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Men Incapable Of Portraying Videogame Women Fairly?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the maxim-ization-of-society dept.

Games 246

Thanks to GameSpot for its 'GameSpotting' editorial discussing whether men can be trusted to portray women fairly in videogames. The author references Metroid ("I don't appreciate that Samus being a woman is a punch line"), and Ico ("Yorda... [is] this supposedly sympathetic female character in a video game that can do absolutely nothing for herself and is constantly in danger of being kidnapped"), and ends by leveling the charge: "I think men are inherently incapable of doing an adequate job of properly presenting female characters in games."

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246 comments

No it's not (4, Insightful)

M3wThr33 (310489) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845493)

Samus being a woman is not a joke, it's a realization that a woman CAN do powerful things and CAN be a hero. It's not an insult, it's something that makes you think.

This just in... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845584)

A study in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that fully 64.3% of all persons born female, show markedly below average, or even undetectable, senses of humor. Their hyper-emotional nature and comparitively large hormonal fluctuations appear to impede the detection of the logical discontinuity necessary for humor.

Re:This just in... (3, Funny)

kaellinn18 (707759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846451)

Haha, I bet this guy never appreciated the "anonymous coward" option more than now.

It was a revelation to me when I was 13 (2)

LincolnX (700433) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845699)

My friends and I didnt not take it as a joke when we found out, after playing the original metroid for years that Samus was a female.

Re:No it's not (3, Informative)

TechnoPops (590791) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846001)

Please RTFA, people. The entire paragraph containing the cited quote in question:

Anyway, so now we know Samus' "secret," and while she's still best known for that red and gold armor of hers, fans of the Metroid games also know that each game in the series encourages them to reach the finish line as quickly as possible to catch a glimpse of the woman beneath the suit. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that I disapprove of this--I like the series, after all, and it's targeted at people like me--it also rubs me the wrong way. I don't appreciate that Samus being a woman is a punch line.

Re:No it's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8847191)

That whole paragraph doesn't make any sense. I don't think the author knows what a punch line is. Except for the phrase "punch line", there is nothing in that paragraph that somehow indicates Samus is viewed as a joke.

Re:No it's not (0, Offtopic)

Troed (102527) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847848)

That person needs to play Metroid Zero Mission.

(Everyone should btw, it's THAT good. Play it on a GC and GB Player on your big screen television instead of using that horrible GBA-thingie though ;)

Re:No it's not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8846169)

Frankly I never paid much attention to the gender of a game hero. Guess the article says more about the authors' prejudice than it's subject.

Re:No it's not (0, Flamebait)

Metal_Demon (694989) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846569)

I expected to have to post something like that myself, but instead I'll just say...I concur.

Re:No it's not (1)

mikedaisey (413058) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847068)


It may not be an insult, but it's hardly empowerment--the character was originally going to be a man, and they made her a woman to get a payoff at the end. This hardly qualifies as a good example of women in gaming.

Re:No it's not (1)

Snowmit (704081) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847548)

You may not think so but I know a number of women who think that Samus is wikkid-cool and kickass and that that it's very empowering that she's a tough, independent woman who doesn't wear a bikini to work.

Mind you, none of them are too happy with the whole "play faster, see her strip more" aspect of the gameplay.

Video Games And Penises... (2, Insightful)

angedinoir (699322) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845505)

...two things that are inherently "Male-Centric". Get over it or write your own video game. The world is driven by sex & greed. People (males) buy games that are sexy.

Which is annoying for those of use who aren't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845519)

stereotypical, heterosexual, boobs-obsessed guys.

Re:Which is annoying for those of use who aren't (1)

angedinoir (699322) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845521)

I totally agree, just stating the facts here.

Of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845533)

I don't necessarily think it's bad, or wrong, it's just not everyone's thing. As much as we're told by society and the media exactly what is supposed to get us hot and bothered, it's not always the case. It's like living in Alaska and being shown air conditioner ads all day. It gets old after a while. That being said, the market does dictate content (at least I hope it does more often than the other way around).

Re:Of course. (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846028)

Sadly, game developers and writers of vision still dictate content with an iron fist.

CURSE THOSE MEN AND WOMEN OF VISION! CURSE THEM!!!

Men are inherently incapable of portraying women (4, Insightful)

empaler (130732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845507)

Women are inherently incapable of driving cars
Men are inherently incapable of getting in touch with their feeling
Women are inherently incapable of logical thought

Yeah, let's polarize and call each other names.

RTFA (2, Funny)

empaler (130732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845549)

It's even a male who wrote it.

Goddammit. Next thing we'll have articles about women complaining that it is so cliché to have periods, and that it's only to seem interesting they do it.


I miss stupidpeopledie.com

Not so fast.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845630)

I remain unconvinced of this alleged fact. Perhaps you can encourage his wife to produce the contents of her purse so that we may judge for ourselves.

Or does he work in an office with a female of the hot persuasion who purse he'd like to consider holding for a few hours on end while she looked at shoes. We've all walked through Norstrom's and seen "that" guy. That's no life.

Re:RTFA (4, Insightful)

analog_line (465182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846885)

It's even a male who wrote it.

And just because a man wrote it, that means it's instantly not polarizing, no matter what it says, and it's automatically considered rational, well thought out, enlightened criticism, regardless of actual merit.

Sure. Pull the other one. It's got bells on.

I didn't see Samus' gender as a "punchline"... (4, Insightful)

b00m3rang (682108) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845508)

As a kid I spent quite a while playing this game, had come to know and like this character, and when I found out the hero was female I thought, "Cool, that's unique. I don't see why the ass kicking protagonist /can't/ be a woman." Ever since then, any instance of female action heros has never struck me as being out of the ordinary. I think if anything, it in some way helped break down the gender wall. At least for some of us.

Men are incapable of portraying PEOPLE fairly... (1)

Domini (103836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845520)

Just look at 'Serious Sam', where are all the 'sensitive' guys? ;)

Seriously though, my female NWN character is a cultured sophisticated intelligent career-oriented 'femme fatale'.

Face it... girls just don't like certain types of games, and the sterotyping in these games just have no decent limits. This is marketing 101 people! It isn't fair!

Seen male characters lately? (5, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845528)

Male characters in vidoegames are:
  • Cigar chomping muscle-brains
  • Weasley little pick-pocket wimps
  • Corpse-obsessed psychopaths
  • Spineless cannon-fodder clones
  • Sex-obsessed jocks
  • Coke-bottle glasses nerds that love computers
Etc, etc, etc. It isn't a sexism thing, it's a "the story writers are stupider than the game's AI" thing.

It's not even because they're stupid (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845582)

People want to see stuff they can recognize. Everyone expects 'dog bites man' and other clichés. If peoples see 'man bites dog' and honest politicians, they're so confused they don't know how to react. (Usually this is seen after their vote has been cast in the latter case, when it is clear he/she's lost)

Re:It's not even because they're stupid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845700)

You're right. Perpetuating stereotypes just because they are what's expected is par for the course when it comes to any form of simple entertainment. Breaking stereotypes is considered tantamount to playing discordiant music: It makes people feel uncomfortable at some level, whether we like it or not. And such things don't sell, again, whether we like it or not.

Now, racism and sexism are the obvious things to point out, so I won't harp on about them. But I'll say this: It is natural for those who are commonly represented by widely-held stereotypes not to be bound by the same ignorance that affects those outside their group. So, when women say they are being disenfranchised, I think it's less important to focus on the words they use in their defense. Such words are bound to seem biased, because they are. Rather, we should try to understand why they are speaking them in the first place.

Re:It's not even because they're stupid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845769)

I'm the parent poster.

Okay, I just RTFA, and the author is a male.

Man, what a self-righteous, pussy-whipped loser. Whup-chah! "Mama was a neurologist, grammy was a physician!"

Just cut 'em off already, Greg. They're just ballast at this point.

On stereotypes (3, Interesting)

empaler (130732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845816)

Actually I've many times stumbled upon people trying to be the stereotypes they see on TV, even though they are portrayed badly.

An example (note: I live in DK):
In the neighbourhood I grew up in, there are a lot of immigrants, and since 1997 (long story) these have mainly been from Somalia.
From what I understand, Somalia is not a nice place to be, for anyone. People die from famine.
So of course, people emigrate to another country.
They come to Denmark and become as complacent and decadent as us. They watch TV with their kids. (80% of the TV shows in DK are from the US) Their kids see black people acting a certain way. They think it's cool.
Suddenly, they're walking around with bandanas and FUBUs and shit I've never wanted to know about, trying to even sound like the actors on TV. Hell, it's even more pitiful to see than when I was in Greenland and saw Greenlandish Niggers*.

Talk about your off-topic-I-haven't-slept-all-night rant.


* Note: I've been to Greenland 13 times. Never saw a black person there.

Re:It's not even because they're stupid (2, Interesting)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845782)

The reason there are "stereotypical" female characters is because it's a fairly well defined and recognizeable archetype, and it's something people are drawn to. So... you connect with games that follow that archetype, and tend to ignore (or possibly just shrug your shoulders at) counterexamples. There are lots of them... many of them mentioned in this thread already.

Should we be complaining about all archetypes in all forms of entertainment which portray a group unfairly? Not by a long shot. It's like writing a piece of music with instruments that you make up entirely on your own for that particular piece: an unnecessary amount of work for very little (read: possibly negative) payoff.

Yeah, just think of the guy who made the theremin (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845878)

Lev Thermin ended up in a Gulag camp. The only one of his significant others who didn't divorce him commited suicide before she even married him.

Happy days for the man who invented the first electronic instrument [theremin.info] .

(I was once caught in a theremin concert, and I was afraid that I'd go deaf. To be fair, the blindingly painful parts were actually quite well, and I blame the technician)

Invading Iraq is just a rich person's video game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845979)

From the parent post: "Vote NOT Bush [tinyurl.com] "

What! A vote for Bush is a vote for violence. I thought gamers loooved violence.

Invading Iraq is just a rich person's video game. Except you pay for your games. They are different. You pay for theirs, too.

And, of course, they kill real people.

Re:Seen male characters lately? (2, Funny)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846408)

Moustachioed overweight Italian plumbers?

Its not that men are inherently incapable (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845538)

Its that Men are drawn to particular types of women and so game designers put those kinds of women in games.

Man's fault? (2, Interesting)

Kent Simon (760127) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845600)

The worst thing about today's games is that they're developed almost exclusively by men. "Theory" is actually much too strong of a word, as it's really nothing more than a hunch. I didn't know it was some big secret. I'm too lazy to look up actual figures on this. But its hard enough to find female gamers, or female programmers, let alone someone who decides to combine those two. Personally, I'd love to see more females in the art. Perhaps games would be able to produce a more emotional impact w/ the player. But alas, this is something that does not appear to be happening. But don't complain about it, there is nothing stopping females from entering the industry. Kent

The number's rising! (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845721)

At least in the academic institutions.
I've friend who attends Copenhagen University's Institute of Datalogy (sp?), and he say's the percentage of women attending the institute has passed 20 - and some of them are actually hot...

Re:Man's fault? (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845912)

"Theory" is actually much too strong of a word, as it's really nothing more than a hunch
Come to think about, who knows what gender lies behind those insidious names of the wee free (wo?)men on the credits lists?
Would you be able to tell the difference?
If he had done what a proper reporter always should (reasearched), would he then have been able to tell girl names from boy names in Japanese? All I know is that Chihiro is for girls... ;)

Only in games? (0, Offtopic)

aphex2000 (521986) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845605)

Watch "24" for christ's sake!

Women are constantly raped, captured, beaten, crying, doing stupid things, acting crazy & naive...
And if they don't they are pure evil without feelings.

It can't get any worse than that!

Re:Only in games? (1)

John Gaming Target (721410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845646)

You've described one character, Kim Bauer. She is obviously a wasted character after the first season and is only still on the show because Elisa Cuthbert is gorgeous.

Michelle Dessler
Mandy The Assassin
Nina Myers
Kate Warner
Lynne Kresge

Al strong female characters, and especially over the last few episodes, Michelle has come into her own. Sure a few are "pure evil" but why can't female characters be pure evil, they're great characters!

Re:Only in games? (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846901)

Women are constantly raped, captured, beaten, crying, doing stupid things, acting crazy & naive... And if they don't they are pure evil without feelings.

Sounds like my dating life.

Somebody needs to play a few more games. (1)

DarksideDaveOR (557444) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845606)

For example, Beyond Good and Evil, or even Tomb Raider, as Lara Croft is nobody to trifle with, even if she is shaped like no human woman who ever lived.

Or Neverwinter Nights, for that matter... More importantly, the only constructive part of his criticism is that his poorly-defined problem will probably go away on its own. It's all well and good to point out the problems with something, but it generally helps to offer a real solution, too. Otherwise, you're just generating noise, and Cthulu knows there's a surfeit of noise out there already.

Re:Somebody needs to play a few more games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845930)

Lara Croft is the pinnacle example of the problem the article is addressing.

Re:Somebody needs to play a few more games. (1)

AMystery (725537) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846514)

FAKK and FAKK 2. I'm not sure how realistic she is, but the dialog and actions seem almost real, except she isn't scared of spiders:) I'd say it is much more realistic than tomb raider in that aspect. Especially the dialog at the beginning of FAKK when she is talking to her pregnant sister and later with the sister's deadbeat husband.

(note, I haven't played FAKK. just FAKK 2. but I assume they are similar) Check it out, it is a fun game:)

Re:Somebody needs to play a few more games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8846989)

F.A.K.K.2 is not a sequel to another game. There is no game that came before. F.A.K.K.2 stands for Federation Assigned Ketogenic Killzone to the Second Degree. The game is based on the movie F.A.K.K.2, which is the second Heavy Metal movie(not really a sequel).

Re:Somebody needs to play a few more games. (1)

AMystery (725537) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847290)

Ahh, thank you. For some reason I think the game referenced an earlier episode, but it might well have been referencing the movie, which I haven't seen. Still, now I have an excuse:)
As for the acronym, I am glad they did make it an acronym, i would get very tired having to repeat that entire phrase. Anyway, I enjoy the game:)

I think someone found a soap box to stand on... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845611)

...and a feminist he wants to lay.

Because oh so many people rush through Metroid to see Samus in a swimsuit..... that's what internet porn is for.

It's like this, ya see (4, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845613)

When it comes to video games, I am not looking for female characters that I can take home to mom.

I want big titties on a tough as nails ass kicking chick like Lara Croft or B. Orchid, or big titties on a soft helpless babes like the babe in Final Fight or the hookers in GTA:3 and VC.

Video games are like porno, the target market is mostly male. As a result the contents are going to be geared towards male fantasies.

LK

Re:It's like this, ya see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8847858)

I want big titties...

Video games are like porno, the target market is mostly male. As a result the contents are going to be geared towards male fantasies.


And what about those of us who actually lust after women of normal proportions? Precious little provision is ever made for us.

Wrong question to ask (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845623)

Seriously, not only should it be rather obvious that the majority of game developers lack any and all ability to portray real women AT ALL, but the author of this article choose some really poor choices of women in games to prove his point.

Why not attack the games laced with idiot-centric content like women with oversized breasts who are always the victims.
Samus is the one, true video-game heroin that hasn't, (yet), fallen to the same traps as nearly every other female in most other games. She is strong, silent, confident, and not a sex symbol. (Some may argue that the removing of her suit at the end of a quickly completed game is leaning in this direction, and I could understand that, but I still respect Nintendo for at least throwing her in a modest single piece bathing suite when most other developers would have her sporting a scant bikini or a lace nightie).

Yorda from Ico could be seen as a weak female in a game, but she is still infinitely more interesting and unique as a supporting character than most of the aforementioned bad examples. Her character is successfully timid without becoming a weak, victim-ish sex-symbol.

I can't wait to see more *real* women in games, but this will most likely come with the arrival of more mature developers.

Oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8845686)

I'm the parent poster, and I have to say I made a mistake. I didn't see the screen of (what I assume is) one of the latest Metroid games on that article. I guess Samus is heading in the way of scantily clad bimbo-whore. That really bums me out because the current state of females in games is really irritating to me. How sad...

Re:Oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8846277)

Calm down, it's just her head. Even in Zero Mission, where there's a part without her suit she's not running around in a bikini but a jumpsuit that looks like a female version of Solid Snake's suit (she has a bikini in the ending of Super Metroid). Though her face does look bad in the style they've chosen. I guess they just wanted to show how technology advances and how they can now display full-screen pictures instead of just a sprite.

Where are the capable female game producers? (2, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845632)

Why not get a female perspective? Some oversight in all things female... I think if there were female producers looking for jobs in Gaming they would be hired. Give it a try girls... it's a good job and pays reasonably well, I here 60k and up is normal for a game producer.. if you're experienced it goes to 6 digits.

Can Gamespot be trusted? (1)

rmarll (161697) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845648)

To assemble a thoughtful, introspective article? Come on, this is just flame bait on a larger scale. Granted it's not NYT calibur flame bait, but a real flamer it is.

All Kasavin has is an insipid remark about Samus. Apparently it's not possible to look good and save the universe at the same time.
The only other real complaint is an admision that he sucks at ICO which is twisted into blaming Yorda.
The rest of the article is a list of exceptions and apologies.
It's a subject worth exploring, but this article is doing more harm than good.

Re:Can Gamespot be trusted? (1)

LincolnX (700433) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845677)

Can Gamespot be trusted? My answer is, who cares? Besides linkage from slashdot and other websites I, generally, trust; I would never read the trash they dribble out. What I want to know is why this subject is brought up by a man? Are not women supposed to take care of womens-lib, not men?

They weren't really trying... (3, Insightful)

LincolnX (700433) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845658)

"I think men are inherently incapable of doing an adequate job of properly presenting female characters in games." Perhaps you could make that case if they were TRYING to properly represent a female in thier game. But they were not. They typically make games geared towards males. As for Metroid, Samus being female was a small tiny part of the game MOST people didn't know about for the first five years the game was out. I remember hearing Samus was female 3 years after I first played it.

Another Phantasy Star example... (2, Insightful)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845682)

What of Alys Brangwin from the 4th installment of the series? The article cites Alis Landale as a strong female protagonist, but then goes on to say that her gender was largely a non-issue. Alys was proud to be a woman, and knew damn well that she could kick the asses of anybody who got in her way, regardless of their chromosomes. Furthermore, she had a lean, athletic figure and dressed very modestly-below her neck, no skin showed at all.

ICO, and the obPennyArcade (1)

wheresdrew (735202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845742)

They said it best [penny-arcade.com]

Yorda was a pathetic character, useless in every possible way. Just when you start getting up to a good jog, she slows you down by jerking on your arm. I swore if she did that again I'd find a way to yank hers out of its socket and club her to death with it.

Unfair! (2, Interesting)

fuzzybunny (112938) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845813)

I mean, male game developers get crucified for portraying a female character as helpless, feminine, whatever.

Then, they go and make a gung-ho asskicker--university educated, genius, speaks multiple Asian languages fluently, is a straight shot, knows several martial arts, drives cars like Fangio, jumps off bridges, climbs buildings, and generally unleashes whupass.

And lo and behold, pandemonium breaks loose among the PC crowd, just because she's clad in a tiny thong and miniskirt and has enormous bazoombas? I mean geez, make up your minds....

Re:Unfair! (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846977)

What they want is a woman who is all of those things, but looks like a man.

