Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games Vs. The Internet

By John Walker on June 13th, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

Thank goodness for April Ryan.

The question of sexism in videogames really oughtn’t be a question at all. Videogames are rife with the thickest seam of sexism, and have been since the first had front covers on the cassettes. Not just in the games themselves, but in the culture surrounding it, from the prevalence – and misogynistic reaction to – ‘booth babes’, to the wretched response received in all corners of the internet when people attempt to discuss it. Pretending otherwise is pointless, and responses of being “tired” of the topic are a statement of acceptance. And there’s no clearer or more revolting evidence of this than the reaction to a Kickstarter by Feminist Frequency‘s Anita Sarkeesian, aiming to raise money to create a web series about the issue. (Here be a trigger warning – and various links from this article go to some pretty unpleasant details.)

Let’s be absolutely clear. I am not saying gamers are all sexist, obviously. And in this particular example, the wonderful side is that a project aiming to raise $6,000 is (at the time of writing) on $89,380, with 65 hours remaining. Most people are pretty decent. But wow, the negative response to this particular project has been deeply disturbing. So, to begin, here’s the Kickstarter video for Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games:

The project looks and sounds very interesting and relevant to me. It will look and sound uninteresting or be perceived as irrelevant to others. People who are interested can respond by donating money, or simply waiting until the videos are completed before viewing them. People who are not, you would imagine, could click away and get on with their day. Most of course will. But quite the most extraordinary reaction has occurred from many who did not.

It kind of terrifies me that reporting that Sarkeesian has received multiple threats of rape and death feels like it won’t make a significant impact on the reader. Perhaps that the internet’s more wretched areas are so commonly filled with such threats has normalised our reaction to reports of them. The key to snap out of this, and take it on board, is I think to not read about it as a thing that happened to someone else, but to imagine being the person on the receiving end – to imagine being an individual who is reading person after person saying they will sexually assault or murder you. That’s the beginning of the response Sarkeesian has seen over the last couple of weeks.

Organised campaigns have attempted to attack the project from many angles. A great number of people, Sarkeesian reports, have been attempting to get the YouTube video labelled as “terrorism” in an effort to have it banned. Another organised group tried to have the Kickstarter be defunded or banned. Sarkeesian’s Wikipedia page has been repeatedly vandalised, including adding images of hardcore porn (a woman with a cock in her mouth, naturally), and descriptions of Sarkeesian such as “an entitled nigger kitchen and hooker who focuses on drugs in popular culture and their association with tropes.” It goes on to make remarks about inserting sex toys in her “posterior”, multiple links to the more notoriously unpleasant sex acts, and perhaps most sinisterly of all, refers to her throughout as “it”. You don’t have to be a psychoanalyst to draw conclusions from the attempt of such vandals to render her as without a sex. Another vandalism attempt saw a description of Sarkeesian as a “cunt” make it into the excerpt on the first result for her name on Google – something that was posted with pride on various forums, including the Escapist. According to Wikipedia, at least a dozen people were actively part of this attack.

Then there are the YouTube comments. And while it’s tempting to hear the words “YouTube comments” and just roll your eyes and wonder what anyone expected, again it’s crucial to imagine that it’s you, and your YouTube video, and a comments thread about you. It’s too easy to allow the constant cesspit that is YouTube’s comments to become ignorable when we don’t do this.

They’re predictable, they’re foul, and they focus on a few different subjects. There are the streams of “jokes” about how she should be in the kitchen, making sandwiches, etc. There are the death threats, or wishes that she would die. There are the implications that she must be a victim of sexual abuse, and “therefore” she should shut up. There are references to her being Jewish, with accompanying anti-Semitism. There are insults about her looks, make up, clothing, etc, with suggestions of hypocrisy. There are suggestions that she needs to get laid. And perhaps most of all, there are furious people arguing that games are sexist against men too, and therefore she should be quiet. But overridingly, in all these categories, the central message is that Sarkeesian should be silenced. (And just in case anyone is feeling left out, one commenter hopes that “them people who funded this get raped and die of cancer.”)

On top of this, Sarkeesian reports that she’s received threatening messages on Twitter, Facebook, through Kickstarter, and on her own website. Because she wants to do some research and make some videos concerning the topic of the representation of women in games.

I feel compelled to react to one particular theme: That men are poorly represented in gaming too. They are. Men in games are often represented as huge, muscled heroes, essentially weapons of war with biceps, gruff and focused and all-powerful. It’s not an accurate representation of men at large, indeed not. Because it’s a power fantasy. It’s aspirational (as much as very many men may have no desires to be anything like that). It’s about being big, and strong, and in control. Oh boo hoo. Yes, it is daft, and cliched, and tiresome. But to compare it to the default representation of women in games – either huge-titted, scantily clad sexual fantasies, or helpless, pathetic and weak – is deeply erroneous. And yes, of course there are exceptions to both, although I can immediately think of vastly more exceptions for the better presentation of men than I can women.

But to say that the topic of female representation in gaming is deserving of investigation is not at all to suggest that the representation of men is not. In fact, were someone to do the research into this, perhaps start a Kickstarter to fund a video series about it, I’d absolutely be a backer. I’m fascinated to learn more about how my sex being portrayed in this way affects my understanding of myself, and other men. I’m sure there are consequences, both in terms of a negative sense of self in the comparison, and in skewed expectations of being a man based on what I’m being told I should aspire to. Perhaps even, studying the subject from this angle could reveal even more about the portrayal of women, and even address some root causes of it. Sarkeesian’s project in no way precludes this being studied. And I’d be willing to bet a fair amount that a man launching such a study wouldn’t be on the receiving end of hundreds and hundreds of calls for him to be raped or killed.

We’re incredibly blessed at RPS with an audience that doesn’t tend to behave this way. But whenever we post on topics about female representation, or the treatment of female gamers (and indeed gay, lesbian, bi, and trans gamers/game topics), we get comments similar to those above. We choose to delete them, because we have a greater interest in creating a pleasant environment, than we do in pretending we could give a shit about vile tosspots’ “freedom of speech”. (They’re free to speak their hate elsewhere.) And while I’ve certainly received numerous descriptions of how people wished I would die for disagreeing with them, I struggle to imagine what it might be like to be in Sarkeesian’s position. For saying she plans to say something people want to disagree with.

This is not preaching to the choir (not least because RPS is read by a great deal of people, not just the regular community), but instead an attempt to boldly state just how serious a mess we’re in as a culture. The prevalence of homophobia and misogyny in the gaming world is on a scale so large we like to dismiss it. “But we don’t do that.” “That’s just forum X, though.” That’s not good enough. We need to own this – to acknowledge that as gamers this is our community, no matter how far we may wish to distance from it, and no matter how much we may not take part in it.

I’ve no clear idea what the solutions are. Education is my instinctive reaction, and – oh – that’s what Sarkeesian is trying to create. I think a more representative portrayal of women in the medium would go a hell of a long way too, since were it the norm to see women portrayed as something other than sexual fantasies or weaklings to protect, people might not scream out that “games are mostly played by guys, and that’s what guys want,” as so many have in the reaction to this Kickstarter. Maybe if men and boys were shown that games are still just as thrilling and entertaining without resorting to such aspects, then not only would women and girls feel less alienated by the medium, but maybe people would be less inclined to defend it.

If you want to donate toward the video series, there are just under three days to go.

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1,102 Comments »

  1. Vexing Vision says:

    It is also one of the most successful projects made.

    I am not condoning what happened, by all the good gods, no. People who attack other people’s viewpoint and products in such a vile (it’s exactly the right word) manner deserve to be locked out of the internet forever.

    But the resulting controversy did help to reach more than 10x the goal, and I’d be surprised if there’s not another 5k in there.

    Behold the Streisand-Effect – would this have happened if she had not attracted such rabid… err.. “fans”? And more importantly, was it worth it?

    I am very glad she didn’t back down and sees it through.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Grim Dawn, Wasteland 2 and other projects have also been exceptionally successful without their creators getting a single death threat, threat of rape or a bit of harassment. This vileness is not a necessary part of a good idea getting funding from crowdsourcing.

      The vileness on display is a coincidental aspect not a causal one, the work this project wants to do is valid and interesting outside of any controversy or harassment. It is not necessary, acceptable or condonable, there is no silver lining to the awfulness Sarkeesian had to suffer through.

      • Xocrates says:

        The “vileness” brought loads of attention into the project as well as generating a lot of sympathy to Sarkeesian.

        As successful as the project might have been without the controversy, I find it disingenuous to claim it would have been equally successful without the controversy. (she won over 100$ in multiple donations in the time it took me to write this)

        Personally, it fills me with glee to see the “vileness” backfire this hard.

        • Cooper says:

          Quite. But John is right: Supporting this kickstarter is only part of what can be done about it, but this is an issue of a culture of hate as much as pop culture tropes. Throwing money at it may show support but money is not magic.

        • dreadguacamole says:

          I agree. It’s horrible that the creator had to endure this sort of thing, but I find it kind of incredible that this horde of sub-humans didn’t just shine a spotlight on the project – they provided clear and immediate proof of just how big the problem is, and made it that much more successful than it would have been. I hope that fact’s not lost on them. (It will)

          Hell, I will donate to this, and I probably wouldn’t even have heard of the kickstarter if the fine folks at the gameological society’s comment boards hadn’t mentioned the backlash against the project.

        • InternetBatman says:

          The amount of money she’s receiving does not give me any great relief. While it is noble on behalf of the backers, it makers her and her show into a symbol, something that she might not be able to live up to.

          Or in other words, what if the show didn’t receive this attention and it sucked? What if it has and it sucks just as much?

        • ReV_VAdAUL says:

          Very interested to know why you put vileness in scare quotes. Do you think the harassment Sarkeesian faced isn’t vile? You very carefully did it each time you mentioned it.

          The problem with this whole assertion that controversy and vile behaviour led to the project doing so well is that it legitimises their behaviour in a way, implying that a woman wanting to produce a project like this in some way benefits from such vileness being put her way. That suffering through and coming out the other side is somehow a necessary part of the project.

          The harassment she faced was wholly unacceptable and no financial reward of increased funding for the project justifies this. Her project stood on its’ own merits and its’ success is drawn from that, not a backfiring of vile behaviour.

          • Xocrates says:

            Scare quotes?

            I used quotes because I was quoting the term from you. Since, personally, I find “vileness” to sound kind of silly and it’s probably not the term I would use.

            Rest assured, I hate the harassment she received as much as you.

          • sysdefect says:

            While I totally agree with you, in a purely logical sense could one honestly say one way or the other? It’s obvious to say that the merits of the project stand on their own, and may even transcend that as a particularly noble cause but still to discount external factors would be foolish.

          • Redkid says:

            “The problem with this whole assertion that controversy and vile behaviour led to the project doing so well is that it legitimises their behaviour in a way…”

            No.

            No, it does not.

            Good(More money and publicity to fix the problem) can come from bad(hostile and crazy people). It does not make the bad good.

        • Salvian says:

          Dialectics FTW!

      • KalevTait says:

        Not to condone the attacks (quite the opposite actually), but there are some direct causal relationships here.

        The YouTube comments caused me to a) rethink my position on freedom of speech (something I’ve long held as sacrosanct) and b) fund the project in protest. While my funding can in no way be construed as important to the success of the project, I chose to watch the original tropes vs women as a direct consequence of my choice to fund. The sixth episode, in turn, has caused me to rethink my position on feminism. I had always presumed unconsciously that we live in a post feminist world where men and women are essentially equal… even though this is clearly not the case.

        This experience as a whole has convinced me as a game creator that I need to ensure that female characters on the projects I work on are more than just tools to advance the plots of male characters.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Sort of a catch 22. If it wasn’t a problem, it wouldn’t have gotten all the negative attention and then all the subsequent positive reaction. But if that were the case then sexism wouldn’t be a problem so she wouldn’t need to produce this series in the first place.

      Is that a catch 22? It’s late a can’t follow the logic

    • Oculardissonance says:

      I think it should be noted that it’s also a rather good presentation. The nature of the attacks against her might have first placed her on many people’s radar, but if the presentation was just a person moaning on a poorly lit webcam I don’t think people would have gone on to offer as much financial support.

  2. rocketman71 says:

    This is depressing. It’s the kind of thing that makes me lose faith in the human race.

    I’m going to donate to this immediately. I hope that the luminaries that posted all those comments never ever reproduce or have any contact with women. They don’t deserve it.

    • Richard Beer says:

      Interesting that this is copping up at the same time as a law in the UK is being debated about the ability to identify ‘trolls’ (although I think that’s an over-used misnomer).

      I will defend free speech to my last breath, but I would absolutely love all those people who have wished rape/murder/etc on this interesting woman to be identified. And then I would like someone from the Internet Police to go round and tell their mothers exact details of what they’ve said and done.

      They shouldn’t just be ashamed, they should be shamed.

      • DrGonzo says:

        It’s amazing. You will defend free speech to your last breath, but then went back on yourself in the same sentence.

        First, they came for the pirates, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a pirate.

        Then they came for the homophobes and the sexists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a homophobe and a sexist.

        • Myfyr says:

          No, he didn’t go back on himself. Freedom of speech and lack of anonymity are not mutually exclusive. Speaking out in disagreement of someone’s speech, or informing others of said speech, is not equivalent to a restriction on their speech. It is certainly not equivalent to the holocaust.

          I’m not sure what I think is the right way of handling this stuff, but your accusation is false. Your analogy is mildly offensive.

          • Etheric42 says:

            Except that classically, the only defense hated minorities have is anonymity. It’s the whole reason we have the term “in the closet”. I must admit, I’m prejudiced against people who harass others too, and I generally consider myself pretty open-minded. I happen to live in a country that both idolizes free speech, and then has an unwritten list of things that aren’t considered free speech. Obscenity. Bullying. “Likes” on Youtube or Facebook. People lose their jobs over these ill-defined things. People go to prison. We haven’t started executing anyone over this yet, but we’ll take years away from their life and slap them with a stigma that they will bear forever. For what? Words. Stupid juvenile words.

          • Shuck says:

            Gosh, I must be some paragon of virtue to have gone through life without ever once having threatened anyone with rape or murder.
            Yes, how terrible that if you harass or threaten someone there are consequences that you have to live with. Except, unfortunately, there almost never are. (For the abuser, that is. The person being harassed has to live with the consequences of those actions, of course.)

          • Phantoon says:

            Freedom means people will abuse it. I’ll take people being absolute miserable cunts to one another over having no anonymity. Those would trade freedom for security, blah blah blah, disregard the constabulary.

            “According to Wikipedia, at least a dozen people were actively part of this attack.” I laughed at this. Do you realize you accidentally a meme?

            “(And just in case anyone is feeling left out, one commenter hopes that “them people who funded this get raped and die of cancer.”)” Yes, that is very unlikely to be genuine, pure hate, much less based only on the woman’s gender.

            Look, I agree that mysogyny is a problem. Things are very clearly not equal. However, I’m worried about this project. It’s going to be a Big Thing because of the hate it received, and its end message could easily be “men are evil”, thus undoing the point that both genders, all races, etc, should be equal in all mutable forms (women getting child custody even when the father is clearly the only capable parent, anybody? Or women winning most property in a divorce?)

            Because anything that portrays either sex as The Reason for Evil is wrong. People are just people.

          • scatterbrainless says:

            Also a simple point in any debate regarding morality: you can’t force a moral viewpoint upon someone through shame. You might make them curtail their behaviour, that isn’t the same as getting them to morally agree with you, ala Clockwork Orange.

        • Shuck says:

          Free speech doesn’t (even remotely) cover rape/death threats or speech intended to purely harass. So no, not a contradiction.

          • Ragnar says:

            Exactly right! It ceases being free speech when it’s actively hurting her.

            And being identified by losing their shield of anonymity is not the same as losing their free speech. I don’t want them harassed or targeted in response, but I don’t want them being able to continue spewing anonymous hate.

          • Grargh says:

            I totally agree, and this baffles me every time. Freedom of speech means I can say what I want, but much of what has been said there actually qualifies as crimes, and that is a completely different topic. I am also free to go where I want, but if I violently enter someone’s home I cannot expect that to be without consequences. I’m in no way for full name disclosure on the internet, but free speech is no excuse for hate crimes, or whatever you want to call that stuff.

          • Etheric42 says:

            Does freedom of speech, in the form of the versions of law as interpreted in many countries, protect speech meant entirely to harass? No. Why do people believe this has anything to do with the concept of freedom of speech? A law could be called freedom of muffins and state that a $1 campaign contribution must be made for all pistachio muffins, it doesn’t mean there is actually freedom of muffins. Instead most nations have forms of “protected speech” and “unprotected speech” based on what is popular at the time. For example, educating people about contraception was illegal in most countries at one time or another, even ones with “freedom of speech” laws. Today we’re for removing the shield of anonymity because somebody’s words “hurt” someone else by describing violent acts. One day we’ll be taking action against someone because their words “hurt” someone’s chance of being re-elected. Are the people who did this acting like cretins? Sure. But in the end their words mean nothing. No one is brave enough to put a face behind it, this expression of the meme will pass, and people like Sarkeesian will put in the good work it takes to shift the culture away from that. Threatening someone in a public space is in no way similar to invading someone’s private space (body, property, etc). Religious fundamentalists had the right idea in early American history to push for freedom of religion because they didn’t want other religions making theirs illegal. Don’t push for censorship of speech (and revealing identities does have a chilling effect on speech) just because you don’t like what these people have to say.

          • Phantoon says:

            I suppose to change the discussion way too late, after 21 pages of comments and probably the only post to have hit 1k comments+, you do not change the way people think by forcing it upon them. Let’s call this a civil rights struggle, even though it is absolutely not comparable to the civil rights movement of the 1960s (in the US). People then were brutalized, threatened in person, jailed without cause, and sometimes even outright just plain murdered. But the people then kept a peaceful demonstration, and shifted national perspective when Martin Luther King Jr was killed. In the end, sticking to their principles worked. I’m not saying things are completely equal- but they’re certainly far better than they used to be. I dunno, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think people should have to suffer the slings and arrows that show them no mercy to make a change, rather than having it handed to them.

