Thank you, Jonathan Mann (AKA my post on the "Factual Feminist" video and its unfortunate attempt to weigh in on issues around women and gaming)
Lately, I've been pretty involved in the discussions around women in gaming and what we do about promoting equality, respect, and safety within the gaming community. Truth be told, it's been a difficult journey for me. Since I'm no longer a visible figure in the gaming industry and don't run a communications department where my personal opinions might draw more attention and endanger myself or negatively impact the company and products I work to promote, I've found myself being more engaged in this topic and help further this conversation in a productive way.
Man, it's been fucking exhausting and oftentimes soul crushing.
This week, The Factual Feminist published a video on YouTube asking "Are video games sexist?" Not gonna lie - at the end of the 6 minute video I was actually shaking and wanted to personally say some very unkind things to the woman in the video. Instead, I decided to write up a point-by-point rebuttal to the video (since that seems like a more productive way to further the conversation while also squashing really asinine and bullshit viewpoints.) Those thoughts are below - however, I'm excited to say that Jonathan Mann made an amazing autotune of the video, complete with well-sung points refuting all the claims and assumptions bandied about in the 6-minute monstrosity. Jonathan's video also has an added bonus: I no longer have to post a video I think is so terrible I don't ever want to promote it but I still have a very awesome way to show you that original content (with breaks so you get a breather in between the infuriating blather!)
Check out the video and give my thoughts a read - and please, remember to think critically on these subjects. These issues aren't black and white.
Jonathan Mann's awesome video.
My rebuttal of Factual Feminist's shitty "are video games sexist" video attempt.
I'm going to go through this video point-by-point.
Is there a gender gap between men and women when you count the demographic that plays game more than 20 hours a week (I suppose any kind of game here although it appears she is counting only some games as valid which I have serious issues with) – yes. How are we going to fix that? Or is her thesis here that it’s okay? Because if that’s the case, fuck that noise.
Then she goes into how games are purported to be sexist – and immediately switches tactics to “games are violent and people claimed that would cause violence and there isn’t a correlation!” This has absolutely nothing to do with games being sexist and doesn’t actually say anything to refute the point. Probably because you can’t: lots of games are sexist.
And then her insult towards Anita by basically demeaning her as “oh, just another hipster.” Are you seriously fucking joking?
AND THEN going on to say “well there ARE games that aren’t sexist and don’t treat women as sex objects. Because at least a couple exist, there’s clearly not a problem.” How the fuck is this an argument anyone takes seriously?
Sure, probably some want the video game culture to die – just like some people want women to not have birth control and be property of their husbands. Because I, and people like me, think that the vast majority of games are lazily written and treat women very poorly does not mean I want any culture to die – unless it’s a toxic, hateful one. Then yes, no matter what the subject matter, we should stand against that.
The argument that “boys will be boys” is also bullshit. And also: I haven’t heard a claim that games are MAKING men sexist. Maybe that’s out there – but going back to her claim of cherry picking (seriously, is this woman a pro-gamergate’s mother? Because putting that bollocks into a woman’s mouth doesn’t make it valid) she is cherry-picking herself and actually sounds like someone who read someone’s summary rather than actually listening to Anita’s work – because if she had, she’d not be saying this stuff.
Men are less sexist than before? SWEET. And about “female perspective” shows? One, men and many people DO insult and demean those shows and to my knowledge, Oprah’s content doesn’t hinge on obvious story lines around men as sex objects.
As someone who has spent a decade enduring this abuse and not being allowed to speak up about it for fear of it escalating (and also it permanently hurting my job prospects) I can say that I’d like to tell this woman to fuck herself and her couple weeks of research. Do people not care about my age, race, sexual preference? Yes. Yes they do. And I’ve been abused for it since I started gaming back when AOL was the cool thing – since before (and now after) I left the gaming industry. So much so that I, too, want to say fuck off to the entirety of the gaming culture – because honestly, it isn’t worth the abuse. Call me a New Culture Critic or whatever insulting and demeaning term you want, but I’d prefer to call myself a human with self respect.
If people just wanted to game, no one would attack anyone (male or female) for having a critique or opinion about games, gaming culture, or anything of the sort. Anita’s argument could be agreed with or otherwise – no death threats and huge movements needed. If you want to game, please game, and stop threatening, attacking, and insulting women and just fucking do your thing.