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The Official DFAF Gender Politics Discussion Thread 2015

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Pretty sure that it's just a reference to how some people tend to automatically assume people on forums are guys unless told otherwise. I do it - I don't mean anything bad by it, but I do tend to just assume people online are males - which is why I tend to use gender-neutral phrases (in case you ever wondered). Pretty sure that's all it meant.

Not just a reference to it. A secret bet (with the guy who just got put on timeout after an argument with Carl) that Carl specifically would do it and then suggesting that proves some kind of point about her.

Not cool.

Maybe not an actionable offense, but not cool at all.

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Help me to understand your belief on this then, because you lost me when you were talking about how you don't believe it is disempowerment but you believe it "never will" be empowerment. From my view those are contradictory statements, but I'm interested to hear your thoughts; particular after your second comment.

Okay so first off I don't think it's as simple as something being empowering or not, there's an inbetween and varying degrees of empowerment, and the assertion that sexualized female characters can be empowering is just 'nah' to me. I don't find a sexualized character empowering, but it's not disempowering either. It's a drag and kinda predictable and overdone, maybe alienating, but it's not disempowering. Seeing a sexualized character doesn't like, make me feel less confident if we're using that sense of the word, but it doesn't make me feel any better either.

Re: after the second comment. These are video game pixels designed to look a very specific way, and that very specific way almost always manifests itself as the Impossibly High Beauty Standards of a perfect body with perfect proportions, perfect hair, perfect face, perfect skin, perfect makeup. And then whatever outfit the devs decide will give em the most tits n' ass exposure lol. That's what I mean when I say they don't have the agency, they were literally made that way, out of a very conscious choice someone else made for them.

It's way more empowering if that choice of dress came out of someone's own personal conviction, but video game characters don't have that sort of personal conviction cuz they do whatever they're written/coded/designed to do.

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aw i was hoping someone would engage me on the idea of physical sexual desire being something that is imposed upon people by nature, but you guys are all too busy fixating on permafry's secret winky blood pact with fwhpmdagadawdads. like, i'm saying why is sex even sexy? why is 'sexy' a thing? because we are all stuck in stupid fleshy bodies that make us feel things. that seems inherently unfair to me. one day we will be able to upload our brains into computers and will no longer experience the impetus to procreate and gender and sexuality will become stripped of their former importance. when you wake up in the morning in CYBERSPACE you can just decide whether you want to look like a man or a woman today, and while you may have a preference for one or the other you will have no true fixed identity because there are no physiological/neurological factors influencing you. you can rewrite yourself down to the ones and zeroes. that sounds like liberation to me.

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aw i was hoping someone would engage me on the idea of physical sexual desire being something that is imposed upon people by nature, but you guys are all too busy fixating on permafry's secret winky blood pact with fwhpmdagadawdads. like, i'm saying why is sex even sexy? why is 'sexy' a thing? because we are all stuck in stupid fleshy bodies that make us feel things. that seems inherently unfair to me. one day we will be able to upload our brains into computers and will no longer experience the impetus to procreate and gender and sexuality will become stripped of their former importance. when you wake up in the morning in CYBERSPACE you can just decide whether you want to look like a man or a woman today, and while you may have a preference for one or the other you will have no true fixed identity because there are no physiological/neurological factors influencing you. you can rewrite yourself down to the ones and zeroes. that sounds like liberation to me.

I'm someone who dearly wishes I could safely change genders like clothing. It's not that easy.

There's just so much social stigma around being nonbianary- people telling me to make up my mind and shit like that. And I'm a woman. I can't even imagine what it would be like changing how masculine or feminine I dress on a day to day basis would be if I was a man.

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Re: after the second comment. These are video game pixels designed to look a very specific way, and that very specific way almost always manifests itself as the Impossibly High Beauty Standards of a perfect body with perfect proportions, perfect hair, perfect face, perfect skin, perfect makeup. And then whatever outfit the devs decide will give em the most tits n' ass exposure lol. That's what I mean when I say they don't have the agency, they were literally made that way, out of a very conscious choice someone else made for them.

It's way more empowering if that choice of dress came out of someone's own personal conviction, but video game characters don't have that sort of personal conviction cuz they do whatever they're written/coded/designed to do.

Yeah, this is kinda what I was saying at the beginning of the thread when that picture of Buffy (real live person) was posted.

There is a difference between:

--Real human girl who decides for herself she is going to wear a particular thing

--Real human girl who decides whether or not she is okay with the costume she is being asked to wear

And:

--100% designed girl who is 100% designed by a bunch of dudes sculpting an ideal

Here is a rough approximation of what we're talking about (tongue in cheek of course):

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aw i was hoping someone would engage me on the idea of physical sexual desire being something that is imposed upon people by nature, but you guys are all too busy fixating on permafry's secret winky blood pact with fwhpmdagadawdads. like, i'm saying why is sex even sexy? why is 'sexy' a thing? because we are all stuck in stupid fleshy bodies that make us feel things. that seems inherently unfair to me. one day we will be able to upload our brains into computers and will no longer experience the impetus to procreate and gender and sexuality will become stripped of their former importance. when you wake up in the morning in CYBERSPACE you can just decide whether you want to look like a man or a woman today, and while you may have a preference for one or the other you will have no true fixed identity because there are no physiological/neurological factors influencing you. you can rewrite yourself down to the ones and zeroes. that sounds like liberation to me.

What is pleasure without pain?

What is order, symmetry, shape, or beauty without a full range of chaos, asymmetry, shapelessness, ugliness and everything in between?

What satisfaction could we possibly derive from having the freedom to choose a sex on a whim when, as computers, we would no longer have the anatomy, psychology, or other biologically hardwired parameters that would make these ideas meaningful or satisfying or frustrating anyway?

