Unless you missed the Internet this week, then you’re likely aware that Future released a Flash game depicting cartoon versions of himself and Kanye West sitting on a beach throwing gold chains at women in bikinis — all set to the tune of Future’s “I Won” record featuring Kanye West.
The song reduces his woman to a trophy, and the accompanying game turns women into actual trophies.
Trophies. As in a material object. Kinda like a gold chain one might show off.
At face value, the song could be perceived as an appreciative ode to the woman he loves, but it quickly loses any reverence once you get to the line “Get to f–kin’ on the dresser just to make that pu— wetter.”
So, an objectifying song gets a highly objectifying “game.”
I probably don’t have to explain the ways in which the Future/Kanye chain-slinging game is offensive on just about every obvious level and every nuanced level in between and beyond. And sure, it has a right to exist just as Future has the right to express himself however he chooses. And yes, I have a sense of humor, and yes, I get satire and commentary and artistic license and freedom, but this game feels base and witless. And the fact that it directly violates all of those things shouldn’t mean it gets a pass to hide behind any of those defenses.
I wouldn’t judge you if you enjoy playing it (well, I actually probably would. I was just being fake-nice). And these are cartoons, sure, but the joke gets even less funny when you consider that Future (as well as Kanye) is a father to a young daughter of his own.
Thursday morning at our daily MTV editorial meeting, the room erupted into an animated and opinionated dialogue around a game that sanctions the violent and abjectly sexist act of throwing metal chains at women at around the same time the Internet reacted with responses that ranged from utterly outraged to “Is this game available on iPhone?”
We reached out to Future, who through a label representative, declined to comment.
To date, his only comment on the game since its release has been the following:
What u think about my new video game? Yeah or No #iWon
— FUTURE/FREEBANDZ (@1future) May 8, 2014
Well, since Future asked, I’m answering for myself: If given the choice between yes or no, I’m going with “no.” In fact, I’ll see that question and raise Future another question: Would you want your daughter playing this game?
How do two fathers of young daughters endorse a game that grandiosely perpetuates and glorifies arch objectification and violence against women? If their daughters were theoretically old enough to ask, how would Future or Kanye explain to their daughters why cartoon daddy is throwing metal at scantily clad women on the beach? (Also, kids love cartoons.)
Again, I get that this is animation and is likely someone’s idea of a risky joke meant for adults. But it’s also the kind of celebration of sexism that falls into that dangerous “ha ha, just kidding, let it go” ground — shrug-and-move-on culture — that only leaves the door open to condoning even more heinous acts of discrimination sexism. The danger is in letting that territory grow. The danger is in the shrugging and ignoring.
I’m no one’s parent, and there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you’re not either. But if I were a parent, I wouldn’t want my daughter or my son playing this game. I’d want my daughter to earn her own trophies in writing, math, sports, and earn enough money to buy her own gold chains and make contributions to the world that celebrate women for their minds and abilities and achievements. And I’d want my son to do the same.
But, as Levar Burton sagely said, you don’t have to take my word for it. What do you think? Meanwhile, I’m off to go play 2048.
** Tamar Anitai is managing editor at MTV, a feminist and, yes, also a fan of hip-hop. Feel free to enjoy, agree with, or share or refute her opinions in the comments below.