In response to the screen-shot above, I wrote a long essay about porn and rape and sex, but it got too muddled and diffuse, finally undercutting my point: that this pop-up ad seems very, um, unhealthy. Just imagine the content of the game.
In researching that original post, I came across the story of Anita Sarkeesian. In 2012, Sarkeesian produced Tropes vs Women in Video Games, a video series that examines misogyny in video games and gamer culture. The series has received an angry response that, well, pretty much demonstrates misogyny in video games and gamer culture....
The New Yorker:
In 2012, the Times reported that Sarkeesian had been sent images showing video-game characters raping her. Her Wikipedia entry was repeatedly vandalized. One man created a Web game called Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian, in which players could punch Sarkeesian’s image and watch her face become bruised. The violent threats have continued unabated; Sarkeesian fled her home in August after a Twitter user posted her address and threatened to kill her.Just this October, she and a venue hosting her received emailed death threats. All because she spoke critically about women in video game culture.
Looking at that screen-shot and the response her videos prompted, it's hard no to conclude that yeah, Sarkeesian has a valid point. My question would then be whether or not video game culture is more prone to misogyny than the culture in general.
Maybe, maybe not. I found myself thinking of the recent viral video of the woman, walking in NYC, who got cat-called over 100 times during the course of a 24-hour period (watch here). Leaving aside the issue of catcalling itself, the response to her video is pretty disheartening. Like the Sarkeesian case, it's hard to argue that what this woman is saying is exaggerated, not when you see the downright virulence of the response to the questions they raise.
Here's a choice comment posted a few days ago to that viral video: "I'd donate money to rapist group to rape a god's shit out of this feminist hypocritical bitch."
The comment pretty much sums up why women feel threatened by catcalling. It's all smiley smiley "hey baby" until the lech is ignored, and then it becomes "fuck you you stuck-up miserable bitch" and other forms of verbal, if not physical, aggression.
Brings us back to a recent post, upon which Gid commented: "Interesting how a stare/glare can feel like an act of aggression."