Looking Up to Achieve

In “Lollipop Chainsaw” for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, a rainbow spreads between the two gory halves of a zombie after zombie hunter/cheerleader Juliet Starling tears through its middle with her chainsaw–starting at the groin.  Despite the splatter of blood from her chainsaw’s teeth, eighteen-year-old Juliet remains a bubbly high school cheerleader, sporting blond pigtails and a blue San Romero High cheer-squad uniform, baring her midriff.

Although “Lollipop Chainsaw’s” campy storyline and gameplay mechanics are enjoyable, the player gets 10 Gamerscore points on the 360 or a Bronze Trophy on the PS3 for looking up Juliet’s skirt.  The achievement title is “I Swear!  I Did It By Mistake!”

This achievement diminishes Juliet’s power image.  She holds down the hem of her skirt as she stands still looking creeped out while the camera’s point-of-view tilts upwards.  The title says it all: Everyone feels like a pervert when trying to achieve a measly 10 Achievement points or Bronze Trophy.

Epic action games like “Lollipop Chainsaw” should make us feel empowered for conquering the zombie apocalypse.  Instead, this achievement is virtual sexual harassment, making the player feel like a pervert.  The achievement’s title says it all.

What if other forms of sexual harassment had “achievement” titles, especially in the workplace?

Quid pro quo = “2 for 1”

Inappropriate joking = “Inside Humor”

Inappropriate touching (i.e. a slap on the rear) = “Excellent Work!”

Inappropriate body language = “Interpretive Dance”

Ogling or inappropriate staring = “Eye Candy”

The most famous–and infamous–case of sexual harassment allegations in American history occurred in October 1991, when Anita Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding President Bush’s nomination of Clarence Thomas for the U.S. Supreme Court.  Hill testified that years earlier Thomas, then chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, had allegedly sexually harassed her when she was under his employment as an aide.

Hill claimed Thomas had sexually harassed her by talking about explicit sex acts in pornographic films, including “women having sex with animals.”  She also quoted that Thomas had made an inappropriate remark regarding his can of soda: “Who put pubic hair on my Coke?”

If the committee hearings were in a video game, what “achievement” titles would go with Hill’s testifying?

Having sex with animals = “Multi-sexual”

Putting pubic hair on top of a soda can = “Permed Garnishment”