Monday, February 29, 2016

Damsel In Distress part 2

In the second part of the Damsel In Distress series we are shown some different ways that the damsel in distress trope has been changed in today's games to make them "edgier".  We are told about the Woman in the Refrigerator, where the game uses a woman's death in order to give the character the motivation he needs to go, find the bad guys and  take his revenge.  Then there is the Damsel in the Refrigerator, which is a combination of the Damsel in Distress and the Woman in the Refrigerator.  The example given to describe this trope is that the main characters wife/girlfriend is killed and her soul is taken to hell, so the main character must go to hell and fight to get her soul back.  Lastly, there is the trope where before the main character reaches his damsel, she has either been brutally beaten, tortured, or turned into a monster.  This trope usually ends with the damsel asking the main character to kill her and put her out of her misery or, in cases where she was turned into a monster, kill her before she kills him.  All of these different tropes are ways of showing unnecessary violence against women in order to motivate the main character to take revenge.


virtual porn

After watching women as background……. I am disgusted. I'll be the first to admit that i am not a gamer but have often shared that my son is. All though he may play some explicitly violent games at home, never would i allow him to play the games as shared in the video. Recently my son has asked me repeatedly for the new grand theft auto, me not knowing what this game is about only declined because of the cost….

All though he isn't playing GTA at home he has recently shared that at Dads he is allowed to play it. I never wanted to be that parent that has to monitor what my son watches or plays but after this video, he most definitely will never be playing GTA at his dads, at least to my knowledge.

The message these games are sending is disgusting and degrading, i DO NOT want my son to view women as sexual objects that can be used and than disposed of once you are done. Women being objectified in games is a far bigger issue than i had imagined.

The images of the women in these games from recent years are extremely realistic, also who the hell looks like that?! It is creating an unrealistic image of what women look like, and the features are so real. I really feel like I'm watching a porn, the breasts and bodies are too realistic. (but not realistic to what women really look like). Nor do i believe that if this were real, and driving through cities that there is women saying you can stick something of yours in something of theirs.

i could seriously ramble on about how disgusted i am after viewing this video for days. I DO NOT think any parent should let their child of any age play these games, the graphics are pornographic and the message is violent, sexual, and absolutely terrible..

yes, lets teach my 7 year old son what a naked female body looks like…. good idea
lets teach my son what a lap dance is and a strip club…… good idea
lets teach my son about objectifying females at 7…… good idea
lets teach my son that its okay to be violent towards women……. good idea
lets teach him that women are disposable……. good idea
and hey why not teach him what sex is and that you can pay for it….. good idea

and then he can go to school and share this with all his friends…… good idea.

Im pretty sure my son playing GTA at his dads has just won his father the dad of the year award. And when parents call me asking how my son knows what a lap dance is or a prostititue. Ill just telL them its okay, its only a game.


one upset mom

Women As Background Decoration Part 1

This week I watched a video titled Women As Background Decoration Part 1. To be honest, I really didn't know what to expect. I'm not one who plays or had played a lot of video games growing up; but from what little information I do know, it is very disturbing. This thirty minute video clip had me hooked from the second it started. As a Women Studies major, it still drives me insane how women are portrayed.
Okay, lets get down to business and talk about what this video was really about. The major concept that was discussed in this video was sexual objectification. Sexual objectification can be described as "the practice of treating or representing a human being as a thing or mere instrument to be used for another's sexual purpose," (Video). So basically women are valued primarily for their bodies and what their body parts bring to the table. I knew that women were portrayed this way in video games but I was not aware there was a term that went along with it. Women are just there to fulfill the background; or known as NPCs- "non player characters." Right off the back, women are being used as a decorative piece and being placed on display for the men in the game. With this, women have no individuality. They are not being treated as a person-they are being treated as a thing or object. Women are the eye candy for the other men. I noticed that the camera is always zooming in on women and their body parts-tying in the concept of sexual objectification again-women are only being valued for their body parts.  I liked how Anita explained that sometimes men do not wish to have sex with the women BUT the women are still there in the background dressed "sexy" with hardly any clothes on. She explained this as the toaster affect if I remember correctly. Basically saying that a toaster is still a toaster whether or not you decide to toast bread with it-in regards to a women is still a women whether or not you decide to have sex with her. The point is, women are still there for their function of having sex with men.
The violence part of the video really turned my stomach especially because I have been in unsafe situations with a prior partner and my current internship is at a domestic violence agency. I can give some lee-way that women are always portrayed as being sexy or they are only good for sex (although that is not true nor do I agree with it), however, when violence is involved I really cannot tolerate it. Anita explains one game titled, Red Dead Redemption- in this particular game, the men do not want sex. Shocking, right? Instead they wish to capture the women, tie her up and they win the game by placing her on the train track and watching the train run over her. That is their pleasure.
Overall, the women in these games are being portrayed as objects. Men are sexual subjects while women are sexual objects; a huge difference there. There are regressive ideas about women-like I said, they don't have any individuality in these games or not even a story. No players are supposed to even like the women or care about them-they are just there as a sex object. There's no human empathy and its dehumanizing women SO much. I do not agree with the concept Anita mentioned and talked about in her video. No one should ever be used for sex or treated like an object-male or female. I'm not quite sure why women are always the target-an easy targets if I may add. I hope this eventually comes to an end and that eventually there will be a purpose to games everyone plays.

Bethany G

Damsel in Distress Part 1

One major concept that caught my attention was the discussion of Crystal, the female protagonist of her own game turned damsel in distress and background character of a male dominated game. She was equipped with a staff and fighting skills to help her save the world. Dressed in a longer, less revealing piece of clothing, her character was a badass female capable of holding her own. This game was never released as is, but instead in the third part of an already existing game, Crystal shows up as damsel in distress wearing close to nothing. In fact, when she is introduced, there is even saxophone music playing in the background to further sexualize this character. She is now used as a plot device for the other characters of the game and is some prize to be won and cared for. Unfortunately, the internet connection was not cooperating with me, so I was unable to finish watching the video.


Sent from Windows Mail

Women as Background Decorations Part 2

This week I decided to watch "Women as a Background Decoration" Part 2 and was hit with the reality of some of my favorite games. The second half of this video really focused on the character development of characters through the mistreatment of women and it really opened my eyes to what I see every day within video games. This character development occurs for both protagonists and antagonists and is used to create the illusion of choice and morals for the player.
When it comes to the bad guys development, the player usually has to deal with the abuse of female background characters as a chance to feel heroic and as though their choice will make them a better male. An example that was used was in the 2010 game "Red Dead Redemption" the player has the choice of buying a prostitute in order to save her or letting her get abused and if you buy her, she gets killed anyway. This choice allows the player to feel anger towards her pimp and allows the player to feel more justified in killing the pimp later. The same goes for games such as "Grand Theft Auto" and "Bioshock," the abuse and torment of women exist to justify murder and crime against their assailants.
And for the good guys, there's a question of morals when it comes to the senseless violence against females. The best example from the video came from "God of War" when the protagonist has to use a woman's body to hold open a door, ultimately killing her in order to reach his goal. And in other games such as "Bioshock" and "Dishonored" those same kind of choices exist only to put some sort of moral compass on the players state of mind. However, even with a moral compass, to some players, it's still just a game so they can be as evil as they want, leading to senseless violence against women in the form of obtaining goals for the game.
As a player of video games, I've obviously seen a lot of these games and usually I'll do anything to make sure everyone is safe. But sometimes games don't even allow for your choices to help females in the end. I played games where you make a choice to save someone and they end up dying anyway, which is just annoying. Unfortunately games continuously use these women as background decorations in order to push the player to make choices. And that sucks because most of the games I love are completely choice based like "Mass Effect," "Fallout," "Dragon Age," etc."

(My laptop busted so I can't get any of my screenshots off of it unfortunately sorry!)
Taylor O'Neill
Here's a thoughtful commentary by Gloria Ladson-Billings on Beyonce, with a link to the SNL skit we referenced in class... 
"I would never look to BeyoncĂ© to lead a movement or educate my children. However, the fact that she has taken up a current, relevant topic in her latest song makes me hopeful that our art is starting to be about more than drinking vodka, getting high, and having sex with any and everybody. When a major star like Queen Bey takes on a serious topic that impacts our community, I appreciate it — and for that I blame Kendrick Lamar!"

BLOG Prompt:  Describe a major concept that was discussed in the video you watched.  Write about a concept you heard (for instance:  What is it?  What examples did Sarkeesian use?  What do you think about this concept?  Where have you seen (or not seen) this concept in other games or media?)  If you can, Upload a screenshot alongside your text.  Be prepared to share your finding during class.

damsel in distress part 1
Damsel in Distress, part 2 (trigger warning)...Matt, Rowan
Women as background decoration  part 1 (trigger warning)...Dawn, Bethany, Nicole
women as background decoration 2  (trigger warning)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

"Third Person Effect"

Women as Background Decoration Part 1: Tropes vs women in video games, presented by Anita Sarkeesian host of Feminist Frequency, explores the long history of women being used in negative ways throughout the gaming world. Women are often used to fill the background being referred to as NPC’s or “non-playable characters”. Anita mostly focuses on what she calls the non-playable sex objects. She then shows a multitude of images from various games of highly sexualized characters that use lude phrases and are almost always eliciting sexual favors. One trope was of non-white women being used as “exotic” hyper sexual characters and how this leads to sexual objectification which she breaks down further into 5 categories: Instrumentality, Commodification, Interchangeability, Violability, and Disposability. Instrumentality is described as using NPC’s as tools or props to aid the player. She then shows a clip of a man throwing a dead woman’s body over a ledge in order to distract his pursuers. And another that showed a mission to steal a pimps “hoes” and bring them to a brothel. Commodification refers to the buying and selling of women. Fungibility is a the idea that women are worth the same as other objects in the game. Violability is when “the objectifier treats the object as lacking in boundary-integrity, as something that is permissible to break up, smash, break into”. This is then followed by a clip of  a man forcing a woman into the trunk of his car beating her until she stops shouting and drives off casually listening to commercials on the radio. And even more disturbing, the murders of women that result in the collection of money or points to the player. Disposability is defined as 1. Something designed for or capable of being thrown away after being used or used up. 2. Free for use; available.

The example for this is a man who is propositioned by a prostitute and decides he doesn’t want to buy her but rather hog ties her and takes her to a train track to be splattered by an oncoming train. This is referred to in the game as dastardly (defined as wicked, evil, heinous, villainous, cruel, fiendish, barbarous ect..).

The active playing gives the illusion that the player has a choice of not abusing women in games. However even if you choose not to, the fact that women are put in the game to perform a specific function. I liked how Anita put it when she said “A toaster is still a toaster regardless of whether or not you choose to make toast with it. It’s still designed for the express purpose of toasting bread. And it still communicates that fact even while sitting unused on your kitchen counter.”

The idea of a “Third person effect” where a person believes they are not affected by the game was interesting. I feel like there has been a lot of back and forth about the negative side effects of video games. I’m sure that video games are not the reason why someone would be violent but it does desensitize the viewers to acts of violence and normalizes the victimization of women which then can be carried over into their day to day lives.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Damsels in Distress Part 2

Elaborating upon the idea of the damsel in distress as explained in part 1, Sarkeesian explains three "dark and edgy" trope-cocktails of violence against women in video games. The first is the Damsel in the Refrigerator, which is a combination of the Women in Refrigerators trope and the Damsel in Distress trope. Sarkeesian explains that this typically happens when a female character is killed near the beginning of a story but her soul is then stolen or trapped and must be rescued or freed by the male hero. The second trope-cocktail is the Disposable Damsel, which is a variant of the Damsel in Distress trope in which the hero fails to save the woman in peril either because he arrives too late or because (surprise twist!) it turns out she has been dead the whole time. The third is the Euthanized Damsel, which is a combination of the Damsel in Distress trope and the Mercy Killing trope. This trope usually occurs when the player character must inflict violence upon the woman in peril "for her own good." With this trope, the damsel has usually been either mutilated or deformed in some way by the villain so that the "only option left" for the hero is to put her "out of her misery" himself. Some games even write the female character as begging to be killed by the player.

