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RPG» Forums » General Discussion » General Role-Playing

Subject: Sexism in Gaming rss

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PghArch wrote:
I love the video, but attempting to use this as a way to time arrow fire in combat is a bit silly. When I was fencing I could easily land three separate "touches" in the time it takes her to draw and fire one arrow. But, neither a lightweight foil nor a low weight draw bow proves much about what it would be like to try to do this in combat other than that just about any system is far more abstracted than most folks would like to think.

(Also, if you haven't noticed, she is holding the arrows 'backwards' which helps the quick release, but I don't know if it would be possible with a bow that had enough pull strength to launch arrows to penetrate armor/shields. It makes for an interesting draw, load, release.)


I would tend to agree with this.

She is extremely well practiced with the muscle memory of drawing an arrow from a back-mounted quiver, seating the arrow, drawing and releasing... That's all. If any of those factors change just a bit, weight of the draw, length of the arrow, position of the quiver; her performance will be negatively affected. In fact during the extended video there is a moment where an arrow is not in the correct place in the quiver bringing her to a sudden halt. Additionally we don't know how many takes this video took, much like the student who throws footballs through basketball nets, this could be the best results of 100 attempts.

She is certainly impressive in what she does, but I see no correlation between her demonstration and fighting with a bow and arrow; I would be more impressed if she was accurately hitting a small target with each shot; that would show it is more than just the practiced movement of a single sequence.
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I find it the height of classic game shop conversational nerdity that we are having a serious conversation that ends up about the validity of a YouTube demonstration re: dungeon skills.
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cosine wrote:
I find it the height of classic game shop conversational nerdity that we are having a serious conversation that ends up about the validity of a YouTube demonstration re: dungeon skills.


Hold still. Take a deep breath. Look around. We are now in a place called RPG Geek...

shake
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In the spirit of gaming store conversation, I feel compelled to point out she is using shortbow tactics, which in the field would have been used against lightly- or un-armored opponents, historically, that is. Against an armored force, her field commander would surely deploy her and her fellow archers differently.
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I know my wife is often turned off of a game that has chainmail bikini clad female fighters or sorceresses in outfits requiring magic to stay in place, but appropriate images (a dancer in veils in a book with an Arabian knights feel) are more acceptable.

To me, it comes to the idea of sexy for sexy sake or sexy but fitting the reality of the game universe (similar to the sexy and powerful idea talked about earlier). Chainmail bikinis are ridiculous. A woman warrior in well fitted full armor is sexy, powerful, and appropriate.

And now, another take on the chainmail bikini problem:
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See: http://www.pelgranepress.com/?p=3501

For an interesting study on this issue, with respect to imagery in gaming. It contains a link to another study on the same issue in the first paragraph.

As an aside, this is an issue that is pretty much everywhere in Western society, as an example, see:

See: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/12/30/gender-sexua...

EDIT: deleted some stuff that was probably too strident for this venue. Honestly, a thread like this is probably the worst place to have a meaningful discussion on such an important subject. So, I withdraw my remarks.

That being said, I am sorely tempted to conduct a study similar to the one described above using imagery found here on RPGGeek and seeing what the results are. Anyone interested in a potential academic publication, send me a geekmail.
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cosine wrote:
In light of the recent graphic display, I'd like to take the opportunity to re-iterate a question I've posed to people on these forums about this issue before.

Do you think women would like to be portrayed as;

1) Sexy
2) Powerful
3) Sexy and Powerful

All of the images contributed show number 3.  Which I'm quite convinced would be the favorite choice by far.

Women don't want to be men.  They want to be respected as women.  When you insist they be portrayed only as men are portrayed, you are denying that they are women.

Might as well insist all the black people be white and all the Jews celebrate Christmas.


I think you've missed the point. Most women don't want to be valued on their sex appeal. So, regardless if those pictures are "sexy AND powerful", the fact they are presented in a sexualised or hyper-sexualised way is the point.
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The problem with the hobby is that instead of being the fertile and creative place it purports to be, it often falls into being highly derivative, same old depictions of women, same old monsters, same old tolkienesque fantasy locales. Sadly these games often seem to endure so someone is buying them, but it would be nice to see some fresh air breathed into the hobbyspace.

As far as depictions of women in games I would prefer to see appropriate armour on women, I would like to see female warriors with muscle tone that suggest they can effectively wield the weapon they carry and art thats gives the impression that the warrior has not just stepped onto the battlefield from the hair and beauty salon. Lets do this thing, one cliche at a time.
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Rolling20s wrote:

I think you've missed the point. Most women don't want to be valued on their sex appeal.


But a lot of women do.

My girlfriend buys womens magazines like Elle. This months copy has a nude woman on the cover. That's way more revealing than any RPG cover I own.



