Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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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.

I love the sentence about Abrams here.

I don't think that summer blockbusters are immune to criticism, however; on the contrary, if no one performs any critique about the ways with which they engage culture, then there are never going to be any resources or reasons to try and change things at the smaller scale you mention.

The first Tropes vs. Women video is probably her best, though I'd have to rewatch them all to give a fair opinion on that -- she merely points out that the act of damseling (a verb she invents, but one that I really, really like) is lazy plot writing at best, and alienates the female audience by being offensive given how common the trope is at worst.

This _does_ hurt the industry. Even if for some reason you don't buy the argument that the misproportion of damselled female characters to empowered ones impacts the market potential for video games, lazy writing is bad. Even if it sells (and I admit that it does), it should be taken to task, because games both could and should continue to improve in their ability to effectively tell a story and engage a player. Cultural criticism helps remind readers (or viewers, in Anita's case) that the art form has numerous avenues of growth. If that growth usually happens first in the indie scene (a point with which I agree with Tom above), so be it.

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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.

Actually, on page 42 of the "Gaming Guide To The Galaxy," paragraph 4, it's clearly listed as a requirement. If you don't call yourself that, someone comes by and erases all of your game saves.

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Actually, on page 42 of the "Gaming Guide To The Galaxy," paragraph 4, it's clearly listed as a requirement. If you don't call yourself that, someone comes by and erases all of your game saves.

That totally explains why I lost several saves when I was a kid.

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<snip>

This _does_ hurt the industry. Even if for some reason you don't buy the argument that the misproportion of damselled female characters to empowered ones impacts the market potential for video games, lazy writing is bad. Even if it sells (and I admit that it does), it should be taken to task, because games both could and should continue to improve in their ability to effectively tell a story and engage a player. Cultural criticism helps remind readers (or viewers, in Anita's case) that the art form has numerous avenues of growth. If that growth usually happens first in the indie scene (a point with which I agree with Tom above), so be it.

I'm going to lie and say that I don't want to keep beating this dead horse, then I'm going to grab a hammer.

There is an argument to be made that "lazy writing" outperforms intelligent writing and interesting stories in the marketplace. With so many people chasing lazy, this obviously opens up the market in interesting because it is under-served. Maxis has been printing money on interesting non-violent games since the 80's. But the market for their niche isn't large enough to support attempted competition against them by large organizations looking to mitigate risk on expensive projects. You do see a fair number of sims coming from smaller groups. At one point Maxis had more competition, but larger markets appeared. King Digital is a ~$3.6 billion company which practically produces a single well crafted non-violent game. They found an under-served portion of the market and created the best game they could in their niche/genre. They didn't have to destroy a portion of the existing market to do it (except through limitations of global mind-share and time).

There is an argument to be made around not serving genres traditionally favored by women as well limiting the growth in diversity of the games industry (very few women in dev roles in these parts). While possible, I think there are stronger underlying problems contributing here. Women not entering STEM (and especially computer science) is a well documented problem. There are certainly hiring managers who would refuse to hire women for dev roles, but I strongly believe they are in the minority. The prevailing feeling I get from people with higher pay grades is that they don't care if you're a man, woman, or chimpanzee as long as you're capable. This has also been publicly stated by prominent figures in the industry.

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This post is probably too long, rambling, and incoherent, but whatever.

I guess I just shrug off all these arguments about how we need to wait for culture to change before the media can change because analogously, throughout American history, changes in law and public perception have gone hand-in-hand. All Supreme Court decisions were made by a very small number of people even though their interpretations could have gone a couple different ways. But because of their foresight, the U.S. saw a lot of social progress that wasn't immediately popular with the majority yet. Based on that, I'd argue it's very plausible those changes in law contributed to public perceptions of issues. And I think they were correct decisions in the long run.

For an example of legal changes that were unpopular with the majority speeding up change, I don't think we have to look further than same-sex marriage. Over the years, same-sex rights issues had been getting a lot of exposure in our culture even though same-sex marriage was illegal in most states. A lot of groups had to apply a lot of pressure to see any progress, and even then it was still illegal in the majority of states. Then one swift act by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor opened the floodgates to marriage getting legalized everywhere. I think it's unprecedented how fast one SCOTUS decision led to people everywhere pushing for rights. Even major gay rights groups actually thought the case went to SCOTUS too early because they thought they would lose. But look at the results. Same-sex rights has been the topic for the last year and has been progressing amazingly fast. It's become unprofitable or otherwise bad for business for a lot of companies to express homophobic views (Firefox, Chic fil, Boy Scouts, etc.).

