I love that people will take this “It happens, so what? Deal with it.” stance to claim that Anita Sarkeesian needs to stop talking…
… but then use it to rebuke people that feel like the death threats and harassment should stop.
Like, you really want life to be a font of shit, don’t you?
And the premise of taking your own advice and just not watching or commenting on her videos is beyond you.
I feel like if you don’t know anything about actual ubiquitous misogynistic tropes, you really don’t have any business judging Anita Sarkeesian’s work.
The fact that you’re aware they exist does not count.
I’m not saying she’s above criticism, I’m just saying that if you think she only talks about the rampant violence against women demonstrated in video games (Which honestly, is pretty fucking bad and does warrant it’s own dedicated series to go over how insidious and harmful it actually is) and you can’t tell the difference between Women in Freezers and Dead Man Defrosting for example, then you don’t have a firm enough grasp of the material to really be coming to any worthwhile conclusions about it.
Anita is getting flack because she’s an ignorant outsider. I’m not even a gamer, and this is apparent to me.
Whether you agree the content Anita showcases is misogynistic, offensive or not, most of her videos function on the same, flawed premise: That the negative gender stereotypes she finds in these games are harmful to the gamers that play them. She argues that these games somehow ingrain negative gender stereotypes in the individuals that play. They hurt women via perpetuating these stereotypes, essentially.
This is pure, unsubstantiated BS. Anita would never fund an actual study with the tens of thousands of dollars she’s raised, because she knows any such study wouldn’t work in her favor. It’s easier to buy a bunch of video games, cherrypick the most offensive parts for ignorant viewers, and then keep the rest of the money for yourself and your organization, right?
You’ve gotta wake up to the truth: Anita’s videos are about as effective and as enlightening as an elementary school screening of Reefer Madness.
Media—especially popular media—reflects already-existing norms, ideas, concepts, and sentiments in a society, it doesn’t dictate them to consumers. Slasher flicks don’t make serial killers. Grand Theft Auto doesn’t increase the probability of shooting sprees. Gangsta rap doesn’t create gangs. The game Bully doesn’t create bullies. Reading 50 Shades of Grey probably doesn’t increase the likelihood of the reader getting tied up and whipped for sexual pleasure either.
If EA Games were to somehow create and sell a video game titled Mysogyny: Women Suck, the only people who would buy and enjoy such a game would be individuals who already agreed with the game’s clearly stated ideology. Anyone else buying and enjoying the game probably just dabbles in whatever fantasy the game presents during gameplay only.
The probability of this game somehow CREATING a misogynist is about as likely as your local library’s copy of Mein Kampf creating a Nazi. Any such result would be minuscule if charted in a study of any sort.
As a kid, teen, and adult, I’ve been exposed to TONS of media that has displayed women as the weaker, more submissive, and more sexually desirable gender. However, this is not something I feel is reality. Why? Strong female role models, good upbringing, friends, family, amazing wife, and plenty of real-life interactions with women. FUCK A VIDEO GAME! A healthy reality ALWAYS trumps a fantasy.
If you really want to change hearts and minds when it comes to gender roles in society, you’ve got to work on changing that society’s reality, not its media—especially media that so explicitly deals in fantasy. I know we tend to blame the media for a lot of our ills, but your real-life interactions and role models play a larger role in guiding your moral and social outlook than any music, movie, game, or book you’ll ever consume.
Anita is on the most foolish of errands, but y’all are eating it up like a hot pizza. Looking for positive gender roles in a game like Hitman is like looking for positive gender roles in any of the three Expendables films. There’s nothing applicable to real life in Hitman because the game’s not meant to guide anyone through real life. It’s a violent video game, not a dating advice show. There aren’t a whole lotta healthy social norms in the game because it’s not meant to portray any sort of normality.
NOW DON’T GET IT TWISTED: I do understand that violent, male-pandering video games persist in the video game industry. They make a lot of money, yes. And I completely acknowledge that a lot of what’s in games like Hitman, Manhunt, and Grand Theft Auto isn’t exactly, uh, healthy when it comes to the gender roles displayed. There’s a definitely a lack of female leading roles in many games, too.
However, it’s not like there aren’t alternatives here. There are plenty of non-violent, positive indie and mainstream games out there that would love more customers. And there could be MORE if we supported this sect of the industry. If Anita really cared about the future of the video game industry in relation to her cause, well, then she’d encourage all of her fans to purchase video games that work outside the negative gender stereotypes and violence of games like Hitman. It’s that simple. Supply and demand might have created Hitman, but it can just as easily create games with positive messages and gender roles, and it already has. You just have to buy them and be willing to support future releases that fit in with your taste.
