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Re: 25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Male

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Feminist Frequency has a new video up, so let's break it down and see if any of this is fair criticism and commentary.  One interesting fact about this video is that it has several gaming journalists reading their script instead of Anita this time, including 3 from IGN that I recognized, one from Polygon, the retired Adam Sessler, and Tim Schafer.

I'm skeptical that these benefits they are going to list are actually "invisible," so let's see how it goes.  If they were actually invisible, it would be pretty tough to point them out.  

1) "I can choose to remain completely oblivious or indifferent to the harassment that many women face in gaming."

I don't know if this is really a gender-based privilege at all, considering that anyone really has the ability to be indifferent about people they don't know.  It's basically implying that men have no empathy for people that get harassed, and that women will automatically have more empathy.  It's really not a strong point that I would have placed as my #1 at the top of the list.  For example, anybody, regardless of their gender, that is not into gaming at all will likely be completely indifferent to this point.  Anyone that primarily games on their tablets or phones, or plays offline games, or doesn't spend most of their time reading gaming websites is also indifferent to it.  Anyone that doesn't go to conventions (the overwhelming majority of all gamers do not go) are indifferent to what goes on there.  

Then even if you take the reverse perspective here and describe what it's like to be a male gamer today, you're not exactly given a pass to be indifferent to everything.  All you have to look at is gamergate to see that people get harassed, banned from twitter or gaming websites, doxxed, or even threatened in real life if they don't have the right opinion.  If you're a male gaming journalist, you're not allowed to be indifferent, you're heavily pressured to say the right thing.  And the press is what creates the narrative for the hardcore gaming community's day to day discussion.  So I really don't think this point is valid, for several different reasons.

2) "I am never told that video games and the surrounding culture is not intended for me because I'm male."

I would have maybe had some sympathy for this point if it was 1987.  But it's 2014, and in something I like to refer to as "reality" - even my 65 real old aunts enjoy gaming on their phone, and asked me about what to get this thanksgiving.  Even my 20 year old sorority girl coworkers enjoy playing candy crush and fighting for high scores with their friends.  If you include all forms of gaming out there, including every type of casual game, women make up over 50% of gamers today.  So this point really seems like a relic that doesn't apply in any meaningful way.  Any kids being raised today are being raised by parents that played games growing up.

3) "I can publicly post my username, gamertag, or contact information online without having to fear being stalked or sexually harassed because of my gender."

This is a valid point.  Harassment is not okay, it's not condoned by the gaming community collectively, it's moderated everywhere, and at conventions, and within the legal system.  I have no problem condemning harassment.  

Now watch as they basically repeat this same point to pad the list.

4) "I will never be asked to prove my gaming cred simply because of my gender."

This one, I don't have any sympathy for.  Proving your gamer cred is part of how gamers socialize with everyone.  Jonathan Holmes can post an article saying that a lightsaber crossguard was in No More Heroes first, and within minutes someone points out detailed Star Wars expanded Universe material using it first.  That is what enthusiastic hobbyists do.  That's literally almost all that they do, and they do it to everyone.  When you get to know a new gamer, you are asking what they like to play, how much they know about games, and if you play any kind of competitive game, of course you are assessing how good they are.

I just don't see how this one matters, and it's never going to go away.

5) "If I enthusiastically express my fondness for videogames, no one will automatically assume I'm faking my interest just to get attention from other gamers."

It's not "automatic."  People trying to assess someone's sincerity and honesty is never going to go away.  When there's a heavy monetary incentive involved in talking about games and gaining publicity, people should be skeptical.

I know it's the new taboo thing to say there is no such thing as a fake gamer girl.  But the politically incorrect reality is that it is true sometimes.  I only say that because I literally watched a friend of ours do it on purpose.  One of my best friends is a hardcore gamer, and she's a girl.  If we're out at the bar or meeting new people, and it comes up that she plays games, it's an automatic point of connection and point of mutual interest for most of the guys she would be talking to.  They find that attractive, and feel like it's easier to talk to her about things they like.  So this other girl would watch this all the time at the bars, and started mentioning how she's all about NES games and was trying to work it in to flirt with guys.  She never was into video games at all, and actually kind of talked shit on us both for liking them at various points.  So yes, she was doing that for attention because a lot of guys like gaming, and want to share that with their significant other.

