Videogames and Feminism

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Feb 6, 2017 at 9:39 PM
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So what's the deal lately with feminists hating on gamers as a whole? I just read a series of Tumblr posts talking about how "geek culture" and "gamer culture" have spawned the latest alt-right movements... which I don't understand at all because it's just blatantly untrue.

Yes, you have games like Call of Duty that can be a bit bigoted, or racist, or whatever at times. Those are bad games.

But then you have game developers like Bethesda. Let me reference a post I made on Tumblr:
Bethesda’s games are reputable for their design, plot, expansive worlds, immersive lore, gameplay, music, and so much more. But one thing many people overlook is the fact that Bethesda’s games feature unbiased representations of every minority group imaginable.

Let’s start by discussing the Elder Scrolls series. There are a number of dark gods called Daedric Princes which are an integral part of every game. These gods have no true physical form, and despite their “standard” depictions, are actually gender fluid. Mephala in particular has been depicted as both a man and a woman in the series. In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the son of the master of the Fighter’s Guild (who is a woman by the way) is in love with another male member of the Fighter’s Guild and this relationship is not discouraged or seen as abnormal in any way. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, gay marriage is perfectly acceptable. In both games, racism towards the “beast-folk” (the Khajitt and the Argonians) and elves is a major theme, and racist characters are often depicted in an extremely negative light. Additionally, female characters are equally represented in every guild and in the governments of most countries (e.g. Maven Blackbriar, the most powerful businesswoman in Skyrim). And contrary to popular feminist belief, women are not always (and in fact, usually are not) portrayed in “risque” or seductive outfits. Female armor is simply designed to accommodate the female body. The purpose of a female character is not sex appeal.

I am less familiar with the Fallout series, but I will say that it seems to address, in many cases, the same political problems we have today. Women and blacks struggle to survive in the American wasteland in the same way that white men do. There are two whole questlines related to ending slavery in the Capital Wasteland during Fallout 3. Women hold political council in Rivet City, the aircraft-carrier-turned-safe-haven in Fallout 3. And once again, the fallacy of racism is tackled, this time through the Tenpenny Tower questline, which involves helping a group of “ghouls” (radioactive half-zombie humans) gain equal access to a predominantly white aristocratic resort.

Not only that, but how on Earth could you call any series of Nintendo games bigoted? I mean, sure, you could argue that Mario is a racist caricature of an Italian plumber, but that's a real stretch. You're telling me games like Pokemon or Zelda are bigoted? And Nintendo games account for at least a third of the games available on the market today.

And what about the Indy Gaming industry? What about Undertale? I swear, the people making these claims have barely even touched a videogame in their entire lives. The most they see of videogames is what the really, really big companies put out. And those games are far, far from being indicative of what the entire gaming industry is like.

So is this whole "videogamers are bigots" thing just ignorance? Or am I missing something?
 
Feb 6, 2017 at 10:27 PM
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Feb 6, 2017 at 10:30 PM
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Feb 6, 2017 at 10:33 PM
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The whole "gamergate" incident is probably the truest example of "gamer culture" that's pretty much on the verge of being alt-right.

The most they see of videogames is what the really, really big companies put out. And those games are far, far from being indicative of what the entire gaming industry is like.
I guess I'll just play the devil's advocate here, but most of what everyone sees is the games that really big companies put out. So if you're an average non-gamer person, to you those big budget household name games ARE gaming. And I'm not sure the people posting these posts saying "gamer culture" is leading to alt-right movements mean "all of gaming culture", but maybe just the subsection that plays these games?

The problem really is the word "gamer culture" which could mean anything from CoD players to Cooking Mama fans. It's far too large of a group to generalize, and I honestly don't identify myself as a "gamer" because of it.
 
Feb 6, 2017 at 11:05 PM
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Feb 7, 2017 at 12:49 AM
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So I am not a "gamer" because I don't play boring shooters like CoD?
 
Feb 7, 2017 at 1:10 AM
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Feb 7, 2017 at 2:27 AM
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I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from this post but I think I like what I see.

The whole "gamergate" incident is probably the truest example of "gamer culture" that's pretty much on the verge of being alt-right.
Right, because GamerGate is representative of all gamers ever... I'd never even heard of that website until I saw the posts about it on Tumblr and it's been like four or five years.


