Toxic hypermasculinity in tech/ gaming

Deep seated scorn for all that is perceived to be feminine is what drives the Gender Pay Gap in the United States (and other first world countries). This is the similar nature of of toxic hypermasculinity, which is also widespread in tech and gaming.

This is especially as how damsels in distress with white savior myths are presented — ”In 1991, when it was researched 8% of video games had female characters, a most common role was still ‘damsel in distress.”’  Dietz (1998) studied that of the female characters present in video games at that time, they were “damsels in distress”, “visions of beauty” or “evil/obstacles”. The same themes in popular culture often bring out the message that,’ white saviors are always unquestioningly right’ next to objectified damsels in distress.

The scorn for what is seen as feminine is also oddly contradictory, for instance in women being represented as ”visions of beauty” in video games, there’s the aspect of ‘objectifying women for their own good.’ It’s as if there’s a certain glorification for what is seen as feminine, and yet it’s an over-idealization that also dehumanizes.

Also, white savior myths often favor dichotomies which add to the contradictory nature – women as ”evil/obstacles” is like the ”evil (radical)/ liberal anti-racist person of color” dichotomy, while reinforcing the lie that ”white saviors are always unquestioningly right.” The aspect of contradictory dichotomies is a part of hypermasculinity – toxic hypermasculinity tells you that gaming/ popular culture should be a ”men’s world”, yet the same hypermasculinity is very harmful to men.

White savior myths and toxic hypermasculinity are never separate from each other, especially shown from trends of popular culture over the years. Even games of the past that have inverted the damsel in distress ”white savior myth” stereotype still went back to being male-centric. For instance, the Secret of Monkey Island game did an excellent inversion of damsel in distress, yet was very much focused on the male protagonist.

Then, there’s also the issue of colorism (putting light-skinned/ white/ white-passing features on a pedestal) because in video games and many other popular culture, the ‘saviors’ that are humanized are always either white, white-passing or light-skinned. It brings messages that intensify all the dichotomies favored under white supremacy.

These are built-in trends which also reflect the normalization of toxic hypermasculinity and white savior myths worldwide. This is NOT to encourage censoring any part of popular media, but just to show that we can be critical of the problematic aspects of popular media we enjoy. It is noteworthy to unpack and recheck the internalization of scorn towards what is perceived as feminine which continue to encourage gender pay gap in first world countries, unfairly glorify objectified damsels in distress in entertainment and unfairly put light-skinned/ white ”saviors” as the sole arbiters of human rights.

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