Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby RoochArffer » February 28th, 2012, 12:29 am

Hello all, I'm currently taking a cultural anthropology course and for one of our projects we have to look at a social issue of whatever sort. Being the nerd that I am, I decided to look into sexism and gender stereotyping in video-games. So to any gamers reading this, I would greatly appreciate it if you could answer a couple questions for me. =] (and P.S. guys, please keep any discussion friendly)

First of all I would like to state that I'm not looking for any specific viewpoint here - please please please don't try to say what you think I want to hear on the issue. Also, specific examples of characters or plot points in games are great to hear so if you are thinking of a specific character for any reason then go ahead and mention them.

1) Do you think there is a lot of gender stereotyping or sexism in games (through physical appearance, personality, and role within the plot)? More so than in other media? Does it matter to you or is it not important? Is it OK up to a certain point? Why?

2) How do you feel about the portrayal of your gender? What about the portrayal of the opposite gender? If you don't like it, how would you prefer they be depicted? If you do like it, why?

3) When a character is over-sexualized (6 pack abs for no reason, impractical clothing, etc) does it distract from immersiveness? Do you mind playing as that type of character?

4) When a game allows you to create a character, do you normally create one of your own gender? Why or why not?

5) Have you had any odd experiences that were gender related when playing multiplayer online?

OK, I'm sorry if this was all tl;dr but thank you to anyone who responds! And if you want to put shorter answers, or only answer some questions, etc that's fine, too. Thanks for your time. =]
Image
User avatar
RoochArffer
 
Posts: 4
Joined: September 3rd, 2011, 4:58 pm

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby UrbanMysticDee » February 28th, 2012, 12:44 am

1. I guess. Games tend to be simplification and exaggeration of things that actually exist (or not) and stereotyping is one way to achieve that. It's to be expected and doesn't bother me at all.
2. Your usage of "gender" here is a bit confusing, whether you mean biological sex or how society dictates people should act. I like to embrace always new perspectives and share in the play of masculine and feminine whenever convenient. Not sure how much cross dressing happens in games today but I'd like to see more of it.
3. Lara Croft has huge tits and that's never stopped her from having improbable ass kicking ability and going on adventures. It's kind of funny when I stop to think about it but not distracting while playing.
4. Again, there's that confusing usage of words. Anyway, I'm a man who usually plays as a woman because it's more fun that way.
5. I've never played multiplayer online! Tried to, but when I got good at MechWarrior 2 the whole online community was already long gone.
Image Image
Image
Image Image
User avatar
UrbanMysticDee
 
Posts: 3914
Joined: March 13th, 2010, 12:33 am

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby RyoSoulreaper » February 28th, 2012, 12:49 am

1.) I do think there is gender sterotyping in Games. I think it's about on par with other media too, probably most notable in Anime and Movies. To me, I try not to let it effect what I think of the game. I think it's ok to a certian point. IT all depends on the games setting. They are abstract in nature but it should have some realistic characteristics in it so the sexist tendencies of games set back before the Womens Rights movements should be incorporated but not be the focus and go all that far.

2.) The males are most of the time depicted as muscular juggarnauts hell bent on killing the sons of bitches who wronged them. I don't particualy like this one mostly because it's a shallow character 90% of the time. A medium built Man with a clever mind and decent skills in whatever he is doing would be a good thing for me to relate to. Not saying those don't exist just saying in the mainstream they are few and far apart. The oppisite Gender is all kinds of wonky. They are genreally sexualized and not really there for more then a love interest to be killed or just eye candy for the gamer. I'm not fond of this one either. I'm no fan of a character who's only contributing factor is her boobs. I'd rather them make a Decent looking female who actually is a badass. Again, not saying it's not been done just it's not common in mainstream games.

3.) They can be a bit distracting. I mean if this Goliath like hulking bastard is going around the screen busting heads while there is a story overlay in dialogue I'm more inclined to pay attention more on the Hulk rather then the plot. The Female aspect, being a Heterosexual dude I'm inclined to stare at the huge ass boobs being jiggled in front of my on the screen then think of anything past it. I don't mind playing as these characters. Hell most of the time they are the most fun to use.

4.) I tend to make one of each. My main is my Gender because in online play it's how I can get Gender ID'd to prevent the sterotype of "Girls can't play games" Though I'm not afraid to use my female characters. But I have a tendency to use both almost equally.

