Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Damsel in distress

From time to time feminists appear on some gaming issue. They are usually right and completely useless in the same time. This time it's about the cliché "Damsel in distress" by Anita Sarkeesian, where the (male) lead character is motivated to save a woman, who is helpless and lost without the strong, powerful man. Is it sexist? Yes it is. Is it disgusting, demeaning and outright wrong towards women? Yes it is. Are the feminists right that it's overused and need to stop? Yes they are. Do feminists make any sense? Never.

I coined the "The Devil is sexist" term when I heard some feminist being outraged that in Africa various militias mass-rape women. What the good feminist forgot that the same militias also killed the women. And the men. And the children. And burned the villages. "The Devil is sexist" term refers to feminists focusing on the sexism of something that is overall terrible and sexism is its smallest issue. Fixing its sexism wouldn't make it much better (would the African women be better off if they wouldn't be raped before slaughtered by machetes?). However focusing on its sexism separates men and women on an issue where they have no conflicting interest.

The "Damsel in distress" cliché in video games is a typical "The Devil is sexist" issue: in contemporary gaming everything is just a tool to advance the story of the player. There is no world in the games (except EVE Online) where players must adapt to and live in. The mock world is forged in a way to adapt to the player. In World of Warcraft, despite it's a multiplayer game, by phasing they made it possible that I am the hero who single handedly stopped multiple horrible evils by my outstanding ability to press any key.

When Blizzard developers quickly needed some new foe, they turned the long-term allies of the players, the Zandalari trolls into a world-conquering evil, so they could reuse the Zul Gurub and Zul Aman instances. Isn't it funny that feminists whine that a female character is abused as story object when whole civilizations are abused? In Mogushan Vaults the poor Zandalari appear again for no other reason than the scriptwriters ran out of ideas. They are introduced as "old allies of the Mogu", so now even their past is twisted, retroactively. We were always at war with Eurasia the Zandalar Tribe.

The sexism of the video games is just a symptom of what's rotten in video games. Other games (like table-top games, sports, puzzles) are designed to have a fixed rule set that the gamers must obey and present a challenge they need to overcome to win. In a usual contemporary video game, the rules are constantly changed in order to make sure that the player - regardless of his merits - always wins and gets what he wants. Could you imagine a "nerf" to the games soccer, American football or basketball where the goal zone (the gate, touchdown zone or basket) is greatly enlarged to make sure that "more casual" players can score?

If a game is designed as "press any key and receive reward", can it not fulfill the immature sexist wishes of boys for a sexy and attractive woman being at their mercy? Can the kidnapped woman escape on her own, practically saying "I'm fine, I don't need you"? No, because like everything in the game her only purpose is to serve the desire of the player to be rewarded for his inadequate and mediocre performance.

However it is still just a consequence. The games aren't made this way by some evil mastermind trying to corrupt the good and healthy youth into a bunch of entitled, leeching punks. They are just following the demand. EVE Online, where the game world doesn't bend to your will and you won't be made the greatest man ever lived for killing 10 rats, have like 100K players (not accounts), World of Warcraft where you literally are, have 100x more (though declining, so probably more nerfs incoming). The sad fact is that the people are indeed a bunch of leeching, non-performing punks who feel entitled to everything including a blowjob from a supermodel. So yes, they are sexist, just like the Devil.

What can the feminists do, besides whining and demanding developers fix it against their financial interests? (It's funny that Sarkeesian doesn't notice that by asking the developers/Holywood to get rid of the sexism she is declaring herself and women in general damsels in distress who can only be saved by the powerful men at the helm of media companies.) There is a famous statement that I might don't remember absolutely correctly:

First they came for the raid difficulty,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a raider.
Then they came for game economy,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't an AH-wizzard.
Then they came for the Zandalari,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a lore nerd.
Then they came for the me, turning me into an E-cup blondie in a cell or a fridge,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Say no for games that provide rewards for nothing, that bend the game world for the enjoyment of the players, where players are automatically placed into a position of power and entitlement! Just stop giving the makers of these games money!

Give it instead to games where players progress according to their merits. In EVE Online there is absolutely no sexism or even male-normality programmed in. Sure there are horribly sexists morons among the players, since the playerbase is largely the same as of the other games (even if they think otherwise). But you can blow them up. Or rob their group from their goods. I haven't seen horrible behavior on e-sport tournaments, just on the "for fun" games, where you can't really stand out with your performance.


PS to feminists: I don't support your cause not because I consider your views incorrect or your goal a bad one, but because I think sexism isn't an idea at all. It doesn't have theoretical points, scholars or literature. Sexism is the product of "reward/respect me without merit or effort". The typical sexist is also racist, nationalist and hates other religions, simply because he means "I'm in the top 1% of the mankind just because I'm male, white, Christian and member of my nation". The cure is the idea that one can only be rewarded/respected for his actions and in the case of gaming the implementation isn't giving another speech on gender equality but simply pwning his ass in the game. However that's impossible in games where everyone is a winner, and the game company goes an extra mile to reassure him of his awesomeness. So fighting sexism is just as stupid as trying to protect the walls getting black from smoke. I'd rather fight the fire instead.

30 comments:

Laktos said...

"PS to feminists: I don't support your cause not because I consider your views incorrect or your goal a bad one, but because I think sexism isn't an idea at all. It doesn't have theoretical points, scholars or literature."

Uhhhhhhhhh... what?!

What a ridiculous statement. "Sexism isn't an idea at all"? Why? Because you say so? Because you haven't bothered to learn anything about feminism past your own preconceptions? There is plenty of feminist literature analysing sexism in all parts of life. Sexism is an idea or else you would not be able to even talk about it in the first place.

As for the rest of your post, sexism is not something that only exists in video games and games do not exist in a vacuum. The Damsel in Distress trope isn't simply some result of appealing to lazy gamers who want rewards for nothing. It has a loooong history stretching back to ancient literature and is a result of sexist ideas inherent in our entire culture.

Anyway, continue grandstanding on your blog and making vague statements with no basis in fact. Meanwhile feminists will keep fighting for social change and actually keep making a difference to this world.

Clockwork said...

Interestingly enough, just yesterday it was made public that apparently 96% of EVE players are male: http://massively.joystiq.com/2013/06/03/96-percent-of-eve-online-players-are-male/

While it is possible that Destructoid made up the number, or David Reid was lying, it seems odd that a game that is apparently inherently devoid of sexism also has only 4000 women playing worldwide. Meanwhile World of Warcraft at times has had almost 50% women playing. (Old, but no reason to suggest the ratio has shifted: http://wow.joystiq.com/2009/04/09/nielsen-wow-is-most-played-core-game-by-25-54-females/)

Gevlon said...

@Laktos: you did not understand. Sexism itself has no literature. Feminists have literature about sexism. There isn't a "sexist movement" with opinion leaders or party or books or anything. Actually there isn't a single man in a Western country who calls himself sexist. If an obviously sexist man is called out on his statement, he claims that he was just joking.

Fighting sexism is pointless because there is no one to convince. Sexists don't consciously believe in sexism, they believe that they are entitled to everything, including women as sex objects. "She wanted it too" and "no means yes" directly refers to this honest belief: "how could any woman seriously say no to my awesomeness?!"

Feminists will keep fighting for a social change and will achieve nothing. With a political/academic movement you can change laws, policies and official opinions. These are complete in the Western World.

The rest of the sexism exist in the head of morons, trolls, drunkards and such scum. Good luck changing them by holding conferences, printing books, holding marches and similar intellectual work!

spinksville said...

"In EVE Online there is absolutely no sexism or even male-normality programmed in. "

and yet, CCP commented the other day that the EVE playerbase is 97% male.

Karak Bol said...

Gevlon, although I follow your blog, sometimes I think you are a big Dramaqueen(For example your crusade against WoT).

But this was spot on. I see feminists starting on to bash videogames as a sign, that their movement is running out of arguments, out of targets.

Is is that dangerous to have young man feel good in saving women? Especially as feminists always have and always will rely on manipulated men to support their points. One would think that white knighting is exactly what they want. Mindless men jumping to there defense, like Laktos up there. (I assume you are a guy because of eve and 97% and all that)

@Laktos: Very weak post.
1. "What a ridiculous statement."
Opinions are allowed, go on...

2. "There is plenty of feminist literature analysing sexism in all parts of life."
Sexism targeting women. Where are the analysis about sexism targeting men? Like them having to go to war? Like them having no right to see their kids after divorce? Like them being ridiculed if beaten up or killed by women? Thats also sexism, feminist like to forget that.

