Women in Games: a rant.

I don’t really understand what the fuss is all about.

Today I read a refreshingly straightforward blog post about what women want in female protagonists. I highly recommend reading it for yourself, but what it boils down to is we want to be portrayed as humans with personalities like any male protagonist is. It really doesn’t seem like it should be a problem, but the comments … oh, the comments.

I eventually navigated to this post through a link that Deputy Editor of the New Staesman Helen Lewis retweeted about what women who are serving or have served in the armed forces think of modern FPS games. (Clicking on THAT link, I warn you, may lead to a tangential path of vaguely related but equally interesting blogs and articles.) Helen Lewis is pretty much a fantastic person all around, but to cover the basics: she’s a smart lady who plays video games and can write and is fortunate to have acquired a tough skin to deal with people who want to push her out of the video game world.

I mention her not just because she led me (somewhat … okay, entirely indirectly) to write this blog today but also because, through her writings, has a law of the internet in her name.

Lewis’ Law: The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.

I think a large part of the reason that Anita Sarkeesian gets so much hate is because she’s not so great at articulating the things she means to say and she repeats a lot of phrases that come off as antagonistic to members of the boys’ club of which she speaks – she’s by no means wrong, and their comments serve as evidence to her cause, but I believe that her vocabulary rubs her audience wrong, including supporters of her cause.

But as a woman, and as a gamer, (and as an avid player and lover of The Longest Journey series, which everyone should play, featuring one of the richest plots and not one but SEVERAL strong female protagonists), I truly don’t believe that this movement is trying to change something that would negatively affect anyone. The first story I direct y’all to today iterates this point: There’s nothing wrong with sexy. There’s something wrong with immersion-breaking eroticism for the purpose of arousing guys in the hope of attracting more guys to buy the game.

In AP Microeconomics, we recently covered the Production Possibilities Curve model. Stick with me here for a minute. The PPC is a graphical representation of two resources any given business/economy/individual/constructive-in-some-way group can make, what’s efficient and inefficient, and what cannot be done. It shows how many products of X you can make when making none of Y, vice-versa, and every possibility in between. The only way to increase productivity from an efficient point on this graph is an increase in technology or the acquiring of more resources to use.

Female gamers do not want to decrease the quality of games. They don’t want to bring misery to the traditional male gamer. They want better technology and better resources – they want the quality of games to improve. A lot of people on both sides of the debate are throwing punches because they feel like they ought to, but what we’re really fighting for should only positively affect everyone involved. Almost any teenager-father pair who plays World of Warcraft can tell you that dads love playing chicks. While it doesn’t really apply to WoW, because WoW handles gender neutrality/irrelevance very well, that signifies that men could only benefit from more quality female prevalence in games.

And while that’s my strongest point and my English teacher last year would tell me to stop here, I’m going to go back for one more minute. Last Saturday, Helen Lewis wrote this for The Guardian (a prestigious place if there ever was one) defending Grand Theft Auto V for its quality and still stating that she wished it served women better. Even so, commenters continued to attack her for judging only on the women’s side of things what was obviously a “man’s game,” telling her she should have played the game for the game’s value rather than with a feminist eye … and completely ignoring all of the good things she said about it in the article. This is why this issue is an issue. One side doesn’t listen to the other and starts slinging mud, and then we’re all in a huge fight because we’re not even paying attention to the issue we’re fighting about.

People Are Actually Bitching About The Oscars.

twitterwtf

 

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Listen. I consider myself a feminist. I believe in equal pay and all the good politics. I am in favor of video games that 1.) allow you to choose whether you’re a girl or a guy and 2.) video games that feature stronger female characters (and if you are too, and have some spare change, I highly recommend checking this out). I think the folks at Fat, Ugly or Slutty are completely justified in being appalled at the things that are sent in daily, and I think it’s sad that Anita Sarkeesian was sent death and rape threats because she wanted to make some videos.

I know that this has gone over a lot of peoples’ heads, but Seth MacFarlane is NOT:

  • sexist
  • racist
  • stupid
  • -insert X-ist slur here-
  • the worst Oscar’s host of all time

He’s actually very educated. The beauty of Family Guy, American Dad and the rest are that yes, they appear to (and do) appeal to the lowest common denominator of comedy on the surface – but if you are current on pop culture or worldly issues or history or art, et cetera, there’s a lot of intelligence written in. Not to mention musicals and movies. I am hoping with sincerity that the people who honestly believe he’s sexist have never seen Family Guy, because any viewers know that he makes fun of EVERYTHING.

Additionally, and I’d like to say this in my own words, but: The Advocate did a better job.

One more, small point, directly to the feminists everywhere who’re hating on Seth MacFarlane: do you really not have any more serious things to complain about? Are there no injustices in the world of women that demand more attention than this? And if the answer is no, then you should be happy. You should be fuckin’ rejoicing, throwing a big party.

Seriously, this kind of petty bitching is the reason that the majority of the United States thinks feminism is a joke. Stop making the rest of us look bad just ’cause you’re desperate for attention.

Talking About It Without Using “It”

I don’t usually post twice in one day, but this is a really great listen if you’ve got 8 minutes. Extra Credits is a wonderful show because they tackle topics that other people can’t do right, and always find a way to weasel in reason and compromise for every side of the story. Also addresses all sorts of other issues in video game culture that are not directly mentioned (also this episode is older than some bigger outbreaks of hatred) but is rather implicitly talked about.

Controversial Wednesday

So, about a month ago my grandma and I began talking all the time on Facebook. Eventually she told me about this thing that some friends of hers do called the Question of the Day. Essentially, you just post a status with its topic outlined and then a question.. for the day! Pretty simple, hm?

Well, there are no good memes for Wednesday. Blogging a ‘wordless’ picture sounds incredibly… not fun or bloggy whatsoever. And I’m not religious, so there’s no ‘word-filled’ Wednesday posts either. So instead, I’ve opted to create my own mini-meme (ahaha get it?) in which I write about a controversial QoD I’ve had. It may not necessarily be the question I do that day, as I do QoD’s every day – but these posts will always be posted on Wednesdays.

I came up with this (not only because there’s no good Wednesday memes) because it’s only been up for a couple of hours and already this particular question has gotten a lot of heat. I knew that it would in advance, of course, and that’s what makes it such a great QoD. Anyway, on with the question!

Today’s Question of the Day:

Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, and why?

I am pro-choice and before I get loads of hatemail comments, let me tell you why. People get raped. It happens. It is unpleasant, but it happens and there are times we can do nothing about it. Occasionally, these victims (and, yes, they are victims, they do not ASK for this to happen to them) are children or very young adults who are not able to handle their own life, much less be able to bring another child into the world.

Nobody can say it’s someone’s fault for getting raped, because it isn’t. Nobody asks to get raped. And you’re in no position to judge someone you’ve never met. Perhaps they’ve got a bad life, no support from parents or anyone else. Bringing a child into the world would only harm both the child and the mother.

And honestly… I could go on about this for awhile, but the basic point underlying everything is that each and every case is different but more importantly that it is a woman’s body and it ought to be a woman’s choice, not the choice of those around her.