Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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Edit: Took this section out as I found refuted sources myself. Also fixing the section where I worded the justify means part too broadly and the criticism for it is justified.

At best, she's ruining a good and proper movement with shady, bullshit tactics and destroying the good fabric of gender equality issues that need to be addressed. At worst, she's just profiting off a hot button issue with no real emotional investment to it. She's Ken fucking Ham.

Does that make it ok to post death threats to her and her family? Of course not. But just because two sides are at war does not mean one is simply right and the other is simply wrong. They can easily BOTH be wrong (which is usually what leads to conflict in the first place). Anita, feminists like her, and the Gamergate fuckheads are all scum. It doesn't matter who's right or for what cause. Anita hasn't done anything to advance women's rights in video gaming, she's just brought it from a boiling topic to outright, pointless war. Every step she's brought the movement forward has had an immediate step back.

Certainly there are much better examples of gamer feminists in our culture today, don't you think?

Edited by Meteo Xavier

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Nah, she's said repeatedly that she is a gamer. Not sure where you got the impression that she "doesn't like" games or doesn't play them.

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Actually, I just found something refuting it myself. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/FeministFrequency, down at the entry, "One of Us". It also answers your question where that comes from. I've edited the section of my previous post to suit.

All the same, I'm not sure why she would make that infamous comment in the first place if she does enjoy gaming to some degree. It's things like this that still crack at the level of authority she has in the rhetoric she's selling. I just can't fathom why any reasonable adult would champion this firebrand when there are much better examples of feminist critics and gamers out there.

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Ends do not justify means. That's what Anita supporters are forgetting here. At best, she's ruining a good and proper movement with shady, bullshit tactics and destroying the good fabric of gender equality issues that need to be addressed. At worst, she's just profiting off a hot button issue with no real emotional investment to it. She's Ken fucking Ham.

These are some pretty broad claims. Do ends never justify means? If you mean ends don't justify the means in this particular situation, why? How is Anita destroying the "good fabric of gender equality issues that need to be addressed," whatever that means? How do you know she has "no real emotional investment" in the issue?

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You're the one making a claim here, you support it. Two women are continuously harassed and threatened, and somehow they're the ones antagonizing and insulting other people? I don't buy it.

what point have you made here

Literally everyone who is on the 'right' side of GG has been constantly disparaging and mocking it ever since this started. Ben Kuchera, the head editor at Polygon said earlier today

Misogyny and harassment have always existed in gaming. At least with #gamergate they self-identify so you know they're safe to ignore.

Everyone still making noise on the 'good' side are literally trying to start flame wars to create more proof of the alleged harassment that is 'still going on.' Zoe Quinn tweeted out something along the lines of 'if one more person harasses me I'm going to kill myself' and guess what? No one said a thing, except 'no don't do it oh em gee those terrible trolls what have they done to you'

These people already know they're going to win the fight in the public eye. Why not ham it up, stir up some more outrage, and see what more they can get out of it before letting it blow over?

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These are some pretty broad claims. Do ends never justify means? If you mean ends don't justify the means in this particular situation, why? How is Anita destroying the "good fabric of gender equality issues that need to be addressed," whatever that means? How do you know she has "no real emotional investment" in the issue?

Yeah, I agree I worded that too broadly, I'll fix that in a bit.

I figured that sentence was pretty self-explanatory by itself, but here is where we venture into a realm where most people arguing on the subject refuse to go, it's called the "Gray Area". If you can read the following text, it means you understand how "gray" works.

It means that the basic point she's making is good, but the methods she's using to bring that point about are not as effective as someone with her means should be able to provide. Because she's using such an extreme and flawed method to get her views out, she has systematically helped start a war that didn't need to be fought just to provide some education and progress to an issue.

This much is proven based on documented research errors she has made in her videos and messages and based on the criticism she has gotten from other feminist gamers. So now we have more than one school of thought fighting for the same cause, but they disagree on the methods of how that's done. By the precedents set by Anita supporters, the schools of thought should be 100% correct, but how can that be? It can't. This is cognitive dissonance.

Worse than that, she has made significant profit off of her flawed rhetoric which really should raise some eyebrows from even some of her best admirers. It's one thing to make money off the things you tell people, like Zircon said it's perfectly legit by itself, but that's not simply what's going on here - it's another thing to make an excessively large amount of money just to create material that even her own peers have problems with. I'm even researching it now as I write this response, and I still haven't seen where all that money went.

