Black Mirror is a television series that has run five seasons since it first aired in 2011. Each episode has a different story line that explores crazy possibilities that come with the evolution of technology. Throughout the show and in the episode, Striking Vipers, from season five specifically, it is clear one thing remains in the future: woman are portrayed as sex objects. Not only is the main character in this episode seen as a sex object, she is fetishized for being in a video game.
In Striking Vipers, two old male friends come together for a birthday party and one friend gifts the other a virtual reality version of a game they once played as kids. This advanced virtual reality game mimics all real sensation meaning the fights feel real and so does the sex. In this scene, it is their first fight using this new technology. One of the men goes into the game as a male player while the other goes in as a female player. The female player is dressed provocatively and is certainly not wearing proper combat gear. Since her avatar is so over sexualized and this new pretty face is connected with the personality of his bestfriend, the inevitable occurs and in the game they have sex.
Both of the men enjoy the virtual sex so much it makes them question their sexuality. Neither of them think they are homosexual after this experience though because the players are straight. However, even though they can talk themselves out of thinking what they’re doing is all in good fun, they continue to hide it. It is not the sex that is wrong in any way, but this seemingly silly story line is very realistic. With the continued over sexualization of female characters, more men begin to fetishize the experience of playing using these avatars. The possibility of virtual reality being used for sex is real.
The episode clearly shows that this sexual interaction causes a huge mental catastrophe for the men involved even though they both did it by choice. It isn’t far from possible though that games like this could be used to take advantage of people everywhere. If a person can enter a game and become a very attractive woman, could their opponent take advantage of them in a way that feels very real. Women are not to used as sex objects or as an outlet for exploring sexual orientation yet that is exactly how this character is being portrayed in this episode of Black Mirror.