If we are no long biological, we would no longer care about biologically-derived things like sex. I don't think it would even feel liberating. It would just be trivia to us at that point, because we are no longer that thing.

For example, none of us reading this right now are cold-blooded lizards. But none of us is thinking, "It's so great that we don't have to bask on rocks in the sun to warm our bodies anymore." We don't care about that because it has no relevance to us. Similarly, once we are computers, biology and sex wouldn't be relevant to us anymore. We wouldn't care or have the chemical equipment to care.

Rather than being concerned with male/female sex/gender, we'd probably be all like, "Don't stereotype me based purely on my factory default settings!" or whatever.

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Well I mean like... if someone included a Malay character in one of their novels, but left out everything about 'what it means to be a Malay person', and wrote them as just a person, my first thought would probably be "Hey, wow! They included a Malay person in their story. I didn't think anyone even knew we existed!!!"

Because just that little bit of acknowledgement is enough for me. Even the superficial parts, like describing the school uniforms here would mean more to me in that instance, just because someone noticed. Like yes, there are certain very Malay experiences that might shape that character's outlook, but not so much to the point that they are unrelatable as just a person.

I couldn't tell you where the influence of growing up Malay vs the influence of growing up and being seen as white starts and ends, and how those things shape my outlook, so it'd be a little insulting to me, if someone who had neither of those things tried to tell me my business.

Edit: My internet cut out while I was submitting this post and it looks like it left out some things. I can't remember it all now but it was something along the lines of not trying to write a character's experience and background so extensively to the point of it being a caricature or stereotype, because without those lived experiences that's what it becomes, and actually making it even more alienating than if you had just written them as a person, who also happened to be PoC/disabled/queer/etc. cuz you gotta remember they're people first and foremost and it goes a long way just depicting them that way

Oh, I'm not suggesting that anyone should take it to a stereotypical level... I'm just saying that if a writer without the experiences wants to research the subject and get the stories of people who do have them, we shouldn't be discouraging that. But putting in a character whose only connection to a culture is a label just reeks of tokenism to me.

For example, take The Hunger Games. I love Suzanne Collins and I don't like criticizing her, but one thing that really stood out to me was the character, Rue. Here was a black character in the book who had so little connection to any aspect of black culture (literally the only thing that ever identified her as black was an easily-missable one-line description when she was first seen by Katniss, before the reader even knows if she'd be important later on) that the internet started rioting when a black girl was cast to play her because so many people had missed that she was a black character and thought she was Aryan: blond hair, blue eyes and all. And at this point, I just have to wonder this: if you make a diverse character so completely non-different from the majority characters, does it even count anymore? If the vast majority of your fanbase don't "get" the diversity of your character, have you actually, in fact, done anything at all? What is the point of creating increased "visibility" for a marginalized group if it's done so casually that most people will just replace the character with a straight white version?

I feel like we need a koan for this now: if you create a diverse character and nobody notices, have you actually created a diverse character?

I'd say no.

My counterexample is the Red Pyramid, by Rich Riordan which features two mixed-race (half-black, half-white) siblings: Carter and Sadie Kane. The book certainly isn't about them being mixed race. It's about them stopping the Egyptian monster Apophis from eating the world. However, the author, Rich Riordan, possibly one of the whitest people alive, was still able to remind the audience in subtle ways that, besides their tendency to fight ancient mythical monsters, these two children aren't your standard YA white-kid fare.

I haven't read this book in five years, but I still remember the intro to the characters: Carter looks very black, Sadie looks very white... and as a result they had very different experiences growing up. The author notes this by pointing out that Sadie is very much a typical preteen. She's always dressed in trendy, casual clothes like jeans and T-shirts, goes where she likes, goes shopping, skips off doing school work when there's more fun to be had etc... but Carter was taken aside by his black father when he was around eight years old and informed about the facts of life. No, not those facts of life. But, during the book, he remembers his father telling him that he will always have to try harder than Sadie will to get the same amount of respect. Even though he's a teenager, he always dresses in formal wear and never uses slang because he's constantly aware in a way that his sister never will be that he will always have to be better if he wants to get anywhere.

It was minor, but it hammered home in a way that the Hunger Games couldn't, the identity of the two main characters and how their experiences varied based on extremely superficial details. Which is not bad for a YA novel.

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aw i was hoping someone would engage me on the idea of physical sexual desire being something that is imposed upon people by nature, but you guys are all too busy fixating on permafry's secret winky blood pact with fwhpmdagadawdads. like, i'm saying why is sex even sexy? why is 'sexy' a thing? because we are all stuck in stupid fleshy bodies that make us feel things. that seems inherently unfair to me. one day we will be able to upload our brains into computers and will no longer experience the impetus to procreate and gender and sexuality will become stripped of their former importance. when you wake up in the morning in CYBERSPACE you can just decide whether you want to look like a man or a woman today, and while you may have a preference for one or the other you will have no true fixed identity because there are no physiological/neurological factors influencing you. you can rewrite yourself down to the ones and zeroes. that sounds like liberation to me.
Speaking as someone who is asexual, I definitely see sexiness as something that is socially constructed. I can tell what is deemed to be sexy for both genders but because I have no actual sexual leanings towards either, that perceived sexiness is simply what my particular culture deems it to be.

Despite being asexual, I do have preconceived opinions of sexiness deemed by culture. Although in my case, it's more beauty I guess than sexy, as there are no connotations of sex involved, but I still find people beautiful, or attractive in a non sexual way. For instance, I really don't like the looks of tattoos on people and I prefer the look of lean, well toned people of both genders (even though I'm far from that myself :/). If I lived in an Eastern culture, it's very possible these notions that I have of sexiness would be quite different.

