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MMORPG.COM Game/On Podcast Radio Show!

Game/On Podcast Radio Show

This Week

Game On: ESP Edition 07 - Sexism in MMOs: Welcome to episode 07 of Game On: Epic Slant Press Edition! This week we tackle the big topic of sexism in gaming, why white knighting isn't all it's cracked up to be, and how Penny Arcade's podcaster Kickstarter might just break the site. Reminder: Leave a written 5-star iTunes review for your chance to win a copy of Defiance and tune in next week to see if you've won!

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Killsmallchi writes:

I have seen guilds torn apart over a girl revealing her gender. She instantly became a officer, people started freaking out, and eventually the guild just died off because the guild leader pretty much eloped with this revealed girl and stopped talking with the guild. 

Games make girls look like objects. They are all half naked. Obviously, that is going to make people look at woman differently. I think we are very far off from seeing women and men held to the same standards.

Mon May 13 2013 10:22AM Report
GameByNight writes:

I'm glad you brought that up. In the situation you describe, the members and especially the guild leader, didn't react well to having a female in their ranks because of the perceived and actual favoritism. It's a familiar story and I think most guild's worth their salt are cautious about it. That was what Adam was getting at when he described treating everyone uniquely in his guild. Was it the woman's fault the guild fell apart? Yeah, but not because she was a woman, but because she and the guild leader prioritized other things over their community.

I agree that objectification is a problem but I sincerely wonder if it will ever be solved until the adage "sex sells" no longer proves true. It really makes you wonder, why is that true in MMOs of all genres? Characters are more like puppets than anything. Are people really getting lusty doing /dances in Stormwind?

Mon May 13 2013 10:54AM Report
sacredfool writes:

I just came in to say i laughed for good 5 minutes after i saw this headline on a sight that bombarded us with scarlet blade ads for a month. 

 

About sexism - I was usually in leadership roles and did my best to play with sensible people so didn't experience much of it in my guilds/tribes/younameits.

Tue May 14 2013 4:08PM Report
sacredfool writes: Obviously, site not sight. Sheesh.  Tue May 14 2013 4:09PM Report
Admin writes: Sacredfool, that is because we don't mix advertising and site content.  The content team is free to say their minds about our advertisers, their products or even the ads themselves.  Even if those of us that sell the ads and those of us that write content don't like a game or the ads - if they don't violate any rules we really can't prohibit them. The Scarlet Blade ads don't have nudity and they don't show any form of sexual activity.  We have rules about what we allow/disallow - but these ads were fine. Wed May 15 2013 2:05AM Report
JackMack writes: I appreciate you separating site content from advertising...and yet that still does not absolve the hypocrisy.  Jefferson said and I am paraphrasing- In matters of fashion swim with the current, in matters of principle stand like a rock.  If it is a fundamental part of this site's culture, then you would not accept advertising $$$ from games that clearly objectify women. Which SB totally does. Stand like a rock MMORPG, there are plenty of other game companies willing to give you their money. Wed May 15 2013 3:09AM Report
JackMack writes: And BTW, yes you can prohibit any ad you want, it is your site, just refuse their commerce.  If an ad showed 2 women locked in a basement dungeon in Cleveland for 9 years would it be ok as long as they were not nude? MMORPG.COM decides what ads appear or not on this site...make the right call. Wed May 15 2013 3:18AM Report
Ozimandeus writes: Guys, with the 'majority' of gamers being under 21 and male this will be a problem. Pubescent males will always make life interesting for the ladies. I would like to add, that in the European Guilds I have been in, the problem isn't as bad, or non existent. In some of the US guilds, it really has been dreadful. Wed May 15 2013 5:44AM Report
GranDux writes:

A site that hosts the typical band-wagon of the sexism issue that is a popularity along the left-wingist game-heads, yet doesn't mind hosting sexually charged games such as Scarlet Blade for it's ads. A game which features revolves around nudity and sexuality with it's ads hosted on mmorpg.

The hypocrisy couldn't get any larger. The games are not the problem. The problem stems from the immaturity and raising of such players who play these games and the lack of understanding that the game is simply a product. That's right, a product not a person. Guilds falling apart over females are just ran by the immature who believe having a female in a guild is the Golden Egg. You would think these types are on a male-inhabited only island yet in the real-world they see females everyday. What difference does it make if there is a female in a guild? Non. Expect the initiative that they are to be given "special" treatment because of their gender. Another problem widely excused and ignored by the sexism crying groups. Being a female does not adequate being given a goddess status no different than the average guy being given god status.

