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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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61 Responses

  1. me and not you
    me and not you November 17, 2009 at 12:44 pm |

    who in their right mind would think that was a good idea?

  2. INTPagan
    INTPagan November 17, 2009 at 12:44 pm |

    Am I the only one who thinks that this is weirdly racist, too? The model is white, but the rating of “gangsta” is a pretty racialized way of saying whatever it is they’re trying to say, and the music sounds like generic rap background music.

    Maybe it’s just me. I dunno. The whole thing is counterintuitive.

  3. KaeLyn
    KaeLyn November 17, 2009 at 1:00 pm |

    WTF?! So the viewer is supposed to empathize with the abuser…and then feel bad afterwards? This makes people that actually care about domestic violence…like me…totally creeped out. Things I never want to do or imagine doing including HITTING WOMEN.

    Is the target for this young adults–like high school students? Even with that population, I can not imagine this would ever work. If anything, it trivializes domestic violence by making it into a “game.” And in the gaming world, violence against women is frequently portrayed as acceptible and heroic, so how is replicating that in a simulated game teaching any sort of moral lesson?! How does this teach anyone to respect women or even to respect each other?! And how does this do anything to help young people understand intimate partner violence?!

    The fact that you can “hit the bitch” with your hand via webcam horrifies me.

  4. Rebecca
    Rebecca November 17, 2009 at 1:00 pm |

    What the fuck?

  5. underbelly
    underbelly November 17, 2009 at 1:07 pm |

    wow…that is beyond disturbing.

  6. Tracey
    Tracey November 17, 2009 at 1:13 pm |

    Wow.
    I get that the idea may be to mimic how men may be rewarded for being abusive to women by calling them “gangsta” when they do and mocked for not being abusive by calling them “pussy”. Then at the end, it turns out while the guy was trying to be “gangsta” in the eyes of others. he’s actually an idiot.
    But even with that, it’s still incredibly stupid and reinforcing. A lot, if not most, people who play this are probably going to think that it is just a game. Flashing a couple of statistics doesn’t undo ten minutes of beating a woman called a bitch and being called “gangsta” for doing so. Not to mention it reinforces hyper-masculinity to call people “pussy” for not hitting hard enough.
    I don’t know where they were going with this, or what made them think it would work, but this is beyond sick and disgusting. I also think it completely trivializes violence against women.

  7. Twyst
    Twyst November 17, 2009 at 1:15 pm |

    Sadly, this is a reskin of a flash game from a long (like … 5+ ys ago), that was called something like Pimp Slap. Gah, one would hope it would be gone.

  8. Twyst
    Twyst November 17, 2009 at 1:17 pm |

    Not that it would be better if it were original. It’s all bad.

  9. niemaodpowiedzi
    niemaodpowiedzi November 17, 2009 at 2:32 pm |

    And that doesn’t even bring into account the ableism of calling abusers idiots. By doing so, they’re in effect saying that only those with cognitive disabilities abuse women. That’s pretty definitely untrue, and a highly problematic construction of idiocy.

  10. Angela
    Angela November 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm |

    How incredibly disturbing.

  11. Libby
    Libby November 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm |

    Seems like an extreme example of couching racist, sexist, or otherwise socially unacceptable or immoral or illegal behavior in wink, wink terms of being subversive. I can use racial slurs because I’m not racist, ha, ha! Twenty year olds with ad experience/hopes tend to experts at it…

  12. Iben
    Iben November 17, 2009 at 2:53 pm |

    If it’s any comfort to you all the girl is constantly saying things to trigger your bad conscience, like ‘if you really loved me you wouldn’t make me do stuff I don’t want to’ or ‘do you think this is gangsta’. So while you hit you have to reflect (unless if you turn off the sound) and the girl gives an impression of being independent and strong by the accusations she’s stating.
    The whole campaign is mainly directed towards girls being beaten by their boyfriend or their family but also the abuser and the goal is to ‘brake the silence’, so it wants to show the girls that they are not alone (the statistics at the end) and that you should brake the silence (the accusations).
    In Denmark we’re often going all the way to the line and sometimes crossing it, to make people reflect. You should see the advertisements against smoking on the national TV channels at the moment, they instantly make you want to turn off the TV and hopefully stop smoking if you’re a smoker.
    But I agree that the pussy-gangsta scale is a disappointing stereotyped way of characterizing the male performance.

