All posts by ronjamoss

About ronjamoss

Ronja Moss is a twinkly-eyed singer songwriter who delights in telling tales with her piano and rolling melodies. The 24 year old recorded in New York City in 2010 at the Rolla Polla Studio with Andy Baldwin (The Cat Empire, Bjork, Spiderbait), but has only been performing to audiences for a year. Recently relocated to the bright lights of Melbourne city, Ronja grew up in the central desert of Alice Springs. Ronja’s songs paint pictures; either witnessed, or imagined, endeavouring to take the listener into the lives of her characters and thoughts.

Treatment

Contents

This treatment, for ‘Just A Game,‘ is in sections. Hither are the divisions detailed briefly.

   1. Premise & Pre Production 

  • Synopsis
  • Hypothesis
  • Subject
  • Main Character
  • Secondary characters
  • Proposed sequence of events
  • Script
  • Conflict
  • Social significane
  • Motivation
  • Resolution

   2. The Film and The Product

  • Directorial Approach
  • Sound Design
  • Approach to Visual Style
  • Audience Statement
  • Length, Distribution and Media

   3. Production

  • Producers Stament
  • Release form
  • Risk Mangment Plan & Safety Report
  • Production Plan for week 6 -7

   4. Summary

  • Ethics
  • Motivation for making The Film

Premise & Pre Production 

Synopsis

The adrenaline is pumping through their veins, as they sit transfixed in front of the monitor, slamming away on the controller buttons, and breathing short sighs of relief as they dodge another flying enemy bullet. In their everyday lives they are ordinary people. Perhaps some are teachers, others may be investment bankers, students, or tradesmen. But here, in the online world of gaming, they are soldiers, soccer champions, and heroes, working together to beat the threat of alien invasion, or winning the world cup. Whatever the game, each individual works together as a team to complete a mission…until of course it is realised A GIRL is on the team.

This documentary will follow Ruby, a passionate female gamer, exploring the complex issues of sexism, harassment, social stereotyping and ‘boys only’ culture of the gaming world. Aside from Ruby’s own experiences, this documentary will also pose questions toward the culture of the industry, and as to why female gamers who now make up almost half of the gaming population are still being excluded, whether it be through sexist marketing and advertising, and even in the game designing itself.

We aim to answer the questions, why can’t girls be gamers? why are women being harassed? and why is this sexist culture so pervasive in the gaming industry? After all isn’t it ‘Just A Game.’

Hypothesis

The complex relationship between women and video games has received extensive academic, corporate, and social attention, yet there is still problems of gendered advertising, social stereotyping, and the death of female video game creators (coders, developers, and producers). While composing 47% of the gamer population as of 2012, female gamers are even today represented as the distinct minority of total gamers.

Our film will focus on Ruby, talking and explaining the many aspects of feminism issues in the gaming world. Mainly, though, she will illustrate the ludicrous and archaic views that female gamers are somewhat inferior to male gamers, and how the sexualisation  of women in comparison to men in gaming designs and advertisements is counterproductive. We hope to capture this through a fast-paced, sarcastic expository medium. ‘Just A Game’ will utilise a wide variety of resources including interviews, skits dramatised, archival footage, photographs,  diagrams, graphics, research, voice over narration, aural recreation and sound scapes, as a way of completing the issue’s image.

Subject

Although this will be, in part, an intimate portrayal of Ruby’s online lifestyle, the intention is for the audience to feel personally invested in the piece. This will be done by making visual connections outside of Ruby’s World to other pop and historical contexts. The subject therefore, is Ruby, but it is also any and every female issue, or even person in the gaming world. To make this possible we will draw the lines between clips of other female gaming activist, the ‘general public’ (being ‘guys’) who are gamers, and interviews with ‘girl gamers.’ All in all, female identifying gamers, with Ruby in the forefront, will be the film’s subject.

Main Character

The main character of this documentary is the narrator, Ruby. She is a woman in her twenties who is  passionate about video games, and about women’s rights, and talks with a slightly tongue in cheek manner that thinly covers disdain and frustration.

Although From a well off middle-class family, Ruby knows what it is like to suffer, yet turn that into strength and art. Still, she expects more, and takes the ‘better to laugh then cry’ approach when discussing the issue at hand. Ruby is all smirks and passion when it comes to talking about it and is dynamic on camera. 

Secondary Characters

The secondary characters in ‘Just A Game’ are everyone else who will be interviewed. Firstly, that is the participators who have submitted online video of themselves talking about their experiences as ‘girl gamers.’  These woman are usually between 18 and 25 and are from The States.

We will also be conducting an interview with Rebecca Young from the online gaming course. She should have extensive knowledge on the subject. We’re hoping to have some students from that course and the gaming design course at RMIT as participants as well.

Other than that Kris has a friend who is an online female gamer who is willing to talk to us on camera and potentially play an online game as an example. And finally,  we will be interviewing people outside of EB games (mainly males) to see what the average ‘punter’ thinks.

Proposed Sequence of Events

The film will open with a skit (lasting about 30 seconds) that will mimic the narration and genre of David Attenborough.  In this, two people, one a male and one a female will be playing online videos as the voice over comments on what is happening between them. They play, yelling at each other, until one beats the other, winning.

Then a graphic will pop up in the likes of a screen playing a game. Here it will show what it looks like when you loose your life in a game. Cut to black, and the title of ‘Just A Game’ appears.

Then the film will really  start, as Ruby gives us a heavy, fast paced introduction narrated along side a montage of fast edited moving images. (Introduction narration in the script underneath).

Next we will introduce the issues and the people who can best describe them; our participants. It is not sure on exactly what order this will follow yet, however, we have in the Secondary Characters section the list of people we have/will interview.

The closing of the film will, potentially, be Ruby giving a powerful spiel about where we stand currently in the wider picture of the gaming world and one last statement on why it should not be so! This will be a conjuncture of both disheartening information and a positive twist. Then we will cut to black quickly before the credits and some very fast paced, electronic, angry music comes on.

Bellow is an outline of a script. Inserted are notes to each member of the crew, so that we all understand what the intention of the script is and what is needed of all individuals working on the scripting process. 

Just a Game Script
By
Ruby Mountford
Stacey Katsaros
Jean Suyat
Kris Vanston
Evan Raif &
Ronja Moss

JUST A GAME
DRAFT 1
AUGUST, 2013
Ó 2013
justagame.wordpress.com
0420 269 374
ronjamoss@gmail.com

Before reading on, know that all of this can be changed. It is merely a skeleton of a script, so that we have something to work towards. I only have sections in so far. Also, as we collect the imagery that we want for the VO (voice over) the format of the script will change, with voice on the left hand of the page, and visuals on the right, but for now let us all work on what to say!

SECTION 1 – A MALE PARODY INTRO
(To be rewritten)

This section of the film is our ‘Introduction’ before the film. Just like how games are tailored for their male audiences, this will be our parody on that scenario. Whereas our film will end with a clean-cut line of “It’s not just a game!” (from Ruby’s perspective)in some way or another, this section alone will paint the piece as a meagre, almost trivial problem. However, it will play like a genuine expository piece, purely trying to help ‘guys’ understand that it will damage their beloved industry.

To play on this formal ‘bringing to light’ angel of the satire, the host (just in this section) will be a male with a male voice over when needed.

Things along the lines of

​​​​VO
Well, we all know by now
that the other half of the
species, called the female,
also like to play video games.

(But don’t use that! That was so terrible!)

This section needs to go for somewhere between 35 seconds and 1 minute. There is obviously heaps of flexibility in this!

(Update of SCENE 1)

[Shot of street, house, bedroom, as if zooming in on a location]

NARRATOR:

[insert place] boasts a rare species amongst humans, an uncommon spectacle within the Internet kingdom.

[Close up shots of person’s hands, over-the-shoulder shot, any shot disguising gender]

NARRATOR: 

The Girl Gamer is one of the most baffling creatures known to man.

[Finally reveal girl’s identity]

NARRATOR:

Similar to the Male Gamer, she spends [number] hours a day on [insert name of game/gaming technological term I’m unaware of!!!], lacks sleep and only ventures from her lair for food.

[Close up shots]

NARRATOR:

However, the Girl Gamer possesses anatomy that threatens the Male Gamer species from extinction.

NARRATOR:

She begins preparing an attack from her natural enemy, the Dudebro.

[Girl starts swearing at her computer angrily]

NARRATOR:

The Dudebro, a subset species of Male Gamers, is known for his aggressive misogyny. [Man yelling profanities? Written profanities on screen?]

NARRATOR:

The Dudebro pounces on his prey.

[BLACK SCREEN]

SECTION 2 – MOVING INTO THE ‘REAL’ FILM
(Doesn’t need to be rewritten yet)

Section 2 is actually still apart of section 1. As section 1 feels as though it is really only beginning to get stuck into its theme the video will pause. A pause sign will come up on screen, then a rewind button, the video will rewind temporarily. Stop and then an aiming line (like gun aiming in games(whatever that is called)) will pop up on screen, shoot and then the scene will shatter(shouldn’t be too hard to figure this out how to do this technically!) And this is where the film actually starts with the genuine bits of information and views that we want!

SECTION 3 – INTRO AND RUBY’S RANT
(To be rewritten)

To tie in the amazing Ruby rant filmed last Friday and this new scene we will need something along the lines of…

VO (Ruby)
No! That is not the film we want you to watch! This is not just some story tailored for one section of the population. For…

(Again, this can be totally reworded, but does need to flow into Ruby’s rant.)

VO (Ruby)
In today’s world of nine to five five days a week schedule it can be hard to remember that you matter. That you, out of the billions of people on the planet which is itself simply a speck of matter in one galaxy out of trillions, are important, not just a tiny cog spinning uselessly along with all the rest.
Which is why it’s no surprise really that so many people want to be the hero, rescue the princess, save the galaxy from the invading alien threat, defeat the terrorists with nothing but a bowie knife and some duct tape, or even build your dream house and play god to a bunch of people who speak in some kind of secret langauge that will.i.am and katy perry learned to record songs for.

When was the last time a pop star recorded a song just for you? Never. The answer is never.

the escapism element is there, but as well as that video games are /fun/. They’re colourful and engaging and in a world where there’s an increasing demand for interactive media they deliver in a way films cannot. and the technology is only advancing. An ever increasing aspect of video games is the ability to play online, with your friends and with strangers, to work in teams to take down enemies, reach check points, and even capture the flag.
And yet over time the online gaming community has developed a reputation of being full of screaming manchildren, who vomit up racist, sexist and violent vitriol at anything they perceive to be a threat to their gaming experience.

Few female identifying gamers are without stories of being harassed while playing online, or at gaming conventions.

How does this happen? And why is it allowed to continue? In a time where major game studios claim the cost of producing games is increasing, leading to a need for larger sales numbers to achieve profit, why do the gaming consumers attempt to eject what could and should be a massive opportunity to increase revenue by reaching out and accepting the female-identifying gamer?

