Stolkholm game creator to do a “college outreach program”

Looks like we might have a new brand of MRA on our hands! Remember the “Stockholm: An Exploration of True Love” game that Amazon was selling which allowed users to “convince” a young woman to fall in love with them by sexually assaulting, gassing and psychologically abusing them? Well, it seems that its creator is a wee ticked about being banned from Amazon and others is conducting a college outreach program designed to enlighten college students with “types of love and relationships hidden and ignored by a culture increasingly dominated by female values.”
Stanton Audemars says during his college tours, he’ll disseminate the game to make sure “that every single college student of appropriate age has access to this simulation,” seeming to push an anti-women and anti-feminist message cloaked in BDSM rights language:

“And young men and women have the right to recognize that true love does not necessarily involve the kind of mental castration and excessive domestication that it has become associated with . . . The point of ‘Stockholm’ is not that kidnapping is the path to true love. The point is that the sugar coated nonsense that TV and movies are forcing down our throat is not the only true path. It is a message that college men and women need to hear. Most don’t realize that they have a choice in how they approach love and relationships, that choice in relationships does not just mean ‘gay or straight’. It also can be polygamistic, dominant, submissive, relaxed, nice, cruel, possessive, etc. The types of love that women have tried to criminalize are no less valid than the types of love that seem to require that men become weak, doting, servile eunuchs.”

The thing is, this game is not about choice; it’s about kidnapping, sexual assault and nonconsent. What a hoot it would be if we ran into this guy while doing our college tour come fall.

Join the Conversation

  • liz

    WTF?!?! How ever does he get the idea that brainwashing and abuse are “a kind of love”?
    It’s also more than a little disturbing how he correctly notes that “women” (feminists) “have tried to criminalize” stalking, kidnapping, abuse, rape, and torture. Obviously, despite our efforts, such things are not really criminalized in practice as law enforcement is often all too complicit, failing to bring stalkers and the like to justice.
    This young man is practicing a kind of hate speech. Love has nothing to do with his message, his game.

  • Lynne C.

    Oh I so wish I could be in one of his seminars. Obviously his interpretation of “today’s kind of accepted love” is all wrong, and veiled with his own misogynistic views.
    **Possible trigger Warning**
    So kidnapping and torture is an accepted kind of love, huh. I could just picture it now:
    “Your honor, he tried to strangle me, and I passed out several times.”
    “Oh honey, he just loves you.”
    Incidentally, how many times have we heard that scenario before?

  • Pirate Jenny

    My guess is that women being “weak, doting, servile eunuchs” (except when beckoned for sex)is a-okay with this clown.

  • Pirate Jenny

    And, by the way, if this game is about true exploration, why isn’t the abduction scenario open to both sexes?
    If this is not about power and domination (rape fantasies) why limit the abductee to one gender?
    I am getting quite sick of the “women (read: feminists) are turning men into a bunch of pussies” trope. If you are in an opposite sex relationship, working on having balance, fairness and communication as well as having amazing sex and leisure activites does not turn your partner into a dripping milquetoast; quite the reverse.

  • Wonderwall

    Sorry, but if you have to “convince” someone to love you – its not love.
    And that bull crap about love and choice? I think this guy has a syndrome of his own.

  • Pirate Jenny

    “The male experience of real love is not always devotion, domestication, and doting. It is often dominance, possessiveness; it often even involves polygamist tendencies. How many women want to see their boyFriends or husbands have sex with another man? Not too many. But how many men want to see their girlFriends or wives with other women?”
    This is from Stanton Audemars statement about Stockholm. This guy is aping the worst of the evo-psych crap and turning it into a justification of rape and male dominance.
    Sorry for the multiple posts, but this really pisses me off.

  • Pirate Jenny

    “The male experience of real love is not always devotion, domestication, and doting. It is often dominance, possessiveness; it often even involves polygamist tendencies. How many women want to see their boyFriends or husbands have sex with another man? Not too many. But how many men want to see their girlFriends or wives with other women?”
    This is from Stanton Audemars statement his game. This guy is aping the worst of the evo-psych crap and turning it into a justification of rape and male dominance.
    Sorry for the multiple posts, but this really pisses me off.

  • susanstohelit

    It also can be polygamistic, dominant, submissive, relaxed, nice, cruel, possessive, etc.
    This statement is made of fail. Yes, love can take many forms and BDSM can be a part of a healthy relationship, as long as it’s between two consenting adults. But by lumping dominance/submission in with such types of love as “cruel” and “possessive,” it’s clear that he’s not advocating that kind of healthy BDSM – no, he’s advocating for the misogynistic bullshit rapists and abusers have spouted for years. “Honey, I love you SO fucking much, I have to stalk you/beat you/demand you submit to me”. That’s not love, that’s abuse, and it sickens me that he’s trying to teach young people that that is okay.

  • johanna in dairyland

    I have no words. Except this: my understanding of BDSM relationships is that both partners are consenting, have an established basis of trust, and are able to call stop if things go to a place they don’t like. The victim in this game has no such agency. If I was a member of the BDSM community, I’d be just a little extra pissed at this guy.
    You know, in case conflating love with kidnapping and abuse wasn’t enough.

  • hellotwin

    Amen to that. I don’t know what his definition of love is, but it’s pretty messed up.

  • hellotwin

    Wow. On the website for the game there are posts from others who are supposedly against the ban. The creator writes about men who “have sex” with women because they’re “irritating.” Hm, yep that’s known as sexual assault in the real world. There’s a post comparing the game to “lethal junk food” and “environmentally destructive products.” Wow. Just wow.
    *Possible trigger warning*

  • bifemmefatale

    I *am* a member of the kink community and I *am* extra pissed about this guy. BDSM is about consent and make-believe, not actual kidnapping and torture. I do not believe he is actually a member of the kink community. We police ourselves to keep creeps like this out.

  • konkonsn

    Actually, if I had a boyfriend, I’d be totally turned at the thought of him having sex with another guy. Now, I don’t go to bars and leeringly encourage two men to make out, so maybe that’s why nobody seems to notice.
    Sorry to keep shoving my fandom in everyone’s face, but if you’re an anime geek at all (or into fanfiction), you know that gay erotica (called slash [fanfiction], yaoi/shounen-ai [Japanese terms], BL [boy's love])is actually really popular among the women folk. I’m not sure how widespread this is in sci-fi and fantasy, but I know in Japan I’ve seen entire floors of yaoi in anime stores, and there are more and more gay erotica comics being published each year in America. It’s largely a business by women for women.

  • TeenMommy

    Yeah — I am always amused at how ignorant men are about the fact that a significant amount of women find guy-on-guy sexy. I know about this because of Harry Potter fan fiction. ;p

  • Pirate Jenny

    LOL! Me too! However, almost all the posts I saw were Snape on Harry. Or Harry on Snape. ;)

  • Siby

    “The point is that the sugar coated nonsense that TV and movies are forcing down our throat is not the only true path.”
    Uh, and kidnapping and rape is a “true path” to love? This man is mentally ill. Is there anything we can do about this?

  • argon

    “…by a culture increasingly dominated by female values.”
    Bahahaha! I should live so long! I nearly spit my water all over my keyboard when I read that one.
    He needn’t fret his pretty little head. His much-ballyhooed patriarchy doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. I’m sure he’ll get a warm welcome at many college frats that agree with his message that date rape is just another form of love.

  • dtree

    It would be much more respectable if it allowed for both genders to be the abductors and the abductees. Then, and only then, could the argument be made that the game is about exploration.

  • jennchutham

    Ok, this just makes me furious beyond anything:
    What does this psychopath think he’s doing?

  • Ruby

    I feel like he’s confusing love and sex. It’s true that a lot of people do enjoy dominant/submissive type stuff when it comes to sex. But I don’t think sex and love are the same thing. It’s one thing to be dominated in sex, it’s another to be dominated/controlled/possessed overall in a relationship.

