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Feminism because why not make a thread for it?
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WheelsOfConfusion



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yinello wrote:
I think this one here is the one most relevant for you:

Study of harassment in gaming: http://blog.pricecharting.com/2012/09/emilyami-sexism-in-video-games-study.html

Quote:
Women were also much more likely to quit playing a game because of sex-based harassment than were men. 35.8% of women reported having quit playing temporarily because of sexism, and 9.6% reported that they quit playing a certain game permanently because of harassment. The numbers for men in the same areas were 11.7% and 2.6% respectively – about a third of the percentage for women in each case.


Quote:
Another polarizing question was “Have you ever obscured or lied about your sex while playing video games to avoid unwanted attention or harassment?” 67.5% of women said that they had obscured their sex. Only 5.8% of men said the same. That means that women are nearly 12 times as likely to feel the need to conceal their sex while playing video games as men are. Two men sent clarifications to me regarding why they conceal their sex sometimes when they play video games. Both prefer to play with female avatars, and both have previously been harassed because they identify as male but play female characters. Again, they are being harassed because they don't conform to normative masculinity.


I'll see if I can dig up anything more.


That last one is pretty much exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks!

Given how prevalent this is and how big online gaming is, there really needs to be more work done on describing and studying harassment in this context.

*edit* This survey pretty much corroborates exactly the arguments I've been making over the last few days; that women are specifically targeted for harassment at a higher rate than men, that it can't be due to stupid things like "lol they're just 12 year old boys," or "lol they're just being sexist for the attention," etc. I also argued that the kind of sexist harassment men received was not an equal and opposite kind, where they were attacked for being men, but instead accused of not being masculine enough.
More to the point, it does shed more light on the issue of sexism keeping women out of online competitive gaming to a significant degree.
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Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
Does the underbelly of sexism and misogyny turn girls off of competitive online gaming and "e-sports" tournament participation?


Often not even the underbelly but the whole thing in sum.

In the fighting game amateur, semipros, pros scene - all of it, really, it was underbelly, overbelly, whole nine yards. And it was comically fucking awful. Who knows how much or little it has improved since then.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/sexual-harassment-as-ethical-imperative-the-ugly-side-of-fighting-games

this may have been the worst of it that we know of
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Jabberjay



Joined: 31 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What people say on their own private chatlines is their own business, but their should be standards for corporate-sponsored official competitions in open venues. That's just common and professional decency. Competing players shouldn't be obliged to be within sight or hearing range of their opponent and should always have the option of putting them on mute.

Aris' comments give me a striking deja vu of the attitude of the christian right towards homosexuals over the past few decades. Public hate-speech in an official competition isn't exactly a first ammendment right.
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Arc Tempest



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's amazing is that you'll find people who attack any organization that tries to set standards. Requiring professional and respectful behavior is often called out as censorship or being childish "because an adult should be able to cope with being called things."

Try not to think about that last point too hard, it will give you a headache.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a related question, now that we've established the scale of the disparity.

Would women-only leagues and tournaments help?

Say, by giving women a "safe place" where they won't be exposed to so much sexism (and approval of sexism)? Maybe help foster more interest in competitive gaming and create an environment for women to explore their interests in it, hone their skills, tear down some of the "gaming is for boys" stigma associated with the scene; at least as a temporary measure while the problem of endemic sexism and misogyny in the mainstream leagues is being worked on?

*edit* To clarify, I'm not proposing having a Men's and a Women's league, but forming a league specifically for women. I'm also not saying this should replace leagues that start out with stringent anti-bigotry policies from the get-go, like the ones set up specifically for LGBT players but are welcoming to straights who aren't asshats. Indeed, I don't think a Women's league would work without those other options alongside it.
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Jabberjay



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like if you're going to have two leagues there should be the "Uncensored League" and then the "Offcial League" that receives corporate sponsorship and has behavioural standards for participants, namely that they act like civilized human beings to one-another.

I can see a part of what Aris is saying, I'm just not deluded into accepting it in its entirely. For some people the freedom to be an asshole, and knowing others have the freedom to be an asshole back, is a component of what they consider a safe space. This is the appeal of many of the boards on 4chan and other similar spaces. "Safe Space" is hardly an objective term and for some people does represent the right to shit on others. This doesn't mean he should get to do so in public venues, but it does mean he has the right to in a venue where it is specified that such behaviour is acceptable or even encouraged so that those who wish to avoid it may do so. His argument is that because he is most comfortable being an asshole and that other gamers are comfortable being assholes then everyone should be comfortable with it all the time under all circumstances and that anything less is an assault on his liberties.

tl;dr version: Aris needs to check his privledge.
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Yinello



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
Here's a related question, now that we've established the scale of the disparity.

Would women-only leagues and tournaments help?

Say, by giving women a "safe place" where they won't be exposed to so much sexism (and approval of sexism)? Maybe help foster more interest in competitive gaming and create an environment for women to explore their interests in it, hone their skills, tear down some of the "gaming is for boys" stigma associated with the scene; at least as a temporary measure while the problem of endemic sexism and misogyny in the mainstream leagues is being worked on?

