Thursday, June 10, 2010

Virtual Revenge -- "Hey, Baby"

And now we have this: a new video game in which a presumed-female (it is First Person Shooter, so you never actually see yourself, just how people act toward you) retaliates against the catcalls of a walk through an urban setting. Interesting to me is the number of comments that focus on the (poor) graphics and sound effects of the game -- not the premise. I fully expected full-on rants, not just one recommendation for a psychiatrist and one reference to the "punch" packed by "feminist atheists." Also missing are defenses of the male-characters' behavior or street commentary in general. Color me surprised.

Indeed, one strong point of the game may be its ability to unite multiple audiences in their disdain for it. If only we could all agree so readily that street harassment is a) real and b) bad. Research by Carol Brooks Gardner and others reveals that most men do not intend to harass, but rather are motivated by boredom or a desire to impress their buddies. Kudos to Ms. Magazine blogger Kate Whittle for concluding, "society needs to teach men that making women uncomfortable should not be a casual pastime."

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