Monday, September 6, 2010

You're kidding me.

I happen to have a copy of US Weekly in my dresser this weekend -- but it isn't for the reasons that you might think! To make a long story short, a girlfriend of mine thought I might be interested in blogging about an advertisement she stumbled upon. It was definitely enough to jolt me out of my blogging hiatus, and bring me back to reality.

"When you remove the outer wrapper..."

"...there's something surprising underneath."

Crazy concept, I know, but I thought that the point of an advertisement was to get you to buy the product. Having seen a flight attendant in lingerie, I'm not sure that I'm convinced that Orbit Gum is tasty. In fact, all I know about it is that the wrapper is pretty when you take it out of the box. Oh, and that Wrigley is a pretty perverted company.

Where do we even begin? Here are a few things I observed, although there's much more to be said. It includes faults within the article, as well as what this ad presents to its reader, even unconsciously.

1. The Biggie: Objectification
This very blatantly depicts this woman as an object rather than a person. There is no importance placed on her aspirations or thoughts -- this is all about stripping her down and getting to the most important feature... her body. All the while, she's smiling. Women, after all, want to be taken advantage of. And if you use Orbit Gum, your breath will be minty fresh while you do it!

2. Do What You're Told: Occupational Norms
She is a flight attendant, conforming to expectations regarding women and their career choices. This feeds into the notion that women are caregivers, intended for service. Rather than being successful leaders in any field that they should choose, they are to mindlessly follow orders. What is she, a robot? Can I get you a drink, sir? Here, try this gum, because I'm wearing my pretty undergarments.

3. Smile and Look Pretty: Reinforcement of Body Ideals
Ms. Flight Attendant has a body that is revered by the patriarchy, with a thin but curvy frame. Not only is emphasis placed on this body, but it is an unrealistic depiction. We all know that you would never see a real American woman in an advertisement like these, due to our infamous fatphobia. Let's see women of all shapes and size, chomping on some minty gum and enjoying it. Let's ditch the Barbie dolls already.

Irrelevant note: who in the hell STANDS like that? I don't know about you, but I'm a sloucher.

4. The Culmination: "Generic" Woman
No surprise: this woman is white, blonde, youthful, abled, thin, and beautiful. We can also presume that she is well-off, given her clothing, perfect teeth and occupation. This really ties in a lot of the faults previously mentioned. We hardly think twice about her race, her age, her abled status, or presumed socio-economic standing. The fact that many of us really do not see anything strange about her appearance, apart from her undergarments, just furthers this idea that the "generic woman" must fit into this rigid category.

5. The Cop-out: It's Just a Joke
I think the ad is attempting to be funny. I don't know why else it would be used. After all, the flight attendant does not come with the gum (I think?). This tactic is used all the time when it comes to sexism: everything from Facebook groups to superbowl ads try to pass things off as humor, as though feminists are taking things too seriously. Cowardice is not an admirable trait, and that's all it is -- hiding behind the veil of "just kidding" is not acceptable and is a weak move. There is nothing humorous about objectifying women, as well as reinforcing detrimental stereotypes and ideals.

Advertisements, if they really did what they were supposed to do, would reach out to all persons to reach as broad an audience as possible. An advertisement like this is not only completely missing that mark by using something so irrelevant to the product, but it is repulsive in its blatant stereotyping and, especially, its use of sexism as a tool of advertising -- in other words, it reaches out to a small if not nonexistent group of persons.

Wrigley, if you had half a brain, you would realize not only how offensive your advertisement is, but how stupid you have to be to use it.

Take Action: Email Public Relations at PR@wrigley.com!

Upcoming Articles This Week
--ProActiv "Pushover" Advertisement Critique
--Death of Afghan Campaign Workers

Writers needed!

The Click is sort of at a standstill as we do not have enough writers to keep us moving along!

If you are interested, please contact us at theclickzine@gmail.com!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Teens: Need a Lift?

