Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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Ha. It's funny when you put them side by side, but to be fair, if you actually read the article -

 

https://killscreen.com/articles/nintendo-still-wont-make-link-girl-theyll-put-him-dress-and-call-him-linkle-2/

 

They're taking issue with the fact that Nintendo made this a new character, instead of simply a different incarnation of Link. It's the difference between making a version of Thor that happens to be female, vs. making a character called Thorina. Now, is that a dumb distinction? Personally, I think so. Though I think the name "Linkle" is dumber still.

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Andy, I do think there's a line between criticism and advocacy (or, on an extreme end of the spectrum, propaganda)... criticism would be primarily interested in the merit of a work; advocacy would use "critique" of that work to further a given ideological agenda. It CAN be a blurry line, I admit; here are some questions one might ask to try and suss out the difference on a case-by-case basis:

 

  1. Is the criticism in general primarily focused on how the specific work being criticized could be improved, OR is the "criticism" more interested in how that work confirms/supports a larger ideological point?
  2. Does the criticism allow for uncertainty or plurality of possible interpretations while asserting a single interpretation as merely preferable (or more firmly supported), OR does it mandate its own interpretation as being self-evident and mutually exclusive with any alternatives?
  3. Is the tone exploratory or dogmatic?
  4. Is more time spent on the personal effect/impression of the work on the critic, or on the perceived (or worse, guaranteed as being inevitable) effect of the work on an imagined public?

 

I've highlighted what I view more as criticism in green and what I view as advocacy in red.

 

You (or Radiowar, if he were still contributing!) might respond that the explicit role of cultural criticism IS to advocate and that the above list makes that impossible, but I would counter that EVEN so-called cultural criticism has an obligation to focus on the work first and foremost, to maintain an exploratory/analytical emphasis, and to avoid too much certitude regarding the inevitability of the work's effect on others.

 

It's worth asking yourself these questions.

 

Bottom line: Is the work being informatively analyzed on its merits, or is it being opportunistically used for its (perceived) flaws?

 

Hopefully my list makes sense to you... it's all free speech, either way, but I respect & reserve the word "criticism" for discourse that meets more of these criteria than not, because I tend to see advocacy as having an ulterior motive that puts the work second (or dead last) and puts the "message" first, which results in highly compromised analyses - the "critic" is obligated to apply an active filter to anything that doesn't fit with the paradigm and to use a persuasive tone at all times. It doesn't matter if I might agree with the message or not, because I respect art enough, and indeed criticism enough, to not admire the former being used as a tool, under the guise & protection of the latter, for what amounts to rhetoric in the service of a third party who is ultimately disinterested in the work - SAVE for how it can strengthen their thesis.

 

You want more variety for female characters in games? So do I... but we both also want video games to be recognized as art, right?

 

Advocacy that uses games to articulate an agenda & only pays lip service to the idea of criticism diminishes the idea of games as art, because it doesn't respect them enough to give them the actual analysis that would be afforded films, novels, songs, or most other art forms.

 

It is a trivialization of the medium, in the transparent & opportunistic service of dogma.

 

You can't be okay with that JUST because the dogma in question resonates with you, in its distilled & most benign incarnation.

 

Done.

 

I feel pretty good about this post, because I was able to express most of my objections with clarity for once. Plus colors are neat & ordered lists are cool.

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We got on to this subject because I thought it was hypocritical for someone to say that indie game developers should be open to criticism of their games, while simultaneously complaining about, say, feminist criticism of AAA games. My argument is simply that people are free to make whatever critiques they'd like, of whatever media they'd like, period. 

 

Sure, I agree that some criticism falls way more on the side of advocacy than analysis. But I don't agree that any criticism has an "obligation" to anything at all. All criticism is ultimately subjective and affected by our conscious and unconscious biases. It's fine to strive for pure objectivity and I respect that. I also think there's nothing inherently wrong with writing critique through an explicitly-stated 'lens' (like feminist issues, racial issues). 

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I was with you up until right here:

Bottom line: Is the work being informatively analyzed on its merits, or is it being opportunistically used for its (perceived) flaws?

I don't think the goal of advocates is necessarily to "use" a particular game (or movie, or whatever) to advance their cause. Sometimes, sure; calling out a game like Hatred for its violent content is missing the point. And news commentators that keep harping on how school shooters play video games are being disingenuous and/or willfully ignorant.

