Finally Caveat Free – on Feminist Frequency

anita sarkeesian's new video

A Response?

I’m not sure if calling this article a response to what Anita Sarkeesian has put out so far would be accurate. Response carries a ton of connotations, which all scream rebuttal or opposing commentary. Responding to a Sarkeesian video in most cases means, trying to correct it. Being opposed to the Tropes vs Women series and putting your opposition into words – either as articles, comments or youtube videos – is like a sport.

The kickstarter campaign started on May 17, 2012. People are arguing against Anita, her content, her reasoning, her methods, her attitude, her background, her agenda, her choice of clothing, her make-up, her voice for one and a half year now. One and a half year of people trying to convince me, that Anita Sarkeesian does something wrong – sometimes wrong enough to please ignore her, sometimes wrong enough to please stop her and sometimes wrong enough to severely punish her…

..so far nothing made any sense. At all.

Everyone who was targeting her because they legitimately were concerned – everyone who articulated, that they needed to defend something against Sarkeesian’s youtube videos – was fighting windmills. The videos are not threatening creative freedom, or – God forbid! – threatening free speech. There is nothing ruining games or infringing on rights here. I checked and listened for one and a half year… Nothing.

And even those who did not even pretend to be fighting for a cause – those who just wanted to show off in a pointless intellectual exercise or just wanted to troll – even they failed horribly, committing fallacy over fallacy. Like someone wielding nun-chucks and making Bruce Lee noises, only to end up whacking their own crotch with it.

I will even go as far as to say that after one and a half year, I fail to see how Anita Sarkeesian and her output even present an issue worth debating anymore. Sure, you can disagree with how she does stuff and yes, you can still not be convinced by her videos or feel like you could do a better job… but the question if it is useful or harmful to have her put her content out? No, really, no issue here.

…except you somehow appreciate gender inequality of course. Then, someone putting information out in favor of gender equality is kind of an issue for you.

Okay, so response is not a term I’m comfortable with here. So what is this you are reading right now? Am I supporting Anita Sarkeesian? For one and a half year, I was reluctant to say so. But not anymore. Yes, I do. I think it’s awesome, necessary and much worthy of support.

What did Sarkeesian do to change my mind? Nothing. I just decided to no longer let the trolls push me into a corner.

And that’s the thing. That’s what that was. In actuality I was appreciating her contributions for a long time. Sure, I can point to stuff, I would do differently, minor complaints actually, stylistic differences. The discourse around Sarkeesian is toxic – it is made toxic by people spitting venom at her. There was so much talk about how much she does wrong – just wild assertions, often in conflict with each other – that it seemed uncritical, downright naive to not be skeptical yourself.

Public critics – like MovieBob or Jim Sterling – always felt the need to talk about her with caveats. They always felt the need to state – yeah, I do not agree with her totally – and so did I. I refused to just say something positive, without making clear, that there are negatives or that I expect negatives to defend against the sure to come accusations of falling for her tricks, being a white knight, not being critical. I was preemptively fending off expected accusations from people, who I already knew had no point. – expected accusations based on sexist ideas and privileged perspectives.

To add this kind of caveat to an endorsement of Tropes v Women often is the “no homo” of video game culture.

I’m not having that anymore. I’m no longer pretending to see an issue with people who fight for a cause that I share, when there is none. We need Sarkeesian and people like her. We need to make public discourse as supportive and safe for women who speak up as possible, and this takes commitment. Anita Sarkeesian takes a lot of beatings online, still she puts herself out there. She gets a ton of vile, threats and bullshit online, still she responds to selected messages.

It’s an incredible feat by Sarkeesian to not have become a proverbial martyr yet, and I regret that for one and a half year, I did not help to make that easier. ..for her and for any other woman, trying to add her voice.

So, here is a big heartfelt and caveat-free thank you, Anita, for what you do. Your videos are well researched, fun to watch, enlightening and have a much needed impact on our culture. Beyond that, the reactions you spawned by the apologists crowd, the obliviously privileged and the hostile internet denizens would have forced many people into silence. My deepest respect and thanks for your commitment and effort to push through.

I hope to be able to buy you a cup of coffee or beer or preferred drink in the near future.
Cheers.

anita sarkeesian tropes vs women latest video

P.S. if you haven’t seen the latest video yet, check it out on her site and consider sharing it around. I’m happy to find my work in the resources to the video, which actually is kind of a proud moment for me as an online media critic. So, sorry for this self-indulgent moment here. Kthnxbye.

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47 Comments

  1. Hey, Anjin here. Sorry, but this comment thread needed to be closed, due to insufferable asshats who are writing whole articles here only to display massive ignorance and distract everyone from the discussions we need to be having.

    I also removed asshat comments. My blog and my nerves have a limited capacity when it comes to nonsense pamphlets. Sorry.

  2. Attending her talk at GDC last March, my interpretation was that Sarkeesian was open-minded and willing to discuss issues with her position during the Q&A. For example, when someone with community management experience challenged her suggestion that there might be an infrastructure solution for community managers to use to take a stronger role in addressing toxic activity. Her willingness to listen openly and even encourage a reasonable counterargument was a refreshing change, and unexpected given that she’d become A Public Figure. I’ve come to expect that people standing on pulpits in controversial situations scoff at dissent except to perhaps throw in a personal attack, and then go back to repeating their stock talking points.

    1. That’s certainly a change to her online persona, where she ignores any criticism of her work. We’re still waiting months for her to clarify her “I’m not a gamer, I had to learn a lot about games” leaked undergrad video.

      1. You can stop waiting. Because of two things:

        1. We are not entitled to make her respond to anything we deem a concern.
        2. Her relation to games is in no way relevant, when it comes to the validity of her work. Saying anything else would be falling for for an Ad Hominem fallacy.

        1. I agree. First of all, a lot of people see her “childhood gaming photo” as a lie because she later said “I’m not a gamer”. That doesn’t mean that her photo is fake. It’s totally possible to have played many many times as a child, and just changed the hobbies a little bit while getting older.
          My sister played much more in her younger days as well, but nowadays she’d surely say “I’m not a gamer” as well, because it is not true _anymore_.

          By saying “I am not a gamer”, she just makes it clear that it is not her #1 hobby and that she is not a hardcore gamer. Everything else is possible: playing seldom, playing infrequently, playing no hardcore games and so on.

  3. As Krystian mentioned the Youtuber “Thunderf00t”, I watched his videos “Feminism vs Facts 1 + 2 + 3”, and while I STRONGLY disagree with part 2 + 3, I can only agree on part 1. Part 1 deals mainly with the “are men not allowed to rescue their girlfriend” question we talked about earlier, and I wanted to post Thunderf00t’s videos to maybe clarify my standpoint (cause I have the feeling that I couldn’t nail it precisely):

    1. I’m really sorry for removing the links. But Thunderf00t is a horrible person, who spreads toxic and asinine falsehoods and I will not have links on my site leading to this poison.

      I apologize for cutting into your comment here, I understand that this is not cool.

      1. No problem, I’m fine. It shouldn’t be a problem anyway because I named his nickname and the title of his videos, so everyone should be able to find them themselves.

