Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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First three pages read exactly like cherry picking ("oh, and look at this! this supports my theory! oh and look at this! this too!") A very obnoxious style of writing with little explanation of how they are congruent and whether or not the theory he espouses has been modified to account for the phenomenon he reports on. Will continue reading, but I hope he breaks out of this pattern because it is not pretty.

Edit: at page five, he starts to recognise Third Wave Feminism. Hey buddy, Third Wave Feminism has been around since the 70s. Glad you're just cluing in. (refering to the author.)

Hm, this book was written during the crisis in evolutionary psychology in 2000s. That was during the time professors were kicked out of schools for academic chicanery (Kanazawa) and certain major proponents were explicitly supporting exceptionally reactionary causes (Charles Murray, Rushton's Pioneer Fund.) In fact, I am begining to see why Pinker's work would be dismissed by various academics including scientists in the harder sciences, as something beset by strawman fallacies. He scarcely demonstrates whether or not he has an understanding of the arguments made by those he pillories.

The nature-nurture debate is not one with a tradition of fair play. Rather the standard practice has been to present a fairly complex and nuanced version of your own side of the debate, while setting up and demolishing a straw man as the opponent. In his latest contribution to the ongoing debate, Stephen Pinker cites numerous examples where his opponents adopt this strategy. However, he seems oblivious of the fact that he is responding in kind, beginning with his title, The Blank Slate. One might expect an author putting forward new ideas on a topic of such vital interest to choose a title giving an appealing characterisation of his own theory, rather than a pejorative label for the opposing viewpoint.

Perhaps in the 10s, the science has improved considerably. In fact, I think the 00s have been a revelatory period. You might want to use more recent works in the science than something that is twelve years old.

Edited by Xelebes

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I read and thoroughly enjoyed the selection by Pinker. I have no objections!

Not to derail too much further, and don't have a lot of free time at the moment after reading that excerpt, but I DO agree with what Paglia is saying about how you can't legislate away the difference in sexes... the evolutionary biology stuff... all good. And there is definitely a line between victim-blaming and common sense advice as we talked about earlier in this thread.

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First three pages read exactly like cherry picking ("oh, and look at this! this supports my theory! oh and look at this! this too!") A very obnoxious style of writing with little explanation of how they are congruent and whether or not the theory he espouses has been modified to account for the phenomenon he reports on. Will continue reading, but I hope he breaks out of this pattern because it is not pretty.

Edit: at page five, he starts to recognise Third Wave Feminism. Hey buddy, Third Wave Feminism has been around since the 70s. Glad you're just cluing in. (refering to the author.).

Well, if we're gonna use the word "obnoxious"... your entire response is obnoxious. "Hey buddy"?? You can't just accuse someone of cherry picking, by the way - you have to show how the data being cited is incomplete or is being carefully selected from a larger pool of data with less clarity or competing/conflicting results. You haven't done that, uh.... let's see.... at all. You've just made the baseless accusation, and then called the writing style obnoxious, and then said "hey buddy"... Also, uh... there's no specific hard & fast START date on third-wave feminism. So being glib and saying "Hey buddy" while in the same sentence asserting an unprovable point ("been around since the 70s") seems problematic. The term "third-wave feminism" itself was coined in 1992 as per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-wave_feminism. The article also says:

Third-wave feminism began in the early 1990s, arising as a response to perceived failures of the second wave and to address the backlash against initiatives and movements created by the second wave.
Basically - and I've really kept this civil and not personal as much as possible - you're full of shit. At least with regards to this specific post. Go now and become less full of shit in what way seems best to you.
I read and thoroughly enjoyed the selection by Pinker. I have no objections!

Not to derail too much further, and don't have a lot of free time at the moment after reading that excerpt, but I DO agree with what Paglia is saying about how you can't legislate away the difference in sexes... the evolutionary biology stuff... all good. And there is definitely a line between victim-blaming and common sense advice as we talked about earlier in this thread.

Cool. I think the breakdown of gender feminism vs. equity feminism is especially helpful - much earlier in this thread I was using "second-wave" and "third-wave" as poorly-chosen stand-ins for these two adjectives, which are far more descriptive & accurate.

If I were putting on my "steel man" argument hat, as Dhsu called it (hadn't heard that before), I guess the only point I would make is that gender feminism can be wrong about sex differences being completely socially constructed but still be right about some of the specific aspects that are less biological and more cultural, or that show a clear cultural causation, etc. It's easy to pick apart a target that espouses a 100% nurture position on any given nature vs. nurture issue, but that just invalidates the thesis statement... some of the supporting arguments can still be viable. However, he is less concerned with those arguments because they are not specifically part of his focus with the book. He is not seeking to undermine feminism at all, or even gender feminism specifically, but rather the notion of the human mind being a blank canvas and social construction being the only brush.

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Well, if we're gonna use the word "obnoxious"... your entire response is obnoxious. "Hey buddy"?? You can't just accuse someone of cherry picking, by the way - you have to show how the data being cited is incomplete or is being carefully selected from a larger pool of data with less clarity or competing/conflicting results. You haven't done that, uh.... let's see.... at all. You've just made the baseless accusation, and then called the writing style obnoxious, and then said "hey buddy"...

Oh, this is precious.

Also, uh... there's no specific hard & fast START date on third-wave feminism. So being glib and saying "Hey buddy" while in the same sentence asserting an unprovable point ("been around since the 70s") seems problematic. The term "third-wave feminism" itself was coined in 1992 as per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-wave_feminism. The article also says:

Oh I know what the wikipedia article is. It is also wise to note that many of the arguments that comprise third wave feminism were being put forth in the 1970s. Basically, Third Wave Feminism is meant to address the issues of "Hey, we now have jobs, what is the next issue we have to deal with?" They coined the term in the early 90s because they realised what was happening. Looking for writers working on the concepts of this so-called third wave need you to no further than to look at the work of Joan Wallach Scott and Charlotte Zolotow.

Basically - and I've really kept this civil and not personal as much as possible - you're full of shit. At least with regards to this specific post. Go now and become less full of shit in what way seems best to you.

Sorry, the post was written impromptu while I was at work. So it was written and edited in small parts, in short spans. Call what you may about the shit I write, might you take the time to smell your own perfume. Thank you very much.

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Xelebes is mostly correct on the history of feminism, third-wave thinkers are generally considered to have emerged post-60's

midterms are happening right now but I'll try to read the linked articles when I have time

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because people are idiots.

regardless of my dislike of her methods and general character, no one deserves death threats,

when both sides "proof" is entirely conjecture how can you even care?

besides which no matter what anita says the one's who decide to change the industry is the paying customers who don't buy games because of their own moral values.

and in this case from what we have seen for the last few months.

there will always be "sexist" style games.

there will be the occasional politically correct game now and then but the only ones that will change the industry is the buyers of games.

And further more creators of games will choose to make games how they please.

telling someone that they shouldn't do something makes them WANT to do it.

she really needs to focus on sorting out the community not the gaming industry but she already has a terrible reputation nowadays.

what a sad state of affairs.

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besides which no matter what anita says the one's who decide to change the industry is the paying customers who don't buy games because of their own moral values.

and in this case from what we have seen for the last few months.

there will always be "sexist" style games.

there will be the occasional politically correct game now and then but the only ones that will change the industry is the buyers of games.

And further more creators of games will choose to make games how they please.

telling someone that they shouldn't do something makes them WANT to do it.

she really needs to focus on sorting out the community not the gaming industry but she already has a terrible reputation nowadays.

what a sad state of affairs.

Yeah, why try to get people to change things by challenging sexism, because, by your rationale, they'll just dig their heels in MORE.

I'm sure American abolitionists, women's suffragists, and civil rights leaders way back would have LOVED your advice. Blacks and women can vote now and gays can get married, because the people just moved in their direction... but not because of any challenging THEY did. They just spit into the wind. :lol:

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all im saying is this way of doing things is not getting people on anita's side.

i mean have you seen what happened this past few month?

