Sexism In Gaming: 5 Reasons It’s A Thing

1) A Troubled Recent History

Consider just the last 18 months. You’ll recall a controversy from the beginning of 2011, courtesy of controversial statement-generating robot David Jaffe. The Twisted Metal dev is of course notorious for his lack of a filter. If he opens his mouth, there’s a 50% chance the word ‘f*ck’ is going to spill out. That’s no big deal since it’s the 21st century and even 5-year-olds drop f bombs these days. But it is a problem when his tendency to speak sans-filter resulted in his dropping one of the most embarassing sexist outbursts in recent memory.

Talking on Twitter about excitement over the still-forthcoming Playstation Vita, Jaffe offered this charming assessment of developer interest:

“New hardware is like new pussy. It’s exciting at first but after you’ve experienced enough fresh vagina over the years — while there’s still always a bit of excitement when something new comes along — you learn that sooner than later, the new and exciting becomes the standard and dependable and so it’s best to just stay focused and grateful on what you’ve got at the moment and if you need to make a change, it’ll just happen organically.”

I don’t think his comments reveal a terrifying monster within, but it’s impossible to pretend they aren’t problematic. Never mind the number of women who play video games, focus instead on the fact that his go-to metaphor literally reduced them to their genitals. Here’s the thing: yes, people get distracted by shiny new objects all the time. We crave novelty as a species, and that craving overrides our best judgment quite often. It’s why people go for the sugar-fat-salt bombs served up by fast food restaurants instead of cooking for themselves every night. And oh look! I just came up with a better and less lazy metaphor than Jaffe did.

Jaffe’s good natured personality and his no-one-gets-a-pass style acquitted him in the wake of his comments. But any doubt that his comments indicated a general culture within the industry should have been erased the following June when, after a 10 year+ development period, the long awaited return of the Duke Nukem series landed like a dull, wet thud.

2) Duke Nukem ForGUYSONLY

The drubbing Duke Nukem Forever received from players and critics is partly due to the horribly dated pop culture references (evidence of the lengthy dev period), and to the clunky gameplay. But particular scorn was reserved for the way DNF positively revels in a palpable disgust for women. Yes, Duke was always a jerk – part of his appeal, though it also demonstrates reason #1000 that the 90s sucked – but DNF went so far as to feature a strip club that also mocks the menstrual cycle (because women are totally gross, amirite guys?). Another mission has a wise-cracking Duke murdering forcibly impregnated women while making crass jokes at their expense. DNF isn’t an unscripted yet highly revealing outburst, but it is evidence of a creative process that, over a far too long development period, became insular and fixated on increasingly mean-spirited bile masquerading as ‘jokes’.

Is Duke Nukem’s clueless, outmoded sexism a signifier of larger problems? For the answer to that, we should look in on February 2012, when Capcom devised a week long reality TV show, called Cross Assult, about competitive fighting game play. The effort was silly overall, but the thing that ultimately ruined it was the behavior of the Tekken team’s coach, an amusingly hateful troglodyte named Aris Bakhtanians. During the shoot, and very much on camera, Bakhtanians ‘motivated’ his team with a stream of offensive invective that, while having a smidgen of racism, was largely fixated on being as sexist as possible. This video from day one shows some of of what went down. Note that it becomes extremely hard to watch:

By day five, Bakhtanians had inflicted so much on his team that they began to argue back, prompting one of the most hilarious and disturbing defenses of terrible behavior ever imagined. At one point he interrupted a woman and told her to shut up until ‘the man’ is finished. Bakhtanians also said “The sexual harassment is part of the culture. If you remove that from the fighting game community, it’s not the fighting game community… it doesn’t make sense to have that attitude. These things have been established for years.” He went on to insist that it’s unfair for anyone to tell fighting game fans they can’t viciously mock women. “That’s what you’re trying to do to the fighting game community,” he said, “and it’s not right. It’s ethically wrong.”

As Ben Kuchera noted at the time, it might be the first ever recorded instance of someone defending sexual harassment on ethical grounds. But while we might rightly mock Bakhtanians’ hostility and his failure to understand what ethics are, is he wrong? Morally, yes, but factually no. Watch what happened to Anita Sarkeesian just a few months later.

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66 Comments on Sexism In Gaming: 5 Reasons It’s A Thing

Swcloud99

On August 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Very good article, except for the fact that this problem goes far beyond the video game industry. It’s something that goes on in most any workplace where women aren’t has numerous has men. One person cracks a sexist joke and since you don’t want to start a bad relationship with your coworkers by calling them out on it, something which would prompt them to think of you has a humourless annoying jerk, you keep it in.
After a while, you realise that by cracking a few equally sexist, and probably seemingly harmless, jokes you would easily become part of the gang. And so begins peer pressure. The only reason sexism is rampant in most workplaces is because of how those discourage thought and individuality. There’s the problem. And let’s be fair, it’s probably even more complicated than that.

Tmason

On August 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Thank you feminists for ruining and politicizing yet another aspect of life.

The gaming culture is male dominated (the flawed ESA study counts people playing 1 hour a week on Wii Fitness on the same level as someone who plays CoD nonstop so that “40% of women are gamers” is highly suspect) and therefore it can be argued that many men are trying to get away from the society as set up. Now that feminists have pretty much large swaths of the entertainment industry, academia, and public schooling locked up it’s high time they set their sights on boys and men when they are having fun by themselves.

Can’t wait for the highly moderated and politically correct gaming servers where 11 year old boys are told they need to watch feminist 101 gaming premieres to play.

Ross Lincoln

On August 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

It certainly does, however I wanted to focus on the way those of us in the gaming community (present company excepted, of course) want to shout it down and pretend otherwise. It’s obviously a system-wide problem, but there’s not harm in focusing on our aspect of that system.

frankie

On August 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm

For the record girlfriend mode was never mentioned at all during the presentation.
“Best friends forever” was mentioned various times.
And the word girlfriend was mentioned once in the concept of “you can play with your girlfriend”
obviously game front weren’t there at all other wise they would know this but hey we know the internet is full of liars cheats and terrible misinformation

MertvayaRuka

On August 28, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Tmason, yes, the horrors, you might not have a space anymore where it’s safe to make sexist, racist, homophobic or just plain vile comments without someone calling you on it. You poor dear. Goodness forbid some poor 11 year old boy might learn these terrible lessons of equality and decency.

Please feel free to call me a white knight or mangina if it makes you feel better. Besides I could use a good laugh and you “anti-PC rebels” constantly whining about people not letting you bully and browbeat them in peace is always a hoot.

frankie

On August 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm

also their is no tomb raider rape scene

Tmason

On August 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm

@MertvayaRuka

Dude, no need to get defensive; I just don’t feel you see the repercussions of making every single aspect of society conform to an ideology that does not have your interests at heart at all. Take a look at Sweden where even talking about gender is now considered sexist/misogynistic.

You see all of the good and none of the bad. I can assure you that at the end of the day those feminists you cozy up to still believe that deep down to the core you are just as bad as the sexist dudes they rail on and on about.

Ross Lincoln

On August 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Instead of erecting a Swedish strawman, why not rebut the things I actually said? Just a thought. I mean, I did describe them in rather plain terms.

