Stand Clear everyone and clear the murky waters as I’m Finally delving into the great Sexism in Gaming Debate. I’ve dipped a toe in occasionally and even trawled a few sharks feeding remains among the bloodied shore but have never gone swimming till now.
Doone at T.R. Red Skies posted a rather good post about debating over societal issues in our games, being understanding and knowledgeable about the issues you are writing about or to at least take it slow when delving into the deep end. It has some important points to remember when blogging about societal issues but he also touches rather well on sexism in gaming. It is a great article so go over have a read and a comment.
An argument began as well between himself and the infamous Tobold about the validity of the argument itself in which you’re not able to argue against one side based on certain standards of morality. It becomes a talk about opinions and us all being assholes…is that the saying? Anyway… Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, they are vastly not our own being a product of our upbringing and environment but they are still ours. The path that has led to where you are now is unique to you and as such so are your opinions. Mostly there are no right opinions; we can argue about T.V shows, music, games and many other things regarding interests, behaviour and personality and there will never be a right way. There might be a majority, a larger group who values the same thing but it doesn’t make other opinions less worthy. In fact, doing that has become a rather popular meme.
However, when it comes to equality, whether it be about race, gender, sexuality, religious expression, disability etc.. there is a right opinion and a wrong one. If you think less of a particular person or feel entitled to a particular thing because of your specific demographic then you are most definitely wrong… no question. And if you argue against that well… you are an asshole. Just because these ideals are often ingrained in us by societal pressures and extremely prevalent within a particular culture does not make them any less wrong.
We all hold our certain entitlements within us, every single person. It is expected because we’re human but that is something you should always be aware of. I use the word retard rather frequently, about near everything… I call bad drivers cartards for instance. I know that doing this makes me an asshole as well. It is a way of mocking someone by demeaning a particular demographic but I am aware of my terrible nature.. most people attempting to swim in the waters of sexism are not.
It has been argued that girls do not like games, or at least the vast majority do not (disregarding those not Fps or moba’s of course). But then the question becomes why? If you have done any sort of reading or learning regarding gendered traits and differences you would know that sex, or our genetic make-up determines very little in regards to our interests and such. Based on certain biological indicators we might be better at completing certain things but it certainly doesn’t indicate any interest. Just because it is a strongly practiced interest by a particular demographic doesn’t make this any less true.
There are many forces that exert themselves on us to produce these certain ideal image. Societal standards of living are all around us; enticing us, modeling appropriate ways, and creating an image that we are constantly compared against. Gaming is a part of this at the moment and unfortunately, girls playing video games is thought of as an illegitimate past-time. It isn’t normal and deviates from what has been prescribed. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy as the imagery keeps repeating the image and surprise surprise, it mostly keeps getting acted out.
Such a thought is rather silly if you think about it. There is no protein marker for gaming, no-one on earth has a genetic predisposition for liking video games or a specific style of video game. Such an argument is ridiculously stupid and yet it keeps getting repeated, like somehow, on the eight day god said “thy boys will playeth the vidja games” then turned to the girl and said “make me a sandwich”. Maybe that’s a forgotten psalm.
Gaming being a boys domain is a simple fabrication, nothing more and could easily have gone the other way if other factors had aligned. Polygon recently even had an interesting article on the history of video game marketing and the creation of a particular male orientated image within gamer culture. It is a strongly perpetuated image within our medium but somewhere the improbable nature of it has been forgotten and now it’s worshipped as dogma.
The issue of course is that players and the developers themselves now believe this as an indisputable fact. Games get designed, artwork created, marketing planned with this in mind unbeknownst of course that they are continuing to perpetuate this pervasive image. Each image of a female presented as an object for men creates a non-inclusive space. This then, is what I mean by a self-fulfilling prophecy; these games become less popular with women, the idea is once again validated and the image persists. Games should be thought of with a broader player-base in mind and a greater sense of equality in the images they portray and the focus of their intent rather than towards this one particular stereotype but of course then it takes people to break the cycle which, for such a risk averse industry is probably not going to happen any time soon.
When this gets brought up though the cry’s of feminist and are heard throughout the land; like somehow pixel boobs will be sanctioned and every game will have to pass some sort of strict equality standard.. you must be this diverse to get published type thing. Yeh… realistic
I actually posted this comment on a massively article that posted about the Blizzard response regarding sexualising characters and it bears repeating here too.
No one is on a crusade to completely remove any and all sexy outfits, no one is asking for developers to solely focus on their interest above all others (hmm well maybe SOME people are), we are not that egotistical. There is no femanazi agenda to rule the gaming industry.
All people are asking for is more options and for developers of large and very influential companies to be aware of this. There is a distinct lack of diversity in the woman being presented; one perfect ideal image that keeps getting perpetuated so that the can pander to a single demographic. The real world is far more diverse than that with body shape, personality, interests and what people wear.
I really would love to see more diversity within our medium, especially in the AAA space. I can’t help but think we would be getting better gaming experiences if it was more inclusive but then, I wouldn’t want to be rid of what we have now. There is a space for exaggerated design and characterisation for whatever reason whether it be to lampoon or for simple fanservice, equality shouldn’t be a global standard as our interests are diverse… and this diversity should be celebrated. Boobs and butts are a good thing, they just shouldn’t be the primary focus.
Thinking further you can see that girls, women and grandmothers do indeed play games, often and in great quantities but this is overlooked within the mainstream for some reason. This is when the question of gaming legitimacy comes into the debate, a highly contested argument around what constitutes a real game, gamer. The illegitimate part just so happens to be an area that is consumed by women more than men. Coincidence..hmmm This sort of gendered legitimacy for activities and interests has been seen before.
Somehow Sims, and it’s massively popular titles that sell millions are seen apart from the others. Angry Birds, a game that has spawned an entire subculture gets laughed at yet I’m guessing if you were flinging bombs at Russians, Chinese, and Arabs it would be game of the year material. The focus of those games is rather simple but then it could be argued that many others deemed valid are as well. Corridor shooters seem comparable to building a farm in their focus on a single mechanic above all else.
I don’t even know what the invisible standard things are being compared to any more is as the indie space keeps blurring the line between what is deemed an acceptable video game. The multi-million dollar projects are no longer the guide they used to be as small projects from a variety of genres gain traction. perhaps as the term game blurs further the representation of gamers will as well.
#Sexism #Gaming #Rambling