No Right Answer: Is Anita Sarkeesian Wrong?

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The biggest problem I have with her is that she turned off comments on her videos so there is no real discussion between her and anyone who takes the time to watch her videos.

This video is the most level-headed discussion about Sarkeesian and her views I've ever watched! You guys calmly and cleverly pointed out where and what she does wrong, unlike Anita herself (oh snap!).

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 (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!

This. The name-calling you highlighted shows how I simultaneously respect and abhor the power that words have to change things. Maybe that comes from me not being naturally talkative.

Ah, The Escapist!

Extra Punctuation: "Comments totally suck and you suck for making comments"
No Right Answer: "Hey, let's troll for comments!"

Your point was waaaay too level headed and agreeable, guys. I suspect only 300 comments at most.

conholio23:
The biggest problem I have with her is that she turned off comments on her videos so there is no real discussion between her and anyone who takes the time to watch her videos.

This sentiment right here, I wholeheartedly disagree with though. Critical Miss on this website made the best point. The comments section on youtube is a useless pit full of assclowns and morons. Don't need to hear their opinions. I'll leave it to the at-least-somewhat well thought out video responses and critiques to learn of others' opinions, thunderf00t in particular.

Eh, to perhaps get you guys some more comments ( come on people, 2000 minimum! ), I'll go and disagree with you guys on one point.

I think games like Duke Nukem Forever, DoA boob volleyball and such are good things for the industry. They're not my taste, in fact I've never played them but I do think it's good they exist.

In my opinion the problem is that there's nothing on the other side of the spectrum.

There's no Twilight of gaming. There's no Fifty Shades, the video game. There's no Pride and Prejudice Online ( although I hear it's being made, awesome thing! ).

The current range of video games, on a scale of stereotypical ( and incorrect ) gender affinity, goes from stereotypical hyper-masculine ( not to be mistaken with actual real masculinity ) tits and violence to more-or-less gender neutral.

I'd say where the game industry is failing isn't in the tits and violence area. I'd say they're failing on the exact opposite side of that spectrum. There's no games ( that I know of ) whose fanbase consists almost solely of teenage girls, no games whose fanbase consists almost solely of housewives. At best there's Facebook puzzle games and the like equally 'enjoyed' by bored people of all genders everywhere.

And certainly I want more respectable and relatable female protagonists in games that can be enjoyed by all genders. But at the same time for the sake of making that happen and massively increasing diversity I think the industry would be much better off if the next game wasn't that but instead a Twilight-equivalent. A game utterly despised by the current stereotypical gamer with a massive audience of teenage girls and young women. The culture shock publishers would experience would be all worth it, even if I would never ever play that game.

Batou667:
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.

If you want to have a decent discussion, how about giving up the ridiculous term "white knight" for starters? It's about as useful as coming into a debate calling people "feminazis" or "redneck hicks" and in 99% of times it is used it is not relevant or true.

conholio23:
The biggest problem I have with her is that she turned off comments on her videos so there is no real discussion between her and anyone who takes the time to watch her videos.

An irony you said that. Seeing as how good ol' Yahtzee made an article just a few days ago that basically praised the idea of banishing comments from the internet because he deems them stupid and not worth the digital ink it's printed on. The hypocrisy coming from the sheer amount of people agreeing and praising what he said is baffling because for some reason, when Yahtzee does it, it's perfectly all right, yet for some reason when Anita somewhat puts that philosophy into practice it is meet with ire, hate, and distaste.

PcaKes:

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.

What was expected was research, or at least meaningful research. As structured, her videos are decent if dull feminism 101 info packs using video games as the demonstrative medium. Fine, but you don't need to play Super Mario Bros to know there's a princes to be rescued in it. Even for things not ingrained in pop culture, nothing she's put forth isn't something that couldn't be found doing wikipedia searches or running down tv tropes. I was honestly hoping for some actual numbers since I don't believe critical analysis of the industry is well done by simply making a simple listing of its failings and using that to stereotype. You kind of have to measure how the failings compare to the positives, acknowledge and address the context as to why some decisions you don't like are made, and as this was a project based in gender issues, numeric comparisons as to male and female treatment.

