The Instigator
Rekthor
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
MrVan
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Anita Sarkeesian and Women in Video Games

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2013 Category: Games
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,251 times Debate No: 41190
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (12)
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Rekthor

Con

I've watched Anita's videos, I've watched responses to them, and it seems to me that Anita is making not only a mountain out of a molehill, but is displaying a remarkable amount of hypocrisy in her arguments, dropping meaningless and misused feminist buzzwords left, right and centre, and being a coward by refusing to allow comments, ratings or even statistics on her videos.

State your case in her defense. Anyone is allowed to accept.
MrVan

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for this debate and wish him the best of luck!

Like my opponent, I've also watched a few of Anita Sarkeesian's videos on Youtube. While I can honestly say I don't agree with all of her views, I do agree with many of them and think that she has had an overall positive effect on the gaming community.

Ironically, Sarkeesian never really had any notoriety outside of the feminist community until the whole "Tropes vs. Women Kickstarter controversy". It was the very sexist and angry response to her kickstarter campaign from a small, though vocal, group of people within the gaming community which ultimately propelled her to fame. In fact, I never even heard of her until after I read an article on the incident by the Escapist[1].

There was an extremely harsh backlash against Sarkeesian's Youtube videos which included sexist insults, death threats and threats of rape[2]. This is why the comments were removed from her videos, not because she was trying to avoid criticism.


SOURCES:
[1]http://www.escapistmagazine.com...
[2]http://www.dailydot.com...

Debate Round No. 1
Rekthor

Con

I'll disagree with you. Her video series is accomplishing little and does not have a positive effect. Rather, it seems to enrage gamers, if the internet is to be believed, that someone is attacking the games that they enjoy for not catering to her ideal.

I'm not sure what the point of your second paragraph is, but I'll contend that the group attacking her was necessarily sexists, or that it was a small group. Rather, she claimed in an interview with CNN that it was a "cyber mob" and that "thousands of individuals" came after her[1]. Whether you believe her is another issue, but I'd ask you the question: Do you think that there would be analogous backlash by gamers if a muslim apologist created a vlog series about the role of Islam in video games, and not only wanted games to change to be more friendly to his religion, but called anyone who disagreed with him an Islamophobe? Because it seems to me that the ones who attacked Sarkeesian were doing it because she tried to bring feminism into something where feminism is ill-suited, and an area where nobody really cares about real-world issues save for her and her followers.

Just as a side note: Anita's website slogan is "Conversations with Pop Culture", despite her closing her comments and ratings. For someone with such a motto, she seems remarkably uninterested in discussion. I know she was threatened and I know she was insulted. She does have the right to do that as well; she's a private enterprise. However, I'm not sure why Anita would take any of these threats seriously. They are internet threats. Spend 3 hours playing Call of Duty online and you'll get, I guarantee, more than a few threats to rape you/your mother/your sister. Even one of the Call of Duty developers got hundreds of threats every hour when he implemented a hotfix that downgraded the power of some guns in the game[2]. To quote Will McAvoy on HBO's The Newsroom: "Nobody who is serious about killing you sends you a note beforehand to warn you". The internet's made it very easy for people to grow spines and insult others without fear of retaliation, and its also escalated the insults that we use from "idiot" or "moron" to "f*cking d*ucheface" and "c*ntnozzle", among other, more colourful ones. When you're lobbing from the back seats in the stands, and you're standing in a mob, its much easier to throw the tomatoes at the stage then if you're sitting in the first row.

[1]: (see video)
[2]: http://www.digitaltrends.com...
MrVan

Pro

I stated on the first round that I don't agree with everything Sarkeesian has said in her videos, but the premise of her arguments address the very real problem of sexism in the gaming industry and greater "nerd culture". I'm not saying it isn't getting better mind you, it is, but it's still there and it's still a very big problem. Aside from a few notable exceptions, games are predominantly marketed to a heterosexual male market, even though an estimate 45% of gamers are female[1]. Females characters in games are often sexualized and serve to titalize a male audience, and most only serve as shallowly written characters who serve as nothing more than an object to be won or gawked at for the male protagonist[2]. Again, there are always exceptions and this isn't always the case, but unfortunately it more often than not is. Even though there might be some things that Sarkeesian says which we might not agree with, she does challenge this very real issue. She's also probably one of the few commentators to bring real attention to the whole problem.

