I got to talk about sexism in games and feminist gaming on Ö1 Nachtquartier (“night quarter”) on April 17, right after midnight! Thanks Xaver Forthuber for inviting me!
We discussed how I got hooked to gaming, how and why I picked “glamgeekgirl” as my nickname, what kinds of sexism women encounter in games, what to do about sexist attacks and many other aspects. We did so in a (I think) very approachable fashion – Ö1 is not exactly a youth station 😉 but I value it as a venue for intelligent discourse of various topics.
It was a call-in show (my first!) and there was a 75-year-old lady who wanted to know why most of the games that she sees in advertisements are war games with male heroes. 🙂
There were also some emails with questions. I will post and answer these here a bit later.
The show is in German, you can listen to it here. Attention: The file is almost 50 MB big, I already compressed it down to a half! 😉
[Spoiler Alert for Mass Effect 2; only hinting at spoilers for Tomb Raider]
Is it too late to chime in on the “Tomb Raider rape controversy”? I’ll readily admit that I haven’t played a single minute of any game in the series, but as a feminist gamer interested in gender roles, of course I’ve followed Lara’s story from a distance. I’ve watched a good amount of gameplay videos of the reboot (until the cremation of ********, not to spoil anything vital) and read a fair share of articles and blog posts and interviews and whatnot about it. But anyway … it is never too late to talk about rape and rape culture. I agree with many commenters that the “suggested rape attempt scene” has been a publicity stunt. I think that, apart from that scene, Lara has to endure pain and violent acts that IMO are over the top. Also: The constant moaning and groaning, COME ON! You’d NEVER subject a male character to all this! As explained by the game’s executive producer Ron Rosenberg, this all happens for a very specific reason:
“When people play Lara, they don’t really project themselves into the character. They’re more like ‘I want to protect her.’ There’s this sort of dynamic of ‘I’m going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.'”
(That would also never happen to a male character.) I also agree with Mary Hamilton in her Guardian article that
the use of rape “is a lazy shorthand that allows a writer to paint a bad guy as particularly bad, and a woman as particularly vulnerable (the genders are rarely reversed), without dealing with the consequences or meaning of such an act for any of the parties involved.”
There are just so many aspects of this affair that make me so angry I don’t even care whether it’s actually a good game. Let’s assume games are an art form and we want to discuss all sorts of topics from our daily lives in this medium. So let’s face it: rape, sexual assault and molestation are part of the daily lives of countless women and girls on this planet. And I do think that we have got to try to deal with this topic in video games. If it’s supposed to be a mature medium for grown-ups, we gotta figure out how.