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Men vs Tropes vs Women in Video Games

Anita Sarkeesian’s latest video in the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series came out in the last few days, and it’s a doozy. While the series overall looks at how representations of women* accord to sexist and oppressive stereotypes, and why that might be a bad thing, this particular piece demonstrates just how prevalent the trope of the damsel in distress is in modern blockbuster gaming, and just how damaging that is to the accurate representation of her gender.

There are of course some people, and I use the word in its loosest possible sense, who would rather the YouTube series didn’t exist. They’d rather that everyone just stopped talking about female players, and just went back to assuming that gaming is an exclusively pastime. They’d like us to go back to sleep, thank you, and when we don’t they get upset. Sarkeesian has been accused of bad faith, of stealing from the people who dared to back her campaign on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. She’s been accused of being a rabid feminist, of simply being hateful to men. And, most problematic of all, she’s been accused of ignoring harmful tropes against men that might blunt here argument.

The problem is that institutional sexism, misogyny and rape culture towards women exist, whereas structural misandry just don’t real.

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DragonKnight1542d ago (Edited 1542d ago )

For the love of sanity, you can't be serious with this tripe can you? The Bechdel test?

Ok, I can go on and on about this, tearing holes in everything said in this piece, in Anita's video, and in all the bile spewings of every White Knight pseudo-journalist that exists on the internet but I'm not going to. Instead I'm going to boil it down simply for you.

These are video games. They are fiction. They don't represent life. They don't represent people's ideas of life. They don't represent how people treat others in real life. They are fantasy, they are escapism, they AREN'T real.

How, in one breath, can we as gamers say that video games are not the cause of, nor have a direct causal link to, violence and yet come up with the B.S. that gaming promotes sexism, misogyny, and anything that is basically anti-woman?

It's because it's all B.S.

It's also a HUGE double standard thanks to the complete ignorance of how men are treated in video games.

If you're a white knight reading this, ask yourself this question. When was the last time you thought to yourself "gee, I wouldn't mind risking my life, breaking every bone in my body, suffering multiple puncture, fire, and bullet wounds to rescue someone who will probably forget that I saved their life the next time we see each other?"

Exactly, you frickin' wouldn't ever think that at all. And yet that's what's expected of men in games. But no, that's perfectly alright because we're men. We're supposed to kill ourselves doing these things. But women? Nah, god forbid they ever even be hinted at being treated with REAL equality. You can't put them in danger because then it's abuse, and you can't place them in the opposite position because then it's sexist.

Make up your frickin' minds and then grow the hell up and realize that your life's struggles aren't being retold in a video game. There is a reason it's called a GAME.

I'm approving this because I want people to see just how far this poison continues to seep into the gaming consciousness.

**EDIT** And what a common practice it is to threaten censorship so no one can post an opposing point of view. Of course using the excuse of "be warned, if you're a misogynist then you're going to be silenced" is a great way to show that you care about discussion.

cleft51542d ago (Edited 1542d ago )

The whole no comment thing on the video is what really kills what she has to say for me. She can have the most valid point in the world, but if she isn't open for discussing those points than why even bother listening to someone who is just preaching at you. If I wanted to be preached at I would attend church. I believe in open discussion.

FantasyStar1542d ago

You could probably reach for an open dialog if you contacted her directly, or opened a topic on Reddit requesting her presence on /r/TrueReddit. Youtube is one of the last places to go to for an engaged discussion on this matter.

coolbeans1542d ago

This comic paints a better picture than my response would:

http://www.escapistmagazine...

HonestDragon1542d ago (Edited 1542d ago )

"How, in one breath, can we as gamers say that video games are not the cause of, nor have a direct causal link to, violence and yet come up with the B.S. that gaming promotes sexism, misogyny, and anything that is basically anti-woman?"

That is very true. It's like, how are we supposed to defend our hobby from these many attackers when they throw curve balls at us from every direction? Video games get blamed for violence, for misogyny, and for causing illness (and I am not joking on that one). The list gets more ridiculous as the months go on.

In relation to the article, not only is this blatant white knighting, but it's a grammatical mess. It was difficult to follow enough as it is with the author's praising of Anita's latest video. I just saw her video and I can only shake my head.

My main criticism of her video is that if she is so adamant on showing women in peril as a bad trope, then why doesn't she show enough or any content of women in empowering roles to show that the trope is not as mainstream instead of making a small footnote? There are many female characters in leading, supporting, and opposing roles that show incredible prowess. Alas, Anita chooses to ignore them in favor of going for what she deems viable for her series. Even then, she said there's going to be a final video.

So, is that going to be it then or is she going to tackle other subjects? I don't know. Personally, she isn't making a good impression with gamers and I think that she's taking advantage of the subject and her audience.

DMAgony1542d ago

"That is very true. It's like, how are we supposed to defend our hobby from these many attackers when they throw curve balls at us from every direction? Video games get blamed for violence, for misogyny, and for causing illness (and I am not joking on that one). The list gets more ridiculous as the months go on."

