Friday, 29 November 2013

Friday Musings: Women in Games


I started writing this last week, when I read the Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Nathan Grayson's article Re: That Heroes Of The Storm Interview. It is an interesting piece worth reading, where the writer argues about highly sexualized females in games. The inspiration for the post gave him his interview with Dustin Browder, game Director of Heroes of the Storm. But as I continued with my writing I realised there is no point in writing a response to his post, because, well it is meaningless.

My own post in meantime continued to grow, so instead disagreeing with the author of the interview as I do, I will try and present the role women have in games. More than that, I will try to present my own view on their role in games. This might stir some reaction from people, some might disagree, other might vehemently oppose. Rare few might even agree with me. I would not have it any other way. I would not be able call myself a philosopher if I wrote this just to please the public eye.

But let us leave good old philosophical tradition, school of Cynicism, philosophical arrogance, and search for parrhesia for some other time. A secret desire of every philosopher is to become parrhesiastes. But the question, can you be parrhesiastes if you are willing to be one is to be answered some other time. Let us focus on women, and games.

All men are created equal. Before white knights and radical feminists jump at this, the word men, includes both genders. They are all created equal, but this is where equality ends. We are all equal in our frailty when we are brought to this world. From thereon, it is every man for himself. Blame it on the idiom, not me. We cannot choose, or maybe we can, but we cannot recall it, how, where or as what we are born. But it is expected of us, to still make the best out of it.

Plato argued in his Republic, that while every man. Yes, every man, but let us leave that aside even if in Plato's text this means only males. And even among males, only those that are free and have rights. Women in Plato's time did not have much rights. The best position had women in Sparta, as they were seen as mothers of the future warriors, thus they were given respect they were due. They had to maintain their physical condition. If anyone is unfamiliar with what that means, it is not diets, and all sorts of maintaining weight, it is through athletics.

Women in Sparta were training, running. For much of their childhood, they were treated same as the boys. Spartan men preferred to pick a wife based on her character and fitness, than on her dowry. Let us get back to Plato, before we lose ourselves in a kingdom where two kings ruled at the same time, and did so without disputing one another. Sparta, truly is a magnificent country.

Plato argued, and now I am repeating myself, that every man can do everything by himself. But this makes him poor. The man is wasting time. It is not the ability to do everything on your own that makes you prosper. If a man is to prosper, he needs to join with others. They need to divide the work among them. They need to specialise. Some are better crafters, other better farmers, one might be magnificent blacksmith, and so on. Everyone focuses just on one job. Nobody is jack of all trades.


And this can be applied even on today's society. Maybe today even more than in the past. Plato's polis was replaced by modern corporations, but everything else is the same. Everyone has their role to play, maybe this role is not one you chose, but it is one you are given. Even in theatre there is only one main character and twenty supporting ones. I could go on and on with this, but I would only go further and further from the topic I set to discuss.

There is no need for women in games to be represented to the same degree as men are. Yes they need to be better represented, but I would argue it is better not have something, than have something broken in a game. Let us just take for example cash shops in MMO games. If there is no cash shops, people will complain that game is grindy, and that it could have more things to do besides mindless slaughter of thousands upon thousands of rats. But if the game has cash shop, the focus will shift. People will not complain how grindy the game is, but how the developers are trying to abuse the goodwill of the players with the cash shop. How they want people to pay for something that is broken, and should be fixed, How they are exploiting the players with selling experience boosts and such.

This is why it is sometimes better not to have a female character, or protagonist if you know you cannot do it well. It is about the damage control. Some people might complain why there is no female character in the game, but nobody will rage over how exploitative the studio is toward females, or how badly female protagonist is written.

I also dislike the depiction of women in fantasy games. I hate what developers do with armours when women wear them. My soul is torn apart every single time I see a stupid design of an armour that is meant only to sexualise the woman wearing it. And "this is fantasy, not reality" is no argument at all. Just because you can throw fireball in that world, does not mean that somebody fell on his head and thought it was good idea to leave the thighs and breastbone area wide open for women models, while covering the men properly.

