Fat Princess: I’m Not Offended (And Neither Are You)

Not to be outdone by nintendo’s awesomogyny (mysiogyny that’s totally rad cause its in video game form), Sony has delivered a subtle fuck you to positive body images (Feministing).  Shakespear’s Sister has had a little back and forth with Jim Sterling of Destructoid:

Finally, the brilliant Jim Sterling of Destructoid manages to exemplify the perfect, hilarious irony of most of the responses to my original post:

Even worse is a writer at Shakesville, who took time out of doing her husband’s laundry to write this: “Congrats on your awesome new game, Sony. I’m positively thrilled to see such unyielding dedication to creating a new generation of fat-hating, heteronormative assholes.” As you can see, she uses “words” like “heteronormative” to sound clever and informed, a tactic which invariably fails and makes one look presumptuous and pretentious. … Word to the wise: Sarcastic fat girls don’t go to the prom!

Genius. If there’s one way to counter my charge that this game will reinforce fat-hating and heteronormativity, it’s to mock me for being fat and note I “took time out of doing [my] husband’s laundry” to write the post. Boy, was I ever wrong, huh? Consider me sufficiently chastened!

I decided to take a look at Jim’s article.  One line stood out:

It should be no secret to anybody that I’m a fat guy myself, and I’m certainly not offended by this game.

Its true.  He is fat.  What’s intriguing though, is this idea that because he’s not offended, no other fat people ought to be.  It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to imagine counter examples to this kind of argument.  But its one we see again and again.  So let’s recognize it for what it is, a rhetorical trick to strip the targeted group of people of a legitimate voice.  “After all”, the argument intones, “if I’m not offended and I’m [in the group], no one [from the group] should be offended either”.

UPDATE:

Ben Silverman, Douchebag extraordinaire of Yahoo, weighs in:

Sony has yet to issue an official response, although Joystiq did receive a particularly informative update from James Green, Fat Princess’ lead art director, who clued gamers in on the origins of the game:

“Does it make it better or worse that the concept artist (who designed the look, characters, everything) is a girl?”

Hmmm…hope the game’s detractors don’t mind eating a bit of crow.

Ben continues the magical logic of the “not offended exception”: since a girl did it, its ok.

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4 Responses

  1. you can do better than this.

  2. Care to clarify?

  3. arent there better things to complain about?

  4. One of the most import things to fight is the battle for the shape and character of how we discuss and frame the world. Part of that frame dictates the power allowed to those who dare speak up. Its common to heap social guilt and derision upon those who do, and taking away the seat of their legitimacy is a proven way of doing so. Proven only in its effectiveness, not its own inherent correctness.

    Am I concerned that the part of the entertainment industry that’s experienced the most growth in the past decade (explosive and in the face of the hurdles the movie and music industries have had to overcome) has deeply entrenched gross exaggerations of the sexism and elitism that plague society? Oh, a bit.

    But the reason I wanted to write about this, is that it makes a crystal clear example of how those with power use selected, edited or implied voices of those without to silence the rest. How a person’s right to speak becomes an infringement when this rhetorical flourish is done with our perception.

    This tactic is at play throughout the whole of our society, and it would be incredibly odd not to recognize it. To know and reject it when next it rears up and howls at us.

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