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Getting Misogyny, Racism and Homophobia Out of Gaming 704

An anonymous reader writes "A central theme for several talks at this week's Game Developers Conference has been how to deal with the abuse generated by a small segment of gamers. BioWare's Manveer Heir says he wants the industry to stop being scared of challenging the most outspoken and vituperative members of the gaming community. His GDC talk focused on 'misogyny, sexism, racism, ethnocentrism, nationalism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, queerphobia and other types of social injustice.' He said, 'We should use the ability of our medium to show players the issues first-hand, or give them a unique understanding of the issues and complexities by crafting game mechanics along with narrative components that result in dynamics of play that create meaning for the player in ways that other media isn't capable of.' Meanwhile, Adam Orth, who became the center of an internet hatestorm last year after an offhand comment about always-online DRM, said game developers should make an effort to encourage their playerbase to behave in a more civilized manner."
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Getting Misogyny, Racism and Homophobia Out of Gaming

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  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @07:19PM (#46547633)

    Gaming is one of the last bastions where political incorrectness survives. I hope it will stay that way and that gaming won't get invaded by the armies of the politically correct spoilsports. And, yes, I am a minority and a target of some of these "-isms" and "-phobias".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2014 @07:57PM (#46547913)

    I know reading the article is against ther terms of service here or something, but most of the points the speaker seemed to be making were more about equal representation in games, and how we can do better than having most games stars straight white males. The argument that audiences can't connect with characters of other colors, genders, ages, sexual orientations, or gender identity is suspect, given the diversity of the gaming population.

    There's a difference between this and "political correctness" or "feminism", or "The LGBT agenda" people are so quick to demonize. An argument that we should have a richer pool of stories to experience is pretty hard to argue with, if you ask me.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @08:16PM (#46548041) Homepage

    Every time I turn around there's a new -ism we never knew about. As long as there is a concept of race, there will be racism. As long as there is a concept of sex, there will be sexism. As long as we have an age, a religion, a sexual orientation, there's an -ism for that. And you know what? I think it's okay. Because that's exactly how the human brain... no scratch that, that's how all animal brains work.

    We 'compress' knowledge and understanding into collections of criteria. Hot, cold, tall, short, heavy, light, blue, red and on and on. It's literally built into the mechanics of our animal brains and someone is out there trying to tell you that your brain is WRONG for thinking the way it does. Interestingly, unless these people people are from another planet (that's a whole different conspiracy discussion) they ALSO have animal brains and think that way. Of course, to think that way, you're supposed to hate yourself for being (white, black, male, female, straight or gay) and want to die.

    So I ask you all. Who is frikken tired of this crap!?

  • by noh8rz10 ( 2716597 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @09:14PM (#46548329)

    i don't really see any feminist activities these days, only people blaming feminism for stuff.

  • by VikingNation ( 1946892 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @09:16PM (#46548345)
    I wonder do male gamers with daughters think differently about games that promote violence against women then single male gamers with no children? As a father of girls I cannot in a clear coconscious buy games that have sexists concepts and promote violence against women.
  • by schnell ( 163007 ) <me.schnell@net> on Friday March 21, 2014 @10:14PM (#46548633) Homepage

    At some point they go beyond improvement, then to parody, then to active harm of others. Too many groups keep going long after the problem is solved

    Very true. It can be argued that the same statement is true of labor unions, for example.

    I think if you look deeply today, you'll find two major schools of "feminism" - the "academic" and the "popular." The "academic" branch of feminism - like all academia - is safely removed from the real world and traffics mainly in the Andrea Dworkin "all heterosexual intercourse is rape" [] and Starhawk []-style schools of radical feminism. This is a holdout from pre-'80s feminism and remains the intellectual vanguard of feminism but is a small niche among women. It is, however, what Rush Limbaugh used to call "Feminazis" and Fox News still likes to call "feminism."

    Popular feminism today more or less equates to what Wikipedia describes as "post-feminism" - a school of thought that basically argues that women have overcome many of the blatantly discriminatory issues of the past and need to focus on more practical issues like wage discrimination, workplace sexual harassment, etc. rather than the academic "feminist" utopian vision of a matriarchal world where everyone lives by consensus, sharing of feelings and government mandated mani-pedi sessions (except for the "butch partner" lesbians who can opt out).

    All joking aside, "feminism" is not only fractured among multiple groups, but the mainstream idea of feminism today that most women subscribe to has nothing to do with the academic, radical-driven "feminism" of the 1970s that scared the bejeezus out of conservatives (and most heterosexual men). Like most things, it has evolved into something more mature and sustainable.