  4. @Krystian Majewski
    RE: Sci-fi fan vs Astronomer
    You’re analogy doesn’t really match the situation at hand. An actual physicist would be able to tell you about how video game logic deviates from real life, but a science fiction gamer would be more equipped to point out the inaccuracies of game like Mass Effect trilogy because these games create their own internal logic of what is possible and how those things are carried out.
    Can an astronomer explain how Biotics (the game’s magic system) works? The answer is probably no unless they play the game and read the codex entries about the subject and/or experience using Biotic abilities in actual gameplay.

    When we look for gamer input to the medium what people want is the same thing the scientific community looks for in their researchers, or the music community looks for in new artists and muscicians. What gamers want is for someone who is aware of the language of games to inform them of what is wrong and how to fix it. That is why YouTube channels like Extra Credits get so much respect, they are headed by people who know about games, play them, and who want to genuinely see the medium grow. They accomplish this by informing the community with well researched and well presented videos. Not every video they put out is without flaws, but that does not detract from the number of videos they have made that people agree with.

    For all four of Anita’s videos in her current series they are rife with conjecture based leaps in logic, shallow analysis, and a lot of examples that are presented purely out of context with the intent of giving a false impression. If we are to accept that this conversation needs to happen, than I put forth the insane notion that we should make sure that the people doing the talking aren’t full of themselves and spreading lies and misinformation.
    ————————————————-
    RE: Anita claiming to not like violent games

    Anita didn’t just distance herself from violent video games in her lecture. She stated this point in her 2010 lecture at SMC

    “I’m going to show you a remix that I just finished this weekend and no one else has seen [pause] One person has seen it … It’s a soundtrack of one song except I’m doing video games. So it’s not exactly a fandom, I’m not a fan of video games. I actually had to learn a lot about video games in the process of making this…”
    [Link] (around 12:20)

    Her next statement adds to this.
    “…And also video games, like, I would like to play video games but I don’t want to go around shooting people and ripping off their heads it’s just gross so hence this is my response to that.” (She is refering to her remix too many dicks on the dance floor)

    Her message from this lecture series is clear, she didn’t like video games nor did she participate in them. All she probably knew about video games is what she experienced as a kid and what she saw in the mainstream media. This may have changed in the two years after this lecture leading up to her kickstarter video but we can still prove that she does not properly research the video games she uses in her videos during that time as well. Addressing that however, would take a longer post than I’m willing to write because it would require going point for point over her videos.

    I can understand her dislike for the prevalence of violence in video games and if it’s any consolation she shows this on her social media sites. The only games she really talks about are games like Mario, Rayman, and Zelda where the violence is more cartoonist and juvenile and if that is where her interests lie more power to her.

    Anita may very well play video games now, but their is enough information available to prove that she wasn’t interested in video games until very recently and her current level of critique falls short because of her inexperience.

    If she wasn’t parading her videos and statements around as fact, and claiming intellectual honesty and integrity for her work she wouldn’t receive as much criticism as she does.

    1. Wow, that’s a lot of pointless assertions. I appreciate the friendly tone in which you comment here, but, man… (wait, no, that’s very aggressive towards a person, who is not participating in the discussion here) There is just so much wrong with everything you say here. The standards you use to form your opinions are rather useless, since you base your rejection of Anita’s content on what you think her character is like (her relation to games, her intentions, how full she is of herself and such). You are not even just rejecting it, you use your impression of what kind of person she is to make a counter claim, to say the content in the videos is lies and misinformation.

      And then you use “people agreeing with it” and “wouldn’t receive as much criticism” as gauges for truthfulness? Holy, shit.

      This is completely broken. You know what an Ad Hominem is? You know what the argument from popularity is? You know what the burden of proof is? You know what being a sceptic means? Seriously, you suck at reasoning. What a display of nonsense. It’s not even funny.

      1. Thank you for the reply.

        Unfortunately you seem to be misunderstanding the point of my post. This is my fault because I didn’t realize that I hadn’t clicked the reply button for the post I was responding too. My post was meant to address the first two points presented by Krystian Myjewski late last month here
        The only reason behind those statements to show that by her own admission she was not a gamer until recently and that this information contradicts her alleged credentials. As for your idea that I was trying to use popularity as a measure of truthfulness, that is also incorrect. I only used Extra Credits to provide an example of people who are doing a similar thing as Anita who get a more positive reception to their claims. That was because the people of Extra Credits have demonstrated an actual base of knowledge with gaming and it’s problems. It was meant to show how people who know their stuff get the right kind of attention and discussion. This is the inverse of the Tropes vs. Women series which is in a constant state of controversy every time a new episode comes out.

        Nowhere in my post did I claim that her not being a gamer detracted from the central thesis to her videos (the disparity of women’s representation in video games), nor did I state that she didn’t have a right to talk about this topic because she wan’t a “gamer”.

        If you want to know about Ad Hominem I suggest you read more about it. An ad hominem fallacy is only an attack on someone when their credentials, supposed or otherwise, are not relevant to the topic they are discussing. In otherwords I would have to be stating that “because Anita isn’t a ‘true’ gamer she doesn’t know what she is talking about”, or something to that effect.
        However, Anita’s credentials as a “life long” gamer are very much so related to the image she has created for herself and the expectations people hold for her project. She is not in the same boat as someone like Roger Ebert who was an outspoken non-game enthusiast who criticized the medium. If she wants to claim gamer status she must be able to prove that it exists. Having a picture of her holding a controller at the age of 11 doesn’t prove anything if she contradicts her self later on.

        As for burden of proof, I thought it was common sense that the burden of proof rests on the person making the claim. In my case I claimed that Anita wasn’t a lifelong gamer and provided her own testimony to back up my assertion. My opinion that her videos contain misinformation and conjecture is also another claim, but I did not provide examples. My stated reason is because doing so would take more time than I am willing to devote. Providing refutations and counter-examples to her first three videos alone is a literal laundry list of things to say, but if you want one or two solid examples I would be willing to type them out for you.

        Having said all that I have a question for you. You made a lot of pointed attacks on my post without actually elaborating on what the actual problem is. What exactly about my reasoning “sucks” so much that you decided to drag my words through the mud?

        1. I’d like to refer you to Krystian’s response. He obviously has much more patience with that sort of thing and actually went through the motions of addressing your reasoning in detail.

      2. While I have been a fan of Anita’s videos for a while, well before the Video Game TRopes series began, I have to admit that some of the stuff about her that has surfaced does raise some questions.

        She has been shown to talk out of both sides of her mouth, depending on what group she’s talking to. Before she began this series, she was seen at certain venues, stating that she is straight-up not a gamer.

        Then, after this series got started, she began to state at venues that she is a gamer and always has been. someone isn’t getting told the correct version.

        I do not agree with the venomous bullshit that has been hurled at her at every turn, but that doesn’t mean that some of her critics do not have valid concerns about how her.

        1. “some of her critics do not have valid concerns about how her.”

          There is nothing about how much of a gamer she is that has any relevance for the quality of her videos or the merits of her presented arguments.

          Even if we ignore the logical fallaciousness of the embarrassing fixation of gamers like you on that question, even if we pretend that her status as a gamer should somehow impact how we evaluate her work… even then, all we have is a sound snippet without context, about her association with a term “gamer” that has completely arbitrary meaning and everything we think that means about her is speculation.

