No Right Answer: Is Anita Sarkeesian Wrong?

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Atmos Duality:

...

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.

The whole wrecking ball thing is my biggest problem too. Why not highlight some examples that do it right give some exposure to games you want to see more of. Honestly its like she spends all of 5 minutes coming up with the targets she chooses. Whats the first five off the top of my head rather then researching relevant examples and providing counter points to arguments with positive options and games that embody them.

Bujiraso:

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.

Hmmm not addressing any of the points made but backhandedly calling them sexist. I kind of hope your post is satire given that it embodies the largest problem they talked about it the video.

You mean you can disagree with someone without hating on her extremely? Well THANK YOU! That's how I've been feeling this whole damn time! I've just been feeling obligated to take her side whenever arguments come up because of the extreme hate towards her and people trying to tear down every little thing about her even if it wasn't connected to her points, like the comments about her not being a real gamer and criticizing her for wearing freaking make up! So please, for the love of God, can we talk about sexism in gaming in a level headed manner, without resorting to name calling, and hopefully, keeping Anita out of the argument?

shephardjhon:
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.

Good for you and I do appreciate you keeping it civil, calling people idiots really turns conversations sour quickly.

Now, if you'll notice all the examples I gave from other media had one thing in common.

They're things everyone knows about and their audience was for the vast majority female. Things that go for none of the examples you list. Hidden Object games as well as point-and-click adventures are usually about as gender-neutral as you can get. Only said dating sims would likely have an audience that's for the vast majority female and there certainly isn't a big name there that just about everyone has heard about.

That's what I think this industry could really use to shake things up. Not small series that even you only came across by complete accident and then played only a single one from plus citing the very act of playing it as something rare enough to be described with 'even ... once' as if it was some not-soon-to-be repeated event.

I think it'd be great if a game with the cultural impact of Twilight came along. I think that would give publishers, developers and gamers a bit of a needed culture shock to start seeing things in a different light. Even if that means there's less games that I personally enjoy I think overall more variety would be a good thing.

PcaKes:
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.

This right here.

Also, your point about "not being able to attack her without being labeled as sexist" doesn't hold a lot of water. I think what you're referring to is people who try to critique her, but end up using ad-hominem attacks. One video I've seen posted a lot exemplifies this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6gLmcS3-NI

I mean, there's plenty to criticize about her and third-wave feminism at large, but character assassination is not the way to do it. Sarkeesian relies on the Bechdel Test quite a bit, and I think that's not a good method of critique. There's also the issue that third-wave feminism, despite its goals, is still centered on white women.

Sarkeesian is not immune from criticism, but the criticism itself needs to step up.

For anyone curious, there was a bit more about the Kickstarter money that was left on the cutting room floor for time.

To sum up what was said off camera:

In regards to the $6,000 turning into $160,000, a lot of it seems uncomfortable. Saying, "she only asked for $6,000" disregards the fact that she got substantially more, which then implies responsibility for substantially more.

Anita is not stupid or naive, so it doesn't make sense that she doesn't understand what $6,000 turning into $160,000 means.

However, Anita is also not a liar, so it also doesn't make sense that she'd just say that the money didn't go anywhere apparent.

When people say the funding went to more games, but then we see footage from uncredited Let's Play videos, there is a gap of knowledge on our end that becomes very uncomfortable, and worse, it provides more ammunition to her critics. These gaps don't seem so big when we're talking $6,000. They're huge when we're talking $160,000.

If Anita is not naive and not a liar, then where does that leave us besides willfully dismissing the issue, which goes counter to her original message of not dismissing uncomfortable questions?

Also, thanks everyone for keeping this thread incredibly respectful. I'm so grateful that we've kept this a positive place for discussion. :)

Chris Pranger:

In regards to the $6,000 turning into $160,000, a lot of it seems uncomfortable. Saying, "she only asked for $6,000" disregards the fact that she got substantially more, which then implies responsibility for substantially more.

How does her getting substantially more mean that she is responsible for delivering substantially more than what she promised to deliver?

That's like me saying that if I give you an expensive gift that you didn't ask for, then you have an obligation to do something for me. That's not how gifts work.

Aardvaarkman:

Chris Pranger:

In regards to the $6,000 turning into $160,000, a lot of it seems uncomfortable. Saying, "she only asked for $6,000" disregards the fact that she got substantially more, which then implies responsibility for substantially more.

How does her getting substantially more mean that she is responsible for delivering substantially more than what she promised to deliver?

That's like me saying that if I give you an expensive gift that you didn't ask for, then you have an obligation to do something for me. That's not how gifts work.

If I asked for socks and you gave me a diamond ring, I'd gently decline and mention that I'm not comfortable accepting something that ellaborate.

Again, I don't believe she's stupid and just went, "Golly gee, look at all the support I'm getting! People are just so gosh darn nice!" It was a reasonable business decision to go with Kickstarter and along with that comes the implied responsibility of a business decision. In the business world, getting tons from investors doesn't mean you say thank you and walk away. It means you now have to return on that investment.

I don't doubt she's working on returning on that investment in the future, but in the meantime, the demand from people that it's a non-issue is both uncomfrotable to a level-headed person and reeeeeeeeeally easy ammunition to an angry commenter, and if all we see is a mild quality bump from previous videos and uncredited use from Let's Play videos, then it only causes more problems. Again, if she's not a liar and not naive, then why is it OK that she shrugs and seems like she doesn't care?

To the people of No Right Answer, Bravo.

How you done video "Is Anita Sarkeesian Wrong?" your arguments are well done, and all of your points are solid.
You looked at the issue without bias and handle the material with a surprising amount of maturity. (I don't watch "No Right Answer" regularly, so take it as a complement).

The problem with females in gaming is empowerment without patronizing, and the other issue is people respond better to attractive looking characters, so how you do that without objectifying your female protagonist.

What I have to say is good about Anita Sarkeesian's video series is as a hetrosexual male, I am force to reevaluate things I had accepted as the norm.

Bujiraso:

Fair enough. I will fully admit that I may have fallen prey to my own joke, but the fact of the matter stands that as far as I see it they didn't even bother studying up. Beyond the victim blaming (relating being a victim of sexual harassment to aggravating bears)

Considering she went on 4Chan and poked the trolls the analogy is very correct. She knew 4Chan was the hub of her "haters" and yet went through plenty of efforts to ensure they were aware of her latest "work". That's asking for trouble. Doesn't mean what said trolls did/do was/is right mind you. But it suggests she wanted to be able abuse a position of "martyrdom".
And this makes it very hard to have any kind of sympathy for her predicament.

and the ridiculous implication that patriarchical beliefs are conscious to those under their sway (from "[no one says they choose Peach cause women owe them sex]"), it seems that Dan and Chris haven't the basic understanding of any of this issue. I posted the way I did because I can't be bothered to explain it all, especially to two fools who have explicitly link-baited. Two posts is enough from me, I won't be giving this video any more.

While they may have expressed it wrongly one thing i always keep questioning is: who says that what feminists see in certain imagery is what others see? (and thus consequently how do you know for certain that it has a certain impact on people) Who's to say that people see princess peach as helpless/weak/a reward, even subconsciously? Have there been studies on that regard? Was it scientifically proven that princess peach reinforces subconscious stereotypes?

A well balanced video.

But as people may suspect... there's more to the story of Anita than what these guys are letting on.
I humbly submit anyone interested in the subject to check out
Badcop69, MundaneMatt, InternetAristocrat and JordanOwen's videos on the subject.
Badcop and Jordan are probably the most informative of the two but the other guys compile info from various other sources so they may reference people I missed.

bdcjacko:

I guess I don't understand what all the hubbub is about.

Well...

bdcjacko:

Some lady wanted to put on a talk show about women's issues in games and did.

That's what it's about.

Okay, not all of it, but the largest explosions and excrement storms about her content basically revolve around exactly that. Gaming is treated as far too much of a sacred cow by far too many and having someone, especially a woman, jump in and raise questions about it causes problems.

If the arguments and debates about her content were like this video, or were just in any way intelligent and mature, it would be different.. but they're largely not, and that just causes useless spittle spraying on both the pro and anti Anita sides.

Bujiraso:

Loki_The_Good:

Hmmm not addressing any of the points made but backhandedly calling them sexist. I kind of hope your post is satire given that it embodies the largest problem they talked about it the video.

Fair enough. I will fully admit that I may have fallen prey to my own joke, but the fact of the matter stands that as far as I see it they didn't even bother studying up. Beyond the victim blaming (relating being a victim of sexual harassment to aggravating bears) and the ridiculous implication that patriarchical beliefs are conscious to those under their sway (from "[no one says they choose Peach cause women owe them sex]"), it seems that Dan and Chris haven't the basic understanding of any of this issue. I posted the way I did because I can't be bothered to explain it all, especially to two fools who have explicitly link-baited. Two posts is enough from me, I won't be giving this video any more.

Suffice it to say, Anita and feminism is a nigh-religious matter. Either you understand the issues that trouble women, or you don't and no conceivable amount of evidence will change your mind. Hopefully this clarification gives any leg for my last post to stand on.

