Nerds And Male Privilege Part 2: The Arguments

A few months ago, I wrote an article on nerds and male privilege. Maybe you read it.

Believe me, nobody was more surprised than me when it proceeded to go viral and start rocketing around the internet. It garnered a lot of attention and a load of mixed reactions, some good, some bad, some downright puzzling. It made for a great lead-in as to just how some male behaviours can work against us when it comes to dating and I got to enjoy my five minutes of internet fame. I sort of figured that this was the end of it and was ready to move on to the next series of articles. I mean, after all, I didn't start my blog to be about gender relations; I'm just a guy trying to help geeks improve their love-lives and get better at dating.

Well, man plans and the gods laugh and all that. It seems as though I'm not quite done with the subject yet.

Y'see, there were certain recurring themes and arguments in the comments, both here, on Reddit and Kotaku, especially regarding my immediate dismissal of entire classes of arguments about whether male privilege — especially as it pertains to geek and gaming culture — exists. And since I'm the sort of person who can't seem to leave it well enough alone...

Let's take another whack at the ol' hornet's nest again, shall we?

The Three Ds of Arguing

Back when I wrote "Nerds and Male Privilege", I included a link to the "Sexism In Games" bingo card as an example of the most common arguments and ones that, ultimately, make my point for me. A number of people felt that this was my attempting some sort of rhetorical end-run around actually having a discussion about how male privilege affects women or even whether or not male privilege exists and thus cheapening or even disproving my argument. Amusingly, they then promptly proceeded to make just about every argument on there. So many, in fact, that one Redditor decided to play "/r/Gaming" sexism bingo with the comments in just one of the threads about the article.

Not even the one in the sub-forum for Men's Rights.

I dismissed these arguments in part because that's not what the article was about; it was about making people aware about how male privilege manifests itself in geek culture and that the attitudes that male privilege engenders directly affect women's involvement and inclusion in geek culture. After all, there's nothing quite like being told by a community that you want to be a part of that you're only valued as a commodity or reward, is there?

But, more importantly, these arguments pull the attention away from the subject at hand and lead the conversation down roads that it was never intended to go. As a result, the main thrust of the article — guys, you have advantages that lead you to act a certain way that is off-putting to women — gets lost while everybody is sucked into a never-ending morass of goalpost moving and verbal gerrymandering.

These arguments tend to fall into what I call the "Three Ds of Internet Arguing": Dismiss, Deflect and Derail.

Dismissal entails denying that the issue exists at all in the first place, evidence be damned. This often involves long and tortured explanations about how something really isn't sexist at all and is perfectly rational and egalitarian. Occasionally it involves explaining to someone how they're completely misinterpreting things, they're oversensitive or overemotional.

No, you're sexist! You're trying to oppress men!

Deflection is all about verbal judo and flipping the accusations around on the accuser. In terms of arguing male privilege this usually appears as variations of "No, women have all the power, they're more manipulative than men" or "You're discriminating against us!".

Derailing is the most common version of these arguments and serves to change the subject of the conversation, usually by the people in question. Suddenly, instead of discussing geek culture's implied accepted roles for women, we're discussing the hierarchy of oppression or why we're talking about this instead of, say, female circumcision (which is, like, way worse). Or dealing with assertions that, by extension, anyone who agreed with the article wants to ban all "sexy" characters from video games forever.

Now don't get me wrong here: I'm not saying that there can be no disagreement on the subject or that by arguing with me at all you're conceding the fight or automatically making my point for me. I am, however, saying that the arguments — as represented on the bingo card — fall in line with these types and ultimately do refer back to the point I was making.

But hey, let's actually go through a few of these, shall we?

"You're Only Saying This Because You're A White Knight/Trying to Get Laid/Trying to Appease Your Girlfriend."

This one showed up a number of times, and it's the one that amuses me the most. I mean, honestly, if writing a post on a semi-obscure blog was all it took to get a guy laid... well, shit, I probably would never have actually started Paging Dr NerdLove because there would be no need for it.

For that matter, why exactly would writing an article make my girlfriend happier than, say, cleaning the litterbox more often? It's a mystery.

Ultimately, this is a case of dismissal. This argument implies that the only reason why I would even pretend this exists is because I have ulterior motives. Otherwise, I would never bring it up/betray my gender.

Amusingly, I received a few variations of this from some feminist blogs as well; I paraphrase (because I can't find the link and Google is failing me) but evidently my whole point of bringing this up was "just so that guys could pretend to have a whiff of a clue and trick women into fucking them."

"Comics/Gaming/RPGs/Etc. Are A Subculture That Appeals To Men! You Trying To Take That Away!/But It's Not FOR Women! If They Can't Deal With It, They Shouldn't Be Here!"

These deflections tend to be variations on the same argument; that privilege is inherently a zero-sum game and by making concessions to women regarding the levels of sexism in geek culture requires taking something away from men.

Which is, to be perfectly honest, kinda nuts. But it does imply one thing: that at a certain level the one making the argument realises that they are the de-facto privileged and they worry about not having that privilege.

Now to be fair: some elements of geek culture are male-dominated; comics and gaming are perfect examples of this. This does not, however mean that they're inherently intended for guys exclusively, nor does it mean that they also have to be as exclusionary to women as they tend to be.

Realizing that drawing all of your female characters with 36DDD tits and posing them in physically impossible ways in order to show off their boobs and arse at the same time while wearing dental floss costumes might be a little offensive to women is hardly the same as saying that you're not allowed to enjoy sexy art or that sexy art shouldn't be allowed. Similarly, campaigning for female characters who are more than "Hero's Girlfriend" or "Fan-Service Station Attendant" doesn't mean that there can't be femme fatales or even characters who are there for titillation.

The problem isn't that these characters or drawings exist. The problem is that these are the vast majority. When 99 per cent of the female characters, whether it be comics, movies, or video games are designed to look like porn stars and the ones that aren't can be counted on the fingers of one hand, it's not terribly surprising that women might be oooged out by it... and the implied attitudes that come with it. When your only choice for a gaming avatar are "Bustier and Thong" and "Battle Bikini", it sends the message that "You are only welcome here as a sexual object. If you do not meet these criteria, we have no use for you."

Nobody's saying that there can't be sex-kittens, voluptuous pin-ups or fetishised characters. But leavening them out with realistically-proportioned females in practical costumes who aren't there to be rescued, raped, murdered, tied to the train tracks or the prize for beating the main boss isn't taking away your rights or preventing you from enjoying the games.

"But They Call Her A 'Bitch' Because They're The Bad Guys."

This qualifies as a derailment.

This one came up repeatedly in the context of criticism of Arkham City, a game that I (and other bloggers and journalists) dinged for being an excellent game with some troubling aspects. In this case, the various henchmen running around Arkham City constantly refer to Catwoman as "bitch" and make repeated comments about beating and/or raping her and Harley Quinn.

Now I will give you this much: yes, the characters saying this are criminals locked up in a city-sized jail, presumably with very few female inmates.

However, let's keep in mind that these are not real people. All of these characters are constructs without free will or animus. They aren't making jokes about "Riding the Harley" because that's just how they roll; someone had to decide that this is what they were going to say. Someone had to record those specific lines. This wasn't a case of emergent gameplay that took the creators by surprise — it was decided that whenever the player controlled Catwoman, the henchmen would call her bitch and threaten her with sexual violence.

Worth noting: these characters are violent offenders in a prison and male-on-male rape is rampant in the prison system. Yet nobody is telling Batman that they're going to make him their bitch or that they're going to bust out his teeth so that it feels better when they force Bats to blow them. Nobody's calling Batman a faggot or threatening to run a train on him after they beat him unconscious. Rape, after all, is a statement of power, domination and degradation... and who represents everything the criminals hate or resent more than Batman?

But they don't. Because they weren't designed to.

The writers and designers didn't include these behaviours or lines for when the player controls Batman. They did for Catwoman. This makes all of the difference.

