Created as part of my final term critical study of Games Art & Design at Norwich University College of the Arts. This blog attempts to debate gender in games design in order for me to better understand its past, current and future issues. Although currently dormant, I hope to continue to explore the ever-growing topic of gender in games after I graduate from university, especially as I am keen to revisit some of my old statements with new and ever-growing beliefs and opinions.

I’d like to thank the Women in Games special interest group at the International Games Design Association (IGDA) for all the inspiration they have given and continue to give me.

I’d also like to thank those who have taken the time to comment, for both those who challenged my opinions and helped me see things from a different perspective and to those giving me support.


4 responses to “About

  1. Dear Lady de Hag,

    I apologise for my bad english in before. I am not a native speaker in this language.

    Before I start my actual comment, let me intodruce myself.
    I was brought up in very, very conservative household in which sexuality outside of some strictly defined boundaries was consindered “bad”, I won’t go into detail here. However, when I grew up I finally dared to question my worldview which was equally fundamentalist as it was sexist ( Even though I personlly held no negative view of women whatsover).
    Being a teenager then, I finally dared to let a litte sex into my life and I must say it was really a breaking-free for me.
    I also stardet to read a lot about philosphy regarding hot topics such as free will, foundation of morals etc. and ended up being – what I conisder myself – a fairly rational person.
    However, due to my upbringing I have deep fears from every kind of ideology (not only religion) and am thus a bit uneasy about radical-communists, neo-liberals or radical-feminists.
    I made the expierience that most people like to beat dead horses, meaning that while having noble goals, they do not use the most ration arguments, but sometimes even fake facts, like for instances diffrences in gender.
    They do exist no matter how hard some people want to deny it ( I know that you don’t so this isn’t against you) – even the brain-structure of males and femals are not exatly the same.
    However, concluding that one gender has to be superior due to this fact is idiotic for some other reasons, which I will not explain here, since I think you are aware of them.
    The differences, however, need considereation.
    I recently read an article about a male trasgender called “Buck Angel” and he said, that before he took the testoterone in order to reshape his body, he never had the tendency to “objectify” women. Meaning, that – while being a lesbian women himself – he did not “look as much on asses an tits”. After his hormone-treatment however, he found that his vision of women had changed (a little).
    The reason why I write this mess of a comment (it would be more fluent and meaningful in German I believe) ist that I have a problem with the bad reputation the term “sexualisation” has.
    In the medieval ages, sexuality in art needed always an “excuse” to be displayed (like a moral meassage) it never could be “just-erotic”. Because erotic was considerd bad even though it is an integral part of many humans.
    Now I think that many people from the feminist movement make the mistake to pick up on this thinking when they are arguing against the women as “sexobjects”.
    I believe this is not really the probelm since:
    1. All humans are “sexobjects” in addition to their other traits.
    2. Nobody would say that it is “bad” to lets say listening to an opera since it would reduce the women singer to her voice alone, however, when I look at a sexy pin-up…well there will be a lot of women who will tell me that reducing the women to her sexual side is wrong. Why is it so wrong in the second case, but not in the first case? Does the focus of one aspect of a person necessarily lead to the conlcusion that this person does not have to offer anything else? I never looked upon a pin-up of a beautiful women who was sexily dressed and thought: “Wow now thats a hot “thing”.” I was intellecutally always aware that it was a person wih a lager backround than that, same goes for listening to music etc.
    What I try to say is that “sexualisation” is not necessary a bad thing, when the viewer is mature and what we Germans call “enlightened” (not in an esoteric way of course). I have tons of picutres of “naked sexy women” on my hardrive, but did that affect the way I behave towards women? I think not. I am 22, I never talk bad about women (in general), I don’t call them “sluts” only because some think it is cool to do so and I certainly do not approach a women only to lie about my feelings towars her only to have sex with her.
    What I try to say is that is (from my point of view) not so much the things we see before our eyes, but the way how we see it, which makes the diffrence. I believe that a mindful person can look upon almost everything without a negative affect on him or her, execpt for the really “extreme” stuff maybe.
    Therefore I can’t understand why you mention games such as “Bayonetta” in the same line like “Rapelay”. The first is sexualized – surely a boys wet dream- but what is so wrong with that? The Problem is not the game, but the immature viewer, the game itself – or other erotica etc. – just serves as a valve for males to come in terms with their testosterone, there is nothing to be ashamed of to enjoy seeing “really, really sexy girls” as long as the viewier is able to distinguish between sexual fantasy and reality.
    “Rapelay” on the other hand is something entirely diffrent. Raping and doing harm to innocent persons is in no way just the “sexual dream of a man”, it is a dangerous degeneration which is not very commonly found in man, there is no way you can name them in the same sentence.
    As a conlcusion I would agree, that it is indeed a very “delicate” topic but there a few things which are important for me to summarize.
    1. It is the view of the person which is most important. Most things are not inherently “bad”.
    2. Men tend to “objectify women” yes, but this isn’t bad as long as they know that sex is not everything.
    3. Erotica and things which are made to satisfy someone’s seuxal deeds are not “bad” only because they are highly sexualized. A “boys game” which features “super sexy” women (like maybe dead or alive) are not bad
    as long as it is made sure that mostly grown up “boys” play it. It won’t have necessarly a bad influence on them, it didn’t have a bad one on me and believe me I was totally into erotica after I broke with my fundamentistic worldview.
    2. Things can have more than one influence on people. Something which is bad for some like lets say shooters and erotica, can have a good one on others, depending on their mindset. It can serve as a relief, I for instance, would be much more aggressive in a world without erotica and sexualized media, since I do have a very strong sex drive and I don’t want to start a relationship only “to have sex” therefore I need things like that as a “valve”. You ask yourself why there is still a market for things like “dead or alive”? Well here is your answer. One can be mature and still have incredibly “wet fantasies”.
    4. There is no such thing like a “perfect solution” in any topic concerning morals. Therefore I don’t see it as a goal to well “fight for a world withouth any sexualisation”, my personal aim would be to have a world in which the persons are well-educated and sensitive understanding that things can be very complex and would try to change everything until THEY are happy but try to built up a society in which the most people can be happy toghether. And yes this inclueds tolerating things one might not totally like or understand.

    I hope I didn’t offend you. I just wanted to leave a comment from a totally diffrent perspective.

    • You didn’t offend me at all! I’m very grateful you took the time to comment as i’m still trying to get my head around gender issues. Other peoples opinions help me challenge what I think, because I know what I’m saying may not be “right”. I’m still learning!

      I’m a big believer that individual differences are important, and what most people see as “bad” can be misguided or misunderstood, as can things that are seen as “good”. I find it very off-putting to play games such as Dead or Alive or X Blades because of how the women look. Personally, I don’t play the game so I can be turned on by the way the character looks. When I play the game, I want to be immersed in the story and the game play. When there’s a half naked woman stealing all the focus, it ruins the game play for me. But I know that I can choose not to play the game in that case. However, as a consumer, I want games to be released that I’ll enjoy, and in a male-dominated industry I find that there are more games released that appeal to men. Obviously not all men, but if you consider biology, the sexualised women are meant to catch their attention. I’m not attacking men here, if there was a game released with an sexualised male character I’d be equally as put off. It’s not that I don’t want these games to exist, because there is a market for them and people do enjoy them, but I long for companies to step out of their risk free zones and create more experimental games that don’t have to have aspects that they know will attract a certain audience.

      I agree that erotica isn’t “bad” and of course, games that are rated 18 should not be distributed to anyone younger than that age, but even if they are, may not have a “bad” influence on them. I grew up playing Tomb Raider, whose Lara Croft character is sexualised and it hasn’t influenced me to see women in a different way. I also played many violent games that were rated 18 when I was under age, and I am not a violent person at all. Through my teenage years Halo 2 helped me vent a lot of my anger that built up during the school day, and other social issues I found frustrating. I hopefully didn’t mention that ‘there wasn’t a market for things like dead or alive’, because there always will be. I’m sure I wrote about this in my post- There will always be a market which is why companies will always make those games. As I mentioned before, that’s not a bad thing. It’s just frustrating that less games are being made that I feel comfortable playing, and that’s not too much to ask.

      I’m not sure if you were quoting me when you wrote ‘Therefore I don’t see it as a goal to well “fight for a world withouth any sexualisation”’ because I never mentioned I don’t want a world without sexualisation. I too want a world where everyone can be happy in society, but are we? I feel there’s an unequal balance, if there was balance I wouldn’t stand in a game shop and only find a few possible games that might interest me, and dismiss the rest. From a business point of view I believe game companies have so much more potential that they’re ignoring. But that is only my individual feeling towards games.

      Just a quick mention on Rapelay- It’s not the only game that’s being distributed that lets players rape women in the game. There are still games being sold in Japan that do this (there is a link on my post to an article that discusses this). So there is a market for them, even though it may be a minority. It’s was just interesting to me that no game has been released where a woman can rape an innocent boy and his older brother. I know that it is not the same as the sexualisation of women in games such as Dead or Alive, it was an extreme view stated in the same blog post.

      As I said, I’m still trying to figure it all out! Thanks again for posting, it’s nice to hear other perspectives.


  2. hey.

    Cooool blog thing, it was interesting. I have a lot of freinds reading gender study at college in sweden. Anyways, about the resident evil 5 thing. You might notice that nobody really gets mad at sheva if you play co-op. (which is the way the game is meant to be played)

    • Thanks! Yeah I’ve played it co-op and not had anyone getting mad at Sheva. It was more of an observation I found interesting. If it had of been a guy instead of her he’ll of got given the same abuse for being in the way/not doing what you want. But like I said, it was just an interesting observation, probably more relevant to getting stressed from lack of control during gaming than gender.

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