Some Serious Questions to Anita Sarkeesian

I am going to try and be as decent and polite as I possibly can.  But there are some things that I would like to ask the feminist critic, or anyone associated with her, and I would like legit answers.  If you all could pass this on, as respectfully as possible, then I would be very grateful.  But there are some things that I want to know.  Let’s call this – 10 questions I want to legitimately ask Anita Sarkeesian, and would like a serious answer on.  I graduated from college with my Bachelor’s in Journalism and Public Communication, and while I am not going to be focusing on the journalism part with my current career choice, I still remember that part of me that wanted to be a journalist when I started college.  With that in mind, here are my questions, with little bits afterwards that will explain why I want to know.

10. If a video game character appeals to lesbian and bisexual women, then how is it derogatory to women?
Here’s something I’ve been wanting an answer for, for ages.  Form really any feminist, but specifically you.  Because you seem to conveniently forget that there are lesbian and bisexual women out there, who may find the representations of a female video game character sexually attractive.  Which strikes me as kind of two-faced, considering that you have said that your reading of “queer women” literature enriched you as a feminist.  All of your statements about representations of women in video games seem to focus exclusively on their appeal to men, while completely ignoring that women may find this sort of thing attractive.  Or gay men who have a healthy respect for femininity .  I know more than one such person.  Went to class with one.  He was the most flowery queen I’ve ever met, but an interesting guy all the same.

9. Why do you consistently ignore context when you point out things about characters or situations in games?
The ONLY time I have seen you address this issue is in your Damsels in Distress videos, where you talk about the mercy killing of a female character.  That is the only time that you acknowledge that context does play a part.  But you then subsequently brush it off, like it suddenly doesn’t matter.  How do you reconcile that with your positions?  If context plays a role, however minuscule, shouldn’t that mean something?  Like when you have a clip from Watch Dogs where there are naked women, but the instance of that was at a sex slavery ring, which the game never tells you is a good thing.  In fact, it goes out of its way to point out that it’s bad.  Why do you simply ignore context at some points, and then address it with a simple brush-off at others.  Does narrative context never matter?  Guess that was a few questions rolled into one, but I thought I’d ask all the same.

8. Do you have a problem with sexual expression?  If so, why?  If not, what is the acceptable level of sexual expression that you believe should be in games?
You consistently deride sexual expression in games, yet then deride that female characters don’t have the correct kind of sexual expression.  I am just curious where you view the line.  What do you believe is the correct amount of sexual expression?  At what point is it offensive?  I don’t mod comments, so whoever wants to answer, feel free.  If you want to just say that women in gaming are for chauvinist men, you can do that.  I disagree, but I want to know where you stand, Anita.

7. What do you believe is the most offensive female representation in a video game?
I’m not speaking in general terms.  I want you to be very specific.  What female in a game is the worst, and why?  There must be elaboration on this, because so many of the qualities that you describe as negative contradict one-another.  An example – your recent review praised the new Lara Croft, yet she is sexually-appealing and also seems to fit into the Ms. Male character archetype, since she is very much the male equivalent of Indiana Jones.  I want to know what you believe to be the absolute worst female character depiction in a video game, and give me concrete reasons as to why.

6. Which game do you believe worst represents female characters?
A larger extrapolation of the previous question, but worth asking.  Because your examples seem to cherry-pick specific things from specific games, ignoring the larger picture.  So, with that in mind, I want to know what game do you believe represents female characters the worst, and subsequently – why?

5. Which game and which character do you believe are the best representation in a video game?
The reverse of the previous two questions, but now I think that if we should look at the worst, let’s subsequently look at the best.  Which female character do you believe is the best female representation, and which game do you believe has the best women.  Again, why?

4. What do you believe is the correct type of male character in a game?
Since I am going to be posting this to some subreddits and other places where people I am sure will have a thousand and one hilarious examples, I want to know – what do you believe a male character in a game should be?  For all the negative traits you associate men in games with having, what do you believe they should have.  As an extrapolation, which male character do you believe most exemplifies the traits you list.  Be specific.

