You’re not getting it.

gta5 sexism misogyny satire

If you dismiss feminist game criticism by claiming that the critic fails to recognize satire/irony/parody, then YOU are the one not getting it. Why any attempt to silence criticism by using the satire defense is doomed to fail.


A professional game reviewer – a woman by the name of Carolyn Petit – listed the rampant misogyny in the game as a negative, implying that the offensive writing detracted from the otherwise perfect score for the game (as it damn well should). By the thousands sexism apologists started posting aggressive comments trying to silence her. Here is a nice opinionated write up.

And as always one of the most pervasive reasonings for dismissing any negative reaction to the misogyny in the game was, that the misogyny is intentional and actually there to subvert misogyny, a parody of sexist games, a satire on american culture, a game in which the hateful content is used ironically to confront us with the more problematic aspects of masculinity or simply used intentionally to be funny.

They are – in text and subtext – effectively saying, that the reviewer is not getting it. That the reviewer is falsely accusing the game of misogyny, because she is too blind, biased, sensitive, stuck up, incompetent, unprofessional, attention seeking, too radical, too female… …too much a feminist to see that the game is actually a statement against sexism.

This happens all the time. If the sexism denying gaming public is confronted with feminist criticism, they either claim to not see it, or when they can’t but recognize that the misogyny is there, they say it’s ironic. For them feminists need to get shut down for either “blowing things out of proportion” and “being over-sensitive” or for “failing to see that the admittedly over-the-top sexism is actually satire”. To them there are games with either not enough misogyny to be problematic or with way too much misogyny to be problematic.

This legendary sweet spot of juuuust the right amount of misogyny in a game, which a feminist critic can then point to without being personally attacked, does not actually exists.

sexism in video games donkey kong gta5

“Sexual assault in Donkey Kong? You are over-thinking things. Duke Nukem Forever is misogynistic? It’s so over the top, nobody can take that seriously, except stuck up feminists.” – very convenient.

If you are one of those people who think they “get the satire” and therefore have a superior understanding on sexism issues, than the feminists critics who “don’t get it” and state so publicly… you are making a fool of yourself. Hard. And if you also do that in a demeaning, silencing, aggressive way – as if there is any other way– you are fooling yourself even harder.

The Mark

Before I tear this stuff apart, I’d like to clarify some terminology first. When I refer to target group or target audience, I’m referring to the group of people who are supposed to enjoy the so called satire, supposed to buy it, laugh at it and get it. When I refer to the mark, I’m referring to the group of people and their ideologies, which are the subject of the satire, the ones to laugh at.


This is actually fairly easy to spot. When you use childish cartoon visuals to illustrate a subject that your mark takes very seriously. When you use super low production value to present a subject that your mark values a lot. When a protagonist rolls his eyes and explicitly calls out the mark’s bullshit. When you show something that the mark enjoys in a very unsettling and disgusting way. When you create a totally silly world, but plant a character representing the mark, who takes everything totally serious. When you show something similar to the mark, but it is obviously fake or a bad copy.

Every dissonance listed here works vice versa as well and there are probably a lot more ways to create dissonance. Making something extremely sexist is not creating a dissonance, it’s just creating something extremely sexist. Also just trying to be funny, tongue in cheek, joking whatever does not cut it. You need to disrupt expectations, not exceed them.

These are not parodies of ads exploiting the female body to sell video games. These ARE ads exploiting the female body to sell video games.

These are not parodies of ads exploiting the female body to sell video games. These are ads exploiting the female body to sell video games.

It’s also incredibly vital to understand the medium you are working with. Many tropes who otherwise would be super dissonant and off, can be classic tropes of the respective medium and expected to be there.

Take porn for example. The writing, bad dialogue, horrible acting, non-existent set design, exaggerated sex… all are super silly, dumb, laughable… but they are expected in porn. They do not clash with what porn is. There is no way you can lower production value low enough or write dialog dense enough to turn a porn film into a parody of porn.

In the same way, you cannot raise a body count high enough to turn a shooting game into a parody of shooter games or make a fighting game brutal enough to turn it into a parody of fighting games. Violence is expected in those types of games and therefore cannot be used to separate a game as satire.

Which brings us to…


This is where it gets interesting, because this is what most defenses are based on. When sexism in video games crosses the necessary threshold to become undeniably obvious to the gaming public, apologists everywhere are quick to call it satire, because it’s so over the top, that it no longer can be taken seriously.

When it comes to sexism, racism, homophobia and any other bigotry or ideology, there are no statements, that are too hyperbolic. There is no limit to hateful rhetoric, you cannot shatter a ceiling here. Death threats, rape threats, threats of ETERNAL torment in hell, there is no way to turn that into satire, just by trying to be more extreme. Also no amount of humor or light hearted attitude diffuses the ideology behind the offensive jokes for a proponent. Humorous bigotry is still bigotry.

The things is, hyperbole as satire only clicks, if the creator of the hyperbole and the target audience both agree, that the mark is deserving of ridicule and both understand why. This needs trust. You can have this trust between peers, who know each other and know how to process it when one makes hyperbolic statements, which clash with shared values. Or you can be a media source, which is established to be a satirical source, so that every member of the audience knows how to read it.

Otherwise you are just making hyperbolic statements about something, which most proponents of that something are already doing all the fucking time. Pushing the envelope on hateful messaging is not satire.

Punch Up!

No matter if creators use dissonance and/or hyperbole in order to make fun of something, the direction they are punching in tells us if it is satire or just mean spirited humor.

When joking about any form of oppression out there, you need to make the oppressor the punchline, NOT the oppressed. When joking about any form of inequality, you need to make privileged people the butt of your joke, NOT the marginalized and disenfranchised.

Racist jokes are racists, homophobic jokes are homophobic, misogynistic jokes are misogynistic. Trying to be funny while punching down on people, does not absolve anyone from being a bigot.

In order to be punching up you either need to be part of the oppressed group yourself or you need to explicitly aim for the oppressors with the jokes you make and leave the oppressed group alone.

Like GTA5, there actually is satire in Duke Nukem Forever. But this satire has women as its mark and is therefore still misoygnistic. Like this swipe at the Olson twins here. Two sisters presented as incestuous sex objects, which later literally get raped to death by alines, while Duke Nukem cracks a joke about it. This is not how you punch up.

Like GTA5, there actually is satire in Duke Nukem Forever. But this satire has women as its mark and is therefore still misoygnistic. Like this swipe at the Olson twins here. Two sisters presented as incestuous sex objects, which later literally get raped to death by aliens, while Duke Nukem cracks a joke about it. This is not how you punch up.


This is where everything falls apart. EVERYTHING. If you ever have used claims of satire to defend a game against feminist criticism you shot your own foot.

You know what kind of game a game would be, when the sexist content in it would be used ironically to in fact punch up against gender inequality? It would be a feminist game per definition. You know what any game creator who would make a game like that would be? A feminist. You know who the target audience for that game would be? Other feminist.

You know who is really annoyed by all that feminist complaining? You know who would threaten feminist critics with rape, violence and death? You know who would call concerned women bitches, over-sensitive, on their period, stuck up, ugly, fake, incompetent or ask for a sandwich? You know who would use “feminist” as a derogatory term? Misogynists.

If you feel the need to defend games against feminism – either if you genuinely feel, that feminism is a problem or if you are just annoyed by it – how can you buy, play, enjoy and defend a game, that you say is feminist satire? How can you buy, play, enjoy and defend a game, that is feminist satire, if you genuinely feel, that feminism is a problem or if you are annoyed by it? See how you are biting your own ass here, GTA apologists?

Considering the huge amounts of people who feel like they need to defend GTA5 against feminists, the huge amount of misogynistic vile spilled allover message boards and comment sections and considering the huge amounts of people who actually enjoy the available misogynistic ingame activities of GTA5… …Rockstar either really really sucks at making satire or they genuinely think misogyny makes for a worthwhile gaming experience and proper advertising method.

And considering the fact, that Rockstar has yet to come out and publicly apologize for sucking at making satire, publicly acknowledge the damage they have done to feminists causes and yet to publicly ask everyone who is defending the game against feminism to kindly shut the fuck up… … It’s probably the latter.


GTA5 is misogynistic

The fact that the game is viewed as in conflict with feminism – by feminist critics and clueless GTA defenders alike – makes it misogynistic by definition. And the fact that Rockstar isn’t doing anything to resolve that conflict shows that a truly misogynistic game is not clashing with their intended messaging.

If male game creators make and market a game with misogynistic content, and then let male gamers silence women who are concerned by the misogynistic content, then any argument trying to claim satire dies a quick but horrible death. Even worse if the creators engage in the silencing themselves.

Any supposed dissonance would have been too subtle to resonate. Any hyperbole became a shield against criticism, instead of being a catalyst for debate. Sexist content would have encouraged more sexist behavior.

Any supposed satire would have vanished into meaninglessness or never has been there in the first place. Satire is not just humor, it’s humorous criticism. There is no satire, no irony, no parody, when criticism is silenced.

Guys, we need to stop denying sexism when it’s ordinary and we need to stop denying sexism when it’s over the top. We need to stop being part of the problem. We need to let people talk. Otherwise we will continue to not get it.


Gamespot has posted a nice reply video to the situation as well, also digging into the concept of satire and how that doesn’t apply to GTA5:

199 Replies to “You’re not getting it.”

  1. So, the marker at which i started to think the post was biased was when you made the claim that “We need to let people talk” , and then saw multiple posts that were deleted. While I understand that this is your site, and you can do what you wish with it, it doesn’t help help that you “silence” those whose opinions differ from yours. A more effective way to achieve the goal of winning over people is the prove their arguments wrong, through argumentation. It doesn’t matter if you’re right, if you can’t prove it to others. Also, the post makes the underlying assumption that gamers are secretly agreeing with misogynist policies, and therefore taking all of the game’s content seriously. Whatever your point was (it’s not extremely clear), it comes off as “GTA V is misogynistic, and so is everyone that plays it.

    1. Of course this post is biased… Is this supposed to be criticism?
      Yes, it’s biased towards a less misogynistic gaming culture and yes I silence misogynistic bullshit on my platform.

      And no there is no assumption in regards if players agree with misogynistic ideas or take them seriously. That is not required for a misogynistic outcome of media products like GTA. The cultural influence pop culture media has is not comparable to eductional media and works without the audiences accepting things as fact. My article actually explicitly is about denouncing the useless attempts at trivializing the misogynistic imagery of GTA by taking them not seriously. ..the opposite of what you accuse me to assume.

      Here is some homework:

  2. I hate to be the one to point out irony here, but I had to stop reading this article after your inept comparison about “porn”. I really hate to use this phrase, because it’s so on the nose, but regarding “porn”, it’s clear that you “don’t get it”.

    This will be a 2 parter because your comments have a ridiculously low character limit that disincentivizes discussion.

    I’ve worked in the adult industry and I know first-hand that there is quite a bit of history to the use of parody in porn. There are subtle uses that reference previous porn titles all the way to very overt use of parody, like the Parody XXX series. The fact that porn is “too low budget already” doesn’t disqualify it from being serious OR being a parody. It is possible to have both in a low budget production.


    1. “I had to stop reading this article after “… is not a good start to a discussion.

      “a ridiculously low character limit that disincentivizes discussion.” it didn’t stop you from spending that characters on insults and strawmanning my arguments.

      The character limit is there for a reason, trying to circumvent it by submitting a series of comments will not be permitted.

      PS: I never suggested that there is no parody in porn or shooters, but that exaggeration of porn tropes and shooter tropes do not make a parody on itself.
      I also never argued that there is no satire in GTA, but that the violence and misogyny in GTA itself is not satire.

      No need to make a case for the existence of satire and parody. Come back when you read the article again, in full, twice.

    2. PS: in case you have not noticed, your other comments have not been published.
      You are not entitled to a platform here.

