: Gaming Is Witnessing A Female Revolution

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Gaming Is Witnessing A Female Revolution

First, let me just say one thing:

In all forms of fantasy, there is exaggeration based on deeply entrenched ideas of desire and beauty.

While it's certainly true that females are objectified far more often in all walks of life, including entertainment, it'd be wrong to think male characters are immune. The Duke Nukem character model was just as impossible and insulting as the original Lara Croft model, and grizzled lantern-jawed, ridiculously muscular men dominated gaming heroes for decades.

That being said, let's focus on the strides female characters have taken in the world of interactive entertainment. There are countless examples it seems. The revamped Lara arguably leads the charge but there are many, many other women characters that are starting to break all previous molds. So, what are we seeing now? Women that are admittedly pretty, even beautiful, but they're not impossibly built; the new Lara and other characters don't look like the DoA girls. These new ladies are young and healthy but otherwise, they're not absurdly proportioned. Most importantly, they exist to help drive a solid narrative; they're important characters with brains, ambition, and interesting personalities.

Think about the great female characters we've seen over the past six or seven years. There's Elena in the Uncharted series, in my memory one of the first women in games that actually seemed real. That really got the ball rolling; now, we've got Elise from Assassin's Creed Unity, Faith in Mirror's Edge (the new adventure is coming soon), the amazing women of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and more are coming down the pike. For example, we'll be able to play as Emily in Dishonored 2. Ellie in The Last Of Us? Amanda Ripley in Alien: Isolation? Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite? The list goes on and on.

In The Witcher 3, there are several hugely important female characters that are amazing in more ways than one. I don't remember playing a major game with so many integral women and even more incredibly, they all have distinctly different personalities, they all add something meaningful to the narrative, and yeah, they're all gorgeous. But again, not in a way that makes you roll your eyes. It's more of an exotic accessibility in my estimation and besides, their personalities are what you remember. The bottom line is that I don't think this is a time for complaining; I think it's a time for celebration.

7/17/2015 Ben Dutka

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 12:03:38 AM
Reply

That's what made doughnut drake funny, he was a fatty. Like, ya know, most of my fellow Americans. We need more "no muscles" heroes like Cloud and Dante. Huge phallic weapons and no need for the muscles to hold them :)

Anyhow I'm glad Horizon didn't get dumbed down to a brute male protagonist. I like to play as the womenfolk, it's just more fun. The fact that they often look ideal is just a function of entertainment.

...I love Michelle Rodriguez, she's hot and yet not hot, but she kicks ass, and that's hot. Ya dig?

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Cideus
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 3:39:38 AM

Michelle Rodriguez is badass, but I prefer Milla Jovovich. Damn sexy ass kicker.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 1:47:42 PM

She's hot and kicks ass, but she needs some boobage :)

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Bonampak
Sunday, July 19, 2015 @ 10:53:34 PM

#WorldEndsWithMe - Mo' boobage? Will you settle for manboobs instead?

You are asking for more porkers in games, after all ;)

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Corvo
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 3:19:33 AM
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Yet I will always choose to play as a male being that I, myself, am a male. Not only that, I have never cared or noticed a lack of good female characters growing up. I listed them once before so I won't bother with it again. Nothing wrong with making pretty girls be cool, strong and intelligent.

Also, the DOA girls have no personality. Comparing them to a girl like Lara Croft isn't fair at all.

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JonnyR
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 8:26:49 AM

I agree, I usually default to play male in a game with character customisation cause i want to make the character look like an ideal version of myself, but thats just personal preference. Any other game with an established character i play irregardless of gender, i just dont care. Nobody cares!
Ive been playing female charcters in games since the early 90s! Still, anyway interesting characters in games yes developers please continue.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 1:49:07 PM

Not true. Christy is a total bitch.

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 6:28:40 AM
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I agree. Let's not forget femshep either.

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ethird1
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 7:14:07 AM
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Many women have big boobs. I get sick and tired of feminists who whine every time a game maker makes a female character with big bouncing boobs. But then again, the new Lara Croft ain't hurting if you get my drift. Huh huh!

Feminists suck. 99% of all feminists need a man and exert themselves like ninny poos because of their lack thereof. Most feminists have small boobs. Coincidence? I. Think. Not.

End of line.

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Bio
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 10:43:23 AM

You hate feminists, but your attitude is exactly why feminism exists to begin with.

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 1:32:06 PM

What a sad, patetic post.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 2:05:06 PM

I like feminists, which is why I hate Amy Schumer.

