• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • Hey Guest. Check out the NeoGAF 2.2 Update Thread for details on our new Giphy integration and other new features.

Sinister Seductress - Tropes vs Women in Video Games

Burbeting

Banned
Aug 31, 2013
5,153
0
0
Finland
Link

This episode explores how female villains in games very often function to demonize femaleness itself, drawing on patterns of female representation that have roots in creatures from myth and folklore which reinforced misogynistic attitudes about women in their own time. We look at Grotesquely Female characters: those who communicate that femaleness is abhorrent and disgusting, and at Sinister Seductresses: those who suggest that female sexuality is inherently threatening and misleading. We then explore characters who blend these two notions, initially appearing attractive and alluring, only to have their true form revealed as monstrous and deadly. Finally, we demonstrate that it’s entirely possible to have great female villains who don’t serve to reinforce false, misogynistic ideas about women as a whole.

Another interesting video. This trope is a one that I hadn't really even thought about that much, so it was interesting to listen to Anita's examples about it.

NOTE: There is some spoilers for some games, at least one game has a central plot twist partly spoiled. At least
Brothers: Tale of Two Sons
has that happen.
 

TheMoon

Member
Jul 1, 2014
21,766
6
475
NOTE: There is some spoilers for some games, at least one game has a central plot twist partly spoiled.

Aren't there always?

While naming them can be a spoiler in itself, at least putting it in a spoiler tag somewhere would help :)

For example, now I can't watch this ever because "a" game will be spoiled that I might want to play without being spoiled and I will never know what it is.
 

Burbeting

Banned
Aug 31, 2013
5,153
0
0
Finland
Aren't there always?

While naming them can be a spoiler in itself, at least putting it in a spoiler tag somewhere would help :)

For example, now I can't watch this ever because "a" game will be spoiled that I might want to play without being spoiled and I will never know what it is.

I edited in spoiler tags one game I'm pretty sure got spoiled partly. It's in the OP now :).
 

Alienous

Member
Jan 20, 2013
35,713
2
0
The ending to that Cleopatra fight in Dante's Inferno seems artistic more than anything, considering that she embodies lust to him in the 9 circles of hell in the game.
 

TheMoon

Member
Jul 1, 2014
21,766
6
475
The ending to that Cleopatra fight in Dante's Inferno seems artistic more than anything, considering that she embodies lust to him in the 9 circles of hell in the game.

And this is why context matters.

edit: ah, makes more sense in the video
 

Garrett Hawke

Member
Jan 24, 2014
24,343
1
430
This video was really good. One of her best recent ones imo.

Rip Pythagoras tho

Also, video contains spoilers for B
rothers a tale of two sons
 

Beartruck

Member
Jun 4, 2014
4,914
2
0
www.youtube.com
She has valid points in analyzing this trope (that lords of shadow 2 clip, eeeesh), but to gloss over male variants of this is being a little intellectually dishonest. For example, she brings up the Succubus as an example without ever mentioning the Incubus. You know, the male demon that lures women to their doom? Granted there are more female examples of this trope than male, but it does go both ways.
 

Ikkyu

Neo Member
Jun 29, 2010
7
0
0
The ending to that Cleopatra fight in Dante's Inferno seems artistic more than anything, considering that she embodies lust to him in the 9 circles of hell in the game.

It's interesting, though, that the embodiment of sexuality as a negative force (lust being a sin and all) is always done through a woman's form. It is an extension of the age old view that female sexuality = sinful, while male sexuality = a normal thing.
 

Monocle

Member
Jan 16, 2008
36,258
12
940
This video was really good. One of her best recent ones imo.

Rip Pythagoras tho

Also, video contains spoilers for B
rothers a tale of two sons
Spoilering a game title doesn't help anyone, FYI. There's no way anyone would guess what you're trying to warn against.
 

Alienous

Member
Jan 20, 2013
35,713
2
0
It's interesting, though, that the embodiment of sexuality as a negative force (lust being a sin and all) is always done through a woman's form. It is an extension of the age old view that female sexuality = sinful, while male sexuality = a normal thing.

Or a byproduct of heterosexual male protagonists being common in fiction, particularly in games, meaning that a negative portrayal of sexuality that is an affront to the protagonist will probably come in the form of a woman.
 

Aizo

Banned
Apr 21, 2013
6,344
11
580
東の方
sparkplugged.net
Great video as always. Very interesting insight. It's so true that people defend misogyny in media by saying that it's nothing new, or it is a classic story telling device.
It's interesting, though, that the embodiment of sexuality as a negative force (lust being a sin and all) is always done through a woman's form. It is an extension of the age old view that female sexuality = sinful, while male sexuality = a normal thing.
How do you feel that this relates to Maruo Suehiro's use of eroguro, considering your avatar?
 

TheMoon

Member
Jul 1, 2014
21,766
6
475

ratcliffja

Member
May 13, 2005
16,471
1
0
37
Valencia, CA
So where are the complaints that she took the money and ran now? She's been cranking these out with a lot of thought put into them. I'm glad somebody is shedding light to these issues.
 

Steejee

Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,237
0
0
She has valid points in analyzing this trope (that lords of shadow 2 clip, eeeesh), but to gloss over male variants of this is being a little intellectually dishonest. For example, she brings up the Succubus as an example without ever mentioning the Incubus. You know, the male demon that lures women to their doom? Granted there are more female examples of this trope than male, but it does go both ways.

Yeah..that LoS2 clip...yeesh.

I think the only time I've seen Incubus' in a game was in Age of Conan, where at launch a female Demonologist would summon an Incubus familiar by default (and male Demos would summon a Succubus), though later you could pick which you preferred.

As for the trope/video itself - while this isn't the most annoying trope I've encountered in games, it does get the old massive eyeroll whenever it comes up, especially when encountering the umpteenth version of 'monster body with attached sorta sexy lady body' design. Might and Magic: Dark Messiah had it too, blending the grotesque and seduction with the spirit in your head, though at least it had a decision in the end on how to respond to that seduction.
 

Alienous

Member
Jan 20, 2013
35,713
2
0
But even when we get heterosexual female protagonists we don't get lustful male characters.

We've seen examples of that met with scorn, like in Tomb Raider (2013). I think having a female character face the threat of an overpowering male character's sexuality is a topic, even if it results in the female character triumphing, that people take issue with, for a variety of reasons. It could perhaps also be the case that it hasn't been broached in a tactful way.
 

Garrett Hawke

Member
Jan 24, 2014
24,343
1
430
We've seen examples of that met with scorn, like in Tomb Raider (2013). I think having a female character face the threat of an overpowering male character's sexuality is a topic, even if it results in the female character triumphing, that people take issue with, for a variety of reasons. It could perhaps also be the case that it hasn't been broached in a tactful way.
One of the few instances I can think of it happening is in the second Tomb Raider movie (lol), Gerard Butler seduces Lara and tries to use that to manipulate her into letting him steal Pandora's box, but she kills him anyway.




Queen.
 

Bamboo

Member
Sep 11, 2015
612
0
0
She has valid points in analyzing this trope (that lords of shadow 2 clip, eeeesh), but to gloss over male variants of this is being a little intellectually dishonest. For example, she brings up the Succubus as an example without ever mentioning the Incubus. You know, the male demon that lures women to their doom? Granted there are more female examples of this trope than male, but it does go both ways.
Yes, there's an incubus. But it's a series about the depiction of women, not especially the sexualisation of men.
And also I'd argue that the succubus plays a different and more visible role in pop culture. In games for example, the succubus is reoccuring enemy in Castlevania games, yet we have yet to see an incubus - even though many other (male) enemies take inspiration from demons.

http://castlevania.wikia.com/wiki/Succubus
 

Ikkyu

Neo Member
Jun 29, 2010
7
0
0
Or a byproduct of heterosexual male protagonists being common in fiction, particularly in games, meaning that a negative portrayal of sexuality that is an affront to the protagonist will probably come in the form of a woman.

True, one cannot happen with the other, but I doubt it has its roots only on the circumstance that protagonists tend to be male. In fairy tales, even when many of them have female protagonists, we still see the embodiment of lust or of sexuality as a danger, being always a woman. Christian tradition is also big on the idea that female expression of sexuality is something to be feared.
 

the_sun_king

Member
Mar 30, 2012
3,322
0
0
She has valid points in analyzing this trope (that lords of shadow 2 clip, eeeesh), but to gloss over male variants of this is being a little intellectually dishonest. For example, she brings up the Succubus as an example without ever mentioning the Incubus. You know, the male demon that lures women to their doom? Granted there are more female examples of this trope than male, but it does go both ways.

Not to mention the vampire - including the most famous of which (Dracula) - a monster that is completely analogous to a sexual predator what with penetration of flesh, exchanging of bodily fluids (blood in their case), and whose typical victims are women.
 

Alienous

Member
Jan 20, 2013
35,713
2
0
One of the few instances I can think of it happening is in the second Tomb Raider movie (lol), Gerard Butler seduces Lara and tries to use that to manipulate her into letting him steal Pandora's box, but she kills him anyway.




Queen.

Actually that's a much better example than mine.
 

georly

Member
Apr 23, 2013
14,066
0
410
It's interesting, though, that the embodiment of sexuality as a negative force (lust being a sin and all) is always done through a woman's form. It is an extension of the age old view that female sexuality = sinful, while male sexuality = a normal thing.

