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Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

posted by Darth Marsden on - last edited - Viewed by 3.6K users

So, remember that whole brouhaha with that woman doing a Kickstarter to make a series looking at how women are portrayed in video games that got a lot of people behaving really, really badly?

Yeah, the first episode of her series went live yesterday: Damsel in Distress.

I watched it yesterday.

I had to fight not to fall asleep.

I get what she's doing, but she's doing it in a very dull manner. Her voice is very monotone, her script is full of "impressive" words, the cuts between takes is jarring and doesn't flow well at all, and what she's saying is stretched out far too much - she basically takes 20 minutes to say stuff that could easily be compressed into 5.

Also, and I freely admit this is a very silly thing to focus on, but those earrings are ridiculous. I can't take her even remotely seriously when those things are dangling around. Ugh.

Wondered what you guys thought of it.

247 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @DAISHI said: 8539772469_2827d42d7d.jpg

    Tell me you can't pay attention to him because you think his pony tail is silly, his shirt is dumb, or his room looks cluttered.

    But he's wearing casual clothing that doesn't clash with the background or his skin tone, and while his hair is pulled back, it still frames his face properly. And the clutter only matters if it has nothing at all remotely to do with the topic at hand or his internet persona in general, or if any part of it is particularly flashy for no apparent reason.


    If this woman was wearing the same clothing he is, (or similar, like her grey hoodie in other videos) it wouldn't matter. Similarly, if he was wearing 00 (double-zero) gauge earrings, or had a big tattoo on his arms, or was morbidly obese or something like that, yes it would be distracting (to varying degrees, of course) just as her earrings and makeup are also distracting.

    ... Well, I say that, but it depends on the subject matter. Her earrings might not be so distracting if she actually had vocal inflections that sounded like she actually cared about the discussed topic. The only reason why it seems that she cares is not because of her tone, but the fact that she won't shut up about it.

    And, for the record, my wife very rarely wears makeup, and she looks great:
    2owRyCF.jpg

    You see those eyebrows? Those are normal women eyebrows.

    THIS woman, on the other hand, has eyebrows that are obviously drawn with a makeup pencil:

    pRxcZC9.png

    And again I say that that shirt is ugly. it doesn't matter who wears it.

  • Dear god, I wish you'd picked a better screengrab of me. That lighting setup was awful. :p

    Like I say - I get what she was trying to say. She just doesn't say it in a particularly engaging manner.

  • Oh, it's you, is it?

    Well, then we need Puzzlebox or Avistew to come in here and give comment about your and her presentation from a woman's perspective.

  • Why yes, that is me. Clearly you don't watch my videos.

    For which you are hereby banned for a month.

    ...:p

  • I have. I watched the review of The Crow video game. It was just a long time ago.

    Now pardon me while I watch a video or two to get a proper perspective.


    EDIT: Watching The Bond 25. I have to say that, myself being an American, right out of the gate your accent makes you far more interesting than her.

    Okay, you're using your hands, and you have inflection in your voice. She does neither.

    And you look around while you talk and think instead of persistently staring directly into the camera. It lends believability that you mean what you're saying.


    EDIT AGAIN: ...and I was so interested in watching that video that I forgot I was supposed to be critiquing your presentation.

    I don't care that the resolution of your camera or the lighting conditions aren't that great. You show personal interest in the subject matter through your body language and vocal inflections; you lay out your viewpoints in a way that is meaningful to the viewer; and your general appearance is light and casual.

    You have stuff in the background behind you but we don't care because none of it stands out too much--and because it's organized clutter, not mess. If you had empty food wrappers and stuff, that would be mess. The one eye-catching thing in the background is the 007 wallpaper on your monitor, but you're reviewing 007 films, so it makes sense.

    Oh, and back to physical appearance, I like the beard. It works for you.

  • I think the reactions to this video are frankly disgusting. I don't care if she's doing a bad job or not, but the fact that people are reacting so strongly to what is essentially a video on the internet means that it's necessary for her to keep going. There isn't equality. And there won't be until people wake up and realize it.

    This is one of the reasons why I'm a dude on every other forum I go to.

  • Strong reactions by us or by Youtubers?
    There are always strong reactions by Youtubers. For everything.

    And I don't have a strong reaction so much as the video is boring, so since there's a thread about it here, I picked it apart. If there wasn't a thread or if it was in WOYM, I would have either not watched it or else turned it off after a couple of minutes and left it at that.