There is also the matter that women must look different in armour than man. Armour is military. Military does not give a damn about what women look like. They are given same equipment as men. A woman in armour will look no different than a man would. No, there is no special armour to cover her breasts in a manner that would still make it possible to differentiate between the two. If anything, armour should be blurring the lines, making it impossible to differentiate between man and woman in it.

It irks me, drives me crazy when I see shit like that. The hole in the middle of an armour is a weakspot of an armour. Because of that, armour is not an armour any longer, it is just a deadweight that prevents you from escaping the danger. Not to mention high heels. Or the two paired. Now I will admit I like some parts of liberty the developers take with armours in games. For starters, I always hide the helmet on my character. I like seeing his face, even though most of the time I am watching the back of his head.

What bothers me, is the dual nature of people. It is hypocrisy. How can someone, who claims to fight for equality criticise a game like X Blades, but not criticise God of War? Why is it not acceptable to have a female protagonist in skimpy clothes, but it is perfectly fine when Kratos prances around only in his skirt? Where is equality here? How come we do not hear about the oversexualised male characters in games? There are to be sure many, if not most of them.


Why is it fine for male characters to be hypersexualised, but not acceptable for women? Where is equality here? Where is the connection between the average gamer, or for that average person and the bloody mountain of muscles that are your stock heroes in games? Why is it perfectly fine to objectify a man's body, but a heresy to do the same with woman?

Nathan Grayson pushed Browder into defencive because he was looking for a fight. Browder opted not to give him anything to bite at, and so Grayson took what he could get. How can Browder dare say that women equality is a topic for presidency debate, is what reads from Grayson's article. Grayson was the one who blew it out of proportion. I would always argue that games are art. More likely, games are a medium that has a potential to become art. But just because a game can be art, does not mean every game is art. And this is what Browder tells him. That they make games to entertain. If you do not like it, do not play it.

Take the same approach you do with other forms of art. Dismiss it and move on. Do not brood over it. A person would think that after two thousand years women would be glad that for once, they are the focus of all our attention. That we as society admire them and want to know them. In art for more than two thousand years it was a man's body that was thought as ideal. It was man's body that was drawn everywhere, and made into statues. Why is it so wrong to objectify a woman after more than two thousand years of objectification of man?

Let us focus on the real problem in games, one that affects ten percent of all humans, by that I would think at least ten percent of the gamers as well. When will I be able to hold a sword or a gun in your average MOBA, RPG, or FPS in a left hand. I am sick and tired of having a weapon pushed in my right hand. This is obvious tyranny and discrimination against lefthanders. And nobody even gives a flying finger about it. I want more lefthanders in my games.

If you think the last paragraph was silly, ask yourself why is argument about equality about women in games not silly as well.

16 comments:

  1. https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=2403-ODHL-6357

    You're welcome. Now back to everyone's regularly scheduled thoughts about men and women. :)

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  2. You know I started off enjoying some of the article and even agreeing with a few points, but then it all kinda went wrong! :) It's a worthy topic, but the questions are old. A quick Google could have helped. You seem like a well-meaning, intelligent person who values knowledge.

    You say representation matters, yet you follow-up by arguing that it's OK to not represent half the human race if the artist can't do it "properly". You're implying that males are this default mold that anyone can create without screwing it up while females are this complex, dramatically different race of humans who require some kind of expertise. Many of the best characters in games happen to be women and chances are great there wasn't an Woman Expert on the dev team. What makes you draw this conclusion?

    Also the comment box isn't acting right so ...

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    1. I did not intend it to come across this way. Males are by no means a default setting. It not OK not to represent half the human race, but it still is better not to represent them, than represent them poorly. In this poor representation belong those hypersexualized women as well. The gaming industry, is one currently still driven by males. While some can and do write exceptional female characters, others do not. Why that is, we can only guess.