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aw i was hoping someone would engage me on the idea of physical sexual desire being something that is imposed upon people by nature, but you guys are all too busy fixating on permafry's secret winky blood pact with fwhpmdagadawdads. like, i'm saying why is sex even sexy? why is 'sexy' a thing? because we are all stuck in stupid fleshy bodies that make us feel things. that seems inherently unfair to me. one day we will be able to upload our brains into computers and will no longer experience the impetus to procreate and gender and sexuality will become stripped of their former importance. when you wake up in the morning in CYBERSPACE you can just decide whether you want to look like a man or a woman today, and while you may have a preference for one or the other you will have no true fixed identity because there are no physiological/neurological factors influencing you. you can rewrite yourself down to the ones and zeroes. that sounds like liberation to me.
Speaking as someone who is asexual, I definitely see sexiness as something that is socially constructed. I can tell what is deemed to be sexy for both genders but because I have no actual sexual leanings towards either, that perceived sexiness is simply what my particular culture deems it to be.

Despite being asexual, I do have preconceived opinions of sexiness deemed by culture. Although in my case, it's more beauty I guess than sexy, as there are no connotations of sex involved, but I still find people beautiful, or attractive in a non sexual way. For instance, I really don't like the looks of tattoos on people and I prefer the look of lean, well toned people of both genders (even though I'm far from that myself :/). If I lived in an Eastern culture, it's very possible these notions that I have of sexiness would be quite different.

I personally don't buy into the "everytyhing is sexually constructed" school of thought (nor the "we are all born psychological blank slates" view of the human mind for that matter). Some things are socially constructed, but some things are biologically determined (or at least strongly biologically influenced).

One concern I might have with this assertion, for example, is that it may be a chicken or egg situation. Just because you see a consistent pattern in what is deemed as sexy by society does not necessarily mean that society is the source of that pattern.

Why does a male peacock have the huge plumage? It is not for socially constructed reasons, I am certain.

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asexual

Sweet, another asexual person on the forum. I'm not alone!

RightThickLamprey.gif

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aw i was hoping someone would engage me on the idea of physical sexual desire being something that is imposed upon people by nature, but you guys are all too busy fixating on permafry's secret winky blood pact with fwhpmdagadawdads. like, i'm saying why is sex even sexy? why is 'sexy' a thing? because we are all stuck in stupid fleshy bodies that make us feel things. that seems inherently unfair to me. one day we will be able to upload our brains into computers and will no longer experience the impetus to procreate and gender and sexuality will become stripped of their former importance. when you wake up in the morning in CYBERSPACE you can just decide whether you want to look like a man or a woman today, and while you may have a preference for one or the other you will have no true fixed identity because there are no physiological/neurological factors influencing you. you can rewrite yourself down to the ones and zeroes. that sounds like liberation to me.
Speaking as someone who is asexual, I definitely see sexiness as something that is socially constructed. I can tell what is deemed to be sexy for both genders but because I have no actual sexual leanings towards either, that perceived sexiness is simply what my particular culture deems it to be.

Despite being asexual, I do have preconceived opinions of sexiness deemed by culture. Although in my case, it's more beauty I guess than sexy, as there are no connotations of sex involved, but I still find people beautiful, or attractive in a non sexual way. For instance, I really don't like the looks of tattoos on people and I prefer the look of lean, well toned people of both genders (even though I'm far from that myself :/). If I lived in an Eastern culture, it's very possible these notions that I have of sexiness would be quite different.

I personally don't buy into the "everytyhing is sexually constructed" school of thought (nor the "we are all born psychological blank slates" view of the human mind for that matter). Some things are socially constructed, but some things are biologically determined (or at least strongly biologically influenced).

One concern I might have with this assertion, for example, is that it may be a chicken or egg situation. Just because you see a consistent pattern in what is deemed as sexy by society does not necessarily mean that society is the source of that pattern.

Why does a male peacock have the huge plumage? It is not for socially constructed reasons, I am certain.

All of sexiness definitely isn't socially constructed, but a lot of it certainly is. For instance, you can see the differing of thoughts of what is considered sexy in terms of weight in artistic depictions in Western countries over the years. Modern views depict people who are very lean, whereas that wasn't the case in previous generations (and there's also the fact that the weight depiction of what is considered sexy differs greatly from the West in many Eastern cultures).
Sweet, another asexual person on the forum. I'm not alone!

*There are dozens of us. Dozens!*

a2b80b53f02c0952c54b2d8d0464bcbe.jpg

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Also you seem to have described me using the phrase "son" even though you have no idea who I am or what my background is. Thanks for helping me win a bet *knowingly winks at Fhqwhgads*

Not that I disagree with any of the discussion you’ve been contributing up to this point, but thaaaat little line is coming off as a dis on Carl and, additionally throwing fire on a thing that was supposed to die with the previous thread by essentially admitting that you entered this thread with some kind of agenda against her.

You can disagree with Carl or think whatever you want about her, but there is no need for secret plans or making secret bets about her character. To me, this looks more bad on you than it does on Carl.

To be clear the bet had to do with if someone, anyone, assumed a gender identity based on my position without my explicitly stating my gender identity. It wasn't personally directed at Carl and I hope it wasn't taken as such.

Also i find it troubling just how many people took it that way. You assume a conspiracy due to an inside joke, and then run with it as though it were fact, regardless of evidence to the contrary.

edit: The reason why i made that bet was partly as an experiment with F to see how people associate gender within forums, and that way being a man on a forum is the default. The character assassination due to who i made the bet with was also uncalled for, who i am friends with and who I argue against outside of this thread shouldn't be grounds for harassing me, especially when you aren't aware of the context of our conversation. Considering the way this thread had already been turning long before i had joined it, its also an unfair accusation that i am at fault for this thread being full of personal insults when other people, including people who agree and disagree with me, already were throwing shade around at other regardless if you noticed them doing so or not.

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Help me to understand your belief on this then, because you lost me when you were talking about how you don't believe it is disempowerment but you believe it "never will" be empowerment. From my view those are contradictory statements, but I'm interested to hear your thoughts; particular after your second comment.

Okay so first off I don't think it's as simple as something being empowering or not, there's an inbetween and varying degrees of empowerment, and the assertion that sexualized female characters can be empowering is just 'nah' to me. I don't find a sexualized character empowering, but it's not disempowering either. It's a drag and kinda predictable and overdone, maybe alienating, but it's not disempowering. Seeing a sexualized character doesn't like, make me feel less confident if we're using that sense of the word, but it doesn't make me feel any better either.

Re: after the second comment. These are video game pixels designed to look a very specific way, and that very specific way almost always manifests itself as the Impossibly High Beauty Standards of a perfect body with perfect proportions, perfect hair, perfect face, perfect skin, perfect makeup. And then whatever outfit the devs decide will give em the most tits n' ass exposure lol. That's what I mean when I say they don't have the agency, they were literally made that way, out of a very conscious choice someone else made for them.

It's way more empowering if that choice of dress came out of someone's own personal conviction, but video game characters don't have that sort of personal conviction cuz they do whatever they're written/coded/designed to do.

That's a really interesting perspective. By that same logic you'd be saying that nothing writen characters do can ever be empowering since it is always the result of the writer. That only the writer themself can be empowering and that characters are merely tools to achieve that goal due to them being created rather than creating themself.

To take the view further, is Jade from Beyond Good and Evil (or any other written character) capable of being empowering? Is any character capable if they aren't completely the creation of the player? Their actions, excluding the actions of the player, are always the result of the creators of the game (or at least randomly created by the game should the character be procedural generation).

That all being said, i still don't see how that precludes the ability for sexualization of character to be empowering. It just would mean that all forms of empowerment would be impossible for written characters due to the lack of agency involved in the actions and motivations of the character due to the character being written. It wouldn't prevent real people who create their own characters and write their own stories using sexualization to satisfy their own desires.

Here's a hypothetical: If the person, for this idea lets say a woman, finds empowerment in a vast MMORPG world by creating a character version of herself, sexualized exclusively in ways that make the cis straight woman feel attached to the character due to the womans own personal desires of her ideal alternative self. That woman chooses to self sexual herself because she enjoys it with no regard as to the opinions of others. In this world she feels the agency to explore a different, more sexually active side of her personality that she felt afraid of presenting due to a variety of real world issues she is facing. Is this not a form of empowerment for that woman, in your view?

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Also you seem to have described me using the phrase "son" even though you have no idea who I am or what my background is. Thanks for helping me win a bet *knowingly winks at Fhqwhgads*

Not that I disagree with any of the discussion you’ve been contributing up to this point, but thaaaat little line is coming off as a dis on Carl and, additionally throwing fire on a thing that was supposed to die with the previous thread by essentially admitting that you entered this thread with some kind of agenda against her.

You can disagree with Carl or think whatever you want about her, but there is no need for secret plans or making secret bets about her character. To me, this looks more bad on you than it does on Carl.

To be clear the bet had to do with if someone, anyone, assumed a gender identity based on my position without my explicitly sating my gender identity. It wasn't personally directed at Carl and I hope it wasn't taken as such.

Also i find it troubling just how many people took it that way. You assume a conspiracy due to an inside joke, and then run with it as though it were fact, regardless of evidence to the contrary.

1) That is a mistake anyone could easily make on any forum, even outside of DFAF or outside a gender politics thread, so I fail to see the point or joke of this bet. Furthermore, as Carl explained, it was a Ron Swanson quote, so you didn't actually "win".

2) Giving you the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't intended with any sort of malice, I would ask that you please stop to appreciate how making secret bets on the people in a thread with a recent history of tension, then springing a "gotcha" and passing winks to people who were just temp-banned from this discussion like one page ago looks to everyone still in here. Especially when you just so happened to spring your "gotcha" on the specific person the temp-banned person was bickering with. Maybe it was just an innocent thing and you meant nothing by it at all, but it is all just a little too perfect.

Everything else you said was pretty awesome and great.

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That's a really interesting perspective. By that same logic you'd be saying that nothing writen characters do can ever be empowering since it is always the result of the writer. That only the writer themself can be empowering and that characters are merely tools to achieve that goal due to them being created rather than creating themself.

To take the view further, is Jade from Beyond Good and Evil (or any other writen ) capable of being empowering? Is any character capable if they aren't completely the creation of the player? Their actions, excluding the actions of the player, are always the result of the creators of the game (or at least randomly created by the game should the character be procedural generation).

That all being said, i still don't see how that precludes the ability for sexualization of character to be empowering. It just would mean that all forms of empowerment would be impossible for written characters due to the lack of agency involved in the actions and motivations of the character due to the character being written. It wouldn't prevent real people who create their own characters and write their own stories using sexualization to satisfy their own desires.

Here's a hypothetical: If the person, for this idea lets say a woman, finds empowerment in a vast MMORPG world by creating a character version of herself, sexualized exclusively in ways that make the cis straight woman feel attached to the character due to the womans own personal desires of her ideal alternative self. That woman chooses to self sexual herself because she enjoys it with no regard as to the opinions of others. In this world she feels the agency to explore a different, more sexually active side of her personality that she felt afraid of presenting due to a variety of real world issues she is facing. Is this not a form of empowerment for that woman, in your view?