I guess I'll just play the devil's advocate here, but most of what everyone sees is the games that really big companies put out. So if you're an average non-gamer person, to you those big budget household name games ARE gaming. And I'm not sure the people posting these posts saying "gamer culture" is leading to alt-right movements mean "all of gaming culture", but maybe just the subsection that plays these games?
Except Nintendo is one of those big companies, and you'd think that they'd at least say something about them. In my opinion Nintendo games are pretty diverse gender-wise, and obviously since their target audience is younger kids there are no "risque" women or anything like that. One of the biggest issues feminists tend to have is that women in videogames are often there for sex appeal, not as an option for a female player or a serious female character. Of course, that doesn't account for half the games out there that have nothing to do with people...

Also, what alt-right movements (like actual political movements) have been started by a group of gamers? None that I know of. Maybe people are just still really bent out of shape about GamerGate (which I don't understand, because I'm pretty sure there was some interesting stuff about that Zoe character that got brought to light, like how she was stalking/attacking her ex-boyfriend or something like that).
 
Feb 7, 2017 at 2:39 AM
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Gamergate and the other side of the Tumblr stuff is all a bunch of horseshit tbh. As for the alt-right. They're invalid. The whole Gamergate shitstorm was something that could probably have been prevented if the Tumblrfolk had been 'A little less offended' at everything, at least that's what I think.
 
Feb 7, 2017 at 11:43 AM
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Tumblr has about as much to do with "women's rights" as the alt-right has to do with ""free"" """speech""". While there are more than a few grains of truth to classical gamer culture tending to be chauvinistic (or just antisocial in general) that's hardly a recent development. These type of movements are less about meaningful discussion and more about generating their own endless supply of self-sustaining controversy at the expense of everyone else.

Besides weebs are the real problem :critter:
 
Feb 7, 2017 at 9:38 PM
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Right, because GamerGate is representative of all gamers ever... I'd never even heard of that website until I saw the posts about it on Tumblr and it's been like four or five years.
(what do you mean by "that website", gamergate isn't a website, or at least that isn't what I was referring to)
I never said GamerGate is representative of all gamers, I just said it could be seen as an example of "gamer culture" spawning an alt-right movement. For something to be attributed to "gamer culture", does it have to be something that ALL "gamers" support/take part in?

Or to sum it up, some people have claimed that GamerGate's actions promote an "alt-right" agenda (mainly targeting female game developers and journalists over male ones), and GamerGate is definitely something that was started by a "group of gamers".

You can read a bit more about GamerGate here to get a general sense of what it is: http://gawker.com/what-is-gamergate-and-why-an-explainer-for-non-geeks-1642909080
 
Feb 8, 2017 at 12:37 AM
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To start, I'd like to post this video in conjunction with the article GIR posted. It's by Folding Ideas and I think it does a great job of capturing what GamerGate was. Or maybe it didn't and it's biased trash, I dunno. I haven't watched this video since November, so I'm a bit foggy as to the exact nature and presentation of the content, but you can be the judge of that yourself.


SuperJaws, I think you're being a bit hypocritical in calling out GIR for stereotyping all gamers when you yourself stereotyped all feminists as gamer-haters. In reality, it's a vocal minority on both sides making the entire group look bad. It's the same way with most groups. The vocal feminists, while they did acknowledge a legitimate issue within games, didn't back up their agruments well and made stereotyping claims about games and gamers as a whole. The vocal gamers targeted, doxxed and harassed the central feminists and video game journalists instead of starting a legitamate conversation and making criticisms of arguments made by the feminists. Both sides were wrong, but I personally believe that the vocal gamers were more so in the wrong for their reactions. Like I said earlier, the vocal feminists who started this were acknowleging a valid claim, they just went about it wrong and after the wrong games. The vocal gamers did not act civily or attack the claims of the women, rather they attacked the women themselves. I feel as if GamerGate wouldn't be that much of an issue if the reaction wasn't so uproarious and vitriolic. If it had been calm and civil, this would be less of an issue. (Then again, this is the internet, "calm and civil" doesn't really fit in to the Internet's vocab)

I don't think most gamers really care too much about GamerGate, and I feel as if feminists have more pressing issues to cater to than healthy and positive representation in games. (Which is what GamerGate is really about.)
GamerGate is also pretty old news. If you're still seeing it, you're kinda behind the times of Tumblr's concerns. Right now, it's Trump and the Travel Ban. Of course, that is besides the point; this is still a valid issue that must be discussed.

