May 19, 2010

Red Dead Redemption: Increase Your Gamescore For Violence Against Women

I play video games, but I’m picky.  As a huge fan of Deadwood, I was excited when I learned about the release of Red Dead RedemptionGrand Theft Auto in the Wild West, stealing horses instead of cars.  Like a video game version of one of my favorite television shows.  And then yesterday, I learned of a hidden achievement in the game, and
all my excitement and anticipation was flushed down the toilet.

In trying to pay homage to the classic westerns of yesteryear, where women were tied up on train tracks by a cartoon-y villain with a handlebar mustache, the game offers an achievement for tying up a woman and throwing her onto a set of train tracks.  Except there’s no hero to save the day and untie her before the train comes, the points
are only awarded if you stand and watch as you let her be run over.  It’s unfortunate that they made the achievement gender specific.  Why couldn’t it have been a man or just a person?  Rock Star Games does not exactly have a stellar record when it comes to females in their video games – most in the Grand Theft Auto series are prostitutes, drug addicts, victims, and strippers.  While they were a little better in Red Dead Redemption – it’s a woman who saves the main character in the intro and women are shown talking about religion and politics in the opening credits sequence, they negated the little good they did by offering five measly gamer points for violently assaulting and killing a woman.

Youtube is already filling up with videos of gamers recording themselves getting the “Dastardly” achievement.

April 11, 2010

Gamer Girls Gone Wild

Filed under: Gaming,Media — Tags: , , , , , , — Rachel @ 9:12 pm

If you’ve ever played an immensely popular online video game on Xbox Live, you know how annoying it can be.  It’s usually seconds before you end up pausing, going to the settings menu, and selecting an option to turn off the sound of the other players – screaming 13-year olds, racism, homophobia, and more swearing in a 15 minute Call of Duty match than at your average frat party.  Seriously, playing online can (and usually does) suck.  People cheat, players drop out, and internet connections go down.  Bummer!

Okay – so those are the problems faced by your average gamer playing online (read: male).  Being a girl introduces a new set of issues: sexual harassment and misogyny run amok.  Women won’t participate in the smack talk so their gender isn’t revealed, saving them the verbal abuse; they’ll avoid using feminine slanted usernames for the same reason.  A fellow female gamer I know, who has a feminine descriptor in her username, is frequently bombarded with pictures of male genitalia and sexually explicit messages.

A few weeks ago, a website was set up to appeal men who do want women involved in their games – The site offers men the ability to play online with girls specifically.  Currently the site is down, “…due to the incredible user response.”  Interested parties can pay $6.60 for ten minutes of game play with the girl of their choice.  The trailer boasts “Thousands of Profiles” to choose from.

GameCrush’s press release positions the site as empowering for women, advertising that “PlayDates can make up to $30 or more per hour while having fun playing online games.  After a game session is completed, Players rate their gaming experience, and top-rated PlayDates are rewarded with enhanced site promotion and additional benefits.”

Now – I’m not one to throw around the word “prostitution” lightly, but the site feels it could be headed that way.  Alas, the site is down so it’s impossible to tell what the average profile pictures looks like, or what an average “chat” consists of.  But telling women that they can make money and reap the benefits by impressing the men who pay to play sounds like a fast way to promote a “Tits or GTFO” mentality in the interactions.

The site was built on a negative assumption – video game playing men are nerds who can’t get girls.  If a guy has girl-friends or a girlfriend who plays video games with him, what would the appeal of this website be?  There wouldn’t be any!

Sample screenshots of the website show conventionally attractive women, and the homepage preview displays a “Featured Player” pulling down her top.  This:

is’s profile picture on Twitter.  They’re already using sex to sell, as evidenced by their promotional campaign.  GameCrush readily admits it “…does not monitor, moderate or otherwise control the interaction between its users.”  Sounds like a recipe for a creepy party.

For a supposedly overwhelmingly popular site, their Facebook fans are less than 500, and they haven’t even achieved 1000 followers on Twitter.  I’m certainly curious to see what the site actually has to offer once they go live.

March 29, 2010

Must see: WAM! Los Angeles playlist for Anita Sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian rocked WAM! LA Thursday night. We can’t wait for her to return to LA. Check out her incredible playlist. Originally posted at Feminist Frequency, March 26, 2010. Cross-posted with permission.

I had such a fantastic time presenting at Women, Action and Media (WAM) in LA on March 25th, 2010.  I curated a show of online videos including remixes, vlogs, vids and short documentaries made by women.  Staying true with WAM’s mission, these videos represent women taking action through media to talk about issues important to their lives and talking back to the media that so often misrepresents, stereotypes and victimizes us.

Celebration of Short Online Videos Made by Women from Feminist Frequency on Vimeo.

Below is the playlist of the videos I showed:

Bechdel Test –
Feminist Free Association – Girl Drive
Revisioning Pretty Woman –
Queering Real Housewives –
Harry Potter and the Brokeback Mountain –
It Started with a Kiss –
Dance Floor Star Trek –
Too Many Dicks: Video Games –
I’m your man –
It Depends on What You Pay: Dollhouse –
Women’s Work: Supernatural Vid
Planet of the Arabs –
Black as Me –
If Men Menstrated –
The Revolution will be Televised –

March 24, 2010

Feminist Frequency releases "Too Many Dicks"

Filed under: Media,Media Gallery — Tags: , , , , — Melanie @ 10:13 am


Feminist Frequency’s latest post critiques the hyper-masculine and hyper-violent world of video games with remix.


November 12, 2008


Filed under: Gender,Media,Sexuality,Violence — Tags: , , , — Melanie @ 10:49 am

The women at Feministing posted (click here to access video) the following about the virtual geisha you can buy and, apparently, beat up:

This is just so unbelievably disturbing. A new Japanese augmented reality (AR) software program features a “virtual girlfriend” that literally allows you to hit her with a paddle her until she cries.

All she seems to do is sweep the floor until you undress and paddle her until she cries herself into a fetal position, in which then you give her a teddy bear so she’ll become happy again.

September 24, 2008

Rock, Palin and the Rumors (Reality) of a New World Order

Ministry and Megadeath sang of a New World Order.

“…Joining hands with the wicked one/Revelation has come to pass/ New world order, will hold the mass/A book written by man/Used to control and command/All rights will be denied/Without the mark you shall die/No confession, all is know/New world order, you shall be shown/New world order comes in stages/Currency is obsolete/Feel the agony of defeat/Symbol of society today/A must have or you shall pay/As human flesh leads the mind/Just as a pawn the last martyr dies…”

I couldn’t help think of my angst filled youth draped in black and discussing various conspiracy theories with my teen cohort when I read the recent article by Naomi Wolfe on the Huffington Post warning of the impending police state with Sarah Palin riding at the helm. Click here to read the complete article.