We got none of that in lieu of something that content wise, I can't see actually needing funding, and really just says that a sexist trope exists without actually proving its total prevalence or offering alternatives. Not money well spent

I just know this, no matter what's going on in the rest of the gaming industry, with whatever tropes here or there...

... I am STILL utterly destroyed that my ideal female gaming role model, Samus Aran, took such a horrifyingly depressing nosedive into being one of the WORST female characters I've had the misfortune of spending time with in Metroid: Other M. What the hell happened there?

Second place to Aya Brea in The 3rd Birthday. She was unbelievably amazing, awesome, and strong in Parasite Eve. Ugh. UGH.

"Anita, if you see this, we'd love to have you on our show."
Gee, I don't know if a 5-minute video is enough for whatever she might have to point out. An hour is enough for us to perhaps realize, "You know, she is actually smart and not just sounding smart. She's alright."

This is a job for Media Sandwich! How about you guys bring it back? It's been over a year since the last one.

Considering the topic, I'm surprised they didn't bring up all the inaccuracies and Lets Play video thefts and such.

To address their main point though. She brought up Spelunky as a negative example of a trope (you have to rescue a girl!) even though it specifically let you switch that model out with a buff dude or dog instead, and when everyone said "Hey! You're doing him wrong in a very public and awful way!" HE apologized to HER, she never recants it... she said she liked the game anyway (which could be seen as doubling down, but even if it's not, *damn.* That is some Dick Cheney shoots guy in face with shotgun, he apologizes to Cheney business x_X

Super scary.

I actually asked Moviebob about this on twitter whether the amount of money she got to produce the series was reasonable because to me it seemed pretty simple and basic.

Apparently the funding is deserved and I accepted this, I've never made a web-series so how would I know? but after Dan and Chris' argument I'm reconsidering this.

Xman490:
This is a job for Media Sandwich! How about you guys bring it back? It's been over a year since the last one.

Mmm... open-faced club sandwich (drools).

This video has a lot of points that I have been making myself in this whole long discussion of this woman and this series in particular. Have an opinion. Share your opinion. Make yourself known, sure. Gather others of a like mind. Share your thoughts and expand them. All that good shit.

If you're going to pretend to authority though, you're going to have to pull out your credentials and stake something on that. I have watched her videos and the reactions to and around them with the unpleasant thought that this is being done at the wrong time, by the wrong person, for the wrong reasons, in the wrong way. Not that it doesn't need to be done - more than this is required in looking at our medium and shaping its future as it grows increasingly a part of our larger cultures. This though... it's not as I would have it is probably the closest I can come to my feelings - more neutrally disappointed and concerned than negatively disliking actively either her or her product.

It's good to see a level-headed discussion about this.

I have the same view as everyone else so far.

Is Anita wrong? No.

I just wish her points were more poignant and more relevant. I also wish she would look at things in broader strokes. Why do Peach and Zelda keep getting kidnapped, is it because of that fact they are women, or the fact the run the kingdom?

stueymon:
I actually asked Moviebob about this on twitter whether the amount of money she got to produce the series was reasonable because to me it seemed pretty simple and basic.

Apparently the funding is deserved and I accepted this, I've never made a web-series so how would I know? but after Dan and Chris' argument I'm reconsidering this.

I think the issue of funding is a total red herring, and is a serious distraction from any real issues. If you were to have this discussion, it would fit better in a discussion of Kickstarter in general, rather than Anita specifically.

This is just the way Kickstarter works. What was she supposed to do after people kept giving more money than she asked for? Shut the Kickstarter down? Refund the money? Those options are either impossible (Kickstarter doesn't have a refund mechanism that I'm aware of - projects don't have access to backers' bank accounts to refund the money to) or insulting to the backers (the backers wanted her to have the money).

