The Parliament of the European Union has called for an end to sexism in videogames over concerns that such games are teaching children the wrong lessons.
Parliament adopted a text called “How Marketing and Advertising Affect Equality Between Men and Woman” on September 3, according to Edge Online, which said that while the report focused on conventional marketing, it also mentioned a “particular need” to eliminate sexism in videogames because of their impact on children. “Children learn by imitation and mimic what they have just experienced,” the document said, adding that the presence of sexist messages in games “accentuates the perception that a person’s gender dictates what is possible” in life.
While it would be tricky to deny that sexism exists in videogames, the basis of this argument seems to be the ongoing, and incorrect, assumption that videogames are for kids. Unless I’m missing something here, I don’t think most age-appropriate videogames for impressionable young kids have a whole lot of sexism going on; the games I play might, but I’m pretty well set in my ways at this point. And while advertising is an obvious culprit, why were videogames centered out as the medium most desperately in need of a sexist house cleaning? Where do television, movies and music fit into this?
Fortunately, the adoption of the text is not legally binding, meaning the whole thing can be filed under “sound and fury signifying nothing more than uninformed political maneuvering.” Unfortunately, it’s also further evidence that despite the many advances made by videogaming in the cultural zeitgeist, there’s still an awful lot of work left to be done.