Too Few Feminists in Video Games, says Professor

, Spencer Irvine, 22 Comments

gamergate photo

#GamerGate and feminism in gaming were the subjects of a paper at a recent Modern Language Association (MLA) panel at their annual convention, held this year in Austin, Texas. Anastasia Salter, an assistant professor of digital media at the University of Central Florida (UCF), said that gaming is “about silencing women.”

She noted, correctly, that “games have become such an [engrossed] part of culture” in today’s American society. She added, “The rise of mobile gaming of all of these forms draw people in.” Salter cited data which found only “13% of women among game designers” and that women are still not being employed in the gaming industry in large numbers. She believed, “These demographic problems of the industry spread out to the games [themselves].”

Salter brought up GamerGate and warned the audience, “People on Twitter, please don’t tweet #GamerGate!” She displayed a slide, “Tropes vs. Women: Video Games” and described how the feminist movement within gaming had “immediately attracted negative attention.” Salter was surprised that gamers get upset when academics and activists examine rhetorical aspects of gaming. She pointed out that online harassment focuses more on women than men, citing #BlackLives Matter, “The horrific trolling and attacks in that space [of BLM].” She shifted back to GamerGate, “[It was] very impressive for what started as a guy who broke up with a girl.” Today, “It’s a war over identity and over language” and “the very definition of gaming…has been radically changing.” “The GamerGate hashtag,” she said, “is one gate” of criticism and rhetoric in gaming.

“Invisibility,” Salter said, “thanks to online social media spaces, is becoming a lot more recognized.” However, “the incredible, overwhelming numbers of supporters in a hashtag can effectively drown out any rational discourse.” “It has,” Salter admitted, “also made it a space that has become very dangerous.” She praised the likes of activists of Briana Wu, Anne Sarkisian and Quinn in dealing with the “Internet hit mob” of GamerGate.

She continued, “Games research has been accused of being a monster organization seeking to impose feminism [on gamers].” There was a “witch hunt,” in her words, called “Digging-DiGra,” where people were “trying to destroy the credibility of feminist game research.” Salter said, “This type of attack is really over who gets to really speak.” She concluded, “[This is] the perfect example of a movement, it takes the best thing about social media and public spaces and silences and destroys [the opposition].”

Photo by gruntzooki


22 Responses

  1. Don Quixote

    January 23, 2016 10:54 am

    In gaming feminism tends to be treated no differently than a religion, no one in gaming cares if your christian or if you make christian games but if you start aggressively trying to convert people, calling anyone who disagrees with you a heretic and trying to exclude anyone who doesn’t follow your specific branch of Christianity from communities your going to see one hell of a backlash.

    Trying to force your beliefs on a community that believes in the value of a plurality of opinions will always and only ever lead to insurrection.

  2. hurin

    January 23, 2016 12:50 pm

    ‘Salter was surprised that gamers get upset when academics and activists examine rhetorical aspects of gaming.’

    No we really don’t. We get upset with being accused of misogyny simply for criticizing them back, of having our games censored because they hurt the feelings of crybullies, and of seeing female Gamers being dehumanized as sockpuppets for daring to have the wrong opinions.

    He who pays the piper selects the tune. And since Gamers are the ones with the money only our opinions are important.
    Academics and activists are as useful to gaming as an extra butthole on the elbow.

  3. lilyWhite

    January 23, 2016 2:58 pm

    Video games have taught me that women can save the day just as well as any man. We can slay evil gods, fight aliens, and make not only others but ourselves better people.

    This breed of feminist wants to teach me that I will perpetually be a lesser in every single gamer’s eyes because of my gender, and that any participation in the community will lead to me being harassed because I’m female. Despite my years of experience in the community showing me otherwise, as opposed to hacks who can’t get simple facts about games right.

    And those feminists have made it perfectly clear that any woman who voices even the slightest dissent with them is a perfectly valid target for abuse from them. Because obviously you hate women and deserve this.

  4. cool_boy_mew

    January 23, 2016 3:42 pm

    >“The rise of mobile gaming of all of these forms draw people in.”

    Mobile gaming again. Reminder that mobile gaming /=/ the rest of gaming. Mobile Gaming and Facebook games are usually completely free and comes in stuff people are using for other things (Facebook, social media. Cell Phone). One of the big problems of pointing out mobile gaming is that pretty much all of the new comers there aren’t gonna go and buy a console/capable PC to play bigger games, they don’t care. And that’s without going in all of the disgusting mobile gaming practices where companies are trying to get as much “whales” as possible, the numerous nickle and diming and as I call it the “pay4fun” where the game heavily limits your play per day unless you pay, and pay, and pay.

