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Let’s Get Real About the Cultural Impact of Violence in Media

By Rob Payne | Think Pieces | September 24, 2013 | Comments ()


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Last week, America experienced yet another tragic mass shooting when a government contractor used his security clearance to enter and open fire on the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard. He killed twelve people and died himself in a shootout with the police. Within 24 hours another, much lesser, tragedy began playing out in the media reporting on this sad event: the shooter, Aaron Alexis, was, according to friends and neighbors, “obsessed” with playing “violent video games.” This simple fact, and potential focus of blame, was referenced again and again at all news outlets, red and blue and even those without a supposed political bent. The same pattern happened again after Newtown, after Aurora, and after Tucson; dating at least as far as Columbine and littered all over the history of mass shootings when the perpetrators are white middle class men in their teens to their mid-30s.

Because there have been, on average, one mass shooting every three months since President Obama took office, the debate over the impact of violence in the media — especially in the video game industry — has been occuring more and more frequently, with even politicians afraid to challenge gun control laws pointing to media as potential avenue for reform. Forget about any other possible correlative or causative incitements, from the economy to foreign policy to mental health to removing the ban on assault weapons purchases. Why is it we always rush to judgement on the bloodier, explodier elements of our popular culture?

As a pop culture aficionado since before the Internet became a universally used communication tool, much less since before I started writing critically on it, it is very easy to immediately dismiss any arguments against violent media, even violent video games, as unwarranted censorship by luddite dumb-dumbs that just don’t get it, man. I watch violent movies and TV shows. Many of my favorite pieces of entertainment feature the absolute worst elements of the human condition; they display innards and guts as much as they display interior emotions, often more likely the former than the latter. Yet, I’ve never killed any other human being. The only life I’ve taken, besides mosquitoes who deserve no quarter, was a bird that I hit with an acorn fired from a slingshot as it flew overhead in its flock one autumn afternoon in the mid-90s. I never used the slingshot again. I still feel guilty about that bird’s death to this day. I am not going to open fire with an automatic rifle loaded with a drum full of armor piercing ammo anytime soon, no matter who many cops I run over, accidentally or not, in Grand Theft Auto V.

I imagine anyone who has ever watched Sylvester Stallone’s ouevre or played all the Halos, the GTAs, the God of Wars, etc., etc., feel the same way. After all, according to studies, 91% of American kids play video games (many or most of them “violent”) and yet mass shootings only amount to 100 out of 12,000 annual homicides in this country. That’s a less than 1% incident rating, which is probably a similar percentage of violent video game players who also participate in mass shootings. There’s also the fact that while violent crime has decreased steadily in the United States since the 1990s, the growth of console video game culture has exploded alongside more action-packed movies and television programs. (This, in spite some anti-media-violence crusaders pointing to a rise in crime in earlier decades being linked to media violence.) We’re at the point when more people have played violent video games than seen the year’s biggest blockbusters, and each are equally loaded with more explosions per minute than the entire Middle East. With the percentages so off and the decades of violent media saturation and sales correspond with actual drops in actual violent crimes, it really does seem like those trying to lay the blame for horrific real life events at the feet of those who make and consume totally fake representations of horror are, at least, overreacting. At worst, it begins to look and feel like opponents of the current pop landscape are demonizing real life human beings who are otherwise culturally harmless.

But, and here’s the thing, not everyone who wants to “do something” about violent video games and media entertainment is that totally off-base or, necessarily, pushing a political motive. I’m loathe to give the Parents Television Council credit for anything other than providing rhetoric that makes them look more like tetotaling blowhards rather than sincere scolds, but they have accumulated an impressive amount of data that purports to prove their claims that violent media has a net-negative effect on children, and, therefore, society. More than anything, it would seem these “facts” are more pertinent to the claim that video games, movies, and TV are major time-sucks and possibly stopping some people who would otherwise do something more relevant to their local communities than they are damning evidence that video games, movies, and TV are scarring our children for life. There’s some logic to that, because who among us can’t say we haven’t lost a friend (for some period of time) to World of Warcraft? Then again, the time spent in front of a screen with moving pictures could also prevent some people from committing those crimes, if we want to give the distraction argument any balance.

