Culture & Society

Beefcakes and Bimbos Save the Universe

Sex in gaming and why it’s overkill


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Sex.... now that I have your attention today, we will be talking briefly about the topic of sex in gaming. Now, I assume most would think "...hasn't this been done to death already? Do we really need to discuss this at all?" I say sure... why not? The question is, where we begin...?

Games have had sex in it since its early conceptions, from the embarrassing Custer’s Revenge to the embarrassing 3D volleyball game based of a fighting game. Sometimes it’s a good way of exploring or setting up plots. From the “the "X cheated on X with X story line", and so forth. In other cases, though, sex in gaming is meant to be eye catcher and not necessarily for the betterment of the product.

When it comes to criticism on this subject, Anita Sarkeesian is definitely a chief complainant... and seems to be a large target of ridicule for pointing out sexism in gaming when it comes to women... I’m not saying men aren't used as sex objects in gaming either but in terms of pervasiveness; women are used hell of a lot more. I may not agree with all her statements (and I don't) but even a broken clock can be correct twice a day. The Hitman video was definitely strange; in her description of parts of the game she went all 50 Shades of Agent 47.

Samus Aran stands as one of the biggest examples... seeing that stupid ass bikini ending. Really Nintendo? Do we really have to see 8-bit bikinis? I thought her removing her helmet showing her face was enough (in fact it was jaw-droppingly badass), we didn't need to strip her down there guys. It's stuff like that that makes it looks like male gamers are horn-dogs that will drool over anything that has T&A in it. The blue fucking catsuit they put her in didn't add anything to the game other than making Samus a dominatrix in space with a fucking laser whip. Samus was a legendary badass who could fight shit out of my nightmares and deserves to be treated as such. I mean Master Chief isn't going to bust out a Chippendales dancing routine on us is he while rocking a man-kini and his helmet? Is he? *Shudders the thought.

Kasumi in Dead or Alive was another one. I didn't know Ninjitsu training required you to wear as little as possible while being UNDERAGE as a prerequisite, and she wasn’t the only one. Seriously, Team Ninja, get your shit together... What’s the point of all this 3D underage "chesticles" bouncing around? I didn’t do much other than add a super creepy aspect to its game and developer.

2B from Nier Automata is another character with a costume choice that makes one roll their eyes... so silk lace dress and high heels is your choice of armor..? An android that is the most technologically advanced creation of human science and they put her in a Victoria’s Secret catalog dress? As a former U.S. sailor, I know for a fact we don't put our female Marines in Kevlar bikinis as battle attire. Honest Trailer's points out the heroine’s derriere as a strong selling point... and for shit's sake the DLC costume...

Men in games can also become subjects of sexual objectification. Dante with the slim look or the Gears of War soldiers are examples in which men are portrayed as half-refrigerators with biceps that’s the size of canned hams. I hardly hear men quip up saying "that’s sexist. Men don't look like that at all!"... but that's because attractive women aren't the only thing that is a male fantasy... looking like a well-chiseled guy size of a Buick is also the male fantasy.

Even when Sarkeesian was making salient points, people were threatening her and many others with a similar ideology. Seriously, can we please stop threatening her as though she is going to turn into a giant monster and burn down the whole gaming industry... but if she can turn into a giant monster and if you’re up to it, Sarkeesian... at least start with EA.

The fact I am required to suspend my disbelief when playing videos games is a given. I do not believe a shirtless man in a red trench coat or a thong-clad woman wielding swords would be the proper hero to save the world, the universe or a fucking snow cone shack. Look, there is suspending my disbelief... then there is hanging it to death.

In the end... as a great man once said it best "...Silicone parts are made for toys!". Whip crack.

 

 

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Tags
#gaming #development game development sex sarkeesian DOA hypersexualization #sarkesian

Russell Davis

About the Author: Russell Davis is the Lead Programmer and Co-Owner of Reject Force Entertainment, and also portrays the eccentric rich tycoon Ramblington Babblington in Run on the Bank. A 2D side scrolling shooter design in homage of old arcade and 8-bit console games for Android that's currently in development. We strive for only the quality lunacy. If you want to support Run on the Bank, visit us at our Patreon, and thank you for reading!Become a Patron!