Teen singing star Charice Pempengco has caused a lot of hubbub as of late, and it isn't about her amazing pipes or coming debut on the hit television program Glee. Pempengco, age eighteen, has a lot of folks talking due to her recent botox injections a few months ago, turning up the heat in the ethical debate regarding teens and plastic surgery. These procedures are on the rise -- Botox injections in the teen bracket has increased nearly 48% in the past year. While it's a valid question for us to ask if teens should get plastic surgery, the real question, I believe, is why so many teens feel pressured to undergo the procedure. Rather than criticizing Pempengo, we should be criticizing our culture and ultimately, ourselves -- what are we as a culture and as individuals doing to promote self-acceptance?

The Botox rage is clearly due in part to increased media exposure and celebrity endorsements of this procedure, making the trend ever so appealing. It's also reinforced by their peers who are increasingly opting for the injection. But at the heart of it lies our sexist society, in which the value of women is often weighed heavily upon a flawless physical appearance. However, to say this is merely sexism misses a huge part of the story. This issue is also intimately connected to ageism -- more specifically, the prejudiced attitudes toward older individuals and the aging process.

Intersectionality, ya'll! Here it comes!

In my observations, when mainstream media talks about the "should" and "should not" of Botox and plastic surgery, it becomes more about the sexist angle (women feel pressured to be beautiful) rather than the ageist angle (women feel pressured to remain youthful). The two are not mutually exclusive -- they are inseparable. When we see images of size zero women in skimpy attire and spread legs, we are up in arms, looking to unravel the underlying message. Contrastingly, when we see depictions of elderly women as hunched over, immobile, and pathetic, we seldom give it a second thought and recycle the Sunday paper when we're finished reading those comics. Ageism, too, is rampant in the media. The most prominent marker of old age is an altered appearance -- thus we associate markers of age with many of the most undesirable qualities such as being clueless, helpless, and alone (stereotypes attached to old age). These pro-youth and anti-age images are what allows the cosmetic surgery industry to rake in the cash. There are two fears at the core of this cosmetic craze: the fear of not being beautiful enough, and the fear of not remaining beautiful forever.

The pressures that teens like Charice feel emerge from these same principles -- we need to achieve perfection, as our sexist society tells us, and once we have attained the pinnacle of youthfulness, we are to simply freeze, as our ageist society tells us. Both require constant and drastic effort, and neither is feasible.

If we are to tackle the Botox Dilemma, we must learn to not only accept how we appear now, but to embrace the cycle of life and celebrate how our bodies change. We must fight both sexism AND ageism. When we talk about self-acceptance, we're not just talking about a static moment in time -- we need to talk about the compilation of moments that have made us who we are, and all of the moments that compose who we will become. We need to celebrate being ALIVE! Instead of telling young girls that they are beautiful exactly as they are, pressuring them to remain young and delicate (and, well, exactly as they are), we should be telling them that they are always beautiful, simply by being -- that, as we change, we never lose what is truly beautiful and meaningful. We as a culture need to recognize that the changes we undergo are miraculous ones, and with these outward changes can come enlightening and wondrous experiences.

In other words, it doesn't seem that Charice got the memo -- wrinkles are all the rage these days.

Monday, August 9, 2010

What We Stand to Gain From Polygamy

The moral and legal debate regarding polygamy has become heated in recent years, with media coverage soaring, and people (as a rule) becoming increasingly nosy about what their neighbors are up to, which we might attribute to mere boredom. The general public receives polygamy as an offensive, unacceptable crime – a crime which leaves children neglected and women abused. The media portrays polygamists as misogynistic, puritanical Luddites. The men who participate are depicted as fanatically religious “pimps,” and contrastingly, the women are submissive, helpless “whores.” And don't get me started on the feminists, who dismiss male-dominated polygamy altogether, and refuse to consider its benefits. What most fail to understand is that polygamy can ultimately function as a real solution to the most pressing issue in American society today – the economic crisis. In fact, I speculate that one of the greatest trials in American history – the Great Depression – was caused solely by women in monogamous marriages, or “partnerships” as radicals prefer to call these arrangements. In my analysis, I will be discussing both crises, past and present, to shed some light on how desperately polygamy needs to be not only supported by the public, but enforced by law, to ensure the well being of all who inhabit this great country.

The cause of the current economic crisis in the United States has been horrendously misconstrued. Feminist conspiracy theorists will tell you that you should look no further than Wall Street. Apparently it is the fault of major corporations and their executives (who, mind you, are barely making enough to get by). Other wacko feminists will explain that it is merely careless approval of loans that could never be paid, or it is attributed to an increased outsourcing of jobs – which, it should be noted, really reflects the racist aims of the feminist movement. However, what most are afraid to say is that this recession is not the fault of the men who are in charge – this crisis was caused by those she-devils known as “single moms.”

There, I said it. Do me a favor, though, and do not tell Sonia Sotomayor I did.

The heart of this crisis lies in the alarming unemployment rates, and the sole cause of this massive increase in lay-offs can easily be traced back to women – and more frequently, “single moms.” The stark reality is that there are only so many jobs in this country, and as men are physically stronger and more emotionally resilient, these jobs are not only better suited for men, but nearly impossible for women to perform well in. However, feminists disrupted this healthy balance of men being the sole providers, and women being the housemaids, by insisting this system was inherently unequal. Feminists taught women to put themselves before their husbands and their families, and ultimately to put themselves before their country. As more and more women entered the workforce, more and more employers took pity – booting the men out, assuming that their more intelligent, callous competitors would rehire these more able men. However, because of feminism, employers became far too charitable, and soon most men were out of work. In particular, “single moms” – or mothers who choose not to include the father in the family unit, otherwise known as the ultra-feminists – became far too ambitious, returning to community college and further encouraging such reckless pity-employment.

Additionally, women are the primary fuel for the economy in a different, more significant sense. As the popular song goes, girls just wanna have fun. Women love to shop and spend superfluous amounts of money. However, when women are too busy working, they no longer have the leisure time to spend excessive amounts of money on unneeded items. This kind of damage to the economy forced employers to fire more of their workforce, and of course, the first employees to go were the men, thanks to the feminists. When women actually had to work to earn their money, they also became frugal, because they suddenly understood the value of the dollar. Years ago, women were convinced that “money grows on trees.” And to them, it really seemed to – their husbands would disappear for hours, and return with dollar bills and gifts to reward their wives with. To the wife, there was no appreciation of the manual labor that went in, for she could not see the blood and sweat, nor did she bleed or sweat herself – although she did cry, because that is the nature of a woman, and she only “bled” one week out of the month (but that was a punishment from God, of course, for the daughters of Eve). And thus the dollar was not treated as a sacred item, as a man would see it. However, this careless attitude towards money, in addition to men being the sole providers, is what allowed the economy, and ultimately the American way, to prevail – and this was shattered, thanks to a new generation of women who considered themselves “individuals” with “rights.”

This superfluous spending of money was not always as beneficial as it might sound. Case in point – the Great Depression. Men were paying little attention to what their wives were really up to, and when buying on credit became the “new deal” (pun not intentional, but endorsed), they foolishly (albeit unknowingly) allowed their spend-happy spouses to buy everything on credit. Again, women must take the blame for destroying the economy, and causing virtually all Americans to suffer. Interestingly enough, the era just previous allowed for unheard of privilege for women. The “Roaring Twenties,” as the era was often called, was a time when women were let off of the leash, and consequently, ended up rebelling against gender norms. They were cutting their hair, showing some skin, and some were even seen drinking alcohol for the very first time... and women, as we know, are such temperamental creatures to begin with. When women are let out of the house and turned into alcoholics with credit cards, the result is devastating – ultimately, out of an overdose on freedom, the Great Depression was born... although all the soccer moms nowadays on Prozac might tell you their “great depression” was born out of lack of freedom, but what the hell do they know? They're all selfish... they don't know how good they really have it.

Now, the question on your mind is likely this – how is polygamy the panacea, the defender of American values, and the unbreakable backbone for the economy? For one, there is nothing terrible about an unmarried male – but single women and mothers, as we've come to realize, are the true recipe for disaster. Women, when they join the workforce, become too frugal, too ambitious, and too selfish. When they are not under the strict guidance of a male, they become alcoholics. Many ask, why polygamy then, and not monogamy? Monogamy encourages the woman to think of herself as an equal in the relationship – and she will come to expect rights and liberties, which will, of course, undermine the American way... subjugation of women, the Super Bowl, and war. And naturally, to further allow men to stay in the workforce, his emotional health must be top-notch – and with a cleaner house, better food, children under constant care, and multiple sex partners, how could he not remain chipper?

We've seen that boarding school, for instance, has helped breed some of the most well-behaved young women, far more suitable for married life. Imagine polygamy, then, as a way of turning one's household into a boarding school in which women will continue, even into their adult lives, to refine their temper and, by looking to their fellow “housewives” (not to be confused with homosexuality, which is sinful), become better wives themselves. It is not only best for the economy, but it is best for the women themselves – they will never be alone. They will always have company, other women much like them who can ease the burden of household chores, and help them build the skills necessary to be a more successful housewife.

Polygamy also follows Darwinian principles – natural selection within a household, or so to speak. Women who are best at cleaning can restrict their activities to such, women who are most gifted in the culinary arts can remain in the kitchen. Women who are best at raising the children can do so, and women who are best in bed will, consequently, be the preferred sexual partner. Eventually, by natural selection, all women will be excellent sexual partners, which, of the many positions (pun intended this time) a woman will take, this is the most important one. And men, who must work for not only his family, but to keep the economy going and allow the United States to thrive, will return home to a plethora of women, all of the greatest caliber, performing at such a height unheard of in monogamous relationships.

If there is any darker chapter in human history, I truly cannot decide if it was the first, second, or third wave of Feminism. Feminism has annihilated the spirit of America, caused immense suffering and poverty, and has even violated the very constitution this country was founded upon (“all men are created equal”). Feminism has raped this country of all it once stood for. As a friend of mine often says, there are only founding fathers for a reason. Women have already gained far too much power, and if this continues, the very country so many have died for will be destroyed – and all of the lives lost will have been sacrificed in vain. Polygamy will not only put women in their proper place – the household – but it will make each household better suited for the head of it – the man, upon whom the very fate of America rests upon. Without the working man, democracy will fail, and anarchy will prevail. Without those women, however, we would still be in the Garden of Eden and this whole mother-fucking mess (pun, again, intended) wouldn't have even started. You might judge Tiger Woods for his many mistresses, but in my opinion, he was onto something – Tiger Woods should be revered as not only a champion of the golf realm, but a real American hero.


Susan Reese was born and raised in Provo, Utah, where she remains a God-fearing mother and a devoted wife. Disillusioned by the conservative party's recent failures and lack of traditionalist policies, her fire for politics was reignited by Sarah Palin – the ultimate mother, and the ultimate non-working woman... hell, Palin couldn't finish a single term in office, ran for Vice President (what do they do, anyway?), and didn't even write her own autobiography. Susan Reese now resides in Provo, Utah, where she can be found making grits, watching clothes dry on the line, or speaking in tongues at her local Pentecostal church.

PLEASE NOTE: This piece of satire does not reflect the views held by The Click or any of its contributors.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Every once in a while, I have to do a double-take. It happens a little like this: I'll see or hear something so blatantly offensive that my jaw drops, and after a deep sigh, I'll simply exclaim, "Really?" I had one of those moments when I saw a suitcase sticker available at TheCheeky.Com, so disgusting that I threw up a little in my mouth. I wasn't sure what was so cheeky about it, apart from the fact that only a demented ass would celebrate the kidnapping of women, and for the small price of fifteen dollars, you, too, can join the party.

What's next? Sex trafficking board games that allow you to abduct a young woman (black eye? earn 20 points!) and move her toward her destination in Thailand? Or maybe blow-up doll that screams when you punch her. How about an Underground Shelter Dollhouse, kidnapped teen and rapist doll included, food, water, and virginity sold separately? How cheeky is THAT? Seriously, they should hire me to come up with fun new ideas. Sales would boom.

