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article imageOp-Ed: Gamers need to confront the culture's misogynistic problem

By Stan Rezaee     Aug 29, 2014 in Entertainment
The gaming community likes to take pride in the fact that their culture has been more progressive about the role of women, but there is still an ugly misogynistic problem that needs to be confronted.
Those who felt such critics threaten their culture took it too far when it was reported that Anita Sarkeesian, a respected feminist video game activist, was forced to flee her home when misogynistic trolls posted her personal information along with death threats online.
These threats have been lobbed towards Sarkeesian because of her critique about the misogynistic undertone in video games that many like to pretend ended with Custer's Revenge. It's not just the "female armor" or the "damsel in distress" story but the sexualization of violence and the degradation of women roles.
Compared to old Hollywood, video games have featured stronger and respectable female characters like Jill Valentine, Samus Aran, or The Boss. Yet the same old sexist tropes that Hollywood loves to use still pop up in video games way too often and it's not limited to 14-year-olds playing shooters.
Sarkeesian's examinations have been the most thorough, but she has not been alone in her critique of the misogyny in video games. It has gotten so bad in the culture that many in the game media have been voicing their outrage.
Many gamers are well aware of Abbie Heppe's review of Metroid: Other M, in which she panned the game for making Samus a weak character who is dependent on a "boyfriend." Another example was the backlash from the media towards the "Attack of the Saints" trailer for Hitman: Absolution, which many felt overly sexualized the concept of violence towards women.
While progressive publications like Think Progress and Mother Jones have been more vocal about gaming cultures misogynistic problem, the subject has been a popular punching bag with Cracked for many years. The best example of this was back in 2010 when David Wong examined the gaming culture's attitude toward women and the sexual harassment women gamers are subjected to online.
The most recent was written by Fletcher Wortmann back in 2013 and it focused on offensive video game ads. The most notable was the Dead Island: Riptide special edition that featured a torso bust that caused outrage among gamers. Another controversial ad discussed was the infamous Juiced commercial, which featured two gamers magically molesting and stripping a women.
Yet the award for the best examination of misogyny in video games goes to Seanbaby and his breakdown of sexism in Red Dead Redemption. One of the pioneers of Internet humor examines the games misogynistic undertone by going so far as explaining the "Dastardly" achievement, which is unlocked after the player sets a hogtied woman on a railroad and witnesses her death.
Video games are suppose to be a joyful escape to a digital imagination of our desire, be it on our own or with friends. The progressive outlook that has pushed to make the culture unique is lost when it fails to learn from the mistakes of old media while factions fight to defend the mistake.
If gamers wish to truly protect the innovative culture of video games than they need to take a stand alongside Sarkeesian.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Video games, Feminism, misogyny, Womens rights
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