There are no real-life humans being abused, mis-treated, forced against their will, or harmed in the creation of these video-games. If US players want the taste of real sexism go to middle-eastern countries. Where women aren't even allowed to own bank-accounts and must be dressed to the eyeballs at all time where even t-shirts are considered indecent exposure. Instead of gobbling up whatever the game-media decides to spew out to them in their current trends.

"Don't play this game because it has naked females in it, objectification!" When will game reviewers ever stop leaving their church-morale like ethics in gaming? The choice of the game is upon the player. As players we are free to choose whatever titles we wish to play whenever someone else agrees to that title or not. If players like a sexy-titled game so be it, if they don't they don't. What difference does it make when the same type of features can easily be found in a book or a movie? But since it's a video-game, it's suddenly a problem.

In general, the game-heads have a hard time even explaining or understanding that females can have as much sexuality as guys. But their so busy white-knighting they can't tell the difference between true sexism and sexual expression. There is, a difference. But since sexuality is voodoo so much some can't tell between the two and think ALL sexuality is a form of oppressive and demeangfullness.

How about uncovering and focusing on the apparent stem of racism and uncultural ignorance that happens quietly behind the scenes in gaming for once? It's not the first or last time I've seen racist remarks and slurs from the gaming communities and their attitudes go ignored, or the ignorance steming from publishers in the west when dealing with multi-cultural or international products.

 

Still however, sexuality is still treated as a voodoo topic in the west. If there were more sexual education available then such issues would not exist as much.

Wed May 15 2013 6:43AM Report
GranDux writes:

Also loving the solicitation at the bottom of the pod-cast in the form of an award:

 "Reminder: Leave a written 5-star iTunes review for your chance to win a copy of Defiance and tune in next week to see if you've won!"

Give us 5-stars for this political-agenda topic and you MIGHT win a chance to get Defiance. It's a wonder how much advertisement/rack-ins mmorpg will receive from prompted 5-star reviews. Even crappy written ones as long as their 5-stars. :)

Wed May 15 2013 6:55AM Report
GameByNight writes:

Chris here. I'd just like to address some of the comments that have come up, bearing in mind that I speak only as a freelancer and podcast host. I'm not from marketing or the admin side at all and I don't speak for them. These are my opinions based on my own what's being said here.

 

If you haven't yet, please listen to the show the whole way through.

 

I was the one who spearheaded the topic, knowing that SB advertised on the site. I have never played Scarlet Blade and have only second hand knowledge and insight from their advertising. That being the case, I didn't pick on the game. We are talking an industry wide issue. My main contention point where SB is concerned is people using it as their platform for white knighting all while pointing people to it. MMORPG has not done so. To say that because there is an issue with sexism in the MMO genre we should promoting games with scantily clad women is to say that we shouldn't advertise MMOs at all. It is, sadly, an industry reality.

 

That is the point of our entire conversation. That the reality needs to shift if we want objectification to cease. That's not going to happen because our website changes its advertising policy. It's going to happen when consumers react in meaningful ways -- speaking out to game makers and not buying their products.

 

And GranDux, regarding the five-star giveaway. It's pretty standard, number one, and shouldn't be unexpected given that Adam and I recently came on board and want to get the word out. But number two, I was provided this copy personally and it was initially related to an outside endeavor. The agreement to use it for the giveaway was reached because it turned out to be an extra and I thought a listener might enjoy having it. No money is changing hands, nor would I think any PR firm would much care how many reviews we have. Moreover, we've been offering a giveaway since episode one, so the whole "political agenda" thing, as silly as it is, is a non-starter.

Wed May 15 2013 11:40AM Report
GameByNight writes:

GranDux,

It's seems pretty obvious that you didn't listen to the show, so I'll accept that some of your comments are off-base when read with the proper context. What I'm more interested in is this statement:

"How about uncovering and focusing on the apparent stem of racism and uncultural ignorance that happens quietly behind the scenes in gaming for once?"