That being said, I'm on mobile right now and the previous paragraphs exhausted me. Not to mention the fact that I have homework. So, I will say this: Videogames have certainly gotten better with including more positive female representation. Empowering, Three-dimmensional and varied representation of women is certainly evident in games, but we can still strive for more. You always can. Especially in more AAA, mainstream, non-Nintendo titles. Women are becoming an increasing percentage of gamers. I think the gaming industry should start listening to them. Of course, I'm not too sure on what percentage of those women are playing mobile games or more "casual" games (Which are common responses to this claim and honestly, I feel like those are just claims to attempt to delegitimize women gamers) but that would spark a discussion of what is and isn't a game and I don't wanna get into that right now. I have messy, complicated and nuanced views about things and my writing suffers as a result. I'm gonna stop typing now.
 
Feb 8, 2017 at 12:52 AM
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Is this loss
But in all seriousness...
I don't think feminists oppose video games or "gamer culture" as a whole. Obviously there are always some extreme people who will accuse the entire industry of being secretly sexist/bigoted or whatnot, but that still represents a vocal minority. Most are criticizing the catering of certain games toward men through oversexualization of female characters (I still love you Rockstar and Kojima) in addition to the increasingly prominent presence of the alt-right online. The alt-right is associated with gamer culture because most of them are young adults, the age group that plays the most online video games. When an inkling of controversy appears *cough* gamergate *cough* they immediately jump to 4chan and rant about "[white/male/pepe/400 pound basement dweller/whatever other group they belong to] oppression," stirring a pot that does not need to be stirred.

Even after my shameless defense of internet feminism, I'll still say this: If you think Mario is sexist you're just plain stupid.
 
Feb 8, 2017 at 1:10 AM
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Maybe I just can't read, but it seemed to me like the tumblr post quoted in the op is praising Bethesda... So I don't see the issue? And as far as just general bashing of gamers goes, I spend a relatively large amount of time on tumblr compared to other social media and I haven't really seen any examples of that.
 
Feb 8, 2017 at 2:18 AM
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Maybe I just can't read, but it seemed to me like the tumblr post quoted in the op is praising Bethesda... So I don't see the issue?
You clearly skipped over half of the words in the OP before reading the tumblr post, so I really must put your reading ability into question.

The tumblr posts mentioned at the start of the post and the tumblr post quoted are two entirely different things. The latter is the OP's reaction and counterpoint to the former.
 
Feb 8, 2017 at 2:22 AM
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(what do you mean by "that website", gamergate isn't a website, or at least that isn't what I was referring to)
I never said GamerGate is representative of all gamers, I just said it could be seen as an example of "gamer culture" spawning an alt-right movement. For something to be attributed to "gamer culture", does it have to be something that ALL "gamers" support/take part in?

Or to sum it up, some people have claimed that GamerGate's actions promote an "alt-right" agenda (mainly targeting female game developers and journalists over male ones), and GamerGate is definitely something that was started by a "group of gamers".

You can read a bit more about GamerGate here to get a general sense of what it is: http://gawker.com/what-is-gamergate-and-why-an-explainer-for-non-geeks-1642909080
Oh wow... all the articles I'd read on the subject referenced "Gamer Gate" as like a physical entity (including the Wikipedia article) so I assumed it was a website, not a term for a string of controversies...

As for your statements, what I'm saying is that a majority of gamers do not support the kinds of things that GamerGate or similar movements promote. And also, I missed this before, but you can't say you don't "identify" as a gamer. It's not as simple as that; all "gamer" means is "someone who plays videogames". It's not a fluid identity like your gender. It's static, like your race or (for the most part) or your sexuality, unless you just flat out never, EVER play videogames, which in today's day and age is unlikely.

You play videogames. Hell you even make them. You are a gamer whether you like it or not. And that is the problem with targeting every single gamer as being male chauvinistic bigoted pricks. Because you are generalizing an incredibly diverse and multi-opinionated group that also just so happens to be 48% female (according to a Google search that I just made). To me, that's just as bad as generalizing a race. A black individual born in America is vastly different from a black individual born in Kenya. They most likely lead very different lives, they have different problems, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. Gamers are the same way. They are just as diverse. You can't generalize like that.

SuperJaws, I think you're being a bit hypocritical in calling out GIR for stereotyping all gamers when you yourself stereotyped all feminists as gamer-haters.
I genuinely thought that I had written "some", my bad.

Maybe I just can't read, but it seemed to me like the tumblr post quoted in the op is praising Bethesda... So I don't see the issue? And as far as just general bashing of gamers goes, I spend a relatively large amount of time on tumblr compared to other social media and I haven't really seen any examples of that.
I didn't post the "gamer hater" posts because they were really, really long posts full of screenshots of consecutive Twitter posts and article quotes, and it would've been a pain in the ass.