Also, isn't the goal of most projects on Kickstarter to make money? If people want to give her extra money, then what's the problem with her keeping it, and using it for whatever she wants to? The people who gave her the extra money clearly knew that her funding goal had already been reached, and probably just wanted to show support.

If this were a video game or hardware Kickstarter, I don't think anybody would have complained about the project making profits after they delivered the promised products.

Ok, so if you disagree with Anita you're part of the mindless horde that hate whenever women have opinions and if you agree with the overall issue of how women are usually portrayed poorly thoughout gaming's short history, you're labeled a white knight?

There IS a problem in gaming in that it lacks any sort of equality. My issue with FF is that she only focuses on one aspect of inequality instead of tackling what really matters. At some point, more devs and pubs need to produce AAA games for more than the 18-35 White male and start sprinkling in more Woman as well as minorities. And I'm not talking about how every Asian in a triad or some sort of Martial artist or how most Blacks are gangsters.

Also, I wasn't a fan of this video. It's fairly easy to pick out quotes and go to town on them after the fact. So you can skillfully avoid the obvious fact that Peach is basically a plot device and has be since she was Princess Toadstool. Of course you'll look at what she is on Smash and Kart and ignore the 25+ years that she's a captive in a castle. She's not a good character and is not useful outside of Smash, Kart, 3D world, and SMB2. Or how about how you wall off the last 30 years of games because it's not current or relevant. I call bullshit on that too.

Lastly, I'm sure they were joking about getting comments but they failed in the joke and the mission because this was not a good topic, nor a good NRA...

"We don't hate her as a person. We don't want any harm to come to her. And, we don't want her to not have an opinion. We just don't want her to have the only opinion." - Dan and Chris

image

Hear-fucking-hear, lads. This is what I've been saying for quite some time now.

It baffles and appalls me that anyone who brings any kind of criticisms to Ms. Sarkeesian or her "work" is at best ignored or at worst attacked and immediately labeled as a sexist pig. No matter how legitimate (or illegitimate) their criticism.

I'm glad there's a high-profile voice to act as a rallying point for the gender issues being faced in the gaming industry. I really am. I've been hoping for such a voice for years. I just don't think she, in particular, should be that voice.

I am not sure why people feel that they need to "discuses or make comments" about her work. All she is doing bringing to light very noticeable things in society for those people who do not notice them in hopes that they change. I agree that she has not provided many answers on how to fix the issues. As for the money she said she needed it to buy the video games for her show.

I agree 100% with this video. I usually lurk the websites where she is hated the most but those people (disregarding the hate) have a point.

I just think that people shouldn't take her that seriously, she is not the most dangerous woman in video games its ridiculous. I don't think she can affect the gaming industry in anyway, only stupid game developers will be influenced instead of doing what they would like to see.

Game developers will continue to do as they please and this is correct because after all its their game/property and their own creation.

About the funding thing. Sure, you can say that she never asked for that money, that it's the people who donated that allowed her to go far and beyond past her goal. But here's the thing, she DID have a part in that. When she was "attacked" by 4chan (who she seems the thinks represents all gamers and that the reason they were attacking her because she's super important when it's, you know, 4chan who will attack anyone if they can get some sort of enjoyment out of it) she played the victim card like a pro. She didn't HAVE to ask for more money, she knew damn well that if she made it look like she was a feminist being attacked for her views that the cash would be raking in. I mean, who in their right mind wouldn't know this? What's most insulting that all this money has done shit anything to the quality of the series. There hasn't been anything added to it that would constitute 160k, she hasn't been making videos in a more timely manner, and she doesn't even use HER OWN GAMEPLAY. That's damn right pitiful, that she's been given 160k and she can't even put in the effort to use her own gameplay. Instead, she decided to steal gameplay from various let's plays and act like nothing happened. Not only that, but if someone points out some sort of discrepancy, she'll block them, delete any incriminating twitter posts, then act like nothing happened.

This episode was a great laugh.
Perfect satire on what it would look like for two unwitting men to counterpoint Anita while embodying the exact failures she and many others find troublesome.
Well done.