3. "It has a loooong history stretching back to ancient literature and is a result of sexist ideas inherent in our entire culture."
Yeah, some time ago a man risking his life to protect a woman was the epitome of masculinity. He was glorified for it, -by women-.

4. "Meanwhile feminists will keep fighting for social change and actually keep making a difference to this world."
I won´t stand in line, chanting "all hail to our feminist overlords" sorry.

Laktos: Maybe you should do, what an intelligent human being would do and hear what the other side says. Visit some sites of the men rights movement and read.

Nursultan said...

"Nerfs" do happen in traditional games and sports, like the tweaks to the offside rule in soccer or the removal of the clean and press exercise from the Olympic weightlifting.

But generally, of course, video games change more often and more drastically.

Laktos said...

@ Gevlon

Yes, for the most part sexists don't consciously think of themselves as sexist. But this isn't an issue of sexists vs non-sexists. Most people, including myself, are sexist in some ways. Sexism is something that you learn by default growing up in a sexist society like ours and it takes a lot of effort to undo the damage and remove sexism from your way of thinking.

The way that sexism is fought is through education. Teaching people how it damages both men and women and teaching them how to recognise the sexism in our society. The Tropes vs Women in Video Games series is just one example of how feminism is attempting to educate people on the sexist tropes used in our media and literature all too often.

You're OP is really nothing original. It's just yet another "I'm not sexist but I'm not a feminist" attempt at muddying the waters of the debate and trying to impede progress. You create a straw feminist that you can easily knock down and then try to claim some sort of intellectually superior high-ground by saying that you're fighting the real cause of the problems and all those silly feminists are hung up on the symptoms (which is just plain incorrect).

It is easily possible to have a game that gives easy rewards for little to no effort without objectifying women and turning them into a trophy with no agency. Sure, creating a game like that COULD be a motivator but it is NOT where sexist tropes in video games come from.

Gevlon said...

@Laktos: easy games must objectify SOMETHING. And when the writers are look for some objects, sexist tropes are at hand exactly because of their presence in the culture.

Also, if you OK objectifying pixel trolls, what gives you the moral high ground to reject objectifying pixel women? You think trolls are fair game just because they belong to a different RACE?

I indeed believe I'm fighting the real cause: entitlement to rewards without earning it, and not having to accept "no" as answer, while the "silly feminists are hung up on the symptoms"

Laktos said...

@ Gevlon:

What?! Trolls are imaginary creatures. Women are real and they make up half our population and they have been institutionally oppressed by society for literally thousands of years. There's a difference.

@ Karak Bol:

All that stuff you just described that men have to deal with is a result of the patriarchy that feminism is fighting. In the past only men were forced to fight in wars not because people hated men and wanted to oppress them, but because women were viewed as too weak to fight and people thought their only value to society was as baby-machines.

And men having no right to see kids after divorce is influenced by the same sexist stereotype. That a woman's purpose is to have children and be a mother. That women are the best child-carers and men are best at working and fighting so therefore the woman should be given custody over the kids. What, you think that the courts are oppressing men because it's dominated by women or something? Cause law is totally a female-dominated career.

And if you want to talk about men's rights. How about you accusing me of being a "white knight" (a man who helps a woman in the hope of having sex with her) as an automatic response to a man expressing a stereotypically "feminine" viewpoint.

----

Anyway this will be my final post here.

Anonymous said...

gevlon said:
" The typical sexist is also racist, nationalist and hates other religions, simply because he means "I'm in the top 1% of the mankind just because I'm male, white, Christian and member of my nation" "

Are you absolutely sure about this?

I mean after all most there are those awesome countries where women cant even have a drivers license and other assorted awesome priviledges like never having to go out in ther street alone without a male family member, and you know, I am sure they are all white,male, cristians over there.

Gevlon said...

@Laktos: the particular female who is Damseled or Fridged is also imaginary. Superheroes are imaginary. Soul being trapped hell is imaginary.

Would you accept the defense of the makers of these games as "we respect real women, we just sexualize, kill and rape pixel women"? How about changing her ear to pointy? Now she is an elf, can we rape her?

In a game everything is a symbol, not real. The troll, just like the female soul trapped in hell are symbols of victims created to empower and heroize the player, tell him that here everything is at his mercy. How could women be exceptions?

Philips said...

Hahahaha, I never expected to see feminists here.

Nice post, Gevlon.

