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  1. #1

    bored, slighty aroused

    I'm wondering if there should be a forum section called "PC Gaming Discussion Discussion" because I got one of them. It's to do with female types that do games journalism. Which is going to make me sound inherently sexist. Bear with me.

    RPS fourteen minutes of Skyrim
    In the featured video there, there's a lady that gets excited about Skyrim and there's this running thread of comments that question her believability. I've seen it happen elsewhere. Someone mentioned Lisa Foiles in that comments thread and she has this 'top 5' video on The Escapist which I looked at in order to humour myself, then glanced at this firestorm of debate over her gender and appearance. What is going on?

    What I get conflicted about, and what I would like to discuss, is whether notably hot women working in gaming are there because of their gaming and journalist acumen or because of their looks. Obviously you have to go on a case by case basis, but I personally get the feeling that good looking women that want to get into games journalism might just have an easy ride because of the cynical man behind them, pushing eye candy for the purposes of the bottom line.

    I remember once watching The Destructoid Show and Tara Long gave a game a one word review of 'meh', which is a fucking crime. Sure, men also make bad reviews and she is usually pretty sharp but it gets concerning when someone's job is games journalism and that crime of a word is the best that they can come up with.

    I can't get my head around it. Note that I'm not trying to be sexist here, I think that anyone with the capabilities for the job is fit for it. My question is then: are female games journalists too often picked for their looks and gender instead of their acumen as journalists, because of the male-heavy target audience?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jockie's Avatar
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    Well, I think there are probably some cues being taken from the wider media in terms of video-journalism, in that a male-female presenting partnership is nearly always seen as preferable to male-male, in terms of engaging the widest audience. Because the audience for these kinds of shows is far younger than that of say, the news, they are always going to have younger more attractive people presenting it.

    I think it applies in a lot of cases to both the men and women in video journalism, that they are picked in terms of 'can they engage the audience' and 'will they attract viewers personally' (rather than just the games titles). That can be the only reasonable explanation, for not only the prevalence of 'hot' women on those shows, but also men with silly goatees.
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jockie View Post
    I think it applies in a lot of cases to both the men and women in video journalism, that they are picked in terms of 'can they engage the audience' and 'will they attract viewers personally' (rather than just the games titles). That can be the only reasonable explanation, for not only the prevalence of 'hot' women on those shows, but also men with silly goatees.
    Because if there's one thing I love it's a silly goatee!

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node icupnimpn2's Avatar
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    There is a roundtable discussion of women in comics at ComicsAlliance that touches on a lot of these matters from the "geek girl" perspective. The same questions are asked - does being a moderately attractive or "hot" woman give a career advantage?

    http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/0...cs-roundtable/

    I haven't seen the same kind of discourse with women in gaming.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Heh, Lisa Foiles. It's her that folks are tuning in for, not the content. And I'm sure she's perfectly aware of that.

    I'm not really sure what to think of it beyond that. I mean, it's more than her physical appearance: it's also her voice, mannerisms, and so on. And once we allow that, what's the difference between her and, say, Yahtzee?

    All I know is that she makes for a bright distraction on a dreary day.
    Last edited by Rii; 12-06-2011 at 07:43 PM.

  6. #6
    Network Hub Skull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by measurements View Post
    Someone mentioned Lisa Foiles in that comments thread and she has this 'top 5' video on The Escapist which I looked at in order to humour myself, then glanced at this firestorm of debate over her gender and appearance. What is going on?
    The Escapist is a site which prides itself on the appearance and personality of their journalists, they can talk absolute crap about a game but they do it in such a funny (sometimes) and entertaining way that it easily can make more views than a more serious review. The few Lisa Foiles videos I have watched were absolutly dreadful but she's stuck in my mind because she's fucking fit. I doubt The Escapist will ever hire an unattractive female to talk crap about games because I'm sure some ugly bird will halve their potential viewers.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skull View Post
    The Escapist is a site which prides itself on the appearance and personality of their journalists, they can talk absolute crap about a game but they do it in such a funny (sometimes) and entertaining way that it easily can make more views than a more serious review.
    For my part I think Extra Credits is more reliably intelligent and insightful than just about any other regular (i.e. scheduled) production I've come across.