When I see an example like that, I just can't understand why rabble-rousers like Anita Sarkeesian need to be stopped. Could her points be more nuanced? Yes. Is there a risk that people will suppress certain depictions because they're afraid of appearing bigoted? Sure, maybe in the short run. Could someone do this better? Absolutely. But the conversation has to start somewhere, and she contributed to starting it. It's up to everyone else to move the conversation to more productive ground.

At some point, you have to consider that all the blind rage directed toward Anita Sarkeesian and other women in the gaming arena are for reasons beyond their poor arguments. If that's all it was, there would be much smarter people doing what Anita is trying to do, and more effectively too. I think all the hate toward her needs to take a back seat because "it is what it is" sums it up. She probably won't change what she's doing and people are going to keep talking about potential problems with minorities in games.

Frankly, I think the gaming industry and community need to try to outgrow her. The best way to move forward is to develop more ways of constructively critiquing the medium and talk about what we want to see more of.

Edited by Ab56 v2 aka Ash

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There is an argument to be made around not serving genres traditionally favored by women as well limiting the growth in diversity of the games industry (very few women in dev roles in these parts). While possible, I think there are stronger underlying problems contributing here. Women not entering STEM (and especially computer science) is a well documented problem. There are certainly hiring managers who would refuse to hire women for dev roles, but I strongly believe they are in the minority. The prevailing feeling I get from people with higher pay grades is that they don't care if you're a man, woman, or chimpanzee as long as you're capable. This has also been publicly stated by prominent figures in the industry.

*grabs hammer*

It's a chicken/egg situation, IMO. Women entering the industry at equal rates as men (or at least more proportionate rates -- 50/50 is overly optimistic) would solve lots of problems, I agree. But why should they be part of an industry that by and large produces products that alienate them, ascribing them to some sort of exoticised/eroticized Other? I imagine that Sarkeesian would argue if we reduce sexism in mainstream gaming on the consumer side, we open the door for more women to enter gaming on the development side.

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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

She's doing bad things and inciting riot but she shouldn't be held responsible for that is pretty much what you're saying

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.

Everything she's done regarding this, including the initial Kickstarter for her series, heavily implied and flat out said she was 'a life-long' gamer. People say different things three years later, but it's because one time they were lying and one time they weren't.

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She's doing bad things and inciting riot but she shouldn't be held responsible for that is pretty much what you're saying

This is not the first time you've mischaracterized my point. You are wrong. I said this a couple pages ago:

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 [ask] 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?

My question was a rhetorical one: I don't think "war" or "riot" are foreseeable consequences of Ms. Sarkeesian's efforts. I don't think it is at all reasonable to hold her responsible for "inciting riot" or "starting a war." Moreover, it's insane to say her actions amount to provocation that warrants the kind of response they got. It's likewise insane to say that what she has been doing caused all the stuff associated with #Gamergate. The only thing I believe she has provoked is a critique of what she has put forth; nothing beyond that. People who did anything more than that should be held responsible for their own actions rather than lobbing the blame on Anita Sarkeesian.

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We should not wait for culture to change; we need to change it ourselves. We change culture by how we raise our kids at home and how they're taught at school. That is, unless we just let our kids stay at home all day where they have no contact with anything but the TV and video games, and left isolated like this they latch onto the concept that what they see/play is exactly how they should think. Otherwise, kids learn from their parents, teachers, and peers how to respect others, how to be polite, what's right and what's wrong, etc. It's also where they develop their emotional connections to others so that they feel sympathy, friendship, camaraderie, etc. And it is also where they will learn to separate the fictional realms of media from reality. So when they watch violent movies or play violent games, they know what to filter out instead of thinking that the mysogyny or violence they experience on the screen is acceptable in the real world.

For instance, before I was 10 I played games like Doom and watched movies like The Devil's Advocate, and only a few years later started playing games like GTA. But due to the environment I was raised in, I didn't turn into a murdering psychopath or hateful person. Sure, I was always a bit anti-social and awkward, but I learned to deal with it and treasure what relationships I made. Today, I am pro- gay rights, pro- women's rights, and a general pacifist. I graduated university, have a clean record, and work a steady job.

