With some hesitance about continuing a sharp tangent from regular discourse that this website is known for (if discussing a card game was a stretch, surmising someone’s opinions during a conversation was a deep lunge, this is probably a 30 minute advanced yoga session) it occurred to me that we’ve held a position about how the continuation of rape culture is terrible, but have had limited success in actually informing anyone of exactly why this is.
Suggesting that something is awful and dismissing it as “just ‘cause” is something that bored parents do. I’m not a parent and I do this writin’ lark for fun, so I thought it’d probably be worthwhile to make a short list of reasons why support for Tentacle Bento and other-such products is kinda awful.
The questions I’m responding to are verbatim (occasionally slightly shortened) criticism or inquiry I’ve received over the last 48 hours:
I’m not prepared to definitively justify killing in games, only to essentially back up points I made in another article:
Murder in games is usually justified (and when it isn’t, that’s normally when other widespread media controversies tend to occur).
We’ve established in our culture that murder is bad. We haven’t done that for rape yet.
Murder victims aren’t continually reminded of their attack through media. I’ve been willing to concede that violence might negatively impact people with PTSD, but studies have apparently shown that violence in games has a soothing ability. That’s not a suggestion of justification for their existence, but just something to strengthen the example.
As a favour, though, can we not continue to make this about violence? This is about rape culture.
Brandon over at Insert Credit does a pretty fantastic job of arguing this point in longform through an interview. To shorten it slightly, and to quote Anna Anthropy because she expresses it pretty succinctly:
“john cadice’s sole argument that his game isn’t about rape is that he never once uses the word “rape” and if you don’t see the problem there then you’ve never tried to report a rape in this society.”
I’m not even answering this. I’ll let you come up with your own interpretation of why this is a terrible thing to suggest.
Just Dance does okay. I guess any game where you only shoot robots or monsters? There’s a reason why those slide by more staunch ratings boards.
There’s a difference between a flat out ban and accepting that something is in poor taste and you probably shouldn’t create it.
None. I will enjoy dogs dressed up in little costumes for my amusement as long as they continue to remain completely adorable.
The difference is I wouldn’t pretend to want to go to PAX.
Bro. Tell me about it.
Does it have to be a graphic representation in order to be a problem? Is the concept being implied not enough of an issue? The game suggests that raping as many women as possible before time runs out is a cool thing to do. That’s enough for me.
Impartial sources are useful. You shouldn’t just get information from places that you traditionally agree with.
Plus, for as little as we have in common, Gabe’s still an important figure in gaming culture. You’re reading this as a result of a dumb conversation he and I had. That’s influence.
You’d never heard of me before this happened. I do plenty of complaining about games that include murder.
Boycott? No. Avoid entirely? No. Look down on a little? Yeah. Just senseless killing is a dull way to spend your time.
I don’t have a lot of experience with Anime (Death Note’s pretty good. FMA’s cool. I’m watching Cowboy Bebop again at the moment) so I don’t feel qualified to make a comparative judgement.
You don’t need a lot of cultural context to suggest that a trivial depiction of rape is bad.
I’m not doing a good enough job, then. That’s what this website’s for. See also: When I said further up in this post that you’ve never heard of me before.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally it might have been because nowhere I shopped carries this stuff. If people feel strong enough about anything like this I think a boycott’s an excellent use of their time. Let managers and higher-ups know that your patronage of their business is damaged by the products they support.
As I type this I am getting an inordinate amount of text messages from my girlfriend who posits that I’m ignoring her.
So, it’s possible that I might soon be sleeping with less women than when I started.
They prop up the trivialisation of rape, so, yeah, technically.