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Disclaimer: This article is based on a Google Translation of 2 articles written originally in Norwegian and therefore not all information could be completely accurate. If you read Norwegian, please feel free to notify us of corrections.

In a letter which strongly mirrors the ideas presented in the petition to ban the sale of GTA V from Australian retailers, the Norwegian Women’s Front attempts to remove all copies of GTA V from stores in Norway, due to what they claim is a perverse mix of sexual arousal and violence against women and which could shape a generation of boys who tolerate and accept violence towards women.

The letter contains several often quoted inaccuracies about the controversial title including that violence towards women is actively encouraged when in fact it is often de-incentivized,  and that it can shape the behavior of men towards women, when studies show that these misogynistic tendencies only last for minutes after playing. TechRaptor took a look back to GTA V for the Xbox 360 to test out these statements and found that finding a prostitute, driving to a secluded spot and enduring an awkward 90 second clothes on scene where you engage in sex with her will restore half your health points, and murdering her afterwards will give you back a few dollars on your $100 investment. It should be noted that killing a prostitute in public will give a player a 3 star rating, which makes it extremely difficult to avoid being arrested.  Alternatively,  you could go and buy food to fully heal your health bar, save yourself a lot of time and not risk getting caught by the police.

Campaigns such as these mirror movements in previous years which attempted to remove violent video games from sale in case they caused elevated levels of aggression, however studies found that it was difficult and not violent games which caused this aggression. In fact studies now show, that aggressive individuals who play violent video games will often do so instead of taking out their frustrations on other people.

Most problematic of all is the statement that the Women’s Front speaks on behalf of all women. However, Norwegian female game critic Kine Hult  named GTAV one of the world’s best games. She was also upset that these women’s statements were based on a YouTube clip and not by actually researching or playing the game.  She points out that you kill far more men in the game and yet no-one is complaining about the violence against men and finds it very difficult to believe that the game can contribute to sexual violence.

Scientist Jørgen Kirskæther states that de facto censorship such as this has never worked and does not counter consumption, and will only move to increase awareness. Feminist games blog SpillPikene or “Gaming Girls” encourages debate on gaming titles such as that which Anita Sarkeesian delivers, but opposes censorship of art and culture and encourages constructive critique.

It should be noted that retailers in Norway do not have to follow the instructions the women’s front has issued. Age limits are currently strictly applied and the European PEGI scheme for rating titles has always been followed. Instead of censorship, parents are encouraged to monitor the content their children consume.

What do you think of this increasing censorship? Please tell us in the comments below.

UPDATE: It appears that women in Canada have also decided to follow Australia and Norway’s lead and make a petition to ban GTAV in stores. It’s just in the beginning stages but has a few hundred signatures. People have expressed their displeasure at the new petition in the comments. 


Georgina Young

Contributor

British girl, currently in Japan. Surviving on a diet of retro games. Worshiping the god that is the Sega Megadrive. I like Nintendo.



  • Uranus

    Only yesterday I was talking with a friend of mine about Norway’s true progressiveness, like drafting women. Now the women’s interest groups come out of the woodworks to ruin this impression. Hopefully, Norwegians are better people and will not budge.

    However, the idea that “we don’t want to take your games away” is dead.

    Great article, Georgina. Nice and concise. 🙂

  • Phil

    The revolution has begun. Women of the World UNITE! Against the common foe! A DVD box of GTA V in your local supermarket! It’s been corrupting our poor little babies for TOO LONG! We shall NOT be oppressed by the code typed out by the demon of patriarchy!

  • wcg

    GTA V was highly rated universally. When it came out, months ago. All of the SJW gaming outlets loved it. I wonder I fthey were reviewing the game fresh today, how that would change?

  • Palademon

    I wish I could read Norwegian so I could look into Hult and Spilpikene.
    They seem like cool people ;_;

  • A Hyena

    I imagine it worked in Australia is because a lot of people in higher ups have been prudes for awhile now. Like awhile back when Saints Row 3rd was coming out, that got full on block because of a probe gun thing.

  • ZURATAMA1324

    I’m at a loss of words.
    I don’t know what you say.

    You know what? I do know.

    Let’s bring back thought policing, book burning, good ol’ fashioned propaganda speeches, and puppet medias BECAUSE THAT WORKED OUT SO FUCKING WELL FOR THE NAZIES.

    Isn’t that right, you censorious feminist morons.

  • ZURATAMA1324

    Me too.
    Today, I asked a Norwegian girl about how she thinks of Swedish progressiveness.
    She said “Swedish are stupid.”

  • 33

    Good thing nobody bought GTA5 otherwise we’d be suffering a pandemic of men, inspired by an evil video game, going on murderous sexism-fuelled rampage. This is the single most important thing modern day feminists could be doing to battle the horrific results of sexism that exists in the world today.

  • zajuts149

    Seems pretty accurate from a cursory reading.