  13. beyond
    beyond November 17, 2009 at 2:54 pm |

    oh. my. god. I let the page load just to see how horrifying this was, & I couldn’t even get past the first “HIT” that left her w/a huge bruise. absolutely terrible & terrifying.

  14. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. November 17, 2009 at 3:07 pm |

    Could someone try to find an email address for complaints? I’m sorry, I’d do it myself but I don’t even want to click the link for the site.

  15. Iben
    Iben November 17, 2009 at 3:14 pm |

    This is a link to the website of the organization http://www.familievold.dk/english.
    At the bottom you’ll see an email of the founder of the NGO.

  16. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. November 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm |

    “If it’s any comfort to you all the girl is constantly saying things to trigger your bad conscience, like ‘if you really loved me you wouldn’t make me do stuff I don’t want to’ or ‘do you think this is gangsta’.”

    No, that is no comfort at all. There is nothing that a woman can say while getting beaten that will make a man stop hitting her. If there were, do you think domestic violence would be such an overwhelming problem? Do you think that it’s that simple? An abuser would only use a woman saying those things as an excuse to keep hitting her.

    “so it wants to show the girls that they are not alone”

    How is turning the act of being beaten into a game going to show any girl or woman that they are not alone?

  17. ACG
    ACG November 17, 2009 at 3:41 pm |

    Another thing that bothers me about that game (on top of the many, many other things that bother me) is that you have to get to 100 percent to be labeled an idiot. If you hit her and hit her and hit her and get to, say, 90 percent and get bored, then you leave with “90 percent! GANGSTA!” on the screen. Because only when you beat her fully into unconsciousness do you actually become an idiot.

  18. Iben
    Iben November 17, 2009 at 3:59 pm |

    As I see it the campaign wants to make the girls aware that they can get counselling in how to deal with the abuse, not to make them argue with the abuser but hopefully to make them leave the abuser. The campaign is primarily directed at abuse in teenage relationships.
    The game is a way of reaching the teenage generation with information and dealing with a tabooed subject through a media that they know and use daily. It’s a way of making it less taboo to speak about the problem among friends. I dare to say that the Danish youth will play this game with a critical approach and will use it as a foundation for a discussion of the problem, and will not see it as a legitimization of the abuse.

  19. Becky
    Becky November 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm |

    Crikey. Like many others, I do not want to look either, however I can understand what Iben means, in contemporary conceptual art the more controversial the work the more reverred the artist. Is this kind of shock treatment going to cure some young aggressive males of violence or are they barking up the wrong tree completely?
    So,…an interesting theory, perhaps they could work on the moral message a little harder and perhaps not take quite so long to beat the poor woman half to death before being called an “idiot”…I wont voice them,.. but I would probably use more colourful language and remind them of the possibility of jail time,..speaking of which, does anybody know the statistic of convictions due to domestic abuse?

  20. bellareve
    bellareve November 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm |

    One problem with this, out of many, is that a man who beats a woman is not “100% idiot,” but in fact “100% despicable, repugnant, cowardly, monstrous, dangerous (etc) abuser.” Someone pointed out the ableism of the word “idiot,” but beyond that it simply doesn’t describe a batterer in extreme enough terms. So the message is both convoluted, unrealistic, and waaaaaay too understated. It makes light of DV and turns it into a joke.

    Also sickening: some boys and men will play this game for entertainment and titillation.

  21. Nymeria
    Nymeria November 17, 2009 at 4:52 pm |

    That’s..depressing. I don’t think I can add anything else but that.

  22. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. November 17, 2009 at 6:50 pm |

    “As I see it the campaign wants to make the girls aware that they can get counselling in how to deal with the abuse, not to make them argue with the abuser but hopefully to make them leave the abuser.”

    That is the most pathetic way that I can imagine to show young girls that they can get counseling to deal with abuse. For women and girls who have been traumatized in such a fashion, they likely wouldn’t even be able to play the game. Are you not aware of a little disorder called PTSD?

    “I dare to say that the Danish youth will play this game with a critical approach and will use it as a foundation for a discussion of the problem, and will not see it as a legitimization of the abuse.”

    And I dare say you are living in a sugar-coated candyland that has no basis in reality.

  23. Sydney
    Sydney November 17, 2009 at 7:26 pm |

    I don’t know whether to cry or to puke my guts out.

  24. Stephanie - Green SAHM
    Stephanie - Green SAHM November 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm |

    Wow. That’s just disturbing.

    I really don’t think anyone playing that is going to be sitting there analyzing it critically unless they already know better than to hit a woman. Even then it just fails.

  25. Interpreted
    Interpreted November 17, 2009 at 7:52 pm |

    I’m trying to imagine the train of thought that led up to this being OKed as a ‘good idea’. I’m not sure which is worse – it being possible to imagine, or impossible.

  26. Anonymous
    Anonymous November 17, 2009 at 7:56 pm |

    I saw this on another site and some men were using it as a masturbatory aid. It should taken down, I don’t even care if the player is called an idiot, the real idiots are the people who made this filth.

  27. Mary
    Mary November 17, 2009 at 8:05 pm |

    The problem with justifying this site by saying that it makes more sense in the local context of either advertisements or language is that this is a website, a website that is very radical and they had to know that it was going to be transmitted across language and culture barriers. What happens when a youth from America sees it, doesn’t hear or understanding any of the anti-violence rhetoric and simply plays until 90%. You’ve just reinforced violence against women as being ‘cool’. Well done. Think a bit next time about the responsibility you have as media producers. I hope that they remove this “game” immediately and issue an apology for those that it has hurt and offended. As of this moment, the game is still prominent on their website. Idiots.

  28. Natalia
    Natalia November 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm |

    Fail.

  29. Shara
    Shara November 17, 2009 at 9:33 pm |

    Showing this to my boyfriend really made me realize how numb we are to things like this. He laughed about it and played it three times (once with a webcam). I don’t know if I should be mad or what. *sigh*

    But yeah, the message this tries to put across was completely missed on their behalf. Heck, even switching the Gangsta vs Pussy labels (you start out as Gangsta and degrade into a Pussy) would have been better.

    Oh well. *forehead slap*

  30. MikeDC
    MikeDC November 17, 2009 at 9:37 pm |

    What happens when a youth from America sees it, doesn’t hear or understanding any of the anti-violence rhetoric and simply plays until 90%. You’ve just reinforced violence against women as being ‘cool’.

    I’m gonna be the contrarian here and say it’s subversive and will have the opposite effect (It’ll reinforce just how uncool violence against women is). Boys like to talk big about keeping bitches “in line”. Talking is an abstract thing. But this game puts some reality to it. Painful reality. But when a boy plays this game, and he see’s his action inflicting pain on someone, that’s ugly. I played the game and I felt bad finishing it just to see what was going to happen. I suspect most guys would feel the same, and despite whatever they say, would walk away feeling pretty disgusted and less willing to joke about such things.

  31. Maggie
    Maggie November 17, 2009 at 10:29 pm |

    Uh I’ll second Jill with that advice. There is nothing appropriate about that “game”.

  32. Firediva4411
    Firediva4411 November 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm |

    This sucks big time. I am a 25 year retired firefighter and I’ve seen much too much of the real thing. I couldn’t even try the program, and cried tears of rage when I saw it. Abusive men are abusive men, whether in Denmark, the USA, or wherever. No way will they learn anything positive from it. In all those years “on the street”, I never saw a single batterer who showed the least little bit of remorse no matter how bad the victim’s injuries. If you really want to get to the guys, set it up so after the first hit, the woman draws a 9mm and blows the b*****d clean into next week. Now, to a guy, THAT’s deterrence!

  33. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. November 17, 2009 at 10:41 pm |

    “I played the game and I felt bad finishing it just to see what was going to happen.”

    Men who are not likely to abuse a woman would feel bad about playing the game. Men who do abuse women will not feel bad about it in the slightest. They’ll think it’s the funniest damn thing in the world. Someone up thread mentioned men using it as a masturbatory aid, and I have no doubt about that either.

  34. Laura
    Laura November 17, 2009 at 10:47 pm |

    Am I the only one who thinks that this is weirdly racist, too? The model is white, but the rating of “gangsta” is a pretty racialized way of saying whatever it is they’re trying to say, and the music sounds like generic rap background music.

    No, it’s not racist, unless you want to also call a whole lot of popular rap music over the last few years – performed by black artists, no less – racist as well. It’s definitely a massive Fail, though, in terms of doing anything about the problem of abusing women.

  35. A. Nuran
    A. Nuran November 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |

    Next up:

    In order to combat racism we’ll have “Whup the Nigger” with extra points for raping the wenches, lynching and how “Klan” you are.

  36. TeriSaw
    TeriSaw November 18, 2009 at 2:02 am |

    Shara, I’d like to second Jill’s advice. That is really, really a bad sign.

  37. Ouyang Dan
    Ouyang Dan November 18, 2009 at 2:08 am |

    To me, it feels like they have pulled a hat trick of sexism, racism*, and ableism on top of just being horrible. When I saw this b/c someone sent me a link to Gawker, I almost cried, and honestly did not think I would have the stomach to blog about it myself. It’s so awful.

    *I say racist, because while I don’t think the word “gangsta” itself is a racist term b/c of what Laura above said, its usage in this game is problematic. You have to beat a woman to be “gangsta”, implying that all “gangstas” are woman beaters, and I think that is, in itself, disparaging to black men.

  38. Eurosabra
    Eurosabra November 18, 2009 at 2:08 am |

    My thought is that only someone really fluent in Danish would get the full message, with the simulation raising only the most oblique (and triggering) themes for a non-speaker: it appears the woman is returning from out-of-scene in a bright, chipper mood, raising the issue of jealousy, and some of the initial body language is defiant, in a “I do what I like” kind of way, along with the middle finger. So this is obviously placing the viewer/player in the position of an unreasonably controlling significant other who becomes (or is already) violent.

    I suppose the reception depends on whether one is already a sadist or not, with enough empathy to avoid Othering a woman who speaks only Danish, responding with empathy to the representation of trauma with the viewer as implied perpetrator. The fact that the woman is young, able-bodied, possibly of solely European heritage, and a native speaker of Danish is designed to make her Everywoman, while some of the music videos on the site are English-only.

  39. Maria
    Maria November 18, 2009 at 2:32 am |

    To me, it seemed more like wanting to talk the way young people talk than racism. Racism works differently in Denmark than it does in the US and is more geared towards Arabs and Muslims. Rap music in Denmark is not as strictly tied to race as it is in the US, and it is hugely popular among teens and young adults. Most rappers in Denmark are white. The game is horrible, yes, but perhaps it is easier for a Dane to at least see what they tried to do. We have cultural baggage, but it is not identical to yours.

  40. Jemima Aslana
    Jemima Aslana November 18, 2009 at 8:19 am |

    Okay, a quick note on what is said and what is written in that game: Some of you have been a liiiittle quick to make assumptions about the content. That said am not endorsing it at all.

    Mary said:

    “The problem with justifying this site by saying that it makes more sense in the local context of either advertisements or language is that this is a website, a website that is very radical and they had to know that it was going to be transmitted across language and culture barriers. What happens when a youth from America sees it, doesn’t hear or understanding any of the anti-violence rhetoric and simply plays until 90%. You’ve just reinforced violence against women as being ‘cool’.”

    So, Mary. Since this ad is about violence among teenagers aged 15-18 many of whom are not literate in English it’s actually fairly sensible that it’s in Danish. Or what? You expect the whole world to suddenly speak English, because just American kids might not understand what they say in a different country? Can I say privilege? If it’s aimed at Danes it should bloody well be in the language they speak.

