When this blog started many, many years ago, I did a post on a 1up story that was nothing but talking about women in the game industry. I recall attacking it saying how stupid it was. If you want to talk about women who have done things in the game industry, you wouldn’t talk about the mediocrities listed there. If you’re looking for role models for women, there were much better picks to choose from. The creator of King’s Quest for example is a woman. The programmer of Archon, EA’s very first video game, was entirely done by a woman (and the year was 1981 or something). I believe it is a better idea to highlight women who actually produced something than women just want to look like an eighth wonder of the world because they have a job in a male dominated industry.
Feminists began to come in numbers to leave ridiculous comments on the site. Like most nags, they wouldn’t shut up. It would be weeks later, and they would still be commenting. They weren’t interested in a conversation. They were only interested in shaming. I just laughed at them. However, it is why comments are turned off to this day on this site. I just don’t have the time of day wasting time arguing. I also realized that comments are a form of people posting what they want on YOUR site. IF they were interested in discussion, they would EMAIL me. Not one feminist emailed me. They wanted to post on my site without me knowing about it. Damn demi-devils.
John Walker, the founder of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, a gaming site for those who aren’t aware of it, has lately been going on a crusade against misogyny in the game industry. Now, this is his website so he can post whatever he wants on it. In the same way, I can also call John Walker a Nature-Denier.
I don’t go to these gaming websites, but apparently Rock, Paper, Shotgun has been going on a feminist crusade for the game industry. For Walker’s take on the matter, you can look at his article here.
There is only one observation you need to make from his article: John Walker is saying, “I know you guys don’t want to read this. I don’t care. I will keep putting it out there.” Every business has to please customers and attract customers except journalism. Journalism is the only business I know where people can put out stuff everyone hates and, when the consumers complain, the journalist says, “You don’t like that? Well, HERE IS MORE OF IT!” It is a major reason why American newspapers all went belly-up (and it wasn’t the change of business model as other newspapers in other countries are doing fine). It is also why ratings for news channels such as CNN are in the toilet.
Let me address his points of contention:
Many women are mistreated and misrepresented within the games industry. It’s not a matter of opinion, a political position, or claim made to reinforce previous bias. It’s the demonstrable, sad truth.
But, John Walker, how are we to know this demonstrable, sad truth?
Ask women in the games industry – find out.
This is circular logic. Asking women in the games industry is asking for their opinions. Opinions are not truth. If I go into any school and ask the students if the teacher is unfair, they would likely say yes. But is it demonstrable that the teacher is unfair? Is John Walker using any measuring sticks? Any statistics? Anything other than women’s opinions?
There’s the ludicrously overt. Like a video from the 4th April by Machinima (this mirror now deleted due to “copyright”), featuring two women in skimpy outfits being electrocuted and spanked as they play Rock Band, described by a lecheroineineus narrator as “girl on girl action”, and showing their pink ass cheeks at the end. No, really. After outcry it was taken down by Machinima, but that doesn’t change that this is an industry in which such a video can be conceived, scripted, filmed, edited and produced, then uploaded, without anyone effectively challenging it. These extremes are not rare, not particularly unusual.
All this demonstrates is that Machinima has the moral highground unlike Rock, Paper, Shotgun. When Machinima puts out something people dislike, they remove it and stop doing it. As John Walker, the Nature-Denier, demonstrates, when Rock, Paper, Shotgun puts out something people dislike, they will keep doing it and accuse negative feedback as a conspiracy to ‘shut down discussion’.
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?
Anyone who has traveled extensively over the world knows that the American male to American female beauty ratio is the inverse of the Russian male to Russian female beauty ratio. In Russia, it is stunning to see alcoholic bums of Russian men with model quality looks Russian women. In the same way, in the United States it is stunning to see wealthy, hardworking, handsome American men with an American woman who looks like a Troglodyte. Of course, this is just a generalization. The point is that the typical American male has a better worldwide value if they stop thinking the local obese women around them are ‘the normal’. They aren’t the normal worldwide.
If anyone needs fantasy depictions, it would be English speaking men who don’t have access to the worldwide standard.
Why all the fuss against fantastical depictions of women in fantasy entertainment? No one is getting hurt. People are having fun and enjoying themselves. Why the puritanical response?
Then less in-your-face, arguably more insidious, is an article like Complex Tech’s “The 40 Hottest Women In Tech“.
First entry, picture of Marina Orlova in a bra. Third, a shot looking down Courtney Boyd Myer’s bikini top. Jessica Chobot is described as “daringly beautiful”, whatever the crapping fuck that means. And the sum total of her achievements described are that she’s “proof that gamer girls are just as sexy we envision.” Jade Raymond is “The Canadian gaming beauty.”
