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Veronica Dare Halo ODST commander of nothing

Veronica Dare Halo ODST commander of nothing

Just a wee news post to point to a new article that’s just gone live. Having recently completed Halo ODST one thing stood out as more annoying than the short / repetitive gameplay, the less than superb graphics and the over the top hype this game has managed to garner based on name alone. Halo ODST has one of the worst portrayals of a female ‘commander’ in any video game thus far released. One Discourse on Sexism and Tolerance looks at what went so horribly wrong with the character of Veronica Dare and how it could have so easily been avoided. You can leave comments for the full article under this post.

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108 Responses to “Veronica Dare Halo ODST commander of nothing”

  1. Divine Plan says:

    An important thing to note here is that the whole squad represents a disregard for authority, particularly Romeo.
    For example, when he encounters Dare’s Pod Romeo does not speak until Buck gives him permission, just to be a smartass.
    This is to establish an informal set of characters that you feel you can bond to. If they were to suddenly act strict and uptight around Dare, that would jar and seem unrealistic.
    I feel it’s also important to point out that the fact Dare is from ONI could also play a part. If you have read any of the Halo novels, you would know that ONI is distrusted by most other organisations. Thus it is quite possible that they don’t respect Dare, purely because she is an ONI ‘Spook’.
    And P.S. You know when Dare needed rescuing from Buck? It was because her drop pod’s seals had broken on landing.
    Yeah…

  2. I'mnotputtingit Onthisretardarticle says:

    Wow. Funniest thing ever.
    You think you may be a bit, I dunno, paranoid? So because someone is looking at her breasts, the game is sexist? So every heterosexual out there is sexist? And please, could you pick more unimportant details in the game to prove your point? And how about the whole “damsel in distress” thing . . . what about Romeo?
    Quote ”The second problem is of course the fact the female officer – Veronica Dare – is painted as a dumbass sex object with no power.”
    So she went to underground tunnels with only a pistol and no head protection, slaughtering anything in her path, but she’s a ”dumbass sex object with no power”.
    Nice. Oh, and the last paragraph made me laugh a lot.

  3. Sam Meyer says:

    3 things. Dare is not a trained soldier she attended officer candidate school. So she was not trained to fight that is why she has to be rescued. Second Bungie is portraying a typical group of guys acting tough connotation is that men try to act stronger and manlier when scared as in before a drop into a battle. And one way to seem confident is to ignore the battle and talk about women.
    Finally in the epilogue it’s stated that Admiral Hood ordered Johnson to interrogate the alien thus if Johnson is following the orders of an Admiral he doesn’t have to listen to orders from a captain.

  4. Chris says:

    I think the reason Dare is so inept is because that’s who she is, not because she’s a woman. Halo already has several very good female characters, like Miranda Keys and Cortana, as fake as she may be. The creator of the SPARTAN II project is a civilian woman, and every single SPARTAN listens to her and respects her above all others, regardless of their gender and rank. And of course there’s the fact that the SPARTANs are incredible soldiers, regardless of their gender. In fact, the three most prominent female SPARTANs do some pretty crazy stuff.
    Also: Dare is an ONI agent, not an ODST. ONI agents don’t typically run around in ruined cities shooting aliens. They stay holed up in their Prowlers and watch people to gather information. Every ONI agent of note that I can think of in the Halo universe is just as terrible at leadership and combat. First Strike shows firsthand that UNSC marines do NOT like ONI agents among them, so it’s no surprise that the ODST squad doesn’t care for her.
    I apologize for saying it like this, but it’s the best way I can say it: stop getting your panties in a twist. You jumped on this as if it’s a problem with sex, but it isn’t. Dare just sucks at all the things you’re complaining about her sucking at.

  5. Rookie says:

    Out of interest, where does it ever specify the gender of the Rookie?

  6. jason says:

    honestly, get over yourselves. at MOST ten percent of gamers are women, so for games to be based off men seems completely reasonable to me. plus that you can’t say you’ve followed halo story at all because you obviously don’t know who the odsts are. Many times in the halo books they’re reffered to as tough as nails guys who don’t respect higher ranking officers. there were many mentions in all the books of how they don’t give a crap about rank. The high ranked people don’t speak up because they know these odsts are people who go on suicide missions to protect earth. plus that Buck was also their superior so why didn’t you mention that they don’t respect him either. they didn’t show more respect towards him over dare at one point during that game.
    do you honestly think bungie was trying to make women look inferior? you have to be kidding me.

