I’ve often been uncomfortable watching my male friends, or family members, or boyfriend play video games for this reason. Such as with Grand Theft Auto, I’ve seen them play brutally against both male and female characters, but even more so against the female ones - calling them slut, bitch, whore, as they do it.
While I have full confidence the people in my life would never actually view women in real life this way, or fantasize to treat them brutally - I often wonder how these images, these options to assault, could influence someone a little more susceptible. There’s a reason rape is the most common threat against an opponent in an online game, or even joked about in conversation.
"I’m gonna rape your mom"
"I’m gonna rape your entire family"
Those are both things I’ve personally been told while playing online with strangers. Once they find out I’m actually a female, though, they stopped threatening to rape people around me, and just threatened to rape me.
"I’m gonna rape you so good, slut"
"I’m gonna find out where you live, I’m going to come to your house with an assault rifle and rape you with it."
"Fucking cunt thinks she can play with the guys, I’m going to show you how I play with the girls when I find you"
"I’m gonna cut your fucking tits off"
While these were things I just ignored and shrugged off as gamer culture, along with teabagging - it always made me wonder whether or not those guys could have meant it. Or if there were others without a headset, only listening to what was being said, that could one day mean it. It’s a creepy thought.
I’ve brought this up in conversation before and just been told not to take it seriously, that it was just part of the game, and that I’m reading too much into it.
Which is frustrating, because we live in a world where between 1 in 3 or 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes and an online culture that celebrates that kind of behavior could very well not take it seriously in real life.
I am BY NO MEANS saying that gamer culture is responsible for sexual violence, or that video gamers are rapists, or that playing video games is evil and will turn you into a rapist. NO.
I’m just saying… be aware of the images you are filling your mind with.
Be aware that the people who make these video games have a purpose for why the women are sexualized and brutalized.
Just watch this video. Be open. And be aware.
If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, watch from 2:32 to 9:22