It's worth pointing out that Rhianna Pratchett penned the story to the new Tomb Raider game. That game had months of extremely bad press that will almost surely hurt sales and reviews because the media was certain it was created by a cabal of sexist, sadist pigs.
For all the condemnation of workplace abuse going on, sometimes the media can be just as guilty of perpetuating negative stereotypes. "A violent Tomb Raider story couldn't have been created by a woman," but it turns out it was. The same woman who started the #1reasontobe tweets that everyone in the media is gushing about.
A cynic could even say that she was more motivated to create this for positive publicity because the backlash against her game has been so heated. Jezebel tore her game down the worst. That's irony.
"The Rapey Lara Croft Reboot Is a Fucked-Up Freudian Field Day" http://jezebel.com/5918222/the-rapey-lara-croft-reboot-is-a-fucked+up-freudian-field-day
"Freud would have a fucking field day with this. First, including rape in Lara Croft's backstory is an expression of the abject clueless dudery of a dismaying number of mainstream video games. Do the people behind Tomb Raider think that the way to get men to care more about a female character cover her up and then threaten the integrity of her vagina? "
"A Freudian Field Day," as in, deep down whoever created this must be barely able to contain their sadism and sexism, so it's spilling out into their creative work. But yeah, not the case, it was a story from Rhianna Pratchett.
A lot of the gaming journalists who are eagerly promoting these tweets in stories should realize that they might have more to learn than they originally thought. Hopefully her new game won't bomb at retail because of all the negative press and overreaction from people in the media who thought they were protecting something.
Condemning workplace abuse is fantastic, and I hope that one day no one has to be harassed at work. But it doesn't mean that every article the gaming media has ever written on gender issues has been part of a noble crusade, because many of them, if not most, have been extremely misguided. So be careful not to trip over your shoelaces during your victory lap.
A week ago I had an interesting conversation about gender roles, and various gender theories in the comments of the God of War: Ascension article, with the creator talking about cutting back on violence against women in the game. I argued that this was another indicator that our society views males as the more disposable of the two genders, and that collectively we care much more about demonizing and preventing violence against women. (For more on male disposability see this video.)
I argued that these theories about male disposability highlight areas of our gender social constructions that feminism completely fails to address with the "patriarchy" model. I seem to find clear evidence of social pressure to put female life above male life in terms of value, and that this can't logically fit with a social construct that is supposedly focused purely on promoting male self-interest.
What really shocked me though was the commentary from the two hosts in the video.
Male Host: "You think you might do the right thing when the time comes, but you don't really know, right? [...] It was a moment of emergency, and they all not only did the right thing, the heroic thing, but it was also quick thinking."
Female Host: "I can't imagine the heartbreak, and the kind of confused mixed feelings that these girls must be dealing with. I'm sure that they're dealing with, obviously, disproportionate amounts of guilt - there's absolutely nothing to feel guilty about - I think that, just like you said, these were heroic actions that really proved how much they loved their significant others."
Male Host: "It's not just a matter of how much you love them either, it's just the decent thing to do."
I just had to point that out, because I couldn't believe how blatant it was. Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying they did the wrong thing in any way, or diminishing what they did. Personally, I would aspire to be strong enough to make that kind of courageous sacrifice when the time really came. (But keep in mind, that anyone claiming to genuinely promote true gender equality would have to find some of this deeply troubling)
What I am saying though, is that our whole society socializes males to accept that their life is worth less than a female's, and that this flies in the face of any attempt to try and paint modern western society as deeply patriarchal. Clearly this isn't gender equality either, because both of the hosts (both aggressively pro-feminist on past shows), went out of their way to reinforce gender stereotypes promoting male sacrifice. They glorified the event. They didn't even acknowledge the humanity of the male the entire time. They spent more time talking about how the girlfriends would have a hard time moving on because of the guilt - but made no mention of the man who lost his life and what he's lost out on, or his parents' hardship in losing a son. They didn't seem to mind that our gender roles in society directly influenced 33% of the fatalities in this one shooting. And while they did praise them several times for their heroism, they ended by just calling it "the decent thing to do." Die, it's just the decent thing to do. To not die would just be rude.
This is the kind of stuff I talk about when I say that feminism is flagrantly wrong. Not only have they exaggerated the modern influence of any remnants of a patriarchy, but there's plenty of evidence that suggests that in reality, our society elevates women and children above all else (the complete opposite of their theory). The right to live in an emergency. Modern day, 2012.
I like that he goes right to the endgame. What is the point of her, and feminism's critique? It's informal censorship, or creating an environment of self-censorship. Until feminist critics specifically outline what their end goal is (you'll notice if you pay attention, they never, ever do) we have to assume it's censorship.
