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Author Topic: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?  (Read 13666 times)

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Offline Sabby

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #50 on: August 31, 2014, 06:50:41 AM »
Okay, I was under the impression people were calling Lara herself a DiD because someone touched her inappropriately. No wonder it wasn't making sense to me xD I had forgotten that she had a friend you had to rescue.

Would people throw up such a fuss if the situation were exactly the same but her friend was a man? I seriously doubt it. It would probably be hailed as empowering.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #51 on: August 31, 2014, 07:01:53 AM »
“Prostitutes have been in all Grand Theft Auto games since Grand Theft Auto III. They are mainly out on the streets at night, and to receive their services, you must drive close to them and stop. Prostitutes can raise your health to more than 100% in the 3D Universe. However, you can kill the hooker and take your money back when you're finished - probably the in-game situation most commonly cited by critics of GTA's violence/immorality.”

http://gta.wikia.com/Prostitutes

Also there are numerous forum posts on Xbox forums about killing hookers to get the money back since at the start there is little money.  There are negative consequences to killing a hooker, but those consequences are the same as killing anyone else in the game.  The added bonus though is more money being dropped after increasing the health bar to full.  The reward is greater than the risk.  Therefore the game does encourage violence against women.

Considering there are youtube videoes regarding “Fun with Strippers” that feature people killing the strippers in the Hitman game for fun, I think the visual stimulation is quite clear. 

Sarkeesian’s point is not about violence with women being shown, but rather that women are shown as objects that violence is perpetrated upon without any input.  Women are essentially objects to be punched, stabbed, killed and then played upon as if furniture in the room.  That Lara Croft has violence done to her because she is in combat or because she is attempting something dangerous is not the same thing as a woman being an object of violence.  A male figure is shown as engaging in the violence and being engaged in acts that are violent, thereby showing him as strong.  The same could be said for Lara Croft.  The same cannot be said for the strippers in Hitman or the Hookers in GTA. 

Also the new Tomb Raider generated profit within the first month and exceeded profit expectations within the same year of its release.  3.4 million copies of the game were sold in the first month and continued to sell.  The game was also released on PC and both leading console platforms at launch.
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/once-an-underperformer-tomb-raider-nearing-6-million-in-sales/1100-6418162/

Lara Croft's friend Sam is a damsel in distress, but the key difference is that Lara as a woman is the one solving the problems and rescuing her friend.  So while Square Enix did rely on the same model, they at least made use of another woman performing the actions and making the decisions to rescue the damsel.  Lara herself is not a damsel in distress because while people may help her, she still achieves her own goals and wins her own battles.

Offline consortium11

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #52 on: August 31, 2014, 09:14:15 AM »
Also the new Tomb Raider generated profit within the first month and exceeded profit expectations within the same year of its release.

No it didn't. It (finally) turned a profit by the end of 2013, having been launched in March and it finally exceeded sales expectations in March 2014... virtually a year after it was released and after it had been relaunched for the X-Box One and Playstation 4. This is all in the link you posted. Tomb Raider's poor initial sales were one of the main reasons Square Enix posted a massive loss that year, the president was forced out and the entire company went through a review.

3.4 million copies of the game were sold in the first month and continued to sell.  The game was also released on PC and both leading console platforms at launch.
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/once-an-underperformer-tomb-raider-nearing-6-million-in-sales/1100-6418162/

Yes, 3.4 million copies was impressive... a series record. Unfortunately Square Enix had expected between five and six million sales and themselves admitted it was an initial failure. Again, it only eventually turned a profit towards the end of the year and only exceeded sales expectations after it was re-released on the next-gen consoles.

Lara Croft's friend Sam is a damsel in distress, but the key difference is that Lara as a woman is the one solving the problems and rescuing her friend.  So while Square Enix did rely on the same model, they at least made use of another woman performing the actions and making the decisions to rescue the damsel.

Surely the issues is Damsel's in Distress, not who gets to save them? The central plot of the game is that a damsel is in distress and needs saving.

Lara herself is not a damsel in distress because while people may help her, she still achieves her own goals and wins her own battles.