  3. I was on board right up until I read “There actually is satire in Duke Nukem Forever. But this satire has women as its mark and is therefore still misoygnistic.”
    Now I’m being one of those people that comments without reading the whole thing, because I’m lazy and I’ll forget about it if I finish reading the rest of it.
    The satire itself isn’t misogynistic, it’s the (apparent, perceived, whatever qualifier you want to stick here) lack of satire that has men as its mark.

  4. One of the points that Petit made in her review was that without anything to underline how wrong the misogyny is the game just celebrates sexism. But you could say the same about the violence or any other mature aspects of the game. There isn’t anything to underline how wrong the violence in the game is, so the game must celebrate violence! The same goes for drugs. The characters use drugs l and there’s nothing to underline why that’s wrong so the game must also celebrate the existence of drugs!

    1. Except that being violent and doing drugs are illegal in the real world, as well as there being clear and obvious adverse consequences, sometimes even in the game. Start a fight with people? They hit you back or try to kill you. Do drugs? It affects your vision and ability to discern reality from hallucination. Where are the consequences for being a misogynist in GTA games? Aside from getting sex?

      1. During the games story, Trevor, one of the main protagonists, shouts at one of the characters for calling a woman a bitch. He says this: “You called her a bitch! Ain’t you got a mother?”
        In a later mission he goes ballistic at the thought of Micheal’s daughter Tracy being sexualized on TV and gets Micheal to go and get her.

        1. Given the fact that he boasts (crudely) about having sex with another man’s girlfriend and you can take him to the strip club or hire prostitutes, this only shows that Trevor is inconsistent (i.e., poorly written). And don’t tell me “player’s behavior =/= character’s personality” because the game restricts certain characters from doing certain activities already (e.g., Franklin can’t play tennis or do yoga). At any rate it’s more an adverse consequence of being around Trevor than being sexist.

  5. GTA V doesn’t treat women well. But it doesn’t treat men well either. The men in the game are portrayed as drugs dealers, liars ect. The only characters in the game that we actually get to like are the leads so it goes back to the fact that there is no female lead. And there doesn’t have to be. If the story Rockstar wants to tell works best with three men then they shouldn’t feel pressured into including a female. Keep in mind that there’s more men involved with crime than women in real life too

    1. IMO, it’s still that men are treated noticeably better than women. Because those men you speak of? Being portrayed as liars and drug dealers? Are still doing these things in a way that makes them look “cool”. Women on the other hand are almost always portrayed as being wrong. And in many different ways, all depending on stereotypes we’ve seen a million times before. She has to be overly sexual (where this makes up the majority of her purpose in the game), a nagging “bitch” (who is never-

      1. -validated and always just a “bitch” even if what she’s saying is correct), or just stupid like Michael’s wife and daughter. While the son is stupid too, most of the MEN in the game are just overly violent but that’s something that makes him look cool and respectable. It’s never pointed at and ridiculed, whereas most of the women in GTA games are. Understand I’m not saying that SOME men in GTA 5 aren’t ridiculed, just that men are still much more likely to be “respected”.

        1. This is probably because there is more men featured in the game than women. This makes sense, not only because there is more men involved with crime than women in real life, but the fact that there are more men making these games than women. When creating characters, people often think of characters of their gender and ones that they can relate to in real life. Since the game is mostly created by men, and most of the people buying and playing the game are men, the lack of females can be forgiven

    2. I don’t buy that it’s about realism for one second, particularly in a game in which you can magically flip your car over by moving the analog. And I also think “the story works best with only male protagonists” is at best an admission that the writers haven’t the skill to incorporate a female, and at worst just a lie.

      1. I came back here out of boredom and saw that you actually had responded. It was nearly a month after I had made my last comment so after a while I just stopped checking. There’s a good chance that you’ll never read this but anyway…
        GTA V’s world tries to mimic the real one. Nearly everything in it’s city can be related to something in real life. Some incidents do occur that are impossible in real life, but that’s because it’s a game. If games mimicked real life exactly, they’d suck. That rule doesn’t apply to the themes and setting of the game though. The developers can Mae those parts as realistic as they want and still have all the crazy stuff. Because if they didn’t, as I just said, they would suck.
        As for the part on no female lead, Dan Houser from Rockstar said this:
        “The concept of being masculine was so key to this story”
        He later on added that the character set is just what came to them and that they weren’t doing it off a checklist.
        He also made clear that Rockstar wasn’t against the idea of a female lead, just that GTA might not be the best game for it. He said that with the right setting and themes, “it could be fantastic”

        1. That’s just a cop-out. They’ve made plenty of games by now and could’ve easily incorporated a female protagonist if they wanted to. That’s not to say they HAVE to have a female protagonist. That’s not why I agree that GTA is sexist. I look at how women are portrayed in the games. While it’s true that GTA has plenty of male characters with flaws, they’re usually moral flaws that are essential to the “badass” image Rockstar always strives for when they make their games…

        2. By contrast, the WOMEN in GTA games are always INCOMPETENT and/or a sex object for men’s pleasure. They’re not just portrayed as flawed people, like the men; they’re portrayed as INFERIOR.

          1. Then explain GTA3 and how a Chinese woman runs all of the second city under an ironfist and has you on the shortest leash ever, could literally, at any moment, have you killed or stranded basically cut you loose? You RELY on two women in that game to open up the doors to the next city and one of them RUNS that city despite a lesbian, and a woman… Something your claim seems to stand in the face of.

            Not to mention the negative and terrible portrayal of how shitty men are, pretty even treatment.

            1. Yes, TWO women, compared to how many men? And I think the fact that these two women had to be lesbians should be a red flag for you as well (Do you think that was for the sake of any female gamers who may be playing or something?). I’ll grant you that you’ve found an exception to the rule, but you’re being disingenuous to imply it is in some way damaging to my overall argument.

              And again, men and women being portrayed as immoral is not the issue but the level of competence they can have is.

  6. I applaud you as hard as i can, so it may be heard through this unbearable stupidness all around.

    You gave me strong, undenieable weapons against these people. Please continue with your cause, and never give up, for there will be many others like me.

    I was helpless against this “its all satire”-bullshit. Not anymore.


  7. Oh so you want to restrict MY post, eh asshole?! Your a pathetic cocksucking varmint with nothing positive to offer the new world. You will rot in hell and no one will even remember who you are afterwards. Degenerate, scumbag, loser. I will make it my mission to shut down your “blogs” and everything you’ve ever created online, you useless coward. You’re not pro-women, you’re pro-censorship. Fact, not an opinion. Go ahead and argue with me and lose, since that’s what you were born to do anyway.

    1. All bark, no bite.

      Your opinions are not welcome in my house, so I kick you out when I please.

      But your rantings are quite amusing – I suspect for my readership as well – so I approve.
      It’s all in there. The entitlement, the pissed rage, the homophobic insults, the complete lack of understanding in regards to what censorship even is. Delicious.

      No guarantees though that I will approve anything else from you. You people get really boring really fast.


    2. Dear readers…

      This user proceeded to send me 11 additional comments including calls for me to kill myself and many other typical nonsense and insults.
      I decided to neither publish any of those additional 11 comments or to react to them, which of course made this person declare himself the winner of the argument he was having with himself basically, since I did not answer at all. Anyways… These kinds of comments only draw snark from me, which I enjoy writing from time to time – it’s a mental hygiene thing – but are overall neither productive reading material nor pretty.

      So, please scroll down for some actual debates. This particular …uhm… “conversation” will be removed within the next few days.



  8. Wow, you have somehow succeeded in deleting almost everything but compliments from the comment section. HOW DARE PEOPLE GET THE JOKE. This is the logic we have been operating upon for far too long, that it is horrible and evil when women are presented as anything negative, but fuck it when men are right? Why do we strive for equality by placing one gender first?

    1. You need to talk to more feminists about feminism and take them seriously with what they say instead of talking to anti-feminists who say what you want to hear.

      Nothing in your comment is true. Your description of how I select comments? Hyperbole, but you are obviously angry. So, fine, be hyperbolic.

      But fuck it when men are? No, this is the logic anti-feminists use to demonize feminist criticism for far too long. Gender roles are as harmful to men as they are to women, just in different ways. Feinists will explain that to you. It’s even frequently discussed in the often demonized Sarkeesian videos. Have you been listening?

      “Why do we strive for equality by placing one gender first?” Nobody is placing women first. Men are first. That’s a fact. In almost everything from payment, to representation, to career options, to politics to everything. Men are first. It’s technically impossible to place women first. All feminism does by giving/demanding special attention for women is to help women catch up in a system that is stacked against them.

      Your anger is misguided. Your frustration is a result of your biases. Talk to more feminists… no better read them, listen to them. Don’t talk. Be a sponge for a while and educate yourself. Thanks.

  9. I don’t think satire needs to punch up in order to qualify as satire.
    And I don’t think satire must be understood by everyone. Hyperbole is also perfectly fine, even if not everyone gets it. Actually satire can be used and was used to exclude people from understanding what you really wanted to say or at least from being able to punish you for it. So ambiguity is a very important element of satire. You can’t simply go and redefine satire to a narrow meaning that suites your case.

    1. “You can’t simply go and redefine satire to a narrow meaning that suites your case.”
      Ironic, since this whole article is in response to people who redefined satire to make the case that GTA5 is not horribly sexist.

      1. So because they do it (I take your word for it), you can do it, too?
        I don’t really know the game, aside from a few Let’s Play’s I’ve seen (I came here through a link on a game forum and obviously have too much time on my hands), so I can’t really say if it is indeed horribly sexist or not, but I’ve seen enough to say it’s most definitely satire and everyone playing was perfectly aware of this. So as far as I’m concerned you can argue that it’s sexist despite being satire, but satire it is.

        1. The whole point of defending the game as satire was to negate the possibility of sexism. If you think the satire and the sexism can cooexist – first you are wrong – and second wtf are you doing here? If you don’t know who was saying what and why, wtf are you doing here? You obviously don’t care about the sexism or not-sexism, you care about definition wanking.

          This is a conversation in a specific context and you just distanced yourself from that context. Thank you.
          Any further comment from you which is not on topic wont be published.

          1. I hope you are enjoying your little power trip. All of those deleted comments were on topic, but like with your article it’s only your definition that counts for you. I guess it’s a mistake to call people out for their bullshit on their own page. The context you claimed, you leave many times in your article to make absolute statements which are simply wrong. I’m not used to having discussions ended by the other side abusing their power, but I guess it’s usual here.

            1. “All of those deleted comments were on topic,”
              No, they weren’t.

              If a definition is harmful, then the definition needs to go away, as simple as that.
              And if a definition of satire is used to perpetuate and exacerbate sexism, this definition needs to go away…
              …you coming in here making a case for that definition as an intellectual exercise, not giving a fuck about the political and social ramifications of your actions makes you an ignorant asshole and you need to go someplace else with that.

              This is a political debate with real life consequences for people and you wanting to discuss definitions of words and who has a right to define them – in an abstract context – is fucking off-topic as context for the use of words always matters.

              Also about your disappointing experience here: 1. Oh, poor baby. And 2. You wanted to decide what this debate is to be about – in my place, where I can’t walk away – this was your power trip and I just ended it.

    2. I take this to mean “Just because we have no idea what the mark is, what the message is, why it’s satire, etc. doesn’t mean it isn’t.” And that’s a very weak sort of logic. Take the author’s view about the advertisements exploiting the female body. Can you seriously tell me you think it’s a satire of how the media exploits the female body? That there is some sort of message here other than “Our game has hot women in it”? I see no reason why we’d just ASSUME the sexism is all satirical…

      1. Wot about the advertisements of showing clearly idealistic men, the perfect hunk boats and absolute clean cut extremely wealthy and successful?

