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Damsel In Distress Part 2 / Tropes vs Women in Gaming

TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

I read an article in Google's "Currents" that talked about how hard it is to balance removing offensive content, while at the same time keeping good content that may be controversial from being removed. The article talked about a series of videos under the title of "Tropes vs Women In Video Games"*. Because Google is omnescent, one of these videos came up in my generic YouTube video feed, so I watched it. The video was Damsels In Distress: Part 2 - Tropes vs Women In Video Games. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't a rational discussion of women as they are portrayed in video games. It wasn't even very reactionary. I recommend people watch at least one of these videos.

Anyway, on to the discussion. It seems obvious if you think about it that women are more or less a stage prop in video games, a macguffin to push the male character along and give them a reason for existing in the video game world. There are exceptions, but not too many, especially in big budget games. What struck me was how formulaic and consistent the representations were. My question is whether or not this is necessary. Sure, indie games can break away from the formula, or avoid it entirely, but it seems the bigger budget a game is, the more likely it is to adhere to the woman as a prop mechanic.

Would the gaming public, who is largely male, but with a growing female population accept different formulas and spend as much money on video games if the existing "Damsel" formulas were reversed or abandoned? Would game sales suffer if this mechanic was abandoned?

* The series of videos was mentioned because as soon as they were posted, they were flagged as inappropriate content, removed, and then promptly returned.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

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Comments

  • ScalplessScalpless SnowballvillePosts: 1,396Member Uncommon

    I've watched the first video and think she's completely missing a very important reason why female characters are often weaker than male characters in video games:

    Male gamers tend to identify better with male main characters, so main characters tend to be male. The main character is usually the strongest character, which is why the side characters, including his love interest, are weaker than him. Otherwise, you'd have to wonder why we're not playing as his girlfriend.

    This is why, for example, The Prince is stronger than Farah in Prince of Persia. He's the one you control as a player. The creator of these videos used Farah as an example of a damsel in distress and that's very stupid, because she's one of the most useful sidekicks I've seen in a video game.

  • RusqueRusque Las Vegas, NVPosts: 2,229Member Uncommon

    I do think gamers would continue to support and play games without the women as prop trope.

    We play games for many reasons, but I'm pretty confident in saying that saving the damsel is quite possibly the last reason to play at all.

    No offense to Princess Peach, but I never played Super Mario Bros in order to save her. I played to jump through levels.

     

    The real issue isn't the gaming consumer, it's the writing and the story design by developers who may or may not have ever known an actual real live women. I've said it before and I'll say it again, maybe the video game industry needs to include non-tech people into their game design. Artists, writers, philosophers, whatever. People who don't have a tech background have a different way of thinking and viewing the world (shocking concept I know).

    Some guy who majored in 3D animation brings out the storyboard for their meeting and goes through it, "and here's where our ninja does a backflip over the monster and lands between it and the scantily clad busty damsel in distress and blocks it's attack at the last second right before impaling it! Yeaaaaaahhh cooooooool!"

     

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,680Member Uncommon

    If you went anywhere else with the topic other than Sarkeesian's crap, I would have enjoyed this topic far more.

    In a nutshell, why a woman? Because, if you're going to be leaping lava pits, fighting dragons, staving off hordes of undead, dodging traps and sacrificing everything that your character ever was or ever will be to rescue someone or something, doesn't it make sense to do it out of undying love or noble cause?

    Is there a more compelling reason to go through hell or high water than to save the object (that's the word that the feminists love to latch onto) of your eternal love? The most respected and beloved member of your town/kingdom?

    Would saving a male or an inanimate object have more meaning to a predominantly male audience? Possibly, but you'd need a damn compelling argument for it, and even then you chance losing the impact that the damsel in distress would have. I'm sure there are one or two TV movies on the Lifetime channel where the up-and-coming male is rising to the stars and then he meets a woman who is everything he imagined... or so he thinks. A movie where about 20 minutes in you start to see her true colors, and then by the mid-movie mark she really kicks in the physical and psychological abuse. The unjustly tortured male finds the courage to take the kids and flee her, eternally supported by his best buddy who gave him the courage to break from the chains of this nightmarish prison he was in.