          You are making a fool of yourself bringing that up. Seriously.

          Anyone who is still thinking there is anything worth debating about her credentials or character, instead of debating the merits of her already vast body of work and arguments, is just wasting anybody’s time.

          I understand that my reply is rude and I appreciate your attempt to comment here in a polite and civil manner, but you and others who keep this nonsense floating around seriously need a wake up call.

          1. You are wasting anybodies time. Seriously.

            Anita Sarkeesian’s status as a gamer, her character, her intentions, the time she spends playing games… Anita Sarkeesian, the person has no relevance what so ever, because we can look at a body of work now and evaluate the quality of that work.

            “But anyone who does approach games from a research standpoint should have the respect and integrity to actually play them as well as look at the non interactive aspects of the medium. You can’t just watch let’s play footage and just “get” videogames; the play is key.”
            No it’s not. Her work does not discuss play, it discusses story tropes. You asshat.

            Your elaborate bullshit in the straw that makes me close the comment section here, so nobody has to suffer through more this Ad Hominem pseudo-intellectual self-serving nonsense. If you want to make people stupid and distract from the discussions we need to be having – no matter how politely you piss all over the place – do it on your own fucking blog.

    2. > but a science fiction gamer would be more equipped to point out the inaccuracies
      > of game like Mass Effect trilogy because these games create their own internal logic

      Internal inconsistencies are completely irrelevant in this case. I used this analogy to address who is better equipped at discussing how games relate to the real world – whether is is in the context physics or sociology.

      > That is why YouTube channels like Extra Credits get so much respect

      So what do you think Extra Credits thinks about this particular series?
      https://www.facebook.com/ExtraCredits/posts/230596320391217

      Or MovieBob?
      http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/5950-Tropes-vs-MovieBob

      Or even Jim Sterling?
      http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/6264-Anita-Sarkeesian-The-Monster-Gamers-Created

      More to the point, you seem to conflate “well researched” and being close to the gamer community. The “gamer community” is more likely to favor messages that don’t criticize the “gamer community”. That doesn’t mean that such criticism is not true or not needed:
      http://snarkandmayhem.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/tropes-vs-women-vs-extra-credits-and-telling-it-like-it-is/

      You are also equating what “people agree with” with what is true. This is a logical fallacy called “Argumentum ad Populum”. I could just as well claim that Anita is right by the mere fact that she received so many donations for her Kickstarter.

      Considering how you think her videos are “rife with conjecture based leaps in logic, shallow analysis, and a lot of examples that are presented purely out of context with the intent of giving a false impression.” you seem to invest a lot of energy trying to somehow undermine her credibility as a person instead of exposing the mistakes in her actual work. This is what is called an “Argumentum ad Hominem” and it is also a logical fallacy. You already fell for two of those. You said you are interested in a serious discussion. I applaud that. Let’s start by avoiding those. Here is a quick reference:
      http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/fallacies.html

      But hey, happens to all of us. God knows it happened to me enough times. Let’s look at that evidence. I’ve certainly seen it being passed around by a lot of people.

      So I’ve only seen this one video of this lecture. It is heavily edited with a lot of context left out. A lot is left to interpretation. This is bad news if chose this as your key evidence. She seems to be talking in an academic context about “vidding”. She talks about how and why fans remix their favorite TV shows and game footage. She said she did the same video as a fan of Star Wars did but for games. So she felt it necessary to point out that this wasn’t an act of fandom but an academic piece. I see nothing here that contradicts with her being able to discuss games 2 years later. If anything, the opposite is true: she is discussing games right then and there!

      “…And also video games, like, I would like to play video games but I don’t want to go around shooting people and ripping off their heads it’s just gross so hence this is my response to that.”

      I don’t know, to me seems exactly what I described. She doesn’t want to be personally associated with videogames because she finds certain content in them objectionable. It seems to have something to do with excessive violence. I have let you know that this kind of content is indeed looked down upon in academic circles.

      Again, if this is your key evidence, better go get better evidence. Neither proves anything nor does it hold up to scrutiny.

      she didn’t like video games nor did she participate in them. All she probably knew about video games is what she experienced as a kid and what she saw in the mainstream media.

      How is playing videogames as a kid and making videos about them not “participating in videogames”? How does not liking something disqualify you from researching it or making statements about it?

      we can still prove that she does not properly research the video games she uses in her videos during that time as well. Addressing that however, would take a longer post than I’m willing to write because it would require going point for point over her videos.

      Cool story bro. (sorry, I couldn’t resist) ;P

      The only games she really talks about are games like Mario, Rayman, and Zelda where the violence is more cartoonist and juvenile and if that is where her interests lie more power to her.

      You line of argument seems to lose focus here. Not sure what you are getting at.
      More importantly, this makes you look as if you haven’t even watched the very thing you are criticizing. She discusses violent videogames as well. On the top of my head: The Darkness, Dante’s Inferno, Gears of War, God of War and many others. I mean, there is Halo and Resident Evil 5 in the very video you just posted.

      I see you are frustrated. And you may chose not to like Anita as a person because you think she doesn’t like games the way you do. But not liking games does not disqualify you from talking about them. If you think she made mistakes, go ahead and discuss her actual work.

      1. Krystain, thank you for being a far more level headed person in your response.

        – RE: Your first point
        I agree, Thank you for clarifying what you meant.

        – RE: Extra Credits, Bob Chipman, Jim Sterling, and Tropes vs Women
        These articles and a larger number of publications within the gaming community all address the unwarranted hate and harassment that surrounded Anita’s project during it’s inception and that persists to this day in various forms. I have never once been a supporter of the mentality shown by those individuals that use their dislike of dissenting ideas as an excuse to attack others. Even if I disagree with Anita on the finer points of her project I would never use that as an excuse to harass her or treat her with any less respect than I would another human being.

        One of my constant frustrations with discussing Anita’s work is that when it comes to talking about her own involvement with the project people are quick to label any conversations about her as ad hominem attacks meant to devalue her. That was not my intention and I’m sorry it came across as such. As I stated to the site administrator, my only point in bringing up her statements was to address a point you made last month. It was never meant to be some sort of grand statement about her inability to understand women’s issues as they relate to gaming, or to refute anything she has actually said. That is the reason I separated that section of my post from the points regarding popularity. Speaking of which.

        – RE: Argument ad Populum
        I concede this point as well. The actual merits of her presentation are not tied to whether or not people like what she has to say on a large scale. Likewise, a large number of people disagreeing with her does not mean that she is wrong.

        – RE: Anita’s Quotes
        We may differ in our interpretations of her quotes but we both agree that we can understand her dislike for violence in videogames, academic or not. I would like to point out that you seem to be ignoring her next words which I will repost again.

        “…And also video games, like, I would like to play video games but I don’t want to go around shooting people and ripping off their heads it’s just gross so hence this is my response to that.”

