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  1. #1
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    Women women women women.... ugh

    Two days since Walker's last diatribe, the Asses of Starcraft article came out. Which made me smile, so it's cool.

    BUT IT ALSO MADE ME THINK!

    There are a lot of completely unrealistic depictions of men in women's entertainment. Think of the sparkly dude from Twilight, or the dreamy doctor from any daytime soap, or that billionaire philanthropist male model with 10 inches in Fifty Shades of Grey.

    I'm OK with the above, because they're vapid fantasies in media that panders to the lowest common denominator. Why should I be offended by it?

    So now let us consider the inverse:
    Hot chicks wearing highly impractical armour, with physics defying bosoms, and gratuitous ass shots all over the place. How is this any different? Why should we be offended by it?

    Why are there people out there who feel it is their personal crusade to make me feel guilty for enjoying fantasy women in my fantasy entertainment?

    If my above example is sexism, then how is playing any FPS not an example of sociopathy?

    My final point; I play games all the time where I'm an impossible dude. Impossibly muscled, impossibly heroic, impossibly skilled, impossibly awesome. I'm OK with that. Why would a woman feel not OK when she plays as an impossible character?

    What is the difference?
    Last edited by What.; 10-04-2013 at 12:56 AM.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by What. View Post
    I'm OK with the above, because they're vapid fantasies in media that panders to the lowest common denominator. Why should I be offended by it?
    If the notion that banality is not just the norm but a veritable zeitgeist doesn't offend your sensibilities, I'm glad we'll never meet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    If the notion that banality is not just the norm but a veritable zeitgeist doesn't offend your sensibilities, I'm glad we'll never meet.
    We're talking about mass entertainment. When has banality not been it's most fitting defining characteristic?

    You're putting gaming on a pedestal.

    Hey, it's wonderful what that indie dev is doing, he's so clever and original! Next up: Call of Duty 37 and Grand Theft Auto 14.

    I'm not too sure how that relates to anything I've said btw.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by What. View Post
    We're talking about mass entertainment. When has banality not been it's most fitting defining characteristic?

    I'm not too sure how that relates to anything I've said btw.
    Do you want me to list the mass media that doesn't actively insult my intelligence, or will you take my word that it's out there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    Do you want me to list the mass media that doesn't actively insult my intelligence, or will you take my word that it's out there?
    I'm still not sure what you're trying to bring to this debate. Are you saying that there are major releases that contain well written stories and characters?

    Well yes, I'm going to have to agree with you on that one.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    Do you want me to list the mass media that doesn't actively insult my intelligence, or will you take my word that it's out there?
    Go on then. I'm interested to know what mass media is out there that doesn't have some element of it that will actively insult your intelligence.

    This obviously rules out television, books, movies, music, newspapers and magazines, radio as every single one of these has an abundance of crap that would be claimable to be an insult to intelligence the same way video games could. What one have I missed?

    And What., I generally agree with you that women might play games as female avatars and like that they're "perfect" the same way men do. I can think of at least a handful of girls I know who all bought and loved Bayonetta for that very reason. Both my sisters really liked playing Tomb Raider games and liked Lara Croft.

    I agree with you, but this is about the fourth or fifth topic on this or that has spun off into this debate and it's one that I'm pretty tired of.
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    Go on then. I'm interested to know what mass media is out there that doesn't have some element of it that will actively insult your intelligence.

    This obviously rules out television, books, movies, music, newspapers and magazines, radio as every single one of these has an abundance of crap that would be claimable to be an insult to intelligence the same way video games could. What one have I missed?
    Meaning of course specific works within those mediums rather than the medium as a whole. Fear not though, brother! I have reserved the next four pages for an argument over semantics.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Then why settle? You yourself admit that such portrayals are "disgusting," so why settle for tacit complicity in their continued existence?

    This isn't really an issue of sexism for me so much as aesthetic sensibility.
    Last edited by sabrage; 10-04-2013 at 12:51 AM.