I would like to clarify that the bear analogy wasn't meant to blame victims of sexism. It was meant more as an analogy for having an opinion of any kind on the Internet. No matter what you say, the Internet is a place that it will be attacked, and depending on what the opinion is, it will be attacked very harshly. We were clear that we don't encourage that sort of harassment, but it's disrespectful to Anita to assume she didn't know there was going to be anger directed at her from the usual people on the Internet.

Other than that, I know I can't convince you that Dan or I aren't fools who don't get this issue. I can try and say that we've discussed topics of sexism and feminism with our spouses and friends frequently, but that just creates the age-old problem of saying "I'm not racist because I have a black friend." We had just hoped to get more viewpoints that "hateful disagreement" and "hateful agreement" in the dicsussion here on The Escapist, and I think from the comments we've done just that.

I didn't even know who Anita Sarkeesian was till my girlfriend was telling me about it. The only reaction I had was what else is new? It's the internet. And I know there's more to it than that, but come on.

To quote Agent K from Men In Black: "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it."

Chris Pranger:
If I asked for socks and you gave me a diamond ring, I'd gently decline and mention that I'm not comfortable accepting something that elaborate.

Except, as I said she isn't in a position to do so, due to how Kickstarter works. It's all-or-nothing. She only has the choice of cancelling the Kickstarter, or taking all the money. She didn't have the option of only taking $6,000 of the funds.

In the business world, getting tons from investors doesn't mean you say thank you and walk away. It means you now have to return on that investment.

Except that's not how Kickstarter works. It is not, and has never been about an "investment" of any kind, it is just about starting projects, and has nothing to do with return on investment. This is explicitly stated on the site.

Again, if she's not a liar and not naive, then why is it OK that she shrugs and seems like she doesn't care?

She doesn't have any obligation to do anything with the extra money. She never said if she receives more money that she would do more work.

And frankly, people are acting like it's some obscene amount of money. But $160,000 is less than many people's annual salary. And we don't expect people's jobs to scale with pay. Do you think that the company Executive who makes $10 million a year does 50 times as much work as the programmer who earns $200,000 per year? When you get a pay raise or a bonus, do you give the money back to your employer if you don't think your work was commiserate with the compensation?

It's just not how these things work. Nobody said that Kickstarter projects have to be non-profit, including Kickstarter. And it's an odd expectation that people have these days that every single dollar be put back into projects, without any profit being made.

The only people who are responsible for the money Sarkeesian has made from this, are the people who saw that the project was over-funded, and yet still decided to give her more money. It's nobody's fault or responsibility except theirs. I don't know if they were expecting anything in return or not, but if they were, they should not have.

A very well thought out video, not at all what I was expecting. The problem I have with her videos is the language and tone. She sounds like a conspiracy theorist half the time. It was the patriarchy on the grassy knoll that did it. Video games are just 'Another victim of the manocentric male-ocracy!'

What I found interesting was this episode showing just how there are a lot of good female characters in gaming, in games that appeal to a female audience:

You lost me when you used the phrase "white knighting" unironically.

Also it really bothers me that you think that getting thousands of death threats and rape threats is "normal." It isn't normal. It shouldn't be normal. Let's work to make it not normal.

And about the point that "Well, we didn't need a kickstarter to make No Right Answer, and we have full time jobs on the side."

You guys film this in your living room, with (judging by the video quality) some pretty basic film and sound equipment. The only other content is some google images with text*. TVW has animations, music, actual lighting, better sound quality, a green screen (plus the software to get rid of the green screen), makeup, better image definition, and generally feels like a professional video. Not to mention all of the new games she has to buy, because, as a woman, she has to play every game ever made before she can comment on video games (apparently).

Basically, this video was really disappointing. I was expecting an interesting discussion weighing the good and bad of her videos (there are some problems! but they aren't "well what did she need the $6000 for anyway"). What I got was the same tired arguments people make literally every time she's mentioned, all of which have been refuted 1000 times before.

*this wasn't intended as a dig, it's just the truth.

Bujiraso:

...
Suffice it to say, Anita and feminism is a nigh-religious matter. Either you understand the issues that trouble women, or you don't and no conceivable amount of evidence will change your mind. Hopefully this clarification gives any leg for my last post to stand on.

Damn sorry I know you said you won't post but I couldn't let this slide. Equating Anita and feminism with religion is a huge disservice to feminism and damages any chance of progressiveness.

