Former Skepchick contributor Tracy King requested permission to take the stage once again to righteously rage about a truly shitty video just posted by gaming site IGN. Rage on, Tracy!

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There aren’t many words more denigrating to women than ‘whore’. It’s the one that summons mental images of domestic violence, of the worst sort of reduction to a sexual object. That Deadwood smack of ‘disposable, beatable hole’ makes me physically cringe. When I see ‘attention whore’, I grit my teeth, but plain old whore? You can’t call a woman much worse.

So when is it appropriate to use it? I know! As a punchline in a parody video to replace a horse! You know that Old Spice commercial from a few years back that everyone had forgotten about by now? Ends with “I’m on a horse”. Ripe for parody! It works out beautifully because not only does ‘whore’ sound exactly like ‘horse’, but women and horses are roughly equal! Especially funny is getting the woman on all fours in a supplicant position and sitting on her like she’s your sex worker. Sorry, whore.

But of course no-one is ignorant enough to make a parody like that because it’s 2012, not 1912!

Except this guy. Andrew Eisen is a YouTuber and gamer who thinks he’s funny. He made this video in response to Nintendo’s falling profits. He thinks that Nintendo, who have always attracted a larger female demographic than anyone else and position themselves firmly as a family company, will somehow be swayed by his childish rant about them not delivering games he personally really wants to play, and how that’s the entire cause of their financial woes. Oh, and Nintendo? I’m on a WHORE! LMAO!

Fine, some guy can make his video reflecting his opinion all he wants, but when one of the biggest entertainment websites in world, IGN, posts the video to its Youtube channel, endorsing it on behalf of “fans everywhere”, we’re in a different territory entirely.

Check out this Nintendo-related take on the Old Spice commercials by Andrew Eisen. It’s not only funny but it offers a pro-fan message to Nintendo on behalf of fans everywhere who would gladly pay for certain games if they were just given a North American release. Like the video and show Andrew some support if you agree!

I don’t agree, IGN! I don’t agree that women are whores or that sex workers are whores or that you should in any way be endorsing, promoting, or posting content suggesting otherwise! How’s that for not “liking the video”?

I write a column in print magazine Custom PC on bad science and the media perception of gamers and gaming culture. The April issue was about whether women suck at games, and why the perception exists that they do. I talk about the misogyny in gaming communities and what a huge barrier to entry that is to some women. When I filed it I had some vaguely optimistic notion that things were improving. But today I see the massively influential IGN happily calling women whores and I despair.

IGN is on Twitter: @IGN, and there are comments to be left on the video itself, which remember is on IGN’s own channel, deliberately endorsed and promoted to their users, the gaming community.

Andrew Eisen can say what he wants. IGN, however, has a responsibility to the gamers it claims to represent, who fund its existence. Let’s all just be grateful that the original Old Spice commercial didn’t end with “I’m on a DIGGER”.

[ED: The video has been removed as of 20:00 ET. Success??]

Tracy King is the London-based producer of Tim Minchin’s Storm movie. She runs an animation and game development company, consults on marketing, and writes on a host of topics including game culture. Her personal blog is http://www.tkingdoll.com and she’s @tkingdoll on Twitter.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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32 Comments

  1. Profile photo of CerealDave
    April 27, 2012 at 11:38 am —

    He thinks that Nintendo, who have always attracted a larger female demographic than anyone else and position themselves firmly as a family company, will somehow be swayed by his childish rant about them not delivering games he personally really wants to play, and how that’s the entire cause of their financial woes.

    This attitude has always pissed me off.  I remember when the Gamecube came out and there was endless whining about how light and colourful LoZ: The Wind Waker, Pikmin and Super Mario Sunshine looked.  They were called "childish", whereas Grand Theft Auto, Halo etc. were classed as "mature".  Of course it was all bollocks.  It was a lot of teenage boys and young men who worried about their masculinity being compromised by their hobby, rather than whether the game they were playing was any good.

    • Profile photo of Rebecca Watson
      April 27, 2012 at 11:58 am —

      Exactly. You can also see this in shitholes like Reddit, where they'll talk nonstop about Pokemon but then immediately hate on any woman who says she likes Pokemon or Mario because she's "not a real gamer."