    Yeah, while they could make a movies like that for Lifetime, it seems far more logical to stick to the formula that sells. A formula that sells because the majority of the target audience can identify with it.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Scalpless
    I've watched the first video and think she's completely missing a very important reason why female characters are often weaker than male characters in video games:Male gamers tend to identify better with male main characters, so main characters tend to be male. The main character is usually the strongest character, which is why the side characters, including his love interest, are weaker than him. Otherwise, you'd have to wonder why we're not playing as his girlfriend.This is why, for example, The Prince is stronger than Farah in Prince of Persia. He's the one you control as a player. The creator of these videos used Farah as an example of a damsel in distress and that's very stupid, because she's one of the most useful sidekicks I've seen in a video game.

    I haven't watched the other videos. I just don't have the attention span for that kind of exercise. From what you've said, I'd guess the point of the first video is that in nearly all video games where there are male and female characters, the male character is the protagonist, the male character is also more powerful and the female character is nearly always either helpless, or subordinate to the male character.

    Without getting into the whys and the larger social implications of this, is this a necessary formula to sell video games on the scale of a AAA game? Could Prince of Persia have worked as Princess of Persia, or with mechanics that had the player playing as both the prince and the princess? What if the Princess were the more powerful character, and the Prince was assisting her, rather than having her tag along?

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • ScalplessScalpless SnowballvillePosts: 1,396Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Rusque

    The real issue isn't the gaming consumer, it's the writing and the story design by developers who may or may not have ever known an actual real live women. I've said it before and I'll say it again, maybe the video game industry needs to include non-tech people into their game design. Artists, writers, philosophers, whatever. People who don't have a tech background have a different way of thinking and viewing the world (shocking concept I know).

    Many/most big-budget video games are written by actual writers. One of the most glaring examples of this is Rhianna Pratchett, who has written lots of great video game stories, including the story of the latest Tomb Raider. And yes, she's a woman.

  • ScalplessScalpless SnowballvillePosts: 1,396Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    I haven't watched the other videos. I just don't have the attention span for that kind of exercise. From what you've said, I'd guess the point of the first video is that in nearly all video games where there are male and female characters, the male character is the protagonist, the male character is also more powerful and the female character is nearly always either helpless, or subordinate to the male character.

    Without getting into the whys and the larger social implications of this, is this a necessary formula to sell video games on the scale of a AAA game? Could Prince of Persia have worked as Princess of Persia, or with mechanics that had the player playing as both the prince and the princess? What if the Princess were the more powerful character, and the Prince was assisting her, rather than having her tag along?

     

    Have you seen all the "why do guys make female characters in MMOs?" topics? Some people have real trouble identifying with a female character. I don't know why, exactly. I'm not one of them. My video game characters aren't me, so they can be girls or bears or tentacle monsters for all I care. However, I can say that many of these people aren't sexist. They're just more immersed in their video games and feel weird "being" a girl. The Prince of Persia is a prince because if he were a princess, these people wouldn't want to play the games.

    Playing as the less powerful character often doesn't work gameplay wise, because the more powerful one gets to have more fun. For example, PoP is a platforming game, so the main character has to be the one who does all the platforming, while the sidekick is there mostly for banter.

  • PanzerbasePanzerbase Chicago, ILPosts: 423Member
    Sorry I don't see how being politically correct or a feminist has anything to do with video games, but keep preaching. 
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Rusque
    I do think gamers would continue to support and play games without the women as prop trope.We play games for many reasons, but I'm pretty confident in saying that saving the damsel is quite possibly the last reason to play at all.No offense to Princess Peach, but I never played Super Mario Bros in order to save her. I played to jump through levels. The real issue isn't the gaming consumer, it's the writing and the story design by developers who may or may not have ever known an actual real live women. I've said it before and I'll say it again, maybe the video game industry needs to include non-tech people into their game design. Artists, writers, philosophers, whatever. People who don't have a tech background have a different way of thinking and viewing the world (shocking concept I know).Some guy who majored in 3D animation brings out the storyboard for their meeting and goes through it, "and here's where our ninja does a backflip over the monster and lands between it and the scantily clad busty damsel in distress and blocks it's attack at the last second right before impaling it! Yeaaaaaahhh cooooooool!" 

