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"Jade Raymond Smells Nice"?!! WTF?!!
November 19, 2007 3:25 PM   Subscribe

This is why we can't have nice things/people. Jade Raymond is a producer for Ubisoft's new video game Assassin's Creed. Being an attractive woman, Ubisoft decided to capitalize on this fact, leading to sad and pathetic video game coverage of said woman. Then the comic hit.

The comic (which being of extraordinary poor taste, I will not link to. A panel of it is shown in the first link) plays to every horrible misogynistic stereotype that people have about women in video games.

As can be expected, this caused an uproar, with Ubisoft trying to sue the comic off the Internet, even sending threatening letters to SomethingAwful, with predictable results.

I would like to proud when I say "I play video games". Some days, it is difficult.
posted by zabuni (364 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Will someone please link to the comic.
posted by fire&wings at 3:31 PM on November 19, 2007


Will someone please link to the comic.

Your piece of shit, sir (NSFW).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:33 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


That comic is crazy stupid.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:35 PM on November 19, 2007


Wow. That really is a horrible comic. I'm glad someone linked to it so we can all be clear on the fact that there's nothing clever or worthwhile about it.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:37 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


This post makes it clear this is even sadder than I originally thought, which is saying a lot. I saw a story about this on The Comics Journal's website this morning, and figured that Jade Raymond was a model turned video game designer or something; it'd still be offensive as hell, but essentially calling her a hooker would at least have some intelligible context then. But evidently, it's JUST based on the fact that she's a woman in this industry. Fucking pathetic.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:38 PM on November 19, 2007


boyzone, anybody?
posted by rtha at 3:39 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Poor taste, but then Ubisoft must be fairly naive if they think they can capitalise on a hot woman in front of a bunch of undersexed geeks and get away with it.
posted by fire&wings at 3:39 PM on November 19, 2007


Outrage over outrage about outrage. Not that I'm outraged or anything.
posted by iamck at 3:40 PM on November 19, 2007


This calls for a Fatwā
posted by nostrada at 3:41 PM on November 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Zabuni... does your misspelling of "Assasin's" symbolic of anything related to more attention to the girl than to the game? You got the "Ass" right (and, we haven't even seen a picture of that), but forgot that "s" in "ssin".....Which makes it, of course, just plain "sin"... was Freud at work here...just a little perhaps.... just asking....

and...maybe she DID smell nice... is that a bad thing...
posted by HuronBob at 3:41 PM on November 19, 2007


sad and pathetic video game coverage

As opposed to what, exactly?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:43 PM on November 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


Zabuni... does your misspelling of "Assasin's" symbolic of anything related to more attention to the girl than to the game? You got the "Ass" right (and, we haven't even seen a picture of that), but forgot that "s" in "ssin"

ah crap, can the mods please fix?
posted by zabuni at 3:44 PM on November 19, 2007


This is a lot like what happened to me, except for the part where people know who I am and care.
posted by mullingitover at 3:46 PM on November 19, 2007


What rtha said. Pathetic link, and I sure hope HuronBob's disgusting comment isn't a foretaste of things to come.
posted by languagehat at 3:47 PM on November 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


This shit is so not a part of my world. And I couldn't be happier about that.
posted by tkchrist at 3:47 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I saw this a couple of days ago. I was really disappointed that so many co-workers around me found any humor in it.

People suck.
posted by quin at 3:48 PM on November 19, 2007


The first link and its pictures just make me sad. I mean, really, what the heck.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:48 PM on November 19, 2007


(Er, by "Pathetic link" I mean that what's linked is a pathetic situation—not knocking the post.)
posted by languagehat at 3:49 PM on November 19, 2007


You know, the next time someone complains about gamers being portrayed as a bunch of socially maladjusted miscreants who only play video games because they can't relate to girls, I'm going to direct them to this comic.

/goes back to playing CoD4 in his dark, empty apartment.
posted by Rangeboy at 3:49 PM on November 19, 2007 [6 favorites]


I would like to proud when I say "I play video games". Some days, it is difficult.

I can empathize. I'll say this, though:

Assassin's Creed is a remarkable game. Outside of its game play, which everyone is free to have their own opinion about, or not, the fact is that it's a game with a Muslim protagonist killing Christians (among others) during the origin of a religious feud whose echoes still impact us today: the crusades in Palestine. In today's political and social climate, the possibility of serious social reprisal was at least present enough in the minds of its creators that they put a note at the beginning of the game, one that cannot be skipped whenever you start it up, saying that the game was made by people of various social and religious backgrounds and was inspired by real people and events. There is a certain amount of courage that went into making the game, whatever anyone may think of it. I believe one can be proud to be part of any culture that would have created such a product. Although it's just my opinion, I'm inclined to believe that there are few media in western culture at the moment that would have been quite as bold, or could have been with any reasonable expectation of success.

That there has been a reaction of this kind is obviously unfortunate, but there have been pornographic depictions of naomi wolf, too. It's difficult to be an attractive woman with even a small amount of celebrity in ANY discipline.

This kind of thing sucks, and yes it's true that games and gamers have tended to be saturated with sexual issues, specifically where body image and sexual empowerment are concerned. There is no excuse that can be made, to my mind at least, for once again making it clear that to be attractive, female and public is to be a target. But it doesn't take a medium or an industry to do something like that. It takes one fucked up person. And those fucked up people exist on the sidelines of every medium and industry. For myself, while I can completely understand people feeling disgusted with games and gamers over this, I'm going to choose to be proud to be a gamer and be professionally related to the industry that has people in it that would choose to produce a game like this, rather than ashamed to be associated with the people that would make her uncomfortable or worse for it.
posted by shmegegge at 3:50 PM on November 19, 2007 [8 favorites]


Maybe I should see someone about my outrage deficit.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:50 PM on November 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


It seems to me that the comic could actually be ridiculing the peurile mindset of video game geeks, rather than partaking of it: saying, 'this is how these losers actually think'.

Maybe I'm giving Cheung too much credit, but I think that's also a valid interpretation
posted by Flashman at 3:51 PM on November 19, 2007


Maybe I'm giving Cheung too much credit

You are. You definitely are.
posted by brain_drain at 3:53 PM on November 19, 2007


If Jade Raymond isn't suing UbiSoft, it's probably because she approved this shitty viral.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:53 PM on November 19, 2007


kittens for breakfast writes "But evidently, it's JUST based on the fact that she's a woman in this industry. Fucking pathetic."

Actually, not quite. It's pathetic, but didn't come out of nowhere: there was a rumour floated on several gaming sites that Jade was going to be photographed in a green and white striped bikini for the cover of Maxim. The comic was based on this ("whoring oneself out = being an actual whore" style figurative->literal satire) and made an offensive comic based on that (hence the striped bikini in the comic).

If she actually had done the Maxim striped bikini shoot, this would be an offensive but also pointful critique of her. However, it was just a rumour, which changes things entirely (calling someone who isn't whoring themselves out an actual whore). Which is why you shouldn't write criticism of people based on rumours. It just turns yourself into a figurative dick.

Which, presumably, someone out there will hopefully draw a comic about, depicting the writer of this comic as a literal dick.
posted by Bugbread at 3:54 PM on November 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm giving Cheung too much credit

Dude, you SO are.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:54 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am continually amazed at how threatened some men are by an intelligent woman, and I've been around a looong time.
The nail that sticks too far up gets pounded down.
posted by Floydd at 3:56 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's things like this that make me ashamed to be a video games developer.

I'm sure Ubisoft deserves some criticism for the way Jade Raymond became the de-facto spokesperson for the game rather than the lead designer, but I'm much more annoyed at the journalists who ran with the OMG GIRL angle, and the comic maker. Satire's a fine thing and all, but so's not being a staggeringly insensitive douchetard.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:57 PM on November 19, 2007


Maybe I'm giving Cheung too much credit, but I think that's also a valid interpretation
Ahh, no. It's not. Read the first panel again.
posted by Floydd at 3:57 PM on November 19, 2007


...e.g., like this person does...
yeah, I know, probably too much credit.
posted by Flashman at 3:59 PM on November 19, 2007


And so I remain patiently waiting for the day "video game journalism" becomes an legitimate phrase.
posted by Smallpox at 4:02 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


If she actually had done the Maxim striped bikini shoot, this would be an offensive but also pointful critique of her.

Man. Why should she be "critiqued" in THIS sickening manner for making money off her looks? I suppose if she did straight out porn or something. But... I dunno. Seems to me that what these idiots want anyway. Why get so personally insulting about i when you get what you want.

Industrialized adolescence.

That is what 90% of the gaming industry does. It manufactures boys from men by appealing to the worst parts of both.

That's what you get from selling "be 14 years old FOREVER" to 30 year olds.
posted by tkchrist at 4:02 PM on November 19, 2007 [12 favorites]


I'm inclined to believe that there are few media in western culture at the moment that would have been quite as bold, or could have been with any reasonable expectation of success.

Agreed. I wish they'd been a little bit bolder, though, and not layered the story on top of the ludicrous holodeck/vr premise. It totally ruined any emotional investment I had in the Crusades setting.

A shame, because they did so well with integrating the mechanics and storyline in Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time - the dagger of time and the "storytelling" narrative bookending the times when you died worked really well.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:02 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


CitrusFreak12 writes "I mean, really, what the heck."

Well, to be fair, that screenshot misses the article below, which, while critical of Jade and Ubisoft, and accusing them of intentionally using her good looks, is not actually the "Lookit, she has boobs!" article the headline makes it out to be:
I'm trying a little bit of an experiment here. It's called the "reference Jade Raymond's body parts in the headline and see what happens" experiment. It's my theory that Assassin's Creed, once an important game that had many people intrigued, has become next to meaningless now that a female is publicly involved and it has been demoted to "the game that Jade Raymond does something on. Oh my God, she has boobs."

For reference, Assassin's Creed has now gone gold and is set for a November 13th release, but it's not like that actually matters, because Jade Raymond happens to have breasts. Oh, and an arse too. Let us not forget the arse. They could have changed the game to one about Keenan & Kel going back in time to stop the Statue of Liberty being built so Keenan doesn't get spiked on her tiara in the year 2010, but nobody would notice anymore.

By the way, if you clicked on this post from an outside source thanks to the headline, congratulations! You have proven how easily manipulated the general public is and have become valuable data in one of my many cruel and unfair social experiments. Also, many congratulations to Jade Raymond and Ubisoft, who know damn well how to get attention for a game, even if it's not the game itself we're all looking at. I mean that sincerely, too.

This has been a lesson in business, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you were paying attention.
I really don't know enough about Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft, or Raymond to know whether that criticism is on target or out in left field, but it's not really part of the "we love Jade Raymond because she's hot" brigade.
posted by Bugbread at 4:04 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


And so I remain patiently waiting for the day "video game journalism" becomes an legitimate phrase.


Edge isn't too bad. They're wilfully pretentious and annoying just because they manage to hew to a semi-reasonable standard of writing and maturity, but at least they do it.

Also, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw is always worth hearing.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:05 PM on November 19, 2007


Every time something like this happens, I try so hard to believe that it's just ironic, detached postmodern humor intended to highlight the "no girls allowed" gaming culture.

But it's not. It's juvenile misogyny thinly disguised as ironic commentary, which apparently makes it okay to hate.
posted by subbes at 4:06 PM on November 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'd rather have that killer job, and stand out as a woman in a man's world in the public eye, and weather a bukkakke effigy, than not.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:08 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sure Ubisoft deserves some criticism for the way Jade Raymond became the de-facto spokesperson for the game rather than the lead designer

This is an industry I frankly don't know shit about, so let me ask you: Do people involved in the production of games typically appear in front of audiences? Because if so, then I don't see why Ubisoft would deserve any criticism at all. There may have been a rumor she would appear in a bikini (and, man, I wonder who started that), but as far as I can tell, what actually has happened is that -- I'm sorry -- a cute but not exactly omigod-I-can't-believe-the-hawt woman appeared in front of a few crowds to discuss her game, while fully clothed, and presumably not sucking on a popsicle or anything. I can't express the level of sexual starvation that must be endemic to certain (apparently quite vocal) members of this community if all it takes is the knowledge that somewhere under her clothing there is an honest to God vagina for them to get sent into a tizzy. It just, seriously, shouldn't be that big a deal.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:09 PM on November 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


tkchrist writes "Man. Why should she be 'critiqued' in THIS sickening manner for making money off her looks?"

I didn't say that she should. But even if you consider both statements to be wrong, you have to admit there's a world of difference between saying "someone who consciously trades on their looks to sell a product unrelated to their looks is a whore" and "someone who makes a product and looks good is a whore".
posted by Bugbread at 4:10 PM on November 19, 2007


don't see anything wrong with that comic. there's no reason anyone should be sued for that. big fucking deal.
posted by mr_book at 4:12 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


kittens for breakfast writes "Do people involved in the production of games typically appear in front of audiences?"

Kinda. Lead designers generally do. Producers don't. At least, as far as I know, Raymond is the first producer I've seen out in front of the audience. Then again, it may just be that other producers go in front of the audience and get ignored, and Raymond, being attractive, didn't, in which case the onus is really on the audience.
posted by Bugbread at 4:13 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Man, that's really sad. People are trying hard to get more women into computer science and especially games, and this is the thanks they get. Blah.

From game girl advance:

It is dangerous to be a beautiful woman in the games industry. Oh, it's difficult to be a woman, period. But if you also happen to be attractive, you are doubly cursed.

Now see, this is a bit much. If she'd been an ugly woman she'd never have gotten to where she is now, at least in the games industry. Come on. How many successful ugly women do you know of? Is it because they are less innately talented?

I know attractive women have problems, so does everyone else, and on the balance I think the problems attractive women face are less less then what most people face in life.

At least for most women, for this beautiful women in particular the response was totally disgusting. This kind of thing makes me kind of glad I don't play video games anymore, because who would want to be associated with these lowlifes?
posted by delmoi at 4:13 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


On the bright side, the comic is so weak that by the time this game designer shows up in my radar again i will have forgotten it.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:16 PM on November 19, 2007


Actually, no, wait, I take that back.

Producers do appear in front of audiences, and quite often. However, they are almost always (perhaps just plain completely always) former lead designers. For example, Richard Garriott was the lead designer for Ultima. It was a hit. He later went on to just being the producer, but he stayed in front. Sakaguchi, producer of Final Fantasy, is the same: lead designer at the start, then moved onto producer. Lots of other examples, too. Raymond is the first producer in the public eye who wasn't formerly a lead designer that I know of.
posted by Bugbread at 4:16 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


The producers I know work their asses off and have their hands in everything, so it doesn't surprise me that she'd get mixed up in PR.

Also, yeah, I'm pretty sure there are 10,000 people who would give their left (insert name of genital here) to be in her shoes, defaming comic and all. I would.
posted by mullingitover at 4:18 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]



don't see anything wrong with that comic. there's no reason anyone should be sued for that. big fucking deal.

I am just for the sake of... I dunno... irony, treat this comment half seriously.

What is wrong with the comic is it's about a REAL person. A person with real feelings. A person who is young and has a career ahead of them. Jade Raymond may, or may not, have participated in using her looks to market a product. But she does not deserve to be defamed, humiliated, and slandered for it to millions of people. Especially not in such a vulgar way.

Imagine if we did a comic of you that in some way insinuates you are incompetent and undignified at your job. AND it depicts you getting your face shit on by your mother. We distribute this to everybody you know. Including your professional peers and bosses. And your parents.

Bother you yet?
posted by tkchrist at 4:24 PM on November 19, 2007 [15 favorites]


Oh, jeeze, Ubisoft is behind the FragDolls? I was thinking the blame distribution went "Raymond - 0% | Ubisoft - 5% | Gamers - 95%", but I'm going to have to increase that Ubisoft percentage.
posted by Bugbread at 4:27 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Stirring up SA just means the chan hivemob might get into it for the lulz, and then you're really fucked.
posted by meehawl at 4:28 PM on November 19, 2007


How

Did

I know?
posted by Mikey-San at 4:29 PM on November 19, 2007


Bother you yet?

Nope.
posted by mr_book at 4:31 PM on November 19, 2007


I had no idea what "FragDolls" were untill now. I didn't know what to expect, I thought it would be a game or something.

And speaking of which here is a Frag Doll interviewing Jade Raymond.
posted by delmoi at 4:34 PM on November 19, 2007


Bother you yet?

Nope.

Congratulations. You are made of ice. ICE!
posted by tkchrist at 4:35 PM on November 19, 2007


I never understood the ejaculate on the face idea.

It's like you have to be completely removed from the human race to be so detached as to want to blow hot semen all over a woman's face.
posted by four panels at 4:38 PM on November 19, 2007


Wow, she is quite attractive and the comic is exceedingly lame and insulting.

How's the game though? Did Ubisoft need to stoop to using her because the game blows (woops, sorry)?
posted by fenriq at 4:41 PM on November 19, 2007


Also, yeah, I'm pretty sure there are 10,000 people who would give their left (insert name of genital here) to be in her shoes, defaming comic and all. I would.

So she should be grateful? What?
posted by pieoverdone at 4:42 PM on November 19, 2007


FPP posted at 3:25p. Sanctimonius troll by four panels at 4:38p.

Still waiting for "I'd hit it" and "Ladies, I love cunnilingus!" comments.
posted by fandango_matt at 4:43 PM on November 19, 2007


I have a Mac. It doesn't play games, thanks to St. Jobs. I'm damn lucky it even has the internet on it I suppose. It doesn't appear that I'm missing a damn thing by not mingling with gamers & their ilk.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:44 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I kinda remember four panels from last week, but I already forgot what his routine was. Must've been pretty lame.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:46 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


you have to be completely removed from the human race to be so detached as to want to blow hot semen

While it doesn't really do very much for me, I've had occasion in the past to find myself on the receiving end of requests for hot semen to be deposited on external and sometimes surprising locations. Not often, but sufficiently common to realise that it's a reasonably popular fetish for the putative receivers as well as the donors. I'd think most people would find it impolite to refuse such requests, and especially to accuse the other person of being completely removed from the human race.
posted by meehawl at 4:46 PM on November 19, 2007


Also, yeah, I'm pretty sure there are 10,000 people who would give their left (insert name of genital here) to be in her shoes, defaming comic and all. I would.
posted by mullingitover at 4:18 PM on November 19


Seriously, mullingitover, what was your point in making that comment? Spell it out for me.
posted by the other side at 4:54 PM on November 19, 2007


It's like you have to be completely removed from the human race to be so detached as to want to blow hot semen all over a woman's face.

Careful. Peoples consensual kinks in and of themselves are not at issue. Besides I believe it is also a staple in the gay porn market as well.
posted by tkchrist at 4:55 PM on November 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


Preview of Republicans reacting to Hillary as Democratic nominee.
posted by Schmucko at 4:56 PM on November 19, 2007 [6 favorites]


there are 10,000 people who would give their left (insert name of genital here) to be in her shoes

Male: Nut. Ball.

Female: ?
posted by ericb at 4:58 PM on November 19, 2007


This kind of thing directs the attention of the non-gaming public onto the negatives of the gaming industry, which just makes me mad. I'm sure Jade Raymond is used to the never-ending focus on her gender and looks. Most female gamers, and the few girls I know in the industry, are totally jaded about it. But things like that comic are just beyond the pale. Ubi deserves some of the blame (how I loathe the "Frag Dolls"), but unfortunately I can't say that I'm all that surprised...
posted by gemmy at 4:59 PM on November 19, 2007


While it doesn't really do very much for me, I've had occasion in the past to find myself on the receiving end of requests for hot semen to be deposited on external and sometimes surprising locations.

Oh! Oh! On Mt. Rushmore?! In line at the bank!?

Oh. Wait... let me think... the craziest for me was on a gondola in the alp... can you top THAT.
posted by tkchrist at 4:59 PM on November 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


I apologize in advance as it bears zero relation to the topic of thread at hand. But it MUST be done.

"Metafilter: to be deposited on external and sometimes surprising locations."
posted by tkchrist at 5:01 PM on November 19, 2007


Oh. Wait... let me think... the craziest for me was on a gondola in the alp... can you top THAT.

Table for eight, Chuck-E-Cheese.
posted by Mikey-San at 5:01 PM on November 19, 2007


Jade is producer on Assassin's Creed, it's her job to manage (not design) the project and do PR (with the marking dept). All producers at Ubisoft do PR for their games. Other people on the dev team participate in various PR events too, in particular the creative director (Patrice) and other senior members of the team. It happens that Jade was somewhat already known from her participation on G4 and is much more photogenic than our other producers, so she got a lot of attention. When your trying to promote your game and people are listening, well you keep talking. So I totally disagrees with the "whoring out" thing, she did her job and did it well.

And for those who are wondering she has her bachelor degree in Computer Science (McGill's University in Montreal) and was a producer at EA before joining Ubisoft.
posted by coust at 5:03 PM on November 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


Oh, and it's pissing me off that the controversy is overshadowing the game - which I've been waiting to play forever, as it sounds very cool.
posted by gemmy at 5:03 PM on November 19, 2007


Apparently she actually started out as a programmer and has been in the industry for 8 years (including internships). So it's not like she didn't work hard for her position. She's obviously pretty smart here is another interview talking about the game.
posted by delmoi at 5:04 PM on November 19, 2007


It is dangerous to be a beautiful woman in the games industry. Oh, it's difficult to be a woman, period. But if you also happen to be attractive, you are doubly cursed. [GGA]

Now see, this is a bit much. If she'd been an ugly woman she'd never have gotten to where she is now, at least in the games industry. Come on. How many successful ugly women do you know of?
Posted by delmoi at 7:13 PM on November 19 [+] [!]

And god help you if you are an ugly girl
Course too pretty is also your doom
Cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
For the prettiest girl in the room . . .

- Ani
posted by The Bellman at 5:05 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


For those who've only been reading the comments, it's important to know who Jade Raymond is. There's a lot more to this story at that link.

She's a game producer. She's not a spokesmodel, a porn actress, or a starlet desperate for fame. She's a professional game producer in an industry full of people who don't like to believe that girls can play games, create games, and excel at both. So they attack her with pornification to make themselves feel bigger and to try to nullify her accomplishments. Some of these mouthbreathers are also saying she can't possibly have been important to the development of Assassin's Creed. Because, you know, no cock.

The Maxim rumor was part of all that. The way the media covers her accomplishments (big beauty shot photos of her rather than of the games) is part of all that. She is not a woman substituting looks for accomplishments. She is a professional, and she is being attacked.

And if she were ugly...well do you think that'd be any better? Is there any conceivable combination of looks she could have, other than being male, that would not be attacked?
posted by emjaybee at 5:06 PM on November 19, 2007 [16 favorites]


I'm sure Ubisoft deserves some criticism for the way Jade Raymond became the de-facto spokesperson for the game rather than the lead designer

This is an industry I frankly don't know shit about, so let me ask you: Do people involved in the production of games typically appear in front of audiences? Because if so, then I don't see why Ubisoft would deserve any criticism at all.


You know, there have been a few videogame threads on Mefi in the recent past, particularly, those about HL2, Bioshock, and Portal, that make the games in question sound like videogames have finally reached some artistic watershed, where the focus will finally shift away from polycounts and fps and to things like narrative, plot development, vision, etc.

But in the context of the story we're discussing here, there's none of that. There's a lot of talk about this female producer. I've seen her picture. I don't know who the hell created Bioshock (I'd have to go look it up), and I have no idea at all who the key people behind HL2 or Portal are, but I've seen this woman's picture. Why? Because the game is weak. It may not be awful, but I get the impression this is no Bioshock. Or HL2. I get the impression that this game won't have the impact of even Doom2. You basically skulk around and kill guys. Hitman meets the Middle Ages.

So then there's this from the Feministe blog:

She speaks perfectly well about technical and gameplay issues; it’s just that half of the male audience seems to be too busy staring at her chest to notice. (I’m being charitable here by saying half… not all male gamers are mouth-breathing lunks, that’s another stereotype I’d like to see go away.) Or if they do hear what she said, it registers as “pretty girl said something smart… whoa, even hotter!”

