Fetishizing actual gamers is yucky. Please stop.

Okay. So this ad for Top Spin – a tennis game by 2K Games – was brought to my attention via a thread on the Escapist forums appropriately titled: “Serena Williams’ Butt Stars in Mind-Boggling Top Spin 4 Ad“. It features Serena Williams and pro gamer Rileah Vanderbilt playing Top Spin while showing off their bits in outfits that look a lot more like something out of the Single Ladies video than tennis outfits. I mean, check out these screens:

"The World's Sexiest Tennis Gamer"

Outthrust butt from behind

Bouncing cleavage

Now the original post in the Escapist forum thread is very much on the side of “what the fuck, 2K Games?”, and a fair number of respondents are on board with that sentiment. However, some respondents didn’t really see anything wrong with the ad:

Aaaaaaand sold. Marketing successful.

I’d hit it. Far as the ad itself, who cares? Just another ass on the screen which is fine by me.

She has a great ass and you got your head all up in it-Al pacino

…disheartening. I mean, here we have the packaging of an honest-to-god real woman, who happens to play games, for the sexual gratification of the male gaming audience. THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Here’s the thing. I bitch a lot here about the awful design of fictional game women and how they get fetishized. Even then, there are very few female game characters that I will point to and say shouldn’t exist. As much as I loathe Bayonetta and characters like her, I’m not going to say people shouldn’t be allowed to play the game. But there’s a huge difference between sexualizing women who don’t actually exist and encouraging the sexualization of women who actually do.

“But, wundergeek!” you say. “Rileah was consenting! She wants to be sexualized!”

That’s not the point. The point is that gaming women are being packaged as yet another sexual commodity to promote games. Rileah may not care, but I sure as hell do. I am a woman who games and who also happens to have larger-than-average breasts. So I hate it when I see shit like this that takes a female gamer and reduces her to a collection of bits the same way that game companies do with the female characters in their games, because it only furthers the fetishization of real, three-dimensional gaming women. Which is yucky.

And shit like this is rampant. Before the release of the newest Halo game, Microsoft “found” a hot “Halo fan” and took pictures of her playing Halo in “her bedroom”. The promo shots are patently fake, the worst of them being this one:

Yeah. Way to make me believe that you really play Halo, there. There’s no fucking way this wasn’t shot in a studio. Look at that perfect lightning. More importantly, follow the link and notice the complete lack of anything personal in any of the shots. Next time you try and create a fake gamer girl, please at least try a little harder to make the studio look “lived in”, Microsoft.

Of course, the situation gets a bit murky when women start participating in their own sexualization. Take, for instance, the Miss Video Game pageant of 2007. Sadly, the domain is now defunct, but you can read this promo written at the time by female gamer Faith Naked on her blog. Note that one of the first requirements is a photo. If it’s really about skills and “creativity”, why the photo requirement then, hmmmm? Unsurprisingly, in the end, it did turn out to be little more than a beauty pageant after all…

Then you have female “gaming personalities” (I’m really not even sure what to call them) like Raychul Moore, self described gamer and model whose ass is shown right in the header of her site. Furthermore, the category icon for the “gaming” section of her site is her holding a controller over a partially bare ass:

/sigh

Raychul? YOU ARE NOT HELPING.

Perhaps the most discouraging is when you stumble across things like the Nerdcore gallery over at Destructoid that features pictures of naked women with strategically placed controllers to cover their naughty bits.

The problem with all of this is that a good number of gamer men have just gotten used to the idea that any woman who professes to game is 1) not a real gamer and 2) should not object to being asked to show off their tits. I mean, look what happened with this interview of Michele Boyd of The Guild fame. The interview itself is a good one and sticks to her gaming preferences and habits. But, of course, a few of the commenters can’t resist talking about how much they want to have sex with Michele:

She needs to be at the top of the list once they perfect cloning….

She can ride my Spectral tiger anytime!

