You Really Got Me

by Cara on October 29, 2007

in discrimination, gender, marketing, misogyny, objectification, pop culture, products, sexism

 I don’t think anyone would ever make the mistake of calling me a gamer. I’ve never been very good at them, and with the exception of puzzle-type games like Tetris and Mahjong, they just don’t interest me. It’s not my thing.

But I love Guitar Hero. My husband got me hooked on it a couple of years ago, when the first game came out. Since then, we’ve bought all the sequels since on their release date, even the shitty 80s expansion pack. I’m pretty good; I can complete hard with little effort, and get five stars on most songs with a bit of work. I will, in fact, get obsessed with it.

As any good rock geek should know, Guitar Hero III was released yesterday. We bought it. We got it home. We were excited. Then we turned it on and I came to the very fast realization that I just paid $50 for a game that was going to blatantly and guiltlessly insult me.

For those of you who have never played the game, this is my girl Judy Nails. She’s a cute, bad-ass alt rocker chick who doesn’t take shit from anybody. She’s the only female character to have appeared in every Guitar Hero release, and she has been my chosen character from day one. We work well together:

And this is my beloved Judy now:

The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, but since the game is brand new it was the best I could find. You can find a better view on Guitar Hero’s homepage. Basically, I’m not sure why they bothered to put a shirt on her. There are copious amounts of cleavage, her entire stomach, and at least half of her bra hanging out. The shirt is really more of an accessory than an actual article of clothing. Even on stage with all of those bright lights, she still might get a little cold. And every outfit change I could give her doesn’t make it any better.

Even worse, I don’t have any other female options. There’s Casey, who has always worn a bikini top in lieu of a shirt (which I was originally fine with, because there were other options and there is a male character with no shirt). And there’s a new Asian female character who, though she is covered, is dressed like she works for Gwen Stefani. And since I see it as pretty racist, I can’t go with her, either.

So. Apparently Guitar Hero now thinks that it either A. does not have any female fans or B. their female fans will, for some reason, not mind being objectified and forced to play with a character who is half naked, if they want to play with a woman.

I was pissed off. But then it got much worse. I started looking through the guitars in the store. First came a guitar called the “Clix” which is sponsored by those misogynist assholes at Axe. Yeah, I get the play on words (guitar, axe . . .). But Axe is still a company that is hateful of women, and so I was very displeased. Oh, they sponsor a bass, too, called Bom Chicka Wah Wah. Cute, huh?

That was a fucking joke, though. Because next came the guitar Lady Shapes. What is Lady Shapes? It’s a guitar with a front that looks like/is shaped like an airbrushed blond in a bikini.

Worse of all, though, is the Parisienne. How bad could that be? The entire guitar is a disembodied woman’s leg in a fishnet stocking and heel.

Unlike most similar horrors that I run across, I don’t know how to be cute or sarcastic about this. Because I take it personally. Very personally. I’ve sunk a lot of money into this game. I’ve invested a lot of time and effort. I just spent $50 on this thing, which, for the record, I couldn’t really afford. And I get the game home to have it say to me “oh, by the way — we hate you.”

I’m more than pissed off. I’m fucking hurt. I feel like I don’t exist.

And probably, I shouldn’t have expected any better. I mean, it’s a video game. And it’s aimed at rock fans. Those are two markets that are generally saturated in misogyny. But I did expect better. Until now, Guitar Hero had been different toward women (though, I will admit, not towards people of color). I trusted them.

I didn’t know how to explain this to my husband. Of course, he agreed that it is stupid and sexist. But he can’t really understand. He’s not the one being attacked. As a white male, he doesn’t have to worry so much about this kind of thing.

I’m sure that many of you out there can relate — have seen shows, or book series, music, etc. that you love and have been faithful to suddenly turn against you without notice, attack you with misogynist or racist imagery/ideas. It seems silly on the surface, but it is violating and painful. I genuinely do feel betrayed right now, like I’ve been handing my money and loyalty to someone who doesn’t want to admit that I even exist.

Who is to blame? I’m floating the suggestion that it has to do with the sale of rights to Activision. But still. Is it the designers? Corporate? Who? I don’t know. And quite honestly, I don’t care. Because everyone who put their name on it bears some responsibility.

I still haven’t been able to bring myself to play.

If you care, you can contact Red Octane. I’m certainly going to. And I hope that anyone who cares about things like video games and/or overt misogyny in media will take the time to send them a note asking why they think their female audience is so expendable.

UPDATE: It seems like I spoke about the lengths of the misogyny too soon. I did decide to play the game. The second time I went to play “I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night, ” before the song started they played the BOM-CHICKA-WAH-WAH music from those absolutely horrid Axe ads, and then two women in skin tight faux-leather pants and faux-leather tube tops took the stage to start dancing suggestively. Oh, and the tube tops said “Axe” on them.

The bright side is, I’m glad that I waited to write my letter. Who would think that such shameless product placement would not be the most offensive thing about the feature? Usually, I’d be appalled at the level to which they’ve sold out, but they did indeed find a way to take my mind off of that aspect . . .

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{ 82 comments }

1 Amanda Marcotte October 29, 2007 at 8:40 pm

That is the nice thing about the game—once you get going, you can recraft the fantasy in your own mind. I am choosing to view Midori as the petite Japanese woman who KICKS ASS and scares the assholes because they don’t see it coming. Also, I’m enjoying the Sonic Youth/Rage Against The Machine/Dead Kennedys thing. Progressive political music is all over the thing.

2 RachelPhilPa October 29, 2007 at 8:43 pm

Just one more reason that I’ve no-o-o-o-o-o interest in playing video games…

3 Michelle October 29, 2007 at 8:48 pm

“Sex sells” is the excuse most trotted out when this is discussed but why should games be held hostage to male sexual desire?

In most games, women are either running around half naked or bikini-clad or need men to rescue them. It’s appalling and i talked about this with my friends and other gamers but they just wash their hands and say “You can’t do anything about it”, a modern version of “you can’t fight City Hall”.

What can we do though? We have to do something!

4 wonder October 29, 2007 at 10:16 pm

umm… encourage women to consider a career in video game programming??

*shrugs*

can’t hurt.. might help…

5 StrawberryFake October 29, 2007 at 10:49 pm

I agree with you completely here. I’m utterly obsessed with Guitar Hero II (and I was Judy Nails player, too!), to the point that I can 5 star several songs on Expert, but I refuse to buy Guitar Hero III. I cannot excuse it for the overt misogyny, especially when it comes to the appalling Axe product placement.

I also couldn’t help but view Midori as racist, she really plays into “wacky” Japanese stereotypes, and I get the horrible feeling that they inserted her for the Japanophile/anime fetishists (if you don’t think she seems sexualized, it’s because you’re fortunate enough to have never been around guys like that).

Harmonix, the developers of Guitar Hero I and II (GHIII was developed by a company called Neversoft, whose claim to fame includes making people sick of the Tony Hawk franchise), are making a GH competitor called Rock Band, and aside from a couple of questionable song choices (something by Coheed and Cambria and that song When You Were Young by the Killers which is already in GHIII anyway) it seems amazingly free of sexism. The female musicians flail around with crazy abandon, rather that posing in some grotesque mocking of women. Plus it has a character creator so you can make non-rail thin sized women, and non-white characters!

Anyway, it’s nice to see that I’m not the only person deeply disturbed and hurt by what’s going on in the new game. It just seems like one more thing some man decided to take away from me.