    I've played through Alan Wake, and until I watched this video, I would not have said the game was about saving the Damsel, because through most of the game I forgot why I was going through all the Darkness. So, I can see how that's the motivation for a character, but at the same time I can see how it's not a motivation for playing the games. I think I would have enjoyed the game just as much if Alan was just trying to get back to his wife, not save her. I think. I can't really be sure because I've never played a game where getting back to the female was the goal rather than saving her.

    Friends of mine have played God of War, and other than a mention of the back story, avenging the wife and child was never really mentioned. They weren't playing the game because the revenge fantasy thing, they were playing it for the game play.

    I can understand a game selling better if it contains something, regardless of the content, but I really wonder if this type of thing has an effect on game sales.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • RusqueRusque Las Vegas, NVPosts: 2,229Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Scalpless
    Originally posted by Rusque

    The real issue isn't the gaming consumer, it's the writing and the story design by developers who may or may not have ever known an actual real live women. I've said it before and I'll say it again, maybe the video game industry needs to include non-tech people into their game design. Artists, writers, philosophers, whatever. People who don't have a tech background have a different way of thinking and viewing the world (shocking concept I know).

    Many/most big-budget video games are written by actual writers. One of the most glaring examples of this is Rhianna Pratchett, who has written lots of great video game stories, including the story of the latest Tomb Raider. And yes, she's a woman.

     

    Yeah I didn't want to keep typing forever, but she's a great example of what can be done with a proper writer. Games are getting better now that developers are slowly realizing the games aren't just for 14 year old boys, but they've still got a long way to go.

  • ScalplessScalpless SnowballvillePosts: 1,396Member Uncommon

    I kind of like these videos, but sometimes she's so over the top. She just called beating up your girlfriend who got possessed by a demon "domestic violence". So what, we're only allowed to beat up possessed males now?

    Originally posted by lizardbones

    I've played through Alan Wake, and until I watched this video, I would not have said the game was about saving the Damsel, because through most of the game I forgot why I was going through all the Darkness. So, I can see how that's the motivation for a character, but at the same time I can see how it's not a motivation for playing the games. I think I would have enjoyed the game just as much if Alan was just trying to get back to his wife, not save her. I think. I can't really be sure because I've never played a game where getting back to the female was the goal rather than saving her.

    Alan Wake spoilers:

     

    The later chapters of AW (I think they were originally DLC, but I played it on PC) actually do focus on getting back to your wife.

  • AIMonsterAIMonster Apopka, FLPosts: 2,059Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    If you went anywhere else with the topic other than Sarkeesian's crap, I would have enjoyed this topic far more.

    In a nutshell, why a woman? Because, if you're going to be leaping lava pits, fighting dragons, staving off hordes of undead, dodging traps and sacrificing everything that your character ever was or ever will be to rescue someone or something, doesn't it make sense to do it out of undying love or noble cause?

    Is there a more compelling reason to go through hell or high water than to save the object (that's the word that the feminists love to latch onto) of your eternal love? The most respected and beloved member of your town/kingdom?

    I agree with you here, but I think the problem is it's predominantly males saving females for this reason.  There are very little instances of the roles being reversed.  Why is it that male protagonist is always saving a female character or having a female character being a prime motivator and not the other way around.

    Would saving a male or an inanimate object have more meaning to a predominantly male audience? Possibly, but you'd need a damn compelling argument for it, and even then you chance losing the impact that the damsel in distress would have. I'm sure there are one or two TV movies on the Lifetime channel where the up-and-coming male is rising to the stars and then he meets a woman who is everything he imagined... or so he thinks. A movie where about 20 minutes in you start to see her true colors, and then by the mid-movie mark she really kicks in the physical and psychological abuse. The unjustly tortured male finds the courage to take the kids and flee her, eternally supported by his best buddy who gave him the courage to break from the chains of this nightmarish prison he was in.

    Yeah, while they could make a movies like that for Lifetime, it seems far more logical to stick to the formula that sells. A formula that sells because the majority of the target audience can identify with it.
    I think the point is the industry should try to break away from that formula because it is sexist.  I know I certainly wouldn't care if roles were reversed and there was a female protagonist who had to save a male character or was motivated by the deaths of her husband and son.  If we truly want to evolve the media then we need to stray away from the usual tropes and sexism.  The average gamer demographic is becoming increasingly female and we should start making more games with strong female protagonists if we want to sell more anyway.  It's an untapped market and a lot of it is due to the extreme sexism in video games driving away potential female gamers.  If the "damsel in distress" was just as often a male as it was a female this would be a non-issue of a trope.
    Also while I'm sure there are plenty of Lifetime movies that have similar concepts to what you've described above, and while I'm not expert, I'm pretty sure there are Lifetime movies that have male protagonist and supporting characters that aren't viewed as negative, weak, victimizers, or victims of abuse.

