Gender, Equality and the Search for Common Ground.

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Posted by YukoAsho (2083 posts) -

I hate this topic so very, very much. I spent way longer than maybe I should have contemplating whether I wanted to type this here blog out, but here goes.

Sexism in gaming. Yes, I'm going into that tornado, even knowing what I'm about to subject myself to.

See, the second-to-last The Point has me once more thinking about this topic, and while I agree that it's something that needs to change if gaming is to ever evolve, I also think that the topic has to nuance itself a bit more.

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See, while there are discussions about what happens in the workplace of gaming - where the real issue is - so much of our time is spent talking about character appearance. Once a woman in tight outfit or a low-cut blouse comes on screen, that's what they are. No one talks about her personality or role in the story (save when a Mario game comes out and the tired Princess Peach rants are recycled). Nope, it boils down to tits and ass, because heaven forbid women be beautiful, right?

I find it funny because the PS3/360 generation has given us some of the most interesting female characters in recent memory, from Bayonetta and Morrigan (Dragon Age) to Oerba Yun Fang and Crystal Dynamics' recent re-imagining of Lara Croft. Even characters like Sheva Alomar, Anya Stroud and Princess Hilda have their moments.

Unfortunately, when the discussion only ever goes negative, when the Anita Sarkesians of the world turn every low top and pretty face into some attack on all women everywhere, it obscures the real problem - that women working in the industry have a shit time in a lot of companies.

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Also, the assumption that "dudebro" games are somehow what men want to be is pants-on-head retarded, not to mention very, very selective. The assertion that games like Gears of War are "power fantasy," or that all - or even most - men want to be the sort of mindless slabs of beef that detractors think of the Gears characters is a prime example of the misandry that prevents either side from finding common ground.

On a side note, the word "misandry" wasn't in the Firefox spell checker. That should tell you everything you need to know about how one-sided the sexism debate is.

So what common ground do all gamers, male and female, have?

1. We like video games. No shit, right? We don't like being pigeonholed into the nonsense of casual/facebook/social games.

2. We're getting increasingly tired of the increasingly iterative business model of so many games companies. We like variety, so long as the games are still fun.

3. We'd rather not have characters in larger games be cardboard cutouts or tired ass cliches. Interesting characters make for better game stories, which helps with long games, especially marathon-length RPG games and similar.

4. We want the most qualified, passionate people making these things, as that's the best way to make better, more thoughtful games.

I'm sure we can come up with more common ground, but that's a good place to start. None of these things are helped by women being made unwelcome or uncomfortable in the gaming industry. Nor is it helped by harassing and punishing female gamers. Indeed, quite the opposite is true; by narrowing who is allowed to work in gaming or play games, stagnation will reign supreme, at least until gaming dies entirely, which is entirely possible given how shaky many game companies' financial standing seems to be.

None of this precludes women (or men) who dress or act in a sexually provocative manner. Sex, as we all know, is pretty cool too. The issue is when sex appeal is all that a woman has, which is what makes games like Scarlet Blade such a chore to play. Fun, interesting ideas, depth, these are universal things that both men and women enjoy.

We also enjoy being respected. No one wants to feel like they don't matter or, worse, like they're being pushed out because of their gender (or religion, sexual orientation, etc, etc...). A welcoming industry integrates diverse people into it, and thus has more and more diverse ideas, which helps to combat stagnation as you have different people coming up with ideas to please more and more diverse audiences.

That, in the end, is why sexism in gaming needs to be approached in a deeper way than "this character has huge tits, BURN THE WITCH!" Ending sexism in the gaming workplace helps us all, making for more and more diverse ideas. And ideas, in the end, are what gaming requires to survive.

#1 Edited by platinumking320 (667 posts) -

I hear articles and vids talk about most studio/publisher structures being hierarchical. The wrong guys in the top positions foster that unequal atmosphere as much as any other workplace.

