What Anita Sarkeesian Couldn't Say At The Sydney Opera House

Anita Sarkeesian is currently in Australia, doing talks throughout the country. Just yesterday she presented in Melbourne, but she recently participated in the All About Women festival at the Opera House in Sydney, talking about the things she couldn't say.

In this video Anita talks specifically about the level of abuse she has had to deal with over the past three years. She discusses how law enforcement agencies and social media services in general aren't doing enough to provide support for victims of harassment.

I can't imagine having to deal with that level of vitriol, let alone have to deal with it constantly on a daily basis. This video provides a seriously powerful insight into what women on the internet often have to deal with. Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of this video is how Anita has had to change in response to that harassment, how she has to triple check everything she says in public, how she has to constantly censor herself to the point where she can't even joke in her videos lest the sarcasm or irony be misconstrued.

Absolutely brutal.


Comments

    The thing that gets me is that a lot of people are quick to respond, "Yeah, but if she just stopped talking, this would all go away." And while that might be true (but probably not), that is the worst thing. The things she are saying are about video games. Don't get me wrong - I love them a helluva lot, but never enough that I would consider threatening another person's life because they said something opposing about it.

    She is very brave and I respect her a lot.

      Very true.

      Personally I am not a fan of Anita as she has lied, cheated, used and stolen over the course of her career. But I can respect the ideals of her work and have no reason to pursue her with threats or abuse simply because I don't agree with her methods....I just don't watch.

      Hopefully in time the two extremes won't be the centre point of an important issue and the industry will try to better itself from real change.

        I'm very tired of this false equivalency line that gets run in comments over and over again. Anita's alleged lies are not comparable to literal bomb threats and threats of assault. She does not represent an 'extreme' in this discussion. There is one side at fault here, and it's the side consumed by its hatred for outspoken women and minorities.

          I don't think you read namiwakiru's comment very well, they said they don't agree with the threats/harassment, just don't like Anita's methods either.

          I personally feel similar. Obviously she has been treated far worse than the equivalent of anything she has ever done (did that make sense?) but that doesn't suddenly make her a great person.

          Edit/updated (writing on the train is a PITA): I totally support her message and I even agree with about half of her arguments (I tend to find the other half sensationalised crap but that's just subjectivity). I just don't like a lot of the crap she does along the way to spread that message but as stated above, dislike for a person is hardly an excuse (as if there is ever one) for harassment/threats.

          Last edited 11/03/15 4:21 pm

            Oh, I understood it just fine. I think it is very telling that the bulk of the comments on this article seem far more preoccupied with Anitas 'methods' (whatever that means) rather than the continued violent and disturbing outbursts from the #ethicsingamingjournalism crowd.

            Namiwakiru puts Anita and the harassers at the two extreme ends of this debate. I think it is a false equivalence to do that because Anita isn't an extremist.

              Yeah I see what you mean, I may have mis-read that last bit myself :/

              Last edited 11/03/15 4:29 pm

            "Two extremes", as in her actions are as extreme as the death threats.

          I flat out don't like her work, I find she alters facts to suit her argument. Notably in her talks about Hitman she creates a fail state where the game chastises her for doing something wrong and than says this is the point of the game. She doesn't say it's simply possible but despite the screen telling her she screwed up that it's the purpose of the game.

          Also I don't like the Hitman series so no this isn't just her targeting my favourite game.

          Nobody deserves the sort of abuse she has had to put up with but. The level of hate and bile that spills out of these internet cowards is sickening. I don't understand this group their despicable behavior is almost as bad as religious extremists persecuting people for having a different opinion.

            "Nobody deserves the sort of abuse she has had to put up with but. The level of hate and bile that spills out of these internet cowards is sickening."

            We cant say that enough times.

          "not comparable to literal bomb threats"
          Were there literal bombs involved? Or can the seriousness of this be taken down a notch, put on par with me threatening you with an Ion cannon.
          A literal ion cannon threat.

        My thoughts exactly. She's done many disgusting things but death threats are not the answer.

          Disgusting? Like making videos where she look at games through the lens of feminism?

            That's annoying but pretty standard fare for the Internet. Threatening to bomb her house and kill her dog (oor whatever) is a couple or orders of magnitude worse. The key phrase here is "proportionate response."

            Remember a few years ago when somebody (allegedly) threatened to bomb Michael Atkins in response to the R-rated gaming debate? That sort of thing taints the arguments of everyone who agrees with the person making the threat. Aside from being cruel and vicious, it makes it much harder to present a reasoned argument in opposition.

            Now, I don't agree with everything Anita says - she tends to cherry-pick her evidence - but I do find that her arguments are almost always worth reflecting on and thinking about. She challenges our assumptions about the status quo. I cannot see this as anything but a good thing.

              It's not a problem with gamers (even though as an article says, "gamer" is nt much of a tag as a majority of the planet are gamers), it's a problem with people, who have an opinion and take great offense at someone else or having a different opinion.

        Personally I am not a fan of Anita as she has lied, cheated, used and stolen over the course of her career.

        Care to elaborate on those claims?

      Seconded. I love her.

        Downvoted for supporting Anita Sarkesian. Tell me Kotaku commenters don't have a problem with women.

          i love how you jump to the conclusion that the down vote was because she's a woman (which makes you sexist not the down voter), and not the fact that she's just an idiot.
          Her message for the most part is fine and warranted, her delivery and attitude is the problem.