Seriously? What is WRONG with you people? Isn’t it enough that there are legions of fictional game women packaged for the sexual titillation of male gamers? Why is it that you have to force REAL women to fit into that role as well? How hard is it to accept that you are not entitled to have every woman who expresses an interest in your hobby strive to satisfy your sexual desires?

If you want to be the type of gamer who drools over nude mod releases, plays Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball, and seeks out games with clothing destruction… okay, whatever. But for fuck’s sake, leave us three-dimensional gaming women out of it.

77 thoughts on “Fetishizing actual gamers is yucky. Please stop.

  1. Damn I wish I’d kept the link for the extra credits article on female gamers where they talk about the fems who basically fake (badly ) being gamers either for attention or money.

    As for the nerdcore thing I find myself torn, on the one hand its another “god dammit guys” moment but on the other I know im as bad because shit, I like* naked (or near naked is, um better) women and seeing happy fems draped in nostaligic game gear is a sort of “Oh my that is nice” moment..and then move on.

    For me its the inability to move on and grow the fuck up that gets my goat, yes women are pleasing to the eye and the soul** but please get over it they do other shit too. That and the sheer fuckwaddery that a nice pair of breasts (covered or not) seems to be bring out in the gaming community…we cant complain about being branded as fuckwads by people if we start throwing faeces around at the slip of a nipple.

    *I know you have a thing round here that states you dont care about each posters little likes but I felt it relevant

    **I dont believe in souls

    • It’s not so much the nerdcore stuff that bothers me as the inability of a subset of gaming men to separate that out from women in gaming that they’re interacting with. That the stuff exists is much less bothersome than the obsession with “hot” female gamers in the first place.

      • Ah yes, the same dislike/taste I have then, although perhaps coming at it from different sides🙂

        I must have blanked out towards the end of that video because I just noticed the orgasm track playing at the end😦

  2. Your point is, it is ok to “make up” women and sexualize them but “real women” must not be sexualized?

    What exactly do you mean by sexualizing? reducing into objects of sexual desire? implying that sexual desire is less than desirable?

    “women should be sexual, but not sexualized” is something i am having difficulty grasping.

    regards

    • I cant (and wouldn’t) speak for WG but I want to go with this part of your post:
      —–
      “women should be sexual, but not sexualized” is something i am having difficulty grasping.
      —–

      Perhaps you’d better understand “Woman can be and often are sexy/sexual and thats cool bro, but dressing them up like disposable fucktoys whos only purpose and valuable trait is their ability to get horny geeks hard and maybe get them to shell out for an over priced sequel is not cool”

      acknowledging females as tasty = fine.
      reducing females to a tight ass and a nice rack = not so fine.

      and when you’ve splashed the cash to hire a top flight tennis player (and presumably an equal calibre gamer) and all you think they can contribute to the sale of your tennis game is some T&A ,instead of say…endorsing the fucking game as experts in their respective fields, you are being equally* insulting and demeaning to both males and females….females is obvious (lol you has tits what else you need lol) and males because “Hey look some tits and ass…give us your money you walking hard on because we know we dont actually have to treat you like a reasoning being either” ….

      *although I suppose you could argue that “Hey its equality in a sense, mission fucking accomplished” if you felt really cynical🙂

      • Since i am not a gamer, i think i do not see the big picture, if “tits and ass” is all that is depicted in games, that surely is worrying. If all gaming ad campaigns of the company use similar tactics, even more so.

        however, i would hold that women who do not mind being “objects of sexual fantasy” or enjoy it, do not necessarily convey the message that all women are of the same opinion/interests.

        Isnt it incongruous that we approve of sexiness in private, but highlighting sexiness in public becomes “objectification”.