      We write what we know. This is the default. If the writer does not know how to write a female, he will generally prefer to write a male. Because it is easier for him. Not because he hates women, but because he likes to stick with what he knows. At the end though it all boils down to statistics. Because there are more men than women in the industry, we get more male characters out of it. And this might only get better with passage of time, as more female writers join the games industry.

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    2. A bad writer only writes about what they know... a good one attempts to understand.
      In the end there is only so far ignorance can go as justification

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  3. When you argue that these aren't "real problems" you're doing two things that perhaps feminists would object to: 1) you're dismissing their point of view out of hand and 2) you're asserting that you, a man, gets to define what a "real problem" is. You're also asserting that you have the authority to frame the terms of the debate as well as what should be debated at all.

    "All men are created equal" was a phrase coined by men and you can bet your ass they had men in mind when they said it (not women and not any class of creature they decided weren't human enough). Context is everything, because this phrase has referred to those with dicks in practice.

    You say Kratos is sexualized, but nothing could be further from the truth. We have to start with this fact: male and female characters alike, in video games, are made for men. They are made to appeal to a straight, male audience. Kratos was made for gamers like me. He is a male power fantasy, as are all half dressed babarian types in games. Please read the article here on it for the sake of discussion: http://www.trredskies.com/evolving-the-sexes-2/

    Furthermore, equality doesn't mean symmetrical treatment, especially if that treatment is horrible on it's own. So when you ask for sexualized men and women in equal parts, what are you really saying? Also, "creative freedom" isn't license to do what we want to others in the name of "art" and it's a cop out for those who say so. Art is subject to criticism the same as anything else, and artists can definitely get it wrong.

    Grayson pushed no one nowhere. Blizzard was *finally* challenged on their egregious sexualization of everything female in all of their franchises ...and they were caught utterly unprepared. This topic has been circling the industry for AT LEAST the past two years and to think that they had been hoping to continue to dodge it says a lot of not very flattering things about them. Browder's responses were heinous because they were just oozing with sheer ignorance and privilege. We all *know* that the stance of Blizzard is that they will do what they think is "cool" and "fun" without regard for these issues because, hey, that stuff's for presidents! To blame Grayson for Browder's ignorance is more than unfair.

    To wrap this up, I would just ask you -- Mr. Philosopher -- to pick up some books by philosophers who aren't men (and who aren't european for that matter) and take them seriously. You don't get to decide how women should feel about your admiration of them, that they should be flattered. You don't get to decide that women should feel good about being objectified, because hey! men did it to themselves! If you truly believe representation matters, I don't see how you can sit here and advocate for objectification.

    If men don't like objectification, we are certainly free to protest. But to condemn others for protesting the things they don't like just because we sit on our asses tolerate the things we don't, is just called being a hater. Don't be a hater :) But seriously, I'd really like to hear your response and understand why you haven't looked these issues up for yourself.

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    1. I did not intend it to come across this way. Males are by no means a default setting. It is not OK not to represent half the human race, but it still is better not to represent them, than represent them poorly. In this poor representation belong those hypersexualized women as well. The gaming industry, is one currently still driven by males. While some can and do write exceptional female characters, others do not. Why that is, we can only guess.

      We write what we know. This is the default. If the writer does not know how to write a female, he will generally prefer to write a male. Because it is easier for him. Not because he hates women, but because he likes to stick with what he knows. At the end though it all boils down to statistics. Because there are more men than women in the industry, we get more male characters out of it. And this might only get better with passage of time, as more female writers join the games industry.

      When I argue this is not a "real problem" I am not doing it from a viewpoint of a man. I am doing it form a viewpoint of a lefthander. And this was meant to stir a reaction. To make people ask themselves, why is it fine to fight for equality of women, but dismiss the plea of a lefthanders for the same treatment. I can argue like that, because I believe women and man ARE equal. And I treat them as such.