"You're The One Who Hates Women — You're Saying They Can't Be Both Sexy And Tough."

Another deflection, implying that by criticising the portrayal of these characters the critic is, in fact, the sexist.

Of course, this requires that the definition of "sexy" mean "wears extremely revealing clothes" and "has massive breasts", which is patently untrue. Sexiness doesn't derive solely from the level of fan-service the character provides, and it's absurd to try to limit to just how much skin we can or can't see.

There are a number of female characters — sadly, a relatively small number — who manage to be strong, fully realised and sexy characters without wearing stripper-tastic costumes.

Just off the top of my head I could name:

  • Ashley Williams: Mass Effect
  • Elena Fisher and Chloe Frazer: Uncharted 1, 2 and 3
  • Kate Kane: Batwoman
  • Matoko Kusanagi: Ghost In The Shell
  • Jade: Beyond Good and Evil
  • Agatha Heterodyne: Girl Genius
  • Nausicaa: Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind

Interestingly enough, Lara Croft — once the poster child for absurd outfits and gag boobs — has undergone a redesign making her far more realistically proportioned and sensibly dressed. And speaking as someone who has gone climbing over and in ruined temples in the jungle... yeah, you're not gonna wear shorts.

"But Trash Talk is Normal on Xbox Live. Women Are Just Too Sensitive to Rape Threats and Feigned Masturbation."

Another deflection, and one that relies rather specifically on XBL or Playstation Network multiplayer games, because it falls apart fairly quickly if you look at it with respect to, say, voice chat in World of Warcraft.

So again, I will give you this much: Yes, there's a lot of shit-talking in online games. But ask any woman who plays a first-person shooter and you'll quickly hear about the difference when guys realise there's a woman in their midst. Suddenly it's all about the rape or the fapping sounds. Guys may threaten to make other male player their bitches, but they're not going to be asking those other guys how big their cocks are, if they're cut or uncut and whether they're a top or bottom. Women on the other hand will be told to show their tits and inundated with demands for cyber sex. They'll be called "cunt" and "whore", but if they complain they'll be told that they're too "sensitive" or "emotional" to play.

And hey, if they're especially lucky, the harassment doesn't end just because you quit out of the game!

Xbox Live Douchebags: Puttin' the "ass" in "Classy". Screenshot: fatuglyorslutty.com.

But as I said, as soon as you step out of the world of first-person shooters and into MMOs, the argument that trash-talking is a normal part of online gaming starts to look thin. Many women will use male avatars, gender-neutral sounding names and refuse to use voice-chat systems such as Ventrilo. As soon as other players — guild members, pick-up groups or even PVP opponents realise that there's a woman in their midst, the conversation now becomes about her gender... and more importantly, whether she has a boyfriend or will show her tits.

"Everyone Knows 'Sex Sells', And The Developers Are Just Making Things They Think Will Sell."

Another deflection. And one that might be news to EA; The Sims sold over 16 million copies. Activision might be astonished too: World of Warcraft has sold over 12 million copies.

But hey, what about console games? Well, the top-selling game on the Playstation 3 was Gran Turismo 5, followed by Modern Warfare 2 and Uncharted 3 (there it is again!). On the Xbox 360, the top three sellers are Call of Duty: Black Ops, Kinect Adventures and Halo 3.

And let's face it, every developer would give their left testicles to reach the level of sales of Super Mario Bros. with 40 million units sold.

Tits may get attention, but they're hardly the dividing line between success and failure.

"But Men Are All Super-Buff, They're Sexually Objectified Too! / Men Want To Watch Desirable Women, Women Want To Be Desirable Women."

This is one of the most common deflections when the issue of how women are portrayed comes up. It's known as a false equivalence — the idea that two things presented together as equal when in fact they aren't. In this case, the idea that just because women have exaggerated physiques doesn't mean they're sexist because the men are just as exaggerated too. Of course, this doesn't work for many reasons. To start with, it assumes — falsely — that the things that women find sexy are the same things that guys find sexy; that is, the exaggerated secondary sex characteristics. But we'll get to that in a second.

The other issue is the reason for the exaggeration. Comics and games are fantasy, true, but the fantasy aspect differs when it comes to male and female characters. Male characters are a power fantasy; the large muscles and massive torsos are visual signs that this character is an unstoppable powerhouse. Kratos doesn't look the way he does because Sony Computer Entertainment did focus-market studies and found that women reacted best to that design; he looks the way he does because he represents the powerful alpha-male that gamers want to be.

The women, on the other hand, are sexual fantasies. These are the rewards for the player — the character's love-interest, the motivation to complete the game. They're designed as eye-candy; they're intended as something to be consumed, not something to escape into. Women like to fantasise about being desirable yes, but they also like to be powerful, and their definition of what they would consider to be sexy and powerful doesn't mean battle-bikinis and thongs of power.

But hey, I'm a guy. It's easy for me to sit here and proclaim what women find sexy, but I could be talking out of my arse. So why not take it to the source? I put out a completely unscientific poll on Facebook and Twitter about characters that women find sexy — video games, comics, anime, whatever. And the results? Well, let's compare.

Here we have the exaggerated figures that are supposedly sexy too:

And here are the characters my female readers find sexy:

Notice a trend here? These are not the massive beefcakes alpha-males that are supposedly as equally objectified as Kasumi, Ayane or Ivy. These men have longer torsos with much leaner builds; they're built like swimmers rather than weight-lifters. They're not men who scream "unstoppable physical power". They're lithe and dextrous, not barrel-chested juggernauts with tree stumps for limbs.

And the other critical factor: it's not just their builds that make them sexy. Gambit, for example is attractive because of his personality and his situation; he's tortured because he can't physically touch the woman he loves. Nightcrawler is the laughing swashbuckler, full of wit and flirty charm. Jareth is dark and mysterious and just a little dangerous and oozes sexuality.

Yes, the men are exaggerated as much as the women. But it's the intent and the message that make all of the difference.

"It's Just A Comic/Game/Movie. No-One Cares."

A dismissal that's patently untrue.

The fact of the matter is, people do care. Women feel excluded from participating in the fandoms they enjoy because of these attitudes. They feel as though they can't take part because of the way they're treated just by virtue of being female. They're told they have nothing to contribute because of their gender and that their value consists of their availability as a sex object.

And geek guys wonder why geeky girls are so thin on the ground.

I'll have more to say soon specifically about how male privilege in geek culture directly affects women, why guys should care and what we — men and women — can do about it.

Until then, back to the dating advice.

Harris O'Malley provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr NerdLove, as well as writing the occasional guest review for Spill.com and appearing on the podcast The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen. Republished with permission.


Comments

    actually, if you had paid attention to Arkham City, you would have noticed that within the first five minutes of controlling Bruce Wayne, the inmates do make threats to make him their bitch. Several random thugs make the same threats to Batman throughout the game.

      also, I'd like to point out that it isn't derailment to state how the inmates in Arkham City, men whom are very likely to be misogynists harboring hatred for women, and thus their vocabulary is appropriate.

      It's a legitimate argument, and screaming 'derailment' won't make it go away.

      So real people had to write and record those lines. Gee, really? So what?
      Should the writers sanitize what those men would really say? Should they censor it? Why should the writers write those characters to be women-respecting, polite, politically correct, murderous inmates?

      I guess my earlier post regarding how these inmates DO make threats against Bruce Wayne and Batman about making them their bitch kind of defeats your entire argument for that segment, as you said it made all the difference.

      But hey! Due diligence in reporting the facts about a video game script would be too much to ask for during the holiday season.

        I like your style.

        http://i39.tinypic.com/28jelbm.jpg

        This. Exactly. All I see is some man categorically denying that the valid opinions of others are untrue by screaming "derailment" "derailment" "derailment". Because we all know that the arguments of the whole world can be funnelled into three broad bands right?