9 Comments

  1. So, Aulis Vaara, do you believe that for someone to be able to criticize whatever is going on on the gamer community, this person must be a gamer? So I can’t talk anything about the medical community because I’m not a doctor myself? They can simply do whatever they want and I can’t open my mouth because I don’t have a degree in medicine? They can test controversial medicines in human subjects and I should just shut up and don’t say anything about it?

    So, again, if those who are now opposing your views on sexism in games are necessarily liars because they have an opinion about it? When someone gives a bad review on a game that you enjoy, they’re lying about the game? Are they trying to make you “swallow” their belief that the game is simply bad according to their views? Aren’t they just expressing their experience about it? Do you think they have an “agenda”? What would that agenda be in your opinion? What do they want?

    I’m not misconstruing your words. I’m just paying attention to what you’re saying here and trying to make sense out of it. And just to make sure about that, I’m asking you questions for you to help me change my mind about what I see as your apparent attitude. So for, I can’t see much other than your wishful thinking. On one side, there’s your ideas about games not being sexist. On the other hand, there’s a group of individuals who think differently, and you decided to call them charlatans simply because they think differently. You are not providing any context or support to the argument that those people have an agenda and that they want to shove something down your throat for the simple fact that their view doesn’t align with yours. Right now, I’m presenting a view on a problem and I’m not trying to shove anything down your throat nor have I an agenda that I’m trying to pass. I’m simply using this space to debate something.

    Ok, give me examples of cherry picking used by Sarkeesian. It would be nice if you could do the same about the article above.

    And now I’m quoting you:

    “If an actual gamer came to me and said he preferred less sexualized characters, that wouldn’t be a problem. But that gamer would also acknowledge that he almost always has that choice and that the appearance of the characters is of secondary importance to the actual gameplay and/or story being told. In fact, the appearance of the character might be integral to the story being told”.

    I agree with you. I think the same is happening right now with those people discussing sexism in games. You can simply opt not listen to their ideas. However, if the appearance of the characters is something that is apparently predominantly standardized in many games throughout the years, it can definitely become a research interest for those who think they correlate somehow to our culture, in general. They can and should speculate. What’s wrong with that? How is that destroying the safety of your world? That’s a healthy thing to do: to analyze ones own culture for the production of knowledge; to make sense of the world around you and to reflect upon it, even if those reflections are flawed the first time around. Such is life. I don’t understand why this hurts you so much.

    I don’t see how this criticism on how games can be sexist and sometimes racist equals to a demand on your view. If a game studios decides to accept that criticism and focus on less sexist games, they’re simply making a choice. You can’t blame Sarkeesian because people decided to hear what she’s saying.

    And I’m not demanding anything from you. The only ones that could demand something from you are the owners of this website. I’m pointing out something really toxic on you approach to how comment sections work. You came here on an aggressive manner to present your views on a topic but you were not offering any chance for a healthy debate. You were simply throwing accusations around and I had to say that this is very unproductive.

    1. Sorry friend, you can’t simply say you’re reading my words and then blatantly ignore what I’ve said in the very same paragraph. I will not play that game.

      And if you want to get educated on why Anita is a charlatan, there’s a plethora of YouTube videos available about it. Here’s one: https://youtu.be/WgvYJ9Ei90Y

      If you still aren’t convinced after that, there’s nothing more I can say in this discussion. And I certainly don’t feel like continuing the discussion anyway, since you keep wilfully misinterpreting my words. Or just downright ignoring them. And since you still don’t seem to get it: whatever emotion you think you are reading into my words, that is just in your head.

      1. Now you gave up discussing and sent a link to a video so that it speaks for you? Where are you own ideas, your own voice? Why do you need to post a video for that? Don’t you have your own formed opinions about this subject? Do you expect me to be convinced after watching a strongly biased video? I’m not ignoring what you’re saying, pal. I’m simply trying to make sense out of what. your words. To prove to you I’m reading you carefully, here’s a list of what you’ve said so far:

        1) “It’s just very obvious that these people (Sarkeesian, the author, and anyone like them) have no interest in videogames. They are dishonest charlatans who lie about their interest in videogames in order to make a living off of playing the supposed victim or defending the supposed victim.”

        You seem to believe that anyone who doesn’t agree with your views are automatically “charlatans” who wish to make a living off these ideas. Man, you’d be surprised at how many people in academia are currently researching this topic and talking about it without making a dime. It’s also possible to defend an idea without having to necessarily to profit from it or fool people because of it. This is your aggressive stance taking over your rationality.

        2) “They ignore the fact that beefcakes and sexy women are the power fantasy of women as well. Which, by the way is the idealized way in which heroes are portrayed because being a hero makes you an attractive person. Symbology 101.”

        Nobody is saying that these products of entertainment are not enjoyed by people somehow. They are. Otherwise, they wouldn’t cause the social effect Sarkeesian and others believe they do. However, this is so constant in entertainment that they work as you said, as an ideology. However, you failed to address the fact that an ideology is not born out of nowhere. It needs people to keep it going or even to put it down once its effects are considered harmful. And you seriously believe being a hero makes someone attractive. Ok.. I’m holding my laughter really hard here as I think of old bald guys commanding ships in interstellar space travels movies and shows.

        3) “Missing this and many other symbolic elements makes it clear that these people have no interest in videogames or any other storytelling medium. Which is a shame, because this symbology is thousands of years old and can teach you something about yourself, the world, and your place in the world.”

        Oh yeah! Because these really bad bad mean people who don’t agree with your views are not interested in videogames because they are questioning videogames. If these people were not interested and didn’t believe videogames are an important medium in social relations, they would simply move on with their lives and talk about something else. You argument is, again, flawed. Additionally, we’re still missing the 1000-year-old symbology your took out of your hat here to make you sound more intellectual and knowledgeable about the subject matter. No points for you in that one. An empt theoretical statement you didn’t even mention a source for. I’m not convinced by words thrown around with the sole intention to make you appear clever. Try again.

        4) “You can make up your own mind whether or not to be taken in by these charlatans. But I will say there’s a lot more to be gained by being a hero, than by being resentful about heroes being beautiful. It’s up to you what you want to try to be.”

        I’m simply rolling my eyes on this one. But I will give you a chance so you can go ahead and make a list of what you gain being a hero. You get bonus points if you comment on how you try to be a hero yourself and looking pretty at the same time. lol

        5) “If an actual gamer came to me and said he preferred less sexualized characters, that wouldn’t be a problem.”

        Please, enlighten us and let us know what your criteria are on what it means to be a gamer. How can someone be up to your standards of what it means being a gamer before this person is even allowed to call out sexism in games and not being a charlatan at the same time? How many hours of gaming does this person need to have to keep up with your idealized gamer persona?

        6) “But that gamer would also acknowledge that he almost always has that choice and that the appearance of the characters is of secondary importance to the actual gameplay and/or story being told.”

        Well, if the appearance is of secondary importance, why are you mad that some people are criticizing exactly that? You see how your arguments are confusing?

        7) “And it’s fine to have a preference but it’s an entirely other thing to demand that all games adhere to your worldview or else be seen as problematic or racist or sexist or whatever -ism is in vogue that day.”

        I’m still waiting for you to tell me how people speaking out against sexism, racism and other -isms in games are also demanding something from someone. Has anyone been pushing a bill in the congress and I didn’t get the memo?

    2. So you just get to dismiss an argument as biased, but when I give good reasons for dismissing someone’s argument (lying, dishonesty), I’m the one that’s being unreasonable?

      Standards and principles should first and foremost (and maybe only) apply to oneself.