Is that a majority of women?  No.  She's literally the only person in my life I've met who did that, but it did happen.  Do I even think it's a bad thing?  No.  She's literally trying to be social and flirt with guys on points they are interested in, so I think it's probably the least offensive thing out there.  However, would I want to go to this girl for the latest news on gaming, or opinions on gaming?  No.  The only time I can see this being problematic is if someone without any interest in games tries to use gaming for publicity, and ends up giving out bad information.  If you're not an expert on games, just say that up front, and no one is going to care.  Gamers deal with people every day who aren't experts on games - it's called their friends and family.  Just don't be dishonest about it.

6) "I can look at practically any gaming website, show, or magazine, and see the voices of people of my own gender widely represented."

So, they're saying the gaming media is almost entirely made up of white men?  This is a fact, so I agree.  

7) "When I go to a gaming event or convention, I can be relatively certain that I won't be harassed, groped, or, catcalled, or propositioned by total strangers."

Same as point #3.

8) "I will never be asked, or expected to speak for all other gamers who share my gender."

This just simply isn't true.  This whole video is basically speaking for all men.  Generalizing both genders happens literally all the time.  Most of feminist critique in gaming is actually the most guilty of presuming to speak for all women of their own accord, without anyone asking them.  And they're not afraid to generalize all men either.  This point is a complete fail.

9) "I can be sure that my gaming performance - good or bad - won't be attributed to, or reflect on my gender as a whole."

This is the same as point #8.  People generalize the genders all the time.  If there are lots of good male gamers, that is what is used to generalize the gender as a whole.  If there are trolls online that harass people, that is used to generalize the gender as a whole.  People generalize the gender as a whole literally all the time, for all kinds of things, including gaming performance, and many other more important things.  

This isn't going away, and it happens to everyone.

10) "My gaming ability will never be called into question based on unrelated, natural, biological functions."

I literally don't know what this means.  What biological functions are they talking about?  

11) "I can be relatively sure my thoughts on videogames, won't be dismissed or attacked based solely on my tone of voice, even if I speak in an aggressive, obnoxious, crude, or flippant manner."

This is 100%, flat out false.  See gamergate.  See Jim Sterling 6 years ago.  See Tim Robbins on Kotaku.

12) "I can openly say that my favorite games are casual, odd, artistic, or cute, without fear that my opinions will reinforce a stereotype that women are not real gamers."

It's not a stereotype that women, statistically prefer more casual games.  They are the majority of mobile and facebook gamers, and they have preferences in genre as well.  There are a lot of women who like more hardcore games too, but it's not the majority of women.  It's one of those stereotypes that is based in fact.

Still though, it's never a good idea to generalize anyone, and I don't ever do that.  Everyone's a unique person who has their own taste in things.  If your biggest worry is "reinforcing a stereotype," I don't know if it's a big problem.  What that is basically saying is that you are worried that your taste in gaming is the same as the majority of female gamers.  Why are you worried?  How about just be yourself and enjoy your casual, artisitc and cute games.  

Does everyone enjoy casual, artistic, and cute games?  No.  Those people who don't like those kinds of games have a different opinion on what they like.  They want to listen to the opinions of people that are like the same kind of media they're into.  I don't see how this is a problem honestly.

13) "When purchasing most major videogames in a store, chances are I will not be asked if, or assumed to be buying it for a wife, daughter, or girlfriend."

This is the same as point #12.  One time after work I went to wal-mart, and someone asked me if I knew where a product was.  I realized that I had on a polo shirt that was blue, and they thought that maybe I worked there.  I politely told them that I didn't work there, and went on with the rest of my day.

People in retail trying to sell you a product are not the bane of your existence.  Honestly, I will just straight up call this one first world problems.  How about instead focus on something important, like the way black people are treated in stores sometimes, as threatening suspects of shoplifting even after they buy the product.  

