In my last piece I was criticising the new web series by Anita. However I did say it had potential and if she does more research, her series will be more interesting. I still stand by that and despite my scepticism of her motives; I think the negative reactions are overblown.
Don’t get me wrong there are some well-reasoned responses, but the way people are reacting is out of proportion. I’ll admit my own piece on this was part of the knee-jerk response to anything linked to Feminist Frequency; I have little room to talk. I did say my opinion of her is not very high and doubted she didn’t know what she was getting into, which might be unfair. But if she did post something on 4chan or alike, I would think she’d have to know what she’s doing.
The video didn’t say anything new and could have easily been made, most of her information can be found on Wikipedia. But it was well presented and she didn’t seem nearly as annoying as she was in previous videos, she didn’t get nearly as biting as she has done. It was also the first part so perhaps she has something good for part 2; maybe this is where the deeper research comes in.
What bothers me is that her ‘fans’ and ‘detractors’ are turning this into a gender war. Her fans claim that those who disagree with Anita are anti-feminist, lumping everyone together under the troll and hater banner. And her detractors are still being jerks, coming up with petty insults and making a point that her project was funded with Kickstarter.
The detractors love pointing out that she raised so much money, going as far as to call it a scam. These people really need to look at Kickstarter and see what kind of stuff is on there, because I have honestly seen much worse. She also didn’t ask for the amount she got, that was all willingly donated by people who wanted to see her idea become reality. None of them were forced into it and frankly, the hatred she gathered actually helped her a lot.
Like I said before she got a great deal attention from this. When people flooded her with childish and threatening comments, or made games of her being punched in the face, they handed her an enemy. Suddenly it wasn’t just about videogames anymore; it was about the right a woman has to state her opinion. Part of me thinks Anita saw this coming and kind of knew what could happen, because it was a sadly logical conclusion.
The gaming community is not all bad, but has a decent sized ‘minority’ who are easily railed up. These are same people who create console wars and scream when their games are criticised, claiming the critics don’t know what they’re talking about. And when it comes to feminism they think the feminists want to take their games away, claiming massive double standards exist and mocking anything that isn’t agreement.
There are also complaints about the comments section being disabled. I agree that it is a little unfair and smells of self-fulfilling prophecy, she knows there will be some hate so she blocked comments. However I wouldn’t call it censorship because people can still state their opinion, just not on her YouTube video. Sure in the past it does look like she picked and choose comments but here there is a reason, good or bad.
Her fans don’t really help matters either, again a vocal minority makes things worse. They act in a similar way to those who hate her, putting words into people’s mouths and claiming anyone who disagrees is obviously a bad person. They claim she has defeated the trolls and put her up on a pedestal, snarling at those who say anything negative.
These rabid fans are pretty common on Tumblr and alike, grabbing hold of their idol and never letting go. You can point out the flaws of their idol of choice but they will ignore it, claiming you are wrong no matter what. They feel personally attacked when someone attacks their precious and go bat shit crazy about it.
And those two groups act as two snakes, both eating the other’s tail. They are also hilariously similar in appearance and voice, just like any bunch extremists in a group. Frankly both these sides are disgusting in their own little way, though I find those who make threats of rape and death to be far more disturbing. Videogames are not and never will be worth that kind of anger.
I don’t like Anita Sarkeesian but it has nothing to do with her gender, or the subject matter of her videos. The Videogames Industry is somewhat sexist and still has a lot of growing up to do, in terms of how people are represented. But videos with shallow and basic research are not going to change that, especially when they repeat points we already know. Maybe she does have a more in-depth plan for this series, but after watching her previous videos I doubt it.