        Allow me to teach you how this game achieves satire perfectly… Those characters in the advertising, the beautiful and perfect ones? Once you get in game there are HARDLY A SINGLE example of the perfect buffout, successful man or beautiful woman. They are all just average, normal, screwed up, jobless, pretentious, superfluous morons.

        BAM! Blown mind?

        1. Are you kidding? Women are objectified while men are idealized; there is a difference. Women are seen as objects to be HAD, whereas men are seen as someone to BE. And your “satire” argument doesn’t account for all the prostitutes and strippers you can interact with in the game (which would lose fans quick if they WEREN’T). Again, women are portrayed as either incompetent or a sex object for men’s pleasure or both, whereas the men are almost always depicted as competent/important, if immoral.

  10. I do believe you can punch “down” and still make it funny for people that are being “targeted”. For instance, I’m Chinese and I’m quite a big fan of Shadow Warrior. Always found the games hilarious due to how over the top they are.

    At the end of the day, humor is subjective. I believe that you are able to exaggerate “offensive” content to where it becomes impossible to take seriously (called Crossing The Line Twice on TV Tropes). I do understand that everyone has different lines, however.

    1. Humor might be subjective…

      ..the effects of discriminating humor aren’t. They are very much tangible.
      This is not a debate about taste, it’s about responsibility.

        1. This kind of comment is something that I normally would just not publish, instantly disappearing it into meaninglessness. But sometimes I like to use this painful nonsense as a springboard for a rebuttal.

          1. This visitor is too much of an asshat or too biased to use google. There is plenty:

          And 2. This visitor accepts claims of harm only if they do not come from the people who are harmed. Women, minorities, disabled people and any other oppressed group affected by this kind of industrialized pop culture insults will be ignored and only sources this visitor respects will be heard, if any.

          You know, not taking women, minorities and disabled people seriously makes you an sexist, racist, ableist bigot. Asshat.

          1. Nice job! You were right that you shouldn’t have even had to prove the point that some types of humor are worse for society than others, but you did a hell of a job substantiating your claim anyway. Cheers.

            1. Hey Vic,

              I was not expecting so much enthusiasm for posting a link to a google search here, but thanks a lot. :)

              1. Hey man, educating people is educating people. Even if you’re only teaching them to how to make proper use of Google :P

        2. BTW, I now deleted 3 more comments from you. You can stop now.

          Edit: 4 deletes..

          Kitchen sink commenters, pffffffttt.

          Edit: 7 deletes…
          ..let’s see when he get’s it.

          Edit: 8 deletes…
          Though the last one read like he finally understood that here is no place for his arguments. Blamed it on me no being able/willing to debate. Sure, it’s not like some arguments are just too behind and off to be worth my time. *sigh*

  11. Also, I don’t agree with GTA on a lot of things, this included, as well as their portrayal of liberals. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad game, I realized the problems with these games a long time ago. Who knows, maybe someday video games will finally begin portraying women properly.

  12. I don’t know if misogyny is this games biggest problem. We got racism, homophobia, and most of the men are portrayed badly. Almost all of the males in the game are assholes in some way, with one exception, an emasculated man named Floyd. The game really was trying to be satirical on these issues, and even if they still offended, it’s still not as bad as Duke Nukem, which is really awful. Don’t get me wrong, I know this game was wrong in ways, it still failed to get past typical GTA elements.

  13. Well from the nature of GTA games nothing that is despicted in It can be consider good, so you cant say sexism is portrayed as good. You cant say that is not there either. Anyway when people dont notice something then for them Its not there and pointing It out only angers them, specially if they dont want It there. I hadnt seen Donkey Kong as sexist and thus for me It wasnt and the message never reached me, and I think thats good. I think by being oblivious people are excluded from sexism.

  14. Having not played GTA V, I must ask: If it is “actually mysoginistic” despite claims to the contrary, what exactly makes if you think it doesn’t promote crime in general, assuming that’s your possition?

    Does it depict robbery/whatever situations in a “don’t try this at home” way, unlike the scenes where a woman is treated badly? As far as I know about the game (not much), the main characters are pourposely depicted as assholes, thuerefore the player is expected to despise anything they do.

    1. Hey again,

      Crime and misogyny are two different things, with one very important distinction:

      Crime by definition is understood as a wrong act – sometimes special circumstances need to exist to justify criminal acts – but in general it is understood that crimes are “stuff you should not do in real life”. Therefore providing a fantasy scenario in which a player can commit fantasy crimes is nothing that necessarily reinforces real life crime.

      Misogyny on the other hand is not as clear cut. A lot of misogynistic behaviour is not widely considered as wrong behaviour in real life. Much of it is considered to be an expression of masculinity and of strength. Misogyny is what many men consider just to be assertive behaviour towards women. A positive trait based on patriarchial expectations. Since society already provides incentives and frameworks, which encourage misogyny, providing a fantasy scenario in which player can get points for committing fantasy misogyny can reinforce those incentives and frameworks.

      Advertising to eat human meat does not turn people into cannibals, advertising fast food however sells a lot of burgers.

  15. I hope you’re doing OK with all these comments. Hope it’s not wearing you out too much. Sounds like your voice is really needed on this.

    1. No worries. I pick my battles carefully. It’s a bit of work to read the comments before approving them for release (which I’m doing manually), but dealing with comments works out. Thanks. :)

    1. No, you wont find a platform here to push your useless and harmful definition of feminism. Go away.

  16. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but laugh uncontrollably and people who constantly whine about contradictions, and “childish behavior” (Which is just you not taking them seriously, and them throwing fits about it, being childish because they’re too blinded by entitlement), when realistically they’re only calling out their own behavior. And then it gets better when their snarky contradictory bitterness makes them think they’re some kind of revolutionary thought process, and the very few elite going against “te feminaizis”, when these ideals have been around, in large quantities, since women even bothered to actually consider themselves human. To those who may be, don’t be discouraged. This is part of silencing. The only motive is to turn you around and to put your only focus on them again, even with the lack of prevalence (Just for clarity prevalence is not equal to importance) in the problems they exaggerate for your sympathy.

    This doesn’t really have to be posted. It’s just a train of thought.

  17. Great comment! And great video from gamespot! I for one think issues of gender and politics could and should have a much larger role in games journalism, and issues games should be evaluated on the basis of. Sexism and misogyny are dehumanizing and horrific. They are central problems of our society, and as such it is always, I repeat always, not only appropriate but indeed necessary to criticize them. Sexism is every bit as disgusting as racism and every bit as harmful.

    So keep up the great work!

      1. (Where’s the button to start a new comment?)

        I agree 100% with the article’s larger point. And you are the first to articulate it so well, from what I’ve read so far without giving GTA apologists an excuse to not read further. But I think people are reacting to the term “misogynistic” because it literally means a HATRED for women, and I don’t think anti-feminism is necessarily the same as that. Further, sooooo many people have an absolute lack of understanding as to what a feminist really is. By definition, a feminist is ANY PERSON (MALE OR FEMALE) who believes that men and women should be treated as equals. And the GTA series is most certainly anti-feministic.

        One person said: “There is no ideology (and make no mistake, feminism IS an ideology) that cannot be counter argued.”

        If you “counter argue” feminism itself, then yes, your “argument” is anti-feministic (aka, suggesting the sexes are not equal and shouldn’t be treated as such). And it is unjustifiable.

  18. My husband linked me to your pinterest account and I found this article browsing your blog. I can only say: “YES YES YES I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE SAID HERE 100%!” Especially since it is not something saved only for the gaming community but every bit of media that we have to deal with every day. Thank you for taking the time to write this. :)

  19. While I haven’t played GTA5 and want to agree with your contentions, the issue is, there’s a lot of inconsistencies, contradictions in your statements, and stylistic problems, among others, that weaken them. To keep this simple, I’ll focus on one. Early on, you talk about how groups have to agree about a work’s meaning, agree that it’s a successful satire, yet you conclude your article starting with, “The fact that the game is viewed as in conflict with feminism – by feminist critics and clueless GTA defenders alike – makes it misogynistic by definition.” This statement directly opposes the earlier sentiment calling for community and is just plan erroneous. Being in opposition to self-claimed feminists does not make any opposing argument or person inherently sexist or misogynistic. Such a view is a pedestalization of feminists above or on par with feminism by way of assuming feminists are above criticism, therefore, are always right (i.e “makes it misogynistic by definition”). It’s like saying a doctor can’t kill someone or an officer can’t sell drugs for fact their intended purpose is to help. In other words, while feminism is not wrong, feminists can be. Misogyny is a complex issue no single person or group gets to decide. Argue as you wish about arbitrarity of meaning between signified and signifier, but if a word has no relatively set, functioning meaning, it has no valid meaning at all and changes from tool to weapon. Nothing is ever built with weapons.

    1. Hey there…

      No, you don’t want to agree here, because you are going out of your way to shift my statements into a place, where you can point to errors. You shift “feminism” to “self-proclaimed feminists” and therefore push the argument into the realms of personal opinions instead of clean definitions. You need to straw man my argument to make your point. This is intellectually dishonest.

      When something is opposed or in conflict with feminism it is per definition misogynistic. When you are against equal rights and treatment of women, you are exercising misogyny. Period. There is no way to oppose women’s equal rights without , well you know, oppose that women have it as good as men.

      If I would have talked about self-proclaimed feminists who are not abiding by the definition of feminism, sure, than we could talk. But that’s not the thing here, so don’t make it that. Thanks.

      1. “When something is opposed or in conflict with feminism it is per definition misogynistic. ”

        That’s the funniest bit of absurdism I’ve ever heard in a long time.

        There is no ideology (and make no mistake, feminism IS an ideology) that cannot be counter argued. Refusal to counter argue a position reveals a weakness of position and blind faith in that position (just like religion).

        And to say that you can’t argue against feminism– an obsolete ideology that’s based around conspiracy theory, perpetual victimhood, and contempt for the other half of humanity– is such a base violation of the very concept of academic discourse that it’s a wonder I didn’t spontaneously develop hemo lacrya.

        You can’t claim to be for gender equality and focus solely on the issues of one gender. If you are going to focus on one gender, at least have the balls to admit it. And if you go this route, you forfeit the right to hate on your counterpart when they try to do the same thing.

        1. Ok, get this, coming from a Mexican straight male that ocasionally consumes pornography:

          a. I really hope you are a troll, because if you aren’t, then you are the most pretentious, stupid imbecile I have seen on the internet. And that comes from someone who has looked at 4chan.

          b. You don’t have any remote freaking idea of what feminism is. I’m not going to waste my time educating you about it. Even a brief glance at Wikipedia can show how incredibly retarded your reply here is.

          1. Judging from the other comments he left on other sections, I guess it’s “b”.
            Though. I probably would have chosen an alternative to “retarded”, I’m so with you here.
            I decided to publish his comments, because he is an asshat but was not too hostile.

            But I can’t get myself to try to correct him here either, the hole is too deep.

        2. “‘When something is opposed or in conflict with feminism it is per definition misogynistic.’

          That’s the funniest bit of absurdism I’ve ever heard in a long time.”

          How is that “absurd”? It’s 100% correct. If you are opposed to women being treated as equals, you are absolutely misogynistic.

          “There is no ideology (and make no mistake, feminism IS an ideology) that cannot be counter argued.”

          Fine. If you “counter argue” feminism, you are also a misogynist. Same as if someone “counter argues” the right for black people to vote (unquestionably another ideology, yes?), that would make them a racist. Unless you’re going to tell us “Well, no, maybe whites don’t want blacks voting because they want to spare them the hassle”… You’re not going to get that ridiculous here, are you? :)

          “feminism– an obsolete ideology that’s based around conspiracy theory, perpetual victimhood, and contempt for the other half of humanity”

          Lol, I should’ve guessed you were just another GTA apologist who didn’t know what the word “feminism” meant, to begin with.

