Thunderf00t makes a good point


And I’d link to it if he didn’t throw it away at the end, and if it weren’t made to invent a false conflict with Anita Sarkeesian’s major points. His latest video attempts to mock Sarkeesian by using clips from movies and video games to show that there is a huge amount of objectification of men — as targets and victims, rather than sexual objectification — using a similar style to her videos. The thing is, though, that he’s actually confirming what she says: that media is problematic in how it presents human beings. Sarkeesian shows in her work how women are trivialized and reduced to stereotypes; Thunderf00t’s video shows how huge numbers of people, especially men, are reduced to sword and gun targets.

We’ve all seen it. There’s a guard, a minion, a redshirt in a scene, and along comes the hero or villain…there’s a short gasp, a gurgle, maybe a Wilhelm scream, and then…next scene. A human being has just been extinguished and it’s given no moral weight at all, he was simply an obstacle that needed to be removed. And it is also true that it’s almost always a man who is dismissively executed — if the security guard who got garrotted were a woman, it would have greater shock value to the audience. Or look at this list of dead red shirts in Star Trekoverwhelmingly male. Most of the few women killed had brief speaking parts in which we get to know them as people, before their tragic deaths. The men? Just statistics. Bit parts that got killed to add generic weight to a threat, but their stories were completely unimportant.

I’ve made a similar point about the glut of superhero movies. They are festivals of CGI in which mass destruction occurs, cities are reduced to rubble (by the good guys!), and nothing matters at all. Actions lack consequences. But in real life, the death of one person close to you is a traumatic event, a huge concern that can tear at you for years. Signs of a little wood rot in your house can send you into a panic and be a big drain on your finances. But in the movies, death is casual, and houses can be flattened, and we move on to our deep concerns about the hero’s love life. Or in the case of Michael Bay’s ouevre, we move on to the next giant robot and the next explosion.

It’s a real issue. I’d almost be willing to applaud Thunderf00t for bringing it up, because cheap mayhem has become a staple of movies and games. And it’s not as if media can’t be humanizing. The best movie I saw last year wasn’t The Avengers, but Nebraska; the best video game I played (although my consumption of the genre isn’t exactly thorough) was Gone Home. In both, nobody dies, nothing explodes, but I still left the experience thoughtful and impressed. This is not to say there isn’t a place for light entertainment, but why does so much of our light entertainment involve mass murder? (I know, it sells, and the population wants it.)

Where Thunderf00t screws up the message, unfortunately, is in two ways. He cherry-picks his examples to only feature movies where the perpetrator/protagonist is a woman: Kill Bill and The Matrix, for example. But the problem is that movies slaughter men indiscriminately, whether the killer is a man or a woman, and the majority of the R-rated violent thrillers feature manly men as the protagonists. There is a universal trend to treat men as expendable, but they’re generally used as faceless targets for violence; is there any genre equivalent to the slasher movie in which sexuality is the target, and women are the special, select victims of the violence, in which men are murdered? Also, and I’m sure Sarkeesian would point this out, when women are the sword- or gun-wielding hero, they are typically sexualized to the male ideal: they are young (in the case of Kick Ass, way too young), slender, attractive, not your Brienne of Tarth type. Men are also idealized to be muscular, tough, sexually charismatic. It’s all about making the protagonist someone the male audience wants to watch, not necessarily someone a woman would want to identify with.

And then Thunderf00t throws all of his good points away. He ends the video by declaring that it’s all bullshit, and laughing.

That’s what gets me about these MRAs. There are real social problems that affect men — we have expectations about how men must behave that confine their ability to respond appropriately to events. Feminists will talk about ‘toxic masculinity’, and it’s not about claiming that all men are toxic — it’s about how societal stereotypes can lead men to deny the breadth of their identities to fit a particularly obnoxious model. We can see genuine distortions of men’s roles acted out in our media, where they are either brutal butchers, or faceless, unimportant victims who can be destroyed without qualm. I could actually support a Men’s Rights movement that tried to call attention to these sorts of damaging representations, that actually dealt with unfairness fairly — that didn’t make jokes about the prison rape of men, that sincerely tried to see that child custody cases were honestly decided on what was best for the child.

But almost always, these loons destroy their own points. Thunderf00t made it clear that he doesn’t really care about the objectification of men in the media — it’s always about scoring points against the feminists. A good and productive Men’s Rights movement would be working in full partnership with feminists, each working together to end the sexism which harms both men and women. But somehow, the Men’s Rights side is dominated by asshats whose only goal is to put down those uppity women, rather than correcting an injustice.

The recent men’s rights conference confirmed that the driving force behind this incarnation of the movement isn’t men’s rights, but hating feminism. While there were a few talks that sound as if they focused on making life better for men, much of it was about demonizing feminism.

Mike Buchanan, a British men’s activist, warned that feminism was the ideology of “female supremacists, driven by misandry, the hatred of men and boys.” For 30 years, Buchanan said, “feminists have worked through the state to attack many of the pillars of civilized society,” and become “the defining ideology, of the political establishment.”

At the conference, feminism was responsible for turning wives against their husbands, bleeding them dry in divorce proceedings and separating them from their children, levying false accusations of rape and abuse against good men, or creating an ever-present culture of hatred where men are vilified.

Though men’s rights activists who hosted the conference often say sexual assault against men isn’t taken seriously, the audience laughed when speaker Fred Jones mentioned his fears about his son being raped after being arrested in New Orleans. 

“He’s kinda small and kinda cute, good looking, you know what I mean?” Jones said. “You know what they do with –” Jones cut himself off. But the audience laughed.

Why would you respond to a message about how men are victimized, by laughing at a situation where men are victimized? Perhaps MRAs would be more respectable if they actually took prison rape seriously. It’s not a joke.

Barbara Kay, a columnist for Canada’s National Post, argued that Santa Barbara shooter Elliott Rodger couldn’t have been driven by hatred of women because “he hated women because they rejected him sexually, but he also hated men because they had access to women.”

Not getting the point: how dare a slot machine reject his penis, while other penises were allowed to use the slot machine? Rodger regarded women as objects, and that was what drove his hatred — that they insisted on acting as human beings.

Rape on college campuses, she added, was a myth perpetrated by man-haters, and the concept of rape culture, how society can tacitly approve of or rationalize sexual assault, was “baseless moral panic.”

“The vast majority of female students allegedly raped on campus are actually voicing buyer’s remorse from alcohol-fueled promiscuous behavior involving murky lines of consent on both sides,” she said, drawing chuckles from the audience. “It’s true. It’s their get-out-of-guilt-free card, you know like Monopoly.” The chuckles turned to guffaws.

I’m on a college campus. I know women who were victims of sexual assault. That accusation is never delivered casually, it’s not used as an excuse, and again, it’s not a joke — these students are harmed by the event, and doubly harmed by the kind of dismissal jerks like Kay perpetuate.

And that’s why I can’t support these MRAs. They really aren’t about fighting injustices done to the rights of men, but about opposing the rights of women.

Comments

  1. jackcowie says

    I could actually support a Men’s Rights movement that tried to call attention to these sorts of damaging representations [….] I could actually support a Men’s Rights movement that tried to call attention to these sorts of damaging representations, that actually dealt with unfairness fairly…

    What attempts are there at such movements? Is there anything that’s had any success?

  2. says

    Not a movement, but there are individuals: Ally Fogg, for instance, is focused on injustices done to men, and he doesn’t take the attitude that we need to put down the wimmins to do that.

  3. doublereed says

    Seems to me like the movement makes more sense as part of feminism, rather than separate from it. Seems to me like the only people who take men’s issues seriously are feminists.

  4. says

    I joke that the place I work in has an addiction clinic and deals with alcoholism in men. At no point do we spike their water with vodka and mock them. There are real problems men have even men in India.

    The MRA really don’t care about those. It’s why the MRA don’t think women’s rights in the workplace are important but when it comes to Men’s rights in female dominated industries, they are very silent.

    I have written about Male Nursing and the NEED for more men to go into it. MRAs mocked Murses because “it’s a woman’s job”.

    But yes… Ally Fogg is seconded. He’s a pretty awesome dude. Also comes from the same place as I do.

  5. carlie says

    “The vast majority of female students allegedly raped on campus are actually voicing buyer’s remorse from alcohol-fueled promiscuous behavior involving murky lines of consent on both sides,” she said, drawing chuckles from the audience. “It’s true. It’s their get-out-of-guilt-free card, you know like Monopoly.”

    I don’t understand how anyone could buy that argument for a minute, because it’s entirely opposite to how humans work. If you have sex with someone and then regret it, you pretend it never happened. You tell no one, you lie and say you didn’t if someone asks you about it. What you don’t do is tell everyone you know about it, and file a fucking police report about it, but say you were forced into it. Seriously.

  6. Jacob Schmidt says

    Despite “male disposability” being a major part of the MRM mindset (it was Warren Farrel’s brainchild, I believe), I don’t think it surprises anyone that most MRA’s seem to drop that bandwagon to score points. There are precisely 2 people who actually commented directly on the issue, and one them spend most of it just bashing on feminists.

    “He’s kinda small and kinda cute, good looking, you know what I mean?” Jones said. “You know what they do with –” Jones cut himself off. But the audience laughed.

    Interesting. I remember finding out that my brother had been sexually abused by an older kid who live a few doors down. Amusement was not an emotion I felt.

  7. Gerard O says

    While MRAs are to social movements what the Tea Party is to politics, I don’t share Prof. Myers’ belief that those who might want to address some issues of male disadvantage (eg. higher education) should make a coalition with today’s feminists, some of whom are barely more articulate than your garden-variety libertarian dudebro gamer or PUA goon.
    Even some of the smartest feminists are saying dumb things these days (note Carolyn Porco’s dopey Tweet on teen girls) or even defending gender profiling on planes (Aussie fem Tracey Spicer). But below that level there’s plenty of buffoonery to go round, mainly from 19-year-old Women’s Studies students who have figured out how to create a WordPress account, and have decided to use it to tell feminist men to “get out” of a movement that “belongs” to women. I don’t buy into the ‘gender wars’ idea but bigotry and stupidity don’t require a penis.

  8. Jacob Schmidt says

    I don’t understand how anyone could buy that argument for a minute, because it’s entirely opposite to how humans work.

    It makes sense if you assume that women are malicious and manipulative.

  9. says

    Mike Buchanan, a British men’s activist, warned that feminism was the ideology of “female supremacists, driven by misandry, the hatred of men and boys.” For 30 years, Buchanan said, “feminists have worked through the state to attack many of the pillars of civilized society,”

    Civilized society: where women don’t have autonomy, and are under the rule of men all the time.

    jackcowie @ 1:

    What attempts are there at such movements? Is there anything that’s had any success?

    There’s XYOnline.

  10. says

    “He’s kinda small and kinda cute, good looking, you know what I mean?” Jones said. “You know what they do with –” Jones cut himself off. But the audience laughed.

    This is absolutely appalling. This man had a very valid fear for his child, especially as prison rape can be overwhelmingly brutal. Rape is not a laughing matter, ever. There should have been empathy and support here, not laughter and derision.

  11. hillaryrettig says

    Social psychologists Tavris and Aronson provide a good answer to the “how could they possibly think that way?” question in their book Mistakes Were Made. A fascinating read, highly recommended.

    tl;dr: “they” get to their insanely illogical viewpoints one small step at a time.

    Dunning-Krueger also helps, I’m sure, as does, in the case of those leading grifts, plain old fashioned greed.

  12. ShowMetheData says

    It’s their get-out-of-guilt-free card

    As if there would be ZERO guilt in watching an innocent man being arrested, being judged for months, and then imprisoned for years.

    This is their cartoon version of women – where getting away with something is waaaay more important than real human suffering.

  13. alexanderz says

    PZ wrote:

    This is not to say there isn’t a place for light entertainment, but why does so much of our light entertainment involve mass murder?

    I’d say it’s for the same reason that so much of our culture is dedicated dragons or spaceships. Entertainment is very often about providing escapism and fulfilling desires which are impossible, or forbidden or even morally abhorrent. How many drivers get angry and wish bad things upon a person who violated traffic rules and/or engaged in reckless and dangerous behavior? Wouldn’t you want that person to express their anger on CGI instead of seething until they act out violently themselves?

    Here’s something relevant: Equal Opportunity Injury
    It’s a post from a game developer who wanted to make a game with no gender disparity (since then the game has been made and is now available as early access), but was feeling uneasy about writing women as random victims (the unnamed mutinous sailors who get their skulls smashed). He decided to ask the player for input and their response was unanimous – equality is absolute. There should be equal representation amongst victims as well as villains and heroes.

  14. neverjaunty says

    I doubt that the violence-fest in video games has much to do with the idea that men are worthless and disposable, unlike women. It’s based on the idea that men are the default “people” – a generic guard is a man because generic people are men. Women are female first, people second. Hence the Bechtel Test for movies; the idea that people = men is so ingrained that movies can’t even put women in bit parts unless they specifically fulfill a Girl Role, like a prostitute or a romantic interest.

