Valcifer Speaks: "Tropes VS. Women" question
Since I have no way of directly contacting Anita Sarkeesian to ask her this question I will ask it and give my justification and post it under the proper tags for tumblr to mull over and respond to. Keep in mind I am in no way attempting to attack Sarkeesian and have no interest in being…
Not all videogames put women in problematic roles, of course, but there’s still a large quantity that do, and to point that out is what these videos are for, to keep mentioning exceptions at lenght gives the impression it all cancels out, when it doesn’t.
I saw the following analogy on a blog post about racism, instead of trying to explain why the amount racism that exists should be considered a problem, the man just said: think I hand you a milkshake and I tell you it’s delicious, but there’s one minor thing, it’s 10% shit. You wouldn’t think the majority is still good so there’s no problem, you’d think that’s too much shit on my shake, any amount of shit is too much.
I see your point but I also don’t think that making 3 sub-par videos that people can easily argue against are going to help anything. When I say this I don’t mean to regurgitate the statements of more offensive people but the best way to make your point to the community is to make a game that fits the ideal you are striving for and see if it actually ends up good. What would be wrong with working to create a game that would be gender neutral rather than complaining to the industry to do so?
It would be completely right, not wrong, as far as that we both agree. But you see, Sarkeesian is a pop culture critic, she criticises all sorts of media, the entire idea behind her vlog, as you can watch on “feminism in focus”, is to help educate people about media and the common patterns in it that can be offensive and why that is. If she had to contribute to every medium she “complains” about, she’d have to have made games, comic books, books and movies by now. And it’s not like these “ideal” games aren’t being made: Tomb raider was released and a next one is in the workings, The legend of Iya just got funded, and I’m sure many more after these.
Then if the change is already being made (as was stated in my original post by the way), then why do we need Sarkeesian to point out the “issues” in the first place? The way I see it, if you pull the rug out from under a puppy learning to walk it is going to fall down again. It is the same thing. Criticising an industry that is already changing to be more gender equal will ultimately lead to that industry becoming less gender equal in the opposite way. There will be more women than men in games. If feminists are truly for equality they wouldn’t be saying “We need more women in games” they would be saying “Gender opporotunities should be equal in games”. Not “We need more female protagonists” but “We should be able to choose the gender of our protagonist”. Do you get what I’m saying?
I get what you’re saying except for “Criticising an industry that is already changing to be more gender equal will ultimately lead to that industry becoming less gender equal in the opposite way.” I just don’t visualise how that’s supposed to work? And just by adding female protagonists, or the suggestion of doing that, doesn’t imply that there will be more than men, we have way fewer fps than mps, we can keep adding more and more and it would take years to get it even.
Yes, but the way I see internet feminism working in the modern day, as long is there is even one more male protagonist than female, there will be complaints. If things are not exactly equal someone will throw out accusations of the video game industry being a rape culture and a patriarchy (both things that were said by Sarkeesian that are blatantly false). As I said before there is no justification for demanding the exact opposite to what you want just because it suits you personally. The better option would be the one of choice for the player. The player should not be forced to play as either gender or as any particular race and that opinion has been popularized and reflected in the industry in the form of character customization screens. To further drive my point most people want to see their ideal person as the lead character. Many people would choose to make a character that looks and acts like they do in real life. I personally, as a gay man, like to see what I view as my ideal man as the protagonist (coincidentally Link comes very close). Then there are straight men who want to see a badass woman go through all the shit a man could and take down all the monsters and finish the qust line, so they make a character that reflects that. Not everything is black and white. There are millions of men who want to play as women just as bad as many female gamers do, so instead of complaining that a particular game doesn’t have a female lead they play one that does or that can have one. It is that simple. Games are for enjoyment, not political or social views. That is the nature of the beast. Videogames don’t care about the gender of the person playing them or the gender of the protagonist. We do.
The way you look at modern feminism seems to be built on speculation, I don’t see the evidence that complaining about how girls make 15% of the protagonists is the same as complaining regardless… I’d also like the link for what you claim Anita said.
“As I said before there is no justification for demanding the exact opposite to what you want just because it suits you personally.”
Of course not, but where did this come from? People are asking what they want, not the opposite.
“The better option would be the one of choice for the player. The player should not be forced to play as either gender or as any particular race and that opinion has been popularized and reflected in the industry in the form of character customization screens.”
Sure. And that can coexist with videogames that have a specific protagonist…
You have a thing for elfs huh? I agree with the rest except the old entertainment card. There is no reason videogames should be content free and meaningless. Besides, you expressed concern that if feminists got what they want, there’d be less men than women protagonists, and now you basically say no one should pay attention to anything in videogames because they’re supposed to be for enjoyment. That’s not consistent, either it matters and it would bother you to see female dominance, or it’s all inconsequential and so why should you care regardless of which gender dominates?
What Anita said can easily be found be watching the three “Damsel in Distress” videos she made. I never said I was directly quoting her, she prettied up her language more than I bothered to but that is what she said.
Your second point is derived from a typo what I meant to say was “there is no justification for demanding the opposite of what you complain about because it suits you personally” I am tired, sue me.
Yes they can co-exist but the point is that if there are plenty of games that either have exclusively female protagonists or games that let you choose your protagonist then there is no point in arguing that the industry is imbalanced. There are plenty of games to play that do not have a male protagonist that are actually extremely fun.
As for your statement about “Elves” (you made a typo, just saying) I would choose to disregard it because it has no bearing on the argument but yea I like the way elves are traditionally portrayed as regal and beautiful people. I like that. If you are an orc or goblin person awesome, go you.
As for your last statement I was not expressing concern for there ever being a lack of male protagonists. What I was saying is that if people constantly lash out at the gaming industry for having male protagonists then they will stop making them and the opposite will be true. There needs to be balance in all things. The video game industry is a self-righting mechanism and will align itself with what people want given time. It does not need to be forced to change because it is a young media with little to no real traditions. There are no hard set rules for video game creators to follow. They can do what they want.