Author Topic: Tropes vs Women in Video Games  (Read 92126 times)

Offline Neonivek

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #60 on: December 09, 2012, 04:28:18 PM »
The solution is really just to make no female characters if you are male and one of the main characters is male.

Since I cannot really take the stigma surrounding female characters.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 04:30:08 PM by Neonivek »

Offline darthkiwi

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #61 on: December 09, 2012, 04:33:48 PM »
I agree with Katie.

Quote
And know that there is no way to please all the people all of the time. But you can certainly try to not offend them at the very least.

I think you can go ever further than that. You are probably going to fail at pleasing everyone no matter what you do, but as long as the character is solid as an actual character, your story will be a lot better for it. And that's all you can do, really.

Neonivek: I like the idea of this duo who have complimentary abilities, but I do think you should be careful about how you present the wife. A deaf woman could easily slip into the centuries-long stereotype of the helpless/useless woman. But as long as you make her active, and ideally have her solve problems with her hands that her husband can't solve with his brain, and as long as you show that she is impacted by but finds some way to deal with her handicap, I think it's fine.
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Offline KatieHal

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #62 on: December 09, 2012, 04:45:13 PM »
Both characters--Ripley and Salt--then had adjustments made to them when they became female characters. Interestingly, Salt was going to have a child when a male, but they took that out when the role became female. And in subsequent movies, Ripley's gender played into creating a maternal side to her character, but it was by no means a traditional one.

My point was don't pretend gender doesn't exist, but don't make it the sole trait.

Neonivek--it sounds like you could have an interesting pair of characters there. I don't agree that the "only" solution is to never write a female character, either. Just treat her as a person the same you do your male character--she's a unique individual. She's going to have a personality, opinions, take actions, agree and also disagree with other people, her husband included. With a backstory like the one you've given her, there could be a lot of interesting development there.

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Offline Bludshot

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #63 on: December 09, 2012, 08:14:00 PM »
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Offline Deloria

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #64 on: December 10, 2012, 06:02:04 AM »
So thus there is no way to potray a woman except to make her bland and uninteresting. Congradulations.
I think you misunderstand sexism. See, the very problem here is that you are trying to write someone who is primarily a woman and not primarily a person and that is sexist because you're then treating/writing her differently than you would someone who had the same attributes and were male. Her gender should not be the most defining characteristic she has. If you were trying to describe her to someone, would you really start by telling people that she's a woman? If so, she probably doesn't have much of a personality. There are many generic, stereotypical characters who have personalities, wants, needs and think about things that affect them and comment on them accordingly. These, even if they are stereotypes that have been overdone to death, are not considered to be sexist. Forget about gender and just try to write people.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 06:10:21 AM by Deloria »
 
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Offline Lambonius

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #65 on: December 10, 2012, 06:43:46 AM »
If you were trying to describe her to someone, would you really start by telling people that she's a woman?

LOL...Yes, of course.

If someone broke into my house, and I came home and saw them running off, their gender would absolutely be the first thing I told the police in the description.

"It was dark, officer, but I could tell that the perpetrator was tall, had auburn hair, walked with a limp, wore an eye patch, had full lips and ample breasts, and oh yeah, it was a guy."
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 06:46:23 AM by Lambonius »

Offline Say

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #66 on: December 10, 2012, 07:15:37 AM »
We're talking about character design here, not police work - or anything else related for that matter. But it's amusing how everyone goes to whatever corner to scratch for reasons to justify a point.

Example:
-Who is Linda?
-She's a woman.
-She's an elementary school teacher.
-She's a wonderful friend.

For some, which I believe what Deloria was trying to say, the fact that the character depth goes as far as saying just the word "woman" for a woman means is pretty poor design, stupid and goes along the lines of whatever the OP topic goes on about.


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Offline Lambonius

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #67 on: December 10, 2012, 07:56:02 AM »
We're talking about character design here, not police work - or anything else related for that matter. But it's amusing how everyone goes to whatever corner to scratch for reasons to justify a point.

Example:
-Who is Linda?
-She's a woman.
-She's an elementary school teacher.
-She's a wonderful friend.

For some, which I believe what Deloria was trying to say, the fact that the character depth goes as far as saying just the word "woman" for a woman means is pretty poor design, stupid and goes along the lines of whatever the OP topic goes on about.


In your example, it's clear that the character is a woman simply because of the non-gender-ambiguous name "Linda."  What if the character's name was Chris or something else similar?  Would it not be prudent to let the reader or viewer know that the character is a woman when she is introduced?  Would that still be sexist?

This discussion reminds me of those people who are afraid to mention a person's skin color in a verbal description.  It's clearly an important detail in terms of recognizing the person (oftentimes the easiest way to recognize them), and yet for some reason, people are terrified to be seen as saying anything that might be taboo.  It's silly.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 07:59:21 AM by Lambonius »

Offline Blackthorne

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #68 on: December 10, 2012, 08:32:31 AM »
Absolutely.  A person's gender is an important identifying feature.  Not mentioning it is absolutely silly.  Unless it is MEANT to be ambiguous, as in the case of "Samus Aran" - a character who's features when she's first met are covered by a suit and mask - it's asinine to think a person cannot be initially described by their sex.


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Offline KatieHal

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #69 on: December 10, 2012, 08:38:49 AM »
I think Say's point (and Deloria's) was that the definitions shouldn't just stop at "woman"--there are more important features to a character beyond that.


EDIT: Not entirely on-topic, but related, I just read this very amusing (and curse word-laden) reponse of an author to a critic about a female pirate in a story of his. :)
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 08:44:47 AM by KatieHal »

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Offline Lambonius

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #70 on: December 10, 2012, 09:24:49 AM »
EDIT: Not entirely on-topic, but related, I just read this very amusing (and curse word-laden) reponse of an author to a critic about a female pirate in a story of his. :)

That's definitely amusing, but the writer's argument is somewhat silly.  He is constructing a nice big strawman in order to accuse the critic of bigotry, when in fact, the critic's only real problem was stupidity/naivety.  The critic to whom he is responding never said anything that would warrant the holier-than-thou diatribe that the author unleashes on him.  The critic's arguments are flawed, yes, but flawed because the guy is being needlessly pedantic about the supposed historical accuracy of a fictional fantasy story, NOT because the guy is a bigot.  Frankly, I think Scott Lynch comes off as more of a dick than the critic does.  He's using the classic argument strategy wherein if you say something loud enough and with enough bombast, your listener/reader overlooks the clear flaws in your logic.  Lol

Offline Deloria

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #71 on: December 10, 2012, 09:44:45 AM »
Absolutely.  A person's gender is an important identifying feature.  Not mentioning it is absolutely silly.  Unless it is MEANT to be ambiguous, as in the case of "Samus Aran" - a character who's features when she's first met are covered by a suit and mask - it's asinine to think a person cannot be initially described by their sex.


Bt
Gender is not binary. Whether the person in question is genetically female clarifies absolutely nothing because it doesn't mean the character identifies as female, which is arguably more important when it comes to character design. You shouldn't tell people "She's a woman", you should tell people "She identifies as a woman/a modern female/a female with a traditional/patriarchal gender role, and therefore has issues with these things in society." Creating complex characters means you have to deal with the question of what kind of person they are or want to be and whether that is compatible with the world they live in.
 
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Offline Lambonius

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #72 on: December 10, 2012, 10:34:01 AM »
Yes, but you would still say "she's a woman."  Her physical gender would still be an integral part of describing the character to the reader.  You may argue that it's just a superficial thing and what matters is who she is on the inside, but the simple fact of the matter is that part of good writing is creating a mental picture for the reader, and you cannot accurately do that if the reader is picturing a dark-haired guy with a top hat and mustache when the character you're talking about is actually blond woman who just happens to identify with a 19th Century dandy.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 10:38:02 AM by Lambonius »

Offline Deloria

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #73 on: December 10, 2012, 10:51:45 AM »
Yes, of course you would. But I'm trying to point out that characters are more than their gender and need personality. If you're going to explore gender issues, explore how their gender makes them interact with the world they live in. If you're not going to focus on gender issues or something specifically relevant to their gender, I think characters should be written largely sexless at first and then modified later to fit the plot; this forces you to deal with them as characters and not as objects. As someone earlier pointed out, it's really easy to replace Princess Peach with a magical item.
 
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Offline Lambonius

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #74 on: December 10, 2012, 10:54:58 AM »
Yes, of course you would. But I'm trying to point out that characters are more than their gender and need personality. If you're going to explore gender issues, explore how their gender makes them interact with the world they live in. If you're not going to focus on gender issues or something specifically relevant to their gender, I think characters should be written largely sexless at first and then modified later to fit the plot; this forces you to deal with them as characters and not as objects. As someone earlier pointed out, it's really easy to replace Princess Peach with a magical item.

I can agree with this.  Though I would say that a good writer shouldn't HAVE to write their characters as sexless first, and then adapt them.  ;)

Offline crayauchtin

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #75 on: December 10, 2012, 11:02:59 AM »
The Lego thing--I think that actually IS exactly her point. Legos ARE a genderless product, and that's a great thing about them. So why do they need to be gendered at all? And then the fact that the "girl" Legos were all pink and emphasized a lot of stereotypes just added to the problem.

Why not? I mean it's not like they're forcing you to buy them, why wouldn't you want the extra option?
I didn't read the whole thread (sorry) because I stopped cold at this.

.......why would you want that option? If you acknowledge there is a problem with gender-stereotypes in this country and especially in the gaming sector of the entertainment industry (and for my purposes here, I'm including all toys including LEGOs in that sector) why would you not see a problem here?

Are there any pink LEGOs in the toys that are marketed at boys? Does the color pink appear at all? No. Why is that a problem?

Because this is a real, new product:

That is a pen. For women. Because apparently, this:

is an inappropriate product for a woman to use.

Those are grown up products. What makes them think that they can market with so much obvious sexism, based purely on colors, to adults?
Because it works perfectly on children.
And you want to know something else? Those pens for girls.... are twice as expensive. Because they come in pink and purple.

And how about the fact that lower weight weights -- one and two pound weights? They only come in pink and purple. Funny, because I've never seen a fifty pound weight in those colors. Have you?

Want another example?
How about cars? Oh yeah. Cars.

That's the Honda Fit She's (the apostrophe is actually a heart on the car too). It comes in brown too but they call it "eyeliner brown".... because why would a woman want a car that wasn't either pink, or the same colors she's painting on her face? (Y'all women-folk ARE painting your faces before you go in public, aren't you?!?! For shame if you aren't! Nobody wants to see your real skin, only men are allowed to have real skin!) Supposedly, the windshield helps prevent wrinkles and the climate control system is good for the skin -- these are literally, actually, the qualities they advertise for this car.
And guess what? It is more expensive than the Honda Fit.

There's even a Fujitsu laptop now called the "Floral Kiss" which comes in colors like "Feminine Pink". It looks like this:

Mmhmm. I can see why that's easier for a woman to deal with than... well, this:

Guess which laptop is more expensive? Even though they're the same thing? And I mean that literally -- the only difference between the Floral Kiss and the Fujitsu Ultrabook is the colors. (Oh, and apparently, you can open the Floral Kiss without chipping your manicure!)

You're probably appalled by this. Because you're an adult and you're intelligent and you're aware that women can drive cars that aren't pink. And yet, you think there's no problem with doing literally the exact same thing with toys for children?
(Note: none of this is rare, these are just the ones Ellen Degeneres has made the most fun of. This is present in every corner of marketing.)

Anyways, I'm going to keep reading and probably weigh in some more in a bit.
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Offline darthkiwi

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #76 on: December 10, 2012, 11:11:36 AM »
Cray, that post was awesome. And horrible. But mostly awesome.
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Offline KatieHal

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #77 on: December 10, 2012, 11:17:50 AM »
Also of note for amusement purposes, the user reviews for the Bic for Her pen are hilarious. :)

A while back, I was looking up what items are standard in a roadside emergency kit. I came across this "Safety Girl Kit" which included...well, I'll just list the items:

Quote
This Kit Contains:

1 Emergency blanket
1 Twelve hour safety lightstick
2 Tampax Tampons
1 Safety Girl Band-aids
1 Sewing kit
1 Dove deodorant
1 Shout wipe
1 Lens cleaning cloth
1 Bottle of water
1 Drawstring Plastic Bags
1 Wrigleys Spearmint Gum
1 Nail file
1 Safety Girl® pencil
1 Safety Girl 3-in-1 Brush
1 Cadbury Chocolate
1 Emergency contact card
1 Accident record card
Directions on how to change a flat tire and jumpstart a dead battery.