*edit* To clarify, I'm not proposing having a Men's and a Women's league, but forming a league specifically for women. I'm also not saying this should replace leagues that start out with stringent anti-bigotry policies from the get-go, like the ones set up specifically for LGBT players but are welcoming to straights who aren't asshats. Indeed, I don't think a Women's league would work without those other options alongside it.


I've been asked that question before and the only answer I have is maybe.

The problem lies mostly in getting women to try the game in the first place. When they hear how hostile it is and see the commercials which are blatantly directed to men, it's not very encouraging to try any game out. I think women only leagues are more a fix that helps for women who are already gaming, not so much those who are afraid to try it out.

What really helps is commercials that actively try to pull in men and women alike, have a game that feels safe (no constant metal bikinis, no NPCs that make cat calls, etc) and a community that also feels safe (active modding, bans where it is explained to the public that this is not acceptable instead of doing it in silence, etc).

Same with commercials of gaming leagues. You always see guys in them with Scarlett being the only exception (and I barely see her).

I hate using this example again but look at Guild Wars 2. They have an entire race that's completely pansexual, open lesbian relationship, people of all skincolors and genders on high end positions like commanders and sexism is limited to two enemy factions. The only negative is that they don't have any visible transpersons though it has been suggested by the community.

I'm derailing a bit so to get back to the original question, I think women only leagues could help (and if women want to play in them, they definitely should!) but it's not the final solution.
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Jabberjay



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd personally appreciate more female PCs and NPCs. In 90% of games being a nameless mook is a male-only occupation, reinforcing the idea of the disposable male while portraying females as without agency.

One of my favourite parts of the Saints Row series was that you could not only play as a woman, but you could play as a 100 year old obese latino woman with a british man's voice who could rip fire hydrants out of the ground and beat people to death with them. Saints Row had a lot of character customization and I really appreciated that feature. It made the character feel like they were mine.

Also Default Fem-Shep is way better than Default Man-Shep in both appearance and voice acting.
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Echo



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saint's Row is probably not the best game series to cite as being positive in portraying women. OK, so I've only played SR3, but that was enough to put me off the series for good.

For a start, OK, it features several female characters, but then it sexually objectifies all of them. Maybe with one exception, but all the rest have their bodies and sex lives treated as public property and suitable for discussion.

All the unnamed background female characters are (a) random members of the public with whom you can only interact by threatening, robbing, assaulting or killing them, (b) scantily clad female gang members, (c) strippers, (d) hookers, or if they're really really lucky, (e) assassin hookers.

And then there's the whole thing with one of your gang members being a pimp. And that unskippable mission you have to do for him where you "rescue" trafficked women from a rival gang, send them to your pimp for "safety", and then at the end of the mission, you have the "choice" of *selling* them back to the gang you just liberated them from, or handing them over to your pimp who will "put them to work".

Being able to customise your character with a broader scope than many other games doesn't really make up for much. Especially when some of the dialogue, from memory, is *still* conveying some seriously dodgy attitudes to women, whichever voice you pick.
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Jabberjay



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the plus side, if your character is female they are also automatically a lesbian or bisexual, since the dialogue is 99% the same regardless of PC voice actor. So that's an LGBTQ protagonist, even if they do objectify other women.

I still think it's a great leap forward to give a woman the chance to be an immortal criminal psychopath gang-leader who eventually becomes President and then Galactic Emperor. It really shatters the glass ceiling that way.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jabberjay wrote:
On the plus side, if your character is female they are also automatically a lesbian or bisexual, since the dialogue is 99% the same regardless of PC voice actor. So that's an LGBTQ protagonist, even if they do objectify other women.

Do the male NPCs change their tune with the player's gender? If not, I can see this being at least as bad even if it seems, on the surface, to be more LGBT-inclusive.


Yinello wrote:
I've been asked that question before and the only answer I have is maybe.

The problem lies mostly in getting women to try the game in the first place. When they hear how hostile it is and see the commercials which are blatantly directed to men, it's not very encouraging to try any game out. I think women only leagues are more a fix that helps for women who are already gaming, not so much those who are afraid to try it out.

Good point. However, the survey you posted indicates that women play pretty much the same game genres as men with little-to-no statistically significant difference between them, and also that almost as many gamers are women.

Quote:
The survey opened with some general demographic questions. When asked “What sex do you identify as?” 499 (57.1%) of the respondents were male and 356 (40.7%) were female. These numbers – particularly the ratio of men to women in gaming - are similar to those which have been reported by other studies. They support the idea that the majority of the members of the gaming community are male, but perhaps some might be surprised that the number of female members comes even close to that of the male majority.

