Riddle me this: are the people who design video games all messed up and demented? A new video game called “Hey Baby” lets a female avatar run around with a gun, shooting men who sexually harass her with the usual obnoxious crap, like “You know you want it!” and “I love you!” When she shoots her harassers, headstones rise from the ground with his catcall in place of his name.If you believe that video games make already unhinged people more inclined to go on a shooting spree (e.g., Columbine), you probably think “Hey Baby” is messed up.
But let’s be honest: it’s not any more or less messed up than the hundreds — thousands? — of other video games where a character runs around with an AK-47 blowing the guts out of infidels/insurgents/innocent bystanders. Nor is it any more or less worse than Grand Theft Auto IV, where a male avatar has sex with and beats up a female prostitute. It’s just a switch of the genders, as far as I see.
Is the idea of women shooting at sexual harassers in real life disturbing? Sure. (I hope I don’t have to explain to you why there’s nothing remotely “feminist” about it.) But “Hey Baby” the game is peanuts compared to the violent, misogynistic video games that people have been playing for decades, so I’m more upset about that than this.
At the very least, maybe “Hey Baby” will provoke a more honest discussion about what kind of simulated violence/entertainment “goes too far.”