I wrote the Tumblr post that is "Spoilered" in the OP. I think that despite what people say about their use of DLC and stuff, Bethesda remains one of the few companies that I will practically throw money at because I support them and what they stand for. It kind of irks me that (because Bethesda hasn't gone out and done wild and crazy things with the sexualities/genders/whatevers of their characters, and instead normalized the presence of non cis-white-straight-male characters in their games despite the fact that their audience is overwhelmingly male) they don't get the credit that they deserve.
 
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Feb 8, 2017 at 3:10 AM
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You clearly skipped over half of the words in the OP before reading the tumblr post, so I really must put your reading ability into question.
You're right. I missed the bit where he said it was his own tumblr post. I misunderstood, I thought he was citing the post about Bethesda as one of the examples of Tumblr bashing video games, and when he said
how on Earth could you call any series of Nintendo games bigoted?
I thought he was referring to people actually saying that, and I was pretty confused.

All that being said, I think there is a point to be made about a certain lack of representation of people apart from the occasional ethnic minority or female. Obviously, this is changing, not only among indie studios but among triple A studios as well (Bethesda being a great example of this), but, from what I've seen, there seems to be just a few too many carbon copy white straight males in the gaming industry.
 
Feb 8, 2017 at 4:22 AM
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Oh wow... all the articles I'd read on the subject referenced "Gamer Gate" as like a physical entity (including the Wikipedia article) so I assumed it was a website, not a term for a string of controversies...
That article is some hot biased trash (literally considering Gawker probably lost more out of the fiasco than anyone), in fact I'd already given you a much better description of the whole timeline here. There are/were a number of different organisational hubs, usually on message boards.


The problem with the small vocal minorities on both sides is that they aren't actually that small or rare anymore and they're gaining popularity all the time to the point that they've become genuine movements unto themselves, constantly hunting for any piece of media or casual dialogue that can either bolster their own cause or serve as an easy target. Not that this really applies to gaming as a whole, in fact by this point it wouldn't surprise me if a good chunk the extremists had already moved on to more ideological pastures than still being part of a dedicated gamer community. Especially considering the political climate right now, it doesn't make much sense for feminists to still be going out of their way to target gamers when there's the entire alt-right sitting there in front of their faces.
 
Feb 8, 2017 at 4:59 AM
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As for your statements, what I'm saying is that a majority of gamers do not support the kinds of things that GamerGate or similar movements promote.
I've never said it was a majority, just that it's a part of "gamer culture". Does it have to be sponsored by the majority (specifically greater than 50%) to be considered something spawned by gamers? Not "gamers" as a whole, but gamers as in "the people who started this movement would call themselves gamers".

It doesn't represent all gamers, but unfortunately I believe the movement has somewhat tainted the term, albeit minorly/insignificantly.

And also, I missed this before, but you can't say you don't "identify" as a gamer. It's not as simple as that; all "gamer" means is "someone who plays videogames". It's not a fluid identity like your gender. It's static, like your race or (for the most part) or your sexuality, unless you just flat out never, EVER play videogames, which in today's day and age is unlikely.
I don't think being a "gamer" is a static thing, or at least that's not how I see it. Otherwise my grandma who plays all those slot machine mobile games on her ipad would be considered a "gamer". To me, being a "gamer" means having playing video games be a large part of your identity. From your definition, pretty much everyone is a gamer, which makes it kind of a meaningless title.


You play videogames. Hell you even make them. You are a gamer whether you like it or not.
Just a quick note on this, but I probably am/would be considered a gamer. I just wouldn't ever really label myself that, mainly due to all the controversy that this gamergate incident has created which now surrounds the term. And also because it sounds way too 90's/radical/far-out (I think this is why I keep putting the word "gamer" in quotes, since it doesn't feel like a real word to me).


And that is the problem with targeting every single gamer as being male chauvinistic bigoted pricks. Because you are generalizing an incredibly diverse and multi-opinionated group that also just so happens to be 48% female (according to a Google search that I just made). To me, that's just as bad as generalizing a race. A black individual born in America is vastly different from a black individual born in Kenya. They most likely lead very different lives, they have different problems, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. Gamers are the same way. They are just as diverse. You can't generalize like that.
I don't think anyone here is generalizing "gamers" as all being male misogynists. This level of generalization is bad, and I think we can all agree on that. I'm not sure who you're arguing against/with on this point, besides maybe those tumblrinas that you mentioned in the OP.


That article is some hot biased trash (literally considering Gawker probably lost more out of the fiasco than anyone), in fact I'd already given you a much better description of the whole timeline here. There are/were a number of different organisational hubs, usually on message boards.
Not gonna lie, I picked the gawker article because it was one of the first options that appeared when googling "GamerGate".
 
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