Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A final response to the nonsense that is the Cult of Anita Sarkeesian

The fellow responder responded again. Apparently he had more to say.

This will be my last response. I can only take so much bullshit. This takes up a bit too much of my time.
"I'm actually sorry to hear that "all the examples of feminists [you']ve talked to were calling [you] sexist and misogynists just for disagreeing with them." I don't think these terms should be used lightly. Accusing an individual of misogynism is a severe accusation (that's why I would be also hesitant to call a piece of art e.g. a videogame misogynist in its entirety, because bits of it could be considered sexist). There are feminists who take it to the extreme , though. Anita Sarkeesian is just not one of them. ]"
Anita and co. love throwing around the words "sexist" and "misogynist" just for playing games. Instead of instigating a useful, intelligent discussion, (e.g. by allowing comments on her videos) people who disagree with her are automatically sexist and/or misogynist. Do I have to quote her again?
"Denying or dismissing the sexism that permeates our culture is, in and of itself, a form of sexism."

Anita has always taken to generalized extremes. If I dare disagree with her biased, context-removed facts and explanations, I'm a sexist.
"Well I'm pretty sure she got the jist of it by now. 2+ years of the whole "You're a lying, stealing, manipulating feminazi"-stick should be more than enough to make her realize, what people didn't like about her videos. "
You don't know this. We don't know what she thinks. Stop guessing.

What we do know, from her, is that the Damsel trope is bad somehow, yet, she has made herself out to be one. Oh no! Hateful messages to me! What will I do? I know: profit (Provide my Paypal links!)

We've already established she lied about being a gamer, playing the actual games, and either being ignorant or stupid of the narrative in stories (e.g. Hitman, Borderlands 2, etc), or lies about them to the audience. Go google if you need help.

Let's try this again: I provided a link before: Just go here and tell me how many you think are critical and how many are trolling.

Let me help you with that.
"I think it's pretty obvious why. I would assume because of concerted efforts to flag and downrate her videos. You make it all sound so simple as if we were talking about a well-mannered discussion between amicable rivals hushing things out over lunch and not a +2 years witchhunt fueled by rage and hate. "
1) Anyone can flag her videos at any time: she has no control over this.
2) There's nothing wrong with up voting or down voting videos. Again, look at the comments and you tell me how well mannered they are, or if it's just constant swearing and death threats. Votes tell us who actually watches these videos and likes the content. The only reason you remove those votes is because the author feels bad when lots of people don't like their videos. Anita can't take any of it.
3) Of course we hate someone who calls us sexists and misogynists without proof. Who wouldn't? Again: are you even listening to her videos?
"I mean it's pretty conveniant to insult someone in an argument, just to complain later on about the person not answering anymore. YouTube gives you the possibility to disable comments. One of the reasons YouTube does that are (I guess) incidents like this one, when people stop being constructive and succumb to hate mongering. "
Oh boo-hoo. Anita can't take any comments. Then why should we listen to her? She knows if she was ever in a debate, she'd get torn to shreds. Like all feminists have been over the decades. Like you would. Why do I know this? Because it's just your opinion. You have no evidence, you have no reason or logic. Just "women are subjugated throughout history in media!" So? That's life buddy. To remove that from stories is lying.

All Anita ever posts on her blog and twitter are positive reviews, and news articles on her stuff, or, for her to amp up her pro-victim card. Not once does she ever say "hey, this critic has something interesting to say, let's listen objectively" in a respectful manner. You know, how scientists and people who actively want to find the truth? Who are humble and start off with "I don't know, let's find out."

When does she ever say something about one of her critics? Is she perfect? Can she not acknowledge one of them, at all?
"Those accusing me of misrepresenting Hitman Absolution don’t understand my argument. I humbly suggest they watch my video again, carefully."

thunderf00t tears her apart.

She doesn't understand the flaws in her videos. She will not address specific questions, and, like the various proponents on twitter, will just parrot "watch it again." Do you get it? This isn't because she knows it's not criticism. She either doesn't give a shit, or knows once she responds, her arguments will be revealed for the pseudo-intellectual bullshit they are. It's like arguing against someone who isn't listening: like any other entrenched mind. They don't care what you have to say. They want to indoctrinate you with their shit. "Just watch it again." A critic who can't take criticism! That is pathetic. Why should we listen to anything she has to say? Their ideology is like religion to these fools.

"Listen and believe!" What is this, a church? The cult of Anita.
"That's something we all have to deal with, but if some people (especially performer, artists etc) decide not to read the comment section or even decide to disable comment alltogether, because they don't want to face these mean spirited attacks anymore, why not respect that?"
Because she's a critic. If a critic can't be criticized, they are ipso facto a hypocrite. They have absolutely no business dishing out criticism if they can't take it. Do you get this yet? Do you understand how criticism works? Do you understand freedom of speech, and how through arguing, we come to the truth? Anita doesn't care for the truth, just her opinion. If she were to open up a dialog, she'd get destroyed by logic, reason and evidence. Why? Because she's not a gamer, doesn't do proper research, and has only her biased feminist sex-negative theology to fall back on. She's a con artist.

The reason she's getting harassed is because she is saying and doing stupid shit. Now thunderf00t's twitter is taken down. Why? Because Anita thinks thunderf00t is harassing her. When does her one-sided "I can never be wrong" ego take a break? She's pathetic, and now an outspoken critic of hers has lost another means of expressing himself. All because of Sad little Snowflake Damsel Anita.

If she was serious about her points, and had lots of empirical evidence, she'd relish in arguing and debating. She's be up for all kinds of interviews and argue her ideas. But she's not. She only takes things that show her in a positive light, or as the victim. She's just an opportunist, trying to make money, pushing a bullshit agenda that won't help anyone, especially not gender roles in gaming. <-- And yes, you should read all three parts.
"My point is: To say she's just trying to shut her critics up/out, is kind of ridiculous, considering the amount of 'criticism' and personal insults she faces. I'm not saying, she is infallible or should be exempt from criticism, Big Brother style. Not at all. But I think you're trying to make her out as this conniving mastermind, solely on the ground that she disabled comments after experiencing a shitstorm of epic lenght and proportion."
The only thing ridiculous here is your understanding of why she doesn't allow comments, and doesn't respond to criticism.

If enabled, let's say you don't want to hear/read the comments. Here's an idea: Don't. Read. Them.

The difference is, critics have taken to other forms of the internet, not just youtube in critique videos, but on blogs, twitter, tumblr, and the like. And like you wrote, considering the amount of 'criticism' and personal insults she faces, she should be able to determine which are critics and which aren't. The outcry is in part because she's a hypocrite and didn't enable comments. This causes stupid, feminist-leaning people to send her money. Because she's getting bad emails! :(

But she doesn't care about contrary opinions. So why should we care for her words?

I don't think she's a mastermind. She's a sad little snowflake with a bigger megaphone, spouting feminist nonsense.

And when someone makes big claims, one requires big proof. Big scrutiny. Big criticism.

When someone doesn't respond to criticism, when ones cries wolf (Giant Male Chauvinist Wolves Who Control Everything) and doesn't back up their assertions? Then that person is easily dismissed.

The problem is people like you. People who believe in this shit without understanding what she's saying. This is where she gets her platform for people to care. And money.
"Should she respond to her critics? Honestly, I don't know."
How many times do I have to repeat myself here?

If a critic cannot respond to criticism, they are a hypocrite. They have no business saying anything.

I don't care if they get death threats. I don't care if someone writes them poo-poo emails. I don't care if they get mafia-style warnings in their home. If they have something to say that's so vitally important, you grow a goddamned pair and fight. Or you shut your goddamned mouth.

Anita doesn't fight. She releases asinine videos and stops talking about it. Except when she's invited and paid to come and talk about her Victimhood(c).

I want an honest debate. I want ideas to be backed by evidence. She cannot do these things; same with her followers. If we can't get feedback from her, then her thoughts and opinions are to be ignored.

"If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion."  -- David Hume.
"But to be fair, at this point the number of level-headed critics of her work seems insignificant compared to the number of hate spewing maniacs"
And that's fair how? That's you trying to justify her silence with bullshit.

If she's as smart and serious about her claims, she'll be able to respond to criticism, and ignore the "hate spewing maniacs." She hasn't, she can't, she won't.

There are dozens of criticisms about every goddamned word she spouts, every fact she makes a point of, every reference she footnotes. Even if she does make a worthy point, it's mired by her intellectual dishonestly and blatant bias. She ends up revealing herself to be the sexist, the racist, and the xenophobe, not the "problematic tropes" in the games she talks about. Don't give me this bullshit about "oh, she's so repressed! Oh there are so many trolls! It's a deluge of violence!"