    >She shifted back to GamerGate, “[It was] very impressive for what started as a guy who broke up with a girl.”

    Very unsurprising considering the the drama that precedes the Quinnspiracy (BTW, GamerGate as a hashtag became popular after what we call the “Gamers are dead” articles”, was also an attempt to get away from Zoe Quinn). What every Feminists are co missed is that Quinn is a Drama Queen that tend to make everything worse by pouring salt on every problems. The fact that she handled the last problem so poorly made this one blow up. The whole thing should be a lesson on how to act when you’re an e-celeb but feminists are quick to turn the subject to anything else instead and act like she’s a big victim when she’s nowhere near innocent in all of this. Of course, a lot of “hate” was unwarranted in both events, but unfortunately such is life as a e-celeb, and Quinn is not suited to be one at all as she keeps doing the worst thing she could’ve done and then making the whole thing worse for herself. You don’t have to be a e-celeb, you can just simply stop being public on the Internet.

    >“Invisibility,” Salter said, “thanks to online social media spaces, is becoming a lot more recognized.”

    Anonymity as always been a crucial part of the Internet ever since it’s inception, ever since BBS and such. It is nothing new.

    >“the incredible, overwhelming numbers of supporters in a hashtag can effectively drown out any rational discourse.”

    Well that’s one thing we can agree on. But don’t make it one-sided, both sides are very much at fault. Plus, GamerGate has been trying to have rational discourse for a long time and we get outright ignored every single time. Go look Airplay, an official debate held by the Society of Professional Journalism (SPJ). Not a single supposed “Anti-GamerGate” showed up, so we had to bring neutral people to represent the other side. Airplay 2 is happening BTW

    >She praised the likes of activists of Briana Wu, Anne Sarkisian and Quinn in dealing with the “Internet hit mob” of GamerGate

    The worst of the worst appearing again. Brianna Wu makes an absolute circus of herself on Twitter and then people wonder “Why all the bad people?”. This is a complete joke. At some point Brianna Wu couldn’t go a week, or even a day on Twitter without making up a blatant lie while would sic her followers on people who did no wrong. We also observed strong evidence she actually never left her house because of the “harassment”

    Anita is another pseudo-academic with terrible, terrible work. She’s just Jack Thompson 2.0, instead of “These video games will cause people to act violently” it’s now “These video games will cause people to be sexist” and once again, it has no scientific basis. Also a lot of stuff in her videos are outright misrepresented, if not complete lies. And that’s even without going into completely outdated “theories” like the “Male Gaze” and other bullshit. Here’s some good read on this:
    There’s a reason we call Anita and co “Regressive Feminists”

    And then there’s other plenty of “e-celeb” feminists in the whole mess that are basically just complete professional provocateurs like Sarah Nyberg or Randi Harper who dishes out plenty of harassment (and lies) of their own and then go cry “harassment!” when randoms strikes back and they’re believed every single fucking time, because of course, they can’t do no wrong.

    >called “Digging-DiGra,” where people were “trying to destroy the credibility of feminist game research.”

    I’ve seen some of these presentation powerpoints slides, and they’re completely pathetic. You have researchers making very obvious typos and not even being able to use Venn diagrams and others stuff like this correctly.

    All in all, the feminists are the ones invading our space and making everything worse in their passage. These so called “heroes” of feminism are completely toxic and the feminists academics are a complete mess.

    You want reasonable discourse? So do we, but feminists are completely blocking the conversation. YOU are the side with the academics, YOU are the side with the mass of journalists (who are constantly lying about us), YOU are the side with people with jobs and responsibilities who are talking about what we love, yet keeps completely misrepresenting every single thing about it because of your ideologies.

    If anything, leave us alone until you can get your shit together. We are NOT against feminism per say, but we are against gender warrioring (Or anything “SJW”. Not all Feminists are SJW, but all SJW are Feminists) that brings nothing but harm. Are are NOT against progressiveness, but are are against people trying to force their ideas on developers.

    And that’s even without going into details about Feminists trying to stifle free speech and trying to put in law very, very scary and very, very broad “Internet Harassment”. In which they’ve been trying to broaden the definition of “harassment” on the Internet. Well, Quinn and Anita went to the UN, as from Anita herself:

    And that’s without even going into that they endorsed the terrible UN report without reading it, the ones with very sketchy references (404 pages, no references or linking to a C: drive), some of those linking to a websites saying Pokémon is a game that’s making young child into killing machine. What the fuck?