From here on I’m not sure exactly what order the film should move in, but these are some other sections and ideas.

SECTION 4 – EXAMPLES OF FEMALE GAMERS BEING ABUSED

In some way we need to seamlessly move into revealing the difficulty for female gamers playing online and protesting the problems. Examples of the difficulty for female gamers could start by including Ruby’s bit that she wrote on Anita (we decided to take this out of the intro on Friday).

VO (Ruby)
Recently, a female writer quite her job after a year’s worth of hate directed at her begun mentioning in vivid detail plans to kill her children, after she claimed that she wasn’t a fan of combat and so had simplified it in Bioware’s Dragon Age 2.

Anita from Feminist Frequency was the victim of an online attack when she asked for donations to make a series of blogs discussing video games from a feminist stand point, and was sent thousands of threats of physical violence, as well as other extreme measures.

Other than that example? Well, There are loads of stories. We’ll just have to choose the right ones. Possibly we could just move onto the self submitted video, but I personally think there should be some other higher profile stories first.

SECTION 5 – GIRL’S UPLOADED VIDEOS & EB GAMES INTERVIEWS

This is Ruby’s idea. Once we have some more submissions via tumbler and the interviews from EB Games, we will cut the girls self uploaded videos amongst the guys talking about gaming online. This will show the juxtaposition between the perspectives from girls and guys. It might even be humorous!

SECTION 6 – IT’S HARD TO LEARN AND JARGIN SKIT

According to quite a few people, it is pretty hard to learn how to ply online games and other games for a lot of people becuause the communities can be clicky and non-friendly to certain people. This could be talked about and then a skit, kinfd of like ‘the dummies guide to gaming’ could be made.

SECTION 7 – CASE STUDIES

There are two case studies we could do, in fact, we should do both. One is sitting with one of Kris’ female friends as she plays a ‘one shooter’(?) game and the other is spending a night filming Ruby in her ‘man’s den.’ Also… Evan, did you have a girl friend who plays online?

End of Script

Conflict

Whilst the conflict of the narrative is obviously about females being persecuted in the gaming world, the main conflict that will evolve in this documentary will be one that involves the viewers themselves.  ‘Just A Game’ and the topics the piece will face  should evoke feelings of frustration and also empathy. The viewer should think at the end, “Whoa. It is not just a game! This is a much larger problem to do with feminism and human rights!” Their view on the industry, gamers and social movement should be so different by the end, and that is where the conflict will lie.

Social Significance

Gaming is huge. And with iPads, iPhones and other ‘smart devices’ taking over the planet, this medium is simply growing at a exponential rate. Therefore to explore the weakness’ of this global phenomena is very exciting. To have such a topical issue that can delve into such personal areas, as we combine the larger picture in with Ruby’s own viewpoint, means the significance will be felt both personally and societally.

But this film is not just about gaming, girl’s on the internet and being victimised. In a much larger sense, this documentary will  reflect upon the fact that being a female in this World is still such a large struggle. Not that males have it ‘better off‘ at all! Rather, that being a white, hetrosexual male in this society still has its stereotypes of superiority in far too many areas.  If we think the ‘feminism movement‘ of the 19th and 20th century is over than we’ve got another thing coming to us!

Motivation

We were motivated to make this film, firstly, through our director and narrator Ruby, who first composed the idea. However, since the weeks of research and heart has been poured into this work,  it is simply fascinating to see how deep this rabbit hole goes and how wide also. So many people suffering, in what should be ‘Just A Game,‘ seem to fly under the radar.  There are still abounding atrocities that simply come from miscommunication about what it means to be a female identifying gamer, and a lack of general education. Therefore, we are motivated to show the insanity behind these ‘old world’ views. Hopefully some viewers will be inspired and simply start talking about it with their friends. Education can start with one person and can effect thousands.

Resolution 

Whilst we will end with a humorous, sarcastic and biting dialogue from Ruby, we still hope to finalise the film with a message. To do this, and without knowing exactly how our documentary will end, we also intend to conclude the piece with a level of optimism and hopefully having opened the eyes of our audiences. As it is an expository film, the consensus should be that the gaming industry, world, and indeed ourselves, need to wake up to the fact that there is serious discrimination taking place.

The Film and The Product

Directorial Approach

Tackling the issue of harassment is never easy, as the people who you are trying reach with your message to are the ones are most likely to dismiss it. This is an even greater problem when dealing with a community that has a reputation of being pretty cynical.

This is why my directorial vision is to frame the message in our documentary, and the education that we intend to pass on, in a palatable way. Because we are presenting an argument (more accuracy a counter argument), the type of documentary we’re making is Expository.

To get a better idea of this I watched a number of video blogs on people discussing similar issues ( Anita Sarkeesian, and Jimquisition from The Escapist in particular), as well as other Expository documentaries.

The need for humour, in some form, became apparent pretty quickly. Having written on the topic before, the rest of my group agreed that the tone of sarcasm and cynical humour was actually very effective because it enables us to talk about the issues without lecturing, or sounding like we are over reacting, something that’s often used to dismiss this issue when it’s raised. In this area we will be basing the tone and rhythm, both narrative and imagery wise on Charlie Brooker’s ‘How TV Ruined your Life.’ Brooker also features in his own documentary style TV series, so it works as a influence over our film as I, myself, will be the subject of ‘Just A Game.

By knowing what arguments people use against women who complain about harassment from other gamers, I feel that with our documentary we will be able to point out the issues with these arguments in a way that is easier to digest by the peoples who attitudes need to change.

Beneath is Charlie Brooker cheering on his own sarcastic whit! Much like Ruby will.

Sound Design

Innovative sound design is critical to Just a Game’s entertainment value and success. It holds a key ability to engage the audience enough to listen to our argument and remain interested throughout the film without being overwhelmed or too critical. Running in conjunction with visual style and narrative, it will provide much assistance to our sarcasm and cynical humour approach.

It’s important to note that the specifics on sound design remain flexible however the main foundations are currently in place. A cinematic orchestral style will be used for our peak moments. There are a few tracks I’ve chosen that have a naive, childish style which can be used for example once we’ve interviewed people that have a bias against our argument.

I’ve located royal free reproductions of classic gamer soundtracks and effects, and am also hoping to remix one of these classic songs myself using Abelton Live software.

Sound levels presumptuously will be quite sporadic during the film, but will remain constant. Because of the assumed levels of constant sound, I hope to use dramatic moments of silence to reinforce key issues in our debate.

Overall our stylistic approach of fast paced information will rely heavily on an adventurous, dramatic, playful and condescending tone.

Approach to Visual Style

Our approach to ‘Just a game’ is quite unique in that we will be using the argumentative techniques of satire and cynicism against the male gamers who harass females online. My goal is to compliment this approach with visual elements. We will be implementing a range of segments, including re-enactments, vox-pops, interviews, and perhaps even some in game footage.

Though we are dealing with a very serious issue, we still wish to be somewhat creative with our use of technical elements. We want to emulate the atmospheres known to video gamers through our artistic style. There are two avenues we can take in this approach, in what I will call the violent video games route, or the family video games route. In the interest of satire, it may be effective to implement the latter approach. By family video games, I mean games (such as Zelda) that are characterized visually by colourful and bright environments. Replicating such colour schemes in our documentary will hopefully highlight the dichotomy between the inviting natures of games with the (sometimes) offensive communities whom play them. It should be noted that the colours are not washed-out, just very true. Which brings me to my next point concerning what camera we will be using to film. Personally, if we wish to continue down this route, it will be favorable to use a DSLR (especially canon) which are known for capturing the vibrancy of colours unlike the university camera can.

Movement is another avenue we can exploit video game style. Ideally, I want to use a steadicam following the subjects and keeping them in the centre of the frame. This can be carried over into the interviews also, keeping the subjects in the centre of the frame in a seated interview, or even conduct interviews doing something active (like walking, whilst playing the games, etc).

We’ve been thinking about a few different filming styles/techniques that could add to the overall tone that we want to go for with our documentary. What came to mind was using a GoPro camera to capture both mp4 footage, and a series of images to create a time-lapse.

One of our member’s loves the look of the GoPro, with its wide-angle fish eye effect, something about it seems to feel very “gaming” like to them. It is also a nice juxtaposition to the long focal lengths and shallow depth of field that we are attaining with the dslr.

In putting it to the test at our first shoot, the footage turned out even better then what was expected. The images below are screen shots from the mp4 footage. While, the shots could probably be framed a little closer, we really like the overall look. It’s somewhat voyeuristic, in the sense that it almost feels as if the audience is watching from inside the television that Ruby is staring at. Better framing (centred and tighter shot) could create an even more intense feeling of this.

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 12.40.08 AM Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 12.41.28 AM

However, there are many issues to consider when using the GoPro. Firstly, its low light performance is practically non-existent,  as seen in the time-lapse below. Lighting is an intrinsic  consideration when using the GoPro, so if there are shots that we would like to use minimal lighting, the wide-angle GoPro is really not an option.

It is also quite a low quality camera in comparison to the dslr footage. The GoPro creates far more noise than any of the canon and nikon dlsr’s we have been using. However, we don’t quite mind the bit of grain as seen in the screen shots above. Again, there is something that feels “gaming” about it, almost like a bit of screen static from a television set. Though we would be curios to see how bad/tolerable GoPro footage would look on a cinema sized screen.

Lastly, the time-lapse. We really like this technique, especially because we think it fits with the fast-paced witty rhythm we are trying to create in film. While this particular time-lapse is clearly unusable because of the quality, it is just an example of something we may want to try to create again.

Audience Statement

One of our main aims of Just A Game is to make it accessible for everyone and not alienate viewers with our subject matter. When you’re trying to highlight an issue that portrays a gender in a negative light, it’s difficult to connect with that group. We want to emphasise to our audience that misogyny within the gaming culture is not a reflection of a gender as a whole, but a minority within that gender who do not represent every gamer. However, the size of the group should not detract from the severity of the issue, rather it is the loudness of the group which makes this issue so important.

So how do you go about trying to appeal to both genders and communicate our message without trying to turn it into a male vs female argument? We came to the conclusion that satire is the way to do this.

“Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.” – Jonathan Swift.

We believe that nowadays one of the easiest ways to force people to acknowledge that something is “wrong” is to poke fun at it. We laugh with the satirist forerunners such as The Chasers or Jon Stewart because they joke about important social, economic or moral issues in a confronting way, which forces us to reflect internally on what they’re really trying to point out. Although we’re not trying to be as abrasive as them, we like the way they can coerce their audiences into reflecting on their own lives and wider society. Many seem to respond well to satire because not only is it humorous when it’s pulled off well, but also a wonderful tool of communication.

Furthermore, we believe that almost anyone will be interested in our documentary, judging by the reaction and feedback we’ve been receiving from our peers. Sexism and misogyny is an issue that affects both genders, across all demographics and experienced by the young and old.

