Monday, March 14, 2016


How does critically looking at video games highlight flaws in our society?
I can remember when I was a little girl I was never placed in front of a television for more than a half hour or better yet, I never played video games. Running around outside with my sisters and neighborhood friends is what our early evening consisted of. It is evident that times have definitely changed. The everyday norm is placing children in front of a television or Ipad to play video games-and not just your average video game. Today, video games express violence, racism/ hatred towards women-all over dirty and nasty images that children as such young ages should not be viewing at all.  
It is also important to use your critical eye when viewing video games. Specific video games display ideologies, like mentioned above that leave the viewers to believe everything they see or hear in the media is true. Lets take violence for example. The media possesses violence in most video games- lets not forget that young kids are playing these video games. For example, if you look at grand theft auto, it's ALL shooting and all you see are weapons. The purpose of the game is to shoot/kill the most people and protect yourself from getting shot. If we have little children or even teenagers who play this game with no parental control, they are going to think that shooting people is an "okay" action. However, there are some parents that stress that a virtual world is not real and shooting people is not something you do to people. But they are young-children are innocent. Does playing this video game decrease their innocence? With that being said, I have some of my students who come to school saying, "I am going to shoot you." I ask them where they hear it from and most of them respond, "The game on Mommy or Daddy's phone." Craziness to me. How is this expectable? Those words should never be in anyone's vocabulary, let alone a young child. They are consuming themselves with this language that the media is representing as "normal" and acceptable.
Racism and hatred towards women-or women being used as sexualized objects are often seen in many video games. However, this notion is not even visible to most MEN playing the game because they are consumed in the action which is taking place; not who the action may be happening to. For example, Anita Sarkessian made a few outstanding videos in regards to the way women are treated in video games. Anita's Women As a Background video focused on numerous types of video games in regards to women being sexualized objects instead of subjects. Look closely to the women next time you come in contact with a video game. They are just there. There is no story behind them. They do not have a story. They hardly have clothes on. They are there to be used for sex. How often is a woman the main character in a video game? Never. The men always have to be in control. The media is representing this incorrect vision of women-young children will grow up to believe that women should be treated like this. Women have always struggled with their place in society-always feeling inferior to men, men always have to be in control, men only want them for their sexy body parts, hey are only on this earth to have children and so forth-concluding that all video games support this awful, untrue, flaw of representing of women in our society.
Women in regards to racism are seen in a couple of games. For example Anita explains to her audience that the women who are being represented, as strippers are usually a Chinese or Foreign girl-because men love European girls. Concluding that women are being valued for their bodies and their body parts; again, a flaw that needs to be recognized. After Anita's videos became viral she received awful death threats, rape threats, and violence letters-all because she was trying to stress the way certain women are being treated in video games is unacceptable.
 One needs to critically think about the video games they are actually playing. Not the wining or losing part of it, but the overall flaws it is bringing to our society. Like stated above, the concepts such, as violence, race and hatred towards women are three examples of flaws that tie in to society today. Sadly, violence is happening all around us everyday. The media, such as video games mirrors this ideology that violence is an action that is acceptable. When one considers race and hatred towards women, these are also flaws that are reflected in our society. Not only are more women getting raped each year but they way they are treated, in the real world and virtual world is again, a reaction from the media.  
Bethany Gencarella

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bethany,

    Your post provides a lot of examples and points related to how women are portrayed in video games and the excessive violence in many games. Sigh. It makes me depressed. Especially this sentence: "Look closely to the women next time you come in contact with a video game. They are just there. There is no story behind them. They do not have a story. They hardly have clothes on. They are there to be used for sex. How often is a woman the main character in a video game? Never." It is true that the dominant portrayals of women in video games is as objects or decoration or scantily dressed damsels to be saved or killed. However, there are games out there that do portray women as protagonists, with stories to tell (Gone Home is one of them). Anita Sarkeesian explicitly criticizes dominant narratives which objectify women. This is one strategy to counter dominant narratives. I wonder, in addition, how counter narrative stories and videogames like gone home resist the dominant narratives? Is there hope for social change in resisting?