Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 1.13

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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17 Comments

  1. Video game site comment threads are like encyclopedias of mansplaining. Being in the industry, I always check in on the threads of articles like that to see if any headway is being made against sexism. Sadly, it appears as though they may be the last group on earth to get the memo. I wish I had the strength to jump into that flame pit and explain unexamined privilege to them, but I just don’t.

    1. Those mansplainers are the ones who are going to buy the game. I don’t envy the game designers who have to cater to that type of male gamer and still try to do something good and innovative that appeals to other gamers as well. I’d love to have some insight into such a design process.

      I have to admit, Elizabeth works on me as a character. I like her, but I won’t pretend it’s not because she’s not tailored for just that purpose, for gamers just like me. I realize how and why it works, and it irks me a little, as well as knowing that having a character so tailored for myself often means it’s the opposite for other gamers not like me. I will however hold off on criticism until I’ve played the game. Ken Levine did pretty well with female characters in Bioshock 1 and 2, so I’ll trust him for now and send him some constructive criticism later.

    2. The mansplaining on mainstream gaming sites drives me up the wall. Every single time, men feel the need to tell me at length that games are made this way to appeal to a core demographic of young-ish straight males. No, really? I know why developers do it; that doesn’t mean it’s right and that it shouldn’t be challenged. So insulting!

  2. Ah, Schrodinger’s Lara Croft strikes again.

    Simultaneously existing as both a testament to misogynistic objectification of the female body and a symbol of empowerment, until the author needs to make a point then she collapses into one form or the other.

  3. Video game female character design very often makes me feel like I’m in a Hooters. It is so often tawdry and manipulative and phony, and is used to cover up the fact that the food/game kind of sucks. It is so cheap and obvious that it distracts me even in a good game. There’s a need for characters to be attractive, I get that. But there’s a huge difference between “attractive” and the fetish-wear of game characters. Not every shirt needs to show a minimum of 2″ of cleavage, does it? Not all pants need to be made of spandex or leather or jeans one size too small. Real people in the middle of an adventure don’t have their midriff showing and high heels on. The characters can be ridiculously attractive and still dressed appropriately.

  4. I enjoy that this article is posted on IGN in consideration of their regular features “Babeology” and “Babe of the Day”. They also, for a time, ran a gaming podcast called “Girlfight” which was a great show featuring their female editors (with occasional male guests) and staff talking about games. Oh division of News Corporation … I sincerely love the dichotomy.

  5. One the things I do notice a lot is that in video games, particularly in shooters is that the protagonist is almost always male. I would really like to see a game that has a strong female protaganist that rescues her boyfriend/husband/love interest for a change.

      1. Other examples from the top of my head of sensibly dressed female video game characters:

        Faith from Mirrors Edge
        Cat from Halo Reach
        Female Vault Dwellers from the Fallout series (usually a giant hulking suit of power armor if I was playing :) )

        Can anyone else add to the list?

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