Derek wrote:Violence towards women is not endemic in games. Violence towards men is endemic. But somehow that's never a problem. You can mow down thousands of male mooks in a game, but one woman gets killed and suddenly your game is misogynistic. Most of these games won't even put a woman in a combat situation for fear of moral guardians. A game like GTA is the exception here, where all NPCs are treated equally. You can kill a prostitute a take her money, just like you can kill every male NPC and take their money. That's equality.
Devil's Advocate, almost all the time the men have the chance to fight back. Non devil's advocate, why would that be acceptable either?
The idea that just because entertainment portrays something means that society is ok with it is ludicrous, and never established in Anita's videos.
established in Anita's videos, by citing actual studies instead of people pulling things out of their ass on the net
, is that playing games with misogynistic tropes tends to exacerbate the misogynistic prejudices in the player. Which is her complaint.
And I'm going to assume that you didn't just imply that society thinks killing prostitutes is ok.
Not "ok", sure, but certainly the going meme is that it's "less bad" than a vanilla murder. Heck, look at how long it takes for anyone to speak up against the cop that was raping all of those prostitutes.
Your first sentence is saying that games are only a reflection of a society that already holds harmful views. Your second is saying that games will cause society to adopt these harmful views. Which is it?
No, they didn't. Read it again.
The number is heavily influenced by genre and platform. The audience for AAA action games is overwhelmingly male, usually 80+%. If you add "competitive" to that description, it goes to 90+%. These are the games that Anita spends most of her videos talking about. The audience for mobile games on the other hand skews towards women (not as overwhelmingly, maybe 60% or so), and simulation games, single player games, and co-op games are relatively more popular with women than other genres.
Wait wait wait:
The demographic argument is not as obvious as just looking at the number of female gamers though. If they aren't playing the AAA games (or any story driven game where the tropes generally come into play) the argument about target audiences becomes less clear. Looking at the ESA data it's not obvious if that breakdown by genre is available (at least publicly).
Where are we getting these numbers? The reddit link has coverage for individual games, as well as the Core-Casual thing, but I don't see something specifically about the AAA thing.
My point is that Sarkeesian is overly broad and cherry picks her examples. I think that she has a point on a lot of 80s and maybe early 90s stuff, like Double Dragon or the original Donkey Kong. But the "storylines" of these simple games are so straightforward that you can cover them in two or three sentences.
How is that cherrypicking? You brought up one example that doesn't even negate the trope, just show that there is at least one work with a genderflip. What is your point with Hunger Games? That men exist?
As games grew into storytelling through the mid 90s and onwards, "classic" Damsel in Distress becomes a lot less common. Zelda's role for example is no longer a classic Damsel in Distress. We discussed this earlier in the topic already, and the best people seem to be able to come up with is a short-time frame in Wind Waker. (Otherwise, Zelda is an active participant in the story in general). I'll give the point to "Tsundere" Zelda as potentially being demeaning for Zelda's character, but discussion of Tsunderes is kind of its own topic...
All of Phantom Hourglass, Four Swords Adventures, The Minish Cap, and Twilight Princess (until the end in which the Villain just takes her body, so she doesn't even get her mind), nearly all of Skyward Sword, a lot of Spirit Tracks has her explicitly stating that it's "her place" to just wait and let the hero get things done, until he convinces her to possess a Phantom -- and then the gameplay for the Phantom incorporates laughable stereotypes like her being brought to tears by the existence of mice -- and then the villain steals her body again until the end of the game. In Hyrule Warriors, she runs away for, like, no reason whatsoever, going undercover as Sheik while the heroes spend the first half of the game trying to rescue her.
So, no? I'm a longtime Zelda fan, and I'll still tell you that saying "she hasn't been a DiD since WW" is hugely inaccurate.
On Damsels... if we are reduced to "characters that get captured by the enemy", then all of a sudden Private Ryan from the movie "Saving Private Ryan" is a Dudsel in Distress. And I just find that definition so overly broad that it isn't useful at all. That's my qualm. Now if we want to talk about a truly harmful "Damsel in Distress", yeah, I'm willing to talk about real problems I see in video games, anime, TV shows and whatever.
What definition? The trope is "stock character that has their agency removed, with the message that it is best for them to rely on others to accomplish everything necessary in their survival". The problem is not so much that it exists at all, but that it is pervasibely
used to depict women in that state. Heck, the most-active-damsel game in the Zelda series, which you chose to bring up again, even has her character very blatantly embody internalized damseling, claiming that there's nothing she can do and she should just let Link do all the work because that's "her place". Like, what do you think those lines were meant to reference? The idea that Zelda is totally the protagonist in all the other games, and is the one who always conquers the dungeons and defeats Ganon?
But I don't necessarily think that Damsel in Distress in general is a particularly bad trope. You can handle it decently (Peeta / Kaitness), and sometimes, you can handle it poorly (Asuna / Kirito from SAO). The devil is in the details, and those details are glossed over by Sarkeesian.