The point of my second paragraph was to illustrate that Sarkeesian's Internet pseudo-notoriety was given to her by the people who hated her. I'd also like to point out that even though I believe that the people who attacked and harassed Sarkeesian represented a small part of the gaming community, that's still a pretty sizable group of people. Thousands of individuals said some pretty terrible stuff to her, and it wasn't just confined to Youtube. A flash game where you could beat up an image of Sarkeesian's face was even made in response to her Kickstarter campaign, though it was quickly taken down[3]. Even more ironic is the fact that she might not have even gotten as much money for her project had it not been all the attention it got because of the criticism, she only asked for $6,000 but ended up with $150,000.

Consequently, the harsh backlash against Sarkeesian had made having a real discussion on the matter next to impossible because people with genuine criticisms of Anita's views end up getting bunched up with the more sexist elements of nerd culture. Also, the anonymity offered by the Internet is no justification for such insults, and whether or not they are shocking is totally subjective. I, for one, think they are obscene and shocking, and that the people who posted them are no better than any other cyber bully. The legality of such threats and activities are questionable enough, but they were definitely against Youtube's terms of use[4]. Sarkeesian is perfectly in her right to do what she wants with her video and was justified in blocking comments to it.

Sources:
[1]http://www.theesa.com...
[2]http://www.slate.com...
[3]http://www.escapistmagazine.com...
[4]http://www.youtube.com...

Debate Round No. 2
Rekthor

Con

Just so we're clear, are you purporting that the sexism that reportedly exists is one-way or two ways?

I've heard that 45% statistic before; and I counter with are male characters not sexualized intensely? Seriously; how many male protagonists in games are not indomitable stoics or the pinnacle of heroism and badassery? Mario? Link, maybe? And many are the ultimate males: Ezio Auditore, Kratos, Master Chief, Varian Wrynn, Jim Raynor, Alex Mercer, John Marston, Commander Shepard... I could go on. If all the females with big breasts, slightly higher-pitched voices and get kidnapped sometimes are negative stereotypes that reinforce, please explain why these heroes are so widely praised, or why feminists like Sarkeesian (and by proxy, you, if I may make that leap. Please correct me if I'm wrong), have no problem with them.

Yes, I know the extent of her harassment. I'm not supportive of that in any way. I disagree with her, and I'd be vocal about it, but I don't get behind threats to assault, rape or kill her. Though I would ask the question where on earth 150 grand went; that's FAR more than you need to fund a project on this level. You can say that she used it to pay her bills while she worked on the project, but surely you don't expect me to believe that she needed to play all those games she posed with{1} in order to discern the sexism in each one, nor does it take over a year from when she started her kickstarter to release one 20 minute video.

This is one of the problems that I consistently face in my criticisms of Anita or just the modern pseudo-feminism that has entered on the world stage, that I get tossed in with the people whose argument against feminism is "Make me a sandwich"; we're in agreement there. However I'm not using the internet as a defense for these trolls' claims; don't misinterpret me there. I was using it as an explanation for the horrid retaliation, and making the argument that these people have an easy means to spew their anger without social consequence. It's the mob mentality, combined with the safety of anonymity and the increasing desensitization of our culture, that fuels the intense hatred. I cited the example of a Call of Duty producer getting hundreds of death threats because he made one, nearly insignificant change to the sniper rifles in the game. Nor is he the only one[2]: Ted Cruz, Selena Gomez... nearly every celebrity on the internet has been issued death threats for one reason or another, and I can't recall a case where the person carried through with it. Even the Steubenville rapists, who had their home addresses, social security numbers and phone numbers posted online by Anonymous and Knightsec[3], weren't sent bombs or had anyone come to kill them. And the internet loathedthem with a contempt that's rare even for it. Internet threats are nothing to be concerned about; the easiest thing to do, and to show that you're not afraid, is to let them flow and eventually they burn down.