This last trope, the Euthanized Damsel, is the most disturbing in my opinion because of its relation to domestic violence. Sarkeesian explains that "These stories conjure supernatural situations in which domestic violence perpetrated by men against women who've 'lost control of themselves' not only appears justified but is actually presented as an altruistic act done 'for the woman’s own good.'" The trope of the Euthanized Damsel is especially troubling because of the real-life epidemic of violence against women. Sarkeesian states that research consistently shows that people of all genders tend to buy into the myth that women are the ones to blame for the violence men perpetrate against them, and that abusive men consistently state that their female targets "deserved it," "wanted it" or were "asking for it." It is impossible to remove these virtual depictions of violence against women from the real-life violence when one considers that some games depict their female characters as literally "asking for it."

Sarkeesian also explains that "On the surface, victimized women are framed as the reason for the hero’s torment, but if we dig a little deeper into the subtext I'd argue that the true source of the pain stems from feelings of weakness and/or guilt over his failure to perform his 'socially prescribed' patriarchal duty to protect his women and children." In this way, video games that utilize the damsel in distress trope or any of its trope-cocktails are essentially narratives about a perceived loss of masculinity, and then the quest to regain that masculinity through violence, dominance, and control. Women in video games are reduced to "symbols meant to invoke the essence of an artificial feminine ideal," because even when women seem to be a key part of the narrative, their storylines often serve simply to trivialize and exploit female suffering for the sake of male power fantasies.

women as background decoration 2

In watching this video I thought about all the games that I have played and how the concept of exploitation of women is almost as old as the damsels in distress narrative. I remember one of the first games that I played that was really waged war on me psychologically and I didn't even know was a game called Duke Nukem. Still one of the most misogynistic, patriarchal games I have EVER played. But the popularity of the game (9 in total) does say something about our society. I would argue that the lack of epidemiological empathy for victims in the rape culture does have a tie in to the sexualized violence enacted in the games going back as far as 1991. There is generations of gamers who are in taking all of this. There will be some effect.


Women as Background Decoration - Part 2: Stroking the Male Ego

For this post I looked at Women as Background Decoration Part II. In the video, she talks through a number of topics, including using women solely to characterize the world, give the player an objective, or stroke the player's ego. For this example she uses games like Watch Dogs or Assassin's Creed, which often include prostitutes as victims in order to let the player demonstrate their skill and moral righteousness.

This concept struck me because last week I decided to push myself through completing the Half-Life series. While playing Half-Life 2 and the episodes, I noticed that one prominent female character, Alyx Vance, was continually making comments about how great the protagonist, Gordon Freeman, is. For context, Gordon is a theoretical physicist who graduated from MIT. During the first Half-Life game, Gordon fights aliens that have infiltrated Earth. In the second game, Gordon is renowned for doing so, and as soon as you meet Alyx, she begins telling you how excited she is to work with you.

It was at this moment that I realized that Alyx really has no character. She's not really in the game because she has her own motivation or arc, she's there solely for the player's existence, to tell them how cool they are, how smart they are, and to be saved. Heck, even in the game's poster, Gordon is depicted as being in control and having power, while Alyx looks afraid and out of control.

In the episodes (the short games following 2), Alyx becomes even worse. Even after doing simple tasks, like killing the same large monster for the seventh time, Alyx will tell Gordon how magnificent he is for doing these simple tasks. Other characters will also make suggestive comments, that Gordon's progress will ultimately result in some sort of romantic relationship with her. Alyx's father even suggests that Gordon is prime candidate to help her "repopulate Earth."

These kinds of things are troubling (and they relate to Sarkeesians analysis) because a lot of women in video games, like Alyx, are not really characters. They are traveling voice boxes meant to either titillate or promote the skill of the presumed straight male gamer.

And while I do think that Alyx is not the worst example out there (considering that she occasionally fights alongside you and has technical know-how), I do think it's important to note that Alyx is considered one of the best female characters of all time, and yet serves this awkward function of putting the player on a pedestal.

Cameron Bryce

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Damsel in Distress

The main idea in the "Damsel in Distress Part 1" video was the damsel in distress troupe. Anita describes the troupe as "a plot device in which a female character is placed in a perilous situation from which she cannot escape on her own and must be rescued by a male character, usually providing a core incentive or motivation for the protagonist's quest". Basically, the damsel is added as a goal for the player. She needs to be saved in order for the player to move on or win the game. She talks about many "damsels in distress", but specifically talks about two princesses, Princess Peach and Princess Zelda. Both may have very important roles in the game, but they can do close to nothing. Even when they are able to do something special at one point in the game, they are always kidnapped at the end in hopes of being saved by their hero.
During the video, Anita also brings up the topic of the subject-object dichotomy. In this case, it is simple to think of the subject as the male, who is the main character and protagonist in the game, and the object as the female, a supporting character added as a goal for the main character to reach. As she says, "the subject acts and objects are acted upon". This requires a form of objectification to occur, because the females or "damsels" are being seen as objects or as a prize to be won. It isn't a coincidence that most video games tend to end with a kiss from the damsel or something that shows her love being bestowed upon the protagonist. The female starts off in possession of him, is stolen, then saved, so she gives the only thing she has as a reward, her love. It's tough when you have nothing else to give, since according to the video game, you have no skills.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Who are the Crazy Sexists that Design These Games!?

The video I focused on for this blog, was Women as Background Decoration Part II. The visuals included in this video were that of extreme violence and hate towards women. I was honestly surprised by some of the clips because I did not think game designers were aloud to incorporate such violent themes such as the ones shown. It focused around how these non-playable female characters are basically used to provoke violent sexual attitudes in its players, which game designers assume are heterosexual males. These non-playable sexualized characters are not even as significant as the damsels in distress. At least the damsel in distress in a major pawn in the game, non-playable female characters often have no personality or significant narrative whatsoever. These characters often only exist during scripted game events, in which are created to help the game seem more real and randomized. So these acts of violence against women are supposed to create a more reality like setting, inferring that the sexual and/or violent abuse of women is normal, natural and inevitable. These violent themes reinforce gender violence in the real world, and sanitize these types of behaviors and minimize their value. Whether the game designers add these themes intentionally or not they still convey real world values. Values that are often being taught to a very vulnerable group of persons, young pubescent and maturing males. Whom are still developing and forming beliefs about the world around them. Unconsciously or maybe even consciously these gamers are receiving messages  about what it means to be a male in society and what it means to be a female. And all these games are teaching them relating to gender are concepts of sexism and the acts of devaluing women. Are these messages we want to be sending to young vulnerable males? OF COURSE NOT.


Monday, February 22, 2016


Download your Mangatar!

Hi matt,

Click on the link below to download it:

Buy and print your Mangatar in high resolution by clicking here:

See you
FYM Team.



Sent from my iPhone

South Park Avatar Creator

Hey, it's dawn.
Check out what I created with the South Park Avatar Creator.

Check it out online at, on iTunes at, or on the Android Marketplace.





Begin forwarded message:

From: Faceyourmanga<>
Date: February 22, 2016 at 5:58:09 PM EST
To: Dawn<>
Subject: Download your Mangatar!

Hi Dawn,

Click on the link below to download it:

Buy and print your Mangatar in high resolution by clicking here:

See you
FYM Team.



