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Damsels everywhere

Last posted Jun 03, 2013 at 09:28PM EDT. Added May 28, 2013 at 09:11PM EDT
81 posts from 24 users

I’m only going to be on for a brief moment to question the accuracy of some of the games:
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At about 8:18 Ms. Sarkeesian uses the game Dishonored (great game by the way, esp. if you love steampunk and the like), Anita is talking about using women for revenge plots and goes on to say it encourages using violence to solve problems, as well as rendering women to helpless victims, and implies Emily is your daughter. I want to go further into why these all irk me:
1) Dishonored is a game about vengeance. However, in the game you are an assassin, and as such are urged not to be spotted and kill as little people as possible (doing so will, later in the game, produce less Weeper’s (zombie enemies) and reward you by lowering the chaos level of later levels.) In fact, some levels you can complete without having to kill a single person (and will even get trophies for doing so). So I’m calling bullshit on this one as it constantly urges you to not use violence, or be a brute but be cunning (though you do have to option to just slaughter everyone, but it is far harder than just passing by to your target).
2) Ms. Sarkeesian talks about how the women in the game are turned into helpless victims, but if you notice, Corvo is also a helpless victim (he is restrained by magic and cannot do anything. In addition to that, he is blamed for the murder of the Empress and kidnapping of Emily, and is even sentenced to death after he was forced to falsely confess. So I’ll ask you all: Is he not a victim?)
3) When I first started playing the game, I honestly thought of Emily as a little sister, far more than a daughter (maybe because of age, but also the relationship you have is far more playful than you’d imagine daughter/father). Granted, I did find her annoying at times (I’m really not someone for little kids), but I grew to like her because of how sweet she is, and curious she is about the world and things.
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In Infamous (which is mentioned around 11:47, and as a side note: Great game, though Infamous 2 was sucky imo) Anita is talking about damsels that she puts “Suprise! They’ve dead all along” except, Trish (Cole’s girlfriend) wasn’t dead throughout the plot like the prior mentioned titles she uses (or so, I assume).
It could be argued (spoiler) that because no matter what you chose (whether try to save her or 10 other people) Trish always dies, she was “dead all along”. But I don’t think that was the context she meant.
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I now want to ask upon other gamers who have played the games she mentions to help gauge whether or not the games she criticizes or scenes she uses are actually accurate. I’m not calling her a liar, but a fact check would not be a bad thing, I imagine.
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(P.S. I see I have some responses from previous posts, and I’ll try my best to later address them :3)

Last edited May 30, 2013 at 12:01PM EDT
May 30, 2013 at 11:39AM EDT
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@Crimson Locks

On the subject of Anita’s disabled comments, for a while I thought she was justified in disabling comments. After all, there is a huge difference between not wanting to deal with criticism or assholes and not wanting to deal with threats of harassment, death, and rape. Then I realized, why the fuck is she even bothering to post her videos on youtube? The obvious answer is that youtube is the largest video sharing site on the internet and she can reach a very large audience that way, but I really don’t think she is reaching the right audience by going to youtube. If I were her I would have abandoned the youtube channel and have posted my videos on other websites and forums (similar to this one) where it will be obvious that intelligent discussion will be at least a possibility. Yeah, her videos might make their way back to youtube via someone else posting them, but at least she won’t have to directly deal with all the abusive people that show up in the comments section.

You kind of answered your own question where YouTube is a way to reach a large audience. Remember not everyone who uses YouTube posts comments. And why shouldn’t she post her videos to YouTube? She has a YouTube channel that she’s spent time on, so why should people coming over to post abusive comments stop her from using it? It’s not like they own YouTube, or have any right to shut her up (which is what they want to do at the end of the day, most of these people aren’t interested in intelligent discussion, they just want her to stop talking). By disabling comments she can reach a large audience, /and/ not have to deal with abusive comments.

The only problem here is a lot of people somehow feel entitled to always leave comments directly under the video, which I think loses perspective. It’s not like Sarkeesian is the only person ever to not have comments under a video – when you watch a TV documentary they don’t have viewer’s comments at the bottom of the screen, you have to open your own discussions about it.

@Hypercat-Z

Does she at least know that women victims are not such a fiction but a reality? In western countries they are oftenly abused, and in mideastern countries, whenever they are not abused, they are a childstep from being slaves.

Well yeah, she obviously does. That’s kind of the point, having this sort of thing happen so frequently in games could contribute to normalising that behaviour.

And if a man risks his own life to save his wife/girlfriend that does make him a monster because he’s claiming her as his propriety, thus making her an object?

Again, she’s not criticising the choices of the characters, she’s criticising the choices of the writers who put the characters in that position. The story puts the wife/girlfriend in the position of being an object, not the man,

Does she really thinks a man would risk his own life, HIS OWN LIFE, for merely sexual or pride motivations?

I don’t know about sexual, but pride certainly. A lot of gang culture is based around this, afaik.

May 30, 2013 at 12:03PM EDT
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I’m sorry for myself that I didn’t look at this thread before now (or many others recently, for that matter.) I want to get a grasp on how the discussion is going before I contribute though.
 
I will say that I do believe romantic attraction and love will drive a person to do things that are quite risky. Twee is correct in that many gangs (often created within a shadow culture which cannot ascribe to the valued norms of the mainstream culture) value pride and honor above all else. These are valued, because they do not require the same capital that is available to those in the mainstream but not those in most subcultures. As such, in order to reduce the strain one would feel by not being able to live like other, more advantaged groups in the mainstream culture, a shadow culture develops with its own values which can be attained by anyone through effort instead of circumstance.

A couple of those values are feelings like honor and pride. If those are the most important aspirations in your life, then you would be willing to endanger life to achieve them.

May 30, 2013 at 01:17PM EDT
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Her videos are no mind bending revelations, but rather simple observations with some light interpretation. She just gives lots of examples of overdone tropes and how women are usually represented in games, all in all nothing radical or offensive.

The interesting aspect is actually the media circus around it and the reaction of gamers everywhere that take these videos as some sort of personal attack. Stepping back and taking a different point of view can be hard sometimes, but there is no use in becoming overly defensive when faced with criticism.

Her videos are not flawless, for instance she trows around stuff like misogyny a bit too much, but this doesn’t influence the overall message. I also didn’t really like the repetition of “your wife dies and you have to rescue your daughter” ad nauseam, even if it was meant to be a joke. In the end I think that the reactions and comments alone justify the existence of these videos. The idea behind the videos is to make people conscious about the issues and perhaps it helps writers to put a bit more effort into their stories.

May 30, 2013 at 05:09PM EDT
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Is it really so far-fetched to consider altruism as a motivator for a man to want to rescue women/children? Its rather disheartening that so many people seem to think that a man only considers helping others out of some sense of pride, some male ego trip, or as an obligation to protect his chattel. Love and caring are really out of the picture? No way that could even remotely be a possibility? Really?

At the end of the movie Aliens, when Ripley not only chooses to endanger her own life, but also the lives of Cpl. Hicks and the android Bishop to save Newt, is she doing so because she sees Newt as her “property”? Is it not out of some sense of pride or ego motivation because of the loss of her own daughter? (Watch the extended cut.) Or is it a noble act because Ripley is a woman, therefore not motivated by the same “selfish” reasons that a man would be? If Hicks had gone to rescue Newt instead, is he doing so simply to fulfill his male ego? Or could it possible he considers it to be the correct moral decision?

If something tragic happened to my own wife, would I be disempowering her by attempting to help? Would she really feel empowered as a woman if I just sat there doing nothing while she suffered? We help each other in aspects of our lives constantly, and neither of us ever seems to feel disempowered by it. Perhaps its just my white male privilege talking, but I thought that was what a committed relationship was supposed to be?

Last edited May 30, 2013 at 06:10PM EDT
May 30, 2013 at 06:09PM EDT
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Kyntak wrote:

I’m only going to be on for a brief moment to question the accuracy of some of the games:
.
At about 8:18 Ms. Sarkeesian uses the game Dishonored (great game by the way, esp. if you love steampunk and the like), Anita is talking about using women for revenge plots and goes on to say it encourages using violence to solve problems, as well as rendering women to helpless victims, and implies Emily is your daughter. I want to go further into why these all irk me:
1) Dishonored is a game about vengeance. However, in the game you are an assassin, and as such are urged not to be spotted and kill as little people as possible (doing so will, later in the game, produce less Weeper’s (zombie enemies) and reward you by lowering the chaos level of later levels.) In fact, some levels you can complete without having to kill a single person (and will even get trophies for doing so). So I’m calling bullshit on this one as it constantly urges you to not use violence, or be a brute but be cunning (though you do have to option to just slaughter everyone, but it is far harder than just passing by to your target).
2) Ms. Sarkeesian talks about how the women in the game are turned into helpless victims, but if you notice, Corvo is also a helpless victim (he is restrained by magic and cannot do anything. In addition to that, he is blamed for the murder of the Empress and kidnapping of Emily, and is even sentenced to death after he was forced to falsely confess. So I’ll ask you all: Is he not a victim?)
3) When I first started playing the game, I honestly thought of Emily as a little sister, far more than a daughter (maybe because of age, but also the relationship you have is far more playful than you’d imagine daughter/father). Granted, I did find her annoying at times (I’m really not someone for little kids), but I grew to like her because of how sweet she is, and curious she is about the world and things.
.
In Infamous (which is mentioned around 11:47, and as a side note: Great game, though Infamous 2 was sucky imo) Anita is talking about damsels that she puts “Suprise! They’ve dead all along” except, Trish (Cole’s girlfriend) wasn’t dead throughout the plot like the prior mentioned titles she uses (or so, I assume).
It could be argued (spoiler) that because no matter what you chose (whether try to save her or 10 other people) Trish always dies, she was “dead all along”. But I don’t think that was the context she meant.
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I now want to ask upon other gamers who have played the games she mentions to help gauge whether or not the games she criticizes or scenes she uses are actually accurate. I’m not calling her a liar, but a fact check would not be a bad thing, I imagine.
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(P.S. I see I have some responses from previous posts, and I’ll try my best to later address them :3)

Yeah, I agree that Dishonored is an amazing game (I’d put it at least number 10 of my list of favorite games), but:
1) As you said, Dishonored is a game about vengeance. Your main mission is to both save Emily (Damsel in Distress) and get justice for your incarceration and the Empresses’ death (Women in Refrigerators). Sure the game encourages you to be non-lethal, but as you said, the game is about vengeance. Even without killing, you are still taking revenge on the enemies. The Outsider even states within the game that the Non-lethal options are more cruel than just killing. Although the way you perform it varies, you are still rescuing the damsel, and you are still avenging the Empresses’ death.
2) Sure you can argue that Corvo is a victim as well, but a helpless victim? furthest thing from it. Corvo is still out fighting. Corvo still has powers. Corvo is still taking revenge. Is Emily? Nope. She’s the real helpless victim, not Corvo. If Corvo was truly helpless, would he be fighting with all his powers and weapons?
3) Princess Peach acts sweet and innocent in the Mario franchise, but does that make her less of a damsel? If anything, I think the sweet and innocent attitude only strengthens the character as being presented as helpless. The sweet and innocent feel can also come across as gentle and peaceful, someone who is not the fighting type and therefore someone who must rely on the strong man to help protect her.

