No Right Answer: Is Anita Sarkeesian Wrong?

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Is Anita Sarkeesian Wrong?

Dan and Chris decided to ring in the new year with setting off the largest explosive they had...debating against Anita Sarkeesian on the internet.

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I think that you guys are the best thing on this website by virtue of not being pushy and arrogant... You sometimes make me laugh too.

Keep it up, guys. You're likable.

Huh, that was surprisingly well-thought out and measured, well done guys. Now... inb4 shitstorm, because let's be honest we all know what's going to happen at this point, I'll be in my secret underwater base if anyone needs me...

Pretty much my thoughts on FF: good points poorly made. She raises important questions, in old, shallow, and uninteresting ways without offering much in the way of answers.

Hold on, she needed $6000 to change back ground colors for her web series? Money well spent.

I guess I don't understand what all the hubbub is about. Some lady wanted to put on a talk show about women's issues in games and did. Why does that cause such an epidemic of hate and internet flaming? But what can I say that has not already been said by movie bob and no right answer?

No, Anita isn't wrong, for the most part. She's just making her point in the most boring way possible.

It was really funny to watch the start of this video and notice that it had just 1 comment :P

OT: On board with you guys, and I barely know who Anita S. is.

Also, FUCK YEAH! BRUCE CAMPBELL! HAIL TO THE KING BABY!

SlightlyEvil:
... good points poorly made. She raises important questions, in old, shallow, and uninteresting ways without offering much in the way of answers.

Add: "Failing on taking feminism out of academia." If only Jim Sterling and Bob Chipman would admit that we could be done with her forever.

As requested, I am contributing to the comment shitstorm.

Also, I like it when you guys agree with each other and take a stance on something super-serious! You should do this more.

Nicely balanced discussion that addresses some of the points that have been bothering me with this whole Sarkeesian thing. She makes some good points, but the way she does it is often a bit ehhhh...

What bothers me in particular is the inability to have a discussion about it without being labeled one thing or another. One the one hand, if you agree with her, you're the industry killing party pooper (like the industry will immediately collapse if women are represented differently). On the other hand, if you don't agree with her, you're a misogynist bent on enslaving women (in a society where women generally have longer, safer, healthier, happier lives than men, I don't see how video games are breaking it all down, but whatever).

To me, the solution has always been simple. The problem isn't that women are often represented in stereotypical ways (it's male power fantasy in a piece of escapist media, what's the problem?). It's that they aren't represented in other ways as well (or enough). That the industry doesn't pay attention to what women want. Other industries (TV, music, toys, electronics, medical, you name it) have been doing that for years and it worked out really well for them and for women. Hell, even a traditional male product like LEGO saw the female line being the best sold in the past year. So go do it!

bdcjacko:
Hold on, she needed $6000 to change back ground colors for her web series? Money well spent.

I guess I don't understand what all the hubbub is about. Some lady wanted to put on a talk show about women's issues in games and did. Why does that cause such an epidemic of hate and internet flaming? But what can I say that has not already been said by movie bob and no right answer?

Someone spam her kickstarter on 4chan and 4chan got pissed. Gaming Journalism decided to blame the gamers for it. Making a bigger shitstorm, as one group got the blame as much as 4chan. Though the troll was ignored for starting shit.

GundamSentinel:
Nicely balanced discussion that addresses some of the points that have been bothering me with this whole Sarkeesian thing. She makes some good points, but the way she does it is often a bit ehhhh...

What bothers me in particular is the inability to have a discussion about it without being labeled one thing or another. One the one hand, if you agree with her, you're the industry killing party pooper (like the industry will immediately collapse if women are represented differently). On the other hand, if you don't agree with her, you're a misogynist bent on enslaving women (in a society where women generally have longer, safer, healthier, happier lives than men, I don't see how video games are breaking it all down, but whatever).

To me, the solution has always been simple. The problem isn't that women are often represented in stereotypical ways (it's male power fantasy in a piece of escapist media, what's the problem?). It's that they aren't represented in other ways as well. That the industry doesn't pay attention to what women want. Other industries (TV, music, toys, electronics, medical, you name it) have been doing that for years and it worked out really well for them and for women. Hell, even a traditional male product like LEGO saw the female line being the best sold in the past year. So go do it!