6 StrawberryFake October 29, 2007 at 10:50 pm

Also, I knew those gross dancers were in it, but I didn’t know that they actually added in that horrible, insulting noise

7 wellie October 30, 2007 at 11:39 am

And probably, I shouldn’t have expected any better. I mean, it’s a video game. And it’s aimed at rock fans.

don’t sell yourself short, cara. there’s NO REASON not to expect better. AXE knows better; they just choose to blatantly ignore respect for women in lieu of ‘sex sells.’ and as a huge rock fan, i don’t expect standards to be lower in music, either.

8 Cara October 30, 2007 at 11:49 am

I agree, wellie, that we shouldn’t have to lower our expecations. I think that most of us end up doing that at some point, though, because it’s just easier to avoid the disappointment.

I know that’s why this hurts more than most similar affronts would. Probably because I don’t personally play many video games, Guitar Hero was one of those rare situations (unlike TV, movies, etc.) where I didn’t even think about the fact that women are undervalued. I never had a guard up. I was just having a good time, and with the exception of being slightly annoyed by so few songs by female bands being included, I didn’t think about gender. To go from being treated like a full-fledged human being to being treated like a piece of trash is what’s upsetting. It would be a lot easier if it had just been this way from day one.

And StrawberryFake, I look forward to Rock Band, as well. I hope that Harmonix at leat maintains their integrity, but since being bought out by MTV I’m skeptical. Also, that game is going to be really, really expensive.

9 wellie October 30, 2007 at 2:14 pm

yeah, i gotcha. being blindsided bites.

10 rich October 30, 2007 at 2:20 pm

I owned and played GH II for awhile; I realize you’re talking about GHIII, but I don’t recall there being anything overtly sexist in GHII, at least I hope there wasn’t. Maybe it just flew under my radar, considering I was always Lars Umlaut (great name). Sounds like GHIII is pretty over the top.

There’s no reason why they shouldn’t market it fairly to both sexes. That assumes that women don’t play GH, or they don’t care. On a side note, I consider myself pretty good at the game, but every woman I know who plays the game has kicked the living shit out of me. I’m forced to stick to Mariokart as my claim to fame.

11 Cara October 30, 2007 at 2:53 pm

Nope, GH I and II were just fine. They’re both great games, though I am partial to the original.

12 Tracey October 30, 2007 at 3:32 pm

After playing GHIII this weekend, I was all set to come out of hiding to post about it, but I see you beat me to it. When I saw Judy Nails and played the game, I wanted to cry. I agree with Amanda that the political song choices are great, I am SO PISSED OFF that the game had to write off women in such a way.

I also want to add to your critique that, if you play the game a little more, you’ll notice that the animations between gigs in career mode are full of misogyny as well. Things like showing the male members of the band with groupie chicks all over them. And not a single one of the character descriptions for the female characters was free of sexist (or racist, in Midori’s case) material. I’m so disgusted.

If Judy is your favorite, I will tell you that if you play a little more and go to the store to buy her a new outfit, there is ONE that isn’t completely disgusting. This was the first thing I did, but I can already tell I’m not going to get nearly as much enjoyment from this game as I have from GHI and GHII.

And it’s not just a girl-thing, either. I read a post on a gaming site by a man who, after seeing the game, did not want to buy it for his sons because of the way women were portrayed. And when we turned on the game for the first time Sunday night, all my boyfriend could say was, “Wow.” I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him be almost offended as me about sexism.

I’ll definitely be writing Red Octane as well. Thanks, Cara.

13 dew October 30, 2007 at 3:38 pm

This reminds me a bit of the Sims, where the clothing choices for female characters are very skimpy (except the old lady clothes)and the body types are all on the thin end, even when someone has zero body (fitness) points. The very biggest you can make a female is to give her thin body some curves, and the very biggest you can make a male is thin with a pot belly.

My son plays a LOT of video games, and yeah, the female characters are usually dressed ridiculously, just like that photo you posted, sometimes worse. I really wonder, when even a 17 year old boy who has been playing video games since he was 10 constantly remarks on how ridiculous, “slutty” and “fake” the women are. He plays the women characters sometimes, too, though he has a favorite in every game, and most of his favorites are badass guys. But when you’ve got a teenage boy remarking, “How do they think she could stand up with those basketballs on her chest” then who is really playing these games and thinking how awesome the female characters are? They’re a joke, and I really wonder that the game makers don’t get that.

Each game usually has at least one very stereotypically girly guy in it, too, and my son says he thinks they’re supposed to represent gay men. I have to wonder if they’re in the game for homophobes to beat up with their characters.

14 Cara October 30, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Hey Tracey. After writing this post, I did in fact notice the sexist animated scenes in between venue changes. Not cool.

And yes, I did find an outfit that was tolerable for Judy. I think that it’s a green top with a red plaid skirt and it’s kind of punk rock. There is still definitely a lot of cleavage, but at least I’m not expecting a nipple to pop out.

My husband hangs out on some online gaming forums and obviously there were a lot of discussions about GHIII. He posted a review that commented on the sexism and wrote to the company himself, but the good part is that he wasn’t the only one complaining. There are, in fact, a lot of people who are very displeased with Judy Nails — including guys. Gives me a little bit of hope.

And you’re right, Dew — from what I know about him, your teenage son is probably a bit more progressive and anti-sexist than most, but the fact that any teenage boy would think to comment on that kind of thing shows how truly ridiculous this has become.

15 Sarah D. October 30, 2007 at 4:56 pm

You’re overreacting. Badly. It also shows you can’t really take an steady tack on things.

To show women conservatively covered is bad, and misogynistic, to show them uncovered, also bad, and misogynistic?

So the shirtless male is not being “objectified”? He’s just shirtless, and that’s cool?

It’s not “attacking you with misogyny”. You’re reading into it, and seeing something where there isn’t anything.

It’s like conservatives freaking out about Janet Jackson’s boob. Are you ashamed or afraid of the female body? If you’re so horrified by it being shown, maybe YOU might be the misogynist?

““oh, by the way — we hate you.””

That’s just ridiculous.

I mean, NO female rocker ever dressed like this, right? *cough* Courtney Love *cough*, I could go on, but I figure an example that rocked pretty damn hard would do it.

Do you complain that it’s misandry if Steven Tyler wears leather pants and ripped shirts? Of course not.

All in all, you’re overreacting. Badly. Lacking anything to find offensive, you’re trying to find things offensive simply to complain.

I love the game, I enjoy it, and it doesn’t “insult” me, or “hate” me.

Get over yourself.

16 Cara October 30, 2007 at 5:24 pm

Last time I checked, Sarah, EVERY SINGLE FEMALE GUITARIST IN EXISTENCE WAS NOT HALF NAKED. If you read the post, instead of being so itchy to insult someone, you’d see that my gripe is that every female character is offensive. If every single male character was half naked, yes, it would be offensive. But they aren’t.

Also, when did I say that conservatively dressed women are offensive? Ever? And when did I say that scantily-clad women are offensive, unless they are being held up as nothing more than objects of male desire? If a woman wants to wear a tube top, whatever. If a man creates a game in which every single female character is dressed like she’s in a wet tee-shirt contest, that’s a problem. Until I see some guy writhing around on stage in leather pants, without playing an instrument, for the titillation of a female audience during a rock concert, yes, those Axe dancers are offensive.

You can play whatever the fuck you want to play. But if there’s nothing wrong with it, why bother getting so defensive? Do you seriously have nothing better to do than to rant about things that you yourself say aren’t a big deal?

And if I was just randomly seeking out things to offend me, why the hell was I totally okay with both GH I and II?

If you think that it’s okay for video programmers to make guitars of of women’s hyper-sexualized, detached body parts, good luck to you.

17 Jellyy, October 30, 2007 at 5:55 pm

That makes me very sad. I love the GH games… I always appreciated how the women were portrayed, and felt like the makers wanted to appeal to both genders… Of course these games are always a bit one-sided (there’s always some ridiculous “fat guy” etc for men to play with but women are always skinny)…
Oh well. I’ll save my money for Rock Band.
I hate Axe. Thats enough to stop me from buying the damn game.

18 specialK October 30, 2007 at 6:12 pm

I like playing Guitar Hero, but I’ve never been under the illusion that it’s in any way for women (how about that urinal that flushes when you get your score? It’s for dudes, dudes with penises.) It sucks – I play Joan Jett and then I play some Pat Benetar, then I’m done and I wonder if the makers of Guitar Hero have any idea how much potential audience they’re losing out on.

19 Cara October 30, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Is there a urinal? I know the flush you’re talking about, but I don’t remember seeing a urinal, just a bathroom wall. The caveat there is that I’m not very observant. I’m the kind of person who will ask where the picture on a wall came from after it’s been hanging there for three years.

20 IanB October 30, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Yikes, they turned Judy into the Bride of Chucky!

I am with you 100% on all (but one – see below) the wrong choices made, but I want to especially emphasize how aggravating it is to have product placement, particularly for a despicable company like Axe in the game. Well, I should modify that statement – in a sense the game is nothing a giant ad for the bands, record companies, and guitar companies involved – but product placement for non-music-related products really rubs me the wrong way, and the problem is compounded by Axe’s awful advertising techniques.

I have to admit though, the giant disembodied leg guitar is so *completely* ridiculous over the top and so very 80s hair band in aesthetic, that I laughed when I read about it. Maybe it can get a satire exemption? Sounds like something that would have fit right in to Spinal Tap.

21 Cara October 30, 2007 at 6:56 pm

I suppose that the leg guitar could be read that way. But I actually find it to be the most offensive part. And it’s the one thing that my husband won’t stop going on about, and he usualy loves kitsch 80s hair band jokes. His favorite character in the game is Izzy, after all, but he didn’t see satire, either.

If it is satire, I don’t find it to be funny. And with everything else done to the game, I’m not convinced that the designers were really critically aware of what they were doing.

22 Tracey October 30, 2007 at 7:44 pm

I need to check to see if this is true, but I just talked to my boyfriend about this again, and he said he thinks the leg guitar is modeled after an ACTUAL Gibson guitar, like many of the others used in GH. I don’t know if this makes it any better or worse, but it certainly doesn’t excuse it.

23 Cara October 30, 2007 at 7:50 pm

Yeah, I actually had the same discussion over the Lady Shapes guitar. But the fact that it exists isn’t a reason to excuse it. All of the stereotypes they use against the new Asian character Midori exist, too, but that doesn’t make the whole “she gave up violin to play guitar at age 3, haha!” any better.

– I AM interested to know if it’s a real guitar, though.

24 Tracey October 30, 2007 at 8:49 pm

Another thing I want to figure out is if they modeled Midori after the REAL classical violin prodigy of the same name, and, if so, if they had her permission to do so. (She is an extremely famous violinist who goes just by the name “Midori” and has also been playing violin since the age of three.) Part of me wants to believe that they used her in the same way they used Tom Morello and Slash, but I doubt it. http://www.sonyclassical.com/artists/midori/bio.html

25 wes October 31, 2007 at 1:20 am

Hope you don’t mind i used some internet magic and put a link to your article on the GH website.

WARNING: the replies will probably piss alot of people off, but I wanted to see if anyone else that is deep into this game feels the same way, be prepared for some loving replies…

My wife had the exact same feelings. It’s noticeable right from the get-go choosing a character, then right on to the cut-scenes, unlockables, etc… pretty ridiculous. the only console we own is the Wii, so for us, we don’t even have the option to fall back on a previous edition of guitar hero to get our fix. We’ll keep rockin’ to make some cash and get Judy a green top and a plaid skirt…

link

26 Poet October 31, 2007 at 4:36 am

Seriously? It’s just a game. Who gives a shit. My fiance doesn’t and she’s a girl. It’s just a game. Her and I are looking at the notes coming our way more than we’re trying to find stuff in the game to bitch about. Axe has always objectified woman. Sex sells and will always sell no matter if you bitch till the end of time or if you keep quiet.

I’m not saying I like women being thought of as objects (personally women are the greatest beings on this planet) but it’s not going to help to whine about it and as I said it’s just a game, you don’t like it don’t buy it (or sell it in your case) and go on with your life.

27 Cara October 31, 2007 at 7:47 am

So, Wes, you’re going to deal with the responses, right? :)

And wow, Poet, thanks. That was helpful.

I think it’s pretty clear that he’s never been on a feminist blog before — notice how “women’s naked and disembodied body parts” uncritically equals “sex” to him — but he does have a fiancee. A female fiancee. Really, how could we not listen? Sure, there are tons of sexist things! But life is unfair! It’s not like you can, you know, do things about it.

[If you can't tell, I'm not in the mood. I think that I might be done dealing with shitty comments on this post.]

28 DoctorJay October 31, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Poet, you don’t get it. She already bought the game! She spent $50 on a game that she expected to enjoy, and instead got an experience that was alienating and unwelcoming. Why shouldn’t she expect a game that treats women with respect?

29 ocean_eyes October 31, 2007 at 12:55 pm

I was crushed, CRUSHED, to see Judy Nails on GHIII. But I have to say, I was not surprised. On either GHI or GHII, if you unlock the creator videos, they talk about the characters. For both female characters, they solely focused on how “hot” they were. So even the original creators sought to make the females sexy, while they made no comment about male character attractiveness.

But, I loved my Judy nonetheless. I love the game…having trouble with 3′s and 7′s, but hopefully I will work past it. I just wish that the designers would have respected this guitar heroine.

30 wes October 31, 2007 at 2:02 pm

well, blogs have circles and are usually inward focused (not a bad thing, just a thing.) so when you can inject a part of your circle into another (GH Forums) then sometimes you can make a few people think. Maybe it will spark something in the future, but at least they can think about it. You guys may be used to having them spewing faulty logic, but they definitely aren’t used to posts like this.

31 sexSells- October 31, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Sex sells is the oldest line in the book – slavery sold too (was very profitable before the 1900s).
It’s like the line prostitution is the oldest profession in the world – as if that’s a good reason… Again, slavery is also one of the oldest professions in the world – but most countries have laws against slavery…
Why is it so easy to allow these types of arguements? just plain dumb…

32 Cara October 31, 2007 at 3:31 pm

Wow, SS, that was refreshing. I saw your pseudonym and thought I was going to have to get all pissed off at you :)

33 Amy October 31, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Thanks, Cara. I played a friend’s copy, and felt pretty much the same way you do. I ignored Casey in previous games, and was sad when I heard that Pandora wouldn’t be in this one… I expected Judy to be a good fallback, but nope. Not at all.

34 Tiffany November 1, 2007 at 9:01 am

I came across this post via thinkgirl.net and I just want to thank you for writing it. I immediately wrote to redoctane and told them howso many women and girls love Guitar Hero and that we don’t want to see half-naked women with breasts that get larger with each new version of the game or tasteless product placements by companies like Axe. And we don’t want “options” of guitars shaped like female body parts or characters accessorized to fit racial stereotypes. We want Joplin, Lita Ford, Debbie Harry, Etheridge, Siouxsie, Joan Jett, Benatar, Patti Smith, Courtney Love, Sleater-Kinney, and Grace Slick. We want to rock out, have fun and feel good doing it.

Thanks for writing this.

35 Poet November 2, 2007 at 1:20 am

Ha funny. I was just saying that the images are sexual dipshit. Anyways as I said before don’t like the game you’ve bought trade it in or sell it.

[I'm not in the mood to post anymore on this really stupid subject as it will never go any further than this. Take care]

36 Holly November 4, 2007 at 7:47 pm

I no longer feel alone in my anger towards video games. My boyfriend became addicted to Tomb Raider: Anniversary for a few days not too long ago–Lara Croft’s chest, I swear, gets bigger as you go through the game. Or at least it looked as if it did. There’s also a few levels where Lara Croft is in a black dress, cut up to her thigh with lace black panties on underneath and you can clearly see parts. I felt down right angry about it and I’m glad that others are seeing this in other video games and refuse to ignore it and not speak up about it.

37 rich November 4, 2007 at 8:35 pm

You know, there’s a game that came out some time ago called Dead or Alive: Volleyball, which quite possibly is the most sexist game I have ever seen. It flaunts its awesome physics engine that realistically portrays the bounce of women’s breasts as they play volleyball in scanty bikinis. You might want to punch the television if you see it.

38 Latoya Peterson November 9, 2007 at 9:52 am

Hey Cara –

Saw your comment on Racialicious. That’s kind of odd, I thought you would see the trackback notice or the blog link in your round up.

Ick.

Anyway, we have a lot of discussion of the themes you bring up in gaming over on the iris network forums.

And to see the discussion of your comments in particular, check out

http://cerise.theirisnetwork.org/archives/286

There’s a link to the forums at the end of the article.

Great blog – I just discovered it but I’ll definitely keep reading.

39 Cara November 9, 2007 at 10:44 am

Hi Latoya–

Normally I would — I’m not sure why it didn’t turn up this time. Oh well, not a big deal. Thanks for writing the article! :)

40 Shannon November 9, 2007 at 12:19 pm

Rich-
all the Dead or Alive games are like that, not just Volleyball. Every woman in that game either has unproportionately huge breasts, or very little clothing on. As the series goes on from the first game to the most recent, it seems that the women fighters lose more and more clothes as well. It is a shame that such a good game like Guitar Hero is gone down that road as well, since DoA is a basic fighting game, something you can get anywhere. I don’t play Guitar Hero, I only usually watch my sister play, but now I don’t really want to.

41 Fuzzy November 10, 2007 at 10:36 am

Wow, I was referred to this by a friend of mine because she really didn’t want to touch this subject and felt people like me are being portrayed in a negative light. That and I guess she really didn’t want to say anything that would make me look bad since I’m more then capable of blowing my own head off there.

Anywho at her request I read your complaints as valid as they are here’s a few things from the other side of the disc for you. I’m a game designer, well actually I do concept art which gets turned into models and so on and so on, in other words, I’m probably your biggest enemy in this rant. I’ve met alot of really cool people and we’ve discussed this millions of times with the people in charge of the storyboards too.

One, I’m sorry, but alot of the times, heroines can be written in a lot of situations easier then males. Easier to write emotions that don’t seem to take your average oversized hero guy number 235 outta context. Take Heavenly Sword for example, great example of storytelling, but if you reverse the roll and instead have Nariko as a guy, probably wouldn’t synch as well. On the flip side, god of war, same deal, Kratos is meant to be some ripped tattooed pissed off half deity meant to kill the stuff of legends in the most brutal fanatical style. Yet they both seem to have the same tailor, coincidence? Possibly…

Second, alluring feminine qualities given to females is a good thing!! I’m not talking about the balloon girls of DOA. I’m pretty sure my fine arts teachers would do things involving a metric buttload of pain to me if I ever slanted my art that way. I’m more referring to the poster complaining about the slight view of panties in tomb raider. (but more about that later!) These things help define a character and avoid them from looking like another bad WoW sprite model. I read what the writers have come up for the character and I think what would make this character look great? What is their idea of dress, do they dress to put fear and awe into their foes or they dress in a simple effective style for getting a job done? Then I go about my merry way of making this, if I deem the character may show some skin if female, it’s not for the OMGZ FOOBIES!! They may be proud of their look, maybe it’s their personal style. Have you gone out and accused someone of showing too much skin or their belief in clothing is poor taste? Their response would probably be along the lines of this is what they feel comfortable wearing, same applies to the characters I have to design. Considering Laura Croft began as fap material for a bunch of preadolescent boys are you honestly surprised?

Finally Guitar Hero III, my girlfriend picked it up the first day it came out. My poor 360 hasn’t seen me since, for that matter…neither seen the girlfriend. Go figure, however I heard about the design changes to some of the characters and wanted to see them for myself. Your first complaint was Judy Nails, if you read the initial statement about her she was “reinventing herself after realizing her fanbase was a bunch of 14 year old boys.” Go figure, however, if you check out alot of the hard metal/punk mags, you’ll see they dress about the same, if not worse (Vagiant!!). Don’t get me wrong, some female musicians dress in some really amazing outfits too, however try doing that and playing a guitar for a 4 hour plus set. Probably gonna be pretty grim in a short while.

Next up, the asian guitarist (Midori I think?) I gotta point out the Gwen Stefani rant, there’s an actual fashion style in Japan that Gwen decided to try out. Can’t really go into greater detail, mainly because I know jack shite about it. However, wiki Harajuko (sp?) probably give you more info then I’m more then capable of. Secondly, google j pop j rock and j punk, image search gave me a few musicians with a style of dress remarkably close to both costumes of Midori. Although I’ll agree it was probably for the japanophiles then actual musical reference…but then again I don’t know the ideals behind putting her in and taking Eddie Knox out. Also as a few posters pointed out, the rock genre has pretty much been about sex drugs and keeping tr00 to the rock.

So anyways, here’s a viewpoint from the other side of the world. I’m half asleep from insomnia and pretty sure some of it didn’t make a mess of sense. However, just enjoy the game for what it is, a plastic guitar and a bunch of flying notes…

…well that and the foo fighters just put out a new track called pretender for dl content =D.

42 Cara November 10, 2007 at 10:58 am

Hi Fuzzy,

I’m getting a million really repulsive troll comments on this thread right now, but since yours was actually respectful I decided to let it through.

That being said, I disagree with you on nearly every count.

Quite simply, the problem with female characters wearing such revealing clothing isn’t about us being afraid of female sexuality. It’s about women being portrayed as objects of male sexual desire, even when they’re doing things like saving the world. You’d think that a woman wouldn’t have to worry about looking great, and shouldn’t have to worry about her boobs popping out when she’s killing dudes. It’s also a problem that this type of portrayal is standard. If it was a rare portrayal, sure, it could be used both usefully and effectively. No, I do not criticize actual women for dressing how they dress. What I have a problem with is male programmers putting all of their female characters in skimpy clothing and saying “well that’s just how they dress.” Because, actually, that’s not how all women dress. And by giving them only this representation in video games, it’s pretending like they do.

As for Midori — yes, I’m completely aware of j pop. I don’t have an issue with j pop. I have an issue with the fact that there are only two characters in the game who are people of color, out of 12 characters. and one of them is dressed completely stereotypically. The making of Midori seems to have occurred along these lines: hey, let’s make an Asian character. What, she’s Asian? Let’s make her Japanese. Okay, well, if she’s Japanese we better dress her in J pop style make her movements completely “kawaii.” She’s a fucking caricature of actual Japanese people. If there were more people of color in the game, or if there were more foreign characters who weren’t simply the nonwhite people, I would be fine with how she dresses, but not fine with the descriptions or her movements. In any case, the fact that some Japanese people actually dress like that is not an excuse. Some Mexican people actually do wear sombreros. To put one Latino character in the game and give him a sombrero would be really stereotypical and racist. And some black people eat fried chicken, but if you gave Xavier a drumstick to nibble on while he plays, that would also be racist. It’s about context. And it’s not just me who finds her to be racist — it’s actual Asian people.

As for Gwen Stefani, what she has done is to culturally appropriate a culture and use it for her own market gain, while employing lots of Asian women to act as her Harajuko girls and follow her subserviently everywhere. It’s racist, and again, it’s not just the white girl feeling that way.

We can talk about “staying true to rock” all we want, but not all rock is misogynist (thank god), and Rock Band is supposed to be a LOT more respectful of women.

In any case, thanks for at least acting like a sane human being. It’s refreshing after having to delete 20 comments calling you a stupid bitch whore whose husband hates you because you have a brain and who wants to destroy video games and should therefore die (paraphrasing, but extremely accurate).

43 Fuzzy November 10, 2007 at 11:52 am

No worries, sounds like channers.

Ah good, thankfully you appear to be alot more aware of the entire jpop stuff then I am. I’m more Our Lady Peace and Foo Fighters then that stuff anyways so I’d be pretty much useless other then my initial statement. Honestly the style of music in general annoys the hell outta me. So I can’t really debate the entire race in video games, considering I have no idea what the heck my ancestry even is. (Accursed gypsy heritage!!)

I’m sorry, the programmers have nothing to do with what the characters look like. The team for the game my studio’s working to release the design group is composed of myself, two women and another guy. We all pretty much shared the same ideas for each character and we all put the design sheets together. The two women in the group were just as vocal about the garments as we were. The one girl actually brought in a fashion mag of a girl in a bunny outfit and suggested we add that in for a hidden costume laugh. For the added point, her initial outfit is a strait jacket and bullet pants. Just a play on her name is all. Most designers are well aware most women don’t dress like that, same level most guys don’t dress like Vaan from Final Fantasy 12, or wear 300 pounds of armor and wield a 9 foot sword. However, fantasy allows us to kinda wander beyond those restrictions and have some fun with it.

However, pardon me for misunderstanding, it’s the wee hours of the morning (Ok 930 but I haven’t slept yet so it’s wee to me!!) However, you’re criticizing male programmers for putting all their female models in skimpy outfits. I’ve got a mess of games where the female protagonist isn’t skimpily dressed, nude, and actually find their way to the top of the list.

However, understand the point of view from the designers too. Our game doesn’t sell, we don’t get monies, we don’t get to make more games. The blockbuster titles may try that so they can keep feeding out shovelware please look at a larger selection. Mcgee’s Alice, the Metal Gears, Devil May Cry (schoolgirl fetish aside)Assasin’s Creed when it hits the street date, and Fable. Just take a look at Metal Gear Three, the boss will forever be my favorite female character ever for her range throughout the game (and to the best of my knowledge unless I’m forgetting a scene she stays in a traditional military garb the entire game. Hell I’m not defending the choices made by some designers, DoA is a good example of fap gaming.

Just saying the choices of some designers aren’t everything. For the record though, I really hate the fact Axe has advertising in Guitar Hero III, but a new company took over the guitar hero franchise and had to built from the ground up for their product (It’s sickening how much games cost to develop). So if they needed more revenue to cover the master tracks design time, dealing with the ps3 conversion. (Seriously, the cell processor is the greatest thing and the worst nightmare to the gaming industry) They would have had to look into other options, sadly I wish they just stuck with guitar models but maybe Harmonix had an agreement with certain brands with rockstar. I don’t know for sure, our publishers actually pretty cool with deadlines so I’m grateful.

And if I sound like I’m being pretentious, please blame the lack of the caffiene, I’m not trying to sound mean.

44 Amused November 13, 2007 at 4:11 am

Judy used to be my favourite character too and I just dislike her new outfits. In fact I don’t really like any of the females outfits. Nevertheless, I’m entertained by your specific complaint. Personally I thought her second outfit in Guitar Hero 2 was sluttier than her current outfits.

What do you really expect in this style of game? Ever heard of the phrase sex drugs and rock and roll?

With that said the male characters look far from normal as well.

45 Cara November 13, 2007 at 9:03 am

I have heard the phrase sex, drugs and rock and roll. So: why aren’t all of the guys dressed super sexy? Why isn’t the lead singer topless and in tight leather pants? Why doesn’t Johnny (the shirtless character) have bulging muscles and wax on his chest?

I know that social conditioning is hard to overcome, but “sex” does not only mean “women’s naked bodies.” Usually, men are naked when they have sex, too. And both straight women and gay men like to look at male bodies. So. We don’t get to use the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” defense.

Also, I’d appreciate it if we could refrain from using words like “slutty.” Thanks.

46 Kevin November 13, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Guitar Hero’s target demographic is heterosexual males in their adolescents and early 20s who are going to be more likely to buy the product if they’re going to get to see women in skimpy outfits. It’s a marketing tactic, not a social statement. Is marketing evil? Arguably. It plays on our basest emotions at a subconscious level to try to sell us things we don’t need. Does scantily clad women in advertising objectify women? Arguably, but you could also argue that an attitude of being uncomfortable or ashamed of nakedness is also unhealthy. Does this portrayal of computer-generated bodies that are ultra-stylized affect how we think about our own bodies? Probably. But is the answer censorship at the government or corporate level, or is the answer to combat it with discussion and education?

47 Cara November 13, 2007 at 5:28 pm

Um . . . did I suggest censorship? I suggested that video game companies and advertising companies stop acting like assholes.

And you’re absolutely wrong that it’s not a social statement. It is a social statement. It’s a social statement that young males need, or advertisers think they need, objectified women in the games in order for them to sell. It’s a social statement that therefore women’s bodies are something to be bought and sold. And as a male, who doesn’t have to experience this shit coming at him from every single angle on a daily basis, I don’t expect you to understand. But, again, I think that this is one of those times when you need to defer to the opinion of the oppressed. We have seen many, many women say that they are offended by the game. Here, on the Feministing thread on the same topic and on many other posts that have linked to this one. We’re offended. Stop telling us that we don’t have a reason to be.

48 rich November 13, 2007 at 6:52 pm

People aren’t fans of the Guitar Hero series because of scantily clad women and body part guitars; they like it because you get to strum a fake guitar, jump and thrash around and feel like a rock star. The game would’ve sold just as well without any of the objectification used, all without pissing off a substantial part of their demographic.

49 Kevin November 14, 2007 at 1:31 am

I had to break this up into multiple posts, to evade your spam filter :)

The game would’ve sold just as well without any of the objectification used, all without pissing off a substantial part of their demographic.

This statement is, to be honest, a little ignorant. If products sold just as well without being sexualized, you wouldn’t see the proliferation of sexualized products in our culture. It’s not because a few cheuvanist elitists at the top of key corporations are going “we’re going to make men become attracted to this kind of thing whether they like it or not!” and proceed that way regardless of market response. Corporations can’t afford that kind of stupidity; they know exactly what they’re doing. Do you think pornography, exploitive music videos, tv shows, movies, advertisements, all exist because there’s some kind of conspiracy?

It’s a social statement that young males need [...] objectified women in the games in order for them to sell

Gratuitous sex increases profit. I can back this up with stats if you want. It’s materialistic and I think it’s silly, and I’m not saying that’s the way it should be in a perfect world, but I can’t believe that someone is actually arguing this aspect of status quo with me in this day and age. Look around you. The fact that it’s “coming at you from all angles” is not because evil advertising execs have some anti-feminist agenda, it’s because they are exploiting a part of the male psyche which is, at this point, largely unexamined.

