I’ve read a few articles lately that talk about how there are some men out there that look for a woman’s opinion before feeling okay about something. Leigh Alexander of Sexy Videogameland had an article about how she’s not just a woman, but a person too. It’s a valid concern, as women are seen as a minority in the business and thus assumed to have different–and specific–views and concerns on various issues, which are often times true.
Racial, sexual and lifestyle diversity is incredibly important to the entertainment industry specifically, and all industries generally. Fresh ideas that draw in new consumers rarely come about because the company kept the same staff for 20 years and kept making the same games – they just got better at honing their craft at one type of thing, which is what some game developers require. But even when, say, making the newest Madden Sports game, you still require fresh ideas and insights on your games to keep your consumers loyal in the long term.
It’s not a bad thing to look to a woman you respect and admire for her viewpoint on something, because you don’t feel you’re properly evaluating something. Maybe you worry that you feel something is fine, but you’re concerned that it might offend someone. Maybe you really, really like the new Catwoman because she’s sexy and powerful and strong, but you worry that maybe she’s a bad role model for women, so you go to your favourite female writers to see if they had any insight on it.
If only more people were like you, wanting to get diverse opinions on something before diving in! Truly! That’s an absolutely amazing trait to possess, and I think we should reward people who want to find varying opinions that question their own values and ideas.
And yet I understand her conundrum. She’s one woman, in a sea of women. She might think the new Catwoman is rad and a great role model for women! Ah, but then there’s another woman over here that you agree with on a lot of things but thinks unnecessarily sexing her up has detracted from her appeal as a strong female character.
One woman saying that something is okay doesn’t mean that all women will agree. One woman saying something is okay, doesn’t mean all women think it’s okay. I know that logically people know this – but sometimes, we forget.
There’s a new game coming out named Skullgirls that’s a traditional style fighting game, with beautiful women. It came under attack as being sexist, because sometimes when the women move, their breasts succumb to gravity. When they kick in their skirt, you can see between their legs to their panties.
Peter Bartholow, lead developer for Revenge Labs, said he’s gotten a lot of comments from males about the sexist nature of this game. Firstly, holy crap, that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. The idea that men are thinking about this, that they’re troubled about over sexualisation and trivialization of women is just so pleasing to me. That’s an excellent step towards becoming more analytical about the media we consume, and I whole-heartedly support it.
He went on to say that some men then become suddenly comfortable with the game once told that the lead designer is a woman.
So what causes this shift? The idea that women can’t be sexist or objectify women? I assure you, we can, and do, and are. Does it just simply make it okay when a group makes something that might be perceived as offensive when it’s targeted at them? Think of black comedians making jokes at their races expense – does that make it okay?
There’s a wide, wide variety of viewpoints on the subject.
On the promotional material for the game itself? I didn’t think it was sexist. Sure, I got some panty shots. Cammie fights in her panties. It’s highly stylized and looks pretty damn cute so far. Does it mean that it’s not sexist? Well, in my eyes, no. In someone else’s? Yea.
So consider other people’s opinions, especially those of people you respect, but in the end, no one can give you permission to find something acceptable. That has to come from you.