Super Mario, Tomb Raider Sexism Compels U.K. To Consider Sexism Ratings
(Last Updated On: June 13, 2016)

If you like Lara Croft or playing Super Mario Bros, you’re contributing to a culture of sexism within the video game industry, according to British politicians. Nevermind that the two newest Tomb Raider games have been written by a woman and have adopted the ideals of third-wave feminism. According to some British members of parliament, Super Mario Bros and Tomb Raider are core examples of the gaming industry being steeped in sexism, and they now want to introduce a sexism rating to deter developers from making their games sexist.

HeatST did a write-up on the story that originated on Newsweek, the latter of which contains a couple of easily disprovable falsehoods relating to #GamerGate. Nevertheless, the article covers the attempts by British MPs, including Chi Onwurah and Tulip Siddiq from the Labour Party, to amend a sexism rating for video games.

According to Onwurah…

“I think it’s absolutely right that the government should be doing more to promote more women into the gaming industry, and that includes helping to identify when videogames don’t have sexist and demeaning representation for women. So I’d like to be working with industry bodies so that we can celebrate the good examples and identify the bad ones”

 

“That is something… I’d be very interested in working with the video standards council and also the gaming authorities to look at, because we consider how offensive films are [and that] impacts their rating, so I think there’s an argument that gender offensiveness should at least be signposted”

This comes shortly after several other politicians in France have attempted to introduce an addendum to the PEGI rating in order to have certain games with “poor” depictions of women rated 18+. The idea is that even if the game may be designed for kids or teens, if they have women in them that certain people feel are “problematic”, the game’s rating could be raised in addition to limiting its advertising and sales potential.

According to the French politicians, the idea would be to make the rating dissuade developers from depicting women in specific ways while also celebrating and rewarding developers who depict women in approved ways — ways that those in specific culture sects feel reflect and represent women in a positive way.

In the case of France, no examples were provided of good or bad depictions of females in games, but they did use Anita Sarkeesian’s list of criteria on how women should be depicted in games.

In the case of the Newsweek article, MP Tulip Siddiq did have examples to share, citing Super Mario and Tomb Raider as problematic examples of sexism in video games. According to Siddiq…

“The most famous video game franchise in history, Super Mario Bros. , frequently sees a helpless Princess Daisy in need of rescue by Mario and Luigi. Why in the Lara Croft series, focusing on an ostensibly more positive role model, is she still depicted through such sexualized imagery?

 

“As examples they might raise a grin, but it should be possible for the videogames industry to embrace women as positive role models without resorting to sexism and stereotypes that we wouldn’t allow to fester in other creative industries.”

This would be the first time actual examples are being used by politicians based on what’s considered sexist in the gaming industry, particularly in relation to laws that they would like to pass through legislation in order to curb developers from pursuing certain depictions of women in video games.

If Super Mario Bros is used as a standard, then Nintendo would most likely have to find another formula for their games when it comes to Mario and Luigi rescuing a female. In fact, rescuing any female in any game could be construed as sexist if she’s portrayed as a “damsel in distress”.

Instances where Nintendo allowed gamers to play as Princess Peach or Daisy or Rosalina were ignored by the MPs, which makes me wonder if video game companies will at least attempt to defend their own work where these examples are being misrepresented in the media?

Apparently video games aren’t the only things the MPs will be going after. According to Siddiq, these labels for video games could open the door for critiques and reevaluations of how women are depicted in other mediums…

“The government can do more to support a culture of equality across the creative industries. The issue of sexism in the videogames industry could be a part of a wider review by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. I take the broad view that laws and regulations must keep pace with technology, and in this case, they are clearly lagging behind”

The United Nations has also been trying desperately to get Japan to bend to their whims regarding censorship and the depiction of women in fictional material such as animated television shows and film, as well as manga comic books and video games.

According to Niche Gamer, Japan has denied the United Nations’ request to consider further censoring their media in addition to the measures they already have in place, but the United Nations isn’t giving up. This all came to a head following Switzerland wanting to enact a sexism on games, which was then followed by Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian going to the United Nations about the depiction of women in video games and sexism in the tech industry.

Politicians are now starting to react to those complaints and it could mean further artistic restrictions on video game development if the sexism labels do become mandatory.

