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Wooly Wugga Wugga
10-10-2011, 06:00 PM
First off I'm not trying to be contrary but the reaction to this game has me a bit buzzled. Everyone is ranting and raving about how terrible the game is and how it reinforces the worst kind of sexist stereotypes, ect.

All I see is a modern take on modern day dressup Barbie. I'm starting to get a little bit concerned that these days political correctness dictates that girls should eschew traditional forms of gender based games and play traditionally male entertainments.

Now I have a few nieces between the ages of five and nine (Two of the eldest want to be a doctor and a lawyer respectively and are intelligent kids.) and they all love playing dressup and pretending to be princesses and meeting handsome princes and living in big palaces etc. My question is why are these fantasies suddenly sexist and disgusting when translated to computer game form? SHould they all want to run around slaughtering orcs, aliens and brown people from desert countries instead?

I say that we give a little more credit the girls, young women and even older women who want to indulge in a little bit of traditional female fantasy. This game won't turn them into vapid, money grubbing, trophy wives who know their place in society - women these days can make their own decisions.

On that note I know of a few guys who would probably have a bit of fun with this so lets stop being insufferably uptight, overly politically correct grouches and lighten up a bit.

Rakysh
10-10-2011, 07:01 PM
I would really like to meet this Political Correctness fellow. He seems to have opinions on everything.

Xercies
10-10-2011, 07:13 PM
Actually to be honest I don't think its totally sexist to women, though it kind of is with its focus on getting a man and only having them for money. But for that exact same reason its heavily sexist towards men(woah something never mentioned on the internet, how can you get that I thought sexism only worked one way?) basically treating men like there joob and money are the only value they serve to human and women kind. I think that's the really bad part.

TillEulenspiegel
10-10-2011, 07:16 PM
All I see is a modern take on modern day dressup Barbie.
Math class is tough!

Skalpadda
11-10-2011, 04:40 AM
lets stop being insufferably uptight, overly politically correct grouches and lighten up a bit.

I don't think it's uptight or overly politically correct to feel revulsion for something that actively promotes the ideas that the key to happiness and success are being a fashion slave, worrying about your weight, while reducing men to a job title and a daily pay check (what?). The fact that there are other bits of culture and society that are equally stupid does not excuse this one.

Keep
11-10-2011, 11:10 AM
I don't think anyone's so simple to be taken in by this game, but that doesn't mean it's fine whether people play it or not. It expresses something that a lot of people would think is...well, contemptible.

Let's unpack one game mechanic: One of your goals for progression is being seen with a boyfriend. How do you get a boyfriend? Go to a club. How do you judge his worth? By how much money he can give you!

1. It shouldn't be regarded as a necessary goal in life to get a significant other. Being single shouldn't be regarded as a deficiency.
2. Your motivation for wanting a significant other shouldn't be so you can show them off and thus boost your own social status. You shouldn't treat another person like a puppy or gimmick on your shoulder.
3. You can meet people in plenty of other ways besides going to a club. (Plus, a place where people go in order to a) get drunk and b) hook up isn't the best place to go looking for that) (Plus plus, going out hunting for a person because without them you're incomplete? Yeah...not a great message there either.)
4. The value of another person shouldn't be summed up by what it is they can give you, especially not when all they give you is literally just cold cash.
5. (Here's the first explicitly sexist point!) The idea of a woman being financially dependent on a man is straight-up bad when the reason for it boils down to: "Because she's a woman and he's a man". There's a nasty history (namely, "all of it") of women being tied down and controlled by men, and presenting it here as though it should be the norm is backwards moving.
6. Same idea as claims 1-3, but just swap out the word "existentially" for "financially" in the above point.

Wooly Wugga Wugga
11-10-2011, 01:26 PM
I don't think it's uptight or overly politically correct to feel revulsion for something that actively promotes the ideas that the key to happiness and success are being a fashion slave, worrying about your weight, while reducing men to a job title and a daily pay check (what?). The fact that there are other bits of culture and society that are equally stupid does not excuse this one.

The bit in bold is what I have a major issue with. As gamers we should know the dangers of saying that just because a game contains some concept that it actively promotes the same behaviour in the real world. Does GTA actively promote going out and killing police and prostitutes, or even being a gangster. We can't pick and choose these things when it is convenient for us.

Another thing I dislike is the way you dismiss the traditional play of girls as being stupid. This strikes me as incredibly seixist in itself.

Wooly Wugga Wugga
11-10-2011, 01:33 PM
I don't think anyone's so simple to be taken in by this game, but that doesn't mean it's fine whether people play it or not. It expresses something that a lot of people would think is...well, contemptible.

Let's unpack one game mechanic: One of your goals for progression is being seen with a boyfriend. How do you get a boyfriend? Go to a club. How do you judge his worth? By how much money he can give you!

1. It shouldn't be regarded as a necessary goal in life to get a significant other. Being single shouldn't be regarded as a deficiency.
2. Your motivation for wanting a significant other shouldn't be so you can show them off and thus boost your own social status. You shouldn't treat another person like a puppy or gimmick on your shoulder.
3. You can meet people in plenty of other ways besides going to a club. (Plus, a place where people go in order to a) get drunk and b) hook up isn't the best place to go looking for that) (Plus plus, going out hunting for a person because without them you're incomplete? Yeah...not a great message there either.)
4. The value of another person shouldn't be summed up by what it is they can give you, especially not when all they give you is literally just cold cash.
5. (Here's the first explicitly sexist point!) The idea of a woman being financially dependent on a man is straight-up bad when the reason for it boils down to: "Because she's a woman and he's a man". There's a nasty history (namely, "all of it") of women being tied down and controlled by men, and presenting it here as though it should be the norm is backwards moving.
6. Same idea as claims 1-3, but just swap out the word "existentially" for "financially" in the above point.

This entire post ignores another major point that I made in my original post - it's a game. They're all abstracted game mechanics. Women can tell the difference between the game and reality. Removed from the context of being a game cowboys and indians is an incredibly racist and unpleasant game yet I'm willing to bet that a lot of boys have played it and most of them did not end up as horribly racists murderers of minorities.

In this scenario you are Jack Thompson or any number of media outlets blaming gaming for the ills of society. Is the act of killing a prostitute any less unpleasant than the act of finding a boyfriend in a club as a gameplay mechanic?

Keep
11-10-2011, 03:06 PM
This entire post ignores another major point that I made in my original post - it's a game. They're all abstracted game mechanics. Women can tell the difference between the game and reality. Removed from the context of being a game cowboys and indians is an incredibly racist and unpleasant game yet I'm willing to bet that a lot of boys have played it and most of them did not end up as horribly racists murderers of minorities.

In this scenario you are Jack Thompson or any number of media outlets blaming gaming for the ills of society. Is the act of killing a prostitute any less unpleasant than the act of finding a boyfriend in a club as a gameplay mechanic?

So because boys' games are foul, it's ok if girls' games are too?

I dunno, man. If you can have good fun by playing a game that expresses admirable values, and the same amount of fun playing a game that expresses detestable one, how could you defend the latter? It's a moot point whether the game has any effect on people's behaviour. None of us are Jack Thompsons. But the point surely is, it's just disgusting. Someone shouting racist slurs may end up not initiating any hate crimes, but it's still wrong.

Wolfenswan
11-10-2011, 03:21 PM
Another thing I dislike is the way you dismiss the traditional play of girls as being stupid. This strikes me as incredibly seixist in itself. The "traditional play of girls" (or boys) doesn't come from nowhere. There's no gentical trait that stears girls to puppets and boys to the mini soldiers.


This entire post ignores another major point that I made in my original post - it's a game. They're all abstracted game mechanics. Women can tell the difference between the game and reality. Yes it's a game obviously and no need for withe knighting either. The point is what the game depicts and the (gender) background it's from. Keep already outlined why that's incredibly backwards.

Xercies
11-10-2011, 04:42 PM
Its kind of the same thing about criticizing a lot of game because they have loads of women with short skirts and big boobs and there only there for eye candy. Were going to do the same for this game.

Wooly Wugga Wugga
11-10-2011, 04:45 PM
The "traditional play of girls" (or boys) doesn't come from nowhere. There's no gentical trait that stears girls to puppets and boys to the mini soldiers.

You say that like you think you actually know what you're talking about :

http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/638161.html

Wolfenswan
11-10-2011, 04:48 PM
Are you actually reading what you're posting?


"One of the things we've learned about babies over the many years we've been studying them is that they are amazing sponges and learn an awful lot in those nine months," Gilliam said.
[...]
The finding raises the possibility of a biological basis for toy choices.
[...]
Yet the impact of socialization should never be underestimated, Gilliam said. Studies have shown parents and others interact differently with female and male babies from almost the instant they're born, Gilliam said.
I could go on.

Not to mention that this is a western study conducted with western infants (a whole 83! now that's stastically significant) .


Its kind of the same thing about criticizing a lot of game because they have loads of women with short skirts and big boobs and there only there for eye candy. Were going to do the same for this game.

blaming the symptom for the cause?

TillEulenspiegel
11-10-2011, 04:57 PM
blaming the symptom for the cause?
The people who call out [bigotry] are the real [bigots]. Fact.

Wooly Wugga Wugga
11-10-2011, 05:44 PM
Are you actually reading what you're posting?

Of course I am. I'm pointing out the ridiculous dual standards and cherry picking of ideological causes that seems to go on around. here. Murdering prostitutes and police is ok but going to a club to meet guys isn't? That' pretty much what it boils down to. It's a ridiculous double standard. I'm not sure how many times I need to say it before someone comes up with a reasonable argument explaining why I am wrong.


I could go on.Yeah, selective quoting. Great stuff.


Not to mention that this is a western study conducted with western infants (a whole 83! now that's stastically significant) .Yep, I found a study that suggests that there might be scientific evidence backing up my personal experiences of the playing habits of babies and toddlers. I don't see any other responses trying to argue coherent points other than "Traditional girl's games are stupid", or "Girls games shouldn't be foul just because boys games are foul." which is another rather bizarre point.

thegooseking
11-10-2011, 06:04 PM
Of course I am. I'm pointing out the ridiculous dual standards and cherry picking of ideological causes that seems to go on around. here. Murdering prostitutes and police is ok but going to a club to meet guys isn't? That' pretty much what it boils down to. It's a ridiculous double standard. I'm not sure how many times I need to say it before someone comes up with a reasonable argument explaining why I am wrong.

There's no comparison between GTA and Lady Popular. GTA4 paints Niko Bellic as a violent thug (and at least has the decency to give him some remorse for that); Lady Popular paints Generic Woman as shallow and materialistic (and exalts these values). We know that the avatar in GTA isn't supposed to represent a wider subset of society (just as Alex in A Clockwork Orange, Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, or Clegg in The Collector aren't -- except in certain metaphorical ways); the avatar in Lady Popular clearly is.

That has nothing to do with the fact that the avatar in Lady Popular is a woman, and everything to do with the fact that the avatar in Lady Popular is a blank slate, a projection of the player rather than a character controlled by the player. The actions of Lady Popular's avatar are not motivated by the personality of the avatar, as they are in GTA, but by the societal expectations the designers seem keen to reinforce.

(Which is to say nothing of the fact that killing prostitutes and police in GTA is, at best, neutrally allowed; it's neither actively encouraged nor required. The behaviour we take exception to in Lady Popular is required by the game.)

Wooly Wugga Wugga
11-10-2011, 06:27 PM
There's no comparison between GTA and Lady Popular. GTA4 paints Niko Bellic as a violent thug (and at least has the decency to give him some remorse for that); Lady Popular paints Generic Woman as shallow and materialistic (and exalts these values). We know that the avatar in GTA isn't supposed to represent a wider subset of society (just as Alex in A Clockwork Orange, Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, or Clegg in The Collector aren't -- except in certain metaphorical ways); the avatar in Lady Popular clearly is.

That has nothing to do with the fact that the avatar in Lady Popular is a woman, and everything to do with the fact that the avatar in Lady Popular is a blank slate, a projection of the player rather than a character controlled by the player. The actions of Lady Popular's avatar are not motivated by the personality of the avatar, as they are in GTA, but by the societal expectations the designers seem keen to reinforce.

(Which is to say nothing of the fact that killing prostitutes and police in GTA is, at best, neutrally allowed; it's neither actively encouraged nor required. The behaviour we take exception to in Lady Popular is required by the game.)

Thank you for articulating that so well and while I do agree to a certain extent I'm trying to take a broader view an see the game in the context of being fantasy. It is also a fantasy that a large amount of women enjoy dipping into from time to time. I also like to give women who enjoy this fantasy the same credit as I give to gamers who enjoy the male, gangster powertrip fantasy. Since men are the dominant forces in the industry we should be cautious that we don't automatically presume to know better than the women who are playing these games. (And at the last count there were almost 100,000 women liking the game on Facebook.)

Nalano
11-10-2011, 06:49 PM
We know that the avatar in GTA isn't supposed to represent a wider subset of society (just as Alex in A Clockwork Orange, Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, or Clegg in The Collector aren't -- except in certain metaphorical ways)

I wonder that you'd undersell "certain metaphorical ways" so much. Burgess' work was pretty much ALL about greater society.

Kodeen
11-10-2011, 07:02 PM
I'll say that the part of the game that made me uncomfortable is the fact that you are getting a daily allowance from your boyfriend, simply because that is the point of relationships in this game. How worthlessly shallow. I'm assuming when your nieces play princess and fantasize about Prince Charming, they do so for the goal of (what they understand of) love, and not for a stipend.

Nalano
11-10-2011, 07:55 PM
I'll say that the part of the game that made me uncomfortable is the fact that you are getting a daily allowance from your boyfriend, simply because that is the point of relationships in this game. How worthlessly shallow. I'm assuming when your nieces play princess and fantasize about Prince Charming, they do so for the goal of (what they understand of) love, and not for a stipend.

