Preface: I love women in general, and my wife in particular. I believe my wife and I to be equal partners in our marriage and life. My hiring practices as an employer show that I routinely put women in positions of authority in my organizations. I believe women to be just as capable as men in anything they endeavor to be. I do not favor misogyny or stereotyping against women. I believe that there is still progress to be made in society in creating a better world for women. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve neither paid attention to nor do I care about one whit either side in what is/was (is it still going on?) the #gamergate crap.
That said, inspired by a #tbt tweet from Cory Doctorow… I present you three permalinks and excerpts from Boing Boing that illustrate a bit of absurdity around the continuing wave of feminism as applied to video games:
Exhibit One (published Sep 1, 2014):
Comprehensively addressing the stupid, intellectually dishonest critique of Anita Sarkeesian by Cory Doctorow
Whenever the feminist games-critic and survivor of countless outraged misogynist stalkers Anita Sarkeesian’s name is invoked, there follows a flood of men who want to explain that she brought it on herself, that she isn’t a gamer, that she isn’t a good critic, and assorted related rubbish.
Indeed, if you mention that Sarkeesian’s critics haven’t got two coherent arguments to rub together and are obviously motived by sexism and denial that their favored pastime is riddled with casual violence and sexual violence against women, you, too, are accused of being part of the Sarkeesian cabal, or a dupe of her feminine wiles, or of “white knighting” (which is misogynist-creep-code for “man who doesn’t believe women are inferior and justly subjugated to men”).
Exhibit Two (published Apr 30, 2008):
Grand Theft Are You Fcking Kidding Me by Xeni Jardin
After a video of the Ladies of Liberty City began circulating around, in which men drive around, pick up sex workers and/or drive over them, shoot prostitutes standing on street corners, and get some freaky-ass, legs-in-the-air, booty-shaking lap dances, everyone got all up in arms over it.
The girls at Feministing weren’t having it: “It is no question that GTA is merely reflective of the bigger misogyny embedded in capitalist patriarchy, but the question is why is a game that depicts such violence towards women so popular?” (Jesus Christ, if this is what degrees in gender studies hath wrought, polysyllabic bloggers still carping about the patriarchy, please fucking stop handing them out.)
Jack Thompson nearly had a heart attack over it. (To wit: “Grand Theft Auto IV is the gravest assault upon children in this country since polio. We now have vaccines for that virus… The ‘vaccine’ that must be administered by the United States government to deal with this virtual virus of violence and sexual depravity is criminal prosecutions of those who have conspired to do this.”)
Exhibit Three (in the BBforums, the fellow who pointed it out):
The perception is that she is saying very similar things to what Jack Thompson was saying. Thompson also claimed he received death threats and harassment. Many of the folks who egged on the shitstorm around Thompson seemed to have flipped when it comes to Sarkeesian making largely the same points (though, obviously, Sarkeesian is much more cogent and coherent than Thompson was).
I mean, are we just going to pretend posts like this133 didn’t happen? Is it cool to criticize video games for excessive sex and violence if you’re a feminist, but not if you’re a conservative Christian? (and not the slam on feminists in the excerpt Xeni posted there…)
The gaming media’s position in this is a bit weird. You are seeing a lot of gaming journalists closing ranks behind Sarkeesian’s criticisms of video games, and openly deriding “gamer culture.”
Which is fine, except these are the same folks and sites who have enabled this for so long.
Take Hitman: Absolution which Sarkeesian goes to town on in her recent video (as far as I can tell, rightly so). So when that game came out, it was given rave reviews by the same sites that are now posting rants about how awful the people who defend these games are.
It’s like “hey, Hitman: Absolution is awesome, go buy it and play it….and when you do, we’re going to call you a neckbeard man-baby for not realizing how misogynistic it really is.”
And to be fair, I point this out as more of an indictment of the fad of social-justice-warrior’ing, or digital mob mentality, or whatever the preferred nomenclature is these days, rather than an indictment of feminism in general. Being populist is far too easy (see also: Donald Trump), and pandering to a crowd to whip them into a frenzy appeals to some of the better angels in all of us, but manifests itself usually in a far more sinister pattern.
Tribalism is so ingrained into our genetics, I’m not sure it’ll ever be something we can fix. I’d like to see someone at least try, though.