First of all Anita shouldn't be there at all. Feminism is a complex issue with many schools that has evolved throughout history. Putting her in that sentence implies that her view on feminism is the only one, which is outright false and belittling to numerous thinkers through the years who have addressed the problem in a far more constructive manner. There are feminist schools that would agree with her and some that would disagree. Just like how some schools of feminism saw bra burning as an act of liberation while others condemned it as an act of self sexualization.

Then there is the religion part. Reducing this issue to a narrow us vs them dichotomy is harmful. First as I said feminism isn't one view but a collaboration of views some of which are in conflict. Drawing that line implies that only certain views are acceptable while stifling room for growth and discussion. There is no better way to stagnate a movement then treating it's tenants as gospel. It shouldn't be an act of faith that is heard and accepted but an issue of morality and justice that should be examined and discussed.

Also an us vs them mentality guarantees that you will never succeed. Us vs them always insures that there will be a them. It guarantees opposition and stifles finding common ground. It makes it difficult to switch sides and instead further entrenches people in opposition.

Think about someone who disagrees with an argument feminism makes, not for sexist or patriarchal reasons, but because of a certain set of moral beliefs extrapolated from an idea of justice or fairness. That person makes the argument on the forum but he has disagreed he has chosen the side of don't on the argument and is called sexist. Now you've just made it so that in order for them to defend his belief, which has nothing to do with sexism as far as he was concerned, they must start defending sexism as well. Your rigidity has tied the issues together and forced them onto a side that they weren't taking. That's what this attitude does, it makes more enemies.

The approach to take is one of understanding, accommodation and adaptation. If instead in the above example that person was listened to and the underlining issues were addressed in a manner positive to both parties they would not have been pushed away by the idea of feminism and may even see reason to adopt some of its other ideas. This is howt hese movements grow and eventually win. Not only that but makes the ideas healthier. By being challenged by differing beliefs and addressing those challenges the ideas become stronger and more robust to criticism. After all you will already know what to say to the next person who shares the above person's view or tries to use it as a more legitimate cover for truly sexist beliefs.

So please don't treat feminism with that attitude. It deserves better then that.

I wonder how many level headed video's it's going to take to make people see that she isn't 100% right. This isn't the first and it won't be the last. It's just that only the troll/actually sexist comments get shown

Jasper van Heycop:
I wonder how many level headed video's it's going to take to make people see that she isn't 100% right.

Say what??

I don't know of anybody who thinks she's 100% right. Who are you referring to here?

bobleponge:
You lost me when you used the phrase "white knighting" unironically.

Also it really bothers me that you think that getting thousands of death threats and rape threats is "normal." It isn't normal. It shouldn't be normal. Let's work to make it not normal.

And about the point that "Well, we didn't need a kickstarter to make No Right Answer, and we have full time jobs on the side."

You guys film this in your living room, with (judging by the video quality) some pretty basic film and sound equipment. The only other content is some google images with text*. TVW has animations, music, actual lighting, better sound quality, a green screen (plus the software to get rid of the green screen), makeup, better image definition, and generally feels like a professional video. Not to mention all of the new games she has to buy, because, as a woman, she has to play every game ever made before she can comment on video games (apparently).

Basically, this video was really disappointing. I was expecting an interesting discussion weighing the good and bad of her videos (there are some problems! but they aren't "well what did she need the $6000 for anyway"). What I got was the same tired arguments people make literally every time she's mentioned, all of which have been refuted 1000 times before.

*this wasn't intended as a dig, it's just the truth.

(Dan here) just to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our tech; We use a $5,700 camcorder on a $600 tripod, with a $4,000 light kit. we have a $100 shotgun mic for audio, and Dan has both the multi-thousand dollar software and the knowledge to use them to make graphics just as nice as Anita's. Dan is an Emmy-award winning film maker and could put a lot more work into these videos...IF...the videos needed them. As it is, these are videos for fun that Dan, Chris and Kyle make as a hobby and for the passion of comedy and lively debate. IF our camera broke and we needed to do a kickstarter to replace it, and for some reason got money anywhere near the level that Anita did, Dan would quit his day job and put a ton more work into these videos in a show of gratitude to the people who supported us.

As for the games she bought, there was no time in the video this week to discuss her current scandel of using Let'sPlay footage instead of capturing the footage herself, making some wonder why she needed to buy the games if she could get the footage for free.

Point is, Dan filmed weddings to foot the equipment bill, and also took out a loan that he has since paid off thanks to his day job. Our concern is that she has not adjusted her scope based on the paradigm-shifting windfall of cash she got. asking for $6,000, getting $160,000 and doing $6,000 of work is socially unsettling, at least to us.

