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  • Movement can be a powerful thing.

  • Most of us who play games can appreciate

  • the importance of a well-timed jump in a platformer,

  • or a skillful dodge in a fighting game,

  • but sometimes it's the seemingly ordinary movements

  • that actually tell us the most about a character.

  • The way they do simple things like walk, or sit down.

  • And like anything else about a character,

  • movement can be used in ways that resist tired gender stereotypes,

  • or in ways that reinforce them.

  • In Bungie's hugely successful online shooter Destiny,

  • players start by creating their own character,

  • a Guardian who will fight to protect the last remnants of humanity.

  • As with character creation tools in other games,

  • this one lets you choose from different genders and races.

  • In most ways, Destiny treats its playable female characters

  • almost identically to how it treats its male characters;

  • for instance, the armor you acquire

  • when playing as a female character isn't sexualized,

  • but looks just as practical and stylish

  • as the gear equipped by male characters.

  • However, there is one way in which the male and female characters

  • are differentiated by gender,

  • and it has to do with their movement.

  • Watch how a male guardian sits down,

  • taking a load off after a long, hard day

  • fighting the forces of pure evil.

  • It's simple. It suggests confidence.

  • When a female character sits down, however,

  • it's a completely different story.

  • She sits like a delicate flower.

  • This is supposed to be a hardened space warrior

  • and yet she is sitting around like she's Ariel

  • from The Little Mermaid.

  • A character's animation and movement is just as much a part

  • of who they are as their appearance and their clothing.

  • And like any other aspect of a character,

  • game designers use movement

  • to communicate information about them to the player.

  • This isn't inherently a bad thing;

  • expressive character animations are just a way for the game

  • to contribute to our understanding of who a character is

  • and what defines them.

  • How a character walks, jumps,

  • even how they sit down can tell us a lot about them.

  • For instance, Ryu Hayabusa 's precise and graceful movement

  • conveys that he is a highly trained ninja,

  • while the way Nathan Drake scrambles and fumbles

  • in dangerous situations is meant to suggest

  • that he's more of a relatable, ordinary guy

  • who just keeps finding himself in extraordinary circumstances.

  • Nathan: "[Laughing] We were almost in that!"

  • By contrast, the way that women move in games

  • isn't just used to suggest their confidence or their skill

  • or some other facet of their personality.

  • It's very often used, in conjunction with other aspects of their design,

  • to make them exude sexuality

  • for the entertainment of the presumed straight male player.

  • Catwoman from the Arkham series

  • has a deeply exaggerated hip sway when she walks.

  • In combination with her clothing and the game's camera angles,

  • all of this is meant to drive

  • the player's focus to her highly sexualized butt.

  • In Resident Evil: Revelations, Jill Valentine

  • somehow manages to wiggle her whole body while she runs.

  • In Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Evie Frye is a character

  • who avoids falling into many of the sexualizing traps

  • that some playable female characters do.

  • But she still walks with an exaggerated hip sway.

  • In Saints Row the Third,

  • you can change your character's gender at any time.

  • If you go to the clinic and swap your gender from male to female,

  • you also come away with a newly sexualized walking animation,

  • even though you're literally supposed to be the same character.

  • Male heroes are allowed to simply walk like normal human beings,

  • in ways that areaverageor strong or graceful or goofy.

  • Meanwhile, motion-captured animations for female characters

  • often make them look as if they're walking down a runway

  • at a fashion show in stiletto heels,

  • even when the characters are actually in combat situations.

  • Watching these characters in-game movement animations,

  • you'd think that the director of the motion capture session

  • directed them to walk like a model

  • instead of a hardened space warrior or master thief

  • or bioterrorism agent or crime boss or vampire or assassin.

  • Of course, in the real world, people do walk

  • with a sway of the hips when wearing high heels.

  • If we want to get really technical about it,

  • this slight hip sway occurs in order to maintain balance.

  • This in and of itself is not a problem,

  • (other than generally being deeply uncomfortable),

  • but it raises an important question:

  • why are these female characters in combat roles wearing high heels!?

  • With all the fighting, running, and climbing these women have to do,

  • dressing them in heels is clearly a decision

  • rooted in sexualized aesthetic pleasure rather than believability.

  • In fact, animating so many female characters in games

  • to fit into this very gendered, sexualizing walk pattern

  • is an example of one of the ways

  • the male gaze manifests in video games.

  • The term male gaze was coined in 1975

  • by feminist film critic Laura Mulvey

  • and refers to the tendency for the visual arts to assume,

  • and be structured around, a presumed masculine viewer,

  • or in this case, player.

  • The male gaze manifests when the camera

  • takes on the perspective of

  • a stereotypical heterosexual man.

  • An indisputable example of this is when the camera

  • lingers, caresses, or pans across a woman's body--

  • although it's not always that obvious.

  • In games, it can be as simple as the in-game camera

  • resting so that a character's butt or breasts or both are centerline,

  • it can be cutscenes that rest on a woman's butt,

  • it can be clothing that they are wearing or the way they talk,

  • or it can be as basic as the way

  • a female character moves around the game world.

  • The male gaze reinforces the notion that the man looks,

  • and the woman is looked at.

  • Or as art critic John Berger explains

  • in the 1972 book Ways of Seeing,

  • men act and women appear. Men look at women.

  • Women watch themselves being looked at.

  • This determines not only most relations between men and women

  • but also the relation of women to themselves.”

  • To be clear, the male gaze is not a hard and fast rule;

  • it's a theoretical concept that is meant

  • to help us understand the sometimes subtle

  • and nuanced ways in which our culture influences media,

  • and the way that media, in turn, can shape and reinforce

  • existing gender dynamics in our culture.

  • The male gaze is also not in any way limited

  • to men or heterosexual people.

  • Almost all of us internalize

  • and sometimes identify with the male gaze to some extent.

  • Eradicating the male gaze is not as simple as

  • introducing an inversed female gaze that sexualizes men, either.

  • Not just because equal opportunity sexual objectification

  • isn't the answer, but also, because it isn't actually equal.

  • One reinforces preexisting oppressive ideas about women

  • that are real and damaging to women in their everyday lives,

  • the other does not reinforce anything.

  • Nor are the two interchangeable.

  • For example, when the satirical website The Hawkeye Initiative

  • reimagines male characters in sexualized poses

  • that are common for female characters,

  • it isn't using thefemale gaze.”

  • This is just the male gaze, applied to men.

  • When male characters are depicted as shirtless or wearing little clothing-

  • like the character sometimes dubbed "Hot Ryu" from Street Fighter V-

  • their lack of clothing demonstrates their power and strength,

  • rather than depicting them as erotic playthings

  • or reducing them to sexualized body parts.

  • The same is true when it comes to movement.

  • Male characters get to move in ways that emphasize

  • all sorts of characteristics and personality traits,

  • but there's a whole world of untapped potential

  • for representations of female characters

  • who aren't animated in ways that frame them as sex objects,

  • but who get to just be stealthy or strong,

  • swift or imposing, clumsy or graceful.

  • The way Ellie moves in The Last of Us

  • communicates a sense of tension and danger,

  • demonstrating what it's like when female characters

  • are animated in ways that emphasize their personality

  • and emotional state rather than serving to sexually objectify them.

  • The path towards equality and liberation

  • does not lie in equally reducing men and women to objectified parts,

  • but in treating people of all genders and with all types of bodies

  • as full and complete human beings.

Movement can be a powerful thing.

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Body Language & The Male Gaze - Tropes vs Women in Video Games

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    irene Hu   に公開 2018 年 09 月 13 日
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