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August 27 2014

Joss Whedon blasts misogynistic video games , tweets support for Feminist Frequency founder. He tweeted his support for Feminist Frequency creator Anita Sarkeesian, who released the sixth episode of her video series "Tropes vs. Women" this week. The series looks at how women are portrayed in video games.

So I haven't been following this story in a while but she only just put out the second video, no wonder people thing this was just a big scam.
It's her sixth video in the series. People are playing the woman rather than the ball here. It's part two of her look at women as background objects. I'm a huge fan of Bioshock but the look at the sexualisation of female corpses in the game did make me think.
Ok, that isn't nearly as bad then. I still don't like the videos and hate the effect they have had on silencing the conversation but at least she's getting them out.
Thanks for the correction on the number of videos, Simon. I misread the original article.
The article on Salon includes links to the videos. The date on video part 2 is August 25, so it would appear that there are so far only 2 in this series; perhaps she has done others on related subject matter.
How have her videos silenced the conversation? And what conversation did they silence? Genuinely curious. I don't understand.
tomg, the kickstarter was for the series, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. She has released 6 videos as entries in this series so far. The 2 most recent videos were a two-parter, "Women as Background Decoration". She previously has done a three-part entry on "Damsels in Distress" and a single-video entry on "Ms. Male Characters". Her rate of video release has been a bit on the slow side considering that she plans to cover 12 topics, but has only covered 3 of the 12 topics in about a year and a half. That said, the videos are well made. A lot of thought and work goes into them, and it shows in the final product.
This specific video makes the point that games _can_ cover serious issues, but they largely don't.

I video game. A lot. I've made the point on several Whedonesque threads of saying I'd love Joss to be involved in a video game, and specifically used the example of Red Dead Redemption's main story as making me cry like a hungry, you know the rest, baby.

But here's the thing. Like Simon, I've played Bioshock, and when you pause and think about what you're seeing and experiencing, there's problematic elements here. Maybe not specifically with Bioshock, but with the wider picture (hello, Hitman).

Don't think video games are a niche activity. There's a whole generation of people playing these games (myself included) - sales of things like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto eclipse the biggest Hollywood franchises by very wide margins. In the UK they might have 18 certificates, but go on Xbox Live: it's like being the only 18+ year old in the room. It's all screaming school kids.

And for many games it's not so much Let's Watch A Girl Get Beaten to Death - it's also Let's Beat Her To Death (or just casually watch the act) as if it's pixels on the screen with no importance to story, characters, or, well, anything. That's problematic. That's one of the many reasons I'd like to see Joss enter the gaming medium at some point.

This video has been widely shared by indy game creators, and I hope more join in.
In order to produce the videos she has to play through the games. I am guessing that is why she is taking a long time.

Moreover, it is better to have long term thoughtful analysis than short quick pithy opinion pieces like those turned out by Christopher Hitchens, who without any hint of irony believed women aren't funny.

[ edited by Tausif on 2014-08-28 01:10 ]
@gossi
I actually just completed RDR for the first time last night. Hell of a game. Playing through the Undead Nightmare now. I was disappointed to see it included in the little bit of that video that I watched. That one seemed like a reach to me.
I did find myself agreeing with many things she said in the video. As for the sexual objectification, I hear her. But that doesn't mean it's inherently wrong. We are all sexual objects to one another. The line is crossed when that's all we are. Obviously the pendulum has swung in the wrong direction for a while.

On hashtagthebrightside, there ARE games like Beyond: Two Souls and Remember Me to remedy my need for strong female characters.

[ edited by Out. For. A. Walk. Bitch. on 2014-08-28 02:58 ]
I used to work in the video games industry. One time I was working on a game where they wanted sexy women and a stripper pole in exactly the "background decoration" way that this video describes. I objected and they literally laughed at me.

I didn't stay at that company for long.
I watched one of her earlier videos, where she described Dollhouse as "misogynistic". Seems odd that Joss would promote her...
@damil I too am kind of shocked to see, hmm, for lack of a better term, celebrities that she has expressed unkind of opinions of repeatedly in the past giving her support suddenly.

