Portrayal of women in video games

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Portrayal of women in video games

Hallmar82 Hallmar82
I've read a number of articles lately online criticizing the portrayal of women in video games and, recently, one defending it. Examples: Duke Nukem Forever versus Bioshock Infinite

I know a lot of people, both men and women, on EF play video games. Personally, I don't play a lot of the games that often garner the harshest criticism because I don't think those games are fun to play. As the last article said, it seems the quality of a game and the size of the character's cleavage are inversely proportional - as one goes up, the other goes down. I'm not denying there's blatant sexualization to the portrayal of characters as in Bayonetta or Lollipop Chainsaw, but I certainly wouldn't avoid playing a game because I was offended by it. I play games that are fun and don't play games that are boring or too hard (damn you Ninja Gaiden!).

If you thought a video game was overly sexualized, would you still play it?
Answers (public voting - your screen name will appear in the results):
No, I would be offended too much to play it
K101 , Greenleaf , wdanas , dks210 , Squeaky , darthkitt3n , Fuck it. , GONE! , gsfanatic , Mightymegarod , aluminummm , LadyDarknezz
12  (9%)
Yes, I love to see sexy women (or men) in video games
PeaceToTheMiddleEast , Entropy , blacklodge , SiNn , her angelness , oneeyedoctopus , jokerzwild , theavocadopit , epiphanyjayne , JackNit
10  (8%)
Maybe, I would play it first to see if it really bothers me
Cherrylane , Stinkytofu10 , Ghost , Daemonin , DeliciousSurprise , corsetsaurus rex , hatman , SexysaurousRex , Caus , silverdragonfly9 , Lildrummrgurl7 , Sexii Mermaid
12  (9%)
I don't know, it's not a factor in my choice to play a game or not
El-Jaro , OhMy! , Ansley , Taylor , Nazaress , voenne , Talena , slynch , Do-Re-Mi , Iron Man , MrWishyWashy , Lummox , shcoo , Ryuson , Errant Venture , mm098 , Hallmar82 , Starkiller87 , JessCee , Lola Park , ScarletFox , Sohotdinosaur , Swish , LennaKieran , Ice1 , samanthalynn , Mihoshi4301 , Graniteal , Ms. Spice , PDXlady , geliebt , Jaimes , padmeamidala , Masokisti , MaiNai , vampyroteuthidae , callsignhusker , DiamondKoala , Avant-garde , Anteaterz , curious kitten , Anastasia Beaverhousen , Rin (aka Nire) , Darklyvan , prettynpink , plaidvulva , humblepie , SalmiakkiVodka , Stagger13 , unfulfilled , NurseKitty , pixxie87 , Missmarc , bh253 , lyssa.rose. , Terri69 , L&P3040 , BBW Talks Toys , Feisty , CadmiumKitty , LavenderSkies , Krissielee , VioletMoonstone , justme23 , sexxxkitten , Phosphorous Tick , lovemuscle n cookie , amazon , FHeemz , Falsepast , funforall7 , KRD , Bodhi , PassionCpl , kawigrl , hybridinsurge , Gina RPG Geek , JKS , Quadropheniac , treefrog88 , Rory , Phantom2291 , edenguy , ejrbrndps , Dreamy Demon , LittleArtemis , BlackCrescent , rockblenny
88  (68%)
Other, the Infamous
CreamySweet , catsin , TransMarc , BoobCopter , ghalik , Petite Valentine , Billie Bones
7  (5%)
Total votes: 129
Poll is closed
01/13/2012
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El-Jaro El-Jaro
While the market share is growing for lady gamers, most people who play video games are guys. Most guys like large breasts (generically speaking), especially teen boys (and up!).

It doesn't really make much of a difference to me one way or the other. I'm playing "Dead Island" now on 360. True, 99% of the female characters in that game are zombies...not sexy. But they still went out of their way to give them D+ cup breasts.