"Majoring in Mrs (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=MRS+degree)."

Keep
11-10-2011, 08:36 PM
I'm trying to take a broader view an see the game in the context of being fantasy.


My question is why are these fantasies suddenly sexist and disgusting when translated to computer game form?

Here's my problem: playing a computer game is not the same as playing your own fantasy. It's agreeing to go along with someone else's.

So if some core ideas in a computer game seem detestable, that's different to playing in your own imagination. Everyone who plays this game is forced to accept that boyfriends are good for pocket-money. Does that carry over to their real life? No. But does that make it less detestable?

And yeah, "shoot this man" is an even more horrible message, I'm not going to defend it. But I think what you're seeing is the natural reaction of a lot of men unacquainted with this genre who'd assumed they were pedestrian just-not-my-cup-of-tea games, and seeing one that is so explicitly materialistic, selfish, shallow, is coming as a shock.

TillEulenspiegel
11-10-2011, 08:49 PM
But I think what you're seeing is the natural reaction of a lot of men unacquainted with this genre
Nah. There are many perfectly decent life sim games. Even Japanese dating sims aimed at males are rarely so depressingly sexist.

Keep
11-10-2011, 10:29 PM
Nah. There are many perfectly decent life sim games. Even Japanese dating sims aimed at males are rarely so depressingly sexist.

Oh no doubt. I don't mean to diss the genre, I'm just trying to explain what the OP's seeing as an overreaction from folks here.

thegooseking
11-10-2011, 10:31 PM
I wonder that you'd undersell "certain metaphorical ways" so much. Burgess' work was pretty much ALL about greater society.

That's true. The issue isn't really one of whether they're predominantly illustrative or mimetic, though (except in that it's difficult to compare an illustrative character with a mimetic one). It's more an issue that, on a mimetic level, the characters I mentioned are 'abnormal', special cases, while the avatar in Lady Popular is presumed to be normative.

Skalpadda
11-10-2011, 10:53 PM
The bit in bold is what I have a major issue with. As gamers we should know the dangers of saying that just because a game contains some concept that it actively promotes the same behaviour in the real world. Does GTA actively promote going out and killing police and prostitutes, or even being a gangster. We can't pick and choose these things when it is convenient for us.

Well, first of all I don't really like the GTA games as I find them rather uninteresting and they're a bit too morally bankrupt for my taste. There is a very definite difference though; I'm pretty damn sure the game doesn't pop up now and then and tell you that murdering prostitutes and running over pedestrians is the key to self fulfilment and becoming a better human being. You're playing through a narrative rather than trying to develop an avatar of yourself.

On violent games in general, most will put you in some extreme fantasy where you have to fight for your survival or for some greater ideal. I can't think of many that hold up murdering as the key to success in life. Let's also not forget that GTA and most other games that cause controversy are 18+ rated games. This appears to be aimed at young girls and teenagers.


Another thing I dislike is the way you dismiss the traditional play of girls as being stupid. This strikes me as incredibly seixist in itself.

I'll defend dressing up dolls, hopscotch and skipping ropes to the death. A lot of traditional play both among boys and girls are things we could do without though, and I'd love to hear you explain why I'm sexist for thinking something is an awful piece of shit.

Nalano
11-10-2011, 11:24 PM
That's true. The issue isn't really one of whether they're predominantly illustrative or mimetic, though (except in that it's difficult to compare an illustrative character with a mimetic one). It's more an issue that, on a mimetic level, the characters I mentioned are 'abnormal', special cases, while the avatar in Lady Popular is presumed to be normative.

Or to put it more succinctly, Burgess' work is a criticism of society. This game is not.

That being said, I'm pretty sure Newgrounds HAS to have a flash game that's basically a parody of Barbie Trophy Wife by now.

deano2099
12-10-2011, 01:40 PM
Without wanting to be all THINK OF THE CHILDREN on you, if GTA was aimed at 10-year-old children I probably would be going all Jack Thompson on it.

I don't know for certain that videogames influence children's behaviour but I probably wouldn't risk it.

arienette
12-10-2011, 03:10 PM
One must take into account the target audience, young people being significantly more suggestible than most of us. The game is clearly playing into clearly defined gender roles and holding them up as the best thing a woman can aim for.

Of course there's nothing wrong with wanting to dress well, or wanting to be a hairdresser. More it's about how all the elements come together as a whole that creates the impression of sexism and how that relates to representations of women in media in general.

The game itself seems keenly aware of this, hiding away information that contradicts behaviours the game mechanics encourage.
I don't believe the game will singlehandedly set back the course of feminism, but nor can we just say it's a game so it means nothing. We're all hear because games mean something to us.