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Government Games

Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games 642

An anonymous reader writes A government-funded agency in Sweden is considering creating special labels for video games based on whether or not the games' portrayals of women are sexist. From the article: "Avoiding sexism and gender stereotypes in video games produced in Sweden will become a key goal for the association, which has been given a 272,000 kronor ($36,672) grant by Sweden's government-funded innovation agency, Vinnova. Inspired by the Bechdel test, which looks at whether fictional films or books feature at least two women talking about a topic other than men, Dataspelsbranchen will work with several game developers to analyze how Swedish video games portray female characters and gender issues.
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Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

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  • by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:19AM (#48401895)
    I personally won't care a whit about this one but more detailed ratings can only be a good thing. I envision an ecosystem of metadata ranging from "suitability for playing in a car on a laptop" to "power usage profile" It's not like the world is short on disk space.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hmm, that might not be a deterrent to sales...

  • Horribly sexist ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:20AM (#48401903)

    >based on whether or not the games' portrayals of women are sexist.

    Just for women ? That's really sexist !

    • Re:Horribly sexist ! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Fusselwurm ( 1033286 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:37AM (#48402021) Homepage

      Just for women ? That's really sexist !

      The notion that "portraying men as muscled killing machines" is a kind of sexism has not yet arrived in the mainstream.
      Which tells you interesting things about our society.

      Still: women are more likely to be displayed in roles perceived as *de*grading, whereas men are portrayed with attributes perceived as positive (strength, power, etc). So the problem of sexism against females should get priority imho.

      • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:46AM (#48402129) Journal

        The notion that "portraying men as muscled killing machines" is a kind of sexism has not yet arrived in the mainstream.
        Which tells you interesting things about our society.

        Yeah - it basically means that male humans aren't generally hung up on that kind of 'OMG impossible body-image expectations for boys to reach!!111!' bullshit.

      • by codebonobo ( 2762819 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @12:16PM (#48402449)

        Just for women ? That's really sexist !

        The notion that "portraying men as muscled killing machines" is a kind of sexism has not yet arrived in the mainstream. Which tells you interesting things about our society.

        Still: women are more likely to be displayed in roles perceived as *de*grading, whereas men are portrayed with attributes perceived as positive (strength, power, etc). So the problem of sexism against females should get priority imho.

        Portraying men as sex addicted, killing machine simpletons is degrading to the male gender. Many feminists would disagree with you and suggest that female sexuality if empowering.

    • Horribly sexist ! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:58AM (#48402263)

      Welcome to double standards. It's OK for women to be sexist. Nobody is going after entertainment women enjoy like fashion gossip magazines, and trashy novels where men physically and mentally abuse women.

  • How about dropping the pretense and going with 'sexy' instead?

    Let's see you sell them games as "free of any sexy", "does not contain sexy", or the R rated "may contain traces of sexy".

    • by halivar ( 535827 ) <bfelger@gm a i l . c om> on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:29AM (#48401961)

      It's not feminism anymore; it's puritanism. Another case: we landed a probe on a comet and all we can talk about is a fucking shirt.

      • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:50AM (#48402173) Journal

        Damn - where are mod points where you need them?

        Now if that scientists had looked dead into the camera and said "Yeah, it's a nice shirt a ladyfriend of mine designed, and I wore it as a favor to her. Don't like it? Get the sand outta yer vag and shut the fuck up", I think I would have fell out of my chair in trying to get up and cheer... and so would most other men.

  • Whoa whoa whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tyr07 ( 2300912 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:23AM (#48401921) Homepage

    Sexist is just for fucking women now? Fuck you. Avoid gender stereotypes? Fine, I'm okay if you want to label it, but what's good for the gander is good for the goose.

    Take out sexism and gender stereo types for men too. If there is anyone in beefy 8 packs, with blowing everything up, that's unrealistic for men, so put a rating on it. We need to protect women and men from unrealistic views.

    Here is what you're really doing and where my problem lies, it's not that you're trying to protect women from the games, you are trying to label men.