But when your commentary is on the AAA game of the week, which is already in the public eye, and your beefs with it are apropos, then I don't see this as being opportunistic. If you believe that the game contains what you believe are flaws, and you believe that those flaws are endemic of a culture that holds values you disagree with, then I don't think there's anything going on as malicious as what you imply.

Advocacy that uses games to articulate an agenda & only pays lip service to the idea of criticism diminishes the idea of games as art, because it doesn't respect them enough to give them the actual analysis that would be afforded films, novels, songs, or most other art forms.

I disagree with this as well. I don't think that the feminist advocates are diminishing the need and appropriateness of criticism of games as art. They're not critics, and they usually don't claim to be critics. Their commentary overlaps very little with traditional criticism or reviews. Now, when a game review magazine docks points from Bayonetta 2 because of perceived sexism, I think they're getting their wires crossed unless they have an explicitly feminist audience or agenda.

In fact, I think that this type of criticism is strongly in favor of games as art, because they assume that exposure to games is just as impactful on peoples' attitudes and assumptions as other forms of art. It's not really the point they're trying to make, though. These are usually the same people who complain about what they view as sexism in movies, TV, and music as well, even print ads and fashion, and if there were any other forms of art that had mainstream impact these days, they'd complain about those, too.

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Well they had to make Linkle a different character because Link was already in the game as a male and, IIRC, him being male is actually used in the plot this time! The Killscreen article also has some funny things like "True to form, Linkle dual wields crossbows instead of wielding the usual master sword—ensuring that no one confuses her for being an actual, real, legitimate Hero like Link", when chances are they gave her a crossbow to make her unique gameplay-wise (and I have no idea why crossbows are less hero-like when Link also uses a bow and there are several hero figures that wield bows and not swords).

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Well they had to make Linkle a different character because Link was already in the game as a male and, IIRC, him being male is actually used in the plot this time! The Killscreen article also has some funny things like "True to form, Linkle dual wields crossbows instead of wielding the usual master sword—ensuring that no one confuses her for being an actual, real, legitimate Hero like Link", when chances are they gave her a crossbow to make her unique gameplay-wise (and I have no idea why crossbows are less hero-like when Link also uses a bow and there are several hero figures that wield bows and not swords).

BUT MASTER SWORD! THE PATRIARCHY!

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Even those strawman examples are simply freedom of speech being exercised. It's hypocritical to say that game developers should be able to put whatever content they want in their games, and then take such issue with people talking about said games. And those strawman examples aside, there's certainly been plenty of meaningful academic and journalistic critique of games. Just because you disagree with it doesn't make it not critique.

 

It's ironic that you'll misappropriate the straw man fallacy while yourself moving the goalposts from "critique" to "freedom of speech". Especially given that the people you're defending here are so openly hostile to the very concept of free speech that they're both more than happy to publicly flat out say it should be dumped and have created an entire meme around mocking the idea of its existence.

 

That said a straw man is a fabrication or misrepresentation (like what McIntosh writes into all of Anita's videos). Something that actually happened as described is by definition not a straw man. Sarkeesian/McIntosh themselves explicitly blame videogames for violence, sexism, "rape culture", and even mass shootings. They and their cult explicitly call for the censorship and outright banning of games they judge "problematic". They explicitly hold themselves up as impossible-to-disagree-with arbiters of morality, truth, and goodness. These are not "Straw men", they are real things that have actually been said and have actually happened. That's as un-straw as you can get. If you want a straw man look at this thread's title, or just watch any of FemFreqs videos.

 

None of this is "critique". It's bigotry and cult worship wrapped in gender politics flavored sophistry. Unless you want to claim that "critique" doesn't need to have any basis in or even remote connection to truth or factualness in which case we've officially gone off the deep end of saying people can just make shit up and lie all they want.

 

An entire industry? A single narrative? Again, straw man and hyperbole much?

 

Again, things that have tangibly and provably happened by definition are not straw men. Maybe you missed the last year, or maybe you're just refusing to accept things that you find politically inconvenient, but the collusion of pretty much the entirety of the major players in gaming journalism is a matter of objective empirical record. The blacklisting, the intimidation, the collusion, everything but an explicit admission of criminal racketeering in indie game contests has been verified through leaks from GameJournoPros.

 

It's not hyperbole when literally every major game news outlet puts out almost identical narrative-enforcing articles within hours of each other. It's not hyperbole or a straw man when we've literally got them admitting to repeated acts of collusion and narrative setting in private mailing lists. And it's patently a single cohesive narrative centered around the worship of their sainted professional victims.

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Sure, I agree that some criticism falls way more on the side of advocacy than analysis. But I don't agree that any criticism has an "obligation" to anything at all. All criticism is ultimately subjective and affected by our conscious and unconscious biases. It's fine to strive for pure objectivity and I respect that. I also think there's nothing inherently wrong with writing critique through an explicitly-stated 'lens' (like feminist issues, racial issues). 

 

In the interest of free speech, criticism that tries to silence other criticism invalidates itself as passive speech and solidifies it as being used for an agenda.

Game critics can criticize games. Game makers can criticize critics (for reasons like how they criticize their games). No one disagrees with that.

 

However, when game critics try to censor, ban, or otherwise encourage the removal of certain games, they are transgressing what freedom of speech actually protects.

 

Simultaneously, when game makers try to silence or harass critics to encourage them to stop, they are also transgressing beyond what freedom of speech actually protects.

 

The gist of it is that you're allowed to say what you want to say. You are *not* allowed to (insofar as "allowed to" meaning "not protected as an express right") go and remove what you don't like by taking action, and that action can just as well be classified as propaganda, slander, and misrepresentation (the critic side) as it can be as targeted harassment, banning speakers (the GamerGate side), etc.

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Show me the legions of game critics who are actually, literally trying to ban games. I'm sure some people - somewhere - are saying that, but that's on the ultra-extreme part of the spectrum. For example, I've watched all of Anita's videos and she never, repeat never, says that games should be banned in any of them. I've read Leigh Alexander's work, I read Polygon, Kotaku, r/games, r/gaming every day... I'm not seeing this narrative of critics trying to ban games. That's simply fearmongering at it's worst (the kind Shadowe has bought into, hook line and sinker).

 

Critics "encouraging removal" of ELEMENTS in games? Sure, but that's not the same thing as calling or supporting for literal, actual government censorship or bans of games. That's not happening. Opinion pieces should never be equated to actual censorship. 

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Show me the legions of game critics who are actually, literally trying to ban games. I'm sure some people - somewhere - are saying that, but that's on the ultra-extreme part of the spectrum. For example, I've watched all of Anita's videos and she never, repeat never, says that games should be banned in any of them. I've read Leigh Alexander's work, I read Polygon, Kotaku, r/games, r/gaming every day... I'm not seeing this narrative of critics trying to ban games. That's simply fearmongering at it's worst (the kind Shadowe has bought into, hook line and sinker).

 

Critics "encouraging removal" of ELEMENTS in games? Sure, but that's not the same thing as calling or supporting for literal, actual government censorship or bans of games. That's not happening. Opinion pieces should never be equated to actual censorship. 

 

If that's the case then the primary disagreement here is not anything to do with free speech principle, it has to do with the fact that he claims to have proof of the explicit admission of calling for banning games and you claim there is none. It seems the burden of proof is on him.

 

@Shadowe: can you please provide actual links to the behavior you're talking about? The conversation can't really advance beyond if one person is saying "they're doing it' and one is saying "they're not doing it" ping ponging at each other. :P

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I'm sure he'll pull up some example from somewhere. This is the Internet; you can find someone saying anything. But based on everything I've seen, read, and watched, I'm not seeing anything resembling a 'movement' to ban or censor games. Nothing resembling broad support or any sort of trend. Regardless of that, nobody is disagreeing that actual censorship and banning of games is bad.

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I'm sure he'll pull up some example from somewhere. This is the Internet; you can find someone saying anything. But based on everything I've seen, read, and watched, I'm not seeing anything resembling a 'movement' to ban or censor games. Nothing resembling broad support or any sort of trend. Regardless of that, nobody is disagreeing that actual censorship and banning of games is bad.

 

He's claiming Anita herself says it, not just people on the Internet.

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"encouraging removal" of ELEMENTS in games? Sure, but that's not the same thing as calling or supporting for literal, actual government censorship or bans of games. That's not happening. Opinion pieces should never be equated to actual censorship. 

 

No, but it does essentially, by proxy, result in the ban or death of certain games. If you recall, Anita is about 20 years late to the party of "video game violence" and yet still was appalled at the violence in DOOM. They'd obviously have no problem with this being removed entirely.

