Monday, June 18, 2012

Women and Games - Question the Second and Third!

Continuing from the last post.

Men are dicks about video games.

Not all men. Some are pretty nice. Some are decent. A large number go with the trolling crowd. The rest are dicks.

Who made video games a “men’s only world?” The game devs with men making up most of the workforce in technology and computer programming? The customers for console games and arcades that are predominantly male?

I’ve never heard a studio come out and say “video games are for boys only; girls should play with dolls.” They want girls too! Just look at the crappy line of girl games (Imagine) from Ubisoft. They want us to play. They need us to play. We make up most of the economic spending power. Boys think about who gave you money for games when you were younger. Probably mom. Dad wanted you to have a football and run outside. With all of that spending power, a dev would want women to play more to buy more of their products.

Is it the tournament arena that says women can’t play? Tournaments are open to all genders and consider your skill. There are some female only ones out there due to the fact that male gamers are dicks. I’m pretty sure the organizers also want women around to fuel more spending.

So, who is the ultimate authority on who can play and who can’t?

No one is. So why the fuck is this still so pervasive in our society? Is this “men are always better than women” mentality that ingrained into us? And before you come up with the smartass answer “women should be in the kitchen,” guess what? At least 90% of the restaurant chefs are male.
So yeah. No throwing that back at women. You fuckers have that job. I’m sure you’ll take pregnancy too once they make that possible. (And feel free. I don’t want that responsibility.)

At this day and age, it’s ridiculous to have this mentality that men can only have this and women can’t have anything. I’m not even talking about “men are better than women.” Rather a segregation because of sex that we’re not allowed to play games, let along discuss them. That’s pretty messed up.

It’s a fucking video game.

This isn’t life or death. Is it really that big of a deal that women are discussing and playing them?

I won’t lie and say that I didn’t get pissy reading the comments about Anita Sarkeesian’s kickstarter to make a mini-series about the tropes of women in video games. She’s made several pieces that are currently used for educational purposes and they’re not bad. True it’s a little one-sided, but what isn’t anymore. I do think men are not given accurate portrayal in games. Rockstar seems to be the only company out there that puts in any effort to make reality into fantasy. Look at the lead character for Bully. He’s a slightly overweight boy with a bad haircut. Who wants to be that as the hero? Or GTA4. Nikko wasn’t exactly a “looker” and neither were his comrades (hah).

So yes. There is a lot of fantasy elements when it comes to male characters just as there is with female characters. Mostly it’s the context that people focus on. Men are always viewed as dominant, powerful, revering. Women are subservient, submissive sex objects. Going back as far as Mario and Legend of Zelda (not even having her name in the game title helps) the Princesses are objects of desire and/or a reward for completing your quests. They’re not really seen as people. And don’t start with me about the Princess Peach game. That was not cool. Though credit for Super Smash Brothers when she and Zelda had some bite.

I should have preface that with the following: I have nothing against sexy women. I <3 Bayonetta and Fran from FF12. Bayonetta in particular glorifies sexuality and dances on that line of taste like nobody’s business. That’s part of the game’s charm! I’m talking about games like God of War where you have a sex scene with very busty, over-the-top beautiful naked women for no reason. They add 0 value to the game and to the plot line. I don’t even remember if they restored your health. Did they? At least the hookers in GTA regenerated your health.

Women get the short end of the stick. That’s basically what I’m getting at. So for all the men that want to complain that “the heroes never look like me” yeah well would you play a video game where you looked like the hero? Probably not. You want to look like Tony Stark (Iron Man). And there’s nothing wrong with it. I want my female characters to look pretty. I pick the Twi’lik race for The Old Republic because they are beautiful to look at. But I don’t oppress her into being a sex object. I make sure she has on pants and a shirt. I don’t oogle her. I don’t set her up in situations where she could be assaulted visually. I play her as I would play a male hero, with respect.

That’s what women want out of their heroines.

So when I read Sarkeesian getting assaulted by thousands of male gamers, it’s disgusting. She’s talking about a topic that we all love, video games. She’s presenting new outlooks that most of you probably never considered. Threatening to harass, sexually assault, or kill her is not just over the line. It’s into crazy town. I seriously hope she reported every one of those to her local police. I would. In fact, I have (not her commenter’s, but others I’ve crossed in the past). It’s not a fun process, but so worth it in the end.

No one should be objectified or verbally assaulted in that manner.

Again I have to go back to that it’s a fucking video game. Is it really that big of a deal if a woman wants to talk about the tropes of female characters? Let her. It’s America (fuck yeah!). Freedom of speech. “But the trolls have the right to say things too.” Sure they do. Just as we have the right to ignore them and send their ass to the police. Sorry but if you threaten me with violence, even online, I report it. I don’t take that shit lightly. No one should be threatened for expressing themselves.

To quote Charlie Brooker, it’s been 30 years since Ms. Pacman. It’s time to move forward.
Which probably won’t happen. But could men stop being dick heads to women about video games? It’s just a fucking game.


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