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    sabrage, drop the thesaurus and work on your logic and comprehension.

    Everything you've said so far has literally nothing to do with my original post.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Excuse me for not pandering to your level; you get plenty of that elsewhere. You're asking why these things should offend you? Because they are the degradation of a forward-moving and intelligent society. It has everything to do with your post.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    Excuse me for not pandering to your level; you get plenty of that elsewhere. You're asking why these things should offend you? Because they are the degradation of a forward-moving and intelligent society. It has everything to do with your post.
    Do you know what aesthetic sensibility means?

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Do you know what art is?

  13. #13
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    Do you know what it means to know something?

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    Obscure Node deadlyhabit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    Do you know what art is?
    Do you, because art panders to no one, but its creator's whims. Art doesn't care if it offends, sometimes it intentionally does.
    Devaluing one creative work or demanding it panders to a certain demographic because it offends someone is the antithesis of what art is.
    It's the whole why in a creative field do my rights end where your feelings begin?

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    Do you know Jimmy Page?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by What. View Post
    my fantasy entertainment
    Well, that little word there is actually the problem. What makes it yours, or men's in general? I'm also a male gamer, and I don't see it that way.


    Quote Originally Posted by What. View Post
    I play games all the time where I'm an impossible dude. Impossibly muscled, impossibly heroic, impossibly skilled, impossibly awesome. I'm OK with that. Why would a woman feel not OK when she plays as an impossible character?

    What is the difference?
    Women like to play as impossibly awesome and skilled and heroic characters, too. The problem is that many of these characters are designed less as awesome characters for women to play and more as awesome* characters for men to gawk at.

    Imagine extracting some embarrassingly sexual male character from some random girl-porn and making that your character. Your badass medieval warrior or space marine would go into battle in a tiny metal thong, while his female counterparts are fully armored (because "it's fantasy, it doesn't have to make sense"). His impeccably oiled chest and ass are the focus of every cutscene. Half of his dialogue is sexual innuendo, especially when speaking to other men. And of course, even though he's supposed to be the hero of the story, he repeatedly gets into serious trouble and has to be rescued by the lead female.

    OK, so the game's not for you, it's women's fantasy**. That's cool. Hell, it might even be funny once or twice - I might get a kick out of it, I have to admit - but after that, you can just move on to something else that's intended for men. Well, as it turns out, many if not most games don't let you play as a male character at all, and of the ones that do, most of them are exactly like that. Your armor in Everquest only covers your shoulders, leaving your heaving pecs and six-pack abs exposed. Batman wears a sequined bat-thong and little else. Instead of holding things over his head, Link lasciviously sucks his finger and purrs "mmm... nice chest" when he opens a treasure box. Tex Murphy is described on the box as "an empowered and independent male detective," so he keeps his clothes on, but he's always in tight, low-cut jeans with his top four shirt buttons undone, the camera repeatedly pans over his bulging crotch in the opening movie, and we get at least two long, adoring shower scenes with him before the end of the game.

    In cases like these, you may be playing the hero, but those heroes weren't really meant for you. Wouldn't you get tired of seeing the same female-pandering bullshit over and over, regardless of setting, context, genre, or character? Would you just give up and quit playing games, because games are apparently for women? I sure as hell wouldn't. I'd say "Hey, can we maybe have this same game without my character being a half-naked buffoon?"

    It's not limited to in-game, either. Wherever you go on the internet, you see games advertised with men in their underwear caressing their nipple, or soaking wet, or fawning over some badass (and fully-clothed) female, or draped over another mostly-naked man.

    I'm all in favor of salacious entertainment for both men and women, but it isn't sensible or appropriate in every game, or even in most games. Even if it weren't a question of inclusion, even if straight men were now and forever the only gamers that could exist, I still wouldn't want nearly as much pointless cheesecake as we get. There's nothing wrong with a little (even-handed) sex appeal, but the industry tends to way overshoot that and land in the territory of blatant pandering. It's actually insulting at times, like the Evony ads or (mildly NSFW) this stupid shit.

