Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Anita Sarkeesian Interview

  1. Top | #1
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Lebanon, OR
    Posts
    6,726
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    23,555
    Rep Power
    79

    Anita Sarkeesian Interview

    The Anita Sarkeesian story - Polygon - "We look back at 10 years of Feminist Frequency"
    1. Her first bomb threat
    2. Moving an industry
    3. The message is the medium
    4. Childhood and teenage rebellion
    5. Political awakening
    6. The early videos
    7. The Kickstarter
    8. Hell
    9. Creation and destruction
    10. The future

    It starts off with how one of her harassers gave her a bomb threat. Then,
    Her series of YouTube shows changed all that, by framing how the problem is systemic. Many of her millions of viewers were game designers who, having watched the shows, recognized something within themselves that needed to be changed. The shifting nature of gaming’s output is ample evidence of her impact.
    "“If I had done a PhD about women in games, nobody would have read it.”"

    No one is arguing that sexism in gaming is no longer a problem, least of all Sarkeesian. But it’s a different kind of problem than it once was. In the wake of Tropes, we’ve seen a host of big budget games with great women characters including The Last of Us, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Dragon Age: Inquisition,The Walking Dead, Battlefield 5, Dishonored 2, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Overwatch (as well as some missteps).
    She made her criticisms more accessible.

    Then her scaling back of Feminist Frequency this year. She stopped taking a salary and she laid off her employees. But they continue making podcasts of them discussing various issues. AS doesn't want to do fundraising, and a lot of her funding sources dried up as she finished her video series. Then something about what social media has become, something not very hospitable.

  2. Top | #2
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Lebanon, OR
    Posts
    6,726
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    23,555
    Rep Power
    79
    The article then got into her early years and how she bounced about doing various things and taking various college courses, all this time being into left-wing activism. She drifted into feminist activism, becoming acquainted with female activists who were marginalized by male fellow activists.
    Sarkeesian won a scholarship at the prestigious York University in Toronto where she took a masters degree in social and political thought. For the first time, her work was focused more intensely on feminism. Her thesis was about the portrayal of women in science fiction TV shows, like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. She began using YouTube to state her beliefs, speaking direct to camera.

    She branded her shows “Feminist Frequency.”
    One of FF's early videos was about the Bechdel Test, a simple way of looking for good female character interaction: two named female characters talking to each other about something other than a man.
    “The work of academics is valuable and important,” she says. “But the problem is that academia is not concerned with dissemination of information. They’ll say they are, but the structures they have in place don’t allow for that. Part of it is the language that they use. Part of it is the medium in which they release that information. Part of it is access. You have to learn how to read dense, thick, complicated texts that most people can’t understand.

    “I felt it was incredibly important to take these concepts and make them accessible, without using academic language. If I do use an unfamiliar word, I make a point to explain it. Words like ‘intersectionality’ and ‘objectification theory’ are more common now, but they weren’t at the time.”
    Then how she ended up branching off into video games, and how she started "Tropes vs. Women".

    They did a Kickstarter fundraiser, and they raised much more than they expected. Then some extreme nastiness started to come in. “When I posted the fundraising video, they lost it. It was like, ‘How dare she come for our games.’” as she put it.
    The depravity of the messages she still receives almost defies comprehension. Sarkeesian says: “The ones that really got to me, I’m sorry to be graphic, they would print out photographs of my face and then [masturbate] on them and then take a photo of that. There was something very real about that in a way that just photoshopping my face onto a pornographic image isn’t.

    “The first three times that I saw those, I was actually repulsed. I have seen dozens of those now and they don’t phase me at all because my brain goes into survival mode. It’s tragic that I can look at something like that and be like, oh, okay, moving on with my day.”
    One side effect is that she ended up talking a lot about this harassment rather than do videos about what interested her.
    “The harassers said that I was lying about the threats, in the same breath that they were sending me threats,” she says. “They said that I’m doing it to myself. It’s not real. Some of them became especially obsessed with me, making rambling videos about me, like every day.”

  3. Top | #3
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Lebanon, OR
    Posts
    6,726
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    23,555
    Rep Power
    79
    It took a heck of a lot of research to produce her videos, looking for good examples in numerous games.
    She and McIntosh dived into a mass of research, script-writing, filming, and editing. A forthcoming documentary film about this time, from Area 5, shows them working together, debating each line, each piece of footage, scrolling through spreadsheets full of game names and examples of the tropes Feminist Frequency wanted to cover.

    “I don’t think people have any concept of just how much research and how much work went into those videos,” says Petit. “That’s part of why the videos took so long to complete.”
    The first of her Tropes vs. Women was Damsels in Distress, about women as helpless victims and prizes.

    She could not do much more than a sentence without wanting a do-over, and that meant a *lot* of editing. She also preferred different overall styles than what her collaborator Jonathan McIntosh did.
    The central problem was that McIntosh favored lengthy videos that addressed every possible objection from critics. Sarkeesian believed in brevity, and making her point as succinctly as possible.

    “Jonathan was bringing a lot of data to the table and then Anita was synthesizing the data and putting a human angle on it,” says Petit. “She wanted to nudge viewers toward considering the larger impact of the information that was being presented to them. Ultimately they were her videos and she had the last word and he didn’t necessarily take it well.”

    ...
    “We had different expectations about what that work should look like,” says Sarkeesian. “It was mostly the script-writing where we bumped heads. There was so much pressure to figure out what we were saying.”

