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