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Feb 22 2013

Maybe the counterbalancing would ease back pain?

This is how Sony is advertising some new gaming gadget. Somehow, I don’t think they’re trying to appeal to women gamers.

sony4breasts

I also don’t think plunking the female form down deep into the Uncanny Valley like that is going to appeal to most well-adjusted males.

The other trope on display that I see a fair bit: showing just the torso while cutting off the model’s face. That’s one I sometimes see with male models, too — there’s nothing quite like obliterating the most expressive part of the human body to completely objectify your subject.

108 comments

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  1. 1
    glodson

    Oh, goddamnit.

    Thanks Sony, because I know I’m drawn to badly done ads that supposed to be sexy.

  2. 2
    janiceintoronto

    Oh, Sony has gone and done it.

    We’re -all- gonna want 4 breasts now.

    Idiots.

  3. 3
    mythbri

    Ew.

  4. 4
    SallyStrange

    Fools! That’s only sexy when the lady is an alien and has green skin, AND you can see her face. WITH the antennae.

  5. 5
    richardelguru

    Hah! I was just watching the Coupling episode where the four breast concept was… well what ever it was.
    Now that’s uncanny.

  6. 6
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    And check out their new V-Station play system, a modular vagina for when you want all the sensation without the sentience!

  7. 7
    Drolfe

    I cannot wait for the semiotics discussion that proves this isn’t sexist! m-/

  8. 8
    dianne

    First thought: Ew!!!
    Second thought: No sexism there. Nope. Not a bit.
    Third thought: What if they decide to market this to women? The corresponding picture…Ew! Not sexy. Not sexy at all.

  9. 9
    dianne

    (Er…should I have put an explicit “sarcasm” tag on the “second thought” in my earlier post or is it inherently obvious?)

  10. 10
    eric

    there’s nothing quite like obliterating the most expressive part of the human body to completely objectify your subject

    Well, comparing the human body to a game controller does that regardless of whether there’s a face in the picture.

    The ad already seems to follow the ‘modern suck’ concept of downplaying the actual product. Its difficult at first to figure out what they’re advertising. My guess is, since humans spend a lot of neural resources reading and interpreting faces, the same ad with the face in it took even longer for your average consumer to get – so they dumped it in favor of this one.

    And seconding mythbri – ew.

  11. 11
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    Ironically, it’s for a system that’s been out for close to two years, and that I just sold because they’ve orphaned the system. Hasn’t been a viable handheld since Gravity Rush.

    Oh, and Sony? There’s an entire generation of women gamers that have been playing your systems for a couple of decades now. Way to alienate us right off the bat as you try to make the Vita the prime peripheral for the PS4. ‘Cause this is going to help those sales soooo much also.

  12. 12
    Eristae

    I couldn’t even think about whether or not this was sexist for a while because my brain simply could not process the picture. It was all, “WTF is this?”

  13. 13
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    That is right, people. Breasts are only for the entertainment the owner.

  14. 14
    michaelolsen

    I love computer/vidja games. I’ve played them all my life. Most are shit. And far too many of ‘em are aimed at teenage males. Well, more accuaretly twentysomething males stuck.

  15. 15
    janiceintoronto

    @13

    You forgot the sarcasm tag.

  16. 16
    dianne

    Someone, preferably an XKCD character, should go after whoever made this ad and pry photoshop out of their fingers. They just aren’t safe with it.

  17. 17
    myeck waters

    janiceintoronto, Janine IS the sarcasm tag.

  18. 18
    janiceintoronto

    OK then. Sometimes these blogs are just too much to understand for this poor Canuck…

  19. 19
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    See, if only they’d made the boobs a line of boobs down the torso. Think of how interesting bra design would be. I’m not sure what that or this ad mean for the actual console, but I suppose they aren’t really trying to sell to women or men that pay attention to the implications of this kind of advertisement.

    #gross #nothanksSony

  20. 20
    HappyHead

    I have to wonder if Sony has hired the same advertizing company that came up with Dr. Pepper’s “This drink is not for women” advertizements a few years ago. Then I also wonder if much Nintendo is paying that same company to do things like this, considering how much money Nintendo makes from these Sony ads.

  21. 21
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I am sarcasm personified. And objectified?

  22. 22
    michaelolsen

    Dr. Pepper isn’t for man or beast, no matter the gender.

  23. 23
    ChasCPeterson

    I mean, you can’t really call them ‘breasts’ if they’re dorsal…I guess by analogy to bird-names they’d be ‘backs’. Or, like, ‘scapulars’ or something.
    That’s if they’re mammary glands at all–it’s hard to be sure with the dress on.