        "The Three Ds of Arguing"

        Seriously

          Dude, he's not funneling them into three bands, he's merely stating the most common responses he gets from people trying to justify sexism in gaming.

          And I gotta say I agree, because I see them a lot. The "BUT WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ!!!!MEN ARE OBJECTIFIED TOO!!!!" one being the most tiresome. If I ever get into character design, I'm going to create skinny-ass guys instead of brick shithouses, not just because it's more realistic and practical, but also to bury this argument forever!

            He pretty much is.

            No ones justifying sexism (or atleast I'm not) I just don't see this huge problem we have.

            "The men are objectified too" is a valid argument. Your comment sounds like it's ok to objectify men and portray them unrealistically, but is completely unacceptable to do it to women. Hypocrisy.

              Well, to be fair Men ARE objectified too, ruling that out as a cop out is bullshit because it's relevant even if not all guys complain about it..

              And I'll go out on a limb and be honest here. I feel more connected and comfortable playing as a character like Nathan Drake then say Batman/ Kratos. He's the quirky charismatic every man and it's much easier to as a guy who's not built like a brick shit house to be like Nate etc.

              I imagine that's how woman feel playing as these titalizing female leads? Having said that, what ABOUT Catwoman? She was perfectly fine IMO. Maybe there could have been a little less cleavage but damn she was a confident and charismatic character which is what I would hope most woman get to be as game characters. She was empowered and not a damsel in distress. For the most part she WAS in control.

              The banter shouted at her by the villains honestly doesn't phase me. Not in the sense that it's RIGHT to say those things to a woman, it's not, it's disgusting and wrong. But I'd expect no less from Gotham's lowest scum. Seriously, if they started telling Batman he was 'Gon get raped', then I wouldn't care, it would still be as expected.

              I believe it was said that, '...These AREN'T real people, these lined were written and recorded'.
              Yes.. Yes they were. Because thought went into what was said, and what would most likely be said by these thugs, and further, what MIGHT get a vile reaction from the player. Guy or Girl I imagine. This is a dark game full of questionable emotion reactions, but isn't that the aim?

              Either way, this guy has his thoughts and views on the matter. It doesn't make it right or wrong, but his opinion is his opinion. But there are DEFINITELY other valid views on this matter too!

                Speaking on the catwoman angle, while Harris does make a very strong point (and I'm not trying to change anyones opinion on said point) I have to say that if I were one of the hardened criminals in Arkham city, I would NOT be making rape threats to the heavily muscled man in a bat costume stalking me from the shadows - dont want to give him any ideas...
                Also, some names to add to your list of strong, sexy, non stripper-tastic female characters could include:
                Alyx Vance - Half life 2
                Zoe - Left for Dead

                Catwoman bothered me in Arkham City because her sexualisation felt out of place, felt like pandering to an audience rather than a design decision for a character.

                From my understanding of Catwoman, she grew up a thief to survive, and now delights in using her talents to burgle highly protected items. As a burglar, you'd presume she would try to blend in with the background, become indistinguishable in the shadows. That idea clashes with the model they created for Arkham City. So much so, it irks me no end.

                Catwoman should be slinky, silent, and avoid combat unless necessary. To be so overtly sexual is an insult to the idea of Catwoman being a thief. Her design makes her character unbelievable, and thus breaks my involvement with the character. I would have loved the game designers to have given us a choice of appearance at the beginning of the game, rather than at the end, when starting a "plus" game.

              This is called a "false equivalence" fallacy. In short it is an erroneous identification of a shared trait between two 'objects' and then asserting this makes them equivalent even if, at the end, the two objects are not properly defined as equivalent. Pretty sure this strip was raised as an example in the first article on this subject but here it is again:

              http://www.shortpacked.com/2011/comic/book-13/05-the-death-of-snkrs/falseequivalence/

                my problem with false equivalence is simply: I don't want to look like that, that body figure doesn't appeal to me. But here's the thing, why should i expect it to appeal to me? I knew what I was buying when i bought Arkham City.

                How many men do you know that have actually said/stated that that body type is their goal?

                The real issue that no-one actually discusses is that all these problems are a result of women not being as heavily involved in the game creation process as men and as such their views aren't as prominently represented. I can't see real solution to this issue as I don't really agree with those laws that demand a a number of people from x demography be promoted over another

      I played through all of Arkham City within about 2 days of its PC release and am doing it again on Story+. I have only heard them call Catwoman a bitch about 4-5 times total, even including all the challenge modes Ive done. I suspect it is because I end fights rather fast even on Hard and Story+, or maybe there was a patch that reduced the amount of bitching, I don't know.

      What I do know is that it is by no means uncommon for males of females to call a woman a bitch when they are mad at that person, and that it wasn't used that much in my playing of Arkham City.

      What I do really wonder about though is in music videos why does sh*t and f*ck get censored but b*tch isn't? Unlike the other two expletives b*tch is actually a derogatory word...

      Glad you pointed this out. I hate trying to correct someone's lack of knowledge or familiarity with subject matter only to be called out for some kind of 'something-ist derailment' or whatever the dismissive-label-of-choice is for that particular 'discussion'...

      Sometimes people say things that are misrepresentative or just flat out wrong... and sometimes corrections need to be brought to light.

    Cue comment shitstorm in 3, 2, 1...

    Let me be the first to support you, mate. I had to stop playing Bayonetta, as an example, because I genuinely felt too uncomfortable with it. Arkham City came close, but there's not a lot of Catwoman stuff so I wasn't as bothered.

      "Other people are sexist and this is somehow your fault."

      Here we go again. Go send letters to the developers of these games if you have an issue with it. Don't waste time telling us how horrible we are for playing games that we had no hand in creating.

        Oh, damn it. That wasn't supposed to be a reply.

      Bayonetta is campy as all hell. It's supposed to be, in a stupid way. She headbutts skyscrapers into old men!

      I had to stop playing Bayonetta

      I have to ask because it still bugs me to this day. Why did you start playing it to begin with? What was the draw there? The game didn't look great and it seemed like it was being sold on sex appeal.I could understand if she was hot, but it was like they'd made a composite drawing of all the things 11 year old boys find attractive and it came out looking like Grimace in a $2 shop sexy librarian costume.

        So sex appeal is a much bigger issue then the fact that it's a sequel to Devil May Cry?

          I never actually knew that. I didn't pay much attention to the early news and it seems like it was just left out of the rest.

          Bayonetta is to DMC as pedal go-karts are to F1 racing. Never call it a sequel to DMC in any regard.

            Ah nah.

            We finally agree on something Chazz.

    Written like a true asshole. Climb back under your rock, NerdLove.

      Your words are both thoughtful and confronting. Thank you for sharing with the group.

    I have no idea how to start with this one. I guess calling this "article" a troll posting would be giving him praise. Flat out insulting to everyone is more along the lines of this "article".

    I'm going to start out with the Kotaku reference. It's quite understandable that this blogger only read the Kotaku US comments as the comments posted on the Kotaku AU side (Some at great length) are insightful and well researched, unlike the previous article.

    Now the main bulk of this article is directed in such a way that it comes off as "What I say is right and you all know nothing". Hell, this is an article basically telling us how people argue against what he said and why they are completely wrong. He's gone into 100% defense mode as no doubt he copped a lot of backlash and bad press for his blog.

    You might even go so far as to say that everything he has said about the arguments he's made in his defense are also very representative of the "Three D's of Arguing" something that he has tried to point out as being bad and invalid, thus negativing his own attempts at redemption.

    Now I'm going to poke a hole in his retaliation to the argument I was apart of last time, that being the “But Men Are All Super-Buff, They’re Sexually Objectified Too! / Men Want To Watch Desirable Women, Women Want To Be Desirable Women.” argument which has examples and probably the most inaccurate understanding of the argument.