The Newsweek piece rounds out by stating…

“[…] traditionally-minded gamers have hit back, gathering around the “#gamergate” hashtag, which began in 2014 in response to false claims about alleged impropriety between independent game-maker Zoe Quinn and a journalist. The movement has gathered into a broad coalition of resistance to perceived attempts to introduce social justice “agendas” into games and games journalism.”

This is actually incorrect, Nathan Grayson was romantically involved with developer Zoe Quinn and also exchanged $800 while covering her and her game… without disclosure. Grayson went on record to admit his involvement with Quinn and that money did exchange hands between them.


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About

Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • Trouble Man

    We already had this, and it’s called the ESRB. No point in getting angry now.

    • Trouble Man

      Although since we’re talking about Britbongland, that should be PEGI, shouldn’t it?

      • Yeah it’s PEGI… but they want a separate rating board, specifically for sexism.

        • Trouble Man

          I get it, but my point was that existing trigger warnings ratings systems are more or less political in nature, in that they reflect certain sensibilities in deciding what’s “adult” and what’s not.

          Exposed nipples pushing ratings over, scatological or sexual swear words being more “M” than religious ones, gay relationships being treated as more “sexual” and garnering higher ratings (though that applies more to movies), the list goes on.

          And you know what? Even if the bias is bad, people deserve to know a thing or two about the content they’re purchasing. Ergo, I can’t in good faith be outraged over something like this. Unless the country in question restricts the sale of games above a certain rating, and even then I consider that the actual problem and not the possibility of a game being “Rated T for Mild Cartoon Misogyny.”

          • I think the bigger issue is the financial grants they want to restrict from devs who have “sexist” content in their games, along with the inability to allow them certain advertising rights. Essentially, it forces devs to only include certain depictions of females in their games, lest they incur the wrath of politically correct institutionalism.

  • Alistair

    * On a side note i dont think the video games industry wont allow it as they also speak out about something daft being consider.

  • Alistair

    But other media in some do depict women in a bad light like porn or a 18 rated horror as a victim, others uses strippers especially in the 70s,

    And dont forget sex comedy in the 70s & 80s

  • Alistair

    Hmm i went & re-Read it again and come to a conclusion That SJWs are crazy then ever.

    So let be clear its another icon for PEGI To poilce but the most stupid thing is given a highest if it depict of women characters in a bad way so instant 18 rating the kicker for me is even kids games that depict women in a bad way.

    So we be seeing super mairo rated 18 a kid game which be illegal for kids to buy a kid game. Holy fuck SJWs just got even more retarded.

    Other kids game would fall foul to the new 18+ Look but then another question PEGI Is a independent rating board that governments dont get involed with games on they end. So if they go ahead then they are fcking liers

  • Alistair

    I’m very late for this but I don’t think this will happen they got enough problems ATM with uncertainty of leaving EU.

    & even if they did would PEGI police it. & if they did Devs wouldn’t give 2 shits about it. Besides no surprise of who the suspects are two women.

    Typical like always.

  • lieschen müller

    now jackasses are using the death of 50 people that was no fault of videogames but of the fucking sick hipocresy of usa society to put jack Thompson level crap and then say they arent pushing for censorship, right now its not that far of getting to Fahrenheit 451

  • conrad1on

    “… false claims about alleged impropriety…” Don’t ever change, prog press.

  • ChaosBahamut

    “The most famous video game franchise in history, Super Mario Bros. ,
    frequently sees a helpless Princess Daisy in need of rescue by Mario and
    Luigi.”

    *facekeyboard*

  • Lord Vector

    I wish more gamers would wake up and fight back against this crap. I’m afraid whats going to happen to my favorite hobby.

  • Horrorstorm

    The future of games is indie developers standing strong and giving a big fuck you to feminists, sjws, anti-whites and similar scum.

  • Dgnfly

    Well it won’t be soon islam and sharia will be the number one law in britain,considering they share the same goals as Feminism.

  • C G Saturation

    The first step to getting more women into the gaming industry is to stop perpetuating lies that the gaming industry treats women like shit. Morons.

    It’s always ironic that the same assholes whining about not enough women in an industry that most women aren’t interested in, are also the same assholes manufacturing fearsome lies to drive women away. You’d almost think they were trying to create excuses to push their bullshit agenda!

    And positive role models, as in Burka-clad to conceal all female flesh? I’m sure that gives women a very positive image of their bodies, telling them to coverup.

