Despite my best efforts, I find myself still keeping up with Go Make Me A Sandwich. The main problem I find with reading this kind of material is that our whole “Western” culture is based around the objectification of women, and so it’s difficult to expect gaming culture to be markedly different. Which is not to say that we shouldn’t desire and couldn’t eventually expect that to change, just that I’m not surprised gaming is mired in the same hole.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the issue of gender equality is summed up in one word: Pornography. This is nothing less than the deliberate and systematic reduction of women to sexual objects, if not worse.
The problem here raises its head in terms of a basic hypocrisy on the part of almost all men. Even the most well-intentioned and pious gentleman probably consumes pornography in some form. It’s almost hard not to, because naked or semi-naked women are the default fall-back position for anyone wanting to sell anything; but I suspect that this is not really the stopping point for almost anyone. Hands up who hasn’t bought a playboy?
The reason that pornography exists is because women are attractive to men. Hands up, men: who doesn’t like naked women? We like to see naked women; it’s a fact.
My question is then, not whether we should heed the general message of GMMAS – we should. But I do wonder whether there is a space “beyond” that situation. Is there a possibility of naked women that aren’t objectified? What structure would those pictures have? Is there a positive potential of empowering women through naked display?
My instinct is that there is probably not any kind of way of consistently creating “positive pornography”; just ways of mitigating the damage.
Observe the image below (from here), which is pretty much “BOOBIES!” in pictoral form:
Compare that to the following image, which is improved by the woman in question having a face as well as breasts. Even though she’s completely naked, this seems less exploitative – it’s a photo of a witch on a broomstick. Yet, as much as it’s an improvement, it is also still basically putting a woman on display. (Original here)
Both of these images came from image feeds simply displaying pictures of interest… I think the mere featuring of these two images is illustrative of how pervasive sexual images are in the world, especially of the internet.
I guess my real question is: what would the third photo in the series look like?