Not to mention, let's just think for a minute about the proposition raised here.  They are claiming that we will not be asked if we're buying it for a wife, daughter or girlfriend.  Really now?  Well, what about if you go buy imagine babies at Gamestop?  What about if you go buy Barbie's Horse Riding Adventure?  People at retail making basic assumptions is just the epitomy of a first world problem.  Shop on Amazon then like I do.  I hate going to Gamestop because they harass everyone about upselling and get up in your face about it, every single time.  That's their job.  That's how they're trained.

14) "The vast majority of game studios, past and present, have been led and populated by people of my own gender, and as such, most of their products have been specifically designed to cater to my demographic."

That is true, but you have to ask yourself why?  Probably because they are businesses and they are catering to the demographic that was interested in paying for the content, developing it, and reading about it for decades.  As that changes, you see the games changing too.  It's really a non-issue in my opinion.  EA and Microsoft aren't plotting to ignore women.  They want to sell units to anyone who will show up with money.  They are corporations.  They are legally required to do just that.  Film is definitely doing that now, and you can look at the demographics of theater turnout to see why.

15) "I can walk into any gaming store and see images of my gender widely represented as powerful heroes, dastardly villains, and non-playable characters alike."

I can find images of both.  It's not that hard.  Hunger Games is in the theaters too.  Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Portal, and on and on.  It's definitely there, in major AAA series.  It's not non-existant, no matter how much they seem to want it to be.  

This really seems like a case of a privileged class ignoring reality.  Yes, I am calling white women a privileged class in this case.  I imagine that most other minority groups would be ecstatic with the kind of representation that women get in gaming, in terms of the quality of the characters, the quality of the series, and the frequency that they're included.  I can count how many Arab characters there are worth mentioning in gaming on one hand.  They even include NPCs on this point, which tips the list absurdly in favor in women.  

Could there be more?  Sure.  Is it even a priority at this point worth mentioning, when you consider how little representation other minorities get?  Honestly, I can't say it is.  I just can't.  There's already quite a bit of attention on this issue, and quite a bit of major games meeting this need already.  Compare the outrage we saw about AC Unity not having a woman and compare it to the outrage we saw at AC Unity not having any Arabs.  

There's no legal mandate at this point for what artists are supposed to create.  There is no quota.  They seem to be doing okay if you ask me.

16) "I will almost always have the option to play a character of my gender, as most protagonists or heroes will be male by default."

Hollywood and gaming have a bad habit of using the same style of character repeatedly.  Agreed.  

In this case though, there are alternatives out there.  If people want to buy those and make them multi-million dollar series, you'll absolutely see more.

17) "I do not have to carefully navigate my engagement with online communities or gaming spaces in order to avoid or mitigate the possibility of being harassed because of my gender."

Same as point #3.

18) "I probably never think about hiding my real life gender online, username, my avatar choice, or about not using voice chat for fear of harassment for my being male."

Same as point #3.

19) "When I enter an online game, I can be relatively sure I won't be attacked or harassed, if and when my real life gender is made public."

Same as point #3.

20) "If I am trash talked or verbally berated while playing online, it will not be because I am male - nor will my gender be invoked as an insult."

Same as point #3.

21) "While playing online about people I don't know, I won't be interrogated about the size and shape of my real life body parts, nor will I pressured to share intimate details about my sex life for the pleasure of other players."

Same as point #3.

22) "Complete strangers generally do not send me unsolicited images of their genetalia or demand to see me naked on the basis of being a male gamer."

Same as point #3.

23) "In multi-player games, I can be pretty sure the conversations between other players will not focus on speculation about my attractiveness or sexual availability in real life."

Same as point #3.

24) "If I choose to point out sexism in gaming, my observations will not be seen as self-serving, and will therefore be seen as more credible and worthy of respect than my female counterparts, even if they are saying the exact same thing."

I just don't agree, at all.  People are critical of ideas, not their gender.  The guy writing this video literally has his own joke hashtag devoted to critizing him.  #FullMcIntosh.  You would think that might make him pause before regurgitating this point.