Participants were asked which genre of video games they play. The most popular genre was “RPG,” which garnered 14.8% of all responses. The least popular genre was “Simulator” with 6.0% of all responses. The difference between the percentage of men playing a particular genre and women playing that same genre was never greater than 3.2 (12.6% of men and 9.4% of women played “Shooters”), which falls within the margin of error for this study. This suggests that men and women have roughly the same taste in video games.
- See more at: http://blog.pricecharting.com/2012/09/emilyami-sexism-in-video-games-study.html#sthash.mSkOgPnZ.dpuf

So it seems like, by and large, women are already playing the games in the first place despite the existing bias in most games' content. Maybe they avoid some specific games that are particularly bad in favor of others that aren't as egregious, but I don't have any data on that yet. It would definitely be valuable to have, and I bet game companies already know the demographic makeup of each game's player base, probably down to the specific region.

Anyway, one of the biggest disparities in the gaming community is that women simply don't have a presence in the e-sports scene. 90% of the competitors are male. This despite women being nearly as prevalent in gaming generally, and playing the same genres of games. I think this is the kind of thing a Women's league would address the most, if it really can encourage more women to play competitively and foster a larger group of competitive gamers who (in theory) would then filter into the mainstream leagues.

I think one of the crucial aspects to this lack of women in the E-sports scene is the fact that half of the female respondents said they have left public servers because of sexism, 5x more than men. What's more, many women who commented on the question said they don't play online at all because of sexism, whereas men still played online but avoided specific servers that had a sexist atmosphere.

Quote:
When asked if they had ever avoided playing on a public server to avoid being a target of sexism, 50.6% of female respondents and 10.3% of male respondents said that they had. Beyond this, many women clarified by saying that they don't play video games online at all in order to avoid sex-based harassment either that they had previously experienced playing online or that they thought they might experience. While women are five times more likely to avoid playing on a public server to keep away from sexism, there is another difference between when men and women choose to do this. Many men sent clarifications about this question to say that they avoid specific servers that they know to foster a sexist community whereas many women said that they avoid all public servers and play only in environments they know that they will be comfortable in. - See more at: http://blog.pricecharting.com/2012/09/emilyami-sexism-in-video-games-study.html#sthash.9s4zuBTS.dpuf

So it would seem that demand for the games is about as high among women as men, even with their biased content and design. But women are largely changing the way they play the games, avoiding online play specifically because of sexism in the gaming community.
While game designers, studios, and publishers all need to clean up their act and make games that go beyond the Macho White Guy protagonist formula (and marketing with the same flavor x10), I'm not sure that's the root of the problem a Women's league would be set up to address.

Quote:
Same with commercials of gaming leagues. You always see guys in them with Scarlett being the only exception (and I barely see her).

I think pulling more women from the existing player base into the competitive gaming scene would also help solve this problem. They could probably fix your complaint right now by focusing disproportionately on the women that DO participate today, but it would likely be easier and feel less "deceptive" if the scene itself wasn't such a sausage fest.

Quote:
I'm derailing a bit so to get back to the original question, I think women only leagues could help (and if women want to play in them, they definitely should!) but it's not the final solution.

Yep, I'm thinking it should only be temporarily necessary, and is only part of the answer. I basically see this set-aside approach as like the situation in the US with Historically Black Colleges that gave black people a chance at a college education when segregation and racism legally barred them from attending the same schools as whites. HBCs played the crucial role of making colleged-educated blacks less of a miraculous happenstance, increasing the pool of black college grads in society at large.
It's not exactly the same, of course. Ostensibly, most tournaments are open to everybody anyway. But the hostile sexism within the community seems to be creating a de facto state of segregation, without any official mandates to the effect. And on the flip side, HBCs have historically been the schools open to everybody regardless of race, whereas a Women's league might only be open to, you know, women (let's also make sure trans-women are included).
Still, the idea is the same: set up a more controlled environment where bigotry is unlikely to exist or be tolerated from the start, in order to alleviate the effects of that bigotry in the statistics of the broader community. Give women a safer place to compete and we may see more women competing with the guys eventually; in the meantime, we'll continue working on the mainstream gaming scene in other ways to chip away at the endemic sexism and tolerance of sexism.
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Jabberjay



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I honestly can't remember how sexual orientation worked out with NPCs. Nobody really objectifies the PC sexually because in any incarnation the PC in Saints Row could kill them, probably in a fantastically over-the-top fashion. Every Saints Row beyond the first is more about being a super-villain than a gang leader.

Also the only character I couldn't fuck in my female playthrough of SR4 was a celebrity cameo playing himself, who is ironically a professional voice actor. I never played as a male but I wouldn't be surprised if the PC could have gay sex with Pierce. Who cares about anyone but Kinsey, though? Kinsey and Saints Leader OTP!
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Echo



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I still think it's a great leap forward to give a woman the chance to be an immortal criminal psychopath gang-leader who eventually becomes President and then Galactic Emperor. It really shatters the glass ceiling that way.


Having the option of a female character in charge does not make any sort of mitigating factor for a huge pile of misogyny. Neither does making it "ironic, self-aware" misogyny.
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Arc Tempest



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've yet to play any of them, but I've actually heard quite a bit of praise for SR4 in that department, Jim Sterling for example.
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