I haven't heard of any game 'executive' equivalents of San Diego mayor Bob Filner, but it undoubtedly exists. Certain power structures isn't in a way that implies a demand for equal human respect on every level of development. Where people are valued for their minds and skills and gender is ignored.

Heck the games industry stll has problems with, smart and forward thinking creative leaders that have to fight with middle men just to make their games they want, thematically or metaphorically relevant to our changed society, rather than boxed product for typical demographics. The most creative and most experienced leave for their own studios valuing their independence, and other young programmers and artists etc are left at the hands of the old guard who may not respect their input, or them as employees.

#2 Edited by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

are you saying that gears of war isn't a power fantasy? if so, i can't agree with you there. chainsaw bayonettes and exploding watermelon heads are there to make the player feel powerful. the dehumanized enemies are that way so you can gleefully gib them without the slightest feeling of guilt.

anyway, i do agree that there should be more nuance in a lot of the discussions on sexism. i mean, read the GS review of dragon's crown. the reviewer just posts a screenshot and labels the game's view of women as troubling. there's no discussion or reasoning, just an accusation. there's more to that theme if you go deeper than a screenshot and it ends up making fun of those same views people are rallying against. then with the defense of games getting these accusations, you see a lot of "it's just a game," "get over it," or "well, i like boobs anyway." there's no room for discussion in either extreme.

#3 Posted by loafofgame (801 posts) -

@YukoAsho said:

So what common ground do all gamers, male and female, have?

1. We like video games. No shit, right? We don't like being pigeonholed into the nonsense of casual/facebook/social games.

2. We're getting increasingly tired of the increasingly iterative business model of so many games companies. We like variety, so long as the games are still fun.

3. We'd rather not have characters in larger games be cardboard cutouts or tired ass cliches. Interesting characters make for better game stories, which helps with long games, especially marathon-length RPG games and similar.

4. We want the most qualified, passionate people making these things, as that's the best way to make better, more thoughtful games.

1. Maybe we should take casual/facebook/social games more seriously. It might be an open and understanding attitude towards these games that might lead to a more general acceptance of uhm... 'hardcore' games.

2. This is too general. Everybody defines fun differently and everybody wants variety in different areas (and often they want it ONLY in the areas they prefer).

3. A lot of people don't really care about this (or prefer the cutouts and cliches) and don't want to be bothered with tiring conversations about it.

4. That seems to me like an empty statement in this discussion. Everybody will acknowledge this, but in the end, if people don't like the game, they will question qualification and passion.

#4 Edited by Ish_basic (4101 posts) -

When I read interviews of influential women in gaming, the question of sexism tends to come up and they say they've never had an issue with it - personalities like Amy Hennig who've been in the game since the NES. Of course it's hard to track sexism in hiring, and I'm not saying there isn't sexism in the industry, just that it probably isn't institutional and likely instead isolated, personal events that any company would have difficulty stamping out.

In any case, I've said on a number of occasions that I think the cultural stigma that exists with respect to women in the sciences is the big problem. When I was in school, 10-ish years ago, Comp-sci was generally a sausage party. How do you expect to get more females into the industry if they're not going to school for it? This is an issue my sister has had to deal with for years as an officer in the military AND a doctor in aeronautics. As a result, she was kinda militant with her daughters not being "girly," involving them in both sports and sciences. When we start raising our daughters to believe that they can go for the BS instead of the BA, then we're making progress. But asking the gaming industry to fix a problem that starts at the cultural level is unfair, to me.

If people want more female voices in gaming then start looking to people like Jade Raymond for inspiration, who majored in CompSci and at 38 runs a game studio for Ubisoft and has titles to her credit including the original Assassin's Creed and the upcoming Watchdogs (and also happens to be a mother) instead of bloggers like that Sarkesian twit.

