Video games have long been a fascinating escape for me. I've never been and can not now be what one would consider a "hardcore" gamer, but ever since I received my first gaming system—a hand-me-down Magnavox Odyssey²—I've enjoyed games as a way to get away. It hasn't been until recently that I've had the privilege to apply the lens of social justice to my favorite escape.
The game is called "Hey, Baby", and it is a game about street harassment. It is a first-person shooter where you play as a woman walking around a city fighting off waves of men who approach you while repeating "classic" street harassment lines, everything from the notorious "Smile, baby" to shouted rape threats. Killing the harassers results in a gravestone popping up with their line engraved on it.
The widely popular video game Bayonetta boasts an advertising campaign that rivals the onscreen sexism of the game itself. In Tokyo, a large billboard in the subway invited passersby to literally strip off flyers to reveal Bayonetta naked underneath. The campaign perpetuates and encourages sexual and physical harassment against women, an epidemic in Japan (and many other countries, including the United States). Check it out: