The Gaming Industry Isn’t Sexist

As always, gamers are complaining online. This week’s issue was caused by the newly-released Dragon’s Crown. For those who haven’t been paying attention, Dragon’s Crown is a 2D fantasy action-RPG for the PlayStation 3 and Vita. The controversy stems right from the chest of the game’s Sorceress character. Her breasts are big, ridiculously big. This put people in a fury. Common complaints were mainly that the game is sexist and the developers were excluding women gamers with their unrealistic depiction of women. I think there isn’t anything sexist about this at all. In fact, almost none of the things people complain about in this industry is sexist.

Screenshot_2013-08-05-11-37-06

I don’t think we are judging the Sorceress for having big breasts. I don’t think we are stereotyping women as having breasts bigger than their heads or discriminating against any women who might (if they exist). So how is this character attacking people simply by existing?

Has anybody heard of target demographics? For everything that has ever been made, there is a target audience. Most gamers are guys. Guess what most guys like? Attractive women. That includes boobs. Average gamers are in their 30s and if they were interested in this game, they were already going to buy it. But who knows how many teenage boys only heard about this game because of all the talk about a character’s breasts? This isn’t for us. Why are so many people turning this into an attack? The mature thing to do is just pick a different character class if you don’t like it. Stop going out of your way to be offended. Just accept that isn’t for you, find something that is and continue your life.

Reach zombie reach!

Reach, zombie, reach!

The other example in recent memory is the zombie torso bust from Dead Island: Riptide. In case you don’t remember, it was announced earlier this year that one of the special editions of Dead Island: Riptide would be the “Zombie Bait” edition. [Editor's Note: Only available in Europe and Australia - LF] The main selling point to this edition was a statue of a bikini-clad, armless and headless zombie torso with blood all over it. As far as zombie merchandise goes, it was a unique piece. Again, instead of just simply not buying it because it wasn’t for them, people decided to rally against it online with most comments simply stating that the statue was gross and/or sexist.

On one level, I do see where people were coming from. The statue is targeting a very specific audience. But on another level, I really don’t see why people had to get defensive just because of the existence of this statue. If you think about it in the context of Dead Island, the statue does make sense. The game takes place in a tropical climate, so many people wear bikinis. If the bikini is common on the island, it only makes sense some zombies would still be wearing one. Also, when fighting zombies with sharp weapons, you could dismember them, so it stands to reason you could see a headless, armless bikini-clad body covered in blood. [Editor's Note #2: This statue was actually meant to be the bust of a female victim of a zombie attack, not a zombie itself. Still, the arguments still stand. - LF]

A lot of the comments also said things like, “who would want this?” People who like zombie stuff, that’s who. I have a big collection of video game merchandise, but also some zombie stuff. Now, I wouldn’t buy this statue and put it on a shelf with my Mario and Yoshi plushies, but it would make a badass centerpiece that my Walking Dead action figures could crowd around. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. There is a crowd for almost everything, so speak with your wallets. If something is truly so awful that nobody wants it, then nobody will buy it. The company will pay the price by not making back the return on investment it had hoped to receive.

I'd like to explore her temple, and she could work on my pipe anyday....Wow, this stuff is easy.

I’d like to explore her temple, and she could work on my pipe any day….Wow, this stuff is easy.

The damsel in distress argument is also getting old. Want to know why a disproportionate amount of video games have male protagonists saving females? Because that is the way all media is. That’s why. Gaming is a fairly new medium in the grand scheme of things. Movies and TV shows had already established a long tradition of this portrayal before video games were even created. Also, guess what? The story works. People buy/watch/play things with this story all the time, so the money keeps coming in. Why would companies “fix” this if, in their eyes, nothing is wrong?

Quit complaining about sexism. This industry isn’t sexist, it just knows the majority of its audience and targets things towards them. When I watch My Little Pony with my daughter, I’m not offended when I see a commercial for a Barbie or Easy Bake Oven. I know it makes sense for that show’s audience and I continue my life. Is the makeup industry sexist for primarily targeting women? Are Spike TV and the Oprah Winfrey Network sexist for knowing their target audiences? Stop playing victim and just enjoy your life.

Think I’m a wrong, ignorant, misogynist? Feel free to comment below. Let’s talk about it.

Written by: Ridge

Gamer who swears the Vita is worth it, yet always has a 3DS in his pocket..