THEY HAVE DUG THEIR HEELS IN

and big companies won't care, they're more invested in the money and what will sell well.

you're suggesting my advice is not to bother with challenging things.

no i didn't say that.

what i said was that she needed to focus more on the community and less on the big business side of things.

because as we have all seen many are very willing to shove out sequel after sequel after sequel.

look at it this way, sort out the community first, they are then less willing to buy the next sexist racist whatever game that comes out, the companies get wind of this shift in perspective and evolve to follow the money.

Edit:

and the main issue here is getting people on her side to help with this issue atm.

girls getting subjected to verbal abuse and sexist bs is not on, yet most feminists ive seen have generalised men to being misogynist which already left a bad taste in my mouth.

look at emma watson, she actually made me feel as if i can help women and girls with this issue.

the issue here is inclusion.

you include people into your rally and you have a much better chance of making a change.

Edited by psychowolf

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I think you have to COMPLETELY decouple the threats from the ideological arguments.

I think we can agree that no one deserves death threats for arguing about video games, however inanely and polemically they may do so.

I'm getting a little tired of these threats ballooning into media events, because I feel like they should be handled by the appropriate authorities and not become spectacle; most problematically, it gives attention to the perpetrators who clearly seek it, but I'm also afraid it imbues the targets with an unearned credibility in the eyes of some. Neither outcome is desirable; arguments should be evaluated on their merits & threats are the actions of cowards and do not facilitate that evaluation taking place.

There's a colloquial thinking that goes something like this:

"Well, if you're getting DEATH threats just for what you're trying to SAY, you MUST be doing something RIGHT!!"
The reasoning is that anyone desperate enough to threaten violence just to prevent an argument from being expressed must obviously hold a flawed counterargument. I think, instead, the point is this: anyone desperate enough to threaten violence just to prevent speech is pathetic. It doesn't really speak to the issue itself; people have done bad things in the name of GOOD causes, BAD causes, and everything in between.

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all im saying is this way of doing things is not getting people on anita's side.

YouTube subs: 165,963

Twitter followers: 159K

A lot of people are already on her side. :lol:

i mean have you seen what happened this past few month?

THEY HAVE DUG THEIR HEELS IN

and big companies won't care, they're more invested in the money and what will sell well.

you're suggesting my advice is not to bother with challenging things.

no i didn't say that.

what i said was that she needed to focus more on the community and less on the big business side of things.

because as we have all seen many are very willing to shove out sequel after sequel after sequel.

look at it this way, sort out the community first, they are then less willing to buy the next sexist racist whatever game that comes out, the companies get wind of this shift in perspective and evolve to follow the money.

Edit:

and the main issue here is getting people on her side to help with this issue atm.

girls getting subjected to verbal abuse and sexist bs is not on, yet most feminists ive seen have generalised men to being misogynist which already left a bad taste in my mouth.

look at emma watson, she actually made me feel as if i can help women and girls with this issue.

the issue here is inclusion.

you include people into your rally and you have a much better chance of making a change.

rainbow-oreo-kraft-foods.jpg

Yes, companies chase money. 10 years ago, not many companies would have done what Kraft did. Even Kraft wouldn't have done it. But now they're in a climate where chasing money and expressing decent values can intersect.

If your point is that companies lag behind human beings in changing opinions, you're right. But it's not pointless to go after them. By going after a big target and aiming up, you also activate the community.

Civil%20Rights%20Dog%20Attack.jpg

The discourse doesn't exist in a vacuum, so it's incorrect to claim at whatever argument she's waging is on the wrong front. By addressing companies/developers, she's also going after the community at large as well. I'm not trying to say what she's doing is equivalent to the American Civil Rights movement with the above photo, but when she gets physically threatened, and trolls violently dig their heels in, sane people eventually start looking at what's unfolding and realize that the troll reaction is over-the-top and wrong, and that maybe there are problems that need to be addressed.