My problem with Anita Sarkeesian is that she's a feminist*. Plain and simple. The same reason why I don't like associating with Black Militants even if I'm black myself. Anyone for Gay Rights in an aggressive way (I don't know if there's a blanket term), Severe Nationalism, and people who like cheese (I just don't trust you).

Anything when people look at any instance to thump their agenda makes me uneasy. I was a black militant when I was younger. Was I wrong in my ideas? Well, people I knew were arrested for 'fitting the description' even though a foot height difference, different skin tone, looking completely different than the man they were looking for... I've had purses held closer just because I was around, racist name calling, more stringent checks for me than the bummy looking guys ahead of me (who were white), and I won't even get into the portrayal of my race and gender in media.

These things happened. I've lived them. Give me enough time, and I can put you in contact with the people who lived these incidents, or go back to the places that it happened (if the same staff still works there). These things are facts.

The issue became that I addressed it any time I could. I made it my mission to educate those who didn't know about the evils that they might not have actually done, but accept by not doing anything about it. And no matter how I tempered my message, I had people who really had no problem with Black people just try to refute me. Were they secretly racist? Maybe even secretly to themselves. But more over... people just get tired.

It's not an excuse. It's the truth. If you're not doing anything and people run up to you to tell you what you're supporting or not being enraged about is making you apart of the problem, you're taken aback. If you merely enjoy an experience and it can be labeled as a problem, putting back social advancements by decades, you start to remember you just bought a game to enjoy it. When you figuratively have to walk an egg shells to pick an experience that doesn't offend everyone all the time, you just get tired and want to stomp.

Now, quickly, in that last paragraph, was I referring to Sexism, Racism, Ethnocentrism, Atheists vs Theists, or Homophobia? Did you latch on to the issue you most identify with? If so, that's a problem. Because for every Maria that in Gears of War 2, there's a Cole that makes me embarrassed to say that's how non blacks view us. for Every Cole, there's the snickers that Baird is so anal and stuck up and repressed, he's probably gay. For every Gay Joke about Baird, you get twofers like Tai who can fall under Ethnocentric ideas and Theist issues (everyone who comes from that culture HAS to have tattoos and be ultra spiritual... and yes, I know that it's Sera not Earth).

When anyone ignores all of the things that other people can also take umbrage about for their slice of focus, well that's when minds then shut off. Because there's now so many people who can say 'Well, what about me?!' that just having a laser focused agenda (feminism, racism, Gay rights) makes other people shrug and say that you're only considered about it because it affects you... but it doesn't affect me.

I find Social Zealots breed more division than they do understanding. I speak as a reformed Social Zealot. And I tell you now, more people willingly come to me for a 'black' perspective now than walked away from me then when I sought them out to shove it down their throats.

*I believe all people, genders, races, and sexualities that don't hurt anyone should be respected. Women's rights themselves are sacred to me, as are the rights of every type of human. I explained my view point in the body that it's the laser focus that shuns every other aspect humanity but the one you feel deserves the most help or attention only breeds contention and divides people more.

People.
People listen the fuck up.
Your [insert title here] wishes to speak.

You cannot have meaningful discussion of a societal issue (representation of women in media) outside of an academic context.
Internet comments are not how you do that.
Your points are shit and you are stupid for thinking they are valid.
Do research for the better half of a decade and maybe you can present other people's ideas in a fairly acceptable manner.

Firefilm:
(Dan here) just to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our tech;

Referring to yourself in the third-person is super-weird.

Firefilm:
IF our camera broke and we needed to do a kickstarter to replace it, and for some reason got money anywhere near the level that Anita did, Dan would quit his day job and put a ton more work into these videos in a show of gratitude to the people who supported us.

OK, so that's what you would do. But why should you expect that of other people, who never said they would do anything more if they were over-funded?

Point is, Dan filmed weddings to foot the equipment bill, and also took out a loan that he has since paid off thanks to his day job. Our concern is that she has not adjusted her scope based on the paradigm-shifting windfall of cash she got. asking for $6,000, getting $160,000 and doing $6,000 of work is socially unsettling, at least to us.

And why is that "socially unsettling"? I don't understand why people giving her more money than she asked for means that she should change the way she lives her life and do something that she never said she would do.

How is the "windfall" the responsibility of anyone except those who gave her the extra money after the project was originally funded? If they were expecting her to do extra work, where did they get that expectation from?

I'm also wondering what the "social" aspect here is. Is it some sort of political view that people shouldn't be allowed to make more than a certain amount of money? You say that you earned enough from shooting weddings that you had enough money to buy a camera/lighting/sound rig. Shouldn't you be socially obligated to give that windfall back to your employer to invest in shooting more wedding videos, seeing as the money was superfluous to your needs for food and shelter?