Sarkeesian doesn't agree. Remember, according to her, a damsel isn't what a character is but what is done to them. Any time a female character needs the assistance of someone else and is otherwise helpless they have been damselled. The fact that before, after or both they can "fight their own battles" doesn't matter.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #53 on: August 31, 2014, 09:27:09 AM »
Considering the video game broke the company’s record, I would think that has more to do with the company having an unrealistic expectation over the game not being a success.  A product should not have to break records in order to turn a profit for the company.  That sounds like poor planning and leadership on their president’s part and not a reflection on the game’s poor performance or finding a demanding audience.

Actually, no that would make Lara considered a Damsel out of Distress since she rescues herself.  Also, Sarkeesian discusses how the damsel in distress trope is harmful to women because it embraces that a woman must turn to a man to help her get out of her problems.  So there is an element of not only what happens to the damsel but also in the rescuer.  In this case, Sam is saved by her friend that is concerned for her and wants to help her and who is also a woman.  Sam is a damsel in distress as I said, but the hero is a woman and so the scene is more “feminist” friendly.  Not a perfect flip of roles or debunking of the trope but certainly a step in a more equal direction.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #54 on: August 31, 2014, 10:13:11 AM »
Those two games strike me as staggeringly bad examples of this.

Both GTAIV and RDR have a day night cycle right (that's not a disingenuous question... I recall them doing so but I haven't played either for a while)? So let's do a little experiment. As soon as you get control of the protagonist, stop. Do nothing. Wait as in-game time passes. Minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, hell, years if you've got the patience. Then go off and play the game.

What's different to if you'd started playing the game immediately?

Nothing as far as I can recall.

Far from the stories having happened without you and you not being the centre of the world all of those other characters are held in a state of suspended animation until you arrive at which point they can do their narrative demanded song and dance. They're the equivalent of a Disney theme park-style animatronic figure, waiting for someone to come along and push a button so they can do their little action and then return to a state of inactivity.

You're right, but expecting otherwise would be expecting a tremendous amount of programming and writing.  I think the only games that can really pull off a world that "lives" without the player's involvement are those that are focused on a very small window of time; one game that comes to mind is Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, where the storyline was about the world ending in three days and gave the player the ability to reset the clock to the beginning of the game (keeping all the important items they've collected along the way, naturally).  Programming in a large series of events that happen at certain days/times means either somehow justifying them happening over and over, or making a lot of content that the player never actually sees (which usually means the game's going to feel a lot shorter than it really is).

Regardless, at some point the game's creators are going to say "look, we need a bunch of nameless people to finish fleshing out the world, and we don't have time to make individual storylines for all of them".  Leaving out any character that doesn't have a fleshed out backstory means your world is going to look and feel empty (not a problem for some games, I'm sure, but it's not a universal solution), while attempting to give every non-major NPC a life of their own away from the player's camera is simply an unfeasible task.

“Prostitutes have been in all Grand Theft Auto games since Grand Theft Auto III. They are mainly out on the streets at night, and to receive their services, you must drive close to them and stop. Prostitutes can raise your health to more than 100% in the 3D Universe. However, you can kill the hooker and take your money back when you're finished - probably the in-game situation most commonly cited by critics of GTA's violence/immorality.”

http://gta.wikia.com/Prostitutes

Also there are numerous forum posts on Xbox forums about killing hookers to get the money back since at the start there is little money.  There are negative consequences to killing a hooker, but those consequences are the same as killing anyone else in the game.  The added bonus though is more money being dropped after increasing the health bar to full.  The reward is greater than the risk.  Therefore the game does encourage violence against women.

Noted, and if anyone else has played the GTA games I'd like more input on the matter.  For the sake of an argument though, I'm going to assume that it is the case, that a hooker you just had sex with drops more money.  I'm not convinced that it necessarily stems from perpetrating violence against women; sure, it does mean that the player is encouraged to kill a woman, but from a mechanical standpoint, the player is only encouraged to kill an NPC that just took their money that just happens to be female.  I don't think it's necessarily wrong to include the character dropping more money if you just paid them some and they clearly haven't put it somewhere; after all, there's plenty of jokes about a character "dropping" an item they clearly don't have, or not dropping an item they clearly do have.  You could make an argument that there should be other NPCs besides hooker that act this way though, or that they shouldn't have given hookers the ability to recover player health, but that's another discussion I don't have the time to get to at the moment.

