Over the course of the next 12 days I’ll be posting 12 future thinking concepts and applying the same methods I’ve been practicing with the various Ted Talks. Why? Cause it’s freakin fun and pointless, that’s why!
Day ELEVEN – Feminism
I purposely left the title vague on this one, only because it’s a topic that brings a great deal of conflict with it. People who have had touched the subject before, in certain environments, will no doubt say that there is a bad taste associated with it.
Much like Buckley’s mixture, however, it has a history of working.
So what is the question to be asked.
Has Feminism found a catalyst in entertainment? Or more specifically, in ‘gaming’?
Gamergate is something that has been floating around for the past few months, and now that time has passed, it can show with some perspective of impact.
Oh man, most of the work has already been done. This video was posted yesterday.
At the eight minute mark, is how it links to the topic at hand. Or more accurately, the person that has been tearing up the Youtube channels. Most specifically, Anita Sarkeesian. (A TED talk veteran as well!)
Now long before Gamergate, there were several internet ‘mini explosions’ that centered around a series of videos that Sarkeesian had published.
These would be from the Feminist Frequency channel that she hosts. It was popular beforehand, but it started to go much larger after she ran a kickstarter which started a wave of responses when it actually worked. It then exploded even more, when the videos began coming out.
The first gaming based video is here:
So why the big bruhaha? What’s the big deal? There are countless papers, videos, speakers and what not that should receive equal attention.
And that’s where we introduce the perfect storm that is ‘gaming’.
Gaming, in of itself, has always stayed in the grey zones of entertainment. When first released, video gaming struggled to find a market, and lo and behold, the more raunchy entertainment values added, the more of a profit point the game could yield.
An advertisement will get more ‘eyes on it’ if you place a beautiful woman in the foreground. This is ‘old hat’. However, whether or not this is considered ethical, might have been delayed until now.
Let’s take an example where someone drives their car through a tree dense area. There’s a corner they just breeze right through.
On one windy day, the trees are blown aside and the driver notices that there’s actually a stop sign on that corner.
The driver stops accordingly. A police car pulls in behind and then writes a ticket for the 500 offenses that the driver made earlier. The driver, quite logically, loses their shit.
Having grown up with videogames, I can state that I’m type of player who will finish a game and then immediately trade it in / start a new one. I’m not focusing on what the ethical nature of the game is, or whether or not the protagonist is male or female. I was just driving past that corner without much thought.
(Note: Even more interesting is the reflex associations that occur with the words “women” and “videogames”. I knew before, without any studies, that plenty of video games are extremely guilty of feeding voyeurism. So there’s a subconscious titillation factor? Maybe? It’s no different than pairing “stripper” and “stripclub” really.)
Another commonality that occurs in online gaming, is the incredibly questionable conversations that occur. Swearing at each other is the ‘starting point’ and then it goes downhill from there.
This next video went viral. I have no idea if its true or not but it’s obviously told with comedic timing. Please be advised that this guy swears more than me. That’s just crude. (Warning: some hate language in it)
Just so its also known, there was a part 2 where he better explains his viewpoints and more about his parents being more tolerant than what was mentioned.
(Based upon the second video, there’s a real chance that the original story is somewhat exaggerated. That’s just my read on it)
Anyways, long story short. There does exist a form of conversation that is beyond normal, its filled with curse words and buzz phrases that are played for shock value.
Personally, I wasn’t raised on that type of banter as the social norm, but I’m willing to bet that if I was part of it I’d have found new zingers everyday. It’s the competitive nature that seeps into every aspect when competing.
Sum the pieces together and you have explosive reactions filled with a practiced language. And quite obviously, it goes too far.
It also brings up several important points that can be made.
The history of video games of including terrible images of women within it is undeniable. Whether the data set is incomplete is irrelevant. It exists.
Likewise, this also proves that feminism (or for those afraid of that word, a push for change) must exist as well.
However, this doesn’t answer the question.
Does a focus on video games give feminism more attention? Yes.
Does it create a rallying cry such that more feminists are talking about video games?
As far as I can tell, not really. There are responses, LOTS of responses. However they are not standpoints or new starting points that would be equivalent pushes for change.
There should be.
There definitely needs to be a chorus of voices if there is going to be change.
So what can be done?
Now at first I was wondering if there really should be an additional grading system. Entertainment is extremely formulaic, so there is always going to be horror movies with topless girls, action movies that end in a kiss and a myriad of other combinations that don’t make much sense. (eg> Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014)
That doesn’t work, because of the money behind the scenes. PG/R movies have evolved so much DUE to rating, that movies are arguably worse because of it.
Wait, so what? Movies are worse yet they’re still out there. Some people believe they’re the best that they can be as well.
A grading system would be interesting. Would it be based off of ‘human to human’ interactions? What images should we become desensitized to?
Fascinating stuff to ponder. Enough to revisit the topic, possibly next year when I’m a little less stupid.
And it’s almost 3 in the morning, so Happy Christmas.
PS> Uhh.. I could use a few bucks these days so let’s use Gamergate methodology. EDTalksTed now open for ‘native advertising’. I’ll, uh.. pretend to think about a topic and advertise your products! (Any ads seen here are because I’m using the free version of WordPress. Y’know what, if this blog ever takes off, I’ll monetize it and donate whatever profit comes in. HAHA, takes off, people don’t read…)