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Creator of "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games" Kickstarter Recieves Death, Rape Threats

Women: Despite having brought the curse of death upon us (thanks, Eve), pushed our screaming forms into an unforgiving world, and delivered innumerable time-outs, we love them - moreover, some of us even respect them. Unfortunately, when it comes to video games, women too often find themselves as damsels in distress, support characters, or everyone's favorite, "t*ts with a backstory." As it happens, many women take issue with this. Anita Sarkeesian, writer, video blogger, and feminist, would like to see this change.

Having regularly released videos at her site, Feminist Frequency, Sarkeesian, "a gamer, a pop culture critic and a fan," seeks to turn her attention to the world of video games. The goal of the Kickstarter project is to raise money to produce a series of videos, 10-20 minutes in length, to "explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games." The money raised "will go towards production costs, equipment, games and downloadable content."

Unfortunately, such an endeavor is not without its detractors: in this case, said detractors have voiced their opposition in a most vulgar manner.

From Feminist Frequency:


As some of you may know a harassment campaign is being waged against me because of my Tropes vs Women in Video Games project on Kickstarter. This coordinated attack was launched by various online video game forums and has included attempts to get my accounts banned, a torrent of hate on YouTube, plus countless threats of violence, death, sexual assault and rape. As part of that intimidation effort the Wikipedia page about me was vandalized with misogynist language, pornography and racial slurs.

Those who treasure the joy of high blood pressure can find a screencap of the (very NSFW) defacement here.

Yours truly gives shares some (non-video game related) thoughts after the jump!

via Feminist Frequency

While such behavior has become almost commonplace - the internet, in its otherwise beautiful anarchy, has the unfortunate distinction of serving as a meeting ground for despicable individuals - harassment such as this speaks to a larger, and far more troubling trend. As progressive as the popular consciousness may tell us we have become - "official" strides in gender equality have indeed been made in modern times, if principally on paper - the specter of misogyny still haunts the social landscape. Any dominant group - be it racial, religious, or in this case, a particular gender - imbued with a sense of self-entitlement, will find within it a segment of reactionaries that fight for their own (perceived) narrow interests. Then, there is the popular denial that women's "issues" are anything but: Women have the right to vote, have the right to equal employment, and have the right to live as independent lives if they so choose, unmolested by the norms of our narrow-minded forbearers. The ways of old - that unenlightened, shameful epoch - has been kicked into the septic tank of history, and we have moved on - end of story.

Sadly, for anyone who has been fortunate to know one or more women, such notions are largely false. Whether kept alive in the form of "old fashioned" traditionalism, or sexist remarks shared in the company of "us guys," misogyny still exists within the collective mind. Sadly, this is something that, aside from scant mentions here and there, society has largely brushed under the rug. Behind the sheen of normalcy, and exacerbated by the mainstream "compulsion" to recognize gender equality, antiquated notions of gender roles - the idea that women should be subservient, or at least secondary to their male counterparts - have yet to be vanquished once and for all. When it comes to these issues, individuality is tolerated on the condition that it not deviate too far from what it "means" to be a woman - or for that matter, what it means to be a man. To realize true individuality, one must first be freed of the expectations, irrelevant as they are, that the arbiters of gender impose - and this is especially poignant in the case of women.

Sadly, progress does not come easily. Real, substantive change is granted not by the stroke of a pen; it finds itself erected incrementally - bit by miniscule bit - and even when it seems as though society has begun to turn the corner, one is reminded of the discouraging truth that misogyny, rather than being an echo of the past, lives on.

The function of bigotry, and its fundamental cowardice, lies in its methods. Everybody loves a good scapegoat: whether homosexuals, transgendered people, religious minorities, atheists, or foreigners, the small-minded will find their personal kicking post - whether as a matter of pride, or to assert some paltry measure of power - all the while espousing angst at "political correctness gone mad," and that dreaded "culture of victimhood."

The twist, of course, is that no one plays the victim with greater fervor than the bigots. Driven by a vulgar sense of entitlement, the poor, persecuted majority waxes poetic about their plight: a culture coming unwound, the brazen tearing asunder of fundamental values, their particular breed of Americana becoming a bygone era - one remembered with due fondness, and pining for its picturesque purity - after that foul liberalism bled the greatness of our fair nation, dooming us to the permissiveness that that we are told will be our undoing. It's cynical, sinister, and almost amusingly, purveyed largely by those to whom said power will never belong. However, it is emotionally gratifying - and most importantly, it's easy.

