Yesterday, we received news that Target in Australia had pulled Grand Theft Auto V from both its retail and virtual shelves. They did so because sex workers in the country petitioned against the game citing its alleged violence towards women.
Today, we have news that Australian Kmarts have also folded under external pressure. They will no longer sell Grand Theft Auto V, either.
The petition now has over 45,000 supporters, and the text from its initiators indicates that the game intrinsically links violence to sexual arousal. They cite YouTube videos of gamers going after female pedestrians.
The only counter I’d like to offer up here is one you’re certainly all thinking about: violence against pedestrians is not only optional, it’s penalized. Grand Theft Auto V is an open world game, and that means players can be as sadistic as they like. That sadism isn’t rewarded, it’s punished. The more violence you commit, the higher your wanted level goes and the more likely you are to fall to the police. You lose money in this affair.
Grand Theft Auto V is about fetishizing violence against women as much as Mario is about falling down pits. You can do both in each game, but they come with punishment and are discouraged by design.
Still, the petitions are working in Australia, and Grand Theft Auto V is being pulled from retail shelves. What do you think about this whole thing?