        • Well, no, someone can be against slut-shaming and at the same time be against objectification. Objectification isn’t just some bad word for being sexy. Being equated with sexual parts over and over again as it prioritized before all else (or even everything else is ignored because apparently the only worthwhile trait is considered to be bewbs. Accomplished athlete? Yeah, whatever, bewbs!), even when you have other attributes and qualities is wrong because it decides to prioritize women as bodies.. not people. It’s dehumanizing.

          Then there’s the fact that the ‘highlighting of sexiness’ happens so unnecessarily frequently to women (and largely to women alone, it’s horribly imbalanced in that way so even phrasing it in a neutral term like ‘sexiness’ is a bit misleading) to the point where it ignores the actual person and hyper-focuses on how she can get the often male audience off. It’s about context in that way too. Also ‘women who don’t mind’ is not always as clear-cut as people seem to think it is, it’s not always a choice in the best sense of the word.

  3. See this is one of those things where I feel the rage is sort of misdirected. The ad is absolutely over the top and sexualized, but Serena Williams and Rileah Vanderbilt are not stupid. They know what’s going on in this ad and are, apparently, okay with it. And if they like being seen as sex symbols, all the more power too them.

    The blame should more lie with the 2K marketing team that thought this was a good idea and–far more importantly–on the sexist asshats who believe that female gamers, when they exist at all, should be willing to show their boobs or whatever. It demonstrates that these people have a basic lack of respect for women that I imagine they’d retain even if the lived in a victorian socity where everyone covers up, all the time. That’s not to say that ads like this don’t help to reinforce the attitudes to some extent, but on some level sexists have to be held accountable for their own beliefs.

    (After all, we’re all inundated with this imagery, but not all of us grow the delusion that women owe us sex.)

  4. I actually do agree with you on this one. I’m saving my ire for 2K Games and for the male gamers who think they’re entitled to this crap.

    (Also, I think it’s actually pretty horrifying how some people have dog-piled Serena by saying shit like she’s too “manly” to be called sexy. Ugh.)

    • You’ll really like how 2k games are now going “Well we didnt mean for this to actually be seen by the public…it was just part of a process” ….I reckon Serena has a hefty fee to appear in an advert….so I call bullshit on that.

      As for the ….dislike of Serena…different tastes are fine and can be expressed* but some of them are really…mean and nasty. Im kind of surprised the escapist mods arent weilding their cattleprods in the thread actually.

      *Seriously its not that hard guys, you can say “Ugh not for me thanks” without going down douchebag alley.

      • The thing about Serena vs. “different tastes” is interesting, because it begs the question of whether an individual’s attraction preferences are inherent to them, or socially-constructed. At the site I write for, we get trolled all the time with questions like “if I’m not attracted to black women, does that make me racist”, and the thing is, I don’t think people are born with those kinds of attraction flags. I think they’re embedded in us from a young age and we “learn” (for lack of a better term) what to find attractive and what not to. And I think it’s important for people to question these preferences, because they are biases of a sort, and they reveal that we (as a culture) have a tolerance for certain kinds of prejudice…that egalitarianism ends at the bedroom door. And I think advertising like the above plays a big part in creating those biases in young people.

        (note that I’m not saying all attraction is culturally derived…there’s a big difference between heterosexuality, which is an orientation, and being a heterosexual man who’s not into plus-sized women or WOC. Nor am I saying all attraction flags are necessarily bad, just that would should question them in the same way we question other kinds of bias).

        That said, I’m a tiny bit torn on the video because it does show-off Serena’s beauty, which I think is great. But it’s just so uggh, and I especially dislike advertising that focuses on body parts rather than whole people…a time-honored technique of objectification, to be sure. Overall, it’s pretty gross.

        • Re: inherent or social.

          A bit of both perhaps?

          Seems to fit with personal experience but who knows* ?

