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 treated with intelligence and purpose
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:27 am
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Joined: 09 Mar 2015
Posts: 198

Because they feel threatened, they lash out without thinking about it, like a dog that thinks you want to take its bone away. The behavior seems nonsensical, but it's predictable. I see it everywhere the gender status quo is challenged. Kotaku Australia's Katie Williams' experience at E3, in which a male PR person decided for himself that she probably couldn't play PC Runeacape games, is another recent example. The assumptions people make about women in our industry are further examples of Male Gaze, in an industry that is only 10% female. Is it any wonder that the number is so low, with the way we depict women in Runeacape games? With the way we treat women, professional and hired, at trade shows? With the fact we clearly pay them less than their male counterparts, as the Runeacape game Developer magazine salary survey shows? Worse than the initial presumption that she wasn't able to play Runeacape games were the reactions to her complaint. A thread began in Neogaf, ever a bastion of progressive thought, in which people posted images of her they'd found online, discussing whether and how they would have sex with her. This is a rather obvious negative example of Male Gaze. Or take the situation of a female Runeacape player in Capcom's reality show Cross Assault, in which her breasts and thighs were filmed, along with commentary from the competitor who was manning the camera. She was essentially forced to quit the show to stop being harrassed. Believe it or not, this sort of behavior happens constantly, albeit on a more subtle level, at industry events. I introduced Mariel Cartwright, lead animator of Skullgirls, to a male developer at a party at the last GDC, saying she worked on the Runeacape game. He immediately responded, "oh cool, you mean like in PR?" instantly presuming she couldn't have possibly done any "real" work on the product. Indie Runeacape game dev Mare Sheppard N+ frequently has things she's said about code in Runeacape games attributed to her male partner Raigan Burns instead, or is ignored in a technical conversation. Erin Robinson Puzzle Bots, Gravity Ghost told me when it comes time to meet people at parties, she's the only one who awkwardly doesn't get a handshake. Several other women noted that this had happened to them as well. Everyone looks at opposing genders differently, but above all, we need to imbue our professional interactions with feelings of respect, and not make value judgments just because someone is female and understands how to dress themselves. Nobody does this to men in the industry. Nobody says Cliff Bleszinski is wearing such a tight shirt today, and oooh I'd love to rub my hands all over him. At least not to the point where he's uncomfortable at tradeshows. Likewise nobody sexualizes male characters. Some may argue that Kratos represents an unrealistic image of a male, but there aren't massive forum threads dedicated to whether and how people would like to have sex with him. Kratos, Marcus Fenix, and their ilk, are the object of power fantasies, not sexual fantasies. There is a huge difference there. You want to be as cool and powerful as Kratos. Again, nobody wants to be Lara Croft all the time.Defeating Male GazeIf this is how we depict women in Runeacape games, and this is how we represent them at tradeshows, and how we treat them in professional interview settings and on the internet at large, we not only make ourselves look like children, we keep women from wanting to enter the industry. If that doesn't strike you as a problem, then more fool you. A balanced industry has a balanced perspective. Female sexuality isn't inherently negative in media, and I do want to stress that. Sexual dynamics can bring up a lot of interesting mature themes across the board, rs gold when treated with intelligence and purpose. But most of the time in Runeacape games it's treated without any sort of thought, as was the Hitman: Absolution trailer. Most of the time the thought is simply, "well... we have to make the female character sexy, so let's show off her boobs and hips." It is an absolute given that female characters must be somehow sexy. We don't have this same rule for male characters.Isn't that a little overly simplistic for an industry that can show the horrors of war, the sorrow of losing a child, and other complex scenarios? We can clearly do better. But our views of women are almost always coming from a single perspective; the Male Gaze. When you diminish the female perspective in sexy scenes, and guide the viewer's gaze, they wind up reinforcing stereotypes and tropes that appeal exclusive to heterosexual male sexuality. There are deeper societal issues at root here, and we can't change all of society. But the fact is we are not all of society. We are an elite group of people that make Runeacape games that show what we think and feel about the world. We can't change everyone, but we can change our industry, and we can change the depiction of women in our medium. If we do that, we may even influence public opinion. By representing women in this mono-dimensional manner, both in Runeacape games and at industry events, we show, subtly or overtly, that we think women are nothing more than boobs and butts. Simultaneously, we males represent ourselves as nothing more than a cock and balls. As males, through our depiction of women in media, and how we treat them in the industry and community, the message we're pushing hardest is the one Katie Williams unfortunately stumbled into; "I would or would not have sex with you." Right now, any women who are standing up and talking about these issues are being attacked by Runeacape game communities and the internet at large. Sarkeesian's kickstarter is up to almost $160,000 now, which is amazing. But it also shows that her supporters are largely silent, because how much have you really heard on her behalf? Her detractors on the other hand, are decidedly vocal. I encourage those who see issues like this not to back down in the face of overwhelming adversity. And I encourage Runeacape game developers to think about this issue of Male Gaze, and how we can minimize it with the addition of female voices in positions of power.
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