Attack On Gaming (in the) Media: Xbox One Letter Controversy

xbox-one-penis

This week has been a pretty terrible one for the marketing team over at Microsofts Xbox division. In case you’ve missed the controversy, the main issue taken here is that Microsoft have misrepresented a large population of humans by stating that one party should stop the knitting to play video games with the other party that is already playing videogames. Sounds silly doesn’t it?

And that’s because it is. It is unbelievably silly. In no way does the advertisement make any kind of reference to any kind of discrimination towards any other person, other than the person knitting. Who is this person knitting? It could be a man, it could be a woman, heck it could be some knitting God from the knitting universe of knitting gods. However, this hasn’t stopped a number of angry social media junkies from lashing out against the company, calling them misogynistic, and forcing them to take down the advertisement.

Microsoft seem to have pulled this advertisement for fear of reprisal from easily offended fanatics, but the post linked here goes into details about the controversy. We’ll quote the parts that have people offended below.

Hey honey […] I know, I know, you’d rather knit than watch me slay zombies, but hear me out […] It just so happens that Xbox One has the best multiplayer service that filters out jerks. So don’t you worry […] p.s. Did I mention how beautiful you are?

For reference, the parts we’ve emboldened can be swapped out for any number of other words, but the defaults just happen to have fallen onto a sarcastic few words, that when used closely together, happen to hit the rage buttons on people. From the looks of things, it wasn’t intended to be offensive, but just as a lame marketing joke.

To be completely honest, just reading that excerpt doesn’t lead me to believe that they’re referencing a man groveling to his woman, but I do read things in my head in a female voice. Maybe that’s part of the issue really, not so much the head reading, but peoples imaginations.

I mean, really, what do these claims about misogyny say about the people making these claims? Why do these people automatically assume that knitting is only a hobby that women would pick up? As supposition, there’re are probably plenty of attractive male cosplayers that would take offence to being called women.

As a society, it seems like we’re more geared to seeing men as aggressors and women as supplicants. If you look at this particular poor excuse for marketing in the sarcastic tone that it’s intended to be read in, it isn’t a stretch that you could picture it as being aggressive. Once you take into account that people may or may not have the imaginary aggressor in their head as male, it is then possible that the message will seem misogynistic to those people.

Another reason as to why this could be seen as to be misogynistic is that some of the words and items correspond to what many people will regard as feminine hobbies. However, as a gamer, I can only say that those hobbies listed are lame hobbies for lamers. We’re certain that both male and female gamers will agree here. Cosplayers may disagree. Cosplayers are not lamers though.

Our main issue with this piece, if it hasn’t been made entirely clear at this point, is that the Microsoft advertisement wasn’t misogynistic, it was just poorly executed. It was also lame, but it was lame in a poorly executed way. The advertisement clearly never intended to marginalize anyone cool, definitely not women, but was instead meant to entertain by making gaming look cooler than anything else, by using lame hobbies as examples.

An example of this being misogynistic would be something like:

Hey honey,

As the AVERAGE MALE GAMER, I know that you would rather be READING TABLOID MAGAZINES AND BITCHING ABOUT YOUR BOYFRIEND than WATCHING ME BANG DIGITAL WOMEN IN THIS GAME ABOUT DICKGIRLS. But hear me out, it just happens the Xbox One has the best Multiplayer service, ever, of all time, for PEOPLE WITH PENISES ONLY. Girls need not apply. Hahahahahahaha!

Notice the stereotypes that are easily identifiable and offensive. Not to mention, taking incredible liberty to make sure the difference between gender is readily apparent. Also of note: the above example does not represent our views on anything, it serves only to act as an example of legitimate misogynistic behaviour.

In the end, Microsoft should have stuck to their guns instead of removing the ad, the defaults or whatever else they did. Everyone else needs to calm the fuck down, stop agenda pushing and just have fun with the page. Nobody is out to hurt you or your feelings. That is all.

Links used in research:

http://inagist.com/all/405762845125529600/

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/11/28/microsoft_xbox_letter_sexist/

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/meet-xbox-one#fantasyfan

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2013/11/sexist-xbox-one-letter-needs-some-changes/

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/we-got-your-back

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/440502/microsoft-apologizes-for-sexist-xbox-one-promo/

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-11-27-microsoft-slammed-for-sexist-xbox-one-ad

Question: What voice do you read things in your head with? When visualising an aggressor, are they male or female?

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  • Victoria Smith

    I know this is years old, but man… I want to list all the ways in which this writer fails, but… I kind of feel like i should be paid for that much effort. Even as an editorial, this is just bad in every way imaginable, technically and otherwise.

    Something good… something good…. You can spell and form sentences correctly. Wait… Is that something to compliment a writer for? Damn, there I go being negative again. Let’s try some more constructive criticism, shall we?

    Here’s an idea: next time you have an opinion, write it on a forum instead of as an article. That way, people are inclined to correct your ignorance and flawed reasoning rather than flee them with the hopeless thought that perhaps humanity is doomed.

    • http://attackongaming.com/ Gaming Admiral

      >Claims there is flawed logic
      >Instead of correcting it, just attacks the author

      Good work on being a decent human. I’m sure you must be proud of your life choices.

      • Victoria Smith

        Not sure that makes me a good person, but to be fair on myself, I don’t think you’re that great either. Oh wait, you were being sarcastic, though I should be careful not to use words you don’t seem to know the meaning of.

        I have indeed attempted to articulate areas for your improvement, but the response becomes quite verbose. I’ll try a list of a few random things:

        a) learn to implement [your own] relevant quotes to

        b) validate your claims

        c) research relevant topics so you can

        d) interpret situations better

        e) be consistent in your claims, which means

        f) do not say dishonest nonsense

        g) do not gaslight groups of people

        h) check your work for validity and relevance (hint: this article has neither)

        If you are struggling with understanding where you failed to do these things, details are available upon request.

        • http://attackongaming.com/ Gaming Admiral

          It’s as though you only barely finished highschool.

          • Victoria Smith

            So your saying that you haven’t finished at all? Yes, I’m beginning to see this. Well, carry on. I’m sure you’ll realize you wrote an entire article on misogyny where it was not relevant to the conversation at some point. Good luck

          • http://attackongaming.com/ Gaming Admiral

            You -do- realise that the entire reason that this article exists is because a bunch of idiots will call anything that they don’t like misogyny. Right?

          • Victoria Smith

            So this was a preemptive strike? Cause no one called this misogynist. The controversy was about perpetuating gender stereotypes which you unwittingly acknowledge as real after gaslighting people who say they exist. Talk about consistent.

          • http://attackongaming.com/ Gaming Admiral

            At this point you literally have to be trolling. Do you not read citations?

          • Victoria Smith

            I do. Apparently you don’t Lol I implore you to use the ‘find in page’ feature for all your sources and search the letters “misog.” Now search this article for the letters “sexis.” If the results of these exercises make nothing clear to you, i can only assume you’re stupid or stubborn. Either way, this has become quite tiresome.

          • http://attackongaming.com/ Gaming Admiral

            So what you are saying is that A) Sexism towards women is not misogyny
            -and-
            B) Women are not the only people that knit, and to assume so would be sexist in and of itself?

          • Victoria Smith

            Uhm… No.
            A) sexism and misogyny are not synonymous and since you spoke only about the one of the two things that no one else mentioned, your article is moot
            -and-
            B) you really need to learn to contextualize

            I didn’t say anything about knitting lol but if I were to say something about knitting it would be this:

            The detail about knitting is in itself arbitrary. However, the web form described a pacifist who prefers tv and movies over gaming and would enjoy social filters for those rare times when gaming because s/he is more likely to game socially, etc. It is evident that Microsoft was using information gathered from marketing research targeting women in the defaults of the web form. This can be easily observed through simple research of your own. That this apparent woman also knits is most likely a facetious detail, but that does not negate the sexist undertone.

            Now you are implying that people who, ignorant of the marketing research slant, call this sexist are sexist themselves because they assume the knitter to be a woman. This is invalid because stereotypes do not manifest on an individual basis. Stereotyping is a social phenomenon, meaning that acknowledging these stereotypes does not mean that you are prejudiced but rather that you are not ignorant of the society around you. If you infer and list the characteristics of the speaker and the target separately, there is a feminine and a masculine. So the two people could be a gat or lesbian couple and it would still be sexist in that it relies on gender stereotyping. It could have been more random and gender neutral, but it wasn’t.

            Now whether this is wrong or right and why is to each his or her own. I’m just saying that the way you approached this entire thing has been unperceptive and insufficient when not simply invalid.

          • http://attackongaming.com/ Gaming Admiral

            You literally just wrote what I wrote in my article in less words. You -did- read it, right?

          • Tori del Toro

            I literately didn’t. I disagree with you pretty much universally. My response (to your overexaggeration of the importance of knitting) that it is irrelevant without context does not conclude, as yours does, that therefore it is essentially irrelevant. If you refuse to contextualize anything then literally everything is irrelevant. My organized conclusion of sexist intent therefore contradicts yours of meaningless happenstance.

            If you don’t get that I am disagreeing with you everywhere else, you are likely misinterpreting it, as with everything.

  • KuchikiSentou

    Anybody can knit; anybody can be beautiful

    • http://attackongaming.com/ Gaming Admiral

      <3