I think people look too much at the government, media, and industries to be responsible for what they think. I think these places are the wrong ones to look. They don't have any direct contact or influence over life at home, work, school. What I mean is, they make policies or expose certain things on the screen, but they have no control over the face-to-face avenues that develop your intellectual and emotional traits such as care, respect, love, etc. Again, those things happen through personal interactions with others at home, work, and school.

As for social change throughout history - especially the ones regarding race, religion, and sexuality - those were successful and necessary because they were trying to get the government to change. The government answers to the social ideas of the nation, and is largely responsible for providing social liberties to its people. (Not teaching us what we should think, but providing us the social rights we deserve by law). Those aforementioned social changes were necessary because people were suffering without them. You could argue that having violent games on the market causes you to "suffer" by interfering with your social liberties, I suppose in a similar way to how some people think that allowing gay people to marry interferes with their liberties. But I think in today's society you'd have a tough time arguing that, especially when everybody has the option to simply not buy violent video games or to change the channel.

But with gaming, it seems like people are trying to change industry. But industry doesn't give one ounce of care about social liberties, morals, ethics, etc. Because unlike the government, they don't have to. All they have to care about is money. So it all comes full-circle: if you really want to change what appears in games, provide a home/school/work environment where kids don't grow up valuing violence/misogyny/apathy but instead grow up valuing peace/respect/caring. Then they won't want to play those violent games, the game developers won't make as much money off them, and will instead make more games with the positive values we desire. Yes, easier said than done, but that's at least an approach that may be worth taking.

Edited by Neifion

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Yep, it's true that parents have by far the most influence on their children. However, that's not really an approach to solving problems in society. That's like saying we could solve our obesity problem if everyone just ate less and exercised more. Yes, that statement IS true, but clearly that's not happening, so the question becomes... how do we convince people to engage in the behavior we want? (Or not engage in the behavior we don't want?) That's usually accomplished with incentives, but certainly, writers, journalists, pundits, and critics have some measure of influence as well.

In other words, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with art critics attempting to persuade their audiences and change tastes/preferences. It's not mutually exclusive with what you're saying.

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Yes it does work, for the parents/teachers/individuals who actually put the time, effort, and care into making it work. Just like with obesity, exercising and eating less does work for many people who actually have the desire and discipline to make it work.

Having critics attempt to persuade audiences to change their preferences by simply saying "I don't like this" or "I don't like that" I think maybe works to a point, but not as much. I'm not going to stop watching violent movies just because some movie critic says I shouldn't. And I'm not going to exercise just because someone I don't know tells me to (unless they are a respected independent health physician with good facts and arguments to back it up, not some TV personality or athlete). I'm going to exercise because it's important to me. And where do we learn what's important to us? From the face-to-face, day-to-day, person-to-person environment we live in at home, school, the playground, and later in life, at work; from family and friends who we care about and have real meaning and influence in our lives.

For instance, growing up my mom taught me early on how to cook healthy meals. To this day, I cook many of those same healthy dishes and hardly ever eat out (maybe once or twice every few months). In contrast, one of my best friends ate out with this family almost every day. And whereas my mom taught me to pack sandwiches, fruit, and water for lunch, his mom gave him money to buy nachos, pizza, and soda from the cafeteria. I stuck to my healthy habits because it's what I came to know and value, and he stuck to his unhealthy habits for the same reasons.

It's just like with guns. Telling people not to use them isn't going to stop violence. Eliminating guns isn't going to stop people from finding other ways to kill each other. With all of these issues, we need to target the root instead of the leaves. Raise our kids in an environment where they are appreciated, think about consequences, learn respect and compassion and that violence isn't the answer, and the desire to kill others won't be there in the first place. Eliminate the desire/demand, not the tool/medium.

Edited by Neifion

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OK, so what about all the kids who aren't brought up in good environments? Or the adults that they grow into? You're not actually proposing a solution to a given problem. I had a great upbringing and it sounds like you did too. Unfortunately, a LOT of people were not so lucky, and there's no rewinding the clock.

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Yes it does work, for the parents/teachers/individuals who actually put the time, effort, and care into making it work. Just like with obesity, exercising and eating less does work for many people who actually have the desire and discipline to make it work.

...

Eliminate the desire/demand, not the tool/medium.

Remember that what you're saying is what ought to be happening, not what's actually happening. People SHOULD be doing what you're saying, but of course, not many people do. We can dream about changing the cultures and habits of the world, but in reality, habits are implanted in people from the beginning, and it's definitely not easy to change someone's habits. People who "look too much at the government, media, and industries to be responsible for what they think" or others from a similar background have been doing that the whole time. So it's not impossible, but unless you get millions of people to agree with you and follow through, it's pretty near that.

