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The Mission of This Blog:
The Mission of This Blog:
I 'm not getting any younger, but as I go along, I recognize the need to be more observant of my surroundings. I am honing my typing, writing, and analytical skills as well. As I do research, it is not enough to just read the material, but to do something with it.
I have loved reading Op-Eds and opinion pages for some time now, and I thought that it was pretty cool that NF had set up this blog function. As much as I am interested in reading the opinions of others, I am more excited about the prospect of sharing my own.
I suck at making up titles and many of my entries will be edited from time to time because I am human, after all (and a bit of a perfectionist).
Recently, I made a speech for one of my classes in which I talked about Anita Sarkeesian. I discussed her website, some of her videos, and discussed the dust-up with Kickstarter in 2012. I would like to share some of my thoughts below and discuss her latest video.
Now, some of your reading this may question what the difference is or think that you are annoyed by both, but you would be missing the actual point. I think it is important to look at what she has done up to now to really see what she is about. To put a long story short, she is masquerading as a feminist and any serious feminist suffers from this.
If you have never visited the Feminist Frequency website, here is how it is set up: On her “About” page, you would see that Sarkeesian touts her credentials, such as her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. She brags about speaking at conferences and having her videos used as educational tools. There are links to articles about her. Her “Resources” Page contains links to feminist blogs and those dedicated to other social issues, but look at the books she promotes. The full-disclosure notes that she receives a commission if those books are purchased through Amazon. She has blog posts in which she talks about herself, her videos, and what happened to her in 2012 in particular. Do you see the problem? Sarkeesian fails to actually educate her visitors. There are no sections discussing the full history of feminism.
Her Past Videos
We all know that there are serious problems with Sarkeesian’s videos. While she may list some truths in her videos, she often raises non-issues, ignores some real issues, or misleads her audience.
- For example, in her video “Top 5 Sexist and/or Creepy Christmas Songs,” she misconstrued Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” to mean that women were being told that they needed to be with men. The only song that belonged on the list was “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” (Listen to the lyrics.)
- Sarkeesian mentioned the real fact that there were more roles for men in “The Smurfette Principle,” but skipped over the fact that there are more jobs for men in Hollywood overall.
- A notable example of Sarkeesian’s videos is her two-parter about Legos. She complained about the marketing strategy of the company . While it seems that the product is heavily marketed to boys, this does not mean that girls are actually discouraged from playing with them. She had to know that parents could make a conscious decision to buy these things for their girls or even interview some girls to see whether or not some actually wanted to play with these toys.
Girls can play with “boys’ toys” without an issue. I played with Legos as a young girl at school and loved them. Unfortunately, I never got to own them myself. Also, I asked for two trucks and a train for Christmas as a preschooler, and this was not an issue for my parents at all. The problems really arise for boys playing with dolls, but let’s just skip that.
What is offensive about Legos is the fact that they promote so many sets. There city sets and packages based on movies take away imaginary aspect that was the main draw of Legos. If one wanted to have a normal Lego set, they have to go to the obscure aisles in toy stores to find them.
- In her video “The Straw Feminist,” Sarkeesian does not even mention Jessica Spano from “Saved by the Bell.” That’s how you know she is not serious.
The takeaway I got from watching most of her videos was that she wanted to stir anger in her viewers, no matter which side they took. She is looking too closely at small issues, and that is a problem. As a result, some female viewers may look at males with increased suspicion and vice versa if they do not like Sarkeesian.
And I think that this anger was stoked by the way in which she monitored the comments. The positive comments (and some that opposed her, albeit less aggressively) would be approved on most videos, which the rating bar may or may not be up. That created a positive environment for her supporters, and it was even more jarring when she allowed all comments to be shown when she announced her Kickstarter project. In the meantime, Sarkeesian knew about the level of support and opposition she really had, and that would play a role in mid-2012.
The Kickstarter Fiasco
As we all know, the announcement of the “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” series was announced in May 2012 and that kicked off a shitstorm. What she sought to do was tell everyone some things that they already knew: Women are often objectified in video games and female gamers are often harassed online. What made matters worse is that she was asking for money to buy video games and it looked like she was already set up quite well in the video.
The announcement video was bombarded by a whole host of misogynistic comments on YouTube and that would garner Sarkeesian even more attention. She used those comments and posted screen captures of them on her blog to supposedly highlight the ignorance of her detractors, but this was a calculated decision. She saw the comments that she approved and did not in the past and knew that some of her detractors would not resist the opportunity to act like a bunch of ass-munching, rabid monkeys at the mere mention of her name. She knew that they would in turn anger her supporters and even those who were neutral to her. And this does not begin to describe her trolling on the 4chan website.
Donations were closed on June 16, 2012. By then, Sarkeesian received $158,922 in pledges from 6,968 donors. It took her until March to actually post a video in her series. Even if she did purchase more video games with that money, she made out like a bandit.
Her Latest Video
In case you didn’t already know, Sarkeesian has actually posted the first video in her “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” series, entitled “Damsel in Distress.” It has been up since March 7 and I actually found out by watching a video from TheAmazingAtheist. They both surprised me. While the latter is known for his shocking and offensive commentary, he was pretty subdued in his narration for his video discussing this latest video. The former actually listed sound facts her video.
Still, there are problems with Sarkeesian’s video. First, as TAA mentioned, no comments are even allowed on the video, so even the supporters are being silenced. (I don’t believe that she is allowing any more comments to be shown on her earlier videos, either, so that is something to look for.) Second, she picked on Nintendo for the most part, but my issue is what she said about Zelda and Peach. Yes, Peach gets kidnapped a lot, but that is a running gag along with her Toad guards being useless (and knowing it). The truth is, only Mario has been consistently shown to be able to beat Bowser in their world. The former needs help in some games, and Peach actually provides some in the form of information and items in “Paper Mario.” Zelda, while she does not have brute force, helps Link often in that series. Sarkeesian called Zelda a “helpful Damsel,” while pointing that the character’s best moments were as Sheik in “Ocarina of Time” and as Tetra in “Wind Waker.” Let’s just downplay her spiritual powers, ignore the fact that only Link can fight Ganon, and ignore the fact that the “Legend of Zelda” series has Zelda’s name in it. It’s about Link, but his name is not in most games. Finally, I hate the re-imagining of Peach and Zelda. They look fine as they are.
My Overall Opinion
I think that Sarkeesian is being disingenuous. She is self-centered and opportunistic. She is a saleswoman and not an activist by any means.
Look at it this way: Sarkeesian is looking at female portrayal in the media. Compared to many other issues in gender relations, this is a softball topic. She doesn’t play this issue as a symptom, but as a cause. That is the wrong way to look at it. While media can be influential, society itself is more so. Media can be a reflection of society values, but it is not the driving force.
She doesn’t seem to really care about the issues past the point of how she can exploit them and that is something that most her detractors do not realize. While she angers people, she is still cashing in and while that may piss off people more, their outrage gives her more attention (and money). She refers to many of her detractors as “trolls,” but she is one herself. The best trolls do not need to use profanities, but provoke emotional responses from others. Is that not what she has done?
Total Comments 5
|Posted 03-10-2013 at 04:47 PM by Endless Mike|
|Posted 03-10-2013 at 05:15 PM by butcher50|
|Posted 03-10-2013 at 10:44 PM by CrazyAries|
Posted 03-11-2013 at 10:37 AM by butcher50
Updated 03-11-2013 at 10:50 PM by butcher50
Posted 03-12-2013 at 02:33 AM by CrazyAries
Updated 03-16-2013 at 11:53 PM by CrazyAries
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