    Maybe they’re wing-stumps.

  24. 24
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    I mean, you can’t really call them ‘breasts’ if they’re dorsal…I guess by analogy to bird-names they’d be ‘backs’. Or, like, ‘scapulars’ or something.

    Obviously, they are humps.

    Alternately, her lovely lady lumps.

  25. 25
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    What the actual fuck.

    I used to work in advertising, and I am gobsmacked that a marketing veep at SONY approved this. Didn’t they test the ad creative before approval? What the hell were they thinking?

    Head now exploding.

  26. 26
    curcuminoid

    In Medical School Anatomy common practice is to cover the cadaver’s head and shoulders at first. Its striking how much less human the cadaver appears like that, and how important the face is to register a person as, well, a person.

    The other trope on display that I see a fair bit: showing just the torso while cutting off the model’s face. That’s one I sometimes see with male models, too — there’s nothing quite like obliterating the most expressive part of the human body to completely objectify your subject.

  27. 27
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Alternately, her lovely lady lumps.

    I demand that this term be dropped into the dustbin of history and never spoken of again!

  28. 28
    michaelolsen

    I thought scapulars where Catholic prayer-stuff. There was a certain pill-popping Baltimore detective who…eh. never mind

  29. 29
    Gregory Greenwood

    The next time some dudebro/’chill girl’ turns up claiming that of course there is totes no sexism in the computer game industry, I must remember to link to this apocalytically bad peice of advertsing. Watching them squirm trying to mansplain how that ugly abomination against good taste isn’t sexist should provide plenty of entertainment…

  30. 30
    shockna

    As a member of the male demographic who initially didn’t want a Vita that they appear to be attempting to appeal to, I can say only thing;

    I probably wasn’t going to get one before. I’m definitely not going to get one now.

  31. 31
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    Portraying a (sexualized) woman as representative of an inanimate object. Check.
    Portraying only the sexualized parts of a woman’s body, cropping off the face. Check.

    ***

    And what is with the tagline, “touch both sides for added enjoyment”. I get that the Playstation Vita, the thing being advertised, has touch screens on the front and back side of the device, but what are we supposed to make of it in the context of the woman in the add?

    Of course we are meant to take from it that she is an object, not an individual at all. So we should just feel free to touch her it as we please. her its consent to being touched is not relevant or important.

  32. 32
    Hekuni Cat, MQG

    Janine:

    I demand that this term be dropped into the dustbin of history and never spoken of again!

    Seconded!

  33. 33
    Bronze Dog

    I probably wasn’t going to get one before. I’m definitely not going to get one now.

    Yeah, I think I’m with you there, shockna. When I first heard of the system, I was thinking about it, since I had good times with my PSP, but the limited library pretty much killed that interest. This ad certainly doesn’t help, since I think I’d feel dirty touching the thing. The Wii was unfortunate enough in its name, but at least any associations made after that were attributable to our dirty minds, rather than explicitly made by the marketing department, like in this ad.

  34. 34
    bovarchist

    I don’t understand why this ad wouldn’t appeal to women. Is PZ suggesting women gamers don’t have a sense of humor? How sexist!

  35. 35
    KarenX

    @Bronze Dog,

    The dirty minds went to pee/urine from Wii, right? (I never thought about it.) Which is silly and childish to giggle over, but pee is something everybody does and doesn’t single out a group of anyone. So, yeah, unfortunately named perhaps but not offensive. Which I figure you probably already thing but I am just adding on.

  36. 36
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Yes, bovachist, just ignore the women here who are commenting.

    Oh, wait! We should lighten and chill.

  37. 37
    maxhannan

    Hoping that bovachist forgot their sarcasm tags.

    Besides this ad isn’t funny at all. To anyone. I can’t think of one person I know who would find this funny.

  38. 38
    coyotenose

    It was pretty funny when Al Bundy explained that his “Perfect Woman” would have three breasts*, but that was twenty-five years ago, and it was THAT SEXIST LOSER AL BUNDY. Not so funny today.

    *”What’s the third breast for?”
    “Slow dancing.”

  39. 39
    vaiyt

    “Our controller is like women with BOOBS ON BOTH SIDES! DOUBLE THE ENJOYMENT (for YOU)! (is there anyone else whose opinion matters anyway?)”

  40. 40
    michaelolsen

    I’m pretty sure you have to go to Eroticon or get yor arse to Mars if you’re in fear of nipple-depletion.

