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
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.
"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!
"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
"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.