Point-Counterpoint: Grand Theft Auto 5 and Misogyny

This is a response to Colin Campbell’s opinion piece on Polygon about the alleged misogyny in GTA 5.  I will highlight quotes from the article, and then respond to them. Quotes from Campbell’s piece will be in bold.

In the interests of full disclosure: I have not played GTA 5, but I have seen multiple videos of the game in action and am aware of certain plot points. I have played prior games in the series (GTA 4 and San Andreas) and I assume that not much has changed besides the scope of the franchise’s available activities and the whole “swap between three characters” deal.

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Yeah, it’s censorship.

If you happen to play video games, odds are you’ve heard of the Target Australia Grand Theft Auto 5 debacle.  After being presented with a 40,000 signature petition accusing the game of encouraging violence against women, Target Australia pulled its copies of the game from store shelves.

For many gamers that lived through Jack Thompson’s moral panic-mongering of the 90’s, seeing such an effort succeed was a nightmare.  To these people (and to me), Target’s decision amounted to censorship.  But to others, it was a triumph of justice that “repugnant misogynistic garbage” was removed from store shelves.  Those supporting Target’s decision claimed that it wasn’t censorship – just natural market forces at work.

I think that’s bullshit.

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