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Ugavine wrote:
Rolling20s wrote:

I think you've missed the point. Most women don't want to be valued on their sex appeal.


But a lot of women do.

My girlfriend buys womens magazines like Elle. This months copy has a nude woman on the cover. That's way more revealing than any RPG cover I own.


I don't see how your girlfriend's magazine subscriptions and the desire to be valued on a sexually appealing basis has to do with each other.

Whatever it is, it also doesn't have anything to do with RPG art.

A lot of women argued against sex based identities but that doesn't mean the most women want to identify with their gender.

I really don't get what you're saying here.
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I'm saying that a lot of women do want to be identified on their sex appeal. As do many men.
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Ugavine wrote:
I'm saying that a lot of women do want to be identified on their sex appeal. As do many men.


So? Most women don't. If that's your thing, okay but what does that have to do with sexism in gaming?

Just because "a lot" of people might condone something, doesn't make valuing somebody on a sex or race basis any less wrong.
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Where are either of you getting your numbers from? 'A lot' and 'most' are completely arbitary assignations.

Ugavine's point is that the media portrays women as concerned with their sexuality - not an unfair judgement on the thronging masses in general. The thronging masses are not, in general, gamers though.

Here's a beeter question: Do most gaming women want to be seen as sexy and powerful? I hazard a guess that the answer is a firm and resounding yes.
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Hida Mann wrote:
Where are either of you getting your numbers from?

My eyes, looking out of my living room window. Seriously, I'm far, far from being a prude, but there are a lot of women walking down my street on weekend for whom a chainmail bikini would be a cover up!

Quote:
Here's a beeter question: Do most gaming women want to be seen as sexy and powerful? I hazard a guess that the answer is a firm and resounding yes.


Individuality. Some do, some don't.
I mean I'm sure we've all seen the slave Leia's at conventions.
And back to those near-naked women, that is their decision. I don't believe anyone has a right to tell someone what they can and cannot wear. But someone walking around nearly naked is playing off their sexuality for attention.

But in gaming it's not just about Sexy and Powerful. It's, Sexy, Powerful and Geeky.

And IMHO it's that GEEKY that keeps women out of gaming and nothing to do with chain-mail bikini's or a predominance of mail characters. It's purely down to the sheer geekness of it. Most women don't want to be seen as geeks, even the gamers. But generally male gamers don't mind being geeks. So to remove any sexism in gaming you have to remove the geekness factor. And good luck with that.
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Hida Mann wrote:
Here's a beeter question: Do most gaming women want to be seen as sexy and powerful? I hazard a guess that the answer is a firm and resounding yes.


What's problematic though is trying to understand what "sexy and powerful" means to a majority, or at least plurality, of women.

If it means "Not only can I cut a swath through a score of orcs, but when I walk into a room most men (and some women) will be filled with a tenacious desire to lay with me" then my suspicion is that most women will not agree. While there will be some women who will agree to that statement, there will be heaps of criticism that they are defining their identity in terms of sexualization, rather than being a complete person.
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Hida Mann wrote:
Where are either of you getting your numbers from? 'A lot' and 'most' are completely arbitary assignations.


Most of my thought is informed by sociological texts geared towards gender studies but I don't like to bring that up because "liberal arts" is a dirty word to some people and also my experiential background.

Quote:
Here's a beeter question: Do most gaming women want to be seen as sexy and powerful? I hazard a guess that the answer is a firm and resounding yes.


Where do you draw that conclusion from? I can't fathom how women would want to be reduced to fetishised, albeit powerful, images.

The better question is, why do women feel uncomfortable in the rpg hobby? RPG art has been given in countless testimonials by female gamers. The problem isn't just with RPG art but don't act like there isn't a problem here.
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Rolling20s wrote:

The better question is, why do women feel uncomfortable in the rpg hobby? RPG art has been given in countless testimonials by female gamers. The problem isn't just with RPG art but don't act like there isn't a problem here.

There isn't a problem there. Or let's say that there is a problem for some people I do not care to play with; it's the same people who would not play Puerto Rico because of the slaves.
Some kind of game actually NEED these stereotype or they are disfigured; Howard sword and sorcery springs to mind; women are either loot or witches, with the rare gorgeous barbarian in chainmail bikini.

I think that if some women feel uncomfortable with that, it's because they have a more important identity or sexism problem that is unlikely to disappear even if RPG imagery was "fixed". I find it very funny that somebody might feel incommodated by the objectification of women in games in which we play a bunch of psychopaths genociding greenskins for loot and fun.