I seriously don't know how else to tell you that the problem Sarkeesian and literally every other critic
is pointing out is not that the trope exists at all, but that it is almost eternally applied to men and women in the exact same format, with that trend
implying that this is the "proper way of things". Seriously, the Spirit Tracks game you referenced yonks ago had referencing and then dismantling
this way of thinking as its entire goal.
Female characters traditionally have been faster (Kasumi Dead or Alive, Chun Li from Street Fighter, Tifa from FFVII), or smarter (Yuna from FFX, Paula from Earthbound) than their male counterparts, giving them an edge in battle.
While male characters are traditionally stronger and able to deal with problems face-to-face instead of relying on ranged weapons, right?
You can tell that that's a trend
you're talking about, right? That saying "you have to be in this box to be in the proper role" is the problem we're pointing out?
"Males are Stronger" has also been inverted a few times.
You get that 5 on one hand, 1000 on the other makes the 5 basically negligible for the paradigm we're talking about, right?
DoA actually avoids a lot of the "evil tropes" like DiD.
Seriously the "Tropes" is in the name. No one is arguing that if there was only one book with these plot templates in them, it would burn women on contact like some kind of Un-Holy Water. It's the fact that this is what they're surrounded with everywhere
that wears them down.
I meant the beginning of the third book where Peeta is actually kidnapped and she is trying to save him. Of course, it turns out that she fails to save him from captivity (he is pretty much handed back) and she also fails to help him deal with the psychological conditioning (i.e. emotional problems resulting from captivity). If you look at just their relationship, she is always the passive one. He is the one that notices her first and falls in love. He is the one that gets into trouble to get her food when she really needs it. He is the one that proposes they are together and he is the one that backs off when she can't make up his mind. He is the one that sacrifices himself so she can escape at the end of the second book. He is the one that puts in the effort of overcoming the psycological conditioning so he can be near her again. At the end of the story, he is the one that is her emotional support for the rest of their lives. By comparison Katniss just sits there and is loved at.
Honestly, I always just saw them as a reversal of the strong and silent type protagonist and the excessively emotional love interest tropes. Of course, the end of the story is a comment on how strong-and-silent doesn't mean self-sufficient and being able to express emotions can actually be a strength.
That's fair, I guess. I saw Peeta as more of the stalker type, with Katniss and Gaiayle (sp?) as the actual relationship she had any interest in -- and in that one, she seems a lot more dynamic.
If people can't see the difference between reality and fantasy, that's an issue they will have either way.
In the game it's just a story mechanic, in reality, "easily influenced people"(putting it politely) may think that's how you should act in reality. But that goes as said before with any media, can we say the bible and torah teach rape murder and bigoted attitudes because of characters in them? There are some good lessons in those shitty books. We have a word for people who lack empathy, psychopath.
Like...you see what you said, right?
"can we say the bible and torah teach rape murder and bigoted attitudes because of characters in them?"
Yeeeeesss? I mean, like, historically, non-controversally, resoundingly, yes? Huge amounts of rape, murder, and bigotry have happened stemming from how people interpreted these books? Like, that's a thing that's happened. Wars and centuries-long unrest have happened because of them.
Did you not know that?
We have a word for people who lack empathy, psychopath.
Okay, it's nice that we have a word for them, but...they still exist, you get that right? Knowing what to call them doesn't save those around them from getting hurt.
Just to make it clear -- Anita is not
saying that the mere existence, in any quantity, of these tropes is harmful. She's not saying that good people aren't allowed to enjoy the works that have them in them. I enjoy the hell out of the Cthulhu Mythos, even though it's almost top to bottom racism -- I just make sure I'm aware of that, and catch myself if my mind starts applying the fictional narrative to real life. But that's the whole point -- these messages are everywhere
, and pretty undeniably color how people think. The way DNA works in crime shows is complete bullshit, but guess what? Now people think that's how DNA works, and trials have been ruined by it. The idea that fiction doesn't affect how people view the world around them is such gargantuan, rose-tinted bullshit that it's hard to even respond to seriously.
As I said before, If you highlight only one part of the story like she does it's easy to make it sound evil.
She is seriously not saying "these games are evil". She's saying "this is a trend that pervades the medium and can be harmful because of that pervasiveness, if you don't understand the mechanics of the trope then here's an illustration."
She makes sure to say "it's okay to like these games as long as you remember to separate fiction from reality" in nearly every episode, indeed, almost every speech she's ever made. Like, do you guys need her to say it every paragraph before you'll remember that she said it? You're massively misunderstanding what the complaint even is
, much less coming up with a cogent rebuttal for why she shouldn't be bothered by it (or even what would actually be helpful, a solution!).
From the elegant yelling of this compelling dispute comes the ghastly suspicion my opposition's a fruit.