I am not going to prefix this post with a disclaimer that I am against violence against women, because if you think that by protesting this effort against the game I condone such actions, you are an idiot not worth stooping down to talk to.
There is currently a furore brewing over an aspect of the “Capture the Babe” multiplayer mode in the forthcoming Duke Nukem Forever. In this mode, players attempt to kidnap a woman from the opposition and take them back to home base. Slung over the shoulder, if they start resisting and slowing your progress, a slap on the butt will quiet them down.
Let the outrage commence. For instance, there is a petition to get Walmart, the world’s leading retailer, to not carry the game if this multiplayer mode is included. It currently has, at this writing, over 5,600 signatures. Presented at change.org, it demands thusly:
Refuse to Sell Duke Nukem Forever Unless “Babe-Slapping” Mode is Removed
I’m writing to ask that Walmart take a stand against physical and sexual violence against women by refusing to sell the Duke Nukem Forever game until the “Capture the Babe” mode of play is removed.
Early reports reveal the new Duke Nukem Forever game is set to be released with a “Capture the Babe” mode of play. In this disturbing version of “capture the flag” the player is tasked with kidnapping a woman from his enemy’s base, throwing her over his shoulder, and carrying her back to his base to share the spoils. If she starts to “freak out,” the player is encouraged to slap her on the butt until she shuts up. This is a blatant celebration of violence against women in a game that will be played primarily by young people.
Walmart is a family friendly retailer and customers will not stand for the promotion of violence against women to the young people who walk through the store doors. Please publicly state that Walmart stores will not sell the Duke Nukem Forever game unless the “babe-slapping mode” is removed.
Let me proffer a couple of reasons why I think this petition is wrongheaded:
First: Equating a slap on the butt to “physical and sexual violence” is overblown, and belittles women who are the victims of ACTUAL violence, as well as endangers all women by diluting the idea of violence against women. At worst, the action within the game could be construed as sexual harassment. However, Duke isn’t an office manager, patting women on the butt as a sign that they better have sex with him if they want a promotion. For whatever reason (if any is even given in the game) he’s trying to kidnap or rescue women from a heavily armed opposition. Context, people!
Second: Duke Nukem Forever is rated “Mature” by the ESRB. This is not a game that should “be played primarily by young people”. If it is, then blame parents and retailers. Heck, blame Walmart, the company you are directing your petition to! Don’t blame the game makers.
And ultimately, it is just a game. If you think some butt-slapping in Duke Nukem promotes violence against women, why not a petition against the hundreds of thousands of bloody deaths that will no doubt occur in the game, which clearly promotes murder?