But Anita is no gamer, and most of her supporters aren’t either. They’re outsiders that want to see change in a market they don’t participate in. Anita’s lack of experience is plain as day, yet, she’s lauded as some kind of expert. What if we applied the same angle to me right here:
Would you take my metal reviews seriously if I owned no metal records? Didn’t listen to metal? Had no real history with metal? Disliked metal? Constantly criticized metal with surface-level complaints like it being too loud, satanic, violent, angry, and perpetuating dangerous, overly masculine gender stereotypes? No, you wouldn’t. No one—except people equally ignorant to metal—would take me seriously. I’d be an ignorant outsider, which Anita is when it comes to gaming.
And I still stand by my PMRC comparison, too. I see similarity in her determination to find social dangers where there really are none. Yeah, Anita has nowhere near the same level of power or political influence, and she probably never will. And she probably won’t try to pull off the same censorship stunts due to the inevitable failure of trying to enforce or legislate any such censorship. It would be more beneficial to her to stay on the sidelines and collect her fundraising bucks as she highlights games she deems misogynistic. I agree America’s got a long way to go when it comes to creating social equality between the genders, but video games are nowhere near the root of the issues we need to address. They’re just an easy target for the quick to complain.
All in all, it’s same shit, different decade. People have been whining and moaning over “harmful” media for generations. And it should be no surprise that those desperately seeking to be offended lose every time. You can be on that side if you want, but just be a good sport when you take your “L”.
That was too long an essay when your main point is, “Anita is wrong because I say she’s wrong so there.” It’s also a horrible response, given the fact that she has been chased out of her home due to death threats. DEATH THREATS.
Like, fuck this and fuck you if you agree.
People who are public figures with controversial opinions get death threats all the time. Doesn’t mean that removes them from criticism that isn’t laced with death threats. But you know whatever, because misogyny.
Yes, media doesn’t try to dictate cultural norms, just reflect them. That’s why ads only tell you about things you already bought and can’t be effectively used to influence purchases or public opinion. Public awareness campaigns have never had a measurable impact on anything, either. Except, you know, the opposite of that.
It’s true that violent games don’t lead to violent behavior, but if you think that means they don’t have any practical impacts you’re wildly misunderstanding the influence of media.
More than that, the idea that sexist games lead to sexist gamers isn’t really emphasized or required for the critiques being made. What does the work say about the creators? Why do they expect it to be understood in a certain way and what does that imply?
Also, the videos spend plenty of time talking about games the author finds positive. That’s not really what they’re about. Good things don’t cancel out bad things.
The whole initial response ignores the actual content of her videos. She lists off histories of games where female protagonists get replaced by male ones for the sake of sales sales sales, the ideology in the game production industry that not just female lead games but female inclusive games in which you can choose either a male or female protagonist sell less which in turn causes them to fund such ventures to a significantly lesser degree and then claim that their self fulfilling prophecy proves the merit of their decisions, how this creates a feedback loop in which everything is given a male-oriented slant. She also points out the casual and sometimes insidious sexism that we often let slide because it’s also ubiquitous in literature and movies, but that should really be addressed wherever it shows up, and being that it’s in gaming, is being addressed in gaming.
The easy targets that everyone seems to think the series is about like Grand Theft Auto only get an occasional mention, used as a small portion of the sampling to illustrate some trope she’s explaining.
I love that the example given is of metal reviews and how no one would respect them if they thought he didn’t listen to metal, because in providing this assessment of Anita’s work he’s demonstrated that he hasn’t really paid any attention to the media he’s criticizing, which by his own standards renders his opinion without merit.
Alicia Menendez - The View
I’m at the car dealership, waiting for my service recall to be completed, and this statement caught the attention of every woman in the room. Unsurprisingly, they all nodded in assent while the few men in the room looked uncomfortable.
The point is valid: even if access to STEM and other male dominated fields is made available, we need to do something about the culture in the field. Access to a pipeline full of acid, while it is still access, serves to maintain inequality.
so my sister works in STEM & if you talked to her for like 5 minutes she can tell you how true this is. it’s fucking poisonous
Even the efforts to make things better often just reveal how bad they are.(via geekycubil)
APARTHEID IN DETROIT: WATER FOR CORPORATIONS, NOT FOR PEOPLE
- Carl Gibson, is a spokesman and organizer for US Uncut, a nonviolent, creative direct-action movement to stop budget cuts by getting corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. Contact Carl on the Commons or read his other articles on www.occupy.com
- Citizen Radio
- Detroit Water Brigade
- Detroit Water Brigade
Oh, please pay attention to this, guys. I live right outside Detroit and the city has enough problems without this bullshit, too.