      I would argue that while yes, men in "All men are created equal" did mean men in original, it did not intend to segregate women. That is because women, and their rights, were at the time their last concern, if a concern at all. And because, they were given no thought, women can be without any problem in these days be included in this, all men are created equal. It could for all that matters say, all humans are created equal. There is no difference, meaning remains the same.

      I agree about Kratos, he is there to appeal to male audience. There is not much to add here. This argument was a reference to Grayson's article, where he went on about relatable characters, and a place to belong to. I would say that the place anyone should look for belonging is inner family circle, not games. In games, you look for the fulfilment of fantasies. To be a knight in the shining armour, a great wise king, powerful magician, an amazon riding a dragon, or whatever else you always dreamt about.

      I would argue that games as a medium have great potential to become art. Hell, some games already are considered art, and probably much more will be in future. With that said, not all games are art. Art is a subject to criticism, but the criticism itself will not help in any case. Once the work is complete it can be judged but should not be changed. The artwork is out there to stand the test of time. The critique only serves as an advice to the creator, what can be improved.

      Entertainment is the other side of the coin the games consist of. I would argue, that right now more games aim to entertain, or please, than make a statement as a singular piece of art. As such, they should not be taken seriously. You do not take seriously a stand-up comedian, a steamy romance novel, or some new pop song. The games that aim to entertain, are there just for that. They can be criticised, but what good would ever come of that. The critique is wasted, as it does not have any weight, because the author does not pay any attention to it.

      They are there to please the audience, and as long as the audience is satisfied they will do as they did until now. Once the audience is gone, they will change. Voting with your wallet is the surest way of making a corporation, as this is what they are, listen. Because they care for their bottom line. They do not care for opinions of individuals, and vocal minority.

      Too many words, so I need to continue in another reply.

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    2. If the critique is not for the author, than for whom it is? Does the critique even serve its purpose any longer, or does it exist just for the sake of creating a public opinion about the subject at hand? If it is art, than it has to be experienced. If it is entertainment, then it will be forgotten soon enough. At the end it always comes down to time. Time is the ultimate, and at same time the best critic there is.

      In the socratic tradition there is a case when the two cannot come to any conclusion. In such texts we can see Socrates just walking away. Socrates walks away, because he does not have answers, and there is no use for further debate. But why do I write this? It seemed, at least to me, that Grayson was pushing the question once that Brewder already answered one such question before. As he could not just walk away, it would be considered rude, he told him that they do not concern themselves with such questions (running for a president). This was not meant to offend anybody, but just a queue for Grayson to take the hint, and move on to next question. Brewder could just as easily said, next question. He only wished to lighten the mood.

      Just because they do not concern themselves with questions about women, does not mean that they design their games against women, as it is implied in Grayson's article. Just because one does not have an answer for a matter at hand, it does not mean he is either pro or contra. It means that he feels he is unable to form a valid opinion based on his lack of knowledge on the subject at hand.

      I do not decide how women should feel about my adoration. I just wonder why is this adoration met with such a disgust. It seems lose-lose situation. If you do not compliment them, it is wrong, if you do, it is still more wrong. I guess I fall in the Simone de Beauvoir's category of men who attach the false aura of mystery to women.

      I believe that depiction of women in games will get better as time goes by. But there is not much that we can actually do as to help this process. Games industry needs to mature first, in order to do things as they should be done. There is no point in telling adolescent not to watch nude women on the Internet, as he will still do it no matter what you say to him, because this interests him. It will probably interest him his whole life, but with time he will mature, and start looking for something more than just a sexy body. Games industry right now, is that adolescent.

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    3. You're too intelligent to believe there's "nothing we can do" and to further not see the hypocrisy in your own arguments. You can personally start by educating yourself on sexism and sexualization ...and be *willing* to be convinced by what you learn. And read it from people who live and are oppressed by those things. Don't be content to sit in your opinions. It's a dangerous place to be for a philosopher.