More to the point, though, the PTC does have legitimate pyschological resources that back up their overarching claim that violent media can and does effect the brains of the humans perceiving or experiencing that violent media. Studies have shown that watching violent media may decrease the brain’s regulating of aggressive behavior, at least for a very small window of time after the media was consumed. There is, as yet, no relevant data that suggests violent media, video games or otherwise, have any long term effects on players’ minds. However, because there is some vague connection, most psychologists are willing to state that media may play a small role in real life violence, but that it is also hardly the only element that would.

And, yet, did we really need psychologists to study violent media consumption’s real-time effects on our brains to tell us that violent media consumption affects our brains? Of course it does, and this is something those would argue against the censoring luddites know but do not like to discuss. All media consumption does something to the organ inside our skull. Whether we know it through studies or from the sheer fact that box office receipts put a dollar amount on just how much we enjoy people and inanimate objects blowing up in ridiculous CGI guysers of blood and flame for our pleasure, it’s obviously true. Why else would any of you reading this come to Pajiba? Why would I be writing here? Why would anyone working in Hollywood, or anyone working in any enterainment field around the world, spend so much of their time and money making things for other people’s enjoyment if our brains didn’t dramatically respond to those things? The narrative doesn’t need to include human-on-human violence to cause a chemical or electrical reaction, it just needs to appeal to one of the spots on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (the lower on that list, the better). It’s naturally human to tell stories, just as it’s naturally human to consume them. The heart wants what it wants. Culturally, what we want is for things to go boom.

And, yet, simply because media, including the violent kind, does have some effect on our minds, that is still not enough to attempt to outlaw, margianilize, or demonize those who would subject themselves to it. There is no science saying that even the dampening of mental restraints on aggressive behavior while playing a violent video game, or watching a violent movie, is negative or positive. (Your mileage on competitive attitudes generally and being called a “faggy bitch” on Xbox Live specifically may vary.) It is irresponsible to argue either side, because while we don’t need scientists to tell us what we already know, we do need them to tell us how much of what we already know matters. Since all media has at least some mental effect, one would then have to raise up or bring low all other forms of media, including ones they would rather ignore. Not everyone who watches superhero movies dresses up in a costume and tries to fight crime, but a very small percentage of people do. Does that say anything about superhero fans, or this country or its people, or humanity as a whole?

Interestingly, there does seem to be some correlation between the release of video games and the decrease of criminal activity, which could point toward either criminals play a lot of video games or new video games help prevent crime for a short duration, but neither conclusion could say fault or credit the piece of entertainment itself. Entertainment can’t pull a trigger or set off a bomb, but a person can if their brain tells them to and if our laws allow them easy access to those tools of destruction. Entertainment, then, is neutral. If that’s true, then consumption of violent media should come down to the individual person doing the consuming and how they respond to it, not tar all consumers with the same brush. Making it harder for people to watch or play with pop culture artifacts that trade in violent imagery is not an answer to curbing real violenc, not when humans were necessarily violent, in order to survive, long before we started telling stories. Unless people starting using their Xboxes and Playstations as murder implements en masse, targeting video games is a pointless exercise in moral posturing.

I am not Aaron Alexis. I am not Adam Lanza. I am not James Homes. Chances are, neither are you.

(Header Source)


Rob Payne also writes the web comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. His first essay on media violence was written in high school, when the focus was on movies like Natural Born Killers, and he’s found that the arguments never change.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Maddy

    But of course it couldn't be anything to do with all the guns? I don't understand America

  • e jerry powell

    Okay.
    1) Does The Party at Kitty and Stud's count as part of Stallone's ouvre? I think the only other thing I've seen was Rocky, and I wasn't even ten at the time.
    2) I killed a pigeon last year. With my car. I was driving on the freeway on my way to therapy, and as I was driving over the lake, a pigeon flew up between the north- and southbound bridges and smacked into the windshield right in front of me. I think maybe it was tired of being a pigeon, so it just wasn't expecting a car to be, I dunno, speeding down the freeway. I am still seriously unsettled by that.