  7. Velius says:

    While I do agree on a certain level that Dare is a blatant character stereotype, I must point out that she is hardly alone in ODST or the Halo series as a whole. Bungie make fine games, but we ain’t talkin’ Shakespeare, ya know?
    The article makes a point of how Dare is viewed by the ODSTs, without giving them a fair shake. These are not your ordinary marines: A completely volunteer outfit, they are the hardest of the hardcore, the best at killing things, often sent behind enemy lines and with a startlingly low mission survival ratio. The ODST are also a distillation of every soldier stereotype in the book. Given their job, they have to be a little crazy, and Halo’s expanded universe has been consistent on this point.
    By comparison, Dare is a spook. Office of Naval Intelligence: It’s right there in the name. She didn’t get her job by being a hardass or by being good with a gun. She got her job by being smart. In charge of the op though she may be, Dare is not a frontlines combatant. So what do you think is more important? Running and gunning to prove that she’s just as capable as the men, or doing everything in her power to ensure the op is successful, even if that means taking the inglorious route of sneaking and hiding?
    And please note that Dare is playable in Firefight as nothing more than a character model swap. She does not take more damage for having a “weak female body,” nor is she less accurate with firearms or have a weaker melee attack. She is completely equal in all regards to the playable male characters.
    Now, all the most chauvinistic comments come from Romeo, who is painted as the Team Jerk right from the outset; Buck and Dutch are particularly obvious in their dislike for him. But the game also points out that what we like or want has little to do with what we need; need to have or need to do. Sometimes, we need a jerk like Romeo because even he can be the right person for the job.
    Meanwhile, it is personal history that muddies the water between Buck and Dare. He may give her a hard time, but that’s solely in regard to their stalled relationship. When it comes to getting the job done, Buck knows the score. He obeys her orders, even though he’s being kept in the dark as well. The two aspects of their relationship — as former lovers and as superior/subordinate — are held apart; that’s called “professionalism.”
    Dutch, Mickey, and The Rookie have little to say on the subject of Dare. They’re concerned with the mission and personal survival, in that order. It is unfair to characterize the entire unit or the game as a whole as the product of chauvinist underpinnings.
    Dare as a sex object? I assume you mean under all that less-than-flattering gear? Hardly on par with the likes of Lara Croft or the Dead Or Alive ladies. Yes, Tricia Helfer is easy on the eyes. She is also very talented and plays Dare as a professional woman who won’t let her personal history get in the way of a very important mission. And her last line in the game?
    Buck: What about you? What about us?
    Dare: Win this war…then ask me that again.
    That makes it pretty clear. Whether you’re man or woman, ODST or ONI, the job comes first. These people are soldiers and that is what makes them equal.

  8. uhhuh says:

    I disagree with a few things.
    Buck tells Dare to stay put in her pod, because her helmet is broken, she has no head protection…. she says that over the radio. The only reason Her squad is reluctant to follow her orders is because she is telling them to go on different mission and never tells them where or what they’re after.. i feel like she was a prominent Role. She Did her own thing and made her way to the objective by herself which is pretty bad ass.

  9. UnderSkorr says:

    I apologize, but I may be the first here to disagree with this article.
    I personally found this article to be a little bit over-sensitive. Truth be told, Dare had a very commanding role. I believe strongly that the reason you do not take the role of Dare in the story is because of this fact. through the stretch of the game in which you play alongside Dare, you definitely feel like SHE is in charge, SHE knows more than you, and SHE is better at what she does. These traits even apply in relation to Buck when he comes along. You and he are simply the two she is bringing along for the ride and she is running the show. Dare is a very strong character, but that is not expressed easily simply because she is not around often. Also, she is a playable (and hardest to unlock) character in the bonus “firefight” game mode for those that do want to play as her.
    The comments towards Dare might also be better explained by explaining the role of the character Romeo. Romeo is a character whose actions do not meant to be agreed with and whose existence seems to be to show tension within the squad. Romeo is a jerk and everyone in the squad knows it. The comment and whistle about Dare? Romeo. The comment about leaving her behind? Romeo. Beyond the comments, Romeo is also reluctant to follow orders, smacks the Rookie in the face with the butt of a gun to wake him up, and shows a complete disrespect for fallen soldiers. It is made quite obvious that the fellow members of the squad would not tolerate his comments if they weren’t required to.
    Now that that’s done with, why wasn’t Sadie even mentioned in this article!? For those that don’t know, Bungie hid a surprise side story in the game known as “Sadie’s Story,” a series of audio clips that follow the story of a teenage girl at the moment in which New Mombasa is invaded by the Covenant. This “side story” is arguably just as important as the story of the rookie and took nearly twice as much studio time to produce. Now, mind you, Sadie is not a supporting character. She is the MAIN character. The story centers around this strong-willed, independent girl whose role is very important in the survival of the later arriving ODSTs, which is then a huge piece of winning the whole war. The only thing you know Sadie by is her words, her actions, and her complete determination. Eye candy, she is not and she can not even be considered such for a second, seeing as how she is almost completely unseen.
    As for the rookie being a male protagonist only, Bungie tries to keep their story sequential and unchanging and it is difficult to do so when the main character could be male or female. I might agree to a small amount that this could have been changed, but it does not seem like a sexist decision, but one based on keeping a solid story.
    Now, Johnson not taking orders is the last issue I want to address. Johnson does not outrank Dare in the fictional world, but in the real world. That last line wasn’t a comment on gender roles, but on the fact that Johnson was included solely to please his many fans. Sergeant Johnson was a favorite character of most (me included) in Halo 1, 2, and 3 and the reason he ignores Dare’s orders is because he’s second only to Master Chief himself in the Halo fanboy department. Take it as you will.
    I truly enjoyed ODST from beginning to end and was actually quite pleased with the leadership role of Dare and the unofficial leadership role of Sadie. Though I see how this game might be considered somewhat sexist, it seems like a stretch to me.

