Well folks, I’m at a loss for words. I didn’t think that it could get any worse than the LFL, the Lingerie Football League. I was proven wrong this morning when WWE developer, Yuke’s announced a video game using the LFL license. We need to recognize this upcoming game for what it is: Degrading to female athletes and degrading to gamers.
Let’s face it, people don’t but Leisure Suit Larry for the rich gameplay or the compelling story; in the same way, people don’t watch the Lingerie Football League for the football. The League, in which women wear only underwear and football pads, began in 2003 as a pay-per-view event airing annually on Super Bowl Sunday. In 2009, the LFL had its first 20-week season and has been growing since then. Businessweek estimates that it is one of the fatest growing sporting events in North America. Despite its success, the league does not provide health insurance for the players and, since 2011, does not pay them. Most of the athletes just want to play football and will do or wear anything to participate professionally in the sport they love. The LFL makes women into sex objects, does not compensate them for injuries sustained in a full contact sport, tells them that the only way for a sport to be interesting is to play in their underwear, and now, after all of that, hopes that lingerie football will be considered a legitimate sport by releasing a video game.
The upcoming game degrades its target audience almost as much as the LFL degrades its athletes. First and foremost, I can only imagine what the multitude of female gamers will think of this title; I imagine that they will feel isolated and embarrassed. In addition, associating the LFL with video games supports the stereotype of gamers as being sex-crazed adolescents or socially awkward losers. This game will simply tarnish the public perception of people who play video games; we do not need to give our critics another reason to look down on us. So many people have fought to bring video games to a wider audience and, thereby, eliminate the stereotypes brought on by games like Leisure Suit Larry and Custer’s Revenge. We are better than this.
I can see no good that will come from the LFL video game. It supports an organization that insultes its players, it supports a long-held stereotype associated with gamers, it isolates female gamers, it sets back video game culture and prevents it from being accepted by the public at large, it tells female athletes that the only way to make a sport interesting is for them to take their clothes off. Gamers, I ask you, please do not stand for this. Do not support the Lingerie Football League Video Game.