In defense of Anita Sarkeesian

meme i dont alwOh feminism, you most challenging of subjects. In our modern, Western world, what is left to fight for in the name of female rights? Don’t get me wrong, I’d be the last to disregard the still impressive gap in wages for men and women of equal station, or the trials women have to endure when trying to combine a career and family, but every time I hear a raging, First World feminist claiming that we still live in a world where women have nothing to say, I get all twitchy and weird. When such a women then proceeds to describe some of the most memorable video games as sexist, I’m ready to spew some verbal flames. Logically, one might argue that a woman like Anita Sarkeesian would be a person I wouldn’t like to have tea with, based on her views expressed on her blog and in her videos. To my great surprise, I would actually like to grab some Starbucks with her, and I actually want to dedicate this post to the defense of her statements.

Yesterday, Jason from At the Buzzer published an excellent article in response to Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs. Women videos, and I really enjoyed reading it. Before I start defending the Canadian-American feminist, I’d like to say that I agree with every word written by Jason. Sarkeesian seems very one-sided in her approach to the representation of women in digital games, and I’m curious to see how further videos in her Tropes vs. Women show will expand on that. Being a person with an academic background, I hope Sarkeesian will show us how real, multi-faceted research is done. In the mean time, kudos to Jason for not just creating a wickedly cool trope name, but also for a very well-spoken reply to Sarkeesian’s video.

That being said, I have to say that I find most of the hate slinged at Sarkeesian really immature. Where I find that she does her best to formulate opinions (and the ocassional facts) as professional as possible (with a dose of cynism here and there), most of the negative response thrown at Sarkeesian is just wrong and out-of-place. While some forums have some good topics where mature discussion about her views takes place, many of them de-rail and succumb to a hateful discussion of modern feminism. It seems like many of the haters use the topics brought up by Sarkeesian as a soapbox for their own, often unrelated opinions. When the added bonus is the bashing of a person that does nothing but somewhat one-sided research on their favourite hobby, many a troll will want to join the flame war.

What baffles me time and time again with these situations is how many people become as ignorant as the person they claim to be the ignorant one. Look, I think it’s perfectly normal to disagree with Sarkeesian. Trust me, I don’t agree with her as well. However, I do respect her research and the fact that through all of this, she adds to the social-scientific value of video games. All that many haters see is that she dares to say that the Legend of Zelda games are sexist, and therefore she must be a stupid, bra-burning feminist. Doesn’t that make you just as ignorant as you make her out to be?

Look, I’m not trying to say that Sarkeesian is right with her entire rant and war on the contemporary role of females in video games. What I do say though is that she contributes to an important discussion that we should be having. We should talk about women in video games as much as we should talk about violence or boobs in them. Sarkeesian might be one-sided, but at least she talks about a side most of us just ignore.

Plus, maybe this chivalrous protection of her will convince her to go and have a coffee with me. Then again, it might make her too much of a damsel…

 

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