    I actually figured this was being a bit too hard on games in general and should have mentioned games that try to break the stereotype in more detail, but apparently that's going to be the case in Part 3, so that was an interesting video to watch.  Thanks to the OP for linking it.

    image

    Raptr link because it's the cool new trend:
    image

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    I read an article in Google's "Currents" that talked about how hard it is to balance removing offensive content, while at the same time keeping good content that may be controversial from being removed. The article talked about a series of videos under the title of "Tropes vs Women In Video Games"*. Because Google is omnescent, one of these videos came up in my generic YouTube video feed, so I watched it. The video was Damsels In Distress: Part 2 - Tropes vs Women In Video Games. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't a rational discussion of women as they are portrayed in video games. It wasn't even very reactionary. I recommend people watch at least one of these videos.

    Sometimes called the Gwen Stacey Effect. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WomenInRefrigerators.

    The Perils of Pauline (1914)...a long history. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBJdikQnpzw

    In other words, a not-unique-to-mmos problem, but one to be aware of.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Scalpless
    I kind of like these videos, but sometimes she's so over the top. She just called beating up your girlfriend who got possessed by a demon "domestic violence". So what, we're only allowed to beat up possessed males now? Originally posted by lizardbones I've played through Alan Wake, and until I watched this video, I would not have said the game was about saving the Damsel, because through most of the game I forgot why I was going through all the Darkness. So, I can see how that's the motivation for a character, but at the same time I can see how it's not a motivation for playing the games. I think I would have enjoyed the game just as much if Alan was just trying to get back to his wife, not save her. I think. I can't really be sure because I've never played a game where getting back to the female was the goal rather than saving her.
    Alan Wake spoilers:

     

    The later chapters of AW (I think they were originally DLC, but I played it on PC) actually do focus on getting back to your wife.




    It's not that in a game the player had to punch their girlfriend in the face to free them from the demon, it's that in most games where a character gets possessed by a demon, it's become the case that the possessed is a girlfriend or wife, and they all must be punched in the face or killed in order to be freed. They're just a prop or a plot point.

    Not having been party to or a participant in domestic violence, I can't say I've ever been offended by or even been triggered by stuff like this in video games, but I can see how someone who had been a victim would look at that scenario and have a reaction. Why couldn't the hero kill demon lords, collecting their hearts and use the hearts in a ceremony to free the girlfriend or wife? Why does it have to be a punch to da face, every time? Why does the woman nearly always have to be the victim?

    Or change the context a little bit. Instead of killing the wife or girlfriend, the hero now has to kill their child to "save" them. It's justifiable because the child is possessed, and cannot truly be saved from the demon, only prevented from damning their soul by death. That would certainly have a more emotional impact, but if it's done, it's not done nearly as often, because it crosses a line and would be offensive. Go in the other direction and make it a boyfriend or husband who is the possessed, and it seems less likely that guys would be offended, even if it were a common mechanic. They'd probably be the first ones to hit the A button to kill him.

    I'd like to be clear that I'm not sure violence in video games, regardless of where it happens, how it happens or who it happens to even matters. We're not creating psychokillers with video games, and we're not creating misogynistic monsters either. I'm not even sure I'd go so far as to say we're reinforcing these types of behaviors. There's even some evidence that virtual actions, violent or otherwise can moderate or minimize the behaviors that are so offensive, in which case having them in video games would be beneficial, no matter how offensive some people found them. All of this is well beyond my ability to really discuss in a logical manner. I do think it's good to be aware of these things, even if action isn't necessary or taken. Which is why I post stuff on internet forums. :-)

    Alan Wake:
    I've gotten through the first Alan Wake DLC, and have taken a break before playing the second one to finish the latest Silent Hill. Which is conspicuously absent in the list of Women vs Video Game tropes. Other than mannequins, I don't think there's any violence towards women. The only women in the game pretty much outclass the protagonist and fighting just isn't an option. So it is possible to write a decent game that doesn't use those tropes.

    ** ** **

    tropes tropes tropes tropes tropes tropes tropes

    Gah. I had to get that all out.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    Gah. I had to get that all out.

     

    need kleenex?

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Icewhite
    Originally posted by lizardbones I read an article in Google's "Currents" that talked about how hard it is to balance removing offensive content, while at the same time keeping good content that may be controversial from being removed. The article talked about a series of videos under the title of "Tropes vs Women In Video Games"*. Because Google is omnescent, one of these videos came up in my generic YouTube video feed, so I watched it. The video was Damsels In Distress: Part 2 - Tropes vs Women In Video Games. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't a rational discussion of women as they are portrayed in video games. It wasn't even very reactionary. I recommend people watch at least one of these videos.
    Sometimes called the Gwen Stacey Effect. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WomenInRefrigerators.

    The Perils of Pauline (1914)...a long history. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBJdikQnpzw

    In other words, a not-unique-to-mmos problem, but one to be aware of.




    I'm glad you brought up MMOs. I don't think this is a common MMO trope. At least not in the ones I've played. I suspect that Eastern or Asian MMOs would tend towards these types of things more often, but I could be wrong.

    Anyway, MMOs seem much more balanced. The characters seem to have just as much chance of being a woman as a man, whether they are the victim or the villain. I could be wrong about this too, but again, it certainly seems this way to me.

    It's the single player adventure or rpg games that stick to the "Perils of Pauline" type trope.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • Four0SixFour0Six Missoula, MTPosts: 1,181Member Uncommon

    I find my Libertarian Mantra fits so many places:

    "Don't like it, Don't play it."

    Here again I hear this, "These games are sexist, yet I still LOOOOOOOVE to play them and think they are great.", inhale, "You game developers need to stop making these games I LOOOOOOVE and start to be more tolerant.".

     

    If you think something is wrong, you have NO right to speak against it, if you still engage in that something. Let alone cry out for the rest of society to change. Doing the "right" thing is often not the most enjoyable, comfortable, experience. If you want to change peoples behavior, you first need to change your own.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Four0Six
    I find my Libertarian Mantra fits so many places:"Don't like it, Don't play it."Here again I hear this, "These games are sexist, yet I still LOOOOOOOVE to play them and think they are great.", inhale, "You game developers need to stop making these games I LOOOOOOVE and start to be more tolerant.". If you think something is wrong, you have NO right to speak against it, if you still engage in that something. Let alone cry out for the rest of society to change. Doing the "right" thing is often not the most enjoyable, comfortable, experience. If you want to change peoples behavior, you first need to change your own.

    If you want to discuss video games, you have to play video games. To see the activities they are talking about, and to discuss them intelligently, playing the games is necessary to see everything in context.

    It's also entirely possible to play a game and see both good and bad things about the game, or video games in general. Discussing these things is important, if for no other reason than it's healthy to see things from different perspectives.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • jonrd463jonrd463 Tacoma, WAPosts: 598Member

    This all boils down to a control issue. The premise behind this kind of crap is "I personally feel that X is offensive, therefore no one should be allowed to do X"

     

    I just laugh, shake my head, and go on a spiteful killing spree in whatever GTA game I have installed at the moment.

    "You'll never win an argument with an idiot because he is too stupid to recognize his own defeat." ~Anonymous

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by jonrd463
    This all boils down to a control issue. The premise behind this kind of crap is "I personally feel that X is offensive, therefore no one should be allowed to do X" I just laugh, shake my head, and go on a spiteful killing spree in whatever GTA game I have installed at the moment.

    Do you even understand what's being said here? I'm pretty sure "therefore no one should be allowed to do X" did not happen.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • TheMaahesTheMaahes Marlborough, MAPosts: 185Member
    Originally posted by Scalpless

    I've watched the first video and think she's completely missing a very important reason why female characters are often weaker than male characters in video games:

    Male gamers tend to identify better with male main characters, so main characters tend to be male. The main character is usually the strongest character, which is why the side characters, including his love interest, are weaker than him. Otherwise, you'd have to wonder why we're not playing as his girlfriend.

    This is why, for example, The Prince is stronger than Farah in Prince of Persia. He's the one you control as a player. The creator of these videos used Farah as an example of a damsel in distress and that's very stupid, because she's one of the most useful sidekicks I've seen in a video game.