50 Kevin November 14, 2007 at 1:31 am

I think there’s kind of a disturbing trend lately in feminism that equates a man’s appreciation with a woman’s sexuality and physical form with objectification. I have to tell you, I understand where this comes from. I am around guys all the time that talk about women in objectifying ways.. it’s inescapable, and part of the way men communicate with each other right now, unfortunately. I’ve never been comfortable around it. It revolts me (I really identified with Refusing to be a Man, by John Stoltenberg.) A woman’s sexuality and body is fantastic, but it’s only a small fraction of who she is as a human being, obviously. Obvious to me, not obvious to most. To me, when i meet someone, I want to find out about their personality, their hopes and dreams, their personality. And I think their flaws, both physical and emotional, are beautiful.

But that doesn’t stop me from appreciating something that I think is physically beautiful, or that connects with me on a sexual level. I’m in the minority, because I appreciate a person – a woman, or a man – as a whole person on a wholistic level. And I hope that more people can be educated to be that way, but I’m not sure that you’re going to be able to reach everybody on that level at this point by pure brute force. I think that humans have a lot of evolving to do, and I think that feminism is an important part of showing us the way to evolve.

In any case, I think you’re doing a great job, Cara, and I commend you for starting this project. I am an active commenter on a lot of blogs with many various causes I’m interested in (atheism, feminism, queer issues, transgender issues, liberal politics, skepticism/rationalism, critical thinking), and I appreciate the back-and-forth and exchange of different viewpoints and ideas. I’ve learned a lot from you so far. Sometimes I’m the minority arguing against the majority, sometimes it’s vice versa (e.g., in this case), but I always try to come from a place that opens people’s minds up to new possibilities, instead of being reactionary. I hope you understand I never intend disrespect — sometimes I play the devil’s advocate, sometimes I propose thought experiments, sometimes I’m just trying to be funny.

Cheers.

51 rich November 14, 2007 at 2:21 am

Actually Kevin, it’s ignorant to talk about the proliferation of pornography and music videos in the same breath as a game whose primary function is strumming a fake guitar. I never said sex doesn’t help sell products, I said sex isn’t necessary to sell Guitar Hero. Other video games do hit their demographics by selling with sex (the list is too long), but Guitar Hero simply is not a game where sex is necessary to promote it, at all.

And what is this you’re talking about conspiracy? You are arguing sex sells, therefore corporations exploit it. No shit. Your response to others’ reactions are, “you are against using sex to sell, therefore you believe corporations are promoting misogyny for its own sick sake and not for profits.” No one has said that ever. I’m glad you comment on critical thinking posts, but perhaps you should actually try it out sometime.

“I think there’s kind of a disturbing trend lately in feminism that equates a man’s appreciation with a woman’s sexuality and physical form with objectification.”

How can you even bring up a statement like that in reference to Guitar Hero, or any of the posts on this site? Do you truly believe, after you pointed out how marketing execs exploit sex to sell products, that many women and some men have been offended by the product, that this game reflects man’s appreciation of a woman’s sexuality? These posts aren’t about art class sculptures espousing the beauty of the feminine, nor about those above and beyond human beings who actually respect both a woman’s intellect and sexuality, as if that’s medal-worthy instead of what should be, I don’t know, standard. The reason the “trend” you refer to exists is because the “trend” of misogyny is pervasive throughout the entire planet. Luckily, there are guys like you who say “A woman’s sexuality and body is fantastic, but it’s only a small fraction of who she is as a human being, obviously.” My god how could I not have seen it?? I’ve been fucking blind all this time.

52 rich November 14, 2007 at 2:25 am

I also noticed on your webpage that you apparently don’t get along with pretentious conceited types. It must suck having to kick your own ass every 15 minutes. Yeah I know, that’s not a very good example of critical thinking, or classiness for that matter, but really I’m just sympathizing with you.

53 Kevin November 14, 2007 at 4:04 am

Actually Kevin, it’s ignorant to talk about the proliferation of pornography and music videos in the same breath as a game whose primary function is strumming a fake guitar.

mostly about strumming a fake guitar, but the producers have also inserted other issues.

Do you truly believe [...]that this game reflects man’s appreciation of a woman’s sexuality?

No, you’re setting up what’s known as a straw-man argument. I never said that a game like this represents a woman’s true sexuality, I said that I appreciate a human being’s entire personality, including their sexuality, and I acknowledged that an example like Guitar Hero, while annoying and repulsive to me, is something that has to be understood on the physiological rather than social level. Way to go for taking things entirely out of context.

The social vs. physiological argument is a totally valid debate, in my opinion, I’m not sure why you guys seem to need to take it to an immature ad-hominem level. I guess it’s just the nature of the internet for people to love getting upset. Anyway, good luck with your movement, I am going to discuss things with people who are a little less jerry-springer. ciao.

54 Cara November 14, 2007 at 8:28 am

Actually, I’m quite sure that you made the straw-man argument, and Rich called you on it. *shrugs*

55 Jenee November 14, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Absolutely, Rich. Well said.

56 Elizabeth November 16, 2007 at 7:50 pm

I completely agree with you. I noticed that right off the bat. My boyfriend and I have been playing Guitar Hero since the first one came out, and I was SO excited for GHIII. I was seriously disappointed when a.) I saw the blantant product placement (tacky) and b.) I saw that they got rid of Pandora and replaced her with MIDORI. And now, Judy Nails, my second favorite character, looks like a whore.
Of course my boyfriend shrugs it off, saying “Of course it’s geared towards men…97% of video game players are men.” But Guitar Hero used to be a game that everyone could enjoy, male or female! And now I don’t even feel like associating with it.

57 Angel November 18, 2007 at 9:15 pm

I am glad there is a place where I can talk about this. I love Guitar Hero and Judy was my character, the only one I played as. I just got GH3 and I have not been able to bring myself to play as her. I can’t stand the way she looks. They destroyed her cute, non-sexual, cheerful, quirky personality. She is like a male chauvinist’s wet dream.

I started out playing with Midori simply because she was the most fully clothed. I had not thought of her as a racist depiction; I was just glad they were including another ethnicity. She does make me uncomfortable, though, because she is so over the top cutesy that I feel like they tried to fetishize her. That’s what makes me so upset. Every female character is so sexualized. I won’t even talk about the guitars.

Once I got enough money to buy Casey’s second outfit I started playing with her. She’s fully covered and it does not seem as sexual if you pretend it’s not leather. I did not buy Judy’s second outfit because it is a school girl outfit which is just a reminder that she is catering to some male fantasy now.

After the first battle with Tom Morello, there was a jam with him. I was disgusted to see a skimpily dressed blonde dancing around on the stage. Why? That is so unnecessary. To make matters worse, it seemed like she got as much screen time as the two guitarists. I heard there is a strip club level too. Great.

Neversoft either must not realize there is female demographic that plays Guitar Hero or does not care.

58 Chaos November 22, 2007 at 6:28 pm

I was never really into the Guitar Hero games, until a few months ago. Some friends of mine brought GHII over begging me to play because there was someone who “looked and acted” like me. That someone was Judy Nails(No joke. After a bad hair dye accident, my hair looked exactly like Judy’s). So we all played, me using Nails. I got good at it, 5 staring almost everything I played. Later we heard of the release of the third game, so I bought it for the Xbox 360.