        I went ahead and bolded the statement that you seem to be missing out on. I do not expect this to be some grand argument where I refute her status as a gamer, just call into question how she can claim to have played games all her life to one group of people, and then say that the didn’t the next. Read into that what you will. The same is true with Roger Ebert as many others who have criticized video games, you do not have to be a fan to talk about them. Nor do you have any obligation to like video games to want to improve certain aspects of the medium or the community. What matters is whether or not someone is able to actually get their point across in a way that makes a noticeable change. This goes beyond just getting people to talk about something and instead relies on actual action taking place. People of a group will naturally be wary of those they perceive as an “outsider” who approach them, the trick is that person must be able to demonstrate to any number of the population that what they have to say may be beneficial to them. I occupy a percentage of people who want to see women’s representation in games continue to grow, but are skeptical of Anita’s project because certain points she makes seem problematic. We can argue the semantics of what constitutes participation within the gaming community but that is not the issue at hand. What I have constantly tried to state regarding her status as a gamer is that she was dishonest in her claims and because of it I have another reason to be wary of her attachment to the project.

        – RE: Actual evidence and counterarguments.

        Ok, this is going to be a long portion for just one example but I intend to highlight a problem I have with her train of through. Namely, I feel like she is too quick to reduce characters to gendered traits and ignore other aspects of their character that may exist in favor or broadly painting them as a problem. I’ll use one I’ve been sitting on since I saw her third damsel in distress video. In that video Anita makes this assessment of Super Princess Peach for the Nintendo DS. Her thoughts on the game’s use of emotions as a primary mechanic were this.

        “Nintendo introduced a new gameplay mechanic for Peach where the player can choose from 4 special powers or vibes as they’re called… and you know what those powers are? Her mood swings. That’s right, Peach’s powers are her out-of-control frantic female emotions. She can throw a temper tantrum and rage her enemies to death or bawl her eyes out and wash the bad guys away with tears. Essentially Nintendo has turned a PMS joke into their core gameplay mechanic.”

        From her statements we the audience are left with the following conclusions on this game and it’s core mechanics.
        1) This game features a female protagonist whose main power is her emotions.
        2) Not only does she use emotions but they are mood swings.
        3) While mood swings are not inherently a bad thing and can be used in positive ways, the current cultural connotation of mood swings implies an unbalanced emotional state and when referenced with women it is usually used as an insult to state that the woman is unable to control herself or her actions.
        4) This leads into a flimsy justification of Anita’s statement about the whole game being “one big PMS joke”

        Here is information that I found through actually playing the game and doing research on it’s mechanics that put me at odds with Anita’s statements.

        1) Through the course of the game their are only a hand full of characters who are able to retain control over their emotions. Peach is one of those characters. Because of this she is able to avoid capture, unlike Mario and Luigi, and is then able to mount an offensive to rescue them and bring peace back to the Mushroom Kingdom. Peach being able to control these fluctuating feelings and use them to overcome obstacles and enemies shows her agency and empowerment. Peach isn’t made weak because of her emotions, she is made more a threat because she knows how to use them. This implies that she is in complete control of these emotions as opposed to characters like Kratos from the original God of War who is so blinded by his feelings, notably rage, that he unintentionally causes more harm to himself and those around him and actively undermines his own goals. Thematically, Super Princess Peach presents a respectable example of a female character who is not solely a stereotypical bag of unstable emotions.

        2) Peaches vibes are interesting because upon further research I was able to find that her four abilities (related to the emotions Joy, Rage, Gloom, and Calm) actually correspond to an outdated form of biology and psycology called the four temperments. This school of thought tried to associate four humors (Sanguine, Choleric, Malancholic, and Phlegmatic) with human health and emotional responses. If you compare the characteristics of these four humors with Peach’s vibes you will find a direct connection between the two.

        > Sanguine: Characterized by impulsiveness and charisma, Pleasure (corresponds with the vibe of Joy)
        > Choleric: Characterized by Aggression, energy, and/or passion.(Corresponds to the vibe of Rage)
        > Melancholic: Characterized by Introversion and a fixation on tragedy and cruelty. (Corresponds to the vibe of Gloom)
        > Phlegmatic: Characterized by relaxation, and quiet. (Corresponds to the vibe of Calm)

        3) With the above two point in mind I call again call into question the assertion that SPP is somehow an excuse to make light of women’s feelings or presented as some sort of joke at their expense. It is worth looking at the cultural implications of making a game with a female character centered around her emotions. But to reduce the game in the way that Anita has is intellectually dishonest.

        The above example is part of a larger pattern found within her videos where Anita reduces a female character to a particular element and then conflates that aspect of them to be part of a targeted attack of femininity or women in general. I don’t have a problem acknowledging that women in games get very polarizing depictions, but a lot of her examples trying to prove that don’t ring true when you apply scrutiny to them. I understand what Anita is trying to say with these videos but I would rather she didn’t misrepresent the truth to prove her point. Their is no shortage of games that contain elements that could be seen as harmful to women’s representations. But I find that her shallow analysis of some of her examples work to undermine her message at times.

        Thank you Krystain for pointing out some of the problems with my previous post and I hope I have been able to better clarify my stance. I do not in any way hate or dislike Anita as a person, but I will continue to approach her projects with a health amount of skepticism until she can prove that she is capable of having this conversation with pop culture from a more objective position. I have no problem with people approaching research with a bias in mind, lord knows I do it myself, but that does not excuse manipulating information and evidence to fit the theory rather than finding evidence that naturally supports it. Women in games need better representation, I just don’t think Anita is currently the right person to help that along. Thank you again for your time and have a good day.

        1. To support some of StrangeJourney’s points, I’d like to share Kite Tales’ video “More than a Damsel in Distress” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJihi5rB_Ek where she basically says that, in her opinion, Anita undermines especially Zelda and Peach much too fast: Zelda and Peach are both princesses of a whole kingdom that everybody misses and wants back after they have been abducted, but NOBODY cares for the hero Link or Mario afterwards. In the respective worlds, they are literally nobodies.
          So what gender group does this make more meaningful? Men or women?
          That’s Kite’s opinion I pretty much share.

          1. “Zelda and Peach are both princesses of a whole kingdom that everybody misses and wants back after they have been abducted,…”
            …which also goes for artifacts, treasures, sources of energy and such. What you describe here as “meaningful” is value, but that value of an object. Princess Peach and Princess Zelda are objects here for three reasons:

            narrative reasons:
            1. there is no self-determination in the characters, there value does not come from what they do, it comes from their status and their attractiveness/likeability. Just like a really really pretty car.
            2. the are not acting in most incarnations of the story, they are acted upon.
            historical reason:
            3. princesses historically were tradable goods for large scale diplomatic agreements. You gave your daughter away for marriage to make piece with another ruler. That’s why princesses are valuable to a nation, there is also some symbolic value attributed to princesses.

            The idea of value you argue for here is not value as a person… it is value as an object. You can interchange the princesses in both franchises (with the exception of a few individual games) with any sort of really valuable thing, without having to change the story.

            And sure, in the respective fictional universes the heroes might not get the glory, but they are still the most important people in that universe, because they are the ones saving it. They are the competent ones, the smart ones, the pro-active ones, the brave ones and so forth… all of this is completely independent from how much applause they get, since the camera focusses on them. They do not need to have the citizens of the land celebrate them,. to be the protagonists of the heroes journey. …while you could rewrite their stories, by replacing the princesses with a magical talking sword and do not have to change one beat.

            This is not “respectful” towards women as people, this is glorification of women as property, as items of prestige and fun or as symbols.

