Every other week, Bonnie Ruberg contributes Playing Dirty, a column on sex and gender in video games:
Puppies are gay. Dancing is for homos. Even Link is a little queer.
"Gay" has become a strange, strange word. From happy to homosexual to stupid, it can mean many different things. But there's no ambiguity in an insult like "That's so gay" – the favorite homophobic tag line of defenders of the heterosexual norm. It's like a built-in security system: whatever doesn't fit in gets "outed."
Of course, there's no group that fits the heterosexual norm – young, male, straight – better than gamers. At least, that's how we're perceived, and often how we act: as a boys' club. We like big guns, fast cars, hot women. Maybe that's why we're so quick to attack games that lack traditional testosterone. Between forums, blogs, and general grumblings, gamers have declared everything from Nintendogs to Dance Dance Revolution to The Wind Waker (Bright colors? Queer!) "gay."
Rockstar's Bully, however, doesn't fit that list. It's not pretty, or cute. If you don't watch out, it might even beat you up for your lunch money. Like the Grand Theft Auto series before it -- and especially the oh-so-controversial, hidden hetero action in San Andreas -- it's a man's game. Which, perhaps, is why we're so surprised to learn that Bully, too, is "gay."