I don;t want to open a can of worms, but I will say she has been around quite a while and she tends to not have, hrmm, correct information about the things she talks about, at times. The Dollhouse one is a good example. I doubt she has actually seen Dollhouse. There was a small debacle when her kick-starter went up because of an earlier video in which she talks about hw she doesn;t play video games and thinks they are dumb. The sad part is she actually has some good points at times, but its hard for me to get around who is saying said good points.

And that's my two cents.

Hail Hydra.
I know next to nothing about the controversy, but I can imagine Joss defending her against rape and death threats even if she has been critical of some of his work.
I used to play video games, in the 90's, and I don't recall some misoginist enviroment the. There were a bunch of "save the princess" ones, but in many of them the female character wasat the same level of the males and thet were even my choices, as in Streets of Rage, and Golden Axe.
Joss in the beginning of Dollhouse said that it wasn't a feminist show partly because of the confusion that he and the network had about the show they were making. The network wanted a sexy spy show and Joss wanted to talk about sex trafficking. To that point when there was a casting call for extras as dolls for the house Joss said derisively that the network literally sent him porn stars to try out for parts as extras on the show; were as he wanted "average" people to underscore how we all want the fantasy of change and escape. Joss had his criticisms of Dollhouse too.

[ edited by Tausif on 2014-08-28 03:28 ]
Yes, but Joss has actually seen Dollhouse.

And rape and death threats are never OK, that stuff is just sick.
This picture of Anita Sarkeesian smiling next to video games would beg to differ about whether she is a fan of video games.

[ edited by Tausif on 2014-08-28 03:50 ]
I think her work stands for itself - she is *showing* what goes on in video games on a regular basis. She's not bullshitting - she literally shows what she's talking about. I've watched all of her vids, and I neither see how she's stretching it, nor stifling conversation. (And as IrrationaliTV said above - *what* conversation is she stifling?)

In fact and obviously, she's one of the voices that has raised this issue. It's always a bit concerning - and inexplicable - to me when people talk about dissent or questioning like Anita's as somehow stifling or repressive. She raises issues - if you don't like what she's said, or disagree with her, fine, and go ahead - but I honestly fail to see how dissent to *her* opinion is being quashed. The mainstream, unquestioned opinion is that this kind of routine damseling & violence is business as usual and who cares? Anita's is the voice in danger of being hushed. The only stifling I see going on is attempts to shut her up by rape and death threats.

And of course Joss has noticed the perpetual and offhand mayhem perpetuated on females in video games - it's routine to the point where many people - especially men - don't notice it. As it is, I would point out, in our world.

Joss wouldn't give a fat rat's ass if she had issues with Dollhouse in terms of defending her against threats - hell, I had issues w/ Dollhouse and I'm a fan. (And I have no doubt that Anita has watched Dollhouse before criticizing it - she is a lady who does her research, and her vid, whatever you may think of her opinion, makes that clear. )

Which leads me to another charge leveled above - I'd be interested to hear exactly what incorrect information Anita has been promulgating.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2014-08-28 03:54 ]
Anita Sarkeesian's review of Dollhouse's first season. It is clear she has seen the first season because she talks about her reaction to watching the season finale as well as character progressions.

I disagree with her interpretations and conclusions as I saw the Dollhouse as the illusion of free market choice where corporations and governments are really making the decisions for us. This becomes much clearer with the introduction of the attic in season 2 which made me realize that Dollhouse is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind plus The Matrix.

What is clear is that she has seen Dollhouse from the video she posted on the topic.
Co-sign Quoter Gal's comment.

To clarify, I agree with Sarkeesian in that it is weird that we were supposed to care for Boyd, Topher, and Adele in the first season when they are essentially binding people into contracts to rape them. However, that I feel is the metaphor of illusionary freedom of markets. So I am thinking that whether we care about the characters is up to the individual in that whether those characters in the first season are just part of the system and whether they can be made to see the error of their ways.

Joss has also talked about how he wanted to get a sculpture of comic book or superhero character at comic-con and couldn't find anything that wan't pornographic.

[ edited by Tausif on 2014-08-28 04:10 ]
I didn't see Dollhouse quite the way she did, and though I don't game, it seems perfectly possible to me that I might not agree with her criticism of some specific game, but the "sheer tonnage," as Joss says, is pretty damned overwhelming and disheartening.

I'm glad she's making these videos and that they are being shared.
I want to clarify, rape and death threats are never, ever, ever OK.
@Grack21 "There was a small debacle when her kick-starter went up because of an earlier video in which she talks about hw she doesn;t play video games and thinks they are dumb."

It's not that she doesn't play vidoe games. It's that she has a love / hate relationship with video games.
While I agree with the general point she's trying to get across I, as a female who loves to play video games, strongly dislike her videos. Her opinions seem incredibly biased and so many of her examples are not just taken out of context but she manages to re-contextualize them in a way that supports her views. A prime example would be the clips from Dragon Age Origins which are actually part of plot-lines that are dealing with those exact issues.

I think in the case of this series, as well as much of her previous videos, Anita tends to find context and subtext where there is none (or little) and constantly interprets things with a heavily predetermined bias. Many of the problems she's trying to highlight are prevalent in games (and every other form of media) but it hurts the argument when she uses examples that aren't genuinely indicative of those problems.

The scenes are cherry picked and most of them even are staged in a way to fit a narrative that supports her message. An example would be the scenes she showed from Hitman which would lead you to believe that 'dead' female bodies are laying about all over the place. In actuality almost all of them are actually just incapacitated, having been (needlessly) knocked out by the player themselves! To clarify she or whoever walked around in the game and specifically knocked out or killed women so that she could use it as an example.

Also when it came to Bioshock I never felt the female bodies were displayed 'sexually' but were there for the purpose of instilling horror and were quite grotesquely arranged just as the men were more often then not. I think context, including historical context in the case of some games (Red Dead Redemption for example), show that many of these scenes are not like she depicted at all. She would rather remove the topic of violence against women in games completely.

While the topic isn't always addressed properly I feel that most of these examples, when taken in context of the game, aren't rationalizing it but instead enforcing and showing that violence against women is wrong. For Red Dead Redemption those scenes were attempting to codify that, in the game it's saying "Look, this is bad, STOP this, do something about it" but instead she just stands there and lets it happen. Of course it's going to look awful then. There's also a lack of understanding of game mechanics, structure, and limitations which when taken into account answer some of her complaints.

I could continue but, unless anyone would want me to, I think I've said enough on the matter. That being said I do believe in her overall message. There IS a problem with the portrayal and treatment of women in games. I believe there needs to be a discussion about it and that it's a problem developers need to address. I also believe that if we're going to have that discussion it should be unbiased and not cherry picked in a way that fits a certain narrative that's not congruent with the actual material.
First, I apologize if I have offended everyone, you all know much more about this then I do. I've been called a misogynist 3 times in the last several days for disagreeing on several minor points in a somewhat unrelated, er,gaming news story. Perhaps related. Anyone paying attention to gaming in the last week or so knows what I refer to. In one of those 3 times I was pretty much accused of secretly being a rapist, so the whole thing has made me very grumpy and kind of touchy about the subject.

There is a whole "if you're not with us, you're against us" mindset to the thing that I find really upsetting.

She probably bring sup good points, as someone pointed out on another site, truth is still the truth, no matter who says it. My dislike for her aside, there is a seriously sick side of gaming culture, and at least someone is trying to do something about it.

End of long rant.
We seem to be focussing on Anita Sarkeesian as a person rather on what she is saying. Comments like "My dislike for her aside" aren't really what we're about. Critique what she says, not who she is.

I will say that in 18 years of gaming, I've encountered only three* female lead characters that I could play who weren't (sexist) cliches and who were well written. Heather from Silent Hill 3, Jade from Beyond Good and Evil and Chell from Portal. That's it. Recently I got Saints Row 3 for free as part of Xbox Gold and played an hour of it and gave up. It was titillation for teenage boys.

