Being Right Makes Anita Sarkeesian No Less Wrong

Being Right Makes Anita Sarkeesian No Less Wrong

Here at CheatCC I’ve had no problems voicing my opinions. At times they’ve been controversial, enraging many readers and putting me at odds with fellow staff members. In that I make no apologies, as I feel I’ve always backed up my beliefs with a solid point of view which can stand up against any scrutiny. I also don’t argue about things I’m not truly passionate about. So if I’m bringing something to the table for our reader’s consideration, it’s because it’s important to me.

Today I’d like to speak to you about how Anita Sarkeesian is one of the biggest detriments to not only video gaming in our era, but to female gamers in particular. I lament the fact this is a woman who has built a career on the backs of all of us. The video gamer, game reviewer and developer alike.  She first gained notoriety during her 2012 Kickstarter campaign that sought to examine how the female image was being over-sexualized and utterly deformed by those within our industry. While inexcusable bullying and online harassment ensued, she was successful in raising over $150,000 towards her efforts in spite of that.

But does that make her efforts noble? One might assume by simply acting under the guise of “protecting woman’s rights” wraps your motivations in a protective blanket of righteousness that no one should dare question – but I do question it. In fact, I’ll go so far as to call her a hack and a charlatan. Here we have a woman who has never presented an even-handed illumination of the world at it exists, just a skewed, tunnel-visioned representation. She has spent the better part of three years attacking our medium, essentially labeling it as one of the greatest attacks on female kind of the modern age, to hear her tell it, anyway.

But why? And has she succeeded in changing the hearts and minds of those who sought out her message in the first place?

Credit where credit is due, as Ms. Sarkeesian is still in demand on the lecturing circuit. Take her most recent trek to New York University. Here she gave a presentation on “ 8 Things Devs Can Do To Make Games Less Shitty For Women .” By the title I’m sure you can surmise it did not paint a very flattering picture of the current state of affairs. However, even though she delivered the speech to a packed house, not everyone could stomach her ramblings. According to those in attendance, one woman (apparently identified as a Gamergate supporter) stood up and stormed out as she shook her head in disgust. When later asked about this, Sarkeesian shrugged it off by saying “I’m happy if she cared at all and wanted to come, but I seriously doubt people from Gamergate’s intentions of coming to an event where I am speaking…I think if anyone in this audience is here for Gamergate they are not here because they genuinely care and want to learn. They are coming here to be, like, ‘oh my god, that woman, that horrible evil woman that’s ruining video games.’”

Personally, I’m not suggesting Sarkeesian is evil, per say, as I don’t make such judgments. What I do know quite well is her words and her rhetoric. If you’re a woman, I can’t image how you’re not repulsed by the concept. Sarkeesian seems to suggest women are somehow naive if they don’t agree with her that their depictions in entertainment are now cause for revolt. As for me, I’m still trying to decipher at what point their personal self-worth suddenly became directly tied to the bust sizes found in hits like Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball.

Another accusation made during the NYU address saw Sarkeesian accuse designers of deliberately animating females in a way that is unrealistic or “too feminine.” A strange dichotomy coming from someone who touts the importance of feminism, but not entirely untrue, admittedly. What I don’t hear her address is the unrealistic hulking male figures located in games. I’m not sure if she know this, but the average guy doesn’t have a 24 pack of ripped abs and 34 inch biceps found in your typical FPS (unless you’re drawn by an artist at Marvel or DC, that is). Most of us look like Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V, to be perfectly honest (sorry fellas, but its true).

Being Right Makes Anita Sarkeesian No Less Wrong

If I recall, the guy in the new 50 Shades of Grey movie resembles an Abercrombie and Fitch model and not like the guy bagging your groceries at Walmart. Now I ask you; would women have flocked to see that film had it been cast differently (or perhaps should I say more realistically)? I guess her rationale is since men occupy more leading roles, how they are portrayed is irrelevant. I’d call that a double-standard if I’ve ever heard one. You can see where this argument easily falls apart when you begin applying it to the full spectrum in a fair, logical way. Not just focusing on one small slice of the equation makes all the difference here.

I’m certainly not suggesting there isn’t room for improvement within our industry. Of course we should work to make continuing improvements in how we represent women. What I reject is the notion that entertainment must always reflect reality in every form. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here by stating lots of women enjoy how their digital female counterparts exist in sort of a “heighted reality” (which you see in many other forms of media as well, I might add). Last I checked, a large portion of TV and film content found in pop culture tends to fall somewhere in the PG-13 category. Why does Sarkeesian not give credit to mainstay franchises like Lara Croft, for example, whose current incarnation many champion as the epitome of what a strong yet sexy female can be in 2015 and beyond? She is a poster child for the moment! Is it because it would simply work against her narrative to let a pesky thing like truth get in the way?

This is my biggest problem with Sarkeesian and people like her. They decide to focus on a small sliver of a debate instead of the bigger picture before they even begin. Widening their gaze causes their arguments to quickly become paper-thin, which is why they must reject the over-arching facts and stay the course. Anyone can cherry pick certain aspects of an issue, which Sarkeesian is clearly building a lucrative career upon. Unfortunately, that’s what she does best, which is why I compare her to people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Equal rights for African Americas is an important issue facing our country as well, yet these two gentlemen have done more to hurt the black community in my estimation than any other public figure of the last three decades.

I truly believe history will remember Anita Sarkeesian in a similar light. Nothing more than a stain on the feminist movement rather than an uplifting force. But what I think is not the only consideration. What about you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on our official Facebook page.

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