  • e jerry powell

    That is one serious fucking paring knife.

    Now to read the article.

  • lowercase_ryan

    More and more I think the gun issue detracts from the insanely poor mental health system in this country (worst choice of words ever, I cannot bring myself to change them).

    Still, the point is that we need substantive mental health care reform in this country. Way too many of us are way too fucked up with way too few places we can go for help.

    Guns and gun culture are a huge problem in this country, but as Colorado just showed, not a damn thing is going to change on that front. Maybe we can work on the the problem from the mental health side of the equation.

    In some ways I see a common thread in many of America's current ills. Guns, healthcare, mental healthcare, food stamps, etc. I think that the attitude half of the country takes on these issues shows a tremendous disregard for human life in general.

  • I don't know what "plants" violent impulses in somebody's brain, but I DO know what enables them to ACT on said impulses: access to killing technology that far exceeds their own personal ability to do damage. Let's be honest: if everyone who wanted to kill 15-20 people to make a point had to STRANGLE them, you'd see a SHARP decline in the number of mass-attack deaths. And probably, I daresay, in the number of attempts.

  • Thor

    A very good point. Ergonomics are proven factors in usability.

  • Gunnut2600

    I like how white folk freak out about gun violence when its mass shootings. When the poor ghettos are getting lit up every night with low capacity handguns, you hear the same bullshit ("its drug related", "its gang related", "what kind of parent lets their toddler on the porch at 2am").

    That terror you feel when you hear about some shooting that took out a bunch of suburban kids...that's every fucking day growing up poor and a minority in this country.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    'Yuuuuuuup' she said, Lana Kane-ing-ly.

  • lilianna28

    no, I'm pretty fricking horrified by the violence in Chicago, that I would be fearful to take my babies down to the neighborhoods on the south side when my parents grew up. I'm also pissed as all hell that my husband's redneck family can't seem to separate "Chicago has strict gun laws" with "it's easy to drive to Gary and get shit because Indiana sucks."

    Mass shootings are horrifying in the seeming randomness of them- you're watching a movie and suddenly it's a murder, and I think people do tend to think "oh, well, if you KNOW that area is bad why would you live there" and that is a truly ignorant stance to take. But working together to solve both issues- to get rid of guns- helps more than arguing about which is worse. Every death is terrible. And I think our President did an excellent job of pointing that out.

  • lilianna28

    Our fake president was pretty awesome about it too:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • So here in Austin, TX there was a rather famous mass shooting incident years ago. Unfortunately for the media-violence-is-the-root-of-all-evil crowd, this all happened before media violence became ubiquitous.
    I hate it when things are too messy to wrap up in warm, soft, little generalizations, don't you?

  • Yossarian

    Can you find *some* negative consequences resulting from violent media and video games? Sure. They are pervasive and they do influence us. Amid all the responsible users and all the legitimate artistic achievements there will also be abuses.

    But that does not justify efforts to "crack down" and "do something" about violence in the media, and making things more difficult for artists, creators, gamers, and all the people who appreciate culture (i.e. human beings, us) isn't going to solve the problem. It won't even make a tiny difference.

    In order to make things better you have to make things. Provide meaningful activities and opportunities for kids to engage in, not instead of video games but in addition to them. Talk to them. Encourage them to think critically about what they play, encourage curiosity and empathy. Offer support to at-risk kids who are prone to violence, offer meaningful opportunities that engage them with the real world to kids who retreat into games.

    And understand that video games and violent media don't cause mass shootings. The correlation is there because mentally ill, misunderstood, people with violent tendencies are likely to enjoy violent video games. The games aren't changing who they are, they just appeal to their interests, in addition to appealing to the interests of millions of healthy well adjusted nonviolent kids and adults of all genders and backgrounds.