[1]: http://farm8.staticflickr.com...
[2]: http://www.slate.com...
[3]: http://jezebel.com...
MrVan

Pro

There's no doubt that sexism existThere's no doubt that sexism exists for both male and females, but that's not what I'm really talking about in this debate. I don't believe that sexism effects men the same way if effects women though.

My opponent brings up an argument that we see a lot whenever the topics of sexism, misogyny and the unrealistic portrayals of women in gaming come up. I actually do have a problem with how males are portrayed in video games, but it's a different problem and can't really be compared to the portrayals of women. The difference is that those "ultimate males" are not there to serve as sex appeal for a female audience, but rather serve as self-image fantasies for the male players. Also, many of the characters you listed illustrate just how much more variety of body-types there are for men in games than for women, from the feminine Link to the fat and short plumber Mario. Also, heroic, stoic and being "bad-*ss" (Debate.org wouldn't let me post my arguments unless I censored it, sorry!) are positive qualities that very few female characters in video games actually have because they serve as nothing more than shallowly written token-characters or sex dolls to be objectified. Again, there are exceptions (Alex Vance! <3).

While we're still on the topic, it's worth noting that mass media and pop cultures portrayal of women negatively effects women in the real world socially than it does men[1]. Our society still judges females based on their appearance, and the way we portray them in gaming only reinforces the real-life problem[2][3].

I agree that $150,000 is a lot of money for a project of this particular nature, but keep in mind that it's WAY over the amount of money she asked for, which was $6,000 dollars. Otherwise it's hard to really determine how much money she needed, equipment, games, editing and time spent making the videos all considered. There are a lot of factors that come into making videos, ultimately costs are going to come down to what kind of video you want to make and what quality it is[4].

I can personally assure my opponent that he will not find any such generalizations from me, though I can't help but feel he is trying to paint such threats as not being that big of a deal. That said, since we both agree that the insults and threats against Sarkeesian were indeed sexist, I'd like to shift the argument over to their implications. My opponent has said himself that the anonymity of the Internet has fostered an environment within the gamer community that fosters such sexist and misogynistic behavior. If that is indeed true, than Sarkeesian's criticisms of sexism in gaming are only better justified, since the industry isn't really doing anything to positively change anything.

SOURCES:
[1]http://books.google.com...
[2]http://blog.pricecharting.com...;
[3]http://mutantsupermodel.com...;
[4]http://www.indigoprod.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Rekthor

Con

I fail to see how sexism versus men is not as serious, or doesn't effect men in the same way it does women. In my mind, any form of discrimination is a bad thing.

Actually it's not different. The motivations for doing so may be different, but ultimately, if you're going to complain about the ideal female being portrayed in video games, then you must also have a problem with the ideal male, otherwise you're simply committing special pleading in favour of the one you don't support. Also, what evidence is there that female characters serve only, or at least mainly, for the purpose of titillating the male audience? I can think of plenty of female video game characters who clearly aren't meant to just be there to be sexy. Samus from Metroid, or Tali from the first Mass Effect, Kat from Halo: Reach, Bonnie Macfarlane from Red Dead Redemption... I could go on. And I also don't see how there is more variation for male characters over females. Link isn't feminine, he's a young man wielding the master sword and chopping animals to pieces. I'll concede Mario, however his character was made back in the 1980s, when the video game industry was just taking off and story or character development wasn't their biggest concern. And what, tall, feminine forms that know how to destroy enemies and sass characters (case in point: Lara Croft, Faith from Mirror's Edge, Joanna Dark, Commander Shepard, etc.) are NOT positive traits? You may say that not every woman wants to be seen with big breasts or a busty figure. Well, not every man wants to be seen as muscle-bound or womanizers either. And in what way are the plentitude of female protagonists in games shallow? There are a few exceptions, but most of them I see are powerful characters.

How do you mean "judges"? Because there are plenty of fields where that's not true. In job interviews for example, women aren't treated very differently. You dress appropriately and professionally, and if your skills are sufficient, you get the job. I've often said that corporations are sociopathic; they don't care about you as a person, they care about what you can add to their machine. Sure there are exceptions, but for the majority, its simply untrue. If you're talking about modelling, of course you're judged by your body. If you're talking about dating, once again, of course you're judged for your body; the exact same way that men are.