5.) Not really, I mean I've been mistaken for a girl because of my Avatar a few times but genuinely I haven't had much "oddness" in the online area.
Image
Egoraptor in reference to Sonic 06 wrote:YOU GOTTA LOOK INSIDE YOURSELF AND ASK "WHAT AM I WILLING TO PUT UP WITH TODAY?" NOT FUCKING THIS!!
User avatar
RyoSoulreaper
 
Posts: 4383
Joined: August 24th, 2008, 12:43 pm
Location: Hyrule

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby Seven Rain » February 28th, 2012, 1:00 am

Do you think there is a lot of gender stereotyping or sexism in games (through physical appearance, personality, and role within the plot)?
It's hard to deny, so I'd say yes, however...

More so than in other media?
Absolutely not. If you ask me all forms of media and fiction are stuffed full of these things, but also have their fair share of exceptions.

Does it matter to you or is it not important?
Not really. I don't care one way or another unless a game is generic and stereotypical in every way, not just characters/genders.

Is it OK up to a certain point?
For me? Yes.

Why?
It's fiction. They're stories meant to entertain, and if they manage to entertain me, I'll enjoy it, stereotypes or not. I'm not the kind of person to constantly dwell on flaws instead of ignoring them and enjoying the things I enjoy, though weird pet-peeves can get to me sometimes.
I also have a high threshold for things most people find unacceptable in fiction, which means you might want to take my words with a grain of salt to begin with. :P

How do you feel about the portrayal of your gender? What about the portrayal of the opposite gender?
That actually depends... There isn't just one solid stereotype for each gender, there are several. There are all kinds of archetypes and stereotypes that many different characters fall under. The difference between stereotypical characters and otherwise is how much they can manage to stray from and in-between these archetypes and stereotypes.

If you don't like it, how would you prefer they be depicted? If you do like it, why?
I've seen enough variety in gaming that I can't really imagine any ways I'd like to see characters depicted that I haven't already, unless we're talking trippy/surreal depictions... But in terms of unique personalities and originality, I've seen a lot of it in games, regardless of the existing stereotypes.

When a character is over-sexualized (6 pack abs for no reason, impractical clothing, etc) does it distract from immersiveness?
Not really, though I rarely find story-based and character-driven stories to be immersive in the first place. I mean yeah, it might be a bit harder to take a story seriously if the protagonist is shirtless or letting their booty hang out during an overly serious plot, but as stated above if I enjoy something I enjoy it. Fanservice won't stop me from enjoying a story that I find enjoyable.
I just don't see myself in games I play, I see a story unfolding in front of me as I sit in front of a screen, or a character who's actions I control. In that sense I don't consider all games immersive, though that may just be me having a different definition of the word. When I play FFIX, I'm not Zidane. I'm Casey, a gamer who is controlling Zidane as he watches a story unfold. In multiplayer games that are all about competing and killing or games like TES that are based on immersion rather than story, I see my character more as a toy than a representation of myself. I can still enjoy the immersion of the freedom and realism but I still never see myself as my character, though at this point I'm just rambling, sorry.

Do you mind playing as that type of character?
I won't lie, I'm shallow enough that I don't mind playing as overly sexualized characters of either gender if they're feminine. Masculinity isn't my thing. I never really care all that much one way or another, though. I will acknowledge the silliness of stuff like going into battle wearing a bikini, even if I don't complain about it.

When a game allows you to create a character, do you normally create one of your own gender? Why or why not?
It actually depends on the artstyle of the game. For example I don't care much for masculine characters so when the artstyle leans that way with males I find myself making female characters.
In anime-ish games I tend to stick with male characters when given the choice. Though even that depends on the options and variety of the creation.

Have you had any odd experiences that were gender related when playing multiplayer online?
Nope. In MMOs I avoid playing as characters of the opposite gender regardless of artstyle, due to the social aspect... I also never bother with things like online "relationships" or in-game marriage.



Hope I understood and answered the questions okay. I'm always paranoid that when I get too rambly that I'll end up getting off-point or answering something in a way I don't mean to.
Image
User avatar
Seven Rain
 
Posts: 23818
Joined: February 21st, 2008, 7:05 am
Location: Nostalgia Town

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby RoochArffer » February 28th, 2012, 1:56 am

UrbanMysticDee wrote: Your usage of "gender" here is a bit confusing, whether you mean biological sex or how society dictates people should act.


Sorry about the confusion, I do mean "gender" as a socially defined role as opposed to biological sex.


also I hope you don't mind if I ask - why do you think it's more fun to play as a female character?
Image
User avatar
RoochArffer
 
Posts: 4
Joined: September 3rd, 2011, 4:58 pm

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby RoochArffer » February 28th, 2012, 2:01 am

Seven Rain wrote:Hope I understood and answered the questions okay. I'm always paranoid that when I get too rambly that I'll end up getting off-point or answering something in a way I don't mean to.