Okay I'm kinda tired since its 8am and I haven't gone to bed yet, so this is getting a little hard to put into to words and a little bit word salad-ey. But, very basically, I wouldn't go so far as to say nothing a character does can be empowering because of that agency thing.

I just think the particular issue of sexualized outfits can never be empowering if they're always the kind of sexy that upholds the same, really high and hard to attain beauty standards we have, because that's the only thing devs choose to portray and continue to uphold as 'sexy'. And the empowered thing really just feels too hand-wavey to take seriously. Like maybe at one point it WAS empowering, but as it gets overused that particular type of empowerment starts to diminish. Maybe if they kinda stepped outside that portrayal, but still called it 'sexy' I might find it empowering, but then I'm not really sure if it's the sexy outfit that's empowering or the acknowledgement of other types of sexy

Lastly, I just wanna be clear that I don't "own' empowerment and I'm speaking strictly for myself. No, I still don't really find sexy outfits empowering. I don't derive a sense of empowerment from that. Someone else might though, and good on them. That lady and her sexy self-insert feels empowering? Then it is, and good for her.

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No, I still don't really find sexy outfits empowering.

Thank you for answering my question. While I disagree with your opinion I'm glad that I at least better understand it.

I certainly don't like that sexualized characters is the norm for female character models and believe that is a very important issue, especially when the sexualization serves no purpose besides marketing like the case is in many free 2 play games and certain niche genres. However I also feel that shaming games that feature sexualization isn't the solution on its own. I believe that the way sexualization is used is a large part of the way to improve the issue. For me, I think that variety and diversity, as usually is a solution to the issue. I agree with Carl that there are other types of sexy, and i wish that games featured these too the same way the particular brand of sexy is presently predominate. But I also strongly disagree with the idea that policing and shaming creators with sexualization and sexualized outfits in their work is the solution.

To be clear I also don't believe in policing or shaming creators for choosing to remove of change characters based on the sexualization of the character (as was the case with LOL and many other games). Ultimately it should be the creator's decision how they want their character to be designed (excluding procedural creation or player character creation), and while i fully hope for people to have their own opinions on this matter, I really don't like it when people are shamed and attacked for not sharing opinions regardless of people's reasoning.

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Jury's out on that point, a lot. E.g. Katherine Cross loves Bayonetta. So does Dina Abou Karam – core lamerbait target for no reason whatsoever – whom I listened to a bit yesterday. She also said she loves the Sorceress from Dragon's Crown, with her huge tits hitting her in the face while running. And that same Dina is attacked and vilified for making fan art with a female Mega Man, supposedly shoving her feminist agenda into games. Suuuuperb.

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Re: after the second comment. These are video game pixels designed to look a very specific way, and that very specific way almost always manifests itself as the Impossibly High Beauty Standards of a perfect body with perfect proportions, perfect hair, perfect face, perfect skin, perfect makeup. And then whatever outfit the devs decide will give em the most tits n' ass exposure lol. That's what I mean when I say they don't have the agency, they were literally made that way, out of a very conscious choice someone else made for them.

It's way more empowering if that choice of dress came out of someone's own personal conviction, but video game characters don't have that sort of personal conviction cuz they do whatever they're written/coded/designed to do.

It might be useful to look a little closer at the difference between thinking about feminist ideology and analyzing literary characters. Feminism often starts with the big picture - we have problems in society, culture, norms - and zooms down to look at specific examples. However, when we're analyzing literature we often start with the specifics - a particular character, symbol or word choice - and zoom back out to look at how that fits into the bigger picture. So when we're thinking about literature from a feminist perspective we should be careful to let the text exist and breathe on its own terms before we start banging it with the ideological hammer. In other words, don't apply real-world standards to fictional-world characters. That doesn't mean fictional characters and their creators are exempt from criticism, just that we can evaluate them on different terms. To paraphrase what you say here, characters are not people, they are literary constructs.

So in regards to those characters who seem chill and normal and their gender/race/whatever doesn't play a big part in who they are, I get what you guys are saying. It's like how Dumbledore is gay. He is not a gay character, he is a character who happens to be gay. It's a part of his identity but doesn't define him. That's cool and we need more characters like that. However, as Alcoremortis says it can be interesting to have characters who do actually have to engage with their unique identity. I think there's space for characters who are capital-G GAY CHARACTERS and the novel or game they're in is about THE STRUGGLE OF BEING GAY. In real life, most gay people aren't completely defined by their sexuality. However, art doesn't always need to represent reality as accurately as possible. More importantly, I think it's even possible to have flattened/stereotyped/inauthentic portrayals that still reveal something interesting and make you think.

Going back to the example of The Merchant of Venice, there are points at which Shylock very clearly fits the 'greedy Jew' stereotype and it's played for laughz. He does become more complicated in later parts of the play, but I would argue those early stereotypical aspects make him even more interesting as a character who simultaneously embodies and subverts the stereotype. Sometimes it's okay to have characters that are not perfectly realistic and multifaceted. Shakespeare was probably not an expert in the "lived experience" of Jewish people (or "Moors," or 14 year old girls, or kings), but he still wrote worthwhile and interesting stories about them. Nobody really knows what Shakespeare was like, but even if he was a super racist sexist bro douche, he still produced works that can stretch further than that narrow way of thinking. Similarly, a sexist video game dev is likely to make a bad, uninteresting character but nonetheless can potentially end up creating a character that can be understood in an anti-sexist way. Basically, you don't always have to think about a character and their creator as linked (see: Roland Barthes, "The Death of the Author"). You don't have to start with the complex, human author to zoom in and explain the nature of a specific character. The author doesn't exist behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz, imbuing their character with "conviction." Finding pure personal conviction is made even more difficult in video games because there are often multiple devs that work on a character.

