Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers takes a look at video games


Video Games

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Yeah... the videos are slick and well-produced, without being overly flashy. I'm in the first one, about the Damsel in Distress, right now, and I'm noticing something: she's talking entirely about Japanese games.

So, is she critiquing the games industry or is she critiquing Japanese culture and attitudes?

EDIT: Oops. Make that "almost entirely." Prince of Persia (1989) was American, right?

EDIT2: Whoa... everything was OK until about 21:00... then Rant Mode began. Ick.

-Matt


She doesn't critique exclusively Japanese games if that is what you are asking. Her most recent video goes on about the newest(?) Hitman game IIRC.

Her conjecture seems to be equal parts transmission as reception. So in some sense she is critiquing Japanese culture and attitudes that resulted in the 'tropes' in those specific games, but also that those games are the cause for those attitudes in the culture as well. Her partner/producer said something to that effect on twitter regarding violence in video games recently (that they cause the audience to become violent) so I'd assume that the stance regarding sexism is consistent.

Basically the "Life imitates Art" argument.


Hmm...

It appears that we could reduce this trope down to what it actually is: A method of motivating the player to play the game, while using as little time as possible. Can anyone think of a faster way to do that?

Besides money. Heh, I wonder... if Donkey Kong had Jumpman going after a pile of money, would "Are video games avaricious?" be a thing?

-Matt


Mechapoet wrote:
Nah. Sarkeesian's titles posit that there are sexist tropes in video games. What exactly is sexism if it's not "out to get women?"

Collateral damage.

There is a difference between the games portraying women negatively and the games being out to portray women negatively on purpose.

There's a pretty long list of why the trope is there (Anitas video went into some of them)

-Most gamers are male and "get the girl" gives them an easy, clearcut goal they can identify with.
-Traditions older than time
- Gamers want to identify with the main character, they want to BE the main character which can be a little off putting if the main character is female.
-Video game designers being lazy at story writing
-The need to justify the copious amounts of violence the character will probably do.
-Internal conflict isn't great for a male audience, and video games don't do them well anyway.
- One character beating up a male character makes them a combatant. Beating up a woman quickly identifies you as the villain.


I've watched the first few videos so far, aside from some very occasional snark here and there and a couple context based errors I've caught I don't understand why this would upset anyone. It's very tame and innocuous.


Remember, you can find any and all kinds of crazy on the Internet if you look hard enough.

-Matt


Yuugasa wrote:
I've watched the first few videos so far, aside from some very occasional snark here and there and a couple context based errors I've caught I don't understand why this would upset anyone. It's very tame and innocuous.

The initial uproar was before the videos were made, so no doubt part of the reaction was an expectation of something a lot worse. I didn't really follow it when it happened so I can't really give much more than that.

There is also a long history in attacking 'gamers' and games for perceived problems, like violence in games causing violence in society, which was roundly rejected and by gamers and this has primed the pump for further similar criticism. Part of the issue here is that the gaming press at the time was roundly against this argument, but were here very soundly in favor of the argument that sexism in games causes sexism in society despite the fact that seemingly the same exact reasoning would used to reject both arguments.


That makes sense, Powerdome. It sounds like what could be going on is that we have hard data to reject the Columbine-era argument of video games and violence, but data on sexism is a lot more difficult to collect.

-Matt


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Mattastrophic wrote:
It sounds like what could be going on is that we have hard data to reject the Columbine-era argument of video games and violence, but data on sexism is a lot more difficult to collect.

And to muddy the waters even further, some like classify sexism (in video games) as revealing garb (only when on women), plot-related violence (again, only when it happens to women), the possibility of plot-related violence (yet again, only when it happens to women), exaggerated anatomy (sing it with me! only when it's applied to women), and so on (there's a trend here, I know it).


Finished her video game videos, pretty good. Lots of stuff worth discussion and argument, nothing "worth" death threats. Most of her points were actually pretty basic I found, but that makes sense as it's just some of the parts of an ongoing series and is also apparently designed for simplicity and to be easily understood.

Shadow Lodge

Mattastrophic wrote:
EDIT2: Whoa... everything was OK until about 21:00... then Rant Mode began. Ick.

Heh. Yeah, I've watched some of her videos in the past, and she has the tendancy to kill her own message sometimes by the way she puts it forth. For the Women in Refrigerators video, it came EXTREMELY early. I think that literally the first words she said in that one were "I've never actually read [the Green Lantern story that spawned the name of that particular trope], BUT...."


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mechaPoet wrote:

Right, well, I can see this is going nowhere fast.

So, let's just go in a completely different direction that pertains to the topic at hand: instead of (or in addition to, whatever) watching Dr. Sommers' video about sexism in video games that doesn't really go into many specifics, why not watch Anita Sarkeesian's videos? They do a great job of pointing out and giving in-depth explanations of prevalent and pervasive sexism in video games.

The problem with Sarkeesian's videos is she has a tendency to start off reasonable and then very quickly snowball into ranting and/or whining, which she fails to back up nearly as much as the initial parts of each video.

It's like she tries to draw you in with something interesting and then when you're invested in the video she goes into full on "THIS IS MY AGENDA AND I WILL SHOVE IT INTO EVERYTHING" mode.

At least IMO.

She's not as bad as the worse Tumblrites, but it's hard to take her fully seriously.


Rynjin wrote:
mechaPoet wrote:

Right, well, I can see this is going nowhere fast.

So, let's just go in a completely different direction that pertains to the topic at hand: instead of (or in addition to, whatever) watching Dr. Sommers' video about sexism in video games that doesn't really go into many specifics, why not watch Anita Sarkeesian's videos? They do a great job of pointing out and giving in-depth explanations of prevalent and pervasive sexism in video games.

The problem with Sarkeesian's videos is she has a tendency to start off reasonable and then very quickly snowball into ranting and/or whining, which she fails to back up nearly as much as the initial parts of each video.

It's like she tries to draw you in with something interesting and then when you're invested in the video she goes into full on "THIS IS MY AGENDA AND I WILL SHOVE IT INTO EVERYTHING" mode.

At least IMO.

She's not as bad as the worse Tumblrites, but it's hard to take her fully seriously.

That's basically the reaction I had to those videos. I also felt at times like I was being talked down to while watching them (more so with her non-video game related ones), which tends to put me off. The Twilight one strikes me as a good example of that.


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I'll also admit my opinion of her is also kind of colored by what I see as her abuse of Kickstarter. You do not need people to fund your series of Youtube videos.


Rynjin wrote:
I'll also admit my opinion of her is also kind of colored by what I see as her abuse of Kickstarter. You do not need people to fund your series of Youtube videos.

Eh. that doesn't really bother me so much. If people want to give her money, then that's their choice.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

I've done all I can do.

Shadow Lodge

Rynjin wrote:
I'll also admit my opinion of her is also kind of colored by what I see as her abuse of Kickstarter. You do not need people to fund your series of Youtube videos.

Especially given that I see no real difference between her pre-Kickstarter videos and her post-Kickstarter videos.

Tinkergoth wrote:
That's basically the reaction I had to those videos. I also felt at times like I was being talked down to while watching them (more so with her non-video game related ones), which tends to put me off. The Twilight one strikes me as a good example of that.

Isn't that the one where she tells her male viewers to "repeat after me"?

** rolls eyes **


mechaPoet wrote:
I've done all I can do.

Please note that we're not saying she doesn't have some good points. She clearly does. I just personally dislike the way she makes those points. Talking down to people and ranting aren't particularly helpful, at least in my opinion

She doesn't deserve the hatemail, death threats and general abuse though. No one does.

Though conversely, I'm getting more than a little sick of people hating on "gamers" as a group as well. Twitter responses along the lines of "S!&~ty people who care way too much about video games" to questions like "What does the word gamer mean to you?" are ridiculous. I've been a gamer since I was 8 years old, both tabletop and video game, and while I care about games (probably too much, because they're one of my few hobbies), I object to being referred to as a "s@+#ty person". I try to do right by others, I try to be fair and equal at all times, and I certainly don't support any of the nasty, misogynistic crap that has been spewed online in reaction to Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian. That's basically what every other gamer I personally know is like as well. The (admittedly incredibly loud) vocal minority of bastards does not mean that all of us have to be tarred and feathered, especially when it looks like a lot of the people going nuts about it are also idiotic Mens Rights Activists who decided to jump on the bandwagon to push their own agenda. I've straight up stopped reading sites like Kotaku, because they basically went on the attack against their own readers.

That's about all I have to say about it, so I'll bow out of the discussion now.


Kthulhu wrote:
Tinkergoth wrote:
That's basically the reaction I had to those videos. I also felt at times like I was being talked down to while watching them (more so with her non-video game related ones), which tends to put me off. The Twilight one strikes me as a good example of that.

Isn't that the one where she tells her male viewers to "repeat after me"?

** rolls eyes **

Yeah, that's the one. Like I said, she was making a perfectly reasonable and logical point. But the method of delivery lost me as soon as it made it sound like it was being assumed I couldn't comprehend it without it being spelled out for rote learning.


Some more relevant rants of complete madness and smug pontificating from my beloved Jim Sterling.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
mechaPoet wrote:

Right, well, I can see this is going nowhere fast.

So, let's just go in a completely different direction that pertains to the topic at hand: instead of (or in addition to, whatever) watching Dr. Sommers' video about sexism in video games that doesn't really go into many specifics, why not watch Anita Sarkeesian's videos? They do a great job of pointing out and giving in-depth explanations of prevalent and pervasive sexism in video games.

Because they really arent they cherry pick facts, leave a lot of things out of context? Heck I was for her videos to begin with till several of the inconsitencies were pointed out (Which you wont find on her you tube videos because she disabled comments)

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
mechaPoet wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Linky
And here's some videos responding to each of the Tropes series.

Without actually watching these, this list kind of points at what I was saying earlier:

These video titles, by calling themselves things like "Feminism versus FACTS" and "Why 'Feminism' Posions EVERYTHING," belie the fact that they're not interested in having an actual conversation, but in accusing Anita Sarkeesian of lying and insulting her as "poison." If they had actual points to argue, or were interested in having an actual conversation, they'd present and interpret their evidence without relying on this accusatory language. You'd have a hard time convincing me that these "responses" are little more than mean-spirited attacks.

Actually you really really should watch them there the things that turned my opinion for being pro Anita to against


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Yuugasa wrote:
I've watched the first few videos so far, aside from some very occasional snark here and there and a couple context based errors I've caught I don't understand why this would upset anyone. It's very tame and innocuous.

There is a broader context here. For years - decades, actually - video games have been dismissed from any kind of wider cultural conversation. They're not covered like films and novels are, despite being vastly more popular and making more money than any other media form (bar music, anyway). That's annoyed a lot of gamers for a very long time.

That's changed significantly in the last few years, particularly when the late uber film critic Roger Ebert said that games were not art and later changed his mind after wider exposure to them. This opened up a wider debate and more artistic games (stuff like DEAR ESTHER, JOURNEY) and games less dependent on mass slaughter (PORTAL) or which gave the player more choice and agency (a lot of Bethesda stuff) came to wider attention. Here in the UK we finally got some mainstream, massively popular comedians/critics (Dara O'Briain and Charlie Brooker) who got gaming discussion into the mainstream, and so on.

All of this would be great, but this more widespread acceptance of gaming as a valid modern art form has also led to gaming being dissected from social and cultural perspectives. A key complaint of GamerGate proponents is that "Gameplay is king," and people should be talking about the gameplay as the most important thing and anything social or cultural should be ignored. "It doesn't matter if a game is sexist as long as the game is fun," is a fundamental touchstone of the movement, and the suggestion that sexism makes the game less fun for many players (including male gamers as well as women) seems to genuinely baffle them.

Or, to put it another way, a number of gamers who have argued for years that games should be treated seriously are now rather annoyed that they are being treated seriously and dissected on the same level as other media forms.

Quote:
but were here very soundly in favor of the argument that sexism in games causes sexism in society

I've never seen this argument put forwards by any of the gaming press. The principal complaints I've seen that sexism in general is unpleasant, that it puts off women from gaming and that retards the broader cultural acceptance of video games as a legitimate art form, and that it provides a 'safe haven' where sexist and misogynistic men/boys can gather without having their assumptions challenged.

The suggestion that sexism in games causes sexism in society is pretty farcical for the reasons you suggest, although it can certainly reinforce existing cultural problems in that area.

Quote:
I'll also admit my opinion of her is also kind of colored by what I see as her abuse of Kickstarter. You do not need people to fund your series of Youtube videos.

Probably not, but it's also sensible to get people to pre-buy your product before you make it if at all possible. You could make the same argument about a lot of game projects on Kickstarter (Obsidian, in particular, could have come up with an alternate strategy of funding PILLARS OF ETERNITY, and maybe Larian with DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN) as well.


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Werthead wrote:
A key complaint of GamerGate proponents is that "Gameplay is king," and people should be talking about the gameplay as the most important thing and anything social or cultural should be ignored. "It doesn't matter if a game is sexist as long as the game is fun," is a fundamental touchstone of the movement, and the suggestion that sexism makes the game less fun for many players (including male gamers as well as women) seems to genuinely baffle them.

Do you feel that this is an accurate portrayal of people concerned about the GamerGate events? Where was it enshrined that "Gameplay is king" is a "key complaint" of the movement? Who and where are these people who believe that everything cultural or social about video games should be ignored? Who and where are these people who are "genuinely baffled" by the idea that sexism can make a game less enjoyable?

I don't want to be associated with people like that, but at the same time I'm having a hard time believing that they even exist in numbers large enough that they can be said to define the movement. It sounds like an absurd, tribalistic strawman created to make opposing it easier to stomach.


Scott Betts wrote:
Werthead wrote:
A key complaint of GamerGate proponents is that "Gameplay is king," and people should be talking about the gameplay as the most important thing and anything social or cultural should be ignored. "It doesn't matter if a game is sexist as long as the game is fun," is a fundamental touchstone of the movement, and the suggestion that sexism makes the game less fun for many players (including male gamers as well as women) seems to genuinely baffle them.

Do you feel that this is an accurate portrayal of people concerned about the GamerGate events? Where was it enshrined that "Gameplay is king" is a "key complaint" of the movement? Who and where are these people who believe that everything cultural or social about video games should be ignored? Who and where are these people who are "genuinely baffled" by the idea that sexism can make a game less enjoyable?

I don't want to be associated with people like that, but at the same time I'm having a hard time believing that they even exist in numbers large enough that they can be said to define the movement. It sounds like an absurd, tribalistic strawman created to make opposing it easier to stomach.

That's okay. "male-bashing, propaganda-driven, female chauvinism" seems like the same kind of absurd, tribalistic strawman created to make opposing it easier to stomach to me.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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I lied. There are some things I can show y'all.

Study: Effects of exposure to sex-stereotyped video game characters on tolerance of sexual harassment
Unfortunately, this study is behind a pricey pay-wall. But here's the abstract:

The violent video game literature has previously not extended to the domain of violence against women. The current investigation tested the effects of exposure to sex-typed video game characters versus images of professional men and women on judgments and attitudes supporting aggression against women. Results showed experimental effects of short-term exposure to stereotypical media content on sexual harassment judgments but not on rape myth acceptance. A significant interaction indicated that men exposed to stereotypical content made judgments that were more tolerant of a real-life instance of sexual harassment compared to controls. Long-term exposure to video game violence was correlated with greater tolerance of sexual harassment and greater rape myth acceptance. This data contributes to our understanding of mass media’s role in socialization that supports violence against women.
TL;DR: Playing sexist games actually does make people more sexist.

Regarding Gamer Gate: Zoe Quinn's final thoughts, with lots of helpful links
Here's what GamerGate is actually about: punishing a woman for, I dunno, being a woman? Having a relationship with someone other than her spiteful ex-boyfriend? Trumped up rumors, outright lies, and horrible sexist threats?


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Quote:
Do you feel that this is an accurate portrayal of people concerned about the GamerGate events?

Yes.

Quote:
Where was it enshrined that "Gameplay is king" is a "key complaint" of the movement?

On many recent reviews of a game by many of the 'criticsed' websites (such as RPS and Kotaku) where any criticism of sexism is shot down with, "Who cares? What about the GAMEPLAY? Why won't anyone talk about the GAMEPLAY?" Also see the Wikipedia definition.

Quote:
Who and where are these people who believe that everything cultural or social about video games should be ignored? Who and where are these people who are "genuinely baffled" by the idea that sexism can make a game less enjoyable?

Many supporters of GamerGate.

Quote:
I don't want to be associated with people like that, but at the same time I'm having a hard time believing that they even exist in numbers large enough that they can be said to define the movement. It sounds like an absurd, tribalistic strawman created to make opposing it easier to stomach.

They are the movement.

In the absence of a final arbiter of reality let's go with Wikipedia's definition of the controversy, apparently achieved consensually after approximately forty millions edit wars and screaming matches on the talk page:

Quote:

Gamergate (sometimes referred to as GamerGate or as a Twitter hashtag #gamergate) is a controversy in video game culture concerning long-standing issues of sexism and misogyny in the gamer community and journalistic ethics in the online gaming press, particularly conflicts of interest between video game journalists and developers. The controversy came to wider attention due to harassment that indie game developer Zoe Quinn received after an ex-boyfriend posted allegations on his blog in August 2014 about her personal life that led others to accuse her of professional impropriety to obtain positive media coverage for her game. Those subsequent allegations were shown to be false, but the debate they sparked continued. Other topics of debate have included perceived changes or threats to the "gamer" identity as a result of the maturing and diversifying of the gaming industry.

Cultural changes within the gaming industry, gaming community, and gaming journalism are seen as having formed the situation in which the controversy has arisen. The rising popularity of the medium, and greater emphasis on games as a potential art form, has led to a commensurate focus on social criticism within gaming media and indie works. This shift has prompted opposition from traditional "hardcore" gamers who view games purely as a form of entertainment. This opposition, however, has often been expressed in the form of personal harassment of female figures in the industry rather than constructive cultural conversations. The harassment campaign against Quinn was of such ferocity as to attract significant mainstream media attention which focused on the sexist, misogynistic and trolling elements of the gamer community. Nonetheless allegations of impropriety in gaming media have prompted policy changes at several outlets, and commentators generally agree that the systemic problems in the gaming media need to be discussed. That said, the harassment and misogyny associated with GamerGate is seen as having poisoned the well, and the choice to focus the campaign on a heretofore relatively obscure independent developer rather than AAA publishers has led to questions about its motivations.

tl;dr: GamerGate saw decades-standing question over ethics in video game journalism raised (which is good) but nonsensically over a zero-profit indie video game where all charges of corruption where unequivocally proven false (which is bad) and for some reason the very real corruption of Triple-A publishers and media collusion is completely ignored (which is hypocritical), apparently because no women attempting to write about social issues - however successfully - are involved (which may be sexist) and if there were they would get rape threats (which definitely is sexist, and also illegal).


Mechapoet wrote:
Long-term exposure to video game violence was correlated with greater tolerance of sexual harassment and greater rape myth acceptance.

Well, since men play more video games have have a "greater tolerance of sexual harassment" that's not really a surprise.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Mechapoet wrote:
Long-term exposure to video game violence was correlated with greater tolerance of sexual harassment and greater rape myth acceptance.
Well, since men play more video games have have a "greater tolerance of sexual harassment" that's not really a surprise.

Only if they were really stupid about their control groups.


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mechaPoet wrote:


Regarding Gamer Gate: Zoe Quinn's final thoughts, with lots of helpful links
Here's what GamerGate is actually about: punishing a woman for, I dunno, being a woman? Having a relationship with someone other than her spiteful ex-boyfriend?

No, it's not. That's what some people have made it about, and what Zoe "Drama" Quinn would like to turn everyone's attention to, but that's not what it's about.

It's about journalistic integrity, or lack thereof. Quinn was the catalyst in bring an issue that has existed for a long damn time to light.

The Exchange

Has this subject actually moved on from the last time it was debated here on these boards? Or the time before that?


Rynjin wrote:
mechaPoet wrote:


Regarding Gamer Gate: Zoe Quinn's final thoughts, with lots of helpful links
Here's what GamerGate is actually about: punishing a woman for, I dunno, being a woman? Having a relationship with someone other than her spiteful ex-boyfriend?

No, it's not. That's what some people have made it about, and what Zoe "Drama" Quinn would like to turn everyone's attention to, but that's not what it's about.

It's about journalistic integrity, or lack thereof. Quinn was the catalyst in bring an issue that has existed for a long damn time to light.

Then it would be nice if so much crap wasn't focused on her then, since that's got nothing to do with her.

And apparently nothing to do with sexism either, so why are all the rants about that?

If it's about integrity in gaming journalism, then it should focus on the big names with the money and the influence.


Many people are. Vocal minorities on 4Chan (well, 8Chan now) and their opponents on Tumblr are simply louder. Normal people don't care as much.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

thejeff wrote:

If it's about integrity in gaming journalism, then it should focus on the big names with the money and the influence.

Just a casual browse of the top #GamerGate tweets showed a lot of people urging boycotts of big-name gaming news sites, and giving information on their advertisers and how to contact them. If you haven't seen that, then I'm curious where you're getting your information about what they're saying. Is the conversation different on the various Chans and other forums? I haven't looked at them.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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Rynjin wrote:
mechaPoet wrote:


Regarding Gamer Gate: Zoe Quinn's final thoughts, with lots of helpful links
Here's what GamerGate is actually about: punishing a woman for, I dunno, being a woman? Having a relationship with someone other than her spiteful ex-boyfriend?

No, it's not. That's what some people have made it about, and what Zoe "Drama" Quinn would like to turn everyone's attention to, but that's not what it's about.

It's about journalistic integrity, or lack thereof. Quinn was the catalyst in bring an issue that has existed for a long damn time to light.

Whose journalistic integrity? The journalist Nathan Grayson who Zoe Quinn dated, who never reviewed her game?


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[tangent]
GamerGate is focused on addressing corruption in video games journalism, fighting back outside influences (non-gamers) attempting to manipulate gamer culture, defying censorship covering up the two previous concerns, exposing propaganda masquerading as fact, encouraging new video games journalists, and preserving the existence of a relative free market in game development. The Wikipedia article has been censored time and time again so as to present only "acceptable" narratives.

Professional victims, cultural Marxism, and non-gamers have no business dictating how hardcore game development should progress and what topics should be included.
[/tangent]

I know some would love to keep baiting and trolling to get this thread locked, but can we please get back to the original topic?

onto the sciencedirect link

Karen E. Dill, Brian P. Brown, Michael A. Collins wrote:


Abstract

The violent video game literature has previously not extended to the domain of violence against women. The current investigation tested the effects of exposure to sex-typed video game characters versus images of professional men and women on judgments and attitudes supporting aggression against women. Results showed experimental effects of short-term exposure to stereotypical media content on sexual harassment judgments but not on rape myth acceptance. A significant interaction indicated that men exposed to stereotypical content made judgments that were more tolerant of a real-life instance of sexual harassment compared to controls. Long-term exposure to video game violence was correlated with greater tolerance of sexual harassment and greater rape myth acceptance. This data contributes to our understanding of mass media’s role in socialization that supports violence against women.

Keywords
Stereotypes; Media; Aggression; Sexism; Power; Sexual harassment; Rape myths; Violence against women

Even without buying the pdf, it's clear that the real sexism is coming from those who criticize video games based on social issues alone. They ignore the countless male characters slaughtered, tortured, incinerated, blown apart, and electrocuted en masse and exist only as XP resources. This researched is biased from the word "go"; are there other unbiased research pieces?

Meanwhile, some recommended reading (slightly related):

Three Dirty Academic Words Ending in -ity

Intellectual Bullying

Claire Lehmann on Bad Feminism

EDIT: Forgot the most important link - Richard Dawkins' Postmodernism Disrobed


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Quote:
It's about journalistic integrity, or lack thereof. Quinn was the catalyst in bring an issue that has existed for a long damn time to light.

This is a smokescreen, frankly.

The claim of journalistic ethics in this case is ludicrous. Nathan Grayson never reviewed DEPRESSION QUEST and only mentioned it in passing prior to their relationship starting. When the relationship did start, it was disclosed to the Kotaku team, and any conflict of interest was avoided. DEPRESSION QUEST is also a free game (although at one time you could voluntarily donate to Quinn for it, I belive), so there was no monetary aspect involved.

If we compare this to the incident in 2007 when Jeff Gerstmann was fired from GameSpot after giving KANE & LYNCH a medicore review after the publishers had paid enormous sums of advertising revenue into the site. Four other writers quit in protest. Neither in 2007, when the story first broke, nor in 2012 when the particulars were confirmed, was Eidos or GameSpot DDoSed, doxxed, or anyone involved in either company threatened with rape or had naked pictures of them published.

This was a level of corruption many magnitudes greater than anything in the GamerGate non-scandal, involving millions of dollars of advertising and journalistic ethics compromised on an epic scale, but it was a five-day wonder, over and forgotten about in considerably less time than this current 'scandal' has taken to gestate.

There's also the more recent situation with BATTLEFIELD 4 getting very high and praising reviews despite the game being effectively unplayable for many on release, and taking months to get patched to something acceptable to most players. Again, people have moaned but not made anything like the fuss that has been made about GamerGate.

For something more recent, we have Bethesda's loathsome publishing practices in driving partner companies to the brink of ruin and then buying them up at a bargain cost, something they did to id and Arkane and tried to do to Human Head but were halted in their tracks by legal action. No-one seemed very bothered about that. Or Bethesda's preposterous treatment of Obsidian after they made NEW VEGAS the most successful Bethesda-published game of all time (until SKYRIM).

Controversies in the gaming industry which have destroyed companies and lives and involved corruption to the tune of millions of dollars have been regular occurrences for decades. Yet the fuss made about them was incredibly muted until a female games creator released a free game and then - some time later - had a relationship with a journalist who had absolutely nothing to do with her game.

I have zero doubt that there are many supporters of GamerGate who don't care about Quinn or Sarkeesian, aren't sexist and are concerned about gaming review ethics. But they've attached themselves to a poisoned cause.


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Has this subject actually moved on from the last time it was debated here on these boards? Or the time before that?

No.

But neither do street fighter characters, and I replay that game on occasion.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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Necromancer wrote:
Even without buying the pdf, it's clear that the real sexism is coming from those who criticize video games based on social issues alone. They ignore the countless male characters slaughtered, tortured, incinerated, blown apart, and electrocuted en masse and exist only as XP resources.

Nah. It ain't clear when we don't have their definition of what constitutes aggression or violence toward women in the study. So it's a bit of a wash in trying to argue whether they do or don't address violence against women as opposed to that against men without seeing the actual paper.

But here's the thing: in this context, "violence against women" most likely means a specific thing. Or at least, here's my take on it. Bioshock: Infinite, for instance, has some female police officer enemies (and later, female rebels to fight). When they're presented as equals in capability and agency to their male counterparts (even if you're just going to shoot them or summon a swarm of crows to attack them or whatever), that's fine.

However, their are tons of examples of violence against women in (mainstream and otherwise) games where this violence is used for reasons of plot (to motivate the almost-certainly-male protagonist) or shock value. Female characters are rarely given the same kind of agency as their male counterpoints (limited as an expendable mook's agency may be). The Feminist Frequency videos point out this discrepancy over and over again, so I'll direct you to those for examples.


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thejeff wrote:
That's okay. "male-bashing, propaganda-driven, female chauvinism" seems like the same kind of absurd, tribalistic strawman created to make opposing it easier to stomach to me.

I wouldn't call that accurate, either. Why is it okay to portray either side that way?


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mechaPoet wrote:

Regarding Gamer Gate: Zoe Quinn's final thoughts, with lots of helpful links

Here's what GamerGate is actually about: punishing a woman for, I dunno, being a woman? Having a relationship with someone other than her spiteful ex-boyfriend? Trumped up rumors, outright lies, and horrible sexist threats?

Do you feel like you have the authority to decide, unilaterally, what a movement you are not a part of is "about"? Putting the shoe on the other foot, would you feel justified in being angry if someone opposed to your own movement tried to define, for you, what your movement is about based on the actions of a fraction of people who identify with it?


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Quote:

GamerGate is focused on addressing corruption in video games journalism, fighting back outside influences (non-gamers) attempting to manipulate gamer culture, defying censorship covering up the two previous concerns, exposing propaganda masquerading as fact, encouraging new video games journalists, and preserving the existence of a relative free market in game development. The Wikipedia article has been censored time and time again so as to present only "acceptable" narratives.

Professional victims, cultural Marxism, and non-gamers have no business dictating how hardcore game development should progress and what topics should be included.

Translation:

GamerGate is focused on using alleged but unproven corruption in video game journalism coverage of non-profit-making indie games as a smokescreen and diversionary tactic so that a small number of self-identified "hardcore gamers" can fight back against the encroachment of women and minority groups in trying to make gaming more inclusive. They view the social/cultural criticism of gaming as a threat to the games they play (violent and male-dominated, exemplified by militaristic first-person shooters) and that it will expose many alleged "hardcore gamers" as people who behave extremely badly online.

They are utterly opposed to the existence of a free market in game development, as such a market exists right now and the rise of Kickstarter/indie games allows minority voices to be heard more prominently than previously.

Supporters of GamerGate seem gripped by an irrational fear that the games they prefer are in some kind of danger from this expansion of gaming to be a much larger, more varied and more general medium, despite the likes of CALL OF DUTY and GTA still selling tens of millions of copies per game and being the biggest-selling franchises in gaming history.

It should be noted that the self-identified "hardcore gamers" who support GamerGate tend to be young-ish (teens and twenties), heavily invested a small number of genres (console shooters, predominantly) and not very well-versed in the history of the medium (particularly the 1980s/90s adventure and roleplayng games that actually had quite a few major female characters and even developers without the sky collapsing). This makes it more amusing when they dismiss arguments running counter to their own as coming from "non-gamers", given they tend to be as knowledgeable about the wider history and culture of the medium as a box of frogs :)

The previous paragraph may be a strawman, however.


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I would be very interested in Scott's definition of GamerGate at this stage, and an explanation for why GamerGate's first target was a non-profit-making indie game which hadn't actually been reviewed and barely even mentioned by the journalistin question, and not one of the much bigger, much more clearly fraudulent incidents of publisher/journalist collusion that took place in the past.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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Scott Betts wrote:
mechaPoet wrote:

Regarding Gamer Gate: Zoe Quinn's final thoughts, with lots of helpful links

Here's what GamerGate is actually about: punishing a woman for, I dunno, being a woman? Having a relationship with someone other than her spiteful ex-boyfriend? Trumped up rumors, outright lies, and horrible sexist threats?
Do you feel like you have the authority to decide, unilaterally, what a movement you are not a part of is "about"? Putting the shoe on the other foot, would you feel justified in being angry if someone opposed to your own movement tried to define, for you, what your movement is about based on the actions of a fraction of people who identify with it?

That's a fair criticism and question.

Before I go any further, this article explains the origins of Gamer Gate. In a 3756-page log of a 4chan IRC involving the spiteful ex of Zoe Quinn, it is pretty clearly revealed how they invented Gamer Gate as an ostensibly-about-journalistic-integrity front for attacking Zoe Quinn in awful, sexist, and often illegal ways. So that's how it was born.

If it's now about actual corruption and journalistic scandals of the sort that Werthead mentioned (which has often been passed over, apparently--personally I've never heard of any of that, which I guess is kind of the point), then that's cool. I'm down with that. But I've pretty much only heard it in relation to Zoe Quinn, and anything about "journalistic integrity" has been very vague. Is there a specific act of corruption that the forces of Gamer Gate are addressing? Anyone?


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Necromancer wrote:

[tangent]

GamerGate is focused on addressing corruption in video games journalism, fighting back outside influences (non-gamers) attempting to manipulate gamer culture, defying censorship covering up the two previous concerns, exposing propaganda masquerading as fact, encouraging new video games journalists, and preserving the existence of a relative free market in game development. The Wikipedia article has been censored time and time again so as to present only "acceptable" narratives.

Professional victims, cultural Marxism, and non-gamers have no business dictating how hardcore game development should progress and what topics should be included.
[/tangent]

I know some would love to keep baiting and trolling to get this thread locked, but can we please get back to the original topic?

That's great. First we throw out buzz words like "Professional victims" and "Cultural Marxists" and then talk about how others "would love to keep baiting and trolling"

Really cute.


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Scott Betts wrote:
thejeff wrote:
That's okay. "male-bashing, propaganda-driven, female chauvinism" seems like the same kind of absurd, tribalistic strawman created to make opposing it easier to stomach to me.
I wouldn't call that accurate, either. Why is it okay to portray either side that way?

Quote from Dr. Sommers on what she thinks the problem is.

And her shtick that started this thread was all about defending sexism in gaming from the wrong kind of feminists.

If it's all about journalistic integrity, why do we keep hearing about professional victims and cultural Marxists?

Not to mention non-gamers? Like Dr. Sommers.


mechaPoet wrote:
Necromancer wrote:
Even without buying the pdf, it's clear that the real sexism is coming from those who criticize video games based on social issues alone. They ignore the countless male characters slaughtered, tortured, incinerated, blown apart, and electrocuted en masse and exist only as XP resources.

Nah. It ain't clear when we don't have their definition of what constitutes aggression or violence toward women in the study. So it's a bit of a wash in trying to argue whether they do or don't address violence against women as opposed to that against men without seeing the actual paper.

But here's the thing: in this context, "violence against women" most likely means a specific thing. Or at least, here's my take on it. Bioshock: Infinite, for instance, has some female police officer enemies (and later, female rebels to fight). When they're presented as equals in capability and agency to their male counterparts (even if you're just going to shoot them or summon a swarm of crows to attack them or whatever), that's fine.

However, their are tons of examples of violence against women in (mainstream and otherwise) games where this violence is used for reasons of plot (to motivate the almost-certainly-male protagonist) or shock value. Female characters are rarely given the same kind of agency as their male counterpoints (limited as an expendable mook's agency may be). The Feminist Frequency videos point out this discrepancy over and over again, so I'll direct you to those for examples.

This also speaks to the line thrown out earlier about "We can't have female avatars or the feminists will complain about violence against women." Which of course doesn't actually happen in any of the games with female avatars.

Except in cases where things happen to them that don't happen to their male counterparts. Like having rape as their origin/motivation.


mechaPoet wrote:
Is there a specific act of corruption that the forces of Gamer Gate are addressing? Anyone?

A summary of the events.

The initial act of corruption, incompetence, and general poor behavior.

thejeff wrote:
This also speaks to the line thrown out earlier about "We can't have female avatars or the feminists will complain about violence against women." Which of course doesn't actually happen in any of the games with female avatars.

Those of us that play games and can make the connections understand this; some publishers might not so that reason is a possibility.

thejeff wrote:
Except in cases where things happen to them that don't happen to their male counterparts. Like having rape as their origin/motivation.

There's a reason why we rarely see male victims of rape in video games: many people believe men cannot be victims of heterosexual rape. Insane, right? Absolutely, but that is a big reason.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Having read over the "GamerGate" issue over the weekend, I agree with Werthead. This is less about "ethics in game reporting" and more about a boyfriend's petty revenge and slut-shaming. I absolutely believe that if a woman posted these same claims about a ex, not only would this never have been blown up, but people would have gone after the poster.

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