitly condone violence against women, nevertheless they trivialize and exploit female suffering as a way to ratchet up the emotional or sexual stakes for the player."
Valid point. Noted. I already don't play those games. Because I study what the game is like before playing it. Yes, there are female villains in Final Fantasy games. Most notably the sorceresses in FFVIII, Yunalesca in FFX.. Among others.. But they're not exactly covered in realism. There's always a context or reason for doing such a thing. It's not gratuitous. My main point is.. Where does it end? Where's the limit? What is classified as "okay"?

"When violence is the primary gameplay mechanic and therefore the primary way that the player engages with the game-world it severely limits the options for problem solving. The player is then forced to use violence to deal with almost all situations because its the only meaningful mechanic available — even if that means beating up or killing the women they are meant to love or care about."
So.. Don't have women in first/third-person shooters, I guess? Isn't that the only possible option? Here's a shocking fact; people die when they are killed. People. Gender neutral. Am I to assume that any female characters that happen to be in a wiolent game like a shooter, they always have to survive until the very end? No one is allowed to die or be killed! PEACE. LOVE. FLOWERS. (FFVIII's Selphie, you keep doing that thing you do! :D)

"Cultural influence works in much more subtle and complicated ways, however media narratives do have a powerful cultivation effect helping to shape cultural attitudes and opinions."
It's a story, like movies, television and books. Things happen, people die. Gender really shouldn't be involved in any of this. Let's just have every character be genderless from now on. Cool? Cool.

"The implication being that she had belonged to him – that she was his possession."
And women don't classify men as their "possession"? Okay. I'll completely disregard a whole bunch of couples I've known, then. It could also be implied that the male character.. Oh, I don't know.. Actually loved the female character and therefore feels absolutely tortured and distraught about losing someone he cared for? Oh, wait, no, it can't possibly be anything else. Let's stick with hyperbole. God, I should be doing a drinking game for this!

"I’d argue that the true source of the pain stems from feelings of weakness and/or guilt over his failure to perform his “socially prescribed” patriarchal duty to protect his women and children."
Well, that'd be what a father is, yes. What's the alternative, complete and total apathy for them? Right. Okay. Sure. Seems totally fair.

"Consequently violent revenge based narratives, repeated ad nauseum, can also be harmful to men because they help further limit the possible responses men are allowed to have when faced with death or tragedy. This is unfortunate because interactive media has the potential to be a brilliant medium for people of all genders to explore difficult or painful subjects."
So.. The entire Shooter genre should swap guns for "water pistols" and the setting should be a beach. Because.. I.. WHAT. Okay, everyone stop making first/third-person-shooters! Clearly they aren't allowed to exist! Word. For. Word.

"So to be clear here, the problem is not the fact that female characters die or suffer. Death touches all of our lives eventually and as such it’s often an integral part of dramatic storytelling. To say that women could never die in stories would be absurd, but it’s important to consider the ways that women’s deaths are framed and examine how and why they’re written."
Oh, here's the defensive part. Now. Rather than, y'know, back when it was purely pointing out how awful everything is. This structure.. It really is poorly structured. Not gonna lie.

"Dear Esther, The Passage and To The Moon are a few indie games that investigate these themes in creative, innovative and sometimes beautiful ways."
Dear Esther and 'game' shouldn't be in the same sentence. Ever. It's a walking simulator. This aired on Australian TV games review show, Good Game. Parody of Dear Esther, using Battlefield 3. It's amazing.
But yes, comparing action/shooter games to exploration/walking/point-and-click games. Except they're entirely different genres. Yep. Okay.

Well... This sure was a rollercoaster I never, ever want to ride again. There you go, folks. My honest view of exactly what I read. Some valid points (correction; lines and a paragraph). The rest is hyperbole and gross exaggerations, with zero actual context. Perfect.