      You have written all this, but you haven't actually addressed my prompts: Objectification while insisting representation matters; why you believe men are sexualized in games; your assertion that you can identify "real problems" but women cant; why you believe you're entitled to treat women how you feel, but women aren't entitled to reject you.

      You've just explained them away and justified yourself, but I'm going to insist there's no justification and this is why you probably aren't going to examine them. You just believe these things and you don't question them. And in that, you're right, you'll never understand or be able to do anything. When you decide to change that, then you will know there's a lot you can do. You could have started with Google. There's no shortage of websites and books which give grounding on sexualization and sexism for you to be content with your opinions here. They don't demonstrate a thinking man, but an unthinking man. This is a contradiction to claim to be a philosopher.

      We agree representation matters. You cannot then go on about the fantasies of men and insist on believing that creating a male character is just *so* dramatically different from a female that few males can do it. Defaulting to what a man knows is precisely assuming men are the default, and you deny it. You can do something about that. That's a choice.

      This makes men seem entirely dumb and is an offense in itself. Don't think so little of us. Men are capable of realizing persons other themselves, and if an artist has ever thought he couldn't then he should also have been smart enough to bring a woman onto his team to acknowledge and address his own bias. You said nothing of these things.

      You cite Simone conveniently and leave out the category you fall in yourself in writing this piece. That's what you can do to help this process. Acknowledge that this piece you've written is privileged; that while you're entitled to your opinion, you can't pretend to be a philosopher while ignoring the concrete facts which are a Google search away. This is a willingness to revel in ignorance, in your privilege to hold an opinion and have it be taken far more seriously than the girl gamers who are demanding diverse representations of humans. You ridicule them for speaking up even as you damn them because men *don't* speak up. This is hypocrisy.

      Sexualization isn't difficult to to understand. Sexism isn't difficult to understand. Change is, however, very difficult, but to pretend like you can't possibly see a way out of this is to feign ignorance. And that's not going to do for a man who claims to be a philosopher. Change starts with recognizing the problem and the way you contribute to it. This piece, for all it's glorious opinions, is a problem because of it's ignorance.

      I have to end by asking that you not take any of this as a personal attack. I'm very invested in the conversation and I genuinely want to know how you can write this with the claims you make and then contradict every last one of them.

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    4. I am never content with just sitting on my opinions. I enjoy a good debate, like this one for example. It allows me to refine my arguments, to evolve them further then I would be able to take them otherwise. For that alone I am thankful. By no means would I ever take this as personal attack. I am enjoying it too much.

      About objectification. We might say I am a perfectionist. Rather than having something done bad and half-broken, I want it done as it should be done, and when presented complete and without a flaw. If you need to choose between two evils, in this case no representation, or bad representation, I would choose no representation. It is more pragmatic. It causes less problems down the line, and leaves breathing space to reexamine the whole thing, and determine what went wrong, and why it went wrong.And most importantly, how to avoid this problem next time, and how to do it right.

      If we take for example a car. You want to build a sports car. But something goes wrong and you are forced to ship with the car that cannot reach the high speeds, or you can ship the car that can manage high speeds, but its performance is not guaranteed. It is highly possible that this second car might malfunction and cause numerous deaths. I believe you would agree with me, that of the two, the first option is far superior to the second. None is great, but the first at least does not harm anyone directly.

      Exactly. I love this remark of yours. It is not that I can identify the real problem, while women cannot. It is this, how easily you rejected the mere thought that the problem of lefthanders is a problem. How it does not have any purpose, how it is just empty and void argument. This alone begs the question, why is problem of women more real than problem of lefthanders? It presents us with the arrogance and idleness of which you accuse me, and maybe rightfully so. But have you not fallen down the same pit of idleness where lefthanders are concerned? Do you even think of them when you think about other aspects of equality? Do you not have the same attitude toward lefthanders as "privileged men" do when talking about women?

