University author argues that games 'where you must kill to survive' are good for female children
- Posted February 14th, 2013 at 13:25 EDT by Kyle Prahl
- 10 Comments
An academic thesis published in December 2012 argues that "predation play" - a descriptor of video games that encourage survival at any cost - offers valuable lessons and inspiration for young females.
Elena Bertozzi of Long Island University published her article, titled "Killing for Girls: Predation Play and Female Empowerment," in the Bulletin of Science Technology & Society several weeks ago. "Videogames that simulate predation - games in which the player is being hunted by others and must kill to survive - have long been the province of young males," Bertozzi claims. "Playing games that virtually simulate predation . . . has many benefits for female players." For reference, Bertozzi defines predation play as any game in which the player's avatar "finds itself in a situation where it is under attack by enemies seeking to eliminate it," citing Halo, Call of Duty, and Half-Life as examples. She asks, "Is the player willing to do what is necessary to survive? Is the player able to learn the strategies needed for success in specific environments?"
Her questions provide context for an argument that claims females are less prepared to face the challenges of violent, predatory games than their male counterparts. Bertozzi points the finger of blame at societal norms, which she says "prioritize nurturing and prosocial behaviors" at the expense of competition and necessary aggression for females to stake a claim in the working world. In contrast, "predation play creates a learning scenario where the player dies almost immediately if she does not compete." To Bertozzi, a game like Far Cry 3 presents significant benefits to girls who might feel pinned to gender roles. Predation play "can be used to empower those who feel powerless - at the mercy of predators - by teaching them how to respond successfully to predation," Bertozzi states, before citing sexual harrassment, rape, and physical assault as examples of real-world predation that video games can help females combat.
"Encouraging females to play at the same kinds of digital games males do may finally affect female willingness to seek and achieve the same kinds of power and status of top males. To accomplish this, parents and educators have to recognize the importance of predation play for the future success of female children."
Do you agree with Bertozzi's position? Can violent video games with an emphasis on survival teach valuable lessons to women in society? Join the conversation, and give us your thoughts in the comments below.
Source: Bertozzi, Elena. "Killing for Girls : Predation Play and Female Empowerment." Bulletin of Science & Technology 32, no. 447 (December 2, 2012).
- 1:56pm EST - February 14th, 2013
This Professor needs to get her facts straight. The games she cites as examples are not games that fit the criteria for these "Predation Play" games. At best, they do in a very loose way. Halo, COD and Half Life are all games in which the player is actively seeking foe to vanquish. So I guess at the basic level, yes, if you just stand around and do nothing, you will die, but thats also true for pretty much all games where death is an option and enemy AI are scattered around. Maybe games like Left 4 Dead and Far Cry fit her narrative better.
And Im not sure if im really seeing the correlation here. It's sort of like saying, if you buy a steering wheel kit that comes with the gas/brake pedals and play a whole bunch of Gran Turismo and Need for Speed, you will be ready to drive in the real world. Nonsense. So why then would one say that in the more dire situation of r@pe that doing the same with survival games could help a woman while she's under attack? These games MAY help provided the females are exposed to them during a seminar in which the person administering it simply uses it as a small example or something. But I definitely dont see the simple act of a person playing these games during their spare time as a significant advantage for them over those who dont.
Also to admit to such a thesis would also be to indirectly admit to a correlation between violence and video games. So for anyone who does agree with her, I'd definitely tread carefully.
Kandracar | Kandracar
- 5:25pm EST - February 14th, 2013
Firstly where are you seeing the link in this with violence, thats not what it's about, and secondly you fail to see what it is trying to point out. Also don't pass judgement on something like this that you havn't read. PSU.com are simply informing you not quoting the lady word for word and as such to brand it as you have is also wrong.
@2 The link can be found with a little something I like to call common sense. Apparently this isnt all that common so I will break it down for you. The professor's thesis assumes that there is a link between behavior in video games and behavior in real life. Though it is assuming this in the positive sense (that is to say it implies that behaviors females "learn" in these games can actually help them in a tussle with an assailant) one cannot simply ignore the negative side of this same argument. You take the good with the bad.In short, since her argument supports the idea that behaviors females learn in game can influence their actions in real life, the same can be said for small children who play violent games in general. Does being predisposed to that stuff really make the majority of people act differently in real life? If your answer to that is something other than yes, then I ask, how can she say doing so would inform what women do in real life? A girl can go to a seminar for a whole 3-6 months and still black out in an emergency she was being TRAINED to handle. So Im supposed to believe that a girl passively and subconsciously training to handle the same situation by playing a violent video game would do any better?Another thing, did you read anywhere that I chastised PSU for putting the article up, you moron? Maybe you are the one who needs to read. For your information I read the entire article before I came down here and commented, hence the reason for many of the things I said in the first comment. I want you to explain properly why my comment is "wrong". Oh but this time do it in a way thats actually convincing and rather than rushing in and spouting a bunch of crap like you did before.
- 10:38pm EST - February 14th, 2013
Kandracar | Kandracar
- 12:29am EST - February 15th, 2013
Don't turn this into some sort of fight. I did not say that you were accusing anyone of anything and neither did I say you were wrong in the way you are taking it. You may well in fact be correct but I was simply saying that a serious conclusion can't be derived from this alone for any others reading. Also cheers for calling me a moron, I appreciate it :) . Seriously though I didn't mean to annoy you, no hard feelings.
- 4:58am EST - February 15th, 2013
So does this mean that girls that don't play violent video games aren't capable of defending themselves? For me the only true way to learn survival techniques is going through special forces training like Navy Seals or Légion Etrangère, guess girls should watch more horreur films, to know what not to do when a psychotic killer is coming after her, lol!
- 5:49am EST - February 15th, 2013
In most of the games she listed the gamer is encouraged to use violence or to kill the the opponent and not "taught" how to respond to predation ...
Moreover, predation in games will teach to them how to respond successfully to predation in real-world ? ... O'RLY?
Can't just imagine:
"This is a robbery, give me your wallet !"
"Yyyy, oh wait, now I remember: right, left, X, O, L1, L2, back, X, R1"
... the opponent is dead and the girl safe ... happy end -,-
What kind of respond do the games "teach" to kill the other one (instead of e.g. running away)?
I think in such situations most of the people react intuitively by flowing their survival instinct. You can't learn something like this.
- 9:54am EST - February 15th, 2013
a young female gamer will just get frustration out of Far cry 3 as she'll get killed over and over as in every other FPS game on the market ; these games will just disgust newcomers to the genre as the gameplay doesn't allow to discover the game mechanics, you have to be very good from the start or you'll get killed and killed again ; I played Far cry 3 2.5 hours and quit
- 12:31pm EST - February 15th, 2013
@Kandracar I apologize for how I came off in my response to you. I assumed you were just being a thoughtless biased smartazz. So I take back my insult to you wholeheartedly. It was uncalled for. However, I still stand by what I said in that I dont really subscribe to what she is implying is all. I believe she is reaching way too much in her analysis. I am personally guilty of not looking through her actual research myself to see just how many (if any) statistics or other facts went into her work but I wouldn't want to have something like this be tested. Pretty sure we'd get alot more sad stories about missing and dead females before we hear any about some girl who was able to fend off an attacker because of her great KDR in COD.
- 3:04pm EST - February 15th, 2013
I disagree with the thesis author. As a female who does play violent games like this (Skyrim
jamesobachand | snake2112
- 10:27pm EST - February 16th, 2013
It's true!!! Girls that don't play violent video game are wimps. Sorry but true.... Just kidding.
Truthfully, I think everyone is kind of missing the point. In video games people are empowered for the most part. Normally tons of bad guys but the character you controll is typically stronger. When a female plays this character she gets to take out baddies thus "empowering" herself. I think this is a good thing for females to feel empowered especially after being look at like the weaker of the sexes for so long. Good for games like Lara Craft and Dead or Alive.