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By the Way... Elitists and Exclusionary Boy's Clubs

I'm not usually one who is big into blogging, or talking on the internet much. Not that it has anything to do with you fine folks, it's just that I prefer to keep to myself, and not pester anyone unduly.

But this is a topic which has seemed to seep into all forms of gaming "journalism" and I would like to address it finally from my point of view. And what better place than here, N4G. Home of some of the most informed gamers I know.

Well, let's get this show on the road. Anita Sarkeesian. She has been called many things by the people of the internet, from scum bag, to gaming messiah. See, her story is basically as follows-

Anita is a feminist, and good thing too! Women are indeed, under represented in gaming, Anita herself describes gaming as "An exclusionary boy's club" where women are not wanted or are mere objects of lust. For the most part, I agree with her. But we will get to that later. See, Anita had a Youtube page dedicated to picking apart various forms of media to point out the tropes that paint women in a negative light, or otherwise, try to keep women as second class citizens. This is surely a noble pursuit, and good on her for pursuing this... Pursuit.

But now, Anita is taking on video games. That is all fine and good. The image of women in games is usually as a sex object or a princess in distress, so that could stand to change. But it is the way she is approaching this that doesn't sit right with me. I don't know this woman. I don't know if she even plays games. But she comes around on the Kickstarters and starts demanding money for making Youtube videos.

Here is my problem with Ms. Sarkeesian:

1- Youtube is a free platform, it is simple as that
2- If Anita was in fact a "gamer" she would already have games
3- If Anita has no games of her own to analyze, why is she doing this in the first place?

So why all the fanfare? Why raise thousands of dollars if you are already doing Youtube videos to begin with? I don't know, but since her Kickstarter got funded, with I don't know how many dollars, she seems to have done nothing but be the center of attention in the gaming media. Not a single video has come out, yet Anita finds the time to take trips to do workshops with game devs, and to give TED talks. It seems like if you were going to be this impassioned about a subject, an important social disease like misogyny, and you went out of your way to fund this project with thousands of your fan's hard earned dollars, that you would at least make a video or two.

That is my two cents on Anita. Great gal. I wish her all the luck in the world, but she needs to get on the fucking ball.

Next, I would like to talk about a second group claiming that games are in fact "elitist boys clubs" I am talking of course, about so called "fake gamers"

There has been a lot of discussion lately as to who is and who isn't a "real gamer" Now let me say this as simply as possible... Gaming, historically, has been a niche hobby. People who play games religiously, have always been seen as social outcasts, for lack of a better word. So with the recent rise of social gaming, and the casualizing of the medium, we have seen nothing less of a full blown cultural shift. Games are now in, and all the popular kids are claiming to be OG original gamers, but the thing is, a lot of these people are the same guys that were giving gamers wedgies in high school. These people that used to ostracize gamers, and even make fun of gaming and gamers, are now claiming to be gamers themselves. This is a cultural trend that is very strange indeed.

Whats more, these guys and gals that used to be some how above gaming, are claiming that we who have been long time gamers, are acting like elitists for being skeptical of these newcomers. All I have to say to them is "too bad." This is a technology culture. We have put in hours, months, and years into these games, and when someone just shows up one day, and expects to be part of the gang, they get laughed out. I'm not a motorhead, so if I went out one day, bought a muscle car, and started showing up to conventions and shit, I would be laughed out too. Because I would not be a genuine car collector, mechanic, or what have you. You can't just go out and buy a Gameboy and claim to be a true die hard gamer. You have to earn your keep here. It is the same with any other niche culture. You just have to deal with that. Expecting anything else is juvenile and childish. That is just the way it is.

All that aside, nobody in the world, whether soccer mom, jock, or preppy, should be scared away from gaming. Just don't insult us by trying to force your way in to the culture. Start gaming, if you wish. Learn your shit. Actually play games instead of using them as fashion accessories. That is all I have to say about that.

So there you have it. My first attempt at blogging. Maybe I will keep this up, it was fun to write, and I hope you had fun reading. Please, leave any comments, hateful, sympathetic, or otherwise. I would love to start a dialog here. Talking is the key to understanding.

Till next time?

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ShenmueHadoken1904d ago

Well what I do have to say about new comers to gaming is that I dont think many of them intend to insult anyone and I think the enthusiasm gets to them. I have been gaming for a long time throughout my life and if a new gamer came along, perhaps 12 or 13 and they told me they had just finished Earthbound on SNES and was insulting say 25 year old C.O.D die hard that had been gaming for the past five years or so, I would argue the little guy would have a point.

you mentioned the car analogy and went on to say if you went out and bought a brand new muscle car then you would be laughed out the field, however if you were getting into it and bought a vintage 1969 Impala and showed it off im sure I would get more props then the guy who has shown up with a vintage Mustang thats been seen hundreds of times before. Its hard to label all new comers as green and who has done their homework but unfortunately those using it as a fashion accessory are all ways going to be there.

And just a quick point about women in video games. While its a valid point there are many examples of bad ass women in gaming have for a long time. Going as far back as Samus! Or how about Elaine Marley from treasure of Monkey Island? Sure she needed rescuing, but she was so bad ass and ended up being more capable than Guybrush. Jill or Claire from the Resident Evil series? Sex sells in any industry and thats not something that is going away, but I have never seen females exiled from gaming and in many MMORPG's its actually the opposite. Many of my WoW guild Masters were female and were respected and more than capable

Great piece though and it does raise allot of issues. I have only just recently hit the blog scene to and I hope to see you stick around, I will be watching for future updates :D

parkerpeters1904d ago

I could have gone more in depth in my car analogy. What I was getting at is if someone, say a banker, takes a 2008 Mustang to a car show, full of seasoned mechanics, and they start spouting about how great they are at driving their awesome muscle car, they would probably get all sorts of flak. These guys at these shows have been fixing up cars, and restoring vintage automobiles for years, and this banker just shows up with a brand new car and expects to be immediately accepted as one of the guys. It doesn't work that way.

It is the same as a frat boy or a sorority girl that just one day decide to pick up Call of Duty, and they instantly assume that we will accept them into the fold. This is not a culture that is all accepting. No culture is, especially to those who have historically been antagonistic of our culture.

DragonKnight1903d ago (Edited 1903d ago )

I tire greatly of this subject and of Ms. Sarkeesian in particular. I especially dislike the consistently incorrect usage of the buzzword "misogyny."

To clarify, misogyny is the hatred or distrust of women. That is simply not present in any form of legitimate gaming and the poorly interpreted psychological argument that women being displayed in an "unrealistic" light equals hate is just wrong (not saying that's what you said, but I know it will go there.)

To put it plainly, Ms. Sarkeesian is an insult to the hard working women of the gaming industry, and the strong female characters that have been a part of gaming since the days of the NES. The best feminists to further the cause of women seeking more equality have always been the kind of women who lead strong and positive lives as an example, not do everything they can to insult people with poorly backed accusations of sexism.

Anita Sarkeesian is just a pissed off woman who is using a political platform to launch her own career further. She is no different than the politicians claiming that games cause violence. There are too many who actually believe that games are inherently sexist when they aren't. What is actually occurring are people with huge personal problems projecting their own anger, or hate, from events in their own lives onto gaming. I defy anyone to prove that gaming in any way shape or form taints how anyone treats women, or men, in the real world.

And it's quite funny that it's so easy to speak of misogyny but no one seems to consider the opposite side. How games could clearly be portraying misandry. But of course that won't be discussed because all men are 6 feet tall hulking masses of muscle who are only capable of killing and have nothing better to do than "rescue" a "damsel in distress."

I wouldn't be surprised if Ms. Sarkeesian fleeced everyone in Kickstarter to further her own personal gains. She didn't need Kickstarter for this project at all. Gamefly could let her rent any games she needed, and a simple webcam and some editing could take care of the rest. She's quite simply a blight.

parkerpeters1903d ago

I agree that she could have rented the games, but that wouldn't have made her a star!

But yeah, misogyny I think, is present in gaming culture, the whole "go back to the kitchen" and "make me a sandwich" shit in online communities is surely the hatred of women in the community at large. Given that some of these women are "fake gamers" as I put it, I assure you there are a large number of female gamers that ARE the genuine article, and are still hated by the online community.

wishingW3L1903d ago (Edited 1903d ago )

who's Anita again?

But anyway... About true gamer and stuff I don't care. There are only 3 kinds of people: the ones that play games casually, the ones that don't play games and those that play more than what it is considered "normal".

parkerpeters1903d ago

There is another type- The gamers who just buy systems, especially handhelds it seems, as a fashion accessory, and for it's "oh so retro" appeal.

majiebeast1903d ago (Edited 1903d ago )

Ms. Sarkeesian doesnt do her research.

This is her opinion on Bayonetta