The Sexist

“Hey Baby”: The First-Person Shooter


You'd think that a feminist blogger with a noted disdain for people who ask her to smile would be the ideal consumer for street harassment-based first-person shooter game. (Guilty!) But after a test-run, even I can't get behind gunning down street harassers for fun and profit:

First, here's how "Hey Baby" (produced, naturally, by LadyKillas Inc.) works: A man approaches. He sexually harasses you. You respond by gunning him down with your .80 caliber machine gun. Then there's this soul-sucking noise, a tombstone pops up reading the harasser's last words ("C'mon, smile for me baby"; "I want to lick you all over"), and the harasser's bloodied corpse is flung into the street. Repeat! Or not. I could only murder like six street harassers before throwing in the towel. Why?

a. Perhaps it's because I wasn't weaned on murdering aliens and sex workers and other targets of your typical first-person shooter game, but virtually murdering people fails to tickle my fancy. Violence is not the answer, nor is it particularly interesting, mmkay?

b. I get street harassed all the time! I don't also need to get harassed while I am not on the street, and in fact alone on my computer. I've got trolls for that.

c. What is the point of this game? I killed half a dozen dudes and couldn't figure out if I was making any progress toward some sort of discernable goal. I'm bored! Where are the mushrooms I eat to make me bigger?

d. The "premium" version of "Hey Baby" offers "Cool advanced technology [that] allows you to get up close." Because the one complaint I have about dudes who harass me on the street is that I cannot get close enough to them.

e. I eventually got stuck behind a fence and couldn't make the machine gun stop shooting. Did I mention I was not weaned on first-person shooters?

I will say this about the game: I appreciate that it sees street harassment as a problem, and I'm eternally grateful that players aren't forced to watch sexy avatars of themselves do the harasser-murderin' so as to satisfy the erotic requirements of any dudes who might be playing the game (all you see of yourself is the machine gun you're wielding). I realize that "Hey Baby" is kind of in a tough spot. It seems to want to subvert the kill-the-hooker imperative of some video games without sacrificing all the bloooooooood. Call me a pessimist, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that feminist issues can never be perfectly applied to a game based on simulated murder.

  • Brandon

    We use childhood drawings and then, later in life, jokes and behavior of a certain nature to weed out people with sexist or violent tendencies. But with new tools, building video games can be as easy as drawing. So really, what's the difference?

  • Keith B

    Street Harassment game, nobody wins!

    Re: point (b), you're welcome. I still think you are horrible.

  • Keith B

    And why are you still hung up on the OMG gamez = "kill-the-hooker imperative"? In GTA:San Andreas (which I'm assuming you are referring to), you play as a Black dude with the freedom to kill hookers, yes, but also other Black males, or Black women, or your various girlfriends of all races, plenty of white guys, homeless geezers, Tommy Chong, some Vietnamese people, &c. In fact I think you HAVE to kill some Vietnamese guys to finish one mission. I don't think killing hookers is ever de rigeur.

    And last week you rant about how it's cheap for the media to focus on titillating, attention-grabbing sound bytes (re: the news interview w/ Miss DC). If you don't like a game where you can/must kill ANY people, leave it at that. Are you cool with all the Black-on-Black, domestic, anti-police violence, or were virtual hookers rights not to be killed the most important? If there were no hookers to kill, just gainfully employed women, would that be pretty chill from a feminist point of view?

    Since you've been pretty unlcear on those, I can only assume this: feminist blogger sort of ok with virtually killing street harassers, mostly glad not hookers, not so outraged about killing other groups.

  • kza

    You're trying to hard Keith. There's really no arguement to be had here.

  • Keith B

    I don't expect one anyway. Less glib posts would be nice though.

  • ElDiablo666

    Amanda, just wanted to clear up a confusion that Keith attempted. It is a widespread misconception that sex workers are a specific target of violence in the GTA games; any violence toward them has always been incidental and user-motivated choice. Since the game is a sandbox-style third person shooter, one of the things you can do as the player is pay a hooker for sex in order to regain lost health. Murdering her (or any other character outside of a mission) is optional, but is presumably done to recollect the money paid for the sex services.

    This might seem like a minor distinction but I have always felt that Rockstar has received unfair treatment in the media regarding this aspect of the game. Criticizing the GTA series for its violence is totally separate from violence directed at sex workers, which is in no way a direct objective in any of the games' stories. Since the game in no way encourages the player to kill prostitutes, I don't think it's fair to mention this as anything but incidental.

  • Melissa

    "feminist issues can never be perfectly applied to a game based on simulated murder"


  • IceCrystal

    I'd put this on the same level as those "Columbine simulator" quick FPS jobs. Hobbyist programmers trying to be edgy, though I just find it in poor taste. It's an angry revenge fantasy, which most mainstream FPSs are not. As a woman who does get unwelcome comments, I understand where the anger comes from, but this is a juvenile way to go about addressing it.

    "Violence is not the answer, nor is it particularly interesting, mmkay?"

    In other words, this.

  • the Constantly Dramatic One


    Where are the shrooms dammit?!

    (Sorry, I just have to do that.)

  • Blooming Psycho

    Does sound tempting though. I despise the "smile, Honey." thing myself. Although working the night shift wears me out and I'm burned out on being a caretaker, at least I don't hear "smile, Honey" near as much as I heard when I was a waitress.

  • drsnacks

    I really don't like your misrepresentation of my favorite murder simulators Hess

  • Lizrd

    Nothing like a good video game related post to bring out all the trolls.

    Allow me to summarize: "Don't make fun of video games, they rock! You're just a dumb woman" The end.

  • Keith B

    Allow me to correct you: “Don’t make fun of video games, they rock! You’re just dumb” The end.

  • Emily WK

    The fact that you CAN kill a prostitute in GTA is something that the game designers chose to include. There are games where you can't, for example, kill any child characters because that would be too horrible. Someone had to design and write and someone else had to program and probably several people had to approve the situation where the pixels that represent "the prostitute" react by simulating death when hit by bullets. Not making it a direct objective of the game doesn't excuse it.

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  • Michael Hatfield

    "Someone had to design and write and someone else had to program and probably several people had to approve the situation where the pixels that represent “the prostitute” react by simulating death when hit by bullets. Not making it a direct objective of the game doesn’t excuse it."

    You can kill any character in GTA, if you couldn't kill prostitutes the game would be inconsistent.

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