Honey Badger Radio: Anita Sarkeesian and the Scourge of the Girl Gamer

Date: Thursday October 24th, 2013

Time: 6 PM Pacific, 7 Mountain, 9 Eastern

Show Link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avoiceformen/2013/10/25/honey-badger-radio-anita-and-the-scourge-of-the-girl-gamer

Text of the ad after the cut.

We’ve all had experience with this particular girl. You know the one, she has a passing interest in games and when she strides into a scene that’s sprung up around men who have turned a love of games into a vibrant subculture… she says “now I get to make the rules. Because vagina.”

It doesn’t matter if there are already women in the subculture, enjoying it for its own sake, she’s the self-appointed queen bee and all must bow to her pronouncements. “Because vagina. And also rape.”

Anita is just the latest in a long line of girl interlopers who’ve decided they define the rules of gamer culture. Her bugbear? Damsels in Games.

Her solution? Play the damsel to bring attention to how games promote the social role of damsel for women.

One would think Anita scoring 150 thou for playing the damsel would do more to encourage damseling in women and in games since it obviously pushes men’s buttons) then seeing a bunch of pixels arranged in the shape of a helpless princess… but, you know, “Vagina. Rape. Misogyny.”

The real kicker? Anita doesn’t even have a passing interest in games. So she’s demanding game makers remove damsels in distress to cater to the tastes of someone who will never give them any of the 150 thou she scored playing the damsel.

Apparently the only one who can cash in on damseling is Anita. Maybe she’s less a crusader against damseling and more a damseling monopolist.

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  • Ginkgo

    “We’ve all had experience with this particular girl. You know the one, she has a passing interest in games and when she strides into a scene that’s sprung up around men who have turned a love of games into a vibrant subculture… she says “now I get to make the rules. Because vagina.”

    Yeah. It’s the story of the Little Red Hen only this time the hen is a bunch of roosters run out of everywhere else to make a world for themselves, only to have that one little area invaded by the same Privilege Princesses who benfit form these men’s marginalization in the first place.

    Come to think of it, it’s a variation on the Little Red Rooster stroy of politics and corporate life.

  • Harald K

    I think you’re misdiagnosing Sarkeesian. She’s more properly categorized with opportunistic slate and Jezebel writers who’ll say anything for clicks: a for-profit troll.

    Someone spammed Anita Sarkeesian’s kickstarter to 4chan of all places. They used a non-public image of Sarkeesian, found nowhere else one the net, so it’s pretty likely it was her or someone acting with her approval.

    If it was her, there’s no way she wasn’t fishing for the hate she got. 4chan is infamous for its insults, random threats and general horrible atmosphere. It’s also hugely influential on online culture (it’s where lolcats originated, for instance). They’ll randomly hate anything, but if there’s one thing they hate especially much, it’s attempts to co-opt them, use them as their own private army.

    So when Sarkeesian posted there (and kept spamming!), she knew two things: sooner rather than later, some of the thousands of people on the site would write something she could use to paint herself as a victim. But also, that there was nothing they could do about it, and she could freely rub that in.

    It’s parallel to a very ugly type of schoolyard bullying, where the victim is goaded into a rage with the full knowledge that he’ll get the blame.

    And it’s a credit to the power of female hypoagency that of course it worked perfectly for her. She laughed all the way to the bank, and I’m confident she lost no sleep over the impotent rage she had provoked. After a long while, it must have occurred to her that if she produced nothing, her haters would be vindicated. So she put up some low-effort videos.

  • Ginkgo

    Harald, that is a very interesting piece of information.

    And welcome back after a long time.

  • http://siryouarebeingmocked.tumblr.com/ SYABM

    My biggest problem with Anita is that people are going to think that, to be a valid video game critic, they only have to meet her standard of quality. Which is really low. For someone who claims to want academic aims, she refuses to acknowledge “peer review” unless it’s support or harassment.

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-sexist-video-game-problems-even-bigger-than-breasts/

    @Harald K

    After a long while, it must have occurred to her that if she produced nothing, her haters would be vindicated. So she put up some low-effort videos.

    That’s not fair. All of her videos are low-effort, including the ones from before TvW.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuEkQpz7MUw

    She deleted, edited, and reposted that video, and claimed that she was really talking about the advertising, and the starting portion of the video was just a joke. Which is ironic, considering that she said that satirized sexism is still sexism. Which is also ironic, in light of the murder/power-fantasy fanfic she personally endorsed.

    Also, she’s not actually a girl gamer. And stole video – that she intends to sell – from other Youtubers without credit.

  • HidingFromtheDinosaurs

    Harald and SYABM already said everything I would have about Sarkeesian, but I’ll add that I think she’s far from the worst of the people getting paid to deal with these issues. She gets the lion’s share of attention because she wants it that way, but I find the efforts of people like Jim Sterling far more troubling in their approach to the subject of women in video games. Sterling and those like him set themselves up as big fish and do a lot of alpha-nerd posturing, essentially making the whole exercise and excuse to put down every man who plays video games and doesn’t have a paid web show. They represent the same troubling attitude that has been remarked in many of the more notable male feminists: setting themselves up as champions of women in order to assert a very traditional sort of dominance over other men in their communities. Plus, while Sarkeesian’s grasp of theory may be shaky, these guys is even worse. It’s like they learned everything from a game of ‘telephone’ with Tumblr.

    Honestly, the whole thing really annoys me, because I think the right sort of video series on women in video games could do a lot of good. The issue I see is ignorance and misinformation. The people who talk about female game characters in any capacity generally fall flat on their faces because they simply aren’t aware of the right games, and most women in the industry side of things get effectively erased because everyone assumes they don’t exist (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen work by influential female character designers attributed to ‘some guy in his mom’s basement’ by people who think they’re fighting sexism). A series of brief videos spotlighting games with female protagonists and the work of influential women in the games industry from a totally neutral standpoint could go a long way towards alleviating serious misconceptions on both sides of the fence. I’m seriously considering starting something like that if I can ever afford the recording equipment.

  • Adiabat

    You should start a kickstarter, and then link to it on 4chan.

    If you also claim to be a woman but say what you said there. Then you can use the complete absence of anger from the gaming community to show that actually, they don’t have a problem with women, but they have a problem with bullshit feminist analysis.

  • HidingFromtheDinosaurs

    Adiabat:

    I don’t think you really understand /v/; they’re fractious, mean to people as a matter of principle, mostly hate web shows, and are unlikely to respond positively to any Kickstarter that isn’t proposing to make an actual video game (and they don’t even tolerate all of those). It’s a place you go to make fun of things, hear news, and maybe find people to play Street Fighter against, not to meet nice people or make a point. Anyway, they’re the last people who would want to support a project like mine, because they’re the ones who already know the information I want to record and organize.

    Anyway, I only need a decent microphone at this point. I might even be able to borrow one off one of my film student friends. If not, I’ll just have to wait until my book deal is finalized. Either way, I’ll probably start making something later this year.

  • HidingFromtheDinosaurs

    Also, in response to your second suggestion, I don’t think there’s any board on 4chan that likes people bringing up their gender unnecessarily. They see it as a plea for special treatment. That’s what the whole ‘no girls on the internet’ thing means.

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