Saying that female objectification in games is bad = threat.

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Karma_geddon
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Saying that female objectification in games is bad = threat.

Post by Karma_geddon » Fri 29. Aug 2014, 15:42

Yep. That's it. Apparently.

Or at least, this happened.

http://games.on.net/2014/08/readers-thr ... t-welcome/

"This week, Anita Sarkeesian had to leave her home after receiving horrific death and rape threats online. Her crime? She made a video that suggested maybe, just maybe, video games could treat women better. Game developer Tim Schafer linked to the video on his Twitter account, urging people to watch it, and in response people literally told him to go and kill himself."

As a young men and as a someone that, on a certain degree, identifies himself as a "gamer", this topic concerns me A LOT, so I wanted to share this with you, friends and mates from my favorite gaming online community.

Also because this topic concerns *us* a lot: we here on CEONSS, have the privilege (yes, the privilege) to fight side by side with a relatively high number of female gamers. And we know this, because they felt secure and comfortable enough to *share* that with us - you might not be aware that there are places where female gamers prefers to hide their real gender, mainly to avoid discriminations; I know some "horror stories" of that kind, mainly about mmorpgs.
I don't think that we ever had *real* issues of this kind on CEONSS - I've been here for about a year, and only one time I encountered a guy saying in the chat that women should "go to the kitchen" instead of playing online games (and when he did, I politely asked to stop it, and he stopped it).

Still, I wanted to bring this issues to your attention.
It really worries me a lot that we reached this point.

Cya in the field,
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Re: Saying that female objectification in games is bad = thr

Post by Pegasus » Fri 29. Aug 2014, 18:05

Sigh... I'm with ya there, Karma. I too have been reading about this whole vicious, vitriolic and occasionally borderline sociopathic backlash stemming from the usual hubs where developmentally arrested manchildren congregate over the supposed "journalistic standards" and "ethics" transgressions committed these past few weeks (read major gaming venues refusing to engage in ribald muckraking and tabloid practices, even without any actual evidence beyond collage .gifs) that apparently merit endless howling across dozens of msg board multi-thousand-post threads about how feminism is trying to take our games way, a Kickstarter campaign for a character assassination "documentary" that would reveal the debate's Other Side™, not to mention the torrent of harassment of female writers/creators in the gaming space on social media that went as far as death threats made to Sarkeesian (again). Tbqh, I haven't stopped shaking my head in embarrassment the whole damn time. I've always believed that to be a gamer implied being someone who doesn't play games just to kill time, but is cognizant of, even invested in, the international community of people that create them and is also hopeful about the potential for cultural/artistic impact the medium can have on our civilization, across all nationalities, creeds and genders. As such, I've always considered myself a gamer, but given what's been going on lately, what the bulk of these (white, straight, male, 15-35yo, above the poverty line) "gaming ambassadors" has been showing the rest of the world about us, as well as after having read various think-pieces on the matter lately, particularly Leigh Alexander's very powerful one here from yesterday, I can't help rethinking my whole stance on the matter.

As far as CEONSS and UT2004 in general are concerned, IMO we're a small community on the outskirts of an all-but-forgotten PC arena FPS franchise that the prevailing trends of "hardcore" AAA gaming have all but abandoned. Small wonder, then, that the people still sticking with it after a decade don't exactly constitute representative samples of the group [bro] gamer mentality moving in packs from one ephemeral blockbuster FPS/RPG/MMO/MOBA title/sequel to the next, particularly on consoles, but are mostly outliers and "edge cases" of players that instinctively identify and gravitate towards games that rely more on higher quality gameplay than visuals and, as such, can be considered to disregard peer pressure and behavioural norms imposed by the pack. Also, 10 years ago UT2004 came out with a Mature age rating, so taking that into account as well, it kinda explains why most ppl still messing about with it today are at least somewhat more likely to not be horrible, foul-mouthed, bigoted brats. Even so, one might still witness the occasional misogynist/racist/homophobic incident or a casual undercurrent fueled by such a mentality from time to time and among a few people if one looks close enough (occurrences like that have been observed even here), and that's why it's important to keep paying attention, remind people of the bigger picture implications, and aim to stamp that out before it manages to coalesce into a community-pervading ill. Personally speaking, throughout my "gaming life" I've been part of numerous online communities, both as a member as well as a more active participant, and I've seen first hand just what kind of lasting success those can achieve when they've been grounded and operate under an inclusive ideology, whether led by a male or a female ("served" under multiple cases of both myself). OTOH, I've also observed how a normalized childish culture, pervaded by the false sense of gatekeeping and excluding duty against all kinds of "unworthy" intruders (jews, girls, gays, nubs and not "true gamers", you name it) have repeatedly been the main factor that drives members away in shame as they grow older and, ultimately, dooms the project as a whole to the point where nobody even cares to reminisce about it after it's gone.
I may not be the Boss here, but a lifetime's worth of lessons on that still compels me to state that as long as I'm around here and can have any say or influence on the matter, I'll continue to make damn sure that CEONSS never stoops to such levels of immaturity and hostility and that anyone who might see this little neck of the online gaming woods as fertile ground to purposely seed such crap won't get to see it, or themselves, flourish here. That much I guarantee you.


