The case of Anita Sarkeesian has been very interesting to me, both as a gamer and a gaymer. She has been one of the influential figures to change my mind about mainstream Feminism: In the past, especially when still living in Iran, I did not have a negative opinion on Feminist ideas. If anything my thoughts were mostly positive. After watching Sarkeesian’s videos, listening to Feminist colleagues at work, reading some Feminist outlets, and what went on with #GamerGate, my ideas shifted dramatically to consider the current mainstream Feminism in the media as one of the enemies of reason in this day and age.
The Case Against Sarkeesian’s Views
Terrible arguments: Simply put, Sarkeesian’s “criticisms” of the role of women in video games is a none-argument, and therefore baseless. Looking at the first 3 videos of her “Tropes vs. Women” series, she usually starts by naming many games that use some form of the “damsel in distress” cliche, and at the end makes a conclusion in the lines of “Women are disempowered [or killed, shown provocatively etc.] in these game, and this has larger ramifications in the society”.
This just simply does not follow that. If after 85% of one’s video [essay, book] has passed, one still cannot answer the question “So what?” in a conclusion derived coherently from what one has put forward, then one has failed tremendously as a thinker. Moreover, this conclusion is about real people in real world, and must be backed up by hard data, something Ms. Sarkeesian has failed to do entirely. Instead, her video goes something like: “These fictional characters this, therefore real women that”. Absolute garbage.
Greatest propaganda campaign of the decade?: Imagine a political figure or generally a follower of a particular ideology, giving a speech in front of a crowd of people. Say, just as an example, a Fascist speaking to a crowd of Jewish people. Now, being a good Fascist, he (or she) will not hesitate to say something in the lines of: “Jews are responsible for much of the violence in the world! They were responsible for both world wars!” I think we can all agree that the crowd will not show much sympathy for the speaker, first they will loudly object, then they will shout at him, and finally send him home by throwing eggs and tomatoes at his head.
It is fair to assume that our good fascist will run back to his skinhead friends covered in eggs, take some pictures and publish them in the media that happens to agree with him, and claim: “I was right about all the Jews! They are scum of the earth and these pictures prove my point!”
The illogical step is taken when one claims that the reaction of a certain group to one’s claims prove their point. This simply cannot be always true: An argument must be presented with evidence and good assumptions, and must be defended as such.
Now enter Ms. Sarkeesian. Numerous people criticized her videos, especially and specifically on YouTube, the place which she put her videos herself. Many of these videos were harsh, but many had great points and arguments to make [Thunderf00t, KiteTales are two examples out of hundreds]. How many of these videos did she mention, responded to, or discussed directly? The answer is none. How many of her critics did she ever mention, or debate? None. To my knowledge she has never, ever, engaged with any of her critics. Instead, in any speech she has given afterwards, she deliberately brings up abusive or troll comments.
Why is that? Is it because she wishes to pretend as if there is no legitimate criticism of her series? Is it because she wishes to pretend she is right about “sexism in the gaming industry” while she presents a carefully handpicked selection of insulting or troll comments irrelevant to her argument? Perhaps she genuinely believe her own crap. I am not sure.
I am not suggesting Ms. Sarkeesian is a Fascist, but she is great at her propaganda campaign of swaying the SJW crowd and others who know not how to logic or reason to follow her garbage.