What she's doing is working. It's put her in a state of anxiety no one should have to be under, but it's working.

A change agent talks of changing things, some people who hate change violently react, and a greater community of people will move towards that change as a result of not wanting to be under the tent with a bunch of assholes. It's a slow process, but it's an old story.

Even assuming she's wrong, and that the real level of problems with the depiction of women in games lies well between her POV and "nothing's wrong", she's promoting a worthwhile re-examination of gender in games. There's a lot of negative chatter and consequences that go along with it, but her critique's a long-run net positive for games. The tropes won't fully go away, so I don't understand why so many people feel threatened, but game storytelling can continue to broaden and serve even more audiences, all while the current style of games stay around.

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If anything, when people dig their heels in, that's not a sign to give up. That's a sign to push harder, to keep going where you're going because if those who stand against positive change are being that resistant, then that's even more indication to keep going.

If you're fighting for something true and good and people dig their heels in, don't give up on the message. That's all I'm saying.

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If anything, when people dig their heels in, that's not a sign to give up. That's a sign to push harder, to keep going where you're going because if those who stand against positive change are being that resistant, then that's even more indication to keep going.

If you're fighting for something true and good and people dig their heels in, don't give up on the message. That's all I'm saying.

Well said! :350:

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Even assuming she's wrong, and that the real level of problems with the depiction of women in games lies well between her POV and "nothing's wrong", she's promoting a worthwhile re-examination of gender in games. There's a lot of negative chatter and consequences that go along with it, but her critique's a long-run net positive for games. The tropes won't fully go away, so I don't understand why so many people feel threatened, but game storytelling can continue to broaden and serve even more audiences, all while the current style of games stay around.

Ah, well, I don't feel the need to recapitulate dozens of pages of back-and-forth that I'll assume you read, but... she's regurgitating second-wave feminist rhetoric that was previously used to unsuccessfully argue for the censorship of pornography, and she represents a step backwards from third-wave feminism's more pragmatic emphasis on equal rights. In terms of the current style of games staying around, the way she forms her arguments makes it sound like she thinks they should not. If any of the things she cites as problematic and directly correlates (without a shred of causal evidence) with real-world behaviors and injustice are true, the current style of games should NOT stay around. You're not framing her shtick accurately. She's far more zero-sum than you're painting. Perhaps you're just saying "yes, yes, that's all well and good, but we know SOME of those games will stay around, and we'll have to be okay with that..." - in which case I think you'd be surprised how quickly you'd have a patriarchy sticker plopped on your forehead by someone who took offense at such defeatist (i.e. reasonable) notions.

Whether or not she's gotten a lot of silly gamers mad at her for hatin' on they games doesn't read on that, as far as I'm concerned... I'm not personally threatened, I'm just disappointed. I'm disappointed at her most aggravated haters, sure, but they didn't have very far to fall in my mind. I'm actually MORE disappointed by the lack of intellectual maturity of that cross-section of the gaming world that takes her seriously and doesn't have the faculties or context to know that they're being fed second-rate dogma from a bygone era... it's more than a little embarrassing, really, although I bear the curse of a relatively flat learning curve when it comes to high expectations...

There's also the commodification of outrage issue at play... or you can call it "the offense industry" if you prefer: http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/09/16/the-offense-industry-on-the-offense/ - I think the Internet has really ushered in an entirely new sphere of content that one should be rightfully cynical towards. There's money changing hands, scandal and outrage sell, and moral compasses are being thoroughly milked for ad revenue.

You plop an "equality" label on someone's agenda and people stop scrutinizing it. That same individual gets attacked/targeted by morons, and not only do people stop scrutinizing it, they champion it, because to do otherwise would be to endorse death threats & death threat mentality. Are you for Anita... or are you for Death? And threats? Pick a side.

God forbid a third option exists...

Now I think you're making the "it doesn't matter" because she's an "agent of change" argument, but that seems rather hasty. Right now we've got a divisive shit show. It's what happens after the dust settles that matters. Fingers crossed.

