Sony boards the sexism train

A print advertisement in France compares the PlayStation Vita to a woman with four breasts.

(Credit: Gregoire Hellot)

A print advertisement in France compares the PlayStation Vita to a woman with four breasts.

There's this thing that's been around the last few years called "pick-up artistry". It treats getting women into bed as a sort of game; in fact, that's exactly the sort of language it uses. Trying to pick up women is called "gaming" — the movement's bibles, by Neil Strauss, are called The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists and Rules of the Game. They offer how-tos and the challenges for picking up women.

The troubling thing is that it seems to be based around a mindset that women are like video games: use the right cheat code, enter the right combination of AABBXY Up Down, and sex will fall right into your lap (so to speak). Instead of regarding women as people (a shocking idea, I know), it treats them as some sort of prey or prize.

That's all I could think of when I saw this print ad by Sony, published in magazines in France. Next to a depersonalised woman's torso, the translated text reads, "Touch both sides; twice the sensation" — as though a woman's body is a plaything to be owned and manipulated, not an autonomous, thinking, feeling, human being.

Sony came under fire in 2006 for its controversial PSP White billboards, and more recently in Hong Kong for its "Photography is for women too" course.

Sony could only tell CNET Australia when we asked it about the advertisement, "This creative is not running in the Australian market".

Video games, I love you. But for every step forward, there are two steps back. Women are not toys, we are not video games. We are more than our bodies, we are more than our breasts. Please, stop using us as bait to dangle in front of your heterosexual male demographic in order to sell toys.

If you want to increase your audience, which is, I believe, the point of advertising, how about — instead of alienating half the human population — you try to include us?

Just a thought.