3. In a Tweet, you derided difficulty in games, stating that it works against women.  Do you not believe that that is a little condescending?
I believe that women have just as much skill as male players.  There are plenty of women who can defeat me rather soundly at Bloodborne PvP.  You’ve talked about how there needs to be less difficulty in games for female players.  Do you not find that even the least bit insulting to the women who dedicate their time and energy to becoming skilled in their respective games?  Not to mention, isn’t it insulting to the idea that women are equal with men, when you want there to be a way for things to be easier for them?

2. Isn’t it a touch bit hypocritical that you can deride the trash-talking women get in gaming, yet then totally ignore the fact that men online get it just as much?
This has been brought up by just about everyone, but it is a very good point.  In both online gaming, and trolling, there are plenty of men who get it just as much as you, if not moreso.  I guarantee you that PewDiePie gets plenty of abuse from people.  So does any other online personality.  So does anyone online, really.  Don’t you think its hypocritical for you to go to the UN and complain about rudeness direct at yourself, while then ignoring all the men who get it?  Are you saying that it is only hurtful towards women?  If so, does that not how do you defend that position, in respect to the fact that it has been shown, quite clearly, that it does affect both genders equally?

1. Will you please clarify your views on violence in gaming for me?
In your Rise of the Tomb Raider review, the person you had stand in for you stated that the game was flawed due to the fact that there were no women in the antagonist’s mercenary outfit, yet then subsequently went on to deride the violence in the game as well.  Which is it?  Do you believe that violence in video games is wrong based on its own merits, or that violence should also be acceptable toward women?  After all, Lara Croft kills the mercs in that game, in exceedingly more violent ways as the game goes on.  Is that wrong all on its own, or are you complaining that she can’t kill women as well?  She would, if women were added to the roster of mercenaries.  Your views seem contradictory.  So perhaps you could lay this bag of snakes out straight.  In your E3 2015 coverage, you derided the new Doom trailer for the violence in it.  Doesn’t that seem contradictory to what you have said?  Just putting that out there.

Those are my questions.  If you all could find a way to get these to the people at Feminist Frequency, I hope that they will answer them.  I have been completely respectful in this post, so maybe that will help.  I somehow doubt it, yet I hope for a discourse, because my inner journalist would like nothing better than for someone at that enterprise to engage with me, so I could learn more about where they stand.  The chance for an interview with the lady herself would be a dream come true, since we could perhaps finally see behind the veneer she puts up, to who Anita Sarkeesian really is.  It’s a dumb dream, but I can dream it, can’t I?

Actually, wait, I got another one that just came to me –

0: Why do you have a convicted pedophile running your stream?
I think that one speaks for itself.  Right, Valis77?

Until next time, a quote,

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar.  You’re only telling the world that you fear what he has to say.”  -Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

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10 thoughts on “Some Serious Questions to Anita Sarkeesian

  1. I have an answer for 10. You’re missing the point of criticism.

    Anita asks ‘what’s the appeal of this character?’ and comes to the conclusion ‘because it’s sexy’. Let’s assume the conclusion is right. Whether a men or a women finds the character sexy is irrelevant. The character still exists for us to stare at and jerk off to.

    The reason this is considered derogatory in fiction is because it destroys the role of the character. It’s no longer a character with a personality, but one that exists only for visual appeal. It’s not a part of the story. If all the men/women in the story exists for that reason, then the vision is narrow-minded, viewing one gender as only for sexual pleasure.

    As for video games, they’re too different than traditional modes of storytelling so I don’t know what to say on how sexy characters work in that setting.

    Sexiness isn’t a bad trait in and of itself. It can be an art. The anime Freezing has beautiful and sexy character design that took a lot of effort, but these characters still do more than just be sexy.

    • What is the cutoff point when a character is just sexy and nothing else? Be specific. Define this for me. Because I can make the argument, very successfully, that the bulk of sexy characters in games do have character. Characters like Lulu, in Final Fantasy X. She is very, very sexy, yet has a back-story, problems, good voice acting, and a role in the game. The character that Anita chooses to go after the most is Bayonetta, yet she also has a history, a personality, a back-story, and a role in the game. If you are going to argue that a character exists to be attractive and nothing more, then you must prove that that is their only quality. Hence why I wanted specific examples.

