The Facepalm Special: Anita At E3

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By Stephanie Smith – 18th June 2015
The Facepalm Special: Anita At E3

I would like to start this Facepalm Special by saying that all opinions here are my own and not that of the whole of GH.

Am I the only one sick of people who rush headlong into things in order to be offended or gain notoriety? Like, remember when PETA was complaining that Assassins Creed Blackflag had whaling in it? As if killing a virtual whale would somehow convince someone to buy a boat and go whaling? We all know that wasn’t about animals, it was a publicity stunt on a popular game for attention. I often think of anything Anita Sarkeesian says and does in a similar way.

So Anita Sarkeesian, if you somehow don’t know is the owner of Feminist Frequency. You’ll remember that she got $158,922 to create 5 10-20minute videos on YouTube about why women are victims in video games etc. Usually, I just ignore her, but my feed is being drowned in people talking about her recent attacks on Fallout and Doom and so wearily I decided I’d comment on it.

So first up she decides to talk about the horrific violence in… wait for it… DOOM.

Now, there are violent video games that people love and enjoy and I’m not a fan. You know what I do rather than smack talk them? I don’t buy them. I don’t play Mortal Kombat, GTA etc because I know I don’t really like it and I don’t begrudge anyone who does. I don’t mind Anita having her own opinion, but something really bugs me about this tweet. She says that she can barely watch the violence yet there’s this picture of her smiling with her games.

Anita's collection

Anita with her collection of games

My point is these are very violent games. So if Anita cannot stomach violence in video games… why does she have so many particularly gruesome ones? I suppose it could be for research purposes, but if it’s such an atrocity too her how would she play them? It just bothers me that she’s complaining about people being happy to see DOOM and yet owns Mortal Kombat.

I understand that obscene violence can be a little gut-wrenching, but at the end of the day it’s just pixels. Time and time again it has been proven that violent video games won’t cause a sane person to re-enact them so really what concern is it of ours if people are enjoying a violent game? I’d rather have someone release their pent up aggression on fictional demons from Hell than a real person.

The next tweet that really had me ticking was this one about Dishonoured 2:

See if I was the type of person who’d complain about only having a male protagonist, I wouldn’t then complain that a game gave me a choice to be male or female. If I thought it was wrong that women have to play as men then why would I suggest having a game where men have to play as girls? 

What amuses me though is that statistics show that men like playing as girls since a lot of them would rather be staring at the backside of a girl just like I’d rather be staring at a backside of a guy. I know I don’t have the right to speak for everyone, but I’d assume being able to choose between being male or female would be better than being confined to one gender.

Honestly, I have never had a problem with playing as a guy. I enjoy protagonists how ever they come. A game is just another way of telling a story, is it not?  Does it really matter what is between the protagonists legs? Really, if I was going to complain about gender placement in games I’d personally complain that women don’t get killed as much as men. We are all equal, right? Then why do we have such an aversion to killing females? I’m not talking about hunting down civilians or anything, I’m just talking about female soldiers or villains. The last game I clearly remember killing or fighting girls in was Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus. Though even then I had to chortle at the ‘sedative’ bullets used on Shelke.

I don’t want to talk too much more about her tweets because frankly I find it nauseating, especially when I think of the far more relevant issues that could be addressed. Anita Sarkeesian can have her opinion, but she doesn’t speak for me and I’m sure she doesn’t speak for most female gamers. There are problems in video games with how women are represented, I won’t dispute that. I just wish that the person who spoke against it was someone who actually did their research. The whole feminist movement was never meant to be ‘us versus them’ it just became that when people ran out of relevant topics to tackle and started focusing on trivial first world problems like ‘Manspreading’.

So how about we forget this totally irrelevant thing called gender? We’re all gamers and as such it hardly matters if you have melons or a cucumber to carry around. Now I’m sure there will be a few comments saying that I’m bending to the patriarchy or that I’m not a real gamer or I’m brainwashed (And yes I am well aware of that whole thread about me being sexist against women on Spacefem) and like I say, you are entitled to your opinion of me. Just don’t expect me to use up valuable gaming time trying to justify myself to you.

If you did enjoy this piece why not check out 6 Truths From A Gamer Girl or if you’re in the mood for comedy, how about my article on Female Superpowers?

  • Mr.Bugbee

    I really wish anita would just go away. All she does is cause problems.

    • Stephanie Smith

      Yeah, she’s pretty irritating

  • kyrvg

    Opinions are fine. It’s a problem when people start spreading their opinions as truth and saying that everyone who doesn’t agree with them is horrible. It’s sad to see how femfreq keeps jumping on popular games to be edgy and stay relevant. All both of them are doing is poisoning the well making sure no actual reasonable discussion takes place because that would solve a whole lot of stuff and that would once again make them irrelevant and they would have to find something else to be upset about.

    It’s kinda hilarious to now see them go for the age old “video games make people violent” thing (the co-writer actually literally said on his twitter that his is scientific fact and that people who say it isn’t just need to get over it).. it just proves just how much they actually care about games..

    Anyway, this was a nice read. Sorry for the little rant there.

    • Stephanie Smith

      Heh never apologise for a rant ^_^

  • Mr0303

    Anita does her usual spiel. She talks bollocks to ignite a reaction from gamers (mainly because we’re passionate about our hobby and are quick to defend it) and then play the victim card and juice out some more Patreon money. All we have to do is ignore her as the irrelevant con artist that she is.

    Gaming is a meritocracy and we are past things like sex, race and politics. All that matters is the game.

    • Stephanie Smith

      True say.

  • Patrick Toworfe

    Strange, my comment never showed up =s How annoying. Basically, what I said was how the female enemies thing stood out to me. People fall over themselves to get female characters (as if they’re rare or something, cause they’re not), but no one seems to want female enemies. And as you said, their deaths are mild. Imo, for female characters to be TRULY equal in fiction then they have to suffer as much as male characters do.

    • Mr0303

      When Call of Duty announced that female soldiers will be playable in Ghosts quite a few videogame websites were outraged that they had to kill women. You can’t win with these people – when you acknowledge that female characters are equal and are equally capable of evil, you are still a misogynist for actually going up against them.

      I’m sure you know that fighting games were one of the most inclusive when it came to women as far back as SF2 and the first Mortal Kombat.

      • Patrick Toworfe

        Yeah I remember. Even IGN made that STUPID video where they said ‘it’s going to feel wrong to stab women in the face’. And Naomi Kyle was on that panel and objected saying “Why is it any more wrong that stabbing a guy in the face?” People who think they’re white knighting that way are actually being sexist. Yknow the ‘i don’t hurt girls, even in video games’ types? That’s the issue really. EVEN in video games it’s hard to show that sort of equality because people reel at the idea of women getting hurt, even if they’re not just bystanders/NPCs. Obviously, fighting games, MOBAs, competitive RPGs are exceptions to the rule and most people are well aware of the equal strength of male and female characters. But we’re still yet to see action games and adventure games have a decent amount of female enemies. Occasionally games have it, and more recently AC Syndicate will and I think that’s awesome.

    • Stephanie Smith

      That’s the main thing that bugs me about feminism. While there are people who strive for equality more often than not it’s about female supremacy rather than gender equality. It used to be something worth burning a bra over, but these days what is it? A bad joke that you can’t laugh at in case it gets offended.

