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She has a point but so does some of her Critics
Prior to her whole game trope videos, I had I never heard about Anita. I must say that based on the few videos that I've seen of hers, she has a point. While some stuff against her is really bad, some of what her critics say also do have a point. Both Sides Have A Point basically, at least the sides that act mature. Here are some points that I've come across based on what I got from some others and my own views:

  1. Seeing sexist things in whatever
    • A lot of things that she says are seeing subtle stuff in the simple things that can be taken as sexist. She has a point as some little things can be interpreted as sexist. Her Lego video is an example of this. The branch sold only for boys can indeed foster only aggressive attitudes. The one only for girls can indeed foster only passive attitudes. Some overlap between the two would indeed be a welcome.
    • On the other hand, some of what she says can be over-analytical to the point of almost sounding like a Straw Feminist. Things like saying that I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is sexist as it implies that mommy is cheating or at best be kissing daddy in disguise, which the song is clearly about, can cause a Flat What or two. Her take on it can be seen as either over-analysis or child-like.
  2. Out-of-universe view vs. In-universe view
    • In a lot of her videos, she looks at things from what can be best described as an out-of-universe view. She has a point as things seen from such a view can really be sexist. Women being kidnapped and serving merely as a plot device can indeed be very demeaning especially if you like the kidnapee.
    • On the other hand, she doesn't seem to look at things from an in-universe view which have irked some critics. A princess that's probably been taught more about politics rather than fighting, and captured by the local Satan analogue, is obviously gonna need a hero regardless if she provides a male power trip or not.
  3. Getting the topic
    • Some of what she says shows she gets the topic she addresses. Stuff like games would indeed benefit if they put a spin on old gender-stereotyped tropes. Heck, its an unexplored avenue that can provide all sorts of creativity.
    • On the other hand, some of what she says really goes beyond topic due to their nature. Games that put a spin on things are not necessarily marketable. Games are supposed to be fun not political statements.
Isn't this always the case? When has anyone ever made flawless arguments that don't overlook or overemphasize certain aspects of the topic at hand?

Which is why I have a problem with her disabling the comments under her videos. Sure, there would be a ton of meaningless hate in there but not allowing a discussion at all is not helping anything. Also, active comments sections contribute to youtube's popularity rankings, so if she wants to get the message out she should turn them on.
comment #19566 McSomeguy 29th May 13
I kinda agree with the whole disabling comments under her videos is a bad thing. It's probably my biggest issue with her as well. Enabling them might invite some douches but it also invite some real genuine people who could give real legitimate opinion on what she's talking about. It maybe supportive or it might not be. Her not allowing people to actually respond to what she posts can really be taken in a bad light.

She presents herself as a sort of teacher what with all her insights, which is a good thing in some cases, but if she's not willing to take criticism for what she talks about then she's not being a good one. I mean isn't the sign of a good teacher a person who is willing to take whatever is questioned in their classroom so that they could learn as well.

Philosophies aside, discussion allowed directly on her youtube videos would be more polite and informative as the topics could be talked directly there than on various anonymous forums and what not. Like her for example.
comment #19567 Elfkaiser 30th May 13
Like here I mean.
comment #19568 Elfkaiser 30th May 13
If you want to have a serious conversation about... well, anything, really, but especially "sensitive" topics, it would be very difficult to find a worse place to have it then in YouTube comments. The word "cesspool" is overused about the internet, but this is one time it definitely fits the bill.
comment #19569 nrjxll 30th May 13
The thing about the context argument: she mentioned in her most recent video how there is always an in-game justification for why women get kidnapped or killed off - the context argument really isn't really any kind of defense though. In most cases, designers and writers are working in a fantasy, sci-fi, real life, or imaginary setting in which they have the total freedom to create any kind of story. They could produce any scenario, create any character dynamic, and produce any set up to justify it...and yet they still keep falling back on plots in which men are proactive heroes and women are subjugated or demeaned.

In isolation, one could quite fairly argue why a specific game features Princess Annabel being abducted and absorbed by the evil alien biomass, but if that were to happen in most games, the explanation sounds weak. Whenever someone criticizes a negative stereotype in a game, they aren't just criticizing that game in isolation, they are inevitably contrasting it with the "outside" broader context, because that's how stereotypes work: "This game features a greedy jew. A character who is both greedy and Jewish shouldn't be a problem in isolation or a perfect society, but they are created respective to a society in which Jews have long been negatively stereotyped as greedy" . As you can see in the previous example, focusing on just the "inside" context alone would be meaningless to such a discussion, because it stops short of observing what game means in a broader cultural sense.
comment #19570 maninahat 30th May 13
^The problem with not giving on any kind of context, though, is that it essentially allows her to construe the story however she wants. In some games, they don't expect you to save a damsel just because you're playing as a man and the captive is a woman, or for any sort of "male power fantasy," as she puts it, but because the interactions you're given with the damsel, previous or current, are supposed to make you care about that character personally.

I'm not going to argue that there are no games that buy into her beliefs, but she makes the argument that all games do, with no sort of consideration for any other sort of motivation. Her stripping the games of context allows her to believably do just that, if the viewer in question hasn't played the games.
comment #19571 MFM 30th May 13
@ maninahat

She does indeed mention that there is always an in-justification for why these women get kidnapped or killed off. The only problem though is that she's implying that such justifications are always flimsy excuses for a male fantasy.

It's true that designers have all the freedom to create any scenario they want but keep falling on back on old plots. However that's because such plots are either classics, fit the setting the story they are trying to tell, or their own artistic freedom. You could have a princess be a kick-ass warrior who doesn't take no for an answer. That would work in many fantasy settings but what about crapsack scenarios like the manga Berserk or the game Dark Souls. Those settings are at most equal opportunistic in demeaning people regardless of their gender. Having a female character that doesn't suffer at least one demeaning trope in such a setting could make her mary sue or scrappy. The best way to balance everything out would be to at least make a compromise. Have the princess suffer to a certain extent but learn from her experiences and become a High Queen who knows the world sucks no matter how hard she tries but is willing to bring what little good she can no matter.