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Bonampak
Sunday, July 19, 2015 @ 11:04:35 PM

I like big boobs. But I would also like to see women with big boobs in games to have a waist big enough to fit some internal organs inside. And not look as if Rod "Worst Comic Book Artist of all time" Liefeld had created them.

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JonnyR
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 8:50:44 AM
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Id like to come a celebrate with you Ben, but the complaining isnt going to stop, never! theres always gonna be another "problematic" issue to throw in your face, another offensive gesture, another racist this, another sexist that.
There are people out there earning a livelyhood from complaining, they have no vested interest in things getting better because then they would have nothing to say.
sorry for being pessimistic.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 10:14:02 AM

Sadly, that isn't pessimistic. It's realistic. :(

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 2:09:42 PM

The hair on fire people do make it tough for folks who want to address real inequality that hurts people.

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Bonampak
Sunday, July 19, 2015 @ 11:08:06 PM

Well of course that is realistic.

People have been complaining about stuff since before the Bible was written. And the good book itself is full to the brim of complainers (including God himself) who are not happy with how things are.

I don't see how people expect it to stop. Its human nature. It'll stop when we're ALL gone.

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JackC8
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 1:58:34 PM
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Male's are objectified every bit as much as women - have you ever seen an advertisement, TV show, movie or video game that had a male that was a less than perfect physical specimen? Hell half the characters in video games have arms the size of Hulk Hogan. I'm so sick of this namby pamby political correctness nonsense where nobody's satisfied unless they can claim to have been victimized.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 2:08:26 PM

Fully agreed. I don't even buy the premise that women get it worse. It's just that nobody even notices the images young men need to live up to because there's this narrative that men can't be oversexualized (a myth if you ever saw David Beckham in anything) and/or that as men we aren't able to talk about it or we sound like whiney babies.

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Nerull
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 2:26:46 PM

According to most feminists, those things only count as sexist when it happens to women.
Men supposedly can't experience problems because the patriarchy makes male life 100% fantastic all the time.

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Bio
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 2:40:56 PM

A TV show where the man was not a perfect specimen? Hmm, I'll try.

Home Improvement
Seinfeld
Everybody Loves Raymond
According to Jim
King of Queens
Yes Dear
Big Bang Theory
Roseanne
Frasier
All in the Family
Taxi

I'd keep going but I don't have literally all day to waste on examples. All of those shows have unattractive, fat and/or bald men in the title role. Most of those shows have that man married to a hot wife who's also a miserable shrew. There are entire pages at TV Tropes dedicated to this trend that you apparently missed.

There is also a huge difference between male wish fulfillment (letting us play as jacked dudes with biceps larger than small cars) and objectifying women by portraying them as sex pots.

When women try to point this out, the male gamer community responds with death and rape threats. The casual, more benign ignorance on display in these comments actually passes as enlightened in comparison.



Last edited by Bio on 7/18/2015 2:46:51 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 3:43:13 PM

@Bio yes there are exceptions, the shows with fat/ugly men and hot wives are a function of patriarchal control over popular culture. They want to normalize that in the eyes of the audience. It works with comedy.

When it's really time to make money they are as happy to put out Magic Mike as they are... well... oh yeah there aren't movies about female strippers any more.

Being followed by billboards of exploited young white men or playing as hulking Gorilla men isn't wish fulfillment for me but yes it is where they go.

Where they go with women in games is that same kind of idea. It is us who make the jump from large breasted and scantily clad to "sex pot". That's just what we do. We shouldn't buy into the myth that women aren't as sexual as us, when they see ideal half nekkid men they likely have thoughts too.

The difference is the guys in games aren't made to please women, they are just Hollywood safe bets for sales. That doesn't preclude them from being a continuation of systemic displays of hypermasculinity.

It's a function of culture that sexy women are mainly valued for their sexuality and sexy men are mainly valued for their womanizing ability (James Bond for instance), or Nathan Drake even.

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Bio
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 4:31:36 PM

Those shows are not exceptions, they were the rule for decades and the trope still persists today, though it's thankfully dying out.

I agree, World, it's a 'function of culture', if that means it is a byproduct of who is creating the pop culture in question. That's a problem, though, not an excuse. When white men are creating or producing 99% of the entertainment we consume, it's only natural that said entertainment is inherently misogynistic and racist. It doesn't have to be blatant to exist, or be a problem, either.

The Bechdel Test does a pretty good job of illustrating the problem. To pass this simple test a movie only needs to have two female characters who talk to each other about anything other than a man.

