I’m starting to think maybe Anita Sarkeesian and Josh McIntosh are right. I just watched all of the Feminist Frequency videos and suddenly I saw it—video games totally do oppress women. And minorities. And gays. And probably are the reason 9/11 happened.
But Ms. Sarkeesian has only just scratched the surface, only peeled a few layers in this onion of hate. Sexism in video games goes back much farther than Mario oppressing Princess Peach by risking his life to rescue her and restore her to her position of power, which he only does because he’s a neo-reactionary monarchist.
No, the real root of sexism in video games goes back farther than that. Before Atari even. Back all the way to the proverbial primordial soup of gaming, Pong.
A harmless game, or a vicious cycle of sexual violence?
Some of you are probably skeptical at this point. So saturated in patriarchal thinking you’re blind to what’s going on here. You naively imagine Pong is merely a crude digital representation of tennis. But what you fail to see is those aren’t paddles, they’re phallic symbols.
Yes, the “paddles” are really meant to symbolize male power and privilege by subconsciously evoking the penis. And if there is one thing we know about the game of patriarchy, it’s that women aren’t the other team, they’re the ball. So obviously the dot is meant to represent a woman. This is the most egregious example of the “woman as the ball” trope you’ll ever see. This victimized female has been so marginalized by a culture of sexism, all the manspreading and fart rape she must endure on a daily basis, that she has been stripped of all identity, rendered just a little “dot”. The ultimate Stepford Wife if you will.
Now that we’ve established that the paddles are men and the dot a woman, we can begin to see what is really going on here. The woman attempts to get away from this objectification, only to find her path blocked by a mighty obelisk. A white obelisk I might add, so clearly there are some subtle white supremacist messages at play here to. The white obelisk deflects her, no doubt sexually assaulting her in the process, and sends her careening towards the other play who perpetuates the cycle. In this patriarchal game not only is the woman the ball, but the object of the game to to sexually assault the ball before passing it onto the other player. In short, Pong is nothing more than a rape simulator.
Arkanoid and Breakaway perpetuate the rape culture
The spiritual successors to Pong are games like Arkanoid, Breakaway, and Nintendo’s Alleyway. These games evolve this rape simulator formula into perhaps a far more oppressive message. In this one the dot is not passed on between two players, but is rather the undisputed property of the one obelisk. The dot has no agency of her own, but rather is used as a tool or a weapon to break blocks at the top of the screen to gain power ups and items collected by the obelisk. The dot does all the work and the obelisk takes all the rewards. One could easily argue this is a model for marriage in the patriarchy.
The biggest flaw with Anita’s work is she never dug deep enough. Probably because she doesn’t like video games. Err I mean she’s totally a gamer, she just didn’t have the time or money to play all those games. I mean it’s not like this was her only job or she had been given a small fortune to do just that or anything. But if she had taken the time to do even the bare minimum of actually research I think she would have clearly seen where the really root of oppression lies in this medium. Next time you see someone playing a port of one of these monstrosities on their phone I hope you’ll take the time to explain to them how they’re really contributing to rape culture.
Feel free to leave a comment below but know that if you disagree with me in the slightest it is harassment and you will be blocked and if I can I will find out where you work and tell your boss on you.