Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Let's talk about Anita Sarkeesian!

This is going to be another blog where I post my responses to people who were discussing an issue to me. In addition, because there are dozens of wild accusations flying around about this particular woman I will probably be adding more to this blog post as times go on.

Before I get started, I'd just like to state that I watched all of Anita's "Tropes vs Women in Gaming" videos as part of my research into the discussion. I came away with the impression that Anita has a tendency to say one thing, but her audience hears a very different thing. When discussing her with people who disagreed with her, one of the most frequent thing I had to explain what Anita was saying in simple terms. Anita has a good education in gender studies, a college level subject. It's no surprise to me that the internet, with it's fifth grade reading level, has a hard time understanding someone trying to explain college level concept.


"Anita pushes her views on Zelda as being just a simple 'damsel' in order to prove Nintendo has a history of injustice towards women via the damsel trope."

She's not wrong though. As a big fan of the Zelda series, Zelda has only had a couple of games where she has actually... done anything. One of those games was Ocarina of Time, a game in which Zelda has to "man up" in a very literal sense to become useful. I'm just saying, Zelda is a terrible female role model and is a pretty poor example of feminist values.

And y'know, that's probably going to change. Ocarina of Time is proof that Zelda's creators are at least trying, even if they failed spectacularly in that game. (If you couldn't tell, I loathe Ocarina of Time Zelda.) So y'know, if they spoke English I'm sure they'd be glad to have the insight.

"Anita states that Super Princess Peach is really a big joke making fun of women."

I mean, giving Princess Peach bipolar disorder as a superpower is pretty on the nose as far as making fun of women goes. I actually like the game and love Peach as a character. However, it's not really a good example of feminist values.

That doesn't make it a bad game and it doesn't mean the game should be changed, but it does mean that it is a good example of a larger problem in the industry.

"Anita pushes her sex negative views when she slams Bayonetta, who is clearly sex-positive and a powerful female icon."

Is Bayonetta sex-positive and a powerful female 'icon'? Eh...

Is Bayonetta a strong female role model or does she reflect any feminist values? ...Not even a little on either front.

I mean no offense, but we're talking about a game that is as hyper-sexualized as Duke Nukem is hyper-violent. That's not so much 'sex-positive' as it is 'gratuitous fan-service', fan service aimed primarily at men mind you. Kind of hard to send sex-positive messages about women if you miss the female audience.

You may like this game and it may be a good game by it's other virtues, but it's definitely not a good example of a 'feminist' game.

"Anita doesn't acknowledge other women's views. It's like how academic feminists used to slam women's fiction for being about fashion, romance, dieting, makeup etc, calling them 'misogynistic'."

That sounds a lot like second wave feminism, which in all fairness is more or less dead, especially on the academic front.

But see, the issue with what you said is that, although women's views on women's issues are obviously paramount, being women does not automatically give their views merit. Just look at any of those "I don't need feminism" things people pass around on the dark corners of the internet and you'll find plenty of misogynistic women who think that because they're happy with their lives, everybody else's problems are clearly fake/their own fault. This should be all the proof you need that women can be selfish, ignorant assholes too.

"Anita is far too authoritative on issues that are essentially a matter of opinion, which is why people react so badly to her."

I find it odd that you chose to police Anita's tone. Criticizing her for being rude is a lot like criticizing someone who just got shot for screaming in pain. It only makes sense if you ignore that there's a reason you're being screamed at.

I mean, riots are what normally happens when you ignore the legitimate complaints of minority groups for long enough. I don't know where you get this standard of people having to be 'nice' if they want their otherwise legitimate complaints to be heard or respected, but it's not a standard grounded in reality.

Nobody should have to apologize for giving their opinions, unless of course they decide they regret having given them.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What do I think of feminism?

We're jumping right into the fire here with the blog's first post. Here I'm going to discuss a bunch of women's issues and my thoughts on priviledge. This was originally a (public) message to another user so it may not flow as well as it should and at some points may even seem like random ramblings on my parts. Regardless, I was told I should post this as an article.

