Tuesday, July 10, 2012

You have made me feel sick

An ex has made me very upset. Which is interesting since I never really speak to him anymore.

See, I have this idea that I don't have any friends who are misogynists. I like to think that all my friends understand what feminism is and consider themselves to be feminists. I think that all my friends are thoughtful and clever people. But a little while ago I started to think I'm dead wrong about this, and he just confirmed that.

The ex said that it's "fair for female gamers to campaign for games they want to play, but it's not fair to campaign against games that boys like to play". That, in my view, is just plain wrong. His response to my re-posting of an article about Anita Sarkeesian was poorly thought out. Considering the context, it was even slightly sickening. I know he's smarter than that. We had some great and thoughtful conversations when we were together. Surely he MUST be smarter than that. Games are still heavily weighted against women - Mass Effect does not wipe out the thousands of games where women are either treated as sex objects or there to be beaten up or abused (and even Mass Effect has problems). Yes, you can come back with the fact that there are heaps of games where you can play as a woman. But how come most warrior women have a tiny metal bra and weird armoured panties? What the hell does that protect? And why are their breasts bigger than their heads or busting out of their tops?

I responded saying that I don't play games much anymore because I don't like having to be a hyper-sexualised person (I'll always love Age of Empires).

His response was that games need to evolve and diversify, which is already starting to happen. Then he ruined it with "There'll always be a place for trashy games though, live and let live I reckon"

Sure. Live and let live. I'll let my young son play games about beating up and raping women because they're just trashy games. I'll let him see my husband playing them. I'll let him grow up thinking that men are supposed to embrace violence without thinking, and that if in doubt, you should shoot everything in sight. Don't think, just react. How many female characters are there that aren't designed to either be rescued (innocent) or sexually desirable? After my kids grow out of Dora and Diego, I'm pretty sure they'll need to exit the gaming arena (unless things change fast).

Many video games do two things I hate. They depict women as sexual objects to either be conquered, rescued or leered at, and they assume that men want to do those things.

I'm confident that most men I know find so called 'trashy games' sick. They don't want to punch a prostitute, they don't want to see a half naked elf woman run around and they don't want to always be cast as a violent or emotionally restricted goof.

A gamer might find a character of a school girl with DD breasts sexy, but it's not. It's weird. If the poor girl was real she'd probably have incredible back pain. Plus, she'd have the hots for the young things on Home and Away.

That said, I need to tell you a story about my friend Obvian. He's a very talented artist (and musician). Once one of the cooler guys at highschool asked him to draw a scantily clad woman (can't remember it exactly, but the request was something similar to that). It was the first time I saw him get angry. He told the guy to shove it. Another friend IS a games developer. He routinely gets angry at the way women are depicted in video games - as he told me once "I've seen women. That's not a woman."

1 comment:

  1. I went to the Game Masters exhibit at ACMI with a lovely (library!) friend last weekend, and after that, I'm buying everyone I know the game Fruit Ninja. It is awesome. Who needs a game with objectified women, when you can slice and dice fruit?! Seriously, I'm considering getting a whole game system just so I can play this.