Mike

On August 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm

@MertvayaRuka
Actually the fact that you want to take away the refuge where these people can vent is the more horrific thing, as in essence they’re being confined to certain areas instead of bringing that crap out into society. As for me, I’ll be using that “girlfriend mode” since mine likes to force herself to play with me in order to “bond” even though she’s bad at it and doesn’t like killing things at all. It’s kind of like playing golf with you wife, meaning its awful.

*Sigh* Why can’t she just stay in the kitchen and make me a sandwich?

Tmason

On August 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm

@Ross Lincoln —
It certainly does, however I wanted to focus on the way those of us in the gaming community (present company excepted, of course) want to shout it down and pretend otherwise. It’s obviously a system-wide problem, but there’s not harm in focusing on our aspect of that system.

Didn’t know this was addressed at me. I don’t believe that “sexism in gaming” is anywhere near a system-wide problem as described by these new articles cropping up all over the place. It’s another “frontier” for people to exercise control. This idea that every single space everywhere must conform to an ideal is ridiculous.

Ross Lincoln

On August 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm

That was addressed to Swcloud99.

BOB

On August 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm

For the record girlfriend mode was never mentioned at all during the presentation.
“Best friends forever” was mentioned various times.
And the word girlfriend was mentioned once in the concept of “you can play with your girlfriend”
obviously game front weren’t there at all other wise they would know this but hey we know the internet is full of liars cheats and terrible misinformation

Tmason

On August 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm

@Ross Lincoln

In terms of your article, you are positing a solution looking for a problem. As said before, the gaming community is mostly men; the ESA study is false. It started with men and now that it is widely successful it’s another “frontier” for control.

Gaming companies wouldn’t just market to men because they want to minimize their profits; they market to men because that is their overwhelmingly large and primary audience.

With that, why should men now have to change their space to conform to an ideal that is really just about suppression?

Ross Lincoln

On August 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Facts are stubborn things. Like the fact that Hemingway used ‘girlfriend mode’ and variations on it several times during the presentation. Game Front wasn’t there, but Eurogamer was. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-08-13-borderlands-2-gearbox-reveals-the-mechromancers-girlfriend-mode I notice Eurogamer hasn’t been sued for libel, nor have they been asked to change their original story.

Ross Lincoln

On August 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm

And the other stuff I mentioned: you know, the other 4/5 of this article? That stuff happened too. So, yeah.

Greg

On August 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm

“the gaming community is mostly men”

As a man, I don’t think it’s necessary to trivialize women to get my attention. I enjoy eating hamburgers, but I don’t need to be told a hamburger is too awesome for weak little ladies to think it’s delicious. If the only way you know how to market to men is to be a total douche, then you don’t know what you’re doing.

Tmason

On August 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm

@Ross Lincoln

Fair enough on what happened, but why is it now we need to address a problem to please a group that at the end of the day do not care about the gaming community?

Auner

On August 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Hi,

I think people are a bit overreacting to the dubbing “girlfriend-mode”. When I first heard the name, I found it to be very apt. I personally dont know many women who play video games, and most often, if I actually do meet one, shes the girlfriend or friend of one of my buddies who play with me, and apperantly wanted to do something with him. Most often (I would never say this to any of them) they suck, or at best are mediocre. This is not meant to be an insult, simply as an observation of fact. I dont think its because gaming is something “girls cant do”, thats just bull. I think its due to the fact that females dont play as many shooters or action RPGs or RTS’ as males. For the moment, they seem to be predominantly males

Now, one might argue, that women might play shooters or the other genres i mentioned more, if they were more female-friendly, and I have to admit, thats a thought worth persuing.
On the other hand, the shooter crowd (read CoD crowd) from everything i remember about my shooter days arent exactly the very sophisticated type, and removing those big breasted babes (called BBB from now on) might actually offend and alienate these gamers, as evidenced by the reaction to the documentary/analyses that one woman whose name i cant remember for now tried to do. Whether or not this is going to be changed, I think, is out of our hands, and it seems pointless to complain.

Which brings me to my next point, the reaction to the documentary/analyses that one woman whose name i cant remember for now tried to do. I wouldnt exactly call this evidence of a subculture hostile to women in GAMING. Thats just the internet at work. If you have ever been to 4chan, you know what im talking about. Find me someone, who thinks you should change something about the internet, and ill show you 50 guys (male or female, you cant really tell on the internet) who wont tolerate it and insult you to the worst, because they can do so on the internet, because noone knows who they are there.
Hell, its not even certain thats their actual opinion, and that they didnt just think “oh boy, internet argument, LETS TROLL IT!!!!”. If you have attention on the internet, youre a target.

Does this mean I actually like the way women are portrayed in most games? BBBs just because you can? Hell no. Though I also have to point out here, that the Mecromancer depicted above (i assume the redhead is her) doesnt exactly fit the profile, but thats a sidetrack i dont want to go down.
Right now, what comes to mind is Mass Effect.
Partly because you mentioned IGN, and partly because i remember some things about ME 2/3 that really bug me and seem to support your case.
1) Miranda; if anyone in the ME series says BBB, its her, and i never got, why the hell she was introduced into the story
2) The contest for the new default appearance of Commander Shepard (f); what the hell was wrong with the old one? Not babe enough already?
3) Ashley in ME3; I have no idea why, but appearently sometime between ME 2 and 3, she got lip injections and a boobjob. She definetly got babed up. (if you havent noticed, start a new game in ME 3, get to the citadel and take a close look at her lying on the table in the medbay, and compare it to her in ME 1)

The next thing that comes to mind, is indeed DNF. I do not like that game. Mostly because of the portrayal of women in this game. It went so far, i stopped playing when you have to shoot impregnated women in the alien ship. I mean seriously??? What were the guys who came up with this crap thinking?

In my humble opinion, you are correct in your assesment with this particular game, but, its just one game among i dont know how many, not neccessarily overwhelming proof. In order for a patern to exist, you would have to show me a LOT more examples that actually do this like DNF. Right now, what Im reading, is more along the lines of anecdotal evidence.

Anyway, next issue im having, thank you comments for reminding me, the “study” that states that (insert number here)% of women are gamers. I would like to see, how they did that study, because I dont think that you should count people who play party games on the wii and shooter players in the same statistic. I also dont think that you should count console and PC gamers in the same statistic, but that doesnt have anything to do with our discussion at the moment.
Unless there actually is data, that can tell me how many women play shooters/action RPGs/RTS’, the more time consuming games, I dont think you should cite that study to support your cause. It seems to do nothing to support it at best, undermine it at worst.

Moving on. Sexism cuts both ways. The portrayal of men in videogames isnt exatly what i would call “accurate” either. Just look at those hulks you can find in any game based off of the Unreal engine. If you think thats realistic, youre just as bad. But, I think im fighting for lost territory here, so lets wrap this up.

Overall, I think gaming is still a mens club, especially shooters/beat em ups, which we’re talking about here mainly, since the inciting incident was a comment by a dev of a shooter. I think that youre making mountains out of molehills if you see the description “girlfriend mode” as a problem. The problem is that games are made for the masses, the male masses. and since games are either an escape or a fantasy or something along the lines of that, you wont see a change in the thinking there until either the prospective customer changes (as in ‘more women buy shooters’), or the current customers view of women changes. Given that the male view of women in a mens club never really changed, you should either put your money on the first option, give up, or hope someone will do the right thing despite overwhelming pressure to do it “wrong”.
If you have any doubt about that comment, check the list that is in the article above of the big breasted women in games, about 90% of them are in beat em ups or shooters, games predominantly played by males.