Feminism, like veganism, is something that can only exist in our current society. It's made possible by the achievement of men, to create the freedoms we have today.

Affirmative action, which actually means no male need apply. Why is it needed, if woman are strong and capable?

Now, there are a crapload of issues in the world where PEOPLE are oppressed. Sometimes it's WOMEN, sometimes it'S CHILDREN, and sometimes it's MEN.

Feminism don't care about the latter two. And the latter one, barely.

We don't NEED to kill sexism. Such tropes exist because in the past, it was the truth. Women couldn't create feminism in the past, because society wasn't gonna survive if they did. Wars. Diseases. Go back couple of paragraphs above. We can only have feminism because

What we need is, like Gevlon said, to give an equal opportunity to everyone who proves he/she has the capacity.

Sexism is the product of "reward/respect me without merit or effort"

It's simple. It's true.

The solution is twofold:

1: Accept that gender differences beyond penisVSvagina exist.

2: Give an equal opportunity for man and woman at something. Drop affirmative action. If women can compete, good. If not, they should try something else, they had a fair shot. If they are as good as men, they shouldn't need an handicap. And yes, this means letting them fight men at boxing competition. If they can reach their weight class, lol.

Anonymous said...

ape-routine bullshit. you didn't reflect on this one Gevlon? You did fall for the trap? again? Also vague plus drama.
Nvm you will be forgiven if it makes you feel good. I will still love your posts and hug every sentence you and commenters write with all my love and warmth.

Men will be slaughtered and women will be raped. Not going to change the past thousands of years (look actual apes! hint robert sapolkys long term studies on baboons / Human behavioural biology) and will not change in the coming thousands of years (that is my best guess; too much drama too many M&S and nothing will change).
As for behaviour in society there is always in any time from past to future the possibility to change in an instant (look into the baboon study .. there was a twist. I wont spoil more.)

"I'm not a feminist I only want equal rights." *sigh* ... everyone has some pov on this term "fem*" caused by some heavy media misusing and idiots. It only leads to drama.

Sexism. Really? "uhuhuuuu we totally raped those bitches" (On a successful gank/kill in any kind of pvp) ... "you play like gay/chick/old/black/yellow" ... bullshit those who say it and bullshit those who get somehow hurt by it.
It's trolling ... don't feed FFS!

Karak Bol said...

@Laktos:
"All that stuff you just described that men have to deal with is a result of the patriarchy that feminism is fighting."

Patriarchy is a word feminists often use, but never bother to define where it can be found in todays western world, except of course "everywhere".

"In the past only men were forced to fight in wars not because people hated men and wanted to oppress them, but because women were viewed as too weak to fight and people thought their only value to society was as baby-machines."

Or maybe they were seen as too valuable for society to send to certain death? How can someone seen as more valuable than men be oppressed by them? Don´t bother, feminism didn´t answer that in the last 30 years.

"And men having no right to see kids after divorce is influenced by the same sexist stereotype. That a woman's purpose is to have children and be a mother. That women are the best child-carers and men are best at working and fighting so therefore the woman should be given custody over the kids."

So, if patriarchy is the reason for all evil (defined as rulership of father over mother and children) than why gets the mother the child and of course the alimony in almost all cases? Slight contradiction here...

"What, you think that the courts are oppressing men because it's dominated by women or something? Cause law is totally a female-dominated career."

No, the courts are ruling in favor of women because the laws. Laws made by politicians. Politicans who need votes and therefore do what powerful lobbies want the to do. Lobbies like *gasp* feminism.

"And if you want to talk about men's rights. How about you accusing me of being a "white knight" (a man who helps a woman in the hope of having sex with her) as an automatic response to a man expressing a stereotypically "feminine" viewpoint."

Weird, I never talked about white knighting to get sex. Maybe thats an american definition, apologies if we have a misunderstanding here. For me white knighting for me is defending women because the subconcious tells one to do it. We are men, we defend women. Its deep in our gens, we cannot help it.
And of course you have the right to express your opinion, as stereotypically "feminine" as you want. But everyone else has the right to call you out for it. And I have the same right, and expect to be called out for it if I say that -radical- feminism is very dangerous. Men have rights too. This includes playing videogames, where we maybe feel a bit like a hero sometimes by safing women.

"Anyway this will be my final post here."

Spoken like a true woman at last.

Anonymous said...