Not really. What does $6000 pay for? A couple months rent? Maybe some bills. If we're talking in terms of the project, speaking as one who visits game shops on a regular basis, that's easily enough to buy you every game she posed with. Let's factor in some video editing software for another couple hundred, maybe a new camera for a couple thousand: ultimately she needs maybe ten thousand. I'd like to know where the other 140k went.

No, actually I didn't agree on that, so please don't put words in my mouth. I actually didn't concede anything on the field of whether or not the threats were sexist. I said that most of the threats were not to be taken seriously. And I don't think that the threats towards her were sexist; I think that those threats came from the safety of anonymity and the reinforcement of a mob mentality. If you want to say that the insults were directed at the fact that she's a woman: well of course they were. Insults generally trend towards attacking a very obvious component about you. Skin colour, gender, body shape, etc. I also didn't say that the internet fosters sexist behavior; I said the the safety created by the internet, reinforced by the mob psychology, makes it easier for people to say outrageous thinks and desensitizes us to insults. For example: You would NEVER hear some kid say he had sex with anothers mom in a video arcade thirty years ago; he would have gotten the crap beaten out of him.
MrVan

Pro

I said that sexism doesn't effect men the same way it does women, that doesn't mean that it's not as bad or serious as sexism against women. Sexism against women is, however, more deeply seeded into our society and culture- video games included.

I actually don't have a problem with the "ideal" woman being portrayed in games, a little bit of sexual titillation isn't necessarily a bad thing. I would certainly never advocate that games be sexually repressive, I don't think most feminist gamers actually do. As far as characterization is concerned, my opponent is correct, in most cases it's quite equal. When it comes to objectification, however, females have it harder than males[1]. The problem is largely the lack of variety and the fact that most female characters in video games only serve as objects to be won, gawked at or to further emphasize the male hero in some way[1][2]. Ironically, some of my opponent's own counter-examples fall into these categories; Lara Croft is largely considered to be one of the biggest sex symbols in gaming despite her creator's intentions[4], Samus has also been portrayed as shallowly written and dependent on male characters (I'm looking at you, Other M!)[5][6], and sex is generally treated immaturely as some kind of prize in the Mass Effect series, degrading everyone involved. The same applies to most female characters in games, this and the fact that the gaming industry tries to appeal to the white, heterosexual male audience is evidence enough that females are portrayed the way they are to reinforce male sexual and self-image fantasies for male players. In case my opponent has any objections to the idea that the industry's mainly focused on appealing to males than females, I'd like to point out the fact that most main, playable characters in game are male. The ridiculous ideas and representations of what masculinity is in gaming is indeed a real problem that has real life consequences on men, but it is not the same problem nor equal to the problems associated with the portrayals of female characters.

My opponent is only partially correct about women and employment; while there have certainly been improvements, women still face harassment, lower pay, and discrimination on both conscious and unconscious levels. I don't want to stray too far away from video games or Sarkeesian, but it's necessary in order to illustrate how engraved sexism is in our society. Women don't fair well making it to higher-level management; only 4% of S&P 500's CEO's are female, just over 10% are chief financial officers[7] and over one third of public companies don't even have senior officers who are women[8]. Women also do not make as much as men do, on average males make $7,600 more than women- that's according to Congress' economic fact sheet[9]. I appreciate my opponent's recognition of corporations as cold, inhuman and uncaring entities, but the people who run said corporations are very human and possess flaws like any other person.

I can't answer my opponent because I honestly don't know what Sarkeesian did with the other 140K, and can only assume she used it to better the quality of her videos. My only real argument in defense of the amount of money Sarkeesian had made is that she didn't ask for the amount she got and that the people who gave her the money did so freely. As stated in the last round, and in the sources provided, the cost of making a video varies depending on what kind of video is being made and it's quality. Anita's series isn't even finished yet, so it's impossible to determine how much money she's using producing them. I believe my opponent is implying that Sarkeesian might be scamming the people who donated to her videos, but unless he can provide proof it's little more than suspicion based on little to no substantial fact.