      While I agree that women and men are equal, this is not how we treat them as society. And this shows in everything, even in how we write characters. The two are different. There is no doubt about it. We have double standards. What is acceptable for men, is not acceptable for women. And viceversa. We are taught from an early age not how we are the same, but how we are different. There are rules in society that apply to men, and rules that apply to women. Equality up or down, those social queues are still there.

      Most writers have all those rules that were ingrained into them through their whole life still somewhere in the back of their head. It is not tabula rasa when they start writing a new character, they draw from what they know, from what they feel should be. And at the end they are not perfect. They have flaws of their own. There could be problems with the budget. It could be simple arrogance or just plain incompetence that prevents them from writing a good female character. Admitting a mistake is one of the hardest things for human to do. At least in western civilisation. The act of confession in Christianity is not there just so you can alleviate your soul.

      I support diverse representation. But as I said, I want it to be done well, not some half-assery, we have enough of half-assery already without any need for more. As for the change. Yes change is hard, and it is a thorny road. But it requires both sides to cooperate. If the industry just dismisses the arguments for more female characters, there is no point in repeating it. It is like shouting at the brick wall. You might get some personal satisfaction, but at the end, wall is still there, same as it was, and you have sore throat. It would be more prudent to find a sledgehammer and tear it down.

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  4. I'm unconvinced. There were too many derails, strawmen, and contradictions in your response and now I see the ways in which you're evading examination of your clear biases here. I must ask why you think I have dismissed left-handers? Nowhere have I done this or suggested this nor even graced that topic with a position (do quote me if I'm wrong). This is an example of the many strawmen and derails in your reply. Quote me from here on out so that I can see where the misunderstanding occurred in my own response.

    You're still asserting that you are more capable of pointing out "real" or "more important" issues. I'm inviting you to introspection. The entirety of your article is written with the tone that people ought to just shut up about sexism and sexualization because men make games, we're entitled to our fantasies, and nothing is going to change so just deal with it. This is the summary of your position thus far which is exceedingly sexist (you may not be sexist yourself, but your position on this certainly is). I'll leave you to examine the contradictions because I've pointed them out as best I can.

    You have still not answered how you say that representation matters, but then insist it's better not to represent women at all (except for sexies! because apparently that's perfect representation? Again the contradictions). Citing perfectionism is retreating to extremes and derailing, and, again, you must surely know the difference between having almost every woman in a game over-sexualized vs. the parade of imperfect men in games. Men are never done perfectly and you aren't calling for developers to stop creating men. You're setting a double standard even as you say they are a bad thing. You're too full of contradictions -- they are endless. The problem with comment conversations is there's this imperative to reply in a timely fashion and that often doesn't give discussions like this the moments of silence we would both need to really contemplate the problems of our own bias. If you need a hand or a headstart to some great articles and books which can assist with topical research, I know of a few good ones I can point you to. I also hope you read my less-than-perfect article that I linked earlier. It's very relevant to some of the arguments you continue to make.

    To any gamer who has been debating articles like this for years, they read this and think it's tedious as hell. They will feel dejected because despite the hardwork they put into researching the topic and thoughtful responses, guys like us will write a totally uneducated article and be taken more seriously. Those people will avoid to comment here because they're just too tired of articles which, like yours, come with the same arguments as to why they're just ungrateful and can't spot a real issue. It's very apparent you have done no research in this regard.

    I encourage you, strongly, do some research and take people who don't look like you seriously. There are some highly intelligent people out there who would love to engage this conversation with you, but when they see that you can't even be bothered to educate yourself on the topics they will walk away. Make an effort.

    The only question here at this point is whether you're going to actually do some research on these topics and come back with an article which shows some understanding of how sexism works and why representation matters.

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    1. About lefthanders, "Nowhere have I done this or suggested this nor even graced that topic with a position", I might be wrong, but this does count as dismissal, does it not?
      I also thought: "your assertion that you can identify "real problems" but women cant;" referred to the issue with lefthanders. In general, my point was that all discrimination is bad, and no discrimination should be considered any worse than the other.

