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Tolkien and Sexism

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2002 8:57 am    Post subject: Tolkien and Sexism Reply with quote

There's a discussion over at quoteland about tolkien that i noticed while using Kazaa and, on a LotR tangent, hunting down pics for Eowyn (had a crush on her was i was 12yrs old while reading Tolkien's LotR)

The Berzerker's Laugh
Then out of the blackness in his mind he thought that he heard Dernhelm speaking; yet now the voice seemed strange, recalling some other voice that he had known.

'Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!'

A cold voice answered: 'Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thee turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the lidless Eye.'

A sword rang as it was drawn. 'Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.'

'Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!'

Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. 'But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.'

The winged creature screamed at her, but the Ring-wraith made no answer, and was silent, as if in sudden doubt. Very amazement for a moment conquered Merry's fear.
~Merry narrating. Two Towers. LotR
“The trilogy lacks a mother with children” which represents a breaking of the circle of life. This is the environment from which Eowyn struggled to break free: there are no females and the few women that exist in Rohan (or Middle-Earth, for that matter) are expected to remain docile, passive and thrust into domestic roles. Yearning for the glory of battle, Eowyn refuses to accept the role.
I hate to admit it, but i'd assumed Eowyn was seeking death (as Merry stated of his impression of Dernhelm earlier in the book of one that goes seeking death, having no hope) and would throw herself upon the blade meant for Theoden...After reading the part where she slays the dark lord, i assumed her act was one of suicidal desperation borne of a deathwish.

I'm ashamed cause only now i realize the possibility that Eowyn had ALWAYS sought glory in battle, even before Aragorn wandered by
    i know i know I KNOW Tolkien had her say that frequently, but i'd assumed she was only rebelling against her 'proper place'...and Aragorn's insistance she take the 'honorable' position given her by Theoden was entirely 'reasonable', even though i now realize that Eomer railed against taking it himself. lol...Of course, my final bastion is the 'jilted lover' deathwish combined with extraordinary luck.

    (I mean, she couldn't be a REAL berzerker of olde heroic romance, could she?)
hehe...gods, to think i'm still sexist after all these years. lol Hmmmmm...lessie now, i go from assuming Eowyn was both rebelling against her proper place, suicidal over aragorn's rejection and damned lucky to a 180 degree switch to believing she was a Berzerker since birth. (And why the hell did that opinion take so damned long to form?? It was TWENTY frickin years ago i first read LotR! lol)

If anyone wonders why the hell i posted this crap here, it's cause #1: this is General Discussion forum #2: wanted a record of my impressions of the book before i know how the movie portrays Eowyn #3: And to let you folks know what i'm up to.

Last edited by BoredOfTheRings™ on Mon Feb 10, 2003 11:25 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2002 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damnit Muffy, now I have to go and read Tolkein again. I haven't read it since I was 8 and you make me want to bring my mature, logical mind to it and either a) pick it apart, or b) discover a true classic.

As an 8-yr-old, I got bored with it, and never finished Return of the King. Bet I finish it this time...
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2002 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*mutter* You're gonna make me into a board whore just to keep up with you, aren't you, Muffy? You should be ashamed of yourself...
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

course referenced by article
In this course we'll go over the context and history of characters in games, and analyze what makes a strong character, looking at examples from many game genres. Building on readings drawn from computer science, interface design, animation, drama, psychology, and literature, we will explore the function of a character in a game, the properties it must possess to fulfill its role, and the process of building a character with these properties.

defining issues or creating solutions?
I personally have a difficult time reading an article that uses such facts as "phallic joysticks" & "GTA3 = RL temptation/guilt" while giving no real suggestions than whimsy in a rush to define the obvious.

I think that entire article was a waste of my time, really (and boring to boot). i'm sure there's alot more decent articles about this subject, but it all boils down to what blu said...
Originally posted by bluevorlon
If we can prove that better games make more money, then better games will end up being made.

I think it's more a publishing bottom line than a developer's gender biased "tool"...more about hyping those screenshots and sexx0ring the box front than spending cold hard cash on a decent writer with an artist able to work with the former.

*shrug* debating the mores of a writer/artist (oh there's alot of sexism in writing/art, for sure) is less the issue than what the publisher thinks will help gain market share on the retail shelf in a given amount of time.

But, in the end, even if the industry does manage to create strong characters we'll still have to deal with what alot of people consider videogames to be...
Originally posted by ASnogard
Another point that was mentioned in the comments regarding the article was that the majority of women consider gaming to be at best anti-social and a waste of time, at worst they consider gaming childish and the gamer immature.