I did try. I accept/admit there's valid points. But there is a lot I still disagree with. By definition, as provided by AlexanderDitto, I am not sexist, nor racist. Neither am I an MRA (because fuck those arseholes, if they are indeed, that jaded). I support equality, so I guess i'm a feminist. Which I already thought I essentially was. But that does not mean I can't disagree with aspects of feminism and have valid reasons for doing so.
Was I rather harsh in the above comments of the transcript? Sure! I took issue with several things mentioned. "Male Power Fantasy" was but one of them, mostly because I've heard the same argument, but even when women are in an empowering role, because "it's obviously sexy to men!"...
No matter what, there's no avoiding it. All men are literally pigs and are to be hated. I'll do that, then. Not like it'll be any different than normal. Hated men anyway. Pretty much hate "me" as well. Oh well~! Time to go bury myself in sand.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Lord Hosk » 30 May 2013, 18:55

First I watched both of the videos back to back and have not watched all her content. I gave 40 minutes of my life and I dont feel the need to give her hours more.

A lot of my disagreements with her was that she was taking such a 101 level analysis of things and so some of her stuff falls apart but when you look deeper there is more there that she simply didnt include and I think thats a huge fault. She has the stage and she is missing it (shrugs)

Lots of strong points going both ways here and I am not done reading but after page two the thread starts going in a circle, maybe it changes further on we will see, however on to what I think is valid criticism which you may disagree with.

I played most of the early games she talked about and I saw several of them as satires of the old literary princess thing not as continuations of it. I suspect I am just as bias because I grew up reading classics while I was also playing video games.

1. Mario goes to rescue the princess, only she isnt there she is in another castle, and another castle, and another castle. I admit I stopped playing after Mario 3 but the fact that she wasnt there to be rescued and you just keep rescuing dudes makes it funny to mean.

2. Again I dont know what happened in later Zelda games so I go with what I played. I played as link trying to rescue the kingdom, I knew that Zelda was around but it never occurred to me that she was the goal or the prize.

3. Ghosts and goblins. Yes, a princess is abducted but the whole game is so ludicrous how can you take one element from it seriously. You have three minutes to finish a level or your die and if you get hit you have to run around in your underwear. Saying that game is all about a man trying to take back his possession would be like saying that the desert bus for hope marathon is really all about preparing for a life job of driving a bus from Tuscon to Las Vegas.

Maybe my parents just did a better job raising me than most parents of the current generation of young men. No, I know my parents did a better job of raising me than the average level of crap wad 18-30 males that pass for men these days. I have never had a "conquer the woman fantasy" and it irritated me that she kept referring back to that as the basis for all the video games. Over and over again she said that boys playing these games were being shown how dominant they were over the wimpy objects in dresses. I know that it happens and I know its much more prevalent in todays games but it felt like she was stretching a little to make it a "it goes all the way back to the beginning"

Yes Mario Rescued the princess, but he also rescued 7 imprisoned dudes who were just as helpless.

Yes Link saved the princess and a entire kingdom with her.

Yes Sir Arthur could possibly rescue a princess, although I never did it thats for sure but he also had to run around in his underwear if a goblin threw a grape at him.

But to boil those games down to one single element that was "so much the point of the game" that I didnt even know they were there even though I spent countless hours playing them seems to be a disservice. She also showed a clip from Final Fantasy where you rescue a princess when she was showing all the games where that is a core element. At best that is a side quest in final fantasy, its certainly not the focus of the game.

Again, I admit that I dont play the current generation of games, in no small part because of their depictions of violence. I think the comic that AdmiralMemo posted was right on, I felt like she was attacking me for being a dudebro and for supporting the objectification of women because I played super mario brothers while having external genitalia. She was saying that the motivation of the players to objectify is the reason they play the games, and I would say that to at least a minority of gamers those cheesy plot elements have very little to do with the game. I know a ton of gamers who skip right over those rescue the daughter avenge the wife story points, they dont care, they just want to explore the mechanics and the stupid story gets in the way of that.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Matt » 30 May 2013, 19:04

MattAn wrote:Women and children first



I don't have the patience or interest currently to do another hours-long dissection of your post, but I want to point this out:

Gender, social norms, and survival in maritime disasters

Research on the topic suggests that, in fact, the tradition of "women and children first" is largely mythical, and that in maritime disasters men and ship crews have historically experienced distinct and significant survival advantages.

