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At least sexism in video games these days is a two way street

By / 01.30.13

Women have long been objectified in video games, so it’s about time that men got the same sexism treatment, yes?

A new iOS game called The Boyfriend Trainer has been causing a huge stink. Basically, someone figured it would be funny to “turn the tables” on males, and that women would perhaps get a big kick out of a game in which a girl gets to slap, choke, even electrocute her man if he gets out of line.

The following is 14 minutes worth of gameplay footage. Let’s see how long you can last. As for myself; not very long…

Okay, I can maybe understand a girl slapping her bf for checking another girl out in such a flagrant manner. But tasering him for dropping a glass on the floor? That’s just messed up.

Anyhow, is the target audience impressed? Not the least bit. BuzzFeed notes that it essentially advocates domestic abuse, and Jezebel summed it best with: “There’s no way this app would fly if the “Perfect Girlfriend” was the one being strangled, and this shouldn’t, either.”

Then again, someone on YouTube notes: “This is dog training at it’s best.” So it has some fans at the very least.

Yet at the end of the day, it’s still a man’s world. Though mostly especially in Japan, where they haven’t gotten the memo explaining that sexism in video games is a hot topic that is starting to become seriously addressed in recent times.

For example: here’s the opening cinematic for an upcoming Vita game Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus, a side-scrolling game that stars a bunch of women who knows the way of the ninja, but nothing of bras…

Is it a sign that women’s lib still has a ways to go in video games, especially in the east, or is it another sign that they’re rapidly running out of ideas on that end? A bit of both, in my humble opinion.


TAGSGamingiosJapanNinjasSenran Kagura: Shinovi VersusSexismThe Boyfriend TrainerVideo gamesVita
Matt Hawkins
About Matt Hawkins... Matt Hawkins is an NYC based video game journalist, designer, consultant, and cultralist. He's been published in EGM, Kotaku, and MSNBC amongst others. Matt also makes comics and zines, is obsessed with cable access, gets into arguments with homeless people all the time, and once had his nipple bitten off during a one night stand. But that's neither here nor there.

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