Porn, computer games and patriarchy

A debate article in Swedish tabloid today accused patriarchy for encouriging destructive men’s culture and driving men into isolation. The sentence “Men flee into computer games and porn and live isolated, without close relations” [my translation] caused emotions to stir in some video game journalists (FZ.se and Eurogamer.se)

The journalists draws the conclusion that the article authors equals porn and computer games, and that they think that men will feel better if they stopped playing computer games. Now. Personally I do believe that patriarchy offers a destructive men’s culture. However, whereas the article says that men need help to start talk about feelings, stop watching porn and seek help, they don’t say that men should stop playing computer games. Like, they literally don’t say it.
Though, it is of course implied between the lines, that computer games is an isolating hobby and that only tormented men who can’t talk about feelings or treat women with dignity plays computer games. As the video game journalist points out, women play as much video games as men.
But… the part about fleeing is true. Escaping the real world’s problem by playing video games is a thing. We are legion, we who can witness how games helped us focus on other things than the pain and frustration we felt in the “real” world. There’s even scientific reports saying that playing video games help children to forget about their physical pains, helps PTSD sufferers to feel calmer without medication, and so on.
I never really watched porn, so I can’t compare that with computer games, but I have been binge watching SupernaturalThe Walking Dead, Spartacus (which, I must admit, does have a thing or two in common with porn) and other tv-series and I really don’t see the difference behaviour wise. It’s all about dealing with that lump of angst in your chest until you get proper help.
However. No hobby, or escape occupation if you like, be it gaming or watching porn, is healthy if you put everything else that makes you feel good aside. I mean, If I hadn’t seeked professional help during the times I felt the worst mentally, playing World of Warcraft wouldn’t have helped me feel better in the long run, only for the moment.
And while we’re on the negative aspects of mentioned business, I dare say that porn and video game culture has one other little thing in common: That twisted idea of women and their purpose in said media. So, putting “porn” in the same sentence as “computer games” isn’t as far fetched as some would think. Both are surrounded by a culture that treats women different than men, and usually in negative terms.
However. I strongly agree with the video game journalist that gaming doesn’t equal isolation and destructive behaviour, or automatically causes it. Far from. The social life I have would be much more limited if I didn’t have World of Warcraft. It’s another kind of social relation than eye-to-eye of course, since we communicate mainly through text and use avatars and character names, but it’s still social behavior with real people. And it suits me good since eye-to-eye contact drains me energy-wise, no matter how much I like the person I hang out with.
So, all in all – no, the debate article shouldn’t use computer games and porn as sloppy and trollbaiting as they did, but also no, the debate article authors doesn’t say that men would feel better if they stopped playing computer games.
Game on (and remember, it’s okay to cry)!
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