Edited by timaeus222

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Spend more time with your kids instead of letting the TV tell them what to do. If your kid is bullied at school, spend time to talk to them about it. Play board games or read together instead of just watching TV. Make dinner together and actually sit down and eat it together. Talk to them. Actually listen to what they have to say. Allow them to start making decisions and mistakes.

Same as with the obesity thing. My mom taught me how to cook. She made it fun and rewarding. She nurtured an interest in being healthy. Nowadays, if I see a Triple Ultimate Big Mac on TV, I don't really pay attention. I think homemade stir fry veggies over rice is tastier. If the friend I mentioned who grow up eating junk saw the burger on TV, however, he might just go out and buy a couple.

And I repeat, it is happening. For those who put in the effort and time to make it happen. It happened for me, and it happened for others I know as well. Is it happening for the majority yet? I don't know. With the way things look, probably not. Yes, I know people are busy these days. But honestly, if you're too busy to raise your child and prevent them from being an apathetic materialist, then perhaps you need to try to re-balance the priorities in your life. Not everyone can do this, I know. They can't help it, but if they could, I bet they would and should. And a LOT of people can, who simply aren't doing it now.

And for those who it's too late to rewind the clock? You can change. People still influence you today (co-workers, friends, etc.) I actually didn't have the best childhood. I grew up in a lower class family, my dad was arrested several times and my mom beat me with a bamboo stick (and I don't just mean tapped me a few times). Now, you might say "well, there you go! You were raised in a not-so-great environment, but turned out fine. So your nature-nurture method is irrelevant!" But you see, luckily I had friends, teachers, coaches who helped me out during my hard times. I learned to understand the behavior that my parents displayed, and separate the acts they did from the underlying emotional turmoil they had going on. So yet again, the environment I was immersed in helped me find my feet, even when another part of said environment failed me. All without turning to celebrities, bloggers, etc.

Still, some of those aforementioned incidents did leave deep emotional scars and I had plenty of opportunities to go down dark paths, some of which I did. I've done some terrible things I will regret for the rest of my life. But through friends and family, I've been encouraged to work on my issues over the past few years (music and the wife especially have helped). I am better now for it, and I'm also now able to help others who are close to me with some of their issues as well. And I like to think it's doing them better than reading online blogs or watching Dr. Phil. ;)

Edited by Neifion

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Remember that what you're saying is what ought to be happening, not what's actually happening. People SHOULD be doing what you're saying, but of course, not many people do. We can dream about changing the cultures and habits of the world, but in reality, habits are implanted in people from the beginning, and it's definitely not easy to change someone's habits. People who "look too much at the government, media, and industries to be responsible for what they think" or others from a similar background have been doing that the whole time. So it's not impossible, but unless you get millions of people to agree with you and follow through, it's pretty near that.

You said it yourself: habits are implanted in people from the beginning. Where? At home, work, the playground, and school. Amongst family and friends. ;) People are looking at national or world culture to teach their kids, when they should be looking to the smaller home and neighborhood culture.

And in that respect, I don't need to get millions of people to agree with me. I think most people know in their hearts such things like basic respect, that killing hurts, that you can prevent obesity by eating healthy and exercising, that you should probably spend some quality time with your kids now and then. I don't have to tell them that. All they need to do is what they know/feel is right, and teach their kids to value the same. After all, it's pretty sad if your kid listens more to TV personalities and video games than their parents, teachers, mentors, and others who they (should) have face-to-face real relationships with.

Edited by Neifion

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You said it yourself: habits are implanted in people from the beginning. Where? At home, work, the playground, and school. Amongst family and friends. ;)People are looking at national or world culture to teach their kids, when they should be looking to the smaller home and neighborhood culture.

And in that respect, I don't need to get millions of people to agree with me. I think most people know in their hearts such things like basic respect, that killing hurts, that you can prevent obesity by eating healthy and exercising, that you should probably spend some quality time with your kids now and then. I don't have to tell them that. All they need to do is what they know/feel is right, and teach their kids to value the same. After all, it's pretty sad if your kid listens more to TV personalities and video games than their parents, teachers, mentors, and others who they (should) have face-to-face real relationships with.