Cameron Bryce

Over sexualization of female characters in video games

Mileena is a popular character part of the Mortal Kombat universe. This is a hyper violent fighting video game where the plot usually isn’t the reason people are playing the game. Mileena is a character introduced in the 90’s and is a recurring presence throughout the development of the series. It was originally thought she was the twin sister of another character within the game. Later it was discovered she was just a demented power hungry clone of Kitana. She wields sai blades and has many different combo moves to deliver fatalities. She demonstrates the stereotypical over sexualized female character to the video game world. She is always in very tight and usually exposing outfits. There is even a outfit that is basically three strands of the thinnest bandages I’ve ever seen in my life. it’s so revealing, they might as well have just had her character be completely nude, because there is nothing left to the imagination. Most, if not all of the female characters in Mortal Kombat are extremely hyper sexualized, with skin-tight clothing and large bouncy breasts (yes, bouncy because they are animated to move when their characters are hit). This game continues to perpetuate sexual images of female fighters. Though Mileena is a poor representation for women, I always liked using her in the game. I always took pleasure in beating my male friends/brother with a female character in fighting games. There was always a small selection of female characters to choose from and abundance of hyper masculine male characters, so if I was going to play, I was using a girl character regardless of her outfit.

This is Elizabeth from the game Bioshock, as you can see she is different from most female characters in that she is dressed modestly and no body parts have been accentuated. Although she is a companion character and not the central character she has been given special talents such as traveling to different universes. So while I wanted to say she resists the stereotypes I cant because as an attempt to keep her from leaving Columbia she is placed in a tower and locked away. This is a tale that certainly isn't new so I would have to say she perpetuates the damsel in distress stereotype.

Joanna Dark

Joanna dark from perfect dark is a Female James bond. She is powerful and strong which restricts the idea that women are fragile and need to be saved.  All of her characters qualities break the stereotypes formed about women. for starters after reading up on the character one of attributes is that she is an expert driver and pilot. Women not driving well is a stereotype i think we all hear from the time we are small children. She is also a skilled hand combat fighter. Again not something we would typically attribute to being female. Also in my readings it speaks of her incredible reflexes and ability to know when trouble is lurking. I find that women, mothers especially have perpetual gut instinct.

Bases off her appearance she is in excellent physical shape and wears a latex like suit that hugs her body. She is extremely sexualized, i don't know about any of you, but how many women do you know who would actually look like this in a latex suit. Besides the suit hugging her body tightly her cleavage is exposed, typical of what is considered sexy for a female. Her red hair makes her seem sassy and perhaps rebellious as well. 

As far as her skill and attributes are concerned she is breaking the female stereotype but her appearance certainly feeds into it,

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ellie (The Last of Us)

By far the best game I've played in the past twenty years of my life has been "The Last of Us" which was released in 2013 and later rereleased in 2014. The story follows the characters of Ellie and Joel as they fight their way across the post-apocolyptic country in order to find the rebel group, the Fireflies, and make sure Ellie, the only known person immune to the zombie plague. From the first moment I met Ellie and she tried to stab my character, she went against everything I knew about fourteen year old girls in video games. Ellie was able to wield a gun, knife,and bow and arrow with minor training. And unlike other zombie infested video game heroines, Ellie never dressed in form fitting leather. Instead, she opted for more traditionally masculine clothing: jeans and a t-shirt with a long-sleeved shirt underneath. And throughout the game her clothing grows more and more masculine as she wears hoodies and plaid button-ups. She also doesn't ever try to look particularly feminine as she has no concern for any sort of makeup. What you don't get from the main game, but from the DLC, is that Ellie is not straight and had a a crush on her best friend Riley. There is no indication from Ellie that she fits the stereotypes that society has created for women attracted to other women. Ellie is a character that I really admire and hope gets a little more attention over the next few years like other strong female characters.