While its true that pointing out negative stereotypes works that way I agree, the problem is what stereotype is being criticized, the setting the stereotype is being criticized in, and how much that stereotype is played straight. A game about a greedy jew is obviously a negative stereotype that would irk anyone. However stating that the greedy jew stereotype is negative and listing all the games that have it with the original game just a footnote would also be bad I guess. The original game would probably be bad regardless of opinion. However without some more context other than that one trope, that game would probably be generalized by that one trope without addressing what other flaws make the game bad. Even if you have a montage showing the trope being played by the game by saying "Goldman is a jewish and greedy", its only a generalized statement. It does not fully explain why Goldman is a jew that is greedy, just a generalized view that lumps him every other negative greedy jew stereotype.

This is kinda what I guess irks most people about Anita in this matter. She's kinda making a generalized statement about how bad these games and characters are for playing the trope. Her argument is against the tropes themselves I believe, however lumping all these things together without further context kinda pisses people who have actually played these games and feel in love with such characters. To them, she's just making the games and characters straw men to justify her claims. Why do you think so many people raged about her take on Marian from Double Dragon Neon considering that Marian lands the last blow on Skullmageddon. She does indeed explain this in her second video however that's probably gonna get flamed too. She has a point about how bad the trope is, however the use of her examples without inside context and just the outside context kinda paints her as a spokesperson and not an actual gamer to many.
comment #19582 Elfkaiser 30th May 13
@ Elfkaiser - I think you pretty much summerized most of the major issues people have with her. I've yet to watch the second video of her game related series, (because the list of spoiled games is too long and many are games I need to play still). But during her first video while I agreed with the negativity of the Damsel in Distress trope, I didn't find her examples compelling since she removed context.

Oo T Zelda for example, and I guess her interpretation of Zelda as a whole. She demotes her to simply a damsel rather than a female character who risks her life to stop evil simply because she was captured making the damsel her whole character trait.

And while Peach is a damsel, in modern games its played with lamp-shade hanging. The whole universe is in on the "joke" of Peach's constant kidnapping.

But personally my biggest issue with her, is the lack of any kind of solution to the problem she wants to get resolved. And if her previous videos are any kind of indication she probably won't.
comment #19584 xikar 30th May 13
@ xikar

The Zelda thing is probably more irksome than the Peach thing. With Zelda, Anita implies that she is just as bad as Peach without taking in account that the Zelda in each game is a different incarnation with different skills and personalities, and the situations in which they are in distress are different. With Peach, one can argue that she must be really be stupid for getting kidnapped all the time and not learning. With Zelda, as it is a different Zelda per game, she has the at least the excuse that its her first time being kidnapped. Why it always happens per generation is probably sexist but at most weird as lampshaded by the Zelda of Spirit Tracks.

Using the Zelda of Ocarina of Time though however was a bad example. In the context of that game, Zelda was a badass as I believe many would state. However when Zelda got captured, all her previous badassery and any she might excel in the future became zilch the moment she got caught unaware as implied by Anita. The unfortunate implication that Anita is giving by saying this is that once a strong Action Girl is kidnapped at least once and rescued by a guy, she immediately becomes a Damsel In Distress regardless of circumstances. The trope Badass In Distress is not even possible reinterpretation of the situation as the one in distress is a woman.

This implication is unfortunately further expressed in her second video. Anita practically outright states that any time a strong female is defeated or killed, she immediately becomes a damsel in distress and the all the effort and characterization they had is put to shame. The concept is misogynist indeed from a general out-of-universe perspective but not necessarily when put in context. One scene demonstrating her point on this is a scene where a strong woman is defeated by Darth Vader I believe. Sexist when not in context, not sexist when in context. Its Darth Vader. A woman being defeated by Darth Vader is not sexist, its falling to a guy who killed hundreds regardless of age or gender.

Implications aside though, Anita does give a nice concept for a Zelda game. A game where you actually play as the title character. The problem with it though is that the mechanics would need to be lore friendly. Zelda is traditionally the holder of the Triforce of Wisdom. A character with such a trait would probably require a game more focused on wisdom aspects rather than courage aspects. The only thing that comes to mind is a more puzzle based game rather than a dungeon adventure one. Zelda regardless would still use a bow. What other tools she would use is a question and her outfit may not need to be a palette swap of Links (seriously she looks more like a Knight Academy cadet than a hero). How marketable such a game would be depends if people find the concept neat and not look at it as a reattempt of the CDi games that starred Zelda.
comment #19587 Elfkaiser 31st May 13
@elfkaiser She uses Tv tropes as her basis yet dismisses it's golden rule, tropes are not bad.
comment #19589 marcellX 31st May 13
Zelda has always kinda zigzagged back and forth between Damsel In Distress and Badass In Distress depending on the medium and installment, which makes sense, since it's not actually the same character. I do think that it would be cool to have a game starring Zelda and it could be a welcome breath of fresh air from the endless variations of the Link/Ganon conflict (they really do try to mix it up, but the story still feels a bit formulaic sometimes). And, there are no CDi games starring Zelda. Maybe it could feature more of an emphasis on magical combat instead of swordplay. On the matter at hand though, Oo T Zelda is one of the WORST ones to use as an example of Damsel in Distress. Aside from getting captured during the last boss fight, she spends the whole game as a one woman resistance and helpful ally. I'm not too familiar with Feminist Frequency, but it seems like if she wants to take on sexism in video games there are MUCH worse examples than classic Nintendo franchises. Does she just feel like Duke Nukem, Rumble Roses, and Dead or Alive's volleyball spinoffs are too easy to target?
comment #19593 pixelpunk 31st May 13
Zelda has always kinda zigzagged back and forth between Damsel In Distress and Badass In Distress depending on the medium and installment, which makes sense, since it's not actually the same character. I do think that it would be cool to have a game starring Zelda and it could be a welcome breath of fresh air from the endless variations of the Link/Ganon conflict (they really do try to mix it up, but the story still feels a bit formulaic sometimes). And, there are no CDi games starring Zelda. Maybe it could feature more of an emphasis on magical combat instead of swordplay. On the matter at hand though, Oo T Zelda is one of the WORST ones to use as an example of Damsel in Distress. Aside from getting captured during the last boss fight, she spends the whole game as a one woman resistance and helpful ally. I'm not too familiar with Feminist Frequency, but it seems like if she wants to take on sexism in video games there are MUCH worse examples than classic Nintendo franchises. Does she just feel like Duke Nukem, Rumble Roses, and Dead or Alive's volleyball spinoffs are too easy to target?
comment #19594 pixelpunk 31st May 13
I don't think Zelda would work well as the protagonist of a main entry in the series, since her gameplay would have to revolve around archery and magic rather than swordplay and equipment in order to actually feel like Zelda, and not a female Link. A Zelda-style game using archery-based combat and magic-based puzzle solving could work great, mind you, but it wouldn't really feel like a Zelda game the way the other entries in the main series do. It could make for a great spin off title, but I think Zelda fans would be unhappy if they got a bow/magic game instead of the regular dose of sword/gadgets they're jonesing for.

