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Community Discussion: Blog by PhilKenSebben | Community Chat - Woman's roles in and around games.Destructoid
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I am 31 and I'm getting old. I probably hate you. I run The Low(er) Tier also. We podcast, publish indies and are getting into development. I enjoy watching the weather channel and complaining about grass. I have two beautiful kids, a wife and am dealing with life and just trying to do my best with it all. My other interests (besides games) are: reading, hiking, playing with my kids, yelling at old(er) people, collecting various virus samples, stalking Smurfee, thinking about working out, itching my bare butthole and seeing how long I can go, without smelling my finger and Batman. I love old school cars (Chevy), football (Packers & Niners) and of course: Vidya Gamze!

My favorite games as a wee lass were: SMB3, Gunstar Heroes, Commander Keen, Blake Stone, Doom/Quake, Excitebike, Anything from Sierra/Lucasarts and MK. Now days I'm a filthy game slut. I play it all, I love it all. I'm always down to game with anyone, so feel free to hit me up on whatever you see I'm on. I've been on Dtoid quite awhile now (almost 5 years) and have only started getting involved the past couple years. You can find me lurking mainly in Cblogs and OH. I also do the weekend recaps in Cblogs and have started a podcast called Low(er) Tier. I love you sick bastards. In a sexy non-sexual way.



I'm also on that thar Tweetarr @MikeMcPhil. Feel free to hit me up, I'm always down to chat.



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This one's been a long time coming, eh? I started this quite awhile ago. I went around asking folks for their thoughts and reading up on the subject. I evaluated my own personal stance and thoughts on it, talked to my daughter and then I just sat on it. I wrote up a couple drafts and shit canned 'em. Something wasn't fitting. New controversies were popping up left and right and it seemed like no one wanted to talk. Well things aren't much calmer, I still hate what I have typed up (at least it's not a sterile mess though), but it's time to kick this baby out.



OneRed(Alan Argentina) and I, started this blog right after the Anita incident. For the record, OneRed is no longer part of it. We communicated a bit in the beginning, but I just drifted away from him. So anything typed below, unless noted otherwise, comes from my mouth/mind. I won't be discussing Anita here, I feel it's been discussed, we all have our feelings on the woman and someone else will start it anyway. Now before we do this, a little disclaimer: I will crack jokes, I will probably offend someone, I don't really care. That's me, deal. That aside, I would like to keep this civil and actually discuss these (or whatever you guys bring up) issues. I will throw out my two cents first with a couple of topics for discussion, then layout the topics, submitted by folks. Well, I think that covers most of it, let's do this.



We do NEED more women not just making games, but realistic women portrayed in games. That doesn't mean we don't have any now, but we have a long way to go. Plenty of women play games now and plenty more are being raised on them. It's not a boy's club these days. Does that piss you off? Why? What's it fucking matter, if someone with genitals the opposite of yours, shares this hobby? I've known plenty of women in my life, who were incredibly strong, smart, funny and in almost every way my equal. Don't get caught up in the almost either, men and women tend to balance each other out imo. If we can do something better than them, you can be damn sure they can do something better than us. I've never seen or met a man, who was truly better than a women and vice versa (sacks of shit excluded from this). We ARE equals. Just as people of different skin color are equals, so are people of different sexes.

That's how I feel about that, now on to misogyny. It exists. Much like racism, it shouldn't be around anymore, but god dammit it is. Chalk it up to ignorance, the growing population of stupid people in the world, global warming or Jersey Shore, that shits still with us. The kicker for me though is, I see it from both sexes these days. A growing number of women are getting just as bad as these stupid (so-called) men. WTF? You're combating this b.s. with.... the same b.s.? That makes sense. Have we all really gotten so selfish and blind, that common, lemme say that again; COMMON decency doesnt apply anymore? Oh wait, we have. Decency isn't common anymore. Fuck, if it ever was. It needs to be though. No one is better than anybody. You're not. Shut up. Whenever any of these topics (misogyny, racism) come up, I can't help and facepalm. If we all treated each other, how we wanted to be treated, this shit wouldn't go on. What can I say, I'm a dreamer.

All I really know is, at the end of the day: I'll still hold the door open for a lady, punch the shit outta anyone who roughs one up and open jars for you. Not because I think you can't do it, but because that's how I was raised. I'd do it for a man too. I don't understand this shit and I never will. I am proud to be a man and have a penis. What's being a man to me? Taking care of your responsibilities, taking care of those who rely on you, being a decent and caring person and setting an example for those around you. I believe those same qualities should apply to women as well. Actually scratch that, no more seperation. Those apply to all people. I refuse to raise my daughter to believe that she isnt just as capable as anyone else, nor will I allow my son to grow up thinking he's king shit, because he's got a dingle dangle. I will do my best to show them that while they may be smarter, or faster, they are not better than anyone else and should treat everyone with respect and caring. I will also teach them how to quietly fart in a group of people, but that's not relevant now.



As for things I'd like to see discussed:

How do we get more women into gaming, on the developer side?

How do we keep young women gaming, when all they see is a man's world, filled with boobs and guns? Thats from my daughter

Those are my big two. How do we DO this stuff? I don't fucking know. I know we need to figure it out though and not just keep it to ourselves. If you want change, then you need to DO SOMETHING about it. Not just prattle on the internet. Alright, now it's your folks turns. I'll start listing the submissions I received (names in bold) and break them up with funny and (mainly)offensive pics. I was going to use ugly cats, then realized that could be linked to pussy and since I can't get linked to that, neither shall you :p



First up, we have JoeTheProYaKnow:

Before I even begin adding to the discussion, I feel it necessary to clarify that sexism is a broad subject that spans many different topics from many different viewpoints. Why it is necessary to clarify this point is due to many seeing sexism through “dictionary defined” glasses. Either something fits the bill or doesn’t, end of discussion. When in reality, it is a subject rife with debate from all sides and all viewpoints. There may be clear cases where we say something is without much doubt, sexist, such as a man beating a woman, simply because she is a woman and for no other reason. However, a man beating a woman, and not because she is a woman, will have many individuals arguing over whether it is sexist. (For the record, to all you humans out there, quit beating up on other creatures, your fellow humans included.) So we can quickly see that debates will generate at virtually all levels, but the extremes, when we start question whether something is sexist (or any of the other –isms). Now, why this is important to the discussion of women, video games and sexism is that there will be debates. There is no magical dictionary that will define something such as, sexism, that allows us to clearly tell when something is either sexist or not. Consequently, it is imperative we consider the debates. If we shut down the debates and stamp our feet in the ground, then I feel we do a greater disservice to approaching a point where we can determine whether we as a society hold X to be sexist (or any of the other –ists).

Now, the debate concerning women and videogames has already proven to swing from one extreme to the other extreme. Just from reading the comment sections from any gaming news site and it can become questionable as to whether we can actually have a polite, reasoned discussion, but I strongly believe we can and we must. Yet, when I consider even something as simple as what a videogame character dresses like, suffice it to say that I am left feeling dumbfounded. What constitutes sexist apparel? This is a question that utterly baffles me. I can see how a space marine going into combat wearing nothing but a helmet and nipple covers may strike that extreme, but with all the ado made about armored breast covers, it is enough to leave you questioning whether we can easily reach an agreement. Without endorsing or denying this view, there are those that hold making it apparent that a female has breasts (e.g. Male Sheppard’s armor vs. Ashley Williams’ armor) can have sexist undertones. That placing a female in a dress or a skirt (e.g. Jill Valentine) can hold sexists undertones. Now some will outright argue against this view, others will outright argue for this view, the ones in the middle are left scratching their heads. Perhaps, as with the example of the space marine wearing nothing but a helmet and nipple covers, that the context of where character is placed in matters most. It would make little sense for someone to be on a battlefield fighting in a mini-skirt, but it would be believable that someone in a bar could be wearing something of the sort. So does clothing matter? Does context matter more? Even given the right context, like someone wearing a skirt in the club, should we refrain from such portrayals in video games? Even going back to the “extreme” example of a space marine wearing nothing but a helmet and nipple covers. Would such an “extreme” portrayal be lessened if both men and women wore the same thing? Which brings me to my last point/question, equality.

What does equality look like? What does a sexist free world look like? (Since we are dealing with videogames) What does equality in videogames look like? What does a sexist free videogame look like? Note, that everyone will have different visions or opinions as to what such a world would look like, but I feel these questions are often overlooked as being endgame question, when they should be what are driving the debate. I may answer this question myself, at some point, but I am genuinely wondering what people from all sides of the debate think.



Next up, Fraser Brown:

It would be interesting to discuss why Sarkeesian's opinions have prompted such an emotional response from so many people, considering the industry is constantly under fire over lots of different things. I'd like to know why they are so against the concept that women aren't well represented in the medium and that this needs to change, regardless of whether or not Sarkeesian is right. Personally I agree with her motivations, but I disagree with almost every example she's used.

I think it would also be of worth to touch on the subject of the women, especially other feminists, who really disagree with her, and where they are coming from.

There was a time, when this was to include talk of Anita, but as I said above: It's been beat to death, but I really like what Fraser had to say and wanted hear answers to his questions.



Here we have: Plerpo

The pro's and Con's of having a female lead. Do you discuss gendered differences (Likely hood of rape, physical strength, attire, periods and other lady stuff never mentioned) like Jade from beyond good and evil was fem (Not overtly) and awesome as opposed to fem-shep who was a man in drag except for in the sex scenes very much braking with the character shown else where.

Can you bring femininity to the floor with out it being a defining factor of the character?

Does femininity always have to mean sexy or overt sexuality?

Are girl gamers worried about the portrayal of women in games and why/why not?

What makes the struggle with inclusion a big deal in games when film/TV etc suffer from the same problems. While other media are criticised is it less effective/noticeable as it's not a set group, compare to ridicule of comic maybe?

The problems with gender neutral roles (Does that imply male) or if there are any, Ripley from aliens originally gender neutral and Fem icon.
My personal opinion on this is weird but I think to an extent gender neutral works in the planning stages it stops you from falling into to may gender traps or pointless nude lady shower scenes or male characters without emotion, but that does mean gendered issues can be totally ignored)

You will never get all gamer girls on your side much as you will never get all male gamers to love a game so where do you start? what group of women do you aim to please?

Okay, alot of those aren't directly related to the Sarkeesian firestorm and are kind of peripheral but let me know.



Annnnddd Theeenn, Gyrael:

I don't know what focus you wanna give this thing, but I think it'd be interesting to point out how pretty much all these people attacking her and her arguments, and accusing her of bullshit like "nit-picking" are being entitled. The amount of white cis straight males who absolutely refuse to acknowledge their privilege and its effects and even bask in it like a classic pseudo-intellectual asshole on the internet is astounding. There is also the prevalent "me too" mentality which these people take, with the whole BUT WHAT ABOUT MEN THEY ARE MISREPRESENTED TOO BOOHOO. It would be good to encourage people to do their research and not feel entitled to their irresponsible, uneducated and misogyny-perpetuating opinions. Their arguments are so stereotyped by now. And of course, this is a general attitude that men present against feminism. Not just Sarkeesian.

Another thing I saw get spewed out was that she was pretending to speak for all women or something. Of course she isn't, and she never claimed to. And obviously there are many discussion in the circle of feminism as there are in any such space.

It's just getting sad, looking at these pics now, so I'm taking a break.


Here's Stephen Beirne:

Hey, it might be interesting if ye discussed the most common 'arguments' or comments that come up whenever the issue of sexism in gaming is raised (e.g. it happens to men too; women don't play games, too busy doing ballet or knitting presumably; keep things you're interested in out of things I'm interested in, etc.) and see how they fall apart under scrutiny.

Maybe also explore the trend of people who try to dismiss the views of female gamers by focusing on and questioning the legitimacy of that person's interest in the hobby, while the same is seldom if ever targeted towards male gamers. Sarkeesian and Felicia Day are two very recent examples. Why is a gamer's interest often presumed to be insincere if a woman but never if a man?

Another one: if gamers really mean it when they proclaim that gender isn't important to them or that it's not a big deal one way or the other, why do they feel threatened whenever the call is made for more and better female characters? If they accept that standards are low, why serve as an obstacle to those asking for higher standards? Is it assumed that the demand for "more and better female characters" precludes as a result an increase in better male characters, and if so, why?

Still taking a pic break. Just close your eyes and imagine a world with the Kardashians. Better?


Next up is Jaded:

One thing that I'd like to see addressed in your article is the extreme negative views (especially from the younger generation) over feminism. Suddenly it's become this dirty word that's thrown around anytime there's an article or topic a handful of people don't want to deal with. I see it all the time in comments. Things like, "Oh, it's another one of these feminist bullshit articles", or "Damn feminists making a big deal over something again." Feminism is NOT a dirty word, nor should it be considered an insult to be called a feminist. Feminism is about political, economic, and social rights for women, and if you're a woman and you claim you don't agree with at least some part of the feminist movement, then I call bullshit.

That said, I think it's a very dangerous thing to lump us all into one group. You will always have a few extreme views in any situation. Anita Sarkeesian has a right to voice her views, however her views are not necessarily MY views, and when we start treating any concern or topic that comes up regarding issues women have in the gaming industry as "just another bullshit feminist article", well - it sets a bad precedent for us all.

Also, (and sorry this is so long) what impact do people like Anita Sarkeesian have with game developers? As I stated before, her views are not my views. Are we as individuals being heard, or is the gaming industry, like so many others, going to group us all as one? Too many times I feel we're given what the industry thinks the majority wants, when it's not really what we want at all.



HA HA! KITTEH! I snuck one in. Before anyone takes anything the wrong way, no pics were related to the posts they followed or led. Just me and google, being dicks and having a laugh.

I had more responses from folks, but they didn't fit to where this had shifted or they were so stupid, I refuse to have them repeated and let loose. there is a lot of shit to discuss and I hope this works, it's up to you guys though. Let's see if we can succeed where MASSdebate/Debatoid failed. Probably not.

I would like to deeply THANK, everyone who contributed to this (even if I didn't use your response) and I would like to personally thank Kyousuke and GlowBear for kicking my nuts into getting this up. Can't lie, I liked it :) What a way to end such a blog, huh?



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