Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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Nothing can go wrong with this idea

back on track: The cultural remark is one of the other reasons I dislike the Sarkeesian video. She treats the subject as if feminism can be applied and treated the same in every culture, when that's just flat out wrong. Japan's a good example, they have almost institutionalized discrimination on multiple levels, and would need a very, vastly different approach to what feminism is to begin with, compared to the US, which has it well defined and thought out.

The entire video just seems kind of like she made it to look at it and be proud of herself for doing so, instead of any actual thought or progress on the issue. I'm disappointed in it, I'm disappointed in her for squandering what could have been an amazing launching point given that she had a built in base of people waiting to see the result from all the controversy, and it just makes me sad overall.

Edited by Lyrai

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Sexual objectification of girls that young bothers the hell out of me, and it bothers me mildly that it doesn't bother you.

not openly condemning another culture on the basis that i am immersed in a culture with different standards makes a pedophile apparently

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I think you guys probably have good points and opinions about that topic but I think it would be better to take it to another thread

I don't know if this is minimodding or not please don't ban me darkesword no please what are you doing with that hammer no PLEASE NO NOT THE HAMMER

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What do you mean, could have been a launching point? This is part 1 of a 2-part video in a serie of 12. She mentions that it's the first part in her video.

I have no idea why anyone would think that's all she could've found to say about the subject, or on sexism in videogames.

The way she addresses the issue, I thought it was safe to assume that her target audience is primarily people living in our western culture/society.

Edit:

not openly condemning another culture on the basis that i am immersed in a culture with different standards makes a pedophile apparently

We were referring to underaged female characters that are depicted sexually in the same manner than fully grown women. It's not because they're fictional that it makes it ok. And Japan is much more overtly discriminatory in general when you look at their works of fiction than North America.

Edited by Vilecat

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And Japan is much more overtly discriminatory in general when you look at their works of fiction than North America.

Chiming in. I have no idea where this thread is in on or off topic relations but here goes.

The Japanese have a philosophy that is sort of like ying/yang but more uniquely Japanese It's called Omote and Ura. To make it quick it's the relationship between what is on the surface and what is hidden. The military that is supported by spying or a ceiling that is held up by a series of pillars. The Japanese also use this to explain the relationship between men's and women's role in society. However this line is getting blurred today but it still is a staple of Japanese culture and it at least partly explains women's slow progress when compared to the rest of the developed world.

Sorry had to interject. Please resume. :)

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ThunderF00t was at his best when he was taking biblical literalists literally, but even then he wasn't exactly fair. Now that he's taking on feminism, he's begun to find some people that actually have a point, and that's something he doesn't react to well at all.

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So ThunderF00t just made a response video critiquing The first Tropes video here:

http://youtu.be/QJeX6F-Q63I

I think this is where I come from. It's just not well-researched despite the huge amount of money she got, and totally biased towards feminism. He loses me at some points, but I'm mostly on board with his opinions.

Just got to watching this due to a bit of worry about Thunderf00t.

Sorry, but it's pretty much spot-on. I've never actually heard a "sexism against men" reductio argument used effectively until this video. Very, very good analysis of Anita's Texas Sharpshooting. Everyone should watch 7:50 to 11:05, if they choose to watch any of it all.

As a final word for this thread, since I feel I've heard enough about it at this point, I'd like to highlight that, for other feminists out there, Anita Sarkeesian's words as a feminist should be taken with more than a few grains of salt, if for no other reason than for her comical ability to misread just about anything, even fellow (and excessively more successful) feminists (such as Amanda Palmer, who even I as a non-feminist have insane amounts of respect for).

If you want some good feminist philosophy, read up on Amanda Palmer, or give her music a listen. Or read some Sally Tisdale.

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yeah after finally watching the whole anita video through, it just falls flat. like i can imagine when she started the kickstarter she was like 'i've got all these good ideas this should go really well!' and then sat down at the desk and was like 'oh wait. i don't have nearly as much material or points to make as i thought' and made a half hour movie about how damsel in distress is socially constructed to keep women down. mostly by giving a one sided and very limited history lesson of gaming.

which is already a stretch by itself. I just looked through my backloggery account, giving VERY GENEROUS lenience to whether or not a 'damsel in distress' was present. in 40 of my 186 games there was a significant damsel in distress theme. in 35 of my 186 games, not including fighting games, sports/party games, or games where you can select both a male or female character, a female is a required, permanent part of the game as a playable character, and holds equal footing with others as part of the 'hero group' or as the lone hero herself. if you include all of those games where you can choose to be a female, that number pops up to about half of the games i own total. and several of the games i own are games like tetris, meteo and audiosurf, where there IS no gender. so if you factor that in, more than half the games I own of a fairly significant collection allow you to play as a woman in an empowering role.

where are the discourse conversations for a game like FF13, where Lightning is trying to save her sister along with Snow, and Lightning is essentially like 'fuck you dickwad I don't like you' for about 80% of the game and Snow just takes it? i understand the idea of giving a counter-example and being like 'there's no problem' doesn't work statistically, but one-sided arguments with no reference to opposing arguments or examples is by definition BAD RESEARCH. everyone learns this as early as middle school or high school; you can't do research on a perspective based topic without showing the other side of the coin. and she doesn't do it.

she doesn't seem to be talking in this video to be right; she's talking to make a point. even her best example, dinosaur planet, is not a good example if you know gaming. think back to n64 times. if someone tried to release a zelda clone with time travel and furry creatures that nobody's heard of, who would that appeal to? who do you sell that game to? like starfox adventures was fun, but if it wasn't starfox it wouldn't have sold nearly as well. and it didn't sell that well to begin with, with 300,000 sold in Japan and less than a million in America to date. if you don't put a big name on that game we wouldn't be talking about it now, because NObody would remember it.

Edited by The Derrit

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You've brought up a bunch of different things here, and I think they all deserve to be addressed separately.

which is already a stretch by itself. I just looked through my backloggery account, giving VERY GENEROUS lenience to whether or not a 'damsel in distress' was present. in 40 of my 186 games there was a significant damsel in distress theme. in 35 of my 186 games, not including fighting games, sports/party games, or games where you can select both a male or female character, a female is a required, permanent part of the game as a playable character, and holds equal footing with others as part of the 'hero group' or as the lone hero herself. if you include all of those games where you can choose to be a female, that number pops up to about half of the games i own total. and several of the games i own are games like tetris, meteo and audiosurf, where there IS no gender. so if you factor that in, more than half the games I own of a fairly significant collection allow you to play as a woman in an empowering role.

This anecdotal evidence isn't an answer to anything said in the video. Anita never stated that the majority of games use the DiD trope, or ANYTHING to that effect. So to say that your game library does not have a lot of games that use it isn't a response or counter-argument to anything.

where are the discourse conversations for a game like FF13, where Lightning is trying to save her sister along with Snow, and Lightning is essentially like 'fuck you dickwad I don't like you' for about 80% of the game and Snow just takes it? i understand the idea of giving a counter-example and being like 'there's no problem' doesn't work statistically, but one-sided arguments with no reference to opposing arguments or examples is by definition BAD RESEARCH. everyone learns this as early as middle school or high school; you can't do research on a perspective based topic without showing the other side of the coin. and she doesn't do it.

First of all, we can be pretty sure based on pics she's shown that Anita has played a great many games for this project (that plus she's been a gamer for her whole life).

Second of all, this is the FIRST of 12+ videos on tropes and women in gaming. Anita has explicitly said and written that she will be doing a video focusing exclusively on positive female characters. It's her prerogative to structure the series in such a manner, but she's certainly made it very clear what the plan is, and so accusing her preemptively of not showing positive examples is baseless.

she doesn't seem to be talking in this video to be right; she's talking to make a point. even her best example, dinosaur planet, is not a good example if you know gaming. think back to n64 times. if someone tried to release a zelda clone with time travel and furry creatures that nobody's heard of, who would that appeal to? who do you sell that game to? like starfox adventures was fun, but if it wasn't starfox it wouldn't have sold nearly as well. and it didn't sell that well to begin with, with 300,000 sold in Japan and less than a million in America to date. if you don't put a big name on that game we wouldn't be talking about it now, because NObody would remember it.

1. "She's talking to make a point." OK? How is this bad? So what if she is, and why does it matter?

2. The fact that the game uses the Starfox license is not why she brought it up in the video, and really has nothing to do with anything. The problem was that it took a female protagonist and made her into a sexualized damsel in distress who does nothing. It doesn't matter what the game's IP is. They could have made it a Starfox game without using the DiD trope. They could have kept Crystal as a playable character and alternative to Fox.

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So ThunderF00t just made a response video critiquing The first Tropes video here:

http://youtu.be/QJeX6F-Q63I

I think this is where I come from. It's just not well-researched despite the huge amount of money she got, and totally biased towards feminism. He loses me at some points, but I'm mostly on board with his opinions.

Wow. Yeah people should check this out.

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So ThunderF00t just made a response video critiquing The first Tropes video here:

http://youtu.be/QJeX6F-Q63I

I think this is where I come from. It's just not well-researched despite the huge amount of money she got, and totally biased towards feminism. He loses me at some points, but I'm mostly on board with his opinions.

Well, I'm just glad someone took the time to deconstruct the video in a manner that can be comprehended, no complicated theories or arguments that make things as simple as platforming games sound like conspiracy theories or the root of all evil when it comes to sexism. In other words, sounds like common sense to me. For example, that's exactly what my simple brain thought when anita talked about the girlfriends in some games as being a prize to be won, a treasure to be found etc: "Or a loved one to be helped?" I was freaking pumped to save that girl in Double Dragon when I played it as a child! I wouldn't have believed that some people in the future will bother to tear shit like that apart to back up their conclusions/theories...

