When we first launched The Border House just over a week ago, I posted to the wow_ladies LiveJournal community about its existence. Being that the wow_ladies group is all female WoW gamers, some of whom identify as feminist – I figured this blog would be a great fit for them. One of the very first comments to the post was something along the lines of “Why does this even have to exist? We might be females, but we’re gamers first and foremost. Shouldn’t we be able to get our gaming news from any old regular gaming site?”
This post is why. In the past week, just reading through Kotaku and Joystiq alone – I have seen massive amounts of sexism. Let’s look at two posts from Kotaku, from just TODAY.
They reported that Melissa Joan Hart (of Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch fame) was seen at a Ubisoft event for the game Your Shape by Jenny McCarthy. Why did they feel the need to post this? To say:
Looks like Hart could use some Frag Doll fashion tips.
Let’s see here. So the sole purpose of posting this was just to comment on her fashion sense? I mean, I may be wrong – but as far as I’ve seen the Frag Dolls always wear black t-shirts and jeans. Is it because their bellies show that makes them dress better? And since when did Kotaku become a fashion site? Females can’t attend video game conferences without being ridiculed for what they wear?
Even worse, another post from today serves no purpose other than to compare the boobs and the butts of two characters from the recently released Bayonetta game. Seriously? This is gaming news? Of course, the comment thread is to be avoided but contains such gems as “Bayonetta is very close to converting me from a boob man to an ass man” and “It doesn’t matter who is bigger or smaller, I think the most important part here is that we’re all winners.”
And we wonder why female characters in video games are so objectified and overly sexual. It’s because gaming journalism like Kotaku continues to create press over it. Of course they’re going to report on this, because the men who read Kotaku are just as tuned to objectify female characters in games as the developers who create the games. Why should women gamers have to read this kind of crap just to find out about latest releases and news about their favorite games? This isn’t even the first time this week that they have written an entire article about female rear ends.
I didn’t even go into the horrible way they referenced our very own Sera Brennan in this article. “Seraphina Brennan is in fact the transgendered identity of the writer and is the byline she now uses for all of her work. Our commentary on this excerpt has been changed to reflect this.” Why they felt the need to point out that she is transgender as a sort of disclaimer for her opinion on female objectification in games was beyond me. Not to mention how they referred to her name as being a “transgendered identity” and a “byline” rather than just her name. Not to mention they had to change their commentary because of it. Sigh.
Homophobia, sexism, racism, classism, objectification, prejudice, and discrimination occurs everywhere. Even in video gaming news, which is why The Border House exists. We want to make sure someone out there isn’t just commenting in approval, but is drawing attention to the negative effects this causes.
Readers, what do you think?