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- I had this conversation that keeps bothering me.

- Online?

- Uh huh. On John Scalzi's blog. It went like this (paraphrased):

Me: " You don't want your kid to have Bratz dolls because they hypersexualize girls. But what about the video games you play?"

Answer: "My daughter doesn't get games with hypersexualized characters. And if she sees any of mine, then we laugh at it, and she knows that that's not how real life works."

Me: "Yeah, but if she can laugh at these games, why can't she laugh at the dolls?"

Answer: "Because at the parent I get to decide what's not okay for my child. It may be okay for an adult, but not for a child."

Me: "Well, then maybe it isn't okay for an adult, either."

Answer: "I get to chose for myself what's okay for me."

- Well, I'd be pissed off too if I thought you were telling me what I could or couldn't do.

- Sure. But I'm not telling him what he can or cannot do. He's already conceded that hypersexualized women isn't cool. But having a game with hypersexualized women in it is okay?

- It's not like he doesn't know what real women look like.

- So when his kid sees him playing these games where women have gigantic boobs, tiny waists, and wear string bikinis all the time, she doesn't get the message that really cool women have physically impossible shapes and dress in impossible clothes?

- He laughs at them. She laughs, too.

- Yeah. But he keeps playing the game. And she also gets the message that he thinks this is really cool.

[Pause]

- But you're missing his point. You've said yourself that there are things that are okay for adults that really aren't for kids. What if he plays the game when his daughter isn't around? Adult entertainment for an adult player.

- Sure. But there's a line.

- Line?

- What would you think of a game where every Asian male character had bright yellow skin, crooked teeth, greasy hair, stooped shoulders, and long fingernails, and who leered at every woman who passes by.

- Gross.

- And why's that?

- It's all the worst racist stereotypes, right out of WWII. Not only are these characteristics false but they demonize a whole group of people. It's hurtful.

- And istn' that what happens to women?

- They're not being demonized. Gamers find them attractive.

- It isn't harmful to portray women unrealistically?

- Okay. If they're nothing but candy to have sex with or blow up, yes, that's harmful. It's like the racist stereotype.

- And when these unrealistic women kick ass?

- Listen, the guys kicking ass are just as unreralistic.

[Pause]

- Point.

- Men have been leering at women since.  .  . Well, since forever. It's part of the preservation of the species thing. And civilization over several millenia has just refined it.

- Refined?

- Okay. Not so refined. But it's there. It's part of what sells the games. It's what sells James Bond. It's sold cars, cigars and beer.

- It's everywhere.

- Right.

- Women as objects of lust. In shapes that don't exist for 99% of the population.

- Well. . .

- And now we've reached that line I mentioned before.

- Women shouldn't be objects of lust?

- Not all of the damned time!

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