*You could make a case for Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite, but you could only play her in the DLC and not the main game.
@Simon, I'd add 2011's Tomb Raider reboot to the list. It's excellent, and Lara feels like a person. That game is also written by a lady.

Regarding Dollhouse - I'd argue it's both showing a misogynistic world and it's also deeply feminist (Echo builds herself as a person - literally - and challenges the system). I've no problem with people saying 'Hey, isn't this a show about sex dolls that basically get raped?', because... well... it was. Not everything Joss makes has to be a manifesto - the thing I liked about Dollhouse was it told the story of how crappy the world is (and could be).

@Trendaferd, if you watch the video it definitely points to some problematic elements. You can watch women get stabbed to death in that game (the game which, by the way, I love) - and there's an Xbox and Playstation achievement/trophy earned by hog tying a woman, placing her on a railroad track, and letting the train run over her (while watching). I'm okay with somebody pointing at that and going '...why?'.
You can critique a work without it being personal. She had criticisms of Joss' work; it doesn't mean he won't support her effort to voice an opinion without being met with threats of violence. If we didn't support people in the face of threats of violence just because they didn't like our opinions, what does that say about us?

There is a massive problem in the video game industry and in the gamer community. It's toxic.

This is a very, very good article on it. For proof of the problem straight from the horse's mouth, look at the comments.

http://badassdigest.com/2014/08/26/video-games-misogyny-and-terrorism-a-guide-to-assholes/
I appreciate the Feminist Frequency videos and was pleased to see Joss supporting her. I don't play video games much so I can't judge her criticism (which I'm sure makes it easy for me to accept that she's merely analysing the tropes en masse, not critiquing every individual game that appears) but I've been reading some of the discussions about Anita Sarkeesian on other websites. The hostility towards women - let alone towards feminist discourse - is frightening.

Her criticism of Dollhouse is perfectly valid, though I personally disagree with it. I see the show as an exploration of identity, agency, and how individuals are shaped by those around them. The issues are apparent because society has made those questions mean very different things for women than for men, meaning there's a tonne of awful history and realities that also come into play. Probably because of the network's cold feet and the short seasons, the show explored those implications less well than it did its core themes. But looking at Echo's story and the overall arc of the show, I find it very empowering.
Yeah, my "dislike aside" comment was meant to dismiss things I said earlier as I agree, we SHOULD focus on who she says, not who she is. I seem eternally cursed to misspeak/be misunderstood on this topic everywhere I go.

Discussions about this on other websites make me ashamed to be a human being today. I didn't think the internet could ever get WORSE, but damn. Makes me think about becoming a Gozer worshiper.
Hey gossi have you ever heard about David Lynch's unproduced video game? Woodcutters from Fiery Ships I believe was the tentative title and it looked like it could have been really interesting. It bodes well to me that an auteur and creative force such as he was trying to get involved in gaming back in the 90s that it will become more accepted as a "legitimate" art form.
For a long time I've believed that video games can be the ultimate form of art if well executed as they involve many senses and forms of expression (music, visuals, etc) and the continuing evolution of the technology will make them ever more engaging. The Oculus Rift being a major step forward in 3D gaming for example. It's entirely possible that we might have game to brain interfaces soon that would be completely immersive with smells, touch, etc.
For many reasons, but most rooted in simple ignorance, a lot of "traditional" artists seem to be resitent to video games as a "legimate" art form While I can agree the execution has been somewhat lacking in many games the quality of anything is in the execution for a painting to coitus! My non-gamer punk rocking ex-girlfriend who was a painter and multimedia artist dismissed my video game as great art theories out of hand but inertia is on the side of games evolving into higher art and being accepted as such like tattoos.

Info on David Lynch's unproduced game: http://www.thecityofabsurdity.com/game.html
Uh. Not sure what any of that has to do with the discussion at hand.
It's a discussion of video games on whedonesque. don't question it, just enjoy it.
Trust me, nothing about this is enjoyable.
A little thread drift is ok as long as it's friendly and still close to the general topic. It's fine.
So Sunfire is my comment is acceptable then? It was directly in response to one gossi posted earlier about Joss developing games.

[ edited by bedukay on 2014-08-29 05:25 ]
Related: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/28/fanboys-white-knights-and-the-hairball-of-online-misogyny.html
Sarkeesian's videos raise some good points about gender inequality in video games. I do feel she jumps to conclusions a bit quickly sometimes. Regardless, at the very least, game developers should acknowledge that these tropes exist and as with any trope, they should consider if these tropes are necessary.

I wish Sarkeesian would offer suggestions as to how to remove the perceived misogyny in some of those big name games without the games sacrificing their style or identity.
I don't play video games so I feel out of the loop with this. :)
Yes, it's fine.
Full disclosure, I'm a long time video gamer. I've been playing since I was a child, and video games are what drove me to become a computer programmer. So I'm not entirely unbiased here.

The subject of these Feminist Frequency videos is a particularly complicated one. After announcing the intent to produce this series, the creator was sent a lot of hate mail, but there is no evidence that the people who were doing so were actually gamers or just the standard anonymous internet trolls. Clearly, harassment is never right, but she's hardly the first person to be harassed on the internet, and it isn't indicative of anything beyond that, and it has been falsely characterized as "misogynist gamers attacks brave feminist" to drum up money for her Kickstarter.

Now, the actual critiques themselves are also heavily flawed to outright lies. First, all these critiques are based solely on playing the games - no discussions with the developers, designers, or anyone else who worked on the titles. That makes it, at best, a personal interpretation of a work of art. This also means it is based on how much she actually played the games, and how much knowledge she has of video games in general. She made several claims of being a gamer while promoting her Kickstarter, but they did in fact turn out to be lies. There is a video of her on YouTube taken slightly before she started the Kickstarter in which she tells a room full of people that she is not a video gamer, but had recently started looking at video games for a future critique. It was also discovered that she took at least some footage used in her videos from other people's YouTube videos and did not give them any credit. This indicates that she might not have played some of the games she even critiquing. If you've played the games in question, you'll know she either never played them, or as krissyjump mentioned, she played them to promote a specific narrative.

The Feminist Frequency videos also doesn't take into consideration that video games had hardware constraints that forced certain design/artistic constraints. When your main character is represented by either a circle or a circle with a slice taken out, as in Pac-Man's case, the only way to actually indicate a female character is to use female tropes such as makeup or a bow. Yet in one of her videos, she promotes that as some indicator of internalized sexism that exists in society. As a computer programmer who is well-read on video game history, I know that such claims are false, but to the general public, such considerations never even occur to them.

Frankly, I'm rather disappointed that Joss Whedon jumped on this bandwagon. Video games are a different art form than he's used to. It isn't a movie, or a book, or any type of art form the world has ever dealt with before. A motto for one of the old video game companies was, "We create worlds." You have to judge video games based on that. The ability for a player to do something does not indicate that it was intentionally put in the game, or a mindset of the developers, or anything else. There are plenty of gamers who play video games going against the intent of the game - for instance, Rambo'ing their way through a stealth game, or sneaking through a Rambo game. This comes from building games that are based on real-world physics, not from building a game to tell a story. The Feminist Frequency videos's critiques don't take that into consideration, and unless you actually have played the games in question, it is impossible to know that.

I think it only fair to give some time to people who take serious issue in Feminist Frequency's videos, so I ask people to see these excellent videos from another pair of female gamers:

InuitInua:
RE: Damsel in Distress: Part 1 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games
RE: Damsel in Distress: Part 2 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games
RE: Damsel in Distress: Part 3 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games

KiteTales:
More than a Damsel in a Dress: A Response

[ edited by jammer170 on 2014-08-29 18:03 ]
Are you really trotting out a #notallgamers-type argument? And are you really saying that because the behavior's not new, it's not as big of a problem?