    Also NewsWeek should rename themselves to PropagandaLies.
    Disgusting filthy scum. Couldn’t relay facts even if their lives depended on it.

    • scemar

      And here’s another angle:
      Making artificial incentives for women to get into games by making it easier or more rewarding often ends attracting women that aren’t in it for the craft.
      The type that have no talent for games, no history with games, no dedication or passion for them and often end sour about it once they realize how unforgiving the jobs can be and they’ll soon be giving up or turning against it and hating it.

      Implementing a double standard ends messing up things, who would have guessed.

      This entire subject is full of situations where the same people who position themselves as the champion of a cause are the ones creating the circumstances that create the problems they ultimately market themselves as the solution.

      • C G Saturation

        For some reason, I misread your comment, and misreading it made me think this:
        You just know they’re going to blame the reduced number of women in jobs replaced by AI as being the fault of men.

      • LurkerJK

        Eventually those with the money will remember they are running a business and come asking where is the return for their investment and thats when the pancake gets turn 180º

        Lets see how much the industry screws women once they are very really and with undeniable historical proof considered to not bring as much money in, to not be as efficient, to create unnecessary strife in the company, to make the working environment toxic, to push talent away and generally not be as good employees as men

        Instead of slowly promoting education to women and selecting, training and getting only the best quality exponents into the industry to create a good track record and letting them earn their place they just rammed whatever they had up the industry’s backhole pushing much better quality employees out the window and earning them only resentment, all those ppl just waiting for the mood to turn around and replace them.

        There is no lying to numbers, 10, 20, 50, 100 years in the future ppl wont consider feelings, they will only look at the numbers and no amount of political correctness is going to keep investors from running away from bad investments

        • C G Saturation

          That’s what happens when idiots try to unnecessarily and meaninglessly balance gender ratios by grabbing any women who happens to be walking by (because the ones with talent are probably busy doing something they’re actually interested in), and suppressing males who may have contributed greatly.

          I know there are some women out there who are very skilled, talented and take their work seriously.

          But there seem to be more a lot more women who just want quick gratification and will do whatever it takes to achieve that, and not much more. I’m sure there are plenty of guys who are like that too, but I have to wonder if it’s more common amongst women because they know they can use their gender as an excuse.

  • CRES

    Jack Thompson had no chance at changing the video game industry. Almost no one supported him. But now, Feminism is about to do just that, with the collective might of the press, the politicians, and their perpetual victim leaders. And the only thing standing in their way is rationality and gamers. We must say in one clear loud voice that this isn’t the industry we want. This isn’t the world we want. And we will stop anyone who forces it to be that way.

    • C G Saturation

      It is clear now that the first step to changing the world, making a difference or leading a significant existence is to have a vagina.

      • CRES

        Well I guess that means all gamers are fucked because we are ALL white cisgender heteronormative males with manly tendencies, which means we have the most privilege out of everyone in the world but it also means our opinions are worth less then pretty much any other person. Except for the Japanese, because they’re also a bunch of “white” people too.

        • C G Saturation

          Not all vaginas are equal, apparently.

    • scemar

      It seems the right slowly committed political suicide by ignoring everything new and becoming irrelevant.

      And without a natural balance of forces the left was unopposed, and bad people throughout history always want to pretend they are good, they aren’t killing innocents they are giving them salvation, they aren’t ruining a medium they are saving it. So the left became the perfect place for the evil nice ones who wanted to help the world by censoring it.

      Jack Thompson was no different, he thought he was the good guy too.
      But he had opposition.

      Lack of opposition is what leads to this situations.

      The fact that in america right now the corporations, the politicians, the media, the universities are all being run by people of the same side who have managed to alienate anyone who didn’t join them is the bigger problem.

      • CRES

        My only criticism with your analysis of the situation is the concept of “these evil people.” I don’t think these people are actually evil, they either truly believe they are doing what is best for the world, or they are just following the trend to score some cheap cash and popularity.

        The only truly “evil” people in the world are those who don’t care for anything other than themselves. Everyone else are people who just pave the way to hell with their good intentions.