    Yes, it’s on the internet. Yes, people from all over the world can access the internet (not I did not say all people), but how about you start translating everything you say to Danish and at least 17 other languages, then perhaps everyone else will forget that most of the world actually caters to English-speaking people already.

    Mary is not the only one raising the issue of language, I should add. It’s a Danish thing, of course it’s in Danish. There’s plenty of issues to go around without having a go at Danes for… I dunno… speaking Danish. I’m sorry we haven’t been fully assimilated into the global American culture. *eyeroll*

    Anyway, back to the actual campaign/game/ad:

    The girl walks on screen, says she’s had the greatest night out. Of course she’s been dancing with people. Wait, it’s not for you to decide whom she dances with.

    Male voiceover, who sounds very much like a Danish (white) gangsta rapper known for advocating respect and proper treatment of everybody – I’m not sure it’s him, though. The voiceover says that it sounds like you totally can’t control the bitch, perhaps a slap or two will help.

    As the game goes on in classic Spank-The-Monkey style, the bar above fills up. I think that alone will prompt people to finish it, because they want to know what will happen at 100%. If the bar wasn’t there I’d worry about those who don’t finish out of boredom, but for teens aged 15-20 my guess is that they’re few and far between. It can be done in about 5-6 slaps if you’re flash-game savvy enough, too. So it doesn’t take that long.

    At certain points along the scale the girl’s lines change.

    The ones I remember off te top of my head are:

    TRIGGER WARNING! Really bad language and rape references.

    “Maybe you were hit as a child, but don’t take it out on me.”
    “You don’t make my decisions for me, fuckface”
    “If I loved you I’d do what? Wrong! If you loved me you wouldn’t force me to do things I don’t wanna do.”
    “Do you feel strong now?”
    “You’re weak.”
    “You’re not the only one who can hit.”
    “Does it make you feel better?”
    “The only thing smaller than your dick is your IQ”
    “What the hell is up with you?”
    “You call me an ugly whore in front of your friends, but what does that make you? The one who can only get it with the ugly ones”
    “You always looked like a loser, now you’re behaving like one.”
    “You’re weak, get it?”
    “Are you stupid? A no is a no.”
    “Fuck off, baby.”
    “The only time you feel like a man is when you take me from behind when I say no.”
    “Is that everything you got?”
    “You really can’t hit harder than that? Even your pathetic father hit harder back when he hit you?”
    “Why would I have fucked your best friend, he’s as ugly as you?”

    TRIGGER WARNING ENDED

    I’m uncomfortable with several of these, because they buy into the idea that the woman provokes the man to strike her. Others are way more okay.

    When you get to 100% you get the gangsta shift idiot graphic.

    The male voiceover is back and tells you Idiot, it’s totally not gangsta to hit the bitches. You lost the game the first time you raised your hand against her. Fool. There’s no excuse for hitting. Seek help before it’s too late.

    Tilt cam to girl sobbing on the floor. Female voiceover says that two girls in every class (there are usually 25 kids in a class) from 9th year (15 years old) to 3rd G (18-20 years old) are living in abusive relationships. If you’re one of those who hit, or one of those who are hit. Seek help. (This is also text on screen under the title Do Something)

    Help us spread the message.

    *********

    I don’t like that they’re including rape in her lines without actually dealing with it. This is not only about hitting women and girls, it’s about deeply sexual violence as well, and it is not mentioned. At all. That ticks me off.

    Also, with so little few statistics it’s hard to see how it’ll work at all. The game was played, a statistic was cited, and no one’s going to click the links, because the abusers will likely be thinking that they’re not abusers, ’cause their girlfrend totally had it coming, and it was totally her own fault. And considering some (but not all) of the things the girl says to the player they’ll be reinforced in that view, because while some of the things she says are perfect to show just how ridiculous his behaviour is, some of them are not and are nothing more than simple provocative taunts.

