Standing Silent in the Echo Chamber

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Posted by Rockdalf (1328 posts) -

I know that we've had enough articles and opinions on what's been going on last month running to last us all a lifetime, but I feel like I've reached some sort of closure on the matter I would like to share with everyone who may be interested.

Before I begin, I feel I should provide a little background. I pride myself an informed gamer. I like to read the reviews, the previews, the upcoming games, the framerates, etc. etc. The only thing I probably spend more money on than Video Games, is digital hats for Dota 2 and as a consumer of both video games and digital hats, I like to keep myself informed. I've been involved in video games strictly as a consumer, for 20 years thus far (my first console was an old NES) and most of my friends I still hang out with I've met through gaming. Despite having families of our own, almost every event we plan is somehow centered around video games or a game of DnD.

Last week was such an event. All of us got together to play DnD 5e for the first time (So much fun!) and curiosity got the better of me. I decided to gauge their opinion on the events of last month.

"So what did you think of that whole Jenn Frank thing?" I asked, as I thumbed through the new list of wizard spells.

"Who's that?" one of my friends asked.

"Uh, she's some reporter that quit because she was being harassed on Twitter because of this whole GamerGate thing."

"What's that?" the other one asked looking at me like I was stupid.

I didn't know how to respond. Three of my closest gaming friends were literally oblivious to every thing that had occurred the month prior. Justin, the WoW-fiend of the group, knew all about the new graphical overhaul that was coming to WoW on the PTR. Dustin, the JRPG player amongst us, later brought up Tales of Xillia 2, and how he probably wasn't going to pick it up because he doesn't like Tales game sequels. Micheal, my friend and Halo partner asked my opinion on Destiny and whether I thought it was worth buying a new console for. They were living their happy little lives completely unaware of the social war currently targeted on their beloved media. After bringing it up, and seeing their confusion, I was all too happy to move on to another subject.

Going home that night, I came to a realization. They're the real gamers. While all the 140 character fury is flung back and forth, the blissfully ignore it and buy the games that interest them. They don't know how many women work on their games. They probably don't care if a women rights the reviews they read. They just play video games, not because it's a culture to them, or because games represent something akin to art, but because they only like playing them.

I have lots of opinions on GamerGate and gaming journalism, and Anita Sarkeesian. I think both sides have good points and bad points and if they'd see past the current blowups, they'd realize their goals don't really conflict with each other at all. We can embrace women as journalists, developers, characters and most importantly players. At the same time, we can define what games journalism means, who they market to and whose interests they have in mind. These are BOTH longstanding issues and I don't expect them to go away tomorrow.

I think we all need to have a discussion on these issues. Not have a listen, not a twitter debate, but genuine back and forth, two way street discussion. Because we're gamers, we don't learn from being told, we learn from being involved.

And I think we'd all be a lot happier if we'd just go back to playing video games.

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#1 Edited by afabs515 (2005 posts) -

I still don't know what GamerGate is and I don't care about it. What happens on Twitter doesn't really matter to me, especially considering I don't use my twitter account, on which I only follow the Giantbomb staff.

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#2 Posted by chimpchamp (49 posts) -

Yep. Agreed but with two caveats....

First, VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET. I'm gonna stop buying crappy stuff in sales, delete my Steam wishlist, buy more second hand games and wait for GotY editions.

Second, I'm done with the GB website. I don't know why management lets Patrick run rampant with his one-sided view of the issue, but they do. From now on, I'm just watching video content on the video buddy provided Dan stays around. I feel like I'm really in the minority reading comments sections and forum threads, so many people seem to agree that it's OK for Patrick to behave the way he does, and I just don't get it and I feel like I'm just gonna get banned if I complain more fully.

It's so disappointing for me that it's come to this because I really wanted to stick around and support guys like Vinny and Drew and Dan. Following this whole issue has just made it patently clear to me that all these companies and websites don't want me around.

Back to games is right. Signing off and deleting GB from bookmarks. Good luck, duders.

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#4 Posted by L33T_HAXOR (940 posts) -

@rockdalf: You know I was nodding in agreement through your whole post, then for some reason I just started reading a whole bunch about this pointless Twitter drama and drove my blood pressure through the roof again.

Why do I keep doing this to myself?

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#5 Posted by bargainben (500 posts) -

"Gamergate" was always a tabloid story. I wouldn't expect my friends to know the latest about Rob Kardashian. They're not "ignorant" about game news, they just don't care about tabloid stories. It doesn't speak of a larger cultural problem or anything like that, hatful nerds exist that's not a scoop. The larger problem is walking into a room full of people at a time where real news is pretty dire and expecting everyone to know the latest tabloid bullshit story in the world of gaming

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#6 Posted by Rockdalf (1328 posts) -

@bargainben: I can't say I really agree with your generalizations at all friend. My friends aren't just ignorant of GamerGate in general, they're ignorant of mostly all the inner-workings of gaming news. They're equally ignorant of what Femenist Frequency is or anything else not directly related to a game they're intrested in for the most part. And I'm not saying that's a problem, I'm just saying that's probably where 90% of our community is at right now and it seems to be a happier place.

