November 21st, 2007

Chances are you’ve heard about the “pornographic” web comic that depicts Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond as a bikini-clad fellator–for which Ubisoft has issued a cease and desist. The implication, of course, is that the admittedly attractive G4 host is using her sex appeal to promote the game. Alternatively, the implication is that Jade’s real talents lie outside the realm of game design–that her success has been bartered for in the bedroom.

In discussing the comic, many, even nastier things have been said about Jade Raymond. The most alarming among them is that “she deserves” this sort of treatment. For what, being a beautiful woman in the industry? That’s straight-up rape mentality.

Still, as a fellow gaming female, I can’t say I side with Jade one hundred percent either. Her face, however beautiful, has been used to promote Assassin’s Creed to an unreasonable extent. Game producers aren’t celebrities, and they shouldn’t steal the spotlight from the rest of their teams. With that said, is Jade to blame for the bad PR, or her company, Ubisoft?

I don’t know Jade myself, but to hear Jane Pinckard talk she is indeed a smart, competent industry member who deserves her current position–even if her beauty gives us suspicions to the contrary. With a computer science degree from McGill and experience at both Sony and EA, she’s got to be more than a pretty face.

Unfortunately, it’s that pretty face that the industry (or more accurately, its young, male consumer base) loves to love, but also loves to hate. Jade is welcome as a sex symbol, but not as a creative presence? Is this comic a sign that we as a community are too hung up on beautiful women, or that our masculine majority feels threatened by them? It’s a complicated issue, true–but any way you look at it, it doesn’t bode well.

At least somebody’s happy. Shortly after the controversy broke out over the comic, its creator posted this Xbox360-style gloat: “ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Made Jade Cry.”

Tags: controversy, gender, The "industry"

15 Responses to “Pretty Girls Have Feelings, Too?”

  1. remember who gets the best picture oscar Says:

    “Her face, however beautiful, has been used to promote Assassin’s Creed to an unreasonable extent. Game producers aren’t celebrities, and they shouldn’t steal the spotlight from the rest of their teams.”

    I disagree – Jade’s doing the same thing as Gabe Newell, CliffyB, Raph Koster (does anyone else even work at Areae?), Richard Garriott (of “Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa”), Sid Meyer (of “Sid Meyers’s x”), Peter Molyneux … and maybe this Will Wright guy actually has some other smart people on his team, but nobody’s ever cared enough to check.

    Anyway, it would be nice for the biz if game producers WERE celebrities (or, greater celebrities than they already are) – it works for the rest of show business …

  2. nectarine Says:

    The comments that follow every you tube video with Jade Raymond in it contain the same mentality as that comic.

    I don’t think Ubisoft has done bad PR at all. Jade is a very good interviewee she communicates well, she is clearly smart, she speaks French to the canadian and French press. If anything she’s a positive role model. It’s irrelevant that she’s good looking or not, if she was “ugly” she’d get a different be somehow closely related attitude towards her.
    To me she represents another game company seeking a closer relationship to it’s players. Why shouldn’t she be the face of Assassins Creed? There are PR guys that sound like they don’t know a thing about the games they hype. Why why why should being a women have anything to do with it?

    Just because some people think it’s manipulative marketing doesn’t mean it is. A poster of a naked women in the middle of an icecream is exploitative marketing, ubisoft’s approach hardly compares. And in that case, I still blame the consumer, not the women in the add.

    There are plenty of male faces representing a single game on their own. The idea that she has somehow done something wrong is the same foul argument that people use against women who bashed or assaulted while jogging and looking great. There are people who claim they somehow deserve it, or they were “asking for it” by going out alone. Or “she was stupid to wear that jogging outfit”, it’s incredibly disturbing that that side of the coin is the first side people see.

    It’s blame the victim all over again.

    The thing I’m most annoyed by though is, a lot of people will look at this comic and think it’s sick, they’ll see it as sexist and so on, but still they’ll think that somehow Jade has “used” her good looks to manipulate people. If a gorgeous man was doing the PR, no-one would blink an eye.

