Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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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.

If that's all you've got, I think it's unclear whether a coherent argument can be made and received and it's not worth arguing one way or the other. I'd rather people just make the argument.

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.

No, it's not an interesting or productive question. But it's the question that keeps on popping up in this thread because of people who are hellbent on blaming Anita for the whole mess. I would be glad to ignore the question if people would drop it. I think that lends to your point about a war of ideologies. It's unnecessary.

Edited by Ab56 v2 aka Ash

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If that's all you've got, I think it's unclear whether a coherent argument can be made and received and it's not worth arguing one way or the other. I'd rather people just make the argument.

I feel like I have, actually. I feel like I could distill my posts on this very thread into a "greatest hits" album that more-or-less summarizes what I believe a coherent argument - primarily aesthetic in nature - would be.

I honestly feel like if I expanded on it, dressed it up a bit, and put it out there, I'd be told to "check my privilege," and my entire position would be discredited on the inarguable grounds of "heterosexual white male"... no? Too defeatist/cynical?

Ideas need to trump identity. How do you make THAT happen? That's a MUCH bigger quagmire than our little niche... and in that specific regard, both sides of this dogfight are terribly, horrifically flawed.

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I agree that you've made the argument, and you should expand on it and dress it up. There will always be some oddballs who would tell you to "check your privilege." On the other hand, there may be others who could see a reasoned argument and learn from it. If it convinces someone who could go on to influence any aspect of gaming by adding their voice in a constructive way, that's a net positive. It's more likely to do some good than not trying.

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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?

The idea itself is fairly simple. Like I said though:

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.

How many inner-city communities have I changed? None. But within my family, I have made it a point to be there for my nieces and nephews as they grew up. I did many of the things I mentioned; read with them, played board games, card games, and puzzles with them, taught them how to cook, actually talked with them... all things their parents were often too busy to do. And no, this wasn't all just so I could make them "better citizens". It was because I love them, and I wanted them to grow up smart, strong, and happy.

You know what my littlest niece did the Christmas of 2012 when they got a Wii U? She came over to me with a science puzzle - a circuit board where you can design and build things that light up, make noise, make things move, etc. I asked her why she wasn't playing Wii U. She said she liked how we created things together and talked together more than playing a video game.

Now, sentimental story aside, I think I've made my point. Of course, I should have expected to be met with a response like "well, why don't YOU do it?" upon putting forward an idea that encourages taking action instead of just ranting about video game bloggers. It's exactly that sort of "someone else should do it" attitude that proves my point even clearer: change won't happen if even the people who supposedly support change continue on with this line of thinking.

I've been in the environmental conservation field professionally for about 10 years. If all it took to create change in my field was to go online and blog about how much BP sucks... well, you know where I'm going with that. No, I've gone out and conducted surveys, removed invasive species, dug a bunch of holes to repopulate native grasses, rescued birds from oil and fishing net entanglements, reached out to community and industry stakeholders, etc. And no, you don't have to be a professional/expert to create positive change. With conservation, everyone can recycle/use reusable shopping bags/buy sustainably-made products. And with this case, everyone can get involved in their family/community by creating rewarding experiences that don't involve sex, violence, misogyny, bigotry, etc.

Here's my bottom line, as well as a challenge: for all of you who are self-professed supporters of stronger females in games, less violence, etc., stop ranting about bloggers, get off the computer, and do something about it. If you're a parent, uncle/aunt, brother/sister, teacher, tutor, mentor, church member, etc., find ways to get your kids/family/community to come together and create and truly socialize. Organize a book group, a local 5K run, park clean-up and BBQ afterward, or even a family video game night where you play non-violent party games on nights where you'd normally play Battlefield or whatever. Or an idea that you can come up with that's even better. Tonight I'm doing a family cooking night and the kids have been excited since yesterday.

I think if the limit to what you're willing to do for a topic you supposedly feel strongly about is to argue on a forum, then I don't think you really care as much as you say. I think many people in this topic who claim to want change are really just here to gossip about a scandal which, as some have pointed out, really has little to do with the actual problem.

Speaking of which, I can see that the topic is moving back towards that subject, so that's all I'm going to say on this matter. Have fun and play nice! 8)

Edited by Neifion

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I honestly feel like if I expanded on it, dressed it up a bit, and put it out there, I'd be told to "check my privilege," and my entire position would be discredited on the inarguable grounds of "heterosexual white male"... no? Too defeatist/cynical?

Too defeatest/cynical.

That whole "check your privilege" thing drags your sex/ethnicity into things, and makes it seem like your opinion isn't worth anything because of it; that you can't possibly know what you're talking about. And that's a bit of an odd tactic to use, given that half of the time, it's being said by someone fighting against being treated the same way. Guess they've never heard of the Golden Rule.

So I say ignore them, and say what's on your mind. It's not their place to tell you to stay in your place.

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So I say ignore them, and say what's on your mind. It's not their place to tell you to stay in your place.

Good luck making that work anymore. "Check your privilege" really is replacing that as a fundamental ethos for how this stuff works. The "progress at any cost" movement carrying things now is even starting to conflict with other hypersensitivities.

Remember that "walking around for 10 hours" street harassment video? Yep, it's racist, because it doesn't show much of WHITE male catcalling, it just makes blacks and latinos look sexist. Now it's sort of a power struggle to see which prominent "groups" represented is the bigger victim in it.

It's just fucking mindboggling what we're willing to do (or do instead of something useful) for the sake of "progress" right now.

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No, it's not an interesting or productive question. But it's the question that keeps on popping up in this thread because of people who are hellbent on blaming Anita for the whole mess. I would be glad to ignore the question if people would drop it. I think that lends to your point about a war of ideologies. It's unnecessary.

No, see, it is a productive question. If Anita Sarkeesian were to have not done the things she did, would there be a major culture war going on throughout gaming? Would there be the war of ideologies that you yourself said was unnecessary? The short answer is no. The longer answer is no, and she and the majority of her constituents and strongest supporters have prolonged it with inflammatory, dismissive and frankly hateful propoganda that isn't much better than the people they claim to be oppressed by. Everyone and their mom knows the best way to make a troll go away is to ignore it. To the contrary, they have poured fuel on the flames throughout.

It doesn't strike anyone else as oddly coincidental that a woman who has purportedly become a life-long gamer in the past three years and has been calling games misogynistic and problematic for years before that is an instrumental part of the re-ostracization of gaming as a cultural phenomenon?

Edited by The Derrit

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No, see, it is a productive question. If Anita Sarkeesian were to have not done the things she did, would there be a major culture war going on throughout gaming? Would there be the war of ideologies that you yourself said was unnecessary? The short answer is no. The longer answer is no, and she and the majority of her constituents and strongest supporters have prolonged it with inflammatory, dismissive and frankly hateful propoganda that isn't much better than the people they claim to be oppressed by. Everyone and their mom knows the best way to make a troll go away is to ignore it. To the contrary, they have poured fuel on the flames throughout.

It's not a productive question because the answer doesn't lead to anything productive. And all you did in this post was make angry unsubstantiated claims.

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It's not a productive question because the answer doesn't lead to anything productive. And all you did in this post was make angry unsubstantiated claims.

Pray tell, what would be a productive alternative to this question?

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It's not a productive question because the answer doesn't lead to anything productive.

This is a stupid thing to say. A really, really stupid thing to say. "It doesn't solve anything now" doesn't make it any less relevant to the conversation. You might as well be saying "you're right but who cares?"

Your entire platform throughout this thread has pretty much been "yeah she's been at the center of all these things and yeah maybe she did a bad job with her videos and yeah maybe she's fanning the flames of outrage on both sides of this debate but why are you trying to blame her for it? It's not fair, maybe there are details that you don't know about."

People who can't own up to their shit aren't good people, or the type of people you want to champion a cause around. You probably shouldn't defend them either.