It is unusual for men to complain when presented pictures of pretty women. However, if you deny the nature of men and women, as John Walker apparently does, then I suppose you could see everything in a political context including pretty women. What a sad, miserable existence that must be.
Since Walker earlier defined the truth to be ‘women’s opinions’, I don’t see any of the above women complaining about being seen as ‘hot’. If a woman didn’t want to be seen in a bra, then why did she post the picture up on the Internet? It amazes me that the nature of men and women are lost on some people.
It’s language that would of course never be used when writing about men in tech. No man in the field is called “daringly handsome”. None is ever introduced based on their aesthetic appeal, but rather their personal achievements.
Confirmed. John Walker has never been around women. Women do this stuff to guys all the time. The difference, though, is that women highlight personality and wage earning traits as much, if not more, than physical looks. Men focus more on physical looks. Anyone with the remotest understanding of men and women knows this.
Both these examples are demonstrative of what a hostile, alienating industry gaming can be to so many.
All it demonstrates is that John Walker does not understand Human nature. You would think he would being a journalist and all.
I like people, and I like it when people are treated well. I abhor it when people are treated badly. The root of my caring about this subject isn’t any more sophisticated than that.
Are they treated badly? Walker hasn’t demonstrated this at all. The last I checked, women liked being called ‘hot’.
All of it has one purpose: to intimidate. Whether the purpose of the intimidation is because the person wants to read about new screenshots for a game and not gender politics, or because they are violently defending their privilege, it’s always about intimidation.
Does John Walker know what intimidation is? Consumers complaining about the product of the website is not intimidation.
Yes, they do have the power to shut down your website. They are your readers, after all. Insulting your readers is not a good business strategy.
While a lot has been extreme, the majority just want the discussion to go away, and angrily tell me why I need to stop talking about it. And indeed the vast majority of the non-hostile communication takes the form of, “I just wish you’d stop talking about this.”
The consumers are giving John Walker excellent advice. If you keep saying something that makes your consumers want to fly away from your product, you should stop saying it.
The only way to make a difference, Sarkeesian argued, is to turn around and actively walk against the flow of the travelator. Something which is, it occurs to me, not easy. Not only are you walking against the flow of movement, but you’re also going to bump into everyone heading in the other direction.
It is how you destroy your business. I have no idea why journalists love destroying their businesses, but they do it often. What is the stock of the New York Times by the way? How much has it fallen lately?
And some people are going to be hostile about this, especially if they think you might start a trend, start seeing others change direction, maybe even enough to see the direction of that walkway changed.
Talk about massive ego! John Walker believes he can alter Human Nature? Based on what? Words on a page? Get out of here.
I don’t have a vagina…
I don’t know how to respond to this.
I’m angry about something – constructively angry about something a person should be angry about – and I want to see positive change.
Then why did John Walker become a journalist? The journalist’s job is to stand out there with a pen and pad and write down what happens. The journalist’s job is not to see ‘positive change’. Change… to whom? That sounds more like an agenda than news reporting.
I like the approval of others. Because that’s normal. (emphasis is Walker’s)
I see what is going on here now. John Walker is the type of person who lives his life for the approval of others. When he started putting out these feminist pieces, he had to have been shocked at the intense criticism from men.
Poor Walker. He can’t understand the criticism. So he believes the criticism is only to shut him up.
To the contrary, I want John Walker to keep talking on this subject. It is displaying a very interesting crack that is currently splitting throughout Western (English speaking) society.
Abuse is the natural response of anyone wishing to perpetuate a privilege that by its nature demeans or diminishes others.
This is massive privilege of one gender over another in the legal, financial, and social context of American society. Despite a 50%-50% of a blind chance of choosing the correct gender, John Walker somehow picks the wrong one as being seen as privileged.
When a publisher issues financial results and we report on them, we don’t see, “Why are you writing about economics on a GAMING site?”
Financial results have nothing to do with economics. It has everything to do with BUSINESS which is what the Game Industry is: a collection of gaming businesses.
When there’s discussion of the effects of violence on players, we don’t read, “Why are you writing about sociology on a GAMING site?”
It’s not the effects of violence but the effect of games. John Walker is really grasping at straws here.
It’s only when the gaming-related subject is the portrayal or treatment of women do such people become enraged by any post that isn’t literally describing the content of a particular videogame.
They are complaining because it is political. People do not want politics in their gaming entertainment.
And to answer the question: because it’s relevant, and it matters. 50% of gamers are women, and at least 20% of “hardcore” gamers are women.
Then this proves that women don’t have a problem with gaming’s content, does it? If the game industry was so sexist, then why are there so many women playing video games? Explain that one, John Walker.