      It’s like Animal Farm, we’re all equal but some pigs are more equal than others.
      Honestly, I could rant about this so much because it really rubs me up the wrong way. I tried to talk about this in a civil way on a website called Mary Sue and not only was I labelled as ‘Dumb’ I was also thrown in with Gamergate oh and apparently I’m a man, don’t let the tits fool ya. It’s just sickening overall. I’m tired… with… well, everything at this stage

      • Patrick Toworfe

        Hmph, using gamergate as an insult label, that’s pretty rich. And the sad thing is in general that’s where we’re at in terms of female characters in gaming. If you even attempt to discuss anything other than what the droning masses seem to think is right, you’ll be treated like crap. All the new female characters in action games recently is great (all the ones in E3 this year for example) and to a normal person it doesn’t make a huge difference, but to the gender zealots it’s more reasons to complain. Now they’ll complain that the ratio of male to female characters in these games ‘isn’t enough’. Then they’ll moan when new games don’t have female characters and say that they’re ‘excluding’ them. And of COURSE they’ll complain all about how the women look. It’s so stupid. Gender was never supposed to matter with games yet people turned it into the number 1 issue

      • Mr0303

        Civil… The Mary Sue – those are two phrases that don’t belong in the same sentence.

  • Patrick Toworfe

    If you’ll forgive the spam, I’ll post my twitlonger rant here. It was in the link that failed to show up.

    -An Appeal For More Female Enemies In Games-

    Ok fine, since everyone saw my tweets, I might as well just say it. I want more female enemies in games. I want to be able to kill them, humiliate them and mess with them JUST AS MUCH as I do with male characters. And no; I don’t want to do it out of some ‘sick pleasure’ cause they’re women, and I don’t want them to be ‘always
    sexualized’ or whatever. I just want the ratio of female bruisers,
    thugs and soldiers to be more than what it is now.

    Why you may ask? Cause HOW MANY games have I played where I’m killing
    the same carbon copy guard/soldier/ninja/assassin or whatever that are
    just guys? Off the top of my head, one of the few games where there are
    female enemies is Saints Row: The Third, where some of the gangsters are
    chicks that shoot at you. Same with Hitman Absolution; it had the
    occasional female bodyguard. Some RPGs, such as Final Fantasy XIII,
    might throw the occasional human female enemy at you, but still not that
    consistently with male ones. For all people’s talk of wanting more
    female protags, I rarely see anyone wanting more female enemies.

    And let me just stop you there before you declared JusticeSoulTuna as
    insane or misogynist. I WANT more female mains, more female protags and
    more well written female characters, as much as I require and expect
    good written male ones. However, while this proportion may go up
    significantly, and it is rising, where are the female enemies? The
    reboot of Tomb Raider is a game where a woman spends hours mowing down
    tons of men. Not a single female enemy in sight. I’ve even noticed that
    some games tend to dampen the death of female characters, perhaps not
    always intentionally. In Metal Gear Rising, the only female boss,
    Mistral, has by far the least satisfying death. Every other boss, you’re
    allowed to chop into pieces in a dramatic fashion, and this even
    extends to the blade wolf DLC boss. However, when you fight Mistral, she
    conveniently gets her weapon stuck in a liquid nitrogen tank, and you
    cut her into /icecubes/ with very little blood. Sure, I aint saying that
    Platinum Games purposefully made the woman’s death less gruesome, but I
    couldn’t help but feel that it was so unnecessarily tame.

    The point I’m making is that if we want female characters to be seen as
    ‘equal’, then they have to SUFFER as much as they succeed. Think about
    how many male protags go through literal hell in their stories but
    manage to come out on top. It’s why games like Resident Evil are more
    appealing to me than Bayonetta; because the female characters aren’t all
    perfect and immune to struggle. Genres like fighting games and MOBAs
    have always put male and female characters on a level playing field
    where anyone can get beat up as well as do the beating.

    As progressive as anime is when it comes to female characters (hear me
    out), in having them get into bloody scuffles and fight like wild
    animals i.e. Black Lagoon, a lot of animes still have this chivalrous
    nature by proxy. Sure it’s awesome to see chicks fight, but you rarely
    see them get beat up and bloodied by a guy, and if it happens they’re
    usually the bad guy. I can’t tell you the amount of times where a guy is
    about to hit a girl in an anime and it always stops, for no real reason
    other than ‘it’s a girl’. And that always seemed off to me. The guy
    characters get beat up constantly, insulted, treated like crap, by both
    male and female characters, but when it’s time for it to happen for the
    female characters, few animes are comfortable with letting it happen.