Animated characters have never really done anything for me. Whatever and ever, amen.
01/13/2012
OhMy! OhMy!
Video games are gradually getting out of their "adolescence" as they too become a larger influence in our cultures. so, for the time being, a lot of the human features are exaggerated. For some titles, it works well, but not very well in a family/children's title.
01/13/2012
PeaceToTheMiddleEast PeaceToTheMiddleEast
There are a couple games I would not play like Grand Theft Auto because it is really vulgar. But some of them I don't think are bad.
01/13/2012
El-Jaro El-Jaro
Quote:
Originally posted by OhMy!
Video games are gradually getting out of their "adolescence" as they too become a larger influence in our cultures. so, for the time being, a lot of the human features are exaggerated. For some titles, it works well, but not very well in a ...
Well, as long as Princess Peach doesn't get DD's, I think Nintendo is ok.
01/13/2012
Nazaress Nazaress
I wish I could not play a game because of the way women are represented in it. Unfortunately, I cannot keep myself from playing an otherwise good game because the gamer in me won't let me. I do have strong opinions about the subject, though, and I'm always happy and more willing to buy a game with women (especially main characters) who aren't sexualized.
01/13/2012
voenne voenne
I don't let it bother me too much, I just focus on the game itself. If it's a good game, I easily look past it, and I won't give up playing a game just because that is the issue.
01/13/2012
Hallmar82 Hallmar82
Quote:
Originally posted by Nazaress
I wish I could not play a game because of the way women are represented in it. Unfortunately, I cannot keep myself from playing an otherwise good game because the gamer in me won't let me. I do have strong opinions about the subject, though, and ...
That's one of the reasons why I like the Metroid games. Otherwise, I enjoy RPGs like Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, etc. that allow you to make your character look and act the way you want.
01/13/2012
Cherrylane Cherrylane
I, personally, wouldn't really be into having to play with a character that looked like a bimbo to me. I think story quality and character quality is a big part of gaming, and I am really just not that into that type of female character. Honestly I haven't found ANY female characters I enjoyed playing that much.

if such a game came across my path, I would probably only play if it had the option to play as a male character. But still, kind of tend to think that video games with pre-determined characters like that are generally not the type of games I'm interested in.
01/13/2012
Cherrylane Cherrylane
That said, I do think it's worth mentioning, Disney princess' have pretty damn stereotypical and sexist bodies. They're all fairly busty (and show cleavage, for that matter), and have tiny smaller than barbie waists, and "perfectly" proportioned hips.

I think part of it might just be trying to be something that's automatically recognizable and something that you can more easily imprint ideas of what the character is like onto. Maybe animation just hasn't fully moved out of that stage yet.
01/13/2012
MrWishyWashy MrWishyWashy
It's not really a factor for me as I tend to stick with first person shooter games which usually does not have female characters...I have played a few demos with female characters and yes, I agree, was totally ridiculous, HUGE boobs...as stated before a few posts up, most games are geared towards men, so it's a no-brainer for game companies to make the female characters all barbies....
01/13/2012
Stinkytofu10 Stinkytofu10
I've played many video games, now that I think about it, the games I really like do not portray women in a misogynist or stereotypical fashion. My favorite games have in-depth character development, so much so that I will remember the characters to this day.
01/14/2012
shcoo shcoo
"Sex appeal" doesn't affect my choice to buy a game, and I'm not bothered at all by it if it does happen to be in the game. A lot of the fighting games I play have a lot of exaggerated jiggling on the female characters, lol.
01/14/2012
K101 K101
No, those with sexual graphics and portraying women as objects I will not play. My partner plays games as well as our 12 yr. old. I rarely play many, but will just to indulge them sometimes. None of us will play any thing with trash in it. Actually, our 12 yr. old got that Grand Theft Auto game for Christmas and while playing it, I was truly stunned. I could not believe how bad it was. I read the insert and was horrified! Most people have very hateful things to say when my partner or I voice our opinions against things like this, but that's fine.

I made it clear that the theft auto game was disgusting and I told him that that is not how we treat women, they're not disposable objects, etc. He didn't play it excpet one more time and the other day he wanted to stop by Game Stop and when we got there he turned the game in and told me that he didn't want to play a game that was disrespectful toward girls.

I am disgusted by some of the games available and I'm glad that I don't have to worry about that in my house since we've taught well against treating people the way a lot of those games show. I don't care if it's "just a game" or not. If you're strongly against something like say rape, your more than likely not going to find much enjoyment out of it.