This... seems disingenuous.

A. I'll admit I haven't watched a lot of these shows, but as I understand it, No Right Answer's premise is that you have two people who take opposing views that ultimately debate subjective notions, and then arbitrarily decide who "wins." This one episode seems to subvert the entire premise and you spend time agreeing that you don't consider the videos worthwhile. So can you argue that you believe there's "no right answer" if you only give one answer?

B. Your thesis presumes that the sole reason behind Anita Sarkeesian getting the relevant funding is that she has an entire horde of "White Knights" coming to her aid, completely belittling the idea that people might have been contributing on the basis of wanting to see her ideas come to fruition. True, she asked for profoundly less than what she received, and she's delivering on exactly that. This is in stark contrast to, say, Double Fine shooting for the moon and barely even making it half way.

C. You seem to interpret the videos as solely an indictment of sexism in all video games, when in fact it is a critique of games through the lens of feminist theory. The point isn't to be pure or objective, it is to observe recurring tropes in a type of media, give them a label, and express how they can be potentially harmful. Whether or not you agree that they are is a relevant point, but believing that your argument addresses the beating heart of the matter implies that perhaps you don't understand what it is you're watching.

D. Yes, it's unfortunate that it becomes difficult to discuss Anita Sarkeesian without being labeled either "White Knight" or "Misogynist." But consider this: there are numerous internet critics that embrace controversial opinions.

Movie Bob believes that Sucker Punch is a worthwhile cinematic achievement.
Twin Perfect believe that an interpretation of the Silent Hill mythos must not deviate from artistic intention.
The Amazing Atheist posits that he is, somehow, amazing.

But if you look at the network of metacriticism that has developed on youtube, very few people do more than submit a vlog in response to these controversial figures that says "I disagree." Meanwhile, months after the Feminist Frequency kickstarter firestorm, people are still discussing an unfinished youtube series resorting the sort of passionate expletives one should reserve for stubbing one's toe on the radiator at six in the morning. People are making entire formal endictments of the videos desperately hoping to disprove every point rather than actually sit and consider anything being said. It becomes difficult to separate argument from intention when such a vast and vocal network of gamers have made it abundantly clear that they intend to condemn her every action unthinkingly. The aforementioned metacriticism stands as an example of people finding a lot more vitriol to be exploited over Ms Sarkeesian than most other series, so for the foreseeable future, yes: you will find it near impossible to discuss her without being labeled. You knew this already. And you still posted this video. I don't believe that you did so to condemn or praise her out of some misplaced emotional response to her videos. I think you simply posted this video to exploit an easy controversy without contributing anything of note to it.

Bujiraso:

Loki_The_Good:

Hmmm not addressing any of the points made but backhandedly calling them sexist. I kind of hope your post is satire given that it embodies the largest problem they talked about it the video.

Fair enough. I will fully admit that I may have fallen prey to my own joke, but the fact of the matter stands that as far as I see it they didn't even bother studying up. Beyond the victim blaming (relating being a victim of sexual harassment to aggravating bears) and the ridiculous implication that patriarchical beliefs are conscious to those under their sway (from "[no one says they choose Peach cause women owe them sex]"), it seems that Dan and Chris haven't the basic understanding of any of this issue. I posted the way I did because I can't be bothered to explain it all, especially to two fools who have explicitly link-baited. Two posts is enough from me, I won't be giving this video any more.

Suffice it to say, Anita and feminism is a nigh-religious matter. Either you understand the issues that trouble women, or you don't and no conceivable amount of evidence will change your mind. Hopefully this clarification gives any leg for my last post to stand on.

Ok, wow. I was just going to stay out of this one and read the comments, but wow. I think I have to respond to this one.

First, let me just ask for a clarification: You are claiming that either a person is able to understand feminist issues or they are not, and if they are not no amount of instruction or evidence will ever change their mind. That is to say feminist issues cannot be rationally explained or discussed because everyone out of this special group is inherently and incurably irrational OR feminism is an inherently irrational issue to begin with. Is this correct?

Frankly, there is little wiggle room in what you said, but I am willing to acknowledge the possibility that you misspoke. I know you said you were not going to respond, but this is kind of important to me. I would really like to know what you were trying to communicate.

But even if you didn't mean that, trying to turn feminism into a quasi-religious irrefutable doctrine is a monumentally bad idea. I really cannot express how bad an idea this is. By doing this you turn feminism into the embodiment of the most terrible aspects of human irrationality and bigotry. By doing this you are damaging the cause more thoroughly and effectively than any detractor to the cause could ever hope to. You undermine the cause from within.