So anyway, I know we've touched on some of these ideas already and you guys probably already agree with some/all of it but I just wanted to elaborate a little more to clarify it in my head. All of this is debatable, of course. Also, to be clear I'm not trying to defend the stupid, shallow "tits n' ass" representations we see all the time. Those are dumb. I'm just saying that we should be careful not to write off all those sexualized or offensive representations as contrived and unconstructive, because some of them may actually have artistic value upon closer examination.

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All of sexiness definitely isn't socially constructed, but a lot of it certainly is. For instance, you can see the differing of thoughts of what is considered sexy in terms of weight in artistic depictions in Western countries over the years. Modern views depict people who are very lean, whereas that wasn't the case in previous generations (and there's also the fact that the weight depiction of what is considered sexy differs greatly from the West in many Eastern cultures).
yeah i totally agree, what we think of as sexy is influenced by society. i think what i was trying to get at more, though, was the weirdness of the idea of sex and sexiness existing in the first place. what if we lived in a world where everyone was born asexual? how would that work? what would it be like?

What is pleasure without pain?

What is order, symmetry, shape, or beauty without a full range of chaos, asymmetry, shapelessness, ugliness and everything in between?

What satisfaction could we possibly derive from having the freedom to choose a sex on a whim when, as computers, we would no longer have the anatomy, psychology, or other biologically hardwired parameters that would make these ideas meaningful or satisfying or frustrating anyway?

If we are no long biological, we would no longer care about biologically-derived things like sex. I don't think it would even feel liberating. It would just be trivia to us at that point, because we are no longer that thing.

For example, none of us reading this right now are cold-blooded lizards. But none of us is thinking, "It's so great that we don't have to bask on rocks in the sun to warm our bodies anymore." We don't care about that because it has no relevance to us. Similarly, once we are computers, biology and sex wouldn't be relevant to us anymore. We wouldn't care or have the chemical equipment to care.

Rather than being concerned with male/female sex/gender, we'd probably be all like, "Don't stereotype me based purely on my factory default settings!" or whatever.

well, we're at the point where it's all hypothetical but i think it's possible for sex to still have relevance. it would just be more like an aesthetic thing. people will still be very picky over the color of their car even though it functions exactly the same way if it's blue or if it's red. we could simulate the feeling of pleasure, perhaps, though i agree that it may be less exciting if we ultimately control it. is it possible to tickle yourself? perhaps we can learn. or, as you suggest, we might just find other silly things to obsess over. does my motherboard look big in this case?

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I have a few questions about this thread.

Would you call this thread a "feminist hugbox thread?"

If you were a mod, would you ban anyone that criticized feminism even if they were doing in a calm and civilized way?

If you were a mod, would you ban someone if they only said, "I'm a GamerGater." Just those three words alone.

Would you shame someone if they said they enjoyed playing Bayonetta or any other game that has sexualized women?

Now here me straight, I'm a supporter of the basic feminist rights like abortion, equal pay, birth control, or any other thing the U.S. Republicans are trying to take away. I'm more of a classical feminist like the ones in the 1920s, 60s, and 70s, but I tend to focus on other rights like LGBT rights and racial rights more often than women's rights today. So, if you guys feel that I'm in the wrong for asking these questions, then I'll apologize and make my way out of this thread.

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As a mod, I can answer a couple of those questions for you.

We wouldn't ban anyone who behaved. If you wanted to criticize feminism in a calm and civilized way, then we'd let you. The second it got out of hand we'd start throwing warnings around - because let's be honest, it wouldn't take long for it to get out of hand - but as long as it remained an actual discussion, we'd allow it.

Similarly, someone saying "I'm a GamerGater" is not going to get banned. If their actions are hostile, they may well be warned or even suspended, but otherwise they'd be fine with us. Maybe not with everyone else, but again, that's what discussions are for.

And this one's from a personal perspective rather than as a mod, but I wouldn't shame anyone for anything. Not seriously, anyway (I might jokingly shame someone for something silly like not enjoying Root Beer aka: THE NECTAR OF THE GODS, but only briefly as a goof). If anyone enjoyed playing a game that sexualized women, then good for them.

There's nothing wrong with asking questions, by the way - that's how we learn about people, right?

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As a mod, I can answer a couple of those questions for you.

We wouldn't ban anyone who behaved. If you wanted to criticize feminism in a calm and civilized way, then we'd let you. The second it got out of hand we'd start throwing warnings around - because let's be honest, it wouldn't take long for it to get out of hand - but as long as it remained an actual discussion, we'd allow it.

Similarly, someone saying "I'm a GamerGater" is not going to get banned. If their actions are hostile, they may well be warned or even suspended, but otherwise they'd be fine with us. Maybe not with everyone else, but again, that's what discussions are for.

And this one's from a personal perspective rather than as a mod, but I wouldn't shame anyone for anything. Not seriously, anyway (I might jokingly shame someone for something silly like not enjoying Root Beer aka: THE NECTAR OF THE GODS, but only briefly as a goof). If anyone enjoyed playing a game that sexualized women, then good for them.

There's nothing wrong with asking questions, by the way - that's how we learn about people, right?

well, it felt definitely different to me... in theory you can criticize, in practice its pretty much a feminist echo chamber. and yes thats my criticism right here.

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All of sexiness definitely isn't socially constructed, but a lot of it certainly is. For instance, you can see the differing of thoughts of what is considered sexy in terms of weight in artistic depictions in Western countries over the years. Modern views depict people who are very lean, whereas that wasn't the case in previous generations (and there's also the fact that the weight depiction of what is considered sexy differs greatly from the West in many Eastern cultures).
yeah i totally agree, what we think of as sexy is influenced by society. i think what i was trying to get at more, though, was the weirdness of the idea of sex and sexiness existing in the first place. what if we lived in a world where everyone was born asexual? how would that work? what would it be like?

