Feminist Criticism In Games: Thank You, Anita Sarkeesian -

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CatParty

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Emily celebrates the positive impact feminist game critic Anita Sarkeesian has had on her life.

A lot of negativity has been published about Anita Sarkeesian’s video essay series Tropes vs Women in Video Games (TvW); there was negativity at the time, and there’s still negativity now. So, I thought I’d take the time to explain what Sarkeesian’s series did for me, and why I am so grateful for her sacrifice. I want to add a drop of positivity to this discussion, no matter how small.

Picture this: It’s 2014; I’m fifteen years old. At this point I’m already scared of online gaming because female names and voices are targeted and treated… differently. There’s a part of me that wants to give up on gaming, even though enjoy it so much. I just feel so unwelcome, and as a teenager that stuff is really hard to shake.

THE COMMUNITY SENT HER DEATH THREATS, DOXED HER, AND EVEN SENT HER IMAGES OF HER BEING RAPED BY VIDEO GAME CHARACTERS.
YouTube is where I found my middle ground. I didn’t have to risk the online bit – the scary part where people could discover I’m a girl any minute and start calling me slut and whore when I messed up or did well- instead, I can just watch other people play! This then introduces me to video game community at large, especially channels like The Warp Zone and Nerdcubed.

In fact, it was a recommendation from a Nerdcubed video that led me to my first TvW video. The series’ thumbnails made no attempt to hide that they were presented by a woman- Anita Sarkeesian’s face was prominent and proud.


I immediately wanted to hear what she had to say, astonished at her bravery. Remember, at this point I thought women simply couldn’t exist in video game communities, but here she was to prove me wrong.

Even more surprising? Her videos openly criticised the medium’s blatantly misogynistic tropes: The damsel in distress, female characters presented as rewards to the player, the sexualisation and objectification of women throughout most mature games… Honestly, these were problems I found in most of my media, so I wasn’t shocked by the series’ content. What did shock me was seeing a woman unapologetically criticise video games with authority like she’d never doubted her place in the community.

Of course, I didn’t realise that the community had rejected her. The first TvW video has 47 thousand dislikes to 15 thousand likes. In response to Sarkeesian’s thoughtful critique of games she clearly loved, the community sent her death threats, doxed her, and even sent her images of her being raped by video game characters.

I truly recommend you watch her series, and decide if it even slightly deserves the rage it whipped up.


As Sarkeesian discusses how sticking mascara and earrings on a blob doesn’t make it a nuanced female character, remember that this content made some people so mad she was forced to cancel a talk at Utah State University in 2014 due to terrorist threats. At the same time I was trying to find my place within the video game community, a woman speaking up about games’ misogynistic tendencies was being threatened with violence near-constantly.

But I didn’t see all that till much later. I saw a woman loving gaming, and it made me realise that I had a place in gaming too. It made me determined to not let angry men take away what I loved, to not let fear ruin my enjoyment of the medium. I saw, as cliché as it is, that I was not alone.

I ALSO LEARNT THAT THE PROBLEM WITH GAMES WASN’T ME
I learnt hope and determination from Tropes vs Video Games, for sure, but I also learnt that the problem with games wasn’t me. I believed there was something wrong with how I was playing the games. When you’re constantly told that you aren’t allowed to enjoy something that you love, the only logical solution your brain reaches is that you are the anomaly.

But screw all that; here was another woman who enjoyed gaming enough to analyse it, and demand better from it. It wasn’t that I was wrong to like this stuff, it was that people weren’t comfortable with me liking it for some dumb reason.

Again, I repeat: Suddenly, the problem wasn’t me.

Anita Sarkeesian is braver than any man that will ever put up content that attempts to destroy her, and I will defend her until my dying breath. Is she perfect? Why must she be perfect to simply criticise video games?

ANITA SARKEESIAN SAVED ME FROM ABANDONING THE MEDIUM I NOW WANT TO BASE MY CAREER ON
Google Anita and the first video results are people trying desperately to disparage her. She’s blamed for ‘ruining’ every game release with a hint of a decent female characterisation since 2012. It doesn’t help that Sarkeesian was one of the strongest voices behind #GamerGate. (And if anyone says anything about ethics in journalism, I will come wail outside your house at 3am until you start making better choices.)

