• darthbarracuda
    3k
    I want to hear your thoughts on the morality of objectifying women in the media.

    I am playing through my first session of the Witcher 3. It is supposed to be a "realistic" medieval-era dark fantasy. This means there is blood, gore, obscenities, political intrigue, ethical problems, and yes, sex.

    Sex appears in multiple ways. Since its goal is to be realistic, I can understand why prostitutes are in the cities, or why women typically have an "inferior" role in politics. That's what actually happened in the past: there were prostitutes in medieval cities, and women typically did not hold as much political power as men.

    However there are obvious (and sometimes tropish cliche) moments in which sex is used as eye-candy. The protagonist will have sex with one of his many sexually appealing sorceress "friends", and no nudity will be shown for the male protagonist but much nudity will be shown by the female characters. There's a scene where a female semi-protagonist takes a bath, for no real reason apart for showing off her assets. This same character wears decent clothing but with an additional opening in her shirt to reveal her bra and side boob, for no apparent reason apart from eye-candy. Almost all of the females in the game wear these utterly impractical and unrealistic clothing that objectifies them.

    On the other hand, Witcher 3 does well by giving women roles in the story, good background, strong abilities, etc. Women are shown to be capable and willing agents in themselves.

    But surely these positive qualities can't just "nullify" the objectifying quality of women in the game?

    So here are some questions:

    1.) Am I making a mistake by purchasing a form of media that objectifies women?

    2.) Should the objectification of women be outlawed?

    3.) Is this objectification the result of the oft-quoted "Patriarchy"?

    4.) Are women alright with this objectification, and does this have any importance to the debate?

    My own answers:

    1.) I'm not sure. On one hand, by buying the video game, I am indirectly supporting a media establishment that obviously objectifies women in some way to garner a profit. My purchase then could be said to be indirectly supporting the objectification of women, period, and thus supporting a meme that harms women. However, had I not purchased the game, this likely would not have affected anything substantially, because of my minor role as well as the fact that abstaining from purchase doesn't tell the developers why you abstained.

    2.) I don't think it should be outlawed. But I think it should be limited to media that one pays for. "Free" objectification of women via advertisements in the public sphere should be limited. But if one pays for something that objectifies women, then it is alright, so long as this objectification doesn't leave the private sphere and influence behavior in the public sphere. For example, people are going to masturbate to porn, no matter what their orientation is. If porn did not exist, they would find a new method of releasing the tension. If porn objectifies women, then dildos objectify men. If we can all come to an agreement that sex has an inherent "domination" and "subjugation" nature, no matter how intimate, then we can move on.

    The problem, though, is that men and women tend to go about their sexual interests in different ways. Men tend to judge things based on appearance, while women tend to not put as much emphasis on appearance. Thus men's sexuality is inherently objectifying in some sense. It is thus problematic to expect women to be content with the "equalizing" force of objectifying men, since they tend to not care as much about that.

    3.) No answer.

    4.) Not qualified to answer.

    Discuss.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    The rhetoric of "objectification" is completely untenable from a number of angles. And unfortunately, no one seems to be seriously, systematically challenging the untenable rhetoric.

    It seems a far bigger problem to me to see a focus on sexual appeal as a problem--and that's what tends to happen. Any focus on sex/sex appeal/sexual attactiveness/etc. is seen as "objectification" (and usually as "misogyny" etc.) It's disheartening how people let rhetoric like that take hold so that it winds up more or less becomes unquestioned and simply accepted as a norm for an entire generation, to an extent where it even starts influencing the opinions of other generations.

    1.) Am I making a mistake by purchasing a form of media that objectifies women?darthbarracuda

    You're making a mistake to accept the rhetoric you're accepting so that you'd parse this as objectification and/or as problematic.

    2.) Should the objectification of women be outlawed?darthbarracuda

    Holy moly no. No expression should be outlawed.

    3.) Is this objectification the result of the oft-quoted "Patriarchy"?darthbarracuda

    It's difficult to say what the rhetoric is the result of, because surely it's the result of many different factors. One of those factors seems to be people who are uncomfortable with sexuality, uncomfortable with their own bodies, their appearance, etc.

