Stick with me a minute.
You're stood on one side of a road, on the other side is your best friend. Behind him there's a man in a balaclava. He walks up towards your friend, punches him and knocks him to the ground. He then jumps on top of your friend and pulls out a knight, and starts slashing at your friends face. Blood spurts out. You look to your right and see a gun. You pick it up, walk up to the masked man point it, and tell him to run. He pulls up the knife and stabs your friend in the arm. You pull the trigger. He collapses in a heap, you fall to the ground trembling. You just killed a guy, you had no choice if you wanted your friend to live but you snuffed out his life just like that. That's on you.
Now, you fancy a game of GTA?
Rape, on the other hand, is indefensible. There is simply no excuse for having taken advantage of someone else's weaker position (how this weaker position came to happen does not matter - usually, it's trust) for your own sexual pleasure.
What? That's a bit like wondering why people who don't like driving don't like being in a car crash. Sexual violence in media is a bit more complicated that just sex in media.Quote:
Originally Posted by DaftPunk
Sure it would be nice if sex were less looked down upon in games and if "adult" themes weren't only found in (often commercially tarnished and not very well made) AO games, and porn games.
I get the point of this sort of statement. The idea is to drive home that it is violent and wrong; to separate it from the pleasant sorts of things people associate with sex. It is further to make clear that by forcing someone to do something, you're committing an act of violence and that no amount of side-stepping into the realm of sexual concepts can take away how awful rape is. It's a tactical decision, though, that separation; it's used to keep things simple and loaded with pathos. It isn't particularly true. Not always, at least.Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephro
To the thread at large: I'm not really interested in shock media, and I believe sensitive subjects should be handled with care in media. Depictions of sexual violence (and depictions of excessive or realistic violence for that matter) make me exceedingly uncomfortable in all media I encounter them in, and I don't like being made exceedingly uncomfortable in my spare time unless I get something especially valuable out of it--which usually means that I expect the work as a whole to enrich my intellectual and emotional world in some way as the book Atonement does (for me).
Setting the question of overall value in a work aside for a moment, sexual violence doesn't fit well into an abstracted space without nuance; what is rape in this context? What purpose does it serve fictionally, mechanically? People often make the comparison to killing, saying we're ok with murdering people all the time in games so why can't we accept other unethical acts? That argument falls flat for me for two reasons: because violence in video games is most often contextualized as good and because killing is very simple in the abstract. Killing in games is rarely murder in a meaningful sense; it's usually more like pest control, the removal of undesired obstacles pre-approved as justified by making said obstacles dead. Sexual violence is less simple because it is inherently more abstract--it involves consent, more specifically the lack of consent.
Killing is contextual to a point. Self-defense isn't considered murder and is generally accepted as ok, and so forth. And for legal purposes, distinguishing between various types of murder requires getting inside the killer's head to find intention. But sexual crimes are primarily located in intent. They involve acts that are usually not only legal but good and part of normal, non-violent life but are poisoned and made horrifying and wrong by the context of consent and intention. This is why social movements and sexual education movements bring out the "rape is not sex, and is never about sex for either party" line; the intent is to widen the gap between sex and sexual violence so that people can understand that while the difference between yes and no is very small, the difference between sex and sexual violence is very important. I don't the line actually does drive that point home successfully or make sense; so I prefer more straightforward pro-consent campaigns for awareness and very different tactics altogether for attacking "rape culture" ... but that's another matter for another day. The existence of the tactic is nonetheless illustrative.
How do you express all that in a game? When you gamify and abstract killing, it still looks like killing. We know what it is. It has meaning, whether we're comfortable with it or not. When you do the same to sexual violence ... well you can't. There's a point where sexual violence in games will always be more contextual, more human by necessity because you simply can't express sexual violence without the context of consent. It is the explicit context of consent and intention that makes the difference between sexual violence and sexual acts. That's not something you can show without engaging the audience member more explicitly. I'm not arguing that rape is The Untouchable Subject. That sexual violence should never exist in our media or even that it should never exist in games; but ethical issues utterly aside we can't treat it the same way we treat killing and other forms of non-sexual violence in games because it is a more fundamentally human and contextual matter. Going back to my own personal discomfort with sexual violence, I stipulated that for me to accept it's inclusion I need some sort of elevating factor. And capturing all this stuff I've been talking about in a way that is meaningful and adds value to the game is very difficult.
One last topic that doesn't quite fit easily into the rest of my post. I get a bit confused by the victimized observer issue. Short of instituting a sort of emotional disclaimer system that provides content warnings for various "trigger" subjects, I don't see what we could possibly do about that. Regardless of the exact statistics, victims of sexual violence play games. But so do victims of domestic abuse, gun violence, gang-related violence. So do survivors of serious drug addiction, car crashes, terrorist attacks, wars, and so on. People who have faced trauma face analogues to their trauma and explicit representations of what traumatized them all the time in media. I sympathize that this can be difficult, and we should be sensitive to the individual struggles of our friends who go through the sorts of things. But everyone handles trauma differently and we can't all be expected to close our eyes to media depicting traumatic things for the sake of victims. I don't think we should stop having media, games included, depict war because of the survivors of war and I don't think we should shy away from sexual violence because of victims of sexual violence either. Further, I think the idea that sexual violence is inherently more horrible and traumatic than other violent, traumatic events/crimes is foolish, rooted in patriarchal thinking, and occasionally even harmful to the victims of sexual violence.
Edit: I hadn't refeshed the page in a while and that took me a while to write. By time I finished, there were other quotes I could have put up at the top, instead. Not trying to single you two out, or anything.
Seems justifiable to me. They'd probably build you a monument after.
We've hit that strange point in every thread about rape where someone starts going 'ok, but is it bad in THESE' circumstances.
Yes! It is! Gosh!
The game is meant to disturb you. So job done. Don't know why people are getting angry at Cara though, she was only describing how what she felt about it.
In the pandas case I would argue let them go. Natural selection only benefits the species as a whole, it couldn't care less about the individual. Garden birds for example are in more competition with each other in not being eaten by a cat than they are in competition with other species of birds for food.
An artist makes a deliberately provocative game to get an emotional response.
Cara gives an emotional response.
Incredibly insecure and strange people interpret this as a feminazi attempt to censor said art.
Look, I haven't seen or played the game. The first one was interesting and I respect the creators enough to trust them and check this out for myself. If it turns out that it's a clumsy and immature attempt to shoehorn a statement about rape or our attitudes, I'm sure I'll have an opinion. But to make my mind up on principle based on an article or two? No. Let's not get outraged ahead of time here. It's this sort of kneejerk shit that gave Gaspar Noe a career.
If you were actually serious ... well I don't find any value in that sort of moral hypothetical. I don't believe my code needs to take into account impossible contingencies, alternate realities and so forth. But since you asked, I have no interest in saving my species; my interest is in saving individual people (and places and non-humans) in the here and now and ensuring to the rights and well being of my fellows. So long as there is to be a future generation, I want to ensure it's rights and well-being as well. But I personally have no vested interest in making sure there is a future generation.
To me the purpose of life is living. The purpose of being human is living well. The purpose of gametes is ensuring future generations if I and my partner feel like allowing them to.
Edit: All that hypothetical bullshit does is the moral equivalent of one of those magic tricks everyone knows the method for already but still finds kind of amusing. If I ever end up in a situation as morally simplistic as a runaway train with a switch track that leads to either tied up children or their tied up parents, maybe I'll be sorry I imagined punching everyone who repeated those little dilemmas in the face. Until then, I'll keep my ethical dilemmas a little more grounded, thank you. Committing sexual violence against someone is bad. I don't care especially much exactly how bad it is unless you want to discuss how the prison system ought to work and even then how relatively bad various crimes are isn't my primary concern. Taking part in parlor tricks doesn't change that.
To flip your hypothetical around, yes in those circumstances I would 'rape to save humanity or whatever'. And y'know what? After I'd done that, I probably wouldn't want to play that bit of Hotline Miami 2 myself any more either.
Every day, people do shitty things and use either their survival or nobility or love to justify it. Almost anything you buy in the first world has negative ramifications for someone in the third world so in a sense we're all doing shitty things to ensure our survival or (mostly) just for luxury. I mean, nothing as bad as that ludicrous scenario outlined back there, but we still do it and we all have our reasons.
Man there are some really pyschotic fucked up people on the internet.
I'm not going to say anymore because I know you cant reason with these people or teach empathy.