Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Response to Virtual Rape in Games

A couple of weeks back I came across a post from Bonnie over at Heroine Sheik. Bonnie’s great—she writes intriguing feminist articles about video games and is all about promoting acceptance and tolerance for all things sexy, wacky and weird. Yet I just couldn’t get on board with this post.

An excerpt:

It’s an interesting debate, especially since we don’t often run across games that let us rape (exceptions that come to mind include Sociolotron and Custer’s Revenge) and since we were just talking about virtual rape (raping another player, as opposed to a character). Still, drawing a link between game rape and real-life rape is like drawing a link between game violence and real-life violence, and we all know how we feel about that. Thumbs down.
I do understand where she’s coming from—we brandish swords, guns and fists, strategize war tatics and take down the bad guys in virtual worlds, yet these actions don’t translate to real and everyday life. We’re not going to beat up our boss or take out the President in the name of social justice. And I’m never going to say that the guy down the street playing H-games will someday rape. But there’s something about virtual rape that I don’t think can be shoved aside for the sake of fantasy. Virtual rape games are a symptom of our society, where women are systematically devalued and rape isn’t about sex but about power and privilege.

BetaCandy writes about some of the issues that come from rape in fictional settings in her post Inherent problems in writing rape storylines:

With rape, however, we don't have a cultural consensus that "forced sex" is always wrong. A lot of people don't fully comprehend what constitutes rape or consent. A lot of people still think it can't be rape if the rapist is known to the victim. A lot of people still think women can owe men sex, and men are entitled to take the sex they've earned if it's not forthcoming. And they apply this thinking in their daily lives. To women they know. To victims when they serve on juries (or as judges). To themselves, when they internalize the blame for violations others visited upon them.

To just say that virtual rape in hentai games is sexual fantasy in pixilated form is to ignore a whole heap of troublesome and problematic issues. Rape in H-games is not real rape, but it is representative of our misogynistic culture that hurts real live women everyday.


geo said...

I agree with everything that you said. I'd note that rape myths are prevalent both in women and men - as well as youths of both genders.

"Games" may be played more by younger folks. It's particularly important that younger peopple learn differently than that which us "old folks" have unfortunately handed down to them.

Such "games" in no way are going to "take away the urges" or similar.


Shions_Glasses said...

yeah geo, What rape games do is teach hate against women, its an act to show complete power, control, and that women are not autonomous individuals. Your right its not "taking away urges" but reinforcing male dominance.

Anonymous said...

Hi There

I disagree. Virtual rape is just that virtual. Surley it is far better for people to act out their fantasies in pixilated form than carry out a real attack and ruin someones life. People who are inclined to go out rape whether that be stranger rape or someone who they know are going to that anyway, regardless of whether they have played a game. If just for arguments sake they H games were banned. Where woul you stop? Would you ban Forced Fantasy sex a big part of BDSM which is to all intents and purposes simulated rape? I have played a couple of H games namely Biko 2 + 3, but that doesnt lessen my respect for women, or make me hate them. Quite the opposite, I open doors and dont swear in front of women and most importantly I would never harm any woman and never have. Bad people are bad people regardless of what games they do or dont play.


100LittleDolls said...

Hey Mark,

Thanks for your comment. You're right, bad people are bad people regardless of what form of entertainment they partake in, and many people who play games with virtual rape will never rape and have healthy relationships with women.

I'm not going to ever take actions to ban H-games with rape and I'm not going to say what is necessarily acceptable for people to get off to. (Though I understand that my post sounds as such.) I do think that we take away things from everything that we consume, and that H-games have come from a long line of entertainment that systematically devalues women. Afterall, rape is a hate crime. It's forcing power over someone and is violent and hurtful. I just can't get behind forms of entertainment that celebrate that.