  • If the weapons we have now were around before violent games, tv, and movies I'm pretty sure they would have had instances like the ones we see at about the same rate. There have always been murderers. There just hasn't always been the means to do what mass murderers have been able to do lately.

  • Some Guy

    HThe weapons we have now have been around before violent video games, TV and movies.

    The AR-15, easily the most vilified weapon currently for sale to civilians in the US, has been available for sale since the mid to late 70s.

    Prior to that, you could buy, from the government, used M1 garand rifles, the rifles use in WW2, which are chambered to a far more powerful round that the AR-15. Despite using clips of only 8 rounds, unlike the 20 and 30 available to for the AR, the rate of fire for an M1 was still 100 rounds per minute. Again, 100 round of a far more powerful and accurate bullet than what the AR fires.

    Shotguns, like the one used in the navy yard shootings, have remained for the most part unchanged for a hundred years. Same with handguns. The M1911, a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, has been around since 1911 and was used by our military until the 70s. The .45 holds 7 rounds and can be reloaded in seconds.

    The weapons have been available. And far easier to get.

  • Thor

    They have been available, but not easier to get. At least, not easier to get without people being able to see who's getting them.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I don't play a lot anymore, but back when I did, I played a lot of sports games. Mostly hockey, football, wrestling, or rugby (yes, there was a rugby game back in the day). But I didn't become an athlete because I played sports games. I played sports games because I was ALREADY an athlete.

    The thing that always infuriates me is the correlation that groups like the PTC want to make - that violent video games cause people to BECOME violent. As if it's not possible for people who are ALREADY violent to seek out violent video games.

  • Thor

    Like how the population boom in the last 50 years correlates with the number of hot chocolates drunk by US citizens. My science teachers always used that to show that correlation does not equal causation.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I think this is true overall - society feeds the culture which feeds back into society. We like violence in our entertainment, so that's what they give us, which normalizes violence, so it's taken to greater and greater effect.

  • TCH

    I would disagree and instead say that humans are violent by nature as there has never really been a completely pacifist society.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I do think humans are violent by nature - that's why we like it in our culture to start. Culture reiterates through repetition what is appropriate/glorified behavior - meaning that there is more of it in society, and on it goes. And every now and then it collapses under its own weight and we end up with a very repressed society. Pretty much the same thing for sex and its representations in culture.

  • Conor

    I currently don't have the time to go through all the inks posted here, but I really think more attention needs to paid to the fact that the vast majority of these (as it was addressed, rare) mass shootings occur in the US.

    I mean, these games, films etc sell all over the world, and yet I have never encountered a violent crime being blamed on or associated with a video game or film where I'm from (Ireland).

    We get our fair share of violent crime, it's far, far from some kind of hippie utopia, but the blame is aimed at the correct sources most of the time, be it drugs, poverty, sectarian issues etc.

    I just feel that it should be the main focus of why this happens more in the US than other countries.

    p.s Not anti-US. I've mates from the States (RHYMES!) and all of them are relatively sane, nice people.

  • Maguita NYC

    I really believe in your comparison between the US and other countries when it comes to gun violence and the placing of blame. There are most probably studies upon studies that either prove or refute your point, and it would be interesting to have someone actually wade through the bullshit and give us the bottom line. I have to check if maybe Politifact has anything on it.

    Like cancer, there is a lot more at play than simplified and singular blame that could be placed on mass shootings. There is a lot more than the air we breathe, or the water we drink, or the food we eat, or the lifestyle we lead that actually make us more susceptible to "catching" cancer, and the same could be said in regards to mass-shootings.

    I was reading not long ago about Child-soldiers abducted and bullied into becoming killing and raping machines in Northern Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and reading Rob's article reminded me of this: You can live in extreme poverty, go through extreme torture, have the monstrous of parents, and still never raise your hand and pull that trigger.

    You can also live a life of luxury, abundance, love and spoils and still raise that hand in a moment of extreme emotion and pull the trigger.

