You know what? I get it. I understand how frustrating it is, as a gamer, to have titles previously cleared by the Classification Board pulled from shelves for being "inappropriate". That's what happened at Target with Grand Theft Auto V.
As a form of retaliation, though, gamers have started new petitions trying to ban everything from the Bible through to 50 Shades Of Gray. I'm here to ask you to stop that -- mostly because you look like idiots.
Despite the fact that the next-gen remake of Grand Theft Auto made it through the Classification Board with an R18+ rating and went on sale around the country, Target made the decision last week to pull the title, following “feedback from customers”.
What Target means by “feedback” is pressure stemming mostly from a petition which has garnered almost 40,000 signatures in a day.
“[Grand Theft Auto 5] is a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get ‘health’ points – and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking,” the petition from Nicole, Claire and Kat begins.
When they talk about sexual violence against women, specifically they mean the ability for players to “run down, run over, set alight and, still screaming, repeatedly shoot” sex workers and other female non-player characters.
We've previously talked about the nature of the petition, and added that the women at the centre of the protest are well within their rights to complain about the game.
But as a form of "retaliation", gamers online are coming together to form their own petitions to get Target to take more stuff off the shelves, under the logic that sexual violence against women in fiction isn't exclusive to Grand Theft Auto V.
One petition in particular is gaining traction in the media, which seeks to ban the Holy Bible from sale in Target stores.
The petition starts:
It's a book that encourages readers to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get 'god' points – and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking.
This is The Holy Bible. This book means that after various sex acts, readers are given options to kill women by stoning her unconscious, Setting them on fire, cutting off their hands, and killing their children!
One of many fan passages on In The Holy Bible depicts woman being set alight for having sex "And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire." (Leviticus 21:9).
This misogynistic book literally makes a game of bashing, killing and horrific violence against women. It also links sexual arousal and violence.
Let's gloss over the fact that Target doesn't actually sell the Bible for a second, and talk about the spirit of the petition.
The creator of the petition says that it's clearly satire, and a reaction to the "lies" that have been told about the game:
The people that petitioned to have this game pulled from target lied about the content of the game. At no point in the game is the player encouraged "to murder women for entertainment."
You do not get "health points for committing sexual violence against women or abusing them" It was a straight out lie that pandered to concerned parents who would rather have something censored than take responsibility when parenting. I ask the question would a parent allow a child to watch an R rated porn film? I should hope not. It's a matter of responsibility.
With that said GTA V is a very violent adult game and I don't think children should be playing it.
It goes on for a little while and you can read more here.
The petition to ban the Bible from Target now has almost 50,000 signatures. That's almost 50,000 gamers "protesting" using a satirical sit-in over Target's pulling of a game. In my mind, it's a "protest" that risks making light of really serious issues, and has the potential to diminish the suffering of the original victims who made the plea for the game to be pulled in the first place.
I'm not saying with all this that you're not within your rights to complain about a private company pulling a game you like from sale because it objects to the content. You are. Everyone is. I can start a Change.org petition to bring back lime-flavoured Nesquik if I want. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
Whether it's satire or not, you need to realise that a private company can sell and not sell whatever the hell it likes to its consumers. Target is a Mom 'n Pop business with an older demographic. The game hasn't been pulled from other stores like JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith or EB Games, and it still made it through the Classification Board with an R18+ rating.
Petitioning against Target's ban makes gamers look petulant and stupid. I don't believe we should live in a "puritan" society either, exacting an entirely useless "protest" against a rightful decision is idiotic. Let's move on.