During World War 2 Japan systematically rounded up women of various nationalities, including their own japanese citizens. These women became slaves. They were treated like animals, forced to submit to sex with Japan's soldiers as part of a program to keep the soldiers morale high. Hence the nickname "comfort" women. Most of these women died as a result of the terrible conditions they were kept in, used for their bodies often violently until they were replaced. Gendercide is a play on the word genocide. Throughout history violently taking the enemy's women and raping them to establish dominance has been.... Well. it's been a thing that has happened, primarily during war. As you can see though, it wasn't always the "enemy's" women and it wasn't exactly romantic. School tends to forget to talk about things like this a lot because it's pretty hard to convince school boards to talk about rape/sex in general at school.

In the last century women were also referred to as slaves, mostly by people criticizing their extreme lack of rights. They did not have the right to vote until 1920. It was not only legal to deny someone a job for being a woman, but it was legal to bar women from taking jobs at all at a state level until 1971. Up until 1973 women were not recognized as having the same bodily autonomy guaranteed to men in our constitution. Up until 1981, women were considered the property of their husband under the law, and any property a woman owned was considered her husband's if she married and remained his in the event of a dispute.

Just last year yet another study into job discrimination was done with startling results. The study was simple. Submit two identical resumes with just one minor detail (the gender of the applicant's name) changed and observe the results. In the blind study it was revealed that on average Jennifer was rated as less competent, offered a lower pay and was offered a position of authority less often.

This is not the only study of this nature that has come up with these results, revealing that subconscious gender biases still have a very noticeable effect on hiring policies.

Women are nearly half of the labour force, and yet are only 4.6% percent of CEOs. As you get to higher positions in companies, less and less women fill them. This is known as the leadership gap.

Women make up over half of the financial services industry, and yet only 19% of them are board directors and only 2% are CEOs.

This trend continues in many fields, and in some cases the statistics have even gotten worse over the years.

This year, in the USA alone, nearly 2800 individual cases of human trafficking have been reported. This is estimated to be far, far less than the total number of slaves being kept in the USA as these are only the ones we catch.

Of those 2800 cases:
87% of the slaves were women.
13% of the slaves were men.

63% of the slaves were adults.
37% of the slaves were minors.

74% of the slaves were sex slaves
13% of the slaves were forced labour slaves.
(Remainder were either both of the above or unknown)

This is not a USA specific problem. The sex slave industry is humongous overseas as well, so if there's a conspiracy to fake this stuff the entire world and it's governments are in on it.

To put these numbers in context, it's estimated that the sex trafficking industry is a $32 billion dollar industry, putting it just behind drug trafficking as the second most profitable illegal crime ring. Also, the average life expectancy of a sex slave is around 3 to 7 years.

If you take any given source from this page on the subject, every single one of them agrees that the vast majority of rape accusations are not in fact false.

 I'm a woman. I've grown up struggling against a lot of these issues. I happen to be a victim of "sexual assault". I know the double standards of how women are treated by employers, and in school for that matter. I've lived the online harassment. I've been openly criticized by men strictly because I did not hide my gender from them while playing online games. I've watched men gang up on and harass other men for jumping to my defense, calling them white knights for asking them to stop harassing me while I silently tried to play the game. I was being harassed because I was consistently beating them at said game. (And therefore, was clearly cheating somehow.)

I've lived most of these problems, so when someone dismisses my personal experience and redirects me to their article of choice I'm not usually too thrilled with what I find. I should be writing these articles, not reading them. Know what I mean?

I strongly disagree with the notion that men are getting the short end of the stick in modern society, especially since men hold the overwhelming majority of authority positions and therefore control society. It would be completely impossible for women to have achieved all the rights they have in the past century if men hadn't helped them, so at this point the only way feminism could possibly be a conspiracy to oppress men is if it was also a conspiracy by men to oppress themselves. Many, many feminists are men.

It's my opinion that if people treated racial minorities the way they treat women right now there would be another civil war, so it's really hard for me to see men as having the short end of the stick as far as gender is concerned.

That being said, I acknowledge that men have their own issues in need of addressing. Things like the draft only applying to men is a consequence of us living in a patriarchy, which you may recognize as that word feminists use to describe things they hate.

The thing about the term "girl power" is that it's a reactionary term, reacting to all of that oppression women have suffered throughout known history. We live in a pretty messed up world no matter who you are, but especially if you happen to be a girl. There has never really been a true matriarchy to speak of, as far as societies go. So when someone turns around and says "Boy Power" it tends to come off as being very defensive without good reason or even passive-aggressive depending on the context. Men have their own issues for sure, but because of the context and history of the term "girl power" the inversion "boy power" isn't what most people would consider in good taste.