    I believe the difference is not only in the handling of emotional upheaval, the mindset of beliefs or lack thereof, and the resourcefulness of directed hatred: It is more importantly the accessibility and ease to finding means that would more freely express your hatred, and having you seek retribution. Especially when you feel that your world is ending, and you have absolutely no more to fear because there is nothing left to lose.

    Great article Rob! Loved it.

  • BLZ Bubb

    Good article on gun related violence and video game consumption by country. The US is definitely an outlier. Many other countries have higher rates of game play but significantly less violence

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

  • Maguita NYC

    Thank you, I will certainly take a look at it later today.

  • Fredo

    I always think back to Charles Whitman whenever this canard gets brought up. Charles Whitman was the University of Texas sniper who, on August 1, 1966, climbed to the UT-Austin Tower and proceeded to shoot and kill 17 people and wound another 32 before being killed by a police officer.

    So obviously he was influenced by....?

    The only thing I can think, of the top of my head, is that times of great national stress/strain can correlate with increased mass shootings. Add the elements of more accessible guns and greater population density in our cities and one lone nut can do much more damage now than ever.

  • nachosanchez

    I cant remember who, but I recall watching (maybe Colbert?) musing about what violent video games Hitler used to play to psyche him up for genocide.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    One could argue that games in the Colosseum, propoganda films like Triumph of the Will and vitriolic writing in general influenced the social consciousness over the years. Hell, public executions were an event for the whole family throughout most of history.

    I'm not saying that video games are the source of all evil, they're not, but let's not pretend that there were no forms of violent entertainment before the genesis of Atari.

  • No, no...Genesis was Sega...

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    *Golf clap* Well played sir, well played.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Actually Whitman had a tumor pressing on his amygdala, which regulates our responses to fear and emotional reactions, so he's a bad example of someone that just "loses it" one day.

    That isn't to say that I think everyone that's ever played Dead Space is a Dexter in training, but there are studies that have shown that it influences attitudes. I think a lot of this has to do with parenting and upbringing rather than how many people you've blown away as a space marine, but still, there is a pervasive attitude of sexism and violence that is in a lot of gamer culture. I've been threatened with rape more times than I can count on Xbox Live. To be fair, I've never been raped, but that doesn't mean I appreciate the threats.

  • Tinkerville

    I quit Xbox Live for that exact reason. It became impossible to enjoy a single moment of the actual gaming with the rape threats being thrown at me so frequently.

    And yet, if you try to have a discussion about this side of gamer culture the misogynists come out in hordes to tell you to shut the hell up, get over it, and stop playing. Even the major game companies will deny that it happens. It's very disheartening.

  • Ben

    While there are deffintly some pretty awful mysognistic elements in gaming culture.
    I don't think that Xbox live is actually that myosgnisitc to be honest. They're just general fuckwits that hate on everyone regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
    As a straight white male, I still used to get constant threats of rape and murder and all kinds of obscenities hurled at me on x-box live (wich is why I stopped using)

    I think it has a lot more to do with the general internet fuckwad theory, where the moment you give someone a form of anonymity they become a complete unrepentant fuckwad.

  • Tinkerville

    Sorry if this comes across the wrong way, but Xbox Live is absolutely misogynistic. You're right that those kinds of comments get thrown around to every person of every type. It's what happens when you give a fourteen year-old dumbass a controller, mic, and anonymity. But as a straight male, you being threatened with rape is very different than when women are threatened with rape, and we're threatened with it when they know full well what gender we are and they do it maliciously. It's different than the run of the mill insults they throw around every few seconds. It's like when they attack someone for their race. That doesn't mean they aren't being racist on top of being little idiots.

    Also, outside of the games themselves, if you ever dare reveal yourself as a female gamer on forums or conventions, things will get very ugly very fast. I've been told things like "get your f*cking c*nt back in the kitchen and away from games, you poser bitch." That was in person, by the way, so I don't buy that anonymity is behind all of it. I think their existing beliefs are just permeating the games themselves.

    I'd encourage you to give this a read, as well the accounts of Xbox and the good people at Halo 4 addressing the issue of sexism in Xbox Live, and given that they're massive corporations, they wouldn't be prompted to comment on it if it wasn't, you know, an issue. http://www.themarysue.com/xbox...