Re:Unfair! (3, Insightful)

mikedaisey (413058) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847109)

There is a middle ground--like female characters that are competent without only being sex objects. It really isn't such an impossible thing to wish for.

Ico & Yorda (4, Insightful)

DarkZero (516460) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845896)

Warning: Some moderate (possibly heavy) Ico spoilers will ensue after the quote.

I never finished ICO. Not only did I get stuck at a certain point about halfway through, but more to the point, I grew sick and tired of the girl, Yorda, and her uselessness. This character was so pathetic, it almost made me angry. I admit that this is not the effect the game was intended to have on me or on anyone; however, here's this supposedly sympathetic female character in a video game that can do absolutely nothing for herself and is constantly in danger of being kidnapped. Who better than a man--or in this case, just a boy--to come to her rescue.

If Greg had played Ico all the way through, he would've realized that Yorda was only pathetic because she had been repeatedly injured and abused. The real Yorda was quite a bit more capable, just as the injured, abused Ico was just as pathetic (if not more so) than she was when she was injured.

This is what happens when someone starts their analysis of a game with the words, "I never finished..." That's like watching the first two minutes of the Spider-Man movie, turning your DVD player off, and then devoting two paragraphs to asking why someone would want to watch Peter Parker act like a geeky loser for two hours. If you're going to review or analyze something, you should at least have the maturity to take in the whole thing before gracing us with your ignorant opinion.

Re:Ico & Yorda (1)

microTodd (240390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847257)

Well, obviously part of the point was the *gameplay*. I mean, if Yorda hadn't been helpless then the game wouldn't have been very interesting.

Re:Ico & Yorda (3, Interesting)

May Kasahara (606310) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847795)

Very true. There was that turning point in ICO when Yorda tries to save Ico! I don't remember the exact details all that well, only that this scene amazed me in it's spur-of-the-moment action on Yorda's part.

I wonder how the author's opinion of Yorda would've been different had he finished the game...

I feel sorry for the guy... (5, Interesting)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845946)

...I really do. Here's a male, a gamer, who has been GUILTED by the "feminine movement" into a state where he cannot look at a modestly attractive portrayal of a female in a game without feeling shameful.
That's pathetic. It really is. Why does he feel the way he does? What kind of horrible psychology has warped his mind into this sad state?
He feels guilty that Samus is a woman? And that Samus *can* be seen in a bathing suit? Oh dear lord! Someone call the thought-police, he might start forming an attraction to the opposite sex! How horrible! -- Though the true horror is that he feels this way. That, every time he views an in game portrayal of a woman even REMOTELY attractive, it is somehow a violation of "womens rights".

Let me tell you something guys. Not as a woman, because i'm not. But because i'm a MAN, and I no longer tolerate this "acceptable society" bullshit. Women in games? Thats great. SEXY women in games? Thats even fucking BETTER! Now before the "facist-femme militia of well-whipped men" decends on me, i'd like to point out one interesting fact: Women LIKE sexy portrayals of women. Women LIKE to feel sexy. They LIKE to feel attractive, they fucking ENJOY the power to reduce a man to a quivering puddle of goo with their bodies. Come on men, don't you too? All /. = nerd jokes aside, what man here can honestly say they don't like feeling sexy too? That they don't like feeling macho and handsome? What man doesn't enjoy the power to wow a woman with his body too?? Be it a nicely cut slice of cleavage or a well shaped bicep, we all like feeling sexy. Its hardwired into our brains. So claiming that every sexy portrayal of a woman in a game is somehow "wrong" is about as STUPID as saying breathing is wrong. I say again: Women are NOT offended by sexy women in games!!
I know, I know... a lot of you probably don't believe me. Well look right here [womengamers.com] . Its a page all about female characters in video games. Browse through the ratings, go ahead. Check out some good examples and some bad. Notice anything? Notice any attractive females with high ratings [womengamers.com] ? Women are not offended by their own genders display of sexuality and power. They love that shit just as much as guys do. What's offensive is unrealistic images and blatant focuses on sexuality. Guys, a woman is a mind and a soul as well as a body, and if they're going to play games then thats the kind of avatars they expect.

I strongly encourage poeple to read this article [gamegirladvance.com] if you haven't already. And check out some of the quotes too. This one was on the infamous Lara Croft (sp. the box art):
It's not the fault of the packaging. Okay, so her breasts are lethal weapons, sure. But I
like the cover art. It shows that she's strong, she's tough, she's an adventurer, she's solo - she doesn't need a man! She *owns* those guns, and she knows how to use them. What's not to like?
Whoa whoa whoa - back that up there. She LIKES the cover art? Lara Croft? What the hell? Look at her breasts! They're huge! And those shorts are TINY! How could any woman *LIKE* Lara Croft's signature pose? Its so blatantly sexual! By definition, all women should hate it, right?! WRONG. Like I said again and again: Women do not mind attractive females in games. They enjoy their sexuality too, because its *part* of how they define themselves as a woman. They IDENTIFY with a woman's sexual power. So what do they hate? Read on:
But the hype surrounding Lara Croft was gross. The hype undercut her image as strong smart archeologist. The hype made her into a sex kitten.
And BINGO! It was the marketing! The focus! Here, a female gamer was impressed not only with the attractiveness of Lara, but with her strength and confidence as well. For a brief moment, she was an idol.. someone to look up to. A strong, confident, sexy, female any woman could aspire to be. And then the whole world came crashing down when they tossed everything out but the sexy. Then she's no longer an idol... she's TRASH. Shes a piece of meat with no depth. The female gamer suddenly has no way of identifying with her: ergo, she's offended. They took an avatar with great potential in her opinion, and tore it apart so it would appeal to the boys. Of course she's offended now!
But that doesn't mean all women are always offended by skin deep girls. Read on in the article about the gender-nightmare that was/is DOD: Extreme Beach Volleyball. A whole game made entirely out of scantilly clad women strutting around goofilly. Surely a banner all women could rally against, right? Wrong again. Check out what the author has to say. She admits that its a "pin-up game". That its pure cheesecake for guys. And that she's not offended by it because they're not trying to pass it off as being attractive to women too. Its the digital equivalent of a Maxim magazine, and she's perfectly fine with it!

Did anyone else go "holy shit!" too? Did anyone else suddenly realize that they've been BLINDED by these rediculous fucking gender wars? Anyone else coming to the realization that men should NOT feel guilty about sexy women in games? How bout that, huh?
Rather, what we DO need to feel guilty about, and what the industry IS bad for, is creating female characters that contain the depth of mind AND body that female gamers desire. They want someone to identify with. They want someone intelligent, strong, smart, AND good looking. They don't want some sleazy rocket-scientist + playboy centerfold though. Just a woman. With all her pros and cons. With all her smarts, her confidence, her sexuality, and with all her failures, fears, and flaws. Notice those last three? Male gamers have had em for years. I know someone's gonna bring up the "Duke Nukem" argument somewhere allong the line. Yes, we all know that Duke is a shameless beefcake. But he's a BADASS beefcake. He's not just someone to stand around and flex his pecs and shake his ass for the girls, because that wouldn't sell games. No, he runs around kicking asses and cracking jokes. He's not even very smart, but he is POWERFUL. He is in control. He is confident and skilled. He's also unrealistically muscled, but guys can accept that because of his other qualities! Its the exact same thing with women. They don't mind seeing a deliciously racked girl, as long as she's powerful too. If she's in control, she's confident and skilled, it doesn't matter WHAT she looks like, because people look for the depth BEYOND physical appearance. Thats all women want. And the industry just isn't giving it to them.

So stop feeling "guilty" about sexy women in games. Unite with our better halves and start DEMANDING better female characters in games. The women in our lives deserve it. And the time to start is long overdue.

My appologies for the rant.


-Adam

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8846452)

Wow, nice rant! Thank you for the links, BTW.

Re:I feel sorry for the guy... (4, Insightful)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846956)

>Women are not offended by their own genders display of sexuality and power.

Well, ugly women feel threatened by sexy women. I don't think you'll find many attractive women opposed to this sort of thing. This only reminds ugly women of their shortcomings, however. Have you noticed any hard core feminists that are REALLY hot? Probably not.

Re:I feel sorry for the guy... (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847502)

Doesn't it strike you as mildly ironic that most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn't want to fuck in the first place?

George Carlin

Re:I feel sorry for the guy... (1)

Snowmit (704081) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847582)

Have you noticed any hard core feminists that are REALLY hot? Probably not.

Apparently, you've never near an arts university. Or you just don't like black sweaters and boxy glasses.

Re:I feel sorry for the guy... (1)

gamgee5273 (410326) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847818)

Lad, you really need to get out more.

Define "sexy" and "ugly." Those are arbitrary labels you're tossing around there. I, for one, find a woman with a little extra padding to be infinitely sexier than, say, a waif. Society dictates that the waif is the attractive one.

Screw society, I say. They typically go with stupid decisions, anyhow (Clay Aiken, anyone?). I judge who I find attractive and do not. Thus, your idea that there are "ugly" women is really, really immature thinking.

Am I saying that every feminist woman I know is one I'm attracted to?

No.

Nor am I saying every non-feminist woman is drop-dead beautiful.

Grow up, lad. The world is a lot more fun when you don't walk around it with preconceived notions ruling your life.

Re:I feel sorry for you... (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847872)

RTFA.

The problem isn't women being potrayed as sexy. The problem is women being potrayed as weak and over-emotional.

And there are times where the fact that a sexy woman is the protagonist in a video game can be used to negative affect. It's sort of like the way tomato soup isn't a problem in itself, but I don't like it quite so much after it's been spilled on my lap. Of course, the article didn't really get much into subtleties like that, so I guess it's a moot point.

Assuming you read the article, I really do feel sorry for you if you can't tell the difference between the way a woman is dressed and her personality.

Sure, and the same goes for books too... (2, Insightful)

Peter Clary (34038) | more than 10 years ago | (#8845966)

That's like saying that male authors are inherently incapable of doing an adequate job of properly presenting female characters in books. It may be true for many male authors, but I can't believe that's true for all of them.

Just because the article author believes (rightly or wrongly) that it hasn't been done yet, doesn't mean that men are inherently incapable of doing it.

Re:Sure, and the same goes for books too... (1)

Elkboy (770849) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846047)

It's only as of late that I've seen subtleness emerge in game characters. They tend to be very stereotypical and simplistic. When that changes, I think we'll see that there indeed is no incapability to portray women or men in more way than one.

Next: A Chicken in Azeroth (1)

PerpetualMotion (550623) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846007)

Gosh I thought that was the next page of the article. Something about cocks and how we never see any female orcs or something.

The whole article was really sad, not something I thought I would see linked to from Slashdot. I almost thought I was reading something from Game Girls until I followed the link [gamegirladvance.com] and realized they had already done the same article....better.

I think people should get a life. (1, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846017)

Why do so many men think like militant lesbians? I don't hear woman gamers complaining about how they're portrayed in games, when I hear one with a legitimate complaint, I'll take it seriously. Until then, this is just a bunch of pathetic men complaining about a demographic they likely have about as much contact with as any other part of the outside world. So far, I've seen documentary after article after essay written by nerdy men by the truckload, and not one word from an actual woman on the subject. Isn't that STRANGE? WIERD even? Perhaps they don't care. Perhaps they won't say anything until the pussy whipped men shut up. Perhaps they know better than to moan and complain about their portrayal in a game meant to be FUN. I don't know. All I DO know is that these articles are masturbatory at best, and frankly, the sort of thing only a game nerd could ever get away with getting paid to write.

Missing the point (3, Insightful)

Elkboy (770849) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846038)

The problem isn't that attractive female characters are shown, it's rather the very narrow definition of attractiveness that plauges all media. Most attractive women seem to be come from the same mold. I personally find the girl-next-door geeky girl infinitely more attractive, but then again, I'm a geek myself.

Objectification is another problem. I completely agree with the criticism against Lara Croft and how a strong, capable kick ass woman is reduced to drool material by stupid marketing. It's perfectly fine with me to drool over her body, but when that's all there is to her, something's wrong.

As for Yorda in Ico, I agree that not playing the full game is unfair, but she's also a product of a society (Japan) that still is very inequal. I believe her passiveness and inability is as much a game device as it is a reflection of the view of girls in Japan. Compared to other kinds of oppression, Ico is a harmless fantasy for boys in the end. I mean, who hasn't dreamed of being a hero and saving the girl?

Mod the parent flamebait (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8846457)

Wow, criticizing biased woman portrayal is bad thing, and citing Japan as non-civilized country is not biased and not bad?

And the answer is... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8846107)

The author of this article is obviously gay! I don't hear him complaining about having to look at male character's perfectly chiseled features and gleaming chest muscles as he carries a 6 foot long double-barreled gun of justice.

+1 Funny to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8846226)

It's not flamebait, it's actually on topic.

Fortunately there are some good ones (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846111)

Not every female character in a game is weak and stupid. Take Jaheira from Baldur's Gate 2. Now that was a good game. There was pretty much every kind of character in it. If you want a more stereotyped girl, there was Aerie. Of course Jaheira didn't like her at all.