Also, smearing the entirety of people using a GamerGate tag as a hateful nerd tabloid story smacks right in the face of what I was just saying. You poison the well, so no progress can be made.

@l33t_haxor: I think it's fine to read all the twitter nonsense going on, just keep it in context you know? I'm not saying don't stay informed or turn a blind eye. Just realize that the entirety of twitter users are only a small fraction of gamers, and it's only a small fraction of said twitter users spoiling the bunch.

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#7 Posted by vaiz (3068 posts) -

God I envy that. I've been thinking about similar things in the past couple of weeks since this all started, mostly thinking back to when I was 14 and started listening to The Hotspot, which was really the first time I started paying attention to the industry itself at all. Before that, I just watched game trailers, occasionally read reviews, and if a game seemed cool, I wanted to play it. Maybe it was even a bad game, I found a way to have fun with it. I feel as if I am actively playing and enjoying video games less often because of all the inside, back stage baseball that gets ruminated on and spewed everywhere. It's pretty sad.

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#8 Posted by Hallic (38 posts) -

The way GB has handled the whole gamergate discussion or more appropriately lack thereof (We have Patrick to thank for that I presume) has made me very disappointed in this site. And now having that google "pro journos" group being leaked , showing that there was collusion within the gaming press to silence/smear it's critics and organise the "Stop the Hate" petition that came out a little while ago, it's becoming very clear that the gaming press narrative of gamergate being nothing more than woman/minority/trans and also puppy(why not?) hating trolls is a shameless attempt to get their opponents to stand down and be quite.

Patrick and the mods here can have whatever opinion on the matter they wish but to outright silence most if not all discussion on this topic is just something that makes me scratch my head to be honest.

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#9 Edited by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@hallic said:

The way GB has handled the whole gamergate discussion or more appropriately lack thereof (We have Patrick to thank for that I presume) has made me very disappointed in this site. And now having that google "pro journos" group being leaked , showing that there was collusion within the gaming press to silence/smear it's critics and organise the "Stop the Hate" petition that came out a little while ago, it's becoming very clear that the gaming press narrative of gamergate being nothing more than woman/minority/trans and also puppy(why not?) hating trolls is a shameless attempt to get their opponents to stand down and be quite.

Patrick and the mods here can have whatever opinion on the matter they wish but to outright silence most if not all discussion on this topic is just something that makes me scratch my head to be honest.

I'm not defending the behavior of either side but as someone who has worked in an industry position, not gaming BTW, LISTERVs are actually not uncommon at all. I think people just need to get over the idea that there's gaming "journalism", most of these people have little to no formal training/education in journalism, are in the mid 20s to early 30s, a decent number of them are not even particularly skilled writers, and almost none of what they do would be classified as "journalism" with some notable exceptions. They are just press don't assume they know what they're doing all the time.

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#10 Edited by spraynardtatum (4384 posts) -

Games Journalism is actually just marketing and it would clear a lot of stuff up if people accepted that. Especially the games journalists. The reason no one has evidence of corruption is because they don't see that their entire practice, when you call yourself a journalist, is corrupt. All you need to do is open IGN, Gamespot, Giantbomb, Kotaku, Polygon, etc and look at the collection of "news stories" to see what the problem is. It's marketing. There's your corruption. Page one of IGN is all the evidence you need.

It's not actually corruption even, but the gaming press isn't honest about what their job actually is. They want to help the industry and help sell great games. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not journalism. It's marketing. They are part of the marketing arm of the industry.

Posting trailers, release dates, and reviews, for content that is directly given to you by a publisher or developer is NOT in anyway journalism. Opinion pieces about said content or the culture surrounding is also not journalism.

They're pundits reporting on exactly what the games industry wants them to report on. Like CNN talking about the McRib on McDonald's request. Except that is the entirety of what they do. Patrick Klepek and Jason Schreier are the two closest examples of a journalists and they're both at most 10%. At the end of the day, the purpose of their job is to help sell and promote video games.

The real identity issue lies with them not with the "gamer". The press doesn't understand their own job responsibility and probably enjoy being referred to as journalists.

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#11 Edited by jadegl (1413 posts) -

Just for future reference, if anyone has any comments concerning moderation of threads or posts, please PM the moderation team. As outlined in the forum rules, these posts are frowned upon and the appropriate avenue for this discussion is via PM. Thanks.

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#12 Posted by Mortuss_Zero (744 posts) -

I hate to be so pessimistic about GB, because I love GB, but this is definitely going to get locked sooner or later.

Echo chamber indeed...

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#13 Posted by AlisterCat (8093 posts) -

@mortuss_zero said:

Echo chamber indeed...

That goes for Twitter, too. My twitter feed is nothing but a circle jerk about how awful everyone is.

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#14 Posted by Wolfgame (1168 posts) -

@hallic said:

The way GB has handled the whole gamergate discussion or more appropriately lack thereof (We have Patrick to thank for that I presume) has made me very disappointed in this site. And now having that google "pro journos" group being leaked , showing that there was collusion within the gaming press to silence/smear it's critics and organise the "Stop the Hate" petition that came out a little while ago, it's becoming very clear that the gaming press narrative of gamergate being nothing more than woman/minority/trans and also puppy(why not?) hating trolls is a shameless attempt to get their opponents to stand down and be quite.