Length, Distribution and Media

1. Target length: 7 – 10 minutes

2. Distribution: TV2 screening. Most likely we’ll have non-copy-write material in the film, so will not release it on the Internet, or at film festivals.

3. Video: Edited in Final Cut Pro. Exported as HD.26.

4. Music: Creative Commons , copyright free, or tracks we have permission to use.

5. Script: Word.

6. Treatment: WordPress.

Production

Producers Statement

‘Just A Game’ is not a traditionally made film, nor will it be a traditionally viewed film. For what happens behind the scenes often seems to be reproduced on it. Therefore, the conventional role of a producer, as to what we have been taught here at RMIT, may be irrelevant at times to the process of this production. Currently, the way we are going to make the documentary will be a collage of ideas and devices, so thus is my work. Still, I already have many ideas on what my role here is and the best ways to help support my group and the project.

Considering that Ruby Mountford ignited the drive and vision of ‘Just A Game,’ I feel my purpose is to be her left hand woman. Ruby personally asked me to work as her manager and to help her keep the film process organised. As well as orchestrating the crew when needed, I imagine this will include helping Ruby at moments of high stress in whatever way possible, so that she can stay focused as the creative thinker.

Already this has included making timelines for group work, keeping the dialogue flowing about meetings, submissions and the project in whole, as well as checking how the rest of the group is going. To be honest though, the level of self-awareness and organisation of all individual members means there is little work for me in these areas.

Another, more practical, task for me is contacting people whose music, youtube video and other copy write material we want to use. This includes making sure that the video content creators who Ruby is sourcing send her a message via her Tumbler saying it is fine for us to represent them and to use the footage they have filmed and submitted. I have also already started a list of works I would like the rights to use and have began on the voyage of agreement with the owners.

As we collect our material, I will keep track of all footage and information. For example, I will back up all work and material on my hard drive weekly, or whenever it seems pertinent.

All the above may appear ambiguous, but that is only because so is the work. All in all, my main role will be to remain alert and plugged in to ‘Just a Game’ in whatever way it may need an administrator.

Beneath is the 'general release form' for our film, a .risk management plan & safety report' and a 'production plan for week 6 -7.'

Release Form

P:​ 0420 269 374
E: ​ronjamoss@gmail.com
W: ​https://justagamedocumentary.wordpress.com

In consideration of the documentary ‘Just A Game’ I, ________________________________, do hereby confirm the consent hereto given you with respect to photographing and filming me, or my child. Also, I declare that I am over eighteen year old.

A documentary program titled ‘Just A Game’, created by RMIT Students.
(References to “Program” in this Release includes all copies and versions of the Program whether differentiated by re-editing or otherwise including any “best of”, “by request” or similar Program or associated spin-offs based on segments or characters of the Program, and includes all film, television, radio, print and any electronic advertisements, trailers and promotions in connection with the Program)

And, you agree to appear in the Program on the terms and conditions of this Release:

1.​You irrevocably grant to the Producer:
• the right to record you (picture and/or voice) in photographs and on film and/or video tape (“Recording”) (References to “Recording” includes any and all edited versions made by the Producer and includes any previously recorded material of you made by the Producer);
• the right to use, reproduce and edit the Recording into the Program and any other audio, visual and audio-visual recordings (which will in all likelihood include other recordings and material);
• the right to broadcast, communicate to the public and generally exploit the Recording for any purpose within the discretion of the Producer whether by means of the Program or otherwise in all media (whether now know or hereafter devised) throughout the world in perpetuity;
• without limitation to the above, the right to reproduce and communicate to the public non broadcast versions of the Recording on the Program’s website and applications​throughout​the world in perpetuity;
• the right to use your name, likeness, voice, biography or other information concerning you in relation to the Recording, the Program and network promotions; and
• the right to assign or license the rights and other benefits granted under this Release in whole or in part, including without limitation to the Program’s commissioning and licensee networks.

2.​You acknowledge that the Producer owns and shall own all rights, title and interest (including copyright) in the Recording and you consent to the Producer editing the Recording in its absolute discretion. You further acknowledge that the Producer is not obliged to use the Recording.

3.​To the maximum extent permitted by law, you fully release and hold harmless now and forever the Producer, its related companies and each of their officers, employees, contractors and agents from all liability whatsoever and against all actions, suits, claims, proceedings, costs and demands which you may have against any of them arising directly or indirectly in respect of:

(a)​Any infringement or violation of personal and/or property rights of any sort (including defamation or invasion of privacy) arising from the use of the Recording whatsoever; and
(b)​Any injury, loss, cost or expense that I may sustain, suffer or incur during the Recording or subsequently by reason of my participation in activities for the Program whether caused by the negligence, fault or any act or omission of either of the Producer or otherwise.

4.​You agree that all information concerning the Program prior to public release is the confidential information of the Producer and is not to be given or supplied by you to any person without the prior written permission of the Producer.

Record Date:_______________________________________

Signed as an agreement:

__________________________________
Agreed by You (sign above)

__________________________________
Print name You (above)

______________________________
Authorised signatory for the Producer

Address:

Phone No:_______________________

Date:_______________________

‘Just a Game’ is a university documentary project, in association with the School of Communications at RMIT, in the city.

RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN AND SAFETY REPORT

RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN AND SAFETY REPORT
 Scene  Ruby is sitting on her bed plating a video game and telling the camera ‘what it is like.’
1 Ruby sits on her bed, playing games talking to the camera
2 Ruby talks to the camera in front of a colourful wall
3 Ruby is in the studio talking to us
 4  skit of David Attenbourgher with girl & boy
Scene/s Risk Current Controls Consequence (Physical) Likelihood Rating
Camera stands on footpath
Car veering into film set
all Crew or film equip malfunction All film equipment will be tested before going on set. We have hired more than enough crew to do the work. 1 C L
2 Electrical cords on footpath There will be no need to extend electrical cords over the footpath 2 D L
all Electrical hazards Gaffer’s equipment is tested to Australian Standards 4 D H
1 Emergency access denied Emergency numbers are listed on call sheet. 1 D L
Exposure to cold weather
1,3,5,6 Film crew blocking footpath All crews will accept pedestrians have right of way. 1 D L
all Filming permit denied Abide by the MCC’s requirements. Maintain open communication with MCC. 1 C L
all First Aid Emergency and hospital numbers on call sheet. First Aid Kit on set. 2 D L
Lack of parking
all Lost property Location Manager to survey the area upon completion of shoot. 1 C L
all Noise levels All landholders in the vacinty have been notified. In the script there is no reason for excessive noise. 2 D L
Parking permits rejected
2 Pedestrian access inhibited Pedestrian Marshals. Filming late at night to avoid too many pedestrians. 1 D L
2 Pedestrian conjestion Use of marshals to maintain pedestrian access to laneways and direct pedestrians around filming site. 1 E L
2 Public safety The film set is a significant distance from the bunted area, and subsequently where the public will be. 1 D M
all Staff fatigue Adequat shift changes and staff members. 2 D L
Stakeholder access impeded
all Tripping hazard Pedestrian Marshals to manage pedestrian movements around film set. No cables will be accessible to the public. 2 C M
Weather conditions

‘Just A Game’ – Plan for week 6-7, 5th-12th of September 

Treatment
• Treatment needs to be edited
• Synopsis needs to be written
• Script needs to be added
• Action plan to be added
• Release form to be added

I don’t want any of you to be worried about this. I’ll do all of it, except the synopsis. Stacey, can you please take care of this?

Interviews
• EB games
• Students from the gaming course
• Kris’ friend
• Guy from Ruby’s ‘intro to Graphic design’ class
• Rebecca Young from online game course
• Sarah, doing online gaming course at RMIT

I know Jean tried to contact some teachers who weren’t helpful, so, Evan, Ann said she had contacts? Can you please message her straight away and figure out a way of getting those contacts?

Kris and Evan can you please do the interview at EB Games by Thursdays class?

Kris, if you could make an arrangement to interview your friend this next week also that would be great. Maybe take Ruby with you so that she can help with the questions.

Ruby, ask that friend, if you haven’t already, if we can talk to him next week. Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays are probably best.

I will contact Rebecca Young cause I have her contacts. And Sarah we can do in class.

Skits
• Knitting skit
• Guys half of ‘David Attenbourgher skit’
• The last of Ruby’s rants

I’ll film the skit with the housemates tonight!

Kris, can you please film yourself playing video games for the other half of the David Attenbougher skit? If you don’t have any games maybe just do something online?

We can shoot Ruby’s last rant before Thursday’s class next week! Ruby can you please practice it even more if possible?

Scripts
• David Attenbourgher skit
• Knitting skit
• Play like a girl?
• Online gaming for dummies skit

Jean it would be great to write that script in the break, so that we can record it with Robin next week!

I’ll write the ‘knitting one’ with Ruby today.

Ruby, you need to write the ‘Play like a girl?’ And the ‘Online gaming for dummies skit.’ Maybe start writing those at the end of next week though?

Downloading archives and other footage
• We need footage that suits Ruby’s rant
• Youtube footage
• Archives

To download youtube videos use http://keepvid.com It seems to only work on Firefox though and not on the edit suit computers. Jean, Stacey and I will start this maybe? Girls, just make a folder on one of your hard-drives and then load whatever you find onto the media server when you can.

This is actually a really big job and needs to be done well!

Graphics
• We need graphics of the ‘your life is over, or game over, or mission failure’ section before Ruby’s rant.

Evan and Kris can you both practice this? Just contact me if this is too much!

Legalities
• Make an appointment with copy-write Officer
• Write up our own release form
• Contact bands about music

I can do all this boring shit!

Summary

Ethics

Some of our interview questions might be personal or contentious to the interviewees, such as questions regarding online abuse, or even personal opinions on ‘girl gamers’ from guys who are into online gaming. We will encourage our interviewees to talk about such prevalent issues in these industries; however, we will also be sensitive towards our subjects concerns. We are willing to push the boundaries of our questions but remain sensitive towards our interviewee’s concerns.

Also, we are aware that this is not an objective, or observational piece. Ethically, some filmmakers might say it is a problem to be so forward with our string opinions. Therefore, we will be clear in making sure the viewers know that this is an opinionated documentary.

Motivation for making The Film

Ruby was indeed the motivated creator of this project idea, however, now many different factors contribute to our drive for making the film. Some of us are newly angered by the discrimination that ‘girls’ face in such fields and some of us have been reawakened to these passions. Of course Ruby has aced these challenges with her own experience of being a female identifying gamer, so it is hugely  personal for her, still, the rest of us are more than curious with our  interest in making this film.  As our topic is interesting for one particular audience arena, we will hopefully be able to come up with some richly provoking  material that captures emotions that our subjects feel.

Treatment sketch

Directorial Approach

Tackling the issue of harassment is never easy, as the people who you are trying reach with your message to are the ones are most likely to dismiss it. This is an even greater problem when dealing with a community that has a reputation of being pretty cynical.