    • Profile photo of IBY
      April 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm —

      That was pretty much the kind of reason people dismissed Gamecube. Because it was purple and looked like cubical. Granted, the console didn't do much favor with its miniature disc, but you know what? It had great gamess, and if people dismiss it because it is not "manly" enough, it is their loss.

    • Profile photo of kagerato
      April 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm —

      That perception actually began with the Nintendo 64.  Sony managed to nab a much larger segment of the game publishing market, mostly due to the fact that the Playstation provided greater storage capacity via CD.  This gave them all the credibility with the "cool" and "hardcore" crowd, a trend that hasn't changed much since even with the entry of Microsoft into the market.  Yes, even though the Wii substantially outsold both the Xbox 360 and the PS3.
       
      Keep in mind that Nintendo published plenty of "kiddy" or otherwise child-oriented games when they essentially owned the market in the late 80s and early 90s (NES and SNES era).  They didn't take much negative press for it at the time, and almost no one really thought much of it.

  2. Profile photo of wundergeek
    April 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm —

    I wish I could say that this surprised me, but IGN has always been a cesspit of misogyny and bile in the internet gaming world. It's disappointing to see that they continue to have no interest in changing that trend.

    • Profile photo of ondine
      April 29, 2012 at 11:06 am —

      If it's any consolation, IGN is not really taken seriously in the gaming world. It has about as much credibility as Reddit…let the bacteria drown in their cesspool, I say. 
      And the woman who agreed to take part in this video bears just as much responsibility as the creator does. I really wonder if misogynist douchebros would be so vocal if they didn't have females enabling their stupid asses. 

    • Profile photo of lijakaca
      May 1, 2012 at 9:58 pm —

      Yes, I’ve stayed away from IGN for a long time, but this still made me angry enough to finally go, *manually* archive all of my old blog posts from my IGN blog (like copy, switch windows, paste, switch windows, copy, switch, paste, etc), and delete them from that site. So yay? IGN are going to miss my 5 pageviews a month for sure! It was satisfying though.

  3. Profile photo of Improbable Joe
    April 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm —

    Just wow. 
    It's like… the idea of half the human race being actual full-fledged members of the human race is completely alien to the male members of the gaming community. Calling women "whore" is just what people ("people" meaning "men") do, and why would anyone complain or even notice? What comes next though? I'm guessing "the video objectifies men because he's shirtless" although it coule easily be "girls aren't gamers anyway, so this video isn't for you" and then a threat of violence.

  4. Profile photo of Angela
    April 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm —

    Wow what a gross example of promoting misogyny, IGN. And I should have known better than to read the comments left on the linked video…yet for some stupid reason I did it anyway. *facepalm* Geez, I think my favorite just might be: "Bitches will complain and get offending by fucking anything." 

  5. Profile photo of Timid Atheist
    April 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm —

    Why oh why is this still happening?
    I was having an argument just last night about bullshit sexism in video games themselves and then we have assholes like this making it just part of the community.
    That excuse just grinds my gears. And the typical response that I get of, "It's just a video game," pisses me off even more.
    It's not just a video game. It's a reflection of what the culture is like and until it's not acceptable it'll continue to happen and continue to make non-cis-hetero-males feel like shit.

  6. Profile photo of PrimevilKneivel
    April 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm —

    You can't spell ignorant without IGN 
     

  7. Profile photo of ineedavacation
    April 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm —

    is youtube telling anyone else that the video is "private" or is that just happening to me?

  8. Profile photo of emmastaf
    April 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm —

    This is disgusting. It's not even a woman in over-the-top "prostitute" garb. It's like she was just some woman doing yoga on the beach. He's saying that to him, any woman is a whore. Because that's really the only criterion for whoredom: some jerk feels like calling you a whore.
    Of course it would  be offensive even if she were dressed "whorishly". This just makes it clear that he's not a misguided doofus, he's a stone cold misogynist.

  9. Profile photo of doctressjulia
    April 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm —

    Thumbs down and flagged for misogynist hate speech.