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    What? Girls secretly love threats of rape, violence and requests for boob picks. It makes them feel special.

    Most fun I've ever had, before getting rid of my account, was letting my husband play as me and let him hear the shit that's said.

  • Ben

    Oh there is definitely rampant misogynistic bullshit in video game circles I'd never try to deny that. Especially in a lot of older gamers that grew up thinking it was a boys only club and now having to deal with "OH MY GODS THE WOMENS WANT TO PLAY MY VIDEO GAMES" and it's fucking pathetic.
    And the guy that said that shit to you in real life deserves nothing less then a punch in the dick.

    But I think there's a difference between actual misogynistic slurs from the kind of neck beard fedora wearing mens right's activist gamers and teenagers trying to say whatever they can to be as offensive as possible, which is what the majority of the xbox live shit is.
    One comes from a place of real hatred and fear, and the other is just teenagers being fucktards and trying to get a rise out of people.

    That doesn't make it better, don't get me wrong. It's still really fucking bad, and there needs to be some shit in place to cut it out because it makes a great service fucking unbearable for basically everyone. But labeling it as misogynistic kind of applies a level of hatred and, I guess actual forethought to it that isn't really there.

  • Thor

    True that. But some of it does stem from how the characters act in games like Halo and Gears of War, where the game world and people are glorified for being sexist and violent.

  • Ben

    Have you actually played Halo's story? Cause honestly I can't remember any characters being glorified for being sexist? Same with gears (Although I never finished 3 and haven't played judgement either so that might come up there?)

    Hell I played through gears 1/2 co-op with my fiance and she never picked up on any overt glorification of sexisim in em either? Hell there aren't even really enough female characters around for the characters to act sexist towards
    (Which is it's own problem but an entire other discussion)

  • Thor

    First of all, calm down with the question marks. They are for questions only.

    Second, just because your fiance couldn't find sexist subtext does that mean it doesn't exist. That's the "I'm not racist because my friend is black" argument.

    Third, I was talking about the games having sexism BUILT into them. There is all of one woman in all of the Halo and Gears of War games combined, and she's not even real. That would be Cortana. You can be sexist without literally smack-talking women.

  • Ben

    Halo has Cortanna, Dr Halsey , Sarah Palmer, Kat-B320, and Captain Dare as central characters in the various games on top of a bunch of side characters (Ron Pearlmans daughter etc). I'm fairly sure a bunch of imprtant characters in Halo Wars are female too but I haven't played that yet. On top of being able to choose the gender of the Protagonist in Reach.

    Gears of war's main villain in 2 was a woman As well as Doms Wife being a pretty central to the plot. The radio chick was really the only female presence. The third game acknowledged that they'd been pretty lite on the female presence and added a bunch of awesome hardcore female COG's to your squads.

    Perhaps my fiance didn't see the sexism in Gears of war cause she actually played them instead of making a bunch of assumptions?

    I mean sure they're not the most progressive gender equle bastions of equality or anything. But they're far from boys only woman hating bastions of misogony that you're making them out to be either.

  • Thor

    1. Calling any female character but Cortanna "central" to the plot of the Halo games is a HUGE stretch. What female character, other than Cortanna (who, once again, is not really a woman) does anything to change the plot, or defeat the bad guys? Who has any agency at all? Hell, even Cortanna doesn't have any agency since she's totally dependent on a man (the Chief) to carry her around. Plus it seems like you are including the book universe, which obviously doesn't count.

    2. Gears of War: Two women, one of which is the villain, and the other is the pure embodiment of the Ice Box trope? Sounds pretty fucking sexist to me. You should familiarize yourself with the study of feminism before you declare things like this.

    Also, I did not call the games misogynistic. I called them sexist. There is a HUGE difference.

  • Ben

    "What female character other then Cortanna do anything to change the plot or defeat the bad guy"

    Dr Hasley is integral to the plot, being the one who creates the saprtan program, figures out what the covenant are, and creates Cortanna from scans of her own brain.

