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Sexism In Gaming Rant

Posted by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 9:52 PM
  • 61 Replies
1 mom liked this

While around 47% of gamers are women, the overwhelming majority of games feature a male protagonist and almost all male side characters. In most games the few female side characters are nothing more than an empty headed barbie with gigantic breasts and no personality of any kind. In fact only 4% of all video games have a female lead.

One company GUST has created a game series that's geared towards girls and women with almost all of their games having a female lead and almost all female side characters, 4 games in the series have a male lead. While the few male characters aren't central to any story, they are always shown as decent, hardworking, respectful of women, just downright good people. There's always the male blacksmith/weapon shop salesman who is a large friendly father figure, he teaches the lead how to make weapons and armor and is always there to help her during the game. Then there's the best friend male, always sweet and fun and willing to help the lead in any way. The male guard or hunter, also there to help and be a friend, etc etc. The men are always portrayed well, not insulted or treated badly.

However, the fact that there are so few men in an upfront role in the games seems to have ticked of that sexism part of many male gamers and reviewers, and while most of them are very upfront about it, some don't even seem to realize they're doing it.

The newest game in the series has a female AND a male lead, and yes, it's brought out some not so lovely sexist comments.  The comments that bug me the most are by a reviewer who actually gave the game a 5 out of 5 and the majority of his review was fully positive and loving of the game. These lines peppered through the review though made my eye twitch...

"It's also the first time in quite a while that GUST has produced a game with a male lead character. Ayesha, and the Arland trilogy that came before it; Atelier Rorona, Totori, and Meruru, were all very much focused on female heroes (and non-player characters,for that matter. Important men were few and far apart in those games).

GUST's male characters have generally been quite flat and functional when they've had anything at all to do, more an opportunity for the female characters to bounce jokes off than digital people with motivations of their own."

When i pointed out to him that if he wants male leads and tons of super interesting male side characters he can play any of the 96% of games geared towards men he actually insisted that he had no problem with the games "constant" female leads. Which also gave me a twitch. So i pointed out that while he may not think he has a problem with it, it's coming across very much as though he does. Otherwise he would have just said "it has a female and male lead" and been done with it. He wouldn't have brought it up in great detail, multiple times.

by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 9:52 PM
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Replies (1-10):
LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Mar. 25, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Strangely, dh prefers to play with hot women on the screen... compared to, say, hot men.


Arroree
by Ruby Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 10:27 PM
3 moms liked this


Quoting LindaClement:

Strangely, dh prefers to play with hot women on the screen... compared to, say, hot men.

Yes but with 46% of us gamers being women, most of us would prefer to play with hot men on the screen....compared to, say, hot women.

Or at the least be able to choose, or just decent looking of both sexes.

My problem is that with so few featuring a female lead and cast do they really have to target them for complaint about a lack of men in them? Is it really such an attack on men to have ONE game series not be all about men?

LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Mar. 25, 2014 at 10:31 PM
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I prefer RPGs -the really big kind, with the 1st person view.

They always have women to choose from, and I can only see my characters when I change clothes or equipment.

Otherwise, I play things like solitaire, where there aren't really characters...

Quoting Arroree:


Quoting LindaClement:

Strangely, dh prefers to play with hot women on the screen... compared to, say, hot men.

Yes but with 46% of us gamers being women, most of us would prefer to play with hot men on the screen....compared to, say, hot women.

Or at the least be able to choose, or just decent looking of both sexes.

My problem is that with so few featuring a female lead and cast do they really have to target them for complaint about a lack of men in them? Is it really such an attack on men to have ONE game series not be all about men?


oddgirl
by Bronze Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 11:03 PM
1 mom liked this
Same with my dh. Currently we are playing Secret World together and his toon is a sexy librarian type in a bizzare get up that has eyeballs on the breasts. My toon is a washed up looking older guy in a dirty hawaiin shirt. It's a strange role reversal.

I appreciate any game that allows you to create a toon of your preferred gender and also preferred age and shape/size. Beyond that I appreciate the game mechanics and storytelling.

Quoting LindaClement:

Strangely, dh prefers to play with hot women on the screen... compared to, say, hot men.

Arroree
by Ruby Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 11:15 PM
1 mom liked this

Honestly i really love the GUST games, not just because of the female leads, but because they're gorgeous games. Most of them are so beautifully done that they're just as popular for the art in them as for the gameplay. Everything in them is just done beautifully, from the character art, to the monsters themselves. So not only are they fun to play but they're nice to look at while you do so :)

.Bubbles.
by Silver Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 11:33 PM
I don't really care who the main character is as long as the storyline is there. I loved Bioshock Infinite. Damaged male lead and a strong interesting female support.
lokilover
by Bronze Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 2:37 AM

It is perfectly fine for him to criticize a game series that he thinks write flat male characters. He has no obligation to moderate his criticism because you think 95 percent of other games has interesting male ones. I don't see any sexism in those comments at all.

All media that tells stories should try to have full, well-rounded characters of many backgrounds. That's just good writing.

Arroree
by Ruby Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 2:57 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting lokilover:

It is perfectly fine for him to criticize a game series that he thinks write flat male characters. He has no obligation to moderate his criticism because you think 95 percent of other games has interesting male ones. I don't see any sexism in those comments at all.

All media that tells stories should try to have full, well-rounded characters of many backgrounds. That's just good writing.

As someone who's played all of the US release games in this series i can tell you that the men in the games ARE full, well-rounded characters of many backgrounds *as i pointed out in my OP*. They have great dialogue, some of the best voice acting you can get in gaming.The reality is that the female characters tend to be the flat stereotypical characters in the game. They're working on that as the games go on but it really shows how little the male creators know about womens personalities and behaviours.

So yes, criticizing a game series for writing flat characters is all fine, but accusing it of doing so with the gender that it's actually doing a great job on while ignoring that they're doing what you're accusing with the other gender, DOES show sexism.

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 3:04 AM
2 moms liked this

The Bechdel Test for Movies

1. It has to have at least two named women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man


For games I'd add:

There needs to be a female playable character

...who doesn't have breasts larger than her head

...or less armour than the male playable character

who [unavoidably] interacts with a plot significant female NPC

...who isn't a prostitute

...or damsel in distress

about something other than a male


Games meeting this criteria so far...

  • Portal
  • Mass Effect
  • Mirror's Edge
Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 3:08 AM


Quoting Clairwil:


who [unavoidably] interacts with a plot significant female NPC

There's debate over how unavoidable the interaction should be to meet the criteria:


The Four Bechdel Subtypes for games.

Type 1: A scene meeting these criteria is a unavoidable part of the game. It is impossible to beat the game without having a scene the passes the test, regardless of any choice you make as a gamer.

Type 2: A scene meting the above criteria is an unavoidable part of the game if you play as a female character in a game where you can select your characters gender.

Type 3: A scene meeting these is an optional part of the game regardless of your characters gender; this includes side quests, optional scenes and dialogue, DLCs etc. (Games with fixed characters with optional scenes meeting the test would fall here)

Type 4: A scene meeting these is an optional part of the game if your character is female in a game where you can select your characters gender; this includes side quest, optional scenes, dialogue, DLCs etc.

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