Pixelated Misogyny

Last May, Anita Sarkeesian–founder of Feminist Frequency–launched a Kickstarter for a video series about “stereotypes of female characters” in video games. The description begins, “I love playing video games but I’m regularly disappointed in the limited and limiting ways women are represented. “

With an initial goal of $6,000, it ultimately raised $158,922 from 6,967 backers. While this outcome speaks to the level of interest, Sarkeesian has written about receiving a “torrent of misogyny and hate speech” and “intimidation and harassment” from the gaming community.

“Damsel in Distress: Part 1 – Tropes vs Women in Video Games” was published to Youtube yesterday.

A quick quote from its 23:35 span:

“The damsel in distress is not just a synonym for weak. Instead it works by ripping away the power from female characters, even helpful or seemingly capable ones. No matter what we’re told about their magical abilities, skills or strengths, they’re still ultimately captured or otherwise incapacitated and then must wait for rescue.

Distilled down to its essence, the plot device works by trading the disempowerment of female characters for the empowerment of male characters.”

 

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  • Marcy

    So, if you’re captured and someone rescues you, that someone must be stronger than you?

    Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuulshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit

  • echar

    I do not understand, or do I, why she would make herself more of a target.

    The damsel doesn’t have to represent weak, it can represent vulnerable.

    Go ahead, empower females in video games and in real life. I think it’s awesome. However, keep your fucking political correctness out of my video games.

    • http://www.xenex.org/ xen

      She asked for $6000 to make the sort of videos that people make for free or cheap on their own decrying the politics of video games. This stirred up a lot of anger and people responded to the misogyny by giving her $158,922.

      That might be why she would make herself more of a target.

    • http://www.xenex.org/ xen

      She asked for $6000 to make the sort of videos that people make for free or cheap on their own decrying the politics of video games. This stirred up a lot of anger and people responded to the misogyny by giving her $158,922.

      That might be why she would make herself more of a target.

      • echar

        I need to rethink how I go about getting paid.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    What about Samus?

    • bobbiethejean

      I do believe this should answer your question: http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/learning-from-other-m

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        Shhhh That game doesn’t really exist. I dont believe you *hands clamped on ears* “Lalalalalala”

        • bobbiethejean

          LOL! XD

  • Eric_D_Read

    With all the money she received, she could have designed and pitched her own game with female characters done the way she wants too see them. I guess it’s just easier to whine and keep playing the “damsel in distress.”

    • Eric_D_Read

      …under a thin veneer of “empowerment” of course.

    • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

      isn’t that what she did? …raised the money to develop a game?

      • Eric_D_Read

        No. She raised money to make videos of her whining about stuff she doesn’t like.

  • Tio Holtzman

    MAYBE IF THE PRINCESS DIDN’T DRESS THAT WAY SHE WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN KIDNAPPED? DID YOU THINK OF THAT???

  • Tio Holtzman

    MAYBE IF THE PRINCESS DIDN’T DRESS THAT WAY SHE WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN KIDNAPPED? DID YOU THINK OF THAT???

  • edrazeeba

    Translation: “Will you big, strong video game developers make a game for me?”

    • ishmael2009

      Hey, Max Headroom! Haven’t seen you in years.

  • BrainofJFK

    Funny how she fails to mention any strong female characters in videogame history. Samus being a great example, which goes all the way back to the early days of Nintendo. What about Claire and Jill from the first two Resident Evil games? Or Aya from parasite Eve? Or Terra and Celes from Final Fantasy 3? Or the Rogue from Diablo 1 or the Sorceress and Amazon from Diablo 2? Or Kerrigan from Starcraft 1? The fact that she failed to even mention any of these strong female characters shows she is just riding sensationalism for profit and/or views. Whilst I do agree that the over sexed female character is over done in the industry, not even acknowledging the other end of the spectrum just makes her intentions all the more clear. And to be fair, the audience was mostly made up of socially awkward males the previous two decades. If they wanted to succeed, they had to appeal to that demographic. I mean, look at all the female crotch novels that women love to read, there are some pretty prevalent male streotypes that really help those books sell.

    And in closing, I want to mention my girlfriend has always been a huge fan of the Zelda series and gets a total wettie at the thought of Link coming to rescue her.

    • lazy_friend

      Link is pretty androgynous in my opinion anyway.

    • bobbiethejean

      Didn’t Samus eventually turn into a subservient, approval-seeking DID in the end? Claire and Jill? You mean the barely legal, ridiculously over-qualified teens who inexplicably had massive amounts of military and/or police training? ;) Now Aya was a good example. I’ll give you that one. The others, I don’t know of them.

      You’re missing is the big picture here….

      1.) You named a few examples of strong, serious female characters that don’t exist purely to incite boners. Yipee! Now stack them up against the sea of serious male characters and DIDs. Mmmmmhm. See the problem?

      2.) How do you know she won’t mention these characters in a later video? This is a SERIES after all. ;)

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        Other M doesn’t exist. Its a myth. Stop spreading your lies.

        • bobbiethejean

          :P Lol. *snicker* Do you hate it that much?

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            No, I don’t really hate it THAT much, it was enjoyable enough to play.. i guess…
            But this article is the subject matter of precisely why the game is disliked. She had enough backstory in her troubled childhood to explain her stoic cold badassery. She didn’t need to have a strong daddy figure(or to redo it poorly, when it was already implied in Metroid Fusion….. oh right, Other M had basically the exact same story as Fusion..). They somehow paradoxically portrayed her as the little girl needing saving, while being the protagonist in her own game.

