Around 8 years ago, I had a fascinating conversation with my then 8 years old cousin and godson, who's like a little brother to me. He was talking about either something a female friend of his did wrong or a game she lost, I can't quite remember, and he finished with a matter-of-factly "but she's a girl". He was only 8, and he had already learned that girls were naturally less capable then boys simply by virtue of being girls.
I stopped him right there and asked if he thought girls were naturally worse at (whatever it was) than boys. Sensing he had said something wrong, he hesitated, but stammered yes. I then asked why and who told him that, both of which were met with a confused "I don't know". I proceeded to ask if he thought his mother was less intelligent or less capable than his father because she was a woman, and he confidently said no. So, if his mother isn't less capable than his father, why are other girls less capable than other boys? He didn't have an answer. I answered for him: they weren't, and he should remember that.
I like to think that, in that single conversation, I contributed far more to a less sexist world than the hordes of internet zealots raging against bikini-clad women ever will. How many of them simply chuckle or laugh when the children around them say something like that, only to turn around and be outraged at Lollipop Chainsaw?
There's something else that bothers me in this whole "internet outrage thingy": how the world seems to be divided between evil, sexist men and victimized women. Like Bush's U.S, you are either with them or against them. It seems that none of them asks an obvious question: if only men are sexist and men are raised by women, how come sexism even exists in the first place?
I am no historian, but if you will allow me a bit of common sense historical theory, the male-dominated society is, most likely, a direct result of men's superior physical strength. In the beginning of human society, that was the only power that mattered, and over the centuries, as physical prowess ceased to be relevant to power and success, the idea of male dominance became firmly entrenched in our culture, in both men and women.
So maybe guys thousands of years ago were really evil, sexist jerks, and it's all their fault. And maybe many guys today are still evil, sexist jerks, but the fact remains that, now, women are just as sexist, often more so, then we are, and anyone who is serious about dealing with sexism cannot ignore that.
I grew up in a very conservative region of Brazil, and that phenomenon is plainly visible. Many of my female friends are more sexist than my male friends. Some even admit it openly. My wife in particular came from a very conservative and very sexist family, the kind that relentlessly pressures and guilts their daughters into marrying virgin and behaving like "proper ladies". Her father was very much behind that ideal, but her mother was the one really leading the charge. They failed on all accounts, though they did succeed in messing their elder daughter up so much, she only managed to have a real relationship (and I don't just mean sex) after 30. But I digress.
My wife is the youngest daughter, and when I met her she often showed a at times hilarious gap between words and deeds. She had a Sarkeesian-like super feminist speech, and yet didn't even realize she was much, much closer to the "proper role in the world" their parents envisaged than to the progressive woman she fancied herself to be, and I am glad to say that I helped her to, in the words of master Yoda, unlearn what she had learned. This isn't just my theory, she has told me that several times over the years, and often expresses amazement when she thinks back to how unwittingly sexist she used to be.
Again, over the course of our nearly 10 years old relationship, I probably contributed far more to the anti-sexism cause than most internet screamers combined.
There is nothing wrong with using blondes in miniskirts and babes in bikinis to sell a game to men. There is nothing wrong with Madonna performing nearly naked to promote herself. There is A LOT wrong with real sexism. Real sexism is the one that women expressed in the #1 reason tag (though there are legitimate criticisms against the campaign itself). Real sexism is when husbands think they have a license to beat their wives. When parents spank their daughters but not their sons because "that's how it's done", effectively teaching both of them that violence is alright when it's against women. When beautiful but incompetent women get the job over their uglier but better qualified counterparts because their boss wants to fuck them. When vulnerable women are groped in the workplace and "just have to take it". When women are paid less than men to do the very same job. When a rape victim is blamed for being raped ("did you see what she was wearing? And what was she doing alone in that place at that hour?") The list goes on and on and on.
Sexism is a real and serious problem. I only wish the internet would actually do something about it instead of tirelessly and pointlessly railing against videogames.
LOOK WHO CAME: