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  1. #3241
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    Nitpicking over nitpicking, over nitpicking. Are we done with Bioshock and Dishonored? Good, because we have also GTA, Witcher, RDR, Darkness, Mafia 2, and many other games included in her video and bazillion other that are not included to discuss and analyze frame by frame. Sarkeesian’s latest video is understandable for moderately intelligent person. No one is forcing anyone to agree with her but at least show some intellectual honesty and said so upfront instead of building straw man and nitpicking/derailment argument. Her point is on the table: violence against women and sexual violence against women are extremely prevalent in video games but are used as a texture and/or flavor to make villain a villain or world looks gritty/realistic (grass is green, sky is blue, woman is beaten = realism, grass is dark, sky is dark, woman is raped = gritty realism). She also states that it is a bad thing and it should stop. Number of bullshit arguments that circulates in this thread is mind numbing: “if only her videos were shorter”, “she might would have a point is she wouldn’t included <insert game title I like here>”, “it’s too much academia”, “not enough academia”, “her voice is too monotonous”, “what about censorship”, “what about <insert another problem I found in video games I’ve just come up with>”, “I’m not sure she is helping”, “we might loose some great games if dev will listen to her”, “she’s a celebrity and/or scam”, “I would to this differently”, “there is ton of better critique elsewhere”, “games will became rainbows and unicorns if devs will listen to her”, “ if she can’t fix everything that is wrong with video games and world her points are invalid”, “ I doubt she played these games”, “this game fragment I nitpick here invalidates all her video” and many, many more of the same bullshit nature.

  2. #3242
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    grass is green, sky is blue, woman is beaten = realism
    Wow, now you're beign ridiculous.

    Number of bullshit arguments that circulates in this thread is mind numbing
    So, we can't critique her work? Yeah, that's pretty sane. Jesus Christ.

    I said one that "bullshit argument" about video lenght, because if she want her message to be heard by wider audience, making 30 minutes long video will not do. I just stated simple fact. It doesn't make the message of her videos better or worse. Stop implying that.

  3. #3243
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    I would dismiss this with a simple 'lol' if I didn't think I would get scolded for doing so.

    The evolution of culture is an endless, recursive process. Exhibit A:




    The bible? I would dismiss this with a simple "lol" if i didn't think I would get scolded for doing so.

    The bible is a perfect example of the total opposite of what you claim. Christianity was spread throughout the world not because some one said to there neighbor "ooo ive read this great book its got all these cool stories and it kinda gives you a good way to live your life". It was spread through war and conquest. From the Romans bringing it to Europe, to the Conquistadors to Southern America, war and conflict. This is exactly the same as Islam, ect ect. The Bible, Christianity and the way it is followed also massively depends on the culture of the people who are practicing it, example the worship of Saints such as La Mort by some Catholics in Mexico, which probably wouldn't go down to well in the Vatican.

    It is only when a media leaves the culture that it has been created in and is widely consumed by another culture that it can have an effect on changing cultures. Media very rarely leave the culture it was created in and when it does it is very rarely consumed in great numbers.

  4. #3244
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChippyTea View Post
    It is only when a media leaves the culture that it has been created in and is widely consumed by another culture that it can have an effect on changing cultures. Media very rarely leave the culture it was created in and when it does it is very rarely consumed in great numbers.
    American cultural hegemony and those resisting it probably beg to differ, but this is a bit tangential to the thread I think.

    I am a bit disappointed that the reaction to being shown flaws in her videos and application of theories is roughly (In my own words...yeah I know you will throw strawman at me):

    "But her general premise is fine and that is what matters."

    This is what we have been arguing and it is not all that matters if any of the following are true:


    1. Her videos are meant as guides to developers.

    2. She is trying to prove pervasiveness of tropes.

    3. There is some point to us watching the next 9 videos.
    Last edited by Misnomer; 29-08-2014 at 05:10 PM.

  5. #3245
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    Culture spreads itself. Media is short for medium. It's just a vehicle the culture rides in. Culture spreads by a form of natural selection (or meme selection) and ideas can stick and spread if they're good at sticking and spreading. Parts of culture certainly spread from the area they were created and definitely get consumed in great numbers. I mean I had sushi in Texas yesterday, after selecting a restaurant from a huge list of exotic and foreign restaurants. I just finished reading 1Q84. I grew up playing Final Fantasy, Zelda and Mario, and at that time the rest of the world was obsessed with American jeans.