Patrick and the mods here can have whatever opinion on the matter they wish but to outright silence most if not all discussion on this topic is just something that makes me scratch my head to be honest.

I happen to agree with most of the points you have raised, things are dreary around here. This whole thing has backfired in ways I am sure the larger gaming journalists never wanted to see. It's gotten away from them and grown into something that has become much harder to attack. I would encourage anyone interested to watch this video from the American Enterprise Institute. This is probably the embodiment of what the larger gaming community has been trying to say on this issue. It goes without saying that this will get very little coverage. If the gaming press even tried to respond to the points made in this video, I would be stunned. Every single claim she makes goes directly against the narrative they have built. What we are really seeing is that the gaming press have effectively tied their own hands on this issue. After pouring months into a campaign designed to demonize gamers it has all blown up in their face. I think its sad that they have had a concerted effort to throw away the good will and admiration that they have built over the years all by refusing to treat gamers as real people. The larger gaming space will probably just continue to call people misogynists

Loading Video...

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#15 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@jadegl said:

Just for future reference, if anyone has any comments concerning moderation of threads or posts, please PM the moderation team. As outlined in the forum rules, these posts are frowned upon and the appropriate avenue for this discussion is via PM. Thanks.

Confused here, are you talking about this "Posting negative threads or comments about moderators or staff members:" ?

This thread doesn't seem overly negative of staff members. If this thread gets locked/deleted you are just fanning the flames here. Just allow open discussion please. The whole gamejouropros thing is about to blow up on the internet, I'd hate to see GB get flack for shutting down discussion over it.

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#16 Posted by Wolfgame (1168 posts) -

@jadegl said:

Just for future reference, if anyone has any comments concerning moderation of threads or posts, please PM the moderation team. As outlined in the forum rules, these posts are frowned upon and the appropriate avenue for this discussion is via PM. Thanks.

Confused here, are you talking about this "Posting negative threads or comments about moderators or staff members:" ?

This thread doesn't seem overly negative of staff members. If this thread gets locked/deleted you are just fanning the flames here. Just allow open discussion please. The whole gamejouropros thing is about to blow up on the internet, I'd hate to see GB get flack for shutting down discussion over it.

It's hard to silence discussion on this, if they do its just going to feed into the theory that it is a combined effort born from game pro journalists to silence discussion on this issue. If that happens as you said it will fan the flames of the opposing side by leading them to believe that something is being covered up. Much like Sommers suggests in this video, I would suggest for the mods the best course of action is to stand down, moderate the thread itself for any posts that may violate forum rules of personal attacks and the like, but for the most part allow people to say their peace and feel as though they have been heard. It's not a sign of weakness to observe, not every activity on this board needs some immediate corrective action or topic lock. A little bit of faith in the community would go a long way to rebuild.

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#17 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@wolfgame said:

@n1nj4d00m said:

@jadegl said:

Just for future reference, if anyone has any comments concerning moderation of threads or posts, please PM the moderation team. As outlined in the forum rules, these posts are frowned upon and the appropriate avenue for this discussion is via PM. Thanks.

Confused here, are you talking about this "Posting negative threads or comments about moderators or staff members:" ?

This thread doesn't seem overly negative of staff members. If this thread gets locked/deleted you are just fanning the flames here. Just allow open discussion please. The whole gamejouropros thing is about to blow up on the internet, I'd hate to see GB get flack for shutting down discussion over it.

It's hard to silence discussion on this, if they do its just going to feed into the theory that it is a combined effort born from game pro journalists to silence discussion on this issue. If that happens as you said it will fan the flames of the opposing side by leading them to believe that something is being covered up. Much like Sommers suggests in this video, I would suggest for the mods the best course of action is to stand down, moderate the thread itself for any posts that may violate forum rules of personal attacks and the like, but for the most part allow people to say their peace and feel as though they have been heard. It's not a sign of weakness to observe, not every activity on this board needs some immediate corrective action or topic lock. A little bit of faith in the community would go a long way to rebuild.

It would really be great if one of the staff would come and engage the community on this issue in real terms as well. But I understand their reluctance here.

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#18 Edited by Fear_the_Booboo (1091 posts) -

@wolfgame: You're demonizing Sarkeesian to then post an extremely patronizing video of Sommers using shitty rethorics ("there's more hardcore gamer that are male than women, so it's fine that hardcore games are only adressed to male" - "videogames don't cause violence, so they don't cause misogyny")...

Nice.

Saying that the videogame industry has been silent to her points is disingenuous at best. Most of them has already been adressed countless of time by critics, though seeing how you think highly of Sarkeesian I guess you would not even try to listen to them.

Shortly, maybe the reason why there is more male gamers is because there is more game directly adressed to them. Maybe if more hardcore games were made with women in mind, there would be more women that games?

Violence and misogyny are linked, but are not the same thing. Violence as a concious act to hurt someone is completely different that the act of inconciously thinking women are inferior to men. Games don't create violence directly, but you'd have to be completely blind to not realize that games DO make violence banal, as they do for misogyny. That's the point of Sarkeesian and of many "SJWs".

Obviously you're accusing the "other side" to not listen to your critics when you are not even doing it. Plenty of journalists have adressed the very video you posted, but you don't care. And fuck, Sommers point is that gamers are "welcoming", but that people playing casual games are not even gamers...

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#19 Posted by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@jadegl said:

Just for future reference, if anyone has any comments concerning moderation of threads or posts, please PM the moderation team. As outlined in the forum rules, these posts are frowned upon and the appropriate avenue for this discussion is via PM. Thanks.

Confused here, are you talking about this "Posting negative threads or comments about moderators or staff members:" ?

This thread doesn't seem overly negative of staff members. If this thread gets locked/deleted you are just fanning the flames here. Just allow open discussion please. The whole gamejouropros thing is about to blow up on the internet, I'd hate to see GB get flack for shutting down discussion over it.

Oh I don't know about that, from my perspective I'd say the worst of it is already in the past. Now if I were in the games industry I wouldn't need to be told not to touch this stuff with a ten foot pole. Still the press obviously is in a place where it needs to do some soul searching and maybe root out some of the reactionary crap that just makes them the mirror image of their own boogeymen.

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#20 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

Violence and misogyny are linked, but are not the same thing. Violence as a concious act to hurt someone is completely different that the act of inconciously thinking women are inferior to men. Games don't create violence directly, but you'd have to be completely blind to not realize that games DO make violence banal, as they do for misogyny. That's the point of Sarkeesian and of many "SJWs".

This is the crux of the issue many people have with Sarkeesian's work. She doesn't cite any academic or scientific sources that show there is a connection between the "banality" of claimed misogyny in games and real life attitudes towards women. She says there is a connection, but where is the evidence for this?

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#22 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1091 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: In all feminist critic that came before her? If any new feminist critic need to justify that representation of misogyny DOES encourage a culture of misogyny, the discussion would never progress. That's why feminists critics are totally right to not adress this most basic critic of their work: it has already been adressed. Sarkeesian point is only that videogames are part of the culture of misogyny, that's it.

If you need proof that the culture of misogyny is negative all around, I'd suggest reading Laura Mulvey's writing on cinema.

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#23 Edited by chaser324 (8690 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m said:

@jadegl said:

Just for future reference, if anyone has any comments concerning moderation of threads or posts, please PM the moderation team. As outlined in the forum rules, these posts are frowned upon and the appropriate avenue for this discussion is via PM. Thanks.

Confused here, are you talking about this "Posting negative threads or comments about moderators or staff members:" ?

This thread doesn't seem overly negative of staff members. If this thread gets locked/deleted you are just fanning the flames here. Just allow open discussion please. The whole gamejouropros thing is about to blow up on the internet, I'd hate to see GB get flack for shutting down discussion over it.

I'll just reiterate what @jadegl said: if you have an issue with moderation, send us a PM about it. If it's something you feel you need to elevate even further, send a PM to @rorie. Personally, I feel like we've allowed plenty of discussion on recent issues so long as it stayed within the bounds of our forum rules and didn't spiral completely out of control. If you disagree or have other issues though, feel free to send us a PM.

Moderator Online
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#24 Posted by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@fear_the_booboo said:

Violence and misogyny are linked, but are not the same thing. Violence as a concious act to hurt someone is completely different that the act of inconciously thinking women are inferior to men. Games don't create violence directly, but you'd have to be completely blind to not realize that games DO make violence banal, as they do for misogyny. That's the point of Sarkeesian and of many "SJWs".

This is the crux of the issue many people have with Sarkeesian's work. She doesn't cite any academic or scientific sources that show there is a connection between the "banality" of claimed misogyny in games and real life attitudes towards women. She says there is a connection, but where is the evidence for this?

Well would you want your video games dominated by sexism and misogyny (they're different BTW) even if you believed they didn't contribute to negative attitudes towards women in real life?

I don't necessarily find Sarkeesian to be a great persuader but sexism in games is hard to deny, that said any form of entertainment is a reflection of the culture in which is was produced and sexism is a larger social problem that pervades all forms of media.

Anyway I consider the validity of these critiques to be besides the point, I'd rather people stop looking to the gaming press for guidance and hopefully encourage the press to stop polarizing themselves as a defense against the worst elements of the community. Also if they could accept criticism like reasonable adults that'd be great too. Raising the bar on standards could go a long way in increasing the respect of the profession and the medium in general.

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#25 Posted by WholeFunShow (401 posts) -

@hallic said:

The way GB has handled the whole gamergate discussion or more appropriately lack thereof (We have Patrick to thank for that I presume) has made me very disappointed in this site. And now having that google "pro journos" group being leaked , showing that there was collusion within the gaming press to silence/smear it's critics and organise the "Stop the Hate" petition that came out a little while ago, it's becoming very clear that the gaming press narrative of gamergate being nothing more than woman/minority/trans and also puppy(why not?) hating trolls is a shameless attempt to get their opponents to stand down and be quite.

Patrick and the mods here can have whatever opinion on the matter they wish but to outright silence most if not all discussion on this topic is just something that makes me scratch my head to be honest.