There are a number of games that are not geared towards one sex or the other, and that is so since Call of Cthulhu. Yet I know absolutely no female-only rpg group; playing games is more of a male thing (in nowadays western culture); one can blame socio-cultural factors or the geek subculture but I do not think the imagery of RPGs significant enough when compared to education. Gaming girls I know do not seem to favour (or dislike) RPGs based upon their imagery, I would even say some are amused and even play with the stereotypes when given the chance; but otherwise they are just gamers with varying gaming tastes... you know, like each and every gamer.

I would like to add that my philosophy of gaming does not seem to repel girls at all, but these are girls that I call friends rather than taking special precautions about the themes, stereotypes and ethical questions (or lack thereof) I feature in my games.

RPG are a form of escapism, and I think the real world is already marred enough by political correctness to bother with it in our games. Should I choose to be offended, I find the discrepancy between male and female salaries much more worthy of my indignation. And that's what people worried about sexism should care about first.

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I'm mostly just reading and enjoying where this post is going, I am glad to see variant views being discussed!

The following deflection though, that's weak sauce. If you're going to imply some academic knowledge, cite some theory or author. Vaguely hinting at taking gender studies adds no validity to an argument. And stand up proud of the liberal arts, for we should weep on the day when liberal arts becomes a shame rather than pride. Now get back in there champ, argue with substance; kick some applied physical science ass!



Rolling20s wrote:


Most of my thought is informed by sociological texts geared towards gender studies but I don't like to bring that up because "liberal arts" is a dirty word to some people and also my experiential background.



 
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HavocIsHere wrote:
There isn't a problem there.


Oh boy.

Quote:
Some kind of game actually NEED these stereotype or they are disfigured; Howard sword and sorcery springs to mind; women are either loot or witches, with the rare gorgeous barbarian in chainmail bikini.


Howard is a relic and his racism and sexism is well documented. No game needs any stereotype to run and implying thus is really strange.

Quote:
I think that if some women feel uncomfortable with that, it's because they have a more important identity or sexism problem that is unlikely to disappear even if RPG imagery was "fixed". I find it very funny that somebody might feel incommodated by the objectification of women in games in which we play a bunch of psychopaths genociding greenskins for loot and fun.


So we should not make RPGs more inclusionary because it won't fix the greater problem in society? That is kind of backwards.

Quote:
There are a number of games that are not geared towards one sex or the other, and that is so since Call of Cthulhu.


You've obviously missed the arguments for sexism and racism to be toned up/down in CoC games. Some people think that limiting female professions and using sexist terminology adds realism to the game. To say that a game set in the 1930's isn't geared towards one sex or the other isn't entire correct.

Quote:
Yet I know absolutely no female-only rpg group; playing games is more of a male thing (in nowadays western culture); one can blame socio-cultural factors or the geek subculture but I do not think the imagery of RPGs significant enough when compared to education. Gaming girls I know do not seem to favour (or dislike) RPGs based upon their imagery, I would even say some are amused and even play with the stereotypes when given the chance; but otherwise they are just gamers with varying gaming tastes... you know, like each and every gamer.


I fail to see the relevance of all this. You don't know an all female group? Okay, so what? You think RPGS are a male thing, okay...so what? You don't think imagery is important? Well there are numerous female gamers who disagree, one in this very thread.

Quote:
RPG are a form of escapism, and I think the real world is already marred enough by political correctness to bother with it in our games. Should I choose to be offended, I find the discrepancy between male and female salaries much more worthy of my indignation. And that's what people worried about sexism should care about first.


Social equality is not what I would call "marring" or "political correctness". However, you're exactly right. RPGs can be a form of escapism where female gamers can sit back and not have to deal with the sexism they face in the real world.
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agduncan wrote:
I'm mostly just reading and enjoying where this post is going, I am glad to see variant views being discussed!

The following deflection though, that's weak sauce. If you're going to imply some academic knowledge, cite some theory or author. Vaguely hinting at taking gender studies adds no validity to an argument. And stand up proud of the liberal arts, for we should weep on the day when liberal arts becomes a shame rather than pride. Now get back in there champ, argue with substance; kick some applied physical science ass!



Okay, I accept your position but let me present mine. I'm not seeking any validity or asserting any special knowledge over anybody. I only wished to inform the poster of where my position was coming from. We could sit here a debate biological determinism or the works of Natasha Walter but that really has nothing to do with sexism in RPGs but specifically it has nothing to do with why women would find RPG art offensive.

There isn't any real information on sexism in rpgs. Most of my knowledge is based in the sex industry and not in sexism as presented in the media. I think the closest thing I can think of that we could discuss is women in comics.

You call it weak sauce but I have my reasons.
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Rolling20s wrote:


Quote:
RPG are a form of escapism, and I think the real world is already marred enough by political correctness to bother with it in our games. Should I choose to be offended, I find the discrepancy between male and female salaries much more worthy of my indignation. And that's what people worried about sexism should care about first.


