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Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games (Update)

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Keb
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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby Keb » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:59 am

That was the ego boost I needed this morning. Thanks Doomie! :-D

Okay, where to start. I'll go with Ntikrst's assessment. My biggest problem with his criticism is that I think for all that it touches on, it goes overboard. After watching all of the videos in this thread (and some from her Youtube), I don't think she's advocating censorship. She does advocate reform but the manner in which she does so is quite irritating and borders on repugnant in some cases.

The thing that bothers me about her Feminist Frequency v-blogs (v stands for video here) is that they seem to want to "deconstruct" without offering any type of reconstruction in the process. In the instance that she actually does get to offer a solution (the Straw Feminist video), her challenge is for Hollywood writers to "write better feminists". She then provides the audience with a clip that essentially kicks her own argument in the ass by saying "Okay, this is what Feminism isn't, and if you think it's one thing, you don't know what it is." There's no information conveyed that allows me to really compare the straw feminist to what a feminist should be. Why? Probably because there are a number of branches of feminism to which she only subscribes to one.

So in addition to presenting everyone with a problem without a solution, she is also giving her viewers a one-sided argument. If she is being informative, then she's also being neglectful of other elements that belong to her criticisms. This is like making a cheesecake and only serving people the topping without actually serving the cheesey thingy or the crust. The toppings are what entice people to try the dessert, but without the filling (or the entire context) or what lies at the bottom, people are misinformed and therefore not actually equipped to handle debate.

Essentially, she becomes no better than the "misogynist institutions" she is attempting to subvert with her videos. She attempts to convince others that an otherwise many-sided argument only has two sides: the feminist/female point of view and the misogynist dominating point of view.

Like the dude in the video points out, she really only brings up positives to reinforce her negative opinion. "Video games are great for developmental purposes but their content is crap because..." yet she chooses to use these examples as they only seem to reinforce her statement that they are having a profoundly negative effect on people. If you want to change the negative aspect of something, you have to understand how that will affect the positive aspects of it as well. While you may be able to remove the "damsel in distress" element of the story, how does that affect the game play? In my opinion, it completely changes the dynamic and desire for playing the game and affects the male attitude towards achieving a goal.

This is one of my main problems and I think this is where Ntikrst also has a problem: She seems to want to affect change in male-dominated and male-centered industries/institutions but the change she wants to affect only seems to benefit women. It's obvious that Mario is aimed at guys, but it plays on a chivalrous theme that has dominated narrative since Greek myth. What she does seem to neglect are the numerous negative attitudes and stereotypes associated with media marketed to females. She's not talking about Nicki Minaj, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Real Housewives of (insert city) or any of the numerous media outlets that pander to women.

Why is Nicki Minaj a problem? Isn't she supposed to be a strong woman? Well, she's an example of manufactured beauty that never gets old. These empowered pop stars aren't exactly empowered when they teach young women that showing skin and talking about sex is the way to take back women's rights and promote equality. Aren't they equally if not more detrimental to women and female empowerment when they sell sex to promote an agenda? Yet this point is something that Sarkeesian wants to ignore to take on male-dominated institutions.

Affecting positive change on societal values isn't going to come when you force action against institutions of the opposite sex. It will come when you advocate for reform in the institutions that are aimed at your own sex. So jumping up on a soapbox and calling video games and other man-centric cultural institutions "misogynistic" isn't going to get you pats on the back from a lot of men. If you want to affect change against a particularly stubborn institution, you affect change by reaching those who are ingrained in said institution. Jumping on video games for misogyny is only going to cause more outcry and inane activism that doesn't make this world any friendlier or understanding.

If I wanted to children to learn how to be aware of the media they watch and the products they consume, going to the production and media outlets and complaining is only going to perpetuate a negative reaction to what I'm doing. It's just going to end up being a pissing match where those outlets will feign some sort of solution to not be branded as "socially irresponsible". They will continue to peddle and hock their wares to children who will unwittingly consume them because that's what children (and people) do: they consume.

Now, if I really wanted children to be aware of the media and products, wouldn't I be more effective by teaching them what they see? I believe that I would and that is why I've applied to begin teacher's college in September.