            Now take this, instead. We have someone being stereotyped as a GAMER GRRL by the nature of their arguments, not helped by the fact they don’t do much to refute this image (GAMER GRRL is not the same thing as a female that enjoys video games, and if you do not understand this term please go look it up). Add to that this idea that trolls should be identified- even if she doesn’t explicitly say it should be done, it’s being co-opted under her banner. The message needs to be refocused for this to gain any traction, as sexism surely is still a thing. I also like how Samus from Metroid isn’t on that banner, when the new game Other M is probably the worst offender of this all. But then again she probably doesn’t play very many video games.

            Back to the idea of “identifying trolls”, what in the fuck is wrong with you people that think that’s even slightly an okay idea? Lemme be bombastic for a second: this will increase incidents of rape and murder. Why? Because now you can find out, one way or another, where that guy that teabagged you and called you a dick smoker in Halo is, in real life. This won’t matter to you, but it will matter to someone. Like, for instance, that crazy guy that spent six months hunting another guy to stab him when he died in Counter-Strike. And about rape? Your crazy ex can find your new house, and since all your stuff is tied to one identity…

            Let’s say the most ridiculous examples I just gave won’t happen, because of a comprehensive system run by the government. Why in the seven hells would you give ANY government that power willingly? Or say it’s done by the corporations- that’s even MORE insane than giving the government that power.

            This idea that trolls should be identified is launching a nuclear bomb at something that needs a steady hand and fine tweezers. Changing the dichotomy of things would be hard, but being out there and defending your points rationally is better than hiding and claiming you’re doing social justice. Because in a world where people starve to death, I just can’t find any fucks to give.

          • Gormongous says:

            Phantoon, your analogy is terrible. People didn’t magically change their minds about racial integration after a few noble martyrs. The government spent decades busing black children to white schools, overseeing county elections, challenging miscegenation laws, and prosecuting unreported crimes to ensure that their laws became reality. And guess what? In the South, you can still get the shit kicked out of you for being black in the wrong place and time. But at least the overwhelming majority of the population recognizes that it’s not only illegal but morally wrong.

            Laws are a powerful force to enact change in society. They regulate the division between licit and illicit behavior, which will pass into the realm of ethics as the offending subculture loses its advocates and begins to decay. Proper enforcement the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments a century after their ratification, supported by a dedicated minority willing to provide the manpower for such enforcement, strangled the culture of institutionalized racial discrimination in the United States, and you can bet your bottom dollar that without overt government complicity no such thing would have happened.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Phantoon – I don’t know what kind of sick world your head is where you think that identifying people who made death threats will lead to increased crime or that allowing the Crown (Or your countries equivalent) the power to easily prosecute someone who threatened someone with rape is somehow giving the government too much power.

            I can only assume you are an internet troll of some description and fear your mummy and daddy finding out.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          Freedom of speech in no way implies freedom from consequences. In fact, freedom of speech often goes hand in hand with acknowledging your position and defending it.

          Most of those trolls shelter under the anonymous internet to spout their bile, but would never say the same thing open faced. I don’t see why they should be given any sort of pity or defense.

        • Skaxz says:

          Concerning the freedom of speech thing, I don’t know about other countries, but in Croatia article 38. of the Constitution states that everyone has the right to speak their mind, in any kind of media – in other words, complete freedom of speech.
          However, article 39. of the Constitution states that it is forbidden and punishable to speak in a way that encourages/entices people to war, use of violence, national, religious and other kinds of hatred and intolerance.
          Just saying.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Yes, because people who suggest that vile internet misogynists should be identified and shamed are *exactly* the same as Hitler.

          Good. Grief.

        • The13thRonin says:

          You’re really comparing a famous quote regarding the shame of prominent German intellectuals for not resisting the genocidal actions of the Nazi Party to the internet should ‘back-up’ the right of internet trolls to hurl death threats at some innocent woman?

        • Eddy9000 says:

          …and then they didn’t come for me because my views don’t marginalise people who don’t marginalise others?

        • DodgyG33za says:

          Threatening to harm or kill someone or a group of someones (AKA hate speech) is quite different to freedom of speech. It is a difficult line, as seen in the US where the deluded folk of Westboro church picket the funerals of dead servicemen in the name of free speech.

          My take on this is that if you say something with the sole intent of causing emotional harm to another human being, that is not really free speech – it is little different from a physical attack.

        • JackShandy says:

          My freedom to swing a knife around ends where your face begins. You only have the right to do things that aren’t constricting the rights of others, so harassment and bullying are not protected by free speech.

        • zbeeblebrox says:

          And we were all a-okay with that, you false-dichotomy-making moron.

    • Orija says:

      One would suppose that wars and strife would make you lose faith in humanity rather a bunch of men acting like children, but whatever.

      • TwoDaemon says:

        I don’t think this kind of reasoning is particularly fair – to trivialise something because other things are worse doesn’t help. In this enlightened age we may lose faith in the human race for multiple reasons at once, sadly.

        • DrGonzo says:

          No, it’s silly people on the internet. If you can’t block them out then you have something wrong with you, or need to get some perspective.

          • nimmo1492 says:

            And being on the internet makes it OK, yeah?

          • gwathdring says:

            Why is the Internet any different? I spend a significant portion of my time here, and I expect to be treated like a human being when I’m here. I try very hard to be as polite and respectful on the Internet as I would be anywhere else and I simply don’t understand why sending communication over the Internet instead of through the post or through telephone wires or through the air suddenly gives me the responsibility to suck it up and take abuse from strangers without comment, complaint or expectation of consequence.

          • nearly says:

            …they’re still people, on both sides of the screen.

          • Bootstraps says:

            It’s not just internet comments, mate. It’s everywhere, and comments are just part of it. Congratulations on missing the point.

          • Jay says:

            I don’t think blocking them out or ignoring them helps anything.

            That so many people are having such disproportionate, misogynist reactions (to something that wasn’t even that confrontational in tone) is telling in itself. A few outliers could maybe be dismissed as 4chan or whoever trying to stir up some trouble, but this has been vocal enough and coming from so many quarters that it seems indicative of a much larger issue. One that keeps coming up whenever this subject is even touched on, remember.

      • Droopy The Dog says:

        Funny, I find people in a position of relative comfort and safety who find the need to inflict cruelty on a complete stranger much more damaging to an inherent sense of goodness in humanity, than people in extreme environments acting violently or selfishly

      • rocketman71 says:

        You’d be amazed by how few people are needed to cause wars and strife. And this is definitely not men acting like children, this is men acting like criminals, just because this woman dares (the nerve!) to make a series of videos showing the mistreatment of women in a big chunk of the games released every year. Death threats are NOT ok. Rape threats are NOT ok. Slander is NOT ok. Online abuse (wikipedia et al) is NOT ok.

        But hey, whatever floats your boat. It’s your conscience.

        PS.- By your rules, don’t EVER complain about anything. And I mean ANYTHING. If you do, remember that there are people in Africa dying of hunger. You have no right to complain.

    • Continuity says:

      It is depressing but this is how progress is made, slowly and painfully. One day, hopefully one day soon we will look back at the current state of video games in grimace.

    • Metonymy says:

      I made several of those comments, and she deserves worse.

      Keep kissing feet, keep being beta, Europe. It’s not the woman or the immigrant who will be your master, but someone far worse.

      • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

        Aliens?!?

        • Sarigs says:

          Silly Malawi, everyone knows the Ants will rise up first

          • Ralphomon says:

            I thought it would be the mole people with their lizard king.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            My money’s on undead Marie Curie and her bitumen golems.

            Or the dragons you find at the end of the RPS comments thread when it passes 1K.

      • maninahat says:

        B3ta is a great website, thank you.

      • Toberoth says:

        Are you serious Metonymy? To think I’ve engaged you in conversation before. Knowing that you’re one of the people who made those comments means I want nothing more to do with you, and will be blocking you immediately. Goodbye.

      • The13thRonin says:

        A comment which strike eerily close to the sentiments of Anders Behring Breivik the Norwegian serial killer who murdered children.

        You must be proud.

      • Jay says:

        >>’It’s not the woman or the immigrant who will be your master’

        Really? And she ‘deserves worse’? I think you might have a few issues more pressing than who your ‘master’ may or may not be, mate.

      • Senethro says:

        I’ve got what is probably an unhealthy fascination with weird ideologies. I’m kind of titillated by such strange slang as things being beta, and implied apocalyptic fates for Europe. Does anyone know where people like this hang out?

        • Metonymy says:

          They’re mostly honeypots anyway, best thing for you to do is have your own outlook. It’s better to choose something different and be wrong, than it is to nod your head with everyone else.

          • Senethro says:

            No, I’m pretty sure wrong is wrong no matter how much of a freespirit apart from the herd of sheeple you are. While I’m sure that you must have necessarily arrived at your views by disregarding the opinions of others, I don’t see why you elevate it to a virtue.

            Quit teasing, just gimme some places I can go internet safari. The ridiculous narratives are my favorite bit. White European Man as an endangered species with brave internet twits trolling feminists in an effort to save him.

          • Metonymy says:

            I disagree, and I won’t be helping you since you’ve just stated you want to laugh at people. You seem clever so find it yourself.

            Remember that divisiveness is the ultimate objective of these kind of people. They don’t actually care about their message, they just want to drive a wedge into stable societies, so they can move in after the catastrophe and benevolently enforce their leadership.

        • Ralphomon says:

          What does ‘beta’ mean in this context?

        • Gimnbo says:

          A good place to start is reddit.com

        • Cerebulon says:

          The only one which I’m aware of is englisc-gateway.com
          Now, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill fundamentalist Christians. They aren’t Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist or Scientologists either. Nope, these guys believe in Thor.
          I could go into great detail but the gist of it is that they seek to preserve the white/”ethnic” English. EDL/BNP sorts. They have strong opinions on Jews, Women, Slavs, Muslims, Christians and the Scottish. They use “Muslamic” with a straight face and are fond of Germans because the “ethnic English” migrated from there in ancient times. (Apparently there’s a cutoff date which they refuse to divulge, prior to which immigration wasn’t immigration you guys, we swear.)
          They also find the concept of “Britain” offensive and will only be referred to as English.

          Hope this helps in your amatuer anthropology.

        • Froibo says:

          I’m right there with you, we should start a club! How far out there do you plan on exploring? For the outer limits there’s http://www.nibiruancouncil.com/ and for something closer to home here’s a good story http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2012/jun/04/grumpy-old-terrorists/

          • cheesepower5 says:

            I agree with you guys, reading crazy people’s opinions is fun. I like to check out http://www.bibliotecapleiades.com for that. Everything from Nibiru to White People in Meso-America to the Merovingian Kings = Ancient Aliens.

      • Everyone says:

        4/10. Must try harder; lacks subtly and finesse.

    • codename_bloodfist says:

      What I find depressing is that you’re donating to this and not MSF. I honestly think the only people who support modern (!) breeds of feminism are those who have never set foot into a Women Studies lecturing hall and the modern (!) feminists themselves who further propagate it. Compared to their rhetoric, the good old pseudo-Marxist joke about “the Little Red Riding Hood being about the proletariat fighting against their capitalist oppressors” actually sounds like a pretty decent literary approach. I wish we could just stop giving so much credit to every idiot hopelessly pretending to be de Beauvoir. And, yes, this would be at least just as fucking stupid if it was about men.

      • maninahat says:

        Seeing as how the vast majority of women have never stepped into a feminist studies lecture hall, I’d say you’ve managed to refute your own argument. Of course many women support modern feminism. Last time I checked, most women don’t want to be raped, demeaned, threatened, misrepresented and condescended to. Those are the issues that modern feminists deal with.

        • codename_bloodfist says:

          No, those are the issues the your local court deals with. Modern feminists deal with issues like “How is Katy Perry’s video California Girls a statement about feminism?”. Unfortunately, I’m not shitting you or–hohoho!–am trying to misrepresent their views. Have you even ever read a book on feminism? A classic like Deuxieme Sexe maybe? Thought so.

          • gwathdring says:

            That sounds nice on paper, because I have read some books and papers reminiscent of your view of feminist theory. But in practice, no matter how measured the approach or separate from academic theory and radical weirdness about missiles as phalluses and men sitting next to women as a form of rape … this is still the response we see. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, but I hear the same “feminists are nuts and so is this idea” comments attached to almost every one of these discussions that has sprung up on RPS and in my day-to-day life.

            So yes, I’ve read some pretty weird stuff. But nothing worse than Foucault’s views on nationalism and sources of political power. Nothing more bizarre than other sheltered, disconnected branches of academia. And none of it really represents the views of most actual lawyers, scientists, psychologists, feminists, and ordinary citizens I’ve spoken with. I hear far more blathering about how crazy modern feminism is than I hear actual crazy modern feminism–and that’s despite going to a small liberal arts school in the United States with a pretty funky WGSS program and several friends who are deeply invested in it. They just don’t represent practical, popular, modern feminism; and as such I find your approach to this topic rather unfair.

          • Salvian says:

            Modern feminism is not monolithic. There are very, very fierce debates among feminists about these issues. Also, Sarkeesian doesn’t really strike me as one of the pomo ‘pole-dancing as womens’ empowerment’ types.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            >I hear far more blathering about how crazy modern feminism is than I hear actual crazy modern feminism–and that’s despite going to a small liberal arts school in the United States with a pretty funky WGSS program and several friends who are deeply invested in it.

            The problem is that I hear far more blathering about how modern feminism isn’t crazy than I hear actual non-crazy modern feminists speaking. It’s quite simple really, I absolutely cannot take their “discipline” seriously and that’s coming for a person who thinks that studying the impact of LotR on the contemporary youth is a serious discipline. I didn’t come to this conclusion by visiting anti-feminist forums, watching programmes on conservative channels or anything along those lines. I probably spend more time around women, and this would exclude any romantic interests, than I spend around men. Please understand my position. I had to study it as a part of my undergrad English programme. I had professors and guest professors giving talks on it. I had to read works on it. I had to write essays on it (some of the most dishonest opinionated pieces of my academic career, essentially reducing the little science literary theory has behind it to a compete joke). I had to listen to my classmates (we had roughly one guy for every ten girls) how absolutely moronic the topic is. With all due respect, I think I have a pretty decent understanding of where modern feminism is today and where it is heading.

            In my humble opinion, the -modern- feminism as we see it today is little more than scaremongering, playing with statistics and talking just for the sake of talking. I just recently read an article that, in the UK, men earn more than women and how unfair this was. Then you wonder “Why? All the women I work with earn just as much as men do.” and pull up the statistics on gender distribution among different faculties of your choice. Natural sciences–largely male, engineering–predominantly male with a large female minority, soft sciences and linguistics–almost entirely female. I don’t have to tell you that unless you study translatology, you’ll almost certainly earn less as a linguist than an engineer or a physicist. It’s not about the gender, it’s just capitalism. Yet here we are, statistical proof that women are oppressed in our society.

            Then we can move on to the more popular aspects of feminism that, by now, have absolutely nothing to do with feminism and have long been accepted by the general public, at least among the inteligencia. These I will not dispute, but they have been of little interest to modern feminists, except as cover for the crazy shit, if you pardon the expression, like this project. These established ideas are our, First World’s, main points of criticism towards other cultures. Universal rights (with some exceptions), prohibition of rape, prohibition of slavery, prohibition of mutilation of female genitalia, etc. All excellent things to support. Do you have to be a feminist to do so? Absolutely not, unless you assume that the vastest majority of people in your country are feminists, in which case the term becomes obsolete. If you were referring to this kind of feminism, then we were simply talking about two different matters entirely.

          • gwathdring says:

            I think you’ve missed the bulk of my point. You’re describing the ivory-tower phenomenon in full swing with the same breath that suggests non-academic feminism is just as isolated from reality.

            You’ve also trundled out an argument about how women make less becasue they gravitate towards less valued fields. Doesn’t that sort of ignore the problem? Some of these fields might be undervalued for interconnected with their traditionally female associations. Pre-Secondary education and nursing come immediately to mind (despite nurses, in particular, doing increasingly more of the work traditionally left to doctors). Whether the undervaluing or the female associations came first or second depends on the job (usually the undervaluing comes first in the examples I can think of–but that’s not less of a problem). Many women interested in mathematics and engineering are turned off by the academic or industrial culture in those fields.

            Women are also less likely to get certain jobs if there is a personal interview. This is one of the reasons major orchestras started doing blind auditions, though such things are difficult to do when personal connection is an essential part of the work environment. There are so many factors that make it make it more difficult for women to get into high paying jobs. People hold onto certain jobs for long periods of time and there’s a substantial portion of the corporate world that was first hired in times of more blatant workplace sexism.

            You cannot simply pull the same trick you claim to despise, whip out some statistics about how women are in lower paying fields, and say the case ought to be closed. Sexism is alive and well, and feminists are not our enemies.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            Okay, look, we can stretch out the hidden boogeyman only this far. As much as it pains me to say this, my general field, linguistics simply cannot compete with natural fields in a capitalistic society. We need more engineers, medical researches, business administrators. We -don’t- need the number of experts on 19th century American short story we currently have, just as we don’t need the number of historians we have, most of whom are men. It’s a simple question of supply and demand. If these individuals learn another language and go into translation studies, then they’re suddenly very much in demand. Most translators and interprets are women and, depending on what they focus on, are paid very, VERY well. Interpreters, in particular, can easily surpass the monthly salary of a senior engineer in only a third of the time.

            Nurses are poorly paid because it’s a low qualification labour, just as trash truck drivers (for the record: I’ve never seen a female trash truck driver) are also poorly paid because their work doesn’t exactly require an M.Sc.

            Claiming that these fields have low salaries because they’re traditionally female dominated is absolutely absurd and I think you know it.

            You’ve already stated twice that academic feminism is somehow distant from some illusive real world feminism. Throw me a link already. If you’re referring to organisations such as “Terre des Femmes”, you’re 100% right and I agree absolutely. The only remaining question would then be, why anyone would want to give any money to this twat instead of TdF. I think we can both agree that the later would put it to a significantly better use.

          • gwathdring says:

            I’d have to do a study to analyze popular opinions about sex and gender. Most people don’t fall in line with ANY form of extremism–positive, negative, religious, political … I can’t simply provide you a link to a particular moderate feminist organization and say “look, moderate organizations exist, therefore most people aren’t radicals.” To an extent, that makes my argument difficult and gives yours a bit of added validity … but at the same time, I’m fairly sure “most people are moderate” has been proven a large number of times in various statistical, sociological, and political contexts. That includes sub-categories of society–most feminists don’t gravitate towards the extremes of feminism. I guess if you want me to substantiate that point with evidence, I can try to do a very-rough review of the literature for you. But you see to acknowledge that in your last paragraph. Feminism isn’t the problem, you just see this feminist as part of the problem. Which is kind of different from where you started, and isn’t why I criticized your words. On personal analysis of the feminist in question, we can just agree to disagree and leave it there.

            You’re missing the other side of my point, with regard to low paying professions. Women were gernally speaking allowed into non-physical, low-pay, low-prestige positions before other positions. Some of those fields are still generally perceived as more “feminine.” The low pay usually comes first, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a connection.

            Furthermore, I’m not entirely sure but I think you might have just implied that certain fields that are predominantly female are inherently less valuable to society. Let’s break this down for a moment.

            1) Perhaps women are genuinely more likely to be interested in fields that are considered less important to society. Even if we assume this to be true for the sake of argument, we are left with a world in which we consider the jobs most validating and important to half our population worth less than the jobs most validating and important to the other half. That sounds like a society that favors the interests of one sex over the other, to me.

            2) Perhaps women are conditioned to enjoy pursuits of less practical use to society. That leaves us with a world in which we cultivate more valuable ideas in males than females. That sounds like a sexist developmental environment to me.

            3) Perhaps there isn’t actually a significant difference at work at all. But we’re still left with women, on average, earning significantly less even if it’s just because of the fields they tend to work in … so I’m not sure you can say how there isn’t some ingrained gender discrepancy at work whether it’s negative and sexist or not. So I guess we could just be satisfied with female interests being lest valued by society …. but that really sounds bad to me. I just don’t see a way you can look at something like “a broad category of people from all economic, educational, psychological and social backgrounds earn less than their counterparts from a related board category” and think nothing is wrong. Even if women genuinely are less likely to be interested in mathematics and engineering (not true, in my personal experience), shouldn’t our economy support such a varied, and HUGE portion of our society as “women” as much as a broad and varied category like “men”?

            I can think of plenty of well paying jobs that are relatively useless to the betterment of society. If most of these corresponded to female professions, there women wouldn’t be earning less than men and we’d be having a very different discussion here. In the same argument you’ve claimed that women gravitate to lower paying, lower value jobs and that your field (dominated by women) is overvalued and should actually merit less money. I’m getting rather confused as to where you’re even coming from with your arguments about gender and careers.

            Women are ridiculously more likely to be sexually victimized. Women are more likely to earn less, and less likely to be promoted. Women are more likely to be harassed. These are problems. They are real. They are well researched. However you rationalize and explain them, they need to stop.

      • Unstable_Fury says:

        I agree with you insofar as I dislike the feminist school of thought as much as I dislike any other narrow-minded worldview. Games, like other facets of popular culture, are generally non-inclusive, “homogenous” (as in, the opposite of “diverse”), and superficial (obsessed with beauty). I feel sometimes as if feminist criticism monopolizes any conversation of these larger issues. I’m a dude, but let’s say I’m also from an ethnic minority, ugly, and for the sake of this conversation transgendered. Where the hell is my representation?

        Dialectics like this are missing the bigger picture: change does indeed need to come, but on more than one front than this.The role of women in games and as gamers is something that should definitely be discussed, but I do feel that it is monopolizing what little discussion there is.

        Feminists want DIVERSITY, but they often forget about EVERYBODY ELSE.

        • Jay says:

          I don’t think that’s a very productive line of reasoning.

          We’ve got a very long way to go here. Dealing with sexism in games seems like as good a place as any to start, and focusing things in such a manner is a good thing, I feel. I agree, it’d be wonderful if games were more accepting to a wider diversity of people, but I do think we need to start at the basics. If we can’t treat half the planet in a mature fashion, what chance is there of dealing with more controversial subjects?

          I don’t see it as monopolising the argument, more like working on a solid foundation we can build on to further diversify in future.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            I can tell you for a fact that the vastest majority of Russians don’t give a flying fuck about the way they are portrayed in Call of Duty, just as you most likely don’t give a flying fuck about the way men are portrayed in Space Marine. I have a wild suspicion that the vastest majority of female gamers don’t give a flying fuck about Lara Croft, Princess Peach and Bayonetta.

          • Jay says:

            You can talk about ‘facts’ all you like, but you’re providing nothing more than wild assumption and purely anecdotal evidence.

            Here’s a fact – the treatment of women in games bothers me. So I choose to take a stand on it.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            Your keyboard heroism is truly awe inspiring. Let me know once you start your own worthless Kickstarter.

          • mckertis says:

            “I can tell you for a fact that the vastest majority of Russians don’t give a flying fuck about the way they are portrayed in Call of Duty”

            That is because we already think of USians and Brits as jumpy russophobes, Call of Duty doesnt bring anything new to the table. We already know about your irrational fear and hate of us.
            The Reds are coming !!! Boo !

          • funk_off says:

            @codename said ” I have a wild suspicion that the vastest majority of female gamers don’t give a flying fuck”
            We do. And it pisses us off every time we see another ass in latex being nice background pattern. It also spoils the fun, sometimes to the point where we leave the game entirely. But there’s so much of sexism in almost every game, that I would have to stop playing at all – I don’t funking want to, I like gaming, or go out and try to say something about it.
            On the subject: it’s getting worse IMO, the Heroes 3 had female characters all dressed up, while Heroes 5 presented those semi-pornographic dominatrixes (Dark Elves) and generally most of women were wearing bikini.

        • PFlute says:

          …Most feminists I know are actually totally pro-people of color and pro-transgendered.

          They also totally acknowledge the way the system short changes men, even though it doesn’t do as much damage to us as it does women.

          They just happen to, quite logically, spend the most time responding to things that affect them. If us dudes actually wanted to help our situation, we’d make our own efforts, we’d work alongside feminists, and we’d have high fives all around.

          So yes, they actually aknowledge the many fronts of the conflict in front of them, and they choose to fight the one right in front of their noses wherein they hold the most personal experience.

          And you think there’s something wrong with that?

          • ScorpionWasp says:

            Oh really? Do a little experiment. Go to a feminist forum of your choice (any will do) and ask them what they think of all the N ways men are discriminated against in the legal system. Ask their opinion on mandatory arrest policy, on men having lesser reproductive rights than women, on child support laws (whereas a woman can abort/give up the baby with no consequence whatsoever), on custody laws, on divorce laws, on women getting an average 40% less prison time for the very same crimes as men (and without getting raped by inmates too! Because rape is an horrendous thing, but as punishment (for men) it’s ok), on male victims of domestic violence (Yeah, they exist too! And it happens about as frequently as male on female violence) being rejected help at shelters (including, in some cases, teenage boys as young as 12), on women getting all sorts of discriminatory (against men) grants and bonuses from government, etc, etc, etc. They’re for equality, right? At the very fucking least, they’re going to hold an adult, argument based, devoid of ad-hominem discussion. They’ll never consider deleting your message and banning you outright, no sireee! Because you see, it’s all a matter of relevancy, really. They’re too busy pondering whether the “societal expectation” of women having to carry a purse is degrading to their gender or not to care about some dudes going to jail and losing everything they worked decades to get because their divorcing wife filed a false, unsubstantiated accusation of abuse that courts will take at face value. Go in there and tell us the results, we’ll wait.

            You see, this is my fear about these things. I do think that the issue of sexism in games is an interesting one that deserves to be researched. By a NEUTRAL party with a basic, cursory understanding of logic. Hand it to a feminist and it’ll be yet another weapon to turn the system further against males, all the while shouting the dogma that men are privileged, shut up they are, if you disagree it’s because you’re a white privileged male ball of anglo-saxon privilege, if you use logic or data, you’re oppressing women because logic is a phallic thing.

            To finalize, this video is relevant to the discussion: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D4JA4EPRbWhQ%26feature%3Drelmfu&h=NAQE-YsLhAQH2dCcUrlb0h_PxAlbRRjrbnrGI9BPEQdxPmw

          • Ralphomon says:

            @ScorpionWasp: I think if you were to go somewhere with a blank slate, discussion-wise, and talk about any of these issues facing men with feminists, any reasonable one would have a reasoned debate with you about them. If, however, you go to a feminist forum and wade into a discussion in progress about any feminist issue with a what feminists call ‘but what about teh menz’ line of reasoning, you’re gonna get thrown out on your ass. There is a time and a place for discussing male issues, and in the comments on an article about female rape victims or slut-shaming or the wage gap or whatever are only going to make women think that you don’t think their problems are worth worrying about because holy shit men face problems that women don’t in their lives too.

            Basically:

            1. Relevancy is important when considering when and where to air your (potentially legitimate) grievances
            2. Playing Oppression Olympics is always going to be a dumb idea and you’re stupid if you think that comparing severity of various forms of discrimination is a good idea
            3. In my mind at least, a good feminist should necessarily be on the side of equality for all so will probably engage with you in a reasonable manner (and maybe even agree with you) if you want to discuss those things you mentioned up there, in an appropriate forum.

          • ScorpionWasp says:

            Yeah. That’s totally what I did. There was a thread titled “post your favorite feminist authors here” and I jumped right into that, discussing men issues. Look, stop being disingenuous cause nobody is (should be) stupid here. Feminists won’t allow that kind of discussion in their forums AT ALL, in my experience, and if they do, their responses never go beyond ad-hominem (“misogynous privileged bastard!”), insolence (“ugh, I’m not going to discuss anything with scum who don’t accept as unquestionable dogma that patriarchy exists and they’re privileged!”) and other logical fallacies. What, feminists’ positions about issues is not a relevant topic in forums about feminism? What is, then????

            Oh, and the day you bring me one of these “reasonable feminists” you talk about, I”ll review my positions. As far as my extensive experience with the species goes, that is a creature of myth and legend.

          • Gormongous says:

            People who respond to a discussion of women’s issues with a cry of “But what about the men?” always crack me up. Here’s a quick tip, in case you haven’t noticed: a discussion of favorite authors in general is going to be 99% about men. That’s why it’s necessary to specify female authors. That doesn’t mean it’s discrimination.

            But no, you see the infinitesimal lessening of your privilege and the increasing focus on individuals belonging to groups you don’t identify with as some sort of threat to you. Is this how feudal lords viewed the freeing of serfs and slave owners the Emancipation Proclamation?

            God forbid someone be permitted to do something you aren’t. What are you, black? A woman? Gay? Fuck that.

          • maninahat says:

            If you really are bothered about men in culture, here is the appropriate avenue to look into it. Feminists sites all to often have to deal with somebody’s “what about the menz?” argument which wasn’t part of the discussion or subject. Take your arguments to the right place.

          • keliomatic says:

            ScorpionWasp,

            First of all, you were asked to post your concerns about sexist issues for men in the right place in order to be taken seriously, and your reply was: “Yeah. That’s totally what I did. There was a thread titled “post your favorite feminist authors here” and I jumped right into that, discussing men issues.” Where exactly did you get the idea that a post about feminist authors was the best place for discussing men’s issues? I hope I wasn’t the only one scratching my head at that one.

            I am proud to announce that you can now begin to review your position on feminism because the ‘myth’ and ‘legend’ herself is in your presence. I am a “reasonable feminist” (as are so many). I love and support men and men’s right just as much as women’s. Feminism is vastly misunderstood as “women against men”, when in fact, feminism simply means ‘advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.’ Equal rights. Not one-over-the-other and certainly not reverse sexism (a common answer to many feminist issues). And let me just say, that extends also to the right to be represented with respect and accuracy, unlike the often objectified and sexist portrayal of women in not only video games, but many and most forms of entertainment and advertising as well. If you start paying attention you’ll see the very limiting and subtly damaging ways that women are portrayed, and if you start thinking about it a little, you’ll see the issues it presents to us all.

            On that note, men most certainly do face sexist issues as well, as you illustrated, and even in some additional obscure and complex ways you didn’t mention. If you are serious about how men’s issues effect you and your gender then I encourage you to start your own project to bring awareness to them rather than suggesting that women stop fighting for their rights because “men suffer too”. That kind of mentality doesn’t do anyone any good and only keeps the issues that affect us all present and alive, because apparently, no one is allowed to fight for their rights for fear of offending the other gender, so we must all accept oppression and live in misery. Brilliant. Men and women bring different things to society and the idea is that we work together to support and better each other and the planet overall, rather than suppressing each other and fighting (I liked the term used earlier ‘Oppression Olympics’), which only serves to wedge us apart even further.

        • flib says:

          “I’m a dude, but let’s say I’m also from an ethnic minority, ugly, and for the sake of this conversation transgendered. Where the hell is my representation?”

          For everyone arguing things like this: feminism is not a monolithic entity.

          Around the early 1980s, a lot of feminist women began noticing that mainstream feminism overwhelmingly favoured women who were:

          1) white
          2) middle- or upper-class
          3) straight
          4) cis-gendered (e.g. meaning ‘not transgendered,’ ‘cis’ being the Latin opposite of ‘trans’) (this generally came later, but the roots were seen in the 1980s–and there’s a huge intra-feminist fight over whether a famous ‘womyn’s’ festival is being bigoted by refused entry to transgendered women, so this is easily the most… explosive part of the fight right now)

          Alice Walker famously came out with a book in 1983 that discussed “womanism,” or a non-white theory of feminism. (It is predominantly a North American black phenomena, but other non-whites may identify themselves as womanists as well, although often under their own feminist branches–chicana/mujerista feminism, for instance).

          That tended to come with an awareness of the relationship between poverty and feminism (e.g. that most of the world’s adult poor are women), the development of post-colonial feminism (which criticizes American and European feminists for assuming that their issues, and perspectives, are universal. and deals with how race, gender, and national identity are bound up), etc. etc. This is all part of the shift from Second-Wave Feminism (which is predominantly what people refer to when they bitch about ‘crazy feminists’) and Third-Wave Feminism. A lot of Third Wavers are aware of these issues, even if they don’t address them regularly (which, fie).

          “Well then,” you might be asking, “why aren’t we hearing a lot more about the portrayal of race in video games?”

          My answer: because seeing non-white characters in video games is so rare that it’s almost impossible to actually discuss. At least women exist (even though they predominantly exist to be seen, rather than to do). Prey has a non-white protagonist. Beyond Good and Evil. Mirror’s Edge (loved how this AAA game treated the female POC protagonist, seriously–I was so afraid when the press releases began). AssCreed 1 (with Altair). Most Valve properties have non-white protagonists (or at least allies, e.g. Alyx). Most fighting games are pretty good for this. I guess the GTA series, but I’ve never been a fan so I can’t comment much. Otherwise, you’re limited to games that allow you to engage in character creation (e.g. Bethesda’s properties).

          Recently, there was an overview of 2011′s video games to see which passed the Bechdel test (two women; who talk to each other; about something other than a man). The list was slim, to put it mildly, but at least there was a handful of games with two women. Trying to make a Bechdel test for RACE (two non-white characters; who talk; about something other than a white person)… goodness, the failure rate would be astronomical, and they’d often fail on the first part of the test (two people of colour).

          Is it wrong? Yup. But it’s really difficult to keep on talking about it if the news story is “Games continue to not have any characters of colour for us to discuss, period” versus “Games keep on doing X, Y, Z wrong with its portrayal of women (or when discussing women), and look at this new terrible example.” e.g. the Capcom reality TV show, this, the recent controversy over the new Tomb Raider’s rape scene, the most recent Soul Caliber’s advertising campaign, etc.

          I, for one, am super excited that the AssCreed Vita game will feature a woman of colour AS THE PROTAGONIST. It’s a huge step forward. Of course, I’m disappointed that this isn’t going to be the main character of AssCreed 3, but at least he’s half-native, so he can take up a position right next to Prey’s protagonist.

          (Also, for those who have claimed that feminism is over-obsessed with pop culture: pop culture feminist critics get airplay, because they comment on things you would hear about anyways. And they’re fun and I do like them–after all, I’m subscribed to “Bitch: a feminist response to pop culture,” a fun indie magazine. But that’s ignoring all the other types of feminism. Tori Amos is often identified as feminist [read the 'press' section of her website and the pull-quotes chosen, for instance], and she co-founded RAINN–the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, which does truly amazing work in the US. Organizations that try to stop the defunding on Planned Parenthoods, also in the US. Shelters for abused women. Trying to provide education to third-world women. Etc. etc. This feminism isn’t as sexy or explosive, so it doesn’t get airtime.)

    • Fearzone says:

      My first reaction to reading the article was “meh, what’s the point” kind of like protesting pornography or something. Then I watched her video and thought the points she was raising were rather interesting and I wish her the best. I’ll watch the videos. I’m glad the Kickstarter has been a success. Okay I donated.

      It is no secret among my friends and associates that I am a gamer more than most people, yet at the same time I’ve never been lumped in with all the homophobia on the forums and unrealistic portrayals of women that are common. While nobody would be particularly surprised if I installed a nude mod in a game, despite that, I’ve never been accused mysogyny.

      So, tropes go in all directions. She is keeping it pretty real, I appreciate that. But lot of discussion around this, including this article to some degree, seems to be going off the deep end.

    • ObiDamnKenobi says:

      You had faith in the human race?

    • vivlo says:

      “I hope that the luminaries that posted all those comments never ever reproduce or have any contact with women. They don’t deserve it.”

      Actually, my guess is that they are the kind of guys who never really have had contact with any woman, bare their mother (maybe ?). And i think that’s precisely the root of their problems with the aforementioned creatures.