Yeah, that kinds sucks that there's not equal representation of this trope in media. When a lot of current pop culture is still inspired by older literature, though, it's easy to see why the trope is still prominent.

I've also always seen this trope as showing off a general weakness of man more than objectifying women, as well. But it would be nice to see it flipped around as well. It'd also be nice if it was a little less gross sometimes, haha.
 

Arkeband

Banned
Mar 11, 2015
11,981
0
0
Yeah..that LoS2 clip...yeesh.

I can't watch this video at work, but is it the death scene of Carmilla where she gets impaled in a way that looks like she's giving a blowjob to a steel pipe?

I've mentioned this countless times on GAF and apparently no one played the game because no one ever comments on it.
 

FrontalMonk

Banned
Jun 7, 2011
5,510
0
0
Really interesting video, and I love that the "positive elements" section included probably the best female villain, mothafuckin' Carmen Sandiego.

I can't watch this video at work, but is it the death scene of Carmilla where she gets impaled in a way that looks like she's giving a blowjob to a steel pipe?

I've mentioned this countless times on GAF and apparently no one played the game because no one ever comments on it.

That's the one.
 

Ikkyu

Neo Member
Jun 29, 2010
7
0
0
Great video as always. Very interesting insight. It's so true that people defend misogyny in media by saying that it's nothing new, or it is a classic story telling device.

How do you feel that this relates to Maruo Suehiro's use of eroguro, considering your avatar?

I have conflicting thoughts about this!

But I would say that many of the stories that Maruo has done display sex in a violent, perverse way that is not necessarily related to female sexuality alone. In Midori, for example, it is everyone else's sexuality that is presented as the danger, and lust takes the shape of a male predator much more than it does a female one.

In any case, I can't help but think that eroguro's or erotic fantasy portrayals in general are less negative, as a whole, than non-erotic fiction.
 

TheRedSnifit

Member
Nov 21, 2012
10,796
11
700
34
It's interesting, though, that the embodiment of sexuality as a negative force (lust being a sin and all) is always done through a woman's form. It is an extension of the age old view that female sexuality = sinful, while male sexuality = a normal thing.

This really isn't very true anymore, though, or at least true to a far lesser degree. At least within movies, the majority (that I can think of) of films featuring women as the protagonist have evil men trying to seduce the women for nefarious purposes (that dude from Frozen is an obvious example). Even the recent Bond run has more male villains trying to seduce female good guys (Kabira in Quantum of Solace, for example) then evil women doing the same.

In video games it's a bit harder to find counterexamples because the overwhelming majority of story-driven games have male protagonists, but on the flip side I'm pretty sure the majority of female villains don't try to seduce anybody. Especially when you consider just how common it's becoming for basic enemies to be women, who are pretty much exclusively focused on shooting you.
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
Feb 19, 2008
44,007
6
0
Really interesting video, and I love that the "positive elements" section included probably the best female villain, mothafuckin' Carmen Sandiego.

 

redcrayon

Member
Dec 5, 2011
11,417
3
625
Or a byproduct of heterosexual male protagonists being common in fiction, particularly in games, meaning that a negative portrayal of sexuality that is an affront to the protagonist will probably come in the form of a woman.
Although, even in RPGs where the player can choose to be male or female, there are still far more likely to be sexy witches and female demons everywhere than male penis monsters running about the place. Even when a negative portrayal of male sexuality is used or shown to be evil (Vampires, Incubi, and, perhaps, infection by werewolf etc), they tend to both have female equivalents and the male ones don't focus on the naked male form to the same extent, they tend to focus on raw power over seduction even in games where you controlling a female PC.
 

mclem

Member
Jan 16, 2007
42,665
3
1,190
Is there a reason for using the term Sinister Seductress when Femme Fatale would fit and is established? Am I missing a subtle distinction?
 

Ikkyu

Neo Member
Jun 29, 2010
7
0
0
This really isn't very true anymore, though, or at least true to a far lesser degree. At least within movies, the majority (that I can think of) of films featuring women as the protagonist have evil men trying to seduce the women for nefarious purposes (that dude from Frozen is an obvious example). Even the recent Bond run has more male villains trying to seduce female good guys (Kabira in Quantum of Solace, for example) then evil women doing the same.
I think this is a very good point, on movies at least
 

Mesoian

Member
Mar 23, 2012
27,244
5
0
The People's Republic of Cambridge
She has valid points in analyzing this trope (that lords of shadow 2 clip, eeeesh), but to gloss over male variants of this is being a little intellectually dishonest. For example, she brings up the Succubus as an example without ever mentioning the Incubus. You know, the male demon that lures women to their doom? Granted there are more female examples of this trope than male, but it does go both ways.

When was the last time you saw an Incubus in a game?
 
Jun 30, 2013
2,281
26
435
Is there a reason for using the term Sinister Seductress when Femme Fatale would fit and is established? Am I missing a subtle distinction?

I'm guessing because Femme Fatale doesn't necessarily have a negative connotation. Femme Fatales aren't necessarily evil or negative characters, just women who use their sexuality aggressively to pursue goals. EVA, from MGS3 as previously mentioned, is aggressively sexual without ever being considered negatively.
 

redcrayon

Member
Dec 5, 2011
11,417
3
625
Is there a reason for using the term Sinister Seductress when Femme Fatale would fit and is established? Am I missing a subtle distinction?
Maybe that Femme Fatale is used in film noir/spy/detective fiction, and doesn't mean quite the same thing. Anita's point is more about the monstrous and evil nature of sexy feminine creatures in games. Catwoman is a classic Femme Fatale, where often she's using seduction to reach goals at odds with the protagonist instead of violence, sometimes opposing him, sometimes not, sometimes a romantic interest, often an occasional ally or foil of one sort or another. Giant, inherently evil spider demons giving birth to monsters mid-battle are something else.

It's the difference between the allure of an unpredictable, attractive woman you aren't sure is a friend or foe, playing off cliches of male/female relationships, where what's irresistible to the protagonist is the constantly shifting upper hand and cat & mouse nature of the courtship, and an outright monster where the feminine aspects are the deliberately disturbing part.

Ultimately, a Femme Fatale sometimes ends up being partner material as part of what's alluring for the protagonist is that they are intellectual equals (don't lynch me, I know it's outdated!). Homicidal spider sex demons? Not so much :)
 

TheMoon

Member
Jul 1, 2014
21,766
6
475
Is there a reason for using the term Sinister Seductress when Femme Fatale would fit and is established? Am I missing a subtle distinction?

The video is more about antagonistic characters. Femme Fatale doesn't really lean that way.
 

Bulzeeb

Member
Feb 11, 2011
4,321
1
0
Yes, there's an incubus. But it's a series about the depiction of women, not especially the sexualisation of men.
And also I'd argue that the succubus plays a different and more visible role in pop culture. In games for example, the succubus is reoccuring enemy in Castlevania games, yet we have yet to see an incubus - even though many other (male) enemies take inspiration from demons.

http://castlevania.wikia.com/wiki/Succubus

What's funny is that there is one incubus in the classic Castlevania lore but it's from an audio drama

http://castlevania.wikia.com/wiki/Magnus

But his role was to torment Maria Renard so I might give them that most of the games use male main characters so the use of a succubus makes more sense
 

Drinkel

Member
Sep 14, 2010
772
0
0
I didn't realize how common the spider-lady thing was. It's fun to see her having a more playful tone in these latest few videos.
 

Neoriceisgood

Member
Mar 15, 2009
10,609
0
0
www.neorice.com
I find her usage of the succubus without mentioning their super hot fanservice-y counterpart intellectually dishonest.



Look at these hot fucking symbols of desirable maleness seducing women ...

(Honest question though, how many games actually have an incubus in them?
 

diaspora

Member
Feb 18, 2013
19,069
0
395
I think Dragon Age Origins had this issue where all the desire demons would materialize as naked women regardless of the gender or sexuality of the player character.
 

TheMoon

Member
Jul 1, 2014
21,766
6
475
I find her usage of the succubus without mentioning their super hot fanservice-y counterpart intellectually dishonest.




Look at these hot fucking symbols of desirable maleness seducing women ...

(Honest question though, how many games actually have an incubus in them?

wtf is with that horse lol

ps: only incubus I know is the band :D
 

purseowner

Member
May 31, 2015
6,310
4
0
Disappointed at the lack of Catherine in this video, arguably a deconstruction of aspects of this trope.
 

Mesoian

Member
Mar 23, 2012
27,244
5
0
The People's Republic of Cambridge
I think the real point here is the same as many of her other videos; Relying on the crutch that is ancient fiction often paints people into a corner when it comes to making modern entertainment. When making a story that has mythological undertones, it's easy to lean on old tropes to come up with a nonimportant but still high-impact character that has a limited use, but ultimately that has limited returns that does little else but make your work look like countless others that came before it while still not catering to today's ideals.

People need to start attempting to come up with newer ideas than ape what came before just because it's easy. How many more games are coming out this year have a generic succubus enemy in them? How many more next year? We need to dive into a deeper pool of creativity here.

I find her usage of the succubus without mentioning their super hot fanservice-y counterpart intellectually dishonest.




Look at these hot fucking symbols of desirable maleness seducing women ...

(Honest question though, how many games actually have an incubus in them?

Closest thing I can think of off the top of the head is the Mancubus....and I think that's just more of a play on words.