    Add to that the view that women are supposed to be sexually attractive (or, if they’re not, caricatures). Your garrotted guard can be an average-looking middle-aged dude, but won’t ever be an average-looking middle-aged lady. You’d get a Sexy Young Guard and then there’s that whole layer of sexualized violence on top. That’s why it’s shocking: “Oh, wait, there’s a woman here, which is unusual!”

    Which is not in any way to detract from PZ’s other points about how toxic masculinity harms men.

  15. says

    The answer to the question “Why aren’t more female minions killed” is similar to the answer to “why aren’t more fluffy bunnies killed”. The male opponents killed in games and movies don’t get killed as men qua men, but as opponents, as potential threats. It’s kill or be killed, kill or have them raise the alarm* etc.
    Game developers, movie makers, they don’t consider women to be able to pose such a threat. This is what we’re talking about when we’re talking about representation, too.
    But for that, MRAs would have to accept us as equals, equally capable first. When we hear objections against women in the military, in combat roles etc, they usually don’t come from feminists.* But misogynists really want to have it both ways: Women should not be allowed to serve in combat roles, having female warriors and opponents is unrealistic and only men get killed as henchmen therefore misandry!

    This doesn’t even tackle the problem of what I’d call “violence culture” in games and movies.

    There is also another big difference between the violence against male opponents and women qua women in video games: While the former doesn’t happen much in the western world*, the latter is horrificly commonplace.

    *Exceptions apply, as usually

  16. says

    Absolutely the victimization should be equal. Meaning, too, that equal numbers of male NPCs should be the victim of the sexualized violence that is frequently directed in games/media toward women, or better yet, that sexualized violence begin to be something we don’t need to see so bloody often, as I suspect that the demographic most often targeted/described* as wanting to see that sexualized violence wouldn’t want to identify with the victims of it.

    But should women be half of the protagonists, antagonists, random bystanders, cops, and anything else in some not-unusually-contexted media property? Absolutely. Should there be an entire race of xenophilic-to-the-max (they loves them some human, yep) aliens who just happen to be uniformly conventionally beautiful and immortally-young-looking women? With tentacles for hair?

    Probably not.

    There are definitely issues in both ways. I call selection bias on the redshirts thing, though; the redshirts who died were all male because women weren’t able to be redshirt security types in TOS. Somehow, three hundred years in the future, women couldn’t even get jobs as security guards anymore. To then say it’s a sign that women have it easy is to blame women for not being allowed to take part in the dangerous jobs. “This is too dangerous for you! Also, you’re at fault for the fact that it’s almost all men dying in this job!”

    It would be nice to see men’s rights advocates – real ones – working for positive ends alongside feminists. There are a lot of us who would like to see that happening, very much.

    * Note that at least some of that demographic clearly doesn’t want to see it, but the assumption of the producers/creators is “sex sells”, and by “sex” they mean “white men doing (sic) sex to conventionally beautiful women”.

  17. drken says

    Thunderf00t does a great job at pointing out the biggest problem in the MRM, which is that they bring up salient points, but only to try to shut up feminists. It’s as if all the problems facing men must be solved by feminists before any problems facing women can be addressed. Yes, men are far more likely to be a victim of violent crime, but not because of anything feminists did; those crimes are being committed by other men. They complain of men dying on the job, but do nothing about workplace safety (lest the free market be contaminated by regulation). There are people trying to get women into those jobs and not get harassed out of them, they’re called feminists. Plus, most of the people trying to keep them out are men. In fact, when I see somebody celebrating male disposability and shaming men who don’t want to get hurt or killed as being less masculine, it’s usually a man doing it. Finally, if you really believe that there is a epidemic of false rape allegations by women who feel ashamed of having casual sex, why on Earth would you call anybody a “slut” or “whore”? Isn’t that just making the problem worse?

  18. Ishikiri says

    Ah, Thunderf00t. Atheism’s biggest troll. Even when he’s right, it’s usually for the wrong reasons.

    I remember when he put me in the unenviable position of having to defend that insufferable shithead, William Lane Craig, by trying to make “Two-Citations Craig” into a thing. Sure, don’t go after the man’s idiotic arguments (of which there are several), go after the number of times his work has been cited, which you know is a transparent appeal to popularity.

  19. thetalkingstove says

    And then Thunderf00t throws all of his good points away. He ends the video by declaring that it’s all bullshit, and laughing.

    Pretty typical of that mindset – the one where society works perfectly fine, and anyone pointing out oppression is just a whiny ‘SJW’. Unless the group being oppressed is atheists, of course.

  20. says

    drken

    They complain of men dying on the job, but do nothing about workplace safety

    Plus, they usually try to keep women out of these jobs.
    Also, real men don’t need hardhats, ear protection, clums safety vests and sun lotion*. Toxic masculinity to the rescue!

    *Some time ago there was an initiative in Germany where they sought to ban men who work outdoors from working without a shirt because of concerns about skin cancer. The uproar and resistance angainst this did not come from women who wanted to keep seeing ekkid men (quite often it’s not a view that would be characterised as “conventionally attractive”) or evil feminists who wanted to see men dying miserably from skin cancer. Nope, it was mostly men who said they didn’t need to be treated like children and it was nobody’s business.

  21. A. Noyd says

    ShowMetheData (#15)

    As if there would be ZERO guilt in watching an innocent man being arrested, being judged for months, and then imprisoned for years.

    Zero guilt in that, but an unbearable load of guilt in… having fucked a guy consensually? (Consensually as the MRA story goes, that is.) Notice they’re not stopping to question why a woman might feel overwhelming guilt over having had sex and what that says about the position our culture puts women in. They can’t question it since they’re consummate slut-shamers themselves. They can’t admit that if their whacky little narrative was true, they should shoulder the responsibility of having, at best, exacerbated it quite a lot.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    neverjaunty (#18)

    I doubt that the violence-fest in video games has much to do with the idea that men are worthless and disposable, unlike women. It’s based on the idea that men are the default “people” – a generic guard is a man because generic people are men. Women are female first, people second.

    I was just trying to come up with a way to express exactly this! Even WoW, which does have female cannon fodder, errs heavily on the side of sticking men everywhere unless there’s some “reason” to use women.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    drken (#21)

    Finally, if you really believe that there is a epidemic of false rape allegations by women who feel ashamed of having casual sex, why on Earth would you call anybody a “slut” or “whore”? Isn’t that just making the problem worse?

    Exactly! None of the MRAs are wondering what they’re doing wrong if women are feeling unbearable levels of shame for having fucked them. A reasonable person would care about that.

  22. screechymonkey says

    Yeah, when I first heard of MRAs, or people with some MRA-ish tendencies, I was somewhat sympathetic. Some of the stuff they complained about ticked me off, too. Like why are men portrayed in commercials as clueless buffoons who can’t manage a load of laundry without their wife explaining to them that they should use Detergent X? Why do so many sitcoms feature an insensitive, pudgy clod of a husband contrasted with a smart, infinitely patient, beautiful wife?

    Of course, it soon became apparent that, as PZ says, these complaints were really just talking points rather than something they really cared about. The people who actually cared about these stupid gender role stereotypes were feminists (they simply phrased the complaints differently, like “why do commercials perpetuate the notion that housework is women’s work and men should be excused for not being ‘able’ to do it?” and “why do sitcoms show that even a smart, patient, beautiful woman should be grateful to have even an insensitive clod for a husband?”). Not to mention the fact that feminists were also addressing more important issues as well.

  23. Tony! The Queer Shoop says

    Gerard O:

    I don’t buy into the ‘gender wars’ idea but bigotry and stupidity don’t require a penis.

    If you’re talking about the War on Women, it’s very real and there’s plenty of evidence to support it.

  24. Tony! The Queer Shoop says

    alexanderz:

    It’s a post from a game developer who wanted to make a game with no gender disparity (since then the game has been made and is now available as early access), but was feeling uneasy about writing women as random victims (the unnamed mutinous sailors who get their skulls smashed). He decided to ask the player for input and their response was unanimous – equality is absolute. There should be equal representation amongst victims as well as villains and heroes.

    Yes. ↑ ↑This.
    Women aren’t asking for *special rights*. They want everyone to have *equal* rights.

  25. says

    drken:

    In fact, when I see somebody celebrating male disposability and shaming men who don’t want to get hurt or killed as being less masculine, it’s usually a man doing it.

    Yes. The moment a man is seen as not living up to the standard of toxic masculinity, he’s treated like he’s now a woman.

    As Jijoya said in a different thread:

    I think it’s something like “Men get to behave as they please except when they engage in women-like behavior, in which case they ought to be penalized because they’re voluntarily giving up (hu)man-status which is utterly despicable”.

  26. says

    “Men get to behave as they please except when they engage in women-like behavior, in which case they ought to be penalized because they’re voluntarily giving up (hu)man-status which is utterly despicable”.

    Further to Inaji’s 30: cf. trans women as viewed through the lens of toxic masculinity.

  27. says

    CaitieCat:

    Further to Inaji’s 30: cf. trans women as viewed through the lens of toxic masculinity.

    By orders of magnitude. Through the lens of toxic masculinity, transwomen are viewed as the ultimate traitors.

  28. says

    I have never been a big fan of the casual slaughter in action movies but it does not prove that it’s OK to reduce women to sex objects and story progression victims.

  29. says

    Indeed. I transitioned in 1992, and informed my mother and her second husband (not my father, nor any kind of parent I’d acknowledge) that year.

    Her husband has never shared a word with me since the unpleasant words of that day (and by unpleasant I mean unprintable), despite having lived with us since 1979. My mother went 12 years after that day, before a near-death experience made her reach out by e-mail, and then deny she’d cut me off (despite her letter saying it would have been easier for her if I’d died, and that I should wait for them to contact me before trying to contact them). Because keeping to his toxic masculinity was more important than keeping me in her life.

    Bitter? Moi? Such a thought should surely perish from shame. Thankfully, I have a lovely family of people who want to be that with me, so I think I came out better in the deal, in the end. Toxic masculinity can be given a big bowl of goat-puke soup, as far as I’m concerned.

  30. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    :( I’m sorry you had to deal with that, Caitie. *hugs on offer*

    MRAs continually aggravate me, by continually going, “Here’s a problem that men face! It’s largely due to patriarchal bullshit permeating our society. Therefore, the appropriate response is to crap on women in general and those people working to dismantle the patriarchy in particular!”

  31. Jackie the wacky says

    Why would a woman need a “get out of guilt card” for having consensual sex?

    Do they accuse make rape victims of the same duplicity?
    Why not?
    Why are women assumed to be so desperate to absolve herself of responsibility for having sex that she’d go through the cruel gauntlet of reporting a rape? If sex fills her with shame, why doesn’t deliberately lying and branding someone a criminal?
    Only one of those things is shameful and it isn’t having sex.

    Whatever could the assumption about women’s sexuality be that fucking = guilty conscience?

    Keep in mind that AVfM’s “PR rep” spent this weekend calling people she didn’t like “whores”.

    The belief behind this myth is that women should be ashamed of being sexually active. They certainly judge women very harshly for not being sold by their father, directly to their husband who will then take over the job of controlling her sexuality.

    Meanwhile, women do talk about sex they regret having had. They just keep it in the circle of trust out of courtesy. A friend once described a lackluster lover as “as exciting as dry toast”. She didn’t then try to frame that lover for a crime she didn’t commit. She just didn’t consider her for future sexy times. Problem solved.

  32. says

    Jackie @ 36:

    Meanwhile, women do talk about sex they regret having had.

    So do men. That’s a people thing, full stop, which makes the MRA framing all the worse.

  33. Gregory Greenwood says

    While T-Foot may have almost had a point about the issue of imagery depicting male disposeability and the ubiquity of violence in popular culture, there is a big problem with any effort to compare that with the widespread character of misogyny in our culture because, while bumping off men may happen all the time in fiction, it is still generally frowned upon in day to day life – across most of the globe at least, there is no epidemic of the causal murder specifically of men as opposed to women, and it is not as though the killing of men is some largely consequence-free activity that is rarely taken seriously by law enforcement and has male murder apologists lining up to say that it is really no big deal, and it is just the result of lying doodz making false murder accusations anyway.

    Compare that to the various forms of misogyny and rape culture, where our society still handles rape allegations incredibly poorly, commonly blaming the victim and ensuring that only the tiniest fraction of reported rapes ever even go to trial. And even the attempt to discuss the issue is complicated by any discussion involving feminist perspectives having to contend with a deluge of rape apologia and entitled dude bros eager to mansplain all concerns away.

    The toxic representations of masculinity certainly do harm men too, and that needs to be addressed, but not at the expense of ignoring all the harm that the patriachy does to women – this is not some binary, either/or choice. We can and must deal with all facets of our society’s abysmal gender, gender identity and sexual politics.

    As noted by other commenters, if the so called mens rights activists were serious about dealing with the ways in which society mistreats men, then they would be working with the feminists to create a better and more egalitarian culture, not doing all they can to demonise feminism. Indeed, they would probably ientify as feminists themselves.

  34. says

    tunderf00t was one of my favourite youtube atheists until he started to go after the feminists. then his channel went downhill. that is when i unsubscribed to him. he has made good videos recently like the one regarding the solar panel highways thingy. but the dozen of irrational videos going against random feminists made his channel a bit hard to watch. and i do not understand his obsession over sarkesian. he doesn’t even play video games anymore. how the hell is he affected.

  35. zmidponk says

    As far as games go, there’s an almost schizophrenic way many deal with violence. One minute, you’re killing people right, left and centre without the ‘hero’ so much as batting an eyelid, or even being applauded for doing what they’re doing. Next minute, somebody is killed and it’s a terrible, gut-wrenching, heart-rending thing to happen, simply because it happens to be someone who’s known by or close to the hero (or sometimes, with games where you play as several different characters, one of the heroes themselves). The only game series I can think of off-hand which mildly subverts this is the Assassin’s Creed series – the Templars (the bad guys of the series) or guards working for them are fair game, but start killing random people walking around, and the game quickly ‘desynchronises’ you because the protagonist doesn’t kill civilians. Even then, it’s only a mild subversion because, if you so choose, you can still go on a murderous rampage, leaving a trail of bodies in your wake, as long as you restrict yourself to guards.

  36. says

    @18, neverjaunty:

    Hence the Bechtel Test for movies

    You almost certainly already knew this, but on the principle that you can never have too many mentions of someone who deserves it: that’s “Bechdel”, not “Bechtel”. As in Alison Bechdel, one of (in my opinion and that of a lot of other people, these days) the greatest living cartoonists, who wrote the amazing nonfiction cartoon book Fun Home (which won all kinds of awards) and the not-really-sequel (but also autobiographical and chronologically later) Are You My Mother?. She’s an amazing artist, in both the graphical and the more general sense.

    (Incidentally: it’s a little ironic, given that Bechdel is a lesbian and a feminist, that Fun Home — about Bechdel’s father — won all kinds of awards and got fanfare, while Are You My Mother? — about her relationship with her mother — has received much less acclaim. Having read both books more than once, I think the latter book didn’t really get all the respect it deserved, but I have to admit that it just isn’t as good as the other one. Partially, I think it may be that Bechdel’s father was dead before she began writing “his” book, so that the book feels like a narrative with a definite ending, whereas Bechdel’s mother was — and, I hope, still is, but I don’t know offhand — still alive when “her” book was written. But the first book also feels like she went to great lengths to distance herself from the subject, forcing herself to take an objective view of personal events, and that also lends itself to a tighter narrative and a willingness to engage in irony which doesn’t really seem to be present in the second one. Fun Home is autobiographical but reads like a non-autobiography, with a certain amount of detachment, whereas Are You My Mother? is more personal and emotional, which means it is less accessible as well as less focused on presenting a story. I think the critics were expecting another Fun Home and were sort of baffled by it, and so they didn’t give it enough consideration.) (It’s also kind of depressing that Are You My Mother? apparently didn’t win a raft of awards from cartoon-related groups. Whatever its merits or issues as literature, a page of drawing by Bechdel is worth a whole book from the hacks at Marvel or DC.)

  37. says

    The Vicar:

    (Incidentally: it’s a little ironic, given that Bechdel is a lesbian and a feminist, that Fun Home — about Bechdel’s father — won all kinds of awards and got fanfare, while Are You My Mother? — about her relationship with her mother — has received much less acclaim.

    That may well be because patriarchal notions of fatherhood are still very much in play, where a father is expected to provide, discipline, and maybe, just maybe, play with the children a bit. How often do people hear a father say “I have to babysit today”, as if those weren’t his own children?

    While the patriarchal vision of fatherhood is eroding, it isn’t going away fast enough.

  38. says

    Oh yes, the poor men, so much misandry coming at us.

    Now, I haven’t seen the state of all things in all segments of society(but neither have Thunderf00t and his MRA buddies), but the vast majority of misandry I’ve seen is collateral damage from misogynistic statements and actions(and most of this comes from men, who probably just got done ranting about self hating feminists and causing a wave of irony meter overloads). Just about all remaining misandry I’ve encountered comes from someone fucked over by misogyny.

    I’m sure there’s some true, direct misandry out there that isn’t an indirect or side effect of misogyny, but it’s rare. Very rare. Most misandry would disappear immediately if we fixed misogyny.

    That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t look for areas where men are disadvantaged- side effect or direct effect, it shouldn’t be allowed to stand. And it may be that clearing out certain misandrist trends might make it easier to take on certain misogynistic trends. But people really need to look at the big picture, and in the big picture, misogyny is a much more serious problem.

  39. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    I think this is starting to drift off-topic, but I agree about the relative merits of Fun Home and Are You My Mother?

    If for no other reason that while of course Alison is a character in the former, she’s looking back at past events and has attained a sort of acceptance for what happened, which leads to a sort of prosaicness. Reading it, I was able to forget that Alison-the-character was the same person as Alison-the-author. I even felt a distinction between Alison-the-child and Alison-the-grownup-character. Not so in AYMM. Alison and Helen are viscerally real. The book felt more personal, and I almost felt like I was intruding.

    But yes, the former gets the accolades. Of course – bringing it back to the OP – a lot of the chatter re: Fun Home centers on how tragic Bruce’s story was. And yes, it was. Being a closeted gay man stuck in a small town by unescapable obligations is tragic. But he was himself not a good father, nor a good husband. It wasn’t Helen’s fault that her husband was gay (or perhaps he was bi – we don’t really know) and cheated on her. It wasn’t the children’s fault for not being the storybook family that their father wanted. His treatment of his family – as depicted is vicious and cruel and his conduct often brought them to the edge of ruin. But we don’t see that in commentary. Instead I see comments castigating Helen for being cold and unloving, or for being a bad mother for failing to protect her children, and basically being the wife who was holding her husband back from achieving his dreams.

    Because, you see, that’s misogyny – a man is failed. He does not fail.

  40. says

    Giliell #19

    The answer to the question “Why aren’t more female minions killed” is similar to the answer to “why aren’t more fluffy bunnies killed”. The male opponents killed in games and movies don’t get killed as men qua men, but as opponents, as potential threats. It’s kill or be killed, kill or have them raise the alarm* etc.

    There is that. The use of men as default targets are a result of the general tendency of viewing men as the default anything. The default doctor is a man. The default cop is a man. The default plumber is a man. The default target, in general, is a man. You only pick a woman for the role if you’re making a point. If you just want a generic enemy, you pick a man.

    As a result, casual violence often targets men. It’s actually another example of “patriarchy hurts men too”. men are the default target exactly because they’re the privileged class.

  41. says

    LykeX:

    The default target, in general, is a man.

    True enough. One thing I got out of Giliell’s comment though, was that when it comes to a game protagonist (man) killing opponents who are men, you get that alpha man thing going. I could be wrong, I’m not a gamer.

  42. Galactic Fork says

    But should women be half of the protagonists, antagonists, random bystanders, cops, and anything else in some not-unusually-contexted media property? Absolutely. Should there be an entire race of xenophilic-to-the-max (they loves them some human, yep) aliens who just happen to be uniformly conventionally beautiful and immortally-young-looking women? With tentacles for hair?

    An interesting thing. The creators of mass effect state that a reason for not having both male and female version of all the alien races (the ones with sexual dimorphism anyway) was the time it would take to create multiple models for each species. So, for example, even though the Turians have Turian females in their military, you never see one in game. And the Salarians keep all their women at home for breeding. They are supposedly the political leaders, though any political leaders you meet in the game are males. The only species with a female model other than the Asari (more on them in a second) is the race with a woman who had a romantic interest with the male Shepard. Of course they had to make time to make a new model for THAT.
    Then come the Asari. The only time a female model was created instead of a male. Sure, it was in a race that’s not actually gendered, only appears gendered and gets to be hypersexualized. And of course they had time to create a model for that. (Though I do wonder what woulda happened if the creators used a male model for the Asari, and still had all races and genders attracted to them.)

    You want men to stop being the default cannon fodder?? Then join the side that wants equal representation for women.

  43. Galactic Fork says

    The above quoted part was of CaitieCat, getaway driver @#20

    And there should be spaces between paragraphs…

  44. says

    @48, Inaji:

    I could be wrong, I’m not a gamer.

    Even in “casual” games, there are multiple layers of sexism. It’s trivial to point out that essentially every Super Mario Bros. game is about two men rescuing a woman from a (male) kidnapper (or that in one of Nintendo’s other major series, which is actually named after a female character, the protagonist is inevitably Link, who is male). And so on with other simple games: Mr. Driller is Mr., not Ms., the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has had plenty of extra playable characters added — but essentially all male; Megaman is male — and the fact that he’s a robot doesn’t excuse the choice of gender at all, because the series makes it clear that robots somehow have gender (and gender rolls — pardon the pun but not everyone is even aware the character exists) and essentially all of the ones who fight in the games, good guys and bad, are male.

    But there’s another layer to it as well, which shows up when people point this out and start reimagining the games. I’ve seen plenty of people talk about the idea of a gender-reversed Super Mario Bros. (and Nintendo has belatedly made some really feeble efforts in that direction) but they immediately smack into the second layer of the onion: we are conditioned to avoid a real gender-reversed game. You never see concept art of a shortish, pudgy, cartoony girl with a big nose, in clothing suited to lower-class-associated jobs, rescuing a handsome, tall, fastidious male. Instead, you see Princess Peach in overalls rescuing Mario in a tux (or the equivalent). Until we are comfortable enough with the idea of equality that a female protagonist doesn’t have to be conventionally physically attractive, we still won’t have reached parity even if the numbers eventually even out.

    (Nintendo’s Metroid series has a female protagonist — but again, she’s cheesecake-pretty when not in her robo-suit, and naturally every game gives you a chance to see her that way. Oddly enough, Nintendo’s first series to actually have something approaching real equality is the godawful Pokemon, where you can now play as either gender — but even that started off as being male-only. The initial 3 games always had a male protagonist, although they’re apparently doing a remake which corrects this.)

  45. Callinectes says

    So the argument Thunderf00t uses here can be rendered: “men have problems too, but they don’t matter, so neither do women’s problems.”

    The impression I get of MRA’s is that their name is completely wrong. They don’t advocate for men’s issues at all, their only goal is the opposition of feminism, demonisation of feminists, and the preservation of the existence of women’s issues. Which makes them an enemy of women. And if in pursuit of these goals they need to throw their own gender under a bus by preserving male issues too, they will do so without hesitation. Which makes them an enemy of men too. And I’m quite confident that these kinds of people will also refuse to acknowledge the identities of those who identify with being neither male nor female. And that’s the trifecta. MRA’s have maneuvered themselves into the position of opposing the interests of every member of humanity at once.

  46. says

    Lyke X

    There is that. The use of men as default targets are a result of the general tendency of viewing men as the default anything.

    There was this one passage at the end of the Hunger Games Trilogy *spoiler to follow, just in case* where Katniss walks through the palace after the Rebels win and meets two guards, and she talks to them, and then one of the guards opens the door and the pronoun is “she”. It was, IMO, one of the best things in the whole series how the author remembered to write women “all the way down”. Usually even books, TV shows, movies, whathaveyougot with a “strong female character” only have that one female character, maybe a supporting character or two and then it’s men, men, men, reinforcing the idea about the exceptional woman who is essentially safe. Men can accept the occasional exceptional woman, because as long as she is alone, she is not threatening the power balance. To the contrary, she reinforces it because she apparently shows that women in general are not equal and that it needs a once in a lifetime woman to compete with the guys.

  47. says

    The Vicar:

    Until we are comfortable enough with the idea of equality that a female protagonist doesn’t have to be conventionally physically attractive, we still won’t have reached parity even if the numbers eventually even out.

    That’s a fuckin’ fact.

  48. Stacy says

    One of the reasons I liked the Kill Bill movies is that there were women among the “bad guys.” Both sexes were seen as formidable. And while there was certainly killing aplenty, it was presented with so much distancing (the primary colors, the general absurdity of the plot,) Tarantino might just as well have included a subtitle reading “DO NOT TAKE THIS TOO SERIOUSLY” beneath every frame.

    I also liked that the protagonist, while certainly beautiful, was not particularly glamorized. Thoughout most of both movies, Uma Thurman is dressed casually and wearing no perceptible makeup. She’s sweaty, dirty, and–for all her incredible fighting skillz–human.

  49. Tony! The Queer Shoop says

    Stacy:
    I never thought about the Kill Bill movies that way, but now that I am, I see what you mean.

  50. says

    Stacy:

    One of the reasons I liked the Kill Bill movies is that there were women among the “bad guys.”

    I also liked that the protagonist, while certainly beautiful, was not particularly glamorized.

    Yep, me too, on both counts.

  51. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Another non-glamorous female assassin movie was The Long Kiss Goodnight, with Geena Davis. Somehow the blond wig with black eyebrows didn’t look glamorous, just desperate.

    I did like Geena in the short lived Commander in Chief. Donald Sutherland playing a idiotlogical Speaker of the House, and his portrayal was sublime. The present speaker is a pale imitation….

  52. jste says

    I’ve made a similar point about the glut of superhero movies. They are festivals of CGI in which mass destruction occurs, cities are reduced to rubble (by the good guys!), and nothing matters at all. Actions lack consequences.

    Wildly off-topic, but it seems like there’s some fantastic stories waiting to be written there – ordinary people trying to pick up the pieces after the superheroes have had their fun and flown off to who the fuck cares.

  53. says

    They are supposedly the political leaders, though any political leaders you meet in the game are males.

    This might be completely pedantic, but it’s marginally better than this (but the Asari thing? Yeah, fucking stupid. I really wanted to like the game more if not for that). I can think of 3 Salarian leaders you get the chance to meet, and only one of them (original Council member) is male. Both of the others are female.

  54. Tony! The Queer Shoop says

    cubist:
    I’ve read a few Damage Control comics, I didn’t think they executed jste’s idea very well.

  55. Galactic Fork says

    shockna

    This might be completely pedantic, but it’s marginally better than this (but the Asari thing? Yeah, fucking stupid. I really wanted to like the game more if not for that). I can think of 3 Salarian leaders you get the chance to meet, and only one of them (original Council member) is male. Both of the others are female.

    Hrm, you’re right. They just did the same thing they did for the single Krogan female in ME 3. Full body baggy covering to hide any sexual dimorphism and use the same model with a woman voice actor. They could’ve just had no noticeable sexual dimorphism at all between male and female Salarians, but nope.

  56. edmundog says

    Re. the disposable henchmen: I like Arrow as a show, but the fact that he killed so casually in the early episodes was a real sticking point of me. I mean, here’s the big liberal hero, the Robin Hood taking down corrupt businessmen, and he kills all their low-level security guys? It’s a HUGE moral issue, and about halfway through the first season, he started only killing people who were actively trying to kill him, and the other characters started calling him out on all the murder. I think the producers noticed how screwed up it was.

  57. Abel Crunk Skunk says

    @51, The Vicar

    Nintendo seems to be making a few more positive motions lately. Well, at least one significant one. At E3 this year they revealed a new series called “Splatoon” which is a non-violent competitive third person shooter which appears to feature only female characters depicted in a completely non-sexual way. Every writeup I’ve read indicates that it’s incredibly fun too. (Also, I take issue with you calling the Pokemon series “godawful.” Those games are fun, and they encourage all sorts of social play via trading and battles. They may not be your cup of tea, but have always been regarded as high quality games.)

  58. says

    @67, Abel Crunk Skunk:

    Does Splatoon have a story, so that it can be turned into a franchise, or is it just a one-shot which won’t return in any meaningful sense? If it’s just going to be another Duck Hunt, it doesn’t really do much to mitigate their other franchises.

    Looking at the released pictures and video, I’m not sure those characters are all supposed to be female, though — I think they’re just super-deformed and not highly gendered, and with a female character chosen for the iconic main image. (If they are supposed to be all-female, I’m not so sure that’s necessarily a good thing; the player characters look like children, and the Japanese have a history of disturbing sexualization of digital representations of young girls — the Vocaloid “concerts”, for example, often have costumes which would end up putting people in jail if the “singers” were real.)

    As for Pokemon: each game is a prolonged collection quest — the sort of thing which made Gau in Final Fantasy VI a pain to use — with a basic and boring system of elemental weaknesses, and the whole thing is purely a cynical attempt to turn video game sales into toy sales. (To say nothing of the whole “we release two or three very slight variants of the same game at once to drive extra game sales” aspect.) You must be a younger person who grew up playing those games to claim that they have always been well-received; anyone who wasn’t a child when they came out knows that Pokemon was regarded as insidious and obsession-causing and horrible at the time, even before the (mostly-faked) anime seizure thing made the news.

  59. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    69
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    You must be a younger person who grew up playing those games to claim that they have always been well-received; anyone who wasn’t a child when they came out knows that Pokemon was regarded as insidious and obsession-causing and horrible at the time, even before the (mostly-faked) anime seizure thing made the news.

    I was a child when it came out and I remember adults hating on Pokemon. They still do, degrading those now adults who still play as childish losers.
    It’s a bunch of bullshit. Adults, especially parents, freaked the fuck out with plenty of “Back in my day…”, racism, and technology is evil. I wasn’t hearing any actually critiques of the game in day to day life, and honestly, it doesn’t matter. Just because you find it a pain doesn’t mean shit, except don’t fucking play it. A lot of people obviously like collecting, battling and elemental balances.

    All they see is the toys and oh how stupid are we to not see that. Of course we do. But we love the story of going out on your own so young with friends and having amazing animal companions. It may not have resonated with you but it did and still does with a lot of people.

    I was always a loser, outsider and a freak. But Pokemon brought me closer to my classmates. We finally found common ground and a common language. Anyone could play and win or lose. It equalized and was a whole lot of fun.

    So feel free to fuck off with your condescending opinion.

  60. jste says

    @Cubist
    Thanks for the suggestion. Damage Control looks interesting, but a little less “ordinary people” than what I was picturing when I posted that comment.

    Re: Nintendo and female characters, the new Hyrule Warriors coming out casts Zelda as a playable character, as the queen instead of princess, and as the leader of one of the armies in the game. Then again, the Zelda franchise has no problem re-imagining any individual character to a degree to fit a specific role for that game (She was also practically a ninja as the last of the Sheik in OoT, but reduced to a thing to be rescued again in later games).

  61. neverjaunty says

    The Vicar @69: I also remember when Dungeons and Dragons was regarded as ” insidious and obsession-causing and horrible at the time” by the grown-ups.

    I was not a child when it came out, and I have to scratch my head at the idea that it was a boring collection quest. The game encouraged social play, both by the fact that you couldn’t “catch ‘em all” alone and that Pokemon were more powerful if you traded them with others. That isn’t to say the games are beyond criticism, of course.

    Re Splatoon, I believe the elevator pitch version is that it’s virtual paintball played with weresquid.

  62. alexanderz says

    Inaji @48:

    you get that alpha man thing going

    Well spotted! And you claim not to be a gamer… :P
    Usually you don’t even perceive them as humans, just mooks to be killed. However, when it comes to multiplayer – when the enemy is played by a real person – the “alpha dog” issue is very obvious. That’s the may reason why the ultimate triumph is considered to be the “tea-bagging” of your opponent’s corpse.

    The Vicar @51:

    It’s trivial to point out that essentially every Super Mario Bros. game…

    I have to stop you right there. Complaining about sexism and rigid gender roles in Japanese games and Nintendo in particular (Cooking Mama, anyone?) is like complaining that there aren’t enough women among MRAs. Even the idea of allowing the player to pick their own gender, a feature that is over thirty years old in Western games, is loathsome to Japanese developers.

  63. says

    @72, neverjaunty

    I also remember when Dungeons and Dragons was regarded as ” insidious and obsession-causing and horrible at the time” by the grown-ups.

    You’re comparing apples and oranges. Dungeons and Dragons was almost exclusively regarded as insidious by, well, the extremely religious. There were adults who complained that it encouraged kids to be sedentary instead of active, and a few other borderline-sane negative reactions, but the bulk of the complaints were religious people who object to almost anything.

    I’m sure there are loons out there seriously complaining that Pokemon encourages devil worship or something — if there weren’t, it would imply that Poe’s Law has a flaw — but the reason Pokemon is considered insidious is because it is a perfectly-honed marketing campaign to get kids to buy stuff. And, as with religion, it really only catches on with people who are indoctrinated as children. The cheesy cartoons make the kids fantasize that the games aren’t as horribly boring as they are (and if you haven’t watched the cartoons, you will find that the games are insanely boring and repetitious), and the games let the kids run in advance of the cartoon so that each new episode has shout-outs to things they recognize. It’s all designed to suck the kids in — and make them buy, and buy, and buy, or at least whine at their parents to buy, and buy, and buy — and it doesn’t have anything like the same level of effectiveness on people who grew up without it. I’m pretty sure, based on having lived through the whole thing, that if you did a survey on average interest in Pokemon vs. age at the time the whole franchise started up, you would find a data set almost perfectly captured by the function (π/2 + arctan(30 – 3x))/π.

    Given that the goal of all mass-market children’s entertainment is to get you to buy things, it’s tempting to shrug your shoulders and say “so what” to all of this — but if you observe what the people who grew up playing Pokemon think about it, as JAL @ #70 above, there’s a different character entirely. The loyalty to a rather cheesy, boring game franchise with no loftier goal than to sell merchandise isn’t fading at all with age. When it comes to indoctrination, Pokemon is to other toy franchises approximately as a single woodsman living alone in a cottage is to a mechanized clear-cutting lumber company.

  64. says

    Alexanderz:

    Well spotted! And you claim not to be a gamer… :P

    I’m not! The only game I ever bought was American McGee’s Alice.

  65. methuseus says

    To everyone talking about Pokemon, I wasn’t that young when it came out and thought it was stupid. Then I played it, and it’s not that bad. As for the marketing stuff, the only things that people who loved Pokemon bought (that I knew at least) were more Pokemon games, making them basically the same as the people who buy every Mario game just because. I don’t agree with those people, either, even though I do enjoy a good Mario game.

  66. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    76
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    There were adults who complained that it encouraged kids to be sedentary instead of active, and a few other borderline-sane negative reactions, but the bulk of the complaints were religious people who object to almost anything.

    So because “normal” adults objected to it, that makes all the difference?

    The loyalty to a rather cheesy, boring game franchise with no loftier goal than to sell merchandise isn’t fading at all with age. When it comes to indoctrination, Pokemon is to other toy franchises approximately as a single woodsman living alone in a cottage is to a mechanized clear-cutting lumber company.

    Because you don’t get it and speak for everyone not in the “Pokemon generation” I must be indoctrinated to like it?

    And since when do games need lofty goals to be fun? Sounds like literary fiction lovers looking down on us genre lovers.
    Jesus Christ, you’re one stuck up, self-important arrogant mother fucker. This in addition to talking shit about me, instead of responding to me, I’ll think I’ll just fucking ignore you from now on. Doubt I’ll miss much.

  67. Abel Crunk Skunk says

    @69, The Vicar
    There’s no way of knowing right now if Splatoon will be a lasting franchise or a one-off, though I’m sure sales will have a lot to do with that. You’re right that the sex of some of them is a bit ambiguous, I wasn’t positive myself. The primary branding on the website does seem to put the focus on the female characters, though. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them appearing to be children, I don’t know what your point is there. Some Japanese people are into lolicon, so younger girls shouldn’t be used in games? They aren’t even styled like manga characters.

    As for Pokemon: each game is a prolonged collection quest — the sort of thing which made Gau in Final Fantasy VI a pain to use — with a basic and boring system of elemental weaknesses, and the whole thing is purely a cynical attempt to turn video game sales into toy sales. (To say nothing of the whole “we release two or three very slight variants of the same game at once to drive extra game sales” aspect.) You must be a younger person who grew up playing those games to claim that they have always been well-received; anyone who wasn’t a child when they came out knows that Pokemon was regarded as insidious and obsession-causing and horrible at the time, even before the (mostly-faked) anime seizure thing made the news.

    Gathering the rages in FFVI was awful, and I don’t bother doing it. It’s not comparable to catching, training, building a well rounded team and battling other people in Pokemon. The elemental system started out pretty simple (though not as simple as many others) but it became more interesting with the introduction of dual types. Selecting attacks for their elemental strengths and weaknesses from a large pool of available attacks takes planning to be effective. (Admittedly, none of that matters while completing the single player quest of the games which is typically quite easy, but that’s not why most people play them anyway. Competing against other human players is where the fun is.) I never cared about the merchandise or the TV show, so that’s whatever- I’m talking about the games. I don’t think anyone was expected to buy each variant in a generation, and I don’t personally know anyone who did that. The existence of multiple versions was to encourage people to trade and play with people with the other variants. I’m 26, so I was young, but not VERY young when the first generation came out in the US. But that’s irrelevant- take a look at the review scores. They were well regarded by people who played games, and still are. People who thought of it as “insidious” or “obsession causing” (…? Does that mean it’s good?) are just silly. I can understand not being a fan and I certainly won’t begrudge you that point of view, but your reduction was so exaggerated that it strikes me as inaccurate.

  68. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Thunderf00t makes a good point

    Have the other MRAs had him commit seppuku yet?

  69. says

    PZ, I admire your ability to sit throught T-F video. I was not able to do so since his debacle here. Watching someone whose work I admired to show how much of an asshole he is is too painfull of an experience to endure it willingly.

    lakitha tolbert #63

    Thanks for the last two lins, extremely inforative and interesting reading there.