Do you know how many asinine, intolerant, biased, hate spewing feminists there are on twitter? I'd say close to 95% of the people I respond to on there are. You can't have a discussion with these people. Are these the kind of people you want in gaming, or in general, you want to talk to? I certainly don't. They're vile, horrible creatures that have no place in discourse or the rational sharing of ideas. They don't care for evidence, and if you try to explain things, you're labeled a sexist/misogynist.
"And incidentally, others HAVE adressed the allegations in her place. To a degree that it feels like all has been said. I mean, it's mostly the same adhominem [not a Gamer/didn't play the games/stole/biased/profits from victimhood (WTF??)/quality of the video didn't improve after kickstarter (yeah...)]  attacks over and over again anyways. To a degree, that it feels like it is more about disqualifying her as a person, so one doesn't have to engage with the content of her videos than anything else."
Really? Show me one. I haven't seen any video responses. The blog and news posts I've seen were all biased, misinformed, opinion pieces "Alas, a woman in distress! Save Damsel Anita!" (Much like the original one I responded to.) It's as if their head has been removed, and all this leftist-feminist-propaganda has been filled in.

The quality of her videos haven't changed. What, she got new header graphics? That doesn't even cost $1k+.

As for her backer rewards, yeah, she screwed those people over.

Calling her not a gamer is not an ad hominem. It's the truth. It's her own words. How much more evidence do you need?

She's profiting from all the negative feedback. It's called being a professional victim "Alas, I am such the damsel! Here's my paypal link!" For saying how Damsels in Distress are "problematic" (yet not bad!), she's making herself out as the hypocrite. What, she can't defend herself from criticism? That's right, she can't, and happily posts those who do.

And so what if someone attacks her with vitriol and anger? Those are ignored. Much like how we can ignore her misinformed, biased ramblings: they have no weight.
"Even the amount of hate Sarkeesian faces would seem kind of silly at this point, if it wasn't so represantative for the bigger issue, namely the treatment of women in the videogame industry."
There is no mistreatment of women in the video game industry. Nor is that the bigger issue. Nor is that the issue Anita has brought up. Stop making this stuff up.
"It's not stealing though and I doubt that there is any ground for legal matters."
As I stated before, my lawyer, who knows his copyright/trademark law, says there is.
"1. She didn't sell stolen art on t-shirts. Nor does she currently sell her show on DVD. In fact she is not making       any money whatsoever by selling her show. Which means Feminist Frequeny is still non profit. So I don't             think the t-shirt example is making a lot of sense. "
The t-shirt example was from a real world story my lawyer explained. I don't know where you're going with this.

If she's a non-profit, we should be able to see the donations she has made. Why hasn't she shown what she donated, and where it went? Why hasn't she told us what money went where, like so many other Kickstarter campaigns? Seriously, why can't she do this?
"2. She raised money by Kickstarter and people can support the show by making donations. Getting donations is not selling stuff, so legally she should be in the clear. "
It doesn't matter if she's selling stuff or not. She's receiving money from copyrighted content. Anything past $200 becomes a big deal.
"3. As far as I know the legal situation around LPs is a grey area to say the least. She never used the                    commentary and she used mostly cut scenes anyways, if I'm not  mistaken. Fan Art is only legal under Fair         Use anyways. "
Not if you're making money off it. Again, past $200, eyebrows start getting raised.
"4. Plagiarizing aka not acknowledging the creator is an ethical, not a legal issue. At least that's what wikipedia      says. Again, I'm not a lawyer."
This is a copyright issue, not a plagiarism one, so this is moot.
" 5. While I may think it is unprofessional and unethical, it seems to be perfectly legal in the US to use                      art/games footage under Fair Use without permission. "
If she didn't ask for permission, and didn't credit the source, then yes, it is an issue. Again: passed $200, things get dicey. Would you like to talk to my lawyer about this? You seem to have a hard time understanding copyright law.

Listen to if you need to see the problems.

This might be easier if you don't like reading.
"For fuck's sake that is not the internet being a dick, that is straight up evil."
A bunch of radical individuals do not reflect the group. You get that in every group. They're harmless.
 "FilmcritHulk from Badass Digest wrote a powerfull piece about the ending of Mass Effect and the 'GIVE ME' Culture, which shows: Gamer are guilty of the exact behaviour they accuse the so called SJW of.
While I and many others lobby for more diversification in gaming narratives, fully aware and perfectly fine with the fact that there is and will always be porn in video games (as Angry Joe put it so eloquently), these 'fans' really pressured Ubisoft into CHANGING the narrative, just because THEY felt mistreated. Yeah, so much about feeling entitled."
I am smudboy. An outspoken critic of the Mass Effect franchise. Go to my channel to find out. Film Critic Hulk is either a parody account, or simply doesn't understand the absolute nonsense that is ME3's ending, and the travesty that is the franchise.

When a ME player is entitled, it is because that is what the trilogy was selling us on: a game where, your choices matter, which will all come up to a brilliant, galaxy changing complex ending. What we got were 2 Deus Ex devices, 3 colors, and absolute nonsense.

When a game or literary critic analyzes a game and its story, they take it apart for what it is, and what it's trying to be. Anita doesn't. She sees as she thinks they should be due to her ideology, and takes things out of context, deems these slices as sexism or misogyny, and the other extreme example as victory for Feminism. She infers that gamers who like such games are either blind, or willing sexists, and implies the creators of said games are sexist.

That video you linked to was of a girl -- who just re-copied Angry Joe -- for his complete misunderstanding of what the ruckus about Anita is all about.

Not sure what Ubisoft has to do with anything. As for Mass Effect EA/Bioware, the Extended Cut, a free DLC for ME3, was released as a result of fan outcry. Unfortunately, it didn't change the narrative or the ending: it made it worse. This is why Bioware is on shaky ground right now, and if they don't hit it out of the park with Dragon Age Inquisition, they're toast. Their new IP, which looks like a pile of crap, isn't helping.
"Gamers want Games to be acknowledged as an artform, rightfully so,"
No we don't: they are an artform. We don't give a shit if others think otherwise.

Oh right. That was Roger Ebert. But he actually argued how games were not art. Because hes an actual critic, and did response pieces and interviews on the topic.

And you can disagree or agree with him, but at least he actually took the time to do so.

Oh right. I forget. Anita isn't a game critic. She's a "culture critic". Whatever the hell that even means.

However, if some pompous ass tried to make a series of "X Vs. Art" in gaming, showing how things in games aren't art, and try profiting off it, calling us all "unrefined people who don't know art." Oh dear.

Do you get it yet?
"and they demand that video games should be respected as a medium of storytelling in its own right. But when criticism crops up, then it's just a game, just escapist entertainment right? Why again is analyzing tropes in video games from a feminist point of view breaking the gaming industry? 
1. Games need a lot more "maturing" to be considered a medium of storytelling on par with literature. And that includes having sexism, misogyny, and any other controversial theme to be taken seriously, as they are in literature, the arts, etc. It's people like you and Anita who are bringing down the artform. But some games don't want to be. And that's perfectly fine.
2. It's never just a game.
3. Let me tell you this: does a PETA member that criticizes the leather interior of a Cadillac, have any business talking about animal cruelty in the automobile industry? I would say no.

Having Anita talk about feminism in video games is fine. The problem is:

1) She lies ("not a fan of video games.")
2) She lies by omission (Dinosaur Planet, God of War.)
3) She doesn't understand the narrative, and takes things out of their narrative/game play context. (Borderlands 2, Red Dead Redemption, heck every example she brings.)
4) She doesn't understand game play mechanics. (Super Mario Brothers)
5) She doesn't understand storytelling or the role of characters (protagonists? What are those for?)
6) She is biased.

Now, if that PETA member could recommend fake-fur, or synthetic leather materials, that are actually more comfortable, durable, less costly, etc., to produce a luxurious interior, then they'd have a rational, sound argument. Anita isn't doing that. She isn't providing helpful examples, or conclusions. For the most part she's saying "look at this." And the response is "so?" She's just taking things out of context and using her feelings about fictional people with vaginas in video games. It's biased nonsense. Do we have to "feel" like she does to "get it"? No. We're not stupid.

Now, if we had a real feminist, that uses facts, like Christina H Sommers, then we can get to the main issues of whatever the problem is: if there even is one. Seeing men or women abused in fiction, plays, books, movies, games, etc., isn't a problem, and hasn't been for millennia.

Unless you're a Sad Sensitive Snowflake, like you and Anita. Because vagina.
"A good start would be to stop relying on sexist tropes when telling stories" 
Nope. You don't get to tell me, or a writer, designer, developer, etc., how to make or compose a story. And all your whining won't change anything. There's nothing good or bad, right or wrong, with tropes, sexist or otherwise.

I repeat: there's nothing wrong with tropes, sexist or otherwise. The only problem is your Sad Sensitive Snowflake brain.

If you don't like that. Make. Your. Own. Game.
"The 'worldwide Alliance of SJW' does not want to change ALL games and I for one am fiercly opposed to censorship. As it happens, I don't think that violent videogames create violent people and I object to the notion that videogames, that may be considered partially sexist, create sexist gamers. In fact, I think that even assumptions about tendencies (ingame violence against women desensitizes gamers) like Sarkeesian does, are highly problematic. "
Either games influence people, or they don't. They either make us violent and sexist, or they don't.
If you're saying they desensitize us to violence and sexism, then they make us violent and sexist.

If they do, evidence.

Stop trying to beat around the bush. If all you have is a theory, I once again, submit you to Hume's flames.

Now I can go on, but you wrote a lot of bullshit, and you really aren't worth my time. You don't seem to grasp how nonsensical this is, and how one woman with nothing but feelings and sensibility, can't argue her way out of the house of cards she built, that has collapsed upon her.

Any writer can tell any story they want. If you don't like that story, evaluate it for what it is, and what it's trying to be. Not that it fits into your pathetic, sad, sensitive little ideology, because vaginas are bloody, and that all stories with vaginas should be the way you think. That's thought police 1984 stuff. Get out.

But I will constantly bring fascists like you and Anita down who try to impose their will on any art form just because it makes them feel "problematic."

Get out of gaming. Get out of any of the arts.

Unless you're willing to throw away your sad ideologies: you don't belong there. And you never will.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A response to my previous post

This is in response to this
 ...which is a response to my previous post.
"- disable comments: Really? I mean, can you blame her? This accusation is just silly."
Yes. Yes I can blame her. As a blogger and as a youtuber. Who cares what other people say? It's comments. People obviously disagree with her. Why can't they talk about it? So we have no open forum to express ourselves, or argue with others. Thus, we're forced to go to other places to talk about it, or, the only place we can talk to her and others: twitter.

Does she listen? Does she care? Nope. Great job Anita. A critic who can't even listen to criticism on themselves. Pathetic.

Oh, and she's disabled ratings on the majority of her videos. So we have no idea who has actually watched her stuff and disliked them. Why even disable ratings?

I have some popular, controversial videos and I have rating counts that are nearly 50/50. What's she scared of? (Oh right. Dissent.)

And don't give me the death threat nonsense. She's a pro-victim profiting on being a Damsel. The very same thing she's arguing is bad, because feminism. She is the very thing she denounces.
"- steal footage: This accusation is so representative for the whole conflict; While I agree, that you should credit your sources, technically she did NOT steal. Was it unprofessional to not ask for permission? In my opinion, yes it was. Did she steal? Nope, Fair use."
While I'm the first to uphold anyone's ability to use the Fair Use clause to take copyrighted material for criticism (I am the first youtuber to have sued another for Misrepresentation under 512(f), to my knowledge), it's an issue I've talked to my lawyer extensively about this. The whole thing is a legal quagmire as soon as she started raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  1. She didn't ask for permission.
  2. She didn't credit or cut deals with those people (video and images.)
  3. She raised money.
  4. She didn't play the games she supposedly said she did.
(I can't back 4 up, but it seems pretty obvious that's what happened when she simply stole so much footage of retro games; additionally, considering her knowledge of games in general. After $150k and 2 years, she's had plenty of time and no excuses to play the retro games she supposedly bought.)

As soon as the money goes passed a huge threshold, like, over $200, a civil case can certainly be called up. I've heard of stories for much, much less than $150k+, for things as simple as selling photographs on t-shirts.
"- not responding to critics may be frustrating for critics. But not responding to critics can also seen as professionalism. Many artists choose not to go down the rabbit hole and adress critics. It's a personal choice, we have to respect."
It's your opinion that it's professional to not respond to criticism? For 2+ years?

It is hypocritical and disingenuous for any artist, or critic, who, when given legitimate criticism, for their continued work, over the years, to not respond to it. You make it sound like she's untouchable, when all she's doing is releasing feminist opinion pieces about a media that people of all ages, creeds and backgrounds love, and insinuating they're sexist, without being a lover or expert in the field.

#GamerGate is largely about the sanctity and professionalism of journalism in the gaming press. I don't know how the hell -- or in what Orwellian city you live in -- it's somehow seen as professional to not respond to criticism. You may as well give up freedom of speech, debate, and property rights while you're at it. Nothing to see here citizen. Everything I said is perfect. I don't need to respond to you. I'm perfect (I'm being sarcastic, in case you don't know.)

She's not the next David Bowie releasing a controversial video enraging religious groups.

She's a biased, lying, opportunist. Ms. "I'm not a fan of video games/they're gross" Sarkeesian produces videos that incense her audience using high school level analysis and cherry picked data, and you're telling me she's professional for being beyond reproach?

Next I'm going to start hearing "ignorance is strength" as your SJW slogan, and you'd be okay with that.

Just go here and tell me how many you think are critical and how many are trolling.
"-lying: the whole 'I don't like games' – 'I love games' stick again? The footage of her in college is seen as 'proof' of her being deceitful, but actually it is possible to have a love/hate relationship with games. I can certainly relate. I played videogames all my life, but I'm not a gamer. I'm in love with the games I played as a kid, but I'm frustrated with how conservative the industry today is. Sometimes I hate games and then I stumble over an interesting indie title and I'm in love allover again – relationship status: It's complicated. Maybe Sarkeesian lied, I don't know. For me, it's not important. Her points are still valid."
She doesn't have a love/hate relationship with games. She's a straight up liar.

That totally destroyed her credibility, but SJWs apparently have no standards, or reasoning, on what a hypocrite is.

Well guess what, Oceanian? You think that's okay. Why? Because she doesn't respond to that. She's professional.

And to say her points are still valid at the end of your sentence? Prove it. Cause all I heard was a lying, biased opportunist, who said a bunch of bullshit. Who isn't an art or game critic or advocate, and was so overly sensitized to her philosophy, she had to cherry pick responses to make it seem like games are sexist and misogynist.
"biased: I think this is a misunderstanding. She uses feminist theories (obviously) as a basis of her analysis. That is a completley valid approach for critics and scholars alike."

Bias, or revealing a bias, does not make an argument valid. It makes it less valid. The more bias you have, the less truth there is. The more one sided, narrow minded the understanding becomes. We're looking for accurate depictions of sexism in video games, and she screwed that up. Why do I know this? Because she's a sex-negative feminist. She couldn't handle a few comments and down votes to her videos before she went to Kickstarter, and removed such videos. Aww, poor Anita.

There's plenty of feminism out there. I'm sure an actual feminist could give a better account of it in video games. But Anita ain't it.

And, if she's not a video game critic, journalist, art critic (visual, audio, animation, etc.), then she has no business what so ever being an outsider. Being an outsider doesn't make her more objective or clear headed when discussing art. This isn't a legal battle. It makes her less credible. She's giving an opinion on aggregates of video games, that show patterns of whatever, without making sense of it.

She literally just went through a page of, saw what she thought was relevant to her biased agenda, and started cherry picking. And she still screwed it up.

In her Damsels in Distress part 2, regarding Borderlands 2, she entirely misses the characterization of Angel, and her integrity within the plot, claiming she's a damsel, when she's not.
If she played it, she might've known better not to use that as an example...
...or she did play it, and didn't understand a damn thing in that part of the story (media critic?)...
...or she did play it, and realized most of her audience wouldn't have played that game, and ran with it...

But because she took it out of its narrative context, and because it showed the player character shooting her, clearly she was an example of the trope (and the Mercy Kill trope.) As if Angel asking the player character to kill them is some "male fantasy", and not, instead, of the powerful female character, choosing to take control of her life.

That's also observation bias. Everything is misogyny.

In her latest video, she cherry picks more examples, this time of Bioshock, saying that impaled women are somehow sex objects for being dead bodies (even though there are male bodies also dead in the same areas) in Siren Alley. Yet, she completely forgot to mention the entire level of Fort Frolic, where only male bodies were murdered, held in poses, and covered in plaster (a la Sander Cohen, a homosexual), who are literally ornamental parts of the "background decoration."

I'm sure there are more, but I don't care to listen to her nonsense.

In storytelling, context is king. Something Anita has removed from her aggregate of examples. (Or, again: she lied to us about actually either playing the games, not understanding the games, or just being stupid and lazy and not caring what the audience knows is right.)
"- profiting off victim hood: Sorry, but now you're being a dick. She is a victim of harassment. Saying she is profiting off her victim hood is belitteling this very serious fact and sounds a lot like victim blaming."
I'm a victim of harassment, and DMCA. You don't see me contacting the authorities or backing down from said harassment. She is a professional victim. That's how she gets the money.