  20. Oh, boo hoo. If the tables were turned and a game had men treated this way, would anybody ACTUALLY care? The GTA series, and other games like it, aren’t meant for everyone. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s true. If a game, TV show, movie, song or book somehow influences you and changes your outlook, then obviously, you have a problem thinking for yourself.

    Seriously, if this game really chaps people’s collective asses this much, then you seriously should either stop playing games in general or stick to Pong or Tetris.

    Oh wait, I’m sure some oversensitive type will find something sexist about those two games as well.

    1. “If a game, TV show, movie, song or book somehow influences you and changes your outlook, then obviously, you have a problem thinking for yourself.”

      Uh…… but media can be discourse? We can benefit from the thought someone else has put into an idea already and use their work to reevaluate our own ideas. Just in general– I’m not even talking about GTAV, here. I just don’t think a book challenging and/or changing your outlook means you necessarily have a problem thinking for yourself.

      And all that aside, I think it’s pretty easy to absorb messages from media uncritically. People aren’t born critical thinkers. It’s actually kind of our default state to have a problem thinking for ourselves, and we tend to do it even after we’ve learned how to think because rooting out inconsistencies is *tough* and people don’t like to concentrate all the time, really hard, in that particular way, on stuff they do for fun. That’s why I at least am concerned about what kinds of messages we put in our media.

      Also, for the record, if we woke up in a world tomorrow where women held the vast majority of political and economic power, ran the game industry, and made blockbuster games where guys were treated like pieces of meat or marginal, ineffective characters, then YES, I would absolutely care and would think that was sexist. :(

  21. Oh wow. My comments were blocked because I used a term he disagreed with. Free speech? Who needs it?

    1. Yes! The free speech wank! YES! The ultimate self-defeating entitlement blunder!

      I know I said I wont publish John’s comments anymore, but this is just too good.

        1. No, it doesn’t. The “OMG MA FREE SPEECH!!1” is an ignorant and immature excuse. Do you people even understand what the First Amendment entails?

  22. Do you identify as a gamer, OP? I know you said you haven’t actually played GTA5, but do you play any video games? If so, what is your all time favorite game?

  23. I have not played GTA V yet, but based on my previous experience on GTA IV, San Andreas and other games of the series, I think they do employ proper satire when it comes to certain themes, specifically the “American dream” and many elements of the capitalistic and consumerist culture of the USA. The games paint a very bleak portrayal of the US society, then proceed to skewer and ridicule it, sometimes effectively, sometimes not.

    That being said, the sexist and misogynistic content on the games is certainly NOT part of the satire, those elements seem to have been added to the game for no other purpose rather than mere shock value and titillation. I think that, to some degree, they make some sense in the context of the game, given that it has a constructed world that exacerbates the worse parts of American culture. But as you point out when you refer to the concepts of hyperbole and dissonance, merely being offensive and over the top is not enough to be classified as satire.

    Satire is meant not only to offend but to provide meaningful commentary and criticism against a troubling societal element. When it comes to GTA and gender related issues, Rockstar has never provided a truly meaningful commentary or critic against sexism, quite the opposite really. Even as a fan of some of these games, I find it utterly ridiculous how some people can go and claim that the games are not misogynist.

    And well, the outcry against that Gamespot review is honestly sad. I don’t want to generalize, but it seems to me that some people take the criticism about the sexism in the game as a personal insult of sorts, which probably talks more about their own insecurities or personal issues rather than anything else. As I see it, enjoying a piece of media or fiction with troubling elements like violence, racism, sexism, etc. doesn’t necessarily mean you are a horrible person who condone those kind of things in real life… provided of course, those troubling elements are not the primary reason why you consume said piece of media, and that you acknowledge said elements are troubling.

  24. Lovely article — I’ll definitely be using it as a resource in the future. I don’t normally comment on blogs/articles, but I felt that I needed to help balance out some of the incredibly hateful and ignorant comments you’re getting. Keep up the good work!

  25. You discredit yourself greatly by your poor treatment of commentators who took the time to read and consider your article. If you cannot conduct yourself responsibly in your own forum why should I ever read another of your pieces? Your behavior suggests you are more interested in soap boxing than supporting your opinion. Think about it. This wasn’t a shoddy piece, but your conduct needs work if you want to be taken seriously.

    1. Hey, Max…

      Yes, political articles like this always attract comments, which earn dismissal from me and ridicule.
      If my actions in response to those comments discredits me in your eyes or makes it hard for you to take me seriously, than you are not the audience for

      The thing is, I would discredit myself if I give validation and serious attention to those comments in questions.
      I would discredit myself if I allow some of the asinine bullshit here to go without proper ridicule.
      I would discredit myself HARD if I would bite whenever someone tries to bait me into actually debating the asinine bullshit.

      This site is not the place for your debate culture. I strongly disagree with your idea of debate culture.

      1. Mmm… I think that by addressing them directly, even in a mocking or snarky tone, you are already giving them a measure of validation.

        If you have the administrator privileges, it would probably be better to just block those comments so they don’t clutter the site with asinine bs.

        1. Hey Doc,

          Yes, there is certain validation in getting a reply or even getting published here. True.
          And the only way to not validate a comment at all is by blocking them. Also true.

          There are certain reasons though to at least publish a certain amount of bs comments, especially in articles relevant to cultural issues.
          They serve as case studies for some of the problems or are welcome occasions for me and others to respond to certain sentiments. Also I’m hesitant, when it comes to just going all admin on comments, because maybe someone has something else to add or maybe I’m jumping the gun in dismissing a comment and I want the comment to still be here, so people have an opportunity to correct me.

          Though, when a comment thread goes in circles or when a commenter gets too hostile or tries to derail the conversation, I’m very much inclined to put a stop to it.

          1. Fair enough I suppose.

            I point it out also because this blog seems to have received too many of those asinine comments.

  26. Ah, of course. In typical feminist fashion, he treats socially-sanctioned hatred of men (feminism) as a sacred cow which is above criticism. Children are starving in Africa, but let’s focus on how a (fictional) male in a (fictional) video game setting called a (fictional) female a bitch! First world problems: the best kind of problems.

    1. Feminism: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” we use the googleable definition here or similarly how it is defined on wikipedia. So no hatred of men here.

      Also pleas point me to the articles you wrote or organizations you joined to help starving children in Africa. Or is your first world problem even worse then mine, because you get hung up on people who complain about video games like me?

      1. You need to read something about how not to suck at the replies on a post you wrote.

        Writing something doesn’t automatically make you right, or better than anyone. Also, a good writer doesn’t hurl petty comments around in the reply forum. What you wrote is out there. Bickering with readers is a terrible idea. Don’t lower yourself to their level.

        1. “Bickering with readers is a terrible idea. Don’t lower yourself to their level.”
          Okay,… so,… I better not reply to you then?
          Also if I should not think I’m “better than anyone”, how can people be below me?

          Michael gets a funny hat and has to sit in the corner as well.

      2. Admin’s note:
        This commenter used the term “Feminazi” and therefore will no longer be given a platform on Bye, John.


  27. Interesting read, I feel like I got a lot out of it. What are some good examples of satire? By the end of the article, I almost felt that no matter who is reading, there is always going to be a group that finds the “satire” in question to be an echo chamber for the target audience.

    1. Hey, Jon…

      “no matter who is reading, there is always going to be a group that finds the “satire” in question to be an echo chamber for the target audience”
      I’m assuming now, that with target group, you mean the people who are the mark of the satire, those who are made fun off. If I’m wrong, I apologize for answering in the wrong direction.

      Anyway, it’s a really good question. Because there is always always some part of the audience, who is actually the mark of the satire but reads it as confirmation for whatever they think/are/do. Always. There are always people who do not recognize, that they are the clowns of the show. Since this is a regular thing, this cannot be used to disqualify satire in general… or we would end up with no true satire at all.

      I see how my article is not clear on that issue, so I’m glad for your question as an occasion to straighten things up.

      I’d make the case, that it’s about how much of the public reception is happening in the way the creator intended and how the creator deals with the the unintended public reception (which as said above always to some degree happens). In the case of GTA5, I argue, that the public reception of the game’s questionable content ends up in more sexist behavior and thinking, not less… , that more people found confirmation for their sexist attitudes than people finding challenge… , that whatever the intent of the creators at Rockstar was, the result is profoundly not the result of successful pro-feminist satire.

      When the unintended public reception drowns out the intended one, When – as I said in the article– the satire is used as a shield against criticism, instead of a catalyst for debate, then – if satire was intended – the satire failed. The satire aspect is drowned out by the people who take the content as confirmation. When this threshold is passed, then I’d argue, we do not have a satire case here.

      When the unintended public reception is minor, just noise, it can even work as an enhancer for the satire because people got baited into feeding the narrative of the satire, by doing the very thing the satire criticizes. But if it is too much, we lose the satire. …if it even was intended to be there in the first place. (I have my doubts, that Rockstar intended anti-sexist satire, because they let the sexism apologists ride roughshod over feminists and women, not objecting, not clearing things up.)


      1. While the response is also good food for thought, I actually meant ‘target audience’ and ‘mark’ in the ways you defined them. The audience being the ‘people who get it and laugh at it’ and mark being the ridiculed party; that anyone might see it just as an echo chamber for the target audience at the mark’s expense. That’s why in general, satire is only satire for those who understand it, and then it just becomes another echo chamber, it’s not going to allow for self-examination, it’s just a poor vehicle for doing so. On the other hand, I would argue Spec Ops: The Line does allow gamers to self-examine, but it falls in the deconstruction side of the spectrum. And because of that, satire as a whole is going to offend someone no matter what.

        I believe you give companies a bit too much credit by allowing them to clear things up, you can’t take back something that has been said. It’s not like I can forgive Chick-Fil-A even after they have apologized for their actions, they willingly chose to walk their own line. While I think it would be very mature of Rockstar to apologize to the offended parties, I don’t think it’s their responsibility to do so on behalf of the caustic environment in which they produce their games.

  28. I appreciate this article of yours, thank you for publishing it. The reactions and comments show that you hit the spot! And that it’s getting crowded in the funny hats corner.
    By the way, a similar argument can be made about the violence in GTA 5. You are either a psychopath who enjoys it or a sociopath who doesn’t care about it. Not satire – at all.

    1. Hey thanks for the comment.

      Considering the violence, I cannot agree with you. Violence in and out of itself is not directed at certain groups of people, while misogyny is. Violence against game characters is not political or culturally questionable, unless it is directed at certain groups of real world people.

      Enjoying game violences is not comparable to enjoying seeing certain groups of people getting insulted.

      1. When I was linked to this page, I expected the author to be another outsider feigning credentials a la Anita and was shocked to find a game reformist who plays and enjoys video games, let alone one with a portfolio. That said, it does not live up to his exacting standards.
        I guess there’s always a catch.

      2. “Violence against game characters is not political or culturally questionable, unless it is directed at certain groups of real world people.”

        This statement reeks of double standard to me. So there’s no need to question general violence in video games? At all? Unless the violence is directed at a “real world” group, THEN we should be questioning it? So violence against aliens is fine, but violence against Nazis deserves thoughtful debate? So in your world there is clearly no co-relation between playing violent video games and committing real-world crimes, BUT a game with violence aimed at a specific real world group is potentialy harmful?

        If violence in games has no baring on it’s audience or the culture that buys it, then surely violence against any specific group, real or imaginary, is just as equally irrelevant?

        Why is directing the generally none-relevant violence at a specific group not acceptable? Does it depend on the group that the violence is being directed towards, or does it just matter that the violence is singling out only specific groups?

        1. I was careful to limit my statements about violence in games to political or cultural ramifications. Please keep your challenges to stuff I actually talk about. Thanks.

    2. So bitter hatred is a sign of success? So if I wrote an article espousing the virtues of communism, the negative reactions would mean communism is right, right?

  29. Your smug, condescending soapboxing, and especially the way you handle criticism in the comments, show that you’re a petulant child who does not deserve to be taken seriously. How many successful games have you created so far?

  30. Could you please explain what sexism is? I really don’t get it anymore. Sometimes i feel like feminist wish that there are no women or men in this world anymore and everyone should be sexless.

    1. Anyone can have whatever sex they identify with, but should not be treated differently because of the gender, when it comes to rights, respect and representation. Pop culture and technology industries are some of the biggest areas in which women are represented less and treated in a limiting or disrespectful manner.

      Genders are awesome, sexuality is awesome, gender roles aren’t however and gender discrimination is actually the opposite of awesome.

  31. You know what, the women involved in the making of the game didn’t have a problem with it. The women who did voice-acting and posing didn’t complain, because they volunteered to participate.

    What gives you the right to look at the game (without playing it, according to your own post above), and insult/demean it and its fans?

    Feminism is broken. -isms are broken in general. Instead of wasting your time and breath complaining about every little thing you don’t like geared towards your gender, you’d make a far better impact if you just focused on being nice in GENERAL, not just to women.

    1. People confusing criticism with insults have to sit in the corner wearing a funny hat, while the grown-ups talk.

      1. If you want to be taken seriously, you should take part in an actual discussion, instead of insulting/muting people who disagree with you. I’m pretty sure that’s a common theme of fascism, not gender equality.

          1. I’m being serious here, dammit. This article is insulting. You are NOT a credible source of information. You spend more time insulting anyone who has a different opinion, or even challenges you to elaborate on part of it, instead of focusing on bringing solid proof to people.

            What you’re missing on all of these comments is that we aren’t upset about you or your gender; we’re upset that you’re treating us, and an industry that is our passion, like a bunch of idiots who don’t deserve an actual discussion about your concerns.

              1. “We need to stop being part of the problem. We need to let people talk. Otherwise we will continue to not get it.”

                I’ll just leave you with an otherwise commendable quote you’ve effectively dragged out back and shot.

                    1. Look at those two…. Well, glad I’m the one approving the comments for release…. or not.

                      Good bye.

                      (Please, try to say something about freedom of speech now, please…..)

    2. I think you might have the phrases ‘volunteered to’ and ‘were paid to’ confused in that last bit there.

      1. Does it matter either way? No one is forcing them to participate; either they volunteered (in which case they are exercising their autonomy as adult human beings) or they were being paid (in which case they are receiving material compensation for services rendered. )

  32. “In the same way, you cannot raise a body count high enough to turn a shooting game into a parody of shooter games or make a fighting game brutal enough to turn it into a parody of fighting games. Violence is expected in those types of games and therefore cannot be used to separate a game as satire.”

    Okay, this statement I have more problems with than anything else in the article (which, while I disagree with many of the points, is very well articulated and presented). There are many players who don’t get satire in games, just like how Voltaire’s Candide and Swift’s A Modest Proposal were not seen as satire by some when it came out. Now, I’m not saying video games are anywhere NEAR the level of complexity as great works of literature, but FPS games such as Bulletstorm and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon contain Tarantino levels of violence that (at least in the case of the latter) are 100% parody. Bulletstorm’s “SHOOT ALL THE THINGS” scoring mechanic is a callback to arcade shooters and a parody of how mindless the current FPS market is.

    As for fighting games, Divekick and the new XBone Killer Instinct are modern day parodies. Divekick is a parody due to…well, if you haven’t heard of the game, watch a gameplay video. Everything is a carefully constructed letter-of-love to fighting games, and the first (and probably only) parody fighter. Killer Instinct is not a parody foremost. It is a competitively viable fighting game that’s first goal is to be a fighting game. There are some cringe-worthy elements (gore, the “Chief Thunder” character [is it just me or there a lot of horribly misrepresented Native Americans in fighting games?]), yes, but the end-of-match Ultra Combo is a parody of over-zealous fighting game announcers and fans. After KO’ing an opponent, the victor can proceed to style on the recently defeated by unleashing a 70+ hit combo, after which the announcer loses his damn mind and screams “ULLLLLTRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” for a good ~10 seconds. If that isn’t a parody of fighting games, then I don’t get it.

    In conclusion, while parody may not be the focus of many games, there are AAA titles of almost all genres that have moments or entire mechanics that are parodies.

    1. Dive Kick is a parody not because of exaggeration but because of careful reduction, creating dissonance.
      You get all the mannerisms of fighting games, but without the meat of fighting games, since it’s comabt system (if you wanna call it that) is limited to basically one move.

      Like porn without sex, just the bad acting. PLease stick to examples, that work in your favor.

      Killer Instinct’s Ultracomco is not a parody of hyper violence, it is hyper violence with an excited announcer. Like Mortal Combat, the direct competitor at the time the game came out. It’s also an arcade game for which excessive images and shouting announcer voices are common to attract players.

      Killer Instinct is a fighting game, with everything a fighting game needs to be sold and enjoyed as a fighting game. If you think it is a parody of fighting games, YES, you do not get it. At all.

    2. Also “moments or entire mechanics that are parodies” are not what turns a game into a satire game, it just makes certain parts of a game satirical. Nobody is claiming there is no satire IN games like GTA5. Just that there is no satire in regards to misogyny, which could in any way meaningfully be used to counter feminist criticism. Please focus further comments on that topic, thanks.

    1. I did not play the game at all.

      Reviews, a couple of let’s plays, community reaction, the setup of characters, game mechanics – and most importantly advertising – are actually pretty sufficient to determine, that misogynistic content is pretty prominent in GTA5.

      And if you are referring to “this opinion”, I’m wondering if you have read the artciel carefully, since this article is not about the question if GTA5 is sexist or not, it’s about community reaction to criticism.

      1. I don’t understand why this article exists if you haven’t experienced the medium yourself. By basing an article only off of Let’s Plays and opinions of others, you’re looking at the game through the lens of a movie, not as an actual game itself. You are truly “not getting it” if you haven’t experienced the game in its proper medium: an interactive one.

        1. Please provide examples or try to convey, how the interaction in GTA%, which I only have witnessed, instead of performed would change the otherwise well deserved perception of sexism in GTA5. And please explain how this interactivity is offsetting the sexists messages for everyone who isn’t playing the game and only perceiving the game through my listed means.

          Otherwise you are just trying to look for meaningless holes in a solid argument – like trying to find typos – instead of saying anything yourself.

          1. Basing your argument off of other people’s opinions doesnt really make it a “solid argument.” Thats like saying “Cheese is bad for you cause my mom says so.” You havent experienced the game yourself; all you have are what other people say is present in the game, and you write a whole article on misogyny in GTA 5 when i can tell you personally that there is none. The whole series of GTA, from the very first game, has been based on stereotypes: stereotypes found in every day America that everyone is already familiar with. There is no subliminal message saying that women should be hated, disliked, or untrustworthy, which is the definition of Misogyny: hatred, dislike, or distrust of women. The developers just simply used stereotypes that are already present, not focused on any one group of people. To take the whole game as being misogynistic, with only other people’s opinions, really invalidates your whole argument.

            1. Oh, wow, oh, wow. I’m not even dignifying this one with a response. I’m just leaving this here as a case study for others.

                1. Hahahaha… …wow, you suck at baiting. Do you really think I’m that stupid and insecure? Or does this normally work on you? Hahahahha.

                  1. Im not baiting. I stated a fact that is well known. I already had this argument with someone else, and I won that one also because they couldn’t defend their extreme views, just like you.

                    1. Adorable. (If you are wondering why I could be so rude to resort to ridicule now: You left the realm of anything resembling proper discourse and I’m making fun of you to suggest, that you leave. I’m also spelling this out for you, because I suspect you are not good at taking hints.)

            2. You realize that if you watch a let’s play, you actually see how the game plays out, right? It doesn’t tell you how it feels to play the game, but it certainly tells you how characters interact with each other and how things are written. For example, I watched a let’s play of Heavy Rain through to the end, so even though I haven’t played it I can tell you that the blackouts the main character has don’t make any sense, even though the fact that he had them was supposed to be a significant plot point that drove tension and led people to believe that the main character was, in fact, the killer (even though he wasn’t in the end). Among other problems with the writing.

              And frankly if you’re going to defend it by saying they’re just using stereotypes, you’re just opening it up to the criticism that the writing is incredibly lazy, like Call of the Juarez: the Cartel. If you just use the stereotypes but don’t actually do anything to reveal that the stereotypes are mistaken, you are doing nothing more than perpetuating the stereotype. So if you want to actually defend this as satire, you have to show how the game does this.

              Not playing a game only prevents you from criticizing the gameplay, and even then that’s not a hard and fast rule (again, see Heavy Rain arbitrary-prompt-for-arbitrary-action mechanic. So engaging). When it comes to criticizing a game’s visuals, or its writing, or audio, though, you can damn well criticize it without actually playing it.

            3. “You havent experienced the game yourself; all you have are what other people say is present in the game, and you write a whole article on misogyny in GTA 5 when i can tell you personally that there is none.”

              The author did say they had watched some Let’s Plays of the game, which is not taking someone’s word for it but seeing it with his own eyes. And I HAVE played the game and can tell you there is a great deal of misogyny still in the series to this day. Just because Rockstar is now poking fun at more of the male characters than ever before, doesn’t mean the men and women in the game are being ridiculed now at the same rate. It’s still a much higher portion of the females in the game, who are being made fools of on the regular, than with the males. And typically, in the interactions between men and women in the game, the woman plays the jester and the man is somewhat more sane and relatable. Now, perhaps it could be argued that this is all due to the three protagonists all being men. But the side effect is there, whether intended or not.

          2. Also, how can you say this article is about community reaction to criticism when the title of your last section clearly states “GTA5 is Mysogynistic,” and you go into detail on why it is?

              1. Admin’s Note: To avoid the continuation of this sad display, I will no longer publish comments from John.

      2. Having played a lot of more the game, I have to conclude that there really isn’t much misogynistic content in the game. Sorry.

        Yes, there are moments where they take the piss out of feminism, but they also take the piss out hipsters, hillbillies, blacks, hispanics, whites, spirituality, the government, nerds, pretty much everything.

        Perhaps you SHOULD play the game to gain a stronger perspective, while you don’t need to experience something to form an opinion about it, I would (and I’m sure many others will as well) respect your opinion a lot more if had actually played the game.

        1. Hey Phil,..

          Thanks for the reply. I understand your view, though I’m not making any claims about the game that require me to play.

          “Yes, there are moments where they take the piss out of feminism, but they also take the piss out hipsters, hillbillies, blacks, hispanics, whites, spirituality, the government, nerds, pretty much everything.”

          …true. I never made any claim, that misogynistic content (like the swipe at feminists, or the hookers or the angle with Miachels wife) are the only thing GTA5 is using to be offensive (or cathartic, depending on who you ask). I’m not even suggesting, that it is the dominant aspect. I know that not only women get bashed on, but that is irrelevant to this article.

          This article is specifically about the hostile reaction of GTA5 fans in response to feminist criticism. Therefor I do not need to play the game, because this article is not about how much misogyny is in GTA5, just how it is dealt with in criticism and comments.

        2. The premise of this article is that there is misogyny in GTA5,
          which is also the premise for the criticism from Gamespot,
          which is also the premise for the hostile silencing against gamespot,
          by fans who claim that the sexist content is used satircallyIironically.

          Without that premise, the shitstorm over at gamespot would not have happened,
          therefore it’s a bit pointless to debate the premise here.


        3. Your defense of misogynistic content, by saying that it is also racist isn’t quite the defense that you make it out to be.

          1. That’s because I’m not defending it, I’m only pointing out that it treats all groups equally badly (white males included), which surely points it more in the direction of satire. The author pretty much argues that the game cannot be satire because the oppressed are the butt of the joke, not the oppressors. Yet it seems that all demographics are the butt of the jokes, player included, which kinda brings it back to the idea that it’s a satircal statement about society in general and the human condition. You mention race along with women, but I also mentioned nerds, which I would strongly argue includes many of the users and the developers themselves.