    It is not the fact that the guys are "not the massive beefcakes alpha-males" as he pointed out. Hell, the size has NOTHING to do with the argument that was presented. This argument is about DEFINITION. Look at Gambit & Nightcrawler, both have the exact same definition as Batman, Jin & Kratos; and to further the point, make Jin's skin tones a few shades darker and he'd look like Jacob from Twilight (That guy is number one of most females "I'd so screw his brains out" list these days). Women like definition in their guys bodies, and that is what this particular argument is about.

    Now as an added bonus, I'll explain the reasons the three "prefered" guys outlined here (The Goblin King, Nightcrawler & Gambit) are so admired and sort after by his women readers (After consulting a few female geek friends)

    Gambit - That accent... And the smoothness he tries to woo Rogue with, which we can sum up as confidence.

    Nightcrawler - This is your "lone man of mystery" archetype. Women think there is some deep profound mystery that keeps him from others and maybe she can be the one to help him overcome that deep dark past stuff

    The Goblin King - The fact that his package is on display every time he is on screen, and also that Gambit style confidence too.

    So in the end, and I apologize for making a TL;DR post, I hope this is the last time we hear from this joke of a blogger. Hell, I hope Serrels or Tracey take this article down and maybe start overlooking what crappy auto-reposts get posted to here from Kotaku US.

      Yep. +1

    By calling our arguments "3 ds" you are essetiaty derailing our arguments. Put in all the logical definitions you like. It doesn't make you any more valid. My opinionis simple: if developers felt that by puttin over weight people in they would sell more copies, they would do it.

    Deveolopers use typical market targeting to style their characters, same as tv or magazines. They consider triple a games focused on a male, mid 25 demographic. If you want a game that puts forward typical people as the subject then make one and market it.

    Of course, you'll go broke, because people play games for escapist reasons. I can see overweight people at my local supermarket, without paying fo it.

      "They consider triple a games focused on a male, mid 25 demographic. "

      They'd be wrong. They're out of touch.

      If they want to market to this demographic -- so be it. But when they find that that's _all_ the demographic they've attracted and have completely missed the bus on exploring demographics that are getting into games that appeal to _them_ -- then on their heads be it. It's the market at work.

      Yeah kinda the point that developers are targeteting one demographc to the exclusion of others. Yes the author has sorta gone a bit to far in a way and contradicted hinself in regards to his "3 D's" theory. But he does point out that we don't need to remove these stereotypes just balance them out with some realistic ones. Also attacking 1 or 2 of his points out of the half or so dozen he made and claiming to shoot down his entire argument is kinda showing the lack of balance that he pointing out.

    While I buy into the majority of what you're selling here, the only thing that I have to disagree with is the whole " power fantasy" argument. Mainly because I myself don't want to have that figure and never have, and while I can't speak for everyone I know neither have the majority of my friends. I feel that when this argument is deployed it is a manner of combating sexism with sexism; along the lines of: "men can't be objectified by women because they enjoy the objectification". While I agree that Women are, in the majority of cases, the victims this line of logic does not hold well with me and nor does it seem very logical.

    "Let me be the first to support you, mate. I had to stop playing Bayonetta"

    This is why I hate this concept so much. Bayonetta is an exercise in irreverence for the sake of it. Is she a realistic representation of women? NO and that's the point. The game also doesn't do men service nor even the concepts of religion, it knows it can be as over-the-top as possible and revels in it.

    Here's a deflection for you: It's already happening. Fair or accurate representation of women in games is slowly creeping forward, I could think of plenty of cases where their were ordinary looking women or sensibly dressed women or even raunchy sexy women with confident non-bimbo type personalities matched up.

    When the last article happened I quickly glanced at a pile of games near my desk and graded them for their representations of women and found that many did well with the failures either having context based reasons for not showing women (war games have army forces realistically dominated by males and recreating large elements of the game to have a female component is expensive and time-consuming considering the context and audience) or were completely crazy designs where all fair realities were suspended (something like Unreal Tournament 3 in which ALL characters are incredibly unrealistic.)

    We know various races and genders have gotten equalities like voting by yelling as hard as they can. But I don't believe that gives people a ticket to disregard neutrality or counter-argument. While there may be a lot of pricks online that are sexist to the core, a well-developed argument that doesn't insult and belittle its audience would work a lot better.

      "I quickly glanced at a pile of games near my desk and graded them for their representations of women"

      _You_ graded them, huh? Glad you could be so objective and authoritative for us all ;)

        No more objective anyone else could possibly be about an entertainment medium. Basically what shouldn't have taken much thought to understand from what I said was that I looked at the games and thought about the amount of representation women had in the game, the style the woman was shown including the depth of their character and whether it 'fit in' with what many women I know consider to be realistic depictions of women as well as if the player character is/can be a female and how the player can interact with women in the game. Quite simply I was surprised to see that (for this sample or random games) women are not depicted and trodden on as valueless sex-symbols with no rights. It's still prevalent but it's implied by these articles to a widespread epidemic with ALL games, which is simply not the case.

        Also most of the offenders I've seen are JAPANESE games, which are developed by a different culture for a different culture where stereotypes and gender equality are treated much differently.

    My attitude towards perviness in videogames is just "okay, if that helps you." It's so commonplace that it rarely adds flavor to designs. It doesn't enrich the experience or have any lasting effect on it. Like you said, it's "consumed" and then the player moves on until they next encounter it. And it almost always feels tacked on and unconnected to the gameplay.

    I remember thinking in arkham city that harley would have been much more interesting if she looked like those sculptures of her that you see about. They were effortlessly stylish those things.

    I see you responding to the arguments that you feel you can refute. Now, how about responding to arguments such as "People are individuals, and practice unique perceptions independent of societal stereotypes."

    Grouping persons together based on gender is practicing sexist prejudice. You're grouping based on a logical fallacy. Grouping is a logical fallacy. It's a survival mechanism that we've evolved, we are after-all a self-fulfilling survival pattern.

      This has to be the most bizzare argument I've heard: "It's ok to discriminate against a group of people because groups are meaningless and by categorising people you're discriminating against them".

    Boys have their fun and girls have their games.

    Look at these gems & say try to say with a straight face that women don't also depic the opposite gender to suit their fetishes.

    http://www.gamecity.ne.jp/haruka5/kazahanaki/
    http://www.gamecity.ne.jp/konovels/ls/
    http://www.gamecity.ne.jp/missprincess/

    The point is, women also enjoy games in their own way. They don't need YOU to defend or fight for their rights. They can do it themselves pretty well, thank you, and not by complaining about how sexists men are but by actually making games they'd want to play themselves..

      What happened to my reply?

      In any case Obviously, the *three* Japanese games you've listed as being fetishized by females is *nothing* compared to the pornographic content and grossly sexualized females in games that have been around since the 1980s. Case in point, Leisure Suit Larry, 7 Sins, RapeLay. All of them *specifically* for male gamers. There are plenty more erotic games which can be easily wikied, and practically all of them are specifically for male gamers. Look at games such as the thoroughly thought-provoking and immersive Planescape Torment (Annahs costume, and other female portraits of NPCs) and tell me that *isn't* catering for the male viewing pleasure.

      Role Playing Table Top games do similar by featuring females in impossibly sexy armour or clothes in general, and it is enhanced by the miniatures available.

      Sure! you've listed THREE specifically female oriented games - and they are all from Japan and do not really have an ENGLISH mode, which limits the female audience who can play it. Pray, tell me a few even mildly erotic games that are made by Anglo Saxon gaming companies to cater to female sexual preferences hmm?

      My point is, you guys get eye candy everywhere you go, while we female gamers have to dig deeper to find anything vaguely appealing for us. I have never heard of the games you cited, and now that I have I googled them and I regret I never heard of them while they were still around because it looks like a female specific game I'd love to play - if it was in english.

        And outside of gaming? Is it men that produce the thousands if not millions of slash images and comics? Is it men who consume the Mills & Boon style "novels"? Is it men who line up at cinemas to catch a glimpse of the latest Twilight film with it's young male leads being topless for 90% of the film?