#5 Edited by YukoAsho (2083 posts) -

@LoG-Sacrament said:

are you saying that gears of war isn't a power fantasy? if so, i can't agree with you there. chainsaw bayonettes and exploding watermelon heads are there to make the player feel powerful. the dehumanized enemies are that way so you can gleefully gib them without the slightest feeling of guilt.

anyway, i do agree that there should be more nuance in a lot of the discussions on sexism. i mean, read the GS review of dragon's crown. the reviewer just posts a screenshot and labels the game's view of women as troubling. there's no discussion or reasoning, just an accusation. there's more to that theme if you go deeper than a screenshot and it ends up making fun of those same views people are rallying against. then with the defense of games getting these accusations, you see a lot of "it's just a game," "get over it," or "well, i like boobs anyway." there's no room for discussion in either extreme.

A "power fantasy," is different than a male role model. Everyone wants to have their awesome moments. Hell, I remember being SUPER excited seeing Anya playable in parts of the Gears III campaign and female characters in the multiplayer. I think, however, that it's a huge stretch to say that men all fantasize about being the sort of emotionally uninvolved, dim-witted tools that are commonly associated with the "dudebro" stereotype. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I can't imagine men not wanting to have respect for their intellect as well as their bodies. Again, same as women.

And the Dragon's Crown nonsense is exactly the heart of the issue. How do you defend against an accusation that isn't reasoned beyond the protestor's personal distaste? And how are gamers supposed to not view that as an attack on gaming?

#6 Posted by loafofgame (801 posts) -

@Ish_basic said:

When I read interviews of influential women in gaming, the question of sexism tends to come up and they say they've never had an issue with it - personalities like Amy Hennig who've been in the game since the NES. Of course it's hard to track sexism in hiring, and I'm not saying there isn't sexism in the industry, just that it probably isn't institutional and likely instead isolated, personal events that any company would have difficulty stamping out.

In any case, I've said on a number of occasions that I think the cultural stigma that exists with respect to women in the sciences is the big problem. When I was in school, 10-ish years ago, Comp-sci was generally a sausage party. How do you expect to get more females into the industry if they're not going to school for it? This is an issue my sister has had to deal with for years as an officer in the military AND a doctor in aeronautics. As a result, she was kinda militant with her daughters not being "girly," involving them in both sports and sciences. When we start raising our daughters to believe that they can go for the BS instead of the BA, then we're making progress. But asking the gaming industry to fix a problem that starts at the cultural level is unfair, to me.

If people want more female voices in gaming then start looking to people like Jade Raymond for inspiration, who majored in CompSci and at 38 runs a game studio for Ubisoft and has titles to her credit including the original Assassin's Creed and the upcoming Watchdogs (and also happens to be a mother) instead of bloggers like that Sarkesian twit.

To add to that: if this discussion will actually go anywhere it might be important to clearly distinguish the levels on which this issue can be discussed. Are we talking about game development, the gaming community, game criticism, etc. This is not entirely clear in the OP. I'm not sure we can simply discuss "sexism in gaming" as a general cultural phenomenon. Then again, as you said, parts of this issue probably relate to broader cultural or social tendencies, not just to gaming specifically.

#7 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (19008 posts) -

This topic has always been looked at from the wrong perspective: the "feminists" who complain about women in gaming do not care a speck about women in gaming. It's nothing but another step in their agenda to achieve special rights status. They are shaking every conceivable tree hoping that something will eventually fall off.

I put "feminists" in quotation marks since the modern tumblr and facebook "feminists" who spark these debates over nothing aren't worthy of lacing the shoes of the real feminists who fought for gender equality in the 50-70s and do nothing but smear the good name of the feminist movement.

#8 Edited by El_Zo1212o (6045 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00: The 'femeinist movement' has never had a good name that I've ever lived to see.

@Ish_basic: "...instead of bloggers like that Sarkesian twit."

Wrong vowel.

#9 Edited by Jimmy_Russell (976 posts) -

Men and women are vastly different, from roles, to body types, to thinking patterns. Gender equality is a myth. Political Correctness is a tool used to manipulate your thinking patterns. I would avoid these pitfalls if I were you. Though, I've got a good question for you:

If both parents are working, who is raising the children?

