This week, Maxim launched a contest to find its very own Maxim Gamer Girl. Like a pig hunting truffles in the wild, Maxim will scour the streets of America for the perfect "video game vixen." Wear your "hottest outfit," the magazine commands. "First come, first serve."
Clearly the magazine doesn't realize that this is 2012.
Now on one hand, picking on Maxim for objectifying women might be like picking on a dog for licking its own feces. It's just what they do.
On the other hand, this is more than just objectification. By turning the idea of Gamer Girl into a sexual fantasy alongside the likes of common dreams like Sexy School Girl or The Girl Next Door, Maxim is fetishizing the 42% of gamers who happen to be women. Girls who play video games are no longer human beings who enjoy a certain form of entertainment. Now they're caricatures.
Can you imagine a full-page spread on "Girls Who Read Books?" Would Maxim readers get off to "Filmgoing Vixens"?
I have absolutely no problem with girls showing their skin in Maxim. It's empowering for many models and enjoyable for many readers. But this idea that Gamer Girl should be a category of its own, that the girls who enjoy video games should be placed on some pedestal and treated like a precious unicorn to be captured and worshiped by men everywhere, is absolutely sickening.
Check out the comments on Maxim's piece. Some readers are hilariously acerbic; others are actually interested in the contest:
The most disgusting part of this whole thing? High-profile gaming publisher EA supports this.