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There are many annoying things going on in the video game industry right now, such as fanboyism, motion sensing, the 3D glasses movement, the Wii… the list can go on and on. However, one of the most annoying things is the “token hot video game journalist chick”. Sure, it’s nice to see women in this male dominated industry. We here at Player Affinity have several. So what’s the bad part about having women in the industry? There isn’t one. However, I want to emphasize that I mean women… hiring a skinny, pleasing to the eye, Barbie who knows little to nothing about games, and then treating them as a journalist when they are clearly nothing more than a mascot to attract horny teenage boys is a disservice to both genders. I am not going to callout any organizations specifically, but I’m pretty sure any gamer reading this probably follows major gaming websites and TV channels, so you know who I’m talking about.
How can we make the distinction between a real female journalist and one that’s a sex mascot? Well for starters, if you see ads with her wearing a tight tank top while the two guys next to her have on two shirts and a jacket, then you should realize that something might be wrong. Some other good indicators include them doing a lingerie/swimsuit photo-shoot, wearing sexual costumes, or licking certain video game platforms.
Of course, this brings up the question if a good-looking woman can still be attractive and be treated like a real professional at the same time. Well the answer to that is “maybe”. This is a gender issue, but even looking at it on the male side of things. If Cliffy B. or a popular video game journalist, such as the former Shawn Elliot, did a half-naked photo spread, wouldn’t you look at them differently? If we want quality video game journalism, it is time for us to use the same set of standards as news from other mediums. SportsCenter doesn’t put Hannah Storm or Rachel Nichols in cheerleader outfits to cover the NFL, why should a video game anchor dress as Chun Li when attending E3? This lame ratings gimmick creates short term and long term issues. By combining the news with cosplay, it diminishes the value of the facts and stories being reported, all while reinforcing the juvenile stereotype already associated with the industry. In the long run, it could also eliminate aspiring female journalists who don’t want to have to fit into tiny outfits to cover breaking news stories.
Sex sells is a common and effective marketing tool. Anyone who has seen certain news reporters on Spanish channels or Fox News shows may have realized that you can sometimes swap female news reporters for models nowadays. Therefore, this isn’t exclusively a video game industry problem, but because of the history, perception, and the outside view of the typical “gamer” this trend seems to resonate more in all aspects of the medium, not just news. The core demographic of gamers might be younger and more male than similar groups associated with politics, film, television, etc but why does this mean that all video game advertisements and news has to be targeted at us as if we are all 14-year-old males.
Taking the high road isn’t exactly easy and usually takes maturity. I’m sure if guys had the choice of picking a masseuse who was highly trained and looked like Rosie O’Donnell or a woman who’s somewhat trained, but looks like Scarlett Johansson… I’m pretty sure I know who most men would pick. It’s human nature, especially for us men to want to look at pretty things. However, at a certain point, everyone should ask themselves “is this right”? Why should the first masseuse, who’s far better, lose clients or have a harder time because she’s not good looking?
Now that the problem has been highlighted, will it ever change? Well, unless an extreme version of Children of Men happens and every male goes impotent, I see this trend happening always and forever. Much like with the aforementioned example above, this trend stopping goes against human nature and is probably asking too much of average people… of course, that doesn’t include any Player Affinity fans.
On a completely off-topic note, we here at Player Affinity are hiring. We’re looking for women who are 18 to 25 years old, 5.6 to 5.9ft, 100 to 125 pounds, and racially ambiguous. At least a middle school level of writing skills would be nice, but we will write your articles for you if you’re hot enough. Your uniform will consist of a white tank top, a Street Fighter character cosplay, or your standard Princess Leia slave costume… your choice. Like everyone here at Player Affinity, you will be paid in Jolly Ranchers and last gen video games. We look forward to seeing qualified candidates. All girls who fit the above age, size, and height qualifications who send in videos of themselves demonstrating the hula-hoop game on a Wii Fit board while in their underwear will be immediately hired.