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Today's gender enforcement rants

When I went to my Facebook account just now, I was informed that my profile "might be confusing" and asked to click one of the following radio buttons:
"Stef edited her profile."
"Stef edited his profile."

Uh, no thank you. There was a reason I didn't provide a gender when I signed up for Facebook (although I do usually use standard gender pronouns, and plenty of my status messages include them).

When I went to my gmail account, I had an ad from Sandlot Games for the "Girl Power! Value Pack". "This bundle combines 9 of the greatest Sandlot Games titles featuring female heroines." The games in question?
  • Cake Mania
  • Cake Mania: Back to the Bakery
  • Cake Mania 2
  • Granny in paradise
  • Super Granny! Winter Winderland
  • Super Granny 3
  • Super Granny 4
  • Eye for Design
  • Burger Island
I gather that the Cake Mania and Burger Island games are about building food businesses, and the Super Granny games are about Granny rescuing her kitties. There's nothing wrong with those game genres, but when those are the only genres with female protagonists? Grump.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 5th, 2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
I also find that Facebook question and phrasing annoying. I heard (from a Facebook blog post, I think? And/or maybe at Language Log) that what prompted it is largely that they were unable to translate gender neutral pronouns (they use "they" and "their" in English) into some other languages, and kept assigning the wrong genders to some people as a result on their foreign language sites. Why this means that they must universally force people to specify a gender, though, I don't understand.
Jul. 5th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
I'm sure the advertisers would be happier knowing EVERYONE's gender as well.
Jul. 5th, 2008 08:47 pm (UTC)
Leave them a polite note, explaining that you are a multiple entity containing no fewer than seven distinct genders, and that the only proper English pronoun to use is "their".
Jul. 5th, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
If I think of the games my kid plays, there's not a lot of female protagonists around. Super Mario on the Wii, Lego Starwars, etc. Some of the racing games will let her create a female driver character, but even there many assume the driver is male - and that annoy her.

So, Formula 1 driving, mean light-sabre fighting, that's all male characters. Female characters is what she get with a Strawberry Shortcake game.
Jul. 5th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
There's also Lara Croft, but I don't think she's female so much as a certain-type-of-male-fantasy-of-what's-female.
Jul. 6th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC)
I agree. She's definitely a female-character-for-a-male-players, or at least that's how it looks to me.

I was thinking of the games my kid play, and Tomb Raider is not among them (yet?).
Jul. 6th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC)
That doesn't sound like much of a POWER pack, either.
Jul. 6th, 2008 05:56 am (UTC)
Whatever you do in this mood, don't go shopping for baby clothes.
Jul. 7th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
I'm currently playing a game called Gurumin: Monstrous Adventure which has me playing a young girl with a magical drill that she uses to destroy enemy monsters (and a good deal of the local landscape as well). clawfoot and I, on the other hand, are playing Silent Hill 3, which I couldn't describe at all because I have no idea what's going on, but it's a horror survival game and the character we're playing is female, and so far mostly wanders around gruesomely killing horrible monsters with bits of pipe, knives and the occasional gun. The last game I really obsessively played was Portal, which has both a female main character and a "female" villain (actually a computer, but with one of those ambient female computer voices) and is a 3D sci-fi action puzzle-style adventure very reminiscent of first-person shooters. (Also one of the best games I've played.)
Jul. 7th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
It's good to know there are a few other kinds of games with female protagonists.
Jul. 7th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
:) I suppose I kind of tangented there. Your post just made me start thinking about it.

I'd be curious for your input on this post that I made after reading this one.
Jul. 7th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
You can watch the intro movie for Gurumin here, it turns out. It's pretty fun. :)
Jul. 7th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
That's adorable!

The differences between sex roles in Japanese anime and American animation is worth at least a whole 'nother post, sometime when I have time for it. There's sexism in anime, but girls do get to kick butt, as long as they are cute doing it.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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