As much as I adore this game, I don’t think Ms. Sarkeesian was wrong to analyse this. It is a game that is at it’s core about a man who wants revenge for the woman he cares for, and feels guilty about her death (I’m shocked that Sarkeesian didn’t mention the notes Corvo finds telling him that he couldn’t save her), as well as finding the damselled daughter who has been kidnapped as well.

May 30, 2013 at 06:35PM EDT
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Random 21 wrote:

Yeah, I agree that Dishonored is an amazing game (I’d put it at least number 10 of my list of favorite games), but:
1) As you said, Dishonored is a game about vengeance. Your main mission is to both save Emily (Damsel in Distress) and get justice for your incarceration and the Empresses’ death (Women in Refrigerators). Sure the game encourages you to be non-lethal, but as you said, the game is about vengeance. Even without killing, you are still taking revenge on the enemies. The Outsider even states within the game that the Non-lethal options are more cruel than just killing. Although the way you perform it varies, you are still rescuing the damsel, and you are still avenging the Empresses’ death.
2) Sure you can argue that Corvo is a victim as well, but a helpless victim? furthest thing from it. Corvo is still out fighting. Corvo still has powers. Corvo is still taking revenge. Is Emily? Nope. She’s the real helpless victim, not Corvo. If Corvo was truly helpless, would he be fighting with all his powers and weapons?
3) Princess Peach acts sweet and innocent in the Mario franchise, but does that make her less of a damsel? If anything, I think the sweet and innocent attitude only strengthens the character as being presented as helpless. The sweet and innocent feel can also come across as gentle and peaceful, someone who is not the fighting type and therefore someone who must rely on the strong man to help protect her.

As much as I adore this game, I don’t think Ms. Sarkeesian was wrong to analyse this. It is a game that is at it’s core about a man who wants revenge for the woman he cares for, and feels guilty about her death (I’m shocked that Sarkeesian didn’t mention the notes Corvo finds telling him that he couldn’t save her), as well as finding the damselled daughter who has been kidnapped as well.

1) So, are revenge games are just out of the question? Because the fact he assassinates a few people is not nearly as disturbing as some of the other going ons in Dunwall… I would say that although violence is bad, there are some people who this world would be better off without (The Lord Reagent in particular). And keep in mind, I’m talking about the game (I don’t feel like arguing how virtual violence does not translate to violence in the physical world, or that in game me thinking killing the Lord Reagent is good teaches me to just kill any political leader I dislike.)
2) Except… Emily is a child. If I had to guess, not more than 12. Are you honestly telling me you think that a 12 year old has the mental capacity and physicality it would take to be an adult, trained guard? Seriously…? I’m not being rhetorical either, I’m honestly asking if you think that we should expect children to fight and defend themselves.
AND remember. How did Corvo get out of the prison? If not for said assistance, the game would have ended quite prematurely, with Corvo’s head rolling on the floor.
3) Once again. She’s 12. I don’t know many kids that age who aren’t sweet and innocent (in addition to annoying). Bottom line, kids aren’t exactly badasses. The fact you seem to not like that there aren’t “the fighting type” kids out there, kinda worries me… You seem to think that children have the same capacity as adults, which no offense, is erroneous on so many level. With Peach you have a point, but Emily? Really?
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And I would argue he wants revenge against the people who tried to murder him and label him as a traitor (if my name was sullied by the same people who wanted to execute me, I’d be pretty pissed), and saving Emily as the Empresses dying wish (I see this act as a lot more about loyalty than any need to “retrieve property”. But apparently I’m wrong for seeing it that way.)

May 30, 2013 at 07:35PM EDT
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Kyntak wrote:

1) So, are revenge games are just out of the question? Because the fact he assassinates a few people is not nearly as disturbing as some of the other going ons in Dunwall… I would say that although violence is bad, there are some people who this world would be better off without (The Lord Reagent in particular). And keep in mind, I’m talking about the game (I don’t feel like arguing how virtual violence does not translate to violence in the physical world, or that in game me thinking killing the Lord Reagent is good teaches me to just kill any political leader I dislike.)
2) Except… Emily is a child. If I had to guess, not more than 12. Are you honestly telling me you think that a 12 year old has the mental capacity and physicality it would take to be an adult, trained guard? Seriously…? I’m not being rhetorical either, I’m honestly asking if you think that we should expect children to fight and defend themselves.
AND remember. How did Corvo get out of the prison? If not for said assistance, the game would have ended quite prematurely, with Corvo’s head rolling on the floor.
3) Once again. She’s 12. I don’t know many kids that age who aren’t sweet and innocent (in addition to annoying). Bottom line, kids aren’t exactly badasses. The fact you seem to not like that there aren’t “the fighting type” kids out there, kinda worries me… You seem to think that children have the same capacity as adults, which no offense, is erroneous on so many level. With Peach you have a point, but Emily? Really?
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And I would argue he wants revenge against the people who tried to murder him and label him as a traitor (if my name was sullied by the same people who wanted to execute me, I’d be pretty pissed), and saving Emily as the Empresses dying wish (I see this act as a lot more about loyalty than any need to “retrieve property”. But apparently I’m wrong for seeing it that way.)

I never stated you were wrong. Don’t put words into my mouth that I did not say, nor even insinuate. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you to yours and me to mine. I would not even suggest that anyone is wrong if our opinions clash.

1) She does not state that all revenge games are out the question, just that the women in refrigerator trope is way too common. All I stated was that no matter what way you look at it, vengeance is always the prime plot point. And I would argue that Corvo wanted revenge for the Empress. If it is true that Emily is Corvo’s daughter, that makes the Empress his lover, which on it’s own would warrant revenge. Added to that he is the Royal Protector, so he is close to her anyway, and obviously feels he is to blame for her death. As much as he wants revenge for his incarceration, I believe that plays second fiddle to avenging the Empress.
2) No I don’t believe a 12 year old should be out fighting. Have we cleared that up? Good, then I will continue. But the point still stands that she is a damsel, whether she’s 12 or not, and she still has to be rescued by Corvo, who is clearly shown to be able to hold his own. Sure he had help getting out of prison, but all the protagonists of any game have help from other people at some point. He’s still the one out doing the rescuing, not anyone else, him.
3) Ahem, No I don’t believe a 12 year old should be out fighting. I don’t want Emily to be the badass kid who wants to save the helpless Corvo from the enemies, I did not even suggest that I did. Don’t put words into my mouth. But like I said, she’s still the cute, innocent, helpless damsel waiting for Corvo to rescue her, kid or not.

May 30, 2013 at 08:03PM EDT
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Well thank you, though, honestly I feel that should just be the default. Being respectful should be a given, not a rarity (sadly, it does seem scarce around most places). Debate should be pure, free from personal attacks or negative emotion, otherwise we end up just trying to hurt each other than refine data present for truth (er, at least that’s what I think)

Brucker the memetic wizard Wrote:

The point she’s trying to make is that strong, independent women are hard to find in games, so why would she highlight the rare exceptions? In the first video, she talks about how there are two Zelda games in which Zelda is a strong, independent female…so long as she doesn’t reveal her identity. Once she does, she is immediately “damseled”.

I’m going to get technical, since I love Zelda (Windwaker being actually one of my top fav games, and Ocarina of Time not too far behind, which are the two she addresses.) It’s a given that it’s silly when Zelda gets stashed away for plot purposes, but we’ll examine it a bit further. In Ocarina of Time, Zeldas alternate form is Sheik, a Shiekah (dark race) who helps Link (mainly with a bunch of teleportation songs), Links misson at the time was to gather six sages who have the power to seal Ganondorf (villain guy). After the sixth sage is collected, Sheik reveals her identity as Zelda (to reveal she is the seventh and final sage, and present him the Light Arrow, which can weaken Ganondorf). Now, after said incident, Ganondorf appears and messes everything and captures Zelda.
From someone who hasn’t played the game, it seems obvious to them “Well why does that change anything, she’s the same person right?”. But, keep in mind of a few things: When Zelda transforms, she does more than just change clothes. She changes form as she turns from one race to another, clothes, and possibly even sex within about 2 seconds (how’s that for an extreme makeover). It is assumed Ganondorf has magical voyeurism (not the dirty kind x.x) at work, thus Zeldas need to disguise. But her disguise may have been more than just physical appearance, I would suspect that while transformed she is magically protected as well (thus the need to magically transform instead of just dress up like Mulan). In addition to that, it should be noted that Shiek does not use magic, but right after she transforms back to Zelda she does so to produce the Light Arrow. I’d suspect her transformation seals her magical powers to protect from magical voyeurism, like Ganondorfs. But the fact is, neither I, you, nor anyone of the fandom, or any critcal feminist, knows enough about Hyrulian or Gerudian magic to say “Oh, this is totally what happened.” And have to trust the developers have some secret as to why things went down the way they did (i.e. why didn’t she just stay magically shielded to not be identified, or why didn’t she stay Sheik to not be identified by appearance)

Now, in Windwaker Zelda’s alternate form is Tetra, a tomboyish pirate. The reason she was not found is that 1) She doesn’t even know she is Zelda, and when Ganondorf confronts her, suspecting she is, says she knows no one by the name. 2) She only has 1 half of Triforce of Wisdom, which she carries as a necklace meaning it is not at full power, (and assumably, not strong enough to detect magically unless in very close proximity of another piece, like Ganondorfs Triforce of Power when he grasps her and it resonates. Keep in mind, she also does not know the significance of the necklace) 3) After Ganondorf suspects she is Zelda, Her and Link retreat to the underwater Hyrule Castle, which is believed to shield her from Ganondorfs reach. However, I will concede, that unlike in Ocarina of Time, no real explanation is given as to how he broke in if it was protected, or why it took him so long to strike if it was not.

My point being, it is very easy to overlook these things if you have not actually played the game--much like you can miss things from a book if you only watch the movie.
So, now you’ve been educated in some Zelda lore and junk, probably more than I should have shared but, um, yeah.

They are less common them male main protagonists and other male supporting characters, that is very true. But they aren’t as rare as I feel she paints them. One thing that irks me is she’s used Twilight Princess (another Zelda instalment) and takes great care to bash on Zelda every chance she can, but is not forgiving for the fact that without her guidance or knowledge, Link would never be able to defeat Ganondorf. That is hardly someone who is useless, imo.
The other thing is she completely brushes by is Midna (who is in all regards, just as much a main protagonist as Link.) I have been told her third video will be about women in video games that are strong and independent. But I’m a skeptic, and will believe it when I see, if it’s anything like her videos currently, there will always be a “But” for her to add that someone makes the characters [apparently] crap.

That’s an opinion which may not be true. Here’s an older rant by me on feminism and inferiority.

