A few months ago my partner asked my opinion on a video. I had no idea what he would show me and he didn’t voice his own opinion beforehand, during or after the video before I voiced mine. The video he showed me was Anita Sarkeesian’s Damsel in Distress. Below is a screen shot of the video.
As I watched the video I cringed and face palmed on several occasions. After sitting through the whole thing, my partner asked me what I thought about it. I had no idea who she was back then. I didn’t even know she was a feminist. My sole reaction without any other influence besides the video was: “What is wrong with this person?”
I started ranting at my partner about her opinions. I disagreed with most of it. After my little rant my partner said that he wanted to hear the female perspective regarding the video and that he agreed with my views. He wasn’t really surprised that I disagreed with the video. The biggest difference between myself and Anita is that I am not a feminist what so ever. I also don’t wear make-up.
I then went on YouTube and clicked on more videos. I was curious to see if anyone else felt the same, or if people were supporting her views (due to disabled comments I couldn’t check on the original video itself). I found a lot of videos criticising her and also some supporting her views. Most of the videos that disagree with her opinion were created by males and have been bashed by some of them feminists out there, just because they are men who made a critical analysis of the video. I thought the videos had good points that should not be dismissed and they have been constructed quite well. Below is one of my favourites.
I found it a bit difficult to find a female that disagreed with Anita in video form. However below is one that is also constructed quite nicely by a female.
Even though I disagreed with Anita, this topic made me wonder about my own experiences with games and how I have personally viewed them as a female. Then I realised that I only viewed games as a great way to spend some time with interactive entertainment. I never really viewed myself as having a female perspective of them. I never really deeply thought about the characters or what they were saving or doing. The character was always just a tool to reach an objective of the game. I always skipped the story texts or videos anyway. I didn’t care. I just wanted to finish the tasks presented to me. I didn’t care that Commander Keen, Nevada Smith or Johnny Nash were male. I didn’t even quite understand the whys they were doing what they were doing and for what means. It didn’t matter. It was simply a game.
Never have I felt offended by female characters with huge breasts and little clothing. Honestly, I love seeing those characters. The female body is so beautiful, who doesn’t want to see it? Females in general are more beautiful than men. Why do so many find it offensive when people admire that observation? Many females wear make-up (including Anita), wear fitting clothing and try to present themselves as female as possible. Is that a bad thing?
On a pre-closing note, I find myself easier to connect with males than females. Maybe this is why I disagree with Anita. I never felt like I was unequal. A lot of times I would find myself having more in common with males than females. If I am presented with something like the below, I laugh.
Never would it cross my mind to be offended. It’s a joke. Just like the below picture women like to email each other.
Doesn’t make it true for everyone. However, if you have a bias towards one gender or another, then one of the above will seem more offensive to you than the other. This is what I think is happening with Anita. She has a favourable bias towards women and that is where her perspective derives from when she analyses video games.
And finally, a video from someone who donated to her cause and his perspectives.