Sorry?
What was that?
This wasn't satire?
...Oh, dear.

*cough* This is really awkward now.

Might as well comment something even if I dont have anything all that relevent to say.

Still, nice video since it keeps things logical and calm

Hagi:
Eh, to perhaps get you guys some more comments ( come on people, 2000 minimum! ), I'll go and disagree with you guys on one point.

I think games like Duke Nukem Forever, DoA boob volleyball and such are good things for the industry. They're not my taste, in fact I've never played them but I do think it's good they exist.

In my opinion the problem is that there's nothing on the other side of the spectrum.

There's no Twilight of gaming. There's no Fifty Shades, the video game. There's no Pride and Prejudice Online ( although I hear it's being made, awesome thing! ).

The current range of video games, on a scale of stereotypical ( and incorrect ) gender affinity, goes from stereotypical hyper-masculine ( not to be mistaken with actual real masculinity ) tits and violence to more-or-less gender neutral.

I'd say where the game industry is failing isn't in the tits and violence area. I'd say they're failing on the exact opposite side of that spectrum. There's no games ( that I know of ) whose fanbase consists almost solely of teenage girls, no games whose fanbase consists almost solely of housewives. At best there's Facebook puzzle games and the like equally 'enjoyed' by bored people of all genders everywhere.

And certainly I want more respectable and relatable female protagonists in games that can be enjoyed by all genders. But at the same time for the sake of making that happen and massively increasing diversity I think the industry would be much better off if the next game wasn't that but instead a Twilight-equivalent. A game utterly despised by the current stereotypical gamer with a massive audience of teenage girls and young women. The culture shock publishers would experience would be all worth it, even if I would never ever play that game.

Just because YOU don't know of such things doesn't mean the don't exist.
Nancy Drew games, Hidden object games, new point and click adventure games, even dating sims for girls exist. All of these are made almost exclusively for girls. The Escapist doesn't cover it, it is their fault. The same is true for most gaming that you go to.
Extra credits did a very good episode on it recently. I don't even think the Escapist gave Papers Please the coverage it deserved.
I even played a Nacny Drew game once and it was really really good and I would have ignored it were it not for some mishap due to which it ended up as the game on a disk I bought instead of the game I bought. Escapist, IGN and sites never give coverage to such games then the some idiots claim those kinds of games don't exist.

SlightlyEvil:
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.

This, plu sshe fails to bring anything to the debate because she quite frankly shuts down or fails to actually allow for debate. There are some good points in her presented theories. And some that could probably do with more than a bit of discussion. But she so hamhandedly cherry picks her data and her source materials that it is obvious to even the most clueless viewer that she is seeking to shape the data to conform to her pre ordained conclusions rather than engage in any serious review of an issue. The inability to account for or even acknowledge changes in attitudes over time, changes in game design over time, or even worse cultural differences in where the games originate is incompetent at best or intentionally disingenuous at worst. All of which makes her presentations essentially worthless, even if there might be something at the core worth talking about.

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?

:/ Well, I don't think any of them have sang the A B C's song yet...

Anyway, as MovieBob also said about the whole thing in his review of the first episode; "The work is pretty great, but nothing that amazing.
However, you look at the way some people are talking about it, and you wonder if this level of work may be too much."

The harassment Anita got was hardly the first nor the last someone, men and women, in the industry has had to deal with.

That said, I agree with you, Chris, and Dan. Like Jim said, this can't be that productive if we can't have a conversation, instead of just a lecture.

That also said, she does bring up points in the videos that explain why things are bad. Like how the overuse of these tropes turn women in games into less of a character sometimes, and sometimes into more of an item/plot device.
In some cases, they can and are literally replaceable with an inanimate object.

Also guys, I hardly think Anita is completely "on ball" with the whole "most dangerous women in video games" thing.
The title is mostly a joke about how some people overreact to her work, that like you said, is mostly just bringing light to the obvious. (for those who have played every game she talked about, at least.)

However, I agree that she now should be responsible with the notoriety she has gained.
Plus, I think people can have a conversation with Anita. They just need to go a start it, like you guys are trying to do.

For any other info, just look at Jim's work on it.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/6264-Anita-Sarkeesian-The-Monster-Gamers-Created

Or MovieBob's.
http://www.screwattack.com/shows/partners/game-overthinker/game-overthinker-overbytes-tropes-vs-women?page=4

yunabomb:

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.

Man, If Anita could train her cat to swing naked from heavy plant machinery while she explained conspiracy theories through interpretive dance and body popping she could create the most viral video ever!

yunabomb:
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.

Hit the nail on the head.

This is pretty much the sole reason she is what she is. Nobody cared when Anita was only prowling the small dark corners of feminist blog websites/communities, but when she targeted the internet & gaming community then it was a sure-fire way to get the whole thing blowing up like a nuclear bomb.

I`m a little disappointed they didn't touch on how she stole footage from other Youtubers without credit. It's incredibly damning when you say you need all that money to buy game for research purposes, but then turn around and just use other peoples footage.

But I am happy they touched on her spotty release schedule. She made four videos in the last year and a half; three segments of part one (of TWELVE) and a one-off that wasn't even in the original Kickstarter. At the rate she's going, we'll be talking about how the PS6 and XBox π use DNA testing for their DRM schemes. Honest question to any of her backers; are you expecting to get your DVD set of all 12 episodes this decade?

Anita is like PETA. Every one can agree that animal abuse is wrong, but PETA go so over the top about it that while we agree that abusing animals is wrong they make it impossible for any sane person to side with them.

It's episodes like these that make me wish you guys still had a podcast.

Also, nice SUBTLE advertising on behalf of Chris ;)

T_ConX:
I`m a little disappointed they didn't touch on how she stole footage from other Youtubers without credit. It's incredibly damning when you say you need all that money to buy game for research purposes, but then turn around and just use other peoples footage.

But I am happy they touched on her spotty release schedule. She made four videos in the last year and a half; three segments of part one (of TWELVE) and a one-off that wasn't even in the original Kickstarter. At the rate she's going, we'll be talking about how the PS6 and XBox π use DNA testing for their DRM schemes. Honest question to any of her backers; are you expecting to get your DVD set of all 12 episodes this decade?

Better question: will DVDs be a popular medium by the time she's done?

This by far is one of if not the best episode of No Right Answer to date.

Well done lads!

"We don't hate her as a person. We don't want any harm to come to her. And, we don't want her to not have an opinion. We just don't want her to have the only opinion." - Dan and Chris

This one sentence should stand out to all those who would sexist to anyone who stands up and criticizes Anita's opinions on the gaming industry.

T_ConX:
I`m a little disappointed they didn't touch on how she stole footage from other Youtubers without credit. It's incredibly damning when you say you need all that money to buy game for research purposes, but then turn around and just use other peoples footage.

But I am happy they touched on her spotty release schedule. She made four videos in the last year and a half; three segments of part one (of TWELVE) and a one-off that wasn't even in the original Kickstarter. At the rate she's going, we'll be talking about how the PS6 and XBox π use DNA testing for their DRM schemes. Honest question to any of her backers; are you expecting to get your DVD set of all 12 episodes this decade?

I was thinking the same thing. If she credited the sources, would have been okay in my book, after all, she didn't ask for the amount of money she got. But she didn't credit them, which makes people wonder whether or not she's doing a lot of research etc. The problem I have found in them is she spends too long on one point in the videos, she could cut the time down and get more done if she moved from point to point faster. The other things is that all she's doing yet is pointing fingers, she could suggest some real ways to help with the issue (I think she may have in the last minute or so of her latest video... It's been a while) but she doesn't seem to want to. That's something I hope she addresses fully, a womans perspective on how the situation could be improved. I will end this saying I'm not a fan of hers, but she isn't hurting me or anyone else as far as I'm aware.

This was a well don level headed video guys, congrats :D

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