  6. #3246
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post

    1. Her videos are meant as guides to developers.

    2. She is trying to prove pervasiveness of tropes.

    3. There is some point to us watching the next 9 videos.
    There is much less value in any of that than in just forgetting about her and continuing the discussion she has sparked. I mean she didn't come up with this controversy, she just sparked a lot of conversation about it. But you're wrong to be focusing on the person and not the message. This is called ad hominem and it ruins the discussion.

  7. #3247
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
    1. Her videos are meant as guides to developers.
    Opinions here or on other internet dwellings notwithstanding, she is having an effect on game developers. She was given the Ambassador Award at this years Game Developer's Conference, and several game developers have explicitly mentioned her influence. So this point is really moot.


    2. She is trying to prove pervasiveness of tropes.
    Pervasiveness of tropes is actually pretty self-evident. And really, even if the context for a couple segments in the videos could have been a little more carefully explored, the clip after clip after clip after clip presentation really does function to drive her point home pretty well. If I have one bad example in 30, I can still make a pretty damn good case.

    3. There is some point to us watching the next 9 videos.
    I'll watch them. Plenty of other people will. Don't, if you don't feel they're worth your time. Are you trying to convince us that it's not worth ours? And really this point is moot too. It's silly to suggest that she's not influential. Clearly she is; we're discussing her work on a tangentially related internet forum. She gets hundreds of thousands of views on her videos. Joss Whedon mentioned her in a tweet.

  8. #3248
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
    "But her general premise is fine and that is what matters."

    This is what we have been arguing and it is not all that matters if any of the following are true:


    1. Her videos are meant as guides to developers.

    2. She is trying to prove pervasiveness of tropes.

    3. There is some point to us watching the next 9 videos.
    As Sparkasaurus (EDIT: And Matt_W) just said, it really doesn't matter a fraction as much as you seem to think it does. I can nit-pick what she does - would very much like to, in fact - but I'm happy to concede the most important thing is she stood up and went "Uh, hang on" about an issue or issues no-one else was paying any real, continuous, lasting attention to. I'm not happy with some of her examples but I don't care about those things that much next to the simple fact she brought them up at all, much less suffered death threats, rape threats and God knows what else for doing so. Yeah, it'd be nice if she could do this or that "better", but regardless of how I rate her academic rigour or whatever that really doesn't detract any more than a little from what she's actually doing.
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  9. #3249
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    Matt_W

    My point was that if any of the 3 was true then it is worth nitpicking and critically breaking down her arguments (not her as a person as Sparkasaurusmex thinks I am doing. Have a computerized voice read those words without me knowing who wrote them and I would still have issues with the Bioshock 2 examples and I would still think it was intended for an academic audience.)

    If developers are using her videos as guides, they should know which parts are flawed and that their context could matter.

    If a trope is not pervasive outside of a single genre, then maybe focusing on that type of sexism instead of other issues is a waste of resources if you are not making a game in that genre.

    If her examples actually prove her point, then we should see all of her examples in coming videos.


    So we should nitpick and evaluate the videos specifically then. Thank you Matt_W.
    Last edited by Misnomer; 29-08-2014 at 05:29 PM.

  10. #3250
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    It seems to me the main difficulty people are having is teasing apart the relationship between the aggregate pattern (e.g. violence against women) and the examples used to demonstrate it, and how that relates to the obligations we have as developers, gamers, and writers. And again I think an example from outside the world of gaming can be useful, in that it bypasses reflexive responses drawn from the investment we have in games and gaming.

    The example I want to use is Willow/Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The relationship between Willow and Tara was one of the first lesbian relationships depicted on television and as such was followed closely. Tara's death and the events surrounding it led to an internet shitstorm of epic proportions (by 2001 standards). There were several elements to the controversy, among which was the claim that Tara's death, and the 'Dark Willow' arc that followed it, reinforced a long-running cliche of lesbian relationships in fiction ending with one of the partners either dead, or evil, or in the Willow/Tara case, both. This trope was objectionable not only because it was tiresome and predictable, but because it implicitly supported the idea that lesbianism was unnatural and therefore doomed to some spectacular and unhappy end.

    I was a fan of the show, and a fan of Willow/Tara in particular, but I was never able to engage with this and other arguments presented by aggrieved Willow/Tara fans. My response to the Dead/Evil Lesbian Cliche would be familiar to defenders of Bioshock 2 and other games highlighted in Sarkeesian's videos: "look at the context!" I said. And in fact, I still say that. I think Tara's death worked in the context of the show -- it was utterly heartwrenching, as it was meant to be -- and provided the impetus for the awesome Dark Willow arc. These things matter.

    And yet, it doesn't really address the problem, does it? Let's grant that Tara's death 'worked' in the context of BtVS (some people disagree, although in my experience they tend to be the kinds of folks who had little to no interest in the show outside of Willow/Tara). Maybe the fates of lesbian characters even 'work' in the context of most of the books/movies/etc. that are cited under the Evil/Dead Lesbian Cliche. Be that as it may, it doesn't change the fact that when we step back from these individual works, the overall pattern is pretty Fucked Up, and does indeed contain some ugly assumptions and messages about the nature of lesbian relationships. It's reasonable to be concerned about that too. To be pissed off about it, even.

    So what's the take home message, both in this case and with Sarkeesian et al? I think it's a message for both developers and gamers: to be aware of these systematic patterns of depiction which have shaped our own ways of thinking, to be conscious of the ways they can be problematic, and to therefore ask if we really need to contribute yet another instance of e.g. brothels as a way to titillate the gamer and add grit just because it "seems to fit". Simply put, the invitation is to be more conscious producers, consumers, and commentators of culture. In this respect, I think Sarkeesian's videos are a valuable contribution, and if they are an unwelcome one, I suspect that is in part because we can no longer proclaim the innocence born of ignorance.
    Last edited by Lethe; 29-08-2014 at 06:37 PM.

  11. #3251
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    As a basic logical argumentation point. The video argues about a trend, nit picking an individual point as an outlier doesn't actually disqualify the trend itself. Which is what the nit picking is.

  12. #3252
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    Also,

    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
    American cultural hegemony and those resisting it probably beg to differ, but this is a bit tangential to the thread I think.
    Yeah, no, it's not really tangential at all. There's every chance you think the way you think because of a hundred different things you probably haven't even considered. I know I did. I don't doubt I still do. There are definitely some things she touches on which are not okay, where anyone outside "gamers" and "gamer culture" would look at them and quite reasonably think "What the hell is going on there?", and where you or I or a million other people simply see nothing wrong because we've spent that much time surrounded by them and we've never taken five minutes to think of how anyone else would feel about them.

    There are plenty of these things where if they disappeared, we wouldn't miss them, and if we went back to them after X amount of time we'd think "Jesus, what were we doing?" People get angry when you suggest something like that because they attach far too much importance to videogames, everything about videogames, being a part of who they are: they like to think they're fully in control of who they are, what they do, say, or think, and they take the implication that some things about videogames are warped and harmful and should be done away with as a personal attack.

    So it's perfectly relevant to talk about this stuff, because a great deal of this INTERNET RAAAEEEEG stems from certain people not wanting to accept that yes, the way they act has been shaped by the culture they've consumed, and how the vast, vast majority of regular folks don't think those people are cool and special and awesome because of it, they think they're kind of scary and disturbing and gross, and maybe they should stop being that way. They don't want to think they've ever done anything that could be considered "wrong", because this is the internet, man, just deal with it, man, this is the place where I can be myself, where I have agency the real world just doesn't allow me, and if I have to accept there might be something wrong with all this then where does that leave me?

    And as the evidence keeps on mounting up that an increasing number of them are really kind of not quite right, they just keep getting madder and madder.
    Last edited by Eight Rooks; 29-08-2014 at 05:44 PM.
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  13. #3253
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
    If developers are using her videos as guides, they should know which parts are flawed and that their context could matter.
    Except that she makes this exact point in several of her videos: context matters. I'm sure it's possible to find 'flaws' in particular clips, but I think you'd have a harder time dismissing her analysis of a whole trope, or even of a sub-set of a trope. I cringe a little occasionally at some cliches that she uses a little too easily, but it doesn't even come close to invalidating her argument. Feel free to nitpick it, and close critical analysis is always good, but to what end? I mean I'll turn it back to you: which parts of her videos should developers be aware are flaws? How should knowing the whole context for her use of Dishonored clips (or whatever) inform developers' decisions, other than to understand the point she's already made several times: that context matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
    If a trope is not pervasive outside of a single genre, then maybe focusing on that type of sexism instead of other issues is a waste of resources if you are not making a game in that genre.
    How would this ever be an issue? I honestly can't think of an example where this analysis would not either be blindingly obvious or unimportant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
    If her examples actually prove her point, then we should see all of her examples in coming videos.
    I don't really understand this statement. How could she give examples without giving examples?

