On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

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Daedalus
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Daedalus » Aug 14th, 2011, 21:32

Cmon wrote:Don't pretend like you didn't know this would happen. You placed a great weight on thin blade of grass. It was bound to happen. On the other hand, I think that it's a very important discussion to be had.
I was well aware that it would happen based on my knowledge of those who populate the board. I would not have established specific parameters if I had not foreseen this circumstance.

Whether or not you deem a discussion to be important is irrelevant in the context of this thread. Please feel free to establish a topic elsewhere on the board for general discussion of women, as this thread, as can be seen from the first post and its title, has nothing to do with societal or socio-political impressions on the female kind. It is a personal sharing of feelings on playing as females in video games.

You exceed your standing and show a poor display of good will. Respect the rules of my thread and participate, or create another according to the discussion you deem to be of importance. If you feel it necessary to rather attempt to usurp my thread and then cast it into my face when I attempt to gently redirect it to its intended purpose, I would prefer that you get out of it.
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Cmon » Aug 14th, 2011, 23:28

Daedalus wrote:So let us discuss, Posty participant — what are your general thoughts, habits and feelings on playing as girls in video games and why so?
You asked my opinion yet you put rules keeping me from telling you. Understanding how I feel about real life is a crucial part in understanding why I would choose a female character over male character. If my opinion was not important, I would rather you not ask for it. Everything I said was relevant to this topic also providing a good discussion about female equality in real life. I don't understand how I show a poor display of good will...
I think you didn't see any of the humor in my post, which is completely understandable. I did not intend to make you feel that you were to blame for us going "off topic". I wanted you to see that it was inevitable and instead of turning your back on it, you should join in and be more open-minded. I'm also upset that I'm being singled out when it takes more than one to have a discussion.
Daedalus wrote: I would prefer that you get out of it.
Consider it done, my apologies.

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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Panoptic Blur » Aug 15th, 2011, 01:24

Daedalus wrote:I would prefer that you get out of it.
Cmon wrote:Consider it done, my apologies.
Resolved like gentlemen. My hat is off to you both, Cerberus giblets and all.

Concerning the issue of female snipers, I'm less certain that there's any preference for females. I know during the Soviet response to Operation Barbarossa (Germany's invasion in 1941) and during Operation Bagration (USSR's counteroffensive in 1944), the Soviets fielded many female snipers. It's unclear whether this was because the female physiology specifically favored designated-marksman mission profiles, or just because of a shortage of personnel. Barbarossa certainly reduced much of the Soviet fighting force in the early years of the Great Patriotic War, and until the Soviet military could relocate their Far East army and regain their wartime production, they were scrambling for resources, materiel, and personnel wherever they could find them. This probably had more to do with fielding female snipers (use whatever resources you can) than any scientific finding of superior female suitability for that specific task.

Anecdotally, among my shooting circles, I can report that most females tend to be shorter and lighter than males, so the specific act of firing a long-arm transfers a greater impulse to their frame than for a male shooter. This may not be much of a drawback, given adequate training. More problematically, almost all of the female shooters complained of discomfort from placing the long-arm stock against breast tissue. Apparently the difficulty comes not so much from the composition of fatty tissue in the bracing area, but more from the inverted angle of flesh. For most male shooters, the muscle mass is either flat or slightly thicker at the top than at the bottom (because of pectoral muscles and ancillary muscle at the top, and only pectoral muscles at the bottom) whereas the opposite is true for females because of the shape of breast tissue.

A woman who had modest fatty tissue coverage (read as: smaller breasts), or who had enough muscle mass to fully absorb the recoil like a male colleague, might not have this problem.

This is apparently easily corrected with a properly shaped buttstock for the long-arm, where the surface is "inverted", but most long-arms are typically calibrated for a male user's brace. The awkwardness of the bracing surface angle means the kickback is higher for females, and the softer surface tissue absorbs less recoil, making the "punch" harder.

One significant consideration with designated marksmen (or markswomen) is that their mission profiles typically require them to remain out of the main fighting. The primary reason cited by sex-segregated militaries against female inclusion is usually some argument along the lines of concerns about combat-readiness of a lighter, less muscular combatant. True or not, the sniper's typical mission profile minimizes these cited weaknesses. This may explain the Soviets' willingness to train and field 2,000 female snipers during WWII.
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by NAto » Aug 15th, 2011, 16:46

Whether you believe in nature or nurture, I just can't see a woman coping very well psychologically as a sniper. Please keep in mind that the exception doesn't disprove the rule, or aggregate. I don't see them performing very well as soldiers at all anyway. I'm sure there are some great female soldiers out there, but overall men are - on average - physically superior and better socialised for any kind of combat situation. I know two snipers personally; the psychological and physical feats they had to perform are incredible.

