by GLX » Tue May 28, 2013 6:10 pm
Transcript of her latest video can be foundhere.
sample wrote:One of the really insidious things about systemic & institutional sexism is that most often regressive attitudes and harmful gender stereotypes are perpetuated and maintained unintentionally.
Likewise engaging with these games is not going to magically transform players into raging sexists. We typically don’t have a monkey-see monkey-do, direct cause and effect relationship with the media we consume. Cultural influence works in much more subtle and complicated ways, however media narratives do have a powerful cultivation effect helping to shape cultural attitudes and opinions.
So when developers exploit sensationalized images of brutalized, mutilated and victimized women over and over and over again it tends to reinforce the dominant gender paradigm which casts men as aggressive and commanding and frames women as subordinate and dependent.
Although these stories use female trauma as a catalyst to set the plot elements in motion, these are not stories about women. Nor are they concerned with the struggles of women navigating the mental, emotional and physical ramifications of violence.
Instead these are strictly male-centered stories in which, more often than not, the tragic damsels are just empty shells, whose deaths are depicted as far more meaningful than their lives. Generally they’re completely defined by their purity, innocence, kindness, beauty or sensuality. In short they’re just symbols meant to invoke the essence of an artificial feminine ideal.
Clip- Shadows of the Damned
In fact these games usually frame the loss of the woman as something that has been unjustly “taken” from the male hero.
Clip- The Darkness II
“So now I take from you”
“Jackie, this is not your fault”
The implication being that she had belonged to him – that she was his possession. Once wronged the hero must then go get his possessions back or at least exact a heavy price for their loss. On the surface victimized women are framed as the reason for the hero’s torment, but if we dig a little deeper into the subtext I’d argue that the true source of the pain stems from feelings of weakness and/or guilt over his failure to perform his “socially prescribed” patriarchal duty to protect his women and children.
Clip- Max Payne 3
“And I hated myself for allowing this to happen to her, and our little girl”
In this way these failed-hero stories are really about the perceived loss of masculinity, and then the quest to regain that masculinity, primarily by exerting dominance and control, through the performance of violence on others.
Consequently violent revenge based narratives, repeated ad nauseum, can also be harmful to men because they help further limit the possible responses men are allowed to have when faced with death or tragedy. This is unfortunate because interactive media has the potential to be a brilliant medium for people of all genders to explore difficult or painful subjects.