  3. OfMiceAndMods says:

    This is appaling. I often discuss how wonderful the internet can be and mention kickstarters and HIB as places that show that. These stories make me rethink that however

  4. iPhap says:

    I’m certainly looking forward to this series, though I have to say that she’s probably more the victim of trolling rather than genuine misoginy.

    Quick edit for clarification: I am not at all claiming that the gaming community as a whole isn’t guilty of having extremely sexist and unpleasant members, but the attacks against her project and character are a little too “effort-y” for non-trolls.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      …and why is she a victim of trolling so virulent while others aren’t trolled nearly as much? And if a troll says misogynistic things, is this not genuine misogyny?

      • ahhpple says:

        This is correct. Threatening to rape someone is not trolling, and if someone thinks it is then guess what? They’re a misogynist!

        • MonkeyShines says:

          >threatening to rape someone isn’t trolling
          If you’re saying it simply to make the person mad and get a reaction, it is trolling. Ignorant scum.

          • RaveTurned says:

            I see your point and agree, *if* that is the case then yes it is trolling. It isn’t *just* trolling, it’s also threatening, menacing, vile and unacceptable behaviour.

            If they genuinely mean it, it’s not trolling. But it’s still threatening, menacing, vile and unacceptable.

          • Ancient Algae says:

            I think ahhpple knows what trolling means. I think their point was that even if that person was saying things they don’t mean, they are still hurting the other person in the same way as an actual misogynist would. As the person on the receiving end, you wouldn’t know the difference. All those insults, “trolling” and “genuine”, would affect you the same way.

          • Yosharian says:

            Ignorant scum? Really?

          • Smashbox says:

            “You stand accused of criminal threatening, terrorizing, and harassment. How do you plead?”

            “Your Honor, I was just … TROLLING.”

            “Case dismissed!”

            *gavelbang*

        • DrGonzo says:

          Threatening to rape someone isn’t really misogyny though, it’s just assault.

          • Gap Gen says:

            How many people have been convicted of things they said online, for non-national security reasons? Because the government has prosecuted people for similar things in a national security context before.

          • CrookedLittleVein says:

            Threatening to rape is assault?

            Really?

            Really is it?

            Is it really?

          • Devan says:

            @CrookedLittleVein
            Yes, actually. It is.
            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/assault?s=t
            Threatening someone is assault even if you don’t touch them. Actually physically attacking someone would be battery.

          • CrookedLittleVein says:

            @Devan

            What a wee bunch of pansies we are.

          • gwathdring says:

            There are many victims of domestic abuse whose only legal recourse is that definition of assault.

            Consider being put in a psychological state such that you genuinely believed someone was about to beat, rape or kill you. Forcing someone into that mental state with your explicit language is simply not ok. Consider additionally being put in a state of constant fear and uncertainty for years–maybe you’re only ever actually beaten once or twice but those times were enough to make every threat that much more horrifying and destructive. This sort of psychological environment is as real and damaging as any physical torture. Believable threats can have very powerful physiological effects even in isolated incidents; over a longer period of time … it’s one of the worse things you can do to a person. And it doesn’t leave a mark.

            Pansies? I think not.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @gwathdring – You are literally my new hero (though I think I have written this exact statement to you before on this site) for your comments through this thread!

        • codename_bloodfist says:

          Is threatening to rip someone’s balls off misandry then?

          • gwathdring says:

            Depends on the social context. If it comes from a personal and socially constructed idea that men are inferior or otherwise inherently worthy of such threats for being so bold as to step out of place or say something you don’t like listening to … yes.

            How often that actually happens is another question the answer to which, while not straightforward as such, should as least seem imposing to your line of argument.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            “Is threatening to rip someone’s balls off misandry then?”

            The two are in no way the same. Don’t be fucking stupid.

          • gwathdring says:

            Don’t be so hasty; they are not without similarities. Broader context is an essential piece here. I agree that broader context doesn’t support his hyperbole, but you don’t need to be rude about it.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            It’s not the same because you don’t like it. Point taken.

          • gwathdring says:

            “It’s not the same because you don’t like it”

            I’m not sure I follow what you mean.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            Two points:

            1. No, broader social context doesn’t play a role here. If you make a threat geared towards a specific group, it either is degrading, with all following implications, or it isn’t. If an individual of Caucasian decent says “I’ll kill you and use your black skin for gloves” to an individual of African decent, while a different individual of African decent says “I’ll kill you and use your white skin for gloves” to an individual of Caucasian decent, either both are racists or neither. The fact that the Caucasians have dominated Africans in the past, that they earn more on average as a result of better education (resulting from their parents earning more, n) or that they have higher representation in the government is completely irrelevant.

            2. Even if we disregard (1), your entire disagreement is based on the feminist idea of a patriarchy and the fact that women are oppressed. I would give you some leeway and agree that, yes, sexes have to an extend some predetermined roles in our society. I would not agree that we have a societally constructed idea that women are inferior, which is the very core of your retort. The entire premise is built upon a faulty foundation.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Really?

            OK, simple test.

            Approximately how many women are raped or murdered by men each year in the country in which you live?

            Approximately how many men have their testicles ripped off (by men *or* women) each year in the country in which you live?

            Sexual violence, up to and including rape, is a real threat faced by women every day. The threat of rape and sexual violence is something used by men to control women, every, day.

            Having their balls ripped off isn’t something most men will ever have to worry about. It’s like threatening to rip someones arm off and beat them to death with the soggy it – it’s silly nonsense and not a credible possibility.

            So no, it’s not the same. And yes, I do have to be rude about it.

          • gwathdring says:

            I agree. Claiming social context has no bearing on how we define something as wobbly and socially-oriented “sexism” and “racism” seems odd to me. Social context is essential in analyzing social interactions and the social context of rape is much more real and threatening to most women that that of castration is to most men.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            All right, Ergates, let’s go 150 years back. Blacks would have a much higher chance of being killed by whites than vice versa. Is the statement “I will peel of your pretty white skin and use it for gloves” by a black be considered racist? The fact that one group has more hard power than another doesn’t excuse the racist behaviour of the weaker group. You’re merely creating a double standard because it support your position.

            And you’re more than welcome to be angry. It’s not my nerves you’re ruining.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            I think before we go further down that lane, for Ergates’s sake, I’ll just restate the original point in a more plain form. It’s not misogyny, it’s a tailored insult or threat (although in this context one that’s as likely to come to fruition as a death threat, a threat to kill her favourite cat or whatever). Clearly the one who wrote it is a man, she is a woman, thus he used the most obvious difference and tailored the insult from it. I guess if she had spots or bad teeth he could just as well have used that. You don’t have to belong to any specific group to tailor insults at another group. Matter of fact, you can just as well tailor an insult for your own group and pretend not to be a part of it. If we were both inmates, I could say, “Ergates, I hope you get raped in the shower by Big Joe”. Am I then a convict hater, a man hater, a shower hater? Let’s stop throwing terms that don’t apply left and right. It only devalues their real meaning.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            If you’re honestly simply asking if it is possible for black people to be racist towards white people, or for women to be sexist towards men, then yes. Obviously.

            However, it in no way makes the two threats equivalent.

            To reiterate the point you keep missing:
            “I’m going to rape you” and/or “I’m going to kill you” are credible threats when made by a man towards a woman, as this type of thing happens on a regular basis.
            “I’m going to rip your balls off” is *not” a credible threat when made by a woman to a man, as this type of thing does not happen or a regular basis, or ever.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            “It’s not misogyny, it’s a tailored insult or threat”

            It’s a tailored insult/threat directed by a group of misogynist men at a woman. Can you come up with a rational explanation as to why these people are using “tailored insults” towards her, in response to this kickstarter, other then misogyny.

            Or to put it another way: If twenty men, wearing white robes and hoods are standing in a semicircle around a burning cross they just erected in a black persons front lawn shouting “We’re going to hang you n****r”, are they racist, or is it just a tailored insult?

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            The problem is that the threats -aren’t- in fact realistic or plausible. Anyone running any sizeable YouTube channel with an even remotely politically inclines agenda has received death threats during their career. Atheists, feminists, communists, liberals, conservatives, animal rights activists, etc. etc. I don’t mean this as an insult, but if you take any physical threat you’ve received over the internet from someone you’ve never met seriously, I think you might want to look into a different line of work.

            As to why might want to insult her, I can very much understand, although I would disagree strongly with the approach. The problem isn’t fear, but anger. At least 110k USD will go to an individual claiming to somehow protect equality of women by making a bunch of videos she could have easily made for free if she wanted to. This is 110k USD that goodhearted people have donated that could have been spent to treat malaria, feed children and operate orphanages, but will instead be pocked by someone who lives in a First World country and owns every current gen console. We can agree to disagree here, but this very much leaves a particularly sour taste in my mouth.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Except, the 110k (or whatever) was donated *after* the outpouring of misogynist bile, quite possibly/likely in *response* to it. Therefore, the amount raised *cannot* be the cause of the hatred.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            Then tell me exactly why nobody cared about her before she started collecting money.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Because the people in question didn’t know. Or because she wasn’t talking about sexism in videogames.

            Come on, do you *honestly* believe that the bile and hatred being spewed at her is down to peoples anger that the money could be used for a better cause? Seriously?

            Here’s a suggestion – people who say that someone should get raped and die of cancer probably don’t care that much about a cure for malaria. I could be wrong on that, but call it a hunch.

            Also – why do other kickstarter projects not attract this amount of hate? Not many kickstarter projects are about finding a cure or cancer or feeding the needy. Why do they also not get death threats? Is making a videogame about surviving a zombie appocalypse somehow equivalent to opening an orphanage?

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            Her channel is called the Feminist Frequency. What do you think it is about? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not about radiophysics.

            I’m really just getting tired of this conversation now. Believe what you like and join the DFL. I hear that all women are in cahoots with each other so men can’t have sex with them. Might be your thing.

          • gwathdring says:

            I believe when he says “credible threat” he’s speaking in a sort of semi-jargon. Credible threat doesn’t mean you’re certain the person making it will do it to you. It means the threat consists of something that could very likely happen to you, and is well within the realm of social possibility. As such, a threat of rape from a man to a woman has more social context to draw upon, more fears both rational and irrational that the woman being threatened has experienced in the past. The social context makes it a more hurtful and scary thing to say.

            Secondly, my primary issue with your initial statement and your comments thus far hasn’t been the assertion that the threats can be made without explicit misogynist intentions. They can. The trouble is, they come from and feed a genuine misogynist social pressure. Additionally, you defended the idea that your comparison threat is equally misandrist–this is my biggest point of disagreement. Sexism is intensely contextual. It depends entirely on the social context. Devoid of that context, these are all just scribbles on a page in the first place. Especially with something like gender politics, your social conditioning and past experiences really redefine how effective these threats are and how easy they are to shrug off.

            I do value your point about overusing charged words and using them as replacements for well structured, careful discussion. It’s a very well taken point. And yet, I see a lot of productive and careful discussion here so perhaps this is one of the times it is appropriate to use such language. Where you see careless dispensation of charged language, I see at least as much intentional and controlled use of charged language by people feeling strongly about an issue they’ve also thought carefully about. Just keep that in mind. Again, it’s a great point … but if we never used charged words and feelings in our discussions, we’ll just reattach those emotions to the words we do use and/or never really effectively discuss anything emotionally powerful. Balance is important; I think I see a lot of balance in this thread.

    • oceanclub says:

      Sorry, but I don’t agree with all. If it was merely a trolling instinct, why aren’t loads of Kickstarter projects getting this kind of abuse? Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the right one, and in this case, the horrible simple fact is that the world is full of misogynists.

      P.

      • iPhap says:

        Oh, come on. Why aren’t other projects being trolled? Because other projects don’t deal with this subject matter. She’s against sexism and misoginy, so she will be subject to both of those things by trolls. That is a very simple explanation.

        • Zephro says:

          Because the trolls are sexist.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Even if it were ‘merely trolling’, it would still be reprehensible. Trolling should not be used as an excuse in this case. Think about it for a second. It’s about what they did as much as why. If the why is trolling, well, then consider the types of people who would think that type of trolling is fun and acceptable.

          See? It doesn’t matter that much whether it’s intended as trolling or not.

          • iPhap says:

            I’ve seen a lot of replies stating that trolling isn’t this or that, but the fact of the matter is that trolling is simply stating an opposing point of view in order to rouse a reaction. Trolls will say whatever hits one’s button in order to get a reaction, so it’s only natural that they’ll be sexist and misogynistic towards a person who advocates equality through mocking the tropes which reinforce those sexist and misogynistic stereotypes. As for the statement suggesting that there is no or little difference between the trolls and real sexists; I contest that notion. While their intent is to hurt either way, the maliciousness of a troll is benign in comparison to that of a real misogynist. The difference also lies in the fact that a troll is more random in its acts, while a misogynist is a goal-oriented, women hating machine–the troll isn’t a perpetual danger to women, either online or offline. The annoying thing about trolls is that they also misrepresent the community as misoginistic, more so than it generally comes across as, feeding into the albeit deserved stereotype that gamers are sexist.

            TL;DR: trolls are either internet alphas or self-aware assholes, while misogynists represent a more clear and present danger (1994) to women. It’s important to distinguish between the two, in my honest opinion. One deserves a finger cut off and the other- well, you get the idea.

          • MadMatty says:

            iPhap is entirely correct.

          • Lamb Chop says:

            Trolling is a performative act, and the oft-cited defense of it, “I don’t actually hold those views, I’m just trolling,” that comes precisely from that fact misses the point. Even the most ironic performance is used for a social purpose, and while it might not be the semantic content of the trolling that is explicitly to ostracize (in some cases, like rape, racial epithets, etc., the semantic content is itself damaging and inappropriate, but that’s a separate issue), it defines in-group/out-group boundaries about what is acceptable in a community.

            A couple real world examples, positive and negative: A kid tells a funny joke and everyone laughs. Another kid gives a someone a swirly. In both of these examples, what’s important is the social relations around the people and less the content of the action. The swirly kid is exerting a power relationship, the funny kid is seeking social acceptance. If the action itself is exclusionary, then regardless of the semantic content, it ostracizes and, in that sense, harms the targeted individual. An argument over the veracity of the semantic content can be instructive as to just how awful the person is, but simply by performing an exclusionary act, they’ve already shown themselves to be socially destructive and immature.

            As an addendum, if you see a person’s gender as an acceptable target for trolling, then you are behaving as a misogynist.

          • wererogue says:

            Lamb Chop beats me to the reply. If you think that this behaviour is acceptable in the name of trolling, then you’re sexist.

          • iPhap says:

            “If you think that this behaviour is acceptable in the name of trolling, then you’re sexist.” I agree, though I have no idea who this statement is aimed at.

          • Cockles says:

            Personally, I really don’t see whether it matters whether someone is trolling or not and then trying to explain why the distinction matters – if you threaten to rape someone then why does it matter whether you were trolling or being a mysoginist? The primary emotion should be empathy with the victim of the threat and secondly, if someone is “trolling” via mysogeny then they *are* mysoginist, try making awful threats agsinst someone you don’t know and then reeling out some explanation as to why you did it. Any person I’ve ever met who has made derogatory racist or sexist comments always has an explanation or justification as to why their ignorance is relevant, “I was just fishing for a reaction” does not change what the victim felt in any way and doesn’t make the crime (at least it would be criminal if said in person) any less of a horrible thing to do.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Not to dismiss exactly how disgusting and vile sexists who make these comments are, am I the only one here who thinks that being a troll is actually worse!!!

        • oceanclub says:

          “Because other projects don’t deal with this subject matter.”

          Er right. So they are doing this because of sexism/misogyny. Which was my original point.

          P.

        • Rodafowa says:

          Sorry, reply in the wrong place.

        • Ancient Algae says:

          “The annoying thing about trolls is that they also misrepresent the community as misoginistic”

          >>What reputation do trolls have to uphold that being seen as misogynistic is hurtful to their “community”?

          “The difference also lies in the fact that a troll is more random in its acts, while a misogynist is a goal-oriented”

          >>Ha! You could say that trolls are “random” (in that they consist of a wide range of individuals with different interests, and therefore different things to be mean about) and misogynists “goal-oriented” (in that they, uh, hate women) but that would be foolish. Trolls could be goal-oriented– as they kindly demonstrated through their attack on Sarkeesian. Misogynists can be random in their acts because, well, they’re people.

          “While their intent is to hurt either way, the maliciousness of a troll is benign in comparison to that of a real misogynist.. the troll isn’t a perpetual danger to women, either online or offline”

          >>What a relief! Trolls are nicer than misogynists, them being benignly malicious and all.

          Hmm. They say the same insults, but their intent is different, because one’s doing it for the lulz, and the other reaaaally hates women, so the former is less malicious? What kind of evil bastard would want to hurt another person even when he didn’t mean it?

          • iPhap says:

            I think you’re just being deliberately obtuse at this point. Either that or the word misogynist has lost all meaning and you can’t see past the fact that being a fucking dick and literally hating women isn’t the same thing. Misogynistic sentiments fosters negativite attitudes towards women, no matter who says it–be it a troll or a genuine misogynist. But the only person who’s actually going to act out on that, that would be in real life, is the genuine misogynist. You’re not gonna see or hear about a troll using or beating up women. While you can definitely label the troll as a contributing factor towards sexist attitudes, a troll is different in the way that he doesn’t mean it. “What kind of evil bastard would want to hurt another person even when he didn’t mean it?” A troll would, and you know what, it’s not acceptable, but not once have I made that argument. My argument is and always has been that there is a diference, and I really hope you can see that.

        • Reefpirate says:

          So wait… Since when was trolling considered some sort of higher order of sophistication? Since when was trolling a community? And since when was trolling ever set in some sort of high-brow definition? Trolls are hipsters now? Trolling is an art form that people are supposed to respect, even in the face of ridiculous demonstrations like this?

          It’s dumb-as-a-rock vulgarity in one of its worst forms. Don’t call this shit trolling, you make yourself sound like an idiot.

        • DK says:

          Yes the reason this Kickstarter is getting trolled in this manner and others are not is because this Kickstarter matters to the person starting it on a deeply PERSONAL level, which is far more inviting to people that want to get a rise out of trolling than Kickstarters started for mainly creative or financial reasons.

    • Risingson says:

      And what if this is trolling? Is this a justification? Trolling means that you can be homophobe or misogynistic? You know, there is a looong line between “politically correct” and “being phobic and disguising your attitude as an attack to the system”. Rape, for example, is something you have to know how to joke about it, if you need to. I mean: those attacks are shameful, full stop.

    • sincarne says:

      It is certainly trolling. But as soon as you make hateful comments about women, or make threats that revolve around the fact that the person being threatened is female, it becomes misogyny.

    • GreatGreyBeast says:

      I think being “mere” trolling mitigates the death/rape threats a bit. I mean, they’re absolutely horrible things to say, but they are not literal, plausible *threats*. Probably. Hopefully.

      However, it does not mitigate misogyny. As others have said, trolling this is a symptom of misogyny.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        No. A threat is still a threat, even if you have neither the means nor the intention of carrying it out.

        Bullshit are these trolls.

      • Ancient Algae says:

        Mitigates.

      • Techmaven says:

        @flib:

        Thanks for a great thumbnail history of feminism. But just to delineate it a bit more, many of us who were around in the 70s were already questioning the racism and sexism already showing up in mainstream feminism. Groups such as ‘The Lavender Menace’ (so named after a comment Betty Friedan made about lesbians supposedly infiltrating straight white suburban lady-feminism with their urban girl-loving and gender-messy rhetoric) were around by the mid-70s. Andrea Dworkin actually didn’t start out as a total crazy; she was one of the first women who started the discussion about rape and its connections with women-hating as expressed in violent porn and mainstream media, although she did quickly go off the deep end. And I remember as a young black feminist questioning one of my professors in about 1982 (a period in which the Third Wave was just getting started) why it was assumed that all women wanted to be ‘freed’ to work outside the home, but no-one seemed to be asking about women like my grandma, who had cleaned other women’s houses for a living. Betty Friedan was already seen as an ass by many of my high school feminist friends, and irrelevant to our lives as young urban women, especially women of color.

        That’s why this constant harping on ‘how the evil feminists banded together to ruin everything for men’ trope gets on my last nerve. In the 80s I spent more time yelling at other women about how it was wrong for the Michigan Women’s Music Festival was to ban all male children over the age of one, butch women, and women who practiced BDSM, than I did thinking about making men kowtow (when i was thinking about men at all; mostly I was thinking about having sex with other women, because i’m bisexual and was going through a ‘no thanks, I’m queer’ moment). In fact, during that period there was a big break in feminism. Some of us became womanists, as you mentioned, and worked hard to heal the broken bonds between ourselves and men, especially men of color. Others became or stayed hard-core separatists, and essentially left the discussion of a world-changing feminism forever, to move to communes and become the feminist equivalent of white supremacists. Most of these were white women from the middle classes. A large number didn’t teach their daughters about wide-reaching real-life radical feminism (not the feminism of Germaine Greer, but the feminism that wanted all businesses to have creches for working parents, universal health care, and labor unions for all workers, as well as the end of legalized spousal abuse, trafficking in women, child slavery, and interrogating female genital mutilation) but instead concentrated on cozier, easier to sell concepts such as the ERA (which tanked), ‘Ms.’ magazine, Take Your Daughter to Work Day, and getting jobs in upper management and the professions.

        Feminists like me still laugh at the idea of mommy-blogging (not because being a wife or mother is a bad thing, but at the idea that such blogs are usually navel-gazing that never mentions issues like infant formula in Third World nations or the racism inherent in rushing to adopt foreign children while not working to improve conditions for all parents around the world). We think talking about video games and pop culture is interesting and somewhat important, but useless if some women insist on talking about ‘rape culture’ as if it’s only about men, without talking about how mutual respect between men and women won’t happen until we look at how our male-oriented culture is as much a strait-jacket for men as it is for women, and share with men what we learned about the restrictions of Western gender ideals while we were in Feminist School.

        But, as you said, none of this is as fun to discuss as ‘crazy feminists who hate men’ which was a concept invented by the media a long time ago and turns up in historical moments that never happened, such as bra burning. “Crazy feminists who hate men’ is just as much a made up story as ‘liberals who all have maids and drive SUVs and coddle Al-Qaeda’. While such people exist, there are more feminists working on issues like The Wounded Warrior Project right now than there are living on communes and refusing to speak to men, and there have been more ‘muscular liberals’ like John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower (yes, there have been liberal Republicans, too), Teddy Roosevelt (a total liberal on issues like conservation and political corruption) and Hubert Humphrey than there have been weak-kneed liberals like Adlai Stevenson (who wasn’t really that weak).

        As a freethinking feminist liberal who has had no problem supporting the right to have a safe legal abortion while being a Roman Catholic opposed to destroying human life (abortion is legal and sometimes necessary, especially for poor women- there are a lot of nuns who feel the same way), supporting groups like Wounded Warrior that mostly directly help men (because men have families that include women, and men are human beings, and humans who suffer from PTSD don’t deserve to be ignored just because they don’t have vaginas), and favoring civil liberties and fair treatment for gay people, immigrants, and ex-cons (because, duh, I’ve actually read the entire Bible, and Jesus told us that we should care for those who need us, and not to judge what people are or where they come from, lest we be judged also, and to me it’s obvious that gayness is not a sin but a gift from God to all species of sentient animal as a form of birth control as well as affection), I probably don’t fit what most people think a feminist looks like. But lots of us exist. People need to stop stereotyping. It mean, and even worse, it’s stupid.

    • dsch says:

      Quite agree. Misogyny is a trope carried to extremes in certain parts of the internet. I imagine we are mostly seeing the confrontation of a trope or gesture with people who are unfamiliar with it, with the added element of a desire to shock those who are perceived to be easily offended (a self-fulfilling prophecy). The most direct and personal attacks can perhaps be seen as attempts to outdo others in trolling. Of course, there is no discounting the genuinely disturbed elements who see this mess as a perfect opportunity to vent their extreme views.

      Edit: The first comment to this article, since deleted, was a very relevant and self-aware performance of exactly this kind of freeform troping. Evidently TPTB either decided to bow to political correctness, or to ironically complete the cycle of mutual misunderstanding. In fact, it may be helpful to read the deletion of that comment as a Lacanian moment: whereas TPTB do understand the point of the comment, they deleted the comment for the benefit of the Other which is presumed to not understand.

    • Quarex says:

      Have you ever seen trolling before? You know, the things where you play the equivalent of a real-world practical joke on someone?

      Do you go up to your buddies in real life and then hilariously scream with a megaphone that you hope they are raped and murdered? Is that kind of thing really “trolling?” Is that a practical joke? Or is it, in the case being discussed in this thread, an electronic representation of deep-seated loathing toward women for “being uppity?”

    • gwathdring says:

      I don’t buy it. I don’t believe in calling this trolling. Not on this scale, not when it lines up with tangible societal attitudes. I’m sure it happens, but I’m sure there are people who use it as a cover either by convincing others or convincing themselves that they are “just trolling.”

      Misogyny is one thing, but sexism does not simply consist of actively despise, hating, or disdaining people on the basis of gender. Communication is subject to a social contract, and breaking that social contract with this sort of language perpetuates sexist attitudes and atmospheres regardless of the specific intents and motivations of the speaker.

      More seriously, a violent threat is a violent threat whatever the intention of the user. One would not fail to evacuate a school after a threat of violence simply because, statistically, most such threats are a prank or bluster.

  5. Mr. Mister says:

    WHERE’S SAMUS???
    I for once want to see her in the Dark Suit. Wheelie shoulderpads are way cooler.

    • Kdansky says:

      Samus is such a great female character, except she was all but vandalized when they A: decided she needed a sexy skin-suit outfit and B: make her Adam’s bitch in Other M.

    • ulix says:

      Samus isn’t in the video because she is one of the few female videogame characters (and a lead-character for that matter) that isn’t displayed sexistically (is that a word?). At least she wasn’t until the zero-suit (which however does make sense that you’d wear a suit like this under armor like this), and of course until the sexists at Team Ninja regrettably got their hands on her.

      • ThTa says:

        How come people keep forgetting that your “reward” for quickly and completely beating Metroid was seeing her in her underwear/a bikini?

        Aside from that (and the utterly horrid Other M, of course), she is a favourite of mine due to damn near everything else in the games she features in.

  6. Phoenix says:

    “We need to own this – to acknowledge that as gamers this is our community, no matter how far we may wish to distance from it, and no matter how much we may not take part in it.” No we don’t. I take no responsibility for what other people do. I take responsibility for what I do, nothing else. I don’t share the opinions or think the same things as book-readers, TV-watchers, music-listeners. I don’t associate myself with them or their opinions, I don’t consider myself responsible for or somehow part of what assholes in those communities do, so why should I do so in gaming?

    People are assholes. Horrible assholes. Vile creatures with disgusting opinions, and the dumbest “jokes” and insane comments and vandalism, and so on. Just because these people play games doesn’t mean I have any sort of connection to them at all.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      This sort of thing is what lets them get away with it. The problem is definitely not random assholes. Random assholes always have existed and always will exist. The problem is a culture that creates assholes, that tolerates assholes, and even that encourages assholes. Saying “if I don’t do it, it’s not something I have to care about” is ignoring what sort of problem it is. It’s a problem of the sort of discourse that we have going, and staying out of it by claiming not to be involved is just to let some people dominate the conversation.

      • Delusibeta says:

        Insert reference to the General Internet Fuckwad Theory here. The problem won’t be solved unless a Facebook (or similar) account is mandatory on every website, and I’ll be willing to be that will only encourage hardened trolls to make fake accounts and carry on being dicks.

      • Mr. Mister says:

        I think his/her point was that he/she is being accused of it because he/she is being treated just as a member of a group he/she may or may not have said traits in common with. A fair point I guess.

      • rockman29 says:

        Tolerance of assholes is the biggest problem.

        This shit happens, because other people fail to act and say it’s wrong. And that should put shame on everyone, not just the people who act out the behaviour.

        It’s bad, and people who have the mindfulness to know it’s wrong should stand up and say so. This is absolutely disgusting. All those youtube accounts with those clearly hateful remarks should be suspended or banned.

    • Vinraith says:

      I tend to agree that gaming is no more a “community” than “book readers” or “movie watchers” are a community, and I’m no more responsible for its actions. That said, there’s a significant stigma attached to our hobby, in part due to the repugnant actions and beliefs of many self-described gamers. I think it’s in the best interest of anyone that doesn’t want to be embarrassed to admit they play games to change that, even if we don’t properly bear any responsibility for it. Plus, there’s an inherent societal benefit to stamping out this kind of ugliness wherever it crops up, period.

      • TychoCelchuuu says:

        Well certainly being a gamer doesn’t make you more of a community than being a book reader or anything, but if almost all books were misogynistic and if anyone speaking out about it got constant rape threats, then it would be everyone’s job to fix it, not just the job of the idiots who are never going to shut up until we change society.

        (And to some extent that’s almost where we all with books, but obviously it’s not nearly as bad as it is with videogames. Not even close.)

        • Vinraith says:

          I’d take fundamental issue with the notion that “almost all” games are misogynistic. I primarily play strategy games, which don’t even have characters, for example.

          I would take even greater issue with your statement about books. Perhaps you don’t mean that the way it reads, but it lends credence to those who would accuse you of jumping at shadows, and ultimately undermines your (entirely valid) primary point.

          In short, focus on reactions like the one in this case, which could not show the problem more clearly, rather than tarring all media with the same brush, which starts a debate that doesn’t serve your purposes.

          • Delusibeta says:

            Yeah, saying that almost all X is Y, where X is a medium of entertainment and Y is a discrimination will inevitably lead to fans of X calling for your head on a platter. Add in the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory and you get this result.

          • DrGonzo says:

            Just because the games YOU play aren’t sexist doesn’t mean the vast majority of them are. That’s a strange way to look at it.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        I think that’s a bit nit-picky. There simply is a problem regarding sexism in games and gaming communities. Not all games and communities by all means, certainly, but enough that it’s worth taking a stance against. You’re not being accused here.

      • Cooper says:

        This is part of the issue. The gaming community is huge.

        Huge enough that I can very easily avoid the kinds of sections of the community thate the vile hatred ferments in. I detest the attitude aso I use avoidance tactics. As do many women. But there’s space to speak out.

        I was playing RO2 the other day. Some guy used “faggot” as a term of abuse. Someone pulled them up on it; asking them how the fuck they thought that was acceptable or a mature manner of acting (the guy was clearly not a kid). I pitched in and soon enough the bulk of the 50 person server was in agreement that that kind of language was just unaccaeptable.

        • Thirith says:

          I agree with what most here have said. I expect Christians who disagree with homophobic idiots to speak up against them, not sit back and say to themselves, “Well, we’re not like that…” I expect Muslims to speak up against misogynist fundamentalists. I expect Brits to speak up against xenophobic cunts from the UK. I expect men to speak up against sexist idiots. I expect the same from gamers. If they don’t, they’re part of the problem.

          You’re responsible for your actions as much as for your inaction. Thinking any different is cowardly, disingenuous or stupid.

          • DrGonzo says:

            This I completely disagree with. After having been hit in the face several times by arseholes for similar situations.

            It is THEM not you. You don’t contribute to it, challenge it if it seems ok, if not you simply don’t even address it with a response. As more often than not challenging them will just reassure them that they are correct.

        • ix says:

          I also avoid those sections of the gaming community, if only because I find RPS a far more compelling place to read about games. I’m sure kotaku and the escapist have good content, but I only end up there when somebody else links me to it. Unfortunately that means that I’m not even part of the communities John wants me to help turn around.

          I do think that simply calling people out on their bullshit when you *do* encounter it, is the best way to go. Some people use the word “fag” without thinking about it. The immediate reaction to you or me calling them out on it might be defiance, but I’m sure if it happens enough it will set them to thinking.

          So yes, education, not giving up the debate. And consistently down modding racist, misogynistic or homophobic comments in places where I see it.

          I would add: not buying the worst offenders. I immediately lost all interest in Hitman after that trailer of them.

          One thing that strikes me though is that places such as Kotaku, The Escapist, GAF, the Team Liquid forums, etc. have a huge responsibility to take a stand against this kind of behaviour. And personally I don’t think they do nearly enough.

          • DrGonzo says:

            This kind of comment is what stops many of us getting involved. The Hitman trailer was just funny, it wasn’t misogynist or sexist. But complaints about that distract from things that actually are (like Nuns existing at all).

          • Risingson says:

            Just to reply to Gonzo: it wasn’t funny, it was sexualized, but above it all, it was pure exploitation. It seemed like a fantasy from the 70-80 grim movies starred by Linda Blair. To me, it looked not offensive, just old and conservative: I’m a bit tired of s/m and leather being associated to negative stereotypes.

          • Etheric42 says:

            Of course it was reference to classic exploitation. That’s part of what made it funny. In fact part of what made it so funny is that is both feminist AND misogynist. Too many games try to avoid the whole misogyny label by not having any female antagonists at all (or a token Bond girl). The trailer featured women being badasses, and being individuals worthy enough of recognition that they had to be killed (not just left in a kitchen somewhere, making sandwiches for some goon that will never come home again). Now maybe you can discuss how the defacto standard mode of conflict in video games (violence) means that the only interaction you have with other “human beings” is to kill them (not talking about multiplayer, but the idea that the NPCs are supposed to represent people), and as such, the trailer had to be about either violence to women or violence from women in order to be able to represent women at all.

          • ix says:

            DrGonzo, you can still take a stand against sexism without agreeing with me about that trailer. If you don’t believe that particular instance is a problem for whatever reason, I can understand that, but that doesn’t mean you should just go and say “not my problem” about everything else.

            What I’m suggesting is that we keep discussing issues like it, and that then everyone can draw their own conclusions.

            But of course, we should also condemn in the strongest words any harassment the likes of which started this article. I think that’s a given.

    • RaveTurned says:

      “I take no responsibility for what other people do. I take responsibility for what I do, nothing else.”

      It is your choice how you react to the actions of others. Your choices are your responsibility, whether it’s a choice to act one way or another or a choice to not act at all. Ergo if you see people acting in a way that you think is unacceptable and do nothing to dissuade them, you are allowing their actions to go unchecked. THAT is your responsibility – perhaps not yours alone, but you let those actions happen unchecked.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        Oh shut it. The guy called them assholes, vile and disgusting, and you reckon he’s not doing enough? Just because he’s not writing blog posts and self-flagellating in his bedroom you think he’s letting it happen?

        How many blog posts have YOU written about this to try to right the wrongs of the world? How many Gamers Against Misogyny meetings have you chaired so you can all nod in agreement at how terrible people are?

        What are you doing to fix this? Posting a comment on RPS? Congratulations, you’ve done precisely fuck all to fix anything. Have a nice day.

        • DrGonzo says:

          Yes, I can’t imagine seeing them challenging an EDL march for some reason. Because that is what you guys are saying. If you don’t walk up to a load of violent thugs and challenge them over it (with severe injury, humiliation or even death being a possible outcome) then you are a coward and are contributing to it.

          Absolute bollocks.

          • RaveTurned says:

            That is indeed bollocks, and it’s not what I’m saying. Firstly, contributing to an act and enabling it are distinct concepts – one is not the other, but both are bad. Secondly, you seem to assume my own direct physical confontation is the only non-enabling action, which is not the case.

            I can act against violence by calling the police, and I can act against political views that I disagree with by attempting to persuade others of the flaws of those views, for instance by debating them in an open forum. Suicide-by-proxy is not the only option.

        • RaveTurned says:

          You seem to have missed a key word in my post there – “if”. I did not say Phoenix had done nothing – obviously he has denounced them and that is self-evidently a thing. However I disagree with the implication that members of a community should take no responsibility for the actions of other people in their community, especially if those actions are seen to be representative of that community. I posted to highlight that misconception.

          Perhaps if I’d used a more impersonal form of speech instead of “you” and “your” I would have made the details of my position clearer – but the underlying point would have been lost as a result.

          Edit: Thinly veiled personal jab retracted – non-constructive, and you probably only questioned my own efforts because you misconstrued my own post.

          • Runs With Foxes says:

            This is what I have a problem with: I am not part of the ‘gaming community’. I watch films but am not part of the ‘filming community’. I read novels but am not part of the ‘noveling community’. This bizarre tendency of ‘gamers’, as well as non-gamers, to put everyone who plays games in the same little box is one of the reasons why any discussion of the medium is so simplistic and unproductive.

    • Kaira- says:

      “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

        Good men? Gendered and sexist, you’re part of the problem.

        • Continuity says:

          That is a famous quote from Edmund Burke and 18th century political philosopher. yes it’s wording is not politically correct but you can’t rewrite history, feminism should only be taken so far, I draw the line at tyrannical censorship and rewriting history.

          That said I support this kickstarter fully.

    • gwathdring says:

      I agree that we are not complicit in such crimes by failing to act. But we also need to be careful that we don’t trivialize the problem when we brush off our hands and say “we’re not like them.” Because it’s really easy for us to relax and not jump on opportunities when we maybe SHOULD do something small but meaningful or even translate into us mocking people who do stand up and act.

      I do think we have a responsibility to take care of our community just as we have a responsibility to report and prevent crimes within certain limits. We don’t need to tackle the knife-wielding bandit, but we certainly ought to do more than glance at his crime and keep walking. It isn’t our fault that horrible people say horrible things, but we should do our best to create a better environment; sometimes that means saying something and sometimes that just means being nice ourselves.

    • Cockles says:

      Your apathy enables this behaviour though, whether you like to admit it or not. If someone does something wrong right in front of you and you don’t challenge it then you enable this behaviour to continue. Apathy is a much larger (i.e. more common and more easily fixed) problem than the act that is wrong because if everyone stood up to things that are morally wrong then it would go a long way to eliminating it happening again (insert quote about good men doing nothing for bad men to blah blah blah).

      EDIT: Sorry, Kaira has already been more eloquent than I have with the above quote.

  7. Zyrocz says:

    Because we have so many different types of male characters in video game.

  8. gwyrdd says:

    This is so refreshing to read, having just come from the comments section of the Kotaku article “Hitman Director Says Controversial Trailer ‘Wasn’t Supposed To Be’ Sexist”.

    It made me die a little inside. Or a lot inside. Many, many times.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Just being on Kotaku makes me want to die a little. They have this absolutely amazing, perfect commenting technology. It’s attached to terrible tabloid articles and one of the seedier news organizations out there and some terrible, terrible writers (Bashcraft, Foiles, and Rogers).

    • Lucas Says says:

      Exactly this. I’m sure these people don’t “mean” to be sexist, either (I bet a lot of them consider themselves good people, paradoxically), but holy everything are they ever.

      In short, this controversy shows just how incredibly necessary this sort of project is.

      • byteCrunch says:

        More or less, the response to this just clearly demonstrates exactly why it needs to be done, whether it makes a difference or not its hopefully a step in the right direction.

  9. BenA says:

    On behalf of every man who posted some bullshit comment anywhere about her, I apologise. I hope she gets her funding and this project goes ahead.

    • Odweaver says:

      So she has made nearly $90,000.00 dollars to make six youtube videos saying the designs for female characters in video games are sexist, and she just got huge amounts of free promotion with time left on the kickstarter for saying people were mean to her on the internet?

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Well, that’s certainly better than having that funding go to support the opposite view, I say.

        • codename_bloodfist says:

          What opposite view? That Lara Croft, a multimillionaire adventurer, who takes orders from absolutely no one, kicks ass of everything from tyrannosaurus to her butler, travels across the world and owns a bloody estate, is an icon of sexism and misogyny? Right…

          • gwathdring says:

            It’s fine to find the videos unnecessary or not worth the money; but a lot of people seem to think differently, and evidently that made many other feel threatened or whatever it is that made them respond so horribly.

            More on point, a character being a bad-ass has nothing to do with their portrayal being devoid of sexism.

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            Again, two points:

            1.) Please explain to me exactly what your understanding of sexism is and how it relies to Lara? The fact that she doesn’t wear a burkha while scaling walls? In this case Sam Fisher is an icon of female oppression because he repeatedly wears a wet suit in environments where it would be rather uncomfortable (Arctic, urban hospitals), solely for the aesthetic pleasure of the player.

            2.) I don’t know if it actually made anyone feel threatened, I am just very disappointed with the general lack of level-headedness. If she wanted to start a help centre for women who are/were, for instance, abused and needed money for it, sure, great idea. Or if she wanted to help girls in Mongolia countries so that they don’t have to be sold for cattle. Or if she went into a Muslim country advocating rights for women and needed a group of bodyguards, even that I could get behind. However, at the time of this writing she has a little over 100k USD in funds to make a bunch of videos that require absolutely no qualifications and have no costs associated with them. That’s enough money to feed ~1500 children under the age of eight for an entire year in Burkina Faso. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want to donate to a worthy cause, send the money to MSF. This is just plain insulting.

          • Cockles says:

            Do you honestly have a problem because Anita is not using this money to help repressed women around the world? Is that really how you feel about this? Can people not donate their money to whatever they want to give it to? Does anyone who wants to promote an issue in their sphere of interest have to stop and invest all their time and energy to the most pressing concerns of the worlds problems? How do you know what she does for good causes with the rest of her time and money? Isn’t sexism against women in general a problem and will this not get a lot of publicity within a traditionally male-orientated sphere that quite obviously has problems with the way it portrays women? Will doing this perhaps get more people to question or challenge these beliefs or perhaps, more importantly, reduce people being apathetic towards sexism when they see it happening in all areas of life and not just gaming?

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            >Do you honestly have a problem because Anita is not using this money to help repressed women around the world?

            Yes, I do.

            >Is that really how you feel about this?

            Yes, it is.

            >Can people not donate their money to whatever they want to give it to?

            Yes, at risk of looking like complete twats. If you donate to a dog shelter when the orphanage next to you has no funds to feed the children, I see absolutely no reason to show even a grain of respect for your decision. In this case, it’s even worse because it’s not a dog shelter, but one individual who is doing pretty well already.

            >Does anyone who wants to promote an issue in their sphere of interest have to stop and invest all their time and energy to the most pressing concerns of the worlds problems?

            Depends on how pressing the concerns are.

            >How do you know what she does for good causes with the rest of her time and money?

            I don’t. That’s the problem.

            >Isn’t sexism against women in general a problem and will this not get a lot of publicity within a traditionally male-orientated sphere that quite obviously has problems with the way it portrays women?

            Nobody cared about what she said before, nobody will care about what she says now. This will blow over as quickly as it began and she’ll leave 100k USD richer. Come back to me on this in 6 months time.

            >Will doing this perhaps get more people to question or challenge these beliefs or perhaps, more importantly, reduce people being apathetic towards sexism when they see it happening in all areas of life and not just gaming?

            1: This is not what she’s doing. Her project is specifically about characters in gaming.
            2: No, probably not.

          • gwathdring says:

            You make some fair points. I’m not especially impressed by the project, and I have some concerns about the extravagant amounts of money the project has raised and this being a debatable approach for such a polarizing issue (crowd sourcing + controversial issues isn’t the most constructive and comforting combination when we want to educate and unite people). But we can only nit-pick legitimately so many times before it starts to be difficult to distinguish from nit-picking with ulterior motivations, personal or socially conditioned.

            This is not meant to be an accusation. I’m sure you mean what you say for the reasons you claim. But if you set your standards that high … you’re going to be disappointed. Effective change comes from all sorts of directions and there are too few of those “best” organizations and people to change the world without help from less perfect people, organizations, campaigns, and ideas. If we wait around for the perfect solution, we become part of what holds the world back from changing.

      • TychoCelchuuu says:

        I think he’s apologizing for, you know, the rape and death threats and stuff. If you think hundreds of those have no effect and that anyone with reasonably thick skin can just shrug it all off, then that’s great, but should you ever find yourself the target of a virulent anonymous Internet hate machine I’m not sure you’ll say “eh whatever.” At the very least I think you’d deserve an apology from the people who say you should be burned in an oven with the other Jews or something.

    • Viod says:

      Yeah, but i have to say her project is a bit naive.
      I saw some videos of her and…come on, X-Files is sexist now? Dana Scully was an amazing character.
      Videogames are sexist? There are plenty of faboulos female characters, not only for big boobs, but for skills, cleverness, attitude. I usually play female characters in games because i like them, they are usually cool.
      And we still have male characters with a lot of muscles, a huge crotch, badass attitude, and so on, but it’s not a problem for us. Who cares? I don’t think that my girlfriend is going to leave me because i’m not cool as Batman.
      Sexism even in Lego? OH COME ON!

      For sure she doesn’t deserve to be insulted by a bunch of kids, but i think she also doesn’t deserve money for spread feminism and hypocrisy all over the world.

      • frightlever says:

        I read about a *quarter of Chris Roberson’s “Further: Beyond the Threshold” recently and it imagines a world 12000 years in the future when everyone is considered human that has a sense of self-awareness and intellect to go with it. With ubiquitous individuality, through simple body-modifications or origin (androids, AIs and gene-engineered cows amongst the least bizarre) I imagine it would be pretty hard for negative stereotypes to take hold.

        But we don’t have that.

        (*I only read a quarter of it because it was dire.)

      • DrGonzo says:

        Having just rewatched X-Files, it does go a bit weird at the end.

      • glix says:

        fem·i·nism/ˈ
        The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

        Yeah, definitely don’t want to be spreading something like THAT around.

        People need to stop acting like feminism is a bad word.

      • Salvian says:

        Actually, the LEGO examples in the video were sexist, because the toys are training children in very restrictive gender roles. Now, obviously we can quibble about the extent to which one ought to take this kind of argument, but the basic point is good.

        Feminists have traditionally attacked the perpetuation of this sort of female gender role- that is, the idea that women should do X and not Y; for example, cook and raise children, but not work (except in the house) or have opinions.

        Saying that you are against ‘sexism’ but don’t support feminism is like a 19th Century gentleman saying that he believed the ‘fairer sex’ should be treated with courtesy, but on no account given the vote.

      • gwathdring says:

        Let’s not forget one of the key tenets of TVtrops: not all tropes are bad. Societal context creates sexism; when present in individual games or individual characters these things might not be a problem. At the very least they could be avoided. The trouble is quite simply that they are everywhere and its hard to get away.

        Even if this particular video series goes over the top in your estimation, we’re still stuck with a world in which the bell curve of gender-based attitudes is skewed way towards the “women belong in the kitchen or on my lap” side of things. And if we have to put up with a little bit of overzealousness to get the message out? Especially when these things are so subjective anyway? I’m fine with that. This whole incident shows me that no matter what else you believe about the video series, the message sorely needs to get out.

  10. Cameron says:

    This is a good illustration of one of the main reasons we are starting to see governments trying to introduce ‘anti-troll’ legislation. For those that haven’t been following, the UK government is currently looking to enable service providers to more easily give out personally identifiable details of ‘trolls’ under defamation and libel laws. With a much reduced chance of being the victim of lawsuits themselves.

    The main defense against this is ‘free speech’ but when disgusting things like the above occur we really can’t be surprised that the free speech argument is shadowed and gets pushed into a corner.

    • Snakejuice says:

      Free speech is still more important tho, sorry for being a cliché, but – I may not like you calling me a four-eyed shitface, but I would fight to death for your right to do so! That said, some of what is described in the article is already a crime – you are not allowed to threat people, so no need for any new laws.

      Sorry if this was worded strangely, not my native tounge.

      • Cameron says:

        At this time I’m not coming down in favor of either side, both have valid points and I haven’t quite made up my mind yet. The issue is that casual Internet users who just post the occasional thing on Facebook probably don’t care much of ‘free speech’ of the regular Internet users. There are many more of those than there are of us.

        When things happen on Facebook such as some of the horrible stories that have been heard in the press in recent months public outrage puts pressure on politicians to do something about it. This in turn leads to the kind of legislation we are currently seeing in the works.

        I’m not overly surprised to see it happening in Blighty. We have some very strong libel laws and people get sent down for things like “Outraging public decency”

        • Sarigs says:

          I think people tent to forget there’s a difference between free speech and protected speech.
          Sure your free to say what the heck you like but that doesn’t mean you should be able to just walk away afterwards. Same reason we have criminal laws against citing hatred or violence. Likewise death threats have always been frowned on by the law :-)

          • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

            Exactly. Free speech comes incumbent with responsibility. You’re free to say anything you like, but others are free to call you out on it too. Way too much of the online ‘community’ seems to feel that ‘free speech’ means being able to dump whatever shit-filled hatebombs you like on people with no realistic comeback. That’s not free speech, it’s simple cowardice.

          • Cameron says:

            Yep, I agree. (With both of you, can’t reply to Bent Wooden Spoon, too nested) The term “Free speech” is oft abused on the Internet.

      • Zephro says:

        Free speech has never been absolute though.

        Verbally threatening someone directly has always been a crime in the UK, I think. It’s minor obviously.
        Causing a nuisance by saying “Oh shit a fire!” in a crowded theatre. Also a crime etc.
        Inciting violence or hatred, also crimes.

        Free Speech has very rarely if ever not had rules and boundaries about it’s uses.

      • Cockles says:

        To have free speech then you must have responsilibty with it. If I started a public campaign saying that all women should be raped then you’d likely be pretty horrified and I’d get locked up (and probably worse). If I walk in to an airport and start shouting “I have a bomb” then I may be exercising what I believe to be my right to free speech but there would be consequences to what I say.

    • bill says:

      The problem with that legislation is that web site owners aren’t going to pay for / risk any legal issues, so as soon as anyone makes any kind of claim against them they’ll be handing over your details in a flash.

      Mention you once torrented something on the RPS comments… oh look, RPS just gave your name and details to the lawyers.

      • Cameron says:

        I think they are currently trying to find a balance. I’m not saying someone probably wont find a way to use it for their own nefarious ends but we can hope. As I understand it this particular legislation is directly aimed at trolls. So some defamation of character or libelous remarks about that person would have to be posted. Facebook has already said they are willing to turn over details if a court order is presented (To cover themselves). It’s this process that the UK government want to make easier.

        If someone posted about a criminal act on RPS forums then I suspect that a court order could be obtained anyway if anyone decided they wanted to go to the trouble. But I’m not a lawyer, nor have I ever attracted the attention of one ;).

  11. Kynrael says:

    This is indeed an important subject to address, and something that I find (correct me if my perception of it is wrong) has gotten worse.

    I remember older games, like Starcraft 1, having interesting and not stereotypic female protagonists, like Kerrigan. I had found SC1′s storyline mature and interesting.
    Another example is Arcanum which I’ve been playing through for the first time recently.

    If I’m right with how I perceive it, maybe that means that it stems, at least partly, from some cultural evolution since then ?

  12. fiddlesticks says:

    Very good article. The comments on her Youtube videos and the vandalism on her Wikipedia page are indeed disgusting. Ironically, by trying to silence her these people show exactly why such a series is necessary in the first place.

  13. Zephro says:

    I feel depressed now.

    While not disagreeing that we should try to do something about this I’m almost certain it’s pissing in the wind. It is appalling in games and part of the reason I despise MMOs as I do not want to have to play with these people. But still this shit is prevalent in big budget films, tabloid papers, leering at us from the utter tripe that is Maxim/Loaded/Nuts. It’s just another symptom of 21st century masculinity being utterly fucked in the broader media.

    I would also like to see the documentary about male image in games. Disorders relating to body image are higher in women but I believe in men the suicide rate is far higher, likely because people find they can’t achieve the aspirations of society. That’s both documentaries not either/or.

    • djbriandamage says:

      “part of the reason I despise MMOs as I do not want to have to play with these people”

      You’d be surprised. I raid with my wife, mothers, and a grandmother.

      • Zephro says:

        Last time I played WoW, I got thrown out of a clan because I spoke up in clan chat saying “jew bitch” is not an acceptable insult. It was with a mate at Uni who was co-founder with the guy who threw me out (who was from the US I believe) and he didn’t even bother standing up for me as he thought keeping the clan in top condition was way more important.

        I used to also play with my girlfriend at the time, and that was fine so long as we just literally ignored everyone else. Might as well just play a 2 player game then.

        • Cockles says:

          Well, it’s not really acceptable to say “Jew Bitch” in a public setting, is it? The connotations are that being a Jew is insulting so despite that fact you may not mean it, you’re being pretty offensive.

          • Zakski says:

            I think you read that wrong, he was the one complaining about it

  14. Mr. Mister says:

    “And perhaps most of all, there are furious people arguing that games are sexist against men too…”
    Even though men’s image portrayment (is that a word? meh it’s a concept at least) doesn’t lose to that of women’s in videogames (so yes they are sexist towards women), it is actually true that most videogames flood me in great pity of how immesurable the number of masculine lives that are cold-hearthly taken away during its course is.

  15. CaspianRoach says:

    >gamepad
    >calling herself a gamer

    ERROR: INVALID LOGIC

  16. Matt says:

    i’m not sure whats more depressing – the appalling abuse or the fact that its developing into a pattern around women in gaming that stick their heads up to talk about the hobby.

    Grrr.

    also this is actually a pretty interesting idea for a web series, why the hell wouldn’t you want to see it get made? so, glad its funded, looking forward to watching it.

  17. Sarigs says:

    Yeah I saw a article link through the Escapist last night (About the harassment not the forum post apparantly celebrating it) and was disgusted.
    It’s just mindboggling really,
    The problem is I’m not convinced there is a solution to it/ I very much doubt that everyone throwing out this comments believes them. People just disconnect too much when there protected by a computer screen and suddenly something you wouldn’t daring saying to a woman you met on the street is suddenly fair game to spew at another just because it’s via youtube/email what have you and suddenly doesn’t count.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      1) There is no way to fix it: this sounds silly. I mean certainly there have been problems in the past that were very difficult to fix that were then fixed. People of different races used to be forbidden from marrying, and interracial couples would be targeted with violence. Nowadays they just get some scorn, and even that has been cut way down. So, why not the same sort of thing with the portrayal of women in videogames and the discussion around them?