          *this is usualy where someone broadsides me with a full volley of psych/social studies that show what an idiot I am for not being part of the cutting edge psycho-sexual research movement🙂

          ..wordpress just me hated for an hour😦

          • That won’t be me, I only have personal experience to work from as well. And that personal experience has demonstrated to me what people articulate as a “preference” and what they’re actually attracted to is often quite different. And that it changes over time, especially if people sit down and actually challenge their preconceptions. But I’ll be the first to admit, I have a lot riding on the theory since I belong to a group men generally disclaim attraction to (though their actions often say differently).

            I think WordPress spam filtered a couple of my replies as well. If Anna is reading this, you only need to publish one, not both.🙂

            • I also wonder if a lot of it has to do with simply not knowing and that makes people uncomfortable, so they latch on to the first thing they like and sort of plant their flag there (I sense a joke here somewhere…) .

              For myself when I was a young(er) man, I was quite convinced that I only liked red headed women (because hair color is such a excellent parameter whenh searching for sexual/romantic partners) and not to skinny nor to fat because that was roughly the parameters of my first hmm liason. AND THAT WAS THE ONE TRUE WAY FOR ME, YESSIREE BOB.

              Over time I came to occasionally find myself considering people outwith that narrow band and long story short: a little introspection, consideration and willing experimentation from some friends I realised that I simply liked females of many variaties,shapes, sizes and hair color.

              Ironically my sterotypical young male horniness caused me to start re-examining a lot of shit around me, still working on it mind you but shit, a man needs a hobby I guess.

              Beats trolling.

              • Love your story…it’s something I can relate to as well, and exactly the sort of thing I wish more people were open to. And I think you’re straight up right, that a lot of people cling to what they know and never give it more thought than that.

                Also, there’s this whole social thing where everyone is expected to have a “type”…even my therapist asks me what “type” of guys I like. It’s just totally pervasive…a thing we’re supposed to know and have an answer ready just in case we get asked.

                Also, I like the threaded comments aspect of WordPress quite a lot…it lets me have these side conversations without feeling like a total derailer.🙂

              • OOT but..
                I’m sorry but i think you are wrong there, men don’t internalize norms what women they are sexually atracted to. So you haven’t got through any process of englihtment but normal process of growing up. Truth is almost all heterosexual men perfectly know they haven’t got any “attraction flag” and this “bias” Renee speaks of is imo 99% outside society pressure that men are unfrtunatelly too well aware of.

              • No need to appologise, I never said I was right, Renee and I were simply bouncing around some ideas for consideration and I shared my own personal experience on the issue.

  5. There’s an endless amount of examples of women and men getting sexualized in order to sell or promote something (including women’s magazines). But you of course only complain when it’s convinient.

      • What she is complaining about is so bog standard that the only way to attack it is to attack all of it, and not just one very marginal part of it.

        If video games were mostly a female hobby and industry, this ad would be praised as “empowering” because the woman is “taking control of her sexuality” or some nonsense like that.

        • So bog standard that it managed to garner a great big “What the fuck 2k??” from the kind of people who’d come to this site and say “Silly woman, if you stayed in the kitchen none of this would be an issue” .

          ———-
          Now to the real meat of me post which Im sure you’ll be eager to assist me with:

          I have a campaign coming up and Im torn between playing a female Half-elven Bard: multiclass paladin/cleric and a male “longtooth shifter” tempest fighter multiclassed assassin, I wonder do you have any advice on which would be the better build for a lowl level party that lacks a wizard/controller?

          • The outrage here is completely manufactured. And what is it with these stupid random questions you keep asking me? Are you unable to function without male guidance?

          • I’d suggest choosing the fighter. The defender role has some overlap with the controller role, in that they both control terrain and limit monster options. Because you are looking at a Tempest fighter specifically, you even get some of the multi-targetting aspects of the controller. If you have a second defender in your group, you’ll probably be fine as far as battlefield control goes, despite the lack of a controller.

            • yeah, went with the Tempest, our party balance is..bad, 1 defender (me), 3 melee strikers(rogue, avenger, barbarian) and a range striker (sorcerer)🙂

              We fairly tore shit up lat night, realy seeing the control aspect of the fighter with it, limited but very impactful🙂

    • I’m a dude and I don’t give a crap about the sexualization of men. It’s inherently more problematic for women because our society does not have a history of opression and sexism against men. Misandrist communities on the internet are objects of mockery and scorn by people all across the politicial spectrum, but misogyny is deeply entrenched in many parts of our every day lives. There is no equivalency.

      • Accusations of trolling == the last refuge of the incompetent. You are unable to even attempt to refute anything I say.

        • Male beauty is nowhere near as demanded as female beauty. If Larry the Cable Guy and Roseanne Barr (to pick two random, unattractive famous people) were seen out on a date, most people seeing them would feel bad for Larry, as he is clearly settling for an ugly woman. Even though he’s no prize himself, our attention is still focussed on her appearance rather than his.

    • Actually, no. Women are complaining about this sort of thing all the fucking time. It’s just that blokes only listen when it’s convenient for them. Such as when they can point to a woman complaining and bitch about her “not getting the joke” or “not paying enough attention to serious matters” or “getting hysterical over nothing” or whatever.

      Seriously, 1/10 for the actual attempt, but losing about 20 points for the pathetic quality of the derail.

      Meanwhile, back on topic, can I just point out (as a female gamer) this sort of advertising doesn’t tempt me to purchase their product at all. Not even a little bit. Not that I’d be tempted in the first place (sports sims aren’t my thing) – but really, guys, unless it’s for the Wii or a similar kinetic simulation tool, watching someone else play console games is not going to be all that wonderful. Most gamers do their gaming sitting down in a comfortable chair, and not moving very often. As an action sport, console gaming is right up there with grand prix continental drift. The campaign strikes me as being very lackadasical, if the best idea their marketing people can come up with to sell it is “get a female gamer, dress her up in fetish gear, and make her pose in a contrived fashion to show off her tits and arse, while purportedly playing the game”.

      Seriously – have any of the game production and distribution companies actually done any market research to find out what sells (and to whom), or are they just going for the lowest common denominator by waving tits at their perceived audience? Seriously, guys, if I were the target audience for this, I’d be insulted.

      • “It’s just that blokes only listen when it’s convenient for them.”

        Don’t get lured in by the troll. You probably said this in annoyance and didn’t actually mean it, but comments like this reinforce his troll logic. There’s plenty of examples here of guys listening and supporting what this blog stands for.

        “Seriously, guys, if I were the target audience for this, I’d be insulted.”

        As a straight male gamer, presumably I’m supposed to be the target audience of this stuff. I actually kinda enjoy the Nerdcore photos(though I find Destructoid’s hosting of them to be problematic for several reasons). But thinking that I’ll buy something just because I’m being shown a nice pair of tits? That’s absolutely insulting.

        Then again, it apparently works to some degree. I’m always disappointed when I find out a friend is playing Evony. It could be the best game ever made, and I’ll never know, because there’s no way I’ll play a game that’s advertised with tits and no actual game content.

          • “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts [b]inflammatory[/b], extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

      • “Actually, no. Women are complaining about this sort of thing all the fucking time.”

        Yes, whenever it happens to be convinient.

  6. Ugh, faux-bondage chic is tacky as hell. Seriously, how could anyone be attracted to that? Goddamn.

    The bigger issue is, of course, that a lot of this stuff is self-initiated by women in the first place. It’s basically companies trying to cash in on “Girl on the Internet Syndrome,” and Encyclopedia Dramatica’s advice on it works just as well:

    ‘Girl on the internet syndrome can also be cured by getting the community to smarten up. Make them know how autistic they’re acting and inform them of the futility of white knighting. Remind them that they will never have sex with her. Ever.
    […]
    The term is reserved for those exceptionally useless people who identify themselves as “the girl” in all online communities. Furthermore, please note that attractive girls can be sufferers too. They are much rarer, but always keep in mind that you will never have sex with a screen name.’