The sad thing I've been compelled to deduce is that as a whole they've acted with comparative civility, just the white wash along with the occasional (from my point of view) lazy, snide, biased criticism from what they perceive to be the moral high ground. My concern at this stage relates to this...

@afabs515 said:

I still don't know what GamerGate is and I don't care about it. What happens on Twitter doesn't really matter to me, especially considering I don't use my twitter account, on which I only follow the Giantbomb staff.

The lay offs at gamespot happened before the shit storm and the boycots are only going to exacerbate such things. The longer the bitterness continues the more friendly fire will occur. [Hash tag]GamerGate is too complicated for any one person to understand overnight but while it untangles I'd hate an undue consensus to form against giantbomb.

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#26 Edited by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: In all feminist critic that came before her? If any new feminist critic need to justify that representation of misogyny DOES encourage a culture of misogyny, the discussion would never progress. That's why feminists critics are totally right to not adress this most basic critic of their work: it has already been adressed. Sarkeesian point is only that videogames are part of the culture of misogyny, that's it.

If you need proof that the culture of misogyny is negative all around, I'd suggest reading Laura Mulvey's writing on cinema.

I've seen plenty of people claim that media can cause all kinds of attitudes. I've seen people claim that rock music causes people to become murderers, that comics turn people into perverts, that books cause people to become lazy. There are lots of claims about stuff like that. I'm not sure why we only take these claims seriously when they are coming from a liberal perspective.

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#27 Edited by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -
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#28 Posted by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@fear_the_booboo said:

@n1nj4d00m: In all feminist critic that came before her? If any new feminist critic need to justify that representation of misogyny DOES encourage a culture of misogyny, the discussion would never progress. That's why feminists critics are totally right to not adress this most basic critic of their work: it has already been adressed. Sarkeesian point is only that videogames are part of the culture of misogyny, that's it.

If you need proof that the culture of misogyny is negative all around, I'd suggest reading Laura Mulvey's writing on cinema.

I've seen plenty of people claim that media can cause all kinds of attitudes. I've seen people claim that rock music causes people to become murderers, that comics turn people into perverts, that books cause people to become lazy. There are lots of claims about stuff like that. I'm not sure why we only take these claims seriously when they are coming from a liberal perspective.

As a Liberal progressive myself and happy bystander to this particular argument I'd suggest you ask next that if there is demonstrable harm being caused by media presentations such as these at what point is government action appropriate to reduce this harm?

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#29 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1091 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: Just showed your true colors, did you? You just put EVERY critics of a given medium in the same "liberals" group. If there is someone that is not open to discussion right now, it's you. Funny things is that in your last comment, you're condescending to people that did the exact same thing you just did (attacking an entire groupe of people).

As I said, you should totally read Laura Mulvey. She's not Jack Thompson, but you seem incapable if differenciating good criticism from the bad. She's not the only one, though. I'll let you do your own research.

Also, you should adress all of @heyguys points, not just one that you took apart from the rest.

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#30 Edited by scarycrayons (353 posts) -
@heyguys said:

Well would you want your video games dominated by sexism and misogyny (they're different BTW) even if you believed they didn't contribute to negative attitudes towards women in real life?

I don't necessarily find Sarkeesian to be a great persuader but sexism in games is hard to deny [...]

I think different people, and especially different cultures and backgrounds, have different ideas as to what 'sexism' is.

I see games like Dead or Alive 5 and find that the characters are all pretty equal. The girls are attractive, the guys are attractive. There's a 50% male/female ratio in terms of playable characters. I love the sheer quantity of stylish costumes, though it has to be said that the women get something like seven costumes each and the guys only get three or four each. It has really solid fighting mechanics, and is spectacular to watch experts play.

In short, I don't find any of that sexist, except for the fact that guys don't get as many costumes, in which case they're a tiny bias against the male characters but that's fairly understandable given that women's fashions have a wider variety of choice.

However, when I speak to many people online, amongst which are usually guys from America (I'm a girl from England), they think that Dead or Alive is the most sexist and misogynistic game there is. "It's only popular because of the boobs!" "Ugh nobody buys DOA for the gameplay it's just to watch girls jiggle" "I can't believe they still allow that to be sold." "I heard that if you turn the age to 99 the breasts bounce even MORE!" "It's a fetish game so guys can beat up girls, gross."

It's really, really weird to me. It's like the entire game suddenly has zero merit to them, just because they animated the character's full bodies, rather than deliberately not animating certain parts that they find offensive for reasons they can't actually explain. Quite frankly, it's waayyy weirder to me when games have the female characters look like they're carrying a single cement block strapped to their chest under their clothes when the rest of their limbs/bodies are constantly moving.

Outside of the games specifically designed to be sexist (RapeLay is the one that always springs to mind, just for its name, or Duke Nukem 3D which was more tongue-in-cheek), I think it's very easy to show that barely any games at all are "dominated by sexism and misogyny," and even easier to show that video games don't turn people into women-haters given how much support both sides are trying to give support to women.

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#31 Edited by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@fear_the_booboo: first thing I did after reading your comment was look up Mulvey. I've read plenty of feminist critiques of media and I just happen not to agree with some of it. I consider myself very liberal when it comes to social issues as well. What we aren't doing right now though is discussing the issue at hand. So in response, I do find sexism in games to be offensive and in bad taste, I just don't believe it exists on they massive scale that Sarkeesian claims. I played the demo for Blue Estate, and found it sexist (and also just bad) , but not because there were simply sexualized women in the game. This is a game where women are portrayed poorly in a sexist manner, one of the games that should actually be singled out.

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#32 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@heyguys said:

Well would you want your video games dominated by sexism and misogyny (they're different BTW) even if you believed they didn't contribute to negative attitudes towards women in real life?

I don't necessarily find Sarkeesian to be a great persuader but sexism in games is hard to deny [...]

I think different people, and especially different cultures and backgrounds, have different ideas as to what 'sexism' is.

I see games like Dead or Alive 5 and find that the characters are all pretty equal. The girls are attractive, the guys are attractive. There's a 50% male/female ratio in terms of playable characters. I love the sheer quantity of stylish costumes, though it has to be said that the women get something like seven costumes each and the guys only get three or four each. It has really solid fighting mechanics, and is spectacular to watch experts play.

In short, I don't find any of that sexist, except for the fact that guys don't get as many costumes, in which case they're a tiny bias against the male characters but that's fairly understandable given that women's fashions have a wider variety of choice.

However, when I speak to many people online, amongst which are usually guys from America (I'm a girl from England), they think that Dead or Alive is the most sexist and misogynistic game there is. "It's only popular because of the boobs!" "Ugh nobody buys DOA for the gameplay it's just to watch girls jiggle" "I can't believe they still allow that to be sold." "I heard that if you turn the age to 99 the breasts bounce even MORE!" "It's a fetish game so guys can beat up girls, gross."

It's really, really weird to me. It's like the entire game suddenly has zero merit to them, just because they animated the character's full bodies, rather than deliberately not animating certain parts that they find offensive for reasons they can't actually explain. Quite frankly, it's waayyy weirder to me when games have the female characters look like they're carrying a single cement block strapped to their chest under their clothes when the rest of their limbs/bodies are constantly moving.

Outside of the games specifically designed to be sexist (RapeLay is the one that always springs to mind, just for its name, or Duke Nukem 3D which was more tongue-in-cheek), I think it's very easy to show that barely any games at all are "dominated by sexism and misogyny," and even easier to show that video games don't turn people into women-haters given how much support both sides are trying to give support to women.

I think a lot of the issue I have is that the definition of misogyny has been warped. A lot of people now claim its misogynistic for a female character to be sexualized at all. It might be in bad taste, it might even be sexist in some cases, but that is not misogyny.

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#33 Edited by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@scarycrayons: I absolutely think it's possible to have reasonable disagreement over what constitutes sexism but to deny that it exists at all in gaming might be stretching it a bit, we could disagree over the extent of the problem still, I think that's fine and should be encouraged. And I think you might have a point that that kind of discussion isn't what's happening right now when people, even in discussions initiated by the press, talk about sexism.

My distinction between sexism and misogyny is important here. I'd say actual misogyny isn't commonplace in video games but that games in the aggregate do reflect sexism in society and may even suffer from having a larger than normal problem with it because of the relative lack of women in game development. I should say as a watcher of movies though that might be a hard argument to make.

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#34 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1091 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: If you want to talk about the discussion at hand why don't you adress @heyguys points like I asked, why did you singled out one of my point from my first post to only adress this one and why do you say things like "I'm not sure why we only take these claims seriously when they are coming from a liberal perspective." and then "Yeah, its hard to take people seriously when they go on twitter tirades against entire groups of people." ? Also, if you consider yourself liberal, why did you use "liberal perspective" as a negative before?

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#35 Posted by Oldirtybearon (5626 posts) -

@scarycrayons: I wonder how much of that is projection, personally. I'm always wary of morality censors because, more often than not, the ones banging on that drum the loudest are the ones with the nastiest skeletons in their closet. I don't think either one us could argue that the Dead or Alive games aren't marketed with sex appeal in mind because they totally are. The part that I always get hung up on is why that isn't okay. No one has ever been able to explain to my satisfaction why it's not okay to have sexy people in video games. Or why it's not okay to market a game based on sex appeal.

My personal belief is that there's room for everything at the table. There's room for walking simulators like Gone Home and there's room for that stripper zombie slayer game (Onechanbarbarella or whatever it's called). The fact that Lollipop Chainsaw exists doesn't negate the merits of say, Tomb Raider 2013. Sure one game is crass as hell and absolutely trades on the sex appeal of its protagonist, but, again, why is that a bad thing? Some people seem to really dig Lollipop Chainsaw, so why not just let that group of people have their dumb game?

Of course I'm one of those wacky-ass weirdos who thinks "games are art" and are thus protected speech, so pretty much anything is fair game in my opinion.

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#36 Edited by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@fear_the_booboo said:

@n1nj4d00m: If you want to talk about the discussion at hand why don't you adress @heyguys points like I asked, why did you singled out one of my point from my first post to only adress this one and why do you say things like "I'm not sure why we only take these claims seriously when they are coming from a liberal perspective." and then "Yeah, its hard to take people seriously when they go on twitter tirades against entire groups of people." ? Also, if you consider yourself liberal, why did you use "liberal perspective" as a negative before?