What im trying to say is this: You bring forth an interesting point, and while the examples you mentioned seem to support your case, the way you are presenting them makes me uneasy. I personally happen to agree with you, i really do. BUT, the way you are presenting your point leaves to much wiggle room in my opinion. DNF was probably one of the worst games EVER. Presenting it as an example of gaming misagony is too easy, take one of the better titles, and show me there, wherein the misagony lies. Shooters and Beat em ups in general are mens domains, its not exactly surprising to here a comment like “girlfriend mode” from there. Im also fairly certain, that you can find a good example of misagony there somewhere, besides the obvious already pointed out giant cans on every female fighter in beat em ups.

Sincerely yours,

a male gamer who disagrees with your approach to the situation, but agrees with the overall issue of women being misportrayed in games

bob

On August 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm

why would gearbox even bother with euro gamer all they do is post misinformation and bull.
I was there as a rep for an Australian gaming site and no mention of girlfriend mode appeared at all as i said before. I have the whole thing recorded and I have listened and re listened to it several times there is no mention at all.
All euro gamer is doing is just getting more hits like anything you make a controversy.
It is easy to see how they can come to the conclusion that they arrived at. But again its plain misinterpretation and just a very sub par group of people trying to get attention and credit for nothing.
there was also no variation on the word girlfriend.
As I said the mention and description of best friends forever are the only things said there in those reference.
that being said the actual mode its self seems very good it is a good idea to be able to play with someone you know who can get into it and not know how to play at all where you roughly aim in their direction and the bullets will hit them ect ect.
But the word girlfriend was on mentioned once.
Mr Lincoln try to take things that form game websites that publish and have been known to publish rumours misinformation for the sake of hits with a grain of salt i mean how many fake specs exclusive information on the next gen console euro gamer have posted trying to claim as the real deal.

Greg

On August 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

“the gaming community is mostly men”

As a man, I don’t think it’s necessary to trivialize women to get my attention. I enjoy eating hamburgers, but I don’t need to be told a hamburger is too awesome for weak little ladies to think it’s delicious. If the only way you know how to market to men is to be a jerk, then you don’t know what you’re doing.

Brass

On August 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm

@tmason You want women to not play games or participatein gamers culture so that some men get to keep their culture just the way they like it – even though games are one of the most fun things to do – and you don’t think that’s sexist?
Specifically discouraging women from joining the fun seems kinda sadistic, like the kid unwilling to share any of their toys with others, just basking in the envy of other kids.

Your whole argument is based on where there are more men or women gamers, so it’s gonna become obsolete pretty fast. Women are lured by how fun games are, not some feminist takeover conspiracy.

lee

On August 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm

If that was my girlfriend Aris would see what a real street fighter can do!!!

Forgotten_Alcoholic_Android

On August 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm

So let me get this straight. The main argument in favor of being sexist while playing online is that men were there first, that it isn’t acceptable in society to verbalize your sexist point of view anymore and women ruin everything because they don’t like being called es and whores? If your main objective is to be derisive and abusive to someone you don’t even know you don’t need an outlet. You need a therapist.

Ghostchip

On August 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm

@tmason Women come to games because gaming is heaps of fun, it’s designed to be the most fun thing you can do, not becuase of some feminist takeover conspiracy. They just wanna enjoy some games. Discouraging women from pursuing the hobbies theylike because those hobbies should be reserved for some men? Obviously sexist.

lee

On August 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I know girl gamers and they are awesome and can hold there own against any gamer. Also I grew around strong men and women and this is what I have learned. Someone’s genitals does not make you superior. Either you can do something or you can’t.

vicekeridan

On August 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm

My take-away from all of this is the terrible hypocracy of all the individuals trying to defend the notion that sexism, the culture, and the target audience justifies the objectification of women. I can understand the notion of targetting a specific consumer base, but the debasment from a wholeistic perspective reeks of pandering and ignorance. Tera Online, Dead or Alive, Bayonetta, and a continually expanding list only serves to reaffirm that the industry as a whole is far from mature and could do with a significant amount of “growing-up”. Granted, there are those that argue that video games aren’t supposed to be literary monuments, but that mindset should not prevent us from pushing the bounds and uplifting the culture.

Amidst it all, the different camps – pro-equality vs. industry status quo – are so intent to point fingers: blame the feminists, blame the culture, blame whoever lacks the backbone to stand-up for themselves. The industry as a whole has only just in the past decade or so climbed out of the depths of illegitimacy to become a recognized medium of entertainment and media drawing billions in revenue on an annual basis. Are we really so intent on satisifying an obselete principle of objectification simply because developers and gamers alike are content with stagnancy?

Image, character design, bust size aside, the worst part of it all in my mind is not simply the imagery of the female landscape in the gaming industry, but the character’s themselves on an intrinsic level. Few game developers have the courage to really create sophisticated female characters capable of making their own decisions and EVEN when they do, these characters are paraodied in over-sexualized and manipulative fare. The sex becomes a gimmick to make sales and the quality cross-industry suffers for it. I can’t even recall the last game I played where a female character, outside of the main protagonist, possessed development more significant than the maturation of a goldfish.

dan

On August 28, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Sex has never become a gimmick, it always has been in one form or another.
Whether it be sales, power or relations sex is the most powerful driving force for humankind

Kevin

On August 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Good except for two parts:

1.) Your politics remark at the end wasn’t right or wrong…… just amateur hour and oh so pedestrian. It was you trying to sound cute. It flopped. I chuckle when John Stewart makes those jokes. I don’t look to get my gaming information from John Stewart though.

2.) Mass Effect avoided female tropes? I’m sorry did I read that wrong? Ashley looked like she might’ve been better off in a thong and stilettos in ME3, and then there was EDI’s “camel-toe” meme. Or the way the Asari were structured. they were an asexual society, with no men or women, yet all members of the Asari had big boobs, curves, had lots of sex, never aged and dressed provocatively. They were blue Kate Uptons. Or Miranda Lawson?

Honestly, this weakens what was otherwise a stellar article about something that needs to be discussed.

tanveer

On August 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm

, please just piss of with your bull. I play games to get away from boring reality and 95% of the gamers I come across are male. I play a lot of fps and racing. I do not need your BS getting shoved down my throat about this female crap, they can go play all the farmville they want and leave the hardcore games to us…I hope feminists do not even TOUCH the gaming industry and ruin it. It should stay as it is, only these fake gamer butthurt females are moaning.

Ross Lincoln

On August 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm

A) I wasn’t trying to be cute. There really is a political faction – rhymes with ‘fleaflaggers’ or ‘munscurvatives’ that for the last 4 years has been replete with tons of oops racism moments. It’s a perfectly appropriate metaphor.

B) I was referring to female commander Shepard. Who absolutely does not revel in the same boring tropes of female characters. Also, FWIW, Miranda is mirrored by Jacob, who provides almost as much eye candy for the ladies.

Ross Lincoln

On August 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm

But, you’re right – I should have more clearly indicated I was talking about Shepard.

MertvayaRuka

On August 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm

@Tmason:

“Dude, no need to get defensive; I just don’t feel you see the repercussions of making every single aspect of society conform to an ideology that does not have your interests at heart at all.”