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You're missing the point. The issue isn't that you're trying to save your girlfriend. That in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. The trope is NOT just about kidnapping, as Anita said. The trope is about putting women in situations where they are totally helpless and MUST be rescued, usually by a male character. The sexism part is that this almost always happens to female characters, and not males.

When male characters are kidnapped, jailed, etc. they tend to be able to use their ingenuity and cunning to free themselves. Damsel characters don't even try. Also, in some cases, the damsel characters are shown to have magical powers and abilities right up until they are captured - at this point, no matter how powerful they are, they still cannot escape without a (typically) man's help.

Again, the idea of fighting for a loved one is NOT sexist, nor did Anita ever say it was. It's the entirety of the trope that is rather eye-rolling and has historically been weighted toward females being powerless and males being the heroes (though things have been changing lately).

I'll also point out that some of you are straw-manning Anita's arguments.

... arguments that make things as simple as platforming games sound like conspiracy theories or the root of all evil when it comes to sexism.

She REPEATEDLY said that just because a game uses the trope doesn't mean it's a bad game or we can't enjoy it. It's possible for a game to be good and fun and enjoyable, but have a lame element or cheap trope. We are not sexist or evil for enjoying the game, and in fact I don't think she even called ANY games 'sexist'... just the use of the trope itself. So let's not make up arguments that weren't actually made.

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This anecdotal evidence isn't an answer to anything said in the video. Anita never stated that the majority of games use the DiD trope, or ANYTHING to that effect. So to say that your game library does not have a lot of games that use it isn't a response or counter-argument to anything.

This is just as much true of all of her examples. They're antecdotal evidence. So really we're on the same playing field.

First of all, we can be pretty sure based on pics she's shown that Anita has played a great many games for this project (that plus she's been a gamer for her whole life).

Second of all, this is the FIRST of 12+ videos on tropes and women in gaming. Anita has explicitly said and written that she will be doing a video focusing exclusively on positive female characters. It's her prerogative to structure the series in such a manner, but she's certainly made it very clear what the plan is, and so accusing her preemptively of not showing positive examples is baseless.

If in a 24 minute video you can't find the time to say 'there are good examples of empowerment in games as well,' and end the video being like 'and next time we'll explore EVEN MORE examples of how men make women helpless' then I'm not seeing where she is attempting to make a balanced series.

1. "She's talking to make a point." OK? How is this bad? So what if she is, and why does it matter?

The same reason science should be conducted through the scientific process, and not through company A deciding the results they want to find and paying a lab to finagle a result that lines up with it. Social science is SCIENCE. You don't just get to run up and be like "look at all these potentially damning things, because they all say the same thing my hypothesis is correct" and then run off, mute to criticism, counterpoints or evidence to the contrary. And in lots of areas she IS wrong. Talking to make a point isn't okay if you're saying things that are not true like "The belief that women are somehow a naturally weaker gender, which is a deeply ingrained, socially constructed myth, which of course is completely false." This IS true, backed by science and life experience since the beginning of time.

2. The fact that the game uses the Starfox license is not why she brought it up in the video, and really has nothing to do with anything. The problem was that it took a female protagonist and made her into a sexualized damsel in distress who does nothing. It doesn't matter what the game's IP is. They could have made it a Starfox game without using the DiD trope. They could have kept Crystal as a playable character and alternative to Fox.

And my point is that trying to counterpoint the two of them, inferring that some man somewhere 'stole away' this great female lead role, is bullshit. If the game hadn't been transferred to Star Fox it wouldn't have survived, period. And given the transfer to a well known series, think about it from the perspective of a gaming consumer buying this game. If a Krystal, sexualized or not, just shows up in a Star Fox game, which is a beloved series, and is like 'I'm important now!' any reviewer would label that as tacked on. Quite frankly the character of Krystal was tacked on anyways. She served little to no purpose throughout the narrative of that game. The likely reason of why Krystal exists at all is someone in that dev team hardballed keeping that character, no matter what.

so yeah. it's not a matter of whether or not there is such thing as the damsel in distress trope in video games. it's whether or not it matters, or has significant relevance. And the answer is no. Gamer girls love their Peach's and Zeldas and Faiths from Mirror's Edge and Lightnings and Tifas and Samus's. I teach in Japan, and literally ALL of my kids play mario games. Girls and boys. I highly doubt any of them think to themselves, 'Princess Peach always gets captured. I guess women are the lesser gender!' In fact I highly doubt anyone has ever thought that ever.

edit: her saying 'even though a game has this sexist trope in it, you can still enjoy it' is akin to saying yeah, have fun. but you're being sexist by enjoying it. strongly implying something and then relying on the 'i didn't say that!!' defense is quite frankly the most infuriating thing on earth. and it is exactly what she implied: these games can be fun and good and complex and interesting, but they are sexist. and as such you are enjoying a sexist product.

Edited by The Derrit

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She REPEATEDLY said that just because a game uses the trope doesn't mean it's a bad game or we can't enjoy it. It's possible for a game to be good and fun and enjoyable, but have a lame element or cheap trope. We are not sexist or evil for enjoying the game, and in fact I don't think she even called ANY games 'sexist'... just the use of the trope itself. So let's not make up arguments that weren't actually made.

I agree. But I did purposefully say that "makes it sound like", and that's kind of inevitable when one makes such a big deal about video game damsels. I didn't "make up" any argument- just voicing my own reasoning which, I admit, seems to be on a fairly simplistic level when compared to yours. I miserably fail to see the connection between sexism, oppressing women etc. and damsels of distress. But I guess you could over analyze anything... thunderf00t parodies just that in the video, "pop culture critic-ovision" part of it.

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When male characters are kidnapped, jailed, etc. they tend to be able to use their ingenuity and cunning to free themselves. Damsel characters don't even try. Also, in some cases, the damsel characters are shown to have magical powers and abilities right up until they are captured - at this point, no matter how powerful they are, they still cannot escape without a (typically) man's help.

To be fair with this, in most of the cited examples (Metal Gear and TLoZ:WW in the video), the male character that escapes happens to be the main character. Looking at it from a pure gameplay perspective it'd be ridiculously dull to have the game stop every time the male protagonist is captured and switch to another character that saves him. I guess the "problem" here lies with the fact that most main characters are men.

I'm not sure about examples of male NPCs (like most DiDs) that are captured and manage to escape because of their manliness. There probably are but I don't remember any right now.

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Again, I am not disagreeing else you are saying. I just never understood why "she was so strong before being kidnapped" gets brought up.

It's brought up because when male characters get kidnapped, it TENDS to be the case that they manage to get themselves out of it, and usually it builds up their character more. Whereas it's more uncommon to see a female character get kidnapped and actually do something about it (just think about that montage of captured women screaming 'help me!', and that's only old-school games... definitely made me stop and think about it for a minute.)

This is just as much true of all of her examples. They're antecdotal evidence. So really we're on the same playing field.

Yes but the thing is, your anecdotal evidence isn't relevant to anything she said. She never said that the majority of games use the trope, so submitting any kind of evidence to the contrary is simply not an answer to anything being said.

If in a 24 minute video you can't find the time to say 'there are good examples of empowerment in games as well,' and end the video being like 'and next time we'll explore EVEN MORE examples of how men make women helpless' then I'm not seeing where she is attempting to make a balanced series.

If you're trying to raise awareness about something and make a point, you're simply not obligated to make your opponent's case for them. That makes no sense. She's trying to highlight that women are often treated in rather stereotypical and perhaps sexist ways in video games.

...This IS true, backed by science and life experience since the beginning of time.

Biologically, female humans tend to have less muscle mass on average than men. Yes, while there are enormous variations from person to person and a great many females who are physically stronger than a great many males, on AVERAGE, that's true.

But I don't think literal physical weakness what Anita was referring to. She's referring to the fact that historically, women have been treated as 'weaker' in ALL aspects of being; weaker-minded, weaker-willed, weaker-emotionally, etc. and men have been using this to justify treating them as second-class citizens all over the world to this very day. Just search for beheadings, stonings, and rapes in countries like Iran or even India to get an idea.

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To be fair with this, in most of the cited examples (Metal Gear and TLoZ:WW in the video), the male character that escapes happens to be the main character. Looking at it from a pure gameplay perspective it'd be ridiculously dull to have the game stop every time the male protagonist is captured and switch to another character that saves him. I guess the "problem" here lies with the fact that most main characters are men.

Even if you DO have a male main character, you could certainly make plenty of interesting stories that don't involve a female getting kidnapped and requiring rescue. Hell, you could make a character get captured, then escape and join the main character for some duo co-op action, right? But more often than not, as Anita showed, so many games just lazily had the woman get captured and dragged off, effectively turning them into a 'valuable object' rather than an actual person.

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Other positive examples of female protagonist in videogames: Iji Kataiser from Iji, Ellie from Monster Tale and Ellie Langford from Dead Space 2. ;)

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I don't know why we are still talking about the ThunderF00t response. I picked it apart a few pages ago, and no one challenged most of what I said. We probably shouldn't talk past each other, lest anyone thinks that video is anything more than a bad joke.

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Don't worry Ash, it's just Strader trying to troll by stirring shyte up. It doesn't bring anything new or relevant to the discussion.

While this isn't a protagonist, but that chick that helps Gordon Freeman is a good example.

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