This week, Anita Sarkeesian released her latest Tropes VS Women video.
You can watch it below or go play a videogame instead:
This video was first highlighted by another user, and in that original thread, the user @sergio brought up an interesting topic that I will talk about more in a moment. In my opinion, it seems to go well with the new Tropes VS Women video, which discusses the potential problems when many female characters are not designed or treated as individuals.
This is an understandable issue within videogames where virtual characters are often treated as toys more than representatives for real people, but as we continue to evolve our emotional investment in many virtual characters, the ramifications of this become murkier. And it speaks to larger issues regarding the basic respect we show(or do not show) to fellow human beings. Online, it is especially common to treat this cold text just as you might a virtual character, but I am in fact a real person behind these words.
So, how we interact with one another, particularly when our differences become more apparent, is important. The basic respect we desire for ourselves and others desire for themselves is at the heart of both the video series and our discussion around it.
I initially responded to the video with a purposefully nondescript response regarding difference of opinion, and Sergio replied as such:
Another interesting topic from a different perspective from my own.
I can respect her opinion and efforts to share that opinion despite some of our differences on the subject.
I haven't watched it yet, but I always wonder about people saying they respect another person's opinion if they disagree with it or consider it wrong. It's like saying you respect a person's opinion that climate change isn't real or that puppies aren't cute. I don't respect those opinions.
Now, awesome duder reading this thread, I can say for certain that you and I do not agree on everything. Maybe on many things, but not all things. Would that be fair to say?
But I can respect that you are an individual who may be different from myself. So, naturally you'll have a different perspective on many things. That's just the reality of each of us being unique, and while I may not always agree, I can try to respectfully understand where you're coming from. Then, if we want to have a discussion, I can show respect to your opinion by discussing it and not just laughing in your face or attacking you personally.
I assume you are not intentionally ill-informed or being hateful; so, with that in mind, I try to engage with you as a fellow individual. That's showing you the most basic level of respect.
I may not always agree with Anita Sarkeesian or even appreciate the manner in which she expresses those opinions, but I do not believe she is acting out of some ill will toward me. She may be mistaken, but she isn't out to get me. So, I can respect that she holds a different perspective than I do and feels it natural to share her opinions. I do the same from my own perspective, and I would hope others might respectfully disagree if they believed I was mistaken. I can assure you that I am probably mistaken on some things. And in the event that you or anyone else sees such error, I hope you will show some courtesy and perhaps even kindness when addressing it.
Being different does not mean being bad. And no matter what flaws I may see in Sarkeesian's videos, I can't fault her for wanting to share what she believes. I can listen to her and then perhaps decide to not listen to her further. As others have said many times here, perhaps stop watching her videos if you don't like them and stop bringing her up if she bugs you.
Fortunately, though, I don't personally dislike her videos so much that I am averse to watching them. If anything, listening to a different perspective is potentially helpful in better understanding the many who do share similar opinions as she does. I believe there are others who explain these perspectives better than she does, but really, they're Youtube videos. For a rudimentary glance at the issues, they're serviceable and worthwhile.
As much as many people may believe the topic of gender and racial representation within games is a "fad" that will go away, I believe they are sadly mistaken. Many gamers do care about the topic, and even if we don't all agree with one of the biggest public faces for the discussion, it doesn't mean we won't keep bringing it up. It's something that matters to many of us, and the time when gamers were quieter about it is passing away.
In the coming years, I'm sure we will see even more discussion and disagreement on social issues within gaming, and it is my sincere hope that more gamers will see the need for showing some respect to one another in our discussion. Otherwise, many will likely find themselves left out simply because they couldn't at least try to understand and respect other's differences. Giant Bomb has rules specifically around this, deterring people from "being a jerk"(even to non-members) or poisoning the well with threads that start with little chance for decent discussion.
Basic respect is something we hope others will show us when we express ourselves, and it's only natural for us to show it to others, as well. That exchange will rarely be perfectly respectful, but we can do our best. We have come together on this forum specifically out of a desire for such a forum of discussion.
If we care enough about something to want to discuss it, we should pursue discussing it well.
With that in mind, I hope you will check out the video and share your thoughts like the cool and respectful people you are.