A mother banned her son from playing the video game Grand Theft Auto until he was old enough to write an essay on “misogyny and its effects on society”.
Heather McNamara, a “literature enthusiast, feminist, Marxist, queer theorist, lesbian, egomaniac, [and] mom”, set the task for her son after he asked if he could play GTA on his Xbox.
Then in mid-October the boy came to his mother saying he was ready to write the essay after watching episodes of Feminist Frequency, a YouTube channel run by “cultural critic” Anita Sarkeesian which strains to find sexism in as many games as possible.
McNamara and her partner then set three questions, asking their son to define misogyny, give three examples of it from video game clips seen on YouTube, and explain why these examples might “be correlated” to real life violence against women.
(Correlation, logic fans will note, does not equal causation.)
In his response defining misogyny, the boy wrote: “Misogyny is for men to think they’re better than women and they abuse women to show their dominance but that just make them look like jerks.”
But he then went on to make the same warped point feminists make when criticising video games, arguing that “for example in Mass Effect you could slap the mean news lady. That equals to misogyny.”
Whilst some video games allow you to perpetrate violence against women, no mainstream titles will allow you to do it exclusively against one sex.
A typical playthrough of Grand Theft Auto 5, the latest title in the series, will see the player kill far more men than women.
Sadly for the boy McNamara dodged her side of the deal, allowing her son to play Saint’s Row, another open world action game, rather than GTA. Both series have an age rating for adults.
Image Credit – Grand Theft Auto 5, by Rockstar Games