[Linkspam] Across the Divide – 2/12/2012

Hope everyone is having a great 2012 so far!  I’ve been trying to stay caught up with the influx of great posts showing up all over the web.  Here are a few to share with you:

A female Skyrim cosplayer from Anime LA, wearing a fur skirt with leather pants underneath, a horned helmet and a shield, and wielding an axe.


The Return of the Blogs of the Roundtable (Critical Distance): A blog roundtable has been started (re-started?) that will provide monthly critical thinking themes for anyone interested in games to write about.  Here at The Border House, we’d love to host your submissions!  “This official re-launch of the Blogs of the Round Table asks you to talk about a game experience that allowed you to experience being other than you are and how that impacted you–for better or for worse. Conversely, discuss why games haven’t provided this experience for you and why.”  If you would like to write about this, feel free to email us your submission at editors@borderhouseblog.com.  Be sure to include a well-captioned image and a short 2-3 sentence bio for your post!  We will do the legwork of contacting Critical Distance for you so that your post will be featured in the monthly roundtable.

Dear Customer Who Stuck Up For His Little Brother (Huffington Post): Thank you to everyone who emailed us this link, which couldn’t be any more relevant for The Border House.  If you don’t have a tissue, grab one.

Designer’s Playbook episode: Gender in Games (YouTube): Dominic W. sent us this link to a video he made in which he talks about gender in video games.

Namco Pulls Offensive Soul Calibur V Poster (Digital Battle): Bet you thought it was this one, didn’t you?  Nope, it was one that featured a closeup of Voldo’s crotch.  That’s right — a gratuitous shot of a woman’s breasts is just fine, but a fully clothed male groin shot is too offensive to keep up on their Facebook page.

Passivity and Women in Games (PopMatters): “The male dominated industry has made some visible efforts to include women in their casts and make them more valuable characters. They’ve just failed spectacularly. Strong, believable, flawed female protagonists are a moving target for developers, even the ones that are certain that they’ve created them. What is most overlooked is competence.”

The Rise, Fall, and Return of Lara Croft (Culture Highs): “This is when it hits me, this is when I realize that Lara Croft is in no way girly, and I begin to quietly idolize.”

Help an Indie Designer Create a Female Character (Reddit): “When I was first asked to work on this game I refused on the basis that it seemed quite sexist, and overly objectified women. However, now I am in a position to change anything and everything, I’m at a loss as how to make it much better within the above constraints.”

So Maybe Including a Shock-Collar-Wearing Female Slave in The Old Republic Wasn’t The Best Idea? (The Mary Sue): “The trouble is that there are very, very few people who can experience a story without bringing in their own personal context. You’d have to either be wildly imaginative or somewhat delusional to ignore your real-world experiences completely.”

Amy Hennig, Creative Director at Naughty Dog (PikiGeek): “One of the goals for Saucy Saturday is to bring these women pioneers to light, to show you that women can be creative, they can handle themselves in the industry, and they can be badass. You probably aren’t aware that some of the most popular games on the market only exist because women helped create them. So today, our honorary Lady Designer of the Month is Amy Hennig: writer and director for some of the most successful Naughty Dog games.”

What other links did we miss?  Drop them in the comments, and as always — feel free to email us any links for inclusion at editors@theborderhouseblog.com.

About Tami Baribeau

Lead Editor and co-founder of The Border House, feminist, gamer, lover of social media, technology, and virtual worlds. Pansexual, equestrian, dog lover, social game studio director and producer. Email me here and follow me on Twitter!
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8 Responses to [Linkspam] Across the Divide – 2/12/2012

  1. Sunflower says:

    Thanks for the great links! Just a few comments:

    I read somewhere the Voldo picture was either a hoax or not an official ad, although it would not surprise me that people would complain and have it banned. Nothing is as hypocritical as an entitled sexist!

    The Lara Croft article creeped me out a bit, not sure why (maybe that whole “spit on you” part at the beginning?). I also didn’t like the part where she says “This is when it hits me, this is when I realize that Lara Croft is in no way girly, and I begin to quietly idolize”. I just didn’t get the impression that things were really thought through.

    The reddit link was interesting, and I’m happy people are asking questions, but there’s some weirdness in the comments that struck me. There was this quote: “Make the women walk like regular people – not strut like hookers.” that kind of encompassed this attitude people have that there are different classes of women and some are people, and some are not. Like it’s ok to objectify people who dress a certain way or walk a certain way, but if you want to avoid objectification, then dress them the “right” way.

    I think all of that is a myth that would be very good to explore. Nobody deserves objectification and it’s messed up to assume what the woman is looking for by wearing certain clothes, if anything at all. This is another instance of men as a whole not being held responsible for their own feelings and reactions to women, and instead constructing this ever-shifting system of which women are ok to dehumanize and which aren’t because of some mythical “message” they send out. Of course there is no agreed on standard so every woman is fair game, and by extension, other people who don’t fit the gender binary or are heterosexual.

    There’s a complicated knot of certain clothes and poses and body types being sexualized, but clothes and poses and body types don’t inherently possess sexuality, which is just a performance. I wish we could explore that more. I’m not sure how well I’m putting all this. Anyway, thanks for the post!

  2. Korva says:

    Interesting links, thank you. I’m working my way through them now, and I’m really impressed with the big brother from the storeowner’s article. If that asshole of a father does become violent towards either of them (and if his kid picking a game he doesn’t approve of is enough to make him publicly threaten violence then I expect he has and will again), I hope the best for the two boys. :(

    The “Passivity” and “Shock Collar” articles both make me want to give standing ovations, especially after my bitter frustrations with the female characters in WoW and my own misgivings about TOR. It’s important that someone does capably explain the uncomfortable difference between purely fictional violence and violence with ugly real-world connotations — especially if so many Star War fans just shrug and say hey, sexualization and degradation is what female Twileks are for. Or brag about it. I have NO doubt that many male players get a nasty misogynistic power trip out of Vette that has nothing to do with “roleplaying the bad guy”.

  3. Hardcore Casual Gamer says:

    To clarify, that “ad” of Voldo’s crotch was fake. It really was only a matter of time before some one made it, though.

  4. Alex says:

    I highly recommend this article on Gamasutra about gender expression and Dance Central 2. It’s a great read.

    • Thanks for sharing, it was a great read. It’s always uplifting to see the amount of consideration a person can put into a game. Moving away from “girl” songs and “boy” songs shows real progress in the world of game design.

  5. Tanner says:

    I wrote something recently on Fallout 3’s limiting of character creation to a few “real world” racial categories. It might be of interest.

  6. prezzey says:

    Have you seen this recent study on FPS avatars?
    Only skimmed it so far, but there’s discussion of gender and race, with numbers. Might be worth a link or a small announcement.

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