That said, I'm 110% behind a main series game where Link's a girl. Not magically transformed or anything, Link (Lynk? Linke?) is just a girl this time, plain and simple. No need to change the gameplay or anything else; it's the same Hero of Courage we always play, just with ovaries this time. And really, if there's any video game franchise this well established, with this expansive a fandom, that could possibly have an overall positive reaction to their iconic, well established hero getting a male->female gender swap, it's the Zelda fandom.

But back to the main topic, I went into her videos on video games actively looking for something to pick apart, and my harshest criticisms are that I don't like her shirt, and her earrings keep distracting me.
comment #19598 Wryte 1st Jun 13
@ pixelpunk

In her second videogame trope, she does mention Duke Nukem but only the latest one with only the infamous scene in the alien nest with the girls, and only as a brief foot note and not as emphasized much as her jab at Peach and Zelda. Justifiably, she treats it sexism against women despite it being a parody. The only problem though is that she lumped it together with certain games that display the Damsel In Distress trope but aren't as sexist as Duke Nukem.

Based on her kickstarter, the next trope after Damsel in Distress is what seems to call "The Fighting F#@k Toy". Its probably gonna discuss Rumble Roses and Dead or Alive.

Also on her kickstarter, she apparently plans to do tropes she calls "Mrs. Male Character" and "Man with Boobs". The first one is probably about characters that are just Distaff Counterparts to regular male characters. I assuming she'll be talking about obvious characters like [[Video Game/Pac-Man Ms. Pacman]] but I fear she may include characters like Femshep in that one since they can be interpreted as simply a gender option as opposed to a real character. The second one is probably about Action Girls who act too much like guys I guess. I fear Anita may include Femshep in that one if she doesn't in the first one.

I know her style is deconstruction of tropes and seeing Unfortunate Implications, however I hope she puts more suggestions like Zelda as the main character. Some reconstructions of the tropes being discussed would also be nice. She has some points but if she keeps deconstructing and nothing else, she's only gonna get more hate rather than listeners.
comment #19599 Elfkaiser 1st Jun 13
@ Wryte

Link as a girl may work I guess. The mechanics would not change indeed. Based on this idea though, would the necessary gender swapping of the other characters be needed if they are included? Would Zelda need to be changed into a man and Ganon need to be changed into a woman? If Zelda is not changed into a man would Nintendo allow the potential Les Yay? Would female Link saving Zelda regardless of Zelda's gender in that game be seen as just a flimsy disguise for still playing the Damsel in Distress trope? Would such a game be marketable if its main selling point is that Link's a girl?

I know some genderbent stuff like Fionna and Cake from Adventure Time sell just as well as their main counterparts but if done poorly, it can be just seen as a gimmick and not anything revolutionary. I would like to see a female Link though for to the same reasons I enjoy episodes about Fionna and Cake.
comment #19600 Elfkaiser 1st Jun 13
There's no reason the other characters would have to be gender changed. Link and Zelda are only explicitly romantically linked in a few games (Zelda 2, Skyward Sword, etc), implicitly romantically linked in a few more (Original, Windwaker, maybe Ocarina, etc) and have no romantic relationship (or relationship, period) at all in others (Twilight Princess, Link's Awakening, Oracle of Seasons/Ages, etc.). Heck, some of the games that would be considered "implicit" are only interpreted that way because of the romantic subtext of the damsel in distress trope.

Of course, a little Les Yay could help grease the wheels of the gender swap for some of the more... let's say "orthodox" fans, but there's no reason it would be strictly necessary to include it as a component of the game's narrative or fem!Link's character (of course, just try and stop the fandom from injecting it all on its own :P).
comment #19601 Wryte 1st Jun 13
Op seems to imply that a non-sexist game would be less fun, and would become only a political statement / Author Tract

Op needs to ask himself why he thinks that way. I don't think it would necessarily be an Author Tract (Portal certainly isn't ). Plus, Author Tracts can be fun if done properly. Tropes are not bad and such ... And why would a non-sexist game not be marketable ? Sexism isn't the main appeal of video games. Not everyone goes to buy there games thinking "Boy, i sure hope the women in that are wearing skimpy outfits and are getting killed/raped by the dozen..." There is male gamers that are ticked off by sexist tropes as well.