And now I'm annoyed. Listen, stupid, you make a game that appeals to the reptilian brain, the hunter-killer part of the male psyche, and then you are surprised that those same people are also driven by their libido to look at her chest? It's the same part of the brain. Sex is used to sell goods that appeal to appetites or one's self image - food, soda, cars, clothing, etc. You don't use sex to sell financial planning or life insurance.

The problem here is that once again, this is becoming a debate about how the sexist male consumer is discouraging women from become producers of content that those same sexist consumers would want to consume. In other words, we get "Jade Raymond makes video games. And she’s a beautiful woman. That’s a recap of most of the problem, right there."

Welcome to America, where the customer is always right.

You take the consumer as you find them. You want to sell standard issue lowest common denominator "kill guys and collect crap" dreck, you'd better expect to engage the lowest common denominator mind.

The problem is not that the game industry needs more Jade Raymonds pumping out the baseline crap. It needs more Stanley Kubricks.

I'm annoyed because while the people who drew the comic and treated this woman this way are idiots, the message from all of these blogs defending her is that she has every right to create the same crap as everyone else. She does of course, but the problem is that the video game industry is being subverted to produced the same action movie garbage that dominated Hollywood in the 80's. Are all these people really shocked that the guys who want T and A in their action movies also want T and A in their games?

Games aren't for the nerdy guys plugging away on their home computers on a Saturday night. It's not 1983. I walk into a Blockbuster video store, and shelf after shelf is filled with movies that all have the same cover: hardcase with shinycockgun opposite sexy ingenue. The ethnic mix of the people on the cover is a clue to which part of the city the store is in, by the way.

I walk into best buy, and it's the same thing. Shiny gun or sword held firmly by high polycount femme fatale with cleavage bursting out of fairy/archer's clothers/armor/spacesuit/fatigues. The only difference is that the game industry has taken a cue from the porn industry and discovered it can leave out the guy as long as his "gun" is prominently featured.

So, I'm sorry this had to happen to this obviously talented and bright young woman. My advice to her would be not to waste her career on this corporate dreck and find some like minded folks and make some art.
posted by Pastabagel at 5:07 PM on November 19, 2007 [21 favorites]


This thread and others like it are the main reason we will never see a MetaFilter post from Kari Byron.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:07 PM on November 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


posted by emjaybee The Maxim rumor was part of all that. The way the media covers her accomplishments (big beauty shot photos of her rather than of the games) is part of all that. She is not a woman substituting looks for accomplishments. She is a professional, and she is being attacked.

Who do you think started the Maxim rumor? This is a Ubisoft viral.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:11 PM on November 19, 2007


The only thing that surprises me is that some bozo at Ubisoft actually thought going Legal was the way to solve this. If he/she had bothered to do even some cursory research on Something Awful and others involved, they would have realized that the least shitty solution would have been to do nothing. Going Legal on a bunch of anonymous ass hats on the net? Yeah, right.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:17 PM on November 19, 2007


Did Ubisoft need to stoop to using her because the game blows (woops, sorry)?

Uh. You mean, did they need to stoop to hiring a female producer?
posted by transona5 at 5:18 PM on November 19, 2007


This is a Ubisoft viral.
Do you have a cite for this, or is this just speculation?
posted by Floydd at 5:18 PM on November 19, 2007


This is a tangent but it reminds me of something. At a gym I train at a ways back we had a tradition of putting goofy sticky notes — like voice bubbles—above magazine pictures and leave 'em in random location in the gym. These were NOT pornographic magazines at all rather stuff like Black Belt, Kick Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts magazines.

This works especially well if the cover photo was of a particularly gruesome or macho visage.

The typical captions, above the sweaty bruised face of Bas Rutten for instance, would read "On weekends I like to knit!"

Or above some ugly busted up boxer "My kitten exploded from too much love!"

This went on and on. And it was funny. But occasionally people violated our unwritten rule to keep it somewhat clean and would draw a penis or something. Occasionally, so childish, it worked and was kinda funny and nobody got uptight about it (there are lots of gals who train there).

But one time a line was seriously crossed. Somebodies wife was on a cover of a a muscle magazine. Another person wrote, I don't remember what it was, a very crude and personal caption.

The result, given the forum, was inevitable. A dude got punched in the nose. The line was never crossed again.
posted by tkchrist at 5:19 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Table for eight, Chuck-E-Cheese.

DAMN IT!
posted by tkchrist at 5:21 PM on November 19, 2007


pieoverdone writes "So she should be grateful? What?"
the other side writes "Seriously, mullingitover, what was your point in making that comment? Spell it out for me."

Just that this whole thing is a tempest in a teakettle, and frankly the tribulation in question here would be a good one to have, as tribulations go.

ericb writes "Male: Nut. Ball.

"Female: ?"


The gonad in question here is known as the ovary.
posted by mullingitover at 5:27 PM on November 19, 2007


Come on. How many successful ugly women do you know of?

ummm...I know what you are trying to say here. But this is not the right way to ask that question. Until you have specific reason to believe that the person under discussion is not qualified to have their job, then I see no reason not to assume that it's because her company felt she was the most qualified person for said job.

I've had some talented, experienced, and well regarded in their field, bosses in my career who also happened to be women. I assume that they were attractive due to their having husbands and children, but it's not something I ever thought of at the time, because I was too busy doing my job/trying to keep them from noticing that I wasn't doing my job. I'm guessing that the majority of them would not be inspiring any Maxim cover rumors, as "40 something female executives with kids, and husbands" isn't really Maxim cover material.

And to say that attractive people have less problems, than anyone else, shows a lack of insight into so many aspects of human existence that it's difficult to even know where to begin a response.

I have a friend who HAS been on the cover of Maxim. I'm guessing she would also be offended and calling a lawyer if this comic featured her.
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:28 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's interesting discussion on deviantart, while it lasts, on Cheung's original posting of the "comic". In between the fanboy plaudits he does get called out on it right there, and it is his response (or lack of) to that call out that I am posting this for. Answers any questions about whether this is high irony or total arsehole.
posted by motty at 5:28 PM on November 19, 2007


obligatory
the majority of gamer culture isn't only about pandering to fourteen year olds, it's also about pandering to the worst in eighteen in twenty year olds. somehow, though, this seems to make this kind of bullshit okay? i don't get it. there is no reason to believe that Ubisoft used the "omg girl" trick as a marketing angle. I don't personally believe they DID, but even if they HAD, this shit would be unacceptable.
There should be no point in ANY womans career that she goes "oh well, i guess it was only a matter of time before someone drew a demeaning, explicit and insulting, graphically sexual comic about me! serves me right, i guess, for being a girl and outdoors where the internet can see me!"

seriously. wtf? how do these people interact with the outside world? sigh.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 5:28 PM on November 19, 2007 [6 favorites]


My kitten did explode from love.

His love for nitroglycerin.
posted by quin at 5:29 PM on November 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


tkchrist:
On weekends I like to knit! ...
My kitten exploded from too much love!


Some serious funnies right there.


The result, given the forum, was inevitable. A dude got punched in the nose. The line was never crossed again.

I can see why.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:30 PM on November 19, 2007


If I wanted to be uncivilized here, I'd wonder if Sid Meier has nice smelling genitals...
posted by DenOfSizer at 5:32 PM on November 19, 2007


I think it's interesting how in entertainment, women are eminently valued for their good looks, but have been traditionally shut out of certain roles or programming due to a perceived lack of intelligence.

Take late night for example - why aren't there any women hosts on the major networks? This thought occured to me while watching Chelsea Lately yesterday, whom I found surprisingly entertaining. When I saw that Bravo is prepping their own female late night talk show host, I knew they were on to something. Now, the question is, what exactly were they on to - that women are capable of doing great interviews and thus will draw more viewers, or that they are obviously sexier than conan, leno or letterman - and thus will draw more viewers. I believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

I have completely foresaken video games at this point, due to the timesuck, but I've been to my share of E3 conventions and have witnessed the lewd objectification of women as if it were part of an accepted cultural exchange - skimpily clad women dressed in video game outfits, bending their asses into a large throng of hollering, camera-wielding nerds of all ages and ethnicities. I do think that things are complicated by the fact that really hot women are used to sell products and service to under-16 year olds, it's almost perverted. These kids are getting mind-fucked. But at the same time, how do you debate the obviousness of having hot Nancy steal an on-air job from say, dorky, pot-belly Brad who was doing a perfectly fine job before she showed up. You can't. Programming is about drawing audiences, audiences are comprised of people who make choices, and at the end of the day, those choices are functions of our human nature, and that process can be exploited. If that weren't the case, advertising wouldn't work as effectively as it does. Do you want sexy, or not sexy? Of course you want sexy.
posted by phaedon at 5:34 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for clarifying, bugbread. I'd have otherwise missed that.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 5:35 PM on November 19, 2007


Ubisoft was also there with a good setup including 10 player Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow where you could play against the “Frag Dolls”, chicks who like to shoot stuff and are apparently not a bunch of paid booth bunnies trained in first person shooters.
posted by meehawl at 5:43 PM on November 19, 2007


How many successful ugly women do you know of?

I guess it depends on where you draw the line at "ugly," but when I think of successful female politicians and look at the Fortune 500 Women CEOs, I certainly don't start thinking they got where they were on their looks.

Is there some subtlety to this question that I'm missing? It seems to me like asking "Seriously, has anyone ever SEEN a woman eat chili? I just doesn't happen, folks!"
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 5:44 PM on November 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


The guy who drew that awful comic does manga for a living. Manga?! And even worse, it's Scottish to boot which means that not only is he beating a dead horse but it's once removed from being authentic. I can't imagine any place lower on the comic book totem pole than Scottish manga.

Jade Raymond wins this battle.
posted by cazoo at 5:46 PM on November 19, 2007


More art from the comic author. the guy has issues. He probably didn't even realize that his strip would be broadly offensive.
posted by delmoi at 5:56 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


The guy who drew that awful comic does manga for a living. Manga?! And even worse, it's Scottish to boot which means that not only is he beating a dead horse but it's once removed from being authentic. I can't imagine any place lower on the comic book totem pole than Scottish manga.

But to be fair he puts a lot of hip-hop steriotypes in his work too, for example.
posted by delmoi at 6:00 PM on November 19, 2007


See, the problem with the internet is that you can't just haul off and punch someone in the nose when they cross the line.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:11 PM on November 19, 2007


More art from the comic author. the guy has issues.

This fella clearly doesn't get outside much. Actually, that could probably be said about the majority of SA members altogether.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:27 PM on November 19, 2007


I have no idea at all who the key people behind HL2 or Portal are, but I've seen this woman's picture. Why? Because the game is weak. It may not be awful, but I get the impression this is no Bioshock. Or HL2.

Well, I suppose someone could make that argument. For myself, I'm kind of blown away by the game. Maybe it's not bioshock or HL2, but that's like saying Nude descending a staircase is no Mona Lisa. The line for "weak" is not situated at just below Bioshock. For what's it's worth, I'm enthralled with the game. It's a living, breathing countryside and city that genuinely seems affected by my (totally fucking cool and batman-like) actions in a way I'm having difficulty remembering having encountered in a game before.

sorry for the derail. retreating again.
posted by shmegegge at 6:29 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, jeeze, Ubisoft is behind the FragDolls?

Sort of. As I understand it, they sponsor the team, but so do a lot of people, including Verizon and some others. They play Rainbow 6 at tournaments, not especially well, so Ubi appreciates that. I may be mistaken, though. Maybe Ubi put them all together or something.
posted by shmegegge at 6:31 PM on November 19, 2007


The first link and its pictures just make me sad.

Gee, there a lot of sad people in this thread and other linked comments threads. I, too, am sad.

I like this fella's comment. He completely ignored the brouhaha and reviewed the game. FWIW - he said the story was great, but the world was a little bit too empty...

http://brokentoys.org/2007/11/19/clearly-we-do-not-deserve-nice-things-andor-people/#comment-19444
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:41 PM on November 19, 2007


"I'd rather have that killer job, and stand out as a woman in a man's world in the public eye, and weather a bukkakke effigy, than not."

Yeah, but would you rather have that killer job, be unremarkable because of your gender and not be a bukkake effigy?
posted by klangklangston at 6:45 PM on November 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


Holy fuck this place is full of hypocrisy. I cannot recall the last time an FPP on MeFi about a woman wasn't peppered with "I'd hit that!" and "She's hawt!!!!" when she's attractive or comments on her lack of good looks when she's not.

The only difference is you fuckers can't draw.
posted by dobbs at 6:50 PM on November 19, 2007 [9 favorites]


I can't imagine any place lower on the comic book totem pole than Scottish manga.

I can't image what it must be like to even be able to entertain the concept of a comic book totem pole. But out of a kind of perverse curiosity, it the manga that's low or the Scottishness? Would Welsh be lower or higher on it? What about Manx?
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:50 PM on November 19, 2007


I'm disappointed in people. Not to mention that Frag Dolls make me want to buy a bra and burn it.
posted by ersatz at 6:51 PM on November 19, 2007


Ok. So two wrongs don't make a right. I know this. At the same time, if you can dish it out, you can surely take it, no? No?

So consider the following six putative puerile panels:

Dave: Hi. I'm Dave Cheung and I'm a virgin.

Dave [undoing trousers]: I'm so intimidated by real women I can't even masturbate over pornographic photos.

Dave [looking at monitor, fapping]: And that's why I draw Chugworth Academy.

Dave [wiping up]: What scares me most is when a woman achieves success for something other than her looks.

Dave: Which is why I had to draw that bukkake comic about programmer and game producer Jade Raymond.

Dave: I wonder if she will go out with me.


I wonder what that would look like with some reasonably well-drawn artwork.

Just, you know, sharing.

posted by motty at 6:54 PM on November 19, 2007 [6 favorites]


I'd rather have that killer job, and stand out as a woman in a man's world in the public eye, and weather a bukkakke effigy, than not.

Are those the only choices?
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:57 PM on November 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


Well, if it's a viral, it's a good one I want to play this game, and it's a lot more appealing to me then Bioshock was. The irony is, even though Pastabagel dismissed the game as "not as good as bioshock" the subject matter seems much more intresting to me.
posted by delmoi at 6:58 PM on November 19, 2007


The comic is utterly offensive, agreed.

But the 'this game was made by a hot chick and 50 or so other guys' PR shot is, in its way, almost as bad.

I mean, getting the pretty girl to stand in the front of the crowd is one thing. Having everyone else take three large steps back takes it to a whole other level. "Okay, can we have all the diverse people in front please! You, black guy, over there! Asian girl, over here! Blonde, front and center! The rest of you guys, um, wander back over there a minute, will ya?"

If we're drawing percentages here, I'd lay the blame about 51% Ubisoft, 49% manga-artist-who-doesn't-get-out-enough.
posted by ook at 7:01 PM on November 19, 2007


I thought the comic was a satiric look at the video game industry's willingness to use sex to sell its games, even to the point of trotting out a hot employee to drum up interest.

I'm not particularly outraged by it.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:04 PM on November 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


delmoi writes 'How many successful ugly women do you know of? Is it because they are less innately talented?'

I just assumed that he was talking about the general attractiveness effect, where men and women who are rated 'more attractive' (say, by anonymous photo comparison studies, or facial symmetry) are found to have more successful careers than their less attractive peers, when rated by seniority, pay scale, etc.
posted by jacalata at 7:16 PM on November 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


You guys are reading way too much into this, these group shots always have the producer in front (I guess because it's the producer's job to lead the project) nobody would have noticed if it wasn't Jade.

I was there the morning they took that picture. The photographer was from GameInformer, not Ubisoft and they just called everybody together for a group picture there wasn't really any fuss about diversity or placing people. The people in front have desk near the area the picture was taken. I'm not on the picture though since at the time they took the shot I had gone back to the shack to fix bugs in the E3 demo (this was just before E3 2006). Yes, I was working in a little shack my colleagues built around my desk as a prank (cozy and privy but rather hot until I hijacked the AC out and routed it in it). You can see the shack's rooftop in the back of the picture.
posted by coust at 7:17 PM on November 19, 2007 [6 favorites]


Why? Because the game is weak. It may not be awful, but I get the impression this is no Bioshock. Or HL2. I get the impression that this game won't have the impact of even Doom2. You basically skulk around and kill guys. Hitman meets the Middle Ages.

Why would you make pronouncements like this without playing the game?

Assassin's Creed is one of the best games ever released for X-Box 360. I'd put it behind Gears of War but ahead of Bioshock. Bioshock had a lot of brilliant things about it but the execution in the last third (after the Big Reveal) could have been a lot better. Andrew Ryan rightly says, "A man chooses; a slave obeys." You're never given the option of being anything but a slave. That works for the first 2/3 but falls completely flat at the end.

So, no, Assassin's Creed isn't a mediocre game. It's excellent. There was no reason for Ubisoft to push this women in front to sell her appearance.

None of which excuses people being sexists fucks to her. But the first sexist fucks are Ubisoft.
posted by Justinian at 7:23 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


jacalata writes "I just assumed that he was talking about the general attractiveness effect, where men and women who are rated 'more attractive' (say, by anonymous photo comparison studies, or facial symmetry) are found to have more successful careers than their less attractive peers, when rated by seniority, pay scale, etc."

The 'Halo Effect' is one of the most interesting things I learned about in my year of undergrad psych. You can see it in action all over the place, and it's interesting to try to be aware of how it's affecting you. It's also is a powerful enabler for sociopaths, imho.
posted by mullingitover at 7:27 PM on November 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


One thing I'd like to mention before turning out the light, and perhaps coust can speak to this since they seem to have an insiders perspective.

Given that both the professional field as well as the consuming audience is predominantly male, I assume that Ubi wouldn't mind broadening their market. This seems to be born out by the Frag Dolls. As such, this conversation (more like venting really) was bound to happen. Eventually, we all want women to produce as well as play games.

Doesn't Jade's value as a role model exceed the cost incurred by airing our dirty laundry? Everyone knows we have cretins in our midst, and if it wasn't Jade, it would (and will) be someone else.

Things don't just magically get better, people have to suffer and strive for change. Someone is doing that here so maybe our daughters won't have to.

also... I've been stalking this game for a year. It's a console mover as far as I'm concerned.
posted by butterstick at 7:35 PM on November 19, 2007


The only thing that surprises me is that some bozo at Ubisoft actually thought going Legal was the way to solve this.

Yeah, seriously. These guys are supposed to know net culture or something, right? Threatening to sue SA is hilariously stupid. I understand why Raymond might be furious about this (I would be too), but find it hard to believe she has any legal ground to go after this particular comic. What the episode really called for was a "rolled eyes, shrug and staying on message about how awesome the game is" response, not this legal idiocy.

I know, easy to say since it's not about me. But she is a semi-public figure and that is satire. The legal threats are just bullying - maybe deserved, but bullying nonetheless.
posted by mediareport at 7:36 PM on November 19, 2007


I don't blame the publisher or anyone on the dev team for pushing, and pushing, and pushing the angle they did to promote this game. Everyone, probably including Jade, knew exactly what they were doing and it probably worked very well in their favor.

The result is sad, but so is the fact that the result was probably inevitable.

With the PC version pushed into '08, it will be interesting to watch the situation as the marketing ramps up again for the new SKU. Will they stick with Jade? Will the hair find it's way into a tight bun? Will the makeup decrease and the sweaters get bulkier? Or will the critical reception of the console version mean a swing in the other direction?

We're watching you, marketroids.

But yeah, I feel sorry for female developers. Especially the ones that have to model and skin their nth female NPC who has a tight leather catsuit and thigh-high boots.
posted by TheManChild2000 at 7:38 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


, and it is his response (or lack of) to that call out that I am posting this for.

As if responding to people on a forum would make things better...
posted by smackfu at 7:39 PM on November 19, 2007


I am annoyed that I defended HuronBob in that other thread.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:43 PM on November 19, 2007


I mean, getting the pretty girl to stand in the front of the crowd is one thing. Having everyone else take three large steps back takes it to a whole other level

Dude, she was in front because she was in charge.
posted by delmoi at 7:44 PM on November 19, 2007


Agreed, smackfu, but watching the way he tries to defend it (and the attacks on him on DA keep coming, btw) gives insight into what he thought was going on, regardless of the fact that he is clearly oblivious to what is actually going on. It doesn't make things better. But it does make things a bit clearer.
posted by motty at 7:48 PM on November 19, 2007


OK, clearly I was wrong, given coust's inside scoop. But I don't remember seeing many group shots which had most of the group waaay in the background like that; especially in the context of the rest of the marketing push here, that photo looks really strange to me.
posted by ook at 7:59 PM on November 19, 2007


She's in front of the photograph because she's the producer.

Is it possible that Ubisoft is having her promote her game more than other producers do because she's attractive? Sure, it's possible. That doesn't make a picture of a woman in an office some kind of erotic gimmick, and it doesn't mean that a fully-clothed woman promoting the non-sexual product she produced is somehow "selling sex."

A woman's presence does not automatically signify "sex." A woman is a standard type of human. We don't always mean something. Sometimes we just are.
posted by lemuria at 7:59 PM on November 19, 2007 [16 favorites]


We don't always mean something. Sometimes we just are.
Sure. Now you tell me.
posted by Floydd at 8:10 PM on November 19, 2007


Still waiting for "I'd hit it" and "Ladies, I love cunnilingus!" comments.

As a traditionalist, I would first hit Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert. This young lady is going to have to work harder if she wants to move up in the queue.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:16 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh damn, this was sitting in word, but I never got around to posting it:

The problem is not that the game industry needs more Jade Raymonds pumping out the baseline crap. It needs more Stanley Kubricks.

Right, because A clockwork orange doesn't appeal to a baseline interest in violence, and Eyes wide shut Doesn't appeal to a baseline intrest in sex. Not at all.

ummm...I know what you are trying to say here. But this is not the right way to ask that question. Until you have specific reason to believe that the person under discussion is not qualified to have their job, then I see no reason not to assume that it's because her company felt she was the most qualified person for said job.

I didn't say she wasn't qualified. I said that if she was ugly she wouldn't have the job, whether she was qualified or not. She still might have the job if she was plain or 'normal' looking.
posted by delmoi at 8:31 PM on November 19, 2007


"I'd rather have that killer job, and stand out as a woman in a man's world in the public eye, and weather a bukkakke effigy, than not."

Ambrosia Voyeur, that's an odd thing to say. I really would hope that you'd rather have a killer job in an equal world. The bukkakke is your own business.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:32 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, the next time someone complains about gamers being portrayed as a bunch of socially maladjusted miscreants who only play video games because they can't relate to girls, I'm going to direct them to this comic.

And this continued stereotype has no impact on things like this happening? Is this more than a minority targeting her for being hot? When men in the videogame world are tagged as sexless loser, does anyone even care let alone express outrage?
posted by kigpig at 8:33 PM on November 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


OK, clearly I was wrong, given coust's inside scoop. But I don't remember seeing many group shots which had most of the group waaay in the background like that; especially in the context of the rest of the marketing push here, that photo looks really strange to me.

really Strange? I mean it's a bunch of people standing around, with their lead in front. And as someone else mentioned, all the producers at this company are responsible for promoting their games. She probably got a lot more press because she was good looking, and she probably got a lot more because her game is supposed to be groundbreaking (according to they hype anyway). Probably if she had been a guy there wouldn't have been so many headshots, so many fan sites, etc. But that's not because of what she's doing, that's the reaction of the press.
posted by delmoi at 8:35 PM on November 19, 2007


When men in the videogame world are tagged as sexless loser, does anyone even care let alone express outrage?

Singling a single, identifiable person out versus besmirching an entire amorphous group is different. Especially if you're the person.
posted by meehawl at 8:38 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Meh.

Some folks act like jerks. Others use said jerkdom as an echo chamber for their own biases. And some Ms. Gets caught in the middle.

On the plus side, the game looks really cool.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 8:58 PM on November 19, 2007


Singling a single, identifiable person out versus besmirching an entire amorphous group is different. Especially if you're the person.

Different but worse? Is suggesting woman A got where she was in the gaming industry because of her looks, worse than all women in the gaming industry get where they are because of their looks?

