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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

All Starr

How Hitman is insulting us all

All right, now I'm mad.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

I just stumbled across the Hitman trailer, via Mark Serrels' discussion of it on Kotaku Australia. He made a call to arms. I'm answering that call.

In the trailer, we see the hardened protagonist of the game prepping for battle, while an army of nuns marches towards his hideout.

The camera lingers lasciviously over crotches and curves as they divest themselves of their robes, revealing latex-clad sexiness. And guns.

Watch the way we're supposed to be turned on by their brutal murder.

Oh, believe me: I asked myself, would I feel the same way if he was killing a bunch of men like this? And the answer is: a bunch of men would not be treated as some sort of hyper-violent sex show, in which we're supposed to be aroused while we slaughter.

Video-game marketers: this is so far beyond not cool. If games are meant to be a fantasy, what the hell is this supposed to tell us?

And just ... just ... why? Is this really the only way you can sell your game? It's not as if the Hitman franchise doesn't have a fan base. That's not enough; now, you're trying to attract the kinds of people who get off on hurting women?

I'm tired of this. No doubt someone is reading this, thinking I'm just a silly over-offended woman, but when game after game after game is marketed based on how sexually appealing it is to men, one can't help but feel not only unwelcome, but also actively scorned.

You're right, there are plenty of games out there that don't involve the sexual fetishisation of celibate clergy and violence that I can quite happily play. But it's stuff like this that contributes heavily to a culture of objectification; that is, the reduction of women to their bodies; and the perception that their bodies are objects and public property to be touched and commented on and consumed.

Let me put it another way: guys, you're the demographic to whom this is marketed. Don't you feel insulted that they feel the best way to get your interest is with lowest common denominator titillation — that all you're interested in is blood and boobs? Great gameplay, compelling characters, a tense and exciting storyline — pffft. Look at the ladies! Drool for me, boys!

It's absolute garbage, and it insults every gamer with two brain cells to rub together.


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Seth Isurus posted a comment   
Australia

It will be interesting to see how many of these outraged journalists boycott the game and toss their Hitman swag in the garbage. I'm guessing not many

 

sehlat posted a comment   
United States

I can't even begin to understand how the comments below me immediately jump to "oh but what about the man's muscles and his blahblah" and "you give women a bad name." Are you serious right now? I won't disagree that men are sexualised to some degree but are you honestly paying attention?

I agree with JuniperMaei. This article wasn't even supposed to be about whether or not men are sexed up in video games. The scantily clad women are there to appeal to a male audience. They were given no purpose but to exist on screen for a few moments of violence while dressed in what could be considered "sexy" clothing. And it isn't as though this is the only game that tosses women in for the sole purpose of having them there to show off their assets.

I'm actually kind of disgusted that people are trying to get away with saying women and men are similarly sexed up or that Starr is saying women are too weak to use sex the way they want. That right there tells me you need to check your facts.

Dressing women that way in games is to gain attention from the male demographic. I don't see why that's so hard to grasp. Because that right there makes the women exist just for the men's enjoyment and they are dressed the way they are for the men's enjoyment. There's nothing "empowering" or "smart" or "powerful" about it.

 

JuniperMaei posted a comment   
Australia

err....I think some people are missing the point here, it's not about whether men get sexed up in video games, it's about the fact that developers made the decision to sex women up to appeal to a male demographic, gave them no agency and used them to create a mise en scene of pointless violence. I've not seen male characters used in a similar fashion, but please feel free to correct me.

Wondering how many people complaining about MS review are actually female? Some of you might want to check your priviledge there.

 

nerdmusc1e posted a comment   
Australia

It's women like you who give a bad name for the rest. When men are represented as sexy it's because they want to be, it's because they are confident, powerful and they know how to use what they have to get what they want.

Why is it automatically different for women? Are women supposed to be bland, meak barker wearing objects that only use sex when their men tell them to behind close doors?

Why aren;t you complaining about the close up shots of Agent 47's bare chested (heaps ripped) close ups? Oh because he's a guy and he's allowed to be sexy but women are just too weak to use sex however they desire? Hmph.

You're supposing that women can't handle their sexuality the same way men can and I'm sick of it. They can, because women are just as smart and powerful as men; despite you.

 

exparrot posted a comment   
Australia

You know, I never hear these arguments about all the shirtless, muscle bound, 6 pack abs sporting male characters that dominate gaming, but every time female characters get similarly 'sexed up' in a game it's time to call the waaaambulance, as whiny wowsers like you get all up in arms and grossly over-estimate some minor thing as if it was a personal sleight aimed directly at you.

Don't like it? That's fine. Everyone has a right to choose. So don't buy it, don't play it, and don't whine about it or try to get things changed just because it isn't to your personal taste. And most of all, don't pretend that your own personal taste is some universal barometer on what is worthy of existence and what isn't, and that everything should be tailored with you and your personal tastes and preferences in mind. Because that is far more insulting than what this game company or that developer is doing at any given moment, or with any give

 

exparrot posted a reply   
Australia

...or with any given title. Not everything is made with everyone in mind, if something isn't to your taste that isn't a call to arms, it is an indicator that maybe you should move on and find something else that it, and support that instead. But I guess that's just expecting too much in this day and age.


(sorry, my last comment got cut short for some reason)

 

exparrot posted a comment   
Australia

You know, I never hear these arguments about all the shirtless, muscle bound, 6 pack abs sporting male characters that dominate gaming, but every time female characters get similarly 'sexed up' in a game it's time to call the waaaambulance, as whiny wowsers like you get all up in arms and grossly over-estimate some minor thing as if it was a personal sleight aimed directly at you.

Don't like it? That's fine. Everyone has a right to choose. So don't buy it, don't play it, and don't whine about it or try to get things changed just because it isn't to your personal taste. And most of all, don't pretend that your own personal taste is some universal barometer on what is worthy of existence and what isn't, and that everything should be tailored with you and your personal tastes and preferences in mind. Because that is far more insulting than what this game company or that developer is doing at any given moment, or with any given title.


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