    I think you hit the nail on the head here. Like she said, it's interactive media. You are playing the main character not a side one and will usually relate more to the one you are physically controlling.

    As for the rest of her video I can't really comment. I've stuck with MMORPGs and RTSs for most of my gaming life with the only game she mentioned that I played was God of War (which is a great title). The fact that she strings all these games together is kinda pushing it, but it did make me realize the frequency with which these general plot lines are used. However, almost every story at it's skeleton is bare; how it's fleshed out is just as important. God of War for example was not about a "patriarchal quest for masculinity". It's underlying tones on the philosophy of war and being a warrior were wonderful, including Ares three rites of passage (the scene where you unknowingly kill your wife & daughter).

  • BeansnBreadBeansnBread PshPosts: 5,503Member Uncommon

    The question for me isn't whether or not these tropes are happening and prevalent, its whether these damsel in distress scenarios are harmful in any way. For me, it eventually comes down to a chicken or the egg argument.

     

    Do males fantasize about saving submissive women because our entertainment culture repeats these ideas over and over again throughout our development or are these stories entertaining because there is something that is natural, possibly born through evolution, in the male psyche that is fascinated with these types of situations? 

     

    If it is natural like I personally suspect, how do you even legitimately address the issue? Is there even an issue to address or should we accept male power fantasies as a natural part of being human? I think it's too convoluted to really come up with answers to questions like these. To me it becomes more of a philosophical argument. In other words, I would never propose that either writers of fiction try to shift away from writing what people apparently want to pay to see and I don't fault others (especially women) for getting upset by the prevalence of these types of tropes. 

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by colddog04
    The question for me isn't whether or not these tropes are happening and prevalent, its whether these damsel in distress scenarios are harmful in any way. For me, it eventually comes down to a chicken or the egg argument.

     

    Do males fantasize about saving submissive women because our entertainment culture repeats these ideas over and over again throughout our development or are these stories entertaining because there is something that is natural, possibly born through evolution, in the male psyche that is fascinated with these types of situations? 

     

    If it is natural like I personally suspect, how do you even legitimately address the issue? Is there even an issue to address or should we accept male power fantasies as a natural part of being human? I think it's too convoluted to really come up with answers to questions like these. To me it becomes more of a philosophical argument. In other words, I would never propose that either writers of fiction try to shift away from writing what people apparently want to pay to see and I don't fault others (especially women) for getting upset by the prevalence of these types of tropes. 



    I don't think the case can be made that these types of things are damaging. Video games do not create psycho killers, and they don't create misogynistic jerks either. That's what the internet is for. I kid. Sort of.

    ** ** **

    Here's the thing. In pretty much every other form of entertainment, there are alternatives to the damsel in distress trope. Women exist as more than props and it makes for good books, television and movies. It seems pretty limited of video games* that the only button they can push in the human brain is the male hero fantasy, which requires the damsel in distress. I think video games are the best example of a free market economy out of anything else in the world, even in China and Russia, but this makes them seem incredibly primitive in comparison to other forms of entertainment.

    * I really think this is limited to single player RPG/Adventure games. MMOs don't seem to have these tropes, or if they do, they offer mirrors of these tropes, while MOBAs and combat simulators don't have enough story and don't seem to care about the sex of the characters.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • Four0SixFour0Six Missoula, MTPosts: 1,181Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by Four0Six
    I find my Libertarian Mantra fits so many places:

     

    "Don't like it, Don't play it."

    Here again I hear this, "These games are sexist, yet I still LOOOOOOOVE to play them and think they are great.", inhale, "You game developers need to stop making these games I LOOOOOOVE and start to be more tolerant.".

     

    If you think something is wrong, you have NO right to speak against it, if you still engage in that something. Let alone cry out for the rest of society to change. Doing the "right" thing is often not the most enjoyable, comfortable, experience. If you want to change peoples behavior, you first need to change your own.



    If you want to discuss video games, you have to play video games. To see the activities they are talking about, and to discuss them intelligently, playing the games is necessary to see everything in context.

    It's also entirely possible to play a game and see both good and bad things about the game, or video games in general. Discussing these things is important, if for no other reason than it's healthy to see things from different perspectives.

