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Gamergate Implications for BFC BFC?


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Normally I'd post this to the GDF, but it's so dead there even the tumbleweeds are lonely. I came across this remarkable and deeply disturbing story, which contains some pretty amazing numbers for the male/female split these days among video gamers. I get that BFC puts out video games of a sort, but they aren't, I think it fair to state, video games of the usual sort. Was wondering whether BFC has noticed any evidence that females are buying BFC products and are playing them? I know we used to have a few known females in CM during the CMx1 era (slightly after the Cretaceous), but I haven't seen any evidence we have even one female CM player. And no idea how things are in the rest of the BFC line.

Since BFC/Steve has been quite a lately on this Forum, I'd like to extend an invitation to Steve or any of his people to share some thoughts on what the radical demographic change in the mainstream video game sector means, if anything, on the BFC end?

http://www.wired.com/2014/10/the-secret-about-gamergate-is-that-it-cant-stop-progress/

Regards,

John Kettler

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John, hi,

War and many other hobbies are almost entirely either male or female. We have very different interests. Likes and dislikes.

In military history the amount of content consumed by women will be truly tiny, probably less than 1%. Women do play more and more video games, but very different ones to us blokes. You see so few women on forums like this because they aren’t interested. As you will know.

A very quick and easy way to illustrate the difference between men and women in their likes and dislike is to do the “W H Smiths test”. To explain for those not familiar with the UK, W H Smiths is a very large seller of magazines. If you go into a large branch of W H Smiths you will find that near all titles are either sold to women or men. Very is little overlap.

Even where you think there might be overlap, normally there is none, very little. To give an example. The Economist magazine deals with current affairs, economics, foreign policy and such. Surely you would think women would be interested. In fact I have seen two figures for the female readership of the Economist over the years. One at 3% female readership one at 13%.

The test is important because it shows what men and women like to read, what “truly interests them”. What they likely think about and dream about with the help of their discretionary dollar, pound.

And there is almost very little overlap. An inconvenient truth for those with a certain agenda.

All good fun,

All the best,

Kip.

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I don't believe that is entirely accurate. My first wife was an economist and I heard enough to know how hard it was for a woman to break into that field in a meaningful way. I also do know of female war gamers and the issues they confront in our community. BF is not tolerant of any behavior that would make another individual uncomfortable to be here, but even as a guy I have heard enough here to know it is not the most welcoming community on gender issues.

The lack of perceived participation is from my view more a self fulfilling prophecy. If a group is treated in an unwelcome manner, odds are their participation will become invisible.

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At the advent of RT, I recall that one female did make her presence known, returning due to the Ostfront environment, having played BB. Sometimes the whiff of antiquated attitudes to gender roles here does get a bit much, but that's hardly a surprise, since it's a perpetual stag party...

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I don't believe that is entirely accurate. My first wife was an economist and I heard enough to know how hard it was for a woman to break into that field in a meaningful way. I also do know of female war gamers and the issues they confront in our community. BF is not tolerant of any behavior that would make another individual uncomfortable to be here, but even as a guy I have heard enough here to know it is not the most welcoming community on gender issues.

The lack of perceived participation is from my view more a self fulfilling prophecy. If a group is treated in an unwelcome manner, odds are their participation will become invisible.

You should look into the situation when Israel was first being formed as a nation. I'm going from memory here so this is going to be imprecise, but many Israelis formed collectives ... they referred to them with a specific name ..... where they deliberately tried to eliminate gender differences by having women drive tractors and men doing the housework etc. The end result was chaos where nobody was happy and eventually each gender gravitated towards what they preferred to do. It was probably these 'collectives' that caused the Soviet Union to support Israeli independence. The Soviets probably thought Israel would turn into a client state for them.

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In military history the amount of content consumed by women will be truly tiny, probably less than 1%.

I don't think that is as true as it used to be. I have noticed over the last couple of decades that more and more books on—for instance—WW II have female authors. Granted that many of them are focussed more on what might be called "soft" subjects, such as the home front. But that's not exclusively so. The book Pacific Blitzkrieg: World War II in the Central Pacific by Sharon Tosi Lacy is about as hard core as they come. Such bias as I perceive may be largely due not to the referred interests of the authors, but the necessity to pick an area that has not already been done to death in order to break into the profession. It's too soon to say where all this will end up, but what I see is that an increasing number of women are becoming active in the field and that they are serious professionals.

Michael

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Occasionally, after watching the latest CM vid on Twitch, I'll wander off the reservation and see what the kids are playing. It would seem that not a few female gamers are playing ultra-violent stuff that I wouldn't touch with a 39 and half foot pole.

You might also contemplate the female action heroines in tv and movies, who have become far tougher and more competent than you would have been likely to find 30 or 40 years ago. There is obviously a flourishing audience for this and it is not hard to imagine that it in one way or another reflects a changing demographic.

Michael

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It's not the combat or the violence that pushes women away as such.. It's when games become sterile and technical. Women like meaningful narrative with defined characters.

At least that's my impression.

That's certainly a part of it. But remember that there are plenty of women whose life's work might appear to outsiders as sterile and technical, engineering and science for instance. So maybe they are willing to accept that in a career but not in entertainment.

What we really need is a bunch of women to come in here and tell us how they feel about all that.

:)

Michael

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Even where you think there might be overlap, normally there is none, very little. To give an example. The Economist magazine deals with current affairs, economics, foreign policy and such. Surely you would think women would be interested. In fact I have seen two figures for the female readership of the Economist over the years. One at 3% female readership one at 13%.

I wonder how they arrived at these numbers. If they count subscribers, I would argue that the readership of this magazine is mostly adults, people who tend to be in stable relationships. So it is possible that a man orders the magazine in his name for the household, but the woman still reads it as well.

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It's not the combat or the violence that pushes women away as such.. It's when games become sterile and technical. Women like meaningful narrative with defined characters.

At least that's my impression.

So, to connect it back to CM and specifics:

The game continues to offer great depth and wide variety in equipment.

But... when players request something that would give the game "meaningful narrative with defined characters," -- such as an editable and durable name for every soldier and not just the team leader, it tends to get dismissed as a trivial concern, not that important to many players, not technically feasible, or possibly feasible but not worth the investment in time and coding to implement.

Another, related feature would be dedicated medics/stretcher bearers in the game, and/or a drag/carry wounded buddy feature like they have in ARMA2. (It might not seem terribly important, but if you had the named soldier feature and you've got a soldier who has made it through a campaign thus far, you really would root for him to make it and you'd take a greater interest in getting him away from the line of fire.) And what if you could even earn credit for aiding wounded enemy soldiers as well as your own?

Moving on to less plausible features that could be in a game like CM, if designers saw it as important:

The surrender/POW mechanism in CM is another aspect where the human and storytelling narrative aspects could play a larger role. What if the game forced you to secure POWs and detach a soldier or two to escort them to the rear? What if it also allowed them to die if deliberately shot? What if the game sometimes played the "surrender trick," and an apparently surrendering soldier suddenly triggers an ambush or pulls out a weapon? Suddenly all sorts of very realistic, split-second battlefield dilemmas could play out.

Civilians in the game would also add to some of these aspects, although I don't think they're worth it because most of the time in the situations we're playing in, civilians would have already been killed/evacuated/driven away or are hiding in their basements (some notable exceptions being Holland, where civilians joined the fighting and gave intel to troops; and Stalingrad, where the Soviets denied evacuation and forced them to stay in the city.)

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While it is nasty and shameful (but also perhaps routine, and sometimes exploited selectively for political or self-promotional purposes) I don't think the bad behavior is uniquely focused on females in the gaming world. I think it is simply the dark underbelly of the Internet. For example, I jumped straight to another article on Wired and found this:

Over time he learned how to exert his power more deliberately to reward or punish those he felt deserved it. Last December, when a young BuzzFeed contributor named Jack Stuef wrote a sloppy profile of The Oatmeal (erroneously calling Inman a “staunch Republican”), Inman responded by calling Stuef an “uninspired, bottom-feeding ass.” Fans dutifully piled on, sending a firestorm of hate mail, death threats, and juvenile slurs. Stuef hasn’t written for BuzzFeed since.
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Am not quite sure where to come down on the what female gamers like front, having seen broadcasts of head to head tournaments in which there were very nearly as many females as guys. And many of these were hardcore FPS games, too, some quite sanguinary. Players had to know 12 different games and compete using them. Was some sort of reality show for serious gamers, with serious cash and a professional sponsorship contract for the winner. Was blown away by how many females made up the mix. And they were terrors.

The shortest wargame I was ever in was over almost as soon as the curtain went up. AH's Kriegspiel vs one of my sisters. She garrisoned nothing, set up everything on the border, came out at full tilt and mopped the floor with me. As well as the walls and ceiling. The top AH Up Front player is the wife of the guy who used to be the top player. Since she beat him in the last official tournament ever staged, he will always be No. 2. She also plays/played computer and board wargames, as well as miniatures, but am not sure she actually does the FPS thing.

From what I've seen while visiting my nephews in their 20s, female video gamers are practically as common as male gamers, and nothing is said about it. Or was. I think the abreaction is coming, not from, say the 16 y.o.s, but more likely, our typical age range. Shame, really.

One of the women at the center of the whole controversy is Anita Sarkeesian, and I believe what she has to say is important. Vids, text or both.

http://www.feministfrequency.comOn a related (long) note...

I not only like the medic idea on principle, but female medics were standard in the Red Army and did what combat medics did. Penalty Strike makes this clear, and I read an account in which several female medics were nearly blown apart when the burning tank from which they were trying to recover casualties, in the middle of raging tank battle going on practically atop them (Germans attacked defending Russians) became fully involved. The one writing the account talked about how horrible it was not being to help those poor trapped boys whose screams could be clearly heard. Female nurses and physicians alike were on the battlefield doing combat medicine and casevac. That's a legitimate use of women in the game, as would be female snipers (whole formations of them), partisans, tank crews, pure or mixed gender weapon crews (MG,AAA...) and such. There was also a husband and wife ISU-122 crew. He was TC and she the gunner. Understand they racked up an impressive score.

Russian Female Soldiers (collection of stills)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAxnmUy6Mbo

Good vid (also stills) on Russian soldiers and weapons, including female warriors, as in first pic shown.

Good historical analysis of Russia's women at war, set in a much broader context. 800,000 women served, with 560,000 frontoviki. I haven't yet found a pic of female tank crew, but this analysis specifically mentions them.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-the-west-ignores-women-as-actors-in-otherized-societies-a-sociological-unraveling-of-the-logos-of-the-soviet-amazons/5372529

Thesis: Elena's War: Russian Women in Combat Quite the read (putting it mildly), and most of you have no idea how far back Russian women were warriors.

http://ashbrook.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/2008-Vajskop.pdf

They were also scouts/Spetsnaz!

http://rbth.com/society/2013/06/11/female_face_of_war_women_in_russias_armed_forces_26969.html

Female driver-mechanic on a tank who fought as a man!

http://english.pravda.ru/society/stories/11-07-2006/83187-woman_man-0/

Retired female soldiers of Belarus.

http://www.theglobalist.com/belarus-women-world-war-ii/

VOV (whatever that is) female soldiers of Baltic fleet Naval Infantry

https://02varvara.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/26-june-2013-a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words-the-republicans-claim-that-women-are-unfit-for-combat-history-says-otherwise/00-female-vov-soldiers-naval-infantry-baltic-fleet-26-06-13/

Female tankers

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=93591

Several more accounts, notably of husband and wife ISU crews. The dialogue between the wife TC and the husband/driver-mechanic during the Battle of Berlin is priceless. It would appear that female driver-mechanics were fairly common when in tanks. Of course, lots of women crewed trucks.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/47208/thread/1152519008/Russian+female+tankers..

Two other female tankers who covered themselves in glory.

Alexandra Samusenko

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandra_Samusenko

Mariya Okyabrska HSU

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariya_Oktyabrskaya

Several more

http://historum.com/war-military-history/50431-ladies-wwii-3.html

While I freely admit I went hog wild above, I learned something in the process. There are plenty of places in CMRT and related in which women could be depicted and would, I think, increase immersion. At the same time, this would reflect and acknowledge the fact that women were 8% of the entire wartime strength of the Red Army. I believe BFC has a unique opportunity here to do something remarkable in gaming terms. Have female warriors in battle, in battle dress. No porn star cleavage. No spandex or chain mail bikinis. Real women. Real war. Credit where credit is due! Perfect for a pack to come?!

Regards

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While I freely admit I went hog wild above, I learned something in the process. There are plenty of places in CMRT and related in which women could be depicted and would, I think, increase immersion. At the same time, this would reflect and acknowledge the fact that women were 8% of the entire wartime strength of the Red Army. I believe BFC has a unique opportunity here to do something remarkable in gaming terms. Have female warriors in battle, in battle dress. No porn star cleavage. No spandex or chain mail bikinis. Real women. Real war. Credit where credit is due! Perfect for a pack to come?!

Would be an interesting cosmetic change but I'm guessing that's also the reason it's not implemented. It would be purely cosmetic with a whole lot of additional coding etc for a Soviet female voice pack to match up with the female soldier pixeltruppen in game etc.

As a gamer who plays more than just BF titles (shame on me :D ) all I can say about this gamergate affair is it throws us all into a bad light/tarnished with the same brush etc. Absolutely disgraceful.

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Bring back Juju's ? mod of a pink panther.

(Sorry if it was someone else's)

I did this one.

pinkpanther-1.jpg~original

It just doesn't appeal to a vast female audience, nor will it probably ever. Girls just have different interest, and I think that is fine since I don't buy into the whole everything needs to be PC gender neutral thing.

I used CM once to break up with a chick without actually having to do so. I got her to break up with me so I didn't have to look like the bad guy.

"You would rather play that stupid game than hang out with me!"

"Well yeah, it is so much more interesting than hearing another shopping story"

"That's it I'm out of here!"

"Can you please get me a beer from the fridge before you go?":D

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One thing to consider is that "hardcore" wargaming is a niche to begin with, even among gamers. I'm a dev over at Forgotten Hope 2 and I know of two women who played it, one of which is a beta tester. That being said, this stuff is hard to quantify since women are not easily identified on the internet, especially without voice communication.

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Hi,

According to Glantz 33,000,000 Soviet citizens served in the Red Army in WWII. One million were women, hence the 3% figure that is normally used.

They overwhelmingly served in the same way they did in say the Commonwealth Forces, or the US Army. If you are reading this then you are likely to be so nerdish you do “get it..” when it comes to statistics. You will understand that what may be true for the great bulk of the bell curve may not for a small percentage.

I do not doubt the exploits of women mentioned in the Soviet memoirs and such. But these are very much the exception.

For the true picture of women in war, including today... read the book below..

Men, Women, and War by Martin Van Creveld.

Just Amazon it and read the reviews.. or the book if you wish. Women are not suitable for war for all obvious reasons. And much of what you read about them in the Soviet Army in WWII was propaganda. But I am sure a few did do all that was claimed for them. I don’t doubt it. But in percentage terms it is a very small number.

Modern, western military hugely spin the suitability of women for war because not to do so would be career ending at the highest level.

Just read the book and make your own mind up.

As I have no doubt history has not ended this is a serious problem for the very first clashes in future major wars. For the west. But in truth they would immediately be pulled from the combat units in major war so people can exaggerate the problem.

All the best,

Kip.

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I like to think that the CM community is a welcoming environment for women.

We are, for the most part, mature and rational. (PENG not withstanding) And we mostly grasp that its more whats between your ears that counts, as opposed to whats between your legs.

Our few douchebags tend to keep their failings to themselves, or to express it as politics... ie; taking Nazi fanboyism too far.

All in all I think women should feel safe on our forums, and in our community

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The only females you might be able to get interested in CM are those with military back grounds that are chess players. Even in that demographic the percentage is small they have interest in a a hardcore game like CM. Military women are a different breed, and are the finest women I have known. Most like more male orientated stuff, and aren't girly girl types. Don't get me wrong there are some beautiful women in the military who put their make up on and such, but are not afraid to go camping either.

As far as safety goes, I agree with DLaurier that the CM forum is a bit more mature than that of less intellectual games as CM, and is a place a woman would feel safe. The nut job types gravitate to violent FPS type games. It is a shame though to see people behaving like that as in the article.

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