Videogames have often been accused of objectifying women, but there is evidence that this goes deeper than mere misogyny.
The preview of the lust level in Dante’s Inferno contains images like spikes coming out of crotches and a boss who shoots demonic wasps from her nipples. The somewhat sweet romance between Nathan and Chloe in Uncharted 2 belies a male’s fear of commitment. In GTA IV and God of War, sex is portrayed as a one way transaction from the male to or on the female. All of these are examples of the fear of women in games, as Michael Thomsen explores in issue 23 of The Escapist:
Can it be that male gamers, while not completely defined by vaginophobia or femiphobia, still experience feelings of insecurity around women? Can we talk about those phenomena, both pointing them out and confessing to them, without condemning one another?
We take games too much for granted. It’s just a game, we tell ourselves. It’s just for fun. But there is much more bristling beneath the surface. Videogames are the imperfect reflections of our own imperfect vessels. The more we shy away from their ugly undersides, the more we become trapped in our own dishonest projections. We should never be defined by our most primal instincts, but the games we play offer strong proof that we have yet to surpass them.
Thomsen’s article has surely stirred the pot in the discussion of women and games. Read more of Vaginophobia to find out why and perhaps offer your own insight.