          Last edited 11/03/15 5:21 pm

            "her delivery and attitude is the problem"

            Sure they are big guy.

          Seconding dnr. Even though Anita is fighting for a good ideal (better female characters in games), she's doing it in a terrible way.

          If she could actually form logical, coherent, relevant and non-contradictory arguments, I'd get behind her. Unfortunately she doesn't, and frequently claims sexism where none is present.

          For example, criticism of her work is painted by her and her many supporters as sexism or women-hating, when it's actually a direct criticism of her *arguments*. Which coincidentally, is *EXACTLY* what happened here.

          Last edited 11/03/15 7:38 pm

            [citation needed]

              I assume you're wanting a citation for Anita's bad arguments, since the ad-hominem of critics has already been proven here.

              To quote from her second video on the damsel trope and the games that use it "they tend to reinforce the widespread regressive notion that women in vulnerable, passive or subordinate positions are somehow desirable *because* of their powerlessness. Unfortunately these stories also help to perpetuate the paternalistic belief that power imbalances within romantic relationships are appealing, expected, or normal."

              This is a blanket statement that all games with damsels reinforce the belief that there should be power imbalances in relationships, as though that is a given fact and will undoubtedly and can only be interpreted in this fashion. There is no logic, reasoning or evidence to support this claim. It is simply stated as fact.

              For contradiction, move ahead to video 3 - talking about Spelunky: "... allows players to select a replacement for the default woman in peril, by switching to either Chippendale style hunk or a dog instead. Setting aside the fact that if a woman is easily interchangeable with a dog, then it's probably a pretty good indication that something is wrong..."

              So it's offensive to have a woman replaceable with a dog, but not offensive to have a man replaceable by a dog? If this is an argument about equality, then this should be a non-issue, because the man, the dog and the woman are all completely interchangeable, or offensive because either gender can be replaced by the dog.

              Her videos and talks are filled with misrepresentations and deliberate emotionally charged opinions to create credibility where none exists because she simply cannot push her views through a logical chain of arguments.

                Regarding your first point; she's making a statement about a single trope, not a blanket statement about every video game ever that uses that trope in any capacity, and she's spot on about it; the damsel in distress trope plays into the typically male power fantasy of winning the heart of a love interest by rescuing them and being seen as the hero, which implies a power imbalance. You can give me ten examples of corruptions of this trope that don't reinforce that notion, or you can interpret it however you want, it isn't going to change that core fact. You choosing to interpret facts differently doesn't make those facts wrong, nor does it render that argument a bad one.
                Point the second, regarding contradiction:
                "If this is an argument about equality" is where you dropped the ball here, because it isn't; it's an argument about how the 'damsel in distress' trope devalues women. Adding the option to replace the damsel with a dude or a dog reinforces the notion that the only thing of value to this character is that she's pretty. Don't swing that way? Oh well here's a pretty man instead. Repulsed by casual romance? How about a dog, then?

                I think the real crying shame here is the legions of folks like yourself who love to accuse Sarkeesian of making bad arguments, citing their own flawless logic left and right. If you really think that she's fighting for a good cause but doing a bad job, then take the helm and do it better instead of just tearing down the loudest voice this cause has mustered yet with baseless claims and accusations. Until you can do that, every argument you make against her just reads like "I could do that better, I just don't want to."

                  "the damsel in distress trope plays into the typically male power fantasy of winning the heart of a love interest by rescuing them and being seen as the hero, which implies a power imbalance."
                  Bullshit. Pure and simple. This is NOT universally applicable or viewed as desirable. Anyone who claims otherwise, is pushing *their* opinions onto others. When rescuing characters in a video game, as far as I'm concerned my character's gender is completely bloody irrelevant. I care less about the gender, and more about the *character* and *personality* of the characters involved. I have cared (and not cared) about characters I've been told to rescue of both genders, while playing as protagonists of both genders. You are (just as she did) prescribing this as a *fact*, when it is *not*.

                  ""If this is an argument about equality" is where you dropped the ball here, because it isn't; it's an argument about how the 'damsel in distress' trope devalues women. "
                  Anita herself claims "It a women can be replaced with a dog, something is wrong". The woman can be replaced with a man. Hell, we could put a giant snail there and it wouldn't matter. The character being rescued is IRRELEVANT. We are rescuing a character, of some sort, and we get a reward from doing so. There is no difference in the reward. There is no difference in the character's behaviour. There is no difference whatsoever except their appearance. The gender of the character is complete a non-issue and turning it into one is a blatant false flag.

                  " baseless claims and accusations"
                  Again, bullshit. You supposed refutations are *moral* judgements of the actions of individuals due to *your* interpretation of a situation. Your interpretation is not my interpretation. Anita's interpretation is not my interpretation. Anita's interpretation is not the interpretation of all females. Yet she presents her arguments as though her viewpoint is the ONLY valid appraisal of a situation - EXACTLY as you have done with your claims. Your opinion is exactly that - YOUR OPINION. You do not get to claim "this is gamers living out their power fantasy", because you have absolutely NO basis for that claim *whatsoever*. In some cases, this could be true. But it could also just as easily *not* be the case. Anita's whole justification for "the damsel is bad" is "the damsel is bad"... I mean "pernicious." Again, confusing *fact* with *opinion*.

