Friday, November 03, 2006

Popularity Contest

Bonnie Ruberg's written a piece for Joystiq about Rockstar's Bully controversy. An excerpt:

By now, we all know about Jimmy Hopkins' boy-on-boy kissing adventures. A few
voices have leapt out in predictably outraged protest but, for the most part,
the gaming world has been strangely accepting of Jimmy's bi-curiosity –
surprising in a community where a normal evening on Halo 2 (you know it's
happened to you) usually includes watching a preteen with a Xbox Live headset
shoot ammo into your lifeless corpse while shouting, "You're dead, homo!"

I've also been surprised at the general reaction of the video game community. But really, here you have Rockstar--the coolest kid on the block because they make xtreme games about car-jacking, prostitutes and gangs--and then you have Jack Thompson--the most hated man in all of videogamedom--crying "gay sex!" Who's side are you going to choose? The cool kid, totally.

Not that I think that this is going to stop any of the homophobic talk on XBox Live or in living rooms across the nation. And not that I think Rockstar had hopes of curing the rampant homophobia among gamers.

Also, you might want to hop on over to Bonnie's blog--that's where discussion of the piece is taking place. A warning: you might have to dodge and parry some heterosexual privilege in the comments.


tekanji said...

It doesn't surprise me at all, frankly. I've had conversations with a lot of people who use "gay," "homo," "fag," etc. as insults to players in games. These are people who, even after I told them it makes me uncomfortable, refused to stop when in my presence. Even when they knew I IDed as queer.

But you know what they told me? "I'm not homophobic." They pulled out the "gay friends" argument. The "those words are used in a different context" argument. They waxed on and off about how they support gay marriage and blah blah blah.

Sad thing? I was one of them, once. I argued that there wasn't a connection between words like "gay" and "bitch" with their origins. I ignored the way that those words would make me feel, and responded with just as much vitriol.

Until one day I realized that there is a connection and it does matter.. I am a woman and I am queer. When words that are used to reinforce my second class status in society are part of the verbal landscape of games it does hurt. When people find out that I am a queer woman they do treat me differently. And, most of all, my ability to be just another person in the game, to have the same ability as the any other player to just have fun (which is what games are for), is diminished because of it.

Getting the people who use those terms to see that, however, is not a battle I have been able to successfully win. The only thing I have been able to do is leave after it gets to a certain point. Which sucks for everyone.

100LittleDolls said...

A-and-men. Thanks so much for sharing that, tekanji.

Only with friends and some co-workers have I been able to have conversations about how words work and when they have homophobic and racist connotations. When I get outside of my comfort zone, forget it, it's way too dangerous.

Yeah, any person who uses the word "gay" freely and knows that they're not comfortable with anything queer still wouldn't own up and call themselves homophobic.

Anonymous said...

After all the "superman versus impossible odds" and "godlike commander husbanding total domination" fantasies, I have to say the "being brave enough to kiss other boys in highschool" might be humbler but it hits a lot closer to home. After all, I haven't wasted a good portion of my life trying not to repel an alien invasion, no offense Gordon.

BrainFromArous said...

"A warning: you might have to dodge and parry some heterosexual privilege in the comments."

Might? MIGHT? I am insulted. ;)

100LittleDolls said...

Take heart, I initially wrote that in response to "an irritated heterosexual." :)

BrainFromArous said...

Oh right - him. Yeah, confident hetero vibes just come off that post of his in waves, you know?