  • Siby

    Yes, but there’s also a difference between consensual dominant/submissive sex, and rape. This game isn’t just dominant submissive, it’s a rape game.

  • Ruby

    Also, does anyone else think it’s weird that the guy is linking feministing (and jezebel) on his website?

  • Siby

    Yeah I did.. I guess he said it was because he liked to expose people to the different views and opinions about this issue, which is great.. But it doesn’t make him a better person, IMO.

  • Ruby

    I couldn’t decide if it was a genuine effort to show both sides or if it was a thinly-veiled attempt to be like, “look, here’s a good example of those psycho feminazis that want to castrate us all.”

  • Siby

    Neither could I.

  • metal_teapot

    That absolutely terrified me. If I didn’t believe most men didn’t feel like that I don’t think I could be near them let alone date them. This does make me think that maybe I am being overly naive. This to me is linked to a lot of concepts where men say really nasty stuff about girls they fantasise about (ie. porn stars). While I know this is less severe it still seems to see sex as something inherently degrading to women rather than something women enjoy. It seems there is at least a sub culture of getting please from viewing sex as a form of domination and punishment.
    I find it odd that when men moan about the feminized definition of love (other than sexual monogamy) they tend to talk about love as abusing and harming women. While I support people’s attempts to explore polyamorous relationships and BDSM I don’t think this has to be to do with cruelty. It disturbs me when men get annoyed because they can’t rape, kidnap women, beat them etc as this isn’t considered love. While it might be how they express love it is against a woman’s right to her own sexual autonomy and freedoms. To be acceptable a form of love shouldn’t harm an innocent part. Men may feel unhappy having to be nice to women but they can be cruel and not have a relationship if this is what they want. This means they have an option, which women being kidnapped or raped don’t. Why does someone else have to suffer in this definition of love?

  • Citizen Lane

    Right. There is a very clear line between erotic and sexual bondage and sadism, and domestic abuse. That he conflates them is telling, since lifestylers and kink enthusiasts seem to have no problem differentiating the two.

  • Citizen Lane

    I’m willing to bet his views on love and eroticism stem from lots of frustration and no real experience. He sees women as people that possess a commodity he wants (affection) and believes that their devotion to him is his “right” as an extension of either male privilege or his own narcissism. When women deny him this commodity, he feels aggrieved and decides to take by force and manipulation what isn’t freely shared.
    The game allows him a space to play out his fantasy; the antiwoman rhetoric is a post-hoc rationalization of his own lack of romantic relations. It’s not him being creepy that drives women away — it’s his indomitable male spirit that women are afraid of!

  • UnsexualHeathen

    Regarding “why isn’t the abduction scenario open to both sexes?”, I was unfortunate enough to read the linked article and then visit this creep’s website to see what other misogynistic bull he would be trying to sell. Among what I read before becoming too disgusted to continue:

    Some have suggested that to be fair, there should be two versions of Stockholm, one where a man captures a woman, and another where a woman captures a man. It’s really tempting to believe that that is the right way to approach it. After all, we have been led to believe that men and women should be seen as fundamentally equivalent. But when we really look at the actual situation, we realize that men and women do not necessarily have the same emotional makeup.
    Women: How often do you see a guy that is just irritating, and you just want to have sex with him to put him in his place? He’s not super attractive or anything, he’s just annoying. And because he is annoying you just want to do sexual things to him. Not violent rape or anything, just sex.
    It’s not an emotion that women feel that often, but men feel it all the time.

    Apparently, despite my decades of belief to the contrary, I’m no longer a man.

  • Kim C.

    But wouldn’t they fall in love with us if we did?

  • Tracey T

    Wow, the “freespeech” coupon for a $1 off is just soooo adorable.
    I hate it when people are so quick to pull the free speech card in response to a boycott or letter writing/phone calling campaign. No one is censoring him, just people are exercising their right to free speech by telling Amazon they disapprove and might take their business elsewhere til the game is gone. Amazon then has the right to exercise it’s free speech by deciding wether they will continue to sell the game. Either way, his game can still be made, sold, and bought, just not on Amazon. A right to make the game, sure. A right to sell it specifically on Amazon, hell no.

  • AwakenedDesires

    It is scary enough when people try to pass these things off as “just games.” It is absolutely frightening that this guy is openly campaigning for people to extend this infatuation with violence against women into their real lives. He is actually saying it is more than just a game, but a model for real life.
    I am so angry/horrified that I don’t know what to say.

  • Jeffrey

    S+M is a worse victim here than feminism, I think. Though, clearly, neither really won a victory with this stupidity.
    I’ve practiced S+M off and on, and it is NOT about kidnapping or brainwashing anyone.
    At it’s best, it’s a carefully controlled exercise in trust where the top is able to help the bottom emerge him or herself in their fantasies, and where closeness and growth are more important than getting off.
    That’s why there are safe words, that’s why there are limits.
    This guy is just completely off his rocker, and it disappoints me that the S+M community has not come out and said so. (Though to be fair there really isn’t a feministing for kinksters, so I don’t know where they’d come out and say so).

  • UnsexualHeathen

    Of course not! Because as the site so helpfully explains, men don’t have the same emotions as women, and just lie to themselves about stuff like that!
    (My apologies for the snarkiness. I just can’t put into serious words how upsetting this whole thing is.)

  • UnsexualHeathen

    It really is a shame that there aren’t really passionate spokespeople for the S&M community… some feminists paint the whole group as something it’s not, and it’s even easier for such misunderstandings when woman-hating cretins hide their actions behind a misrepresentation of a certain kink.

  • Devonian

    I think this guy is just pissed he missed out on the times in history when “kidnap yourself a wife” was an accepted practice…

  • hellotwin

    Do you think he really is planning on going on tour to universities and colleges?? If he is, I am contacting all the local schools and not letting this come here.

  • ShifterCat

    Oh, slash fiction has been around for at least as long as Star Trek.

  • NomadSpirit

    I guess I don’t get the outrage over this. There’s 300 million people in the United States. Obviously, some of them are gonna to be highly mentally disturbed. And anybody who wants to can make a video game nowadays and market it through a publishing non-company like RMD Global (which is so obscure it doesn’t even have a article on Wikipedia, and Wikipedia has 3 million articles in English).
    So some nobody makes a game, publishes it through a non-company. Their budget and skill level are so low they can’t even create CGI graphics and have to resort to low-budget camera footage. Amazon sells it because they will literally sell ANYTHING, even print on demand stuff that has a market niche ceiling of 10 copies.
    The only reason we even know this game exists is through the Internet. There is a Wikipedia article on the game, but the only reason this article exists is because of the controversy over the game generated at sites like this. At what point are we actually helping legitimize this game by paying ANY attention to it whatsoever? It’s almost like having a bunch of threads concerning “my neighbor Bill who draws pictures of stick figures getting raped on post-its and nails them to his front door” and then giving the whole Feministing community and everyone who links to it Bill’s address.

  • MK

    Regarding “It really is a shame that there aren’t really passionate spokespeople for the S&M community…” I can think of several people who would qualify: Madison Young aka Madison Bound, Lee Harrington, Midori, Pat Califia, Laura Antoninou, Dossie Easton, Janet Hardy, Christina Abernathy, Jack Rinella, and Jay Wiseman all come to mind.

  • supersoygrrrl

    Can this guy just go to any old college or does he need to be invited or ask or something?
    Because I can’t see any college asking him or seeing any presentation he puts together on what exactly he does and allowing him to come.
    But this may just be wishful thinking on my part.
    On a side note, someone should find out what county this guy lives in and give the authorities a heads up. It sounds like if nothing else, he should maybe be watched a bit closer in his community because frankly, I’d worry about the safety of any women in real life who have to come into contact with him.