I role-play a lot in my head, even when I'm by myself; I struggle to assume the role of a woman in combat situations (for the above reasons).

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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Panoptic Blur » Aug 15th, 2011, 20:44

Mentality wise, I'd say the genders are probably pretty close. You put a person through enough preparation, training, and acclimatization, and they'll be ready to kill regardless of their gender. In the Eritrean Civil War, one division of Eritrean forces was made up entirely of 40,000 female soldiers, and they earned a special reputation for brutality and effectiveness (even today, one quarter of the Eritrean armed forces are female).

It's the physical hardships of warfare (forced marching, lugging supplies and ammunition, and the rigors of close combat engagements) that have held back integration of the armed forces historically. As militaries become more mechanized, this becomes less of an issue, because there are an increasing number of mission profiles where a lighter, less muscular frame is irrelevant. In fact, for tank crews, submarines, and other constrained spaces, it's possible that female traits (smaller size especially) would be a significant benefit.

Boiled down, my view is that a woman can aim a gun and pull a trigger just as well as a man can. If you put her through the same mental preparation as you put a man through (whether that's a formal army training plan, or the chaotic horrors of a lifetime of war and violence), she'll be fully capable of doing it, too. I don't have a problem believing that.

I do have a problem believing it if she's clearly not dressed for her situation, or doesn't behave like a realistic combatant might. If a studio is going to put a woman in an FPS, they should at least do the work to explain why she's there and making her fit the story. If they don't have the courtesy to spend that time on verisimilitude, then I don't have the patience to play their game.
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by NAto » Aug 16th, 2011, 09:59

Psychologically speaking yes, if you raise a woman from birth a certain way then she will be psychologically capable for it. At the same time such a thing would be very cruel, as she'd have a harder time fitting into society. Better to just use men who are at least partly socialised for it.

The one sniper I know was a recce and he mentioned there was a woman sapper in his group who did an incredible job. Like I say, I'm not flinging mud at women; I realise they're capable.

Physically however there is just no comparison. I've got enough experience in martial arts (weapons included) to know that the average woman stands no chance against the average man. One might refer to mechanisation and ranged weapons, fine, but there is still a lot of close combat and if I was in that situation I'd rather the soldier to me left and right had every advantage possible. Think of climbing difficult terrain, loading heavy ammunition, carrying heavy weapons, etc. There are many situations where the heavy gunner can die and the in split second timing the groups survival could depend on the woman handling that heavy weapon. It's just a continual risk. Sometimes of course the woman can be good enough at her job that the risk is worth it, but it'd still be preferable to use a man if you can.

Funny enough the thing which keeps coming to mind, is my death knight in World of Warcraft (which I don't play anymore): I just couldn't see a woman weilding a massive axe kicking ass like that. Obviously magic-users then brings a new aspect to the debate however...

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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Panoptic Blur » Aug 16th, 2011, 19:28

Some clarification might be helpful:

1. Men typically tend to be larger, more muscular, and more aggressive than women. I believe we are both agreed on this point.
2. Combat in general involves the above factors. However, combat also rewards other separate factors such as training, available equipment, and surrounding conditions. These other factors are generally not reliant upon gender-specific traits.
3. Therefore, if the combat situation is heavily dependent only on strength, size, and aggression, then a male will typically be more suitable for the situation than a female. (I say "typically" because there are outliers for each gender, ranging from small weak men to large strong women.)
4. Conversely, in a combat situation where other factors (training, equipment, and surroundings) are important and size, strength, and aggression are not important, a typical male will not be any more or less suitable than a female.

The question is: how often do you expect to see 3. (a situation where the male traits are a benefit) and how often do you expect to see 4. (a situation where the male traits are not). I think our main difference of opinion is here - a disagreement of how frequently one or the other crops up in conflict situations.