    Anyone in GamerGate will tell you that we’re definitively not perfect, that we have Bad Apples, that some stuff that happens was stupid bullshit and was not ideal. We can admit we’re not perfect, however the Feminist side if complete bullshit, everything that happens you have a few dozens articles trying completely to erase any possible wrongdoings and deflect the blame. Once again, from the sides with people with jobs, academics, journalists, etc. This is completely shameful and this is where the crux of the problem comes from.

    We are not the monsters you make it out to be. If anything YOU are the monster. I’ve never seen so much bullshit disguised by a supposed drive to do good.

  5. ogmaster

    January 23, 2016 4:22 pm

    #1 – I didn’t realize there was a specific amount of feminists needed in a media form. Do we need more in rap music or haiku writing?

    #2 – Going by the basic feminist explanation that people want women to be treated as equal as men, there are plenty of feminists in gaming. There are, however, far less that want women to be treated with kid gloves.

    #3 – Poor Anne Sarkisian. I hope she is able to fight through this ordeal.

  6. Tom Raft

    January 24, 2016 9:50 am

    #GamerGate supports women in the gaming industry. You just have to realise that it is a consumer driven industry and you have to make products that appeal to the consumers. This is counter to the what progressives and feminists instruct progressive game developers, such as the creators of Sunset, who had an abject disaster with their artsy cleaning lady experience game. It didn’t appeal to anyone and the studio has now closed down.

    Outside of your safe spaces the bigger world is competitive, there have been numerous women who create content in the gaming industry and there will be even more in the future, but women have to actually dump gender studies for STEM qualifications to be qualified to work in the industry in most design and creation roles.

    Just complaining that there isn’t enough isn’t what is going to get more women into the industry, they have to generate the skills and have the qualifications.

    Rather than complain and say the industry is misogynistic, actually promote all the women currently in the industry, not just your progressive buddies, but the successful women who have made a lot of great games and use them as promotion to show women what can be achieved in the industry if you work hard for it and deserve the opportunity.

  7. wafle7350 .

    January 24, 2016 6:23 pm

    There is to few religious nut’s in video games, and to few feminist in video games are good things for video games, one will tell you video games make you violent, the other will tell you they make you sexist, both will try to censor the video games somehow, and neither has any evidence to back up their claims.

  8. Neptunium

    January 24, 2016 7:21 pm

    Feminist research in anything doesn’t need people digging around to discredit it. It’s clear to anyone that if you are “researching” something from the point of view of an ideology, you are doing it wrong.

    Clearly you people start every project you do with a goal: Prove women are somehow marginalised and then ferret out ways we can create paying jobs for our friends and collegues in said area.

    People dug up the dirt on DiGRA because it’s a terrible organisation run by a clique promoting the same people all the time. It’s the same when feminists entered the IGDA. The same small number of so-called “indy developer” getting all the promotion. Great titles getting over looked in favour of sophomoric garbage.

    Feminists claim to be all about diversity, yet every time they take over spaces they form impenetrable cliques and the cronyism goes through the roof.

    There are plenty of women in gaming and as time goes on, many more will join, let’s face it, though, your problem isn’t that there’s not enough women, it’s that there’s isnt enough feminists. You’re cult is dying on its arse.

  9. Kellen Joel

    January 24, 2016 11:51 pm

    Whoa, I remember that red head in the background! She was claiming that sexual acts in video games is “terrorism”!

  10. LePatriote1980

    January 25, 2016 2:23 am

    There are too many of them. Even if their number is small, it’s still too many. We don’t want them, end of story.

  11. Amal

    January 26, 2016 12:03 am

    Lily, thanks you so much for your honesty. These “activists” that claim to stick up for us are such dishonest twats.

    In most threads, I find a tiny little whimper, like lilyWhite, I hope one day people like her who are brutally honest get a platform like all these shitty activists (Brianna wu, Sarkeesian, Zoe)

  12. JPG816 .

    March 11, 2016 8:45 am

    Good unbiased approach to what I personally see as a very one-sided reality. As academia should be. However, small correction – it’s ANITA SARKEESIAN, not Anne Sarkisian.

  13. Jasbinder Girn

    May 6, 2016 6:51 pm

    I gave up on video games. Radical feminism has ruined it. Bye-bye PS4 and PC.

  14. David

    February 19, 2017 2:15 am

    Keep politics and political correctness out of this! Games are supposed to be fun and not try to impose feminist ideals, which is good because that would not work well with the gaming community. Devs should be able to make the game they want, without criticism from feminists.

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