Video Games need bewbs

I feel a little apprehensive writing this.

I’m generally anti-confrontational. Barring the occasional volcanic outburst, I keep my life free of drama. It’s less stressful.

Expressing heartfelt and vehement support of Anita Sarkeesian on the internet seems to be asking for trouble. Yet that’s exactly what I’m about to do.

She’s my new hero.

Also, this is going to count as Journ Reading 3.

A trigger warning before proceeding. Although I have kept the most graphic and disgusting material out of the body of my article, some of my hyperlinks will take you right into the cesspool. I feel that maybe if I produce evidence of the violence and sheer volume of misogyny surrounding this issue, people will stop claiming it’s all a feminazi conspiracy. But I doubt it. Watch this comments section.

(Then again, this blog is rarely read, so…)

Others who stood behind her have been harassed and sent rape and death threats. To clarify, I am only referring to people who said “I think Sarkeesian is right”. The harassment Sarkeensian herself received, and continues to receive, is off the charts (MAJOR TRIGGER WARNINGS).

Someone told the organisers of the Game Developers Conference that they would detonate a bomb at the event if Anita’s scheduled talk went ahead. Some genius also made an online game that involves punching an image of Sarkeesian. Her face is mutilated until the screen turns red. The cybermob tried to hack her Twitter account, lewdly vandalised her Wikipedia page and sent her countless pictures depicting her getting raped by popular video game characters.

See, there are a lot of people who really want to silence Sarkeesian. She is scaring them.

How? Who is this terribly photoshopped demon?

An academic who produced YouTube videos that deconstruct video game stereotypes.

The videos are sober, rational and well-produced. At the beginning of every one she explicitly states that “it is entirely possible to be critical of some aspects of a piece of media, while still finding other parts valuable or enjoyable”.

All she really does is point out the similarities in ways in which video games represent women. As someone who has played a considerable number of games, I found it fascinating. But it’s not as if she was of a vitriolic tirade against the industry.

And yet… Internet explosion!

Dear misogynists. You are fairly stupid. You just drew a massive amount of attention to the thing you hated. And proved Sarkeesian’s points.

The funny thing is, if it wasn’t for you, I would never have heard of Sarkeesian. I would never have watched every single one of her videos. And I would never have written this article.

Wants you to know women are equal and should be taken seriously Turns off youtube comments cause mean comments make er cry - Wants you to know women are equal and should be taken seriously Turns off youtube comments cause mean comments make er cry  Anita SarkeesianThanks for this. I stumbled across it. Now I am an Anita fangirl. Also : “er”.

There is a subsection of the gaming community that is obviously terrified of the very possibility that gaming might change and cease to serve their interests and ideologies. God forbid women are actually treated as fully developed people in media. Don’t take away the bewbs!

So terrified in fact, that they will not even concede to the possibility that Sarkeesian makes some kind of sense. So even when the industry itself lauds her work and, yes, changes how they write women into games, the fanboys are still crying. And moaning. Together. On 4Chan.

How very hardcore, mature and clever you are, fanboys.

Here are a bunch of links related to the topic that some might find interesting.

http://fatuglyorslutty.com/category/death-threats/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah8mhDW6Shs#t=965

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6p5AZp7r_Q&list=UU7Edgk9RxP7Fm7vjQ1d-cDA

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2 thoughts on “Video Games need bewbs

  1. Statistically the mob supporting Anita has produced more harassment and threats than Gamergate. Gamergaters have recieved dead animals, syringes in the mail and have been fired from their jobs. Once instance (yet to be verified by police) is a Gamergate supporter attacked and thrown out of their home by Anita’s mob.

    Anita’s whole argument is that games produce misogyny. Science says the opposite. Sex crimes are down 80% since the 70s despite increased awareness and reporting. Games are a way for people to release aggression in a safe way. Anita uses debunked and discredited theories that gender is a social construct. Anita wants the giants of industry to make changes instead of using her wealth to create her own games or support women devs that need $$$. Anita is against meritocracy and democracy. She is pro segregation and pro censorship.

    There is no evidence that the harassment comes from gamers. In fact the harassment has been traced to a Brasilian games journalist. Anita has been aware of this creep for years but dishonestly attacks Gamergate as a smear campaign. The Gamergate anti-harassment league has also been blocked and smeared.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful response, I appreciate it.

      I missed most of the Gamergate scandal while it was happening (now all I see is memes that say “it’s about ethics in games journalism” or something). Weren’t the Gamergate people also women? I thought it was because someone broke up with someone and then something about depression and then INTERNET EXPLOSION!

      Anyway, in the aftermath, all I see is the ugly detritus.

      If sex crimes are down 80% since the 70’s, that’s something to be really pleased about. (Would you mind showing me that study? I take an interest in these things.) However, that is certainly not the case in my country, which boasts some of the highest sexual assault figures in the world. (Namely, 1 in 4 women will be raped in their life). I have never been raped, but it takes two hands for me to count the people I know that have. I know these people personally. They are my friends and classmates. They come from every walk of life. Some of them have been raped on more than one occasion by different people. They are not just statistics. They are not numbers.

      For this reason, the matters of gender, representation and violence are close to my heart. I don’t believe that Anita’s argument can be reduced to just that “games produce misogyny”. I believe her reasoning is that some games have misogynistic elements and I believe that she substantiates this claim well. (In particular, I found her example of “God of War” shocking. Using a woman as a literal spanner in the works and rewarding the player for doing so is, in my opinion, deeply problematic.)

      As for games being a way to release aggression in a safe way, sure. I’m not big on violent games; don’t really see the point *shrugs*, but I’d rather someone shoots moving pixels than a real person. Games can relieve stress. But I don’t like the way that specific kinds of aggression are directed at women. I would prefer equality of violence, if violence is necessary at all. Does that make sense? This is also covered in one of Anita’s videos, but I can’t remember which. I also think that exposure to violence breeds complacency. It does in the case of television news; I see no reason this complacency and tacit acceptance shouldn’t extend to the gaming sphere. After you’ve seen people’s heads explode in gory detail a hundred times, don’t you find that it becomes less shocking?

      Isn’t gender a social construct? Pretty sure it is… I’m a media studies scholar, so I’d like to think I have a little bit of authority in that area. I did an excellent reading on it once, by Cornell, I think. It’s worth a look. If you want, I’ll track it down for you. I am biologically female, but I don’t adhere to gender constructs much. I think they are limiting. I would rather simply be me, first and foremost, and not a set of societally ordained norms. For instance, I don’t see myself as a housewife and I certainly have no plans to be subordinate to anyone, based on systems that privilege men. Because, frankly, that sounds lame.

      I had never heard accounts of Anita’s supporters attacking anyone. But the media is subjective in all things, so perhaps they are buried in different corners of the internet. Likewise, reportage of the media shitstorm around this issue will obviously be biased, depending on the ideology of the reporter in question.

      It would be nice if Anita donated money towards aiding female developers. That would be really cool, I agree. On the other hand, female developers must stand on their own two feet and not rely on monetary aid to make a living. That would cheapen any contribution they make and give sexists an excuse to claim “women are given advantages, they can’t really be developers, men are better”. Rather, gaming and gaming development should facilitate a more inclusive environment, where women are given equal opportunity and credibility. This, I’m afraid to say, is not the current situation. But it’s a goal to work towards.

      But like, wasn’t “Beyond Two Souls” cool? Even if they took Anita’s proposals into account. I thought that was an awesome game and it demonstrated none of the casual sexism that pervades many other games I have played. (Have you encountered the “hello sweetheart” scenario? It’s pretty funny and it happens all the time. Look it up.) I think it’s a logical fallacy to claim that because she wants change, she is against democracy. I think voicing opinions is vital in contributing to the creation of a public sphere, which is a prerequisite for a healthy democracy. In the end, Anita voiced opinions. She raised money to voice those opinions. Her opinions changed things, for better or worse. But I don’t think she cheated anyone to do that.

      Also, I hardly think that the mountain of harassment I have personally discovered in researching this article can be attributed to one Brazilian creep. He would have to sit at a computer all day, doing nothing but typing “suck my dick, you ugly whore”, etc. This kind of thing does not contribute to discussion. Flame wars do not = fair commentary. And I’m afraid that there was at least some evidence that people were pretty horrible to Anita. I felt that the abuse she received was unwarranted, given the way she presented the videos.

      You do not have to agree with me about any of this. But I hope you’ll consider it. I’m talking to you as a human being. As a female, I have experienced my intelligence and abilities being derided based on my sex. Are you willing to concede that my reality is true and thus that I am entitled to sympathize with some of what Anita claims?

      (I hope you are. Because this was a lot of typing otherwise.)

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