Because it doesn't matter whether it was gamers or other internet trolls who harassed her to the point she had to leave her house; it shouldn't have happened at all. This behavior is despicable and unacceptable.

No one should be threatened with violence for having an opinion. That's it. No exceptions.

Everything else is unrelated to this fact. Your opinion of her work has nothing to do with the fact that everyone on this plant has a responsibility to not be a cretin towards others.

Whedon supported this person because she's a fellow human being under attack for having an opinion. He didn't express any opinion on her work, because it is unrelated to the problem at hand, which is that someone is getting death threats for having an opinion.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2014-08-29 17:31 ]
jammer170, as I said before - play the ball, not the woman.
@the ninja report:

No, and I ask you not to put words in my mouth. I did, in fact, explicitly said what you said, the harassment is wrong no matter what, period. I only pointed out that there isn't any proof that it was "misogynist gamers" who were doing the harassment. That doesn't mean it isn't even true, just there is no proof.

Next, did you even read Joss's tweets? He specifically said, "Watch the @femfreq #TropesvsWomen vids. Even if u think u get it, the sheer tonnage makes misogyny seem newly appalling." If you want to have a discussion of how people treat one another, I'm all for that, but it is a separate discussion from what Joss said.

@Simon:

Can I ask what specifically you feel crossed the line? Given that she is the spokesperson and specifically references her past as a gamer in the videos to bolster her statements, I'm not entirely certain it is even possible to separate the two, but I certainly understand the logical fallacy that is "shooting the messenger". I've tried to clean it up a bit so that I more specifically reference the videos rather than the individual where possible.

[ edited by jammer170 on 2014-08-29 18:04 ]
You do a very good job of alluding that she's a liar, incompetent, stole other people's efforts and hyped attacks to fund her Kickstarter. Classic tactics that muddy the water and distract from what she's trying to say. It's not what we're about so be off with you.
edit: Ug, no, Simon is right. Please ignore me. Bsd, bad week.

[ edited by Grack21 on 2014-08-29 22:30 ]
As someone who worked in the video game industry, here's my perspective on the problem.

One of the biggest problems with how women are handled in games comes from the fact that there are so few female developers. As a counter-example, look at a game that actually did have a lot of women developers, The Sims. Even though the lead on the original game was a man, it's noteworthy that Maxis games at the time was nearly half women. That's practically unheard of in the games industry. I think the companies I was at had 1 women in 10, at best. I've talked to someone who was a producer at Maxis at the time, and he said the number of women working there had a significant affect on The Sims. This game also sold extremely well among women.

Most video game companies have only a handful of women. I can only speak for the few companies I've worked at, but I never saw this as being deliberate. We were all grateful for and accepting of the women we had. We were just caught in a vicious circle. Why no women creators? Well, probably because they don't have the interest in games that men do because games have been targeted so hard at men. No female developers, nobody to say "That's stupid, let's not put a stripper in the game", no women play the games, no women get interested in game, no girls grow up to be women who want to make games, no female developers.

There's obviously more going on than that, but men simply behave better when there are women around. An artist isn't going to be embarrassed about giving every female character DD breasts, and a designer isn't going to shy away from making a female character get on all fours and crawl during a cut-scene. Having one or two women on a project isn't enough, those few women aren't going to try and take on the world, they just want to do their job. Besides, two women can really only represent the opinions of two women. You need a group to get a variety of opinions and really show what works.

It's not that all these guys are trying to make things bad. They just know that this is acceptable, and they don't have a lot pushing them to make things better. I've even heard a female art director, one I respected, justify some of this stuff by saying, "We all know our target audience is 14 year old boys."
The whole culture has become somewhat toxic. I've been a gamer since pretty much I was born, and the stuff I've seen in the last two weeks, well, I've never seen it this bad. The whole culture is about ready to implode and then eat itself.
Jason_M_Bryant, you make an excellent point and you can extend that to a lot of engineering/technical fields. Some of the very best engineers I've worked with have been women - that's easily backed with factual results and not any attempt at progressive thinking on my part, but at least in the companies I've worked for, women engineers continue to be at token levels (20 or greater to 1). The majority of women employed have been in less/non-technical positions. I frequently participate in the interview process - and even screening resumes, and the numbers simply aren't there from the start.

