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Category Archives: Advertising
For this part of the series, I’m going to mainly be using World of Warcraft for reference, as that’s the company I’ve had my most recent (and bitter) experience with. I also think that the company’s marketing and design choices have provided me with a clear link between sexist marketing and the creation of a gaming culture hostile to women. Keep in mind, though, that this is a phenomenon that pervades gaming culture as a whole.
First off, I’d like to point out that I’m not the first one to make the jump from advertising and how the actual players treat women:
Further, many of the marketing strategies and magazines are directly exclusively toward guys. I stopped reading Electronic Gaming Monthly a few years ago after I got sick of seeing yet another article on a “girl gamer” with a few squares of cotton stretched over her fake boobs. Those interviews usually focused on whether or not she played naked rather than what was currently spinning in her system. What I find particularly sad about this is not that it tends to alienate their few female readers, but that a large chunk of their target audience is younger boys… so these melon-chested interviewees (surrounded with drawings of the same, ripped from the games themselves… see Dead or Alive) come to represent women for these kids. Sexist attitudes are reinforced. Girl gamers are shunted aside by a new generation as fluffy sex kitties who prance about playing The Sims and giggling behind a hand.[From Girls, games, and a culture of hostility by Legendary Monkey]
Okay, I’m sorry for the myriad of video game oriented posts recently, but what can I say? I’m a gamer, which makes me obsessed with games. My recent break from World of Warcraft has given me a lot to chew on and it doesn’t help when other people are writing on the same topics I’ve been giving serious thought to. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so I’ve decided to make this into a series entitled “Girls & Game Ads” (sorry, I suck at names and this one is short-ish and uses alliteration). Obviously, it’s going to focus on issues of how the gaming industry chooses to market its games and how it relates to and affects women.
I’d like to turn to a recent editorial at GameGirlz to give everyone an idea of the current atmosphere of the general advertising in the industry. The piece, a letter by a GameStop employee, discusses an in-store advertisement that Gamestop has chosen to run:
A guy and his scantily clad girlfriend are in a car; the guy is driving and he looks like he’s in a rush — and the girl for some reason is punching him senseless. The next shot is of a video game box with the same girl on the cover.
Oh, okay, she’s from a video game. (Or she’s supposed to represent a video game).
Whatever. Somehow, it didn’t sit right with me. In the next scene, they are at a GameStop and the guy tells the salesman “I wanna trade her in” pointing to his punch happy girlfriend. The salesman smiles, brings out another scantily clad woman who punches the boyfriend so hard he crashes into a wall, but he gets up and grins, “OHHH, I’ll take her!” So the guy walks out with his new ‘game’ or ‘girlfriend’ and they live happily ever after. Meanwhile another guy walks in and wanted to buy the other girl, er, game that just got traded in. She starts punching him too.[From Sexist Game Ads – WHY?]
Over at reappropriate, I was half responsible for hijacking one of Jenn’s threads, The Sexism of Father’s Day, with a lively debate on gender roles and choice. I highly recommend reading through the post itself, as well as all the comments, because there is a lot of interesting discussion on all sides.
phillyjay drew me into the debate when he said:
I just don’t think it so bad if men and women live up to their gender roles.
I responded with:
I would just like to say this outright: there is nothing wrong with people choosing what is best for them, whether it fits in the accepted gender roles or not, what the problem is that society in many ways forces it on us.
And, really, that sums up what I think is one of feminism’s biggest points: people should have the right, and opportunity, to choose to do what’s right for them. Now, there are obvious limits; my ability to choose ends when it impedes someone else’s life. Debates within and outside of the feminist community arise because that division is not a simple line to draw, but, at the root of it all, the feminist ideal is that of choice. Continue reading
Ever since I started using the Diva Cup I’ve been really thinking about the tampon/pad industry and what it means for women and the environment. Honestly, I don’t think that the current mainstream menstrual companies are good for women and I know they aren’t good for the environment. Continue reading