Geek Girls Rule! #124 – Bitches ain’t Shit… ORLY?

http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/28300

The above is a commercial for God of War 3, titled “Insignificant Other.”  I apologize for linking you to a site where you’ll have to watch an ad to see the ad (WTF?) but I think reading the comments below demonstrates why women don’t feel welcome in the videogames community.

But first let’s talk about the commercial: 
Dumpy, Pasty Dude?  Check
Conventionally Hot Girl?  Check
Girl Clueless About Videogame?  Check
Girl Whining?  Check
Girl Pouting?  Check

Seriously?  This is what you project as an image of what women are and do, and you wonder why we think you’re a bunch of misogynous dickbags?  Is it really that hard to figure out?  You don’t really need a degree in Women’s Studies to see what the problems with this are.  At least I hope not.  I mean, I don’t have a degree in Women’s Studies.  I have a History degree.  But I understand that when you project an image of a really hot girl, dating a pasty, dumpy gamer dude, and depict it as UNREASONABLE of her and WHINING that she wants to, oh, I don’t know, spend time with said boyfriend and maybe, have the SEXX0RZ, oh wait… You guys don’t think girls like sex either.

*insert random grumbling*

Here’s the deal, slappy.  There are LOTS of women who like the God of War franchise, granted after advertising like this you may have to pull a few fingernails to get them to admit it.  Lots of women play videogames, and not just the girly video games.  Jen, who writes here, is a fiend for the NHL games for Xbox, as well as the killy, stabby games, and WoW.  I love fighty games, even though I can’t cope with FPS’s, because with my glasses they make me motion sick and with my contacts I focus so hard I forget to blink and my eyes dry out.  But back to God of War…

The responses to the commercial are primarily along the lines of  “Totally hilarious!”, with a scattering of people saying it’s misogynous and in response: “You chicks just need to mellow out and quit calling everything misogyny.” 

Really?

Ok, so reverse genders in that commercial.  Pasty, chubby Gamer Girl, playing videogames while a male model stands in the background and:
A. Acts as if he doesn’t ‘get’ the game or understand it.
B.  Whines about his girlfriend ignoring him.
C.  Pouts.

No, really, think about that.  Your knickers would be all kinds of wadded.  Or maybe not, because, “Dude, everyone knows fat chicks can’t get hot guys, that’s total fantasy.”

I have a headache.  Way to start the day.  Why do I do this to myself?

And please, before you feel the need to tell me why it’s not really misogyny that the stupid hot girl (because hot girls are always stupid, duh) doesn’t get video games, and is sooo high maintenance because she expects her schlubby boyfriend to, oh, TALK to her, do us all a favor and don’t.  Because you’re just going to be contributing to my incipient stroke, and make yourself look like an asshole. 

God of War was on my list to pick up when I had some spare cash and hours, but after this, I don’t think so.  I think I’ll stick with SoulCaliber and the Lego series of games.  At least in Lego Star Wars Padme gets to shoot things.

ETA:  I have already bahleted one trolling post, if I can fill up an “Anti-Feminist Bingo Card” by reading your response, it’s not getting approved.  Here’s a hint, if you accuse me of whining, bahleted.

ETA2:  Just in case you’re wondering, I hadn’t seen the commercial in question until the Geek Husband What Rules yelled at the tv last week, “What a misogynist piece of shit!”  Go ahead, call him an over-emotional pansy.  I dare you.

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20 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #124 – Bitches ain’t Shit… ORLY?

  1. Looks like the ad exec is still pissed his wife kicked his ass on God of War 2.
    Strike that. People who publish shit like that ad don’t even know what being around another human being is like, much less a woman.

  2. Actually, in the mid nineties a study of misogyny in commercials was done. It showed that in the early days ads were horrendously misogynistic, but in the early eighties the trend reversed and men were the brunt of jokes.

    In fact it is typically the mother figure who has all the answers and the shlubby husbands are clueless and incompetent.

    (The blonde has always been picked on, but her cultural flip side is the brunette, not a man.)

    Personally, I was impressed with the execution of that joke. Very clear, good timing, did not over explain. I am surprised that mainstream media did that well.