        2. StrangeJourney, I respect you for rethinking some of your more… questionable implications from earlier. That takes a lot of cajones. As an adamant Sarkeesian fan myself, I’m going to try to display my own cajones by considering the constructive criticism without resorting to any toilet language. Cause that shit’s important.

          It’s true that context is not always provided for her examples, context which often seems to justify the portrayal of women in the game. However, Sarkeesian herself says that she is looking for a general trend, not to condemn individual games as sexist, AND that most of her examples do have such a context.

          You said she is “too quick to reduce characters to gendered traits and ignore other aspects of their character that may exist in favor of broadly painting them as a problem.”

          Well, in essence, that’s exactly what she set out to do, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Although, “ignore” really is not the right word. What she’s doing is picking patterns out where they are relevant to the general world of games and culture. That’s why she uses words like “trend” and “trope.” And she frequently does, in fact, remind viewers that there are good things about the games or even about the women themselves. In the Super Princess Peach example you mentioned, Sarkeesian is kind enough to applaud the fact that Peach is the protagonist at all, as long overdue as that was. While I’m curious about this point you make that Peach is actually less emotionally unstable than every other character in the game (and would like to see some specific examples), taking the characters out of context IS important when you talk about trends and their impact on society.

          Because consciously or not, children or not, we are all impressionable, and the death is one of a thousand cuts. Only so much of the fine subtlety present in the justification for a certain character reinforcing gender stereotypes is ever going to make it into the brain, let alone stay there. These videos, as Sarkeesian expresses frequently, are not about villifying individual designers or games or female characters; they are simply an analysis of what these games COMBINED say about women, and what that means.

          Some day when there are lots and lots of female game characters of every sort who have all kinds of personalities, maybe ditzy or materialistic or hypersexualized or (insert stereotype) females will be able to exist free of the risk that they will cause harm. But that day is not here. Not even close. That’s why we DO need to pay attention to what each notable example of the very, very few women in these stories says about her gender, which is often the only category she’s tasked with representing.

          And as far as Sarkeesian being the wrong person for the undertaking is concerned, I disagree strongly. As I believe Krystian mentioned in a (brilliant) podcast, the assertion she’s making and is trying to support is very, very unassuming. It is a simple claim that these broad trends exist, and that they send harmful messages. I think you agree with this. You say that “her shallow analysis of some of her examples work to undermine her message at times,” and I understand why. In another life I might have felt the same way, and I’m glad you pointed it out. But I think this misunderstands the goal she’s trying to accomplish, which, again, is not to take a case study approach and contextualize each example of sexist stereotyping to preserve the dignity of game after game, but to outline a trend with points. Which is exactly what she is doing, and she’s doing it quite well.

          She alludes to the context of each example rather than actually contextualizing it. There is some information missing, but there will inherently be information missing when you study a general pattern. At worst, this approach will lead to buffoons among her viewers dismissing certain games altogether, while still becoming more aware of sexism, which one can argue is more important, even for a buffoon. At best, it will lead to intelligent people learning to recognize flaws in the things they love and changing the way they view and make games.

          1. Hey Boogerghost just a quick reply about the Super Princess Peach example you wanted. I replayed the first couple of worlds on my copy and I was surprised to find something that I had forgotten. I’ll address your other points later when I have more time.

            During the opening cinematic you see that Bowser has taken up residence on Vibe island, he did so looking for an artifact known as the vibe scepter. Once he acquires this item he sends a goomba to the mushroom kingdom to test the item out by entering the castle and waving the scepter around while inside. The ability of the vibe scepter is to cause the emotions of those within the immediate vicinity to fluctuate between one of the four vibes I listed in my previous post. In Mario and Luigi’s case they seem to shift towards gloom which renders them unwilling to fight back when the rest of Bowser’s minions storm the castle and capture them.

            After their capture Peach returns from an afternoon walk with her assistant Toadsworth and another toad to find the castle in turmoil as the other toads are all running around with wildly different feelings. (This introduces a quick minigame where you can tap on them to bring them back to their senses on the DS’s lower screen) Peach realizing that Mario and Luigi are in danger exits the castle to go get them. Toadsworth comments that this is to dangerous but quickly changes his mind stating that Peach is “quite capable” and gives her Perry the Parasoul as an additional item as she leaves. Perry is not responsible for Peach’s ability but can aid her by eating smaller enemies to help fill her vibe meter. He can also shapeshift into different forms to offer more different forms of transportation (identical to how Yoshi can transform into a car, submarine, drill-mole, etc in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island)

            Bowser and his troops are also subjected to the vibe scepters ability in a brief comedic moment where the same goomba who first used the scepter is overcome by the vibe of joy and unwittingly uses the staff in his bliss while inside bowser’s castle which explains why he and his troops also have these mood swings. You encounter variants of older mario titles that have different attacks and properties based on what vibe they have. (Angry Goomba’s stomp the ground temporarily stunning you, calm hammer bros will remain asleep unless you disturb them allowing you to bypass them altogether)

            From world 1-1 to the end game their is never really an explanation as to how or why Peach is able to access the four vibes for powerups. The tutorial level gives you full access to them and the only limiting factor is the vibes meter which decreases the longer you stay in a powered up state. This is interesting because this is a similar occurrence to Luigi’s mansion and Super Mario Sunshine where our protagonist is given a permanent ability or item that serves as a core mechanic of the game (as opposed to mushrooms and fire flowers which are limited and conditional in their use). In Mario Sunshine the talking item F.L.U.D.D serves as a means of spraying enemies and environments with water and traversing the terrain with water which fits in with the theme of cleaning up. In Luigi’s Mansion Luigi receives a vacuum cleaner that allows him to -suck up the many ghosts that haunt the house he is stuck inside of. All of these abilities also play into the character of the person they are attached too. (Mario is a plumber and Luigi is perpetually presented as a scaredy cat)

            Much like those two other games the vibes serve as a thematic gameplay mechanic and fits in with the overall theme of ‘different moods’ for that game. But Peach has complete control of these from the getgo and does not have any story moments where these feeling are presented as “out of control” or “Rampaging” unlike other enemies and NPC’s within the game.

            Peach’s ability was part of a larger pattern Nintendo was establishing with it’s core franchise which was adding more permanent gimmicks to the gameplay to add variety. Mario Sunshine is a revamped version of Mario 64 with an added gimmick of a multifaceted supersoaker. Super Princess Peach is a revamp of the original Super Mario formula with the vibes mechanic added in. You can also see this pattern within the Mario Galaxy games as well where the added gimmick of gravity plays a heavy role in how the player solves puzzles.

            I reiterate, this game was never meant to be a PMS joke, nor was it a way to present Peach as having powers derived from her “out-of-control frantic female emotions” to quote Anita on the matter.

  5. “still she responds to selected messages”
    – Sadly, I don’t see that. I have tried to get in touch with her multiple times, but there’s just no way.

    Apart from ALL, really ALL the critics that other people have made, I find it the saddest thing that she only speaks TO us, and not WITH us. So, yeah, she is launching huge discussions, but doesn’t interact.

    The second thing I don’t like is that she had her opinion on everything during the Kickstarter campaign, and did not form it WHILE researching after the campaign. In her announcement video for the Kickstarter campaign you could clearly hear her opinion on all the tropes and how often they occur, roundabout. So, in my opinion, her research time and her final videos are just “writing everything carefully down she has found out so far”. She already HAD her opinion.