            It insults EVERYONE because it isn’t trying to highlight any group at all, it’s simply making a statement about bigotry and insults, by using and exaggerating them. I’m no English literature expert, so I don’t know whether that’s truly satire or not, but it seems quite clear to me that that’s what the writing in GTA is trying to do. Perhaps satire isn’t the word, maybe we need a new term for it.

            1. So, you are not defending it? Please explain why we are reading your comments?

              The subject of the feminist criticism is misogyny in GTA5.
              The defense against the feminist criticism from fans is that the misogyny is satirical.
              Any other presence of satire, any other mark of satire or insults, anything not related to misogyny IS OFF TOPIC!

              Stop distracting people by getting technical on issues, which are not relevant to the misogynistic content in GTA5.

              This is an article about a political conflict, sexism vs feminism. You either argue pro feminism, against feminism or you are undecided and curious. Otherwise you suck up time and space from people who actually care about the issue in one way or another. If you wanna get technical on my post, you are free to write a response on your own blog, a forum or reddit or whatever. There you can decide, what people are talking about. You can of course share the link to your response post here in the comment section.

              Any further comment from you, which is not related to the following questions will not be published:
              – is GTA5 a game with sexist content? Yes or No?
              – if yes, is the sexist content in GTA5 ironically sexist (to make a statement against sexism) or actually sexist (using sexism as an asset)?


              1. “So, you are not defending it? Please explain why we are reading your comments”

                I dunno, why are you reading my comments?

                I suppose to you everything must be either an attack or a defense. I on the other hand, am trying to gain various perspectives, and offer various perspectives. Your aim is to break down and look at things in isolation, but I’d rather look at it in an integrated, holisitic manner. I was only expressing what was on my mind, but clearly this is a focussed discussion, not an open one, so I apologise for de-railing your comment section.

                “- if yes, is the sexist content in GTA5 ironically sexist (to make a statement against sexism) or actually sexist (using sexism as an asset)”

                Yes, the sexist content is ironic, just like everything else in the game. Did you not get that from my last comment?

                Now you can conclude I’m misogynistic.

                Peace out.

                1. “I was only expressing what was on my mind, but clearly this is a focussed discussion, not an open one, so I apologise for de-railing your comment section.”
                  Thanks a lot. No need to apologize. Cool of you, to make your point clear, while still respecting why I wrote the article and what the debate in my opinion needs to be about.

                  … 3 sentences later …

                  “Now you can conclude I’m misogynistic.”

                  Sigh, really now?

  33. It makes me truly sad to see another woman pulling the victim card. We are not victims, we can play everything, enjoy satire, understand tounge in the cheek jokes as well as make them.
    I do not want anything to do with your kind of “analysis” performed by yet another wannabe that things that women are weak creatures without a brain.

    Seriously, we buy the games we like or make our own. Hate the industry where you can not hack it as much as you want but do not use me or my gender as a platform.

    1. Hi,

      In all my years as a feminists critic, you are the first woman ever to read my work as something that belittles women’s capabilities. So, your response is really confusing for me. I see I have upset you, so I apologize, but can you point me to the parts of my article, that suggest women “are weak creatures without a brain”?

      Where is it implied, that women can not enjoy satire? Can not understand tongue in cheek jokes?

      Can you help me out here? Thanks.

      Just for context: I’m a male feminists critic, though I do not expect that this helps my case here, since you feel like I’m using you as a platform for my otherwise unrelated personal opinions.

    2. If the “satire” in GTA games had a clear target that wasn’t more often female than male, I’d agree with your post 100%. Instead, I can only agree that yes, a great deal of women think for themselves.

      But most people, male or female, do not.

  34. It sells, so who cares. People will be offended and too bad about that for them, but sex sells and apparently these days misogyny sells. The boys online have been capable of hate-speech against women long before the GTA series, so that’s not exactly new.

    But gaming is still such a new medium, compared to for example movies. There hasn’t been a Hollywood black list for gaming, there have been very little limitations. It’ll be interesting to see where the future will take us. Will the game companies start to regulate themselves? If the product sells and there’s no law against it, I doubt that. Should the game companies be regulated by outside authorities? Well…the age limits exist already, you can make movies that would depict similar things and they’re not banned….

    What’s the solution?

  35. “…also it would make the game kinda inconsistent. The game is full of all sorts of hateful, reckless and hostile behavior… trying to avoid sexism, would feel weird. Sexism is part of the DNA of GTA, taking it out would drastically change the experience”

    Yeah, exactly. I honestly don’t think Rockstar make the GTA games because they want to highlight the ills of society. They’re simply using satire (or trying to use satire) to justify the game mechanics, which are based on freedom, and some relatively minor repercussions. It’s tying in the game design with the narrative. I could be wrong, I haven’t played all the GTA games, but that’s how it comes across to me. But having played games since my early years and having worked in the game industry, it’s more likely it’s bad satire (that they’ve found works for their game) then misogyny. Again, that’s how it comes across to me. The lack of playable female protagonists and strong female characters does point in the direction of misogyny however, but then, even the additions of female damsels-in-distress in games like Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us seems a bit sexist to me. Even more so in fact, because at least GTA is honest about the fact that it’s a fundamentaly male narrative, while those other narratives are falling back on stereotypes. Ultimately I don’t have a problem with a game having a damsel-in-distress, in as much as I don’t have a problem with GTA’s misogyny/satire, the problem is a lack of BALANCE. But as a male, I still think that more women designers/story tellers in the industry is the real fix for the problem, not males trying to fill a gap to avoid criticism (even though that could help).

    As for the apologists, well, I agree with you on that. People should be allowed to express their opinions, and be allowed to say if they find the satire offensive or badly constructed. I find myself sometimes offended by the racial jokes made in GTA, but I shrug them off because I go in with the preconception that it’s “satire”. I dunno, I guess I just assume that most racial jokes made in this day and age are not meant as racial abuse, but maybe sexism is in a difference place at this point in time.

    That Zombie U ad sums up GTA to me: it’s not just an ad exploiting the female body to sell video games, it’s an ad trying to use parody to exploit the female body.

    1. This is probably the best reply I’ve ever seen on an article. Well articulated with concession statements and all that jazz. As a prospective teacher’s assistant in an AP English class, you get an A. Now if only the author’s article would respond to well written moderate responses such as this instead of the extreme ones…

      1. Has anyone even looked up the dictionary definition of Misogyny? How does not including women or putting them in specific roles in games translate into a hate, mistrust, or dislike of women?

        1. I didn’t call those examples of Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us misogynistic, I called them a little sexist. Both of those games are based around escort gameplay, and they do it quite well, but the thing is the character that needs protecting is a female, which makes them seem like they’re falling back on the stereotype that females are weaker and need protection from a male. Although in both those cases, the female is actually the stronger character than the male in different ways, but it’s still a case of the females not getting their hands dirty by not doing all (or most) of the killing. They still play very big roles in the narrative as opposed to just being pushed to side line or being used as eye candy, but it would still be nice to have a few more females take centre stage. It’s all about balance like I said, but then thinking about it, there are more and more games coming out with females leads (Tomb raider, Lollipop Chainsaw and Bayonetta being the ones I’ve recently played). I really believe it’s massive marketing misconception that gamers would tend not to buy a game if the lead is female. Obviously the numbers will say that games with male protagonists sell more, because the majority of developers are male and so would have a higher tendency to create male leads for their games, it’s natural.

        2. How is anti-feminism (anti-equality between the sexes) misogynistic? Seriously. Was that your question?

    2. Does it make a difference whether it’s deliberate misogyny or just bad satire, or just bad writing in general? Because that’s actually a huge problem with bigotry in general: a lot of bigots aren’t deliberately being discriminatory, they’re just acting in a way that they perceive as normal because they don’t know better. They aren’t even aware they’re bigots at times. You may know it’s satire and know to dismiss the stereotypes as unrealistic, but they probably won’t. So if Rockstar really is trying to write satire but failing badly, what comes out is still actual bigotry. Authorial intent only counts for so much, and there gets to be a point where you have to judge a thing by the effect it actually has rather than the effect that was intended. It may be that GTA’s “satire” is just generally bigoted, reinforcing whatever prejudices the people who play it already hold in some small way.

      And sure, it may be seem silly to think that a game could really influence people’s perceptions of the world. But it’s happened before in other mediums; people still tend to think Freudian psychology is scientifically relevant (it’s not, since it isn’t falsifiable) just because of the sheer number of movies that have had a character sit down with a psychologist talking about the Oedipal complex.

      We may be able to make whatever we want because we have freedom of speech, but with that comes responsibility. A lot of the time it seems like people try to ignore that fact.

  36. Pushing the envelope on hateful messaging is not satire.
    Well, yes it is. Pushing the envelope on any subject aka exaggeration or hyperbole is at least an important aspect of satire. Maybe in your example of GTA sexism or misogyny isn’t exaggerated enough because you seem to think that the depiction is too close to reality for an audience to get it’s satire. But I don’t agree that satire has to be created in a way that [..] the creator of the hyperbole and the target audience both agree, that the mark is deserving of ridicule and both understand why [..]. In fact, if the audience and the creator already agree on this, of what use could the satire be? It wouldn’t really make the audience think. Many comedians ridicule their audience and most of the time they laugh about it but still get the irony of being the target.
    It has been said by other commenters and I agree, that GTA (at least all of the games from the series I played) exaggerates in almost any possible way which makes those games a bad example for the case you want to make (imho). Even if, as you write, Rockstar sucks at making satire in your opinion (which might be true), they still wanted to make satire and it’s pretty obvious. Or even if they did not intentionally set out to make a satiric game, it still can be read as one in my opinion. So I’d say one can get it and still dislike it. Sounds fine to me. But then the problem isn’t in the game.
    That said we don’t need to discuss that everybody is or should be free to speak their mind and nobody should be made to “shut up” through any means. And media play a vital role in reflecting back at us the state of our world but they are also the only way to enable us to externalise our own understanding of the world and ourselves, have a look at it and then perhaps change it. (This goes for creators and audiences alike) So media will change only if people do. And it comes down to the fact that we need more female game designers just like we need more women in many other professions.

    1. Pushing the envelope on hateful messaging is not satire.
      Well, yes it is.

      PLease provide examples to substantiate your claim, so I can see based on which sources your form your opinion and check it out myself.

      In most cases hyperbole when read by a clueless audience is read as just an extreme position on an issue. This is referred to as Poe’s law, with popular cases like this study on the Colbert Report.

      Especially in the case of GTA5 the hyperbole did not result in any effect, that could be ascribed to satire, as I described in the introduction to the article. Have you read the external write up link I gave in the second paragraph? THis shows that GTA5 is not only a good, but the perfect example for the case I’m making here.

      If not please re-read my article again an take a moment to read the external link, so you can see that whatever content else might be in GTA5 has no impact whatsoever on the case in this article. Thanks.

      1. Well, I’ll rely on Wikipedia’s definition of satire here , although it might be too general: Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon and as a tool to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.
        A common feature of satire is strong irony or sarcasm—”in satire, irony is militant”—but parody, burlesque, exaggeration, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. This “militant” irony or sarcasm often professes to approve of (or at least accept as natural) the very things the satirist wishes to attack.

        Given the exaggeration in the overall narration and the fact that the whole game as such is limited to a very narrow aspect of human life, namely the life of a male criminal in a certain setting, which you have to subscribe to if you want to play the game, and of course the staging (an aspect that seems to be missing from the review as well as the article referred to and yours) that imitates movie genre stereotypes (action and heist movies e.g.), it seems obvious to me that this is in fact satire. The reviewer claimed that “Yes, these are exaggerations of misogynistic undercurrents in our own society, but not satirical ones.” and she is entitled to her opinion but I don’t see a reason why this disqualifies as satire based on the definition I gave. She continues “With nothing in the narrative to underscore how insane and wrong this is, all the game does is reinforce and celebrate sexism.” Well, yes, there isn’t because that’s not what the game is about. It’s about a completely made-up world (believable, but in no way realistic to a healthy human being) in which the bad guys win by doing bad things which include sexist behaviour. The characters have to take themselves seriously for this to work, but the player doesn’t because in real life most men know that this is no acceptable behaviour, so is stealing cars and running over pedestrians.
        You’re reference to Poe’s law doesn’t seem to fit, I think it refers to text-based discussions on the web where e.g sarcasm is hard to grasp. I don’t think it’s that subtle in GTA with all the imagery, radio talk, story and characters. But I would also say that media research (which I happen to work in) has not yet reached a level of understanding of video games to really say in detail how they affect audiences, although we’re pretty sure it’s more complex than what text can do. And again, different people might get different things out of the game because it’s not done well, but it’s still satire even if it doesn’t work for everybody. As is the Colbert Report.

        Now, you talk about the effect of GTA 5 on the audience (and I haven’t played this incarnation but I guess it’s similar to the last one, which was based on mocking immigrants) but I don’t see how or when this could have been actually measured, so I think you assume from the reaction to the review which is kind of selective. If millions play this game there must be a few weirdos among them, but they are not created by the game, merely attracted.
        I think dissonance is in fact the wrong category here because the game wants to present a coherent game world, as most games do, in which there are rules different from the real world. Obviously sexism is an integral part of the game world (which again, you might dislike for very good reasons) but it ends when you leave this world, as does the violence and the aggressive driving. But precisely by trying hard to create a believable game world that works in and of itself and defies most of the rules we know in the process, it allows the player to be immersed and engaged. There is no irritation (or dissonance) to not destroy immersion but knowing that most of the things you would never do in real life (and would be punished for) and knowing this all refers to stereotypes from other media types (like movies) it’s still satire. There is no obvious educational intention there (perhaps there should be) and the story probably doesn’t discuss any moral issues questioning the protagonists actions (perhaps it should). But this is not a movie, you’re not merely watching you’re deciding yourself and you’re deciding with your experience and morals in mind playing someone different than you. This doesn’t guarantee you go away from the game with an anti-sexist attitude if you had none before. But it points out that this is an issue and puts you in a place to start thinking about it, with an open outcome of course.

        I would agree there are people who don’t get this aspect of the game, but I also saw video reviews (by men) and they clearly praised the game for it’s satiric qualities (of course not explicitely in regard to misogyny, but if anything else in the game qualifies as satire so does this) and I’ve heard that a lot from many people who unlike me look forward to the game and I don’t believe they are plainly looking forward to violence and misogyny.
        So I understand your article is not about the game as much as it is about the reaction of commenters to the review of it. And I would argue that hateful comments are a bad habit on the web, they happen all the time and are not limited to certain subjects or controversive claims. That’s not ok, but it’s also not exclusive to fans of mysogynistic games. And the reason for those hateful comments is not the game and it’s not that the game isn’t satire. It’s probably more complex than that.

        1. I don’t see a reason why this disqualifies as satire based on the definition I gave.
          This is very simple. Everything one could say about definitions, movie tropes, genres or the other content of the game is not relevant to the following sequence of events:

          1. A feminist critic to issue with the misogynistic content.
          2. Defenders of the game objected to her criticism by claiming it is satire. The only satire, that would offset misogynistic content would be satire that is critical of misogyny. Any other satire is not relevant to the original criticism regarding misogynistic content.
          3. The defenders of the game resorted to a lot of misogynistic attacks to silence a feminists critic and to undermine debate about misogyny and feminism as a whole.

          Satire that is critical of misogyny can not be used to deflect feminist criticism, per definition.
          Anyone who defends the sexist content is satire can not at the same time be incredibly sexist.

          The sexism in GTA5 is not satirical – no matter how deep we dig for definitions or what kind of definitions we apply. It is not satirical, because it does not have the effect of satire. It is resulting in MORE misogyny, not less. This supposed exaggerated mirror is not making people reflect on themselves, it’s making people push for more.

          Your ability to view GTA5 as satire (and congrats on that) or any reviewers preference to do so is completely irrelevant, as long the supposed satire is encouraging the thing it is supposed to be critical of.

          Nobody needs debates about definitions here, when there are real problems to fix. Please look at the situation and try to be productive instead of trying to “elevate the debate” or something like that. This is a waste of time and a luxury, that people don’t have who try to change something.

          1. Ok, I’m sorry, obviously we do need to discuss definitions because yours seems to be that satire is anything that causes satiristic effects (whatever those are, seems arbitrary to me) and my definition is quite different. And I would argue that judging anything (especially something as complex as media) only by it’s outcome is oversimplification, let alone that you limit the outcome to one unneccessary sh*tstorm. But even if you do, how do you come to the conclusion those satiristic effects are not there for all the other players out there? I don’t get that bit.
            I also agree that the events you name happened in that order, I just object to your simplified chain of cause and effect because it could have been a review criticising the game for it’s violence and the reaction might have been the same.
            And my view of the game (or that of any other person for that matter) as satire is as much relevant as yours, don’t you think? We need commonly accepted definitions to make sure we talk about the same thing. Because if not how will one ever get to the same page on any issue?

            The sexism in GTA5 is not satirical – no matter how deep we dig for definitions or what kind of definitions we apply. It is not satirical, because it does not have the effect of satire. It is resulting in MORE misogyny, not less. This supposed exaggerated mirror is not making people reflect on themselves, it’s making people push for more.

            Well, again, clearly not by your definition, but you wouldn’t want to rely only on your understanding of things here, would you?. And I don’t see how you can generalize from one incident that a game leads to more misogyny. The idea seems illogical to me, it certainly isn’t scientific.

            And I do strongly disagree that we can’t afford the ‘luxury’ of debate. In fact we have to. I believe there is no other way to solve any real life problems in the 21st century. How else would you go about it? I don’t feel like I wasted my time writing this, sorry if you do. :-)

            1. Nobody generalizes from one incident. It’s not one unnecessary shitstorm.
              You are severely underinformed regarding the broadness and severity of the sexist impact GTA5 has on gaming culture.

              Also judging a message by the way it is read is not an oversimplification. It’s is the only way to accurate judge the message, when it comes to media criticism. The negative outcomes is the negative outcome, if it came that way intentional or accidental, if an author wanted his message to be read that way or if certain dynamics forced it to, is irrelevant.

              Your definitions of satire are irrelevant to the outcomes of GTA5. We can debate definitions until our eyes bleeds, it does not change the outcomes of GTA5, and the outcomes and how we can improve future outcomes is all that is relevant here.

              I’d like to ask you to refrain to push the debate into a what is important to you, which obviously has nothing to do with sexism and video games, but everything with semantics and formalities. Sorry, not interested.

            2. I would normally address much more of what you said, but don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, so I will focus on the definition. Basically, your assertion that it is satire is supported by the fact that it containing exaggerations doesn’t disqualify it as satire. The problem is, you need to demonstrate something that qualifies it as satire, not merely point out that it isn’t disqualified based on meeting just one criterion. Give some examples and explain why they qualify (i.e. they meet all necessary criteria). In other words, show how it functions as commentary and criticism of misogyny. “Hey, look at this guy in this game do something insanely sexist” by itself would not illustrate the supposed commentary.

              Besides, lets be honest with ourselves here: the game is designed for fun and profit, not to make any sort of social point. You don’t make a game where you have fun running people over and then, after you’ve made it, claim it’s a commentary on car accidents. It is a pretty low brow game and not exactly the kind that provokes deep thought.

              As per the poster’s point, this kind of intellectual dishonesty is tiresome. You will see lots of commenters pop-up every time there is a prejudice related criticism and claim a game is satire regardless of what game it is. Even if, by chance, it was satirical, what are the odds that your average gamer who went through the game killing good/bad guys really took a moral message from it while playing? If they didn’t, then defending the game based on it being satire is still disingenuous because, at best, the incompetent satire had no effect and, at worst, it had the opposite of the intended effect. Of course, knowing the huge volume of idiots that play games, you can’t avoid the incompetent satire sending the opposite message to a lot of gamers. In other words, for all intents and purposes, it might as well be a genuinely prejudicial message rather than satire and the incompetent satirist earned their criticism for screwing up so poorly.

              1. Oh, god, Thank you!

                Yes, he needs to make a case for why GTA5 is satire before we can continue. Totally missed out on challenging him on that and let him took me for a dance on definitions.

                Thanks for the reminder.

              2. I wasn’t sure whether to reply anymore, it seems like the general tone in the comments here has become a little less formal to say the least and the author seems to be more comfortable with troll bashing than with explanation. Anyway, I try to make this quick because I start to get the feeling I’m repeating myself and we will end up having to agree to disagree here anyway. :-)
                Basically, your assertion that it is satire is supported by the fact that it containing exaggerations doesn’t disqualify it as satire.
                Not quite, I gave a definition which states core aspects of satire (not all of which need to be at work in any media artifact at the same time to make it satirical) and its possible function and I thought it was obvious that GTA uses (and always has used) exaggeration, irony, and sarcasm as a means to make social commentary which is the very definition of satire. It even contains parody (e.g. on radio and tv programs, stereotypical characters and other aspects of mise-en-scene that I already pointed to) which is another hint. Sorry for not making that more clear. I don’t see why you would challenge this obvervation, and please note that I don’t argue that it’s satire because reviewers, players and fans say so but rather because it fits the definition. You can of course argue that GTA does a bad job at being a satire on misogyny (as well as any other aspect it portrays), which I could probably agree to, if I had a closer look at the game, but this point wasn’t made, not even deemed relevant. Plus satire doesn’t involve or need any obvious criticism, in contrast it pretends to approve of (or at least accept as natural) the very things the satirist wishes to attack(as stated earlier). So in GTA’s world sexism is approved of in a totally over-the-top manner (again, among many other things) and this, too, seems to fit the definition of satire to me. Anyway, my definition seems to be up against the tautology that satire is anything that causes satirical effects which is illogical and not helpful at all. So if my definition is wrong, I’d like to hear yours. If it doesn’t apply here, I don’t see why.
                And all this seems to be quite relevant to the point the author wants to make in his article which, if I get it right, is that (somehow) the game being sexist and all leads people into believing they need to attack critics who state the obvious in a review and that this would only happen because the game is genuinely misogynist rather than satirical misogynist.

                Besides, lets be honest with ourselves here: the game is designed for fun and profit, not to make any sort of social point.
                Fun and lots of profit, true of course, but why can’t it also make a social point? I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive and why would they be? If you wanted to make any large scale satirical impact, wouldn’t you want to make it great fun and have it played by as many people as possible?

                And actually this very comment section shows that the satire in GTA provokes a lot of discussion (not all helpful, but not all pointless either, just like most discussions on the web) and thereby fullfills its satirical function to a degree. This can’t be lost on you.

                You will see lots of commenters pop-up every time there is a prejudice related criticism and claim a game is satire regardless of what game it is.
                Again, true, however to assume none of the those games actually are satire is just as lazy as you accuse them commenters to be. When did having solid evidence for claims come out of style?

                1. This whole discussion is off-course. There is no debating that there is satire in the GTA series. What IS up for debate, is just how much of the anti-feministic (“misogynistic”) depictions in the game are in fact satire, and then how much of THAT satire is really aimed at the right people.

                  Then, of course, the more important question is still “Does this material miss its mark?” I would say it stands a good chance of missing the mark. Not everyone can recognize satire from simple comedy that is in fact making the statement it seems to be making (including children, who WILL be exposed to this content quite easily with or without parents trying hard to keep them from it). And then there are bits of comedy/satire that are not so easy to label. One example would be the perfume advertisement captioned “Smell like a bitch”. IS this satire against misogyny, or is it satire against a particular “kind” of woman that is thought to wear perfume more often than others? There is no way of knowing for sure.

                  Lastly, we need to establish whether poor satire is in fact still satire at all. Same as we may disqualify attempts at comedy, from being considered actual comedy. If and when satire misses its mark, should we give them a pass?

                  You know what, Rockstar would’ve been better off focusing on the gameplay instead of trying to shock everyone at every turn. From a gamer’s perspective, the quality of gameplay has gone down steadily since GTA: San Andreas, IMO.

        2. Somehow just exaggerating something doesn’t seem that witty. Wit implies intelligence, and just amping things up seems like a rather simple and thoughtless way to achieve satire.

  37. Re: Hyperbole

    There is a “law of the internet” called Poe’s Law which states that there is no such thing as a fanatical, frothing at the mouth, obviously “turned up to 11” statement that will not be taken as literal fact by a rather high portion of the population. It was specifically referring to “news” sites satirizing right-wing religious extremists, but it applies nearly everywhere.

    As you said, when violence and sexism is the norm, there is no way to turn the dial up high enough, no way to make that extreme enough that people will actually view it as satire and not as “pushing the envelope”.

  38. Stop using Duke Nukem as an example. It was a terrible game and recieved as such. Everything thing about the “Women” in it was (I think) intended as such “satire” and horribly recieved.

    There is literally hardly a favourable word about any of it out there. Yes it’s one of the worst offenders, but it’s also pretty much the one that everyone agrees was terrible BECAUSE of those offenses. (And just being a crappy game).

    Thing is, only way you can change this “offense” is by making sure the market grows beyond what is it now. Involve more women who care about this and who buy games……make them vote with their wallets. If a game TANKS no more of it’s kind will be made.

  39. “Racist jokes are racists, homophobic jokes are homophobic, misogynistic jokes are misogynistic. ”

    So, then the question is how much of it we like, what is the dose of it you accept.

    The problem is that you start from the premise that it is bad and then use that to judge other people”s preferences. That is a moral syndrome. I don”t think we are able to understand what we really like and your neopuritanism leads to total boredom, where you are the only one permitted to “hate”, hate the haters. You channel your desire into that moralist surpremacy.

    1. What people like and their preferences are not an issue – neither your’s nor mine – and they are no factor in regards to criticism of sexism. Please educate yourself on the influence of mass media and the current state of gender inequality, because all criticism here is in the context of the negative effects of discriminatory gender representation in media, with a focus on games.

      …not about what kind of stuff people like or dislike.

      You can start here:

  40. Brilliantly written, contemporary statement!
    Trying to excuse bad humor to be ironic or sarcastic simply is the definition of pathetic! And it’s simply not funny, exept for unreflected Numb-nuts thinking this still is a man’s world n every one with a penis (and might it be the tiniest ever spotted) is super-superior to the other sex.
    The fact I got this article from some male former colleages of mine (who are working in a games-company and like me just decided NOT to play GTA5, although we were craving it as hell) at least shows me that there is a fair heap of us guys not guzzling everything we are fed by the industry.
    Rockstar too will change…with more n more of the top-notch producers in gaming being female n stepping up for their believes, they will have to! Games and especially the GTA-series (due to it’s huge amount of social interactions in game) has such a high potential to show kids what life really is about and be a cool guideline to motivate them to be good n succeed in their lives! Maybe the gap between state of the art box titles and educational games will be bridged so the one is not super-superficial any more and the other one is as fun to play!
    In this spirit, thanks again Anjin
    Fred (Social worker, Child- n youth psychotherapist, former QA-member and Gamer of leisure and passion)

    1. Thanks for your thoughts here.

      I’d like to clarify my view on GTA. I’m not in favor of pushing an individual game developer to change their indivudual intellectual properties, like GTA. Like in any other media, there is a place for exploitation (as a genre), for making content from controversial, offensive or even taboo subject matter.

      I still think it is important to point towards the controversial, offensive or even taboo subject matter in a game like GTA5 and explore what it means culturally, that GTA5 is one of the current most successful mainstream games out there, not a niche product. And it’s important to explore how games culture tries to justify, explain away – effectively normalize – controversial, offensive or even taboo subject matter, instead of treating it as what it is.

      It’s also important to call out games like GTA5 for controversial, offensive or even taboo subject matter in order to articulate a demand for alternatives.

  41. Well, I really do not get it. I wonder how it make sense to discuss a topic with someone, who claims that everybody disagreeing with his/her opinion is not getting it. Which is ironic, because half your article is making exactly this point. Anyway…

    I agree that GTAV is not a feminist game. You say hyperboling can never lead to criticism, I disagree. Even if often used as an easy excuse by misogynists, hyperboling is able to make things visible, it raises awareness. You may argue that this is a weak point, as hitting a woman in public would then do the same trick. But that’s only true if you present one actor superior over the other, which GTAV does not. You may have choosen the quote above your article to proof your point. Which I find funny, because either you want to agree with the game itself about it’s awareness or you really don’t get that the “bitch” at the end is not just a contradiction to the former sentence for funny reasons but keeps showing Jimmy (the boy) as an asshole in front of women. Of course there will be boys/men agreeing with this behaviour. But saying someone who isn’t like that would be driven to that behaviour is a bold assumption.

    You pick the topic (male) sexism as if GTAV wouldn’t hyperbole all kind of american culture. Like South Park does (but I assume you don’t like that either). You say it makes the victim of sexism the punchline. GTAV is full of hedonistic, sexist jerks and it makes fun of them big time, male and female alike. How you would assume it to take a side which shows this bad behavior in a good way is beyond me. If everybody is made fun of, how could their action be glorified the same time?

    Your criticism is as old as there are forms of media: Showing/Performing bad things – does it support these things in real life or does it give an opportunity to release common feelings you don’t want to see in RL? While I won’t defend the big amount of games full of sexism and violent out there, I find GTAV a bad example. Yes, there is sexism like in almost everything in our culture, and that’s not good. The girl from the cover, the strip clubs, the power by violence and gang banging for a clearly young man target audience etc. And claiming it’s all satire is poor. But attacking the one thing that keeps the game from beeing JUST sexist and violent, giving it the possibility to see how ridiculous such behaviour is…meh.

    1. “But saying someone who isn’t like that would be driven to that behaviour is a bold assumption.”
      Please stick to what the article says.

      “If everybody is made fun of, how could their action be glorified the same time?”
      Because not everybody has the same agency. All three characters are male, which makes the perspective on the situation a completely male one. Also equal ridicule does not have equal effect on both genders, because men and women are not treated equally in real life.

      Yes, you are right GTA5 is hateful towards everybody and misogyny is just one aspect/flavor of hostility the game offers. Please keep in mind, that this article is not the sexism in GTA5, but it is about a recent event in which a feminist critic got attacked for her opinion about GTA5 and how asinine these reactions are.


  42. Perhaps you should vote with your wallet. Dont buy the game. Hell, all the feminists should ban together and agree not to buy these evil, misogynistic games. I’m sure it would make a huge dent in sales….like maybe half a percent.

    1. Actually, over 45% of gamers are women. And yes, that number is referring to women playing the same popular titles as men.

      1. Guess they’re not voting with their wallets or they just don’t care enough. If any game sold 45% less because of sexism they’d change it up pretty fast I think.

        1. That would be the case if marketers would actually be interested in selling to everyone.

          Marketers have a much better cost-benefit-ratio, when they DO NOT try to sell to everyone. This is why there are target audiences. If you focus on one certain group, you can optimize content and messaging to convince this group to buy stuff. This is called market segmentation.

          1. Ah, fanatical AND rude.

            So you understand market segmentation. Then you also understand that you probably have 0% chance of making them change right?

            Thought you’d be more intelligent than to alienate readers. Guess not. I’m out, peace.

            1. His comment was perfectly polite and included a simple explanation of market segmentation. How do you get rude and fanatical from that?

              You are confusing comments that originated from two different people. “admin” did not make any claims regarding how effective women boycotting GTAV would be. He merely corrected your assumption that having 45% of the gaming market as a whole meant holding 45% of GTA franchise players. Also, obviously men can boycott as well.

      2. Actually, it refers to playing any games. It includes web and cell phone games. There are obviously going to be a lot more male players of GTA than female.

    2. I would, sometimes I do… But there’s not much alternative out there if you want too play certain genres. :s

    3. Excellent contribution…

      BTW, if all the feminists in the world were to boycott GTA, I should think it would make a HUGE difference!

      Feminist – Someone who believes men and women should be treated equally.

  43. Well good article, even if it’s a bid to much hate in it and playing the saint. I can’t imagine there is anyone commentating on this article or reading it without never enjoying a GTA or something similar. I didn’t played GTA yet, but I will if it gets released on PC. I can she with the writer, but I don’t like his way to write here, like he’s above others, the only one with true sight… yeah congrats… but I need to admit at some point he hit also me. But if I try to follow his manual to see everything in white or black… there it’s gray out there, just a hint… I’m, as it seems, one of those ironic badass gamers out there. Do I think I’m a bad person? No! I’ve many female friends and also coworkers and I’m not really know for being an ass or something worse, indeed I talk to them about really sensitive stuff and I appreciate that they are sharing it with me and that I can share it with them. I don’t mind how some journalism genius is defining me, because you, dear article writer, miss some stuff here. Personality! It’s just a game, so why bother so hard? If so many gamers want this and they are still move persons in real life, fine for me! Would be worth such a hate dialogue if it would change people. But isn’t the case… if some are looking for argue online… their decision. People out there, if you have such problems with such a theme, then maybe just don’t buy the game? Too easy… damn… I knew there was something…

    1. I never suggested that enjoying the game says something about the player’s character.
      I enjoyed many hours of GTA games myself.

      Please stick to what the article says.

  44. Biggest problem: Rockstar knows their ‘favourite’ peer group. And they know that the first image on this page is what those players totally identify themself with: Ironic badass gamers.
    The fact that they totally ignore the growing group of players that critizise misogyny and female players that naturely will have a problem with that, is disgusting. But the game sells, who cares. The sells give them the right to do it again. And this kind of discussion sadly is like a good marketing for the game.

    Whatever, great article! New arguments against people who “don’t get it”.
    There are a lot of women who don’t get it, as well! Some days ago I told a girl, that I don’t watch Big Bang Theory because of the misogyny anymore. Her reply: “But the women are stupid in this series!”
    It’s not like someone wrote the script… m)

    1. “But the women are stupid in this series!”

      Yeah, the typical diegetic defense. It makes sense in the story, or in the setting or the characters are like that… completely skipping the part, where the story, the world, the people, all are created, framed and selected by creators. Very frustrating.

  45. So if you removed all of the female based sexism from GTA V.. do you think it would positively impact the gamers experience? or negatively impact it?

    Basically, are you complaining about the reaction from the immature anonymous internet trolls based on the comments of her review? or are you complaining about the sexism in the game in the first place?

    1. “So if you removed all of the female based sexism from GTA V.. do you think it would positively impact the gamers experience? or negatively impact it?”

      I think it would negatively impact it for everyone who enjoys the game as it is right now, also it would make the game kinda inconsistent. The game is full of all sorts of hateful, reckless and hostile behavior… trying to avoid sexism, would feel weird. Sexism is part of the DNA of GTA, taking it out would drastically change the experience.

      You could easily offset much of the sexism though, by having a playable female character.

      “Basically, are you complaining about the reaction from the immature anonymous internet trolls based on the comments of her review? or are you complaining about the sexism in the game in the first place?”

      I have my issues with the content of GTA5, but that’s not subject of the article. Yes, it is about the reactions. But do not make the mistake to think that the reaction only comes from trolls… the reaction is common, many types of gamers use it, often coming from the developers themselves.

      1. The only way I could reply to a comment like this is with an insult. So, I’m just not gonna and will remove the comment now so that my readers do not have to suffer through that nonsense. Wow.

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