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At this point I don't even remember what Anita was all about outside of very angry rhetoric and pleas directed at her audiences' emotions(which reminds me about that whole "End Women's Suffrage" joke video released way back). Granted I haven't been paying a huge amount of attention to this whole thing anymore, but outside of certain internet communities whose forum post counts thrive on conflict and several news outlets that thrive of page clicks, I haven't really seen a lot of the supposed effects that this entire discourse was supposed to have.

To be frank, I'm honestly shocked that there are people posting here in actual support of her message.

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To be frank, I'm honestly shocked that there are people posting here in actual support of her message.

Here's the thing... her message, at its very core, only needs a couple tweaks for me to completely support it, 110%.

It just needs to go from this:

"Games are sexist and promote sexist ideas and almost all female characters in games are illustrative of one or more offensive tropes. Also, patriarchy. ADOLESCENT MALE POWER FANTASIES!! <insert-unsubstantiated-claim-here>"

...to this:

"Female characters in video games too often fall into a more limiting and less diverse set of roles. This should be addressed both for the goal of hopefully providing more positive/empowered female role models to gamers AND for the general aesthetic improvement and maturity of the medium."

The two statements are soooooooo frustratingly close. And yet so very, very far... if you think the first version is hyperbole/travesty, watch her videos :)

Larry's more optimistic than I am; I don't think we get where we need to be until the discrepancy between the above statements is fully understood and appreciated, and Anita does NOT appear to be facilitating that.

This shift should be motivated by a desire to improve the medium, not by fear of offending and suffering the consequences.

Any outcome achieved by the latter is completely compromised and cancerous from the outset.

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On the subject of Anita, did you guys see she had to cancel a speaking engagement because someone called in a mass-shooting threat to it? Not even a death threat to her but countless others.

We're going to be in a shooting civil war here pretty soon with the way our "intelligent, socially aware" leading generation is carrying things out. I'd be lying if I said 0% of me somewhat welcomes it, but that part gets overwhelmed at the basic human level that recognizes how fucked up that really is.

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I think the most reasonable stance is that Anita making people think about these things is a good thing, but also, her videos kind of suck

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I think the most reasonable stance is that Anita making people think about these things is a good thing, but also, her videos kind of suck

She's making some people think about these things, that's true. She's pissing other people off into a blind rage completely devoid of thought and apparently even basic decency. And still others aren't really thinking per se, they're just blindly nodding their heads in agreement with anything sold to them as promoting equality.

Net desirable effect? Uncertain... agreed on videos, though.

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I think that the one or two people who've had eye opening experiences because of the videos are worth it, but yeah, the large majority of the people nodding their heads are people who already thought that way in their huge masturbatory echo chamber, and the people disagreeing are uh apparently gonna shoot a whole bunch of people? Whole lotta trouble over basically nothing at all.

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she's regurgitating second-wave feminist rhetoric that was previously used to unsuccessfully argue for the censorship of pornography, and she represents a step backwards from third-wave feminism's more pragmatic emphasis on equal rights. In terms of the current style of games staying around, the way she forms her arguments makes it sound like she thinks they should not. If any of the things she cites as problematic and directly correlates (without a shred of causal evidence) with real-world behaviors and injustice are true, the current style of games should NOT stay around. You're not framing her shtick accurately. She's far more zero-sum than you're painting. Perhaps you're just saying "yes, yes, that's all well and good, but we know SOME of those games will stay around, and we'll have to be okay with that..." - in which case I think you'd be surprised how quickly you'd have a patriarchy sticker plopped on your forehead by someone who took offense at such defeatist (i.e. reasonable) notions.

You've interpreted my POV fairly accurately, but yes, I'm more optimistic. I don't have an opinion, but for the sake of argument, let's assume you're 100% right in your framing of Sarkeesian's mindset (that her brand of feminism is akin to pursuing the elimination of pornography). If that was the case, I can't say I mind her feminism being the wrong wave and/or if her goals were zero-sum. I mean, I'd rather she was fully pragmatic, but is pornography going anywhere? :lol: It's not. The positive aspects of her rhetoric (i.e your tweaked version of what should be the core messaging) will ultimately be the takeaways.

It's kind of like looking at the Bible, Torah or Koran; there are some fundamentalists, but most of the faithful will pick and choose the ideals they identify with and ignore what doesn't work for them. In gaming, I think that means "I just want more games that have positive women role models. I'll ignore the ones I already wasn't interested in."

I just don't see writing in games undergoing a massive level of immediate change; you'd almost certainly have to see other entertainment (TV/film/music) change first before that trickled down to games. To me, the positive end result will fall somewhere below the most extremist interpretation of Sarkeesian's goals. If someone wants to interpret that as me "endorsing patriarchy", they can misrepresent me all they want. My ultimate opinion is that positive change will occur slowly but surely.

Now I think you're making the "it doesn't matter" because she's an "agent of change" argument, but that seems rather hasty. Right now we've got a divisive shit show. It's what happens after the dust settles that matters. Fingers crossed.

I think it'll turn out fine. The 60s were a more divisive and dangerous "shit show" with bigger stakes, but American society gradually emerged as something better and more inclusive after the upheaval. Gaming will be the same way. The outcry raised against Sarkeesian's videos and women in games from GamerGate's troll segment will eventually backfire, and it will eventually lead to more women and inclusion in game development, more well-rounded depictions of women in games, and more maturity in the medium, all while the usual stuff we see in gaming also stays around for those audiences (who will also remain influential).

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I've agreed with everything djpretzel has said so far,I too am not that optimistic. She needs more inclusion in her view for me to actually get behind her.

which is why I suggested she go for the community not the big companies.

You say she has alot of followers.

How many are male gamers compared to female/transgender gamers? I don't think the numbers will be that high, which brings back my idea of inclusion.

if many feminists would stop acting like all men are the problem and instead actively try to involve us in helping this shit storm would have ended days ago.

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She's making some people think about these things, that's true. She's pissing other people off into a blind rage completely devoid of thought and apparently even basic decency. And still others aren't really thinking per se, they're just blindly nodding their heads in agreement with anything sold to them as promoting equality.

I don't think it's fair to say that their reactions are her fault. You're talking about dealing with a very toxic "nerd" culture that has been developing these attitudes and behaviors long before Anita became popular.

Yes, it's easy to predict reactions like these. But to continue anyway shows that you're not willing to let shooting threat letters that are written like a bad DnD campaign stop your grander agenda and, at least for me, earns my respect. By bringing these reactions out, it just further casts light on the real problem: the internet "nerd" culture has tons of really bratty, immature people who aren't afraid of throwing away human decency when they don't get what they want. They've been festering in the darkest corners of the digital realm and the recent mainstream movements to have video games now be a thing for everyone has caused them to move from the dark, harmless squatting to full on war waging in the public sector.

Here's a good point about it.

Edited by Neblix

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If the raving nutbags in the gaming community hadn't made Anita an international name she would be making kickstarter-funded videos for her core audience, would be unknown to the population at large and we wouldn't have a 153 page thread. And you know what, social progress is extremely messy and sometimes we don't always like the advocates for it.

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If the raving nutbags in the gaming community hadn't made Anita an international name she would be making kickstarter-funded videos for her core audience, would be unknown to the population at large and we wouldn't have a 153 page thread. And you know what, social progress is extremely messy and sometimes we don't always like the advocates for it.

I'd contend that she's not advocating for what I could consider social progress at all, but I can certainly agree that she's close enough to the ballpark that many will simply misconstrue her message as the more reasonable, positive, & progressive sentiment I wish it actually were. That's basically what Larry is saying, and it's hard to argue against. Only time will tell. That does feel like a rather patronizing assessment, to me, but perhaps this is a situation where pragmatism & patronizing go hand in hand.

Of course, that doesn't mean we can't dissect and critique things here. I still don't think someone deserves a free pass from making ridiculous claims and reductionist, stale arguments, even if there's a good peripheral cause...

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