Jibble

Author Topic: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination  (Read 35910 times)

Snarky

  • Global Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Mittens Lord
  • Private Insultant
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2018, for his numerous additions to the AGS open source ecosystem including the new Awards Ceremony client and modules
    • Snarky worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Snarky worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #560 on: 26 Mar 2021, 08:12 »
Most of Germany is Protestant, and the legacy of Communism in East Germany, where I live, makes religion almost irrelevant in everyday life. Only the South is mostly Catholic

I'm most familiar with Nordrhein-Westfalen (the westernmost state in Germany, for those not familiar with German geography), where there's a definite Catholic vibe. According to Wikipedia, Catholicism is the largest religious denomination there, at 37.7% of the population, compared to 24% protestants (and 38.8% other/none).

the flavour of Catholicism there has little to do with the one you find in countries like Spain or Italy, with our bloody saints, virgins, processions and obsession with sin and guilt.

Yes, of course there are differences, but is it not possible that you're overlooking the similarities because you take them for granted, while they stand out to someone coming from a non-Catholic country?

Of course you'll see more similarities between China and Japan than between China and Pakistan, but only in the most superficial of senses because both countries have had radically different histories and have moved towards extremely different societies. And the same way, this idea of "the Western World" mashing together radically different cultures in some sort of mushy, homogeneous goo, is like FormosaFalanster and I have stated, incorrect, superficial and offensive.

It occurs to me that there is actual research on this (a colleague of mine had it as the subject of her PhD dissertation, so I learned a bit about it). Researchers poll on values and beliefs, and have identified various "cultural dimensions" (power distance, individualism vs. collectivism, high-context vs. low-context communication, etc.) that capture some of the essential differences in values and ways of thinking/being, and can roughly measure the distance between different cultures (though of course, generalizing one country as one culture is problematic in the first place). One famous chart is this:



Importantly, this chart focuses on political attitudes; graphing along other axes will give different results.

Generally speaking (from my recollection), you do tend to have "related" cultures cluster together with similar scores to each other on most of the dimensions (so, much of Europe and other "western" countries show up as a fairly coherent blob), but there are a number of interesting exceptions—and not always what you might expect from cultural stereotypes.

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #561 on: 26 Mar 2021, 08:55 »
Crimson Wizard:
Well, Disney is still tightly associated with Mickey Mouse in Sweden, not due to any feature films, but a few shorts, some of which are part of the Disney Christmas special
that's become a long-running tradition to watch in most Swedish households.

As for Disney vs Ghibli, my impression was always that Disney targeted all ages, whereas Ghibli aimed at a bit older kids, and hence why they could focus more on a slower pace and fleshing out the characters
(watching a relative's 5 year old see Disney's Aladdin for the first time, she was bored during all the dialogue and mainly interested in the big action scenes where the hero was chased by things).

Funnily enough, I've seen Marsha and the Bear run on Swedish TV too when flipping through the channels, though I never watched it any closer as I don't think I'm the target demographic.


Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #562 on: 26 Mar 2021, 12:49 »
One famous chart is this:

I doubt myself am proficient to discuss such researches, but something that bugs me about it is grouping of the nations by religions (funny, not every group is religion, maybe for a reason). Maybe that was made to mark national background, but imo it is arguable whether it's religious denominations that define people attitudes in all of these countries. Taking Orthodox Christianity in Russia for instance, Russia today is a very non-religious and secular country, and probably had been such at least for the last 100 years. Some people claim it already has been even before revolution of 1917 after which the government commenced oppression of church.

This is a problem with statistics imo, a lot of people here would say they are orthodox christians, but that might mean literally anything. Whether that truly defines behavior and life choices, and to which extent, is a very big question.
« Last Edit: 26 Mar 2021, 13:25 by Crimson Wizard »

Ali

  • What will become of the baron?
    • Ali worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Ali worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #563 on: 26 Mar 2021, 13:44 »
I remember a Basque friend of mine saying he though Jan Švankmajer's animation was terrible. Which, I think is interesting because my friend is a Basque leftist, hardly the stereotypical "Anglo Saxon" westerner critiqued above.

I would say it demonstrates the influence of Disney's "realism" on what we think of as good animation. Švankmajer's motion is often linear; characters don't squash and stretch, they don't anticipate and follow through. Measured by Disney's standards, Švankmajer is doing it wrong. In Disney animations, volume is conserved. Characters arms and legs can't stretch off into tentacles, which is part of what makes Fleischer cartoons (and things like Cuphead) feel creepy to contemporary viewer. The big hitters of Hollywood animation have defined, for many of us and whether we like it or not, what is normal and neutral in animation.

I'm also a big fan of folktales, and I can't stand the way Disney has created fossilised, definitive versions of folk stories that now (and maybe forever) reflect 20th century America. Jack Zipes's Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry is a fantastically interesting take on this, from a broadly Marxian perspective. Apologies if this is all too off-topic.

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #564 on: 26 Mar 2021, 14:29 »
I remember a Basque friend of mine saying he though Jan Švankmajer's animation was terrible. Which, I think is interesting because my friend is a Basque leftist, hardly the stereotypical "Anglo Saxon" westerner critiqued above.

I would say it demonstrates the influence of Disney's "realism" on what we think of as good animation. Švankmajer's motion is often linear; characters don't squash and stretch, they don't anticipate and follow through.

"Characters don't squash and stretch"? Are you sure you're thinking of Švankmajer? As in, THIS Švankmajer?



Maybe you're thinking of somebody else (Bill Plympton maybe?), because comparing stop-motion animation and claymation to Disney-style cartoon animation is like comparing apples and oranges, and in any case, I'm not sure people dislike Švankmajer's style because they see it as "worse" than Disney, but because it's so fucking freaky and unsettling and weird to begin with.


In Disney animations, volume is conserved. Characters arms and legs can't stretch off into tentacles, which is part of what makes Fleischer cartoons (and things like Cuphead) feel creepy to contemporary viewer.

Funny, I don't see this at all. In fact, I find that in Disney movies, facial expressions are so exaggerated that at times, characters (especially villains and sidekicks) seem to be made of rubber. Look how Jafar's expressions change in this clip, especially at the very ending (around 2:20). That's never felt natural at all to me, and is actually one of the reasons I don't like Disney animation. It's just too much.
« Last Edit: 26 Mar 2021, 14:38 by Laura Hunt »

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #565 on: 26 Mar 2021, 14:37 »
@Laura Hunt, re-reading Ali's comment several times, I think it was not phrased well, he probably meant that Disney's characters don't squash and stretch, as opposed to Fleischer etc.
« Last Edit: 26 Mar 2021, 21:48 by Crimson Wizard »

Ali

  • What will become of the baron?
    • Ali worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Ali worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #566 on: 26 Mar 2021, 15:00 »
Sorry I wasn't more clear. Disney's characters DO squash and stretch - as in the animation principle of how squash and stretch is taught.

But Švankmajer's figures are plastic - they're not like elastic/rubber - they don't snap back into shape. Fleischer characters are often ductile - they can extend their arms and legs. We talk about Fleischer looking rubbery, but that's not actually how rubber behaves. Disney characters are more like actual rubber. When they stretch they get thinner, like a piece of rubber. When they squash, they get fatter, so their volume is conserved.

I agree that Disney's realism isn't particularly likeable or realistic (especially while he was alive - I prefer the background art from that era.) But this is taught as a principle of animation, and it's enormously influential.

Cassiebsg

  • Cavefish
  • Fleeing the Cylon tyrrany...
    • Cassiebsg worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Cassiebsg worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #567 on: 26 Mar 2021, 16:34 »
I had the same problem that Laura Hunt had, when reading Ali's post. Maybe it's our "cultural language" influencing how we read that first paragraph? ;) And not knowing who "Jan Švankmajer" didn't made it easier.  (laugh) Thanks for posting the video.  (nod)

Also, a bit OT @Blondbraid: Marsha and the Bear is actually very entertaining/funny (if you can overlook the fact that a little girl is hanging around a bear (laugh)). Even though the target audience are small children, it's very well made and adults can watch along (another cartoon for small children that also included adults in it's audience is Peppa Pig, with some very "adult jokes" that children won't pick up on  ;)). They're both on YT, if you want to watch one (they're like 5 minutes long, if memory serves me right).
There are those who believe that life here began out there...

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #568 on: 28 Mar 2021, 12:37 »
My sister took me to see Švankmajer's Něco z Alenky when I was around 8 :). It didn't traumatize me as much as you'd think (not even this part)... I was confused and a little creeped out, but as far as I remember some of it was interesting to me and I didn't end up hating it. But I also don't love his animation aesthetically - there's a frantic choppiness to it at times which has always felt unpleasant to me.

I was exposed to a lot of traditional Czech animation when I was little (including this national treasure - check it out for some Amanita vibes), but Disney and other American cartoons soon won me over. I loved the stretchiness and squishiness Ali is describing and tried to imitate it, made stuff like this when I was around 10 or 11 I think:



A lot of it was influenced by games - I copied some animation tricks from Aladdin, the flask drinking is from Prince of Persia, maybe there's also some Day of the Tentacle? So yeah, my perception of "good animation" had been thoroughly Disneyfied and americanized while I was still little, just through osmosis.
« Last Edit: 28 Mar 2021, 12:58 by Honza »

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #569 on: 31 Mar 2021, 09:49 »
I had the same problem that Laura Hunt had, when reading Ali's post. Maybe it's our "cultural language" influencing how we read that first paragraph? ;) And not knowing who "Jan Švankmajer" didn't made it easier.  (laugh) Thanks for posting the video.  (nod)

Also, a bit OT @Blondbraid: Marsha and the Bear is actually very entertaining/funny (if you can overlook the fact that a little girl is hanging around a bear (laugh)). Even though the target audience are small children, it's very well made and adults can watch along (another cartoon for small children that also included adults in it's audience is Peppa Pig, with some very "adult jokes" that children won't pick up on  ;)). They're both on YT, if you want to watch one (they're like 5 minutes long, if memory serves me right).
I might just check it out when I can!

My sister took me to see Švankmajer's Něco z Alenky when I was around 8 :). It didn't traumatize me as much as you'd think (not even this part)... I was confused and a little creeped out, but as far as I remember some of it was interesting to me and I didn't end up hating it. But I also don't love his animation aesthetically - there's a frantic choppiness to it at times which has always felt unpleasant to me.

I was exposed to a lot of traditional Czech animation when I was little (including this national treasure - check it out for some Amanita vibes), but Disney and other American cartoons soon won me over. I loved the stretchiness and squishiness Ali is describing and tried to imitate it, made stuff like this when I was around 10 or 11 I think:



A lot of it was influenced by games - I copied some animation tricks from Aladdin, the flask drinking is from Prince of Persia, maybe there's also some Day of the Tentacle? So yeah, my perception of "good animation" had been thoroughly Disneyfied and americanized while I was still little, just through osmosis.
Ok, that's some seriously impressive animations for a 10 year old!

As for animation, it's always been my impression that eastern-European animation, and Czech animation in particular, is much more dominated by stop motion, paper cutouts, and a mix of textures and materials compared to the American and Disney animated works.
Living in Sweden, SVT would mostly reserve the more popular Disney cartoons for Saturdays and weekends and fill up the rest of the kid's slots with a mix of animated shorts and series from all over Europe, though I suspect mainly because they were cheaper to get the rights for
then the Disney ones rather than any deeper wish to share diverse perspectives with Swedish kids.


Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #570 on: 15 Apr 2021, 18:24 »

What can we say about this Kiss of war? It have a lot of soldier women, and they are badass... no pun intended, but sure the staff worked a lot on their gluteus.




_

Cassiebsg

  • Cavefish
  • Fleeing the Cylon tyrrany...
    • Cassiebsg worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Cassiebsg worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #571 on: 15 Apr 2021, 20:54 »
I bet all teenagers are drooling about... (I mean those that are boys and into girls/women)...  (roll)
There are those who believe that life here began out there...

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #572 on: 16 Apr 2021, 09:04 »
Firstly, why post a random ad selection for some obscure mobile game in this thread?
TheFrighterer, have you entered some kind of sponsorship deal akin to all the YouTubers promoting game apps everywhere?  (roll)

Secondly, I've seen a ton of sexist mobile ads that have just awful stuff they'd never get away with in any other medium,
but even so, this still took me by surprise in how creepy and sexist it was.

The female characters in the ads are clearly only doing "badass" stuff like shooting guns or resting sexily on tanks to pander to guys with a dominatrix/strong woman fetish,
and all the players are shown as guys collecting them and keeping them around like a harem, and minigames dedicated to pinup shots and strip poker where all of the
different girl characters literally say the exact same voicelines as one another, there's not even any pretense of them being individual characters from one another.

But the creepiest part by far is at the 6.00 timestamp in the second video linked where the player is straight-up encouraged to grope a nurse despite she's constantly asking the player to stop touching her in a frightened voice.
Seriously, who greenlit that? 8-0


Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #573 on: 16 Apr 2021, 18:55 »
Firstly, why post a random ad selection for some obscure mobile game in this thread?
TheFrighterer, have you entered some kind of sponsorship deal akin to all the YouTubers promoting game apps everywhere?  (roll)
A single ad is not enough to make an idea in how gross is this game, Blondbraid.  :-[
My intention is not to promoting this kind of games, just to show how far they can go with the sexism.

_

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #574 on: 16 Apr 2021, 21:20 »
Firstly, why post a random ad selection for some obscure mobile game in this thread?
TheFrighterer, have you entered some kind of sponsorship deal akin to all the YouTubers promoting game apps everywhere?  (roll)
A single ad is not enough to make an idea in how gross is this game, Blondbraid.  :-[
My intention is not to promoting this kind of games, just to show how far they can go with the sexism.

_
I wanted to make a light joke as well as taking a crack at having to see bad mobile ads everywhere nowadays, I'm sorry if it came across as aimed at you in a bad way, it wasn't my intention.

But yeah, these kinds of ads do deserve to be called out for their sexism, and it baffles me that they can still publish and promote mobile ads with content
that would have sent their creators raked over hot coal if it had been ads for films, non-mobile video games, or any other form of media.

If I may use an analogy, it's like seeing people trying their best to clean out any trash and dirt from their entire house, except they let one room be the most rancid thing ever for no reason at all.  :-\


Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #575 on: 17 Apr 2021, 08:49 »

Good point. Mobile games seems off the radar of the main criticism (press, blogs et cetera). I can't tell why.

An interesting thing is the percentual feature that shows how many players goes wild with the girls and how many stay fair. Is it just for the statistic or maybe to affect the player's choices?
"Ehi, the 70% of the players ripped off the dress of the nurse! I'm one of the crowd, then!"

_

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #576 on: 17 Apr 2021, 11:31 »

Good point. Mobile games seems off the radar of the main criticism (press, blogs et cetera). I can't tell why.

An interesting thing is the percentual feature that shows how many players goes wild with the girls and how many stay fair. Is it just for the statistic or maybe to affect the player's choices?
"Ehi, the 70% of the players ripped off the dress of the nurse! I'm one of the crowd, then!"

_
That's just making it all the more disturbing, like they're actively trying to normalize the worst choices.

I also wanted to point out your phrasing, like "goes wild with the girls" sounds like harmless fun, compared to "sexually abusing a subordinate", which is what much of the commercials actually depicted if it had happened to real women,
I'm 100% certain that you didn't mean it that way, but I think this highlights one of the risks when people are describing sexist media in the ad's own language; even when you try to criticize it, it's easy to accidentally perpetuate parts of it.


Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #577 on: 17 Apr 2021, 18:23 »

You're right, Blonbraid. Abusing is a wild behaviour, that's why I used that word.

_

Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #578 on: 17 Apr 2021, 21:55 »

You're right, Blonbraid. Abusing is a wild behaviour, that's why I used that word.

Well, you'd be surprised just how many abusers carefully analyze what they can get away with and await the right opportunity, only to pretend it was a wild impulse. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But on an unrelated note, I recently read an article which I would strongly reccomend in this thread;
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/09/men-women-books/
Researchers let a machine read and analyze 3.5 million books and analyze the positive and negative words used to describe men and women, and I quote:
Quote
“The algorithms work to identify patterns, and whenever one is observed, it is perceived that something is ‘true.’ If any of these patterns refer to biased language, the result will also be biased. The systems adopt, so to speak, the language that we people use, and thus, our gender stereotypes and prejudices,” says Augenstein. She gives an example of where it may be important: “If the language we use to describe men and women differs in employee recommendations, for example, it will influence who is offered a job when companies use IT systems to sort through job applications.”
That's some seriously worrying implications as algorithms determine more and more of our everyday lives.  :-\


Re: Bechdel test and other media analysis about discrimination
« Reply #579 on: 17 Apr 2021, 23:22 »
Although not related to gender differences, but this reminds me a problem observed with Google Translate which sometimes (or always?) seem to either use most common expressions from the web, or some kind of neural network algorithm based on web contents. This results in a bizzare effect when identical sentences with different popular political figure names are translated differently, sometimes changing meaning to opposite (e.g. positive to negative).

While it's most probably a program glitch, it may look like the program has its own political bias.
« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2021, 23:30 by Crimson Wizard »