    Kat B320 is the second in command of your squad in Reach, what does she do to defeat the bad guys? Shoot a fuck load of them in the head tends to help. She's as integral as any other squad mate to the plot in Reach.

    Captain Dare is basically the entire reason Halo ODST exists, while your squad fucks up everything, she manages to get shit done and actually figure out what is going on, rescuing the engineer from the covenant and leading to humanity figuring out how to push back the Covenant.

    Sarah Palmer is the main character of Spartan Assault, she doesn't do much in the main game, but Spartan Assault is basically all her.

    So yeah, they're all pretty integral actually.

    As for 2, there were two women presentn in Gears of War 2, that's one game out of 4. Wich like I said admitted that it was pretty sparse on women in part 3 and added in Sam and Anya as squad mates who are beside you kicking arse for most of the game.

    Of note is that with the exception of Cortanna, none of the women show up in skimpy outfits or are portrayed as sex objects. Usually they're wearing bulky power armour and combat gear that makes it hard to tell they're even women at a distance.

    Hell I'd wager that Halo has more awesome ladies in it then most comparable big budget action movies.

  • Thor

    Dr. Hasley, Kat B320, and Captain Dare are not integral to the main plots by your own descriptions of them. Hasley is dead when the games begin (another ice box), plus she's just Cortanna in human form, Kat B320 is a side character from a B-side of Halo that had a 5 hour campaign that had no impact on the story. Same for Captain Dare, as ODST had no story at all. Just because they are female and kill bad guys during game play doesn't mean they are powerful females or good representations of that half of humanity.

    Also, being dressed sexily doesn't mean the game is sexist, and vice versa. You could have a game where the women are nothing but half naked and it could be less sexist than these games. These games are sexist by omission. The same way a movie is racist if it doesn't include colored people where there should be some.

    As for the big budget movie comparison- not a good place to go to make yourself look better. Most Youtube videos are less sexist than those movies.

  • Ben

    Hasley isn't dead, she shows up in intro to Halo 4 talking about chiefs apparent death at the end of 3. She also plays a fairly important role in Spartan Opps.

    Also you're moving the goal posts, your original said that Cortanna was the only female character in all of Halo and Gears of War. Now your argument is that the games that had female characters in weren't important enough so they don't count? Or that you don't like how some of them are treated in gears?

    The games aren't perfect, and I'm happy to discuss the actual problems they have. But you're just making shit up, so I'm out.

  • Thor

    Goodbye.

  • Salad_Is_Murder

    You won't be missed.

    It's obvious that you don't know what you're talking about regarding either of those games and are simply trolling for reasons I can't even bother to speculate on.

  • Fredo

    In today's world, that fact wouldn't reach the light of day. He'd be painted as a PTSD-sufferer before the blame media types came out.

    As for the sexism, you're absolutely right that it's there. That's not just within the games, but a part of the culture.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I don't think the media has any interest in what actually causes violence. They're about page views and dollars spent.

    But if we're going to actually examine the psychological effects of things like GTA, then we need to look at how it effects one's ability to empathize.
    I certainly don't think that everyone who plays FPS games are psychos waiting to happen, but there has been a shift in how I'm treated as a person when I game online.

  • TCH

    You beat me to the punch. Furthermore apparently Whitman was overall a model Marine and Citizen. He knew something was wrong though he didn't know what.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    It's actually a really tragic story. I've always felt badly for him. Not that people who are mentally ill aren't tragic figures as well, but Whitman experienced a slow descent into madness and was seemingly powerless to stop it.

  • AgLexington

    This dovetails nicely with the SOA post today. What I gather from both posts: parents need to be more engaged in what they're allowing their children to be exposed to. I know there's only so much a parent can control when their child is outside their home, but the home is the one environment that can mostly be controlled. A) Monitor their child's media intake and traffic B) Get the television out of their child's bedroom. C) Freaking talk to your kid and DO stuff with them that doesn't involve an electronic.

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