Militarization of Everyday Life CataLINA dEL vALLE

When I started to think about what images I should include in this Spark Story, I immediately thought back to the pictures I included for the "war in our environment" story of the different toys/games that I saw at Target, and how they resonate with the militarization of our everyday life. I think one of the most blatant demonstrations of how embedded war and its ideology is in our society is seen through the kinds of toys/games/programs etc. that are occupying the minds of our younger generations and how this influences their likes and dislikes throughout the rest of their lives. My 12 year old brother always comes to mind during these projects. My parents have been hesitant in letting him play any violent (inherently war-like) video games, yet they understand that it is impossible to keep him in a bubble when everyone around him is playing and talking about those very games. As he has gotten older, some exceptions have been made. However, even if video games were excluded, many of his toys that he has had since he was very little are war-like. This past Thanksgiving Break I decided to pay close attention to what my brother played as well as the many toys he has throughout the house. Pictured above are some of Alejandro's Lego toys that he has had for a long time. The Star Wars characters have alway been his favorite, particularly the stormtroopers and their weapons (soldiers with guns).
In the last couple of years, my parents have allowed my brother to get some of the "least" violent video games (pictured above). He tells me about all of his friends and the kinds of games they have been playing, including "Call of Duty" even though they're only 10-12 years old. He insists that the games are not that bad and that there's a point to all of the violence. I always find it interesting that he tries to minimize the role of war in the games in order to convince me that they don't center around just that.
These are some of Alejandro's nerf guns. For a long time, he would bring them out and play "war" with all of the neighborhood kids.
One of the days I was back home, I heard gunshots coming from my brother's room, and went in to see what he was playing, and took pictures of the screen, telling him that I was doing it for this project. He said "sister, this game has nothing to do with war, It's just the other kid i'm playing with just decided to shoot at me".
This is a card advertising the xbox store, where players can get more gear for their games. The man in the picture with all of his weapons look just like a soldier ready for battle. I often ask Alejandro why he likes to play violent games instead of car racing games or sports games. He tells me that the other games get boring, but that these do not. I think that this type of mentality that is found in so many young people and even adults that like to play these types of games is not only problematic, but goes to show how militarized our gaming industry (along with our entertainment industry in general) is. It is precisely the war-like situations, with the bombs, guns, and soldiers that appeal to the players. The idea of it being more "fun" is directly linked to how much the idea of war is represented in our society, mostly in a positive light.

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