            Ridley was given a much better backstory in the game… probably because he never talked.

  • echar

    I’ll just put this here.

  • BuzzCoastin

    ya mean the same industry that trained Der Homeland’s drone piglets
    is also a creator of misogynistic content?
    I neva woulda thunk it!

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Why do Feminists often have no sense of individuality? Like why identify with all women everywhere? Why not think of yourself as an individual?

    • Eric_D_Read

      The ones at the top of the pyramid do. They program the prole women to support policies that benefit women who are already extremely privileged, just like any other postmodern political movement.

    • bobbiethejean

      Why do so many men assume feminists want to control other women? Any true feminist will fight for the right of women to be floral dress-clad, sammich-making, house-wives as they will for the rights of women to have control over their own reproduction, equal pay for equal work, voting rights, and proper representation in government. The mistake you make is in stereotyping feminists. Sure, there are some man-hating feminists out there who want to control other women- the same as there are some black people who are thugs, men who think women are only good for making sammiches, rednecks who are racist, Christians who think gays are evil. Do I need to finish that point or can you follow it to its logical conclusion? I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you can. ;)

    • bobbiethejean

      Why do so many men assume feminists want to control other women? Any true feminist will fight for the right of women to be floral dress-clad, sammich-making, house-wives as they will for the rights of women to have control over their own reproduction, equal pay for equal work, voting rights, and proper representation in government. The mistake you make is in stereotyping feminists. Sure, there are some man-hating feminists out there who want to control other women- the same as there are some black people who are thugs, men who think women are only good for making sammiches, rednecks who are racist, Christians who think gays are evil. Do I need to finish that point or can you follow it to its logical conclusion? I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you can. ;)

      • geminihigh

        There is no gender requirement to be a feminist. I am a man and a feminist. There seems to be an ongoing psychic war between true female feminists who value rights and liberty for all and the old guard “bitchgot”/feminazi/female supremacist hags who tend to proliferate academia, spewing their hatred for men and women who don’t agree with their stance (happy to say that I had a true feminist professor, and she made it clear that she doesn’t care for the old guard.) These bitchgots won’t even acknowledge that men can be prostituted just like women can. Also, Ted said “why do feminists OFTEN” not “why do feminists have…” often and many both can be used to the same effect. His point is valid. There are many people who see themselves as individuals yet identify as feminists, but MANY female feminists just seem to love the empowerment of their gang mentality. They love the feeling of being righteous and making waves, and the sisterhood of womyn or however they spell it. To that I say, go join a sewing club ya dumb bitch…

      • geminihigh

        There is no gender requirement to be a feminist. I am a man and a feminist. There seems to be an ongoing psychic war between true female feminists who value rights and liberty for all and the old guard “bitchgot”/feminazi/female supremacist hags who tend to proliferate academia, spewing their hatred for men and women who don’t agree with their stance (happy to say that I had a true feminist professor, and she made it clear that she doesn’t care for the old guard.) These bitchgots won’t even acknowledge that men can be prostituted just like women can. Also, Ted said “why do feminists OFTEN” not “why do feminists have…” often and many both can be used to the same effect. His point is valid. There are many people who see themselves as individuals yet identify as feminists, but MANY female feminists just seem to love the empowerment of their gang mentality. They love the feeling of being righteous and making waves, and the sisterhood of womyn or however they spell it. To that I say, go join a sewing club ya dumb bitch…

        • bobbiethejean

          There is no gender requirement to be a feminist. Where exactly did I say there was?

          Also, Ted said “why do feminists OFTEN” not “why do feminists have He also did NOT specify “some feminists” or “many feminists,” instead painting them all with a broad brush. Maybe he didn’t mean it that way but I object on semantical grounds.

          but MANY female feminists just seem to love the empowerment of their gang mentality You seem like belaboring the point about how nasty some female feminists can be.

          To that I say, go join a sewing club ya dumb bitch… I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this isn’t directed specifically at me.

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        she wants to control pixelated women!

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        she wants to control pixelated women!

        • bobbiethejean

          *snort* :P

  • InfvoCuernos

    !?!? Sooo, Lara Croft isn’t strong enough?

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    If Men create one dimensional female characters, it just illustrates that they don’t understand women. Would Public shaming by feminists remedy that? Or would going out there and doing it yourself be the solution?

    • bobbiethejean

      Awareness raising is a key aspect of changing the tides. Maybe this will have absolutely no effect. Maybe it will. As to going out there and “doing it yourself,” easier said than done. Believe me, I know. I was an animator.

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        raise awareness? Something should be done! Something should be done!
        Ok I raised awareness. Pay me.

        • bobbiethejean

          Smart ass. :P

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Hey, you might do something like this, eh? You should ask her if she needs concept art

          • bobbiethejean

            Ya know, that didn’t even occur to me. Hm……. That is a great idea. :) Might be worth a try.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            You’d be the person for the job! A Feminist who is also a bad ass Fantasy Sci Fi artist!

          • bobbiethejean

            Dawwww. ^__^ Thanks.

            Ya know actually……. and this might sound silly but hey, I’ll just lay it on the table…. I don’t actually consider myself a feminist, per se. *le gasp* Maybe this is a crap argument and I could be talked about of it but I really don’t like the name “feminist.” Yes, I am a feminist in principle. I will say that much but I would prefer a term that is not so inherently divisive and exclusive….. maybe something like…. um…. equalist? Or can’t-we-all-just-get-alongist? I dunno. XD

            I agree with feminist goals, generally, at least as I understand them- men and women should be treated fairly. Equal pay for equal work. People should not be expected to conform to gender roles and conversely, if they do conform to gender roles, that’s their choice and good on em. People should not receive special treatment based on their gender or sex unless it’s warranted (example of warranted special treatment: pregnancy care for women, prostate cancer exams for men etc etc. Not warranted: Many of the alimony laws unfairly favor women and a lot of hiring practices unfairly favor men etc etc.)

            Anyway, I could go on and on. Long story short, yeah, I’m a feminist in principle but the name just….. doesn’t sit right with me. To me, that is actually a big deal. It feels exclusive and that in and of itself is counter to the goals of feminism. To me, “feminism” sounds like a dictate that everything should be feminized even though that is not at ALL what feminism is really about. I also feel like it might just innately be off-putting to men who would otherwise happily take part in securing equality and fairness for women around the world.

            Maybe it’s just a semantical argument but something about the word “feminism” just feels off to me. Thoughts?

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            I actually like Feminists better than butt hurt “Men’s rights activists”
            They are all like “Oh No! my testicles fell off! It must be some woman’s fault! Yeah Leather men!”

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Ideally i’d expect the only task of a “men’s rights activist” to be a hound to notice when feminism oversteps its bounds. There’s really nothing wrong with feminists that can agree that sometimes feminism gets out of hand. The ones that think feminism can do no wrong, and incidentally believe women are superior to men in every way, are the ones that deserve to be shunned. I like bobbiethejean’s term Equalist.

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Being a “men’s Rights activist” is not a way to “keep your pimp hand strong” so to speak.

          • ishmael2009

            BobbietheJean – I like the way you think. As I understand it, you’re for the empowerment of women (and any other group as well i would guess) but as people, not as pawns in some theoretical game of favorites, where someone has to lose for someone else to win

          • bobbiethejean

            Yes, exactly. I don’t understand why discussions about gender equality always turn into a NO U tug of war where women’s rights are are seen as taking away from men’s rights and vice versa. I try to take a more mature tack and look at the situation as objectively as I can.

  • WhatMattRz

    Metroid’s always been one my favorite franchises. And yeeeah, you do have the option to play as her in her underwear in the original but c’mon, she’s still one of videogame’s biggest bad-asses.

  • WhatMattRz

    Metroid’s always been one my favorite franchises. And yeeeah, you do have the option to play as her in her underwear in the original but c’mon, she’s still one of videogame’s biggest bad-asses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tgorethurst Sven Schmidt

    She brings up sooo many good points, its ridiculous how you guys minimalise and distort her point of view. She never once states that she is against the damsel in distress scenario in its entirety, she is just calling for a re-inovation of games to better represent the female sex in a more equalistic fashion. Sure there are a couple of games with strong female protagonists but they are far and in between, males have always dominated in video games. Especially in the 90′s when developers were looking for an audience for their blooming industry, who else was there then the young male generation of that decade?

    People have consumed hours upon hours playing games targeted towards males. I can understand when my friend gets perturbed by the lack of heroines starring in games as their fore most protagonists. The damsel in distress scenario becomes redundant; it undermines the sense of female independence, devalues their social role as an equal to their male counterpart and reinforces male superiority.

    It is only in recent years that women have broken into the game industry as developers (animators, modellers, riggers, concept artists, etc) and have to deal with a very fixed mindset that has remained unchallenged since its conception. The video game industry is a new and developing industry but one that seems to follow the very male hetero-centric traditions of 20th century media and male chauvinism. I can see why, for some women, the video game industry can be a discouraging and even hostile place. A place where one may feel alienated and pressured into complying to a male mindset that has had almost 3 decades to germinate, leaving room to develop and grow with out the say of the opposite sex.

    Just look at the hooters are some of those characters from Soul Calibur!.

    • Womanon

      As a feminist I feel Sarkesian is helping perpetuate the overly negative hyper pc aspects of feminism, she purposely ignores several positive female characters in gaming to make a point, and while i do agree that their needs to be more, I think she is hurting the cause as a whole.

    • Womanon

      As a feminist I feel Sarkesian is helping perpetuate the overly negative hyper pc aspects of feminism, she purposely ignores several positive female characters in gaming to make a point, and while i do agree that their needs to be more, I think she is hurting the cause as a whole.

    • Eric_D_Read

      She brings up nothing but stale PC talking points dressed as Joss Wheden memes.
      Games are targeted towards males because males are the most reliable consumers; period. The video game industry seems hostile to “women” (read: feminists) because it wasn’t designed for them.
      The formula of postmodern feminism is to seek out and eradicate any space that exists for males to gather independent of female oversight. They’re the new Puritans

      • http://www.facebook.com/tgorethurst Sven Schmidt

        Man thats bull shit, I know some chicks who like playing video games! It just takes time. I understand there point of view. I would love to see some more females depicted objectively in video games!

        Video games are no longer designed solely for the “male” audience. I thought people on this website would be more agreeable on this. I’m sure more girls would play video games if they were constructed in a more realistic fashion. I know there has to be an audience for video games, but honestly me being a gay man, I get tired of the repeated plot device of the damsel. She doesn’t want a game made for her – it is not simply one game that should be made with a strong female lead, or two, its about changing the very fundamental way in which we perceive women in video games and how we represent them. Its about shifting our view of video games from male Egocentrism to an incorporative sensibility that views every one regardless of of gender, race, age, culture, or orientation as a capable hero.

        Think about it :) I have several friends who work in animation (ubisoft, square enix, etc), and I studied Illustration, I know how it is. Women in games (look at Laura Croft) are highly idealized. I have quite a few female friends who have enjoyed playing video games and would just like to see developers mix things up for a change, I would too.

        • echar

          I understand as well, but you won’t see me joining a sewing circle and complaining that there’s not enough bare tits, bare ass, and cold beer. Besides video games have come a long way. I am honestly hard pressed to think of a game that has a damsel in distress, that I have played recently at least. Also, she doesn’t mention the alchemical value of the damsel.

          Xcom: There are female and male soldiers. Right now I have a bad ass female sniper, she’s one of my most valuable team members.

          Guild Wars 2: I have a female Elementalist that is beyond awesome.

          Civilisation V: They just added Boudica. She is awesome because of the extra faith.

          and that’s just off the top of my head…

          • http://www.facebook.com/tgorethurst Sven Schmidt

            Alright cool X)

          • http://www.facebook.com/tgorethurst Sven Schmidt

            Alright cool X)

        • Eric_D_Read

          I know some chicks (although many feminists would accuse us both of raging misogyny for using that term) who play games too. They don’t bitch and moan about how women are depicted in gaming.

          “I’m sure more girls would play video games if they were constructed in a more realistic fashion.” Games are an escape from reality. That’s the whole freaking point.

        • http://twitter.com/AkumaPhyre AkumaPhyre

          Have you played a video game in the last 5 to 10 years? Check out the new Tomb Raider, Laura Croft is a complete 360 from the “set of walking tits” she used to be, the game is amazing.

        • http://twitter.com/AkumaPhyre AkumaPhyre

          Have you played a video game in the last 5 to 10 years? Check out the new Tomb Raider, Laura Croft is a complete 360 from the “set of walking tits” she used to be, the game is amazing.

          • Roger Mexico

            Protip: A “complete 360″ puts you in exactly the same place where you started.

      • bobbiethejean

        You might want to take a look at some of the stats here before you make assumptions about males being “more reliable customers.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_and_video_games#Female_gamers_as_a_demographic

        • Eric_D_Read

          And what percentage of that 48% do you think are mothers buying games for their sons?

          • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

            that’s a really patronizing question

          • bobbiethejean

            I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you didn’t fully read or understand the information rather than seriously positing that women are too stupid to know the difference between buying and PLAYING videogames.

            http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2006/10/7922/

          • http://twitter.com/AkumaPhyre AkumaPhyre

            This is where people will get into the argument about what qualifies as “gamer” the hardcore set will automatically say that people who play online games like farmville etc, don’t qualify as gamers, and that argument has nothing to do with feminism, I know hardcore female players who would make that same argument.

          • bobbiethejean

            I would not engage in that argument. A gamer is someone who plays games. I mean, when someone, male or female, starts modifying a simple definition to exclude people….. I dunno. That just seems silly to me. And it’s besides the point. There are LOTS of female gamers and we don’t deserve to be mocked, marginalized, or dismissed just because we have tits or may have a preference for Farmville over COD (if that’s even the case, I don’t know).

          • http://twitter.com/AkumaPhyre AkumaPhyre

            It is silly but that’s what happens in the “gaming world”, people break down into cliques, and factions, it’s been this way for awhile, the reason(IMO) is because now that its become more socially acceptable to game(this goes with other nerd hobbies as well),people resent the “new blood”(what they call casuals) so its done in an attempt to marginalize them and say “you aren’t really part of our group:”. The reason for the resentment is because they feel these people haven’t “paid their dues” and didn’t have to go through what they did. I probably would have had that view years ago, but now I’m just like “meh, whatever”, I think its ultimately beneficial to get more people into the hobby.

          • http://twitter.com/AkumaPhyre AkumaPhyre

            It is silly but that’s what happens in the “gaming world”, people break down into cliques, and factions, it’s been this way for awhile, the reason(IMO) is because now that its become more socially acceptable to game(this goes with other nerd hobbies as well),people resent the “new blood”(what they call casuals) so its done in an attempt to marginalize them and say “you aren’t really part of our group:”. The reason for the resentment is because they feel these people haven’t “paid their dues” and didn’t have to go through what they did. I probably would have had that view years ago, but now I’m just like “meh, whatever”, I think its ultimately beneficial to get more people into the hobby.

          • bobbiethejean

            Agreed.

        • Roger Mexico

          Well, so that says close to half of gamers are female, now in 2013, if we include “casual” games like Angry Birds and Farmville.

          I’d call that a positive sign that things are trending in the right direction, but it’s not going to cause an entire industry to change overnight. That takes industry execs noticing something in the figures showing who is actualy shelling out $400 for a console and $60 every time a new game comes out. That’s the market where the heavy R & D investment goes, and that market has reliably (in an over-time sense) consisted overwhelmingly of young males. (Except a lot of those “young males” have now remained customers until they became middle aged males.)

          It’s why there’s a constant torrent of mediocre FPS games coming out all the time–the industry has noticed that money put into any FPS concept almost always yields at least a decent number of sales, and this has never stopped being true at any point in the last 20 years. “Innovative” or untested genres and concepts have a higher bar to clear, especially if their ostensible selling point is their ability to bring in customers from ‘non-traditional’ demographics. (i.e. people who are old and/or female) They have to answer the question “why should my company devote investment capital to this idea when I already know that I have a certain very loyal customer base with very predictable tastes, and this isn’t like the things that I know they prefer?”

          Story-driven genres like adventure games are all about giving the player an avatar they can identify with, and then giving the avatar character relatable problems to solve. If most of the people playing the games are young males, you’d expect to see most games feature avatar characters who are also young and male. The other characters are either going to be villains, or they’re going to be friends of the avatar character that factor into the problems he (or she, but most often he) has to solve. Since everything revolves around the player character’s actions (otherwise it’s a pretty boring game) the role of every non-player, non-villain character in the story is going to be relatively passive by definition. As far as relatable problems go, “the cute girl who helped you before is now in need of rescue or protection from that guy you hate” is a beaten to death cliche, but the reason it’s been used that often should be obvious to anyone who’s ever known a 16-year-old boy.

          It’s a chicken and egg situation–an industry that has learned it succeeds when it caters to young male customers is remarkably sparse on content that appeals to anyone else–but I think women who would like the industry to cater to them more are only shooting themselves in the foot if they avoid gaming because of its male-centric marketing philosophy. Right now the industry just doesn’t need women the way it needs teenage boys. At this point, unfortunately, a game can easily make money even if it alienates female audiences, because the female audience would be relatively small whether the company made an effort to appeal to them or not. But in most cases a game that flops among teenage boys is a game that flops, period. A big, expensive project where significant resources were committed to pushing the envelope in terms of graphics, gameplay mechanics and such can easily become a disastrous decision if the product is a flop among the crucial teenage-boy segment of the market. Therefore, companies tend to figure it’s a shrewd move to regard an overall testosterone-soaked blood-and-tits aesthetic as a required ingredient in any game that’s going to be a top-billed, super-hyped make-or-break investment. In this particular market, at the moment, the “invisible hand” has a notable tendency to feel like scratching its invisible balls.

          The way to change that (and this is happening already) is for women to start playing the games anyway, and make female gamers a demographic that the industry can’t afford to piss off anymore than it can afford to piss off 16-year-old boys. Complaining from the sidelines probably isn’t going to have any appreciable effect.

          Obligatory troll comment: Anyone who thinks women are underrepresented in video games is obviously not familiar with the “Dead or Alive” series.

          Obligatory troll comment 2 (Assassin’s Creed edition): “A woman! What sorcery is this?”

        • Roger Mexico

          Well, so that says close to half of gamers are female, now in 2013, if we include “casual” games like Angry Birds and Farmville.

          I’d call that a positive sign that things are trending in the right direction, but it’s not going to cause an entire industry to change overnight. That takes industry execs noticing something in the figures showing who is actualy shelling out $400 for a console and $60 every time a new game comes out. That’s the market where the heavy R & D investment goes, and that market has reliably (in an over-time sense) consisted overwhelmingly of young males. (Except a lot of those “young males” have now remained customers until they became middle aged males.)

          It’s why there’s a constant torrent of mediocre FPS games coming out all the time–the industry has noticed that money put into any FPS concept almost always yields at least a decent number of sales, and this has never stopped being true at any point in the last 20 years. “Innovative” or untested genres and concepts have a higher bar to clear, especially if their ostensible selling point is their ability to bring in customers from ‘non-traditional’ demographics. (i.e. people who are old and/or female) They have to answer the question “why should my company devote investment capital to this idea when I already know that I have a certain very loyal customer base with very predictable tastes, and this isn’t like the things that I know they prefer?”

          Story-driven genres like adventure games are all about giving the player an avatar they can identify with, and then giving the avatar character relatable problems to solve. If most of the people playing the games are young males, you’d expect to see most games feature avatar characters who are also young and male. The other characters are either going to be villains, or they’re going to be friends of the avatar character that factor into the problems he (or she, but most often he) has to solve. Since everything revolves around the player character’s actions (otherwise it’s a pretty boring game) the role of every non-player, non-villain character in the story is going to be relatively passive by definition. As far as relatable problems go, “the cute girl who helped you before is now in need of rescue or protection from that guy you hate” is a beaten to death cliche, but the reason it’s been used that often should be obvious to anyone who’s ever known a 16-year-old boy.

          It’s a chicken and egg situation–an industry that has learned it succeeds when it caters to young male customers is remarkably sparse on content that appeals to anyone else–but I think women who would like the industry to cater to them more are only shooting themselves in the foot if they avoid gaming because of its male-centric marketing philosophy. Right now the industry just doesn’t need women the way it needs teenage boys. At this point, unfortunately, a game can easily make money even if it alienates female audiences, because the female audience would be relatively small whether the company made an effort to appeal to them or not. But in most cases a game that flops among teenage boys is a game that flops, period. A big, expensive project where significant resources were committed to pushing the envelope in terms of graphics, gameplay mechanics and such can easily become a disastrous decision if the product is a flop among the crucial teenage-boy segment of the market. Therefore, companies tend to figure it’s a shrewd move to regard an overall testosterone-soaked blood-and-tits aesthetic as a required ingredient in any game that’s going to be a top-billed, super-hyped make-or-break investment. In this particular market, at the moment, the “invisible hand” has a notable tendency to feel like scratching its invisible balls.

          The way to change that (and this is happening already) is for women to start playing the games anyway, and make female gamers a demographic that the industry can’t afford to piss off anymore than it can afford to piss off 16-year-old boys. Complaining from the sidelines probably isn’t going to have any appreciable effect.

          Obligatory troll comment: Anyone who thinks women are underrepresented in video games is obviously not familiar with the “Dead or Alive” series.

          Obligatory troll comment 2 (Assassin’s Creed edition): “A woman! What sorcery is this?”

  • lazy_friend

    Male vs Female topics confuse me like nothing else. Video games are mostly fantasy anyway. I barely play these days anyway “ain’t nobody got time for that”. She should tackle the issue as to why female soccer is not a major sport in the USA; those girls are good. American women dominate the international soccer scene and I would love to see pro female soccer players, instead of the shame that is the MLS.

    • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

      so she should just drop this and work on soccer?

      • lazy_friend

        I don’t know what the fuck she should do dude, that’s up to her, I take everything people asking for money say with a grain of salt even it the cause seems legit. I just know what I would like to see and that is some female pro soccer, and not because I’m trying to suck up but because they are skilled and deserve the attention purely on athletic competence.

      • lazy_friend

        I was raised by my mother and my aunts “all strong women”. Maybe that is why I have no Idea of what is going on. It seems like I have never met a submissive woman in my life, I surely never dated one.

  • http://twitter.com/svulliez Shon Vulliez

    I had no idea that the commenters on disinfo were all misogynistic manchildren
    thanks for posting this article to give them a chance to clear that up.

    • Guest

      Thanks! I’ve added several people to my Shit List. lol

    • ishmael2009

      Really? All of them? I can see one or two rather silly comments, but all of them?

      • http://twitter.com/svulliez Shon Vulliez

        when I commented originally, it was just a tide of stupid comments. maybe its better now.

  • bobbiethejean
    • echar

      A game based on or around Kali would be excellent.

  • Monkey See Monkey Do

    More games just need to have the male or female character option with minor dialogue changes for each character. Skyrim did a good job of it.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I dunno, that approach is just a good way to have a completely empty shell to play through, rather than a real fleshed out character.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I actually watched it. She is kind of cute. I think a lot of rich Jewish women thought so too. LOL!

    I think The Knight Trope, chivalry etc. is actually very honoring to women. I think it is related to honoring The divine feminine.
    Knights are all about honor. So in this trope femininity is seen as a higher good to dedicate oneself to in service.

    I think by the time it gets to video games it gets pretty watered down and corny though, but I think originally their hearts were in the right place.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I want to see a character based on Andrea Dworkin in a buckskin Bikini with swords and shit.

  • BrendanBabbage

    All her pathetic rants are is a “Post-Feminist” garbage spew.
    Just raving to pretend she’s worth anything digging and digging to find a cause so she can scream women are victims.
    One Man’s Opinion.

    See, the New World Order rammed Feminism down our throats. Congrads, they won. Lots of women now die alone in old age, men are too afraid to marry them if they are worth more than two nickels and so would be savaged by easy divorce and an anti-male in-justice system. Men get treated like criminals applying for any job they aren’t twice as qualified for. Women, minorities they “Just pick one” from the que of ones that claim to be qualified on the resume. But they are both “Liberated” and “Empowered” giving them an actual better status. Let’s note also that having women work on average effectively doubled the workforce. And combine that with jobs going overseas, illegal immigrants tolerated…well do you wonder why our standard of living collapsed?

    Welcome to the Global Villiage…excuse me “Global Sweatshop”… But hey, we are “More and more equal” as leaves helplessly blowing in the wind… Fewer big extended families that stick together in good times and bad, except among the elites.

    Oh, wait! This is what the feminists scream, still trying to find meaning and bash the man, especially the WHITE man… “Our wages are still proportionately lower than men!!!” they say.

    Don’t worry, toots, the New World Order, the Globalist Bankers hear ya! And guess what? They are lowering Men’s wages to match yours as quick as possible! Thanks! Congrads!

    So, what’s this got to do with video games?
    With this whiny “Trope Pope”?

    Simple, she’s going to wreck the video game industry as a dutiful NWO puppet.
    One Man’s opinion again.

    Video games are still an “Outside” industry. Unlike publishing, tobacco, alcohol, television, radio they are still largely uncontrolled by the government. They were always treated like a vice not worth totally banning yet, though always arcades were cheap shots for moralist fear mongering. But now they are big money, and can afford lawyers, lobbyists, have business partners elsewhere. Taking them down will take a big op, and since they kept doing the same cheap shots (drugs, youth violence) they need new ones the public isn’t used to.

    The reason they have so many “tropes” to use her term is that they can’t rely on bailouts and subsidies and the competition is murderous. By contrast publisher can make a gentleman’s agreement and cancel “Man’s Adventure”, “Man’s Action” etc. magazine despite a solid base that easily makes a profit then publish “Women’s Oppression”, “Hate the White male” tons of other PC drek and slime, have lackluster sales and get money written out of taxes to push the agenda. Instead of capitalizing on their stupidity, the other publishers follow suit and a “Globalist PC agenda” targeting the white male is implemented. Happened in the late 70s. Video games have none of that, they make games that sell or they die. Yeah, we had those “Winners don’t use drugs” startup files, those were extortion, used as an alternative of a “Crackdown” on arcades whom they cheap shot blamed for kid’s drug addiction.

    Video games then have to cater to the group that buys them the most; “The White Male” and if anything they are already waaay too toned down. Frankly, she has to dig to find anything anyone but her would call ‘sexist’ and boy does she dig.

    So, what harm can this lady do? Why don’t we just leave her alone? Isn’t all she did was con people into giving her via kickstarter money to do what she’d have done already? More power to her, maybe we in the “Conspiracy” crowd should try that Kickstarter thing to publish our next book or produce a YouTube show?

    Well, the Media which is “PC” could use it as a threat to the video game industry. If they blocked ads for video games, disrupted publications that advertise them, blocked ads from controlled publications, they’d do a lot of damage. So the “Big Dogs” would start making nothing but “Little big planet” type games. No problem with that game, but imagine if it was the ONLY choice? And doing this they’d bleed dry the “Indie” and “Art” game market, using and abusing their ideas for quick profit. And lacking the macho action shooters the big money would bleed from the industry, leading to a collapse worthy of the 2600 “ET” triggered one.

    If anything there’d be MORE “Violent Sexism” in games then. It’d become the new “Indie”…
    The people remaining would be smaller developers selling over the internet and not fearing an AO rating they’d make tons of “Sex games” like Japanese level, but instead of Loli (it’d get them in trouble, fewer pedos anyways) make “Rape/Brothel” ones. Or the fantasy crowd would make “Barbarian” games worthy of Norman’s “Gor” – that’d be fun, character hacks through a village and then grabs a pretty woman carrying her away “Woman! Why you scream!? OG will give you MANY BABIES!!!” Then, when the media went on to the next batch of Frogwash, the “Industry” would come back and guess what they’d buy out to avoid having to think? The new “Indie” games and we’d get Skyrim or rather next next gen level graphics “Woman! Why you scream!? Og will give you Many Babies!!!”

    And for the record, one of my favorite modern games was/is “Aquaria”… But hearing this whiny “Trope Pope” I DO want to as my next project make “Worriors of Torrggg!!!” with a barbarian doing the “Og will give you…” thing on the cover just to flip off this whiny….

    • bobbiethejean

      Wow. Did you even watch the video at all? Because she had a lot of valid points. You are coming across like a woman-hating zealot.

      • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

        exactly

      • http://twitter.com/RayButlers Ray Butlers

        exactly

      • BrendanBabbage

        I’ve watched her videos fully.

        I’m truly amazed at how well she can dig.

        One man’s opinion but if you set her loose in “Minecraft” she’d find all the diamonds in the game’s theoretical limits (about 1/4 the earth’s area) faster than you can believe. AND she’d find tons of sexism and racism and misogyny, you’d think it was programmed by Hitler himself…

        And I mean this.

        She’s only going to do harm. Frankly, from most “Sexist Male” points of view, the mainstream gaming industry is TOO “Politically Correct”… Push it farther, he’ll stop buying games, there are enough out there already.

        Essentially in this sh-t economy this could trigger another “Video Game Crash”. Then the industry would ‘accept’ the teat of the government, though the real money would just be more handouts to the top guys who’d keep having the programming done outside the USA and stretching the real creators super thin, then tossing away/blacklisting any good ones. The industry would then bleed dry the “Indie/Art Game” market. Imagine nothing but “Little big planet/Flower” derivatives, but once in a while the bird goes “Kids, don’t use drugs, mmkay!?”

        Ultimately the backlash would be far more sexism, objectification, violence against women in games than now…

        • bobbiethejean

          In some of her other videos she makes ridiculous points and she’s fishing for nonsense, sure. I don’t care. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about THIS video in which she makes a number of valid, concerning points. You don’t think it’s a problem that the world sees women as sex objects who aren’t good for anything else? I don’t think it is wrong, or stupid, or sexist to want to see more serious female characters.

          I also highly suggest you watch these. I’m betting you will find them more enjoyable than Anita’s videos:

          http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/learning-from-other-m (About Other M)

          http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/diversity (Diversity in games)

          http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/sexual-diversity (Sexual diversity)

          Actually, look around their stuff. You might find other things you like too.

        • bobbiethejean

          In some of her other videos she makes ridiculous points and she’s fishing for nonsense, sure. I don’t care. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about THIS video in which she makes a number of valid, concerning points. You don’t think it’s a problem that the world sees women as sex objects who aren’t good for anything else? I don’t think it is wrong, or stupid, or sexist to want to see more serious female characters.

          I also highly suggest you watch these. I’m betting you will find them more enjoyable than Anita’s videos:

          http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/learning-from-other-m (About Other M)

          http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/diversity (Diversity in games)

          http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/sexual-diversity (Sexual diversity)

          Actually, look around their stuff. You might find other things you like too.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iaminnocenttheblood-Ofthisjustmanyouseetoit/100002857705077 Iaminnocenttheblood Ofthisjust

            The videos do put out a better argument than hers. And Penny Arcade doesn’t need a $180K Kickstarter fund to do it.

            I’m against forced political correctness. Most now have grown up with it. But it was a clear “Forced shift” in publishing. Around the late 70s to the 80s there was a shift where magazine and book publishers got together and just started new “PC” stuff and stopping the non-PC stuff.

            It’s all part of a very sinister social agenda. Mainly on the surface it’s used by big companies to justify bland, dry garbage they cut off any rough edge to force it down the biggest throat. But it was used to “Discredit” the 60s/Hippie stuff even though there’s a big difference between “Hey! It’s not cool to lynch blacks!” versus “The Death Camp of Tolerance”.

            And, more importantly, it was and is used for the “Global Sweatshop”. If you are against trade to China, you are a racist. If you are against illegal immigrants, Indian tech support workers taking American jobs…you are a racist. Hey! Let’s set up a tech support firm that services products in India! A manufacturing job that exports to China! Have unemployed USA workers using their better education to get hot jobs in Mexico illegally! Whoops! They’d BLOCK it. Wouldn’t be tolerated. Doesn’t matter if it’s doing good or the public likes it, they’d BLOCK it. Virtually every country severely tarriffs or blocks imports, except for USA/European countries where the standard of life is collapsing and countries like Haiti, where they EAT DIRT…look it up..

            All this lady is is “Waah! I found Sexism! Sexism! Hellp me! They threaten me!” one man’s opinion…

            Again I don’t care that she suckered all those people into Kickstarting her doing what anyone could do after work with cheap video edit software in a few days/weeks, but took much much longer… But I think she could do damage because there’s this media wave catching her. And I think that’s the agenda. IMO she’s just a man-hating feminist a “Modern woman who seeks to destroy Men” as Prof Norman would have said and all she wants to do is take away the few real things in the video game market that appeal to white males.

            But, deny it to be PC all you want, white males are the main injection of money. Sure publishers won’t exactly go “You must prove you are a KKK member to buy this game” and alienate “Other” demographics. But if “White Males” stopped buying them, there wouldn’t BE a video game industry. Art games and cheap re-hash Retro stuff, but nothing they spend tens of millions to make… Just indie acts trying to make the next “Angry Birds”.

            So, if she’s used as a figurehead to ram “Death camp of Tolerance” style PC into the video game market… Well it’ll turn into a “Little Big Planet” raid on the “Art Game” world. Suddenly all the “Art games” will get ripped off and exploited dry. Nice cute neuter characters in beautiful pastel worlds done with such professionalism any indie attempt will be crude and dumb by comparison, but no message beyond re-gurgitated new agey stuff. Then the market will collapse after a couple of spectacular flops. Then, and IMO this is the agenda… The industry will be propped up by the government. Of course that means the programmers work for peanuts and the few industry heads still get yachts and mansions. But guess what, we got a “Comics Code for video games” and NO OTHER games can be made (that will sell in any major store or online store) other than these bland PC clones with tons of “Kids watch yer weight and don’t use drugs, mmmkay?”

            In short I am for a shout down of this lady and a NASTY backlash against her. No, I don’t mean physical violence, but let’s pull out more nasty games, make the “Painslut Skyrim Mod” more commonplace versus increasingly rare.

          • bobbiethejean

            I’m against forced political correctness. No one’s asking for “forced political correctness.” We’re asking for serious female characters. I don’t think that’s any different than wanting video games with a New game + feature, multiplayer, unlockable costumes, or any other feature. People have a right to stand up and say “hey, I want this.” The game companies can give it to us or tell us to fuck off but no one is trying to “force” them into anything. Besides, how would one even do that? Please do point out where anyone has ever tried to legislate serious female characters in video games.

            It’s all part of a very sinister social agenda. Oh yes, promoting peace and acceptance. Very sinister. Damned hippies.

            If you are against trade to China, you are a racist. If you are against illegal immigrants, Indian tech support workers taking American jobs…you are a racist. Do you seriously actually think anyone thinks that? You need to stop watching Faux Snooze because that is NOT what people think.

            In short I am for a shout down of this lady and a NASTY backlash against her. All she is doing is pointing out how trivialized and objectified women are in videogames and asking for perhaps a few serious female characters and you want to shout her down, shame her, and humiliate her? You are a bad person. I’m not going to bother inventing any creative insults for you because it’s really that simple. You’re just a bad person.

  • ishmael2009

    I’m sure there are a lot of sexually frustrated teenage boys out there who can’t wait to let rip on women online who voice an opinion, but is that really an issue in and of itself? Voice an opinion on a multitude of topics and you will get criticism / torrents of abuse / name – calling from other people. That’s the nature of the internet. Ignore such people and move on.

  • pop
  • pop
  • http://twitter.com/Zordabo ZordaboM

    These characters were created when no girl would look twice at a video game or the person playing it.

  • http://twitter.com/Zordabo ZordaboM

    These characters were created when no girl would look twice at a video game or the person playing it.

  • http://twitter.com/Zordabo ZordaboM

    These characters were created when no girl would look twice at a video game or the person playing it.

    • Hesster

      I know I’m a bit late, but…

      You’re wrong. There were girl gamers even back in the early 80s. I was one of them. Games like Ms. Pac-Man and Centipede were very popular with female arcade-goers.

      Peruse some of the old issues of Nintendo Power and you’ll find letters and high scores submitted by girls and photos of events that show a mixed audience.

  • Mary G. Robinson

    If you think Jamie`s story is impossible,, two weaks-ago my
    brothers friend who’s a single mum basically also brought home $7595 grafting a
    10 hour week an their house and they’re roomate’s step-mother`s neighbour did
    this for five months and made over $7595 in their spare time online. the advice
    at this site, jump15.comCHECK IT OUT

  • Mary G. Robinson

    If you think Jamie`s story is impossible,, two weaks-ago my
    brothers friend who’s a single mum basically also brought home $7595 grafting a
    10 hour week an their house and they’re roomate’s step-mother`s neighbour did
    this for five months and made over $7595 in their spare time online. the advice
    at this site, jump15.comCHECK IT OUT

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