Quote
Considering there are youtube videoes regarding “Fun with Strippers” that feature people killing the strippers in the Hitman game for fun, I think the visual stimulation is quite clear. 

Sarkeesian’s point is not about violence with women being shown, but rather that women are shown as objects that violence is perpetrated upon without any input.  Women are essentially objects to be punched, stabbed, killed and then played upon as if furniture in the room.  That Lara Croft has violence done to her because she is in combat or because she is attempting something dangerous is not the same thing as a woman being an object of violence.  A male figure is shown as engaging in the violence and being engaged in acts that are violent, thereby showing him as strong.  The same could be said for Lara Croft.  The same cannot be said for the strippers in Hitman or the Hookers in GTA.

I'm not trying to make a strawman argument here, but it seems your argument is "Killing a stripper rewards you with a dead stripper, therefore the game encourages killing strippers".  Yes, some people may decide to have a bit of fun and take out their aggression on female NPCs just for the sake of it, but just because a game allows it doesn't mean the game encourages it; it's a matter of the game allowing every minor NPC to be killed.  If your only reward for doing so is the satisfaction of doing the act itself, it's still a stretch to say that the game encourages doing it in the first place.

Perhaps I don't really understand your argument, though.  Are you saying that the player is more encouraged to kill strippers than they are, say, male chefs (which are also in the Hitman games)?  Or something else?

Offline BitterSweet

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #55 on: August 31, 2014, 02:01:30 PM »
Does she discuss games where you can chose the gender of your character in the game?  And does that change the misogynistic conclusion if -

a: the player (behind the screen) is a woman playing a male character?
B: a player of any sex/gender playing a female character?

I play Dragon Age a lot, usually a male dwarf 'cause I like that origin story best.  But I've played through all the origin stories.  As far as I can tell the sex of your character does not change the origin story or the way you're treated in the course of the narrative.

I've also been following DA's new game specifically because of questions of sex and sexual orientation.  In most DA games, there are an assortment of potential love interests in the game, some can be same sex, others not.  In the upcoming DA no only does that continue, they've also included a character that will only have a same sex relationship (some of the complaints they'd had prior was that all NPC romance characters were either heterosexual or bisexual, none were gay). 

In addition, their cover art was drawn in such a way that you cannot tell the sex of the protagonist on the cover.

Also, among all this discussion was never mentioned that a female gamers make up a significan number of gamers and are increasing.
Quote
The Entertainment Software Association released a report this week showing that 45 percent of gamers are female, and 46 percent of the most frequent game purchasers are female.

So the frequent excuse of 'women don't play games so who cares if the games are misogynistic?' is kinda BS  (and perhaps explains why some game companies are making strides to expand sex options for protagonists, changing the general storylines so they're not always 'save the damsel' and so on).

(source of quote: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/06/13/women_in_gaming_women_make_up_half_of_all_gamers_but_video_game_characters.html)

Offline Sabby

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #56 on: August 31, 2014, 02:05:39 PM »
Remember though, that report is counting mobile games. Your elderly relative playing Candy Crush on their phone and the guy with a 4000 dollar gaming PC are being counted as the same thing. This is like saying that the number of film students have tripled in the last decade thanks to phones now having cameras on them.

Offline BitterSweet

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #57 on: August 31, 2014, 02:12:06 PM »
True, they didn't break it out (has anyone?).  It's more likely that female gamers are concentrated in casual games but it seems like some game companies have realized that there is a money market for games that do not actively offend women, even in big budget console games.


Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #58 on: August 31, 2014, 09:54:45 PM »
True, they didn't break it out (has anyone?).  It's more likely that female gamers are concentrated in casual games but it seems like some game companies have realized that there is a money market for games that do not actively offend women, even in big budget console games.