  10. Profile photo of scribe999
    April 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm —

    /begin rant

    A couple of things: a) this video is reprehensible and stupid and it bugs me that he paid money to produce it. b) the games this dumbass mentions were really not dark, action "boy" (heavy emphasis on the quotation marks) game, but rather two meh-seeming JRPGs and the remake of the sequel to Fatal Frame, the survival-horror game (that had already been here in the U.S. on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox years ago!) that requires you to take photographs of ghosts, so kinda tangential to the idiocy of his video. c) His lack of understanding of how "profit" versus "risk" and "overhead" works is pretty substantial. Consider that Nintendo posted it's first loss in 3 decades at the tail end of the console cycle (an inordinately LONG console cycle for that matter), his implication that Nintendo isn't making money because they had decided to withhold expensive-to-ship titles with historically limited appeal in a largely mainstreamed marketplace is fairly stupid unless he has spreadsheets and market data that Nintendo isn't actually looking at.

    And if anyone references Xenoblade Chronicles, I challenge them to provide me accurate sales data to me showing that it was a success AND even if it WAS a success in North America, I challenge them to accurately predict the success of the majority of other imported titles that haven't had such a vigorous word-of-mouth campaigns in comparison to overall cost of localizing and importing them. Otherwise, privileged folks like Andrew Eisen should learn Japanese, pay the extra money to import their obsessions rather than spending it on sexist amateurish videos, and stop living the stereotype of the misogynist gamer asshole.

    Nintendo lost money because they didn't time a new console release well, disastrously mistimed the release of the 3DS in the midst of the Smartphone/Tablet portable gaming revolution, dealt with a difficult competitive situation in general within the market space, licensed too much "shovelware" to the detriment of their brand, and grew too complacent about a customer base that wasn't providing repeat business. Not because they didn't initially release "The Last Story" in the U.S. and Canada. 

    Give me a goddamn break, japanophile fanboys. Stop picking on women, and casual gamers, and a savvy business that has existed SINCE THE 19th CENTURY now stumbling (like all businesses do at times) just because you think Japan is the bees knees. So, in answer to Mr. Eisen's question: "Nintendo: Why Won't You Let Me Give You My Money?" … You're money likely isn't worth it to them.

    /end rant

    • Profile photo of kagerato
      April 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm —

      Good post with a bunch of solid points.  There are quite a few otaku and wannabe-otaku types in the U.S. who fail to understand that games which sell well in Japan don't necessarily and often haven't sold well in the states.  The fan and customer bases are, in fact, different.

      • Profile photo of scribe999
        April 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm —

        Thanks. Most importantly though, and I can't emphasize it enough, is the idiocy of using a misogynistic throwaway sight gag to push this fanboy agenda. *sigh*

  11. Profile photo of Grand Lunar
    April 28, 2012 at 12:06 am —

    I need to stock up on pain pills, given how much this makes me want to hit my head agains the wall.
     
    Makes me wonder if being rational and being male aren't common combinations.

  12. Profile photo of tosufai
    April 29, 2012 at 7:27 am —

    This isn't the first time that IGN has completely lost the plot, anyone remember the absolute gem of a show with the amateur game designers? (Please be warned, it's utterly horrific.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Kb5ev2Dp4I0
    Misogyny is endemic in games journalism but I imagine that is to be expected considering the many, many problems of the gaming industry itself.
     

  13. Profile photo of Gene
    April 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm —

    I had some difficultly finding the video (the link in the article sent me to a private video) but when I finally did I was shocked. It's a pointless, cheap joke.

  14. Profile photo of eisen
    May 1, 2012 at 1:21 am —

    “…women and horses are roughly equal!”

    No they’re not.

    “He made this video in response to Nintendo’s falling profits.”

    No, I made this video in response to the fact that Nintendo has a wide open release calendar but so far hasn’t seen fit to release in North America the games that it already has or soon will release in every other major territory.

    “He thinks that Nintendo… will somehow be swayed by his childish rant…”

    No, I don’t.

    “He thinks… that’s the entire cause of their financial woes.”

    No, I don’t think that either.

    “I don’t agree that women are whores…”

    Neither do I and my video doesn’t suggest that.

    “I don’t agree that… sex workers are whores…”

    You should. That’s the definition of “whore.” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whore

    “But today I see the massively influential IGN happily calling women whores and I despair.”

    No need to despair. Neither IGN nor I are calling women whores.

    Andrew Eisen

    • Profile photo of Timid Atheist
      May 1, 2012 at 8:45 am —

      “No need to despair. Neither IGN nor I are calling women whores.”

      Except where you show a guy on a woman calling her a whore. Amazing how that works.