There are some fun characters in other games too. For example, in Kabuki Klash (NeoGeo game) there's Tsunade. There's something funny about repeatedly beating up somebody with a 9 year old girl that uses a big battle axe.

Re:Fortunately there are some good ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8846459)

Yeah, Quentin Tarantino, for one, thinks it's *hi-lar-ious*.

Video games? Comic books. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8846167)

The video game developers probably grew up with Marvel Comics... Yowzers!

blah blah.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8846190)

Melville fails to portray women fairly. Hemingway fails to portray women fairly. Tolkien was so masochist.

I'll tell you what, men and women vary across the spectrum. Either make them stand out or make them bland cardboard. Why don't we suck the life out of all characters and make them mindless automatons of society that take their brain drugs and all wear the same flat black suits with matching pants? And we'll all talk the same and we'll have the same IQ after some quick scalpel work. We all work the same hours and go to bed at the same time. Get the same money for each paycheck and spend it on the same things and save the same percent for retirement. We all eat the same every day, too.

Asking for some "idealized" woman character is like asking to abstract away all that makes her a human being. We've all got issues, is it anyone's fault other than your own that your head is too far up your ass looking for some "ideal triangle" to see that?

Women don't play games (1)

Reorax (629666) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846198)

Note to women: buy more games. That producers will start to care. Well, care more, at least.

Maybe they can, they just don't want to. (1)

TheCyko1 (568452) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846203)

I think men are inherently incapable of doing an adequate job of properly presenting female characters in games.

Personally, I think game developers don't want to. Fantasy is just alot more attractive than reality.

Statements like this are not arguments... (2, Interesting)

Spoing (152917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846228)

...they aren't even questions. They are like religious statements of dogma. Like religions...
  1. If you aren't in the group what you think or say or do does not matter since your opinion is somehow tainted.

Hold on a moment, since it gets worse as far as women's studies go. (I took a class...more below.)

Right or wrong, supported by evidence or not, the mere support by evidence or the rightness or wrongness comes from your perspective. In the case of women's studies, statements -- right/wrong/evidence/... -- are even 'male constructions'.

If you are a woman you can't give the male perspective completely...if you are a man, your whole 'male dominiated thought process that ignores shades of grey' works against you being able to comment effectively.

You might agree or disagree...it doesn't matter. You agree, that's nice. You disagree, you obviously don't understand you poor schmuck.

(The class on women's issues: Entering the class, I was sympathetic and thought I understood. Yet, as 1 of 2 men in the class I was constantly told any opinion I had -- including having an opinion at all -- was wrong since I should not comment since I'm not a woman. I left with a whole lot less sympathy for women after that.)

Huh? (4, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846456)

"The author references Metroid ("I don't appreciate that Samus being a woman is a punch line")"

Yeah, that Metroid game, nothin' but a barrel of laughs...

If Samus' sex is a "punch line," what was the joke?

I admit that the character art at the end of the two GBA games makes me roll my eyes (a little too "cheesecake" for my tastes), but here he's arguing that the entire premise is flawed, that her sex is a gimmick no matter what she may look like. This makes me wonder just what he thinks about women in general. He seems to be awfully sensitive to Samus' lack of a Y-chromosone and I wonder if this means that he finds the idea of a woman doing all those things to be unbelievable. After all, he's the only one I've seen who thinks her sex is a "punch line" to begin with.

"each game in the series encourages them to reach the finish line as quickly as possible to catch a glimpse of the woman beneath the suit."

Personally, I try to get the endings so I can catch a glimpse of the person beneath the suit. One of the series' cornerstone is the tantalizingly little information on just who she is and why she does what she does. I'm more interested in situations and facial expressions than her body (and on that note I'm happier with what Retro did with her than what Nintendo has done in the last two GBA installments). I chalk the cheesecake up as a failing by Nintendo to understand just what makes the games popular outside of Japan to begin with, the inability of a group of Japanese programmers to quite relate to gaijin gamers, not a failing of men in general.

Being as sensitive as he is to the pictures at the end, why exactly does the author himself play through the games? How many other gamers here are actually encouraged by the drawings of a scantilly-dressed woman at the end of the game?

Ah, wait a second...

"That's also not what I've been taught by my parents. My mother is a neurologist. Her mother is a physician, as well. The women have always worn the pants in my family, so to speak. Perhaps this helps you understand my perspective."

Now this is interesting. Here he implies that women must "wear the pants" in order to be worth something.

"Alis wears a pink hair band, lipstick, and a skirt, but she's still OK in my book."

I'm as sick of seeing women in pink as much as the next guy, but I didn't realize that actually liking pink is such a black mark against a woman. They can have any favorite color in the spectrum so long as it's not pink?

I think his problem is that he's equating strong female characters with characters acting more male, that men are inherently better and women must act more like men to be better themselves.

Personally, the more I think of what I've seen Samus do so far, I'm not sure if she could have been a man.

Re:Huh? (1)

May Kasahara (606310) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847724)

If Samus' sex is a "punch line," what was the joke?

The joke, at least in the original Metroid, is the player's assumption throughout the game that Samus is a man.

Take it from a girl who goes by a semi-androgynous name on various video game/anime forums (Slashdot Games notwithstanding, obviously). I've been mistaken for a male multiple times; it's just what people come to expect when they see such a vague, non-feminine name coupled with a personality like mine.

The correst premise of this piece (1, Funny)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846533)

The correct title should be: Men are iherently incapable of portraying women in video games the way that radical nazi lesbian feminists think they should be portrayed.

If we're going to be sexist... (2, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846800)

I think men are inherently incapable of doing an adequate job of properly presenting female characters in games."

!

If we're going to be sexist, how about we also field the equally-ignorant "women are inherently weaker and more in need of rescue than men."

Was Laura Croft, Tifa, or the women in Soulcalibur (or other fighting games) programmed by a woman? Are they somehow "adequate" depictions of women--in a way that the same depictions of men are adequate?

Huh?? Seems like a cherry-picked sample... (3, Insightful)

danaris (525051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846891)

...because I can think of several "fair" portrayals of women in games.