  10. Time Glitch says:

    Right.
    So, pointing this out is totally NOT being stereotypical at all.
    Because, it seems to me like bringing the topic up is in and of itself, sexism. If nobody pointed out the differences between African Americans and Caucasians, would there be racism?
    But that is far beyond the point I want to make here. I think that you’re drawing lines and making conclusions based on your own personal feelings rather than what’s actually in the game, and the history of the characters in said game. If you think Bungie was being Sexist in this game, you are just another woman with some serious sensitivity issues.
    Your first point: Dare is not treated as the commanding officer.
    Of course she isn’t. The ODSTs aren’t used to taking orders from the Navy, much less ONI, and they probably wouldn’t give any more respect to Admiral Hood than they would to Captain Dare. Buck knows this, and takes control of the situation so that they WILL listen to Dare, and complete their mission.
    Also, if I remember correctly, Romeo was the only one who said anything at all sexist in the first cutscene. And if you’d bothered to check up on his character (or simply observe it for yourself), he’s a rather disrespectful and subordinate fellow. Yes, he’s a sexist character, and a lame one at that (I’m not a fan). That doesn’t mean the entire squad, or the game itself, is.
    Your second point: Buck rescuing Dare = Damsel in Distress.
    I think you couldn’t be more wrong in this department. Yes, Dare is a love interest, but that doesn’t constitute the whole “Damsel in distress” feel.
    What you’re saying is that if a male ODST had been dropped into the middle of a Covenant armada, realized he needed help, and called up his buddy Buck on the radio, that Buck would NOT have gone to help him? No, Buck would have. And that’s exactly what he did for Dare, same as anyone else.
    Not to mention he doesn’t actually rescue her, she makes it out alive on her own. Yeah, really sexist there.
    Your third point: Sergent Johnson doesn’t listen to Dare.
    Sergent Johnson doesn’t listen to ANYBODY. Especially an ONI Spook like Dare. The cutscene did exactly what it was supposed to do, give the fans one last look at how bad-ass our beloved Sergent was. He’s cocky and abrasive, and that’s why whe love him. Wouldn’t have been any different had Dare been a man or a woman.
    Your fourth and last point: Dare never stands up for herself.
    I may not remember correctly, but I think Dare literally decks Buck in the face for “abandoning the mission”. If that’s not standing up for herself, I don’t know what is.
    (Yes, she kisses him about a second later, but still proves she’s got guts)
    Not to mention that when you play along side her in the campaign, she kicks some serious ass with that pistol. Bungie obviously painted her as a legitimate soldier. She wouldn’t have survived on her own if she wasn’t.
    I’d like to point out that I am not a sexist. I don’t think women should be barefoot and pregnant, nor do I think they should just shut up and put out. But I do think sometimes feminists such as yourselves can be a bit over-sensitive. Dare is not a sexist character, and ODST is not a sexist game. If Dare had been a man, things really would not have been any different. If you’d bother looking a little deeper rather than drawing conclusions, you would have seen that the circumstances and the characters were the reasons behind the treatment Dare recieves from her coleagues; Not because she was a woman.

  11. Maria says:

    I’ll give you good commentary. Why don’t you lighten up and just play the god damned game. Reserve words such as “travesty” for bigger things such as your ability to turn a video game into a lame feminist movement. nice job.

  12. Jacob says:

    Firstly, I don’t know how yous can call halo chauvinistic, in 1,2 & 3 master chief takes his orders from females, whether it be cortana or keys. Keeping this in mind did any of you people think that there are some officers who probably don’t deserve their rank and are treated acordingly. And on the general topic men and women will never be treated the same because we aren’t the same, there are just as many femanists making life hard for men ad there are chauvinists make life hard for women. And people, my biggest point I’m going to make………..its a game, get over it.

  13. Pious Observer says:

    I have read your article and I have by all possible means tried to see your arguement from your point of veiw.(Im a guy) and Personally, I really liked Dare. I thought that she was a tough strong character. Now, yes I agree that the choosing of sex, should have been in the game, but this game isn’t Fable. Its a quick shoot-em up. Also, if you read any of the Halo books, women play a very important role. This game is really a bunch of jokes if you ask me. the teammate Romeo, saysall the sexist things. but, do you get his name? the whole theory of the game based on Dante’s Inferno. What Im really trying to say is that it is a joke. A bad joke that is not funny. but a joke none the less. And I don’t think its right to insult Bungie, because I personally think they tried to make a female hero.

  14. Jason says:

    What a jaded and horribly misguided rant.
    You have to use your imagination a bit and consider the content of the character for these gents that she’s interacting with. First off, they’re Marines. Seasoned ones, at that, as part of a hardened suicide squad. These aren’t going to be the sort of fellows that will bite their tongues and aspire to be bastions or morality and chastity. The Rookie had no trouble following her orders, at all. Romeo was the one who was captivated by her looks. The character’s name is ROMEO. Your surprise at the situation staggers me. I think you’re digging far too deeply, seeing messages that really don’t exist. These are characters, exaggerated imitations of human behavior.
    If you insist on being up in arms over something, there are far more relevant and worthy outlets of your ire. Your writing is superb, your aim could not be more wayward.

  15. Kote says:

    Just out of curiosity, are you only displaying comments that agree with your views, because you will never resolve anything if you do. Of course, it could be that you use you feminism to simply have an excuse to be angry at people, making bold generalizations about a group of people that you mindlessly project your hate and anger onto.
    If this IS the case, I would like to offer my condolences to your broken life, and I hope that one day you will get over yourself and join all of the manifold ranks of women and men that are not, in fact, broken.

  16. Some guy says:

    Note that Veronica Dare should have a hard time. This fits the fiction.
    ODST`s should be more self reliant than a intelligence officer. They are the elite fighting force. ODST lack respect for non-ODSTs. Also they have a natural distaste ONI spooks.
    As the only female character though, she is not the best role-model, I agree. Neither are either of the ODST`s. I guess Rookie is the best one.
    I regret she is not stronger. But I strongly object to Utopian portrayals of gender-issues in a story.
    Miranda Keyes also felt a bit weak. So I totally see your point. But Cortana is in my opinion the single strongest character in the haloverse.

  17. cheezwizard says:

    Chauvinist, arguably. Fascist, unlikely. Just look at his later work.

  18. Captain Geoff Tucker says:

    right for one do any of you lot know what your on about hmm dare maybe a captain but of the INTEL CORE not of the navy so her rank counts for jack sh*t and at the end with sgt mjr johnson and she’s telling him what to do NO he is such a highier rank than her she should be saying “would you like to see the alien” but no bungie are throwing you a *bone* so stop your complaining as you know nothing of milatary ranking systems O and also the reason why romeo hits on her is becauseone he’s the “ladys man” and two they have not seen a female in months maybe years “so watch your mouths find your chairs and get set for a combat drop” o and FYI my lesbain mate told me about this and im a 30 year old captain of the royal marine corp (so i know all about why female’s are not on the frotline and how ranks work) ok

  19. Grim says:

    First of all, I was also looking forward to finally playing a female character in the Halo ‘verse, and I was sorely disappointed at Dare’s absence throughout the majority of the campaign.
    I understand the perspective that Buck’s first level is him serving the male stereotype of “Knight in Shining Armor riding off to save the Damsel in Distress”, but remember, Dare obviously didnt NEED him to save her. Once Buck got to her drop pod, she was already gone, meaning she forced her way out all by herself rather than sitting in her crashed pod crying for a big, strong man to pry her out.
    She also was the only one who stayed on mission, and all by alone, I might add. Although we never get to play as her, or see what she goes through to get to the Data Hive, she would HAVE to be a badass to survive that long.
    On the note of her subordinates, remember, its just Romeo who comments on her supposed beauty. Way to play into the racist stereotype of the black man hitting on the white woman, but thats another rant entirely. Furthermore, her rank isnt displayed on her armor, so its not surprising that the ignorant ODST jarheads wouldn’t recognize their new CO when she’s geared up as an ONI Spook. And Buck reprimands his men more out of possessiveness rather than defending her (this isnt much better, but Buck being a bit of a chauvinist isnt anything new).
    Just because its the year 2552 doesnt mean Human society has evolved. Its no surprise that the military is STILL predominantly male. And the dialogue of the soldiers not respecting their female comrade, while not being ideal, is unfortunately completely realistic.
    I agree, Bungie could have done a LOT more with Dare’s character, but I really dont think its all as bad as its been made out to be here. I’m just happy you get to play as her in Firefight, where she is just as much as an asskicker as any of the other characters, depending on individual player skill.

  20. Unholy says:

    So all you ladies dog on a good game because of what happen in the first 5 minutes in a 4+ hour game? I’m sorry but you all are a sad lot, always trying to jump at something and claiming it “sexist”, for Christ’s sake it’s a video game made up of data get over it and your self’s.
    Come on over to http://www.bungie.net/Forums/topics.aspx?forumID=304364 {ODST forums} and tell bungie yourselves and all the gamers there whats on your minds.
    ~Unholy~

  21. Dustbunny27 says:

    I have to disagree with you on two points, Dare being weak, and Dare being a sex object.
    First we will tackle the sex object. First off, she isn’t sexualized, at all. She isn’t pretty, and never once in the game is put in a position where the game focuses on her body (unlike some cases with Cortana). There is one person who makes the comment of looking at her body, Romeo, and he is a stereotype male chauvinist, who is hated by pretty much everyone, and is even the weak person of the group (he is the only one to come out harmed, of the ODST’s). So not only is Dare not a sexual object to the player, she isn’t one to any body ingame (besides Romeo), heck Bungie basically punishes the only person who does.
    Next part, Dare isn’t strong? How is she a Damsel in distress? She landed in the middle of covenant activity, on the low ground, without cover. Statistically, backup from a force of people who have equal cover is the smart way to survive, especially since she was the most important member of her team. Not only did she then leave the area, she managed to cover a huge area of covenant enforced ground and continue the mission. Everyone else arrives at her “rescue” to late and find out she did everything by herself.
    There are other points I could go on about, most of her heat from the team comes from the fact she is in ONI (which you won’t understand unless you read some other material dealing with the Halo Universe). The deal with Sgt. Johnson (he is actually a lot more powerful then the games give him credit for).
    I do agree with you on the point of the Rookie’s sex, it should have been left up to the player, for two reasons: 1) The game would not have changed depending on the gender. 2) Customizing is fun, and a better way to get incorporated into a character.

  22. Grant says:

    That’s horrible. The phrase ‘commander of nothing’ seems very appropriate, I like it.
    Then again, we should remember that almost every aspect of the Halo universe is both stupid and loathsome.
    The SPARTANs, after all, were created by kidnapping 70 children from their homes, replacing them with clones designed to sicken and die, so that the parents wouldn’t look for their missing children. The later SPARTAN programs used orphans, which rather begs the question, doesn’t it?
    And when the aliens who built the Halo wanted to fight off the Flood, what was the best plan they could come up with?
    Given the pervasive cretinism of the setting, soldiers acting like the three stooges when their commanding officer happens to be a woman is probably par for the course. Her failing to discipline them and simpering her way through the rest of the game sounds unforgivable, though.

