After reading through the thread on feministing, I've figured how to articulate why the violence against prostitutes in GTA bothers me so much. (by stealing from everyone else, of course)
Robos A Go Go argues
Shooting at police, stealing cars, and running down pedestrians are widely discouraged in other areas of life. Sexism and violence against prostitutes is not. In fact, many people feel that prostitutes invite violence upon themselves by virtue of the "choice" they make, or at the very least accept abuse of sex workers as a matter of course rather than a problem that should be as much of a concern as random assaults of pedestrians and law enforcement officers.
yup, yup, yup
Later, noname asks
Where in that video.... did you see forcibly performed sex acts?
doh, how silly of me, none of the prostitutes ever say "no!" There's no sexualized violence here!
More seriously, correct me if I'm wrong, but none of the prostitutes who are "propositioned" ever say "no," yes? Which means that instead of going right out and making it "real" rape, Rockstar has instead chosen to hide behind rape apology arguments (prostitutes never say no) in order to make sexual violence more palatable. Kudos to you Rockstar!
(Also, I'm fairly certain that the police occasionally survive one's attack. In fact, they have guns, themselves, yes? As do other characters? But do the prostitutes have weapons? Are they occasionally not dumb as rocks and aware that johns often want to hurt them? Do you ever get to proposition women who are not prostitutes or strippers? I think I may die of shock if any of these are ever true.)
nonam also tries to argue
There is an anti-male equivalent to killing prostitutes. Killing men.
just _pat points out what should be obvious:
That's not equivalent at all. I can't kill men:
a) As a member of the opposite gender.
b) As someone who is paying them for sex.
c) As someone being paid BY them for sex.
I also can't go to a club and wait for asshole guys to try to pick me up and/or drug me, only to pull out a weapon and exact vengeance upon them.
There's no equivalent.
sgzax adds what should be even more obvious:
Yes, because there are two sexes: male and prostitute. Exactly. Thank you noname for playing all your cards at once like that.
spike the cat then gives us our deep thought for the day:
People just won't admit that killing feels good. But killing a ho feels even better.
Funny, I thought that whole visceral reaction I was talking about earlier was because while killing (in video games) rates as a "meh" to "gotcha!" in my book, murdering prostitutes makes me want to barf.
Kristen answers the "can they say no?" question.
The hookers even have to like you enough to let you pick them up.
I disagree with her assertion that "There is no sexual violence in this game," however. There may be no outright rape, but if you watch IGN's fan trailer...oh, wait, you can't because IGN took it off their site. (dorks) It's on youtube though. no idea for how long. Anyway, if you listen to the trailer, ("I'm a hired killer and I pay for sex. My mother would be ashamed") "violence" and the "sex' are hardly divided into neat little categories. Sexualized violence isn't just about rape, after all. Often it's simply about normalizing the idea that they go hand in hand.