Famous movies that fail this test include Star Wars (yes all of them), The Lord of the Rings (all of these, too), Avatar, Rocky, The Social Network, and about 40% of all movies so I'm not going to type them all out.

Hollywood can't even simulate women as real people with interests other than men almost half the time, and that's a problem.

Likewise with games, we still have a vast majority that treat women as nothing but sex objects or damsels in need of our manly heroics or both. Male characters are idealized, sure, but they're idealized in a way that flatters us by exaggerating strength, intelligence, integrity, and bravery, not by having dudes walking around with dongs the size of small trees.

Most people whining about 'social justice warriors' are, unsurprisingly, white dudes. The one demographic that is never underrepresented in media, the one demographic that isn't routinely defined by their physical measurements.

You can say this isn't a problem, but that's only because it's not your problem. But what if the vast majority of entertainment portrayed white men as nothing but dumb sex machines who constantly needed saving by women, if they were portrayed at all?

You think that might get annoying after awhile?

Last edited by Bio on 7/18/2015 4:35:45 PM

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Oxvial
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 11:42:52 PM

I agree even on Comics Nightwing (Dick Grayson) is more sexualised than Catwoman lol!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 19, 2015 @ 1:30:29 AM

I could do without ever hearing the word "trope" again.

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Bonampak
Sunday, July 19, 2015 @ 11:28:58 PM

"Male's are objectified every bit as much as women"

It does happen for sure.

But as often as it happens to women? Not even close.

I mean seriously, how can anybody over a certain age and who is exposed to most media (TV/print) say that with a straight face?

Lets not kid ourselves with how things really are. Sex sells and that is the damn truth. And 8 times out of 10, its a FEMALE model doing the selling when it comes to that.

I don't agree with either of the extremists (feminists/MRA advocates). Because they both have an agenda and hyperbole is usually their preferred means to get a point across.

So why don't we just live and let live? We still have our DOA games with girls with big tatas. And they got their kickass female protags.

So why are we complaining about anything here? We should all be happy that we have what we want.

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JonnyR
Monday, July 20, 2015 @ 10:57:30 AM

I too am tired of the ongoing "oppression olympics" that is growing in society today. I think the fundemental thing that is constantly misinterpreted, is human nature.
we're very visualy minded creatures, when we see something we like our brain tells us "thats nice!" or "i want that" but some groups (who consider themselves feminists, i state i fully understand not all feminists are alike or believe the same things)put forward the absurd notion that when a man sees an attractive women, he sees a Chocolate Bar. he just wants to take the wrapper off and devour it. These people skew human social interaction and sexuality to make it something dirty and shameful, they have a twisted world view.
When you see beautiful men and women on billboards, tv shows, movies, youre not seeing objectification. youre seeing idealisation and aspiration, but of course people disagree on whats aspirational and ideal and so we find ourselves here!

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Lone Wanderer
Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 9:37:14 PM
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A futa-female revolultion maybe.(wink) Everyday they're getting more popular while the average female gets left by the wayside.

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warezIbanez
Monday, July 20, 2015 @ 3:46:32 AM
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Eh, I'm pretty sure there were a lot of female protagonists coming out from '99 to 2000. Don't get me wrong, I think having various characters is a good thing, but I wouldn't applaud these developers for being so 'progressive' and whatnot.

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Neo_Aeon666
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 @ 12:45:39 PM
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I'm not satisfied with western companies. They are bending to the demands of small groups that don't even play games.

A game is a place where you escape reality. You see things you don't see and you do things you can't do. I like it when a game contains a few over the top charismatic women. Now recently released games are trying to please a crowd that likes to feel offended about just about anything and they are making women look average or bad in games...

By comparison, we still have bulky and muscular guys and we don't care. Even if they are impossible in proportion we just think they are cool and probably aspire to looking like that. Just saddens me that they are trying to make women game characters look like even worse than what we see in the streets! I live in Montreal and 90% of the women in the street completely destroy any women in the new dragon age for example.

So yeah please stop listening to those groups that have a boring life and only like to complain about every little thing they will ever see. They are not people who enjoy escaping reality, they are lowly people who like to think their life is miserable and are trying their best for everyone around them to also have a miserable life. Because in the end I stopped playing Dragon Age and probably won't buy the next effort and I am now starting to be disgusted as soon as I see a developer trying to please those crowds of non-gamers.

Also you probably noticed but any developer that will try to please them will likely be bitten back at the smallest little detail in the game that could from the most extreme angle look like it could maybe at 1% look like it takes advantage of a woman in a situation lol ...

Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 7/21/2015 12:51:05 PM

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