Twitter has been back and forth with @ebgamesaus this morning over a video entitled “A Man’s Guide to Trading”. As well as being posted on the official EBGamesAU YouTube the video is being played in stores.
I’m sure most people reading this will instantly see what’s wrong with this video, but EB Games apparently does not.
The video games industry and culture is full of misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, this is nothing new. But lately those of us inside this culture have had reason to feel that maybe things were getting a little better.
Recently Bioware was called out on a joke that came across to some as transphobic, and their response shows a clear understanding of the issue and a respect for their players. The president of Blizzard responded to community outrage at homophobic remarks in a video they played at their recent convention in a sincere manner that conveyed a high level of respect.
There are companies taking the issues faced by gaming culture seriously. Perhaps unsurprisingly EB Games is not one of those companies.
A mans guide to trading shows a married couple outside of an EB Games store. The man mentions that he’ll meet his wife at the supermarket, and she immediately rebukes him for his video game hobby and the money and time he spends on it.
He angrily goes into the store to purchase a game and the clerk explains that he’s overheard the argument, and that he should trade his old games instead of using cash. He does so.
The next scene shows him taking his wife out to dinner, proudly proclaiming that he had an extra hundo to spend on her.
The third and final scene is the man at home, on his couch, playing the purchased game. His wife enters with a feather duster and tells him not to worry, she’ll handle the cleaning and he should relax as he’s had a hard day.
So we have a video where the entire point seems to be that if you trade games at EB you’ll have more money to spend on your nagging wife and maybe she won’t nag you anymore. EB Games response when called out on this video?
“While I totally appreciate your concern, it was actually written BY a woman as a light hearted way to get our trade message across. There is actually a woman’s guide on its way as well. “
When pressed further they responded. “Right now you’re talking to a woman and a woman wrote the ad. I am very passionate about gender equality – but this is a light hearted joke. It really truly is. I apologise if you feel that it is anything else. “
The wife nags the husband, he spends money on her, and then she’s agreeable. Is this the light hearted joke EB Games?
Or is the joke that women are only interested in grocery shopping, eating, and dusting?
What makes Mad Men a good show that still contains sexism, as it is set in the 1960s, is not that it has female writers. It’s that the narrative condemns the sexism by showing the harm it causes. It’s that the female characters are strong and complex and have agency and fight back against the sexism.
It should go without saying that the gender, race, sexuality, and even intent of the author has nothing to do with the negative impact of the final work.
What is the woman’s guide to trading going to be? A girlfriend stealing her boyfriend’s copy of call of duty so she can trade it for wii fit?
Female gamers already have a huge barrier to entry in the social aspects of this hobby. Reinforcing negative stereotypes about women shows an ignorance of the issues faced every day by female gamers and EB Games response is disrespectful to its female customer base.