This, mind you, is honestly my opinion which I am fortunate enough to share with some of the members of this community and beyond. The subject of sexism is hardly new, in fact I published an article a few months back slamming Maxim's "Sexy Gamer Girls" contest, which to me was nothing but an excuse for girls to pose half naked with joysticks pretending to know what it is like to be a real gamer. I have also broached the subject of women gaming in several gaming forums, which garnered me a mixture of praise and camaraderie from some, and absolute vitriol from others who deemed it unfitting for me to declare my gender, along with the usual references to making them sandwiches, and other similar insults which I could only laugh at. But back to the point - this is not the first time I've waded into this subject. And honestly, until the days where being a female who games is not such an OMG moment for some, one can only expect some people to try to get things right while others get it very wrong.
Some companies are socially aware of protecting people from harassment
Case in point - Halo 4 creators are going after those who not only racially harass but now sexually harass players via the X-Box Live console chat. The developers have taken a strict stance against players who sexually harass female players, and have always had a stance against racial epithets thrown around in voice services. Now, while some believe this may not do much to quell the trolls responsible for such harassment, I say good on these developers in their recognition that most gamers want to enjoy their play time without some idiot over microphone asking them about their boobs.
Yes, for caustic trolls, a simple ban will probably only ruffle their feathers, but to me it seems that this will discourage the more timid trolls, the ones who jump on a bandwagon of harassment or only do it when they know there are no repercussions. Some of them even have a bit of a conscience which prevents them from “risking” losing all their hard gaming work (okay well not so much conscience as a yellow stripe down their backs) and won’t take the risk of of getting their account banned. Will it stop the worst offenders though? Maybe not but it is a step in the right direction as far as I am concerned.
Advertising selling sex since the 1800's
But of course there is always the flip side - while some developers get it right, advertising is an entirely different ball game. While there are times a game developer leaves complete control of their ads for their console systems to ad execs, you would think they would be smart enough to give the ads a look over before they go live. In France their execs seem to think it’s okay to compare a PlayStation Vita to a woman with four breasts - with the extra two on her back.To be honest, I find the whole advert too ridiculous to be mad at or scream sexism over; I am just wondering if this magazine realizes that females buy these systems too?
While sure some may find four breasts interesting I don’t particularly think of them as enjoyable as gaming. And before it’s even mentioned - an extra male appendage would not interest me either! Sex may sell to those who have no other options but to utilize gaming for their fantasies, but many of us just want to be treated decently. It’s a shame someone thought this ad would be thought provoking enough to help boost Vita sales, it's also a shame that Sony will be the ones who receive the backlash from those tired of sexist advertising being thrown in their customer's faces.
One day this won’t be a big issue, right?
I honestly think it’s time for gamers to wake up and realize that people from all walks of life, genders and backgrounds now game, and that while the occasional bit of smack talk can be fun, there is a line you should not cross. When you hear a female player's voice, don’t treat it like it’s the biggest deal since bread was invented. Allow all players to enjoy the gaming world and it will pay off a lot more than trying to get your virtual mack on will. I know it’s hard to get people to become more socially aware in gaming, but it’s not impossible. I truly feel that there will come a day a day where a person’s gender, race and sexuality won’t be a weapon that mean spirited types use to make other gamers uncomfortable. However it takes more action from both the developers and gamers themselves to reign in such antics as best they can.
What do you think about Halo 4’s stance on sexism/racism on X-box live? Did the Playstation Vita ad make you cringe or chuckle? Leave a comment and feel free to discuss it in the Gamersaurs forum!
Today's comic is brought to you by James Carlson, whose work you can find at www.theminionslayers.com