What a mistake it was. The product placement(which I HATE in games and have somewhat come to expect from NeverSoft), the skimpy dancers, and worst of all, Judy Nails. Piercings, cleavage, pink hair. It was disgusting. Even the two who brought me GHII, who are male by the way, thought it was over the top. It was hard to play…..I could either play as a slut, a racial stereotype, or a dude. I quickly went to the store to browse and was met with more atrocities. The school girl outfit was terrible.

In the end, I played through what I could so I would have enough money to buy a new character. I played as “The Grim Ripper” to avoid what had happened.

As sad as it is, this is what the world is coming to. I was partially expecting this from a new developer and another sequel, as gamers do tend to get worse by each sequel. I’ve now had my fill of GHIII and will likely trade it in a Game Stop or something similar. So, Cara this is how you can get some of your money back.

59 XtinaS November 23, 2007 at 1:32 am

For those who’re saying “sex sells” as though that should forgive all sexual objectification, I point out that GH I and II apparently sold just fine without having to objectify the hell out of women.  So it’s not as though objectification is necessary to selling a product.

60 Caryl November 25, 2007 at 5:58 pm

Being a mom and “old” I am not a big gamer. However, Guitar Hero was one franchise that I could play and enjoy with my sons (aged 8, 10, 12). I was really disappointed when we went to play Guitar Hero III and saw that my usual characters were all half naked. I got excited when I saw that “change outfits” was a choice, until I learned that it only meant that I could choose to be half naked in blue or half naked in pink.

My disappointment has turned to anger over the last few days. Why is this necessary? GH I and II have sold millions of copies even when we couldn’t see Judy Nails’ breasts. The degradation of women is a new element for GH III and I just don’t understand why it was added. I don’t want to play the game represented that way. I certainly don’t want my boys thinking that this is the way women should or do look.

I think that the best way to combat this is for those of us who have bought the game to trade them in as soon as possible. If people can buy cheap used copies, they won’t buy the new version, thus hitting the developer in the wallet.

61 BettyBoondoggle November 26, 2007 at 9:49 am

Kevin, I have to say – your arrogance and towering mountain of male entitlement and cluelessness has convinced me all my own thoughts and feelings are totally wrong! I should *LOVE* being objectified. I should *SHUT UP* when I see something wrong. I should just *SIT BACK* and take it.

Wow.

it must be so nice being a white male. Nothing is oppressive, offensive, improper, unjust, unfair, sexist, racist, hateful, dangerous or wrong for anyone on earth, unless you say it is.

And, somehow, it’s feminists who are illogical.

62 ColbyCheese November 27, 2007 at 3:38 pm

“And probably, I shouldn’t have expected any better. I mean, it’s a video game. And it’s aimed at rock fans. Those are two markets that are generally saturated in misogyny.”

There you have it. The answer to the “Why?!?” in this little story.

As a bonus you were absolutely right when you titled this piece “You Really Got Me”, because they did. Hook, line, and sinker. You’ve already told them that they did well with Guitar Hero 3 since they already have your money ;)

Don’t feel bad though. Women aren’t the only ones that occasionally get the short end of the stick as far as games go, so at least you aren’t alone. Most games don’t notice “black people” unless they’re breaking the law, or participating in some sport. Or street fighting…while rap music plays in the background…Yeah…

-ColbyCheese

P.S. – I’ve never even HEARD most of the songs on any of the Guitar Hero games, so how’s THAT for being alienated ;)

63 Bill November 28, 2007 at 12:09 am

Only read through part of the comments, so… sorry if this was already covered. The main thing is that the main developer of Guitar Hero left the series to make Rock Band. The new developer completely missed who the audience of these games are and messed it up. The new character designs are absolutely horrible, and the new note tracks are also pretty off as well (so I’ve heard anyway. I’m not buying it, since… well, I hate everything they’ve done with it). Fortunantly, Harmonix (the old developers) went and made Rock Band, which has a character creator very much in the old style.

Dew: The girly men in the games your son plays are almost certainly Japanese developed games. Most aren’t meant to be homosexuals, and almost certainly aren’t there for players to enjoy beating up the gays–they play into popular Japanese fashions (I think the term is Biishi boys?), and are particularly aimed at female gamers who like masculine men.

64 Conor E November 28, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Bill, I think you meant ‘feminine men’ at the end there.

I have to agree with most of the other posters, I seem to have some weird fetish where I think women can still be attractive while sensibly dressed. Although a lot of that’s because I associate skimpy clothes with hot weather, which I despise, but still…

On the bright side, the improvement of in game graphics should kill the need for prerendered cimematics, and hopefully lead to more character customization.

65 zombie z December 8, 2007 at 11:39 pm

Way late – popped over here from unsprung. Just wanted to say thank you for finally explaining to all my gamer friends why I’m NOT one, and specifically to my boyfriend why I care so little for his American anime obsession, which is full of women with huge breasts and tiny hips.

Had to stop reading the comments on the GH forum after “Since when did feminism enter gaming?” (edited for grammar/spelling/punctuation :P). Ugh.

You’ve got me as a full-time reader now. :)

66 Richard December 15, 2007 at 5:48 am

I’m a guy, but I agree with absolutely everything you said. I always play as Judy Nails, and I’ve been put off getting III because the sexism.

I don’t think they should ever have given the licence to Neversoft. They should have just left the Guitar Hero Franchise alone, and let Harmonix create Rock Band in peace.

67 chris December 23, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Alright, you have to look at it like this, the game is not designed to be an accurate portryal of anything. It is a fantasy. Where people with limited to no musical talent can be rock stars. Where the kids with parents who may not let them grow their hair long get to play as a guy with long hair in front of millions of adoring fans. This is not meant to demean women anymore than it is meant to accurately portray the experience of a live performance. It is a fantasy. Is the game made easier for a female character? or is it the same? Do the male fans constantly harrass your avatar on stage?
Does the female guitar player receive lukewarm applause despite her amazing performance? No, and yet those things happen in real life.

What “Judy Nails” wears in the game is a costume, nay, a digital facsimile of a costume and to get upset over something like that is a waste of time because it ignores more important issues at hand.

What about the load of wonderful sitcoms where the husband is a foolish oaf and the woman is the smart and hard working member of the marriage? Does that encourage sexism? Probably. Or what of the woman who is not allowed to show her face in public? Is that less important than Guitar Hero?

Sexism is everywhere, and you have managed to bring light to perhaps one of the, if not THE most unimportant places it may exist. And frankly i do not see it here. I see a fantasy. I see people trying to play ideal by societies standards. Now before someone tells me that “Those aren’t ideals!”, Congratulations, but i did not say it was everyone’s. I for one do not want to be a rockstar, so i dont play the game. I dont want to dress with cutoff t-shirts and long hair because I dont want to be judged by those clothes. Do i consider it typecast that in this game, all guitar players are not good citizens? No. I take it in stride. As a video game designed to emulate a certain fantasy for a certain subset of the population.

I may not be a woman, but to presume a male deals with no prejudice is almost dare i say “sexist” in itself?

I am treated as an idiot, and lazy. I have been given curious looks when i explain that no, i do not love to drink beer, eat chips, and watch football. What i like to do is a little different, I like to play a real guitar in a real rock band, and i can tell you from experience, Guitar Hero should not be taken so seriously.

Furthermore, my intelligence is insulted every time i am told that i am only interested in a women for her body. It does account for something, i will admit, as sexual attraction is a requisite for a lasting relationship, but i do not base my entire judgement upon soley a woman’s looks. Yes, Judy Nails is attractive, but then again, she is just ones and zeroes. The other qualities men generally look for in a woman are not so easily encoded into those same one’s and zeroes. She has talent, she has passion, these are some of her other qualities.

