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Forums - Politics Discussion - OK, so what is a "feminist game"?

I continue to observe a definite pattern here of people labeling a metric ton of games as "SJW" or "feminazi" or other online slurs and pejoratives like that that I often receive myself. I think it at this point it is worth taking just a moment to try and define exactly what it is that we mean by these things.

I definitely consider myself to be a feminist, but don't generally associate myself with the term social justice because when people say that they are advocates of social justice, I find that they tend to mean that they are subscribers to a range of ideas that I don't really agree with, such as intersectionality theory, Marxism, gender identity politics (stuff like the transgender movement), that sort of thing, or maybe would propose things like, to quote one actual example that I've seen online, "Every game should have every gender, and yes I mean transgender and queer-gender, so that we can have an equal world for all of us". Stuff like that. Like every game maybe should be like a modern BioWare game or another Overwatch or 2064: Read Only Memories in terms of like character selection or else narratively go down a checklist of oppressions (both real and perhaps sometimes imagined) to briefly speak to for the sake of PR points. No. I don't agree with that stuff and I think that this is the type of thing that people in communities like this often blow out of proportion and mistakenly attribute to people like me who are specifically feminists.

So what is a feminist game? It's a little subjective, I guess. Personally, I tend to embrace a fairly restrictive definition that includes only a small number of titles. In my mind, not just any game that has a female lead (including if it's in an action role or what have you) or an optional female protagonist is a "feminist game" or an "SJW game" either for that matter, and neither is just anything that has a significant role for women or for people of color or which is just like emotionally involving, perhaps humanist, in the abstract. The fact is that most people who play say the Tomb Raider games or Cosmic Star Heroine or The Last Guardian or That Dragon, Cancer (all games and franchises I have seen described as "feminist" and "SJW" in various places) don't consider themselves to be feminists and only so many may be politically left-leaning in any sense. There is a difference between a game being feminist-friendly and actually being political in a way that advocates for the advancement of girls and/or women. I enjoy all of these games, but seriously don't believe that these are like women's lib. titles unless your definition of that is so broad as to be pretty meaningless.

I consider myself to be specifically a lesbian feminist (which is the formal name of a specific range of political opinions, not simply being a feminist while also being gay), which means that I view feminism as being not about simply being a capable individual or about empathy in the abstract (in opposition to hatred or bigotry in the abstract, for example), but specifically about empathy between females. For me, feminism is about women loving each other. "Love" here doesn't necessarily have to mean sexual love or even romantic love. It can be familial love or the kind of bond that's shared between friends. It can be political or spiritual alliance. But feminism is definitely about females, not just "equality" or "inclusion" in the abstract. That's why it's called feminism, not humanism (which is what I feel that the social justice movement wants to turn it into).

Some games I consider feminist:

The Portal games
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Butterfly Soup
Gone Home
Magic Knight Rayearth
The Giana Sisters games
Lost Wage Rampage
The Left Behind DLC for The Last of Us if that is viewed separately from the main game.

Some other games with significant feminist elements:

The Life is Strange games
Crypt of the NecroDancer
Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor
Horizon: Zero Dawn

A disproportionate share of these games (compared to the overall average) were also made either by women solely or at least included a large number of women in major roles in the development process, it may be worth adding. For example, Butterfly Soup was made entirely by one woman, while Magic Knight Rayearth was created by an all-female development team and Portal, as I understand, was conceived of and directed by a woman.

You don't necessarily have to be a feminist to appreciate the above games, but you'll probably like them all better if you are.

Obviously feminist games are only a very small share of all the video games that I love, but they do tend to find them extra special and would place a lot of them high on my list of favorites. Not all, but a lot. Anyway, just wanted to clarify how I define feminist content in games. Do you have a different view?



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"I consider myself to be specifically a lesbian feminist (which is the formal name of a specific range of political opinions, not simply being a feminist while also being gay)"

https://youtu.be/j3Kgf_dEWjE



A game I haven't played



duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994

Portal is feminist game? In what respect? Is Glados supposed to be representative of the patriarchal society? That's bizarre.



AngryLittleAlchemist said:
"I consider myself to be specifically a lesbian feminist (which is the formal name of a specific range of political opinions, not simply being a feminist while also being gay)"

https://youtu.be/j3Kgf_dEWjE

What..is the deal..with this kind of reply?



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Megiddo said:
Portal is feminist game? In what respect? Is Glados supposed to be representative of the patriarchal society? That's bizarre.

In some ways, yes. Also, I think it may be worth pointing out the Portal story doesn't conclude on a note of enmity between Chell and Gladdos.



Jaicee said:
AngryLittleAlchemist said:
"I consider myself to be specifically a lesbian feminist (which is the formal name of a specific range of political opinions, not simply being a feminist while also being gay)"

https://youtu.be/j3Kgf_dEWjE

What..is the deal..with this kind of reply?

Just kidding. I liked your post. Well informed and interesting. I just had to find some way to justify listening to the Seinfeld bassline again. 

We need more different perspectives on VGChartz. Right now it's a sausage fest of people who think they are oppressed as White Anti-SJW Males.



AngryLittleAlchemist said:

Just kidding. I liked your post. Well informed and interesting. I just had to find some way to justify listening to the Seinfeld bassline again. 

We need more different perspectives on VGChartz. Right now it's a sausage fest of people who think they are oppressed as White Anti-SJW Males.

Lol, it's all good!



Jaicee said:
AngryLittleAlchemist said:
"I consider myself to be specifically a lesbian feminist (which is the formal name of a specific range of political opinions, not simply being a feminist while also being gay)"

https://youtu.be/j3Kgf_dEWjE

What..is the deal..with this kind of reply?

The point is that you are overthinking things. Seinfeld works as supplement to strengthen that point, because it was a sitcom built around humor that was overthinking pretty much everything.

You provide us with threads about things that this community wouldn't even think about, and it's pretty crazy. The quote AngryLittleAlchemist picked out of your original post... I've never even remotely imagined that there is such a thing. *insert my current profile picture as supplement for this paragraph*



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

Jaicee said:
Megiddo said:
Portal is feminist game? In what respect? Is Glados supposed to be representative of the patriarchal society? That's bizarre.

In some ways, yes. Also, I think it may be worth pointing out the Portal story doesn't conclude on a note of enmity between Chell and Gladdos.

I mean, in some ways, how? I can't think of a single time in the Portal games where the protagonist being a woman had any sort of effect on the story.  If all that's needed for feminism is a female protagonist then I guess I could see your point. I would think there'd have to be some sort of substance behind it though.  I'd say there's a heck of a lot of enmity at the end of Portal 2. The ending theme is literally "Want You Gone".