  41. 41
    Jake Hamby

    I’ll just leave this here:

    Never mind the hardware, why didn’t Sony’s PS4 event have any women?

  42. 42
    michaelolsen

    “Our controller is like women with BOOBS ON BOTH SIDES! DOUBLE THE ENJOYMENT (for YOU)! (is there anyone else whose opinion matters anyway?)”

    With the added bonus of her not having a say, what with not having a head. “I Have No Mouth, But I Must Scream”.

  43. 43
    glodson

    I was thinking about this on the way home.

    And I remembered an article I had recently read by Ophelia. She linked to this article: Women Are Targeted For Harassment In Online Gaming ‘Roughly Three Times As Much’, Says New Study.

    It cited a study which I would link to directly, but it is behind a paywall. I was able to access it at school, but I can’t at home. It was a good read.

    It also had this in it:

    Future gaming and gender research should continue to examine
    the significance of the gamer and his or her impact on the game content. Game
    developers may go to great lengths to avoid stereotypical portrayals of women in their
    games, yet it may be possible for gamers to continue perpetuating sexualized and stereotypical
    portrayals of women in their actual gameplay. Coming to a more thorough
    understanding of this phenomenon and providing answers to various different stakeholders
    is an important next step for game and gender researchers, especially as our
    society continues to develop and adopt new communication technologies.

    And in their advertising. There is a problem of sexism in the gaming community. A problem that has many different causes. Part of the problem is that advertising like this keeps encouraging it. As the kids playing game now grow into adulthood, they might come away with these really shitty ideas about women, creating a feedback loop of nasty sexism.

    Thanks Sony!

  44. 44
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    So in addition to Sony thinking this sexist crap was a great marketing tool, in a one-two blow to progressive ideals, they also give a middle finger to gay men who game…

  45. 45
    Aratina Cage

    Hoping that bovachist forgot their sarcasm tags.

    I doubt it. It’s probably a very sincere comment. Someone (most likely bovarchist himself) is on Twitter bragging about that comment right now to the slimepitters under the tag #atheismplus.

  46. 46
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    bovarchist:
    Unfamiliar you must be with women (and other genders) who do not appreciate the objectification of the female body.
    Do study up on sexism and patriarchy before further displaying your ignorance to the world. Tis quite unseemly.

  47. 47
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Aratina:
    Oh I forgot how pathetic the pitters are.
    “Look, PZ posted something about sexism and we don’t like it. To the Tweets!”

  48. 48
    glodson

    I don’t understand why this ad wouldn’t appeal to women. Is PZ suggesting women gamers don’t have a sense of humor? How sexist!

    How is this image humorous? The tagline is “Touch both sides for added enjoyment.” So what makes you think it is targeted at women?

    Want to explain why we shouldn’t take it as an example of objectification of women in the gaming industry? I mean, it isn’t like there’s a long history of this within the games themselves, the advertising, or even the community at large.

  49. 49
    janiceintoronto

    Next one to call them anything but breasts gets a punch in the face called a bad name.

  50. 50
    Aratina Cage

    @Tony It’s the only thing they have left to agitate others with unfettered. :) And I’m part of a project to block them for a bunch of Twitter users as they come in fresh from the ‘pit, so I’m afraid even Twitter won’t last long as an outlet for them to publicly hoggle away in.

  51. 51
    janiceintoronto

    Sorry. Cranky today. It’s snowing again.

  52. 52
    omnicrom

    Sony, your Vita has been flopping because there’s shit all good to play on the damn system. I only have a Vita myself because of the transcendental wonder that is Atlus has graced it with an upgraded version of my favorite game ever. However not everyone is willing to pick up a system for one game, and not everyone likes Atlus games.

    To sum up: What Sony should be doing is pushing for the release of a lot of really good games for the Vita. What Sony IS doing is releasing sexist and unappealing ads. For the longest time Sony has demonstrated it doesn’t know what the fuck it’s doing with its hardware, now it’s clear Sony just doesn’t know what the fuck its doing.

  53. 53
    glodson

    Sony, your Vita has been flopping because there’s shit all good to play on the damn system. I only have a Vita myself because of the transcendental wonder that is Atlus has graced it with an upgraded version of my favorite game ever. However not everyone is willing to pick up a system for one game, and not everyone likes Atlus games

    My wife and I want to get one for the same reason. That’s about it.

    This ad makes me glad we don’t own one now.

  54. 54
    ibbica

    Huh… would you look at that…
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2706&dat=19740724&id=HgdKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=fh4NAAAAIBAJ&pg=1142,3000668

    Um… at least they’ve been consistent? (Oh don’t worry, there are TONS of other examples, that’s just the oldest I could find.)

    *headdesk*

    Hey is Sony Pictures under same corporate umbrella? We don’t buy electronics from Sony anyway (and now I’ll be doubly sure of that), but I could boycott their movies.

  55. 55
    madscientist

    Sony’s been doing a boob job on all their publicity lately, including their adoption of an old Microsoft advertising gimmick: promoting something that doesn’t even exist.

  56. 56
    charlessoto

    I love my Vita, but honestly, they’re promoting probably the worst utilized feature of the device. I *never* use the rear touchpad. It’s a great idea, but not a single game uses it well (Unit 13 sort of did but not really). Can’t wait until the PS4 because I *really* want to use Remote Play to continue my FPS matches while on the can.

    I’m hoping Sony catches a clue and shitcans this marketer post haste. You know this isn’t a corporate thing. Someone just screwed up and will probably have to look for a new gig soon. But wait for the response and judge then…

  57. 57
    charlessoto

    Oh and as to the game library, I was a bit concerned, but they’ve since put so much stuff on the PS Store that it’s easy to find something fun. More importantly, as I was already a PS Plus user, I get a bunch of stuff “free” (OK it stops working once I stop paying $50/year but hey). Including Gravity Rush, which is a pretty cool game (female heroine and my son loves the kitty companion).

  58. 58
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Ew.

    charlessoto,

    Do you thing they would have let a promotion campaign with a poster showing a smoking pile of shit out of the house?
    No, they wouldn’t have. Because someone somewhere controls what gets used for promotion. But they let this pass. So I’m going to judge Sony all I want.

  59. 59
    Richard Smith

    It’s also ignoring the fact that the back can be very sensitive and receptive to touch. Of course, in that case, it’s not the “player” who’s getting any (direct) enjoyment, so where’s the fun in that?

    Just to be pedantic, the back of the Vita isn’t as much fun to play with as the front, anyway, so the implication of the ad is inaccurate, anyway. If they absolutely had to have a female model to represent the Vita, perhaps one wearing a classic hook-and-eye bra? Given what I’ve heard of various attempts to unfasten them from the front, that’s about the level of “fun” I usually get from using the back panel.

  60. 60
    Richard Smith

    Just for clarity, in the first paragraph, I meant the human back can be very sensitive. The Vita’s? Sometimes too much, sometimes hardly at all…

  61. 61
    glodson

    I’m hoping Sony catches a clue and shitcans this marketer post haste. You know this isn’t a corporate thing. Someone just screwed up and will probably have to look for a new gig soon. But wait for the response and judge then…

    This is a clueless marketing thing done by people who don’t realize that women are an increasingly large demographic. It speaks to the level of blindness to the issue in the gaming industry at large.

    I won’t confine my criticism to just Sony, as Sony is just a part of a larger picture in the gaming community, which has a problem with women, in terms of how they are portrayed. Especially when women are objectified and reduced to just a sex symbol.

  62. 62
    charlessoto

    I’d agree that the gaming industry is rather clueless in this respect. There are a ton of female gamers out there and this is just as shortsighted as it is not actively recruiting/promoting women in, say, atheist movements :)

  63. 63
    jefrir

    I don’t understand why this ad wouldn’t appeal to women. Is PZ suggesting women gamers don’t have a sense of humor? How sexist!

    Perhaps you can explain the joke?

    And yeah, this doesn’t even make sense in the context of the tagline. I like caressing people’s backs, and I like having my back caressed. Why would I want the back to be the same as the front, when variety offers more opportunities for fun?
    So, ugly, and sexist, and objectifying, and stupid. Way to go, Sony!

  64. 64
    Matt Penfold

    I don’t understand why this ad wouldn’t appeal to women

    Your inability to comprehend is evidence only of your poor cognition skills.

  65. 65
    charlessoto

    Oh and feel free to judge. We are a judgy people. But I will save mine unless their response isn’t adequate. Real character is displayed after a screw up. I’m interested to see how that is revealed…

  66. 66
    Owlglass

    The whole affair is larger as #41 already hinted at. Here’s the most recent article, with a lot of further links:

    Kotaku: The Lack Of Women Presenters At The PS4 Event Is Bigger Than Sony

    The reason why this happens is not clear, though there are many theories. The study by the ESA here postulates the following: [...] For example, STEM career paths may be less accommodating to people cycling in and out of the workforce to raise a family or it may be because there are relatively few female STEM role models. [...] You might note that, crucially, one of the factors the ESA lists is a lack of role models. And as the PS4 event shows us, the role models that do exist? They’re less visible thanks both to smaller numbers, and in some ways, outright erasure.

