Girlfriend Mode: How About That E3 Microsoft Rape Joke, Huh?

Hey I’m back! I’m here to talk about rape! Is everyone as happy about that as I am? Hugs, Kiala.

E3! It’s E3! So excite! Console Wars! Kingdom Hearts 3! Final Fantasy A Billion! Rape jokes! I…wait hold up.


Still? Again? Even in 2013? Even after a year of heightened awareness and controversy surrounding sexist behavior in the games industry? Peggy Olsen head desk forever.

I know we’ve all seen it by now but just in case your internet isn’t working (in which case don’t buy an Xbone) here’s the exchange between a male Microsoft producer “schooling” a woman in a friendly, rape joke-y bout of Killer Instinct:


“I can’t even block correctly, and you’re too fast,” she says.

“Here we go. Just let it happen. It’ll be over soon,” he says.


And then Twitter and the world (or whatever you call the place that exists outside of Twitter) lost its collective poop. The thing I found most interesting was the amount of outrage I saw coming from the dudes in my stream. If even the all important* male gaming demographic is pissed off, I thought, then Microsoft has a gigantic marketing problem. And then I got real sad and drank my feelings.

First: Let’s get this out of the way because it keeps coming up: Yes, this was a rape joke. (See? Even a man thinks so! It must be real science fact. )

Second: Yes, the producer may or may not have realized from where that particular phrase originated. He may have gotten used to saying it without thinking about what the words actually meant. That happens, I get it. I had to explain to many of my male friends that it was, in fact, a rape joke. This doesn’t make it better. It makes it painfully obvious how ingrained sexism is in this industry. And society. And sloths.

Anyway at this point in the controversy everything worth saying has been said before (and better) but I’m still pretty angry. I’m so tired of being treated like my money and brand loyalty don’t matter. I’m tired of booth babes and slut shaming and being told I’m not the target demographic because they’re not targeting my demographic because I’m not the target demographic. I’m tired of being dismissed. Women make up nearly half the target demographic and honestly, if we decided to pull out (HEH) and take our money elsewhere the industry would be screwed.

So please. Stop insulting us. We don’t have to play your games – we choose to. And we can choose not to anytime we feel like it. Remember that.

* According to the Entertainment Software Association, about 47 percent of gamers are women.

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