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Pray tell, what would be a productive alternative to this question?

Some productive alternatives would be to talk about what kinds of depictions in gaming are lacking, how to promote those ideas to developers, or how to market the concepts to audiences, to name a few.

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This is a stupid thing to say. A really, really stupid thing to say. "It doesn't solve anything now" doesn't make it any less relevant to the conversation. You might as well be saying "you're right but who cares?"

Your entire platform throughout this thread has pretty much been "yeah she's been at the center of all these things and yeah maybe she did a bad job with her videos and yeah maybe she's fanning the flames of outrage on both sides of this debate but why are you trying to blame her for it? It's not fair, maybe there are details that you don't know about."

People who can't own up to their shit aren't good people, or the type of people you want to champion a cause around. You probably shouldn't defend them either.

Once again you've completely misrepresented my position which I've made pretty clear. I'm starting to doubt you're actually reading my posts. I agreed with djp when he said the following:

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.

Basically, I think it's plausible that Anita Sarkeesian played some role in expediting the schism, as he put it. I would hold her "responsible" for that. Would I blame the entire resulting fiasco on her? Not really. All the vitriol is not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of her actions. Like I said earlier, to put all the blame on her would mean that nobody else is responsible for their own actions. Why should Anita get 100% of the blame when there are probably thousands of people participating in this #Gamergate discussion? It makes no sense.

But again, I want to reiterate that this is really not a productive discussion because it has absolutely no benefit.

"It doesn't solve anything now" doesn't make it any less relevant to the conversation. You might as well be saying "you're right but who cares?"

The topic being relevant doesn't make it a productive one. And you're almost right: you're right to an extent about this blame business, but no one should care. What do you hope to actually achieve by allocating all the blame on one person here? As far as I'm concerned, you're just contributing to everything that makes the #Gamergate discussion so off-putting. It suggests to me that attacking some person is more important to you than improving the medium in any way.

Edited by Ab56 v2 aka Ash

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People are still talking about Anita Sarkeesian? When did she become enemy number 1 for gamergate? Maybe the people who harass women, leak private information, and make death threats are slightly more of a problem?

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Maybe the people who harass women, leak private information, and make death threats are slightly more of a problem?

They clearly are, but in order to address that problem gamergate would need to recognize that many of their ranks are the problem, and then actively attempt to stop it. But that's ridiculous because "it's all Anita's fault, she deserves it, etc."

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Amazingly bad journalism. :lol:

https://twitter.com/stillgray/status/530851191526129664

Effects of GamerGate controversy felt in Austin City Council race

Published on November 7, 2014 at 1:36 pm

BY BREANNE DEPPISCH

It’s a puzzling day when video game culture and politics intersect. So when I caught wind of an Austin politician whose city council platform was largely about the gaming industry, I knew something was amiss. Could this strange combination be chalked up to eccentric politicians, targeting what is perhaps their oddest and most specific subculture yet? Or has something lurking in the video game culture become so dark that our candidates risk delving into a trivially politicized industry by taking a stand?

The latter, it seems, is what many believe, and is likely what prompted Mackenzie Kelly, a candidate from District 6, to risk her entire candidacy on highlighting the flaws within a sexist video game industry as part of a widespread movement that has come to be known as “GamerGate.”

Kelly, an energetic, personable candidate who models in her spare time, has quickly become a prolific and passionate advocate for #GamerGate. When followers learned the candidate was an avid gamer, they urged her to take a stand to promote ethical treatment of women within the admittedly eccentric culture of “gaming journalism.” A curious cause that has never before received political discourse, Kelly knew that choosing to speak up would be a risky political move.

“I know no one in Austin is going to vote for me based on how I believe in ethics in gaming,” admitted Kelly. “But I do what I feel is right. I stick to the facts and the truth of the situation … I want to see the right things done.”