She's not blaming video games for misogyny, simply stating that video games are mirroring modern societies built in misogyny.

"In relation to the article, not only is this blatant white knighting, but it's a grammatical mess."

Yeah, I can't argue that the grammar was atrocious in that article.

"My main criticism of her video is that if she is so adamant on showing women in peril as a bad trope, then why doesn't she show enough or any content of women in empowering roles to show that the trope is not as mainstream instead of making a small footnote? There are many female characters in leading, supporting, and opposing roles that show incredible prowess. Alas, Anita chooses to ignore them in favor of going for what she deems viable for her series. Even then, she said there's going to be a final video."

Strawman argument. She titled the videos "damsels in distress", so she is going to focus on the examples that support her argument. You don't title an article "Why apples are disgusting" then talk about why apples are delicious. Though in your example it would be more like saying "Pears and oranges are excellent." While still factual and a thing that can be talked about...isn't really the point of what you said you were going to talk about.

"Personally, she isn't making a good impression with gamers and I think that she's taking advantage of the subject and her audience."

Why? Because she is presenting and looking at a topic from a viewpoint that isn't yours? Because you are the gate-keeper to all gaming and since you are displeased all gamers must also be displeased?

DragonKnight1542d ago

@HonestDragon: She has a video list of the subjects she wants to talk about, spanning 12 videos. She will apparently have one that discusses strong women, though even that is skewed with her feminism and making the statement that the women are only strong for reasons other than simply being strong.

@DMAgony: -And she's wrong. Video games aren't mirroring modern society, and making the claim that they are built in misogyny is a blatant lie. Most people don't even know how to use the word misogyny in its correct context, let alone have the credentials to make the claim that it's what society is founded upon.

-They say that the best debaters are the ones that can argue, successfully, for both sides. Anita is interested only in what she has to say and nothing else. She doesn't talk about any opposing side because she's not interested in it. That's also why she blocks comments. It's not because of the trolls, she's used the trolls to drum up support. She doesn't want people to destroy her arguments and make her look as stupid as she is.

-Lame sarcasm is lame.

Sketchy_Galore1542d ago

"Strawman argument. She titled the videos "damsels in distress", so she is going to focus on the examples that support her argument. You don't title an article "Why apples are disgusting" then talk about why apples are delicious. Though in your example it would be more like saying "Pears and oranges are excellent." While still factual and a thing that can be talked about...isn't really the point of what you said you were going to talk about."

So her complaint is that, among the many games that show women as commanders of armed forces, professional fighters, police, strong resourceful heroes and more, there are a few games that show women in peril needing the help of a man? Is she arguing that no woman should be represented in any form of art as ever needing the help of a man? As you yourself admit she's not arguing that the damsel is the only role offered to women in games.

Her complete avoidance of mentioning the many strong female role models offered in games is not as you say, 'like arguing the case that apples are disgusting by talking about how apples are delicious'. It's more like titling an article, 'Why Mexicans are filthy criminals' and purposefully not mentioning the many Mexicans that wash daily and have never broken the law. It's lying by omission of the information that contradicts your assertion.

jc485731542d ago

I've seen youtube videos where women disagree with the series as well. You can find them online.

DragonKnight1542d ago

Yep, quite a few of them in fact. But see, you're not allowed to say that because any woman that disagrees with White Knights, or feminists, are obviously being forced to by a man, or have been pushed to feeling that way by the the White Male privilege driven Patriarchy.

ArnoldSchwarzenigra1542d ago

I have the utmost respect for women.

cleft51542d ago

The whole no comment thing kind of kills whatever she has to say for me. I believe in open discussion, not one person preaching at people from on high. I watched the first bit of her video and she made some connections that she really hasn't firmly established. I see the whole Damsel in Distress thing as nothing more than a story telling mechanic that works well because it connects with people on an emotional level. I don't see it as a male power fantasy, because there have been stories in game where the female is the one saving the males and the story telling mechanic works the exact same way.

For example, look at Bioware games or Beyond Good and Evil. I think she is overly simplifying the issue to prove a point that she never firmly establishes. Of course, you can't comment on that because she has decided to live in a bubble where she ignores what anyone else has to say.

I understand and respect that she doesn't want to be harassed. But the reality is that if and when you take on an issue like this you have to be ready for those few small minded individuals. What she is doing now just seems cowardly and while she may have a good point to make, she is making that point while living inside a glass bubble. So I think I am done listening to what she has to say. I have no problem with being part of a conversation, but I don't need people who live in a glass bubble preaching at me.

Krimmson1542d ago

When people made fun of her for e-begging to make internet videos, she pulls the damsel in distress card and then next thing you know she gets paid, what some may consider, three years worth of a salary from a bunch of white knights.

I still don't get why it took 3 months to make a second video after it nearly took her a year to make the first one. And they're not even that well researched (she obviously didn't play through all of Double Dragon Neon for example)

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