If you expect to see 3. most frequently, then women in the military would be a rarity. Before the advent of gunpowder this was almost always the case - even iconic female soldiers like Joan of Arc tended to act in leadership roles rather than arm-against-arm fighting roles. After gunpowder, poor-bloody-infantry roles still require the use of the muscular advantages you list, and many modern armies still exclude females from regular infantry for that reason.

If you expect to see 4. most frequently, then women in the military would be common. Although body strength is still usefully applied to many situations (such as the logistics and heavy weapons handling you describe), the absolute lower boundary is significantly more elastic. Outside of the poor-bloody-infantry, with less emphasis on hauling packs or hefting a blade, the muscular disadvantage of a female is less pronounced. Mission profiles that involve machinery, special equipment, specialized training, and so forth will generally go to whoever shows a special aptitude for them regardless of gender. Some specific mission profiles actually favor female physiology - women are less likely to black out at high-g aerial maneuvers than men are, because of shorter blood vessels in the neck.

External political or manpower issues may also factor in - most integrated armies also have social policies that encourage gender equality. In the cases of Russia and Eritrea, manpower shortages also likely placed a higher value on any soldier who was willing and able to fight, regardless of gender. Depending on mission profile, the fact that a female soldier can carry less equipment weight of her male counterpart may be far less important than the fact that she's willing and able to put themselves in harm's way to attack the enemy, during a time when most citizens are not. (Female snipers being a key example of this.)

One other argument against inclusion of women in the military, which has now largely fallen out of favor, was that a female's effect on morale would be negative. In part this was from concerns over sexual relations between soldiers and all the attendant complications and distractions, but lately this has largely been subsumed into a matter of general troop discipline rather than any issue peculiar to gender alone. (The exact same dynamic was at work with the US Army's ban against homosexual soldiers, which has now been overturned.)

The only other morale argument I've heard was that male troops suffer a greater morale hit when they witness a female colleague's death or injury in combat than when they witness a male colleague's death or injury. As this seems to be more of a psychology issue, I am unaware of the armed forces issuing any specific finding on its validity. Presumably the US Army's policies of gender integration indicate that it is not particularly persuasive.

There is one point you make that I'll refute specifically though:
NAto wrote:Physically however there is just no comparison. I've got enough experience in martial arts (weapons included) to know that the average woman stands no chance against the average man.
That has not been my experience. I trained in the military for a year*, and I studied martial arts** as a civilian for two decades. The closest I could come to your statement might be "the average male combatant typically enjoys an advantage in striking strength and reach", which is nothing even close to saying "the female stands no chance". My legal experience bears this out too: a significant portion of the criminal cases I reviewed involve a female defendant and a dead male after a physical confrontation that went wrong - and in many of the cases, the woman wasn't even specifically trying to kill the male but was acting out of self-defense.

* UK Royal Air Force, 1994-95.
** Shaolin changquan, shotokan karate, judo, aikido, sanshou, mantis changquan, krav maga.
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by NAto » Aug 17th, 2011, 10:47

Some clarification might be helpful:

1. Agreed. I’d like to that men are better at non-verbal communication which probably leads to better cohesion in the group. Also men are more rational :lol: I can’t think of anything academic for this one, but come on… Women are wonderful, but this simple face is still true. I would say that a woman’s cognitive ability is equal to that of a man, but lacks in decision making capability.
2. I would say that equipment and environment do rely on gender specific traits. For and extreme example, a woman would be able to squeeze through tighter spots better while on the other hand a man would be able to march for longer with more equipment.
3 and 4. Well I would say that combat situations are more often than not have a combination of the two, which is my point.

My argument is basically the following:
1. Combat situations most often combine points 3 and 4 above.
2. Men are better suited physically for most (let’s assume more than 50% of situations) combat situations.
3. Men are equal to women in cognitive ability, however are better at decision making.
4. If you combine these factors you have an overall advantage of men over women as soldiers in the broadest possible sense.
External political or manpower issues may also factor in - most integrated armies also have social policies that encourage gender equality. In the cases of Russia and Eritrea, manpower shortages also likely placed a higher value on any soldier who was willing and able to fight, regardless of gender. Depending on mission profile, the fact that a female soldier can carry less equipment weight of her male counterpart may be far less important than the fact that she's willing and able to put themselves in harm's way to attack the enemy, during a time when most citizens are not. (Female snipers being a key example of this.)
Well men are in shortage and it’s the difference between have a fighting chance and losing outright, then by all means! I won’t argue with this one.
[Points on morale.]
I agree with these points. I suppose the effectiveness of a soldier is also related to his/her ability to act as a team.
There is one point you make that I'll refute specifically though:…
Well men have better muscle coordination, are stronger and have better reach (on average). I’ve fought against the number two in the world female kickboxer (ISKA and Goju-Ryu affiliation). We both practiced kickboxing, karate (goju ryu), aikido, muay thai and jiu-jitsu (only the hand to hand of what we did). She had far more experience and technique than I did, however we were quite evenly matched because of the factors I mentioned above. My reach was a massive problem to her and when our fighting reached the ground I could overpower her technique quite often. I saw her fighting our teacher (who had equal experience) and he dominated her completely. I use her because no other female has ever been a match for me in combat. Sure there are exceptions, but the exception doesn’t disprove the aggregate. I’m sure there are many unseen correlations with your legal cases. Speaking of exceptions I saw that same girl knock a 115kg, 6’2’’ man to the ground, which was quite amusing.
Let me put it this way: If a woman and a man who have equal experience in combat fight with each other, then on average the man will win because of his physical advantage.

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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Panoptic Blur » Jan 24th, 2013, 05:26

Further to this debate, the second-largest army in the world (USA) has decided to end its ban on women in front-line combat. BBC News Article

A more in-depth argument for the inclusion of women in front-line combat forces was published in the November/December 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs.
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Umnir » Jan 24th, 2013, 09:34

Sexual equality I guess. That's what women want right? Now apply conscription. :)
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Panoptic Blur » Jan 24th, 2013, 17:33

Umnir wrote:Sexual equality I guess. That's what women want right? Now apply conscription. :)
Fun fact: The world's first-largest army (mainland China) has a law allowing conscription, but they have never had to enforce it because volunteer applications have always been high enough to fill the required numbers. Conscription only applies to males, not females, and the Chinese armed forces still do not allow female soldiers to serve in front-line positions.
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Umnir » Jan 25th, 2013, 09:19

Panoptic Blur wrote:volunteer applications have always been high enough to fill the required numbers.
Probably due discriminating society, such as getting good or high position job when army has been served. Also in martial societies (such as Finland), refusing conscription is still considered unpatriotic.
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Daedalus » Jan 25th, 2013, 09:21

China will grow larger.
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Umnir » Jan 25th, 2013, 09:33

Until some communist kills shitloads of his own people again
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Re: On Assuming The Role of the Female In Video Games

Post by Panoptic Blur » Jan 25th, 2013, 17:43

Daedalus wrote:China will grow larger.
Doubtful, depending on specific meaning. China may grow more powerful, that's possible (although it has several severe internal handicaps to it - an inefficient bureaucracy riddled with corruption, and an increasing dissatisfaction among an inequal population are chief among them). But as for its population increasing or its territory increasing, I'm not convinced of it.

The population growth has slowed immensely due to the central government's strict one-child policy (which penalizes families who have more than one child by removing education funding and other subsidies for the entire family). Although these laws are relaxed for ethnic minorities (who may have up to five children in some cases), they have resulted in a birth rate that is significantly below the 2.1 children per adult female needed to maintain a stable population count. Combined with the fact that Chinese graduates are applying first and foremost to European and American universities for their higher education degrees and job prospects, and you have a huge net migration out of the country. China is still first in terms of population, but its leaders are adopting policies to force its population lower. By contrast, India has no such population controls, and in many places still has a strong cultural sense of the merit of raising big families. India is slated to overtake China in terms of population in the coming century, and quite possibly the coming decade.

Regarding China's territorial expansion, its current claims are already complex, and China remains the country both with the most number of frontiers (by some counts, tied with Russia - 14 other countries border them) and with the greatest amount of unresolved border claims (entire regions of the Indo-China and Pakistan-China border remain undelineated). Further claims of territory that are clearly the possessions of other nations remains a distant prospect - despite its size, China's army still remains ill-equipped even to administer and defend its current territories. (The claims in the South China Sea notwithstanding - those remain disputed by numerous countries, of which China is merely the loudest.)

For the foreseeable future, America will still be the world's largest single economy, the European Union will still be the world's largest joint economy, and China will continue to experiment with economic liberalization while keeping strict control over its politics. It will continue to move further away from the "communist" part, while keeping the "dictatorship" part, of the phrase "communist dictatorship".
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