    If you're interested in how "feminism" has meant many things over the years, the Wikipedia entry on Feminism [] is not a bad primer, although its editors skew towards the academic side.

  • by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @10:21PM (#46548661)

    I gather at least some of the complaints about the game industry is that the scenario you've outlined doesn't ever happen. Instead, openly gay characters are rare to the point of nonexistent in games. The closest we come is the androgynous characters of Japanese-made games. On rare occasions, one of those androgynous characters turns out to be a gay guy—in the Japanese version. When the game is translated for the US audience, somehow that aspect of the character mysteriously vanishes. Similarly, characters who are physically disabled are very rare, unless you count grotesque cyborgs, who are invariably evil.

    Until recently, the only people with dark skin in games were non-human, and essentially all of them were evil. Because everyone knows demons are swarthy, right? That built-in bias is still phenomenally powerful. In the movie Constantine, the archangel Gabriel was written as evil, while being portrayed by a lily-white actress. The intent was to be shocking, and the casting very much reflected the societal assumption that white is good, dark is bad, and the violated expectation was part and parcel of the affect the movie wanted to have. That movie was released in 2005. Thirty years after the American civil rights movement, Hollywood still taps in to that cultural expectation, despite a generation of heavy political correctness in a much more visible medium than games. What chance do games have, in the face of that?

    These people and others like them are making the proposition that games should become part of the engine of social engineering that has made such a ham-fisted mess of television and movies, particularly for children. They think that games are for kids, and should therefore be used to condition children the same way they try to use TV. It would be unfortunate if that were to happen. If games are to have any hope of being recognized as art, they have to be culturally relevant, and not be used as a bludgeon against culture.

    When a game manages to highlight a social injustice without feeling like a bludgeon, then maybe there will be art.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2014 @10:23PM (#46548669)

    No, I'm not marry-your-stepgranddaughter-a-phobic.... I'm just put-off by the sorts of warped dirty old men who are loved by Hollywood while they take advantage of their parental roles to pursue intimate relationships with vulnerable people whom they SHOULD be parenting/mentoring ..... and appalled that modern society is decaying so fast that these people feel comfortable publicly condemning normal decent people. This also applies to famous directors marrying their stepdaughters, famous directors drugging and raping underage girls, etc. (if you cannot figure out the references than you have not been paying attention to the people who have been "entertaining" you)

    Before we get all wrapped-up in arguments about removing WORDS "spoken" by imaginary characters in video games, how about we do something about REAL molestations, improprieties and abuses taking place IN THE REAL WORLD. Not too long ago, we were bombarded by left-wing cries of "war on women" and told that there was an "epidemic" of "sexual harassment" which was frequently defined (by left-wing feminists) as a man being sexually involved with a woman of lesser political/social/career/etc power. The man in any such power-imbalanced relationship was presumed to be wrong becasue the very existence of an imbalance of power meant the woman was not truly freely involved. Of course, the left dropped most of that when Bill Clinton was caught molesting the intern (and the secretary, and the campaign worker, etc) but by THOSE standards, all the previously-mentioned Hollywood types SHOULD get the scorn of the left. They don't of course, because for progressives "the ends justify the means" and if those men of Hollywood are generally advancing progressivism then "how important are a few young women?"

    Oh, and since you brought it up, there is no such thing as "homophobia". Phobias are medically-defined irrational fears. "Homophobia" was a word created and pushed by gay activists as a political attack on their opponents; as such it is no more valid or reasonable a moniker than ANY political label applied to gays by straights who oppose homosexuality. Back then, AIDS was spreading like wildfire through their communities and many saw them as diseased and noted that they refused to do anything (like close the "bathhouses") to stem the tide of the then-still-not-understood disease... so the activists sought to use a political attack that would paint their critics as diseased as well. As a political tactic, it worked rather well (given that the media was sympathetic to them and eager to push their propaganda) but it was still just that - propaganda and no more valid than anything Leni Riefanstahl pumped-out. People who oppose homosexual activity based on the belief that such activity is dysfunctional/backward/sinful/dangerous/etc (for WHATEVER reasons, possibly religious, possibly they simply see the activity as contrary to the best interest of human evolution, or possibly they're just personally disgusted like vegans looking at a plate of bacon) are nothing more and nothing less than people with opinions and beliefs; no "phobias" are involved.

Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute.