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Feminist Frequency planning two new video series in 2015

Nonprofit organisation outlines plans after a bumper year for donations and social media growth

Anita Sarkeesian's nonprofit organisation Feminist Frequency has outlined its growth plans for 2015, which include two new video series exploring "men and masculinity" and "positive female characters" in video games.

In addition to the new video content, Feminist Frequency will continue to produce episodes for Tropes vs Women in Video Games, the series on which its reputation was built. It also plans to hire more staff, and step up its advocacy work around online harassment.

"My whole team is committed to this work and we are not going anywhere"

Anita Sarkeesian, founder and director

"We have expanded Feminist Frequency's mission to include advocacy around ending online hate and abuse, analysing and advancing awareness of how gendered harassment operates online," said Sarkeesian, the organisation's director.

"Privately, I am working with online feminists to strategise long-term solutions to deal with the epidemic of online abuse and create mechanisms for support. I am also consulting with tech and gaming companies on how to address issues of online harassment in their own communities."

Feminist Frequency experienced another peak in terms of threats and abuse last year, with Sarkeesian forced to cancel a talk at Utah State University due to fears of a violent attack on attendees and staff. However, this incident - along with many others - only served to highlight the organisation's agenda, leading to the sort of high-profile news coverage and TV appearances it may not have received otherwise.

This is backed up by data in Feminist Frequency's annual report, which it is required to produce as a registered nonprofit - a status it gained in May 2014.

Feminist Frequency's YouTube channel breezed past 5.7 million views in 2014, with its most popular single video ("Women as Background Decoration: Part 2") receiving nearly 1 million views. It also more than tripled its Twitter followers, increasing from just over 65,000 at the start of January 2014 to more than 223,000 by the end of December.

That exposure has also given Feminist Frequency access to greater resources to continue its work. Until last year, its primary source of income was crowdfunding, meaning that it operated on a "shoestring budget" for much of 2014. But as the year wore on and public interest grew, so too did Feminist Frequency's donations.

"Thanks to generous contributors, we received a substantial increase in donations at the end of the year, raising just over $230,000 in December alone," Sarkeesian said in the report, which is remarkable given that donations for the first half of the year barely topped $5,000.

"This unexpected increase in revenue will allow us to dedicate these new resources in 2015 to expanding Feminist Frequency's writing and support staff as well as our programming."

As a result of this, Feminist Frequency has set a budget of $400,000 for 2015, an increase of more than 500 per cent over its administrative expenses for last year.

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Latest comments (50)

More FemFreq videos, great news! I'm really looking forward to those. TvW is a great primer on basic concepts of feminism as it pertains to games, so taking a look specifically at issues of masculinity and how it is portrayed will hopefully be very useful and educational for a lot of people who haven't really thought about it before.
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
Also a smart move as analysing the portrayal of masculinity undercuts the oft-wheeled-out "why is this all about women?" argument. I look forward to discovering some positive female characters I can introduce my daughter to...so far Chell is the only one I can think of that she's played.
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Aaron Parkes n/a 3 years ago
I do hope that Feminist Frequency addresses the criticism given to Anita Sarkeesian statements which to a lot of people believe don't stand up, or will at least give more persuasive arguments or evidence to back up such claims about the games industry. So far hope for such a thing has been disrupted by fake, hollow threats aimed at her. Such threats should not be taken seriously, unfortunately we live in a world where we cant take that chance.

I'm looking forward to "positive female characters". Maybe this will give a clear view as to what they believe is a negative female character. I'm sure "men and masculinity" will teach girls men are not a problem in the industry and keep them away from so-called "feminists" online who are simply sexist against men.

The online harassment thing, should be informative, There have been many threats towards game developers, notably attacks against activision every time the did a game update. Lets see if Feminist Frequency pushes more into advice for young girls getting into the industry and notes more feminist figureheads.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Aaron Parkes on 27th January 2015 5:18pm

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Show all comments (50)
Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief3 years ago
I'm glad you think feminists are sexiest, Aaron. I think you'll find many people of both genders feel the same.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Lovell on 27th January 2015 5:11pm

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Feminists: definitely the sexiest people around.
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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada3 years ago
Awesome, glad to see this is getting donations to grow. I'm not a big fan of Anita's research, but hopefully that'll improve. Even if not, FF is still doing great outreach work and is a very positive force for change.
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Rashad Foux Character Artist, Hi-Rez Studios, Inc.3 years ago
While I'm sick at heart over how it came about, I'm happy that's she's risen to such acclaim within the industry and main stream culture. She's done a lot of good for games and gamers and I can't wait to see what's the next step for her and her company.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic keyboard basher, Avasopht Ltd3 years ago
I'm not a big fan of unbalanced thought that fails to self critique.

It is good that they are also exploring male tropes and it is good to have opposing thoughts thrown into the arena to challenge the status quo, but I believe that a healthy dose of philosophical exploration into looking at the situation different viewpoints would really do a great deal more.

I imagine they're going to attack masculinity in gaming and suggest young boys should instead play as scrawny avatars and aspire to become a weak chump with no signs of testosterone when they grow up.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee3 years ago
I agree with Keldon. I'm interested to see this exploration into masculinity but it needs to be a balanced exploration with multiple viewpoints.
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Linda Eriksson Localisation QA Project Coordinator, Testronic3 years ago
I disagree with a lot of statements that Sarkeesian has made, but I welcome the debate of feminism and games in general as there is still plenty of sexism around, and I am also looking forward to more equal games with a wider range of female characters. The biggest problem is the abuse, no one should have to withstand abuse for raising a debate or sharing their opinions, it's totally unacceptable no matter if you agree with the person in question or not. The online abuse which is often targeted at women is a reason for why feminism is needed. I am also quite fed up with the debate often tending to be black or white, just like one cannot say 'all men' it is wrong to say 'all feminists'. Just because someone is a feminist it does not mean they share the exact opinions of all feminists, or that the tolerance level is the same.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
I honestly can't stand Anita Sarkeesian or anyone who supports her.
A lot of the "research" doesn't exist, and she takes way to many games out of context. Any good she is trying to accomplish is clouded by all her lies and crappy arguments.

I don't even understand how she became such a huge figure in the industry -.-
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Ironically, if 4chan and that crowd hadn't latched onto Anita with such astonishingly vicious and headline-grabbing hatred I doubt she and her series would have achieved a fraction of the attention it has. If the trolls and misogynists had just ignored her, her series would probably just be regarded as 'a decent primer on feminism in games'. Bit of a Streisand effect on their part, really.

I'm glad to see the torrents of abuse haven't stopped her doing her good work :3
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Rashad Foux Character Artist, Hi-Rez Studios, Inc.3 years ago
@Brook Davidson:
The reason for her "taking games out of context" is because her point is to illustrate the widespread trend of problematic depictions of women in games and media.

I.e. 1 game by itself may only have a few problematic instances of violence or sexualization or removal of agency of women. But 100 games may all have those same instances. She uses an example within a few games to illustrate that point, because going through and chronicling each instance of sexualization, violence, or removal of agency in every game that's being, or been released is . . . not possible.

Her argument's also aren't a call to censorship. Her hope is that the industry will lead to creating more character like Alyx Vance, and Ellie, characters with personality, and agency within a story. And less character designs like Ivy, whose entire reason for existing is to A) pander to heterosexual male sexual desires, and B) make you buy her and by extension the game.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
@Rashad
A game character is always there to serve a purpose regardless of gender. Not every character is going to be well thought out. Not every character is going to have some story. She has pointed out some female character that are simply background objects, but why does she not point out all the male background objects? Not every character is there for story. Sometimes characters are there simply for atmosphere. To make the scene more alive. It's no different then having an audience in a stadium in a movie. They serve absolutely no purpose to the story, but they are their simply to fill that void. To make the scene more realistic.

If you happen to have a scene of a strip club, like in watch dogs, it makes no sense for there to be no strippers. That wouldn't be realistic. It wouldn't make sense to have some sort of story for every single one of those characters either. Or are we not allowed to depict real world places like strip clubs? Keeping in mind, not many games even do that. Most games that do, tend to be like GTA type of games, which usually is for a more mature audience to begin with.

You can't claim there is violence against women in games, because that is absurd. When it comes to violence ... there is absolutely no difference between male and female. You can't complain that you can kill a women in a game when you can also kill a man.

I can go on and on about all the things she has pointed out that to me make no sense.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 29th January 2015 5:33am

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Linda Eriksson Localisation QA Project Coordinator, Testronic3 years ago
There are many examples of games where female characters are just used as sex objects though, for the male main character to conquer and receive as a reward, so the issue of sexism is there, but I'd rather see the most problematic games being brought up, rather than the most popular. We need less bikini armor, less 'gigolo modes' (Killer is Dead) and women showing gratitude with sex like in Ride to Hell should never exist.
Hence not specifically agreeing with her, but still agreeing on the subject point.
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continuing to play professional victim in social media
I really hate it when people level this accusation at victims of harassment. Talking about being dogpiled on by trolls and worse 24/7 is not 'playing professional victim'. Telling people what is happening to you - detailing the death and rape threats she gets every day from 'not the most eloquent citizens' is not attention-seeking behaviour. She's bringing attention to some really abhorrent behaviour by people who call themselves gamers, behaviour that is perpetrated against lots of prominent games critics and developers, many of whom don't even feel safe to try and call attention to what is happening to them because their harassers will accuse them of being 'professional victims', whatever the hell that's even supposed to mean.

Have you ever been a target of the kind of hate Anita gets every day just for, at this point, continuing to exist? No? Then don't you dare suggest she's encouraging it to make a profit. It's a horrible, traumatising experience. Don't blame victims for talking about their experience. Blame the dregs of humanity for victimising people instead.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
@Linda
I like the skimpy armor to be honest. I think a lot of the cloths designs are really cute. I don't see why everyone is so concerned with what a video game character is wearing. If the game is more realistic it's very likely not to contain such armor. Also .. just because there are some games that make women highly sexualized, doesn't mean there is anything wrong with that. It's not liek all games do that. If a person doesn't like it, they should simply not play it.

A game depicting something sexual isn't sexist, because sex exists in real life as well. Even a rape scene I wouldn't consider sexist. A story is a story. It's not real. Books and movies contain this stuff all the time.

@Jessica
Actually plenty of people get death threats all the time. It's the internet. What makes the difference is how one handles it. Anita doesn't handle it well and blames these death threats on "gamers" and uses it as some sort of evidence. It's almost as if she has never heard of trolls before. They are going to say the most hateful and sexist things, simply because they can. This sin't exactly new behavior on the net.

This is why many people consider her a professional victim. She takes these meaningless threats and comments and turns them into something serious, when they really are not. She needs to learn to ignore that crap.
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@Brook and Alexis

The reason I get so angry about people brushing off the hate Anita gets('Oh just ignore it, that's just what happens on the internet' is so PATRONISING and ignorant it's unbelievable) is because I have experienced myself a tiny fraction of what she gets. When I made a mildly critical comment on Twitter about a controversial YouTuber's behaviour, my phone blew up for six solid hours with angry and hateful messages from his followers insulting and attacking me in every way they could think of. You can't 'just ignore' hundreds and hundreds of vitriolic messages that flood your notifications so you can't even talk to your friends anymore - cutting you off from your normal activities and normal life. Getting that kind of targeted aggression and threats is incredibly scary and upsetting, and sneering at someone for reacting in what you, a person who has never even experienced it yourself, deem 'the wrong way' is supremely insulting. It's not 'just the internet' - people can and have been stalked and attacked by these kind of people. And for those of us who depend on the internet for our work - Twitter is a vital networking tool for me, and invaluable for finding clients for my freelance work - you can't just turn it off and wait for the assholes to shut up.

You're brushing off and excusing this sort of sociopathic behaviour with a shrug, while pointing fingers and hissing at the victim for not behaving how you think she should. It's pathetic.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 30th January 2015 11:46am

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
@Jessica
"Getting that kind of targeted aggression and threats is incredibly scary and upsetting, and sneering at someone for reacting in what you, a person who has never even experienced it yourself, deem 'the wrong way' is supremely insulting."
How would you know if I never experienced it myself? I don't think you should just assume I haven't.
"You're brushing off and excusing this sort of sociopathic behaviour with a shrug, while pointing fingers and hissing at the victim for not behaving how you think she should. It's pathetic."
Absolutely not. you misunderstand. I am not brushing that kind of behavior off. I think that kind of behavior is sick. I am simply pointing out that there isn't anything she can do about it, and using it as some sort of way to further her agenda is wrong. Not only that, but she disregards even legitimate criticism all together. Anyone who disagrees she blocks.
"It's not 'just the internet' - people can and have been stalked and attacked by these kind of people. "
They can be, for sure. It doesn't happen very often though. When it does you should contact the police. The issue I have is whn she then blames this crap in the gamer community when in reality it has nothing to do with the gaming community as a whole.