        • scemar

          but if the stuff they do is evil but they are too stupid to realize it, wouldn’t their proper alignment be something like stupid-evil?
          one of the lesser evils but still, evil
          that’s how I’d put it because I can’t only focus on what they wish they were doing and entirely disregard what they are actually doing

          • CRES

            I guess I object to using the term “evil” because it basically means “bad because it’s bad” which isn’t really helpful in identifying the root causes that we need to focus on. I find “Regressive” the most accurate description for these people.

        • giygas

          “Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

          – C.S. Lewis

          • C G Saturation

            People call the crazies the liberal far left or whatever, but those “liberals” treat everyone else like they’re too stupid to think for themselves, prone to behave like wild beasts, and need to be governed and hand-held.

            I don’t see what’s “liberal” about that. Then again, I don’t really understand the left/right thing, either.

        • “they either truly believe they are doing what is best for the world”

          These people are not stupid, so I honestly doubt that.

          The studies(s) about video games not being sexist is there for them.

          Instead, I find that these assholes are usually the types that have an personal axe to grind, for example like the feminists who want to ban porn simply because they personally dislike it and so that it takes away yet another piece of entertainment material that’s catered towards men.

          Basically the ‘No More Page 3’ types.

          Never give these people the benefit of the doubt, because their personal agenda has ALWAYS been to screw men over rather than “represent wymmin betta”.

          “The only truly “evil” people in the world are those who don’t care for anything other than themselves.”

          SJWs and modern feminists fit perfectly into your description. They want to censor and ban things so that no-one else (mostly men) can get to have and enjoy it all behind that false mask of “sexism”, “think of the children”, and “equality”.

          When I look into the policies they advocate for, it’s all designed to destabilise, disadvantage and exclude men.

    • LurkerJK

      It is a bad idea to play their game, we are just not as organized or insanely aggressive to out-scream neofems

      There is another angle we can use, they will listen to money, all you need to do is, whenever a game you want shows signs of “PC culture” do not preorder, do not buy it on release, only rent it, buy it with a huge discount or do not buy it at all

      A few months or a year of this and they will get the message and its a much more concrete and powerful message than voice since it directly affects their wallets

  • EroBotan

    mario’s princess is peach right? These mps confuse her with Daisy duck?

    • CRES

      There is a Princess Daisy in the Mario universe, but she was only kidnapped in Super Mario Land and since has only appeared in spin off games like Party and Kart. So it is weird that they would confuse Daisy with her more popular and well known counterpart Peach.

    • They don’t know a pixel from a digit. I believe she was referring to Princess Peach but put Daisy instead. What’s even funnier is that you can play Daisy in more games than you have to rescue her, but facts are probably considered harassment to these people.

      • C G Saturation

        I’m sure they would argue that playing as a fictional female character is still sexist because you are controlling her against her will. She can’t speak, but you’re deciding for her. She can’t can’t object to your controls and direction! You’re treating her like an object! It’s basically rape! The sky is green! Aliens on Mars!

        • To a less exaggerated degree, Sarkeesian was making an argument similar to that in one of her more recent videos. Mostly targeting scantily clad female characters.

          • C G Saturation

            That was probably what I was mocking. I used to have a friend who began spouting nonsense about how it’s sexist that female characters have their poses and clothing chosen for them. I no longer talk to that person.

  • LurkerJK

    You would think they had enough in their hands with Brexit but seems you are never too busy to get triggered by a 31 year old videogame character playing a trope that is as common to movies as it is to comics, novels and even commercials

    Next time just stay home playing and let the gorilla have his snack

    • C G Saturation

      They don’t have to worry about Brexit because they will just ignore what everyone wants and keep fucking us.

      • LurkerJK

        I heard something about it, is it non-binding ?
        can the government just ignore the results and keep going their merry way ?

        • C G Saturation

          I heard something like that too. I’m sure they’ll find a way.

  • scemar

    It’s the UK so it’s not really new for them to be eating into retarded authoritarian foolishness.
    I guess stuff like this is why Milo doesn’t really hang around there no more.

  • BoredbyMSM

    Labour Party MPs in Britain, Socialists in France – this new wave of attempted video game Censorship very much seems to be coming from one particular political block.

    • It does appear that way. However, only a certain sect is getting media airtime. We don’t really know what the other side thinks about this, but when it comes time for voting, if the other side falls in line with the so-called “regressive liberals” then we know it’s not just one side.

      • C G Saturation

        Because certain sect tends to fund and/or control the media that gives them airtime. So balanced!