Game Journalism A "Boys Club," Treats Women As "Sex Objects"
Ah yes, the speakers of truth. Here ye, and become enlightened, for we have yet another individual who sees things "the way they are" and seeks to educate those of us who can't "get laid outside the world of Warcraft." According to Gawker, gaming journalism is rife with pandering, awkward sex talk, and it has now become "boring."
Here's a snippet from the piece-
"I'm not saying gaming news should become as mature a genre of journalism as politics, business, and world news. It's still a new field and will always be as subjective as covering music or film, with the accompanying celebrity culture. But now that women outnumber men in online gaming, party games like Rock Band appeal to both sexes, and casual games (popular among women and adults) are the fastest-growing segment of the gaming industry, gaming journalism should be an all-inclusive genre. Why does it still pander to a core audience of straight young males with outdated misogynistic material, to the boredom and frustration of all of us who can get laid outside of World of Warcraft?"
He goes on to say that "what needs to stop is the boys club, in which women are only featured as sex objects." Well, this is one novel - and very fresh - idea that is sure to appeal to all the ladies out there, but the author apparently doesn't need to troll for female acceptance and admiration because he's not hindered by "geekdom" (evidently). So we're a touch confused. Gawker says our "obsession is taking an awkward form" and provided several examples, including GameDaily's brief interview of pornstars (which I recently wrote an editorial on), and Strip Halo 3, which is basically like strip poker only with a FPS. Oh, and "Gaming's kinkiest costumes" got a mention, too. After the evidence, he concludes that the industry is "addicted." Ironically enough, Gawker Media's gaming site, Kotaku, apparently discourages "boy's-club" coverage of video games and as a result, their traffic has been on the upswing for several years.
That's just dandy. Very admirable. Noble, even. But the implications here fail to take shape, primarily because of some very logical reasons. First of all, I fail to understand how any site or publication regarding sex and video games is any different than other that focuses on sex and movies, or sex and music, or sex and books, or sex and whatever other entertainment medium you want to feature. Secondly, the target audience remains males 18 - 35 and in no way is the "boys-club" coverage any more "awkward" than a "100 Hottest Women in the World" feature that any major entertainment outlet churns out. I suppose my editorial is more "boys-club" hogwash, but at least I had something to say. Sex drives this culture, and he's annoyed because gaming journalists are taking this into account when reporting the news or developing editorial pieces.
The "obsession" and "awkward form" has a semblance of truth to it, and that's primarily because many game journalists are still quite young. But I know the truth of the matter, and I know what makes for good news and op-ed pieces, in all venues. Having a publishing history that goes well beyond video games has taught me this, and as a 29-year-old journalist and writing professional, I'd like to think we've gone a bit beyond "awkward" and "obsessive." In fact, it sounds suspiciously like a supposedly mature individual claiming that "gaming journalists aren't mature enough to portray women and sex." But I mustn't break down that entire editorial into such a simple - and untrue - sentiment...right?
1/15/2008 Ben Dutka