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Playing Women: Exploring the Exploitation of Women and Cruel

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Dianne Lugo

on 16 December 2014

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Transcript of Playing Women: Exploring the Exploitation of Women and Cruel

History of Video Games (According to Me)
Magnavox Odyssey 1972
Are Video Games a "Boy Thing"?
MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) created in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment.
Playing Women:
Exploring the Exploitation of Women and Cruelty Towards Women in the Video Game Industry

Blizzard Women
Atari Home Pong
System 1975
this is pong
Nintendo 64 1996
Playstation 2 2000
Game Boy Advance 2001
Game Cube 2001
Xbox 360 2005
Xbox One 2013
Initial Idea
I grew up playing video games and still
avidly play video games yet, recently I began realizing that these games I loved playing had one thing in common no matter what. So I wanted to investigate and critique this aspect of the gaming culture and industry

Entertainment Software Association, a trade group that focuses on the U.S gaming industry, published a recent study this year that found that
the gamer population consists of 52% male players and 48% female players
women who are 18 or older actually represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population than boys age 18 or younger (36% vs 17%)
the number of female gamers age 50 or older increased by 32% from 2012 to 2013.

Chris Hedges accurately points out that our culture is "saturated in sex". And, as we observed throughout the years it is present in a lot of different industries.

Carl's Jr. ads, American Apparel, TV shows, etc. all use women in suggestive positions or with underlying sexual tones to sell their product or appeal to the public

Therefore it was no surprise that the women are overly sexualized in video games as well.
World of Warcraft
"There is a single aspect within a lot of video games that many female gamers, including myself, find infuriating and humorous: the clothing and ‘armor’ worn by the women featured within the game. Women in what amounts to nothing more than bras and thongs are prominently shown on ads for games and throughout the campaigns. I often ask myself if these game designers believe that maybe boobs somehow magically repel bullets or other things that would cause harm or if they think that it is somehow flattering to be able to play as a barely-clothed female with oftentimes, unrealistic breasts."
Conclusion: They don't care
It is not about allowing female gamers to play as someone they can identify with but rather that the male gamers have to option to play as these unrealistic women. Instead, these women “are puppets, packaged female commodities…devoid of authentic human beauty, and resemble plastic” (Hedges, 57). They aren’t authentic; these women have perfect body proportions and beautiful faces. Often, female characters of a bigger size and perhaps more realistic features are ridiculed and made fun of within the games and aren’t regarded as true women. These women are only there to “satisfy the desire of the men…who don’t much care for women” (74) it feeds right into the “desire about controlling the look, the environment, what women represent and how they come across” (84). And that is what this essentially boils down to. We live in a culture that loves to “dominate and abuse women” (74). Men can manipulate these characters in any way they want, especially in free world games or games such as World of Warcraft.

Leah from Diablo
Conceived as a vessel
Killed for the good of mankind

Sarah Kerrigan from Starcraft
Betrayed, possessed, Queen, must be “saved”

The Main Characters

Michael’s daughter and wife, Tracey and Amanda

one of the highest rating and selling games recently released
game that provides endless opportunity to be aggressive and manipulative of women
generated more that $800 million within 24 hours of its release and three days after its release it had surpassed one billion dollars in sales, thus making it the fastest selling entertainment product in history
The game broke seven Guinness World Records and in general, received positive reviews.

creative director revealed that their most popular game, Assassin’s Creed, will not offer the option of playing as a female assassin in Co-Op.

The reason?
because doing so would mean “double the animations,...double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets, especially because we have customizable assassins. It was really a lot of extra production work,” according to Alex Amancio, the creative director. So, what it boils down to is that producing a playable female character would simply be too much work. And thus, the tradition of keeping strong female characters out of video games continues.
"Actually, it's about ethics in gaming journalism"
The movement began in August of 2014 after indie game developer Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend made accusations that she had had a romantic relationship with Nathan Grayson, a journalist for the video game news site
. This spurred severe misogynistic harassment towards Quinn, including many stating–falsely–that the relationship had led to positive coverage of Quinn’s game. Supporters of this movement say that they are simply concerned about ethics in video game journalism. Yet, the truth of this movement is that it is one fueled by hate and violence towards women.
Women who have spoken up against the movement and in support of Quinn were also harassed, threatened with violence and death, and were doxed (their personal information including phone numbers, and addresses were broadcasted across the internet).
The feminist culture critic, Anita Sarkeesian is also one of the main targets of the Gamergate movement after releasing another installment of her video series: Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games – “This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it’s both possible, and even necessary to simultaneously enjoy media, while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects” (Sarkeesian, Damsel in Distress: Part 1).

In Conclusion
There is a reason that these games are successful: people keep playing them. I myself keep playing them because even though dealing with constant reminders of gender bias and sexism these games are still fun. They are tailored to be addicting and they are in fact a mode of entertainment. I will not stop playing or enjoying problematic games such as GTA V or World of Warcraft of games where playing as my gender isn’t even an option but that does not mean that I must turn a blind eye to the problems behind these, and many other games as well as the industry in general but rather, women like Anita and other critics, as well as gamers, must continue to draw attention to these issues in an attempt to spur about change within the industry.
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