  • Ncrdrg

    I knew this nonsense was going to come eventually.
    ‘We’re not gonna take away your games!’ was just a veiled attempt at mockery to hide the fact they don’t want these games to exist at all.

    To be fair, this wasn’t a push by insiders but outsiders but much of the logic remains similar. These women want to outright ban it via societal pressure. The social justice clique led by Sarkeesian, McIntosh, etc do believe games cause violence too, McIntosh was caught on twitter trying to say so via a study and Anita pushed a book that had studies trying to link violence to videogames.

    But because they know it won’t be accepted and failed before, they put pressure for the industry to self-censor, remove this ‘problematic’ or ‘toxic’ content by lambasting it in public. And sadly, many gaming websites bought into this nonsense and are happily regurgitating it. and attacking sites for ‘offensive art’ despite the fact art is inherently offensive.

    I won’t be happy until this nonsense is gone from gaming once again. But you know what? We went through this before with Thompson. We’ll go through it again. Because we’re veterans now! And bringing accountability to the gaming press is the first major part of this process.

  • zajuts149

    It should be noted that Kvinnefronten(The Women’s Front) rationalizes their demands by a stated concern for female sex workers. They were supportive of the 2009 legislation that prohibited purchase of sexual services in Norway, based on the Swedish Model. Sex workers in Norway has since stated that their working conditions have deteriorated markedly.

  • Michieie

    Well, Norway will go the trashcan for me if they budge in favor of those feminists.

    >Women’s Front

    I sounds like something from the SS.

  • destroy_all_monsters

    Considering that there is precious little sexism happening to women anywhere it’s arguable that there is no work to be done at all.

    Of course that presumes that feminism is now and ever was about equality which is, at best, debatable.

  • 33

    Considering the shit happening in the middle east and other third world countries where women have practically no rights, I would say there is work to be done.

    Feminists are just far to busy tweeting about the fashion taste of rocket scientists and video games to care about that sort of thing.

  • It’s ALWAYS about control and if that means taking a few games off the shelves they will do it whilst saying “well we didn’t take ALL of them did we”. Bloody contagion that spreads because politicians see them as useful idiots and will pander to them for the sake of future votes.

  • To date, Grand Theft Auto V has sold-in more than 33 million units – http://ir.take2games.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=86428&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1930485&highlight=

    That’s a lot of sexism-fuelled rampaging!

  • destroy_all_monsters

    In nearly any case I’ve seen most men are doing no better than women in those countries. Since feminism is a fundamentally classist ideology if left up to them you would never hear about that. Or any struggle of men anywhere come to think of it.

    We have issues at home that need addressing. Feminism is largely responsible for creating the majority of them.

  • peori

    Does the Women’s Front jiggle? 🙂

  • peori

    I love the GTA games and I don’t find anything “problematic” (that word makes me cringe whenever I hear or read it now) in it. It’s not real. As a straight white female gamer I’m supposed to be upset by killing hookers and watching lap dances, and while hookers or female lap strippers hold no interest for me in the real world I happily partake in those things in games. It’s all good fun and all the mayhem vanishes into the ether as soon as I quit the game. Even if I didn’t like it, I could simply avoid those activities or just not play the game at all. Stop telling me what I can and can’t enjoy please!

  • Frostbitten Viking

    I can’t see Kvinnefronten getting anywhere with this. Usually chains of stores just shake their heads and laugh, while – in newer times – media (if they even bother to give them coverage) tend to focus on censorship angle rather than championing their cause. Right now, the largest gaming related news website gamer.no haven’t written anything about this open letter, and MSM haven’t bothered with it. Granted it might have flown under everyone’s radar yesterday and they might cook something up today, but rest assured, we have no Kotaku.no.

    That being said, Gamergate haven’t really had an impact in Norway. Yet. I say yet, because half a year ago, I couldn’t even imagine that we would be where we are now. There were one major news paper running a story on GG that did nothing more but cite LW’s, however a few days later they allowed a thorough rebuttal from an external writer who were actually informed. Other than that a popular site in an online network of various news outlets ran a fairly balanced article at the end of October. Nothing else has really happened here.

    Of course, we are not perfect either. One very large chain (Coop) and a medium sized chain (Platekompaniet) did remove Call of Duty and World of Warcraft from their shelves after they learned that the mass murderer in the 2011 Utøya attack used the games as training for his ‘warfare’. Few people buy games from the Coop chain, as they often only have a small free standing display in stores with games, however Platekompaniet did not take long before they restocked the games and are selling them today. It must however be noted that they removed the games on their own initiative in respect of the victims.

    SJWs aren’t given too much attention here, luckily. They do exist, obviously, but I have faith in Norwegians to not let them overrun media with their… buzzword *toxicity*

  • Ørjan Kristoffersen

    Okay kids, repeat after me: Grand Theft Auto is not, and has never been, misogynistic. What the series is, and has always been, is completely misanthropic. The world is shit, and the majority of people in it are slightly smaller pieces of shit. That’s the point.