There's nothing fun about a game that has women half naked. It's a game, not porn so it's not necessary. My partner plays racing games and such, but he doesn't own any that have sexual content, even cleavage. It's not something he find tasteful and thank God he has more respect for me and women in general than to become a part of the crowd who is causing that kind of thing to grow so popular. I don't mind some cussing as long as it isn't F or G.D. If the volume can be turned off though, I won't mind if the kids play it.

I love Mortal Kombat! It does have some half naked characters I think, but I've never used those characters and I don't play it anymore. My partner and I prefer clean games, they're more fun because the focus is the actual game. Whatever happened to Mario and Pac Man and Bejeweled. I love those. These days though, women are going to be made out to look like disposable whores. It's ridiculous and I refuse to contribute to that kind of thing in any way.
01/14/2012
Errant Venture Errant Venture
I have absolutely no problem with half naked, busty characters in video games. I wouldn't stop playing a game I enjoy simply because of it, and nor would I play a game simply because of it.
01/14/2012
Greenleaf Greenleaf
I'm female so too much lady bashing is really immersion-breaking for me, not to mention distasteful. I would feel the same way about overblown racist or homophobic "humor" as well though.
01/14/2012
Entropy Entropy
It doesn't drive me to buy the game, but I don't mind seeing attractive digital representations of the human form. Especially if there are guns and explosives involved.
01/14/2012
Hallmar82 Hallmar82
Quote:
Originally posted by shcoo
"Sex appeal" doesn't affect my choice to buy a game, and I'm not bothered at all by it if it does happen to be in the game. A lot of the fighting games I play have a lot of exaggerated jiggling on the female characters, lol.
Haha...yeah, Soul Calibur is pretty bad in that department.
01/14/2012
Starkiller87 Starkiller87
I just dont pay attention that I guess. Im a gamer, I couldnt be ripped away from my ps3 till it rsod. And I played games all across the spectrum, I care about story line not boobs I guess. I dont get offended easily though.
01/14/2012
ScarletFox ScarletFox
I don't really pay attention to it too much, mostly I think a lot of those games when they get made they are thinking of their core audience which tends to be males of various ages.

However, this is not to say that in a few games I haven't leered just a little at the character (Bayonetta ), but honestly crummy game play and other factors are going to get me to not want to play a game before how women are portrayed.
01/17/2012
Daemonin Daemonin
It really just depends on the game. I thought Duke Nukem was stupid anyway. I'm more about puzzles, strategy, and RPGs. I guess if Princess Zelda wore a skimpy outfit with her boobs spilling out I would be a little confused because it isn't necessary.
01/19/2012
CreamySweet CreamySweet
Quote:
Originally posted by Hallmar82
I've read a number of articles lately online criticizing the portrayal of women in video games and, recently, one defending it. Examples: Duke Nukem Forever versus Bioshock Infinite

I know a lot of people, both men and women, on EF play ...
I dont care how they portray either gender in the games. It's just a game. As a woman I have worked all angles to my advantage - strong, weak, smart, dumb, slutty, prudy, extrovert, introvert, dress to show my ass n boobs, dress to hide em. We use our bodies to our advantage either consciously or sub-consciously all the time in real life. Really how they show me on a game doesn't matter to me in the least.
01/28/2012
Mihoshi4301 Mihoshi4301
It's not a factor in whether I play the game or not, but I certainly would prefer to not have to play every game and see some one dimensional sex persona woman. That's just my preference.
01/28/2012
namelesschaos namelesschaos
Quote:
Originally posted by K101
No, those with sexual graphics and portraying women as objects I will not play. My partner plays games as well as our 12 yr. old. I rarely play many, but will just to indulge them sometimes. None of us will play any thing with trash in it. Actually, ...
I don't disagree with your overall sentiment however your wording I take issue with.

There's nothing fun about a game that has women half naked.