Yeah, and that's mostly true and all, but at the same time, if your family and friends ought to be building up your habits, they can't do it when you're somewhere else. If your child is often away from you and you know you're a person with the good kind of knowledge (because being "clever" doesn't mean you're not a bad person), or they were somehow with people who weren't raised properly, they'll learn not-so-good habits. Fast forward 10 years, and you've got a bad person. Look to all the people in the world, and you've got diversity.

We know what we ought to do, but sometimes it's pretty hard to overcome your strong impulses or inclinations to do something base. Maybe you've got this craving for glazed donuts and you eat four every day. Then you go to McDonalds because you keep passing by the place when you're walking to save gas, and every single time, you happen to be hungry. And then maybe you go home and you're itchin' to play that awesome video game you just recently got instead of doing homework when you know (read: think) you ought to. Each time, your reason lost to your inclinations, and you're labeled a "morally weak" person by Aristotle. Something Aristotle never says is how we can overcome this life where we are trying to hit a mark and continually missing until we get close. He just basically says "weeeeell, if you're fortunate, and you have friends, and you know how to exercise your wisdom, and eeeeeverything falls into place, then you've got a good life, but if you continually screw up when you're young and no one sets you straight, you're too deep into it, bro. You only got one chance at life, and life is HARD. If you aren't lucky as well as all of the above, sorry Charlie."

Normal people (i.e. not diseased, badly habituated, innately corrupt, or otherwise brutish) get that in general, killing is bad and respecting others is good and so on and so forth, based on the fundamental laws of nature, but when they've been poorly raised, or just not raised at all, they're at a loss. No idea how to proceed, and literally guessing what's better or worse for them, letting fate give them their life and having it turn out however it's going to turn out. When you don't have enough of an education, you tend to turn to conformity, and that's the danger. Conformers don't think so much as just doing something. Knowing how to prevent obesity is learned information, and if you've never seen a chubby person, you won't know to not-eat in a similar way or not-exercise in a similar way. So in a nutshell, obesity is a problem because those people weren't fortunate enough to be taught or learned in a way that steered them away from that lifestyle, and well... that's how it turned out for them, and they just have a hard life ahead (unless someone helps, of course).

Edited by timaeus222

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Not going to beat a dead horse any longer here; we know from our families and friends and communities what we need to do to be good people/raise good children without the media telling us that. True, it is hard - indeed, sometimes impossible - to provide an environment that will produce a "good person". But in many cases we can, and I think in a lot of those situations we don't, which is a missed opportunity. And I think we can work to find more ways to try and provide said opportunities by having families and communities come together and support each other more (real face-to-face support and time playing/nurturing/working/teaching). As for actually getting this stuff to happen? Well, one could get involved in their local community to encourage/offer incentives to set up teambuilders, walks/runs, bake-offs, family game nights, poetry readings, etc. Or contact a state representative office to try and introduce legislature that will provide more family/community involvement in schools. That might encourage families to get more involved with each other at home. Sure, Billy might just want to play video games instead, but if he's allowed to make friends, be creative, etc. and balance that with playing video games, he might come around especially once it becomes routine. And probably when he grows up, he'll appreciate the social skills, connections, and friendships gained. Is that harder/more involved than looking at your phone and reading a blog? Yes. But reading a blog won't get you lasting results.

All in all, we just have to find it in ourselves to believe that being a good person is worth all of the inconveniences of not being a murder, bigot, sexist, glutton, etc. I hope a fair amount of people can do that without needing to turn on a TV.

Edited by Neifion

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Yes it does work, for the parents/teachers/individuals who actually put the time, effort, and care into making it work. Just like with obesity, exercising and eating less does work for many people who actually have the desire and discipline to make it work.

Basically what your saying is "it does work when people make it work", but the thing is, people don't, so your argument falls apart. Just, you know, look on the internet (maybe take a walk through a city) and look at all of the cultural problems (like RACISM?) that have persisted through generational gaps, disproving your "people over time will sort it out" mentality.

Yeah, YouTube videos and blogs are pretty ineffective. But your proposition is just as ineffective. :/

Edited by Neblix

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No, she's getting exposure because she has valid points, and partly because of the way people reacted (i.e. death threats, rape threats, etc). I've not seen any evidence of Anita insulting and antagonizing people, do you have any specific examples? Anita and other women, on the other hand, have been repeatedly harassed and threatened. I really don't understand how anyone can accuse Anita and Zoe of insulting people, when they are the ones who were targeted.