I really hope you are just straw manning this.

Sure she may have had a job before pitching the video, but I am not sure she would be able to have one now. She most likely has had to live off the money due to not working and use it for travelling expenses and the like.

At least 96 people just discovered that you can't argue with a woman and win. I actually donated to her website, long after the controversy because I stopped playing a lot of the latest games because of the tropes she raises and the disturbing violence. You cannot talk about chainsaw bayonets without sounding like a psychopath.

Might have preferred if this was an argument between Dan and Chris, but it's fine the way it is.

I'm honestly not sure what the big deal about the kickstarter is. No amount of money was going to make her smarter, the production value of her earlier videos wasn't so terrible that they got in the way of Ms. Sarkeesian clearly making her points, and she gave people what they donated for. She didn't promise stretch goals, so she didn't have to deliver them.

That being said, I wouldn't have donated a cent to her project because, while I'm all for examining issues of sexism in relation to gaming, I don't think she's done anything remotely interesting with the topic. But I'm not about to ruin somebody else's fun just because it doesn't suit me.

Edit: She could have donated some of the extra money to some lady charity, and it's kinda shitty that she apparently just kept it. But I think she's doing her best, and can't imagine any way that more money would make her points more convincing. Political change takes time and effort, not just cash.

Aardvaarkman:

Chris Pranger:
If I asked for socks and you gave me a diamond ring, I'd gently decline and mention that I'm not comfortable accepting something that elaborate.

Except, as I said she isn't in a position to do so, due to how Kickstarter works. It's all-or-nothing. She only has the choice of cancelling the Kickstarter, or taking all the money. She didn't have the option of only taking $6,000 of the funds.

In the business world, getting tons from investors doesn't mean you say thank you and walk away. It means you now have to return on that investment.

Except that's not how Kickstarter works. It is not, and has never been about an "investment" of any kind, it is just about starting projects, and has nothing to do with return on investment. This is explicitly stated on the site.

Again, if she's not a liar and not naive, then why is it OK that she shrugs and seems like she doesn't care?

She doesn't have any obligation to do anything with the extra money. She never said if she receives more money that she would do more work.

And frankly, people are acting like it's some obscene amount of money. But $160,000 is less than many people's annual salary. And we don't expect people's jobs to scale with pay. Do you think that the company Executive who makes $10 million a year does 50 times as much work as the programmer who earns $200,000 per year? When you get a pay raise or a bonus, do you give the money back to your employer if you don't think your work was commiserate with the compensation?

It's just not how these things work. Nobody said that Kickstarter projects have to be non-profit, including Kickstarter. And it's an odd expectation that people have these days that every single dollar be put back into projects, without any profit being made.

The only people who are responsible for the money Sarkeesian has made from this, are the people who saw that the project was over-funded, and yet still decided to give her more money. It's nobody's fault or responsibility except theirs. I don't know if they were expecting anything in return or not, but if they were, they should not have.

(Dan here) I appreciate you showing another point of view on our topic and points, and I do agree with your assertions that 1. If you are given an expensive gift, you are not required to return the favor with a financial equivalent, 2. Kickstarter doesn't promise any return on investment, and 3. Some people make more money than she got, so us regarding it as a lot of money is a relative observation.

However...it's all a matter of social contracts. Certain things are, while not illegal, considered rude. While there's no law forcing you to give a gift to someone who gives you one, and certainly no "Equal value" clause, if someone gives you a blu ray player for your birthday and then you give them a bag of chips for theirs, there will be a degree of emotional hurt that occurs that might reduce the value of future presents you are given. That is why we made this video. We are "Emotionally" bothered that she has given us a "Bag of chips" worth of content for our "Blu ray " player worth of donation, and in our video we touch on the fact that most of the money she got was not entirely from people who believed in her, but rather from people who were defending her from other, more horrible people.

Kickstarter IS, to a certain degree, built on a "Return on investment" model, in that people explain what they want to accomplish and why they want money, and then you can donate if you believe in their cause. There are "Stretch goals" built in just in case more money is donated that expected, and at the very least, people who donate towards a goal expect that goal to be met.

As for some people making more than $160,000 a year, so we shouldn't begrudge her for getting it...I direct you to the 99% movement. Clearly people who make that much and don't give back are very often seen in a negative light. We don't see her giving back to the people who gave to her. Maybe if she added some stretch goals, or made a game like EXTRA CREDITS did when they had a kickstarter that overflowed, then we'd be happy.