    Last thing - I noticed that you only mentioned books and films as examples of women's entertainment - what are examples of women's games? Since you mentioned the Starcraft 2 article, if a woman gets tired of looking at Kerrigan's bizarrely accentuated butt, what real-time strategy would you recommend that she play instead for some brain-rotting man-candy? What's an RTS that you have no interest in, because it was clearly marketed very sexually towards women?

    * I quite frequently don't find it awesome
    ** I'm just making this shit up, I don't actually know what marketing directors think women fantasize about
    Last edited by Mentalepsy; 10-04-2013 at 02:01 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mentalepsy View Post
    Imagine extracting some embarrassingly sexual male character from some random girl-porn.
    I think part of where this falls down is that on the whole men are more visually stimulated than women, and so things that are pandering to men are immediately obvious as such. While I accept that there is way less gaming stuff that panders to women, it's not as easily found via google image search, nor is it easy to transpose into your thought experiment, since based on my searches for "most attractive male video game character" it seems that women (or at least whoever is putting these articles together) are attracted to the character's personality more than their body. Obviously they still need to be attractive, but I don't think a game that is pandering to women would be full of oiled dudes in thongs, It's more likely that every non main character would be some sort of loveable rogue with a heart of gold or something.

    Part of the issue for me is that I don't really get what women sometimes find attractive. I can look at some actors/characters and even though I don't find them attractive I understand intellectually what it is about them that is, but sometimes I'm just baffled. Take Edward Cullen/Robert Patterson. I don't get it. His face looks blocky and slightly deformed to my eye.
    Sometimes I think that I could play a game that panders to women and not even notice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mentalepsy View Post
    OK, so the game's not for you, it's women's fantasy**. That's cool. Hell, it might even be funny once or twice
    I think it would be. In my searches for hot male characters I came across Dante from one of the DMC games who is wearing a leather jacket with nothing underneath and the front open showing off his chest. It's the closest thing to your theoretical example I've come across. It's vaguely impractical (mmm, sweat on leather, comfy) and just serves to shows off his fine, fine abs, but really I just find it slightly amusing. It raises a wry smile and then I move on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mentalepsy View Post
    - I might get a kick out of it, I have to admit - but after that, you can just move on to something else that's intended for men. Well, as it turns out, many if not most games don't let you play as a male character at all, and of the ones that do, most of them are exactly like that. Your armor in Everquest only covers your shoulders, leaving your heaving pecs and six-pack abs exposed. Batman wears a sequined bat-thong and little else. Instead of holding things over his head, Link lasciviously sucks his finger and purrs "mmm... nice chest" when he opens a treasure box.
    Again though, would women actually find that sexy or is it just faintly ridiculuous? (Is it both?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mentalepsy View Post
    Tex Murphy is described on the box as "an empowered and independent male detective," so he keeps his clothes on, but he's always in tight, low-cut jeans with his top four shirt buttons undone, the camera repeatedly pans over his bulging crotch in the opening movie, and we get at least two long, adoring shower scenes with him before the end of the game.
    Sweet. I wish I could rock the tight jeans and mostly undone shirt in real life. A bit too fat sadly.

    When I'm given a character creator that lets me recreate myself, what I create is usually a thinner and more muscular version of myself, because that's what I'd like to look like. Not because I'd like to be more powerful, but because I'd like to be more attractive. In hindsight, maybe I should give up the diet and work on my roguish qualities, but those are my motivations.

    If women don't want to play someone thinner than themselves with bigger breasts because they don't think the same way as I do, fine, but I honestly don't know if they do or not, or maybe there is some minority that find it objectionable while the majority are quite happy to do so, or some other more convoluted situation that isn't really helped by cries of "ban this sick filth".