    Third thing (last negative one, positives will come after *g*) is directed at Damsel in Distress trope: I really don’t get how a man is supposed to behave if he is not allowed to save his love interest. Apart from the games where this motive is “introduced” cheaply for 5 seconds and then the game starts; there are other games she mentioned where this only happens later, after all characters got introduced nicely (e.g The Darkness): Is the main character not allowed to take revenge on Paulie for killing his love?? What should he do else? What would Anita’s reaction be if the male characters would say “Oh, you abducted/killed my love. …that is sad, but I’ll go home now”?

    The positives: I liked her newest video about the Ms. Male Character very much. I didn’t know this stuff before or thought about it that way, and I agreed with her.
    Another thing I’m glad she pointed out was about the Damsels in Distress, that male characters can almost always escape on their own when imprisoned, and female characters almost always need help.

    1. > I find it the saddest thing that she only speaks TO us, and not WITH us

      Yes, she is not hanging around in the Kotaku comments to answer people that tell her to go to kitchen and make them a sandwich. However, the videos do actually reply to common critique brought up against her. For example in the second video she goes back to address final scene in the ending of Double Dragon Neon, which has been brought up by Thunderf00t in his video.

      > she had her opinion on everything during the Kickstarter campaign

      This sounds counter-intuitive, but it is actually the standard procedure in academic writing. You never claim going “unbiased” into a subject because you never really are. Instead, you tend to write about subjects from an already established point of view. In this case she applied already existing gender study and media analysis theories to games.
      And actually to some extent, it’s the same in science. You FIRST formulate a hypothesis based on casual observation and THEN go into experiments in order to find out if the shoe fits. And you aren’t expected to prove Newton’s Laws of Motion are still valid every time you write a paper that uses them.

      > I really don’t get how a man is supposed to behave if he is not allowed to save his love interest.

      Yes, I’ve seen similar critique come up often. To some extent I agree. If you are looking at it from within the story, there is of course nothing wrong about the behavior of a hero character. On the contrary, saving somebody from distress is a morally applaudable thing to do. Similarly, as Kite Tales pointed out, the victim of a kidnapping isn’t to blame if she isn’t able to escape a kidnapper.
      But I don’t think that’s what FemFreq is arguing. She looks at the story outside-in. She isn’t so much judging the behavior of the characters as the behavior of the writers who came up with such a story to begin with. Why does it always have to be a Woman who gets kidnapped? Why is it always have to be a Man, who chooses to rescue her?

      (P.S.: By the way, mad props for writing a refreshingly level-headed comment)

      1. @Krystian: Well, I obviously DIDN’T mean that she should respond to troll and hate comments, but to the “normal” ones. Of course they are hard to find, but, well…

        ” She isn’t so much judging the behavior of the characters as the behavior of the writers who came up with such a story to begin with. Why does it always have to be a Woman who gets kidnapped? Why is it always have to be a Man, who chooses to rescue her?”
        Hmm, I don’t think so, or rather I meant something different: Yes, she stressed the question why it alsways have to be women to be kidnapped etc., but after this act in a game, she criticized the revenge and rescue act of the man. I remember phrases like “male characters now want to get their possession back and these games perpetuate male power fantasies” – that’s the thing I wanted to get at.

        Thanks for your answer as well.

        1. Hm, not exactly sure what you are referring to. Perhaps you copy a quote? There is a transcript online. This is the part when she talks about possession:

          In fact these games usually frame the loss of the woman as something that has been unjustly “taken” from the male hero.

          Clip- The Darkness II
          “So now I take from you”
          “Jackie, this is not your fault”
          [Gunshot]

          The implication being that she had belonged to him – that she was his possession. Once wronged the hero must then go get his possessions back or at least exact a heavy price for their loss. On the surface victimized women are framed as the reason for the hero’s torment, but if we dig a little deeper into the subtext I’d argue that the true source of the pain stems from feelings of weakness and/or guilt over his failure to perform his “socially prescribed” patriarchal duty to protect his women and children.

          1. In fact, it is just the passage you have just quoted. I just don’t agree with her opinion that games would perpetuate a man’s “socially prescribed patriarchal duty to protect his woman and children” and that this was a bad habit. Because, in my opinion, it is NOT a bad habit. What alternative does Anita see/want?

            Quote from DiD part 2:

            Clip- Devil May Cry 4
            “Let her go!”

            And since the majority of these titles focus of delivering crude, unsophisticated male power fantasies, developers are largely unwilling to give up the Damsel in Distress model as an easy default motivation for their brooding male heroes or anti-heroes.

            1. “I just don’t agree with her opinion that games would perpetuate a man’s “socially prescribed patriarchal duty to protect his woman and children” ”

              Hm, that is tricky, because, what you label “her Opinion” here is a pretty well observed fact and I seriously struggle to find, what it might be, that you are missing here. Do you even accept the premise that there is a socially prescribed patriarchal duty for men to protect woman and children?

              If yes, I really don’t see why it is not obvious to you, that these gender roles are perpetuated by damsel narratives (or better, the abundance of damsel narratives). If no, then I’m confused, how the gender role (man must protect family) is not visible to you. I’m curious, if there are studies about that, so we could give you hard numbers, since your observations obviously differ very strongly.

              As for the question if it is a BAD habit… yes it is. Very much so. Sure, it’s important for a parent or spouse to care about family and fight to protect it. But when you always portrait this fight as something the man has to do, we get into trouble. Because this pushes women and children into passive roles and makes the man solely responsible for the family’s well being.

              The real life repercussions of those tropes are that it is widely socially accepted that it is the role of the man to provide for the family, pushing the woman into a house wife/ mother role. This makes it harder for women to pursue careers and harder for men to become family fathers at home.

              It also supports narratives, that lead to domestic abuse, since much of domestic abuse is based on reasons, that the man – being the provider – feels entitled to favors, sex, service and to be treated as a superior by their wifes. They pay for it, so they own it.

              I’d also like you to change your view on Anita’s videos from “her opinions” and “what does she want”, because the videos are actually not about her opinions. She is arguing from sociology, media studies, feminist theory, nit personal perspective. So it is kind of mute to debate what she thinks. Her thoughts do not materialize the problems, the problems are already there and I for example knew about tose issues way before she ever popped up on my radar.

              1. I think there are two points here we should separate.

                1. The question if the damsel trope perpetrates the idea that a man’s duty is to protect his family.

                2. The question if that’s a bad thing.

                I think it is fair to be skeptical about the first one. A character might be protecting another character for reasons that don’t have anything to do with what the writer thinks the society expects from them. However, the fact that so overwhelmingly often men are doing the protecting and women are the ones in need of protection strongly suggests that beside the display of altruism, there is a social role expectation at play here – whether it is intended by the writers or not.
                At least you should admit that this CAN be a plausible interpretation. Unless you have some striking evidence to the contrary.

                As for the second question – when you are arguing this you kinda already at least conceded to the first one.

