What she couldn’t say


Maybe if we all rise up and say it, it will get better.

Comments

  1. shadow says

    ^o^

    Agree completely.

    She is showing more grace under fire than the MRA “people”.

  2. Vatican Black Ops, Latrina Lautus says

    DAMN SKIPPY.

    I have such a crush on Anita Sarkeesian. Intelligent, courageous, articulate. Just wow.

  3. Saad says

    Seconding the standing ovation.

    Everything about the Gamergate reaction is steeped in double standard and irony. There are memes and jokes going around gamers that mock the notion of privilege. They jokingly tell each other to check their privilege and even have a “privilege rating” like a credit score. They do this all the while not even realizing that it is precisely their privilege that allows them to light-heartedly mock a topic like that and move on with their daily lives at any moment they please.

    Sort of related: NelC had posted a longer version of this event in the Lounge with a few other speakers presenting their topics (not all about gaming), but the other speakers were good too. Seems like a great gathering.

  4. zmidponk says

    What really gets me about the whole thing is that all that Anita Sarkeesian is saying is something that, as a gamer, is blindingly obvious to me – it’s still the case that the majority of games, and virtually all of the mainstream, AAA titles, are aimed at what was the typical gamer around 15-20 years ago – a straight, white male in their late teens or early twenties. Gamers have diversified, games have largely failed to (there’s the odd title here and there that dares to break the mold, plus some more in the indie scene, but most mainstream games are either clones, sequels or both of games that very much conform to the mold, and therefore follow suit). All that Anita is trying to suggest is that this is a problem that needs to be addressed, and highlight exactly what kind of things that need to be addressed to make games more diverse and inclusive – which is sorely needed, in an industry where it isn’t terribly long ago that the developers of ‘Remember Me’ were told by several major publishers that they were never going to get their game published because they made the main character a woman without making her either a damsel in distress or a sex bomb.

  5. says

    Sarkeesian is awesome, hands down. She’s Germaine Greer for the Millennial generation, without the transphobia. And since I’ve complained about it before on these threads, I should report that Rockstar fixed several of my complaints about sexism in GTA in the latest update: unsexy clothes are now available for women characters, including proper combat boots (not porn combat boots), and basically men’s suits, all rumpled and shit.

    Now, about those sex workers…

  6. says

    zmidponk@5: ….they were never going to get their game published because they made the main character a woman without making her either a damsel in distress or a sex bomb.

    Since I play a game about once per decade, I have no idea who you’re referring to. But I think the first “video” game (as in: had actual graphics instead of just text-and-command-line) my spouse and I played was King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella. The title character was neither a damsel in distress nor a sex-bomb (for which the graphics weren’t good enough back then, anyway). As far I know, the game did alright commercially. Which means those publishers have been wrong since 1988.

  7. Seven of Mine: Shrieking Feminist Harpy says

    Eamon Knight @ 8

    Which means those publishers have been wrong since 1988.

    That’s one of the most hilariously absurd things about gamergate. Games that break the mold often do really well. The Last of Us features a strong female lead: hugely popular game. The Dark Souls/Demon Souls games are very gender neutral and pretty devoid of overtly sexualized characters and are still hugely popular. More of these kinds of games is really all anyone is asking for. GG douchebros are literally pitching a fit about people advocating for something they already support.

  8. Xaivius says

    Wow. This is some powerful stuff! I really hope that Anita can continue her work with this subject. As far as I can tell, she’s having a HUGELY positive impact on how developers (ESPECIALLY indie developers) view and work with women as characters in games. Here’s hoping we finally see that sequel to Mirror’s edge and possibly a new (non-team ninja, because fuck those idiots) Metroid game!

    Eamon Knight @8

    Most AAA (high budget, supposedly ‘high quality’) studios consider strong or prominent women as main characters anathema, mostly due to a recurring cycle of “Men won’t play female characters, so we won’t advertise it.” resulting in lower/poor sales, then following up with “See? No sales, no female characters that aren’t eye candy” which is complete and total equine feces. This is VERY SLOWLY changing, with a few notable examples being Lara Croft being a much more positively portrayed character in the new 2013 reboot, and notably Lightning from the Final Fantasy 13 trilogy (although this is somewhat spoiled by a specific producer being a creepy shithead about her) who is the only female lead in a mainstream FF game (Terra and Celes from FF6 were excellent characters with development and wonderful stories, but were also part of a large, 16 character ensemble cast, so there was less focus. Still, VERY good game!)

    FF6 sidenote: I am still amused that Celes, a soldier, is rescued by a male character (Locke), only for him find out almost immediately thereafter that the only reason she needed ‘rescuing’ was that she had mostly accepted her fate to be executed as a traitor. Once she’s spurred to action, she is, both story and gameplay-wise, one of the strongest and most well developed characters in the game!

  9. says

    There are a few exceptions, such as Mass Effect, which did quite well. The studios take note. Also, the studio execs are taking note of Gamergaters – Blizzard’s CEO, in his opening keynote at Blizzcon 2014, specifically called out abusers, stalkers, and misogynists as unwelcome and on one of the development panels there was some backpatting over the fact that a lot of WoW, which is an insanely popular game, has a large female player-base (including all my raid team except me!) and has always tried to have options where your avatars are extremely customizable in clothing and weapons and significance in the game. The big studios are catching on.

    It has to be painful for Sarkeesian but she’s hitting exactly the right note at exactly a critical time, and it’s being heard.

  10. idahogie says

    I totally understand why comments are disabled on that YouTube video. But dammit — right now I want to cheer Anita and battle the idiots who harass her.

  11. says

    I agree that WoW is more diverse than you might think, and that when I was playing actively my guild was men and women, and our best tank was a woman. But at the same time there was a lot of abuse outside my circle of friends. One of the reasons (besides the fact it was getting repetitive) I gave it up is that casual groups were kind of intolerable — I was on the Proudmoore server, which had a reputation for hosting several large and active gay groups, and I had a personal policy of instantly dropping any group that used terms like “fag” or indulged in locker room sexism. No explanation, just boom, I was gone.

    And that happened a lot. They’d see “Proudmoore” in your server name, and they’d assume you were gay.

    It got exasperating fast that I couldn’t count on finishing anything that required a group, unless it was guildies, and the guild I was in was small and casual.

    I’ll also mention that WoW armors looked completely different if they were on a male vs. female character, and women had to put up with a lot of chainmail bikini crap. But there was also that whole transmog business, where you could change the appearance of any item to resemble any other similar item, that helped a lot.

  12. says

    King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella. The title character was neither a damsel in distress nor a sex-bomb

    King’s quest was written by Roberta Williams, one of the co-founders of Sierra Entertainment – one of the great game studios of the 80s and early 90s. They brought us Leisure Suit Larry, Gabriel Knight, King’s Quest, The Incredible Machine, and Homeworld. Sierra was very proactive in hiring women throughout the company, in positions of responsibility at all levels, and a lot of the great games were authored by women (Homeworld, for example, which is an enduring classic)

    One of the sad things the gamergaters don’t understand is that there has always been a revolving door between game criticism and authorship. Many producers have been reviewers and many reviewers have been producers. The woman who wrote Homeworld, I believe, was a game critic for years before she took the helm of that masterpiece.

    Sierra and the many women who worked there have an enduring legacy of influence through the industry, and consistently produced well-regarded games. There are other studios that did a good job of producing excellent games that were not chock full of lame gender stereotypes, e.g.: Lucas Arts (Grim Fandango, Curse of Monkey Island, X-wing. The Tentacle, etc)

    Meanwhile, there’s the whole Nintendo stack of games which are great family fun and lack … crap.

    As a life-long gamer my impression is that when games started to be a big deal when the Playstation, Dreamcast, Xbox N64 started to be big “things” and before then there were always a few crap games (Tomb Raider and Duke Nukem I am looking at you!) which tried to make up with sex and misogyny what they lacked in marketability because of quality) That trickle became a flood because as there were more and more game titles and publishers, there was more opportunity to appeal to a specific stereotyped market, and some bottom-feeder studios went that way. Some of those games evolved to be great successes but most of them were pretty .. meh.

    Anyhow, I just want to point out that there have been great games for a long time and the ones that are widely recognized as masterpieces seldom have the kind of outright misogyny (GTA is an exception) the bottom-feeders gravitate toward.

    I’m not saying there’s no problem!! There’s a problem and doing something about it is exactly what should be happening, and Sarkeesian (I am am backer!) is great.

  13. Alverant says

    Once again Sarkeesian says what needs to be said. I hate what’s happened to her. I hate how she feels she can’t use humor because she’ll get quote mined by those eager to tear her down. I’ve been interested in video games and the process behind them for years even though I don’t play many games (used to play City of Heroes, the end of that MMO pretty much killed my interest in playing games .. it was a very slow death).

  14. says

    I had a personal policy of instantly dropping any group that used terms like “fag” or indulged in locker room sexism. No explanation, just boom, I was gone.

    I saw that occasionally. I got “misogyny, racism, and homophobia” added to my raid guild’s list of bootable offenses.

    Since I was a tank, I usually said something before I left if I was in LFR. This usually had a tremendous effect: we’d be part way through some boss raid and if someone made an inappropriate remark I’d say “It’s against my rules to raid with people who say things like that, so … enjoy the wipe and good luck finding another tank.” Then I’d leave instance.

  15. Rowan vet-tech says

    “Fortunately” most of the LFR groups I’ve been in have either been entirely silent, mocking the hunters (of which I am one), or most lately lamenting about the sheer number of those stupid runes we have to collect for the legendary quest line. I wish my work schedule allowed me to join an actual raiding guild again, but alas.

    As a hunter, if someone not-a-tank says something offensive, I do have the option of revenge usage of the Misdirect ability. “Ooops, just sent all my agro onto that mage. Oh dear.” I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve been sorely tempted in the past.

  16. John Pieret says

    I have never having been a gamer or attracted to it (OK, I’m an old fart), but having watched a couple of Anita Sarkeesian’s videos, it seemed to me what she was saying was obvious: “Hey, pimply faced kid (whether you’ve gotten older or not), here’s a reality check … you are not actually shtupping those deformed, top-heavy, scantily dressed creatures some cynical game designer is parading in front of you to keep you playing the game. There are real women out there, who, if you treated them like human beings, might actually be willing to shtup you and show you a lot more pleasure than you can get from a computer screen and a tissue.”

    That Sarkeesian can stand up to such abuse with courage and grace under pressure makes her much more attractive to any “real man” than any bundle of pixels.

  17. Seven of Mine: Shrieking Feminist Harpy says

    Another nod to Blizzard: At Pax East this past weekend, they announced a couple new characters for their upcoming FPS Overwatch. One was called Zarya and her backstory is that she’s a body builder who abandoned her dream to fight for her country. So, she’s not only female but also broad and muscular and not sexualized. The dev giving the presentation specifically mentioned Blizzard trying to listen to people advocating for more diversity in games, including body type. Also, roughly half the roster of characters is already female, not all of whom are white and most of whom are more reasonably costumed than usual.

  18. Gregory Greenwood says

    It is utterly disgusting that our society still accepts and even encourages the kind of misogyny Anita Sarkeesian describes here. In this instance and in many others, she has spoken with great intelligence, courage and eloquence – the comparison between her and her MRA gamergate critics is stark indeed.

  19. RickR says

    The Last of Us features a strong female lead: hugely popular game.

    And what a dazzling game it is!
    I’m not a gamer myself. I work in movie visual effects, but I became aware of the game through seeing the amazing concept art and design work that was generated by the development team. I was always curious how the art was implemented in the game itself. So I decided to check out a few of the walkthroughs on youtube.

    Check out? I wound up watching an entire 15 hour session of someone else playing a video game. It was riveting, beautiful to look at, and full of emotional and moral complexity.

    *Spoiler*

    The first time you first switch from playing Joel to playing Ellie is one of the most “emotional gut punch” moments I’ve encountered in any recent entertainment.

  20. ScarletRevenant says

    @Seven of Mine #9
    I loved Dark Souls far more than I expected to, and I quite liked that the armor was essentially the same when playing as female character vs male. Sieglinde of Catarina stands out as a cool NPC trying to look after her adventurous father (with their distinctive curvy armor). I thought there were a few WTF moments in there too, like some of the dialogue around the (princess?) who gets stuck in the Tomb of the Giants. The biggest one for me was the Quelaag reveal. Cinematic plays, revealing a giant spider monster, camera slowly pans up the length of a conventionally attractive naked female torso coming out of the spider monster, nipples covered by a few strands of hair, and stops and goes back to gameplay before showing her eyes or even her nose. The face was there on the gameplay model, but they couldn’t show it in the cinematic?? And the Goddess in Anor Londo with the beach balls on her chest lounging simply lounging was another shining example. Overall I just find it irritating that even in a game that did so much right there is still obvious wrongs.

  21. Zimmerle says

    I hate how she’s become the boogeywoman of the MRA bastards. Everytime I see a discussion on feminism + gaming some jackass trots out “Anita Sarkeesian” like it’s a curse.

    I hope she shines and keeps on shining bright.