I believe many people think gaming to be childish and gamers immature. (ie. anti-social & a waste of time)

APPENDIX; article critique.
  • Alienation vs. Identification: Necessary Tension
    oh puhlleez. The implication here is that too good a job of creating an immersive environment creates psychopaths unable to tell the RL from fantasy? Conceited
  • Four aspects which define "genderspace"
    and what's this about the game's protagonist defining the experience? what about things other than listed? Myopic
  • Tomb Raider: Critical Failure of Character Environment
    huh? i'm sorry, but bashing a game that "should have been breakthrough girl games" is a major conceptual leap from using a female protagonist instead of a "harrison ford" clone to a game genre appealing to women. (and as proof she references a sexist article with clear 'rite of passage' sexism.) Wasted potential? Oh, puhleeeeez stop trying to hijack "character environment" into a whinefest-cum-laurabashing rant. Bitter
  • Aesthetics of Sexy Girls
    what the hell? What's the point of critiquing good graphics when the point is creating solutions that improves a game's appeal OTHER than aesthetics? The article's writer has a major problem focusing on the OTT baldur'sgate "jigglies" CGA cutscene than she does with the offhand manner she desribes the crappy plot/etc. (ie. more words wasted on the former and little on describing "context", if at all...maybe her and "justin" should have thought about emailing the WRITERS instead) Superficial
  • Arcanum: Programmed Feminine Wiles
    now she goes on to lavish praise on a game that has the 'proper' context? wtf. i'm sorry, but putting the whore in whore isn't what i'd call creating solutions, and more like defining the issues with an a priori bias. (i won't even begin to get into the stupidity of referencing StarTrek's liberated federation) But, i will comment on her "advice" against the 'rouge' in Diablo: Glittering Generalities are stupid...not to mention her complaint about a PS2 baldur's character choice options are pathetic, ipso facto. i am interested in Deus Ex 2. her praise just earned it a look from me (only decent thing in this article) Prejudiced
  • Drag in Dark Age of Camelot: Gender in Interaction
    uh huh. i'm supposed to take their word for it that "nice" isn't "roleplayed courtship"? That "courtesy" is somehow worlds apart from "courting"?? oh, get a grip. there's no "gender in interaction" as much as 'roleplay' (and i don't know about you folks, but listening to how "nice" players are to females instead of griefer examples as a devil's advocate sounds like blind stupidity) not to mention i'm sure those playing female characters acted politer. duh

    I paid particular attention to the "convenience" stamp they placed on "gender in interaction" to describe people's willingness to ignore PLAYER gender, because it showed how pathetic she was at rationalizing her partner's "feminist chic"...As for the 'leadership' differences, i quail at her giddy abrogation of "consensus" while playing the male avatar. (and inability to critique this adequately other than, oooo ahhh) Personally, i worry about anti-social wastes of bandwidth like this couple. Sociopathic
    BTW, her one solid recommendation is more sexually ambiguous character options. uhhhhh okaayyyyyyyyy
  • Final thoughts
    after that huge tirade she blasts out of the stratosphere with a "games which are more thoughtful, more provocative, more interesting, with better character design"...uh huh. and your stunning genius of a lead up made that obvious. NOT!

    Anyways, the below quote is the ONLY decent thing she had to post and it took reading the entire thing to get to it.
Something you hear over and over again in the research around what girls want out of games are themes like "open-ended" and "less-goal oriented" and "co-operative play". These are also the themes which most adult gamers seem to want, too. Talking with my friends who are game developers and designers, they don't want to see bouncy boobs, necessarily (although there's a place for that, sure); they want evolved gameplay, emergent gameplay - with great characters. Set up some rules and let the players play with both the gamespace and the genderspace, however they wish. Don't push girls away from games like Tomb Raider just because you're afraid boys won't like to identify with Lara. Don't insert gratuitous sex - or for that matter, violence. Make it *mean* something. Don't bind gender with too many built-in characteristics, but let girls be girls in your game. Allow a lot of different types of female characters, not just thin, pretty, busty ones.

The end result isn't just going to appeal to women, it'll appeal to a lot of people across the board who want smart, fun, engaging games.

the rest of the webpage was taken up by comments, all of which i expect to be complete jibber-jabber.

hmph. i need to go out and find a decent article on this issue, since this crap i just read makes we wanna yarf. I think more meaningful articles might be found on forums devoted to Deus Ex 2, TheLongestJourney, Oni, Eternal Darkness, Metroid, McGee's Alice & NOLF? (though taking one look at a wallpaper & forums of a "non-sexist" hyped game like Xenosaga i'm starting to doubt the sincerity of these punks)
    and check out this brainless bitchfest by a about uneducated, myoptic flame bait with no redeeming value other than feminazi trollage...
i think many games are for women. for instance, extreme beach volleyball has naked guys in it. so there.
Posted by: adam on April 17, 2003 02:25 PM

*I, as a woman, am straight, but I'm not interested in polygonal maked men. "Equal opportunity nudity" does NOT justify your statement. So, whoopee, there's a naked guy in my video game. Is there any degrading talk about seeing penises bouncing as you "guide" the character to victory? I don't think so. Next time, think about what you're saying. I don't mind hearing other opinions, as long as they can back it up. Score one point for equality. Adieu.
Posted by: Jessi B* on April 17, 2003 02:34 PM

yeah, i'm sure most sexist pigs never consider their own statements to be degrading, as i'm sure most female sexist pigs never consider their own statements to be degrading. (personally, i'll bet said sexist pigs never saw the difference between male and female strip shows, nor care to use it for objective commentary beyond hiding behind there obvious lack of posting ability)
  • male strippers put on a show and from what i've heard from females the actual nudity is only seconds and at the end
  • female strippers it's opposite, besides polemics (sorry bad pun), and you know what? I'D goto strip clubs more if females put on more of a show instead of nekkid gymnastics...but FlashDance sucked; i'm talking provocative not idiocy here. (though it won't happen that way cause it only takes one knuckleheaded pig to ruin the show...there's alot of pressure in strip clubs to keep the male crowd to a dull roar)

    *shrug* ah well, i like to be entertained, not go someplace to fantasize about "getting it on" with a stripper. And i get depressed because the attitude is more the latter than the former.
oh sure, i'm betting it's lots of fun calling all gamers anti-social dweebs with no sex life. that kind of stereotyping is a strong temptation, but it doesn't PROVE anything other than being witty. It's not constructive. it doesn't create solutions, NOR does it define issues.

The issue basically boils down to gameplay. is a game good on it's own merits? If not it invariably kowtows to the old "pr0n sells!" dictum, but even then bashing TombRaider just because it's protagonist is female makes about as much sense as bashing CounterStrike because there's no females. (both games are popular beyond the aesthetics; the former for the RaidersoftheLostArc genre appeal at a time when any other similar attempt stunk - especially lucasarts pathetic gaming flop)
    ooooo...found a nice constructive comment
A good read. I particularly got the 'archers and thieves' quip - so very very true, and so oddly wrong. There are few more 'strength' based weapons than the longbow, and yet it's perfectly acceptable to have a tiny waif of an elf shoot a 3 foot arrow from a bow as tall as she is. Meanwhile, even the biggest, broadest female fighters seem to be restricted to shield and (short) sword. For whatever reason, females with big bows are somehow more believable to game designers than cute axes*. And I guess, conversely, while it's quite believeable for male characters to wield swords and axes that at first glance seem to weigh as much as they do, it's just WRONG putting all that muscle behind a wussy, cowardly weapon like a bow.

I blame Blizzard. And Gary Gygax, for giving piercing weapons such low damage, thus colouring the thoughts of generations of game designers to come. Ah well.

As for Tomb Raider - I really enjoyed the first one, and as a game, too:D. Lara's form was an amusing sideline, but I wouldn't have spent nearly 5 days of holidays playing through from start to finish if that was all there was. The last level, which just seemed to go up and up and up forever, was a blast and one of my favourite bits of any game. It DID end up being sold more as softcore than feminism, for sure, but then like all modern foul ups, you can blame marketing for that:D. Tomb raider was, for it's time, a really fun, interesting 3D platformer, and the best of its type since Prince of Persia.

Meanwhile, DoA volleyball hasn't had a single good review because the volleyball game itself is pretty poor.

I suspect there's a notion in some circles that you can put a pair of big, well formed breasts on anything and it will sell. This might work for Maxim, but for a $50 game there had better be something else to justify the cost.

I guess in short, while I agree with the gist of the article, I take issue with the actual games involved. The original Tomb Raider was great, even if the marketing was a little tragic. And DoA Volleyball isn't acceptable at all - it's just another example of good graphics, bad game. Ala, guys don't stop being gamers just because there are breasts involved.

As a sideline, it would be interesting to compare female depictions in games with those in magazines, movies, and in general. If it's difficult to get Blizzard to admit that a woman can use a sword, imagine trying to convince Cosmopolitan that a woman should even have muscles. Overall, while you can say that the game industry is perhaps guilty of not taking a leadership role in the promotion of female toughness, it is FAR from being the only offender. Perhaps game designers are only victims of 'monkey see - monkey do' instead of any active, intentional discrimination.

* I didn't mean this sentence to sound that funny. On rereading, it just gets better and better though:D.

Posted by: Ned on April 17, 2003 05:40 PM

ah well, the rest of the comments are actually quite scary. there's even one that looks rational but comes off completely insane about how "most casual female gamers desire (storylining, relationship building, social interaction) and the qualities most casual male gamers desire (goal oriented)."

excuse me?

BTW, here's another comment that critiques one of the many example other commentors had about strong female character games...
on the subject of Samus Aran in the Metroid series:

while i can't deny that Samus is a great, seminal example of strong female characters, allow me to play the devil's advocate. the article mentions identification with the character through the way that character is presented to the player, and in this respect Samus' femininity is extremely detatched from the player's experience. since the games have minimal plot and almost no dialogue or exposition (the earlier ones, anyway), the identity of the main character is left fairly ambiguous - as somebody mentioned above, people thought she was a robot after the first Metroid game. when i bought Prime, several of my friends who had played the earlier games were suprisied to find out that Samus was a woman. Prime does go a lot further than the previous games in showing Samus as a woman - her face through the visor, references to her as the Huntress in pirate computer data, etc. - but even so, there is little significance attached to her gender.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lol looks like some sexist pig (probably from relicforums) came over and deleted two of my posts. (probably with a forum haxx0r kiddie script)

*shrug* Guess i'll just redo the second one (replicated the first above in the previous post)
    always better to start from scratch at least learns more the succeeding times
In closing, if more games took their cues from movies in some cases... things would be much more interesting. At this point, most games are equivilant to 'teen flicks', which most people deride... yet still manage to be more visible in some cases, than good movies.