                And again it may sound like it’s positive – men taking care of their family. But in real-life, this can have seriously problematic consequences. The Admin already mentioned the female side of things. But this particular point really struck home with me because it shows that this can be harmful for men as well. As a man, your family might be in danger from things that you have no control over – illnesses, divorces, unemployment. When you grow up with the belief that it’s a man’s job to keep your folks safe and shit hits the fan, it will ruin you emotionally if you realize that unlike in the movies, you actually can’t do anything.

                To give you an example: My parents divorced, my dad lost a job because of reasons he had no control over. This de-railed him so completely he started suffering from extreme depression. Had to take heavy medication for most of his life. He went into psychiatric institutes multiple times. This made things only worse – instead of being there for his family he felt he was being a burden. Because of his illness, he never recovered. He never got job. He lived the rest of his life feeling guilty about not being able to provide for us. I tried to explain but when you grow up surrounded by those heroic male ideals, you adopt those values so deeply. It’s a much more subtle and insidious effect than the media scare tactics like “Games make gamers into serial killers”.

                And to some extent this is actually very close to what MRAs like Thunderf00t point out – the man as the disposable gender – the guy has to shut up and do all the dirty work. Big boys don’t cry. I find it funny that such extreme opposites actually almost align here.

                Games show these broken male heroes go on those revenge quests to make things right. In real-life there is no such thing as a person you can punch to solve your problems. Of course heroes are great. But we should balance things out. We should also have male characters who are vulnerable, who can ask others for help and still be a cool guy.

                There have been two movies recently that deal very well with this issue: The Prisoners and Don Jon. Wholeheartedly recommend both!

                1. Hi Krystian!
                  As for your example with your father: As a conclusion, do you say that your father would have managed this disease/depression differently if he hadn’t come into contact with video games with such tropes? (had he played such games in the first place?)
                  What I mean is: Okay, I acknowledge the example, but how is it related to the games we’re discussing here?

                  1. > As a conclusion, do you say that your father would have managed this disease/depression
                    > differently if he hadn’t come into contact with video games with such tropes?

                    Yes, I believe is his upbringing had been less strictly conservative he would have better prepared to deal with such a situation.

                    It is true that it wasn’t the medium of video-games that exposed to this trope, it was movies and books in his case. I have cited this as a example to demonstrate how this gender stereotype can be harmful.

                2. Hey, thanks for sharing the story of your family here. This is an angle I have not looked at until now.

              2. Hi Anjin (aah, you’re from Germany too, greetz, I’m from Hamburg)!

                I actually wanted to get at the “I just don’t agree with her opinion that games would perpetuate a man’s “socially prescribed patriarchal duty to protect his woman and children AND THAT THIS WAS A BAD HABIT”, at the last thing. But, to answer you nonetheless: Yes, I believe that there is this socially prescribed patriarchal duty.

                But let’s concentrate on the “if this was a bad habit”: You wrote:

                It also supports narratives, that lead to domestic abuse, since much of domestic abuse is based on reasons, that the man – being the provider – feels entitled to favors, sex, service and to be treated as a superior by their wifes

                In fact, this is the core reason/statement I don’t agree with, or at least not to such an extent like you. Just to avoid misunderstandings I’ll put it differently: You believe that games where men rescue their women and take revenge on the villains perpetuate domestic violence in real life?
                I personally don’t think so. Similar to the “killer game debate” where people say that certain video games make players more brutal and are the reason for gun rampages; I’d be cautious to say that revenge-taking and wife-rescuing male heroes make a brutal man in real life towards your wife out of you.

                As for the last topic: Hmm okay, I know that Anita does research about sociology, media studies and so on, but if I personally think that she drew the wrong conclusions from it at some points, then I have a different opinion than her. Or how should I put it?

                1. “You believe that games where men rescue their women and take revenge on the villains perpetuate domestic violence in real life?”
                  Yes, though the way you phrased it makes it sounds much less complicated, than it actually is. The key word however is “perpetuate”. If you would have asked me if I think they “cause” domestic violence or “make people violent”, I would have said no.

                  It is important to understand for you, that claims like when people say “certain video games make players more brutal and are the reason for gun rampages” are NOT similar to the feminist claims in the tropes versus women videos or similar to claims that I would make. For three reasons:

                  1. Statistically gun rampages are not as common as sexual or domestic violence. Gun rampages are a problem sure and horrible crimes, but they are not normal. Violence against women statistically is. This means we have to look for reasons, which make it so normal to sexually assault women or so normal for domestic violence to occur. And these reasons are cultural, meaning the inhibition threshold for violence against women is rather low.

                  2. It is not debatable if gun violence is bad. When a school shooting happens, nobody goes “The students where asking for it.” or “The students somehow must have provoked to shooter.” It is clear in culture, that shooting up a class room is an evil act. However violence against spouses and sexual assault unfortunately aren’t. Victim blaming and rape culture are alive and well.

                  1+2. We do not have a cultural problem with gun rampages. Gun rampages are individual incidents. We do however have a cultural problem with violence against women and sexual assault, because it is common and when it happens many people defend it and/or attack the victim further.

                  3. Attacks on games considering gun violence usually come from people, who are looking for a clearly defined entity to blame and to rally against, ignoring the intricate interplay between all media (advertising, books, films, music, games etc.), public education, parenting and peer to peer influence. I have yet to read or see ONE feminist critic who pretends, that games are to be singled out as the MAIN cause for problematic behavior. All feminist critics I have seen or read ever, always looked at games as one part in the network of media influence, never singled it out as a cause.

                  Connecting school massacres to video games is completely different from connecting the perpetuation (!) of violence against women to games. So, when I say sexism in games perpetuates sexist behavior in real life, I’m saying that they confirm, sometimes glorify sexist attitudes. And this confirmation leaves real life sexism not only unchallenged it confirms it. It makes people more confident and feel more justified in their sexist behavior. And in unfortunately many cases, the media influences, education, family upbringing and peers can add up to common forms of violent behavior.

                  1. Ah okay, I see your point and agree a little more with the separation of gun rampages and domestic violence. Thanks for pointing that out so clearly.

                    After all, it’s a really shitty topic :( . I mean, it’s “only games”, and people are so easily influenced by this?? Damn, one should be able to do something about it… *sigh*
                    On the one hand, we gamers want to put emphasize on our beloved games and that they are so deep and memorable and important, and on the other hand the sentence “D’uh, it’s only a GAME!!” is pretty necessary sometimes.

                    PS: Enjoying the conversation as well very much ;) . Moinmoin zurück!

                2. BTW, I’m enjoying the conversation very much.

                  Moinmoin and greetz to my former hometown Hamburch ;) as well.

    2. HEy, Andrea…

      “…her final videos are just “writing everything carefully down she has found out so far”. She already HAD her opinion.”

      Yes, that is exactly my impression as well. But that is a good thing. Her Kickstarter was not about “studies to find IF there are problematic tropes”… “if” was not the question, BTW I knew that those tropes were prevalent way before she announced her videos, and so did many other people who looked into it.

      I understand that it’s often argued, that she went into the videos with a bias that made her cherrypick information… …and yes, that is a danger, when people WANT their hypothesis to be true (conspiracy theorists, for example). There is no evidence for cherrypicking here. She already explored a lot of relevant content in her work on other media forms (toys, advertising, music, film). If anything, her research made her discover (and then share in video form) how deep the rabbit hole in games actually goes.

      Her Kickstarter was about making a video series to educate audiences about those tropes. The research provided much needed history, a wide range of tangible examples and sources (that stuff takes a hell lot of research time). … the goal of said research was not to find out IF those tropes are worth being concerned about. They are, they always have been, way before video games even existed.

      As for her communication habits, going into public dialog would be masochistic at best. Hostile people succesfully forced her to keep out of comment sections and forums. But there is replies in her media output and I got one or two quick responses from her as well. Considering the environment she has to work with, she stays remarkably visible. But I understand that this situation is frustrating for people who would want to engage her in a productive manner, since most of them a shut out now as well.

      As for the third concern, the damsel stories… Yes, the story itself is perfectly fine (most of the time). The thing with tropes is not the problems of each individual instance. Individual instances are never problematic… …you can ignore individual instances. You can’t however ignore harmful patterns. The damsel trope is problematic because it is a prevalent narrative…

      …a narrative, which is presenting situations in which incompetent women are saved by competent men and then reward those men with sexual favors for their competence.
      … a narrative, which is presenting women as trophies to be stolen villains and retrieved by heroes.

      Sure, stories can be like that, no problem. They even can be great. But the situations above should not be the prevalent perspective on men and women. It should not be a prevalent sentiment to have women be viewed as objects. But the abundance of stories, that paint that picture makes it a prevalent view… … in real life. Though in real life the expressions of those harmful views are much more coded and creeping instead of in your face as they are in fiction.

      Maybe she missed out on making that more clear, I don’t know.

      Cheers.

      1. @Third concern: Hmm, I’m not quite sure if this satisfies my concerns. I think I can differentiate between individual instances and the harmful patterns you mentioned, but my take is exactly Anita’s critique of men wanting to rescue the girl and take revenge on the villain, which she described as “perpetuating male power fantasies, the feeling that the woman is the man’s possession”. I really do not not see that.

  6. machineman, please go away.
    if you stay – people like you usually stay – tell me what is at stake here?
    What would happen if we would never see both tropes she described in her video?
    I dont care if her arguments are valid or not. What changes for you personaly?
    I my opinion nothing. So why are you fighting this useless moronic fight?

    And why are you so emotional? dont be a wuss please

  7. Oh yes, because the thousands of videos poking holes in her arguments were all motivated by a sexist desire to oppress women (Kite Tales says what?).

    Now, that was sarcasm, but I just wanted to make sure.

    We don’t want Anita Sarkeesian anywhere near video games. She’s basically Jack Thompson in hoop earrings, someone who’s exploiting her status as “damsel of the month” for internet money, and neoliberal game journalists won’t stop harping on how “horrible” and “abusive” being trolled on the internet is.

    Wanna know how to stop cyberbullying? It’s called an off button. I have zero sympathy for those who refuse to help themselves and wallow in their victimhood (something that feminism in recent years seems to be espousing).

    All Anita does is complain, offering no alternative to these “harmful” tropes that “oppress women”. And given how her arguments often contradict each other, it seems to Anita, the only acceptable female character is some kind of feminist Mary Sue, appealing only to feminists and no one else.

    But the biggest and most damning evidence against this professional victim is a video in which she boldfacedly comes out and admits that she isn’t even a fan of video games, or has any interest.

    Which I suppose explains why her videos are riddled with research errors, context errors, an over-reliance on long lists of examples, conspiracy theory, an a total lack of counter-argument.

    But go ahead and ignore this, just like the rest of her blind supporters who assume Feminism=automatically right. Given your track record, it would not surprise me in the slightest.

    1. MachineMan1992 I get the feeling that you don’t have that much experience when it comes to science and/or research. Your assumption that you have to be a fan of a topic in order to be allowed to research it or speak about it publicly is rather disturbing.

      Every science knows several approaches to its topic. Anthro sciences for example know (amongst many others) social, cultural, philosophical or feminist approaches to study human nature and history. The same goes for reviews. And neither has to be objective nor do they have to include everything that was ever said or done about a topic.

      Every researcher, every reviewer will always point out the things that are important to them. Every researcher and reviewer is always aware of the fact that their truth is not THE truth. For in research and reviews there is no such thing as THE truth, there is only A truth, a part of the whole picture. To demand the whole picture when someone like Anita Sarkeesian only wants to high-light a part of the picture (and explicitly says so beforehand) is a little silly, don’t you think?

    2. > But the biggest and most damning evidence

      I’ve seen a lot of people latch on to this. I find find quite amusing. Apparently the WORST thing you could do in the eyes of gamers is to admit that you aren’t a gamer. There are several assumptions at play here. One is that you can clearly define what a “gamer” is. The other is that in order to make true statements about games, you need to be a dedicated gaming person.

      Let us try a thought experiment. Who could better point out scientific inaccuracies in the Space Science-Fiction videogames? – a person who plays a lot of games but has no scientific education or an actual astronomer, who isn’t a “gamer”.

      If not being a “gamer” is Anita’s most damning mistake, then I’d say she’s doing pretty well. XD

      1. It’s the lies that hurt the most; she lied. Full stop. End of story.

        And even then, her work is so piss poor researched, so full of jumping to predrawn conclusions that, as someone who does do research on a regular basis, I find unbelievably offensive.

        No, you don’t have to be gamer to comment on games. But, no, you don’t get to be taken as seriously as you’d like. It’s just another of her many contradictions. She’d approaching this as someone who loves vidya gaems, but there is nothing that would satisfy her; Strong woman? Man with boobs. Weak woman? Damsel in distress. Sexy fighter? Fighting Fucktoy. Ugly villainess? “She’s evil cuz she’s ugly!” Pretty villainess? She probably falls into the previous categories, or she pulls something out of her ass about “patriarchy” or how have a female bad guy is somehow offensive to women.

        She’s full of shit, and only the most willfully blind and/or oblivious can ignore the issues her body of work has.

        But hey, I was right about one thing, and that’s her supporters will never, ever admit that there’s anything wrong with her.

        1. > It’s the lies that hurt the most; she lied. Full stop. End of story.

          Did she? She identified as a game person in front of one crowd while she distanced herself from violent games in front of a different crowd years ago. Considering the vague wording, how blurry the term “gamer” is and how irrelevant it is to the discussion, I’d say this is a desperate attempt at mud slinging.

          > But, no, you don’t get to be taken as seriously as you’d like

          Really? So if, say, Neil deGrasse Tyson pointed out scientific inaccuracies in Mass Effect you would scoff at him? A gamer ought to know about science in games just because plays games? I’m sure you see the irrationality of this position as clearly as I do.

          As for “not taken seriously” – If only “not taken seriously” was the problem. But what is happening is very different. It’s not like people don’t take her seriously. They are being aggressive and offensive against her. Quite frankly, it proves her point.

          > but there is nothing that would satisfy her

          She mentions positive examples about games in every episode. Also, at the beginning of every episode she stresses out that you can do BOTH – love games AND be critical of them at the same time.

          I see you are clearly being upset. Calm down, it’s really not that big of a deal. She isn’t saying that hasn’t been said about movies or books before. If games are to be taken seriously, we game enthusiasts need to get used to similar analysis and critique. You don’t seriously believe that games were somehow a magical wonder medium that miraculously avoided all the social issues associated with other media?

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