  8. #8
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    There's no ugly men doing video-journalism in gaming either though are there?

    Yes, I think that to some extent there's a push for male/female presenting partnerships, and there are so few women trying to get in to games journalism they're probably at an advantage. And for for video-journalism, being attractive is also an advantage for either sex.

    But all that said, in my very limited experience, I don't think they employ unqualified people just for their looks. The one person I know working in this area is certainly more than qualified on the journalism side.

  9. #9
    I watched a Lisa Foiles video, and she didn't seem any more attractive than any other women I know, she just has relatively large tits.

    Really, I think the reason that there appears to be a larger amount of 'hot' women in video journalism is that there are, generally, more attractive women then there are notably unattractive ones; female video games journalists are not unusually attractive, they're perfectly normal, average women. And remember that games journalism is a relatively young media, and the majority of people working in it are also relatively young, and hence, more attractive.

    Besides which, the problem (if there even is one) isn't exclusive to video games journalism, just watch a news broadcast and compare the female newsreaders and/or weather girls to the male ones.

  10. #10
    Obscure Node pandora's Avatar
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    I've watched one of her top-5 series videos, too, and I cannot think of why I'd ever do it again. Content was much more irritating than her looks could ever be pleasing. Didn't think they cover video games on girls' disney channel now.

  11. #11
    Activated Node Basilicus's Avatar
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    It's a mistake to think it's only represented in games journalism. At least in America, there are a great many female anchors, film hosts, and field reporters (and especially in sports reporting) who have obviously been chosen for looks over talent.

    The problem is when there's a backlash against someone like Morgan Webb, who - like her or hate her - has worked her butt off in multiple roles for years at G4. Or take the backlash after The Daily Show hired Olivia Munn, someone who quite obviously traded on her body for years, but also worked very hard over those years and has displayed a considerable level of comedic talent.

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node TillEulenspiegel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by measurements View Post
    In the featured video there, there's a lady that gets excited about Skyrim and there's this running thread of comments that question her believability.
    That's a bit misleading. People were talking about both presenters as annoying and insincere. In fairness, there are a <i>lot</i> of annoying/idiotic people in tech/game journalism.

    Veronica Belmont is pretty good. Gina Trapani is beyond awesome, but she doesn't do anything with games. Belinda Vaughan of IncGamers knows her stuff. Bunch of women on gaming podcasts I couldn't name offhand, though Brilliant Gameologists comes to mind.

    Ignore the annoying crap. Watch/listen to the good stuff.

  13. #13
    I'd have to say that no, I don't think female game journalists get much of a push over their male alternatives. That may be skewed slightly by the fact the games journalism I consume is all print/web based, but the female game journalists I read seem just as capable as the men.

    Lisa Foiles is clearly fronting lots of fluff, she knows it and it's surely what the audience want given the large amount of 'top 5 excuses to talk rubbish about things' She wouldn't be my first choice for hot, though.. Also, they dis the Vectrex, which is an unforgivable crime..

  14. #14
    Can we chuck the return of booth babes at E3 into this thread too?

    I mean, they had booth babes promoting SPACE MARINE.

    How does that even work? I saw the photos, they'd gone to the trouble of building a great big drop pod which one could play the game in and then made sure it was populated by... women in tight white t-shirts with their logo on. It just doesn't quite make sense to me, I know there is the idea that sex sells, but how exactly does it work in this largely press only context? And how on earth do you end up deciding that a game based on what is perceived as one of the most geeky IPs around would have it's image really improved by having a few women paid to stand around in tight t-shirts and short shorts. I mean is anyone going to be fooled by that?

    - Do they hope that scantily clad women will attract games journalists to their stand? Are game journalists that easily taken in? I shouldn't think so and I imagine most of them have some form of pre-arranged schedule ANYWAY and aren't going to be taken in by such ploys. (Then again, the cheering and whooping after some of the big E3 announcements does rather make me wonder..) I take it that this is seen as a good marketing practice because most of those attending E3 are male?

    - Do they think that having scantily clad women will cause games journalists to write a more positive preview? Erm.. see most of the questions above..

    It does do a great job in reinforcing the idea that games are still mostly aimed at teenage boys however.
    Last edited by DainIronfoot; 13-06-2011 at 11:14 AM.

  15. #15
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DainIronfoot View Post
    Can we chuck the return of booth babes at E3 into this thread too?

    I mean, they had booth babes promoting SPACE MARINE.

    How does that even work? I saw the photos, they'd gone to the trouble of building a great big drop pod which one could play the game in and then made sure it was populated by... women in tight white t-shirts with their logo on.
    Actually I would have really liked it if they had used massive body builders who would scream in your ear like a cammel all through the demo. I think that would have set the tone.

    But yeah, attractive women as marketing is about as old a trick as they come. Cars, comics, games, I even so a booth babe at an industrial articulated door convention. The men are actually more annoying I'd say, just look at the horrendous MTV videogame coverage.

    Just stick to the blogs you can trust to use people who know what they're talking about and avoid the sponsered TV spots.

    For example- The Fragdolls
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxY89wR6728

    A group of girl gamers hired by Ubisoft to do a preview of a Ubisoft game without actually mentioning they were hired by Ubisoft.

    Personally I blame it on how Jade Raymond was treated. A woman leading a dev team on an ambitious project to launch a new franchise. A woman with genuine programming credentials. A woman who talked happily and knowlegebaly about the game and industry. A woman who commited the carnal sin of wearing make up for an interview. A woman who was thus rightly called a whore and treated as a glamour girl by Kotaku/Destructoid/almost every other blog.

    I can imagine many female game journalists throwing their hands up and just refusing to appear on camera. So the PR companies hire models to read out their scripts and only the most exhibitionist journalists get a look in.
    Last edited by Bhazor; 13-06-2011 at 04:02 PM.

  16. #16
    Handily, look what gametrailers just posted.

    http://www.gametrailers.com/video/e3...e3-2011/716236

    Heh.. well judging by the comments I guess it works. Good one gamers? :(

    It is slightly confusing for me though. I just can't ever see myself going "Hey, that game dev paid some really attractive women to pose next to it. I must buy this game!/My interest in this game has increased!"
    Last edited by DainIronfoot; 13-06-2011 at 04:57 PM.

  17. #17
    Network Hub Skeletor68's Avatar
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    It's all a little shameful really isn't it? Does anyone follow the brilliant http://gomakemeasandwich.wordpress.com/ blog by Wundergeek? She mentiones the booth babe phenomenon in a recent post. She is consistently funny and really does point out how pathetic things like bikini armour in video games are.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    The Fragdolls haven't been hired by UbiSoft exclusively. I know because one of them used to be Community Manager for around two weeks in a company (True Games Interactive) we were working with. After that, she was fired because she was absolutely and utterly terrible at her job. She's been a Fragdoll all the time.
    My games-related Twitter: VexingVision

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  19. #19
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexing Vision View Post
    The Fragdolls haven't been hired by UbiSoft exclusively. I know because one of them used to be Community Manager for around two weeks in a company (True Games Interactive) we were working with. After that, she was fired because she was absolutely and utterly terrible at her job. She's been a Fragdoll all the time.
    Well according to their own website
    "The Frag Dolls are a team of professional female gamers recruited by Ubisoft to promote their video games and represent the presence of women in the game industry. These gamer girls play and promote games at industry and game community events, compete in tournaments, and participate daily in online gamer geek activities."
    http://dev.fragdolls.com/index.php/about

    Admittedly I haven't seen them posing in bikinis or anything but the whole "represent the presence of women in the game industry" part makes them sound like some kind of traveling freak show.

    Roll up! Roll up! See a woman pwn a n00b!

    Also Gametrailer comments often embarrass the kind of people who argue on youtube videos.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Skeletor68 View Post
    It's all a little shameful really isn't it? Does anyone follow the brilliant http://gomakemeasandwich.wordpress.com/ blog by Wundergeek? She mentiones the booth babe phenomenon in a recent post. She is consistently funny and really does point out how pathetic things like bikini armour in video games are.
    I'm nervous about discussing this sort of stuff as there is a recent trend in the comment threads where this comes up of commenters arriving and going "Haha, look at you internet white knights! You are not manly enough for a woman!"

    So I stick to pointing out flaws in art design and how I think booth babes as a marketing ploy is a bit silly.

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