    PR is always a form of manipulation, but we somehow see that if a women is at the hand of it, it’s evil. Women manipulators are evil, nasty and cunning. Men manipulators are powerful, doing it for the good of Man-kind. Those same stereotype pop up in Hollywood and TV every day. The only good women on TV and in movies are the weak ones, otherwise they are evil or have some kind of character flaw that a good man needs to correct at the end.

    If we are going to question Ubisoft’s or Jade’s motives at all, we shouldn’t be asking if the marketing is manipulative, we should be asking if it is exploitative. And the marketing most certainly isn’t exploitative.

    Things like this just expose our societies for what they are under the harsh bright light that is the impersonal or anonymous nature of the Internet. It’s certainly not a special thing for gaming, you just have to browse youtube for half an hour to see that.

    This comic should be seen as further evidence that Feminism is still incredibly relevant. There’s so much more to be done.

  3. darkpen Says:

    Unless somehow the male-female majority in gaming is flipped, or until the day that people can perceive the opposite sex equally by instinct, I don’t think things like this will ever stop. I think its a damn shame, and appalled by the fact that it was the chugworth artist, of all people (though I admit, I don’t read their damn comic to begin with).

    Jade hasn’t appeared and represented Assassin’s Creed any more than any other male producer out there, as the first commenter noted. Not only that, but she’s the PRODUCER, meaning that’s part of her job’s criteria: to get the word out!

    While I understand the comic from a social commentary perspective of how the male demographic perceives her, I think it was incredibly unnecessary to make a comic about it. The comic is an insult to all, but isn’t perceived as such by most, and that is the flaw of the comic (or perhaps, of the audience).

  4. Tastentier Says:

    Fact 1: Sex sells. We are used to see sexy bodies, both male and female bodies, in two out of three advertisements and TV spots. Fact 2: Jade Raymond is sexy. So, the thought of her trying to sell her game with her curves and her pretty smile as much as with facts and screenshots is quite obvious. It’s that easy.

    Unfair? Yes. Life is so unfair! As if that was anything new. Geez, I’m sure if anyone knows how unfair life can possibly be, it must be an intelligent, successful and pretty woman, right? Of course no one should be allowed to treat that pretty girl like… let’s say… other business people in the public eye, say, Bill Gates. How many nasty cartoons depicting Bill Gates are out there? How many unfair accusations? Well, he deserves it, he’s a male. There’s no such thing as meninism, perhaps because men are not supposed to have feelings. Can’t treat a woman the same though, she has to be treated equal. Wait… oh, nevermind.

  5. MNPundit Says:

    I’ll just say this, Chugworth is one of the best drawn anime-type web-comics out there and I probably will still buy his artbook if I get the chance.

    Total asshole though.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    She SHOULD use her looks to promote a game. It worked, didn’t it? This is a business, and treating it as such gives people no excuse for personal attacks. Should she have expected it? Probably, yes. If she’s as savvy as her supporters would indicate, she probably stays the hell away from the internet. I notice she rarely gives interviews either — smart gal. Should gamers be absolutely fucking ashamed of themselves? Yes. Games journalists and devs alike have plenty of reasons to hate the audience they work for. And then these fucking fanboys are displeased with the industry.

    Also, Bonnie — shouldn’t it be “fellatrix”? :D

  7. Leigh Says:

    Oops, that was me posting above. Who else would say “fellatrix?”

  8. MNPundit Says:

    Also I’d like to point out one more thing: This kind of criticism is not uncommon, would there be a furor if he hadn’t drawn the comic but instead just posted a text statement?

  9. Devon Says:

    First thing that I think gets lost in the shuffle of people comparing Jade to CliffyB or Will Wright is that those people are designers, the ones most intimately responsible for game creation in the idea sense. If they are paraded out it is because it was their idea and their vision that drove the product. Patrice Desilets fills that role on Assassin’s Creed. Jade was put out there more than your average producer and it was undoubtedly because of her looks. The comic is what it is and it is certainly in poor taste. However, Ubisoft shouldn’t have drawn attention to it, that was colossally dumb, do they not know the internet at all?

    I think that Ubisoft is responsible for pandering to a stereotype about gamers and using Jade’s appearance to heighten their own PR. Maybe Jade was complicit maybe not, but the point is, she was obviously pushed to the forefront of the PR campaign for the game.

    It’s a shite situation and it upsets me that so many of the gamers have responded with the idiotic notion of how she deserves it. Gamers are idiots so often that I often wonder why I would even work in this industry. But hopefully it will keep changing. Until then, this situation won’t be the last. I guarantee. If you are a good looking woman in the industry prepare to be held up to a microscope.

  10. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Thank you, Leigh. Now I have to find excuses to use the word “fellatrix” on a regular basis :).

    First thing that I think gets lost in the shuffle of people comparing Jade to CliffyB or Will Wright is that those people are designers, the ones most intimately responsible for game creation in the idea sense.
    As much as I’d like to support Jade as a strong, sexy woman, I have to agree with this. Business sense or no business sense, games are still an art form, and there’s something a little unsettling about seeing energy and attention directed away from the creative source. Not that it doesn’t happen in other art forms, too–I’m thinking of movies, specifically–but still.

    However, Ubisoft shouldn’t have drawn attention to it.
    Seems to me that’s another good point. Then again, maybe it’s a reverse psychology business sense. You draw more attention to the “sex appeal” of the game’s producer–and thus to the game–by publicly getting angry…

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  12. Memanypehen Says:

    There was this guy see.
    He wasn’t very bright and he reached his adult life without ever having learned “the facts”.
    Somehow, it gets to be his wedding day.
    While he is walking down the isle, his father tugs his sleeve and says,

    “Son, when you get to the hotel room…Call me”

    Hours later he gets to the hotel room with his beautiful blushing bride and he calls his father,

    “Dad, we are the hotel, what do I do?”

    “O.K. Son, listen up, take off your clothes and get in the bed, then she should take off her clothes and get in the bed, if not help her. Then either way, ah, call me”

    A few moments later…

    “Dad we took off our clothes and we are in the bed, what do I do?”

    O.K. Son, listen up. Move real close to her and she should move real close to you, and then… Ah, call me.”

    A few moments later…

    “DAD! WE TOOK OFF OUR CLOTHES, GOT IN THE BED AND MOVED REAL CLOSE, WHAT DO I DO???”

    “O.K. Son, Listen up, this is the most important part. Stick the long part of your body into the place where she goes to the bathroom.”

    A few moments later…

    “Dad, I’ve got my foot in the toilet, what do I do?”

  13. FuckEnvyVrmins Says:

    Ugly bitches that cannot compete should all go extinct

    Is Katherine Trimble an envy racist bigot?

    A person, mistakenly think that she’s in his friend list. However,
    rather than denying it, she’ll simply give a friendly reply.

    >Hi [My Friends’ name]

    >Many thanks for your message.

    >Remind me what *** is again?

    >There are some networks that I simply don’t bother with anymore.

    >Best wishes

    >Katherine

    Such mutual communication automatically make each person in the friend
    list of another in a social networking site.

    Not suspicious of any problem, the person then build his business
    network in a friendly manner to many of those in his list, which
    unfortunately include the old hag.

    Soon, the beldam is engaged in serious slandering campaign the person.
    She claimed that never communicated at all with the person, which is
    false. She claimed that the person is spamming, the claim that does not
    match the official rule. She also claimed that the person is pretending
    to be her friend to get her friends.

    The accusation is absurd. Who the hell does she think she is that
    anyone would pretend to be her friend? What makes her so arrogant?

    What sort of idiot cannot tell a different between someone trying to be
    friendly to many people and someone trying to fraudulently get extra
    credibility by pretending to be someone’s friend?

    Thinking this is just a friendly misunderstanding, the person simply
    explained to Katherine:

    >I don’t mind your comments about me as long as it is true. So keep in mind that we did chat in a friendly way and we were indeed in
    >each other network, which you can check, before saying anything about me. Also, *******’s definition of spamming is trying to sell
    >something without intent to network which is far from what I do.
    >I’ll try to get both of us disconnected. …you could have understood and tell me privately like Peter did. Then we could have really been
    >friend. It’s a tragedy, but I got 400+ other friends to concentrate on.

    The beldam didn’t stop. She got even madder.

    She kept making many false claims. She claimed that the person is a
    robot with no public information. She said that she had never
    communicated in any way to the person. She tried to portray that the
    person has some fraudulent intent, friendless, and that nobody trust
    the person. She claimed that the person is a nazi.

    All these are over a few friendly gestures to her friends.

    Now, put your self in the persons’ shoe. What can he do to make her
    leave him alone?

    Expert analysis suggests racism as her real motives. The person is
    Asian and Katherine is white.

    She kept doing so after being told about the fallacy of the claim.
    It’s not until the truth is published that her tone start changing.
    Then she raised totally different issues.

    That didn’t left not many amicable options to deal with this kind.

    Guess she knew all along that the claim were false. She just didn’t
    expect anyone would publish the contrary. She’s a time bomb. She had
    gone the extra miles condemning a person for a few slight friendly
    gesture, we’ll never know what she’ll do to anyone.

    It seems that her other much related real motive is best explained by
    her very own words:

    “I do not like the way you ramp up your connections”

    It’s quite unfortunate that the world is filled with envy vermins that
    just get this thing against those more successful than them.

    The truth is they’re simply uncompetitive. Hence, they craft lies and
    prejudices against those who are. That’s why we have so many nonsenses
    justifying prohibition against so many consensual acts.

    Some have reasonable cases. Most can be appeased. But some, like the
    beldam, should get the fuck out of the gene pool for good along with
    all her kind for the sake of prosperity for all before they form
    another Nazi party.

    It’s very stupid trying to reason to such bigots for the same reason
    we don’t reason or negotiate with mosquitoes and germs. We just get
    rid them.

    More effortlessly we should set one of the vermin as a sample to show
    the rest their proper place. They hit, we hit harder; Those maggots
    don’t deserver higher level of communication.

    Currently our world is filled with unfair misery given to those who are
    honestly successful. The mere acts of making honest money are
    punishable by tax. Getting many chicks is also condemned. Yet, we have
    to lock our doors in fear that someone will steal our properties
    because governments protect thieves.

    Unless those who run the fastest also hit the hardest, success will
    then simply be a bridge to gas chamber.

    Even if we let the worthless die and kill parasites, the market will
    take care of everything anyway. Believing otherwise is practicing envy
    bigotry.

    Yet, capitalists, out of benevolence have given more and more to those
    who oppress them. Only capitalists patiently give the other cheek and
    repay hatred and genocide with aids and helps often to ungrateful angry
    mobs.

    When vermins like Katherine keeps being influential, it should be about
    time all of us to stop playing nice. Keep doing otherwise means having
    to realize that it’s really fear and not benevolent or mercy that
    motivate us.

    Long live freedom, competition, rationality, meritocracy, prosperity,
    and proper alignment between individuals’ interests to productivity as
    a whole. The world will be a better place if all of her kind went
    extinct.

    What do you think

  14. Anon Says:

    “Unless somehow the male-female majority in gaming is flipped, or until the day that people can perceive the opposite sex equally by instinct, I don’t think things like this will ever stop. ”

    I don’t think equality means what you think it means. These sort of comics are made about every semi-important gaming figure all the time, you’re only getting upset because this one was over a girl.

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    Heroine Sheik » Blog Archive » Pretty Girls Have Feelings, Too?

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