That's false though, the game industry does pay attention to female gamers, the problem can be summed up looking for JRPG's in a community filled with FPS's. Your escapistmagazine, IGN, Gametrailers, and such are part of the male market of gaming. In this case we are asking why the male market of gaming dominated by men doesn't cater to females as much as males.

Honestly it one of the things that pissed me off in this debate. The fact that people are calling it sexist that one market caters to one gender over the other because they are the majority of the consumers.

Well, at least you were honest about pandering to get comments, so I'll post one ;)

But seriously, you both seemed to agree on every point, so what exactly was the point of the episode? Didn't this used to be a debate show?

Just a note even with the archived link of where someone using the name Anita solicited here kickstarter on 4chan.

It is against the rules on 4chan to solicit anything. Even the initial reactions to the spam was asking for mods to remove the posts because it is against the TOS. The problem is the spam just kept coming.

But my god just let the topic die already.

wether you'r talking about religion, racism or sexism, there are always going to be people on both sides who have been burned by haters and ignorant arguments so much so that they eventually just turn into one-track haters themselves...It's refreshing to see that you can still have an opinion but be level-headed about it.

I think Anita raises some interesting points in her videos, but I agree about the money, where did all that go? I'd like to see what she has to say about that.

You guys need to re-do this episode with a woman against and one for the argument. You two basically disagreeing does nothing to stop the blatant white knighting on Anita's behalf.

bdcjacko:

I guess I don't understand what all the hubbub is about. Some lady wanted to put on a talk show about women's issues in games and did. Why does that cause such an epidemic of hate and internet flaming? But what can I say that has not already been said by movie bob and no right answer?

Jimquisition has the answer to that. All her past videos mainly stayed in the realm of online feminist circles. It was the gaming community itself that blew her up and gave her more prominence.

There was a post on these forums that also gave an explanation. I'm inclined to agree with it:

1. She's a woman.
2. She's a feminist.
3. She's directly targeting videogames.

Each of these independently can cause internet rage. Combining them caused a massive shitstorm.

Sarkeesian presents *some* points that could be considered good - and she's certainly brought the debate into the spotlight - but yeah, I agree, she needs to lose the Sacred Cow status and open up this "discussion" she keeps referring to from behind her moderated blog posts and wall of white knights.

It's not a case her sentiment or intentions are wrong, moreso the way she's gone about it. I find it very difficult - as a female gamer - to be convinced there's a real problem when you're pointing to games from almost 30 years ago. Times have changed and, whilst we're still nowhere close to solving the issues surrounding sexism in games, things are certainly getting better.

At the very least, we now have indie studios which don't design games around what some bone-headed marketing exec thinks (herpin derp, as my demographics tell me white, straight, males are the only people to play videogames ever, so make one for them - with extra tits and explosions, just so they know we really 'get' them).

She was given a stage where she could have sent out a really strong message, yet she seems more interested in 'look at me! I did a course on women studies once - watch as I find examples to fit my clever ideas, rather than taking time to highlight very real and current problems'.

All in all, wasted potential. Then again, she was only aiming to make a small video series; I can grant that my ideas aren't necessarily her intention. Perhaps it isn't fair to expect more from her than what she initially planned - it's not like she asked for all that money.

It's not funny if you agree and just make valid points... :(

Anita who? I just want to play enjoyable games. I don't care what it takes to make them enjoyable.

While I think women ARE underrepresented in games, I just think Anita is going the wrong way with her train of thinking. I mean, she'll literally cherry pick examples just to support her argument. It's just annoying that to her, if a man EVER saves a woman, they're doing that because they think they own the woman rather than them caring for that person and wanting to save them out of the goodness of their heart. I ESPECIALLY hated when she brought examples such as Maria in Gears of War 2 being killed as "violence against women" when it is instead a mercy killing, something that was NEVER exclusive to women. And these guys are right, you can't say ANYTHING negative about her without being called a sexist patriarchy supporter (god I despise that term). And considering she's actually getting involved with the gaming industry, one can say she IS dangerous considering she's having a direct effect on gaming.

I wish that woman with her massive victim complex would just slide back into obscurity where she belongs.
It was pretty clear she was full of shit after seeing her first video.
"Extensive research" apparently neither includes playing the game she talks about nor citing the sources of the videos the ripped footage from.

Her idea of how a man "objectifies" a woman by wanting to save her is downright sociopathic, her decrying female gender identifiers while literally being covered in them head to toe is laughable and I can only wonder what other nuggets she'll inevitably provide us with in the future.

I would love to see you guys debate with Anita. I'm willing to bet that it would make far more interesting discussion than what she has been putting out. I never felt she was worth hating, she's entitled to her opinions and she isn't entirely wrong about the need to look at these tropes and maybe move beyond them. However, I don't believe her videos have a solution/recommendation/change that could be used. I could be wrong, I just don't remember hearing her mention anything like that.

Also:

tzimize:
Also, FUCK YEAH! BRUCE CAMPBELL! HAIL TO THE KING BABY!

You fools. Do you know what you have done.
The shitstorm! You have begun it!

It's good to see the comments seem to be intellectual discussion (ish), instead of sexism and hate speech that a lot of people would expect of the gaming community.

You makeum good agrument. Me cannot fault logic.

Yeah, I'm not really interested in getting too involved in this discussion but I have to say that I found this video a bit disappointing. I mean, it's nice that you didn't attack her person and all but I think some of the points you made were lazy. The money point especially. She clearly states on her Kickstarter page that "Your support will go towards production costs, equipment, games and downloadable content.". Asking for 6k for that doesn't seem unreasonable, especially if you take into account that
a) she bought a huge stack of games with that money
b) you don't know if she needed to upgrade her equipment for the project.
Showing photos of her pre-Kickstarter recording equipment is a non-argument since you don't know if any of those machines were on it's deathbed when she started the project.

The second argument that seems lazy is the whole 'you can't say anything against her or you'll get labeled as sexist'. This seems like a massive overstatement to me since most of the pro-feminist posters on the Escapist (and on other pages) have expressed disagreements and/or indifference towards Sarkeesian's project and I've never seen anyone call them sexist for it. I'm sure it happens but not to the extent you seem to imply here.

But yeah... meh.

I'm disappointed in this episode. I was expecting some back and forth 'this is why she's wrong/right' but both of you took the same side. Can't be helped I guess if that's how you feel.

The very CORE of the entirety of Anita's series is that there are very specific ways that women are portrayed in gaming, it's been that way for a long time, and there's very rarely deviation. It's fine to say that some people like Peach in Smash Bros because of her move set, but her actual character is founded almost exclusively on her being rescued. And I think it's also interesting to note that of the three examples you mentioned (granted just off the top of your head)had nothing to do with her actual CHARACTER.

She brings up games such as Double Dragon (an old as fuck game) and Duke Nukem Forever (a shitty game no one liked) because they demonstrate traditions in the CREATION of video games that have been around for ages and aren't going away with time.

I don't think there's anything WRONG with fan service. Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball isn't inherently EVIL. It's the fact that such fan service is an industry staple rather than an exception. Not to mention there's almost no fanservice for any other gender or sexuality aside from straight guy.

I DO think that it's important to have this sort of discussion because HOPEFULLY it will open more people up to the idea that there's something wrong with the games industry.

That last statement: "She shouldn't have the ONLY opinion."

That really sums up the real problem right there because it's pretty much a universal problem with our world. Politics, religion, and especially internet debates...problems seem to arise not because people have an opinion but because they take the stance of "I'm right, and if you don't agree with me there is something wrong with you that needs to be fixed."

Anita has kind of done that. Oh sure, she does have a point, and even MovieBob pointed out as much. But, along with the fact she presented it in a very droll and boring way, there was no wiggle room for reinterpretation or discussion. If you have an opinion, that's good...but if you have an opinion and don't allow others a chance to provide a counterpoint without being made to look like the bad guy, you inadvertantly make yourself look like the bad guy.

I never really got a chance to see the entire vids because...well, I lost interest and had to stop watching them before I fell asleep and destroyed my keyboard in the process. But, I can definitely see that Anita has taken the time to try and present something that did not offend...even being respectful to those in the industry like Miyamoto. I just wish there was some semblance of being open to the opposing viewpoint or even provide some examples of the opposite. (I still remember getting marked off on a paper in high school because I provided more points in favor of my opinion and fewer points in favor of the opposite...even though the paper was supposed to talk about BOTH sides.)

Anyways...just my two cents on that. Take it as you will. (Especially considering how little value the penny has nowadays...)