GamerGate is an odd movement of consumer revolt-turned-viral-Twitter hashtag, a controversy borne in response to the misogyny that some believe riddles the video game culture. When a video game developer took to the web to publicly accuse his video game journalist girlfriend of cheating on him with other developers, diehard gaming groupies everywhere went berserk. They organized a conspiracy against her, with recurrent death threats and even the public release of her address and phone number. A term first coined by actor Adam Baldwin, GamerGate’s broader goal seeks to combat the marginalization of women in gaming.

And while some have dismissed the ongoing controversy as a “tone deaf rabble of angry obsessives,” the problems it seeks to remedy — violent harassment and sexual threats against women — are certainly worth redress.

“GamerGate has been diluted quite a bit from what its base value was,” said Kelley, addressing the distortion that occurred when the movement went viral. “But at its core, I still believe that there’s a group of people that believe it’s about ethics.”

While Kelly was admittedly a far cry from winning office — her campaign ranked dead last in spending in District 6 with a mere $300, and she earned a mere 9 percent of the vote — her future political efforts have certainly not been thwarted. And most of all, she is proud to embrace her passionate, pro-gaming identity.

“There’s no reason not to be proud of being a gamer,” laughed Kelly. “I’m not in my mom’s house eating Cheetos. I’m in real life, making a positive influence on society, and I play video games.”

An unexpected candidate seeking to champion a little-known cause; a social movement with only a hashtag as its manifesto, it seems that for both Kelly and GamerGaters everywhere, their promising futures have only just begun.

Deppisch is a government senior from League City. Follow her on Twitter @b_deppy.

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tell me more about how someone being responsible for a thing and to blame for a thing are different concepts

They are. Blaming someone vs. calling them responsible is different via the level of sensitivity in which you say it.

"IT'S YOUR FAULT!" is blame.

"It's what you ought to be associating yourself with in an absolute relationship" is assigning responsibility.

Edited by timaeus222

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I have to confess something. I played a game today where the main character had big boobies, and now I'm sexist.

I wasn't even playing as a chick either, it was a guy named Harold...

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I have met a lot of other players in Destiny who are men who are playing female characters, like hunter class. I have a male Titan and a female Hunter and Warlock. Doesn't seem like anyone questions it or comments on it at all, it's just part of experiencing the game content (other voice actors, gestures, etc) I think they did it right with that game and it's weird that nobody comments on it when games get it right.

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Doesn't seem like anyone questions it or comments on it at all, it's just part of experiencing the game content (other voice actors, gestures, etc) I think they did it right with that game and it's weird that nobody comments on it when games get it right.

Because it doesn't help the narrative of all games being sexist you white cis pig!!!! :roll:

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

[...]

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.

Thanks for the link! Glad that at least one outlet is covering this in a reasonably analytical fashion. One of the most insightful moments was realizing that we weren't so polarized in the past. I wonder how those upward swing in polarizing attitudes correlate with the rise of personalized internet news, or with the proliferation of negative attack ads (after studies revealed their edge in effectiveness).

And I couldn't agree more with your bold final point. Gender equity is a noble cause in my book. But I find myself needing to step ever so carefully when discussing a viewpoint that deviates even slightly from "poor Anita/Zoe/women", while witnessing dehumanizing language casually thrown at anyone affiliated with #GamerGate. It's frustrating. Can people not even contemplate a scenario in which their opponents are not pathetic incarnations of evil, but living breathing people who may actually have a point or two?

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And I couldn't agree more with your bold final point. Gender equity is a noble cause in my book. But I find myself needing to step ever so carefully when discussing a viewpoint that deviates even slightly from "poor Anita/Zoe/women", while witnessing dehumanizing language casually thrown at anyone affiliated with #GamerGate. It's frustrating. Can people not even contemplate a scenario in which their opponents are not pathetic incarnations of evil, but living breathing people who may actually have a point or two?

Here's a meta-irony for you, then:

Often, those fighting for equality fail to realize that they've really already achieved it: they have become equally as convinced of their opponents' lack of humanity & worth as vice versa.

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