To sum up, she is no more obligated to do anything with the extra money than a person in a crowded elevator is required not to fart. But it's the socially nice thing to do.

Aardvaarkman:

Firefilm:
(Dan here) just to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our tech;

Referring to yourself in the third-person is super-weird.

Firefilm:
IF our camera broke and we needed to do a kickstarter to replace it, and for some reason got money anywhere near the level that Anita did, Dan would quit his day job and put a ton more work into these videos in a show of gratitude to the people who supported us.

OK, so that's what you would do. But why should you expect that of other people, who never said they would do anything more if they were over-funded?

Point is, Dan filmed weddings to foot the equipment bill, and also took out a loan that he has since paid off thanks to his day job. Our concern is that she has not adjusted her scope based on the paradigm-shifting windfall of cash she got. asking for $6,000, getting $160,000 and doing $6,000 of work is socially unsettling, at least to us.

And why is that "socially unsettling"? I don't understand why people giving her more money than she asked for means that she should change the way she lives her life and do something that she never said she would do.

How is the "windfall" the responsibility of anyone except those who gave her the extra money after the project was originally funded? If they were expecting her to do extra work, where did they get that expectation from?

I'm also wondering what the "social" aspect here is. Is it some sort of political view that people shouldn't be allowed to make more than a certain amount of money? You say that you earned enough from shooting weddings that you had enough money to buy a camera/lighting/sound rig. Shouldn't you be socially obligated to give that windfall back to your employer to invest in shooting more wedding videos, seeing as the money was superfluous to your needs for food and shelter?

Uncle Ben said it best. "With great power comes great responsibility." My point was that much money is considered great power, and she has the responsibility to use it wisely. Unlike my wedding filming where I did work and THEN got the money, she got the money without any deliverables. Now that we see what she is delivering, it is bothersome.

You say you don't understand why her getting that much money means she should change her original plans. My point on that is that I don't care what her original plans were, she should amend them because that is ALOT of money AND her original goal was to voice her opinion on something she didn't like. For her to have that spotlight on her and have the funds to make a difference and NOT do something more substancial suggests all she really wants to do is complain. I WANT her to succeed in making a positive difference in the gaming industry, because she has the power and the money to do so. This is more a call to arms than a critique.

Chris Pranger:

Bujiraso:

Loki_The_Good:

Hmmm not addressing any of the points made but backhandedly calling them sexist. I kind of hope your post is satire given that it embodies the largest problem they talked about it the video.

Fair enough. I will fully admit that I may have fallen prey to my own joke, but the fact of the matter stands that as far as I see it they didn't even bother studying up. Beyond the victim blaming (relating being a victim of sexual harassment to aggravating bears) and the ridiculous implication that patriarchical beliefs are conscious to those under their sway (from "[no one says they choose Peach cause women owe them sex]"), it seems that Dan and Chris haven't the basic understanding of any of this issue. I posted the way I did because I can't be bothered to explain it all, especially to two fools who have explicitly link-baited. Two posts is enough from me, I won't be giving this video any more.

Suffice it to say, Anita and feminism is a nigh-religious matter. Either you understand the issues that trouble women, or you don't and no conceivable amount of evidence will change your mind. Hopefully this clarification gives any leg for my last post to stand on.

I would like to clarify that the bear analogy wasn't meant to blame victims of sexism. It was meant more as an analogy for having an opinion of any kind on the Internet. No matter what you say, the Internet is a place that it will be attacked, and depending on what the opinion is, it will be attacked very harshly. We were clear that we don't encourage that sort of harassment, but it's disrespectful to Anita to assume she didn't know there was going to be anger directed at her from the usual people on the Internet.

Other than that, I know I can't convince you that Dan or I aren't fools who don't get this issue. I can try and say that we've discussed topics of sexism and feminism with our spouses and friends frequently, but that just creates the age-old problem of saying "I'm not racist because I have a black friend." We had just hoped to get more viewpoints that "hateful disagreement" and "hateful agreement" in the dicsussion here on The Escapist, and I think from the comments we've done just that.

"I don't have a case" was a poor choice of words, I think I saw even Dan cringe a little there, but I think most people understood what you were trying to say. The rest of your arguments and even the addendum to what you just said make it clear you weren't victim blaming. Anita just likes to breed an all or nothing mentality. Its a dangerous breeding ground for fanaticism and people like that will always miss your point and hear what they want to.

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.

I completely agree. Her analysis isn't entirely off (I say that with 2 years of feminist theory in my uni degree here), but she could do a lot better.

Two guys "debating" on sexism is like a panel of white people "debating" about racism in america.

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