"The focus of bystander intervention programs is to provide the majority of men who are uncomfortable with these men's behavior with the permission and skills to confront them. Bystander interventions move beyond empathy and individual change to make men responsible for changing the larger environment of how men relate to each other and to women. This can change the peer culture that fosters and tolerates men's violence." Reference
Now of course, this positive feminist spin on the trope isn't any more "right" than Ms. Sarkeesian's view. They are simply different perspectives, which brings me to the question, "is Feminist Frequency and the Tropes vs Women in Gaming relevant?
" Perhaps surprisingly, my answer is yes. Ms. Sarkeesian seems to lack a knowledge of the broader spectrum of games and the gaming industry, and her form of feminism is even debatable within today's much more diverse forms of feminism, however, gaming is massive and it's nearly impossible for anyone to be familiar with all of gaming, and feminism is constantly changing with so many varying philosophies, that it would be very difficult to represent them all (particularly as there are so many opposing philosophies). What she has succeeded in doing is creating intelligent conversation and debate in the gamer community and industry by picking examples from gaming that represent a fairly "feminism 101" academic liberal feminism based on patriarchal theory, rather than some of the more diverse forms of feminism. The very fact that her views are quite narrow and one-sided have been a catalyst for debate and discussion, and with her Degree in Communications, she may even be aware that bias and opinion evokes controversy more so than a dry analysis filled with facts and statistics that are more difficult to debate than opinion. I just hope that developers are listening to all the voices out there and are realizing that no one perspective is right or wrong, rather that gaming simply needs more variety and should be more inclusive. I also hope that the mainstream press starts to see these other voices. Unfortunately, the mainstream press has not focused at all on what Ms. Sarkeesian has to say regarding video games, but instead is entirely focused on the harassment that she highlights with her many blogs that cherry pick the vile, sexist comments, while she never addresses and actively hides the more intelligent, well informed, reasonable comments. Unfortunately her mainstream fame is based more on her status as a victim rather than the validity of her work, and the mainstream press uses this to perpetuate an image that games and gaming are not welcoming to all women, which is simply untrue.
The next topic that Ms. Sarkeesian is to tackle in her Tropes Vs Women in Gaming series is the "fighting f*cktoy" - which should be interesting because of her previously expressed dislike for sex positive feminism, her dislike of Bayonetta (who some feminists see as a positive figure) and specifically her dislike of the "slutwalk
" concept. We'll probably have to wait several months... but once again, I'm sure her views will be a catalyst for interesting conversation! I have to say on a personal note that I always considered myself a feminist before Ms. Sarkeesian gained fame and with her came the "all women are victims" and "gaming is sexist" messages. This upset me greatly and was contrary to my own beliefs and experiences, but it did encourage me to look at feminism and what it has become since my own youth many years ago. The diversity of philosophies is confusing and maddening, but it's also heartening for me to see things like intersectional feminism, the rise of "Gender Studies" rather than "Women's Studies", gay marriage being legalized, and more recently a third gender
being officially recognized in Countries such as Germany. I hope that eventually society may look back at gaming not as the sexist oppression of women, but rather as being ahead of it's time by having gender swappable characters, by having simple stories that aren't inherently male or female, by even having a "gender slider" in games like Saint's Row. Since the earliest games we've all seen that message... the one that reads:
"your choice of gender will not affect gameplay".
Wouldn't it indeed be a wonderful world if every child was born with that message. Maybe gaming truly is just ahead of it's time and possibly this is the better social lesson to be learned from video games... because sometimes a story, is just a story.
(and as reference for anyone interested... this is an earlier blog regarding my hopes for her Damsel in Distress series before it premiered: Damsel in Distress....
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MagicalFlyingNaziLoliChan 1 I Dont Come Here Anymore 1 Captain of the Zanarkand Abes 1