For me, the issue of misogyny treads especially close to the personal. My family consists almost entirely of women (every visit home is met with the overpowering waft of estrogen), as does my group of close friends, including my best friend and confidant. Being a stalwart bearer of the Y chromosome, I would never be so arrogant as to say that I "understand" the challenges faced by our female peers - nor can any man. Still, we can stand in solidarity: not as some kind of token gesture, but simply as a matter of good sense.

Thankfully, for those of us on the side of sanity, acts of bigotry tend to backfire. In the case of Anita Sarkeesian, said backfiring has found her with $52,874 worth of donations to her Kickstarter - almost nine times her goal of $6,000 - with four days until she receives funding. How much of that has come in the wake of this ugly series of events is unknown, but hate has a way of galvanizing resistance. For those of you that wish to contribute to her project you can do so at this link.

27 Comments

g_whiz said:

Your response to this is outstanding, and perhaps more reasoned than is deserved. I swear, every time one of these mouth breathing entitled jackoffs does something like this it makes the gaming community look like every stereotype the mainstream has for us.

That and the wikipedia "edit" is so incomprehensible it reads like smucky bigoted version a Mad Libs. Amateur hour.

Nexus said:

The hate campaign is disgusting and people who do something like that are despicable.

On the other hand, I don't know what to make of her either.

Frankly I see plenty of great women characters in videogames.
Sure there are horribly sexist ones, but so are male characters. Are the Gears of War guys any better male rolemodels than Lara Croft is a female one?
And you can reduce any character to a trope. There really is a trope for just about anything, which makes that especially easy.

Also I see she's gotten upwards of $55000 of donations. Does she really need all that money to make a few simple webvideos? Is that the budget Wootini uses for his podcasts? People make online videos for nothing everyday.
Though I guess if people are willing to give, why refuse? I'd still feel rather odd about accepting 10 times the money I felt I needed to make something other people make for free.

wohdin said:

While there is no excuse or pardon for these kinds of vitriolic threats, I kind of do have to sympathise with the anger behind them. This project was pathetically masturbatory and, to be honest, insulting to women. This idea that women in games need to be strong, but not TOO strong, pretty but not TOO pretty, smart but not an ultragenius, flirtatious but not "slutty", and overall exactly slightly above average in every way, that somehow supercedes the notion that women might actually already have a pretty good and diverse representation in modern games, which includes vibrant, realistic and relateable characters that don't pander to sexist stereotypes (besides, well, chauvinistic garbage like COD/GTA, and if that's what you girls are fighting for then you should probably get your heads checked because that's like petitioning Pat Robertson to support gay marriage), never fails to baffle me. Yes, there's always room for improvement, especially in this industry, but if you're going to spend so much effort dissecting already established iconic female characters and nitpicking why they're not "just right" as a role model for every female gamer out there (and who, exactly, do *GUYS* have in the gaming metaverse as a "universal" role model? it's not like we have ever needed or expected one, anyway), then at least spend HALF that much effort trying to make changes in the industry to improve that representation for future games. And the future already looks better for female representation, from what I've seen in recent years.

Graeme said:

Nice that women are starting to make a greater contribution to the game industry or rather it's nice that the industry is finally listening.

Here's hoping that having received 10 times the anticipated funding, Anita can reach 10 times the intended audience or have 10 times the impact (or both - 100 times. Whew!)

Thanks for the article GayGamer, like to read more of this ilk.

G.

Stan said:

Nexus - maybe she'll donate the leftover money to a feminist cause. i think that would be a very moral thing to do. she only asked for a certain amount, and now it's ballooned up like crazy. if she kept it, i'd have to look at her differently.

ThomTurtle said:

Nexus: I think it's the lack of variety that this series addresses. And with the extra money she has received, she is addressing positive examples of women in gaming and making a curriculum with which this material can be shared in the classroom.