Well, first, I want to point out that self empowerment is a cornerstone of feminist doctrine. Waiting for someone else to give you said empowerment teaches that you don’t have power unless it is granted to you (i.e. if you need video games to take away self worth, and likewise, grant self worth, you are not the ones in control--the video games are. Which, forgive me, but I thought female empowerment was showing women have power in themselves.)
Second, on your link. Honestly, I think you make that issue more about only girls than it is. The same can be said for boys in Reading and Writing (if I last remember, boys score lower than girls in said subjects, just as girls score lower in math and science. However, you seem obsessively concerned that women are doing worse than men in those fields, I cannot help but wonder “wouldn’t someone who was objective and wanting equality be equally as concerned that boys are doing bad in subjects?”)
This is only a suggestion, and I’ll by no means be offended if you reject it, and hope it doesn’t offend, but I’d urge you to read “The War Against Boys” by Christina Hoff Sommers. I have only been able to read excerpts but hope to acquire a copy sometime this summer. It tackles ideals that people have about thinking girls are fragile, and boys pampered (not all too dissimilar to your views) with beautiful statistics, and the ability to prove things with hard evidence. And the author is a feminist, so, maybe that will appeal a bit.

Something I considered saying at the end of my previous post was that while so many accuse Sarkeesian of pointless whining, it’s a lot easier for a single person to point out systemic problems than to single-handedly fix them, and sometimes somebody has to do the former before anyone does the latter.

I think you make it worse, saying that women are symbolic pawns, but the men who die are just pawns. They die nameless, and barely even seen as human. And there is a reason why the grunts, pawns and minions are chosen male virtually all the time (and if you want, I can expand upon male disposability later or somewhere else.)

I can’t speak from personal experience, but I get the impression that Sarkeesian is a pretty serious gamer.

I could stack all the books I own, snap a pic and post it up on the net, but does that mean I’ve read them all? No.
It’s fallable to assume just because she has all these games, she has played through them (or even, any of them). As another youtuber pointed out, in one of her shots, she is holding an Xbox 360 controller, clicking on it as though to be playing it. Except, the controller was off (when an Xbox controller is on, one of the 4 sections of the rings on the controller glow green). It was obvious she was posing as such to try to sypathize with gamers, but of course, it’s a stunt. What evidence do you have that suggests this is not the same?
I’d really like to see her do a “Let’s play” game, as I don’t think we’ve ever seen her play a game in real time and comment on it (Unlike PewdiePie, Gamegrumps, Rosanna Pansino, or other gaming channels).
I’m cautious by nature, and one thing I’ve noticed that the fact most the clips in her game critics she uses are cut scenes, and rarely (if ever) gameplay, says something.

I’m not suggesting that video games are making people violent (against women or otherwise), and I don’t think that Sarkeesian is either. I think the point is that if something is offensive in real life, maybe it should be offensive in our video games, too? I don’t allow my kids to play video games with any violence, regardless of the victim’s identity, because I’m not convinced that “It’s only a game!” is an excuse to promote violence, even pretend violence, whether that leads to real-world physical violence or not.

The choice is yours to make, I’m only holding my ground that there’s no evidence to substantiate any claims that video game violence translates to violence in the physical world.

Last edited May 30, 2013 at 09:13PM EDT
May 30, 2013 at 09:05PM EDT
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@kyntak

Yeah, I’m also skeptical about the picture. I was a mad gamer in my highschool years and still play video games. On top of that, I have every system in the current generation( minus the PSP vita, though that might change) and have never had a problem getting the cash to buy games. Even then, my video game collection for this gen is not that extensive, at least I don’t think so. Even if it is, I can tell you that I haven’t played through all of them. Honestly, mabye just half. I seriously doubt she’s played through all of those games. Either that or she is HARDCORE.

Just to clarify, I’m not calling her a liar. Mabye she has played all those games. But based on my personal experience with gaming, I don’t buy it.

Last edited May 30, 2013 at 09:27PM EDT
May 30, 2013 at 09:20PM EDT
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Twee wrote:

1. I don’t see the contradiction. AFAIK her position has always been that a damselled character shouldn’t necessarily be written off or that necessarily ruins the game. Of course, in the first video she’s talking about older games where a lot of the characters /were/ mostly defined by their damselled state.
2. Perpetuates, not perpetrates. :P Media does affect what people think and their perceptions of themselves and others. This is pretty well documented afaik. If it didn’t companies wouldn’t spend so much money on advertising. Regardless, the point she’s making is not the one you were rebutting.
3. I’m sorry, but well, yeah. It is good for you if you can ignore that stuff, and yes, in an ideal world people wouldn’t be affected by stuff like this. But a lot of people are. If someone is playing games and those games tell them that they’re weak and ineffective, or just eyecandy and objects for other people, they’re not going to enjoy playing it as much. I personally think games are awesome, and it’s a shame people will be put off because the writers took lazy copouts in their storytelling.
Fair point. Say if someone doesn’t like e.g. always-online DRM in their games, and criticizes the practise in a video. Would you say they should either shut up or make their own game without always-online DRM? I dunno, I find it hard to believe people would be so on Sarkeesian’s ass if she was a guy talking about anything else in regards to what they’d like to see in gaming.
And maybe if enough people are informed by the video and start to demand change the investors and developers will see what the market wants and listen?
You’d never have made the thread if she hadn’t made the video. :P Not to mention all the other discussions I’ve seen about it since she announced the series.
EDIT: “Kyntak, since I don’t think I’ve said it yet, while I disagree with much of what you say in this thread, I do appreciate your making it in the first place and your tone which is far more respectful than I’ve seen by many critics of these videos.”
I agree!

First, I want to say, just as I responded to Brucker that although the gesture is appreciated that you appreciate me starting the thread and being respectful (well, I think that’s a stretch, I can get pretty snippy and sharp sometimes) I humbly dissent. I’m just being a descent person, and not screaming vulgarities or mindless anger, but use logic and my opinion to debate (which shouldn’t merit recognition, imo). But, like I said, the gesture is appreciated. And, thank you [and pretty much all other people on this thread] for being civil, even if I don’t always agree.

1.)I suppose that could be true, though, early generation games didn’t have the luxury modern devlopers have (i.e. extensive plots or developed characters). And these templates often are translated into modern games for convience or indolence. ( If they should make a future Zelda game, I think it would be nice to play as Zelda herself in some scene(s), expanding on what they did in TP where you have to steady your horse for her to strike Ganondorf.)
However (yes, there’s a but to this), in her first video, she states that damsels who help the player (no matter how critical said help is), she is still defines by Anita as a “Helpful Damsel”, which, is rather horrible, as it would seem that even if she and the hero defeat her captor together, she is still label “damsel”. Keep in mind, Link in TP and WW would not have been sucessful in the defeat of Ganondorf without Zeldas assistance (and vice versa).
2) Sorry, I guess I missed that. And I’d honestly like to see the evidence on this. Asking female gamers “What do you think of women? Are they weaker than men?” and asking for their opinions. I think you’ll find the reception would be the same if you asked male gamers if video games accurately depict men (No. Most are not a Chris Redfield or Snake, etc. in most every criteria--myself included).
3) No offense but, you’re speaking for an entire demographic based on what you see and not showing me what they actually think. I honestly can’t believe that if female gamers were as put off as you say, they’d make up around 40% of the consumer base. And the reason they do play them is because they understand that video games are not accurate depictions of real life (and not just because they utilize sci-fi tech and magic, but common pseudo-science and political themes: i.e. shooting barrels of gasoline would not make them blow up and not all Russians are military trained communists. Except, unlike previous scenarios, which we don’t observe in daily life , most people know that by real world observations, women are not useless damsels)

When it comes to Zelda and Mario, criticisms like these probably won’t motivate Miyamoto to change things, and especially because Ms. Sarkeesians videos never propose a solution (which leaves developers to shoot in the dark at what she wants. i.e. it’s easier to order a sandwich if you say what you want--not list off things you don’t want). It might influence upcoming developers, but honestly, I’d think a direct route would be better than hoping for chance.
The other thing is, none of this is based on any study, but her opinion. I’m not saying that invalidates it, but, if you want to show game developers the problem with hard facts (I criticize her of being nitpicky earlier, and this is true, as she only scopes in on the ones that prove her point, not any statistics of how many video games include the trope vs. video games made in that same year. If she really wanted to prove something, it’d be in her interest to have some statistical numbers in the mix, not just a narrow scope.)

Also, I apologize for taking so long to reply, I’m juggling a few posts as well as other thing (right now, I have a chicken pot pie whining for attention x.x)

Random 21 wrote:

I never stated you were wrong. Don’t put words into my mouth that I did not say, nor even insinuate. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you to yours and me to mine. I would not even suggest that anyone is wrong if our opinions clash.
1) She does not state that all revenge games are out the question, just that the women in refrigerator trope is way too common. All I stated was that no matter what way you look at it, vengeance is always the prime plot point. And I would argue that Corvo wanted revenge for the Empress. If it is true that Emily is Corvo’s daughter, that makes the Empress his lover, which on it’s own would warrant revenge. Added to that he is the Royal Protector, so he is close to her anyway, and obviously feels he is to blame for her death. As much as he wants revenge for his incarceration, I believe that plays second fiddle to avenging the Empress.
2) No I don’t believe a 12 year old should be out fighting. Have we cleared that up? Good, then I will continue. But the point still stands that she is a damsel, whether she’s 12 or not, and she still has to be rescued by Corvo, who is clearly shown to be able to hold his own. Sure he had help getting out of prison, but all the protagonists of any game have help from other people at some point. He’s still the one out doing the rescuing, not anyone else, him.
3) Ahem, No I don’t believe a 12 year old should be out fighting. I don’t want Emily to be the badass kid who wants to save the helpless Corvo from the enemies, I did not even suggest that I did. Don’t put words into my mouth. But like I said, she’s still the cute, innocent, helpless damsel waiting for Corvo to rescue her, kid or not.

Okay. Sorry for being defensive. I once had someone try to tell me something similar about New Vegas, and it just pissed me the hell off x.x so, sorry, my bad

1) I think we could just settle that the motive for killing of his betrayers is either (or possibly even both).
2) That’s a little weaksauce to just brush that of by “they get help, but the fact it wasn’t of their own power doesn’t mean anything”. Aren’t you making the same argument with women who have to have help escaping? You say “women are disempowered when they are captured and need help by someone else to escape”. I say the same thing about Corvo (which, is true), and you just go “Meh, it’s not the same”. You may want to rethink what you’re saying.
3) Part of the arguing of DiD portrayal is that women in video games are seen as less powerful than men. Anita points out that whereas men often escape by strength, or wit (and, on the off chance, an exterior party. ahem), women need someone to rescue them. This drastic comparison, I think, should not apply to children so young as Emily, as there is an obvious difference in the physical or mental capability as adults, and is unrealistic that they would be able to escape without assistance. Even if Emily was a boy, we would still not expect him to be able to escape (like we would, say, idk, Corvo).
tl;dr Not all women are powerless, unlike the DiD trope, but most children as young as Emily would need assistance in a realistic scenario. I hope you see the difference I’m trying to make now.