  23. LadyAkatu says:

    While the article presented worthwhile problems, I don’t believe the author factored in the character of the marines around Dare.
    The ODST corps. They’re the baddest of the bad, bred as rough-natured soldiers because they need to be. Do you really think they would show anything less than annoyance or scorn to an ONI spook, as has been contemporary within the Halo stories? Captain or otherwise, she is an ONI spook, and the marines are going to treat her as such. I’m more impressed with the increasing amounts of realism that Bungie has shown with the marines since Halo 1, and it seems that this increasing amount of realism has stirred up a misunderstanding.
    As far as the “Damsel in distress” part, again, Dare is not cut the same as an ODST, and despite her rank, perhaps does not have the proper combat experience or abilities to deal with her situation. She isn’t a SPARTAN, that’s for sure.
    Seriously, I had more problems with Miranda Keyes than I did with Veronica Dare.

  24. Becca says:

    Wow, the readers from the Bungie Forums have really gotten a bee in their bonnet haven’t they?
    It’s cool to hear the opinions of everyone, but jesus, you know that sticking up for a strong woman doesn’t make you a feminazi right? Sad that as soon as someone wants to express a bit more equality for women in a game, they’re instantly branded as ‘overly sensitive, whiny, bitching’ and so on…

  25. Thefremen says:

    What happened to moderating the comments on here? All of a sudden a thread from /b/ got crossposted here…
    Just go troll somewhere else, children.

  26. Techni says:

    “I am so pissed off that they couldn’t throw us a friggin bone”
    It’s not about throwing us a bone, they threw us one. Then they beat us with it…
    “I should point out that you are cherry picking evidence to support your claim.”
    No. It’s not really cherry picking. It’s more that the offenses against women in the article, stuck out more. The back talk to a guy wouldn’t be offensive to the girl writing the article anymore than cracker jokes to a black guy.
    “That said… I disagree with your article very, very much. The article seems completely oblivious to the backstories of the Halo universe ”
    Why should that be taken into account? We want support in the foreground. The backstories are just that, background. It’s like saying you support your wife in the bedroom but once outside the house you treat her like a pet dog on a leash. It’s not good enough.
    “Boy, you lesbian hypocrites sure need some cockslapping for your faggoty theories. Get off the internet, your tiny brains can’t handle it”
    Hypocrites? Your name is anti-misandry, yet your post was horribly misogynistic!
    Theories? It’s not a theory to be offended by something. When I call you a moron, it’s not a theory, it’s an opinion.
    “Oh you silly feminazies, do you ever stop trolling?”
    It’s not trolling, your post is trolling.
    The woman in this game is wearing the most un-sexy outfit ever and they are still treating her like a peace of meat instead of a superior officer to be respected.
    “This doesn’t sound like you want equality for Dare, you want her up on a shining pedestal with a cigar in her mouth with “Men are pigs” engraved on it, and be the female equivalent to Master Chief”
    I didn’t get that at all from the article. Not wanting the only woman in the game to be treated like crap is not asking for her to be on a pedestal.
    “I am sick of people, women, like you picking apart everything and somehow making it out like women are victimised by everyone.”
    Maybe if women weren’t victimized so often, they we wouldn’t feel victimized?
    You’d have to be an idiot to think the way she was treated wasn’t offensive.
    “Dare is the highest ranked officer, that in itself refutes your bitching that women arnt treated properly.”
    No, that was the main part of the article! Despite her rank, they still treated her like a peace of meat. Her rank made the disrespect even worse! Had they treated her like that in the current military, she’d have had them doing pushups till some blood finally reached their brains.
    “You are not the victim, you make yourselfs a TARGET”
    No. We are the victim, and that makes us a target to morons.
    “You wonder why people take the piss out of people like you. Because you give them a reason.”
    So what reason did we give for this game?
    “You are a part of what is wrong with todays society.”
    The irony. We’d be better of without people like you. Biggot.
    “You can’t say the game is sexist just because the one female character was in a relationship with a man at one point in time”
    Uh, that was only 1 point. And it was part of the point where the only woman in the game is the damzel in distress, like we haven’t evolved past Super Mario Bros. in the decades since. Where women in games can’t be equal to men, but must be rescued as the point of the game.
    “or that gung-ho marines have the balls to be attracted to the female form.”
    There was no female form. She was in complete body armor!

  27. @ Thefremen
    We stopped moderating most of them for a couple of reasons (and for the record the REALLY nasty ones aren’t live).
    1. We didn’t want to seem like we’re only posting one side, because that would be ridiculous.
    And 2. because we actually think a lot of the Bungie fanboys comments support our argument believe it or not.
    It seems like as a female gamer you are not allowed to comment on something that’s annoyed you or made you feel ‘less’ without being labeled a feminazi (or worse).
    The irony being this article was not written from a feminist perspective, it was written from one female gamer’s perspective – a female gamer who happens to be a huge Bungie fangirl and felt Bungie had dropped the ball.
    It’s a shame Bungie’s fanboys just bring all this negativity to the fanbase, rather than being constructive, seeing the problem for what it is and actually trying to help.
    Anyway, the point of this comment is to apologize for the mass of fanboy comments if they have upset any of our regular – seemingly more dignified – readership.