Taylor O'Neill

Ashley Williams- Mass Effect

Ashley Williams – Mass Effect

Ashley Williams is a human soldier in the popular videogame Mass Effect. After hearing about the game from my brother and learning that there was an option to play as a female character, I was very excited. Upon seeing this character I was not surprised to see her in a thinner and tighter suit of armor than the men. She is a Systems Alliance Marine specializing in weapons skills and heavy armor. In the game it is made clear that Ashley's actions are very fueled by her desires to restore her family's name which is something that seems to be closely related to femaleness. That all being said, this character is extremely tough and one you do not want to mess with going against female stereotypes. Her character is a natural leader and is able to keep a level head under the pressures of missions and battles, going against another female stereotype. Throughout the games she is continually spoken of as a potential lover and is very desirable to the men who try to win her over. There is even a blurb on her saying that if one character was to deny Ashley, she will mention "finding her own entertainment in her bunk", so there is always a sexualized aura about this character even when she is meant to be battling aliens and saving the world.

Sent from Windows Mail

Josh Stone

Growing up there weren't many characters that I could identify with. None looked like me. All that changed with resident evil 5. Josh Stone is the captain of Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance's West Africa division. I appreciated that two of the 4 central characters are African and that there was something positive that they were a part of ( I know that was a stretch given that it is a Resident Evil game). It does give a different narrative about minorities. I hope that there will be MANY more characters like them in future games



Here's a competition to teach Syrian refugee children through a smartphone game...

Jenny Tate

 It is always interesting looking at gender roles while playing video games. Growing up I was always exposed to Super Mario- more importantly I always played as Princess Peach. With Princess Peach you see the 'real' girl in her-pink dress, jewelry, hair done-and the only way to rescue her is if a man came to her rescue-or her prince charming. For this blog, I took a different approach and uploaded a picture of Jenny Tate a character from the video game Primal. This goes against our culture where you do not see the save the princess- you see the princess saving the male. My fiancĂ© told me about this game, I personally have never played it. Jenny is a waitress at a coffee shop and her boyfriend is a lead singer in a rock band. Sounds pretty accurate with gender roles, right? Later in the game Jenny and her boyfriend are attacked by demons. Guess who gets taken by the demons? If you said Jenny you're wrong. Her boyfriend gets taken by the demons and it is Jenny's role to rescue him. I chose this because it is out of your everyday norm. In every case the man is always categorized as the "stronger" person but this case shows you different. For once the female is rescuing the male. Although this game was released in 2003, it goes to show you how far women are coming in the world. Every woman is growing into their strong, independent self they wish to become. The stereotype of man vs. female is reversed in this video game-it is out of your everyday norm; showing women that there is a chance for them in the world. You can do anything you put your mind to, male or female. Jenny did not give up-she knew her role was to rescue her boyfriend and she did everything to make that happen.
Will we see more videogames in the future like this? Does anyone see anything problematic about this? Am I being too biased because I am female?

Bethany G

MMORPG Character Models

MMORPGs and other games that involve role-play or custom character creation often perpetuate the idea that gender differences are biologically innate. These character models from World of Warcraft, for example, seem to depict humans as sexually dimorphic, or as having different physical characteristics beyond sex organs. The physical traits that we view as defining gender are mostly cultural (i.e. the idea that women have long hair and men have short hair) rather than biologically essential. Though some physical differences do exist between men and women on average, sexual dimorphism is much more extreme than the gender differences found in humans (angler fish are a good example of sexual dimorphism). These character models play into the idea that men and women are "naturally" different by portraying women as slight, dainty, and delicate when compared to the hulking, muscular stature of the male character models. While height and muscle mass does often vary based on sex, these differences in real humans are nowhere near as extreme as they are in MMORPGS, nor are they universal. It is also interesting to note that the male character models have body hair while the women are entirely hairless despite the fact that World of Warcraft is set in a medieval fantasy world. I doubt that the women of World of Warcraft would have the time, means, or motivation to worry about or remove their body hair.

Ms. Pac Man was released in 1982, 2 years after Pac Man hit the arcades.  As a 12 year old girl, it was great for me to be able to play a "girl."  Few games allowed me to do this.  Ms. Pac Man's lipstick and bow signified her femaleness.  However, these two signifiers did not represent who I was.  I distanced myself from what I called the 1980's "bowheads" -- young women, many of whom were very popular, who wore huge bows in their hair and who often played dumb.  I was also not a lipstick wearer.  The image above, where she's not even wearing pants but has high heeled shoes on, makes me wonder if there was ever a similar kind of image for Pac man (I don't think so).  Where are her clothes and why is it ok to have this provocative image for what originally was a circle with some triangles on top?


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Ashley Graham - Resident Evil 4

In Resident Evil 4, you play as Leon S. Kennedy. The character in this picture, Ashley Graham, is the President's daughter, whom Leon (and the player) have been sent to rescue. She is extremely incapable of doing anything by herself. While Leon can climb down ledges, Ashley needs Leon to cushion the fall by catching her. She cannot help the player in any way, and is only a burden to the player as she must be protected from monsters throughout the entirety of the game. She must be rescued from captivity at least three times, and she is both whiny and depicted as extremely emotional, letting her feelings put her and the player in danger. Unfortunately, Ashley is a very problematic character in gaming, as she is only one of three women in the game (all the others of which are sexualized in some way). The cutscenes in this game frequently support the male gaze, lingering on her chest or up her skirt. This character is depicted as weak, emotional, and constantly in need of a man's help. She is also eye-candy for the player, another aspect that supports sexist stereotypes. The one time the player plays as her, she can only progress by running away from enemies or crawling under blockades (during which the camera ogles her butt). In the American version of the game, for some reason, the developers added noticeable breast physics to the character model, making them bounce with every movement.

Princess Peach

Princess Peach is well known character from the Super Mario Series. She is, obviously, a princess whose character is only included to be saved. Peach is helpless, which is a typical stereotype for a princess as well as a woman at times. The only way she can get away from her captor is if Mario, a man, comes to save her. Just by looking at her appearance, one can see that the feminine stereotype is played out. She only wears a dress, a pink one, aka- every females supposed favorite color. She wears multiple large jewels and a crown to represent her status as a princess, as well as long white gloves to show her purity and daintiness. This look never changes, even when she is able to be played as a character driving one of the cars in Mario Kart. Princess Peach also adheres to the blonde stereotype. According to it, women with blonde hair are not self-sufficient and always need help from others. Blondes are seen as stupid and tend to be taken advantage of by others. We can especially see this through one of Peaches only lines "Save Me!". On her own, Princess Peach can accomplish nothing. She will always need Mario.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Homework for 2.15


This week:

Next week, we will be drawing upon your research about the "multi-logues" of American football and other "violent" sports for an in class gaming assignment.  The blogs and comments on blogs will help prepare you for the in class assignment.
1.  Post your "football" blog by Wednesday, Feb 10 (assignment posted below).
2.  Comment on at least 3 other student's "football" blogs by next Sunday.  For instance, you can pose a question, "think with" the author by adding additional resources, or provide a counter argument.
3.  Contribute to the Ready Player One google doc (link is posted below in the blog and in the syllabus) by Friday.  We will reference the google doc in class on Monday when you meet in your book groups.

Next week:

4.  Read Ready Player One chapters 7-9 by next Monday.
5. Your ready player one roles will stay the same as this week.  Be ready to share your cumulative insights about chapters 4-9 in the book (through your role) next Monday.
6.  BRING at least one item to class that would be useful in making a GAME (e.g. dice, cards, timer, playing pieces).

 Optional Video -- Baseball Vs. Football

Football Research Summary

Watch part of the superbowl, or read/view an article about football, masculinity, or a historical sport that includes some violent aspect (some choices in the syllabus, but feel free to do your own research. Click the photo of Laura Croft at right for link to syllabus).  In your blog, write non-judgementally about one point/aspect of what you read/observed/viewed.  Provide examples and details to teach others about what you learned.  In your conclusion, discuss your own personal reaction/thinking about your chosen topic.

Reminder on how to post:

  1. Email your blog entry to:
  2. Subject line: Title of your blog entry (e.g. “poker with grandma”)
  3. The body of your email will show up as the body of your blog
  4. Any pictures or photos you include in your email as an attachment will show up on your blog entry.
  5. Sign your name at the end of your blog.