Anita Sarkeesian Wasn’t So Bad

Let me preface this by saying that I actually do not much care in either direction about Gamer Gate or any drama like that, in fact I don’t even know what gamer gate was. I do think that Anita Sarkeesian was quite interesting as a game critic, though.

I liked her video about male characters having their butts hidden by design whereas female characters bodies are accentuated and displayed. Its funny and something I didn’t even realize was happening. It actually is a really insightful and intriguing cultural criticism. She certainly has some interesting things to say about video games. Agree or disagree, it is engaging to hear such a different opinion.

However, for some bizarre reason a huge drama seemed to form around her. She was never really calling for games to be banned or blowing any of the issues out of proportion. There was no demand that freedom of expression be compromised. She was just suggesting ways games could be more inclusive and appeal to a wider audience.

I get that some people thought she was acting as the fun police and I suppose to some extent she was. A lot of video games are a fantasy targetted at a male demographic. James Bond is the same sort of thing featuring hot women and gun fights and so on. There is nothing particularly wrong about a male-centric fantasy, but I think Anita’s main point was that a bit of balance is needed. Balance in the portrayal of women so that we get female characters that are not all supermodels in love with the player character flaunting their bodies and waiting to be rescued or even killed.

I suppose a lot of people watching this video are likely getting frustrated with me and have every counter example under the sun of female characters that break the mould. Its true, you can find them, but at the same time the general rule of video games is that female characters will be attractive and sexualized even if the situation does not really call for it. In fact not just general rule, but overwhelming majority of cases particularly historically. Look at Tifa from Final Fantasy, Lara Croft from the earlier Tomb Raider games, the girls from Dead and Alive. Hideo Kojima’s games seem to include more and more fan service as they go on. The amount of fan service in the games industry is pretty crazy.

I just don’t see what is so bad about asking for a wider spectrum of portrayal of women. Asking for that and offering reasonable criticism of the lack of movement in that direction really is not a big deal. The truth is that the negative response to her fairly benign criticism makes me think there might be a bigger problem going on underneath after all. Her criticisms and the things she suggested were actually not so unreasonable, and certainly should not have illicited the extreme responses she seemed to get. Agree or disagree with her, if there is ever an instance where you find yourself getting strongly emotional about a subject you need to reflect on that and try to figure out why that is. After all, its just her opinion so why should it distress you so much? (Big Lebowski opinion man clip)

Personally, I quite enjoyed listening to her criticism and thought she had some good points. She should’ve focused a bit more on being funny and a tad less serious, because video games in general aren’t serious. However, she didn’t say anything that should’ve riled people up the way she did and people are still talking with some regularity about her all these years later. If you are one of the people particularly agitated by her maybe you need to sit down on reflect on why that is. Maybe there is a problem after all.

Is it the small amount of fame she achieved? The money she made? What is it exactly about her that continues to have people so riled up. Leave a comment and of course subscribe to my channel.