Then we can discuss this “sex sells” issue. Why does it sell? Is it because we mentally equate bartering with arousal? Or is it because it is a base desire, a human drive, needed for our species to survive. Make a product and make people feel like they need it, watch profit soar. Humans want sex, fact. What else do they want? Acceptance. Everybody loves a rockstar. This game isn’t about “strum a plastic guitar”, this is a fantasy world, where you can get that desire and be a rockstar.

So, yeah, there is alot of pure unadultered desire in this game, but that’s what it’s about, and to change that changes the very nature of the work. Where you see misogny i see the artistic truth of human nature. People desire. The trick is, and always will be, how to express that with in the limits of the medium.

I have actually decided to discontinue this comment, and i have not edited it. I am tired and such, so i will hit submit, if this draws alot of reactions, i will make an attempt to respond in a more coherent and lucient manner next time.

68 Cara December 23, 2007 at 6:54 pm

Wow, man, that was deep. You’ve really opened my eyes. Treating women as sexual objects to be bought and sold is just human nature . . . if only I had realized this before getting my panties in a knot!

A why don’t feminists deal with all of that other stuff you mention? Harassment, sexual stereotypes, lack of professional respect, negative media portrayals of women . . . it’s almost like we’ve never thought of those things! We’ve certainly never written or done any actual activism about them. I’m going to give Gloria Steinem a call, pronto. How humiliating for us women to have never considered these issues ourselves. Like me, I’m sure that she will be thrilled to hear thoughts on combating sexism from a man who understands that sexist portrayals of women in the media are okay because they’re not “real.”

69 gabe December 26, 2007 at 5:56 am

good stuff chris.

70 Stephen December 28, 2007 at 5:08 am

I am a guy posting here. And I am pissed off. When I buy Guitar hero, I buy it too play the game. not watch all this sexist material. Heck if I wanted too ( I DON’T ) I could go on the computer. This game should be rated M for Mature for all of the Sexual and sexist content in here. As a Guitar hero fan I am dissapointed. Thanks a lot Activision. I agree with your post 100%. What are they gonna do next? Not have any girls in the next one?

71 James December 28, 2007 at 12:09 pm

stop fucking complaining and play the damn game

i hate people who complain about all the women dressed in revealing clothes..most women bring it upon themselves (either that or all the rap stars rapping about their hoes)
dont blame the fucking game
if you dont like it at least do something about it and stop complaining on a website
TAKE ACTION
(sorry about the cursing… i just had to vent)

72 Cara December 28, 2007 at 12:23 pm

You hear that, folks? We should be complaining about all those black rap stars and the slutty women, not the game makers actually in question here.

73 BettyBoondoggle December 28, 2007 at 1:03 pm

james, shove it up your privileged, cluessless, complacent ass.

And have a nice day.

74 Cara December 28, 2007 at 1:45 pm

I’m almost positive that this is where James came from.

I don’t think I’ve ever been called so many things in one place before. Except for, oops, a whole bunch of other comments I deleted on this same thread. The comments still here are the relatively polite ones. As someone with a gamer husband and gamer brothers and other gamer friends, I’d love to believe that gamers aren’t overpopulated by hateful, misogynist assholes . . . but fucking hell, dudes. I get fewer threats on every rape thread combined than I have on this one. Including the rape post that ended up on an MRA blog. Congratulations, fuckwads. But thanks for the ad revenue, anyway.

75 BettyBoondoggle December 28, 2007 at 4:38 pm

Well, nothing screams “I have a teeny weeny” than threatening someone because they have some issues with a fucking video game.

What is it about a woman with an opinion that scares these boys so much?

76 Fuck You December 28, 2007 at 5:56 pm

Your all a bunch of fucking pussy bleeding cry babys. Have you nothing better to do then slam a perfectly well made game? WHO the FUCK cares what the characters are wearing in the game? I hardly even watch anything besides the dam notes i’m suposed to hit. This has got to be the biggest waste of bull shit i’v EVER read. GO check your FUCKING kotex bitches… Meanwhile i’m going to go have sex with my girl friend whom I bought an identical outfit from one of those ho’s on GH3.. fucking idiots…

77 Cara December 28, 2007 at 6:10 pm

You know . . . whether or not I let the most hateful comments through is almost entirely based on my mood. Often, I’ll just delete them. Sometimes, I’ll approve them just so I can mock them. And sometimes, the misogyny is just so astonishing that I can’t keep the horrible truth about what we’re up against all to myself. Thanks, dude who thought it was funny to use the email address Fuckyoudykes@iloveskanks.com. I’m pretty sure that you don’t have a girlfriend, but if you do, I strongly encourage her to call a DV line.

Also, is it just me who finds it very telling that almost all “criticism” of this post is something along the lines of “just play the game (bitch) . . . god, why are you, you know, looking at stuff? You’re meant to play it, how can you do that when you’re watching the screen???” Apparently, I misunderstand video games. It probably has something to do with my bloody vagina.

78 Cara December 28, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Oh, and p.s. he’s already banned.

79 Max December 28, 2007 at 7:06 pm

I’m a male Judy Nails player (since GH2, mind) and even I was… well, a little taken aback by the new direction they’ve taken the character in.

Frankly GH3 seems to have generally gone the way of all great franchises… that is, getting dragged into the machine in order to spit out basic replicas of the formula. I’m looking into Rock Band but it, well, doesn’t strike me as single player friendly as the GH games have been so far.

And yeah, seems the first casualty when a franchise lays down its values in favour of being milked is whatever value it had at mass market appeal. The ‘gamer demographic’, however wrong it may be, has been identified as predominantly 16-32 males (or so) and so that’s what it seems the big companies try and push things out to. In which case, unfortunately, sex does sell.

Though honestly, the stigma of playing as Judy because the physics engine lets her ‘bounce’ (I kid you not) is making me consider switching permenantly.

80 Cara December 28, 2007 at 7:25 pm

Personally, Max, I have Rock Band and think that it’s great. It’s definitely more fun to play with others, but I find single player mode to be just about as enjoyable as in Guitar Hero I and II (besides what I’ve included in this post, I didn’t like some of the general game play changes that they made). Drums especially are fun to play alone, and you can set up bands to complete the game solo for each instrument.

81 Max December 29, 2007 at 8:38 am

I guess I’ll hope and pray for a speedy Wii release for Rock Band, then, since the PS2 version seems to have the short end of the stick, and I’m not shelling out for either of the other ‘next-gen’ consoles.

On another note, I linked to this article in a blog post of my own regarding this same Ms. Nails phenom, I hope you don’t mind.

82 Cara December 29, 2007 at 8:45 am

Because I’m tired of dealing with deleting several insulting comments a day on this entry — particularly the latest round, which includes lots of calling Judy Nails “slutty” and saying that I shouldn’t be upset that she’s a “slut” because some real women are “sluts,” too, as if I would ever base an argument off of the word slut that wasn’t about how anyone who uses it needs a giant smack upside the head and some major non-misogynist social reconditioning, and would instead base an argument on how all women in this universe don’t wear revealing clothing, particularly while leaning and dancing and bouncing suggestively on stage, because we don’t all live to represent some bizarre caricature of a manufactured, childish male fantasy, or to have psychotic idiot video game fans decide whether or not we’re “sluts” — I’m finally going to turn off the comments on this post. I think that two months, 81 comments that stayed, probably another 81 that I’ve deleted, and swarms of trolls coming in from literally dozens of different video game forums is enough. This is a post that just won’t die, and it stopped being worth the constant, misogynist berating a while ago.

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