If it's reasonable to think people should make money off their views, it's reasonable to expect self-styled icons of crusaders in their field to be using a good section of that money for additional charity.

Then there's this: http://cowkitty.net/post/78808973663/you-stole-my-artwork-an-open-letter-to-anita

Now it doesn't really matter it was fan art to begin with, that's not the point. The point is that Anita is someone who thinks with her heart, not with her head. And her passionate but half-true statements have just enough strength to inspire other people who are smart enough to want change, but not smart enough to understand that progress at any cost is not progress. Not everyone she's pissing off are GamerGate fucktards, she's pissing off other reasonable people who could be helping to push progress forward faster if she wasn't tainting the movement by:

- Having extreme views on a subject that needs to be studied carefully.

- Not disclosing where the additional funds are, which gives power to her critics and decent evidence she is motivated by money, not social justice.

- "Educating" truths to a desperate audience that are not properly researched and are thus propelled in potentially wrong directions.

- Stealing intellectual property, whether from that other artist or the game companies themselves. I'm pretty sure SNK, Nintendo, et all didn't license her to use clips of stuff in a video series that there is good enough evidence she uses for major personal profit.

There are other feminists gamers out there providing GOOD education that are not doing these things to get it, yet Anita is the one who is iconic and everyone listens to.

So now my question is this: By supporting Anita, are you telling me its ok to make shit up and steal things as long as you're doing it for a good cause? Is this a case where ethics are not required to be ethical themselves? What is the precedent being set here? It can't be black and white here.

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Because she's using such an extreme and flawed method to get her views out, she has systematically helped start a war that didn't need to be fought just to provide some education and progress to an issue.

Emphasis added. I take issue with this portion. The phrase "systematically helped" implies that she either (1) knowingly used flawed methods with intent to "start a war," or (2) knowingly used flawed methods for which "starting a war" would be a foreseeable result. I doubt you could prove option one, so I'll what your evidence for option two is. How is the "war" here a foreseeable consequence of what she's done? Why should she be held accountable for "systematically helping" to bring this "war" about?

If it's reasonable to think people should make money off their views, it's reasonable to expect self-styled icons of crusaders in their field to be using a good section of that money for additional charity.

She is not obligated to do this and I'm not sure why we should be expecting a critic to donate money she receives for producing her criticism--especially if she never promised to make such donations. All the money she received was given freely and voluntarily.

Then there's this: http://cowkitty.net/post/78808973663/you-stole-my-artwork-an-open-letter-to-anita

Now it doesn't really matter it was fan art to begin with, that's not the point. The point is that Anita is someone who thinks with her heart, not with her head.

I don't support stealing intellectual property, but I don't think anyone knows enough about this situation enough to comment on it. It is entirely possible her attorney told her not to issue public comments about this matter while a civil case is pending.

I think my bottom-line response is that although I don't agree with or condone Anita Sarkeesian's style of argumentation, I also don't think it's reasonable in this situation to hold her responsible for how badly other people are reacting toward what she's said.

Edited by Ab56 v2 aka Ash

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The point is that Anita is someone who thinks with her heart, not with her head.

Absolutely not. I probably shouldn't have peeked in this thread at all, then I wouldn't have been tempted to put in my two cents, but I figure I might as well.

Anita Sarkeesian has been very calculated from the beginning. She is that brand of 'journalist' that has defined the modern mainstream media. The kind that quickly realized how sensationalism sells. Sarkeesian's a pot-stirrer. She's an attention seeker.

Her frail attempts at "feminism" are extremely well thought out. She has been intentionally crafting controversy around herself from the start to build her brand. Every view, every link, every share, every argument in every comments section is publicity. As the saying goes, "There's no such thing as bad press." It's not strictly true, but it sums up the current state of affairs quite well. If your name is out there, if it's everywhere, it doesn't matter what agenda you're pushing as long as you keep people talking about you. Hold their attention as long as you can.

I won't say whether she does it for the attention, or the money. It's at least one, it could be both. All I know is that Sarkeesian is a shameless and skilled self-promoter, but to call her a feminist or a journalist or a critic is a joke.

That said, these people exist everywhere. The worst that I can say of Sarkeesian is that she deserves only to be ignored. Just as I simply choose not to tune in to Bill O'Reilly, I will never again click my way over to Feminist Frequency.

But I can't imagine that Sarkeesian could have predicted the vitriol that would come from all this.