     

    I watched her first video in the series. She ends with comments about how much she likes these games, Mario and Zelda, but intones that Princess Toadstool, and Zelda should have games that focus on them as primary characters, almost as repayment for the prior sexism. That is a crap attitude. and I stand by my statements. She wasn't doing research while playing these games, she was playing them because she liked to. Now she wants us to feel bad, and sexist, and rail against developers until they bring equality to their games. If you want moral high ground you have to earn it with high morals. That means if you think a media is sexist, you don't engage in it. You think 50 cent downgrades women, and think it is wrong, you shouldn't buy his albums. Same applies to video games, magazines, movies, books, everything one does. As valid as her points may be, since sounds like a hypocrite when she claims, "You can still enjoy a media, while finding faults", shows little in the way of moral fortitude. It is a total "Do as I say, Not as I do" situation.

  • BeansnBreadBeansnBread PshPosts: 5,503Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by colddog04
    The question for me isn't whether or not these tropes are happening and prevalent, its whether these damsel in distress scenarios are harmful in any way. For me, it eventually comes down to a chicken or the egg argument.

     

     

    Do males fantasize about saving submissive women because our entertainment culture repeats these ideas over and over again throughout our development or are these stories entertaining because there is something that is natural, possibly born through evolution, in the male psyche that is fascinated with these types of situations? 

     

    If it is natural like I personally suspect, how do you even legitimately address the issue? Is there even an issue to address or should we accept male power fantasies as a natural part of being human? I think it's too convoluted to really come up with answers to questions like these. To me it becomes more of a philosophical argument. In other words, I would never propose that either writers of fiction try to shift away from writing what people apparently want to pay to see and I don't fault others (especially women) for getting upset by the prevalence of these types of tropes. 



    I don't think the case can be made that these types of things are damaging. Video games do not create psycho killers, and they don't create misogynistic jerks either. That's what the internet is for. I kid. Sort of.

    ** ** **

    Here's the thing. In pretty much every other form of entertainment, there are alternatives to the damsel in distress trope. Women exist as more than props and it makes for good books, television and movies. It seems pretty limited of video games* that the only button they can push in the human brain is the male hero fantasy, which requires the damsel in distress. I think video games are the best example of a free market economy out of anything else in the world, even in China and Russia, but this makes them seem incredibly primitive in comparison to other forms of entertainment.

    * I really think this is limited to single player RPG/Adventure games. MMOs don't seem to have these tropes, or if they do, they offer mirrors of these tropes, while MOBAs and combat simulators don't have enough story and don't seem to care about the sex of the characters.

    There are alternatives in gaming. Actually, I would say she just took the worst offenders and because there are just so damned many games to pull from that it seemed like a lot. It does seem a bit disingenuous I suppose. Here are just a select few off the top of my head:

    Civilization

    Minecraft

    Pac-Man

    King's Bounty

    Gran Tourismo

    Almost all sports games

    Portal

    Metroid

     

    I could literally do this for another 4 hours. Even games with in depth narratives like:

    Elder Scrolls games

    Dragon Age

    Mass Effect

    Shadow of the Colossus

    Half Life 2

     

    You get the point. I think that it's not quite as regular as you might think based on what she presented. It does happen a lot, but it's not so different than TV, film or books in that regard.

  • RaysheRayshe London, ONPosts: 1,284Member

    Ok ill start this off by making a statement, i am female, i am a girl. that way people know which side i'm coming from.

     

     

    Next, Having a girl in the damsel in distress role is not a bad thing. Its a character type, there is no problem with that. The only time it becomes an issue is when the damsel is the only type of woman in the game. There are Damsels in distress in the real world, not every girl is Ada Wong. The problem then lies when you have a Copy and paste for every female in the game. At that point i'm still not gonna call it sexist. i'm gonna call it poor writing. Character Design is not difficult, if you need to copy and paste a entire gender the same way then you shouldn't be writing for entertainment. Luckily its rare that it happens that way, Because usually there are Damsels, however there are also Strong fighter type girls as well. If there isn't a cast big enough to have both then i'm still not angered about the damsel thing. Its only on large ensamble casts that it can become an issue. It also usually isnt one. 

    Because i can.
    I'm Hopeful For Every Game, Until the Fan Boys Attack My Games. Then the Knives Come Out.
    Logic every gamers worst enemy.

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