This is why my directorial vision is to frame the message in our documentary, and the education that we intend to pass on, in a palatable way. Because we are presenting an argument (more accuracy a counter argument), the type of documentary we’re making is Expository.

To get a better idea of this I watched a number of video blogs on people discussing similar issues ( Anita Sarkeesian, and Jimquisition from The Escapist in particular), as well as other Expository documentaries.

The need for humour, in some form, became apparent pretty quickly. Having written on the topic before, the rest of my group agreed that the tone of sarcasm and cynical humour was actually very effective because it enables us to talk about the issues without lecturing, or sounding like we are over reacting, something that’s often used to dismiss this issue when it’s raised.

By knowing what arguments people use against women who complain about harassment from other gamers, I feel that with our documentary we will be able to point out the issues with these arguments in a way that is easier to digest by the peoples who attitudes need to change.

Sound Design

Innovative sound design is critical to Just a Game’s entertainment value and success. It holds a key ability to engage the audience enough to listen to our argument and remain interested throughout the film without being overwhelmed or too critical. Running in conjunction with visual style and narrative, it will provide much assistance to our sarcasm and cynical humour approach.

It’s important to note that the specifics on sound design remain flexible however the main foundations are currently in place. A cinematic orchestral style will be used for our peak moments. There are a few tracks I’ve chosen that have a naive, childish style which can be used for example once we’ve interviewed people that have a bias against our argument.

I’ve located royal free reproductions of classic gamer soundtracks and effects, and am also hoping to remix one of these classic songs myself using Abelton Live software.

Sound levels presumptuously will be quite sporadic during the film, but will remain constant. Because of the assumed levels of constant sound, I hope to use dramatic moments of silence to reinforce key issues in our debate.

Overall our stylistic approach of fast paced information will rely heavily on an adventurous, dramatic, playful and condescending tone.
Approach to Visual Style 

Our approach to ‘Just a game’ is quite unique in that we will be using the argumentative techniques of satire and cynicism against the male gamers who harass females online. My goal is to compliment this approach with visual elements. We will be implementing a range of segments, including re-enactments, vox-pops, interviews, and perhaps even some in game footage.

Though we are dealing with a very serious issue, we still wish to be somewhat creative with our use of technical elements. We want to emulate the atmospheres known to video gamers through our artistic style. There are two avenues we can take in this approach, in what I will call the violent video games route, or the family video games route. In the interest of satire, it may be effective to implement the latter approach. By family video games, I mean games (such as Zelda) that are characterized visually by colourful and bright environments. Replicating such colour schemes in our documentary will hopefully highlight the dichotomy between the inviting natures of games with the (sometimes) offensive communities whom play them. It should be noted that the colours are not washed-out, just very true. Which brings me to my next point concerning what camera we will be using to film. Personally, if we wish to continue down this route, it will be favorable to use a DSLR (especially canon) which are known for capturing the vibrancy of colours unlike the university camera can.

Movement is another avenue we can exploit video game style. Ideally, I want to use a steadicam following the subjects and keeping them in the centre of the frame. This can be carried over into the interviews also, keeping the subjects in the centre of the frame in a seated interview, or even conduct interviews doing something active (like walking, whilst playing the games, etc).
– sound design

Producers Statement 

‘Just a Game’ is not a traditionally made film, nor will it be a traditionally viewed film. For what happens behind the scenes often seems to be reproduced on it. Therefore, the conventional role of a producer, as to what we have learnt here at RMIT, may be irrelevant at times to the process of this production. Currently, the way we are going to make the documentary will be a collage of ideas and devices, so thus is my work. Still, I already have many ideas on what my role here is and the best ways to help support my group and the project.

Considering that Ruby Mountford ignited the drive and vision of ‘Just a Game,’ I feel my purpose is to be her left hand woman. Ruby personally asked me to work as her manager and to help her keep the film process organised. As well as orchestrating the crew when needed, I imagine this will include helping Ruby at moments of high stress in whatever way possible, so that she can stay focussed as the creative thinker.

Already this has included making timelines for group work, keeping the dialogue flowing about meetings, submissions and the project in whole, as well as checking how the rest of the group is going. To be honest though, the level of self-awareness and organisation of all individual members means there is little work for me in these areas.

Another, more practical, task for me is contacting people whose music, youtube video and other copy write material we want to use. This includes making sure that the video content creators who Ruby is sourcing send her a message via her Tumbler saying it is fine for us to represent them and to use the footage they have filmed and submitted. I have also already started a list of works I would like the rights to use and have began on the voyage of agreement with the owners.

As we collect our material, I will keep track of all footage and information. For example, I will back up all work and material on my hard drive weekly, or whenever it seems pertinent.

All the above may appear ambiguous, but that is only because so is the work. All in all, my main role will be to remain alert and plugged in to ‘Just a Game’ in whatever way it may need an administrator.

Audience Statement 

One of our main aims of Just A Game is to make it accessible for everyone and not alienate viewers with our subject matter. When you’re trying to highlight an issue that portrays a gender in a negative light, it’s difficult to connect with that group. We want to emphasise to our audience that misogyny within the gaming culture is not a reflection of a gender as a whole, but a minority within that gender who do not represent every gamer. However, the size of the group should not detract from the severity of the issue, rather it is the loudness of the group which makes this issue so important.

So how do you go about trying to appeal to both genders and communicate our message without trying to turn it into a male vs female argument? We came to the conclusion that satire is the way to do this.

“Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.” – Jonathan Swift.

We believe that nowadays one of the easiest ways to force people to acknowledge that something is “wrong” is to poke fun at it. We laugh with the satirist forerunners such as The Chasers or Jon Stewart because they joke about important social, economic or moral issues in a confronting way, which forces us to reflect internally on what they’re really trying to point out. Although we’re not trying to be as abrasive as them, we like the way they can coerce their audiences into reflecting on their own lives and wider society. Many seem to respond well to satire because not only is it humorous  when it’s pulled off well, but also a wonderful tool of communication.

Furthermore, we believe that almost anyone will be interested in our documentary, judging by the reaction and feedback we’ve been receiving from our peers. Sexism and misogyny is an issue that affects both genders, across all demographics and experienced by the young and old.

2012: Your Year in Gaming Misogyny

Link to vicarious Existence. 

HIGH BRO-FIVE, BROS! You (yes, you, and you know who you are) can feel very proud of yourselves.

In 2011 it looked a little bit like the gap in attitudes about women in gaming had started to close. That women no longer had to prove that they deserved to be at the video game table. True equality hadn’t been achieved, but big strides had been made, right?

Peter Griffin from Family Guy in his No Girls Allow pillow fort.

The price of male freedom is eternal vigilance against women looking to ruin our totally mature and reasonable fun.

Thank god 2012 came along and showed that the No Girls Allowed Club was still alive and kicking in video games. After all, if women played video games, WHAT WOULD MEN HAVE LEFT? We all know that women are only good at destroying the joint. If you accept one female playing Call of Duty before you know it that title will be full of flowers and ponies and unicorns and not the manly totally awesome violence that’s a boy’s birthright.

It might have looked for a while there like gamers were moving away from being dominated by the kind of men who see “women” as a synonym for “mother who loved me too much and not enough”, but we’ve fortunately swung back. Here’s a breakdown of some things month-by-month.

January:

Kotaku kicked things off by identifying possibly “the most sexist gamers on the planet” who were complaining about the strength of Nuns in Shogun 2. HAHAHA, oh hindsight, you rascally scamp. Those guys didn’t even come close. And funnily enough, Nuns caused problems later on in the year too.

February:

If there is ever a category of gaming that is purely for men, it is fighting games. Because men are best at fighting everything in real life [citation needed], which is perfectly transferable to electronic simulations. In February some people involved in a broadcast fighting game showthought that perhaps the female competitors shouldn’t be exposed to sexual harassment. Fortunately the coach of one of the teams was around to express the entirely sensible point that “The sexual harassment is part of the culture. If you remove that from the fighting game community, it’s not the fighting game community“. Absolutely right – if I can’t ask a woman totake off her shirt when playing a fighting game, it’ll totally ruin my experience.

There was also the case of BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler saying that she’d like more focus on writing in games and to see more good writing in games over combat systems which she wasn’t really into. For these comments (made over five years ago) she was called CANCER INFECTION BLIGHT VERMIN DISEASE SEWAGE PLAGUE WASTE, was invited to kill herself over Twitter and received harassing phone calls at home.  Which is entirely rational behaviour from her mostly male audience. How dare BioWare games focus on stories?

March:

A white nerdish guy in glasses with a laptop.

The Straight White Male Gamer only wants to play the role of a straight white male in video games, okay?

BioWare managed another rare feat in 2012 – not only did theyruin the entire Mass Effect series forever through bad endings andincluding a real world female character  that most people would miss, they also forgot who their player base is: straight white males. That’s right – with all the homosexuality and equal attention for women and … err, other non-male things, I guess, they’ve clearly forgotten who buys their games.

It was obvious that ever since having gay characters in Jade Empire (released 2005 for Xbox, 2007 for PC) that the studio was clearly ruined for all time and was close to death for not meeting the needs of its customers. And when someone pointed out how “making us male gamers […] happy” should be BioWare’s focus, along comes some BioWare-employed moron who writes about privilege and inclusiveness and a heap of other things that didn’t stop Star Wars: The Old Republic SUCKING HARD (and not in that completely-hot-lesbian way that is acceptable to straight white males).

April:

The Oatmeal pointed out how easy women have it in online gaming. If a woman screws up, everyone is nice to them, whereas if a guy makes a tiny little error, they get yelled at. Woman having it easier when gaming online is a stone-cold fact that can never, ever be refuted.

May:

Tentacle Bento – a card game based on a type of anime porn that involve women and particularly inquisitive tentacles – launched with a Kickstarter but were knocked back. Fortunately Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade – a gaming comic site with a very large reach – was there to tweet his support for the game and let his followers know where they could send money to support the game. Because if you start even vaguely censoring titles that involve the sexual assault of school-age girls, the terrorists win.

Batman: Arkham City was a great game, only enhanced by the female characters generally being downplayed and the main ones referred to as ‘bitch’ all the time. There were some complaints about this, but fortunately Rocksteady decided to completely ignore the issue and release the Harley Quinn Payback’s a Bitch trailer to promote its new DLC.

June:

Nuns again cause issues, with those in the Hitman: Absolution trailer being the kind of super-sexy assassin hit squad nuns who Hitman violently kills. IO Interactive were of course surprised by the criticism this trailer (which was in no way marketing chum, designed to stir up the sharks of outrage) received – after all, aren’t they giving the people the “fun” we all wanted to see?

Before June, you wouldn’t have heard of Anita Sarkeesian; during this month, she seemed impossible to get away from. Her foolish attempt to do a bit of gender roles examination within video games provoked the entirely sensible backlash against her that featured personal abuse, death threats, rape threats and a bunch of public character assassinating. Because video games are for boys – always have been, always will be – and we don’t need intellectual women coming along and messing things up, thanks very much.

