Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An Adolescent Stunt

During a journalist rant session at GDC last week, Heather Chaplin, a writer who covers the games industry for grown-up outlets like NPR, railed against what she sees as a business dominated by "stunted adolescents."

"You aren't men," Chaplin told developers. "You are stunted adolescents."

--Heather Chaplin, via an
article by Keane Ng

Apparently, Ms. Chaplin is disheartened by the fanboy-pandering aspects of the video game industry, to wit: violence and sexist titillation, so much so that she decided to vent some steam directly at game developers.

Okay, I'll concede that a lot of video games are sold more towards one half of the population than the other. And sure, it would be nice if the medium matured to become the equal of, um, er, Hollywood, pop music and prime time TV. Sure.

But reading the above quote, I couldn't help but think: Wouldn't there be an absolute shitstorm if some guy had spoken to a room of women in this way?

Tex Tosterone steps to the podium at Yaoi Con, fixes the auditorium full of manga artists and writers with a steely gaze, and passes judgement:

"You aren't women," he remarks. "You are stunted adolescents."

Holy Crap! Leave aside any general criticism this straw man may be making against creators of a woman-oriented product, he's done what? Denied women their identity as women, and infantilized them all at once! He presumes to be able to judge women and tell them whether they qualify as such based on his standards - not those of any actual women!

I suppose this is the time someone chimes in to talk about "institutionalized" behavior, and how it's worse when men are sexist or denigrating to women than vice versa because they're the ones in power. Maybe, but it's not that much worse, and that argument always, always reeks of an excuse to get away with behavior one would not tolerate in others.

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