And yes, Wootini does a great job making videos. But he has a very barebones style to his video. Which is engaging to us as people interested in the subject. But, trying to draw outside interest, production values help.

SuperSwede said:

On the money front, it's sort of a sticky situation. The Kickstarter did indeed generate far more than she intended (with the $6,000 goal), and while donating the excess cash to a feminist cause is a nice (and fitting) idea, i can see it generating some anger among those who donated -- since the donations are assumed to be going to the project itself.

I've yet to see an updated stretch goal, but I'm guessing there are going to be more videos as a result of the excess cash. I'll try to contact her to clarify; her contact info mentions for "those in the press" (shut up, i am too press), so hopefully i can get an answer.

Charlie said:

I hear people say that men are also stereotyped in games and that in some way invalidates her argument but what you have to take into account is what message the stereotypes send and how harmful is it.

The over-sexualization OF Lara Croft isn't really comparable to the exaggeration of the physiques of male Gears of War characters. If all male video game characters were depicted like artist Joe Phillips depicts superheroes (and part of me wishes they were) as sexual beings first and heroes second a point could be made.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/25/superheroes-come-out-of-the-closet_n_906716.html#s313913&title=Gay_Comic_Artist

Ryu being insanely well built in depictions doesn't cause the same issues for men as Cammie being scantily clad and bent over for in hers. You won't find many comments beneath Ryu pics saying "Yeah I'd like to get me some of that - he could make me a sammich!"

Squiggy said:

I don't think "stereotyped" is the right term to use for you comment. Sexually objectified is what you're looking for, and I don't believe that's what was being commented on.

Video games have negative tropes of males as well. Highly violent, womanizers, homophobic, emotionless beasts like Duke Nukem and Kratos off the top of my head. Feminists will dismiss these tropes because "they're still heroes" or "are in power", when what we should be questioning is if these character tropes are healthy examples of masculinity for gaming audiences. Neither gender's negative tropes should invalidate one another, and yet both sides often attempt to do so when we should be recognizing and addressing the negative consequences of both.

It's highly disappointing to see such a thing has happened to someone that is only trying to better our society. It was unwarranted, and horrible. There is no excuse for such behavior, however, I find myself not surprised it happened. Much of this is backlash from radical feminism. We are seeing an cycle of hate loop around, as generations of males that have been brought up in a radical feminist-influenced society find themselves under a barrage of unfair blame, judgement, and misandry (not only a concern brought to light by men, but women and even feminists). None of that warrants what happened, but I think there's an issue here that will never be resolved.

Things like this make it hard for me to believe the genders will ever truly value one another.

Rosa said:

The simple fact is that females in games are portrayed as male fantasies.

And males in games are portrayed as ... male fantasies.

I'm not saying that the Gears of War characters aren't harmful, just that they're what men want to see. Just as the female characters are what men want to see. That's the distinction, that's the point. EVERY character in a video game is designed to be appealing to a male perspective, and that IS sexist.

Now, if all male characters were scantily clad and did sexy poses and their armour showed off their adonis belt and their ass, then we would have the same situation. Or if all female characters were like Vasquez from Aliens, same thing. But that's not what we're looking at.

Nexus said:

@Charlie - I'm sorry, but your wrong. Men get the same kind of body issues as women do over the way they are portrayed in the media.
I can tell you I'm on crazy diets and excericise all the time and it's not for my health. It's because I want a well muscled body like the characters from comicbooks/games/A-list celebs/etc.
I wouldn't go as far myself, but some men even get pec implants.
Both genders are affected by what kind of body the media tells us we should have.
It's just that it isn't talked about all that much with men.

Squiggy said:

In my opinion, this is where it becomes apparent the intent isn't betterment for women and girls, but rather actively seeking a way to turn it into a "men are bad" argument. "Sexist" has become a word that is attached to anything male related to demonize and discredit men rather than accurately describe genuine sexism. The problem you're describing here isn't caused BY "male fantasy", but rather the fact that male fantasy DOMINATES the medium, with no representation of female fantasy, and weak to mild representation of positive role models for either gender.