In a similar vein, Ubisoft used Aisha Tyler in its E3 announcements and (unlike most women at these events) actually had her say something about gaming. An attractive women talking about gaming at a gaming-related event? That’s completely off-target for the video gaming demographic – what could Tyler know about gaming anyway?

A man standing awfully, awfully close to the vulnerable Lara Croft

“Make sure you tell everyone that this isn’t sexual assault. Because it totally isn’t.”

Crystal Dynamics totally wimped out. After announcing that Lara Croft would have to go through an attempted rape in the grim-and-gritty reboot to the Tomb Raider series and getting a lot of people excited, they walked it back so that the most she faces ismore garden variety not-sexual-assault-he’s-just-standing-very-very-close-to-her. Oh, and lots of building her up to break her down again. Because women can’t start out strong – that’s just too unbelievable.

And finally from E3 was Kotaku writer Katie Williams complaining about male PR reps taking the controls off her and not letting her play because they don’t think that she – as a woman – can. I’m sure they were just doing it so you could take extra-good preview notes, Katie.

July:

Tekken Tag 2 released a great trailer that showcased their female characters. No, not really in-game, but models in tight clothing cosplaying to look like those characters. Now THIS is what the target market wants when it comes to fighting games!

2012 shall go down as the year that True Geeks got tired of all the fake women who come to our events just to bask in Nerd Glory. Joe Peacock rightly tells us how tiresome it is that hot women show up at these events just to get attention from us males. There should be a test or something that stops these women getting in. Guys at these conventions would, of course, automatically pass through the convention gates on account of the XY chromosome set-up being inherently set to ‘geek’.

August:

Borderlands 2 announces a “Girlfriend Mode” that will let the FPS incompetent play with their much superior FPS-skilled boyfriends.  How nice of Gearbox! Although if you want to access this mode, it costs extra and was released after the main game, meaning that any girlfriendswould be a long way behind the boyfriends who started playing Borderlands 2 at launch. And it’s so typical of women to make us spend extra money on them just so that we can play together.

September:

Stardock’s Brad Wardell and former employee Alexandra Miseta are locked in legal action of different varieties. Miseta has accused Wardell of sexual harassment and in response he’s suing her for ruining the launch of Elemental in 2010. Prior to this Wardell had never mentioned Miseta for being behind the highly recognised problems with Elemental, but he wouldn’t be counter-suing her if he didn’t have a strong case, now would he? Besides, it’s his right as boss at Stardock to be “inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing” and Miseta has no right to complain about it, especially when “[her] nipples look better on TV”.

As a tip to the guys out there: you have to be careful when you put your penis into the hand of a women at a gaming party. Timing is everything. If you do it too soon, it’ll just come across ascreepy. Showing women pictures of other women’s boobs that you’ve taken over the course of the evening is always a winner though.

October:

A picture of Felicia Day.

These Fake Geek Girls show up all the time to conventions, aiming to grab any geek they can for the purposes of marriage.

Asking to motorboat women at a gaming convention is also totally cool, provided you film it and can find one that says yes. It doesn’t matter how many said no and felt uncomfortable at the same request because edited video footage never lies.

Three in five female gamers claim to have been taunted or harassed online using sexist language, requests for sexual favours and / or threats of sexual violence. Obviously these women just can’t take an“inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing” joke.

November:

Chivalry turned out to be appropriately named – no female characters were included in the game because it would “overall harm the way the community would play the game” since men and women are unable to play online appropriately together. Now that’s some true chivalry – keeping female characters out of a game so that female players won’t have any chance of suffering abuse from it. I hope all the women said thank you to those devs for excluding them for their own good.

#1reasonwhy trended, with females in the video game industry talking about the kind of negative experiences that mean there are so few women game designers. Probably because they can’t do math – the tag was #1reasonwhy, but it turned out there were hundreds of reasons why!

December:

WB Montreal and Gameloft tried to make women a key part of their end-of-year parties, with WB Montreal allegedly letting you eat off models’ bodies and Gameloft having topless women in body paint on display. Gameloft came out later claiming that the women weren’t supposed to be topless. Damn women! Always taking their clothes off without people asking them to!

The Next Twelve Months:

We guys have set up a pretty good amount of momentum for keeping video games as a safe male space. Now the important thing is to keep focus, ensuring that:

  • Women are blamed for standing up and complaining about gender issues in games and also blamed for not doing enough to stand up and deal with gender issues if it really is that important to them;
  • That all women working in video games are treated with suspicion at best, hostility at worst and always, always judged in terms of physical appearance; and
  • Most importantly, if you are a guy, downplay the issues as much as possible. You can use well-reasoned arguments like “it’s realistic for women not to be as strong as men when killing dragons / aliens”, “most True Gamers are male and the industry is just catering to that” and “it’s just a video game so it doesn’t matter that all female characters look like porn models in it”.

Crucially, don’t change. We need to make sure that video gaming remains as hostile as possible to your mother, your sister and your daughters to ensure video gaming retains its place as something only basement-dwelling manchildren get involved in. That’s the way of the past that will lead us into a glorious future.

Happy New Year, bros!

Sexism in Video Games [Study]: There Is Sexism in Gaming

Link.

Written and Researched by: Emily Matthew
There are certain common conceptions about sexism and gender as they relate to gaming. Influenced by the recent influx of gender and sex-related video game discussions within the community, I was interested in finding out how much of these are actually true and how much they affect gamers– both male and female – as well as the gaming community. For this reason, I designed a twenty-question survey to find out more.
I am well aware that sexism isn’t just an issue of men versus women, and I wanted my study to reflect that. My survey was aimed at gamers of all genders in order to see who sexism affects in the gaming community, who is perpetuating sexism, and to what extent the things that we think we already know about sexism in the community are true or false.
This survey was created online and distributed to various gaming communities online as well as through social media such as twitter and facebook. The survey remained open for participation for approximately one week and garnered 874 responses – almost a third of which were accompanied by additional comments, examples, and clarifications. I also received nearly 200 comments on the purpose or topic of the research itself. Some of these comments were as telling as the hard data, and some are included in the report below.

IS SEXISM PREVALENT IN GAMING COMMUNITY

Immediately following the demographic questions, participants were asked “Do you feel that sexism is prominent in the gaming community?” The response was overwhelmingly “yes.” 79.3% of all participants believe that sexism is prominent in the gaming community. 7.1% responded “no,” and 13.6% of respondents were not sure if sexism is prominent in the community. A “yes” response was 7% more likely to come from a female gamer than from a male gamer. Male gamers were almost twice as likely to respond “no” than were female gamers – a telling response when one considers how perspective affects opinion. Men and women who were not sure about the prominence of sexism in the gaming community showed a difference in percentage that is within the margin of error.

When asked if they had ever been the subject of “sex-based taunting, harassment, or threats while playing video games online,” 35.2% of participants said yes and 61.3% of participants said no.
Women were four times more likely than men to have experienced taunting or harassment, with 63.3% of all female participants responding that they had. The stories that these women told me regarding their experiences are similar to what one might think of regarding this topic. “Cunt,” “bitch,” “slut,” and “whore” were common slurs. The threats were largely of sexual assault. Much of the harassment was based around asking for or demanding sexual favors or comments that revolved around the traditional gender role and stereotyped behavior for women in Western society. Many of the insults were based on the subject’s weight or physical appearance.
15.7% of men also reported that they had experienced sex-based taunting, harassment, or threats while playing video games. While this is in the minority, it is still of concern as sexism. The comments directed at these gamers, however, are different from those directed at women in some very telling ways. Most of the men who provided additional information on their “yes” response to this question experienced comments that revolved around them not fitting a masculine gender role. These men were often called “fags” and compared to or told that they were women and labeled with stereotypically feminine words.
For those who identified as intersexed, identified with a sex that was not listed, or did not identify with any sex, the sexual harassment that was experienced largely related to not fitting into any norm. Those participants in these demographics had almost all experienced intentional misgendering from other players.

For women, the sexism experienced is about being female. For men, it is about not fitting a standard of masculinity. In short, this sexism is always about “male” being the normative sex and “not male” or “not sufficiently male” being reason for insults, shaming, and bullying. This means that men who fit (or present) a masculine, normative standard are those who are most unlikely to be the victim of sexism.
The responses to the question “Have you ever received an unsolicited proposition while playing video games online?” shows that this happens in much the same ratio between men and women as does general sexism, but that propositioning is slightly less common than sexual threats, taunting, and harassment. 32.0% of all participants said that they had experienced an unsolicited proposition while playing video games. 59.7% of women and 12.2% of men.
The difference here, as found in the comments and clarifications that I was sent by some participants, is largely in the tone of the proposition and the reception therein. Both sexes reported receiving propositions with the exchange of money, goods, and in-game assistance as a deal. However, men were more often offered sexual favors if they would pay for them (“I’ll send nudes for gold” was a provided example.), and women were more often offered payment if they would perform sexual favors (“Show me your tits and I’ll help you,” quoted one female participant.). In addition to this, more women described the propositions that they received as “gross,” “dirty,” “vulgar,” or “inappropriate” than did men. From the clarifications I received, when men were approached with an offer of sex they were more likely to accept the offer than women were.
A further distancing between men and women in terms of experienced sexism is apparent when reviewing the data that the survey received in response to the question “Have you ever experienced sex-based harassment that began while playing a video game and continued outside of the game?” Only 9.8% of all participants reported that they had experienced this sort of harassment. However, women were nearly 7 times more likely to experience this than men were (at 19.5% for women and 3.0% for men). This suggests that those who harass women are motivated to pursue the subject of their harassment once the game is finished in order to continue to harass them. Those who harass men don’t experience this motivation to the same extent, and so women are more likely to experience sustained sexism than men are.
Similar numbers were reported in response to the question “Have you ever felt unsafe because of sex-based harassment while playing a video game?” 9.6% of all participants answered “yes.” 19.4% of women and 2.2% of men experienced this. This means that women are nine times more likely than men to feel unsafe in this situation. A handful of women commented further on this, and all of them expressed that their fears were rape or sexual-assault related, which is unsurprising considering that some studies report that as many as 1 in 4 college-aged women is sexually assaulted. Where rape is a real, common occurrence for women in the average gaming age group, it is not surprising that threats of rape made while gaming causes more concern for women than for men.
Women were also much more likely to quit playing a game because of sex-based harassment than were men. 35.8% of women reported having quit playing temporarily because of sexism, and 9.6% reported that they quit playing a certain game permanently because of harassment. The numbers for men in the same areas were 11.7% and 2.6% respectively – about a third of the percentage for women in each case.
Another polarizing question was “Have you ever obscured or lied about your sex while playing video games to avoid unwanted attention or harassment?” 67.5% of women said that they had obscured their sex. Only 5.8% of men said the same. That means that women are nearly 12 times as likely to feel the need to conceal their sex while playing video games as men are. Two men sent clarifications to me regarding why they conceal their sex sometimes when they play video games. Both prefer to play with female avatars, and both have previously been harassed because they identify as male but play female characters. Again, they are being harassed because they don’t conform to normative masculinity.
When asked if they had ever avoided playing on a public server to avoid being a target of sexism, 50.6% of female respondents and 10.3% of male respondents said that they had. Beyond this, many women clarified by saying that they don’t play video games online at all in order to avoid sex-based harassment either that they had previously experienced playing online or that they thought they might experience. While women are five times more likely to avoid playing on a public server to keep away from sexism, there is another difference between when men and women choose to do this. Many men sent clarifications about this question to say that they avoid specific servers that they know to foster a sexist community whereas many women said that they avoid all public servers and play only in environments they know that they will be comfortable in.
When asked “Have you ever been the subject of sex-based comments, taunting, harassment, or threats in the gaming community while not playing a video game?” 45.5% of women said that they had – almost 5 times the percentage of men who said the same. Similarly, when asked if they had ever had their gaming taste, ability, or skill questioned because of their gender, 77.8% of women said that they had (compared to 6.4% of men). Those men who said that they had been the subject of these comments and judgments related that they were often judged for liking games that were “for girls.” One man said that he had been called a “faggot” when he said he didn’t like playing violent games. Yet again, the sexism against men is not because they are men but because they aren’t “male enough.”
Occasionally, women in gaming are labeled as something like “attention whores.” The woman who plays video games for attention or uses her sex for special treatment while playing is a common stereotype in the gaming community. The response to “Have you ever intentionally used your sex as leverage when asking for favors, goods, or attention while playing video games?” shows that this stereotype is only true in the vast minority. 9.9% of female respondents said that they had done this at least once. What is perhaps more interesting is that when asked “Have you ever lied about your sex in order to receive favors, goods, or attention while playing a video game?” 12.9% of male respondents said that they had.
The comments and data from these two questions point to an interesting conclusion: Some male gamers use the stereotype of a female “attention whore” to their benefit by pretending to be female in order to garner special benefits. Many of these men even kept images of women that they found on the internet in order to supply those gamers who helped them with nude photos and proof that they were female. In essence, an individual using femaleness to attain special favors and gifts from others while playing video games is more likely to be a self-identified male posing as a woman than to actually be female.
When they were asked if they had ever participated in sexist behavior and comments, only 9.4% of participants said “yes,” with 10.6% of men and 7.3% of women giving this answer. Men were only 3.3% more likely to exhibit sexism – a number within the margin of error. This means that men and women are exhibiting sexism at very similar rates. Comments sent in by these people to clarify their answers also show that individuals who exhibit sexism do not only do so to people of the opposite sex. Men are perpetrating sexism against other men, and women are doing the same to other women.
When asked if they had ever intervened in a conversation to stop sexist comments and behavior, 53.2% of participants (54.6% of women and 51.9% of men) said that they had. Both men and women sent in comments regarding why they had trepidation about defending others from sexism while gaming. Both were afraid of having the negative attention turned toward themselves – men often concerned with the label “White Knight” (which relates to a man who defends a woman in the hope of sexual favors) and women were concerned with the same sexual harassment that was being received by the person they might have defended.

SEXISM STUDY DEMOGRAPHICS: WHO TOOK THE SURVEY

The survey opened with some general demographic questions. When asked “What sex do you identify as?” 499 (57.1%) of the respondents were male and 356 (40.7%) were female. These numbers – particularly the ratio of men to women in gaming – are similar to those which have been reported by other studies. They support the idea that the majority of the members of the gaming community are male, but perhaps some might be surprised that the number of female members comes even close to that of the male majority.
32.4% of all participants were between the ages of 20 and 23. Only one participant, a male, was under 13, and only one participant, who identified with no sex, was over 51. 77.7% of all participants were between the ages of 16 and 27. The average male participant was between 20 and 23, as was the average female. There was no statistically significant difference in the ages of male and female participants – the distribution across age ranges was roughly the same for both groups.
Participants were asked which genre of video games they play. The most popular genre was “RPG,” which garnered 14.8% of all responses. The least popular genre was “Simulator” with 6.0% of all responses. The difference between the percentage of men playing a particular genre and women playing that same genre was never greater than 3.2 (12.6% of men and 9.4% of women played “Shooters”), which falls within the margin of error for this study. This suggests that men and women have roughly the same taste in video games.
This information is interesting in light of arguments posed in response to other studies. Some of these arguments suggest that the population of women in gaming (41%) is only so high because there is no differentiation between “casual” and “serious” gamers – that people who play only casual games should not be considered gamers and that making the distinction would lower the number of female gamers as reported by such studies. This study shows that this is not the case. In fact, no women who responded to this survey played only casual games. Women were 2.0% more likely to play casual games than were men (again, a number within the margin of error), but these same women also enjoyed other game genres.
Similar data ranges were apparent in response to the question “What devices do you use to play video games?” The most popular device for gaming is the PC, which garnered 24.9% of all responses. The least popular device for gaming is the Mac, with 3.4% of the responses. The difference in the percentage of men and the percentage of women playing video games on a given device were statistically negligible. The largest difference was between men and women playing the Nintendo Wii; women were 1.1% more likely to play this console than men were. While this is a number well within the margin of error, it is the only difference between men and women as far as consoles and devices are concerned that was over 1.0%. The rest of the responses were only different by a fraction of a percent. It is clear that there is no real difference in the gaming devices selected by men and those selected by women.
49.4% of gamers who participated in this survey play video games for a few hours a day. Women were 4.6% more likely to play video games a few hours a week than were men, whereas men were 6.2% more likely to play video games a few hours a day than were women. The percentages of men and women who play video games more than four hours a day were only 0.8% different from one another – with 16% of women and 15.2% of men playing at this frequency. The average male gamer and the average female gamer both play video games for a few hours a week.

SEXISM SURVEY COMMENTS AND COMMUNITY’S REACTION

According to this study, most gamers recognize sexism as a prominent force in the gaming community. While it is mostly directed at women, some men experience it as well. Only a minority of gamers say that they’ve perpetuated sexism, and a majority say that they’ve stepped in to stop it. These numbers are heartening for anyone who, like me, is concerned about how the gamers, and people in general, treat one another.
I myself received some interesting reactions and treatment when I opened this survey up to the public. For the sake of statistics and simplification, I counted the comments that I received that were directed at the purpose of the survey (as opposed to those that were in direct response to survey questions) and then categorized them as either: Definitely Positive, Definitely Negative, and Non-Definite.
Encouragingly, those comments which were distinctly positive outnumbered the comments which were negative. The majority of these were methods of solidarity and encouragement – praise directed at myself for undertaking the project or support for the project itself. Comments such as “I’m proud of you.” and “You’re doing a great thing.” were common. Perhaps the most encouraging were the handful of comments – 9, in total – that came from people whose outlooks were changed because of the survey.
One individual said that he was surprised about the topic. He hadn’t previously considered that sexism occurred in gaming. After having taken the survey, he spoke with his wife (who is also a gamer) , asking her if she had ever experienced sexism while playing a video game. After she said that she had, the man became more conscientious of what he and other players were saying and how they were behaving while playing games online, and he decided to start speaking out against sexism when he saw it.
While these responses were quite encouraging (as I personally like to see a community aware of its biases and discrimination), there were plenty of comments to provide a counterbalance to the positivity. I received 34 comments that I would classify as “negative” – just over half the number of positive responses. These negative responses were largely comments directed at me personally as opposed to the purpose of the research, and most of them were vile, sexual, and entirely profane.
An even dozen of the negative comments that I received addressed the topic in a way that showed negative opinion while remaining what I see as professional in tone. The 22 remaining negative responses were consisted of or contained personal, profane attacks against myself. All of these comments came from men, and they all contained gender and sex-based insults. Eight of these comments featured sexual content – descriptions of what should be done to me. One of them was four paragraphs long and particularly vivid. These eight are not anything that I would deem acceptable to reproduce here. This comment is fairly representative of those made by these 22 men: “Yoru[sic] survey is retarded and so are you. There’s no sexism in the video game community, you stupid cunt. All you bitches play cause you like the attention that nerds give you. You can’t get it anywhere else cause you’re fat disgusting whales. You ruin video games. Shut the fuck up, tits or gtfo, and make me a sandwich. I’d say I hope you get raped, but you’re such a slut you’d like it.”
What was most surprising, and slightly disheartening, were many of the 87 comments that fit into neither the positive nor negative categories. A number of these comments did not involve personal opinion on the subject matter in the study. These were things like “I’d like to see the results of this.” or “This is an interesting survey.” Such comments composed approximately a third of the non-definite responses. The remaining two-thirds, however, might be represented by this comment: “I really do feel for the people who are discriminated against when they play video games. I know that a lot of women get harassed just because they’re female. But I don’t see what we can do about it. Is sexism a problem? Yes. Is is bad? Yes. Does it happen in the community? Yes. But there’s no fix for that. There are always going to be bigots, so what’s the point in fighting it?”
While I can understand this opinion, to me it represents a sort of conciliatory perspective. It’s a recognition of the problem, but an unwillingness to stand up against it. The people who made such comments – both men and women – are those who have either given up or never tried. In some ways, too, I feel that these individuals misunderstand the ways in which sexism can be fought and in which gains can be made for gamers who want to see a community free of sexism.
I can’t argue that eliminating sexist opinion from every individual in the community is realistic, and it’s not one of the goals that I personally hold when arguing against sexism. What I do think is achievable, however, is eliminating the normalization of sexism in the community. When people stand up in sufficient numbers against those who harass players because of their sex or gender – when we stop laughing, joining in, or letting it slide and start handing out bans, saying “That’s not okay,” and refusing to play with bigots – then eventually there is a standard that even those with sexist leanings will begin to conform to.
Surely not every bigoted person will be swayed by public opinion enough to stop expressing their sexist thoughts, but there’s going to be a number of them (how big that number is I can’t be sure) who will consider being judged, scolded, ostracized, or made to look foolish when they use sexist slurs and insults to be enough of a deterrent to stop using them in mixed company. When sexism is less expressed, it becomes less normalized for those entering the community as well. When new gamers see that calling a woman a cunt or taunting a man for being beaten by a woman is frowned upon, they are more likely to learn not to do it. It’s a change that will take time, but it’s one that I and others believe is worth working toward.

– See more at: http://blog.pricecharting.com/2012/09/emilyami-sexism-in-video-games-study.html#sthash.Kf2qjYsw.dpuf

Studies find the Video Game Industry is Male Dominated. Nobody is Surprised

By Ruby Mountford.

Near the end of April, the unlikely topic of Video Games was brought up by the UK minister for equality, Chi Onwurah. “Only 6% of those who work…  in the UK games industry are women, despite the fact that they make up 50% of those who play the games.” She said.

Is hearing that the gaming industry is dominated by men a shocker?