    There was also a conflict in style. “If there’s a problem, I like to bounce ideas around and work collaboratively,” she says. “He likes to go off in solitude and beat his head against the wall until he figures out the answer. I don’t think we were mature enough at the time to figure out how to find a balance between those two things. It got heated, but the work was better with having Jonathan on board.”
    JM dropped out after the first season of TvW, with AS continuing with a second season.
    Sarkeesian returned with more videos, shorter and punchier. “People really like those nugget-sized videos,” she says. “But also there’s a lot of value. In a 10-minute video we can focus on one thing, give some examples of what it is, then show you how to not do it. The one about strategic butt coverings is a funny video. It makes you laugh. I refocused, with more humor in the second season. It’s a little more personable than the first season.”

  4. Top | #4
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Lebanon, OR
    Posts
    6,726
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    23,555
    Rep Power
    79
    What next for Anita Sarkeesian? She is looking into a variety of options.
    But it looks like she’s about done with YouTube. “When I go and speak at schools and colleges, students tell me they want to do what I do. But you can’t do it on YouTube anymore. You need to go and figure out what the next YouTube is. Ten years ago, YouTube was new. It was the platform to talk to people through.

    “What’s the next one? What is the new way that you talk to people? Digital video is a really difficult place to navigate right now. I don’t think it has a shelf life, as it stands.”
    It's rather hard to improve on digital video. The most I can think of is a 3D-model virtual world like Second Life.

    Then Feminist Frequency's legacy.
    ”There’s no question that we had a big impact in nudging gaming culture toward having more serious conversations about representation,” says Petit. “Maybe that organization has run its course. We said what we wanted to say.”

    “Without the conversations we generated and the pressure that we indirectly put on games companies, I think we’d now be living in a much more Duke Nukem world of video games than we are today,” she adds.
    Duke Nukem is a big-lunk male stereotype, but a lot of men seem to like that sort of thing.
    Sarkeesian says Feminist Frequency’s work has had an impact outside of games. “People from a lot of different types of media, like Hollywood screenwriters and comic book writers, found value in our work. Most of the tropes that we talked about aren’t specific to video games.”
    She thinks that she still has a way to go with educating video-game makers, despite the progress that she has made.

  5. Top | #5
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Lebanon, OR
    Posts
    6,726
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    23,555
    Rep Power
    79
    I've seen a lot of people say that her presentations are flawed, but I've yet to see any detailed critiques of them that are not nasty and dismissive.

    I wish to comment about one of her examples of sexualized clothing: Lara Croft. That's because she is often depicted as underdressed for some of her adventures. Like how we first saw her, with a tank top and shorts. But that is more athletic than sex-symbol, and LC also wears hiking boots instead of high heels.

  6. Top | #6
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    16,644
    Archived
    42,293
    Total Posts
    58,937
    Rep Power
    86
    That doesn't make any sense. How is a woman supposed to fight without heels?

  7. Top | #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    always on the move
    Posts
    929
    Archived
    801
    Total Posts
    1,730
    Rep Power
    43
    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    I've seen a lot of people say that her presentations are flawed, but I've yet to see any detailed critiques of them that are not nasty and dismissive.
    what if a critique is nasty/dismissive, but accurate? I've seen plenty of times when any criticism of something or someone, no matter how detailed and accurate, is dismissed for real or imagined tone or insults.

    Most of the stuff I've seen about Sarkeesian is from ThunderF00t's criticisms. I've seen plenty of objection to his style, but little arguments to counter his actual points. I took a look at some of her videos myself, and yes her early videos do raise valid points. But that doesn't erase the criticism of where she is apparently misrepresenting the facts in her example.

  8. Top | #8
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    South Pole
    Posts
    9,732
    Archived
    3,444
    Total Posts
    13,176
    Rep Power
    70
    She amplified, falsified, and exploited an issue as well as her victimization for profit and fame. That's all one need know about her today. Her time in the spotlight is over and people have moved on. If she has now stopped the profiteering then that's showing some growth on her part and kudos to her for that.

  9. Top | #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    England
    Posts
    76
    Rep Power
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by marc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    I've seen a lot of people say that her presentations are flawed, but I've yet to see any detailed critiques of them that are not nasty and dismissive.
    what if a critique is nasty/dismissive, but accurate? I've seen plenty of times when any criticism of something or someone, no matter how detailed and accurate, is dismissed for real or imagined tone or insults.

    Most of the stuff I've seen about Sarkeesian is from ThunderF00t's criticisms. I've seen plenty of objection to his style, but little arguments to counter his actual points. I took a look at some of her videos myself, and yes her early videos do raise valid points. But that doesn't erase the criticism of where she is apparently misrepresenting the facts in her example.
    You might try Shaun and Jen for criticism of Thunderf00t.

    I'm still mostly confused about this whole period in gaming. There was an article published this year which suggested things were boiling long before Sarkeesian, back in the late 00s with the likes of Anthony Burch's Rev Rants, who was one of a number of game critics calling for the medium to grow up and become serious art. Supposedly, there were gamers back then bristling and just wanting to be left alone to their silly hobby.

  10. Top | #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    always on the move
    Posts
    929
    Archived
    801
    Total Posts
    1,730
    Rep Power
    43
    Quote Originally Posted by A Toy Windmill View Post
    You might try Shaun and Jen for criticism of Thunderf00t.
    Thanks, that was a much better response than what I’ve seen before.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •