pre-production part one: misogyny


so, hmm… it seems I was a bit upset when I wrote the last post. Family stuff involving hospitals was happening at the time, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pretend this is a professional blog. My emotional state will vary by post, and I’m going to talk about stuff that I’m thinking about, regardless of the ‘professional distance’ I should be using. If you don’t want to see the sausage being made, don’t read the personal blog, okay?

so let’s talk about GamerGate……………….

dammit, Greg, why? you know it’s bad to talk about that subject! why make this blog even more awkward?

because it is relevant to Red Neptune, self, that’s why!

I was aware of “games journalism issues” long before this absurdity started. The guy who wrote a bad review of Kane and Lynch 2 got fired from GameSpot for it. Companies have always paid reviewers for good reviews of their products, and it’s become more of a publicity thing than it probably should be. Most people already knew this.

(Of course, there are real reviewers out there, and there’s an easy way to find them. First, they give out low scores. Second, they don’t make much money. When I look at reviews I tend to read the lowest scores and see if they make valid points, because it’s the closest to truth you’re going to get on the internet.)

So that’s part one of this story, but there is another part. As far as I can tell, this is where it changed from Quinnspiracy to GamerGate, bringing feminism into it because a few feminists commented on the topic. Suddenly, being a woman in games was a crime, punishable by doxxing. Groups formed on feminist lines, one side angry that the core topic of journalism was being deflected, the other side angry that women were being attacked for being women. Both sides were right, and both sides were wrong, because the word ‘sides’ was misappropriated. Everyone individually shouted, “You are either with us or against us!”

This is Us Versus Them, and it is a flaw in human psychology. It’s the same behavior that makes political parties and sports teams so effective. You identify with one side, and then they can do no wrong! Clearly the other side is the devil for what some of them have done wrong.

So why is any of this relevant? Because I am exploring both us vs. them and misogyny in the plot of Red Neptune. At first only Red was female, but as I worked on the story I realized that it was necessary to make Blue and Green female as well. I believe there is a pervasive weak misogyny in our culture, that is rarely talked about or understood, and I want to present the different types to people in an indirect way. For reasons…

So, step one, Yell is a weak misogynist. He doesn’t hate women or even have a problem with female leaders. He doesn’t want women to “go back in the kitchen”. This kind of misogyny is cartoonish – it just doesn’t happen in the real world. Twelve year olds make jokes about it in the YouTube comments section.

Step two, he treats each other female team member in a uniquely annoying way. Yell directs Red, tells her that he is the one with the plan, calls her ‘kid’. He deflects Blue, says she is crazy and a witch because she is more powerful than him, and he doesn’t want to admit it. And he enables Green, sheltering her and fawning over her because he is physically attracted to her.

These are the kinds of misogyny that exist in the real world. So called “nice guy misogyny” is really about letting women get away with things that men cannot because you assume that is what they want from you, and you have ulterior (even unrequited) motives. Controlling misogyny is about taking on the role of control because society dictates that men are providers for women, and they want to be protected. And deflecting misogyny is about ignoring the truth in favor of ego, pretending that you are more capable because society expects it.

I am ashamed to admit that I have been each of these misogynists to varying degrees in the past. To be fair, our culture almost tries to force this behavior with subliminally approved male and female roles, the constant questions of “do you have a/is she your girlfriend?” from parents, and the assumption that every man in the world wants to work a 9 to 5, earn money, get married, have 2.5 kids, and take vacations to Europe.

These are the approved life goals, you are either with us or against us.

So, if you haven’t guessed already, Red Neptune is going to be about making people uncomfortable with the truth. I’m going to wrap everything in black comedy and surrealism, but I want to touch on interesting and complex themes. And then explain why everything is wrong and you should feel bad about it. Or just keep dancing and don’t worry about the destruction in your wake.

I’m not sure I’m there yet, but at this point I can safely say that Yell will enter the longstanding tradition of annoying sprite side-characters.

2 thoughts on “pre-production part one: misogyny”

  1. Hi!
    I am learning Java at the moment and wanted to know which language your games are written in?
    Greetings from Berlin,

    1. Hi, I code my games in Flash AS3 using a heavily modified Flixel base. I use FlashDevelop as my IDE, which is free and open source.

      If you’re just starting out in coding, game engines like Game Maker or Multimedia Fusion are better for non-coders. But if you’re doing something new (like the dynamic music in redneptune), there’s nothing better than code. =)

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