    This is deeply problematic, and even if we do have a tradition here in DK for being way more brash about things than others, this is not really representative of that. We have very few taboos in our society, one is domestic violence – though not nearly as much as in the US as far as I can tell – another is transsexuality, we still have to come a long way there.

    Someone mentioned the latest anti-smoking campaign, which includes either a really impressive prop or a real artery, which a medical examiner squeezes a bunch of fat out of to show just how bad smoking is for your system. It is so disgusting it made me lose my lunch the first time I saw it. I cannot view it again, look away every time. It is shown on prime time.

    This game is on the internet, an even though we are brash over here, we do have rules, and they are more lax on the internet than elsewhere. So sometimes companies and organisations display only half an ad on the telly, telling us to come see the rest online. And other times people seriously misjudge what a suitable ad is. I’d say this is one of those cases.

    I don’t think this game will reach the abusers at all. And even if the voiceover at the end says “if you hit, or if you’ve been hit. Seek help.” I REALLY doubt that anyone who’s been hit or otherwise abused or assaulted will be able to get to the end. And that meas it has failed its mission. Clearly no one on the design team knows the word ‘triggering’, and that’s exceptionally bad considering what they’re working for.

    Final marks in my book
    Intent: Noble
    Execution: Abysmal and Thoughtless
    Overall: Total Fail.

    Finally, I suspect that this crappy game has been made because about 3 months ago surveys were published that showed the statistics they cite. It’s a fairly new survey in other words, and to my knowledge it’s the first of its kind among teenagers. Because they don’t usually live with their SOs, they’ve been largely ignored until now. But now it suddenly turned out that 2 girls in every class. That’s two girls out of approx 14 ie. 1 in 7 and that’s when they’re 15-20 years old. According to the statistics I saw when I volunteered at the women’s shelter, it only gets worse with age.

    I hope, I managed to shed a little light on a few things.

    Cheers.

  41. Mark
    Mark November 18, 2009 at 8:56 am |

    As a high school teacher, I can tell you that this will encourage disrespectful and violent behavior towards women. So many young men already don’t know how to treat women, or form healthy relationships with them, it is unbelievable that a site would simulate the experience and actually add humor to it. Note Shara’s boyfriend, who thought it was funny. Danish men and teens are not going to be any different. Stop trying to say it would somehow work differently for Danes who understand Danish.

  42. Joy-Mari Cloete
    Joy-Mari Cloete November 18, 2009 at 9:02 am |

    Oy????

    Is it just me, or is there just no comparison between ‘pussy’ and ‘idiot’?

  43. Laura
    Laura November 18, 2009 at 10:08 am |

    A. Nuran 11.17.2009 at 10:51 pm
    +eleventy – well put!

    As to the gangsta/racism/rap music thing… that’s associated with black folk because of the artists, and I’m not saying it’s not popular in the younger black community… but it’s middle class white parents who let their kids support that industry and mindset and mainstream it. They mall rat crowd doesn’t seem to find anything unusual about it. I’ve seen packs of boys make really vile comments to girls walking by and the girls don’t get mad. They giggle and preen.

  44. Jemima Aslana
    Jemima Aslana November 18, 2009 at 10:08 am |

    “Danish men and teens are not going to be any different. ”

    And this you know how?

    I’m not saying they are different, btw. I’m just seeing a whole lot of ignorance about different cultural backgrounds here. White and Western doesn’t mean just like America.

  45. Nicole
    Nicole November 18, 2009 at 10:09 am |

    Ugh, this is so off the mark it’s unbelievable. I clicked and could only manage to “hit” her once before I had to mute the sound; it was disturbing to listen to *and* watch. I’m sure their intention was for it to disgust people and emphasize that domestic violence is not a joke or game. Unfortunately, the people who react that way are the ones who don’t NEED it. If they’re trying to reach young men who are prone to misogyny, who identify with abusers, who think violence against women is a big joke? This is the worst way to go about it. Most of them will probably think it’s hilarious.

