Normalizing Violence Against Women in Video Games

I had no idea the extent of the violent misogyny present in video games until after watching Anita Sarkeesian’s videos. She is a hero for bringing this issue to the forefront. But she continually receives threats from gamers who disapprove of her shedding light on the issue and just recently, was forced to leave her home from online rape and death threats.

After watching Women as Background Decoration Part 1 and 2, videos which point out the violence against women present in video games, I immediately decided this is a problem more people need to be aware of and therefore wanted to write a blog about it. But then I hesitated. I didn’t want to post the video, for fear it would be too graphic for the people that read this blog. But I so strongly believe in illuminating problems so we can eliminate them that I think this is important to share, albeit graphic. Can you believe these kinds of images are so prevalent in video games today? A new study found that 97% of children play video games, and most are able to get their hands on video games such as these that are rated “M” for “mature”.

This footage from popular video games is not suitable for children, or, frankly, for anyone if you really think about it, because it contains graphic depictions about violence against women. Be advised.

Many, many popular video games not only have women characters present in the games who are mere bodies and sexualized objects, but are also characters that are actively violated, raped, dismembered and murdered in the game for no reason and are merely background characters. This is serious shit. People are playing these games everyday. Numerous studies over the years have continually pointed out that routinely seeing women portrayed as sex objects makes people less likely to regard women as important or intelligent, and less likely to protect them from harm. Women themselves internalize the feeling of being an object which leads to depression and other disorders. Imagine what routinely seeing domestic violence, rape and murder of females in video games can do to the psyche and in turn, the impact it has on people in society. For one thing, it can lead to mixing up sexual arousal with violence. This is really scary.

How can video game companies get away with fetishizing murdered female bodies and normalizing sexual objectification and violence against women? This is insane. Especially, as Sarkeesian points out, we’re talking about people consuming violent media messaging about women interactively.

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One thought on “Normalizing Violence Against Women in Video Games

  1. It is just mind boggling to think how people have become so numb to images and disconnected from what they are seeing. People are consuming so much of these images mindlessly. It’s going to take a lot of work to teach people to be change their behaviors toward mindful consumption.

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