    So firstly, TV ads in general are overwhelmingly femysoginistic. (I think that might actually be gysoginistic. anyway.) So to pick on one ad is the pot calling the kettle a misogynist.

    And secondly, video game players are all mouth breathing* twerps anyway. Let them be social lepers. It makes real gamers look better.

    *no offense to actual mouth breathers a tragic and much maligned medical disability.

  3. I remember seeing this commercial and just kinda scratching my head at it. I didn’t understand why they went this route at all. Usually, some of the commercials that Sony has done for the PS3 were pretty good, like the little boy complaining that his grandmother was on the PS3 all the time and not letting him on.

    This though… ugh… -_- It burns with the stupid, and it’s not confined to just video game ads too. I’ve seen sitcoms where the big schlumpy guy has a gorgeous wife who nags him about stuff. This hits all the more though, since it’s about something we love, and we just want to bap it on the nose and go “NO, bad video game company, BAD! No cookie for you until you apologize.”

    Plus, my sister got me into gaming on the NES. She was great at Megaman 2 and Mike Tyson’s Punchout.

  4. Josh, I think one of the words you’re looking for there is “misandrist” and while yes, there’s a lot of misandry out there, I am not talking about those commercials. I am talking about THIS commercial.

    And this commercial is a big steaming pile of misogynist poo.

    The fact that other commercials may, in fact, be misandrist, does not change the fact that THIS commercial is misogynist. At all.

    When you see a screamingly misandrist videogame commercial, point it out and I’ll bitch about that, too.

    Next thing I know you’ll tell me I’m wasting my time talking about videogames, movies and comics when women are still being raped in Darfur.

    Sigh.

  5. Huh.

    Had to watch it with the sound mostly off at work. (I watched the beginning of it a second time with the sound on.)

    I didn’t find the guy that shlubby nor the woman that hot. Even conventionally. But then… I’m shlubbier. My girlfriend’s hotter. So I’m a little biased. (Our video game disagreements boil down to whether she plays Rock Band 2 or I play Bioshock 2.)

    I had something much worse in my head based off of your description. To me it looked like, “Generic all American couple in their 30s/early 40s.” Now, the stuff that comes out of her mouth is pretty offensive. (At least, the part I was able to hear.) But coming at this cold I wouldn’t have seen them as being in the role of “shlubby guy and his beautiful significant other.”

    From my brief courtship with marketing and ad writing, I could see how this commercial came about in brain storming.

    “Okay, how do we convey that God of War III is awesome.”

    “Um… Wait, got it. It’s so awesome that the guy doesn’t do anything but play it non-stop. Just ignores everything else in his life.”

    “But how do we show that?”

    “How about he’s so wrapped up in the game that he ignores his significant other. And! And! We tell the whole thing from her point of view, being upset with him. Because he’s so focused on this awesome game that he can’t even break away.”

    The write a script, storyboard it. They get the thumbs up from the game company. Then the commercial gets made. The people with the original idea may not have been the same people who chose the actors or who directed the actors in how to present themselves. There was probably another approval in there after the commercial was released to the public. So even if the game company isn’t directly responsible for how the commercial was made, they at least approved of what was presented. But I think it’s valuable to consider that there were probably many hands in this pot.

    Granted, my knowledge of how TV spots get made is something like 10-15 years old. With advances in technology, I’m not sure how much my knowledge has become out of date. =P

  6. Yes, there were many hands in this pot, BUT the final approval rests with them what pay the bills. And they approved it.

    The thing is that one cannot ignore the overwhelming atmosphere in which this commercial was made. It was made this way because the overwhelming view in this country is that men play videogames, and women don’t get them and whine a lot.

    At least in media.

    What would have been ground-breaking was if they’d reversed the genders. And honestly, given the tropes that dominate our culture about video games and gender, wouldn’t that BE a much more powerful sell, “Hey, look! Our videogame’s so awesome it even makes girls ignore their hot boyfriends!” Which, admittedly is still sexist, but at least it would be novel and not quite as offensive.

    Except then you butt up against things like, “Women don’t want sex, so it’s probably pretty easy for them to ignore the hot guy” and all the other assorted bullshit that gets foisted off on us every fucking day of our lives.

