"Big boobs, long legs, slaughters armies single-handedly" *ahem* - Tactical Ninja
Apr. 12th, 2013
09:56 am - "Big boobs, long legs, slaughters armies single-handedly" *ahem*
It all started when John Walker of Rock, Paper, Shotgun wrote an article on why they won't be shutting up about sexism in gaming any time soon. Now, I haven't read the article completely - being a woman and a gamer I'm *cough* somewhat familiar with the topic and figure that it's more aimed at those less familiar. However I did skim it, and it does acknowledge that in an environment where sexism is the norm, chances are a male voice is more likely to be listened to. This may be somewhat problematic, but it encourages more men to speak up. The article in general seems pretty on the mark, and I'd recommend reading it if you are interested in such topics.
This is pretty common when anyone brings up the topic of sexism in gaming - remember when Anita Sarkeesian ran her Kickstarter to fund a series of videos on the topic? (warning: she publishes the YouTube comments and they are truly awful). But you see, John Walker is a man, so you won't find rape threats in the backlash against him, nope.
Instead we get Sean Malstrom calling him a 'nature denier' of all things. Now, some of you are probably going "Sean Malstrom, I've heard that name before.." Well, apparently a few years ago he accurately predicted the success of the Wii or something. Now he's got a platform for espousing his views, and that post up there does some wicked espousing, including such quotes as:
"Real life women should be sex objects to begin with."
"It IS sad that women can’t find themselves sensibly portrayed in the games they play. It is not because the women in the games are ‘too attractive’, it is because the women playing them tend to be ‘too fat’."
"There is a great question I have yet to hear anyone in the Game Industry answer. If women cannot be depicted fantastical (big boobs, long legs, slaughters armies single-handedly) in fantasy entertainment, where can men go to see fantasy women? Women have their fantasy men from endless soap-operas, romance novels, chick flicks, and such. Are men not allowed to have fantasies in entertainment?"
This came to my attention when siobhan63 linked to it in a post entitled "No comment." And I thought "I know who would have a comment about that!"
So I sent the link off to ManBoobz. For those who aren't familiar with it, ManBoobz is a blog that exists to take the piss out of sexism on the internet, particularly the groups calling themselves Men's Rights Activists*. The boobz are the dudes (and very occasionally women) perpetuating the sexism, and if they are laughable enough they get featured.
And, apparently, Sean Malstrom is laughable enough. He was featured last night. You're welcome.
That, in turn, led me to The Hawkeye Initiative, in which people attempt to recreate the poses that women superheroes get put in for comic books and videogame covers. There's also some gender-swapping. You've all seen this one, right? The site is pretty funny, but also contains this:
Female superheroes reimagined fully dressed, with realistic bodies (about 3/4 down the first page). Nice.
There is a chance that you're thinking "Not all gamer men are like that." And it's true, they are not. Pretty much all of the gamer men I know are not like that - but I have to bear in mind that my group of friends is self-selected for not being sexist. And also, I don't tend to play online games much, so I don't encounter the same bullshit that a lot of women who play online FPSs do, for example. And given that pretty much every time a woman mentions sexism in gaming on the internet, the reaction varies from a bunch of dudes telling her she's imagining it, should get a sense of humour, or is plain wrong and here's why, to dudes like Sean Malstrom saying that being a sex object is women's natural role, right through to rape threats - well, it seems that there is a problem and it's significant. It's rare for it to be simply acknowledged with "You're right, and I will help to change it by *insert behaviour here*"
So yeah, it's mainly on the internet, and it's probably partly due to anonymity and partly lack of maturity, and partly just trolling, but at least some of it stems from things that are genuinely believed by the people saying them. I would really like to believe that the attitudes expressed whenever sexism in gaming comes up are not representative of the wider gaming community - but it's kind of hard not to see it that way when it's so common and so harsh. Kudos to those gamers who aren't like that, is all I can really say. I want you to be the majority - and taking the piss out of dudes like Sean Malstrom, publicly, is one way to help make that happen.
* There are some men out there who do actually work towards things like the recognition of parenting equivalence, and awareness of men's health issues, but unfortunately the term has been appropriated by a louder group of people who mostly seem to want to 'activate' by shouting on the internet about how all women suck.
And in case Hawkeye's round shiny apple arse isn't your cup of tea, have a look at this instead:
It's a thing my brother made. O.o