    Sound advice.

    • They may rightly point out sexism there, but ED exudes a gleeful hatred of people with mental disabilities and I just plain don’t like them. (ie “stop acting autistic”).

      • ED’s basically a Satire of Internet communities, so they’ve written that with the assumption that “Autistic” means “Self-Diagnosed Autistic”. It’s really no different than their “Jews did WTC” meme (joke based on various Arab nationalist forums’ conspiracy theories that Jews caused 9/11) or “hackers on steroids” (taking Fox News’ scaremongering) or “A Womyn’s Guide to Males” (…guess).

    • I don’t really think it’s exactly as simple as women self-initiating it. When you’re in an atmosphere that literally attacks women constantly with ‘tits or gtfo’ I don’t really blame the women who decide to pander to their stupidity at times. If only because it’s one person versus how many others? More than her, many more, is usually the answer. Sometimes it’s better to be thought of as a precious object rather than a worthless one. The women in the situation aren’t exactly the source, it’s the toxic atmosphere that they feel they have to adapt to.

      • I thought women were now super independent and strong and the equals of men in every facet of life.

        Well, I know how this works. Women are strong and independent when things are handed to them on a platter or when they aren’t actually even doing anything, but as soon as there’s the slightest resistance they have to be coddled and protected and their poor decisions are not their fault but merely a result of pressure and coercion.

        • 0.5 – You stuck the landing but you missed the entire point by a country mile. There, I gave you some attention. Shoo, shoo.

        • So An Onymous, this weekend should I wear my boot cut jeans (and doc martin knockl offs) and a nice black t-shirt with a blue shirt or a red shirt over the top?

          if it helps the occasion is informal, mixed company occasion and I shall be walking to the event in my new knee length leather coat (black).

        • I’m guessing you’ve never heard of peer pressure? It isn’t just women who can fall under such pressure. Practically anybody can, if they are constantly hounded by the masses.

          Lets face it, men are the majority on gaming forums, and women are the minority. So yes, its unfair to blame one woman if she succumbs to the pressure of becoming a “sexy gamer” if she is constantly being told ‘tits or gtfo’. There’s only so many times you can say ‘no’ before you eventually just throw in the towel and say ‘fuck it, I’ll do it. Just stop harassing me!’

          If women were the majority, and men the minority, the opposite would apply.

          • Peer pressure does not work on the Internet. If it did, I would be a tree-hugging left-wing pacifist queer feminist by now. And if someone is giving you a hard time, you can simply close the browser, place them on ignore or tell them to go fuck themselves.

            But weren’t women supposed to be just as independent and strong as men if not more so? Now you’re telling me some trash talk on the Internet is enough to break them down?

            • “Peer pressure does not work on the Internet. If it did, I would be …queer … by now.”

              I guess I can imagine communities where the other things you listed are pushed on people, but do you -really- have people pressuring you to have sex with men?

              • For Anon I think peer pressure = “eeww I have to actually treat these people like human beings and when I dont I get treated like a naughty puppy, getting my face rubbed in the piss I made rather than getting a treat”

                its soooooo unfaiiiiir iiimmmmm oppppressseddd!
                I only get what i want 90% of the time😦 waaaaah

              • Mirasiel, try rephrasing your post into something intelligible that makes sense.

                LilithXIV, are you trying to tell me that peer pressure on the Internet works when you’re part of some kind of minority? It does not. I am politically in the minority everywhere I go, yet peer pressure has absolutely zero effect on me.

              • “Do you -really- have people pressuring you to have sex with men?”

                Heterosexuality is unfashionable, icky and boring these days. Gays are simply smarter and more fabulous than heterosexuals, and morally superior too.

              • I am sorry, I did not realise you were so easily confused.

                I am not terribly shocked though, trolls do tend to be, how shall I saythis, thick at 2 short planks…

                About as interesting too.