12 Comments Added

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  1. Blargh 1 year ago | Reply
    "Has anybody heard of target demographics? For everything that has ever been made, there is a target audience. Most gamers are guys." Why could it be? Hey I dunno... maybe, if you exclude every other potential target audiences, it becomes a self-fulfilled prophecy!
  2. havoklegend 1 year ago | Reply
    Dragon's Crown, whether it's a good or bad game, is absolutely sexist. The hyper-sexualization of the Sorceress is by no means a new or unique case, but that doesn't make it any less wrong. It objectifies women and distorts the image of what females should be. Not only is this harmful, but it's also a gateway into many eating disorder issues. We may not be saying that all women have giant breasts like the Sorceress, but it does say that the value of women lies in their ability to act as sex appeal. This extends to all the other examples that were listed. Damsels in distress is a horrible, disgusting tired trope. Yes, it's prevalent in all forms of media. No, that absolutely doesn't make it acceptable. To once again make female characters powerless, at the mercy of the male protagonist, and serving as a token for winning, is beyond demeaning. Why is the Dead Island bust an issue? It's an extreme objectification of females, but literally depicting them as pieces of meat. These issues have both short and long term consequences. It creates a hostile environment that not only treat genders differently, but deems it acceptable. Honestly, I'm not sure where you are going with the target demographic argument. Yes, sex sells. Boobs, butts, "helpless girls that need to be saved by brave hunks" sells. How exactly does that make what they're doing right? How does their profits equate to gender equality? Slaves were also profitable. That doesn't make it right. Using women as objects does sell. Nothing excites the hormones like some helpless girls. That doesn't make it right. This is why we should be outraged. This is why we should be speaking up. You don't just not buy poisonous food. You don't just not buy technology made by child labor. You speak up. You take action. This is wrong. This is harmful to society. "Stop playing victim and just enjoy your life." Seriously?
    • Ridge 1 year ago | Reply
      "Dragon's Crown, whether it's a good or bad game, is absolutely sexist. The hyper-sexualization of the Sorceress is by no means a new or unique case, but that doesn't make it any less wrong. It objectifies women and distorts the image of what females should be. Not only is this harmful, but it's also a gateway into many eating disorder issues." Who thinks the Sorceress is the image of what females should be? She is ridiculously dis proportioned in a completely unnatural way. And how if this character a gateway into eating disorder issues? Exactly how do diet your way into boobs bigger than your head? I'm genuinely curious. "Damsels in distress is a horrible, disgusting tired trope. Yes, it's prevalent in all forms of media. No, that absolutely doesn't make it acceptable. To once again make female characters powerless, at the mercy of the male protagonist, and serving as a token for winning, is beyond demeaning." I'll agree that it is a tired overused trope, but that is because it works in all media. If people wanted movies with average looking females in the role of protagonist Blubberella would have been the most successful movie ever. But nobody wanted that. "Why is the Dead Island bust an issue? It's an extreme objectification of females, but literally depicting them as pieces of meat." In the context of the game it makes sense. Plus people could try not playing victim. If it was a bloody male in a tiny speedo I wouldn't be upset and pointing fingers and saying the world is against me. I would just say "so that exists", realize it wasn't for me and not buy it. "Honestly, I'm not sure where you are going with the target demographic argument. Yes, sex sells. Boobs, butts, "helpless girls that need to be saved by brave hunks" sells. How exactly does that make what they're doing right? How does their profits equate to gender equality? Slaves were also profitable. That doesn't make it right. Using women as objects does sell. Nothing excites the hormones like some helpless girls. That doesn't make it right." Your admitting the system works. Sex sells and we all know it. Complaining online isn't going to change the world. But you can on a personal level just accept that this is the way it is. Let's use the Sorceress as an example again. She was made as an easy way to attract teenage boys to a product. That's it. She wasn't made as a direct attack on women everywhere, so quit treating it as such. Also this is nothing like slavery and that is an awful example. Go find a black male and explain to him how a sexy ad is as bad as slavery. I'm sure he'll have an interesting opinion on the subject. "This is why we should be outraged. This is why we should be speaking up. You don't just not buy poisonous food. You don't just not buy technology made by child labor. You speak up. You take action. This is wrong. This is harmful to society." This isn't harmful to society, this IS the society we live in. The only thing that will ever make any company care is speaking with your wallet. That is how you take action. ""Stop playing victim and just enjoy your life." Seriously?" Yes seriously. A fantasy character with big boobs isn't a direct attack on anybody. So stop playing victim and turning it into an attack.
      • havoklegend 1 year ago | Reply
        If the Sorceress was an isolated case, I could agree with you, but it's not. The issue is that for every modern Lara Croft, there's a million female characters that serve only to be gawked at or saved. Diet plays into it, because when you continuously sexualize females, it influences our society to dictate that women are only useful when they are physically attractive. Yes, the system works, but once again that doesn't make it correct. Slavery is obviously not a very good 1:1 comparison, but it's an extreme example of the the struggles of women's suffrage. Sexism may be more subtle, but it is still very prevalent. When the media has to continuously make poor female depictions, it alienates female consumers, and it is only further proof with how misogynistic our society has become. Also, putting a bloody man in a speedo is not an equivalent comparison, not in this world. Women have and still are going through a turbulent history of oppression. It is not the same to try to justify the bust with an 1:1 comparison to the main counterpart because it ignores the context of the societal atmosphere. Yes, companies may only listen to our wallets, but that's exactly why I'm speaking up. So that people will not spend money on this, or at least be more aware about the issues.
        • Ridge 1 year ago | Reply
          "If the Sorceress was an isolated case, I could agree with you, but it's not. The issue is that for every modern Lara Croft, there's a million female characters that serve only to be gawked at or saved. Diet plays into it, because when you continuously sexualize females, it influences our society to dictate that women are only useful when they are physically attractive." Nobody is saying women are only useful if they are physically attractive. But when you are making some boxart, or a poster it is just easy to effectively attract people to a product with a good looking women. It is a much more difficult task to illustrate that a women is smart/fun/funny/any other positive trait in a single image. So as long as the cheap easy thing is effective it will never change. "Yes, the system works, but once again that doesn't make it correct. Slavery is obviously not a very good 1:1 comparison, but it's an extreme example of the the struggles of women's suffrage. Sexism may be more subtle, but it is still very prevalent. When the media has to continuously make poor female depictions, it alienates female consumers, and it is only further proof with how misogynistic our society has become." Most males will never look like the males depicted in media either. This goes both ways, it isn't "women's suffrage". "Also, putting a bloody man in a speedo is not an equivalent comparison, not in this world. Women have and still are going through a turbulent history of oppression." What oppression are women currently going through? Ask any married man, it typically goes the other way. "It is not the same to try to justify the bust with an 1:1 comparison to the main counterpart because it ignores the context of the societal atmosphere." All this says to me is that women are going through life looking for things to get upset about, while men can just not worry about things that don't affect them. And on this point I agree with you. PS- I'm married with two daughters, I don't hate women. I just don't see why people get so worked up about this stuff..
  3. Pingback: Video Presentation: Sex in Video Games - Page 8 - Nintendo 3DS Forums August 9, 2013

    […] this recent article I read kind of re-introduced a lot of my points I'll just leave this here: Video Game Reviews, News, and Opinions – Gamers Association The Gaming Industry Isn't Sexist __________________ PC + 3DS + VITA + PS3 + Soon to be PS4 […]

  4. Thomas 1 year ago | Reply
    I can't tell if this is a joke or click-bait or two paragraphs shy of a screed, screaming "Everyone is TOO PC these days! Women should shut up!" Oh wait - "Quit complaining about sexism" - yep, it does.
    • Ja'ire Vaughn 1 year ago | Reply
      So you ignored everything in his arguement? Since when has a fictional character ever oppressed somebody? Why play a game you don't like?
    • Ridge 1 year ago | Reply
      Pretend it said "quit complaining about sexism and using these as examples". Then read the article and debate the points given instead of finding one line to cling on to.
  5. Dave 1 year ago | Reply
    The claim of sexism in games is based on the argument that when women are portrayed as highly sexualized, and male characters are not, this sets up a dichotomy: women are sex objects, men are not. This devalues other aspects of women (intelligence, for instance), and raises sexuality and sexiness up as the primary female attributes. This is not unique to games, but can be found in all the mass media. That's where the claim of sexism comes in. The argument has also been made that as long as games cater primarily to male audiences, they discourage women from playing. This sets up a sort of demographic "vicious cycle," and makes it less likely for the demographics to change in the future. This is a problem for 2 reasons: First, female gamers have trouble finding games that appeal to them, and second, it impedes the potential growth of the audience – which is bad for the industry, any way you look at it.
    • Jef 1 year ago | Reply
      Maybe they should develop a few games with obese money hungry illogical short haircut feminist characters in its lead roll. Yeah! that should help connect 2013 females to the industry... gtfo with this shit.
    • Ja'ire Vaughn 1 year ago | Reply
      Girls have never had a problem with games in the past, if they didn't like it because of X reason they didn't play it just like males. If don't like it because of X then don't play it, stop complaining as if the product is being forced on you because you can vote with your wallet. It never became broadcast a sexual issue until people tried turning it into a political soapbox by assuming fictional characters oppressed or insulted them by things that have never been meant by them.

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