Last edited May 31, 2013 at 06:19PM EDT
May 31, 2013 at 06:09PM EDT
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@Dactective L
I feel the same. As I demonstrated, if she is a gamer, she behaves drastically different from other gamers (who post their real time game play, whereas Ms. Sarkeesian only shows us mainly cut scenes. Even Rosanna Pansino (who runs Nerdy Nummies, and I’m subscribed to) has a Lets Play going on with Harry Potter years 5-7).
It should also be stated, that many consider what she says is an opinion, but if it is, she lacks using singular personal pronouns to show she has played the games. (She always uses You, or, The Player. Problem is, if it is an opinion, she never seems to have an actual opinion where she says “I think”. Instead she just asserts them as being universally factual statements, like a treatise, except, she lacks the statistical evidence to prove that female gamers feel this way, meaning her “opinion” only stays in theoretical territory. Much like video game violence arguers.)

May 31, 2013 at 06:14PM EDT
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Okay. Sorry for being defensive. I once had someone try to tell me something similar about New Vegas, and it just pissed me the hell off x.x so, sorry, my bad
1) I think we could just settle that the motive for killing of his betrayers is either (or possibly even both).
2) That’s a little weaksauce to just brush that of by “they get help, but the fact it wasn’t of their own power doesn’t mean anything”. Aren’t you making the same argument with women who have to have help escaping? You say “women are disempowered when they are captured and need help by someone else to escape”. I say the same thing about Corvo (which, is true), and you just go “Meh, it’s not the same”. You may want to rethink what you’re saying.
3) Part of the arguing of DiD portrayal is that women in video games are seen as less powerful than men. Anita points out that whereas men often escape by strength, or wit (and, on the off chance, an exterior party. ahem), women need someone to rescue them. This drastic comparison, I think, should not apply to children so young as Emily, as there is an obvious difference in the physical or mental capability as adults, and is unrealistic that they would be able to escape without assistance. Even if Emily was a boy, we would still not expect him to be able to escape (like we would, say, idk, Corvo).
tl;dr Not all women are powerless, unlike the DiD trope, but most children as young as Emily would need assistance in a realistic scenario. I hope you see the difference I’m trying to make now.

Thanks for the apology. I guess I do understand your argument a little more, but still:
1) I can agree with that. That’s one argument over
2) No, it’s different. For the sake of getting past the ’she’s only 12 argument’, and focusing more on the damsel in distress argument, I won’t use Emily and Corvo as an example (I’ll keep the Emily thing for point 3). When the hero escapes from the prison, he manages to be able to pick himself up and take care of himself, making the imprisonment a feature in the story intending to improve the hero and help him grow in strength. When the Damsel is rescued, she doesn’t really help out. The Damsel’s imprisonment isn’t used to improve the Damsel’s strength, it’s there to act as a goal for the protagonist, and instead help him grow. The Damsel doesn’t take over the job of the lead character, if it’s not the end of the game already (The rescue is usually at the end of the game, not even giving the damsel the time to improve), she just gives support from the sidelines while the protagonist continues the job.
The Damsel’s imprisonment isn’t there to improve the Damsel, it’s there to improve the protagonist.
3) Like I said, I’m not expecting Emily to suddenly gain badass super powers and explode the lord regent’s face off, but that does not mean it’s alright to always use the children as the damsels rather than the adult. Just because children are more helpless than adults, it does not mean that the children should take over the job of the damsel. Ideally, the DiD trope needs to be used less altogether (NOT stop entirely, just used less), not just finding alternate people who are naturally more helpless.

May 31, 2013 at 06:50PM EDT
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Random 21 wrote:

Thanks for the apology. I guess I do understand your argument a little more, but still:
1) I can agree with that. That’s one argument over
2) No, it’s different. For the sake of getting past the ’she’s only 12 argument’, and focusing more on the damsel in distress argument, I won’t use Emily and Corvo as an example (I’ll keep the Emily thing for point 3). When the hero escapes from the prison, he manages to be able to pick himself up and take care of himself, making the imprisonment a feature in the story intending to improve the hero and help him grow in strength. When the Damsel is rescued, she doesn’t really help out. The Damsel’s imprisonment isn’t used to improve the Damsel’s strength, it’s there to act as a goal for the protagonist, and instead help him grow. The Damsel doesn’t take over the job of the lead character, if it’s not the end of the game already (The rescue is usually at the end of the game, not even giving the damsel the time to improve), she just gives support from the sidelines while the protagonist continues the job.
The Damsel’s imprisonment isn’t there to improve the Damsel, it’s there to improve the protagonist.
3) Like I said, I’m not expecting Emily to suddenly gain badass super powers and explode the lord regent’s face off, but that does not mean it’s alright to always use the children as the damsels rather than the adult. Just because children are more helpless than adults, it does not mean that the children should take over the job of the damsel. Ideally, the DiD trope needs to be used less altogether (NOT stop entirely, just used less), not just finding alternate people who are naturally more helpless.

Hooray! We resolved one of the points on the list :D
That said, I’ll tackle 2) and 3) in a conjoined rebuttal.

What I’m getting at is you are critical of elements in the game, but they aren’t leading up to a solution. Dishonored has already been made, and even you yourself said it was a great game. Your issue seems to be with the frequency of the trope, and not the trope itself. If that’s true, I’d suggest finding ways to resolve further said trope, by offering alternative plots or elements for games. As someone else pointed out, writing sound plots aren’t as easy as we imagine ( I replied to Twee saying that it’s easier to order a sandwich if you say what you want, not list off all the thing you don’t like. I also offered that if they make another Zelda game, you should play as Zelda herself for part of final battle, like, perhaps link gets disarmed of the Master Sword and trapped with dark magic, and you (Zelda) has to magic blast some shadow creatures and weaken Ganondorf until he loses focus, releasing Link and free him so he can get the sword to finish him. This way her participation is more active, and the roles are reversed.
I also said that her kickstarter money could have been used to fund a game with a female protagonist, and if she had done so probably would have received even more for doing so. I think that’d be nice but idk. Though, honestly this is more a solution than I’ve heard anyone else propose…)

I’m not saying you can’t be critical, but I think you’re projecting you frustration of the trope frequency onto a game that, in my opinion, used the tropes in a way that wasn’t inappropriate. The one thing I nag about Anita is that she ‘complainy’ criticizes games, instead of constructive criticizing or actually proposing solutions (and a lot of her audience do the same, and nod in agreement, instead of proposing a solution themselves. At some point, someone has to come up with a solution, and not just nag “Look at this problem”. )

Last edited May 31, 2013 at 11:33PM EDT
May 31, 2013 at 11:23PM EDT
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Kyntak wrote:

I’m only going to be on for a brief moment to question the accuracy of some of the games:

Your points about Dishonored are interesting ones. If the game discourages you from indiscriminate killing, then that’s certainly a point in its favor, and might have been noteworthy. In other videos where Sarkeesian talks about the Bechdel Test, she points out that there are good movies that fail and bad movies that pass; it probably would have been good to mention if a game may have used the DiD trope, but was a fresh take on gaming anyway. I’m sure many such games exist.

If Corvo is the protagonist of the game, I don’t see how one can call him “helpless”. Although I’ve never played the game, it seems to me that a truly helpless protagonist would mean you don’t have what can really be called a game. Imagine a gender-reversed Super Mario in which you play as the Princess--not rescuing Mario, but sitting in King Koopa’s prison waiting for him to show up and bust you out.

As for Anita in Infamous (a game I have played, but only for about an hour at a friend’s house), I think the “women in refrigerators” trope isn’t about how long the love interest has been dead, but the mere fact that a woman essentially becomes a human sacrifice on the altar of male character development. (I’m not certain that gender has to be a part of it; it may only be common with those gender roles.) Re-reading what you said, I guess that may have not been your point, but if she dies no matter what choices you make, the effect is largely the same.

Admittedly, while the simple idea of “damsel in distress” is pretty well-defined, a lot of the other things she brings up are more subjective, so asking for “accuracy” ends up being subjective as well. Even something that seems objective might not be, for that matter. People who respond to Sarkeesian with lists of female VG protagonists almost invariably bring up Samus Aran, but consider this: in the original Metroid, the player didn’t know Samus was female until the end of the game! In some ways, it makes Metroid more of a game with a “gender unspecified” protagonist. That’s probably too big of a can of worms to open, though.

Twee wrote:

It’s not like Sarkeesian is the only person ever to not have comments under a video – when you watch a TV documentary they dont have viewers comments at the bottom of the screen, you have to open your own discussions about it.

Good point. Maybe the Internet has spoiled us? If Sarkeesian’s video were shown as a documentary on PBS instead of an independent YouTube clip, probably a lot of people would still dislike it, but nobody would think for a second that the lack of an open comment section on their TV was a problem. So why is it such a big issue?

Whitishcollar wrote:

I also didn’t really like the repetition of “your wife dies and you have to rescue your daughter” ad nauseam, even if it was meant to be a joke.

I think not so much a joke as a way to drive the point home. It’s an annoying part of the video, but Sarkeesian is trying to make the viewer feel her own annoyance, and it probably works.

Jun 01, 2013 at 09:46PM EDT
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wezli3333 wrote:

Is it really so far-fetched to consider altruism as a motivator for a man to want to rescue women/children?

I’m sorry if you missed it because I accidentally didn’t address it to you when I responded to this issue on the previous page, but the issue is not primarily about the motivation of the protagonist, who generally is supposed to be heroic and virtuous. The question is really about why it is that game designers (and screenwriters) keep doing such awful things to women and children as cheaply-xeroxed plot coupons. I don’t think anyone is seriously suggesting that we’re to imagine all the time Mario is squashing goombas and kicking koopas, internally he’s thinking “I’m gonna get me some princess pussy for all of this!” What I think many people are wondering is what Shigeru Miyamoto must think of women if he can only conceive of them as hostages.

At the end of the movie Aliens, when Ripley not only chooses to endanger her own life, but also the lives of Cpl. Hicks and the android Bishop to save Newt, is she doing so because she sees Newt as her “property”?

No, but she certainly sees Newt as being helpless (because really, she is, but your point about the extended cut is thought-provoking) which is the way the screenwriter can cheaply build an emotional charge to the scene. Anyone could have been taken by the aliens, but using the little girl ensures more people will care more deeply.

I greatly credit the Alien franchise for having one of the most awesome female protagonists of all time (without sacrificing her femininity, either, IMO). In that particular movie, I think there is some really good development in the relationship between Ripley and Hicks as he comes to realize she’s not just acting like a badass, but really is a badass, and respects her for it.

Alien 3 on the other hand had some strange sexual undertones that some have interpreted as pseudo-misogynistic. YMMV, I thought it was a decent movie.

Kyntak wrote:

I would say that although violence is bad, there are some people who this world would be better off without…

This came up in a debate in another politically charged (unrelated) thread here a long time ago. As much as I am a cynic, I like to think that hoping for the death of evil people is far less admirable than hoping for the reformation of evil people. If you had a magic box with two buttons, where pressing button A would kill every homophobe on the planet, and pressing button B would make them suddenly realize how hateful they were, which button would you press? Maybe that’s too easy; what if button B spared their lives, but made them aware that a gay man had held their fate in his hand for a moment and decided to show them mercy?

I’m honestly asking if you think that we should expect children to fight and defend themselves.

Expect it? No, but then we’re talking about video games: this is fantasy! Have you ever played the game Heart of Darkness? It’s arguably in the DiD category, since the protagonist’s main motivation is to rescue a kidnap victim, but in this case it’s a pre-teen boy rescuing his dog from evil beings from another world. On the pro side, it’s neat to see a kid taking control of his own destiny and overcoming his fears (a major theme of the game); on the con side, you’ll end up seeing the kid die a lot of gruesome deaths So, pretty violent game, but I think a positive message anyway: that kids can sometimes fight their own battles. Don’t you like to see kids in popular media that are more than helpless pawns, even when it’s sometimes not very believable? I know I do.

Last edited Jun 01, 2013 at 09:52PM EDT
Jun 01, 2013 at 09:49PM EDT
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But the fact is, neither I, you, nor anyone of the fandom, or any critcal feminist, knows enough about Hyrulian or Gerudian magic to say “Oh, this is totally what happened.” And have to trust the developers have some secret as to why things went down the way they did

Interesting, but again, I think you’re missing the point. Let me use my own example from comics. In the X-Men, there is a character called “Rogue” who, if you anything about X-Men from comics, cartoons, or live-action movies, you’ve probably seen. Her mutant power is that she absorbs other people’s essence when she comes into physical contact with them. In Fantastic Four, scientist and hero Reed Richards creates costumes made of “unstable molecules” that allow superheroes to wear clothes that don’t interfere with their powers: the Human Torch won’t burn off his outfit, Invisible Girl doesn’t need to strip to become invisible, etc. Most heroes in the Marvel universe wear these clothe for convenience and because they’re supposed to be highly durable. Back to Rogue. Often after a major battle, Rogue would come away from the fight with her outfit slashed to ribbons, which rarely seemed to happen to Wolverine or Cyclops. I don’t know if it’s ever been said, but my theory was that due to the nature of her powers, it’s impractical for Rogue to wear unstable molecule clothing; she needs regular cloth to keep her powers under control, not let them loose, so her outfit isn’t as tough as those of male heroes.

Oh, or maybe because most of the fans are heterosexual males and Rogue has a sexy body, someone figured sales would be boosted by showing a little skin.

You can theorize about all the reasons that something happens in a story you want, and your reasons may be correct or not, but ultimately, things happen in stories because the writers of the stories decided that was what happened.

The other thing is she completely brushes by is Midna…

Oh yeah, Twilight Princess is one of the four Zelda games I’ve played, and Midna (except for in a transitional point near the middle of the story) is far from helpless. In fact, I almost wondered why she felt she needed Link, who is largely helpless without her.

…there will always be a “But” for her to add…

She likes big "but"s and she cannot lie… Sorry, couldn’t resist.

There is always a but, though. There are good female protagonists, but the mere existence of them is not the issue, it’s the imbalance, and that’s not going to be fixed overnight. Also, I don’t know if Sarkeesian is the sort of feminist who feels (unrealistically, IMO) that this is a problem until the day comes that all video game protagonists are exactly 50% female (or maybe 49% male, 49% female, and 2% trans/intersex), but I think it’s the nature of social imbalance that fixing it is near-impossible, but that doesn’t mean we should be ignoring the issue and not trying our best to deal with it. Case in point, next post:

Jun 01, 2013 at 09:54PM EDT
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Waiting for someone else to give you said empowerment teaches that you don’t have power unless it is granted to you

I have a problem with this in some ways, and its a place where I definitely differ from Sarkeesian’s point of view. In another video she derided the film The Help as being a film in which “white people solve racism.” (I haven’t seen it, so make of it what you will.) This is the thing: I think it an unfortunate fact that the nature of (institutionalized) racism that it has been and often still is a problem that white people do need to solve. While I understand that this may disempower people of color, someone would need to explain to me how, let’s say, a young black woman in the ‘50s living in the deep South is supposed to fix racism and sexism. For racism to end, it’s the racists themselves who have to mature, not the victims of racism. Certainly strong, brave, and virtuous African-Americans like MLK were highly influential in overcoming the evils of that era, but in the end, someone like Rosa Parks only overcomes white racism once the whites decide to give in.

With sexism, it’s the same. Women need to fight for equality, but when men have the power, the only options are to convince men to cede that power or take up arms and kill every man that gets in your way. If I’m wrong, I’d really like to have it explained to me, because I honestly don’t like it.

I cannot help but wonder “wouldn’t someone who was objective and wanting equality be equally as concerned that boys are doing bad in subjects?”

Oh, definitely! I agree 100%, it’s just that I think in the current day, the consequences are more serious for girls than boys, so that was my focus. I have a friend who is married with three kids, and he’s decided to be a “house husband”. He gets a lot of flak for it, I understand, because people won’t accept that a guy would want to stay at home to cook, clean, and take care of the kids. There’s much bigger and more extreme rant I have (that’s not on my blog) about how one of the biggest hurdles of the feminist movement is that very issue, but few recognize it. All the work that is considered the sort of things that a housewife does is generally considered of lesser value by a society that tends to place value on actions based on the revenue it produces. There’s very little money in cooking family meals, cleaning bathrooms, changing diapers, etc., but in my opinion, these are the very things that are of the most value to society.

Here’s the real hard part due to that undervaluing: I once read a speech by a prominent feminist in which she stated that if women want to become 50% of the “work force”, then someone needs to convince men to become 50% of home laborers. Her speech was very unpopular, but I think it was right on target. Equality for women is important, but let’s not forget: Who’s watching the kids? What I think would be a good solution to sexual equality would be (and I know not many would agree) to stop devaluing traditional women’s roles. If I’m going out every day to “bring home the bacon” while my wife stays home to take care of our home and children, I have no illusion that the relative importance of her work has anything to do with the size of my paycheck; she’s the one doing the important stuff, even if I’m a millionaire. Okay, I’d better stop there; I can run for days with this crap.

And [Christina Hoff Sommers] is a feminist

Of course she is; true feminism is about fighting gender inequality regardless of who the victim is.

And there is a reason why the grunts, pawns and minions are chosen male virtually all the time

I know, it’s sexism. Anna Quindlen wrote some time during G.W.B.‘s first term that if the draft were to be reinstated, it should be unisex. It’s my own ingrained sexism that makes this leave a bad taste in my mouth, but logically, I know she’s right.

It was obvious she was posing as such to try to sypathize with gamers, but of course, it’s a stunt. What evidence do you have that suggests this is not the same?

Well, of course it’s posing; who keeps their video games in a tidy stack in the middle of the floor? I’m just saying there seems to be more reason to suppose that she has experience with gaming than not. Either that, or she’s got staff working for her that does, which is just fine by me.

I’d really like to see her do a “Let’s play” game, as I don’t think we’ve ever seen her play a game in real time and comment on it (Unlike PewdiePie, Gamegrumps, Rosanna Pansino, or other gaming channels).
I’m cautious by nature, and one thing I’ve noticed that the fact most the clips in her game critics she uses are cut scenes, and rarely (if ever) gameplay, says something.

A feminist “Let’s play” is a great idea! Instead of talking in general terms, she could take an example game and work through it with commentary on the imagery of the game. That would be entertaining and educational. I figure she uses cut scenes because they tend to be the part of a game that is more plot-focused.

Last edited Jun 01, 2013 at 09:57PM EDT
Jun 01, 2013 at 09:55PM EDT
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Kyntak wrote:

Keep in mind, Link in TP and WW would not have been successful in the defeat of Ganondorf without Zelda’s assistance

Having played TP, I get what the point is about the “Helpful Damsel”. First, if Zelda has a powerful weapon to use against Ganondorf, what was she waiting for? Oh wait, that’s not a rhetorical question; she was waiting for the empowered male to do the actual fighting. The real point though is that her helpfulness is just a token action on her part. As you said before and I agreed, Midna is central to the main plot and gameplay; take out the brief scene in which Zelda helps Link fight Ganondorf, and you’d hardly notice the difference. I did a full playthrough of TP twice, and the second time, I was thinking, “Oh, yeah, she actually does something here.” (Although there is the fairly memorable--if confusing--self-sacrifice she performs for Midna at that midpoint I mentioned before, which I’ll take as a positive aspect of her portrayal in the game.)

…barrels of gasoline would not make them blow up and not all Russians are military trained communists.

Those are good points. Bad science and racial stereotypes are also issues that in an ideal world would be dealt with in video games better.

Ms. Sarkeesians videos never propose a solution

I don’t know about never but I suppose it’s not off the mark to suggest more positive suggestions would help this video series. Hopefully some of that will be seen in the third installment. Nonetheless, I’d also say that it’s not Sarkeesian’s job to solve the problem, since she’s not a VG designer.

It’s an imperfect analogy, but I used to be a high school algebra teacher. When one of my students did something wrong, it wouldn’t have fixed the problem to say, “Nope, x is equal to 7!” I always told them that the process was more important than the specific answer; if you figure out how to do math right, the correct answer will follow naturally. So rather than tell them the solution, I needed to say things like, “You were on the right track, but here? You can’t divide by zero.”

Sarkeesian is saying (at least, it’s what I hear from her videos) that VG developers need to stop telling the same anti-feminist story over and over again and tell some new stories of value.

The other thing is, none of this is based on any study, but her opinion.

On the contrary, it appears to me that this is based on her own study. And your point further down in the paragraph about providing statistics? It might be helpful for some people, but as I said above, these concepts are subjective, and as I’ve aid repeatedly elsewhere as a mathematician, statistics tend to be complete bullshit which few people understand anyway.

It should also be stated, that many consider what she says is an opinion, but if it is, she lacks using singular personal pronouns to show she has played the games.

This whole paragraph is interesting, but I’d like to give my opinion about her choice of wording. While I do think she’s really giving her opinion, she’s also trying to present herself in a scholarly manner, and I remember from college being repeatedly told that when presenting a thesis, a writer should refrain from “weak” language. Sarkeesian has probably been trained to avoid phrases like “I think” and “in my opinion” because academics frown on such non-assertive language. I’ve probably had a total of eight years of college, and that sort of thing was hammered into me often, but I never liked it, and don’t use it unless I have to. (I also had professors tell me I was too wordy, go figure!)

I’m not saying you can’t be critical, but I think you’re projecting you frustration of the trope frequency onto a game that, in my opinion, used the tropes in a way that wasn’t inappropriate.

Ready to hear me say something anti-feminist? Women are weaker, in general. In another discussion we had here long ago, I noted that early in my marriage, I actually gave my wife permission to hit me if she ever got frustrated enough. She’s a foot shorter than me, and nowhere near as strong, and I doubt she could punch me hard enough to even make a bruise. On the other hand, even without working out, I’m such a naturally large and physically strong person, for all I know I could kill her with a punch. (I don’t hit people, ever.)

Now, does that mean that someone should kidnap my wife and force me to fight a bunch of people to free her? Yes, if my wife were kidnapped, she would probably be helpless to escape under her own power. Yes, if I felt that becoming violent would be helpful to my wife’s safety, I probably would perform ugly deeds that I wouldn’t in the normal course of things. In what way does that make disempowering women or encouraging violence in men “appropriate”? I think I understand what you’re saying, but I think “appropriate” isn’t the right word.

Jun 02, 2013 at 05:30PM EDT
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Ahhhh, nooo! I started typing my response when I saw this earlier, but left to get a haircut, and now it’s longer TT_TT
Don’t get me wrong, totally don’t mind you adding on (in fact, much better than silence, imo). This just might take longer cuz I have to rearrange some things and type more, I hope that won’t be a problem, please bear with me

Last edited Jun 02, 2013 at 06:21PM EDT
Jun 02, 2013 at 06:20PM EDT
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The reason that the damsel in distress theme exists (and has existed for thousands of years) is probably because for much of human history, women had very little social power in comparison to men, which itself stemmed from the fact that human males are generally physically larger and stronger than females. Ever since the stories of the Ancient Greek Heroes (and probably much earlier), the protagonists of most stories have had something special about them (often greater than normal physical strength) therefore it makes more sense for the protagonist to be a man, because it seems more realistic. ex. the difference in strength between an average woman and Theseus is greater than the strength between an average man and Theseus. Finally the reason that it is always a woman in distress is to differentiate between the hero and the victim. When a full grown man (especially one without any extreme power) rescues another full grown man, the question arises as to “why would one man be able to rescue the other, but the other not be able to escape by himself?” Therefore, to avoid having to point out the hero’s inherent advantages and disconnect the audience from the story, a woman or child is placed in the role of victim.

TLDR? I can’t summarize it well, keep going.

Jun 02, 2013 at 11:11PM EDT
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@Mungalo:
Good summary of the reasons behind the trope, but I think the issue is whether these concepts are outmoded. Sure, that’s what tropes are all about; they’re shortcuts to storytelling. When you see a princess get kidnapped in particular, you can guess where the story is going without having to be given a whole lot of filler. But as a society, we may be sophisticated enough to rise above ancient sexist and racist tropes.

There’s a great scene at the end of Ever After (spoiler, but it won’t ruin the movie for you if you haven’t seen it) in which the female protagonist (played by Drew Barrymore) is kidnapped, and the prince rides out on his horse to the castle. When he shows up, she’s walking out the front gate laughing. She looks up and sees him, and after they exchange greetings, she asks, “What are you doing here?” He looks sort of embarrassed and replies, “I uh, I came to rescue you…” Hilarious moment in a pretty decent movie that plays around with some classic tropes.

Perhaps an even better, there’s a children’s book by Robert Munsch called The Paper Bag Princess in which… well here:

Surely video games can be more sophisticated than a children’s book, right?

Jun 03, 2013 at 12:17AM EDT
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(i can’t quote lol)

brucker tha memetic wizard wrote:

“in the original Metroid, the player didn’t know Samus was female until the end of the game! In some ways, it makes Metroid more of a game with a “gender unspecified” protagonist. That’s probably too big of a can of worms to open, though.”

that reminds me of a statement i read once, that strong females in movies and literature (i think this can be adapted to videogames and other media too) aren’t eally strong women but strong men in a women’s body. i find it rather confusing, but there might be some truth to it, although it somehow seems to contradict the principle of equality…

also, simply flipping the tables and letting the woman rescue a he-damsel isn’t going to get us better stories (although i’m not saying there souldn’t be games like this, i just got the feeling while reading this thread that some think that simply switching the genders would make a better story). and i still somhow don’t really know how to make a story for a, let’s say RPG or action adventure without making it seem cheap…

brucker the memetic wizard further wrote:

“Here’s the real hard part due to that undervaluing: I once read a speech by a prominent feminist in which she stated that if women want to become 50% of the “work force”, then someone needs to convince men to become 50% of home laborers.”


DAMN I CANT HIDE STUFF IN A SPOILER FRAME EITHER

here in germany, there were repeatedly attempts to pass a women’s quota for leading positions in big companies, since those are taken be men by far over 90% (i don’t think it’s much different in other countries). it didn’t pass becasue of conservative and liberal resistance, their main argument was that the woman that would promote into leading positions after the quota was passed would only do so becasue of the quota.
that also implies that there are no women right now in leading positions becasue they aren’t qualified and just inferior to men, and that companies only have so many men in leading positions becasue they all outshine the woman that could get there.
most of the people here aren’t against such a quota (in fact there is a maiority that would support such a quota).
most poeple also aren’t actively sexist but the situation at work (women are less likely to get promotions, earn less for the same work, employers generally take less women becasue they are more likely to take parental leave than men etc.) supports the stereotypical family with a working, never-at-home husband and the housewife who raises the children etc. (another law that passed , the so-called “cooker bonus” supports that even further).
in other countries like sweden or norway there are much more working men and women who take a parental leave becasue they are protected by law, so they don’t have to fear loosing their job. also, there are much more families with both parents working (of course shorter hours) and sharing housework and who both raise the children.
not that i’m opposed to the idea of househusbands (dunno, maybe i’ll become one, never know what lies in the future :P), but in most cases both parents would like to have jobs, but the current situation at the job market facilitates the working husband household.
sexism is rooted in our societs but i think it is passive, or unconscious sexism for most people, who just accept things how they are and don’t make further thoughts about them.
doing the household and raising children sure is undervalued, but attempts to reward it financially usually still end in worsening the situation, just like the cooker bonus:
money from the state given to women who decide to eaise children at home – by the cooker, thus it’s “cooker bonus” -, infact it’s just a cheap try to cover up the lack of daycare centres and kindergardens and a further encouragement to keep the housewife concept alive, may it be unintentional or not. not that i believe there’s a sexist conspiracy going on but sometimes it sure feels that way.

B2T

again, i strongly doubt that games can actually create sexism the way they are now, just like i find it ridiculous to blame games for violence (like school shootings etc.), however if an individual has a tendency towards sexism (or violence etc.) they (teh games) aren’t helpful either.
in the end it all comes down to education (of course laws that ensure equality don’t hurt either and the’d most liekly speed up the process)

Last edited Jun 03, 2013 at 02:05PM EDT
Jun 03, 2013 at 02:03PM EDT
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At least the thread’s not dead. I thought by now I’d have drove everyone off with my nagging and cynicism o_o

Brucker the memetic wizard wrote:

Your points about Dishonored are interesting ones. If the game discourages you from indiscriminate killing, then that’s certainly a point in its favor, and might have been noteworthy. In other videos where Sarkeesian talks about the Bechdel Test, she points out that there are good movies that fail and bad movies that pass; it probably would have been good to mention if a game may have used the DiD trope, but was a fresh take on gaming anyway. I’m sure many such games exist.
If Corvo is the protagonist of the game, I don’t see how one can call him “helpless”. Although I’ve never played the game, it seems to me that a truly helpless protagonist would mean you don’t have what can really be called a game. Imagine a gender-reversed Super Mario in which you play as the Princess--not rescuing Mario, but sitting in King Koopa’s prison waiting for him to show up and bust you out.

Yeah, I honestly thought it was pretty well put together, and twisted in some cool elements (there’s actually an reference to Portal in the researchers building. [Insert Aperture Science joke]). But, the publisher was Bethesda, so, I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t a high caliber game.
I’m going to call you on what you say about Corvo in reference to something you later say about Midna, so, just hold that thought for a moment.

As for Anita in Infamous (a game I have played, but only for about an hour at a friend’s house), I think the “women in refrigerators” trope isn’t about how long the love interest has been dead, but the mere fact that a woman essentially becomes a human sacrifice on the altar of male character development. (I’m not certain that gender has to be a part of it; it may only be common with those gender roles.) Re-reading what you said, I guess that may have not been your point, but if she dies no matter what choices you make, the effect is largely the same.

I suppose that makes sense. Though, it should be noted that Trish is the embodiment of “good” and selflessness (constantly urging you to do what is best for everyone, and not things that only help you, even if they would also make it easier for Trish like in the beginning where you can choose to shoot civilians with lightning to keep provisions for yourself, Trish, and your best friend, or allow civilians to all get provisions, and of course, your party getting less.), as she’s a medical student and is so adamant at helping others. The game implements a karma system that actively affects in game experience (unlike Fallouts karma which is only to gauge how much “bad” or “good” you’ve done). For example, choosing the “bad” or evil path, citizens will scream at him as though a monster and will gang up on him if he stays around for too long, whereas choosing the good path, citizens will cheer him and ask for autographs, and will be inspired by him to fight the gangs of the city instead of fear them.
Trishes ideals always align with “good”, and choosing to take the selfish or bad action will result in your relationship with her dissolve until her death (which, if you choose to save her--the selfish choice, as it sacrifices 6 (correcting myself from earlier, I thought it was 10), her final words will be to you will be ones of disapproval and rejection, whereas if you choose the selfless path, she is proud that you have grown into a man who cares more about others than his own desires. And in Infamous 2, your own needs, which I want to expand on in a second.)
I think the sex of Trish is too scoped in on, and not the situation itself, that is: Someone who has to choose the person they love, or doing what is right. After playing this, it made me think about if it were me in either position. I would want to live, but I recognize that not only would that kill more people, but people with more influence than me and would want to both save and have my lover save the other people (and, even asked my ex at the time what he would do to which he responded he’d save me. After which, we argued about, till I got him to promise to save the others.) Whatever sex, we can relate (either questioning what we would want as the captive, or the decider, or both), as I find the notion a bit insulting that people would think gamers (female and male) are too obtuse to be able to show a bit of abstraction unless they are the same sex as the person in question.
I also want to note (spoiler for Infamous 2), that if you continue down the path of good, it will lead to your self destruction in order to save many others lives (now where have we seen this before?). And choosing the path of evil or selfishness will lead to the death of many, as well as your best friend. Although Infamous was a good game (and, Infamous 2, though I liked it less), it’s by no means a game with a happy ending any way you spin it (much like the dismay gamers showed at the _Mass Effect 3) endings initially). I guess what I’m getting at is that while Anita claims to be looking at this at a (in her own words) “Big Picture Perspective”, she ironically looks at it with a rather myopic scope.