    • Profile photo of Pugg Fuggly
      May 1, 2012 at 11:57 am —

      You know, if you would have owned up to being ignorant about how bad the word is, most people would have forgiven you.

      • Profile photo of eisen
        May 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm —

        Words, in and of themselves, are neither good nor bad. They’re just words. It’s the context in which they are used and the intent behind them that give them their power.

        • Profile photo of Rebecca Watson
          May 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm —

          What was your intent when calling that woman a whore?

          • Profile photo of eisen
            May 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

            The character Monica is playing is a whore so, in the context of this video, identifying said character as such is not a slight, it’s a statement of occupation.

            The intent is to make viewers laugh with a visual gag and verbal wordplay that parodies the original commercial’s stinger while making the point that if we can’t spend our money on Nintendo’s games, there are plenty other things we can spent it on. Of course, the literal interpretation is “I’ll hire a whore with whom I’ll play a rousing game of horsey!” and such absurdity, both the notion and the visual itself (no offense to anyone with that particular fetish) is what adds to the humor. The practical interpretation and, truly, the underlying implication of the entire gag is “I’m going to spend my hard-earned cash on your competitors’ games.”

        • Profile photo of boyofd
          May 1, 2012 at 12:51 pm —

          “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.'”

          Didn’t expect Humpty Dumpty to visit the Skepchick forums, but here you are.

        • Profile photo of scribe999
          May 1, 2012 at 10:57 pm —

          If you have to explain the premise of your joke so intricately, you probably need to rework your material. Workshop it. It’ll be good for you.

          You’re right about IGN (sometimes). Even they find the term “whore” misogynistic. (despite their Babeology segments) http://pc.ign.com/articles/119/1193222p1.html

          So, you went for a cheap laugh with an almost-homonym to “horse”, by falling into a catch-22 of either dressing an actress up in some over-the-top outfit to describe that she’s a whore, or leaving her as-is for people to just come to the determination that ANY WOMAN IN THAT POSITION is a “whore”. Let’s take a step back an analyze that segment of the video and your defense of it:

          “The character Monica is playing is a whore so, in the context of this video, identifying said character as such is not a slight, it’s a statement of occupation.”
          What other context explains that this woman is a “sex worker” other than you describing her as a whore? Did she flash an ID card earlier that we missed? Is that a “whore” uniform? That’s a bit of circular reasoning: Her occupation is not a slight when the only reason to accept that such is her occupation is you calling her a whore…meanwhile, the audience doesn’t know that’s her occupation upon viewing, so we assume it’s just a woman you call a whore. But that’s ok…you didn’t mean all women…just the generically dressed, barely described one without a name, on all fours, that you were sitting on. So, forgive us for missing the context when you didn’t provide any.

          “making the point that if we can’t spend our money on Nintendo’s games there are plenty other things we can spent it on”…yeah, well, you don’t actually do that either. “I’m on a whore” doesn’t translate to “That’s what I’m spending my money on” because the original Old Spice ad doesn’t suggest the purchase of a horse either. And there’s nothing else in your video that suggest you’d be taking your cash elsewhere. Where’s the sweet, sweet cash heading off to? Sony land? Xbox-atopia? Wait, NOTHING ELSE WAS MENTIONED…just a “whore”…who you didn’t pay…just on all fours. Not taking your money. So your attempt at a humorous jibe at Nintendo (regardless of the mentioned release schedule…it doesn’t necessarily make money off of those localizations you were asking for because of the pesky COST of localizing an shipping) doesn’t mitigate the failure of the gag.

          No two ways about it, your stated intent compared to your execution was WAY off, and arguing from Webster’s dictionary? We’ve received better arguments from Creationists on this site. C’mon…while refuting the “sex workers not being whores” argument, you left out that part of the definition: “also : a promiscuous or immoral woman” that undermines your own argument that the word is, by itself, inoffensive. You do realize that “whore” is a pejorative that in the English vernacular does not necessarily refer to the occupation of providing sex acts in return for money, right? Kinda important when framing your argument based on definitions.

          I’m sure as an individual you probably don’t think all women are whores. However, your video, an expression of yourself, does make that implication regardless of your intent because you made a pretty lazy joke that doesn’t even make sense in your explanation ex post facto.

          You know your intended audience probably would have laughed at “I’m on a horta” too.

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