      I think there was a misunderstanding about perfection. I did not mean, that women need to be perfect in order to be represented in games. And absolutely not that they need to be sexy in order to be in games. What I meant about perfection, and that I prefer if things are done well, is that I would rather have a good female character, than just a sexy doll that has no purpose but fan service. I would prefer if there was no women, if the other option is this sexy doll with nothing else to show. This, I consider broken character, one not worth having. And I think, you will agree with me now, that at times it is better not to have a female character in games, than having it done as such.

      I have the same stance about male characters. It is better not to have one, if it is going to be bad. The thing with male characters in games is, there are many. If there is one bad, there are at least two good. I guess practise makes perfect. And while we are ready to accept this when it comes to male characters, I highly doubt we would do the same with female characters. Would the audience wait for years and years and watch how one studio gets gradually better at writing female characters? The audience would try to tear them apart after the first game, if the female character was bad. After that, who could blame them for staying away from female characters? There needs to be patience on both sides, the audience and developers both.

      But this is as far as our "core" gaming goes. There exists a whole genre of games, where protagonists are primarily a female characters. And for most, I would argue they are well done characters as well. This "mythical" genre, is hidden object games. They are not all great, there is a rotten apple here and there even in this genre that targets primarily female audience over the age of twenty. But the point stands, we already have strong female characters in games. It just so happens these are not the usual "core" games we engage in. At the end, should we not change the question we are arguing here to something else. For example, women in "core" games, that are primarily meant for male audience?

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    2. And yes, I read your article. I would love to have a look at whatever you think I might find interesting. I might come around to it some day and actually read it. But considering it all, I still think it comes down to time. Change is a slow process that does not happen just because we wish it so. It will take time, for industry to adapt, and to embrace it. It will take time before more female writers join the team and start making good female characters a default in gaming industry. Because right now, for all our raging, games that we play, are still meant for male audience.

      Sexism is such a stupid word. Especially when it implies that men are out there systematically working against women. And this is such an absurd that it really is sad. Yes, discrimination exists, but it is not systematical, and in games, is not intentional. It happens because of age old traditions, thought processes and such. It is a cultural phenomena born out of "old ways". I would be shocked to find out that game developers intentionally choose male character over female, on the simple basis of gender. And not on what they thought they can do better, or what will sit with their audience better. I highly doubt any developer would sabotage themselves just because he dislikes female characters on a principle.

      To summarise all this:
      1. It is better not to have something, than have it done badly
      2. All discrimination is bad, neither should be taken more seriously than the other
      3. Art and Entertainment are two different things, on which we as outside observers (not developers) have no real influence
      4. Games are intended for specific audiences, so long as the majority of the audience is content, we cannot expect changes
      5. Sexism should not play any role in designing a game. Game should follow an artistic vision, not a personal agenda
      6. There are games with good female characters, it just so happens, men are not their target audience, women are (Hidden Object Games)

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  6. OK, you've made a few minor concessions, but overall you're coming away believing your opinion is as good as the research of experts.It's not about time, sexism isn't a stupid word, and you can Google dozens of articles about how much women are paid compared to men, etc (i.e., "systematically working against"). Sexism can take on benign forms.

    Trust me, if you will, when I say that you're spinning your wheels here :) I happen to know what I'm talking about on this subject and I know when another fellow is, for lack of a better term, bullshitting me about what he thinks he knows about it. Let's start there by respecting each others intelligence.

    Don't avenge your contradictory points; reflect on them and come around. Take my advice on this one: your article is sexist; structural sexism enables you write this article without the slightest awareness of the irony; and, finally, you've shown in these comments you don't know what sexism is, which is why you get to say it's stupid and laugh it off as absurd. If your goal is to have your philosophical work here be taken serious, this is the moment where you say "you're right, I haven't learned a whole lot about this subject and I should probably go do so to maintain my title as philosopher". That moment is now.

    You don't get to define sexism. This is what I'm trying to point out to you. It's been done by women and men far smarter than both of us. We should take their word for it, and if not, then investigate their work. Don't just read, but *learn* something about it. You're not looking enlightened and reasoned here, but defensive and unknowledgeable. You're sitting here as though your opinions are worth the same as someone else's years of expert research; they aren't. That's what's important to understand. It's ok, we are all ignorant of somethings because we haven't gotten around to learning them yet. Ignorance isn't the crime. It's your insistence that you know what you're talking about when you don't. I'm not an expert on sexism either, but I know how to shut-up while I'm ahead when someone is kind enough to point out where I'm wrong. Let go of your position here, it's untenable when held up to knowledge of the subject. You could have surfed even right here in the blogging community for source articles about sexism (many of those authors participated in the NBI).

    I want to leave sources, but your response seemed genuinely disinterested and I'm not going to waste my time making thoughtful lists while being yawned off. If you genuinely care about knowledge and are open-minded (as any good philosopher must be), you wouldn't front the excuse that you *might* get around to reading something you plan to write about.If you're writing about it, you should make the time to learn about it. You're demonstrating here that it doesn't matter what you don't know, you're going to be content with your opinions because you're good at sounding smart.

    To summarize:
    1. Are you going to tell Simone de Beauvoir that sexism is a stupid word?
    2. Would you tell Angela Davis that men are not benefiting from advantages over women (ie, "systematically working against women")?
    3. Would you tell Michael Kimmel that it's better if games just don't have women at all?
    4. How about the many male gamers like me who can smell this bullshit from a mile away and are offended at the notion that men can't fathom how to write a good woman (or that she even *needs* to be good, again double standard and contradiction)?

    I had continued this hoping you would, at least, really reflect on the contradictions here. Maybe another time and another article. I'm looking forward to the next time you write about the subject because I think we are all capable of learning and growing. It's a choice. You're a smart man -- if I'm right about that, you will choose knowledge over glorious opinions.

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    1. My philosophical work, if there is such is only nascent. My only goal in that respect, to avoid any logical fallacies. As for my writing, these are all my thoughts, my opinions. I do not claim it to be better than that of an expert. But I will say it is valid. It is my valid opinion. People might agree, or disagree with it. Yet it still remains a valid opinion of my own on this subject. When I write, I do not look for approval, I do not seek agreement. I only present my own thoughts on subject at hand. If that insults people, or bothers them, they are free to look away.

      Let us agree here that we disagree. As I see you are not interested in this debate any further, I do not see any point in continuing myself. I noticed though you like to read into things too much. You focus down a particular train of though, and then over analyse it. I think many of contradictions you find, are the product of me presenting two points of view, my own, and the one we could call a defence of industry.

      I am interested in what sources you would recommend. Yet if you prefer a lie over the truth, there is nothing I can do about it. I might have simply said "yes, I can hardly wait for those sources, I will go and read all of it immediately". It would be a blatant lie. While the subject interests me, it is not the only subject that holds my interest. There are other things I read on, and others I will read on in future, this would only be added to the list. It depends on the availability as well. If it is something on the Internet, I might read it at first chance, if it is list of books, well some day. If an honest answer is not up to your liking, well at least we established that I will not lie.

      I hope you do read when I decide to write next time on this subject. But a fair warning, it will be MY opinion, such as it is.

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  7. Too subtle, I see :) If I over-analyze, you don't do it enough.

    I listed 3 authors above in my summarizing comments. Those are sources you can freely Google and who are authorities on the subject of sexism. Don't stop there though. If you publish your next article on the topic without educating yourself ...well ... we'll all know it, won't we? I do enjoy the FAQ round-up at the following link:

    http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/the-faqs/faq-roundup/

    Good luck to you.

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