If she wanted this sort of stuff to stop, then she needs to start getting more serious, and stop making false claims all the time.

However, even then, there are always going to be people who make threats, who insult you, who are just there to make your life miserable Ask any freaking popular controversial youtuber how many threats they get. A lot of their hate they receive makes hers look like a joke.

How do they deal with it? They ignore it. It's trolls, that is the only legitimate way to currently handle it. Because if you feed the trolls, they will keep coming back for more. The thing is though, Anita uses it to further her agenda which is very apparent on twitter.

If you are unable to handle these trolls, you shouldn't be a public speaker or youtuber. It just makes you look bad when you start ignoring legitimate criticism, and only makes the situation worse. Then when you start pointing out all the trolls, and making claims, and accusation against people ... you make it even worse.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 31st January 2015 12:22am

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Sam Twidale Studying Computer Systems and Software Engineering, University of York3 years ago
I'd echo other comments that Feminist Frequency should return to some older videos and respond to more of the level-headed criticism and questions.

@Jessica I don't normally comment here but I thought I'd jump in to agree with you. It is really annoying when people make nasty claims without backing them up with evidence or even providing anecdotes.

@Brook
If she wanted this sort of stuff to stop, then she needs to start getting more serious, and stop making false claims all the time.
I don't see what makes you an authority on what Anita would need to do to stop getting harassed.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
I am simply pointing out that there isn't anything she can do about it,
I would argue that by continuing to mention the abuse/sexism/trolls/etc., she is doing something about it - she's making sure it stays in the news. Ultimately, this is a worthwhile act, since the more it's talked about, the better. The more people find it sickening, the less likely it is to be swept under the rug. The more the wider media notices, the more our industry looks juvenile, and the more chance there is that such abuse will eventually not be tolerated. (Note the "eventually", though.) Tacitly accepting that "Trolls gonna troll" is just shrugging and going "Meh" to an issue that will either get better or worse in the future. If speaking up everytime there's abuse shines a light on the skankiest parts of the internet, then we should welcome it, surely?
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
@Sam
I am not an authority on it, I am only saying that when you do things people do not like you tend to attract a lot of attention. I thin kthis is pretty much common sense. If you lie, make false claims, take things ut of context, people are going to point it out, and some people are not going to be nice about it. Again ... don't know how many times I need to point this out, but it's the internet.

@Morville
No .. by continuing to mention it, she is just feeding the trolls. I mean are you guys new the internet or something?
Ultimately, this is a worthwhile act, since the more it's talked about, the better. The more people find it sickening, the less likely it is to be swept under the rug. The more the wider media notices, the more our industry looks juvenile, and the more chance there is that such abuse will eventually not be tolerated. (Note the "eventually", though.)
There is the issue it has absolutely nothing to do with the industry and has everything to do with the internet. Go on 4chan. Go on youtube. Doesn't have to be a gaming channel. Go on an atheist's channel. Go on a religious channel. The internet as a whole is toxic. It's filled with trolls and you simply have to learn to deal with it, because there isn't anything that can be done. If you think something can be done, please propose what it is. I am sure the world is dying to know. It's already not tolerated and yet .. it doesn't stop. Why? Because it's a computer where people can say what ever it is they wish without any worry.
Tacitly accepting that "Trolls gonna troll" is just shrugging and going "Meh" to an issue that will either get better or worse in the future. If speaking up everytime there's abuse shines a light on the skankiest parts of the internet, then we should welcome it, surely?
It does not stop it though. Everyone already knows about the crap that goes on the internet. Has it ever gotten better as people have become more aware? Absolutely not ... in fact i would say it has gotten worse as time has gone on.

The only way we will be able to stop such crap is if people are held responsible for what they say and the only way that can happen is if they are punished. Exactly how do we punish these trolls?

The issues I see, is everyone seems to be absolutely clueless about what a damned troll is. A troll is a troll regardless of the industry. you see them everywhere. This isn't something that is unique to the damned game industry. As Anita has kept bringing it up, it has only gotten worse for her. Why? Because they love it. They love getting a reaction out of her.

Then she blames all the people who have absolutely nothing to do with it. How exactly is that helping anything? You can't say it is with out actually showing this to be the case. Prove it to me, that what she is doing is actually helping.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
It's filled with trolls and you simply have to learn to deal with it, because there isn't anything that can be done. If you think something can be done, please propose what it is
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/twitter-troll-pictured-john-nimmo-2110948

Loath as I am to give the police more powers, you wouldn't walk into a cafe and allow yourself to be abused or threatened with violence... So why should it be allowed on the internet? This is what I mean by "the more it's talked about, the better". The more it isn't tolerated, the more chance of something - like legal action - being undertaken.
This isn't something that is unique to the damned game industry.
No, but I think the threats of violence, doxxing and SWAT'ing - by groups who believe they're part of the industry, if only as consumers - are above and beyond what other industries experience.

Anyways, I'm stepping back out of this.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
@Morville
See the issue is you took my comments way out of context here. I originally was talking about her blaming those threats on the gaming community and why it's wrong to use such threats for her agenda.

Those threats she is getting has nothing to do with the gaming community in general .. and that is really what I am arguing.

I am not saying those threats are ok, or they shouldn't be dealt with by police. I am saying she brings it up as if it proves her points and such. When in fact, it does not. The noly thing she is proving is that the internet is in fact toxic.

I am saying she needs to learn to handle these threats, and ignore them in the sense of what she is striving for. She can report the threats and she can bring them to light if she so wishes. However, that isn't all she does. She blames it on "gamers" and that is where the real issue comes in. She needs to learn to filter out all the BS .. and that is what I am trying to get across here.

Many gamers do not like her because of these issues.

It would be like going onto a an atheists channel and blaming all the hate comments on creationists in general when in fact, it's just a bunch of trolls that shouldn't represent your views on creationists.

It's the same reason I don't blame all feminists for being like Anita.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 31st January 2015 9:49pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
She blames it on "gamers" and that is where the real issue comes in. [...] Many gamers do not like her because of these issues.
(Yes, I know I said I'd step aside, but... :) )

I really think we need a venn diagram for this. I presume the reason why Anita says it's "gamers" doing this is because a lot of the trolls can be identified (or self-identify) as gamers. Whereas (unless I misunderstand you?), you're saying that it's not gamers, just trolls (as a separate and distinct identity group). The objective truth, I would guess, is probably in the middle of the diagram, where trolls and gamers overlap. :)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 1st February 2015 9:20am

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
@Morville
Yes, they overlap, some of them certainly can be gamers, but that isn't really the point. The point is it shouldn't be applied to gamers, and should be applied to them being trolls. There are trolls everywhere. So to blame gamers specifically for this behavior, I see it is dishonest, because these people are not acting this way because they are gamers, they are acting this way because they are trolls. Them being gamers, shouldn't correlate to other gamers. Trolls can be artists. They can be scientists. They can religious. They are human and they share a lot of similarities.

When I say it's not gamers doing this, I am talking generally, not individually

XD I don't know if I am making myself clear, hopefully I am..
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
@Brook and @Alexis - you are defending the status quo by stating that online harassment is normal. It isn't, but even if it was it shouldn't be. Of course we all assume you don't experience similar 24/7 abuse, because IT'S NOT NORMAL.

As to what makes AS an authority on feminism in games...gamer trolls have. As Jessica says, the ridiculous outpouring of vitriol for the intolerable crime of expressing a negative opinion on a popular game WHILE FEMALE has proved her point. Women are treated worse than men in our culture, and particularly so in games. To pretend there's nothing unusual about the harassment she or Zoe Quinn or Brianna Wu endure is to side with the harassers. Well done guys.
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Andrew Bishop Game Artist 3 years ago
@Brook Davidson "I honestly can't stand Anita Sarkeesian or anyone who supports her.
A lot of the "research" doesn't exist, and she takes way to many games out of context. Any good she is trying to accomplish is clouded by all her lies and crappy arguments"

My thoughts exactly and all i needed to hear from her can be summed up in this one quote.
Anita Sarkeesian: "This is not a fandom, I am not a fan of video games".

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Andrew Bishop on 1st February 2015 7:28pm

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Sam Twidale Studying Computer Systems and Software Engineering, University of York3 years ago
@Brook
I am not an authority on it, I am only saying that when you do things people do not like you tend to attract a lot of attention. I thin kthis is pretty much common sense. If you lie, make false claims, take things ut of context, people are going to point it out, and some people are not going to be nice about it. Again ... don't know how many times I need to point this out, but it's the internet.
How is this a "common sense" explanation for Anita Sarkeesian being harassed? Her sort of feminism and the abundance of online misogynists might fit in somewhere.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
@Chris
the ridiculous outpouring of vitriol for the intolerable crime of expressing a negative opinion on a popular game WHILE FEMALE has proved her point.
Incorrect, because it doesn't matter who ever is saying it, they get the same kind of crap. Male or female. The crap she gets, has absolutely nothing to do with her gender. It has to do with trolls being trolls, and any legit criticism has to do with her simply being wrong on so many levels.

This is like that one video where they say it would be taken more seriously because it was presented by males. Absolutely not, it was not taken more seriously in the least bit because the video was full of crap.

The only thing harassment she gets proves is that there are trolls in the world. Something everyone already knew who has used the net for some time.
you are defending the status quo by stating that online harassment is normal. It isn't, but even if it was it shouldn't be.
It depends on what we are talking about as normal. If we are talking about normal as in the usual, an everyday occurrence. Then yes .. it's pretty darn normal and if you think otherwise then you must be blind or something. If we are talking about the way it should be, then obviously it shouldn't be like that. However, it is. The only way it will change is if we start cracking down on it and arresting people left and right. Which I say .. go for it.

However, the harassment she faces and her views on video games and gamers are two entirely different issues.
Women are treated worse than men in our culture, and particularly so in games.
Both men and women have negatives and positives. Both genders face stereotypical bullcrap all the time. I am all for gender equality. The issue is when people use false statistics and non sense to make the other gender seem better or worse. I am all about facts, and when things do not match up or sound absurd, I will not support it. A lot of the things Anita brings up in videos games can be applied to males as well. She acts as if because you can kill a women in a game, it's sexist, when you can just as well kill a man in the game.

Her standards are so absurd and biased that you would be better off just not putting any females characters in video games at all.
To pretend there's nothing unusual about the harassment she or Zoe Quinn or Brianna Wu endure is to side with the harassers. Well done guys.
Again .. it depends on what you mean by unusual. If you mean by the occurrence and how often it happens, then it is extremely usual. It's something that happens to many youtubers all the damned time. Just because I know this to be true doesn't mean I side with the harasses. Your logic is absolutely terrible.

If you mean unusual in the sense that it shouldn't be done. I agree .. it shouldn't be. I don't think anyone should be harnessed in that manner regardless of how wrong they are. However, there isn't anyway to stop it. How do you deal with the trolls that don't actually threaten you? Instead they just call you a bunch of sexist and mean things. Nothing can be done about these people because they are not breaking the law. It only becomes law breaking is when they threaten the person.

You can call it harassment, but that all depends. If we are talking about random comments on youtube, or twitter .. etc. Then no, it's not. If we are talking about someone specifically is constantly going after her, through emails, facebook, youtube .. and they continue to go after her even after she blocks them and such, that is harassment.

---Update---
Something else I have to mention is that people who have the opposite views of Anita get threatened all the time too. It's not unique to her situation. It also goes for both males and females.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 2nd February 2015 3:26am

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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 3 years ago
I am not sure I am following the logic here. Trolls are some kind of random number generator, that latch uncaringly onto a random target and harass them. So the abuse that for example Sarkeesian received when she first started the Kickstarter to fund her videos, was not actually aimed at a feminist that was planning to critique the game industry, but was just random noise that everyone on the internet gets. I'm sure if you compare Sarkeesian's Kickstarter comments to any other funding campaign there would be no noticeable difference.

And also it is strange if trolls are just some sort of background noise in the internet, that people are saying that if Sarkeesian wanted to get less abuse then she should change her message and tone. This would imply that actually the abuse is directly related to what opinions she is putting out, and not that it is random stuff that everyone gets.

The facts are that any feminist, or woman pushing for gender equality or even mentioning the word 'sexist' in relation to computer games is going to get abuse. Not because 'haters gonna hate, trolls gonna troll' but because there is a massive and hostile reaction in the games industry as a whole to these women. Both from professionals and consumers. It is abundantly apparent, and such claims as everyone is treated the same is untrue. You can look at the experiences of male celebrities that have spoken publically against gamergate and female celebrities that have spoken out against it, they are not comparable.

The constant blaming of abuse on trolls is disingenuous. By invoking trolls, first it is implied that of course they don't mean it, it is all only for a reaction, so it is not really abuse, it's not really insults, it's not really misogyny. It is also a form of the 'no true Scotsman' logical fallacy to categorising game enthusiasts (irrelevant tangent: I dislike the word gamer as 'to game' is not a verb to me, but I am totally ok with 'gaming', some strange prejudice that I can't set straight in my head for some reason) that criticise Sarkeesian by using personal and ad hominem attacks and 'trolls' that abuse her as something meaningfully different. It is all part of the same thing, the refusal to listen to her point of view, to demonise and attack her so that the issues that she brings up do not need to be discussed. Sarkeesian is entirely correct in blaming the abuse and harassment on the gaming community (see what I mean?) as that is where it comes from. It is clear even in the comments that are left here, let alone on an anonymous platform as Twitter or a chan site. Many that are criticising Sarkeesian and other show astounding hypocrisy by claiming on one had that gamers abuse women that criticise games is a 'SJW lie' and referring to those women, an example taken from the comments of a pro-gamergate blog regarding Zoe Quinn, as 'humanoid excrement'.

By focussing on the victim's reaction to online harassment, you are certainly down playing the harassment. Online abuse is never acceptable - and while people using the anonymity of the internet to act as though there are no consequences to their actions is fairly normal, and making completely inappropriate comments about people that for example have a different opinion about a new film is sadly fairly normal, it should never be condoned or accepted. And it is also very pertinent to point out that a sustained and coordinated campaign of smears, insults, abuse, and death and rape threats over months is not normal or an everyday occurrence. Someone telling you to f off in a Youtube comment, is not comparable to what we have seen over the last few months directed at people such as Sarkeesian.

If Sarkeesian was truly propagating such non-sense and lies, why would people within the industry and consumers of games listen her and support her? Why would Intel make Feminist Frequency partners in a $300 million dollar investment to make the technology sector more gender equal?

Why is it ok to say that you 'can't stand Sarkeesian or anyone that supports her' when discussing this on a trade website? With some people who do support and agree with her criticisms?


From what I have seen of her videos (I have only watched the two parts of the Women as Background Decoration), she makes cogent and thoughtful arguments, and I have not seen one lie. As a critic, and as a person, Sarkeesian deserves respect, whether you agree with her or not, whether you like her or not. Sarkeesian is not some sort harpy that is out to spoil the fun of computer games. She has something important to say to those that play and make computer games, and it is worthwhile listening to even if you don't agree. She is also opening doors for other people to criticise games, and paying a certain price for it even if there are also advantages to the publicity that it garners.
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
I read it. It's laughable, attempting to argue that the "SJW movement" is comparable to Gamergate.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 3 years ago
@John, the article raises interesting points about gaming sub-culture and the tensions created through massive popularity of current casual gaming trends, but it says nothing to me of relevance to this comments section. The person that is being character assassinated here is Anita Sarkeesian (she is a liar, talks nonsense, is a professional victim, deliberately over-reacts to meaningless threats to push an agenda, refuses to listen to criticism, invents research, can't deal with everyday internet life, and that is a list just gleaned from these comments) not opponents of some poorly defined homogenous social justice movement.

It also takes as a basis for its argument that any organisation must be deliberately set up to never achieve its goals; hence those evil people at Amnesty must be supporting third world dictatorial regimes to prolong their existence. It also states that the real decider in the gamergate conflict was on PR, and given that one the main points of discussion for many gamergaters was the size and capacity of Zoe Quinn's vagina, is that particularly surprising to anyone?

And finally it also states that internet harassment of Sarkeesian or Quinn or anyone else, is not related to their opinions but is just an internet phenomenon that effects everyone. The facts do not fit that conclusion.

And while I have tried not to mention the fact that it calls elective abortion a social injustice (not a necessary part of reproductive health care as WHO apparently thinks) and that gamers are left-wing as a group. I'll remember to mention that to any of the NAZI clan next time I see them in Contract Wars.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 3 years ago
The point is that I have never noticed that people who play games are left-wing. While they are often the opponents of right-wing decency activists, that doesn't make them left wing. And the NAZI clan exists, just like playernames as Ihateniggers etc,. because CW has no rules about clan names or player names.

Sexual discrimination has been eliminated from our society? Really? That is really an unproblematic thing to state? Don't many of the female commentators of this site not disagree with that?

Again the very starting point of argument here is that there is no sexism, no problems with gender representation in games, no problems in our industry or in the consumer base. Given that fact any one that does say there is is pushing an agenda for self-enrichment, is a liar, or is crazy. So easily wrapped up.

How exactly can you approach a debate by assuming a conclusion before it starts? Sarkeesian makes valid points. I am certain that those with different viewpoints also have valid points. Through free discussion where everyone affords each other respect we can discuss the issues and make the industry a better and more understanding place. Shouting "THERE IS NO PROBLEM YOU CRAZY [insert gender specific insult here] STOP SPOILING MY FUN" does not help anything. Even if you genuinely and sincerely believe there is no problem, why is there such resentment in the industry to discuss it with those that think that there is? Oh, yes, that would be because they are pushing an agenda, are professional victims, are liars, talk nonsense, are crazy, and all the rest. Of course that is why the topic cannot be discussed.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 3 years ago
Thanks for the discussion. I still think that we always need to watch that being allowed to comment on things in the public domain does not easily turn into being allowed to attack victims if the speak out about abuse.

Also yes, I did not mean that you were shouting at people to be quiet, but it is clear that some in this discussion are totally resistant to even considering anything that resembles a criticism from feminists or contains the word sexist.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
@Kenny
I have the same views as John on the matter. As someone who is a transgender female, I do like what Anita is attempting to do. I just feel she is doing it in a terrible way and she is bringing up a lot of non issues.

She is essentially making it seem a lot worse then it really is. Which is something I don't like. I want equality, not to censorship or telling others what they should or should not like. The way she presents things to me is more harmful to what she is trying to accomplish then it is helpful. The reason is because her dishonesty and unwillingness to address criticism and all the bull crap on twitter makes many people not even consider what she has to say even when it is a good point.

I think she raises very good points. I think we should have more diverse characters in videos games. However, her good points are drowned out by all her bad points and non sense she spews out.

Mind you, most people who are against Anita are not against the things she stands for. They are against Anita herself and how she is doing it.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 3 years ago
Let's just leave the discussion then. While it may be Brooke that you genuinely are interested in a feminist critique of gaming while simply having issues with Sarkeesian's particular arguments and presentation, I must say I find it utterly impossible to believe that a different woman addressing the same issues would have had any different response in general; it completely beggars my belief to state that the game community would have welcomed these topics being discussed by anyone else.
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I find it utterly impossible to believe that a different woman addressing the same issues would have had any different response in general
Just want to observe that this very website has seen some very heated rows in the comments sections of sexism-related articles(or, to be honest, anything that deals with the subject of women in games in any way) that had nothing to do with Anita's work.

A very vocal number(a minority, I hope) of game consumers and developers have zero time for any discussion of sexism in the games we play and industry that makes them and there is basically no way to frame the discussion in a way that will satisfy them. Which is why I prefer to make liberal use of the 'Ignore User' function rather than waste my time and emotional energy arguing with that type of person :3

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 2nd February 2015 6:14pm

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
@Kenny
Would they have had a different response? It depends by whom you are referring too. If you mean would they stil lbe trolled and threatened, then most certainly. It would be exactly the same situation.

If you mean like people like me, who don't threaten but just disagree. Then ya, we would have given a different response.

In other words. Yes, a different person would have a different response depending on who is responding.
I mean this is all assuming the different person doesn't do exactly what Anita does. XD
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
People forget that a lot of feminist commentators are actually qualified psychologists and sociologists. The effects of media representations on individuals and society as a whole has already been researched and studied for DECADES - since its inception, feminism has had a strong academic backbone engaged in the study of how men and women differ in various areas and what factors in the world disproportionately effect them.

Meanwhile, the people foaming at the mouth to shout them down haven't looked at the research, haven't done the experiments, often don't even understand the terms she's using (A classic example being Saarkesian's reference to the role of toxic masculinity in mass shootings, being represented as saying masculinity is toxic. Toxic masculinity is a psych term for enforced obsession with fitting an external definition of masculinity that is horrifically psychologically damaging to men, yet so entrenched that even those who will ultimately die early because of it will ferociously defend it) and posit arguments that aren't actually remotely related to the point (such as the person who stated that the Empress-in-peril in Dishonoured wasn't an example of a trope because Dishonoured was well written. That's like saying smoking doesn't cause cancer because cigarettes are cylindrical.)

And I've mentioned this before, but again, when people talk about Violence Against Women in games, other media and life in general, they're not talking about violence that happens to women - if I got mugged on my way to the shop, that would not be violence against women, that would just be violence. Violence Against Women is violence that happens purely because the target is a woman. To give a GTA example, someone running over a sex worker might not be violence against women. Someone running over prostitutes again and again while squealing about sluts and whores, all because his high-school girlfriend dumped him or the head cheerleader wouldn't shag him - yeah, that would be a VAW fantasy.

Please try to bear in mind her actual point: That these tropes are so prolific in video games that there's no room left for realistic women, and yes, people do carry the portrayal of women away with them and treat us differently as a result. The recent GTA V study was only the latest in a long-line of studies showing that.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 3 years ago
@Bonnie
The issue I tend to find is Most of these "studies" are never actually shown. They claim there are studies but any links they provide are not actually to the studies done.

I can go on all the links Anita uses, and absolutly non of them show al lthe so called studies that proves al lthe things she is talking about. Anything she does link happens to be articles written by other feminists who also don't link to any proof.
People forget that a lot of feminist commentators are actually qualified psychologists and sociologists.
You forget, that really doesn't matter. There have been plenty of individuals who have been qualified in the past who have been wrong. Such as I have several degrees and certifications myself in technology related areas. This doesn't mean, I can jsut say whatever it is I wish even without proof. I still have to provide those studies and such.
The effects of media representations on individuals and society as a whole has already been researched and studied for DECADES
Yes, and many of those studies claim there are absolutely no effects. How do you decide which ones are correct lol?
I tend to believe media has no effect, or at least not that large of an effect on the real world. Simply because there has never been proof of this actually being the case. A good example of this is games and violence. It's already practically been confirmed that violence in video games does not increase violence in real life. Unless the person in question was violent to begin with.

Still gets brought up pretty often though. I also feel it's the same way with sexism in video games. Though in my opinion there isn't that much sexism to begin with in games in general. Not to the extent that Anita makes it out to be.
Meanwhile, the people foaming at the mouth to shout them down haven't looked at the research, haven't done the experiments, often don't even understand the terms she's using
Makes you wonder why even some scientists disagree with her then. I don't think it's really an issue of this. I think it's more of an issue that people don't see the research and experiments equally. AKA ... when people evaluate these things, they are going to put it more in favor of what they are looking for. They will see things that may not actually be there, because they want it to be there. I sometimes see people take a number that is about equal and just happens to be 5% or so in the other direction and claim it's a problem. When in fact it could easily be a regular deviation due to any number of other factors.
Violence Against Women is violence that happens purely because the target is a woman. To give a GTA example, someone running over a sex worker might not be violence against women.
The issues many feminists in fact due portray such things as sexist. Even Anita has taken plenty of games and scenarios out of context. Which if you actually played the game you would know it wasn't in fact sexist.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
@Brooke

That's because these "studies" are published in paper journals you have to pay to read, or check out in a library. You can link to blogs that discuss the papers, but you can't link to the papers themselves

Ms Sarkesian's videos are designed for academic use - a class of students covers the theory of things like gender roles or the normalization of behaviours or expectations, then they watch the videos to see some visual examples. The videos showcase the most common tropes in which women are cast in games - she explains what the trope is, covers the history - how it went from being a single story to a recurring trope, and yes, she injects her opinion - that's what makes a critique as opposed to a list, and incites discussion in the classroom.

I can see how people might agree or disagree with her opinions; that's what opinions are all about. But it hardly makes her a liar, unprofessional or the Great Satan she's portrayed as by the "men's rights" movement. I certainly can't find anything I could point at in her videos and say "That's factually wrong."

