Sexism controversies, legitimate or manufactured, are all the rage in the gaming media these days, and with good reason, as evidenced by the hundreds of comments such articles get in a matter of hours. A good deal of the recent discussion has been fueled by Anita Sarkeesian's kickstarter project and the bizarre, at times violent, internet reaction that followed.
Personally, while I think there are many legitimate issues, quite a few are silly, hypocritical or blown way out of proportion. Ironically, they also often reveal the sexism of some who decry the supposed sexism! And it's sometimes hard not to picture Anita as an attention-seeking, man-hating, fire-breathing feminist caricature when reading some of her comments.
But I just realized something: all that sexism being hammered on our collective heads is working.
This past week I finished Batman: Arkham City and Bayonetta, and I found myself seeing sexism or thinking about sexism where previously I possibly wouldn't have even blinked. Curiously, I didn't find Bayonetta sexist at all, while Arkham City's Talia Al-Ghul rang my sexism alarm bells.
This is a somewhat new development. I have always been exactly the audience games targeted (teen male gamers 15 years ago, young male adults these days), so sexism and women in gaming just weren't on my radar like they are now. That's not so say I see sexism everywhere, far from it, but I now pay attention to the issue in a way I didn't before.
And whatever one may think of Anita or proponents of Tomb Raider's "rape controversy", raising this kind of awareness is a resounding victory for them, as well as for all who hope for a more egalitarian medium, myself included.
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