    I highly doubt that this will go anywhere, but the entire situation just irks me. Starting with the Target Aus situation, the dominoes are now falling, and we’ll see where it goes. It’s the same moral panic all over again, only with “think of the women” replacing “think of the children”, which is, of course, some horribly patronizing bullshit.

    If this goes anywhere, I’ll have to seriously consider moving, though.

  • Ørjan Kristoffersen

    The one positive thing I have to say about swedish progressiveness is that they’ve come far in making “Alternative” styles socially acceptable. Think piercings, tattoos, those kinds of things.

    Other than that, sweden is a hellhole of political correctness.

  • One thing I really don’t understand is why this is only just happening now when GTA V has been out for a year, already. I know the next-gen version just came out, but unless it has a box blurb stating ‘now with 200% extra hooker clubbing’ I don’t see why it’s only suddenly become an actionable issue for these nutters.

  • Ørjan Kristoffersen

    Domino effect, methinks.

    iirc, one of the arguments used in the original petition that resulted in the Target Aus ban was that apparently graphic violence can *totally* have an effect on the mind, now that it’s in first person, so that’s what started the craze all over again.

    After Target buckled, everyone who has held these types of misinformed views have seen a victory, and are now coming out of the woodwork.

  • TheNaiveCynic

    Radfems are more brilliant then we gave them credit for!
    Their aim is to make the West so damned unliveable for decent people willing to stand up for what they believe in to force these people to move to the more terrible middle-east and asian regions so we can fix those areas for them!

    Dat global manipulation scheme.

    *sarcasm off*

    It’s even worse because the only issue with “the children” comes from parents buying the games for them, despite the LEGAL AGE RESTRICTION (In most of europe) on the things.

  • 33

    You’re definitely right that those countries are bad for everybody but, what I badly phrase was that on the scale of priorities, the sort of thing that happens to women in those countries should be higher up than being upset at jiggling breasts in DOA.

    And your last point is sadly true as well.

  • Meittimies

    Stuff like this will probably go through in Sweden. Won’t happen here in Finland though. Common sense is treasured here and the lack of it openly ridiculed.

  • Ørjan Kristoffersen

    Sweden already implemented their own separate rating system for games, rating whether they’re sexist or not.

    Which is, of course, utterly fucking stupid, because what constitutes sexism is very much a matter of perspective.

  • Reptile

    People who give age restricted games to children should be arrested.

  • Arbitrary

    That’s an intensely moronic thing to say.

  • Arbitrary

    Well written.

    I also like your optimism.

  • Reptile

    Well , maybe arrested is too much thinking now, But I think there should have some kind of punishment for those. Because on what I understand, it is a law infringement.
    In my country stores receive (or at least should) a fine for selling alcoholic drinks to underage and people are arrested (or again, should, accordingly to the law) for giving underage people alcohol.
    I think the same should apply to all +18 content. It isn’t as bad as alcohol, still, if this have a classification it should be followed.

  • Spot-on. Where’s the outrage over stuffing a male movie actor into the trunk of a car and leaving it in front of a speeding train? Because that’s a mission (although you can choose to let him go). I don’t actually recall any prostitutes from my GTA5 playthrough at all. San Andreas, yes, I did it once out of curiosity. (And it was two minutes of my life I’ll never get back.) But not 5.

    By far the most shocking moment in the game for me was… well, it’s a spoiler, but the moment when Trevor leaves the Vespucci Beach house. And you don’t even see what happened.

  • Joseph Miller

    never will happen

  • Greg Nieto

    Let’s be 100% honest here: this isn’t going to do anything but expedite the rate at which retailers become hopelessly obsolete.

  • Alexander Thomas

    Women’s groups are doing more damage to the games industry while screaming like foaming harpies about how gamers hate women. Well they didn’t hate them before but after all of this I can’t blame people for having a negative view of women.. To be frank, my impression of women has subconsciously changed due to these women’s groups, SJW’s and “feminists” who constantly scream, harass and threaten anything they don’t like but keep other things they like that have the exact same content which they then claim is “empowering”.

    Yes, because of these “feminists” and “Sjw’s” and “women’s groups” I have started to think less of women and male feminists, it’s hard not to look down on them as foaming, reactionary and idiotic now.

    If I were to parrot what a radical feminist in the industry said on twitter but change the words around

    “It’s about time we create a new games industry where women [replaced from cis men] are not allowed in, they have done too much damage and men [replaced from women] can no longer feel welcomed”

  • Dr.Weird

    Sweden and europe in general is too racist against white people these days, they should ship their muslims back in body bags then they can talk about progress.

  • Michieie

    I saw what you did there, m8.

  • Gary

    And now they have a petition going in Canada to remove it from stores as well. Funny that. Thankfully they are petitioning Rockstar itself to remove the game.. a bold strategy.. let’s see how it works out for them.

  • The_Last_Ride

    I live in Norway, i’ve never even heard of this, that stuff won’t fly here