    Kellee Santiago [...] his is what I’m sick of hearing. They didn’t need to scrape the bottom to find women. There are women directors and execs.

  67. 67
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Charlessoto:
    Bzzzt. Wrong answer.
    For too long, people have been ignorant of, or willfully ignored sexism in our culture. There are many people here who say NO MORE. Sony deserves to be called out for this ad .

  68. 68
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    charlessoto,

    Character is displayed by the response to the screw-up, yes. But the screw-up itself surely has something to say about the character too?

  69. 69
    Matt Penfold

    Character is displayed by the response to the screw-up, yes. But the screw-up itself surely has something to say about the character too?

    And it is not as though ads are some sort off the cuff remark. They are a carefully thought out form of marketing, into which there is considerable input by a large number of people. They do not come about by accident.

  70. 70
    charlessoto

    And speaking of who was left out of the PS4 event this week, did anyone else notice that the Killzone Shadow Fall sequence they showed entirely lacked any black people? I played it a couple of times, but nothing. I figured blacks don’t exist in the future or something.

  71. 71
    glodson

    I’d agree that the gaming industry is rather clueless in this respect. There are a ton of female gamers out there and this is just as shortsighted as it is not actively recruiting/promoting women in, say, atheist movements :)

    And I happily point out that sexism too. It isn’t just a gaming problem, or an atheism problem. It is even wider than that.

    But within the gaming culture, I can more easily effect change by watching what I purchase, and not buying products that have this style of ad.

  72. 72
    Richard Smith

    Glodson, just curious, given the subject of video games. Is your avatar Raz from Psychonauts?

  73. 73
    charlessoto

    I didn’t get the sense this was a big marketing program, but rather a local thing for a particular show. Am I wrong? I don’t see much game-related marketing, and the national stuff I see tends to be non-controversial. Yup. Sony screwed up. It’s up to them to fix it. I suspect this snuck by because of not enough scrutiny. Or they’re just evil. I don’t really know.

    Oh, and if you’re not a gamer, you should be aware that there is a ridiculous amount of sexism in the games themselves. Recently, a “swimsuit edition” of some kind of martial arts game was released (I saw it on the PS Store). It cost more than the “standard” version. I guess they have a particular target market. And I tend to see that sort of thing from the “lesser” publishers. I think there are enough people who occasionally run things by women and/or clued in men with the larger titles that I don’t see as big a problem. Yeah, there are no women fighters in the Call of Duty series, even though I regularly play with women online. But at least I don’t see any overt sexism in them. Again, more scrutiny probably catches stupid moves like this before they are let out in the wild.

  74. 74
    glodson

    Richard:

    It is. Just a game I really enjoyed. We play it with my little kid from time to time. Well, the beginning. The later bits get…. yea, she needs to be older for that. I love games and all, but I am somewhat disgusted with some of the culture.

  75. 75
    glodson

    I didn’t get the sense this was a big marketing program, but rather a local thing for a particular show. Am I wrong? I don’t see much game-related marketing, and the national stuff I see tends to be non-controversial. Yup. Sony screwed up. It’s up to them to fix it. I suspect this snuck by because of not enough scrutiny. Or they’re just evil. I don’t really know.

    It isn’t that they are evil. It is that they thought an objectifying ad was a good idea. It is blind and short sighted. They didn’t think about this, or if they did think about it, it was in terms of creating a controversy in order to increase the effectiveness of the ad.

    We don’t need to say it is evil, that is hyperbole. It is just as it appears, stupid and sexist.

  76. 76
    Matt Penfold

    I didn’t get the sense this was a big marketing program, but rather a local thing for a particular show. Am I wrong? I don’t see much game-related marketing, and the national stuff I see tends to be non-controversial. Yup. Sony screwed up. It’s up to them to fix it. I suspect this snuck by because of not enough scrutiny. Or they’re just evil. I don’t really know.

    It is clearly professionally produced, and that does not happen on a whim. Some came up with the idea, someone produced the artwork, someone gave the OK to use it as an ad. Somewhere during that process it should have occurred to someone that there was a serious problem with it.

