Family Friendly + Sexy = Sensationalism

Advertising material for Wii Fit. All models are on Wii Balance Boards. Far left to right: a white woman performing yoga, a black teenaged girl surfing, an older white male practicing lunges, and a late teens/early 20s male boxing.

Advertising material for Wii Fit. All models are on Wii Balance Boards. Far left to right: a white woman performing yoga, a black teenaged girl surfing, an older white male practicing lunges, and a late teens/early 20s male boxing.

It seems to have started off with the Daily Star (a site whose writing is one that should be taken with a grain of salt) reporting that Wii Fit had turned a woman ‘from Nintendo to nympho.’ What has resulted are numerous sites reporting this story, continuing in the sensationalism, and blowing up a story which pairs a company known for its family friendly focus and cultural cachet with a hodge-podge of sex, gender, ableism, and all the baggage that normally comes with such in tabloid-esque reporting.

Amanda Flowers fell off her Wii Balance Board, damaging a nerve, and resulting in a prognosis from her doctor that she had acquired persistent sexual arousal syndrome. The difficulty here is that apparently PSAS and hypersexuality (more often called nymphomania and sometimes satyriasis) are not related–which makes the choice of headline (‘Nintendo Wii Made Me Nympho!’) already strange. This all then seems even more odd in the face of the final paragraph on the Daily Star article:

Single Amanda, 24, from Harpurhey, Manchester, said: “With no cure I just have to try to control my passion by breathing deeply. Hopefully one day I’ll find a superstud who can satisfy me.”

The credibility of the story, already on thin ice, seems suspicious. Were Flowers to have PSAS, her concern would likely have less to do with finding a superstud, and focusing more on every day travel that might trigger her syndrome, or any of a number of hassles and obstacles she would face in every day life. She’s single, however, so the foremost concern is that she be paired with an appropriate mate.

At the same time, it is easy to see how this story has quickly spread and been reported by many in the exact same theme and sexual up-play. Our media seems to have a fascination with women who ‘break from the mold’ (most often to judge them). A woman who is constantly sexually aroused? She has to find a man to match her?

Gender essentialism dictates that women just are not as horny as men. In order for her to be so, apparently an accident must occur. Given our media’s focus on still seeing women as baby factories, this is hardly surprising. What is on display is a sideshow, a freak circus that posits that something is abnormal, and us default, normal folk would be shocked and entertained by the story.

However, the story continues. Most people have been reporting the story verbatim, continuing this trend. The one site I have read who is suspicious (Kotaku), seems to indicate it is better than were she to have fallen off and received a physical injury. Because orgasms only equal good, wanted or not. I warn you off the comments (hopefully a given), which posit that now she knows what it’s like to be a man (because all men are always sex-crazed, drooling idiots who can only think about their next orgasm–duh!). This story plays up the thought of undercutting the status quo by playing into all sorts of sexist assumptions.

If Amanda Flowers truly has this syndrome, I wish for her to find the best way to navigate her life, not for a ‘superstud.’

About Denis Farr

Denis Farr is a white, androgynously gendered, TAB, German-born and U.S.-schooled, male-sexed queer person (with a penchant for other male-sexed queer persons) who started writing about games at Vorpal Bunny Ranch (in other words, he's loquacious). He has continued with this endeavor, expanding his writing to both GayGamer.net and here at The Border House. A strong proponent of expanding diversity in games, his focus is often on how characters are depicted in games, and exploring the language we use to explicate games themselves.
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15 Responses to Family Friendly + Sexy = Sensationalism

  1. Sara Pickell says:

    I don’t really get the way that more sex or more sexual arousal is treated as always being good. Regardless of the real consequences, it’s always treated as a positive.

    • Maverynthia says:

      Well regarding women, that woman is now seen a “a slut”, “easy” and the other numerous terms that are used to shame women for being promiscuous because she has that condition. That’s the way it is for women. One of my co-workers was just talking about Heroes and how the character HAD to be female because if it was male all they’d do was look up porn (It was an internet superhero ability). >_<

      That makes me sad.

    • Doug S. says:

      My guess is that the “reasoning” seems to go something like this:

      Orgasms are pleasurable. The more pleasure, the better. Therefore, the more orgasms, the better.

      /me shrugs

  2. Jayle Enn says:

    If she does have persistent arousal syndrome, she has my sympathy. My roommate had something like it when she was younger, as a side-effect of medication she was on, and even just a morning bus ride was enough to leave her feeling absolutely wrecked.

  3. nanasuyl says:

    English tabloids should not be taken seriously. And I seriously dislike the stereotype of men are hornier than women. Can they even prove this? And doesn’t it depend on the individual, rather than gender?

    Anyway, I send my compassion to the lady, in case she has the syndrome.

    • Doug S. says:

      Well, there was the famous psychology study “Gender Differences in Receptivity to Sexual Offers”, in which it was shown that men are willing to have agree to have sex with good-looking strangers of the opposite gender, but women aren’t.

      • nanasuyl says:

        Yeah, but I guess this has more to do with men being told to sleep around and be stallions. I would say it’s a cultural thing rather than something we’re born with.

        • Doug S. says:

          Oh, definitely. But, anyway, current research in psychology does show that, at least within our own culture, men do seem to be, on average, “hornier” than women.

          From the abstract of this review paper (warning: PDF):

          The sex drive refers to the strength of sexual motivation. Across many different studies and measures, men have been shown to have more frequent and more intense sexual desires than women, as reflected in spontaneous thoughts about sex, frequency and variety of sexual fantasies, desired frequency of intercourse, desired number of partners, masturbation, liking for various sexual practices, willingness to forego sex, initiating versus refusing sex, making sacrifices for sex, and other measures. No contrary findings (indicating stronger sexual motivation among women) were found. Hence we conclude that the male sex drive is stronger than the female sex drive. The gender difference in sex drive should not be generalized to other constructs such as sexual or orgasmic capacity, enjoyment of sex, or extrinsically motivated sex.

  4. Lake Desire says:

    My campus newspaper reported on this like it was a real story… sounds like tabloid fabrication to me because I can’t imagine someone actually saying she wants to find a stud to ease her symptoms.

  5. Thefremen says:

    Nobody should pay any attention to anything The Daily Mail or The Daily Star has to say. Ever.

    • nanasuyl says:

      This. And the Daily Mail can be even worse. I once saw this campaign they were doing against people who wore hoods because they coudn’t be identified in security cameras. As if everybody who wears hoods is a criminal. Bollocks!

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