While the majority of RPS’s readers are men, that’s not something we’re proud of.
RPS is not proud of its readers? Why are journalists so STUPID? Why are you insulting people who are responsible for giving you advertiser money?
We believe in equality, and when we are aware of inequality in the industry upon which we report, it is relevant for us to cover, and we believe important to highlight.
Your ego has gone off the rails when you begin trying to sound like the Emancipation Declaration.
Our caring about equality in the games industry, and in the portrayal of women, does not exclude our caring about matters affecting men.
The audience disagrees. AND THE AUDIENCE IS ALWAYS RIGHT.
We’re going to keep banging this drum. And we will bang the drums against racism, transphobia and homophobia.
I’m sure this is why gamers want to read in a gaming website! Hahahahahaha.
This John Walker guy has no idea how clueless he sounds to his audience.
But what does John Walker think about Men’s Rights? He has a blog post about it. Let us observe, reader.
People approach, well, almost everything in life with their own agendum, and when what they encounter doesn’t reflect it, they perceive this as an attack against them.
This is the pot calling the kettle black.
The rhetoric used involves explaining that male suicide rates are five times those of female, that men are twice as likely to get murdered, and that therefore gaming has something something men as heroes.
Suicide rates and murder rates are statistical information. They are not pieces of rhetoric.
There’s a lot of specific language used in this discussion, every time it arises. The first is to dismiss any argument about the representation of woman as “women being shown as attractive”. This is an attempt to sound as though they are fully in support of women, while demeaning those arguing, to suggest that they are in some way intimidated by female sexuality, and simultaneously in denial of the acceptable normality of a pleasurable female form being something to be appreciated.
Why is John Walker too scared to actually debate? All he is doing is declaring all criticism to be ‘rhetorical devices’ and that all ‘rhetorical devices’ aren’t arguments. This guy can’t win an open debate.
What’s wrong with men liking women? He doesn’t say. He just goes on.
Gaming promotions overtly alienating to female gamers, and offensive to most gamers, end up buried under the tedious breaking down of the deliberate nonsense thrown on top of it all.
Then how are all gamers 50% women? How are they offensive to most gamers? Is he talking about the booth babes? Gamers LOVE the booth babes! And cosplay of hot girls in sexy outfits.
And of course the real idiocy of the opening argument gets lost – no one is sensibly complaining about women being shown as attractive. Half-Life’s Alyx is celebrated, Beyond Good & Evil’s Jade is adored, and so on and so on – attractive depictions of interesting women are loved in games, and of course no one is sensibly decrying their inclusion.
But that is exactly what John Walker is doing. Note the phrase ‘interesting women’.
What makes a woman interesting to men?
The truth is that interesting women needs youth, big boobs, long legs, long hair, and an hourglass figure to be interesting to men. The more women go away from this, the less interesting they become to men. This is why women when inevitably age, they become more and more invisible to men. It is just Nature at work. Ironically, for men the older they get, the more interesting they can become to women as their earning potential goes up. This balances out how most young men are invisible to women when they are younger. After the age of 25, men tend to become the more interesting ones compared to a woman of equal age. This is why mothers always advised their daughters to ‘snag him when he and she are both young’.
That done, the person who wrote about, say, the depiction of women as sex objects in a game has now become someone who doesn’t care that men kill themselves and get murdered. It’s so preposterous, and so demoralisingly tiresome.
What is wrong with fantasy women being depicted fantastically in fantasy entertainment?
And we should only hope that women wish to be depicted as sex objects for that is how they become love objects as well. No man wants to marry a women they aren’t attracted to. Last I checked, marriage rates were plummeting in the West. Perhaps journalists should strive for ‘positive change’ by suggesting to women to be depicted more as sex objects so they can attract a man for marriage before they get too old. That would truly help women and make men happier as well.
Explaining to someone why stopping a girl from falling in a river doesn’t mean you don’t care when boys fall in rivers is too painful.
Bringing up other arguments and attacking those while avoiding the main argument is the definition of strawman.
It was always about the tastelessness of using women as sex objects to sell games, and the sadness that women can’t find themselves sensibly portrayed in the games they play.
I AGREE WITH JOHN WALKER HERE. That’s right. I agree completely. However, it is for different reasons.
It IS tasteless for using women as sex objects to sell games. Why? It is because real life women should be sex objects to begin with. If that were the case, putting them on a game cover wouldn’t be selling the game. This used to be the case decades ago. Since obesity in women have skyrocketed and attractive women have diminished, putting attractive women on game covers definitely attracts men more than it should.
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’. It is sad for women that they are fat. It is also sad for men. What John Walker should do is to advise women to get in shape and try to look like the depictions of women that men are attracted to. This would be ‘positive change’ we could all get behind.