We Got Your Back: Here's How to Respond to Microsoft's Incredibly Sexist Xbox One Email
Earlier today, the Xbox One marketing team pushed this little gem out into the world; a form email that you can send to your loved ones to really drive home how much you want this particular console under the Christmas tree. (Playstation 4? More like Playstation BORE, amirite? #teamxbone)
The letter is peppered with green sections that you can click to swap around with various other predefined words and phrases. You can address the letter to your "sugar daddy" and tell them how much you want to "experience the golden age of pirates" in hot release titles like "Zumba Fitness: World Party". I guess that explains why they didn't set the blank sections to randomize, but it definitely doesn't explain why they chose the default options that they did. [Update: The site has since been tweaked so that all those changeable sections are now blank by default. It's actually the second change they've made, the first being when they changed the line about knitting, visible in the header image, to one about taxes. You can find a screencap of that and the rest of the letter, unchanged, here.] Although there are plenty of more neutral choices available, perfect for a non-specific and ideally inoffensive preset, they decided to string together the most sexist, bullshit letter they could manage. Good hustle, team.
It's so dumb and so blatantly sexist that I'm not going to spend the next 700 words unpacking it piece by piece. Instead, I'm going to write the kind of reasonable response you might expect to see from someone on the receiving end of this trash. Enjoy.
Did you really just ask me if I've heard of one of the only two topics that half of the internet has been talking about for months? The huge big-fucking-deal thing that came out last week? My mother knows what an Xbox One is.
If I buy you an Xbox One at all it will be for us, not just you. That should be a given. No, I'm not very interested in watching you slay zombies. The Dead Rising series is pretty fun to play but notoriously monotonous to watch. Of course I'm not going to be interested in spending $500 just to watch you do things I would prefer to be doing myself.
Let's get something else out of the way: I like games as much as you do. I have them on my computer, my phone, my tablet, my 3DS. I've put over 200 hours into Skyrim and you think I don't like games? No, I don't currently have a last-gen console. The performance was nothing compared to what I could get out of my PC, so it was taking up space and never getting used (just like your old Wii Fit board.)
As to your list, well...
1. I have no clue what Forza Motorsport 5 has to do with dancing, but I do like racing games, so buying that game for myself is a nice idea.
2. Do I "love" movies? I guess I like them more than football most of the time, but I'm coming to understand that love is a really strong word.
3. Okay, now let's pause for a minute, because point number three is a very good example of the problem we seem to be having right now. You start by talking about us, and then just talk about yourself again. Maybe you're just being diplomatic here by not telling me outright to lose weight, which would be the first smart choice you've made in this entire email, but you're not selling it either. Doesn't the Kinect track how you're performing, which parts of your body you're using, etc? That seems brilliant and incredibly useful, so why are you burying the lede?
4. Yes, I have been encouraging you to play with others, but I usually mean me. It is really great that this new console will filter out all the people telling me to go make you a sandwich, but I would also like to get some headshots in.
5. ... Wow. Just wow. I know what Skype is. I have it on everything. I use it for work, and my guild used to use it (my sister among them) before we got TeamSpeak set up.
This whole cutesy "my our" and "if/when" act is really getting on my nerves, so I'll be blunt: These new consoles are expensive, and I have to buy gifts for several people, not just you. Why should I spend that much money on something I would only get to use to watch The Notebook while you reassuringly pat my head in between games? For the honor of playing the first multiplayer game we get with you? Be still, my beating heart. I'm assuming based on what you've said already that you mean local multiplayer only, which narrows things down considerably within the launch line-up. Call of Duty: Ghosts looks last-gen as hell, you already seem convinced I won't be interested in any of the sports games, and have you even read the reviews for Fighter Within? It sounds absolutely awful.
Maybe I will get you a new console for Christmas, and maybe I won't. Maybe I'll get you the Xbox One, or maybe I'll get you a console that didn't encourage its fans to send condescending and entitled emails to their partners. Maybe I'll wait until either console has a slightly more impressive game library behind it, or until PS4's game streaming service launches. For that matter, maybe I'll bite on a WiiU. I've heard the Legend of Zelda: Windwaker HD remake and Super Mario 3D world are outstanding.
P.S. I wish you would stop bringing up knitting. I get it. I saw a scarf on Tumblr, I went to Michaels and bought a bunch of supplies, and then I never did shit with them. You don't have to keep bringing it up every time you want something.
P.P.S. If you're not excited about the new Zoo Tycoon then you're not human.
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Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Timesand has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan andwith pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.