    4.) Are women alright with this objectification, and does this have any importance to the debate?darthbarracuda

    I know plenty of women who don't buy into the rhetoric about "objectification."
  • darthbarracuda
    3k
    The rhetoric of "objectification" is completely untenable from a number of angles. And unfortunately, no one seems to be seriously, systematically challenging the untenable rhetoric.

    It seems a far bigger problem to me to see a focus on sexual appeal as a problem--and that's what tends to happen. Any focus on sex/sex appeal/sexual attactiveness/etc. is seen as "objectification" (and usually as "misogyny" etc.) It's disheartening how people let rhetoric like that take hold so that it winds up more or less becomes unquestioned and simply accepted as a norm for an entire generation, to an extent where it even starts influencing the opinions of other generations.
    Terrapin Station

    I think it has more to do with women being unequal or "sex objects" than it has to do with sexuality in general. I'm all for making sexuality a common aspect of the public sphere. But I think there might be some issues with putting sexuality where it isn't needed, i.e. women being used to garner profits.

    Holy moly no. No expression should be outlawed.Terrapin Station

    Agreed, only they should be limited to the private spheres, and the private sphere should not affect the public sphere.

    I know plenty of women who don't buy into the rhetoric about "objectification."Terrapin Station

    Just playing devil's advocate here, the feminist would argue that these women don't know what's good for them. Indeed a lot of feminism seems to revolve around this aesthetic of the female nature and assuming every other female also wants to be this way. When in fact some females are okay with objectification. Feminists chalk this up to be the result of the Patriarchy, and it is the Patriarchy that is not allowing women to think for themselves.
  • wuliheron
    440
    The media objectifies anything that sells with, notably, male movie stars selling more tickets than females and "The Rock" who is a famous body building professional wrestler turned movie star being among the highest paid actors. In fact, the biggest money maker in mass media is football where men in tights, cups, and face masks fight over who gets to play with their balls. Its not patriarchy that is the problem, but money doing all the driving and nobody steering. Hence, the reason women's high heels increase in height the closer one gets to a major urban center where money becomes more important.

    Me, I don't watch violent sports where people get paid to kill and cripple each other and I refuse to support any number of extremes where money is obviously doing all the driving, but that's a personal choice.
  • CandyCoatedCamus
    252
    I think it has more to do with women being unequal or "sex objects" than it has to do with sexuality in general. I'm all for making sexuality a common aspect of the public sphere. But I think there might be some issues with putting sexuality where it isn't needed, i.e. women being used to garner profits.darthbarracuda

    I don't think women being viewed as sex objects makes is necessarily a bad thing. That is a benefit of being sexually attractive in both genders. It gives people power to be viewed as "objects" so I don't really see what the problem is with "objectification" anyway.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    I think it has more to do with women being unequal or "sex objects" than it has to do with sexuality in general.darthbarracuda

    What do you see as the difference between "sex object" and a focus on sex/sex appeal/sexual attactiveness/etc.?

    Agreed, only they should be limited to the private spheres, and the private sphere should not affect the public sphere.darthbarracuda

    I'm not in favor of any speech laws period.
    Just playing devil's advocate here, the feminist would argue that these women don't know what's good for them. Indeed a lot of feminism seems to revolve around this aesthetic of the female nature and assuming every other female also wants to be this way. When in fact some females are okay with objectification. Feminists chalk this up to be the result of the Patriarchy, and it is the Patriarchy that is not allowing women to think for themselves.darthbarracuda

    Yeah, but "I know what's good for you better than you do" and "You can't think for yourselves" are two things that are completely untenable.

    Also, sexuality isn't needed or not needed in any particular milieu. It's just a matter of what people are interested in focusing on in different contexts.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k


    Yeah, the whole premise of (as a problem) it is ridiculous. There's so much crappy theorizing supporting it.

    I also like how folks often say that objectification is a source for eating disorders and the like, while meanwhile you get people on the rabid anti-objectification side who look like, and who abuse their bodies like Andrea Dworkin. You're a lot better off worrying about your physical appearance, dieting and working out etc. in order to work on your appearance, than you are letting yourself go like Dworkin did.

    Re Dworkin, I don't know if she was raped or molested when she was younger, but she obviously never got the counseling she needed. Her husband--she was married to another radical feminist, though both of them were explicitly gay--said that she would sleep with a knife beside her for a persistent fear of someone breaking in and attacking/raping her.
  • jkop
    533
    The seditious rhetoric published by some feminists or gender theorists seems based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of description or portrayal.

    Granted that the way in which a person or group is publicly portrayed in media can be unfair or misleading. But unfair or misleading portrayals neither diminish nor objectify anything literally.

    Only social constructionists, or the like, would believe such nonsense; because for them there is no truth beyond our public interaction with words or pictures. As if injustice against women would be caused by how they're portrayed in public.

    But to show a breast, for instance, is a way to identify a portrayed person as a woman, like wide shoulders can identify men. Neither is thereby diminished into an object.
  • Hanover
    5.8k
    Why use a PG13 example, but instead just ask if graphic porn depicting women in subservient and even degrading roles should be limited to the public?
  • jkop
    533

    Porn is public, more now than ever before. Previous attempts to limit its presence are motivated by sex being considered taboo, not primarily by how women are portrayed (those attempts didnt 'exclude female friendly porn).
  • Hanover
    5.8k
    Sure, there is egalitarian porn, but much is not, but objectifies women and presents them in subservient roles.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    Only a very small fraction of porn has women in subservient or "degrading" roles.

    An equal amount--still a small fraction, though more than above--features women in domineering roles, with men in subservient or "degrading" roles.

    Of course, there's also lesbian dominatrix, bondage etc. porn, where women are in both roles.

    But the vast majority of porn isn't master/slave, bondage etc. stuff.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    2k
    Just playing devil's advocate here, the feminist would argue that these women don't know what's good for them. Indeed a lot of feminism seems to revolve around this aesthetic of the female nature and assuming every other female also wants to be this way. When in fact some females are okay with objectification. Feminists chalk this up to be the result of the Patriarchy, and it is the Patriarchy that is not allowing women to think for themselves. — darthbarracuda

    Not exactly. It's true that many women agree and participate in Patriarchy, but this is not surprising given the culture they are raised in and that it is sometimes beneficial for them to engage in this culture. Following a surrounding culture can get people things whichcannot obtained any other way.

    The problem is this has nothing to do with objectification. Objectification is a question of thoughts and actions which ignore a person's agency and reduce them to a tool for achieving another's desire. It's almost impossible to objectify oneself. Short of asserting other people can do whatever they want with you, that you are only there to be used for their desire, one does not objectify themselves.

    In this context, objectification is gravely misunderstood. Many think it is the question of the mere presence of a body, the women showing skin or dressing up to look "nice" the stripper showing a naked body to others or someone choosing to let the public observe their sexual behaviour. It's not. The objectification comes from other in these instances. Those who cannot not think beyond the idea that the person in front of them is a tool for their desire.

    With respect to the topic of this thread, objectification is an action of others.

    The stripper doesn't objectify herself by stripping. People watching might do that. Others might record her and do that, either by not having consent to do so and/or by presenting the recorded material the a culture of objectification. It is others who consider her only an object for sexual consumption. Their actions are the issue, not her naked body or that people are feeling sexual desire.

    To say: "but she objectified herself. She wanted me to reduce her to a sexual object" is nothing more than a denial of responsibility and ethical culpability. The objectifier's act is masqueraded as the existence of the woman, to make the action of the objectifier invisible.

    If porn objectifies women, then dildos objectify men. If we can all come to an agreement that sex has an inherent "domination" and "subjugation" nature, no matter how intimate, then we can move on. — darthbarracuda

    It's actually that very idea that blocks understanding objectification. In thinking of obtaining sex as a question of "domination" and "subjugation," one considers it an act of power in which the other person has no role. Everyone is seeking to possess everyone else and not giving the thoughts and desires of other people every respect.

    Sex is not a question of inherent domination and subjugation. Ethically, it is a question of choices and respect. One has sex when someone else wants to, not just when they want to. A question not of dominance and subservience, but of sharing.
  • Wosret
    3.2k
    Objectification is wrong to the extent that the person is depersonalized, and viewed not as a free self-directed agent, but a thing to be used for a purpose. People can be used for purposes, but they probably wouldn't like it referred to as being "used", should expect at least equal benefits from the co-operative venture, and just in general is approached entirely differently.

    I think that most feel ripped off though unless they take out more than they put in. Equivalent exchange doesn't seem as good as getting more than everyone else -- thing is, that if we all take out more than we put in, then things start getting shitty pretty fast.

    The worst thing about porn I think, is that people learn sex from there, and it's a really nasty teacher.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    2k


    He's not specifically talking about slave/bondage stuff though. The point is about the subservient way women are presented in most porn, where they are just a body to be used for male desire In this respect, some slave/bondage porn is actually better than a whole lot of mainstream stuff. What's at stake here is not who's said to be in charge, but rather whether an instance of porn considers the viewpoint and desires of the women involved.
  • apokrisis
    5k
    The debate boils down to the difference between what is publicly acceptable and what is privately acceptable. And what can't work is if one side tries to claim some kind of absolute right over the other. It has to be worked out as a "healthy balance" (which is where the actual philosophising would start).

    So clearly hardcore porn is acceptable in liberated western society. The people involved get paid - and a business contract makes pretty much anything OK under that norm. But also it is not acceptable to then enjoy your purchased hardcore porn in a public setting. You don't sit there on the train or with your kids on the couch watching it, unless you want to be classified as a sicko.

    So as an activity, it has a highly negotiated status. It is a legitimate private pastime. Until society decides the rules of decorum need to be changed again.

    The objectification of woman debate is then about the public realm end of this public~private negotiation.

    Can women be treated as porn objects if they don't get properly paid in some fashion? Is it a public realm problem if men are being encouraged to think of women generally in this socially limiting fashion? Are the cliches of fantasy gamers eroding a valuable distinction hardwon by social justice movements of the last century, or instead are they post-modern enough to wear their sleaze lightly and self-consciously?

    One can have all sorts of views about what is in the end the healthiest balance between the social and private sphere. But it begins with a recognition that both are legitimate interests. And then that the really difficult moral question becomes "well, what is the ultimate goal here?".

    What kind of society does modern society want to be?
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    The point is about the subservient way women are presented in most porn,TheWillowOfDarkness

    But that point is false, at least in any sense that could be correlated with anything objective.

    where they are just a body to be used for male desire In this respect,TheWillowOfDarkness

    If you were to subjectively interpret porn that way for some reason, how in the world wouldn't you interpret it just as much that men are just a body to be used for female desire? (etc. for whatever the gender composition of the porn in question happens to be--a very large amount of porn is lesbian, and then there is a significant amount of male homosexual porn, porn with more than two people having sex together, porn involving trans genders, etc.)

    but rather whether an instance of porn considers the viewpoint and desires of the women involved.TheWillowOfDarkness

    How would you interpret film in general to either consider or not consider the viewpoint and desires of any character?

    When people make comments like yours, by the way, it's extremely difficult to imagine that you watch much porn or that you watch a wide variety of porn.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k


    Just as a notice to you all, I've played The Witcher 3 (TW3) for about 100 hours, so take that admission however you like, :-*

    1.) Am I making a mistake by purchasing a form of media that objectifies women?darthbarracuda

    This particular question appears to stem from some worry that you're partaking in something you're not necessarily wanting to. In principle, are you getting on the media's hype train about the bad, bad, bad objectification of women in video games simply by playing said video games? I wouldn't say so, just as I wouldn't see you as indulging in some sick, perverted indulgence by viewing a Baroque painting that objectifies the sensual, heavenly motifs of a noblewoman emulating Venus or Mary. Yes, she's nearly nude, is of luminescent skin, is matronly yet not obese, but that's okay. Objectification need not always be negative. Sometimes the norm is beautiful, in at least some sense. That is, the suggestion of someone being in part an object quite distinctly relates to what is whole and unshakable in that person, such as their character. And I don't find that as bad. Although, perhaps I'm just not wanting to fully commit to modern feminists' definitions of objectification and what that word entails.

    2.) Should the objectification of women be outlawed?

    Should the objectification of men be outlawed as well? TW3, more than in any other serious RPG that I've played, objectifies men more than women. The amount of aloof and downright morally bankrupt men in TW3 far exceeds women of equal measure, at least in my play-through. I'm reminded of the village guards (always male) farting and making silly noises, laughing as though pigs, often sleeping lazily on the job, and generally not being very intelligent or upstanding. Now, I suppose some modern feminists would interject and say, "all men are like this, so CDPR is just presenting the facts!" but if that's the case, then you can see the hypocrisy from a mile out. If women are presented as 'peasantly' as their husbands and brothers, there can only be seen a kind of equality in that. And so, the reality is that these "feminists" really only want men to always be categorized as brutish and obtuse, and for women not to be.

    3.) Is this objectification the result of the oft-quoted "Patriarchy"?

    Well, considering again the game that underpins your questioning, the fact that I can let an objectively manly woman rule Skellige, let Ciri rule damn-near half the world as an Empress, let the various female witches and mages control philosophy and the sciences, let a woman (like Yen) dictate my own life after the conclusion of the story (me being Geralt, of course), strikes me as a game presenting a world anything but ruled by some ingrained "patriarchy" when indeed a matriarchy is more likely in most situations.

    4.) Are women alright with this objectification, and does this have any importance to the debate?

    Seeing as I am so clearly a privileged white male living in secular America, I certainly wouldn't dare speak on behalf of women here, as you also wisely admit :P

    Plus, Momma Moliere might hit me with a book, which would be a bad introducing of myself O:)

    ~

    I'll add, though, that I find TW3 to be both the best game I've ever played, but also one of the best stories I've had the privilege of living. I was really blown away when after the game came out that there were people who not only mildly disliked the game, but were vehemently upset about the contents of so well-crafted a work of art, really.

    I also think that a few people forget that you can essentially do what you want in the game. My play-through of TW3 was one where I consciously went about my play with celibacy in mind, respect for everyone that deserved such respect, only doing this or that when I needed to - I didn't have to screw everything in sight. That you can, though, creates a more real and believable world, because like our own, a great many people do play themselves in this reality like a vindictive, selfish Geralt. That CDPR gives us the option, the choice, with whether or not we want to be "non-patriarchal" or "objectifying" should be reason enough for widespread praise, not condemnation, from certain people. That I can live Geralt's life just as I try and live my own is a special thing, especially in a video game. This relation connects to other forms of art as well, where I often very much "favorite" a certain character in a book, or even in a painting, for their similarity with myself. So, yes, there may be a great many genuinely misogynistic players that go about their time in TW3 just as they would in their own lives, but there are those like me who, on the other hand, do the same in a more respectful and loving way, too.
  • Nagase
    194
    Only social constructionists, or the like, would believe such nonsense; because for them there is no truth beyond our public interaction with words or pictures. As if injustice against women would be caused by how they're portrayed in public.jkop

    Indeed. That's why those people who drafted libel laws are all "social constructionists".
  • jkop
    533

    Really? Or is that just postmodern "irony"?
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    1.) Am I making a mistake by purchasing a form of media that objectifies women?

    A moral mistake? No. Presuming pornography is not inherently immoral, the only mistake you could potentially make is having purchased a game which does not cater to your sexual orientation.

    2.) Should the objectification of women be outlawed?

    Yes and we should incarcerate Beyoncé for being the incorrigible sex pirate that she is (she pilfers the female figure). Obviously, no, we should not outlaw Beyoncé.

    3.) Is this objectification the result of the oft-quoted "Patriarchy"?

    If it's fair to say that scantly clad women in The Witcher 3 is due to "patriarchy" then it must also be fair to say that dildos and vibrators are a direct result of "matriarchy". So, no.

    4.) Are women alright with this objectification, and does this have any importance to the debate?

    Some women are, some women aren't, but the outcome of the debate should not depend on the genitalia of whomever gives the first or final nod or head-shake.

    The issue can be otherwise phrased like this: If a woman wants to objectify herself for profit, is it alright for another person to forbid and prevent her from doing so (up to and including incarceration) because they don't want her to be able to do so or think it is wrong?

    If a man creates a fictional woman, and then sexually objectifies it, is it O.K for other people to forbid and obstruct him from doing so? If so, on what grounds? The fictional person is being exploited? The fictional genitalia resembles the genetalia of some real women, thereby giving them proprietary rights over the female form?

    I think not.

    P.S. See: Sex-positive and sex-negative feminism. (think: free love vs the temperance movement)
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    I want to hear your thoughts on the morality of objectifying women in the media.darthbarracuda

    No digital character suffered in making or playing Witcher 3.

    The claim that the game is a "realistic" medieval-era dark fantasy" is absurd. It most assuredly is not realistic. Want realistic? Go to the hardware store, buy a pitchfork, and then kill somebody with it. Then you will have had a somewhat realistic medieval experience. [This suggestion is void where prohibited by law; the suggested action may result in adverse consequences. Severe penalties may apply.]

    1.) Am I making a mistake by purchasing a form of media that objectifies women?darthbarracuda

    Your mistake is thinking you can offend a digital female character in a game.

    2.) Should the objectification of [actual] women be outlawed?darthbarracuda

    I say NO. First, because it isn't clear to me what does and does not constitutes objectification. Second, whatever objectification is, it is first a thought and I am not in favor of outlawing thoughts.

    3.) Is this objectification the result of the oft-quoted "Patriarchy"?darthbarracuda

    Patriarchy is one of several bogeymen lurking with the intent under feminists' beds. Objectification is another one. How many bogeymen can lurk with the intent under a narrow, single bed?

    4.) a) Are women alright with this objectification, and b) does this have any importance to the debate?darthbarracuda

    a) Nobody knows what women want, and b) none whatsoever.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    IF in the real world you were to force a woman to appear naked or to expose various sexual parts in a dramatic production of some kind (like in a 30 minute XXX sex tape), you would have quite explicit criminal legal problems. On the other hand, if the same woman explicitly agrees to appear naked, or to expose various sexual parts -- and even to have sex with multiple partners -- in your dramatic production, your main legal problem would concern copyright and distribution rights.

    We will presume that the sex tape viewers will entertain all sorts of lewd and lascivious thoughts about the dramatis personae appearing in your esteemed production. Their thoughts will affect neither the characters appearing in the sex tape, nor the actual artistes who performed the various sex acts. All the patriarchal objectification in the world will have zero effect.

    If a man finishes your excellent sex tape, feels unsatisfied, and leaves his apartment and pounces on the first woman he meets, jerking off all over her face right in front of a Walmart, he will have lots of criminal legal problems to deal with. Patriarchal objectification will be the least of his worries. Had he gone into a Starbuck coffee shot, bought a latte, and mentally stripped, fondled, and screwed silly all of the females in the joint, he would be guilty of nothing more than patriarchal objectification IF, AND ONLY IF the Feminine Protection League could prove exactly what he was thinking.
  • zookeeper
    72
    I do find issues of representation/objectification/etc interesting and worth of attention, just as I do things like structural racism, but I do think it's a huge mistake to try to frame them as a matter of personal ethical choices.

    A lot of games present women in objectified roles? Sure, you can look at the statistics and conclude that there is a problem in there somewhere, but you cannot blame anyone in particular for it. You can't blame anyone who chose to make a game which happens to have women in objectified roles, and you can't blame anyone for playing one. The problem is too elusive for you to be able to determine whether it's actually happening in any particular instance or not, as is the chain of causation which supposedly leads to ethically relevant real-world consequences.

    We can't know whether someone didn't hire a person because of their ethnicity or for some other reason. We can't know whether the shallow and sexualized female character someone wrote is depiction or endorsement. Making it into an ethical question for public debate is a moot point because only the person involved can know. Now, as I said I do find the issues interesting and worth of attention, but pointing fingers is usually pointless because almost everyone has plausible deniability.
  • Nagase
    194


    No "postmodern irony" (?), just the logical conclusion of an argument using your premise:

    (1) Only "social constructionists" believe that there could be harm from how someone is portrayed in public;

    (2) Those who drafted libel laws clearly thought that some harm originated from how someone is portrayed in public;

    (C) Therefore, those who drafted libel laws are "social constructionists".

    The argument is valid. If you deny the conclusion, you must deny either (1) or (2). I think (2) is obvious. What about you? Do you accept (C), or do you reject (1), (2), or both?
  • darthbarracuda
    3k
    I realize that digital characters, for all intensive purposes, cannot actually be said to suffer. But these characters are representations of an entire sex. The developers made a choice: should we make women wear normal, modest clothing, or should we make them wear absurdly impractical and sexually arousing clothing?
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    But these characters are representations of an entire sex.darthbarracuda
    I always think it's ridiculous when anyone reads anything that way. They're depictions of those particular fictional characters.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    c
    these characters are representations of an entire sex. The developers made a choicedarthbarracuda

    Human characters in a game, a novel, or a film are not representations of all humanity or an entire sex. Yes, if they are human characters they have to have some human characterizations, otherwise they would be aliens of some sort, but by no means are they representations of humankind. The plot has to make "human sense" or it might not seem like a plot at all.

    There is always a danger of players, readers, or viewers taking the artifices of fiction literally. Young children who watch a horror movie may not be able to take the monsters as anything but literal fact, and are scared out of their wits by what might be in the dark closet, the dark attic or cellar, the dark forest, and so on. but as we mature we are supposed to be able to make the distinctions between fiction and fact.

    When you "kill" a character in a game, or read of a character killed in a novel or read of a character killed in a novel, do you take that to mean that you should then kill real people? Or that the good or bad character represents all good or bad people? Most likely you do not.

    A carefully written novel or well made film can depict people very subtly, accurately, and believably -- but the characters are not in fact real. That is why we can read novels in which characters are killed, murdered, tortured, raped, etc. without being incited to kill, murder, torture, rape, or even annoy greatly real people--persons in the flesh.

    You suspend disbelief while you play the game, read, watch the movie--for the moment it seems very real. But when it is over, the voluntary suspension of disbelief ends.
  • jkop
    533

    I don't deny the validity of your conclusion, but it ain't sound. It is selective and misleading, because my statement, which is selectively used in your argument, is not directed at those who find libel unfair but at those who believe that an unfair portrayal could somehow objectify or diminish what it portrays. It takes magical thinking, social constructionism, or the like, to believe that a mere utterance or depiction could diminish or objectify what it portrays. But one does not have to be a social constructionist to find portrayals unfair or draft libel laws against them.
  • Nagase
    194
    I don't deny the validity of your conclusion, but it ain't sound. It is selective and misleading, because my statement, which is selectively used in your argument, is not directed at those who find libel unfair but at those who believe that an unfair portrayal could somehow objectify or diminish what it portrays. It takes magical thinking, social constructionism, or the like, to believe that a mere utterance or depiction could diminish or objectify what it portrays. But one does not have to be a social constructionist to find portrayals unfair or draft libel laws against them.jkop

    I don't see how I'm using your statement "selectively" in my argument (if anything, it seems that you're the one who's using it "selectively" here). You said that it takes magical thinking or "social constructivism" in order to "to believe that a mere utterance or depiction could diminish or objectify what it portrays". But then you go on to say that one does not need that in order to find "portrayals unfair or draft libel laws against them". Now, presumably, the purpose of libel laws is to redress harm. In particular, it redress the harm constituted by an unfair portrayal. So why are feminists selectively singled out as requiring magical thinking when they point out that some portrayals of women constitute harm?
  • jkop
    533
    I don't see how I'm using your statement "selectively" in my argument. . . .Nagase

    It is open to read in my post (e.g. "Granted that some.. portrayals are unfair or misleading...") that here I'm not primarily concerned with the right or wrong of portrayals but the relation in the assumption that one could be diminished or objectified by them. In social constructionism, for instance, it is assumed (incorrectly) that our reality would be constructed by they ways we portray it.

    You omit what is said in my post, and instead misuse one of it sentences in a related but different context, libel, which concerns the right and wrong of portrayals. The shift of context makes the sentence appear ironic or irrational, which seems to be your primary concern. But your argument isn't sound, just vengeful sophistry disguised as "logic".
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