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I’m Proud Of My Sexualization in Gaming

by on September 9, 2013
 

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How do I put this without coming off as a bitch?

Crap. I don’t think I can. Well let me put it another way; Women will never appreciate the power they have. Feminism is a fantastic idea bogged down by terrible stereotypes and horrible tangents about things that really aren’t all that big a deal. For an idea that says we should be proud of our gender and our sexuality, it certainly seems to hate if we ever APPRECIATE our sexuality. Maybe I’m WAY off, but still, it seems that women get mad at other women whenever we promote our bodies, our love of our bodies or how good we think we look in general. I think women should appreciate the power of sexuality they have MORE. Take it in stride. We often say, “Hey, we’re not just a piece of meat!” which is true, but to an extent we can use that train of thought to our own advantage can’t we?

This is what makes the whole Metal Gear Solid debacle hard to pin down.

Now, there’s the obviously moral thing that’s wrong with this situation in that if a character is sexualized to the point of it just selling units then yeah that’s a little questionable. However, if a character is just ok with her sexuality-it’s a personality trait of hers and that’s how she’s decided to portray herself-then I don’t really see the problem. Frankly, I’m flattered when I’m told I’m sexy or attractive or hit on. And of course, it possibly depends on the womans perspective. It could just be a personal preference to not want to be thought of as sexy in general because you think it takes away from your other traits. Sure. I can get behind that. We SHOULD be respected for our minds. But that doesn’t mean we should stop being thankful for how good we look. I personally don’t think people buy games because there’s a sexy female character anyway. I mean, people seem to have bought Tomb Raider because it was a great game, not because Laura Croft was gorgeous. I’m a lesbian and even I bought it because I thought it would be fun as all hell and that’s coming from someone who HATED the previous games purely from a gameplay perspective. Saying that sexualized female characters are what sell units is just as dumb as when people said the Bioshock Infinite cover is what would deter people from buying units. Honestly, in this day and age what people want is something that’s fun and has a good story and is well made overall. I don’t think the majority of gamers out there are of the 90s sexy mentality anymore. I really don’t.

Now granted there’s the obvious misogynistic 15 year old that we all run into from time to time, but for the most part in the gaming culture I rarely see people discussing sexy female characters. A lot of people have to note the hypocrisy to this too, right? It’s a double sided coin because here’s a guy making this game-a very well respected, well liked guy who’s had a phenomenal career in the industry-who’s making this character sexualized and people lose their shit over it because he’s the other gender, but if a woman did this we’d applaud her for being brave and not falling into the safe guidelines they try to set. Or, a lot would, and then a lot would say she’s bringing a bad name to the gender because of what she’s done.

“Who is she to say this is ok!?”

It seems to me that ironically, us women are more sexist because we assume men are.

I think what this boils down to ultimately is that it’s not a sex thing, it’s not a gender thing…frankly I see it as a marketing ploy.

Hideo Kojima is a smart man, he knows what he’s doing and the best way to get and keep people interested in your product is to make them discuss it, and what-especially on the internet-gets people discuss things more than anything else? Anger. Debates. Rage. The internet is fueled by hatred, especially in the gaming culture, and he knows this, and he’s doing this to get people to buy the game. He knows exactly. what. he’s. doing. You stay relevant by being discussed. His game will sell billions of units and then this will blow over for the next big thing. This is what has happened and this is what will ALWAYS happen. As I said above, is it morally right to do this? To present a sexualized female character just for the sales aspect? It really depends. We haven’t played the game yet so it’s stupid to think that we can even properly discuss this issue with having no real hands on experience. I think we all just need to calm down and wait it out and then maybe come back and discuss it once we see it in action for ourselves.

Or maybe I’m just a raging lunatic and a bad addition to my sex. Either one works I guess.

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  • Avatar of Ryan Bates
    September 10, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    I want to wait to see the character in action. I agree that there’s nothing wrong with being sexy, but if she’s just T&A then misogyny wins.

    “I personally don’t think people buy games because there’s a sexy female character anyway.” Rly srsly? “Dead or Alive” series. I really shouldn’t have to go beyond that, but let me also throw in “Dragon’s Crown,” “Catherine” (which was actually a good game, luckily) and about half of the fighting series in existence. Hello, Orchid’s finisher.

    Like I said, I’m waiting to see how the character exists in the scope of the game, but I have a hard time agreeing with your viewpoint.

    Well written article, though.

