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Transcript of Exposé
Representation of Women/Men
Gender in Video Games
In the outside world : What's happening ?
Lara Croft - Feminist icon or Cyberbimbo ?
Some useful concepts
What is Sexualization and Hypersexualization ?
Bouchard and Bouchard : Sexualization is an action that gives a sexual characteristic to a person, a product or a behavior that does not have one at first.
According to the APA : hypersexualized game character design occurs when game characters are created with impossibly “perfect” figures and proportions intended to make them objects of sexual desire.
- What is Scopophilia ?
The "pleasure to see" : these are sexual pulsions coming from the image and placing the viewer as dominant.
Some useful concepts...
- What is the “Male Gaze” ?
This is the idea that when we are seeing the screen, we are seeing it as a man might, because the image is constructed to be seen by men and what’s more, created by a man.
--> Women learn to watch themselves through men's eyes.
- Do you think Lara Croft can be said as a feminist icon ? Why ?
- To what extend does she serve the “Women cause” ?
- As a player would you identify to her or objectify her ?
--> Her sexualized body
--> The impact of the marketing
and the advertising
--> She is seen as an erotic
--> The criticism of Girl Power
--> An atypic role in the Video Games
--> The absence of sexual and romantic narratives makes her a Queer Icon.
The impact IRL ?
--> The legendary Nude Raider
--> Lara Weller : Why do you look at us ?
--> The "Lara Croft Case" : an innocent rape ?
Sexism into the Gamer's World
Sexism is reinforced by the elitist communitarianism demonstrated by players. All gamers have at least once witnessed a scene of harassment against a female gamer.
While playing online games
- Do you have any comment ?
- Did you expect this kind of violence ?
- Why do you think gamers can be that violent ?
Let's play a game !
Female or male ?
Anita Sarkeesian's work :
thinking about the contents of video games
1/10 video games creators is a woman
BUT 47% of the gaming audience is female
the reception of video games evolved - not the contents
HOW ARE WOMEN AND GENDER REPRESENTED IN VIDEO GAMES ?
I - The woman and the man-prototype : classical representations of women and men in video games
II - The reduction of gender : against a theory of diversity
III - Around video games : a sexist and loose world
I - Representations of men and women are limited to prototypes
WOMAN : sexualized, beautiful, luscious , fighting but sexy
MAN : brave, aggressive, muscled, well equiped
a few characteristics, an essentialist vision
examples from a French forum:
who are your favourite female characters?
Resident Evil 4
Baiken from Guilty Gear :
“a strong woman, still she is beautiful”
II - Video games evacuate the question of gender
SEXES = innate and biological difference between men and women
GENDER = social and cultural construction of sexes (roles and behaviors)
video games : total opposition with the thinking of gender feminism (Judith Butler,
for a deconstruction and an expansion of gender
there are no gay male gamers, so there is no need to offer the opportunity of gay male relationships in the game
" a Mass Effect gamer
- the voice of artificial intelligence
screenshot from a french site specialized in video games for girls
the theme of damsels in distress
- Princesses : figures of gentleness and wisdom, stereotypical characteristic
of the female gender
- A "political" role : they lead the world as the fate of each world depends on them...
- ...but they don’t play any role in the game : pushed aside of the action, and, helpless, they just wait for the heros to rescue them
Is sexualization a
need for a valuable video-
Final Fantasy X and X-2
Final Fantasy X : one of the most sold videogame in 2009
- FFX-2 is generally considered as the less highly-developed of FFantasies,
seen as a really “fashion” game, for the graphics and the plot,
that the real fans of Squaresoft kind of despise,
received as a pale evolution of the previous one made to a commercial aim
- This second opus seems to have seduced only women, the clothing of Yuna, Rikku (and less Pain, the grey-haired character) being very often used for cosplay practice.
- Male characters are as representative of a stereotype vision of male gender (biiig swords, figure of the dark handsome and saturnine man, very muscular bodies…)
- Yuna both combines the figure of a powerful, noble and respected lady, AND a damsel in distress
- Evolution of the plot's tone, from FFX to FFX-2, which has been made as a "girly" Final Fantasy
FFX introduction video
FFX-2 introduction video
Pac-man/Ms Pacman : example of hyper-stereotyped sexualization
- In order to continue to make the game appealing to women, the creators decided to “feminize” Pacman, creating Ms Pacman
- Visual difference through stereotypical details : bow, lipstick, make-uped eye, long lashes, mole as beauty mark
The promotional version : Pin-up style !
Kartha Pollitt books about the “Smurfette principale” (1991) : “Boys are the norm, girls the variation.”
What need for a specific legislation ?
- The Columbine tragedy re-raised the debate about shooting and fighting videogames, that can be seen as an incitation to hyper-violence.
- The last opus of role playing GTA move the debate on the sexual violence topic.
- Given that State laws generally prohibit incitation to violence, racial hatred, or homophobic, sexist, xenophobic words are punishable by law, isn’t it contradictory that games like GTA 5 remain available to gamers ?
--> Are the gaming violence and sexual discrimination only symbolical and, therefor, harmless ?
Or is it a real threat on which the States should brought a specific attention?
Debating around video games
- Personal experiences : do you feel any differences in your perceptions now and then?
- If there were not so many stereotypes, would you be as interested by video games? Or do you see it as a “perfected” representation with sort of a cathartic effect ?
- Do you think specific law should be made ? or that the gamers’ world must remain a totally private area ?
Tropes vs. Women in Video games
EDI from Mass Effect 3
The Last of us :
the new overpraised video game
Elie and Joel, the white, emotionally distant and protective man
In the same boat, but not equals
In the video game The Last of Us, survival favors the man
(NY Times, June 14 2013)