The Scythian - Positive Female Characters in Video Game (by Feminist Frequency)

Thank you for your detailed response. A lot of what you and I are talking about is largely subjective, which means that we will not be able to come to a definitive solution or answer to everything. With that said, I did still want to try and give your comment a response it deserves.

Warning, its gonna be long.

I don't really agree that focusing on the negatives like that is a bad thing or that she is hyperbolic.

This is copied from another comment I made.

Granted, there is a kernel in truth in most of her statements, I just think her words are too often "sensationalist" and overly dramatic. This of course, fuels the online outrage machine, making discourse harder to maintain. Not to say the shit show surrounding discussions of gender in gaming is all Feminist Frequency's fault. Much of that blame also lies with a vocal minority of assholes who launch spaghetti and slurs at the drop of a hat as well as the clickbait machine that is, most of our media.

If we then look at Feminist Frequency as a whole, which includes writer and producer Jonathan McIntosh: (some duplicate comments)

In my opinion, I would say that this commentary from both Anita and Jon is fairly hyperbolic.

A lot of female representation in games is littered with negative tropes, so shining a light on them is needed for things to change.

I agree that exploring tropes and themes in game narratives is an arena ripe for interesting and insightful discussions. I mostly see issues with how Feminist Frequency often frame's these tropes in an absolute and dramatically negative fashion and I think many of the claims of how they can reinforce and affect people are again blown out of proportion without strong evidence. Again, there is absolutely a kernel of truth to many of Fem Freq's statements about how games can influence a person's perspective, but it often uses absolute statements and sensationalized phrases that to me, poisons the well of discussion quite a bit.

Additionally, the small amount of evidence Fem Freq provides contains some questionable studies and the Fem Freq videos, interviews, articles and tweets make little mention of the large amount of research that has reached different and sometimes the opposite conclusions that Fem Freq makes.

Now, you want this change to be "organic". Honestly, I don't think that's helpful. The situation we're in isn't itself "organic".

Would you be willing to clarify this for me at your convenience?

But why is including gay relationships pandering or "shoving it in your face", while straight relationships are not?

Of course not all inclusion of gay relationships in storytelling is pandering. Some people may feel that way, but that's a stupid and hopefully somewhat small minority of active game players. I suppose some instances of this inclusion could be considered to be "pandering" by some, but I don't take too much stock in that concept. Its very subjective and I would rather focus on how well a story is told overall, rather than trying to determine if something was pandering or not. In other words, I don't care if something is "pandering" if its inclusion has a positive impact on the narrative or is well done.

That being said, humanity is overwhelmingly heterosexual, so its hard for me to define what "pandering" would even look like to such an overwhelming majority. I don't think the comparison is all that great because of this.

Full disclosure: I have never been a big fan of Jimquisition and I had already watched this video. Jim does what Jim does best in the video. He creates or embellishes a somewhat ridiculous scenario or "person" and then proceeds to "win" by making fun of this partially fabricated entity or by disproving "its" points. Its not quite a straw man argument that he is proclaiming to be the victor of, but I think its fairly close. The issue I have though, is that the reality of the topic is much more nuanced and complex than pretending that any complaints against Dragon Age: Inquisition's storytelling is just people going "Ew, gay people." I am being somewhat ridiculous as well in my reduction of the video, but that's the overall vibe I got. Also, my wife and I really dislike Iron Bull as a character for many reasons.

And we haven't gone to an Anti-Gay rally in weeks! /s

I haven't ever heard her say that people should be ashamed for liking something. (McIntosh)

I assume Jon thinks that one should feel a sense of shame for enjoying "repugnant, misogynist garbage." (Sarkeesian)

Note the use of the word "embarrassed." This reaction is over a line and event that happens at the end of the game Dying Light, where the protagonist's main ally is captured. This same ally also saves the protagonist during the opening scenes of the game, fights along side the player multiple times, is a championship kickboxer and SPOILERS FOR DYING LIGHT stops the protagonist from injecting her with an cure and instead jams the needle into the protagonist, thus saving him and sacrificing herself END SPOILERS

This example is not Anita saying that someone should feel ashamed for liking something, but rather I think its a dramatic call for the creators of the game’s plot to feel embarrassed.

One somewhat sad aspect of this remark from Anita, comes from one of the main writers on the Dying Light team. You can read some of his thoughts here in a blog post from about 4 months ago. To me, the blog implies that the writer went out of his way to try and write this apparently "damsel'd" character in a positive way, in order to try and sidestep the tropes that female characters can find themselves in. And yet, it apparently was not good enough for Feminist Frequency and Dan should feel "embarrassed." I am not claiming that the writing in Dyling Light is the pinnacle of storytelling, but its another small data point that informs my opinion that Feminist Frequency’s rhetoric is often sensationalist and sometimes stifles creativity and progress instead of fostering it.

Also, just a thought: if a game is contributing to women being oppressed/marginalized, then wouldn't criticizing that aspect of them be a good thing to do? Even if it's small, or pernicious as Anita calls it, doesn't it deserve criticism? I think Anita made it more than clear in her videos that she doesn't necessarily condemn the entire work just because they have problematic aspects. A lot of people like to read it that way, but if one actually listens to what she says she is more than clear about that. She explicitly states that she's looking at the big picture, the overarching trends, and isn't interested in vilifying specific games in her series

  1. I take no issue with Feminist Frequency offering criticism. I and many others are also just criticizing that criticism. You of course in turn, can criticize that criticism of the original criticism. Discourse orgy!

  2. If Feminist Frequency isn't out to vilify specific games, then why do Jon and Anita call out specific games on twitter? Twitter being a poor place for debate does not seem like a super valid excuse for this case.

  3. One of the main issues here is that we don’t know to what extent women are “being oppressed/marginalized” because of video game stories and themes. A decent number of women, men and gamers don’t feel as strongly as Feminist Frequency on this matter, its something that is hard to quantify and prove and there is no strong consensus among studies that address this matter or tangential ones. In fact, some come to the conclusion that the gender of a character holds little importance over many gamers. Again, its very subjective. As such, any dramatic calls to action or labeling large amounts of people as victims of oppression or misogynistic oppressors does not seem justified to me. I am not trying to say that all of Feminist Frequency’s claims are sensationalized, but I think quite a few are.

I kinda doubt it. Her "haters" are very invested in their hate. Whatever negative reception she has is extremely unlikely to change because of this.

Of course there are always going to be a certain number of people that will disregard or see everything she has done as a negative. The same could be said to an extent about people who see GamerGate as a regressive movement of MRA, white males. The black and white mentality is stupid in both regards.

Sorry for the length of this post. I sort of used your comment as an opportunity to write out a lot of my thoughts in order to work through them myself. Which means that your comment is great, since that is exactly the type of opinions I want to be exposed to. Ones that make me question and solidify the thoughts and opinions floating in my brain.

/r/AgainstGamerGate Thread Parent