I don't think her videos are perfect, but i don't think you can say "both have a point": you are Talking about a woman who is peacefully expressing her documented opinion on the internet. On the other hand you have a bunch of anonymous harassers who are trying to get their hands on her personal informations, threatened her with abuse, made a game of punching her face, insult her in sexist and misogynic ways and literally flooded her videos's comments with insults ... all of that because she expressed an opinion. On video game. Not on the Pope or something deeply sacred. I get that having someone criticizing something you love is unpleasant, but being so often misrepresented is even more unpleasant, if only because of how ubiquitous it is.

Plus, those people aren't children, they need to learn to deal with interpersonal conflict in another way.

I don't mind having a critical look at Sarkeesian's work, but come on. She is more than on to something : she is right. And she has courage to show her face while saying it.
comment #19666 VoixOff 5th Jun 13
^ Well, that's a very nice False Dichotomy you got there. You're saying that on one side we have Sarkeesian and on the other ONLY mindless hate with no rational thought or any criticisms that could be considered even remotely legitimate.
comment #19667 McSomeguy 5th Jun 13
^ This is right. Not all people who have some disagreement with Sarkeesian are misogynistic haters.

You can appreciate that they have a point without agrreing with every single thing they say
comment #19668 ElectricNova 5th Jun 13
^ This is right. Not all people who have some disagreement with Sarkeesian are misogynistic haters.

You can appreciate that they have a point without agrreing with every single thing they say
comment #19669 ElectricNova 5th Jun 13
I admit i was a little harsch. It was false dichotomy. Blame it on sleep deprivation. But i do think the way the comparaison is presented you get the impression that it's a matter of choosing the lesser one between too evils and i don't feel like that apply to this situation ...
comment #19672 VoixOff 5th Jun 13
I don't mind having a critical look at Sarkeesian's work, but come on. She is more than on to something : she is right.

Ok I've seen this before and we would appreciate people to save us time and learn what an Ad Hoc fallacy is. In summary, an explanation and an argument are two different things, an opinion is not a fact just because you like it, that's why were're here, to discuss.

Now moving on

On the other hand you have a bunch of anonymous harassers who are trying to get their hands on her personal informations, threatened her with abuse, made a game of punching her face, insult her in sexist and misogynic ways and literally flooded her videos's comments with insults ... all of that because she expressed an opinion.

I actually have come to take issue of this victimization, guess what, so does everyone else on the internet, specially youtube, and yes even for things like video games, movies, cartoons etc. I mean you're on tv tropes, what more evidence do you need. We're also not under some kind of tyranny, speaking you're opinion is not as big a deal as you're making it out to be, in fact just look at what happen when SOPA was suggested.

Op seems to imply that a non-sexist game would be less fun, and would become only a political statement / Author Tract

OP is implying that Anita tends to look too much into things and denominates them as sexist, )there are several games that take measures to not be sexist but that if developers try to be up to her standards) but that trying to measure up to her standards would be too restrictive and the result would be either a boring game or a political statement/author track.

In conclusion, take it easy, true there are trolls and rude and extreme people, but no one here IMO has said anything of that nature. We're discussing, so I suggest you get ready for people with arguments that are both disagree with you and are mature.
comment #19673 marcellX 5th Jun 13
Sorry for the mistakes, I miss the ability to edit.
comment #19681 marcellX 5th Jun 13
@ Voix Off

I did not "imply that a non-sexist game would be less fun". You are taking my post out of context.

If you noted the title of my review is "She has a point but so does some of her Critics". It means I see her points and only the points of some of her critics. The Critics I am referring to are the one who actually speak their opinions calmly and not do douchebag moves like create punching games with Anita's face. The ones that discuss things like the girl talking in this video. She makes a calm and nice opinion against Anita's claims.

With that in mind, I see Anita's points especially in regards to sexism. However that does not mean I can't see the points made against her. In fact I explain that Both Sides Have A Point. She has a point in pointing out sexism and her critics have a point against her seeing too much sexism.

In terms of games being political statement / Author Tract. They could be fun with Anita's viewpoints in mind. In fact I imply by saying:

Stuff like games would indeed benefit if they put a spin on old gender-stereotyped tropes. Heck, its an unexplored avenue that can provide all sorts of creativity.

However, they are not necessarily marketable or fun due to the fact that they maybe too much a political statement / Author Tract. The problem comes from what Anita apparently implies that she wants only games that suit her tastes. She implies that she wants games where sexist tropes like Damsel in Distress do not exist. She implies that she wants games that only subvert or invert the tropes. She implies the she wants games that cater to her opinions without taking into account that some of her opinions may not be agreeable with others, such as feminists with different views. Such games would be fun for her and her friends, but they won't be as fun for the rest of the gaming market as they would be too bothered with the political view / Author Tract being hammered in their face. She may not be directly implying all these but she comes off as it.

Indeed, no one buys games with the mindset that goes:

"Boy, i sure hope the women in that are wearing skimpy outfits and are getting killed/raped by the dozen..."

However, there are some people who buy games based on certain tastes. There are people who like buying games with sexy looking girls. There are people who like buying games with those sexy looking girls so that they can kick butt and say girl power. Those tastes maybe varied and conflicting, however they are marketable as they appeal to a wide audience. Having a game that appeals to only Anita and people like her, could be fun but it'd be probably appeal to a niche that maybe too small.

Anita indeed has courage to say such things, but she is not entirely right. She has points but those points are not agreeable with everyone.

I'm sorry you got the impression that I'm just siding completely with her critics but it's hard to be completely neutral when she indeed states some things that are just wrong.