Rambling is perfect for my purposes right now haha
Thank you so much for taking the time to write all that out!
Image
User avatar
RoochArffer
 
Posts: 4
Joined: September 3rd, 2011, 4:58 pm

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby UrbanMysticDee » February 28th, 2012, 2:10 am

RoochArffer wrote:
UrbanMysticDee wrote: Your usage of "gender" here is a bit confusing, whether you mean biological sex or how society dictates people should act.


Sorry about the confusion, I do mean "gender" as a socially defined role as opposed to biological sex.


also I hope you don't mind if I ask - why do you think it's more fun to play as a female character?


It's more fun because I'm kind of stuck being a man in real life, and that's boring. I'd like to be like Dionysos and be able to change back and forth.

What I've always wanted, the only thing I've ever wanted really, back to my first memory, is freedom. I've tasted it but a taste is never enough. That goes toward explaining why I'm a nondualist. I can see the relative value of duality, but it still feels like imprisonment. The union of form and emptiness (magnificently expressed in the alchemic magnum opus, the creation of the hermaphrodite, fully embracing all dualities - human and divine, material and spiritual, male and female) still, unfortunately for me ego wise, involves the limitations of form, which is something I need to work on.
Image Image
Image
Image Image
User avatar
UrbanMysticDee
 
Posts: 3914
Joined: March 13th, 2010, 12:33 am

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby Durvin » February 28th, 2012, 1:01 pm

As near as I can tell, video games (and comic books) seem to be the most sexist media we've got, at least in western culture (I don't know about other places); the graphics are almost invariably wish fulfillment, with the women as nude as possible and the men hyper-muscled...or anything else. When was the last time you saw an unattractive woman in either medium? (Note that wizened hags and super-fugly chicks don't count, especially since they tend to lust after the males even more than the sexy ones.) It's especially bad when aliens and supernatural creatures show up, and the males are grotesque monsters and the women are sexy near-humans. The only exception I know in gaming is Samus Aran, and even then it's because they just can't make that iconic armor skimpy (fan-art doesn't count); and I dare you to guess what she looks like under the armor. (Hint: long blonde hair.) Allegations of the depictions of men being as sexist as the depictions of women don't work, because very few women actually want guys built like Rob Leifeld drawings; the men are just drawing/rendering testosterone fantasies.

Now as for breaking immersion, no, it doesn't. I sometimes laugh at the way the fictional universe works and how it must have a really horny pantheon of creator-gods, but--I hate to say it--I'm so used to it that it doesn't seem out of the ordinary. Men are either Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Jack Black, or some combination of the three (Brutal Legend), and women are somewhere on a spectrum of Angelina Jolie on one end and Puma Swede on the other; the main difference is how ridiculously over-sized their boobs are. Skin and hair color may vary (never texture--nobody in games has nappy hair, except maybe Afrobot and some people in Wario's world), eyes may glow, but that's just what people look like--you accept it the same way you accept polygons or pen-art or whatever medium you're looking at.
Image
Image
User avatar
Durvin
 
Posts: 283
Joined: January 11th, 2012, 12:01 pm
Location: The Frumious Narthex

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby xkrazydog » February 28th, 2012, 2:15 pm

1) Do you think there is a lot of gender stereotyping or sexism in games (through physical appearance, personality, and role within the plot)? More so than in other media? Does it matter to you or is it not important? Is it OK up to a certain point? Why?


There is. Yes. But there's gender stereotyping and objectification in movies, books and magazines too. Games is just another medium for developers and creative teams, granted the collective hieriarchy and editing process may have its share of bias and cliches, it can be offensive but you can always choose not to play it. Its also a huge industry and business so they need to go with what makes money.

2) How do you feel about the portrayal of your gender? What about the portrayal of the opposite gender? If you don't like it, how would you prefer they be depicted? If you do like it, why?

I'm half and half. Most games have that token big boob'd sex icon amazonian, or the weak, innocent flower/healer girl. But most games i encountered atleast have a well varied cast of women with somethings in between. Its difficult to make a female character not fall into stereotypes or become bland, but a well thought out plot or direction can give them a good balance. The only thing that kinda unnerves me though i can understand why, is that all female characters are either cute/sexy or pretty. Average is hard to come by.

3) When a character is over-sexualized (6 pack abs for no reason, impractical clothing, etc) does it distract from immersiveness? Do you mind playing as that type of character?


I dont mind it at first, though if they continue to be shallow eye-candy with no improvement, i get bored real fast.

4) When a game allows you to create a character, do you normally create one of your own gender? Why or why not?


Both with an equal number of each too. Although i preferred the male designs in Ragnarok Online, I still made equally the same amount of females.

