Essay talk:Sexism in Video Gaming

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I just read through this, and I found you had some very good rebuttals to those points. I was musing about point #7, and I started wondering a bit about why there really is such a difference between separating violence in video games vs. gender imbalances. I believe you hit the nail on the head in a sense, that the damsel-in-distress trope has been around long enough that it's almost ingrained in our memories.

That said, I do find it intriguing to note that actions with physical consequences (e.g. murder, assault, theft, etc.) tend to appear "black and white" on the morality scale for most people. While there exist individuals who believe that murder is fine and dandy, most people disagree. In general, acts of extreme violence are (quite rightly) demonized in society. In contrast, actions that primarily result in emotional harm (though I do realize that such actions often result in the acceptance of physical harm down the road) tend to be seen as more of a grey area, and we as a society are far less likely to find them repugnant.

I'm of the opinion that this difference is another part of the reason that violence and sexism are treated differently in video games. Most people wouldn't dream of bringing violent acts in a video game into real life, and the fact that such physical crimes are so abhorrent to society makes the sheer idea of doing so seem preposterous. However, the damage caused by sexism, racism, and prejudice in general tends to be more subtle, and the distinction between what is acceptable in the real world and what should stay within a video game blurs a little.

That's just my two cents. Hopefully I wasn't rambling too much, but I'm a bit tired, so I do apologize if this makes little sense... - GrantC (talk) 04:46, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Ah, yeah. I'm glad you found the discussion stimulating. That last point about the difference between the treatment of violence and sexism in video games was a real hard one for me, I took a long time thinking about that one. There aren't a whole lot of people (I found absolutely zero using google) who address this issue online, so I couldn't find any references to fit in either, though I really wanted to. Nullahnung (talk) 05:02, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I find it quite difficult to wrap my head around as well. Sexism (and gender imbalance in general) is so deeply ingrained into society that it's difficult to figure it all out. Murder stopped being acceptable quite some time ago, but in many places sexism is still tolerated (and even embraced). That last point certainly seems far more "deep", if you will, and I imagine that's part of what makes finding references for it so difficult. I'm sure some sociologist somewhere has published on the subject (perhaps not explicitly in the case of video games), but I'm not surprised that it hasn't hit mainstream thought. - GrantC (talk) 05:10, 29 August 2013 (UTC)


"Most refined RPGs tend to be pretty equal in terms of gender representation and treatment."

Not that anyone noticed, seeing as the American market for RPG's imploded right after everyone got over FF7. Japan still loves them, of course, but most of the time the industry can't even be bothered to localize them out here.

Indeed, maybe the reason Americans don't buy RPGs is because they don't like equal representation of women. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 05:51, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Hm, well maybe. There are western RPGs too, though. A lot of them have enough customization that gender representation becomes a non-issue, I'm thinking of Dungeons & Dragons type video games, action RPGs like the Diablo series, open-world RPGs like the Elder Scrolls series. It's really not all bad in the West as well. Japan has its fair share of problems regarding sexism as well, although I'm not well-versed enough in JRPGs to recognize any patterns (probably not all that significant in JRPGs anyways). Nullahnung (talk) 07:05, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Multiplayer FPS[edit]

Here's something that tears me that might be interesting. How do you feel about multiplayer shooters (oh let's be easy and pick Call of Duty: Ghosts as a target since it's not power armored space marines) adding women to the rounds of "cannon fodder" for the games? On the one hand I feel like I shouldn't be shooting them since for some reason it feels detached from me, but on the other hand, it's just a game. I'm curious to see what people think. I feel like I'd end up feeling guilty for shooting women like this. Irony? I typically pick the Female Avatar in games (currently Saint's Row IV). Zero (talk) 14:15, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

The wonderful thing about games like Saints Row 4 is that everything is no-holds barred and you're too far detached from reality to care about who is currently getting exploded. Some of the more serious single player games however immerse you in a more realistic way, so that's a gray area on violence against women that depends heavily on the depiction and characterisation and such. (I mean, since we've seen Lara in Tomb Raider go through all sorts of gruesome impaling, and that's a character we deeply care about, now graphic violence in general appears to be widely accepted and fine. However, you still can't and shouldn't put outright rape in games like this (it is arguable whether it would be tolerable in Saints Row, probably we're not ready for that either), not along with any emotional involvement anyways (a side note in some letter you find is alright, just don't graphically flesh it out).)
Well anyways, on to Multiplayer FPS. Now, you wouldn't think twice about shooting and exploding female polygons in Unreal Tournament, because it's unreal tournament. Shooting women hasn't been much of a problem in various Counter Strike-like games either, like Sudden Attack or mods/hacks. People have been modeling in the female skins since forever.
Call of Duty, however, is a wee bit different, because it does try for a little more realism and so you are somewhat taken aback initially when you're slicing a woman's neck with a knife really graphically (while you still wouldn't give a second thought about doing the same to dudes). In principle it really shouldn't matter, it's just a bit of equal gender representation, but sometimes you just can't help feeling shocked and I do understand that. In the same vein I was initially somewhat shocked and awed by things like Mortal Kombat 9's fatalities which depict everyone including female characters getting sliced and mutilated extremely graphically. It just takes some desensitization, I guess. In principle there's nothing wrong with it (just don't let your underage kids see it). Nullahnung (talk) 14:49, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Speaking of Unreal Tournament, apparently epic was taken aback by female violence and removed the ability to gib women. No really, go play Instagib and pick a female avatar, watch your deathcam for a second and realize "wait, what? Isn't this not the point?" I haven't really played any other shooters where females are prominently sculpted as enemies (see: Halo). Saints Row, Skyrim, Mass Effect, Halo, Fable and Fallout I always pick up a female avatar and sometimes it kinda throws me back to see them brutalized (example: decapitations in Skyrim, vaporizing in Fallout). My girlfriend just moved in and I have access to her library so Tomb Raider 2012 is on my list of things to do. And children? What are these children you're having these days? Zero (talk) 15:28, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, that may be a case of company paranoia at work. Epic wanting to play it safe, because some people may feel a bit uncomfortable with the notion of gibbing women. It's probably the men who always feel uncomfortable anyways, the women being more open to gender equality, but that's just speculation on my part. I have the same thing where I always pick female avatars in these games in an attempt to make myself care more about my own character, but I'm detached and desensitized enough by now not to be affected by decapitations and vaporization. I haven't experienced enough of Tomb Raider 2012 myself, but I keep hearing about this one very controversial scene *KIND OF SPOILERS TILL END OF POST* where she is man-handled by some guy and that makes people uncomfortable because of similarity to rape. I hear she's a deep character overall, though (of course the most jarringly unrealistic part that breaks immersion still being that she is suddenly an expert at every kind of combat despite the story being how she isn't a hardened veteran yet). Nullahnung (talk) 15:50, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

I just wanna say…[edit]

This essay is fucking win. I give it a 101000000000000010000000/10. Good job, man. MESSIAH OF DOOM Prying open my third eye Dolan.png 11:44, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, dude! Nullahnung (talk) 09:19, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Hardcoar gaymur grrls?[edit]

(yes, even in hardcore games that trend is noticeable)

Skimmed through the whole ESA paper, still don't know where you got that from. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

I got it from here:
which I didn't bother referencing because it didn't occur to me that I should probably expand this point (maybe I should... I might get around to it when I have some free time).
I didn't go into much detail on "hardc0re gaimz" in general in the essay because everybody has a different perception of what that is. Generally, if you stick to the pet genres of the "PC masterrace" (like PC shooters or MMORPGs), that should be a pretty safe bet on "the h4rdest of c0res of gaming". But still, if you start talking about hardcore games more than just in passing, you can't really avoid opening a can of worms with the definition. Nullahnung (talk) 21:16, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
I put the link in and changed the wording to actually reflect the link instead of just my own gaming experience...
Speaking about my own experience, I know it shouldn't count for much, but I've talked with female gamers (including a relative of mine) who play things like DOOM, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Diablo2/3, other RPGs, some RTS, etc.. Some guy I regularly follow has a wife who is into all sorts of games, notably roguelikes and DotA 2. From my own experience (which counts for nothing, I know) I would say girls have just as much natural potential to become hardcore gamers as boys, but what's keeping the numbers down is probably societal stigma or some crap like that (which, the stigma isn't going to last past these next few generations, I'd wager). Nullahnung (talk) 21:56, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick reply. I agree that starting debating what should we consider "hardcore" gaming wouldn't bring to anything productive. I was simply curious. Anyway, when I have the time (so in the next month or so) I'll create an account here and refute at least some of the points made in this essay. If this is going to result in an huge rollback of the talk page (which as far as I know you have the power to do) just tell me now so that I'll save myself the trouble. Peace and sorry, I'm new to this wiki. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
Yeah, I look forward to seeing what you have to say and whether I could be convinced by your refutations.
The talk page isn't mine, only the main essay page, so I'm not allowed to delete or change anything you write here (except for trolling or formatting mistakes), even if I wanted to bother doing so.
Also: On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you. Nullahnung (talk) 08:34, 29 April 2014 (UTC)


In all honesty does the author of this actually believe that the body types in Dragons Crown are false equivalence? What exactly would entail the male foil of the "absurdely sexualized"? Total nonsense. The female art is practically as muscular as the male! I suppose we should go for realism and remove all the body fat from their boobs?— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 14:36, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Realism is not the problem. The problem is the imbalance between what the two body ideals specifically cater to. Here, this post explores this in more detail: Nullahnung (talk) 15:45, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
I'll just leave this here.--ZooGuard (talk) 14:56, 31 August 2014 (UTC)