Posted by: Justice on April 18, 2003 12:18 AM
With many games telling their stories with the ingame engine instead of using prerendered cut-scenes, at least a custumizable look (sex) of the main characters should be possible without much of additional development costs. (Imagine you could have switched the roles of Dalton and Aida in Unreal 2 - it would have been so easy to do this at least.) The next step would be to allow for different characteristics and let the game react to these.
But at the moment game developers still cling to the relatively safe story telling concepts of the movie industry. I hope they can overcome their fear of players acting freely and provide us with real artificial freedom.

Posted by: phire on April 18, 2003 04:12 AM
Why doesn't anyone ever mention Sarah Parker from Ground Control. Zero sexism in the portrayal of that character, and yet she's still one of (if not the) deepest and most interesting female protagonists to grace a computer game since their inception.

Posted by: Vaarok on April 18, 2003 05:06 AM
I would have liked to see more support of the argument that character designs fail to rope in the ever elusive female populous, more direct information to show us why it is that a majority of girls find this hobby such a waste of time. I would have also liked it if the article would have stuck to it's guns. What do girls want in games? Why do they want these things? Do these things have enough potential to sell in the market place?

Posted by: Captain Pappy on April 18, 2003 06:19 AM
1. It's not the developers that are the problem. It's the publishers. There are many many developers that have tried again and again to present gender-inclusive designs to publishers, only to have them turned down in favor of another DOAXVB... again. So, place the blame for the continuation of the typcial titles where it belongs; on the publishers.

2. The answer to why we need games that appeal to females is much more mercenary than "girls want games too!!" The fact is, there are only so many males ages 13-25 in this country at any given time. The games industry is growing FASTER than that population is. We are already beginning to see signs of saturation of the market. Therefore the industry MUST seek out new markets if it wants to continue to be successful. Otherwise, it will strangle itself and die.

3. The reason many women are uncomfortable with the majority of female characters is the characters are hyper-sexualized. That is to mean they exhibit exaggerated signs of youth - overly large, high breasts, tiny waists, overly full round rumps. They also exhibit exaggerted signals of sexual receptivity - heavy lidded eyes, erect nipples, slightly-parted bright red lips. Plus they are often dressed to emphasize these traits.

Male characters, on the other hand may present exaggerated signs of virility and youth; overly big muscles, tiny waists and hips, etc., but they are NOT hyper-sexualized.

Posted by: Sheri on April 18, 2003 08:51 AM
I hate to admin it, but when a game company thinks of a game that stars beautiful women they're banking on hopes of a high return. They know the demographic is predominately men and they know it's a mid-teen to late 20 range. So they sell what they can get the customer's attention the best, sex.

What you're asking for is actual reseach and real input and thought process in a game's storyline and character and personality. All of which costs money and time. Most companies don't have the luxury of doing that, and if they did, it'd be for their front-line launch title.

I whole-heartily agree that some of the games I've seen are a bit rediculous, and it would be a nice change to put characters, regardless of their gender to be much more interesting.

If you feel really driven by this, to create a real female character driven game with a much better personality and body design. Go ahead and write up a detailed proposal, send it in to a company that's most probable to listen. Hell, writing a full detailed report is a lot of work. And it's probably done by a couple of hormone-driven guys at these companies.

Posted by: Steve on April 18, 2003 09:43 AM
The simple fact of the matter is that video games in general tend to have very, very poor characterization at best. With few exceptions, any writer worth their salt isn't writing plots for a game, if they can get a book or screenplay signed off. Furthermore, a game story is that much harder to write because it must be interactive, which means that the writers have to be even more creative in creating a character and story that the player can connect with, than in a movie or book, where the writer has full control over the viewer/reader's experience.

Posted by: iVormi on April 18, 2003 10:49 AM
The baldurs gate example is rediculous. That game is full of cliches. The busty tavern wench is one. How come you didnt roll your eyes at the fact that you were going into the basement to slay rats? How many rpg games have you played where you had to go into the basment or an attic, to kill rats?

Again, ask me why your opinion should matter to the developers of games that I love, when you sit there and call us all social outcats for doing the things we like. Why don't you buzz off and go watch tv, or even better, play popular with your fake friends, smoke some weed, get drunk, get pregnant, or whatever other meaningless activity you do that makes you better then me. Stay out of my world, you dont belong here.

Posted by: Reapy on April 18, 2003 11:16 AM

warning! sexist pigism, but entertaining below quote
At first I thought that this was one worst articles I have ever read in my entire life. Then I read over Dracos's reply. Jesus Christ. I've never seen anybody drone on this much in my life. Well, maybe not *never* but recently anyways. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate anybody coming in and pulling the ol' "I'm smarter and I'm here to tear your argument to shreds" routine as much as the next guy, but man... My eyes just glazed over and then melted from the sheer force of boringness emanating from my monitor when your comment was on the screen. I'd like to respectfully point you in the direction of the book 'The Elements of Style' from William Strunk Jr. Specifically, you ought to direct your attention to the 'omit needless words' section. While I know this is just a forum, since you decided to talk in middle school essay instead of conversation, it's an apt suggestion given what you're shooting for.