First, let's look at the Final Fantasy series. I can only speak to the ones I've played, so here goes:

  • Final Fantasy 6:
    • Tina--strong woman, though she has some emotional baggage due to being only half-human. Never portrayed as particularly "sexy," though she's quite pretty in most official images of her (kind of hard to tell from her sprite ;-) )
    • Celes--definitely a strong woman! She was a general in the army, for Mu's sake! Not only that, but she can use every bit as big a sword as any guy in the game (same goes for Tina).
    • Relm--she may only be 10 (or so; I forget her exact age), but she's awesome. She takes the womanizing Edgar down a few notches with her wit, and has more spirit in her than any roomful of "typical" videogame characters.
    Don't see much to fret over there.
  • Final Fantasy 7:
    • Aeri(s|th)--She may not be physically strong, but she certainly has a strong personality. Not to mention she sacrifices her life to save the planet. A bit more stereotypically "weak needs-to-be-protected girl," but hey, some girls really DO need to be protected.
    • Tifa--OK, here we're getting into kind of shaky ground, not for her character, which I think is fantastic, but for her looks, which are a little over the top...take that how you will...especially in FMVs.
    • Yuffie--heh, you've gotta love Yuffie. She's cute, tough, and funny; what more do you want?
    Again, no real indication that men are "incapable" of portraying women fairly.
  • Final Fantasy 9:
    • Dagger/Garnet: She's beautiful, tough, strong, and still vulnerable at times. I can find no unfairness whatsoever in the portrayal of Garnet's character. Nor is she visually portrayed as anything stereotypical.
    • Freya: Not particularly feminine (and not even human); however, she's also both strong and sensitive. Included because she's technically female ;-)
    • Eiko: Cross Relm with Yuffie, and you've got Eiko. 'Nuf said.
    Still not seeing much problem here.
  • Final Fantasy X/X-2:
    • Lulu: Let's...not go into Lulu too much. She's the first real example so far of a woman I find quite unrealistic.
    • Rikku: Very much like Yuffie, but shows more real emotion than she does. She's genki, she's cute, and she's fighting against a millennium of persecution of her people. (And she's about the same in FFX-2) I really like Rikku ;-)
    • Yuna (FFX): Now, Yuna in FFX is the only main-character girl in the Final Fantasies I've played who is really the shy, quiet, needs-protecting type. She's still far from one-dimensional, though; after all, her motivation is to sacrifice herself to save the world.
    • Yuna (FFX-2): In FFX-2, Yuna is very different, though, interestingly, you can see the seeds of her new self in her old. She has become a strong leader, very energetic--but now her motivation is to find her one true love.
    • Paine (FFX-2): She's kind of Goth, but no one would argue that she's a stereotypical woman of any stripe. No one would want to mess with Paine.

Well, that's all the Final Fantasies I've played through, and in all of that, there isn't a single example of the kind of "unfair" treatment the article was talking about. True, some of them are visually portrayed as "sexy" (though only Tifa, I think, is specifically made sexy without being especially pretty), but this is not at the expense of their character.

Maybe it just goes to show that in the type of action games he's talking about, no one bothers to make the story or characters believable. (I know that's not universally true, but I also know it is true in some cases) RPGs, I have found, tend to make more of an effort than other genres to make their stories and characters if not realistic, at least believable and human. This is probably because their primary purpose is to tell a story.

Dan Aris

Be patient. (1)

xanderwilson (662093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846933)

Video gaming is still a relatively new medium and it hasn't yet attracted a lot of writers who have the skill and/or desire to write outside of stereotypes for either sex.

Well-written characters, though, might always be few and far between. Take a look at television today and ask any demographic how often they are acurately represented on the screen.

Alex.

Greg Doesn't Play Games (4, Interesting)

superultra (670002) | more than 10 years ago | (#8846944)

Someone has already discussed ICO. So here's some other games Greg apparently didn't play.

Beyond Good & Evil: Not only is the main character strong, forceful, and not sexualized, there are several other characters in the game that are as active in the resistance movement as she is. I guess Greg was one of those people who didn't buy it.

Prince of Persia: So you save the Princess. But once you do (and she kind of saves you, the male), she's forthwright, mostly capable, and witty. And exhibits a remarkable ability to slide through cracks. Still, it's quite obvious as you play the game that your character, male character, is an obnoxious idiot, and that the Princess has been right all along.

KOTOR: Not only can your main character be a female, but one of the primary NPCs is also a Princess-Leia-esque female. Sure, you save her, but she doesn't really need it. Same goes for another female member of your party. They're both quite capable. Well, as long as you level them up. So I guess Greg was focusing on the stereotypical macho Mandalorin?

Deus Ex: IW: Again, main character can be female or male. One of the supporting female characters is diplomat of one of the paths you can take, and is quite forceful.

There's many others, but I'm getting bored of listing them for someone who probably doesn't care. Immediately I'm thinking of Anachronox, Panzeer Dragoon Orta, and then there's a large portion of the old Sierra adventure games. The King's Quest series, the Gabriel Knight series, Phantasmagoria series, and the Quest for Glory series were all developed by women. If I thought a little harder than Greg did in his article, I think I could conjure up some more.

So Greg might have a point: in the games he plays, which doesn't seem like many save the original Metroid and the first 2 hours of ICO, women are probably under-represented. For the rest of us, you know, the people that play games, I think it's fair to say that while it's not an equal representation yet, it's far better than it was even 5 years ago. And oh yeah Greg, you make mention of it, but apparently not enough to convince yourself. There are quite a few women in leadership positions in the game industry, who are approving these "embarassing" "malecentric" games. For example, the president of Activision is a women [activision.com] . Hmm. Greg doesn't play games, and he doesn't know about the people that make them. Can I be executive editor too?

A few Points... (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847153)

A few points about the article..

One of my theories is: The worst thing about today's games is that they're developed almost exclusively by men.

This alone is a sexist statement. If it were being made against women in any industry the writer of the article would be up to his ass in feminazi groups bitching about him. But to move on...

At any rate, I'm sure we all agree that today's games (notwithstanding casual games and a handful of other exceptions) are predominantly malecentric,

They should be, since most gamers are still men. I'd hate to break it to you but any medium has a target audience. You think women have poor portrayals in video games? Try watching how men are portrayed on the Lifetime network. Now that *is* sexism.

I don't appreciate that Samus being a woman is a punch line.

This is proof that the articles author has real issues. Samus was seen at the time as empowering to women because there weren't many women as main characters in video games. The fact that this guy takes it as an insult shows he is grasping at straws.

Sorry, no, that's not what I've been taught from living in the Bay Area for most of my life

That explains it!

The original Phantasy Star, a classic role-playing game for the old Sega Master System, incidentally has a female main character. It's a simple story of revenge, and Alis' gender never comes into play at any point.

Is that what this guy wants? Is that what gamers want? Stories devoid of any reference to gender? Give me a BREAK. There are few universal feelings that everyone can relate to. Lust and Love are two of them.

I really hate articles like this, I hate to be attacked for my manhood. Yes, like many men I find women attractive and like to see attractive women in games/movies/whatever. Women are the SAME way. Anyone who has issues with this has deeper issues with their own sexuality. And yes, I like to play games sometimes where I get to save the girl at the end. WHAT THE HELL IS SO WRONG WITH THAT? It's so funny, I hear women on TV all the time talking about "Where did all the real men go". They have all been scared away, because any amount of chilvery that did or does still exist is mistaken for sexism. So what you end up with is these metrosexual, confused, self-hating people like Greg Kasavin. Greg, go chop your penis off stop writing about games and actually make one. I'm sure it will be a hit.

PS- If you hate sexism in games so much, you might want to lay off UT2K4. I think the girls in there might be too sexy for you. If you want, I'll make you an Rosie O'Donald skin for when you play.

This is a HORRIBLE /. Post (1)

Oz0ne (13272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847278)

The summary of the article is entirely unfair and presents the original authors view in a light which HE did not intend. This should be obvious to anyone who reads the article. .. sometimes I wonder why I still read this site.

Of course... (1)

TLSPRWR (711680) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847343)

Male Nerds who make videogames for a living probably don't have that much contact with females aside from their mother. It's then clear to see why females are portrayed wrongly. We all know that every 'normal' woman is 6'5", can benchpress 230 pounds and doesn't shave.

One human is incapable of rendering another (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8847362)

This is an ancient philosophical quandary from the days of Heraclitus at least: can any one person truly know what it is like to be another? The question is complex; what does it mean to be? Could you conceive of any new thought or commit any new action given the precise circumstances experienced by another? If "you" had the exact experience of someone else, in the same spacetime, would "you" be "you" - or that other person? Can identity be reduced to spatial mathematics? Is that compatible with free will?

So, while it may be controversial to point out that a man is incapable of authentically recreating a woman in a virtual environment, this is truly an identity question. IOW... can a man even recreate a man in a virtual environment and do it authentically? What you have to determine before that can be answered is: to all men, what does it mean to be a man? But, is that determinable?

Personally, I don't believe the discrepancy comes from misperception, just differences in taste. e.g. what if you find a woman who did appreciate Samus Aran being unveiled as a woman in Metroid, and found it to be a feminist inspiration? Can the identity-based criticism survive even one woman who holds an opinion like, or similar to that? It doesn't appear so.

In the words of James T. Kirk (1)

toygeek (473120) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847625)

No I'm not a ST nerd but I think this is pretty hilarious:

"Spock, the women on your planet are logical. No other planet in the galaxy can make that claim."

This story proves it!

Our second brain (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847653)

Please keep in mind that a man's second brain lies within his crotch and it is always barking subliminal commands to us from our nether regions whenever dealing with the fairer sex.

While completely capable of rationale thought amongst other men, our species tends to go retarded around women. This is highlighted by our fear of women in the workplace and in the military for so long.

Our retardedness even goes further so that even when imagining women, we can only imagine what we saw in our state of retardedness and boil women down only to what caught the 'second brains' attention.

But all is not lost. The new geek generation has found wonder within the modern geek girl making the brains and the strength behind the woman the new turnon. A woman who reads comic books, programs in C++ and will mace you in a hard beat becomes the new fetish for men of the 21st century.

So the retardedness of the second brain persists however it will shortly becomes focused upon the less superficial aspects of womanhood.

Samus... (2, Insightful)

gamgee5273 (410326) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847668)

I found the article to be laughable. The picture of Samus has the question of "Do you believe this is a tough-as-nails bounty hunter?" or somesuch.

What does he want? A butch dyke chewing on a cigar, wearing camo and a black tank top and with one combat boot-clad foot propped up on a dead Ridley's head?

The fellow's intentions are good, but he undercuts himself in most of his argument. By simply saying Samus, as presented, cannot be a tough bounty hunter is, in itself, discriminatory. Hypocrite.

Nonsense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8847714)

This guy wouldn't have such a stick in his ass if he'd seen how women are portrayed in my forthcoming game, Sandwich Maker 3000 [bitchmakemeasandwich.com] . The dishwashing expansion pack is expected before Christmas.

Logic...hurting...brain... (3, Funny)

Snowmit (704081) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847728)

So a man writes an article about how men are inherently incapable of portraying women properly in a videogame.

He knows this because so far, no man has ever portrayed a woman properly in a video game.

He knows that women have never been properly portrayed because he has a good idea as to how they should be portrayed and none of the women in videogames has ever measured up.

He is a man so he inherently doesn't know how to portray women properly.

But he knows how they should be portrayed.

But he can't know how they should be portrayed.

But...BRAIN EXPLODY

Thank you GameSpotting. Your amazing Zen koan has caused me to reach enlightenment.

I have to agree... (2, Interesting)

njord (548740) | more than 10 years ago | (#8847756)

The portrayal of women in media is not accurate, in general. While mediums such as books and music have reached a point where women are dealt with as honestly as men (which is often not very honest, mind you), games and films (to a lesser extent) have a long way to go towards balancing their portrayal of the sexes.

The issue here is not necessarily that women should portrayed in complete honesty, but that they should be subject to no more or no less exaggeration than men. Men in films are typically clever/intelligent, physically gifted, or a sort of underdog type loser. Films are certainly slanted toward the first two categories, but the last one shows up more frequently and I feel that it grounds the portrayal of men in films overall.

I feel that the film industry isn't as honest with women. In most films, it seems like they are still paraded as sexual beings that are passed around as love interests. Case in point Pirates of the Carribean, a thoroughly entertaining film with some slanted gender roles. While the men are not particularly heroic (clumsy, but witty and endearing), the female lead doesn't seem to make any significant decisions other than who to fall in love with.

Video games, because of a mostly male audience, can get away with more imbalanced depictions. Women in games, even if they are intelligent, brave, and strong-willed, are still almost always shown with ridiculously large breasts and buttocks and seem to wear outfits that emphasize these qualtities. While this is okay in small doses, the fact that nearly all women in games are shown this way disappoints me

The shining exception in my mind (as a guy who's played a lot of games) is Alice. The hero was a female whose dialogue and appearance were completely believable and admirable. Alice wasn't a "bimbo", but she wasn't a man in a dress either. Rather, she was an average-looking eighteen year-old with well-written dialogue that showed the character of this occasionally headstrong and feral young women tempered with strong feeling of guilt and depression, as is to be expected as a resident of an insane asylum in late Victorian England.

Okay, this post is long enough. That's the state of the art, as I see it. I think that women will be more fairly portrayed in games as the audience and developer base widens, just as with the film industry. It's a long way to go still, but it will happen someday.

njord

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