The Courtroom: Hitman: Absolution Trailer: A Discourse on Sexuality in Video Games

There’s been a lot of talk going around about the latest Hitman: Absolution, which is apparently sexist toward women. I’m here to tell you it’s not–if observed through proper context. First off, we’re talking about Hitman here. Hitman for Christ’s sake! The entire Hitman universe is dark, gritty, and non-sensical. It didn’t surprise me in the least bit that there were killer nuns wearing latex. And why are people getting outraged that Agent 47 is killing them in a brutal manner? They’re assassins trying to kill him; it’s only natural he defend himself. He’s not a saint–he’s a stone-cold killer.

Now this topic got me thinking again about sexuality in video games. I’ve already made my thoughts on this matter clear before: I could care less what goes on a digital fantasy realm. However, I thought it would be a good time to re-iterate and expand my beliefs for newer readers.

I don’t see why people get worked up over works of fiction. Some people claim that allowing “sexist” and disparaging depictions of women in video games (and comics, anime, etc.) only further perpetuates that image in real life. Perhaps it does among ignorant trolls and pre-pubescent 14 year olds. But to intelligent people who are able to separate reality from fiction, the answer is clear: what’s fantasy is fantasy. No one I know (or seen for that matter) that is semi-intelligent really treats and views women as a video game would depict them. I treat most women with respect and equality (there are some who don’t deserve respect however); I don’t base anything off what is depicted in some meaningless video game. They’re meant to entertain, that’s it. Just because I enjoy playing Lollipop Chainsaw doesn’t mean I objectify women. I just want to spend some hours relaxing and not using my brain.

I’m tired of people demanding equality in the realm of fantasy. Would it be cool to see moar “strong, un-sexualized” women as main characters? Sure. Would it bother me if there were games that featured men in leather tights with numerous crotch shots? Not really. I just wouldn’t buy it. And that my friends leads to my next point: it’s a business. Whether you like or not (and believe me, I don’t like it) the world runs on money. Companies are going to make what the majority buy, plain and simple. Now in today’s world, having good looking female characters in a game is definitely moar enticing to buyers, but it shouldn’t be the sole reason you make a purchase; this is nothing but clever product placement in a sense. If however, you try to sell a game solely on the fact that there’s boobs in the game, then there definitely is a problem. The below Ninja Gaiden 2 trailer is one that definitely rubs me the wrong way.

Recently, there was a huge firestorm about Anita Sarkeesian and her “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” Kickstarter campaign. She called out the sexual inequality present within video games and predictably, thousands of trolls trashed her. I feel for her and respect what she’s trying to do, but in all honesty, I won’t support her campaign for numerous reasons. For one, I’ve seen the message she’s trying to get out plenty of times before by different feminist gamers; her message isn’t new. (I’ve also seen some of Anita’s videos before.) Two, I don’t see why you need $6000 to make a video series; my brother and I can make a video series with the equipment we have now. Three, I don’t believe for one second that she is a “brave soul for taking all this criticism.” No, she wanted this attention. Every major gaming outlet has picked up this story, and she has benefited greatly from it. What is she going to do with $150,000?  She would do much better to make an actual game with a strong female lead than to make a video series with messages that have already been circulating around the internet for quite some time. And finally, we’re ultimately talking about video games, nothing moar than digital fantasies.

The fact of the matter is, unless you actually do something within the industry, nothing is going to change (it’s a business!). Simply repeating a message (albeit one with moar publicity) that’s been echoed before won’t do shit. We still have people pulling the black vs. white race card in today’s society, even with a (half) black president! There are a ton of social issues that require moar attention than supposed “sexism in video games.” As I stated, I would like to see moar diverse female characters; really, I would. But I’m not going to make this a priority or try to promote change. I just don’t get it; it’s not real, so why do people want realism (read my last article for moar on this)? People were complaining that assassins wouldn’t wear latex and high heels. Well the whole idea of the Hitman game is ludicrous as is!  The great thing about fantasy, is that you can make anything work.

Lastly, I would like to point out that in no way do I believe men are as sexualized as women. Men are idealized for sure, but sexualized? Hardly. In the same breath though, I don’t find particular enjoyment running around as a hulking macho idiot. But like everything that goes on in these crazy things called video games, I could care less, as long as I’m entertained (like say, the story or gameplay).

I realize I’m probably in the minority in this issue; I really don’t lean toward a side. I just feel it’s silly to be arguing about things that go on in a 2D space.

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  1. Pingback: Food for Thought: Girls can play, too | Moar Powah!

  2. Wow. So Hitman is now taking on killer nuns. Peh, have these so called feminists seen how many cosplaying hotties Travis Touchdown has German Suplexed or sliced and diced to pieces? For that matter, EVERY SINGLE FIGHTING GAME KNOWN TO MAN!

    Sheesh. Give me fricken break. They've got Porn Star DLC for Saints Row 3 for Pete's sake. I don't know much about this whole women treated like sexual object stuff. All I know is, you've got a girl to play as, I'll play as her. I don't care if she's the most bodacious babe or stereotypical badass just because woman. I play as chicks more than dudes in fighting games anyway. Why? I dunno, force of habit I guess. Maybe it's because I enjoy watching chicks who aren't all about looking cocky at the camera beat everyone that gets in their way.

  3. Pingback: First Impressions: Lollipop Chainsaw | Moar Powah!

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