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On Gynophobia and Misogyny in Games and Gaming

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Over at Acid for Blood and Feminist Gamers, there are two interesting essays on the shooter/action game Cunt, which involves dastardly female genitalia (looking, as the FG article pointed out, "for all the world like a wizened creature out of the H.R. Giger convalescent home for aging genital monsters") and a player tasked with causing 'bloody cunt damage.' And it's not just a hack job from an amateur, being published by Newgrounds (of Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers). As pointed out in both spots, this game is a rather graphic representation of a fear of women that goes back a very, very long time, and, as pointed out at Feminist Gamers:

But as easy as it would be to point to a game like Cunt and say "golly gosh, anyone who plays this game certainly does have more than a few bound-for-your-personal-library issues with female sexuality," (and holy shit, is it ever), we have to take a step back and survey the landscape, so to speak. Because this game is not unique, it's not a one-off… it represents a very real and tangible culture of hatred of women that exists within the gaming community. After all, if the developers thought no-one would play the game, they wouldn't have made it in the first place.

The Acid for Blood piece opines:

However, Edmund McMillen is not just some basement coder or armchair designer. McMillan had a hand in the early development of current Xbox 360 indie darling, Braid, and he co-created the critically praised indie game, Gish. He is a professional game designer (or he has professional aspirations) and he not only thought that Cunt was a good idea, but he thought gamers would play it. Though it is a basic shooting game, Cunt has polish. Not only did people play it, but McMillen was lauded for Cunt:

Were you happy with the response for the game? I was honestly blown away by it. I really thought people would just write it off or get mad. Somehow it turned into something "punk", and was accepted by the "scene". Too bad the gameplay was lacking. If I knew it was going to get such a positive response I would have designed something more innovative and new for the gameplay.

The reception Cunt got amongst gamers shows how accepted, established, and insidious misogyny is in gaming culture. Cunt is not an isolated case.


Of course there are plenty of (male, heterosexual) gamers who aren't gynophobic misogynists, and there are plenty of misogynists running around who have never picked up a game (never mind Cunt in their life); but there is a pervasive bit of sexism that runs around the community that can be extremely off putting on a number of levels. The fact that so many conversations about issues like these devolve into name-calling and hateful bullshit almost immediately doesn't help matters. C*nt (the Game): Gynophobia and Misogyny [Acid for Blood]; Gamers and the vagina - the final boss? [Feminist Gamers]