  2. Yes-yes, you’re a puritanical Sarkeesian worshipper, we get it. Are you just as much of a fraud as her, or have you actually played and maybe even gasp completed the games you talk about? Then again, I would not expect a certain game’s existentialism to find traction with identitarians. Hell, any symbolism goes over your heads.

    1. Why are you so angry? Can’t you discuss like an adult or are you just a 13-year-old who happens to hate someone and expects the whole world to do the same otherwise that makes you mad? You’ve read Russell’s article, didn’t agree, which is fine, but instead of discussing a valid point to contradict his views, you just came here and threw a lot of labels: “worshipper”, “fraud”, “identitarians”. If you want to present a rational view on something you don’t agree with, go ahead and do it, but calm the hell down first otherwise no one is gonna listen to whatever you have to say. Everybody could be benefiting from you knowledge and opinion on Russell’s article right now but all we can see is someone throwing a tantrum on the comment section. Grow up first and then come back.

      1. I’m not angry my friend. It’s just very obvious that these people (Sarkeesian, the author, and anyone like them) have no interest in videogames. They are dishonest charlatans who lie about their interest in videogames in order to make a living off of playing the supposed victim or defending the supposed victim.

        They ignore the fact that beefcakes and sexy women are the power fantasy of women as well. Which, by the way is the idealized way in which heroes are portrayed because being a hero makes you an attractive person. Symbology 101.

        Missing this and many other symbolic elements makes it clear that these people have no interest in videogames or any other storytelling medium. Which is a shame, because this symbology is thousands of years old and can teach you something about yourself, the world, and your place in the world.

        You can make up your own mind whether or not to be taken in by these charlatans. But I will say there’s a lot more to be gained by being a hero, than by being resentful about heroes being beautiful. It’s up to you what you want to try to be.

        1. So you believe that anyone who sees sexism in those games are automatically “dishonest charlatans who lie about their interest in videogames in order to make a living off of playing the supposed victim or defending the supposed victim”. Is that how it works for you? Anyone who goes against your opinion is necessarily a liar that should go to hell?
          Have you ever thought that they might only have a different perspective on things?
          So you seriously believe an interest for a specific body shape is standard across history? Nothing has ever changed? Give me examples.
          What other people are doing when it comes to symbology for understanding society is simply a different point of view than yours. It doesn’t mean they’re necessarily charlatans because they don’t fit in your criteria of what matters and how to frame whatever they’re talking about.
          A little less aggressiveness and a more attentive stance go a long way when it comes to debating. That’s something you could learn from anyone who’s out there discussing controversial topics, especially in academia.
          Are you an academic, by the way?

          1. No-no, these people are charlatans because they are NOT GAMERS while claiming that they are. They are lying to you in order for you to swallow their rather puritanical (not a buzzword, they literally don’t want sexuality in games) agenda.

            And I never said anything about hell or decried anyone as anything just for disagreeing with me. It seems to me that you just want to misconstrue my words to make me seem like a villain so you can easily dismiss me. That seems like a dishonest tactic to me.

            And you could rightfully point out that me calling Sarkeesian and the author charlatans is the lame tactic, and in a way it is, but my view of them is based on the lack of nuance in Sarkeesian’s arguments and the complete cherry picking of her examples, to the point of ignoring counter-examples within the same games. I cannot respect such a lack of integrity, nor respect anyone who defends her and her methods.

            If an actual gamer came to me and said he preferred less sexualized characters, that wouldn’t be a problem. But that gamer would also acknowledge that he almost always has that choice and that the appearance of the characters is of secondary importance to the actual gameplay and/or story being told. In fact, the appearance of the character might be integral to the story being told.

            And it’s fine to have a preference but it’s an entirely other thing to demand that all games adhere to your worldview or else be seen as problematic or racist or sexist or whatever -ism is in vogue that day.

            As for aggressiveness, one party here is making demands of the other, and one party is simply explaining his point of view as requested.

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