This thursday’s 5a7 Symposium will feature a discussion on the games industry, advertisements, and gender, hosted by yours truly. More details below.
Carolyn Jong will be hosting a discussion on gendered representations of videogames and gamers in industry advertisements, and beyond. We’ll be using the above ad for Sony Playstation Vita as a starting point for the discussion, along with several arguments that have been made in defence of the ad. We’ll also be considering these arguments in relation to broader questions about the lack of diversity in the industry, toxic gaming culture, girl gamer stereotypes, and more.
Here is a quick preview of some of the arguments that we’ll be covering:
Argument 1: Equivalence: Men also get objectified in the media, so why does everyone get upset over the objectification of women?
Counter-argument 1: Overall, men still maintain a position of privilege over women. Someone in a position of power is less likely to suffer abuse as a result of objectification than someone who is not.
Argument 2: Cropping the model in that way was done for artistic purposes.
Counter-argument 2: Calling something artistic is not a valid excuse for objectification, misogyny, racism, etc. because art does not exist in some separate sphere removed from our social reality – it (and the artists who make it) are a part of that reality and must be held accountable.
Argument 3: (Some) women aren’t offended by it, so it must be ok.
Counter-argument 3: Chances are those women aren’t offended because they’ve been told, repeatedly, to turn the other cheek, to get a sense of humour, to toughen up, etc.
Argument 4: Patriarchy doesn’t exist. Feminists are being overly sensitive and cherry-picking their data in order to support an argument that has no foundation in reality.
Counter-argument 4: See below.
Here’s some additional material to fuel the fires:
Just in case you thought the above ad was the only one to prominently feature womens’ breasts: http://www.joystickdivision.com/2011/05/the_top_ten_sexiest_video_game_1.php
Anita Sarkeesian has released the first edition of Tropes vs. Women: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6p5AZp7r_Q
A response to the video can be found here (note: this is not a particularly good critique. If you find better ones, please let me know): http://youtu.be/QJeX6F-Q63I
If you happen to speak french this article provides an excellent overview of sexism in geek culture as a whole: http://cafaitgenre.org/2013/03/16/sexisme-chez-les-geeks-pourquoi-notre-communaute-est-malade-et-comment-y-remedier/
What: Discussion on gendered game advertisements and the gaming industry.
When: Thursday, March 28, 5-7pm
Where: Hexagram Game Lab, EV 11.425, 1515 St. Catherine W.
Who: Anyone is welcome!