Uhura:
Yeah, I'm not really interested in getting too involved in this discussion but I have to say that I found this video a bit disappointing. I mean, it's nice that you didn't attack her person and all but I think some of the points you made were lazy. The money point especially. She clearly states on her Kickstarter page that "Your support will go towards production costs, equipment, games and downloadable content.". Asking for 6k for that doesn't seem unreasonable, especially if you take into account that
a) she bought a huge stack of games with that money
b) you don't know if she needed to upgrade her equipment for the project.
Showing photos of her pre-Kickstarter recording equipment is a non-argument since you don't know if any of those machines were on it's deathbed when she started the project.

Yeah I feel like after a point any crowd funded money can just be considered a donation. I mean, what did people really expect she'd do? Buy a studio or something? She got the money she asked for, and is doing exactly what she said she'd do. And just because we as viewers can't see much difference in the production quality doesn't mean that there was no investment in production equipment/skills.

Tenmar:
Just a note even with the archived link of where someone using the name Anita solicited here kickstarter on 4chan.

It is against the rules on 4chan to solicit anything. Even the initial reactions to the spam was asking for mods to remove the posts because it is against the TOS. The problem is the spam just kept coming.

But my god just let the topic die already.

Some people forget that you can just report the thread and let it die... By most people I mean 99% of people.

As for the video, they got it spot on. Kudos to you! By far the most level headed discussion I've heard about the issue, either in favor or against the issue Anita poses. I hope she does see this and comes on the show, would be interesting to see for sure.

My main issue is the notion of focusing all that money on tropes, on known stereotypes, because they are already known. Interesting conversations I've had around topics with her have concluded that the issue is less of....."There are these tropes in games"....and more of...."There are not not enough of the exceptions to the tropes." I feel it's silly to focus on "known stereotypes" (which again, are known), when the main focus should be on propagating the exceptions. Rather than complain about how things are, propagate the changes. Support some development studio that's breaking the mold or even work on a game yourself. I also take issue with how (from what I understand in Bob's article) she makes the vitriolic backlash part of her presentations. I would rather see her ignore jerks on the internet than make a focus on them, inviting the "white knight" stuff. Makes me suspicious of certain more radical vitriol given how much support it net her....but I'm just paranoid.

Other note, I dislike the term feminism. I like the term equality.

Magenera:

Honestly it one of the things that pissed me off in this debate. The fact that people are calling it sexist that one market caters to one gender over the other because they are the majority of the consumers.

It's not even an issue that Sarkeesian has brought up; it's just the issue that the firestorm of hate and trolling has made more visible.
I remember reading about and discussing this issue over 10 years ago when the more obviously pandering shit like the Dead or Alive games or even "The Guy Game" came up, and whether that issue of "girls don't play video games" was just a joke or unsettling commentary on our medium.

Sarkeesian is a voice trying to approach an exceedingly difficult and touchy subject.
But she's not the voice who is accomplishing anything, as she offers little to no real insight on how to overcome the core problem: Why are women less interested (or at least less overtly invested) in video games, and how does the industry approach making them more inviting to women without hampering creative freedom or coming across as patronizing?

The most I have EVER seen Ms Sarkeesian offer towards answering that question in relation to her subject is a hypothetical princess empowerment game. Apart from that, she's a wrecking ball. She tears down and destroys her subject without offering plans to rebuild, and this attitude, at least to me, is why I can see her more as an aggressor than a mediator.

And that's ignoring all of the problems I have with her methods. A mountain of problems.
Problems that have NOTHING to do with gender.

Dan and Chris are firestarters. Twisted firestarters....

We know that Anita must have spent some money on improving the after effects & video intros.

Fed up of the discussion on money: "What did she need $6000 for?"

How about anything? A Big Mac doesn't cost what they charge for it, nor does a car, nor does a football performance, nor does a lecture. She went for an amount of money that she decided was reasonable for her time, considering the subject at hand. To throw into perspective, in my industry it's standard to charge about US$1650 (equivalent, I'm not in America)for every hour spent working for a client. People don't just do 3 hours per week either, I'm talking solid 9 hour days, everyday, and that's not even close to what top earners are on.

Is $160,000 a lot? Sure. However arguing whether she deserves it, or whether people are getting what they paid for, is stupid. People knew what they were getting, and they paid for it. If they didn't know what they were getting, they deserve to loose their money, because she was very clear about what she was going to deliver.

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