On to business. The article itself is ridiculous. Without rereading it and scrutinizing the details for errors, I think the main problems lie in three areas. First, there's the mistaken assumption that the video game industry owes you games that you feel like playing. No. The game industry actually owes you shit. It was started by people who made games that they feel like playing. Nobody whines at Lil Kim for failing to provide them with enough death metal. People either accept what entertainment is there, or they see a need and step forward to fill it. Or I guess there's the third option of whining at people to do it for you. Drop out of psychology or political science or whatever the fuck it is girls take when they're busy never taking computer science, and major in computer science. Throw in some 3d modelling and make a game about your girl character who saves the world without a man's help and without Duke Nukem being interested in holding her breasts and also befriends a puppy and an orphan on the way. If it does well, great. If not, well then the market decided what it likes. Me, I'd say it already did. You don't get to tell game companies how they should make (lose) money and you don't get to tell them to make you their target audience.

Then there's this whole associating yourself with a game character business. It never ceases to amaze me how many girls get jealous and whiney about fictional tv and game characters. Crap like, "They should include real sized women, not just skinny ones with big tits." Shit like this is why girls don't get as much input as to what goes into games. There's no little fat boy going around like "That Duke Nukem is so unrealistic with his huge muscles and money squandering ways. I wish he was more like me, fat and plain, so I could identify with him. A game where you sit around all day and then throw money at the ice cream man instead of strippers would be much more fun." More like he just blows the shit out of some monsters. Who wants to pretend they're some normal guy? You can do that in real life. No one wants to pretend to do shit that they can just go ahead and do for real except for girls. Thats why girls play with dollhouses and the Sims. And before you start in with that horseshit about society conditioning girls to play with girly things, researchers used advanced science and monkeys and already proved that genders lean a certain direction in their playtime activities. When a boy plays a game, he doesn't pick E. Honda because he identifies with him as a fattie. He picks E. Honda because a hundred hand slap will tear a motherfucker up.

Also, I'm tired of all these (small and weak) girls whining about the lack of strong female characters in games. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but this is just a reflection of the lack of strong girls period. I know you or someone you know is a girl stronger than almost any guy you know, but I'm trying to talk about real life here. The scale of strong men to women in real life is astoundingly lopsided. I'm aware that there are a lot of weak men and a lot of strong women, but these are exceptions. It's also true to anybody who just looks around and doesn't have some distorted perception of reality that only allows them to see what they want. Moving on, I think it doesn't help that a lot of these games come from Japan. Over there it's pretty much accepted that women are weaker. If you don't believe me, go there and don't let an anime where a girl has guns trick you. So you'll have to take your issues up with the people in charge of Japanese culture. And after you finish bastardizing it with your western value oriented politically correct ideas, you have to take it up with the laws of nature because like it or not it's the fucking way it is. The amount of jars I've had to open and couches I've had to move for countless girls is enough proof for me. And don't start giving me ridiculous lies. What kind of ridiculous lies you ask? The kind about how women actually are supersmart and have a plan where they pretend to be weak and helpless to make men do their work for them. More like they just can't open the fucking jar because they have weak small feminine hands that can't hold a crappy xbox controller.

Posted by: Dave on April 18, 2003 12:09 PM
lmao jeezuz wept. that guy's funny, but he's got no real point to make. *shrug*
I loved your points. In many aspects I think the video game industry needs to mature and move past the argument that ‘girls don’t buy games’. It’s a false, over used justification for ignoring the wants of a target audience. The number of female gamers has grown rapidly over the years, I recently read a statistic that there are more female online gamers than males (taking into account the various flash mini game websites such as Neopets and yahoo games). Also technology, and gaming has become popular and trendy. If you flip on the TV you’ll see a Honeycombs commercial with a young girl playing a GBA, and the new Ultima Online commercial shows several young and hip friends calling each other to set up a game. It’s no longer ‘geeky’ to be a tech geek.
I think the worst case of sexism I’ve seen in this industry is at an E3 with the barely dressed young women who were handing out the daily info magazine. These women weren’t associated with any booth or game, so they had nothing to sell or represent except for the trade show. Their lack of attire made it feel like you were walking into a gentlemen’s club instead of a video game show.

Posted by: Liz on April 18, 2003 03:56 PM
If you cannot distinguish between the shovelware of a corporate entity designed for the lowest common denominator, a genre-based game set in a previous time with purposeful bias, thought-provoking 'new idea' games, and simple boxed crap your too sensitive to be playing them.

Posted by: Walter on April 19, 2003 07:04 AM
Balanced games with Brains, Brawns, and Boobs? Demographics? To hell with that! What ever sells the most in the least amount of time is what developers will keep pulling out of their azzes. What of the future of games? Well, if there are ALOT more GAMERS as developers or maybe women developers...I want to play the games they would make. Something tells me we will have even more Lara Crofts and her clones.

- Ooh ya, I like Lara Croft, anyone with truckloads of cash who would risk life and limb going after some old junk and adventure is my hero or err heroine.