Admittedly, while the simple idea of “damsel in distress” is pretty well-defined, a lot of the other things she brings up are more subjective, so asking for “accuracy” ends up being subjective as well. Even something that seems objective might not be, for that matter. People who respond to Sarkeesian with lists of female VG protagonists almost invariably bring up Samus Aran, but consider this: in the original Metroid, the player didn’t know Samus was female until the end of the game! In some ways, it makes Metroid more of a game with a “gender unspecified” protagonist. That’s probably too big of a can of worms to open, though.

I disagree. To get a better grasp, we need to look at Metroid at the way gamers at the time saw it, and not in a modern view. Most thought that by default Samus is a guy (like all main characters at the time), but when the helmet come of, surprise, surprise, you’ve been a woman the whole time, challenging the idea that men are the only ones who are the heroes. If there were ever a class on ‘The History of Video Games’ Metroid would be up there with developments like online gaming, first depictions of blood and gore, and other game changers (hehe). I think you take for granted how crucial the game was for female gamers today who want strong female protagonists. But, yeah it is a whole other thing in its own merit.
[part 1, dear lard x.x]

Last edited Jun 03, 2013 at 07:33PM EDT
Jun 03, 2013 at 07:23PM EDT
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Brucker the memetic wizard wrote:

Twee wrote:
It’s not like Sarkeesian is the only person ever to not have comments under a video – when you watch a TV documentary they dont have viewers comments at the bottom of the screen, you have to open your own discussions about it.

Good point. Maybe the Internet has spoiled us? If Sarkeesian’s video were shown as a documentary on PBS instead of an independent YouTube clip, probably a lot of people would still dislike it, but nobody would think for a second that the lack of an open comment section on their TV was a problem. So why is it such a big issue?

If I may chime in where I may not be invited x.x
I want to say, that Anita does not just address womens portrayal in video games, but also paints men in games, who create the games, and the men who play them to be misogynistic on some level (and she throws the word around a lot looser than one should).
A quote from her Ted Talks speech: “… They [male gamers] try to silence and discredit my work. thought the larger implicit goal here is to actually maintain the status quo of video games as a male dominated space. And all the privileges and entitlements of an unquestioned all boys club.”
Now, first, I don’t think everyone who targets her hates/dislikes her as a woman, but may just hate/dislikes her. Second, the gaming community is anything other than unquestioned, and gets a lot of guff from psychologists, sociologists and lawyers who question the effects of gaming. Lastly it is also nothing close to an “all boys” club, a good portion (around 40%) of video gamers are women. They are definitely the minority by this 20% gap, but they aren’t nonexistent, or even close to that. It’s unsubstantiated or exaggerated claims like these that spill oil all over the fire.
And for the record, what the hackers and trolls and butthurt gamers that harassed her did was a stupid, horrible, immature approach, and I do feel bad for her on that. But she fails to acknowledge that there are also critics out there (like myself, if I may boast) who challenge her in a non-threatening, albeit critical, way.
I would also like to take a moment to point out that her Ted Talk on youtube is the only I’ve ever come across on their channel that has been censored. The name of the convention is called Ted Talks, not “Ted Tells You What You Should Think”, and this is a very abhorrent thing to do in scientific circles (which, Ted Talks happen to be) because criticism is a very crucial aspect of scientific finding.
It might be okay if she as a personal owner of her channel wants to censor it. But if she as an academic wants to ever be considered relevant, can’t hide behind it because bad people and critics exist (think about all the crap Galileo had to go through and his stuff wasn’t accepted till way after his death.)

Brucker the memetic wizard wrote:

This came up in a debate in another politically charged (unrelated) thread here a long time ago. As much as I am a cynic, I like to think that hoping for the death of evil people is far less admirable than hoping for the reformation of evil people. If you had a magic box with two buttons, where pressing button A would kill every homophobe on the planet, and pressing button B would make them suddenly realize how hateful they were, which button would you press? Maybe that’s too easy; what if button B spared their lives, but made them aware that a gay man had held their fate in his hand for a moment and decided to show them mercy?

This is a bit of a loaded question. It would, of course, be best if people could work out solutions through reason and understanding, not violence. Except, this notion is based on an idealistic world where people are willing to listen, accept criticism, be respectful, discuss and change. Realistically we don’t always have the answers or the time we need to convince said opponents, or our opponents lack the empathy required (if the solution was as simple as you say, we’d have rid the world of pretty much all humanly issues since the bronze age.)
Also we are talking about a video game/video games in general, so keep in mind your antagonist is often symbolically personifying the definition of evil.

Expect it? No, but then we’re talking about video games: this is fantasy! Have you ever played the game Heart of Darkness? It’s arguably in the DiD category, since the protagonist’s main motivation is to rescue a kidnap victim, but in this case it’s a pre-teen boy rescuing his dog from evil beings from another world. On the pro side, it’s neat to see a kid taking control of his own destiny and overcoming his fears (a major theme of the game); on the con side, you’ll end up seeing the kid die a lot of gruesome deaths So, pretty violent game, but I think a positive message anyway: that kids can sometimes fight their own battles. Don’t you like to see kids in popular media that are more than helpless pawns, even when it’s sometimes not very believable? I know I do.

Once again, this feels loaded. On one hand, it is interesting to have the idea of kids taking on active roles, however, on the other, I feel I would get slack from those who say it would “normalize the behavior” (bet that sounds familiar) of expecting children to take on the world on their own. So, honestly not sure how to answer…
It’s also quite hypocritical to say “(video games) unrealistically portray women” then turn around and say “(video games) are fantasy, it’s okay if certain things are unrealistic!”….
[part 2]

Last edited Jun 03, 2013 at 07:35PM EDT
Jun 03, 2013 at 07:29PM EDT
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Interesting, but again, I think you’re missing the point. Let me use my own example from comics. In the X-Men, there is a character called “Rogue” who, if you anything about X-Men from comics, cartoons, or live-action movies, you’ve probably seen. Her mutant power is that she absorbs other people’s essence when she comes into physical contact with them. In Fantastic Four, scientist and hero Reed Richards creates costumes made of “unstable molecules” that allow superheroes to wear clothes that don’t interfere with their powers: the Human Torch won’t burn off his outfit, Invisible Girl doesn’t need to strip to become invisible, etc. Most heroes in the Marvel universe wear these clothe for convenience and because they’re supposed to be highly durable. Back to Rogue. Often after a major battle, Rogue would come away from the fight with her outfit slashed to ribbons, which rarely seemed to happen to Wolverine or Cyclops. I don’t know if it’s ever been said, but my theory was that due to the nature of her powers, it’s impractical for Rogue to wear unstable molecule clothing; she needs regular cloth to keep her powers under control, not let them loose, so her outfit isn’t as tough as those of male heroes.
Oh, or maybe because most of the fans are heterosexual males and Rogue has a sexy body, someone figured sales would be boosted by showing a little skin.
You can theorize about all the reasons that something happens in a story you want, and your reasons may be correct or not, but ultimately, things happen in stories because the writers of the stories decided that was what happened.

Well of course I know about Rouge, though, I didn’t know Mr. Fantastics stuff carried over to other comics o.o
I think what I was getting at is as a gamer, when Zelda got captured I didn’t think it had anything to do with her being a girl, but being a triforce wielder, way to lure Link to Ganondorfs home court advantage, and the only person to be able to put the final nail in ganondorfs coffin. Then someone swoops in and says “Hey, Zelda’s a girl, that’s why she was captured”, when my gaming experience says its more than just that.
Then the game is painted as misogynistic, and therefore people who liked it must be misogynists by association. This comes back to her analysis being rather myopic, as well as inflammatory.
And yes, Zelda didn’t have to be a girl, could have been a boy if the writers decided so. But, the ones who tend to reduce her to just a woman, are often the critics and not the gamers who played them. I (and I’d say a lot of other gamers) see her and others as a lot more. Which is not to say, the frequency of the trope isn’t annoying, or would be something people would hate if it was reduced.
idk, that may just be me.

Oh yeah, Twilight Princess is one of the four Zelda games I’ve played, and Midna (except for in a transitional point near the middle of the story) is far from helpless. In fact, I almost wondered why she felt she needed Link, who is largely helpless without her.

No offense, but, the two are a team. It’s examined in TP that their “two worlds cannot coexist”, and as such Link is disempowered outside his respective world, and vice versa for Midna, meaning they rely on one another to fight an opponent who is trying to conquer both.
A theme of the game is also how people who are different can work together (as different as light and shadow as one might say, heh).
Midna also confesses after being saved by Zelda, that she intended to use Link and abandon the world of Light once she had what she needed, but because of Links tenacity and Zeldas selflessness inspires her to save both worlds. (Oh no, a people used for character development of another woman! Bad bad.)

I also want to call to where you said “(except for in a transitional point near the middle of the story) is far from helpless.” Meaning, there is a phase you label her helpless. And do consider Midna a main protagonist. Yet, earlier told me that it’s an impossibility for a main protagonist to ever be helpless (i.e. Corvo, and to that extent, Link, as he was imprisoned too.) It is a double standard to say that Midna can be helpless because she is on the verge of death, but not Corvo or Link, who would have been executed or died in a cell, respectively, without assistance.

She likes big "but"s and she cannot lie… Sorry, couldn’t resist.
There is always a but, though. There are good female protagonists, but the mere existence of them is not the issue, it’s the imbalance, and that’s not going to be fixed overnight. Also, I don’t know if Sarkeesian is the sort of feminist who feels (unrealistically, IMO) that this is a problem until the day comes that all video game protagonists are exactly 50% female (or maybe 49% male, 49% female, and 2% trans/intersex), but I think it’s the nature of social imbalance that fixing it is near-impossible, but that doesn’t mean we should be ignoring the issue and not trying our best to deal with it. Case in point, next post:

Well, I was saying her, erm, “buts” will more than likely be used to disregard them because of flaws she finds in characters (she already denounced Bayonetta. But characters that inflate societal pressures is a whole ’nother issue.) Not used as a way to say that while they are there they are scarcer than their male counterparts (which I agree with).

I have a problem with this in some ways, and its a place where I definitely differ from Sarkeesian’s point of view. In another video she derided the film The Help as being a film in which “white people solve racism.” (I haven’t seen it, so make of it what you will.) This is the thing: I think it an unfortunate fact that the nature of (institutionalized) racism that it has been and often still is a problem that white people do need to solve. While I understand that this may disempower people of color, someone would need to explain to me how, let’s say, a young black woman in the ‘50s living in the deep South is supposed to fix racism and sexism. For racism to end, it’s the racists themselves who have to mature, not the victims of racism. Certainly strong, brave, and virtuous African-Americans like MLK were highly influential in overcoming the evils of that era, but in the end, someone like Rosa Parks only overcomes white racism once the whites decide to give in.
With sexism, it’s the same. Women need to fight for equality, but when men have the power, the only options are to convince men to cede that power or take up arms and kill every man that gets in your way. If I’m wrong, I’d really like to have it explained to me, because I honestly don’t like it.

I’ve never seen The Help, all I know is there’s a white girl and some black girls, and that’s it so, I’m as knowledgeable about it as you. That aside.
What I mean is, it reinforces the idea that women need men to get things done. Basically, you narrow it down to: Make male developers make games about women or kill male developers. My secret option is: Fund scholarships for girls going into game design or to fund a female protagonist game, thus, women can better influence what they think women want, instead of heckling men for no being women (and that doesn’t mean they can’t still ask game devs for more female protags).
But (Anita’s not the only one who like dem buts) this idea I propose gets shot down any time I suggest it, and I honestly don’t know why. Her kickstarter showed that people are more than interested in correcting such things, so, imagine what they could do if they pool funds and female game devs and designers together.

Oh, definitely! I agree 100%, it’s just that I think in the current day, the consequences are more serious for girls than boys, so that was my focus.

Then I think you may want to take a look at this: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008022.pdf.

In the 2007 Digest of Edu Stats, I direct you to pages 268 and 269, tables 177 and 178.
In the data aforementioned, it is demonstrated that in recent years (05-06), women make up 58.7% of graduates (of associates degree to doctors) of post secondary education institutes, whereas men only make up 41.3%

It may be noted that men lead in the last two degrees that take the most time: 1st professional and doctors, however, only lead women by 1-2%, whereas women lead men in the remaining degrees by a far larger gap.

This trend has started since about 1990 when women began leading men in graduation, but still today it is assumed that women are left behind when it comes to education, which could not be less true. In addition to that, boys are more likely to dropout out of high school than women (1/5 of men dropping out vs. 1/7 of women.)

So, I respectfully ask you exactly how much more help do you think women need to compete with men in education?
[part 3]

Last edited Jun 03, 2013 at 07:46PM EDT
Jun 03, 2013 at 07:42PM EDT
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_ I have a friend who is married with three kids, and he’s decided to be a “house husband”. He gets a lot of flak for it, I understand, because people won’t accept that a guy would want to stay at home to cook, clean, and take care of the kids. There’s much bigger and more extreme rant I have (that’s not on my blog) about how one of the biggest hurdles of the feminist movement is that very issue, but few recognize it. All the work that is considered the sort of things that a housewife does is generally considered of lesser value by a society that tends to place value on actions based on the revenue it produces. There’s very little money in cooking family meals, cleaning bathrooms, changing diapers, etc., but in my opinion, these are the very things that are of the most value to society.
Here’s the real hard part due to that undervaluing: I once read a speech by a prominent feminist in which she stated that if women want to become 50% of the “work force”, then someone needs to convince men to become 50% of home laborers. Her speech was very unpopular, but I think it was right on target. Equality for women is important, but let’s not forget: Who’s watching the kids? What I think would be a good solution to sexual equality would be (and I know not many would agree) to stop devaluing traditional women’s roles. If I’m going out every day to “bring home the bacon” while my wife stays home to take care of our home and children, I have no illusion that the relative importance of her work has anything to do with the size of my paycheck; she’s the one doing the important stuff, even if I’m a millionaire. Okay, I’d better stop there; I can run for days with this crap._
I’m bittersweet on the subject, since I don’t want to take care of kids, even if I get married, and either me or my spouse has a more an adequate salary. But do think that child rearing is important.
That aside, this issue, to me, is a lot more about how wages haven’t kept up since the 50s/60s, where typically men would work and women would raise children, due to the fact the man was being paid enough that both spouses didn’t need to work (now you’re lucky if that’s the case). Therefore, society pushes for a working class and less for child rearers. But, that’s a whole separate issue about numbers and social roles and a whole mess of complexities.

_I know, it’s sexism. Anna Quindlen wrote some time during G.W.B.‘s first term that if the draft were to be reinstated, it should be unisex. It’s my own ingrained sexism that makes this leave a bad taste in my mouth, but logically, I know she’s right.

Well, glad you agree. No one likes war, but, I didn’t get a choice to sign for the S.S. if I wanted to vote, it’s only fair my female counterparts be required to do the same.

A feminist “Let’s play” is a great idea! Instead of talking in general terms, she could take an example game and work through it with commentary on the imagery of the game. That would be entertaining and educational. I figure she uses cut scenes because they tend to be the part of a game that is more plot-focused.

Well, I say this for 2 reasons: the first, as a validation that she does play the games she is so critical of. And the second, out of sheer curiosity.
What I meant about the cut scenes is, the default is her face. Every time she’s done showing you whatever exemplifies her point, she returns to her face. But why? Why not gameplay? One thing psychology teaches you is we do everything for a reason. Her need to be on screen for the largest part of the video, and not show any game play, says something.

Having played TP, I get what the point is about the “Helpful Damsel”. First, if Zelda has a powerful weapon to use against Ganondorf, what was she waiting for? Oh wait, that’s not a rhetorical question; she was waiting for the empowered male to do the actual fighting. The real point though is that her helpfulness is just a token action on her part. As you said before and I agreed, Midna is central to the main plot and gameplay; take out the brief scene in which Zelda helps Link fight Ganondorf, and you’d hardly notice the difference. I did a full playthrough of TP twice, and the second time, I was thinking, “Oh, yeah, she actually does something here.” (Although there is the fairly memorable--if confusing--self-sacrifice she performs for Midna at that midpoint I mentioned before, which I’ll take as a positive aspect of her portrayal in the game.)

Well, if I may get technical again. Ganondorf has his signature Triforce of Power, which, grants him great strength, magic, and constitution (and actually saves him from death by the sages execution). Whereas Zelda is skilled in magic/archery, she is not skilled in sword combat, much as Link is skilled in sword combat/archery, but not magic. I like to think because of this, the two depend on each other--working in conjunction to overpower him as a team.
In consideration, Miyamoto could have made Zelda just give Link the arrows, as he is skilled in archery too (much like in OoT), then Link do everything and Zelda do nothing, but instead decided to make her part of the battle too. While I acknowledge they are not equal in participation, I hardly consider that a “token”. And would say that if you want her to be more active, acknowledge this as a step in the right direction, instead of bash it because it’s not exactly there yet (I like to think that reinforcing ideas you want to be better than just crushing ones you don’t like when it comes to making progressive changes.)

I don’t know about never but I suppose it’s not off the mark to suggest more positive suggestions would help this video series. Hopefully some of that will be seen in the third installment. Nonetheless, I’d also say that it’s not Sarkeesian’s job to solve the problem, since she’s not a VG designer.
It’s an imperfect analogy, but I used to be a high school algebra teacher. When one of my students did something wrong, it wouldn’t have fixed the problem to say, “Nope, x is equal to 7!” I always told them that the process was more important than the specific answer; if you figure out how to do math right, the correct answer will follow naturally. So rather than tell them the solution, I needed to say things like, “You were on the right track, but here? You can’t divide by zero.”
Sarkeesian is saying (at least, it’s what I hear from her videos) that VG developers need to stop telling the same anti-feminist story over and over again and tell some new stories of value.

If I build off your analogy, where Anita is the teacher and game developers are the students, she is not saying “You’re close, but look here.” She dismisses (Bayonetta in another video, which) or omits (Midna) anything that could be considered progressive , instead she just skips to the part where she addresses “This is wrong. This is wrong. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. Do it over”. As a teacher, she’d be rather inadequate if all she cares about is pointing out what a student did wrong, but does not take the initiative teach any new techniques.

On the contrary, it appears to me that this is based on her own study. And your point further down in the paragraph about providing statistics? It might be helpful for some people, but as I said above, these concepts are subjective, and as I’ve aid repeatedly elsewhere as a mathematician, statistics tend to be complete bullshit which few people understand anyway.

I’m not a mathematics major, but, think that numbers help prove a point. One thing is, I’m not hearing too much from actual female gamers if this is true on Ms. Sarkeesians point (i.e. “when you played this game, did you think it was domestic violence to kill [x]?” “When you played this game did it make you think your sex makes you weaker as a woman?” etc.). I’m finding a lot of men and non-gamers stand up to insist they know what female gamers really think (the irony of stripping female agency), and simply assert “This is how they feel” or “This is how they should feel.” As I pointed out to Twee, I find it hard to believe this is true if 40% gamers are women. I’d be more comfortable if this claim can be substantiated, not the same person telling me “it’s true”.

This whole paragraph is interesting, but I’d like to give my opinion about her choice of wording. While I do think she’s really giving her opinion, she’s also trying to present herself in a scholarly manner, and I remember from college being repeatedly told that when presenting a thesis, a writer should refrain from “weak” language. Sarkeesian has probably been trained to avoid phrases like “I think” and “in my opinion” because academics frown on such non-assertive language. I’ve probably had a total of eight years of college, and that sort of thing was hammered into me often, but I never liked it, and don’t use it unless I have to. (I also had professors tell me I was too wordy, go figure!)

That doesn’t really help what you’re saying then… she uses a lot of qualifiers like “feels like”, “often times”, and “tends to”. If she is asserting these things to be universally factual, they are too flexible, and as her own opinion lack the personal responsibility of the claim. Her approach is also frowned by academics as it only scopes in to find what fits her theory, not examining the whole picture (and as I pointed out, her Ted Talks censors comments, which, in academic circles is about as taboo as it gets.)
And her definition of a damsel is so loose it leaves room for her to dismiss any possible strong female character as long as she has been made vulnerable at some point (whereas, when this happens for guys, I get shot down for pointing that out.)

Jun 03, 2013 at 07:53PM EDT
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Ready to hear me say something anti-feminist? Women are weaker, in general. In another discussion we had here long ago, I noted that early in my marriage, I actually gave my wife permission to hit me if she ever got frustrated enough. She’s a foot shorter than me, and nowhere near as strong, and I doubt she could punch me hard enough to even make a bruise. On the other hand, even without working out, I’m such a naturally large and physically strong person, for all I know I could kill her with a punch. (I don’t hit people, ever.)
Now, does that mean that someone should kidnap my wife and force me to fight a bunch of people to free her? Yes, if my wife were kidnapped, she would probably be helpless to escape under her own power. Yes, if I felt that becoming violent would be helpful to my wife’s safety, I probably would perform ugly deeds that I wouldn’t in the normal course of things. In what way does that make disempowering women or encouraging violence in men “appropriate”? I think I understand what you’re saying, but I think “appropriate” isn’t the right word.

Ah. Forgive my language, I can be rather crass x.x
As an addendum, I don’t think it’s anti-feminist to say that men on average are stronger (it’s a fact, and facts can’t choose who they are in regards to). But as I argued with someone else, in video games, most the time physicality is not a big issue. In most games you are granted powers by mystical or technological extensions of yourself, and as such either sex could wield them in most cases (i.e. elemancy, guns, warships, etc.)

P.S. x.x this is either my opus magnum of debate on something video game related. Or my death… wait. Yup, it’s the later. Good bye all

Last edited Jun 03, 2013 at 08:01PM EDT
Jun 03, 2013 at 07:58PM EDT
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Fuck! I wish I could absorb the powers of tl:dr in this thread for whenever I have to type a paper…

Jun 03, 2013 at 09:28PM EDT
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Skeletor-sm

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