Just how sexist is nudity in gaming?

Nudity in gaming is becoming a hot-button issue. CNET Readers sound off in a debate over whether nudity--or sexually suggestive actions--objectifies or degrades women.

Last week, I wrote about The Godfather II game, which features topless women . I argued that the nudity was unnecessary and gratuitous.

After reading through the story, some readers debated whether in-game nudity objectifies women. Both sides make a compelling argument.

One reader, "CrimsonCantab", said "female nudity...is unneeded and degrading to women. Pornography is shown to have many negative side effects, like reduced fidelity in marriage. There's already too much of it on the Internet, and I find it harder and harder to be a gamer when games are headed in the same direction."

"Renegade Knight," on the other hand, wrote that "the problem isn't the nudity so much as the reaction to it. Clearly, it's a problem for some people."

"Infinitely" responded that "(Don) made a good point that (the game) is using (the female body) to sell copies of a game. That alone should be a reason to decry it. There's nothing wrong with nudity, but this is objectification of women. You don't see any nude guys in video games, do you?"

The latest in the Grand Theft Auto series, Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned , shows a man fully nude. That said, the majority of games with nudity show only women nude (here's a full list).

DarkerRaul wrote in the comments that, "While I don't necessarily agree that nudity in any form is pornography, I do think that the context of the scene is pornographic, if the player 'was greeted by a woman offering me sexual favors.' That is disgusting and offensive," the commenter wrote. "And while female nudity does not degrade women, this scene certainly would degrade women, whether the character was nude or not."

Is it, then, the game's actions rather than the mere nudity that objectifies women? One reader, "raywkirk," sees no harm in at least the former.

"What a bunch of prudes! And, what about men? You never hear anything about men being degraded by nudity," he wrote. "In Britain, it's not unusual to see topless women on bus posters and television. What is the harm in it? I don't get it."

Maybe you don't either. Or perhaps you do. Either way, let us know in the poll to the right and in the comments below.

Is nudity in gaming sexist? Tell us what you think.

Check out Don's Digital Home podcast, Twitter stream, and FriendFeed.

 

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