One of the first things you learn when you start making games is to ignore most of the internet. Gamers can undoubtedly be wonderful, but as in all things internet, a vocal minority of idiots can overtake most spaces of discourse. Normally, that doesn't matter, these people are irrelevant and worthless even if they might think they have any power in their jerking circles. But if after words other forms of harassment are used, things change.
I'm not a game designer, I play games, I like games, but my work is about realtime rendering, most often the fact it's used by a game is incidental. So I really didn't want to write this, I didn't think there is anything I can add to what has already been written. And Anita herself does an excellent job at defending her work. Also I think the audience of this blog is the right target for this discussion.
Still, we've passed a point and I feel everybody in this industry should be aware of what's happening and state their opinion. I needed to make a "public" stance.
Recap: Anita Sarkeesian is a media critic. She began a successful kickstarter campaign to produce reviews of gender tropes in videogames. She has been subject to intolerable, criminal harassment. People who spoke in her support have been harassed, websites have been hacked... Just google her name to see the evidence.
My personal stance:
- I support the work of Anita Sarkeesian. As I would of anybody speaking intelligently about anything, even if I were in disagreement.
- I agree with the message in the Tropes Vs Women series. I find it to be extremely interesting, agreeable and instrumental to raise awareness of an in many cases not well understood phenomenon.
- If I have any opinion on her work, is that I suspect in most cases hurtful stereotypes don't come from malice or laziness (neither of which she mentions as possible causes by the way), but from the fact that games are mostly made by people like me, male, born in the eighties, accustomed to a given culture.
- And even if we can logically see the issues we still have in gender depictions, we often lack the emotional connection and ability to notice their prevalence. We need all the critiques we can get.
- I encourage everybody to take a stance, especially mainstream gaming websites and gaming companies (really, how can you resist being included here), but even smaller blog such as this one.
- It's time to marginalize harassment and ban such idiots from the gaming community. To tell them that it's not socially acceptable, that most people don't share their views.
- Right now for most of the video attacks (I've found no intelligent rebuttal yet) to Tropes Vs Women are "liked" on youtube. Reasonable people don't speak up, and that's even understandable, nobody should argue with idiots, they are usually better left ignored. But this got out of hands.
- I'm not really up for a debate. I understand that there can be an debate on the merit of her ideas, there can be debate about her methods even, and I'd love to read anything intelligent about it.
- We are way past a discussion on whether she is right or wrong. I personally think she is substantially right, but even if she was wrong I think we should all still fight for her to be able to do her job without such vile attacks. When these things happen, in such an extent, I think it's time for the industry to be vocal, for people to stop and just say no. If you think Anita's work (and her as a person) doesn't deserve at least that respect, I'd invite you to just stop following me, seriously.
- Anita's works: https://www.youtube.com/user/feministfrequency
- You might want to sign this: https://medium.com/@andreaszecher/open-letter-to-the-gaming-community-df4511032e8a