Her target audience appears to be women, but she uses male institutions and points out the negatives to enforce her viewpoints. Essentially, what her videos do are present to her audience a floor covered with testicles that she effectively stomps all over. She does absolutely NOTHING to advance the cause of equality and actually perpetuates gender inequality. Essentially she spits in the face of all the work of scientists and academics who have gone the lengths to prove that there is gender equality and progress the idea that men and women function at the same level despite being different. She's really no different from that idiot who came up with that "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" bullshit.

She throws around the term "misogyny" without having any grasp of what it really means to men. For her, "misogyny" is a buzzword that she uses to get what she wants, but what she doesn't seem to understand that by using the word, she creates an aura of oppression and subjugation that portrays men in a very negative light. Essentially, what she creates is an environment run by misandry (the counter of misogyny) and that is as equally damning to mental psyches of men and women who "don't know better". It's one thing to promote gender equality, but another to cut up one sex for doing something that's geared towards them.

At the end of the day, I don't disagree with her deconstructions. I don't disagree with what she's saying. I just disagree with her delivery method. In a world where communication and connection seem to be embracing this whole digital thingy, she really does her best to disavow any type of actual communicating and connecting. In the TEDxWOMEN video, she appears to be distraught by telling the story of the trolling, and I can understand why she would be. However, what she really fails to understand is that she herself is involved in a similar circle to the one she is describing as "toxic".

She takes something that dudes like and "deconstructs it" to a point where she makes it look awful, then posts the video on Youtube and effectively does a dance within her feminist frequency video community. It's the exact same thing that trolls do, but without the direct psychological and emotional damage. In this case, the damage is done indirectly as I've described above. It really does segregate and alienate men from women.

What's even better is that this incident caused her kickstarter page to skyrocket. By becoming a victim of this "bully" behavior, she essentially got a bunch of money and now has the means to produce her one-dimensional viewpoint to a widespread audience. Essentially, the "damsel in distress" angle can also be applied to her KS campaign as people saw that she was being victimized and pledged money to her. Is she really any better than the trope she's trying to defeat? It's a bit of a stretch but then again, so are many of her own arguments.

If she really wants to work with men, she needs to find a new outlet (like say designing games) where she can actually communicate and connect with men. The other night my mom was watching some show on the Oprah Winfrey Network where that yelling lady Iyanla was yelling at women for having these extremely high and idiotic expectations for men. These stupid stereotypes cut both ways, which is something she fails to really mention. I do not have chiseled abs and there are times when I can be emotionally vacant and misunderstanding and there are many (if not all men) like me. There are some pretty idiotic expectations placed on men by women these days perpetuated by the media. It's not like we own and control everything.

Our ability as humans to connect, communicate and solve problems has gotten us through years and years and years of existence. The fact that she wants more of the last one with very limited amounts of the middle one and the exact opposite of the first one. Masculinity and Femininity are meant to work together, which explains the idea that a child needs a mother (figure) and a father (figure). The connection between masculine and feminine allows us to understand our roles in the world as teachers and students. When the teacher causes a disconnect from the students (i.e. you do things this way and that's not right), the there is a rift in the understanding. At the end of the day, understanding is what is going to get us all through the night.

It might be more of my progressive socialism BS or whatever, but I really think she's being counterproductive to any kind of advancement in equality and understanding among humans. She seems to be exploiting a one-sided point of view to advance an agenda that aims to cause confusion and inequality by empowering one group of people with knowledge that isn't wholly accurate or honest.

But hey, she has a masters degree in the use of cutlery, so what do I know?

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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby guitargod694 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:21 pm

I agree with a lot of what Keb says here. Especially the part about her putting forth problems and not offering any solutions. At least, none better than "do better, ok?" Also, the critical videos posted in this thread are well constructed and make very valid points.

But still, she also makes some valid points. I do think it's a little sad that she got so much money based more on her being bullied than on actual support for her work... but not as sad as the fact that people felt threatened enough by her work to bully her.

We (male comic readers and gamers) really can't pretend that a lot (not all, of course) of these things we enjoy do have a tendency to portray women as objects and repeat these same tropes (man, I hate that word... I blame herald). That isn't necessarily evidence of systemic misogyny or sexism. Some of it is laziness, some of it is myopia, some of it is pandering, etc... but it is there. And just because there are other, more damaging things in the world, doesn't mean it isn't an issue that merits discussion.

Honestly, in the videos I watched of hers, the one thing that upset me the most was her inclusion of Y:the last man in the "straw feminist" video. She is either being deceitful and just playing the Daughters of the Amazon scenes to fit her agenda, or she hasn't read the book. Either way... ugh!
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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby habitual » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:01 pm

eltopo wrote:TLDR


Keb missed only one important point: Armenian chicks are crazy in the sack!

Hab

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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby GLX » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:28 pm

Keb wrote::lol: she's from York U.



What's York U like?
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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby GLX » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:10 pm

In the instance that she actually does get to offer a solution (the Straw Feminist video), her challenge is for Hollywood writers to "write better feminists". She then provides the audience with a clip that essentially kicks her own argument in the ass by saying "Okay, this is what Feminism isn't, and if you think it's one thing, you don't know what it is." There's no information conveyed that allows me to really compare the straw feminist to what a feminist should be.


From what I've gathered, a straw feminist is a character who either has or claims to have feminist beliefs that is struck down by the hero(es) of whatever artistic piece they're in. She mentions Femme Fatale from the Powerpuff Girls, but she ignores the intent of the cartoon and even the clip she used at the end. Femme Fatale isn't a benevolent feminist, but a villain with schtick that preaches equality while harming men and women alike. When the Powerpuff Girls are swept up in her rhetoric, the other women of Townsville set them straight. They provide a female positive message, while also revealing Femme Fatale for the fraud that she is.
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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby GLX » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:11 pm

guitargod694 wrote:Honestly, in the videos I watched of hers, the one thing that upset me the most was her inclusion of Y:the last man in the "straw feminist" video. She is either being deceitful and just playing the Daughters of the Amazon scenes to fit her agenda, or she hasn't read the book. Either way... ugh!


I haven't read Y: The Last Man, but when she said that, I became highly suspicious of her claim because of the general vibe I get from BKV's work and attitude.
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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby GLX » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:20 pm

habitual wrote:
Keb missed only one important point: Armenian chicks are crazy in the sack!

Hab


Proof?
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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby guitargod694 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:21 pm

GLX wrote:
From what I've gathered, a straw feminist is a character who either has or claims to have feminist beliefs that is struck down by the hero(es) of whatever artistic piece they're in. She mentions Femme Fatale from the Powerpuff Girls, but she ignores the intent of the cartoon and even the clip she used at the end. Femme Fatale isn't a benevolent feminist, but a villain with schtick that preaches equality while harming men and women alike. When the Powerpuff Girls are swept up in her rhetoric, the other women of Townsville set them straight. They provide a female positive message, while also revealing Femme Fatale for the fraud that she is.


Kind of... a "straw feminist" is like a straw man fallacy. They create an exaggerated, stereotypical/hyperbolic feminist character, then show how wrong/silly that position is, thus proving that feminism is bad/dumb/pointless/wrong.

GLX wrote:I haven't read Y: The Last Man, but when she said that, I became highly suspicious of her claim because of the general vibe I get from BKV's work and attitude.


First, you totally should read Y. It's the best.

Second, yeah... BKV is not who you'd start with if you want to look for misogynist creators who use women as plot devices and propagate the "male-centric" comic book boys club. And that specific example, while I suppose could be taken out of context as "staw feminists", is definitely not about proving that feminism is unneeded or pointless.
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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby doombug » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:39 pm

Yeah, BKV is the wrong guy to try and counter an anti-feminist argument from. :lol:
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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby doombug » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:40 pm

against not from.
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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby habitual » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:46 pm

GLX wrote:
Proof?


I've done extensive lab work and field experimentation.

Perv. :groucho:

Hab

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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby Keb » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:59 pm

guitargod694 wrote:Honestly, in the videos I watched of hers, the one thing that upset me the most was her inclusion of Y:the last man in the "straw feminist" video. She is either being deceitful and just playing the Daughters of the Amazon scenes to fit her agenda, or she hasn't read the book. Either way... ugh!

Yah dude. That one REALLY got to me because she really displayed a failure to understand the actual point of the Daughters of the Amazon. In the comic, they are mostly women who are lost and empty, looking for meaning in their life after the men died. Essentially, their matriarch/dictator Victoria, a woman who feels that society has spurned her because SHE FEELS she is superior, manipulates these women to serve her own purposes of survival.

In no way does she every portray any type of feminism nor is she used as an example of feminism. She more represents a cornerstone of a dominating patriarchy clinging to outdated ideals. One of the things about the series that BKV did was avoid the use of feminism and radical feminism but instead created a series where a "feminist reading" would yield some interesting criticisms about the patriarchal society we live in today.

GLX wrote:From what I've gathered, a straw feminist is a character who either has or claims to have feminist beliefs that is struck down by the hero(es) of whatever artistic piece they're in. She mentions Femme Fatale from the Powerpuff Girls, but she ignores the intent of the cartoon and even the clip she used at the end. Femme Fatale isn't a benevolent feminist, but a villain with schtick that preaches equality while harming men and women alike. When the Powerpuff Girls are swept up in her rhetoric, the other women of Townsville set them straight. They provide a female positive message, while also revealing Femme Fatale for the fraud that she is.


From what you're saying, Femme Fatale sounds a bit like Anita Sarkeesian herself. :lol:

GLX wrote:
What's York U like?


Lots of hot girls. It's a very Liberal school and there are a number of professors who are socialist/communist. One of my profs was a York guy and he was radically communist. Like UofToronto is way up here and York U is down there. Academically, it's often considered being a couple notches below some of the top schools in Canada. There's a saying "If you can use a fork, you can go to York." Hence my line about a masters degree in cutlery. To be honest, I've only ever met one person who's started their undergrad there and finished it there as well. Most people I know who went to York have transferred to other schools after one or two years. Still, it's the place to go to find fine women. They also have a pretty awesome student center.
habitual wrote:
(UofToronto is my alma mater)



Keb missed only one important point: Armenian chicks are crazy in the sack!

Hab

I don't think I've ever actually met an Armenian chick.

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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby guitargod694 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:00 pm

Keb wrote:Yah dude. That one REALLY got to me because she really displayed a failure to understand the actual point of the Daughters of the Amazon. In the comic, they are mostly women who are lost and empty, looking for meaning in their life after the men died. Essentially, their matriarch/dictator Victoria, a woman who feels that society has spurned her because SHE FEELS she is superior, manipulates these women to serve her own purposes of survival.

In no way does she every portray any type of feminism nor is she used as an example of feminism. She more represents a cornerstone of a dominating patriarchy clinging to outdated ideals. One of the things about the series that BKV did was avoid the use of feminism and radical feminism but instead created a series where a "feminist reading" would yield some interesting criticisms about the patriarchal society we live in today.


Exactly right.

I watched a few more of her videos because I honestly thought she had some fair points.
But the more I watch them, the less I agree with her.

And it seems that for a lot of the "tropes" she discusses, she uses examples without really understanding the source material. I finally stopped after her video on "mystical pregnancies". Apparently if your sci-fi series has a girl get pregnant in a scary or weird way, you are creating torture porn and limiting that character to only her base biological functions. You know, because this makes it seem like pregnancy is gross and scary and lacks emotional consequence.

I dunno, I agree that pop culture has an impact on people and that not representing women fairly and positively can be damaging. But you can't use Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica) and Olivia (Fringe) as examples of how women are shown as one dimensional and powerless and still expect me to take you seriously.
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Re: Feminist Frequency: Women vs. Tropes in Video Games

Postby HNutz » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:43 pm

guitargod694 wrote:
I dunno, I agree that pop culture has an impact on people and that not representing women fairly and positively can be damaging. But you can't use Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica) and Olivia (Fringe) as examples of how women are shown as one dimensional and powerless and still expect me to take you seriously.


Wha?

THOSE are her "bad examples"?

Yeah, that's insane.

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