      2) The people don’t believe their comments: who cares? I’m not really comforted that they don’t really want her to get raped or that they don’t really think she belongs in the kitchen or that they don’t really think she’s Jewish.

      • Sarigs says:

        Oh hold up, I’m not saying it “Doesn’t matter what they say because they don’t mean it really”
        I’m saying trying to educate them about equality, respect etc is almost a waste of time BECAUSE THEY ALREADY KNOW BETTER and are choosing to act in such a disgusting manner.
        It’s the difference between someone acting out of ignorance and acting out of spite. A solution for one won’t work for the other and I very much believe this kind of thing comes from malice.
        Edit: Also I didn’t mean there’s no solution so much as I don’t see what it could possible be until trolls and haters like these are mades accountable for what they say and do

    • Surlywombat says:

      Much of this is to do with the norms of the surrounding communities. As in real life people on the internet build communities, often these communities reinforce the beliefs and views and amplify them. In ways that just wouldn’t be possible in a more diverse community. I sincerely doubt these people would behave in this manner if their mothers were made aware of it! This is in no way meant to excuse the behaviour but leads into the reasons I believe we must make noise.

      The only way to defeat this sort of thing is to stand up, write up and speak up pointing out that it is unacceptable within the community. Else they believe that it is correct, silence encourages it further. Progress will be gradual, but raising the bar on behaviour does improve matters. There will always be some who are ignorant, but we should do our best to teach them, not ignore them.

      This is why this sort of article is so important, as part of the any community we only ever get the community we deserve and create.

      As father Ted put it, “Down with this sort of thing”.

      • Sarigs says:

        +1 for the Father Ted reference! Aye, considering how quickly all these gaming communities have sprung up (over a relatively small number of years) it’s surprising how deep most of these issues go

  18. Delusibeta says:

    I’m going to be blunt: is anyone surprised by all this? Pointing out sexism in video games (hell, any nerdy topic dominated by men) will probably result in aforementioned men feeling threatened of being labelled misogynistic and then going out and being misogynistic anyway. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again, and all I can say is “Welcome to the internet, there are no women here”.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      Plenty of people are surprised by it, and to the extent that people don’t think this is normal/typical of the sort of stuff women have to put up with from the gaming community, then it’s worth bringing to light. And I have seen MANY gamers claim that this is not a universal problem or that this stuff is limited to XBOX Live or whatever and that men get just as much crap.

    • Edward F. says:

      Institutionalizing and normalizing misogyny doesn’t make it any less wrong.

    • Zephro says:

      (hell, any nerdy topic dominated by men) Yeah I remember how that was doing Computer Science at University…. oh no wait I don’t.

      Piss off.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      There are, of course, lots of women on the internet. It is however anonymous so if one wants to project that only other men use the internet, that only people who converse on your level and other silly silly ideas are the case then one is sadly able to do so.

      Much more to the point though, hurting the feelings of anyone with an inherent and damaging advantage of another group is alas necessary. Indeed the advantages and benefits of being in the privileged group are likely to be highly prized, at the very least on a subconcious level so they’re going to get very upset when the playing feeling is levelled out and things are made fairer.

      This is no way diminishes the necessity of levelling that playing field, reducing the hardships the victims face and making life better for everyone in the long run.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      One of the problems of such an entrenched view is that it’s easy to say it won’t change anyway. You sound as if fighting sexism is a lost cause. Yeah, it’s easy to give up.

      On the other hand, people can make change. People can educate other people, help gaming developers move away from sexist portrayals of women, people can help convince people who write on/own blogs and websites to change. Not everybody will be easily convinced, but we won’t know unless we try.

      I’m saying we should try our best.

      • Delusibeta says:

        The Penny Arcade strip that coined the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory was posted in 2004. I see no improvement on this problem since, indeed it seems to have gotten worse. I’m calling it as I see it: there is no solution to anonymous fuckwads being fuckwads. Hell, as Facebook has proved, removing the “anonymous” part won’t solve this problem.

    • iucounu says:

      A wise man once said:

      “I have an inchoate, perhaps indefensible, and yet powerful sense that conversation about [a] whole range of issues would be improved immeasurably if we could all just fucking stop one-upping one another over what is and isn’t legitimately surprising. … There are things that amaze me because I didn’t expect them; there are things I’ve known for a long time and which mostly inspire in me a tired sense of yes yes yes, that again, yes. This is almost certainly true for you as well, but you know something? They’re different things.”

      http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012733.html#505529

  19. Zeushbien says:

    Shouldn’t there be room for both though? I mean, personally, I would like there to be. As long as there is no actual sexism going on, I don’t see why we can’t have the more silly and over the top characters such as the girl from Lollipop Chainsaw or Bayonetta, aswell as Jade and Alyx Vance, they both fill a role I think.

    • Risingson says:

      Alyx Vance IS sexualized, and a lot. It’s not surprising that she maybe doesn’t seem so in comparison., but do a google image search.

      • Delusibeta says:

        I’m pretty sure that’s more Rule 34 in action than anything else.

      • bit_crusherrr says:

        Just because people draw a character naked doesn’t mean she’s “sexualised”. Pretty much every video game character male or female has porn made of them.

        • Risingson says:

          I was not talking about that – I had safesearch on, I removed it and found interesting things about sexual fantasies of gamers that could make another research – ; I was talking about how her clothes are very fit and her attributes are exaggerated. For not being sexualized, Alyx Vance does have a great ass, perfect legs and so on. It reminds me of Kate Walker in Syberia and her very short and tigh clothes.

          • Soggy_Popcorn says:

            A PERFECT ASS and PERFECT LEGS you say?! Someone must amend this horrifying sexism immediately by modding in some flab and cellulite!!

          • Risingson says:

            Just to reply to this and in case you weren’t trolling: there’s a long, very long line that separates “cellulitic” and “great ass”, Which is where most of us humans stand. Having your opinion dragged to an extremist position is really tiresome, btw.

          • MrUnimport says:

            The subjective nature of opinions on Alyx Vance’s ass aside, why is it a big deal that a video game character intended to be likable is attractive? Should we complain about how intelligent and handsome Gordon Freeman is and how trendy his glasses are? Should we demand that the leading roles in Hollywood movies be played by ugly people? The fact that a female character in a video game is slightly above average attractiveness is not sexist.

    • Zephro says:

      I loved Bayonetta, as a game. She is overtly sexualised. However sexual doesn’t necessarily follow that it is exploitative or misogynistic. Well unless you talk to second wave feminists I guess.

      Still it’s a difficult game to play trying to tell yourself it’s ok because it’s ironic and she’s a strong character….

      Bleh having sex positive and not misogynistic at the same time is probably asking too much tbh.

      • Soup says:

        Are you kidding me? There is pretty much nothing about her that isn’t sexualised, even down to her attacks, how on earth do you figure that it’s anything but exploitative and misogynistic?

        • TychoCelchuuu says:

          Because misogyny is about hatred of women and sexualization is about attraction to women.

        • Zephro says:

          I don’t think I said that I did. I said it’s really difficult playing it trying to convince yourself it’s ironic or ok, because it isn’t ok.

          However, sexualised does not mean sexist. Women are perfectly capable of sexualising themselves and having a positive attitude about sex generally.

          Don’t think that’s the case with Bayonetta, even though she isn’t really an object to be leered at in the game she is meant to be leered at by the player. Though there may be something in the fact it’s so stupidly over the top as to make it ironic or something but I don’t really buy it.

    • sonson says:

      I don’t think the assertion is that all women should be frumpy or spinsters.

      The point is that there should be a diversity of females portrayed, rather than the vast majority which exist which reduce them to the lowest common denominator of things with tits that men find attractive.

      People are defined by a great many things, their sexuality being an important element. But it is just *one* aspect of their character, and it is no more prominent an element in women by default than it is in men.
      Whereas in computer games the majority of females are not just presented as overwhelmingly sexual beings, they are usually presented as nothing but.

  20. It's not me it's you says:

    This whole mess is vile. The reactions from ‘the community’ are disgusting and make me want to be as far away from it as possible. I am a gamer in any meaningful sense but the idea of being associated with the cesspit of humanity on display with this stuff makes my skin crawl.

    It’s also weird on several levels – if there’s anything that any form of expression (trying to skirt the word ‘art’ here) needs in order to improve it is critique, in the literary sense. This series would most certainly be a thorough critique of the medium of games and having it would, without a doubt, be a net positive for gaming as a creative output. Even if you disagree with the premise, even if you disagree with the conclusions and even if you cannot stand the author, informed critique always has value.

  21. Screwie says:

    I learned about this appalling affair yesterday and I’ve been waiting to hear (well, read) your take on it. Thanks John, you didn’t disappoint.

  22. StranaMente says:

    Even though I don’t always agree with her (having seen other videos made by her), I think it’s in the interest of everybody to start this discussion, and analyze this subject.
    Let’s have a different point of view on these matters.

  23. bit_crusherrr says:

    This would be a better series if it was more to promote what makes a good female character rather than point out why they are all bad, which 100′s of people have done before. Yes I know she will do a positive episode but that’s only being done because she went past her initial funding goal.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Surely the onus is on a multi-billion dollar industry brimming with creative talent to up their game more than a single woman on the outside when it comes to positive portrayal of women?

      Sarkeesian doesn’t have dozens of concept artists, writers and designers on staff to create such positive characters, big developers and publishers do.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      “This would be better if it were doing something it is already doing, instead of something else, but I’m not going to tell you why the original plan was a bad idea.” Why is pointing out what’s wrong worse than saying how to do it right? Isn’t the first thing even more useful to the extent that it doesn’t go around telling people what they MUST do if they want to get it right, it just gives them a list of things to avoid and then says “let your imagination run wild!” or something like that?

      • bit_crusherrr says:

        It’s a lot easier to complain about something thats why. You’d think with all this free publicity she’s got from idiots sending her abuse she’d use that popularity to try and push out what makes a good character rather than just point out all these ways that characters are bad. If you’re going to criticise something don’t just harp on about why its bad, give some ways in which you think it could be improved. That is a lot more constructive.

    • Zephro says:

      Because she’s a documentary maker not a video game designer!

      Isn’t that obvious?
      Just because I can point out a film is terribly made doesn’t mean I have the skills required to make a better one, but that doesn’t make my criticism or opinion invalid.

      • bit_crusherrr says:

        My point was rather than just point out the bad characters she should point out the good ones as well (And it should of been part of her original goal), so say she could go “I think Bayonetta is bad because blah blah, there should be more characters like Alyx Vance because blah blah”. You don’t need to be a game designer to do that.

    • rockman29 says:

      Right…. why don’t you go and suggest how to change everything then? Why don’t you start the cultural evolution that will lead to all the changes that people want from women in videogames? Oh, does that sound hard?

      I guess you don’t read the news or research in general very much. It’s not always about proposing the solution. Sometimes you have to, I dunno, identify the damn problem first?

      Obviously, people don’t even UNDERSTAND what the problem is yet, so I think making some videos on WHAT is happening is pretty damn important.

    • RaveTurned says:

      Given that the series hasn’t been released, we don’t actually know that this ground won’t be covered in it to some extent, do we?

  24. Hoaxfish says:

    Probably the best video putting the “point against” this kickstarter, and the bronycon one is this (the video is using these two as examples of a wider issue really): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igXz_hXKUcE

    As much as there’s a problem with the portrayal of women in videogames, the approach of the kickstarter seems to have more of a focus on a list of wrongs, rather trying to develop an idea of how to fix it.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      Why is a list of bad things not the right way to do it? Why not just tell people what’s wrong and let the creative types come up with their own positive portrayals of women, rather than shoving a list of “YOU MUST DO X” down their throats?

      • bit_crusherrr says:

        It’s not about going “YOU MUST DO X”. It’s just about voicing your opinion on what YOU think. Theres no point in yelling everything is bad and not offering any way in which you think it could be fixed.

        • rockman29 says:

          You haven’t even watched the documentary videos probably, so why are you judging what she has done without doing so?

          She already stated she will research characters, like Chell from Portal, who avoid these stereotypes?

          Why can’t you people read first, then make a conclusion after? Or in this case, wait for her to finish her project and then judge it?

          She clearly has an opinion on the subject, so why don’t you WAIT for her to present it instead of jumping down her throat?

          Seriously, all you are doing is claiming what is wrong with her project and it’s not even done yet. Your own criticism of her is that all she does is complain? What the hell are you doing, but complaining?

          • codename_bloodfist says:

            Chell from Portal has as much character as tomatoes on my FarmVille plot. Truly this person is a genius deserving every penny donated to her research and is not riding the hypetrain.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        It doesn’t generally feel like “constructive” criticism when you just build a list of “this is what you’re doing wrong”. Arguably, the combination of what can be summed up with a bunch of bullet points (if you were lazy about it), and then asking money for it (which is then overfunded by a long shot) makes it more heated.

        I assume there will be at least some trade between “I think this is bad”, and actual “possible ideas”… no need to shove any solutions down someone’s throat, because writers are allowed to be creative and are usually open to people fielding other possibilities.

    • Jesse L says:

      In the end you’re just one more person telling her to shut up. Rethink your stance.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        I’m not telling her to shut up, any more than I’m backing the project… I think if I were to do it myself, I probably wouldn’t have approached it in the same way she has, because I think it comes across as one-sided criticism for criticism’s sake.

        There are plenty of other people who have tackled this subject, and have somehow avoided this sort of “onslaught” from the community. Maybe they just weren’t noticed, or their chosen approach didn’t trigger knee-jerk reactions.

      • Delusibeta says:

        I’m going to call troll. There’s a difference between constructive criticism (“I think you should mention good female characters as well as listing off the bad stuff”) and being a dick (“You’re telling her to shut up, so shut up!”)

      • sonson says:

        I appreciate the nuances of the argument to an extent, but pick your battles.

        Irrespective of the flaws in the approach it is for a good and necessary cause.

        Ultimately you’re putting yourself first by taking the above approach, nothing more, which is at root what leads to this sort of culture in gaming in the first instance.

    • DaFishes says:

      So, you know what a “tone argument” is, right? http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Tone_argument

      • Hoaxfish says:

        But what is the tone she’s approaching her own audience? She’s doing these videos for her backers, as near as you can get to preaching to the converted… so her “tone”, is basically taking her audience’s dissatisfaction, and producing a feedback loop.

        Nobody who’s a “militant misogynist” is going to give two figs about this, because they simply won’t watch it or pay for it in the first place (probably watching porn instead).

        By pushing an angry tone at her own audience, anyone can simply respond to that anger… without actually being an audience member, without even watching it.

        • DaFishes says:

          Wow. Even after reading that, you’re still going to persist with the tone argument, even knowing now that it’s a silencing technique commonly used by assholes who want a woman to shut up and take what she’s getting. You’re persistent, I’ll give you that.

          • Hoaxfish says:

            I’m persisting in saying, if I just read that there was a documentary about story writing, that simply listed a bunch of “bad stories”… I wouldn’t want to watch it. Not if it was about women in games, if it was about “UI failures in this beta test”, “shit blockbuster films you don’t want to see”, etc. I don’t want to know about the “10 shittest summer blockbusters”.

            It is a causing factor of why she has got this response, whether you want to claim it is some “ill of society” or “fault of her own” is irrelevant. Your link clearly shows that it is understood as something which is down to interpretation, and you can excuse it, or pretend it is “beneath” this, or anything else, in just the same way as you can portray something as positive or deal in negatives (exclusive or otherwise).

            I don’t care for the tone of the project (going by the titles of each “episode”), so I didn’t back it. I probably wouldn’t back it anyway, because I generally only back actual game products. Her approach is against what I have been taught is “good form” in discussing an issue (that you try to see multiple sides of the issue)… so I do not back it.

  25. chiroho says:

    Thanks for highlighting this John. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on what Sarkeesian is doing, there is absolutely no room for the sort of response it has engendered.In this instance, all those responses do is generate negative press for gamers as a whole, rather than actually stop the videos from happening.

    This really isn’t that new though. Going back 30 years when I was first involved in miniature figures, if you looked at fantasy or dark age figures, the women were so well endowed they’d have back issues before they hit 25, and the males were similarly well proportioned – nearly knee length for example. Of course, it isn’t true everywhere, just like it’s not true in every game, but it’s definitely something worth looking at to see what Sarkeesian has to say as it’s an issue that does need to be addressed.

  26. brulleks says:

    In any games series where you are given a choice of gender for your character (notably Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect and Saints Row) I usually find myself playing as a female, despite being male, purely because it allows me to create a strong female lead character. I’ve never really analysed why this seems such a unique opportunity, but suspect it’s probably an unconscious kickback to the industry at large.

    I hope they track down everyone who took part in this campaign against Sarkeesian and neuter them.

    • TariqOne says:

      Same here, oddly. My girlfriend is a huge gamer and my daughter’s showing active signs. I think on those rare occasions where such is possible I do it in solidarity and some kind of silent support for the design choice.

    • Zephro says:

      Usually because you don’t identify with being a muscle with a head any more than being a woman.

    • MrUnimport says:

      I hope they conduct acts of violence against everyone who participated in hoping acts of violence were conducted against this woman.

  27. Cunzy1 1 says:

    It does make me think that perhaps I’m the weird one in the gaming community by not spending time when I’m unplugged killing small animals (although actually, that is my job but you know).

    Okay so some of the comments are people using anonymity to be harsh but there’s a lot of idiotic comments from people that suggest they’ve put some thought into it and have come to conclusion they are outraged.

    One comment type is the: “That’s just video games so get on with it”. My favourite “Yeah well the male characters suck too so gtfo” comments. They have the emotional intelligence (or perhaps they saw the meme) to know that character depth in games leaves a lot to be desired but then can’t make the bridge to go about changing it or at least allowing discussion about what is wrong. Then there’s the comments where people genuinely seem to be perturbed by the idea that female and/or people older or younger than them want to play video games. The same breed of Minimartians who will give you abuse over an Xbox 360 head set for being a nerd and not having a life because you play games.

  28. Edward F. says:

    The most disparaging thing I hear whenever these sorts of matters come up is not the hateful vitriol and death threats levied against those who might speak up (although I mention this in no way to trivialize the awfulness of such things), rather, it’s the majority of people who simply state that “oh, it’s the internet, this will always happen”. It just feels awful to know that the majority of gamers and internet-goers will just give up and allow these kinds of asshats to run amuck without anyone telling them to stop that.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      The thing about privilege is that if you are privileged (in this case by being a man) you have to put a little bit of effort in to care about things. If you’re not directly affected or indeed a beneficiary of the prejudice you can merrily float along without caring.

      So then when confronted with people who are the victims (in this case women) who can’t just opt out or ignore the prejudice it seems baffling to the privileged person why they’re making such a fuss about something that for them is an optional issue.

      A lot of men do opt in and care of course and really do try to improve things, it is just that given there is an option of not doing so some men will not bother to opt in and will lack the empathy or understanding to see that for the victims who can’t opt out it truly is a big deal.

  29. zoombapup says:

    I think many of us are “tired” of this debate because its simply not one anyone can reasonably expect to win. If you disagree with the feminist point of view you are a misogynist, if you try and suggest that its a function of the anonymity found on the internet you get called lazy.

    Honestly I hate that people attack others for their views, but I just can’t see a rational way of handling a debate like this. Its like telling kids to “grow up” when we know that nothing can actually FORCE people to become more mature.

    I do feel tired of this sort of non-debate though. We aren’t really even seriously having a discussion about the issues because you really can’t. She can very well go on about her business of delivering the film to her audience and the fact that some anonymous idiots think its funny/worthwhile abusing her just proves her case.

    My bigger problem isn’t with this debate. Its about the quality and maturity of game developers themselves. Clearly so many of them have problems actually creating characters of any depth (there have been plenty of examples recently where we’ve all bemoaned the ultra-violence or sexism). Maybe the answer here is to educate game creators in the creation of more fleshed out characters?

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      “Maybe the answer here is to educate game creators in the creation of more fleshed out characters?”

      Isn’t that exactly what she’s doing?

      • Delusibeta says:

        I’m pretty sure there’s an episode of Extra Credits that has covered this sort of thing. (By the way, Extra Credits really should be mentioned more. Every game developer should watch it). Not to say that this video project isn’t desirable or anything, but it won’t be the first time the ground has been covered.

        • gwathdring says:

          Proper education requires multiple iterations, accessibility, and multiple perspectives. The more public and available, the more likely it is to incidentally educate. It takes more than one class period to understand many concepts in science. So with educating people to treat each other properly.

    • larsiusprime says:

      “If you disagree with the feminist point of view you are a misogynist, if you try and suggest that its a function of the anonymity found on the internet you get called lazy.”

      It is always a bit challenging to have a nuanced disagreement with someone in a contentious political environment without being lumped together with their most extreme/imbecilic opposition.

      Examples from my own views:
      1) agreeing with Marxist critiques of Capitalism, but rejecting the fundamental Marxist worldview.
      2) agreeing with many modern feminist critiques of society at large, but disagreeing with certain aspects of modern feminist philosophy.

      That all said, I think an honest look at the situation reveals that certain groups just plain “take more shit” than the rest of us, regardless of whether we agree with them, and we should show them sympathy, patience, and understanding on those grounds alone. None of this demands that we agree with every aspect of their philosophy.

      • zoombapup says:

        I think your viewpoint is pretty much right here. I think we can support a worthwhile change (improving the quality of characterization of all forms of characters in games) whilst not wholeheartedly agreeing with a philosophy (i.e. extreme feminism).

        I guess I just feel like there are more fruitful avenues of exploration when looking at games. This whole thing feels a lot like a media studies viewpoint of games. I.e. about the players and the overall “culture” of gamers, like we are so easily identified. My main problem with this approach is that those who tend to critique culture are often not a part of that culture and often don’t even understand it. I’ve seen plenty of people who have opinions about “gamer culture” start a presentation with “I do not play games….” which seems quite strange to me.

  30. larsiusprime says:

    I was once the brief target of an organized internet hate-brigade, the intensity of which was probably about 0.1% of what Sarkeesian experienced, and even that was very nearly the worst week of my life.

    The immediate result of it was my silence. I was terrified to show my face on the internet and I’ve been scared to even talk about the project that provoked their anger ever since lest I wake them back up and go through it all over again.

    Maybe I’m just a wimp, but I think there’s a lesson here. If such a comparatively tiny hate-brigade can shut me up that quickly, just IMAGINE how many people out there from more vulnerable demographics are afraid to participate in our culture (games + the internet), because they’ll go through that EVERY SINGLE DAY.

  31. Drayk says:

    I just discovered this on the escapist too. The harrasment part doesn’t surprise me. The Internet is full of shit like that .

    I think she should make another video on male stereotypes.

    Maybe RPS could write to her. It would have more weight than an unarticulated quidam barely able to write in english.

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      Urgh! The escapist? Have you showered before you commented here?

      • Drayk says:

        I still have more system than my PC… and I like the name of their site, Eurogamer sounds cheap in comparison…Ok it’s not a good excuse.

        I

        • Cunzy1 1 says:

          I was just jokes man. It’s okay to go multiformat, we all need a break from indie platformers and minecraft images.

          I don’t know, maybe there is good content on the Escapist but I find it hard to navigate their toon-townesque front page to find it…..

          Ummm, I mean WHITE KNIGHTING FROM THE SIDELINES. RHUBARB RHUBARB. WHITE KNIGHT.

  32. Freyja says:

    Thank you for not just reporting about this revolting campaign against Anita Sarkeesian, but for taking a clear stance against it. RPS’s thoughtful handling of issues that directly affect me as a woman who plays and makes games is one of the main reasons I come here for news rather than the usual boys clubs. Most other outlets mitigate their coverage of gender in gaming by normalizing the outrageous abuse, you know, boys will be boys, the Internet is for trolling, gaming is a male-dominated blah.

    This kind of bullshit should not be seen as normal and gamers should not be so willing to be associated with the utter dregs of their community. Sexism demeans women, obviously, but it’s also a debasement of manhood. If you can’t treat one full half of humanity with respect, what kind of man are you, really?

    • TariqOne says:

      This is about all that really needs to be said.

      It’s almost to the point that the most depressing thing about discussion of this issue isn’t the extremists. It’s the sort of quiet acceptance of it, the excusing of it, the shrugged shoulders. Explaining it away as inevitable or wishing the discussion away is the functional equivalent of actively condoning it, and far more prevalent. It’s OK and in fact important to talk about this, and it is important to take a side.

    • rockman29 says:

      I also say thank you to the RPS authors for this news post. Cheers, RPS.

  33. TE_owner says:

    Ironically those trolls that tried to defame and abuse this woman have caused a overwhelming wave of support both in the form of positive forum posts calling out against the trolls and in donations for her campaign.

    I really think their should be more accountability on the internet, you get banned from Youtube for things like this and maybe its a full IP block that prevents your computer from watching all YT videos forever. Then maybe people will think twice before vomiting their ignorant, vitriolic and downright disgusting opinions all over the internet. Try behaving like that to pretty much any women in the street she’s likely to either slap you in the face or call the police and rightly so too.

  34. InternetBatman says:

    I think it’s fairly impossible to ignore the sexism in AAA games without focusing on its links to the movie industry. The large scale gaming industry aspires to be the movie industry, or at least the action and comic book part of the movie industry. Games distort sexual dimorphism more because the video output is less realistic, and greater distortions act as a way to distract from gaps in fidelity.

  35. lordcooper says:

    “We need to own this – to acknowledge that as gamers this is our community, no matter how far we may wish to distance from it, and no matter how much we may not take part in it.”

    Not as gamers, as humans :)

  36. bill says:

    Good luck to her.

  37. Hanban says:

    I love you Mr. Walker!

    Kickstarter supported also! If for nothing else than Sarkeesian’s videos always being interesting to watch!

  38. ocelotwildly says:

    It’s all a horrible situation and, as John says, it’s not clear what the answer is. Hopefully, the gradual acceptance of gaming as a mainstream activity that is not so gender biased will lead to a greater proportion of women coming into the field in order to translate their experience into games, but I have no idea how long that could take, nor how many will be browbeaten and discouraged by the current levels of meatheadedness that exist. You only have to look at how Jennifer Hepler was treated for simply offering an opinion to see how unappealing it must be to jump into the sludge pit of game writing and design.

    I think the recent revelations about the new Tomb Raider games outline exactly what the problem is here. It seems to be a genuine attempt to create a female character in a game that escapes some of the usual troublesome tropes but the male (natch) writers can only do this by thrusting the character through a rape attempt. As has been pointed out in this comic, only being able to establish a strong female character by attacking her sexuality is a shameful as exploiting it for drooling pervs.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The Heppler thing was somewhat different. There was a lot of ugly harassment based on her gender, which she escalated, but she also promotes a type of gameplay many people, including me, find distasteful.

      I absolutely, 100% agree about Tomb Raider though.

      • ocelotwildly says:

        But it was still a high profile example of a woman in games who dared to suggest a type of game that wasn’t acceptable to everyone who got buried under a landslide of sexist vitriol. Lots of people make or discuss the sorts of games that I don’t like, and obviously I am free to register my displeasure. It would not be acceptable, however, for me to descend to personal attacks, regardless of the gender of the author.

        Surely you must concede that seeing that kind of treatment, other women who may be trying to make their way in the world of videogames would have to be disheartened to some extent. When they come to make design decisions about games in the future, it could be that a fear of unjustified internet vitriol stops them from making the choices they want in order to appease the knuckle dragging idiots who plague this medium.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Oh, I totally agree. The difference is that Heppler was also emblematic to many of the shift that Bioware took, and Bioware comments in general can get pretty nasty. It was a confluence of two ugly streams, the misogynist one that must be rooted out and stopped, but the other is just a thing. The misogynist tones certainly create an especially hostile environment, which is a huge problem, but it was already hostile.

  39. Lemming says:

    I couldn’t really give two shits about the cause, but if there is any justice in the world the people harassing her in this manner should be castrated and beaten naked through the streets.

    • Soggy_Popcorn says:

      Quite ironic that if (in some ridiculous, hypothetical, parallel universe) the gender-polarity of this situation was reversed, and someone expressed a desire that the female offenders be spayed and mob-beaten, it would be hoisted aloft as another example of sexism.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      This comic is so hilariously off point that it’s hard to know where to start. The punchline at the end is probably the best. The idea that being a Native American atheist gets you off the hook relies on the idea that being a white Christian dude doesn’t, which of course is the entire point.

      • Zephro says:

        It’s lego robot comics for fucks sake! It certainly doesn’t represent feminism or post modernism, if anything it’s just a pastiche of most annoying internet nerds views on feminism (ie WRONG).

        But seriously anyone who takes serious political points from lego robot comics is smoking some serious junk.

        • ribobura osserotto says:

          Not annoying internet nerds views on feminism, but rather politcally incorrect internet nerd views on ANNOYING feminists.

    • bladedsmoke says:

      Also, that’s really not what post-modernism is. I think the author is thinking of feminism. Although it’s so hyperbolically distorted by the author of the comic in order to create an acceptable straw-woman to attack, that it’s almost unrecognisable.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        I think it’s simply that the character is one of those “protest for protest’s sake”. The type that tried to turn “occupy wall-street” movement into a racism and gender issue (and caused in-fighting within the movement itself, rather than a unified front against a specific issue).

    • InternetBatman says:

      I hate, hate, hate the self-referential rabbit hole that is post-modernism and deconstruction, and I still think that comic is hamfisted, distorted, and completely unrelated to the issue at hand.

      A woman said she wanted to examine misogyny in games, and she was buried under a hail of misogynistic and violent comments.

    • sincarne says:

      I don’t normally say things like this, but … that comic is stupid, and you’re stupid if you believe it has merit. Are you one of those people who goes around complaining of “reverse racism?”

    • ribobura osserotto says:

      In a reply to you all, apparently most RPS commenters are unable to grasp the use of hyperbole and exxageration for comical relief.

      Although the attitube of this chick seems to be as absurd as the one in the comic.

    • Anabasis says:

      It would be helpful if people who “criticized” feminism and “postmodernism” would actually read something about these subjects instead of just regurgitating meaningless insults without any trace of comprehension at the buzzwords that have engendered a knee-jerk reaction in them. But I get your point: making videos about misogynistic and sexist depictions of women in video-games is the product of extreme feminism. When will those meddlesome radical feminists leave us in peace!

      • ribobura osserotto says:

        The thing is, the author is actually a pretty smart guy if you get to know him, and he does have a good notion of what these things are. The point here is that there are lot of bra-burning feminists that will often make a big fuss over a minimal issue just to sell their own views of how society should be to other people. But don’t take it for me. Take it from someone who actually dicussed this matter with some depth:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igXz_hXKUcE

  40. The First Door says:

    Well… that is completely ridiculous. I do struggle to understand the level of hate which people on the internet sometimes spew. I remember watching a show by Richard Bacon about online trolling and was shocked then by just how incredibly horrible it can get and if anything this is even worse.

    On the plus side, it has made up my mind about whether or not I should donate to the project now. Thanks for flagging this up, John.

  41. jonfitt says:

    I’ll be interested to see if this is console centric or includes a history of PC games. Because that’s not just a format issue, it changes the makeup of the people producing the games.
    The UK and other European countries have had a bigger influence on PC games, and there can be a variation in style depending on if a game was made in the US, Japan, UK, or other European country, and who the intended audience was.

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      C’mon to ignore PC games in this debate? To ignore MMORPGs and elves? They’re the worst offenders.

      • jonfitt says:

        MMORPGS would be a good place to investigate, but it’s fairly low hanging fruit in terms of analysis, the tropes are common to a lot of RPGs.
        What about say STALKER where there is simply not a single woman to be found.
        Or ARMA2 where there are female civilian models, but not a female soldier model.

        • Cunzy1 1 says:

          Taking another approach there’s a lot of PC* content that, ironically, doesn’t have to pass through a censor or getrubber stamped for release and this is where you see the absolute best and absolute worst kinds of female characters.

          EDIT: *Because some of it isn’t Politically Correct at all. No sir.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I don’t think there’s that much of a difference. Maybe computer games have grown up a little faster, but there are plenty of examples of oversexualized caricatures on both sides of the divide.

      • jonfitt says:

        There might not be much of a difference, but isn’t that the point of research?
        .
        I’m saying that there is sufficient reason to believe that PC games are not exactly the same as console games (better or worse is not the issue), and it would be a disservice to not explore PC games as best you can.

  42. Bluerps says:

    I have to confess, I did not contribute to her Kickstarter. I gave it a quick read, and it didn’t seemed to be that interesting. It’s not that I disagree with her, but it seemed like she would only find out things I already knew anyway.

    But now I will contribute. Just to defy the legion of assholes. That reaction to her project is disgusting.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I would argue against contributing if you weren’t originally interested. Ideas should stand or fall on their own merit, regardless of the issuer. If you want to support antimisogyny efforts, there are plenty of charities that do so.

      • Bluerps says:

        Normally I’d agree with you, but in this case I specifically want to oppose the people who are threatening this woman.

        • Hematite says:

          I worry that in future we might see ‘flamebait’ kickstarter projects which court controversy to get sympathy donations, or even worse entirely fabricated hate campaigns for the same reason. $100,000 is a lot of incentive for social engineering, and this project might set a lucrative precedent.

          No, I don’t have any solutions. I just wanted to mention this so that I can say “I told you so” later :(

  43. sonson says:

    Thank you for posting this John.

  44. Web Cole says:

    I read an article on this yesterday and left the whole subject feeling thoroughly depressed. Its good to see RPS shed some light on it as well.

  45. JackDandy says:

    I think this project’s pretty dumb and that whoever donated to it is an absolute sucker. But hey, it’s their money.

    Pretty indifferent about the whole threat biz. It’s the Internet.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      And you don’t care at all that women are vastly disproportionately targeted by this sort of thing on the Internet? Not a problem at all?

      • JackDandy says:

        Nope.

      • Cunzy1 1 says:

        Yes, they are disproportionately targeted by misogyny. That’s sort of how misogyny works.

        And let’s not get confused, she isn’t putting together a series about how playing games with others or interacting with the gaming community online is horrible for women. It’s about how character design and scripting in games is implicitly misogynistic. A lot of people seem to be blurring what the kickstarter is about with the way in which the gaming community online has responded.

  46. Likethiss says:

    This is one of the best pieces i’ve read on RPS. Go John Walker!!!! My hat’s off to you.

  47. db1331 says:

    It’s a great cause, but I have one question. If she estimated she would need around $6k to get this done, what on Earth is she going to do with all that extra money? With 65 hours left, it’s safe to assume she will break the 100k mark. I don’t care how much research or production goes into it. There’s no way you can reasonably spend that much on a small project like this.

    Anyhow, this issue will never be resolved. It’s not a problem with video games. It’s a problem with society. Look at how much we fawn over beautiful women. I mean really, is there any creature on this planet that has it easier than a gorgeous woman, or harder than an “unattractive” woman? Until a woman’s value is no longer determined by her looks, this won’t go away.

    I grow tired of every girl in my games having tits bigger than her head. After being called a bitch for the umpteenth time while playing Arkham City, I felt like pausing the game and giving my wife a hug. I just don’t think there’s any way to stop it.

  48. rockman29 says:

    What the hell is wrong with people…

    Well, I hope she gets whatever she wants to do here done. Seems like she has the guts to take on all the idiocy of the internet and do this. That’s impressive in itself.

  49. bladedsmoke says:

    This article affirms everything I love about this site. Don’t change, RPS.

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