I'm sure there are movie and music stars out there who get way more death threats, but you don't see them freaking out or asking for money.
"- obviously art is an important part of culture. Her main focus just happens to be the role of women in popculture, especially video games"
Which is completely nonsensical. The time of "culture critics" is long over, even if they were ever relevant in the past.
"- Another misconception (imo) as she has never said, creators of games are misogynists. She's looking at pieces of art – in this case games - and highlights parts that can be seen as misogynistic, like a film critic criticizes a movie for being misogynistic/homophobic/racist without saying the director is a mysoginist/homophob/racist. Sometimes a piece of art/ certain parts of a piece of art can be problematic (e.g. reenforce stereotypes) and the creator was oblivious to that fact. You don't have to be a self-identified racist/homophobe/misogynist to (accidental) reuse racist/homophobe/ misogynist tropes."
So what?

Why would anyone consider things, when taken out of their various contexts, as misogynistic?

I can take things in their context, of how dreadfully violent, painful, and sickening video games are. Who cares if a bunch of video games have women being victimized? Same with the male game characters (only multiply that violence several times.) Now I don't personally care if all the soldiers I shoot in an FPS are women, but I don't see how that's relevant.

There's nothing problematic with stereotypes. None. Nothing. They're just stereotypes. Patterns that have emerged.

You don't know if the creator was oblivious to that fact, or whether it was intentional. Who are you talking about? Show me examples, because you're making stuff up.

Remember: tropes are neither good, nor bad. Which means, they're neither misogynist or misandrist. Unless you think misogyny is neither good nor bad.
"- The way I understand it, the problem is not the trope in itself. The problem is the constant usage."
When did Anita say this? She wasn't talking about it's frequency. That's a whole other argument than "these tropes are so unoriginal in storytelling!" You see, you're inventing the narrative that Anita is trying to tell you. It's like you're not paying attention. See what happens when she doesn't respond to criticism? You have to "make up" what she's trying to say: probably because she's spouting nonsense.
"Sarkeesian speaks out for more diversification. Nothing wrong with that in my book. I also think that it is highly problematic to tell women/People of Colour/Homosexuals/Transsexuals etc. that it is THEIR problem, that THEY are oversensible when they speak out about the representation of their gender/race/sexuality or whatever."
That's because they don't stop whining about it. Wah! I'm not being represented! I can't identify with this hooker. Why, game, why?

Boo-hoo. Go feel entitled elsewhere. Don't like a game, because it doesn't fit into your world view? Go make your own.

When I criticize a game, I criticize it for what it is, and what it was trying to be. I use critical analysis of storytelling and art, because that's what I was trained in, and that's what games are. (I went to school for video game design and dev, and took various classes in the arts (philosophy, fine arts, digital art, creative writing, etc.)) Remember: context is king. Anita? She throws it away, because she wants to create her own biased narrative.
"We should at least consider the validity of their arguments because more likely than not we don't know what it feels like to be sexually harassed or discriminated against because of gender/skincolour/sexuality etc."
As soon as she makes valid ones. (Not exactly holding on for this one.)

And any writer worth their ink can write about any topic or conflict. If all you're arguing is "stories in games are too X and should be less X, and more Y". Well guess what? That's not what Anita is saying, at all.
"Even if we think we know what it is like to be bullied or discriminated against, chances are, we don't know it the way they do"
Bullshit. Everyone has been bullied or faced social pressure in some manner throughout their life. However, considering Anita's reaction to dissent, maybe she's the one who never had a healthy  childhood.
"Let's say – for the sake of the argument- she's not a gamer."
I don't have to. She said it herself.
"Is Hitman the perfect example? Probably not. Does that mean her whole theory is invalid? Hell no. Yes, Hitman discourages you from killing the innocent. Still, her whole point, that the Creatore gives you a world, you can interact with and in way to many of these worlds you can slap around half naked women holds up. In Hitman? The Game may not encourage it, but you CAN do it like the footage shows."
Actually it does disprove her theory.
  1. It's a stealth game. You lose points for a) being detected, b) killing things aside from your target.
  2. Out of all the play throughs I've seen, no one has slapped around strippers except Anita.
  3. Just because you can do X mechanic, doesn't mean it's good, or bad. It's merely a function of the game when removed from it's narrative context.
If her point was to prove a game can have you interact with people by killing them? Congratulations. You now know you can kill humans in a game called Hitman.

But oh no, those "people" are strippers. Misogyny. Sexism. Let me go call the sensitivity police to this entertaining piece of interactive fiction you seem to have a problem with. We should probably blow up Hollywood while we're at it. Oh, and the first amendment.
"But to see the video footage shows, there is something horrible about the way you can treat these half naked women."
No, it literally doesn't. Agent 47 kills that stripper with a takedown move. (Anita then shows off ragdoll physics because she just loves collision detection.) The same way he kills any other person in the game. There is nothing horrible about that. Why? Because this is a Hitman game. If you were so goddamn traumatized by killing anything in this game, well guess what genius? You probably wouldn't be playing.

The only thing horrible is your immature reaction to your target having a vagina and wearing skimpy clothing. (A stripper in a strip club. Wearing skimpy clothing. Oh my. Call a feminist.)

Never mind the fact that one of them was talking about being worried about her friend going missing, and how she thinks her boss caused it, and how she might be next. Never mind that brief moment of humanity -- that turned an anonymous sex worker into a person, concerned about her friends and her own life -- and how, if you cared, how you wish you could help her, just like Victoria. And how much more careful you were with not hitting those panels (that just break away when you touch them) so not to have them catch you so you wouldn't have to silence them. Although that does make you wonder: would putting them out of their misery help them from a life of pain and terror? Agent 47 has internal monologue at times of the things he does, who he kills, and why. Is it just to protect Victoria? This adds to the depth of the character and the world you're in. He isn't just some nameless, mindless killer, even though he's designed to be as such. He's trying to be a person, trying desperately to survive and escape this world, and realizes that this is what he is.

Again, this is a video game about a guy who kills people. Not a documentary on the life of strippers.

You see, you're missing the forest for the trees. Anita pulls off a twig and every non-gamer, or feminist sucker, flips their shit. "This twig means something!" But she never actually tells us what. She just has a collection of twigs from multiple trees and, somehow, that's supposed to construct some other tree -- oh wait she doesn't even do that with the twigs.
"violence against sex worker is a sad fact, these games trivialize and somewhat endulge in. To a point movies have the same problem by the way. The exploitation of women dancing and stripping as visceral pleasure for the viewer or as mere background decoration has a long and sad tradition. It doesn't get criticized enough, but it gets critized and 'the male gaze' is part of film criticism and film theory."
Yeah. So don't hurt the sex workers? Oh right, only Anita did that. Because she's a sexist, I imagine.

See, you can hurt them. Or, you can be a good player, and sneak around them. As you're supposed to. In a goddamned stealth game. If you go and hurt them, doesn't that say something about you, the player? (e.g. a1) are you a misogynist? a2) are you a sexist? a3) are you getting an erection yet? a4) did you check your privilege as a Hitman? b) are you a shitty Hitman player? c) are you perhaps reading way too much into this you over-reactive snowflake?)

These games don't trivialize death. You're literally killing people in the game world. Strippers, waiters, caddys, guards, etc. The kills are conducted in a variety of methods, tools and details. You're a killing machine. A Hitman. Hence, the title. You're supposed to kill only your targets, with stealth and silence. Women are not being exploited. They are not "just background decoration." They are people, or at least, trying to be, in the brief moment we get to see and hear them, living out their lives. Just like the men are, and boy, if you think those strippers are exploited, for the grand total of 20 seconds you see and hear them? Wait till you see the men being exploited and killed in that game. By you. The player.

I imagine if Anita talked about male exploitation, she could devote hours and hours on Hitman alone. But oh no. Vaginas.

But let ask you a serious question: how do you know they're being exploited? Tell me that. No, seriously. Show me where in the game you know, in their 20 second brief life as a stripper, they're being exploited. How do you know they don't want to be there? How do you know they don't enjoy it? You see, there's not much depth to them, nor, should there be. Because this is a game. About a Hitman. The player character.

Never mind the fact that Anita takes this stuff out of context.

Never mind that this isn't "Hit-Tell me a story about the Strippers in a Stripclub-man."

You're Agent 47. You have one job. And it certainly isn't therapy for random NPCs who just happen to have vaginas. There's no real reason for the game designer, writer, developer, etc., to cater to your every ridiculous need just because vaginas make you cry.
"- I would call the use of sexual imagery as lazy if it's used to ponder to a certain crowd (e.g. Megan Fox in the Transformer Movies) or if used as a shortcut to establish the fictional (e.g. dark & gritty) world."
How the flying hell is that lazy? That's called knowing your goddamned audience. And delivering.

It's also called taste. And guess what? All the bitching you're saying or how virtual women are being victimized, isn't ever -- and I mean this, ever -- going to change people liking attractive things, men or women. Until gamers, for some reason, stop liking attractive things in their games (women, men, shiny objects, whatever), game developers, movie directors, comic book artists, etc., are going to keep doing it.

And they have been. And all your whining isn't going to change anything.

But hey, maybe, maybe you'll get ambitious and make your own game, with no tits and killing, and whatever. Get all your other SJW fascists and put in all the politically correct bullshit you want. Let's see it sell. I actually would like to see it do well, and you and your SJWs do well, if you succeed. Corner that market. If anything, maybe you can start producing and stop whining, cause you are writing so much crap that I have to respond to.
"I would also argue that tropes are wildly accepted as lazy in writing circles."
In the circles I know, I've never heard anyone sigh and go "oh, sexy people. So 1984." Case you hadn't noticed, all the actors in Game of Thrones, who are oh-so-exploited for taking their clothes off and having sex scenes, are drop dead gorgeous. But apparently the story is very good, so I guess they're not being exploited, right? I mean, castration doesn't bother you, cause that's one step closer to a vagina, right?

As for writers, they avoid clichés like the plague. On, the homepage states:"On the whole, tropes are not clichés."
"But again, it's not about the tropes, it's about the heavy reliance on these tropes."
Again, how do you know this? Did Anita say this? Cause much like Anita, I think you're just projecting her nonsense with your own. Cause I've written and edited stories. Took courses on it, argued, edited in roundtable discussions, etc. All stories have already been told. When writers and editors make suggestions, I bet half of them are tropes: but we don't care. Aside from a handful of obvious ones, we don't ever say "oh that's so cliche." We go "how can we make this feel X?"

Anyone writing a story with sex workers and murder? That's interesting.

There is nothing wrong with using tropes, stereotypes, themes, sex, death, etc. It's how you do it that counts. And to say it's wrong just means that's your taste. And that's fine, but you don't get to tell others what to like just because you can't handle it. And don't bother telling that to artists.
"And while original stories may be rare, it should always be about what you do with the 'stock material'. As a writer, you can give it a creative twist or be lazy. The Problem wit the adverts is not only that it - as Sarkeesian points out - recreates another trope of the 'beautiful, but dead' trope, it also hints at the bigger problem of objectifcation of women in advertising."
Nowhere was Anita saying what you just stated. A poor writer can be lazy; but it's about how they write, not what they write about.

Advertising is about making things sell. One big billboard with a chick on it with skimpy clothing. Wow. Where have I seen that before. Yup. How dare advertisers use sex because it makes them money. How unoriginal. How dare they make money on a historically proven method of selling things. If only they were more original, they could make more money. Who would ever want to look at tits. Not me. So unoriginal.

Please keep your sex-negative feminist bullshit to a minimum. I'm hopefully past the halfway mark here.
"- Objectification is used in the way social philosophy defines it:"
Thank you for pointing out your ideological nonsense so I don't have to research it to point out it has no place in an analysis of game content. Games have their own philosophies (ludology) coupled with literary theory, for games with narrative. You don't ask a baker to make you a pair of boots.
" But that in itself caters to a (male) savior/revenge fantasy."
So what if it caters to things, in your opinion? Stopping the bad guy is the point. There's a boss. A bad guy. Stop him. Saving the girl may just be part of it, or she maybe intrinsic to stopping the bad guy, or the plot, or nothing at all. And there's nothing wrong with any of that. Again, it's how it's done that matters.

Of course, you, and Anita, would've known this, if you knew anything about games or storytelling. But because vaginas are involved, you lose all sense of what a game is trying to do; if you even knew in the first place.
"Gender theory would argue that is rooted in the male gender role."
That's because these people don't understand science, economics, physiology, the endocrine system, etc. Gender roles are just that, roles. And while individuals commit criminal acts, it's largely based on biology and economic forces, than whether one wears pants or pumps.
"In a male dominated society, men are supposed to be the strong one, not only physically, but men are also supposed to suffer silently, to be the emotional detached, rational one, the breadwinner etc."
Luckily, we don't live in a male dominated society. And even if we did, that would have nothing to do with gender roles, and more to do with biology, social and developmental psychology.
"Patriarchy hurts men as well as women."
Not a fan of the ladies, are you Trebek.
"Most critics of feminism (e.g. on youtube) ignore this fact completly."
Probably because they're busy wondering where all the women are being oppressed by not getting into all those male dominated industries of oil drilling, coal mining or porn theatre janitors. Damn you, patriarchy.
"I agree. It IS a whole other topic because political convictions do not necessarily render ones arguments invalid."
Oh right. Marx. A fellow who helped come up with creating dialectical materialism, which is the exact opposite of the dialectic process of Hegel. The very one thing you don't want to use in having a serious discussion on the validity of your ideology to make any damn sense together (synthesis.)

Welcome to Oceania, citizen. Ignorance is strength.
"Feminism strives for equality of the sexes (and not female chauvinism, like some critics claim)."
Feminism wants to create a uni-sex? Good luck with that. And all the examples of feminists I've talked to were calling me sexist and misogynists just for disagreeing with them. Sometimes, just saying hello. I'm telling you: you're making me think there's something wrong with me.
"- I don't think that's true. It's a common misconception that criticism has no merits in itself. Xou don't have to be a game developer/writer/director or artist of any kind for that matter to be a critic. In fact, more often than not, critique can be seen as its own artform. And I do think critics can make a difference. And I hope we will see a wider range of female characters in game. We already do. And that's a good thing. Just my 2 cents."
If you don't know anything about the thing you're critiquing, you're a bad critic.
If you don't know the context of the thing you're critiquing, your criticism is flawed.
If you take things out of context, you're lying to your audience.

Criticism is not an art form. Who told you this? It is analytical, empirical, and structured. It requires an experienced, critical eye. And lots of evidence within its context.

Gamers don't care if we get more or less females in games. We want fun games. And we want all ideologies or other nonsense. Game designers and developers are free to make any kind of games with any content they wish. So long as such games are fun, we care. If they're not, they're not worth playing, and the medium and reason for listening to storytelling is nearly gone.

If you want to argue stories and their composition, learn about it. Don't just say "we need females doing x in games". Until someone shows us why, then no, we don't, and never did. Anita certainly isn't the right person for the job.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Husting bustling: A response to Chris Tognotti

In response to this:

I quote where needed.
"Despite troubling indications of 4chan’s typically nefarious involvement — as Wired details, countless so-called “sockpuppet” accounts have been used to leverage journalistic ethics as a shield for misogyny — the hashtag is still alive and well, and nothing if not passionate."
While there are certainly a large number of trolls in various camps, to "leverage journalistic ethics as a shield for misogyny" is one loaded sentence. To speak of 4chan, even "/v/", as being the same is false; why they are "anon."

Do misogynists support young female devs? The same devs Zoe Quinn nearly destroyed?

Are all these people misogynists, too?

I'm not even going to touch the monster that is the ZQ.

Now, if you want an example of misogyny, or misandry, or just a general horrible person, who also happens to be a feminist, look no further than Leigh Alexander.

Oh yeah, and this nutbar.

Point is: there are trolls on either side. What matters is the legitimate criticism.
"But the anti-woman tenor within much of the gaming community isn’t some new phenomenon."
I understand you write for a website with a largely female audience, but there is no "Anti-woman tenor within the gaming community." There are certainly communities of people around one game, but no "gamer community" in general. There are trolls on both sides. Gamers in online competitive games smack talk; that's normal. It would make sense they'd do the same of someone calling them sexist, or other such things. I have only been able to talk to a few people on twitter supporting female-equality-whatever, without being dismissed entirely as a sexist, misogynist, or some other brand, without cause, so the conversations are largely unhelpful. One would wonder, if, there are any intelligent, reasonable feminists.
"Just ask Anita Sarkeesian, who’s been criticized, harassed and hated for nearly two years, over her video series deconstructing sexist tropes in video games."
As she should be. Yes, hated: after what she has done (disable comments, steal footage, not respond to criticism) and said (lied, biased, profiting off victim hood, etc.) Harassed is another issue, however.
"The thing that’s most striking about the opposition to Sarkeesian’s work is that while her opposition comes in very different forms, ranging from simple criticism, to faux-intellectual documentarians, to outright virulent abuse, it’s all pretty lightweight. There’s a striking inability or unwillingness to grapple honestly or seriously with her arguments, to take her interest in the topic at face value, or to listen and understand to what she’s even arguing in the first place."
So she has simple criticism brought against her, yet these people are unable to be honest, serious, take interest in her topic, or listen and understand? I can name...two dozen or so youtube videos that were honest, serious, et al.  So, are those simple criticisms also faux-intellectual documentaries? Have you spent the time to seriously listen and understand them?

