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Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Old 06-18-12, 08:59 AM
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Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

You guys heard about the whole Tropes vs. Women in Video Games debacle that happened recently?

A blogger from Femenist Frequency wanted to do a six part series of the portrayal of women in video games. She was asking for $6K to fund the project. Apparently a lot of folks got pissed (presumably 4chan was where the flames were fanned) and they hijacked the comments section of her video on youtube, wrote a lot of nasty stuff on her wikipedia entry, etc.

Long story short, despite all the attacks (or perhaps because of said attacks), supporters flooded in droves and the project has now been funded by a total pledge of $158,917.



It sounds like an interesting series. It's not a burning topic (sexism in videogames is well known) but if, handled well, could make for an interesting series. I just hope it doesn't end up a whiney/preechy mess as such anti-discrimination documentaries usually end up.

I hope she ups her game to make the most out of so much support. Also, I hope she gives a passing mention at least to the fact that there are gender stereotypes for male characters as well (either musclebound He-Man types of metrosexual himbos).
Old 06-18-12, 09:54 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Old 06-18-12, 10:28 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

She's hot. Looking forward to seeing her boobs.
Old 06-18-12, 10:36 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by RocShemp View Post
Also, I hope she gives a passing mention at least to the fact that there are gender stereotypes for male characters as well (either musclebound He-Man types of metrosexual himbos).
Yeah, this is really where I think her arguments could live or die... If her argument just boils down to "Women can't be strong, capable heroines without being sexy and idealized" then she's missing the point that almost all player-controlled human characters are idealized, male or female. If you're going to complain about Lara Croft's Barbie body, then you should also complain about Marcus Fenix's hulking roid physique.

And looking at the descriptions of her planned videos, these two seem to contradict each other.
The Sexy Villainess - Video #4
Unattractive Equals Evil - Video #9

I do want to see this series, although I'm mainly interesting in the final one about the female representations she does find acceptable. Also I'm curious if she'll address the fact that many of the worst offenders (going off her title card collage) come from Japanese games, and if she'll go into how the differences in cultures likely contribute to the level of objectification, if you will.

Last edited by DRG; 06-18-12 at 10:49 AM.
Old 06-18-12, 10:48 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Men aren't allowed to complain.
Old 06-18-12, 10:53 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Old 06-18-12, 12:12 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by DRG View Post
Yeah, this is really where I think her arguments could live or die... If her argument just boils down to "Women can't be strong, capable heroines without being sexy and idealized" then she's missing the point that almost all player-controlled human characters are idealized, male or female. If you're going to complain about Lara Croft's Barbie body, then you should also complain about Marcus Fenix's hulking roid physique.
Exactly. Everyman characters are very rare in the male world of videogames. Given the additional funding, I hope she takes the opportunity to broaden her focus and show that gender stereotyping isn't exclusive to women.

Originally Posted by DRG View Post
And looking at the descriptions of her planned videos, these two seem to contradict each other.
The Sexy Villainess - Video #4
Unattractive Equals Evil - Video #9
I saw that but didn't think much of it at first glance. I wonder if she means to imply there's no middle ground (that the villainess is either super hot or a disgusting slag).

Originally Posted by DRG View Post
I do want to see this series, although I'm mainly interesting in the final one about the female representations she does find acceptable.
This I'd like to see, as well. Based on the picture I posted, I'm guessing Faith from Mirror's Edge is a character she views positively.

Originally Posted by DRG View Post
Also I'm curious if she'll address the fact that many of the worst offenders (going off her title card collage) come from Japanese games, and if she'll go into how the differences in cultures likely contribute to the level of objectification, if you will.
This would be a facinating documentary all to itself. Hopefully that's what the episode "Man with Boobs" is about. Since that description sounds like something I've seen in quite a few JRPG's and Japanese cartoons.
Old 06-18-12, 01:12 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by RocShemp View Post
Exactly. Everyman characters are very rare in the male world of videogames. Given the additional funding, I hope she takes the opportunity to broaden her focus and show that gender stereotyping isn't exclusive to women.
From the video on the page I highly doubt it. It sounds like an agenda piece and not something that is going to show both sides of the coin imo

Plus, it's feminist frequency. I imagine that is the agenda and they don't much care about the way that men are portrayed.
Old 06-18-12, 01:25 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

I think the recent controversy over the new Tomb Raider was the vulnerability of Lara and the fact that the trailer focused on her being tied up, with rape threats, and then the creators basically saying something akin to that's what makes her into the strong woman she became or something to that effect. Let's be honest, the main target for videogames is men, who like their superhero fantasies and attractive females. I mean, I cringe at stuff like the character designs for Lollipop Chainsaw (and I realize it's on-purpose over the top) but that's what the demographic is.

I would argue that 99% of all videogame main character designs are either "super hot" or "grotesque" with no middle ground. Who wants an ordinary, pudgy protagonist?
Old 06-18-12, 02:24 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by glassdragon View Post
From the video on the page I highly doubt it. It sounds like an agenda piece and not something that is going to show both sides of the coin imo
In all fairness, the myopic view presented in that video was back when she wanted to make a small series for just $6K. With $158,917 to work with, there's no excuse to focus exclusively on how women are portrayed.

Originally Posted by glassdragon View Post
Plus, it's feminist frequency. I imagine that is the agenda and they don't much care about the way that men are portrayed.
I'm not familiar with the site but, looking over a few of the videos, it does seem agenda driven. Which is a shame because it actually weakens their argument to pretend that games and other media aren't rife with equivalent male stereotypes.