... it would just be more like an aesthetic thing. people will still be very picky over the color of their car even though it functions exactly the same way if it’s blue or if it’s red ...

Your second point would probably still hold true in a completely asexual world. There would still be standards of beauty, as speaking as an asexual person myself, people are still human and still like to look at people that they deem aesthetically pleasing.

There are already aesthetics in play in terms of attractiveness, such as facial symmetry and the like. Plus, even weight standards have a lot to do with aesthetics, as things like abdominal muscles are symmetrical, which are aesthetically pleasing. So it makes sense that a beauty standard in an all asexual world would still exist where an ideal weight and level of fitness would still be one where these muscles would show.

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As a mod, I can answer a couple of those questions for you.

We wouldn't ban anyone who behaved. If you wanted to criticize feminism in a calm and civilized way, then we'd let you. The second it got out of hand we'd start throwing warnings around - because let's be honest, it wouldn't take long for it to get out of hand - but as long as it remained an actual discussion, we'd allow it.

Similarly, someone saying "I'm a GamerGater" is not going to get banned. If their actions are hostile, they may well be warned or even suspended, but otherwise they'd be fine with us. Maybe not with everyone else, but again, that's what discussions are for.

And this one's from a personal perspective rather than as a mod, but I wouldn't shame anyone for anything. Not seriously, anyway (I might jokingly shame someone for something silly like not enjoying Root Beer aka: THE NECTAR OF THE GODS, but only briefly as a goof). If anyone enjoyed playing a game that sexualized women, then good for them.

There's nothing wrong with asking questions, by the way - that's how we learn about people, right?

well, it felt definitely different to me... in theory you can criticize, in practice its pretty much a feminist echo chamber. and yes thats my criticism right here.

I hope that you're referring to other threads/forums, because in this one you haven't been banned for your contributions and everybody who's replied to you has actually engaged with the points you were trying to make - even when you resorted to namecalling and passive aggressive sarcasm (which are discussion tactics that should be avoided in this thread).

If anybody has criticism of this forum's moderation or general community attitudes, the best way to express that is via email or PM to Spaff (Double Fine's community manager), who can take that feedback onboard and address it with the moderation team where appropriate.

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I see this accusation a lot when critics of feminism see feminists talking about feminism among themselves. There seems to be this attitude that everyone in feminism agrees about everything. Even what feminism is. Which isn't the case, there's a lot of competing ideas within the overall movement, some of which are completely incompatible. For instance, most feminists are egalitarian, they want equality for everyone and see men as a necessary part of achieving their overall goals, they also tend to be accepting of the trans community. However, there's a group of feminists who belive that feminism should be entirely separated from male involvement, and that trans people are the result of women's inequality (trans men) and the male's corrupt fetishization of women's bodies (trans women). I completely disagree with everything this second group stands for, and they are a dying niche of feminism because of their extreme and bigoted viewpoints, but there's even subtler divides, Bayonetta keeps coming up in this thread, and that's because she's very divisive among feminist players; some see her as an example of a woman who owns her sexuality and find her empowering, and there are those who only see another unrealistic, hyper-sexualized woman in games whose design starts and stops at giving men boners. I'm inclined to say both groups are right myself. And that's why to somewhere just wants a binary of for or against feminism see a circle jerk. Feminists wabt to be able to talk about these nuances without having to defend or explain the most basic aspects of their movement to people who are directly hostile to a version of it that barely exists and that critics don't really understand. You wanna criticize something but you refuse to educated yourself about the concept from the words of those who are working on it.

So go ahead and critize it, but please try to come at it from a calm rational place and try to understand exactly what it is you're criticizing.

Yeah basically all of this, thanks for putting it into words.

In less words, if you've got this weirdo idea of feminism that's been formed only by what people outside the movement say it is, and come in expecting a debate so you can pull a "gotcha" when someone veers off that idea you've formed, than yeah.... maybe don't. It's more complicated than that.

Also to anyone else that does the "hugbox" or "echo chamber" accusation, first of all we are actively discussing and debating ideas within feminism, coming from different sides of the same coin. There are things we disagree with, and we do disagree with them, without dismissing the idea entirely. We can argue that we think some parts of feminism are crappy or could be better, without that being an argument against feminism as a whole. It can't possibly be a hugbox because that would imply we're all just patting each other on the back and saying the same things, which we aren't if you'd care to look a little deeper.

If you wanna call it a hugbox because someone doesn't want to engage you and your criticisms of feminism, then tough shit buddy, but nobody is required to step up to the plate to 'defend' feminism or 'convince' you as I've said earlier. It's not a failure or inability of the movement if someone, personally, doesn't want to discuss it. You're not proving anything by pointing out someone's silence on the matter, you're just proving you have very low standards to keep believing what you do.

Second of all, yes obviously feminism is flawed as are all movements, alot of feminists are acutely aware of that. Sometimes these issues aren't yours to bring up, however. Like I'm not gonna go on a tirade about how the hijab is 'oppressive' or whatever because I don't wear a dang hijab and in light of the situation here that really, no one is required to, but they do anyway, maybe I don't get it and it's none of my dang business anyway. Possibly it's a different situation if you're forced to wear it, but it'd still be none of my business because I've never experienced that, and therefore it's not my issue to debate.

It's about knowing your place, and not talking over other people within the movement, which is required when you've got a movement as diverse and varied as feminism (and especially as intersectionality becomes a bigger thing).