The way the GamerGate tag has played out disgusts me. If Sarkeesian never warranted more than to be ignored, the bigots of GamerGate deserve to be publically identified and shamed. The hatred and poison that has been uttered from under that banner is inexcusable.

"But that's not what GamerGate is about!" you might say. I've had that conversation before, a few months back. My brother was telling me how reasonable parties were working towards reforming Hamas from the inside, and that was the great hope for the region.

But they're still under the banner of Hamas, I told him. Who are the vocal and active members of that group? Many nationalists and socialists in the Nazi party were not Hitler. But they aligned themselves under the wrong banner.

Whether it's GamerGate, or FeministFrequency, or the Gawker network, you've aligned yourself under the wrong banner.

What's saddest about it all is that sexism is an important issue we need to tackle right now. Issues of gender and equality are hot button topics today, and I'm thrilled to see these issues get the attention they need.

Sarkeesian, Kotaku, GamerGate, they are not the attention these issues need. They are not addressing the very real issue of sexism in media, games, movies, music, literature, the workplace, at home, across the globe.

No, they are all cherry picking the controversies that will get them views, links, attention. None of them are concerned with tackling sexism, or journalistic ethics, or whatever else is their buzzword-of-the-day. Not really.

And I wish they'd all shut up, so that the adults could go back to trying to make the world a better, safer place for people of all genders and kinds.

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Sure she said it in 2010 but a lot can change in 3-4 years. What may have been true back then doesn't need to still be true today because things change. It kinda happens thanks to a thing called the inexorable passage of time.

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She's written that she has been playing games since the Game Boy era and has never identified with the traditional 'boys club' gamer identity.

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Yeah. Despite what Anita has written I don't believe that she actually plays games as a hobby. I'm sure she has played games when she was a child and played a bunch for her "research" but that video that Brandon posted seems to counter her claims to be a gamer.

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I'm sick of people continuing to slander and demonize Anita Sarkeesian. It's one thing to disagree with her views, and deconstruct her arguments, but to attack her character is utterly pathetic, and shows that those who do so have no argument whatsoever. No one here knows here personally, and yet people act like they are intimately familiar with her personal motivations and "real" goals. Why intelligently deconstruct her argument when you can just make shit up?

This thread seems to have turned into the demonize Anita thread, I hope this thread gets closed, or at least a topic change.

Edited by Cash

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I'm sick of people continuing to slander and demonize Anita Sarkeesian. It's one thing to disagree with her views, and deconstruct her arguments, but to attack her character is utterly pathetic, and shows that those who do so have no argument whatsoever. No one here knows here personally, and yet people act like they are intimately familiar with her personal motivations and "real" goals. Why intelligently deconstruct her argument when you can just make shit up?

This thread seems to have turned into the demonize Anita thread, I hope this thread gets closed, or at least a topic change.

I don't really feel like saying that she doesn't play video games is really slander.

But whether or not she does is really irrelevant. You can see what a game is and still write a commentary on it. Of course, that concept is lost on the GamerGate crowd, because if you don't play games, you're not in that exclusive "boy's club" and aren't allowed to have an opinion.

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Sure she said it in 2010 but a lot can change in 3-4 years. What may have been true back then doesn't need to still be true today because things change. It kinda happens thanks to a thing called the inexorable passage of time.

ok, sure there is that possibility BUT

she has also stated to love video games since she was little,

if thats the case then this video shouldn't exist.

with anita there is too many inconsistancies

like for example we know she borrowed video from other youtube videos

we've established that the quality of her videos do not equate to the amount of funding she got via kickstarter to make them.

which just leaves you with alot of open ended questions about her.

and to me that just is not trust worthy material, regardless of the fact she is fighting a battle i side with her on.

to have her as the figurehead of feminism in gaming when her character leaves alot of questions about her is worrying to me.

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it seems to me that though she has gamed since a little kid, she doesn't identify with the "gamer" term and doesn't call herself that because of what it's associated with in her mind.

which is fine, she can play games without calling herself a gamer, that's not a requirement.

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It's true you can comment on games without ever playing them, maybe even if you just see cutscenes from them, or let's play or something that is in some way edited together.... but the question is, why then? Having seen her videos it is obvious that she comments on more of a superficial level with games which just begs the question of why. That's not how anything works. Journalism doesn't (or SHOULDN'T) work like that. I don't consider Anita a journalist of any kind. She's a blogger who has used controversial statements and actions to gain exposure / sympathy / financial gain.

