Extraordinary delusions and why gamers need to grow up


 

A belated addition to the Malestrom series, exploring male anger online.

I was away for a couple of weeks in late August and returned to find the blogs and social media aflame with two related arguments dubbed #Gamergate and #Quinnspiracy. The former, centring around Anita Sarkeesian and the release of the latest Tropes vs Women in Videogames series, was a flare-up of a long-running saga; the latter an ugly story that saw the personal life and character of a obscure female games developer being dragged open, raked over and exposed across a billion internet connections.

As I read more and deeper into the affairs, several things became apparent to me. The first is that there is real and quite extreme anger on both sides. I don’t think Laurie Penny is far wide of the mark in dubbing this a culture war.

My second observation is that the gamers’ side to the dispute does not just comprise straight white males, and that one particular sub-plot within this drama – the hashtag #NotYourShield – actually makes a good and important point about feminists and others bolstering their arguments by co-opting the identity and opinions of other women and members of other populations to which they often do not belong. I’ll try to return to this point another day. Nonetheless I think it is true that the vast majority of those most involved have been men and I don’t think it is inaccurate to see this as primarily a dispute between feminist women and gamer men.

That said, this is not about a fair (intellectual) fight with legitimate points and a bit of right and wrong on both sides. Why? Because the actual arguments have been completely subsumed by irredeemably appalling behaviour on one side and one side alone. If anyone would like this to be an informed debate about the extent and implications of sexism within the creative artform of games design, well forget it. If anyone thinks this is really a debate about corruption and nepotism within games media, you are kidding yourself. That would be like looking at the Battle of the Somme and saying “what we are seeing here is a difference of opinion about the legitimacy of the expansionist aspirations of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.” We’re way beyond that now.

#Gamergate and #Quinnspiracy matter for one reason and one reason alone. Groups of (primarily) men have been conspiring to incite large online mobs to bully a couple of individuals into silence and submission through organised intimidation, harassment and fear. That is it. That is the story. Nothing else matters. Yes, the anger and hate aimed at Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian is genuine, but it is the anger of the witch-hunt, stirred up, self-perpetuating, like a howl of feedback that hears itself and amplifies itself ever louder. Every point that can be thrown in here in response is utterly irrelevant

But she brings it on herself because… No. Stop right there. There is no excuse for bullying, threatening and intimidating people.

But don’t you know what she said about…. No. Stop right there. There is no excuse for bullying, threatening and intimidating people.

But Social Justice Warriors are always doing…. No. Stop right there. There is no excuse for bullying, threatening and intimidating people.

To understand how profoundly irrational the anger of gamers has become, one needs to step back and ask a simple question: So what?

Let’s suppose, just for a moment, that everything said about Anita Sarkeesian were completely true. Let’s accept that she has cynically encouraged, exaggerated or faked the abuse she has received online in order to encourage donations… well, so what? If I’d given her money, I guess I’d be a bit pissed off, but I haven’t and as far as I can tell not one single person who has given her money has got any concerns, and not one single person who has got concerns has ever given her money.

Suppose her videos are indeed inaccurate, cherry-picked, unfair attacks on the broad games industry. Well, so what? That would make her an ineffective cultural critic. She would become another one of those rare creatures: someone on the internet who is wrong. Here’s a profound truth about cultural criticism. Critiques are only as powerful as they are accurate. If her videos are completely inaccurate they can be completely ignored.

As for Zoe Quinn, well again, supposing all the worst stories we have heard about her are true. Supposing she really did cheat on her boyfriend and sleep her way to a few good reviews of her game, Depression Quest. Suppose for a moment that every single journalist who has ever written something positive about her or her game had been in receipt of sexual favours…. well, so what? What is the worst thing that could happen as a consequence? How many people who spent money on her game off the back of a review now feel cheated and want their money back. Can I hazard a guess that the answer is somewhere in the vicinity of none?

The truth, of course, is that when we step back and look objectively, even if the worst things alleged about these two women were true, it would not begin to explain the volume and temperature of the hostility towards them. So what does explain it? In part, I think, it is the psychology of the crowd. Way back in 1841, Charles Mackay wrote in his classic work Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds:

“We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”

So why pick on these women in particular? Why not, say, evangelical Christians like Jack Thompson or David Barton who do not just critique and deconstruct the content of videogames, a la Sarkeesian, but actively campaign to have them banned?

The standard answer here is because they are women and the gamers are a cohort of angry men defending male privilege from female encroachment. I’m sure there’s a degree of truth to this, but it is not the whole story. Again, let’s play ‘what if…’

What if feminists/progressives/’social justice warriors’ etc wanted to formally and legally ban games makers from selling products featuring chisel-jawed white men as heroes and women portrayed solely as helpless princesses, sexual playthings or eye-candy. What makes anyone think they would actually succeed? Feminism’s more authoritarian strains have abjectly failed to excise the exact same tropes from action movies and TV, and have abjectly failed to do something similar with hardcore pornography. Does anyone seriously believe there is a material risk that next year or next decade gamers will not be able to fill their shopping baskets with macho, sexist shoot-em-ups if that is what they want to buy? Of course not.

I am quite convinced that gamers are not motivated to attack Sarkeesian and others like her by any genuine threat to their hobby and specific gaming preferences. What is motivating them is much simpler and more primal than that. Quite simply, they feel insulted. They do not like having it pointed out to them that some of their favourite games are puerile, sexist fantasies, or the implication that those who play them are themselves puerile and sexist. They do not like being told that the industry in which they have invested their identity remains, in many ways, immature, adolescent and dumb. The attacks on Quinn and Sarkeesian are are not really motivated by their fear of losing something close to them, but a response to being told something they do not want to hear. And ultimately, they cannot effectively attack the message because deep down they know the message is actually true, so instead they attack the messenger and do everything in their power to destroy them.

Ian Steadman made a very good point in his New Statesman article about Sarkeesian. For years, creators and consumers pleaded to have gaming taken seriously as a creative pursuit, even to be considered as an artform. In recent times, they have been granted their wish. One consequence of being treated seriously as an artform is that one can be subject to critique befitting that status. There are a whole bunch of #Gamergate infographics doing the rounds which add up to a manifesto of sorts. Here’s a typical one. It includes the principal demands:

“This is about keeping irrelevant politics out of video game news”

“This is about keeping the press from dictating art and public sentiment.”

In these, #Gamergate is not demanding that games be treated like any other creative, cultural or artistic pursuit. Criticism and reviews of film, TV, theatre, art, literature etc are entirely immersed in politics and always have been. Nor is this a preserve of the left. When Fox News pundits scour TV shows and movies for ‘liberal bias’ they are doing exactly what #Gamergate insists must never happen to them.

Deep down, #Gamergate is about gamers being offended and insulted that they are not being afforded the respect they believe they deserve. All the time, they are behaving like a kindergarten full of spiteful toddlers at worst and a busload of sulky, oversensitive teenagers at best. Ultimately the only cure for their malaise is to grow the fuck up.

 

Comments

  1. StillGjenganger says

    I could add a few points to that:

    – Gaming used to be a fairly closed subculture. Now it is going mainstream, the main forums are to some extent being taken over by new and different kinds of people, and the old subculture people feel expelled from their private world. A real grievance, this, but it cannot be helped, of course.

    – It sounds a little weird to hear someone from the social justice camp claim that all their efforts are bound to have no effect, therefore nobody should be worried by them. Social justice type of movements have been phenomenally successful at social change over the last 50-100 years. Anybody remember the rise of non-sexist English? Over quite few years, very common words like ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘postman’, went from normal, neutral words to taboo and reactionary. Nowadays using gendered pronouns even about a specific person of known gender is often seen as somehow dodgy. And, mark well, the effect was almost unavoidable once the campaigns started. If even a small but vocal minority claims that these words are bad and terrible, is becomes impossible to see and use them as normal and uncontroversial – you have to think about it every time. There are other notable changes: the various hate speech rules (the use of the single word ‘black’ in a stream of insults is apparently hate speech and a criminal offense), the growing movement to make it illegal to pay for sex, the change of homosexuality from illegal to do to illegal to criticise, … Not necessarily bad, but it shows what social justice movements can achieve if they try. In the Sarkeesian case the intent seems to be that the majority of titles, the big, high-investment games, should be changed to promote the right politics and non-PC games should be relegated to niche markets. She may not be sure to succeed, but it is certainly not impossible.

    – As we have discussed before. social justice people – and you in particular – never see any problem if homophobic or bigoted people are harassed out of their jobs when they say the wrong thing in public. The general attitude then is ‘well you are free to talk, and other people are free to react to what you say’. Why is it that this does not apply to people like Sarkeesian, unless it is that she is right and deserves protection, and people who ar against gay marriage are wrong, and deserve anything they get?

  2. TMK says

    Because the actual arguments have been completely subsumed by irredeemably appalling behaviour on one side and one side alone

    I sincerely hope you mean the SJW side. By coincidence i read about it since the beginning (well, i read thezoepost a day or two after it went up), and let me tell you, the abuse thrown by game journalist at Eron Gjoni was distasteful, and the amount of lies they repeat is mind-boggling.

    I hope you havent been reading these articles?

    If anyone thinks this is really a debate about corruption and nepotism within games media, you are kidding yourself.

    Uh, in part it is. It is also about gaming journalism treatment of gamers, and about SJW demands from industry.

    #Gamergate and #Quinnspiracy matter for one reason and one reason alone. Groups of (primarily) men have been conspiring to incite large online mobs to bully a couple of individuals into silence and submission through organised intimidation, harassment and fear. That is it. That is the story.

    Thats bullshit.

    But she brings it on herself because… No. Stop right there. There is no excuse for bullying, threatening and intimidating people.

    Zoe Quinn fabricated harrasment, by now twice or thrice, to mobilize support, in one case, actually harassing other people in the process. I wouldnt be surprised if AS did that so, after all, her recent claims about calling the police, well, someone called the police and inquired if they received a complaint.

    But Social Justice Warriors are always doing…. No. Stop right there. There is no excuse for bullying, threatening and intimidating people.

    Well, yeah, there is not excuse for bullying by SJW.

    Let’s suppose, just for a moment, that everything said about Anita Sarkeesian were completely true. Let’s accept that she has cynically encouraged, exaggerated or faked the abuse she has received online in order to encourage donations… well, so what?

    That what? Then that the abuse flown at AS is not related to the critiques of her, and this whole thing is unrelated to GG and Zoe Quinn. You must have read some tools who bought gaming journalism propaganda about this case.

    So why pick on these women in particular? Why not, say, evangelical Christians like Jack Thompson or David Barton who do not just critique and deconstruct the content of videogames, a la Sarkeesian, but actively campaign to have them banned?
    The standard answer here is because they are women and the gamers are a cohort of angry men defending male privilege from female encroachment. I’m sure there’s a degree of truth to this, but it is not the whole story. Again, let’s play ‘what if…’

    The answer is that Thompson was widely opposed, and received a lot of threats.

    Ally, that got to be the worst researched post of yours up to date.

  3. Ally Fogg says

    It sounds a little weird to hear someone from the social justice camp claim that all their efforts are bound to have no effect, therefore nobody should be worried by them.

    I never said it wouldn’t have any effect. In practice any one critic is highly unlikely to make much difference, but what can happen is that people influence other people’s opinions and cultural norms change over time, so that after a while (to take a real example) the Black and White Minstrel Show looks embarrassingly racist and entirely out of step with public tastes and norms.

    That is one point of cultural critique, and it is entirely legitimate. It might well be that in a couple of decades’ time people look at the sexist tropes in current videogames and find it either mortifying or hilarious that they were once considered normal.

    What is happening there is that people’s tastes change and the demand falls away. That is entirely different to snatching away the things that people want.

    All of this is part of the routine marketplace of ideas. I have absolutely no problem with right wing commentators arguing against what they perceive to be liberal or left wing tropes in videogames, movies, TV or anywhere else. If their ideas have any merit they’ll get some purchase. If they don’t they will be ignored or laughed at.

    As we have discussed before. social justice people – and you in particular – never see any problem if homophobic or bigoted people are harassed out of their jobs when they say the wrong thing in public. The general attitude then is ‘well you are free to talk, and other people are free to react to what you say’. Why is it that this does not apply to people like Sarkeesian, unless it is that she is right and deserves protection, and people who ar against gay marriage are wrong, and deserve anything they get?

    I entirely disagree. A couple of years ago a Christian who worked for Trafford Housing Trust was demoted at work because he’d written something against gay marriage on his personal Facebook page. I wrote condemning this in the Guardian (as did Peter Tatchell, as it happens). I support the right of people to argue against homosexual rights without being harassed, abused, threatened, doxxed or persecuted by online mobs.

    Yes, if someone comes out with genuine hate speech that compromises their ability to do their job, it is their lookout if their employer decides they are no longer a fit person to work there. That’s how it goes. But that’s not the same thing as mass campaigns of death threats, rape threats and systematic personal abuse. Even if some really nasty, racist, homophobic EDL organiser was being subjected to the kind of systematic persecution campaigns that have been waged against Sarkeesian or Quinn I would unreservedly condemn them.

  4. palaeodave says

    Nowadays using gendered pronouns even about a specific person of known gender is often seen as somehow dodgy.

    No, it isn’t. Not anywhere or by anyone.

  5. Ally Fogg says

    @TMK

    “BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT….”

    As Laurie Penny rightly pointed out, you just have no idea how ridiculous you look.

  6. TMK says

    Geez, i posted a mess. But seriously, there is not a single correct thing with your post.

    Basically, this went like that: A certain fellow named Eron Gjoni had a relationship with certain idie developer named Zoe Quinn. It did not end well, and he decided to go public with her behavior, according to him to warn others of possible abuse. He then went to various places on the web with it, and got purged in many places until 4chan ran with it. Note that this had nothing to do with sex and corruption within gaming journalism, Eron Gjoni explicitly stated later that it was not his intent, and if you bother to read thezoepost (which only a few people did, its extremely long), he does not mention that issue at all.

    From then on various people like Internet Aristocrat picked it up, and sort of exploded with full on Streissand effect, at one point there was a single thread alive about it on the escapist, hilariously enough full of first time posters and regulars complaining about it (well, not surprising, since even on reddit the thread got nuked).

    By then most people are not aware of the original cause, and the case morphed into journalism corruption and supposedly sex for coverage (which is not really correct). Undoubtedly (personally i knew shit about it, but it was clear from how it unfolded), the whole situation was a powder keg with game journalist being nothing more than advertisers, and most of the people involved were already very disillusioned with it (and it surface sometimes in the discussions, when someone makes a reference to something in the past), and even such a only vaguely related trigger blew it up.

    The whole thing was made worse by:

    a) the suppression.
    b) the widespread blaming of gamers and portraying them as misogynists and whatnot.

    In all this, there are some further actions by ZQ and AS goes with another video, but they are not really important in the whole case, except of course for some people.

    And the trenches were established pretty fast, with SJW and gaming journalists on one side, and, uh, everyone else on the other.

    The only thing i dont get is why journalists are so harsh on gamers. It is clear why they supress these corruption accusations (thats because they are correct), but why they shit on gamers in the process? Maybe just a useful tactic.

  7. TMK says

    “BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT….”
    As Laurie Penny rightly pointed out, you just have no idea how ridiculous you look.

    Sorry, i dont fancy taking it to that level. Hopefully you will come to your sense later.

  8. lelapaletute says

    Oh come ON, Gejnganger.

    Nowadays using gendered pronouns even about a specific person of known gender is often seen as somehow dodgy.

    Really? REALLY? In what world are you living where calling a specific person of a known gender by the appropriate pronoun is controversial (always assuming that person has not self-identified contrary to what is known, or rather assumed)? If you’d said unknown gender, then you’d be right, but as is your statement is a flat-out fib.

    There are other notable changes: the various hate speech rules (the use of the single word ‘black’ in a stream of insults is apparently hate speech and a criminal offense)

    Are you contending that to call someone a “Fucking stupid ugly stinking black bastard” is not racist? That using the descriptor ‘black’ as part of a ‘stream of insults’ is not to imply that the neutral state of being black is in fact something negative?

    In the Sarkeesian case the intent seems to be that the majority of titles, the big, high-investment games, should be changed to promote the right politics and non-PC games should be relegated to niche markets.

    Or alternatively, being as how she’s a critic, she is identifying trends in the majority of titles, the big, high investment games, noting that they are overwhelmingly ‘non-PC’, and questioning why that might be. Because no-one ever questioned anything without wanting to ban it.

    As we have discussed before. social justice people – and you in particular – never see any problem if homophobic or bigoted people are harassed out of their jobs when they say the wrong thing in public. The general attitude then is ‘well you are free to talk, and other people are free to react to what you say’. Why is it that this does not apply to people like Sarkeesian, unless it is that she is right and deserves protection, and people who ar against gay marriage are wrong, and deserve anything they get?

    I don’t believe Ally has ever said that people who are vocally against gay marriage ‘deserve anything they get’. I think he has highlighted frequently the difference between bigots bullying, persecuting and discriminating against people based on their innate characteristics, views and practices; bigots holding and expressing bigoted views; and other people (SJWs, if you must) responding to either of the foregoing by telling said bigots that their bigoted views are wrong and offensive/not acceptable in a mixed work environment. He has striven with saint-like patience to explain to people like yourself that THERE IS A DIFFERENCE between all three.

    Please give an example of someone who is vocally anti-gay marriage who has been subjected to the same kind of ad hominem character assassination and organised online bullying Sarkeesian has just for saying what they think, and then ask Ally if he approves of that bullying. Bet you a Bentley to a bunch of bananas he doesn’t.

  9. TMK says

    Okay, reading into your links, it seems that you were indeed reading lies. Laurie penny is either ignorant (not hard in that case) or strainght out lying:

    which is what happened to games developer Quinn, after an ex-boyfriend posted a disturbed, disturbing novella-length attack on everything she is and everything she stands for.

    Go read http://thezoepost.wordpress.com/ and tell me if this is accurate portrayal at all. There is not a single truth in the above sentence.

  10. Ally Fogg says

    TMK – you are linking me to a WHOLE BLOG that is set up ENTIRELY to analyse, record and discuss the behaviour and character of one person, an entirely obscure and inconsequential games developer and a woman who EVEN IF EVERYTHING SAID ABOUT HER IS TRUE has not so much as been charged with a single crime.

    Step back. Think about what you are part of. Realise that this is utterly, utterly ludicrous.

    Don’t you see that the very existence of that blog pretty much makes my entire point?

  11. Enkidum says

    @TMK: Eron Gjoni is a deeply, deeply disturbed individual who does not understand what being an adult is all about. I read the zoepost before it blew up completely (i.e. in the first day or two he had it up), and… I mean… how can any grown up think that’s ok? Not what he describes Quinn as having done, because that’s none of our business, because we’re grownups. But him having made the post. You don’t write novel-length screeds whining about your shitty breakup and publish them if you’re a grownup.

    It’s true that he did not intend to set off this #gamergate bullshit, but whatever his intentions were, they were fucking stupid and he should be ashamed of himself. And anyone who read that with anything other than a sense of growing horror at its mere existence (and worries for Gjoni’s sanity) should feel shame as well. What are we supposed to take away from this? What’s the positive effect of having read this crap? You need to seriously question your priorities if you think that was some kind of noble gesture on his part. Dude needs help. And anyone who thinks this is a legitimate trigger for a social movement needs their head examined.

  12. says

    Oh, I don’t agree about #NotYourShield…. First off it was started by 4chan as a distraction and “using SJW rules against them” operation. Plenty of the “PoC” accounts have been shown to be total fakes, but then they switch to outrage that “SJWs” don’t believe women and PoC when they say they want to keep their games, censorship, stalinnazi, arglebargle, etc…. Some have now joined in, but that is an epic bit of irony, they are now acting exactly as *shields* for 4channers misogyny and harassment campaigns against ZQ and Sarkeesian etc. Total shitheap all around, anyone who really cares about ethics will use the #GamerEthics HT to differentiate themselves from the harassment.

  13. TMK says

    It would make your point (which is that the case is about misogyny and harassment) if that long post was an example of what Laurie Penny said (misogyny and harassment). It is not though, and that is my point – what you read is not true. Of course this does not mean threats against ZQ or AS are okay, it only means people are lying about what the case is about.

    Part of? I explained above how the case was only triggered by that long post (one which was not any of the things you think it was. It is a post by abuse victim telling his story and ZQ is abuser trying to silence its victim). It almost immediately went on to be about journalism in general, despite attempts of the very same journalists and Zoe Quinn to portray it as a typical gamers misogyny.

    I know this case pretty well. Contrary to you i read not only articles by journalists, but also things written on it by average internet users, including gaming spaces.

    I pointed you to it, because you seem to buy into the claims its some malicious attack on ZQ by disturbed individual. I thought you like research (seriously, its not a bad read, at least if you like drama)

    PS: Its not a blog, its one overly long blog post, in case you think EG did a blog about his ex for extended amount of time.

  14. says

    TMK is inadvertently proving Ally’s entire point for him, just as the almost 9,000 (and counting) comments under the recent Cracked.com article about Quinn could form the basis for an entire follow-up article.

    This seems to be a new twist on Lewis’ Law, whereby the comments under any article condemning the campaign against Quinn simultaneously illustrate and justify the article itself.

    What’s the obsession with Quinn’s sex life if not slut-shaming? Putting aside the fact that the people with whom she is alleged to have had relationships do not appear to have ever reviewed her game, The Zoe Post – even if it is 100% true – does not justify or in any way mitigate what has happened as a result of it. That post is a huge part of the problem Ally’s talking about, so linking to it is probably not the best way to try and argue against him.

    TMK – For every comment/tweet/blog I’ve seen ‘raising legitimate concerns about games journalism’ I’ve seen five calling Quinn a slut or a whore. If the genders were reversed here, and Quinn had written a Tolkien-length screed about an ex-boyfriend, do you think that boyfriend would have had the same experience that Quinn has? Something tells me the whole thing would have blown over, perhaps with a few pats on the back to the ex-boyfriend. I expect no-one on this thread would have ever heard of Zoe Quinn and #Gamergate would never have happened. This has everything to do with misogyny and the policing of female sexuality.

  15. Ally Fogg says

    oolon

    I know all of that, and the complexities are the reason why it would need a post to itself.

    In brief, even though its origins may be entirely disingenuous, it has nonetheless hit on a valid point. Not all those who are women, queer, non-white or whatever necessarily agree with the feminist / social justice side of this dispute, there are genuine women, gay people and people of colour in among the sockpuppets, and I do have a problem when (for example) feminists claim to represent all women in their views.

    But it is a pretty minor point in the overall scheme of things, I’ll admit.

  16. says

    Gotta ask, is there any proof Zoe *actually* slept with those 5 guys? It’s certainly possible, but it’s never a good idea to take the word of an angry ex-boyfriend uncritically.

  17. TMK says

    @Enkidum

    I strongly disagree. There is nothing immature with publicly talking about your experience of abuse, which is what Eron Gjoni did. And what ZQ did was clearly abuse, and the fact you think he should be ashamed because of it, is, well, shameful.

    The positive effects are the same often experienced effects of victims of abuse speaking up – other victims find it helpful, and the abuser is not given license to operate.

    @oolon

    That is actually another lie by Zoe Quinn. She went to 4chan IRC, made some logs, including them talking about #notyourshield, and posted them claiming what you wrote. And useful idiots ran with it. Of course, the actual logs show some people asking questions about #notyourshield, rather suprising for something supposedly started there, and she obviously doctored the logs.

  18. lelapaletute says

    Had a little look at that zoepost blog (I know, I know, you bet I slow down at traffic accidents too, I should know better) then stopped about 10% through because (a) fucking LONG and (b) in tone and style it was reminding me way too much of the ‘manifestos’ of Breivik and Elliot Rodger and making me uncomfortable.

    We’ve all had shitty relationships and ugly break-ups. Maybe Zoe Quinn really is Beelzebub in human form; maybe she’s just as fucked up, hypocritical and selfish as, I don’t know, every human being is from time to time; maybe she’s a saint and the whole blog is the paranoid ravings of a ditched ex. I don’t know, and I don’t care. Like Ally says, writing a novel-length blog about how some guy/girl done you wrong is not the behaviour of a responsible adult. It’s, you know, free speech and all. But it’s creepy in the extreme. I’m quite certain he never intended his petulant act born out of hurt to snowball into this furore, and I fear in time he will regret it mightily – but by then, the damage is already done, to her image yes, but to his as well.

  19. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally 4
    There is a little more to this that “people’s taste changing over time” and “the normal marketplace of ideas”. There is what people actually think – and there is what dominant norms determine can be said. Public norms do not just change – they are changed, and then people’s thought may catch up over the decades. The victories of Social Justice has been about cultural dominance quite as much as they have been about convincing people. My favourite example is the immigration debate in Scandinavia. Public debate in Sweden is much, much more pro-immigrant than in Denmark. It is unlikely that Swedes are that much more generous by nature than the Danes – but it is very likely that Sweden, but not Denmark, has managed to exercise social control over what opinions can be expressed.
    Going back to the example at hand, the reaction against Sarkeesian is not just “a response to being told something they do not want to hear.“. It is a response to a well-founded fear that the voices describing them as puerile, sexist and dumb will soon be culturally dominant, also in the hitherto friendly world of computer gaming. Laurie Penny says “This is a culture war – and we are winning”. I suspect the other side thinks she may be right.

    I support the right of people to argue against homosexual rights without being harassed, abused, threatened, doxxed or persecuted by online mobs.

    Acknowledged. But

    Yes, if someone comes out with genuine hate speech that compromises their ability to do their job, it is their lookout if their employer decides they are no longer a fit person to work there

    It all depends who determines what is “genuine hate speech”, and how come something “compromises[somebody’s] ability to do their job”. In the case we disagreed about, the “hate speech” was a high level computing manager who had donated to an anti-gay-marriage campaign in the past. It “compromised his ability to do his job” only because of an organised campaign by various progressive organisations to have him fired for his opinions. So we clearly draw the line in different places.

    For the record, I believe you should be able to participate in political debate without being threatened on life, limb or livelihood – or ostracism – for it. And that the kind of systematic rape threats dished out to Sarkeesian is about the worst way you could break that rule. I would just feel more wholehearted about it if social justice warriors were somewhat better at defending the rights of people who did not happen to agree with them.

  20. TMK says

    @Rob

    Ive seen some comments calling her a slut, usually following a reply about how it is wrong to call someone a slut because of promiscuity, followed by reply that it is not because of promiscuity, but the cheating. I disagree, personally, but what is more important, you must have been reading some wierd places, because these comments are far and between. And i went to even read 4chan because of this case.

    Moreover, if the genders were reversed, yes, the situation would be different. SJW would descent with fury on the abusive dude.

    And how the fuck i am proving an Ally point, huh?

  21. Enkidum says

    Abuse? Seriously? If we take everything he said at face value, she was a shitty “girlfriend” who cheated on him and lied about it repeatedly, and broke up with him in an extra shitty way. And she’s manipulative, cunning, uses her evil powers to get ahead. So what? (And of course that’s taking what he says at face value, which… does not seem a rational thing to do in this situation.)

    And let’s pretend she was abusive, let’s say she straight-up beat the shit out of him on the regular. Or verbally abused him, whatever. What the hell does any of that have to do with #gamergate, or journalist ethics or anything? It’s fucking pathetic.

  22. TMK says

    Yeah, i consider breaking rules on protective barriers during sex and gaslighting abuse. If you read some feminists online you would likely find they agree too.

    As i said before, it has nothing to do with gamersgate.

  23. TMK says

    Well, in fact Zoe Quinn considers the first one rape, but thats she…

    @gunlord
    Well, that depends. Is one of the guys admitting to it enough for you?

  24. StillGjenganger says

    @Lelapaletute 9
    Hi again.

    Nowadays using gendered pronouns even about a specific person of known gender is often seen as somehow dodgy.

    Really? REALLY? In what world are you living where calling a specific person of a known gender by the appropriate pronoun is controversial (always assuming that person has not self-identified contrary to what is known, or rather assumed)? If you’d said unknown gender, then you’d be right, but as is your statement is a flat-out fib.

    It is not the rule (yet?) but it does happen. I caught one on the radio a few years ago – a doctor discussing a specifc patient as an example of some particular disease, and referring to said patient as ‘they’. I bounced that one off a feminist friend in the medical profession, and was told that this was perfectly appropriate, since using a gendered pronoun would falsely give an impression that the sex of the person mattered. I think the mechanism is that the words ‘he’ and ‘she’ trigger some vague unease that maybe this is not going to be seen as appropriate and is better avoided altogether.

    Are you contending that to call someone a “Fucking stupid ugly stinking black bastard” is not racist? That using the descriptor ‘black’ as part of a ‘stream of insults’ is not to imply that the neutral state of being black is in fact something negative?

    In a word: yes. If your target did not happen to be black, you would just substitute ‘ginger’, ‘fat’, or ‘shit-eating’, as the case may be. All you need is a word that puts the target as an outsider from the main group. ‘Black’ may well be adding its mite of extra insult, but I do think it is ridiculous to say that “Fucking stupid ugly stinking shit-eating bastard” is a perfectly acceptable thing to say, whereas adding the single word ‘black’ makes it into a criminal offense.

    In the Sarkeesian case the intent seems to be that the majority of titles, the big, high-investment games, should be changed to promote the right politics and non-PC games should be relegated to niche markets.

    Or alternatively, being as how she’s a critic, she is identifying trends in the majority of titles, the big, high investment games, noting that they are overwhelmingly ‘non-PC’, and questioning why that might be. Because no-one ever questioned anything without wanting to ban it.

    If a politically active individual commissions a study in how many trafficked foreigners work as prostitutes in London, or how many Muslims are living on welfare/convicted of crimes, or how many sexist tropes are found in most video games, it is a fairly safe bet that the result will be used politically, not just filed away as ‘aha, interesting!’.

    I have already answered Ally. For you I would say that 1) the treatment of Sarkeesian e al is worse than anything you would see on the other side. 2) that for instance campaigning for, respectively against, gay marriage are both a matter of trying to make sure that society reflects your views and marginalises people who disagree. Who is a bigot and who is not is entirely a matter of where you stand in the debate.

  25. says

    @TMK – How are you proving Ally’s point?

    Ally says (paraphrasing) ‘So what if Zoe slept with a journalist, this is specifically about the targeting of female voices’ and specifically describes what’s happening as a self-perpetuating witch hunt. Your response? Linking to the creepy-as-all-hell blog post that triggered all of this in the first place.

  26. StillGjenganger says

    @TMK 22
    Ally got it pretty right in his post 11. From what is said on this blog (I could not be bothered to read further), two pretty inconsequential people split up, and blacken each other’s name with great energy in enormous detail. And lots of people, including you, discuss the whole think in every detail at great length. Why would anyone care? I cannot see what it is supposed to prove, and it does not greatly suggest that you are a serious person with a serious point.

  27. lelapaletute says

    Hi Gjenganger:

    It is not the rule (yet?) but it does happen. I caught one on the radio a few years ago – a doctor discussing a specifc patient as an example of some particular disease, and referring to said patient as ‘they’. I bounced that one off a feminist friend in the medical profession, and was told that this was perfectly appropriate, since using a gendered pronoun would falsely give an impression that the sex of the person mattered. I think the mechanism is that the words ‘he’ and ‘she’ trigger some vague unease that maybe this is not going to be seen as appropriate and is better avoided altogether.

    You said ‘often’, a minute ago, implying it was usual. Now it ‘does happen’, or rather, you noticed it happen once (you think, because your one friend says this is the reasoning behind the instance you observed once). Possibly this doctor was just hypervigilant on patient confidentiality, and didn’t want to give any of the patient’s information away if it was not relevant to the subject under discussion? Regardless, it’s a massive reach from that to ‘often’, and a HUGE one to imply that there is some growing cultural nervousness about using pronouns appropriately when the gender of the subject is known and uncontested. I live in culture (and a pretty social-justice-y, pro-self-defining bubble thereof at that) and I experience nothing of the kind. If someone is, for all intents and purposes, a man, I’ll call him he until corrected. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t operate like this, and can think of vanishingly few people who would have the slightest issue with it.

    As for the rest, I can’t be bothered to explain to you why ‘black’ and ‘shit-eating’ are not comparable adjectives. I just can’t. You could however make an argument for ‘ginger’ being used perjoratively being hate-speech, and I wouldn’t be the one to deny you, although I might interject that evergreen as is anglo culture’s ribaldry regarding our red-headed brethren, it doesn’t come with the cultural baggage of hundreds of years of slavery and oppression, so maybe not directly analogous. Maybe, just maybe, the hate speech laws are being constructed with an eye to the context, rather than just picking on individual characteristics to protect and words to forbid at random and just for the merry hell of it.

    I’ll leave Ally’s response to your final point to stand for me, as it is pretty much what I think on the subject.

  28. TMK says

    @Rob, my response was not linking to EG post. My response was not very long description of the whole case, which included the beginning by that post, and later on when Ally mentione Laurie Penny, i noticed her statements about EG, and took exception to that.

    None of this is targetting female voices because misogyny. Or witch hunt. Seriously, i explicitly stated zoepost only served as a trigger to volatile situation of shitty state of gaming journalism, which itself illustrated by this pretty pic that afaik got famous:

    http://blogs-images.forbes.com/erikkain/files/2012/10/doritos.png

    So if that was Ally point, my reply certainly does not validate it. Oh, and ffs, zoepost is not creepy. All you people who claim it is immature clearly know nothing about handling emotionally tough issues. Take a hint: bottling up is not an adult or healthy way of dealing with emotions, speaking about it, otoh, is.

    @Gjagenter

    Ah, so that was ridiculous. Yeah, i sort of agree, if the whole scandal was about Quinn and Gjoni drama. But as i repeatedly said, it is only slightly related, and i brought it up as a way of illustrating how Laurie Penn article was shitty.

    (although, tbh, i personally find the whole ZQ aspect of the mess more interesting because i am not into the kind of games that are the target here – paradox player here – but otoh i find the treatment of EG and ZQ interesting from general social perspective, and in particular the progressive circles online. But thats me)

  29. StillGjenganger says

    @Lelapaletute 29

    You said ‘often’, a minute ago, implying it was usual. Now it ‘does happen’, or rather, you noticed it happen once
    […]
    Regardless, it’s a massive reach from that to ‘often’, and a HUGE one to imply that there is some growing cultural nervousness about using pronouns appropriately when the gender of the subject is known and uncontested.

    The ‘nervousness’ I know from personal observation – you cannot use certain words with confidence because you are not quite sure who might decide they were offensive – and you are forced to consider what to say instead of just letting it flow. Some of the ‘PC gone mad’ examples show the same thing. Like the social services canteen where you were taken to task for asking for ‘black’ and ‘white’ coffee. These are of course exceptions, but I do think that the unease about what you are allowed to say is undeniable. And the ‘growing’ part can be observed over the years. Originally pronouns were only a problem for impersonal texts, laws, say, or constructions with ‘nobody’, ‘anybody’, etc. Then ‘they’ became the common singular pronoun for a person. Just the fact that ‘they’ can be used at all about a specific, known person is significant – that could not have happened 30 years ago.. We are not at the point where you would say ‘they’ about a specific person known to both parties in the discussion, but it seems to be gradually getting more common in writing.

    In a much discussed example like ‘you fucking black cunt’ (which got a national-level footballer convicted of hate speech), ‘black’ is not a demonisation of black people as such and it does not show any particular hatred for blacks. It is just a handle to attach the insult to the target. Defining it as hate speech ‘because of context’ amounts to saying that black people need special protection against common insults. Because people of the same colour have been oppressed and enslaved over a hundred years ago on another continent. Not a principle I would be willing to endorse.

  30. Enkidum says

    Bottling up emotions is not healthy, true. Speaking about shitty things that have happened to you can be healthy, true. Writing tens of thousands of words going into the most intitmate details of your relationship with someone, with dozens of screenshots of chatlogs, obsessively documenting everything you think went wrong in your relationship, and making them available for public consumption? Creepy. Really fucking creepy. Not healthy. That’s not a normal thing to do, and it shouldn’t be.

    Gjoni should be talking to his friends, getting drunk, crying, making a fool of himself to a limited circle of people. To his friends. It’s part of becoming a grownup, most of us do it at one point or another. I’ve been in a similar enough situation – the woman I thought I was going to marry (after an unhealthily short amount of time together) cheated on me, broke up with me in a shitty passive-aggressive way. I talked about it. To my friends.

    But you are not his friend. All the losers who have latched onto his post are not his friends. He’s making a fool of himself to the entire world, and setting off bombs he has no idea how to defuse. To put it in eminently non-SJW terms, he’s being a whiny little bitch, and he seriously needs to grow a pair. Not because he feels hurt, not because he has feelings, those are good things. But because he has absolutely no perspective and thinks that his miserable relationship and Zoe’s miserable relationship, because it wasn’t just her being unpleasant to him, she had to date his whiny ass, is somehow important in the grand scheme of things. It’s not, to anyone outside their immediate circles. And anyone who thinks it is needs to seriously reconsider their priorities.

    There is nothing else to see here. Games journalists could (and probably should, although this is debatable) be more up front about conflicts of interest. Some journalists are shitty. Some game developers are shitty. There is no scandal, there is no one behind the curtain, no one’s vagina is magically changing games reviews. Literally nothing of any import has happened. The whole movement is a fucking farce.

  31. lelapaletute says

    Gjenganger:

    you cannot use certain words with confidence because you are not quite sure who might decide they were offensive – and you are forced to consider what to say instead of just letting it flow.

    I know, considering others is such an absolute arse-ache, isn’t it? Why can’t I just say EXACTLY what I like, ALL the time, and never get ANY negative reaction from anyone? Tch, it’s PC gone mad, all this ‘consideration’ and ‘communication’ and ‘compromise’.

    Some of the ‘PC gone mad’ examples show the same thing. Like the social services canteen where you were taken to task for asking for ‘black’ and ‘white’ coffee.

    Ahem, link? Or is this just made up nonsense like the vast majority of dog-whistle ‘PC gorn maaaaad’ so-called news stories that pop up from time to time in honourable organs like the Daily Mail?

    Just the fact that ‘they’ can be used at all about a specific, known person is significant – that could not have happened 30 years ago.. We are not at the point where you would say ‘they’ about a specific person known to both parties in the discussion, but it seems to be gradually getting more common in writing.

    Any examples of this (gender-known individual referred to as ‘they’) in writing? I’ve not seen it. Regardless, unless it’s a systematic choice or imposed policy, t’s a failure of grammar, that’s all. Unless you have any genuine reason to believe this is happening as a matter of policy, or for reasons of aspiring PC-ness (reasons beyond ‘my feminist doctor mate said so’), then really you’re just getting aerated about the fact some guy on the radio didn’t pay attention at primary school English.

    In a much discussed example like ‘you fucking black cunt’ (which got a national-level footballer convicted of hate speech), ‘black’ is not a demonisation of black people as such and it does not show any particular hatred for blacks. It is just a handle to attach the insult to the target.

    Please, you’re smarter than this. He didn’t say “you fucking tall cunt” or “you fucking cockney cunt” or “you fucking young cunt”. There is a reason he mentioned Ferdinand’s blackness, and that reason was to be offensive. Don’t try and pretend it wasn’t.

  32. That Guy says

    I think probably the whole ZQ thing is due to a powderkeg og having a culture that is a) historically insular and b) historically held in contempt.

    AS’s videos and the statement published by ‘Rock paper shotgun’ (the games journalism website that is the primary target of claims of corruption) are both seen as the outsider attacking something held dear.

    In this respect, it is indeed a sexism issue, as women are seen as ‘outsiders’ to the videogame world and the culture surrounding 4chan/wizardchan has deeply confused attitudes to sex. (they want it, and are resentful at the ease at which they think women have access to it).
    This is a perfect storm that taints everything it touches.

    There probably is corruption and nepotism in the videogames journalism industry, in the same way there is corruption and nepotism in newspaper and television journalism, and I agree with Ally here, the bullying, harassment has been disproportionate if even the most lurid of accusations were true.

    However, to be absolutely fair to TMZ and others like him, there has been a tangible result from all of this, aside from the obvious misery that has been generated.

    1)Claims surfaced that ZQ used her influence to sink a ‘game jam’ event whose goal was to involve more women in videogame creation (the fine young capitalists) such that ZQ could garner support for her own game jam. The claim is that ZQ labelled the Game Jam as ‘Opressive’ due to their policies on transgender admissions (all entrants must publicly identify as a woman, iirc).

    2)Obviously, the internet hate mob decided to make a point and suddenly The Fine Young Capitalists had more than enough money to fund their game jam. There also started circulating image macros of notable women involved in the games industry, etc, on the pretext that the criticism of ZQ was not rooted in sexism in the videogames industry, but rather of corruption in the games journalism.

    I don’t know what to think about this, is it ethical to accept donations from an entity like 4chan which has carried out harassment campaigns, even if they are for a ‘good cause’? I’m a ittle hazy on the TFYC jam as well, since it is co-ordinated by a man.
    the closest analogue I can think is sending online sexist abuse to Sarah Palin and donating to family planning centres to spite her.

  33. StillGjenganger says

    @Lelapaletute 33

    I know, considering others is such an absolute arse-ache, isn’t it? Why can’t I just say EXACTLY what I like, ALL the time, and never get ANY negative reaction from anyone?

    Do calm down a bit. Some words are known to be sensitive. The more you are part of the majority culture, the more words you can just use, which is nice, but there will always be tricky ones. The fun begins when words get promoted from normal and uncontroversial to dangerous, with the specific purpose of causing political change. Especially when it is very common words like ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘chairman’. That is Humpty-Dumpty land “What matters is who decides, that’s all!”

    Please, you’re smarter than this. He didn’t say “you fucking tall cunt” or “you fucking cockney cunt” or “you fucking young cunt”. There is a reason he mentioned Ferdinand’s blackness, and that reason was to be offensive. Don’t try and pretend it wasn’t.

    He did not call him a ‘two-legged, ten-fingered, heterosexual cunt’ either. For the insult to work, you want to position the target as outside the in-group. That requires some characteristic that is different and more or less accurate – if it is also in some way insulting so much the better, but that can be done in other ways. Which is why ‘ginger’, ‘slant-eyed’, or ‘frog-eating’ would work, none of them are particularly insulting or despised, but they establish that the target is different from ‘us’ in some way. That is all that ‘black’ does in that sentence – and it is even factually correct. Persecuting somebody on account of their race is rightly seen as a crime, but what we have here iis ‘insulting somebody who happens to be black’ – which is not the same thing.

  34. StillGjenganger says

    @That Guy 34

    In this respect, it is indeed a sexism issue, as women are seen as ‘outsiders’ to the videogame world.

    Just from a desire to find out:
    Is it not true that the gaming world, apart from being insular, has been very male – that is mostly populated by men, and a place where you did not have to worry about sounding sexist because you were among friends? And that a lot of the resentment is coming from the fact that women are now moving in and thus forcing people to change?

  35. frankniddy says

    @StillGjenganger
    I’m going to need a cite on the use of he and she being inherently dangerous, as opposed to merely being subject to scrutiny once in a blue moon. If by “dangerous” you mean, “People will call you on it on the Internet occasionally,” maybe you need to grow some thicker skin, perchance? Do tell me, what is so bad about there being a growing cultural shift to consider the feelings of others? By feeling hurt that you don’t get to say whatever you want without criticism, aren’t you being a little bit thin-skinned?

  36. says

    @TMK ok, one guy. What about the other 4? Hell, I’d feel bad for them if they’ve been dragged into this whole sordid mess without even actually sleeping with anybody.

  37. StillGjenganger says

    @frankniddy 37
    I did say ‘unease’, not ‘fear’. My point is that people have this feeling that some word (including ‘he’ or ‘she’) may not be right to use, but are never sure of the limits. So that once you sow the doubt, the word keeps getting less and less used. That is not always benign – discussions about possibly negative effects of immigrant culture (we are in the UK) may well be hampered by the fact that there are things that are hard to say.

    As for the shift to protect the feelings of others, well, it is efficient to have a set of shared norms that you can operate within, without having to always wonder and check and hold back and explore first. Those norms generally favour the majority, which makes life easier for the majority and harder for those who do not fit in. You cannot make it so that everybody enjoy the benefits of the majority, because people do not agree. You can, however make it so that everybody enjoys the disadvantages of the minority, if majority and minority both have to defer to each other. The result is less happiness overall. Also, social norms belong to all, and are set by agreement. Protecting people’s feelings is all fine, but the rules are still set by the entire community. It is NOT up to each minority to decide unilaterally how they should be treated. Do you want Muslims to have a veto over what kind of cartoons can be published?

  38. mildlymagnificent says

    All you people who claim it is immature clearly know nothing about handling emotionally tough issues. Take a hint: bottling up is not an adult or healthy way of dealing with emotions, speaking about it, otoh, is.

    For pity’s sake. If you need to talk about it, go weep in your beer with a few mates. When they get fed up with you, find a counsellor.

    grammar. Using “they” as a gender neutral, singular pronoun has been acceptable since about the 14th century. English has no other, though there are some manufactured ones around. ‘One’ is useful for some constructions but it’s not suitable for a lot more. I’m a traditionalist, I stick to ‘they’.

    As for Zoe Quinn’s bed partners. I couldn’t care less if she slept with a whole regiment of journalists. Whether she did or not, she got no reviews – favourable or otherwise – out of it. And when her game was released the day following the announcement of Robin Williams death, she made it *Free* anyway. It can’t be emphasised enough, FREE. No money came her way from the making or the release of this game. When there’s neither cash nor kudos involved, it’s pretty hard to find the corruption and other deadly doings that these idiots are complaining of.

  39. vitamint says

    It’s interesting you bring up Jack Thompson. Both Sarkeesian and Thompson are rightly treated as outsiders whose interest in gaming culture extends only as far as they can use it to push their personal political agendas – and both have (sadly) received masses of death and rape threats as a result.
    The difference is in how these two are treated – nobody has yet turned around to the gaming community in general and said they have to shut up and do exactly as Thompson wants because of the threats.

  40. frankniddy says

    @40
    It really sounds, though, like you’re throwing the feelings of minorities under the bus to protect the feelings of the majority, the latter of which I assume you belong to, almost like you think your feelings are worth more consideration than theirs. I hope you have a logical justification for that. And I’d rather take their feelings into account and consider them than “protect” them outright. If no one’s doing anything but criticizing you on the Internet, then that unease is totally you. Criticism does NOT equal persecution.

  41. lelapaletute says

    @43 – from my assessment, it seems that for Gjenganger it’s a utilitarian numbers game – there are more of the majority (by definition :P), whether he is one of that number or not; so if they have to change their ways for the sake of the minority, there is more inconvenience, thus less happiness overall, therefore it is not conducive to the goal of ‘most happiness’. In this view, the feelings of the minority are less important by the simple fact of there being fewer of them.

    This obviously treats ‘happiness’ as if it were a defined unit, and that the (relatively minor) degree of unhappiness that the majority may have to assume in the form of having consideration for the feelings of the minority, and the potentially catastrophic suffering of being mocked, persecuted, marginalised and ostracised that the minority may suffer otherwise, weigh perfectly equally in the balance head for head. I would, obviously, disagree with this. The suffering experienced by 10 privileged people stopping to think before running their mouths off is significantly less than that experienced by a single disenfranchised member of a minority being victimised for their innate characteristics.

  42. daveallen says

    If I’d given her money, I guess I’d be a bit pissed off, but I haven’t and as far as I can tell not one single person who has given her money has got any concerns, and not one single person who has got concerns has ever given her money.

    I would have thought the best way to see that her backers have no concerns would be to check the comments feed on her kickstarter page. Now there isn’t an awful lot of action there, but amongst the most recent remarks are a few concerns raised about:

    * Slower than anticipated production of videos.
    * Failure to give credit where credit is due in regard to the art she sourced.
    * Failure to arrange a webpage listing backers and thanking them for support as Anita’s ten dollar pledge level promised.
    * Lack of assurance that the project remains non-profit as advertised despite making >25 times its target.

    These are some of the same concerns voiced by Anita’s harshest critics – including those resorting to menaces and rudery – and some of her not-rude and not-menacing backers have been echoing them.

    Suppose her videos are indeed inaccurate, cherry-picked, unfair attacks on the broad games industry. Well, so what?

    I know your target here are those who have responded to Anita with marked rudeness and menace, but is “so what” really a good response to a general feeling that a given critic is being sophistic, a cheat, deaf to feedback, or otherwise annoying?

    I think if you cast your mind back over the sorts of reactions people have to Brian Sewell or Michael Winner or (particularly) Simon Cowell you might concede that people can have ludicrously hyperbolic reactions to critics whether or not the media under scrutiny is video games. For example Cowell is routinely and rudely pilloried, to the extent of regular and ludicrous charges of being responsible for a general malaise in modern music.

    A “so what” call for perspective in such cases may be wise enough to those individuals who engage in such hyperbole (particularly if it crosses the line into credible menace), but if you’re suggesting that there can’t be a critique of criticism you’re surely wrong and ignoring a wider social phenomenon.

    Critics routinely inspire passionate objection in the fans of those who appreciate the work they criticize. I’ve seen letters to the NME that bear ballpark resemblance to the sort of vitriol Anita gets, and I’ve seen discussions about Simon Cowell that leave her ruder critics looking like hat-doffing gentlemen.

    Critiques are only as powerful as they are accurate. If her videos are completely inaccurate they can be completely ignored.

    I think that’s really wrongheaded – sometimes arguments are won on sophistry alone. If her videos were full of inaccuracies about a matter that wasn’t apparently trivial would you still make this argument?

    So why pick on these women in particular? Why not, say, evangelical Christians like Jack Thompson or David Barton who do not just critique and deconstruct the content of videogames, a la Sarkeesian, but actively campaign to have them banned?

    No idea who Barton is – but isn’t Thompson famously the subject of a prolonged rude and luridly violent campaign of the sort you claim occurs to women in particular?

  43. StillGjenganger says

    @frankniddy 43, Lelapaletute 44
    Lela got me right, pretty much. That does not mean that the right decision is obvious, in any given case. But you do have to weigh a smaller inconvenience to many people against a worse suffering, for the few. Neither side can claim to win the argument automatically. In the kind of society I want to live in you do spend a disproportionate amount of money on the few handicapped (paid for by the many taxpayers) and you do treat trans-women as women for most purposes etc. (it is a bit disconcertening for the rest of us, but what are the poor people to do otherwise?). On the other hand you do allow peanuts in food (even though they are lethal to people with peanut allergies), you do allow people to drive cars (even though they kill thousands of people every year), and you do allow established cultural icons like the Dutch Zwarte Piet (Black Peter), even though the few black citizens find them uncomfortable.

  44. daveallen says

    * Failure to give credit where credit is due in regard to the art she sourced.

    I’m aware this particular issue’s been resolved now, so I’m not suggesting it’s a living bone of contention – just that it is amongst those things bother her backers and her critics have voiced concern over.

  45. Duff McDuff says

    “if you’re suggesting that there can’t be a critique of criticism you’re surely wrong”

    Of course Ally isn’t suggesting that. Calm and reasonable criticism of Sarkeesian’s videos would be fine, if there was any. What there mostly is is people who evidently haven’t watched any of the videos spouting the exact same (debunked) points from a Thunderf00t video over and over (‘You don’t have to kill the strippers in Hitman!’)

    As to Simon Cowell being in anyway comparable…really? Yes, some people have no time for him. But somehow I doubt he’s getting rape and death threats on a regular basis.

  46. Kav P says

    I think it’s worth pointing out here that Quinn’s game is actually FREE.

    i.e. Ingenuine good reviews for her game != more money for Quinn.

  47. daveallen says

    Of course Ally isn’t suggesting that. Calm and reasonable criticism of Sarkeesian’s videos would be fine, if there was any. What there mostly is is people who evidently haven’t watched any of the videos spouting the exact same (debunked) points from a Thunderf00t video over and over (‘You don’t have to kill the strippers in Hitman!’)

    As far as I understand it Anita claimed that during the course of Hitman you necessarily have to kill a stripper and then employ her corpse as a means of distracting guards.

    The counter argument as I understand Thunderf00t explained it runs along the lines of:

    * it’s wrong to suggest this action is a necessity – the environment isn’t even one you have to visit during the game.
    * It’s wrong to suggest that the girls are killed – the weapons available to you at this juncture are non-lethal.
    * It’s wrong to suggest employing the girl’s senseless body is helpful – the game penalizes violence against civilians and the section of the game in question is most easily completed by sneaking past the girls.
    * Dozens of examples of people playing the game exist on Youtube, and the decision to attack the girls is so eccentric that at the time of the publication of the relevant “Women as Background Decoration” vid the only footage of such an activity is that depicted in the vid itself.

    That is reasonable criticism, and whilst I find TF rather given to rants it would be a stretch to say it isn’t relatively calm.

    What defenders of Anita have seemed to do in the wake of this is to complain that the option to watch or interact violently with the girls is an indignity in and of itself.

    This may be a line of argument worth pursuing (I don’t regard it as a big issue in the scheme of things myself) but what it isn’t is a “debunk” of TFs points.

    It is a new and separate argument that avoids admitting Anita engaged in (at best) misrepresentation – and instead opts to claim that by pointing out Anita’s flaws her critics are avoiding a bigger picture.

  48. Silver says

    I think all the particulars are relatively unimportant. I think this is a symptom of wider problem that has been inflicting modern progressivism. It’s become bullying and insulting, and totally devoid of actual debate and instead a set of shibboleths.

    Freddie deBoer pretty much describes my feelings perfectly:
    http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/08/21/where-online-social-liberalism-lost-the-script/

    I am generally left-leaning, but increasingly find myself turned off by what that seems to demand in online and even in the meatspace these days.

    “Gaming” is, in many ways, a good example of the wider problem. While it’s true that the majority of people who play video games is now adult women, the types of games people play is still (and likely, always will be) hugely gendered. Women aren’t (with, of course, some exceptions), playing Call Of Duty or God Of War. Men aren’t (with, of course, some exceptions), playing Farmville or Candy Crush Saga. They are vastly different markets. On the other hand, a game like World of Warcraft has much more cross-gender appeal, and there is generally little gender animosity in that kind of game, with women frequently being able to become guild leaders. “Gamers” as a term, still largely denotes the male heavy segment. Men are also significantly more likely to spend more of their week playing video games than women are.

    Video game usage statistics that point out that the majority of video game players are now adult women typically don’t take into account frequency or type of play. It is enough to play Angry Bird once a month to be considered a “gamer”. This somewhat disingenuous distortion is common in modern progressivism.

    I think the underlying problem is that it has now become a pillar of modern progressivism that there are cannot be any differences between any two people. (For this case, men and women in the aggregate, but I’d also apply it across races and cultures.) We are a sexually dimorphic species, and there is good evidence to suggests that in the aggregate, men and women will have different behavioural traits. Some of those are spatial modelling and testosterone driven competition. Computers are a compounding factor here. Games, outside of computers, come in many different flavours that rely on many different aspects of human skills and quirks. Computers aren’t good at most of them (dialogue is notoriously difficult to do well in video games), but where they really excel is in spatial modelling. (This YouTube video is a better explanation of what I’m getting at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSBn77_h_6Q ) My point is that the nature of computers implies the nature of video games, particularly in the early days when it was all new. Video game mechanics that don’t rely on spatial movement are difficult to do, particularly on consoles, but some progress has been made on games of this type. Even then, spatial movement is typically still a factor.

    This is why there is a debate over “real” video games. It’s really an argument over “what appeals to me”. The male market for war simulators is so large that it’s never going to be ignored. And that should be okay. There is no need to insult men over what they like. It is not misogyny that keeps women from playing Call Of Duty. To pick another popular genre, Mills & Boon style romance novels are dramatically favoured by women, of which 50 Shades of Grey is but one example. It is not misandry that is keeping men from reading these books. (Granted there is a level of social interact in one that isn’t present in the other.)

  49. Adiabat says

    Personally #gamergate has restored some of my faith in feminism. I’ve seen so many feminist supporters of gamergate doing what I’ve been hoping feminists do for a while now: calling out the toxic members of their movement (and this really is showing us who the toxic feminists are, and it’s not the “radfem” organisation trying to actually do something to help women in gaming despite being attacked by the gaming press and Toxic Feminists). It’s united left and right, mra and feminist, against some really unscrupulous people (and some rather poor journalists using endless smear tactics and red herrings to push their agenda).

    And recent evidence in the last few hours seems to confirm what people at gamergate have been saying: that senior members of the big game news sites have been colluding to shape industry-wide attitudes to events, deciding beforehand what to cover, what to ignore, and what approach their coverage should take to breaking news, using a private google groups mailing list called GameJournoPros. Now we have an explanation why we saw a media blackout on a newsworthy story*, and a practically identical story published within hours of each other on ten “competing” gaming news sites.

    As for Zoe and Anita, they are barely being discussed at #gamergate; just go look at the hashtag for yourself. It is the gaming press who keep bringing them up trying to make it about them. It’s just the standard (and getting old and boring) SJW tactic of claiming any criticism is “sexism” and “harassment” when it isn’t about that at all.

    * It is their job to inform people what is happening in the world (remember it was several days from the story breaking to we heard any kind of confirmation either way). This is clearly a story that (from whatever perspective) people are really interested in. Their failure to report just meant that people read about it elsewhere, effectively ceding the narrative to them, which they are now trying to claw back. As for it being “a private matter”: When it is the subject themselves who have blurred the line between their personal and professional lives, surely that means we’re entitled to ask questions about the personal one. That’s how it works for everyone else in the media spotlight.

  50. Enkidum says

    @Adiabat – If your go-to source of fine investigative journalism is Breitbart.com, I think we’re done here.

  51. Adiabat says

    Enkidum (54): Lol @ “I think we’re done here”, whatever rocks your boat mate.

    If you decide to make an actual argument later that isn’t a logical fallacy I’ll be here.

  52. ansatz says

    @Ally

    Why not, say, evangelical Christians like Jack Thompson or David Barton who do not just critique and deconstruct the content of videogames, a la Sarkeesian, but actively campaign to have them banned?

    Indeed. Why not Geoff Keighley? Where were the angry mobs then?

  53. Enkidum says

    OK, here’s my logical argument.

    Breitbart is a fucking joke and anything it publishes that isn’t verified by alternative sources isn’t worth the time of day. If you take anything it “scoops” seriously, you have issues.

    That being said, I’ve read the article, and I actually suspect everything it says is true. Like multiple people who are on this super-secret list have pointed out, the entire content of the article is “there is a private google group where games journalists talk to each other”. Wow. That’s fucking mindblowing.

    Wait, no, there’s actually more there. People on the list talked about Quinn and gamergate. Holy shit, mind blown. Clearly, there is a massive conspiracy and corruption.

  54. Enkidum says

    Addendum to my logical argument:

    Breitbart is two steps above the newsletter of the John Birch Society. And that’s giving it too much credit.

    I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt, and assuming you’re not a regular consumer of its content. If you are, well, I hope you become less insane. If not, then… maybe you’ll want to take a look at the other types of content it publishes. These are the “Obummer is taking all our jerbs” people. They’re not worth pretending to take seriously.

    Life is too short not to dismiss certain sources of information out of hand. Breitbart is one of those sources. It should only ever be visited for humour.

  55. launcespeed says

    “SJW” as pejorative, “Toxic Feminist”, Sarkeesian = Thomson, isn’t a gamer, kickstarter fraud, referencing Thunderf00t like he’s made relevant coherent points, Gjoni’s action as a service to public…
    Gosh, between all the “Zoe’s evil and had it coming” and “Anita hates games and wants to ban them all and doesn’t even play and is a fraud” I seem to have missed all the calm, rational, relevant refutations of Anita’s points and the calm, rational, relevant, and insightful discussions of the problematic relationship of the AAA game publishing houses, their relationship to the coders they employ, and the game press they patronise.

    Do see a lot of Tone Trolls objecting to the GamerGate zerg-rush of hate pouring out of the 4chan clown-car being referred to in anything less than Spock-like emotional detachment, though.

    “Social Justice” as a negative. Oh, how we LOLed.

  56. Bugmaster says

    Well, I’m a male gamer, and I suppose this makes me angry, so… prepare for abuse, I guess ? Anyway, here goes:

    Firstly, obviously personal abuse directed against anyone is never ok, regardless of whether that person is a woman, a man, a liberal, a conservative, and what have you.

    That said though, I think that framing the discussion as “women against male gamers” is missing the point. The reason at least some gamers are angry is not because they’re men who want to subjugate women, but because they perceive themselves to be a relatively powerless minority under threat from the privileged mainstream majority.

    Historically, gaming has been framed as a low-status activity for geeks — during the time when “geek” was a highly pejorative term. Identifying as a gamer (or being outed as one) was pretty much an express ticket to the lowest rung on the social totem pole. As the result, gamers tended to band into tightly-knit communities, where they could talk about games (and play them, of course !) without the risk of being constantly mocked or ostracized.

    Human nature being what it is, the gaming community almost immediately came under attack from mainstream non-gamers. First, there were Christians who condemned gamers as depraved Satanists, or something, and wanted to ban games for leading kids away from the true Christian path. Then, there was Jack Thompson, who acted as a figurehead for the widespread idea that games promote violence and turn kids into mindless killers. Now, we have feminists who promote the notion that games are turning people into evil misogynist bigots. In the future, there will be some other political group who would seek to use gamers as pawns on their chessboard.

    The good news is that, so far, all of these efforts have failed to destroy games or gamers, and there’s little reason to believe that they’ll succeed in the future. The bad news is that gamers are still being treated as the Evil Others, and they still have very little power to defend themselves. Oh sure, gaming is now a multi-billion dollar industry now, but that doesn’t mean much to any given individual gamer, who will never see any of that money or power. I suppose there’s been some progress, though — at least now, it’s only the male gamers that face the stigma…

  57. Enkidum says

    “Now, we have feminists who promote the notion that games are turning people into evil misogynist bigots.”

    Name one. Show some evidence that they think this.

  58. Bugmaster says

    Suppose her videos are indeed inaccurate, cherry-picked, unfair attacks on the broad games industry. Well, so what? That would make her an ineffective cultural critic.

    You know that feeling you get when a Christian says, “So, you’re an atheist ? What’s wrong with you ? Don’t you know that Hitler and Stalin were also atheists ? Why do you want to be evil like them, you monster ?”

    That’s a pretty ineffective piece of socio-theological criticism… so what ? Why does that make you angry ?

  59. Bugmaster says

    @Enkidum #61:

    Name one. Show some evidence that they think this.

    I suppose linking to one of Anita Sarkeezian’s videos would be too easy, so how about this Google search ?

    That said, it’s hard to tell if people actually believe stuff like that, or if they’re just cynically throwing gamers under the bus in order to promote their ideology. Probably a bit of both.

  60. launcespeed says

    Bugmaster @60

    Well, I’m a male gamer, and I suppose this makes me angry, so… prepare for abuse, I guess ?

    I guess this counts as “Poisoning the Well”?

    Now, we have feminists who promote the notion that games are turning people into evil misogynist bigots.

    Citations?

  61. Enkidum says

    So Sarkeesian ends each video explicitly stating that a game having sexist tropes doesn’t make it a bad game, that making such a game doesn’t mean the developers are bad people, and that enjoying such a game doesn’t make you a bad person.

    It’s very hard to take your position seriously when you think that constitutes an attack on you.

    There’s also nothing I can see on that google search that supports your claim either.

    Do you think it’s possible that you may be horribly horribly misunderstanding the gist of the feminist critique of video games?

  62. Bugmaster says

    So Sarkeesian ends each video explicitly stating that a game having sexist tropes doesn’t make it a bad game, that making such a game doesn’t mean the developers are bad people, and that enjoying such a game doesn’t make you a bad person.

    Yeah, she does occasionally say things like that, but a). other people aren’t so cautious, and b). I’m not sure what that even means, if anything. At best, it’s just a more sophisticated way to look down on gamers and game developers: “Look, it’s not your fault you can’t recognize all those awful, awful tropes; your testosterone-damaged brains just can’t handle the social complexity, so just let me handle the issues of policy from now on.”

    There’s also nothing I can see on that google search that supports your claim either.

    The search results list is full of articles stating that a). male gamers are overwhelmingly sexist, b). so are the games they play, and c). Something Must Be Done. I’m not sure what else you are looking for.

    Do you think it’s possible that you may be horribly horribly misunderstanding the gist of the feminist critique of video games?

    There’s always the possibility that anyone can be wrong about anything, myself especially. Always. However, there’s a difference between “possible” and “likely”; otherwise, I’d probably be some sort of theist. The way to convince me about a claim is not to attack my person or to appeal to my better nature, but to provide evidence.

  63. Bugmaster says

    @launcespeed #64:
    Well, for example, this article, which I clicked to semi-randomly, says things like,

    Misogyny permeates much of the virtual world, but few corners of the Web are as retrograde as those dedicated to gaming.

    It keeps going on in that vein for a while.

  64. Enkidum says

    Yeah, she does occasionally say things like that, but a). other people aren’t so cautious, and b). I’m not sure what that even means, if anything. At best, it’s just a more sophisticated way to look down on gamers and game developers: “Look, it’s not your fault you can’t recognize all those awful, awful tropes; your testosterone-damaged brains just can’t handle the social complexity, so just let me handle the issues of policy from now on.”

    She doesn’t occasionally say things like that. She literally says that in every single video. Here’s what it means. It means that the fact that there are sexist tropes in entertainment isn’t a condemnation of that entertainment, its producers, nor its consumers. It means it could get better.

    “The search results list is full of articles stating that a). male gamers are overwhelmingly sexist, b). so are the games they play, and c). Something Must Be Done. I’m not sure what else you are looking for.”

    No it isn’t. Show me one of them that says (a). Show me anything anywhere that isn’t an off the cuff or out of context quote which suggests that.

    Saying “X isn’t perfect, and here are some of the problems with it” does not equal “X is awful, and so is anyone who enjoys it”.

    Look, as a straight white male who’s been a heavy gamer since the days of Empire, I sympathize with feeling like a loser. But this feminist conspiracy? You’re hallucinating it.

  65. launcespeed says

    Bugmaster @67

    Claims that the extract

    Misogyny permeates much of the virtual world, but few corners of the Web are as retrograde as those dedicated to gaming.

    as a citation for Bugmaster @60:

    Now, we have feminists who promote the notion that games are turning people into evil misogynist bigots.

    Your citation does not support your statement. At best, it makes a claim that the ‘gaming’ areas are filled with misogyny. This does not provide evidence that the author believes games are turning people into misogynist bigots.

    Citation is still required. Name, date, article.

  66. Bugmaster says

    @Enkidum #68:
    See my post #67, or maybe another random link. That said:

    But this feminist conspiracy? You’re hallucinating it.

    What’s with the “conspiracy” schtick ? I never mentioned any conspiracy, and I don’t believe there is one. You don’t need a conspiracy in order to exploit a minority group for political gain; it’s just what politicians and ideologues do, and what they’ve always done.

    It looks like you and I disagree about how we interpret Sarkeezian’s videos, and we can keep talking about that for a while if you want. However, I am really more interested in what you believe — since I can debate you, but I can’t debate her (unless maybe she reads this blog). So, what exactly do you believe about sexism in gaming ? How rampant is it ? On the scale from “keep calm and carry on” and “videogames are turning our children into crazed bigots”, how big of a problem is it ? If Something Must Be Done, then what is it ? I don’t want to pressure you though, if you want to talk about Sarkeezian or someone else’s views, that’s fine too.

  67. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #68

    Women as Background Decoration (Part 1)

    I should note that this kind of misogynistic behavior isn’t always mandatory; often it’s player-directed, but it is always implicitly encouraged.
    […]
    The player cannot help but treat these female bodies as things to be acted upon, because they were designed, constructed and placed in the environment for that singular purpose. Players are meant to derive a perverse pleasure from desecrating the bodies of unsuspecting virtual female characters.
    /
    It’s a rush streaming from a carefully concocted mix of sexual arousal connected to the act of controlling and punishing representations of female sexuality.
    […]

    Coupled with the later part linking reported effects of sexual objectification with the above, what you have is essentially:

    Video games will turn you into a misogynist. In general terms.

  68. Enkidum says

    What do I believe? Fair question.

    I guess I’d put it on a scale of “we should really be talking about this, and taking a number of finite steps”. I think game developers should think a lot more carefully about inclusivity in game design. I think game players should be a lot more conscious about the kinds of things they say in chats and web comments, and definitely a lot more proactive about shutting down unpleasant shit when they see others doing it.

    And I think that, in a nutshell, is the basic point that Sarkeesian, RPS, et al, have been making , consistently, clearly, explicitly, and repeatedly.

  69. Sans-sanity says

    Also ,a balanced summary of the GamerGate process. Stolen from: http://www.littletinyfrogs.com/article/457779/Decent_quick_summary_of_gamergate

    1. A woman is suspected of sabotaging a charity event with feminism as her justification, even though the event supposedly aimed to support female developers.
    2. A more or less reasonable group of people get upset about this, and make the issue somewhat known.
    3. An ex decides to share information about this woman’s sex life, which picks up popularity because of the aforementioned scandal.
    4. A crazy guy builds a conspiracy from this sex life, which may have started with a kernel of truth, but quickly gets out of hand.
    5. Misogynists pick up on this conspiracy and go nuts with it, attacking the woman in typical internet fashion.
    6. News sites, always eager to paint things in black and white, ignore the concerns raised by the reasonable people and make the issue about feminism versus misogyny, grouping all people who don’t praise the woman in the latter category.
    7. The aforementioned reasonable people, having been lumped together with misogynists, become resentful of news websites who use the “feminism” debate to cover their refusal to address real issues.
    8. Misogynists start backing up the reasonable people. The reasonable people don’t notice, being too focused on their new enemies.
    9. An unusually high number of comments, videos, and forums posts are deleted en masse for siding with “gamersgate”, regardless of whether they fell into the reasonable or misogynist categories.
    10. A portion of the reasonable people begin thinking there’s maybe something to this whole “conspiracy” angle, and start becoming indistinguishable from the crazies.
    11. Repeat steps 6, 7, 8, and 10 until the whole world’s gone crazy and everybody is convinced that everybody else is a mis[ogyn/andr]ist and that there are absolutely no mis[andr/ogyn]ists on their “side”.

  70. Enkidum says

    @Ansatz

    Again, it’s hard to take this seriously. That’s… not what those statements say. It just isn’t.

    Video games frequently contain misogynistic elements. Repeated consumption of misogynistic material can affect behaviour. We should be aware of this.

    That does not equal “video games make you into a misogynist”. It just doesn’t.

  71. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #76

    If your act in misogynistic ways, are you a misogynist?
    In practical terms, the question’s irrelevant, the results are the same. You’d get labeled the same anyways, especially in a community such as this one. (And woe be on you if you argue otherwise, see Sam Harris recently for more details.)

    You seem to be taking a very literal view on the statement in question. I don’t believe it to reflect the creation a mythical MiSoGyNyMonSter, but more a sentiment that playing video games encourages misogynistic behaviors, with a large enough effect size that something needs to be done about it, and that this effect is unique to video game as a medium.

    And that’s close enough to the statement that video games will turn you into a misogynist, generally speaking, because there’s no practical difference between the two.

  72. launcespeed says

    Before agreeing with Enkidum@76, I just need to leave this link here, with a quote from the conclusion:

    […] to all appearances, if Sarkeesian did not exist, at least some of her attackers would need to invent her.

    Moving on to agree with Enkidum: The assertion “[type] video games make you [type]” has not been show to be true.

    Since violent video games do not turn you into a mass murderer (to the chagrin of some of the more … reactionary … elements of the media and government) – as we hear every time a mass murderer is described as having played violent video games – it would follow that video games with misogynist elements to not turn you into a misogynist. By extension, video games that encourage positive or inclusive behaviours will not turn you into a [reverb] Social Justice Warrior [/reverb].

    Unless the are more recent and conclusive studies in the behavioural sciences that show otherwise, of course.

  73. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #76

    An addendum:

    The selected quotes from Sarkeesian does not just detail ways in which video game have misogynistic elements, but also ascribe developer’s intention in having those elements, as well as detailing how a player going through those elements should feel.

    Given that such intentions and feelings are, to put it mildly, not good, I find your assertion that developers and players shouldn’t feel like bad people on the basis of Sarkeesian’s argument to be very problematic.

  74. Enkidum says

    Ansatz:

    This is definitely not even remotely connected to anything any of the SJWs have said regarding gaming. Not even implied. You’re inventing it out of thin air.

    Sorry, I’m having trouble with this one. You mean… I’m assuming it means what it says?

    If it means something else, I wish someone would tell me what it was. Metaphor’s great and all, but when you’re trying to assert something about someone’s beliefs, it’s best to be as unvarnished as possible.

    It seems to me that a lot of people genuinely believe that Sarkeesian genuinely believes that because they like games, they are misogynists, or that games turn people into misogynists. It seems this way because they say it. You do, for example. So does Bugmaster. She doesn’t. Full stop. She expressly denies this in every single video.

    You suggest that what she does think is indistinguishable from “games turn you into a misogynist”. But… that’s just saying exactly what you said I shouldn’t take literally. So… huh?

  75. Bugmaster says

    @Enkidum #74:
    The beliefs you state are completely non-controversial and I would agree with every one of them… but… I also believe your comment is misleading (though perhaps inadvertently so).

    On the one hand, of course we should all take steps to be a little nicer to each other; this applies in games, in literature, in casual conversations on the street, etc. Thus, it is very difficult to disagree with innocuous-sounding statements like, “game players should be … a lot more proactive about shutting down unpleasant shit when they see others doing it”. To borrow a term I’d encountered recently, that is the motte.

    Yes, this is what the social justice warriors are saying; but it’s not the entirety of what they’re saying. They are also saying, or at least implying, something like, “oh, and gamers are so much more sexist as compared to everyone else that we need to write a storm of articles about them, conduct public shaming campaigns against them, pressure companies to implement zero-tolerance policies against them, etc.”. That is the bailey.

    In both cases, the prescription is the same: men should behave more nicely toward women (and also other men, other genders, and everyone else). However, in one case we are all in the same boat together, and in the other, any man who’d ever picked up a controller or placed his fingers on WASD is treated as a toxic lunatic.

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth though, so let me ask you this: do you believe that the gaming community is much more sexist than the population on average ? If so, how much more, and what do you propose to do about it — other than asking men to be nicer in general terms ?

  76. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #80

    Er, can you repeat that? Following your responses here is a bit difficult, and I suspect you may have lost some quotes to contextualize some of your statements.

  77. launcespeed says

    Somehow, people using “social justice warriors” to describe people they disagree with do not come across as someone arguing in good faith.

    Just don’t know why that is.

  78. Enkidum says

    @Bugmaster 81:

    I think the implications are entirely in your head. You’ve got to do more than hand-wave here. What public shaming campaigns against gamers as a whole? What pressuring companies to implement zero-tolerance policies against gamers? These things have never happened. This is my real problem with even the apparently reasonable people on “your side”. Stuff just appears out of thin air. If you’ve got real, legitimate complaints, make them. But so far you haven’t pointed to a single verifiable thing that I can identify as a problem. I mean, sure, motte/bailey is cool and all (and I like a lot of what your linked blog has to say, actually), but can you point to something a little more definable? Something tangible that you think is a problem?

    Do I think the gaming community is much more sexist than the community at large. (a) Well, kind of. (b) Even if it wasn’t, I don’t see how that’s relevant. Expanding:

    (a) Gaming, and nerd-dom in general, was historically a hugely male-centric domain. And unlike, say, pro sports, it was also a “loser” centric domain – we were the kids who didn’t get the girls. I think a lot of toxic attitudes towards women thrived in this atmosphere, to an extent that they didn’t among, say, literature or fine-arts enthusiasts (or at least not for some decades). I know they did – I was there, and I’ve said and enabled plenty of toxic shit in my time. So I think it’s fair to say that yes, the community has a unique sexism problem. That’s not to say there aren’t other communities which have it worse (yes, life under ISIL is even worse than life under EA), and it’s not to say that there aren’t pretty cool aspects to gender relations in gaming. Online anonymity doesn’t just provide protection to trolls, and the flexibility of self-representation in games provides a unique (and sadly underused) space in which to play with gender. But there’s a lot of residual poison in the bloodstream.

    (b) Irrespective of whether gaming is more/less sexist than the rest of the world, gaming is an identifiable subsection of the culture. And sexism isn’t one monolithic thing that always presents itself in the same way. So if you’re interested in tackling it in general, then you have to look at the specific ways it manifests itself in particular groups and subcultures. Hence, you need to examine gaming (and, I dunno, horse-racing, and boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, organic farming communes, etc etc etc). So we need specific attention paid to gaming, and right now it’s getting more than a lot of other areas, but that’s just the way things go – in other years people were paying more attention to movies, or whatever. It’s our turn now.

    What do I think should be done about it, in specific?

    1) I think games should be aiming for a vastly more diverse set of characters and situations. It’s not that you can’t have female characters who represent the tropes that Sarkeesian analyzes, but based on this ultra-precise statistic I just made up, I’d say well over 90% of the female characters in games will fall into one of them. That isn’t a healthy way to portray 50% of the planet. It’s really not. The same problem exists in movies, but to a lesser extent, and in literature, but to a far, far lesser extent, certainly in the past century. Game developers should be thinking about this when they make games, and gamers should reward them with dollars when they do. I think RPS, Sarkeesian, etc, are pointing to roughly the right stuff here, despite occasional mis-steps. This doesn’t mean we need endless remakes of Beyond Good and Evil or well-intentioned-but-boring-as-fuck Aunt Tomasina’s Cabins. If that’s the only possibility people see, it’s because they’re intellectually fucking lazy.

    2) I think that anyone who abuses women, even as a purely verbal joke, even when there are no women around, should be told the fuck off. I don’t do this enough in my own life (and I’ve made a LOT of those “ironically” sexist jokes). But, well, you’re asking what we should do, not what I already do.

    3) I suppose more active policing of multiplayer chat, banning of asshole’s accounts, etc.

    4) And a more diverse workforce.

  79. Enkidum says

    @Ansatz:

    Yeah sorry about that I’m being unusually incompetent tonight. Reposted and edited to make it more awesomely correct.

    This effect is unique to video game as a medium.

    Does anyone ever say this? Are you sure you’re not inventing it out of thin air?

    You seem to be taking a very literal view on the statement in question.

    Sorry, I’m having trouble with this one. You mean… I’m assuming it means what it says?
    If it means something else, I wish someone would tell me what it was. Metaphor’s great and all, but when you’re trying to assert something about someone’s beliefs, it’s best to be as unvarnished as possible.
    It seems to me that a lot of people genuinely believe that Sarkeesian genuinely believes that because they like games, they are misogynists, or that games turn people into misogynists. It seems this way because they say it. You do, for example. So does Bugmaster. She doesn’t believe this. Full stop. She expressly denies this in every single video.
    You suggest that what she does think is indistinguishable from “games turn you into a misogynist”. But… that’s just saying exactly what you said I shouldn’t take literally. So… huh?

  80. Incogneato says

    @daveallen 51

    As far as I understand it Anita claimed that during the course of Hitman you necessarily have to kill a stripper and then employ her corpse as a means of distracting guards.

    Wrong, she never said anything of the sort. She said that the only two ways you can interact with the strippers is to do nothing to them or kill them, which is absolutely true. She talked about using a woman’s corpse to distract guards in the context of a different game.

    I guess this demonstrates that you haven’t actually watched her video and are relying on the sensationalized version that Thunderf00t pretends she made. I find that this is a common problem among Sarkeesian’s “critics.” Why should anyone take your criticism seriously when the things you’re criticizing didn’t even happen?

  81. Bugmaster says

    @Enkidum #86:

    If you’ve got real, legitimate complaints, make them

    I don’t know what would count as “legitimate” in your book, but here are some things that I dislike, just off the top of my head in no particular order:
    * Anita Sarkeezian’s videos. I believe that she is cherry-picking examples and presenting them out of context in order to push her ideology. I have no problem with at least some of her ideology, but I object to the dishonesty.
    * The call to ban games like Dragon’s Crown; I agree with Tycho’s defence of it.
    * The gamersgate controversy; specifically, the framing of it as “misogynist men vs. feminist women”.
    * Articles like this one, calling for what essentially amounts to a ban on games the author perceives as sexist. Bonus (negative) points for saying things like, “I’m tired of feeling like being a ‘gamer’ means I’ve signed off on sexism.”
    * Increasingly severe restrictions on chat in LoL (though, admittedly, I don’t play LoL myself).

    Again, these are just things off the top of my head. I’ll address your other points in another comment, just to break up the wall-of-text a bit.

  82. launcespeed says

    Bugmaster@81

    Anita Sarkeezian’s videos. I believe that she is cherry-picking examples and presenting them out of context in order to push her ideology. I have no problem with at least some of her ideology, but I object to the dishonesty.

    Citation required for “cherry-picking” (which isn’t just another term for “illustrating points”), and for the “out of context”.

    You should probably also expand on your understanding of her ideology, and how Sarkeesian’s videos “push” it.

    “Dishonesty” may be an erroneous conclusion you’ve reached.

  83. says

    @Enkidum Appreciating several of your comments.
    But mostly I just wanted to comment at the mention of Empire. One of my favorite early games as a kid.

    As a long-time gamer, I definitely want to see the game developers do a better job, which means things like better writing that doesn’t rely on sexist, misogynist, racist, or otherwise bigoted stereotypes and tropes, and puts more effort in to being more inclusive. And the gamers themselves need to do a much better job of shutting up the bigots, kicking them from servers or otherwise shouting them down. The rape and death threats are not acceptable, and neither are the defenses. It makes the whole community aspect toxic.
    I wish to play games with people who enjoy those games. Not the subset willing to put up with toxic bigots and their apologists.

  84. Bugmaster says

    @Enkidum #86:
    Firstly, I appreciate the effort you put into making your points, even though I disagree with some of them.

    So I think it’s fair to say that yes, the community has a unique sexism problem.

    I would agree with this in the trivial sense; obviously, different communities are going to have different and unique social hangups, and gaming is just an example of that. However, I do not believe that today (as opposed to, say, 25 years ago) the gaming community has dramatically higher levels of sexism than any other one. What it does have is anonymity, audience, and strongly opinionated people on whom those two factors have a rather disinhibiting effect. Thus, as they are hurling abuse at you, they are going to pick whatever insults seem to fit best. If you’re a woman, they will insult your gender. If you’re a man, they will also insult your gender, just in an opposite way. If you’ve got red hair, they’ll make fun of that. Obviously, abusive behavior is never ok, and all of us should work together to moderate it; but saying “gamers are often assholes” is very different from saying, “male gamers hate women”.

    So we need specific attention paid to gaming, and right now it’s getting more than a lot of other areas…

    Right, but why is that ? Why gaming, why now ? I argue it’s because feminism has been popular lately, and gamers are a soft target that works very well as a piece on the political board. So, if one wants to score cheap points and gain fame (or notoriety, depending on how you look at it), picking on gamers is the way to go. It’s safe, it’s popular, and if someone objects you can always retreat to your motte.

    Moving on to your action items:

    I think games should be aiming for a vastly more diverse set of characters and situations. … but based on this ultra-precise statistic I just made up, I’d say well over 90% of the female characters in games will fall into one of them.

    Making stuff up is kind of one of my major problems with her videos, you know. That aside, I absolutely disagree with this point, for multiple reasons.

    Firstly, I don’t believe that 90% of female characters fall into Sarkeezian’s tropes. There are a ton of games where you can customize your character to be whatever gender you want. There are games where you play as a spaceship, or a disembodied strategic commander, or an abstract polygon. And, of course, there are games where your character is female. The best games don’t make a big deal out of it; for example, in Child of Light, the protagonist just happens to be a girl. She’s not trying to overthrow the patriarchy, she’s not struggling against cultural norms, she just wants to get home to her dad.

    Secondly, I don’t believe that some of the tropes that Sarkeezian lists are problematic, or even tropes at all; I can list some if you like, but I don’t have the time to spend on this right now.

    But these two items are much less important than my main point of disagreement, which I will once again put into a separate post.

  85. Enkidum says

    @Bugmaster 88:

    Did anyone call to ban games like Dragon’s Crown? Really? Like, actually ban it?
    The article you mention also doesn’t call for a ban on games the author perceives as sexist, or anything that essentially amounts to it.

    Again, I’m trying… I’m really trying. But no one, to my knowledge, has ever called for a ban on any game for feminist reasons. Maybe they have, but if so, it’s insanely rare.

    These are examples of what I’d call “illegitimate” complaints, in that they’re about things that don’t exist. I don’t mean “legitimate” as in “stuff I agree with” I just mean “can meaningfully be said to be targeted against something real”. Vague feelings of unease don’t count.

    As for Sarkeesian being a cherry picker… do you mean that you think that one or two of the dozens examples she gives in a given video aren’t really appropriate? If so, well, point taken, but… ultimately, who cares? She’s trying to identify general trends, the whole point is to cast a wide net. Or do you mean something more problematic?

    People keep using the word “dishonest” about her, and I’ve never seen a credible example given. I don’t really think she’s all that brilliant, nor a great rhetorician, but so what?

    Frankly, I’m tired of feeling like being a gamer means I’ve signed off on sexism. I’m embarrassed by shit like boob armor, by trying to explain any of this shit to my daughter (or my son, for that matter). There’s a lot to be embarrassed about.

  86. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #86

    Does anyone ever say this? Are you sure you’re not inventing it out of thin air?

    I suspect you’re not taking the entire statement into consideration. “This effect” refers to both, video game encourages misogynistic behavior and, the effect size is significant enough to be of major concern. It’s essentially a summary of Sarkeesian’s statement here:

    So whereas in traditional media, viewers might see representations of women being used or exploited, gaming offers players the unique opportunity to use or exploit female bodies themselves. This forces gamers to become complicit with developers in making sexual objectification a participatory activity.

    I will clarify that there is an assumption on my part that Sarkeesian believes other form of media do not encourage misogynistic behaviors to the same extent as video game, but I believe that this assumption is justified by the quote above.

    Sorry, I’m having trouble with this one. You mean… I’m assuming it means what it says?
    If it means something else, I wish someone would tell me what it was. Metaphor’s great and all, but when you’re trying to assert something about someone’s beliefs, it’s best to be as unvarnished as possible.

    There’s two parts to this.

    The first, it’s a general statement, not a literal one. For example, let’s back up to Ally’s post:

    Deep down, #Gamergate is about gamers being offended and insulted that they are not being afforded the respect they believe they deserve.

    You can interpret this in multiple ways, one of which is to think that Ally believes that all gamers under the #GamerGate banner are, at their core, acting up because they feel disrespected.

    My first reading, I didn’t interpret it that way. Instead, I read it as Ally summarizing a general sentiment that is most representative of the #GamerGate movement. In that way, you can find exceptions to his generalization, gamers who are not under the banner because they feel disrespected, but that’s fine because he doesn’t mean all gamers.

    In the same sense, the statement that, “Video game will turn you into a misogynist.” I don’t believe should be taken in the literal sense that playing video game will cause you to hate women, but more in the sense that by playing video game, there would be problematic increase in misogynistic behavior on the player’s part. And this doesn’t need to be all players, just enough to be significant.

    That’s part one.

    Part two is, supposing the case that it is true that playing video game encourages misogynistic behavior, then to the outside world, the player who engaged in misogynistic behavior with a root in video game is indistinguishable from a misogynist. In fact, what’s the difference?

    How do you define a misogynist? How do you identify one? And if everybody identifies you as one, would you be one?

    To the last question, it is of course rhetorical, since after all everyone can be wrong. But practically speaking, you’d be treated as a misogynist, so the social consequences of engaging in misogynistic behavior and being a misogynist is the same.

    In which case, it doesn’t really matter if video game turns you into a misogynist or “just” encourages misogynistic behaviors to a large extent, hence arguments of one or the other is really equivalent in terms of their implication.

    I will add here, that there may a distinction be made, that a misogynist is worse than a person who engages in misogynistic behavior. That distinction, I don’t accept to be valid, since it presupposes a kind of Ur-Misogynist who’s a True Misogynist, hence my reference to the MiSoGyNyMonSter.

    Such a supposition is not helpful and I believe is actually detrimental to the cause against sexism and misogyny. The argument for why, is irrelevant so I won’t get into it.

  87. Enkidum says

    saying “gamers are often assholes” is very different from saying, “male gamers hate women”.

    Again… who says that? Nothing you’ve pointed to says anything like that, and, well, maybe there’s some moron who says it. But it’s just not the dominant point being made. And again, your feelings of unease don’t count.

    Right, but why is that ? Why gaming, why now ? I argue it’s because feminism has been popular lately, and gamers are a soft target that works very well as a piece on the political board.

    I’d say it has a hell of a lot more to do with the fact that there is a massive amount of invective hurled against those who hold a feminist candle to gaming, and this is an easy news story. Sarkeesian was a complete unknown until the kickstarter madness. She didn’t coordinate that, it just happened that a bunch of fucking lunatics found out about her kickstarter and went ballistic. That in and of itself is enough to explain pretty much the whole reason why she’s famous – it’s an interesting story, has an easy hook, people care. No shady dealings necessary to account for it.

  88. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #95

    http://dangolding.tumblr.com/post/95985875943/the-end-of-gamers

    This shift is precisely the root of such increasingly violent hostility. The hysterical fits of those inculcated at the heart of gamer culture might on the surface be claimed as crusades for journalistic integrity, or a defense against falsehoods, but—along with a mix of the hatred of women and an expansive bigotry thrown in for good measure—what is actually going on is an attempt to retain hegemony. Make no mistake: this is the exertion of power in the name of (male) gamer orthodoxy—an orthodoxy that has already begun to disappear.

    It’s a dominant point Enkidum. And he’s not just “some” moron, this was one of some 10+ pieces which all echoed the same sentiments a couple of weeks back . . . and I’d say perpetuated the whole affair.

  89. Bugmaster says

    @Enkidum #86:
    Most importantly, I disagree with the underlying assumption that the purpose of games (or any other medium, for that matter) should be, first and foremost, to push a specific social agenda — regardless of what that agenda happens to be.

    Note that this is absolutely not the same thing as saying, “all games should stay away from politics at all times”. In fact, games are a unique medium which can be used to explore all kinds of social, political, and even philosophical themes; because unlike passive media such as books or movies, games have the unique ability to immerse you, the player, in the narrative. Games like Spec Ops: The Line, Bioshock Infinite, and The Fall are, IMO, brilliant, and we would all be poorer for it if they were never created.

    However, such games succeed precisely before they are good games, first and foremost. It is very tempting to turn a game (or any other work) into a propaganda piece that promotes your social agenda; Christians have been trying that for a while now, and the results are usually either inadvertently hilarious, or just sad. It is much harder to produce an engaging and heartfelt work of art that makes the audience empathize with the characters on at least some level. To use a non-gaming example (for a change), the difference here is one between The Left Hand of Drakness and The Word for World is Forest (which were both written by the same author, BTW).

    In addition, just because some games explore deep philosophical themes, doesn’t mean that all games must do so (and it especially doesn’t mean that all games must explore these themes in a way that you endorse). There’s plenty of games that evoke a feeling of sheer existential dread, such as the System Shock series; games that allow you to let loose and, with the help of your brother, beat up on bad guys who stole your girlfriend; games that allow you to match your reflexes and predictive skills against a human opponent and beat him up; games where you race against the clock to stack as many blocks as compactly as possible; etc., etc. Lately, I feel like feminists are essentially trying to co-opt gaming as a vehicle for their agenda; I wouldn’t condone kind of treatment from objectivists, and I don’t condone it from feminists, either.

    And finally, I object to the idea that the best way to make games more attractive to women is to generate as many female characters as possible. I think this is insulting toward women. If men can identify and empathize with characters of the other gender (or, in some cases, of no gender at all), then why can’t women ? Why the artificial divide ? All gamers are human; isn’t that enough ? Are you saying that women couldn’t possibly understand Raziel’s self-destructive anger, or The Nameless One’s remorse, unless the game gave them a sex change ? I do not believe this is true.

  90. Enkidum says

    @Ansatz

    the player who engaged in misogynistic behavior with a root in video game is indistinguishable from a misogynist.

    Well… I suppose I’d take the usual tactic here which I think you’re actually getting at, which is to say that there are very few True Misogynists. There are people who do misogynist things with greater or lesser frequency. This is the point usually made in discussions of racism: out-and-out KKK members are more or less irrelevant now, what matters is far more subtle and hidden tendencies that exist even within nice white liberals like me. The politically-correct criticism isn’t to say “you’re a racist”, but rather “that thing you said is racist”. This is not just a semantic distinction, it matters a great deal.

    I think Sarkeesian takes this as given. The flaming douchebags who call her a cunt are a problem, but they’re not the real issue. The real issue is far more fine-grained and affects all of us.

    And that’s why I really, really, object to the idea that an accurate characterization of her argument is to say that video games create misogynists. They (can) encourage an atmosphere in which misogyny thrives. There’s an incredibly important distinction there.

  91. Ally Fogg says

    Ah, you’ve been busy. Well played everyone.

    Bugmaster

    Yes, this is what the social justice warriors are saying; but it’s not the entirety of what they’re saying. They are also saying, or at least implying, something like, “oh, and gamers are so much more sexist as compared to everyone else that we need to write a storm of articles about them, conduct public shaming campaigns against them, pressure companies to implement zero-tolerance policies against them, etc.”. That is the bailey.

    This is so not true.

    How many articles, books, even video blogs would you like me to link to that discuss sexism and misogyny, or racism or homophobia or whatever, in literature, in movies, in theatre, in art, in photography, in music?

    There are quite literally thousands of them and some of them are well over a hundred years old now.

    You are complaining because videogames are being subject to the exact same standards as every other creative artform, and literally nobody is saying “Here’s a load of anti-Semitic tropes in Shakespeare therefore it is implied that anyone who reads the Merchant of Venice is more anti-Semitic than anyone else.”

    As I said in the article, you’re sounding like a spoiled little toddler who wants to be told that mummy thinks he is special and perfect.

  92. Enkidum says

    @Bugmaster 98:

    the underlying assumption that the purpose of games (or any other medium, for that matter) should be, first and foremost, to push a specific social agenda

    Argh, there you go again. “The purpose”? “First and foremost”? No. That’s just misrepresentation. Better: “You can use games to promote specific social agendas, and it can be worthwhile doing so.” That’s, you know, what people are actually saying.

    just because some games explore deep philosophical themes, doesn’t mean that all games must do so

    Never said they must, never meant to imply it, have never heard of anyone implying it either. Again… this isn’t a thing that is real.

    I object to the idea that the best way to make games more attractive to women is to generate as many female characters as possible.

    Again, “the best” and “as many as possible” isn’t anywhere in anything I’ve said or implied, nor anything I’ve ever heard anyone say, ever. “One thing that you can do to make games more appealing to women is to have more female characters” is a more accurate summary of what people actually say. Do you dispute that point? I suspect you do, but I’d be very curious to hear your reasoning as to why.

    If men can identify and empathize with characters of the other gender (or, in some cases, of no gender at all), then why can’t women ?

    They can.

    Why the artificial divide ?

    There isn’t one.

    All gamers are human; isn’t that enough ? Are you saying that women couldn’t possibly understand Raziel’s self-destructive anger, or The Nameless One’s remorse, unless the game gave them a sex change ?

    No. But that’s a no to both questions. Yes, women can understand male characters. No, that isn’t enough. One thing we could do to improve matters is to have more fully-fleshed female characters, imho.

  93. Bugmaster says

    @Enkidum #93:

    Did anyone call to ban games like Dragon’s Crown? Really? Like, actually ban it?

    Yes, pretty much. Though, admittedly, it would be more accurate to read that as a blanket ban on creation of games like it, not this one specific game.

    As for Sarkeesian being a cherry picker… do you mean that you think that one or two of the dozens examples she gives in a given video aren’t really appropriate? If so, well, point taken, but… ultimately, who cares? She’s trying to identify general trends, the whole point is to cast a wide net. Or do you mean something more problematic?

    If your goal is to “identify general trends”, then picking and choosing a handful of examples that support your point, and then presenting them out of context, is pretty much the opposite of what you should be doing, so yeah, I do find it quite distasteful.

  94. Enkidum says

    @Ansatz 97:

    Literally the only thing which supports your interpretation of that as a “all male gamers hate women” post is that he didn’t include “some of” before “those inculcated at the heart”. Are you really just pulling a #notallmen?

    It’s.. tiresome. Can we just take it as given that when someone says something negative about gamers, they might not be referring to the whole tribe? I’m trying to stay politer than I usually do, but the phrase “grow up” does come to mind.

    I can promise you that I have had a deeply unhealthy attachment to games since the early 80’s. I’m as white, straight, male, cis-whatever, as they come. None of this shit threatens me in any way, shape, or form. I don’t know how to put it, other than to say that my attitude is saner and healthier than yours. These people are not going to take your games away. There is no vagina behind the curtain.

  95. Ally Fogg says

    Do you read your own links Bugmaster?

    Here’s how that article ends, the one that you say “pretty much” calls for a ban on Dragon’s Crown…

    Look, I’m not a censor. I’m not going to say that an artist shouldn’t draw what he or she thinks is beautiful. But just as I champion an artist’s right to respect themselves, I believe that it’s essential for critics—and for regular people—to discuss that art. All art has its fans. And all art deserves exposure to critics. I’m not saying this particular piece of art should not exist, but I have no qualms about saying I think it can hurt this game and gaming as a whole. I think it repels more than it attracts. It doesn’t challenge viewers in interesting ways. And I don’t consider it beautiful.

  96. KeenBlade says

    A great article. I haven’t really been following “GamerGate,” as it sounded absurd and asinine from the start. Your run-down on “Well, suppose the claims about these women are true” summarizes the way I feel pretty well.

    The only thing that bothers me is saying “gamers.” It just never sits well with me taking such a broad label and attaching it to the actions of a relatively small group of people. When I think of “gamers,” I think of people caught up in the joy of exploring fictional worlds and sharing that pleasure with one another. I think of all the creative people making remixes and crafts and Let’s Plays, just having a good time.

    The morons behind all this nonsense may be “gamers” inasmuch as they’re avid players of games, but using the terms “gamers” the way it is in this article makes it feel like they are being presented as indicative of a very large and diverse group of people, the vast majority of whom had nothing to do with this nonsense and may not even care if they are even aware of it.

  97. Bugmaster says

    @Ally #100:

    How many articles, books, even video blogs would you like me to link to that discuss sexism and misogyny, or racism or homophobia or whatever, in literature, in movies, in theatre, in art, in photography, in music?

    Well, at least a couple would be nice, as long as they are talking about present-day works (this may sound unfair, but gaming is a young art form that does not have the weight of history behind it like, say, Shakespeare does). Again, I believe there’s a difference (as ansatz has pointed out more eloquently than I could) between saying, “some games have sexist themes”; and saying, “games overall are sexist and will make anyone who plays them more sexist by a significant amount”. I am all for criticism as applied to any work of art, but I object to tarring an entire field, or its community, with the same brush.

    As I said in the article, you’re sounding like a spoiled little toddler who wants to be told that mummy thinks he is special and perfect.

    *shrug* It’s your blog, I can’t win a name-calling war against you, and I wouldn’t want to try even if I thought I could.

    That said, let me ask you this: can you name any games which a). are not explicitly promoting any kind of feminism, b). feature a male lead, and c). you would nonetheless personally endorse as being excellent examples of the art ?

  98. Enkidum says

    @Bugmaster 102:

    No, that article you link does not in any way call for banning, censorship, or anything like that. He outright says it’s a good game. It wouldn’t be “more accurate” to say that it calls for banning creating any games like it, it would be lying.

    OK, I’ve asked you for specific examples of concrete things a number of times, and you haven’t found a single one. It’s not that we don’t agree, that I’m interpreting things differently than you – it’s that I’m interpreting them using the English language, and you’re just making shit up.

    As for Sarkeesian cherry-picking – it’s hard to know what to say without more specifics. The Hitman example wasn’t the best one, although it’s hardly an unreasonable point to make about it. Other than that, I’ve got nothing. (Yes, the cover art for Ms. Pac-Man is absurdly sexualized, and her bow is a signifier that she is not the default, neutral, male, state.)

  99. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #99

    And that’s why I really, really, object to the idea that an accurate characterization of her argument is to say that video games create misogynists. They (can) encourage an atmosphere in which misogyny thrives. There’s an incredibly important distinction there.

    In actual practice, when someone’s called a misogynist, it usually doesn’t refer to a True Misogynist, but instead was because of some misogynistic behaviors on the accused’s part. You may want the distinction, but it has to catch on first. In the present context, the actual result of the two characterization would be the same on a supposed person subjected to it.

  100. Enkidum says

    @ansatz 108:

    But… no one is being subjected to being called a misogynist, and no one is being told that their gaming is making them (specifically them) act more misogynistically. So… who cares?

  101. Enkidum says

    @Bugmaster 106:

    The AV Club is, I believe, the most popular website devoted to pop culture in general. If not the most, one of the most popular. It is regularly accused of having been taken over by the evil feminists. They have probably one or two articles a week applying fairly mild feminist critiques to TV shows, books, movies, you name it. Video games are not being subjected to special criticism, it’s blown up in the past couple of months, that’s it.

    “some games have sexist themes”

    Doesn’t go nearly far enough. These themes are pervasive.

    “games overall are sexist and will make anyone who plays them more sexist by a significant amount”

    Has never been said by anyone, ever, nor implied, and in fact is repeatedly explicitly denied. Rephrasing the same ludicrous claim over and over doesn’t make it true.

    That said, let me ask you this: can you name any games which a). are not explicitly promoting any kind of feminism, b). feature a male lead, and c). you would nonetheless personally endorse as being excellent examples of the art ?

    This is in some sense trivially easy. Half Life I & II. Pac Man. Super Mario Bros. Chrono Trigger. Halo. I could go on listing probably hundreds of examples. Virtually any great game that has a recognizable main character, since the vast majority of those games have recognizable male main characters. (Which is problematic in itself.)

