the most real tweet ive read all day tbh
Thing is, though, actual researched and meaningful feminist criticism and commentary tends to be relatively well received and sparks meaningful discussion. When the face of “Feminist Criticism” in gaming is Anita, of course it’s going to be a big “WTF” because it’s some of the most poorly written, poorly presented and poorly constructed criticism out there.
I take issue with people who dismiss any negative response to Anita’s “criticism” as “ahurdur internet sexism” because, honestly, her “criticism” is flawed. It ignores context, it cherrypicks and purposefully misrepresents information to suit the point she wishes to make. She does not offer criticism. What she does is seeks out examples to back up the statement she was already prepared to make.
And even then she undermines the whole purpose of her series by not really offering any sort of insight or commentary, rather reading off a laundry list of things she didn’t like that fits the trope the video is about and a number of times the examples she shows have been misrepresented and shown without context to twist them to fit her point.
People are not again criticism of representation, portrayal and execution in gaming. People are not inherently against feminist criticism of games or even against criticism of games from an artistic view.
What people are against is shitty, poorly researched and biased criticism.
Also, I think it’s time people stop pretending that people take issue with Anita herself. And I mean this on both sides of the fence here. People against her need to stop pretending they don’t have an automatic dislike of anything she produces because of how questionable her actions have been and how manipulative her “criticisms” have been.
And people in support of Anita need to stop pretending that her arguments are without fault and that all of the criticism she receives comes from misogyny. People need to stop pretending that she is infallible.
I’ve seen very civil, well spoken and thought out counter-arguments to Anita’s criticisms from all sorts of people. Feminists, bullheaded gamers, men and women alike. But the common theme is that they’re almost always disregarded as just “being against Anita!!!!! sexism!!!!”
I truly and earnestly want to see feminist criticism of video games, their stories, their representation, etc. I believe it’s an important discussion to have and I believe it’s something that everyone should, at the very least, be aware of and take into consideration.
I do not believe that Anita is the one to do it, though. I feel she has done an awful job thus far and has created this bizarre sort of mentality that as long as someone is a victim of harassment what they have to say is valid and true and should not be questioned. It’s created a breed of people in gaming culture who will blindly accept whatever is said and blindly defend it when the whole point of the criticism is to encourage a critical and thoughtful evaluation of the games we play and enjoy.
Ultimately, I truly regret donating to the Tropes vs Women kickstarter because not only does she take forever and a half to produce a single episode but her criticisms have been incredibly insulting and prove that she’s not putting in the amount of research or thoughtful analysis that she would have us believe she is. I feel that her brand of feminism is not one that should be held up as the kind to judge and critique media. It’s a very shallow, sex-negative and, if I may be so bold, femininity-shaming kind of feminism.
I mean, hell, look at her proposal for a game idea. Look at what she considers to be “better ideas”.
They ultimately boil down to “okay, just take what the male character already is… and make it female!”. What she proposes is not better variety and more respectful representation of women but is actually just “well just make it a girl”.
Literally to take Mario and Link and swap their heads with Peach and Zelda’s. To present them in the same way masculinity is presented while shaming “traditional” femininity as “weakness” in female characters.
And honestly, I truly wish people didn’t just eat it all up just because it’s an easy to digest “yay look I’m supporting feminism without actually putting much thought into it! Anita knows what’s she’s doing!” cookie.
Also, when it comes to journalism? Yes. Yes gaming journalism SHOULD be held to higher standards. No more of this “bloggers when they fuck up, journalists when they want respect” garbage. No more of this clickbait bullshit. Either gaming journalists produce content that is deserving of the respect and thoughtful consideration it wants or be disregarded as the jokes they currently are.
tl;dr the issue “gamers” have is not with feminist criticism but with those who currently represent “feminist criticism” and how poor and shallow it is.
Ok I’m sorry to clog up my follower’s dashboards but I saw this post the other day and needed to take a few moments to respond to it so bear with me, I guess.
It doesn’t matter what problems you have with the content of Anita Sarkeesian’s videos. It shouldn’t matter, if you are a feminist gamer who wants to see a positive change in this community. The reality of the situation is that we do NOT live in a vacuum, in a better world where you can google “feminist gaming reviews” and see videos made by thousands of women from all kinds of backgrounds, reviewing games with the same level of media attention that Anita Sarkeesian’s “Tropes vs Women in video games” has gotten.
I’m not saying that you have to agree completely with Anita. In fact, I do agree that she should do more in-depth research before making her videos.