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It's a feminist thread, yes of course. That doesn't mean everyone here has that big a stake in feminist theory. Personally, I want interesting, credible stories with a diverse range of characters, that's about the same obsession that drove Chaucer and Shakespeare, and they certainly hadn't got that much to do with feminism.

In that respect, a few things I'm reading here could be new to me, give me a new perspective or maybe I wouldn't necessarily agree with a stance I'm encountering (I'm in the Bayonetta-no-thanks camp, by the way). Disagreements occur just like they did in the last thread. The limited perspective that constitutes internet hate culture, of course, would then assess the "feminst hugbox" turn into "see, they can't even agree with each other". I am so tired of this biased rhetoric. A discussion doesn't keep on going at this kind of VERY steady pace if there's only agreement.

New opinions and dissenting stances very welcome here, to me personally!

But for god almighty's sake no more lamerbaiterism, anywhere. I just refuse to discuss 1950s values just to characterize the present feminist ideas as exaggerated or even progressive. The narrative ideals are in no way different than those discussed in literature for almost a century. And when the discussion arrives in video games, suddenly it's a progressive thing? Bullcrap.

Of course, I'm all for banning people declaring their allegiance to an internet hate mob founded by a deeply creepy stalker (named in support of that stalking) the core ideologues of which just accidentally happen to be misogynists, stalkers, racists, homophobes, harrassers; at the very best, idiotic conspiracy theorists and at the worst, an actual rapist. Tim Schafer's run in with the Angry Jacks recruited by the original lamerbaters have been by far numerous enough to justify kicking those out of the Double Fine forum, no doubt about that at all.

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As a mod, I can answer a couple of those questions for you.

We wouldn't ban anyone who behaved. If you wanted to criticize feminism in a calm and civilized way, then we'd let you. The second it got out of hand we'd start throwing warnings around - because let's be honest, it wouldn't take long for it to get out of hand - but as long as it remained an actual discussion, we'd allow it.

Similarly, someone saying "I'm a GamerGater" is not going to get banned. If their actions are hostile, they may well be warned or even suspended, but otherwise they'd be fine with us. Maybe not with everyone else, but again, that's what discussions are for.

And this one's from a personal perspective rather than as a mod, but I wouldn't shame anyone for anything. Not seriously, anyway (I might jokingly shame someone for something silly like not enjoying Root Beer aka: THE NECTAR OF THE GODS, but only briefly as a goof). If anyone enjoyed playing a game that sexualized women, then good for them.

There's nothing wrong with asking questions, by the way - that's how we learn about people, right?

well, it felt definitely different to me... in theory you can criticize, in practice its pretty much a feminist echo chamber. and yes thats my criticism right here.

I hope that you're referring to other threads/forums, because in this one you haven't been banned for your contributions and everybody who's replied to you has actually engaged with the points you were trying to make - even when you resorted to namecalling and passive aggressive sarcasm (which are discussion tactics that should be avoided in this thread).

If anybody has criticism of this forum's moderation or general community attitudes, the best way to express that is via email or PM to Spaff (Double Fine's community manager), who can take that feedback onboard and address it with the moderation team where appropriate.

sarcasm, yes, but when did I resort to namecalling?? I was called names in the course of this thread, maybe you should check that before accusing me of such thing.

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As a mod, I can answer a couple of those questions for you.

We wouldn't ban anyone who behaved. If you wanted to criticize feminism in a calm and civilized way, then we'd let you. The second it got out of hand we'd start throwing warnings around - because let's be honest, it wouldn't take long for it to get out of hand - but as long as it remained an actual discussion, we'd allow it.

Similarly, someone saying "I'm a GamerGater" is not going to get banned. If their actions are hostile, they may well be warned or even suspended, but otherwise they'd be fine with us. Maybe not with everyone else, but again, that's what discussions are for.

And this one's from a personal perspective rather than as a mod, but I wouldn't shame anyone for anything. Not seriously, anyway (I might jokingly shame someone for something silly like not enjoying Root Beer aka: THE NECTAR OF THE GODS, but only briefly as a goof). If anyone enjoyed playing a game that sexualized women, then good for them.

There's nothing wrong with asking questions, by the way - that's how we learn about people, right?

well, it felt definitely different to me... in theory you can criticize, in practice its pretty much a feminist echo chamber. and yes thats my criticism right here.

I hope that you're referring to other threads/forums, because in this one you haven't been banned for your contributions and everybody who's replied to you has actually engaged with the points you were trying to make - even when you resorted to namecalling and passive aggressive sarcasm (which are discussion tactics that should be avoided in this thread).

If anybody has criticism of this forum's moderation or general community attitudes, the best way to express that is via email or PM to Spaff (Double Fine's community manager), who can take that feedback onboard and address it with the moderation team where appropriate.

sarcasm, yes, but when did I resort to namecalling?? I was called names in the course of this thread, maybe you should check that before accusing me of such thing.

Thanks, but I did. You called Carl a troll even as she tried to explain her previous responses to you.

The point was that others were responding in good faith even when you did not seem to be, and that that any implication that this thread is/was a "feminist echo chamber" where opposing viewpoints were not welcome/considered is incorrect. If you feel that you have been the victim of namecalling, you may report those posts. There is no need to discuss this further here, as it is off topic. If you wish to continue, you may do it via PM.

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because I asked this: "seriously, are you just trolling now?", I'm calling people names? thats the best you came up with? ok, i reported the messages which you could almost label hatespeech.

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because I asked this: "seriously, are you just trolling now?", I'm calling people names? thats the best you came up with? ok, i reported the messages which you could almost label hatespeech.

Perhaps you should re-read my previous post, both the part about the actual point I was making, and the part about this side-topic not being appropriate within this thread.

Time to get back on topic :)

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