Fuck, I love boobs though

Just to get that out of the way. Now, on to the actual content of this post:

I like WeisApple. I really do. She’s funny and entertaining and smart. But I think this video is a very good example for what people don’t get about feminism, and how they pretend to debate its concepts without really addressing them.

I agree with her that some people tend to confuse sexism and sexuality and condemn some content just for being sexually appealing to men, which is, ahem, not a problem in and of itself, from where I’m standing. So there certainly is something to discuss, but, like many critics of feminism, she doesn’t do that but instead attacks a strawman feminist and just invents a completely untenable position to then rail against that. Which is a pity because, while I understand that hers is a humorous channel, she usually manages to combine fun and honest argument in her videos. Not here.

All male sexuality offends a radical feminist

Does it? Well, I guess you could define a radical feminist in this way, so that all radical feminists are then man-hating lesbians, I’m sure some of those exist, but … what’s the point?

I’ve noticed that feminists are offended not only by the damsel in distress scenario – mustn’t dare suggest that women might actually be physically weaker than men, although we are –

This is a popular tactic among feminism critics, and I’m not sure there is already a term for it. Maybe it’s some kind of equivocation, but what’s in a name? The problem is that, while her argument implies that the damsel in distress scenario is the same as suggesting that women are weaker than men, it’s not. There is, as far as I’m aware of, no serious debate about whether women are, on average, physically weaker than men. This is a fact, although there certainly are lots of women who are stronger than lots of men, and arguing with statistical averages is always tricky, but we don’t need to do that here because the feminist criticism of the damsel in distress scenario has nothing to do with the damsel being physically weaker than the male protagonist, or at least not a lot. The criticism rightly focuses on the helplessness of the damsel in distress, her utter uselessness and complete dependence on her male rescuer. And that, taken together with the scenario’s ubiquity, is, in my eyes, a valid criticism. Someone who is physically weak does not need to be helpless. In fact, the hero is almost always physically weaker than the villain, because a story gets more interesting the larger the obstacle the hero needs to overcome, and it wouldn’t be very elevating to watch our hero pommel a weaker opponent into submission.

In that light, WeisApples defence can even be considered further condemnation of the scenario, because the trope seems to have convinced her that being physically weaker means you’re dependent on male help – that or her argument is intentionally dishonest, I don’t know.

And you mustn’t have women as warriors either because when they’re empowered, they have big boobs, and that takes away from their empowerment because a woman can’t be smart and pretty at the same time

Basically the same problem. These are not the same, only this time it’s a triple equivocation. „You mustn’t have women as warriors“ is bullshit. No one minds women as warriors, except some goofy pacifists, and we all have nothing but scorn for those poor misguided souls, right? „because when they’re empowered, they have big boobs“. Now, there’s your problem. That’s the actual criticism. It’s not that women shouldn’t be warriors, it’s that if they are, maybe they should wear some clothes that suit their purpose, and maybe they don’t all have to have breasts bigger than their heads and waists thinner than their wrists.

and that takes away from their empowerment because a woman can’t be smart and pretty at the same time

That’s not the point and you know it. Of course a woman can. The problem with women in video games is being portrayed in a way strongly implying that they have to be pretty, or they can’t be smart or strong or anything. Now, I’m not sure I completely agree with this criticism, because

What do movies and video games exist for if not to be a fantasy?

and that is a valid argument, kind of, because people generally like fantasising about people they consider pretty, because that makes their fantasies … well, prettier, obviously. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I’ll be the first to admit that my own stories‘ protagonists are usually portrayed as being pretty as well, so

Why can’t we understand as human beings that in any entertainment media, you can have a fantasy that can be completely divorced from anything you know in reality?

Because you can’t. Our fantasies are derived from our view of reality, and they relate back to it. This relationship not as simple as „I shoot people in Call of Duty, and it’s fun, so I’m sure it will be fun if I go outside and shoot some real people now!“, but it’s there. Fantasies contribute to our hopes and expectations, and thus to our interaction with the world around us.

And in fact, I don’t think any one gaming would tell you that they would expect to go out and marry a Lara Croft boob raider.

No, they don’t expect that. And that’s not the point. The point is that designing all heroes and heroines (It’s not just the women’s bodies that are problematic.) as beautiful fit people with perfect hair and, of course, no physical disabilities or missing limbs, can contribute to a certain expectation of reality, namely that such people are heroes, while the other ones can’t be, because they are weak and helpless and can’t do anything. And the point is that having the camera permanently focused on their tits and asses somehow conveys the impression that those are their main assetts, instead of their personality and stuff. Now, I’m not talking about never focusing on physical attributes because, as I said, I like me some of those, but as I mentioned, I recently watched a „Let’s play“ of the latest Tomb Raider, and while I can’t say I didn’t like looking at Lara’s body, it was also really embarrassing at times, the way the camera moved. It was ridiculous and it detracted from the story the game tried to tell.

I have to wonder, what’s the solution? Should all of the video game heroines look like this? [Nanny Mcphee]

Maybe not, but … here’s a wild idea: Maybe all of the video game heroines shouldn’t look the same. Maybe some of them could be overweight, maybe some of them could have small breasts, maybe some of them could sit in a wheelchair (where appropriate for the mechanics of the game), maybe some of them could be over 25, and maybe some of them should be really fucking horribly ugly. And the male ones as well, of course.

Would it be so bad to live in a world where the ideo of having a video game heroine look like Nanny Mcphee (who is, by the way, a rather beautiful woman crudely disguised as a flawed one, and who, of course, in the end gets to show her beautiful true face and boy to the audience, which is in itself an acidic comment on our society’s perception of beauty) is not a ridiculous idea?

Let’s have some diversity, why not? I personally am tired of always playing slick young people with long flowing hair and tight muscular butts. We don’t have to remove them completely, don’t get me wrong, they have their place, but does it have to be front and center?

[And before someone mentions it in the comments: Yes, there are some deviations from the rules and tropes mentioned above. Not all video games are alike. And although I’m still convinced that the huge majority of them still follow these tired tropes, that would have been a valid objection, but WeisApple doesn’t raise it, and this post is about her video, so I’m not going to address it in detail, I’ll just admit that there are some games that are exceptions to these rules.]

Or, what would really make you happy? What would really make you feel that, as a female character, we have achieved equality. Oh, that’s right: castration.

Oh come on.

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24 Responses to Fuck, I love boobs though

  1. Florian sagt:

    Dazu fallen mir nur drei Worte ein: Xena – Warrior Princess

  2. Muriel sagt:

    Leider geil.

  3. @Muriel:

    The problem with women in video games is being portrayed in a way strongly implying that they have to be pretty, or they can’t be smart or strong or anything.

    How does it imply that?

    Maybe it’s just because I haven’t played a lot of video games but I have never experienced this implication in a game.

    The point is that designing all heroes and heroines (It’s not just the women’s bodies that are problematic.) as beautiful fit people with perfect hair and, of course, no physical disabilities or missing limbs, can contribute to a certain expectation of reality, namely that such people are heroes, while the other ones can’t be, because they are weak and helpless and can’t do anything.

    For me that’s a non sequitur. But my expectations may be ununsual. I also don’t think there are any heroes in real life.

    And the point is that having the camera permanently focused on their tits and asses somehow conveys the impression that those are their main assetts, instead of their personality and stuff.

    Is that often the case? I have never seen that. But maybe I’m playing the ‚wrong‘ games.

    Maybe some of them could be overweight, maybe some of them could have small breasts, maybe some of them could sit in a wheelchair (where appropriate for the mechanics of the game), maybe some of them could be over 25, and maybe some of them should be really fucking horribly ugly. And the male ones as well, of course.

    You also have to consider the economic perspective. Do you expect to sell more games with such heroes or fewer?

    Let’s have some diversity, why not? I personally am tired of always playing slick young people with long flowing hair and tight muscular butts. We don’t have to remove them completely, don’t get me wrong, they have their place, but does it have to be front and center?

