Author Topic: Female characters done both wrong and right.  (Read 6416 times)

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Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Mass effect allowed male on male or male on female *if you chose a female lead*.    It didn't bother me.

But were all of the male characters overly sexualized all of the time in every situation, regardless of what choices you made in the game?


That's subjective.    If I REALLY like krogans. ...........then maybe.


It's all horses for courses at the end of the day.

 

Offline Spoon

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Good posts, Enioch.  :yes:

It's not intended to be passive aggressive, sorry! I was just making a tongue-in-cheek allusion to Wings of Dawn, which I do not hold in contempt in any way (although I haven't gotten to the much maligned combat simulator missions yet :P ). If anything, I got the notion from it that it's not intended to be taken seriously?
Ah okay, no worries then! I understood what you were alluding to, but it wasn't clear to me what exactly your intent with that allusion was. So I assumed you meant it in some kind of negative way.
Hope you're having fun with WoD!
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[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
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Offline The E

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
I agree with the comments, personally. These kind of articles are always objectively terrible and never add anything of actual value. "Oh no, sexy and/or scanditly clad female characters! How terrible! Just look at how awful these all are! How exploitative". Ayyy, okay. I couldn't make it half way past this article without rolling my eyes.

Gonna do the unexpected here and say that I'm actually with Spoon here. Sexualized characters are a difficult topic to talk about with any nuance (see Bayonetta as a prime example); There is a degree of prudishness to the discussion that, to my mind at least, tends to fixate a lot on visual design to the exclusion of any other consideration.

To expand on what he said about this quote:
Quote
Bikinis are not sensible attire, however, for fighting sword-wielding skeletons, (or the fire-breathing dragons!), in a war zone straight out of Conan the Barbarian. Unfortunately, no one told Golden Axe’s Tyris Flare this.

Golden Axe's art design is ripped straight from classic Frank Frazetta (sp?) artworks. It's from the covers of early heroic fantasy novels; that's what Golden Axe wants to be and wants the player to embody.
The titillation factor is part of it, yes; but not the only one, and not even particularly negative (at least in my opinion) one in that example.

Negative examples of bad representation of female characters are, IMHO, less about their art design and more about these character's role in the narrative. If your only (or only major) character in a game exists only to be fridged, or only as a damsel in distress, if she lacks narrative agency or is only characterized as "the girl", then that's more negative in my opinion than whatever clothes the artists decided to gave her. Characters can be both solid and titillating, both non-sexualized and thoroughly bad.

Quote
I can't speak for everyone, neither can you, but there are plenty of people out there, who are not in mortal distress about female characters wearing silly outfits in video games.
Imagine being so bothered by this that you go out of your way to write an article about it. Kind of sad imo.

This however, is where I am going to thoroughly disagree with Spoon (and Lorric, for that matter). Articles like these should exist. Feel free to not like them, feel free to roll your eyes at them, but don't tell us that this is not a discussion anyone wants or should have.

This is the kind of **** that gamers hate. And with damn good reason. I really can't add much as Spoon did it better than I could, but let the people vote with their wallets. If a character has generated a lot of fanart, then that tells you it was a good character.

No, Lorric. This is what a particular subset of gamers hates. The idea that every aspect of a game is open to criticism, the idea that criticism can be delivered from viewpoints outside of what you have trained yourself to see as games criticism, that's what these "gamers" you speak of hate. Not this particular bit of criticism, not really. Bottom line: There are a lot of gamers out there. To assume that they all of them (or even a majority of them, or a sizable minority of them) would hate something is stupid.
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Offline Spoon

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
I can't speak for everyone, neither can you, but there are plenty of people out there, who are not in mortal distress about female characters wearing silly outfits in video games.
Imagine being so bothered by this that you go out of your way to write an article about it. Kind of sad imo.
This however, is where I am going to thoroughly disagree with Spoon (and Lorric, for that matter). Articles like these should exist. Feel free to not like them, feel free to roll your eyes at them, but don't tell us that this is not a discussion anyone wants or should have.
Nah, we don't even disagree on this subject as much as you think we do. I despise people telling me what I can and cannot enjoy in game. Following that same line of thought, I would never be so arrogant to tell other people what they can or cannot have discussions about. Absolutely feel free by all accounts to have well thought out discussions and write well written articles about these kind of subjects.
I however don't think Iain's article checked any of those boxes, it just feels like a preachy rant about how sexualized female characters are bad and please think of the children. It doesn't provide good examples, counter examples or provide any deep good insights on what goes into character design. That's not a good point to start these kind of discussions from.

Golden Axe's art design is ripped straight from classic Frank Frazetta (sp?) artworks. It's from the covers of early heroic fantasy novels; that's what Golden Axe wants to be and wants the player to embody.
The titillation factor is part of it, yes; but not the only one, and not even particularly negative (at least in my opinion) one in that example.

Negative examples of bad representation of female characters are, IMHO, less about their art design and more about these character's role in the narrative. If your only (or only major) character in a game exists only to be fridged, or only as a damsel in distress, if she lacks narrative agency or is only characterized as "the girl", then that's more negative in my opinion than whatever clothes the artists decided to gave her. Characters can be both solid and titillating, both non-sexualized and thoroughly bad.
+1
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
As Spoon says, it's about being told. That's not a discussion. And you already picked up on Golden Axe, dismissing a beloved classic game based on cover art. And even the cover art isn't a double standard. That's going to piss off a lot of gamers, including me.

When someone says something like I said about gamers, I don't assume it to mean they mean every single one. The article would not exist if it was every single one.

I think in this case a majority will. Maybe not a majority will hate it, but certainly dislike it. That's the audience the OP is writing to. He isn't serving the gaming community with this article, he's preaching to it. And it's just a bad article to boot.

Walk into any fandom and start telling them it's bad and they should feel bad for liking it and see what reaction you get.

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Walk into any fandom and start telling them it's bad and they should feel bad for liking it and see what reaction you get.

...but what if it is bad and they should feel bad for liking it?  :nervous:
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 
Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
But nobody is "walking into a fandom" here lorric, this critique comes from within the fandom.

Reversed edit since this post had been responded to already

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Walk into any fandom and start telling them it's bad and they should feel bad for liking it and see what reaction you get.

...but what if it is bad and they should feel bad for liking it?  :nervous:
Then they have wandered so far into the depths of insanity that these poor souls are beyond help. ;)

 
Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
How is that any different from what I'm doing?

You are not limiting yourself to expressing your displeasure or to voting with your wallet.

You are actively demanding that such games not be produced:

Like I said, if you want to see that, that's what porn is for. Keep it separate from other media.

That is incorrect. I stated multiple times that you can have your porn games, but do not try to put it in everything where it isn't needed or appropriate.

It seems to me that you are demanding that the kind of games I like should not be made, by insisting that sexual content should be everywhere.
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Offline Lorric

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
But nobody is walking "Into a fandom" here lorric, this critique comes from within the fandom.
It makes no difference.

 

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
@Spoon. Firstly, there is no need to be so rude. I will be refuting some of your comments, and you will note that I will be remaining polite and respectful throughout.

1)   Regarding Golden Axe. If you look under the image of the box art I have clearly written “Granted, Ax Battler’s posing pouch isn’t much better.” As in ‘he too is underdressed for going into combat’. The only character who is even halfway prepared is Gilius Thunderhead the dwarf.
 
2)   You appear to refer to my daughter as ‘my son’, despite calling her a ‘she’ in the paragraph before. Therefore, your comments about an eight-year-old boy were a little off topic. For what it is worth, I agree that what an eight-year-old boy thinks of women in videogames is largely irrelevant. However, the views of an impressionable young girl are something as a father I have to take seriously.

3)   Re that she is five years too young to be playing Street Fighter. I concede your point here, it was not my decision. Details to follow.
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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
But nobody is walking "Into a fandom" here lorric, this critique comes from within the fandom.
It makes no difference.

Like, seriously, you don't have to like stuff like this, but now you're just grandstanding about "The Gaming Community" as if it's this humongous cultural force. How does that make you any different from what you accuse Iain of doing?

 

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
So, that escalated quickly  :shaking:

Perhaps I had better explain some of the background to this. Firstly, I am not an SJW, far from it in most regards. However much of the videogame press is dominated by a leftist agenda, as has been correctly pointed out in some of the comments. Therefore, to stand a chance of making it in the video game journalism industry (in its current state at least) will require me to swallow my pride, ‘bend the knee’ and give them what they want.

I should stress that Coindrop.com are NOT dominated by a leftist agenda which is exactly why I have joined them. I am hoping that sites such as coin drop, the in development exclusivelygames.com and even my own Nomad’s Reviews site – which is strictly a-political BTW – will help to change the state of video game journalism in the future. But for now, I have to be realistic and hedge my bets.

So why do I want to become a video game journo you may ask?
The simple answer is Illness. About ten years ago I was hospitalised with a condition which has never really improved, and is never likely to. I tried to hold down my career in local government but the unpredictable nature of the condition (almost normal one hour, incapacitated the next, then perhaps back to normal for a bit) made this a losing battle.