Ah, the old “those man-hating feminists are just using you” bit. Sorry, not buying it. A world in which my daughter’s gender isn’t used as a way of saying someone is weak/inferior/unworthy is definitely in my interests. A world where the sexual orientation of my friends isn’t used as shorthand for saying something is awful is definitely in my interests. What I don’t get is what harm any of this does to anyone but bullies and creeps.

“Take a look at Sweden where even talking about gender is now considered sexist/misogynistic.”

Citation needed.

“You see all of the good and none of the bad. I can assure you that at the end of the day those feminists you cozy up to still believe that deep down to the core you are just as bad as the sexist dudes they rail on and on about.”

Utter bull. You’re talking about radfems, who make up a ridiculously small percentage of actual feminists. The idea that all feminists are hairy-legged lesbians who think all sex with men is rape is a tired old cliche` and the only reason it still has any life is because of people like you who will repeat it as truth without question. It’s what people like you tell yourselves so you can quiet whatever stunted remains of a conscience you have.

CatmanStu

On August 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm

The games industry isn’t sexist, it’s outdated.
Most people working in the industry (or the ones that talk to the press anyway) seem to be in their early thirties and up. When these people were the target audience most guys didn’t play games, let alone girls, so it’s only natural that their approach to the industry is somewhat unbalanced.
Redressing that balance is not going to happen by changing the industry as it is (old dog; new tricks) but by a new breed of developers from the current gaming demographic who have been educated to have more open minds.
Also, funny how no-one mentions Japanese games when sexism comes up. JRPG’s have been churning out just as many tired old female cliches for just as long, and how long has Mario been saving Peach. Wouldn’t it be nice if she could save him for once.

Gasmaskangel

On August 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I’m a big believer in the idea of a marketplace of ideas. Good ideas will invetably drive out bad ideas in the long term (the key phrase here is long term). While a lot of people are eager to bring up the bad ideas and point them out, there are very few who are actively marketing the good ideas.

You bring up Mass Effect, and thats a good place to start on this topic I think. For the most part Mass Effect does a good job with making the male and female characters more or less equal, although some bits that could be construed as gigantic missteps (the Asari as a whole sound like a scifi geeks wank fantasy for starters, and then theres the complicated issue of Jack).

See, everytime some publisher or other brings up something like say Hitman’s sexy nunsassins, we should say “why? [insert positive examples of gender equality in gaming of your choice here] was able to make a good game without really on sex appeal?” to which the developer can either justify their choice as intentionally feteshistic either due to some bit of context in the story (in which case I would reserve judgement till I saw said context) or because they’re intentionally reveling in perversion for it’s own sake (which, since I’m a pig, I would probably enjoy). If they cannot justify it, then hopefully the dialogue can along the lines of “huh. I guess that could be taken the wrong way, we should probably change that bit!”

The reason I subscribe to this world view is simple. When you see something like the nunsassins or “girlfriend mode” and go charging in full of entirely justifiable moral outrage, you’re only going to have the people who are already on your side with you. You’re going to make what you’re attacking out to be a martyr, which is what the serious mysoginists are hoping for.

They’re hoping for someone to start screaming because then they get to play the victim and then you get idiots like Colin Moriarty talking about fals outrage and crap like that.

Does this mean there is never a time to saddle up and call someone a mysogynist? No. It can be warrented in the more extreme cases like with say Duke Nukem Forever or the attack Anita Sarkeesian. Those represent honest, earnest misogyny and they need to be called out for the idiotic hateful bile that they are.

MertvayaRuka

On August 29, 2012 at 10:55 am

@tanveer:

“I do not need your BS getting shoved down my throat about this female crap, they can go play all the farmville they want and leave the hardcore games to us”

Oh please. My wife’s been playing fps multiplayer since Quake came out. Were you even out of diapers then?

“…I hope feminists do not even TOUCH the gaming industry and ruin it. It should stay as it is, only these fake gamer butthurt females are moaning.”

No, the people doing the loudest moaning are scared little spoiled children like yourself. Women are part of gaming and there are more of them joining up every day. You can throw as many tantrums as you like, but it’s not going to stop them from playing, You can be nasty and sexist, harass and threaten them, it’s just going to make them more determined. It’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. And I’m going to enjoy every second of the misery it causes people like you, so please cry moar. Only thing sweeter is the ragefits you lot go into whenever you find you just got beat by a “girl”.

LovelessNone

On August 29, 2012 at 11:14 am

Ross Lincoln On August 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm

A) I wasn’t trying to be cute. There really is a political faction – rhymes with ‘fleaflaggers’ or ‘munscurvatives’ that for the last 4 years has been replete with tons of oops racism moments. It’s a perfectly appropriate metaphor.

This was a good discussion till this^ now were getting into name calling and politics!?!?!

Shame on you Ross Lincoln for draging the one Gaming News site that I had respect for and thought I could get news from without any of the writers throwing politics into the conversation. Can’t we have a site that doesn’t turn into a IGN/Collin Morriarty name calling thread when one person has a different opinion?

I do have a question though since we are now wayyyyyy off topic for a gaming site. Why don’t people complain about how women are portrayed in Books/TV shows like Game of Thrones or The Sword of Truth series? They have strong women but just as many if not more are depicted at weak or being beaten and raped. Where is the sexist outcry there? Do women not enjoy those books or the shows based off of them? Are only men reading? I’m not trying to defend some of the blatant sexism like the over sized breasts and some of the character design but it seems like some of the sexist things are spotting smoke where there is no fire. If we are going to defend Video Games when someone says they are causing violence by saying “It’s just a game people know the difference between reality and fiction.” Shouldn’t we be looking at this the same way? Is there really a huge problem or is it something that is becoming a problem because we are making it a problem by focusing on a few negative incidents?

JawaEsteban

On August 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm

@MertvayaRuka
I’ve been mostly in agreement with you up to this point, but you’re starting to approach the same level of ridiculousness as the comments you’ve been railing against.
So your wife is an FPS junkie? Congratulations. Go buy a lottery ticket and look for a unicorn. She is unequivocally what statisticians would call an ‘outlier’.
It’s not even up for debate that the majority of gamers are male. If you isolate further the core gaming community (FPS, RPG, RTS etc. ) and remove casual gaming/Wii, the number is well beyond a super-majority. That is the reality of the situation. Pretending that it is somehow otherwise just makes you look ridiculous. Until we start seeing a ton of women playing CoD (or equivalent), your assertion that “Women are part of gaming and there are more of them joining up every day” is basically meaningless. The majority of female gamers reside in the casual market, and that is not where the money is from a publisher/developer standpoint. Unless you’re expecting EA to turn into a social justice charity organization next week, the status quo isn’t changing anytime soon, if ever. Other than a serious improvement in graphics, the portrayal of women in mainstream gaming has remained unchanged since the days when we were loading shareware on 5.25 floppy disks. If anything, it’s gotten more sexist.
Look, I’m fully in support of trying to clean things up a bit, removing the more egregious examples of sexism in gaming and all that. On the other hand, insisting that the gaming community abide by the same social conventions as Curves Fitness is just batcrap crazy.

MertvayaRuka

On August 29, 2012 at 1:47 pm

@JawaEsteban:

“So your wife is an FPS junkie? Congratulations. Go buy a lottery ticket and look for a unicorn. She is unequivocally what statisticians would call an ‘outlier’.”

One, unless you have actual statistics to back this up, this is just appeal to authority. Two, the crux of this whole debate is WHY women are considered to be the minority among gamers. The he-man-woman-haters club asserts that it is because they have no aptitude for anything but Farmville. The reality is that any time a woman steps outside of that box, they are punished for it. The “core gaming” community seems to never get tired of telling women that they are worth less than men or making women suffer for it should they get any ideas to the contrary.

“It’s not even up for debate that the majority of gamers are male. If you isolate further the core gaming community (FPS, RPG, RTS etc. ) and remove casual gaming/Wii, the number is well beyond a super-majority. That is the reality of the situation. Pretending that it is somehow otherwise just makes you look ridiculous.”

The person I was addressing my comments to was basically making the statement that there are no women who are “core gamers”. I never said that the majority of gamers aren’t male. I didn’t even come close to that idea. All I did was point out that his statement is so false as to be laughable and that there are likely many women who have been “hardcore” players since before he was daddy’s little mistake. Next time try critiquing things I actually say instead of assuming things I didn’t say.

“The majority of female gamers reside in the casual market, and that is not where the money is from a publisher/developer standpoint.”

I’d be willing to bet that a good number of them reside there because in Farmville you don’t have to worry about some 15-year old saying he’s going to rape you and they don’t have outfits that go from “practical” to “exotic dancer” when viewed on a male character and then a female one. “Core gaming” isn’t just overwhelmingly male, it’s a toxic fever swamp of male entilement. That game publishers and developers make money off keeping it so is all the more reason for change.

“Unless you’re expecting EA to turn into a social justice charity organization next week, the status quo isn’t changing anytime soon, if ever.”

Incremental change is better than throwing up your hands and saying “It has always been thus.”. If nobody bothers to stand up against this crap, no, it won’t change. And change sure as hell isn’t going to come from the “if it doesn’t affect me, it’s not a real problem” crowd. The majority never sees a reason for change until they’re made to, either when it starts to affect those they care about or when they’re finally dragged kicking and screaming to it and they realize once they’re there that the world hasn’t come to an end.

“Other than a serious improvement in graphics, the portrayal of women in mainstream gaming has remained unchanged since the days when we were loading shareware on 5.25 floppy disks. If anything, it’s gotten more sexist.”

Show me where in the shareware days we had female protagonists that not only existed independently of male ones but didn’t need to be constantly rescued by them and weren’t constantly being shown up by them.

“Look, I’m fully in support of trying to clean things up a bit, removing the more egregious examples of sexism in gaming and all that. On the other hand, insisting that the gaming community abide by the same social conventions as Curves Fitness is just batcrap crazy.”

Wanting an end to sexist slurs and stereotypes in gaming is not asking for Curves Fitness rules for all of gaming. Also, please do yourself a favor and don’t follow up with statements like this after accusing someone else of making ridiculous statements. No one is calling for this politically-correct dystopia that’s being squawked about.

Pedro

On August 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm

grow up guys, analogies and metaphores aren’t a synonimous with sexism, nor is girlfriend mode or whatever..those are jokes, they have a context, and sexual as it may be, it’s certainly not sexist.

sexism is a ing serious thing, so stop putting ur lame 2 cents in the debate.. cause really, u really thing that jaffe is a sexist ? really ? you really think that jaffe thinks that the female gender is inferior to the male and that he would pay less to a woman then he would pay a men for the same job ?

I BEG THE VIDEOGAME MEDIA INDUSTRY TO BE SO ING IRRESPONSIBLE WITH THIS SUBJECT.

shitpeas

On August 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm

i think this article AND comments section proves that male gamers have the tendency to ‘think’ (if you can call it that) only with their .
to be honest, i think women need to be MORE of a target audience for games and then maybe we’ll get away from the boring, clichéd sexism that games are so known for.
this kind of sexism isn’t just offensive to women, it’s offensive to anyone with a brain! (as opposed to a and no brain like many gamers)

JawaEsteban

On August 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm

@MetvayaRuka
I understand the point you’re making, but I think you’re being rather over-dramatic about it. Yes, multiplayer can get occasionally unpleasant for female gamers. However, occasionally unpleasant is a very long ways from ‘punished’. Also, the question is not ‘why are women CONSIDERED to be the minority in gaming?’, the question is ‘why ARE women the minority in gaming?’.
I have no doubt that sexism plays a part in the answer, but it is by no means the sole factor. As example, one could certainly understand women avoiding multiplayer shooter titles due to the less than pleasant online environment. On the other hand, how do you explain women also avoiding single player FPS, RTS, RPG?
Mass Effect (series) is not overly sexist to women or men, certainly no more than anything else out there in mainstream culture, and it is primarily single player only. It’s also cross-platform, available to console and PC. However, Bioware’s data shows that 80% of ME2 players played as male Shepherd, and Soldier was more popular than all other classes combined. Sure, a few women might have decided to do a run through as a male Shepherd, but it’s fairly obvious that the majority of people playing ME2 were guys. There’s no ‘punishment’ factor here, so why the disparity?
I think the issue of why women are a minority in the gaming community goes a bit deeper than you seem to believe. I’d say that the underlying drivers are more linked to societal gender norms as a whole than the gaming sphere’s stereotypes.

MertvayaRuka

On August 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

@JawaEsteban:

“I understand the point you’re making, but I think you’re being rather over-dramatic about it. Yes, multiplayer can get occasionally unpleasant for female gamers. However, occasionally unpleasant is a very long ways from ‘punished’.”

I would suggest perhaps a few moments perusing the website fatuglyorslutty for a redefinition of “occasionally unpleasant”. Let’s be honest here, I’m not talking about someone messaging a woman gamer with “I 0wn j00″. I’m talking about guys being very sexually vulgar and threatening. It’s not “unpleasant”. It’s actively hostile and intentionally scary. “Unpleasant” is someone cursing at you. Someone threatening to rape and murder you rises a bit above “unpleasant”.

“Also, the question is not ‘why are women CONSIDERED to be the minority in gaming?’, the question is ‘why ARE women the minority in gaming?’.
I have no doubt that sexism plays a part in the answer, but it is by no means the sole factor. As example, one could certainly understand women avoiding multiplayer shooter titles due to the less than pleasant online environment. On the other hand, how do you explain women also avoiding single player FPS, RTS, RPG?”

Proscribed gender roles, the profusion of female stereotypes in said games (doormat, prostitute, prize, eye candy, crazy), ad campaigns that make it very clear such games are “not for the ladies”. It’s like asking why the paroled serial killer living in a high-crime neighborhood doesn’t get many visitors. It’s not a welcoming environment to begin with and no matter how you clean it up there’s always going to be an undercurrent of hostility. Look at how the comment sections of articles like this go on other sites. The overall tone is “You are not wanted here. You don’t belong here. This is OUR place and we will MAKE you leave if we have to.”.

“I think the issue of why women are a minority in the gaming community goes a bit deeper than you seem to believe. I’d say that the underlying drivers are more linked to societal gender norms as a whole than the gaming sphere’s stereotypes.”