Which bits in the videos specifically do you think are out of context or outright wrong?
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
The most common issue I hear about from critics of Ms Sarkeesian are that you can kill men as well as women, therefore perfect balance. Which is rubbish, because to attain a completely even-handed approach to gender, a game would have to:
a) allow you to play as a woman (most games fail)
b) show women as aggressors/NPCs in equal balance to men (many games fail, and most films too)
c) exist in a completely gender-blind society (all games fail)
But in any case, that mythical perfectly gender-balanced game ISN'T what feminists want to see. That would be ridiculous. We want to see variety. We don't want EVERY game to be totally gender-blind, we just want to have a better balance across the whole industry, that better represents the market.
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Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Ubisoft Reflections3 years ago
@ Brook
Though in my opinion there isn't that much sexism to begin with in games in general.
You list yourself as a freelance artist. This means that since you don't work in a games industry studio environment, you are less likely to have encountered sexism in the workplace. As your workplace is at home.
Are you male or female? If male, then no you won't have experienced as much sexism as Anita, because it doesn't directly affect you on a daily basis. You are able to go about your day without experiencing it at all.

Just because you haven't experienced something, does not mean it doesn't exist.
I for example have never seen a dolphin, I've been many places where many people have seen dolphins, but I have never seen one. Does that mean they don't exist? Because I, one person, who has been in so many places that dolphins are apparently abundant, have never seen them?

No.

I keep seeing you piping up here on gender related issues, about how sexism isn't a big deal, and I really do not understand how you became such an authority on the subject when A. It doesn't seem to affect you and B. You say it doesn't really exist.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Helen Merete Simm on 4th February 2015 1:43pm

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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
So, we are not ok with a gamer killing a sex worker in GTA (let's just keep rolling with that example), but we are ok with a female character killing men on any other game? Should we have double standards?
Double standards is what we have now. Women are massively under-represented in Hollywood movies, as characters in games, as developers in the industry. Google "double standard meaning" and note that of the top five links, 2 use gender bias against women as their exemplar, and 1 (Urban Dictionary) is an anti-feminist rant. Bit of a tangent, but it amused me.

The problem with killing female sex workers is not just GTA though. You can do it in Hitman, Dishonoured, Saint's Row, RDR, and so on. It is so common that it is a trope - hence the name of Sarkeesian's series. Women are portrayed as victims or prizes far more than they are portrayed as people. It is dehumanizing.

And it's still a trope even if the games it shows up in also let you kill men, even as Lara or FemShep or Faith or Bayonetta. There are hundreds of male characters in starring roles who AREN'T victims or prizes, portraying my gender with all manner of admirable qualities. That's not to say there aren't poor male stereotypes too - stand up, musclebound space marine - but they push in the same direction. Female stereotypes are shown being oppressed, and male stereotypes are shown oppressing them. And left unchallenged, people begin to see this as normal and acceptable.

[EDIT] Here's a breakdown of the gender of characters in 2014's 100 top games. It's not pretty.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Chris Payne on 4th February 2015 8:47pm

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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 3 years ago
Brook, I'm not sure that you should use the terms 'sexist' and 'sexism' so much. As in, it is open to interpretation what it actually means, and a more specific term would be more useful to discuss matters. When you say there is not so much sexism in games, that is such a vague subjective statement that it does not really mean much. Not to belittle your opinion, just some more specifics would make it easier to understand/discuss.

@Alexis There seem to be a lot points in this discussion that you have not understood, if I may say that with respect.

Bonnie did not at any point say that people with degrees should be believed unquestioningly or uncritically. Nor is it any guarantee of being right. Take economics, or medicine, people can study those subjects their whole lives and not be able to come agreement about a lot of things. Yet there is still a difference between someone that has doctorate in Economics opinion about the potential effect of raising or lowering VAT and some random dude in the pub that has no education at all in it. It does not make them right, but they should get the respect that their education deserves. As Feyerabend pointed out some time ago, increasing scientific complexity and depth is anti-democratic, but you cannot simply ignore education and years of study by claiming it is all subjective and one person's opinion on something like the effect of over-sexualised women in the media is as good as another's. That is exactly the same as how right-wing media keep saying that links between violent killings and games has yet to be researched or proven when that just isn't the case. It is also interesting to note how many in the industry are happy to accept academic research into violent games that they agree with compared to how sceptical they are into research by the same people field of science into gender representation in games. The juxtaposition of these two things highlights a rather worrying discrepancy.

No one that I can see is saying that anyone is exempt from criticism but you (in the negative sense of course). What you seem to be answering is that some of us are saying that people should not be personally attacked for their opinions, and discussions about such things as gender representation in games should deal with the issues and consist of ad hominem attacks on the people that are putting forth ideas.

I must say the things that you have brought up as being wrong, wither I don't have knowledge of, have not seen the videos in question, or disagree with, but the discussion would be too detailed and my knowledge of her videos too sparse for it to be meaningful here.

With your points to Chris,

a) Playing a female character in a role written for men does not in my book really suffice as a female leading character. For example if the character still lusts after women, goes to strip clubs, does all the other things that the male character does then as Ms Sarkeesian points out it is still written for the male audience. One can even argue that the introduction of the female avatar is also specifically for men in these games. It would be like have a character creation screen where you could choose homosexual for your male toon, but for all the dialogue and script and actions to be still based on a heterosexual man. It does not really change that much. Also leading female characters that are over-sexualised again can't really be seen as genuine female leads as again they are pandering to straight males, not expressing diversity. A real way to look at it would be to see how many female leads are there that women can identify with, and that act as women in relationships etc. I don't know how big that number would be, but my guess is that it is not that high.

b) Yes, there is an issue with violence against women, and it seems many developers run scared from putting it in the main story, perhaps because they dread the AO rating? Not sure. It is a debatable point, take for example the mission in SRII where you have a party with dozens of strippers who then turn out to be hired assassins and try to kill you. You could argue that it is an orgy of misogynistic violence against over-sexualised women, or you could argue that it allows the strippers to actually take part in the game, be active and aggressive and not simply scantily clad punch bags that exist merely to titillate and be killed in amusing ways. One way to avoid partly this discussion is to not have pretty much all your female characters over-sexualised, then they can take part in the violence of the game without so much controversy.

c) I think Chris meant the game world, not gender blind real world, though I admit I might have that wrong. Why not have stories that either can be fitted to both genders, or is simply indifferent to gender? Why do so many games tie so much to the gender of their characters?
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
@John Owens

Check the original Kickstarter. Anita Sarkesian was making videos for exactly the kind of use I described long before Tropes vs Women came out - and they were very widely used and acclaimed, which is where the original kickstarter came from. Tropes vs Women was not her first product.

So again, I'll ask, what specifically in the videos do you find so offensive?
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
- Games are specifically designed by game developers with the intent of harming female characters for the pleasure of males gamers.
- Games are responsible for real life violence/sexism against women.
- Games enforce a stereotype only/mostly on females.
- Big disproportion of leading gender characters in games.
- Lack of understanding what a trope represented historically in video games.
- Presenting 'evidence' of problems in video games while artificially/intentionally manufacturing said problems to validate her point.
Well, first off:

- Games enforce a stereotype only/mostly on females.

There is a wide variety of ways in which men are portrayed in media. The way women are portrayed largely involves pink. I find it hard to consider this factually wrong.

- Big disproportion of leading gender characters in games.

Again, I find it hard to dispute this factually. Many people can name all the games with lead female characters; they can't name all of them with males. We have publishers who tell devs to change character genders and lower marketing spends on titles that have anything other than a solely male lead. There is a big disparity, though it's better than it was just a couple of years ago. Which has been the point.

Regarding these three:

- Games are responsible for real life violence/sexism against women.
- Lack of understanding what a trope represented historically in video games.
- Presenting 'evidence' of problems in video games while artificially/intentionally manufacturing said problems to validate her point.

Can you point me to those bits in the videos? These are the things I'm finding particularly baffling.

Though "Games are responsible for real life violence/sexism against women." Well, give me a month of your captive attention and I can make you a scientologist. Or a feminist. Or a sadist. It only works when it's captive attention though. if you're denied other input, other context, it doesn't.

But there are people who do exactly that. They play games all day. Every day.

Every mass shooting has come from isolated individuals with very limited, themically-repetitive inputs. Serial rapes arise in settings like frat houses where humour, discussion and rivalries constantly reinforce a dehumanising view of women.

Life normally goes View + Balancing View = Everything OK. You don't have to agree with the balancing view (and I'm not talking about views literally, like in a debate or a discussion, but like... Say you see something that's "Women bad." You them go out and work and chat to a female colleague or friend. They're being all human and stuff. View balanced.

But it's possible to exist in a state where you repeatedly consume the same message. View + Reinforcing View = Downward spiral. And right now, there's no media that widely exerts such an exclusive hold, except games. Not everyone plays games as the totality of their existence, but way more do than with probably anything else in history.

That gives games a power to brainwash that is greater than anything else, and that's why diversity in portrayal is so intensely important - if the message is sufficiently diverse, you provide the balancing view intrinsically.

Regarding Sarkesian's old view on games: I can't say I've always liked them overall either. The feeling that you've just been dropped into someone else's masturbation can be pretty offputting. But it was a while ago, and she's quite obviously found a few games she loved since then - Valve to the rescue!

As to making herself "the grand arbiter of said sport", well, that's the best thing to do about something you think is not just to your taste but something that is actively causing harm to you. And that is how a lot of women feel about the current state of mass media, that things were bad enough with the constant reinforcement of TV, film and games saying "Yep, this is how things are, this is normal and therefore OK".

As for creating "this huge campaign to change the sport to my liking without regarding other people's opinion." She wasn't the one who did that. Tropes vs Women would have been just another set of classroom videos like her previous work until someone decided the woman really needed to be shut up. And women trying to change games, and media in general, to make room for actual women, was there for a long time before Anita Sarkesian.

Edit: Spelling

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 5th February 2015 3:23am

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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
It all depends on who the movies are targeted at. Games are no different apart from the fact that young men make up the vast majority of the demographic.
52% is not a vast majority: http://www.theesa.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ESA_EF_2014.pdf

EDIT: Oops, you said "YOUNG men". Only 17% of the market are male and under 18.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chris Payne on 5th February 2015 3:01pm

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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
Actually, if you check the ESRB figures, they're for box game sales. It doesn't include the facebook games most gamers insist on believing they are - they aren't part of the ESRB if I remember right.

And that the games industry isn't servicing that demand is why so many people are riled up about it. You keep telling a good chunk of your playerbase that they don't exist, and pretty soon they won't... for you. The companies who came through the recession strongest are the ones who didn't tell half their audience to p*ss off.

As for gamer conventions, that's pretty obvious. Going to cons can be a huge amount of "not fun" for women. Firstly, note that most of the female audience to date has only become involved in the post-university years - that's the point where they actually have their own money and privacy. Getting out from under peer pressure is a big factor and it's at this point that a lot of women's interests start to diverge from the high-school, peer-pressure enforced norm.

When you go out to a con, suddenly your interests are visible to other people again, and for some that's an off-putting factor.

Then there's... Well, a lot of women, something like 70% of them last time someone checked, hide the fact that they're female in online games. Because you get everything from "Tits or GTFO", people explaining things you already know how to do in patronising tones, shouted warnings over voice that there's SOMEONE IN THERE, YOU SHOULD COME BACK when you went in there because you knew that and were going to shoot them before all the yelling started, endless sandwich quips, demands to prove your gender, demands for photos, demands for naked photos, guys offering gifts with the most enormous strings attached, hit on over and over and over again, there are guys who are angry that you are female but on another land mass and therefore cannot have sex with them, the entire "fat, ugly or slutty" and a small trove of guys who fall desperately in love with you and attach themselves like limpets. It's far from all bad, of course - you meet some really, really great people as well as those sorts, but...

Seriously, why in all hells would anyone want to go meet them?

Oh, and don't forget the con bonuses. You've got to have your geek cred checked, naturally, and prove that you actually do play games. Then once you're past the gatekeeper, there's the groping with the ever-present excuse "oh sorry, thought you were a booth babe" (you're not supposed to grope them either), you have the booth babes themselves, too, standing as clear signposts that the con is not for those who have breasts of their own and therefore aren't so hyper-excited about them; if you go to an evening party, guys assume you're a prostitute hired by the devs for their benefit, and we're running at about 1 rape per con right now.

So no, games conventions aren't representative of the number of women who play for some completely unfathomable reason. Seems like the female-organized "safe space" conventions are doing OK though.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 5th February 2015 5:22pm

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