If you still doubt that sexism is alive and well in gamer culture (and after the threats lobbed at women developers and video game critics through #GamerGate, who could seriously doubt?) then this Sony PlayStation ad for the PS Vita will serve as a shock to the system.
In a video uploaded to their YouTube channel on Friday, Playstation really put the nail in the coffin when it comes to sexism in the gaming universe.
In the ad, a female doctor addresses the camera in a suggestive purr, not so subtly comparing playing video games to masturbating. “You no longer have to feel ashamed,” she says. “Everybody’s doing it, because it’s fantastic.”
“This is for the players,” the ad copy notes… But it’s very, very clear who these “players” are in this ad: Young, straight men.
The saddest part about the entire ad, is that it almost did something good . . . in the most back-handed way ever. At the end of the ad, the doctor oozes to the camera, “you can even join me,” before picking up her own console. So in a weird way, Sony is recognizing that women play games too but news flash: sexualizing more than half of your market is no way to win or to work.
Sony pulled the ad already, but the myriad of ways in which this sleazy number misses the mark are embarrassing. Gaming culture is currently embroiled in a controversy about how to have an inclusive community. This ad is all about gaming as something that teenage dudes do, aimed at a male audience, and sexualizing female players. So yep, we still have a ways to go in order to eliminate sexism from gaming. If someone tells you otherwise, just point them to this campaign.