No. Not really.

Video games, and the culture surrounding them, have been considered extremely unwelcoming to women for some time. With over 85% of characters in games being male, and an overwhelming majority of the development team being male, there is little to no room for female perspective in development. It shows.

Off the top of my head, I can think of a handful of games that have a female protagonist, and one of those is Mrs Pacman. If I exclude games that give you the option of choosing gender, I can count them on one hand. The male voice is deafening in the games industry, and yet the number of women who play videogames is rising rapidly. A study published by Entertainment Software Association last year claimed that 47% of all game players were women.

So why aren’t there more women in the industry?

Gabrielle Toledano claimed in her article Women and Video Game’s Dirty Little Secret that the sexist culture in video games is exaggerated, and that the industry wants to employ more women, but there aren’t enough of them applying.

And yet, other women in the industry are saying that it is as bad, if not worse, then you would expect. Last year, under the hashtag #1reasonwhy, people within the gaming industry tweeted one reason why there were not more women working in video games. A selection of these tweets, from both men and women, is displayed with a quick analysis at Kotaku.com, and ranged from work place prejudice to outright groping.

A screenshot of two #1reasonwhy tweets

Also touching on #1reasonwhy, an article by Leah Burrows on The Boston Globe interviewed a number of women who worked in the the industry, with reports how women coped working in an environment that was at times “openly hostile towards women.

Is there a solution? Things do seem to be getting better, albiet slowly. In Burrows’ article, Courtney Stanton, a game designer and founder of the networking group Women in Games Boston, was quoted saying “It’s true, the industry is not as actively bad as it used to be, but not actively bad is an embarrassingly low bar.”

Simply saying ‘you should hire more women’ isn’t going to fix this problem. The issue is attitude, and that will take time, and a whole lot of fighting.

Posted under: Blogging
Dated: May 31 2013

2 Comments

  1. emmawatson says:

    I’ve never played video or online games, because they haven’t interested me. Yet, one of my closest friends is obsessed. Name any character from any game and she’ll know who you’re talking about. It’s a shame that an industry so popular among both men and women mainly employs one gender. Perhaps education is the answer. That way, people will realise why being “openly hostile” towards a certain gender is wrong, and that women are equally suitable for the job as men are.

  2. Ruby says:

    Emma:
    It’s a bit of a vicious cycle; women see the games and see the male influences in them and are put off, and without a female voice in production the way women are being shown is changing very slowly.
    But I think that, given the number of women playing games now, and wanting to play games that show women as strong characters in their own right, sooner or later companies may realise that they’re not quite getting it right, and they might just need more than 6% of their work staff to be women if they want to know how to appeal to the female market.

     

Every Misogynistic Argument You’ve Ever Heard About Video Games

Here is the link.

Every Misogynistic Argument You've Ever Heard About Video Games

Hi there, ladies! Have I got a fun hobby foryou! It’s called video gaming, and it’s kind of a big deal.

What’s that? You say you’re already playing video games, but you have an issue because you don’t feel welcome in the gaming community? Whyever not? There are hordes of angry, permanently-adolescent ragebeasts who can’t psychologically handle the fact that a woman likes the thing they like, you say? Why would anyone be such a turd zeppelin?!

For realsies, though, the gaming community has a huge problem in its treatment of women, as exemplified by a large portion of the Kotaku commentariat. Trying to claim that there ISN’T a problem (an actual thing people do when they’re not on hallucinogenic substances) is pretty much proved to be the height of insanity after the Anita Sarkeesian incident and countless others. And the arguments these wankdolphins perpetrate! Good lord, it’s a poop tornado of epic proportions.

This is no surprise to any woman who’s ever tried to step into a gaming space (or who’s been there for decades, ’cause, y’know, WOMEN PLAY GAMES). But let’s take a look at all of these idiotic arguments and why they’re so stupid. C’mon, it’ll be a fun catharsis for us all, if nothing else.

Let’s deal with the “complete and total denial of reality” arguments first, shall we?

“Games aren’t marketed to women because women don’t play games.”

Oooookay, no. See, ’cause ACTUAL FACTS. While I’m sure you’ve heard and discounted this statistic before because it makes various parts of your body wobble sadly, 45% of gamers are women. 45% is almost half, in case you needed me to clarify.

“Women aren’t REAL gamers, they’re just casuals.”

Mmmm…no. Plenty of women who play video games play some combination of things like Angry Birds/Temple Run and Skyrim/WoW/Bastion rather than one or the other. It’s almost like they’re complex human beings with varied tastes and desires! That couldn’t be right, though — everyone knows women are evil succubi sent to torment and mock us for the ever-present layer of Cheeto grime on our gray, waxen skin, so they couldn’t possibly be real human beings. Perish the thought.

Second, the bigger thing to consider is that very frequently, casual games are a gateway to games with more serious artistic heft. Until she randomly decided to pick up Skyrim one day, LadyTrout had only ever played Angry Birds and Temple Run (and, years ago, Barbie Horse Adventures — the sad thing is I’m not even kidding). Now I have to fight her for controller time. Given six months, I’m sure she’ll be halfway through my 360 back-library. You can’t possibly be saying that people new to gaming don’t or shouldn’t matter, can you?

“Anyone who came to video games late isn’t a REAL gamer.”

Oh Christ, you ARE saying that. This is worse than I’d thought. Tell you what: anyone who really does believe that gaming should be kept “pure” and that women (or men!) new to the hobby shouldn’t be welcomed with open arms, do me a favor and give yourself carbon monoxide poisoning, because the world will be better off without you.

See, what you’re failing to realize is that when the market is larger and more diverse, we all benefit from it. More people playing games means more games being made, serving more varied interests and fostering more competition between developers (and remember, more competition always = better situations for the consumer). More women (and people in general) playing games means better games — so I can only conclude that your aggrieved sense of self-aggrandizement matters more to you than the thing you claim to love.

“If you don’t like the games, don’t play them.”

Every Misogynistic Argument You've Ever Heard About Video Games

“Games marketed to women means fewer games that I’ll like, because reasons.”

No? NO. Good lord, you really don’t get how Supply and Demand work, do you? More people playing games = more games getting made. Besides which, there are plenty of games marketed to you. Hundreds, in fact. If some of those games aren’t marketed towards the gunbro demographic for a change, I’m pretty sure you’ll survive. Worst-case scenario is that you’ll only have 30 gunbro games a year to choose from rather than 35, while women might have five games a year to choose from rather than one every time they install a new Pope.

Besides which, why are you assuming games with strong female protagonists might not also be games YOU’LL enjoy? They’re going to automatically not appeal to you just because you’re playing as someone possessed of a hooha? What the hell kind of women-friendly games are your fevered imaginations conjuring up?! SimHairBraider? Metal Gear Solid: Ovaries of the Patriots? Deus Ex: Menstrual Revolution?

Somehow, I don’t think you have to worry. You liked Beyond Good and Evil, right? Of course you did — everyone who actually played it did. Women gamers want more games like THAT. Like I said above, women gamers ultimately want the same thing guy gamers want: good games. Y’know, just good games that make them feel welcomed to rather than othered from the community.

I’m really starting to suspect this isn’t about your own personal benefit as a gamer, but about your nigh-unfathomable inability to function around women. Care to say anything that might refute that?

“Women in games need to stop flaunting their ladybits by speaking and walking around and breathing and stuff, because it makes me sad in the pants-place.”

Aaaaand there it is. As much as I’d love to take this one and just say “dude, fuck off and grow a pair,” it’s incredibly sad that the first half of this quote is something people actually say. To these sad, desperate, lonely wastes of humanity, even openly being a woman is somehow not acceptable within the gaming community. Then this happens:

Look, if the thought of a woman who’s better than you with the Sticky Detonator in Halo 4 multiplayer gives you a sad, droopy pants-problem, I’m pretty sure the issue is with you, not with her.

“Cosplayers only dress up because they’re sirens trying to lure me into their talons. They should know that I can never be separated from my true love: my neckbeard.”

People aren’t dressing in complex, time-consuming-to-make outfits for the express purpose of seducing YOU, random loser guy. Nobody gives a shit about you. They’re dressing up for themselves, and they have a right to, just like you would if that was your choice.

Get over yourself. Your greasy ponytail and Penny Arcade t-shirt don’t mark you as a Sex Symbol just because Big Bang Theory is popular now. For the love of God, look at yourself in a mirror and objectively ask yourself, “if I was someone else trapped on a deserted island with only Stephanie Meyer books to read, would sleep with me?” I think we both know the answer to that question.

“Publishers don’t make games with female protagonists because they wouldn’t sell. Men don’t want to play a female character because then they might kiss a dude and that’d be gay.”

Y’know, most people grow out of the whole “ew, girls are gross and have cooties” thing once they graduate the 3rd grade. I can only conclude that anyone who says the above quote was held back so many times in elementary school that the wires in their brain got crossed, and now they run around in board meetings offering to eat worms for $5. People who make statements like this would be a walking argument in favor of forced sterilization if there existed any woman desperate enough to sleep with them.

Also, considering that HALF THE PEOPLE PLAYING GAMES ARE WOMEN, I’m pretty sure they’d sell just fine. There’s also an overwhelming majority of guys playing games who don’t give a shit about the gender of the protagonist and only want to play a fun game. THERE IS ALSO THAT.

So, now that we’ve gotten the more overtly, blatantly sexist arguments out of the way, how about we talk about the “it isn’t really a problem because _______” arguments.

“It’s not true that there’s a shortage of female protagonists because of these four cherry-picked examples.”

Oh God, this fucking argument right here.

Every time you mention the dearth of strong playable female protagonists in games, EVERY FUCKING TIME, someone will bring up the five goddamned examples in the HISTORY OF GAMING that run counter to it. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Mirror’s Edge, Remember Me, Beyond Good and Evil, Metroid if we’re pretending Other M didn’t happen, FFXIII if we’re being generous, Tomb Raider if you’re suffering from a severe head trauma…what the hell else is there? Dreamfall? Something equally ludicrously obscure?

Contrast this against the LITERALLY HUNDREDS of examples of male protagonists throughout gaming history. Seriously, how brain-damaged do you have to be to say, “nuh uh, all of the games ever don’t count BECAUSE JADE IN BG&E”? What kind of mental institution do you belong in where 7 examples outweigh 400?

How is it possible for a human being to make this point and also be able to put on pants correctly? When I even think about the mental gymnastics necessary to get to a point where this seems like a valid argument, my ears start to bleed. I would say these people are like a walking PSA about the dangers of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but that’s a disservice to victims of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Anyone who would make this argument is a waste of perfectly good oxygen.

“Gender in video games shouldn’t matter — we should all just be humanists. I don’t think about my gender when I’m gaming, so why should you care about yours?”

Yes, and then we can all float away on a magic carpet made of Unicorn farts and play tiddlywinks with some leprechauns on the lost Continent of Atlantis. A lot of people who forward this view are naively idealistic enough to believe it’s a valid one, and I have some sympathy for them (because they can be taught that they’re wrong). I have significantly less sympathy for anyone who believes that if an oppressed group would just stop complainingabout their oppression, it would disappear.

That’s basically what this argument boils down to: “it’s your fault for caring about this very real problem.” And that’s not acceptable. I’d love for us to be at a place where gender didn’t matter, but guess what? WE DO NOT LIVE IN THAT PLACE. And until we do, this argument doesn’t hold water.

“Women aren’t game protagonists because they’re physically small and weak and only big burly man-muscles can win at Call of Battle: Dutyfield or Cattlefield: Modern Warfarts or Turds of War.”

Yeah, ’cause it’s not like we have women serving with distinction on the front lines of our warsor anything. It’s not like our very own Candy Summers: Vagina High Priestess is amotherfucking Blackhawk pilot. Jesus, I thought we were past this crap when we all acknowledged that Vasquez was by far the most badass marine in Aliens?

But what about objectification? Let’s talk about that for a minute.

“There’s nothing wrong with objectification — a character who is nothing more than a pair of water balloons on a stick doesn’t harm anything.”

You know, I could unpack everything wrong with this argument, but I don’t have FIVE FUCKING YEARS. Suffice it to say that if you had even the SLIGHTEST inkling of what it felt like to be reduced to nothing more than a collection of fuckable parts EVERY DAY for your ENTIRE LIVES, you’d feel differently. That’s what objectification is: being reduced to nothing more than an object and being stripped of your very humanity. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t understand what the word means.

But you don’t know what that’s like. You can’t. Hell, as a guy, I sure as shit can’t either, but I like to think I have the barest modicum of empathy necessary to begin to comprehend how horrendously awful that would be. I realize interacting with other human beings is not something that comes naturally to you (particularly with women, who as previously established are clearly a foreign species), but just for five goddamn seconds maybe TRY to actually put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

“Men are just as objectified in games as women, because big burly man-muscles.”

…you can’t fucking be serious.

Ok, Jim Sterling already covered this better than I possibly could, so I’m just going to hand it over to him:

“We know that mainstream game development is predominantly designed by men FOR men, and knowing that, we have to ask: exactly who is this hypothetical male objectification being done for? Women? No. Because the industry has a practiced history of not giving a fuck about women. Gay men? HAH! We’ve not even moved past the ‘lol u wanna have sex with a man lol gay’ stage of video game writing yet (if only). No, in the same way female characters are being designed to appeal to men, so too are male characters — but not, of course, in the objectifying sense.

Objectification is the reduction of a human being to a thing, an item, a something to possess. This is what’s meant when we say women are objectified. [Video games objectify women] by making them the targets of sexual desire while stripping them of their agency in sex. Women are allowed to dress skimpily, they’re allowed to be hit on, and they’re allowed to be fucked. However, they’re not allowed to initiate sexual contact, be playable during a sex scene, or really have any input in a relationship outside of being an objective, a goal, a thing for the male hero to go after.

This is not what happens with male characters. They’re presented as tall, muscular, heroic, and brave, and most importantly, they’re not supposed to be things we want to own. They’re not targets, they’re not goals. Their ideals are our goals, but they themselves, as individuals, are not. And that’s what men are in the game industry: not objectified, but idealized.

That’s the difference in the game industry, and this is where people arguing that we’re all equal trip themselves up. Women are objectified; they are supposed to be things men want. Men are idealized; they are heroes men are supposed to want to be.”

“Men are treated badly in games, too! Look at how many men get shot in games!”

Exactly how many times would I have to bash myself in the head with a shovel before this argument wasn’t completely Whackboots McGillicutty? Being shot in games is not equivalent to being objectified, stereotyped, or ignored. They aren’t the same. One involves mowing down hordes of faceless enemies whose gender (and species, considering how many of them are aliens) is entirely irrelevant. The other highlights their gender in a way that marks them as clearly inferior and other. In one case, gender is irrelevant; in the other, it’s the only thing that matters.

If you are making this argument, congratulations, you are now officially the Mayor of Banana Town.

“If you want more games with female protagonists, design the games yourself.”

I saved this one for last on purpose, because I wanted to crescendo to a roaring breaker of stupid, and as far as I’m concerned, nothing (not even the “here are my miniscule number of counter-examples that prove your clearly-established trend wrong” argument) indicates a broken brainbox like this one does.

Hey, doucheschooner — do YOU write and design your own games? No, someone else slaving away at a soul-killing job for a corporate monster like EA or Activision does. So how exactly is it fair to expect women to do this for themselves when you won’t even do so? Look up “hypocrisy” in the dictionary some time. It’ll explain a lot to you about yourself (and also about the Republican party, but that’s an entirely different subject).

Also, it’s not like the tech industry is entirely unwelcoming to women or anything. No, no — perish the thought. And it’s not like we previously established in this very article that most major publishers refuse to even do things like making games with female protagonists. The system is set up to make it basically impossible (outside of indie games, which require a lot more work and are a LOT harder to get into the public eye) for women to be able to make their own games, and yet you’re telling them “make their own games.” To quote MLK, “It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. Also, why are so many video gamers complete fucking misogynistic pieces of septic scunge?”*

And if your counter-argument to that is “well, maybe fight to change the industry, then,” THAT’S WHAT WE’RE DOING WHEN WE COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS ARGHBARGLRJEHUIAHSDIUHGASUIHAISUBUYIAHXFYASIG!@#!@$!@$!@one. Jesus tapdancing Christ, that’s the entire point of complaining about and trying to fix the misogyny problem in the gaming industry/community. This is like talking into a singularity.

So to anyone who has ever made one of these arguments: you too can be saved from being an asshat. Just, y’know, stop making these arguments. Have a tiny bit of empathy for people who aren’t you, and ask yourself — REALLY ask yourself — if the problem isn’t women playing games, but the men who are too scared to share their toys with the scary, unknowable ladypersons.

*Well, I mean, he WOULD’VE said this last bit, were he still alive.

Edit: Oh, how I love my dismiss button since this got mainpaged. Remember, everyone: when the trolls arrive, you have the power to make their misogyny go away.
Edit 2: Oh, for fuck’s sake. Stop it with the “here’s one incredibly obscure PS1 game with a female character. You are proving nothing. I could sit here listing the names of every male protagonist in gaming history too, but I don’t have THREE MONTHS.

FACEBOOK – Group – Film and TV 2 Thing

  • Ruby Susan yeah it’s a bit of a no-win scenario. I’ve been told “you’re a girl, you don’t have to be good at this” when I died a few times in Mass Effect MP, and that was them trying to be nice. Would your friend be ok with being interviewed?
  • Evan Raif guys are so retarded sometimes…! This girl in particular I doubt would feel comfortable in front of a camera, ill ask her tho. But i do know another girl who plays dotA, she is a bit more confident so ill check with her. She probably has a few similar stories
  • COMMENT MENTIONED
    PetticoatDespotUUbertrout

    1111

    L

    Female programmer who has worked in the game industry here…

    I get “fake geek girl” BS in job interviews. I have skipped applying for programming jobs because the ads promote the “bro-centric company culture,” where it is common to drink beer and no one complains about your naughty sense of humor. I have applied at companies that won’t interview me for the position that I’m qualified for because the type of programming that I do is more typical for guys and this other type over here that I don’t do is more typical for girls; in order to show how inclusive of women they are, they strongly encourage me to apply for [girl job] despite me being grossly overqualified for [boy job that I can’t be interviewed for]. I have gone to interviews where it is made clear to me that I’m the affirmative action candidate, that they were intrigued by my claim to play video games [which I was tested on], and then had the technical interviewer act astounded because during my whiteboarding exercise, I followed a coding standard that prevents a security breach and no other applicants did— and then not gotten the job. I have had jobs where my opinion was dismissed by my superiors who were less qualified than me, who repeatedly interrupted me during demos to tell me that I’m doing the demo wrong on a product that the interrupter has never used— and then gotten fired for calmly standing up to him.

    So let me tell you why there are so few games with strong female protagonists and so few games with characters that women can identify with as idealized heroes: games are made by men for themselves.

    You can have a plan to make a game that appeals to men and women but how do you actually accomplish that if there are no women on the team or if any women on the team have their opinions and expertise constantly dismissed? You don’t. Game designers are going to make games that appeal to themselves. Programmers and business owners and QA testers are going to make recommendations based on what appeals to themselves. As long as “themselves” excludes minorities and women, minorities and women will not have their tastes be represented in games.

    But let’s say that the all-male team/team that doesn’t listen to its women decides to made a lady-centric game. What happens then? We get fucking Barbie Horse Adventures, is what happens. We get a game designed for female toddlers. Hey guys, did you know that in Barbie Horse Adventures you can’t run your horse off a cliff? I bought the game as a joke for a lady friend and we tried killing that horse in the first two minutes. Wow, that game totally appeals to the ladyfolk!

    OK, I know that that game is, in fact, made for female toddlers, but the point is the same. If you have a bunch of male programmers who suck with women, who can’t understand women at all, what kind of game are they going to design for women? They are going to design a game for the female stereotype that doesn’t play games. This is why we have a lady-centric dating app that is shopping themed. Math is hard! Let’s go shopping! I don’t want to play a game that’s patronizing to women and treats us as inferiors to men— as a way to draw in lady gamers. I don’t know why that’s shocking.

    The commenters on Kotaku are a prime example of blindness to the gender biasproblem. I have literally had guys there respond to pages-long lectures on the gender bias in the gaming industry, reply “There is no gender bias in the games industry” and not even address a single point that was made. Hey guys? That would be dismissing the stance of women, which is part of the problem. Then they get mad that repeatedly doing that causes women to “unfairly lash out at them for the crime of failing to tow the feminist propaganda line” which is like “Oh hi! I can’t even be bothered to read the part of your post where you tell me what you’re mad about, because you’re female!”

    Then they top it off with “there’s no gender bias in the gaming industry because I work in it and I’m not trying to make games that don’t appeal to women; I’m trying to make games that appeal to me.” (Granted, proper use of a semicolon is paraphrasing.) Yes, yes that is exactly it! Dudebro, you and your team of all men are making games that appeal to you. Until you have women on your team and you listen to them, you will always make dude-centric games because you don’t know how to be women. I know that you think you know everything but you actually do not know what it’s like to be a woman.

    I have long said that the best products that I’ve worked on are ones where men and women worked together on all teams, as peers, as equals. Men and women tend to approach programming differently. We tend to approach design differently. We tend to approach life differently. And using both approaches combined makes a more balanced and awesome product than using only one.

    I don’t want games for women by women. I want games where men and women came together and made something better than either could have made alone. Also, I’d like to not be subjected to so much sexism in the workplace.

    Really, guys, this is a sexism in the workplace in the gaming industry issue. Until you can allow women into the project and listen to them, your games are for men. 7/12/13 5:42pm