I don’t like being judgmental, but somehow, no matter how much I edited and thought about the post I wrote about the Chris Redfield Flash game yesterday, I feel that my tone may have been. If it was, I apologize–that was not my intent.
In fact, in focusing on trying to bring up the subject of male rape and sexual assault, I believe I did somewhat of a disservice and inelegantly gave my true thoughts on the matter of the game at hand.
Here’s attempt two, if you’re willing to read.
What do we do with this game? As I mentioned yesterday, if we look at it as rape (yes, we should), many will cry for it to be censored or shut away. I disagree with that rather vehemently. I believe in free speech, and that includes speech with which I am not comfortable or that might offend me. Rather than censorship, I’d wish to promote engagement and critical thinking, not hiding it or from it.
A few other thoughts to consider is why I wanted to write about this, considering it’s a genre popular in its own right; the main difference that separated it from others being that it was of a male character. I don’t go seeking out such things because I really have no interest in such pornography. Gay Gamer ran the article and I came to realize that Kotaku did as well, so I wished to engage it on a level that I did not see being bandied about on how to consider the game.
However, to take the whole genre of masturbatory aids that this promotes, I wish to look at it further.
First, despite its content with which I am uncomfortable, it is artistic (though the question of whether it is art could be debated well into oblivion) in terms of its presentation. The creator has obviously learned more about Flash and its design as he’s created these projects, and has also managed to become more bold in his line and shadow usage. In terms of usability, which I’ll address farther down, it also is rather ingenious as interactive porn for its ease of use.
The art style itself speaks to further pushing it into a non-reality zone by using a very heavily stylized influence. Blushing cheeks, over-exaggerated features, and speech bubbles all give way to make us realize that this is meant for sport. In no way do I believe the creator had malicious intent, but intent and product can be wholly separate, as the other debate concerning race and Resident Evil 5 has shown.
Second, I find it a useful way to talk about it. There is a line between fantasy and reality, and this plays with that line with its subject matter. As I discussed with a friend last night and has been mentioned in the comments of my last post, here we are also questioning how much of this is a power dynamic, and this is a method of discussing such topics with the visualization and its discussion in a non-real format (which would probably make most uncomfortable enough to not be able to discuss in a rational manner).
In one frame of mind, with what we’re dealing is a dom/sub relationship. Rape fantasy exists, and is controversial in its own right. The difference between rape and rape fantasy and roleplay is that a safe word is usually employed in the latter so that it denotes that this is not actual rape. We’re not given that context in this scenario, and the description would denote such a dynamic does not exist, but the question of being programmed to protest but having an inevitable conclusion based on existence poses a whole new realm of exploration in talks about this topic. The human mind is great at creating illusion and suspending disbelief, and this is part of what is used in creating these scenarios.
Another point at which to enter this is looking at how it depicts the homosexual desire that has been created in our society. Mainstream gay rhetoric is centered around the ‘straight-acting’ and ‘masculine.’ While there could be an argument for making Chris Redfield gay and having him reciprocate enjoyment or interact in a pleasurable manner, it detracts from what many gay men see as desirable–the heteroflexible or -sexual male who doesn’t necessarily want your advances, but will partake in sex in some fashion. The man who is not ‘gay.’
Then the game itself. It is meant for titilation. The movement of the mouse and lack of any actual clicking would easily allow only one hand to be used; it is not hard to imagine where the other hand would be, and how it would mimic the movements made by the mouse hand. This is fantasy. Do I believe many would enact this fantasy? I’d hope not, but if they would, I doubt a Flash game by itself would encourage them to do so.
If anything, we live in a culture which tells us this is okay because it is not discussed. I cannot comfortably, and therefore shall not, pass judgment, but I felt it worth discussing. It’s a discussion worth having, but one I’m not sure has any answers that are easy or unanimous, and this goes for the depiction of men or women in this manner of porn and the use of power dynamics (and the denial thereof) in sexual relationships in both real life and in fiction.