Posted by: MD on April 22, 2003 01:18 PM
Very good read. I agree especially with the part about having more open-ended games. Playing games allows me to escape into another world. Sometimes I go back to playing games on my out-dated PC because its games are less close-ended compared to console games. The most boring games I've played are the ones where your character basically follows through a set of scenarios to finish at some predetermined point to end the game. I'd rather play my flight simulator where I can just fly around the world whereever and whenever and however I want. That's more satisfying than a graphically-rich, story-intensive CLOSE-ENDED game. Allowing the players to do what they want is the key.

Also some have said that games are designed for guys because they are most of the video gaming audience. But a simple business-oriented answer to this is that nearly 50% of the population is waiting with their money in hand to pay for some good games. There's a huge untapped market for female gamers.

Posted by: J C on April 22, 2003 08:28 PM
On the other hand...regarding the articles observation of female typecasting RPGs, I have to agree. Women are usually the archers, elves, healers, and sometimes mages, but never front-line fighters. If they are fighters, then they're either, amazons, rangers, paladins, and/or bitchy. And don't you notice the way they tend to look? Even as fighters, they're still built like supermodels, even though realistically speaking, any D&D character with a strength of 16 or above should be built like a bodybuilder. I wouldn't mind seeing a game in with a female warrior who's actually built (a man who thinks muscular women look "disgusting" deserves to be punched out by one)and not stereotyped.

Posted by: David Mitchell on April 23, 2003 08:36 AM
I especially liked the piece about online gaming. I, too, noticed that people don't cater to male characters as much as they do to female ones. I am one of the people who play a game to associate with a character. In fighters, I rarely use female characters and in online games, I almost never do. Because of this, I have to disagree with some of your comments on the Lara Croft issue. When I first played that game, it was before I saw any of the booby-hype that was associated with it. In a small way, I felt the same way many girls must feel when playing games. (This is going to sound sexist and I'm cool with that. I'm just warning you.) When I first loaded up the game, I was like, "What? I can only choose this weak and fragil girl? What's up with that?" Like this article, I kept with it and shortly found myself in love with the game - not the girl. I have read many interviews with the creators of the game and I know that they were making Lara as their "dream girl" but, I don't think the marketing hype was entirely their fault. Much of the blame belongs on the hands of sexist gamers, namely those in charge of magazines. When the second game came along, the hype was in full effect and seemed to be the driving force behind the game. I may be wrong but, as I recall, the box even mentioned something about smoothing out all the curves or something like that. Possibly because of that, the game seemed to be less intriguing to me. I played through most of it and, other than a few vehicle scenes, the game seemed like it was just more of the same.

Posted by: Bloodspoor on April 23, 2003 10:10 AM
On to the fun part, responding to comments! One of the issues raised the most here, was men saying that women should go make their own games if they didn't like the way games are made now. There is a slight problem with this. I took 3 years of computer classes, then got out. Majored in Science, it was a much safer way to go. Being in computer classroom enviornment is not a safe place for girls. Being outnumbered by a bunch of males who don't get much interaction with the female sex is not a good place to be. Being grabbed, fondled, beat up, and other forms of harrasment and realising that you will be WORKING these people and their peers for the rest of your life? Who signs up for that? Even teachers wern't much better. They don't belive you when you tell them of the harrassment. And group projects are a joke. Getting assigned as the "bed coordiator", or "the Monitor Cleaner", nevermind what you are capable of. Partners who thing just because you have a class project with them, they are now able to come on to you, or grab some of your more private places. They automaticly assume that you are some kind of desperate slut, because you are a girl hanging out in a 'mans area".

Then people wonder why there arn't more girls with computer training?

Posted by: Gamergirl on April 23, 2003 05:18 PM
Excellent topic. I agree on most points, especially when it comes to the MMO games. I feel MMO communities have a lot of growing up to do in general.

GamerGirl you will be happy to know the campus scene is changing a little. My school now has a Digital Media major, which is so new Im not sure they know what to do with it(a big pain now that i am ready to get out of here). Im taking a programming track of digital media, and when i walk into any computer class its a lot like you described, maybe 5 women in a 400 student lecture hall, with many of the men staring at them, kinda makes you feel bad for em. The good news is anytime i step into a digital media course, its a whole other story. A close to 50/50 gender mix, a wide diversity of culture and opinions, and a generally cooler environment.

On the other hand I do understand that it may be difficult for developers to cater to a female audience without female input. When Im bored i kick around a story in my head and i must say when you are laying out the fighting heroics and adventure its a little hard to turn off the testosterone. Im not going to make a foolhardy claim about how much or little i know about women, but I can see that most creators tend to ditch a woman's strength in favor of femininity. Then again what do you expect when a man is creating a story based heavily on boyhood desires. I can count on one hand the number of women i know well enough to form a solid character, and as none of them are gaming inclined it is somewhat difficult to import them to fictional settings.

I would love to see the climate change and see more female protagonists and well developed female characters(male ones too for that matter). I would also like to see a much better attempt at romance and sexuality, both of which are a joke in games today.

As it stands now, it is very difficult for women to get into the gaming industry, but until they do I cant see it getting any easier. We are going to hit a technology plateau soon enough, then story and development will far outweigh graphics and technology. Without both gender perspectives we may very well plateau on storyboards as well.

Video games are the newest media, still a child compared to others. Maybe my eccentric department head is getting to me, but I am starting to agree with him that media is becoming more and more important in the world today. Video games are just leaving the silent movie phase, where plots are simple the good guy wins in the end and all as well. Just check out "The Great Train Robbery". It may take awhile but I believe there is a "Citizen Kane" in gaming future, a masterpiece might emerge from all this someday.

Not sure if I made a point or just rambled, nor am I sure anyone will scroll down this far and bother to read it. If you did, thank you.

Posted by: Adam on April 24, 2003 12:00 PM

The issue basically boils down to gameplay. is a game good on it's own merits? If not it invariably kowtows to the old "pr0n sells!" dictum, but even then bashing TombRaider just because it's protagonist is female makes about as much sense as bashing CounterStrike because there's no females. (both games are popular beyond the aesthetics; the former for the RaidersoftheLostArc genre appeal at a time when any other similar attempt stunk - especially lucasarts pathetic gaming flop)

*shrug* I blame the publishers and the retail sales routine for most of the lowest common denominator crap. I believe most intelligent people here realize most women love playing computer games once they get into it -- Hell, my sister kicks ass at racing games -- I find it hilarious we've got some trolls here still ranting on with that tired old cliche about "barefoot & pregnant" and how "girls" are more this and that.

LOL - BTW, i thought this article wasn't the best i've seen by any means. (that joystick vitriol was stupid) The whole article seemed disjointed and the conclusions vapid and lazy. "More sexual ambiguous characters"???
    "Jane, you ignorant slut"
I prefer 'Dynamic Real Content' over 'boobs' any day of the week. (seriously, it's the INTERNET ffs. who needs sex-ed anymore?) "Sex sells"? I don't know about you but that whored up slut on the boxes of EverQuest permanently turned me off that game, regardless of the geeky clientele. (The more sexed up the box cover is, the less i expect decent gameplay, storyline and open-ended scripting)[/size]

Last edited by Muffy on Thu May 01, 2003 4:26 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

google instead of wasting time thinking about that waste of bandwidth, i decided to go out and look for BETTER articles.

many people seem to have the fascination that girls are into "relationships/exploration/identification" than the boys who are into "repetitive skillbuilding" games. buh? sounds like we need a Bartle Typology to explain personality to morons like that...As for the identification with female characters? wrote:
Additionally, males seem to miss the significance of the fact that female characters are not simply portrayed in a physically unrealistic manner, but are overly sexualized as well. As Sheri Graner Ray of Sirenia Software pointed out, male characters' sexual organs are not exaggerated in the same way as female characters' sexual characteristics are exaggerated-we do not see male game characters with huge penises, for example.
Mr Tony Mott wrote:
Girls get a rough ride, generally. I don’t think the way forward is simply to produce more horse riding and Barbie titles (although, admittedly, those are proven avenues). The videogame industry has to dedicate more energy to driving the imagination of young people - be they girls or boys. Girls love playing at least as much as boys, but they’re encouraged, from a younger age, to be less open about this sort of behaviour. Look at children’s toys in general: girls have pushchairs, kitchen sets, and dolls - it’s a pathway to what they’re supposed to expect later in life. Boys have Action Men in army gear, super-fast racing cars, and alien-battle sets - nothing that really sets an agenda for later life. I’d like to see videogames paving a way forward, entertainment-wise, that isn’t bound by established values or issues. Technology has so few restraints that achieving this should be easy. In terms of cultural evolution, though, in catering for girl gamers we’re probably doing an even worse job than toy manufacturers

Fragging the men wrote: Why do you think there aren't more girl gamers?

Twiggy: The obvious answer here is media and marketing. Video games in general are not targeted towards women. Most of the females I know of that play quake were introduced to it by there boyfriends, husbands, or male friends. What do you think most women want in a video game?

Twiggy: That's an impossible question. Most women want a game that appeals to them, and women are very unique and varied. Some women enjoy puzzle games, some enjoy employing strategy... some like to play role-playing games... and some are crazy enough to enjoy action games. I don't think the answer is to create a video game for women, but to respect the broader audience. Most video game commercials/advertisements are focused on the male community. Perhaps it is time to consider how to market to the female population.

Interactive Digital Software Association wrote:
How Many People Play Computer and Video Games?

60% of all Americans play video games, or about 145 million people.

Who Purchases Computer and Video Games?

96% of people who purchase computer games and 90% of people who purchase video games are 18 years or older. Of those under 18 years old who purchase games, 86% get their parents permission. 47% of people who purchase computer games are men and 53% are women. 54% of people who purchase console games are men and 46% are women.

Who Plays Computer and Video Games?

43% of people who play interactive games are women. The average age of an interactive game player is 28 years old .

For Computer Gamers...

34% of most frequent game players are under eighteen years old
26% of most frequent game players are between 18 and 35 years old
40% of most frequent game players are over 35 years old
For Console Gamers...