You know, for girls!

Nothing about that kit helps in a roadside emergency. Maybe 5 items are actually helpful, but do not make up a roadside emergency kit. Now, the site does also have a roadside emergency tool kit with items that are actually going to be HELPFUL in a roadside emergency, but the fact they've got the first item and call it an "emergency kit" is just ridiculous. It's a "look pretty and smell nice for when someone comes to rescue you" kit.

Overall, yeah, there are items that just do not need to be gendered, and when they are its pretty much always offensive.

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Offline stika

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #78 on: December 10, 2012, 11:29:03 AM »
The Lego thing--I think that actually IS exactly her point. Legos ARE a genderless product, and that's a great thing about them. So why do they need to be gendered at all? And then the fact that the "girl" Legos were all pink and emphasized a lot of stereotypes just added to the problem.

Why not? I mean it's not like they're forcing you to buy them, why wouldn't you want the extra option?
I didn't read the whole thread (sorry) because I stopped cold at this.

.......why would you want that option? If you acknowledge there is a problem with gender-stereotypes in this country and especially in the gaming sector of the entertainment industry (and for my purposes here, I'm including all toys including LEGOs in that sector) why would you not see a problem here?

Are there any pink LEGOs in the toys that are marketed at boys? Does the color pink appear at all? No. Why is that a problem?

Because this is a real, new product:

That is a pen. For women. Because apparently, this:

is an inappropriate product for a woman to use.

Those are grown up products. What makes them think that they can market with so much obvious sexism, based purely on colors, to adults?
Because it works perfectly on children.
And you want to know something else? Those pens for girls.... are twice as expensive. Because they come in pink and purple.

And how about the fact that lower weight weights -- one and two pound weights? They only come in pink and purple. Funny, because I've never seen a fifty pound weight in those colors. Have you?

Want another example?
How about cars? Oh yeah. Cars.

That's the Honda Fit She's (the apostrophe is actually a heart on the car too). It comes in brown too but they call it "eyeliner brown".... because why would a woman want a car that wasn't either pink, or the same colors she's painting on her face? (Y'all women-folk ARE painting your faces before you go in public, aren't you?!?! For shame if you aren't! Nobody wants to see your real skin, only men are allowed to have real skin!) Supposedly, the windshield helps prevent wrinkles and the climate control system is good for the skin -- these are literally, actually, the qualities they advertise for this car.
And guess what? It is more expensive than the Honda Fit.

There's even a Fujitsu laptop now called the "Floral Kiss" which comes in colors like "Feminine Pink". It looks like this:

Mmhmm. I can see why that's easier for a woman to deal with than... well, this:

Guess which laptop is more expensive? Even though they're the same thing? And I mean that literally -- the only difference between the Floral Kiss and the Fujitsu Ultrabook is the colors. (Oh, and apparently, you can open the Floral Kiss without chipping your manicure!)

You're probably appalled by this. Because you're an adult and you're intelligent and you're aware that women can drive cars that aren't pink. And yet, you think there's no problem with doing literally the exact same thing with toys for children?
(Note: none of this is rare, these are just the ones Ellen Degeneres has made the most fun of. This is present in every corner of marketing.)

Anyways, I'm going to keep reading and probably weigh in some more in a bit.
and yet those products exist because they sell

so again: why does their existence bother you so much? Nobody is forcing you to get them, but if they do exist then it's because there is a market for it

Offline KatieHal

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Re: Tropes vs Women in Video Games
« Reply #79 on: December 10, 2012, 11:36:03 AM »
Honestly, I feel like a number of us have made it clear why the products (and tropes, stereotypes, etc) bother us, regardless of 'do they sell?' (which isn't the question at hand). I'm not sure what else can be said to make that more clear or to explain it further.

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