Of course they’re linked. That’s where those stereotypes come from. That I did not pen an essay on cultural and societal gender norms here does not mean I am unaware of them. The attitudes present towards women in gamer culture are a symptom of a greater problem. But at this moment, we were talking about gamer culture, not societal attitudes towards women in general. I would however say that a good chunk of the problem currently is this contrived victim mentality male gamers are falling into. They’re fighting an enemy that doesn’t exist (ZOMG LIBERAL FEMINIST PC NAZIS) in an effort to justify their own awful, vile behavior. People like Tmason up there talk a bunch of nonsense about how feminists have taken over the entertainment industry and academia and so on without a shred of proof to back it up, because someone else said it and it allows them to rationalize how they treat women. They see women in gaming as some dread enemy out to steal all their fun and make them take sensitivity training and it encourages them to double down on the stupid. I don’t think things would be half as bad as they are if there weren’t so many of these fearful little weasels screaming about how feminism is going to destroy gaming.

JawaEsteban

On August 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

@MertvayaRuka

On that, I think we can agree. Honestly, I’m not sure how one would go about addressing the problem, at least at this small scale. Some pressure can be brought to bear on publishers through market forces over truly egregious content, but that’s about all the traction available. DNF went down in flames, but I’m not sure if that was because of the anti-female content or the fact that it was a horrid game in general. I’m leaning towards the latter, unfortunately.
Regulation isn’t going to be the answer, most of it wouldn’t stand a chance on free speech grounds. If we’re not allowed to get rid of the Westboro Baptist Church, the we’re sure as hell not going to be able to do anything from the regulation standpoint about game content. They already tried and failed on game violence, I see no reason that a sexual content initiative would fare any better. I wouldn’t want to go that direction regardless, my personal feeling is that there had better be a massive potential harm (of the life and limb variety) demonstrated before restrictions on free speech are brought into the equation.
As you pointed out, the entire thing is just a symptom of overall society. In a way it makes sense, games are in many cases just fantasy shadow reflections of society itself. Hollywood isn’t doing any better, same problems.
Me, I blame Britney Spears.

MertvayaRuka

On August 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm

@JawaEsteban:

Like many things, the key is a little regulation and a LOT of education. Plain and simple, these attitudes thrive due to ignorance. Only way to fight it is to teach people better ideas and not back down from calling people out when they’re being jerks. Naturally this applies outside the gaming world as well, since the causes of this problem originate outside the gaming world. You are absolutely right that the answer is not total restrictions on speech but MORE speech. And we can’t allow the quiet voices of the minority to get shouted down by the majority. Pleasure talking to you.

Kaitlyn

On August 29, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I think the responses to this article are telling of the bigger problem.

Seeing how the article was on the bigger issue of how the gaming community seems unable to confront that bigger issue by either A) attacking or B) ignoring, I find it sad but unsurprising that’s what a lot of the comments seem to do, here or anywhere.

As you said, the problem’s not so much with specific games as with the community.

I guess for me, the whole situation seems so ridiculous coming from a background where I grew up with video games being an integral part of my life. The fact I was a girl didn’t really factor into it. I played tons of RPG and D&D type games. Back then, most of those type games then included the typical warrior, archer, wizard combo. 9/10, the wizard was a seductive female in little clothes, while the other two characters were male. I always ended up playing the short, chunky dwarf because I liked playing the fighter role. It was the role I was interested in, not the package. Did I feel particularly antagonistic towards the female character and her portrayal? Not really.

Perhaps it’s because my basis were games that, at least when compared to other games, were relatively un-sexist. I was playing a female in Neverwinter Nights before I ever even knew some games did not have the chance to play a female protagonist. Heck, I’m pretty sure the brothel even included men, (though less to be sure.) The single player RPG’s have always seemed to generally be in the right spot. Now with games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect women essentially have equal opportunities as men, and there is not too much sexism (at least with the protagonists.) You still get your skirts and such, but hell, what girl doesn’t enjoy dressing up every now and then? That’s something I can live with. I can also live with the female characters they throw in for the male gamer’s fantasies. There’s always the Morrigan, or the Isabela, or the Miranda.

I even played WoW and some other stuff over the years. Are the women’s portrayal…realistic? Not really. Should that have been the case? Probably not. Yes, video games are in some ways all about perfection. But whose? And are they perfected in the way we really want?

You know what, I get it. I like eye candy as much as the next man or woman. But it’s about more than just the looks. I suppose perhaps it comes mostly from playing RPG’s, but the characters that people fall in love with, that I’ve come to love, are those with depth of character. It’s the Garrus’ of games that make them, not the Jacob’s (though he did have nice abs.) As a girl, that’s all I really want. A bit of character depth. Take Morrigan or Isabela or whomever else. The cleavage may have been a bit much, but I could learn to see past that to the characters beneath.

There may be a problem with the extreme sexism in games. The bigger problem is how people seem to deal with it. Take for instance the comments here.

The exchanges are classic.

Both sides inflammatory style of articulating their ideas just perpetuates a cycle of anger and frustration. People can’t simply seem to support their ideas, it has to become personal.The problem about discussions like this is they become personal attacks, versus focus on the problem at hand.

I’ll use an analogy to help illustrate this. Let’s take another big societal issue, (and one that also applies to video games I think)— weight. You don’t typically see wide women or shrimpy men. You just don’t. Should there be more realistic characters? Definitely. Sould models be the definition of beauty? No, they really shouldn’t. Should we label obesity a problem or try to fix it? Those should be the issues. Instead though, talk of weight usually turns into a hate fest. Fat people shouldn’t be fat, it’s their own fault, they’re ugly. Skinny people should eat a little, are anorexic or bolemic, and just conceited and unhealthy.

Each are equally hurtful…and equally wrong. Funny how the ones propogating such comments are the ones hurt by them. Funny how such comments inflame such bitter emotions and hatred in the first place. It’s become like politics. You’re right; they’re wrong. This is a step in the wrong direction. What happened to asking the questions, listening, informing yourself, constructive criticism? What happened to respect?

The problem is not video games at all, it’s society. And good luck fixing that one. Go ahead, ask if sex appeal requires a lack of clothes or personality. Ask if instead of focusing on whether girls game (they do), why not focus on why it’s such a big deal just quite what percentage it is. Just because a group is a minority, does that mean they don’t matter? Because a group’s a majority, does that mean that everyone shares the same beliefs and characteristics? Is that really what’s important here?

As a girl gamer and a human being, it’s sad to see it come to things like this. But here we are. And I have to wonder, are we doomed to a world of angry, aggressive comment sections?

Dr. NerdLove

On August 30, 2012 at 7:20 am

Ah the reverse sexism argument.

The hyperbuff male figures in games aren’t sex fantasies for women, they’re *power* fantasies for *men*. Kratos doesn’t look like Mr. Olympia (see what I did there?) because that’s what turns women on, he’s running around buff and shirtless because it emphasizes what an unstoppable badass he is.

He’s what the players *wish* they could be – bangin’ women three and four at a time, ripping anyone who opposes them to shreds and looking like the giant swinging alpha male in the process.

Kaitlyn

On August 30, 2012 at 8:06 am

@Dr. NerdLove

Oh, I agree with you. Sorry if I didn’t really clarify that, but I figured my comment was already probably way too long as it stood. Video game characters are all about escapism. People want them to be “badass,” as you put it, everything we can’t have but wish we did ourselves. And looks are a part of that. Heck, most women want to be bad-ass sexy chicks as much as men want to be a bad-ass sexy dudes.

Whether or not it was their intention, (and likely it was not), for male characters to appeal to women’s desires rather than men’s desire to be “powerful” as you put it, it is still a side effect, as you will.

