Queer/Race

Attention Here! The Gamer!

Posted in Uncategorized by cni1 on April 1, 2010

One doesn’t have to be too immersed into the gamer world to view some opinions on sexuality.  It’s a frequent attack over Xbox LIVE—along with race and gender.  Boys like to use insults behind the anonymity of a headset and a TV screen to feel manly.  It is what it is.

Back in October of 2009, The Escapist, a popular online gaming magazine, ran its usual weekly themed issue—this time titled “Queer Eye for the Gamer Guy.”  The themed articles for the week focused on sexuality in gaming.  One article, “Too Gay for the U.S.A,” summarizes the depiction of homosexuality in gaming.  Such themes are less offensive in Japan than in America, and American publishers are either quick to edit or quick to refuse to sell the content on our side of the Pacific.  The Escapist has some rather interesting reads beyond the realm of videogame reviews that delve into the psyche of gamers, and issues amongst the genre.

Link to the issue: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/features/issue/222)

Additional Link:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_56/333-You-Got-Your-Race-In-My-Videogame

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/moviebob/6797-Twilight-of-the-She-Geeks

Race, sexuality, and gender are equally big topics in gaming.  In several reviews, game critic Yahtzee has been quick to point out how conveniently enemies in recent releases feature minorities as enemies against a white, manly, American figure. (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/27-Uncharted-Drakes-Fortune)  I linked to an article above that depicts what happens to the geek culture when gender objectification reverses itself in a series of popular, if of questionable quality, books.  Depictions of women have long and often been stereotyped and unfair in geek culture, but since this area is largely dominated by men and boys this goes overlooked.

It’s easy to write gaming off as something simply for men and boys, or geeks altogether.  With geek culture spilling over into mainstream media, however, perhaps it’s time for a closer analysis.  From The Escapist, I discovered a few other blogs that are pertinent to the issue—for anyone interested in doing a little extra poking around.

http://gaygamer.net/

http://www.heroine-sheik.com/

http://www.joystiq.com/tag/playingdirty

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2 Responses

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  1. graylielane said, on April 6, 2010 at 2:05 am

    I find this post to be very thought-provoking. While I am not a gamer myself I have noticed the overarching gender roles in most games. The woman is always there either to be saved or to be the sexual prize or sidekick at the end. The gay man/woman isn’t even touched. I’m interested in whether or not this perpetuates the idea of a homophobic society. I know that my brothers at least, modeled most of their adolescent behavior after the games they played (in fact at one point my mother took away all the wrestling games). Most of these games include “hard,” emotionless men who do whatever it takes to reach their goals. Thus, killing, deceit and in some cases theft are glamorized. It’s interesting that we’ve allowed things like this to shape our society but refuse to touch the homosexuality issue. This is not solely the fault of the companies creating these games as I’m sure federal regulations limit what they can produce. Although, it would seem unfair to allow murder and not a simple gay/lesbian relationship. But stranger things have happened…

  2. iTerp said, on April 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    This was a really refreshing post! I was completely taken aback to read some of these other links like “gaygamer” and “joystiq.” I know this may be a naive approach to gaming and perhaps heterosexuality in gaming in general, but what does it mean to be a “gay gamer?” Would this change just the type of player that is fighting or doing the action in the video, or does this too change the sexualized characters/victims? I guess that I’d like to see a shift from the overly glorified hetero male games that I know of (like Grand Theft Auto and WoW — I can’t believe I’m even admitting that) to a greater “acceptance” of diverse displays of sexuality, if that makes any sense. I know that companies must produce products that gear to a certain audience, but what do you think these companies are learning about the gay community in the process? Very cool post!


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