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Video Games

How Hitman is insulting us all

All right, now I'm mad.

All right, now I'm mad.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

I just stumbled across the Hitman trailer, via Mark Serrels' discussion of it on Kotaku Australia. He made a call to arms. I'm answering that call.

In the trailer, we see the hardened protagonist of the game prepping for battle, while an army of nuns marches towards his hideout.

The camera lingers lasciviously over crotches and curves as they divest themselves of their robes, revealing latex-clad sexiness. And guns.

Watch the way we're supposed to be turned on by their brutal murder.

Oh, believe me: I asked myself, would I feel the same way if he was killing a bunch of men like this? And the answer is: a bunch of men would not be treated as some sort of hyper-violent sex show, in which we're supposed to be aroused while we slaughter.

Video-game marketers: this is so far beyond not cool. If games are meant to be a fantasy, what the hell is this supposed to tell us?

And just ... just ... why? Is this really the only way you can sell your game? It's not as if the Hitman franchise doesn't have a fan base. That's not enough; now, you're trying to attract the kinds of people who get off on hurting women?

I'm tired of this. No doubt someone is reading this, thinking I'm just a silly over-offended woman, but when game after game after game is marketed based on how sexually appealing it is to men, one can't help but feel not only unwelcome, but also actively scorned.

You're right, there are plenty of games out there that don't involve the sexual fetishisation of celibate clergy and violence that I can quite happily play. But it's stuff like this that contributes heavily to a culture of objectification; that is, the reduction of women to their bodies; and the perception that their bodies are objects and public property to be touched and commented on and consumed.

Let me put it another way: guys, you're the demographic to whom this is marketed. Don't you feel insulted that they feel the best way to get your interest is with lowest common denominator titillation — that all you're interested in is blood and boobs? Great gameplay, compelling characters, a tense and exciting storyline — pffft. Look at the ladies! Drool for me, boys!

It's absolute garbage, and it insults every gamer with two brain cells to rub together.