To claim male fantasy is sexist isn't a surprising comment, I've come to find radical feminism leans toward seeking out, and demonizing anything male or masculine, and it conditions women of all walks of life to do so. Having grown up in a predominantly female household myself, I've been witness to plenty of media aimed at female fantasy, and much like male fantasy, it creates female characters that are female fantasies, and male characters that are eye candy to cater to female fantasy. Yet, I won't condemn that kind of media as "sexist" anymore than the male counterpart. Any intelligent person can understand the difference between fantasy and reality, and everyone should understand the value of human fantasy. Humans fantasize. That is NOT a bad thing.

You're making the assumption that EVERY video game centers around sexuality. You use the words "every" and "all" in regard to games and characters. That is a HUGE and incorrect assumption, but not a surprising one. The instant anything negative pops up in video games, it's as if anything positive and good in the medium magically becomes negated. It's absurd, and it's a manipulative method used to distort perceptions about something in order to make a point. This isn't to say there isn't a need for change within the industry, there is a severe need for better female characters in video games. I truly hope that we not only see more games developed for female players, but that we also see a more positive presence of female characters and role models that BOTH genders can look to.

Female fantasy is far, far less likely to be represented in video games, and the discussion on the value of fantasy for either gender, and the need for good role models for either gender is an important one. To simplify and minimize all of this to "male fantasy is sexist" not only works toward creating negative perceptions about men, but completely ignores the issue at hand. It's a disservice to both genders.

Rosa said:

This makes me sad. I've always come to this website because I've thought of it as welcoming to women who were tried to the treatment of other women in video games, especially queer women like me. Finding out that the bulk of the commenters are in fact sexists and anti-feminists is pretty shitty.

Just ask yourself if this would be different if this was a project about how gay characters are portrayed in video games. And people immediately jumped to "well straight characters are portrayed badly, too." Well, yeah, they are. They're portrayed as womanizing scumbags and that's harmful and teaches me that to be real men they have to treat women badly and have a million hot ass sex partners and blah blah blah. But the fact is -- it's a completely different situation, because straight people are not a marginalized group!

Saying that feminism is anti-male is the same as saying that gay rights are anti-straight. You can't discuss one without involving the other, because they're analogous. In saying "straight people have it way easier than gay people," you're not demonizing straights, you're admitting a simple fact.

I'm pretty appalled at this.

g_whiz said:

I agree with Rosa, and think a lot of this argument is sliding the goal posts. "Well what about the mennnnnn" She's not focusing on men in games because, while there are stereotypes there's a lot more diversity in male characters and their roles in the stories than female. That's the point and its almost a defying of reality to disagree with it.

Video gaming is overtly male, and a lot of the depictions of women are in fact sexist. Wilting flowers, dragon ladies and femme fatalies posing for the male gaze. Its obvious that women aren't depicted in games the same way as men, and all I'm seeing from some on this thread are attacks of her credibility for making a valid point. Should we call the writers on this site "radical gays" for criticizing the more shallow depictions of gay characters (or lack thereof)?

My 10 year old niece points this out when she plays video games with me and she's hardly a "radical feminist"... this thread, wow. You'd think gay people would be a little more aware of how sexism works. Especially considering how much heterosexism exists within the genre.

Squiggy said:

And your response saddens me. Partially because I see you considered nothing I said, but mostly because your very behavior confirms what I wish weren't true.

You're completely unable to see beyond "feminism". You seem to be focused more on feminist ideas than the betterment of women, let alone the human race. You say feminism isn't anti-male, yet the instant a male doesn't nod his head and agree with you on your assumptions about males, he's sexist. This is the behavior of a zealot. Much like religious extremists, your beliefs were questioned, and much like an extremist, you jump to labels like "sexist" or "misogynist" like a zealot to "heathen" or "sinner" in order to judge and condemn. To discredit and degrade. However, that said, I understand that anyone's beliefs or ideas coming under question or scrutiny is bound to result in anger and frustration. I cannot tell you what and how to believe, I can only offer a perspective that you don't have, as you offer one I don't have.

You kind of fell back on old, tired arguments that had nothing to do with what I was talking about, which is unfortunate. I never claimed men have it harder than women. In fact, I think you'd be surprised to find, if you tried to look around the assumptions you're making out of frustration, and actually read my previous comments, you'd see I find the project being created by Feminist Frequency to be a valuable, and valid pursuit (and that I find the actions taken against her reprehensible). That as a game developer, I hope to see change for the better in the area of female representation. You would see that I used the term "radical feminism", much like many will use the term "radical conservative", "radical liberal", "radical Christian", or "radical Muslim" to indicate a group of extremists that aren't part of the whole.

Unfortunately you didn't see any of that. A male questioned an assumption and generalization you made of his gender, and all you saw was sexism toward women. This does more to confirm to me what I feared than dispute it. That you filter everything through ideas that unfairly scrutinize male behavior at every turn. I think the most unfortunate thing of all, is the fact that you actually can't see yourself doing it. It reminds me of a quote:

"All seems infected that the infected spy, As all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye."
-Alexander Pope

I honestly don't know how this conversation could evolve into anything beneficial for either of us. The fact of the matter is, we both want better for women. The problem is, I question aspects of feminism (just as I do the masculinsim movement), and so you will always regard me, and men like me as sexist and therefore "lesser". That is your struggle, not mine, I won't be shamed into compliance through the labels you, or anyone throw at me out of frustration. The truth is, I've come to find those that lash out when their beliefs are challenged have questionable beliefs to begin with. A positive, valid idea will always grow from being challenged. A person truly seeking human betterment would understand that.

g_whiz said:

At what point did anyone ask you to be "shamed into compliance"? How did this become about you...and how awful it is to be a man?

The focal point of this article was about a woman who raises questions about (tired) tropes regarding women in games being harassed because of it...and we wind up here...


Interesting.

SplashChick said:

Squiggy, maybe if you didn't make 75% of your posts attacks against feminism, and actually talked about the same points she's talking about, you'd get better responses. "It happens to us too" isn't a goddamn excuse, and you constantly trying to invalidate the problem only proves Rosa's point.

Nexus said:

Oh please Rosa and g_whiz. Can the melodrama.
The majority of the responses in this topic have been positive. How you get from that to "the bulk of commenters are sexist", I don't know.
The only ones that questioned Sarkeesian were me and Squiggy. And I won't speak for Squiggy, but I was just voicing concerns I had. As far as I know I'm still allowed to have those.
Questioning one person's motives doesn't make you sexist just because she's female.

And BTW if you think femisnism is inherently anti-male then maybe you should consider not focussing on making things better for women, but on making things better for everyone.
Yes, I'd like better gay representation. That doesn't stop me from wanting the same betterment for women, straight men, etc.
You don't do anyone any favors by pointing fingers and going "Ooh, ooh! Sexist!" when they disagree with you. Or by playing the 'we have it worse' game.

Charlie said:

The argument of "why call it feminism, let's just make everything equal for everyone" has no merit because in order to create that equality you have to be willing to look at disparity.

There is also a lot of opposition from people who seem to think Anita's arguments are about physique and appearance. That is not the sexism being referred to. It is the sexualization of female characters that people take umbrage with. Men have exaggerated physiques in video games and that must indeed have a negative impact on players. But this isn't the same problem Anita is arguing. The men with perfect bodes aren't being treated as if their value stems from them being a sex object.

I have never heard anyone object to Morrigan having an impossible to achieve figure in Marvel vs Capcom 3. I have heard people criticize the fact that her breasts seem to be on the verge of spilling out of her top and she is quite often touching herself in a suggestive way in artwork - something that a male character with a great physique from that game Chris Redfield does not. He has an exaggerated body and I would be happy to discuss the effect that has on people but he is not depicted in a way that is sexist.

Butkus said:

Squiggy obviously just wants to "win." Rosa, please don't judge the rest of us by his pretentious (wrong-headed) rhetoric. You can tell by the way he pushes rational arguments aside and demands that his points, irrelevant though they are to the rest of the discussion, be heard NO MATTER WHAT.

Not a listener. Kind of a stellar example of male privilege, that.

g_whiz said:

I assure you there's no "melodrama" here. Its funny how whenever someone disagrees about issues like gender reprentation (sexism and homophobia), it becomes assumed they're histrionic.

I think the time for "sexism harms men too" argument isn't on a thread talking about how merely discussing sexism in video gaming has resulted in a nuclear campaign of cyber bullying. Its a derail, and its intentional.

