Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Gender Issues, Sex, and Gaming
Once again, gender issues have taken the center stage in gaming. If I wanted to read every article that's been published on gender issues in gaming in the last week, I'd probably would be stuck in front of a screen for two days straight.
But here's the thing, I do want to read everything written on the issue, especially how other women feel. Mainly because a lot of the articles express a viewpoint I don't understand. Why? I've said it plenty of times before. I can't remember ever being offended by a game. I don't care what characters wear, I don't care if I'm playing as a boy or girl. I would gladly mow down some sexy assassin nuns. I'm currently playing Lollipop Chainsaw. However, most of the articles I see take the stance of "here's why ____ is offensive or sexist."
Sometimes I feel that as a woman who plays video games, that's it's part of my job to constantly be offended. And I'm not doing my part and I don't care to.
A lot of the recent controversy has centered around the new Tomb Raider game. We all saw the Crossroads trailer at E3. Then it was said that the game included a scene of attempted rape. The web exploded with "how dare they include that" type comments. Then it came out the scene's already in the trailer, and to my knowledge, nobody took notice of it before the rape comment surfaced. Now, there a petition to get the scene removed. Here's exactly what was said and a clip of the scene.
First, I think the petition is ill-informed and a knee jerk reaction. However, there seems to be no way to express my opinion on the site without signing the petition and I'm not going to do that.
Second, rape, sexual assault, and all manner of terrible things are regularly featured in books, TV shows, and movies. If a video game even suggests a scene like that, the world cringes and is offended. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. Hell, even if a consensual sex scene is suggested in a game, some people behave as if the sky is falling.
Third, the game isn't even out yet.
I'm not offended by the clip. Lara in the game isn't the badass from the older ones. It makes sense to me that she's fighting for her very survival on a hostile island where she kills people and people try to kill her. It's going to be a brutal game, regardless.
While it's important to explore and talk about gaming and gender issues, I think the side of "not offended female gamer" gets lost. Articles mostly seem to want to talk about controversy, of course. But, I believe there is also a large number of women gamers who don't have a problem with the content in video games. We just want to play.
I have written a few recent things about gender issues in gaming.
Here's my response to questions about being a female gamer from noobschooler.com
Here's my take on sexism in Resident Evil from New Gamer Nation
Here's Gender vs. Experience from MsBehaved.com