There was an incident not that long ago where a female engineer (actually THE female engineer on my team) asked why she was being included as part of a customer demo (which she was as qualified as the next engineer to run, but obviously didn't particularly want to). She was actually told, "because you're a woman and the customer wants to see female representation in the engineering team." A second manager quickly stepped in to replace "because you're a woman" with "because you're an excellent engineer", but... just the out-of-balance state of things creates these bizarre situations.

With regard to the video, I do think it has to be recognized that there are issues attempting to impose any kind of morality on what's intended to be escapist fantasy. It seems a bit hypocritical to gloss over being able to walk up and shoot someone in the head and raising objection only when that person happens to be a half naked female stripper. A lot of the pull of these games is being able to cross lines and act out primal desires without consequence. Accepting that at the time being, the reality is that the primary market is hetero males, you're going to get some of what you get: playing on the role of protector (save the girl - or be provoked by failure to do so), raw titillation and sometimes, just the opportunity to be a truly evil bastard. If it's not moral or correct, it's because sometimes it's precisely the point not to be. And I actually don't see the harm - I think it's difficult to make the case that games negatively bleed into out-of-game behavior. I won't claim it's a causal relationship, but as games have become increasingly popular over the past 20 years, violence (including violence against women) has actually fallen dramatically. A healthy mind can distinguish fantasy/games from actions/reality. Those that can't are walking tragedies waiting for an excuse: movies, television, music, books, poetry, etc. They will find a reason.

I fully embrace the brand of feminism that encourages women to be strong and self-guided. As I've said, I'd welcome more women in technical fields. I tend to become more wary when feminism becomes a critique of expressions of hetero male instinct and I think this video walks the line there. I don't know why in 2014, there's any mystery left concerning the hetero male fascination with the female body. It's undeniable - everyone knows about it. It has nothing to do with our capacity for respect or genuine feeling and yet it's still frequently used for the purposes of passive aggressive sex shaming - to make us feel shallow or deviant for having such feelings. What's worse, I think many men believe themselves 'enlightened' for buying into that narrative. It's okay to want what we want - whatever that may be. How we act on it is another matter. It's a choice - and how we burden others which our choices is our responsibility to own, but the want? The desire? That's nothing to be ashamed of.
BringItOn, I don't know any feminists who say that it's wrong for anyone to be aroused by a woman's body, just as people can be aroused by a man's body. The problem is when the treatment is so lopsided, when women are much, much more likely to be used as sexual decoration.

It's also a problem when women are attacked as teases, sluts, whores, etc. Of course, I don't just mean verbally.

Proving what's instinctual is difficult. For example, I think "men as protector of women" is socialization. When allowed to be strong, etc., women will protect loved ones, too. Men often are protecting women from other men. So, when games incorporate this idea, they reinforce a cultural norm, not a primal urge.

I'm not a gamer, but I'm guessing there aren't a lot of games that include beautiful naked or half-naked men as background decorations, unless the game is aimed at gay men.

I also don't see anything instinctual about linking sex and violence. But I can understand men fantasizing about rape in a society in which their status is often tied to how many women they can get. I'm sure there are some whites who fantasize about killing black people, but I'm guessing/hoping that there aren't many games in which the player has the choice of either watching an African American cry and beg and then get lynched, or intervening.

Krissy: Using your example of "Hitman" ... whoever created the game had to create the option to incapacitate attractive and skimpily dressed women (if I remember correctly from the video) as opposed to fully dressed men of varying appearances in nonsexual poses.

Tausif, a lot of people misunderstand what Joss said. Dollhouse was complex enough that people could read it differently. But when he said it wasn't feminist, he didn't mean that it was anti-feminist, of course.

I loved what Andrew Todd wrote at Badass Digest, but just want to point out that Anonymous attacked and tried to shut down feminist bloggers early on.

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