I find Anita Sarkeesian and her videos awful. She's focussing on trivial points and gets lots of money for it wheras the world is still full of real problems that she could adress as a feminist activist.

But to say there is no sexism and its pointless to fight it?

Come on, give me a break. Just take a look how women are treatened in the islamic world for example. There was just recently a case of an Australian women who got imprisoned in Dubai because she reported a rape to the police. They locked her up for having sex outside of marriage.

Von Keigai said...

Of course games are sexist. They are sexist because that is what the players want. The reason the players are sexist is because of culture (to some small degree) but mostly genetic programming. The sexes are real; they are genetically determined. X chromosome. Y chromosome. This is as true of the body as it is for the mind. Gosh, males are 97% of the playerbase of a game that is half engineering complex systems and half dominance play, including tribal warfare. Could it be that men are disproportionately more interested in geeky optimization, dominance, and tribal warfare? It could! Think those might have evolved somehow?

Evolution! I am sure it makes you mad, because it turns out that people are not equal. And they cannot be equal. Some people are taller than others. And Men != women -- body and mind. Deal with it. Your egalitarian religion will have to bend on this point.

This is what makes this sort of intentionally blind discussion of sexism so annoying for anyone with common sense. You cannot get rid of sexism because it is baked in. I did not choose to be heterosexual, nor is my sexuality a social construct. I did not choose to have a sex drive; that's a built in feature of all evolved sexual species. As such, I cannot and do not treat men and women the same. For example, I have never dated a single man, and I never will. They just are not sexually attractive. Whereas I have dated many women -- sexism! OMG! I don't look at men and find them inherently worth looking at just because they are pretty -- and I never will. Sexism! And I find no value in rescuing a pixel prince in distress, even if I suspend disbelief, whereas I can find such value in rescuing a pixel princess. Sexism!

Alipally said...

"Fighting sexism is pointless because there is no one to convince."

There is actually - it should convince makers of video games to stop using the mutilation/murder of women to drive revenge-based plotlines in their stories.

She also pointed out in the video that it is also unhelpful to men to think that revenge/violence is the only answer to grief or death of loved ones.

When I started watching the video I laughed off her suggestion that I might find it shocking, but in fact I did. The sheer number of video games where women are murdered or mutilated, often by their own boyfriend or husband, is a disgrace.

I don't see why you find her pointing all this out to be a waste of time.

Woody said...

The Trolls and the Females in games are much the same as the androids in West World.

It does raise interesting moral issues as game npc's become more realistic in appearance as technology improves.

Much like how taking advantage of the women or shooting the men kind of seemed wrong in West World.

Is it more acceptable if they look blatantly computer generated or like androids and worse when they appear more realistic even if you know they are artificial?

Anonymous said...

Funny thing some german university announced switching to feminine just recently
"Uni switches to feminine professor titles for men" - http://www.thelocal.de/education/20130605-50095.html

For those who understand german a good presentation
"Sprache, Ungleichheit und Unfreiheit"
http://events.ccc.de/congress/2012/Fahrplan/events/5336.de.html
http://youtu.be/pQiA8XymmKM

in short: language is inherently denouncing, unequal, bad and biased
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrum

Sure the "sexism in games" debate is somewhat interesting. It's the same debates about influence of graphical violence and shooters.

Druur Monakh said...

@Karak Bol: "How can someone seen as more valuable than men be oppressed by them?"

Because the women didn't get to have a say in that matter? Being forced into a course of action of irregardless of your own opinion, that is oppression.

@Gevlon: "These are complete in the Western World. "

This comment thread is proof to the contrary.

Philips said...

1: Men die in videogames too. Brutally. More than women.

2: Why isn't the depiction of men pain and death more important than women?

3: Except Mario, I don't know of any game where you save the princess just to save the princess. Even in games where you chase the damsel (Tales of Legendia) you have strong female characters, like Chloe, who stand up to strong men with instant death spells (Stingle), and fire-mage Melanie, who beats the main character early in the game.

Point is, videogames are stories. Stories involve people. People get hurt, captured and it must look realistic. In Borderlands 2, Lilith gets captured at the end. Oh, why not Roland? Because he's DEAD, BECAUSE LILITH came when she was told, by ANOTHER FEMALE, not to come. And it wouldn't work with any other character, because only LILITH, is a Siren, and the big bad, needs a SIREN.

People overcomplicate this damned issue. People like Laktos and Druur Monakh.


The issue is god damned simple.

1: Men and women are biologically different, body and mind. This includes and is not limited to: thought patterns/processes/way of thinking, muscular mass, body hair, facial traits, brain development, reproductive organs and height.

2: Women should, in our time, be given equal opportunity. This means they can try their hand at anything men do, however the difficulty is not lowered for them. If they can't do it, they need to move on, exactly like men. This applies and is not limited to: College entrance tests, physical job (tryouts) army entrance tests, fireman tests and police tests.

Of course this applies to our society. In the past there were wars, diseases and famines. There were most likely more men than women. If women were sent to war and died, bam, race goes extinct.

They were sheltered because of a survival instinct! But THIS IS MISSING THE POINT. THE PAST IS OVER. Now, in 2013, the reality is different. Unless we have issues an go back to a time where we have to shelter women to maintain the human race, it will be done and feminists won't be able to do anything about it. That is REALITY. It's not about YOU REFUSING this. You cannot. You will have to accept it, if it happens. But hopefully it won't because I like my 2013 comfort.

Feminism made simple:

1: Equal constitional rights
2: Equal rights in the eye of the law, objective judgement in the best interest of everyone, mainly the children in such cases.
3: Equal opportunity at any activity, if person proves capable.

Feminism just tries to make people stop using tropes that they MUST use to make interesting stories.

If women can't be captured EVER, by the big bad, and be saved by the main character(s when a group, often including WOMEN, is involved) you just prevent writers from writing consistent stories considering established lore.

You are breaking the freedom of speech/expression amendment.

Stop trying to police whatever is being written by writers. Focus on the issues in the real world. While you whine about videogames, men and children get killed in Africa.

All I can see here is feminists WHINING about how OTHERS PERCEIVE THEM, INSTEAD of actually MAKING AN ACTUAL change in the world.

MoxNix said...

"Say no for games that provide rewards for nothing, that bend the game world for the enjoyment of the players, where players are automatically placed into a position of power and entitlement! Just stop giving the makers of these games money!"

While simplistic, in a nutshell this is exactly why I quit playing WoW!

River said...

Great Post Gevlon, also Feminists like to throw history in our faces, but to me Video games were made for men, by men back in the day. It's like saying Revlon is sexist because they make, and market to women.

Chaos Engineer said...

Feminists will keep fighting for a social change and will achieve nothing. With a political/academic movement you can change laws, policies and official opinions. These are complete in the Western World.

I've got to disagree. It's also possible to change people's attitudes about sexism, and there's lots of room for improvement there.

When I was a kid (in the US), the mass media still used a lot of insulting stereotypes - the lazy Mexican, or the savage Indian, or the dull-witted Appalachian. Over time, the people who were the targets of these insults decided to start complaining. Other people decided that they had a point and joined them in speaking up. Eventually the stereotypes stopped being seen as funny, and they fell into disuse.

The government never needed to get involved. It's still legal to publish these stereotypes; it's just that no one does it much anymore, except for pathetic losers on the margins of society. (Hi Karak Bol! Hi Philips!)

The reason that things changed was that people became convinced that the world could be made better than it was. This is the way that 99% of human civilization has always progressed, and it's all that Anita Sarkeesian is trying to do.


I just thought of another example. When I was a kid, there were three "Disney Princess" movies: "Snow White", "Sleeping Beauty", and "Cinderella". In all of them, the main character's role in the story was to sit around and wait for someone to solve her problems for her. (In two of the stories, she's actually comatose while she waits.) They're certainly valid stories; they've got characters, and a plot with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

But there are lots of other stories. The recent "Disney Princess" releases are "Brave", the "Once Upon A Time" TV serial, and to a lesser extent "Wreck-It Ralph"; all of which are stories about women who go out and solve their own problems. (They might need help from other people, but only after they've decided to actively take charge of their own destinies.) These are also valid stories.

So the questions are: What kind of stories do we tell each other? What do we hope to accomplish by telling them? Would we accomplish more if we told different or more varied stories?

Malcolm Shinhwa said...

I know the article and comment dust up is all about sexism and feminism, but thanks for explaining why I quit playing every other game when I found Eve. Eve is the only game where I'm not guaranteed the win. It also explains why I grew to hate the PVE aspects of Eve. In Eve pve the only way I loose is if an actual player shows up to mess with me.

