So when the whole Grand Theft Auto 5 being removed from the shelves of Target and Kmart first hit, I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know about it. That is, until someone I’m connected to through Facebook decided to post their thoughts on the matter. Thoughts which directly blamed feminism for the “ridiculous” ban.
It took me a while to sort my thoughts on the matter. Not in small measure due to the fact that I had yet to gather the facts of the actual story.
As it turns out I now think the whole ‘outrage’ over the decision is idiotic.
There are two reasons, I believe, that you would be angry about the Coles-Myer group decision with relation to these two Australian stores. The first, is about the practical problems with banning the game: ergo, it’s unavailability in-store.
From this perspective, “gamers” (and I use the quotation marks because it is my belief that this label applies to a rather select section of the actual cohort) are complaining like greedy children. Target and Kmart aren’t exactly popular stores for gamers to hang out and get a fantastic selection of games anyway. The game is, however, still available at all of the places I would consider to be actual hubs of gaming culture – EB Games and JB-HI-FI. I would also note that this game has been available for purchase for over a year. So the hardcore fans would, largely, have already bought it. Therefore, there is no reason to complain about two stores removing this game from their shelves, regardless of their reasons.
The second, and more insidious argument, is based on the principle of the ban. These people say things like: “the game isn’t about violence against women” or “this is just feminism gone mad trying to control everything”. The worst offenders of this type of opinion even threatened women who signed the petition for the removal of the game, presumably knowing that many of those women petitioned because they had experienced violence in their real lives. But we’ll discount that group of idiots for the meantime, they represent a much larger problem in society and gaming.
Now, personally, I don’t believe that removing this game (distasteful as I find it) will make much difference in regards to large issues such as male violence, entitlement, or violence in games. There has been no solid evidence that violence in games can be linked to increased violence in actual behaviour and so I do not subscribe to such fear mongering. I have no interest in playing a game like GTAV so I haven’t, I would not need a ban to make that so. Many of the arguments made for banning this game are illogical or untrue. But, I am much more on the side of a group of people who have gone through horrible experiences trying to find a way to make a positive change in the world, than people who would mock or put those people down over a game they don’t even play. And then blaming feminists – who are clearly not involved in the petition, just seems to me to be an excuse to knock down a movement that seems to be constantly under attack in our current environment.
Surely, if you’re going to get angry over the principle of a thing, something actually meaningful would be a much more worthy use of your time than joining a group of immature “gamers” in a vendetta against a group that didn’t actually make the decision anyway. Target and Kmart listened to their opinions, and if they were selling heaps of copies of the game they probably wouldn’t have. Grow up people.