In regards to the attacks on Sarkeesian being sexist, I'd like to apologize to my opponent. I misinterpreted his position on the last round and never intended to put words into his mouth. Though, now I fear I'm kind of confused by his position. If the threats and insults that were directed at Sarkeesian were in fact directed at the fact she was a woman, then it's obviously sexist. Sexism covers stereotypes and discrimination[10]; just because it's meant to be insulting doesn't make it any less sexist, if anything it makes it more sexist because it's trying to hurt someone's feelings on the basis of their gender. Other than that, I don't really disagree with my opponent on how these kind of behavior is reinforced. I do, however, believe that such behavior has, because of the anonymous nature of the Internet, is in fact fostered.

I look forward to my opponent's closing arguments!

SOURCES:
[1]http://thegamesofchance.blogspot.co.uk...
[2]http://www.nytimes.com...;
[3](featured video)
[4]http://browse.reticular.info...
[5]http://www.g4tv.com...
[6]http://www.avclub.com...
[7]http://www.bloomberg.com...
[8]http://www.catalyst.org...
[9]http://www.jec.senate.gov...
[10]http://www.merriam-webster.com...




Debate Round No. 4
Rekthor

Con

Alright; since this is the closing round, I'd just like to go on the record and remind anyone watching that neither of us will be advancing new arguments that the other won't have a chance to respond to, so I'll simply do a summary of everything that's been said, contend a few already existing arguments and then say my goodbyes.

Unfortunately, it's simply a result of existance that every material thing in the universe becomes objectified by the human eye. It's a simple consequence of biology; and indeed, one that you already made. When you looked down the site page and saw this debate, for instance, your brain made a split-second decision on its own and discriminated towards this debate, making you click on it. Same thing happens if you're walking down the street and you see an attractive person; your brain has already decided that they are worth your time to look at, without your consent. Some would call that unfair, but its a reality. In addition, your argument that female characters are used to supplement the male hero is a pointless one; the argument can easily be flipped on its head and said that in any game where females outnumber males, that the males are only supplementary. This is universally true, and isn't a sign of sexism; characters that are lesser in some form, be it in strength, numbers or what-have-you, are supplementary to the protagonist by definition. It isn't a sign of any negative -ism, it's a consequence of being a secondary character. Nor is there anything wrong with being a secondary character; there are many great characters who weren't the protagonists in their respective stories.

Also, as a personal fan of the Mass Effect franchise, you are grossly misrepresenting it. In every Mass Effect game, the player is given more than one option for romance, and it's not just treating sex as a prize to be won. Mass Effect prides itself on its immersion, and those romance options don't involve your characters "hooking up" just because they can; the romance subplots are about Shepard and your love interest falling in love. This only isn't the case in a few unique romances (Jacob in Mass Effect 2, for example), but that's made obsolete because continuing any romance through the trilogy results in those characters stating that they've fallen in love with Shepard. The game isn't treating sex as a prize, and only someone who is looking for an argument would draw that conclusion. Your statement, I'm sorry to say, is remarkably similar to one made on Fox News when the first Mass Effect was released, and Fox made the same strawman of saying "this game is treating sex as a prize to be won", among other things [1].

Most of your second paragraph is exactly the biggest problem with Anita's arguments; they're open to evisceration by Ockham's deadly Razor. For anyone reading this who doesn't know what the Razor is, it's a logical tool that states in a question of logic, the answer that makes the least amount of assumptions, or the least outrageous assumptions, should always be selected[2]. In this argument, you asserted that the gaming industry "tries to appeal to the white, heterosexual male audience [is] evidence enough that females are portrayed the way they are to reinforce male sexual and self-image fantasies for male players.". In contrast, I'm asserting that game developers make their characters the way they do because they make characters they'd like to see, not because they're trying to appeal to any one particular group. What's more likely? That game developers, as gamers themselves, want to make characters that they think will appeal to them and their fanbase, or that they are actually making characters the way they do because they are discriminatory against women and want to appeal to only one part of their fanbase, which they think responds postively to this kind of treatment. This isn't a strawman, this is simple market logic; if you discriminate against someone, you are discriminatory by definition, and there'd be no reason for a profit-motivated industry to make characters the way they are if they didn't think that it would cause them to get more money. This is the Razor in action; yours makes a shaky assumption based on post-hoc evidence, and is subject to it.