I will watch her future video games when and if they come as they are thought provoking. I will continue to see her points and see the points presented against her as it is looking at the big picture and not the big picture painted solely by one side.
comment #19688 Elfkaiser 5th Jun 13
Not dealing with the actual content of the videos, but it was mentioned a while ago in some of the first comments. She disabled her comments? I say Good Riddance. They wont be missed. Some commentators might have brought up good intelligent counter arguments, but most of what I read was a highly concentrated dose of misogyny and raging douchebaggery that left me feeling nauseous and angry. Seriously, some of that stuff bypassed horrible and entered trigger warning territory.
comment #19689 snowbird 5th Jun 13
@ Voix Off additionally

I presented the different viewpoints/ comparisons as my review of the whole matter. It's an opinion I wished to share. I merely highlighted some common issues concerning her. If you assumed that it was a scenario of choosing a lesser of two evils then I must say it is not. If one wishes to side with Anita then that's fine but it really should be kept in mind that not all of her arguments are correct. If one wishes to side with her critics then that's fine too but it really should be kept in mind that she does bring up some good points.

The whole issue is not simply two sided. There is more than just Anita supporters' camp and Anita's haters' camp. I'm in the camp in-between that's a little against her but not totally hating her.

@ snowbird

Based on what you say, I guess I have no idea how anyone could deal with it other than disabling their comments. However I really don't know if it was the only move she could have done. I think there are organizations out there that stop cyber bullying though I'm sure how good they are.

Maybe it would've been better if she chose a different venue to state her opinions than youtube. Maybe in a site where she wouldn't be such an easy target. Or even a site that doesn't have a comment system as that way people won't accuse her of not wanting to listen to her critics.
comment #19691 Elfkaiser 6th Jun 13
She could have used the addon that turns all youtube comments into "herp derp" on her screen.
comment #19692 McSomeguy 6th Jun 13
The problem comes from what Anita apparently implies that she wants only games that suit her tastes. She implies that she wants games where sexist tropes like Damsel in Distress do not exist. She implies that she wants games that only subvert or invert the tropes. She implies the she wants games that cater to her opinions without taking into account that some of her opinions may not be agreeable with others, such as feminists with different views.

You might have a better argument here if she hadn't explicitly stated that she is a long time fan of games like Mario and Zelda in the same video. As she says in these videos, thinking critically about these games is not mutually exclusive with liking them. And as others have said, the idea that a game without damsels in distress or any of the other tropes she discusses would automatically be an unenjoyable author tract is just plain bullshit. Would the original Super Mario really be a blatantly politicized piece of crap if the goal were to rescue the Mushroom King instead of Princess Toadstool? Would we really all have thrown our controllers down in disgust if Zelda had gone to the Sacred Realm to add her power to the Sages' instead of getting trapped in a crystal for the rest of Ocarina? Would Metroid have never gotten a sequel if Samus had been wearing pants under her space armor?

The idea that a game that avoids the tropes she discusses could only be a joyless author tract is baseless and ridiculous, especially when the tropes she's discussing are ones that we gamers have been rolling our eyes at for years, too. We're allowed to say that Princess Peach gets kidnapped too much, but Anita isn't? Is it because she hasn't established herself with enough nerd cred to be allowed to voice an opinion on the medium? Are we really going back to that "fake geek girls" debacle?
comment #19699 Wryte 6th Jun 13
Are we really going back to that "fake geek girls" debacle?

...What? I think you're jumping to a lot of conclusions here. It's not a matter of "cred," it's a matter of conclusions drawn. The general public, when faced with the constant plots about Peach getting kidnapped, just see it as Nintendo falling into a rut, more than anything. Anita, instead, sees it as inherently sexist.
comment #19700 MFM 6th Jun 13
@ Wryte

No such games wouldn't be joyless author tracts as not including such tropes does not automatically make them author tracts. What would make them joyless author tracts is if the blatantness of avoiding the tropes becomes an issue. Stuff like making it overly clear that scenarios that would need such tropes are completely avoided for the sake of pleasing people.

If the original Super Mario had Mario rescue the Mushroom Kingdom instead of Princess Toadstool, we wouldn't throw down our controllers. We didn't throw down our controllers in Super Mario Bros. 3 when our goal was saving a bunch of kings instead of Princess Peach I believe. We would've thrown our controllers if when we got to a certain point in the game and found out Princess Peach had escaped all of her own thus rendering our entire journey meaningless. We would've thrown our controllers more if Peach acted smug and didn't acknowledged our efforts.

If Zelda had gone to the Sacred Realm instead of getting trapped in a crystal for the rest of Ocarina, we wouldn't throw our controllers. It would just prove that Zelda is just that badass. We would've thrown our controllers if for some reason, the battle against Gannon just became anti-climatically easy due to Zelda being overly powerful or something.

In both Peach and Zelda's cases, their Damsel in Distress status situation served as a purpose. One was an excuse plot and one was a situation escalator. Both served their purpose for their games.

If Samus had literally been wearing pants under her space armor, it probably wouldn't matter either way. Depending on the pants, we might question why she's wearing extra baggage which would make it harder for her to go morph ball. If Samus was a man then the progress of female characters of today being capable would have probably taken longer. If Samus had been wearing other than a skimpy outfit that proved she was a girl when she was revealed to be a girl, then she would've been at least been a gender ambiguous hippie as the limitations of the systems back then would required women to be identified as women via a dress or a bikini.

A game that avoids the tropes she discusses can be fun however making one that is fun can be restrictive in the creative process. It's like saying you can build a Lego building but can't use certain blocks and colors. You can still build a Lego building but what you create maybe not what you want as are fulfilling the expectations of others rather than yourself.

In fact, I think the word author tract is being used wrong here. Isn't author tract the likes and visions of the author himself. Is making a game that would please Anita's expectations not necessarily the expectations of the game designer. They could be the expectations of a like minded feminist but would their creation be seen as an author tract or an attempt to please people like Anita.