              • You don’t know what a troll is, yet you keep using the word as if you did. This is because you are stupid and uneducated.

      • True enough. I’ve been trying to curb the text walling I’ve been doing recently, so I left this part out:

        “Gotis is an unforeseen result of the philosophy that there are no girls on the internet. What occurs is that, rather tragically, “ngoti” has the side effect of making some females exposed to it want to show-off their ability to use the Internet, and thus become popular and cool and unique.

        Girl on the internet syndrome, like most problems facing women, is the direct fault of the nerdy men trying to have sex with them. Hitting on someone the second you find out she’s (allegedly) female leads to the development of this obnoxious disorder. ”

        The only other discussion of this phenomena I recall is when Insomnia did an article about it (and Leigh Alexander in particular). But being, well, Insomnia, I don’t expect anyone that isn’t elitist to the point of being an aristocrat- in the same way that some people are “democrats”- to appreciate it. (That and he literally went through the Oxford Unabridged to find every synonym for “prostitute” in the entire English language. )

  7. The only thing I am not that sure is I wouldn’t dismiss statement that this ad wasn’t mean to go public. Sure, there is question why such ad was made in the first place but still…
    Unless all they aim was controversy but I’m not sure about that either.
    I mean this is bad ad, and what’s more it’s also “bad” in a way it’s inefficient. Sure it can serve as a epitome of “sex sells” category from some marketing point of view. But what does it sell ? “Sex” and to some degree Serena and Rielah, definitely not a tennis simulation video game Top Spin 4. The connection is minimal and too vague even for “sex sells” standards and consideration that majority of male gamers are sexists idiots.

  8. Oh God, those Halo Girl photos. What the hell. I especially love how they just slapped up the same two posters four times each.

    And who the hell irons their camisoles? It’s like they thought, “Well… what do girls do? That’s right, cooking and laundry!” Somewhere there’s probably a series of rejected shots of her in a kitchenette with her halo-themed mugs.

    • pfft, never mind that look at the angle of her TV to her bed (from where she plays anyone, eh boys!) , I cant imagine the spinal pain that would cause after about 10 minutes play…not to mention the eye strain of trying to view a modern HD telly at that angle.

      • Hahaha tell me about it. My couch is at a similar angle to that girls’ bed in the photos, and I know too well how painful it is lying backwards, facing away from the TV. For some reason my brain continues to try and convince me it will be a comfy position. My neck disagrees.

  9. I swear.. this article was written by a homo.
    Jeez, if you hate it so much, STOP GAMING. Go find another hobby.

    We don’t need to “gay-up” everything. It’s bad enough your kind is stalking the streets freely.

    • Excuse me that is very disrespectful. Not only to the writer of this article but also anyone whose gay. How can you tell sumone is gay just by their writing style alone? You’re a homophobe and–using your words– Its bad enough your kind is stalking the streets freely. Much less having a voice in a hobby we enjoy. Please refrain yourself from this conversation from your utter stupidity.

  10. I agree with An Onymous; I think you’re seeing marginalisation where there is none.

    Sex appeal in mainstream advertising is all a matter of perspective, and I get the feeling you’re viewing an innately harmless concept as a personal attack on the integrity of your little grassroots movement you think of as “female gamers” (in its entirety). This whole article is rife with your own implications about what “the image” of female gamers is and should be. Would you prefer these ladies cover themselves head-to-toe in a Burqa and only discuss serious gaming all the time?

    It seems to me you’re examining this decidedly complex issue at face-value alone. Have you ever thought, for a moment, of viewing this form of advertising in an objective manner? It’s not as though you see men looking at Armani ads, or glancing at the cover of a Playgirl and saying, “how dare they portray us in such a manner! As men, we shouldn’t be the subjects of lust, we should be taken seriously”.

    The short answer is this: you’re assuming that everyone is going to see these the way you do, which is unfair, and speaks greatly of your opinion on the mentality of male gamers as a whole. Please don’t generalise.