I don't remember what their source was, but I believe the article was brought up on TotalBiscuit's Co-Optional Podcast last week, and TB had another article that did break it down by game, mostly looking at recent AAA games (I think Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed were on it), and of the few he mentioned none of them were lower than 80% male.  If I have the time I'll re-listen to the podcast sometime soon and try to find where exactly they talk about it.  Granted, even if most non-casual games were closer to 80% male, that doesn't excuse any unwarranted sexism in the games.

Does she discuss games where you can chose the gender of your character in the game?  And does that change the misogynistic conclusion if -

a: the player (behind the screen) is a woman playing a male character?
B: a player of any sex/gender playing a female character?

Not sure if any of the games she talked about in any length had an option to play as a female character (I don't think so, but I haven't played a lot of them so I could be wrong), but if it did she never made any sort of discussion about it.

Quote
I play Dragon Age a lot, usually a male dwarf 'cause I like that origin story best.  But I've played through all the origin stories.  As far as I can tell the sex of your character does not change the origin story or the way you're treated in the course of the narrative.

I've also been following DA's new game specifically because of questions of sex and sexual orientation.  In most DA games, there are an assortment of potential love interests in the game, some can be same sex, others not.  In the upcoming DA no only does that continue, they've also included a character that will only have a same sex relationship (some of the complaints they'd had prior was that all NPC romance characters were either heterosexual or bisexual, none were gay). 

In addition, their cover art was drawn in such a way that you cannot tell the sex of the protagonist on the cover.

Just a nitpick, but I think the city elf starting area changes slightly.  If memory serves, the "plot" is that a certain female elf is engaged to a human who ends up raping her and her friends during the wedding ceremony, or something of the sort; if you're playing a female elf you're the bride-to-be and have to fight your way out, while male elves get to be the bride's friend and fight their way in to save her.  I might be a bit foggy on the details though, been years since I've played it.

Although that does bring up an interesting question for a damsel in distress: is it "acceptable" to have a damsel trope where she needs rescuing if the player makes a male character, but have the player be the damsel that saves herself if they play a female character?

Offline Shjade

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #59 on: September 01, 2014, 03:41:35 AM »
Protagonist characters in video games rarely have agency. To compare and contrast them with "damsels" who likewise don't have agency is to miss the point.

You're getting lost in meta-narrative thinking.

Kratos, the character in the story choosing to do what he wants to do, has a wealth of agency. You, the player who wants him to go to California and become a magnificent surfer, have no agency to enact that desire. That he can't do what you want him to do is not the same as saying he is unable to do what he wants to do. The reason he won't do what you want is that he's busy doing what he wants. And what he wants is to fuck up some gods.

Contrast with DiD's who just want to be left alone but can't because they're being abducted/brutalized/exploited/whatever instead.

Offline ImaginedScenes

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #60 on: September 01, 2014, 07:27:20 PM »
I watched her latest video and remembered a few things. I think she's mostly right about the basics. It's wrong for women to be dressed up sexy or in sexy poses in every and all kind of scene. Full stop. When I can play a horror game and the men are dressed and the women are almost naked there's something clearly wrong. That brings up the point of the games she is choosing to look at though. Horror films mix sexy women and violence, yeah? So do horror games. Shooter movies mix sex and violence. So do shooter games. Horror and shooters aren't the only kinds of movies or games though. Shame on her for making an ignorant audience that doesn't play games think that most games are violent and treat women just like sexy objects.

Good on her to say that women shouldn't be the primary type of motivation for characters. Killing or saving or dating them shouldn't be the basic formula of games. Right on. Tip of the hat. not right to make it look like that's most games though. Also not right to say that women can only be in games if their life experience is the focus of the game. Bollocks. Complete bollocks. Should police not be in a game unless their life experience with being shot at is the focus? Don't be a nit. Anita might as well say that alcoholism and depression shouldn't be mentioned in a game unless it focuses on how those things affect people.

She says being able to see rape and violence to women makes it normal and okay. Bleeding hell! Not a few seconds later she says one in five women are sexually assaulted. Then she says the gamer is supposed to react with horror. Which is it!? Make up your mind! No sexual violence shouldn't be used as a regular plot point but having it in a lifelike game makes men face the reality of it. Isn't that a good thing?

Seems like if she had her way games wouldn't even involve humans unless they were about the struggles of minorities. I'm all for those kinds of games. Gone Home wasn't bad. Games that make me think are my favorite kind. The Stanley Parable was more fun than anything I've played in a long time. I don't like shooters. Doesn't mean shooters shouldn't be made. I play RPGs and some of them have girls wearing sexy clothes. Some don't. There's room for both of them. Anita seems to think that games can only be like real life and only be serious. That's a load of rubbish. Bet the batty girl would ban most porn if she had her way.

I don't want all games to have girls who might as well be strippers. Also don't want all games to only be able exploring the struggles of women. I'm pretty middle ground. People who are extreme one way or the other can say what they want to say. Doesn't mean they deserve my respect or attention.

If she wasn't making a lot of ignorant people think bad things about gamers and games, I couldn't have been arsed to post in this thread. She's convincing a lot of people of things that are false and she's getting their money to keep doing it. Makes me right cheesed off. I'm a feminist and I was glad someone was going to do a video series about problems in American society. But this is shite.

Wouldn't be commenting on it if this wasn't a thread though. I don't give it attention and I don't fancy getting in a tiff with people who think she does more good than harm.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #61 on: September 01, 2014, 07:47:32 PM »
I watched her latest video and remembered a few things. I think she's mostly right about the basics. It's wrong for women to be dressed up sexy or in sexy poses in every and all kind of scene. Full stop. When I can play a horror game and the men are dressed and the women are almost naked there's something clearly wrong. That brings up the point of the games she is choosing to look at though. Horror films mix sexy women and violence, yeah? So do horror games. Shooter movies mix sex and violence. So do shooter games. Horror and shooters aren't the only kinds of movies or games though. Shame on her for making an ignorant audience that doesn't play games think that most games are violent and treat women just like sexy objects.

Good on her to say that women shouldn't be the primary type of motivation for characters. Killing or saving or dating them shouldn't be the basic formula of games. Right on. Tip of the hat. not right to make it look like that's most games though. Also not right to say that women can only be in games if their life experience is the focus of the game. Bollocks. Complete bollocks. Should police not be in a game unless their life experience with being shot at is the focus? Don't be a nit. Anita might as well say that alcoholism and depression shouldn't be mentioned in a game unless it focuses on how those things affect people.

She says being able to see rape and violence to women makes it normal and okay. Bleeding hell! Not a few seconds later she says one in five women are sexually assaulted. Then she says the gamer is supposed to react with horror. Which is it!? Make up your mind! No sexual violence shouldn't be used as a regular plot point but having it in a lifelike game makes men face the reality of it. Isn't that a good thing?

Seems like if she had her way games wouldn't even involve humans unless they were about the struggles of minorities. I'm all for those kinds of games. Gone Home wasn't bad. Games that make me think are my favorite kind. The Stanley Parable was more fun than anything I've played in a long time. I don't like shooters. Doesn't mean shooters shouldn't be made. I play RPGs and some of them have girls wearing sexy clothes. Some don't. There's room for both of them. Anita seems to think that games can only be like real life and only be serious. That's a load of rubbish. Bet the batty girl would ban most porn if she had her way.

I think this is my main beef with her, to be honest.  There's a difference between making an argument that "sexist games are bad"/"games should stop being sexist".  That's fine, and while I'm fine with a few aspects of some games being sexist for whatever reason, the industry has too much, especially at the AAA level.  The problem is that her videos come off sounding like she's saying "all games are sexist/bad", which is definitely not true, and that's why I wish she gave examples of games that did things well, or that weren't sexist.

Thinking about what was said earlier in the thread as well kind of made me realize something.  She's cherry picking examples to fit an agenda, I don't think anyone can really argue with that, and that's perfectly fine.  Where the problem comes in is if she's trying to act like she has no agenda and is being unbiased when doing so.  To an extent, she's not doing that; she's outright stating that this is a very feminist-slanted video series (heck, it's even in the name of her entire channel).  Where the problem comes in, is that her stated agenda of feminism doesn't seem to mesh with the videos; it seems that the videos have an agenda of "anti-gaming in general".