I hope you don't mind if I skip over most of the assertions in your next paragraph simply because it's not really relevant, although I will say that your Congress source, and by extension that entire argument that women are paid less, almost universally fails to take any factors into account. I've heard it repeated before, but all those kinds of observations do is look at median pay; it ignores any sort of nuance between the genders.

The point I was trying to make in this paragraph is that despite her massive influx of money from her kickstarter, Anita's videos did not improve in quality (I'll link her pre-kickstarter and post-kickstarter videos as sources [3] and [4]), and nor did she appear to use any of that money for recording the footage she needed from the games, as the blogger Vicsor points out; Anita actually doesn't use any original footage in her videos. She simply finds Lets Play videos on YouTube and then takes their footage[5], she lied about liking video games since she was a kid [6], despite her claims in her TED talk that she's been playing video games since she was a kid, and she hasn't put out any statement regarding where it went.

Taking a closer look at my statement, I can see I did put in a little too much ambiguity; if those comments were directed at her being a woman, you can say they were sexist comments. Of course then the argument morphs into whether or not that's indicative of her entire critical base (clearly its not, since I'm here), or that there exists a sexist culture in the gamer community. Since there isn't really a way to variably test or count the number of sexist to non-sexist comments, and my personal experience is invalidated due to its sources and my bias, this argument becomes a dead end. We can't definitively say that there's a culture of sexism; the only thing that we can say for certain is that a portion of Anita's critical base is sexist. But the bigger problem is that you think that how these games portray people actually has an effect on the world. You asserted that there are real-life consequences for this; that is absolutely no different than those who think video game violence correlates with actual violence (the simple counter for this is "what video game were people playing for the previous 2,000 years?").

Anyway; I've used up about two third of my characters, so I'd better close up. In summation, Anita's arguments are based upon more than a few fallacies, including post hoc reasoning and indirect foundational bias; the same tactic advanced by creationists, which is assuming a conclusion before gathering evidence, instead of assuming a conclusion from evidence already gathered. She, and her supporters, make far too many unfounded assumptions; namely that there is an entity called the gaming industry that is biased against them, when in reality, there are far simpler explanations that don't need to rely on unnecessary assumptions for the reason why some female characters are bland, and are left vulnerable to the Razor. She uses the example of Mass Effect 3's advertising in her latest video, citing the fact that the Male Shepard is used in most promotional material as an element that makes Female Shepard inferior to him[7], even though a far simpler, and more appropriate, answer can be found in the fact that it's cheaper for a company to produce only one version of advertising, and as Bioware themselves said, less than 20% of players actually play as female Shepard[8]. Anita mistakes simple story and editing choices, like flipping a characters gender, as sexism when in reality, there are easier explanations for this that make far more sense in an editorial context; like the fact that flipping a character's gender is a very easy way to create a new character without having to write in a backstory, especially in early games like Pac-Man when you only have a few pixels to work with.

But in any case, that's all out of me. Thanks very much for the debate my friend, and I hope everyone reading this took away something constructive. So in my favorite author's immortal words: "So long, and thanks for all the fish".

MrVan

Pro

I acknowledge the my opponent's terms. For the sake of common courtesy and debate etiquette I won't be presenting any new arguments. I'd like to thank my opponent for such a great debate!