#10 Edited by loafofgame (801 posts) -

@YukoAsho said:

Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I can't imagine men not wanting to have respect for their intellect as well as their bodies. Again, same as women.

I think a lot of male gamers will ignore this issue, unless something drastic happens (like all playable characters suddenly becoming primarily female). They're satisfied with the status quo. They care little about stereotypical characters or stories. They play games to avoid these difficult topics. And maybe female gamers even feel the same... But I could be completely wrong about all these assumptions. Part of the problem is, there's no data on this at all. There isn't a clear indication of how people feel about this issue and for me that makes it extremely difficult to find a good starting point. We can talk about these common grounds, but we aren't even sure of them. We can only make assumptions and interpret our own (often limited) observations.

Playing games is often about the individual, especially if we see all these social/facebook/casual games as lesser products. I think a lot of people aren't particularly concerned about representations in games and how these might influence other people's opinions about games or gamers. I've found that many want to steer clear of this cultural/social subject, because it might connect games too much to reality. Potential social ramifications only spoil the game experience. Games are an individual experience and if that experience is just fine, there's little reason to discuss and be considerate to how others might think about them, especially if they perceive those others as part of a minority.

If the forum topics are anything to go by, threads like this pop up sporadically and are often only revisited by a very small number of people. How does one make more people care about this subject?

@jimmy_russell said:

If both parents are working, who is raising the children?

I'd say that's up to the parents. Oh wait, that's the politically correct answer. In that case I would say the father, because men are smarter, stronger, more intimidating (they'll actually make those brats listen) and only think about solving things, instead of being all emotional.

#11 Posted by Jimmy_Russell (976 posts) -

@loafofgame said:
@jimmy_russell said:

If both parents are working, who is raising the children?

I'd say that's up to the parents. Oh wait, that's the politically correct answer. In that case I would say the father, because men are smarter, stronger, more intimidating (they'll actually make those brats listen) and only think about solving things, instead of being all emotional.

You should take this question more seriously. Who raised you? A TV, or a video game? Couldn't have been your parents if you were born after the 1980's, unless your father was rich.

#12 Edited by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

@YukoAsho said:

@LoG-Sacrament said:

A "power fantasy," is different than a male role model. Everyone wants to have their awesome moments. Hell, I remember being SUPER excited seeing Anya playable in parts of the Gears III campaign and female characters in the multiplayer. I think, however, that it's a huge stretch to say that men all fantasize about being the sort of emotionally uninvolved, dim-witted tools that are commonly associated with the "dudebro" stereotype. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I can't imagine men not wanting to have respect for their intellect as well as their bodies. Again, same as women.

And the Dragon's Crown nonsense is exactly the heart of the issue. How do you defend against an accusation that isn't reasoned beyond the protestor's personal distaste? And how are gamers supposed to not view that as an attack on gaming?

i do agree that power fantasies and male role models are distinct things. it just looked like you were making the argument that gears of war isn't a power fantasy in your OP.

#13 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (19008 posts) -

@El_Zo1212o said:

@Black_Knight_00: The 'feminist movement' has never had a good name that I've ever lived to see.

The movement had all the reason in the world to exist a few decades ago, when women were really oppressed. Today western society has achieved balance and equality and modern feminism is simply refusing to admit its purpose has been served long ago and it is doing nothing but create social tension. When the building has been restructured, the scaffolding needs to be removed. Let them move to islamic countries or china, where the issue still exists and is worse than it has ever been in the west.

Why don't they? Well: modern feminism is far from being the party of motivated women that historical feminism was. Today it's mostly a mob of shrieking teenagers and uninformed young women sitting in front of their laptops and led by the nose like cattle by a handful of charismatic agitators who are now sprouting like mushrooms thanks to the prospect of money from youtube views.

#14 Posted by El_Zo1212o (6045 posts) -

@loafofgame: I think what he was getting at is that parents no longer raise their own children. They leave it to neighbor kids or paid workers or relatives. Or worse, they give the kids the house key and let the older siblings police the younger. It's a shitty way to grow up and now there's no going back to a single income family unless that single income is megabucks. And even then, the other spouse often feels this need to keep a job for some incomprehensible reason.

#15 Posted by El_Zo1212o (6045 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00: Agreed. But I was born in '86- after all the rational aims were achieved.

#16 Edited by Jacanuk (5550 posts) -

@Black_Knight_00 said:

@El_Zo1212o said:

@Black_Knight_00: The 'feminist movement' has never had a good name that I've ever lived to see.

The movement had all the reason in the world to exist a few decades ago, when women were really oppressed. Today western society has achieved balance and equality and modern feminism is simply refusing to admit its purpose has been served long ago and it is doing nothing but create social tension. When the building has been restructured, the scaffolding needs to be removed. Let them move to islamic countries or china, where the issue still exists and is worse than it has ever been in the west.

Why don't they? Well: modern feminism is far from being the party of motivated women that historical feminism was. Today it's mostly a mob of shrieking teenagers and uninformed young women sitting in front of their laptops and led by the nose like cattle by a handful of charismatic agitators who are now sprouting like mushrooms thanks to the prospect of money from youtube views.

Spot on and its kinda sad to see Danny fall into the same trap as Carolyn and that Sark chick (who most of all seem to not have come to terms with her own sexuality)

But its like with affirmative action where some are forced to accept less capable people just because they happen to be a certain race or gender. Its past its due date and now only serve one purpose and thats PCness.

#17 Posted by musalala (2243 posts) -

Part of the problem is there is no debate, various groups ( gaming websites) people ( Anita) are simply using it for short term goals which is either a)Click bait b) Furthering themselves.

Its actually a very important issue and brings to light other things such the lack of ethnic diversity in gaming for one, but alas its being handled really badly.

To summerise its generating more fire than light as far as discussion is concerned.

#18 Edited by Jimmy_Russell (976 posts) -

It always seemed odd to me that women argue about men holding the door open for them.

#19 Edited by loafofgame (801 posts) -
@El_Zo1212o said:

@loafofgame: I think what he was getting at is that parents no longer raise their own children. They leave it to neighbor kids or paid workers or relatives. Or worse, they give the kids the house key and let the older siblings police the younger. It's a shitty way to grow up and now there's no going back to a single income family unless that single income is megabucks. And even then, the other spouse often feels this need to keep a job for some incomprehensible reason.

@jimmy_russell said:

You should take this question more seriously. Who raised you? A TV, or a video game? Couldn't have been your parents if you were born after the 1980's, unless your father was rich.

Define rich. I was born in '86. My father was a primary school principal. My mother made the conscious decision to stay at home and raise the kids. Look, if both partners want a full time career then maybe they should take responsibility and not have children (or is that still something unacceptable in society?). Otherwise, they should make a decision they both feel comfortable with (which will demand sacrifices when it comes to a career).

I'm not from the US, by the way, so that might influence my perspective on financial security, the amount of work hours, etc. And maybe that's why I didn't take the comment as seriously as I perhaps should have. I probably misinterpreted what you said before you asked that question. I agree that men and women are different in many ways, but some of these ways are socially constructed and not as much a matter of course. If it turns out mommy wants a career and daddy is ok with staying home and/or doing something part time, then that shouldn't be frowned upon. I'm not saying traditional divisions should be abolished. If both partners are fine with that they can do whatever they want. But I still feel that people (both men and women) are often socially forced into their constructed gender roles, which I can't see as a good thing.

#20 Edited by El_Zo1212o (6045 posts) -

@loafofgame: "...forced into their constructed geder roles..."

How?

#21 Posted by loafofgame (801 posts) -

@El_Zo1212o said:

@loafofgame: "...forced into their constructed geder roles..."

How?

I mean that in a passive sense. People aren't explicitly forced into certain behaviour, but they feel they should behave a certain way because of certain social ideals that pervade in society. For example, adolescent girls who have an active sexlife with multiple male partners are often still judged negatively, while adolescent boys who have multiple female partners are generally judged positively. To me this makes little sense these days. You could say to these girls they should just ignore the pressure of these social stereotypes, but when it leads to bullying or social isolation they aren't really given a choice.

In the same sense I think a lot of people still force themselves into thinking the female is somehow the first choice when it comes to raising children. If both partners wholeheartedly agree with this, then that's absolutely fine (and I'm not saying there aren't arguments that support that attitude), but the idea shouldn't dictate parental decisions in general, as if it's some kind of universal norm. It's ideas like these that could for example 'force' people into thinking a gay male couple can't raise children (because children need a mother). No matter the biological differences between males and females, in this day and age those differences are much less important (but a lot of people still cling to them, whether they're aware of it or not).

#22 Edited by Beagle050 (729 posts) -

OP, there's also some ridiculous elements of female characters that need to die and die quickly.

1) The damsel in distress - Princess Peach, Elizabeth on Bioshock Infinite. Yes, I know Elizabeth helped you in the game, but the fact that you had to rescue her from a tower is a boring cliche. It could be argued that this was purposely done to be ironic, but I don't think that was the case. Granted it is better now - there isn't a damsel in distress that needs rescuing in every game (unlike how it used to be with old Nintendo games), but this cliche has worn out its welcome.

Also, as a dev, if your final boss fight contains the boss holding the damsel in distress who is crying out for help while he laughs maniacally, please do us all a favor and quit the business forever. You'll be doing us all a favor.

2) Stupid female armor - This one is a bit self-explanatory, but none-the-less: female armor in 99% of games (like Skyrim) would not stop a sword and would actually kill the person wearing it. Women wearing armor would not have their boobs hanging out, which RPGs always seem to get wrong. Don't even get me started on the mechanic of, "I'm only wearing a bikini top and a short skirt, but I take 75% less sword damage! Yay! -__-"

3) Very bad writing - It shouldn't be that hard to write a female character. Start with the assumption that your character is human, and go from there. If your female character's only purpose is to be moving eye candy, you're doing it wrong.

4) The karate-chopping ninja girl who is supposed to be empowering - No. Just no. Movies need to stop using this character too.

5) No normal clothes: Wearing a bikini at the North Pole, wearing a bikini anywhere but the beach or a boardwalk, as mentioned above - stupid armor that wouldn't block a bee sting much less a sword.

6) Timidness: Oh devs, did you really include a character just to have her whine the whole time and need the man in the story to protect her? For example, I forgot Elizabeth was there sometimes in Bioshock Infinite (I know she couldn't die, but in the story, you were protecting her). The "hide behind me woman! I'll protect you!" story trope is moronic.

#23 Edited by Flubbbs (3508 posts) -

equality is a joke. people are not equal and never will be..men and women should complement each other based on their differences. that goes for gender and race

#24 Posted by CarcassPlays (74 posts) -

See, the whole debate about how equal gaming should or shouldn't be is too much. We don't need another one of these kinds of posts... I guess since I'm here, I could share my views on it.

I honestly like both females and males being in video games. There are strong characters that are both sexes, which feminists don't seem to look at or care too much about. Yes, the female characters will have tits and look really pretty. You don't see any actresses with small tits who is also godawful ugly, but their movies in which these females are in, they don't break any kind of box office records or anything. Looks can kill in showbiz, why do you think so many women are famous nowadays, especially in the music industry. You have Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Avril Lavigne, Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Lorde... shall I name more?

Point is, you have to have the certain looks to make it, especially in video games, in today's culture. Actually, about 15 years ago, it was worse. Today, things have calmed down. Look at Lara Croft's tits boobs from the original, 1996 game, and look at the 2013 reboot. Her boobs have gone down about two complete bra sizes. It's because of feminists who think that there are no strong female leads in gaming. We've even gone to the point in gaming that there are women in Call of Duty: Ghosts' multiplayer. My cousin is a gamer girl and she's not a feminist who thinks every game should show every single woman as a strong woman.