        Both genders have markets they rule with a fulfillment of sexual fantasies that are derogatory to the other gender. Bout time people woke up and realised that.

          "And outside of gaming? Is it men that produce the thousands if not millions of slash images and comics? Is it men who consume the Mills & Boon style “novels”? Is it men who line up at cinemas to catch a glimpse of the latest Twilight film with it’s young male leads being topless for 90% of the film?"

          "Both genders have markets they rule with a fulfillment of sexual fantasies that are derogatory to the other gender. Bout time people woke up and realised that."

          I wonder how are Mills and Boon novels derogatory to men. In my opinion, they portray men as sensitive heroes with a toned bod and who actually take care of their women she would like to be cared for. Is it the whole fact that they are sensitive heroes who take care of their woman that makes it derogatory? Is it the fact that he's not actively taking advantage of her, and making her is own that is derogatory?

          How about how a female is just a sex object waiting for whatever sex toy or genital you want to throw at her? To be used and humiliated, treated like an animal by being urinated on, called a cunt and slut and whatever else you want to call her?

          I also wonder how slash fics are derogatory to men as well. If you consider slash fics derogatory to men, would you agree that lesbian fics and other portrayals are derogatory to women as well? Or are lesbian fics and other portrayals something women should be proud about? OOH, double standards.

          Also - plenty of slash fics and pictures are written and drawn by gay men as well. I've walked plenty of times into a bookstore in the erotic section and seen so so so many photoshoots made by gay men for gay men. Very nice shots, full of emotion, occasionally sexual, occasionally not, and much more stylish than whatever straight crap comes from straight men to straight men. I love how *some* straight men ignore the *fact* that gay men produce a lot of these male on male works as well - as if gay men don't exist, and its the *females* that produce *all* the male on male works.

          I *LOVE* how *everyone* is using Twilight to hit back at women with. Can't you think of *anything* older than twilight, or does your memory fail you? Justin Bieber, Twilight, is a sign of times -where film makers are actually sitting up and said 'damnit, we've neglected pleasing women for too long, so lets do something about it!' One more time, how is Twilight derogatory to men? Are you feeling insecure because your bodies don't look like that? If that is the case, lets think of the millions of women who get boob jobs, botox, liposuction and surgery just to make themselves perfect and fit in with the media. My feeling is that overwhelmingly far more women than men do this. This claimed statistic can be seen on the street where there are waaaaaay more flabby men compared to women.

          And men are feeling threatened and uncomfortable by it, how interesting! Feel threatened the way we have felt threatened and uncomfortable for eons, with all the sexualization and objectification of women that have been going on for thousands of years. See what China did with foot-binding, what has been done with Female Genital Mutilation, which unlike male circumcision, does *not* have its roots in *Religion*.

          "Religious male circumcision is considered a commandment from God in Judaism.[5][6] In Islam, though not discussed in the Qur'an, male circumcision is widely practised and most often considered to be a sunnah.[7] It is also customary in some Christian churches in Africa.[8]"

          I could go on, but ultimately, I see men railing against what they perceive as an attack on what is usually available for men - all the sexy objectified women, the power fantasies for males, ultimately what used to be a privilege and is now a given.

          Sure women, have something for us as well, but not to the same extent. The mere fact that the limited minds here can only think of Twilight and crappy romance novels written for women, including slash pics and fics and call those degrading towards men are testament to that.

          In my opinion, men feel threatened by what women find sexy just as women feel threatened by what men call sexy. The difference is the sheer amount of straight-male material out there compared to what is readily available for women, as well as the sheer number of women making their bodies more 'perfect' compared to men. The male numbers are growing, but looking around, especially at my boyfriend, I'd say - it still has to catch on a bit.

      Umm, I'm a girl and I enjoy games in the same way that you do, I wouldn't look at this trash. This is not for female gamers, and if you think this is what we want you are part of the problem.
      Not every male gamer is like this. Most I know are normal people who respect women as well as men. I think this article is directed at a certain type of gamer. the type for example that made an absolute shit-storm when the character model for Trishka from Bulletstorm came out. The "They took our bewbs, oh god gaming is dead, feminazis have taken over the world I may as well chop my dick off now." reaction to that was a real eye-opener to me to how many people see pornographic sentiments in their games as a god given right that they will fight tooth and nail for. I mean cripes, she's still sexy she just has breasts that won't make her fall over. I don't care how sexy a woman is in a game, I like sexy women. I do think though that it can send a message that says it's only ok for a woman to be sassy and strong as long as she's presenting the goods visually. Tits out and I'll listen to what you have to say, or at least pretend to. I'd bet my last dollar that if you presented a sassy character that wasn't that attractive everyone would be saying what a bitch she was. At least that's how it feels to me sometimes.
      To be honest though I'd also rather see more mixed races in games that weren't stereotypes. There IS a slant toward the white male in these games, I'd like to see more variety in characters.

    Although I can't exactly agree nor disagree on most aspects, I can agree that I have always been aware of that phenomena in online games, "when guys realise there’s a woman in their midst...", I don't feel the need to list what occurs when the event arrives, but it bothers me that people can't just be their usual selves (or unfiltered-online selves I should say) just because there a woman present.

    Makes perfect sense that a woman has to put on a guise while playing, but that should never have to happen at all.

      Their 'unfiltered online selves' you say? I've seen them. Plenty of rape comments, plenty of comments depicting sexual violence towards female characters, plenty of comments asking females to take off their shirts or asking them how big their breasts are, or begging for pics, or asking them how often they 'pleasure' themselves or 'you just need a good fuck'. There's plenty more said, but by then, I usually put them on ignore and report them.

      Honestly, is that what you like to hear? People being their unfiltered internet selves towards women? I as a woman certainly 100% hate the kind of sexually aggressive drivel that some guys launch into upon figuring out that you're a female. I certainly don't do the same towards them because it'd make me just as bad as them - hence the ignore button.

    Apparently months are measured in chunks of less than 3 weeks(19 days) to be precise. Seeing as months is plural that means more than 1. So apparently in KotakUS land a month passes on average every 6-9 days

    Matoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell isn't a good example as they suddenly decided in the movies that her cloaking device can only work without any clothes on...

      Agreed. Did you know there was a game PS1 game for Ghost in the Shell? Just watch the opening.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHdmmHdfTfw

        Hell the original GiTS film from 1995 opens with her completely naked body being created.

    oh and the problem with the 3 D's is that you can apply them to any argument made against you. The person who argues A) and is met with response B) is always going to end up slotting it into one of those 3 things.

    Even if the counter argument is actually justified, nearly anything that causes the original poster to defend their position. Can be seen as a deflection/derailment.

    as for your Examples.

    Matoko Kusanagi- I feel you haven't watched the relevant TV show's or movies. To say she isn't sexualised out of her ass is insane. Hell her default costume in most of the first series is what you would assign as stripper-iffic. As a Japanese character she is a fan service tool.

    And there are plenty of decent unsexualised character's. Rachel Parker from Resistance, Jammer in Killzone
    Hell even Trishka in Bulletstorm Isn't wearing stripper worthy clothes
    Especially if your claiming Elena and chloe in Uncharted.

    ---

    Those characters that the girls like though, they are still all incredibly fit, You know how many guy's i know who still have a 6 pack at 22. None.

    And the moody/tormented thing works for gambit because he was doing it before it was cool. Walk down the street these days and try find a twat that isn't doing the same emo type thing.

    Built like swimmer's or built like strong men, they still aren't the average person. Which is what you are arguing all character's should be isn't it.