Quote
I don't want all games to have girls who might as well be strippers. Also don't want all games to only be able exploring the struggles of women. I'm pretty middle ground. People who are extreme one way or the other can say what they want to say. Doesn't mean they deserve my respect or attention.

For the most part I agree, though as an aside I don't think there's a problem with games that offer optional "sexy costumes" for the player.  For instance, in several JRPGs - the Xenosaga series, most Tales games, and the remake of Persona 4 come to mind - you could do a few certain side-missions to earn bikini outfits for the main characters; something like that is fine, as it's easily ignored by anyone offended by it and it's not really part of the characters themselves.  I'm also fine with games that are made purely for fanservice (Senran Kagura is a pretty good brawler, and I'm eager to get the other games getting localized).  But games where fanservice isn't a main draw should try to be less sexist, when it comes to the main gameplay.

Offline ImaginedScenes

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #62 on: September 01, 2014, 08:07:42 PM »
I think this is my main beef with her, to be honest.  There's a difference between making an argument that "sexist games are bad"/"games should stop being sexist".  That's fine, and while I'm fine with a few aspects of some games being sexist for whatever reason, the industry has too much, especially at the AAA level.  The problem is that her videos come off sounding like she's saying "all games are sexist/bad", which is definitely not true, and that's why I wish she gave examples of games that did things well, or that weren't sexist.

Thinking about what was said earlier in the thread as well kind of made me realize something.  She's cherry picking examples to fit an agenda, I don't think anyone can really argue with that, and that's perfectly fine.  Where the problem comes in is if she's trying to act like she has no agenda and is being unbiased when doing so.  To an extent, she's not doing that; she's outright stating that this is a very feminist-slanted video series (heck, it's even in the name of her entire channel).  Where the problem comes in, is that her stated agenda of feminism doesn't seem to mesh with the videos; it seems that the videos have an agenda of "anti-gaming in general".

For the most part I agree, though as an aside I don't think there's a problem with games that offer optional "sexy costumes" for the player.  For instance, in several JRPGs - the Xenosaga series, most Tales games, and the remake of Persona 4 come to mind - you could do a few certain side-missions to earn bikini outfits for the main characters; something like that is fine, as it's easily ignored by anyone offended by it and it's not really part of the characters themselves.  I'm also fine with games that are made purely for fanservice (Senran Kagura is a pretty good brawler, and I'm eager to get the other games getting localized).  But games where fanservice isn't a main draw should try to be less sexist, when it comes to the main gameplay.

That's exactly what I mean. Should be more games that are positive and deep and not stereotypical and formulaic. Games with self-sufficient women are fun to play and I want more of them. But they also have to be fun games with good mechanics. Getting that doesn't mean banning most games or attacking games that are designed to be sexy. Promoting feminism doesn't mean being anti-games until all games follow whatever rules Anita would make for games. I like sexy RPGs and non-sexy RPGs and puzzle games and indie games and games with self-sufficient women. Nothing wrong with liking all of those things at the same time.

I disagree about cherry-picking. It's always wrong in my mind to act like something is more true than it is even if you state that you have an agenda. Attack problems for how much impact they really have and you'll be treated more seriously and not cause undue negativity. I think cherry-picking hurts a cause.

Offline Sabby

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #63 on: September 01, 2014, 08:50:55 PM »
Does she actually round up the positive examples of female representation and point out how it's improved over the years, or does she just find the black sheep and try to convince everyone the whole flock is black?
« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 09:02:17 PM by Sabby »

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #64 on: September 01, 2014, 09:00:17 PM »
Does she actually round up the positive examples of female representation and point out how it's improved over the years, or does she just find the black sheep and try to convince everyone the whole herd is black?

She rounds up the black sheep and lets the viewer come to their own conclusion after watching a horribly skewed example of everything.  I don't think she's ever said anything positive about games, though.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #65 on: September 01, 2014, 11:04:58 PM »
By the way, TotalBiscuit's Co-Optional Podcast went into this somewhat last week.  They kind of blur topics a bit but I think the relevant stuff starts around here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=cf7i0z2Zi7U&list=UUSvQyDawUyfXzrSq4dTVraQ#t=4668

Offline Sabby

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #66 on: September 01, 2014, 11:17:53 PM »
Jontron is infamously bad at expressing his opinions live. He seems very nervous, and I don't blame him. There are some places on the internet where being a straight white male tends to get you a lot of grief. Unless you express an opinion that is exactly the same as the group your talking to, you tend to get brow beaten into silence and told you have no place in the discussion, despite some of the brow beaters themselves being straight white males. Tumblr seems to be the big den of this kind of nastiness of late.

Jesse is pretty much on the money here though. Anita brings up good topics that deserve to be discussed, just the way she presents them is bloody atrocious. She honestly comes across as looking to goad people as an excuse to be the victim rather then actually getting to the truth of the matter and making any kind of progress. 
« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 11:32:42 PM by Sabby »

Offline Florence

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #67 on: September 02, 2014, 12:46:13 PM »
I'm horribly torn when it comes to things like Anita Sarkeesian. I am a feminist and I fully agree that the portrayal of women in a number of mediums, and certainly in my favorite of them: video games and comic books; need to be improved.

That said, from what I've seen of Anita Sarkeesian, she seems to doing a terrible job of bringing attention to that issues. She skews the truth, when there are REAL problems to focus on; and as a result, no one's paying attention to the problem, they're all paying attention to her. Instead of debating the actual issues, everyone's debating HER. If she wants to keep focus on the problems, she should stay focused on real problems, and not make stuff up. It is sexist if a game encourages misogyny, its not sexist if, purely through player choice, and with equal opportunity to do the same to men, players CAN by misogynistic in a game.

While I'm admittedly off-put by Thunderf00t's obsession with raging at feminists lately, I have watched a few of his videos and he breaks down the problem with her claiming Hitman is sexist pretty well. Just because a few strippers HAPPEN to be killable, in a game where pretty much EVERY random NPC is killable, male or female; and the game in NO WAY incentivizes you to kill said strippers; and in fact, penalizes you for it... its not sexist for them to merely exist in a game. Sure, its kind of sexist if players go out of their way to kill the strippers, but that's on the player. I'm sure there are some black NPCs in those games too, and its hardly racist on the developer's part if the PLAYERS opt to go out of their way to kill them for being black. In fact, in this case, Anita Sarkeesian reminds me of that guy who was claiming Left 4 Dead 2 was racist, because it had black zombies. Yes, there are black zombies, ignoring the fact that there are white zombies (not to be confused with White Zombie. badumtish) and the game encourages you to kill them both equally.

I certainly agree with the people saying she should give positive examples as well. Its not to say "look, there are some games that aren't sexist so we can all stop trying", its to point to those games and go "Look, people, THAT is how you do it."

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #68 on: September 02, 2014, 01:07:49 PM »
While I'm admittedly off-put by Thunderf00t's obsession with raging at feminists lately, I have watched a few of his videos and he breaks down the problem with her claiming Hitman is sexist pretty well. Just because a few strippers HAPPEN to be killable, in a game where pretty much EVERY random NPC is killable, male or female; and the game in NO WAY incentivizes you to kill said strippers; and in fact, penalizes you for it... its not sexist for them to merely exist in a game. Sure, its kind of sexist if players go out of their way to kill the strippers, but that's on the player. I'm sure there are some black NPCs in those games too, and its hardly racist on the developer's part if the PLAYERS opt to go out of their way to kill them for being black. In fact, in this case, Anita Sarkeesian reminds me of that guy who was claiming Left 4 Dead 2 was racist, because it had black zombies. Yes, there are black zombies, ignoring the fact that there are white zombies (not to be confused with White Zombie. badumtish) and the game encourages you to kill them both equally.

I agree that it's still incredibly dishonest to say that their mere existence in a game that allows you to kill any minor NPC encourages violence against women specifically, but I'd say it can be sexist for them to exist in a game if there's no real justification for them to be there beyond titillation.  Some games have a pretty solid reason for the brothels and strip clubs (often as a symbol of vice, corruption, and general crime), so I can't fault them for that, but other games just have them in there "just because", and that gets a bit annoying.

Although, what do you guys think about games that toss in a brothel/strip club/etc that's purely for player interaction?  I believe Mass Effect has something like this, with one of the races featured in a strip club or something of the sort, that the player can sit and watch.  Personally, I think scenes like that are just a little easter egg, something the developers tossed in there just for something amusing.  Assuming the game doesn't go out of its way to shove it in the player's face (the player can complete the main story without ever setting foot in the area, and they don't have to walk past someone propositioning them, for instance), is that a real problem for people to have something like that included, or is it easy enough to brush it off as "not for me" and ignore it?

Offline Sabby

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #69 on: September 02, 2014, 01:19:55 PM »
Although, what do you guys think about games that toss in a brothel/strip club/etc that's purely for player interaction?  I believe Mass Effect has something like this, with one of the races featured in a strip club or something of the sort, that the player can sit and watch.

Scenes like this are for world building. It's one thing to say "There's no need for a strip club to be here" and another to say "Strip clubs don't exist". When you visit the Presidium in Mass Effect, you get a clean and idyllic vision of order, but walk long enough and you find it's just as seedy underneath as every where else. Why not illustrate it with a strip club, and hell, throw a corrupt cop and a crime lord, just flavor the whole place to express that the Presidium is no difference to any where else.

Now, Grand Theft Auto 4... there's an inclusion of a strip club we could really do without. Pay in game money for a decently animated strip tease. Pay enough times, get a differently animated strip tease. Then you're done. This part of the game has been exhausted for you.

Offline ImaginedScenes

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #70 on: September 02, 2014, 01:25:45 PM »
Strip clubs are like rape and mass shooting. They exist in real life? Yep. Then put it in a game that explores a real life circumstance and treat it like a real life circumstance. That's all I ask. If the game is just a fantasy joyride there's no reason for any of that to be included. Well, unless it's a sexual game. Whole different subject, that.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #71 on: September 02, 2014, 01:37:40 PM »
Strip clubs are like rape and mass shooting. They exist in real life? Yep. Then put it in a game that explores a real life circumstance and treat it like a real life circumstance. That's all I ask. If the game is just a fantasy joyride there's no reason for any of that to be included. Well, unless it's a sexual game. Whole different subject, that.

When you visit the Presidium in Mass Effect, you get a clean and idyllic vision of order, but walk long enough and you find it's just as seedy underneath as every where else. Why not illustrate it with a strip club, and hell, throw a corrupt cop and a crime lord, just flavor the whole place to express that the Presidium is no difference to any where else.

Is it wrong for me to look at these and say "Hang on a minute... why is a strip club automatically associated with something being seedy, corrupt, etc"?  I mean, it's one thing to show a seedy brothel where some of the workers aren't doing everything by choice and say "this is an example of how corrupt this place is", but to assume every strip club has to be the same way seems rather generalizing...

Offline Sabby

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #72 on: September 02, 2014, 01:40:34 PM »
Witcher 2 is a fantastic example of this. It includes some really nasty real world stuff for no other reason then "It would exist in this world". The rampant racism and misogyny isn't there for anyone to 'enjoy', it's just a few pieces of a world that is made to and mostly succeeds at being convincing to the player.

Is it wrong for me to look at these and say "Hang on a minute... why is a strip club automatically associated with something being seedy, corrupt, etc"?  I mean, it's one thing to show a seedy brothel where some of the workers aren't doing everything by choice and say "this is an example of how corrupt this place is", but to assume every strip club has to be the same way seems rather generalizing...

That's kind of how strip clubs are typically used in fiction, sort of an all purpose crime front to allow the undesirable characters to be out in the open.

Offline ImaginedScenes

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #73 on: September 02, 2014, 02:25:32 PM »
Didn't want to get into a side-debate about what strip clubs are or what they mean to various people, so I just said "treat it like a real life circumstance". Bad on me to only pair it with rape and mass shootings. Could also be porn or romance. Not everything is appropriate for every game. I was just arguing that something being considered bad by many people isn't reason to remove it. Mass shootings are really horrible but they might have a place in realistic games.

Offline Sabby

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #74 on: September 02, 2014, 02:31:24 PM »
If I had to try and rephrase it, it would be like this. Create coherent worlds. Don't add the strip club solely for the player to enjoy, make sure it belongs there as well.