46% of most frequent game players are under eighteen years old
36% of most frequent game players are between 18 and 35 years old
18% of most frequent game players are over 35 years old

Amy Beth Kalson wrote:
Then something completely unexpected happened. During the question and answer period at the end of the session, it was the men in the room who angrily spoke out against the "pretty" design theories that had been presented. Unlike the women in the room, these men had not become accustomed to the marketing tactics of companies like Mattel. Many of these men had young daughters. They were positively irate at the thought of their daughters' creative desires being reduced to the "girls like pretty fun fashion things" formula. They couldn't believe what they were hearing, and they certainly didn't want to accept it.

It was beautiful. I wanted to stand up and cheer.

Caitlin Martin wrote:
For me, gaming is another way for me to play with the boy's toys I was told I coudln't play with when I was growing up. I've always resented being shuffled off to play hopscotch or jacks when I really wanted to jump out of trees & play cowboys & Indians. It's a good place to work off my aggressions, intellectually challenging without being draining, & competitive in the ways I like. It's nice being able to be "physical" & violent & as tough as the men I play with even though most of them could overpower me physically in real life. Mostly it's just a lot of fun.
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, let's avoid the "a game can be pretty AND smart" crap that is basically trolling...Actually, let's chuck the whole stupid article by GameGirlAdvance and move on to reality.

The major points raised about girls and games was they tend to identify with their character more. The 'Red Herring' is hypersexualization of the females. (sure, some games stoop to "sex sells" especially on retail box art) The point isn't to focus on sexist marketing tricks, but to focus on why girls identify with their character more. Why? Well, one could shrug and simply point out "girls will be girls" but that would be a disservice when the real issue is not with biology but cultural mores.
    Hyperlink to resource
    Look at children’s toys in general: Girls have pushchairs, kitchen sets, and dolls - it’s a pathway to what they’re supposed to expect later in life. Boys have Action Men in army gear, super-fast racing cars, and alien-battle sets - nothing that really sets an agenda for later life.
    ~Tony Mott
It's a prejudice that creates this 'identify with game character' mirage See? Girls toys are culturally meant to be identified with while boys cultural toys tend to drift off into a hyperactioned fantasy world. Barbie or, i suppose girls and boys minds are innately biologically distinct - just ask any parent - But, i seriously believe culture plays no small part in this inequality. (are we so homophobic as to say it's just natural for women to prefer socializer typology? That's an ideal abstraction)
    As for the "relationships/explorations" (girls) versus "skill-building repetiveness" (boys) argument, i'd simply point to personality type bias and point out many boys enjoy the socializer &/or exploration &/or achiever temperaments without being bothered with the "wussy" label by the Killer types. capiche? (Richard Bartle typology)
I believe strongly in this "numerology" stuff, but i'm no fool. I don't believe for one second that an abstract isn't supposed to be deconstructed, because life already deconstructs the ideal abstracts in application and it would be Hubris indeed to assume "girls" don't prefer hyperaction fantasy toys to barbie just because they're girls.

I don't get it. WTF do games have to do with sexuality? What do careers have to do with sexuality? (i know alot of guys who'd not pass basic military criteria)
    Personally, i hate to admit it but i'm not real turned on by musclebound women, though to my credit that body type is more attractive than Aly McBeal figures. yick
Hmmm...going deeper it gets to the core, doesn't it? We live in a culture that's insanely homophobic, while we allow crap to go on with the environment and crazed warmongers to advocate "peace is war" Orwellian nightmares = sweet dreams. (I take hope in the fact those same policies are run on fear and the people to run those policies rightly fear democracy for it's so effective and is growing more effective year by year)
    Mysteries...powerful mysteries.
Hmmmm...speaking of Bartle, i had a really cool thread about that once, which i need to resurrect from the archives. Hyperlink to thread (will repair ASAP)
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2003 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I listen to feminists and all these radical gals -- most of them are failures. They've blown it. Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they're mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They hate men -- that's their problem."
~Reverend Jerry Falwell


oooooo...and i found an old strip from my archives...
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
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Chief WO4
Chief WO4

Joined: 09 Feb 2002
Posts: 473
Location: Tripoint

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
most likely a few days late, but for those who've yet to see it...
what APPEARS to be the Rohan King's speech at Minis Tirith wrote:
I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come, when the courage of men fails. When we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But, it is not this day...This day we FIGHT!
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Chief WO4
Chief WO4

Joined: 09 Feb 2002
Posts: 473
Location: Tripoint

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote wrote:
But the good news for Hollywood — and audiences — is that there is an enduring formula that works. Superheroines since the 1970s — from Wonder Woman to Princess Leia, Charlie's Angels to Lara Croft, Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Alias' Sydney Bristow — have all followed a few simple rules to find success on the big and little screen. And every would-be action babe who has flopped has broken at least one of them. So what's the secret?

1. Do fight demons. Don't fight only inner demons.

2. Do play well with others. Don't shun human society.

3. Do exhibit self-control. Don't exhibit mental disorders.

4. Do wear trendy clothes. Don't wear fetish clothes.

5. Do embrace girl power. Don't cling to man hatred.

6. Do help hapless men. Don't try to kill your boyfriend.

7. Do toss off witty remarks. Don't look perpetually sullen.
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