  • @Alcoremortis said: I think the reactions to this video are frankly disgusting. I don't care if she's doing a bad job or not, but the fact that people are reacting so strongly to what is essentially a video on the internet means that it's necessary for her to keep going. There isn't equality. And there won't be until people wake up and realize it.

    The reason I wanted to discuss it here is because I knew we'd be able to comment seriously on the video, not just insult her because she's a woman OMG SHE MUST BE A DYKE. We're more mature than that (well, most of us, anyway :p), and it's why I like hanging out here.

    The overall feeling that the video is too dull to maintain interest for the duration of it is a perfectly valid criticism, and it's the one of the worst things the video could be. Why would I want to watch it if it's not particularly interesting? Why would anyone?

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    Vainamoinen Moderator

    Youtube commenters. I hate them. Hate, hate, hate.

    Criticise the video, but bashing the commenter LIKE THAT? That's just crap.

    There's definitely a point in Nintendo exploiting the DID to an absurd degree in its early years. Maybe because characters just weren't complex, and the most elementary stereotypes were the only ones that made sense to be integrated. Maybe because it was - to the target audience - the most understandable motivation for the hero. Anita Sarkeesian (yes, she has a NAME!) talks a lot about the objectification of women as a "goal" in these games. That is certainly true. Yet if you're a desperate video game designer with just a few pixels and lines of text at your disposal, what do you go for? A heap of gold or rather at least the mild suggestion of a living, breathing and thankful creature?

    Of course video games today regress to the theme time and again. As do books. And movies. Occasionally, you will find strong women as heroes. And they are internationally revered - but we will have to ask ourselves if that reverence has to do with those characters being exceptions to the rule.

    Sarkeesian heavily seizes on Nintendo. They're probably the worst offenders, and it might have been a bit unwise to get all apologetic for the Japanese culture. But even the DID influx in present games, including the pantyshot trope in all the Double Dragon incarnations, still primarily stems from Manga/Anime media. If that's what Sarkeesian wishes to seize on, we'll have a thousand versions of that video by the end of the year.

    What might really help in this discussion is a broader view on storytelling principles. Lots of stories only work when someone needs to be saved. Be it a beautiful woman, a man or the whole fucking world. I can't always point the finger to say "exploitation". I'm all for the abducted NPC to launch their own rescue attempt, and I'm all for characters who do not just sit down in their prison cell screaming the name of the hero all day. But let's face it, it's the utter and complete helplessness of an abducted person (note I'm desperately not saying if it's a male or female one) that triggers emotions, that motivates the shit out of us for a rescue attempt. To put it bluntly, the less active the rescuee is, the more active (and powerful!) the rescuer feels. This might be seen as an elementary trigger for the feeling of interactivity in games.

    We will have to lead a healthy discussion about whether this "trigger" just appeals to primal male sentiments in us and needs to be abolished for the sake of women's liberation. I say: A whole lot of stories - even some good ones - would just cease to exist.

    For now, I'll treat this first video as nothing more than a history lesson. An interesting one, mind you - I personally did not fall asleep as Marsden did. I'm sure Sarkeesian will find a lot of the DID in present games too. Besides the countries those games will be from (Japan... and Poland?), it will be interesting to evaluate which genres use the trope most heavily. I'd assume that it's those with least storytelling and most action, and I'm rather thankful that I'm not the one to figure this out, thank you Mrs. Sarkeesian! ;)

    Yeah, the new Tomb Raider is out. We have seldom seen such an asskicking damsel in distress. Because the Rambo and Peach tropes don't mix. But whatever. ;)

  • @Vainamoinen said: There's definitely a point in Nintendo exploiting the DID to an absurd degree in its early years. Maybe because characters just weren't complex, and the most elementary stereotypes were the only ones that made sense to be integrated.


    My thought for the early games extends to this:

    The early examples are from the Arcades. People need to get in, quickly understand at least the basics and what they're doing, and you want them to either keep pumping in quarters as a single player or get people in and out quickly as a line of players.

    You don't stop to tell the player a story. You don't stop to talk for several minutes on end about a complex motivation to walk right and punch dudes in the face.

    So, what do you do?

    You lean back on narrative tropes that already exist, that the player can be expected to understand in a visual sequence that lasts all of five seconds before being given control of a player character.

    Honestly, I think people approaching the problem of EARLY uses of the trope from the "girl as a prize" angle are thinking of the problem backwards.

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