I don't know any video game producers to respond entirely directly, however in similar fields, we have a few decades of Bill Gates being targeted as a sexless loser. I recall a mad tv/saturday night live episode with a skit where he offered the state of virginia to a girl to have sex with him once. No question he's in a whole different league than the producer of a specific game, but I don't recall a single claim of sexism the whole time even though it clearly was every time he stepped up to the podium. I've certainly seen this levied at a lot of men when ever a press release for a study has them publicly speaking.
posted by kigpig at 8:59 PM on November 19, 2007


I've seen this woman's picture. Why? Because the game is weak.

This is clearly unfair. You've seen her picture because of her role in production. You've perhaps seen her picture so much because of a bunch of asshats. This isn't indicative of much. If CIV IV had her on as producer, the coverage and reaction might have been much the same. (I don't know if that statement carries the same meaning for anyone else, but to me that means quality is irrelevant in a set of circumstances like these)

Games aren't for the nerdy guys plugging away on their home computers on a Saturday night. It's not 1983.

This is worth remembering -- and I often forget it myself until I walk into a gaming store or video rental outlet. Especially now that the console is king, gaming is as much if not more of a frat boy thing than the shy, nerdy (and possibly more respectful) computer geek thing. I still can't get over how little shelf space pc games get in any gaming store. In some stores: none. When frat boys are your primary audience? Yeah, expect more of this, unfortunately.
posted by dreamsign at 9:06 PM on November 19, 2007


we have a few decades of Bill Gates being targeted as a sexless loser

That's just not true.
posted by meehawl at 9:13 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I stand corrected. Looking at the photo in the context of this discussion made me misread it. Sorry.
posted by ook at 9:26 PM on November 19, 2007


can someone tell me again how the sexiest male consumer is discouraging women from become producers of content? I'm confuseled.
posted by garlic at 9:30 PM on November 19, 2007


It feels like the more women get into IT, the more misogynistic things seem to get.

It's sad. This sort of sexism makes me think certain web comic guys and software execs would be better off as Castrati.
posted by dw at 9:39 PM on November 19, 2007


stage whisper: Yeah, I know, I was just calling her a role model, in a cynical way.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:40 PM on November 19, 2007


I said that if she was ugly she wouldn't have the job, whether she was qualified or not. She still might have the job if she was plain or 'normal' looking.

I know exactly what you were saying. And you could probably read between the lines of my response, and see that I was tactfully responding to your exact premise. Like I said, when you put it that way, it's hard to agree with and difficult to respond without sinking to the level of the statement.

I've worked in the gaming industry, and a few other industries in which women are under-represented, have a difficult time moving up the ladder, and have to deal with an extra layer of bullshit directly related to their gender. Which could be read as every industry there is, but I'm specifically referring to Technology and Entertainment, as they map closely to what we're talking about. Do looks have an improper impact on hiring choices? Yes, that does exist. But not to the level where you can even come close to saying no ugly* woman would have that job. I've found that the stated form of discrimination is highest at the level of receptionist, and declines inversely the closer you get to jobs in which poor performance is going to cost somebody some money.

* You're defining ugly as beneath the level of 'plain' or 'normal' which is weird and subjective in a lot of ways, and gets into all sorts of fuzzy territory. Are we talking harelips or are we talking Ugly Betty?
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:41 PM on November 19, 2007


Cheapassgamer.com has an interesting thread about this... particularly this comment from a user named CoffeeEdge. An edited excerpt:
The reason the comic exists, is because Ubisoft has been shoving Jade Raymond in our faces for the better part of a year, using her image and yes, her sex appeal, to draw attention to Assassin's Creed seemingly at every turn. She's gotten more media face time in the past six months than Miyamoto, Wright, and Molyneux combined.

...

Being a woman in the game industry does not guarantee you a life of ridicule, contempt, and being the butt of crude jokes. I mean, how many crude jokes or "dick-sucking" cartoons have you seen regarding, oh, for instance...
Paulina Bozek (producer and director of Singstar), or Rima Brek (AI programmer for Rainbow Six), or Jane Cavanagh (co-founder and CEO of SCi, and CEO of Eidos), or Linda Currie (co-founder of Sirtech, creators of Wizardry, and producer of Jagged Alliance), or Erin Hoffman (best known as the infamous "ea_spouse," but also a game designer herself working on the DS versions of Marvel Trading Card Game and Puzzle Quest), or Ayami Kojima (the legendary artist for post-Symphony of the Night Castlevania games), or Arcadia Kim (product development director on several Sim series at Maxis, as well as for EA's Lord of the Rings games), or Shara Miller (producer at LucasArts on Mercenaries, Star Wars Battlefront, and ThrillVille), or Rhianna Pratchett (Story designer and writer for Overlord and Heavenly Sword), or Shannon Studstill (the gorgeous producer of God of War)?

Lemme answer that for you: None. And you wanna know why? Because they weren't paraded around by their employers to draw attention to any of the games they worked on.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:52 PM on November 19, 2007 [5 favorites]


posted by delmoi I said that if she was ugly she wouldn't have the job, whether she was qualified or not. She still might have the job if she was plain or 'normal' looking.

Sometimes you are such an unbelievable idiot I wonder if you're mildly retarded or engaged in some sort of internet performance art.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:54 PM on November 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher?
posted by stinkycheese at 10:01 PM on November 19, 2007


There's a lot of offended people in the room right now, so could I just suggest that probably the most offended person is that Asian woman off to the left in the group photo? Not by the comic, mind, but by the whole media blitz in general? Jesus, I'd rip off somebody's face.
posted by Football Bat at 10:02 PM on November 19, 2007


The comment MegoSteve pointed to has it exactly right. The comic isn't directed at Raymond at all, except possibly to the extent she's complicit in Ubisoft's strategy to use her sex appeal to sell their game.
posted by jjg at 10:02 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I understand the artist did not post the comic to Something Awful; he posted it to deviantart's members-only section, and someone else posted it on SA.

Are people angry at the artist for making his opinions public, or are they angry at the artist for having this opinion? Because he did not do the former any more than if someone took someone's controversial post from MeFi and threw it on the front page of the New York Post. Without permission. And, I must add, out of context- in gaming circles, Jade Raymond was seen in the way MegoSteve's post indicates.

If it's the latter, I have to question how far people are expected to constrain their opinions.
posted by Maxson at 10:04 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's really interesting, MegoSteve. I don't know enough about this to know the extent to which Ubisoft is to blame, but it would certainly be a different picture if the comic emerged as backlash to what was perceived as base pandering (with just perhaps a smidgen of indignity over how on-target that strategy might otherwise be).
posted by dreamsign at 10:05 PM on November 19, 2007


Holy crap, this ruckus is amazing. As one of Dave's fellow DeviantArters and (somewhat of a) fan of his, i feel that i need to defend him. As someone said earlier, Cheung's intent was to satirize the media whoring of Jade Raymond and the dateless, basement-dwelling fools who respond to it.

I've read practically every strip of Chugworth Academy, and the man is NOT a misogynist. His main female character is the weary voice of reason, constantly plagued by idiotic, horny guys and equally idiotic girls who pursue sex to the detriment of everything else.

That being said, when he first posted the comic last week, i thought it was in pretty poor taste, and not his best work. But hey, he's an underground artist, and it's pretty much his job to want to shock his audience as much as possible.

2 Live Crew. Boiled Angel. Eminem. The Jade Raymond Comic. All this outrage is doing little except quadrupling Cheug's audience.

Well done.
posted by ELF Radio at 10:12 PM on November 19, 2007


Jade Raymond's (short-term, as of now) success in the videogames industry starts to change the perception of women in the videogames industry, while some vile comments and articles on the Internet propagate and reinforce the terrible image of videogamers that many of us have put up with since, well, videogames came about.

Ironically, it seems that many of those video game journalism sites/blogs are trying to play on this age-old stereotype of videogamers, which only results in its reinforcement. The comic also feels like a lash-out at gamers who've never met women IRL (but is probably fuelled by plenty of Jade/Unisoft-hate).

But it's still in terrible taste.
posted by kureshii at 10:21 PM on November 19, 2007


don't know enough about this to know the extent to which Ubisoft is to blame, but it would certainly be a different picture if the comic emerged as backlash to what was perceived as base pandering

I didn't follow the promotion of Assassin's Creed too closely because, frankly, I'm not that interested in the game. However, here's a screencap of the promo videos for the game from GameTrailers.com (originally posted on Cheapassgamer.com by CoffeeEdge). I certainly don't follow every game and rarely visit GameTrailers, but I don't know of other game producers that are promoted to that extent.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:46 PM on November 19, 2007


here's a screencap of the promo videos for the game from GameTrailers.com

That's... wow. No wonder they believed the rumour. And the (yes, tasteless) shock tactics begin to make a bit more sense.
posted by dreamsign at 11:10 PM on November 19, 2007


*waits for inevitable remix/repurposing of comic, but with Gabe Newell in the bikini instead*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:10 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


The comment MegoSteve pointed to has it exactly right. The comic isn't directed at Raymond at all, except possibly to the extent she's complicit in Ubisoft's strategy to use her sex appeal to sell their game.

The current chugworth.com page has two comments, from the creator of the strip, underneath the shitty comic of the day as of November 19th:

"Now that everyone's had a good bit of laughs about a certain producer it's time for serious business D=..."

and a fake XBox banner that says "Achievement Unlocked: Made Jade Cry"

How exactly wasn't he directing it at her?
posted by cmonkey at 11:11 PM on November 19, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'm sure Ubisoft deserves some criticism

I've called Ubisoft a fag, what more can I do?
posted by infinitewindow at 11:27 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


By the way, with regards to the game itself, Tom Chick (whose reviews I've come to trust) has this to say, in case you're interested (the 'balls' comment was written before this current kafuffle, but I find it amusing, given context):
Where are your balls, Ubisoft? Talk more about the Prophet, peace be upon Him. Put a Jewish character in the game and let him be reviled. Show the Crusaders as something other than the dudes playing the role of the cops from GTA. Because you know everyone's thinking about it when they see your game. It's a potentially powerful subject, and it's on all our minds, and your pussyfooting around the weak safe choices is a disappointment, particularly when you insist on wrapping your game in a modern-day shell. Assassin's Creed is as aware of today as it is of the 12th Century. Act like it, for God's sake. Because if your love of the setting were expressed in the writing with one tenth of the passion you show for your love of the architecture, Assassin's Creed could have been an experience as memorable as BioShock or Portal.
On topic, the comic is pathetic, but unsurprising. People who are shocked by how virulently nasty it is haven't spent much time in the filthier net sewers, maybe. When something horrible like this irrupts into the light, it makes you (OK, me) feel like scrubbing your brain with bleach and maybe punching someone in the face a few times, sure, but maybe, somewhere, there are a few kids learning from all this what their loser narcissist doucheballoon parents didn't teach them: that attacking and demeaning people you've never met is not a nice thing to do.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:37 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


(By the way, Tom says elsewhere that he really, really likes the game, though, and that the minireview linked was not a formal review, so you know, grain of salt.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:41 PM on November 19, 2007


I know there are a lot of fanboys who would like to blow a wad over Masayuki Uemura's face, and I can get that, but this is just outrageous!
posted by KokuRyu at 11:52 PM on November 19, 2007


okok, clearly the only way for jade to defuse the situation is to do a naked photo shoot. alternatively i look forward to see her 'leaked' sex home video online.
posted by canned polar bear at 12:38 AM on November 20, 2007


Holy fuck this place is full of hypocrisy.

True dat.

Larry Flynt does satire like this and is hailed as an American hero of free speech. Some poor anonymous sap does it, and he's the biggest scumbag that ever walked the earth. Was the comic offensive? Yes it was. That's precisely the point. So what?

On review: what mediareport said.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:38 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure the impetus behind this entire affair is the eye-rolling many gamers feel when the companies feel the need to start trotting out the hotties. It's pandering, it's insulting, and it shows a complete lack of respect for both the audience and the women. Maybe they weren't going for that here, I don't know (to be honest, it sounds like they just caught on to her popularity and ran with it), but people have become quite jaded after the number of times they've tried it before.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:52 AM on November 20, 2007


Am I the only one cynical enough to believe that the cease and desist originated in Ubisoft's PR department and not in their Legal Department?

Nothing offsets a handful of bad reviews for your new AAA franchise more than sparking a debate over just how jerky people are on the Internet.
posted by Ferreteer at 1:23 AM on November 20, 2007


What do you expect? Take gamers, in large measure 13 year old brains in adult bodies, and a beautiful woman that they could never even talk to in their wildest dreams, and this is the natural and pathetic result. This whole bit about being proud to say you are a gamer is like being proud of watching soap operas.
posted by caddis at 1:31 AM on November 20, 2007


he's an underground artist, and it's pretty much his job to want to shock his audience as much as possible.

I don't think humanity has much use for those who think "shocking people" is their "job". That's not a "job" we need done.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:39 AM on November 20, 2007


*waits for inevitable remix/repurposing of comic, but with Gabe Newell in the bikini instead*

Prepare for unforseeen consequences.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:45 AM on November 20, 2007


I don't understand why this is being made into an attack on the entire gaming community. Sure one asshole with a shitty web comic made an offensive comic, but I don't see this whole flap as being much beyond that.

In every industry everywhere, companies always try to find an attractive spokes person for their products. It might not be a perfect situation, but it is far bigger than the video game industry. Personally I think that using Raymond, an intelligent and attractive women, instead of some model in a Lara Croft outfit was a step forward by Ubisoft.

Raymond is the gamer geeks perfect girl. Hot, but slightly nerdy, very intelligent and loves games. How could you be into to video games and not have a huge crush on her? Since it seems like Raymond and Ubisoft made the decision to make her a public figure, this is perfectly normal. Again, it's a step forward to have nerds fantasizing about intelligent real women as opposed to air brushed fantasies in Maxim.
posted by afu at 1:52 AM on November 20, 2007


What do you expect? Take gamers, in large measure 13 year old brains in adult bodies, and a beautiful woman that they could never even talk to in their wildest dreams, and this is the natural and pathetic result.

This is the shit I'm talking about. Why does what one asshole does paint all gamers as pathetic losers? This is hilarious coming from the crowd at Metafilter, probably very similar demographics to gamers in general if not a little older. One could paint a picture of sexual frustration turning into repression and self loathing...

I'm sure Jade Raymond does talk to gamers all the time, and it is perfectly healthy for male gamers to be attracted to her.
posted by afu at 1:58 AM on November 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


that would have worked better if I'd put that extra "e" in the right place :o

On topic, I remember seeing that group photo a while ago, and while it didn't seem particularly unusual (usually one or two people will do the majority of the interviews and publicity for a given game), I had a horrible feeling something like this would happen. I take comfort in the knowledge that there are people who share my favourite hobby and aren't halfwits.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:59 AM on November 20, 2007


Let me fully explain that group photo. It's pretty simple.

I'm a game developer. I know lots of game developers. The majority of my coworkers seem to hate getting their picture taken, and kind of subconsciously shy away from cameras. Some people, apparently including Jade Raymond, are relatively normal and do NOT fear their picture being taken. Thus, most people are hiding. Seriously, we have issues.

Another thing that game developers are kind of bad at is giving presentations and talking to the press. Apparently Jade has some skill at that, as well as deep knowledge of the game, due to working as the producer. Having someone with both knowledge and some presentational skill is AWESOME for demos and interviews, and is way better than throwing out clueless-but-safe PR flack or a random designer who may decide to talk about star trek halfway through an interview for no apparent reason.

I am going to have to blame the gaming press a bit for this, as they really suffer from not enough topics to talk about and seem to feel the need to obsess on various subjects to fill time. Maybe try posting slightly less, kotaku editors?
posted by JZig at 3:05 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


lemuria : "She's in front of the photograph because she's the producer."

That's kind of an odd statement. Like "George Bush is the president because his initials are GWB". Yes, those are his initials, but how does that correlate to presidency? Yes, she's the producer, but how does that correlate to being in front of the photo? In games, generally, the lead designer is the most important figurehead. The producer only goes out in front if they're famous due to previous lead designer work (Miyamoto, Itagaki, Molyneaux, Wright, etc. etc. etc.). I can't remember ever seeing a producer being the face of a game unless they were already famous due to their design work. She isn't, which means that normally, Patrice Desilets, the actual lead designer, would be in front of the photo.

That said, JZig's response above makes sense: if you have a camera-shy-ish lead designer, and a camera-friendly producer, and the gaming crowd digs the producer, then it's not so outlandish to have the producer out in front. But don't make the mistaken assumption that it's an obvious and intrinsic thing for the producer to be in front. It's a specific set of circumstances that result in that exception taking place.

ELF Radio writes "As one of Dave's fellow DeviantArters and (somewhat of a) fan of his, i feel that i need to defend him. As someone said earlier, Cheung's intent was to satirize the media whoring of Jade Raymond and the dateless, basement-dwelling fools who respond to it."

Yes, and it was based on the Maxim rumour, correct? If that rumour had been true, this would have been extreme satire, still offending a lot of people, but with some defensible position. But it turns out to be satire based on a false rumour. Normally, in that case, the artist would make some sort of general apology. But in this case, Cheung seems quite happy with the situation, even though he's attacking someone not for some trashy thing they've done, but for some trashy thing they haven't done. That's crappy. That's saying "You suck because X" "But X is untrue" "Yeah, well, that doesn't change anything".
posted by Bugbread at 4:02 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is hilarious coming from the crowd at Metafilter

It's not coming from the crowd at Metafilter, it's coming from one dusty old fart at Metafilter, who should really just go back his spreadsheets.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:34 AM on November 20, 2007


stavrosthewonderchicken writes "It's not coming from the crowd at Metafilter, it's coming from one dusty old fart at Metafilter, who should really just go back his spreadsheets."

But, stav, don't you know that if one person writes a comment like that on MeFi, that all MeFites think that way? And if one gamer draws a misogynist comic, all gamers are misogynists?
posted by Bugbread at 6:18 AM on November 20, 2007


And comic artists! I'm off to punch some women right now.
posted by COBRA! at 7:28 AM on November 20, 2007


Hm. The comic is lame, but as far as I can tell it's being massively and widely misread. It's the morons who rub their puds over a picture of the game designer while fantasizing her sexual performance -- all while she just wants to talk about the game she worked on -- who are being lampooned. Maybe the so-called subtlety of goon humor doesn't play well in Peoria.

Admittedly it's pretty tasteless to depict this woman that way, especially considering how unnecessary it is to do so to make the comic's point. Attacking it on that basis seems reasonable enough to me but I do think it's a shame that nobody seems to have actually *read* the comic. All people are seeing and reacting to is the illustration.

If nothing else it was an excuse to trot out the O.M.M. crate gag.
posted by majick at 7:31 AM on November 20, 2007


I was going to make a comment about how quickly the world forgets about high profile females in the video game industry (and the damage already done), but maybe it would fall on deaf ears.

For what it's worth, isn't this the game with the obnoxiously long tv commercials that was the only sponsor for South Park a couple weeks back? That was my only exposure to the game until this post, so it makes me wonder if UbiSoft is trying to carpet-bomb all segments of the game-purchasing public in the hopes of moving more product.
posted by mikeh at 7:33 AM on November 20, 2007


Attributing this whole fiasco to one or two "bad apples" is precisely the strategy of scapegoating and distancing - look... it's just that asshole. over there! - used by (privileged) people in our society as a means to ignore and deny the systemic nature of patriarchy (insert oppressive system here) and our own complicity in it.

It's silencing, diminutive, and cowardly.

There's a lot of people you can blame for this situation. Maybe instead of trying to figure out who is more at fault, we should use this as an opportunity to address some of the root, cultural/societal causes compelling people to frame objectifying and humiliating an intelligent, powerful woman as a mere manifestation of "perfectly healthy" attraction.
posted by lunit at 7:48 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


majick: I'd agree that your interpretation is at least colorable if the first panel didn't show Raymond unable even to pronounce the word "creative," which is clearly intended to suggest that she's just a pretty face who lacks any skills. Even if the comic is also delivering the message you describe about moron gamers, that message is swamped by the crude and insulting characterization of Raymond.

Giving the artist the benefit of the doubt as you describe requires excessive mental gymnastics. Usually something that appears insulting really is just that.
posted by brain_drain at 7:49 AM on November 20, 2007


majick: I *read* the comic, and like brain_drain, I can't fathom how this isn't just singling her out for a public shaming.

And then, of course, more recently Dave says: "Achievement Unlocked: Made Jade Cry." Har har har.
posted by the other side at 8:05 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


" I'd agree that your interpretation is at least colorable if the first panel didn't show Raymond unable even to pronounce the word "creative," which is clearly intended to suggest that she's just a pretty face who lacks any skills. "

No. It's the Old Man Murray crate joke. Because it's a crate game. Sorry you don't get that, because it does lead to the uncharitable interpretation you concluded with if you don't know the crate joke.
posted by majick at 8:07 AM on November 20, 2007


Am I the only one cynical enough to believe that the cease and desist originated in Ubisoft's PR department

No. I was looking at some of the PR. I think I now smell viral as well. As I said earlier, there's no way anyone remotely connected with gaming could not know that by doing this, there's a huge risk of getting his woman's face photoshopped into tubgirl, goatse, lemonparty, hai2u, meatspin, etc, or just getting that development team group shot meme'd to hell and back. This is Wildean strategy,
posted by meehawl at 8:12 AM on November 20, 2007


Metafilter: We support all forms of speech and artistic expression, without reservation or hesitation. Unless it offends our surprisingly delicate sensibilities.

Threads like this also show how fantastically out of touch some people are. Affinity for facial cumshots mean someone is detached from the human race? Wow. I don't know whether that is funny or terribly sad.

I don't know this particular comic, but "mainstream" video game comics, such as Penny Arcade, have shown sexual favors from, or sexual violence upon, many male video game entities numerous times.

They've also outright depicted journalists taking cash bribes, game producers taking and giving cash bribes, eating babies, being unrepentant Satanists, even paedophilia, but all that's okay, right? Cause it's guys... and it's just a joke. Right?

See, the double standard exists, and is reinforced, through stuff like this.

The outrage you people are trying to whip up is counterproductive to your apparent cause.

Because, everyone knows if it was a comic with Richard Garriott taking a shot in the face, holding up Tabula Rasa saying "I'll do anything for you to buy my game! Love me! LOVE ME!!" everyone would chuckle and move on. This thread wouldn't exist, and certainly the outrage wouldn't exist.

But this is different, because she's a girl.

Because of the double standard you "defenders" are reinforcing, you are in effect saying "Oh, don't treat her the same as the boys, she's just a girl... she's much too delicate and frail to withstand a vicious webcomic savaging."

Grow the fuck up.

She's a big girl, she's attractive, and she obviously doesn't mind being the face and voice of this game she helped produce. That in no way entitles her to some sacred holy veil of protection and sanctity. By being the public face, she has to be willing to accept the praise and the criticism. The worship and the ridicule. If that's not acceptable, then don't become the public face of a product.

If she is as intelligent and talented as she appears to be, the proper response would be a "ha!" and then get on with her exciting, successful career.

You know, like the guys in the industry would. And have. For years now.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:22 AM on November 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


majick: If that was intended to be a riff on OMM's "start to crate," then yeah, I missed it, perhaps because Raymond spends the rest of the comic in a bikini with splooge on her face. Come on, you're doing waaaay too much work to navigate around the fact that the comic openly degrades and insults Raymond.
posted by brain_drain at 8:26 AM on November 20, 2007


On reflection, "Come on" may not have been the best opening for the last sentence in my previous comment.
posted by brain_drain at 8:27 AM on November 20, 2007


Also, this is a small industry. I don't even work in it anymore, and I didn't work it in it for long at all, but I found out from LinkedIn there's just 2 degrees between me and Raymond (and me and Case). These things get personal really quickly. If this lawyer screed is viral, it's quite cynical. If not, it's just sad.
posted by meehawl at 8:34 AM on November 20, 2007


I'm a lot less concerned with the comic than I am with the attitude that a woman with a job promoting a product is inherently a prostitute (and therefore worthless.)

A man walks into a grocery store checkout line. A fully-clothed woman is the cashier.

Man: A woman! There must be a reason why they put this strange and unusual variety of human here! Women are stupid, so she can't just be here to do her job, like a man would be. It must be to appeal to me, because the entire world revolves around me and my perspective!