I think the word your looking for is "objectified" ; women, half-naked may be a common way women are objectified but it is not adequate as a synonym. Half-naked or fully naked is not in it of it self good nor bad, nor is it in it of it self sexual. Ex. I'm half naked right now because I find it more comfortable. The conflation between nudity and sexual is problematic and is only made further problematic when it is then conflated with objectification.

It's a game, not porn so it's not necessary.
I find it ironic that you rightly criticizes the "it is just a game" defense but reinforce it in this sentence. Firstly, "necessary" in general an extremely problematic way to analyze media. Example: I look at the painting on my wall it has three swans was it "necessary" for it to have three swans? By what stranded do we evaluate "necessary" for an entire media type? Necessary is especially problematic in games where much of the content is optional by it's very nature, paradoxically the presence of "unnecessary" ; material can in fact become "necessary".

Secondly, you mention not only nudity but partial nudity these things that extend far beyond porn, go to most art museum for example you will find art work in of men and women in various states of undress. We would not criticize an other art form in this fashion. No one would go to any art museums and say that nudity is unnecessary because it is a panting and not porn. We could criticize the individual painting/sculptures use of nudity or partial nudity and then declare it problematic, objectifying or "unnecessary" ; however we would not say it is so because it is a painting.

I agree with you that sexual content in the specific games you mentioned are offensive and gratuitous and objectifying however this is because of how they are portrayed within the particulars of the game, the fact that it is a game has no bearing on this. This may seem nit-picky but it actually extremely important distinction. Any argument that dedicates what the content should be or how it should be interpreted on the basis of "it is a game" implies games should be approached Sui generis ,independent of the wider concepts which all other media are subject to.

Even if used to try ,as you did, to say problematic content shouldn't be in a game it doesn't fix the issues, if any thing it allows them to continue. The actual issues become obscured, once you say because "it is a game" the issue become centralized on the media itself, you've shifted the question away from "is this problematic?" (social concepts that exist independently of the type media)on to a question of 'what is necessary with in a game?" (a question of media categorization and what separates one form of media from another). I don't what people to believe that this content is "unnecessary" ; because it is a game, I what people to realize that this content is problematic because of they are problematic, regardless of the media.

Why yes I do have a blog dealing with game theory link . Why do ask?
02/10/2012
PDXlady PDXlady
I don't play many video games to start with but the ones I do play are mostly puzzle games that don't have this issue and I love that. In the past I generally haven't had much fun when I have played games with women who are portrayed as mere sexual objects. I can't ignore the message that is sending and just have fun. To me it would be like playing a board game with someone who is spouting off some sexist comment every five minutes, even if the board game itself is fun I would still feel upset and insulted.
02/12/2012
SiNn SiNn
Quote:
Originally posted by Hallmar82
I've read a number of articles lately online criticizing the portrayal of women in video games and, recently, one defending it. Examples: Duke Nukem Forever versus Bioshock Infinite

I know a lot of people, both men and women, on EF play ...
im all for it doesnt bother me at all
02/12/2012
blacklodge blacklodge
Even if the char is customization, mine always have big tits and are scantily-clad. That's just how I like them.
02/12/2012
El-Jaro El-Jaro
Quote:
Originally posted by namelesschaos
I don't disagree with your overall sentiment however your wording I take issue with.

There's nothing fun about a game that has women half naked.

I think the word your looking for is "objectified" ; women, half-naked ...
I agree with this, mostly.

You totally don't need 3 swans in that picture. Two is more than enough!
02/13/2012
Jaimes Jaimes
Those two listed games aren't really my type, but for games that I do enjoy playing, I'm not at all put off by big boobies and scantily clad women. Where else but in video games can I customize my level of nakedness without worrying about pesky tickets and indecency charges?

Notice that my smiley is naked. And happy.
02/13/2012
Hallmar82 Hallmar82
Quote:
Originally posted by Jaimes
Those two listed games aren't really my type, but for games that I do enjoy playing, I'm not at all put off by big boobies and scantily clad women. Where else but in video games can I customize my level of nakedness without worrying about ...
Haha...that's true. I never thought about the LEGAL voyeur/exhibitionist angle to customizing your characters. RPGs would be perfect for fulfilling your desires, good point.
02/13/2012
Total posts: 83
Unique posters: 71