    No one’s saying that female characters should be unfairly victimized
    without reason. But just like with disposable male characters as NPCs or
    otherwise, surely female characters should have the same treatment.
    It’s a weird thing to suggest; that I want to ‘kill female characters’
    (taken out of context, it sounds wrong), that is until you realize that
    you’re being SEXIST if you feel uncomfortable with it. If you feel
    completely fine killing male characters but not female ones, then you
    dont see women as equal, EVEN in a virtual playing field. And to me,
    that’s just wrong.

    I doubt games will ever truly have that many female enemies, but it’d be
    cool to see. People love to say they want more female characters in
    action games, like shooters; moaning that women are allowed in the
    military now. And that’s great; I was happy when Gears of War 3 added
    female characters, same with Call of Duty: Ghosts. But did the number of
    female enemies increase? Nope. And hey, I aint saying I want it to be a
    direct proportional increase, but maybe just think about making enemies
    more than just carbon copy thugs.

    I’m sure I’ll get a lot of crap for this if it ever gets spread around,
    but honestly I’ve wanted to speak my mind on this for a while. I relate
    more to characters when I know they’re not perfect but can still
    accomplish things; it’s why I liked Dante from DMC3 and why I liked Lara
    Croft from the new Tomb Raider. However, as we increase our female
    protag count, we’re still ignoring the other side of the issue; female
    villains and general enemies. If we STILL can’t let women in a virtual
    space be treated EQUALLY, in both positive and negative ways, then how
    can we ever consider them equal at all?

    • Mr0303

      Thanks for the rant, man. It was beautiful to read.The issue really is that we’ve lived in a gynocentric culture for hundreds of years. What are boys taught from very early age? “Don’t hit girls!” This trope is used to identify the villain in a story – he is cruel to women and the hero is good, because he rescues them.

      This is amplified by the feminist movement labeling men as toxic – i.e. more aggressive and violent than women, but on the other hand we are supposed to be the same. This sort of double think limits creativity and forces authors and in our case developers to generate female characters form a perfect template.

      Anyways. Back to Arkham Knight.

    • Stephanie Smith

      Have to agree with all of that. I find it frustrating to always be killing off male characters. I want an uber bitchie female antagonist to beat off the side of a mountain. Their deaths are always tame or simply not shown. I mean even the example I used of Dirge Of Cerberus here are two deaths of similarly classed soldiers.
      *spoilers*

      Azul the cerulean, male: Dies by getting impaled by his own cannon and falling off a lift as well as having a dark energy beam shot through him.
      Rosso the Crimson, Female: Death, suicide since after you fight her she doesn’t want you to defeat her and steps onto a falling platform so you don’t have the pleasure of ending her.

      So frustrating!!!!!!!!!!

      Especially since Rosso LITERALLY killed about 5 platoons of WRO soldiers.

      Also, people always treat women like delicate flowers, they aren’t I’m certainly not for one, I’ve had more cut knuckles than I’ve had barbies. People complain about the damsel in distress trope, well how can it be any other way when games I criticised for killing women? That isn’t equality that is needless control of an artform.

      • Patrick Toworfe

        You mean like when Sarkeesian takes scenes of male on female violence in games out of context, sensationalizes it, and convinces all the ignorant masses about how horrible games’ treatment of women is? Yeah, i wonder why developers are scared of having female characters ¬_¬ *sigh* It’s so sad. At least Japan has never been afraid. Japanese games have so many awesome female heroes AND villains, just as cool and awesome as their male partners. One of my favorite video game characters of ALL TIME is Junko Enoshima. She’s the bad guy from Danganronpa (sorry for the spoilers, cause it is spoilers). She’s stylish, smart and insane. We need more awesome characters like that, one’s designed with purpose. Not shoehorned in because of people moaning.