    Oh, you buy sexist video games, you must be sexist. Yeah, better stop anyone from liking things you don't desire with social manipulation, sounds about right.
    Equality - Men are no better than women, and vice versa, you know how many of my female friends gush over fabio, the lean body with tone and beautiful hair? It's not realistic, most men do not look that way.

    But that's fine. However if men do the same thing, whooboy, sexist.

  • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:32AM (#48401983) Homepage
    Time to get that dot eatting trollop. Running around with none thing else but a pink bow tie, not even strategically placed.
    Not to mention the various displays she allowed of herself on the arcade cabinet.
  • We have a thread which combines sexism, video gamine, (and therefore implicitly gamergate), censorship, Europe and politics. I have a bag of popcorn and karma to burn. I better go clear my schedule for this afternoon because I predict this will be a fun thread.

  • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:36AM (#48402011) Homepage

    Well it's about time...the vast cultural influence of Swedish video games here in the United States has just been too much. My brother got hooked on "Lutefisk Avenger," like he just can't stop playing it. I thought it was a bad sign when he re-designed his kitchen to look more like an IKEA showroom. Then he put mayonnaise in a toothpaste tube! If he starts becoming a computer hacker who fights Nazis I am going to have to take away his Super Nintendo.

    • by pehrs ( 690959 )

      You have no idea of what impact Sweden has on the computer game market, do you? Sweden is a big player in the computer game industry. Companies like Avalanche, EA Dice, GRIN, King, Massive, Mojang, Overkill, Paradox and Starbreeze are all based in Sweden.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

  • Is it like a quality seal?

    • by fey000 ( 1374173 )

      Is it like a quality seal?

      Yes, except in Norway cause that didn't work so well last time.

  • doesn't have a monopoly on stupid (especially where gov't is concerned).

  • Counterproductive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:43AM (#48402087)

    1 - Label to specify what games contain sexy women.
    2 - Sell labelled games more, because sex sells (news at 11).
    3 - More and more games introduce sexist content just to get the label.
    4 - ... Slow clap?

  • SJW Infection (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Another example of feminism trying to impose its will upon every facet of life. And they feel completely entitled in doing so because they believe their narrative is the only valid worldview. And if you don't agree in every way you are a bigot and they will bully and shame you into oblivion until you capitulate under the social pressure. Like they did with the poor guy on the comet lander team.

    And, of course, this label will be evaluated entirely upon the sexist depictions of only women, because we all know

    • Another example of feminism trying to impose its will upon every facet of life.

      Wow looks like we have a butthurt gater dudebro here.

      Apparently someone giving a small grant to study whether simply labelling some games would be a good idea is "feminism trying to impose its will upon every facet of life".

      No one's forcing "your" games to change. No one's even labelling them. Someone somewhere is investigating whether it may or may not be a good idea. If you think that's a massive grand conspiracy against the du

  • by DumbSwede ( 521261 ) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:45AM (#48402113) Homepage Journal

    I would give Negative grades for each of the following:

    Violence
    Nudity
    Sexism
    Racism/Stereotyping (including slights to LGBT society)
    Culturally insensitive
    Religiously Intolerant
    Religious Indoctrination
    Politically Driven Agenda
    Historically Inaccurate

    Positive Grades for These:

    Educational
    Social Responsible
    Mentally Stimulating
    Historically Accurate

    And an overall aggregate score

    Granted things like Politically Driven Agenda would be hotly contested every time and couldn’t possibly work in the real world, but this would be a near ideal list. As long as it isn’t censorship what’s wrong with full disclosure. If a game would be embarrassed to be labeled Sexism Level 4, then maybe they need to dial back the bikini babes at the race start. I wouldn't want to get too carried away with categories, others may suggest a few more, but if we keep it to under 20 that shouldn't be too over the top, more like a list of ingredients in prepackaged food.

    • If a game would be embarrassed to be labeled Sexism Level 4, then maybe they need to dial back the bikini babes at the race start.

      And which game would that be, my good sir?

  • Because.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Libertarian_Geek ( 691416 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:46AM (#48402133)
    Tell me again what this label is supposed to accomplish: Warning - Sexist Content

    Tell me again what this label actually accomplished: Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics

    hmmmm
  • #gamergate (Score:4, Funny)

    by emblemparade ( 774653 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:48AM (#48402145)

    OK, my fellow gamergaters, it's time to dox Sweden!

    She lives just east of Norway and west of Finland. Make sure to visit that feminazi every day and teach her the consequences of trying to censor all games and force us to play Depression Quest!

    Together we will fight to guarantee better ethics in game journalism.

    • Are such ratings about censoring, or just proper labelling?

      I for one, would like an extra tag to filter out which games are worth playing. Nudge, nudge. Wink wink. Say no more.

  • It's a stupid test (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DCFC ( 933633 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:56AM (#48402233)

    Imagine that we believe that "two women talking about something other than men" was a good test, we'd therefore lose:

    Colonel Samantha Carter, PhD Physicist, intergalactic heroine, smarter than God. Can program, fly fighter jets & alien spaceships, shoot and do things that they don't bother to explain because they are simply beyond us poor males to understand. So that's Stargate gone.

    Lt Uhura: Dr Martin Luther King who *some people* see as quite into rights loudly praised her character, but I can't recall her talking to women much, except maybe some of the aliens might have been female, so that's Star Trek gone.

    ST in it's various forms look remarkably feminist (usually) women commanded warships in ST long before the US Navy let them, they are engineers, scientists, doctors and of course inexplicable nexus of unknown forces.

    Ripley from Alien, Aliens, Alien3, Return of the Alien, The Alien strikes back, Alien Resuscitation. Smart, hard, no bimbo, the Aliens are apparently female, she kills them, conversation with them is rare. The men are a) weak, b) stupid, c) dishonest, d) weak, stupid and dishonest

    X-Files : Scully is smart and hardly ever talks to women.

    Agents of SHIELD: Loads of women programming, analysing and occasionally shooting at people. The inter-female dialog is rare.

    Babylon 5: Strong women, being heads of security, scientists, highly cultured aliens.

    Torchwood : Strong female lead, again almost no inter-female dialog.

    Under the Dome : The main character is a strong woman, all the weak bad people are men

    Terminator 1,2,3, Sarah Connor : Oh look ! what a surprise a strong woman in a world of defective men

    I've not yet seen Interstellar, but let me guess, the women in it are smart and honest and whoever is screwing things up is a man ?

    I can't be the only person who's noticed that in many SciFi and action films a dumb American male is accompanied by a highly educated woman who actually understands what is going on, whilst he shoots at it.

    • by Zembar ( 803935 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @12:48PM (#48402797)

      We wouldn't lose these things.

      Ripley talks to several women, and not about men or sex either. Mostly it's about killing monsters. For obvious reasons.
      Amanda Carter talks to several women, about science and whatnot.
      Babylon 5, where Talia Winters and Susan Ivanova spend much time debating the ethic of Psi-Corps, later hinting that they've begun some sort of relationship.
      Torchwood: Everyone in that series talks almost incessantly about sex and stuff, I think those bits are juvenile, to be honest.
      Agents of SHIELD, where Melina and Skye talk about their missions, training, Skye's childhood etc, etc

      I could go through all your examples, but there are beers that need drinking.

    • Don't forget that you're also introducing the concept of "losing" media that doesn't pass this test. Literally no-one is advocating for bans on sexist media, except perhaps folks as thick-headed and fringe as the ones who don't think sexism is a problem.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Colonel Samantha Carter

      She had conversations with numerous other women about things other than men, notably with the female doctor about the health of other female staff and aliens.

      Lt Uhura

      The original was a pioneer in her time, but that doesn't mean she was perfect. The new one is terrible, basically just there to provide comedy and strife for Spock and no story/personality of her own.

      Scully is smart and hardly ever talks to women.

      True, there was definitely a lack of female characters in the X-Files.

      Babylon 5

      Similar to the X-Files, the few noteworthy female characters suffered from only havi

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @11:58AM (#48402257) Journal

    Wait, are women independent self-aware creatures fully capable of being anything and doing anything they want, or are they hothouse flowers who need rigorous and pervasive government protections (and of course ample funding) to ensure that their delicate sensibilities aren't offended by coarse language?

    Maybe their message of "don't treat me as a sexual object all the time" would be more persuasive if the internet wasn't full of 8 million new pictures EVERY DAY day of ducklipped skanks' selfies of their tits, ass, or other body parts?

    Hey, I DO get it: just because millions of women are ho's, doesn't ipso facto mean ALL women are ho's - that's obvious. But to then castigate men for not immediately recognizing which are which seems a wee bit unfair, no?

    The boundary line is pretty fucking gray, and constantly shifting, especially when there seem to be many many women who aren't ACTUALLY ho's but want to seem like they are for the attention?

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @12:08PM (#48402363) Journal
    I'm not really sure basing your criteria on a setup to a joke in a comic strip is the best mechanism. Epecially since it's a test that Run Lola Run, and Gravity both fail, and Flash Gordon and Twilight both pass.
  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @12:09PM (#48402377) Journal

    Since any portrayal whatsoever of women, or no portrayal at all, can be deemed "sexist", and that same portrayal or lack of portrayal can be deemed "not sexist", depending entirely on who made the game, it will be a very simple rating -- 100% sexist if made by a man or a woman who is not a third-wave feminist. 0% sexist if made by exclusively by third-wave feminists.

  • Sweeden (Score:5, Funny)

    by donscarletti ( 569232 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @12:20PM (#48402499)

    As far as I know, the Swedish game industry consists of DiCE (Battlefield series: faceless men with guns + bugs. Mirror's Edge: slightly poorly thought out controls + bugs), Arrowhead (faceless mages + bugs) and Coffee Stain Studios (goats + bugs). It seems like Swedish game developers have a huge struggle against writing code that actually does what it is supposed to, not in its representation of female characters. It has gotten to the point that until you see a Swedish game in the "bargain bin" at your games retailer that it is guaranteed that won't be patched to a playable state yet.

    It seems that since King Gustavus Adolphus or whoever the hell it was convinced the vikings to stop going on voyages to rape remote villages and settle down to do "civilized" work that entire country has been writing code the way that IKIA builds furniture, by which I mean that it is good for the first ten iterations and then crashes hard thereafter. I have yet to play a Swedish game that has remained stable for long enough to degrade women before it runs out of memory, reads from/writes to a null pointer, totally screws up the render state or overwrites a vertex buffer with random garbage.

    Seriously, look at your supposed "retard cousin" next door Finland, does Trine crash? Does Angry Birds crash? How about Crayon Physics, Super Stardust or Clash of Clans? No, they run beautifully and smoothly. And does anyone give a shit that the Theif in Trine covers her face and not her legs? No, not even Germaine Grier, Simone de Beauvoir or any of your feminist type authors would pick a deeply nuanced female character over one that actually runs for 10 minutes without crashing. I mean, how could you be a female role model while accessing a null pointer.

    Seriously Sweden, you have to learn to code before you get all preachy on us all.

  • by liquid_schwartz ( 530085 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @12:29PM (#48402583)
    PC gaming used to mean that it was played on computers as opposed to consoles. Now PC gaming has taken on a whole new meaning...
  • by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @12:49PM (#48402819)

    Some people would say the Tomb Raider games are sexist, because of the way Lara Croft is modeled. But she's a strong, indepedent, intelligent, and very capable individual. I think she's a great role model for my 12-year-old daughter. If I buy the next Tomb Raider game for her, will I be labeled sexist?

    • Well, unless the Tomb Raider games have improved: don't.

      Run down the corridor haha! You've been killed by the invisible spike pit.

      OK. Reload.

      Run down the corridor jump the invisible spike pit haha you've been killed by a bolder dropping on your head you had no chance of ever seeing.

      OK fine. Reload

      Run down the corridor, jump the invisible spike pit. Stop and back up 3mm to avoid the boulder. Go forward and round the corner and bam you've just been splatted by the very well hidden spike hurling machine.

      etc.

      Th

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