Anyway, sorry for the rant there, it's just stuff that's been swirling on my mind for awhile now and this thread made for a good outlet to get 'em out. Also, kinda ambivalent about whether this thread is most suited for this subforum or OffTopic from a moderating PoV, but we'll see.
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Re: Saying that female objectification in games is bad = thr

Post by EmanReleipS » Fri 29. Aug 2014, 18:22

There is so much I want to write about this....I apologize that this will be very long. I don't even know where to start....


I first started noticing that apparently it was strange for a girl to be a gamer when my cousin told me "You're the only girl I know who games!" when I was 15. I grew up with three brothers and two male cousins that I'm very close to and they made lots of sexist jokes, but it was always very clear to me that they respect me and meant none of it seriously. I gamed just like they gamed and it never occurred to me that most of the games I played were largely played by male gamers until my later teen years. It was just never an issue at home.

Things changed gradually when I played online and I realized how much attention you can get when playing certain games as a girl. I was playing StarCraft II with my little bro a few years back and his male gaming buddies asked about me and my age, followed by a "Oh, she's too young". I was confused, because I was obviously there to game, not to flirt with or be hit on by strangers.

Still, those were isolated cases and they never made me feel like the gaming community was a sexist place until I joined the Day-Z message board 3 years ago or so. Back then the zombie mod for Arma II was being worked on continuously and you could make suggestions to the developers. Things got really odd after they introduced a female skin that you could select. Players started complaining that she was smaller than the male skin and therefore a smaller target (a screenshot later confirmed that the models had essentially the same shape; no advantage for the female skin). Then they suggested that females shouldn't be able to carry as much as males, because that would be more realistic. Next was a suggestion that the females should bleed once a month and that their period would attract zombies. I got really annoyed once someone suggested a rape function. I thought that was going too far and a game doesn't need to include that much realism. I left the forum and the game after it developed to mostly player killers (who kill other players to loot their stuff) playing as females. Apparently other gamers would hesitate and let their guard down when they saw someone using a female skin in-game.....and then they got killed. As a result of that, at the time I left the game, everyone shot at people using a female skin on sight.

With CEONSS I've found a nice community of people where it largely doesn't matter that I'm a girl. I do get an occasional comment about my body that makes me uncomfortable or a bit of too much attention from some players, but on average this community is very mature and makes me feel like I'm just "one of the guys". The fact that we have other female gamers here who aren't afraid to let others know their gender also shows that this is a good place.

Reading that article made me very sad, but I refuse to believe that the majority of (male) gamers is that way. Communities of certain game genres have a reputation as being sexist and homophobic, but a self-confident man who is secure in himself has no reason to fear independent women or homosexual men. Or any reason to fear a different, maybe more differentiated representation of women in games. There are lots of games that can pull off a female lead (Mirror's Edge, Portal) well and you hardly ever notice you are playing as a girl the entire time. Other games like Mass Effect or our own UT2004 let you play as whatever gender you want and your choice doesn't matter at all!*

Still, I would also like a better representation of women in games, but not just there, also in movies and advertisement. Women get objectified a lot in all sorts of areas, not just in video games. But it also happens to men when women are the target group. There is a lot room for improvement on both sides, really.

What I don't understand is how anyone can make death or rape threats against other people for pointing this kind of objectification out. I hope those are just a few twisted individuals. Rape, by the way, is the nightmare of every women. I was shocked when I discovered the #YesAllWomen twitter hashtag (I don't have twitter, but it even made it on my news website) and read about how afraid many women are of being raped and all the things some women avoid doing out of fear of men. Rape threats are hitting a nerve there. They should never be made, also not as a joke.

What I want to point out about this issue is what I realized when I found this hashtag: It's not just the gaming community. The woman who initiated the #YesAllWomen hashtag also received death or rape threats for highlighting every-day sexism. It seems like those vile elements in the gaming community who use those threats reflect a rotten part of our society that has an issue with equality and respect.

I want to thank Karma for raising awareness of this issue. CEONSS is already a very good place for male and female players to interact without the gender being a big issue, but let's carry our mutual respect for each other into other games and communities as well and show that those people who make those threats are only a small part of a much bigger and greater community.


(I recommend reading this article by a male geek.)



* apart from your love interest choices in Mass Effect and being able to cartwheel or not in UT2004
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[P]etya

Re: Saying that female objectification in games is bad = thr

Post by [P]etya » Fri 29. Aug 2014, 18:41

From my gaming experiences I can say that there are games which make females equal, females above all and females as lesser beings. The first very notable game series where females were treated equally was the Silent Hill games, which put females into positions that many ppl wouldn't even consider. The game had that cult, simply called as "The Order" and it was led by always a high priestess in most games. Their "God" was also described as female, which many ppl could even oppose. In Silent Hill 3, the main character the player had to control was a teenage girl, called Heather.

Not to mention the Red Alert games, which liked to feature female hero units like Special Agent Tanya Adams. :D

Many male players still think that their gender is the superior and they are actually afraid of losing to a female player, which doesn't make sense at all. I have played with many female players online in different games, communities and I didn't have problem with playing with them. And there are players who first can't believe that there are female gamers. Well it was a bit surprising for me too at the beginning, because I couldn't see many female gamers, but I was happy to play with them and not just male players. :D I prefer to communicate with different ppl and I don't really mind if they are women, homosexuals etc.. Everybody should have the chance to do what they want without being treated as lesser beings.

In fact, at the very beginning of history, the human societes were matriarchial and in the ancient times women were treated rather well, as there were places where only the women could enter (temples for certain deities) and they could do most things what men did and there were many female deities. The things have changed in the medieval times, when the religion started treating women not equally.

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Re: Saying that female objectification in games is bad = thr

Post by Zon3r » Fri 29. Aug 2014, 19:58

I never had a problem if the player if male or female, tbh, i don't believe that the player is a girl just because he says so(he's actually some guy in moms basement), in mmo games alot of players use the "girl" trick(if you are a girl you get more help and stuff just like that). Here on CEONSS i was surprised to find out that there are real girls on the server(after multiple people said so, and of course seeing the pics), and yes it does feels nice that they told us about their gender, and it's good to see that people are mature enough and are not saying idiotic things. i have no problems getting killed by a girl(Ema is getting better and better doing so :) ).
I have watched that whole video, and yes, unfortunately she's right. it's pretty fkd up, i have played far cry 3 recently, and saw that pimp beating that girl, i was trying to find a way to kill him.
And this guy who was threatening her, wtf. there is something wrong with his head. can this go unpunished?
There are games with female main characters, there is nothing wrong with that imo. Tomb raider for example, or my favorite game back then No one lives forever 1 and 2, the main character is Kate Archer.

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Re: Saying that female objectification in games is bad = thr

Post by Degrek Phantoka » Sat 30. Aug 2014, 02:59

EmanReleipS wrote:There is so much I want to write about this....
A hell lot, and not only from the gamer community, but also the entire human race.

Where should I start? Men have always been, and will be, physically stronger and more resistant than women, that's crystal clear for all of us to see. On our early development period as a superior race, where there were not as much ethics and moral as now, women were viewed as a weak, foolish counterpart of men, merely as a child-bearing machine and almost as a slave (and this still happens in most Arabic countries). No wonder why, ten thousand years since then, some males behave particularly arrogant with women and in most cases quite disrespectful. IMO, it's all related to self-distrust. There are tons of examples of people who mock and swear at others whom they believe inferior to them, all that to feel somehow powerful. And believe me, I've experienced and experience every day those kinds of behaviour.

I believe that your bad experiences with male gamers, Ema, have to do with the fact that there are a lot of childish, pre-teen players that this fast and consumist society has created ("niños rata" in Spanish, if you get it). In contrast, UT2004 and many other "old" game community are made up of basically of more grown ups and young adults, all in all more mature people and with their personality better defined. That doesn't mean that there isn't anyone of that age that doesn't behave so cruelly female gamers.

Finally, sum up the fact that a helluva lot of people don't know the effect of their words on other people, and you'll have the why men threaten to kill or rape women who get on their way. Nevertheless, I think actually that they do know the meaning of rape on women (if not, they wouldn't say it).

Seriously, I don't know why can't we be all tolerant with each other and let be people who are different without being xenophobic or racist, but hey, mysteries of the human mind.

P.D: This reply took me one hour for my developing brain to write. I SUGGEST you read it.

P.P.D: I always thought you were a guy because of the name, btw ;)

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Re: Saying that female objectification in games is bad = thr

Post by Karma_geddon » Sat 30. Aug 2014, 15:41

First of all: Ema, thanks a lot for your contribute.
I can only imagine how it could be to feel discriminated for one's gender EVEN in games... But that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate your contribute here and the fact that you're feeling safe enough to open up and make yourself vulnerable among us on this topic.