But: I would rather defend the rights of a woman to make a highly publicized series of videos criticizing the treatment of women in video games and watch those videos get retweeted by big names in the industry, generating TONS of discussion among male gamers who, like it or not, are the gatekeepers to the world of widespread gaming criticism. Talking in circles about how her work is “shitty, biased criticism” DOES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO FURTHER THE ADVANCEMENT OF GAMING CRITICISM. Biased against whom? Shitty in what way? What does it even matter?
Feminist criticism in gaming is not new, but it hasn’t been popularized and it certainly isn’t very welcome at websites like IGN or TheEscapist. What about Carolyn Petit, the Gamespot reviewer who received a massive wave of sexist and transphobic hatemail when she dared to give GTA V a 9/10 score? (x)
I don’t know where you’re witnessing these instances of feminist gaming reviews being accepted as “relatively well-received and sparking meaningful discussion” anywhere else outside of the feminist gaming community. Because it’s not about just sitting around and talking among ourselves about the problems we have with the games we play, it’s about bringing those problems up on a public platform where we will be noticed, and heard, and responded to. Nothing will change unless this subject permeates every corner of the community and the industry.
Also, let me just take a minute to laugh at the idea of “shallow, sex-negative, femininity-shaming feminism???” like in what world is it so difficult to be feminine? there is NO lack of feminine characters in games OR a lack of sexualized women in games for that matter, so what’s the problem with wanting to see some non-feminine or non-traditional female characters?? what’s wrong with wanting to de-sexualize women in video games, or argue for women to be presented in a way that isn’t necessarily sex-positive, a phrase that’s been criticized widely for being exclusionary of survivors of abuse & sex workers (not to mention the number of times it’s used as cop-out way to refrain from engaging in higher level criticism of sexual socialization (x)).
i can’t even believe this is a widespread critique of her work lmao. like there’s such an excess of butch women characters in video games, please. you must be joking?? this kind of feminist thinking is the actual definition of “shallow and poor feminist criticism”, because it’s blatantly exclusionary and misguided.
TL;DR: I think this kind of post and this type of rhetoric totally derail the entire point of this so-called controversy, which is to stand up and defend the rights of women gamers everywhere to demand better representation in our video games. Five, ten, twenty years down the line, it’s perfectly acceptable to question Anita Sarkeesian’s supposed lack of “journalistic integrity” and her “sex-negative, anti-femininity (lol) opinions”, but right now in the year of Luigi 2014, where women statistically buy more than half of the industry’s games and yet still get NONE of the proper, respectful, diverse representation and journalistic coverage we deserve, I personally don’t think it’s fair to dismiss the importance “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” and the impact it’s having on our industry and the community.
This is a hobby I love and dedicate a lot of my time and money to, and I want to be able to play better games that better represent my lived experience. I want to defend everyone’s right to work towards a future where the gaming industry is open to that kind of constructive criticism.
Both of these long comments do a very good job of explaining the points of both sides of the discussion (well, at least the reasonable components of them).
Journalistic integrity is important, and the betterment of the video games industry relies on constructive criticism and equally constructive dialogue with that criticism. Criticism that does not effectively convey the problems being encountered and then subsequently shuts down discussion about its flaws in a form of self defense does not contribute well to actually resolving the issue.
On the other hand, it is important to recognize the significance such high profile criticism can have, and present cogent arguments that indicate both where the criticism was successful and flawed, and how it can be improved or deepened. Both sides of this discussion have serious problems with people shutting each other down based on emotion or bias, missing the point of an actual discussion.
There are people who have provided valid points on how to better the industry and others who have provided equally valid points about the shortcomings of other arguments against it. Sadly, those voices too often get drowned out in favour of name-calling, personal attacks, or over-generalization. Gamers and the industry should not be stereotyped on the actions of some, but those that are culpable of the accusations should be acknowledged. Conversely, feminist and other critiques of the industry should not be attacked arbitrarily without first listening to their points and acknowledged for their valid arguments, but it is also their responsibility to present those valid arguments, and accept that not all reverse criticism is simply defensive lashing out.
In short, there are good and bad points and actions on both sides. The good points of each side are what should be discussed and the bad points should be either ignored or recognised and condemned by both sides. Actually listen to each other and I think you’ll find that neither of you are actually disagreeing with each other all that much. Anita’s points have some flaws, just as anyone else’s would, and that should be accepted and worked towards fixing. But the fact that she’s opening a discussion also means she is providing a venue to begin discussing the topics that are nonetheless there in a mature manner.
The moment both sides can figure out how to both talk and listen, just about any argument can be concluded quite easily. I don’t believe social progress in video games or the integrity of video game journalism are exceptions to that. Open dialogue is what’s going to actually fix things; bickering will get us nowhere.