Social equality is not what I would call "marring" or "political correctness". However, you're exactly right. RPGs can be a form of escapism where female gamers can sit back and not have to deal with the sexism they face in the real world.

That is not what I wrote.
But my point is that the social inequality in a fantasy game is not real, not more real than the killings and other unsavory things that "happen" in rpgs.

Quote:
So we should not make RPGs more inclusionary because it won't fix the greater problem in society? That is kind of backwards.


No, if you want to play games with people offended by some imagery or themes or whatever, you are free to do it, and if you are the DM, you can surely find a game with no image at all (Fudge is free, there is not a single illustration in it), where you can select exactly what are the themes you'll feature in, but "we" certainly should not try to change RPGs in general not anymore that we should suppress war from wargames because we are pacifists, not anymore than vegan should forbid others from eating meat.
Sexism is a trope of some RPGs, so what. Games are not for real. I guess the people I play with understand that.
Some people were (and still are) offended by D&D because wizards cast spells in them. Same thing: fiction.




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Rolling20s wrote:


Quote:
Yet I know absolutely no female-only rpg group; playing games is more of a male thing (in nowadays western culture); one can blame socio-cultural factors or the geek subculture but I do not think the imagery of RPGs significant enough when compared to education. Gaming girls I know do not seem to favour (or dislike) RPGs based upon their imagery, I would even say some are amused and even play with the stereotypes when given the chance; but otherwise they are just gamers with varying gaming tastes... you know, like each and every gamer.


I fail to see the relevance of all this. You don't know an all female group? Okay, so what? You think RPGS are a male thing, okay...so what? You don't think imagery is important? Well there are numerous female gamers who disagree, one in this very thread.


Ok i'll bite. There are some games without gender bias or any sexually-loaded imagery. If that is the most important factor of the rarity of women playing rpgs, how come that there are so few (if any) girl only groups or gaming clubs playing these games, as compared to boy groups and clubs?
I think all games appeal generaly more to males than females and consequently, there are less females playing, say, D&D, than males.
There are also less women playing chess!
Thus that sexism argument weights much less that these demographic observations.
Now how come that women game less then men? There might be sexist reasons behing that, but don't blame chainmail bikinis, they are just a symptom.
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Some interesting arguments developing. Like many here, my observations are based on real life experience, tempered also by University Courses and associated reading on the Media.

These things lead me to believe that :

1) Women want to be seen as at least equally powerful (by which I mean 'able to shape their own destiny') to men.

2) Both genders, in certain demographics, want to be seen as sexy.

3) Geek girls, taken as an average, are crying out for attention. Please reread the words in bold, I mean no slight to anyone here. In this, I include roleplayers, cosplayers, video gamers - the same is likely true of men.

4) RPG Art is not reflective of these concerns necissarily; The pirate chick shown earlier in the thread DOES represent a sexy, powerful woman, but she does not reflect 'what women want to be seen as'.

5) The women outside Ugavine's window are ubiquitous.

6) Rolling20s' objections are definitely valid, but I'm not sure they apply in this subculture. See point 3.

7) There's definitely something in the notion of 'Geekiness' here. Women don't cosplay as Leia because they want to be seen as slaves, they do it because it gains the attention of people who understand who Leia is and think she's cool and thus, by association, that they are cool.

My two cents, anyway. Continue being fascinating.
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Hida Mann wrote:
3) Geek girls, taken as an average, are crying out for attention. Please reread the words in bold, I mean no slight to anyone here. In this, I include roleplayers, cosplayers, video gamers - the same is likely true of men.


I think that's a very unfair and very stereotypical claim. I could be wrong and my friends just aren't the "average" geek girl but this is not true in any experience I've had. I will admit that I do avoid cons and such and so that might be my bias.

However, this is a common claim made by misogynists to devalue women's claims of inequality. It's equivalent is "the over-sensitive minority" claim and thus I remain highly skeptical that this is the case.
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Rolling20s wrote:
Hida Mann wrote:
3) Geek girls, taken as an average, are crying out for attention. Please reread the words in bold, I mean no slight to anyone here. In this, I include roleplayers, cosplayers, video gamers - the same is likely true of men.


I think that's a very unfair and very stereotypical claim. I could be wrong and my friends just aren't the "average" geek girl but this is not true in any experience I've had. I will admit that I do avoid cons and such and so that might be my bias.

However, this is a common claim made by misogynists to devalue women's claims of inequality. It's equivalent is "the over-sensitive minority" claim and thus I remain highly skeptical that this is the case.


At cons and university, it's definitely the truth. It certainly isn't true everywhere (there are a few gamer girls in the circles I travel who are independent, amazing and wonderful people who aren't there just to be lavished with attention), but as I said, on average, definitely.
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