Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Guess This is What it Takes for me to Come Out of Hibernation

Via Gizmodo, another image of a woman's body being used as an object. They don't even offer her the courtesy of giving her a head in this disembodied image. Of course, this tee shirt implies that the cord from the controller is connected to her head which further implies that the controller/breasts can be used to control the woman wearing it. I suppose, given the misogynist nature of gaming culture, this would be a logical conclusion.

Because I adore her and I am sure her concern is one shared by other readers I am going to share a comment from one of my friends and my response to that comment:

"Ok, ok, maybe that's true, but lets see the humor in this, To me it looks like she's allowing this to happen. Her arms are back, prepared for what she knows is taking place. She doesn't want her head shown because she wouldn't want anyone to identify her."

I have no doubt that this particular model consented to this particular action. But we must always remember that images do not exist in a vacuum, taken within the context of gaming culture and the larger patriarchal culture in which it has been given room to flourish, images like this have tremendous meaning. It means that women, like game controllers, are objects, in this case, for male consumption and pleasure. Objectifying a person is the first step in the process of dehumanization and ALL of the abuses that we feel justified in inflicting upon objects. Game controllers can be thrown away, replaced with better, upgraded controllers, they can be smashed if they don't work properly and overall, they are objects. They are interchangeable, they don't have feelings. What this image conveys is that women are objects like game controllers and, like objects, it is okay to use them, hurt them, and toss them aside. Again, it has little to do with the actual people in the image and more to do with the greater cultural context in which it was born.


molly said...

it should have been accompanied by a man wearing joystick boxers. it's only fair.

Anonymous said...

Is this specifically marketed as a woman's tee? Couldn't a man wear this shirt?

Browsing the internet for photos that dehumanize humans is easier than finding breasts in a bra.

Joseph said...

The gaming world is extremely misogynistic. They are even very exclusive of gay men as well. There are actually now groups of "gaymers", which is what they call themselves, in order to find some comradery in the somewhat exclusive world of gaming.

That tee shirt is just ridiculous and uncalled for, and I agree with your opinion about what this shirt is representing, whether or not the model is consenting to the action.

There is an interview series of professional women in online journalism that you might enjoy.
It was conducted by the University of Iowa Gender and Mass Media Class this past fall and offers wonderful insight into the future of online journalism.