Feminism in Video Games

578253Anyone who knows me knows that I have an addiction. I spend far too much on video games, humble bundles, and steam sales. I play far too many video games when I should be writing. In general… Hi. My name is Crissy, and I’m a game addict.

I own 281 games on Steam. I have a binder FILLED with more games like Baulders Gate, Settlers, and Might and Magic. Games that I love, and sometimes install just for the nostalgia. That isn’t even considering the consoles I own, and all the games for each of them.

I don’t finish a lot of games. Most of the time it’s because the game looses my interest and I go off to the next shiny thing. Sometimes it’s because the game is too difficult for me and I’d rather just watch someone else play it on a let’s play. Sometimes it’s just not my type of game and I never get past the first few levels. But I’ve been playing games since I was a teenager, and own a lot of consoles to prove it, so I’ve also had my share of completions.

Why am I talking about video games? Because this week there has been a HUGE upsurge in interest regarding Anita Sarkeesian and her “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” series. Most of it started because of the controversy around Zoe Quinn and the accusations that her ex boyfriend leveled on her.

Now, let’s reflect for a second that Zoe’s EX BOYFRIEND accused her of things and tons of people just jumped onto it without even considering where the source came from. I don’t presume to know if it happened or not, I honestly don’t care at this point. What I do know is that it is a suspicious situation, and people on both sides of the Quinn debate have been assholes to each other, and especially to Miss Quinn herself.

Then there is Sarkeesian, the controversy surrounding her kickstarter and where the funds went. The rumors about her statements that she didn’t even like video games. Reports that she stole art images and let’s play footage. Then her portrayal of games as “sexist” without even really looking into all the information about the particular game she called sexist. All of that, but she still didn’t deserve the threats and late night calls that she received. So many that she left her home to take refuge elsewhere.

Regardless of what is in video games, neither of these women deserved to be treated like that. No one, man or woman, deserves to be treated like that.

On the video game side: Yes, video games could use a little more dimension in the way they portray women. Yes, video games can sometimes seem sexists to some people. Yes, there is a conversation to be had. But let’s be honest about the portrayal of women in games vs. reality, shall we?  Continue reading

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Sex and Video Games

body_sm_ratios1On Reddit today, there was a game designer asking if his female character was sexy, but not so sexy that it was conforming to the usual female game design stereotype….  So it got me thinking.

“Sexy” is subjective. What you find sexy I might not find sexy. And what is sexy by one regions definitions will not be the same in another.

For instance, this character has the mandatory large breasts, hour glass figure, and swaying hips that western society deems “sexy”. If you go to Japan, or Brazil it won’t be the same standard. They don’t have the same stereotypical “sexy” idea of women that we do in the west.

Now, is it still perpetuating the stereotype of video games? I don’t think so, because she isn’t half naked and her figure actually has a natural curvy form, while still being close to realistic, though not quiet.

Now.. as a woman I find the whole discussion to be trivial in general. “You’re painting women as sex objects” … No, they are painting them as caricatures of the “sexy woman”. That is to say, grossly out of proportion, gravity defying, and completely unrealistic. Some of them ape superhero proportions, but many of them don’t even bother with that. If that is a man’s idea of an ideal woman then he is in for a sad awakening when he goes looking for a real one.

Advertising has done far more to paint woman as sex objects than video games ever have, and yet fem-libers will shout far louder about a woman in impractical armor in a video game then they will about the anorexic looking fashion models, and half naked women in commercials and magazines with photoshopped bodies.

A character in a video game ISN’T REAL! It isn’t even close. It doesn’t paint an idealistic picture of a woman, it paints a fake, unattainable in any circumstances woman. What’s more, it doesn’t just do this for the women, it does this for the men as well.

Women who get all irritated about video game avatars are clearly not versed in gaming and comic book culture, nor do they know anything about the historical trend of art. Both men and women were painted, drawn, sculpted, and shown in the idealized versions of the time and place they originated, and/or caricatures of those ideals. It only sometimes has something to do with sex, other times it’s just something “pretty” to look at, or commentating on society as a whole.

And if they are versed in art history, then why the hell are they so argumentative about the whole thing? Why aren’t they using it as discussion instead of just saying “DON’T DO THAT!”

Superheros are a mans power fantasy? So because I’m female I’m not allowed to have the same fantasy? I want to fantasize that I’m the sexy muscular woman with all the power under my sword, able to slice through dragons, orcs and trolls with one swing of my sword. That’s my power fantasy!

Just because you are offended at something THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT WRONG! Stop fucking up life for the rest of us just because you got your panties in a twist. Let me have my fantasy for one fricking minute, and just enjoy being beautiful, strong, and capable, even though I’m not in real life.

And really, isn’t that what a video game is all about in the first place?