Male privilege is telling me that girls only play video games for their boyfriends. It’s about hearing that the sequel of one of my favorite games, Borderlands, a role-playing first person shooter, is going to have something called “girlfriend” mode which will make it easier for the player to hit their targets.
Male privilege is making a skill tree intended to helping noobs and calling it “girlfriend mode.”
Male privilege is telling your customers that if you let a girl beat you in your video game, she’ll give you oral.
Male privilege is also assuming that all of your customers for said video game are male.
In this New Statesman article, Helen Lewis discusses some of the hate & harassment I have faced since launching my Tropes vs Women in Video Games Kickstarter including a flash game where players are invited to “Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian”.
Here are a few follow up posts by various bloggers about the “game” and its creator:
- Man Disagrees With Woman, Makes Game About Punching Her
- The “wit” and “wisdom” of the guy who created that “beat up Anita Sarkeesian” game
- Storify: Why is this conversation necessary?
Note: I think its important to keep in mind that this domestic violence “game” and its creator are only a symptom of the much larger cultural problem called misogyny. The problem is a society-wide epidemic that reaches far beyond the vile actions of one individual.
Players will want to “protect” an increasingly-battered Lara Croft in the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot, its executive producer has said.
The series’ young heroine will lose her best friend, be beaten, bruised, kidnapped, and finally be subjected to an attempted rape.
“When you see her have to face these challenges, you start to root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character,” executive producer Ron Rosenberg explained to Kotaku.
“When people play Lara, they don’t really project themselves into the character. They’re more like ‘I want to protect her.’ There’s this sort of dynamic of ‘I’m going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.’”
The challenges facing Croft will allow her to appear more human, Rosenberg added.
“The ability to see her as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualised version of yesteryear. She literally goes from zero to hero… we’re sort of building her up and just when she gets confident, we break her down again.”
“She is literally turned into a cornered animal. It’s a huge step in her evolution: she’s forced to either fight back or die.”
It’s not the first time that developer Crystal Dynamics has explained how it wants players to notice Lara’s youth and vulnerability. Art director Brian Horton revealed last year that the new Lara, by design, has “a little bit of that baby fat”.
“We wanted to make a girl that was somewhat familiar, yet had a special quality about her - something in the way her eyes look and her expression in her face that makes you want to care for her.”
“Her skin is still bare on the arms and there are going to be rips and tears on her clothes, but it won’t be about being revealing. It’s a way of saying that through these tough situations, there is a beauty and vulnerability coming through. I think that is sexy in its own way.”
WHAT THE FUCK!?
This is everything that women complain about video games:
1) The assumption that no woman (and definitely no rape survivor, of any gender) is playing this game, and that all the players are gonna be hetero men who see Lara Croft as a virtual girlfriend and not associating with her or seeing her as their avatar
2) Rape is a thing that happens to women and is really about the men and protecting us and feeling bad for us rather than a serious fucking traumatic event!
3) That there’s “beauty and vulnerability” and “sexy” in an attempted rape, because again, this is not about Lara, this is about the hetero male player looking AT Lara, and the threat of rape hanging over her existing for THEM as part of some protection fantasy.
4) Rape is a way to notice Lara’s beauty and youth, which is so fucked up and plays into all sorts of fucked up stereotypes of what sexual assault is about I want to scream.
5) The threat of being sexually assaulted makes Lara more “human”, because we know female heroes who run around kicking ass without being raped are oh-so-inhuman. Heaven forbid we have a female hero who isn’t vulnerable or existing for men to protect.
And yes Crystal Dynamic released a damage control statement but it really doesn’t say anything contrary except that it makes it more apparent the interviewed guy spoke out of school more than said anything that wasn’t true (or what the Studio intended.)
“One of the character defining moments for Lara in the game,” he continued, “which has incorrectly been referred to as an ‘attempted rape’ scene is the content we showed at this year’s E3 and which over a million people have now seen in our recent trailer entitled ‘Crossroads’. This is where Lara is forced to kill another human for the first time.
“In this particular section, while there is a threatening undertone in the sequence and surrounding drama, it never goes any further than the scenes that we have already shown publicly. Sexual assault of any kind is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game.
I guess we’ll find out if they’re trying to split hairs and claim “oh she’s totally not being threatened with rape in that scene” or the guy interviewed really was saying something totally untrue. But lots of male heroes are forced to take a human life without being threatened with rape, so that is no excuse to have that threatened.
I really think the logic goes “it’s a beautiful woman captured and beaten down, what else would a villain do to such a woman but rape her?” and it’s just seen as if this thing that would just “naturally” happen. (Victim blaming stuff goes the same way, after all, wouldn’t a guy just rape a beautiful woman who is drunk? Or was wearing XYZ clothes?)
This thing reminds me of a Resident Evil 4 thread I saw on a gaming board where the male fans were talking about the period of the game where Ashley is still captured and talking about whether or not she was raped before Leon rescues her, and they all pretty much agreed she must have been, because after all, what else would you do to a pretty girl if you have her captured? >_<
And it’s just… rape as a natural thing that happens to women who are captured (and of course not to men, nobody wondered if during the periods where Leon is unconscious, anybody raped him, which erases male rape survivors also), rape as being about attractiveness, and that rape was so distant to these people discussing it that it was like discussing whether or not she was tied up with ropes.
It really disgusts me. As a gamer, as a woman and as a rape survivor how rape is seen as this thing to happen to female characters that is really about eliciting a response from male characters or presumed-to-be-male-gamers, how a word like “sexy” is used in that context, how rape is just this thing women have to deal with, and of course that any men playing the game couldn’t possibly be a rape survivor themselves (and a male character could never be at threat of being raped.)
This is what people mean by “rape culture” and I want it gone in my video games.
(And as a clarification to ward off the inevitable comment, I’m not saying “rape can never be used in fiction”, notice that my critique is HOW it’s being used, and the thinking behind it, and the assumption of who the audience is and how the female heroine is expected to be viewed.)
THAT PIECE OF SHIT
The laugh from this fucker will forever be engrained in my memory.
Oh my fucking god. I wanted to kill myself even playing the demo before I got the actual game when I first got a playstation.
NO FUCK YOU ALL THE EGG THIEVES ARE THE FUCKING BEST
My mom liked to play Spyro when she had some down time.
I’m pretty sure this guy was the reason I’d here “YOU SONOFABITTTTTTCH” shrieked from my brother’s room sometimes.
FUCK THIS GUY CHASING HIM IN CIRCLES FOR HOURS WAS SERIOUSLY THE WORST THING IN MY CHILDHOOD.
Yes, it’s a tough read, but a good one. (It’s written in response to the new Hitman trailer, but it covers way more than that.)
That is a pretty great read. Heed the trigger warning.
I think it would be difficult, if not impossible, to deny that video games have become a very large part of mainstream culture. The past twenty years have seen the gaming industry skyrocket, and the last ten years have been of particular importance. While video games have been popular ever since arcades in the 70s, it was the development of gaming consoles (in particular the N64 and PS1), as well as improvements in PC gaming, that caused people to really take a serious interest in gaming. Modern Warfare 3 demonstrates the incredible popularity that the gaming industry now enjoys, making nearly half a billion dollars on its first day of release and nearly breaking the record for biggest entertainment launch in history. The Entertainment Software Association reported in 2010 that 67% of American households play video games.
Despite the growing popularity and dominance of gaming, it is still viewed largely as a “male” interest. This misguided belief is rooted firmly in the minds of many gamers, and is reflected in the common attitudes and behaviour towards female gamers. Even developers and publishers seem to consider their target audience to be men. The protagonists of a large percentage of popular games reflect the belief in the dominance of male gamers (as well as the supposed dominance of white, hetero, cis gamers). Women gamers are treated as a small audience, regardless of the fact that they make up 40% of gamers, and women age 18 or over make up 33% of the gaming population, while boys age 17 and younger only account for 20%.
The view of women as ‘minority’ gamers helps to reinforce strong misogynistic beliefs about women who play games, as well as female characters in the games themselves. The default gamer, believed to be a man, is treated as inherently superior to any woman who plays video games. A woman is expected to prove that she is able to play video games well, but she is also attacked if she chooses to voice her opinions or demonstrate how capable she is. It is common to see male gamers harass a gamer online when they discover she is a woman. This harassment is viewed as not only common, but also generally acceptable, and women are told that they should come to expect it, and should not bother to try and stop it. If the same woman were to voice that she is indeed a woman, and it does not matter, then the same gamers who were attacking her for being a woman will contradict themselves in an attempt to attack her because she has spoken up, usually claiming that “nobody cares that you’re a woman”.
This highlights what is one of the most problematic attitudes towards women who play video games. They are expected to say silent, and if they speak up, it is expected that they will be shamed and attacked into silence again. There is a powerful underlying belief among many male gamers that women are, essentially, supposed to be seen and not heard. In many cases, not even seen. To be a “girl gamer” is to not be a gamer at all. By constantly reinforcing the disturbing, misogynistic views of many male gamers, women are taught that they can either be a woman or a gamer, but to be both is not allowed. The harassment is treated as normal and fine, but to speak out against the harassment is considered ridiculous and pointless. Many gamers claim that it’s “simply the way it is”, yet ignore that they have created an environment where they are able to attack and shame women into almost total silence. This environment is not seen as one that has been created by male gamers, but is simply the default.
It is important, and necessary, to have safe spaces for women to play video games, both online and in the real world. It is important to speak out against those that would seek to vilify and attack women. It is important to show that to be a “girl gamer” is not a mark of shame, nor is it something negative. It is important to show that expecting women to stay silent is abhorrent. It is important to speak out against developers that think they can simply pander to men and ignore women as though they barely exist. It is important to critique games. It is important to encourage and support women who are both gamers, and those who are creating the games.
Gaming Things that make you RAGE #224
Dragon Age: Accidently Starting Leliana’s Relationship
submitted by: caligraphunky
No Leliana I don’t want to be your girlfriend.
Leliana I just want to be friends.
Gaming Things that make you RAGE #293
Dragon Age: Origins: Orzammer’s Deep Roads
submitted by: lirlys
FUCK THE DEEP ROADS WITH A SPOON
AND THOSE FUCKING REVENANTS
THE FUCKING DEEP ROADS MAN.
Right so how did I only just realize that the L1/L2 and R1/R2 buttons on my controller correspond to my left and right hands I am an idiot how do I even breathe.