Intervention – She’s NOT Your Toy

by | Nov 10, 2017 | Artwork #3: Intervene


Artist Statement

Initially, I wanted to do my intervention on Twitter, playing a game similar to Mafia that would last for a week. Because I could not get the number of participants needed, I decided to create an intervention that can be done alone. The new intervention, She’s NOT Your Toy, takes place in the digital game, “Dead or Alive 5 Last Round” for the PlayStation 4.

The purpose of the intervention is to call attention to the sexualization and objectification of the female fighters in Dead or Alive.

The intervention was done over several hours in-game. I enter the 3D fighting game, Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, in order to call out other online users who use the female fighters in-game with a specialized message. I enter the game using my PSN ID, “Mr_Rayshawn” and look for online lobbies that had several people inside. The maximum number of players in one lobby is 8. Inside the lobby, I enter spectator mode and look to see if someone plays as a female character. If they do, using the game’s text messaging system, I proceed to type, “[female’s name] is NOT a toy to fulfill your personal sexual fantasy”. I continue this pattern until there are no more players in the lobby or I am kicked from the session.

My inspiration for this piece came from the video I saw in class of dead-in-iraq done by Joesph DeLappe. In his piece, he too decides to intervene in a digital space and uses the game’s text messaging system. Also, his intervention fits in the context of the space he uses; he uses a game about America’s Army to give a memorial to soldiers who died fighting the Iraqi war. The game, Dead or Alive, is a perfect example of sexualization and objectification of women in video games which continues to be a problem. Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, looked at Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate in her episode, “Women as Reward – Special DLC Mini-Episode”. Reading the transcript, she explains what “sex sells” means.  Essentially, when super-sexual DLC outfits are put on sale, she says it is the publishers and developers way of saying, “YES, these women do indeed exist primarily as toys to fulfill your personal sexual fantasy”. I chose to flip this statement because women are not sexual objects and it is meant to call out anyone who thinks they are.

The reactions during the intervention met my expectations. Either I was kicked after a short time, or I was called a variety of names for bringing attention to this subject.