5) Have you had any odd experiences that were gender related when playing multiplayer online?


Girls hitting on me thinking i'm a boy.
At first it can get flattering. But then it gets awkward when they're pre-teens who reach borderline obsessive.
Image
User avatar
xkrazydog
 
Posts: 1960
Joined: August 4th, 2007, 10:33 pm
Location: somewhere here. somewhere there.

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby robybang » February 28th, 2012, 2:28 pm

three wrote:
The_Hankerchief wrote:AHNOLD TSUNDERENEGGER

"AHL BE BAHCK... BUT NAHT BECAUSE I LIEK YOU OR ANYTHING."
User avatar
robybang
 
Posts: 3900
Joined: June 16th, 2008, 2:50 pm

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby RoochArffer » February 28th, 2012, 10:00 pm




those really are great! thanks so much for bringing them to my attention =]
Image
User avatar
RoochArffer
 
Posts: 4
Joined: September 3rd, 2011, 4:58 pm

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby AceLune » February 28th, 2012, 11:02 pm

1) I think every medias have about the same stereotypes, exploited maybe in different ways. I mean if you are using images and I'm using words, we can bring up the same stereotype, but we will have to work em out differently since the medias used are really different. It doesn't make much sens, I know. Well in my head it is clear, but I guess I'm too tired to explain it :/
In games, t here is two that always came first when I think about it : Lead character is 95% male and the healer is 95% female (or most the time females are the magic user as well), well the weak class.
It doesn't bother me at all. I'm not getting offensed or anything, but they do bored me sometime... (going over and over the same stereotype in games, movies, books, etc.) I don't think I could come up with something better or new, so I deal with it and try to predict what is coming up next.

2) I fell like grils could wear some clothes once in a while. It wouldn't hurt anyone to actually see a knight lady actually wearing a full breast plate instead of a bikini plate. And once in a while, there could be a ugly/flat/fat girl, I mean women aren't all top models. Women are always way too perfect in my opinion. Still I deal with it, like everyone else, I like cute stuff. I know I'll never be as pretty and pefect as these fantasy girls.

I think men are pretty much balanced. They aren't as perfect as women are. They aren't all good looking, tall, slim, etc.

3) Not at all. Otherwise I wouldn't watch movies either.

4) I create one of my own gender. Usually girls are more customizable then boys anyway. I think I have more fun to create a character than actually play with it. When I can't choose my gender (classes are restricted to genders) I like to joke around and say : I'm not confortable with a penis. I think I lost my center of balance without my boobies. But yet, if you look at my WoW account, they are all female and there is maybe only 2 of them that are't female Tauren... Tauren is probably the less customizable and girl looking race.

5) Yeah, in a creppy way. I often get random gifts from strangers. How to say... when I began to play online, I used to be asked for cybersex very often. I'm either very lucky now or that stupid cybersex phase is over. I wouldn't experience that kind behaviour while playing a male character.

Not sure if this will be helpful at all. This is pretty messy, just as my head is right now with the painkiller in :)
User avatar
AceLune
 
Posts: 45
Joined: June 22nd, 2010, 1:23 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Looking for opinions on gender stereotyping in games

Postby H0lyhandgrenade » February 29th, 2012, 9:44 pm

1) I think there certainly is a lot of gender stereotyping and sexism in games, in every aspect. A little more than other media, but not vastly. I think a big reason for this is because games tend to know their audience pretty well, or at least think they do, so they try to cater to it heavily.

2) I'm not exactly feminist, but the portrayal of my gender in games does irk me a little. It's all about the tits, man. And the support for the bloke, and his drive to succeed. We're the supportive pair of tits backing up the heroes. And I'm sick of females being frikkin' healers with a mysterious past. As for men, they have a little more variety, but for mains they do seem to generally be either dark with a dark past or obnoxiously go get'em with a strong sense of justice. Sure it's samey but at least it's not insulting.

3) Impractical clothing only annoys me on a character when it isn't what a character would wear. If it's a confident chick in a boob tube, then sure, why not. But what gets to me is when there's an insecure and shy chick, yet her outfit is practically a bikini. She would never put that on. Thats bad writing, with character being sacrificed for fanservice.

4) Usually I'll make my character a bloke. Because despite my ranting about how they're treated in media, I don't generally LIKE women much. I prefer guys. A few games I'll choose a chick, such as Mass Effect, which I thought was one of the only games that could let you be an interesting female character.
Image
Image
User avatar
H0lyhandgrenade
 
Posts: 1547
Joined: July 30th, 2006, 12:15 pm
Location: Sunny sunny England.


Return to Video Games

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests