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Default Gamasutra - Male Gaze and Video games

July 1st, 2012, 23:34
Brandon Sheffield from EIC has written a lengthy editorial on Gamasutra about this issue. He uses the Hitman: Absolution trailer as a foundation for his statement about how women is still being used to show
boobs and butts, not only in games, but within the culture at large, saying this is a natural extension of who we put in charge.
The link to the article:
http://gamasutra.com/view/news/173227/
Opinion_Video_games_and_Male_Gaze__are_we_men_or_b oys.php


A quote then about the Male Gaze:
Male Gaze, then, has to do with the relationship between a heterosexual male viewer, and a female that is being viewed. The theory poses that in media like film, photography, and I would here add games, when a heterosexual male is in charge of the viewing of a female, the resulting media necessarily reflects that male's gaze. In the case of games, this may be more of a collective gaze.
More information.
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July 1st, 2012, 23:34
This is supposed to be what? Deeply insightful?
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July 1st, 2012, 23:51
Me man, like boobs.
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July 2nd, 2012, 00:58
Very good theory - and absolutely right.

This is a meta discussion, not so much about practical results !

About 90 % of all game developing studios are doninated by men - and you can clearly see it by the way women are decipted in "their" games.

The more clichι-like women are shown in games, the more likely this is the result of a male-dominated developing studio, I assume.

And - of course - this is kind of an answer to the last article at 1UP

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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July 2nd, 2012, 01:48
"When people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character, they're more like, 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of, 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.'"
Wha!? I'm not going to protect her, I'm going to get her killed. My SSD drive will protect her via save games. (Hopefully that will be plural instead of having some checkpoint one-save-only system.)

I'm not totally sure what this 'project into the character' thing is about, either. With RPGs I can typically make up some character traits and try to play the character that way but with something like a Tomb Raider game? Lara (or Duke Nuke'm or whoever) is really just my way to interact with the game. I don't project myself into the character any more than I project myself into my mouse pointer when I'm using Windows.
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July 2nd, 2012, 02:27
During my media studies at university some 14 years ago, we applied this concept of the "male gaze" to cinema via feminist theory - Laura Mulvey to be precise.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaze#Th…eminist_theory

So for me, this comes as no surprise to see it being applied here; my only question is what took them so long to write such an article?

The most obvious example in recent times that I can think of where a game is obviously very consciously operating within this "male gaze" theory, is from several fetishistic tracking camera shots of Miranda's butt in Mass Effect 2. It lead to many quips I remember of Bioware really putting the Ass into mAss effect.

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July 2nd, 2012, 02:40
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
It lead to many quips I remember of Bioware really putting the Ass into mAss effect.
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July 2nd, 2012, 02:41
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
So for me, this comes as no surprise to see it being applied here; my only question is what took them so long to write such an article?
Yeah, it is very "no shit Sherlock?" Mostly male devs trying to sell games to mostly male audience.
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July 2nd, 2012, 02:54
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Me man, like boobs.
Well yeah the bigger the better for me. I have standards you know. Sex sells get over it people it's not going to change anytime soon.

Originally Posted by SpoonFULL View Post

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July 2nd, 2012, 04:24
Women are just as bad as men when it comes to this. Don't believe me, pick up one of your wives romance novels. It's basically porn in writing through a women's eyes and they use men as sex objects every bit as much as men use women. My wife justifies it by saying there's no pictures but i'd say whats in writing is much more graphic than most porn I've seen.

I also was sober cab for my wife and a few of her friends for a bachelorette party that had male strippers. Trust me they are no better than us men. they are just better at hiding it. There is definitely a female gaze.
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July 2nd, 2012, 04:28
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July 2nd, 2012, 06:53
if you need to rely on breasts to sell your game, you undervalue your product by essentially admitting it can't get attention on its own
i don't see why a game has to rely in pixelated tits to sell , of course they add value but only when they bounce .
is this article targeting women games ?
Last edited by Tragos; July 2nd, 2012 at 12:08.
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July 2nd, 2012, 10:36
Originally Posted by sakichop View Post
Women are just as bad as men when it comes to this. Don't believe me, pick up one of your wives romance novels. It's basically porn in writing through a women's eyes and they use men as sex objects every bit as much as men use women. My wife justifies it by saying there's no pictures but i'd say whats in writing is much more graphic than most porn I've seen.
This idea/perceiving [spelling ?] isn't new. I encountered it for the first time in the book "Why men are the way they are" (written by one Warren Farrell) in I think it was 1985 or 1986.

Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
So for me, this comes as no surprise to see it being applied here; my only question is what took them so long to write such an article?
A few points :

- It is an "open secret" or a "well-known secret", as we say here
- no-one talks about it because it is so obvious
- there is no-one in the industry actually knowing anything about sociology

- the whole industry is male-dominated. No-one really a) realized that it is dominated by men (and that women have very few influence apart from writing story or the art department, at least this is my personal opinion) b) that there actually IS a thing called a "male gaze". To most men, that's just an natural thing.

- too many PC games are nowadays nothing but expressions of machismo - Crysis, Call Of Duty, shooters in general you name them. Everything that requires brutality, war, and combat in order to proceed. This is nothing but a male thing. And perhaps this is the reason why there asre so few non-combat games on the PC nowadays (the Jump & Run genre has practically dies out; same goes for the Adventure games genre except in some backwater countries ).

This last point makes me thinking … I have already seen that the PC platform is mainly a "degenerated gaming platform" - apart from Indies - because it
- a few genres dominating the whole platform
- has a few franchises dominating the whole platform
- a few "game themes" ("combat", for example) dominating the whole platform
- and this being the equivalent of monoculture in real life farming …

The dominance of so few male-oriented fgenres, franchises & genres leads me into thinking that we might be seeing a "split" between gaming platforms right now.

Something like … Wii for Women ? XBOX mixed (leaning towards men), PS3 mixed, PC for men ?

Judging from the diversity of

- genres
- franchises
- "game themes" apparent on the different platforms.

This would be an interesting idea for a scientific case study, imho.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; July 2nd, 2012 at 10:49.
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July 2nd, 2012, 10:44
As sakichop writes - the pendulum swings both ways here. Women are generally better at hiding it, as they're simply more discreet than most men, but they value a handsome man as much as men value "boobs and ass" and media aimed toward women definitely show this.

I don't really see the problem. Sex sells. Making money is the goal of most types of media, whether they want to admit it or not.
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July 2nd, 2012, 10:50
Yes, but there are no games out there with a "female gaze".
And if - male gamers would produce a shitstorm over it !

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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July 2nd, 2012, 10:59
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
- the whole industry is male-dominated. No-one really a) realized that it is dominated by men (and that women have very few influence apart from writing story or the art department, at least this is my personal opinion) b) that there actually IS a thing called a "male gaze". To most men, that's just an natural thing.

- too many PC games are nowadays nothing but expressions of machismo - Crysis, Call Of Duty, shooters in general you name them. Everything that requires brutality, war, and combat in order to proceed. This is nothing but a male thing. And perhaps this is the reason why there asre so few non-combat games on the PC nowadays (the Jump & Run genre has practically dies out; same goes for the Adventure games genre except in some backwater countries ).
Although there may not be enough women in important positions at companies that develop and publish games, I don't think the reason we have so many violent games, games with sexy female NPCs, etc., is because that's all men know how to make. The reason is simply because these games are commercially successful.
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July 2nd, 2012, 13:51
More or less I agree with the article,even if is infleunced especialy in mmorpg, still quite interesting what they can come up with.

Starts to stare at recently fished up Yellow Polkadot Bikini Top.

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July 2nd, 2012, 14:05
Every time I see a very radical and irrational comment about respecting women to the point that actually ignores the very meaning of genders, I get the feeling that either the author was completely asexual, or trying hard to score a feminist hot-chick.
Anyways, there are things that men prefer, and there are things that women prefer, and it has nothing to do with using each other, or being disrespectful or sexist. It's more or less dictated by or genes (and to a lesser extent by our culture). It has kept us alive and ensured our survival. Struggling against it is absurd, completely pathetic and insane.
Women do like things too, but hardcore gaming industry is more or less male dominated. It makes sense to try to please them. Some magazines, TV shows, etc. are trying hard to please women by sexy photos of body builders (or please men, by sexy photos of super models) for a very long time and I haven't seen people complaining about them.
If the author had spent more time on the streets, perhaps he'd notice that most people (female or male) prefer to be 'used' that way.
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July 2nd, 2012, 18:09
its seems though not surprising that many peoples arguments would lead to a "race to the bottom"
its not that have sexy women in games is a problem its that most games pander to this in place of writing strong female characters. they are NOT mutually exclusive however in practice they almost always are. its the easier route for everyone involved and as we know most people aren't robert frost fans…

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July 2nd, 2012, 18:36
Originally Posted by blackcanopus View Post
It's more or less dictated by or genes (and to a lesser extent by our culture). It has kept us alive and ensured our survival. Struggling against it is absurd, completely pathetic and insane.
Not very sure about virtual pixel made models being the key to reproduction and perpetuation of species.

By the way, doubtful that a female dominated industry would lead to a different outcome. I'd expect an even deeper inclination to sell by marketing the female body.

If it makes sell, then it is good. And it is a sure value for games with failing gameplays, as so many games are nowadays.
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