Is Anita Sarkeesian Helping Or Hurting The Gaming Community?

Does one of the Internet’s most hated figures ruin or help gaming?

1. For those denizens of the Internet, specifically in the geek community, we all remember when Anita Sarkeesian, the woman who made a Kickstarter for a YouTube series about discussing feminism in videogames.

2. Mostly because of the huge backlash that occurred in its wake.

(It was too graphic, so here’s a picture of an adorable cat).

Sarkeesian’s site, Feminist Frequency had been producing content before the Kickstarter, including posting videos on the site’s Youtube Channel. The topics of these videos ranged from a discussion of Lego’s latest marketing campaign to the trope of women in refrigerators, analyzing the undertones of many different types of media. While the comments have currently been disabled, the videos received mixed reviews.

3. Earlier this year, she began releasing the videos, at first dealing with the trope of the Damsel in Distress.

4. The video was not well liked, but for good reasons.

Her arguments were overarching and basic, and because she was presenting only a fraction of her full argument, it came off as one-note. Some people reserved their judgement until she completed the series, but most pointed out some of the issues in Sarkeesian’s argument, saying she was looking for examples to fit her argument, and not the other way around.

5. Some people have even said that Sarkeesian is hurting, rather than helping, women in the gaming community and the push for better representations of women in games. I disagree, and here’s why:

That’s an actual screen grab some just some of the results for reactions to Sarkeesian’s videos. Men and women across Youtube are putting in their two cents about Sarkeesian’s argument and building on it whether they agree with her or not. People are writing blog posts about it, going on message boards, discussing these videos and the points they are trying to make. Yes, some of them, maybe a sizable amount of them, are people angry with Sarkeesian, insulting her and not really dealing with her argument. A lot of them, though, are actually thinking about and working with it: poking holes in her arguments, offering counter-arguments, commenting on others discussions of it to get a dialogue going. Even though Sarkeesian doesn’t read these arguments, lots of other people are.

6. That being said, discussions on the Internet haven’t always been productive.

When I was a wee-gamer, we didn’t really have discussions about women in videogames. You simply didn’t talk about it - it was how it was. In the last few years, when the topic has been brought up, hostilities would flare up. Thanks to Sarkeesian, the arguments are out there, and now people are discussing the issues within the gaming community and the nerd community as a whole, even if the majority of people disagree with Sarkeesian. It also brought the discussion to the bigger public arena because of the publicity she got from her Kickstarter.

7. Some people have said Sarkeesian is “evil.” Well I believe that she is a “necessary evil.”

Evil is sort of a strong word, but it serves my point. I don’t always agree with her arguments, and I don’t think the format she’s using is optimal for proving her point. I agree with some of her naysayers that she isn’t the best voice for this particular subject, but she’s the voice we got, and it gives us a soap box to stand on. By having her putting out her own arguments, we, the gamers, can add on, elaborate, clarify, debunk, and work to have a better dialogue about the real issues. Yes, it’s attracting people who just want to yell and scream and troll, but it’s also attracting people who want to set the record straight, who want to get their opinions out there, who want to make things better. So, for the damage she’s doing, I think its inspiring a lot of good.

(The author would like to remind you that this is just one, personal opinion and that if you disagree, that’s awesome! Please, feel free to disagree and explain your point of view. The only way to get a good discussion going is to actually have people discussing and disagreeing.)

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