Women have boobs. We can't put this fact behind us- boobs are part of a woman's anatomy. A penis is part of a male anatomy and if a guy in a video game had a big bulge, people wouldn't outrage. Hell, in GTA V, Trever's dick was out and we saw it swing back and forth a little bit- way too much from what we needed in that particular game. We don't see full on nudity much in video games, so this was a big part of GTA, letting full frontal nudity show. This kind of thing also goes with women with longer hair who cut it really short. Sandra Bullock in Gravity last year, people criticized her for her hair cut. There are just preferences in showbiz and in the media that make women look how everyone else thinks is good.

Strong women are a whole different subject. There are strong women in a LOT of TV shows and movies (Deb in Dexter, Laurie from The Walking Dead) and of course, there are in gaming. To name a few, there's Princess Peach who saved Mario in her own game, Tomb Raider (2013) which showed Lara almost getting raped, leading her to her first kill, we even have Sheva from Resident Evil 5 that was a very strong character, us knowing what she had to go through. You see, in gaming today, we have a lot more equal video games with sex and race, even. This also brings up a really interesting concept that should be brought up before women in video games should, in today's day in time.

This is just my opinion, but I say that women have come far in video games. Being a male, I frequently disagree with feminist views because most of them sound sexist to me, but this is one that I agree in. Women in video games should be made more frequently and they should be shown as they are-- with boobs and a feminine body like any real woman, in real life. It's just how it should be. I'm not saying with HUGE boobs, but something that shows it's a woman, not a prepubescent boy.

#25 Edited by bricaro (17 posts) -

@Beagle050 said:

OP, there's also some ridiculous elements of female characters that need to die and die quickly.

1) The damsel in distress - Princess Peach, Elizabeth on Bioshock Infinite. Yes, I know Elizabeth helped you in the game, but the fact that you had to rescue her from a tower is a boring cliche. It could be argued that this was purposely done to be ironic, but I don't think that was the case. Granted it is better now - there isn't a damsel in distress that needs rescuing in every game (unlike how it used to be with old Nintendo games), but this cliche has worn out its welcome.

Also, as a dev, if your final boss fight contains the boss holding the damsel in distress who is crying out for help while he laughs maniacally, please do us all a favor and quit the business forever. You'll be doing us all a favor.

2) Stupid female armor - This one is a bit self-explanatory, but none-the-less: female armor in 99% of games (like Skyrim) would not stop a sword and would actually kill the person wearing it. Women wearing armor would not have their boobs hanging out, which RPGs always seem to get wrong. Don't even get me started on the mechanic of, "I'm only wearing a bikini top and a short skirt, but I take 75% less sword damage! Yay! -__-"

3) Very bad writing - It shouldn't be that hard to write a female character. Start with the assumption that your character is human, and go from there. If your female character's only purpose is to be moving eye candy, you're doing it wrong.

4) The karate-chopping ninja girl who is supposed to be empowering - No. Just no. Movies need to stop using this character too.

5) No normal clothes: Wearing a bikini at the North Pole, wearing a bikini anywhere but the beach or a boardwalk, as mentioned above - stupid armor that wouldn't block a bee sting much less a sword.

6) Timidness: Oh devs, did you really include a character just to have her whine the whole time and need the man in the story to protect her? For example, I forgot Elizabeth was there sometimes in Bioshock Infinite (I know she couldn't die, but in the story, you were protecting her). The "hide behind me woman! I'll protect you!" story trope is moronic.

I absolutely agree with you.

#26 Edited by Jag85 (5248 posts) -

@Beagle050 said:

3) Very bad writing - It shouldn't be that hard to write a female character. Start with the assumption that your character is human, and go from there. If your female character's only purpose is to be moving eye candy, you're doing it wrong.

I think this one is the most important point by far. The others are not deal-breakers, but this one is. The most important thing is to make interesting female characters we could all relate to. Simply ticking off a list of things to avoid offence (e.g. like the other points you raised) isn't going to make a good character. But writing an interesting character first, and then considering other factors, is the best way to go about it, IMO.