Your first point "1.  Criticism of Sarkeesian Isn’t About Misogyny" strikes me as odd. But let's get into what you say.
"The backlash against Sarkeesian has seemingly been due to her gender, mixed with her willingness to speak straight-forwardly about sexist tropes in games. It’s stoked the anger directed at so-called “Social Justice Warriors,” a term some gamers snidely use to attack anyone with a progressive or feminist criticism of their culture or pastimes. "
While her straight-forward style is part of the criticism, it's due to her being a biased, agenda driven, liar, who gets her facts wrong, that's the issue. Her observations start off fine, but then deride into bias (misogyny!)  Her conclusions are completely unfounded and too far reaching.

I'm not even sure what business a "culture" critic has at looking at art. Leave that to art critics. Let alone understand what she's looking at -- that games are art -- and that you use art to deal and express with such issues, if the artist so chooses. Or, who she's calling misogynist, a boys club, a "patriarchy", or whatever (Shigeru Miyamoto for wanting to rescue a princess, even though he had next to 0 narrative for Super Mario Bros? Or his audience? His game dev group? Nintendo? Japan? All men everywhere? How is a game 30 years old relevant today?) And why speculate on who's the misogynist? Simply interview the creators of the games she looked at.  (What, $150k+ later, she couldn't call up some developers?)

Anita makes statements like "this is a sexist stereotype", repeatedly, then makes an aggregate. And we're left sitting there going "okay. So?" What does it mean? We, the gamer, know what it means, but she spins it in such a way that her conclusions are ridiculous. So what if there are women in gaming that are being damseled, or are hurt, or killed? If, as she says, tropes are neither good nor bad, but may have problematic issues, well, what's so problematic about women, or men, going through pain, suffering or other such unpleasantness happening to them, in games? The majority of all stories ever told are about death. The only thing that's problematic are her sensibilities and reaction to gaming.

And if she was actually a gamer -- Ms. Anita "I'm not a fan of video games/they're gross" Sarkeesian -- she'd understand (and hopefully play) the scenes in games to know what's going on. Of course, we'd expect a negative reaction from a vegetarian trying to critique a steak house, which, still makes her opinion biased, and useless.

And if she was actually a literary critic, someone who can see the composition of a story, her understanding of plots, plot devices, plot points, etc., along with visual media (so a background in movies or animation, for example), or performance art (theatre, dance, etc, SOMETHING), she should be easily able to answer what's going on.

It's as if she just went on, did a search for women, opened up the video game sections, and started bitching.

Does she understand the demographic for certain games? Surely, there are games for men, women, children, and both genders that have ESRB ratings. Since nearly all forms of art are escapist or wish fulfillment in some capacity, what is her problem with games? She may as well be critiquing any piece of art (she's a "culture critic" after all), and be a PETA member, and whine about the treatment of animals in movies, yet not knowing the basics of what is going on in said media, thus, her opinions would be just as accurate as our vegetarian in a steak house.

As for her character, and her partner Jonathan McIntosh, for also being a sex-negative feminist (and other feminists disagree with her), it's as if any depiction of sexuality of women in games is bad.
"Similarly, as a male writer voicing support for her, such gamers might attack me as a “White Knight.” A word of advice — when naming your opponents, try not to make them sound so unambiguously awesome."
You might want to google what a White Knight is.
"But even when you listen to people who strenuously insist they’re not harassers, sometimes their casual willingness to say disgusting things shines through. As a prime example, take YouTuber Jordan Owen, who along with cohort Davis Aurini are trying to crowdfund a documentary called “the Sarkeesian Effect.” Their trailer announcing the project is almost a laughable self-parody of what you’d imagine, and they stress that the resulting film will be “a serious work of investigative journalism.”"
Have you listened to Davis and Jordan's various videos on such topics? You'll find them quite intelligent (Jordan can go on for hours.) In no way did they ever "harass" Anita, although they have left twitter message (probably because that's the only place she responds to anything.) If you think you're up to the intellectual gauntlet, or want to do some journalism of your own, I recommend you reach to both those two gentleman to learn what's going on. They'd be more than happy to talk to you.

Personally, I like Davis' take on male protagonists, and white male video game protagonists. This might be more relevant to the discussion.

As for their first video, I agree, it seemed weak. I talked to Davis about that, and they made a new one.
Check it out:

"But then, when doing an interview with a prominent YouTuber and #GamerGate proponent named “MundaneMatt,” Owen let this little gem slip out. One of the reasons he initially was okay with Sarkeesian? Her looks, framed in the grossest terms possible."
That's called a joke. People are allowed to make jokes, sexual or otherwise, or say things in a silly way. Did you know? It doesn't make them misogynists.

Do you want to know what problems Jordan went through growing up, and the poor treatment of girls he witnessed? Check this out and you tell me whether you still think he's a misogynist.

As to your "2.  Sarkeesian “Cherry-Picks” Content to Make Her Points"
"If you peruse the wide world of anti-Sarkeesian videos available, you’ll find no more repeated claim than this one — Anita is “cherry-picking” moments from popular games to make it seem like they’re sexist, or cause sexism, when actually, they’re not!"
Then why does she call them sexist? Why show a whole bunch? What's the point? So what if it's a trope? Tropes are inert. You see, you, and her, need to explain what it means if there is such meaning to be found. Because just making an aggregate is just that. It proves nothing.
"More to the point, it’s about the developers, writers and designers who all lazily rely on them — easier to make a suggestively posed female body, after all, than to give that body a worthwhile, realistic heart and mind."
There's nothing lazy by game creators for depicting sexual imagery, or, in regards to the advertisement of Hitman with a dead prostitute, in marketing. It's very specific. Tropes are not "lazy". I would imagine the scene in Hitman that has strippers, should; you are, after all, in a strip club. There's nothing wrong with that. Now, if you're complaining that all stories have been told before, and nothing's original, that's a whole other issue; an issue Anita has not brought up, nor is she providing a creative-writing analysis and solution to. (She doesn't provide any solutions to her invented problems of perceived sexism.)
"Content don’t just manifest out of thin air. People make it, and they’re responsible for what they decide to present for public consumption — even moreso when they’re objectifying women in a medium already overflowing with this representations. Basically, if she’s “cherry-picking,” it’s because she’s standing in a damn cherry grove. I can’t stress this enough, having played games fairly routinely across a twenty-year period — if you can’t see sexism’s pervasiveness in games, you’re willfully or haplessly blind."
And this is where you, your analogy, and Anita, are wrong.

Everything in a game is objectified. Plants, animals, doors, buildings, spaeships, etc. Women as well as men. They're meant to be attractive (like Anita's makeup.) They're meant to look cool (aside: look at eastern vs. western games and the predominance they put on style over game play.) Sometimes that's the only point. Sometimes, for a particular audience. If she was a gamer, she could explain the nature and situation of scenes (the strippers in Hitman, the woman being killed by a male in Read Dead Redemption, etc.) But she can't. She sees everything as misogynist. Women showcasing sexuality is misogynist. Women being depicted or not being as strong as men is sexist, women are too one-dimensional in X game, women aren't xyz, etc.

All of which can be said of the depiction of men in games.

There are games for men (AAA, RPGs). There are games for women (casual, hidden object.) And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, no matter how violent, misogynist, cute, illegal, horrific, scary, or beautiful such scenes in them are, or you think they are. There are even games where you can choose the male or female sex of the main character you play.

Don't even get me started on her third-person effect nonsense.

Then there's this wonderful statement by her on twitter

So if I disagree with her, I'm a sexist? Well, that's not biased at all.

And in regards to "3. Sarkeesian Isn’t Even a Gamer!"
"This one’s pretty silly, for a number of reasons. In the first place, she needn’t play games to identify plot tropes. She’s not writing reviews of these games, she’s examining specific elements of their plots, stories, and worlds to support an opinion about the prevalence of sexism in games. It’s not like reading a book — even watching a video of somebody else playing a game is all the proximity you need to analyze its themes. Being a “gamer” — a word which members of the community can be notoriously strident about excluding people from — is not a necessity."
This is kind of important.
1) Anita lied about being a gamer. She said "I'm not a fan of video games." "I don't want to go around shooting people and ripping off their heads. And it's just gross." This goes to her credibility. It also brings up whether her opinion is even valid. See our vegetarian-steakhouse example. Do you want movie critics to critique movies (even parts), or people who aren't even fans of movies, who has to then do research, apparently for years, and still screw it up?
2) You actually need to understand the game, and then the scene it takes place in, to not only identify the trope, but to understand what's going on. This is a type-token fallacy, where the instance of a type (token) becomes something more than what it was. Pulling things out of context is the beginnings of confusion. An aggregate proves nothing aside from number. If you're going to a do a correlation agreement, by all means. But simply mentioning it means nothing.

If you're not a gamer, then how the hell are you going to explain a trope to someone who also isn't a gamer? It'd be like me trying to explain quantum mechanics to 4 year old who doesn't yet know the Neil's Bohr model of the atom. Sure, violence is bad. In a means something much more.

Now, if Anita was a literary critic, and we're talking about pattern recognition now (not correlation, since, that would be much too mathematical for Anita to do a study on, even though stats is part of sociology), we'd have to see what that means. What it might mean. How other media has treated it, and why. Genre, themes, conflicts, narrative structure, etc. She doesn't do that. She just sees things she sees as problematic. Writing in video games in general has never been a priority, so it's hard to even see a game that's being misogynist, since games can't even properly get to that level.

I recall the first time Mortal Kombat came out in arcades, when arcades were in malls. The MK machine was the biggest, first kiosk at the front of the arcade. Every passerby would see the blood and gore explode across the screen. Old women, and children alike saw it as they walked by. (I believe this was in Rochester, New York, early 90s.) Some stood and watched. There were some gasps, but no one freaked out. It's a game.

Now, if you're implying it's "more than a game", I'd agree. But I'd have to ask: what, then? Is that MK arcade kiosk a violence generator? As per the Jack Thompson escapade, I'd have to say no. And if video games don't cause violence, nor misogyny, or any other societal ill, what then, is the problem? Your sensibilities are hurt?

Isn't that one of the many points of art? And you want to change that?
"Moreover, complaining that Sarkeesian isn’t a “real gamer” to delegitimize her analysis is essentially arguing that accountability and criticism can only come from the inside. This is a dangerous perspective — given the intense insularity of some gaming communities, and the rather overt hostility to feminist critiques of culture and media that exists in them, these aren’t views that are likely to just organically spring up on their own. People have to step forward and give voice to them, and for her trouble, Sarkeesian’s been getting harassment and threats on a positively insane scale."
While anyone can be a critic, it is the knowledgeable, objective, informed, experienced and otherwise love of the target one is criticizing, where we find worthwhile criticism.

As for accountability? Yeah, her lies and agenda are clear as day.

Gamers aren't against criticism, or feminist criticism for that matter. We're super-serious about it. We'd be happy to openly talk and debate others who share our passion, and others willing to learn. But the feminists are the ones that aren't responding, or don't want to learn. Like Anita: they are beyond reproach. Any quick search of youtube will find dozens of critiques, very well edited ones, that dismantle Anita's ramblings.

As for harassment and threats, we all get them, even me. Such things are easily ignored. And I do actually respond to criticism, even to the overly emotional fellows.
4.  Her Kickstarter Backers Paid Her Too Much, and Got Ripped Off
I don't know if that's the case, and I don't care. Kickstarter is just glorified donations with a threshold.

As for a backer's perspective? Here it is.
"This must really boil the blood of her haters, because it didn’t have to be like this — they could’ve accepted her videos as the good-natured, reasoned works of criticism they are, and kept on moving. But instead, they decided to rake her over the coals, and in doing so, they’ve proved her point in a way no YouTube series ever could."
We would've loved to accepted an objective, honest approach to looking at various stereotypes, patterns or plot devices in game stories and assessed how they could be made better. That would've been interesting. You'd need a literary critic, or someone who has shown certain patterns are good, bad, or whatever, and come to a point, to show what this means about gaming, humanity, whatever.

What we got was a biased series of taken out of context aggregates of tropes (which are neither good nor bad), which misses the point of the trope, example of the trope, scene, setting, genre, sometimes the plot, and game genre they're placed. They miss the point of what the games' intent was: all because she's a sex-negative feminist, and she has to feel entitled that she can't identify, or must react negatively, to a scene where women are involved. She can't accept any depiction of female sexuality, and apparently, male sexuality or male objectification (or the massive level of deaths male characters take, sometimes by the character) doesn't bother her a bit.

The only point she's proven is this: if you say, and do, stupid shit, you're going to get harassed. If you tell people -- who have a hobby -- that if you don't agree with X, then you're sexist, you're going to get a backlash. Which is exactly how feminists respond when you talk to them (as my near daily twitter experiences have been.)

She has no evidence to support that video games cause misogyny. That this has any impact on people. She has completely glossed over media in general, or the meaning of art, or the intention and function of video games. She herself has become the damsel she was complaining about, instead of being a strong, independent woman.

Of course if you look at the history of feminism, you'd see they're all communists, or as one feminist told me, "all true feminists are communists." This is whole other topic.

I can go about how she "wants to dismantle the boys club", as if that's even legal or necessary to "be part of geek culture" or whatever nonsense. (As if MRA's want to dismantle women's magazines or some other equal nonsense.) But in my eyes, she's largely harmless. Games are still going to be made for gamers, and executives and dev teams are going to make them however they want. Her consulting with EA or whomever won't do shit to those teams who are busy within their software life cycles. (I work in software dev, and if you're not producing, you're just fulfilling a legal role == filler.)

If she wants to "change gamer culture" (whatever that is), she simply has to make games for women, or whatever she thinks are games for women. Then, she'd have to be open to criticism on a game and story level, by actual game and literary critics. From her past behavior, I can't see that happening on both accounts.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Hale to the (feminine) Queen

In response to this:

Jennifer Hale had an interview. It's fairly innocuous.

Except this paragraph:

"I myself would love to see more equal representation of women in games, more empowered roles. Let's remove gender from casting everywhere we can and play around with it. Let's do the same with race. Let's go on and create the next level. We can't do that right now. I'm nervous about what this piece of the community is going to do to me for speaking up about anything, and that's not OK. We can't do anything until we deal with that."

Jennifer, we love you. But let's take this paragraph apart.

"I myself would love to see more equal representation of women in games, more empowered roles."

No problems so far.

"Let's remove gender from casting everywhere we can and play around with it. Let's do the same with race."


Now, if she's just talking about voice acting, and that voice actors should be able to pull off male/female voices, okay, I can see her point on hiring the most skilled, ranged person for the job.

But if this translates to actual game characters...

...didn't you just want to see more equal representation of women in games, more empowered roles? What's wrong with having empowered women, in any role, as a gender, and a producer looking for a specific type of male or female voice actor? What's stopping a writer from writing a man or woman as either gender? (note: sex=male/female, gender=masculine/feminine.) Why would you want to make masculine and feminine roles completely ubiquitous, or, irrelevant? And then do the same with race? Why can't we just play around with these concepts, without removing them?

Shall we, too, forget our Katherina's and Tamora's, our Lady Macbeth's and Ophelia's, our Juliet's and Desdemonas?

While games like Mass Effect 2 had a series of racial issues with the mono-gendered Asari to deal with (pure bloods, xenophobia, etc.), all within a future setting, what would happen contemporary settings with no gender roles?

Why can't writers create a villain who was sex and gender specific, who may even be likable/detestable because of their pro/con attitude to gender and race?

So we shouldn't tell stories about a character who has different racial and gender qualities or issues, (i.e. a strong black female hitman)? But we can only tell stories where characters are all one generic race, or in fantasy/future/science-fiction settings where either isn't an issue? This might be the case in some examples of various Japanese games -- which, largely based on their manga culture, themes like gender-bending are present -- where it's hard to determine the sex of the character (e.g. fashion), but why eliminate the issue entirely (this is, arguably, part of their culture)? Isn't more conflict and diversity good?

What's wrong with telling the story of characters who do have issues with sex and sexuality? (See Naoto Shirogane and Kanji Tatsume of Persona 4 fame.) These concepts of fashion, high/low pitched voices, expected gender job roles, inheritance, rebellion, sexuality, and sexual attraction are key to their character, and some main plot points, and I imagine a major component to the hiring process for voice acting. Would these characters still work if (American) Valerie Arem/Mary Elizabeth McGlynn or (Japanese) Nomi Park were overlooked for being too feminine, or too masculine, for Troy Baker/Matthew Mercer and Tomokazu Seki? I imagine the producer would be looking for a specific kind of actor/actress to play such roles, with such ranges.

I'd love to see characters with a myriad of specific gender, racial qualities and issues, within a setting where those are conflicts to deal with. Even as a main theme to a story. (i.e.. Only women can use magic.) But you can't get there when you eliminate it entirely.

"Let's go on and create the next level. We can't do that right now. I'm nervous about what this piece of the community is going to do to me for speaking up about anything, and that's not OK. We can't do anything until we deal with that."

Sublime, sultan of Shepard: the next level of what, genderless, raceless stories, prithee?

What's stopping an author, game designer or developer...from telling any story they want...right now? While "Remember Me" is a telling and economic example of the current reality, if a game is good, isn't that what matters to the game developer? Planescape: Torment met with the same poor sales figures, but is a timeless classic. As for gender roles: a torch carrying lovelorn spirit-damsel, and an anti-Diablo succubus of the mind simply wouldn't exist in Hale's future.

I'd rather have a hundred (unattainable) Deionarra's and Fall-from-Graces than any of your genderless, raceless characters in a game, your Grace.

Dear, sweet Ravel Queen  Hale: Stop being nervous and scared. Stop caring what other people think. You are the person lady we want. But not at the expense of your capacity to express yourself, even if you have such ambitions, even if you think that is the future.

Gender roles and race are a very real thing (as every communist-feminist will remind us of.) I imagine such issues will always be, just like how racism is.

But there's nothing wrong with having positive gender and racial roles, just like the negative ones you might consider to the flames. Frankly, I like my women (and very talented voice acting male manly masculine-men) to have lots of layers, much like your talent.

Please, Lady Hale: don't diminish it. Be as masculine and feminine as you like. Just take it easy on "mixing up" the baritone. Such roles might not work out in your favor.

"I believe there is a truth to the multiverse... even if that truth is that there is no truth at all. I believe that the Planes are meant to be experienced, and the more one experiences, in traveling, in joy, in pain, in merriment or in suffering, the more the multiverse reveals itself to you... And the more you are revealed to yourself."

Thursday, 11 September 2014

re: Misogyny Missive: Red Dead Sexism

Since the author of the post doesn't like my comment, I'm forced to post it here
From this:

#GamerGate continues.

"This is the kicker right here. These moments of violence against women are distractions from the main gam — a minor roadblock meant to add a sense of "realism" to the world."

There's nothing wrong with exposition, textures, models, etc., in fleshing out a game world.

"However, women are never truly empowered in Red Dead Redemption."

Considering it's a story about John, that's irrelevant. This isn't "Red Dead Talk About Women's Issues Redemption." It's about John and his. Saving women is part of that, if you want it to be.

"Recently, before Anita's latest video, I was wondering if there was perhaps another reason I didn't feel like replaying the game. I then remembered that the women who were major players in the plot suffered terrible brutalities as well."

Sounds like your brain has been infiltrated by feminist nonsense. You don't feel like playing a cowboy, riding a horse, in a redemption story in the wild west because women -- who were major players in the plot -- suffered terrible brutalities as well? As well as...the men? 'Cause you can at minimum triple the count of brutalities that occur to the men, even the non-plot related ones, and the death and pain they encounter.

Be sure to pick your jaw up off the ground when you start feeling bad about that.

"When Jack Marston, John's son, takes over the post-game narrative, Abigail has died from a long illness, making every single prominent woman in the game the equivalent of damaged goods...which is fitting, given how all of the women are essentially objects in the overall scheme of the game... one way or another."

So raped women = damaged goods = women are objects? What? John's wife was an object? John's family was the point he was motivated into saving, that is, he was trying to redeem himself from his past life of crime, while trying to keep his family out of his current means of doing so. Things came to a point, and he sacrificed himself at the end to save them.

If women are essentially objects, so are horses, stage coaches, and every other semi-interactive object in the game.

"So, Anita's video reminded me of all this misogyny lurking within RDR, and now makes me wonder if I really should replay it. Thus the difficulty of criticism. I liked the game, but I am repulsed by its use of women as narrative objects instead of being, you know, human beings. As Anita states in her video:"

Thus the difficulty with biased, nonsensical feminist criticism.

Repeat after me: there's nothing wrong with pain, death, or other such negative things, in art. Would you rather there be no women to save? No women at all to talk about or see?

Or would you like their death count to equal that of the men? 50/50?

"These women and their bodies are sacrificed in the name of infusing “mature themes” into gaming stories. But there is nothing mature about flippantly evoking shades of female trauma. It ends up sensationalizing an issue which is painfully familiar to a large percentage of women on this planet while also normalizing and trivializing their experiences."

So it's mature, but it's not mature, because she says so? Wanting to protect and help your family isn't mature? Trying to help women from being killed isn't mature? Shades of female what? How about those boatloads of men you mow down every 20 minutes? Who cares why random men/women were killed for various reasons? Some are killed -- if the player doesn't intervene. The context is key to what's going on in a sandbox environment, and why the player should be bothered. Is the entire town evil? Is everyone in the game? Or do you want to just go rope down some horses? Is John the last bastion of what's good and bad in the world? You can choose to help them or not, or have fun. That's the game. You can't expect giant expositions on every random event dealing with "issue X of my crusade" because feminism.

And there's nothing wrong with the depiction men or women in states of helplessness, and allowing the player to help them. That's a good thing. If you want sexism or misogyny in games to make a statement? You're going to need a lot more sexism and misogyny.

If Anita was a member of PETA and talking about the treatment of horses, it'd the same shoddy, nonsensical entitled hogwash.

"It's not edgy just to throw women under the proverbial bus. It would truly be mature to not swipe from Hollywood's "adult-oriented" bag of tricks, and instead question or critique our society's standards of gender in less "shocking" ways."

It's the wild west. Grow up. Also, say the same for the multitude of men that have been thrown under the "proverbial bus".

"I'm still trying to untangle the implications of Anita's video towards my enjoyment of video games, but I am feeling fairly confident that Red Dead Redemption, for everything it does right, made some very poor narrative decisions that will haunt my desire to ever replay it to completion again. I will still likely enjoy its excellent gameplay and exploring its open-world spin on the American West, but I will definitely not relish its disappointing, cliched portrayal of women that plagues our industry."

Don't bother: she's a biased, lying, opportunist. If she's impacting your enjoyment of a video game, you've already lost.
 EDIT: I got a response

And here's mine
"A) I am a feminist. So saying that my "brain has been infiltrated by feminist nonsense" is sort of ironic."

Ironically accurate?

"Also, feminist criticism is, as much as you'd prefer it not to be, a legitimate form of criticism well regarded in academic circles. You may not like it, but that does not diminish its importance."

Which academic circles would those be? Last I checked, feminism was just an offshoot of socialism. I'd love to see what kind of brilliant minds occupy those ivory towers.

"B) The point I'm making here is that women in RDR are incapable of defending themselves. All of the men John guns down have the capability to fight back. The women don't. That's why Anita (and myself) are critiquing the game's handling of women. You want to argue that men die a lot more often in the game, but that's not the issue at hand here. I'm not saying women need to die in equal amounts to men; I'm saying that women ought to be able to do as much as men. That's the difference."

Just re-read your article. Sorry, didn't see that at all. Where is it?

If the women fought back, and won, the player wouldn't have anything to do, making the whole scene irrelevant. Aside from a moment of comedy, no game designer would actively want to do this.
If the women fought back, and lost, then you'd be whining that women aren't strong enough/gender bias/sexism/misandry/LMNOP; oh, like you are now.

Yes, that is the issue. Men DO die a lot more in that game. But you're so focused on the women, that you didn't notice the hordes of men that die by the PLAYERS hands.

The player. As in, John. The guy you're playing. Which is the point of RDR game. To play a western. Not to cater to your bias. Again, you could be a PETA member and whine about the treatment horses, and you'd have the same inane argument.

NPCs, window dressing, things that color the world, are not the focus. Be thankful you even get to interact and SAVE women! My god! Saving women is so bad! Again this is not "Red Dead Strong-Female-NPC Redemption." Stop being an entitled baby and whining about this or that NPC not being your idea of what a woman is!

"C) Anita may have influenced my thoughts here, but she is not the arbiter of my reactions. I was thinking of these issues before the video was released; Anita merely gave me an impetus to consider it further."

And further down the insanity hole you go.

"D) I'm 31. I've grown up plenty. No need for petty insults. It undermines your argument."

I'm making observations. What petty insults?

'E) Ditto with calling Anita a " biased, lying, opportunist".'

Would you like proof of Anita being biased (feminist, doesn't respond to criticism), lying ("not a gamer Sarkeesian", and soon to be, lying about contacting the police), an opportunist (pro-victim card at every turn, 150k+ with no accounting or increase in quality.)

See, these are not ad hominem statements. These are observations. I'm not attacking her character. She's done that herself.

'F) You state that "there's nothing wrong with pain, death, or other such negative things, in art. Would you rather there be no women to save? No women at all to talk about or see?" That again is not the point.'

What is the point? What is the point of art? I can tell you one of the points of what RDR is trying to be, but you don't seem to care.

"You're acting like RDR is a perfect recreation of the American West. It's not."

Never said it was. I don't even think it ever said it was. It's fiction -- art. Deal with it.

"I've worked in a museum for three and a half years that focuses on the history of the Gold Rush. I have access to tons of books, files and newspapers from the 1850s. RDR is a Hollywood-inspired tale of the West, and it shows in how it handles women. If there were women who had the same agency as men, I'd be less likely to complain. And that's what I'm trying to say here."

Well, la-di-dah, museum person. Who said RDR was a "perfect recreation of the American West" aside from you? Sounds like you wanted it to be that, instead of the game it was trying to be. Guess what? It's not. It's. FICTION!

But if a game designer, a developer, and a writer, walk into a bar (saloon), and want to make a game that's fun to play, and a story about a man's redemption in the Wild West, that can save some damsels if they feel like it, and it's not about some petty observation about NPCs? You get RDR.