    Quote Originally Posted by Mentalepsy View Post
    In cases like these, you may be playing the hero, but those heroes weren't really meant for you. Wouldn't you get tired of seeing the same female-pandering bullshit over and over, regardless of setting, context, genre, or character? Would you just give up and quit playing games, because games are apparently for women? I sure as hell wouldn't. I'd say "Hey, can we maybe have this same game without my character being a half-naked buffoon?"
    Maybe. Hard to say what I'd put up with to still be able to play games unless I experienced it, but I'm still putting up with stupid DRM, always online, microtransactions, and all sorts of other anti consumer crap and it hasn't stopped me yet...

    Here we also start to brush up against some logical inconsitancies.
    If there is an all pervasive anti-female environment scaring off women, how come 50% of gamers are women?
    (according to the supporting material in John's post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mentalepsy View Post
    Last thing - I noticed that you only mentioned books and films as examples of women's entertainment - what are examples of women's games? Since you mentioned the Starcraft 2 article, if a woman gets tired of looking at Kerrigan's bizarrely accentuated butt, what real-time strategy would you recommend that she play instead for some brain-rotting man-candy? What's an RTS that you have no interest in, because it was clearly marketed very sexually towards women?
    Of course there isn't one, but based on what the majority of women seem to consume in other media (in terms of romance novels/chick flicks) I'm not sure that the RTS as a genre is ever really going to be a coherent vehicle for what they're looking for. Then again, who knows, maybe Company of Heroes is full of chisel jawed men in uniform that were busy pushing buttons and I didn't notice.

  18. #18
    Hey, thanks for this thoughtful response.

    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    Obviously they still need to be attractive, but I don't think a game that is pandering to women would be full of oiled dudes in thongs, It's more likely that every non main character would be some sort of loveable rogue with a heart of gold or something.
    Could be. Like I said, I'm just making this shit up. :p But then, I find it a little hard to understand the male pandering, as well. Yes, breasts are nice and all, but what is with all the butt shots and armor cleavage windows and sex kitten main characters? Do guys in general like this crap, or do they just roll their eyes and get on with the game, like I do? I guess at least some must dig it, or there wouldn't be so much protest about how men are being enslaved in the burqa factory or whatever.

    That said, though, my aim was chiefly to come up with character designs and behaviors that prioritized absurd sexuality over hero fantasy or characterization. Like you said, men and women aren't necessarily perfect opposites when it comes to sex fantasy, but the purpose of my experiment is less "what would straight women want to see?" and more "what do straight men* probably not want to see?," since I think that's moreso the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    Part of the issue for me is that I don't really get what women sometimes find attractive. I can look at some actors/characters and even though I don't find them attractive I understand intellectually what it is about them that is, but sometimes I'm just baffled. Take Edward Cullen/Robert Patterson. I don't get it. His face looks blocky and slightly deformed to my eye.
    Sometimes I think that I could play a game that panders to women and not even notice.
    Ew, do women (or girls at least) like that dude? :p

    On balance, I don't get why guys like Angelina Jolie. Maybe I'm just the odd one out here.

    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    I think it would be. In my searches for hot male characters I came across Dante from one of the DMC games who is wearing a leather jacket with nothing underneath and the front open showing off his chest. It's the closest thing to your theoretical example I've come across. It's vaguely impractical (mmm, sweat on leather, comfy) and just serves to shows off his fine, fine abs, but really I just find it slightly amusing. It raises a wry smile and then I move on.
    Agree there. Of course, it's also not really an issue for the fiction, since he's a superhuman devil-knight and not terribly bothered by blocking a sword with his fine, fine abs. If a CSI agent dressed like that on the job, I'd be a bit puzzled at best.


    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    Again though, would women actually find that sexy or is it just faintly ridiculuous? (Is it both?)
    I'd say it's ridiculous, first and foremost, which is actually part of my point - what we have now is ridiculous. Is it sexy to women? Would it sell? I dunno (ladies, get in here and discuss the bat-thong!). I'm just trying to envision a scenario that would put male gamers in a roughly comparable situation, even if it isn't realistic. It's a little hard to really put myself in that place, because I've never been there and I'm not totally sure how it would really affect me, but the key here is saturation. It's easy to be amused by it here and there, but if I just kept seeing the same lame-brained crap over and over, I think it would start to grind on my nerves. The OP posted essentially that women have their unrealistic pandering and men have theirs, so everything's equal and balanced; the thing is that when it comes to games, it's really not.

    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    When I'm given a character creator that lets me recreate myself, what I create is usually a thinner and more muscular version of myself, because that's what I'd like to look like. Not because I'd like to be more powerful, but because I'd like to be more attractive. In hindsight, maybe I should give up the diet and work on my roguish qualities, but those are my motivations.

    If women don't want to play someone thinner than themselves with bigger breasts because they don't think the same way as I do, fine, but I honestly don't know if they do or not, or maybe there is some minority that find it objectionable while the majority are quite happy to do so, or some other more convoluted situation that isn't really helped by cries of "ban this sick filth".
    Nah. Most everyone wishes they were fitter and more attractive than they are; filling that in is just part of building a power fantasy. It's just that it doesn't really end at building a stronger, better you; whether it's your custom MMO character, your typical Strong Independent Female or just the supporting cast, so many of these characters seem to be written and draw under male gaze, even if unintentionally.

    Not that you can please everyone, of course. In MMOs, some women** complain about the ugly "realistic" armor, because they want to feel sexy in a plate bikini. So, it's nice to have options. There just tend not to be enough options.

    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    Maybe. Hard to say what I'd put up with to still be able to play games unless I experienced it, but I'm still putting up with stupid DRM, always online, microtransactions, and all sorts of other anti consumer crap and it hasn't stopped me yet...

    Here we also start to brush up against some logical inconsitancies.
    If there is an all pervasive anti-female environment scaring off women, how come 50% of gamers are women?
    (according to the supporting material in John's post)
    Well, I don't know that many have been scared off. Some have, I guess - most likely those who have had only passing interest in or introduction to games - but like I said, if the situation were reversed, I wouldn't give up my hobby. It might affect the games that I buy and play, but after a while, I would definitely speak up and say "hey, can we maybe get something different for a change, so my badass mercenary isn't running around in his underwear like an idiot?" The female gamers that I know are pretty much coming from that perspective.

    It's not always one or the other, obviously. Jesus_Phish brings up Lara Croft, who from what I've gathered appealed to a lot of women when she came out - in spite of, for example, the fact that she's lying naked on the beach for some stupid reason on my Last Revelation sleeve. They don't give that a pass, necessarily, but it isn't the only important thing.

    That's the point, really. You or I or Activision can assume things, but bringing people into the discussion to see what they actually want, what they actively don't want, and what they don't care about is the key.

    Quote Originally Posted by vagabond View Post
    Of course there isn't one, but based on what the majority of women seem to consume in other media (in terms of romance novels/chick flicks) I'm not sure that the RTS as a genre is ever really going to be a coherent vehicle for what they're looking for. Then again, who knows, maybe Company of Heroes is full of chisel jawed men in uniform that were busy pushing buttons and I didn't notice.
    Haha. Well, it's interesting that you say that, because it's true for men as well. If I were looking for fanservice, an RTS is about the last genre I'd go for. I guess Blizzard managed to cram some in anyway, though. After seeing Big Jim's big curves, I had to take a cold shower.

    * Frivolous side question: do gay dudes like the bat-thong?
    ** At least some of those women are actually women.
    Last edited by Mentalepsy; 10-04-2013 at 12:12 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mentalepsy View Post
    * Frivolous side question: do gay dudes like the bat-thong?
    If the Cho Aniki series is representative of anything other than the strangeness of its creators, then yes.

  20. #20
    Why are there people out there who feel it is their personal crusade to make me feel guilty for enjoying fantasy women in my fantasy entertainment?
    I think they don't have anything to do that is why they will talk about you or make you guilty on what you are doing. The bottom line is they are jealous with you.

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