    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
    So we should nitpick and evaluate the videos specifically then.
    Knock yourself out, but I still don't understand the point.

  14. #3254
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe View Post
    The relationship between Willow and Tara was one of the first lesbian relationships depicted on television and as such was followed closely.

    Be that as it may, it doesn't change the fact that when we step back from these individual works, the overall pattern is pretty Fucked Up, and does indeed contain some ugly assumptions and messages about the nature of lesbian relationships.born of ignorance.

    The logical leap in there bothers me. This is one of the first depictions, the depiction may have applied a trope, therefore the depiction shows a problem in the television industry's understanding of gay couples. While each step may be true, a larger inference from it is certainly unwarranted.



    I would say that in response to Zephro too, nit picking a point makes a big difference when you can't verify otherwise for yourself.

    Out of the games I played:

    Assassin's Creed 2 - I agree, seemed fair.
    Bioshock 2- I disagree, seemed unfair
    Far Cry 3- Mostly disagree, but it may be fair still.

    No conclusive trend from that sample.

    So then I move into games I haven't played where I have to trust her and out of those the Hitman example has been shown to be blatantly misleading and mischaracterized.

    Honestly, I don't want to go play all those open world crime games. Am I supposed to take her word for it that there is a trend? Is it just a trend in open world crime games?
    Last edited by Misnomer; 29-08-2014 at 05:48 PM.

  15. #3255
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
    So then I move into games where I have to trust her and out of those the Hitman example has been show to be blatantly misleading and mischaracterized.
    No it hasn't.

    (Hint: don't go linking me to anything. It really hasn't.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    No it hasn't.

    (Hint: don't go linking me to anything. It really hasn't.)

    As someone who has no facts of my own about it, could you actually explain or provide evidence?

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Weird how a sample set of 16-20 just turned into 3. Convenient one might say. Also that part 1 of the trope exists with more.

  18. #3258
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    Absolution is sleazy direct-to-video B-movie nonsense where women exist to look sexy for the enjoyment of men, and/or get shot. None of the semantic quibbling anyone has brought up about how you're meant to play it changes any of that. No-one's saying developers should be legally barred from making games like it, or any such thing, but in a better, more balanced industry, people would look at it and laugh derisively, same as they do for most sleazy, nonsensical B-movies that go straight to video. EDIT: Or they'd play one of the other murder simulators that would exist, ones that gave more options to women than standing around in their underwear or being murdered.
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  19. #3259
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Weird how a sample set of 16-20 just turned into 3. Convenient one might say. Also that part 1 of the trope exists with more.
    That doesn't help my problem of not knowing if I can trust her depictions. She could have 100 that she treats like Bioshock and I simply wouldn't know better without playing it myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChippyTea View Post
    The bible is a perfect example of the total opposite of what you claim.
    It's funny -- I'm usually the one arguing against the influence of religious texts and thereby their utility in understanding a people/region. But the extreme claim that religious texts have no ongoing influence is even more ludicrous than the idea of understanding the Middle East by reading the Koran. I had to read the Bible as a kid, it undoubtedly influenced me in many subtle ways, your thesis is disproven. Maybe try a position that isn't susceptible to being refuted by one person's personal experience next time?

    The Bible, Christianity and the way it is followed also massively depends on the culture of the people who are practicing it, example the worship of Saints such as La Mort by some Catholics in Mexico, which probably wouldn't go down to well in the Vatican.
    The interaction between religion and culture explicitly demonstrates the recursive nature of what's going on. Outside of certain narrow contexts, it's usually a futile exercise to attempt to separate 'religion' from 'culture' because they shape one another in a a continuous process, religion being nothing but culture*.

    * Off-topic: it's astonishing how many atheists/secularists don't understand this, and want to wall religion off in some kind of special box, subjecting it and its adherents to all kinds of restrictions that they'd never think of applying to Alice in Wonderland or to adherents of the Church of the Wall Street Journal. Of course it makes perfect sense to divide the world into 'the word of God' and 'everything else' ... if you're an adherent of the religion in question.
    Last edited by Lethe; 29-08-2014 at 06:35 PM.

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