  77. 77
    Nick Gotts

    Ick. Reminds me of one of the most disturbing dreams I ever had. I’d better leave the thread – I’m going to bed in 25 minutes!

  78. 78
    Richard Smith

    I recently downloaded the portable version of Earth Defense Force 2017 onto my Vita. It’s a pretty mindless game, shooting lots of giant bugs, and some pretty corny voice acting. One of the extras in the portable version is a second player character that’s unlocked once the game’s been completed in any skill level. The main character, “Storm 1,” is a fairly standard (male) solder in fairly standard kit. The unlocked character, “Pale Wing,” is female, and her uniform includes a mini-skirt. Oh, and she has a rocket pack. No problems there, nosiree. Sheesh.

    Glodson: Teeee-veeee!

  79. 79
    charlessoto

    I just read the Verge article (about no women at the PS4 event) and two sentences in, I also recalled rarely seeing women presenters at ANY tech event (Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.). But I don’t think we are destined exclusively for games that are “boring and testosterone-laced.” Sure, there are lots, but there are also so many cool and unique things happening right now. I just downloaded Closure. It’s wicked. And women friends have raved about Journey (I believe Richard Smith’s avatar is from this). My wife loves to play the Skylanders games (I find them remarkably annoying). There is hope!

  80. 80
    Richard Smith

    charlessoto: Guilty!

  81. 81
    glodson

    The real hope will start showing up when gaming companies change their own portrayal of women in games, which tends towards reducing them as sex objects or prizes for the players. Often the Damsel in Distress trope plays out like that, the woman in the game is the object for the player to get. A prize.

    And when game companies stop tolerating the sexist, racist, and homophobic drivel that passes for communication in many online games.

    It will change, but it shouldn’t change for the purpose of expanding the market. It should change for being a disgusting culture that just needs to change.

  82. 82
    Dee Phlat

    Is Playboy sexist?

  83. 83
    Dee Phlat

    I thought about it, and yes it is.

  84. 84
    leftwingfox

    Sony is notorious for this shit.

    http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2006/03/mexico_uses_sex (Scroll to bottom)

    http://www.wonderlandblog.com/wonderland/2006/02/new_psp_adverts.html

    http://www.feministfatale.com/2011/01/rants-of-a-gamer-girl-playstation-is-my-least-favorite-console/

    And if we add a little racism in the mix:

    http://www.joystiq.com/2006/07/04/ad-critic-sonys-racially-charged-psp-ad/

    Shazam!

    But wait for the response and judge then…

    This as WAS the response. Let the judging commence.

  85. 85
    glodson

    Just goddamnit, Sony.

    I had forgotten about the last one. Fuck. This is a pattern. They need new people at the top, maybe some people who aren’t complete fuckwits.

  86. 86
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    Just so people know what objectification in media images consists of, I’m gonna leave this link here:

    Caroline Heldman, Sexual Objectification, Part 1: What is it?

    1) Does the image show only part(s) of a sexualized person’s body? (Yes – torso only, minus almost all of the woman’s head.)

    2) Does the image present a sexualized person as a stand-in for an object? (Yes – woman as double-sided game controller.)

    3) Does the image show a sexualized person as interchangeable? (Not exactly, but the ‘four breasts are better than two’ seems to play with this idea, and cutting off the model’s head removes the individuality of the woman, so that she could be interchanged with any other woman.)

    4) Does the image affirm the idea of violating the bodily integrity of a sexualized person that can’t consent? (Yes, if the message “touch both sides for added enjoyment” assumes no need for the woman’s consent.)

    5) Does the image suggest that sexual availability is the defining characteristic of the person? (Not exactly, but the strapless dress is definitely suggesting ‘sexy’ while the rest of the image is venturing into ‘uncanny valley’ as PZ pointed out.)

    6) Does the image show a sexualized person as a commodity (something that can be bought and sold)? (Yes, by direct analogy to the woman with dorsal mammaries being equivalent with double-sided feature of the games controller.)

    7) Does the image treat a sexualized person’s body as a canvas? (Yes, given the obvious Photoshopping of a picture taken of the model’s front onto a picture of her back.)

    So pretty much yes in every respect that Dr Heldman describes…

  87. 87
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    glodson @61

    This is a clueless marketing thing done by people who don’t realize that women are an increasingly large demographic. It speaks to the level of blindness to the issue in the gaming industry at large.

    I think it’s even worse than that. I think they view their consumer base as exactly what its worst members want to portray it as (i.e. a bunch of sexist loners who are looking for a cheap thrill of T and A and the objectification of women).

    I don’t think they don’t see that women are a growing subset of the gaming demographic. I think they don’t care. That they are looking to the larger gaming culture and seeing all manner of sexist shit and various demands by “hardcore gamers” for even more he-man woman-hater club shit. So the marketing department probably thought, hey, we’ll piss on some women and maybe that group of self-identified douchebags will like us for doing so and any women gamers out there will be so used to this shit that it won’t dramatically affect our sales one way or another.

    And that sort of cold calculus is a lot harder to fight against than just indifference and ignorance.

  88. 88
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    And yeah, the fact that the loudest members of the “gaming community” want to look like sexist, chip-on-the-shoulder, drunken fratboy assholes because they are worried about being regarded as “fey” for liking something as adults that once was regarded as a kid’s pursuit disappoints me more than words can express.

    Even more because the gaming community fell into this trap so soon after the comics book fandom fell into it back in the 90s.

    But still not as disappointing as the comics book industry falling back into that damn “we don’t want no women” hole once they finally started crawling their way out of it and actually earning some street cred.

    Sigh, is it too much to ask that nerd subcultures to stop sucking for a little bit?

  89. 89
    ChristineRose

    Re the back pain:

    I doubt if this would help, as the back pain from breasts tends to be in the shoulders, neck, and arms and is not so directly related to the stunningly unintelligent undesign of our lower spines.

  90. 90
    Rey Fox

    is going to appeal to most well-adjusted males.

    There doesn’t seem to be a huge push in this society to adjust males well.

  91. 91
    karpad

    This actually shows improvement.

    The last one was sexist, objectifying, AND racist.

    For what little it’s worth. I don’t think this is really targeted. I don’t think they believe gamers are particularly interested in objectification, more than society in large. It is, I think, an attempt at an edgy, clever advert. And that particular subgenre of advertising is notoriously racist, sexist, objectifying, homophobic and pick any other -ist you can think of. It isn’t particularly worse than a shocking number of print ads for cars, clothes or alcohol (another set of products that tend toward these “edgy clever adverts.”) They aren’t really thinking “this is what will appeal to gamers.” They’re thinking “this is what will appeal to those hacks who do writeups for design blogs for “smartest ads of 2013″”

    So it’s objectifying, and thus insulting to women in general on purpose. But it’s insulting to male gamers (“their core demographic”) only out of incompetence.

    Or maybe they really are assholes, as opposed to just stupid. But I can’t imagine what they hoped to accomplish if they actually realized there’s no one this doesn’t insult.

  92. 92
    ck

    charlessoto,
    I assume it was this story: Never mind the hardware, why didn’t Sony’s PS4 event have any women?

    Seriously, it shouldn’t be that hard to find at least ONE woman to present something at these events. There must be a game designer or something similar they could’ve showcased.

  93. 93
    Have a Balloon

    I don’t understand why this ad wouldn’t appeal to women. Is PZ suggesting women gamers don’t have a sense of humor?

    This type of comment frequently gets dragged out whenever a woman objects to sexism, or people of colour object to racism, or LGBT people object to homophobia/transphobia.

    Dude. We do have a sense of humour. That’s how we can tell that this isn’t funny.

  94. 94
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I don’t understand why this ad wouldn’t appeal to women

    Your skill at not understanding is clearly superlative. No need to practice on us.

  95. 95
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Karpad:
    How much better?
    This ad is sexist, objectifying and treats gay men gamers as non existent.

  96. 96
    Sam

    But this is just lighthearted fun. Haha! Innocent humor! It doesn’t mean anything! Why are you reading into it?

    I’m surprised that I haven’t seen a remark to that effect yet.

  97. 97
    karpad

    Tony, my point was actually that Sony’s advertising is awful and has a history of this. As facetiousness aside, making a sexist, objectifying advert isn’t actually an improvement on making one that is sexist, objectifying and also racist.

    Did you click the link? it’s to a previous PSP advertisement from a few years ago that, aside from representing women as the product (again) had weird racial subtexts related to slavery.

  98. 98
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    God damn it, Sony. How hard is it to say “We have a handheld game console. It is way more powerful than the other handheld game console on the market, and has more buttons to allow for more complicated games. Buy our game console because you like games.” Why do you always feel the need to pull this idiotic horseshit? Fucking quit it.

  99. 99
    glodson

    That they are looking to the larger gaming culture and seeing all manner of sexist shit and various demands by “hardcore gamers” for even more he-man woman-hater club shit. So the marketing department probably thought, hey, we’ll piss on some women and maybe that group of self-identified douchebags will like us for doing so and any women gamers out there will be so used to this shit that it won’t dramatically affect our sales one way or another.

    I think you might be right. Maybe I was being too charitable in my thinking. Having been a gamer for pretty much as long as I can remember, I’ve seen the medium grow. I remember it being marketed as a toy. Not really a boy’s toy, but just a toy.

    As a child, I don’t know where the shift happened. Maybe it happened because who seemed to buy it. But that was a cultural thing. I guess some people got it in their heads that electronics and computers and all that are men things. It is stupid.

    Now we have these fuckwits running companies, and they are doing the same thing.

    It is much like the MRA’s. They paint a nasty picture of women, and forget that while they do so, they also paint a nasty picture of men as well. And I’ll bet they are banking on that. I hope they are wrong, I hope more women won’t take that shit, and I hope there are more men concerned about than the stupid dude-bro types that don’t think.

  100. 100
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Ughhhhhhhhhhh. I hate this ad so, so much.

    After seeing this post, I went to talk to my roommate about this stupid sexist ad. Right after I got done describing the picture and tag line, he laughed. He genuinely thinks its funny because “hehe more boobs for me!”. He’s the typical black american man gamer. He’s the Nice Guy ™. He’s not the one calling everyone a cunt playing online, or harassing women. He maybe in the bigger demographic regarding how much of a douche he is but that just means he’s a bigger part of the problem. He doesn’t see a problem, he doesn’t care and god forbid I try to talk about how sexist shit is, I hit a wall of silence. He’s ignorant and willfully ignorant. When I made a comment about Sony’s previous racist ad, he asked to see it. After viewing it he said, “Hot.” and shrugged. Still no problem. I bet if it was a racist ad with a man in it it would have been a different story, based on his reactions about other things.

    *sigh*

    It’s a fucking feedback loop.

  101. 101
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    karpad:
    Ah, my apologies. Your point whizzed by my head. I understand now. Checking out your link now.

  102. 102
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    karpad:
    Yuck. Nothing even subtle about that racism.

  103. 103
    charlessoto

    http://www.joystiq.com/2006/07/04/ad-critic-sonys-racially-charged-psp-ad/

    Holy crap! Geebus but they are stupid! I need more coffee…

    And, yeah, I love the Legend of Zelda games (Nintendo, not Sony) and play them with my son. We talk about how some day it would be great if we didn’t always have to be rescuing Zelda from some dungeon somewhere. They *almost* gave her a “fighting” role in the Skyward Sword, but of course, in the end, she’s rendered helpless and you have to save her.

    As to “they should do it because it’s right, not because it increases market share” argument, I’ll just say that’s wishful thinking. Social movements generally need some kind of economic incentive. I just don’t know how I’m going to respond to this at the moment. Are there any groups taking this specific incident on that one could lend support to?

  104. 104
    charlessoto

    Cerberus, I think you nailed exactly why this came to be. Maybe they’re circling the wagons because the smartphone gaming market has basically left them with little else?

  105. 105
    Kagehi

    See.. All Microsoft has to do is run an add with three breasts, with a statement like, “Buy the real thing (well, more or less).”, and have that porn star who actually had three, and like “enhanced” the third so it was the same general size as the other two.. No? Well, if they don’t have to be all on the same side, I have two extra.. not quite nipples, so they could make a version for the women… Still no? Man, what is it with this crowd!?

    Yeah, seriously though, this has got to be one of the stupidest bloody ads I have seen in a while, and I am just warped enough to have actually wondered how plausible four of them, on, like.. the correct damn side, would work, in something anthropomorphic, and interested, enough to lets me examine the result. (Don’t dare tell me I am the only one to ever think this… lol)

  106. 106
    Rip Steakface

    Damn, I hope the Vita falls flat on its face. It may mean the end of dedicated portable gaming systems, but if this is what they’re doing to sell consoles, fuck dedicated portable gaming. All hail Android!

  107. 107
    Carlitos@LX

    Well, it’s Sony.

    You know, the company that puts 21 people on stage to show (not really!) a new gamming gadget and not a single woman among them.

    So, is this really a suprise?

    Maybe they should change their motto to something like “Sony PlayStation: By dudes, for dudes”.

  108. 108
    WharGarbl

    If you go by “There is no such thing as bad publicity”…
    This advertisement did EXACTLY what it set out to do, to get people talking.
    Yes, it’s sexist as hell. But hell, they do it because it works.

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