-m
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby phlip » 30 May 2013, 19:08

Thing X happens a lot more than thing Y. Someone points this out by pointing out a lot of places where thing X happens. Your response is to say "why didn't they point out the places thing Y happens?" and "they're trying to claim thing Y doesn't exist" and "they're trying to blame person A for thing X" and "they're trying to eliminate thing X forever", which are all complete projections.

I mean, hell, here:
MattAn wrote:"… or even attempt an escape on their own but inevitably their efforts always prove futile."
...Well it'd be a short game, that's for damn sure. There's also games where the character DOES escape. For some reason, I keep going back to Final Fantasy here. Female characters DO have their weak moments, but they also DO break through those barriers. Or was Aerith's death in FFVII totally for naught and she just.. Y'know, died. Rather than *fucking saving the entire world from within the Lifestream*. This is why I mostly play JRPGs. Female characters aren't always portrayed as "incompetent". The male characters fuck up a lot as well. I ignore the majority of gaming for good reason.
You even admit here that you focus on one small subset of games and avoid the majority because the majority have these problems. And yet you somehow try to turn that around as a claim that featureless female characters-as-objects aren't a problem in a large number of games.

MattAn wrote:"As we discussed in our first episode, when female characters are damsel’ed, their ostensible agency is removed and they are reduced to a state of victimhood."
This isn't because they're a woman. That's Anita's implication. They're a victim. ANY victim would feel threatened/unsafe. I know I fucking would!

Right. Anyone put in that situation would be reduced to a state of victimhood. But that doesn't answer the question of why female characters are so often put into that situation by game writers.

Because this is the thing - many individual examples, looked at in the small scale, seem to have some sort of fine reasoning for why it makes sense for the female character is having these horrible things happen to them in this case. Bowser just wants to kidnap the royalty, and it just happens that that's a princess and the hero is male. Or whatever. But that doesn't counter the fact that this happens so very often, it just moves the relevant decision to a different place in the game's design.

To elaborate more on this:
MattAn wrote:Okay, I completely understand the "wife is brutally murdered, daughter requires saving" trend. This is a perfectly valid point. Well played, Anita. I will admit this is accurate. (Though to be fair, what other option is there? Leave the daughter to die too and move on with life? Yeah, that's not better. So... How about daughter is murdered, wife is captured? No? Also bad. Huh. Hm.. Okay. The dude is captured AND killed and the wife and daughter mourn the loss briefly, then carry on with life. Good? Good. (Note my heavy, joking, sarcasm. I'm intentionally being a twat there.)
The "Leave the daughter to die too and move on with life" suggestion, even as a joke, suggests a misunderstood premise here - the problematic part isn't how the main character behaves, or how the story unfolds, after the murder/kidnapping happens. The writer can't say "Well, I had this murder/kidnapping plot, so what else could I have the protagonist do? My hands were tied"... they could just as easily not had the murder/kidnapping plot. They could have had the murder/kidnapping plot but had some friggin' variety with the genders involved. But no, it's the exact same, every single time. (Yes, hyperbole, I know, thanks.)

This is why Sarkeesian makes a point to explicitly ignore internal in-story justifications for these tropes. It's very easy to say of a specific example "problematic trope X is justified in-story because of context Y"... most examples have this. But that doesn't ultimately answer the question because context Y is just as easily changed by the game writers as trope X was in the first place. And, often enough, context Y can be easily changed to be gender-swapped... and it so very rarely is. Why are there so many games where a male protagonist has their wife die and has to rescue their daughter, and so few with a female protagonist who has their husband die and has to rescue their son? Or a gender-unspecified-or-chosen-by-the-player protagonist who has their same-gender partner die and has to rescue their genderqueer child? Or any other combination outside the trope? They'd be just as easy to justify in context 99% of the time, but it just doesn't come up.

Relying on internal context like this doesn't actually explain anything, it just passes the blame. And assigning blame isn't the goal here - we're not trying to decide who is "evil" because this keeps coming up... step one is to raise awareness that it's happening at all. Step two, which this videos aren't covering (yet?) is ways to make things better so it doesn't happen as much in the future. Step never is to assign blame for it happening in the past, except when this is in the service of step two, because who does that help?

MattAn wrote:"Developers must be hoping that by exploiting sensationalized images of brutalized women it will be enough to fool gamers into thinking their games are becoming more emotionally sophisticated, but the truth is there is nothing “mature” about most of these stories and many of them cross the line into blatant misogyny."
That's another opinion. Full of bias. Isn't this meant to be neutral analysis? Oh, and "Developers must be hoping that". Right. Way to put words in developers mouths where they can't respond! There's so much snark in that alone! Fact is something that is proven. Have developers admitted this is how they feel/exactly how or why they design their game? If it isn't, then she's merely voicing an opinion, not stating any facts.

Yes, this line was a mistake on Sarkeesian's side. It's easy to want to assign blame and motivations to people who are doing problematic things. It's usually unhelpful to do so, but it's a natural impulse. She slipped up here. It doesn't invalidate the other things she's saying, though.

MattAn wrote:"But just because a particular event might “makes sense” within the internal logic of a fictional narrative – that doesn’t, in and of itself justify its use. Games don’t exist in a vacuum and therefore can’t be divorced from the larger cultural context of the real world."
It absolutely does. This is implying that none of it should happen. This right here. This implies that all these examples should not exist and are bad. That's, in a sense, censoring game developers.

Absolutely not the case. The thesis isn't that this trope should absolutely never exist, these are bad games, and the makers are bad people for making them. The thesis is that the trope happens way too often. But that doesn't mean you can point to any particular individual example and say "this one should be doing something else". It's like... say you give me a 6-sided die, and I know that maybe it's a fair die, or maybe it's weighted so that the 6 happens a lot more often than chance. If I roll it and get a 6, that doesn't prove anything - you can easily claim that it being a 6 makes sense, and doesn't rule out that it's a fair die. But if I roll it 100 times and get 90 6's, then chances are pretty good that the die is weighted. I can't point to any of those individual rolls and say "this one shouldn't have been a 6", and you can point all you like to those 10 non-6 rolls and say "why are you ignoring these?", but it's still reasonable to claim the die is weighted. Which isn't to say I'd prefer a die that never rolled a 6, just one that did it equitably.

MattAn wrote:"Consequently violent revenge based narratives, repeated ad nauseum, can also be harmful to men because they help further limit the possible responses men are allowed to have when faced with death or tragedy. This is unfortunate because interactive media has the potential to be a brilliant medium for people of all genders to explore difficult or painful subjects."
So.. The entire Shooter genre should swap guns for "water pistols" and the setting should be a beach. Because.. I.. WHAT. Okay, everyone stop making first/third-person-shooters! Clearly they aren't allowed to exist! Word. For. Word.

Again, an argument for "there's too much X" is not an argument for "X should never exist". Stop being so black-and-white all-or-nothing about this. How you managed to read "this limits the possible responses, and that's bad" as an argument for limiting the possible responses confuses me.

[edit for ninjas]

This is actually very interesting, thanks for the link.
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but how about watch phone?

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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Metcarfre » 30 May 2013, 19:17

MattAn wrote:No matter what, there's no avoiding it. All men are literally pigs and are to be hated. I'll do that, then. Not like it'll be any different than normal. Hated men anyway. Pretty much hate "me" as well. Oh well~! Time to go bury myself in sand.


Bro, take a chill pill, have a nap, and maybe a snack.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby tamaness » 30 May 2013, 21:24

I know this is off-topic, but Metcarfre, your avatar is so appropriate next to that post.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby AdmiralMemo » 31 May 2013, 03:39

MattAn wrote:It just isn't quite fair (to me, anyway) to throw blatant, unconfirmed accusations at people who, most likely, don't mean any harm. At all.
Let's go back to that "ladder" argument. Person A accidentally pushed Person B off a ladder. Person A didn't mean any harm by their actions. However, Person A has certainly caused harm to Person B by their actions. Not meaning any harm and not causing any harm are two completely different things. Person A screws up? OK. They apologize, possibly make up for it, and move on. They don't just get a free pass on consequences for their actions because they didn't mean any harm.
phlip wrote:Again, an argument for "there's too much X" is not an argument for "X should never exist". Stop being so black-and-white all-or-nothing about this. How you managed to read "this limits the possible responses, and that's bad" as an argument for limiting the possible responses confuses me.
As MattAn has mentioned before:
MattAn wrote:I'm probably insane, but I don't deal with things in halves. I want complete solutions.
This is apparently "what he does."
And, as I have mentioned in a previous post, I think this black/white attitude simply takes time and experience to get rid of, as it did for me. So, I don't expect MattAn to change his opinions that dramatically any time soon. Come back to this issue in a few months or years and let's see where he stands then.
Lord Hosk wrote:I suspect I am just as bias...
Graham would like to have a word with you about being the physical incarnation of the concept of bias, rather than simply being biased. :P
Graham wrote:The point is: Nyeh nyeh nyeh. I'm an old man.
LRRcast wrote:Paul: That does not answer that question at all.
James: Who cares about that question? That's a good answer.

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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby MattAn » 31 May 2013, 04:09

....I just awoke from literally 10 hours worth of sleep. Just wanted to state that.

Anyway, Lord Hosk. Fucking. Nailed. It.

Lord Hosk wrote:Maybe my parents just did a better job raising me than most parents of the current generation of young men. No, I know my parents did a better job of raising me than the average level of crap wad 18-30 males that pass for men these days. I have never had a "conquer the woman fantasy" and it irritated me that she kept referring back to that as the basis for all the video games. Over and over again she said that boys playing these games were being shown how dominant they were over the wimpy objects in dresses. I know that it happens and I know its much more prevalent in todays games but it felt like she was stretching a little to make it a "it goes all the way back to the beginning".


This. All of this. SO MUCH ALL OF THIS. It is making harsh accusations about "This is literally what every male gamer is like!" It's the "violent games make people kill people". Bullshit. Anyone with any amount of sanity or common decency knows that content in a game is exactly that, content in a game. Claiming that it is THE cause for real world violence is a very, very bad claim. That argument is always made by people outside video games, using it as a scapegoat for "people can be just plain fucking stupid, they were already going to murder, no one brainwashes them, they can think for themselves". It is entirely the individual's fault for taking certain things that are obviously bad very seriously. There are plenty of people who simply should not be playing video games. Kids getting access to violent games like shooters because their parents buy them everything or they play them without their parents knowing or caring about consequences.

I've said it before and I'll say it yet again, show me results. Quit fucking complaining about it constantly and actually do something to shift the norm. If the aim isn't to "eradicate" the stereotypes, then what's the damn point? You're literally arguing about empty causes. That's all you're doing. Such a Western stereotype..

I mean, what, is the "cause" to have more games where the genders are reversed? This won't change anything. I literally know there are Feminists who will complain that now they're having to save the dudes, or something just as dumb. These games already exist, people just aren't looking hard enough. Hell, Bayonetta has you saving that incompetent fat guy all the time.. and you destroy his fucking car for it. In the first ten minutes of the game!

The only solution possible, with all this hyperbole and empty criticism without actual advice as to what needs to be changed, the only solution is that no character in a game should have a gender.

Example; Assassin's Creed. Literally everyone but Ubisoft wants an Assassin's Creed game starring a female Assassin (and I don't mean a handheld title like Liberation, a full HD title).. People have been constantly asking for an Assassin's Creed game to finally cover Feudal Japan or Ancient China (note; there is already a Chinese female Assassin that we've only seen in the "Embers" animation short, being trained by Old!Ezio.

This blind accusation that all male gamers simply must hate women is abundantly forced. Why does Team Unicorn exist? The Frag Dolls? Australia's GeekBomb? (At least three examples of gaming news/reviews/content run by an all-female crew.) The majority of people who support them? Males who aren't jerks. This notion that "men are forcing women out of the 'boys-club'" is... Strange, to me. Yes, there is a large population of stupid, dudebro males who are major dicks. Blame the dudebro culture who seem to have overtaken gaming. The majority of gamers (aside from the very vocal minority on the internet) are plain, normal, respectful people who know the difference between reality and a fucking video game.

I don't play many violent video games. That's my own choice. I do play games like Saints Row, which is grossly over-the-top, involving larger-than-life gangs, seedy undergrounds involving strippers, hookers, drugs and whatever. Do I even think once about doing any of these things in real life? No. Because that's fucking insane. My mother actually fucking raised me properly. And I take great offence at being labelled by this series, simply because I happen to have dangly parts. Ha, Ha! Dangly Parts...
But for seriously, quit it.

We also find that: the captain has the power to enforce normative behavior; there seems to be no association between duration of a disaster and the impact of social norms; women fare no better when they constitute a small share of the ship’s complement; the length of the voyage before the disaster appears to have no impact on women’s relative survival rate

....You're serious, right? You're actually being serious. "Because there are less women on board ships, they fare no better because math." WHAT? What that is saying is that because less women are on ships, it's just basic math that more men survive because.. Well, the ratio is less women on board. That isn't an accurate calculation at all. If it were anywhere close to 50/50, then there'd be a valid argument.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Duckay » 31 May 2013, 04:19

Maybe it's me that is misreading, but the word "relative" covers that. It refers to the survival rate compared to the original numbers.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Metcarfre » 31 May 2013, 04:52

MattAn, bud, if you can't approach this with a little less emotion, a little more detachment, and a little more comprehension, then this is a conversation not worth having.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby MattAn » 31 May 2013, 07:52

Metcarfre wrote:MattAn, bud, if you can't approach this with a little less emotion, a little more detachment, and a little more comprehension, then this is a conversation not worth having.

Less emotion? Right. So it's okay that hardcore feminists bring personal bias and emotion into it?
More detachment? How so? How is this humanly possible? It is a blatant accusation against everyone in society rather than the vocal minority of shitheads who don't know how to think for themselves. Games do not make people violent, murderous killers, much like they do not make any human (men OR women) "sexist". Whatever interpretation is made is due to the person and that person's thoughts alone. They want to take it as a cue that sexism is "a thing that is okay"? That makes them an absolute fucking twat. Plain and simple. It is entirely on the individual.

Or am I the only one that notices that women themselves encourage their own sexism. Female pop stars, etc, female DJ/R'n'B singers.. They make that choice themselves, it is no one else's right to say they are "problematic". That is an opinion, not solid fact. Example; DJ Havana Brown. Her Wikipedia page. I don't follow/"like" her stuff, but I've been recently made aware that her latest single is titled "Big Banana". Yeah. Think about that for a second, it's absolutely about what it's implied to be about.
"In an interview, Brown stated the concept behind the song "Big Banana" as a way to objectify men after the "unrealistic shallow expectations" placed on girls, whereas she counters that in "Banana" by asking if the male has "a big banana." She added that the song was "a fun song for the girls and the gay boys." In a early March 2013 radio interview with Nova, Brown stated she was inspired by the 20 Fingers 1994' hit single "Short Dick Man", and that was the base of her creating the idea of recording "Big Banana."