  28. Thefremen says:

    Yeah I totally agree with you gals on the fanboys proving your point, and going beyond there. They are clearly the footsoldiers of the patriarchy, willing to fight to the death (or look stupid on the internet) in a vain attempt to keep women marginalized.
    Gladd (hehe, pun) to know you were just trying to give the other side its say, even though it is only capable of lashing out in anger and ignorance. Was just a tiny bit worried the moderation broke down due to the deluge of negative comments.

  29. LadyAkatu says:

    I find it interesting that almost all the posts debating the article (If there are even any supporting it) refer back to the same thing.
    Whoever it was that played the game and wrote the review doesn’t know anything about the military. I said earlier “I’m more impressed with the increasing amounts of realism that Bungie has shown with the marines since Halo 1, and it seems that this increasing amount of realism has stirred up a misunderstanding.”
    Might I suggest someone else with more intuition into the attitude and workings of a squad of battle-hardened suicide soldiers write another review? It’s clear as daylight that all of the problems presented within the article can be chalked up to a lack of understanding, and in some places, attention.

  30. @ LadyAkatu
    Please do enlighten us, but do also consider a couple of points, that many of the posters here seem to be ignoring. One of the MAIN points of the article being….
    The Halo universe and military within are set in the FUTURE. Look back at even one century of Earth military and see how it has changed for women, then consider the article again in its actual context.
    Also all military information for the article was gleaned from the Halo info site, so perhaps it is them you should be angry with? Lastly and as previously stated a Halo fangirl wrote the article. She’s played ALL the Halo games multiple times and is a fan of Bungie, thus her disappointment. There is no hidden “I hate Bungie” agenda here.
    @ Thefremen
    As always your respect and intelligent responses here are appreciated. We don’t hate men, we’re not feminazi’s and this article has clearly been taken out of context to a fairly large degree, which is a shame. How dare a female gamer have an opinion about a video game eh?

  31. Rob says:

    Last Friday I went to Dinner and was sat at a shared table with a group of 5 twenty year old girls. The restaurant was rather slow and so I ended up listening to their idle gossip for about two hours. Two hours of nonstop talk about boys. It was hilarious how silly they were.
    How does this relate? If you had put any one of those girls in armor with a few stripes on it, you bet I would have a hard time respecting them.
    If I was an ODST (guy) and she also happened to be a former lover…well, then you’re going to have to add in a bit of banter.
    Who knows if she is the daughter of some war hero and got in easy…therefore really had no idea what she was doing. Take it for what it is, a story.
    Do women have sexism to face in the military? Sure. Are there men who feel that women don’t belong there? Sure.
    In 2552, maybe they’ve gotten past the feminist Machismo and decided to rate soldiers on muslce mass/bone density etc. and gender isn’t even stated. Despite this, most women were immediately cut. Why? Women are smaller, weaker, etc. This time its purely scientific/biological Sexism.
    25% of their adult life is spent menstruating. Their healthy BMI is 2x the healthy BMI of a male.
    SO instead of a social sexism, you get a scientific/biological “sexism” that perhaps, DARE was first to re-emerge from…still trying to prove that she can be as valuable as a soldier as her male counterparts…despite the mounting scientific data.
    Dunno…bungie didn’t really put that much into the story. Weirder things have happened in real life.
    Don’t get me wrong. I think women are great, smart, helpful, etc.
    I also think there is a valid difference between men and women. Feminism is silly. Why try to make women ashamed of being female? Abuse is one thing, but denying what you are, to try and prove you’re as good as someone or something else is just silly.

  32. Laura says:

    I really enjoyed this discourse. I think it’s important to start talking about this stuff as if we don’t it just gets ignored. I think you make some very valid points about Dare and how she could have been so much more than she was. The trollers on here are simply Halo fanboys who think that as soon as a lesbian speaks she’s out to slag off men or if a woman wants equality she’s a feminazi. Insane. Well done for putting your thoughts out there even when you knew this is exactly the kind of thing that would happen with the fanboys. Bravo.

  33. phoenix0879 says:

    Great Muppety Odin girls, you’ve managed to really draw out the trolls with this one – I mean, is “Femminazi” even a word, as one troll used it.
    Someone did touch on one valid point though – many games are just completely inhabited by stereotypes. I haven’t actually played any of the Halo games (not owning – and never intending to own – a 360), but I would be surprised if it bucks the trend of stereotypes in games. Yes, this sounds like an atrocious example of female stereotyping, but really, are the male characters any LESS stereotypes.
    Maybe we shouldn’t be bemoaning bungie for using negative female stereotypes but for using stereotypes at all.

  34. 12Sided says:

    seems like a prime example of ‘Informed Ability’ and ‘Faux Action Girl’
    sloppy, lazy writing… worse then I thought now I looked at the entrees for ‘Faux Action Girl’ on tvtropes:
    ‘Miranda Keyes in the Halo series. She is rarely seen in combat, more often ending up a Distressed Damsel, and becomes Truth’s Sacrificial Lion in the third game. ‘
    doing it once is one thing but making a lead female military officer your distressed damsel twice? Gees why not just make them an Intergalactic Princess already.

  35. Some guy. says:

    That’s weird. I got one of the first posts in pointing out the virtues of Dare, but I’m still lumped in with the trolls? I put in some, in my opinion, well thought out opinions, backed by first hand knowledge of the game. Regardless of the way that one guy posted, there is a bit of cherry picking in the facts, as well as the responses.