By the way, gamergate started with harassment of mostly women who were critical of sexism in gaming culture, and people attempted to change the subject to "ethics in game journalism". It's strange to me that so much anger was stirred simply because some women want more diversity in video games, and have spoken out against harassment of women by some in the gaming community.

(edit: changed wording a bit)

You can remove literally every single mention of Zoe, Anita, FemFrequency, feminism, misogyny, and anything close to that from the metrics of the #gamergate hashtag and it barely moves at all.

Furthermore merely screaming profanity and slurs at people, accusing one of the most diverse and inclusive groups on the planet of being universally white male unattractive virgin losers, is not being "critical of sexism". Especially when this is done in defense of a woman multiple feminists have pointed out is clearly a domestic abuser, who has in the past lied to start a horrible raid against suicide risk individuals, who tried to kill a feminist game jam, after her gaslighting and emotionally abusive behavior was revealed by her victim.

Also these people are NOT speaking out against harassment of women, they've repeatedly condoned everything from rape and death threats to hacking people's bank accounts and sending them knives and syringes in the mail. You're talking about people that see no issue with calling women "house n**" and attacking them as long as they have the "wrong" views.

If you really care about how women are treated you're very much on the wrong side of this.

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Basically what your saying is "it does work when people make it work", but the thing is, people don't, so your argument falls apart. Just, you know, look on the internet (maybe take a walk through a city) and look at all of the cultural problems (like RACISM?) that have persisted through generational gaps, disproving your "people over time will sort it out" mentality.

Yeah, YouTube videos and blogs are pretty ineffective. But your proposition is just as ineffective. :/

I do not need to take a walk through the city to know there are cultural problems. If these problems didn't exist, we wouldn't be having this discussion, would we? :wink:

In any case, I did not say "people will just sort it out over time". Indeed, the vast majority will sit there and do nothing. If you want change to happen, you might be able to make it happen, but I think it actually takes work and getting involved. And getting others involved. Here is what I said if my last post:

As for actually getting this stuff to happen? Well, one could get involved in their local community to encourage/offer incentives to set up teambuilders, walks/runs, bake-offs, family game nights, poetry readings, etc. Or contact a state representative office to try and introduce legislature that will provide more family/community involvement in schools. That might encourage families to get more involved with each other at home. Sure, Billy might just want to play video games instead, but if he's allowed to make friends, be creative, etc. and balance that with playing video games, he might come around especially once it becomes routine. And probably when he grows up, he'll appreciate the social skills, connections, and friendships gained. Is that harder/more involved than looking at your phone and reading a blog? Yes. But reading a blog won't get you lasting results.

You see, I actually gave suggestions about how you can try to improve your community and it's values. You take action, you get involved with people face-to-face, you build friendships and camaradie and respect, and perhaps overtime your community will share some of the positive values you harbor, and they will reflect those values in the purchases they make, such as what types of video games they buy or what types of movies they watch. And if enough people want more non-violent games, the developers will have to start making more non-violent games in order to stay competitive.

It's sort of weird to have my argument labeled as the "don't do anything and let things sort out" one, when I'm the only one who has suggested actually going out and taking action in the community rather than suggesting that change in the media will occur by listening to bloggers. Are people even reading my posts?

Edited by Neifion

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You see, I actually gave suggestions about how you can try to improve your community and it's values. You take action, you get involved with people face-to-face, you build friendships and camaradie and respect, and perhaps overtime your community will share some of the positive values you harbor, and they will reflect those values in the purchases they make, such as what types of video games they buy or what types of movies they watch. And if enough people want more non-violent games, the developers will have to start making more non-violent games in order to stay competitive

I can't believe they never realized it was all so simple! How many inner-city communities have you turned around with this truly novel line of thinking?

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http://www.vox.com/2014/11/1/7136343/gamergate-and-the-politicization-of-absolutely-everything

Pretty much, this.

So many earnest folk want to make this a war of ideas. So many mock #Gamergate's claim that "it's about ethics in game journalism" without realizing that there's also not really a counter-position... just a counter-identity.

This has all been about identity, the whole time... which in turn makes it the same sort of polarized mess that has come to characterize American politics and public discourse, which in turn means that any position of nuance that acknowledges complexity is doomed from the outset.

I've never been interested in anything other than responding to specific arguments & ideas with analysis... I do not believe Anita's arguments & ideas withstand analysis, nor do I believe they represent the more pragmatic & egalitarian voices of third-wave feminism. They are a regression to a vein of discourse that was tried before, was highly polarizing at the time, and whose wings melted when it flew too close to the Sun of censorship.

