A Very Realistic Military Game

I saw this video from Comedy Central and it highlights several themes that have been discussed in class as well as the problems of the military institution.

On the surface, the video comments on the issues of rape found in the military. While it showcases the issue of women being raped in the military, it doesn’t describe how men are also victims of rape. In fact, the man in the video goes as far as to argue that “no, that’s never happened to me” and “that’s not part of the game.” Later on, he mentions that he checked the message boards and “it didn’t say anything.” On one level, the man denies the existence of rape in the military. On another level, he suggests that if it were to happen, it would not happen to men. Indeed, the way the imaginary game itself is structured is that only women get raped and men do not, as evidenced by the lack of occurrences on the message boards. Despite of this, the video highlights how games can function as spaces for simulating experiences and systems (corrupt or otherwise): it illustrates the trappings in which the military dissuades individuals from reporting rape, the obstacles involved in reporting, and how reports are dismissed.

Additionally, it’s important to note the ways in which the hegemonic gamer identity is perpetuated. This is illustrated in the man’s dismissive attitude towards the woman: the way he scoffs at her when she wants to play as a woman, undermines her understanding of the controls (“you must have pressed the wrong button,” “obviously you did something wrong,” “it’s probably best if you don’t play”), policing her actions (“language, language! be a lady!”). Furthermore, the man mentions that there was no report of incidents like that in the message boards. I believe that scenario was made specifically for the sketch, in that message boards explore all the ways to play a game, but it highlights the masculinization of that community.

Going back to “you must have pressed the wrong button,” the wrong button she pressed was playing as a woman character, i.e. being a woman is being the wrong person, both in the military field and in real life.