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07/17/2005

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Alice Lee

This is exactly the main reason I'm not all that crazy about the Frag Dolls. I'm a girl who plays video games (mostly RPGs and puzzle games), but I'm not sexy, nor am I thin, nor do I have large breasts, so does that disqualify me as a girl gamer? I don't know that the message they're sending with this new wave of promotion is any better than the one that said girls don't play video games at all.

More interesting, I thought, was that Mike posted this and Jane didn't.

Malkyne

Back when I was in college, during the early 90s, I was often the witness to jokes about how ugly the female computer science majors were. "Oh, but not YOU," they would say, as I glared at them, menacingly. Gee, thanks. That really makes me feel better. They'd probably prefer not to know what my opinion of the attractiveness most of the GUYS in the department was.

Really, I see the Lipstick Gamer phenomenon as a compensation (possibly OVERcompensation) for years of vicious negative stereotypes of female gamers, as either not actually existing, or being butt ugly basement toads. For years, we've been saying that one of the major reasons that girls don't go into computer science and other technical fields is because it's just not very glamorous. It's seen as the domain of smelly nerds, to be honest. So, I think the glamorization of technology is a really positive thing, if it leads to more girls ultimately studying technical subjects, and establishing a better balance in the technology workforce.

To once again quote Oxford's article, "commercials and game networks tend to put a wedge between the sexes with embarrassing hosts and themes that appeal to one or the other, and not both. Instead of being encouraged to play more games, women who are exposed to this kind of media often feel as if they're just being groomed to accept their significant other's gaming habits."

Oh, not THIS again. Please, by all means, raise your hand if you're a woman who feels as though the media is grooming you to accept your significant other's gaming habits. As I've said elsewhere, it seems more to me as though the media is grooming you to make him give YOU the controller. Now. And by the way, he can get you a beer while he's up.

The gaming equipment in a household is a limited resource. You don't groom someone to accept her partner's use of it by encouraging her to use it, herself. That creates a resource collision.

Sure, I don't like the guys in the EB asking me to marry them every time I go in, but that was happening, even before the Lipstick Gamer phenomenon emerged. If anything, maybe the size 0 girls will take some heat off of me. I can hope, anyway.

In conclusion, I present the celebrated grand dame of angry gamers, Old Grandma Hardcore:

http://oghc.blogspot.com/

"What did it say? I shot the food? Couldn't I STILL EAT IT WITH AN ARROW STICKING OUT!? I'M NOT GOING TO EAT THE ARROW!!"

Apar

I dont know why but when I read the post it sounded very familiar to me, If we were to ask the question "are there any ugly pop singers?" And then we have to start questioning what is the term ugly or sexy its the way we define these words. What the media is trying to do is sell an image of a person to the audience that wants to buy it. Who would be the average or rather the major demographic that a channel like G4 targets. Does that make it right? NO! Is it good for business? Otherwise why would they be making such programs.

Its the same with music videos isnt it? Would they make a music video with someone who was perceived to be "ugly"? I dont know but its an interesting situation.

Mike

I think it's a bit different, however.

I think that attractive singers / actors are more akin to the attractive characters within the video games. The product is sexy.

However, the media is trying to loop things around the apply that attractiveness to the consumers of those products. I guess a closer analogy is to alcohol commercials (or, going back, cigarette commercials) in which the consumer of the product has a heightened sexuality directly because of an unrelated product.

At the same time, this comparison doesn't work because no one's selling Halo through the Frag Dolls. No one's using the sexuality of female gamers to market games directly. Instead, the Frag Dolls are being sold through their own sexuality coupled with their favorite hobby. They use their consumerism of games and femininity as a product in and of itself.

To me, it's almost like having a TV show with a sexy film critic or something to that effect.

Brinstar

Spot on. There is, absolutely, this idealised image of a girl gamer. It's this concept that makes me uneasy about the Frag Dolls and of that PSP licker. It's fine for them to do their thing, but they certainly aren't representative of all girl gamers, just as lipstick lesbians are not representative of all lesbians. When girl + gamer = less of a novelty, I'll be glad.

Apar

I agree that there is a difference, but isnt it strange that guys associated with games are dorks or nerds or whatever you want to call them where as for the media its important to associate "sexy" girls for a gamer sounds like its playing to the audience.

My comment was just about why a channel like G4 would want to show a certain kind of program and not for the entire post maybe I should have specified that...my mistake

Alice Lee

But I don't see guys who are associated with games being huge dorks either. I've never seen XPlay, but I know that the male host isn't necessarily unattractive (it is TV). Most guys play games these days, that what it seems. I don't know when something changed whether it was Madden, or the Playstation, or what have you, but I don't see the (male) "gamer" as being the stereotypical loser like I once did anymore.

Then again I'm one of those butt-ugly basement toads, anyway.

Malkyne

Alice Lee said:
"Then again I'm one of those butt-ugly basement toads, anyway."
Oh now, don't be so mean to yourself. And you certainly shouldn't dismiss your own observations and feelings. They're valid, and worth reading. Keep that chin up. Self confidence is a true and lasting beauty that is more powerful than lipstick and size 0 jeans.

bowler

I think that it just means gaming's gotten into the mainstream column. This pretty much fits TV Sitcom rules, which is: Guy can fat and/or unattractive if need be (Listen Up!, According to Jim, King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, etc.), but the woman needs to be smoking hot.

Hollywood isn't ready to show "average" women yet. I guess gaming isn't either.

Girl_from_Mars

The other thing too is, if you are a girl gamer, according to this you have to be better than your male opponents to get any recognition. You have to "kick ass" and if you lose, you get it rubbed in your face, or dismissed as 'just a girl' or a 'poser' or 'someone's girlfriend'.

dan.l

"I think that attractive singers / actors are more akin to the attractive characters within the video games. The product is sexy."

Don't forget though that "media" is a product too. What they sell is advertising time (or your eyeballs really) to various companies. The more eyeballs they have, the more money they can get and, unfortunately, a proven way to get more people to watch is to have pretty people on their shows. Sure, the Frag Dolls aren't selling anything, but G4 can sell their shows by putting the Frag Dolls on it.

But your point is taken. It's not quite the same thing as say pushing Danica Patrick's image in racing or Kournikova in tennis. It's more like you say, a liquor commercial (or any commercial really) where they make the product look better by associating it with good-looking, hip people.

adam

personally i don't mind this stereotype. i see average-looking women every day. i understand that most of the girls who game don't look like that, just like most of the girls in bars don't look like the ones in the alcohol commercials. but if i'm going to turn on something on tv by choice, i would like to see people on there who are pleasing to the eye. i don't know anyone who thinks that the frag dolls accurately represent the female gaming population just as strippers don't represent the average dating population, but they both serve the same purpose. they're there to tease you and to tempt you into what might be. get over it and be happy with who you are.

mindtrick

if we're not all so cynical, we might be better informed if we actually read the following:

http://www.fragdolls.com/post.php?id=84

The Frag Dolls DO sell - they're paid for by UbiSoft. Groups like this don't exist without a sponsor and sponsors don't sponsor things that don't bring them some kind of return on their investment.

And Alice..."I've never seen XPlay, but I know that the male host isn't necessarily unattractive." I have seen XPlay and I'd venture to guess that your average woman would consider Adam unattractive. He is a grade A dork.(sorry Adam!) He's kinda the foil to Morgan.

Saralah

There is a huge difference in my mind between dorky and unattractive. The guys on G4 may be grade A first class geeks, but they are not ugly. Same with the TV sitcom rules.

Other than that, yeah. I pretty much agree with all y'all are saying. Although sometimes I do feel like I need to fit the mold of a girl gamer in order to impress the guy gamers, but that's really the same thing as modelling yourself after other people on television. As much as we'd like to make a big fuss about it, it's really no different than television, magazines, or film.

mumra

"is there something disconcerting about their media spotlight?"
JCon: No, there is nothing wrong with it. I think they are cool. I think pop culture is great, something like this is either ridiculous/funny or attractive to me. I have a penis, and a brain. a humor loving, sarcastic brain. Yes, I am your kinda' average guy and gamer in America…and my preference for hot girls is of course dictated by those things I find attractive in women, which has been shaped over time, by many things I can't comprehend, which I am comfortable with…blah blah….

"Put another way, which is more important to these media outlets: the gamer or the attractive woman? And if your answer is "both," does that mean that these people are being marketed as some form of novelty....?"
JCon: These social issues have surrounded other aspects of human life for years. Even more so, we now welcome them to gaming, which we all know is BIG business. I think it's really simple. Genitals and brains.

I like looking at people I think are attractive. So I'm a shit, I guess. But not so fast, because many of my friends have such different perceptions of beauty than I do. They always have. What I am saying is, I have a wider definition of beauty. No, not in some "you are beautiful on the inside way". I am saying some women that I think are beautiful, my friends think are ugly. So does that make me an ugly girl lover? No, because I think many more women are beautiful than my friends give credit. And my wife is hott (yeah, two t's).

Now, some ideas of what's sexy or beautiful or anything in between is agreed upon by my friends and I because we all sport junk. Because we sport this often pesky junk, we like certain things we find indescribably sexy - through our biology and environment. It's animal and human nature. Really simple. However, with these powerful sponges in our head, we can usually think clearly when we want to.

Also, Gaming = entertainment. So, is it safe to say we want to be entertained by gaming? I know I do damnit. Would women here object to seeing hot guys in every day entertainment? I mean, don't think about a Chippendale cheese-ball dancer, but perhaps a "well-versed, well-meaning individual who loves gaming as much as anyone", who's good looking? Maybe, maybe not I suppose. It depends if you want to mix business with pleasure. In other words, if you take gaming so seriously that it's a threat, then fight with all your might to speak out against it. For me, the only thing I take seriously in gaming is having fun. We have a certain level of responsibility in gaming culture, but this doesn't cross that line. Blah blah again, sorry.

I'm sorry I can't collect my thoughts and conclude this. I work(ed) in gaming (design, marketing, writing) and I mean, I agree that this is a serious business that deserves respect, and that every gamer should be treated equal. But that's when it comes to the actual gaming. Not advertising because that is based on a market economy, and the market rules fools. Seperate gaming and marketing, and be comfortable with that. People will always market with "hot" girls and guys, so just keep true to yourself and if it pisses you off, keep voicing your opinion. To me, gaming is still all about sitting around for hours, eating junk, farting, getting my ass kicked by everyone I play, and using brilliant technological candy to escape to a really cool (often thought provoking) world. (side note: it's funny that some non-gamers can't understand this last point. For example, my wife loves movies, but doesn't understand the power of games. She doesn't care for games and can not comprehend in her mind what I see in gaming (that I often see gaming as a dynamic and moving experience)...I might write an article on this someday..."

Comment from previous post:
"Unfortunately, a proven way to get more people to watch is to have pretty people on their shows."
JCon: Who Cares? I mean you do, but…I don't like shit acting or people who are not true to themselves, but there is an animal nature to humans, and also a nice soft brain. I don't have research, but I'm sure most people like seeing those they deem attractive, even with that nice soft brain. This is because we have genitals and reproduce. Even you think they're pretty!

Ok, stated below is what I should have said instead of my non-stop bantering that went no-where. Thanks for the clear thoughts:
"personally i don't mind this stereotype. i see average-looking women every day. i understand that most of the girls who game don't look like that, just like most of the girls in bars don't look like the ones in the alcohol commercials. but if i'm going to turn on something on tv by choice, i would like to see people on there who are pleasing to the eye. i don't know anyone who thinks that the frag dolls accurately represent the female gaming population just as strippers don't represent the average dating population, but they both serve the same purpose. they're there to tease you and to tempt you into what might be. get over it and be happy with who you are."

Ladies and germs, take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I can only voice my opinion true to form, based on my experience and preferences as a 28 year old guy gamer. Thanks. mumra (Jcon)

haroldito

I browsed the fragdolls website and it's pretty insane in which ways it's perfectly done to attract male gamers first.

I don't think this is the identity that girls need. I mean, really.

quote from the 1up feature:

"But commercials and game networks tend to put a wedge between the sexes with embarrassing hosts and themes that appeal to one or the other, and not both."

So what about the feature's title, "Venus or Mars", that old crapy myth that tends to make a difference between sexes ?..

Foopy

Frankly, I think the Frag Dolls are actually some of the better female role models in gaming culture today. They're attractive, sure, and Ubisoft uses that to bring in an audience just like any advertising strategy would, but I don't think they're overly objectified: they generally wear jeans and t-shirts, for instance, and their photos don't have a "male gaze" to them--i.e., these women don't look like they're ready to have sex with the viewer like the latest incarnation of Lara Croft does. The Frag Dolls even maintain decently-written blogs about their views on gaming. What else should they do?

I think part of the reason people are so dissatisfied with the way women gamers are represented in the media is because there's so few women that represent them that it's impossible to present much diversity. At least female gamers are actually being represented in the media today, which is a far cry from the situation five or ten years ago. As time goes on and more female gamers are represented in the media, my guess is that their image will become more diverse and varied.

outsider

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Allan

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