Though you might not read this due to this very great amount of responses:
Thank you for always providing interesting information in your journals. I'm not really a gamer (well I play games, but no web-connected ones, since I do not like this dependency and I want to be 'alone with the game'), but I really appreciate all the stuff you talk about in your journals.
Especially the Damsel in Distress-journals helped me find some ideas for university classes (Critical media analysis).
So, thank you
Beyond Good and Evil is still one of my all-time favourite games, and I still love to play it. Hell, I even adore seeing it mentioned in just about anything, seeing how it was unjustifiably under the radar for a long time despite the fact that it was loved by critics and gamers alike (The ones who played it at least).
The quality of the game is not dependent on the gender of the characters involved so long as they are handled correctly. Jade makes for an awesome protagonist and she doesn't get sexualised at all, and both the male supporting characters - Pey'j and Double-H - are not as useless as a lot of video game sidekicks are.
That's what I mean by being handled correctly - where, regardless of gender, the characters are important and functional to the story. Both Pey'j and Double-H were useful in the game's combat and were able to do things that Jade couldn't, but Jade still did most of the legwork, being the player's character and therefore the hero of the story. (I'm not going to say heroine because I believe it's unhelpful to refer the men and women heroes with separate words for the same role. A hero is a hero)
My reaction to the video was probably the sort of thing that Anita was hoping for (I think) - whilst sceptical going into it, and indeed attempting to find faults with her argument, I had to concede that she was right. About a lot of things. No other way around it, not that there should be. Honestly, now that I've seen this I want to go over some of my stories and overhaul them to avoid blatant damsels :I
You're right of course, and so is Anita. I admit I was sceptical of her going into it, but afterwards I must concede that she's completely right. Personally, i'd prefer to see heroes of either gender have a goal that isn't about acquiring a love interest at the end. And that could be said for any media platform, not just games.
Like Anita says, it's better to move away from the trope entirely rather than look at it ironically or switch the roles. They should give the heroes something else to fight for, even if it's just money or a personal belonging or something. And, in stories where there are multiple characters involved in gameplay, make them all important and functional to the story rather than items or useless pieces of scenery. I think if we really want to move away from sexism, then we should actually start treating both genders in media equally (by that I mean in equivalent value) and just take the "gender roles" out of the picture altogether.
Dude, i'm gonna level with you.
If one person thinks there is a problem, that means there is easily a lot more who think the same. It's no different with the problem that Anita's talking about.
What I mean is, if enough people are saying that there is a problem then there is obviously a problem or they wouldn't be complaining about it. See what I'm saying?
There is nothing wrong with just stopping the overused damsel trope. It's dumb and unrealistic and it's taken way too long to drop it. Why are you so against this?
"Only in America and Sweden"? What kind of alternative universe are you in, may I require? Feminism is everywhere and it should be. It is only about equality. I cannot believe you, as man from wealthy and educated France would oppose women being equal to men. I go by the assumption that you agree we are as intelligent, capable and well-adjusted as men are and thus deserve equal rights. Feminism is wanting those rights. And sadly, we do not have them enough. Even in my country, celebrated for it's equality, my pay is less than a man's pay for the same work. So yes, feminism is needed outside of those 3rd world countries.
How does "passion for storytelling" outclude women? You can have a great story and still have great female characters in it. Look at Hunger Games with a female protagonist, for example. Or Disney with it's tradition of female leads. One cannot say that Beauty And The Beast would be a bad story.
No, saving someone you care about makes you wonderful. Of course. That is why so many male protagonists have that goal; they are heroic and brave by going after their damsel. The problem is with the female; if her role in the story is only to be taken away and then saved without having any power over her fate then yes, she could be replaced with a cake or something. Let the protagonist save a cake then. So when Anita says the damsel is "property" she does not mean that men think of women like that; the plot just treats her like one. Anita says it pretty roughly yes, it comes off like men thinking of women as stuff. Then again, Anita's biggest problem is her harsh way of saying things and she can get misunderstood that way.
Damsel In Distress is not a trope we need to kill entirely, we just need a little less of it. It IS a pretty lazy way to build tension.
Anita has a harsh way of speaking, I already said so. And yes, she sometimes makes too edgy points. But Damsel In Distress is pretty sexist. There the woman is only something the man loves, saves and protects. She is only acted on without taking action herself, making her vulnerable and helpless. What do they call something that is only acted upon? An object. There would be nothing wrong with few stories exploring this idea of wanting to save someone being the driving motive. But when thousands over thousands of games/movies/everything uses it and gives us helpless objects of saving, then we have a problem. Also, why is there nearly no versions of guys saving each other, girls saving each other or girls saving guys? There are some distressed dudes and we need more of them. Painting males as the heroes who need to do the saving, we are also putting unfair stress on guys. Like, you have to be strong and assertive to deserve a girl's love. We need more male characters who do not fight but are instead rescued/healers/bearers of some passive power of holiness that can purify the world.
No matter how much the game character loves the damsel, as long as she's merely acted upon, she is like property in the eyes of the plot. Now replace the damsel with a cake. Someone steals the cake, the hero goes after it. I'm using the cake as a funky example of how you can replace the damsel with an object and the story would still be the same. With the same teaching; you have to be brave and heroic to save something important to you.
I basically would not hate the Damsel In Distress as a trope if it was not so overused. It's just lazy writing from a period when stories were done lazily.
Male characters do not get put in this with females, saying so is deceivieng oneself. No matter how shallow, males at least get to be active. They DO things, where females are DONE TO. Yes, shallow characters are always stupid and often offensive. But it's not the same as females getting objectified.
If anything, having only aggressive, active and hunky males is sexist. Damsel In Distress is objectification. And portraying females as helpless and delicate is sexist, which often goes hand in hand with this trope.
Anita has never stated that "all men think women are objects". If you can prove me false, give me a link to a video/interview where she says this. She's saying that this plot device treats them like that. And I'm very happy you are not one of those men but yes, some men objectify women. And game industry is VERY sexist. And gamers can be sexist too. Just ask around to see how many women lie their gender online just to get to play in peace, since unfortunately games have been "boys' club" for a long time. There are real documentaries about it, if you want to look into that. But thankfully, not the entire industry is rotten. And it's changing.
She does not imply that men players see the woman as property. The one holding the controller may truly like the character and be emotionally attached to saving them. But the plot still treats her like property and so she is like any cake or powerful world-saving artifact to the male character.
Yes, there is sexism and racism in media. Are you implying that it is acceptable? That it is alright and we should all just lay back, being ignored or mispresented? Here I can only hint that being a white male would probably be a great thing then...
Violent games do not make anyone violent, true. Saying that would be ignorant. But violence in video games is simpler; it is about a hero using force to battle enemies, something that rarely comes by in real life. Plus there is our society's values and laws that tell us how bad murdering and violence is from an early age. Sexism is much more subtle and our societies have rarely any solid value system against it, sadly mostly in support of it. Entertainment presenting sexism acts to enforce it in real life in a way violence is impossible to be enforced due to heavy anti-violence messages and rules.
Why do we have violence in video games? Because warfare and using violence as a mean of protection as a necessary measure has long been accepted in our world. It is rightful to use force against the evil, be that evil whatever. Why do we have sexism in video games? Because that, too, is something in our societies. Women have long been seen as passive, helpless and dependant. By commenting upon that we are also commenting upon sexism in real life. Anita is making a statement against a general view on women when she comments how games present them.