Do Gamers Need Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminism? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios


Does the recent
“GTA V” controversy prove that we need Anita
Sarkeesian’s feminism? Actually, yeah, but probably
not for the reasons you think. [THEME MUSIC] Unless you were living
under a rock last week, you probably noticed that
“GTA V” was released. Spoiler alert– it grossed close
to a billion dollars in a day. And as expected, reviews
were extremely positive. Like most critics, GameSpot
editor Carolyn Petit enjoyed the game immensely. But personally, she
found certain elements of the game profoundly
misogynistic. Perhaps a fair criticism. How do you feel about
making this a three-way? And some players
loved her review so much that they had
this say– “What does IT know about gaming?” and
“American Females are the worst, brainwashed
sheep whoring out to culture smellier than
the culture before it.” There’s even a petition
to get her fired– a surprising response,
given that she gave the game a 9 out of 10. And such has become
the fate of women who’ve run afoul of
the “gamer” community. Last year, Canadian blogger
and critic Anita Sarkeesian started a Kickstarter project
for her YouTube channel, “Feminist Frequency.” Her thesis was simple–
video games often relied on sexist tropes for
their female characters, such as the damsel in distress. Aah! Help! OK, sure, maybe it’s
true, maybe it’s not. But, you know, freedom
of speech and all that. And yet what was the response? Every aspect of her social life
was consumed by just the worst harassment. People emailed her photos of
video game character sexually assaulting her. Reddit threads were created
accusing her of things like wasting Kickstarter money. Someone even created a game
where you could beat her up. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems
like a bit of an overreaction, right? She was making YouTube videos,
not committing war crimes. But clearly, Anita and
Carolyn struck a vein, and the beating would not stop. And amidst all the
controversy, we’re left with a single
question– why did this happen in the first place? In the ’70s, Polish social
psychologist Henri Tajfel coined the term
“in-group favoritism,” meaning we tend to favor people
who we believe to be part of our group, because those
groups give us self-esteem and identity. And what constitutes those
groups can be pretty loose. Tajfel found that grouping
people based on a coin toss was enough for in-group
favoritism to arise. But what happens when
someone from the outside comes along and tells
you that something’s wrong with you and your group? What would you do? You’d stand up and
defend your tribe. Tajfel had a term for
that impulse, too. It’s called “outgroup
derogation.” And it means that you perceive
those outside your group as a threat. And that’s exactly what Carolyn
and Anita are– a threat. Why? Because they’re women. And to a certain
virulent portion of the gaming population,
women are never real gamers. They’re always
outside interlopers, and they need to be shut down. As one Redditor put
it– hold on one second, let me put on my Reddit
voice– “It would be nice if women/feminists for once
[BLEEP]-ed off and created their own thing rather than
moving into a men’s space and demanding things
change to suit them.” And remember, the “men’s space”
is the entirety of games. These people are working
under the pretense that they’re defending the
true in-group of gamers. But the facts don’t support
this at all, not even a little. 45% of all gamers are women. That’s right, nearly half. And 46% of the most frequent
game purchasers are female. In fact, there’s a
greater percentage of female gamers
over the age of 18 than there are male
teenage gamers. And the 38% of all
Xbox users are women. Links to the sources
for these stats are down in the description. So clearly, women are not on the
“outside” of the gamer circle. They are very much
on the inside. And yet, a subset is
attacking these women to draw a false line
around who can and can’t wear the “gamer badge.” Hmm, this reminds me something. And I say segregation
now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever. Not to be sensationalist,
but if we look at history, the Anita Sarkeesian
situation isn’t that unique. In fact, it might be
a sign that things are about to change
for women in games. According to sociologist
Neil Smelser, all social and
political movements need something called
an “initiating event.” There has to be a spark,
something to push the issue out into the forefront. And many times, that initiating
event is marked to a person. Rosa Parks became the
symbol of discrimination during the Civil Rights era. San Francisco city
councilor Harvey Milk helped set the gay rights
movement on its course. Rachel Carson’s
book “Silent Spring” sparked a generation’s
environmental consciousness. And Gloria Steinem’s
investigation as a Playboy bunny
became required reading for second-wave feminists. In all of these
cases, these folks weren’t the first people
to highlight or experience real injustice. But what Parks, Milk, Steinem,
and now Sarkeesian did was humanize something very
big and made it very small. They gave it a clear
voice, a message, and most of all, a face. Injustice is difficult to
consider in the abstract. It’s just too big. Before “Feminist Frequency,”
when we talked about sexism in games or in the
gaming community, it was difficult to collectively
identify who was being harmed. But when Anita
Sarkeesian publishes a laundry list of
horrible things sent her on Twitter,
suddenly, we understand what the problem is
and who is actually suffering. That’s why “The New York Times,”
“New Statesman,” and “TED” all took notice when
Sarkeesian became a target. The issue of sexism
in games finally had someone– not an
avatar– as its spokesperson. And that’s all great
social movements need, attention from the
outside world and a voice to help them
humanize the problem. In the Civil Rights
movement, the moment that people from
around the world could watch peaceful protesters
being sprayed with hoses or attacked by
dogs was the moment when the tide started to turn. Obviously, Civil Rights
is a tad more important than video games. But you don’t have to
agree with Anita’s ideas or Carolyn’s review to know
what’s happening to them is wrong. And now people do. A counter-petition was
started in support of Carolyn, and because of the
controversy, millions of people have watched Anita’s videos. Now, this should be obvious, but
Carolyn and Anita are gamers. And they’re also women,
just like 45% of all gamers. So do video games need
Anita Sarkeesian’s feminism? Yeah, because all
gamers should be free to talk about games
without threat, not just some vocal minority’s
imaginary definition of who is or isn’t a gamer. So do video games need feminism? Hash it out in the comments. And if you like what you
saw, please subscribe. I’ll see you next week. Last week, we talked about
“League of Legends” and trolls. Let’s see what you have to say. Mike G. points out that it’s not
the positive reinforcement that incentivizes people
to behave better, but it’s actually the
investment that you make in your character that
prevents you from creating fake smurf accounts. I think that’s a great point. It is part of a
virtuous cycle, though, where you put investment
into a character and then that’s rewarded
by the good behavior, so you get more, so you put
more investment into it. So I think that
the good behavior is a critical piece of why that
character is so valuable to you in the first place. tehkogga and others have
pointed out the many, many ways in which the Tribunal doesn’t
work the way it’s supposed to. I think that that’s
true, but you can say it’s the same thing
about the criminal justice system, for example. It’s obviously a
work in progress. We just thought it was
really cool to highlight a game maker that was
doing something different. EtherRush points out that it’s
not trolling that’s the issue, it’s anonymity. Yeah, I think that that’s true,
but anonymity expresses itself depending on where it is. So in a place like
League of Legends, where anonymity is a problem,
but they deal with it in a certain way, versus
4chan, where they don’t really deal with it all, you get
very, very different outcomes. So I think the anonymity is a
reality of the modern internet. But whether or not people
behave badly or well is really up to the people
who create those systems in the first place. HartCraftLTD points
us to “Max Payne,” where trolls are punished by
being placed with other trolls. That sounds amazing, or
terrible, or amazing. I don’t know. To mayorse, thank you so
much for the kind words. And you’re right, you should all
pause it for the first frame, because I look ridiculous. And to Ken Cruz, I
approve this comment. [THEME MUSIC]

100 thoughts on “Do Gamers Need Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminism? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios

  1. Anita doesn't even play games, and only looks at the parts she doesn't like. She lives in her own liberal bubble, only seeing her own opinions being bolstered by liberal recommendations, which isn't entirely her fault. If you haven't played the game, do NOT attempt to judge or talk about it.

  2. Anita is not a threat she's a meme , she is trying to turn gaming into a s*** show. Feminists love the double standard. Also female gamers don't make up a part big gaming of the popular game genres. Most females who at least play games mainly play stuff like candy crush , this means that developers have to make games which are relevant to their demographic (men)

  3. Video games dont need ideology they need the developers have the freedom to make the games they want to make without anyone dictating to them what they can make. If all these Social Justice Warriors actually spent time making the games themselves that they have been crying about instead of complaining and harrassing other game developers they would already have them.

  4. People don't like her because shes wrong and never played the video games that shes attacking, also this guy also has the same problem. He called a pokemon a racist representation of black people. These people are a joke.

  5. Nobody hates her because she is a woman. We hate her opinions because she tries to destroy the variety of games and made them look all alike. Video games need sexualised women characters as they need non sexualized women characters. We don't like limitations to our favorite entertainment.

  6. this videos sucks… putting the female gender under a false sence of male harrasment… dude there is the resident evil saga blowing mens heads and no one complains… or even the last 1, when mia stabs the player (who is a men by the way), and nobody cares… thats false feminism

  7. This is the problem. People talking about rights, feminism, social equality etc, and people like PBS Gameshow showing the picture that all this hate is not necessary maybe. Rather than opposing or defending this propaganda, we should care about the storyline, game design, graphics etc. Why include this social justice into gaming in the first place.

  8. Well, gaming community is quite often comprised of depressed people with low self-esteem. I would pin some problems down on that. Not sure if these statistics are right but certainly some games are massively male dominated thus the content aimed for men. This is how economy works.

  9. Omg, males do video-games, that why there are so many beautiful woman. It is our nature. Just f*king look at the female character in Mass Efect: Andromeda. But the males 😉 mmmmm…… Because there are woman working on this game. Why is THIS not sexism?????

  10. NPC11223344 rebooting…………………………….. rebooting…………………………… #SmashPatriarchy …………… Destroy Toxic masculinity in gaming………………… Feelings are more important than Fan Service

  11. Sure, she's an ass
    But that reaction was a little extreme
    You might as well not assign hobbies genders, just like you might as well not treat a hobby like a war crime.

  12. So, when is it ok to threaten someone’s life over a review? It’s childish, it becomes dangerous when people try to carry out this threat because of internal insecurity.

  13. I dont think this anita lady are threats cause they’re women. I think gamers just like the way their games are and want them to stay how they are. She’s trying to change video games as a whole which no one wants cause we like our video games how they are

  14. Would argue against witch hunts, but people are enjoying stuff and i guess we should be allowed to do so without her opinion alone being taken in consideration

  15. Sexism is not an issue in games THEY ARE VIRTUAL NON REALISTIC CHARACTERS that have no feelings they dont care who you are its basically scenes or animations made by the animator companies will create their own characters with their own preferences and whatever suits the market which is most gamer boys not gals because its a bigger market and make some exceptions for gamer girls in these video games as simple as that.

  16. Dude, Anita is not an actual gamer, she is doing it just to siphon money from idiots who wanna feel like they make a change…

  17. Jo, what became of her kickstarter? Fully funded and not delivered? instead another funding for another project? isn´t that a scam?

  18. It's not that the gaming community hates Anita, it's just that the gaming community hates liars.
    (Edit 2:)
    You can always joing the gaming community, so long as you accept what the gaming community is about: playing games. All of a sudden, this broad comes and says: "Well, of course the GAMING community should have nothing to do with GAMES! It should have to do with who I am and why I'm so oppressed."
    People, who don't care about that stuff, are gonna take issues with that: their group has nothing to do with oppression, but rather with video games. And that's the reason they don't care. If this were oppression community, then we would have cared.
    (Third edit now:)
    I'm not a racist or a sexist, in fact my closest friends right now are women and people of colour (some of them being both). I'm merely stating the facts. If someone comes to my community of web developers and talks about oppression in the way Anita does, they are inevitably going to get shut down, because they're not stating the facts, but talking out of their asses.

  19. Omg, what is going on in this comment section? Thank you for the video. I just needed to hear someone talking calmly and reflected about the matter. The amount of hatred triggered by it is very unsettling though. I feel like this discussion is necessary. Just to witness this makes me as a girl feel unsafe in this community.

  20. Well the 60% of gamers are women "fact" is a lie around 82% of the women who play video games are casual and mobile game that are focused for non-gamers and the large demographic of gaming is boys/kids along with men but the kids part plays a role.who would a kid ask to buy them a video game,their mother and the mother uses her money for the purchase.

    Another part you missed was that "a large majority of xbox users are women" well that's only 10% true really,commonly the female users of xbox are only online partially and most of those hours are spent on casual games.

    And you had to pull the,"segregation card" like how you stereotype all Male xbox users as sexists who hate women or are always horny,and most of those people are shown to be reported as violent,harassing,and toxic in general.Also Anita Sarkisians hate is not that real,well the parts of porn and full out murder threats.not to mention how the reason she gets all of the hate in general is from her lying and not telling the truth while pushing her argument with invalid proof changing the entirety of gaming culture itself.

    Anita isn't a gamer as well,in one of her interviews she claims to hate video games.

  21. you are pushing a false narrative about the gaming community and it is absolutely disgusting. all the MEN I have had conversations about video games with have never told me that I can't play video games because I'm a woman. in fact I've been able to have conversations about the type of video games that I play and even the types of characters in said video games.

  22. I thought girls are smarter than boys. If this is the truth why so many girls are playing on xbow then?

  23. ….and if I would find a normal girl playing video games I would marry her instead of insulting her!!!!!!!

  24. No she is Stalinist who is looking to target and destroy people's lives. She has been caught lying and she has tried to ruin innocent people's lives.

  25. 45% of all gamers are women.. yeah your facts to back that up? You're calling all the candy crush girls a gamer aren't you? I bet you are.

    I'm sorry but in the real gamer community, about… er.. I dunno.. less than one per cent are actually female. Women are just not interested the same hobbies a men and that's a PROVEN FACT.
    Women have different hobbies on the whole, that are apart form men. Gaming 'IS' a male space, by and large.

    Facts, you need to get some.

  26. GAMING IS A GEEK DEN LADYS BUT IF YOU WANNA BE IN IT THEN START CREATING YOUR OWN CHARACTERS AND PLEASE STOP RUINING WHAT WAS ALREADY MADE.✌✌✌TO ALL

  27. Video games don't need anything but the people who play them, People play video games to become competitive or enjoy a bit of time away from the world. I often take my frustrations out on shoot em up games or fps competitive games because it always allows me to be fully focused either running around in GTA or shooting up some plebs on PUBG I find myself enjoying the time that I'm using, I don't find myself seeing that the game has gone to far by presenting a sexist scene. Basically I find myself saying "what a messed up situation" and maybe relating to it but that's all part of the games story, for example the scene of GTA V of Franklin hitting up the strip club, he's a lonely charachrer and clearly prefers easy woman but this all portrays to the personality of the charschrer? Why is feminism what to censor what video games put out for content which is also protected under the 1st amendment via freedom of speech, infact if you find that you don't like looking at such scenes, maaaybe you shouldn't buy M Rated games? Clearly you are not mature enough to handle such content that is presented.

  28. I like how you glossed over her clearly lying about being a gamer and also lying about the “problems” in games

  29. "emailed her photos of video games characters raping her"
    It's called drawings, or images at best, a photo implies something tangible and factual.
    You're showing your inclination there on addressing the issue

    Sarkeesian logic is biased, her agenda and motives are obvious and she's not interested in making the gamer community better, she misrepresents gaming community and criticizes other people's work in an open and capitalist culture, where if you don't like something, just don't consume it. Anita represents the outraged old woman trope that's disgusted by what young people enjoy, I'd put her in the same bag as people who claim that video games conduct to violent behaviour and ultimately mass shootings.

  30. We talk to gamer Samantha Beauvillain about her experiences as a woman in the gaming community – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaDmgzZJs3U&t=452s

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