Look, guys. I'm good with bold. I'm good with making a statement. I'm good with funny. I like to think that I have a good sense of humor. But this goes too far -- when you start to tread in the realm of human rights violations, who in their right mind is going to laugh?

"Take a stand against monotonous travel with Suitcase Stickers," the website reads. Monotonous travel is the least of our concerns, and frankly, if you think kidnapping makes travel more exciting, you need to be put in a suitcase and thrown into the ocean. What about taking a stand against human rights violations? What about taking a stand against sex trafficking? How ignorant do you really have to be? I mean, come on. If a woman in a suitcase isn't suggestive of sex trafficking, I don't know what is. CONTEXT, people, CONTEXT!

Why not step up the "cheekiness" of this sticker? Make it a child, complete with an audio tape underneath the suitcase lid that emits the sound of a shrieking, screaming girl. It's bold, it's brilliant, it's CHEEKY!

"Some of these stickers may cause offense to airport staff," the website continues. I think maybe, JUST MAYBE they're underestimating how offensive this sticker really is. You aren't offending a handful of people -- you are offending an entire population of persons whose lives were stolen by the sex industry. That is 800,000 people every year, that is millions of people in the past few decades alone. You are offending those who fight against these injustices; you are offending the families who lost their children, their siblings, their spouses. For crying out loud, you are offending any decent human being. And if you can face any one of those persons and tell them to "take a joke" - as if kidnapping is a joke, as if rape is a joke - you're sick in the head.

The good news -- we can all agree that the sticker is, at the very least, useful. "Designed to stick to anything, they will draw attention to your bag making it easily identifiable."

Ah, yes. Making you easily identifiable as a disgusting, misogynistic pig.

Pissed? Go ahead and speak your mind. If they have the right to freedom of speech, so do we. Contact them here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The moment, the click.

I'm six years old, playing basketball in the driveway on a summer's afternoon -- and by playing, I mean that I am running after the ball as it rolls down the street, going for three-pointers that even adults will miss, and dribbling (otherwise known as "slapping the ball") with two hands. My brother, a little older than myself, is showing me up. For one, he's actually tall enough to score. And secondly, he thinks before he throws. I won't knock my game, though. It takes a lot of guts to keep trying to compete with a rambunctious eight year-old who's a full foot and a half above you.

The hot sun is beating down on us relentlessly. Wiping away the sweat above his brow, my brother does what many men will do on a hot day -- he takes his shirt off and throws it on the grass. Well, I'm sweaty too. I'm at a tender young age, not yet aware of social norms or expectations -- and thus I decide that it is a perfectly reasonable solution to my high body temperature. As I go to remove mine, my brother begins to yell.

"What are you doing?!" I pause, my shirt folding back down.
"You can't do that," he says with mild disgust.
"How come?"
"Because you're a girl," he explains.

To my young mind, this is not a sensible explanation. Gender does not factor into the equation just yet; "girl" and "boy" are innocuous terms, terms without authority. For the first time, I am being told that there is something I should not do, simply because my body is different. What I didn't realize is that wanting to remove my shirt was one piece of an infinitely larger picture. All I knew at the time was that I was angry, that I was really hot, and that it just wasn't fair. That sense of injustice would never disappear -- even at age six, I wasn't about to let gender decide anything for me. I took off my shirt.

Slowly, I began to see that bigger picture. They told me that women before me could not have their own career, that they were baby-making machines. Only recently could women wear pants, go to college, or own property. Only recently was it illegal for a husband to beat his wife, and it hadn't even been a hundred years since women had earned the right to vote. It hit me like a brick to the face -- only recently could a woman have thoughts and feelings that were equally as important as a man's. And when they told me that we had never had a woman president, well, that sealed the deal. We spent only a week at most on women's history when I was young, and it sent me on a rampage.