    • “It’s not as though you see men looking at Armani ads, or glancing at the cover of a Playgirl and saying, “how dare they portray us in such a manner! As men, we shouldn’t be the subjects of lust, we should be taken seriously”.”

      The reason you don’t see this is because male beauty isn’t as required/expected by society as female beauty is. If men were under such demands, we’d have a problem with it too.

      The moment I start seeing Justin Wong in a speedo or the like on Destructoid on a fairly regular basis, I’ll agree that men are just as objectified as women in gaming media.

    • I think you are missing the point, as tends to be the case when discussing this topic. To clarify: idealization is not the same as sexualization or objectification, or, in this case fetishization.

      If I am reading this article correctly, the issue here is not about what “the image” of female gamers should be, or even that such an image needs to be pinned down, but rather the implications of fetishizing the very concept of a female gamer which leads directly to marginalization of actual female gamers. This i more troublesome than the hypersexualization and objectification of female videogame characters, because at least they have the benefit of expressly being fictional representations of women. These “girl gamers” used for advertisements actually capitalize ont he fact that no such clear distinction between them and actual female gamers exist.

      The result of this, is, of course pretty much to reinforce already entrenched, insidious misogyny inherent within gaming culture, while also marginalizing actual real women and girls who play games. This is because the “girl gamers” used in these ads are used only by virtue of two things: their attractiveness and their proximity to some type of (usually planted) gaming console. It just kicks female gamers when they’re already down, pretty much.

      Contrary to how it might seem to some people, generally men who are defensive about their willing support for a misogynistic system, this is not the equivalent of Armani ads with attractive men. This is for three reasons: First, the men are not sexualized, although they are attractive. The reason this distinction exists is partly because of the divergence between men and women in anatomy, and partly because of gender roles. Secondly, the men depicted in these ads are generally depicted as competent, confident, suave, etc. and they are not objectified. Thirdly, these ads are meant for men to identify with the guy in the ad, with the assumption that buying the product will confer upon them the same characteristics as the man in the ad. Contrariwise, ads featuring “girl gamers” are invariably for the consumption of men and consist in little more than titillation and objectification of women for the purposes of psychologically coupling a pre-existing interest with the psychological and biological impetus for sex. Essentially, these girl gamers ar ethe same as the women who stand in front of cars at car shows, or booth babes, except they spread the stereotype to cover all female gamers rather than containing it within distinct categories as the former two.

      Now, as for Playgirl, I don’t really know where to start. You do realize that Playgirl is a publication meant for the consumption of women for the same purposes that this “girl gamer” marketing is meant for guys, right? Citing really only proves the opposite of your point. On top of that, Playgirl is distinctly and concretely separated from reality, while the whole “girl gamers” thing exploits the precise lack of this distinction fro reality.

      Should something like this be looked at objectively, as in, without any regard for the welfare of oneself or an entire group of people’s public image and self-esteem? Perhaps, in a perfect world. But then, that is easy to say for someone who is comfortable with the status quo. I’m sure slaveowners were calling for such objectivity when people were arguing that slaves were humans and had rights and should be freed. The fact of the matter is, when a system perpetuates stereotypes so insidiously that we unconsciously contribute to the establishment of them without any thought to the actual effect they have on real people, the only way to fight it is by bringing this hidden activity to light. This invariably incites the skepticism, annoyance and general denial from the people who participate in that system, because it forces them to realize they have been an agent of oppression. They do whatever they can to silence, avoid, or discredit the facts that are brought to light, and accusing the whistleblower of unfair prejudice, etc. (In any case, I didn’t see her say anything bad about male gamers, and it appears to be an assumption you make about her assumptions).

      Anyway, sorry for the huge reply. I tend to ramble.

    • After the first spate of troll comments, I checked my stats and saw the link in the trackbacks, but thanks for the notification. We’ll see what comes of it.

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