    Hell to me Harley was sexy in the first Batman, but it was because of the male nurse/doctor thing with a little bit of school girl mixed in. To me in Arkham City it was just harley from the comics

    Was only a matter of time before another one of these posts came up. But atleast it's not as bad as the last. But it still reeks of "I'm right and you're all wrong" And now you've made up "the 3 Ds" to try to invalidate everyone else's arguments.
    I really couldn't be bothered putting forward all my arguments again, but I'll say a bit.
    I'm not quite sure why these articles keep coming, like we are the ones who make the games. If you have a problem with this, then take it to the developers. 

    Also why do these articles always have the attitude that they're speaking for every woman out there. I said last time and I'll say it again. All the female gamers I know never bring up these "issues" They do not care. They do not find it "offensive" They just play the games, like I do. That's my experience. I believe most female gamers don't care.

    The complaint about what the CRIMINALS say about Catwoman, was just ridiculous. They're CRIMINALS, who probably have no respect for women and so use sexual insults and threats towards her to intimidate. Which makes the player dislike them even more, IMO. It fits fine. Would you like them to be kind, respectful men instead? 

    Yes try and push the fact that men are objectified to the back. Fact is men are still objectified and portrayed unrealistically. And they are made like that to represent power AND sex appeal. The effect these male characters could have on young boys and mens self-esteem is never discussed. Also how many movies are there with ripped guys with their shirts off? 
    You're poll doesn't change that. If you're going to attack the way women are in games/movies, then do the same for men.

    Honestly, I can hardly think of any games that have women dressed in very revealing outfits. Having a look at all my games and everyone of them that has a female character in it, they are dressed pretty average. People always bring up one game. Bayonetta. Big deal.
    The only games that have revealing and sexually heavy female characters is usually some superhero and fighting games and games that are over the top all together.

    One thing I can agree on is the abuse women take when playing online. I've heard it from time to time and it's wrong and disgusting. This is what you should be focusing on here. But it's usually immature teenagers and I don't think it'll change.
    Besides that, I don't see these so called "issues".

    I will never understand what these articles are trying to achieve, except telling all male gamers (and males in general) about how horrible they are to women and how horrible women have it. Please, I'm over it. 

    As someone else said about the last article. I suspect these articles are just to get more hits. 

    Please, please, no more. We understand you're thoughts on this topic. We don't need to hear about them all the time.

      "All the female gamers I know never bring up these “issues” They do not care. They do not find it “offensive” They just play the games, like I do. That’s my experience. I believe most female gamers don’t care"

      Really? you've spoken to ALL female gamers? I care, but maybe that's because as an attractive girl I'm the one who has to deal with objectification and sexual harassment or having my intelligence undermined by guys who think because I'm pretty I shouldn't be smart. I've lost count of the stupid males who've said to me: 'YOU play videogames???! WTF??" Or, the one time this idiot was like 'But you don't have to be into that, you're pretty enough to get a man without it!"**facepalm**
      But I suppose that's my fault for not wearing a burka or staying in the kitchen.

        Did you read? I didn't say all female gamers. I said the female gamers I KNOW. And that I BELIEVE most don't care. I never said all female gamers. 

        I'm sorry that that happens to you. I am. I hate guys AND girls like that. But that is not a representation of all, or even a majority of men. Also good looking men get that too. What about the expression "pretty boy" and people assume he's dumb. 

        Some guys who have never met a female games are still surprised when they meet one. I don't think they mean to insult or anything. They're just surprised since gaming is male dominated. Just like other industries and hobbies are female dominated.

        I don't see how having attractive women or having women dressed in revealing outfits in some games is bad.

          I never said it was a bad thing to have scantily clad females games, god, no! It's just when that becomes the prevalent image it gets boring. Just like how the majority of characters are white, but that's part of a problem that exists in wider popular culture.
          Kind of irrelevant tangent: My gripe with female character design isn't so much the lack of clothing, more the lack of sensible footwear. While I have maybe 50+ pairs of shiny fetish-y heels, I sure as HELL am not going to wear them while fighting, running or battling the forces of evil!

          I was reacting more to the point about harassment of female gamers online, when people tell you not to make a big deal about it. And the ways in which people dismiss stuff without thinking about it. Maybe ignorance is bliss. :/

            Ok, I understand you a bit more ;)
            Though I don't see where half naked female charters are the norm? Almost all the games I have (over 100) and play have female characters dressed normally. Yeah Most characters are white but again it's a majority white audience in majority white countries.
            I wouldn't mind playing as a woman or different races though.

            Your last part I agree with 100% I REALLY dislike some things said to women once some others find out their a woman. I think that's what these articles should be focusing on.

        I'd probably take your opinion much more seriously if your tag wasn't "Clitwolf". The same way I'm not going to listen to anyone talk about how they're not taken seriously when their tag is "Bon3rm0nst3r".
        Or listen to you talk about how pretty you are.
        To be honest you sound like you're just ranting though and the author of this sounds the same. All the arguments I seem to be reading here (from both sides) seem weak and draw from rather weak psychology.
        So let's talk about the true equaliser: money. Companies are releasing what makes them money. Show them that they can make more money by changing their designs and creations and you'll show them that people aren't happy with the way things are.

        And as for the online gaming thing? I don't believe I've been online once without being told I was going to be raped (in great detail), that I was going to be killed or assaulted (sexually, violently or both and in great detail), that I'm gay, that I'm fat or that I'm a nigger/dirty mexican/jew/any other random nationality/religion (For the record I'm a white, straight male of average build). X-Box live sucks. Get used to it, don't use your mic or just game with friends. That's my advice to everyone, guy or girl.

          Well fuck me for having a sense of humour with my name and for mentioning issues I may have faced in reality in order to back up my arguments!

          "So let’s talk about the true equaliser: money." That was an argument put forward in the original post, I believe under the "Everyone Knows ‘Sex Sells’, And The Developers Are Just Making Things They Think Will Sell." point? A bit rich to go around calling people's statements psychologically weak, when you obviously didn't read the post, dudebro!

          To be honest, I think people here are mostly offended by this post because of the inclusion of the other 'n' word: 'nerd' If people are going to slander you with that, screw 'em be a proud nerd. Like Tyrion Lannister said: take what others perceive as your weakness and wear it like armour. Or something like that, I can't remember the exact line, being a psychologically weak ranter and all. ;)

            I'm not saying you can't have a sense of humour about our name. I'm saying that most likely if you saw someone with a name of "Mr. Greatbighardcock" you'd probably think "great, another wanker who feels the need to use the humour of a 7 year-old". I know that's what I think when I see usernames like that and I could care less if it's a guy or girl doing it. I'm all for equal rights. But I'm particular about equal. If you act like an attention whore, you get treated like one. If you act like someone who's playing and good at a game, I'll give you props. If you choose a childish, overtly sexual tag and then complain about how you aren't taken seriously but think it's because you're a girl... well, I'm sure you can see my point.
            As for me not reading the original post, maybe I didn't explain correctly. I'm suggesting that people show the developers that something else will sell better, not defending and saying that was does sell is what sells best.

            As for being called a nerd, you've got the wrong idea about me. I'm 30 years old. I've been called a nerd since I was in primary school (early 1980s). I've long since learned to take what others use as insults and be proud of them, waaaay before this whole "being nerdy is cool" thing that seems to be around now. From your arguments I'm assuming you're somewhere in the 16-22 age bracket. Most likely still a teenager. I'm not negating anything you say due to it (your experiences are as valid as anyone else's), just that life lessons like the one offered are a little late for someone my age.

            In regard to my other argument in post, js' reply below says what I was trying to a little more eloquently.

              You said "could care less", your arguments are invalid.

                You are unaware that the phrase "could care less" is used sarcastically to mean the same thing as "I couldn't care less" said straight. You are invalid.

              "From your arguments I’m assuming you’re somewhere in the 16-22 age bracket. Most likely still a teenager. I’m not negating anything you say due to it (your experiences are as valid as anyone else’s), just that life lessons like the one offered are a little late for someone my age."

              Translation: I'm not negating your opinion because you're young, I'm negating it because I'm older.

              /slowclap

        Sorry, have to take issue with the "poor me, I can't help being attractive!" tangent you're on here. There are issues with women and "nerd culture", but would an unattractive female be exempt from abuse, etc.?

        "Attractiveness" is subjective and pardon me for my dismissive attitude when it comes to online opinion, but spouting "I'm pretty so I have it worse than non-pretty girls" reeks of self-victimisation.

        Can't say I've ever read anyone start post with "as a guy built like a brick shithouse..." in relation to male power fantasies in games, comics, etc.

          I'm thinking the name 'clitwolf' is in reference to the dickwolves from a 'controversial' penny arcade comic. So thats where its a little different to someone calling themsleves Bon3rMonst3r.

          However even though im very familiar with the pa comic it took me a while for it to dawn on me.

            To anyone who isn’t immidiately familiar with that comic and that refererence, it’s no different at all. I can use the tag “Niggerkiller” and then say that it’s my support of Edward Norton’s fantastic performance in American History X, but anyone who isn’t aware of my random line of reasoning won’t think that at all. They’ll just see me as a douchebag because all they get is the name on a screen, not the history or reason for its creation.

    The problem I see is that all of your responses are themselves subject to the problem of the 3 D's. This blog felt like the equivalent of someone telling me that violence is bad while simultaneously punching me in the face or that I should adopt a healthy diet while stuffing their face with cheeseburgers. Not very convincing.

      To anyone who isn't immidiately familiar with that comic and that refererence, it's no different at all. I can use the tag "Niggerkiller" and then say that it's my support of Edward Norton's fantastic performance in American History X, but anyone who isn't aware of my random line of reasoning won't think that at all. They'll just see me as a douchebag because all they get is the name on a screen, not the history or reason for its creation.

        this was supposed to be a reply to "Malk"... oops

    I like this article, even funnier is seeing all the (sexual) frustration of the males who really hate having their predictable arguments...well... predicted.
    If you ever want to make enemies try changing something. Or pointing out people's privilege, that seems to work just as well.

      Oh I'm sorry, finite arguments or opinions not matter? The reason why people respond like this to these articles is because we're sick of hearing it. Always branding gamers as male nerds and telling them how horrible they are to women. Also what the hell does the design of female characters have to do with your average gamer?
      His arguments are just as predictable. We've been here a thousand times.

      "privileage" is used to stifle debate. Simple. There are areas where women have "privilege" too.

        Um...where in the article did he brand gamers as nerds and tell them how horrible they are to women? Or did you decide to just go straight to the defensive? I admit I shouldn't have said the sexual frustration thing & I'm sorry for that, but I have a temper...if it was reality I would've taken my Loboutins off & thrown them so y'all gettin' off lightly! :P

        Character design is important because images reflect a lot about the culture which they represent. The mass-media uses images to manipulate the public, and while people here might be a bit more immune to that, there are still sheep amongst the population who'll follow anything. If you read Adma Curtis's blog he has a lot more to say on this matter, and puts it a lot more eloquently than I do. :)

        Sorry, but privilege exists, dude. I know people hate seeing this, but it's the same reason I can't tell an african american to stop making a big deal about Jar-jar Binks, because I'm not a person of colour, I've never walked in those shoes so I can't tell them want to think about it. Not trying to stifle argument, it's more to do with asking people to put themselves in someone else's skin. Not literally, of course, because that would just make a mess.

          The title pretty much says it and the last article pretty much lumped all male gamers into one and was very condescending. This one is a bit better but I still see it.

          Idiots who treat tge opposite sex in a degrading way, will do it no matter what. Again I don't see what's wring with having a strong, sexy female character, like catwoman in some games. Just like all the male
          characters.

          In this situation I believe the "privileged" argument is being used to stop debate and to stop anyone from that "privileged" groups from having their opinions taken seriously.

          Males are still the dominate group in gaming, so of course the industry is going to cater more towards them and put out content they thunk they'll like. Every industry does that.
          There are other area where women are the dominate ones.

          People who aren't male don't seem interested in putting themselves in their shoes or seeing it from their point.
          Honestly I'm not politically correct when it comes to "offended" people. People throw thy word around way too much that it means nothing. People seem to think they have the right to be offended all the time.
          I do not care about the people who were "offended" about Jar-jar Binks. Ridiculous and stupid. Sorry that's just how I feel.

          There are plenty of female characters that aren't dressed in such revealing outfits. What Exacty are you after? (honest question) :)

            I don't put myself in the shoes of all males because I know you can't use one example for all of them. ;) I do it on a case by case basis.

            And I don't see what's wrong with strong and sexy characters, either, dunno where you got that one from!

            And in answer to your last question, what exactly am I after? Why not Zoidberg? Nah seriously I reckon most characters need better writing, development, etc. I know many games are just escapist fantasy so it's a little naive to expect them to be at the level of cinema or literature but I guess that will improve with time, technical progress, etc.

              Oh it's just that some people seem to go mental when there's a female character dressed in a revealing way.
              So you don't mind when some female characters are dressed like that?

              I think there are a lot of female characters that are dressed sexy but not over the top, and some dressed more modestly. I just don't think it's a big deal or as a big of a problem as some seem to.

              Oh and I asked that question before I read your other post explaining a bit about what you wanted, but thanks for explaining more.
              If every female character was half naked and that's it, then i'd be annoyed too. But just don't see it.

              Good talking to you :)

          Um…where in the article did he brand gamers as nerds and tell them how horrible they are to women?

          Well the article is called NERDS And Male Privilege. As for the 'you guys hate women' stuff, it's not written directly but I think it's fair to say by the reactions that he's pushing the right buttons to send that message. These articles always get a fair few overly defensive and stupid comments but his two articles get an above average response from people who feel like he's telling them they're responsible for this.
          It's either bad writting or trolling. Knowing Kotaku US I'm leaning strongly towards trolling.

          As for the African American stuff. How would you feel if some rich, white guy stood up and started telling how racist Star Wars fans are (assuming you're both white and a Star Wars fan)? Would you be pissed because you're sooooo racist and he's calling you out on it, or pissed because you're not racist, don't care for the racist parts of Star Wars and most importantly simply don't appreciate being called a racist (particularly by someone's whose involvement is limited to 'totally getting what it's like to be black')?

            Sorry, I meant that to read:…where in the article did he brand ALL gamers as nerds and tell them how horrible they are to women? I don't think he was tarring everyone with the same brush, I think he was just dissecting some common arguments, which he has a right to do.

            My point is more why people are so offended by being called nerds, who cares I'd rather be a nerd than some standard-ass bitch.

              I'm happy to call myself a nerd. I'm not happy to be called a nerd by someone who means it as an insult. This guy makes a living off the whole geek culture thing so I'm sure he doesn't hate nerds, but in these articles he uses it in the basement dwelling loser sense.

          Once again, we have an unassailable article. Last time no arguments could be made because it was "Male privilege", now any argument is one of the three D's. Personally, I agree with the overall premise that there's an image problem in games (the gender neutrality I'll get to later) and gaming culture, I just have problems with the fact this particular author is using a lot of incorrect and inflammatory "evidence" (In both articles) to push their agenda.

          It's really disappointing that most articles I read on this issue read like a bingo grid of problems followed by a personal vendetta of why you are wrong. We're at the point where we know there's a problem, instead, come at us with solutions and suggestions on how to change perceptions that aren't just "Do the opposite of the problem".

          If you're as sick as I am of hearing the same responses from *both* sides, then give us something new to digest. Of course, everyone gets a little cognitive dissonance when you talk about an issue they have an opinion on, but most of us are still open to hearing different perspectives on how to move forward.

          As much as the author would like to have us believe that males are living the king's life, we do have similar problems as well, it's just not as vocalised due to a male's nature of not speaking out about it as much. I'm not using this as a way to diminish the female argument, it's still the bigger issue, I just find it irritating that everyone seems to believe that everything is hunky dory on the male side of the fence and we are all gentlemen to each other. And yes, it irritates me because it's something that I have had to deal with a lot and hate having people gloss over it.