Beyond that, None of my comments were directed at you. If you presume they were, that's your problem. The very topic revolves around the gamer community and sexism, so yes, sexism is going to come up. The way the thread has changed from what could have been a bit of introspection about Why this happened has shifted to why men have it so hard and "radical feminists" are to blame for this happening (however that works).

You're fully allowed to draw this issue into question, and frankly I don't think anything you said was remotely as problematic as some other comments here. I welcome the conversation, and frankly think its better than tone policing on issues that actually do affect others.

@Charlie- thanks for putting this back in perspective. Its not JUST the physique, its the presentation thats the problem. Men in games tend to be perfect (I wouldn't mind having Chris Redfield's guns) but they're rarely objectified. I'm actually looking forward to seeing how the analysis of game culture goes, so we can see and discuss these sorts of things further.

Limeade said:

Thank goodness for Rosa, g_whiz, and Charlie.

One very important fact about fixing sexism? Is that not only do women benefit from better representation and discussions about what is wrong/right/better, but men benefit as well. In other words, everyone benefits when sexism is eliminated from the equation. It isn't this 'feminists only care about women and hate men' bs. Any Feminist can tell you that removing sexist depictions - from hypersexualization to sexual objectification to reductionist presentation etc - helps improve things for everyone. That's Feminism 101.

And as a note to this 'male characters are bad too!' derailing; yes, men are not portrayed excellent in games either. HOWEVER, there is a far wider diversity in portrayals of men and body image and characterization than there is for women. Further, a huge difference is that the vast majority of men in games are *idealized*, not sexually objectified and hypersexualized. It still plays into the heroic male power fantasy, that men want to see or project themselves onto. Women in games are also for the same male fantasy, created to cater to the male gaze and the male fantasy perspective.

Anyway, I won't go on about it further here, but I really do suggest people look up articles on The BorderHouse blog about sexism and representation. Articles by Wundergeek (of GoMakeMeASandwhich.wordpress.com), especially, like this one: http://borderhouseblog.com/?p=3844

Also, Jay Smooth released a great video about Anita's harrassment and, in particular, the response by the community. Seems quite apt to share, especially in light of some commenters' debate/discussion tactics thus far. http://www.animalnewyork.com/2012/ill-doctrine-all-these-sexist-gamer-dudes-are-some-shook-ones/

Nexus said:

I have never heard anyone object to Morrigan having an impossible to achieve figure in Marvel vs Capcom 3. I have heard people criticize the fact that her breasts seem to be on the verge of spilling out of her top and she is quite often touching herself in a suggestive way in artwork - something that a male character with a great physique from that game Chris Redfield does not. He has an exaggerated body and I would be happy to discuss the effect that has on people but he is not depicted in a way that is sexist.

Yeah, maybe you should choose your examples a bit more fairly.
Morrigan is from a game/genre where story and personality aren't that important and frankly the men are sexualised as well. Demitri is dressed in a suit that looks painted on. That's not sexualisation? Many of the other men barely have any clothing on at all.
And then you go and use Chris Redfield as a counter example. From a game that is all about story. A better counterpoint to Chris would've been Jill or Clair. Both examples of good representations of women in a game that are every bit as worked out as their male counterparts.

Its funny how whenever someone disagrees about issues like gender reprentation (sexism and homophobia), it becomes assumed they're histrionic.

It's funny you would say that, because the first thing Rosa did when 2-3 people expressed concerns/difering opinions was accuse everybody who repsonded of being sexists. Which you said you agreed with.
It's that that I find histrionics. Not the diference of opinion on gender representation.

Also, you two (and Limeade too now appearantly) are the ones that are making it seem like a crime to disagree with Sarkeesian.
For the record, I agree that there are problems with said representation, but I don't think that it's like Sarkeesian makes it out that there are no positive representations in the whole of gaming. That does an enormous disservice to the medium.
Maybe this is just a sign you don't play enough (or the right) games.
Most of the female characters in Adventure games, survival horror, RPGs, etc. are actually very well worked out characters.
But yeah, if all you play are low on story and character development games like FPSers and such which tend to attract huge numbers of hormonally driven straight guys (making it only normal that they'd be focussed on them) then you're not going to see the best representation.

I think the time for "sexism harms men too" argument isn't on a thread talking about how merely discussing sexism in video gaming has resulted in a nuclear campaign of cyber bullying. Its a derail, and its intentional.

Why not? Why not discuss sexism in a thread about sexism? Is it because you think sexism against men doesn't matter? I suppose in a discussion about spousal violance we wouldn't be allowed to discuss men who get beaten up by women either. Because hey, just because it happens more to women men should just suck it up.
And it's intentional derailing? It's not intentional or derailing. It's voicing an opinion on a related matter. It went to what Sarkeesian is doing.
Intentional. You're sounding just a bit paranoid there.

The way the thread has changed from what could have been a bit of introspection about Why this happened has shifted to why men have it so hard and "radical feminists" are to blame for this happening (however that works).

That's only because what people seemed to have wanted this thread to be was a expression of compassion for Sarkeesian with little else. The moment someone actually dared bring up a matter for discussion they get labeled sexist.
Just saying 'Boohoo! Poor Sarkeesian!' isn't introspection. Neither is calling everyone who disagrees with her a sexist when some might have legitimate concerns.

One very important fact about fixing sexism? Is that not only do women benefit from better representation and discussions about what is wrong/right/better, but men benefit as well.

Well yes, men benefit in that they get a more realistic view of women. It does nothing however to the view some women seem to have that all men are barbaric sexist troglodites.

And as a note to this 'male characters are bad too!' derailing; yes, men are not portrayed excellent in games either. HOWEVER, there is a far wider diversity in portrayals of men and body image and characterization than there is for women.

Again with the derailing. It's a valid point not derailing. And calling it such seems only like an attempt to sideline the issue.
As for the diversity of portrayels. I can easily find about 5 tropes like Sarkeesian did and categorise all male characters accordingly. That was my point about making it about tropes. It's simplification.
If she just wanted to bring up bad examples of representation I wouldn't have had a problem (though there's still the issue of needing other people's money for webvideos), but using tropes as a way of doing so and making it sound like all women from games fall into these simplified categories is ridiculous and frankly insulting to women and gaming.
Also the reason there is far wider diversity or men is because most gamers are still men (like it or not). There are many female gamers, but men are still the majority and the people who make the games are running a business. They're going to be focussing on the majority and try to sell.
Progress needs to be made and has been made to some degree, but you can't expect it to be an overnight phenomenon.

Also, Jay Smooth released a great video about Anita's harrassment and, in particular, the response by the community. Seems quite apt to share, especially in light of some commenters' debate/discussion tactics thus far.

Just because actual sexists might use arguments as 'tactics', doesn't mean the actual arguments have no basis.
You can't dismiss something entirely just because it happens to be said by unpleasant people.

Rosa said:

AGAIN:

Do you find it acceptable for people to start arguing about how hard straights have it every time the gay rights argument comes up? Would you be all right with a concentrated effort to turn a project talking about representations of homosexuals in video games as an attack on heterosexuals?

That's what this comes down to. It's the exact same thing. You're turning the conversation from being about a marginalized group to a majority group just because it's "fair" that way.

That's not fair. That's status quo.

Lee said:

"That's what this comes down to. It's the exact same thing. You're turning the conversation from being about a marginalized group to a majority group just because it's "fair" that way."

A) No it's not the "same thing" and B) You are the majority.

Stop latching onto minority groups to serve your own selfish interests.

Nexus said:

Just to be clear here, the whole 'men aren't represented well either' thing was actually a minor complained I had. Though it seems to be the one everyone is focussing on.
Must be because of the easy "you're derailing" brush off.

My major complaint was actually the whole Tropes = simplification thing.
No one seems to have a decent reply to that one.
Tropes are for entertainment. They do not have a place in serious socio-political discussions.
And the idea that she would use them for some kind of curriculum for use in a classroom makes me cringe.
It's nothing more than her personal opinion which is a very simplified take on an actual problem presented in an icredibly unscientific and unsubstantiated way.


Rosa said:

@Lee

A) Minority means "historically marginalized group," not actual statistical minority. Read a sociology textbook.

B) Hey dude, I'm a lesbian so ???

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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