But in other games, especially single player games, its built right into the logic that I will win. To borrow from Poetic Sanziel's recent metaphore, all the pve games are just advanced forms of Shoots and Ladders...really even worse, because like WoT they fudge the outcome to make sure you win just the right amount.

I can't get excited about the next CoD release because except for the pvp (which will be mostly the same as every other deathmatch type game since DOOM) the pve will be geared to make me win.

Until you explained it here I couldn't articulate it.

whatever said...

Yeah, because women can "take care of themselves"......

You've played to many video games. A very strong woman gets into a fight with a quite ordinary man and she will lose very, very quickly. It won't be funny. It'll be brutal and immediate.

Fortunately, any violence under any circumstances no matter what the woman does is never justified in America. Anything less is SEXIST because it destroys the feeling of invulnerability that American women walk around with.

Indeed, violence is NEVER justified against women even if they are high drug addicts waving a knife at you. In front of witnesses. If you shoot them.... if you want to call accidentally grazing someone when they charge at you with a knife screaming at you "shooting"... the police, to avoid SEXISM will declare that "you shot x woman at so and so and NOBODY KNOWS WHY". And it doesn't really matter if 10 people say the high drug addict broke into a crowded party and started screaming at you and slashing at you with a knife. The American police will need to conduct an extensive investigation to figure out just what was going on. The only thing they will be sure of is that you hatefully shot a woman for "reasons that they are uncertain of". They will report this to all the newspapers in your town.

This will help deal with the SEXIST idea that women don't have the right to attack men with knives.

SEXISM is a great problem.

Dahakha said...

Wow, Gevlon, you sure have a lot of readers who are pretty misguided about this issue.

As for your post's main point, "The rest of the sexism exist in the head of morons, trolls, drunkards and such scum. Good luck changing them by holding conferences, printing books, holding marches and similar intellectual work!":

You are wrong here too, I believe. Education is the key, because the only way to change them is to make it socially unacceptable to behave that way. When everyone around them treats them with disgust or horror or anger when they display such an attitude, when it hurts their relationship prospects (both social and romantic), their job prospects, it will force them to examine their behaviour.

Basically, the idea is not to change the minds of these ingrained sexists directly, but to make it impossible for them to behave that way without serious consequences.

The aim of feminism (as it is with racism) is to spread the idea that it is not OK to treat people that way. When enough people react negatively to it, the social pressure (which turns into economic pressure) changes industry practices, workplace environments, and marketing strategies.

The first step in getting to that critical mass of social pressure is to make more people aware of the existence of the problem in the first place. Sarkeesian's series is one of those first steps.

soresu said...

As a generally left-leaning rotten M&S social, this may well be the first time I've ever fully agreed with you, Gevlon.

Spot on: in an RPG-style, character-driven video game (the genre that encompasses most of Ms Sarkeesian's examples; if I recall the videos correctly, she did not make reference to Civ or CoD, for obvious reasons) everything serves the protagonist.

Like all other NPCs, women in single-player RPGs exist for no other reason than to elicit a response in the protagonist, in one way or another. If you replace the woman with your old army buddy/kung-fu master/father whom you must avenge, no respect is due to that figure, either. They're an object, to be milked for emotional stimulus.

These games tend to be pitched at men at the stage of their development where a woman (not a parent, not a mentor) is typically the most important person in their life. So provocations involving violence to women are a storyteller's best bet to rile up the player and invest him in the story. It is cheap, but it works. (sound familiar?)

The solution is to develop more games marketed at women, and with independent, well-written women as protagonists. To the extent that Sarkeesian makes that point, she wins hands down.

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

The whole sexism thing always felt as a part of a larger issue, and i have to agree that Gevlon's opinion on what that larger issue is seems to have many strong points.

I also dislike feminists for the very same reason - they focus on a minor consequence of a bigger deal and waste a whole lot of resources on that minor consequence, which would be much better spent against the bigger deal.

As for the Damsel in Distress having a long history... Well, sure it does, but i seriously doubt it has longer history than lazy self-entitlement. So yeah, Damsel is old, but lazy self-entitlement still can very well be the thing that spawned it.

Druur Monakh said...

@Gevlon "I'd rather fight the fire instead."

But you aren't. You are the one holding elaborate speeches about bigger pictures, while poo-poo'ing the bucket brigade who is actually doing something.