To explain #GamerGate briefly, a female-presenting game developer named Zoë Quinn published a beautiful text-focused game based on her experience with depression. Lots of people got mad about that, and Quinn’s ex-boyfriend made an awful blog post about how they’d slept with a journalist for a positive review.

The abuse directed at Quinn exploded, and any female voice that spoke up against it became targets of an organised harassment campaign that had less to do with ethics in journalism than misogyny and hatred. Anita Sarkeesian was one of these voices who spoke out, and thus became a very high profile target because of her previous feminist work.


But now I’m veering into negativity, and this article isn’t about that. This article is a thank you note to Anita Sarkeesian.

Anita Sarkeesian saved me from abandoning the medium I now want to base my career on. My dissertation this year is about video games. She made me re-evaluate things I’d just accepted as part of being a gamer; she challenged me to not just accept the status quo in this medium I so adore. She made fifteen-year-old me feel allowed to love video games, and let me ignore the men that still- to this day- try to force me out of this community.

Thank you, Anita Sarkeesian.

Emily Ash
 

crocodilian

K. K. K.an't Edit Posts
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Remember when Anita Sarkeesian grifted on 4chan, long before Gamergate?

anita on 4chan.png
 

crocodilian

K. K. K.an't Edit Posts
True & Honest Fan
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The idea of exploring how female characters have been depicted is interesting

But she completely fucked it up. I seem to recall she took cash without actually playing games

Is it really? The criteria for a "good female character" has always been "a well-written character that's incidentally female." Nothing has changed in the hundreds of years since.
 

Absolutego

Middleman who didn't do diddly
True & Honest Fan
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Is it really? The criteria for a "good female character" has always been "a well-written character that's incidentally female." Nothing has changed in the hundreds of years since.
The current stereotype of "neurotic hardass who incidentally succeeds at everything she does without effort" rampant in Hollywood suggests that a significant portion of people think otherwise, ironically because they themselves are extremely sexist.
 

Pentex

You're Ridin' With Biden...STRAIGHT TO HELL!
kiwifarms.net
The damsel in distress
Women ever being in distress is a misogynistic may-may. No woman has ever needed help, much less from a filthy male.

female characters presented as rewards to the player
Women don't fuck winners, champions, and heroes. TIL.

the sexualisation and objectification of women
Tell me more about how glorious and empowering the W.A.P. is. Also, women not only can, but should have the exact same sex drive and proclivities as the most lecherous of men.
 
Last edited:

RejectedLynx

kiwifarms.net
If you are dumb enough to think that women haven't played video games or have been prominent in video games, you have an IQ that's insulting to a rock. Yes, there's tropes. Yes, there's bad writing. It's not like we had that for thousands of years with books. It's not like there's faceless protags and shit that you can make for your own representation, you have to listen to this absolute dumbslut go on about shit that a middle-school lit class could figure out.

Author of article, I don't want to call you slut or whore, I want to call you a vapid cunt that provides nothing for society and only wastes air.
 

WinchesterPremium

Molṑn lolí
kiwifarms.net
YouTube is where I found my middle ground. I didn’t have to risk the online bit – the scary part where people could discover I’m a girl any minute and start calling me slut and whore when I messed up or did well- instead, I can just watch other people play! This then introduces me to video game community at large, especially channels like The Warp Zone and Nerdcubed.
I don't get how anyone could actually enjoy watching someone else play video games. Its the worst thing ever. Its like watching a long cutscene, with the added benefit of some idiot screaming in the corner of the screen because that is funny or something. Like OK maybe if it was an unreleased game and you're watching unnarated gameplay to see if you will like it, gameplay can be good. Otherwise why.

Just play singleplayer games slut

Of course, I didn’t realise that the community had rejected her. The first TvW video has 47 thousand dislikes to 15 thousand likes. In response to Sarkeesian’s thoughtful critique of games she clearly loved, the community sent her death threats, doxed her, and even sent her images of her being raped by video game characters.

"Clearly loved" lol

Anita Sarkeesian saved me from abandoning the medium I now want to base my career on.

This is probably a worse sin than when she drove a man to suicide.

TLDR Fake gamer girl go home
 

Secret Asshole

Expert in things that never, ever happened
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The idea of exploring how female characters have been depicted is interesting

But she completely fucked it up. I seem to recall she took cash without actually playing games
I mean, at this point talking about Anita is beating a dead horse into glue. They had her at games companies where if people asked her questions she threw a bitch fit. Her analysis was never made to be criticized, because its basically high-school level thought. Like Freshman level. The entire industry has basically washed their hands of her (though they're still packing in the progtards, at least in the West). Especially once she started critiquing violence, they dumped her as fast as possible, because her defense of 'I'm not Jack Thompson' was destroyed. Not to mention she didn't much like games to begin with and even says so herself. Its kind of hysterical that people tried to memory hole her saying "I had to learn a lot about videogames and I find the violence gross and disgusting" and just saying you're a sexist for bringing that up. It makes me laugh. Nigger, they're her OWN WORDS. Now she's asking for money she says she loves videogames. Are you a fucking moron? No shit she's saying she loves them now, she wants your money.

And no, there's no evidence she played any of the games. In fact, nearly all of her footage was jacked from Longplays and other YouTubers. She never fulfilled most of her Kickstartr rewards and her series was really, REALLY fucking delayed. It was a wonderful grift, and she kept doing it, like asking for 25k to start a discord server or a 'women in history' series that basically paid for her to play dress up and read wikipedia.

Also, hysterically, her ideal female character: A formless biege blob with no female attributes. I used to joke about that shit, I never imagined it was real. I forget what game it was, some shitty, little gameplay indie pixel art game that got absolutely no sales bump from her endorsement.

But really, that's what the ideal female is to people like her. Genderless, formless blobs.

If you are dumb enough to think that women haven't played video games or have been prominent in video games, you have an IQ that's insulting to a rock. Yes, there's tropes. Yes, there's bad writing. It's not like we had that for thousands of years with books. It's not like there's faceless protags and shit that you can make for your own representation, you have to listen to this absolute dumbslut go on about shit that a middle-school lit class could figure out.

Author of article, I don't want to call you slut or whore, I want to call you a vapid cunt that provides nothing for society and only wastes air.
Also, I have to say, she also doesn't know what a trope is. A trope is a writing tool. I want to stress this: You cannot write without using tropes. It is quite literally, impossible. And if you do write without a trope, the second someone else uses your device, it becomes a trope. A trope is a tool.

A naked trope with no detail filled in is a cliche. A well developed trope is just, well, a trope. There's a difference between a trope and a cliche. Also, pointing out tropes doesn't make you intelligent. Its like pointing to a house and going: "I KNOW THE GUY USED A HAMMER TO BUILD THAT" *smug grin* Yeah, ok retard. He also used a nail gun too. Why did he use that hammer? How did he use the hammer differently from a nail gun? Where did he use the hammer? Was it used efficiently? Did he waste his time with it or was it because it was more delicate and precise and he needed more control? Those are the questions you have to ask when you are critiquing something. Obviously, with Anita this was never done. It wasn't meant to be, because her analysis was only meant to get people to mindlessly clap at her. She never engaged in critique because she'd lose and she knew it. She wasn't an idiot. Anita knew she was making simplistic analysis that wouldn't hold up to the barest of scrutiny.

It is also insanely disingenuous to take works, toss them into categories by trope. You are oversimplifying the work and you lose all nuance and detail if you do this. Tossing in works grouped by tropes is only good for a very surface level analysis and you're not going to get anything more than skin deep with it. And like I've said, she knew this. Which is why she didn't allow herself to be challenged. Any challenge was ignored or written off as sexist/misogynistic. Because if she tried to defend this, it would have fallen apart like wet paper. She is trash when she needs to go off script and just can't do it. That's why she has an army of betas and fucktards white-knighting for her (or used to, she's really old news at this point and people are tired of her).

This is by far the saddest thing I have ever read.
Its completely pathetic. These people are a fucking dime a dozen and the whole journo industry is already on the brink. Going into this field now is completely idiotic.
 

Antipathy

Extreme Repugnance
kiwifarms.net
All this screeching has done was shit out some manbashing "female" characters who aren't inspiring at all. If these troglodytes wanted women in their vidya, they could've played Metroid or made their own game.

They hate men, and want men to not be in their products, and screech and shit their pants. I'm hoping that the culture shifts and these tards will be treated like the Religious Right as they fell from grace, because good God are they in need of a kick to the pants.

Vidyathenandnow.png
 

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