    But I suspect you’re interpreting things slightly differently. “I would personally endorse as being excellent examples of the art” does not mean “contains no sexist elements whatsoever”. And it would be a lot harder for me to find great examples of games I think are excellent, have a male (or female, for that matter) main character, and are totally free of what I would consider pretty problematic sexist attitudes.

    Yet I still play games! How is that possible, if I believe that games with sexist elements magically make you sexist? Hint: I don’t….

  102. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #103

    Y’know what’s tiresome?

    Let’s add the word some in your #95 post.

    Before, say, the word male.

    I find it tiresome how you assume, in #103, that I am unable to read Golding’s post and get the meaning that he doesn’t mean literally all, when I’ve been engaged with you for the past two hours explaining why I think a certain sentence, and indeed gave an example using Ally’s post of generalized statements, should not be interpreted in such a manner.

    Yes, I understand that Golding does not mean all. Do you understand that in #95, the phrase similarly does not mean all?*

    Let’s work forwards. Suppose you read Golding’s piece. Suppose then you cite his piece as an example of a person who say something along the vein of, “Male gamer hates women.”

    If you read Golding’s piece and correctly deduced that it didn’t mean all, should you conclude then that its response does, in fact, mean all?

    If you do, let me say that you shouldn’t, for consistency if nothing else. However, I guess if you were unfamiliar with Golding’s piece, or others like it, you might not know what to be consistent about.

    *I’m going to have to put this here, because I don’t think I can trust things otherwise. To some, this phrase may in fact mean all. Case in point, you, but misunderstandings on the #GamerGate side could happen as well. I consider Golding’s characterization to not be representative of the gamer culture, and so to be incorrect in character. Not in numbers.

    In other words, it’s less #NotAllMen and more #JustNotRight.

  103. Sans-sanity says

    @Ally “How many articles, books, even video blogs would you like me to link to that discuss sexism and misogyny, or racism or homophobia or whatever, in literature, in movies, in theatre, in art, in photography, in music?”

    The difference is that those critiques convey their message, for the main part, without demonising their audience*. Meanwhile gamers got treated to a slew of articles calling for or celebrating the “death” of their identity.

    * And where they do demonise the audience, yeah, they get shitstorms (for example, critisisms of rock or rap, music) similar to what’s happening here (only without twitter, because time-period).
    If you look up ‘the fine young capitalists’ on twitter and tumblr you will see that gamers are pretty happy to engage with discussions of inclusion when it’s with someone who doesn’t hold them in obvious contempt.

  104. Enkidum says

    @Ansatz 111:

    The phrase in #95??? Huh? You mean change Bugmaster’s

    saying “gamers are often assholes” is very different from saying, “male gamers hate women”.

    to

    saying “gamers are often assholes” is very different from saying, “some male gamers hate women”.

    And, more clearly, you’re saying that it’s incorrect to characterize gamergate as motivated by sexism to any great extent. To which I say… get real, dude.

    Sure, there does actually appear to be a large number of people who are genuinely angry about perceived corruption in games journalism. There are also a large number of people who are genuinely angry that women… well… exist, and are vocal about games. And there is a non-negligible overlap between those groups.

    I think it’s a fair point to say that the overlap has been overstated by much of the media, and maybe even by Ally in this post. But that’s about as far as I’d go, and I think you’re being wilfully dishonest if you think there’s nothing to the claim.

  105. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #108

    But… no one is being subjected to being called a misogynist, and no one is being told that their gaming is making them (specifically them) act more misogynistically. So… who cares?

    I’m not sure what to make of this.

    I thought you were trying to look for example of people saying that video game will turn people into misogynists?

    Have I not provided what I thought was an example?

    I thought you objected to my example because it only links misogynistic behaviors with video game?

    Have I not provided reasoning for why that distinction is irrelevant?

    And now you’ve moved to arguing that as long as I don’t name specific people who’ve been affected, I shouldn’t care?

    Regardless of if there exist such an affected person that I know of specifically, this is still an example, and the reasons behind it still stands.

  106. Ally Fogg says

    Bugmaster

    Well, at least a couple would be nice, as long as they are talking about present-day works

    Really? You need me to? OK.

    Hollywood movies: http://womenintvfilm.sdsu.edu/files/2013_It's_a_Man's_World_Report.pdf

    Photography: http://jtdissues.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/feminism-and-gaze.html

    Comedy: (there are literally thousands of these but:) http://jezebel.com/5570545/comedy-of-errors-behind-the-scenes-of-the–daily-shows-lady-problem

    Literature: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/12/09/in_no_regrets_women_writers_talk_about_what_it_was_like_to_read_literature.html

    Music: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/mar/31/music-orelsan-rap-misogyny

    etc etc etc

    Or I could go on with TV, fashion, whatever. You know it.

    All those critics and observers are doing exactly the same as Anita Sarkeesian, and grown-ups involved in those artforms understand that critique is part of the game. (pun intended)

    That said, let me ask you this: can you name any games which a). are not explicitly promoting any kind of feminism, b). feature a male lead, and c). you would nonetheless personally endorse as being excellent examples of the art ?

    This is a complete non-sequitor. A game doesn’t become an excellent example of art because it is promoting feminism and it doesn’t stop being an excellent example of art because it features a male lead (or sexist tropes, for that matter).

    I don’t pretend to be an expert, informed critic of video games, but I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed with my older son of late. It is one of the games that has been criticised by Sarkeesian for a couple of scenes. I can play the game, be totally amazed by the artistry and the graphics, enjoy the game play and still sigh and shake my head when a half-dressed female NPC is thrown in as a lazy plot device or hinted allusion to gang rape. Just as I can watch The Shining, be utterly blown away by the cinematography and Jack Nicholson’s performance while shaking my head and despairing at Kubrick’s apparent inability to get women to do anything other than fuck, scream or run about squealing for half an hour like a puppet on magic mushrooms.

    Is The Shining a great work of art? Yes, it is. Is it a great work of art which is nonetheless badly flawed and let down by sexist tropes? Yes, yes it is.

    Exactly the same thing applies to games, IMO.

  107. Bugmaster says

    @Ally #104:

    I’m not saying this particular piece of art should not exist, but I have no qualms about saying I think it can hurt this game and gaming as a whole. I think it repels more than it attracts.

    So, what, the author believes that particular pieces of art that “can hurt gaming as a whole” should exist ? Either he’s confused, or he’s deliberately trying to preempt accusations of censorship (seeing as this is the same guy who said, “As you can see, the sorceress was designed by a 14-year-old boy. Perhaps game development studios should stop hiring teenagers?”), or, as Tycho says:

    It’s very weird to pull up a story about a game with frankly visionary art and hear why it shouldn’t exist, or to hear what I supposedly fantasize about, or what kind of power I supposedly revere, and any attempt to defend oneself from these psychotic projections or to assert that creators may create is evidence of a dark seed sprouting in the heart. It’s an incredible state of affairs. They’re not censors, though – oh, no no. You’ll understand it eventually; what you need to do is censor yourself.

  108. Ally Fogg says

    Actually one more I’ll add… whenever the topic of misandry comes up on this blog, someone will link to the books by Nathanson and Young, which go through popular culture such as advertising and pick out all the misandrist tropes that stereotype or demonise men.

    Those books (though pretty tedious IMO) are much praised in MRA circles and take the exact same approach as Sarkeesian does, and, one might argue, have the precise same methodological weaknesses she does. I’ve yet to see anyone from the so-called manosphere raise any objections to those, however.

  109. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #113

    There is quite a big difference between “any great extent” and “nothing”.

    I believe you’re being quite dishonest in writing my views as such.

    I don’t believe them to be representative. Not that they don’t exist. Or that they’re negligible.

    An unfortunate fact is that there are quite a large number of them. A fortunate fact is that they’re not representative of the whole.

    Unless, of course, you marginalize the section of #GamerGate that aren’t them and focus squarely on them. Surprise surprise you might think them to subsume all other considerations.

    And again, I find it quite distressing that you’ve once again moved from asking for an example of a claim you find dubious: People who express the thought that “male gamers hate women.”

    To an argument about whether or not such gamers constitute a representative portion of the #GamerGate movement.

  110. Enkidum says

    So, what, the author believes that particular pieces of art that “can hurt gaming as a whole” should exist ?

    Um… yes. That’s exactly what I think he believes.

    But… it’s still irrelevant. Suppose that he doesn’t think it should have been created. That’s still not a call for banning it. You repeatedly mention supposed examples of people trying to get stuff banned. So far as I’m aware, none actually exist.

  111. ansatz says

    @Ally #117

    That’s not surprising.

    You can flip that around and the point will be just as astute. I’m sure the answer would be similar as well.

  112. Enkidum says

    @ansatz 118:

    OK then I’m really lost. You agree that a non-negligible number of gamers hate women. You only have to look at Bugmaster’s posts in this thread to see repeated examples of “all” and “any” being misused in the way I guess I’ve assumed you were misusing them. His interpretation is an incredibly common one, and I think we both agree it’s false?

    So… what then? I do agree that it has been claimed that there is a massive problem with overtly misogynist gamers. I also believe that this claim is true. I was assuming you denied the claim, but you don’t seem to be any longer. So… are we just agreeing with each other?

  113. Enkidum says

    More @Bugmaster 116:

    I guess… ultimately I agree with the claim that “you need to censor yourself”. That is, you should think about the implications of what you’re doing, and allow those implications to influence what you do, and occasionally to stop you from doing it outright. I call that not being an asshole. I try to do it every day.

    I think that’s the sum total of what you mean by “banning”. At least it’s the only actual thing you’ve brought up so far.

  114. ansatz says

    @Enkidum #121

    I’ve looked through:

    #60
    #62
    #63
    #66
    #67
    #71
    #81
    #88
    #92
    #98
    #102
    #106 <- Perhaps
    #116

    And only #106 jumped out at me as a potential misuse of any.
    But note, #106 is much later than #95, your post with the supposed misuse.

    But perhaps I'm missing something.

    Perhaps Bugmaster does mean that he believe people like Dan Golding were talking about literally all gamers.

    Or perhaps, as I will give him the benefit of the doubt, he read them as I did, disagreed with their conclusion as I did, and it's you who've been playing with semantics all night long.

    So… what then? I do agree that it has been claimed that there is a massive problem with overtly misogynist gamers. I also believe that this claim is true. I was assuming you denied the claim, but you don’t seem to be any longer. So… are we just agreeing with each other?

    Is there a massive problem with misogynist gamers?

    There is a problem, with misogynists, and some of them are gamers. It’s not a unique problem, and I don’t believe it reflects gamers as a demographic. That is, I don’t believe it’s because they’re gamers that they’re misogynists.

    To the extent that I disagree with Ally’s characterization of the #GamerGate movement, Golding et al. characterization of the gamer culture, no, I don’t think we’re really agreeing with each other.

  115. StillGjenganger says

    it is hard for me to believe that people who claim “nobody wants to ban anything”, “nobody is saying that video games turn hou into a misogynist” are actually arguing in good faith. At best it is a breathtaking level of sophistry. So:

    Video games frequently contain misogynistic elements. Repeated consumption of misogynistic material can affect behaviour. We should be aware of this.

    Will anybody dispute that the following statements are a logical consequence?
    – Video games make people more misogynistic.
    – Since this is very bad, we must try to change the games so that this no longer happens.

    What should be done then?

    I guess I’d put it on a scale of “we should really be talking about this, and taking a number of finite steps”. I think game developers should think a lot more carefully about inclusivity in game design.

    I definitely want to see the game developers do a better job, which means things like better writing that doesn’t rely on sexist, misogynist, racist, or otherwise bigoted stereotypes and tropes, and puts more effort in to being more inclusive. And the gamers themselves need to do a much better job of shutting up the bigots, kicking them from servers or otherwise shouting them down.

    So: the interim goal is to make sure that developers develop different games with a different political impact, and that people with the wrong opinion are forced out of public fora? What else could this mean? It would certainly be an effective way to get rid of any misogynistic influence from games.

    So, how can people claim that they are not trying to ban the wrong kind of games, and that they are not trying to impose their politics, and that gamers are not going to lose anything they hold dear?

    ultimately I agree with the claim that “you need to censor yourself”.

    That is the crux of the argument. The progressive front is trying to achieve their goals with social pressure, rather than with an out-and-out ban (at least at first – experience from hate-speech legislation would indicate that criminal law may well be called in later if needed). Progressives seem to claim that because they use the power of social norms, silencing, and the threat of ostracism, they are not really forcing anyone to do anything. Against that I would say that if I can not find a game that I like to play and can not express my views without being removed from the conversation, it makes no practical difference if this results from a law, passed by somebody else, or a new set of social norms, introduced and enforced by someone else. It is an exercise of power, and denying this fact does not absolve you of responsibility for the results.

    The one sensible point from the other side is this:

    what is actually going on is an attempt to retain hegemony. Make no mistake: this is the exertion of power in the name of (male) gamer orthodoxy—an orthodoxy that has already begun to disappear

    Yes, on one side we have a gaming (sub)culture with a somewhat dominant male influence and a tolerance or liking for eye candy. On the other side we have a feminist/progressive (sub)culture who want to change the gaming world, and replace the misogyny-promoting tropes, with female-empowering ones, and the male-centered discourse with a (more) female centered one. Only the progressive side does not want to admit (to themselves?) what they are doing, probably because that would force them to consider why they, unlike others, have the right to dominate over people who disagree with them.

    And no, this is not just about having diversity in gaming.

    Argh, there you go again. “The purpose”? “First and foremost”? No. That’s just misrepresentation. Better: “You can use games to promote specific social agendas, and it can be worthwhile doing so.” That’s, you know, what people are actually saying.

    If that is all you wanted, you would concentrate your energies on making new, excellent games with better tropes in them. Which is something nobody could complain about, and many gamers might even appreciate. Instead.you concentrate your fire on how the existing games are all too misogynistic, and ‘something must be done’.

  116. daveallen says

    Wrong, she never said anything of the sort. She said that the only two ways you can interact with the strippers is to do nothing to them or kill them, which is absolutely true.

    In “Women as Background Decoration part 1” her words are “The player cannot help but treat these bodies as things to be acted upon because they were designed and constructed for that singular purpose“, she says nothing about there being only two ways in which you can interact with the strippers afaict – by all means provide me with a timestamp.

    I’ll cede that the makes mention of “possible scenarios” in her preamble to the pertinent section. She’s therefore engaged in something of a contradiction given that she goes on to talk about the scenario in terms of necessity (can’t help but do this, a singular purpose).

    If she’d wanted to be honest about the game she could have said – “look, you can go out of your way to be nasty to civilians in this game, and I’ve constructed a distasteful scene using two of the civilians who happen to be scantily clad women – this is an indignity.”

    That would have been honest – and less objectionable.

    But it wouldn’t have pressed the same outrage buttons as using terms such as “the player has no choice” to abuse the women, or that their abuse is “the singular purpose” for their portrayal.

    Perhaps she’s clarified elsewhere – I’ve not watched all her media, much less committed it to memory – I don’t intend to given what I regard as it’s quality issues and dishonest argumentation – if you can demonstrate a good citation by way of counter-example I will by all means make the effort to check your proofing. However, even if she has clarified elsewhere, that isn’t a pertinent example of a “debunk” of TF’s vid given that it’s a response to the content of “Women as Background Decoration part 1”.

  117. StillGjenganger says

    @Dave Allen 125
    AFAIK ‘Hitman’ is a puzzle game, where pretty much every character serves either as an obstacle or a tool in solving the puzzle and making the hit – in game mechanics terms. Are there any fully rounded human beings in the game at all? Is social interaction an important part of the game, or even possible? And is Sarkeesian singling out these stripper characters even though they are no different from all the others?

  118. Ally Fogg says

    Gjenganger, 124

    it is hard for me to believe that people who claim “nobody wants to ban anything”, “nobody is saying that video games turn hou into a misogynist” are actually arguing in good faith. At best it is a breathtaking level of sophistry.

    Why is this sophistry? If there were lots of examples of people wanting to ban things, you should be able to provide lots of direct quotes from people saying things like “This is why GTA must be banned…” You should be able to link to the petitions by people calling for shops to refuse to sell Red Dead Redemption.

    Where are these links? Where are the quotes?

    At most, you can only be arguing that the likes of Sarkeesian have a secret agenda to get things banned, but are sneakily refusing to actually say what they want.

    Be honest, knowing modern feminism as you do, does that seem likely? If these people wanted these games to be banned, wouldn’t they actually ask for them to be banned?

    Will anybody dispute that the following statements are a logical consequence?
    – Video games make people more misogynistic.
    – Since this is very bad, we must try to change the games so that this no longer happens.

    It entirely depends what you mean by “try to change the games.” It seems to me that what feminist critics want to do is raise people’s awareness of the extent of misogyny in videogames. Their hope, I would presume, would be to firstly make games consumers more aware of the degrees of misogyny they are seeing and perhaps more critical of that aspect of games, and secondly to challenge games designers and makers to ask themselves whether they wish to continue packing their products with (allegedly) socially corrosive tropes and (perhaps more significantly) hackneyed cliches.

    Within that analysis, games makers are still perfectly free to ignore the critics and continue decorating their games with scantily clad strippers if that is what they want to do, and games customers are still perfectly free to ignore the critics and continue purchasing games that are decorated with scantily clad strippers if that is what they wish to do.

    So in that analysis, there is no censorship, there is no banning, there is just an ongoing grown-up conversation about the content of an entertainment medium.

    So, how can people claim that they are not trying to ban the wrong kind of games, and that they are not trying to impose their politics, and that gamers are not going to lose anything they hold dear?

    Think of it this way. You come to this blog, and you share your opinions about gender politics in current affairs and culture. Agreed?

    You point out what you consider to be flaws in things I write, or things that other people write. You sometimes offer alternative perspectives and alternative evidence.

    It would be fair to say, I presume, that you hope to influence me and other people here and alter how we think? (Irrespective of how successful you might be in that!)

    Does that mean that you are trying to ban the wrong kind of opinions? Does that mean you are trying to impose your politics upon me or anyone else?

    Of course it doesn’t.

    So tell me, what is the difference?

  119. Bugmaster says

    @Ally #115:
    I skimmed through the articles you listed, and the one that jumped out at me was the one about rap. I personally don’t listen to rap (or all that much music in general), so I am not familiar with the scene, but this article is written using the same exact pattern as Sarkeezian’s videos — only instead of saying “games are making people sexist”, it’s “rap music is making people sexist, and also violent”. Thus, I’d object to it on the same grounds; unless, of course, there’s solid evidence that rap music is indeed turning people sexist, in which case I’d be all or banning it (I doubt that’s the case, though). I should note, though, that music has a long history of Moral Guardians decrying it as the next worst thing that will Destroy Society (from rap all the way back to waltz, if not further) — just like gaming — and both music and society are still here, so maybe there’s some hope.

    The photography article seemed a lot more neutral in tone, and brought up a pretty good point, regarding cinema:

    Until the technology reached a more accessible, the only people able to make and market films were men, so of course it stands to reason that more affordable technology would give birth to feminist and radical filmmaking.

    In our modern world, all you need to make a game is a moderately priced computer and some free software. Given this, as well as the fact that 52% of gamers are women, wouldn’t the optimal strategy for Doing Something about sexism in gaming involve making lots of highly successful feminist games which lack or subvert all of the offensive tropes ? If so, where are all these games; and if not, why not ?

    The article on literature went a little over my head, simply because I haven’t read most of the books mentioned in it; but given that it seems to endorse statements like, “women who love men are going to have to come to terms with their complicity in their own repression and subjugation, and find ways to address it”, I am somewhat disinclined to take it seriously. I don’t think that merely being attracted to men makes a woman (or a man, for that matter) “complicit in her own subjugation”; women are people too, with free will and everything.

    The article on The Daily Show seems to be more concerned with their hiring practices than their material, so it might be a bit off-topic.

    The article on movies lists a bunch of statistics, but does not prescribe any actions based on the statistics, nor does it make any blanket statements about the kinds of people who enjoy movies. Thus, while it is interesting, it’s also a little off-topic… which is kind of a shame, I wish that the feminist articles on gaming were likewise well-researched (though perhaps this is unfair, since there are many more games than there are movies).

    To reiterate my position:

    Do I believe that sexist gamers exist ? Yes, absolutely, gamers are people too. Even the male ones.
    Do I believe that there exist sexist tropes in games ? Yes, and the same goes for music, movies, literature, and pretty much any other work of art. For both sexes, in fact.
    Do I believe that games should be above criticism ? No, of course not.
    But, given the above, do I believe that there’s enough evidence to conclude that games increase sexism rates by a significant amount; or that the majority of male gamers are sexist; or that sexism in gaming is so dire that Something Must Be Done about it right now ? No, no, and no.
    Oh, and I also don’t believe that just because someone asserts that “Trope X is sexist and ubiquitous”, then Trope X is a). sexist, b). ubiquitous, and c). actually a trope. Not all criticism is of high quality; a lot of it just just emotionally charged rhetoric. Again, though, that’s the case in most other areas, not just gaming (gaming just happens to be my personal hobby-horse).

  120. That Guy says

    Man I sure am glad that all these proud and noble defenders of videogames are there to fight the good fight,

    I mean, how can I enjoy games without at least one generic woman exposing sexy flesh in a contrived manner?

    the shrill cries of “BUT THEY WANT TO CHANGE GAMING CULTURE” really irritate me, if the gaming culture you are so invested in defending is the one of sexism and misogyny liberally sprinkled through big-budget Hollywood AAA games, then you have some serious issues.

    Game development culture needed saved a long time ago when games were being produced more by focus groups than people who actually liked to play games, but everyone seemed content with that, and now we have a corporate monoculture that thinks sexist games sell.

    If these people were so concerned about the way that games were and should be made, why aren’t they petitioning EA, microsoft, etc about their business ethic?

  121. daveallen says

    AFAIK ‘Hitman’ is a puzzle game, where pretty much every character serves either as an obstacle or a tool in solving the puzzle and making the hit – in game mechanics terms. Are there any fully rounded human beings in the game at all? Is social interaction an important part of the game, or even possible? And is Sarkeesian singling out these stripper characters even though they are no different from all the others?

    To be frank – I don’t really object to the notion of honest critique. If Anita had produced an honest objection such as the one I constructed, then even if I thought it was agenda driven and cherry-picked, I’d still be OK with it as a starting point.

    It’s the dishonesty I object to – not the apparent agenda.

    A conversation about whether or not female NPCs should be afforded protection from indignity or injury could then follow – personally I’d argue that such a thing would actually be anti-feminist as well as anti-verisimilitude – it’d be an interesting debate, I think.

    As to whether its reasonable to expect rounded characters and social interaction from any given game – I dunno. It’s OK for people to say that’s what they’d like to see if that’s what they’d like to see, and for others to disagree.

    I suspect in Anita’s case it’s more about mobilizing rancor than honest suggestions about what she’d be into.

    I do take Ally’s point about tokenistic sexy women popping up regularly in games. However a complicating phenomena I’d observe regarding this is that those women who do play tend to go for sexy/attractive avatars or factions over plain, mundane or ugly ones. I do feel that Anita’s suggestions, taken seriously, could result in less inclusivity for women and girls as opposed to more.

    Part of the #notyourshield thing plays into this – it isn’t like those who market games don’t consider coast/benefits of appealing to those women who make up their current audiences or who might do in the foreseeable future.

    I think that’s most obvious with her critique of Lego rather than vid games (I’d have thought marketing Lego to 3 times the number of girls you did previously should be considered a major leap for inclusivity and I’m pleased to see other construction toy manufacturers take their lead) – but it still applies. I’m clearly biased, but in terms of the only video game I play regularly – Blood Bowl – I can’t help but notice that virtually every girl I play with or follow plumps for the Amazon team – a bevy of bikini-clad beauties.

    Now given that the Amazon team are a bunch of sexy women who are subjected to graphic violence – I presume Anita would only argue for their excision – and as far as I see it this would lead to the alienation of those girls who like playing the game.

  122. Bugmaster says

    @Ally #117:
    That was a bit of a non-sequitur. I haven’t heard of these books, but if they are using cherry-picked examples out of context, as you say, then I’d object to them on the same grounds as I object to Feminist Frequency. That said, “look MRAs are doing it too !” is not a very compelling counter-argument to, “feminists are doing something bad”. I want everyone to stop doing bad things, two wrongs don’t make a right.

  123. Ally Fogg says

    Bugmaster (128 & 131)

    I’m not arguing that any of those articles or books or whatever are perfect, or even fair and accurate, far less that I agree with them, or even that MRAs do it too

    My point is purely and solely to demonstrate that every artform, every creative endeavour is subject to critique of all sorts, including political critique, coming from left, right or wherever.

    Therefore the demands from #Gamergate that games should be uniquely exempt from this type of critique is utterly infantile.

  124. Ally Fogg says

    I’m clearly biased, but in terms of the only video game I play regularly – Blood Bowl – I can’t help but notice that virtually every girl I play with or follow plumps for the Amazon team – a bevy of bikini-clad beauties.

    I know nothing about this game, so this really isn’t a rhetorical question to which I already know the answer, but out of interest, is it possible to play the game as a team of strong, kick-ass women who aren’t dressed in bikinis?

  125. Ben says

    “Historically, gaming has been framed as a low-status activity for geeks — during the time when “geek” was a highly pejorative term. Identifying as a gamer (or being outed as one) was pretty much an express ticket to the lowest rung on the social totem pole. As the result, gamers tended to band into tightly-knit communities, where they could talk about games (and play them, of course !) without the risk of being constantly mocked or ostracized.”

    I think this hints at one of the more under discussed aspects of what has been a pretty egregious affair. Many gamers and, for lack of a better term, geek culture will have personally suffered at the hands of hegemonic masculinity, including bullying, physical abuse and other things, from men and women. I suppose it is understandable — just — to find it galling when that very culture which served as protection and escapism against threats and harassment gets accused of being hyper-masculine and misogynist. Of course, the basic counter to this would be that a lot of feminisms should be seen as allies in this regard: the same culture that classifies women and gay men as ‘lesser’ also produces the same culture which bullies effeminate, overweight sensitive, intelligent, geeky etc etc men.

  126. Bugmaster says

    @Ally #132:
    I can’t speak for the entire #GamerGate, I can only speak for myself; so could you please point out some specific statements of mine where I argue that “games should be uniquely exempt from this type of critique” ?

    Yes, every artform is subject to every kind of critique, there’s nothing new about that. However, every artform also attracts its own spate of moral guardians. These contribute little by way of informed criticism, but lots and lots of rhetoric about how the artform as a whole is violent/sexist/Satanist/whatever; is turning our impressionable children same; and that Something Must Be Done about it, and soon. It’s this kind of rhetoric that I object to; doubly so when the artform is arbitrarily considered low-status (as games are, compared to e.g. literature).

  127. Marduk says

    Nah. This is mainly Anon “culture ops” again. They hate “gaymers” and they hate Zoe Quinn (who has more form than you apparently imagine) but really they like humiliating the media and causing trouble. Getting Quinn to take down WizardChan was widely held to be utterly hilarious, as is Laurie Penny’s current piece. They knew the media would love the idea that WizardChan was filled with Rodger types, its actually a forum (literally) for depressed virgins who are only really a threat to themselves. They picked out a narrative and sold it and it happened because the media has become so twitch and clickbait obsessed it never stops to think or research. So this is going to keep on happening now, they understand media better than it understands itself and will go on torturing it with its own weaknesses.

    Interestingly Quinn, who knows very well how all this works (because she is far from outside this culture anyway, hence her notoriety in certain quarters), went and lurked on IRC and got some logs and so on. For some reason the journalists won’t listen properly to her trying to explain what is happening to her (read what Quinn says in the article rather than what the journalist ‘mansplains’) you’ve all got your pre-set positions that this is a gender war, blah blah blah on this stuff and off you go (sorry if thats a bit harsh). What you may not realise is that the first plan for Quinngate was to allege the ‘five guys’ were rapists and see if they could get feminists to kick off at the games industry again. Instead they settled for pitting journalists against gamers. There is really only one game Anon is into and aren’t people obliging in providing it to them.

    Why is the net more misogynistic today? Because when they were mainly doing racism and anti-semitism, the reaction wasn’t quite as powerful. The people doing this are not and never were necessarily white, male or gentile incidentally.

    This is turning into a frag fest while Anon sits back and laughs. They think they are a Bond villain tricking the USSR into nuking the USA.

    I mean, you aren’t wrong about some of this but the puppet masters aren’t exactly all that hidden if their chief victim was able to sit around and talk to them for days on end so its far from a conspiracy theory.

  128. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally 127

    That one is easy.

    This is your blog, and you decide who can participate and what kind of things they can say (and I am grateful for the chance to come here and play, as it happens). On other, less tolerant blogs, like Pharyngula, Cath Eliotts blog, of CiF, people with my opinions are heavily modded, shouted down, or buried under a torrent of contempt. No problem, those are small private niches, I have no specific right to take part, and anyway I can always go somewhere else. One way or the other it is the community, and/or the blog owner who decides what can be said, what is mocked, and what is excluded. If it was not for the owner there would be nothing to prevent a determined and organised group to effectively take over any forum, change its rules and ethos, and marginalise the previous participants.

    When we leave individual blogs and go to ‘the gaming community’ or political debate in general it is a different matter. You cannot leave society, and leaving the gaming community is a big sacrifice – for a gamer. There is no blog owner here, but the rules and norms are still set for all. Those rules do not just happen, they are often set deliberately. Nor is it just a matter of convincing – it is quite common that a cultural elite can set the rules even contrary to what most people think. Progressive people have a long experience of changing language as a way of changing thought, and the cultural dominance to impose their own agenda. On topics like paedophilia and gay marriage the rules for what you can say without being branded as evil, bigoted or idiotic pretty much reflect what the majority think. On e.g. hate speech or immigration I strongly doubt that this is the case, so here the cultural elite has managed to exclude a large and significant part of public opinion from participation.

    As I see the project for games, the end goal is a gaming community where anyone looking at these scantily clad ladies is by definition a primitive idiot, where most games avoid them, and where the people who until now have formed the ‘gaming community’ are displaced strangers, who must shut up and adapt to a different set of norms. Even if games like the ones you mention will not actually disappear (and people will try to achieve that – I am not convinced that a detemined effort could not make sexist games too risky for the big budgets, at least) they will be fewer, people will be pushed away from them, and those who stick by them will pay a price in social exclusion, even in the ‘gamer community’. Much like people who do not like scantily clad ladies in their games and conversations are at a disadvantage now. As I quoted, it is a culture war, a fight over which group gets to have hegemony over this part of our culture. And the people who lose that war will find that their opinions have no place and their games become rarer. Claiming that we are only doing adult discussion does not change that.

  129. Ally Fogg says

    Bugmaster

    Well this exchange began with your claim that:

    They are also saying, or at least implying, something like, “oh, and gamers are so much more sexist as compared to everyone else that we need to write a storm of articles about them, conduct public shaming campaigns against them, pressure companies to implement zero-tolerance policies against them, etc.

    I pointed out that this is not true. Nobody has said that gamers are more sexist than anyone else. What they have done is analysed and critiqued the sexism and misogyny within videogames, in the exact same way that as other critics (and sometimes even the same critics) have done the exact same thing with movies, comedy, TV etc etc etc.

    It also applies to the quotes from the #Gamergate meme in the OP:

    “This is about keeping irrelevant politics out of video game news”

    “This is about keeping the press from dictating art and public sentiment.”

  130. Ally Fogg says

    No Gjenganger, you’re missing my point entirely. It is not about commenting privileges on this blog or elsewhere.

    You could, if you like, open a Youtube channel and make little videos about something that concerns you – for sake of argument, say anti-male tropes in advertising or tolerance of violence against men in soap operas.

    If you did that, you would be seeking to influence other people’s opinions. You would be hoping to change some people’s minds about stuff. You might even get optimistic and hope that by putting those ideas out there you were helping to affect social change to some degree, somewhere down the line.

    If you were to do that, would it mean that you were seeking to ban Eastenders? Would it mean you were attempting to impose your politics on people, whether in the advertising industry or TV or the viewing public?

  131. daveallen says

    I know nothing about this game, so this really isn’t a rhetorical question to which I already know the answer, but out of interest, is it possible to play the game as a team of strong, kick-ass women who aren’t dressed in bikinis?

    The Amazons are the only exclusively female team, and whilst “bikinis” was a bit of exaggeration on my part their dress is clearly designed to emphasize the usual aspects of an athletic young female body that get emphasized in such media.

    With the exception of two comedy teams intended to be played for a laugh (one of which is a genderless alien race). The players are all somewhat kick-ass, so I don’t see it as a pertinent variable.

    There are other teams which feature female players. The elf teams feature players from both sexes and are more modestly dressed than the Amazons (though everyone in the game wears fantasy sporty type armor, so they aren’t paragons of modesty either). By my judgement the gothy Dark Elf women are sexy, but the fey Wood Elf women are fairly modest.

    There are other concerns – the Amazons are a fairly good team for beginners whilst the elves are harder to use.

    The computer game derives from the board game by Games Workshop – a company whose marketing department I worked for for five years. Whilst the core demographic for the products was understood to be teenage boys occasional attempts to produce products with an eye to stretching the customer base were tried. Within the genres we worked in modestly dressed women never seemed to arouse much interest (despite regular assurances that there was a horde of women just waiting for such things – a faction of wholly armored women for GWs most popular game never really covered its costs) whilst sexy women were popular with many of the boys, and appealed to the minority of women who seemed to have an interest. In particular a subculture of women who came to be interested in developing their painting skills to show standard tended to show a marked bias for producing beautiful interpretations of the more beautiful/sexy female models.

    I’m also aware of the cosplaying gamer subculture which tends to appeal to the female participant pool to a greater degree than the male participant pool, and they also tend to opt for portrayals of sexy and beautiful characters.

    So I take your apparent point that an easy but plain female option is unavailable to women who might otherwise identify with the Blood Bowl computer game – but the game does derive from a background of trying to push the envelope with noted lack of interest from women and well as men.

    My notion is that feminists tend to applaud efforts to stretch the envelope, but won’t buy into them.

  132. daveallen says

    My notion is that feminists tend to applaud efforts to stretch the envelope, but won’t buy into them.

    I have of course neglected the caveat of “in this arena”.

    The Lego Friends thing is the most stark example of the phenomena I’m attempting to illustrate really.

  133. mccork says

    @Bugmaster

    Out of curiosity and without irony, I’d like to ask you a question. What DOES make a game sexist/misogynist in your eyes? Or a movie, or a book, or a public statement? In other words, what are your personal definitions of those terms? Can you perhaps give me an example of something you perceive as sexist in games, or sth you would agree with Sarkeesian about? Or do you see no such examples at all?

    /Also, I must say following your discussion with Enkidum has been a pleasure. I like how you manage to stay civil. Rare thing these days./

  134. robertrichter says

    Telling “gamers” as a group to “grow up” is actually pretty damned insensitive. After all, the stereotype about gamers is that we’re immature: pathetic man-boys who live in our parents’ basements and have never been on a date.

    I don’t disagree with you, but as a favor to my blood pressure, could you remember going forward that you’re not talking about “gamers” as a group, but only about a relative handful of “sexist gamer dudes.”

    They don’t speak for us.

  135. Enkidum says

    Bugmaster @ various places: The reason Ally brought up those links was because you argued several times that gaming was subject to feminist scrutiny that was not being applied to other art forms. Will you at least acknowledge that is wrong? There is extensive feminist critique of everything.

  136. StillGjenganger says

    If you were to do that, would it mean that you were seeking to ban Eastenders? Would it mean you were attempting to impose your politics on people, whether in the advertising industry or TV or the viewing public?

    Not necessarily, no. But not impossible either.

    First of all, would I want soap operas as we know them to disappear? If I seriously thought that they were a major cause of anti-male discrimination and violence (rather than just a personal irritation), yes I would, by the logic of my position. Indeed that is the result I would be campaigning for.

    Would I bring about their disappearance, if I had the power? Not necessarily, but quite likely yes. Be it by passing it a law to classify conventional soaps as hate speech, or convincing producers and TV stations that they made them look bad and lose money, or creative types that writing such material was a sure sign of incompetence and reactionary politics, or by establishing the stereotype that only illiterate morons would watch them, so that people who did like soaps would be ashamed of admitting it.

    Would I be able to achieve any of this? Not likely – which means that my ultimate desires would not matter much. Even diminishing people’s enjoyment by having them think about spiky things like anti-male tropes when they watched their favourite soap would probably be beyond me.

    In practicey the fight against sexism in video games is rather more likely to succeed than fighting Eastenders. And while changing people’s tastes towards better entertainment is entirely fair, making soaps unavailable, or shaming people for the things they enjoy is in my opinion a kind of bullying.

  137. Schala says

    So Sarkeesian ends each video explicitly stating that a game having sexist tropes doesn’t make it a bad game, that making such a game doesn’t mean the developers are bad people, and that enjoying such a game doesn’t make you a bad person.

    Ray Blanchard also adds a disclaimer to his paraphilic theory of autogynephilia, saying that it’s not a reason to deny those people coverage, prevent their transition, or deny them surgery. Nor a reason to refuse to use the right pronouns for them…but he still think in the entire thing, loudly, that they’re deluded perverted guys.

    The conclusion from lay people after being told that plus his theory? They’re deluded, stop giving them transition and surgery, give them talk therapy.

    They don’t care about his little disclaimer.

  138. Schala says

    but based on this ultra-precise statistic I just made up, I’d say well over 90% of the female characters in games will fall into one of them

    And 100% of men and women in any medium everywhere will either apply or subvert over a dozen trope if they’re not stick figures doing nothing.

    Genuine living breathing humans at the bus stop, will.

    Tropes are not bad (says so on TV tropes). Tropes are mainly presenting already-accepted clichés/stereotypes.

    Want to change the tropes, change society. Changing gaming is not gonna change society (it has too little viewership, and ITS NOT A MOVIE.)

    Oh and, by definition, every single game characters is an object. None of them are real (you’re not even supposed to pretend they are). Objectification for all.

  139. Schala says

    (Yes, the cover art for Ms. Pac-Man is absurdly sexualized, and her bow is a signifier that she is not the default, neutral, male, state.)

    It’s also older than most gamers. I wasn’t even born when Mrs Pacman was in the arcades.

    I could turn it around, too. It means the male is boring, bland, undefined, plain, naked.

    Just like the real life male clothing: functional, boring, loose-fitting. Not meant to enhance the looks, presence, sexyness, or to express anything. Suits might signify something, but mostly for people who can afford them, and wear them for work (the 5% maybe), as most men never wear a suit except for formal events.

    The options women have might make the men’s option the default, the normal, the neutral. But that’s only because it’s so bland, plain and naked, that you can only dress it up from there. Kinda like in a valley’s lowest point, you can only go up.

  140. Adiabat says

    Enkidum (57):

    here’s my logical argument

    If you take anything [Brietbart] “scoops” seriously, you have issues.

    I actually suspect everything [the article] says is true

    I don’t think ‘logical answer’ is the term you should be using :). Perhaps ‘pragmatic’? Though I would argue that this approach has failed in this case.

    The thing is, if you didn’t unilaterally declare that we were “done here”, then I could’ve easily linked you to several journalists and editors involved confirming it on twitter. That would’ve been more productive than your kneejerk reaction to attack the source of the information rather than the information itself.

    the entire content of the article is “there is a private google group where games journalists talk to each other”. Wow. That’s fucking mindblowing.

    These people aren’t just discussing inane stuff, they are editors of game news sites and journalists discussing how they should report (or not) on a newsworthy story. And the press’s reaction to this story is showing that they still don’t have a clue about how they should be behaving as journalists. Just like with Patron they don’t see a problem with colluding with each other beforehand on how to report stories. They’re supposed to be competitors, not setting up a consensus on their reporting.

    Frankly, their job is to report on newsworthy events, in a timely manner. If they wish to be taken seriously as journalists and reliable news sources it is not up to them to unilaterally decide not to report on something newsworthy.

  141. Adiabat says

    Ally (138):

    What they have done is analysed and critiqued the sexism and misogyny within videogames

    No they haven’t, and that’s part of the problem.

    Analysing something, really analysing something, means looking at the full picture, exploring alternative explanations and engaging with all sides of the argument in your analysis. A conclusion should be reached only after all explanations have been looked at. It does not mean cherry picking examples, misrepresenting the source material, and making the facts fit your agenda. I have no idea what’s happened to academia but my first degree was in a humanities subject and one of the first things we were taught was to present both sides of an argument, then draw a conclusion. Just providing one side of the argument without acknowledging alternatives ensured very low grades.

    Gamers already consider some games to be art and are happy for them to be critiqued, but no-one outside of a certain ideological set, which seems to have infested the games (and mainstream) news sites, consider the types of “critique” that comes out things such as Gender Studies to be worth anything. Your argument is essentially that an audience can’t complain about a form of “critique” that they consider worthless, and that for some reason is receiving institutional support.

    I read the Laurie Penny article you linked to last week and, after I stopped laughing at the cultish “righteousness” of it, I had to concede that yes, SJW do win. A lot. It made me ask why.

    Obviously the arguments they make are bullshit, just look at the narratives being pushed at the gaming news sites that are constantly changing, in unison, trying to find one that sticks. It brought in thoughts I’ve had about the Guardian for a while: That it seems to have a lot of influence on policy etc yet receive practically zero public support outside of a small ideological clique, judging by its sales figures*. How is it right that an ideological mouthpiece, without wider public support of any kind, engenders such influence among the elite and policymakers?

    * And the fact that they are trust funded and not sales funded means that they have no economic incentive to represent the views of the people. They can push whatever agenda they want regardless of public support.

  142. Adiabat says

    Oops, copy and paste error. The jump to talking about Laurie Penny is supposed to quote Ally bringing her article up. I didn’t mean to just change topics mid post 🙂

  143. mccork says

    @Adiabat #149, and other gamergate people

    Here’s what I don’t get about the whole “journalist integrity” angle. The central topics discussed so far are:
    1) an obscure indie dev’s sex life
    2) the fact that niche journalists covering a niche section of a nerdy hobby dare to have a discussion forum, and know each other personally.
    These are your biggest facts.
    Of all things.
    None of this is able to influence the market in any meaningful way. Zoe Quinn is not head of Zynga, and these journalists are not Mark Zuckerberg. Indie scene is tiny compared to the whole gaming market. There’s no millions of dollars changing owners in the background. FFS, Depression Quest was free to play to begin with. Reviews hardly ever influence sales. Personal friendships and mutual influence are typical for all niche interest groups, be it Opera devs, Jehovah’s Witnesses living in Chicago, or academics working on the Tocharian language. Videogames are just a form of entertainment.
    All in all, this is all utterly inconsequential.

    Meanwhile, people make it sound as if it was at least a civil rights issue. As if it was fucking Snowden, national security, a presidential scandal. “Integrity”, “corruption”, “collusion” – these are all pretty big words.

    If you are so concerned, why not examine the triple A market, where corporations have both means and reasons to buy favorable coverage? Why aren’t you dissecting the sex life of the Doritos guy? It still would be exactly as shitty as when done to ZQ, but at least would be closer to the practices that really might be of consequence.
    There is so much talk of ‘keeping politics out of games’, or how it’s ‘just games’. If so, why are the GG people trying to elevate their ’cause’ by using the language of high politics? Why don’t they live by their own creed that it’s just games, and nothing to get so righteous about?
    Sorry, but it’s all elaborate smokescreen for making a huge issue out of nothing and justifying harassment in the process.

  144. Ally Fogg says

    Adiabat

    Analysing something, really analysing something, means looking at the full picture, exploring alternative explanations and engaging with all sides of the argument in your analysis.

    No. It doesn’t. I can see why you might think it should, but it doesn’t and it never has.

    Cultural criticism generally begins from an ideological or theoretical standpoint and then examines its subject matter in that light.

    The people widely regarded as the greatest and most important cultural critics – Henry Louis Gates, Pauline Kael, Susan Sontag, Terry Eagleton etc etc etc all work(ed) with explicit ideological agendas.

    The key to this is the notion of creative elements, semiology, interpretations. Any worthwhile work of art and culture will have literally infinite possible interpretations, different ways of putting the elements together to create new meanings or insights or qualities.

    So to go back to an earlier (and classic) example – are there racist / anti-Semitic elements in the Merchant of Venice? Yes. Are there also anti-racist themes and pleas for compassion and humanitarianism? Yes. How do those elements interact with each other and everything else going on in the play, and how can we find new ways to read, watch or perform the play to find new reflections of the human condition that may not have been noticed before, even by Shakespeare himself? Any two critics can come along with their entirely different ideological starting points and produce very different answers to those questions, neither of which is final or correct, but both equally valid.

    If games want to be taken seriously, they have to be subject to that kind of process. And that means letting critics loose with their prejudices, personal biases and ideological standpoints.

    Cultural critique, in other words, is not objective science, it is another medium of creative endeavour, and it needs to be.

  145. StillGjenganger says

    If you want to investigate the artistic content and cultural position of a game for new ideas that sounds eminently reasonable. If you are trying to evaluate the likely effect of games on society and support policies about which games should be written and how, the idea that it is all based on random bias is not reassuring. Surely Sarkeesian et al are dong policy campaigning, not artistic analysis?

    Anecdotically I have come across feminism that sounds remarkably like ‘cultural criticism’. In the sense that the people in question already know that the answer is ‘the patriarchy’, and therefore feel free to disregard the actual data of the area they are looking at, not to speak of the fit of their theories to those data.

  146. Ally Fogg says

    Surely Sarkeesian et al are dong policy campaigning, not artistic analysis?

    No, I’m pretty sure she is doing cultural criticism / artistic analysis, not policy campaigning.

    What policies has she ever asked for?

    By comparison, Object UK do policy campaigning. They campaign for changes to regulations on stripclubs etc.

    The Fawcett Society do policy campaigning on equality legislation etc.

    Julie Bindel does policy campaigning on violence against women and the judiciary.

    What policy campaigning has Sarkeesian ever done?

  147. Jrod says

    If Anita Sarkeesian is calling for censorship because she is criticizing games, then doesn’t that mean that the people criticizing Anita Sarkeesian are calling for her to be censored? If not, then where exactly is this line between “censorship” and criticism” drawn? Also, show me where exactly Sarkeesian crossed this supposed line.

    Honestly, by this standard all reviews are the work of censors. We’ve apparently already established that even if the reviewer specifically says that they don’t want anything banned, as Sarkeesian does in every single video, those reviews can still be taken as calls for banning. So surely all the other game reviews which generally don’t have that disclaimer must be really working to ban the games they review, right? Why, they don’t even deny it! What am I missing here?

  148. Adiabat says

    Ally (153): The Death of the Author has been greatly exaggerated. The reason academia is in the mess it’s in is because of the outlook you’ve just outlined.

    Do you know why “Any two critics can come along with their entirely different ideological starting points and produce very different answers to those questions, neither of which is final or correct, but both equally valid”?

    It’s because, by stripping away the intent of the author, the intended meaning, refusing to undertake research of the period and the views of the time to construct a reasonable interpretation, all they are doing when they “critique” a text is akin to looking at random cloud formations and declaring that they see a dog, or a pig, or a submarine. The results of their work is worthless, at most it could be a look into the psyche of the academic, interesting only to the academic themselves, but much more likely it’s a pointless masturbatory exercise they try to pass of as intellectualism.

    The only critiques of value is one that incorporates research to form reasonable interpretations of a text, that balances many different possible possibilities and forms a conclusion based on the most likely explanations, and one where those doing the critique tries their utmost to leave bias and ideological contaminant out of it.

    And Eagleton, really?!

  149. daveallen says

    It’s because, by stripping away the intent of the author, the intended meaning, refusing to undertake research of the period and the views of the time to construct a reasonable interpretation, all they are doing when they “critique” a text is akin to looking at random cloud formations and declaring that they see a dog, or a pig, or a submarine.

    Nice sort-of Hamlet reference.

    On that subject – do you think your point stands in reference to Ally’s earlier point about the Merchant of Venice? We can’t know if Shakespeare intended Shylock to be a venal stereotype, or a bitter persecutee, or both or neither. But there’s clearly value in interpreting him in a manner that the author may not have intended – as blockbuster Hollywood movies surely attest to.

    Sometimes authors are naive, or blind to their biases, or lying about their intentions, or actively hoping to be interpreted in various ways.

    To use “Women as background decoration pt 1” as another example – Anita’s probably on to something when she claims that the depiction of a strip joint as an environment to be explored is probably seen by developers as a shortcut to edgy, gritty, noirish atmosphere, and that there may be a lack of effort and imagination in such a design decision.

    That’s not to excuse her other points in the same vid – many of which I find unreasonable – but that’s not a bad point in and of itself.

    Nor is cedeing that point placing any taboo on allowing those who find the decision to depict a strip club effective or dramatic or interesting to provide their reasons as to why.

  150. HelloAlly says

    I agree that this has been blown totally out of proportion and I don’t take issue with game critics. I’m not a gamer, just and outside observer.

    There was no evidence that abuse and harrassment was widespread, that was merely a deflection from discussion of the issues.

    You’re probably right that gamers are feeling insulted by these gaming critics, moreso now that all of the gaming websites and you yourself (Ally) are joining in on the insults. All of your other analysis lacks merit and you’re really just come across and an ignorant ahole.

  151. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally 155

    OK, we are getting to the point where I would have to watch her videos and test-play the games she criticises to have a solid opinion. But I can tell you how this looks:

    Sarkeesian is a feminist – which is a movement, not an academic discipline. That is a feminist analysis and critique of games as such, not a couple of individual works of art. There is a fight, or a culture war, going on in the gaming field. And Sarkeesian shares the ideology and the objecttives of her movement. She also shares the work. A thorough analysis of how games are full of sexist tropes is an excellent weapon in that cultural fight, it is being used as such, and I find it impossible to believe that it was not intended as such. So she does not put up policy proposals – much like Pat Finucane did not plant bombs. Both are still an integral part of their respective movements.

    Now you can of course call me on this. You can tell me that Sarkeesian is a purely artistic person who does not care about how games develop in the future, that she is not aware that there is any political disagreement going on here, and that she would be deeply distressed were she to discover that her purely artistic investigations are being misused to promote actual political campaigning. Maybe – but it does not sound very convincing.

  152. Adiabat says

    Daveallen (159): The Merchant of Venice debate is what makes genuine critique so interesting, and fun! As critics we research the views of the era, the common views of Jews at the time, we contrast with the apparently sympathetic “do I not bleed” speech and the depicting of a sham court (and go even deeper by investigating typical court process of the time – then look at rising protestants views towards Jews… and so on down the rabbit hole). We weigh, we balance, we form a judgement after taking in all the evidence and arguments.

    What we don’t do is just present one biased side of the debate and state that side is correct. That’s not valid critique.

    But there’s clearly value in interpreting him in a manner that the author may not have intended – as blockbuster Hollywood movies surely attest to.

    Yes there’s value there, but that’s a rewrite. We are creating a new story, a new text with different meaning.

    Sometimes authors are naive, or blind to their biases, or lying about their intentions, or actively hoping to be interpreted in various ways.

    So we do research. We try and interview the developers as to their intent (you can even offer to fly to the developers’ hometown for the interview if you had a spare $160,000). We look at what they say and see if that matches the product.

    We don’t just assert.

    Anita’s probably on to something when she claims that the depiction of a strip joint as an environment to be explored is probably seen by developers as a shortcut to edgy, gritty, noirish atmosphere, and that there may be a lack of effort and imagination in such a design decision.

    Maybe, but her suggestion would be much more valid if she perhaps interviewed the designers, asked for access to the design notes (sometimes these can be found in the special edition copies of games), and actually looked at all possibilities, including the possibility that her claim is wrong. Simply stating it is so with some cherry-picked footage in the background isn’t critique.

    Maybe the developers are sexist, maybe not. But you’ll never find out the answer by watching a FF video.

  153. Adiabat says

    Daveallen: And damn you for making me watch that video again, as I couldn’t remember that argument of hers being in there. 🙂

    (And I still missed it as I’ve clicked through it to minimize the suffering this time, so I took your word for it. Do you have the timestamp?)

  154. daveallen says

    Yes there’s value there, but that’s a rewrite. We are creating a new story, a new text with different meaning.

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to. I meant films of the play, which I don’t think count as rewrites.

    We don’t just assert.

    Nor does she – she does offer proofing. BAD proofing as far as I’m concerned – I’m not a fan – but an argument is provided and sometimes there’s a nugget of something useful amongst the dross.

    Maybe, but her suggestion would be much more valid if she perhaps interviewed the designers, asked for access to the design notes (sometimes these can be found in the special edition copies of games), and actually looked at all possibilities, including the possibility that her claim is wrong.

    I am sure such actions could have greatly improved her work, but this is a standard that few critics and reviewers meet in practice.

    It is critique. I think its BAD critique, but it is critique.

  155. daveallen says

    (And I still missed it as I’ve clicked through it to minimize the suffering this time, so I took your word for it. Do you have the timestamp?)

    I will go and look.

  156. mccork says

    @Adiabat

    “Interviewing the designers”? Ugh.

    What you are describing is Bible exegesis, not academic literary criticism of the contemporary sort. You might not understand what the latter is actually about.

    It’s not looking for the Ultimate Interpretation of a literary work. It used to be like this, when it was believed that there indeed is one ultimate “Meaning” of a word, a text, an utterance. But modern humanities have shown this is not the case. To name but a few disciplines, there is linguistics, anthropology, literary criticism, hermeneutics and philosophy. Time and time again it turns out that meaning is unstable, subjective, that is it born out of interaction between text and reader rather than encoded in the text itself. And certainly the author’s own opinion is not decisive in any way. Once a work goes into the world, it acquires a life of its own. The work of a critic, therefore, is not to ask the God of a particular fictional universe, its author, what his word Actually Means. It is to look for symbolic patterns and representations interacting with the culture around it.

    Like Ally said, it’s not an exact science where you gather evidence and then formulate conclusions. And yes, sometimes it is more important for a thesis to be interesting and inspirational than to be 100% true. BUT that does not mean anything goes, nor that the work is utterly useless. Its “not an objective science in search of a law, but an interpretive one in search of meaning” (Geertz). This is probably the biggest problem with Sarkeesian’s work: she has a ton of examples, but does not go very deep. She does not say what these symbolic representations MEAN to the audiences, what functions they have – aside from the traditional feminist assertion that this is a play on power and agency. This is why many people say her videos are Feminism 101. But if you want more, you can always read Simone de Beauvoir.

  157. AnarchCassius says

    Ally Fogg, I normally admire and respect your work but I think in this case you are guilty of not trying to get enough information on this from multiple sources.

    “Groups of (primarily) men have been conspiring to incite large online mobs to bully a couple of individuals into silence and submission through organised intimidation, harassment and fear. That is it. That is the story. Nothing else matters”
    The fact that people seriously believe this, is what GamerGate is really about. Most of us were minding our own business when some petty people doing some petty things were somehow taken to represent gamers as a whole.

    “Why not, say, evangelical Christians like Jack Thompson or David Barton who do not just critique and deconstruct the content of videogames, a la Sarkeesian, but actively campaign to have them banned?”

    The difference is that nobody in gaming talks about Jack Thompson with reverence and respect. Jack Thompson just wants games banned and ain’t got a good plan for doing so, he doesn’t try to critique them. Jack doesn’t show up and speak at gamer conventions. Jack Thompson doesn’t get gaming media to label gamers “over”.

    “Can we just take it as given that when someone says something negative about gamers, they might not be referring to the whole tribe? ”

    With articles like this?http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/224400/Gamers_dont_have_to_be_your_audience_Gamers_are_over.php
    No, not really.

    Jack Thompson doesn’t really have influence on gaming the way Anita does.

    “Suppose her videos are indeed inaccurate, cherry-picked, unfair attacks on the broad games industry. Well, so what? That would make her an ineffective cultural critic”
    Unless of course she were to take advantage of the fact that someone will inevitably harass any online personality and use that to paint herself as wrongly ganged up on by an entire community. Note I am note excusing her harassers, if anything the leverage they give her makes the situation worse, but simply stating that her followers are the ones who took the actions of a few and used them to demonize an entire sub-culture. That is what this is about.

    Zoe’s supporters act like 4chan troll’s sock-puppets where somehow proof anyone against them was part of this conspiracy. 4chan’s hijinks are immature but they don’t let you write off all disagreement. 4chan is getting their fun and Quinn and Sarkeesian are getting their publicity but the trouble is that people are buying into the idea that 4chan actually represents gamers.

    The fact of the matter is Sarkeesian’s videos are laughably bad and have been reasonably refuted many times. She was already falling from the public eye before GamerGate. She’s using this to try and paint any criticism of her as part of some misogynist conspiracy. The problem is that somehow the public has been lead to believe this is about gamer “anger” when most of us don’t really have strong feelings. We don’t hate Anita Sarkeesian, we just don’t think much of her poorly made videos.

    There is no horde of angry misogynists frothing over Sarkeesian and Quinn. There’s a horde of really annoyed gamers who are sick of the antics of a handful of trolls on both sides trying to manipulate public opinion for fun and/or profit.

    The Escapist has a pretty good summary of the situation here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/12223-The-Escapist-Publisher-Issues-Public-Statement-on-Gamergate.2

  158. daveallen says

    It’s probably an extrapolation of my own from her remark about virtual sex workers “populating the many strip clubs, red light districts and brothels that have become almost obligatory in so-called mature titles” at the 4 minute mark,

    “Gritty and noirish” must have been some sort of DRM false memory on my part then.

    So she made no such claim, I’m recalling my own reading between the lines.

  159. launcespeed says

    StillGjenganger @161

    That Anita is broadly feminist may be true. However, “feminism” is a very broad field, and, as such, that makes the description about as meaningful as a description of her as a woman, or a Canadian, or an English speaker: True, but essentially meaningless.

    Her feminism is not sufficient to conclude that she shares all ideological positions or aspires to achieve all objectives, either stated from within or alleged to hold from without, of the various intersecting currents of broader feminism.

    If her critiques are agenda-driven, what is the agenda? What ideology has she stated to hold to? What is the ideology that you ascribe to her? What are the objectives she wants to achieve?

    Is there a culture war in games design? Publishing? In every aspect of the industry, or just some. Who’s fighting? What are they fighting for?

  160. launcespeed says

    On the theme of “video games as art” and the defense that video games are a “young” art, and, presumably, should be cut some slack until the art matures.

    How old does a form of art have to be until it ceases to be able to claim “young” status?

    Video games, have existed since at least 1951, in 1958 we saw the first patent lawsuits in relation to a game.

    Coin-op arcade games were attempted in 1971, the same year the first Star Trek game was created.

    The first home console in 1972, the same year Atari was founded and Pong was released.

    1975 saw the first text-adventure game and the first RPG. 1977, text-based air combat and ZORK. 1978, the first MUD – the start of today’s MMOS. 1979, Activision split from Atari. Rogue came through in 1980.

    That makes video games roughly as old an art form as Pop Art, as Minimalism, Neo-Dadism, New Realism, Fluxus, Neo-expressionism…

    None of those movements are cut any slack in criticism because of their youth.

  161. Archy says

    “So why pick on these women in particular? Why not, say, evangelical Christians like Jack Thompson or David Barton who do not just critique and deconstruct the content of videogames, a la Sarkeesian, but actively campaign to have them banned?”

    Are you taking the piss? Jack Thomson had death threats before twitter existed. I doubt this is about male privilege. It’s about a person that admitted to being a non-gamer, coming in and trying to portray the games industry as something it largely isn’t by cherry picking games, using play-throughs which are not how over 60 other people online played through (the hitman killing strippers issue), not even bothering to reply to criticism apparently. It’s stirring up some trolls and a bunch of angry people but don’t act like the majority of gamers are like that. Keep in mind Anita stands out as she pulls a heavy amount of publicity than your average person on youtube critiquing a game. If a seasoned gamer, one that grew up gaming made critiques I’d be surprised if they got as much flack (but then, this is the net and the net can be vicious). Personally I do wonder about Anita’s true understanding of gaming when she apparently wasn’t into gaming a year or 2 ago. I’d like to see her team up with some long-term gamers if she hasn’t and go through more thoroughly.

    Zoe Quinn, who apparently faked being harassed by a group of online virgins? (Wizardchan – who have some serious social anxiety problems going on and are probably a vulnerable group), she apparently ended up getting hatred thrown their way whilst these guys were apparently innocent. That’s just one issue she messed up on. Another was apparently ruining a game jam for female gamers. Her apparently being a cheater probably also stirred up a lot of bitter feelings too.

    NONE of that deserves harassment, but that is partly why some fools are harassing them. Anyone speaking out against gaming, who has decent publicity, will probably get harassed.

    BTW I say apparently since I have no 100% proof but that are the topics I’ve see posted evvvverrywhereeeee about both people, I would say women but this isn’t an attack on women, it’s an attack on people just as the attacks on Jack Thomson were an attack on a person, not men.

    Quite frankly I dislike Anita’s style, I do think she has some valid points such as the women as eye candy trope and damsel trope does get overused but my impression of her seems to be too much generalization of gaming. I would love to see her do an AMA or something and respond to legit criticism but with all the trolling going on, it’s messing stuff up.

    As for Zoe Quinn, if even 1/4 the stuff said about her is true, I wouldn’t want to know her, ever. There is some seriously dodgy stuff going on APPARENTLY, if she is innocent of it then whoever is spreading lies needs some jail-time. She APPARENTLY looks far from some innocent person caught up in mess however. It does appear she has committed some emotional abuse on the exbf but that’s a private matter, and she needs to go seek help to overcome abusive tendancies if that is true.

    The doxxers need some jailtime, or epic community service and psychological help or something. Doxxers and the trolls harassing people are seriously messing things up for people. Death threats definitely should get jailtime or at least serious psych evaluations. But in saying that, I’ve had quite a few online when gaming but they haven’t posted my address.

    Even if Zoe or Anita were performing witchcraft and sacrificing babies, it wouldn’t deserve death threats. Death threats, trolling, are all crime. If these 2 women are doing something illegal, refer them to the authorities. If they’re just being asshats, then do a respectful critique article.

  162. launcespeed says

    Folks keep saying that Anita is “Cherry Picking” yet “Cherry-picking” is not simply “illustration of points made with examples” – that’s not an axiom, you have to support that assertion before you can use it as any sort of counter-critique.

    Even IF the critique is made by a non-gamer, how does that invalidate the critique? (Hint: It does not.)

    Moving on: Repeating the allegations of faking harassment, and so on, even hedging with “apparently” does not make your point come across any better.

    Also,

    (Archy @171)

    NONE of that deserves harassment, but that is partly why some fools are harassing them.

    That is almost a textbook example of Victim Blaming:

    “Now, I ain’t saying that they deserved it, but they had it coming,” said the Victim Blamer.

    Not saying that’s what you’re doing, of course.

    As for death threats, Jack Thompson actively campaigned to ban some video games. Anita Sarkeesian pointed out that there appears to be a heavy dose of misogynistic content in video games. The actions that preceeded the death threats do not appear to be even vaguely on the same level, much less equivalent.

    Jack’s position seems a direct “threat”, Anita’s much, much less so. And yet, the volume seems as loud (if not louder) and the duration as long (if not longer) for her.

    Why is that?

  163. Archy says

    Yeah, I gave the reasons why they are doing it. Those fools probably blame them too. I personally don’t blame the victims, but I can see why they’ve stirred the hornets nest, which is different to victim blaming. Knowing that such actions will likely result in a consequence, I can point out that is why these other fools did such an act, but still I do not believe anyone deserves it. No one has it coming, nor deserves violence, but they do increase their risk via certain actions because there are bad people in this world. Eg, when I goto the club I risk violence against me, and have been punched repeatedly at a club for refusing to buy someone a drink. It’s not my fault, I don’t go there asking for it, but it is a risk that hopefully one day won’t exist. It’s why I want better laws for online trolling, doxxing, etc (and violence at clubs).

    “Jack’s position seems a direct “threat”, Anita’s much, much less so. And yet, the volume seems as loud (if not louder) and the duration as long (if not longer) for her.

    Why is that?”

    Twitter/facebook, 24/7 news cycle, fast paced spreading of information so it’s hard to gauge what would happen today with Jack. I would guess he’d face an epic level of harassment these days, compared to before. I haven’t heard of Jack Thomson for years, AFAIK his hey-day was in 2005ish and social media was no where near as big or advanced as it is today.

    Anita does seem to be making changes though, some developers…I think it was something to do with a stripper ghost in Bioshock Infinite? There is some stuff on twitter about it if I remember correctly. Jack was a bigger threat, but Anita could still be seen as a threat. I don’t see her as a threat but I do think there is potential for misleading others on the state of gaming, cherrypicking can do this and I’ve seen it already where a non-gamer showed disgust at violence against women in gaming but was oblivious to the masses of violence against male characters in games.

    RE:Cherry picking can be bad because a very very very small part of 1 game has a scene where for instance in Metro there is a woman being raped/about to be, you can choose to intervene or not but some will make it out to be like it’s some great violence against women crime….when you’ve killed probably 100males to get there and turning a seemingly blind eye to the trail of dead men. There is a torture scene in GTA which was magnitudes greater in the level of violence than the Metro one, I don’t recall much of an outrage over that in regards to how a gender is treated. Btw not saying she is making it out to be like this, I’ve seen others do it though from her vid.

    For Hitman for instance, the strippers were background decoration so to speak but I presume that is because in violence there aren’t too many somewhat realworld depictions of women in crime and Hitman is about assassinations, if I remember correct it’s usually people in power and crime-related hits but I didn’t play much of number 3. Most characters in a game like that, if loosely based off today, will mostly face male characters. It’s plausible to have criminals goto strip clubs though so that is one area where there could be quite a few female NPC’s, far more than the average in other stages if those stages are mostly areas full of criminals. A hotel though you’d expect a fairly even mix of genders.

    Now if she is making out that this is a big thing for the game, but it’s a small scene, then the cherry picking would be misleading. Also, how often do these instances occur across all games? Is it say…1% of the representation of females in games? Picking a bad scene and just showing it as is wouldn’t be bad, just if it’s used to try imply it’s far more common than it really is.

    “Even IF the critique is made by a non-gamer, how does that invalidate the critique? (Hint: It does not.)”

    Coupling the cherry picking issue + trying to make out that the problem is far bigger/more common than it really is would be the issue, if that is what is going on. I’ll make a loose analogy. Let’s say I walk into a feminist area, get treated like dirt, then start saying most feminist spaces treat men like shit when I am not even a feminist or haven’t read much feminist material, then that surely would be a problem right? I’d be cherry picking examples of negativity to try support a view. If I had been well seasoned on feminist theory then my opinion would carry far more weight. With Anita, if she had racked up many thousands of hours of gaming across many titles, over many years, it’d hold more weight than what appears to be a 1-2 year old interest in gaming which may have started just to critique it. If she did in fact start gaming just to critique it, then already it’s subject to quite a bit of bias.

    Don’t get me wrong, she has some valid points but I do wonder if her limited exposure is going to cause issue.

    “Moving on: Repeating the allegations of faking harassment, and so on, even hedging with “apparently” does not make your point come across any better.”

    But isn’t the view that these women’s/or mainly Zoe’s harassment is due to misogyny the point here? I am pointing out alleged events which would cause harassment in the trolls n fools, etc which don’t relate to misogyny. They’re the reasons (that others use to justify it) I see her being harassed for.

  164. launcespeed says

    Archy@173

    Again, what you (and others) are holding up as Anita’s “Cherry Picking” is not “Cherry Picking” in the sense of confirmation bias (e.g. using only evidence that supports the idea but ignoring evidence that discredits it) or even biased generalisation (i.e. generalisation from an unrepresentative sample) but are being used to illustrate a point e.g. “women are being used as background decoration and here is an example”. That’s not “cherry picking”.

    If, for instance, I were to state that “all women in all video games only appear as background decoration, because the women in Game X, Game Y and Game Z only appear as background decoration”, that would be both confirmation bias and biased generalisation. And really, really easy to refute. And I’m also pretty sure that nobody is making that particular argument.

    Twitter/facebook, 24/7 news cycle, fast paced spreading of information so it’s hard to gauge what would happen today with Jack. I would guess he’d face an epic level of harassment these days, compared to before.

    Really? The only difference in response to a man actively seeking a ban of games and to a woman actively pointing out misogynistic elements in games is due to Social Media? Really?

  165. johngreg says

    Yes indeed, we should all definitely pay attention to the serious problem here. Some humanist, let alone feminist, balance is called for.

    Enough with having sexually objectified and/or mistreated women characters/metaphors in video games. Seriously, fix the real problems here; leave out the token few sexy gals: there’s men to kill! Billions of them. After all, what we’re all really in Gameland for is to hack, slash, murder, and bash boys by the billions … literally, in Gameland, billions of them.

    Priorities? How the fuck do they work?

  166. StillGjenganger says

    @Launcespeed 169
    This is a little tiresome – all ‘this does not mean, that does not mean, …’ If you want to discuss this, stop asking your opponents for 100-page sociology essays. Get out of your funkhole, say how you think things are, and let us compare our versions.

    Feminism may be a broad field, but so is Islamic extremism. Each group still have their own shared objectives and manage to cooperate quite effectively to .further them.

    Anyway, here is my version. What is yours?

    One of the most basic tenets of feminism is that we live in a male-dominated world. People are formed by culture, and culture is male-dominated. It is therefore crucial to identify the male-dominant bits of culture and replace them with female-positive alternatives, in order to eventually change society. Do you think Sarkeesian does not agree with this objective?

    There is a debate going on in the gaming community about games and gamer culture both being male-dominated, with the twin effects of keeping women out and promoting misogyny among gamers. The two sides are battling quite intensely for both the games and the gamer community of the future. Do you deny this?

    Sarkisians work purports to show that games are heavily infected by misogynist tropes (or whatever the right phrase is) and therefore contribute to promoting misogyny. Her results have a prominent place in the debate and are important in promoting the general agenda of a more female-positive games world, Do you dispute this?

    Sarkisian is a long-time feminist and short-time gamer, who got into gaming specifically to work on these ‘tropes’. Do you really think she is completely ignorant of the effect her results would have in the debate, or indifferent to the goal of getting misogyny out of gaming?

    In short, Sarkeesian is an important active member in a movement that is working to change the games world away from what they see as a sexist, male-dominated present and towards a more female-positive future. Gamers are therefore entirely justified in seeing her as part of (at least a would-be) threat to their own little subculture. That does not justify their tactics, but that is another question.

    Again: What is your version?

  167. daveallen says

    Again, what you (and others) are holding up as Anita’s “Cherry Picking” is not “Cherry Picking” in the sense of confirmation bias (e.g. using only evidence that supports the idea but ignoring evidence that discredits it) or even biased generalisation (i.e. generalisation from an unrepresentative sample) but are being used to illustrate a point e.g. “women are being used as background decoration and here is an example”. That’s not “cherry picking”.

    I think you should consider a version of the same argument in return – people aren’t saying she cherry picks because they think every single claim she makes is based on cherry picking, they say it because cherry picking seems to happen regularly enough for it to be a bone of contention.

    Early on in “Women as background Decoration” Anita does make a point about how portrayal of sex workers is commonplace in “so-called mature titles”, and she provides a bevy of examples to the end that had me ceding the point.

    However she did go on to make a point that I’d paraphrase as these virtual sex workers fitting narrow stereotypes, lacking character and facilitating foregone conclusions as to their purpose.

    And this did seem to be cherry picked, because whilst a young girl in lingerie murmuring “do you want some big boy” might well be a trope we’ve seen a hundred times before, an apparently mad cockney dockside whore hiding in the shadows and boasting about making her Johns wail like banshees isn’t a good example of lack of character. There may well be other issues with such a portrayal – but it wasn’t bland.

    It’s also interesting to note that some of the people who have raised objections to her position here have been sex positive feminists rather than gamers – another correlation to #notyourshield?

    At one point I even thought her cherry picking was so misguided that it had a comic effect. She made a point that critics of her notions regarding open world games would point out that PCs can interact with both male and female bystanders, but claims the point is moot because the men aren’t portrayed as being their for the purpose of sexual gratification/objectification.

    To illustrate the point she showed a scene in which the male PC walks into a shop and the man behind the counter says “do you want a massage?”

    Which struck me as not only a cherry picked example, but one that anyone with a notion of school boy double entendre could see didn’t necessarily bolster her argument.

    (Maybe she intended it as a bit of self-deprecating innuendo – if so then fair play).

  168. Pitchguest says

    So, basically, what you’re saying, Ally, is that once a person has received abuse, any legitimate criticism against them is considered null and void?

    Hundreds, thousands, of people can disagree and without a single threat or insult, but if one or a few outliers do, the other people don’t matter?

    I look at this paragraph:

    But she brings it on herself because… No. Stop right there. There is no excuse for bullying, threatening and intimidating people.

    But don’t you know what she said about…. No. Stop right there. There is no excuse for bullying, threatening and intimidating people.

    But Social Justice Warriors are always doing…. No. Stop right there. There is no excuse for bullying, threatening and intimidating people.

    To understand how profoundly irrational the anger of gamers has become, one needs to step back and ask a simple question: So what?

    …with a puzzling expression and I feel I have to ask the question: do you say the same thing about politicians?

    Do you say the same thing about world leaders? World leaders like Netanyahu, Obama and Putin?

    Surely these must have received an even worse reception than either Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarkeesian combined. They must have been the victim of both abuse and threats against their person, and not just on the internet. Do we use the “but, but…” argument here as well? No, there is no excuse, and therefore we ought to give them carte blanche to do and say whatever they feel like? Therefore we ought to treat their questionable actions with impunity?

    Now, if we’re to go back to Zoe Quinn. It wasn’t until the mass censoring across websites discussing the issue that it went viral. It wasn’t until the various articles proclaiming “gamers are dead, gamers are over” that the issue took root. The Streisand effect in full swing. Now, here you are, apparently completely indifferent to the concerns of gamers who wants a gaming press relieved of nepotism and corruption, short of demanding that gamers in support of Gamergate should stop criticising these people because they’ve been harassed. Because they’ve gotten threats. Another blogger/journalist jumping in to defend these frail, innocent women, while they have both profited from the drama. Bullied? Intimidated?

    Over 25K comments on reddit was deleted just for making a thread about Zoe Quinn. Are you telling me they were all bullying and intimidating her? Will you employ Occam’s Razor? Several websites, Kotaku, Rock-Paper-Shotgun, Neogaf, Giant Bomb, the Escapist, and so on, including reddit and even 4chan, shadowbanned users, and censored comments on a massive scale. YouTube videos have been false-flagged. Twitter users have been suspended. Who’s the one being bullied and intimidated here, exactly? Have you really done your research? It’s shameful that conservative journalists from sites like Townhall.com and Breitbart.com have done more efforts to enact the labour than most liberal, left or centrists have done over the past month. It’s a fucking disgrace. And you want to have to go at people, gamers in particular (generalising a whole demographic because of the actions of a few), because two people who legitimately deserves to be criticised for their methods have been harassed? Really, Ally?

  169. daveallen says

    So, basically, what you’re saying, Ally, is that once a person has received abuse, any legitimate criticism against them is considered null and void?

    Surely what he was getting at in the bit you quoted was not that a person who receives abuse can’t be legitimately criticized, but that the motives behind criticism (legitimate or not) don’t justify abuse.

  170. mildlymagnificent says

    StillGjenGanger

    It is therefore crucial to identify the male-dominant bits of culture and replace them with female-positive alternatives, in order to eventually change society.

    Really? Since when?

    I’ve been reading, discussing and “doing” feminism for 40+ years and I’ve never heard anyone describe it that way.

  171. StillGjenganger says

    @Mildly 181.
    OK. Well, I am a non-feminist, and trying to avoid phrases I have heard before and would be sure to use wrong. How would you describe it? (Assuming that I make enough sense you can guess what I am getting at).
    I thought that it was a fairly general feminist idea that society needed to be changed from the current male-dominated version to one that better fitted the interests of women, that culture was an important part of what kept the patriarchy in place, and that changing the culture was an important tool for creating a different society for tomorrow (‘language shapes thought’ and all that). But I know much less of this than you. Can you tell me what the relevant principles of feminism are?

  172. Pitchguest says

    #34 That Guy

    I think probably the whole ZQ thing is due to a powderkeg of having a culture that is a) historically insular and b) historically held in contempt. AS’s videos and the statement published by ‘Rock paper shotgun’ (the games journalism website that is the primary target of claims of corruption) are both seen as the outsider attacking something held dear.
    In this respect, it is indeed a sexism issue, as women are seen as ‘outsiders’ to the videogame world and the culture surrounding 4chan/wizardchan has deeply confused attitudes to sex. (they want it, and are resentful at the ease at which they think women have access to it).

    This makes no sense. “A culture that is historically insular and history held in comtempt.” Historically insular to whom? Historically held in contempt by whom?

    Also, yeah, surprise: calling gamers misogynists and sexists will cause a backlash. Shocking. Who knew alienating your base was a bad idea? Moreover, who knew that nepotism and corruption within the industry would be called out and denounced?

    Furthermore, you’re wrong. Women are not seen as “outsiders” to the culture at all. They’ve been here for years. Decades. They’ve worked on small titles and big titles both. They’ve not been hindered or excluded from the industry whatsoever, nor have they been discouraged to participate. Old games like Gabriel Knight, new games like Uncharted, helmed by women, and yet they are two decades apart. One of my favourite game series of all time, Legacy of Kain, was made even greater by Amy Hennig. Not an outsider. You’re just wrong.

    This is a perfect storm that taints everything it touches.

    Are you trying to get a gig at Fox News? The fearmongering sensationalism is off the cuff.

    There probably is corruption and nepotism in the videogames journalism industry, in the same way there is corruption and nepotism in newspaper and television journalism, and I agree with Ally here, the bullying, harassment has been disproportionate if even the most lurid of accusations were true.

    What do you mean, disproportionate? What percentage of people do you think have harassed her and what percentage of people do you think have levelled legitimate concerns/criticism? There simply is no statistical proof that what she’s received, one versus the other, is “disproportionate.” Besides, one who’s usually looking for a discussion *ignores* the worst of the worst and instead focuses on the even-handed criticism.

    However, to be absolutely fair to TMZ and others like him, there has been a tangible result from all of this, aside from the obvious misery that has been generated.
    1)Claims surfaced that ZQ used her influence to sink a ‘game jam’ event whose goal was to involve more women in videogame creation (the fine young capitalists) such that ZQ could garner support for her own game jam. The claim is that ZQ labelled the Game Jam as ‘Opressive’ due to their policies on transgender admissions (all entrants must publicly identify as a woman, iirc).
    2)Obviously, the internet hate mob decided to make a point and suddenly The Fine Young Capitalists had more than enough money to fund their game jam. There also started circulating image macros of notable women involved in the games industry, etc, on the pretext that the criticism of ZQ was not rooted in sexism in the videogames industry, but rather of corruption in the games journalism.

    ‘The internet hate mob’. Wow. You’re definitely looking at this with an open mind. Yes, indeed. To think that this whole thing was NOT because Zoe Quinn has a vagina. Isn’t that strange? Isn’t it interesting how we’re not going after those other female developers from those image macros, if truly women are “outsiders” who should be shunned? Isn’t it? I would’ve thought the fact that so many other women are speaking up about the unethical methods employed by games journalists, the actions of Zoe Quinn and the ones affiliated with her would dispel the notion it’s a matter of sexism, but I suppose not. I guess they don’t count. And why should they? Chill girls and gender traitors all, am I right?

    I don’t know what to think about this, is it ethical to accept donations from an entity like 4chan which has carried out harassment campaigns, even if they are for a ‘good cause’? I’m a ittle hazy on the TFYC jam as well, since it is co-ordinated by a man.

    What self-righteous, holier-than-thou shite. First of all, her gripe at 4chan began when she deliberately chose to demonise a wing of 4chan, wizardchan, because of two commenters there that didn’t like her. She called this small sample of derision that wasn’t sent to her directly ‘harassment’ and claimed that she’d been targeted. A complete lie. People did some research and not only did wizardchan NOT harass her, they didn’t even know about it until articles writing about Zoe Quinn implicated them as perpetrators. Now let me tell you something about wizardchan: this is a wing populated specifically by very depressed people. Many of them suicidally depressed. For Zoe to make that baseless claim of ‘harassment’ and for people to believe her simply because she is a woman is not just sexist, but sadistic. Remember: this is a woman who made a game called ‘Depression Quest’, a game designed to help those with depression. What?

    Secondly, The Fine Young Capitalists should not accept donations just because it’s from 4chan? What has 4chan done during the events of Gamergate? Let’s see: publicly supported women in the gaming industry. Decried nepotism and corruption within the gaming industry and wished for a more transparent gaming press. Put their money where their mouth is and donated thousands of dollars to a company who intends to get more women involved as game developers in the industry (and donated thousands of dollars to a colon cancer charity to, quote, “chemo butthurt”). Created their own female character, Vivian James, that is neither sexualised nor flashy, for their entry to be used in the finished product of The Fine Young Capitalists. Based on these few examples, who has done more to get women involved in the gaming community?

    the closest analogue I can think is sending online sexist abuse to Sarah Palin and donating to family planning centres to spite her.

    Then you’re terrible at analogies. Look at it: you’re talking about someone who PURPOSEFULLY wished to ruin a gamejam focused specifically towards women to call attention to her own gamejam, and you compare this to people sending sexist abuse to Sarah Palin and then donating to family centres? How the hell is this even remotely similar?

  173. StillGjenganger says

    @mccork 184
    Well, some people will win and some will lose, with these changes. Or any changes. The overall sum may be positive (or negative) rather than zero. But claiming that everybody will be better off, even those who are strongly against the changes, is rather taking the piss.

  174. John Ryan says

    @175

    “Enough with having sexually objectified and/or mistreated women characters/metaphors in video games. Seriously, fix the real problems here; leave out the token few sexy gals: there’s men to kill! Billions of them. After all, what we’re all really in Gameland for is to hack, slash, murder, and bash boys by the billions … literally, in Gameland, billions of them.”

    Strangely enough many of those I’ve experienced repeating this line didn’t seem to have a problem with it until Anita Sarkeesian pointed out undeniable tendencies in some games to objectify women. As such it really comes across as a classic case of Whataboutery, especially when those who constantly trot it out like it answers any of her critiques seem to show no interest in performing a critique similar to Anita Sarkeesians but analysing the way men are protrayed in games. If it’s that important then why don’t they try to fund a series of videos through Kickstarter?

    I highly doubt that’ll happen and instead the cry of “Men are killed in games” looks like a way to try and delegitimise her critiques because they make them uncomfortable.

  175. mccork says

    @Still 185
    The FPS genre won’t disappear if you make a Flower-like game. Its position in the market may change (in other words: the market may grow) but it won’t be “replaced” by Flower-type games.
    Good combat gear for men won’t disappear if you start producing good combat gear for women in the army.

    It’s not always about “replacing”, it’s about making things that respond to women’s needs, likes and general perspective in life.

  176. Pitchguest says

    #180 Dave Allen

    So, basically, what you’re saying, Ally, is that once a person has received abuse, any legitimate criticism against them is considered null and void?

    Surely what he was getting at in the bit you quoted was not that a person who receives abuse can’t be legitimately criticized, but that the motives behind criticism (legitimate or not) don’t justify abuse.

    Here’s how I read it. Zoe Quinn gets backlash for her dubious methods, and games journalists gets backlash for their nepotism and the corruption surrounding both games journalism and Zoe Quinn. However, a small minority chose to vent their anger through threats and harassment. Now Ally chimes in asking, what the devil, and people respond, she brought it on herself, you don’t know what she said, etc, etc, to which his reply is, so what? There is no excuse, blah blah blah. He’s talking about “irredeemable behaviour” from “one side and one side alone.” That would be “gamers.” He’s demonising thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, a whole fucking demographic, because of the actions of very, very few.

    So what about the rest of it? Are the rest fucking invisible? Every fucking time this gets brought up, Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, it comes down to how much supposed harassment they’ve received, or how many threats, or how many this and that and it is fucking irrelevant. The question becomes twofold: so what? It’s not substantial, it’s not constant, it’s not absolute, the majority of criticism is legitimate and the ones in support of Gamergate decry harassment and threats. So why does it always come back to that canard? Because they’re women? It’s not like men are exempt from this treatment on the internet. It’s not like men are treated nicer or with more respect just because they’re men and frankly for Ally to cite someone like Laurie Penny in regards to this is laughable. Really, Ally? Laurie fucking Penny?

    No, it’s not about justifying harassment. It’s about justifying criticism despite harassment. And in at least one instance it’s been proven that the “harassment” that she supposedly were targeted by were fake. A complete fabrication. She wasn’t harassed. She wasn’t doxxed. Her “private” nude photographs were not being passed around. (Because they weren’t private, they were public, and they were taken by two independent professional companies and the albums put up on their two respective websites which anyone could gain access to.) And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We haven’t even gotten to the Silverstring Media/games media clusterfuck and that’s really where the issues lie. Are we supposed to remain silent about this just because some people are arseholes and unable to hold proper discourse?

    It’s seriously a chore to discuss these people because it gets brought up every time and that’s just because they’ve made damn sure that THAT is what we’re supposed to talk about. Their “harassment.” Their “threats.” Cry me a river. And if you don’t care about their “harassment” and their “threats” and just genuinely want to discuss the problems, you get called a misogynist. You get called a sexist. Rape apologist. Rape enabler. You name it. It’s ridiculous. Just because they happen to be women. If that’s not sexism, chivalry, the white knight in shining honour coming to defend the frail helpless maidens, laying down blankets to prevent them walking in muddied waters (because they don’t want them to get dirty), I don’t know what is.

  177. StillGjenganger says

    @Joyhn Ryan 186

    Strangely enough many of those I’ve experienced repeating this line didn’t seem to have a problem with it until Anita Sarkeesian pointed out undeniable tendencies in some games to objectify women. As such it really comes across as a classic case of Whataboutery

    Not really. It is surely relevant to point out that if it is a political problem that women appear in games just as eye-candy, it ought to be a bigger problem that many many more men appear in games just as swordfodder, or targets. The answer in both cases is that single-player combat games by their nature tend to treat NPC characters as objects and be kind of low on fully rounded human beings. You can tell both sexes to put up with it, or you can argue for banning FPS games, but singling out women as uniquely victimised is a little incoherent.

  178. StillGjenganger says

    @maccork 187
    For one thing, there is only one ‘gamer world’. Currently it is said that it is rather male-dominated, so men feel at home on the various web sites, and women tend not to. Making it more equal, or female-dominated will make women feel more at home, and men less so. That is zero sum.

    For another, the talk is not about creating more games that appeal to women. That would be great, more choice, I might even try playing some of them. It is very notable that Sarkeesian and company are not assembling funds to create new, female friendly games (that ought to be a huge bestseller, considering the enormous pent-up demand there apparently is out there), but to go on about how existing games are all terribly sexist and need to be changed. Changing the nature of current game types, rather than adding new ones, is also zero-sum.

  179. John Ryan says

    @189

    “Not really. It is surely relevant to point out that if it is a political problem that women appear in games just as eye-candy, it ought to be a bigger problem that many many more men appear in games just as swordfodder, or targets. The answer in both cases is that single-player combat games by their nature tend to treat NPC characters as objects and be kind of low on fully rounded human beings. You can tell both sexes to put up with it, or you can argue for banning FPS games, but singling out women as uniquely victimised is a little incoherent.”

    She’s approaching it from a feminist perspective so yes she is going to focus on how it protrays women. As I said this complaint comes across as disingenuous as those who trot it only tend to do so it response to Anita Sarkeesians critiques, as such it’s a near perfect example of whataboutery. If they seriously thought it was a problem they’d be doing their own critique instead of trying to dismiss Sarkeesian doing hers.

  180. Pitchguest says

    #186 John Ryan

    Strangely enough many of those I’ve experienced repeating this line didn’t seem to have a problem with it until Anita Sarkeesian pointed out undeniable tendencies in some games to objectify women.

    I’m sorry? Are you honestly under the impression that that was said under genuine concern?

    As such it really comes across as a classic case of Whataboutery, especially when those who constantly trot it out like it answers any of her critiques seem to show no interest in performing a critique similar to Anita Sarkeesians but analysing the way men are protrayed in games.

    You mean, “what about the menz”? The “Dear Muslima” type dismissal that feminists concocted to delegitimise men’s concerns?

    No, I think you’ll find it’s more about the double standards you see in Anita Sarkeesian’s videos about how so many virtual men fulfull the criterias that she decries in her Tropes’ videos but doesn’t give a shit. In distress? Check. Background characters? Check. Idealised? Check. But that’s just on the surface. More in depth, she talks about games that have, she says, sexualised virtual women and unbelievably violence against virtual women. The examples she’s used to explain sexualised virtual women are, for the most part, strippers and prostitutes. To which I say, no shit. However then she has the gall to include violence. Violence! Even someone who is only MILDLY knowledgable about games would realise just how RIDICULOUS that statement is. Violence, she says?

    For decades, games have had male avatars being eviscerated in all manner of gory fashion; faceless, nameless foes that are murdered and disposed of, even in the games where she says the *women* are being mistreated. She’s missing the forest for the trees. The bloody, gore-infested trees.

    If it’s that important then why don’t they try to fund a series of videos through Kickstarter?

    I highly doubt that’ll happen and instead the cry of “Men are killed in games” looks like a way to try and delegitimise her critiques because they make them uncomfortable.

    Are you really this clueless?

  181. Pitchguest says

    #191 John Ryan

    She’s approaching it from a feminist perspective so yes she is going to focus on how it protrays women

    Oh, a feminist perspective. So not an objective, scientific perspective then?

    As I said this complaint comes across as disingenuous as those who trot it only tend to do so it response to Anita Sarkeesians critiques, as such it’s a near perfect example of whataboutery. If they seriously thought it was a problem they’d be doing their own critique instead of trying to dismiss Sarkeesian doing hers.

    Yes, you are right. It would be “whataboutery” if we actually did care, but we don’t. Get. A. Clue.

  182. Carnation says

    I think that Ally and almost all of the commentariat are missing the point a bit.

    The people harassing the people they’re harassing are doing it, mostly, because they like harassing people. It’s just a bonus that they’re young, confident women. They feed off of the negative attention. Sure, misogony is a factor, so too is immature hostility to “SJW” (which is the online version of “looney lefties”), but at the crux of this is something quite simple: there are a number of tech savvy people (and Twitter prosecutions show that they have females amongst them) that simply enjoy the attention and reactions that they get.

    I was recently reading about Combat 18. Some of their members explained how, really, they knew fine well that the Holocaust happened, but they denied it anyway. Why? To be “anti-establishment” and to get a reaction.

    Those doing most of the harassing know they’re doing it for the “lulz” – assorted idiots believe that it’s actually a noble cause. True to form, many of them are broadly or explicitly sympathetic to MRA theorising.

    4Chan, I have to say, has provided many laughs. But far too often it’s been instrumental in the type of behaviour that we’ve seen. It represents the good and the bad of the internet.

    For those guiding or participating in #GamerGate, every one of us in this discussion are doing what they want. Likewise, every buffoon who actually buys into the “noble cause” trope.

    It’s telling, and I condemn myself in this, that Ally’s article about prison merited 16 comments, whereas the online spat between those condemning the harassment of young women and those justifying is attracts dozens more.

  183. daveallen says

    He’s talking about “irredeemable behaviour” from “one side and one side alone.” That would be “gamers.” He’s demonising thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, a whole fucking demographic, because of the actions of very, very few.

    I didn’t particularly like those elements of Ally’s OP I deemed hyperbolic either.

    I doubt he thinks the issue is particular to gamers, it’s just that in terms of a vivid reaction to feminists gamers are flavour of the month.

    We can get Ally back the next time fans of football are in the crosshairs – won’t be long!

    Presumably, beyond some sort of eternal deconstruction of anything less than optimally fair he has said, it is worth acknowledging that you can’t play trumps with grievances, and that when you have two broad parties that have wrongs, it’s a recipe for stagnation to refuse to cede one set of wrongs because of another.

    Whereas to bullishly refuse to cede the point that, yes, it is upsetting for a lot of people to get told “you deserve raping” and so on, puts you in the sort of position whereby your opponents can go “well he’s just not engaging in any sort of sensible reality”, let alone being misogynist or whatever.

    Better to go “I don’t like the rape and death imagery some people seem to require in order to make their points” and then get on with making your points.

  184. StillGjenganger says

    Whatboutery would be saying “you should not look at this problem, you should look at another problem first”. “We also need shelters for men” is not an argument against providing shelters for women. The point here is that there is no problem – on either side. And that any argument that suggested violence against women was a particular problem of certain games would suggest that violence against men was an even bigger problem. After all the vast majority of victims of in-gams violence are men.

  185. mccork says

    For one thing, there is only one ‘gamer world’. Currently it is said that it is rather male-dominated, so men feel at home on the various web sites, and women tend not to. Making it more equal, or female-dominated will make women feel more at home, and men less so. That is zero sum.

    So basically you’re saying what a lot of gamers have been protesting all along: that it’s a boys’ club, afraid that girls will come in and ruin everything 🙂 This is both uncharitable and inaccurate for the gaming community, which at this point consists predominantly of adult men and women. I seriously believe this community can handle the terrible threat of expanding their narrative scope beyond damsels in distress and dead hookers.

  186. Carnation says

    “We can get Ally back the next time fans of football are in the crosshairs – won’t be long!”

    I’ll argue the toss about football with anyone, any time.

    It brings out the absolute worst in people and pollutes daily interaction with inane, incessant cliche. It is capitialism personified and relies on the mass delusion of “customers” who create a mythology of kinship instead of creating something meaningful.

    The Freddie Shepherd scandal should have been a wake-up call for the contempt that “supporters” are held in by those exploiting their abjectly misguided loyalty, but it wasn’t. Rather than image a life without an identi-kit persona, football fans preferred the victim complex.

    I’m not calling on football to be banned, but clubs should have to pay for the policing costs associated with their matches and some type of code of conduct should be introduced for players who are, regrettably, held in high esteem by many impressionable people. Those convicted of serious crimes should be banned, outright, for punative periods of time from playing.

    Then, maybe, football could be a force for some good. But it isn’t. It stinks, and will continue stinking up public life in this nation.

  187. StillGjenganger says

    I seriously believe this community can handle the terrible threat of expanding their narrative scope beyond damsels in distress and dead hookers.

    Translation: “I cannot see why it is a problem for other people to change their society so that it matches the way I want things.” Funny how nobody ever says “I cannot see why it is a problem for people like me to adapt to the way other people want to do things”.

  188. mccork says

    #199
    Funny to see whom you classify as “THE society”, and whom as outsiders or intruders. In case you didn’t notice, women are the society too. They are, like, half of it.
    Moreover, how do you see this “adaptation”? Should women just shut up and be happy about games as they are? This assumption is somehow rude, and it refuses to acknowledge the possibility that there are perspectives different than yours. Make their own game? This is precisely what Quinn did, and what many indie devs are doing, and still they get backlash for “ruining” gaming. “Adapt” to death/rape threats? Shrug off the fact that the web is a hostile environment for you? This means asking women to suffer in silence.

    Your posts are the clearest example of desperately protecting the status quo I’ve seen in a while.

  189. StillGjenganger says

    @mccork 200

    Should women just shut up and be happy about games as they are?

    Should men just shut up and be happy about games being changed to suit someone else?

    It is nice and pleasant to be part of the dominant group, be it in society on in a gaming culture. And it is unpleasant when things are always done in a way that does not fit you. That goes for both sides. Since any society can have only one set of rules, that gives a lot of difficult conflicts. I will fight for my side, but I will not pretend that doing things my way is the only right and natural approach, or that it really should be so easy for everybody else to do as I want. Unlike you.

  190. Archy says

    @171 launcespeed

    “Really? The only difference in response to a man actively seeking a ban of games and to a woman actively pointing out misogynistic elements in games is due to Social Media? Really?”

    Social media + online anonymity allow for far far far more threats of violence like this with the hope of getting away with it. I dare say death threats are probably much greater in number these days due to that. So it’s difficult to say what Jack would receive in today’s world, I would guess he’d receive an epic level of abuse and threats, far surpassing Anita due to trying to ban games.

    10 years ago I don’t think people had as much ability to spread the news, I know that I hear of stupidly massively x 1000 more smaller news articles these days, than I did 10 years ago when I actually spent much more time online than I do today. Social media is a great way to spread information, reach a much wider audience and hence the chance of finding some nutter with a vengeance is much greater.

    Back in 2005, unless it hit the major news sites, chances are you probably wouldn’t have noticed unless you were on certain websites but these days I see for instance the Anita issue discussed on various facebook pages setup to speak on gender roles affecting children..that’s how far it seems to spread these days. Just today for instance I found out that it’s apparently not required to have medical training to circumcise male children in the U.K, via social media, and as I don’t read U.K news sites actively I probably would never have known without social media.

    I actually saw the Zoe stuff on reddit about a day before the major gamer news sites picked up on it and the only reason I saw it on the major game news sites is because it was discussed on reddit and I was checking every once n a while to see wtf was going on. The hour by hour stuff was like some crazy movie unfolding, conspiracy theories flying around like the lithium supplies have been cut for a month. I’d say social media allowed the Streisand effect to massively increase the publicity on the whole Zoe issue.

    I am guessing it’s also easier to find anonymous services to post threats from these days too, not sure if things like TOR were available in 2005ish. That could encourage more people to make threats as they feel safer to do so.

    RE Cherry picking – Not sure if I made it clear – I am unsure of if she is cherry picking, I haven’t watched all of the videos, I’m just reporting on what I’ve commonly seen said about it.

  191. mccork says

    “I will not pretend … that it really should be so easy for everybody else to do as I want.”

    Do you realize you wrote it right after you complained that people find it so damn difficult to do as you want:

    …funny how nobody ever says “I cannot see why it is a problem for people like me to adapt to the way other people want to do things”.

    ?
    The joke is on you, I am afraid 🙂

  192. Archy says

    “This is precisely what Quinn did, and what many indie devs are doing, and still they get backlash for “ruining” gaming. ”

    Oh please, she wasn’t harassed for making a game, nor is her making a game giving her backlash.

    Before being lumped in with other peoples views, it doesn’t bother me that people are critiquing games. I don’t think it will ruin games, I just hope they are accurate and don’t mislead others. I would love for more diversity in gaming, more strong female characters like Samus. Next GTA should have a female protagonist.

  193. StillGjenganger says

    @mccork 203
    Not really. Try re-reading the posts a few times – they are fairly short. I am sure you will get the point eventually.

  194. mccork says

    @Archy
    Sure, that was a bit of a shorthand there. I’ll try to explain. I meant that there is a lot of criticism and sometimes anger directed at games that are somehow different from the core CoD/WoW type. Indie games, mobile games, even AAA titles deviating from typical representations of gender and sexuality (like Dragon Age 2, for instance) – they are sometimes ostracized and dismissed as shit, as hipster bait, as “not the REAL games”, and people who like them are excluded from the community as “not real gamers”. In other words, even “making your own game” does not guarantee that the gamergate-like mob will leave you in peace.
    Btw. I was really struggling to find the right names for the phenomena I am trying to describe here.

    @Still

    Yes, I get it. You like how things are and don’t want any change. I feel for you, but there are other people on this planet too.

  195. Schala says

    Should women just shut up and be happy about games as they are?

    They already are. It’s women who don’t even WANT to play games, that are complaining mostly.

    It’s like me, who has never read a romance novel in my life (even though I’m a woman) coming in to complain about how it’s not welcoming enough to men and tomboy women who want action and explosions in their medias.

  196. Archy says

    Ah, I actually think of “gamer” games as quite different to normal games too. Maybe hardcore gamer is the better qualifier?

    My mother plays bejeweled for 3-4 hours a night, I play battlefield 4, played wow, + 200+ other games, have about 3-500gig of games installed right now. Only one of us is called a gamer, even though she actually plays “games” more often than I do these days.

    I think the “gamer” scene is very very different to people that play games. Take pc gaming for instance, many of us talk about our setup, we need decent internet connections usually, decent graphics cards, etc to play the latest AAA titles, team up and use VOIP or attend lan parties for multiplayer games, etc. Compare that to people that only really play farmville, or angry birds, it’s 2 very very very very different ideas of what a gamer is. They’re still gamers, but it’s a different style of gaming completely. So when people say gamer, I assume they play xbox/psX/gameboy/PC/arcade games, etc vs farmville type stuff.

    But I don’t give a hoot about “community”. I just play games, I don’t care if people wanna call themselves gamer or not, it’s not my identity. I’ll play games with anyone if they’re respectful and don’t mess around (TK’ers need to be drawn n quartered! 😛 )

  197. Schala says

    Indie games, mobile games, even AAA titles deviating from typical representations of gender and sexuality (like Dragon Age 2, for instance) – they are sometimes ostracized and dismissed as shit, as hipster bait, as “not the REAL games”, and people who like them are excluded from the community as “not real gamers”. In other words, even “making your own game” does not guarantee that the gamergate-like mob will leave you in peace.

    I’ll dismiss people who only play FPS, only sports games and only GTA as not being gamers, on top of the people only playing on their phones. I don’t really care about indie whatever.

    To me it’s mostly a duration. You play 15 or more hours a week. On a constant basis (not just 1-2 weeks, but forever until you die). Below that you’re not a core gamer, or in a coma/hospital/middle of the woods.

  198. Ally Fogg says

    Gjenganger (199)

    Funny how nobody ever says “I cannot see why it is a problem for people like me to adapt to the way other people want to do things”.

    I think reasonable people do this all the time, on the assumption that the reason people want me to adapt to the way other people do things seems at all reasonable.

    For example, like everyone of my age and background, I grew up routinely talking about poofs and pakis and darkies.

    Some time in the late 70s / early 80s, I began to hear and understand that those words caused actual hurt and harm to people, and their continued use made our culture a nastier place. So I changed my behaviour and I’ve been a better person for it ever since.

    These days, like most people in a relationship. I regularly adapt my behaviour to fit in with how my partner likes to do things. (And sometimes she does similarly with me). It is just part of being a member of a social species.

  199. Schala says

    Oh and I tend to discuss gaming only on forums about a specific game. Even on Gamefaqs: specific game only. I don’t care about a gaming community. I also don’t have (or want) a Twitter account, or even a cellphone.

    I tend to find community with people playing my own MMO, while I play that MMO. I typically play over 50 hours a week in a MMO. Sometimes even up to 100 hours a week. When I quit a MMO, there may be a period (2 weeks to over 1 year) where I play only console, so I may play less than 50 hours, but always more than 25. I care very little about whatever happens outside it, gaming or otherwise. News are just subjects of conversations to distract myself from talking about gaming 100% of the time. I pick my MMOs with care, and am an avowed addict.

    I don,t care about CoD, GTA, or games I won’t ever buy. But I do care about people trying to change all genres when they’re mostly fine that way. My favorite genre, JRPGs, doesn’t need any Sarkeesian make-over. Since it would probably involve not having any female characters (given how violence against women is evil, they’ll replace all recipients of violence with men, then all decorations with men, no more women in games).

  200. Ally Fogg says

    Pitchguest.

    So, basically, what you’re saying, Ally, is that once a person has received abuse, any legitimate criticism against them is considered null and void?

    No. I’m not. ,

    I’m saying that long ago the extent and volume of criticism in these cases far exceeded any level that could be called reasonable, making its legitimacy null and void.

    Supposing someone called Brian dropped a piece of litter, like an empty McDonalds carton, say, in a back street in Cowpat Junction, Idaho.

    Is it legitimate to criticise Brian for dropping litter? Sure.

    If half the internet went utterly bananas, doxxing Brian’s personal details, circulating the most embarrassing photos of Brian that could be found, writing thousands of articles, blogs and hundreds of thousands of forum comments about him, millions of social media comments discussing his life, behaviour and personality and descending upon Brian’s own email, twitter and Facebook to send him threats of death and violence or reams and reams of foul personal abuse going on for days or weeks or years.

    Just supposing all that happened. Would it mean that Brian or anyone else cannot be criticised for dropping letter? No, it wouldn’t.

    Would it mean that Brian dropping a piece of litter had become, in the overall scheme of things, a pretty trivial and inconsequential act in comparison to the monumentally disproportionate reaction? Yes, of course it would.

    Someone up thread (think it might have been you) drew a comparison to politicians who have, in most cases, started wars that have killed thousands of people or overseen policies that have devastated entire economies and ruined lives for millions.

    As it happens, no, I still don’t think things like doxxing and death and rape threats are a legitimate response, but the fact that you think a comparison can even be made between those guys and a couple of obscure little internetr feminists just reveals how ludicrously irrational all this has got

  201. Pitchguest says

    Ally: Adapting behaviour is reasonable up to a point. But then I’ve had some ludicrous suggestions put to me. For instance, that one should cater their language on the internet to the most major demographic. (He was using Americans as an example.) So don’t use the word ‘cunt’ because in America the word is insulting and a gendered slur towards women. Or don’t say this, don’t say that. And so on and so forth. That wouldn’t be adapting behaviour, that would be changing the very notion of who you are.

    If English was my native language and someone told me stop using the word because it offended their sensibilities and not just around them but in general, I would tell them to go fuck themselves. And rightly so. Because then it stops becoming an appeal to politeness and starts becoming more like policing. It’s right, the secret to a good relationship is compromise. But compromise while taking one step forward and two steps back each time isn’t really compromise and I imagine even you, Ally, wouldn’t want that. (Nor your partner if the roles are reversed.)

  202. StillGjenganger says

    I think reasonable people do this all the time, on the assumption that the reason people want me to adapt to the way other people do things seems at all reasonable.

    True, True. I do think that people often imagine it is rather easier for others to adapt to their favourite customs than the other way around – and mccork seemed a prime example. But I grant you that progressive people in general are remarkably willing to adapt their customs in favour of groups that they see as politically deserving – though this tolerance emphatically does not extend beyond that. Conservatives like me are probably more grumpy all around. The best I can say for myself is that I try to be fair in weighing up the costs and benefits, and to remember that adapting to a foreign style is always a chore, both for those who agree with me and those who do not.

  203. John Ryan says

    @192 Pitchguest

    “I’m sorry? Are you honestly under the impression that that was said under genuine concern? ”

    Do you have any proof she didn’t genuinely want to analyse these tropes within video games? If however you’re referring to StillGjengangers objection that she’s not covering the protrayal of men within video games then I don’t think it was said with any genuine concern.

    “You mean, “what about the menz”? The “Dear Muslima” type dismissal that feminists concocted to delegitimise men’s concerns?”

    When the complaints are only brought up in response to a series of videos that explicitly are analysing video games from a feminist perspective and not mentioned the rest of the time then it’s whataboutery. if you, StillGjenganger and all the others who bring this up are so concerned then critique how men are treated in games, don’t use it as a wn excuse to try and silence her. Get off your collective arses and actually do something rather than complaining that she’s not covering these things when she never claimed to do so.

    “No, I think you’ll find it’s more about the double standards you see in Anita Sarkeesian’s videos about how so many virtual men fulfull the criterias that she decries in her Tropes’ videos but doesn’t give a shit. In distress? Check. Background characters? Check. Idealised? Check. But that’s just on the surface. More in depth, she talks about games that have, she says, sexualised virtual women and unbelievably violence against virtual women. The examples she’s used to explain sexualised virtual women are, for the most part, strippers and prostitutes. To which I say, no shit. However then she has the gall to include violence. Violence! Even someone who is only MILDLY knowledgable about games would realise just how RIDICULOUS that statement is. Violence, she says?

    For decades, games have had male avatars being eviscerated in all manner of gory fashion; faceless, nameless foes that are murdered and disposed of, even in the games where she says the *women* are being mistreated. She’s missing the forest for the trees. The bloody, gore-infested trees.”

    Are you really this obtuse? She said from the get go she was analysing the way women are displayed and treated in games and you’re shocked that she’s not covering how men are protrayed. It’s not that complicated.

    “Are you really this clueless?”

    Are you really so uncomprehending that you can’t understand why a series of videos looking at tropes regarding the protrayal of women in video games are focusing on Women?

    @193 Pitchguest

    “Oh, a feminist perspective. So not an objective, scientific perspective then?”

    You can’t objectively critique anything in the media, everyone approaches things with their own subjective experiences. Furthermore Sarkeesian never said she was going to critique games from an “objective, scientific perspective” so, to use your own words, Get. A. Clue.

    “Yes, you are right. It would be “whataboutery” if we actually did care, but we don’t. Get. A. Clue.”

    Yes those throwing death and rape threats around don’t care at all and all those constantly attacking her, the overwhelming majority of who have likely not bothered to watch her videos, don’t care one bit. Absolutely laughable.

    Furthermore the person i was talking to did try to Whatabout regarding men being killed in games so Get. A. Clue.

  204. Adiabat says

    Daveallen (164):

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to. I meant films of the play, which I don’t think count as rewrites.

    Ah, I thought you meant Hollywood film adaptions where content is regularly altered to fit the Hollywood market.

    It is critique. I think its BAD critique, but it is critique.

    No, at best it’s equivalent to a dissertation proposal. She’s identified a question and providing a bit of evidence to justify maybe doing an analysis and critique on it. Until she actually does the work it’s not critique.

  205. Adiabat says

    Mccork (166):

    “Interviewing the designers”? Ugh.

    And this reaction to someone saying that maybe they should look at primary sources is what’s wrong with modern academia. It’s much easier to just invent whatever far-fetched interpretation you want on it eh? All you need to do that is a good imagination.

    What you are describing is Bible exegesis, not academic literary criticism of the contemporary sort. You might not understand what the latter is actually about.

    Actually I think you have misunderstood. I am not trying to describe contemporary academic literary criticism, I hold it in contempt. I’m describing what valid academic criticism involves.

    What you describe in the rest of your post isn’t criticism at all. By removing the author, the craftsmanship and the intent, you are essentially left with a random stimulus for the academic to respond to; they might as well be critiquing tea leaves or cloud formations because the critique is no longer about the text. The text is just the vehicle for the academic to bring out their own psyche and obsessions, like a Rorschach image.

    Once you strip away all intent behind the text and focus on “symbolic patterns and representations interacting with the culture around it” (but for some reason never seem to be studied using statistically significant focus groups, as that would be actual work), a “critical analysis” which states, as one example, that Newton’s Principia Mathematica is a ‘Rape Manual’ is really no different to stating that a vaguely phallus-shaped cloud reinforces the “Patriarchy”. After all, the fact that intent doesn’t matter means that there doesn’t have to be intent: all that matters is ‘interpretation’.

    So considering that a “critical theorist’s” critique isn’t actually about the text and is about how they imagine that a text could be interpreted by any old nutjob, why shouldn’t gamers object to their texts being used as nothing more than intellectual masturbation fodder, especially when it’s being unilaterally applauded by the gaming press? Genuine critique is welcome, but that’s not what we are seeing.

    And I don’t even know what to say to this:

    And yes, sometimes it is more important for a thesis to be interesting and inspirational than to be 100% true.

    It’s supposed to be an academic discipline, not a form of activism.

  206. John Ryan says

    @201 StillGjenganger

    “Should men just shut up and be happy about games being changed to suit someone else?”

    The games you love and play will still be made. I think the problem is that you view it as a zero sum game and that if there’s more inclusiveness then that means you’ll be pushed out – that’s not going to happen anymore than the critiques of various Hollywood blockbusters or other forms of media and how they portray various sections of society, , of which there are many as Ally linked to upthread, has stopped Hollywood from continuing to make them kind of films.

    What I think is particularly depressing about all of this is that for years all i heard from many gamers, inlcuding myself, is how they want games and gaming to be took seriously and not just dismissed as a childish waste of time. That’s starting to happen now and people are finding out that being took seriously doesn’t just involve acceptance, critique and criticism comes with it. No you may not be one of those gamers but the desire to be took seriously was prevalent within Gaming and the Gaming media for a long time.

    I don’t know your nationality so the following may or may not mean anything to you – It reminds me of how UKIP and its voters demanded to be took seriously for years and then, when it finally happened, were outraged that being took seriously involved people critiquing and sometimes criticising them.

  207. Adiabat says

    John Ryan (215): John, I think you’ve missed the point.

    People aren’t bringing up how men are representing in video games to compete with Sarkeesian as to who is the bigger victim. People bring up men in video games to provide a wider context that makes Anita’s arguments invalid. If she was doing genuine criticism she would be looking at this context herself and wouldn’t need other people to bring it up.

    You can’t objectively critique anything in the media, everyone approaches things with their own subjective experiences.

    But that doesn’t mean you don’t bloody try! Yes 100% objectivity is largely impossible, but there are processes, methods and approaches that serve to reduce bias and subjectivity as much as possible.

    The fact that feminist critics use this argument and don’t even try to be objective just means that everyone else should consider their critiques to be worthless.

  208. StillGjenganger says

    @John Ryan 215.
    Even if you are working ‘from a feminist perspective’ you still have an intellectual obligation that your analysis of a field must have some reasonable relation to the actual facts. Otherwise you are moving into religion.
    People who say there is a need for shelters for battered women do not claim that health policy is anti-woman and must be rebalanced – they are simply pointing to a specific, real need. Which is why ‘men need shelters too’ is not a counterargument. Sarkeesian and her arguments come into a debate where the main point is ‘the gaming is tilted against women tilted and must be rebalanced to be more female-friendly’. Here it is a valid counterargument to point out that male and female NPCs are equally objectified, and that victims of game violence are overwhelmingly male. This does prove that these games are not tilted against women, at least not as far as violence is concerned. What is left is a general argument about whether it is morally acceptable to have game figures that are pretty much passive objects – but since that is really unavoidable in many kinds of games that argument will not go far.

    The argument we have is not “We need to treat men better in games – Therefore we do not need to treat women better in games”, which is nonsense. The argument is “We agree that violence against men in games is not a problem – Violence against women in games is much less than violence against men – Therefore violence against women in games is not a problem either”. Which is a perfectly reasonable argument.

  209. mccork says

    @Adiabat
    By that logic, you should hold Joseph Campbell in contempt as well. After all, he did exactly what Sarkeesian does: took a number of stories from different cultures and times and identified the general pattern.
    The same goes for the logical paradoxes of antiquity, like Achilles and tortoise. It’s false so it’s worthless, nevermind that it inspired centuries of philosophers, and a good chunk of modern mathematics.
    I’ll give you a clue. If you hate feminists so much and yet insist on watching them, you’re gonna have a bad time.

  210. mccork says

    Btw. I’m not even a fan of Sarkeesian. Her content is too basic for me, and the delivery a bit bland. But her approach is perfectly fine. Get over it.

  211. StillGjenganger says

    @ John Ryan 218

    The games you love and play will still be made. I think the problem is that you view it as a zero sum game and that if there’s more inclusiveness then that means you’ll be pushed out – that’s not going to happen

    I am not convinced. Just for starters, ‘more inclusivity’ could well end up as ‘each individual game must have a gender and racial balance, even if the story is about battles between crusading knights’. Replacing the ‘titillating whore’ trope with the ‘woman that is in every respect equal and stronger as each male character’ trope, if you like. If the push was for having more games with more female protagonists, female-friendly storylines (whatever they are) etc., that would be a win-win proposition. More choice, more ideas, and people would choose the games they liked, with few or many strippers, according to taste. Instead the push seems to be for getting rid of anti-woman elements from existing franchises, preferably from future games in general. Will it succeed entirely? maybe not. Up to a point? could well be. But if the project fails it will not be for want of trying.

  212. Adiabat says

    Mccork (221): I’m afraid I’m not very familiar with Joseph Campbell’s work. Did he randomly sample those stories, or incorporate as many as possible into his view, or did he just choose the ones that support a particular message?

    The same goes for the logical paradoxes of antiquity, like Achilles and tortoise. It’s false so it’s worthless, nevermind that it inspired centuries of philosophers, and a good chunk of modern mathematics.

    Integrals baby! But I’m afraid I’m not following you. I mentioned the Shylock debate above, and one side of that is right and one is wrong, we just don’t know which. Trying to figure which is right is what makes genuine critique so much fun.

    It’s okay to end up being wrong, as long as you’ve approached the subject in a balanced and comprehensive way, while trying to reduce bias and ideology from your studies as much as you can. Genuine critique is welcome! But one sided, cherry-picked, diatribes are not.

    I’ll give you a clue. If you hate feminists so much and yet insist on watching them, you’re gonna have a bad time.

    My first post on this thread was actually applauding some feminists. My view of feminism is more convoluted than simply “hate”. I’ve gone into more detail in some of Ally’s other threads when asked.

  213. Schala says

    The argument is “We agree that violence against men in games is not a problem – Violence against women in games is much less than violence against men – Therefore violence against women in games is not a problem either”. Which is a perfectly reasonable argument.

    This, a million times this.

    If violence in videogames is bad, but only against women, it’s not arguing for equality, it’s arguing for removing women from games. Which is not a better thing.

    Violence in videogames is going to stay. It will be mostly against unnamed faceless mooks. Currently they’re still mostly male. Complaining women are even a tiny percent of them is going to lead devs to say “fuck that, let’s go back to the Star Wars days when Storm Troopers were all male, when red-shirts were all male”. Which won’t help, one bit, people wanting more female representation in videogames.

  214. Clarence Woodworth says

    Neither Anita herself , nor any of her supporters here has given out any numbers. The claim is there is a pervasive problem with certain tropes concerning womens representation in games (these claims as articulated by Sarkeesian aren’t even nuanced enough to claim this alleged persuasiveness is mostly confined to one or two or x number of genres of games – apparently Candy Crush is bad too) and the larger game industry, though that is often tacked on by others as Anita mostly sticks to talking about games. But no numbers or studies are ever given. Counting PC and console gaming over the past 30 years, there must be somewhere around 100 thousand different titles produced, at least if you count indies and studios that no longer exist. Right off the top of my head, I’m not sure if Anita even mentions more than 50 games in all of her videos combined. This is laughable. To call what Anita does as criticism or even worse, analysis is to give it a status it doesn’t even begin to approach, even if you ignore any potential dishonesty in her videos. We are given not numbers and nuance, but instead feminist talking points that often contradict something she said in an earlier video. People are never allowed an open format with her to discuss concerns with her videos. No gaming site that I am aware of has ever ran an article critical of even the smallest part of her claims. This isn’t a conversation. This is preaching. And for Ally to pretend it is otherwise is disgusting.

  215. Clarence Woodworth says

    Speaking just in terms of personal experience, I went to a classic video game party a mutual friend threw last week.
    Out of 9 people, 2 were women and 2 were black, and both the black people were men so I’m not double counting.
    I got my ass kicked in Galaga and Tetris, but a great time was had by all.

    Gosh, thought we had a diversity problem.

  216. Clarence Woodworth says

    #223:
    Don’t forget video game review boards, Ms Clinton and Tipper Gore.
    Wouldn’t third wave feminists just love to get Federal legislation or pressure toward adding a ‘misogyny’ criteria to games?

    Anitia isn’t the first moral crusader (assuming good faith, really I think she is a ‘moral entreupreneaur’) and won’t be the last. The funny thing is: Jack Thompson got death threats and nobody in the ‘gaming press’ cared.
    No one in the ‘gaming press’ went to bat for him either.
    But right now, if Anita had a strap-on, the vast majority of them would be bent over…

  217. mccork says

    No gaming site that I am aware of has ever ran an article critical of even the smallest part of her claims

    Just from the top of my head: The Escapist, the No Right Answer series – they had an episode disagreeing with her. I am sure more examples can be found.
    Next time you play with that group, maybe ask those girls and black guys what they think of diversity in games.

    @Adiabat
    By Campbell I mean his “Hero With a Thousand Faces”, where he examines the underlying structure of hero myths around the world. Quite useful for analyzing adventure stories. He includes as many examples as possible, but if you do a cross-cultural analysis like that it is very easy to accuse you of treating your sources anachronistically, of linguistic lapses, decontextualisation of ancient texts, and so on and so forth. Some similar criticisms have already been made against Anita and her treatment of Japanese games, so we can see there is some parallel here. Of course Sarkeesian is nowhere near that level of sophistication yet, but her method is quite similar.

    Later I was referring to the “interesting & inspirational” type of thesis. Ancient paradoxes are an example of that. But I’ll try to give you a different one. Let’s say there is a book from the broad genre of evangelical fantasy fiction (yes, it’s a thing). The plot summary reads: “A mercenary from the future is sent to kill Apostle Paul”. [It’s a real book btw., I just forgot the title and can’t find it now.] Now, let’s try a following proposition: this book is in fact a reworking of the plot of The Terminator, which in turn is a reworking of the Messiah story known from the gospels, complete with annunciation, near-virgin birth and salvation of mankind. Of course even looking at such a thesis we know it is not 100% true: these stories will not be 100% parallel. However, it’s a good starting point for discussion on Biblical tropes and influences, on how reclusive groups such as evangelicals nevertheless adopt the poetics of modern popular culture, how certain symbols speak to us and what it says about our cultural priming, and so on, and so forth. Now, if you asked the creators of the respective texts what they think of that connection, I doubt whether they would be able to tell you anything useful.

    Different schools of thought – ideologies, as you call them – are valuable, because they can give you new insights. The Marxist approach has revolutionized historiography, because it introduced a previously unexamined variable: economic conditions. Feminism is similar in that it introduces the question of gender, with the tentative proposition that yes, it does make a fundamental difference. Now, that’s something you can discuss.

    And, most importantly, in literary criticism it’s not about looking for a single right answer (!). That’s philology, history, text analysis etc. Literary criticism is about making connections between texts of culture. As Ally said, it’s a creative endeavor. Yes, I absolutely agree there should be rigor, that your argument should be as fair as possible, that it should address counterpoints and feature a ton of evidence. But if you dismiss a whole research perspective as “ideological”, you’re not going to have a conversation. This is where I see the most value to what Sarkeesian is doing: she started a conversation.

    That’s a whole clusterfuck of issues here, but I guess my point would be that the methodology of cultural critique is not the same as the methodology of sciences, and that’s great. If you try to hold them to the same standards, of course you’re gonna be disappointed, but that does not mean there is no value there.

  218. StillGjenganger says

    @mccork 229
    On this one I think you are broadly right, actually. But there is the limit that the result should reflect some major structure in the text or field you are looking at, and not just the ideological inspiration you started with. Which does require at least checking that your analysis does not give a grossly misleading impression of the field under study, and that there is not some obvious alternative explanation that fits the same observations even better. If you simply confirm your ideology without getting anything out of the object under study, you are preaching, not analysing. Anecdotically I have come across a feminist or two who thought it was so obvious the answer was patriarchy that she did not really pay much attention to the question, or to the field she was looking at. So, how much does Sarkeesian have to say that explains the games world, as opposed to using it as an illustration for her ideological position?

  219. Clarence Woodworth says

    from the top of my head: The Escapist, the No Right Answer series – they had an episode disagreeing with her. I am sure more examples can be found.

    That is a video series. Not an ARTICLE: more to the point , plenty of videos critiquing Anita Sarkeesian can be found. Just usually not from any of the Gaming websites (and the one you directed me to is by the Escapist, currently the ONLY ‘major’ gaming site that is not on the official blocklist ). There’s several from Thunderf00t, dozens if not hundreds of others as well. Including quite a few females. Easily found on Youtube. However when it comes to the GAMING WEBSITES,critical videos in any way attached to the stie and MORE to the POINT critical written articles are few and far between if they exist at all. Indeed, I’m going to do a major search over the past two years of articles on Kotaku, Gamasutra, IGN,RPS, and the others tonight for all articles written on Tropes versus Women over the past two years since the series started. I’ll link to them and categorize them. I bet I will have trouble finding even so much as two that are in any way critical of her message or the games she used as examples of her ‘tropes’ or anything like that. More likely the vast majority if not all of them will be what I have seen without exception every single time I’ve read one of the major sites on a Tropes Video: Major boot-licking ideological syncophanty.

    But then considering just how corrupt these ‘journalists’ are, how they tend to live in the same area, attend the same events, frequent the same bars, and often share the same beds with the people they are supposedly ‘covering’, this won’t surprise me in the slightest and shouldn’t surprise any fair critic of the ‘gaming press’ in the slightest.

  220. Bugmaster says

    Ok, there have been a lot of comments on this thread since the last time I opened it. If I haven’t replied to your comment, I apologize, it’s very likely that I missed it.

    @Ally #153:
    You make literary/cultural criticism sound like an entirely faith-based exercise with no basis whatsoever in reality. I personally think this is a little too harsh. However, even if that were true, this isn’t what Anita Sarkeezian is doing in her videos (although, to be fair, I don’t want to focus on her specifically, it’s a general pattern).

    She is not only saying, “I think the following tropes are sexist, go figure”. She repeatedly says things like, “the player is compelled to feel X”, or “these tropes are contributing to attitude Y”. These are no longer abstract statements about a world that exists solely in someone’s head; this is a falsifiable statement about people, and people are part of the real world we all share. As such, the person who makes the claim has the burden of proof, which Sarkeezian did not even attempt to meet.

    I object when creationists do it, I object when libertarians do it, and I don’t see how feminists are any different.

  221. mccork says

    @Still
    Hm, I am afraid I’m not the right person to answer that. First off, I’d have to watch really carefully all her vids 😛 But I think you can approach this in many ways, for instance:
    1) It advances the studies on videogames as narratives. In case you ever wonder what types of women appear in games, you know where to look, using her examples a starting points. Her videos already started a flood of replies, where people dissect the examples she gives in greater detail. That’s a wealth of material, growing every day. Some games she analyzes have little in terms of a narrative, but this is not much of a problem because there are plenty of academic sources proving how narrative is a primary thought mode for human beings. I.e. even if a game has a very basic story clues, you still experience it as a story.
    2) Does she say anything about the medium as such? I think the main point to study would be interactivity as opposed to passive consumption of film, and whether it makes a difference in reception of certain tropes. In a film you only watch a torture scene, a game can make you execute it yourself (horrible pun intended). Does it make a difference if you not only see misogynist content, but are actively recreating it? I don’t think her vids provide an answer beyond speculation, but sure they give thinking points.
    3) Finally, it might be that her studies feed not so much into videogame studies (a discipline still in the making, Routledge has published its first volume on it just this year) as the do into feminist studies. In other words, she looks at videogames in order to verify feminist hypotheses and finds examples that so far confirm them. I would say these examples are pretty compelling. But we may obviously differ on that. Again, a departure point for debate.
    4*) This is least academic, but reactions to her constitute a fine sociological study in itself.

    But I also think that attitudes toward Sarkeesian vary greatly depending on how ‘powerful’ you think she is, that is whether she is a real threat to gaming as you know it. I thought about it because some of your posts remind me of my close friend with whom I once discussed her. We are the same age, but he is much more “hardcore”. He’s been playing since a very young age, while I started in my late teens, when I earned some money and bought myself a PC. Therefore he remembers the earlier years, Jack Thompson, parents’ prejudice and general misery of gamers while to me it’s an already established, powerful industry in all its glory. In short, he’s from the “veteranocracy” Bob Chipman described in his blog post. When we talked about Sarkeesian, he was really concerned that she is going to effectively censor games, while to me that sounded absurd. Therefore I felt safe having her around, regardless of whether her analysis is accurate or not and how it represents gamers, while he was much more disturbed.

    On separate note, traditional genres and representations of women associated with them are not bad in themselves. For example, I love noir and its femme fatale archetype. When done right, it’s absolutely brilliant.

    Which brings me to my last thought. Maybe for guys a better test than Bechdel’s would be: If you think you see a good female character, try to think whether you would like to be her. Whether she inspires you, makes you feel cool and powerful. Are you happy with the degree to which you can influence the world around you, being her? To me an example of that would be Ventress from the Clone Wars. But I’d be very interested to hear yous answers. Anyway, food for thought.

  222. Bugmaster says

    @mccork #142:
    Good question. But I want to make it clear that the following is just my own opinion, I don’t claim to be an authority on anything. In addition, just for simplicity, I’ll be using the colloquial definition of sexism, something along the lines of “prejudice against a gender”, as opposed to the more technical definition of “prejudice plus power”.

    What makes a game, or any other work of art, sexist ? Firstly, I wouldn’t say that “sexist/non-sexist” is a binary; it’s really more of a continuum, as some works can be more sexist than others. So, I would rephrase the question as, “what features can significantly raise a game’s sexism quotient ?”.

    I would say that one such feature is the uncritical depiction of one gender (most often, women) as being uniformly less capable or less moral than another gender (e.g. men). This is different, however, from depicting a specific person being less capable than another specific person of the opposite gender. For example, if the Sims arbitrarily restricted female characters from taking any job besides “home-maker”, this would be sexist; but the mere fact that someone could create a female home-maker character is not sexist. In some other game, if your male character’s motivation for fighting the bad guys is to rescue his girlfriend, then the game may be lazy, but not necessarily sexist — unless it is somehow implied that the girlfriend was unable to defend herself from ninjas merely because she was a woman, as opposed to because, like most people, she did not happen to be a military-trained bio-engineered uber-cyborg like your protagonist. On the flip side, the the villain of the game is a man who is about to start World War III based on nothing more than a fit of rage, this is not game necessarily sexist, unless it also happens to imply that this is the normal way for men to behave.

    And, of course, we should leave room for games such as Analogue: a Hate Story that deliberately immerse the player in a highly sexist world in order to make a point (though perhaps this example is not perfect, since I’ve had at least one person tell me that the game is racist).

  223. Bugmaster says

    @AnarchCassius #167:

    There’s a horde of really annoyed gamers who are sick of the antics of a handful of trolls on both sides trying to manipulate public opinion for fun and/or profit.

    Yes, thanks for bringing this up; I started off by saying something like this, but got derailed by all the side issues.

    To reiterate, the main reason that this particular straight white male gamer (i.e., me) is angry, is this: I’m tired of being used as a soft target, or a political game piece, by every single political group with some ideological agenda. I’m not a symptom of everything that’s wrong with the world; nor am I a victim of a sinister brainwashing experiment. I’m just a guy who really likes to play games, and who enjoys hanging out with other people who do.

  224. Bugmaster says

    @launcespeed #172:

    Even IF the critique is made by a non-gamer, how does that invalidate the critique? (Hint: It does not.)

    Yeah. It’s like I always say: I’m not an artist myself, but clearly all this newfangled stuff like Cubism is just garbage. These so-called artists are too incompetent or too lazy to pain for real, so instead they’re trying to bamboozle everyone into appreciating something that looks like what a kindergartener would draw ! Am I right, or am I right ?

    Oh, wait…

  225. Jebedee says

    I fully agree that if someone simply states that it’s appalling for anyone to be sending Sarkeesian/Quinn, or anyone else, violent threats, then more or less the only appropriate response is agreement, and even an “I agree, but…” comes across as a weaselly attempt at justification.

    But do you really think that that’s all that, crudely put, one “side” has been saying? Because a great many of the statements along those lines that I’ve seen have been coupled to claims of a great deal else: that Sarkeesian provides valuable insights into problems with video games, that the reaction to her demonstrates that she’s right, that it’s primarily occurring because she’s a woman, that publishers need to change their content, that “gamers” as a whole are a toxic and sexist bunch, that the whole Quinn affair provided no good evidence of malpractice in game journalism, that Quinn’s contributions as a game developer are valuable and useful and so on. If people want to claim any of that (some of which I actually agree with) then others are perfectly entitled to disagree and are not somehow making excuses for violent threats if they do.

    Frankly, there doesn’t seem to be much of an argument about the violent threats, because while those who make them sadly exist, they don’t generally seem to show up to publically argue that they are right to do so. It’s silly to suggest there aren’t plenty of other issues floating about, or that one “side” should consider them “utterly irrelevant” to talk about, when the other manifestly doesn’t.

  226. Bugmaster says

    @mccork #234:

    Maybe for guys a better test than Bechdel’s would be: If you think you see a good female character, try to think whether you would like to be her. Whether she inspires you, makes you feel cool and powerful. Are you happy with the degree to which you can influence the world around you, being her?

    I disagree, at least in part. Yes, there’s room for inspirational characters of the kind that you describe; but I wouldn’t want games to devolve into nothing more than glurges. A better test would be something like this: “When you see this character, do you feel like you could understand him/her/etc. ? Can you imagine being in the same situation ? What would you do, and what would you feel, in this character’s place ?”. Of course, if the answer is, “nothing, this character is just a mob that I’m killing for XP”, then it’s fine too, but we should still acknowledge that fact.

    For example, consider tragic characters such as ARID from The Fall, or The Nameless One from Planescape Torment, or the Illusive Man from the Mass Effect series, or even Morrigan from Dragon Age. Do I want to influence the world the same way that these characters did ? No, and I sincerely hope I never do. But, nonetheless, I am very glad these characters were created, and I hope we can see more like them.

  227. StillGjenganger says

    @mccork 234

    No, we do not have enough facts in common to have a sensible discussion. Basically, we do not live on the same planet. It is not that you claim that Sarkeesian and her work have no political aims, no political relevance and no possible political effect (if you did I could challenge you to explain). You simply refuse even to consider whether this might be the case. You have decided up front that whether she describes games in general as riddled with misogyny, whether this is a fair description, and what effect such statements might have in cultural politics simply could not possible matter. So, you say that her work might provide examples that could contribute to narrative theory, to the theory of narrative forms, and to basic feminism? Maybe it could. It does not interest me greatly, and none of this has anything to do with games. But then, you have already decided that we need not consider what her work might have to say about the current state of games and gamers.

    So, good luck, and if our planets ever meet we can talk again (If we do, please call me Gjenganger – the ‘still’ just reflects that I am still the same as before I was forced to change my nick).

  228. mccork says

    @StillGjenganger
    *sigh*
    Answering you feels a little pointless, since you seem to know better than myself what I think. But alas.
    OF COURSE her work is political. However, so are your comments here. It’s not her “ideological” versus your “neutral”, it’s what she believes is right and what you believe is right. Classic politics, I am afraid.

    You have decided up front that whether she describes games in general as riddled with misogyny, whether this is a fair description, and what effect such statements might have in cultural politics simply could not possible matter. … But then, you have already decided that we need not consider what her work might have to say about the current state of games and gamers.

    Consider rereading my post, because I said pretty much the opposite. I suggested possible areas where her work might me of use, and explained why I personally am not afraid of her. In my opinion questions such as what stories games present, what is their target demographics, their social impact etc. absolutely “have to do with games”. Maybe you meant “What does she have to say that might be of interest to me, and games as I see them”. But then, you asked me the wrong question. It’s just hard for me to say at this point what you consider “the current state of games and gamers”, and what problems you see as relevant here. Mods for Skyrim? Console wars? I have no idea.

    If you only wish to talk to people who share your views, well, that’s your choice of course. Personally I think it’s sad.

  229. mildlymagnificent says

    Gjenganger

    But I know much less of this than you. Can you tell me what the relevant principles of feminism are?

    Well, I’m not going to give a potted history of feminist thought, because that would be silly.

    The relevant principles are few, and pretty simple into the bargain. That women and men alike should be able to conduct their lives with dignity and freedom. That dignity and those freedoms should be, for all practical purposes, the same for both men and women. That all jobs, education, personal interests, financial independence, domestic life and roles should be open to everyone according to their talents and inclinations and not constrained by arbitrary limits according to any individual’s gender.

    All the “issues” that we normally discuss when we talk about feminism link, one way or another, back to one or more of those ideas.

    The biggest problem with these ideas is that it’s usually easy to see how they affect individuals in a household – who cooks meals or folds laundry or looks after children. It’s another thing entirely to see how deep those arbitrary limits go in society at large. Government ministers might wax eloquent about “care in the community” for people with mental illness or about “ensuring the elderly can continue living in their own homes for as long as possible” and all sorts of other grand sounding proposals. When you look at implementing them however, it’s obvious that the work involved has traditionally been done, more or less invisibly, and for free, by women who were restricted to “household duties”. Increasing the workload without taking account of who’s to do it and who’s going to benefit or suffer from it are difficult questions in practice if you’ve accepted that women are free to do other things and often prefer paid work to unpaid drudgery.

  230. mildlymagnificent says

    I’m glad no one’s responded to this. I should have put it onto the open thread. I’ll do that now.

  231. Pitchguest says

    Pitchguest.

    So, basically, what you’re saying, Ally, is that once a person has received abuse, any legitimate criticism against them is considered null and void?

    No. I’m not. ,
    I’m saying that long ago the extent and volume of criticism in these cases far exceeded any level that could be called reasonable, making its legitimacy null and void.

    So you’re saying you’re not but then you’re saying you are? Is it possible for you be anymore vague?

    And far exceeded in level by whom? Because it strikes me as a vast generalisation to say “gamers” are responsible, as so many who have no real clue what the label “gamer” signifies have already done, when I would say the vast majority of criticism have not been involved with either intimidation or bullying or whatever else you have decided to pin them on. You wouldn’t vastly generalise the term “feminist” for example, so why is “gamer” exempt and why do it with such nonchalance? I figured you had more tact than this.

    Supposing someone called Brian dropped a piece of litter, like an empty McDonalds carton, say, in a back street in Cowpat Junction, Idaho.
    Is it legitimate to criticise Brian for dropping litter? Sure.

    Comparing corruption in the gaming press to dropping a McDonald’s carton in a back street. You’re certainly off to a good start.

    If half the internet went utterly bananas, doxxing Brian’s personal details, circulating the most embarrassing photos of Brian that could be found, writing thousands of articles, blogs and hundreds of thousands of forum comments about him, millions of social media comments discussing his life, behaviour and personality and descending upon Brian’s own email, twitter and Facebook to send him threats of death and violence or reams and reams of foul personal abuse going on for days or weeks or years.

    Half the internet? I didn’t realise gamers were that numerous. But I notice you are parroting talking points that have long since been refuted. However, to get to the meat, people did try having a conversation about it. The nepotism. The corruption they found. It’s nothing new to the games industry but it’s the first time it’s been shown to be so blatant. The problem was that the conversation threads they formed were censored. Entire comment threads removed. Over 25K comments deleted on a single subreddit. YouTube videos were given false DMCA notices, Twitter users suspended who dared speak up. Who is it that’s been intimidated and bullied, exactly?

    Again, I wonder why the personal abuse is brought up over and over. Is it to prove that the entire demographic is responsible? Gamers comprise literally millions of people, I wouldn’t think a small sample of the abuse is evidence of a larger entity at work. You would have to be suspending your disbelief quite extensively to believe that all 25K of those comments deleted on that subreddit were all bullies, intimidating, doxxing, and in general, as you say, “irredeemable.”

    Just supposing all that happened. Would it mean that Brian or anyone else cannot be criticised for dropping litter? No, it wouldn’t.

    Quite.

    Would it mean that Brian dropping a piece of litter had become, in the overall scheme of things, a pretty trivial and inconsequential act in comparison to the monumentally disproportionate reaction? Yes, of course it would.

    Once more, a disproportionate reaction *from whom*? You have twice failed to qualify who it is you’re referring to. And supposing all that did happen, what statistical evidence are you perusing to conclude it’s disproportionate? The majority of tweets using the hashtag #GamerGate are even-handed and contain no abuse whatsoever. The majority of them have not tweeted at Zoe Quinn directly nor the journalists involved so it’s not harassment. Not to mention that your analogy of littering a McDonald’s carton on the street doesn’t even compare. Better would be if Brian were someone dumping toxic waste into rivers, being protected by an industry that dumps toxic waste into rivers and cry foul when people find out. Even then it’s not a perfect fit considering that Zoe Quinn has not just used journalists she’s friends with in her favour but also created a narrative that whoever should dissent is a sexist, misogynist pig.

    Someone up thread (think it might have been you) drew a comparison to politicians who have, in most cases, started wars that have killed thousands of people or overseen policies that have devastated entire economies and ruined lives for millions.
    As it happens, no, I still don’t think things like doxxing and death and rape threats are a legitimate response, but the fact that you think a comparison can even be made between those guys and a couple of obscure little internetr feminists just reveals how ludicrously irrational all this has got

    You don’t like doxxing and threats? That’s good, because neither do we (on the Gamergate “side” of things). Nor do we think it’s a legitimate response. But was I comparing Zoe Quinn to politicians? No. I wasn’t. I was simply asking if you would say the same thing *about* politicians. If there’s a level of proportion that you need to consider in regards to reasonable concerns and unreasonable abuse, then surely politicians should never be criticised as I imagine the proportion of the two would be somewhat lopsided. Especially for politicians, or world leaders, who are loathed by many. I don’t see that line of questioning irrational at all, since I’m just trying to determine at what point, in your view, criticism is null and void and when we should just give them a pass.

    Since clearly we cannot rule out that people will not be subject to either harassment or threats by arseholes on the internet, I guess the answer is whenever they’ve received abuse (at a given time).

  232. mccork says

    …aaaand we’re back to square one.
    I love how you gamergate people maintain that it’s not about Zoe Quinn, while you are the only ones in this thread still talking about her.
    I’ll repeat what I wrote earlier. Stop trying to elevate your “cause” by mimicking the language of serious political issues. It sounds ridiculous.

  233. Pitchguest says

    #215 John Ryan

    @192 Pitchguest

    “I’m sorry? Are you honestly under the impression that that was said under genuine concern? ”

    Do you have any proof she didn’t genuinely want to analyse these tropes within video games? If however you’re referring to StillGjengangers objection that she’s not covering the protrayal of men within video games then I don’t think it was said with any genuine concern.

    For Christ’s sake, mate. It is obvious to anyone familiar with Sarkeesian that Gjenganger’s reference to male NPC’s being killed in games on a massive scale was not a disapproval of male NPC’s being killed in games but a jab against the double standards being applied to criticism of violence against female NPC’s and violence against male NPC’s. Frankly, it’s a ridiculous argument. In one of her videos, she described the violence against female NPC’s “disturbing” – in the same games where male NPC’s can be killed by the dozens and no one bats an eye.

    “You mean, “what about the menz”? The “Dear Muslima” type dismissal that feminists concocted to delegitimise men’s concerns?”

    When the complaints are only brought up in response to a series of videos that explicitly are analysing video games from a feminist perspective and not mentioned the rest of the time then it’s whataboutery. if you, StillGjenganger and all the others who bring this up are so concerned then critique how men are treated in games, don’t use it as a wn excuse to try and silence her. Get off your collective arses and actually do something rather than complaining that she’s not covering these things when she never claimed to do so.

    What are you blathering about? We’re not concerned about how men are treated in games. Get a clue.

    “No, I think you’ll find it’s more about the double standards you see in Anita Sarkeesian’s videos about how so many virtual men fulfull the criterias that she decries in her Tropes’ videos but doesn’t give a shit. In distress? Check. Background characters? Check. Idealised? Check. But that’s just on the surface. More in depth, she talks about games that have, she says, sexualised virtual women and unbelievably violence against virtual women. The examples she’s used to explain sexualised virtual women are, for the most part, strippers and prostitutes. To which I say, no shit. However then she has the gall to include violence. Violence! Even someone who is only MILDLY knowledgable about games would realise just how RIDICULOUS that statement is. Violence, she says?
    For decades, games have had male avatars being eviscerated in all manner of gory fashion; faceless, nameless foes that are murdered and disposed of, even in the games where she says the *women* are being mistreated. She’s missing the forest for the trees. The bloody, gore-infested trees.”

    Are you really this obtuse? She said from the get go she was analysing the way women are displayed and treated in games and you’re shocked that she’s not covering how men are protrayed. It’s not that complicated.

    Right. And she’s being very dishonest about it. Selective footage. Cherrypicking. Misrepresenting gameplay.

    I’m not shocked that she’s not covering how men are portrayed. I’m not even shocked about the selective cherrypicking and misrepresentation. I’m just pointing out her hypocrisy.

    “Are you really this clueless?”

    Are you really so uncomprehending that you can’t understand why a series of videos looking at tropes regarding the protrayal of women in video games are focusing on Women?

    No, the cluelessness on your part was that you kept going on about how I should start a Kickstarter for how badly men are treated and how, apparently, instead of doing that I’m just going to complain that they are in an effort to delegitimise her claims because they make me uncomfortable. Two things: 1) I don’t care how badly men are treated in videogames and 2) I don’t need a Kickstarter to make videos. In addition, the only discomfort Sarkeesian’s videos provide is the headache it causes because of the multiple errors.

    @193 Pitchguest
    “Oh, a feminist perspective. So not an objective, scientific perspective then?”

    You can’t objectively critique anything in the media, everyone approaches things with their own subjective experiences. Furthermore Sarkeesian never said she was going to critique games from an “objective, scientific perspective” so, to use your own words, Get. A. Clue.

    Well, duh. If I thought that Anita was approaching the subject with any degree of objectivity I wouldn’t have said anything. However, watching her videos it is painfully obvious how biased she is and the narrative she attempts to spin. In that aspect, at least, her transparency couldn’t be more apparent. But here’s the thing: Anita says in her Kickstarter she is going to approach it on an analytical standpoint, to the level where it could be used in school classrooms. With that in mind, I wouldn’t use Anita’s videos anywhere apart from social studies and “bad things to watch out for.” They are THAT bad. I suppose in a woman’s studies course they would fit right in. The right demographic for her kind of ideology.

    “Yes, you are right. It would be “whataboutery” if we actually did care, but we don’t. Get. A. Clue.”

    Yes those throwing death and rape threats around don’t care at all and all those constantly attacking her, the overwhelming majority of who have likely not bothered to watch her videos, don’t care one bit. Absolutely laughable.
    Furthermore the person i was talking to did try to Whatabout regarding men being killed in games so Get. A. Clue.

    What are you on about? No, she didn’t. She absolutely didn’t. (Is Gjenganger a she?) She was responding to the argument being made by Sarkeesian that violence against virtual women in games is a serious issue, when really it’s a terrible argument and a non-starter and that is soundly *because* of the many virtual men in games who gets killed and maimed in various ways daily and not a single shit is given.

    Seeing as Sarkeesian also relies on pseudo-scientific malarkey to tie these things into violence against women in meatspace – that the actions they perform in the game have a connection to the mentality they have in real life, towards women specifically – this should be given more scrutiny. The same tactics employed by Jack Thompson which failed. Miserably. (In case you’re wondering who Jack Thompson, you may want to read this thread: http://web.archive.org/web/20140829125115/http://nastythingssaidabout.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/the-terrible-misogyny-in-the-games-industry/)

    Also, who said I didn’t care about the death and rape threats? That wasn’t what I said I didn’t care about. Way to move those goalposts.

  234. Archy says

    Actually I do agree there is something seriously messed up with the mass censoring that went on, across multiple sites. Even benign discussions got axed.

  235. StillGjenganger says

    @mccork 241
    Actually I prefer talking to people who do not share my views. That is why I am on this blog in the first place. As to whose comments are political, you must be mixing me up with someone else. Of course what I say is political, I never claimed anything else. Sorry for attributing your motives by the way – I assumed that you were reacting to what I was saying and the conclusion followed , but I see now that my assumption may have been wrong.

    The thing is that we want to talk about different things, and instead of ignoring each other we keep answering in non-sequiturs. I think Sarkeesians work can have an important impact on the politics of what kind of games and want kind of gaming community we are going to have in the future, and that this is at the least an important part of her reason to undertake it. So I talk about how her work is being used, what her relevant motives can be, and whether her advocacy is giving a misleading description of the field she is studying. We disagree on whether this (alleged) program is like to have an effect, the disagreement is noted, and there is nothing to add on either side. Beyond that you answer my posts without addressing any of the points I am trying to make, or making clear that you understand what I am saying. You could quite likely say the same of me.

    So, we are not talking about the same things, we do not want to talk about the same things, we live on different planets. We do not have any obligation to keep talking. Instead of continuing to talk past each other, I propose we stop the discussion.

  236. Lucy says

    StillGjanGanger

    “The general attitude then is ‘well you are free to talk, and other people are free to react to what you say’. Why is it that this does not apply to people like Sarkeesian, unless it is that she is right and deserves protection, and people who ar against gay marriage are wrong, and deserve anything they get?”

    But she isn’t free to talk.

    These guys laying claim to their freedom of speech are trying to deny her hers. They are the religious dogmatists issuing death threats if anyone insults their holy texts.

  237. says

    StllGjenganger: “Why is it that this does not apply to people like Sarkeesian, unless it is that she is right and deserves protection”

    She doesn’t have special protection. Like all women, she has less protection. She lacks the protection of anonymity, the protection of the mob, the protection of the hegemony, the protection of anti-hate legislation which only includes the forms of hate that endanger men, the protection of physical size and immunity from certain forms of attack. It’s her attackers who have the special protection.

  238. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucy
    You do have some points. People who are subject to death threats etc. certainly deserve protection. But I still think that the moral right to say what you want without being harassed for it is being applied very selectively. As indeed is anti-hate legislation – apply it equally to all groups, including toffs and tories, or, better, limit it to a few, small, very specific groups.

  239. Ally Fogg says

    Pitchguest

    Once more, a disproportionate reaction *from whom*?

    The collective. The crowd. The mob. Whatever you want to call it.

    The fact that there was a Reddit thread with 25000 comments about Zoe Quinn in the first place – and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

    As for all the other issues, surrounding ‘corruption in the games media’ and whatever else, I have yet to see any evidence of any evidence of any serious wrongdoing, and everything that has been alleged can indeed be traced back very, very quickly and easily to the obsession with Zoe Quinn again.

    So, for example, the utterly laughable ‘revelation’ that some games journalists talk to each other on an email group, the original Breitbart story and everything I’ve seen since (including comments on this thread) has focused on the fact that they used this email list to discuss Quinn.

    And since we’re on to the supposed widespread corruption in games media, I would challenge any one here to come up with three separate proven and specific instances of corrupt behaviour by specific people which have absolutely no connection to Quinn or Sarkeesian.

    Are there any at all? I’ve yet to see them.

  240. Lucy says

    StillGjenganger

    “But I still think that the moral right to say what you want without being harassed for it is being applied very selectively. As indeed is anti-hate legislation – apply it equally to all groups, including toffs and tories, or, better, limit it to a few, small, very specific groups.”

    Being a toff or a Tory (or a Muslim or a goth or a feminist) isn’t an innate characteristic like one’s sex, race, disability, sexuality, it’s an affiliation. Hating one another’s opinions or behaviour is fundamentally different to hating one another’s biology. That distinction used to be clear until religion was added to the anti-hate legislation by the Labour government’s scope creep. It was never meant to protect ideas, only people.

    Nobody has ever suggested that Anita Sarkeesian’s point of view can’t be attacked or hated. They’ve said two things:
    1) She, the individual can’t be harassed and threatened. It’s illegal.
    2) People can’t incite hatred of her because of her sex. That’s not illegal. It would be if they were doing it because of her race or religion.

  241. Lucy says

    “But I still think that the moral right to say what you want without being harassed for it is being applied very selectively. ”

    Who else, apart from people who have state-funded 24 hour protection, are being forced out of their homes by bomb threats for expressing an opinion or making a video? People like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Salman Rushdie, Theo Van Gogh.

    Ironically the Internet hoard that pursues female gaming critics are the same guys who whine that they don’t have the freedom to draw cartoons of Mohammed.

  242. Erik Johansson says

    Groups of (primarily) men have been conspiring to incite large online mobs to bully a couple of individuals into silence and submission through organised intimidation, harassment and fear. That is it. That is the story. Nothing else matters

    Well isn’t that a nice way to shut down any discussion… it’s surprisingly handy how we apparently are only supposed to give a shit about people on one side of this story being harassed, receiving death threats, and so on!

    After all it’s not as if TotalBiscuit didn’t receive death threats for being sane and levelheaded, it’s not as if young pro-GG women haven’t been harassed, doxxed and threatened, it’s not as if a transgender teenager wasn’t doxxed. and it’s not as if journalist Milo Yiannopoulos haven’t gotten a bunch of death threats for digging in this story… just to mention some of the crap “the other side” has been doing.

    No matter how you cut it, neither of the sides in this shitstorm looks good if we’re going to judge them based on the acts of the nastier elements in them. There’s been plenty of harassment, abuse, threats, and attempts to silence people flung by both sides. Do this suck? Yeah, of course it does. At the same time, the internet is the place where you’ll get death threats just for just implying One Direction is crap. If we let that shut down any discussion, we wouldn’t be able to talk about much at all anymore.

    However, anyone who bothered doing some research on GamerGate would quickly find out that it stopped being about who Quinn had slept with within the first week of GG. The GG people went on to dig deeper, and found out a lot of interesting and suspicious activities, like how there were some seriously fishy business going on with judges and jury members in some Indie game contests, or how other journalists were having far more unethical relationships than the Quinn/Grayson thing. The GG people these days are far more pissed of at Quinn for her sabotaging TFC’s attempt at helping women in gaming than they are about her sleeping with a journalist. As for unethical journalism, the stuff they found out about Kotaku’s Patricia Hernandez is far worse than Zoe’s relationship with Grayson.

