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Old 08-13-2008, 06:31 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by LizC View Post
Adrir - The answer to most of your questions is actually in Sheri Graner Ray's book Gender Inclusive Game Design.

And I haven't read the op-ed piece yet, so I cannot really say much about it. But I agree with Roxanne and Messiah, to shrug and say "Who cares?" is dropping any separatism, which means you can actually get to know people for who they are, their true individualism, rather than any stereotypes they could be placed in.
I'd like to offer a couple of words of caution about Sheri Graner Ray's book. She does raise various issues so it is worth reading, but the problem is that she adopts an argumentative approach and attempts to draw generalized conclusions, usually using essentialist views to support her views. For information about why essentialism has been generally rejected by modern feminist philosophers and scholars, please refer to the following summary: Women and Society - Essentialism. It's interesting that Professor Brathwaite and Sheri Graner Ray are friends and colleagues in the industry; I'd love to discuss this topic at great length with both of them.

I also think it's important to note that Sheri Graner Ray and many other people tend to approach the issues with an ethnocentric, usually EuroAmerican-centric, viewpoint without considering the roles of women in markets such as Asia, particularly Japan. One of the responders on Gamasutra's site points out quite correctly that girls and women have made major contributions to Japanese games for many years; of course, this is also true for related storytelling fields such as manga and anime, or simply other media in general. In fact, when Comic Market first began, it was estimated to be roughly 80% dominated by girls and women (according to one article on Japan Times, at least). The boys played catch-up. Of course, this is also true for companies and genres; id Software may have established the FPS genre, but the genre has never really been embraced by the Asian markets, nor have their adventure, visual novel, and simulation genres been embraced by the European and American markets. Even media such as manga and anime were rejected by English markets a couple of times before they finally gained general acceptance in the mainstream.

Finally, it's probably worth pointing out that the term "gender" is often used incorrectly when referring to sex or sexual identity because gender and gender identity is actually emotional/psychological/mental rather than physical. Gender encompasses a spectrum of nonphysical identities. In fact, modern biologists and others in the medical sciences are learning that even physical, sexual identity is not dualistic, male-female, but actually encompasses a similar spectrum of possibilities (see the books As Nature Made Him, She's Not There and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Middlesex for further reading about these topics).

I think that the ultimate point is made quite well by Professor Brathwaite both here and in her own book, Sex in Video Games (which is pretty much strives to just be informative, not argumentative). Specifically, as has been noted, I think that creativity or skill in other areas is best valued based on ability, not on one's sex, race, or other arbitrary categorization, and accepting our diverse nature means that broad generalizations as well as arguments based on them should be avoided.
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