Eye Catching, 14-18 October 2013

This week’s edition of Eye Catching is a bit brief but mighty!  Enjoy!

Let’s talk a bit about girls and girl gamers. I think it makes sense, since we’re both.

[A related video, for your enjoyment.]

http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6550847/female-armor-sucks

Earlier, we linked to a Grand Theft Auto V article from the BBC News that contained a sidebar on the sexualization and objectification of women in video games.  For many years, stereotypes would have us believe that video games were the sole territory of men.  But, like everything theoretically gender specific, it just isn’t true.  Gaming is something anyone can do and anyone can be good at.  The sidebar, entitled “Role of Women,” posits that while the controversy surrounding GTA 5 and its depiction of women is worth examining, the real question is, “whether or not you think GTA’s gender issues matter outside of the game.”  A recent study by Stanford University suggests that these issues do matter outside of games and that playing hyper-sexualized and objectified characters may change how women view themselves and their bodies.

The focus of the study is body type and clothing style.  I don’t have to tell anyone who’s played a game after 1995 that women’s bodies and clothing styles seem test-marketed to male teens, supposedly the only consumers of video games.  And when female avatars are discussed, for some reason, it always includes their clothing, which is, in itself, very interesting.  When was the last time you read a discussion regarding Solid Snake’s outfit?

Our current favorite MMO, Guild Wars 2, offers a wide variety of armor for both genders and every race, as can be seen in the wiki’s armor gallery.  This allows players of both genders to dress their characters how they choose.  It would be interesting to see how women choose to dress their own characters when given a chance.  It would also be interesting to look at male players and their male characters.

Having read through the full study, (PDF available here) I find it to be a step in the right direction.  It is important to understand the effects all media has on how we perceive ourselves and reality.  The study itself is cautionary as the sampling was small, and composed only of college-educated women.  Further work is necessary on this topic.  Additionally, there are many other questions to ask and answer before we can say what effects our virtual selves have on our real life opinions.  Some questions I’m left asking, then, are: what about my male characters?  I do have some and I adore them.  Do I feel stronger, braver … more male while playing them?  What about non-human characters, another category that is present in many games.  Is my female charr just as sexy as a human? ~ Star

Charr from Guild Wars 2

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24066068 | BBC News

http://healthland.time.com/2013/10/14/how-using-sexy-female-avatars-in-video-games-changes-women/ | Time.com

Charity event

Pink Day in LA 2013

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Gamers Giving Back has organized another Pink Day in LA event for the Guild Wars community.  This year’s event will take place across both Guild Wars 1 and Guild Wars 2, with events being held in Lion’s Arch in an international district in the original game, and across multiple servers in the sequel.  The enthusiasm for this event seems pretty high as many of the high profile GW communities are promoting it on their sites and Twitter accounts.  And why not?  It’s a very worthy cause, with fun events and livestreaming mixed in.  Frankly, they had me at pink – any excuse to slap some pink dye on my characters and let them run around while bringing more awareness and fundraising for this research is a win-win in my book. ~ Sandra

* http://pinkday.gamergivingback.com/index.html | Pink Day in LA 2013, Gamers Giving Back

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