Anita has as much right to say Peach gets kidnapped too much as anyone. What she doesn't have the right is to devalue the trope and the character to the point where it feels like the original games are just tools to enforce sexism.

Is Anita a gamer? That I have no doubt. However whether you are a long time player or a newcomer is not the point. You can be a fan of something and still be wrong if what you are presenting is conflictory. You can be a fan of Mario but can be wrong if you're seeing and overexaggerating one nitpick you have and equating it to real world problems. Do not use people don't see her as gamer as an argument against why people have an issue with her as not all of people have that mindset. I see her as a gamer, just one with conflicting viewpoints.

She does indeed say thinking critically about these games is not mutually exclusive with liking them, however the bias in her critically thinking implies these games should be seen as bad. And by that I use the word "imply" as in the quote you only partially quoted. To that I say again:

She may not be directly implying all these but she comes off as it.
comment #19703 Elfkaiser 6th Jun 13
We would've thrown our controllers if when we got to a certain point in the game and found out Princess Peach had escaped all of her own thus rendering our entire journey meaningless.

By this I mean getting an outright message that says it. You think having a Toad say "Our Princess is in another castle" is bad after beating said castle after dying how many times. Try having them say, "Our Princess escaped on her own. You weren't really needed anyway. Sorry Bro :P"
comment #19704 Elfkaiser 6th Jun 13
And now I have an uncontrollable case of the giggles. Thanks for that XD If I were a game designer I would love to do that, because what a wasted opportunity for trolling. If I was the player I wouldn't know whether to laugh or tare my hair out and scream. Maybe both? It's funny either way.
comment #19705 snowbird 6th Jun 13
Trolling rights have to earned. You have to have enough good will built up that fans won't queue up to pee in your letter box.
comment #19706 MachineMan1992 6th Jun 13
What would make them joyless author tracts is if the blatantness of avoiding the tropes becomes an issue. Stuff like making it overly clear that scenarios that would need such tropes are completely avoided for the sake of pleasing people.

So you're saying that games trying to consciously avoid these tropes would suck if they were made badly, which is somehow worse than games that don't consciously avoid these tropes sucking because they were made badly? Insisting that games made without these tropes would be inferior to games that don't avoid these tropes as a blanket statement can only be interpreted as meaning that it's the inclusion of these tropes that make those games good. I understand that that's not what you're trying to say, but that is what you're saying. You talk about how the context of each game's narrative is important to understanding why it's not misogynist that Princess Peach is kidnapped in every game, but then you turn around and completely ignore context to issue a blanket statement that games that consciously don't use these tropes would suck, where the fact that they are avoiding these tropes is the only distinguishing factor you're introducing.

We would've thrown our controllers more if Peach acted smug and didn't acknowledged our efforts. ... We would've thrown our controllers if for some reason, the battle against Gannon just became anti-climatically easy due to Zelda being overly powerful or something.

And you're accusing me of making outlandish assumptions? Where does Anita ever give the impression that she wants female characters to act like they're superior to male characters, or upstage the hero at the game's climax? Anita never says anything in these videos about needing or even wanting developers to make female characters superior to males in any way. All she's actually done so far in these videos is name several tropes having to do with female characters, define them, then provide lots of examples of them throughout the history of the medium, and then explain how she feels that the sheer overabundance of usages of these tropes is having a negative effect on our cultural perceptions of women. There's nothing in there at all about female characters needing to show up the male heroes and prove that they're better; in fact, I get the impression that she would be against that, because it's likely to create male resentment toward women the same way she feels that the Damsel in the Refrigerator subtly excuses domestic violence. You're arguing against a Straw Feminist you've erected in place of Anita.

It's like saying you can build a Lego building but can't use certain blocks and colors.

I spent a ton of time playing with Legos well into my high school years, and I'll tell you right now that I very rarely made anything where the majority of the blocks didn't conform to an overall color scheme. It ruins the fantasy when your foreboding evil castle is made of yellow, blue, and red bricks instead of black and grey. Restrictions aren't a burden on a developer, they're a tool. It's part of a game developer's job to restrict the player's range of options and influences in the confines of the game in order to deliver the intended experience, and that means restricting themselves from certain things, as well. Game developers trying to deliver on a lighthearted adventure should restrict themselves from including the grisly death of the player's girlfriend from the experience just as certainly as I should restrict myself from building my ominous castle out of rainbow bricks. Every game, every movie, every bit of media that we consume is created with self-imposed restrictions on it, and most of it would be much worse if it hadn't had those restrictions. Or, to use another term that seems to have fallen out of favor with creative works in recent years: restraint.

Anita has as much right to say Peach gets kidnapped too much as anyone. What she doesn't have the right is to devalue the trope and the character to the point where it feels like the original games are just tools to enforce sexism.

You would have a point, if she ever actually said anything like that in her videos. She didn't. All she did was point out the fact that Peach is an example of this trope, if not the most famous example. She never says Mario games are sexist, or even that Peach is a bad role model for girls. She explicitly states that there is often context in these games that makes perfect sense as to why these things happen to these women. Her point is only that these tropes are so abundantly overused that the individual contexts take a backseat to the cultural implications of that abundance. In other words, while tropes are not bad, gaming's long-running and narrow focus on these particular tropes causes the tropes' Unfortunate Implications to matter more than the context of their individual appearances.

In other other words, it's not a problem that Peach gets kidnapped and has to be rescued. It's not a problem that Peach and Zelda get kidnapped and have to be resuced. But it does start to be a problem when you have a harder time naming female characters who haven't been kidnapped and had to be rescued than ones that have, because by that point you're creating a subconscious association between females and helplessness through sheer repetition, regardless of the nuances and contexts of each individual princess and her situation.
comment #19709 Wryte 6th Jun 13
Insisting that games made without these tropes would be inferior to games that don't avoid these tropes as a blanket statement can only be interpreted as meaning that it's the inclusion of these tropes that make those games good. I understand that that's not what you're trying to say, but that is what you're saying.

No is not, you're just making one False Dischotomy after another, but it was Elfkaiser's words so I think s/he'll take a better crack at it that me.
comment #19710 marcellX 6th Jun 13
Restrictions aren't a burden on a developer, they're a tool.

Ok since this is different. Do you have any idea of what you're talking about? that's not even a fallacy, that's an outright "lie". The biggest complain developers have is the restrictions they have, be it due to money, tech capabilities or Executive Meddling. You can't just take something and bend it completely just so it suits your argument. Specially with how warped your example is, there's a difference between restriction and just putting things there for no reason. If you're trying to make a lighthearted story then a grisly death wouldn't had been on the menu to begin with, unless the idea was in fact to make a game that seem lighthearted but wasn't (like the games made by adult swim).

You're example of the castle falls flat when we reconsider that we're talking about games in general, and the example was about blocks in general, so you only have black and grey blocks, sure you can make an evil castle, but what if you want to make something else.
comment #19711 marcellX 6th Jun 13
But it does start to be a problem when you have a harder time naming female characters who haven't been kidnapped and had to be rescued than ones that have, because by that point you're creating a subconscious association between females and helplessness through sheer repetition, regardless of the nuances and contexts of each individual princess and her situation

I already discussed all the failed and wanna be psychology of that on the other review. Also, there are a lot more games that "don't" use the trope than those that do, so you actually can name a lot more females that haven't been kidnapped and rescued by males than those that do.
comment #19714 marcellX 6th Jun 13
[[quoetblock]]Ok since this is different. Do you have any idea of what you're talking about? that's not even a fallacy, that's an outright "lie". The biggest complain developers have is the restrictions they have, be it due to money, tech capabilities or Executive Meddling. You can't just take something and bend it completely just so it suits your argument. Specially with how warped your example is, there's a difference between restriction and just putting things there for no reason. If you're trying to make a lighthearted story then a grisly death wouldn't had been on the menu to begin with, unless the idea was in fact to make a game that seem lighthearted but wasn't (like the games made by adult swim). [[/quoteblock]]

I'm not talking about external restrictions, I'm talking about internal ones, i.e., self-restraint: the choice not to include something in your work even though you have the ability to do so because you believe it would be harmful to the finish product, although external restrictions can serve the same purpose unintentionally. Choosing not to use certain tropes in the context we're discussing is an internal restriction, not an external one like money or tech limitations. The Star Wars prequels are a good example: one of the common critiques of the prequels is that Lucas didn't exercise enough restraint in what he chose to include in the movies, which resulted in a lot of pointless material that was usually either confusing, annoying, or threw viewers out of the experience.
comment #19715 Wryte 6th Jun 13
Internal or external, restrictions are restrictions; it doesn't matter who imposes them, what matters is what they do to the work, which is take away material. It's not a tool, because that would imply you use it in some way; restrictions are something you work around, not something you actively use.
comment #19716 MFM 6th Jun 13
@ Wryte

So you're saying that games trying to consciously avoid these tropes would suck if they were made badly, which is somehow worse than games that don't consciously avoid these tropes sucking because they were made badly?

Games that consciously avoid these tropes are not bad by definition. It's when it feels like they look like a political statement rather than a subversion or an inversion. You can have a good game where Princess Peach saves Mario and it would be fun. You however cannot have a good game where Princess Peach saves Mario and hammer it right in your face while sacrificing stuff like gameplay. That's what I'm getting at I think.

No such games wouldn't be joyless author tracts as not including such tropes does not automatically make them author tracts.

I did say this.

And you're accusing me of making outlandish assumptions? Where does Anita ever give the impression that she wants female characters to act like they're superior to male characters, or upstage the hero at the game's climax? Anita never says anything in these videos about needing or even wanting developers to make female characters superior to males in any way.

The end of her first Tropes vs. Women in Video Games implies that she does. She decries that Peach and Zelda are weak without taking in consideration of context. Then she puts up a picture of Peach and Zelda wearing Mario's overalls and Link's tunic respectively. Then there are words saying that they don't need the men that have helped them so many times in the past. It gives the implication that these women need to refuse any sort of help from their allies and outright abandon them based on their gender. That's what I'm getting at.

I spent a ton of time playing with Legos well into my high school years, and I'll tell you right now that I very rarely made anything where the majority of the blocks didn't conform to an overall color scheme. It ruins the fantasy when your foreboding evil castle is made of yellow, blue, and red bricks instead of black and grey. Restrictions aren't a burden on a developer, they're a tool. It's part of a game developer's job to restrict the player's range of options and influences in the confines of the game in order to deliver the intended experience, and that means restricting themselves from certain things, as well. Game developers trying to deliver on a lighthearted adventure should restrict themselves from including the grisly death of the player's girlfriend from the experience just as certainly as I should restrict myself from building my ominous castle out of rainbow bricks. Every game, every movie, every bit of media that we consume is created with self-imposed restrictions on it, and most of it would be much worse if it hadn't had those restrictions. Or, to use another term that seems to have fallen out of favor with creative works in recent years: restraint.

You had all the freedom you had to make based on what Lego bricks you had. But I bet nobody told you that you couldn't use certain useful bricks based on prejudices. I bet you weren't told not to use a foreboding knight because he looked like the devil.

Restrictions are indeed a tool for a game developer. However they have to be on their own terms and not on the terms of somehow decrying the injustice of a trope. If a game developer wanted to make lighthearted game then restricting themselves from including a grisly death is their choice. However, if a game developer wanted to make a dark cynical game but are forced to not include a grisly death because it is sexist, then it restricting that developer's artistic freedom even though a grisly death would've have helped his work.

You would have a point, if she ever actually said anything like that in her videos. She didn't. All she did was point out the fact that Peach is an example of this trope, if not the most famous example. She never says Mario games are sexist, or even that Peach is a bad role model for girls.

She did provide Peach as an example. An abundantly huge example that can be interpreted as Anita devaluing as a character based on solely on that trope. For one, she doesn't even consider Super Mario Bros. 2 or any of the other spinoffs as noteworthy as suggesting otherwise. In fact, I would call Super Mario Bros. 2 as an example of Peach not being defined just as a Damsel, regardless if it was dream or not, as Peach is the only useful character for me.

Anita does plan to revalue Peach in a future video however that depends if she sees a Princess who uses emotions instead of jumping as a step forward or a perpetuation of a sexist concept.

She explicitly states that there is often context in these games that makes perfect sense as to why these things happen to these women. Her point is only that these tropes are so abundantly overused that the individual contexts take a backseat to the cultural implications of that abundance. In other words, while tropes are not bad, gaming's long-running and narrow focus on these particular tropes causes the tropes' Unfortunate Implications to matter more than the context of their individual appearances.

There are indeed some Unfortunate Implications being addressed regardless of context. However are those Unfortunate Implications so abundant that they are sexist in origin. Because these sexist tropes are constantly used, they are a sign of sexism that is prevalent. Poor writing, inside context, or anything of the sort not a factor to why this is constantly repeated.

In other other words, it's not a problem that Peach gets kidnapped and has to be rescued. It's not a problem that Peach and Zelda get kidnapped and have to be resuced. But it does start to be a problem when you have a harder time naming female characters who haven't been kidnapped and had to be rescued than ones that have, because by that point you're creating a subconscious association between females and helplessness through sheer repetition, regardless of the nuances and contexts of each individual princess and her situation.

I'm not sure whether it's becoming harder to name female characters who haven't been kidnapped and had to be rescued than ones that have. In older games it would have but in modern ones, the ones that aren't simply being rescued are increasing. If there are still women being kidnapped, then it is because the trope is still seen as a useful story telling tool regardless of implications.

While sheer repetition can cause a subconscious association between females and helplessness, it's only when naming the trope in repetition that it is obvious. When observing each case however, how subconscious that idea is can be arguable. You have cases where damsels put up a defense despite being helpless. You have cases where the helplessness is because the damsel is too young and normal to have the skills to fight back. Heck, you even have a case like in the new Tomb Raider game where the damsel in distress is repeated via Sam and to an extent Lara but is not as straight as due to what happens.

The problems brought up by Anita are slowly being recognized and are slowly being handled. Her videos are part of that solution in a way. However, what is not needed is people pointing the injustice in a way that gives Unfortunate Implications of themselves.
comment #19717 Elfkaiser 6th Jun 13
I'm not talking about external restrictions, I'm talking about internal ones, i.e., self-restraint: the choice not to include something in your work even though you have the ability to do so because you believe it would be harmful to the finish product, although external restrictions can serve the same purpose unintentionally. Choosing not to use certain tropes in the context we're discussing is an internal restriction, not an external one like money or tech limitations. The Star Wars prequels are a good example: one of the common critiques of the prequels is that Lucas didn't exercise enough restraint in what he chose to include in the movies, which resulted in a lot of pointless material that was usually either confusing, annoying, or threw viewers out of the experience.

But that's not even an internal restriction, since it's someone else that's making you do it (literal definition of external). Take for example Final Fantasy 7, here they decided beforehand that a main and very close character had to die, he explained that his mother had recently died and he wanted to make a story that could project similar feelings to the player (which the game is most acclaimed for), had the executives told him, no you can't kill important characters because we decided to turn this from a T rated to an E rated game, that's a restriction not a tool (an external restriction even), that's why some games end up with a higher age rating. There's also a difference between restriction and a simple change. The creators of Kingdom Hearts Chain Of Memories thought it would had been bad that the only two females of the evil group tried and failed to overthrow the organization, so they changed Marluxia's gender from female to male, it's not a restriction since the character's gender wasn't important to them to begin with. Saying you have to change the name of a character when it wasn't important is not a restriction, but if it's name was part of a reveal/twist, etc. about a prophesy or something of the sort, then it is.

Then again the point is not that there shouldn't be any restriction, but too much restriction. Notice that we're talking about a game that would meet Anita's standards, which by the way include all the other complains about tropes used in media in general besides Damsel In Distress, specially given that her suggestion for a solution is to take them out because it's simple use it's bad due to the flawed and poorly researched psychology that every use regardless of context helps an ingrained sexist ideology.
comment #19721 marcellX 6th Jun 13
@ Wryte additionally

You're arguing against a Straw Feminist you've erected in place of Anita.

Please don't accuse me that I see Anita only as a Straw Feminist. She is not a Straw Feminist as she has some valid points. The problem however is she comes off as almost sounding like one. Having issues against some points of a Feminist does not mean I do not see some of their other points. It certainly does not mean I do not respect them as a person. It just means that I disagree with them.

The Straw Feminist stereotype is a joke as they are always wrong. That however does not mean real life true Feminists are always right.

Stop accusing people that disagree with her right away as being those who see her as not a gamer, or those who see her as a Straw Feminist. I have constantly stated that she has some points. I even acknowledged her suggestion of having Zelda as a main playable character as a good idea, just not the presentation she gave what Zelda as main playable character should look like.
comment #19739 Elfkaiser 7th Jun 13
I think these things hamper discussion on both sides. Approaching things with False Dichotomy and the like actually hurt your arguments and presentation, however I'll give the benefit of the doubt that Voixoff and Wryte just had a spur of the moment reaction (given that there are indeed awful people that made death/rape threats) and that with more cool heads we can have a less antagonistic discussion.
comment #19740 marcellX 7th Jun 13
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