When I was old enough to begin flirting with feminism, I thought I was the shit -- and I had forgotten what feminism was really all about. I went through high school parading my "feminist" status -- arguing with conservative friends about abortion, debating with history teachers about the lack of women's history, and proudly displaying Feministing on my bookmarks toolbar. There was a whole lot of agitation and angst, but what it all lacked was real, genuine passion and commitment to the movement. That passion wasn't ignited until my first composition class in college, when I had my real "click" moment and found myself sputtering out of control in a passionate fit.

"Is it possible for a society to mold similar behavior in men and women?" my professor asked us one day. As my professor began to answer with her own opinion, my classmates began to shift uncomfortably in their seats. She explained to us that men are aggressive and reckless because of testosterone, and women are submissive, emotional, and passive because of estrogen. "If you give women a shot of testosterone, you should see what happens.

"I've done too much research, read too much literature," she continues, "to believe that men and women can ever be anything alike."

I'm outraged. Each time I tried to debate, she would whip out of thin air some kind of statistic or study. It was intimidating to argue with a professor, much less one that I really did like. I felt myself flustered, because no matter how hard I tried, I simply didn't have the language to hold a real debate -- I couldn't put my thoughts into coherent sentences. But what I lacked, more than the language or research, was confidence. I was never sure if my supposed "feminist views" were "right." I had never really delved into them beyond a superficial level. Looking back, I would love to debate it with her all over again -- this time, with a little more assertiveness.

(I'll admit, even now, I could use the confidence. Putting your thoughts out in a zine is terrifying.)

If she had done enough research, she would know that high levels of estrogen can provoke aggressiveness as well -- and that women also possess testosterone, only at lower levels as their receptors for the hormone are more sensitive. She would also know that men and women express their aggression differently, as society affirms what kind of behavior is appropriate for each gender. Men lash out in what we see as "typical aggressiveness" which is more physical, whereas women express their rage socially. Had she done more research, she would know that our assumptions about gendered behavior reinforce that behavior, and as science has realized, these assumptions alter the way young minds develop, enlarging or stunting growth in certain areas of the brain. She would understand that all behaviors must be learned, and culture has much more accountability in what is learned. Not to mention, what we expose our kids to (this is really gender studies 101 -- the toy vacuums, the cars and motorcycles, the dolls, action figures) is exaggerating and inciting difference. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"It's just your generation," she tells me. "Your generation seems to have this theory that gender difference is all made up. But it isn't. Read any study you can find, you'll see. Feminist literature always fails to give you the real empircal facts, but science doesn't lie."

That afternoon, her words were ringing in my ears. It's just your generation. When I came home that day, I went down to my basement and, to my surprise, I started to cry. (When I realized that my professor would tell me that my estrogen levels are the reason I cried, I thought that maybe I should punch a pillow instead to prove her wrong.) As dorky as this is, to cheer myself up and arm myself for the next battle, I went on Wikipedia to read the article on feminism. I wanted to be able to fight back. I wanted the language, the research, the confidence to prove her wrong. I found myself so flustered and enraged, trying desperately to memorize and absorb as much of the article as I could.

But as I kept on reading through the history, the struggle, and the strength of so many women who came before me, I realized that feminism wasn't about proving my professor wrong. This wasn't another academic conquest or intellectual tennis match. Feminism is a challenge -- not a challenge issued to my professor alone, but to an entire culture -- one rooted in a long tradition of sexism and misogyny on the false pretense that some other, godly force has deemed women inferior. Feminism is not about winning a battle of words. It is a radical fight for justice and equality, it is the force that inspires women and men around the world, it is the medium through which women and men can inspire others, it is the pen that rewrites history, it is the light that exposes oppression in its deepest corners, it is the celebration of womanhood, it is the destruction of the chains of this culture which weigh us down in a suffocating binary... it is a movement, one which I finally felt a part of.

The next day, I was in the academic advisement office, signing the papers to change my major to Women's and Gender Studies.

I think my six year-old self would be proud. In fact, I'd venture to say that the shirt incident has, at last, been avenged.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Playstation 3: Challenging Traditionally Feminine Symbols?