  46. MikeDC
    MikeDC November 18, 2009 at 10:28 am |

    Men who are not likely to abuse a woman would feel bad about playing the game. Men who do abuse women will not feel bad about it in the slightest. They’ll think it’s the funniest damn thing in the world. Someone up thread mentioned men using it as a masturbatory aid, and I have no doubt about that either.

    Perhaps, but I think there are a lot of men out there who joke about it and who will to some extent buy into the machismo of “keeping women in line” when they’re among the guys. Again, guys like to talk big and tough.

    If a guy who would never hit a woman himself but still is willing to talk big about it is disgusted by playing the game, however, he might be less inclined to talk big in the future. This will undercut the justifications for and tolerance of the actual violent nutcases. I hope, anyway.

  47. Jennifer
    Jennifer November 18, 2009 at 10:29 am |

    I agree with the above poster about how numb we are. I also showed this to my boyfriend, who laughed about it. Then I realized that I was disgusted by his laughter and the fact that he was entertained by something so sick. He tried to assure me that people can find this sort of thing funny and entertaining without being violent, negative people, which might be true. However, I can’t help but feel putrid, and now I’m pissed off, disturbed, and left feeling as if I’m the one with the problem, and that I have to get over how I feel.

    It’s obviously triggering for so many survivors of dv/sv. What’s worse is that he attempted to quell my anger and disturbance by saying that he has experience with domestic violence in his family, and that anything can be laughed at, regardless of how sickening it is.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to get over this. My opinions of this will never change; I’m never going to click on the link and one day find it hilarious. So how to I reconcile the problem? Should I?

  48. zuzu
    zuzu November 18, 2009 at 11:22 am |

    Jennifer, you don’t have the problem. Neither you nor Shara.

    Your boyfriends find this amusing? That’s a huge red flag. Don’t ignore huge red flags.

    As I see it the campaign wants to make the girls aware that they can get counselling in how to deal with the abuse, not to make them argue with the abuser but hopefully to make them leave the abuser.

    So if it’s directed at girls, why is it from the POV of the male abuser?

    Justification FAIL.

  49. Mary
    Mary November 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm |

    I should clarify that I wasn’t saying that the ad should be in English. If this had been an English ad, I would have had the same concerns with the messages it will send to people who don’t understand the written or spoken messages. My basic point was that the visuals and actions taken send a message of their own and without the context of the words, that message could be very dangerous. In no way was I trying to show some English language hegemony, sorry if it came across that way!

  50. Robyrt
    Robyrt November 18, 2009 at 2:18 pm |

    In games, we call this problem “cognitive dissonance.” The narrative says one thing (hitting women is bad) while the gameplay says the opposite (hitting women is the only way to see more of the game, and it gets you to 100%). As a result, neither message really comes through effectively. It’s poor game design, not morally reprehensible.

  51. Robyrt
    Robyrt November 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm |

    And by “cognitive dissonance” I mean “ludonarrative dissonance.” Whoops!

    Also: Thanks for the English translation – the ad makes much more sense now.

  52. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. November 18, 2009 at 3:38 pm |

    “So how to I reconcile the problem? Should I?”

    Yes, you should. Preferably by dumping the boyfriend and never speaking to him again.

  53. beth
    beth November 18, 2009 at 3:57 pm |

    seconding (thirding, fourthing, whatever) advice aimed at Jennifer and Shara. trivializing violence against women perpetuates violence against women. it reinforces cultural norms that excuse men and blame women for violence and assault. men (and women) who trivialize violence make our society less safe for victims and survivors, even if they would never physically assault someone themselves.

  54. Morningstar
    Morningstar November 18, 2009 at 5:06 pm |

    Actually, I think everyone should be thanking this campaign. Going off what Shara & Jennifer said, this could be a really good test for women.

    Give this to a guy, see how he reacts. If he thinks it’s fun or funny, pack your bags without further discussion.

    Something’s not right with anyone who finds this entertaining.

  55. Calamity Jill
    Calamity Jill November 18, 2009 at 6:46 pm |

    Is it sure the people playing the stupid thing are the idiots? I’d say the idiots, the biggest ones at least, are the ones behind that program, who sure as shit never had ending domestic violence in mind.

  56. Eurosabra
    Eurosabra November 19, 2009 at 7:53 am |

    Two further thoughts:
    [Trigger warning: if this is victim-blaming, edit or delete.]
    1)As a simulation, it places the viewer within the context of a dysfunctional relationship in which he (“du”) has already made some very bad choices, particularly ones involving rape and verbal abuse, and confronts him with a situation in which the woman is a) reasonably defying him and b)possibly already stepping out on or of the relationship, through infidelity or preparing to leave. (“I had the best night”…[“without you”] is implied.) Whether he gets hitty or not, things are already a probably un-salvageable mess, and I don’t think someone with a sense that masculinity needs to be controlling is going to see himself as having other options, especially when subjected to that opening monologue.

    [Trigger warning: porn references.]

    2)One item which has passed under the radar is the resemblance to male-oriented first-person games which function as seduction simulators, in a very porny way, like “Leisure Suit Larry”, or the Swedish disaster “Stockholm: A Love Story”, which is a rape/abuse simulator. I get that they’re trying to re-purpose a very nasty sub-genre in a cool, edgy way to send a positive message, but this is epic fail.

  57. The Chemist
    The Chemist November 19, 2009 at 9:04 pm |

    I just don’t understand what the fuck these people were thinking.

    It’s so poorly conceived, and why didn’t one person in the project raise even a titter of objection? C’mon, I can’t believe between the person who conceived of it, the group that approved it, the web and flash designers who built it, the woman who starred in it, and the makeup artist, no one stopped and said, “Hey this might be a bad idea.”

    I can imagine several people, mostly that I’ve known from high school since these days I avoid spending time around misogynists, who wouldn’t take it at all seriously. It doesn’t beg to be taken seriously. There’s something to be said for using sarcasm and irony to make people feel uncomfortable but this is so [he]artless.

    @Shara (and with some relevance to Jennifer)

    I’m actually a fan of what would be potentially triggering sick humor a lot of the time, the kind that many people here would disapprove of- but that’s because it’s intentionally warped. Your boyfriend just strikes me as clueless.

    That he played it three times laughing all the way would be a huge enough red flag for me to simply avoid associating with him. Maybe if he saw some ironic humor in it, or expressed mere morbid curiosity I could understand, but playing repeatedly and getting a kick out of it is at the very least extremely juvenile.

    I’d try to have a serious discussion and if it’s clear that he doesn’t “get it” then don’t waste any more time on him. Angel points for trying to bring him around, but that’s entirely optional and probably won’t work.

  58. Auguste
    Auguste November 20, 2009 at 1:55 pm |

    Given Jemima Aslana’s point about the intent being noble and therefore assuming “good faith” on the part of the designers: So, have none of them ever heard of Stanley Milgram? Because 45 years ago, he basically proved that this idea would be the opposite of effective.

  59. Jemima Aslana
    Jemima Aslana November 21, 2009 at 5:00 am |

    Morningstar has found the only use for this horrendous game, I think. Show it to the SO (or other male friends and relations) and see if they’re someone you really want to spend your time with. And I’ll just have to brag a little. My boo came home and had read about the game in the paper. He asked me if I’d heard of it, and when I replied in the affirmative, said something about it being probably the worst idea since forever. Made me all happy that while he’s never really been exposed to feminist theory before he met me, he gets it anyway. I think there’s hope for humanity yet :)

    Auguste, I’m not sure which part of the game you’re comparing to the Milgram-experiment? Is it the voice-over initially suggesting the violence? Or the voiceover eventually condemning violence?

    Oh and if I hadn’t made it clear before – I truly do believe they had fine intentions with this one, but it does not in any way excuse their utter failure to be sensitive to those whose lives have already been impacted by violent abusers. It is still a complete fiasco on several levels.

  60. Helen
    Helen November 21, 2009 at 5:30 pm |

    It’s disappointing to see such an anti-Domestic violence megafail so close to White Ribbon day.

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