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  • Avatar of Ramon Aranda
    September 11, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Really cool piece Maggie!

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    • Kamille
      September 11, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      “Hideo Kojima is a smart man, he knows what he’s doing”

      Then Raiden gets crushed by Outer Heaven in MGS4, the triple cross or was it the quad cross in the ending of MGS3? And let’s not even talk about MGS2 and how ridiculously retarded the story was for that game. I know Kojima makes good games and the stories are often entertaining even with all its plotholes and nonsense but you guys put too much faith on him and the reality is that he’s just like David Cage, a frustrated movie director.

      And I really don’t give a crap about sexism, I mean, I watch anime, I have played some eroges and stuff, so what’s more rotten than that? But my main problem with Quiet is not her sexyness but how incredibly ridiculous and retarded her outfit is. She’s wearing a freaking black bikini and a pantyhose! And I hope that’s is not her main outfit through all the game because not even the theory of chameleon abilities will be able to make her look less tacky. This is more than just a couple of joke scenes of Raiden running around nuked or shirtless Vamp… I mean, her main outfit are some broken stockings and a bikini? Really? MGS has always been ridiculous but this is in a whole new level of dumb.

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      • Avatar of maggiewiland
        September 11, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        “but you guys put too much faith on him”

        You should be made aware that I hate MGS, have never beaten a game or played one to completion and what I meant was by a marketing mind, he knows what he is doing.

        That’s all I have to say in response to this.

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  • Battle
    September 11, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t saying: “We often say, “Hey, we’re not just a piece of meat!” which is true, but to an extent we can use that train of thought to our own advantage can’t we?” like saying
    ‘don’t treat us like meat, but let us act as if we are’???

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    • Avatar of maggiewiland
      September 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      You could interpret it that way but I meant it more like we shouldn’t be afraid to use our sexuality and our body the way people perceive us. Also, I write stream of conscious so that maybe wasn’t the best way to put it but fuck it.

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      • Battle
        September 11, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        “Also, I write stream of conscious so that maybe wasn’t the best way to put it but fuck it.”

        Legit reply

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  • valdamor
    September 11, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Honestly, I don’t think your views are incompatible with Feminism. It’s a big umbrella with a lot of factions and disagreements. Often it gets misunderstood as a single orthodoxy with rules and regulations, but that is not the case.

    I guess the best example I can give is that where I live I did attend one meeting of the Feminist Society on campus. I felt very frustrated by the experience, but wasn’t really sure what to make of it. The sticking point for me was when I was told that I did not understand American displays of Masculinity. (For disclosure and context I am a cis straight white male living abroad.)

    I tried to explain how I was taught to display masculinity, but was outright talked over and dismissed. The person was using a very local definition of masculinity as about being very repressed and controlled (like Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins). I tried to argue that the bulging rippling muscles of the characters where a sign that they were meant to be read as masculine by an American audience. While emotional repression was a factor, much of the way gender was displayed in the movie was through very physical displays. And no one listened to me, despite the fact that I was the only American (let alone American male) in the room.

    Eventually I ran into someone else in town, and she had similar experiences. The group had a tendency to explain homosexuality to her, despite her trying to remind them that she was, in fact, a lesbian. She was also frustrated with the group.

    However, I don’t see it as all Feminism being unwilling to examine or reflect. I don’t see it as all Feminism being dismissive. The local group, of well meaning people, at this one particular institution was a closed off and blinded by culture and privilege. Yet, I have met other Feminist who aren’t like that.

    As someone who considers himself a Feminist, I liked your article and felt it raised valid points. I don’t agree with it entirely, but I do understand your point about being comfortable with your body and sexuality is not the same as being turned into an object. I will confess to not following the latest Metal Gear Game news, so I won’t comment much on that directly. I’ll wait and see what the game is like when it comes out.

    However, I can think of some outcries that ended up being entirely justified. Duke Nukem Forever had a press release in a strip club, and well … we all know how that game turned out. I can’t figure out if I changed since I played the original, or if the game changed. Something about it felt like it was just using sexuality to cash in and not to comment.

    I would argue that using sexuality to market a game is potentially very problematic. In context, sex becomes a currency used to purchase customer awareness. There is a power dynamic there that could go awry very easily.

    Well, I’ve rambled enough for now. Please keep in mind that while there are people who identify as Feminist who will try to codify what a woman should argue or believe there are many people who do identify as Feminist who would not do so.

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