  • eric_f

    Can anyone point me to the feministing article about the lesbian rape scene in the Vagina Monologues? I mean, that scene is pretty much a lesbian version of this stupid Stolkholm game: the victim doesn’t want to do it at first but then suddenly she gets into it.
    But, there is no such condemnation of that portion of the Vagina Monologues, is there? It’s only morally wrong when a male thinks this way. When a woman forces another woman to have sex, that’s OK somehow.

  • Icy Bear

    This is really sick.
    At the same time, though, I’ve been noticing more and more that many of the ‘romances’ that seem to appeal to people these days are not healthy relationships at all. Look at things like Twilight, or the ever-popular Gone With the Wind…
    This guy clearly has issues, but I wonder if Stockholm may be an element of a broader problem that many images of deep, passionate romance are really quite unhealthy. that problem may need to be dealt with in a way other than just condemning any media that displays unhealthy images of love. I’m not sure what that way would be, but i do think it would be helpful to consider why these things might appeal to people, if there maybe is something lacking in our understanding of romance today that causes some people to glorify less healthy things, and if so, how we can address that, etc.

  • proudfeminist

    The content of the game is wrong. The thing is though, many games have content that is wrong. Killing maiming, murdering. There is actually a game out there where you play a Hitman.
    Is this game wrong ? Yes. But why ban this game and not other games with questionable content ?

  • proudfeminist

    Girls liking bad boys and guys who are not good for them ? When did that happen :p

  • VinegarSpirit

    I certainly have seen discussion about that scene on feminist websites. Many people find that scene problematic; there are examples in the comments thread here:
    You remind of the MRA’s who show up and accuse feminists of not caring about female teachers who abuse their male students, despite the fact that we write about it all the damn time.
    You might be surprised to find out that the construction of female sexuality as inherently passive and harmless is as much a feminist issue as the construction of male sexuality as inherently predatory.

  • thecynicalromantic

    Scarily enough, kidnapping and rape IS the sugar-coated nonsense these days. Anyone remember Twilight?

  • thecynicalromantic

    I think if women don’t do this, it’s less to do with biology and more to do with the cultural narrative of “sex=MANLY CONQUEST OF MANLINESS!!” Sex isn’t used to degrade and shame men, so it takes a man with some sort of brain functioning to be able to recognize any variation of being on the “receiving” rather than the “HUNTING OMG” end of sexual activity–being “used” or “conquered” or “gotten” or whatever–short of being jumped by an oranguatan. Obviously there are many men out there who do have brain functioning, but those aren’t the ones I primarily find annoying enough to want to degrade them.
    What can be used to put a guy “in his place” is to flirt and tease, and then suddenly change one’s mind and laugh at them right when they think they’ve got their Manly Conquest in the bag. That is why this actually does happen. But no, I don’t think women often actually go and have sex with men in order to “put them in their place,” for the same reason that if you’re mad at someone on their birthday you don’t buy them an expensive present because THAT’LL SHOW THEM JUST HOW MUCH YOU DON’T CARE!

  • Siby

    First of all, I’m not aware of anyone trying to “ban” the game. Second of all, the difference between this and murder games is that murder games don’t call murder “true love”, or advertise it as something other than murder. This game calls rape and kidnap “true love”, and denies that it’s a rape game. The creator, and probably many of the players of the game, agree with the “true love” concept of rape and kidnap. Not only this, but the creator is trying to prey on the minds of a group of vulnerable people (young students) in order to make them believe this crap. Rapes on college campuses are already common, we don’t need this creep promoting the rape culture anymore.
    When someone plays “hitman” in a murder game.. Well, they know that they’re the hitman. When someone plays rapist in a rape game like this, it doesn’t seem as if they know that they’re the rapist.

  • ghostorchid

    Yeah…I’d hate to imagine what would happen if Feministing really discovered 4chan.