    Maybe you should play different games? Niche games?

    I just don’t think it is surprising at all that these kinds of heroes are front and center. And I don’t see how one could change the decisions of the producers and of the consumers.

  4. Muriel sagt:

    @ars libertatis:

    How does it imply that?

    By showing that heroes are always pretty and healthy and young, and only monsters and bad or stupid people are ugly, and by not discussing this (which a game would not need to do in an essayesque format, obviously. Just some small sign of it being aware of this problem would suffice to assuage me.)
    It’s especially obvious when people change, for example when a formerly good person turns bad and at the same time becomes a hideous monster outwardly, or vice versa, or, as in Nanny McPhee (which is not a video game, but whatever), when an ugly person turns pretty at the end of the story.

    For me that’s a non sequitur.

    What is? I’m unsure what you mean.

    I also don’t think there are any heroes in real life.
    Depends entirely on how you define „hero“. I do not think the terms „good“ and „bad“ people makes a lot of sense, either, but since the roles in video games are often quite clear-cut, I used the shorthand anyway.

    Is that often the case? I have never seen that. But maybe I’m playing the ‘wrong’ games.

    As I said, I have not conducted systematic studies, and I’m not a very heavy gamer, but it’s of course very obvious in Tomb Raider, and also it seems to me as if female knights in fantasy games always somehow wear armors that don’t protect a lot of their upper bodies, or of the rest of their bodies either. Also this..

    You also have to consider the economic perspective. Do you expect to sell more games with such heroes or fewer?

    I don’t think the economic perspective is relevant here. I don’t criticise game designers. I’d do the same thing they do. My beef is with society as a whole.

    Maybe you should play different games? Niche games?

    I’m always open to suggestions.

    I just don’t think it is surprising at all that these kinds of heroes are front and center.
    Neither do I.

    And I don’t see how one could change the decisions of the producers and of the consumers.

    As with all decisions, by changing minds and raising awareness, I guess.
    Anyway, I’m not saying it’s wrong to enjoy playing Tomb Raider. I don’t, other people do, and more power to them.
    I just think it incorporates a lot of porblematic opinions, and I’d like people to consider this and be aware of the problems. I’d expect interest and thus decisions to follow suite, but if they don’t, that’s also okay.

  5. Muriel sagt:

    Strange. The link was broken again, and this time I paid special attention, and I’m quite sure I did not make a mistake.
    Hm.

  6. @Muriel:

    By showing that heroes are always pretty and healthy and young, and only monsters and bad or stupid people are ugly, and by not discussing this (which a game would not need to do in an essayesque format, obviously. Just some small sign of it being aware of this problem would suffice to assuage me.)

    What kind of sign?

    What is? I’m unsure what you mean.

    I personally don’t expect that only or mainly beautiful people can be heroes in real life because many games portray it like that. But I might be an outlier.

    It also seems to be a very old tradition to have this dichotomy in fiction. That does not excuse it but obfuscates the causes.

    As I said, I have not conducted systematic studies, and I’m not a very heavy gamer, but it’s of course very obvious in Tomb Raider, and also it seems to me as if female knights in fantasy games always somehow wear armors that don’t protect a lot of their upper bodies, or of the rest of their bodies either.

    The last thing seems to be true even in my experience. Though IIRC Japanese games tend to have quite a few bare-chested men. One might also argue that men’s heavy armors and huge weapons are comparable to women’s light dresses in that both make them more alluring to the opposite gender. But I don’t want to go down that rabbithole.

    I don’t think the economic perspective is relevant here. I don’t criticise game designers. I’d do the same thing they do. My beef is with society as a whole.

    I see. I’m rather pessimistic when it comes to society’s taste in art.

    I’m always open to suggestions.

    I don’t have any, but I suspect the niches aren’t empty.

    As with all decisions, by changing minds and raising awareness, I guess.

    Yes, but I’m really skeptical whether you can change their minds here much at all.

  7. Muriel sagt:

    @ars libertatis:

    What kind of sign?

    Almost anything, really. Some small self-aware humor goes a long way with me, and even the sections in Paper Mario where I was playing the princess and performing small tasks to help free her felt like a step in the right direction, even though one of tasks was actually baking a cake, ffs.

    I personally don’t expect that only or mainly beautiful people can be heroes in real life because many games portray it like that. But I might be an outlier.

    I can’t see into your head, but I myself would also never say that I think like that, but on the other hand, I see the sexism in my own stories, and I notice that I have difficulty painting women in certain roles, and similar difficulty with men. My sexism is not very overt, and I’m mostly aware of it, and trying to counteract it, but it’s still there, and I’m quite sure that’s because of the perceptions of gender roles fed to me by society. I suspect that it works that way for many people. They’d never say that only heterosexual men can be heroes, but when asked to think of a hero, they won’t imagine a woman, and they won’t think of a gay person.

    But I don’t want to go down that rabbithole.

    I might not even disagree. It’s similar for men, although it seems to me much more pronounced with women. In Heavy Rain, for example, you play four different people, three of which are men. One of them is overweight and not conventionally pretty in any way. The other two are fairly handsome but nothing special, and both are obviously flawed. The woman is slim and very pretty, and in her first scene, she wears only a flimsy shirt and panties, and you can make her take a shower. In itself, this wouldn’t even be a problem to me (In fact, I enjoyed it.), but I see a problem in the fact that it seems to be like that almost always, in almost each game I play. Although to be fair, both parts of Borderlands seem quite alright in this regard.

    I don’t have any, but I suspect the niches aren’t empty.

    It’s like in other areas of art. It’s a lot of work to sort through the rubbish to find the treasure, and in games there really is a lot of rubbish and precious little treasure for me to find, so I mostly concentrate on other media.

    Yes, but I’m really skeptical whether you can change their minds here much at all.

    I’m quite sure I can’t.

  8. @Muriel:

    Almost anything, really. Some small self-aware humor goes a long way with me, and even the sections in Paper Mario where I was playing the princess and performing small tasks to help free her felt like a step in the right direction, even though one of tasks was actually baking a cake, ffs.

    I see. Yes, that would be a good idea. Also because it would make the story more interesting.

    I see the sexism in my own stories, and I notice that I have difficulty painting women in certain roles, and similar difficulty with men.

    I have only read Angelic Duties, but I have never noticed any authorial sexism there.

    I suspect that it works that way for many people. They’d never say that only heterosexual men can be heroes, but when asked to think of a hero, they won’t imagine a woman, and they won’t think of a gay person.

    I guess. I suspect I may live in a bubble where a lot of the fiction I consume has female heroes. But maybe that’s more unusual than I think it is. And when I generalize from personal experience, that may lead to some biases.

    It’s like in other areas of art. It’s a lot of work to sort through the rubbish to find the treasure, and in games there really is a lot of rubbish and precious little treasure for me to find, so I mostly concentrate on other media.

    I don’t think there is proportionally more rubbish in games thank in books or comics. I just concentrate on other media because I never played video games much. I just have more experience with other kinds of media which makes it easier to find the treasure. This became very clear to me when I recently tried to find French Science Fiction and didn’t know where to begin to look for the treasure.

    I’m quite sure I can’t.

    I didn’t mean you personally but people in general.

  9. Muriel sagt:

    @ars libertatis:

    I have only read Angelic Duties, but I have never noticed any authorial sexism there.

    It might be not very obvious, especially if you only read the one story. I would have difficulty writing the story that way if Profound Distress was a man. Her character is female to me, and a man behaving like her would feel strange to me.

    And when I generalize from personal experience, that may lead to some biases.

    Might of course be the same with me.

    I don’t think there is proportionally more rubbish in games thank in books or comics.

    Depends on what you’re looking for. Games usually don’t focus on story, dialogue and characters very much, and that’s what I like. Actually playing is mostly just what I have to do to get the plot to develop. I don’t actually enjoy that a lot.

  10. @Muriel:

    Her character is female to me, and a man behaving like her would feel strange to me.

    I don’t know. Do you have something specific in mind?

    Games usually don’t focus on story, dialogue and characters very much, and that’s what I like. Actually playing is mostly just what I have to do to get the plot to develop. I don’t actually enjoy that a lot.

    For me it’s sometimes just the opposite. I go through the cutscenes so that I can play again. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like the things you mentioned (I do like them and they can make a game much better), but usually other aspects of the game are more important.

  11. Muriel sagt:

    @ars libertatis:

    Do you have something specific in mind?

    Her dependence on others. Her general emotional instability. Her insecurity.
    (important explanation: These are not exclusively female character traits to me. I realize men can be that way just as well. I just have problems respecting men expressing such traits, while it’s much easier to me with women. I realize this makes no sense.)

    For me it’s sometimes just the opposite.

    Interesting. You‘ probably hate Deadly Premonition.

  12. @Muriel:

    I realize men can be that way just as well. I just have problems respecting men expressing such traits, while it’s much easier to me with women.

    Since for me it’s quite hard to respect emotionally instable women I don’t really know whether it’s more of a problem for me when men are like that.

    I realize this makes no sense.

    No, it does make sense. But the question is whether it is reasonable and moral.

    You’ probably hate Deadly Premonition.

    Most likely.

  13. Muriel sagt:

    @ars libertatis:

    Since for me it’s quite hard to respect emotionally instable women I don’t really know whether it’s more of a problem for me when men are like that.

    Of course, it’s not quite as simple as „emotionally instable females are worthy of respect, while men are not“ with me.
    But you will find that the female protagonists in my stories almost always carry some significant weakness in this regard, and I like them that way.
    With the male characters, it’s different. They are often flawed, too, but in different ways. Glonn is not a rational, stable person, but his problems are different from Cerya’s.
    Of course, I’m not writing this to convince you, just to explain my perspective, in case that wasn’t obvious.

    No, it does make sense. But the question is whether it is reasonable and moral.

    I meant it doesn’t make sense for me to judge people on base of their sex.
    On the other hand, as you know, emotions are morally neutral for me, and probably also beyond reasonable.

    Most likely.

    Even I preferred a let’s play because I didn’t want to deal with the controls. But I’d have played it if a good one hadn’t been available.
    Still, we might be missing out.

  14. @Muriel:

    Of course, I’m not writing this to convince you, just to explain my perspective, in case that wasn’t obvious.

    Of course, of course. I just want to add that I find Cerya more interesting than likeable.

    On the other hand, as you know, emotions are morally neutral for me, and probably also beyond reasonable.

    I don’t know whether it’s meaningfully possible to separate emotions and reason.

  15. Muriel sagt:

    @ars libertatis:

    I just want to add that I find Cerya more interesting than likeable.

    Which is alright with me, although I personally like her a lot. But then I need to like all my characters in a way.

    I don’t know whether it’s meaningfully possible to separate emotions and reason.

    I think it is. Our emotions set our goals. They are what we like, what pleases us, what hurts us, what we want and what we avoid. Reason is what we use to reach those goals.
    I can’t judge a person’s emotions, but I can judge if he goes about dealing with them in a reasonable way.

  16. I think it is. Our emotions set our goals. They are what we like, what pleases us, what hurts us, what we want and what we avoid. Reason is what we use to reach those goals.
    I can’t judge a person’s emotions, but I can judge if he goes about dealing with them in a reasonable way.

    I just doubt that the brain can separate emotions and reason. I suspect that the different brain processes always influence each other. But I don’t really know.

  17. Muriel sagt:

    @ars libertatis: There is obviously a lot of interaction, but it seems quite easy to me to tell apart what I think and what I feel emotionally. It’s probably less easy to tell if my thoughts are reasonable right now or if strong emotions (or orther influences) have led me to a mistake. Luckily, I don’t have a lot of those, which doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes, but I’m under the impression that reason and emotion are quite clearly separated categories for me.

  18. @Muriel:

    Strange, that’s not so easy and clear for me. But I’ll just leave it at that, since I don’t have any data.

  19. Muriel sagt:

    @ars libertatis: How exactly does that work, if you don’t mind my asking?
    When you’re angry at someone, you have difficulty differentiating between that feeling of anger and your thoughts about what to do?
    Or is it more that you have difficulty deciding whether what you want to do is reasonable because your emotions cloud your judgment?

  20. @Muriel: Both. Many things are happening in my brain at the same time. Most of them are unconscious. But the conscious thoughts seem to be composites of them. And while I know that there is both reason and emotion in a certain thought, it is hard to have a thought that consists only of reason, or to know how much of a thought is emotion / reason / something else.

    So, reason and emotion are separate categories, but in the brain / mind they are not spatially or temporally separated.

  21. Muriel sagt:

    @ars libertatis: So… Sorry if I seem difficult here, but I can’t quite understand it yet.
    I’m mad at someone.
    I think Damn, I hate that person, I really wanna bash his head in but wait that’s not a good idea guess I’ll better just walk away and avoid him in the future.
    Although I might imagine situations where anger could lead me to do something unreasonable like bashing someone’s head in, wrapping the body in a tarp to then drag it into the trunk of my car, which is more difficult than you might expect even with a petite person like – I said too much insulting someone I didn’t want to insult, it seems quite easy to me to differentiate between the emotion and the reasoning in my mind, flawed as it may be.
    I’m not sure there’s even a great difference between what we mean because I agree that there’s a lot of interaction and stuff going on in the brain, and in reality it’s much more complicated than I made it appear here, but my perception is that there’s a quite simple distinction.
    Did this comment convey any useful information?

  22. @Muriel:

    So… Sorry if I seem difficult here, but I can’t quite understand it yet.

    No worries. I don’t understand it well myself.

    I think Damn, I hate that person, I really wanna bash his head in but wait that’s not a good idea guess I’ll better just walk away and avoid him in the future.

    But you don’t actually think that, do you? Your actual thought is not this sentence, but a composite of words, emotions, images, etc.?

    it seems quite easy to me to differentiate between the emotion and the reasoning in my mind, flawed as it may be.

    But how do you do that?

    To come back to your example:

    I think Damn, I hate that person, I really wanna bash his head in but wait that’s not a good idea guess I’ll better just walk away and avoid him in the future.

    How do you find out that it’s reason that makes you not bash his head and not an emotion or an intuitive reaction that is opposed to anger, say empathy or a mild form of pacifism? Can you even say that it’s one or the other, since all those ’subthoughts‘ are happening simultaneously and very fast?

    I’m not sure there’s even a great difference between what we mean because I agree that there’s a lot of interaction and stuff going on in the brain, and in reality it’s much more complicated than I made it appear here, but my perception is that there’s a quite simple distinction.

    One problem is that reason doesn’t have a clear definition, which makes me doubt that it’s a useful concept.

    Did this comment convey any useful information?

    I think so.

  23. Muriel sagt:

    But you don’t actually think that, do you? Your actual thought is not this sentence, but a composite of words, emotions, images, etc.?

    Depends. Of course my actual thought is not a typed sentense. But that sentense mirrors my perception of it quite well.

    How do you find out that it’s reason that makes you not bash his head and not an emotion or an intuitive reaction that is opposed to anger, say empathy or a mild form of pacifism? Can you even say that it’s one or the other, since all those ‘subthoughts’ are happening simultaneously and very fast?

    Causes are different. I don’t claim to always know the ultimate causes of my actions. I know that I feel anger and empathy and stuff, and I know that I think something. And I can differentiate. I don’t know what I would have done without the thoughts, or without the emotions.

    One problem is that reason doesn’t have a clear definition, which makes me doubt that it’s a useful concept.

    There’s something to be said for that. But what does have a really clear definition, when it comes down to it?

  24. There’s something to be said for that. But what does have a really clear definition, when it comes down to it?

    I think the concepts we use to describe our minds are unusually unclear. But that’s not unexpected.

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