And in response to the person who says "you don't know her personally it's not fair to comment on her character". I know her as well as she knows games. That's exactly what she is doing with games so why is it wrong for others to do the same?

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I would love to watch movies, but I don't want to constantly see explosions, sex, and violence.

I would love to read books, but I can't stand stories about frivolous summer romances.

I would love to listen to music, but I don't want to listen to people screaming.

Her actual quote is a false dichotomy, and instead of remarking on the games she enjoys (the set of games which are non-violent), she pretends that they don't exist.

There is a constructive way to have this conversation, but Anita either hasn't found it or willfully ignores it. The way to push non-violent games into the mainstream is to create more of them with high quality and expose them to the public. AAA games exist in their current form because that's what is currently selling. Large corporations can't build large projects with high risks; expose a market for some other game, and everyone wins.

There's a reason why nearly identical summer blockbuster films are released each year. They sell. It doesn't matter if their primary fan base is uncultured. To complain about a lack of culture in movies because JJ Abrams likes explosions misses the forest for the trees.

There are a lot of culturally relevant/interesting/art games, but the place to look for them is generally not AAA. And for the previously stated obvious reason, AAA can't produce them with regularity; the ROI doesn't work out.

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Is Sarkeesian actually a journalist? I never knew that was established. And the whole point of her not being a "gamer"(which is a stupid term in the first place) has been discussed previously in the thread. To echo the arguments presented there, the biggest problem is her lack of context. It's incredibly easy to tear down a character portrayal on a superficial level without actual context. To echo Bleck from way back(paraphrasing): "Yeah, back when it was created in the 80's, Super Mario Bros. was pretty sexist. You know what else was pretty sexist? The 80's!"

Sarkeesian(at least from her first vid) seems to have tried to divorce gaming imagery not only from its internal world context, but in many cases from historical context as well. What we end up with is a superficial indictment that rings very similar to alarmist rhetoric similar to Florida's Jack Thompson and California's Leland Yee. We all know how successful they were in shaking up things in the industry. The only difference is that being female, it's much easier for Sarkeesian to use emotional appeals(the most duplicitous type of appeal there is) ostensibly in the name of feminism(which gets her even more popular cred).

If Sarkeesian were to tackle real issues facing women in the actual industry, such as overt sexual discrimination in hiring practices, the pay gap between men and women, and other such issues with tangible repercussions, then I would be completely on board with her. She, however, is arguing against intangible and otherwise subjective concerns that really amount to "I don't like seeing that other girl in a miniskirt", which is pretty juvenile and raises suspicions of maladjustment and/or inherent insecurities(if I were going to let my psych background do the talking).

THAT being said, there absolutely is room to explore her arguments in constructive ways that can impact the industry positively, but I don't feel that she isn't the best voice for it. And speaking personally, I find offense in people that can't sit back and appreciate the progress that industries, groups, nations, what have you, are making in regards to social and legal changes. These things take time, and changes ARE happening. They should be celebrated instead of antagonized saying "it isn't enough!". Of course it isn't enough! But we're working on it!

Edited by Malaki-LEGEND.sys

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Gonna pipe in for a sec. ;)

I think one of the problems is people trying to impose morals/culture on industry. The thing is, the two are not meant to be compatible. When the Civil Rights movement was happening in the 60's, they weren't trying to change any industry. They were simply trying to get the government to give people of color fair rights. That was doable.

In this case, however, it seems like people are trying to get the gaming industry to adopt their own set of morals and culture. But businesses don't care about those things. They care about what sells. And violence, sex, and drugs sell.

I think if you want change in the gaming industry, you have to change things where morals and culture matter: the home, the school, and the workplace. Simply having less violent games isn't going to change a thing.

Edited by Neifion

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Is Sarkeesian actually a journalist? I never knew that was established.

Exactly. She's a pundit.

GamerGate should be harping about "ethics in video game punditry". But really, that sounds even less legitimate than their current facade.

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Exactly. She's a pundit.

GamerGate should be harping about "ethics in video game punditry". But really, that sounds even less legitimate than their current facade.

Except gamer gate has really nothing to do with Anita, she's the one making it about her and appearing on behalf of GG on TV shows.

The interview between Stephen Totilo and TotalBiscuit that Zircon posted earlier was super satisfying, you should watch it. It made me more comfortable with reading Kotaku again.

Not really interested in rehashing the same discussion points over and over, believe what you want. I do visit KiA every day, for better or worse.

I thought this was a really good interview with Stephen Totilo and TotalBiscuit.

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