After some time to think about things… (some swearing)

So, like the one thing that no one is talking about with the Zoe Quinn thing is what this says to female game developers about how to get noticed.

There are a lot of shitty people involved in this whole thing, and just because some of those shitty people are gross sexists doesn’t make Zoe Quinn not a shitty person. Just because her ex-boyfriend (also shitty) is the sort of psycho who’d publicly air all of the dirty laundry about his failed relationship doesn’t make Zoe Quinn or the industry people she was sleeping with not shitty people.  Even KNOWING about it makes me feel like a shitty person.  The people hailing Zoe as some martyred saint are less shitty than the people sending threats, but they’re still shitty if they don’t point out what a terrible thing for women in gaming that has been uncovered by the whole disgusting thing.

Sexual quid pro quo in any industry is NOT A GOOD THING. The fact is, male gaming journalists may have given preferential treatment and coverage to a female developer because of sexual relationships with her or the prospect of sexual relationships with her. What does that say to female indie developers who are trying to make a name for themselves in a highly competitive industry that is, as we’re so often reminded, male dominated and male targeted? If you have sex with men they will like you and say nice things about you and your game.

Zoe Quinn is NOT the only woman in gaming, but if you’ve read any articles about her, you’d think that she was the most important woman in gaming until she was destroyed by a roving army of misogynists. Frankly, I had never heard of her until after dozens of blogs and gaming news sites had rushed to her defense (and their own, by proxy). I keep seeing all of these comparisons between Zoe & Anita Sarkeesian. The difference in my mind is that Anita Sarkeesian is only guilty of putting out a lazy product with work she took from other people while being hella slow to release content that her investors paid for ages ago (though in fairness, no one ever to my knowledge threatened to rape James Maliziziziziwhatever when Dwimmermount tanked).  To my knowledge, she’s not been actively involved in dangerous or corrupt behavior to the detriment of other women in the industry.  What disturbs me most about Zoe’s alleged actions is the game jam that she was raising funds for, along with the help of several sites and individuals she had relationships with, professional or otherwise, directing traffic that way, that looks as though was never going to happen in the first place.

I’d say that my hope is that someday gaming journalism will not be so corrupt that reviews and content plugs are based on who is sleeping with who, but I know that will never happen. Especially considering the number of non-gaming journalists who are LITERALLY in bed with staffers, bureaucrats, chairs, politicians, etc. and the revolving door for politicos who land cushy jobs as correspondents at news networks and vice-versa.

Lastly, I’d like to throw in this comment from cephalopodlovesong out there, because it’s so spot on

one of the huge problems this “culture” has is taking the experiences of one person and expanding them to the entire gender.

“Zoe Quinn cheated on her boyfriend, but claims she’s a feminist/sjw. ALL WOMEN WHO IDENTIFY AS FEMINISTS/SJWS ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE. OMG LOOK AT THIS.”

“Anita Sarkeesian is not as well educated on games as she could be and makes some sweeping generalizations under the guise of ‘research’. ALL WOMEN ARE DUMB CUNTS WHO WANT TO RUIN OUR GAMES.”

if people were able to say “wow, this is a sort of shitty thing that this one person did. I’m personally not going to support that person anymore, but realize that one person’s behaviors are not the behaviors of an entire group of people.” I feel like this wouldn’t be as bad. however, all the fucking doxxing to get people’s information is RIDICULOUS.

Counterpoints to Tropes vs Women

While I’ve been enjoying watching Anita Sarkeesian’s new video series ( largely from the perspective of a former crit theory student), I think that there are a lot of  interesting and very good rebuttals out there.  No, not the people who are all “Anita’s a stupid (insert various insults against women here)”, but there are a lot of really well thought out arguments against her position and her methods (some of the best of which I’ve tried to aggregate here).    And considering her topic out of the gate, I hope that the irony is not lost on her that she made a ton of kickstarter money off people who were White Knighting for her.

This is a pretty good rebuttal:

As is this lady’s:

 (she’s posted counterpoints to all three videos, you can find them easily enough yourself.)

Also, let’s not forget that intellectual feminism is largely based on linguistic acrobatics (thank god at least English doesn’t have masculine & feminine endings), as this points out.  It’s slightly harsher than the previous, but points out, more or less, that rhetoric can be used to argue any point in any direction (but those with the power to oppress cannot be oppressed, hurr hurr).

Here is Anita’s example of a “good” game with a female protagonist as she’s proposed:

Yet if such a game existed, one could complain that the princess character is:
-Simply a gender swap of a male protagonist
-An individual who came from privilege, not oppression, and therefore cannot be a symbol of release from oppression.
-The sexualized product of  male fantasies about subdual and subjugation by a strong woman (a Japanese feminist manga critic professor doctor lady once told me that there were no strong feminist heroes in manga, all strong female characters are simply male fantasy objects in a culture where most women are incredibly demure and men have a desire to be smacked around by dominating tough girls.)

And if Anita Sarkeesian had not been the one to propose such a game, how much do you want to bet she’d be the one to attack it?

(plus, isn’t a royal returning from exile and overthrowing a council the opposite of what usually happens when people are trying to abolish the monarchy forever?)

Lastly, Mario a retelling of St. George & the Dragon?  It’s so obvious that anyone could overlook it.

Ultimately, there ARE a lot of really gross things in video games, and a lot of female characters in video games ARE oversexualized and essentially made objects of the gaze, but Anita’s approach means finding the sexist bogeyman behind every corner and under ever rock.