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Category Archives: Girls & Game Ads
Girl Power: Liberating or Objectifying? Way back when I did the first instalment of this series, I quoted a description of a GameStop commercial that an employee had seen while working in the shop. The long and the short was … Continue reading
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?]