Cashier: "Anything else, sir?"

Man: She smiled at me! I want to have sex with her! Therefore, another man put her here to make me want to have sex with her! I'll buy a pack of gum. Look! Her exploitation of her sexuality forced me to buy something! Well, if she's going to play that game, I had better get something out of this myself and start masturbating!

Cashier: (Calls cops)

Man: What are you doing? This is what you wanted all along, you slut! What do you expect to happen when you use your sexuality to manipulate men!

the end
repeat
posted by lemuria at 8:37 AM on November 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


ynoxas writes...
"I don't know this particular comic, but "mainstream" video game comics, such as Penny Arcade, have shown sexual favors from, or sexual violence upon, many male video game entities numerous times."

Yeah. And in those instances, it's insulting and offensive because its suggesting that these men are sexually subjudgated - just like women. That notion is based on domination, power, and control - it is feminizing those male video game entitites. Those images are based in homophobia just as much as the images of Jade are based in fucked up notions of masculinity and femininity. It's all part of the same prevailing culture of masculinity.

This is insulting because it is just a small piece of the misogynistic, homophobic, patriarchal culture that exists within the gaming world. And a say that as a proud female gamer.

Personally, I was a little excited to see this issue getting as much as attention as it had been getting. That excitement quickly vanished when I realized that the kind of attention this story is getting is directed specifically at individual entities (the maker of the cartoon or Ubisoft), and not at the problematic gaming culture in general which alienates, silences, and excludes women and queer folk. Just like your comment threatens to do in this forum.
posted by lunit at 8:45 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ynoxas says, "Metafilter: We support all forms of speech and artistic expression, without reservation or hesitation. Unless it offends our surprisingly delicate sensibilities."

Huh? Did someone in this thread endorse outright censorship and I just missed it?
posted by the other side at 8:56 AM on November 20, 2007


Weak, lunit. You can disagree with his comment without accusing him of threatening to "alienate, silence, and exclude women and queer folk" on Metafilter. A charge that severe is not to be thrown around lightly, and disagreement is not oppression.
posted by DaShiv at 9:07 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Larry Flynt does satire like this and is hailed as an American hero of free speech. Some poor anonymous sap does it, and he's the biggest scumbag that ever walked the earth. Was the comic offensive? Yes it was. That's precisely the point. So what?

Larry Flynt does that sort of thing to people who, for the most part, are hypocritical, anti-porn, and anti-fun. You'd never see something like this in Hustler attacking a woman just because she's a woman, and he's obviously not the kind of guy who has a problem with women flaunting their sexuality.

The thing that's so sad (I've realized) Is that these gamers (the ones criticizing her) are so removed from women kind that they literally can't comprehend a woman as a non-sexual object. I mean, to them just the face of a woman must be erotic, and pornographic and so using your face to sell video games is as bad as using your vagina. That's why it's no different to Cheung and his fans to show a pretty woman talking about video games and showing a pretty woman sucking dick and getting jizzed on.
posted by delmoi at 9:14 AM on November 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


I don't know this particular comic, but "mainstream" video game comics, such as Penny Arcade, have shown sexual favors from, or sexual violence upon, many male video game entities numerous times.


I hate having to be the one who decontructs three panel comics, but let me open with the fact that Penny Arcade has never depicted anything as graphic as what Dave Cheung's comic showed. They mention outrageous things as a punch line of course, but there is always a setup that explains it - Some company's network play is as comfortable an experience as being raped by a robot, etc. It is funny because it is so completely and totally over the top.

Dave Cheung is a dummy, and being a dummy, he suffers from stupidity. His comic had no setup. Why is she depicted in such a raunchy sexual fashion? Did she show up to E3 dressed in a bikini? Did she in fact pose for Maxim? No. The comic strip makes no sense. And it becomes completely counterfactual when the fact is revealed that she just promoted her game like any other producer.

So Cheungs shitty comic strip is not based on reality at all. I say this in all seriousness. It is based on the fact that Dave Cheung is threatened by a woman who enters his perceived "realm" in this case videogames, but not on the terms under which he constructed his world. The comic reveals that Cheung sees women only as sex objects and that he's only comfortable dealing with them as such.

He's a misogynist. He doesn't like women, and resents their power over him. He uses pornography to sublimate this anger, to reassert his dominance. And it is very much about power. A beautiful woman with brains and a great job in the games industry? What's left for poor Dave, who has neither looks, nor brains, nor a job that anyone would want?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:16 AM on November 20, 2007 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: We support all forms of speech and artistic expression, without reservation or hesitation. Unless it offends our surprisingly delicate sensibilities.

There is a difference between defending the right to speech, and defending the speech itself.
posted by delmoi at 9:17 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I dunno. The comic seems like a statement about how much of the press for the game revolves around the fact an attractive woman produced it. What's the big deal? You do understand that the guy didn't actually come on her face, right? It didn't actually happen. She's fine.

I wonder if she's getting so much sympathy because she's so pretty? That's kind of ironic, huh.

Relax, everyone. Someone on a forum made a dirty joke. That's all. Unless this is your first time visiting the internet, you shouldn't be so shocked or appalled.
posted by notmydesk at 9:26 AM on November 20, 2007


Reread delmoi's point, notmydesk: these gamers (the ones criticizing her) are so removed from women kind that they literally can't comprehend a woman as a non-sexual object. I mean, to them just the face of a woman must be erotic, and pornographic and so using your face to sell video games is as bad as using your vagina. That's why it's no different to Cheung and his fans to show a pretty woman talking about video games and showing a pretty woman sucking dick and getting jizzed on.

This is not just a dirty joke. It's a very poor attempt at satire, not based on fact, which reveals a need in both Cheung and his defenders to publically humiliate women who are successful for their brains rather than their looks - and for that to be ok. That's kind of a big deal. And it's not ok.
posted by motty at 9:36 AM on November 20, 2007


This thread is now witnessing a sudden uptick of internet psychiatry. This thread is rapidly being Godwinised. Good things cannot come from this.
posted by meehawl at 9:40 AM on November 20, 2007


There's a little back-and-forth here about whether the comic was written to make fun of Jade, to make fun of Ubisoft's marketing, or to make fun of gamers. I think it's a false trichotomy. It reads to me like it was written to make fun of all three.

lunit writes "Attributing this whole fiasco to one or two 'bad apples' is precisely the strategy of scapegoating and distancing - look... it's just that asshole. over there! - used by (privileged) people in our society as a means to ignore and deny the systemic nature of patriarchy (insert oppressive system here) and our own complicity in it."

Er...is this parody, or are you an actual university student?

Attributing this whole fiasco by one person to an entire group is precisely the strategy of blame transfer and guilt-by association - look...the person who did that was a member of group X. Group X is everywhere! - used by (bigoted) people in our society as a means to systematically discriminate against out-groups (insert name of racist/sexist/xenophobic organization here) and our own tendency to do so.

Pastabagel writes "Why is she depicted in such a raunchy sexual fashion? Did she show up to E3 dressed in a bikini? Did she in fact pose for Maxim? No."

I believe the comic was made in the period after the Maxim rumour was floated, and before it was punctured. So, no, it has no point or setup now, but it did when it was written. Again, that's not a defense, considering that even after the Maxim rumour was discounted, Cheung didn't retract or apologize or anything. I do think it's based on misogyny, but what makes me think that is Cheung's reaction, more than the comic itself.

Ynoxas writes "Metafilter: We support all forms of speech and artistic expression, without reservation or hesitation. Unless it offends our surprisingly delicate sensibilities."

Eh? Someone here has argued that he shouldn't have had the right to make the comic? I've heard a lot of positions here on the article, but the only people I've heard demanding its eradication are Ubisoft's lawyers, not Mefites.
posted by Bugbread at 9:43 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: We support all forms of speech and artistic expression, without reservation or hesitation. Unless it offends our surprisingly delicate sensibilities.

One of the consequences of free speech is called on the carpet for talking shit. Grow up.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:43 AM on November 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


If I were to pin the existence of such carelessly offensive use of sexuality on one thing, it would be the widespread availability of hardcore porn. It's like, once the bukkake barn doors are wide open, there's no calling foul on using these images as currency to try and create something culturally symbolic. Or perhaps I'm just starting to freak out because I have a fifteen year old gamer brother, and schmucks like this don't mind getting a laugh at the expense of balanced sexual development.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:45 AM on November 20, 2007


notmydesk writes "I wonder if she's getting so much sympathy because she's so pretty? That's kind of ironic, huh."

Yeah. That would be pretty ironic, if it were true.
I wonder why you think that's true, though.
posted by Bugbread at 9:45 AM on November 20, 2007


"Come on, you're doing waaaay too much work to navigate around the fact that the comic openly degrades and insults Raymond."

No. I admit pretty freely that not only is the comic not very good, fails to make the point it wants to, and is also gratuitously illustrated in a way that detracts from the point in the first place. I did so with my very first comment about the comic. I agree the comic as written requires far too much gymnastics on the part of the reader to interpret, and that it still doesn't work well.

Condemning the thing has been well done already by several others. I won't bother to add to the points against the thing because they're all pretty clearly enumerated above.

The point I'm making is that people are responding chiefly to the imagery, and that's a valid but incomplete criticism that takes part of the comic out of context.
posted by majick at 9:46 AM on November 20, 2007


Larry Flynt does that sort of thing to people who, for the most part, are hypocritical, anti-porn, and anti-fun.

Close.

Larry Flynt does this to people who have real power over peoples lives.

Not some woman who is just doing a job at some random company.

peter McDermott: Was the comic offensive? Yes it was. That's precisely the point. So what?

The point? Oh. The irony. Afterall the talk about sexism on this board over the last five days. Do you guys have amnesia or something?

It is not hypocritical to be outraged about some poor random schlep being defamed and degraded publicly just becuase of HER GOD DAMNED IDENTITY AS A WOMAN.
posted by tkchrist at 9:51 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


tkchrist writes "It is not hypocritical to be outraged about some poor random schlep being defamed and degraded publicly just becuase of HER GOD DAMNED IDENTITY AS A WOMAN."

Er, again, the comic was not initially made just because of her god damned identity as a woman, but because of a rumour regarding her posing in a girlie mag in order to promote a game. Cheung didn't just up and say "I'm going to write a bukakke comic about her JUST BECAUSE SHE'S A WOMAN". Still unjustified, as the rumour turned out to be totally untrue, but don't make the mistake that this whole thing appeared out of thin air based on nothing more than her chromosomes.
posted by Bugbread at 10:00 AM on November 20, 2007


Rephrased:

From what I can tell, Cheung didn't degrade and defame her just because he's a misogynist. He didn't do it just because of the Maxim rumour. He did it because he's a misogynist AND because of the rumour.
posted by Bugbread at 10:02 AM on November 20, 2007


He did it because he's a misogynist AND because of the rumour.

I think he did it to make his buddies laugh. That's why I do things.
posted by notmydesk at 10:05 AM on November 20, 2007


What is fascinating about this is the way it provides a really clear example of how art - in the broadest sense - reveals things about both the artist and those viewing the artwork which have nothing to do with conscious intent or self-image.

Here, Cheung's attempt at satire misfired really badly owing to the Maxim rumour not being true. When he chose not to withdraw the cartoon at that point, all that remains is what the cartoon reveals about him and about those who have no problem with the cartoon.

It's one of the important things about creativity - by the things you create and the works by others that speak to you you unconsciously reveal stuff about yourself which are plain as day to those with eyes to see.

People who have problems with self-criticism - most of us - get really upset when the things that get revealed in that way conflict with their self-image.
posted by motty at 10:24 AM on November 20, 2007


Who said anything about censorship? I said "support" speech and artistic expression.

Mefi has a long and storied history of supporting free expression, almost with no questions asked, whether it is offensive or not.

However, this is offensive in a special way, so suddenly, it is no longer defensible.

This is clearly artistic expression. I make no measure of its worth or value.

My point, which seemed rather hard to miss unless purposefully trying, is that if this comic had been drawn in the exact same way, except featuring a male game designer/producer/spokesperson, there would be no problem. There would certainly be no thread or no outrage.

Consider if it was instead a cartoon of George Bush getting a cumshot from a bunch of CEOs. Most mefites would chuckle, some would consider it raunchy, but practically none would be offended, certainly not offended in the way that so many people are here.

So the way to defend and promote equality in the video game industry is to... wait for it... treat the girl differently.

The logic is astoundingly perverse.

What is REALLY at work here is classic "damsel in distress" syndrome from a different group of geeky males than the geeky males who want to cum on her. Except that those geeky males still want to cum on her. And some women are still shocked and amazed that some guys want to cum on pretty girls.

It is rude, crude, and disrespectful? Sure. So is a lot of stuff, including a surprising amount of stuff here on MeFi.

But, it's okay to be offensive, rude, crude, and otherwise obscene, just so long as it isn't sexist or racist, right?

That reasoning makes no sense to me, and it never will.

I defend the right for web cartoonists to make cartoons about game producers offering fellatio in return for accolades for their game.

Whether the fellating producer is male or female matters not one whit to me. And it shouldn't to you, either.

I just find it funny that Mefi, generally, would be supportive of all sorts of extreme artistic statements, but blanches because someone suggests a pretty woman might be capitalizing on the fact that she's a pretty woman.

If someone buys the game because they thought she was hot... who the fuck cares? If she doesn't like being gawked at, noone is forcing her to go on television.

For God's sake, get some fucking perspective.

Also, I'd be curious to know if she HAD appeared in a bikini in Maxim, if that would have changed anyone's opinion and suddenly made this "fair game".
posted by Ynoxas at 10:27 AM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I do want to take a moment to defend the Frag Dolls here. I've met most of them, and spent a good deal of time with a couple. A very close friend of mine was a finalist when they were choosing their first batch of new members, and I'm also friends with one of the finalists for the UK Frag Dolls.

Yes, appearance is taken into account when they make the choices, as they are paid and do help represent UbiSoft. But it's far, far, FAR from the only decision. They're all serious gamers, and were gamers before becoming Frag Dolls. At least two of them that have left the group did so because of getting other jobs in the gaming industry. They aren't just pretty faces, not by a long shot. If you think so, go to a gaming event and challenge them. Odds are, you'll get your ass kicked - and a couple of them will trash talk you while you do so. (Valkyrie, I'm looking at you! :) )

I do understand why people might have issues with them. With the gaming industry being mostly male, the Frag Dolls could be looked at as trying to exploit the guys - but I truly don't believe that to be the case.
posted by evilangela at 10:30 AM on November 20, 2007


Ynoaxas, your post and sums up a lot of what I'm thinking. Great job. I want to come all over you for writing it!
posted by notmydesk at 10:33 AM on November 20, 2007


You're talking about "to", I'm talking about "because".

Of course, the problem is that we're trying to nail everything down to a single factor, when it isn't that straightforward.

I figure he wrote the comic:
Because he believed the Maxim rumour.
Because he thinks that Ubisoft is whoring Jade out, and she's whoring herself out.
Because he thinks a lot of gamers are idiots more concerned with Jade's looks than the game itself.
Because he thinks that situation would actually be kinda hot.
In order to make some people laugh.
In order to titillate some people.
In order to offend some people.
In order to satirize the situation.

...and then, when the Maxim rumour turned out to just be a rumour, he comported himself as he did:
Because he's got a misogynist streak.
Because he was amused by the furor.
Because he felt some attachment to the piece because he created it.
Because he felt on the defensive.
Because he is too close to the situation to be objective.
Because he still found the core message about Ubisoft and Jade whoring to be true.
Because he still found the core message about gamers' approach to Assassin's Creed to be true.
In order to show that he wouldn't be cowed.

And a bevy of other factors as well, I'm sure. And this is just the armchair psychiatry of someone who has never met him, never read his webcomic, and never knew about him until this. I'm sure someone who knew him personally could expand that list ten-fold.
posted by Bugbread at 10:33 AM on November 20, 2007


He's a misogynist. He doesn't like women, and resents their power over him. He uses pornography to sublimate this anger, to reassert his dominance. And it is very much about power. A beautiful woman with brains and a great job in the games industry? What's left for poor Dave, who has neither looks, nor brains, nor a job that anyone would want?

So, this Dave...he's ugly, dumb, has a crappy job and resents the power women have over him. His response is to write a juvenile comic about a particular one to reassert some kind of control in the world. This is clearly a terrible solution to his problem. So, what would you recommend for an ugly, dumb, person with a crappy job for whom women have a lot of power over?
posted by kigpig at 10:34 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mefi has a long and storied history of supporting free expression, almost with no questions asked, whether it is offensive or not.

Don't be ridiculous. MeFi has a long and storied history of free expression combined with frequent and vociferous questions asked, comments made, and demands for deletion and/or banning. If you think otherwise, you either 1) haven't been reading the site, 2) have amnesia, or 3) are lying.

However, this is offensive in a special way, so suddenly, it is no longer defensible.


Of course it's defensible. You're defending it, aren't you? The rest of us are free to draw conclusions about you based on that, and you're free to draw conclusions about us. Ain't freedom grand?
posted by languagehat at 10:35 AM on November 20, 2007


kigpig writes "So, what would you recommend for an ugly, dumb, person with a crappy job for whom women have a lot of power over?"

Write comics about Peter Molyneaux performing cunnilingus to get women to buy his games.
posted by Bugbread at 10:35 AM on November 20, 2007


Mefi has a long and storied history of supporting free expression

Link to stormfront or lgf, see how that goes.
posted by meehawl at 10:39 AM on November 20, 2007


Whether the fellating producer is male or female matters not one whit to me.

Yabbut nobody's making comparable cartoons about male producers, are they?
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:45 AM on November 20, 2007


Ynoxas writes "Who said anything about censorship? I said 'support' speech and artistic expression.

"Mefi has a long and storied history of supporting free expression, almost with no questions asked, whether it is offensive or not."


Wait...it does? MeFi has always been big on supporting the freedom to express oneself (via speech or art), but I've never found MeFi to be big on supporting all speech or artistic expression. People bitch about musicians, bitch about politicians, bitch about comedians, bitch about television, bitch about movies, bitch about pretty much any form of speech or artistic expression I can imagine. Where have you seen people not only supporting the freedom to express, but supporting the contents of all expression?

Ynoxas writes "Also, I'd be curious to know if she HAD appeared in a bikini in Maxim, if that would have changed anyone's opinion and suddenly made this 'fair game'."

Yeah. I would be cool with it. So, curiosity somewhat satisfied?

evilangela writes "I do want to take a moment to defend the Frag Dolls here...They're all serious gamers, and were gamers before becoming Frag Dolls."

Maybe my finger isn't on the pulse of the gamer zeitgeist, but the impression I get is that most gamers (myself included) realize that they are real gamers, and doubtless good gamers, but that the existence of the group itself is the problem. When I say "ugh" regarding the FragDolls, I'm not saying "ugh" about the people in the FragDolls, but the marketing people who came up with the idea, and the execs who gave it the green light.
posted by Bugbread at 10:47 AM on November 20, 2007


The corpse in the library writes "Yabbut nobody's making comparable cartoons about male producers, are they?"

There aren't any games being promoted on the good looks of their producers/designers, though, are there?

Again, neither a defense nor a support, just pointing out that this is one of those cases where you can't really compare the case to its inverse.
posted by Bugbread at 10:49 AM on November 20, 2007


"You'd never see something like this in Hustler attacking a woman just because she's a woman, and he's obviously not the kind of guy who has a problem with women flaunting their sexuality."

God, I wish that was true. A fair amount of the humor in Hustler is based on taking a joke one step too far, and there is a fair amount that's misogynist and can be seen as insulting to women simply because they're women.

The worst part is that most of that content comes from the absolute fucking contempt with which the readers are held by the editorial staff. I just got asked, in all seriousness, to repitch something and make sure it was at the level that someone who was borderline literate could understand.

There's a fair amount of focusing on people because of their hypocrisies, but saying that's the crux of Hustler's comedy kinda shows that you don't read the magazine.
posted by klangklangston at 10:52 AM on November 20, 2007


Write comics about Peter Molyneaux performing cunnilingus to get women to buy his games.

Well that would certainly address none of the problems attributed to him.
posted by kigpig at 10:53 AM on November 20, 2007


Ynoxas: "Metafilter: We support all forms of speech and artistic expression, without reservation or hesitation. Unless it offends our surprisingly delicate sensibilities."

"Huh? Did someone in this thread endorse outright censorship and I just missed it?"

Ynoxas: "Who said anything about censorship? I said "support" speech and artistic expression.
Mefi has a long and storied history of supporting free expression, almost with no questions asked, whether it is offensive or not."

Well, Ynoxas, I'm sorry, I figured you had to be referring to some sort of call for censorship, because otherwise that specific statement doesn't make much sense. I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt there.
posted by the other side at 11:11 AM on November 20, 2007


There aren't any games being promoted on the good looks of their producers/designers, though, are there?

Was this game being promoted on her good looks? Has anyone shown that it's actually the company that used her face excessively in PR materials? Or was it that reviewers and other writers used her photo because they thought she was eye-catching?

(I'm completely clueless when it comes to video games. I ask merely for information.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:16 AM on November 20, 2007


When I say "ugh" regarding the FragDolls, I'm not saying "ugh" about the people in the FragDolls, but the marketing people who came up with the idea, and the execs who gave it the green light.

Then you're in a small percentage of what people are saying "ugh" about. Most of the people who attack the Frag Dolls do it because they're attractive therefore they aren't real gamers. I've seen it over and over. Unfortunately, it seems that gaming really does attract a group of people with a serious misogynistic streak. And while I don't think they've had any comics drawn about them, I've seen comments about the Frag Dolls that are just as disgusting as the comic about Jade. Heck, as a member of the Xbox GamerchiX, I get to see regular posts on the forums from other female gamers and the abuse they get. I get it myself, too.

I can understand your thoughts behind your "ugh" about the Frag Dolls. But I will say that I truly believe that just the simple experience of having attractive female gamers beating guys at gaming events, even if created and sponsored by UbiSoft, is a positive influence in the current environment in the gaming community/industry. Sure, someday I'd like to see the Frag Dolls disappear, but for the right reasons.
posted by evilangela at 11:18 AM on November 20, 2007


Didn't she have a say in any of all this? I'd like to hear her point of view. Couldn't she simply have chosen to not do any headshots and promos? If not then she needs to take some of the blame. I remember the LEAD DESIGNER of Gears of War for the Xbox said in a G4 interview that Microsoft was making him out to be some kind of poster-boy for "next-gen" and he didn't like it. (note:THE LEAD DESIGNER) I saw nothing of the producer of that game.
posted by Student of Man at 11:25 AM on November 20, 2007


The first thing I go "ugh" about with regard to the Frag Dolls is that awful name. I hadn't heard of them before this thread, but the pun is gruesome.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:26 AM on November 20, 2007


kigpig writes "Well that would certainly address none of the problems attributed to him."

Well, I was just making a joke.

If you want a more serious answer: "Study. Get a better job using your newfound knowledge and skills. Polish your personality, such that your ugliness is called 'character' instead. This will also make you more confident, so you will no longer be dominated by women but on equal footing. Thus, your 'ugly', 'dumb', 'crappy job' and 'dominated by women' problems will be resolved." Not a very funny answer, though.
posted by Bugbread at 11:27 AM on November 20, 2007


Ambrosia Voyeur writes "I hadn't heard of them before this thread, but the pun is gruesome."

Pun?

evilangela writes "Most of the people who attack the Frag Dolls do it because they're attractive therefore they aren't real gamers."

Ok, then, sorry, my finger really isn't on the pulse of gamers. Probably because I read the big gaming sites, but I never read the comments, so I end up mistaking the voice of the gaming site writers as the voice of gamers in general.
posted by Bugbread at 11:30 AM on November 20, 2007


corpse in the library: upthread, megosteve linked to a screenshot of some of the promotional materials for the game which seem pretty damning to me. Especially that sidebar ad. Makes me think I may have backed down too quickly on my comments re the PR photo.
posted by ook at 11:40 AM on November 20, 2007


You're right, my comment was unnecessarily dramatic/inappropriate. That last sentence comes off as lot more threatening than I had intended, and I certainly never meant to suggest censorship.

What I was trying to get at was that failing to understand the power of that image lobbied against a woman in leadership (specifically) is akin to denying the pattern - of which this comic is a part - of disempowering and silencing women in leadership by employing notions of hyper-sexuality and sexual subversion. Portraying women in this way is a tool used to diminish their influence, reinforce who is in control, and limit their ability to be taken seriously. Whether or not that was the intention with the comic doesn't much matter to me - it's the fact that it's just one more example of a prevailing cultural meme.

If this were an isolated incident, it wouldn't produce such emotional reactions. Unfortunately, attacking publically successful women in this way is more the rule than the exception.
posted by lunit at 11:49 AM on November 20, 2007


Frag = shoot
Rag Doll = cheap and shabby toy, usually a representation of a girl, that is made to withstand abuse. See "tossed, thrown, around like a rag doll" or Rag Doll by Aerosmith ("rippin' up a rag doll")

Frag Doll = (something about shooting)(weak girl toy)

There are less strident readings of that, but it's 100% ooky to me.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:49 AM on November 20, 2007


Klangklangston, yeah, that's how I remember the Hustler of the 70s and 80s. Hustler kindof sums up the whole entire problem, actually. Watch the Woody Harrelson movie and you realize, hey, here's this plucky underdog from the sticks fighting admirably against censorship and shooting at all the sacred cows--he's a very sympathetic character. One sacred cow he takes aim at is the notion of woman as asexual Madonna. So far so good, but the reality, "women are infinitely variable persons," is more an idea for Lewis Lapham or somebody; it's not going to sell a pitchermagazine to the subliterate. So having shot dead the "women are angels" sacred cow, he's now reduced to flogging the "women are hittable bodies" sacred cow all over the planet, and here we all are in the same restrictive boat we were in before, except now Larry Flynt has given it a wide-split beaver paintjob, thus if we've made something--a game, a book--and we go out and try to sell it, we either have our face fuzzed out or wear a burka or "take some of the blame" when all male adolsecence notices that we are female and just finished a creative project of some kind: better check out Maxim, she might be showing pink.

Man. Poor old Hustler. It is probably 200% stupider now than it was back then, now that the majority of literate pornseekers probably get served on the internet.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:53 AM on November 20, 2007


The artist responds to the controversy.

Of course, he uses the word "fag" which must mean he absolutely hates homosexuals. So I assume he'll just be ignored.
posted by notmydesk at 11:54 AM on November 20, 2007


Ah crap, that link doesn't work. Try this one.
posted by notmydesk at 11:55 AM on November 20, 2007


Is anybody else seeing the deviant art links? All I get are 403's.
posted by cavalier at 11:55 AM on November 20, 2007


Then you're in a small percentage of what people are saying "ugh" about. Most of the people who attack the Frag Dolls do it because they're attractive therefore they aren't real gamers.

This depends very strongly on what communities you're talking about. I work for a large Professional Gaming circuit, and our community can't stand them because they get more publicity than our pros despite the fact that they're not good enough to make our pro bracket. Meanwhile, two girls who were the first girls in gaming history to ever make it into professional competition (they did so a few months ago) only ever get publicity through our own press releases and website because they're not on an all female team and they don't call themselves something stupid like the Fragdolls or PwnBetties or HaloHotties, etc...
posted by shmegegge at 11:56 AM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


languehat and bugbread: That's not what I meant.

Almost always, what is debated about artistic expression on Mefi is about quality or validity, such as "this isn't art!" or "that isn't real music!" (guilty of that one myself) or "your favorite band/artist/author sucks!". It's so common as to be a catchphrase.

So far, I have seen 1 person offer that "you guys just don't get this cartoon". Everyone else is shouting a very different message.

Is mefi really that easily offended? Things much more offensive than this are linked to every day.

The original poster felt it was so offensive that, even though it was a pivotal part of the post, they couldn't even bring themselves to link to the comic, it was so horrible, so hideous, not fit for human consumption, to be shielded from decent eyes.

My POINT in all of this, I'm stating again, is the absurd notion that the way to enforce equality for women in gaming is to treat them differently.

I don't have time to sift through the 9 years of previous Penny Arcade comics, but anyone who is a weekly reader will be able to recall numerous examples of what I listed above. Truly heinous, deplorable, borderline libelous things said about numerous male designers/producers. And it is quite funny, because the PA guys are good at what they do.

She's a grown woman, not some little kid. She's a professional, high profile, corporate sponsored spokesperson, as well as a television host. She should be able to defend herself, as well as cope with the trappings of fame (of a certain degree). She doesn't need a legion of keyboard knights in shining armor rushing to her rescue.

Those above that want to coddle and protect her do her a MUCH GREATER DISSERVICE than those wanting to do cartoons of jizzing on her face.

The people wanting to shield her are much more sexist and misogynistic than the artist ever will be.

The artist thought she was whoring herself. The knights above think she is helpless. Which is worse? (ProTip: The second one is worse.)

She's getting her headshots done somewhere. Grow up. Seriously, it's embarrassing.

There is a world of difference between fawning over the public face of the game, versus just singling out "some woman" related to the game and making her a sex symbol against her wishes.

the other side: I'm not trying to be obtuse. Maybe I'm just not expressing myself right. I'm just surprised that the discussion here has been so one-sided, that so many people believe such a thing that is relatively tame by most any "community standards" that might exist in a virtual environment, would bring out such extreme intolerance and lack of support.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:56 AM on November 20, 2007


Gah! The "rag doll" bit never occurred to me. I feel so dumb. Especially with every game now using rag doll physics.

lunit writes "What I was trying to get at was that failing to understand the power of that image lobbied against a woman in leadership (specifically) is akin to denying the pattern - of which this comic is a part - of disempowering and silencing women in leadership by employing notions of hyper-sexuality and sexual subversion."

Failing to find case A to be representative of trend B is not akin to denying trend B. That's a bullying tactic used by people to try to make you agree with them about case A.

"One example of Pol Pot being a bad person is that he liked spicy food. Failing to understand that this made him a bad person is akin to denying that he was a bad person at all."
posted by Bugbread at 11:59 AM on November 20, 2007


how is case A not representative of trend B?

Spicy food and Pol Pot have nothing in common. This comic/that rumor/etc. and the sexualization of women in leadership? Very much in common.
posted by lunit at 12:04 PM on November 20, 2007


ambrosia: rag dolls are a reference to the featureless bodies used in video game design to test physics engines.

I'm sure you've seen the clips of a featureless mannequin-like body falling off of clips, or being blown to pieces, or falling down stairs or being tossed around with grenade launchers.

THOSE are rag dolls, in gaming context.

Fragging is of course killing someone in a shooter.

And dolls is of course slang, if a bit archaic, for attractive women.

So, Fragdolls is a (to me) witty name for a bunch of attractive female gamers who play shooters.

I've always thought the name was spiffy. And quite descriptive of what they are. I also took it as rather glorifying, not at all demeaning.

I think the "weak/defenseless girl toy" angle is a long reach.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:06 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Alright, then, how about the "inanimate piece of plastic" angle? That's plenty creepy, I think.
posted by lumensimus at 12:10 PM on November 20, 2007


to correct bugbread's bad analogy:

"One example of Pol Pot being a bad person is that he tortured people. Failing to understand that this made him a bad person is akin to denying that he was a bad person at all."

Actually, that sounds about right to me. If you don't see this as part of a trend of diminishing and marginalizing professional women (and women in general) by sexualizing them you must not understand that such a trend exists. Because... obviously, it is an example of such a phenomenon. I mean... come on.

No one's saying it's intentional; if I run over a dog never thinking about how many other dogs get run over, that doesn't make it any less similar to all those other cases of people running over dogs. Finding Case A to be representative of Trend B when it meets the criteria of the members of Trend B is not a bullying tactic, it's using your brain.
posted by Embryo at 12:11 PM on November 20, 2007


@shmegegge you mentioned that the game casts a muslim assasin killing christians which is actually not quite true.

SPOILER ALERT

the main character seems to be agnostic nihilist anarchist who kills both europeans and locals who are secretly atheist fascists.

/SPOILER ALERT
posted by subtle_squid at 12:11 PM on November 20, 2007


I don't have time to sift through the 9 years of previous Penny Arcade comics, but anyone who is a weekly reader will be able to recall numerous examples of what I listed above. Truly heinous, deplorable, borderline libelous things said about numerous male designers/producers.

Really? Like what, refusing to give John Romero a hot dog until he released Daikatana? Making the Lead Designer of Metal Gear Solid wear a hat made of money and claim to be so rich that he eats money for dinner? Your notions of parody and libel, not to mention your apparent definition of heinous, are way way off base. Nobody ever blew anyone on Penny Arcade. In fact, no real person was ever portrayed the way this woman was on Penny Arcade.

She doesn't need a legion of keyboard knights in shining armor rushing to her rescue.

Those above that want to coddle and protect her do her a MUCH GREATER DISSERVICE than those wanting to do cartoons of jizzing on her face.

The people wanting to shield her are much more sexist and misogynistic than the artist ever will be.


I don't think it's possible for me explain how annoying and completely full of shit this style of argument is. It's so easy for people way too involved in their own perceived cleverness to say ridiculous things like "[x] defense of someone is actually WORSE than [y] attack of that person," because it sounds so dramatic. It's like you're blowing out tiny sexist minds! It's also total bullshit, but hey.

Here's a logical argument: "You know, acting like she can't defend herself in these circumstances assumes that she's powerless and needs protecting. It's a sign of sexism itself, and merits questioning whether you'd rush to the rescue of a man in her position."

Here's a stupid argument: "YOU'RE WORSE THAN THE GUY WHO DREW HER BLOWING HIM! YOU'RE SO SEXIST YOU'RE THE WORST SEXIST EVER! GROW UP, SEXIST ASSHOLE!"

And that's ignoring the fact that no one is here is "rushing to her rescue." You're going to have to work awfully hard to explain why saying that we think the comic is pretty fucked up qualifies as doing her a disservice. and yes, just about anyone would say that about a man if there were a comic made that specifically turned his gender and sexuality into a weapon against him merely because he was a man. You'd also have to work pretty hard to convince anyone that it's worse to say "that's pretty fucked up to draw that comic" than it is to draw it in the first place. (Protip: (god, you're so fucking smug) You'd fail.)
posted by shmegegge at 12:13 PM on November 20, 2007 [4 favorites]


Ynoxas writes "My POINT in all of this, I'm stating again, is the absurd notion that the way to enforce equality for women in gaming is to treat them differently.

"I don't have time to sift through the 9 years of previous Penny Arcade comics, but anyone who is a weekly reader will be able to recall numerous examples of what I listed above. Truly heinous, deplorable, borderline libelous things said about numerous male designers/producers. And it is quite funny, because the PA guys are good at what they do."


Right. My point was only about the "Mefi supports speech" part, not the "treated differently" bit.

And, as I said, if she had done the Maxim shoot, my opinion would differ. Look through the Penny Arcade comics, and you'll find that if they write something nasty about something that turns out to be plain wrong, they apologize in their accompanying news article thingie. Cheung writing the comic, based on the information he had on hand, is not sufficient to determine misogyny. It's his post-Maxim-rumour-busting non-response that leads me to that conclusion.

I think if the target had been a male, and the rumour bounced, an apology would have been offered. So I agree that the way to enforce equality for women is to treat them the same. I think this is an example of them being treated differently.
posted by Bugbread at 12:16 PM on November 20, 2007


I think the "weak/defenseless girl toy" angle is a long reach.

Well you're entitled to that opinion, and I'm not claiming intended malfeasance on anyone's part, but rag dolls meant something before the gaming industry made it lingo, so you should have to acknowledge that for people who don't know the erudite origins of that interepretation, the regular rag doll connection seems ooky. If the Frag Dolls seem less objectified from within the gaming community, because of this, so be it and color me pleasantly surprised.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:20 PM on November 20, 2007


There aren't any games being promoted on the good looks of their producers/designers, though, are there?

I remember way back when Shiny were still sort of interesting that Dave Perry was used in a similar way. All sorts of pictures of him looking cool and attractive and being the face of Shiny were in magazines alongside interviews with him which asked him about his life and history, not just the game he was making. He was just as visible as Jade, but he didn't get this kind of derision, because guys are allowed to be good at stuff.

That's going back a bit, I know, but I don't really read gaming mags and such these days; I'm sure there have been other people since. Molyneaux doesn't count, since he's only standing in front so he can take the blame.

I don't really have a point, I guess. It's obvious that visible women in male-orientated industries are going to be subject to higher levels of scrutiny than men in equivalent positions, and they are far more likely than said men, should a tiny crack appear in their veneer, to be insulted and humiliated and depicted as taking part in a selection of degrading and disempowering sexual acts, because a vocal minority of male consumers of the industry are revolting misogynists, and that a good, say, 30% of said depictions will be couched as irony, and that then people will say, well obviously that would happen to men too and fail to point to occasions when it happened to men too, but that doesn't make it right, and certainly doesn't mean we can't condemn it when it happens.

Is mefi really that easily offended? Things much more offensive than this are linked to every day.

Every single time something similar happens to a woman, or a gay person, or whoever doesn't have da powa in any given situation, someone says something along those lines. Don't we have more important things to do? I mean, it's only someone being put through the wringer for trying to produce a game while under the influence of being dangerously female and not having iron-fisted control of her publisher's PR department. It's only analagous to the problems women face in the games industry worldwide. It's only another shrill woman thing.

Truly heinous, deplorable, borderline libelous things said about numerous male designers/producers.

Generally because they've actually done something to invite criticism. You make fun of a game with a hard control scheme by making a cartoon about the lead designer killing children and bolting their limbs onto his body so he has enough hands to play Steel Battallion. You make fun of EA's business practices by implying they eat babies. You make fun of a women who is making and promoting a game and perhaps getting a little too much media exposure by drawing her ingesting semen. It's not really the same, and what's happened to her doesn't tend to happen to men in her position.

I've been rambling into the comment box for a while now. I'm going to hit post and go get some coffee and come back and probably spot a bunch of spelling errors :)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:22 PM on November 20, 2007 [7 favorites]


Fuck gaming culture.

Fuck booth babes and female characters as sex objects.

Fuck 42DD breasts on female game characters but fuck impossible-without-steroid muscles on the male characters just as much.

Fuck every last space marine.

Fuck everybody who makes sweeping characterizations of "gamers". You sound like somebody's granny who doesn't recognize the expansion of the video game market that's taken place. This is a legitimate art form that can be astonishingly good at its best, though it's more often than not done terribly and for nothing but the basest motives. Entirely unlike other art forms such as TV shows or movies.

*goes back to playing Super Mario Galaxy, tries to resist Princess Peach's unwanted advances*

NOT GRANNYIST
posted by BaxterG4 at 12:28 PM on November 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


bugbread,

You can't "enforce" equality. I don't even understand that mindset. Not only are women different than men in that they are not men but rather are women, but their susceptibility to oppression is different, their experience of oppression exists (compared to white men), they have at least a partially different set of obstacles in life, and they, as a group, are better-equipped than men, as a group, for certain things.

Your concept of "treating women the same as men" as a means of ensuring fair treatment is not fair -- in fact, it is sexist, because it assumes men as the baseline for treatment, and as the normal state of being. Equality is much, much stickier than that, and means that things like this comic and marketing approach inherently utilize sexism for monetary reward. And that decision affects women far more "unequally" than it does men.
posted by Embryo at 12:29 PM on November 20, 2007


I just read the artist's response, and while I was previously on the fence, I'm now firmly calling the guy a douchebag.

Why? Because he had the nerve to compare himself to Dave Chapelle. sorry dude. The biggest reason for all this hubbub is because the comic just wan't funny.

If Chapelle had done it, it would have been funny. If The Onion had done it, It would have been funny. It's telling that he mentioned Chapelle, because this is the type of humor that Chapelle does so well. You're laughing so hard, you didn't even notice he crossed the line 5 minutes ago. And there's the matter of a little thing called context. It's very important in comedy, and even more so in Satire.

If Cheung had done Rick James, it would have been all "show Charlie Murphy your titties" and left out "I'm Rick James, Bitch!" (For anyone who's not familiar with this sketch at this point, I can't really explain it any better than to say it might have been the world's first 50 million dollar punchline)

And no matter how defiant the artist may seem, he knows he missed the mark. Good comedians don't defend bad jokes, they write better ones. Not to mention that Dave Chapelle gave up 50 million dollars rather than continue to tell jokes that people would laugh at for the wrong reasons.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:30 PM on November 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Embryo writes "Actually, that sounds about right to me. If you don't see this as part of a trend of diminishing and marginalizing professional women (and women in general) by sexualizing them you must not understand that such a trend exists. Because... obviously, it is an example of such a phenomenon. I mean... come on. "

Embryo writes "Finding Case A to be representative of Trend B when it meets the criteria of the members of Trend B is not a bullying tactic, it's using your brain."

Again, you're just saying "A is obviously an example of B. If you don't see that, then you're denying B is true." That's not an argument, that's an attempt to bully someone into agreeing with you on A by saying that failure to do so means they're disagreeing with B. It sounds like right-wing bullshit. "Hitler was evil because he was an atheist. If you don't think he was evil because he was an atheist, you're denying he's evil." No, fuck that noise. You can't argue that I have to agree with your position A because I agree with your position B. Sure, you can take the position that A is an example of B. More power to you. But insisting that if I disagree with A, I must therefore disagree with B is bullying.


shmegegge writes "Your notions of parody and libel, not to mention your apparent definition of heinous, are way way off base. Nobody ever blew anyone on Penny Arcade."

No, but to be fair, there are lots of baby and puppy killing jokes, so it's not all hot dogs and money hats either. Somewhere in the middle, I'd say.
posted by Bugbread at 12:37 PM on November 20, 2007


Generally because they've actually done something to invite criticism. You make fun of a game with a hard control scheme by making a cartoon about the lead designer killing children and bolting their limbs onto his body so he has enough hands to play Steel Battallion. You make fun of EA's business practices by implying they eat babies. You make fun of a women who is making and promoting a game and perhaps getting a little too much media exposure by drawing her ingesting semen. It's not really the same, and what's happened to her doesn't tend to happen to men in her position.

If I could favorite this comment more than once I would.

When men who are visible in their industries start getting criticized by showing them in "satirical" comics or whatever by drawing them in little speedos, commenting on their tiny (limp) dicks, smelly balls, and how they're only good for being a cum receptacle, well, let's talk about "equality" then. Right now, it all just looks like another "Boys only do not enter this means YOU GIRLS".
posted by rtha at 12:41 PM on November 20, 2007


lunit: Jade Raymond wasn't attacked for being an attractive and powerful woman (she's not even the lead designer of the game -- that's Patrice Desilets). Raymond was satirized by the artist because Ubisoft is using her sexual attractiveness at the forefront of their massive PR media blitz, the way a pretty but vapid and non-essential actress in an action flick gets paraded through the late-night talk show circuit (NOT a swipe at Raymond, see next paragraph). As MegoSteve's previous list of other female game developers shows, Jade Raymond isn't being singled out for being an "attractive, powerful woman" here, but for her complicit role in this PR circus.

The artist also took a groundless and misogynistic swipe at her job competence, which is indefensible (especially considering her history in the industry); however, that's not the main situation being satirized by the comic.

Lastly, the ridiculous "huge sidebar ad featuring Jade Raymond's headshot" shows that the entire reason for Ubisoft turning her into the public face of the game is because she's sexually attractive. (Traditionally, it's the lead designers who are the public face of games, people like Wright, Molyneux, CliffyB, etc.) To toss rhetorical molotovs around because the audience has taken Ubisoft's bait is missing the point. It's like railing against all the dirty messages on lad forums about Angelina Jolie's gratuitously boob-licious role (in both the movie and the publicity) for Beowulf: that was the entire intention of the Powers That Be in the entertainment industry (of which games are but one arm). And unfortunately, your entertainment dollars will be outvoted, because this tactic works. Your outrage only gives the corporate bosses more free publicity.
posted by DaShiv at 12:41 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


aeschenkarnos writes "I don't think humanity has much use for those who think 'shocking people' is their 'job'. That's not a 'job' we need done."

That's a silly comment. Everyone from Edgar Allen Poe to Stephen King to George Romero to John Waters would disagree.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:47 PM on November 20, 2007


You just can't quit with the straw men, can you, bugbread?

"Hitler was evil because he was an atheist. If you don't think he was evil because he was an atheist, you're denying he's evil."

That's again a terrible analogy, and has nothing to do with this. A better analogy would be, "Hitler did evil things like murder Jews. If you don't think murdering Jews made Hitler evil, you are denying that he is evil." If murdering Jews isn't evil to you, you must not have the same definition of evil that I do. Similarly, if you don't think this comic is sexist, you must not have the same definition of sexism that I do, and since obviously I think my idea that silencing and marginalizing women is sexist is valid, I think you do not understand sexism and how it works.

I think it's also stupid that you're using words like "good" and "evil" which are relativistic in a conversation about causes and effects. My dog-running-over version of your analogy is much better suited to what we're actually talking about.

Here's my take from your arguments: you are very much against sexism. However, you are also not very aware of your part in it. So you go and do sexist, typically-male things like trying to "enforce" equality (which really is about enforcing the perception of equality, which is -actually- an example of bullying) and becoming obsessed with the "goodness" or "evilness" of people with whom you identify, whom others are describing as sexist. You're revealing a lot by attacking this argument with so little forethought, so much self-obsession, and so much dedication to defeating the argument that you should be even slightly concerned about how individual examples can affect sexism on a large scale.
posted by Embryo at 12:48 PM on November 20, 2007


No, but to be fair, there are lots of baby and puppy killing jokes, so it's not all hot dogs and money hats either. Somewhere in the middle, I'd say.

In the middle of the severity of the parody? I'd easily agree. In the middle of the scale of character assassination or gender bias? Not especially. I wouldn't even rate them near the level of the comic in question. But that's me.
posted by shmegegge at 12:48 PM on November 20, 2007


Pastabagel writes "I hate having to be the one who decontructs three panel comics, but let me open with the fact that Penny Arcade has never depicted anything as graphic as what Dave Cheung's comic showed."

Is that what defines satire? If it's too offensive, is it no longer satirical?
posted by krinklyfig at 12:50 PM on November 20, 2007


oh god, that animal crossing tragedy thing just fucked me up.
posted by shmegegge at 12:51 PM on November 20, 2007


rtha writes "When men who are visible in their industries start getting criticized by showing them in 'satirical' comics or whatever by drawing them in little speedos, commenting on their tiny (limp) dicks, smelly balls, and how they're only good for being a cum receptacle, well, let's talk about 'equality' then."

Hey, if they're used to promote the product and are good looking (and are obviously promoted due to that fact), then wouldn't you expect it?
posted by krinklyfig at 12:51 PM on November 20, 2007


Embryo writes "You can't 'enforce' equality. I don't even understand that mindset."

I was just using Ynoxas's terminology. I'm not sure exactly what he meant by it, but something along the lines of "equality should come from treating people equally, not treating them differently". I'm agreeing with him on that, but disagreeing about this case, as I think that it's an example of a woman being treated differently (worse) than a man would in the same position.

Embryo writes "Your concept of 'treating women the same as men' as a means of ensuring fair treatment is not fair -- in fact, it is sexist, because it assumes men as the baseline for treatment"

Wait...women are treated like shit in the gaming industry. Men aren't. If I propose that women should stop being treated like shit, I'm being sexist because I'm taking men as the baseline for treatment?? What should I use, the average? "Men should be treated like shit more often, and women should be treated like shit less often"?

True, that avoids any possible taint of sexism, but I'd prefer to avoid dumb linguistic games and say "Neither women nor men should be treated like shit". If you'd prefer, I can reverse the order of those words.
posted by Bugbread at 12:51 PM on November 20, 2007


This is a legitimate art form that can be astonishingly good at its best

It's touching, but it's not a game. It's an animated motion picture. It's one person's pastel analysis of her dying parent's rather obsessed focus on a repetitive activity within a candy-happy virtual Skinner box. Games are still restricted to quite simplistic emotional states, and can rarely sustain an emotional development for long. When they can present character development similar to that of more established fictional forms without relying on projections from their players, then I'll believe they've advanced. I remain to be convinced that the interactive form is capable of this. Movies took only 15 years to get to, say, the Afgrunden stage, which is about where games seem to have been stuck for a while now. And within another 15 years movies were basically were fully formed, and the progression was visible and rapid. Games have had close to 40 years now to come up with the goods.
posted by meehawl at 12:55 PM on November 20, 2007


shmegegge writes "In the middle of the severity of the parody? I'd easily agree. In the middle of the scale of character assassination or gender bias? Not especially. I wouldn't even rate them near the level of the comic in question. But that's me."

I must be stupid, but I don't see the character assassination here. Cheung's satire is crude, true enough. Who cares? Men with crude senses of humor are not rare. How is a non-published web comic doing so much damage? You'd think he drew Mohammed or something.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:55 PM on November 20, 2007


That's a silly comment. Everyone from Edgar Allen Poe to Stephen King to George Romero to John Waters would disagree.

And I bet not one of them would like that shit-ass comic. (Nor would Dave Chappelle.) Man, please. If you think all these guys were/are doing is shock, you missed the boat. And it's Edgar Allan Poe. Jesus.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:57 PM on November 20, 2007


I think character assassination may be a stronger term than I should have used. More along the lines of attacking her character as a person, rather than the policies of ubisoft or her actions, the way PA parodies do. I can easily see the point DaShiv was making, for instance, that the original intention of the comic was to lambast ubisoft for using her as a sexual object to promote the game. I think the comic crossed the line, however, at turning her into a whore because that speaks more to her as a person and seems to intentionally ignore that promoting the game is her job. It stops being about the game and becomes about her as a person, to my mind. I hope that clears up what i meant.
posted by shmegegge at 12:59 PM on November 20, 2007


You know, I wanted to dislike this David Cheung guy, but his witty and incisive use of "faggot" and "fag" in his apologia/rationale have convinced me that I am just not intelligent enough to catch the subtleties of his cutting wit and spot-on satire.
It should have been obvious. In the cartoon, "Jade" is "Everywoman," just trying to enunciate her needs to a slathering patriarchy, represented by the "Gamerboyz." The fellatio represents the extraordinary measures our "Everywoman," indeed every woman, must take to achieve in a testicular society. The splooge is the unwanted attention our "Everywoman," and indeed all those of the ovarian persuasion, must accept in order to rise above the fetid and mephitic miasma of public acclaim.
But what's with the bikini?
posted by Floydd at 1:01 PM on November 20, 2007


bugbread: Well, I was just making a joke.

Fair enough.

If you want a more serious answer: "Study. Get a better job using your newfound knowledge and skills. Polish your personality, such that your ugliness is called 'character' instead. This will also make you more confident, so you will no longer be dominated by women but on equal footing. Thus, your 'ugly', 'dumb', 'crappy job' and 'dominated by women' problems will be resolved." Not a very funny answer, though.

But this doesn't seem right. Seems like he actually has done something with his life and likely has an above average job for a westerner (hard to define though of course), no one chooses to be ugly or not (and is he really?), he's not actually dumb but has what might be termed a more masculine style of rhetoric, and he gets treated like shit by women for it (presuming this was actually true and not just a comment levied as revenge back at him). As a result he develops a negative image of women.

Most engaging in this discussion seem to see this not as an isolated case of course, but of a general attitude towards women in the video game industry. And I'd agree that it's there and it's wrong. But if those stereotypes of men in the field reflect any reality, then it seems the case that the attitude towards women in gaming by men in gaming is a direct consequence of the above attitude towards men in gaming by women in general. Fix the latter and you arguably you could fix the former. Instead, there is a faction of the gaming industry, (or engineering, comic writing, etc...) that is misanthropic and misogynistic because they don't get to be part of the whole love society and they take out their frustrations, unfairly it seems, on the only ones they can...those that should be their allies.

In all fairness and preview you've been rather neutral in the discussion and didn't make the original comment.
posted by kigpig at 1:01 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


meehawl, you seem to be demanding a movie-like experience from a game. I wouldn't expect a painting to "present character development similar to that of more established fictional forms without relying on projections", nor would I expect the same from a video game- it's a different medium. Just because movies and games both use moving images doesn't mean games should try to produce the same effects in people that movies do- in fact, I feel that the constant attempt to ape movies in modern games is detracting from the actual artistic experience.
posted by Maxson at 1:02 PM on November 20, 2007


ArmyOfKittens writes "Every single time something similar happens to a woman, or a gay person, or whoever doesn't have da powa in any given situation, someone says something along those lines. Don't we have more important things to do? I mean, it's only someone being put through the wringer for trying to produce a game while under the influence of being dangerously female and not having iron-fisted control of her publisher's PR department. It's only analagous to the problems women face in the games industry worldwide. It's only another shrill woman thing."

Wait, drawing a crude webcomic which was not even intentionally published is akin to putting someone through the wringer? Wow. I need to get started on my Bush/Cheney strip!
posted by krinklyfig at 1:02 PM on November 20, 2007


Embryo writes "That's again a terrible analogy, and has nothing to do with this. A better analogy would be, 'Hitler did evil things like murder Jews. If you don't think murdering Jews made Hitler evil, you are denying that he is evil.'"

Wait. You make logical argument A. I use an example where logical argument A clearly isn't true. And you're saying "that's a bad example, because in that example, logical argument A isn't true." Well, sure, there's no way I can offer you an example of how that argument is bad if you're going to reject any possible example based on the fact that it shows the logical argument is bad.

Embryo writes "Similarly, if you don't think this comic is sexist, you must not have the same definition of sexism that I do"

Just for reference, scan through the thread and you'll see that I have repeatedly said that the comic, together with the response by the artist, is sexist. My complaint is with the whole school of "If you disagree with me about A, then you disagree with me about B" logic. It presumes that the person making that argument knows more about what the recipient believes than the recipient his/herself. Probably valid if you're God or psychic, but otherwise not a good argument.

I believe that the comic is sexist. And I think there's a ton of sexism in the industry. But if some MeFite says "I don't think this is sexist, but I think there's a lot of sexism in the game industry", I won't presume to tell that MeFite that they don't actually exist.

Embryo writes "Here's my take from your arguments: you are very much against sexism. However, you are also not very aware of your part in it. So you go and do sexist, typically-male things like trying to 'enforce' equality"

Well, you're taking me wrong. I don't "enforce" anything. I just used Ynoxas's vocabulary.

Embryo writes "and becoming obsessed with the 'goodness' or 'evilness' of people with whom you identify"

I'm a relatively strong moral relativist, so wrong again.
posted by Bugbread at 1:04 PM on November 20, 2007


Raymond was satirized by the artist because Ubisoft is using her sexual attractiveness at the forefront of their massive PR media blitz

Meh. I've gone through like 20 pages of google images (with safesearch off) and have yet to find any degrading images of J Allard, whose media exposure back around 360 launch dwarfs Raymond's. His image was aggressively associated with the Xbox by Microsoft and yet there's no degrading images out there, and two years is long enough for someone to have drawn something, I'm sure. There's a picture of Raymond being anally penetrated on page 2 of her search results.

Men have filled Jade's role before. She is being singled out because she is a woman.

The raciest pictures on Molyneux's search are from one of his games, in which your male character could have a homosexual relationship. No-one's even thought to photoshop his head onto the avatar's body :(
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:05 PM on November 20, 2007


Embryo writes "You're revealing a lot by attacking this argument with so little forethought, so much self-obsession, and so much dedication to defeating the argument that you should be even slightly concerned about how individual examples can affect sexism on a large scale."

I don't expect you to have read through my comment history, but:
1) I work night shifts, so lack of forethought isn't really a revelation of my opinions on sexism, but the way the mind works at 06:00 am.
2) I'm an obsessive debate type, so my obsession isn't really a revelation on my opinions on sexism
3) I'm an obsessive debate type, so my dedication to defeating an argument isn't really a revelation on my opinions on sexism

Also, if I think a conclusion is correct but the steps taken to get to it are wrong, I'll tend to argue against those steps. Same case here: I agree this is an example of sexism, and I agree that sexism is prevalent in the game industry. I just don't agree with lunit's mandatory connection of the two.
posted by Bugbread at 1:12 PM on November 20, 2007


Three things I've learned from this thread:

- People should feel bad for enjoying video games.
- Finding women attractive in part because they are intelligent and somewhat nerdy is bad and indicative of emotional immaturity.
- Idiots on the internet say and do sexist, racist and homophobic things.

Actually, make that two things
posted by uri at 1:13 PM on November 20, 2007


you seem to be demanding a movie-like experience from a game

Yes, in-game cut scenes generally suck. And no I'm not demanding more (unless they are, you know, really worthy)! I'm merely using movies as a historical analogy from a purely functional, market-driven perspective, given that movies are one of the most recent technological media to emerge. What you see in movies today is not what they started out as, they converged onto that through a process of mass natural selection.

Similarly, the novel began as simple daybooks and converged onto what we have today. But its technological innovation happened much earlier.

Similarly, with symphonies, with opera, or with musicals.

It may be that we are using the word "art" in different, non-congruent senses. I think games are capable of producing great spectacle and synaesthesia. I've been playing games for a very long time now and love them. However, if you don't move much past the realm of immediate sensation, then your market segment size is limited and you run the risk of being deprecated when something more efficient at delivering similar sensations emerges.

I'm still sticking to my viral theory however. Look at all the responses. How many people who wouldn't have heard of this game before now have name recognition for it?
posted by meehawl at 1:14 PM on November 20, 2007


What's the name of the game again?
Jade something?
posted by Floydd at 1:16 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


meehawl writes "I'm still sticking to my viral theory however. Look at all the responses. How many people who wouldn't have heard of this game before now have name recognition for it?"

Yeah, but the folks finding out about it now are the non-gamers, who I certainly doubt are going to pony up $50 for a game of parkour assassination in order to stick it to some sexist internet artist. Gamers, on the other hand, have known about Assassin's Creed for yonks. So if it's viral, it's just about the worst viral there is.
posted by Bugbread at 1:20 PM on November 20, 2007


kittens for breakfast writes "And I bet not one of them would like that shit-ass comic. (Nor would Dave Chappelle.) Man, please. If you think all these guys were/are doing is shock, you missed the boat. And it's Edgar Allan Poe. Jesus."

Thanks for the pedantry. How would my life go on without it?

I stand by my comment. The comment that we don't need anyone to see their job is to shock us was inane.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:20 PM on November 20, 2007


Bugbread - I'm still wondering how case A is not representative of trend B. Instead of attacking the correlation I made, why don't you offer an alternative? I'm anxious to hear it.

Also, DaShiv, I agree with you that Ubisoft is totally complicit. And I never meant to suggest that Jade was completely innocent in the situation or that she is somehow frail and in need of defense. I'm sure she can take care of herself. Might it be that she recognized a certain power that attractive women have to influence consumer choices and decided to capitalize on that? Sure. Is that wack? Maybe. But so is the entire fucking system of misogyny that created this dynamic in the first place. And there is still a huge difference between being the public face of an ad campaign (as someone who contributed greatly to the product being sold), and being depicted in a hyper-sexualized and intentionally demeaning way.

All in all, though, point taken.
posted by lunit at 1:26 PM on November 20, 2007


[Dave Perry] was just as visible as Jade, but he didn't get this kind of derision, because guys are allowed to be good at stuff.

Right now, it all just looks like another "Boys only do not enter this means YOU GIRLS.

Bullshit. It's all fair in gamer culture: Penny Arcade eviscerates Perry's manhood. And PA has likewise attacked the sexuality of male industry figures many, many times: here's just one example (someone with more time to comb through the archives can come up with much better ones, including their long running "John Romero is a hot chick" gag). Now it's true PA didn't draw a tiny impotent penis in Perry's case, but PA has NEVER been sexually explicit (violence is another story). However, if you're more upset about the sexual explicitness of Cheung's comic than the sexual put-down (a point previously raised in this thread), then it's only intellectually honest to be upfront about it.

Why do gaming comics attack peoples' sexuality like this? Because ad hominems are funny to their audience. Whether Cheung's is actually funny is debatable, but his main point was about Ubisoft's ridiculous PR scheme (though he's obviously an astonishingly insensitive clod, since he calls Jade Raymond merely "collateral damage"). Thus, to posit that he made the comic solely to denigrate women in general and Raymond specifically would just be myopic and disingenuous.

You want blatant sexism? Look at the magazines in supermarket checkout lanes. That's misogyny for the sake (and profit) of misogyny, much like Kotaku's shameless use of Jade Raymond to drive website traffic. Compared to the other players here, Cheung is a nobody.
posted by DaShiv at 1:27 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, I found this one picture of J Allard as a pirate.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:28 PM on November 20, 2007


First, thanks for being rational and intelligent about your argument, meehawl- I was expecting something more caddis-like and am pleasantly surprised.

Regarding technological innovation, I don't think a settled form of experiencing video games has formed yet. Books have always been read or listened to; movies are watched and listened to; but games vary wildly based on constantly improving technology. In many ways, this forces a constant re-invention of basic interactivity that impedes depth- after all, constantly improving video cards/consoles allow otherwise uninspired remakes to keep selling because the graphics look much nicer. So it's gonna take longer to mature.

As for the lack of long-term effect on a person, I think that depends on what effect we're looking for. I know I still think of games like Shadow of the Colossus, even though the "choice" was basically dictated. But I still prefer the comparison of games to paintings, which can have lasting effects on people without necessarily telling a story. I still remember the sense of wonder I had when Justin finally climbed the wall at the End of the World in Grandia and saw a new continent in front of him. That effect is both similar and different to seeing a beautifully painted picture of an unfamiliar landscape; the difference- the sense of personal accomplishment mixed with both the visual beauty of the scene and the fulfillment of Justin's goal- is a unique effect that I consider a big chunk of the current "art" in videogames.
posted by Maxson at 1:32 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think this whole thing stems from the misconception super hardcore gamers have of game development. Before I entered the industry I always thought that it would be staffed entirely by males in their twenties (just like me!). This was just something that everyone "knew", and it sort of made sense, after all how many girls did I know that were in to game development?

But once I finally broke in to the industry I was in for a shock. There were women. Not just women, cute women! There were old guys too. Old guys with KIDS! There were people from countries I had never heard of. It was an amazing mix of people that was way different than I had expected, and way better.


Now the readership of these sites, which tends to skew much younger than the general gaming population (This story didn't even popup on my radar and I pay a little more attention to industry stuff than most of my coworkers), are being shown the same thing I was. And surprise, immature people are acting in an immature fashion. Something tells me M(r)s. Raymond doesn't give a rat's ass.

As for Ubi exploiting her? Doubtful. The lead producer is almost always the one person from the team to talk to media(so everyone else can concentrate on actually making the game). Maybe if they're lucky they get to talk to the lead designer and lead artist.

All in all this was created by immature hardcore gamers, for immature hardcore gamers, and will probably only ever be seen by immature hardcore gamers. It's pretty much a non-story, and everyone will forget it ever happened in a week or two.
posted by hamhed at 1:34 PM on November 20, 2007


Gamers, on the other hand, have known about Assassin's Creed for yonks

Coming into the gift season, the population of people who will be buying games for themselves, family, friends and lovers is much, much larger than the population of "Gamers". Even a casual recollection of a specific name here when faced with a shelf of similar, lurid boxes could work wonders.
posted by meehawl at 1:34 PM on November 20, 2007


I stand by my comment. The comment that we don't need anyone to see their job is to shock us was inane.

Not really. Art may be shocking, but being shocking doesn't make you an artist. The only person I can think of whose job it is to be shocking is that guy in the shadowy tent at the back of the carny who bites the heads off chickens, and I'm pretty sure that's illegal now.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:38 PM on November 20, 2007


I'm not getting the "her good looks were used to promote her" defense.

One expects a "public figure" to be held up to criticism and juvenile ridicule. But this woman was just doing her job. She was also featured in the advertising for the product. So what? Ads are meant to manipulate people into liking the product. It almost seems people are suggesting that associating a product with someone who's attractive--but not in a sexualized way--is a heinous affront to the "gaming community".

Satire works when it pushes something slightly over the edge. Make something a little worse and you see how ridiculous it was to start with. Colbert is plausible because he's almost like a real right-wing blowhard. This had no relation to reality.

The millions of professional women out there shouldn't have to think that merely by doing their job and going to conferences and conventions and hawking a product they're going to be slandered by name by internet douchebags.
posted by Schmucko at 1:39 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lunit:

Thanks. I do think that case A is representative of trend B. However, I'm willing to accept that someone could disagree that case A is representative of trend B, and yet still realize that trend B is true. My rejection isn't that case A is representative of trend B, nor that trend B is true, but just that failure to agree with the former automatically results in failure to agree with the latter (or vice versa).

To offer an alternative situation, for example, I think if the Maxim rumour had been true, and Jade really had posed in a bikini to advertise the game, the comic wouldn't have been misogynistic. Sure, it would have been demeaning a woman sexually, but it would make sense as a satire because the woman would be demeaning herself sexually (note: I'm not saying that a woman posing in a magazine in skimpy beach attire is automatically sexually demeaning. But doing so in order to sell a product that has absolutely zero relation to said bikini modeling would be.) It would be an over-the-top depiction of reality, which is what satire is about.

But, so that nobody gets me wrong: that isn't the case here. She didn't pose in Maxim, that was just a bullshit rumour. And thus the comic is sexist. I'm just providing an alternative situation where Raymond bukkakke would not be clearly misogynistic. A case where I could find that case A (depiction of bukkakke) would not be representative of trend B (misogyny in the gaming market), and still believe that trend B (misogyny in the gaming market) existed.
posted by Bugbread at 1:44 PM on November 20, 2007


I still prefer the comparison of games to paintings, which can have lasting effects on people without necessarily telling a story

Grandia sounds cool.

One thing with paintings though is that people who are really into it tend to follow painters, not paintings, looking for coherent themes. Or schools/studios/movements/etc. They see similar themes being elaborated and hybridised or thrown into competition with themes from outside their clade. I don't think that gaming or game designers have managed yet to create or maintain a similar level of consistency such that, in a century or two, people will be able to look at the output of, say, Chris Crawford or Itagaki or Berry or Kojima and find enough consistency to satisfy them.

Then again, me looking for that consistency might be an artifact of my lamentable pre-post-post-modern acculturation. Or it might be an artifact of the gaming marketplace or technologies that could be resolved in future decades. Gaming features periodic technological discontinuities ("hardware generations") that are a bit more disruptive and frequent than, say, movies.
posted by meehawl at 1:44 PM on November 20, 2007


DaShiv, those really aren't in any way comparable in my opinion. And they don't exist in an environment that assumes that men are less important than women.

Apart from anything else, insulting men by suggesting that they have a tiny penis or they look like a girl is insulting them by bringing them down to the level of women (in this environment). Insulting women by suggesting that they are not fit for the job unless they start sucking men off is shoving them even lower than that.

Further, suggesting that David Perry talks good but can't deliver is a double joke based on the fact that his games often sounded great but turned out to be terrible. Many people have been the butt of this joke. Suggesting that someone whose image is aggressively associated with a product is both incompetant and a whore happens less often. In fact, while I can imagine a man being accused of whoring for his company, I can't really imagine him being called stupid just for being male, which is sort of the ickier part for me.

An attack on men that isn't directly related to their sexuality or intelligence will usually confine itself to the appropriate issue. An attack on women that isn't directly related to their sexuality or intelligence will rarely confine itself, and often expand into these areas to the exclusion of the original issue.

Why do gaming comics attack peoples' sexuality like this? Because ad hominems are funny to their audience.

We know this. Of course we know this. You're not talking to idiots.

You want blatant sexism? Look at the magazines in supermarket checkout lanes. That's misogyny for the sake (and profit) of misogyny, much like Kotaku's shameless use of Jade Raymond to drive website traffic.

Sexism exists in multiple places at once. Fighting against it can happen in multiple places consecutively.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:44 PM on November 20, 2007


meehawl writes "Coming into the gift season, the population of people who will be buying games for themselves, family, friends and lovers is much, much larger than the population of 'Gamers'. Even a casual recollection of a specific name here when faced with a shelf of similar, lurid boxes could work wonders."

Good point. Though if this were really viral, I think it would backfire, because one comes away from the scandal remembering "Jade" a lot more than "Assassin's Creed", meaning that competitor Bioware's "Jade Empire" would end up getting the extra casual-recollection sales.
posted by Bugbread at 1:51 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Schmucko writes "Colbert is plausible because he's almost like a real right-wing blowhard. This had no relation to reality."

I'm sounding like a broken record, but:

No, this had no relation to reality.
However, it had relation to what a lot of people believed was reality, which is that Raymond was going to model in a bikini on the cover of Maxim.
So, at the time it was made, it was satire.
The fact that the Maxim thing turned out to be fake, and yet instead of apologizing for attacking someone who turned out innocent, the author instead talked bullshit about "moralfags" shows that it was satire made by a douche who was just fine and happy if that satire turned out to be an unfounded attack on an innocent party.

So, yeah, in the end, it's a misogynist comic, but it didn't really come out of nowhere.
posted by Bugbread at 1:58 PM on November 20, 2007


bugbread responds,

Wait...women are treated like shit in the gaming industry. Men aren't. If I propose that women should stop being treated like shit, I'm being sexist because I'm taking men as the baseline for treatment?? What should I use, the average? "Men should be treated like shit more often, and women should be treated like shit less often"?

True, that avoids any possible taint of sexism, but I'd prefer to avoid dumb linguistic games and say "Neither women nor men should be treated like shit". If you'd prefer, I can reverse the order of those words.


You didn't say "women shouldn't be treated like shit," you said:

So I agree that the way to enforce equality for women is to treat them the same. I think this is an example of them being treated differently.

I'm saying that the best way to understand what's happening isn't to compare men and women or to moralize "treating them the same" but to understand how gender works. This is a lot more difficult, but it leads to a lot of compelling information like the concept that sexism doesn't just hurt women, but also men. Given that understanding, the choice isn't to use men as a baseline of "equality" or not, but rather to come to an understanding of where sexism disrupts the balance of both sexes. This comic is an example of something that reduces men to soulless, abusively-minded jerks and weakens the power women can have over men and other women alike, even when they deserve to hold it. This is bad -- not evil or good, just bad. Not best practice.

Also, if I think a conclusion is correct but the steps taken to get to it are wrong, I'll tend to argue against those steps. Same case here: I agree this is an example of sexism, and I agree that sexism is prevalent in the game industry. I just don't agree with lunit's mandatory connection of the two.

Thanks for patiently explaining to me where I had assumed wrongly. I still don't understand why you're defending interpreting Example A as somehow unrelated to Trend B when it's exactly within standard deviation of the curve. I still think that if you are denying that acts of sexism against a female game designer are related to / have an effect on sexism against females in gaming, you're thinking way too hard about it or don't understand the line of regression that everyone else is talking about when they talk about 'sexism against women in gaming.' It's right smack dab in the middle of that line! If you don't see that, then we are not looking at the same line, and Lunit is absolutely correct. Or am I still missing something?
posted by Embryo at 2:01 PM on November 20, 2007


If I propose that women should stop being treated like shit, I'm being sexist because I'm taking men as the baseline for treatment?? What should I use, the average? "Men should be treated like shit more often, and women should be treated like shit less often"?

And also, yes, actually, although this is a very different way of looking at this idea than I have, this is in fact what I think. Women aren't just unduly disempowered, men are also unduly empowered. So I don't think that men should be treated like shit more, but they should be given less unearned power, while women should be given more earned power. Yes, the balance is somewhere in the middle, in my opinion.
posted by Embryo at 2:05 PM on November 20, 2007


about the gaming gift season shopping, btw...

what do people think the percentage of games are that are bought by clueless family members off store shelves? I ask because I know that I tell family members not to get me any games because they'll either get stuff I don't want or already have and meanwhile I'm gameless during the best season in the industry. Also, a lot of people I know who DO get games for xmas write out very explicitly detailed lists if they don't outright go to the store or website themselves and then come home with a stack and say "wrap these." I'm not claiming these anecdotes are typical or definitive, but I'm curious if anyone has any idea what the actual tendency is. I feel like games are almost unique in how particular they can be to shop through and how much individual preference matters.
posted by shmegegge at 2:05 PM on November 20, 2007


kittens for breakfast writes "Not really. Art may be shocking, but being shocking doesn't make you an artist. The only person I can think of whose job it is to be shocking is that guy in the shadowy tent at the back of the carny who bites the heads off chickens, and I'm pretty sure that's illegal now."

I don't want to belabor the point, but plenty of artists and creative people thrive on shocking their perceived audience. The quality of that work is not what I'm talking about. Whether you like Cheung's work, the fact remains that he's a creative person. If he sees it his mission to shock people, well, that's not very different from John Waters, Frank Zappa, Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, etc. I'm not comparing his work to theirs, but it's silly to the extreme to me to hear someone say that nobody should see their job as shocking others. The whole genre of horror films and literature wouldn't exist otherwise. The artistic merits of each creator can be debated, but that's not really the point.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:08 PM on November 20, 2007


what do people think the percentage of games are that are bought by clueless family members off store shelves?

Count the number of games in the top 30 with "Shrek" in the title :p

Or any instance of one of these games. Or that one called "Barry Hatter". Which was renamed "Billy Wizard" on the Wii...
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:11 PM on November 20, 2007


Embryo writes "You didn't say 'women shouldn't be treated like shit,' you said:

"
So I agree that the way to enforce equality for women is to treat them the same. I think this is an example of them being treated differently."

True. I didn't write "women shouldn't be treated like shit", because I thought we'd already established that women were treated worse than men, so "should be treated the same" meant "should not be treated worse". Sorry if that caused confusion.

Embryo writes "I still don't understand why you're defending interpreting Example A as somehow unrelated to Trend B when it's exactly within standard deviation of the curve."

Arrgghghghg! I'm not! I'm just saying "it is possible to disagree with the former without disagreeing with the latter". One last theoretical, which I hope you can find acceptable:

Let's imagine Bob. Bob thinks there is misogyny in the game industry. Bob doesn't, however, think this comic is misogynistic. Bob is just totally, totally wrong about this comic. It's total misogyny. But Bob doesn't think so, because he's so wrong wrong wrong. But he believes that there is misogyny in the industry.

I'm just saying that a person like Bob can theoretically exist. Somewhere in Hoboken, there could be some guy that thinks this isn't misogyny, but that there is a pattern of misogyny in the industry. The argument, however, says that that's an impossibility. There can be nobody like Bob, because failure to recognize this comic as misogynistic is the same as denying that misogyny exists. So there's no way this hypothetical Bob could possibly exist. I think that's a silly and illogical argument.

Embryo writes "Yes, the balance is somewhere in the middle, in my opinion."

Ok, that makes sense. We'd probably disagree on where the final balance would be, but I can totally grok your position.
posted by Bugbread at 2:32 PM on November 20, 2007


I don't think that gaming or game designers have managed yet to create or maintain a similar level of consistency such that, in a century or two, people will be able to look at the output of, say, Chris Crawford or Itagaki or Berry or Kojima and find enough consistency to satisfy them.

For gaming, I think the schools of thought you mention are found in how certain designers design their interactivity- take the control scheme from Quake and its drastic effect on the then-nascent fully 3D game, or how Street Fighter 2 changed in its fundamental gameplay design once all the designers moved to SNK (and how SNK games shifted accordingly). These ideas on how games should control are led by pioneers in the field, who then gain both followers and detractors; one theory becomes "standard" and moribund, only to face a challenge from someone who looked at the whole thing from a different angle. Exciting stuff, if you're into that sort of thing (like I clearly am); whether it's like people suddenly getting into the details of cubism or not is not something I can say with any authority.

Of course, movements on how to tell stories and develop characters also exist, but these are generally overshadowed by the far more mature advances made in the novel, TV, and movie genres- hence all the wholesale grafting of said techniques into games. I'd like to see more game-oriented innovation in this field, too.
posted by Maxson at 2:36 PM on November 20, 2007


Your theoretical is ridiculous, because the only men in hoboken are all named Petey, Pauley or Frankey.
posted by shmegegge at 2:36 PM on November 20, 2007


wanna hear something sexist and misogynistic? i heard that in saudia arabia women can't drive!! i also read that a poor girl who was gang raped there ended up getting a worse punishment than the rapists!!

oh wait.. what were you guys whining about? a tasteless comic being sexist and misogynistic? aah right.. carry on.
posted by canned polar bear at 2:43 PM on November 20, 2007


if I understand you correctly, what you're saying is that this isn't worth discussing so long as there are worse problems in the world out there, right?

so, should I also stop doing my dishes until we've settled the problem in darfur? Maybe I'll stop wasting my time on something silly like showering until we've cured the AIDS epidemic?
posted by shmegegge at 2:49 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whether you like Cheung's work, the fact remains that he's a creative person. If he sees it his mission to shock people, well, that's not very different from John Waters, Frank Zappa, Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, etc.

What I'm saying is that "a mission to shock people" is a simplistic to the point of being dismissive reading of what any serious creator does. I wouldn't be shocked if, for instance, Alice Cooper out and out said more than once "my mission is to shock people," only to go on and expound on the themes of his lyrics, intent of his stage show, etc. -- in other words, to subvert his own thrown-out-there-for-the-rubes statement. The "whole genre of horror films and literature" may be full of people whose mission really IS just to shock, but the most successful of those people are still just hacks. Creatively, if that's all you wanna do, you're aiming pretty low, and you...well...suck, actually. For lack of a better term. The people in the "whole genre of horror films and literature" who are good at what they do have a little more in mind than that.

...All of which is pretty far afield of the actual subject, since I'm not sure Cheung even declared what his mission is. As far as I can tell, his mission is to apply his incredibly poor writing skills and even worse drawing skills (note the muddy storytelling and the complete and total lack of resemblance between his Jade Raymond and the actual Jade Raymond, of whom I'm sure he possesses an extensive library of photo reference) to a sexist web comic that is neither clever nor funny, which may be an even lamer mission than a mission to SHOCK ya, grampaw! He, in short, sucks mad ass, and yes, I can believe that his mission is to shock, because he's a fucking hack, but when you place serious creators in the company of a fucking hack, it pisses me off. No offense.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:52 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


There can be nobody like Bob, because failure to recognize this comic as misogynistic is the same as denying that misogyny exists. So there's no way this hypothetical Bob could possibly exist. I think that's a silly and illogical argument.

OK, I think I see the confusion, because that is definitely not what I took from Lunit's original post sparking this debate. Lunit said:

What I was trying to get at was that failing to understand the power of that image lobbied against a woman in leadership (specifically) is akin to denying the pattern - of which this comic is a part - of disempowering and silencing women in leadership by employing notions of hyper-sexuality and sexual subversion.

Didn't she just say that if Bob doesn't think the comic relies on powerful images used to diminish a woman in leadership, then he is denying that it is part of a sexist pattern of disempowering and silencing women in leadership using the very tactics this comic uses? He's wrong, of course, but where did she say he couldn't be wrong?

The point I thought she was trying to make was that Bob is missing the connection between demeaning images and the operating mechanisms of sexism. She's saying this comic has power because it fits into this sexist pattern. I thought you were saying that just because it is sexist, it's not necessarily part of a pattern of sexism. I must say, I thought we were discussing the topic at hand, when really we were just talking about how you felt that Lunit was bullying Bob by telling him that he's missing something and therefore wrong.
posted by Embryo at 2:53 PM on November 20, 2007


Embryo writes "Didn't she just say that if Bob doesn't think the comic relies on powerful images used to diminish a woman in leadership, then he is denying that it is part of a sexist pattern of disempowering and silencing women in leadership using the very tactics this comic uses? He's wrong, of course, but where did she say he couldn't be wrong?"

I'm reading it differently, but I'm glad we're getting closer to understanding eachother. I'm reading it to say, not that he is denying that it's part of the pattern, but denying the pattern itself. That is, I'm reading the "of which this comic is a part" part as being an example, not a requirement, of the main clause, "the pattern".

So with the Bob example, the following statements would apply:

"Bob is denying the pattern - of which this comic is a part - of disempowering and silencing women in leadership by employing notions of hyper-sexuality and sexual subversion. However, he is not denying the pattern - of which this comic is a not a part - of disempowering and silencing women in leadership by employing notions of hyper-sexuality and sexual subversion."

I don't think that's what Lunit was getting at, but Lunit's probably the only person who could answer for sure.


Embryo writes "I must say, I thought we were discussing the topic at hand, when really we were just talking about how you felt that Lunit was bullying Bob by telling him that he's missing something and therefore wrong."

No, I'd be totally cool with that. "Case A is part of trend B. If you don't realize that, you're wrong" is totally cool in my book. The bullying thing was because I thought Lunit was saying disagreeing on A means disagreeing on B, so if you want to agree about B, you have to agree about A. Hence my examples about Pol Pot or Hitler or whatnot: since everyone agrees that Pol Pot and Hitler suck, it seemed like saying "You have to agree with me about case A, or else you love Hitler!", which seemed like bullying someone into agreeing with A or else admitting you're some horrible ogre.

Ok, that's way overstated and simplified for clarity's sake. I don't mean that the bullying was anywhere close to that level, just of that type of approach. But, again, I may just be misreading Lunit's argument.
posted by Bugbread at 3:06 PM on November 20, 2007


kittens for breakfast writes "He, in short, sucks mad ass, and yes, I can believe that his mission is to shock, because he's a fucking hack, but when you place serious creators in the company of a fucking hack, it pisses me off. No offense."

Again, the comparison has nothing to do with the quality of the work. Sorry if it pisses you off, but if it does you missed the point.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:08 PM on November 20, 2007


if I understand you correctly, what you're saying is that this isn't worth discussing so long as there are worse problems in the world out there, right?

no i'm saying who cares about some stupid comic that probably nobody even heard of before this. it is so painfully clear that this jade person was being used to push the game because she's hot. so somebody makes a tasteless joke about it, BFD. do people really think others read the comic and thought to themselves 'aah good, finally somebody put that uppity bitch in her place'?
posted by canned polar bear at 3:08 PM on November 20, 2007


do people really think others read the comic and thought to themselves 'aah good, finally somebody put that uppity bitch in her place'?

Absolutely, yes.
posted by brain_drain at 3:09 PM on November 20, 2007


Wow, well, I'm full of outrage, which is nice because I thought law school had drained it all out of me, but I'll start with this.

Hm. The comic is lame, but as far as I can tell it's being massively and widely misread. It's the morons who rub their puds over a picture of the game designer while fantasizing her sexual performance -- all while she just wants to talk about the game she worked on -- who are being lampooned. Maybe the so-called subtlety of goon humor doesn't play well in Peoria.

Admittedly it's pretty tasteless to depict this woman that way, especially considering how unnecessary it is to do so to make the comic's point. Attacking it on that basis seems reasonable enough to me but I do think it's a shame that nobody seems to have actually *read* the comic. All people are seeing and reacting to is the illustration.


I don't know what text you got when you read it, but I saw a woman in a bikini introduce herself as Jade Raymond, not be able to pronounce "creative," when trying to explain her job, and then get down on her knees and suck off a bunch of fanboys to get them to play her game, who then come all over her smiling face. The text is no better than the images, as far as Dave Cheung's massive misogyny and fear of women are concerned. It is certainly making fun of the fanboys as well, but the point is that these anonymous fanboys he's lampooning are explicitly gamers who want to fuck Jade and are blind to everything else. That does no harm to anyone, unless you're a gamer who imagines himself in the same fantasy, but at that point the identification is so specific as to null any anger over it.

Jade, however, is called out by name, and what did she do to make it justified? Was it producing what, by all accounts, is one of the most important games of the year? Was it doing leg-work to promote the game? Was it appearing in press photos?

No. It was the fact that she was a hot woman doing those things, in an industry chock-full of men who can't deal with women in any healthy way. That's not all gamers, as we've seen in all the threads connected to this, but it is a large contingent of them. She wasn't selling sex any more than the Asian woman next to her in the Game Informer photo (not Ubisoft, as a reminder), but because she is objectively more attractive, the misogynists yell out that she's just selling sex. Her "crime" that Dave Cheung so necessarily satires is of being attractive and doing her fucking job. Sorry, ELF Radio, but your friend is a sexist asshole.

My girlfriend is a hot game producer, not at Jade's level yet, although that sort of position is of course what she aspires to. As far as this is concerned, Jade might as well be her, and I have little sympathy for those dicks who would claim that her being sexy and prominent in the industry are grounds for public defamation.

On the other hand, I think it's a really stupid move to try to sue the comic off of the internet. One, it won't work, under the aforementioned Larry Flynt rules, but also because it's taken one jackass and given him a megaphone, detracting from Raymond's hard work on the game. However, given that women in gaming have to work so hard for any respect at all, if she wants to be the cause celebre for that, more power to her. It's a very hard industry to break into, and even harder to work your way up in. Not to mention the exhausting stress and hours put in to it to make the product on time. I've no doubt that, in order to do all those things, Jade probably isn't made of candyglass. She could have laughed this off or ignored it, but instead is using her position (as is Ubisoft) to call bullshit on the idiot boys' club that Cheung so perfectly exemplifies.

Again, ELF Radio, your friend is a sexist asshole. Sorry, but he is. Try to help him instead of defending his sonofabitchery.

As a side note, I must defend two things here: First, Maxim, while definitely exploitative of both women and more so the effect that they have on their readers, are respectful in print of both. The editorial staff seem to enjoy nothing more than (a) being as smartly and cleverly humorous about the puerility that they cover and (b) making sure that every woman that they feature comes off as an intelligent, rounded human being in the interviews and articles. They still do stupid shit, and are often assholes themselves, but they would've been as offended by this comic as us mefites, I feel.

Secondly, the Fragdolls: yes, they're attractive. Again, what crime is that? Ubisoft is promoting women as gamers, and they found bad-ass female gamers to represent them. There are a lot of them out there, but this is clearly about image here. If you are promoting to women that gaming can be sexy and cool, your selection of representatives is naturally going to run more along the lines of the Pussycat Dolls than a cast of pock-marked shut-ins who wouldn't be able to also act as spokespeople. It's not entirely benign, of course, but it's the same question of: if you want to promote women feeling comfortable in their bodies, you're more likely to show Queen Latifah than Roseanne Barr. It has nothing to do with their talent, but rather their ability to get the message across most effectively.

Also.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:20 PM on November 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


canned polar bear writes "do people really think others read the comic and thought to themselves 'aah good, finally somebody put that uppity bitch in her place'?"

A few, but they were hopeless fucking morons from the start. Whether they saw this comic or not probably made no difference to anyone anywhere. The more important aspect is whether it will shy away some females who were considering joining the industry. That will have bigger repercussions.
posted by Bugbread at 3:20 PM on November 20, 2007


Absolutely, yes.

you're kidding? really? hmmm maybe i just don't know the right kind of people so i can get outraged over this.
posted by canned polar bear at 3:21 PM on November 20, 2007


canned polar bear writes "you're kidding? really?"

You've never played an XBox game online, have you?
posted by Bugbread at 3:25 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The more important aspect is whether it will shy away some females who were considering joining the industry. That will have bigger repercussions.

that's a fair point and i think that would be a more interesting discussion than how apparently one moron is repressing all women in an entire industry.
posted by canned polar bear at 3:26 PM on November 20, 2007


You've never played an XBox game online, have you?

no, but i played the quake games back in the day with the nickname 'rollergirl' quite a bit (i'm a guy, liked the name and wanted to see if i'd get picked on) and never encountered any abuse that i can remember (and yes, i was quite good). maybe times have changed.
posted by canned polar bear at 3:33 PM on November 20, 2007


no, one moron is being sexist and cruel toward one woman. still not seeing why it's a problem to be bothered by that.

no i'm saying who cares about some stupid comic that probably nobody even heard of before this.

we do. what's your point? what is the reason you decided to come into this thread and tell us that you don't care about it, and compare it to arabic abuses of women?
posted by shmegegge at 3:33 PM on November 20, 2007


The more important aspect is whether it will shy away some females who were considering joining the industry.

I can see women who are already in the industry becoming (even more) gunshy about the press after this, too.

Canned Polar Bear, this may seem like a little incident, but how many little incidents does it take to make up one big problem? Sexism is an issue in the games industry, and for every woman who takes on a prominent role and is punished for it, how many will sit back and let someone else in front of the camera?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:33 PM on November 20, 2007


maybe times have changed.

well, people probably haven't, but you'd be surprised what the advent of instantaneous voice communication has done to gaming.
posted by shmegegge at 3:34 PM on November 20, 2007


Again, the comparison has nothing to do with the quality of the work. Sorry if it pisses you off, but if it does you missed the point.

I get you point; you're just wrong.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:37 PM on November 20, 2007


YOUR point, even. See what you made me do?!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:37 PM on November 20, 2007


we do. what's your point? what is the reason you decided to come into this thread and tell us that you don't care about it, and compare it to arabic abuses of women?

... because people on metafilter seem to like to get outraged quite a bit. nothing ever comes of it though. you're mostly preaching to choir here.

the fact that that people are actually discussing the comic like it's something serious gives it and the author a spotlight they don't deserve.
posted by canned polar bear at 3:41 PM on November 20, 2007


... because people on metafilter seem to like to get outraged quite a bit. nothing ever comes of it though. you're mostly preaching to choir here.

duly noted. but we're interested in discussing this with other mefites. what's the problem?

the fact that that people are actually discussing the comic like it's something serious gives it and the author a spotlight they don't deserve.

if that's your problem with us discussing it, then don't worry. it already has a spotlight in much higher profile areas than metafilter, and no one made prejudice, bigotry or anything like those any better by ignoring them.
posted by shmegegge at 3:44 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


canned polar bear writes "maybe times have changed."

Ah. If you're talking Quake on the PC, yes, they probably have. The caliber of online opponents on XBox Live is...er...somewhat lacking. As in "I unplugged the internet connection from my XBox when I realized that I'd rather play against bots than hear 'fuck u, faggot ass faggot bitch' for the thousandth time" lacking. I gather things have gotten even worse, lately.

ArmyOfKittens writes "Canned Polar Bear, this may seem like a little incident, but how many little incidents does it take to make up one big problem?"

And, really, honestly, I don't think this would really qualify as "little". If this were against a woman in some field with lots of famous women, then it would be some minor percentage. "Oh, somebody wrote a sexist comic about one of the million famous actresses?" That might be a little incident.

But famous women in gaming? Off the top of my head, I can think of: Jade Raymond: depicted as an airhead who blows gamers for sales. Killcreek: posed nude in Playboy. Easpouse: Respected and well-liked.

So a comic like this makes a big splash due to how small the pond is. Sure, there may be tons of women in gaming, but if we're talking about people entering the field, they probably don't know all the behind the scenes folks, so there are really less than a handful.
posted by Bugbread at 3:47 PM on November 20, 2007


kittens for breakfast writes "I get you point; you're just wrong."

Alright. Fascinating conversation.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:54 PM on November 20, 2007


Times have probably changed, but that doesn't mean things weren't said during Quake games that would have raised your hackles if you actually had been a girl, canned polar bear. (humorous aside: My grandfather saw me playing one day and reported to my mother that he saw vulgar language on the screen... so she banned me from Quake, more out of embarrassment than anything else. And so continued a long career of sneaking around so I could do what I wanted to do on the computer.)

Also: we're not the choir. The choir is a figment of our imaginations.
posted by Embryo at 3:56 PM on November 20, 2007


canned polar bear writes "... because people on metafilter seem to like to get outraged quite a bit. nothing ever comes of it though. you're mostly preaching to choir here."

I would agree with you almost any other time but this. Part of the problem is one of perception: a comic like this comes out and people think (as some in this thread have said) "gamers are all a bunch of frat boy pricks". A thread full of people who aren't fratboy pricks counters that image.

I don't know how I'd feel about the whole situation if I were a woman possibly interested in the game industry as a career. But I can guess, if presented the choice of "comic comes out depicting famous female game professional as bukkake idol, and nobody bats an eye" versus "comic comes out depicting famous female game professional as bukkake idol, and whole net explodes in anger", I'd feel a lot more...secure (? can't think of right word, end of night shift) with the latter situation.
posted by Bugbread at 3:57 PM on November 20, 2007


shmegegge writes "if that's your problem with us discussing it, then don't worry. it already has a spotlight in much higher profile areas than metafilter, and no one made prejudice, bigotry or anything like those any better by ignoring them."

Since you brought up making these things better, what does discussing it here do? And what, precisely, could be done to make this situation better or prevent it from happening? I like to vent my spleen, too, but I gave up the illusion long ago that it accomplishes anything.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:57 PM on November 20, 2007


famous women in gaming?

Well, there's also Dani Berry, who basically invented multiplayer gaming. But she originally had a penis, so I don't know how that changes the calculus.
posted by meehawl at 3:58 PM on November 20, 2007


Well, "invented" is a strong word, considering the example of Empire. Let's settle for "commercialised".
posted by meehawl at 4:01 PM on November 20, 2007


Alright. Fascinating conversation.

Let me put it a different way: I addressed your point, and explained why I think you are wrong. At length. Now I'm not saying my opinion is unimpeachable, but that you could read my response and think I don't see your point basically tells me that you aren't paying very close attention to what anyone else says anyway.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:24 PM on November 20, 2007


I always enjoy it when people stop arguing about the thing they are arguing about and start arguing about the way they are arguing about the thing they are arguing about.
posted by notmydesk at 4:30 PM on November 20, 2007


I always enjoy it when people stop arguing about the thing they are arguing about and start arguing about the way they are arguing about the thing they are arguing about.

I'm just not a fan of the "until you agree that I am right, you don't understand my position" school of debate. Moving on!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:32 PM on November 20, 2007


ArmyOfKittens, your sentence-by-sentence parsing of my post misses my larger argument. I pointed out that sexual ad hominem attacks on gaming figures is not just that it's considered funny, but that because it perceived as funny, it has become a trope of the subculture. Hence, "Dave Perry can't deliver" --> "Dave Perry is not a man in the sack"; "Infinium Labs' console is bullshit vaporware" --> "Timothy Roberts can't orgasm without killing a dog." Hence, "Ubisoft using sex to push Assassin's Creed is lame" --> "Jade Raymond gives blowjobs for game sales." Unlike what some feminists in this thread have espoused, the ad hominem sexual attack on Jade Raymond is neither unusual nor solely because she's female. Tons and tons of similar sexual put-downs (almost wholly against males) can be found in Penny Arcade's large archives.

In fact, I would go on to argue that skewering Jade Raymond in a sexual way is even more topical, because the topic is explicitly that Ubisoft is using her status as a sexy woman to sell games; whereas Dave Perry and Timothy Roberts' respective relationships to their products are not at all sexual, yet a gaming comic like Penny Arcade still saw fit to take a sexual swipe at them anyway. In this context, was Cheung's comic about Jade Raymond really all that surprising -- rightly or wrongly?

Note to non-gamers: Penny Arcade is far from being the most lowbrow or raunchy gaming comic out there. In fact, they're considered very mainstream and are actually quite a class act: Exhibit A, Exhibit B. IMO it's important to note that neither gamers nor those who use sexual satires to mock are a priori bad people. On the other hand, Cheung's execution of his comic and his subsequent justification of it clearly paints him as a misogynist.

Also, you made a statement about societal power structure and the consequences of sexualization that seems to imply that this somehow makes sexual put-downs against women automatically worse (or perhaps should be outright verboten) compared to sexual put-downs against men. I strong disagree and believe that both sexes are equally fair game for this form of comedy; we'll have to agree to disagree on that. (FWIW, I disagree that "emasculate = become woman" for a man; "emasculate = become nonentity = become worthless" for a man, since an emasculated man has neither the desirability nor the gendered identity of a woman.)

Lastly, my point about supermarket magazines is not to say that "misogyny exists in other media", but to show that "just as with other forms of media, this is likewise a media issue." Ubisoft deliberately used Jade Raymond in their media blitz: over half of their promotional trailers featured her, Ubisoft bought a large sidebar add featuring just a fancily photographed headshot of her, placed her along with the Frag Dolls for interviews, etc. One only has to compare this against the coverage of other games to see how completely atypical this is, and how blatantly intentional on Ubisoft's part it was to use Jade Raymond's sex appeal to sell. Unlike the many other female developers in the industry, she (like Stevie Case) was complicit with Ubisoft in using her sex appeal to help market the game. (And there was a big backlash against Case, too.) Add in the leering fanboy gaming forums and unscrupulous "gaming journalism" sites like Kotaku to run with Ubisoft's LOLHAWTCHICK promo strategy of piling on the firewood, and all it took was a flaming brand incendiary to set the whole edifice ablaze. Manufactured controversy, even more publicity. And tempest in a teapot.

Sure, Cheung's comic was ham-fisted (his first panel was intended to be an exposition and set-up but wound up becoming just misogynistic tripe that confused the situation and severely weakened the satirical pay-off in the rest of the comic) and his post-mortem attitude odious, but his main intention was clearly not, as many have said here, to "silence women" or "reassert his dominance" or whatever. It was, in his words:
you see that the primary reason for [the comic's] existence is the "Jade Hype" on videogame forums, blogs and "news" sites like Kotaku (lolz)

[...]

Personally, I have nothing against her. I just found the entire situation of HER being more heavily marketed and gaining more "press" (and I use the term loosely) coverage, than THE GAME to be somewhat amusing.
Cheung is no scheming Hitler-esque woman-hater out to strike a blow for the patriarchy. He's an obliviously insensitive buffoon of a pawn who's played his move on the board set up for him (and you can be sure if it hadn't been him first, it'd be someone else doing something similar, possibly even more vile and reprehensible). The real winners are Ubisoft (publicity and sales) and the "gaming press" like Kotaku (publicity and traffic); the real losers are everyone who took the bait and wasted their outrage, including here on Metafilter.
posted by DaShiv at 5:38 PM on November 20, 2007 [11 favorites]


what does discussing it here do? And what, precisely, could be done to make this situation better or prevent it from happening?

In all probability, probably nothing, but what harm? certainly nothing.

As far as what COULD be done, I'm of the mind that people discussing these things and what's wrong with them is what leads to a general reduction in that kind of behavior. Sure, curtailing things like rampant racism takes civil action and more, but it also takes people sitting around their living rooms and social spaces and letting the people around them know that "No, you are not the only person that's sick of this shit, and no you won't be alone if you choose to tell someone to stop it." Not to slight folks like Marin Luther King and Ghandi, but I'm inclined to believe that they depended on even the smallest actions of the individuals that agreed with them to cohere their movement.

But again, I'm saying what I tend to believe. More to the point, I'm wondering what's so wrong about it that someone needs to come in and tell us how unimportant he thinks it is.
posted by shmegegge at 6:06 PM on November 20, 2007


In the end, I take heart in knowing that Jade Raymond's career will only continue to grow, while Dave Cheung will only have this fifteen minutes of fame in his life, and be known for this week as an inveterate dick before being forgotten forever.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:16 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Beautifully done, DaShiv.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:26 PM on November 20, 2007


the real losers are everyone who took the bait and wasted their outrage, including here on Metafilter.

Dude, DaShiv, don't take this the wrong way, but you're the one who just wrote a dissertation about a shitty comic strip that looks like the guy drew it on a Wacom tablet with his dick. I think we're all guilty of wasting too much time on this. Outrage? Eh. We'll make more...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:55 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow. With all the hubbub, let's not overlook Dave Cheung's unknown masterpiece, So i herd you liek Final Fantasy</a?
posted by ELF Radio at 6:55 PM on November 20, 2007


(...NOT WACOMIST)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:56 PM on November 20, 2007


The problem is not that the game industry needs more Jade Raymonds pumping out the baseline crap. It needs more Stanley Kubricks.

Dead people aren't very good at doing much. We need more Tim Schafers.
posted by Frasermoo at 6:57 PM on November 20, 2007


Frasermoo: Tim Schaefer just gave the keynote speech at the IDGA leadership conference two weeks ago in order to promote more story and innovation and gaming. He's working on it.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:24 PM on November 20, 2007


Also, let me add (why do I keep reading about this?) the whole "She was out there all the time promoting it! What did she/Ubisoft expect?" argument has the same internal logic of "Well, what'd she expect dressing like that and giong to the clubs?"

Obviously, this is not the same thing as rape. Obviously. It's just the same line of thought that people are using to defend it.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:33 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


upthread, megosteve linked to a screenshot of some of the promotional materials for the game which seem pretty damning to me. Especially that sidebar ad. Makes me think I may have backed down too quickly on my comments re the PR photo.

If you'll notice, those are thumbnail shots for videos promoting the game. Other videos on that same page feature Patrice Desilets, lead designer, and also, just general clips. But remember, she is the producer, so it is common for them to be featured in videos. There are also interviews posted there, which are due to the site arranging an interview, to get information on and promote the game, and she is complying with that request.

The sidebar ad is promotion not for the game, but for GameTrailers.com's weekly online show, Bonus Round.

It is not uncommon for a show to advertise its guests.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:47 PM on November 20, 2007


From the "artist"'s response:

In fact, fair do’s to her working her way to a cushy position like “Executive Producer”, it really is the ideal job; since all you do is sit around doing nothing and get paid for it. RESULT!
But I digress, this has nothing to do the matter at hand.


All I can say is ugh.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:52 PM on November 20, 2007


Ubisoft bought a large sidebar add featuring just a fancily photographed headshot of her,

As I just pointed out, that's an ad for GameTrailers's show, Bonus Round. Shows advertise their guests. I've watched Bonus Round and this is not new.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:53 PM on November 20, 2007


Oh shit Dashiv shut it down. Thank you dude I was following this thread for hours. At first the women donned their caps and started trolling and policing with self-righteous indignance, then, others who were afraid to speak up did so only when the angry women left. I was torn between my acknowledging that the world is really unfair to women and how all these women were projecting their heartbreaks on this dumb ass comic as an epitome of all things misogynistic. Even after all the proofs, people were still holding on to the idea that , this happened solely because she was a female, or men were threatened or some bullshit and even some men who incredulously were making the same knuckle-headed points! This is a subject that needs to be discussed no doubt, But as an outgrowth of some stupid shit is tiring. Lord knows I know what injustice feels like and I'm with the women and willing to listen and learn and make the effort, but sometimes you just need to shut calm the fuck down! and have a civilized and reasonable conversation!
posted by Student of Man at 10:58 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


At first the women donned their caps and started trolling and policing with self-righteous indignance, then, others who were afraid to speak up did so only when the angry women left.

Unless my survey is flawed, I was the first female to comment in this thread, around comment #38, and one of only a handful in total, so this depiction is obviously erroneous, reductive, and pisses me off as does any disinformation.

I'm with the women and willing to listen and learn and make the effort, but sometimes you just need to shut calm the fuck down! and have a civilized and reasonable conversation!

FAIL and also FAIL with some little carmelized pieces of FAIL as garnish.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:59 PM on November 20, 2007 [6 favorites]


Sorry DaShiv, I know all that but I don't agree. However I'm really not going to get stuck into this thread again as it's a brand new day and I have work to do. I will limit my contribution to this:

A throwaway sexual joke about a man has less impact and pisses people off less because it comes from a position of equality. Real men in the industry have power and representation and they know that their needs and wants will almost always be considered in the creation of titles. Digital men in the industry are overwhelmingly the main characters, the heroes, the self-insertion fantasy. Real women in the industry have much less of a voice and they see countless examples, in games and in the business of games, of their voice being considered irrelevant. Digital women in the industry are overwhelmingly side characters, motivators, rescuees, and sex fantasies. There's no expectation or assumption of equality in gaming: by and large, men have the power, and men are depicted as having the power.

Against this background, can you see how people find a joke about a game producer being called unfit for her job and depicted sucking cocks is a little more offensive than a throwaway "Dave Perry has a tiny penis" line?

I still disagree with the assertion that Jade Raymond has been used much differently to J Allard or similar. Both of them have had their faces on adverts, in interviews; they've both been in videos promoting their product; if anything, J Allard's image was the more controlled of the two, as MS wanted someone who came across "cool" to promote the 360. But they're like game characters: J Allard was supposed to be the guy people like, and maybe want to be*, so he didn't get sexual abuse; Jade Raymond, as a woman, is obviously a sex object before she is a game producer. The main difference between the presentation of the two is their sex. Like Bugbread said, if she'd done the photoshoot in a bikini, she would have been in a weaker position, but in every picture I've seen she's been modestly dressed.

*I leave it up to you to decide how successful that was!

Magazines and television are not really reasonable comparisons to make, because women have far greater representation there.

his main intention was clearly not, as many have said here, to "silence women" or "reassert his dominance" or whatever.

But that was the net effect. Not necessarily re dominance, but certainly in silencing women. In an industry where the sexual power balance is way out of whack, and where many of the fans are revolting sexists and don't mind shouting it from the rooftops, every new incident like this is another little bit of mortar in the wall that women game makers have to climb over.

I'm not, and never have been arguing that people didn't find the strip funny. I've not really had any kind of point whatsoever, because all the stuff I've been rambling on about is - as far as I can see - self-evident. The situation sucks, and in Jade's position, if Ubi had took me aside and said, "Look, you're the producer, you're an attractive woman, and you seem to have a nice bond going with some of these press guys; will you represent the game to the outside world? We'll even give you extra money!*" I would have said no. I would have been wary of just this reaction. I know how, for want of a better word, fanboys react to women in games, and particularly women who get above their station. I would have been silenced. I can see a lot of people, especially now, taking that position.

* I have no idea if she got extra money for all this or if she/they saw promotion as part of her role as producer.

So yeah, it all sucks, and this sexism infects the industry from consumer to producer. If I'm going to say that Ubi shouldn't have asked a charismatic member of the game production team to promote their product then I'm complicit with this sexism. Yeah, if they'd used sex to promote it they'd be in a worse position, but Jade hasn't been used that differently to many men in her area. All that's really happened is that the usual suspects saw a female face on the net and proceeded to fuck it. The grossest thing to me is that people could then argue that it's okay/inevitable.

It's not okay, and if it's inevitable, then why not criticise and fight it when it happens in a (futile?) attempt to lessen the chance of it happening again? If the gaming industry is going to continue to transform from a straight man's industry into something more inclusive then it needs to confront this sort of stuff head on. If it can't meet women like equal adults then it has to change. By 2050 it might be ready for the gays!

on preview, I could have just put, "What Navelgazer said," and gone to get coffee five minutes earlier.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:10 AM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


At first the women donned their caps and started trolling and policing with self-righteous indignance, then, others who were afraid to speak up did so only when the angry women left.

None of that stuff actually...happened, right? I'm not reading an alternate universe version of this thread where furious women brutalized a bunch of terrified men into submission? Also, what kind of caps are they? Are they cute?

The issue is not this one comic strip. The issue is the attitude that's being displayed by everyone saying "She's selling sex to men, what does she expect? It's just a stupid comic, and when you exploit your sexuality of course people are going to call you a dumb slut."

Except she's not selling sex. This woman is not a prostitute. She really, really isn't. At all. Her job is not sexual. As far as I can tell, she did not actually do anything to merit even mild criticism. She simply existed in a place where it's expected to see a man.

If you think that because this woman has a public job, that she's prostitute who should expect what she gets, then the problem is entirely with you. And if your immediate response to the problem (that so many men are incapable of seeing a woman and perceiving her as anything except a sexual object existing solely for them) is to figure out how you can turn it around and make it all about how hard men have it, then I don't know what to say to you except that you make my mind hurt.

Anyhoodles, the angry women are still here, if anyone wants to cower before me. COWER! COWER I SAY!
posted by lemuria at 12:26 AM on November 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Ambrosia, If you'll simply scroll up, you will see that Armyofkittens was the first female poster and was poster #2. She also has kept a consistent presence throughout. I didn't mean to get your feathers ruffled, But secondly, I was not talking about the number of women in the thread, but the general tone of the thread.
posted by Student of Man at 12:27 AM on November 21, 2007


SoM, that was kittens for breakfast, whose profile suggests is male.

*sidles out again*
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:33 AM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Student of Man—You are full of bullshit which I will elucidate in the morning when I am sober and you are still ugly.
posted by klangklangston at 12:37 AM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wasn't addressing anyone in particular with my "you", by the way. I was addressing the faceless exemplar of the patriarchy. I call him the FEP!
posted by lemuria at 12:41 AM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


"If you think that because this woman has a public job, that she's prostitute"

You see, right there, that's where you get it wrong. I don't think anyone is saying or believes that. You've made up your mind what this can ever mean to you obviously. So I wont get into it with you. I see it as (vast majority agreed above) more Ubisoft's fault than hers. so no, no one thinks she deserves this. I personally don't see the exalted goddess that the geeks swear to. shes not that hot. and don't put words in my mouth and stop making up everyones mind for them, you'll sleep better.
posted by Student of Man at 12:42 AM on November 21, 2007


sorry about that. I stand corrected.
posted by Student of Man at 12:43 AM on November 21, 2007


So she actually is that hot? Or do you mean the stuff about the "angry woman" who was actually probably not a woman?

Student of Man, it might be a good time to bow out. But first I'd like to know: what sort of caps are you picturing here?
posted by contraption at 12:59 AM on November 21, 2007


There will be no sleep for me tonight, friend. For tonight I am coding. I will keep your advice in mind for the next long night when I have only my sweet, simmering rage to keep me warm.

Anyway, what is the assassin's creed? Keep on assassinatin' on?
posted by lemuria at 1:01 AM on November 21, 2007


Can I have a bobble hat instead of a cap? It's cold in Manchester.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:13 AM on November 21, 2007


I think Raymond was treated unfairly.
I think Cheung is a douche.
I think the comic was sexist.
I think the industry has lots of problems with sexism.

None of this changes the fact, though, that I do think Raymond is hot.
posted by Bugbread at 2:43 AM on November 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


sorry about that. I stand corrected.

I hope you realize this whole gender confusion issue makes you a rather poor Student of Man. All things considered.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:43 AM on November 21, 2007


*FEP FEP FEP*
posted by Floydd at 6:30 AM on November 21, 2007


I wish I hadn't commented in this thread in the first place, because I'm sick of seeing it in Recent Activity, but since it's going to stay there anyway...

if the Maxim rumour had been true, and Jade really had posed in a bikini to advertise the game, the comic wouldn't have been misogynistic.

You can't seriously believe that. There's no way that comic could possibly not be misogynistic, no matter what the backstory. I think what you mean is that had the rumor been true, there would have been a figleaf to cover the misogyny.
posted by languagehat at 7:00 AM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


languagehat writes "You can't seriously believe that."

Yes, I can.

Well, let me amend that: since it's now evident that Cheung is a total douche, it would be misogynistic even if she'd done the Maxim spread, because we know that about Cheung. But, since we're talking theoreticals:

1) If this comic had never happened, and
2) Tomorrow, Jade appeared in a bikini on the cover of Maxim, and
3) Next week, this comic came out, made by some artist other than Cheung

Then, no, I don't think this comic would be misogynistic. Misogyny is a hatred of women, or prejudice against them. Satire often consists of depicting the figurative as literal. George Bush having physical sex with a square labelled "the economy" to indicate that he's fucking the economy. Things like that. So a comic depicting Jade literally whoring herself out to advertise the game as a satire of the figurative whoring wouldn't show that the artist had some sort of particular hatred of women, or prejudice against women, any more than a woman drawing Bush fucking the economy would show be a clear indicator of misandry with just a fig leaf of cover.
posted by Bugbread at 5:13 PM on November 21, 2007


I had no idea it could get this lame:

www.jade-raymond.com
posted by meehawl at 5:32 PM on November 21, 2007


Then, no, I don't think this comic would be misogynistic.

If you can find a single woman who agrees with you, I'll take your argument seriously. If every woman you show the "comic" to says "I don't care what the backstory is, that is misogynistic," then I hope you'll rethink your approach.
posted by languagehat at 5:43 PM on November 21, 2007


Misogyny isn't in the eye of the beholder, though. Misogyny is a hatred or prejudice against women. It's in the mind of the creator. Unless I know the creator, I just have to go with what I can grok about what the creator believes.

If every woman said it was misogynist, then presumably some would be able to convince me of why it was so. That would make me rethink my approach. If, though, in our hypothetical, the argument were just "I don't care about the backstory, it is anyway", I wouldn't rethink my approach, any more than I'd ever rethink my approach based on "A whole lot of us think something, and we don't care about any evidence that contradicts what we believe". That's George Bush logic.

So, based on this hypothetical situation (of the comic being written in this alternate reality timeline), with the further hypothetical that every woman says it's misogynistic anyway, whether I'd rethink my approach or not would depend on yet a further level of hypotheticals regarding how the women I showed the comic to presented their case.

Which means I think we've gotten a bit to hypothetical for me to give any useful answers.
posted by Bugbread at 10:22 PM on November 21, 2007


I guess we have very different ideas about what constitutes misogyny. To me, telling a woman what misogyny is would be like telling a black person what racism is. "No, I'm sorry, all you black folks, you may think that example of blackface is not in fact racist because blah blah blah..." "No, all you women, that drawing of a woman acting stupid and having guys come all over her is not in fact misogynistic becaue blah blah blah..." Even though the women would probably be too nice to tell me to go fuck myself, I would hear their hypothetical voices in my head. To me, misogyny is not a logical construct, it's a very complex set of values, ideas, and behaviors that is best decoded by the women who suffer from it. (Needless to say, a corollary is that if women told me the comic was not in fact misogynistic, I'd take their word for it and recalibrate my sensors. And of course women aren't monolithic, and many images would call forth differing views. I'm fairly sure this isn't one of those.)

So I guess we'll agree to disagree.
posted by languagehat at 5:43 AM on November 22, 2007


Dammit, I meant "No, I'm sorry, all you black folks, you may think that example of blackface is racist, but it is not in fact racist because blah blah blah..."
posted by languagehat at 7:03 AM on November 22, 2007


Oh, lordy, I hate to wade back into this thread (which is thankfully tailing off into history) but, you know, hmmm.

To me, misogyny is not a logical construct, it's a very complex set of values, ideas, and behaviors that is best decoded by the women who suffer from it.

I don't think I can argue this, as long as the word 'best' is retained and highlighted, and as you suggest, the same goes, to an extent, for racism and other forms of unpleasantness.

But I do, well, not worry exactly, but feel a little uncomfortable with where this idea can and does lead us (or a lot of people) -- to a kind of solipsism that denies our ability to sufficiently grasp what's going on in other people's heads, that denies a certain universality of human experience, and so tribalizes and fractures us further into niches and corners, in service of an effort to try and eliminate that very thing.

Which is not what I think you're doing, I'm just saying that the inherent contradictions in trying to tease understanding out from this kind of thing tends to make me (usually) shy away from opining much on it, at least in text.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:51 PM on November 22, 2007


if the Maxim rumour had been true, and Jade really had posed in a bikini to advertise the game, the comic wouldn't have been misogynistic. Sure, it would have been demeaning a woman sexually, but it would make sense as a satire because the woman would be demeaning herself sexually (note: I'm not saying that a woman posing in a magazine in skimpy beach attire is automatically sexually demeaning. But doing so in order to sell a product that has absolutely zero relation to said bikini modeling would be.)

Huh? So all the women posing in bikinis to promote everything from cars to perfume to magazines are willfully sexually demeaning themselves and would deserve to be, in turn, sexually demeaned?

And the scale for this is what? Gratuitously naked elbow ---> simple sexual assault, gratuitously naked except for bikini ---> this cartoon, I'd hate to think of what sexual demeaning a woman who permitted a totally nude photograph of herself to be distributed would deserve in your model.

Sorry, no. One doesn't get to 'sexually demean' women just because they permit their bodies to be shown in public forums for reasons you don't think are relevant enough.
posted by Salamandrous at 9:20 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Salamandrous writes "Sorry, no. One doesn't get to 'sexually demean' women just because they permit their bodies to be shown in public forums for reasons you don't think are relevant enough."

Well, whether one does or doesn't "get to" do so is probably a matter for the courts to decide, but I gather that you mean "I don't think it's right to 'sexually demean' women just because they permit their bodies to be shown in public forums for reasons you don't think are relevant enough." In which case we'll have to agree to disagree. Depicting a person you think is insane as insane, a person you think is greedy as greedy, a person you think is sexually demeaning themselves as sexually demeaning themselves, etc doesn't seem wrong to me. I doubt the argument is really that extravagant exaggeration is the problem (after all, I don't recall there being much of a hubbub about the "President of Infinium can only orgasm by killing a puppy" Penny Arcade comic), so I take it that it's that demeaning a woman sexually is worse and less permitted than doing so intellectually or morally or the like. I don't see the evidence for that. I see that it's much more fraught with peril, and it's much easier to offend people by doing, and that basically any right-thinking person would avoid doing so because there's so much risk of straying into misogynistic territory, but I don't see that it is ipso facto absolutely wrong.
posted by Bugbread at 6:22 AM on November 23, 2007


"Depicting a person you think is insane as insane, a person you think is greedy as greedy, a person you think is sexually demeaning themselves as sexually demeaning themselves, etc doesn't seem wrong to me.…so I take it that it's that demeaning a woman sexually is worse and less permitted than doing so intellectually or morally or the like."

Where I disagree with that is that too often it seems like a cheap shot, a low blow. That's why I feel like it's less permissible—there are already enough ways to disregard women based on how they express their sexuality relative to the dominant (and largely male-composed) expectations of cultural identity.

I dunno, just a little too much "You sure are fat, fatty," in that comic for me, even assuming the moderate good faith that you do in the author (the rumor might have been true, etc.). Setting up a very subjective and disempowering set of rules and then attacking someone for violating them seems unfair, and that's what I don't like about this comic.

As there are better ways to make the point that Raymond lacks integrity than depicting her as a literal whore, doing so is unjustified by the idea of satire.

I think that he has the right to make this comic, but that he should rightly be called out for it.
posted by klangklangston at 11:25 AM on November 23, 2007


That makes sense, klangklangston. As I said, making a comic like that is getting so close to dangerous territory that it's best avoided. And a comic like that will turn out to be misogynistic a huge portion of the time. I certainly don't think that making comics like that is a great hobby people should take up day to day. I just don't think that a comic like that is definitionally misogynistic. It just has a very high misogyny probability.

As for calling out this particular comic: Again, I think this comic is definitely misogynistic (er, well, actually, I'm not sure about one point of that: if someone has contempt and disrespect for everybody, as Cheung's followup seems to show, does that mean they're simultaneously misogynist and misandrist, or do the two combine to form Mighty Misanthrope, losing their individual characteristics, like the lions which make up Voltron?). However, I digress. Point is, I think the comic is insulting to women, and the fact that the rumour turned out untrue and yet Cheung stands behind it shows misogyny. So we agree, this comic is unfair, unlikeable, and Cheung should be called out for it.
posted by Bugbread at 6:13 PM on November 23, 2007


Actually, thinking about the comic again, I think that even in my hypothetical alternate-reality world, I'd still find the comic sexist, but for something really minor compared to the bukkake angle: the jab at the start about being unable to say "creative" (at least, I think that was the jab: I'm at work now, so I can't see the comic, and am working off my memory). Whether or not one thinks that bikini modelling by a producer is sufficient cause for satire or not, hopefully one will admit that there's at least some sort of tenuous link, even if one thinks it's unfair, biased, overly extreme, none-of-the-authors' business, etc. One might even deny that it's a link, but one would hopefully admit that it at least would serve as a weak excuse. But depicting her as an idiot is based on...absolutely nothing. There's not even an excuse for it. So while I might disagree with other folks on here about how the comic in this hypothetical alternate-reality world were misogynist, I'd still agree that, in the end, it was.

(Sorry, I'd forgotten about that bit until just now)
posted by Bugbread at 8:13 PM on November 23, 2007


Die, undead zombie thread. Die.
posted by majick at 8:55 PM on November 23, 2007


majick writes "Die, undead zombie thread. Die."

It's a zombie; it's already dead.
posted by Bugbread at 9:07 PM on November 23, 2007


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