If anything, white men are pretty routinely demonized in these types of conversations and seem to have the opinions that are not being allowed on this topic.  As a class, I see them generalized the most.  For example, I am not a white man.  Just stating that adds validity to my blog.  That shows you the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in at the moment.

As far as whether or not your points are worthy of respect, I'm looking for two things.  1) logic, 2) evidence.  

25) "Because this video was created by a straight white male, this checklist will likely be taken more seriously than if it had been written by virtually any female gamer."

This simply isn't true.  Look at how well people responded to Arthur Gies rating down Bayonetta 2 at Polygon.  Not to mention, Jonathan McIntosh writes ALL their videos.  So why is he saying that this is going to be more well received than other videos he's written?  If he thinks that's true, he could open up the comments on youtube and the ratings and we could objectively see instead of empty theory crafting.

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Ending) "In order to make change, first we need to acknowledge the problem, and then we must take responsibility for it as a community, so we can actively work together with people of all genders to dismantle the parts of gaming culture that perpetuate these imbalances."

This is where they jump the shark completely.  We've established one major problem on this list that I agree with.  Women are often times harassed in unique ways during online games, or at conventions.  Fair enough, I don't disagree.  My girlfriend still plays online all the time, but she gets weird comments sometimes.  If the goal here is to improve moderation of genuine harassment, I'm fully supportive.

What this video conveniently leaves out though is a description of what the parts of gaming culture are that they intend to dismantle?  What are the parts that perpetuate harassment?  If they're pointing to their previous videos that critique video game content, and are making the leap to saying that fictional content is turning people into harassers, she is leaving the field of science.  That's where you put your sign post in the ground and stop and note the departure from evidence, from objective fact, from every scientific consensus we know of.  That's where we note the rise in gaming happening at the same time that violent crime falls.  That's where we note the rise in gaming at the same time that women's rights and economic standing keep improving.  That's where we note the rise in gaming at the same time that gay rights have advanced with historic speed.  

There is no proof that gaming content perpetuates any of these imbalances.  Zero. Notice that Sommers in this video cites "researchers at UCLA," and shows a peer reviewed study.  She cites another Texas A&M study showing once again, for the 1,000th time that violence and gaming are not linked in any kind of concrete way.  She makes a simple claim, and then demonstrates the evidence for it in a reasoned way.  In fact crime rates and the rise of gaming have an almost directly inverse relationship.  Notice that she's a professor with a PhD in the field, with decades of experience in peer reviewing research, and lecturing on this topic.

Compare how she handles discussion of evidence to the author of this video.  Compare how many times she has been in debates and discussions with people challenging her ideas compared to how many debates McIntosh and Sarkesian have allowed.  Just look on youtube for yourself.

"Amazing" how those peer reviewed scientists arriving at a decades-long support of the claim that media doesn't directly correlate to violence in real life are in "denial."  Luckily the press has decided to ignore scientists and side with a feminist on youtube trying to rally us all to "dismantle gaming" in vague, unspecific terms.

Harassment in real life is not related to gaming content according to science.

They are entirely separate things.  If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, then you need to ask for a whole lot of proof before you turn your mind off and agree to let 25 people in a rapid-fire video think for you.  

This parallels the saga of Jack Thompson extremely closely.  Now look back up at what they claim is point #24.  It's literally almost the exact opposite of what they claim when you look at Thompson vs. Sarkeesian.  Thompson said this decades ago, and went to court over it and the press had a field day with this guy.  Sarkeesian says it on youtube and now multiple members of the press are literally in their video!  Does that tell you that when women raise points like this, it's automatically seen as LESS credible?  Again, what is this based on?  Literally nothing.  Just pulled out of thin air to fit a predetermined narrative.

So we've analyzed the latest moral outrage video objectively and fairly, and where does that leave us?  The exact same place we started.  Everyone is against harassment already.  Even gamergate has anti-harassment teams, and harassment in online gaming certainly pre-dates gamergate so that can't be the cause.

What specifically needs to be dismantled and why?  What is the evidence supporting your claim?  Still waiting ...

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About Shintaone of us since 1:53 AM on 02.15.2010