Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Experiment in Social Awareness

Awhile back I posted my irritation at a certain Playstation 3 commercial playing off the stereotype of the hot, dumb girlfriend who can't tell the difference between a video game and a movie. Yes, yes, it's all fun and games (pun!) and not meant to be taken seriously. It was never the surface of that commercial that bothered me however, rather it was the the underlying messages it was projecting: men play lots of games and women probably can't figure out how to turn a gaming system on.

Well, that idea must have gotten some positive feedback (albeit not from me) because a similar type of ad has been released by Sony promoting "God of War 3":

Seems they've now replaced the hot, stupid girlfriend with the whiney, needy one. This ad bothers me just like the other one did but for different reasons; while we have the pouty girlfriend who just can't get attention from her boyfriend while he plays his big, butch (i.e. repetitive, button mashing, snorefest. Yeah, I said it) game, you've got the boyfriend himself who is so consumed with his game he fails to notice those around him.

I'm honestly a little more offended for the male gamers here. What this commercial is feeding off of is the idea that men are in fact video game addicts. Not just any games either - graphically violent ones. Even the Sony representative can't tear himself away from the carnage to acknowledge the woman who doesn't know anything about God of War except for that "Kratos guy".

Wait, wait, wait - come back over here and sit down. No rolling your eyes either! I saw that.

Don't take this as me being a crazy, uber liberal feminazi. My actual operational definition of feminism is one of total egalitarianism. I do not think men are above women and I do not think women are above men. I'm not going to go into more of that here but I feel that's important to stress in this situation.

This ad is playing off both gender stereotypes. It is absolutely not meant to be taken seriously but I'm asking you to think about why this ad is funny. What exactly makes the joke come together?

Now, is this all of this a bad thing? I think so, yes. Not "evil" bad, however, but rather a "bad" in that I believe it prevents people from discovering their true potential at times for fear of violating perceived gender normalcy. If I have any one diabolical plan behind this blog it's that I want people to be more aware of ads like this. Really look at your games and gaming media and ask yourself what these things are saying about you and your gender.

You may be surprised to find out how far down the blue and pink rabbit holes go.


  1. "My actual operational definition of feminism is one of total egalitarianism." YES. YES. YES. Agreed.

  2. As a male I agree this ad is actually offensive. Now I'm not about to stop buying Sony products, I did that a while ago for different reasons, but it still upsets me that men are distracted from their real lives because of video games. I admit there have been times I was caught up in playing something and not heard something someone has said to me but this is why there is a pause button. More often I have been known to completely turn off the system just to talk or to see what they were saying. Never mind the fact that this ad also perpetuates the stereotype that men can only get lost in gory violent slugfests. I would like to see an ad where a guy is ignoring his girlfriend because he's playing Mario Kart but it won't happen because men only play Gears of War, God of War, and Madden.
    I'm sometimes surprised how few "male" games I play and how more often female gamers I know play them instead. Maybe it says something about me but I actually prefer games to have colors other than grey, brown, black, and red.
    Anyways I'm just going to say this is an interesting ad to consider because I've completely lost where I was going with this.