Monday, February 29, 2016
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.
THIS IS NOT OKAY!!!! THIS IS A HORRIBLE IDEA
one upset mom
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.Alison
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!)
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
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
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."
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.
Friday, February 26, 2016
Thursday, February 25, 2016
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
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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.
Sunday, February 21, 2016
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.
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.
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 fiancé 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.
|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.|
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Monday, February 15, 2016
SNOW DAY ASSIGNMENTS
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).
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:
- Email your blog entry to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject line: Title of your blog entry (e.g. “poker with grandma”)
- The body of your email will show up as the body of your blog
- Any pictures or photos you include in your email as an attachment will show up on your blog entry.
- Sign your name at the end of your blog.