      Also, the fact that these characters do appeal to women is VERY relevant to the conversation. Lesbian and bisexual women are getting routinely cut out of the conversation about sexual attraction and video games. That’s not only unfair to them, but very rude. These people are used by the likes of Anita as a shield, yet she won’t even address that they may find the things that she gets on men about attractive as well. How is that not relevant to the conversation?

      • The best example I can give you are characters from typical action films – Black Widow (Avengers), that girl from Death Race.
        There is no personality, psychology, humor or anything special about them. They exist to be women. They are the only women present and their sexy figures is constantly emphasized. Remove them, and you won’t feel a difference.

        Also, it matters how frequently the sexiness is emphasized and whether it’s relevant. In Future Diary, Uryuu Minene is a sexy women, yet it’s hard to find any shot that shows you her figure. Same with Yuno and Tsubaki. Although they’re pretty, the anime never stops for a shot so you could memorize how the character’s body is and jerk off later.

        I don’t care about backstories. They’re inferior to personality/psychology. It’s not enough.

        The fact it appeals to lesbians mean nothing. The problem is that these characters only exist to be sexy. It would be problematic if it was a male character whose whole purpose is to sport abs.

      • No, wrong! I told you specific examples from video games! I’m not letting you weasel out of this by looking at film. In video games, characters are far more flushed out than in film. You can’t fall back on those mediums. I want specific examples from video games. You also didn’t give me a specific cut-off point where something is sexy yet no longer a good character. You SJW types consistently try and weasel around the question, but I’m not letting that happen. I want specific examples, in video games. Your move.

      • I can’t talk about your examples because I haven’t played these games. Talking about things I don’t know makes me an idiot. I haven’t been much into video games except some indie stuff (Most big titles look like grimdark crap to me).
        I’m merely showing how characters from other mediums can be ‘only for sexiness’ and that’s it, to give you a better idea of this criticism.

      • You don’t see the problem with what you just said? You don’t have exposure to this medium, and you are judging characters within it? You say that a character’s story doesn’t matter to you, but this is a medium where characters are more than just something on a screen. Unless CoD is your deal, characters have stories and personalities and you get to know them as the narrative goes on. Sometimes you play as them. Sometimes they are friends or foes. Some can become love interests in the story. These things matter. Yet Anita routinely ignores this fact. And so did you. This is the point I am making about specific examples. You can’t look on the outside of this and make a fair assessment of what is contained within it. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

      • And given what you have said, and statements Anita has made in the past, it is abundantly clear that you are not a part of this community in a large way. That matters, when judging it. Context matters. It always matters. You cannot compare video games to film. They are more than that medium is, or ever really could be. This is what happens when people who aren’t gamers outside of some casual stuff here and there try and judge the hardcore gaming scene. If this sounds condescending, then I guess that’s what it is. But I hope you can see my point.

      • I’m not judging the characters within the games I haven’t played. I’m offering an example of how “sexiness for sexiness’ sake” is bad in other works of fiction, with hopes you will better understand the idea.
        I’m responding generally to the “If it appeals to lesbians, is it not sexist?”. The problem is not the target audience but the fact some characters have no role outside of being sexy.
        Whether your examples fit this or not I don’t know – I’m refraining from making judgment.
        I’m merely explaining the criticism of characters whose only role is to be sexy.

      • And I’m telling you that Sarkeesian is wrong. Categorically. Her “examples” are cherry-picked in the extreme. They ignore a ton of context about characters, and that context matters. Since Sarkeesian cannot back up her claims, and has never responded to people who have put very level criticism to her, her points are mute, in my eyes. Ideas must stand up to scrutiny. Or at least acknowledge that it exists. Until the point when that happens, I view Anita’s criticism as worthless. But I asked these reasonable questions, with the hope that her or her defenders might see this and step up. As things stand, you have not done so. I know full-well what her criticism is. I am telling you her reasoning is flawed, and she consistently ignores context. That’s bad analysis. If my Communications Research professor could see her videos, they would be given failing grades, across the board. The best that she could hope for is a D-.

      • Also, don’t you think it’s a little unfair how Sarkeesian and her ilk don’t even acknowledge lesbian and bisexual women in the conversation about female video game characters? I never hear it brought up. Ever. From any of them. These people exist, and they have preferences. Shouldn’t we be bringing them into the conversation?

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