I wasn't using it as a negative, I was pointing out that a lot of people are only willing to consider someone's opinion valid if it comes from a liberal perspective. I find that to be an issue, we should always be willing to listen to opposing opinions as a way to balance our own viewpoints (trying to avoid the echo chamber).

@heyguys points are valid, and I don't want games to be littered with sexism and misogyny. I don't necessarily think they are any more than other media just like was mentioned in the comment.

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#37 Posted by teaoverlord (592 posts) -

@scarycrayons: I wonder how much of that is projection, personally. I'm always wary of morality censors because, more often than not, the ones banging on that drum the loudest are the ones with the nastiest skeletons in their closet. I don't think either one us could argue that the Dead or Alive games aren't marketed with sex appeal in mind because they totally are. The part that I always get hung up on is why that isn't okay. No one has ever been able to explain to my satisfaction why it's not okay to have sexy people in video games. Or why it's not okay to market a game based on sex appeal.

My personal belief is that there's room for everything at the table. There's room for walking simulators like Gone Home and there's room for that stripper zombie slayer game (Onechanbarbarella or whatever it's called). The fact that Lollipop Chainsaw exists doesn't negate the merits of say, Tomb Raider 2013. Sure one game is crass as hell and absolutely trades on the sex appeal of its protagonist, but, again, why is that a bad thing? Some people seem to really dig Lollipop Chainsaw, so why not just let that group of people have their dumb game?

Of course I'm one of those wacky-ass weirdos who thinks "games are art" and are thus protected speech, so pretty much anything is fair game in my opinion.

But most people aren't trying to ban games with sexist content. I think it's interesting that you brought up games as art, because it seems like the people associating themselves with #gamergate are completely going against the idea that games are art. Artists should be allowed to create whatever art they want, but like any other art form games can be criticized from many different perspectives, and trying to shut down any feminist critique of games as "censorship" isn't taking games seriously as an art form.

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#38 Edited by Fear_the_Booboo (1091 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: Now that we can agree that there is misogyny in videogames, could we then try to break it and see critics like Sarkeesian as constructive? That you think videogames are not as bad as any other medium is totally fine, but since we're fan of them (we're both on a videogame website), it is on our hands to make the medium better or, at the very least, try to not make it worse.

I disagree with a lot of things that Sarkeesian says, by the way, but not the general idea. It is fine to adress her points and say where she's mistaken. At the end of the day, though, videogames do tend to be misogynystic, at least as much as the rest of society, and feminist critics of them should be accepted and discussed, not outright dismissed like Sommer's video does.

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#39 Posted by WholeFunShow (401 posts) -

Games Journalism is actually just marketing and it would clear a lot of stuff up if people accepted that. Especially the games journalists. The reason no one has evidence of corruption is because they don't see that their entire practice, when you call yourself a journalist, is corrupt. All you need to do is open IGN, Gamespot, Giantbomb, Kotaku, Polygon, etc and look at the collection of "news stories" to see what the problem is. It's marketing. There's your corruption. Page one of IGN is all the evidence you need.

It's not actually corruption even, but the gaming press isn't honest about what their job actually is. They want to help the industry and help sell great games. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not journalism. It's marketing. They are part of the marketing arm of the industry.

Posting trailers, release dates, and reviews, for content that is directly given to you by a publisher or developer is NOT in anyway journalism. Opinion pieces about said content or the culture surrounding is also not journalism.

They're pundits reporting on exactly what the games industry wants them to report on. Like CNN talking about the McRib on McDonald's request. Except that is the entirety of what they do. Patrick Klepek and Jason Schreier are the two closest examples of a journalists and they're both at most 10%. At the end of the day, the purpose of their job is to help sell and promote video games.

The real identity issue lies with them not with the "gamer". The press doesn't understand their own job responsibility and probably enjoy being referred to as journalists.

I thought I'd understood this idea but your post makes me consider it further, would there anything to be said for Sony, MS, Valve, Nintendo, EA and Ubisoft putting their respective proto Major Nelsons and Treehouse live streams together with the remnants of Kotaku and such and saying "This is our sort of official PR wing which is a tiny bit distinct of each of us"? Seems a drastic change of course but a monumental compromise will have to be reached one way or another.

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#40 Edited by stryker1121 (2171 posts) -

@wolfgame:

She lost me at critics wanting 'male gaming culture to die.' Talking about stirring up anger w/ nonsense, this woman is doing just that. Not to mention the condescending tone she uses to slough off the criticism, i.e. 'hipsters with liberal arts degrees.' Sarkeesian and her ilk are not asking for censorship but an honest look at how women are portrayed in mainstream games. Nobody's going to take our toys away - GTA and the like is still going to be around. Sarkeesian is asking for more games for more people, and I cannot understand how she's drawn so much vitriol for that.

And the reaction from gamers feeling like they're being 'attacked' by the press is blind outrage at best, if not willful ignorance meant to deflect the real issue. If there's an attack taking place it's against a mentality of childishness that has far too long plagued our hobby.

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#41 Edited by chrissedoff (2387 posts) -

Man, I really hate when people pretend like the most reasonable position is inherently located squarely in the middle. "Hmmmmmm both sides have good points it is a shame you aren't a super reasonable person like me who is above it all and does not takes sides oh well." That only makes you approximately 2% more reasonable than the craziest person in the room because your commitment to neutrality coddles angry people making baseless accusations.

The scandal was no scandal at all. All of the rage was targeted at opinionated women and, to a lesser extent, men who agree with them. Nobody whose argument hinges upon rampant speculation derived from "evidence" gathered from invading people's private lives has a reasonable point to make about video games or video games media.

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#42 Posted by conmulligan (1946 posts) -

@chrissedoff said:

Man, I really hate when people pretend like the most reasonable position is inherently located squarely in the middle. "Hmmmmmm both sides have good points it is a shame you aren't a super reasonable person like me who is above it all and does not takes sides oh well." That only makes you approximately 2% more reasonable than the craziest person in the room because your commitment to neutrality coddles angry people making baseless accusations.

Yeah, this really does my head in too. Paul Krugman called it the "cult of centrism" — he was talking about American political discourse, but I think it can equally be applied to any discussion involving social issues in pop culture.

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#43 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: Now that we can agree that there is misogyny in videogames, could we then try to break it and see critics like Sarkeesian as constructive? That you think videogames are not as bad as any other medium is totally fine, but since we're fan of them (we're both on a videogame website), it is on our hands to make the medium better or, at the very least, try to not make it worse.

I disagree with a lot of things that Sarkeesian says, by the way, but not the general idea. It is fine to adress her points and say where she's mistaken. At the end of the day, though, videogames do tend to be misogynystic, at least as much as the rest of society, and feminist critics of them should be accepted and discussed, not outright dismissed like Sommer's video does.

Sure, and the way to do that is by not purchasing the games you find offensive. Another problem with Sarkeesian is that her criticism is just simply dishonest. So no, I don't find it constructive when she tells people that the game Hitman is meant to give men "a perverse pleasure from desecrating the female body." It doesn't do that, and then she goes on to say that because I don't find my views on women to be affected by games, that I actually am MORE prone to be misogynist. She is divisive and dishonest.

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#44 Posted by spraynardtatum (4384 posts) -

@wholefunshow: I'm not exactly sure what you mean so I'll ask you to elaborate on your post a bit.

I actually think Major Nelson and Treehouse live streams are a great point of consideration though. They have the exact same function as "games journalism" but their "news" is more potent and focused. It's directly from the source. This leads to more relevant/current information straight from the biased mouth. Think about what games journalists do with that info. They either post the video on their website or they make bullet points for the important stuff. They reiterate 99% of all the content they are given.

On the whole I think it's a good thing to have them as a source of information separate from the company selling you the product. But they shouldn't call themselves journalists because that requires an ethical standard that they are incapable of holding. They're freelance marketing organizations. They're who publishers call when they want the hardcore audience to know something about a game they're making.

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#45 Posted by Cagliostro88 (1240 posts) -

I don't agree with many points made by Anita, and the whole "gamer identity is dead" and the majority of the press reactions in my opinion are just ridiculous, but i invite people to do the same as i did and look up what the American Enterprise Institute is before or after looking at the video and put it in perspective

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#46 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1091 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: No she's not dishonest. Of course she is divisive, as most critics are (you wouldn't want a critic to state what is already widely accepted). You disagree with her, fine, but she's honest in how she portrays her opinion. Saying that she is automatically dishonest because you disagree with what she says is, well, trying to shut down a discussion.

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#47 Posted by FlyingRoman (43 posts) -

This whole series of events has made me see that I just don't understand a lot of things the press does. I think it might be a generational/national difference thing.

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#48 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: No she's not dishonest. Of course she is divisive, as most critics are (you wouldn't want a critic to state what is already widely accepted). You disagree with her, fine, but she's honest in how she portrays her opinion. Saying that she is automatically dishonest because you disagree with what she says is, well, trying to shut down a discussion.

Her style isn't the problem, its her substance. She does not cite and academic or scientific studies to validate any of her claims about games' effects on society and she purposefully misrepresents games in order to make them seem worse than they actually are. So when she says that players are encouraged to get "a perverse pleasure from desecrating the female body" she is being dishonest. You are actively discouraged from doing that in the game.

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#49 Posted by ProfessorEss (7961 posts) -

@wolfgame:

Not to mention the condescending tone she uses to slough off the criticism, i.e. 'hipsters with liberal arts degrees.'

You can groan and roll your eyes at her tone as much as you like but it doesn't refute the point of her statement that these people are completely unqualified to be acting like experts on these topics.

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#50 Posted by conmulligan (1946 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m said:

She does not cite and academic or scientific studies to validate any of her claims about games' effects on society

This is patently false. With every Tropes vs. Women video, she includes a list a accompanying resources along with a transcript.

she purposefully misrepresents games in order to make them seem worse than they actually are.

How do you know she is purposefully misrepresenting games? What possible reason could she have given you to think she is being deliberately misleading?