Can you elaborate? I find that very compelling and would like to know more. Racism in gamer culture is sadly prevalent but that's where the "xbox live kiddies" idiom came from, so the ignoring you're referencing certainly hasn't been looked over by the community. Do share.

Wed May 15 2013 11:52AM Report
axtranti writes: As I read this title,"Scarlet Blade" came to my mind. Games nowadays are made for fan service, not actual gameplay. Wed May 15 2013 5:02PM Report
HerdingCatsLiore writes:

As a lady-type I'm always a little nervous when a bunch of dudes say they're going to discuss sexism, but I enjoyed this episode. I didn't agree with everything (no one agrees with everything), but it was a good discussion.

One thing: Chris (I think) wondered how you guys can help create greater parity between the respect given to men and women in the MMO scene, and I have an easy answer for you: have more women as guests on your show. You've had a series of very interested and talented male guests since moving to MMORPG, and that is totally awesome! But making an extra effort to broadcast diverse voices talking about games as well (not just diverse in gender, but all kinds of identities too!) is a really simple and positive way to help make MMOs a more inclusive place.

Wed May 15 2013 8:41PM Report
Xarnthal writes:

I play games to have fun. If what people say in chat makes your experience less fun, then I suggest you do what people do in real-life. Avoid those people, ignore those comments, and they are no longer an issue.

You don't go to the neo-nazi club meetings expecting a polite conversation about race do you? Do you go in the frat bar expecting sober college kids? Why on earth would you expect polite conversation in a virtual anonymous world that ranges from 10 year olds to 90 year olds, of different race, gender, religious, and ethnic backgrounds.

Thu May 16 2013 8:51AM Report
Scot writes: Lot more to the podcast than the title suggests, good one. Sat May 18 2013 6:01AM Report
Salavi writes:

Thank you for the thought provoking blog and stating several changes that do need to come to the gaming industry.

I'm a female gamer and an older female gamer at that.  Recent  consumer research is showing that 40% of all gamers are really female (not males pretending to be female).  Also the average gamer age is now 35, just think for every 20 year old gamer there is a 50 year old gamer.  I have gamer friends that  range from 14 through 70 years old. The female gamer population has been increasing  rapidly in the last few years it will likely be a 50/50 split and it is very possible that the female gamers will outnumber the male gamers in the near future.  In most families, the females are the money managers and control much of the spending in a family, a well researched fact.  Older gamers are not as moved to buy games that promote primarily the objectification of women, they generally prefer content, not titillation from exaggerated avatars. As we vote with our money, the gaming industry will be forced to change if it wants to survive.  The majority of gamers are no longer male and under 21 years of age.

I do not appreciate being forced to see objectified sexist female avatars on a website that I otherwise like to visit for gaming information. I make my windows small enough just to get the information without being forced to have to look at  demeaning female avatars plastered all over the site.   My husband and I will never play or give money to games like Blade and Soul, Ragnarock or Scarlet Blade.  We also discourage anyone we know from playing those sexist games.  It is not that  we are prudish, it is that we don't we to see females  debased and disrespected and being shown primarily as being only-useful-for-sex-objects, worthy of nothing else in life.  That is what I object to, sex is wonderful, objectification is not. 

There was an interesting comment in the blog cast, that many young male gamers think some female players might be introduced to gaming by a boyfriend or husband. It shows how out of touch the young male gamer population really is.  For example, I'm the avid gamer in our family, I'm the one who introduced my husband to World of Warcraft and online gaming in general.  A female co-worker introduced my husband to GuildWars II.  Amongst my online friends, the female gamers were the pioneers, introducing their boyfriends and husbands to the games.   Also in response to a comment above, I've been in quite a few guilds over the years, very balanced in age spread and female/male populations.  Only in one guild was there a problem with a female causing problems with guild harmony, it was more because of a personality issue of that player needing to be the center of attention than it was a problem of her being a female.

My preference is for games that allow a wide range of expression in the avatars, if someone wants to go Boris Vallejo with their female avatar that's fine with me as long as there are more realistic female armor versions for the rest of us and character types that are not driven by overly sexualized female body types.  One of the things I appreciate about the online games I play is the choice of expression for the players and that the character choices and armor choices are a bit more realistic for the world that that game is played in.   The games I choose to pour my money into also seem to have more balanced player populations, and are not skewed to the young male population. 

So many prejudices out there with those closed-minded, Good-Ol-Boy, Boys-Club-Minded-Types in the gaming industry.  Time for them to wake up to the changing gamer paradigm.  Older gamers and female gamers are here, we have money, we "vote" with our money and we are growing rapidly in numbers and they had better pay attention, to our preferences. 

 

 
Sat May 18 2013 3:57PM Report
erickjhdez writes: This is a good podcast, but it feels like it's missing something.... hmm... I think it needs more tits and vaginas, and less penises talking. Sat May 18 2013 5:31PM Report
AccountDeleted12341 writes:

roflmao, the hypocrisy is unbelievable.

But what takes the cake are the author's/speaker's defense of the site's advertising.

If you want to post a piece like this, find work elsewhere. You look like some white privileged snob who pretends to care about real issues, but works to support those issues directly.

Saying, "I have to do it to survive." or "Everyone needs a paycheck" is not an excuse for immorality. While hypocrisy and no / low integrity is not the worst of immorality, it is certainly still immoral. That is why people like the author are deemed 'hypocrites' due to the 'hypocrisy'.

 

Just like people who try to defend violent criminals (drug dealers), non-violent criminals (white collar crimes), or third world piracy (real pirates, not digital piracy), it is identical in hypocrisy and in the 'bool of immorality" (true or false, immoral or not, yes or no).

Obviously a hypocrite author who sacrifices integrity for a pay check does very little harm to others and the immorality is on an entirely different level, while violent criminals do an insane amount of harm to others and the immortality is horrendous on a level of its own (violence), they are both "TRUE" to the bool of "Immorality?"

It doesn't matter how much you want to cry, "But we are separate!" you are part of the very problem you protest, with an excuse denying the overwhelming fact that your excuse means nothing.

 

With that said and reiterating the significant differences between violent immorality and the privileged immorality of being a hypocrite, your excuse of "I have no control over the site ads" is the same excuse as drug dealers give when saying "I have a family to feed." Both are excuses for immorality. Excuses for hypocrisy. Excuses for bad character flaws.

Of course, the author didn't just excuse his hypocrisy, he actually defended it by SUPPORTING the sexist site ads. This doesn't just make your excuse pointless, it also shows a clear sign that if in charge you would most likely approve of the ads, making you a liar.

 

All for the almighty dollar.

Sun May 19 2013 2:18AM Report
free2play writes:

'Chivalry' is a male virtue. I hope men never lose that view.

As for what you guys are rambling about in the Advertisements, you hit it! The games aren't derogatory, the Advertisements? They are at the very least, aimed at men. I've never and refuse to see a woman's sexuality as derogatory but if you do, the Advertisements could be seen as such.

Sun May 19 2013 4:36AM Report
anjealous82 writes: I find nothing wrong with the Bikini armor. Being male I don't care if you ware nothing. Why because, for it's like a sign that you are saying you are a bad ass. I play female characters just cause I'm already male, I want to be someone different and a different gender. Male avatar could be wearing a speedo and chaps. I don't think women will complain. Sun May 19 2013 2:19PM Report
GameByNight writes:

Very happy to see so much conversation taking place! Thank you to everyone who has shared their opinion and used this episode as a platform to discuss this meaningful issue. And special props to Salavi for providing one of the best comments I've ever read.

I would like to address Disatisfied9 directly. I do so in the interest of transparency.

We produced our show before joining forces with MMORPG and it has always been something we do for enjoyment. It's an honor to be here and have this opportunity, but there is no money changing hands based on this production. Put another way, no opinion you hear us share will ever be influenced by paychecks or advertisements. If we say something, it's because we came to a conclusion ourselves just like you would. 

Our description states the intent of our show is to talk about the week's news and hot topics. Scarlet Blade launched, so what better time to talk about sexism? The other option is to avoid the topic entirely for fear of being called a hypocrite. What person that values women wants that -- one more corner of the internet where objectification is dismissed out of hand? We brought it up in -spite- of the ads. And it should be noted that MMORPG completely supported us in that. 

For anyone that hasn't listened to the show, neither of us stand in support of sex-based ads. I think I speak for Adam and I both when I say that selling your MMORPG based on sex appeal is a bit silly. I could say more but I already did on the episode :-)

Sun May 19 2013 4:03PM Report

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