Next, he goes right at feminism which is the right call. I don't see the point in spending time on sex-positive feminists though. It's interesting, but it's not really clear to me from watching the video what they even stand for, and why they feel the need to cling to the feminism name at all. It seems like they're past that (is someone really going to call themselves a sex-positive feminist? Why not just say you're ... normal? Pro-equality for everyone, and not a fundamentalist?). The key point to take away from that whole section is that Anita's position is conservative, and really fully parallels the agenda of other conservative, fundamentalist critics of video games. It's also good to just get on record again that she doesn't come close to representing all women.
The whole section about her comments on youtube, I didn't really care for. It's hard for me to get worked up about her comments, or banning comments. I just don't care. I'll have to watch it again, because he tries to link it into a pattern that shows that she manipulated the whole controversy for funding. That's an interesting angle, but I don't know if he really covers it with enough depth.
Overall, good video. Glad I watched it, and I still think it contributes to the debate.
This is part 1 of a detailed analysis and critique of her entire career. It was just posted yesterday, and it's also quite high quality. Amazing how you can put together high quality videos for less than $6,000 (or $150,000).
Anyway, check it out. I subscribed because I'm definitely interested in seeing the rest of this series.
Imeruat's new album, Black Ocean, was released on April 12th in Japan. In many ways video game fans will feel right at home with the album, which was composed by Masashi Hamauzu (Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Final Fantasy X), and features Mitsuto Suzuki (The 3rd Birthday, Final Fantasy XIII-2) and Mina Sakai (Final Fantasy XIII). However, it also represents a significant departure for Hamauzu that fans may not understand without a full appreciation of what he's trying to accomplish with this album.
The Ainu are an ethnic minority in Japan, residing primarily in Hokkaido. There are an estimated 25,000 Ainu left. The Ainu language is endangered, with an estimated 15 to 100 speakers of the language left alive today.
"Traditional Ainu culture was quite different from Japanese culture. Never shaving after a certain age, the men had full beards and moustaches. Men and women alike cut their hair level with the shoulders at the sides of the head, trimmed semicircularly behind. The women tattooed their mouths, and sometimes the forearms. The mouth tattoos were started at a young age with a small spot on the upper lip, gradually increasing with size. The soot deposited on a pot hung over a fire of birch bark was used for color. Their traditional dress was a robe spun from the inner bark of the elm tree, called attusi or attush. Various styles of were made, and consisted generally of a simple short robe with straight sleeves, which was folded around the body, and tied with a band about the waist. The sleeves ended at the wrist or forearm and the length generally was to the calves. Women also wore an undergarment of Japanese cloth." (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ainu_people)
Group of Ainu People, 1902 (Wikipedia)
Ainu have faced discrimination in Japan and many have sought to hide their Ainu ancestry so they can more fully blend in with Japanese society. However, a new wave of Ainu awareness and acceptance has begun to take shape. Young Ainu have begun to express more pride in their cultural traditions in an attempt to preserve their culture, language, and to express themselves through their native art. One such group is the Ainu Rebels, featuring Mina Sakai.
Ainu's New Identity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dgexEvTEjs
The Ainu Rebels are a music group that mixes traditional Ainu instruments and vocals with contemporary styles such as hip-hop and electronica. Masashi Hamauzu became involved a bit later, composing this song for the group, which was arranged by Ryo Yamazaki (Final Fantasy XIII, Kingdom Hearts, Chrono Cross), with some help from Hamauzu's wife, Matsue Hamauzu (Vocals on Dust to Dust - Final Fantasy XIII).
Mina Sakai was featured heavily in the Final Fantasy XIII OST as well, with unique and memorable vocals featured in tracks: Battle Results, The Gapra Whitewood, Choose to Fight, and Sulyya Springs. In addition, Mina was featured in the track Taejin's Tower, playing the traditional Ainu mouth harp.
Choose to Fight (Final Fantasy XIII)
The colloboration between Hamauzu and Mina continues in their new band, Imeruat. Their debut album, Black Ocean, is again, a mix of contemporary electronica, traditional Ainu instruments, Hamauzu's focus on classical western piano compositions, and Japanese, English and Ainu vocals.
01 - Black Ocean
02 - Cirotto
03 - Leave Me Alone
04 - Giant
05 - Haru no Kasumi
06 - Left
07 - 6Muk
08 - Morning Plate
09 - Imeruat
10 - Little Me
11 - Battaki
12 - Yaysama
13 - Springs
The end result is a breath of fresh of air, and an extremely unique album. Some tracks really fall flat, like Morning Plate and Leave Me Alone. In contrast, Giant is a powerhouse composition that will remind you of Hamauzu's masterful piano work on Final Fantasy XIII. Black Ocean, Left, Springs and Imeruat are more electronics focused, modern tracks reminiscent of some of Hamauzu's electronic work on Final Fantasy XIII. Cirotto, Haru no Kasumi, and Yaysama are quiet, minimalist tracks you might hear in a small bar or coffee shop. And 6Muk and Battaki feature strong, prominent Ainu vocals reminiscent of some American Indian vocal rhythms.
Fascinating album, and I can't wait to hear more from this group, and Hamauzu.