Sunday, November 23, 2014

Somehow Minecraft seems a lot less annoying now....

The video game franchise Grand Theft Auto has long allowed players to have sex with prostitutes -- not without controversy -- but the bar has been lowered now that in the latest iteration of the game (GTA 5) the action takes place onscreen.

In the game clip above, posted to YouTube, a player called "Entertainment" gets an enthusiastic blow job and then gets out of his car and punches the prostitute in the face as she's leaving, knocking her out cold.  Not exactly Pac Man fever.  The comments on YouTube, at least on the first page or so, include these examples: 
 "This is outrageous!!! this game is portraying black ppl like violent ones! racism everywhere!!! see what I did there?? I was trying to be a liberal douche, you know, those super socially correct heroes, I hate those guys. But in all seriousness, this looks great, I always kill the prostitute so I can recover my money... and cuz is a whore, no one cares, she's got no soul."
"I've been in all kinds of shit, and I still think Tumblr feminists are the dumbest shit to ever walk this fucking earth and what angers me the most, is that young women actually listen to them. The "leaders" of those organizations are ugly fat women"
A lot of comments take delight in the assumption that the clip will piss off feminists or, as Rush Limbaugh likes to call them, the "feminazis".  Those dour wimmins!  Always pissing on the parade....

This is disheartening stuff to read, but it's nothing new; the question of misogyny in video games and gamer culture has been in the news quite a lot recently and we discussed it in our latest post, To the Limits of Decency....and Beyond!  Suffice it to say that the hostility towards feminist voices within the gaming community is not isolated to comments on one clip.

As I said in that post, this kind of shit seems unhealthy, at least to these eyes.  GTA certainly didn't create misogynists, but it certainly panders to them; as the first comment (one of many) demonstrates, some gamers find that this clip reflects their own attitudes.  Sadly, it validates them as well.  Given that most of the comments are in agreement, it's hard to chalk it up to trolling; the commenters aren't baiting one another, but cheering one another on.

If free speech is to mean anything, we have to accept that some of the things we come across will be unpalatable to us, especially online!  Maybe I'm just being hopelessly PC or have become a boring, middle-aged father, but this shit is toxic.  What does it mean when our games involve abusing women?  Whatever it is, it can't be good. 

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