          I'd also like to stay on the soapbox for a few minutes more and state that the character poll results are totally pointless in explaining the point without any explanation of how the poll actually worked. For all we know, it was just "Which of these pictures do you find the most attractive?" posted to females who had been victims of male privilege. Just hang around on fanfic sites, DeviantArt, and other creative expression sites and you'll get a better idea of what women use as fantasy fuel. The results may just surprise you. Oh, and be warned that a lot of them are slashfics/male x male pairings.

            ARGHGHG. Must have had a reply clicked. Sorry.

        Finite = do our. Stupid auto correct, no idea how it got that, lol.

      "Pretty girls have it the worst", "men responding here with an opinion different from my own must have never been in contact with a vagina"... I agree with the image issue and the online abuse women cop and that it's a concern, but fuck me, you're not doing "the cause" any favours with your putrid attitude.

    Seems like a lot of people are missing this point, which I thought the author made fairly plain: the vast majority of female characters in geek culture are designed with sexual objectification in mind (whether primarily or secondarily); male characters are not. Whatever your thoughts on how offensive that is (as some have pointed out, it sometimes fits the property), the point is that it keeps women at arm's length. Batman is both huge and ripped in Arkham City not because of any perception of sexual attractiveness, but because it makes him seem powerful, which the player wants to empathise with. A woman playing as Catwoman is not going to have the same experience.

    Of course there are examples of the opposite: I've been told that girls actually screamed in the cinema when Jacob took his shirt off in Twilight, and I've seen interviews with the actor where a middle-aged female presenter asked him to take his shirt off live on national TV. That kind of objectification is unsettling to me; imagine how it must be for a girl trying to break in to geek culture when the perception is that it's totally acceptable to be asked to show off your tits.

      See I disagree. I believe Batman is made the way he is to show power AND to be sexually attractive. For men, the ultimate physical body is to be ripped, buff and to show power and sex appeal. For women it's to be skinny, curvy, feminine and sexy. Different, but the goals the same.

      Catwoman is sexy and powerful. Whats wrong with that?

      I agree with you on Twilight.

        See I think with Batman it's more a case of what men think is sexually attractive to women. And yeah, while that may be the case with SOME women they definitely do NOT represent all females, hell, I have friends who prefer slightly chubby guys, while I myself like skinny guys with a dark & damaged look (the closest example I can find in gaming is Adam Jensen).

        It's wrong when the purveyors of popular image are like: THIS IS WHAT IS HOT AND YOU ALL HAVE TO LIKE IT. The monoculture is toxic and stifling to the development of individual desires. It's not being sexy that's the problem; more that it's a cookie-cutter mold of the same old shit.

        PS: that Jacob dude looks like a twelve year old with the body of a steroid abuser, all these grown-ass women lusting after him...PEDOBEAR.

          But he's still made to be physically attractive though.
          Not all guys think the sexy, revealing female charaters are hot either.

          But I think it would be safe to assume that the majority of females find Batman appealing and the majority of men find Catwoman appealing.

    I agree with a lot of the article, but the Batman thing is just ridiculous. Its expecting something of videogames that feature films and tv shows rarely approach. Im not disagreeing, im just saying perspective is in order here.

      Why shouldn't we expect it?

    This is a pretty good follow-up.

    Well done. ^__^

    Female characters that are either dressed in a sexy way but not over the top or are dressed average. These are from some of my games. I couldn't be bothered looking through them all.

    Mass Effect:
    Ashley Williams
    Miranda Lawson
    Kasumi Goto
    Liara T'soni
    Samara } If you wanna count these 3.
    Tai'Zorah

    Dragon Age:
    Morrigan
    Leliana
    Wynne

    Mirror's Edge:
    Faith Connors

    Resident Evil 5:
    Sheva Alomar

    Killzone 3:
    Jammer

    Resistance:
    Rachel Parker

    Perfect Dark Zero:
    Joanna Dark

    Wet:
    Rubi Malong

    That's just a small sample. There are plenty of female characters dressed more modestly. Yes there are also some characters that wear very revealing outfits, but what's the big deal.

      Oh and forgot:

      Uncharted:
      Chloe
      Elena
      Katherine Marlowe

      Bulletstorm:
      Trishka Novak

      Jericho:
      Abbey Black
      Billie Church
      Simone Cole

      Gears of War 3;
      Anya
      Sam
      Bernie

      Half Life:
      Alyx Vance

      Portal:
      Chell

      BGE:
      Jade

      Resident Evil:
      Rebecca Chambers

      :P

    I'm loving how two of the three guys your female readers liked had abs, big shoulders, and one had some serious package action going on... of course i'm sure they'd still like Gambit if he was overweight and still funny =)

    You've sold me Harris. I never thought I hated women, but you've hit on just the right mix of talking down to me and implying that if I'm not extremely offended by attractive women in video games I must strongly support rampant sexism to change my mind. I now see that I am an absolute monster.

    It's only a matter of time before my male nerd side kicks in and I turn into an unholy rape machine. What cruel fate cursed me with a penis and an interest in video games?

    [I know I'm being ridiculous, but come on. This guy is trying to change peoples minds by calling them assholes, then begins his response by dismissing any and all counter-arguments with a blanket 'if you were as smart as I am you'd see that you're actually responding exactly the way a stupid person who is wrong and smells would' response.]

      This would be a case of "derailment" I guess-- but "UNHOLY RAPE MACHINE" would make a totally kickass band name. That is, if you wear corpsepaint.

        Rule 34!

      The fact you've taken the article as a personal attack rather than a call for discussion indicates that you feel that your past behaviour and opinions are a little bit douchey.

      Did you have something you wanted to share?

    (Re-posted since I'm retarded and clicked a reply button wrongly and can't edit posts)

    Once again, we have an unassailable article. Last time no arguments could be made because it was “Male privilege”, now any argument is one of the three D’s. Personally, I agree with the overall premise that there’s an image problem in games (the gender neutrality I’ll get to later) and gaming culture, I just have problems with the fact this particular author is using a lot of incorrect and inflammatory “evidence” (In both articles) to push their agenda.

    It’s really disappointing that most articles I read on this issue read like a bingo grid of problems followed by a personal vendetta of why you are wrong. We’re at the point where we know there’s a problem, instead, come at us with solutions and suggestions on how to change perceptions that aren’t just “Do the opposite of the problem”.

    If you’re as sick as I am of hearing the same responses from *both* sides, then give us something new to digest. Of course, everyone gets a little cognitive dissonance when you talk about an issue they have an opinion on, but most of us are still open to hearing different perspectives on how to move forward.

    As much as the author would like to have us believe that males are living the king’s life, we do have similar problems as well, it’s just not as vocalised due to a male’s nature of not speaking out about it as much. I’m not using this as a way to diminish the female argument, it’s still the bigger issue, I just find it irritating that everyone seems to believe that everything is hunky dory on the male side of the fence and we are all gentlemen to each other. And yes, it irritates me because it’s something that I have had to deal with a lot and hate having people gloss over it.

    I’d also like to stay on the soapbox for a few minutes more and state that the character poll results are totally pointless in explaining the point without any explanation of how the poll actually worked. For all we know, it was just “Which of these pictures do you find the most attractive?” posted to females who had been victims of male privilege. Just hang around on fanfic sites, DeviantArt, and other creative expression sites and you’ll get a better idea of what women use as fantasy fuel. The results may just surprise you. Oh, and be warned that a lot of them are slashfics/male x male pairings.

    With regards to attitudes towards women online, Brian Ashcraft's cosplay articles are not helping.

    You can't have it both ways Kotaku.

      God so this. Cosplayer articles good. T&A focused Bashcraft articles, not so good.

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