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I would argue that 99% of all videogame main character designs are either "super hot" or "grotesque" with no middle ground. Who wants an ordinary, pudgy protagonist?
This is why I liked what Naughty Dog did with Nate and Elena in the Uncharted series. Similarly, I like Lara's new look. She actually looks more of an everywoman than a supermodel. It's part of the reason why I also find Elena from Uncharted so appealing.

As for Elena, it's interesting that when a female character artist got to work on her in Uncharted 3, the artist's first instinct was to "make her more feminine" and "pretty". It would be a gross oversight if the series doesn't discuss this as well since gender stereotypes are not exclusively enforced by men.
Old 06-18-12, 05:17 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by RocShemp View Post
Exactly. Everyman characters are very rare in the male world of videogames.
Although, Mario is a significant example.
Old 06-18-12, 05:27 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

I'm fine with her focusing on the portrayal of women in video games. Seems like a legit topic, and I don't understand the rage. I wish I knew about this before funding ended so I could throw in a few bucks.

Hopefully she can explain how metal bikinis are able to serve as adequate armor in RPGs.

Last edited by Groucho; 06-18-12 at 05:36 PM.
Old 06-18-12, 06:11 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by RocShemp View Post
Exactly. Everyman characters are very rare in the male world of videogames.





A lot of RPG's have everyman characters. Especially JRPG's.
Old 06-19-12, 07:52 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by mhg83 View Post
A lot of RPG's have everyman characters. Especially JRPG's.
I'm not saying everyman characters are nonexistant rather that they are rare compared to the hulking and/or ridiculously toned badasses and spikey haired emo douches with huge swords (very prevalent in JRPG's and Japanese games in general).

The fact is, gender stereotyping in games is not one sided. And female gender stereotypes are oftentimes encouraged/enforced by women themselves (and likewise by men for male characters).

My point is that there are two sides to this, like the extremes fujishig pointed out and the ridiculousness that does indeed befall female characters that Groucho pointed out.

Originally Posted by Drexl View Post
Although, Mario is a significant example.
Thank goodness that plumber hasn't fallen out of favor with the general public.
Old 08-27-12, 11:25 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

You know, the cynic in me is starting to wonder if this whole campaign was just a ruse to buy herself a ton of games and call it "research".

Old 08-28-12, 02:41 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

If, Bayonetta, isn't in that pile, she's failed. Everything that is wrong with women in games exists in that tacky, hollow, cliche of a character.
Old 08-28-12, 04:34 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by Boba Fett View Post
If, Bayonetta, isn't in that pile, she's failed. Everything that is wrong with women in games exists in that tacky, hollow, cliche of a character.
You know, that post reminds me that I never got passed the prologue in that game. In all fairness my PS3 fatty had died shortly after I got it. But I have not been inspired to play it on my slim for some reason.

Last edited by RocShemp; 08-30-12 at 11:21 AM.
Old 08-28-12, 07:58 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Well now I don't feel as bad about my pile of shame.

And how the hell is she going to play Diablo 3 and Starcraft? Is she going to buy a gaming rig too?
Old 08-28-12, 08:05 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Hope Ms Splosion Man is on her list. Since that one is all about, you know, 'sploding... and shoes. This kind of shit reminds me while they make plenty of games for adults, a majority of the gaming population is made up of 13 year old boys.

Last edited by RichC2; 08-28-12 at 08:12 AM.
Old 08-28-12, 09:26 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

This thread is really about what I expected.

Certainly men are stereotyped in games. They are idealized power fantasies. And men generally don't find that the stereotypes of supernaturally strong, capable men create a hostile space for them.

Women are stereotyped as sexual objects and that portrayal generally creates a hostile environment for women who play videogames.

This is kind of a difference.
Old 08-28-12, 10:54 AM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by RocShemp View Post
You know, the cynic in me is starting to wonder if this whole campaign was just a ruse to buy herself a ton of games and call it "research".

Not Guilty.
Old 08-28-12, 12:10 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet View Post
This thread is really about what I expected.

Certainly men are stereotyped in games. They are idealized power fantasies. And men generally don't find that the stereotypes of supernaturally strong, capable men create a hostile space for them.

Women are stereotyped as sexual objects and that portrayal generally creates a hostile environment for women who play videogames.

This is kind of a difference.
I get your point, but to play devil's advocate, it's a bit sexist to say video games are filled with overly attractive stereotypes of both sexes, but it's not ok in the case of one sex because they don't cope as well with such things. And while it's easy to say that both male and female vg characters tend to conform with adolescent male fantasies, it's not hard to find plenty of female cosplayers who apparently like some games' take on sexy females as well. Again, just to play devil's advocate, as there are plenty of games awash in testosterone and few, if any, drenched in estrogen.
Old 08-28-12, 12:54 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

That is true. I know plenty of female cosplayers that adore the skimpy outfits of videogame and cartoon characters. But, on the other hand, I know many who also like the more "modest" (albeit rather flamboyant in terms of ornamentation) attire as well.

Looking at the Feminist Frequency FaceBook page, I'm sure there will be a "us poor subjugated women" slant to the series but I want to watch it nonetheless. Stereotypes tend to be such because they're often true so it'll be interesting to hear what she has to say about the games she'll be playing.
Old 08-28-12, 02:15 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

looks like she's purchased a bunch of games that don't even really have female characters at all.
Old 08-28-12, 02:56 PM
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Originally Posted by deadlax View Post
looks like she's purchased a bunch of games that don't even really have female characters at all.
Which ones? I noticed that some of those games have minor female roles but I don't know if any of them lack female characters alltogether.

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