Tag Archives: Anita Sarkeesian

Contradictions in Thought : Video Game Critique

So yesterday and today I listened to / read what I felt were two extremes about the views of women and video games. Yesterday I watched Anita Sarkeesian’s third installment of Tropes versus Video Games and then watched and read some of the responses to the videos. The interesting thing that I notice about the responses against the videos is there seems to be this idea that because I do not see or experience any problems than a problem does not exist. I also find it funny that everyone talks about how Anita’s videos do not use enough academic reference and research, but they use that to say that her thesis is wrong. Even though there has been a large history of discussions of female representation and the subtle effects on the perception of reality, but that is a different discussion.

Then today I read an article on the Mary Sue discussing Xbox response to a women being threatened with rape on Xbox live. The story is horrendous and reading the transcript I am so happy that someone called this particular person on the crap they were spouting. I think things are moving in the right direction, but if we stop talking about it are we just ignoring that there is obviously still an issue? The Xbox response is also extremely disappointing because it feels very shoved aside. I understand that it can be difficult to deal with complaints, but considering the woman has a recording that the man sent to her, it seems pretty clear to me. There is such a thing as friendly trash talk, but people tend to go so much further than they would if people were really present.

So how do we balance these viewpoints? I understand that the way that Anita presents her information is sensational and oversimplified, but she is trying to create something that can be basically understood by the lowest common denominator (which in America is sadly really low). There are also people who have not experienced these horrible situations and I am so grateful that they have not had to. I personally have not experienced it, but I have friends who have. From both sides it feels like it is all or nothing, which really is not the case. Continue reading

Damsels in Distress

So, recently I watched the first of a series of videos from Anita Sarkeesian talking about tropes in video games. The first one is actually part 1 of a two-part series discussing the trope of the “Damsel in Distress”. Part 1 is simply looking at early games, and part 2 will look at some more recent examples. As Anita has become a divisive and controversial figure, many response videos have come out as a reply to her video. Some of them I think miss the point, but others I think make legitimate claims against how she is presenting the information.

For one, by not allowing rating or commenting she is closing down the ability for people to discuss the issue. Which does turn in to her kind of preaching at people instead of having an open and honest discussion with other people that might make them think about their view of the world. Yes, trolls gonna troll, but you do not have to engage with them. In some ways by not allowing commenting you are feeding into their opinions of you.

Second, I do agree that I think she does not delve quite deeply enough into the issue. She points out examples and explains in fairly simple terms why it is problematic, but media criticism is not and should not be simple. There are many contributing factors to look at which each individual story to talk about why it is problematic. You also need to understand the whole story that is being told to talk about each iteration.

There are other things, but those are the big two in my opinion and David and I have been discussing them at length lately. So we decided it was time to do our own post or posts more specifically. We each brought a different perspective to the table about the problems with the damsel in distress. The way I have chosen to deal with it is bringing up some of the questions that came to mind after watching Anita’s original video as well as watching some subsequent follow up videos arguing against her premise. David will get his post up tomorrow. So follow me as we journey down the rabbit hole. Continue reading

Being Critics of Media and Culture

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to just sit back and consume media and culture and not think beyond simple enjoyment? But when we do that, do we turn a blind eye to larger problems in the world? Media and culture reflect how a person sees the world. When we create something we are putting our view into what we create. Thus, by examining the media and culture we can explore how others view the world or at least certain aspects of the world.

Now, maybe I should have started this out a little differently. In college I got my degree in Media Studies, which as it turns out is exploring representation and themes in media. I think it is important to think critically about the media that we consume. It is the same as when people think about what they put into their bodies in terms of food. If we do not think critically about what we consume we are nothing better than mindless drones repeating whatever the latest fad is.

Now I know that this is not a popular topic for people to discuss. No one wants to hear that the representation or world view in a game, movie, tv show, etc, is skewed. Look at how vehemently people defend their news outlet of choice, even when they are more than a little skewed at times. The important thing to remember is that thinking critically about something does not mean you cannot still enjoy it – it just means that you are asking questions about how that media / culture is shaping a world view.

What is great is there are a lot of people out there who are taking the time to try and have a conversation about media. They are consuming media, but at the same time thinking critically about the media that they consume. Now at times I have seen some go too far, they decide that their opinion / interpretation is right and that if you disagree with it then you are somehow bad. But many of them are doing good things. Continue reading