So why not the other way around? Can’t female characters be just as “powerful,” but still have an appearance that appeals to both male and female gamer’s desires? I just feel like so many arguments focus on the looks, when I don’t think that’s the real problem. I was just trying to make a point that there’s another dimension…albeit poorly perhaps. That’s what happens when I respond to articles in the middle of the night.

LukeM

On August 30, 2012 at 9:41 am

@Tmason:

“why should men now have to change their space to conform to an ideal that is really just about suppression?”

Seriously dude? You as a male feel suppressed? Have you looked at the world lately? I could be wrong but I see mostly men running things.

BattleaxeMaiden

On August 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

This is an excellent article, thanks for writing it.

To all the guys who “don’t see the problem”. THAT’S HOW PRIVILEGE WORKS! Not having experienced something yourself, doesn’t mean it magically doesn’t exist.

For further material see http://www.fatuglyorslutty.com a compilation of the verbal abuse women get just for being online, playing a game and … *gasp* maybe even winning. While being women. *doublegasp*

Diago

On August 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm

You feminist can suck my , jealouse of men is what you are.
Bashing dude’s left and right for just being men!
Bashing dude’s (Who dont even want you) for liking females.
Bashing the sex drive in us that brought you the stuff that you enjoy today.

Cars/Keys/Roads/Tampons/Female voting/Kids/and every singlenumber or letter you can think of….
Even the keys you typed for this article was designed by a men, respect that and for sake stop it, just stop it.

We love you, love us back.

Kevin

On August 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Yup Ross, your still trying to be cute. And it still isn’t working. When you hit Daily Show, let me know, and I’ll promptly change my tune.

Until then, stick to writing solid gaming stuff. :) Honestly, I think you do a lot of good work. Maybe it’s just I’m a political junkie, and I spend too much time on this stuff already, and gamefront is normally a fun diversion for me.

Axetwin

On August 31, 2012 at 12:46 am

In theory this is a very sound article however not all sexism is created equal. Two of your points are simple overreactions to a stupid thing.

Take Duke Nukem for example, Duke is like your 90 year old grandpa. Think about what life was like 90 years ago, its the early 1920′s social life was a very different thing back then. The Feminist movement has either just started or is just about to get started. Minorities wont have their rights recognized for another 30 or 40 years and this is the environment your grandfather has grown up in. So fast forward to today and he is a bit sexist and very racist, however does that make him a bad person? Of course not, he is simply the product of a very different generation and it is simply unrealistic to expect him to be anything else.

Now look back at Duke, just like grandpa he is the product of a very different generation. A generation in which he should have been left. But no, someone decided to bring him into this new over-politically correct generation where people spend more time focusing on other people making sure they live within the parameters that person has set for themselves and ignoring all the important things going on around them. DNF turned out exactly the way most of us expected and it was unrealistic to expect anything different, especially when noone was saying he was going to be any different. Quite frankly, if it wasnt for the sexism outrage, DNF would have been dead and simply forgotten 4 months after its release. Its this sexism thing that keeps the game fresh in the minds of everyone.

Overreaction #2 is over this “girlfriend mode” comment. I know that study says 47% of gamers are female but like someone else pointed out in these comments, their definition of “gamer” is someone who spends atleast 1 hour a week with Wii Fit. So my first question is of these 47% how many of them exclusively play Facebook games? Why are they being allowed to have any say in what goes on in my games? Do I have any say in what goes on in their games? Of course not. What I want to know is the percentage of female players that played Borderlands 1. The comment this man made was not worth the type of “OMG write your congressman and tell him you wont stand for this” type of outrage.

There needs to be a balance between indignation and outrage. These first two points are worthy of indignation at best. You get annoyed, mad even, for a bit then you forget about it. Outrage is what you should feeling with crap like this Cross Assault thing. As a matter of fact, Im angry that you ladies arent MORE pissed off about this. Correct me if Im wrong, but wasnt this guy not only viciously attacking this girl verbally, but wasnt he also trying to continually feel her up? Wasnt he trying to forcibly remove her shirt? WHILE she was playing? How was this guy never brought up on sexual assault charges? Why are you not more angry at Capcom? Why has this been allowed to almost slip by seemingly unnoticed and almost completely forgotten while you hang the feminist peace symbol on Duke going “DNF – Never Forget”?

The reaction to the kick starter was another good example of overreaction by the male demographic. Again, why were these guys never brought up on charges? Part of the reason you ladies are not having your issues taken seriously because you simply focusing on the wrong issues. Youre more focused on video games made specifically for the male demographic and stupid jokes than you are on a woman being assaulted both physically and electronically. Are you seriously going to tell me that there cannot be video games made specifically for guys? Or are you going to say “oh no they can make video games specifically for guys, but it still needs to be respectful to woman”? To which I would say is such a hypocritical thing to say. There are so many forms of media targeted towards woman that is so disrespectful to men and yet there is no issue. So much for “equal rights” right?

Realist

On August 31, 2012 at 4:49 am

Please, keep the political stuff at a minimum. Jim Sterling already died on his arse with his pathetic ‘man babies’ diatribe that was devoid of evidence or a point other than to troll the readership. This article is better, mostly because it actually has relevant sources and reasoning, but it’s still incredibly selective and misses the wider issue. There is not a problem with sexism as much as there’s a problem with characterisation in videogames in general. Duke Nukem is a stereotypical testosterone-filled douche. That, for many men, could be seen as equally belittling and offensive as the way women are portrayed, perhaps even moreso since he’s the protagonist and is plastered all over the box. See? It’s all about perspective.

If I wanted to read half-baked left-leaning social commentaries, I’d go to Cracked. Stick to what you know.

lee

On August 31, 2012 at 5:44 am

@Axetwin I agree with everything you said. That horrible incident with Capcom needs to be fixed if they don’t want a PR nightmare on there hands. As for sexism I am not saying men haves it rougher than women but I will say we have our fair share. Every sitcom or commercial I see has a man sounding like a idiot. Not to mention the lifetime channel{ you know television for women} almost always show a movie about a guy beating his wife all the time. As for the women who take this issue seriously I say this to you. Not long ago a group of women was beheaded in the middle east just for dancing. Why you go to there unmarked graves and tell them that your cause is just as important as theres.

lee

On August 31, 2012 at 6:14 am

Just wanted to say this, a woman published a book that said on how men are a endangered species. If I wrote a book that explains how women are a endagered species then I would be branded a sexist but as long its a guy that gets reduced to an inferior animal then it is okay.

Mrsnippy52

On September 4, 2012 at 3:51 am

I have a problem . WE have a problem….. I used to remember a time where people where mostly shooting at each other in video game. today people are still doing it . but now, it’s not the same thing anymore…. why ? because some people still seem to think that having boob often mean “being a noob playing from the kitchen”… this kill me to see this even in the video-game communoty…. why people couldn’t symply shutting the hell up while playing fps , why? “robotnik why”…..
People of the earth, i have a dream. A dream where people of all sex and of all colors will be able to understand that video-game are what they are : some of them might have messages , while some other might just want you to SHOOT THE F3CK OUT OF EVIL MONSTER OF DOOMINITE …. the fact is , you don’t have to care about it . it’s just a game , and what will happen in it , might have serious chance of staying in it , since it’s a virtual world….
ps: also , i want to play to I.G.I 3 , i’m still waiting it!!!!!! (and i don’t care if the hero got or not boob ; i have many exemple of crazy biatch as main character in video game……)

Ross Lincoln

On September 4, 2012 at 8:35 am

Lee, first of all it wasn’t a book, it was an essay in the Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end-of-men/8135/). Second, it wasn’t HA-HAW LOL YOU MENZ ARE DOOOMED, it was about the changes in a post industrial society, sparked by the fact that women became the majority of the workforce a couple of years ago with a provocative headline. Third, I’m sorry but one article with a provocative premise is simply not the equal of, you know, everything else discussed here. You’re not a victim of sexism.

JDW

On September 4, 2012 at 9:53 am

“I’m not suggesting that the industry is a cabal of misogynists bent on destroying all women, but if this list doesn’t demonstrate a pattern of behavior that suggests a business culture in dire need of reflection, then nothing ever could.”

We are capitalists. You do know that “business culture” is a marketing thing right? If the makers of Borderlands two thought for a second that 47% of their customers would be women there would not be a BFF/girlfriend mode in the game.

I see this as a problem with human beings more than a specific problem with video games. It just comes out more in video games because by their nature, they boil things down to base elements.

One day we will stop seeing people as a race and gender before a name and the lady bits will lose their special properties… Don’t think that day is coming soon though.

Slayer666

On September 5, 2012 at 3:06 am

I guess I belong to that 40% that plays games, though my gaming does not limit to wii-titles. Well, actually I don’t even own a wii. I play FPS tiltles (MW, Crysis), rpgs (MassEffect, Skyrim) and platformers mostly. My partner also belongs to that 40%, but she’s not into the same stuff I am. She gets her gaming-kicks from stuff like Tetris and Farmville.

I kinda like the term girlfriend-mode. I mean, if my partner was playing some farming game and wanted me to participate, I’d love to help out if I didn’t have to get involved as deeply as she is involved. And I could see her playing a platformer with me if we could both individually adjust our difficulty-levels. I don’t know if I’d get her interested in fps-games though. :)

And yeah, the whole world is sexist. But so far things have been improving. There are many examples of great storytelling with a female-protagonist out there (Longest Journey, Syberia and yeah, I like Mass Effect) and to be fair, there are games in which the male protagonists are total douches. I have no trouble seeing why some guys could feel offended about how men are portrayed in games. Actually one of my close friends (who is a male) is so sick of the muscle-bound macho-stereotypes still present in many current action games.

But this article was a good read, thank you for it!:)

Rho

On September 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm

What if there are no termites? What if it’s just some strange people who really don’t have any business in your house suddenly start coming over without even knocking on the door and telling you how you should live inside your own house and that red color is not a trend anymore and that you should replace your furniture and stuff like that. In that case it’s only natural to pick option B.

I’m not sure how any sane person can defend that Anita Sarkeesian thing and what she’s trying to do. So today she attacks video game girl depictions and tomorrow you will find yourself being a sexist because you have a beautiful wife and your chubby female neighbor didn’t like it.

MertvayaRuka

On September 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

@Rho:

I really can’t tell if you’re a parody or if you’re actually serious with this “FEMINISTS IZ GONNA REDECORATE YER HOUSE AND TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHT TO HAVE A HOT WIFE!!” hurfblurf. You know what the end result of more people having their rights and dignity recognized is? More people whose rights and dignity are recognized. Not the end of the world. Unless you’re a sexist bigot or something, in which case it is the end of YOUR world and we’re better off for it once we’ve consigned your idiocy to the trash heap of history where it belongs. We tried it your way. And your way sucks. We’re not going back there no matter how much you dig your heels in, no matter how big a tantrum you throw and no matter how violent and nasty you might get. So either grow up or get out of the way.

Rho

On September 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm

@MertvayaRuka

Chill. No need to loose temper.

I agree with some of the concerns raised in this article, but what worries me is that most actively fighting people just don’t know when to stop. Given the power they’d go blindly banning things because of the slightest sexism suion.

So yeah, let’s remove size C and catsuits from games because… uhm, why exactly is it a bad thing again? Well, never mind, let’s remove it anyway. What next? Ah yes, violence. Ok, no more violence in video games from now on, no more killing, no more saving worlds by any means other than diplomacy. Happy now, mr. Thompson?

So what’s left? No religion symbolics (God help us if they find just a single pentagram in Diablo 3), no alcohol (because that’s how you become an alcoholic), no street racing (because it promotes careless driving). No more Meatboys and Marios saving helpless females (because in english the word “plot” is a synonym to the word “sexism”, obviously)… So what’s left to play? Tetris? Minesweeper? Nah, minesweeper’s too violent.

Please, tell me that I’m wrong and, for example, killing people in games is actually ok in compare with depicting female characters being sexually appealing and that this intrusion will stop at that.

I have a perfect solution for all people offended by anything in games. If you, being Christian, think there’s something wrong with Islam dogmas – don’t go into mosques. Just don’t.

That’s a metaphor, of course.

MertvayaRuka

On September 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

@Rho:

The only people talking about this scorched-earth remove-everything-that-might-offend-everyone idea is the people who are against it. No one else is saying that. People ARE saying “For the love of all that does not suck, please learn to create characters and situations that aren’t tired old stereotypes or that are offensive just for the sake of being offensive. Please learn to respond to female games with something more intelligent than ‘lolz make me sammich’, rape threats or requests for nude photos”. Why is this so godsdamn difficult and why does it have to be continually painted as some kind of sinister effort to destroy fun and happiness? Scratch that, I know the answer to the second question, it’s so bullies can pretend they’re the real victims.

lee

On September 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm

@Ross Lincoln Woah did not to mean to get anyone’s undergarments in a bunch. All I was trying to say was lines like that sounds sexist to me. Geesh God forbid I have a opinion. As for the sexism goes, I did not say I was a victim. I was merely trying to expose some hypocrisy.

GnomeSlice

On December 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

This was a very interesting article. In regards to the (brief) mention of the Tomb Raider rape scene:

This is one particular instance where I don’t understand the general outcry. Yes, it’s disturbing, but as much as we’d like to pretend these things don’t happen… they do. When people decry this scene for the reasons that popped up in the media, it just feels to me like much of the community wants to shove issues like these under the carpet and forget about them, because it’s less unsettling than having to look at and deal with them. I don’t deny that this is undoubtedly a trigger scene for many women (and possibly some men), but I’m still of the opinion that trying to hide any mention, references to, or depiction of disturbing events like this which happen every day worldwide is unhealthy for society.

I’m not suggesting they couldn’t have chosen an alternate theme for the scene either, far from it. But I don’t think the extremity of the negative attention the game has received is appropriate. That said, a knee-jerk reaction is perfectly understandable when dealing with ANY topic as unpleasant as sexual harassment. These things are terrible, and nobody should have to go through them.

I’m also not sure I buy the complaints about ‘girlfriend mode’. That’s been a pet term in the industry for quite a while now. It’s a catchy, slightly funny name. There are tons of girl gamers out there, sure, but why should they be insulted by it? There are plenty of guys who try to get their girlfriends (whose only experience with video games is angry birds) to play serious games with them. What would you have them call it? ‘Child Mode’ could have worked I guess, but really, children shouldn’t be playing Borderlands 2, so that’s out. It’s just a name that makes good sense, from a ‘marketing’ perspective.

(I’d like to be clear that I’m not trying to tell someone that they are wrong to be offended by something I find inoffensive, I’m just raising the question to think about).