                  "If you really think that she's fighting for a good cause but doing a bad job, then take the helm and do it better instead of just tearing down the loudest voice"
                  Have you ever complained about a politician? Well, you should put your money where your mouth is and run for Government, else you're just saying "I could do that better, I just don't want to." Also, this is not "tearing down", this is voicing legitimate criticism and concern with her *opinions* and actions that could and are potentially already having a real and significant affect on the gaming industry. Gaming companies are paying attention to Anita and getting her to help them. Her OPINIONS are already being used to change gaming in the way *she* wants, which is not necessarily the way that other people want them to be changed.

                  The real crying shame is accepting someone's bad arguments rather than supporting someone who could champion the cause better. I would support someone like that in a heartbeat. Hell, I still keep paying attention to Anita because I *want* her to improve. I *want* her to take onboard this *criticism* (and yes, I mean that as a positive, because it criticising her argument and pointing out flaws), to enable her, and I really hope that she at some point chooses to do so, to *improve* her arguments. And if you think for a second that a MALE is going to be allowed to be the poster child for "women in video games", then I think you're in for a rude awakening (especially considering some of the behaviour of some of Sarkeesian's more ardent supporters, who have been pretty damn offensive themselves to her critics).

                  Last edited 25/03/15 11:49 pm

          A Down vote is not a problem with women, your reading far to much into a simple click.

          Instead of seeing each down vote as a vote against women, see it as somebody saying I don't love her.

          Some have a problem with women, some have a problem where they believe in the crazy conspiracy over actual verified facts, like with the anti-vax, anti-fluoride, anti-medicine people.

      Jack Thompson copped the same shit, nobody batted an eyelid. Just saying

      Exactly. Everyone is losing focus, remember when we all banded together to hate on jack Thompson? That was nice. Can't we all just go back to hating him again.

      There is nothing to respect she outright has been proven to be a lier and manipulator. Yes she is welcome to have a voice and express her opinion but when it is proven what she is saying as fact has been proven time and again to be false then a honest person changes their opinion and express that what they said was wrong not run off and publicly pull the "minority" or "it is because i am a woman" the sooner she accepts that she is hated for her lies and the way she keeps presenting them as fact the sooner things will change for Anita. Yes there are idiots out there that are going at her for being a woman that happens everywhere unfortunately. But the way she can combat that is to stop her lies and disgusting behavior then some of Anitas biggest critics might become some of her biggest fans, due to her attacking a real problem to help not making a issue from her lies to make the most money she can.

        This "proof" is still just the claims of other people. And when you compare the words of hers versus those who claim she is a manipulative liar, it's hard to say her opponents aren't doing anything other than relying on sexist stereotypes.

    Man, it would be so annoying to always have to double and triple check every single penis you say on the internet.

      doesnt matter how many times to check what you say, there will always be some arsehole who will take it the wrong way or try to skew it to fit their ideology

    she wouldn't cop all the abuse honestly if she kept her opinions to herself, people these days have to vocalize everything, while I don't the condone abuse she cops she certainly isn't doing anything to prevent it... I honestly hate what the Internet has become

      So how about the people who disagree with her keep their opinions (nee threats) to themselves? She's producing videos that you don't have to watch, being interviewed in articles you don't have to read, and speaking at events you don't have to attend.

      Nice, lets play blame the victim! Want to go to the hospital and tell all the rape victims it's their fault as well?

      Yeah! And those uppity blacks, too! If they kept their opinions to themselves we wouldn't have to beat them!

    All of this, over the question of whether or not video games tend to be sexist.

    If gaming is being dragged into ruin, it's not Anita ruining it, it's the "Gamers" themselves.

      Can you imagine television or movie fans acting the same way? They're like venomous toddlers.

        They kind of do already though, it's just not as visible to us right now.

        I remember seeing someone on IMDB have a dislike for Chris Nolan - waging a personal campaign against the man himself just because the director made films he didn't particularly like. This guy's anger spanned across a ridiculous amount of threads, and usually ranged from complaining about his films right through to fantasizing about the different ways his life could be ended suddenly. Of course, anybody who disagreed with him copped just as much abuse.

        I've also seen the same irrational hate happen against writers, musicians, and artists. Basically, people get real weird when they fixate on things.

          Hating a Director, Actor, Writer or Music Artist seems like a massive waste of time.

          When I'm listening to Songs via Youtube I tend to find a lot of hate for Justin Beiber. I simply don't listen to his music and don't care. I admit I'm kind of an idiot because I read the comments on Youtube, call it a curious yet morbid fascination with the lengths people will go to for their hatred.

        Did you not hear about the ridiculous backlash for making a Ghostbusters movie with female leads?

          That was justified, Can you imagine if they remade clueless with dudes? Or sex and the city with dudes? Or kill bill with a dude? or top gun with dudes?

          I said many times that I don't have a problem with an all female cast, I just feel that since they need to sell that point this movie is going to suck, and I really want a good new Ghostbusters movie.

          The genders of the team members should be completely irrelevant.

            iirc most of the hate that it seems to be getting is because it contains melissa mccarthy so people just automatically assume that it will suck just like anytime michael bay is mentioned and the fact that its apprently going to be a reboot

              Warning Massively off topic, this post is about the new Ghostbusters movie.

              I honestly can't even be bothered googling to find out who she is (Although I suspect she's the woman who played Tammy in the movie of the same name), but the fact that it's a reboot and not a massive spike in paranormal activity years later isn't doing this movie any favours.

              Why reboot something, it's nearly 30 years later let's accept the first two movies happened and they either found, purchased or inherited the equipment/plans/scientific data. Just because there is no original cast don't wipe them from existence. The original movie had people passionate about the subject matter making something new and original, how am I meant to feel about corporate raiders taking something I love and rebooting it for quick cash.

          To be fair, I think that was mostly after I commented.

      No. It's a small vocal proportion of self-important cry-baby gamers. The overwhelming majority of gamers simply don't care. They play the games they want to play and they brush off the idiots.

        yeah I'll admit the over-generalisation of the term "gamers" there, but if these are the people who are fighting to claim and protect the moniker, they can keep it. I may keep gaming as my main hobby and passion, but I don't need to be identified as a "gamer" if these people are going to have their way.

          I like to identify as a gamer, as do many. I don't see why they should be prejudiced as terrible people just because some out there must surely be.
          I mean that's statistically sound for almost any group or identifier, but still considered unfair.

    I wish a LOT of people on the internet would double check and triple check everything they say online before opening their digital mouths, so then women wouldn't have to live like this for real. Liking or hating what she says has nothing to do anything.

      Generally speaking, I'd be happy if everybody ran a spell check and learnt grammar before clicking submit.

    I think Anita's an idiot, but the the people harassing & threatening her are so much worse. They should all get help themselves if they feel the need to be violent at her for having an opinion (even if it's a wrong one)

    i think half of the shit she has had to deal with is the fault of the media reporting everything she does and every single thing that happens to her, its like the labor leadership crisis and the current liberal leadership crisis. the moment the media gets the sniff of something juicy they just go full tilt in covering it. Its a massive streizand effect.

    Also just go and look your facebook news feed or twitter feed and look at all the shit that you or your friends post and like. half of that is stuff people would never say in person but they will gladly say it on the net

      i think half of the shit she has had to deal with is the fault of the media reporting everything she does and every single thing that happens to her

      Jim Fucking Sterling, son did an excellent video on this point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MxANWWhpMs

      tl;dw It's a case of the "Streisand effect"

      Last edited 11/03/15 3:26 pm

        I downvoted him for mentioning JIM FKING STERLING. The man's arguments are even more flimsy and shallow than Anita's.

        Last edited 11/03/15 6:23 pm

        Thank you. Stirling gets it. I don't think Mark Serrels does anymore though.

    I dont look like arnold schwarzenegger do I.... piss off

    Just stop giving her airtime.

    Did any of you play Super Mario Brothers while growing up? Pretty cool game right? How about Metroid? Oh wow Samus was really a female. Chances are that if you played these games, you didn't find a problem with them. Anita does. If you nitpick for problems, you may find/invent some. But really, there's nothing wrong with Metroid or SMB.

    There should be gender equality in society... a woman should be treated the same as a man for jobs, for voting, for marriage rights, etc, etc. The same tolerance and consideration should be extended for sexual preference, religious or racial background. But by the same token, tolerance is a two-way street. Video games are about leisure and being entertained; simply about having fun. Support the feminists; not the feminazi's.

    Anita also does not deserve to be threatened, but unfortunately some people are so upset with her political correctness that they have done this. Say no to them too.

      This sounds like three paragraphs of "it isn't her fault, but it wouldn't be a problem if she didn't express her opinions." Which blows.

        That's funny, because that's not what I said at all. Thanks for the misunderstanding.

        She is full of shit pure and simple. Her whole series is the definition of a first world problem.
        When she starts doing some talks in Afghanistan and Nigeria I'll admit that she is serious about improving perception and rights of women.

        Also, who hasn't had a threat on the internet?
        I'd wager that anyone that has played a multiplayer game online has been threatened with bashing at LEAST. Doesn't mean you take it seriously.

          She lives in a first world country, shouldn't she be allowed to address a first world problem?

      Please list the incidents of threats of violence and rape (or really anything other than discussing gender representation in video games) made by the supposed 'Feminazis' you describe.

        I don't condone threats of violence or rape. Anita has simply said a lot of disagreeable things. The retaliatory response of irate radical gamers is much, much worse than that. These type of people are on the same level as "swatters"; in that they will try to attack a person in whatever way that they think is most effective.

      Not sure why you got downvoted but here's an upvote to cancel it out

        If tolerance is a two-way street, then criticism must be heard. The idea that feminists are okay, as long as they don't speak up to actually improve things, is nonsense. Speaking up about problems does not make someone a feminazi. I don't see her trying to take our games away, I see Anita saying "we can do better than this". And guess what? We can. We really can.

          The thing about the two way street though is that you're free to travel it as much or as little as you like. If not then it's just as bad as a one-way street you get to travel on twice.

          It's all fine and good to say 'we can do better' but if this really is a free and equal concern then it's also fine to say 'we don't have to.'

          Speaking up about problems does not make someone a feminazi.

          That's correct. Feminists do need to speak up to enact change... bit useless otherwise. Feminazis are radical feminists. Radical means outlying. Not part of the main group. That can be a good quality if what you need is innovation(like a radical inventor), but when it comes to social things like religions or female rights... that's where things can take a nosedive. This is why you need a feminist to represent feminism. Not a feminazi; not someone who doesn't voice the consensus. Feminazis are just like an immune system in overdrive; indiscriminately attacking everything like an autoimmune disease, and causing more harm than good. And that's what happens. If you watch her videos, she declares war on tropes and... well almost everything. Take the intro to Double Dragon. She would take offense to this because the attractive female is punched/overpowered and then kidnapped by men, and it's two males that have to save her. For the average male gamer however; this sets the stage. Only a villain would beat up a girl, and deprive her of her liberty, and it is up to the righteous heroes to be chivalrous and correct this injustice. The truth is that there is nothing wrong with this intro; it is poignant and happily exists with the rest of the tropes like the Die Hard movies.

          She's not trying to take our games away(to my knowledge... or maybe she is; explain later with DMC), and if you quote a feminist line like "we can do better than this", then of course I will agree with you... but that's not what she's doing with her indiscriminate war. She is not like that awesome dad who reprogrammed Zelda so his daughter could play as a female hero. Many people have rebutted her; they are against her but are pro-feminism, and you can find their vids online.

          The repercussions can be seen in things like DMC, which was recently highlighted in a Kotaku article. The scene has been edited/censored so that Lilith isn't alluding to taking the world as though it were a submissive sexual partner... and that is probably due to the whole Gamergate thing. There is nothing wrong with the scene.

            The sheer fact that you use the term 'feminazi' really discredits anything you have to say in relation to feminism. It is straight up disgusting to compare feminists (those who fight for women and other minority groups as most feminists are inter-sectional) to people who attempted to exterminate various minority groups just because you might not agree with their every idea. Also radical feminists are not 'feminazi' and are not 'outlying'. In feminist theory radical means 'getting to the root'. Therefore radical feminism is about getting to the root of the problem. That's all it is. It is not extremist, it is a form of academia that dates well back to the sixties.

            Last edited 12/03/15 10:13 am

              It is just an easy term which conveys the negativity that those type of people typically bring to the table, although the semantics seem to be lost on you. Do you also take extreme offense to the term "grammar nazi"? Feminists = good, feminazis = bad.

              I was using the term "radical" as "characterized by departure from tradition". If you bothered to read my previous posts, you'd see that I'm pro-rights, tolerance, equality, etc. As fun as it is to delve into the latin origins of "radical", common sense is more important. Anita is not about getting to the root of the problem. She invents problems, and that is detrimental to the cause of feminism. Use whatever word you like for that. Bear in mind that this is not one single issue. It's not something like JUST wage equality. It's more a case of "she's maybe right about this, but definitely wrong about that"... and each issue should be addressed separately. There are videos of many other men and women disagreeing with her. And yes people are allowed to have different opinions, but saying something 'like' women should not be sexy in a video game or something is counterproductive... as many women strive to be sexy and it is their choice to whether they pursue this or not, and video games are a reflection of real life and culture. Is it objectifying a woman or portraying a woman embracing her femininity? This also leads into the topics of culture vs culture(for example in Japan there are many highly sexualized video games), censorship, freedom of speech, etc.

              I don't care if I'm "discredited" in your eyes. I don't have the need to seek validation through you, and you have every right to have your own opinion, just like Anita does.

                I disagree with the term 'grammar nazi' but it isn't even remotely similar to the term 'feminazi'. The latter has far worse implications as it is directly comparing whoever it is said about to nazi's ans implying that said person is as bad as nazi's which is a horrid thing to do. Also 'feminazi' has far worse negative connotations. It's also a horrid term because many feminists are people of colour, gay, bisexual, disabled etc, things that the nazi's would execute one for being. And surely I should not have to point out how upsetting the term in to Jewish feminists.

                Yes Anita is not getting to the root of the problem but I don't see how that is relevant as she is not a radical feminist as she doesn't subscribe to that school of thought. Of course I'm going to correct you when you literally used the term 'radical feminists' in an incorrect manner because radical feminist explicitly means a feminist who subscribes to radical feminist theory.

                Anita does not 'make problems', she points out problems that already exist. Just because you yourself don't see it as a problem doesn't mean it's not one.

                Yes other people may disagree with her but those people are coming from a position of less knowledge and understanding (the majority of the time). Everyone may have their own opinions without a doubt, but some opinions are more valid than others.

                You may argue that a character is 'embracing their femininity' but you have to understand that such a character was most likely written by a man and therefore that character is only doing what that man wrote them to do. Just because within the text a women enjoys being feminine doesn't change the fact that a man wrote them like that so they could justify forcing a female character into a stereo-typically feminine role.

                  The terms "grammar nazi" and "feminazi" are removed from actual nazi's. Nobody thinks that either term is about subjugating minorities or said related things. I like to think of the term "feminist" as being pro-female. That's a positive thing; someone who supports and equality for women. But the term is too general. It can also encompass female superiority, anti-male sentiment, spite, etc. Negative/bad things. The negative subset need a term, and that is simply as practical as any.

                  I did not know that radical feminism was its own thing. Anti-patriarch. Okay. Are you SURE that Anita is not? It doesn't really matter in any case. Once again, my usage of it drew parallels to its use with religion; where there are a lot of good people, and a few bad ones. What's a better term? Extremist feminism?

                  Anita does invent problems. Did you actually watch any of her videos or people responding to them? Let's use Hitman: Absolution. In part of one mission(a very small subset of the whole game), you have the option of killing some female witnesses in a dressing room(the correct strategy is to sneak past them... as a good assassin should). The game penalizes you for killing anyone other than the target, and you can kill males, but Anita cherry picks this to abuse the fact that a game has the open world freedom to invent a problem. So you tell me. Is it a problem? I told you the facts. This is one example, but unfortunately many of Anita's examples are based on deceit and misconstruing the truth.

                  "Yes other people may disagree with her but those people are coming from a position of less knowledge" And this is another example of her deceiving you. Did you know that she didn't even play a lot of the games that she featured? She stole a lot of the Lets Play videos from other gamers without credit. The gaming community probably know the MOST about video games, and yet she is misrepresenting video games like Hitman: Absolution to the media and people who don't play games. There are many experienced people, many of which support feminism, that disagree with her. Google "Liana Kerzner"(a woman) for example.

                  And yes, males create female characters. Does that mean that if it's created by a female it's okay, but by a male it's not? That's the height of sexism; as the merit of the character should be judged separately to its creator. If J K Rowling is not a little boy, does that mean that she is in no position to understand or write about Harry Potter?

        Thanks! :)

          (Note that I am replying to this comment as it won't let me reply to your other comment).

          'Feminazi' is not removed from nazi. The whole purpose of the term 'feminazi' is to compare feminists to nazi's and thus render their arguments as invalid by trying to compare them to genocidal, hateful people. It is literally used to say that feminists because of their views are as bad as nazi. There is no separating these terms. It is used as a way to silence women.

          There is more to radical feminism than being anti-patriarchy and I can assure you that Anita does not share other radical feminist views. She leans much more towards liberal feminist theory than radical feminist theory.

          Yes I have watched every single video of her tropes series. Ah I see, I interpreted you saying she invents problems as you meaning that her saying things like 'there is too much sexualisation in games' is her creating a problem. What you actually meant was that sometimes the example she uses to back her points are questionable. I wouldn't consider that creating a problem though, I'd consider it an incorrect example.

          I'm talking about how those people have less knowledge in relation to games criticism, how media works, the relationship between patriarchy and media, feminist theory, gender studies etc. Not that they have less knowledge of games.

          Yes a very 'feminine' character is slightly better when created by a women rather than a man as that women likely didn't make the character feminine just to appeal to what men want a woman to be like (of course there is still the issue of internalized misogyny when a woman write a feminine woman). I'm not saying that men can't write women. They absolutely can. But when a man writes a stereo typically feminine women we do need to be more critical of this. That's why your Harry Potter example is irrelevant. JK Rowling did not write him as very masculine. Also even if a female does write a male as stereo typically masculine it is not comparable to a man writing a stereo typically feminine woman as it was men who came up with the constructs of femininity and masculinity in order to justify treating women as an inferior class.

            Re: Feminazi; everything I said in my prior post can be reiterated. NOBODY thinks they are actual nazi's. It is a derogatory term, awarded to them for their contribution to negative feminism. The amalgamation of terms is shorthand like "Br(An)gelina" or "XBone". You could interchange whatever negative term you like in it's place, but that one fits best. E.g. Strifeminist, feminope, etc. Semantics really. And no it's not used to silence women. For one; it wouldn't work, and two; I encourage women to speak up and champion their rights/equality. I have named one good female feminist, but I could name many more... and they are NOT feminazi's. If you don't understand this, I don't think I can clarify it any more.

            I listed one example where she knowingly misrepresented facts, but her video series is full of deceit. She has stated(on video) that she doesn't even like video games, and does things like identifies the overused cliche of a male rescuing a female, then the opposite example of a female rescuing a male(which can still upset her)... and it counts as two points in her favour. It doesn't . Video games were only born a few decades ago, and technology has increased by leaps and bounds. Yet she seizes on this like it is ammunition for her war, with Ms Pac-Man having a pink bow, or Lara Croft having triangular breasts. And that's just it... she starts off with her agenda, then twists anything that she can to fit it... rather than be OBJECTIVE about things. The problem is Anita. Gamers are used to identifying and solving problems, and so they can easily recognize this. That's why other WOMEN who champion feminism without the hypocrisy/deceit/lies/extreme bias are not ridiculed like she is. Nobody elected Anita to represent feminism, and she doesn't. Others should.

            No, a feminine character is not slightly better when created by a woman. That is sexist. You also have not provided a single example(and it doesn't have to be limited to video games). The truth is that it simply depends on the individual. Men often like to be sexy. They often like that women find them sexy. Women often like to be sexy. They often like that men find them sexy. Being sexy is being attractive, and that is a positive quality. Positive qualities are profitable. Bayonetta was created by a woman, and she is quite sexualized. Lara Croft, Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield were created by males, and all seem quite "sexually respectful/appropriate". There is no need for the male creators to be "more critical", because the finished product has been fine, and this has only become a problem when Anita has come along in 2014. The Harry Potter example is completely relevant, even if you do not wish to see it this way.

            "as it was men who came up with the constructs of femininity and masculinity in order to justify treating women as an inferior class.". No. No, no, no, no, no. NO! Wow. First off... a child could look at a man and a woman, and describe many of the differences between them. The differences between a man and a woman are observable and scientific facts; descriptors. Secondly; men do not "justify" treating women as an "inferior" class. You are inventing a crime. I am a man, and I don't treat women as an inferior class. None of my male friends do this either to the best of my knowledge. What men do this exactly? Why are women an inferior class, especially in western civilization in 2015?

              I cannot believe you could compare "XBone" to the term 'feminazi'. How many times to I have to explain this to you, the term 'feminazi' implies that because of ones feminist views that they are as bad as nazi's. How do you not understand this. It's simple really.

              (I'm not addressing your second paragraph because it's not even saying anything or making a point, its just you saying that you don't like her approach to criticism and thus because you don't like it you deem it to be wrong.)

              Ha oh gosh, you didn't just "that's sexist at me." That's some tosh right there. There is 100% reason for a man to be more critical when making a female character because of misogynistic views he may hold. Women aren't the ones degrading women and objectifying them. Men as a class are.

              "This has only become a problem when Anita has come along in 2014." Ah no, it's been a problem for much longer, it's just finally a woman's voice got heard.

              "First off... a child could look at a man and a woman, and describe many of the differences between them." Please take a sociology class and a biology class. The only inherent differences between men and women are biological ones that come from the fact that humans are sexually dimorphic. All the others one are because of gender roles (femininity and masculinity) that are forced onto someone because of the sex they were born (thus these difference are not inherent as they come from socialization based on ones sex). This is super basic stuff. Gender roles and the concept of femininity and masculinity were created by men. This is fact. Men as a class do treat women as an inferior class. This is feminism 101. Women are not inferior but are treated as inferior to men. This is evident through things such as femicide, fgm, sex trafficking, forced pregnancy, removal of bodily autonomy in cases of pregnancy, forced abortion, women getting paid less than men when doing the same job, invalidation of women's emotion, the false idea that women are less logical than men etc. The list goes on and these are all things that affect both eastern and western women. This is proof of the fact that women are seen as inferior. If you honestly don't see how women are treated as inferior then I doubt that you are as good to women as you say you are.

              Also the fact that you claim I (a woman) am "inventing a crime" for speaking about the things that impact me and they way I am treated negatively just because I am a woman only highlights that you are part of the sexist culture.

              Last edited 15/03/15 8:49 pm

      Gwenclone. You are on Kotaku.
      Anita getting blackballed on here is as likely as me going into space, having an argument with a rouge AI before turning into a space baby.

        I kind of just wanted to stick my head in, say my bit, be done, and never click on another Anita article again. It's funny/interesting to see how polarized people are on the topic though. Like 11 upvotes vs 6 down. I wonder do people really think there is a problem with Super Mario Bros... that Anita has come along and voiced what everyone has always inwardly thought but could never express; that SMB is sexist? Or do they disagree with my statement that people should be treated equally and with respect/consideration? Or that I said that she shouldn't be threatened and those that did should be condemned for doing so? Idk, ppl are weird!

        I think there really just needs to be a proper representative for feminism in gaming.

          The editor of Kotaku Australia downvoted you. If that doesnt give you a clear indication on this sites opinion on Anita, Im not sure what else will.

    Films and books are also about leisure and being entertained (amongst other things), they are subject to the same sorts of criticism. Anita is not taking your games away. She's a cultural critic, she doesn't want games censored, she's not saying that the games she comments on aren't great, just that they have issues with gender representation. If we look at how games have historically (and currently) marginalise women, then we learn how to do better. This doesn't make games less fun, it just broadens their audience. Better gender representation means more fun for more people, not less.

      She is welcome to be a culture critic, as are other people. What does she bring to the table in doing so? I'm not afraid of her "taking my games away". Do all games have issues with gender representation? Complaining about the trope of Link rescuing Zelda... is the hero rescuing the damsel in distress a negative thing? Really, there's NOT a problem with that... it's its own story. In this case, there is no "learning to do better", because it's not broken. There was that awesome dad that "gender switched" everything in Zelda so that his daughter could get her own customized immersion version, and that's cool... but the original was still not broken.

        I believe she has a video in production of games that are not misogynist.

        What she brings to the table is simply a request for more diversity in representation. The issue with the damsel in distress trope is that it's ubiquitous, and reinforces this idea that women need rescuing by (and from) men. There's plenty that can be done within that trope to stop female characters being a passive prop, while still keeping the romance of that archetypal storyline. The whole point of the tropes vs women videos is to say that female characters are frequently limited to this small handful of peripheral roles.
        Again, this doesn't mean the Zelda games are 'broken', they're obviously classics. It just means that they could do better in giving women a stronger role. Criticising an aspect of a piece of media doesn't negate everything else that's great about it (as Anita points out at the bginning of every video). The story about the dad that gender switched Zelda is beautiful, but the fact the he did it shows there's a gap in representation here that isn't being filled. I don't have the knowledge to do something like this, what do I do when my daughter wants to role play as a girl in a game? Just shrug my shoulders and say that's just how they're designed, that girls don't play games? How much better would it be if it was a choice implemented in the game, rather than a hack? Honestly, I think the majority of gamers genuinely want this, given the amount of Link crossplay you see around.

    Sigh, more of this anti boobs propaganda. When will we all realise boobs are awesome and leave them alone? I can't respect someone that's anti boobs.

    It's almost like the problem is she's a terrible person and not with the message she's trying to twist into man hate. Shocking. Oh wait, it has the word feminist in there, so we have to protect it. Yay Anita, you aren't the tony abbott of the issue at all!

    I think it's fair that she should double, triple-check what she says since arguably that what we all should do. Yeah everybody slips up every now and then, and some definitely get unjust abuse when they do, but that just hammers home the importance of clarifying, humility etc.

    But hey it's pretty hard I'll admit on this topic, why?
    Because It's loaded. The issues are loaded, the questions are loaded, the criticisms are loaded.

    What people in this grand debate are having such a big problem with is how there's almost no way to not insult each other as it's discussed. "Do you think this game is sexist/racist?" "Did you enjoy/not enjoy this apparently sexist/racist game/book/movie/music?" "Do you like/dislike/agree/disagree with this person who is discussing these issues?" "Did you criticise anyone's argument in discussion?"
    Congratulations! You are now a sexist/racist! Does that feel good?

    And maybe that would be fine if something being a sexist/racist/whatever was simply what it maybe was, but that's not what it is any more. Now it's an attribute, a trait; it's a disease and now everyone has it. Some people don't know they have it but all you need to diagnose it is for somebody to tell you that you do!

    Snark aside, I'm serious. There are plenty of internet people who are fine with being asshats hurling abuse no matter that reason and well-meaning or not they will get you. People are like bears and in bear-sensitive issues like these it's pretty hard to not enter the woods, and I respect well-meaning people for navigating the woods. What should be pretty reasonable though, is to not poke the bears. For that I cannot help but admonish those who do. In this way I understand if Anita is vexed about what she cannot say, but I am happy for her not to if its only purpose is to poke the bear.

    Last edited 11/03/15 8:10 pm

      If she wants to put jokes/satire in her pieces, then perhaps she shouldn't present them as essays as she does. If someone picks a communication form and style, then if they don't adhere to the accepted precepts and style of that form, then yes, they deserve criticism for that.

    I am blown away by the awful things people say especially to women online.
    I am also blown away that an awful person like Sarkeesian gets the attention for the cause unlike other women who have had the same issues but did not lie and twist things to make an argument for it.
    Sorry Sarkeesian, what happened to you is worse than you ever deserved and I wish cancer on them scumbags but I have no sympathy for you. You are also a problem that stops women who are victims from being heard as all the focus is on you and your twisting of examples to make your argument. Now the cause gets buried under your garbage. Go public forum look for pitty elsewhere. Like the Good Ol' US of Merica.

    I would never condone abuse in anyway... But how much of it is true? Anita is a known compulsive liar and is very manipulative. She twists facts to her advantage.

    Now i have no doubt she's been harassed and threatened. There are people out there childish enough to do that. What as to what degree? Take anything she says with a grain of salt.

    Anita, you need to get your act together. You are not only hurting the video game industry, but the equal treatment movement.

    To those that are actually childish enough to send death and rape threats: Grow up. The way to counter her is to provide clear facts and evidence... not threaten her.

    Heartbreaking and inspiring in equal measure.

    The relentless attempts to destroy and discredit Anita are appalling, and conspiracy theories created and supported by her harassers are ridiculous and unfounded. It's tantamount to a witch hunt.

    Receiving harrassment myself for openly supporting her, I know it does not feel good, and these instances don't even register as a fraction of the abuse she receives.

    It is a testament to her strength of character and professional integrity, that she forges on in the face of such vitriol.

    I really dig Anita.

    There are people on every side of the argument here getting downvoted for nothing. Cognitive bias much?

      Votes, I promise this page is being heavily manipulated by the mods. Half of the argument is being censored.

        Which half?

    ANITA SARKEESIAN IS NOT A GAMER
    ANITA SARKEESIAN IS NOT A FEMINIST
    SHE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU
    SHE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE AGENDAS SHE IS PUSHING

    SHE ONLY CARES ABOUT MONEY
    YOUR MONEY

    BEFORE FEMINIST FREQUENCY ANITA AND HER FACELESS MAN RAN NEURO LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING SCAMS.

    Last edited 12/03/15 12:53 am

      So many reasonable, measured and logical arguments against Anita.

    What you couldn't say versus the hundred of thousands couldn't speak.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBYMA57yC68

    Listen to a woman that is actually in trouble due to what you are doing.
    And she's just one of the thousands you have indirectly harassed.

    I'm really grateful to her. I never had the words or the concepts to explain clearly before what I felt was unfair. Stuff happened and I knew it was unfair but it was hard to explain why. So a lot of the stuff she presents were real eye openers for me. I've never been interested or read any feminist stuff, still wouldn't use the label 'feminist', but a lot of the ideas just seem really obvious now. In her analysing computer games, that I've loved since I was a kid, she's put those ideas in a context I can understand. So now I can argue coherently exactly *why* someone is being a dick while I'm playing games or just doing my job at work (STEM - such a bad idea, seriously if I had known I was going to get all the crap I do being female I never would have done STEM). It's also helped me to greater understand other diversity issues in other areas - not just gender stuff. People being so *offended* by her make me laugh. She's obviously hit a nerve with them. Why should they care? Why can't they just ignore her and walk away? It's fascinating.

    This youtube I watched the comments before they had turned them off as they became vile although some were moderated out. I kind of wish they had left them there and unmoderated - a testament to exactly what she is saying in this youtube. This morning the Rosie Batty section was approx 1.2k views in 2 days, the youtube of the whole set of talks was at approx 17k view in 4 days. and the bit with just Anita was approx 22k views for 2 days. I mean... I am just scratching my head and sitting here just... I mean... huh? So many just so obtuse I guess. Amazing phenomena we're going to look back at over the years.

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