An estimated percentage of 80% of Playstation 3 users are male, a percentage obtained from Playstation Home, a virtual world in which players can interact with other players in the form of human avatars. It is assumed, then, that the audience PS3 tries to appeal to are males, ages 18-35 years old. However, a new game & free demo have been released that has surprised gamers everywhere, taking a traditionally feminine symbol and with it, making an immense political statement. I'm talking about a game called Flower.

The game begins with a dark, decrepit city, one with a cacophony of noise and urban decay. All around is darkness and grime; it is a perpetual night. But there is a glimmer of hope, sitting on a desk inside of an apartment. It is a single potted flower, just on the cusp of blooming -- a beacon of hope for this dismal place. Yes, folks, a flower is the hero of this story.

Upon clicking the potted flower, we are transported to a beautiful, open field, filled with hundreds of flowers of many colors, all ready to blossom. "We're the yellow petal," my brother explains, "Watch this." As he controls the floating petal, he glides by other flowers, and as if by magic, they burst open. As he soars past, more petals join his trail, sending the entire field abloom. There are wind turbines, blue skies, and the sound of swaying grass and the singing winds. I'm shocked by the beauty of these images, and I find myself a little breathless as a flurry of petals continues to dance on the breeze.

"The message is really... poetic," my brother tells me. As he moves through the field, all of the yellowed and seemingly dead grass turns to a deep green, and new flowers spring forth from the earth. After a seemingly infinite number of petals have been collected, they carry on toward the skeleton of a tree. Wrapping around it, it suddenly explodes with leaves and color, and the entire field blows in celebration.

"Have you forgotten?" the screen reads. I stare in awe. "Have you forgotten the scents? The sounds?" The flowers seem to glow, and embarrassingly enough, I'm tearing up. What a powerful message, what a horribly potent message to give -- in the shambles of our urban dreams, we have forgotten the beauty of the earth. It's a message that has run through my head over and over again.


Players will guide the spirited flowers through the city, reviving it with the power of nature -- not working against the earth, but rather, reviving its beauty and power... and learning from the earth, listening to it. The notion of a single flower inspiring change in our world is a shocking, shocking message, but as far as we can tell, guys and gals alike are playing this demo -- even guys like my twenty year old brother, who is not ashamed to play it. This game is capturing not only gaming minds, but human hearts.

In the gaming realm, gender stereotyping still runs rampant. There are an immense number of violent, blood-ridden games such as Call of Duty which glorify war, and Grand Theft Auto which praise murder and theft; these games are supposedly extreme but masculine games, and are often what we think about when we hear the phrase "video game." Flower offers a realm free of stereotypes; no fashion show, Barbie, horses, Cooking Mama, objectified women, or helpless Princess Peach... on the flip-side, no rocket launchers, grenades, Transformers, or gangsters to reinforce prehistoric ideas of masculinity and femininity.

Flower is taking traditionally feminine symbol, and transforming it into something powerful, reveling in its beauty. Flowers are always viewed as dainty, transient, and simply for looking at... this flower transforms the world. It almost seems symbolic of the power within what is thought to be feminine and weak -- emotion, passion, and empathy. These are the qualities that blow the petals along. It is these qualities that mend the earth and create a better world. The traditionally male qualities - rationality, aggressiveness, pragmatism - are overwhelmed and transformed by the power of femininity.

Feminist analysis aside, it is a daring and strange move for Playstation; this is a video game that attempts to woo an overwhelmingly male audience, and with a name like "Flower," it's going to be a tough sell.

In my opinion, this is a video game that should be considered monumental in the realm of games and media alike -- never has there been a game that has taken such a risk in marketability and is so honest in its intent. Not to mention, there has never been a game so politically potent and poetic. This is a first -- a promising, promising first. Whether male gamers will play with pride has yet to be seen. But as for feminists who love seeing some good ol' gender-symbol-bending and attempted neutrality, we're going to be eating this stuff up.

If you aren't convinced by my enthusiastic review, watch the demo for yourself on Youtube. Enjoy!