I keep trying to write a comment in response to Kill Screen's article that responds to my article (http://killscreendaily.com/headlines/what-rape-culture-and-do-videogames-have-one/#comment-545433748) but it keeps disappearing. So here it is:

"What is "rape culture"…"


 "…and do videogames have one?"


"Ed. note: This piece sparked a lot of debate in the comments in elsewhere. We'll be looking at the trailer and the surrounding issues at greater length early next week. -Jamin"

Cool. I posted an article that might help you with that, if you wanted to read it.

"Earlier this week Patricia Hernandez wrote a confessional explaining why she's stopped using the word "rape" to taunt people she beats when playing videogames, in part because she herself had been raped. Hernandez repeatedly addresses the subject of "rape culture" as something exemplified by the common use of the word as a game taunt. "I raped you," you might say to someone you've just shot in Gears of War or, going further, you might repeatedly lie down on top of the prone body of your foe, loosely simulating rape in the game world."

Patricia also wrote about how rape and acts that allude to rape are implicitly gendered to keep women subservient to men. This is why when she used the language, it worked against her. That is a pretty central point worth noting, I think.

"Writing on his website Critical Damage, Kill Screen contributor Brendan Keogh ties Hernandez's story to the on-going derision for the recently released Hitman: Absolution trailer, which featured Agent 47 killing a group of women assassin's in skin-tight neoprene nun outfits."

It's true. I did.

"There are a number of problems with arguments like these, foremost of which is the presumption that the central intension of the Hitman trailer was titillation and arousal. "

Yes, that is its intention.

"It is possible to depict an act in art without endorsing it, and while the women in the trailer are certainly meant to evoke sexuality, they are not necessarily meant to be arousing to the viewer. In contrast to otherwise similar depictions of unnaturally skinny and sexualized characters like Resident Evil's Jill or Bayonetta, the point of the nun's sexual depiction seems to me to be primarily a matter of contrast with the stark asexuality of 47. "

Oh good, we actually agree. The nun's ARE depicted as sexual. But, uh, not for titillation and arousal? And yes, you are right that there hypersexualisation is contrasted against the fact 47bro doesn't have to get all sexy to go to a gunfight. Funny that.

"This scene is only teaching women their place if we assume that the purpose of art is to teach. Art should not be a teacher but instead it should provoke."

'Provoke' shouldn't mean 'act as linkbait'. Art does teach. It reflects society and culture as much as it is a reflection of society and culture. You seem to have a very insular and petty opinion of art. Really, this is the "Why you so mad? It's just a game!" angle.

"It has been and will be a place for subverting moral ideals, transgressing taboos, and exploiting the superficial mandates of good taste, from John Waters to Dennis Cooper to Shakespeare at his cannibalistic best."

If the ongoing and persistent oppression of women by sexual violence and the threat of sexual violence is a taboo we should transgress without noting what is so wrong with that, I don't want to be a part of whatever culture you're from.

 "It's unfortunate much of this debate has to take place over a game no one has yet played, but IO has a well-deserved pedigree as a developer of taboo-transgressing ruthlessness. Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is a masterwork that satirizes its central mechanic. If games need to be about shooting people, than their heroes must, by definition, be idiotic cretins who can never escape one another. In making a game about an assassin who has been stripped of his social humanity, what better way to show it than by throwing at him all the cliched icons of the western sexual marketplace (here's what it looks like when men are the sex objects, for reference--probably NSFW) and he barely even registers it."

This reminds me, IO also has a history of terrible and problematic advertising that conflates violence against women and sexual acts: http://gaygamer.net/2007/11/kane_and_lynch_dead_meat.html

"What's finally undigestible about the connection between Hernandez's story and the belief that there is such a thing as "rape culture" in videogames, is how narrowly it views art. We do not say there is a "murder culture" in Gears of War because it's central mechanic is murder. We acknowledge the simulated killing of people in the game is a metaphor, an interactive euphemism. It's a metaphor in bad taste, and a thoroughly stupid mechanic, but we do not question its literal status. "

1 in 6 women have been raped at least once. One in Six. Find the women you know who have been raped (you know more than you think you do) and the women that have to constantly fear the threat of sexual violence (that will be all of them) and tell them rape culture is just a metaphor. 

"It's a shell. Using the word rape as a euphemistic taunt is in bad taste. But I do not see anymore of a connection to "rape culture" when a tasteless 13 year-old uses it as a joke than I do when I hear a 30 year-old man describe the "girl" who works in his office." 

Oh, the "well it is bad outside of gaming culture, too, so why should we have to change?!" argument. Pathetic.

"Both reflect the leviathan of dismissive antagonism to women as co-equals in our culture."

And now the "exposing rape culture actually oppresses women" white knight defence? Really? Shame on you Kill Screen!

"But we risk going crazy if we take either at face value. That is the beauty of euphemism, it is self-consciously untrue and so buys for itself tasteless liberties not available elsewhere. That is the point of art, to free ourselves from the need to always be moral instructors, role models, and power brokers. Let yourself be scandalized in art."

If the point of art is to engage in problematic depictions of sexualised violence against women freely without caring for how terribly messed up that is and what that says about the culture you and I have let to come into existence, then I'm with Ebert.
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