 

Is it really DOOM if the demons were to bleed rainbows and explode in a hail of lollipop shrapnel? Like, would people still buy that? Would they still make DOOM if they got bullied into removing whatever Anita and her sidekick's idea of "acceptable" violence is?

 

doom-sarkeesian-mcintosh.jpg

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Show me the legions of game critics who are actually, literally trying to ban games. I'm sure some people - somewhere - are saying that, but that's on the ultra-extreme part of the spectrum. For example, I've watched all of Anita's videos and she never, repeat never, says that games should be banned in any of them. I've read Leigh Alexander's work, I read Polygon, Kotaku, r/games, r/gaming every day... I'm not seeing this narrative of critics trying to ban games. That's simply fearmongering at it's worst (the kind Shadowe has bought into, hook line and sinker).

 

Fearmongering can get a whole lot worse... it's kind of funny that you'd criticize overstatement via overstatement. It's not just funny, it's the FUNNIEST! ;)

 

I agree that Shadowe should back those claims of explicit speech up with some quotes/links; as far as I've seen, personally, Anita & Leigh are very careful to avoid explicitly advocating for the banning/censoring of games...

 

But Andy, as I've repeatedly pointed out, their rhetoric & "reasoning" are the SAME as those who've advocated for banning games (books/movies/etc.) in the past...

 

As I've repeatedly pointed out, they assert direct causal lines between games and negative behaviors, with the type of overzealous certitude that, even if it's careful enough to avoid directly advocating censorship, leaves one very little ideological breathing room for alternatives...

 

As I've repeatedly pointed out, they use zero-sum arguments which, instead of articulating an inclusive message that gaming is big enough to welcome/encourage other types of games, and other types of gamers, instead REALLY focus on how they think gaming is a town that's "too small for the both of us" - an exclusionary message. They're fighting fire with fire, exclusionary attitudes with exclusionary attitudes, when the opposite is needed. See Leigh's absurd GamaSutra piece on the death of the "gamer," for instance... it's not about widening the umbrella, as it should be, it's about kicking some folks & some games out from under it.

 

What does it matter if they're careful enough to avoid directly stepping on the landmine of censorship, when they're employing every last rhetorical trick & argumentative fallacy that actual & would-be censors have, in the past? Did we not deplore those arguments, then? Are they only nonsensical and absolutist arguments when in the presence of an explicit demand? Do they suddenly become admirable or reasonable as long as the "magic word" isn't spoken? It's almost.... less honest. It's like when racists avoid using the N-word and speak in euphemisms.... you KNOW what they're trying to say, because you've HEARD the story before...

 

Call me crazy, but I think art is improved & enriched through karma... not dogma.

 

Sure, I agree that some criticism falls way more on the side of advocacy than analysis. But I don't agree that any criticism has an "obligation" to anything at all. All criticism is ultimately subjective and affected by our conscious and unconscious biases. It's fine to strive for pure objectivity and I respect that. I also think there's nothing inherently wrong with writing critique through an explicitly-stated 'lens' (like feminist issues, racial issues). 

 

Criticism can be filtered through a lens, but it should still be looking at something... when the art drifts out into peripheral vision (and beyond), it becomes rhetoric.

 

What you're basically saying is that you have no internal standard as to what the word "criticism" even means. Okay, that's cool. I do. As I made clear, cultural criticism - to be considered as criticism, to me - still has an obligation to put the work first & foremost, to probe instead of proselytize. If you're saying that as long as someone is talking about art, even if they're transparently using it as an excuse to push an agenda and don't really seem to care much about the art, you still consider that criticism, well... we strongly disagree. As stated, I respect both art & criticism too much to be that... lenient.

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No, but it does essentially, by proxy, result in the ban or death of certain games. If you recall, Anita is about 20 years late to the party of "video game violence" and yet still was appalled at the violence in DOOM. They'd obviously have no problem with this being removed entirely.

 

Really? What are some examples of games that have been banned, or that have died, as a result of people making internet videos, opinion pieces, and tweets? I'd love to know.

 

Do you think every movie critic who wrote an incredible critical review of Pixels thinks it should be "removed entirely" by force (i.e. actual censorship)? 

 

Take a step back and really think about this. Expressing a negative opinion about something, no matter WHAT your reasoning for that opinion, is not the same as advocating that thing be banned or censored. Unless you actually SAY that's what you want or believe.

 

 

But Andy, as I've repeatedly pointed out, their rhetoric & "reasoning" are the SAME as those who've advocated for banning games (books/movies/etc.) in the past...

 

It doesn't matter if the reasoning is the same, because what they're ultimately advocating or prescribing is not at all the same. We could flip this around and say that the reasoning of, say, evolutionary biologists is the same reasoning used by eugenicists to advocate racial superiority or something equal abhorrent. 

 

At a high level, the Tropes videos are more or less making the statement:

 

"I think oversexualized women in games are dumb and bad because X/Y/Z, therefore..."

 

Now finish the sentence. Which of the following, paraphrased, do the videos conclude with?

 

"...people should be banned from making games with oversexualized women." - Nope.

"...the government should ban games with oversexualized women." - Nope.

"...people who play games with oversexualized women are misogynists." - Nope.

"...game developers should aspire to be more inclusive by not oversexualizing women as much." - Ding ding!

 

Over the course of the thread, partially through our discussions, I've come to disagree with a good bit of the rationale behind the "...because X/Y/Z" part, but let's not kid ourselves and say that making YouTube videos is the same thing as book banning and literal censorship.

As I've repeatedly pointed out, they assert direct causal lines between games and negative behaviors, with the type of overzealous certitude that, even if it's careful enough to avoid directly advocating censorship, leaves one very little ideological breathing room for alternatives...

I can't possibly disagree with you more here. The alternatives are that game developers consider any criticism levied toward them, and choose whether to act on it or not. That's about one million steps away from censorship. 

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Really? What are some examples of games that have been banned, or that have died, as a result of people making internet videos, opinion pieces, and tweets? I'd love to know.

 

Do you think every movie critic who wrote an incredible critical review of Pixels thinks it should be "removed entirely" by force (i.e. actual censorship)? 

 

Take a step back and really think about this. Expressing a negative opinion about something, no matter WHAT your reasoning for that opinion, is not the same as advocating that thing be banned or censored. Unless you actually SAY that's what you want or believe.

 

It is the logical conclusion of what would happen if your hero got her way. Do I really have to point out that the demand to remove "elements" one disagrees with from something aren't exclusive to "critics"? 

 

But since you're asking, how about all of the games banned in Australia or other countries? They aren't banned by people making YouTube videos, they're banned by people with, and encourage others to have, the same mentality though. Nude women and crude humor in a stupid BMX game? Well, that's offensive so the population just won't be allowed to play it. Do you think that Anita, or any of her legions of followers convinced that her idea of what is or isn't "problematic" disagree with the idea of banning such games? Do you think that Anita wouldn't take a job on a classification board if it meant that her opinion on what should or shouldn't pass would actually matter? My talk of proxy bans is exactly the case here, since the Australian board can't directly ban or censor something, they can simply refuse it classification - preventing it from being imported etc.

 

 

Street Fighter V has been censored, no doubt to please all the SJWs complaining about stupid camera angles. You seem to be right on board with critics "encouraging removal" of content they disagree with, but somehow seem to doubt the reality that developers and governments have caved to "politically correct" demands to remove or ban "offensive" material.

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But since you're asking, how about all of the games banned in Australia or other countries? They aren't banned by people making YouTube videos, they're banned by people with, and encourage others to have, the same mentality though.

 

I'm talking about the United States. I can't speak for other countries, where freedom of speech is not nearly as legally protected as it is here. 

 

 

 

 Do you think that Anita, or any of her legions of followers convinced that her idea of what is or isn't "problematic" disagree with the idea of banning such games?

 

I agree with her on some things being problematic, and I don't agree with government banning or censorship. Nobody in this thread, including those supporting Anita, have advocated that. This is a straw man, plain and simple.

 

 

 

, no doubt to please all the SJWs complaining about stupid camera angles. You seem to be right on board with critics "encouraging removal" of content they disagree with, but somehow seem to doubt the reality that developers and governments have caved to "politically correct" demands to remove or ban "offensive" material.

 

Do you understand the meaning of the word "censor"? Does anyone in this thread? The actual, dictionary definition refers to an official examining & removing/altering/banning material for objectionable content. If the artist/creator themselves decide, with no government influence, to change their content, that IS NOT censorship. At all.

 

So what if developers have caved to "politically correct" demands? Isn't that just capitalism and the free market at work? Consumers want X, so business delivers X? Why is this such a difficult concept to understand? 

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I'm talking about the United States. I can't speak for other countries, where freedom of speech is not nearly as legally protected as it is here. 

 

Yes, well: The internet, the video game industry, the "critics", Feminist Frequency and the material it "critiques" expand far, far beyond America. So if you're talking about the consequences or lack thereof of criticism and things that are "problematic", narrowing the discussion to America is useless since Sarkeesian's videos reach people who both support and don't support her views across the world. America has better protected "freedom of speech" than somewhere like Australia if we're using game bans as a benchmark, so they're irrelevant to the discussion?

 

 

I agree with her on some things being problematic, and I don't agree with government banning or censorship. Nobody in this thread, including those supporting Anita, have advocated that. This is a straw man, plain and simple.

 

 

No, it was an honest series of questions. I'm quite convinced that if she were in a position where she had a say, she would fully support government censorship. also, to quote Neblix

 

In the interest of free speech, criticism that tries to silence other criticism invalidates itself as passive speech and solidifies it as being used for an agenda.

 

 

It's been pointed out so many times in this thread over the last 98 pages that criticism against the criticism Anita offers is silenced, viewed as being misogynistic or whatever. Raising awareness for something you perceive to be an issue, a problem, is worthless unless you are also offering a solution. Tell me again, Zircon, what is Anita's solution? Because all I can see is that her solution is to either change whatever it is she doesn't like to what she wants, or get rid of it entirely. Nothing seems to please her or her fans.

 

Do you understand the meaning of the word "censor"? Does anyone in this thread? The actual, dictionary definition refers to an official examining & removing/altering/banning material for objectionable content. If the artist/creator themselves decide, with no government influence, to change their content, that IS NOT censorship. At all.

 

So what if developers have caved to "politically correct" demands? Isn't that just capitalism and the free market at work? Consumers want X, so business delivers X? Why is this such a difficult concept to understand? 

 

 

Oh, my bad. You're okay with hyper-sensitive crybabies going on about how "problematic" the representation of (whatever) is and essentially pressuring companies into changing something they obviously had no intention of changing (freedom of speech), with non-existent evidence of this resulting in greater sales and objectively appealing to a wider demographic as a result, you're just not okay with it when the government does it.

 

EDIT: Oh and if you want a prime example of whiny people who could just simply not buy something successfully getting it banned, feminists got GTA V banned from Target a year after it came out.

 

but it doesn't matter because it's not America and the government didn't do it.

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I liked Pixels. The critical reviews are probably more because of Adam Sandler and how people don't like him, than the actual movie quality. Even Ridiculous Six (based on the trailer) looks like it'd be pretty funny. 

 

Nintendo is censoring Xenoblade Chronicles X among other games, not that I was necessarily going to buy a Nintendo product, but now I am really not going to buy a Nintendo product!

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Do you understand the meaning of the word "censor"? Does anyone in this thread? The actual, dictionary definition refers to an official examining & removing/altering/banning material for objectionable content. If the artist/creator themselves decide, with no government influence, to change their content, that IS NOT censorship. At all.

 

Hmm, I'm not sure this makes sense to me. In what context can you "if and only if" equate the words "official" with "government"? Official has a broad class of meaning, and if you limit it to authority, certainly you could say the artist is the authority of their own work, and their official examining of their own work in light of Sarkeesian's (honestly really poorly constructed) critique in order to please her and her followers as a consumer, that's definitely altering for objectionable content.

 

It has to do with the motivation. If the artist feels a certain way, and then changes his/her mind, then yes, that is not censorship. However, if the artist changes the art not because of how he/she feels but because of outside pressure, that is censorship.

 

 

So what if developers have caved to "politically correct" demands? Isn't that just capitalism and the free market at work? Consumers want X, so business delivers X? Why is this such a difficult concept to understand? 

 

Consumers don't really want X, as evidenced by the loud reactions against Sarkeesian's movement. Sex sells, it has never not sold, and it always will sell so long as our culture is motivated by money and gratification. A business purely motivated by economic considerations, as you try to pose here, would realize that they'd sell far more if they "sell out" and go for the cheap objectification. It would take someone who genuinely cares about progressive principles to make a progressive game; the economics will never justify it so long as our culture is the way it is.

 

Feminist Frequency hasn't changed the consumer behavior all that much, in fact it more often than not has created a negative default reaction by gamers and has kind of ruined progressiveness in games because now people are going to complain that progressive games are politically correct, affected by the "feminist cult" and boycott/spread hate about them because they'll correlate stuff like her show to a decrease in the media they like. That's not a step forward, it's a step backward. She's alienated the people that she's supposed to bring to her side (if she actually wants to change cultural impressions and change what consumers want in their games).

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I can't possibly disagree with you more here. The alternatives are that game developers consider any criticism levied toward them, and choose whether to act on it or not. That's about one million steps away from censorship. 

 

I've tried to be very clear in what I'm objecting to, but perhaps I've failed....

 

I'll try once more: When, rhetorically, one makes the claim that X type of art will lead directly to Y type of behavior - with zealous certitude - one is putting more than an aesthetic pressure on artists, one is essentially holding them morally/ethically responsible for the actions of those consuming their art...

 

It's not "one million steps away from censorship" - you keep using these extreme expressions, I'm wondering why?? - because in drawing direct causal lines between the consumption of media and certain types of behavior, it removes responsibility/accountability (i.e. agency) entirely from the audience and places it entirely on the artist. You can't possibly disagree with that more? Really? That's a million steps away from censorship? It's like... FIVE steps away... because if the audience for art cannot be expected to be responsible & accountable for their actions at ALL, and are GUARANTEED to become misogynist, racist, violent, etc. when consuming certain types of art, then what are we left with?

 

You can't shift 100% of the personal responsibility & accountability like that, treating the audience like a group of large, highly-impressionable children/robots who will inevitably do whatever art tells them to... and not expect SOME sort of negative impact with regard to freedom of expression.

 

Artists should be able to think of their work as a dialogue with the world, not as a set of rote instructions that will be carried out, sans introspection.

 

Human beings making art have agency, but so do human beings experiencing art; infantilizing the latter group occurs at the expense of the former, regardless of whether that infantilization is coupled with an explicit mandate to censor.

 

Mull that sentence over a few dozen times, please; chew it slowly, and see if you still feel the same way.

 

I can't make things clearer.

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Hmm, I'm not sure this makes sense to me. In what context can you "if and only if" equate the words "official" with "government"? Official has a broad class of meaning, and if you limit it to authority, certainly you could say the artist is the authority of their own work, and their official examining of their own work in light of Sarkeesian's (honestly really poorly constructed) critique in order to please her and her followers as a consumer, that's definitely altering for objectionable content.

 

It has to do with the motivation. If the artist feels a certain way, and then changes his/her mind, then yes, that is not censorship. However, if the artist changes the art not because of how he/she feels but because of outside pressure, that is censorship..

 

 

I actually think that censorship can be voluntary or involuntary. When it's voluntary, it's still censorship, but there may or may not be "outside pressure."

 

If the "outside pressure" does not force it, or when there is no "outside pressure," then it's voluntary after (careful?) deliberation. When it's involuntary, it tends to mean that there is "outside pressure" that actually forces the censorship.

 

You could see this from a simple censorship of an offensive word on television. You, as an actor, can either say the word outright and get beeped, or you can (literally) say "BEEEEP!" yourself for comic effect. The former is uncoerced/coerced, and the latter is voluntary. The former, if it was against the actor's wishes, is involuntary relative to the actor, while the former, if it was expected by the actor, is voluntary relative to the actor.

 

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Overall, it doesn't have to be due to government intervention. The artist can do it him/herself as well. However, if the artist changes his/her mind after feeling doubts, but has not published the art yet, sure, that is artistic decision, but if the original content was objectionable, while the edited content is not, that still counts as censorship to me. If and only if the content is NOT objectionable, it is not censorship to alter it, IMO.

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Hold on... didn't she complain about strong female characters just being "men with boobs" in her master thesis? Why is she now advocating for a "man with boobs?

 

because Link isn't representative of "male" as a gender, at least not in any way that's not overtly sexist - he's meant to be a blank slate character (and often is), and there's no reason why a female Link would have to be any different in appearance or mannerism

 

you could literally change, for example, A Link To The Past by just changing the very few gendered third-person references to Link to be female instead, and bam - that's literally all that needs to be done 

 

one could (and I do,) even argue that Link's appearance is already androgynous enough that this could work in literally any Zelda game

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