What I'm seeing now is that even reasonable voices (who otherwise see the myriad faults in Anita's points) wholeheartedly support her simply because the sides have been set, the identities have been cast, and it's no longer about specific ideas... just a vague set of principles that can be argued around in circles until each side is even MORE convinced of the irredeemable stupidity of the other.

There's a vein of optimism recently expressed on this thread that suggests that Anita's started a fire, and however imperfect that fire may be, it's up to us to carry the torch forward.

Okay, let's just say that's true... doesn't that mean we should START by improving on what she's saying, pointing out the fallacies, and recrafting a more modern, coherent message?

Ask yourself... is this the climate where that can happen? The situation on the ground now seems to me to more closely resemble polarized cults of groupthink, where questioning Anita is synonymous with supporting death threats and hating women.

The only context in which torches are carried in an environment like that is by a mob, toward whoever's going to be lynched next...

Count me among the pessimists; we don't need polarizers, we need unifiers.

What could have been a conversation about improving the medium has become a war of identity; if you think that's a good thing, I question your sanity.

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By the way, gamergate started with harassment of mostly women who were critical of sexism in gaming culture, and people attempted to change the subject to "ethics in game journalism". It's strange to me that so much anger was stirred simply because some women want more diversity in video games, and have spoken out against harassment of women by some in the gaming community.

(edit: changed wording a bit)

Also these people are NOT speaking out against harassment of women, they've repeatedly condoned everything from rape and death threats to hacking people's bank accounts and sending them knives and syringes in the mail. You're talking about people that see no issue with calling women "house n**" and attacking them as long as they have the "wrong" views.

If you really care about how women are treated you're very much on the wrong side of this.

You misread the sentence. I'm fairly certain that he meant a much different association than the one you interpreted:

"It's strange to me that so much anger was stirred simply because some women want more diversity in video games, and [these women] have spoken out against harassment of women by some in the gaming community."

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Okay, let's just say that's true... doesn't that mean we should START by improving on what she's saying, pointing out the fallacies, and recrafting a more modern, coherent message?

Ask yourself... is this the climate where that can happen? The situation on the ground now seems to me to more closely resemble polarized cults of groupthink, where questioning Anita is synonymous with supporting death threats and hating women.

Sure that's how it starts. And we can say we don't have the climate where that can happen, but I think that's just an unfounded assumption. I haven't seen anyone try something at the scale of the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series that offers that more coherent message. I don't even know of anecdotal evidence of something like that being attempted and failing.

What could have been a conversation about improving the medium has become a war of identity; if you think that's a good thing, I question your sanity.

I don't think anyone here disagrees with this point. The discussion has been more about whether Anita Sarkeesian should bear the brunt of the responsibility for all the nonsense that followed after she started her video campaign and the rest of #Gamergate.

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Sure that's how it starts. And we can say we don't have the climate where that can happen, but I think that's just an unfounded assumption. I haven't seen anyone try something at the scale of the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series that offers that more coherent message. I don't even know of anecdotal evidence of something like that being attempted and failing.

It's an assumption, agreed, but it's not unfounded. If you're looking around and seeing an atmosphere receptive to discussion, that hasn't been further polarized beyond what I would (again) assume was an initial starting position, I'm not sure what you've been looking at... my assumption is founded on personal observation, the observations and statements of others, and the vox.com article I linked.

I don't think anyone here disagrees with this point. The discussion has been more about whether Anita Sarkeesian should bear the brunt of the responsibility for all the nonsense that followed after she started her video campaign and the rest of #Gamergate.

Is that an interesting question, the answer to which - if conclusively obtainable - will provide actionable insight of any kind?

  • I believe she has polarized gamers, that this was entirely avoidable in conveying most of her message, and that stripping away the dated/fringe ideology and armchair psychology would ALSO have made her points more persuasive.
  • I believe that there's a demographic discrepancy between game journalists and gamers at large, and that most game journos lean left to varying degrees, whereas gamers at large are more ideologically diverse.
  • I believe it was probably inevitable, to some extent, that this discrepancy would result in a schism/conflict of some ilk.
  • I believe that Anita probably played some role in expediting that schism.

Whether she's "responsible" or not doesn't interest me, personally. I can believe all of the above while not seeking to assign the brunt of responsibility or blame to any one person or thing.

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