First off: the original Destructoid article was released in 2007 (which is the early days of the site), but it’s resurfaced thanks to all the attention the new Tomb Raider game has received.
It starts off looking innocent: a Destructoid post about a life-size Lara Croft statue. Nothing out of the ordinary from a first look at the page…
… and then you read the body text, which unless this is some kind of fever dream or I’m having a stroke, actually happened.
For the record, being lonely doesn’t negate the creepy.
Yes, this was early days for Destructoid, but I’m not sure that’s much excuse. I belive that the article’s author, Hamza “CTZ” Aziz, was a Community Manager for Destructoid at the time. He’s now a Managing Director, so articles like this don’t necessarily harm your ability to progress in a gaming website’s hierarchy.
But what makes this page such a great example of why gaming culture could have possibly been considered hostile to woman is shown in the associated sidebar. The tags used for this post have created the sidebar, focusing on the #GirlsOfGaming one since that was entered first. (Is there a #WomanOfGaming tag? Don’t be silly – of course not.)
The Girls of Gaming tag kicks off with articles about porn stars playing video games topless and a Playboy model picture.
The third story gets a #GirlsOfGaming tag because it partly mentions women being treated badly on Xbox Live and the fourth story gets tagged because it includes a Felicia Day interview. Which isn’t exactly great, but at least neither involve a woman having to taking off her clothes to be worth mentioning in relation to gaming.
Other highlights from the #GirlsOfGaming sidebar include:
- Sengoku Basara dev: Girls don’t like disgusting violence: “While Sengoku Basara is a game that many of our Western readers don’t really care about, it’s apparently really popular with girls in Japan.” If your readers don’t care about it, why cover it? Oh, because it helps reinforce existing stereotypes.
- Dead or Alive Paradise > spanking the monkey: One of Dead or Alive’s ridiculous jiggle physics videos showing off character Leifang bouncing around in bikinis. First tag: #boobies. Aziz at work again.
- Over 50% of US PSP owners are girls!?: “We all know that most PSP owners are completely dickless, but for the first time ever, it’s true in a literal sense.” This post also contains the phrases “users are of the vaginal variety” and “audience possessing a pair of chest-bollocks”. Thanks Jim Sterling.
- Super SFIV’s Juri used to be cute and fat (like a baby): Focused on Juri’s evolution as a character and how much side-boob was on show for each version. First tag: #boobies again.
- 30% of Guitar Hero players are female (slow news day): Jim Sterling only posted this because there was nothing else better available and it meant a picture of a woman with pink hair playing Guitar Hero could be snuck in.
- Brighten up your period with this Pokemon menstrual pad!: Jim Sterling writes sensitively about female sanitary prodJUST KIDDING: “Is it your time of the month? You on the rag? On the blob? More importantly, have you ever wanted to bleed out of your minge and onto Pikachu’s face?”
- Trish Stratus coming out with a Wii Yoga game: Out of 18 stories of #GirlsOfGaming, this is the only one that comes close actually having a woman involved in the creation of a video game. But don’t worry – Aziz (again) spends some time e-drooling over Stratus.
- Girls: why they game less: Too busy with housework, apparently.
Man Shocked That Water Is Wet
Yeah, I know: this Destructoid being Destructoid. They’ve tried to clean up their act more recently, but for a long time they were the raving fanboi end of the gaming spectrum and it will take a long time – if it ever happens – to shake off those associations. As someone who was rarely a Destructoid visitor, this one Lara Croft statue post served as a time capsule of sorts – how this site viewed women in gaming all wrapped up on the one grotesque page.
Some may think I’m being unfair here, but everything I’ve mentioned appeared on Destructoid and is still part of its content. I didn’t go off cherry picking items to make Destructoid look bad; the #GirlsOfGaming articles popped up on the same page where a now senior Destructoid employee proclaimed his desire to convert a statue into a sex toy.
As Destructoid approaches its seventh birthday, let’s hope that the site leaves these kind of things firmly in its past.