    The only ones who seemed to be completely obsessed with Zoe Quinn in this affair are the gaming journalists, who keep insisting that she’s at the core of this, despite the fact that the driving people behind GG barely speak about her – they call her “Literally Who” these days because she’s just not all that significant to what they are doing – as a ironic nod to how so many of the journalists just seem incapable of covering this from any other angle than the “Zoe Quinn is being harassed by misogynistic gamers!!!!”-narrative.

  243. Stillgjenganger says

    @Lucy
    We are not going to agree on this one. I do not accept that the need for hate speech protection (if any) depends on whether something is innate. One way of making the point is to say that the need for protection of homosexuals and transsexuals should not depend on whether you decide that those characteristics are innate or not. That leaves the hate speech laws as a special protection granted to particularly exposed and vulnerable groups. And considering that women make up half of the population, are equal parts of mainstream culture, and have full political equality, they do not qualify. I could put it in another way: If hate speech is so terrible that it requires a law against it – even for a group as large as women – why do you want the right to subject men, tories, or other groups to it? Why not extend it to everybody?

  244. Sans-sanity says

    @Ally
    Journalist loses job for criticising publishers: http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Eurogamer-Writer-Loses-Job-Pointing-Out-How-Much-Video-Game-Journalism-Fails-48600.html
    Journalist loses job for criticising game: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/03/21/gaming-the-system-how-a-gaming-journalist-lost-his-job-over-a-negative-review/
    Journalists tweeting for PS3s*: http://m.neogaf.com/showpost.php?p=43594664&postcount=627

    Then there’s the last big blow up, ‘Dorito-gate’ in 2012, in case you still think that gamers only go off on a tizzy when women are involved http://gamechurch.com/dorito-gate-opens-the-door-to-controversy/ (“Why not, say, evangelical Christians like Jack Thompson”? …really? really?!)

    *the tweets more demonstrate obliviousness to the idea that some kind of professional ethics should maybe be in play than active corruption. But hey, I’m not even active in the scene and these took all of five minutes to research.

    Anyway, my own opinion is that GamerGate is less about proper corruption and more the inevitable result of the open contempt that gaming journalists have been showing for gamers. Nice write ups of that angle here; http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2014/09/gamergate_explodes_gaming_journalists_declare_the_gamers_are_over_but_they.html and here; http://adland.tv/adnews/gamergate-insulting-consumers-shrinks-market/1027025677

    Cliquishness and cronyism would, admittedly, be fairer accusations than corruption in the latest instance.

  245. Schala says

    Who else, apart from people who have state-funded 24 hour protection, are being forced out of their homes by bomb threats for expressing an opinion or making a video?

    I seriously doubt Anita ever received threats “forcing her out of her home”. She definitely didn’t receive most other threats “for being a woman”.

    Try again.

  246. ansatz says

    @Ally #253

    The collective. The crowd. The mob. Whatever you want to call it.
    The fact that there was a Reddit thread with 25000 comments about Zoe Quinn in the first place – and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

    You mean this thread:
    TotalBiscuit discusses the state of games journalism, Steam Greenlight, ethics, DMCA abuse and Depression Quest.

    Are you really kidding me. A thread about game journalism, censorship, ethics, and the situation revolving around Zoe Quinn as it related to an allege censorship event…got reduced to being just about Zoe Quinn. A thread that very much exploded because of censorship issues.

    What next, are you going to claim the +10,000 posts thread on the Escapist was all about Zoe Quinn as well, and its successor? In fact, you may have already did.

    This looks more and more to me like you’re sticking your head into a field you barely know anything about (Jack Thompson, really? Were you really clueless as to the reaction he got?) and telling the 9 grown ups in the room trying to have a legitimate discussion about something that matters to them, if not to you, that they should stop acting like babies because a baby in the corner is crying.

    In fact, you’re so fixated on that baby that you ignore the baby in the other room, also wailing its hearts out. It’s just this one room that’s loud and noisy and bothering your sleep.

    From boogie to jay to redzos to totalbiscuit, there has been numerous instances of doxing and intimidation and harassment on “pro-gamergate” people, yet the irredeemably appalling behaviors are on one side and one side alone.

    To talk about marginalizing victims of harassment, but this is just classic.

  247. Ally Fogg says

    Sans-Sanity

    So what you are giving me is Rab Florence, who as far as I can work out quit his job after an argument with his editors back in 2012, and Jeff Gerstman who was indeed fired, it seems, perhaps after pressure from an advertiser back in 2007.

    Then there’s a bunch of related stuff about the fine and messy lines between editorial, advertorial, plugging, PR and freebies, most of which is, again, several years old and (as you may or may not know) has direct and striking similarities to similar ethical conflicts in every branch of consumer and lifestyle journalism. The whole media is rank with this stuff, and forgive me if this sounds dismissive, but nothing you have shown me would scrape it onto page 37 of Private Eye on a quiet week. It is trivial, day-to-day office gossip.

    It is my contention that this stuff is being brought up now to provide some kind of self-justification for the campaign of harassment against Quinn, and none of it would be getting talked about now were people not scrabbling around trying to excuse their own attitudes and behaviour.

    Absolutely nothing you have posted gives me the remotest reason to doubt the accuracy of that synopsis.

  248. Ally Fogg says

    ansatz

    From boogie to jay to redzos to totalbiscuit, there has been numerous instances of doxing and intimidation and harassment on “pro-gamergate” people,

    Hang about. I don’t know the story with Jay, whoever that is, but:

    boogie – I presume you mean Boogie2988 on Youtube? Who has sent him abuse, threats, doxing etc? I know he has had a lot but my understanding is that it came ENTIRELY FROM GAMERS!

    Totalbiscuit – ditto! He switched off commenting on his own videos because he was fed up of the harassment and abuse FROM GAMERS

    redzos – You mean the 13 year old who had a bit of an argument on one Twitter thread and some wankstains from Buzzfeed were a bit mean to him? They were talking about comedians and rape jokes at the time. Absolutely nothing to do with gaming.

    But it is by the by. I do not doubt there have been some individuals who have sent abuse or have harassed pro-GamerGate people. It doesn’t change anything I believe or have said. There are some people on the pro-feminist side of this argument who also need to grow the fuck up. However to pretend there has been any coordinated and planned mass harassment campaigns, of the type we have seen against Sarkeesian and Quinn from 4Chan and elsewhere, would be a ridiculous calumny. There is simply no comparison.

  249. Innocent Bystander says

    Wall of Text, sorry.
    Normally, I have a non-interaction policy with the internet at large. This issue is the nail in the coffin for that policy. I’ve read here for a while, this about the only blog on this network that still interests me. I’ve come to respect AF’s views, even when I disagree.

    First off, #gamergate was spawned as a result of the media’s reaction to the zoepost and the subsequent harassment. While I agree that #gamergate will never quite be divested of Quinn and the subsequent harassment, it is fallacious it is to say that it is the only thing that matters. Sarkeesian, on the other hand, has little to do with #gamergate even if events concerning her happened concurrently.

    Even if I were to accept your premise that it is simply feminist women against gamer men, I would have to ignore the fact that the names the hashtag tends to focus on are influential individuals like Ben Kuchera and Steve Tolito or names that had been especially dismissive or vitriolic like Leigh Alexander and Devin Faraci. (Some have been attempting to cover themselves and deleted tweets. You can probably find them as images on #gamergate)

    You say that you had read into the issues, and then you say that only one side’s behavior has been abhorrent. In the gamergate hashtag, there are pages and pages of images documenting the harassment supporters have been getting (You may have to scroll for a while as the hashtag is fairly active, 30k+ tweets a day). In the last couple of days there had been reports of active accounts having hacking attempts made against them. One tweeter reported receiving a call from a gamergate opponent. There was one individual that offered demo codes to the new Smash Brothers game to get random people to tweet offensive or stupid things in the name of #gamergate. Early on, it became apparent that gamergate opponents would be given carte-blanche while the media focused only on the harassment they were receiving. This is exactly what you are doing.

    From the initial outset there have been several attempts to discredit the hashtag, even to go as far as to imply that it’s a 4chan led conspiracy. The irony being that even 4chan was attempting to shutdown threads about this since the beginning. (Recently, the subject was banned altogether from 4chan leading to an exodus of disenfranchised channers.) The initial silence from the media outlets and the active censorship on sites like Reddit and 4chan simply produced the Streisand Effect. The more they refused to address the issue, the more people drew attention to it. When they chose to address it, they instead of coping to a few issues chose to broadside their entire readership.
    Even now, with the e-mails showing cabalistic behavior between certain people within the list, there are attempts to brush aside the leak by highlighting Breitbart’s involvement. This ignores the fact that most gaming media outlets refused to cover the story in any meaningful fashion and had they been doing their job there would have been no reason to get an outsider to report on it. Instead gaming journalists focused on attacking their readers (e.g. slinging insults, stereotyping them, and even comparing them to ISIS). They did the very thing you are doing. They simply highlighted the harassment and dismissed any potential issue as irrelevant.

    At this point, the discussion has moved well beyond Quinn. The only people continually bringing her up are those using her and Sarkeesian to deflect criticism and ignore the issue. It’s amusing that you bring up Jack Thompson because he’s been disbarred and is generally considered the butt of the joke. He also claimed to have received harassment and death threats. Despite that he was never taken seriously by the industry. I bet you can name the main difference between him and Sarkeesian.

    This leads to the crux of the issue. Imagine any other industry that would get away with letting its employees publicly disparage their readership or consumer base even on personal time, or that wouldn’t experience backlash if they suddenly released a slew of articles decrying their identity as a whole. Imagine if any minority advocate groups started telling their base that they are horrible for the actions of a few within the demographic, while simultaneous silencing them by reducing the number of outlets willing to hear their experience. It’d be preposterous right? The backlash would be immense.

    You are right this controversy started because gamers feel like they are being disrespected and insulted. You are normally more reserved and relatively even-handed and yet you are condescending and dismissive throughout your entire post. You spend at least a paragraph or two insinuating that gamers are puerile, immature, adolescent, and dumb. From most of your post, I doubt you’ve read that deeply into the affairs. Instead you did the very thing gamers complained about in the first place, you dismissed their concerns and focused on the harassment that is at best tangential to the issue. You completely failed to mention that many of the more active voices on #gamergate have consistently and repeatedly called for civility and have decried harassment at every turn. The existence of harassment, however banal, has long been used as a cover for deflecting criticism. #gamergate sought to short circuit this pattern early on and advocated for civility.

    There has been harassment on both sides of this long-building controversy and to pretend otherwise is simply wrong. While you ignore transgressions from social justice fanatics, they run rampant. They harass and threaten anyone who would dare support #gamergate (Boogie2988) or even rail against their ideology or actions (TotalBiscuit). They attempt to silence critics by filling DMCAs (mundanematt), reporting on Twitter (thunderf00t), or frighten them by contacting them in meatspace (jayd3fox and others). Some have gone so far as to fabricate harassment or evidence of conspiracy (/V/ instead of /v/ comes to mind, but there were some embarrassing moments that started #notyourshield, especially accusing minorities and women of simply being sockpuppet accounts). Some are even DDoS’ing sites that support gamergate or even simply allow discussion of the subject (ala the Escapist forums)
    Please Ally, give this another look.

  250. John Ryan says

    @247 Pitchguest

    For Christ’s sake, mate. It is obvious to anyone familiar with Sarkeesian that Gjenganger’s reference to male NPC’s being killed in games on a massive scale was not a disapproval of male NPC’s being killed in games but a jab against the double standards being applied to criticism of violence against female NPC’s and violence against male NPC’s. Frankly, it’s a ridiculous argument. In one of her videos, she described the violence against female NPC’s “disturbing” – in the same games where male NPC’s can be killed by the dozens and no one bats an eye.

    That’s because her analysis is based on how women are portrayed within games. Do you also expect her to analyse various graphical and audio aspects? She never said she was doing a complete analsis on how people are portrayed but how women are portrayed.

    What are you blathering about? We’re not concerned about how men are treated in games. Get a clue.

    Which is why bringing up in relation to Sarkeesians videos is whataboutery.

    Right. And she’s being very dishonest about it. Selective footage. Cherrypicking. Misrepresenting gameplay.

    She is analysing various games regarding how they portray women. As such it’s expected that she will look at a wide variety of games and select various sections showing the tropes she wishes to analyse. Have you ever actually read or watched any other cultural critiques?

    In regard to the “misrepresenting games” bit I assume you’re referring to the Hitman section as that’s what is always brought up. In fact thunderf00t was extremely misleading in his video, and spent way more time on it thank Sarkeesian herself did while ignoring most of the rest of her examples, as he said you get docked points for killing the strippers but failed to mention how if you hide the bodies it works out as neutral in regard to the game scoring various acts. If you have other examples then please provide them.

    I’m not shocked that she’s not covering how men are portrayed. I’m not even shocked about the selective cherrypicking and misrepresentation. I’m just pointing out her hypocrisy.

    It’s not hypocrisy to focus on how women are portrayed when she said that’s what she’s going to do just as it’s not hypocritical or cherry picking for historians who focus on labour movements to concentrate on events surrounding and affecting labour movements.

    No, the cluelessness on your part was that you kept going on about how I should start a Kickstarter for how badly men are treated and how, apparently, instead of doing that I’m just going to complain that they are in an effort to delegitimise her claims because they make me uncomfortable. Two things: 1) I don’t care how badly men are treated in videogames and 2) I don’t need a Kickstarter to make videos. In addition, the only discomfort Sarkeesian’s videos provide is the headache it causes because of the multiple errors.

    This again shows that bringing up how men are portrayed within games is whataboutery. Oh and suggesting something twice is not going on about it. How about rather than saying errors you actually point some out with concrete examples?

    Well, duh. If I thought that Anita was approaching the subject with any degree of objectivity I wouldn’t have said anything. However, watching her videos it is painfully obvious how biased she is and the narrative she attempts to spin. In that aspect, at least, her transparency couldn’t be more apparent.

    She never said she was going to be totally objective, she was clear from the beginning that she was looking at tropes vs women. You’re the one who brought up scientific objectivity not her.

    But here’s the thing: Anita says in her Kickstarter she is going to approach it on an analytical standpoint, to the level where it could be used in school classrooms. With that in mind, I wouldn’t use Anita’s videos anywhere apart from social studies and “bad things to watch out for.” They are THAT bad. I suppose in a woman’s studies course they would fit right in. The right demographic for her kind of ideology.

    She does mention classroom use of her project, you’re right there. You do however miss out how she said in her kickstarter pitch that “This video project will explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games. The series will highlight the larger recurring patterns and conventions used within the gaming industry rather than just focusing on the worst offenders” and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Just because you don’t agree with her analysis, assuming you’ve bothered to watch any of them, doesn’t mean it’s not an analysis. Her Kickstarter is here in case anyone wants to look for themselves – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/566429325/tropes-vs-women-in-video-games

    By the way it’s extremely telling that you’re so dismissive of womens studies. I’m not their biggest fan but I won’t dismiss them out of hand either.

    Also, who said I didn’t care about the death and rape threats? That wasn’t what I said I didn’t care about. Way to move those goalposts.

    I never said you didn’t care about death and rape threats so no goalpost moving there instead I was pointing out how your “we don’t care”, leaving aside the question of who we is, is fallacious considering the whataboutery regarding the portrayal of men something she didn’t say she was going to look at. considering how many words you’ve spent talking about Sarkeesian underneath this blog you’re doing an odd job showing how you don’t care. The death and rape threats comment was aimed at those who say we don’t care about her work while either issuing or dismissing them.

    It was however an erroneous point to make so I apologise for that. At no point did I think you or StillGjenganger had issued such threats and if I gave that impression I apologise.

    What are you on about? No, she didn’t. She absolutely didn’t. (Is Gjenganger a she?)

    I don’t know StillGjengangers gender and I don’t care, I don’t see how it’s relevant so I don’t know why you brought this up.

    She was responding to the argument being made by Sarkeesian that violence against virtual women in games is a serious issue, when really it’s a terrible argument and a non-starter and that is soundly *because* of the many virtual men in games who gets killed and maimed in various ways daily and not a single shit is given.”

    Men are portrayed in such ways in games and I doubt Sarkeesian would deny that however bringing up as a way to dismiss her work, which is what StillGjenganger did is whataboutery considering Sarkeesian was clear from the beginning she was analysing how women were portrayed. C’mon mate this really isn’t that difficult to wrap your head around.

    Seeing as Sarkeesian also relies on pseudo-scientific malarkey to tie these things into violence against women in meatspace – that the actions they perform in the game have a connection to the mentality they have in real life, towards women specifically – this should be given more scrutiny.

    Where has she said that? I admit it’s been quite a while since I watched her earlier videos so i may have forgotten that. Bear in mind I’d like a quote from her, not someone else talking about her but Sarkeesian herself.

    The same tactics employed by Jack Thompson which failed. Miserably. (In case you’re wondering who Jack Thompson, you may want to read this thread: http://web.archive.org/web/20140829125115/http://nastythingssaidabout.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/the-terrible-misogyny-in-the-games-industry/)

    I know exactly who Jack Thompson is but cheers for the link. He used badly researched studies to lobby political power to get games banned. Something Sarkeesian has repeatedly says she doesn’t want to happen and, as far as I know, she hasn’t lobbied for it. You’d know she doesn’t want games banned if you watched her videos, she says it often enough.

  251. Lucy says

    Schala

    “I seriously doubt Anita ever received threats “forcing her out of her home”. She definitely didn’t receive most other threats “for being a woman”.
    Try again.”

    Okay, I’ll try again. On the 27th August, Anita Sarkeesian had to leave her home after receiving a bomb threat.

    I’ll leave it to others more qualified than me to determine whether this would have happened to a man.

  252. Lucy says

    Stillgjenganger

    “We are not going to agree on this one. I do not accept that the need for hate speech protection (if any) depends on whether something is innate. One way of making the point is to say that the need for protection of homosexuals and transsexuals should not depend on whether you decide that those characteristics are innate or not.”

    No clearly everyone has to be protected from harassment and violence. That’s a generic expectation in a civilised country with the rule of law.

    In addition there are certain innate characteristics that are protected from *discriminatory* harassment and violence: race, nationality, ethnicity, disability, sexuality. And one non-innate one: religion. One innate one is missing: sex.

    But when I said non-innate characteristics didn’t belong in hate legislation, I was specifically talking about discriminatory hatred and the incitement of it, not violence. It seems perfectly legitimate to hate an idea, an affiliation to an idea or set of beliefs or behaviours based on that idea, in fact it ought to be encouraged in some cases, that’s how ideas get better. It’s not perfectly legitimate to encourage people to hate a group of people for something they are born as and have absolutely no power to change. Therefore it seems distinctly off to include religion in the legislation and not sex. It looks, well: sexist.


    “That leaves the hate speech laws as a special protection granted to particularly exposed and vulnerable groups. And considering that women make up half of the population, are equal parts of mainstream culture, and have full political equality, they do not qualify. ”

    Women aren’t a vulnerable group? You try sharing a planet with a larger, more aggressive, more powerful primate with a penchant for attacking you.


    “I could put it in another way: If hate speech is so terrible that it requires a law against it – even for a group as large as women – why do you want the right to subject men, tories, or other groups to it? Why not extend it to everybody?”

    I never said men shouldn’t be protected from it. Sex covers men and women and intersex people.

    Hate speech is only dangerous if you can’t do anything to counter it. There’s no argument with: I hate women. There is an argument with: I hate Tories.

  253. John Ryan says

    @223 StillGjenganger

    I am not convinced.

    Of course you’re not, if you view these things through a zero sum lens then that’s what you’ll think. that doesn’t mean it’ll happen though.

    Just for starters, ‘more inclusivity’ could well end up as ‘each individual game must have a gender and racial balance, even if the story is about battles between crusading knights’.

    As long as you still have the option to play the stereotypical crusading knight then what’s the problem? The developers won’t be taking that option away so how does adding more options affect you in the slightest?

    Replacing the ‘titillating whore’ trope with the ‘woman that is in every respect equal and stronger as each male character’ trope, if you like. If the push was for having more games with more female protagonists, female-friendly storylines (whatever they are) etc., that would be a win-win proposition. More choice, more ideas, and people would choose the games they liked, with few or many strippers, according to taste.

    We agree here, choice is a good thing. WE might disagree on the specifics but we agree on the principle.

    Instead the push seems to be for getting rid of anti-woman elements from existing franchises, preferably from future games in general. Will it succeed entirely? maybe not. Up to a point? could well be. But if the project fails it will not be for want of trying.

    Why is removing anti-woman elements, not that that is likely to happen based on how such tropes are still evidence in major films despite decades of feminist critique, such a bad thing? Beside I’m 99% sure that they aren’t going to fully remove such elements, no-one is going to take them away as the AAA developers pander to a particular demographic and I can’t see that’s changing in the near future.

    People aren’t bringing up how men are representing in video games to compete with Sarkeesian as to who is the bigger victim. People bring up men in video games to provide a wider context that makes Anita’s arguments invalid. If she was doing genuine criticism she would be looking at this context herself and wouldn’t need other people to bring it up.

    I know they’re not bringing up how men are represented in games to have a victim competition. They’re bringing it up in a near text book case of whataboutery considering she has always been clear that shes looking at how women are portrayed within games, and that’s what those funded her were paying for, which happens in every other media form without the vitriolic response Sarkeesian has received.

    But that doesn’t mean you don’t bloody try! Yes 100% objectivity is largely impossible, but there are processes, methods and approaches that serve to reduce bias and subjectivity as much as possible.

    Please explain to me how you can analyse how women are portrayed within games as objectively as you want her too. This cry for objectivity strikes me as yet another stick tob eat her with while not actually engaging with what she says. I have to ask… have you honestly watched any of her videos?

    The fact that feminist critics use this argument and don’t even try to be objective just means that everyone else should consider their critiques to be worthless.

    That’s your subjective opinion, try to be a bit more objective as you demand from othersa nd recognise that while you might not value something others do.

  254. daveallen says

    I’ll leave it to others more qualified than me to determine whether this would have happened to a man.

    I brought up the example of Simon Cowell earlier. I don’t suppose he’s been forced out of his home due to a bomb threat – but equivalent things have occurred:

    http://www.itv.com/news/london/2012-03-26/simon-cowell-intruder-was-armed-with-a-brick/

    http://www.mtv.co.uk/simon-cowell/news/simon-cowell-increases-security-after-death-threats

    Note that these are from a few years ago – plenty of recent stories to the same end abound, but they seem linked to Islamic extremism so I’ve not referred to them due to your earlier request to have examples not linked to Islamic extremism.

  255. John Ryan says

    @ 258 Sans-sanity

    They were indeed cases of corruption and should have received more of an outcry at the time they occured. Oddly enough though they didn’t spawn a hashtag campaign and theats of death and rape at people, which would have been utterly unacceptable, yet when a woman is viewed as being responsible there’s an outcry.

    If the Gamergate people started focusing on the cozy relationship between the industry and those covering it, particularly IGN and gamespot, I’d pay more attention but the majority that i’ve seen so far on twitter and various gaming sites are still ranting on about Quinn over a month later and now are going after Anita Sarkeesian who has nothing whatsoever to do with the links between the videogame industry and the media.

    I have no doubt that there are many people annoyed at corruption in the gaming industry but they’re focussing it in the wrong direction in my opinion, go after the major websites who are guaranteed to give the latest AAA game a high score, go after the likes of EA, Activision and Ubisoft for their practices but while the focus is on one small developer trading sex for non-existent reviews and then complaining that a lot of the gaming press aren’t covering it in the exact way the the gamergate crowd want them to the cries of “ethics” and “integrity” look disingeuous especially when the place that birthed GamerGate organises attacks on articles that they don’t like complete with sockpuppet accounts and the mass flagging videos on youtube. https://twitter.com/alexlifschitz/status/512449098122035200

    Note I’m not saying that all gamergate people agree with or use such tactics however the fact that it’s happening and not being confronted by those not involved in such underhand tactics colours the entire movement.

  256. Schala says

    Okay, I’ll try again. On the 27th August, Anita Sarkeesian had to leave her home after receiving a bomb threat.

    Sockpuppet by her, not real or credible threat. Entirely a “look at me” moment.

  257. Schala says

    That’s because her analysis is based on how women are portrayed within games. Do you also expect her to analyse various graphical and audio aspects? She never said she was doing a complete analsis on how people are portrayed but how women are portrayed.

    It’s only sexism if women are treated differently. If the violence is no worse than against men, it’s not sexism – it’s equal opportunity.

    Decrying it as sexism is not only stupid, it’s entirely false.

  258. mccork says

    “Okay, I’ll try again. On the 27th August, Anita Sarkeesian had to leave her home after receiving a bomb threat.”
    “Sockpuppet by her, not real or credible threat. Entirely a “look at me” moment.”
    Wow. Just…wow.
    And yet Milo’s self-professed “double-figure” number of death threats is somehow totally reliable.

  259. mccork says

    Btw. curious how 4channers like to accuse others of self-promoting tactics they themselves are most famous for. Sock-puppet accounts created in order to get publicity are their specialty, AFAIK.

  260. ansatz says

    @Ally #262

    Your info is outdated and incomplete.

    @boogie:
    http://boogie2988.tumblr.com/post/97472605118/about-that-big-internet-drama-involving-gamers
    He’s being quite nice about it, but the subtext is there.

    @totalbiscuit:
    http://gamesnosh.com/the-ugly-side-of-justice-total-biscuit-denounced-over-zoe-quinn-scandal-comments/

    @redzos10:
    If you looked at the players involved, you’d see familiar names from then to now. That’s the connection.

    @jayd3fox:
    https://twitter.com/jayd3fox
    http://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2f4eq1/i_am_eatsleep_i_know_jayd3fox_well_irl_and_on/
    The video has since been set to private.

    There’s also JonTron, the original TFYC dox implicating Maya Kramer, and now recent events.

    It’s also quite frustrating that you’d attempt to judge the relative worth of these harassment events, as if because Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, by virtue of their more public place in the discussion, having received more harassment and publicity on that harassment as a result, so that these other people are . . . what?

    Haven’t been harassed enough to warrant attention? Or maybe there just haven’t been enough people being harassed for them to rise above the margin of error, the statistical noise of Internet vulgarity?

    If you want to go at this with a Dear Muslima approach, go ahead, but I’d rather not. Harassment on pro and anti-gamergate people are bad, period. They should be condemned and not just dismissed out of hand because you think one side got it worse than the other.

  261. Schala says

    And yet Milo’s self-professed “double-figure” number of death threats is somehow totally reliable.

    Milo who?

    If I received a credible threat, I wouldn’t go on my twitter account to brag about it, I’d involve police. I wouldn’t tell people to donate to me.

  262. ansatz says

    @daveallen #269

    Brad Wardell, though it’s not a 1:1 match, since I don’t know if he left his home.

    He did, however, received serious threats towards him, his wife, and his kids, due to a Kotaku article implicating him in a sexual harassment case.

  263. ansatz says

    @Schala #271

    That’s entirely uncalled for.

    While concerns have been raised for the verification of that events, specifically her comments about the police being unhelpful, what indication do you have to positively claim that she faked the thing entirely?

    There’s no need for her to fake harassment, she receives more than enough.

    There’s also nothing inherently wrong with using such events as examples of things that shouldn’t be done and garner support, materially or otherwise, against them. If people want to give money to her, they can go ahead.

    It’d be wrong if she’s defrauding people, but that’s a strong claim to make Schala. Do you know something nobody else does?

    It’s one thing to doubt and ask for evidence, but it’s another thing entirely to conclude fraud on her part.

  264. Schala says

    There’s also nothing inherently wrong with using such events as examples of things that shouldn’t be done and garner support, materially or otherwise, against them. If people want to give money to her, they can go ahead.

    There is also nothing inherently wrong in employing people in Bangladesh in slave-like conditions. What’s your point?

  265. Ally Fogg says

    ansatz

    @boogie:
    http://boogie2988.tumblr.com/post/97472605118/about-that-big-internet-drama-involving-gamers
    He’s being quite nice about it, but the subtext is there.

    In which he explicitly states that he has NOT been harassed?

    @totalbiscuit:
    http://gamesnosh.com/the-ugly-side-of-justice-total-biscuit-denounced-over-zoe-quinn-scandal-comments/

    You mean someone calling him a bullshitter and someone else calling him a “gross neerd”

    @redzos10:
    If you looked at the players involved, you’d see familiar names from then to now. That’s the connection.

    You are fucking kidding me?

    @jayd3fox:
    https://twitter.com/jayd3fox
    http://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2f4eq1/i_am_eatsleep_i_know_jayd3fox_well_irl_and_on/
    The video has since been set to private.

    I don’t know what this is about, but from the Reddit thread this appears to be someone else who has been subjected to mass abuse from Redditors / Gamers.

    Seriously?

    This is all you’ve got?

    You think any of this is even remotely comparable?

  266. ansatz says

    @Schala #279

    There is also nothing inherently wrong in employing people in Bangladesh in slave-like conditions. What’s your point?

    I’m going to ignore the first sentence.

    The second, you appear to be under the impression that if she asked for donation, then that’s somehow bad, or makes her case dubious, or that the only appropriate response to harassment is to not do that.

    I disagree.

    @Ally #280

    It seems to me that you’re being deliberately obtuse. Well, fine, if you want to dismiss them, that’s on you. If you think only a certain level of harassment is worth attention, or indeed constitutes harassment, then yes, I can see now where your opening post is coming from.

    And no, that’s not all I got. There’s the two I mentioned in that same post, there’s j_millerworks, there’s @milky_candy, and there’s @Ouren accusation of sexual harassment on Zoe Quinn’s part, which should have been taken seriously but was instead immediately buried, but I’m sure you’ll dismiss all of them somehow.

    You think any of this is even remotely comparable?

    And you’ve missed the entire point. I’m not trying to compare them, I’m trying to get you to realize that you’re marginalizing people, actual people, who’ve been harassed because who knows why.

    To use your words previously on the subject of harassment:

    There is no excuse for bullying, threatening and intimidating people.

    “BUT BUT BUT BUT-”

    There is no excuse for bullying, threatening and intimidating people.

    Maybe you think I’m too harsh with my criteria for what constitute harassment, that I’m too thin-skinned, and frankly I’m fine with that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with erring on the side of caution, in the border cases where people could be really hurt.

  267. Sigil says

    Assuming you are talking about AS, she claimed the police dismissed her complaint out of hand and suggested she should stop criticizing video games if she didn’t want to be threatened, then she asked for donations.

    Some checking has being done, and the police have contradicted her story.

    Some believe that an investigation for a crime called wire fraud will follow.

  268. Bugmaster says

    @Ally, ansatz:

    I don’t understand, what’s the point of this oppression olympics ? Are we going to say that whoever receives the most abuse, automatically wins the debate ?

    Feminists like Anita and Ally are collectively raising several points: 1). most games are inherently sexist, 2). these games are making players more sexist, and 3). gamers as a group are more sexist than most other groups (and also they are all immature spoiled children, apparently).

    Figuring out who received more abuse from whom does nothing to prove points #1 and #2. It might help you prove point #3, but only if you compare abuse received by women to that received by men, and contrast it with levels of abuse in other online communities. It’s going to be pretty difficult to eliminate all the confounders, but I suppose it can be done; though so far, no one has done it.

    Ally, in your post, you mentioned that no level of abuse is ever ok. Does that only apply to women, or what ?

  269. Ally Fogg says

    Bugmaster

    Feminists like Anita and Ally are collectively raising several points: 1). most games are inherently sexist, 2). these games are making players more sexist, and 3). gamers as a group are more sexist than most other groups (and also they are all immature spoiled children, apparently).

    Not only am I not a feminist, I actually don’t believe the first two of those things at all, and the third only with the caveat that we are talking about a limited self-identified capital G Gamer subculture as opposed to just anyone or everyone who plays games. I’m not even sure Sarkeesian believes the first two either.

    So that’s not a very good start.

    As it happens, I haven’t actually said anything anywhere in this thread about whether or not I agree with Sarkeesian. For what it is worth, I’m pretty much with Mccork on this – I don’t think her videos are very good, I think her analysis is quite bland and superficial, but if her premise is that there is a lot of sexism in video games (and I think that’s pretty much all there is to it) then I think it is so blatantly obvious it doesn’t really need saying. Ho hum. But whether or not her videos are any good or not so, so, so is not the point here.

    Ally, in your post, you mentioned that no level of abuse is ever ok. Does that only apply to women, or what ?

    No I didn’t. I think some level of abuse is an inevitable part of the rough and tumble of politics, argument and debate.

    I said there is no justification for organised, concerted and incited bullying, threatening and intimidating people into silence and submission.

    I contend that this is exactly what people have tried to do to Sarkeesian and Quinn. And I contend that these organised harassment campaigns are the only issue of real importance in this whole debate.

    And I’ve yet to see any evidence that there have been any such campaigns other than those which have been waged against Sarkeesian and Quinn.

    Hence my points to ansatz.

  270. Sans-sanity says

    Well said Innocent Bystander.

    I just went to the gamergate hashtag on twitter. Looking at the ‘top tweets’ I had to go through twenty-two before anyone mentioned ZQ or AS, and that was Dean Esmay, whose ‘popularity’ is likely being boosted by retweets from people other than GamerGaters. Not far below that ZQ was again mentioned, but it was by someone complaining that journalists still thought she (and AS) were all that GamerGate is about and presenting evidence to the contrary (a chart that showed the massive popularity of #gamergate compared to #quinnspiracy or #femfreq. Apples to oranges I think, but their you go).

    The main issues that were being mentioned (things that I found more than one mention of inside the top twenty) were DDOSing, doxxing and harassment by anti-gamergaters, how terrible some guy called Randy is (apparently pretty terrible), and people satirising the criticism games and gamers have been getting.

    If GamerGate is as GamerGaters do, then these are what GamerGate is about.

    @ally
    First;
    “And since we’re on to the supposed widespread corruption in games media, I would challenge any one here to come up with three separate proven and specific instances of corrupt behaviour by specific people which have absolutely no connection to Quinn or Sarkeesian.”

    then;

    “It is my contention that this stuff is being brought up now to provide some kind of self-justification for the campaign of harassment against Quinn”

    Don’t be a prat. I did not bring this stuff up to justify harassment of Quinn, I brought it up because you asked. As I said in my post above, I don’t even think “corruption” is at the heart of this. I think it’s been caused by contempt and cliques.

  271. Duck Robertson says

    Ally, I think you’re correct that Anita’s videos aren’t all that inspiring. But I’d say that this is kind of inevitable when she is effectively a pioneer in this type of criticism. First forays are rarely the best. Gaming is having its stone lifted and light shone upon it., and gamers would do well to get used to it.

    Also, contending that Anita is fabricating threats against herself is utterly pathetic and without evidence.

  272. Bugmaster says

    @Ally #286:

    …and the third only with the caveat that we are talking about a limited self-identified capital G Gamer subculture as opposed to just anyone or everyone who plays games.

    What’s the primary difference between the two (other than that you apparently dislike one of the categories but not the other) ?

    How is a Mountain Climber different from a guy who just climbs mountains in his spare time ? Or how is a Knitter different from someone who knits occasionally ? As I see it, the difference is that of degree. Both people knit, and both people talk to others who knit. But a Knitter spends a lot more time on his hobby; invests a lot more creativity into it; is more deeply conversant with the techniques involved; contributes original inventions to the field; and, of course, is more socially involved with other knitters.

    What you’re saying, essentially, is this: “It’s ok to play games once in a while, but if you make gaming a serious hobby, then you automatically deserve my contempt”. As a Social Justice activist, do you not see anything wrong with this attitude ?

  273. Bugmaster says

    @Duck Robertson #288:
    Regardless of what one thinks of Anita Sarkeezian’s videos, they are hardly the first videos of their kind. Places like Zero Punctuation and, of course, TvTropes are just two of the more recent examples; there are many others, including the occasional game reviews on Penny Arcade. I will grant you that, unlike these and many other critics, Anita Sarkeezian focuses uniquely on feminism; but even that is not all too original.

  274. Sigil says

    Anyone care to imagine what would happen of male scam artists entered a female dominated area and started spreading lies, misinformation and or sexually deceiving and manipulating women for personal gain?

  275. Archy says

    @Lucy.
    “Like all women, she has less protection. ”

    No, no, and no. Women have MORE protection. She gets white-knight style protection, she’s had lots of articles written telling others to quit their shit whereas a guy in the same position wouldn’t receive anywhere near the level of support she has. It amazes me someone would even try assume women have less protection in today’s society. Guys do not have the protection of the mob, if you toe the line you may not get harassed but if you speak out against gaming, chances are you will probably get some level of harassment as Jack Thomson, a male, found out. I don’t recall any articles defending Jack or anywhere near the same level of people trying to support him a Anita has gotten. I’d honestly be quite shocked to see a man in a similar position get anywhere near the level of protection or support as Anita has gotten.

    “the protection of anti-hate legislation which only includes the forms of hate that endanger men, ”

    Such as? There are some countries attempting to bring in hate speech of gender but AFAIK hate speech in the U.S is allowed under the freedom of speech constitution stuff. I’ve never seen any anti-hate legis. that protects men above women though, and in the countries bringing in gender-based hate speech protections, the discussion is near universally about misogynist speech, not misandry.

  276. Lucy says

    Schala

    “Sock-puppet…”

    So although yesterday you hadn’t heard of this bomb threat, today you know who issues it and that it wasn’t credible. That’s some speedy investigation you’ve done there, give the FBI a call, they need guys like you.

    —-

    “It’s only sexism if women are treated differently. If the violence is no worse than against men, it’s not sexism – it’s equal opportunity.
    Decrying it as sexism is not only stupid, it’s entirely false.”

    No it isn’t. It’s sexism if one sex, men, decide how and when and to whom violence is meted out and the other sex has no say in the matter. It’s also cultural supremacism.

  277. Lucy says

    Sigil

    “Anyone care to imagine what would happen of male scam artists entered a female dominated area and started spreading lies, misinformation and or sexually deceiving and manipulating women for personal gain?”

    What like the arenas of female religion you mean, where in the 5th to the 15th centuries men wiped out their pagan faiths, killed its female leaders, propagandised against their bodies and sexuality, relegated their goddesses to a bit part in the Christian story, and spread lies and propaganda about evil witches that put anti-Semitic propaganda in the shade and which are still with us today? What did happen? Did they behave like the psycho misogynists protecting their Sacred Games? No they didn’t.

    Or like sex you mean. Where men have invented a porn trade that spreads, often dangerous, lies and propaganda about women, incite crimes against them, to the extent that women suffering from Stockholm Syndrom collude in it? Did they behave like the psycho gamers? No.

    Or maybe like computer games which when they first arrived women played as often as men and now play more than men.

    Men have spread lies and disinformation and sexually deceived billions of women at fundamendal levels and they STILL haven’t behaved like these whiney, psycho, rage boys.

  278. Clarence Woodworth says

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/09/20/the-escapist-forums-brought-down-in-ddos-attack/ Quoting: “More important is an exchange between Polygon writer Ben Kuchera and The Escapist’s Editor-in-Chief Greg Tito. Kuchera urges Tito to shut down The Escapist forum where the discussion of Quinn was occurring, but Tito refuses, arguing that a place for discussion is a healthy thing. “The conversation may be distasteful to some of us,” Tito writes in response to Kuchera and others, “but I don’t know if the answer is to delete the thread. The Escapist is not giving harassment a home, but allowing civil discussion on a matter that people are emotional about.” Since these emails took place, #GamerGate has been born and even the release of Bungie’s popular video game Destiny hasn’t dampened the voices on both sides. However, it appears that many forums where discussion of #GamerGate has been occurring have been clamping down. Both reddit and 4chan have been banning users and shutting down forums related to the topic. One of the only places outside of Twitter where any discussion has been occurring has been at The Escapist.” Ally: So far there seems to be a whole crap ton of ideological collusion, not counting potential corruption at IGA. Anyway, back to my project. So far I’ve been reviewing well over a dozen articles on Anita’s tropes at Polygon and Kotaku. I’ve yet to see one that deals critically with those videos. Like I said: this is preaching. This isn’t a ‘conversation’, and this isn’t a bunch of well-meaning people who just want to debate. They DO NOT debate. They also moan and bitch alot, but never offer solutions and more to the point, they don’t even deign to recognize the progress that has been made over the years. For instance, many online games either have rules that apply in terms of civility, or have made the amount of civility that one would like to play under optional. Sorry, but you don’t come into a culture and try to change it by insulting the people of that culture and refusing to even entertain their perspectives or ask them why their culture is the way it is. That’s just rude and counterproductive. Anyway, I am going to post something here in the next two or three days with something Anita and similar cultural ‘critics’ never have: numbers.

  279. bugmaster says

    @Lucy #294:

    What like the arenas of female religion you mean, where in the 5th to the 15th centuries men wiped out their pagan faiths, killed its female leaders…

    When I asked you before if you could name any matriarchies throughout history, you said that none had ever existed, due to the male oppression. Does this mean you have changed your mind ? If so, who were these female leaders ?

  280. StillGjenganger says

    @JohnRyan 264
    It is not likely that we will come to any useful agreement, but nce more.

    There is nothing wrong with studying how left-handed people fare in prison. As long as the results stay in ‘Journal of Left-hand Research’ nobody will complain – or notice. Once you are being quoted in general debate in support of the idea that left-handers suffer terribly in prison, and that the judicial system must be changed to ensure they are never sent there, it is extremely relevant to point out that right-handers suffer in prison quite as much as left-handers.

    [NN] used badly researched studies to lobby political power to get games banned. Something Sarkeesian has repeatedly says she doesn’t want to happen

    The differences are smaller than you imply: Sarkeesian does not want games banned, just changed to fit her political ideas, which does not sound much more pleasant to me. And whether or not she is lobbying in person, her results are being used for lobbying – as she clearly intended they should.

  281. Lucy says

    Archy

    “No, no, and no. Women have MORE protection. She gets white-knight style protection, she’s had lots of articles written telling others to quit their shit whereas a guy in the same position wouldn’t receive anywhere near the level of support she has. ”

    What a load of crap.

    For one thing, no man is or has ever been in the same position as Anita Sarkeesian.

    No man ever can be in that position because men occupy a fundamentally different place in both the world and the online world. No man receiving 100s of thousands of rape and death threats from men or women will ever experience what a woman does in that situation because you do not spent your lives with the ever present reality – not hypothetical reality, but actual day to day reality, of misogynist hate crime and disenfranchisement.

    For another thing, when men receive credible threats of this kind they are given police protection. Salman Rushdie wrote a book that pissed off millions of Muslim rage boys and he went into hiding and for years was protected by armed special units. High profile white knights came out in support of his right of free expression (a few morally bankrupt ones didn’t). However when Anita Sarkeesian announces she will in the future produce a video that will piss of millions of Ex Christian Atheist rage boys, so such protection is forthcoming. She’s meant to battle them on her own.

    Your use of the term, White Knight, for men who support female people in their fight against sex discrimination is revealing.

  282. Lucy says

    Bugmaster

    “When I asked you before if you could name any matriarchies throughout history, you said that none had ever existed, due to the male oppression. Does this mean you have changed your mind ? If so, who were these female leaders ?”

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matriarchy#By_region_and_culture

    Female-led pagan religions, religions replete with goddesses, matriarchal religions are an historical fact. Judeo-Christians didn’t write the Eve myth, ban female prophetesses and priestesses or put millions of women across Europe to death for nothing.

  283. Lucy says

    Sigil

    “What if it had been a man sexually deceiving and manipulating women for profits?”

    FFS, you guys really do follow a pattern. You’re like the 9/11 conspiracists.

    Even if she was sexually deceiving(whatever the hell that means) and manipulating people for profits, which she isn’t, that would make her like just about every single business man, male politician and make games maker on the planet.

  284. bugmaster says

    @Lucy #299:

    Female-led pagan religions, religions replete with goddesses, matriarchal religions are an historical fact.

    The article you link to opens up with this:

    Most anthropologists hold that there are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal.[53][54][55] According to J. M. Adovasio, Olga Soffer, and Jake Page, no true matriarchy is known actually to have existed.[50] Anthropologist Joan Bamberger argued that the historical record contains no primary sources on any society in which women dominated.[56] Anthropologist Donald Brown’s list of human cultural universals (viz., features shared by nearly all current human societies) includes men being the “dominant element” in public political affairs,[57] which he asserts is the contemporary opinion of mainstream anthropology.[citation needed] There are some disagreements and possible exceptions. A belief that women’s rule preceded men’s rule was, according to Haviland, “held by many nineteenth-century intellectuals”.[3] The hypothesis survived into the 20th century and was notably advanced in the context of feminism and especially second-wave feminism, but the hypothesis is mostly discredited today, most experts saying that it was never true.[58]

    Religions with female goddesses obviously existed, but that isn’t quite the same thing. I am not an anthropologist though, so I don’t claim to know which side is right (nor do I particularly care), I’m just pointing out that your article contradicts your claims. That said, I would love to be persuaded that true matriarchies did exist, because then we could test the numerous claims you’ve made about them.

    I don’t want to derail the thread though, perhaps we should talk about this elsewhere.

  285. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucy
    So, you think that inciting and expressing hate against people because the are Christians or Tories is not only perfectly acceptable but likely ought to be encouraged? What kind of person does that make you?

    As for the innate/non innate business, it really makes no difference to me that I could in theory escape from your persecution by changing my religion and politics to suit you. If the kind of insults etc. you call ‘hate speech’ are bad enough to demand legal protection, everybody needs that protection. In practice, hate speech seems to cover all kinds of fairly normal insults against people in protected groups (‘the phrase ‘fucking black cunt’ springs to mind), which means that in any screaming match between people form different groups, the person from a protected group will have the law taking sides in his favour. One can live with that for minority groups with a clear problem of discrimination (though I think it has gone rather too far already). But giving well over 50% of the population that protection is ridiculous. The end result would be rather like bringing your big brother to a playground squabble. You and the people your favour have protection against any mean moves by the other side, while being free to be as nasty as you like to your enemies. Which is surely where you want to be.

  286. Lucy says

    Bugmaster

    “I’m just pointing out that your article contradicts your claims.”

    No it doesn’t. I claimed there were female-led religions not matriarchal societies.

  287. StillGjenganger says

    Ally 286
    I thought that the idea of exposure to misogynist culture making people more misogynist was a truly basic premise of both feminism and much progressive thought in general – indeed I thought that was what ‘rape culture’ was all about. So, are you saying that neither you, nor Sarkeesian, nor feminists in general believe this?

  288. says

    Stillgjenganger

    “@Lucy
    So, you think that inciting and expressing hate against people because the are Christians or Tories is not only perfectly acceptable but likely ought to be encouraged? What kind of person does that make you?”

    A frustrated one.

    I said that inciting and expressing hate against ideas and people’s affiliations to them is acceptable. People deserve to be hated if their ideas are hateful. I’m inciting hatred against sexist gamers on this thread. Labour supporters incite hatred of Tories all the time. Everyone incites hatred of right wingers. MRAs incite hatred of feminists and vice versa. No doubt you incite hatred of whatever ideas and behaviour you find repugnant. I don’t happen to find Christians objectionable, but if I did I should be within my rights to hate them and encourage other people to as well, Christianity is just a political club like any other. Not violence or other crime, note, hate. Hate is a perfectly legitimate emotion, it doesn’t hurt anyone. Outlawing it is a thought crime.

    “As for the innate/non innate business, it really makes no difference to me that I could in theory escape from your persecution by changing my religion and politics to suit you. ”

    Of course it makes a difference. It’s the difference between discrimination and democratic disagreement. If you’re a Nazi and somebody hates you and incites everyone to hate Nazis, you have the choice to carry on being a Nazi and being hated by everyone or giving it up and being liked, if the argument against Naziism are sufficiently persuasive you’ll want to give it up. If you’re a black man and everyone hates you and incites everyone to hate black men, you can’t do anything about it and you’re stuck with living in that hostile environment for life.


    “If the kind of insults etc. you call ‘hate speech’ are bad enough to demand legal protection, everybody needs that protection.”

    Everyone does have the protection, nobody can be harassed or intimidated or attacked. But some groups have additional protection from discrimination. And that should never include protection from discrimination because of their ideas or behaviour. If we can’t discriminate against one another because of our ideas and affiliations then that’s a fundamental assault on freedom of choice. It would mean religions would be banned because they couldn’t exclude people with different beliefs, clubs and associations would be banned because they couldn’t exclude people who didn’t share their interest, democracy would be a thing of the past because you couldn’t have party politics, debate would be banned because you couldn’t attack another person’s point of view. No more sports teams. No more nations or border controls. No more age limits on school entry or age of consent.

    “But giving well over 50% of the population that protection is ridiculous.”
    No it isn’t. Numbers are irrelevant, it’s vulnerability that matters. If a group, no matter how large, is being targeted by a discriminatory/special type of crime then they need discriminatory/special protection from it.

    And once again sex covers men and intersex people too. It is not a matter of one side being able to lob missiles and the other not.

  289. says

    “Ally 286
    I thought that the idea of exposure to misogynist culture making people more misogynist was a truly basic premise of both feminism and much progressive thought in general – indeed I thought that was what ‘rape culture’ was all about. So, are you saying that neither you, nor Sarkeesian, nor feminists in general believe this?”

    It is. It’s total nonsense that our environment including the media environment doesn’t affect our beliefs and behaviour. It’s an established fact that it does.

  290. says

    Clarence

    “Sorry, but you don’t come into a culture and try to change it by insulting the people of that culture and refusing to even entertain their perspectives or ask them why their culture is the way it is. ”

    Why not? She can if she wants, it’s not a crime.

    People insult one another’s cultures and subcultures all the time. Men sure as hell do it with musical and fashion and sport subcultures, they do it at the national level too. Do you think hippies go ape shit when South Park runs a satire on their culture? Do Moby fans bombard Eminem with rape threats when he insults their leader? Do Scottish people drive Ussain Bolt out of his home for saying their games are a bit shit? Did anyone declare war on Portugal when some guy writes a nasty book about the English?

    Harassment and threats of violence, actual violence – those are crimes.

  291. bugmaster says

    @Lucy #305:

    People deserve to be hated if their ideas are hateful

    This neatly sums up, in one sentence, my main point of disagreement with the Social Justice movement.

    The idea of spreading hatred and inciting personal attacks against one’s political opponents is, to me, quite hateful. But I don’t hate you personally for expressing it.

  292. says

    Daveallen

    “I brought up the example of Simon Cowell earlier. I don’t suppose he’s been forced out of his home due to a bomb threat – but equivalent things have occurred:”

    Firstly, Simon Cowell is a man so the nature of the threats he receives, the threat of it actually happening, and the risk to him if it does are less severe than those to a woman in the public eye. A rape threat is unlikely to come, if it does he’s less likely to feel the same way about its likelihood, and if it occurred he’s less likely to fall victim to it.

    Secondly, Simon Cowell is a multimillionaire and is srrounded by a staff of people, possibly including body guards. This provides a level of protection not afforded to Anita Sarakeesian.

  293. says

    Ally Fogg: “‘Feminists like Anita and Ally are collectively raising several points: 1). most games are inherently sexist, 2). these games are making players more sexist, and 3). gamers as a group are more sexist than most other groups (and also they are all immature spoiled children, apparently).
    Not only am I not a feminist, I actually don’t believe the first two of those things at all”

    In other news, racist and a Anti-Semitic propaganda doesn’t work and extremist videos don’t raise recruitment levels.

  294. says

    Bugmaster

    “This neatly sums up, in one sentence, my main point of disagreement with the Social Justice movement.”

    Fabulous

    “The idea of spreading hatred and inciting personal attacks against one’s political opponents is, to me, quite hateful. But I don’t hate you personally for expressing it.”

    How many times have I got to say that I’m not talking about incitement to crime and violence? Once? Because I said it once. Twice? Because I said it twice. Three time? Because I said it three times.

  295. says

    Ally Fogg:

    “Ally Fogg: “‘Feminists like Anita and Ally are collectively raising several points: 1). most games are inherently sexist, 2). these games are making players more sexist, and 3). gamers as a group are more sexist than most other groups (and also they are all immature spoiled children, apparently).
    Not only am I not a feminist, I actually don’t believe the first two of those things at all””

    Presumably misognists are born that way. Or maybe it’s the water. It’s just a happy coincidence so many of them end up making and consuming misogynist media and hanging out on 4chan. Misogynists are unique amongst humans in not responding to other human cues and being immune to group psychology.

  296. says

    Ally Fogg:

    “Ally Fogg: “‘Feminists like Anita and Ally are collectively raising several points: 1). most games are inherently sexist, 2). these games are making players more sexist, and 3). gamers as a group are more sexist than most other groups (and also they are all immature spoiled children, apparently).
    Not only am I not a feminist, I actually don’t believe the first two of those things at all”””

    Religious texts, music, theatre, preachers, group bonding events – doesn’t work. People are born believing things.

  297. says

    Bugmaster

    “But I don’t hate you personally for expressing it.”

    What’s your take on child grooming gangs? Do you hate them? Or incite hatred of them? If not them as people, then their ideas and beliefs that lead them to act that way. If you don’t then you need to get off the fence and stop morally cruising.

  298. Archy says

    “No man ever can be in that position because men occupy a fundamentally different place in both the world and the online world. No man receiving 100s of thousands of rape and death threats from men or women will ever experience what a woman does in that situation because you do not spent your lives with the ever present reality – not hypothetical reality, but actual day to day reality, of misogynist hate crime and disenfranchisement.”

    SO basically, women get it worse, or do you simply mean men’s experience is different but can possibly be the same level of harm? Which hate crime do you refer to, the overall level of misogyny in society or a specific one?

    “Your use of the term, White Knight, for men who support female people in their fight against sex discrimination is revealing.”

    Yes, it refers to men specifically playing the knight in shining armor type role from men who most likely wouldn’t offer such support to men in a similar position. If there is a better term you prefer I can use that instead. I myself support women in their fight against sex discrimination but I do not white knight/whatever term is appropriate as I extend that to all people where I can.

    There is still a chivalrous attitude in some people to protect women at far greater amounts than men. If you want to see the sort of action at play, look on youtube for the videos of domestic violence in public for instance where they show a man being verbally and physically abusive to a woman, and then later in the same video they show the reverse. People will be far more likely to protect a woman in the situation. It’s this type of double-standard I am referring to.

    Just a quick query, “No man receiving 100s of thousands of rape and death threats ” Do you men 100,000 + or 100 to 1000+ ? Just curious on the scale of death threats.

    “For another thing, when men receive credible threats of this kind they are given police protection. Salman Rushdie wrote a book that pissed off millions of Muslim rage boys and he went into hiding and for years was protected by armed special units.”

    A quick look on wiki seems to show he had very high level threats against him, “Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwā ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie. Numerous killings, attempted killings, and bombings resulted from Muslim anger over the novel.” (From wiki).

    “The Iranian government backed the fatwā against Rushdie until 1998, when the succeeding government of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said it no longer supported the killing of Rushdie” (From the wiki)
    ~~~~

    ” However when Anita Sarkeesian announces she will in the future produce a video that will piss of millions of Ex Christian Atheist rage boys, so such protection is forthcoming. She’s meant to battle them on her own.”

    Not sure what you’re saying fully, has she had threats specific to this? If so has it been reported? I would be extremely surprised if she wasn’t given police protection if the threats are so high. Was there a high-level threat to kill her ordered by a high-ranking member of a christian movement? Has a government supported her death? It looks like the threats against Anita whilst significant are many many magnitudes smaller than Rushdie unless I am missing something here and it looks like you’re comparing chalk and cheese.

  299. Erik Johansson says

    Totalbiscuit – ditto! He switched off commenting on his own videos because he was fed up of the harassment and abuse FROM GAMERSz

    Oh for fucks sake! Do you even do any sort of fact checking? Or do you just blurt out whatever you think sounds true?

    TB closed down commenting on his own videos as a protest to the youtube’s google+ update, and instead opened up a subreddit where his fans could discuss his videos. He’s also been very open about the stress that youtube and social media comments and abuse has caused him – and his solution to this: distancing himself, not reading comments, letting staff handle his twitter, etc.

    Since apparently clicking the sources I linked last time was to hard: TB has received death threats for supporting GamerGate and his twetlonger post that spawned that 30.000+ deleted comment thread on reddit, something that he talked shortly about in the KotakuInAction livestream he recently participated in.

    As for the other abuse, Jayd3Fox was doxxed by anti-GG people, and as a result, among other things recieved threatening telephone harassment from SJWs. Two wikipedia editors were doxxed for writing on the Quinn/GamerGate Wikipedia articles. The journalist who wrote about the mailing list have gotten death threats. People who tweet on the #gamergate tag have reported that they’ve gotten threats, and more threats, and even more threats! Others report that people have tried getting them fired, and harassed them in other ways.

    The Fine Young Capitalist’s IndieGoGo fundraiser page for their women in gaming project was hacked and defaced with an anti-GG message, because the “misogynists” from 4chan was their number 1 contributor…

    Women who supports GG have been called “house niggers”, and the people who’ve posted under the #notyourshield have been accused of being sockpuppets and fake. Which have resulted in a fair number of the people from #notyourshield stepping forward and posting pictures of themselves, their passports, and other proof of them not lying (btw, please Ally, go ahead and tweet these people and set them straight – that they are all lying and what they really care about is harassing Quinn and Sarkeesian!). The flabbergasting response to this was to accuse gamers of “weaponizing minorities”…

    So… Ally, are you going to admit that this shitfest haven’t been the one sided thing that you claimed? Or do I really have to dig up even more screencaps of threats, harassment and other crap going on?
    Can you lift your eyes for just one moment an realize that the harassment and death threat stuff isn’t a gamer specific problem? It’s not even a problem specific to angry men – this is a internet wide problem.

    I mean, seriously, take a look at the One Direction fans – they, predominately young women, are infamous for sending death threats to everyone and anyone. Really, do a google search – they make the gaming community look like fluffy kittens. Is it really so hard to see that the common element is youngish people of both genders doing really stupid shit under the protection of internet anonymity, when they perceive people attacking their hobby/identity? Or do we need to have a discussion about how fans of boybands also need to grow up, or about how misogynistic everyone identify as a Music Fan are – after all “just look at all these death threats sent to young women!”?

    Now, granted I have no clue how to fix this problem with “internet toxicity”, but I do know one thing – yelling “misogynerds” or “grow up!” isn’t really going to solve anything.

  300. daveallen says

    Firstly, Simon Cowell is a man so the nature of the threats he receives, the threat of it actually happening, and the risk to him if it does are less severe than those to a woman in the public eye. A rape threat is unlikely to come, if it does he’s less likely to feel the same way about its likelihood, and if it occurred he’s less likely to fall victim to it.

    You didn’t say “give me a man who gets rape threats” you talked of men who received corresponding degrees of abuse. Of course the nature of Cowell’s abuse isn’t typified by rape threats and presumably he’d find it a less weighty manner than Antia if it did, but there are things he has had to deal with that she hasn’t.

    Secondly, Simon Cowell is a multimillionaire and is srrounded by a staff of people, possibly including body guards. This provides a level of protection not afforded to Anita Sarakeesian.

    And so what? You said this sort of thing wouldn’t happen to a man. That Cowell is a bigger fish than Anita isn’t particularly pertinent to that statement. Your hand-waving about extra protection also seems rather moot given that thusfar he has had nutters turn up to events with knives, or break into his house clutching bricks, and as of yet – thankfully – she has not.

    That he may or may not bear a different psychological burden given that sexually charged abuse may well affect women differently than men is also moving the goal somewhat.

    If you were to revise your statement under consideration of the fact that captious critics get a lot of flack, and maybe come up with something more realistic like “Anita’s identity as women and feminist maybe skews that flack into further realms of disproportion”, I’d not argue. But you were making claims the the end that men only received such threats under circumstances of religious extremism and you are wrong.

  301. Ally Fogg says

    ClarenceWoodworth

    Anyway, back to my project. So far I’ve been reviewing well over a dozen articles on Anita’s tropes at Polygon and Kotaku. I’ve yet to see one that deals critically with those videos. Like I said: this is preaching. This isn’t a ‘conversation’, and this isn’t a bunch of well-meaning people who just want to debate. They DO NOT debate. They also moan and bitch alot, but never offer solutions and more to the point, they don’t even deign to recognize the progress that has been made over the years. For instance, many online games either have rules that apply in terms of civility, or have made the amount of civility that one would like to play under optional. Sorry, but you don’t come into a culture and try to change it by insulting the people of that culture and refusing to even entertain their perspectives or ask them why their culture is the way it is. That’s just rude and counterproductive. Anyway, I am going to post something here in the next two or three days with something Anita and similar cultural ‘critics’ never have: numbers.

    Oh Jesus fucking christ on a bike, can’t you understand that this is doing nothing but proving my point?

    If you want to prove me wrong, here’s what you would need to say:

    “I think Sarkeesian is entirely wrong but she’s entitled to her opinion and so I’m just going to ignore her and she’ll go away eventually.”

    That would be the grown-up thing to do.

  302. Ally Fogg says

    Gjenganger (304)

    I thought that the idea of exposure to misogynist culture making people more misogynist was a truly basic premise of both feminism and much progressive thought in general – indeed I thought that was what ‘rape culture’ was all about. So, are you saying that neither you, nor Sarkeesian, nor feminiests in general believe this?

    As a great philosopher once said, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

    Speaking for myself, no one else, and certainly not for feminism, I think our attitudes and beliefs are instilled by a vast network of social influences, of which by far the most important are the people around us and our engagement with the real world and how we see people behaving.

    Mass media influences like video game tropes would not exist unless the attitudes and beliefs they draw from were already in place. Designers and creators would not put those tropes in the games unless those attitudes were in place and consumers would not appreciate and value those tropes unless the attitudes were already in place.

    To the extent they could be called harmful, it is in that they are reinforcing, bolstering and validating toxic beliefs that are already in place.

    Personally I think it is worth challenging things like these, because the process of considering, understanding and appreciating that these kinds of tropes are misogynist or simply puerile is in itself a positive learning experience. Someone saying “Oh yeah, now you point it out that is pretty fucked up.” What then happens is that people are forced to confront some of their own prejudices and oppressive beliefs.

    However that is almost entirely different to saying:
    1. “Most games are inherently sexist” (Wrong both as an objective quantifiable statement – ‘most’ – which I don’t think anyone has ever said, but also because ‘inherently sexist’ is a strange construction. “A lot of games contain overtly sexist elements” would be a much more accurate summary.

    2. “these games are making players more sexist” – I don’t know if Sarkeesian has ever said something like this, but if she has, it would be a painfully simplistic claim that would ignore the fact that games are just one part in an enormously complex hegemonic culture.

  303. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg

    “Speaking for myself, no one else, and certainly not for feminism, I think our attitudes and beliefs are instilled by a vast network of social influences, of which by far the most important are the people around us and our engagement with the real world and how we see people behaving.”

    Propaganda works. That’s why governments who have the power to affect a vast number of social influences and our engagement with the real world use it, to great effect. Games and online forums aren’t a form of media that is passively consumed, they are an interactive one: they are gamers’ interactions with the real world. By many accounts, these are some gamers’ only interactions with other people.

    “Mass media influences like video game tropes would not exist unless the attitudes and beliefs they draw from were already in place. Designers and creators would not put those tropes in the games unless those attitudes were in place and consumers would not appreciate and value those tropes unless the attitudes were already in place.”

    It’s called escalation and desensitisation and tipping point. Games didn’t land on the scene allowing players to have sex with prostitutes then kick them to death to get your money back, that has been a gradual development as the ground has shifted in a symbiotic relationship with media.

  304. Sigil says

    Lucy, showing your misandry.

    “Even if she was sexually deceiving(whatever the hell that means) and manipulating people for profits, which she isn’t, that would make her like just about every single business man, male politician and make games maker on the planet.”

    No, not every male in those fields is a scam artist who is caught out sexually and / or financially deceives, exploits and manipulating women.

    Generally when men are caught behaving like AS and the other one, there are serious consequences.

    The opposite is working for these people, because they are women.

  305. says

    Archy

    “SO basically, women get it worse, or do you simply mean men’s experience is different but can possibly be the same level of harm?”

    Women in general get more and worse online abuse than men in general do.
    Women’s experience of the kind of online abuse they receive is different to men’s experience if they were to receive the same kind of abuse, i.e. Revenge porn, sexual threats.
    A few high profile men receive similar levels of abuse as targeted high profile women, but it’s different in kind and they have additional levels of protection in place.

    There is simply no equivalent for men of being female and receiving thousands of threats of sexual violation from men. They might think there is, but there isn’t. And the reason I know this is because I know receiving thousands of sexual threats from women would be nothing like as terrorising as getting them from men.
    A similar level of harm to can be done to some vulnerable boys and men by isolating and hounding them online sharing humiliating videos of them for instance.

    “Which hate crime do you refer to, the overall level of misogyny in society or a specific one?”

    Referred to where? I’ve referred to it a few times.
    In general, I’m talking about he incitement of hatred of women as a class of people. It’s not a crime, because it’s not illegal, but it is achieved via a number of forms of media, most often misogynist pornography, misogynist Games, Misogynist elements of HipHop, Rap, Death Metal, punk and heavy metal, torture porn horror films, misogynist authors and poets, tabloids, elements of lads’ mags, Internet forums, MRA blogs.

    More specifically I am referring to misogynist harassment and terrorism in the form of threats to rape and kill, and carrying out those threats. Which again isn’t classed as a hate crime under our legislation.

    “Yes, it refers to men specifically playing the knight in shining armor type role from men who most likely wouldn’t offer such support to men in a similar position. If there is a better term you prefer I can use that instead. I myself support women in their fight against sex discrimination but I do not white knight/whatever term is appropriate as I extend that to all people where I can.”

    Men should protect women from men discriminating against them. It’s called doing the decent thing. You think they should stand back and let women fight their battles for them? Would white men stand by while a racist mob rounded on a black guy?


    “There is still a chivalrous attitude in some people to protect women at far greater amounts than men. If you want to see the sort of action at play, look on youtube for the videos of domestic violence in public for instance where they show a man being verbally and physically abusive to a woman, and then later in the same video they show the reverse. People will be far more likely to protect a woman in the situation. It’s this type of double-standard I am referring to.”

    So there should be! It’s called self-policing. Women don’t ask to be victimised by male violence, we don’t want it, but we have no control over it. Men do. Step up.


    Just a quick query, “No man receiving 100s of thousands of rape and death threats ”

    One non-credible rape threat would violate a woman, one credible one would terrorise her.

    ~~~~
    ” However when Anita Sarkeesian announces she will in the future produce a video that will piss of millions of Ex Christian Atheist rage boys, so such protection is forthcoming. She’s meant to battle them on her own.”
    Not sure what you’re saying fully, has she had threats specific to this? If so has it been reported? I would be extremely surprised if she wasn’t given police protection if the threats are so high. Was there a high-level threat to kill her ordered by a high-ranking member of a christian movement? Has a government supported her death? It looks like the threats against Anita whilst significant are many many magnitudes smaller than Rushdie unless I am missing something here and it looks like you’re comparing chalk and cheese.”

    Most of the vitriol was directed at Anita Sarkeesian after she announced she was planning to make a series of videos looking at sexism in games, before she’d made any. And yes she has reported threats to the police. It was on police advice that she left her apartment last month.

  306. says

    Sigil

    “No, not every male in those fields is a scam artist who is caught out sexually and / or financially deceives, exploits and manipulating women.”

    Lucky I didn’t say every male working in those fields is a scam artist then isn’t it.


    “Generally when men are caught behaving like AS and the other one, there are serious consequences.”

    What, caught on Kickstarter raising funds to make a video? Err. no there aren’t.


    “The opposite is working for these people, because they are women.”

    I think you’ll find that it’s a woman on the receiving end of the “consequences”, not a man. Which undermines your theory somewhat.

  307. says

    Erik

    “I mean, seriously, take a look at the One Direction fans – they, predominately young women, are infamous for sending death threats to everyone and anyone. Really, do a google search – they make the gaming community look like fluffy kittens. Is it really so hard to see that the common element is youngish people of both genders doing really stupid shit under the protection of internet anonymity, when they perceive people attacking their hobby/identity?”

    The difference is three fold
    1) Anita Sarkeesian isn’t being targeted because she’s threatening their hobby. There are plenty of male critics who don’t get the treatment she’s had. She’s being targeted on a discriminatory basis because she is female and she’s addressing their hobby’s treatment of her gender.
    2) The real world isn’t plagued by teenage girls attacking and killing critics of One Direction. Critics of One Direction do not spend their lives feeling terrorised by real violence.
    3) One Direction does not pump out hate propaganda.

  308. bugmaster says

    @Ally #318:

    If you want to prove me wrong, here’s what you would need to say:
    “I think Sarkeesian is entirely wrong but she’s entitled to her opinion and so I’m just going to ignore her and she’ll go away eventually.”

    Wait, what ? Now we’re not allowed to challenge her opinion at all ? Is anyone else on the exempt list ? Or is this a blanket policy, and we are supposed to just ignore everyone we disagree with ?

  309. Lucy says

    “Wait, what ? Now we’re not allowed to challenge her opinion at all ? Is anyone else on the exempt list ? Or is this a blanket policy, and we are supposed to just ignore everyone we disagree with ?” I think she’s had enough challenging for one lifetime, don’t you? Just leave her alone, none of your challenges are worth giving her any more hassle.

  310. Archy says

    ” And the reason I know this is because I know receiving thousands of sexual threats from women would be nothing like as terrorising as getting them from men.”

    Are you one of those people that thinks the rape of men is less of a crime than that of women?

    “More specifically I am referring to misogynist harassment and terrorism in the form of threats to rape and kill, and carrying out those threats. Which again isn’t classed as a hate crime under our legislation.”

    Is it a hate-crime for misandrist harassment or is gender not considered under hate-crimes in your country?

    “Men should protect women from men discriminating against them. It’s called doing the decent thing. You think they should stand back and let women fight their battles for them? Would white men stand by while a racist mob rounded on a black guy? ”

    This isn’t at all my point or what I was trying to say. I think people, men + women + those that don’t identify as either should stand up for all people where possible. Standing up for one but ignoring others though is strange behaviour.

    “So there should be! It’s called self-policing. Women don’t ask to be victimised by male violence, we don’t want it, but we have no control over it. Men do. Step up.”

    So when will women step up and police other women’s behaviour against men? Why aren’t women also stepping up and policing harmful behaviour against all people? ALL people should be stopping violence against all people. I speak up against both genders violence. Step up.

    “One non-credible rape threat would violate a woman, one credible one would terrorise her.”

    I was asking how many you meant, is it one, or 100’s, or 1000’s, or 100,000+ ? I would guess random comments/threats have a few hundred to thousand individual trolls given how many are online but I have no stats to go by on this. AFAIK only one posted the address on the twitter image she linked which she reported to the FBI if I saw correctly.

    “Most of the vitriol was directed at Anita Sarkeesia…”
    Ah ok, I thought there was some info I didn’t see and was curious as to a vid on christianity.

    — If there is more harm done to women via sexual threats online, why is that? Why aren’t men as afraid or harmed by these threats? As in 2 people both getting the same threats, 1 male, 1 female, why is the female harmed more?

    “Just leave her alone, none of your challenges are worth giving her any more hassle.”
    Even so, valid criticism is still valid. Do you think she should be free from challenges of her opinion from this point on? Or maybe just what she’s spoken of in her videos so far?

  311. Schala says

    Just leave her alone, none of your challenges are worth giving her any more hassle.

    Just because it’s you asking, I’m going to give her more criticism.

  312. Ally Fogg says

    Bugmaster

    Wait, what ? Now we’re not allowed to challenge her opinion at all ? Is anyone else on the exempt list ? Or is this a blanket policy, and we are supposed to just ignore everyone we disagree with ?

    That’s like standing in the middle of a mob, thousands deep, waving pitchforks and flaming torches and saying “Wait, what? Now we’re not even allowed to strike a match?”

    In other words, the problem is not that you are responding to or criticising someone’s ideas. The problem is that in doing so you are participating in an enormous (and very long-running) mob-cum-witch hunt.

    Look, if you really want to engage with the issue, there are lots of writers, thinkers and academics addressing these very points, beyond Sarkeesian.

    For example, why not carefully read this paper have a think about where you think the authors may be mistaken, and send them an email with a rational and evidence based critique of their arguments.

    You’d probably find they’d be really interested in your feedback, and if you make good points it might even have an influence on their future research and writing, thereby you might actually influence the development of theoretical thought.

    At the very least, I can guarantee you that your observations would be read and considered, whereas I can almost guarantee that anything you say to or about Sarkeesian will now be simply lost in the ocean of abuse, harassment and occasional glimmers of actual critique.

  313. Schala says

    At the very least, I can guarantee you that your observations would be read and considered, whereas I can almost guarantee that anything you say to or about Sarkeesian will now be simply lost in the ocean of abuse, harassment and occasional glimmers of actual critique.

    This might be what she says, but the honest, calm criticism is way way more numerous than the credible threats and harassment, by magnitude levels.

    And the trolls? I bet half of them aren’t even gamers. I bet you the One Direction trolls include a good portion of people who don’t care one bit about the boy’s band. And so on. Trolls be trollin’, they don’t need to follow a cause, only hear there’s a riot going on, and they’ll come. Like moths to a flame.

    If there are 1000 trolls and 20 credible threats, out of 2 million people criticizing her, and you say the 2 millions won’t be heard…then there’s a big issue with the audio reception. Or lots of people wanting to equate every single one of those 2 millions as being part of the 1000 trolls. And those 1000 trolls as definitely being gamers, definitely straight, definitely white, definitely cis and definitely male, the root of all evil, right.

    Demonizing and dehumanizing your opponents is how you can justify treating them like shit. And nowadays, it’s more gamers who are dehumanized than the Anitas.

  314. Ally Fogg says

    Schala

    If there are 1000 trolls and 20 credible threats, out of 2 million people criticizing her, and you say the 2 millions won’t be heard…then there’s a big issue with the audio reception.

    Well first and foremost I’m saying the fact that there might be two million people criticizing one woman who made a few inconsequential video blogs is adequate evidence that this is a blatant case of mob hysteria.

  315. Schala says

    Well first and foremost I’m saying the fact that there might be two million people criticizing one woman who made a few inconsequential video blogs is adequate evidence that this is a blatant case of mob hysteria.

    A man doing the same videos and getting the same positive press would get the same criticism amounts, perhaps more, since his maleness wouldn’t get people more willing to protect him. “The gloves are off” would be the order of the day.

    If he had any sort of influence or people listening to him, it would attract more criticism. Probably because people don’t think Anita can achieve as much good or bad (hypoagency) compared to a man. A man would be viewed as a more credible threat to gaming.

  316. Lucy says

    Archy

    “Are you one of those people that thinks the rape of men is less of a crime than that of women?”

    I’m one of those people who think that with a few exceptions, male fear of female rape is non-existent and except when it’s an imminent threat, male fear of male rape is practically non-existent. That except when it’s an imminent threat, female fear of female rape is non-existent while female fear of male rape is a terrorising ever-present companion as women go through life and which has an insidious effect on their liberties and self-expression.
    I wouldn’t like to say whether male on male rape is equivalent to male on female rape or female on female rape or female on male rape. I expect it’s a personal thing, and I’m not a fan of grading sexual abuse. Though I think being raped by somebody who can, has a penchant for and may do you serious, permanent physical harm would be the most traumatic.

    “Is it a hate-crime for misandrist harassment or is gender not considered under hate-crimes in your country?”

    Gender isn’t considered under hate crime in my country. Neither is sex.


    “This isn’t at all my point or what I was trying to say. I think people, men + women + those that don’t identify as either should stand up for all people where possible. Standing up for one but ignoring others though is strange behaviour.”

    Firstly you have no idea whether you so-called white knights also step in on behalf of men who are being persecuted. But even if they don’t and they only stop male bullying of women, they shouldn’t be shamed for it. Men should police one another’s aggressive and sexist behaviour towards women, it’s not women’s responsibility and they don’t have the power to stop it even if they wanted to, given that male aggression is lethal to women and they are a disenfranchised group.


    “So when will women step up and police other women’s behaviour against men? ”

    When men are at genuine risk from women and men are unable to protect themselves against it. It’s not two men being killed by women in the UK every week, or men having their civil rights encroached upon to avoid female violence, it’s the other way around.


    “— If there is more harm done to women via sexual threats online, why is that? Why aren’t men as afraid or harmed by these threats? As in 2 people both getting the same threats, 1 male, 1 female, why is the female harmed more?”

    Because women are more vulnerable to male violence than men are. And have had a lifetime of sensitisation to it. It’s like asking why would a fat person be more vulnerable than a thin one to fat-shaming.


    “Even so, valid criticism is still valid. Do you think she should be free from challenges of her opinion from this point on? Or maybe just what she’s spoken of in her videos so far?”

    If she hadn’t been hounded for two years by thousands of demented psychos, I’d say criticise away. But seeing as she has been I think enough’s enough.

  317. Archy says

    “Well first and foremost I’m saying the fact that there might be two million people criticizing one woman who made a few inconsequential video blogs is adequate evidence that this is a blatant case of mob hysteria”

    There’s nothing inconsequential about it. Her blog/video series raised over $150k on her kickstarter. Her ideas are already influencing developers (not a bad thing to bring in diversity). She’s being listed on major gaming sites, feminist sites, all kinds of sites relating to gender roles (such as princess free zone + achilles effect).

    She is someone who actually does have a good chance of influencing the way at least some games are developed, and surprise surprise, this is already happening. She’s not just some random youtuber that barely anyone watches. There may be 100’s or 1000’s of others who do vblogs on the issues in gaming, but I do not see any of them on my facebook feed, I don’t see most of them on large gaming sites.

    If you make an article/video/whatever then someone may look at it, comment, critique it or whatever. *2million potentially disagree with her, there may be less or more than that who agree. So far a few developers have agreed with her.

    How many of these vloggers have been invited to gaming industry events/internet culture? events? AFAIK she was invited to some wasn’t she? I recall there being at least a women online harassment type talk in the last few weeks? If my memory is right it might have been at PAX? Her youtube has had ~14.8 million views, that’s big enough to put her in a league above the average vblogger.

  318. Lucy says

    Schala

    “Just because it’s you asking, I’m going to give her more criticism.”

    Well we women are interchangeable after all.

  319. Lucy says

    Archy

    “Her youtube has had ~14.8 million views, that’s big enough to put her in a league above the average vblogger.”

    It’s been viewed by rubberneckers. You can’t hold that against her.

  320. Ally Fogg says

    Archy – you are ignoring the incontrovertible fact that the only reason she is famous and her videos have been so widely seen is because she was subjected to an enormous and appalling campaign of organised harassment, abuse, threat and intimidation.

  321. Schala says

    while female fear of male rape is a terrorising ever-present companion as women go through life and which has an insidious effect on their liberties and self-expression.

    Only in the minds of very few extremely paranoid separatist radfems. Thankfully not the norm.

    the incontrovertible fact that the only reason she is famous and her videos have been so widely seen is because she was subjected to an enormous and appalling campaign of organised harassment, abuse, threat and intimidation.

    If I set up some kind of crowd funding thing, and then go taunt 4chan about it, I’ll have free publicity in the form of organized harassment, abuse, threat and intimidation, plus being able to use my martyrdom as proof-positive that my cause is just. How convenient.

  322. daveallen says

    Archy – you are ignoring the incontrovertible fact that the only reason she is famous and her videos have been so widely seen is because she was subjected to an enormous and appalling campaign of organised harassment, abuse, threat and intimidation.

    I think that her management of that phenomena is also part of her visibility. There has been a snowball effect based on feedback between her reactions to the abuse and the next round of abuse. In other words – whether or not its necessarily true – an apparent captious dishonesty on her part does reinforce an apparent need in those opposed to her to remain dogged in their criticism.

    For example, I imagine that shutting down Thunderf00t’s twitter account might not serve so much as to protect Anita, but to keep her visible.

    The handling of this recent sub-controversy over whether or not her dealing with the police has been honest also serves here.

  323. Pitchguest says

    Right, Ally. Keep speaking of what the “grown-up thing to do” is. Clearly when people give you links upon links upon links proving how this isn’t one-sided or a matter of the “mob” being obsessed by Zoe Quinn as you so pathetically concluded (seriously, you describe yourself as a journalist – get a fucking grip), the “grown-up thing to do” would be to ignore it or compete in the Oppression Olympics.

    Well first and foremost I’m saying the fact that there might be two million people criticizing one woman who made a few inconsequential video blogs is adequate evidence that this is a blatant case of mob hysteria.

    Are you fucking kidding me?

    Most of the gaming community went apeshit when Jack Thompson tried his spiel at Fox News to get games with violence banned. That would be over 2 million people. And who was Jack Thompson? Some guy who had made some inconsequential complaints about rap music in the early nineties. Who was Jack Thompson in regards to video games? Nobody. Clearly, going after Jack Thompson was a case of mob hysteria. Or was it misandry? Or maybe gamers were just obsessed about him?

    Who was Anita Sarkeesian? Some girl who made inconsequential complaints about sexist messages in films, music and television series. Who was Anita Sarkeesian in regards to video games? Apart from that one video she made about Bayonetta (where she got everything wrong), nobody. Who made Anita Sarkeesian a public figure? I’ll tell you: Anita Sarkeesian. After her Kickstarter went live, she featured rude comments made to her on her Kickstarter page on the one video where she allowed comments and ratings on her entire video library, and said, loudly, “this is what happens when you’re a woman on the internet.” Then she got the press involved and they wrote articles where they pictured her as a saint, come down from up above to punish us sinners. Was this the fault of the gaming community, that she later went on to have a talk at TEDx again featuring rude comments – and only rude comments – where she claimed that gamers were horrible people?

    Now, then, with her gain to national prominence where she’s dedicated herself to making a video series criticising (what she says is) sexist tropes in video games – by cherrypicking and misrepresenting gameplay, getting most of it wrong – gamers can’t criticise her criticism because they are at a number you deem to be “mob hysteria.” Which, of course, begs the question: how many does constitute “mob hysteria” and how many wouldn’t?

    Archy – you are ignoring the incontrovertible fact that the only reason she is famous and her videos have been so widely seen is because she was subjected to an enormous and appalling campaign of organised harassment, abuse, threat and intimidation.

    What a load of shit. No, the reason she is famous is because she wanted to be famous. Who was it that painted the narrative that she was being oppressed for being a woman? She did. Who was it that got the media involved? She did. Who did a TEDx talk where she spoke about how many rude comments she’s gotten? She did. “Campaign of organised harassment”, what is this, the Alex Jones show? Is this Scooby Doo and you’re actually Jesse Ventura in disguise? Oh, and enormous? Mmm. Yes. I’m sure you have some compelling and incontrovertible evidence to prove *that* negative. Also, I’m sure that you have compelling and incontrovertible evidence that what we’ve seen is proportionate to the number of actual legitimate criticism.

  324. johngreg says

    Mr. Fogg, you are simply not being rational, nor even vaguely objective on this subject. Not at all.

    Perhaps you might, as you did for a few currently verboten topics, decide it is not a suitable topic to be discussed on this forum? Because, you know, some people cannot maintain rationality while discussing it? Maybe?

    Gooses/ganders; pots/kettles?

    Hmm?

  325. Pitchguest says

    That’s like standing in the middle of a mob, thousands deep, waving pitchforks and flaming torches and saying “Wait, what? Now we’re not even allowed to strike a match?”

    In other words, the problem is not that you are responding to or criticising someone’s ideas. The problem is that in doing so you are participating in an enormous (and very long-running) mob-cum-witch hunt.

    Look, if you really want to engage with the issue, there are lots of writers, thinkers and academics addressing these very points, beyond Sarkeesian.

    Now you’re just being obtuse. If I went back through your history with the Guardian, how many articles would I find of you addressing persons you feel have done something wrong that others, most likely, have already done to death? Is it only during a certain point that it stops becoming viable criticism and starts becoming a “mob-cum-witch hunt”? And ‘witch hunt’ specifically, even though I thought ‘witch hunt’ meant persecuting someone for something imaginary? It’s not imaginary to criticise someone for something they’ve said, is it?

    Furthermore, if we really want to engage the issue then why not pit them to Sarkeesian? That is why she made her fucking videos in the first place, to get them accepted as academia in school classrooms. We can’t even have a discussion about that? Because we are having a discussion about it. That is what adults do, is it not? Grown ups? Hoping to shut down conversation and knee-jerk judging it as a “witch hunt” whenever habits suits you is not “the grown-up thing to do.”

  326. mccork says

    You know what…if all the trolling, harassment and abuse from people who want to silence her actually gives her more power and money, thus pissing the troll army even more, thus inciting more harassment, thus giving her EVEN MORE power and money…that’s just the most awesome instance of karmic justice I can imagine.

    You seem to forget threats are no fun. I fully understand how speaking at conferences and on Twitter constitutes a healthy way for her to keep her sanity. But you somehow take everything she does against her. Have some basic human sympathy, FFS.

  327. Pitchguest says

    You know what…if all the trolling, harassment and abuse from people who want to silence her actually gives her more power and money, thus pissing the troll army even more, thus inciting more harassment, thus giving her EVEN MORE power and money…that’s just the most awesome instance of karmic justice I can imagine.

    Brilliant. Don’t converse. Just ad hominem your opponents as trolls, harassers and abusers. The “grown-up thing to do.”

    You seem to forget threats are no fun. I fully understand how speaking at conferences and on Twitter constitutes a healthy way for her to keep her sanity. But you somehow take everything she does against her. Have some basic human sympathy, FFS.

    Once again. Don’t converse. Just imagine your opponents condone threats and have no sympathy. The “grown-up thing to do.”

  328. mccork says

    OK, I’ll spell it out for you. If you read carefully, you’ll notice that at no point did I call all her critics trolls. I was referring to actual harassers and abusers. If you are not one, that post does not concern you in any way. Thus it’s not and ad hominem against you, or any of her legitimate critics.
    Any clearer now?

  329. daveallen says

    If I were to call all feminists ‘trolls’, would you be offended?

    Presumably when mccork referred to a troll army, the people he was referring to where those who might justly be called a troll army.

    In other words the large number of people who were sending Anita messages typified by the nastiness of their content as opposed to anything else.

    So even if he was offended, you’d be drawing a false equivalence.

  330. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally 319.
    Very good and sensible analysis (not that it should surprise me, from you). Your conclusion would seem to be that you should not prevent people from either making or playing whatever games they like, but that you should try to make them think about what they are doing. I can agree with all of that.

    Just to round off, let me say where we do disagree (and are likely to consider disagreeing):

    Your reaction is unlikely to be the norm.

    The message that people in general would take from a ‘sexist tropes’ series is “Games are full of sexism and that is a problem”, not “A lot of games contain overtly sexist elements” – incorrect as that may be. The distinction between ‘games’ and ‘a lot of games’, or between ‘contains’ and ‘are characterised by’ is going to be lost on all but specialist readers once it appears on a high-profile series of snazzy videos, even if the author makes a big point of the distinction. Which I have heard no evidence of Sarkeesian doing.

    Feminists (or even progressives) in general are overwhelmingly more likely to think ‘games make people more sexist – and we must change them so that they make people less sexist’ rather than your much more sensible judgement. OK, that is my personal opinion, but it appears that Lucy, at least, backs me up here. Net result: there will be a feminist campaign to pressure current games out and more female-friendly games in, and the sexist tropes series will serve as an important tool in that campaign.

    I suppose we could argue whether Sarkeesian is in any way responsible for the way her work is used by fellow feminist forces in this ‘culture war’, or whether she is just a hapless academic caught in some political fights that have nothing to do with her. My opinion is that she always intended her work to serve as raw material for propaganda. Which feminist would not think that sexism needed to be rooted out for the good of womankind, or would pass by an opportunity to help the cause? More circumstantially, I take support from the fact that her work apparently claims to deal with ‘games’ rather than just a limited subset, that she intends it for use in education, and that the general scholarly standard seems to be on the low side.

    But even if she did not actively want to contribute to a propaganda campaign, she should still foresee, and take responsibility for, the predictable friendly use of her work. The culture war was there before her, and it was obvious how her work would be used. She cannot claim a right to ignore that, any more than those who criticise her can ignore the enormous outpouring of hate mail that they are lining up with. Or any more than someone writing about errors in historical temperature measurements can ignore how his results will be used the climate change debate.

    For the record, Sarkeesian is in no way responsible for the enormous and vicious campaign against her, nor could she be expected to predict it.

  331. Schala says

    For the record, Sarkeesian is in no way responsible for the enormous and vicious campaign against her, nor could she be expected to predict it.

    I, on the contrary, think she taunted some trolls so they would form a part of the vicious campaign against her, predicted the results, and cashed in on the “controversy” that resulted. All intended. Like snake oil salesmen using their relatives as testimony and then having people get out the pitchforks when they find out.

  332. bugmaster says

    @Ally #329

    For example, why not carefully read this paper have a think about where you think the authors may be mistaken, and send them an email with a rational and evidence based critique of their arguments.
    You’d probably find they’d be really interested in your feedback, and if you make good points it might even have an influence on their future research and writing, thereby you might actually influence the development of theoretical thought.

    Ok, so if I encounter a politician or an pundit or any other public figure whose ideas I disagree with, I should never challenge them in public. Instead, I should find some academics, and email my thoughts to them in private, in hopes that I’ll have some sort of influence on their future research.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you a guy who runs a very public blog where he critiques ideas of politicians and activists he disagrees with — and that is on top of contributing to major newspapers ? Shouldn’t you follow your own advice, and close up shop as soon as you can ?

    Or is Anita Sarkeezian exempt from public criticism because she has received some verbal and written abuse ? Does receiving such abuse make anyone completely immune from public criticism, or just her ?

    As I told Lucy, this is one of the main reasons I am opposed to the social justice movement (or, at least, the online branch of it): their “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” policy. If you disagree with them on anything, then (no matter how polite you’ve been about it) you’re an evil abusive bigot, and you must be silenced and shunned for the Greater Good. This kind of scorched earth policy is great at raising awareness and energizing their base in the short term; but in the long term, it causes nothing but damage.

  333. mccork says

    Or is Anita Sarkeezian exempt from public criticism because she has received some verbal and written abuse ? Does receiving such abuse make anyone completely immune from public criticism, or just her ?

    She’s not exempt. It’s just really, really low hanging fruit at the moment.

    This kind of scorched earth policy is great at raising awareness and energizing their base in the short term; but in the long term, it causes nothing but damage.

    Depends on the type of opposition you’re facing. The suffragettes had to resort to literal terrorism at some point, but it worked.

    Discussing social justice tends to be hard, because it often touches on people’s personal experiences, and how they see the world. Having your experience denied can really hurt.

    Btw., speaking of paranoia. When Lucy said that fear of rape is very common among women, someone dismissed her that it’s only among paranoid radfems. At the same time a lot of anti-Sarkeesianists in this thread seem to have a strong fear of censorship. Rape is a very real thing. It happens to startlingly large number of women. Censorship of videogames has not happened yet, even in the times of Jack Thompson, and no feminists I know of are calling for it. Certainly not Sarkeesian. In this light I’d say women’s fear of rape threats is much more founded in reality than some gamers’ fear of censorship of games. Not to mention the triviality of the latter compared to the former. When you weigh things like that against one another, there is no doubt that in gamergate online harassment is much more important thing to address than the virtually nonexistent threat of censorship.

  334. Schala says

    When Lucy said that fear of rape is very common among women, someone dismissed her that it’s only among paranoid radfems.

    That was me. And either it’s some irrational fear proposed to them by conservatives and feminists alike who think rape happens only to women, and to epidemic levels. Or it’s some rational fear…that men should also have to the same extent, since rape happens to male victims (by female perpetrators) about 40-45% of the time, according to CDC numbers.

    Personally, I think someone who fears rape on a daily basis, to the point of limiting their freedom, is living in a war zone, not in a first world country. That, or they’re paranoid. And limiting freedom of expression, of women specifically, is laughable to me, considering women have magnitude more of it in terms of viable options (clothing, hairstyle, jewelry, footwear), and they also use it way more than men do. By viable options, I mean the kind that doesn’t have them beaten on sight, or fired, or discriminated in housing and employment.

    Rape is a very real thing. It happens to startlingly large number of women.

    And an almost equal number of men. What’s your point?

    In this light I’d say women’s fear of rape threats is much more founded in reality than some gamers’ fear of censorship of games.

    Apples and racoons.

  335. Erik Johansson says

    Schala wrote:

    A man doing the same videos and getting the same positive press would get the same criticism amounts, perhaps more, since his maleness wouldn’t get people more willing to protect him. “The gloves are off” would be the order of the day.

    If he had any sort of influence or people listening to him, it would attract more criticism. Probably because people don’t think Anita can achieve as much good or bad (hypoagency) compared to a man. A man would be viewed as a more credible threat to gaming.

    Jack Thompson is the living example of this. Anything Anita have suffered, Thompson got as well. Death threats? Check. Harassment? Obviously. Games where you could kill, maim and beat the shit out of him? Yup.

    Jack Thompson was one of the most hated persons on the internet for a better part of a year. At times, you couldn’t join a WoW guild or CS server without eventually hearing someone wishing he’d get cancer and die. In comparison, Anita Sarkeesian is a nobody, today gaming is to big that most gamers just don’t know who she is, nor do they care. Join a LoL match and start whining about Sarkeesian and pretty much everyone will go “Who?”.

    The main difference between the treatment of Anita compared to Jack? The gaming press joined in the fun back then, and featured quite a few articles ridiculing him, hating him, etc. Basically, he was the right-wing christian fundie who it was cool to hate. Few had any problems with that, least of all the media. Which is why a fair deal of the gamers who follow this whole mess find themselves scratching their heads going “Wait, when it was a man we were mean to, it was complete ok? But now when it’s a woman we are being mean to, we are misogynists and YOU are telling us that WE are the sexist shitlords?”

    The fact that Ally bring up Thompson as an example of someone who wasn’t picked on… that’s just sad, and speaks volumes about just how little research that went into this blogpost.

  336. mccork says

    @ Schala
    In the recent GQ reportage as well as in a Guardian’s article about male rape in Africa most of the male survivors recalled their reaction as “I did not ever think it can happen to a man”. In other words, actual numbers have little to do with cultural perceptions of the crime. But this is a huge topic for research, and a whole separate debate.
    The apples and raccoons are for illustrating how the same people act dismissive towards a more real threat and overstate the case for the more vague one. Personally, I’d say it’s more paranoid of you to suspect Sarkeesian of orchestrating a harassment campaign on herself than of her to be actually scared of horrible tweets.

  337. Bugmaster says

    @mccork #354:

    It’s just really, really low hanging fruit at the moment.

    I’m not sure I understand to what you’re referring, sorry.

    The suffragettes had to resort to literal terrorism at some point, but it worked.

    Do you believe that modern feminists should likewise resort to literal terrorism ? If not, why not, and how did you make this determination ?

    Discussing social justice tends to be hard, because it often touches on people’s personal experiences, and how they see the world. Having your experience denied can really hurt.

    One solution to this is to rely less on personal experience, and more on objective evidence. For example, I’m a gamer, and I’m fat. Does this mean that most gamers are fat ? If we did a survey, and discovered that (to use a made-up example) only 35% of gamers are fat, would this invalidate my personal experience — and if so, should we suppress the results of the survey ?

  338. launcespeed says

    Gosh, you folks are chatty.

    Anyone figured out the difference between having an argument and making an argument yet?

  339. StillGjenganger says

    @StillGjemganger 251 (an Ally 319
    Bother.
    That should have been:
    “Just to round off, let me say where we do disagree (and are likely to continue disagreeing):”

  340. Bugmaster says

    @mccork #354:

    At the same time a lot of anti-Sarkeesianists in this thread seem to have a strong fear of censorship.

    Personally, I am more concerned about chilling effects. There’s a lot of historical precedent, after all: first, we had the Hays Code, then we had the Comics Code Authority. Both of them were eventually abolished, but not without doing a considerable amount of damage to their respective art forms and industries (movies and comic books). The “M” rating for games was introduced by the ESRB partly in response to critics such as Jack Thompson (I don’t mean necessarily him personally) who argued that games are too violent, make kids more violent, etc. Assigning a game the “M” rating has a dramatically negative effect on its sales; on the up side, few games today are deemed dangerous enough to acquire the rating. I think that instituting the “Feminist Code” (analogous to the Hays Code and the Comics Code) would be a mistake.

  341. mccork says

    @Bugmaster
    “Low hanging fruit” means I pretty much agree with Ally on this. (See the analogy with witch hunts, pitchforks and matches). Moreover, much of the so-called criticism not so much criticizes as it totally rejects the legitimacy of her theoretical perspective. Often it’s not critiquing her critique, it’s a rejection of feminism as such.
    As if feminist critique specifically was wrong all by itself. It’s not the case. You may not like it, you may not share the basic views of feminism, but it’s a legitimate methodology and angle.
    I would actually be interested in reading what another feminist critic might have to say on the matter. And for the love of God, not Christina Hoff Sommers. Please don’t make me explain why.

    As for personal experiences, they are actually indispensable in the discussion. Let me explain. Being fat is an objective, verifiable fact. You can say whether someone is fat without talking to them. Hence if you run a survey and the majority of gamers turn out not to be fat, it does not “invalidate your experience”, it just shows you you are a minority in this respect. With gender prejudice it’s a little different. If the question is whether sexism affects women lives negatively, and to what extent it does, you have to ask actual women about it, and treat their answers seriously. You cannot rely on “objective evidence” if you want to know whether watching misogynist tropes makes women actually uncomfortable. Your only source are the women themselves. If you want to know what it’s like to be a lesbian in this society, you need to talk to some lesbians – and trust their answers. Trust and respect are crucial here.
    If you want a good analogy, think of sex. You can read an anatomy manual, or you can actually talk to your partner. Denying someone’s experience – for instance telling women they should not be uncomfortable watching sexist content because to you it seems harmless – is an equivalent of telling your partner “This technique should be working on you, because this book says so and I believe it. If it doesn’t work, there’s probably something wrong with you”. An example of that is Schala’s argument about how “only paranoid radfems” can have a fear of rape.
    I think games can be great at showing people what the world looks like to other genders, nationalities etc – to some extent. You can play Mass Effest as femshep, and see how you react to dismissive comments of NPCs. [Actually happened to a friend of mine. Man, was he pissed. But of course it works differently if you do not see your character as an extension of yourself.] Same goes for the internet: you can establish a female profile on a dating site and see what sort of reaction you get. It won’t be the same, because you come at it with your own set of experiences, but it can give you an idea.

    Do you believe that modern feminists should likewise resort to literal terrorism ? If not, why not, and how did you make this determination ?

    No, I don’t, and to me the distinction is very easy. It’s about using adequate measures. Being stereotyped in some branch of entertainment is not the same as being denied basic civil rights. The latter deserves extreme measures (provided everything else fails; and I don’t ever mean killing people, more like breaking into galleries and pouring paint on sculptures, this sort of shit), the former does not. An adequate response for today’s problems is talking about them, raising awareness, bringing stereotypes to light etc.
    I don’t think a “Feminist Code” is ever likely to happen, and I think it would be bad idea. Again, adequate measures. You cannot decree empathy and respect. I think a more likely effect, and a more desirable one, would be for instance the introduction of female focus testers into the industry, diversification of plots (e.g. a game about female WW2 pilots would be awesome), shit like that.
    Also, I think it’s time we all got some fresh air.

  342. StillGjenganger says

    @mccork 362.
    I should stay out of this, but I cannot resist. What you are saying about the personal perspective is true, but you are missing an important corrective at the end. This paraphrase should illustrate the point:

    With feminist campaigns it’s a little different. If the question is whether feminism affects gamer lives negatively, and to what extent it does, you have to ask actual gamers about it, and treat their answers seriously. You cannot rely on “objective evidence” if you want to know whether the pressure for female-targeted games makes gamers actually uncomfortable. Your only source are the gamers themselves. If you want to know what it’s like to be a male geek in this society, you need to talk to some male geeks – and trust their answers. Trust and respect are crucial here.

    Yes, people are the sole authority on their own feelings. But we all have every right to discuss whether those feelings are rational considering the known facts (such as ‘is there really a threat of feminist censorship of games?’). And, rational or not, whether I must keep adapting my behaviour until you no longer feel bad, or whether you, too, must do a little (or a lot) of the work of adapting.

  343. Holms says

    #359
    Gosh, you folks are chatty.

    Anyone figured out the difference between having an argument and making an argument yet?

    Yes; arguments often have people chiming in with snide sarcasm but little content. Your point?

  344. Adiabat says

    Mccork (229):

    By Campbell I mean his “Hero With a Thousand Faces”

    I’m not familiar with it so I can’t comment on the quality of that work, or any suggested similarities to Sarkeesian.

    Now, let’s try a following proposition: this book is in fact a reworking of the plot of The Terminator, …

    And all that fine speculation in that paragraph doesn’t mean anything if it turns out the author of the Apostle book had never heard of the Terminator before. If that turns out to be the case what does that say about “how reclusive groups such as evangelicals nevertheless adopt the poetics of modern popular culture”? Because, well, the author obviously didn’t as you can’t rework a plot you don’t know. You could’ve written a 100,000 word book on the subject that’s rendered worthless because someone later thought to ask the author his background knowledge and influences. And the best part is that this has actually happened many times: early George Romero zombie movies come to mind as one example.

    This all largely ties into two types of meaning: there’s the intentional meaning of the craftsman, the creator who put this plot point here and this exposition here, to create meaning (if you want to say a text is “about” something this is the meaning you should refer to – and is best derived through objective balanced research). And then there is an almost unlimited number of possible interpretations where the source of those meanings come from the critic and not the text. The text at most was merely a catalyst, providing a stimulus for the critic to apply their own biases to. This is what I compare to cloud-watching.

    I find the first one interesting, like watching craftsmen at work; a show of skill and intellect. The second, well, I don’t see of what interest it is to anyone but the critic themselves and their psychiatrist. IF the academic did research to show that their interpretation was widespread in a sub-population (not that they ever do this) it might be of interest to some anthropologists or a community facilitator somewhere. But “as analysis of the text” it is worthless, as it’s not about the text, but about how a particular person reacts to an assortment of words stripped of all intended meaning.

  345. Adiabat says

    John Ryan (267):

    They’re bringing it up in a near text book case of whataboutery considering she has always been clear that shes looking at how women are portrayed within games

    Again, you are misunderstanding the point of mentioning men. If you don’t compare how women are treated to how men are treated you cannot determine if any particular treatment is because they are women. Let’s say a female character is killed gruesomely, and is put forward as ‘violence against women’. If many other men are also killed gruesomely then the ‘violence against women’ is really, ‘typical violence in the game’. Women aren’t singled out, and it’s not an example of sexism. This would be impossible to determine if you only looked at women. In fact, the methodology is misrepresenting the game, challenging it’s status as ‘Analysis’ and ‘Critique’.

    In effect, Sarkeesian’s approach makes it difficult for her to identify any sexism in games. This makes it invalid, and worthless wrt it’s aims.

    Please explain to me how you can analyse how women are portrayed within games as objectively as you want her too.

    Off the top of my head: Random selection of games analysed (you can even breakdown by genre first providing an in-depth analysis by genre), fixed systematic methodology (don’t ‘pick and choose’ the bad bits, state before you even start your research the criteria for choosing your examples (and of course the criteria has to be objective.)), use of control group to set a baseline (are men also shown in this way? Are men shown in a similar way?), include context (is the depiction non-sexist in context or through in-game lore? Does the game force you to take an action or is it player choice?), define your terms beforehand (and stay consistent), explore ‘hard’ restrictions (does the technical restrictions of the time mean that you only get a few seconds and limited graphics to set up a storyline? Or differentiate between characters?), include how the developers intend for the audience to respond to an element (does it develop the character, or evoke a particular reaction from the player? Does the mise-en-scene evoke a particular feeling?), research how an audience reacts to the game (do they all do that sexist action they don’t have to do to advance in the game?).

    These are just a few random ideas I’ve come up with. Each one will need to be modified depending on the subject under investigation.

    That’s your subjective opinion, try to be a bit more objective as you demand from othersa nd recognise that while you might not value something others do.

    You misunderstand me. By worthless I don’t mean “I don’t like it”, I mean “does not fulfil its stated purpose”. For example, if an analysis purports to be analysing sexism in games, yet its methodology makes it impossible for the analysis to actually identify sexism, then it is objectively worthless. And if something is put forward as ‘analysis’, but is biased, then it is worthless “as analysis”. It’s not worthless as political campaign material or in-group masturbation material however.

  346. mccork says

    @Adiabat
    I recommend you look up the difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods, for a start.

  347. Bugmaster says

    @mccork #362:

    “Low hanging fruit” means I pretty much agree with Ally on this. (See the analogy with witch hunts, pitchforks and matches).

    Ok, so I’ll ask you the same thing I asked Ally: do you believe that if a person receives a certain amount of abuse, then this person should become immune from criticism ? On a more personal note, imagine that I sent all of my comments on this thread directly to Anita Sarkeezian (assuming she still has a comment form open somewhere); would that be an abusive act ?

    Moreover, much of the so-called criticism not so much criticizes as it totally rejects the legitimacy of her theoretical perspective. Often it’s not critiquing her critique, it’s a rejection of feminism as such.

    I don’t see why we can’t have both, though, as you say, there are somewhat separate issues. We certainly have room for people who reject almost anything else — Communism, Libertarianism, theism, atheism, progressivism, conservatism, etc., so why not feminism along with all of that ?

    And for the love of God, not Christina Hoff Sommers. Please don’t make me explain why.

    Ok, why ? Sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂

    You cannot rely on “objective evidence” if you want to know whether watching misogynist tropes makes women actually uncomfortable.

    No, objective evidence is the only thing you can rely on in this case. If you wanted to know whether any specific trope makes any specific woman uncomfortable, then you’re right, all you have to do is ask her. But if you want to know if women in aggregate react negatively to specific tropes, then you need to (at the very least) design a study, then collect a large sampling of women and run them through the study. This is exactly the difference between “I am fat” and “only 30% of gamers weigh two standard deviations above the mean”.

    The latter deserves extreme measures (provided everything else fails; and I don’t ever mean killing people, more like breaking into galleries and pouring paint on sculptures, this sort of shit),

    That’s more like vandalism, not terrorism. Terrorism involves murdering innocent people, and I can never condone that no matter how effective it is at bringing about the kind of political change one might desire. Just thought I’d make that clear.

    You cannot decree empathy and respect.

    What do you mean by, “decree” ? Let’s imagine that we lived in a world where — to use a deliberately crude example — making a game where less than 50% of characters (round down) are female was perfectly legal. However, doing so would be nearly impossible in practice, because of the immediate storm of public condemnation and denunciation leveled against a developer who dared to do so. Would this count as “decreeing” ? Would this world (which, admittedly, is rather unrealistic, but still) be preferable to the one we live in now ?

    I think a more likely effect, and a more desirable one, would be for instance the introduction of female focus testers into the industry, diversification of plots (e.g. a game about female WW2 pilots would be awesome), shit like that.

    Oh, I agree ! I would love to see more games being made, and right now, we are experiencing a sort of renaissance in indie gaming, so making a game has never been easier. Rather than belittling gamers as a group for the Nth time, I wish social justice activists like Ally would just build the kind of games they’d like to see.

  348. Archy says

    @Ally – “Archy – you are ignoring the incontrovertible fact that the only reason she is famous and her videos have been so widely seen is because she was subjected to an enormous and appalling campaign of organised harassment, abuse, threat and intimidation.”

    Only reason? Her being harassed did elevate her publicity a lot but are you seriously suggesting she never would have made some progress alone? I’ve seen plenty of videos made by women just like her which reach a pretty decent following, especially if one of the feminist sites picks it up and reposts it or somewhere like GMP, elite daily?, etc.

    If I’m not mistaken, someone like Laci Green probably started out in a similar fashion with vblogs but didn’t get the hate bandwagon AFAIK, she rose to some decent visibility (I think her channel has 80M views). I think it’s totally possible Anita could have reached that or at least 1/4 of that without the hysteria of the mob.

  349. StillGjenganger says

    @Bugmaster368

    No, objective evidence is the only thing you can rely on in this case. If you wanted to know whether any specific trope makes any specific woman uncomfortable, then you’re right, all you have to do is ask her. But if you want to know if women in aggregate react negatively to specific tropes, then you need to (at the very least) design a study, then collect a large sampling of women and run them through the study.

    No, here you are confusing things. Well-designed sampled studies are a matter of research technique, they generally make for better results, but they are not always possible or necessary. No matter how you design the study sample, mccork is right that if you want to know if women are offended by something you have to ask the women – because they are the only ones who can know. (That does not necessarily mean that you have to believe in their analysis, or give them what they want, but that is another story).

    The problem with Sarkeesian is not that she is not using proper sampling techniques to select which games to look at, or that she uses a feminist model to analyse them. The problem is that she claims to say something about the nature of games, but that the body of evidence she presents is misleading and unrepresentative. Her evidence fits with her ideology, but not with the games that she is supposedly describing.

    In the Hitman example, for instance, it is quite true that the stripper NPCs can only be killed, ignored or used, and that you can slaughter them hide, the bodies and suffer no consequences. The thing is the same can be said for all NPCs in the game, not just for the female ones. If you claim that this is misogyny, you have to show that it applies differently to male and female characters. And it does not.

  350. Adiabat says

    Mccork (367): I do understand the difference, do you? It seems to me that you don’t understand the limits of purely qualitative research, especially when it comes to making conclusions about anything. It’s only really good for finding things for quantitative researchers to study. In ‘olden times’ we used to call this “Forming a Hypothesis”, now it gets a flashy title and people think it counts as research in and of itself.

    StillGjenganger (370):

    No, here you are confusing things. Well-designed sampled studies are a matter of research technique, they generally make for better results, but they are not always possible or necessary. No matter how you design the study sample, mccork is right that if you want to know if women are offended by something you have to ask the women – because they are the only ones who can know.

    Nope, he’s wrong. If you want to whether “women” as a group are offended by something you need to use quantitative research methods to produce a statistically significant conclusion.

    Asking ‘a woman’ only tells you that that one woman is offended by something. But then there’s always someone somewhere that’s offended by something so your “research” is worthless.

    [1]The problem with Sarkeesian is not that she is not using proper sampling techniques to select which games to look at, or that she uses a feminist model to analyse them. [2]The problem is that she claims to say something about the nature of games, but that the body of evidence she presents is misleading and unrepresentative.

    But those two points are intrinsically linked. [2] is partly because of [1]. If she used proper sampling techniques to select a random subset of NPC’s, then compared the ability to “kill, ignore or use” them through a strict methodology and found a difference between male NPC’s and female NPC’s she may claim she’s potentially found an example of sexism in a game. Right now her methods make it impossible for her for identify sexism at all.

  351. StillGjenganger says

    We still disagree. This is a true statement: “You can only find about whether something is offensive to women by asking some women if they feel offended”. That says something about what sources of information are valid. And if a lot of women are offended by something, is not valid, for instance, to say that “no sensible person could be offended by that, therefore it is not offensive”. *) Which and how many women you must ask in order to get a result that can be reliably generalised to all women, is a different question.

    Also, it is perfectly possible to make a correct and reliable conclusion about something without using formal techniques for sample selection, hypothesis formation etc. You cannot dismiss Sarkeesian or anyone else just because she does not use formal methods, and trying to do so makes you look anal, if not biased. It is perfectly respectable to make a feminist analysis of games, and to use informal or qualitative methods for doing so. You just need to find some other way to make sure that the result you come up with actually reflects the object you are studying, and that you are not missing anything obvious that would invalidate your conclusions. This is where Sarkeesian, apparently, falls short

    *) You might, on the other hand, say “That is normal and acceptable behaviour in our society, so we intend to continue doing it regardless, sorry”. There are lots of people in the world that are offended by a lot of things. It is a matter of social norms whether it is up to other people to stop offending them, or up to them to learn to live with it. This is where we should be taking the discussion.

  352. Adiabat says

    StillGjenganger (372):

    This is a true statement: “You can only find about whether something is offensive to women by asking some women if they feel offended”.

    It possible I misread your point before. I read it as implying that ‘just asking a few women’ was sufficient to determine whether something was “offensive to women” as a group, which is why I pointed out that any such ‘asking’ has to be statistically significant to make a claim about the group.

    Now it seems like you are saying that any claim about a group must study that group. My problem now is that I don’t see how your argument contradicts the point of bugmaster’s you were responding to.

    Also, it is perfectly possible to make a correct and reliable conclusion about something without using formal techniques for sample selection, hypothesis formation etc.

    This is true, but often you’ll find that these formal techniques have been performed informally. For example, the reason I said above that a genuine analysis and critique looks at all sides of an argument before it reaches a conclusion is because this approach produces a sort of ‘ad hoc’ selection system. It forces the critic to adopt a ‘somewhat’ formal selection system which makes their work more valid (not perfect, just more valid than the alternative).

    The list of approaches I gave above in #366 are also largely informal ‘formal’ approaches that one can take to increase objectivity. They’re still not ideal but might be all that is possible for that topic. Essentially, contrary to what certain people on this thread are claiming, the more objective you can make a critique, usually by including more quantitative techniques, even in a limited form, the more valid it is.

    You just need to find some other way to make sure that the result you come up with actually reflects the object you are studying, and that you are not missing anything obvious that would invalidate your conclusions.

    Can you provide some examples of these ‘other ways’?

  353. Bugmaster says

    @Adiabat, StillGjenganger:
    Adiabat puts it better than I could. I would also like to add a minor point: unlike events in real life, (most) games are computer programs that are written by people. As the result, the range of actions that are possible within a game is (usually) quite limited. This means that, when you are evaluating a any specific game, most of the time you don’t even have to resort to sampling; you can exhaustively enumerate all the possibilities.

  354. StillGjenganger says

    @Adiabat, Bugmaster

    1) This was the original exchange:

    You cannot rely on “objective evidence” if you want to know whether watching misogynist tropes makes women actually uncomfortable.

    No, objective evidence is the only thing you can rely on in this case. If you wanted to know whether any specific trope makes any specific woman uncomfortable, then you’re right, all you have to do is ask her. But if you want to know if women in aggregate react negatively to specific tropes, then you need to (at the very least) design a study, then collect a large sampling of women and run them through the study. This is exactly the difference between “I am fat” and “only 30% of gamers weigh two standard deviations above the mean”.

    Here Bugmaster is reacting to something different from what mccork is saying (kept happening between me and mccork too – for a smart person with a lot of good points mccork is surprisingly hard to discuss with). This one carries a lot of baggage. What mccork is (surely) referring to an old discussion in this field. The point is that if a lot of blacks (women) experience certain words as racially (sexually) offensive, then we must accept that they are offensive (to them). It makes no difference if we say that those words do not ‘really’ mean that and anyway that meaning is not ‘really’ offensive. ‘Objective evidence’ in the sense of ‘something different from the subjective reactions of people who feel offended’ cannot be used to explain away the fact that people do in fact feel offended. So, Bugmaster is confusing the question of what defines when somebody ‘is’ offended with the question of appropriate statistical research technique – or he is misunderstanding mccork, which amounts to the same thing.

    2)

    Also, it is perfectly possible to make a correct and reliable conclusion about something without using formal techniques for sample selection, hypothesis formation etc.

    This is true, but often you’ll find that these formal techniques have been performed informally. For example, the reason I said above that a genuine analysis and critique looks at all sides of an argument before it reaches a conclusion is because this approach produces a sort of ‘ad hoc’ selection system. It forces the critic to adopt a ‘somewhat’ formal selection system which makes their work more valid (not perfect, just more valid than the alternative).

    I practice I think we agree about most of the things people should actually do. But your emphasis on formal methods means you are putting the cart before the horse. The important part is that you need to consider whether your explanation accounts for all the available information or ignores more important points, whether there are alternative hypothesis that would explain the same data even better, whether the evidence is sufficient to support the conclusion, etc. Formal methods is simply one way of trying to fulfil those objectives. The question is how well the formal methods fulfil the non-formal objectives Iisted above, not how well the objectives I listed match some formal method. Understanding without a formal method will give good results, whereas a formal method applied without understanding is quite likely to lead to nonsense.

    The result is that you are insisting on a formal approach that is not necessary to get good results, and that is not even possible in many fields, and dismissing anything that does not use your kind of approach. This makes you seem arbitrary and biased against research fields that do not lend themselves to quantitative methods. Which, again, diminishes your credibility, and that is a shame, because you make a lot of good points, and I agree with your main conclusions.

    3) What ‘other methods’ wold work? Well, the kind of thing you do when you have a data set of a page of two of numbers and you want to see what it tells you. It might be the validation results for a particular simulation or system test, it might be someone else’s questionnaire, or it might be all the information (quantitative or not) that happens to be available on some historical or sociological problem. So, you go through the data: Are there any patterns here? Which parts seem similar, which parts are different, what kind of things are correlated? Can I sum up the main variations in a few sentences? Would I have got pretty much the same result regardless of the model? Are there any variables that are likely to be important that are not reflected in the data set? What other things would be correlated with my variables, and is it likely that they are the real cause of any effect? Can I exclude them? Are these conclusions reasonable in the light of what you would expect? How strong are the results, and how much do they move your understanding when you apply some Bayesian thinking to the new results and prior knowledge? A knowledgeable person actually trying to get things right could get really good results in this way.

  355. Bugmaster says

    @StillGjenganger #375:

    The point is that if a lot of blacks (women) experience certain words as racially (sexually) offensive, then we must accept that they are offensive (to them).

    Sure thing. Now, what do you mean by “a lot” ? How many is that ? For example, if I polled all the women I know closely and personally (say, about 10 of them), and none of them found some specific word offensive, can we consider the matter closed ? I suspect that you would say “no”, but why ?

    My answer to that is, “because you can’t make reliable generalizations about all women merely by asking a vaguely worded question of a few women”. The natural objection to that is, “Bugmaster, are you saying we can’t know anything and women don’t matter ?”, and, of course, the answer is “no”. One thing we could do — hypothetically speaking — is poll every woman in America, and then we could reliably say, “53.25% of women find this offensive”. However, polling every woman in America is not feasible, so at this point we have to fall back on statistical methods. Given the population of women, and our sample size, we can calculate the probability that our sample is representative — as long as we designed our experiment carefully, and avoided mistakes such as, for example, polling only white women between the ages of 18 and 25 and ignoring the rest.

    I understand that using math on people is difficult and can feel distasteful; after all, in doing so, are you not reducing human beings to mere numbers and erasing their personal life experience ? Unfortunately, without the numbers, the absolute best statement you can reliably make is, “I know some women who are offended by X”; and the problem is that for any given X, there is at least one person who is offended by X. There’s a massive difference between that statement, and saying something like, “the overwhelming majority of women are offended by X”. We can talk more about this difference if you like, but I hope you can see my point.

  356. Suido says

    Wow.

    This thread is like the time I questioned the inflammatory rhetoric around Israel/Palestine on facebook, and it immediately turned into a highly charged and inflammatory discussion of the conflict itself. Good job everybody, you’re winning at lacking self-awareness.

    When a topic is so deeply important to people, it seems impossible to have a meta discussion about how it is discussed. Which is a catch-22, because the more important an issue is, the more carefully it should be discussed.

    Wait, this is about some obscure woman who broke up with some obscure man after a shitty relationship? Sorry, my mistake, that’s very important indeed. More important than patches of land in the middle east, I’d say. I’ll tell all the rabid partisans on my facebook to carry on with their inflammatory rhetoric as there are more important things afoot.

  357. Erik Johansson says

    Suido said:

    Wait, this is about some obscure woman who broke up with some obscure man after a shitty relationship? Sorry, my mistake, that’s very important indeed.

    No, it’s not. It’s about game journalists having close personal relationships and/or financial ties with people who’s products they are reviewing, for example Patricia Hernandez of Kotaku who multiple times wrote favorably about games made by both her girlfriend and her roommate without disclosing her relationship to the readers.

    It’s about a person sabotaging TFYC’s feminist project to promote women in gaming, and when TFYC tried contacting the gaming press they got the cold shoulder because the person doing the sabotaging were friends with the journalists.

    It’s about corruption in the indie scene, where it seems as if both the Indie Game Festival and IndieCade had judges and juries for the awards that had a financial interest in certain games winning.

    It’s about most of the major gaming sites, as a response to this, coordination to release 10+ articles within 24 hours that insult their readers by calling them misogynistic sexist nerds, and their readers in turn reacting by more or less going “Well, fuck you too then!”.

    It’s also about journalists (note: journalists, not culture critics) abusing their influence to push an ideology onto both their readers and to game developers when they instead should be neutral observes, or failing that, at least be on the side of the customers, ie. their readers.

    In short, that bad relationship between two obscure people… that wasn’t relevant to this discussion after the first week. That event is to GamerGate what the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was to WW1 – only the starting point, and hardly the whole or most important bits of the history. The only ones who still insist that this is all about slutshaming Zoe Quinn are the gaming journalists, because that’s the best deflection from their own corruption.

  358. StillGjenganger says

    @Bugmaster 376
    You are quite right – if we want to know with some precision how many women are offended by (some specific kind of) sexist imagery, and whether it can be generalised to ‘all women’, then we need some reasonably precise statistical measures. The question is: why does it matter? Why do we need to know the numbers so precisely? Even if only 5% of women find something offensive, that is still a hell of a lot of people. Worldwide it is probably more than the total number of Jews. What difference does it make, to them or to us, that the majority of women think differently? If all we really need to know is whether the number is more like 5% or 0.005% we do not need fancy sampling techniques.

    What really does matter is something else: Given that a lot of people find this kind of thing offensive, do we need to change games so that these things are removed? Progressive people handle that kind of question by saying that if any minority finds something offensive, then society at large has an absolute duty to change it. *) I disagree with that, as I assume you do, but how should we argue against it? Claiming that something is not ‘really’ offensive will not do – people’s feelings are their own. And insisting on proper statistical methods, as you do, sounds like an invalid attempt to discredit the other side. I think we need to face the question squarely, and say that you cannot satisfy everybody, so you must make a trade-off between the hurt feelings of people who do not like strippers in their games, and the pleasure of people who find these games reflect their way of seeing the world (and maybe enjoy looking at the odd bit of flesh too). The feelings of BOTH sides matter, and we need to consider how deep the hurt, and how many people are involved, on either side, and then make a collective decision. At which point of course we do get back to numbers – but with a group as large as women, normal democratic procedures are probably enough to get to a reasonable result.

    *) They apply it very selectively, of course. If you are deemed to be sexist or bigoted, or racist or homophobic your feelings do not matter, and offending them is a positive good. But that is a different discussion.

  359. Tom64 says

    I read somewhere that there are 378 million gamers in the world. That means that even if just one out of a thousand gamers are willing to harass and send threats there are 370 000 ready to do so. Characterising the gaming culture based on a the behavior of a minuscule percentage is wrong. No matter how much you work on attitudes amongst gamers you will still have huge numbers of people willing to behave exactly the same way 20 years from now simply because there are so many gamers.

  360. Bugmaster says

    @StillGjenganger #379:
    I agree with most of what you say, but you are still wrong about this:

    If all we really need to know is whether the number is more like 5% or 0.005% we do not need fancy sampling techniques

    As it turns out, if there are really 378 million gamers in the world, and if half of them are female; then, if you wanted to know the difference between 0% and 5%, you’d need to poll about 384 people. If you only polled 10 people, then the best you could do is say that the true percentage of women who find something offensive is between 0% and 35% (or maybe between 10% and 70%, depending on where your mean was). Actually it’s even worse than that, because if you only ask your close friends, then your sample is biased, and your confidence interval will be even wider.

    This is exactly the error (some) progressives are making when, as you say,

    Progressive people handle that kind of question by saying that if any minority finds something offensive, then society at large has an absolute duty to change it

    Their line of thinking goes something like, “I find X offensive, I asked my friend and she finds X offensive too, so clearly X is offensive to a vast portion of women and must be stopped”.

  361. StillGjenganger says

    We are getting closer, but I still disagree. 0.005% of British women is on the order of 1000 people or so. Just from reading the press, including BTL comments, I think it is a safe bet that there is a lot more than 1000 women in the UK who object to page 3, sexy images of strippers in games, etc. I would estimate 1% of British women, which means > 200 000 people – and that is an absolute minimum That is from a sample of size zero, More precise than that we need surveys, OK, but that is enough to prove (to me) that formal techniques are not always necessary.

    I think you are misunderstanding the progressives, though. To be sure they are insular and mistake their friends for the universe (as are a lot of opposing groups, I might add). But the logic rather goes like this:
    What should I think about having male transsexuals in the women’s toilet with me? It sort of feels a bit yuck, but is not this is a discriminated minority? Yes, definitely, I should be ashamed of myself! I had better fight my transphobic tendencies and welcome them – and apparently the right name is ‘trans-women’. Of course the vast majority of people are against them – amazing how bigots always line up to dump on the weak! Good thing the future is with us, and those hateful dinosaurs will die away eventually. ” A lot of progressive people are admirably willing to go against their own feelings and psychological comfort to support what they feel is a deserving group. And they know perfectly well that many, often most, people are against their positions – they just take that as a sign that the world is full of ‘phobics and ‘ists who are against all decent human instincts.

  362. Bugmaster says

    @StillGjenganger #382:
    In your “Page 3” example, you’re still performing quantitative analysis (albeit somewhat poorly); you’re just not doing it through surveys. You state that it is a “safe bet that there is a lot more than 1000 women in the UK who object to page 3”, but why do you think the bet is safe ? Is it just your gut feeling ? If so, how is it better from someone else’s gut feeling ?

    Instead, what you could do is estimate the probability of a letter to the editor being accepted by a newspaper. From this, and from the number of pertinent letters you’ve read, you can estimate the total number of letters being written (by distinct submitters, of course). That would give you the percentage of women who write letters; this will be smaller than the percentage of women who feel the same way but choose not to write letters, but you can find that fraction by polling (or simply by reading the relevant literature). At that point you’ll have more than a vague gut feeling, you’ll have a probability distribution. Unlike gut feelings, numbers are very useful when you are making decisions about policy.

    A lot of progressive people are admirably willing to go against their own feelings and psychological comfort to support what they feel is a deserving group.

    If they have decided that a group is “deserving”, doesn’t it mean that they have acquired positive feelings toward the group, so there’s nothing to really “go against” ?

    My impression of social justice activists — at least, the ones I meet on the Internet — is that they operate primarily (and usually, solely) based on their personal feelings and personal life experience; perhaps in conjunction with a few rigid ideological axioms. This doesn’t mean that they always make poor decisions, but it does make them a lot more likely to do so — as is the case with the TERF movement, for example; or, in this case, their decision to jump on the “let’s all pick on gamers” bandwagon.

  363. Suido says

    @Erik Johnson #378:

    You said:

    It’s also about journalists (note: journalists, not culture critics) abusing their influence to push an ideology onto both their readers and to game developers when they instead should be neutral observes, or failing that, at least be on the side of the customers, ie. their readers.

    Erm.
    1. Why can’t journalists be culture critics?
    2. Everyone has bias. Even being a neutral observer requires bias – mainstream media exhibits too much bias towards giving both sides of a story equal time. Cases in point – climate change reporting, teaching the controversy about evolution.
    3. Ideology – the idea that women are human too. That sure is a controversial ideology for a neutral observer to push.
    4. If this is purely about integrity of journalists and the industry/developers, why the vitriol? Why the rape threats? Why the bomb threat because Sarkeesian was given an award? You somehow failed to mention any of this in your description of the situation… which was classic reframing of a debate so you can dodge the hard questions – legitimate questions that the gaming community needs to address, see below.

    We come back to the original premise of Ally’s post – the inflammatory rhetoric and abuse is unjustifiable. I’m a casual gamer, I recently bought by first console after more than a decade of PC gaming. Every now and again I’ll browse gaming websites and forums. The shitstorm that was gamergate made me even less interested in being involved in the gaming community. No thanks. I can and did read up on the details in news articles, blog posts and even wikipedia.

    I can discuss the rhetoric behind it here, because Ally specifically addressed that in his post, and that interests me. Like the following legitimate questions, which wouldn’t be raised if we started from your description of the events:

    Why can’t the gaming community maintain a sense of proportion and/or some basic level of respect when discussing criticism, integrity or culture? How much responsibility can be attributed to the medium of communication, levels of anonymity, individual participants, acceptable in-group behaviours, etc?

    But no, any attempt to discuss the rhetoric is derailed by someone “just clarifying” or “just pointing out” or “just raising” details that have been written about ad nauseum already. Exhibit A: TMK. Exhibit 752: You.

    Well, good on you for continuing to win at lack of self awareness, as outlined in my first post.

  364. Bugmaster says

    @Suido #378:

    Why can’t the gaming community maintain a sense of proportion and/or some basic level of respect when discussing criticism, integrity or culture?

    This is the same as saying, “Why can’t the Christian community maintain some basic level of respect for women or non-straight people, as well as basic scientific facts ? How come they are all ignorant backwater bigots ?” The answer is, “actually the majority of them aren’t, you’re just focusing on the tiny minority who are because that’s what makes headlines”.

  365. StillGjenganger says

    @Bugmaster 383
    I like quantitative analysis – I like Bayesian analysis even better – but I maintain that you do not need to get formal about it to get somewhere. The prominence of anti-page-3 sentiment can not sensibly be analysed as a random process of filtering letters to the editor. It reflects the decision of editors to give space to this debate, and the decision of certain politicians to take it up – both of which reflect a judgement that this topic is positively viewed in the population. It fits into a general feminist attitude that has been extremely common and quite successful over the years. Besides, just talking to your circle of acquaintances will give you the impression that few women actively like page 3, and most are in various ways a bit negative about it. All this adds up to quite good evidence that this is a fairly wide-spread sentiment. We are not that bad at analysing data off the cuff. There are surely risks and biases, but with our normal thinking and some care you can get quite decent results still.
    Looking at animal rights, by comparison, there is not nearly the same support among editors, politicians, or people you meet, and the conclusion is that while many people care strongly about animal rights, the support in the general population is clearly lower. Qualitative data, but fairly reliable I should say.
    As for progressive people and their sentiments, I would say that the support for minority groups comes form largely ideological and ethical motives, rather than personal liking. Progressives feel that certain groups ought to be supported, whether they individually like them or not. If you say that the mere fact of helping someone is proof of ‘positive feelings’ towards them, you end up in a tautololgy.

  366. Erik Johansson says

    Suido:

    1. Why can’t journalists be culture critics?
    2. Everyone has bias. Even being a neutral observer requires bias – mainstream media exhibits too much bias towards giving both sides of a story equal time. Cases in point – climate change reporting, teaching the controversy about evolution.

    Just go back to the Christian satanic scare in the 80s and you realize how utterly ridiculous this shit is. Imagine if all the music press in the 80s had been christian, and that all music journalists from magazines like Rolling Stones suddenly were pressing the musicians on “Why don’t you write nice Christian songs?! Why do have to sing all this mean stuff all the time?! Can’t you make nice songs instead so that everyone can enjoy them?”, while simultaneously writing articles about how immoral and horrible everyone who listened to Black Sabbath were and how they had grave problems… how long until their readers said “wtf is this crap, what happened to Rolling Stones?”?
    Well this is where gaming media is today – a fair deal of their readers have gone “Fuck this shit, I don’t want this ideological crap in my games!” – and they are being vocal about it, because they are so fucking tired of various journalists trying to bully game creators into adapting to the ideology.

    3. Ideology – the idea that women are human too. That sure is a controversial ideology for a neutral observer to push.

    Communism – the idea that workers are people to! Christianity – the idea that people should be moral! Capitalism – the idea that companies should be able to sell stuff! Fascism – the idea that a country needs a good leader! Socialism – the idea that healthcare is a good thing! Liberalism – the idea that people should be free!

    Man, being this dishonest is easy – I can do this the whole day!

    4. If this is purely about integrity of journalists and the industry/developers, why the vitriol? Why the rape threats? Why the bomb threat because Sarkeesian was given an award? You somehow failed to mention any of this in your description of the situation… which was classic reframing of a debate so you can dodge the hard questions – legitimate questions that the gaming community needs to address, see below.

    You mean like how you failed to address the horrible abuse and harassment that have come from feminists? Like the death threats, threatening phone calls, attempts to have people fired, doxings, hacking of charities, sending syringes filled with god-knows-what to journalists, all which have been done by feminists?

    How did you put it, “classic reframing of a debate so you can dodge the hard questions – legitimate questions that the gaming feminist community needs to address” – yeah, it’s funny how this shit works, isn’t it? I mean, if I was a dishonest individual, I could use all of this shit (linked with sources in my comments above) to claim that the feminist movement have some pretty huge fucking problems with how frequently they send out death threats and apparently have no problem harassing and threatening young women and trans persons who disagree with them (must mean feminism is misogynistic and transphobic!!!), and demand that before we talk about anything else, you have to address how vicious and nasty the feminist movement is!
    Now, if I was a dishonest person, that’d be a great way to shut down any discussion, wouldn’t it?

  367. Adiabat says

    StillGjenganger (375): 1) I’m struggling to parse what you are trying to say here.

    There’s always someone somewhere who finds something offensive. Therefore to say “someone is feeling offended, therefore that is offensive” is meaningless. Or at least is useless. It tells us nothing.

    2) Again I think you’ve misread my points here, and almost strawmanning me (though I’m not claiming it’s intentional or anything 🙂 ). I don’t know how many times I have to say it’s objectivity that is important, not necessarily formal methods (except that they are the best way of achieving that objectivity, if it’s possible to use them. They’ve been developed for centuries for just that purpose). The list of things I gave above to help a critic be more objective include a mix of formal and informal methods. Some of them are just a reminder of the importance of using primary sources over supposition and guesswork.

    This makes you seem arbitrary and biased against research fields that do not lend themselves to quantitative methods. Which, again, diminishes your credibility

    So, your argument is that my credibility is damaged to people who claim that they are allowed to be biased as no-one can be 100% objective, so they don’t see the point of even trying?

    Or is it the people who understand the importance of objectivity who I lose credibility with, for arguing that objectivity is important?

    (387): I disagree with the argument that support from editors is a sign that acclaim is viewed positively by the population. Gamergate has shown that to be false. Also compare the influence of the Guardian with its actual readership compared to other newspapers.

    Also compare the institutional support modern feminism receives, such as from the UN, compared to the percentage of women willing to identify as feminist. It’s unpopular among the population, yet receives widespread support from the media and politicians.

    I like Bayesian analysis even better

    Same here. Are you aware of the use of Bayesian analysis to detect Dark Matter in Gravitationally Lensed Galaxies: http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org/content/392/3/945.short?

  368. StillGjenganger says

    @Bugmaster, Adiabat

    OK, we agree that it is objectivity that is important, and that formal or quantitative methods, are useful, but not always necessary. That was the point I was trying to make all along, so it looks like we got the misunderstandings dispelled. Which is great.

    The reason it took so long was that a lot of your posts gave the impression (to me) that formal quantitative methods were actually necessary, so that you could dismiss out of hand anybody who did not use these methods. And since that is not actually true, that impression would indeed damage your credibility. Anyway, that is settled.

    Maybe the best way of explaining the problem of offense, is that it is meaningless to say if something is ‘offensive’ without also saying to whom. The relevant question is not ‘is that actually offensive?’, but having determined who is offended by x and who is not, should ‘we’ decide to allow x or to ban it?

    Your points about media bias, institutional support, etc. do indeed make arguments like mine less certain. If nothing else this kind of measure is biased in favour of the elite or chattering classes. I still think they suggest that the number of people in the UK who are against page 3 girls etc. are most likely in the hundreds of thousands, and definitely in the tens of thousands. Assuming such a big effect from just a few thousand supporters would amount to a conspiracy theory.

    Quits?

  369. Adiabat says

    There’s a good update on #gamergate by political analyst here : http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/25/gamergate-an-issue-with-2-sides/

    I recommend reading the whole thing but here are some notable quotes:

    Currently standing at close to a million tweets (over twice that of #Destiny), #GamerGate shows no signs of stopping. A related tag, #NotYourShield, has cleared 120,000.

    [on the nature of biased political reporting] Have they raised money for a mental health charity? Don’t report that! Did they kickstart a project to help young women get ahead in game development? Definitely don’t report that! Did one of them send someone a death threat? Stop the presses, we need to get the story out now!

    However, most ordinary people are not political. They dislike agendas. In an age of unlimited information, it’s relatively easy for readers of an article to find out when a story they’ve been told is one-sided, or omits information. It’s also relatively easy for them to complain about it. This is why “don’t read the comments” has become such a popular slogan among those bastions of bias, political op-ed writers.

    Anti-gamers would like to characterize the current divide as one between inclusivity and exclusivity, but reality will always confound this narrative. Men, women, minorities, left-wingers, right-wingers, and even feminists have taken the side of GamerGate in recent weeks. It’s hard to find a movement that is more open to diversity – both of opinion and background.

    In a way, gamers of all races, genders and orientations would like to exclude a minority. That minority is the culture warriors, who thrive in an atmosphere of fear and moral condemnation. They are an ill wind that blows no man or woman of any ethnicity any good.

    One of the reasons why TFYC’s [the feminist group actually helping women in the industry] popularity continues to grow among gamers (and decline among their opponents) is precisely because they do not use these methods. Despite holding almost identical views to the ‘Social Justice Warriors’, they find themselves excluded from the activist clique due to their relatively tolerant attitudes. They are against attacking gamers’ current choices, preferring to create new ones alongside them. They do not seek to ferment fear and panic, or shame existing developers into altering their design process. They don’t want to ‘change the world’ – they just want to add to it.

    If only SJW were this inclusive and tolerant of people different from them.

    when art is accused of perpetuating violence, sexism, or racism, it has strayed beyond artistic critique and into the realm of political argument. “Subjective analysis” cannot be used as an excuse when historical and sociological arguments are being presented.

    Another interesting angle on the objective/subjective discussion above.

    Since I wrote my initial draft, reports have emerged of increasingly worrying attacks on GamerGate supporters. A friendly reporter had a suspicious syringe sent to his house. There have been real-life threats. People have received intimidating phonecalls and text messages from complete strangers. An academic who supports GamerGate was doxxed and received a violent threat. Major games publications have yet to report on these attacks against their consumers.

  370. Carnation says

    Ah, Adiabat…

    No cause is too ridiculous, no behaviour too extreme and unedifying, for you to come out and trumpet the anti-feminist cause to which you are so adorably and simply wedded to.

    If you truly believe GamerGate is anything other than the attention seeking creation of a relatively small number of highly effective trolls, sucking in a legion of useful idiots, then you are simply one of their useful idiots.

  371. Adiabat says

    Carnation (392): Still got that cute little obsession with me I see…

    No cause is too ridiculous, no behaviour too extreme and unedifying, for you to come out and trumpet the anti-feminist cause to which you are so adorably and simply wedded to.

    Meanwhile, on my first post on this thread, #53: “Personally #gamergate has restored some of my faith in feminism. I’ve seen so many feminist supporters of gamergate doing what I’ve been hoping feminists do for a while now: calling out the toxic members of their movement”.

    But I’m guessing they are the “wrong” feminists, right?

    I think this may help you not make a fool of yourself in future (this is becoming a consistent trend now): http://www.wikihow.com/Teach-Yourself-to-Read

    As for your last line: I’m really not interested in your tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories.

  372. Adiabat says

    In other news, Intel has withdrawn their advertising from Gamasutra, a games news site that has been attacking gamers, because of #gamergate: http://imgur.com/h5WqpM1. This is because of organised gamergate campaigns targeting corrupt gaming journalism. Which is what #gamergate is about.

    #HeForShe is dead. It was just a passing ‘feel good’ fad: http://topsy.com/analytics?q1=%23gamergate&q2=%23heforshe&via=Topsy. This global UN initiative currently has fewer signatories worldwide (currently 166,489) than TotalBiscuit’s (a gamergate supporter and youtube video game critic whose censorship was a trigger for gamergate) Steam Curator page (239,890). Yes, a Youtube video game blogger has more influence on people’s opinions than the UN.

  373. Carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    “Still got that cute little obsession with me I see…”

    Oh, Adiabat. You simply can’t help yourself. Talked about me much on other sites lately? It’s fairly obvious where the obsession lies. But don’t worry, if I was you, I’d want to be me, too. I understand.

    “But I’m guessing they are the “wrong” feminists, right?”

    No, they are, for the most, part the sock-puppets of the trolls for whom you are a useful idiot.

    It’s cringe-inducing watching people like yourself latch on to anything that is anti-feminist. For all of your clunky attempts at critical thinking, you are, at heart, a typical Reddit commenter.

  374. Carnation says

    @ Adiabat #394

    Spoken like a true delusional internetter. The online world vs the real world is an entirely separate discussion, but it’s telling that your favourite MRA blog (AVfM) claims to be “important globally”, yet struggled to sell out an extremely modest conference hall.

    Put simply, you and yours are happy to live your lives online, but run a mile the moment you have to close the laptop.

    This is the “MHRnation” (recognise that?) that you are part of. This is your life. And gaming. And Reddit.

  375. Adiabat says

    Carnation (395):

    But don’t worry, if I was you, I’d want to be me, too.

    LOL, from what you’ve said before about yourself on this blog you’re a sad, single, childless man fast approaching middle age. No-one would want to be you. I doubt even you wants to be you.

    As for “Talked about me much on other sites lately?” I have no idea what you’re alluding to, as the only time I can remember mentioning you elsewhere was about 6 months ago on Genderratic where there was a discussion on whether it’s worth talking to you on here, as you do nothing but troll and assert without argument (my view was that since you can be relied upon to consistently make such a fool of yourself you make any view you oppose look more reasonable. It’s nothing I haven’t said here before). But I find your admission that you’ve been cyber-stalking me takes your obsession with me to a whole ‘nother level; it’s very creepy.

    “But I’m guessing they are the “wrong” feminists, right?”

    No, they are, for the most, part the sock-puppets of the trolls for whom you are a useful idiot.

    This is part of the whole ‘making such a fool of yourself’ thing I mentioned.

    Your position is ridiculous: not only is it completely unsubstantiated, but your argument is that a handful of trolls are manipulating everyone by using sock puppets to say things the thousands of supporters of #gamergate agree with…

    If someone says something I agree with, and they later turn out to be a “troll” (suggesting that they don’t actually believe what they earlier said), then that doesn’t detract from the fact that I agreed with the thing they said. I’m agreeing with the message, irrespective of who said it. But that’s all immaterial because your position is bullshit anyway, as evidenced by the number of women and minorities who have been forced to take pictures of their passports or put up videos to avoid the dehumanizing and objectifying accusations of not being a real person: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIYBgBdnYjc

    Apparently Toxic Feminists and SJWs don’t really believe in the “radical view that Women are People”.

    P.S I have no idea what you’re going on about #396. I have no idea what “MHRnation” is or what AVFM are up to, because I’m not as obsessed about MRA’s as you are.

  376. Carnation says

    Oh Adiabat,

    You just don’t learn do you? I noted contemporaneously that you’d talked about me on numerous occasions but just waited for you to make a silly comment about my “obsession” before exposing you. You’re too obvious, takes the fun out of it. I do admire your ballsy attempt to paint your talking about me as being evidence of my obsession with you. Crackpottery at its finest.

    Given your inability to see anything outside of an anti-feminist lens, t’s simply pointless discussing the nuts and bolts of things with you, it’s best to keep it broad. Keep on believin’ that it’s all to do with corruption within gaming journalism if it makes you feel better, which it obviously does. Be that useful idiot.

    “LOL, from what you’ve said before about yourself on this blog you’re a sad, single, childless man fast approaching middle age. No-one would want to be you. I doubt even you wants to be you.”

    So you’re calling all single and childless middle aged men sad? SHAMING LANGUAGE! You’d need to define single… But I am happily without children. You’d also need to define middle age, but I’m not there yet. Projecting, much?

    You keep saying I’m obsessed with MRAs, when it’s plainly not the case. It’s the path of least resistance with you, however, you (along with Sid and Schala) are one of the few people who actually defend their words and deeds, whilst of course saying you aren’t MRAs (heaven forbid!).

    Anyway, let’s not derail this thread any further.

  377. Adiabat says

    Carnation (398): Again, I have no idea what you think you are “exposing”. One comment in the last year in a discussion started by someone else doesn’t really amount to much. On the other hand if you check, let’s say the last ten, threads here it’s always you trolling me when I make a comment; I never choose to engage you. At one point you were trolling me across 3 different threads at the same time, even though I wasn’t even commenting in 2 of them. And now you admit to googling me to find a single obscure comment on an obscure website; the level of your obsession with me is just creepy.

    Given your inability to see anything outside of an anti-feminist lens, t’s simply pointless discussing the nuts and bolts of things with you, it’s best to keep it broad.

    Lol, we’ve shown time and time again that you are unable to form a coherent argument. Don’t pretend that you’re making a point by not providing an argument.

    So you’re calling all single and childless middle aged men sad?

    Nope, just you. That’s why those three adjectives were in the form of a list (that ‘reading’ thing has let you down again).

    In my experience when someone, completely unprompted, regularly makes random comments trying to convince strangers on the internet how ‘great’ their life is, then more often than not it’s themselves that they are trying to convince. People who are genuinely happy don’t feel the need to convince strangers on the internet of that fact.

    You keep saying I’m obsessed with MRAs, when it’s plainly not the case.

    You bring them up all the time in threads not about them, and where no-one has even mentioned them. You don’t even make a coherent point when you do: it’s just mad rants and sneering. My guess is that you need your caricature of MRA’s to make yourself feel better; as they are people you can consider yourself ‘better than’.

    It’s the path of least resistance with you, however, you (along with Sid and Schala) are one of the few people who actually defend their words and deeds, whilst of course saying you aren’t MRAs (heaven forbid!).

    Surprisingly, if you quote-mine people, the people who go and read the full thing may then point out that you quote-mined those people. They may also point out that if you have to quote-mine a group to make your case, then in all likelihood that group is not as bad as you are claiming.

    It’s sad how you have to put everyone who disagrees with you into groups. To you it’s all about Identity and Labels, and you don’t actually care about the substance of an argument.

    Anyway, let’s not derail this thread any further.

    Hey, I’ve been keeping it on topic. I’ve just been using you as entertainment fodder for lurkers, on the off-chance that they will follow the #gamergate links in my comments above. It’s part of the whole ‘useful fool’ thing I said I do with you in #397.

  378. Adiabat says

    Updates for anyone still interested:

    Steam recently required curators to expose financial ties:

    “If you’ve accepted money or other compensation for making a product review or for posting a recommendation, you must disclose this fact in your recommendation.

    store.steampowered.com/about/curators/

    Twitch.tv, recently acquired by Amazon for almost one billion dollars, released this blog post today:

    “While we have always encouraged our broadcasters to acknowledge if they are playing games as part of a promotional campaign, we are now establishing a much more transparent approach to all paid programs on our platform and hope that it sets a precedent for the broader industry. Simply put: We want complete transparency and unwavering authenticity with all content and promotions that have a sponsor relationship.”

    blog.twitch.tv/2014/10/transparency-in-sponsored-content-and-promotion/

    The Industry is paying attention. We’re still waiting for journalists to do their jobs properly instead of pushing ideological agendas.

  379. Carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    #399
    Embarrassingly for you, all of what you wrote is obvious projection. Extremely juvenile too. I’ll cheerfully allow you the pleasure of having the last word, given how important it is to you.

    #400
    Victory again, Adiabat? Your lil ideological movement will soon have to disband citing “Mission Accomplished” at this feverish success rate.

    Bye bye Adiabat

  380. StillGjenganger says

    @Adiabat – from the open thread:

    I do not want to run away on you, so I owe you an answer – on the proper thread.

    My main reason for getting into Gamergatein my post at all, was that I wanted to quote an example of progressive people using the bludgeon, without sounding like “WAH you are worse than we are!!”. That, and those examples really were vile – even if the blog Lela linked to was obviously one-sided.

    As for Gamergate, I have not followed it. I do not do twitter, and this one does not seem an interesting use of my time. The few nasties that Lela’s link quoted are way beyond the pale (trying to harry people to commit suicide – I ask you). But even the general tactics and the tone of furious anger seems disproportionate to the ostensible goal. It does sound rather too much like a witch-hunting mob – complete with pitchforks.
    The thing is that if Sarkeesian did not exist I could see no reason to invent her. It sounds to me like yet another propagandist caring little about the subject of her study, except that she wants her ideology to be hegemonic here as everywhere.

    Ahhhrrr! God save me from my friends. My enemies I can handle.

  381. Adiabat says

    StillGjenganger (402):

    That, and those examples really were vile… trying to harry people to commit suicide – I ask you

    You mean the guy who was shot down and told to fuck off straight away? Yes, he was vile, but it took all of 21 seconds (just look at the screenshot where you read that comment) to police it. I don’t know what else anti-gamergaters expect gamergaters to do.

    I know you thought it was off-topic but this ties into what Lela brought up. Presenting someone who was so effectively policed by the movement itself as some sort of representative of said movement is a bludgeoning tactic. It’s unreasonable. (And’s that’s not even considering that it’s an anonymous forum on 4chan which anyone can sign up and post in, and which barely anyone in the wider movement paid attention to.) That tactic displays a complete lack of interest in having a rational discussion, as the post claimed to want.

    But even the general tactics and the tone of furious anger seems disproportionate to the ostensible goal.

    But it’s not disproportionate to the institutional bullying supporters of GamerGate have received. (It’s strange: Bring up male victims of something and Toxic Feminists and SJWs say “but that’s just one-off incidents. It’s not institutional so it’s doesn’t matter/not as important as solving the institutional harassment women get”. When they are on the side employing institutional harassment suddenly the few individuals on the other side are what is important).

    GamerGate all would have been over within a day or two had the game journalists just said “You know what? You’re right. We’re going to change our policies.” But that’s not what happened, instead they spat on us. They lashed out and used their not-insignificant influence to silence, harass and demean people and to divert the narrative away from what it actually is. And now people are pissed. Rightfully so.

  382. StillGjenganger says

    @Adiabat 403

    I know you thought it was off-topic but this ties into what Lela brought up. Presenting someone who was so effectively policed by the movement itself as some sort of representative of said movement is a bludgeoning tactic. It’s unreasonable.

    I do not necessarily disagree with that. It is just that Gamergate is such a hot topic that if we get into that discussion it would be close to impossible to have a more dispassionate look at what we all do in debates (which I am still hoping we could get into). And since I was the first to answer Lela, I would not end up where that discussion was derailed and it was my fault.

    As for Gamergate, could we agree that people have a legitimate grievance, that there are feminists who are trying to impose their values, and that the overall treatment of Sarkeesian, et al. is way over the top? We do not have to discuss exactly who dishes it out or how representative they are of which group.

  383. Carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    In your opinion, what is the difference between a SJW and a Toxic Feminist?

    And whilst we’re at it, a Feminist and a Toxic Feminist?

  384. Asher Frost says

    This really caught my attention, in part because it struck me as entirely incorrect, and in full because it kinda shows this is really the first time you’ve paid attention to what a small but determined subset of gamers is up to.

    “So why pick on these women in particular? Why not, say, evangelical Christians like Jack Thompson or David Barton who do not just critique and deconstruct the content of videogames, a la Sarkeesian, but actively campaign to have them banned?”

    I can point to the numerous characters made in the likeness of Jack Thompson, some in AAA titles, that you are encouraged to harm in some way throughout the course of the game, or who are shown being harmed. I could point you to any of the 16 (yes, 16) free games you can play online where the objective is to murder, rape or otherwise abuse Jack Thompson. Or I could show you some of the most “Mainstream” and by far the most popular webcomics about gaming (Like CTRL ALT Delete and Penny Arcade) depicting him being murdered violently, or raped, and the comments praising the artist.

    I could do all of that, but then, if you had done even a cursory search before you wrote this article, you would have seen all of that yourself and that is what really confuses me. You obviously did some research, enough to know that Jack Thompson is a real person, for example, and not a harp seal. You even did enough to know that the former lawyer is working to ban videogames, rather than being content to offer misguided criticisms of them based on 30 second out of context snippets of gameplay in a game that otherwise, he never saw. (as Anita Sarkeesian has been repeatedly shown to do) however during that research you didn’t find any of the response to his actions?

  385. Carnation says

    @ Asher Frost

    I have to admit, you raise interesting points, but they beg a question.

    Why hasn’t the abuse directed at Jack Thompson gained as much popular support as that directed towards Anita Sarkeesian?

    And, of course, the Jack Thompson comparison is arguably irrelevant when one considers the onslaught against Zoe Quinn and the justification for it.

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