  36. @ Some Guy
    Hey there. Sorry if it seemed you were “lumped in with the trolls”. The comments are published via time and given all the trolls seemed to arrive around the time you initially posted… well…
    We opted to publish most comments as we didn’t want a one sided thread. The only comments that weren’t published were the truly hate filled and homophobic ones (die you fucking ugly dyke whore etc) we didn’t think our regulars needed to see.
    We’d like to thank all those people that opted for intelligent debate for their time regardless of which side of this discussion they took.

  37. Thefremen says:

    I really really hope Bungie makes a game about Pol Pot so we can all see Bungie Forum Members go all around the Internet criticizing anything critical of Khmer Rouge/ accusing Pol Pot of genocide.

  38. Mons says:

    Hrmm, interesting.. but, in the army (the real one) there is alot I repeat ALOT of sexism, and it is aweful. The only one who doesn’t respect her that much is Romeo, but then again he doesn’t respect anybody. That’s just hes character. You state she can’t take care of herself but her pod was broken and she could not open it from inside. And I really think she can take care of her self since she got all the way underground alone and stayded alive for 6 hours,, alone. “We came back for that!” It was a simple joke get over it. Sgt.Jonsson is like the most beloved Halo character, he’s only part in the game was about 2min long. Let him shine for those 2min. + if you manage to beat the game on legendary you’ll unlock Dare in firefight. So people can show off with they’re awesome Dare character with the recon armor every nerd wants. I loved the game, I loved Dare. I think she is a kickass lady, like Alyx from Half-life 2. And I like that Veronica isn’t a stereotype kind of woman. She’s not a DOA girl. That’s just my oppinion

  39. Mons says:

    Not to mention “Sadies tale” which is all about a lone and strong woman, saving her dad. Despite having no military experience, no weapons, she’s determined to save her dad who’s in an alien infested local.
    You guys are just looking for flaws, I must say I dissagree with you almost a 100 percent. And in the end, who saves them all but Dare? Want sexism? Go play Halo 3 online multiplayer, put the mic on, there ya go.

  40. Mons says:

    And (I am sorry fo all the comments) I see there is alot of people bashing GoA. But if there is any game I know women/girls like it’s Gears. Gears and the RE games. Come to think of it all girl gamers i know prefer bloody violent games. My girlfriend say she enjoys playing as those buffed up masculin (I find them silly haha) manly men. Sawing aliens to confetti “Where else can I do that?! I can go ride a pony later” I am the one playing LittleBigPlanet

  41. SNIDER 029 says:

    Just be be upfront I am a guy and im not sure if im exactly welcome here but I don’t think the game was all to sexist. To me Dare was a pretty strong intelligent and level headed character and not some kinda of push over as the article seems to state. She was the only one to actually figure out the engineers were peaceful and she probly kicked alot of ass to get to the place where vergil is stored. The comment romeo makes about Dare dosn.t really show any sexism in general its just to give a feel of Romeos character “A pig headed hotshot”. Although its a shame dare is playable in campaign but I only think that wasnt put in because it might give the pl,ayer to much information on what is happening in the game and spoil later parts of the game. Also flashback missions were only relevant to the ODSTs meeting up and dare wasnt found until the end by the rookie, and if you played as dare and found the rookie instead of the other way around the rookie would be a kind of less influential part of the game.
    I never realized a site like this existed my lesbian friends are gunna love it.

  42. LadyAkatu says:

    As Quoted:
    @LadyAkatu
    Please do enlighten us, but do also consider a couple of points, that many of the posters here seem to be ignoring. One of the MAIN points of the article being….
    The Halo universe and military within are set in the FUTURE. Look back at even one century of Earth military and see how it has changed for women, then consider the article again in its actual context.
    Also all military information for the article was gleaned from the Halo info site, so perhaps it is them you should be angry with? Lastly and as previously stated a Halo fangirl wrote the article. She’s played ALL the Halo games multiple times and is a fan of Bungie, thus her disappointment. There is no hidden “I hate Bungie” agenda here”
    I’ll answer in order.
    1. It’s been defined elsewhere, and I’ve said it myself. The ODST’s are the hardest of the hardcore. If they have a bad attitude, it’s because of all the lives they have taken in defense of their species. War is not a thing to be taken lightly, and tends to change the way participants act and think. Going on missions with the same people cause the squad to develop almost a wolf pack mentality, and become unmoved or distrustful of people not in their squad, or the chain of command. Dare has nothing to do with the ODST corps, as she is from ONI, and as laid out in the Halo books (Which any true Halo fan should have read), ONI agents are not easily trusted.
    2. Set in the future, yes, but this is a moot point. The general attitude of the entire UNSC is based off today’s armed forces. Bungie doesn’t have a glowing orb to see into the future, so they don’t know what soldiers will act like 500 years from now. Any social concerns found within Halo are echoes of those found in our world today.
    3. I gotta say, if she’s really a Halo fangirl, she needs to read the books and do some actual brushing up on military lifestyle. I wouldn’t be as interested as I am in the military if I had not played Halo. It’s a good portal into learning about the real armed forces, but it’s not the pinnacle summary of what it’s like to serve.
    I also did not try to point at any “I hate Bungie agenda”. You’re putting words in my box.

  43. Chumby says:

    interested in the military because of halo? what a loser. yeah because playing a video game is just like the real military. go do some studying yourself rather than blasting some dumb article and its writer, when your talking shit yourself.
    was this article really as bad as the bungie moron brigade are saying, no, but they do love having something to bitch about. thats what teenagers do.