So, she's sending a message, levelling the field and yet she's still "showing off" with eccentric and "crude" imagery in the music video clip.
"Brown spoke about the music video: "The clip reflects everything about the song - it's fun, upbeat, tongue-in-cheek; it's dirty but fun at the same time.""
'Feminists', at least the legion I've seen attacking people who don't instantly assimilate to their will via Twitter and Facebook, would still see the film clip as objectifying women. I'm fairly certain that it's just a cheeky, fun song. I don't take any offence to the lyrics, because it's made as a joke. I'm not blind. I can take jokes against my gender. It just seems more common sense to me that everyone just stops complaining about everything. Humans are humans, people are people. There should not be a constant war! But as long as this dumb Feminism vs. MRA shit-flinging contest exists, nothing will ever be resolved. As it is with literally every argument on the Internet. Neither side will ever just shut the fuck up and use common sense. It's just hate-mongering and it's pathetic.

I am in no way anti-women, nor do even remotely hate an entire race, species, gender. Anything. I do however hate people. The MiB quote mentioned further back in the thread is evidence of this. I don't judge Anita Sarkeesian based on her gender. At all. I am judging purely on the snarky presentation and the one-sided attitude. Tropes do not make or break a game. Tropes do not instantly make a game bad, as some people in this thread seem to think. It doesn't make it factually instantly shitty, you can, by all means, think, with your own brain-meats, that it is a shitty game, but don't ever force that on others. Not everyone sees video games (and other media) the same way. To many, it is merely a hobby, with gameplay being the primary attractor, NOT the choice of gender in a given scene. To a vast majority of people, people are merely that. People. There is no difference.

Also, feel free to provide a defence for women's magazines, which are run/edited by women, about extreme poorly-researched "tabloid/celebrity" stories and "fashion police". How literally every television/movies awards show feature women (and gay men) going over "Hot or Not"'s solely targeting the women, ignoring the men, but concentrating specifically on how good/bad the dresses women are wearing are. How this is glanced over and it's more about how games portray stuff? Right. Start with movies first. Solve THAT problem. Games are becoming more realistic and trying to "match" movies. Movies need to change first.

Maybe it's because Australia is known for being incredibly laid back, neither gender really gives a shit. Plenty of women make fun of themselves. That doesn't make them wrong. Nor are they sexist against their own gender. I don't whether people are taking things way too seriously or people are too thin-skinned. This is coming from someone who, as I've stated already, was bullied through primary [i]and high school to the point of severe depression and anxiety. I have since filled several boxes of all the fucks I could ever give and am readily throwing them into storage, as I do not wish to give them.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Metcarfre » 31 May 2013, 08:37

Pal, I can't speak on behalf of other people, the content and intent of whose words I am unable to discern because I am not them. Why not address what and who's in front of you rather than bring in outside matters?

Maybe, let's dial this back and see if we can arrive at a common point of reference.

Do you like video games?

Do you think that video games can be considered art?

Do you think that one of the hallmarks of art is that it can be criticized? Or, at least, that criticism is an appropriate response to art?

Do you think that art can be criticized from various viewpoints? That people may have differing opinions about the art in question and its impact?

Do you think that an appropriate criticism of a work of art would be determining its impact on society, positive or negative?

Do you think that one of the impacts of art on society could be affecting our view of women, men, their roles in society, and the attributes which we value in the genders?
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Duckay » 31 May 2013, 13:34

MattAn, it could be that I'm misreading your posts. However, a lot of your posts seem to be focused on discouraging people thinking of men as a homogenous group, while describing women as a homogenous group yourself. I'm sure that's not how you're meant to be coming across, but perhaps that provides some insight; no doubt you're not intending to speak for all women when you make comments like "women themselves encourage their own sexism", and yet it can still easily read that way. Others who talk about men are probably also not referring to men as a homogenous group.

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