My opponent is, again, only partially correct. Like I said in the previous round, a little bit of titillation isn't a bad thing. We all get sexual urges, and trying to totally suppress it is unhealthy. However, my opponent ignores the human element put into play whenever we see someone attractive, and that noticing someone's flattering appearance is not the same thing as objectifying them. Sure, their appearance might be the first thing we notice, but most of us still understand that what we're looking at is another person and we respect them as such. Unless you're in a strip club or looking at someone who's intentionally showing off their "assets", gawking and treating women like objects is generally frowned upon (and also considered sexist[1]. Also, my opponent's contention that males are supplementary in games with a majority of female characters has little foundation. For one, there are very few games in the industry where a majority of the characters, that's not to say there are some, but it's a terribly low number compared to games with a majority of male characters. Secondly, while arguably a majority do, not every game where a majority of the cast is male puts females in supplementary roles, Alex Vance being my prime example. So you can't automatically assume that it's always the case with males in games where a majority of the characters are female. A secondary character is not always there to only emphasize the main character, in fact sometimes the exact opposite can be true, like in Bioshock: Infinite and The Last of Us.

It was definitely not my intention to misrepresent Mass Effect, and I most certainly don't want to be characterized as making the same criticisms of it that FOX News has. So I'll try to better elaborate my position. It wasn't so much the blue side-boob, the sex itself (which wasn't that graphic) or the story, and unlike FOX I firmly believed they had every right to include sex into the game. The problem is that these kind of scenes in games perpetuate the idea that if your friendly and inventive to someone you like that they are somehow obligated to have sex with you, that you're somehow entitled to it[2]. A lot of Bioware's games are kind of like that, opting to treat sex like the equivalent of the "shocking moment" in every Modern Warfare game, basically using it to make their games seem more mature. Mass Effect isn't the only game that's done this, and certainly hasn't done it in the most offensive way. Games like Duke Nuken: Forever and Ride to Hell are some more crude examples; the latter not even attempting to make it look like a parody[3].

My opponent attempts to use Occam's razor to discredit my contention, but misused it by confusing what is pretty well documented evidence as assumptions. Their are few assumptions to be made as far as the existence of sexism within the gaming community is concerned[4][5][6], and while it's true that they market predominantly to a male audience doesn't mean they're intentionally trying to discriminate against women with their games[7]. My opponent isn't wrong when he says that game developers make characters they feel will appeal to their fan base and that they want to see, and that's kind of the problem. Actually, I'd actually argue that the biggest incentive in the tipple-A industry is money, seeing as a lot of the really big titled that are being released (shooters especially) follow formulas just because it's easier, risky and has proved to sell better. What ever the case, it's not an intentional attempt to discriminate or ruin the fun for any one particular group of people (aside from those pesky Commies!). But sadly, despite what their intentions may be, following said generic formula doesn't necessarily make a game appealing or friendly to a female audience. It's that very market-logic that keeps the industry from taking risks and diversifying their characters, and this doesn't just apply to gender... but that's whole other debate.

My opponent has decided to skip over most of my contentions in round five, which is alright with me for the sake of sticking to video games. However, the points I made were largely in response to my opponent's points in his second paragraph in round four. He also fails to specify about "nuances" he mentions as between the genders. The fact remains that, while women are becoming more accepted into the workplace, there is still a lot of discrimination as far as getting into upper management and the amount of money they get for how hard they work is concerned[8].

My opponent has made his point quite well; but as I've stated in the previous round, Anita Sarkeesian's video series isn't finished yet and therefore it's impossible to ascertain exactly how much money will be put into it. And seeing as I don't agree with everything Sarkeesian has said, I'm not going to bother defending her character. I'd much prefer to focus of the fact that her fame is the result of the publicity she got courtesy of the people who hate her, that her arguments, while not wholly factual, are based on something that's very true and very important, and the fact that she has the freedom to say whatever she very well pleases in her videos so long as it doesn't violate Youtube's terms of service.

I never claimed that her entire critical base was sexist, I honestly don't think they are. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that most of her critics aren't sexist... only a fringe group of trolls and bullies who like to hide behind a computer and type threats and insults when they get defensive. Contrary to my opponent's contention, the sexual and misogynist harassment which followed Sarkeesian's kickstarter have been well documented. Her phone number and address had been posted on hate sites, numerous sexist and vulgar pictures and captioned images of her have been made and distributed online (including photoshopped images of her being raped), her website was hacked, a beat-up game was made where you get to punch her in the face (we covered this already) and people who supported her were threatened[9][10][11]. These were not isolated incidents, there was a very harsh backlash against her from trolls and bullies online after the Kickstarter controversy. There's little doubt that there was a misogynist element within the cyber mob that attacked her. My opponent stated it himself in round four, it wasn't vague. He clearly stated;

"If you want to say that the insults were directed at the fact that she's a woman: well of course they were."

That's not taken out of context, his reasoning and words are still presented on round four for everyone to see. The people who attacked Sarkeesian clearly directed the bulk of their attack at the fact she was female, and that's clearly sexist.

In conclusion, Anita Sarkeesian isn't the epitome of feminism or a representative for all ladies (and guys) who are upset with how women are portrayed in games. Her infamy within the gaming community and all of the exposure and money she gained from it were the result of a very small, but clearly vocal, group of people on the Internet who sexually harassed and threatened her. Because of that, she had become one of the first high profile people to really challenge our community, which isn't a bad thing. The medium of gaming the culture which has sprung up around it is still pretty young, we still have a lot of growing up to do as a community and we shouldn't be ashamed or get defensive over it. Perhaps most important to note is that Anita's videos aren't going to change anything in the industry. The evil feminists aren't trying to take away any games, and Sarkeesian's videos will in no way stop some tipple-a industry from making a game with tons of burly white men in combat armor or cute girls in revealing bikinis with breast physics. My opponent clearly loves video games, I love video games too, and I'm sure many of the readers probably love them as well, but that doesn't mean we can't criticize or acknowledge the negative aspects of them.

Again I'd like to thank my opponent for debating with me; it's been fun!

SOURCES:
[1]http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2]http://www.escapistmagazine.com...
[3]video
[4]http://www.giantbomb.com...
[5]http://www.bbc.co.uk...
[6]http://www.adweek.com...
[7]video
[8]http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[9]http://www.newstatesman.com...
[10]http://www.wired.com...
[11]http://www.thestar.com...

Debate Round No. 5
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
I think this is very relevant to this debate, and at least worth your consideration:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2h4vITidvo
Posted by Rekthor 3 years ago
Rekthor
As I'm just now noticing, I completely forgot to include my sources at the end. Whoops! Here they are, in order.
[1]:
[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org...'s_razor
[3]: (pre-kickstarter)
[4]: (post-kickstarter)
[5]: http://victorsopinion.blogspot.be...
[6]: http://vimeo.com... (the part in question comes shortly after 12:20)
[7]:
[8]: http://www.vg247.com...

Sorry about that; oversight on my part.
Posted by MrVan 3 years ago
MrVan
ConformistDave,
How is she shoving her "cooch" into everyone's face, exactly? She made a video, nothings going to change or be taken away from you in video games because of it.
Posted by ConformistDave 3 years ago
ConformistDave
cool if she makes a mountain out of a molehill. she knows that feminism has won irl, and she's gonna use the fact that shes a woman to shove her cooch in everyone's face.
Posted by TetsuRiken 3 years ago
TetsuRiken
I give up I can't listen to this any more.
Posted by MrVan 3 years ago
MrVan
Tetsu,

It's not, but the very fact that sexism is a problem in the industry should concern us, you can criticize bad aspects something you love. :)
Posted by TetsuRiken 3 years ago
TetsuRiken
Not my fault that the Japanese are pervs and I'm sure that they would but I don't go no about a game mechanics that I have no control over.
Posted by MrVan 3 years ago
MrVan
Tetsu,
Nobody will. The beauty of it is, no matter what Sarkeesian says, it's not going to keep some game developer from making a game with jiggling boob mechanics and women wearing plate bikinis.

I don't even want that stuff to go away, I love a little bit of sex appeal myself. I just want to see more variety in the gaming industry is all, I think a lot of gamer girls will agree with me.
Posted by TetsuRiken 3 years ago
TetsuRiken
I get getting trolled by the gamer she has a right to complain there but I love my game as is I'm not sexist but no one skews with my games!
Posted by TetsuRiken 3 years ago
TetsuRiken
So she's throwing a hissy fit about chicks in games basically?
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