Monday, November 26, 2007

More on Sex(ism) in Video Games

Back when I worked at Ye Olde Book Shoppe, we used to stock a full assortment of Adult Magazines, most of which seemed to be aimed at either straight or gay men. Despite having to deal with the sale, ordering, and placement of magazines like Playboy for several years, I'd pretty much forgotten about this (nsfw) intersection of pornography and games). I had completely forgotten that Playboy runs an issue every year that features the "girls of gaming".

Who, exactly, thinks that something like this is a good idea?

I'm sure that all of the people who were slamming Jade Raymond and Ubisoft are all over this story, right? Right?

Alright, maybe not. Sure, there are a couple of comments along the lines of "Wow, this is pretty blatant" but there are a lot of comments more along the lines of "Why didn't they get hotter characters that we know?"

And then there's this wonderful piece of advertising criticism.

Now, as the comments there show, this sort of advertising is really transparent. We're not stupid- we know when you're trying to use nudity to get us to buy your game, and if it's a shitty game, we're not going to fall for it. And yet, we keep seeing crap like this. From Kane and Lynch's Playboy contest, to that Need For Speed ad, to the Playboy pictorials, to promo material for the new Soul Calibur game, there's a sense that gamers only care about one thing as much or more than games... breasts. Of course, recent events have done little to counteract that impression.

These are instances are a company that is exploiting women for the sake a few dollars. When they do things like this, they contribute to the generally culture of sexism that gaming is currently saturated with. These sorts of things encourage pretty shitty attitudes towards women, and are one of the things that lead to gamers treating women who game like their sole purpose is to expose themselves for male gratification. Ads like this display the attitude that gaming is a male hobby, and encourage "men's club" attitudes. After all, gamers can say, "video gaming is a guy thing, if women want to get invovled, they need to expect it."

Prior to the Playboy debacle, I was interested in Kane and Lynch, so this doesn't really change my feelings there. But, I was interested in Conan, Tabula Rasa sounded interesting, and Jericho has been getting decent reviews. Now, I'll be putting my money elsewhere.


tekanji said...

Wait, how is Tabula Rasa involved in this? o.O

Roy said...

The issue features Sarah Morrison from Tabula Rasa.

According to G4, the issue features:

“Keaira” from Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures
“Church & Black” from Clive Barker’s Jericho
“Morenn” from The Witcher
“Yoko Retomoto” from Kane & Lynch
“A’Kanna” from Conan
“Sarah Morrison” from Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa

tekanji said...

Oh! I should have clicked on the link; I had just assumed it was talking about that awful playboy that had video game characters in it.

Now I have to figure out if I should mention that little nasty in the upcoming Cerise (I talk about the trailer for Tabula Rasa) or if it warrants its own spot on Market to Me....

Natalie J. K. said...

Totally unrelated comment... Have you heard Gloria Steinem's speech at Yale University? It's available as a podcast on iTunes under Yale University podcasts. She spoke there in early October. Anyway, I thought it was interesting in lots of ways and thought you might enjoy it as well! I hope all is well with you.


P.S. I would have sent this as an email but I don't seem to have your email address.