  44. spotticus says:

    It seems that Bungie could get more carrots than sticks if they put playable women characters in the game. How hard can it be?

  45. octopia says:

    wow.. those halo fanboys sure can be whiny bitches when it comes to sexism in video games… it’s like only there opinion matters or something.

  46. James says:

    I’d just like to say that I like your article, it’s very well written. But, I’m gonna have to a agree with Mark up there for the most part. One other mention I’d like to throw out there is that I am prior service in the Army. I can address some of your frustrations with the came.
    When you talk about the dialog between GSG Buck and CPT Dare, it’s understandable to see how that might be percieved as gender specific dialog. When I was deployed, I hated having some jerk take over my platoon and start giving order’s like Veronica did. He was merely mentioning that he didn’t like the fact that his authority and platoon were now being superceded by another, NOT the fact that she was a woman.
    For your other concern that she’s the only other women in the game, that’s just not true. In the halo universe women are just as much a part of the story as men are. In Halo 2, 3, ODST, and all the novels there are women that can kick ass and take names. Halo 2 had celebrities do the voices of 3 of the 5 female voices. There were 2 marines females and of course CPT. Miranda Keyes (Who by the way is a bad ass in both Halo 2 and 3!) In Halo 3 they didn’t stop with the female characters, they added more for dialogue’s sake (’cause that’s all the marines are good for in that game anyway – dialogue and someone else for the enemy to shoot at.) As for ODST there were only 3 UNSC females and 2 NMPD females.
    Yes, I agree Bungie should have made the choice to choose whether to male/female for the “Rookie”, but they didn’t. Bungie doesn’t really give much choice when it comes to the campaign except how your gonna kill something. However, they do allow you to play as DARE in the FIREFIGHT mode. So now there is a playable female character in the HALO universe.
    In opposition to Mark, Bungie tells the stories of the HALO universe quite well. If they didn’t cut all the extra scenes and other gameplay out of it, it would be similar to a “B” movie.
    I need to point out that the only reason that the ODST squad doesn’t show much to respect DARE isn’t because she’s a female, it’s because she’s someone new (just like the “Rookie” who gets treated like crap at first) and they don’t trust her. It’s a military thing not a gender issue!
    – James, 23.

  47. Erik Hanson says:

    As a slight to her sex (I don’t know about her gender) and her rank, I find this doubly offensive.
    But I mostly dropped in to let you know that you got linked by Critical Distance (http://www.critical-distance.com/2009/10/25/october-18th-25th/ — now also on RGameSetWatch: http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2009/10/the_week_in_game_criticism_oct.php) and Context Clues (http://vghvinet.ning.com/profiles/blogs/context-clues-for-october-1824) this week.

  48. Charlie says:

    This article is right on. It’s not crying “offense”, just pointing out how Bungie stepped into the typical storytelling of “damsel in distress” and “men don’t respect women”.
    At http://www.internaldrive.com/courses-programs/ (video game creation camp) we’re getting lots of girls that want to build games that tell different stories… and hopefully also inspiring the boys to think outside the box too!

  49. Steph says:

    After reading the article, I expected a lot of trash talk and general hate from male members of the gaming community in response. I mean, I’ve gamed in FPS for 10 years and so nothing that’s being said here is surprising to me. But mostly, it’s just sad to me that men can’t work and represent as equals with women, especially in the gaming world. It’s even sadder that if a woman speaks up about something that’s harmful to her or other females and is done by males, she gets the figurative beat down (literally, also, I’m sure, somewhere).
    I’ve met a few guys over the years who were as keen to play multiplayer FPS with me as they were their guy friends. But I can count them, and their friendship without ulterior motives, on one hand.
    But a lot of guys, and I’d hazard a guess and even say most guys, want females playing specific types of roles, in games and out of them. This is nothing new under the sun; and it’s not going to change on its own, because they see nothing that needs to be changed about their attitude. From the point of view of the average male, it was, and always will be, the female attitude that’s the problem, which is what your article points out. And predictably, you’re getting thrashed by the male gaming community for it.
    Things will continue to change, though. Not fast enough, by any means. At a snail’s pace, more like. And not without us having to take lumps along the way. Maybe my daughter’s kids will be able to tell me what a narrow-minded world I lived in, but in the meantime, I still go to my gaming cons and Comic Con, still game, still put the chumps, jerks, and asshats on ignore, and still have a great time, most of the time at least.

  50. Rachel says:

    Maybe it is just me, but I felt that the game did an ok job. No, I was not fully pleased with Dare but I do have to say that if you paid attention the reason she was being disrespected was not because she was a woman but because she was in intelligence. In addition the ‘pink’ comment referred to the engineer character, and Buck did not come to Dares rescue at all. She was not trapped waiting to die, she was a stranded soldier who completed most of her mission and was waiting for backup. If you play Halo Wars you will notice that there are three whole platoons of MALE characters that are stuck in the same way. If anything Halo Wars was the most sexist of the Halo series’. I went into gameplay in ODST after reading this article and was expecting some serious sexism. When taken IN CONTEXT though, a lot of these situations are not so bad and I see as a step up in the gaming world.
    As for missing lesbian characters in 2009? Hellooooooo Dragon Age! My playable character was very much a lesbian. Thank you EA for that option.

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