And also, thanks to all of you guys for posting here. It's very nice and comforting to be aware that I'm not the only one here that cares on these things. Once again: I feel very privileged for being a part of this mature community.
My thumbs up to all of you :thumbup:

There's only one thing that I read so far where I have to disagree (partly, actually) and it's Zon3r's thought about Tomb Raider.
Even if Lara Croft is a very famous example of a female protagonist character in AAA videogame, it's not a virtous example: for a long time, Lara Croft has been graphically designed to be an excuse for making bouncing around a couple of overly big jugs, and so she has been the iconic incarnation of eye-candy, objectified female characters in videogames.
Still, I want to be very clear: I have no doubt that you were in good faith while you were writing that :) it's just that I felt as my duty to be intellectually honest, and point out also the things where I disagree too. I still totally agree with you that *there are* virtuos examples of complex, non-objectified female characters in videogames, like The Last of Us and The Walking Dead game (season 2).

Thank you again to all of you :)
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[P]etya

Re: Saying that female objectification in games is bad = thr

Post by [P]etya » Sat 30. Aug 2014, 16:56

Many games prefer to have female protagonists and antagonists, even if one of them isn't human. I don't think that SHODAN (System Shock 1-2) and GLaDOS (Portal 1-2) would be popular if they weren't females. :D

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Re: Saying that female objectification in games is bad = thr

Post by EmanReleipS » Sat 30. Aug 2014, 18:34

Zon3r wrote:I never had a problem if the player if male or female, tbh, i don't believe that the player is a girl just because he says so(he's actually some guy in moms basement), in mmo games alot of players use the "girl" trick(if you are a girl you get more help and stuff just like that). Here on CEONSS i was surprised to find out that there are real girls on the server(after multiple people said so, and of course seeing the pics), and yes it does feels nice that they told us about their gender, and it's good to see that people are mature enough and are not saying idiotic things.
:lol: I know what you mean. I've met a lot of "girls" on UT servers that were obviously guys. Usually you can tell by the way they talk. The ones who feel the need to mention female body parts are not female.

I have a bit of a problem when people want me to prove that I'm female. There was one player who wanted me to add him on facebook to prove it. Other than sending a stranger lots of pictures of me, adding him on facebook or skyping with him I don't really have a way to convince anyone, but I'm not willing to do any of that if it's a total stranger. So anyone who doesn't believe me that I'm a girl will just stay a "non-believer". It's actually kinda amusing if people think I'm male. :D
I never judged people by look or gender, it's who you are that matters to me.
:clap: You're a good person, Zony.
First of all: Ema, thanks a lot for your contribute.
I can only imagine how it could be to feel discriminated for one's gender EVEN in games
You're welcome. Thankfully I've never been discriminated against because of my gender in real life and most of the stuff I get online is just more attention than normal. It's really not that bad. :)
But it's shocking what some other girls and women out there have to go through. I'm hoping that the UT4 community will be mature....
Where should I start? Men have always been, and will be, physically stronger and more resistant than women, that's crystal clear for all of us to see. On our early development period as a superior race, where there were not as much ethics and moral as now, women were viewed as a weak, foolish counterpart of men, merely as a child-bearing machine and almost as a slave (and this still happens in most Arabic countries). No wonder why, ten thousand years since then, some males behave particularly arrogant with women and in most cases quite disrespectful. IMO, it's all related to self-distrust. There are tons of examples of people who mock and swear at others whom they believe inferior to them, all that to feel somehow powerful. And believe me, I've experienced and experience every day those kinds of behaviour.
I think the problem was that people assumed that "physical inferiority" also translated to "mental inferiority", which is not true. But if you limit the access of girls and women to education, you are only going to reinforce this view that women aren't as smart as men. Thankfully it largely doesn't matter which gender you were born with anymore in the Western world.
P.P.D: I always thought you were a guy because of the name, btw ;)
:lol: Is it the "E-man" part? I had someone call me "e-woman" on the server, so I guess you're not the only one who thinks my name is misleading. It's just the German word for "player name" ("Spielername") backwards. My big bro and I were a bit clueless what we should put as a player name for me back when I was 14 and started playing this game.
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Re: Saying that female objectification in games is bad = thr

Post by Wormbo » Sat 30. Aug 2014, 19:13

Honestly, this is the year 2014. Many countries have female leaders, many armies have female soldiers, quite some big companies have a woman at the top of the organizational structure. Video games have had female characters for a long time already and probably a tiny bit of LGBT here and there. Who the hell do these haters think they are?

I really hope many other communities will follow the games.on.net example and show these bigots the door. Hopefully the UT community is a little more open to this entire topic, as female characters were always present. In fact, the original Unreal game had a female character as default model. (Due to alphabetical order of player models, but nonetheless "Gina" was the default.)
For those who didn't know: Rachel 'Angel Mapper' Cordone, one of the best UT2004/UT3/UDK mappers/modders around, was born as a male. She openly talked about her "final step" in becoming female on the BeyondUnreal Forums without getting any negative feedback in that thread. There are also openly gay players on BUF (I'm not aware of openly lesbian players, but maybe I just didn't see it getting mentioned) and they don't get any more flames than anyone else. ;)