  7. I can see other motivations for doing the commercial this way. It doesn’t make it less sexist, but I can see the motivation being more benign before they cocked it up. I could be wrong about their intentions, but I know I’d hate it if I was lynched for every time I stuck my foot in my mouth. (Because, really, I would have been dead before I hit puberty.)

    Flipping gender roles wouldn’t be very ground breaking. Making fun of men is kind of an old gag used for cheap laughs. It would have been, in some ways, less sexist towards women. (Because, as you say, people would draw some other lame assumption about the woman.) I think the ad could have gone with the same core idea (the addictive nature of the game) and had other things nagging at the man’s attention. Children climbing over him. Natural disaster. Ed McMahon with a million dollars. It would still have been a half-assed commercial, but it would have been less sexist.

  8. Ok, Jeremy, seriously:

    1. It is a common sexist trope that women don’t like, or get video games.
    2. It is a common sexist trope that women, particularly if they are attractive, are stupid
    3. It is a common sexist trope that A. Women talk more than men, B. Women WANT to talk more than men, and C. This desire for talking on the part of women is unreasonable.
    Oh, and 4. THE FUCKING WHINING

    Seriously? You’re going to sit there and tell me that this commercial wasn’t sexist. Seriously?

  9. Let me put it another way…
    If this is in a set of 10 commercials we are going to have (for the sake of argument)
    1 misogynistic commercial (this one)
    4 Neutral commercials
    5 misandrist commercials

    when talking about tv commercials…
    1) You can’t take the high road without covering the more egregious cases of sexual anti-egalitarianism.
    2) Sexisim is a norm.

    It also comes down to the Bayesian analysis. Whats the expected case of sexism in commercials v presence in video game commercials? I think that they fall in the expected range.

    the problem is that ad execs are sexists. But they are as sexist about video games as anything else.

  10. Josh, please quit derailing.

    I repeat, WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT MOST COMMERCIALS. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC COMMERCIAL AND WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT VIDEOGAME CULTURE AND WHY WOMEN DON’T FEEL WELCOME.

    If you want another post about how commercials are misandrist or even misanthropic, please, feel free to write it. I’ll link to it if you let me know it’s out there.

    But please quit trying to derail this conversation.

  11. My comment to the Geek Husband What Rules is, given that I was watching CSI on SPIKE, that all the commercials on that channel seemed to be geared towards male-centric stereotypes. Seriously, in the time I’ve been watching CSI and NCIS on Spike it has struck me that the vast majority of the commercials there are aimed at men. I don’t know if they have a different version for network TV or other channels. I tend to roll my eyes at these things and add them to the list of why I don’t feel the need to spend my money making misogynistic gaming companies richer. Games aimed at women are condescending and pathetic. Games aimed at men and teens are full of misogyny. I have too many other things to do with my time to want to waste time where I’m not wanted.

  12. It is a common sexist trope that A. Women talk more than men, B. Women WANT to talk more than men, and C. This desire for talking on the part of women is unreasonable.

    Is that why I’ve got the reputation of yelling at people to STFU on vent?

  13. Misandry and misogyny are both bad. Saying we shouldn’t be upset at misogyny because people are misandrous is just a little less crazy than saying, “well that person over there shot me so he should get to shoot you too”. We should get upset by this stupidity — I am.

    I’m a competent gamer and house keeper. I know where the dishes go and how to vacuum, but I can also kick your ass at half the games out there. How’s that for trash talk.

    People are good or bad at things based on practice and natural talent, not because of their gender. So can we agree to get irked by media that suggests otherwise rather than get drawn into who is getting screwed more?

  14. For the record SuperSheep, I said the opposite. Given that TV commercials are sexist, It falls well within the realm of expectations that a particular TV commercial is sexist, regardless of the product involved. When you look at the TV you expect sexism. Fault TV advertisers, not video game companies.

  15. @Josh:

    Ultimately though, we have to hold to account video game companies because advertisers can’t and don’t advertise for you without the game company signing off on the advertisement. Additionally, I can’t withhold money from advertisers, just the people who pay their salary. And also, not all commercials are sexist (in either direction) so it’s important to point out the ones that are so we can let the game companies know that they’re not acceptable and continued use will keep us from giving them our money.

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