I eventually had to concede defeat and accept that I would have to fit any future career around my condition, instead of trying to work my condition around my career.
Unfortunately, who I am today is pretty far removed from the 20 something who spent his weekends tabbing around the Brecon beacons with a light machine gun carrying kit that weighed almost as much as he did. Once on a badly sprained ankle, and then got his jaw broken a few weeks later in Sparring but got up and carried on fighting.

https://serve.media/a-comedy-of-errors-in-the-british-army-uotc-part-5


Realistically, I am reduced to work I can do from home, sitting at a desk, and which I can drop when I am incapacitated for a few hours, then pick up again once I have recovered a bit. This is why I am doing the freelance writer/ proof-reader / editor / web developer / Social Media Manager thing. I simply do not have any other options.

Videogames have been one of my main passions ever since I got my first console - the Atari 2600 – at the tender age of five(ish). Since I’m now ‘the wrong side of 40’, I have clocked in about 35 years of gaming, so it is a field I am pretty experienced in and knowledgeable about. Therefore, video games journalism seems like a sensible option.

The genesis of this article in particular can be traced to the summer of last year. My ex bought a Nintendo Switch and Ultra Street Fighter 2 to play on it. This she showed to our daughter. Personally, I would not have done so until she was a little older, but I was not there, nor was I consulted on the matter.
I should point out that my daughter is Autistic, like pretty much everyone in our family unit – myself included - and as such she develops very strong obsessions about things.

Before Street Fighter it was Mario. Now it has moved onto Sonic, but for a while Street Fighter was all she would talk about. I will be honest, it was a nice change from My Little Pony and the like, as it was something we could enjoy together and bond over. If her mother had already shown it to her then there was no point trying to hide it now, so I embraced it.

All was well until the subject of Halloween came up in conversation, and she said she wanted to go trick-or-treating dressed up as either Cammy or R Mika. I tried to steer the conversation away from these characters without drawing attention as to why it wouldn’t be a good idea to dress as them. “How about Princess Peach instead” I suggested “It will be cold in November and Cammy’s outfit would be very chilly.” That worked for a while, + 10 parenting points 😊

Since she is gifted and talented it didn’t take her long to figure out the real reason, after which she started to look at female characters in games with a new perspective, and a critical eye. She watches lots of video game related YouTube videos such as this one https://youtu.be/L14gL77kgCs which drew her attention to Rouge the Bat, and her criticisms regarding her portrayal. Is she simply parroting what was said on this video? Possibly. If she is, then it highlights just how impressionable young minds can be.

The message she sent me recently is all the validation I need: “I like your article because it is encouraging kids to maybe not play as these characters you mentioned.” (Followed by a gif cartoon of a dancing sombrero wearing cat – she is eight after all 😉 )

The editor of Coin Drop was presumably happy with it or he wouldn’t have put it up, and the fact that there are so many similar articles in the mainstream video game press suggests I am not the only one who thinks this.

With regards to artistic choice and personal taste, this is true - if you don’t like it, don’t play/watch/listen etc.
Personally, I have zero interest in anime, comic books or Hollywood superhero films, since they are so unrealistic and implausible in almost every way. Therefore, I do not watch / read / play them. I am far more interested in historical accuracy, hard sci-fi and fiction that is more ‘grounded’.

This blog series probably does a better job of explaining this than I am at the moment. http://exploringbelievability.blogspot.com/p/articles-sorted-by-theme.html

The problem comes when you can’t avoid portrayals such as these without missing out on everything else the game has to offer. Did I really want close ups of Miranda Lawson’s ass? Not really, but ME2 was a fantastic game otherwise, so I wasn’t going to avoid playing it because of them. It would just have been nice to have had the option to not see them if you didn’t want to.

The same goes for games such as Golden Axe, Street Fighter etc.

One more thing - something which many people appear to have missed. I did not say sexualised characters were bad - only that they are often portrayed in the wrong context.

I did start out the article by stating that in VTMB there is loads of sex and nudity. Vampire lap dancers, vampire nymphos, people getting blowies from prostitutes, strip shows, porno video shoots etc. All of this is perfectly fine in this context. Hookers looking and acting like hookers in GTA - all fine, all in context. Strippers and burlesque dancers in the Metro games - again, all fine, all in context. There are probably other examples but I can’t be bothered to look them up right now.

If you have read this all the way to the end, then thank you for your patience. I am now going to blow $h1t up – digitally of course.







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Offline Lorric

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
About point 1, it's tucked away underneath, the damage is already done. Even if it wasn't, you're still filing it under dumb and exploitative.

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
But nobody is walking "Into a fandom" here lorric, this critique comes from within the fandom.
It makes no difference.

Like, seriously, you don't have to like stuff like this, but now you're just grandstanding about "The Gaming Community" as if it's this humongous cultural force. How does that make you any different from what you accuse Iain of doing?
No, I'm talking about the gaming community as it's his target audience.

Though it does carry plenty of cultural weight.

 
Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
No, I'm talking about the gaming community as it's his target audience.

Though it does carry plenty of cultural weight.

You're talking about the gaming community as if it's this one thing no? As this one big thing?

Otherwise I'd assume Iain target audience is just the people at coindrop.

Becuase otherwise I don't really know what you are referring to as "the gaming community". It doesn't actually exist.

Quote from: Iain Baker
Perhaps I had better explain some of the background to this. Firstly, I am not an SJW, far from it in most regards. However much of the videogame press is dominated by a leftist agenda, as has been correctly pointed out in some of the comments. Therefore, to stand a chance of making it in the video game journalism industry (in its current state at least) will require me to swallow my pride, ‘bend the knee’ and give them what they want.

Honestly, I don't think you're going to get far if you adopt such an attitude. As people from the "leftist agenda" (ugh, it's actually just people who enjoy video games criticism in all its aspects) have already pointed out, you don't really seem to understand the subject you're talking about to begin with. Please just be honest first, the rest comes after.

 

Offline Spoon

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Quote
@Spoon. Firstly, there is no need to be so rude. I will be refuting some of your comments, and you will note that I will be remaining polite and respectful throughout.
You do you. You can't tell me what I will or will not make note of, however.

Quote
1)   Regarding Golden Axe. If you look under the image of the box art I have clearly written “Granted, Ax Battler’s posing pouch isn’t much better.” As in ‘he too is underdressed for going into combat’. The only character who is even halfway prepared is Gilius Thunderhead the dwarf.
Admitted, I mixed up Gillius and Ax's names. I could have sworn the dwarf wielding an Axe's name was Ax Battler. And I read pouch as crouch for reason.
Regardless, I still stand by my points regarding Golden Axe and how it's just a bad example.

Quote
2)   You appear to refer to my daughter as ‘my son’, despite calling her a ‘she’ in the paragraph before. Therefore, your comments about an eight-year-old boy were a little off topic. For what it is worth, I agree that what an eight-year-old boy thinks of women in videogames is largely irrelevant. However, the views of an impressionable young girl are something as a father I have to take seriously.
Uugh, that's my bad again. I apologize. Because your article just made me feel a bit angry, I have not read all of it as well as I could have. I skimmed over it, read it that you have a daughter (of an undefined age) and a 8 year old son in addition to that. That's what I based my text on. I did not mean to mislabel your daughter as a boy for any kind of weird of antagonizing way, it was just bad reading on my part.

I don't really see how an 8 year old girl is any more or less impressionable than an 8 year old boy when it comes to this subject, though.
What you decide to actually show your young children is absolutely your call and responsibility, though. No argument there.

But nobody is walking "Into a fandom" here lorric, this critique comes from within the fandom.
Talking about gamers as a big global thing, and games as one big fandom doesn't really work, I think.
Edit: I know that's also exactly what you've been saying, but I started typing this post and like a gazillion more replies happened in the meantime.

Like for example, I (like many here) am a gamer. But I don't generally play racing games, they are as far as it concerns me, in a completely seperate fandom.
If I go onto the internet and post some dumb article or make some stupid post about how racing games are truly a blight upon the industry, for they promote hazardous driving and encourage using vehicles that are bad for the environment or some nonsense like that. I don't think it's a stretch to say that I would be walking "into a fandom" here to tell them they should feel bad.
Or something.
I don't really know where I'm going with this or what point I'm trying to make tbh.
But there it is.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 
Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Right, you end up kinda adding to my point: Lorric talks about "Serving the gaming community" as if it's this one big fandom, which is something I fundementally disagree with in part becuase of the reasons you've just outlined.

 

Offline Spoon

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Right, you end up kinda adding to my point: Lorric talks about "Serving the gaming community" as if it's this one big fandom, which is something I fundementally disagree with in part becuase of the reasons you've just outlined.
To add to my edit I just made:
Yes.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Okay, so I read your big post Iain. If you're just doing it to make money, I can respect that considerably more than if you hold those views yourself. But in your OP you presented it as if it was something to be proud of and in our interests to read. So which is it?

I wonder if you can at least try to put out content you think gamers woukd be interested to read rather than the garbage what is currently being churned out. Pour your passion into something and see if it gets any takers. This article will only hinder you trying to work for somewhere like exclusivelygames, as that is exactly the reason why it was created, articles like that.

It's possible to talk about this stuff without pissing people off and even having them like it. Check out the likes to dislikes ratio on this: