Anita Sarkeesian educates Stephen Colbert on Gamergate

31 Oct 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Anita Sarkeesian Explains The Truth About Gamergate To Stephen Colbert In Under 5 Minutes.

On last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, the Comedy Central host took on Gamergate, gaming’s biggest controversy. Something has shifted with GamerGate recently, a movement I won’t declare “dead,” but one that is certainly transforming into something its instigators certainly didn’t intend.

The topic, which has plagued social media and the /r/gaming subreddit for the past few months finally reached the point last night (10/29) where the nation’s greatest political mind, Stephen T.“The Colbert Report” became the latest media outlet to throw the spotlight on GamerGate last night, with host Stephen Colbert addressing the heavily criticized portrayal of women in video games.

Stephen Colbert has officially been inducted into the ranks of famous feminist men, joining Benedict Cumberbatch, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Legend, Joss Whedon and of course, Ryan Gosling, among others.Comedian Stephen Colbert gave his own unique perspective on the Gamergate scandal as he welcomed feminist video games critic Anita Sarkeesian on his show last night. No, I’m not talking about a shift away from ethical issues in games journalism to misogyny and harassment (which, if there even was a shift, happened long ago). As usual, Colbert achieved this by disguising his commentary as a five-minute faux tirade over “feminazis” messing with male-dominated gaming: When referencing the concept of the targeted “traditional gamer lifestyle,” Colbert reminded the audience that “God ordained that it is one man, one joystick.

The movement purports to be a popular revolt in favour of ethics in video games journalism – but many say it is actually about the mass harassment of women who challenge male dominance in video games. “Gamergaters say they’ve been harassed too especially once the media saw what they were saying to these women. As is pretty well documented, Gamergate is a diffuse movement that bills itself as a “consumer revolt” geared toward addressing the perceived ethical failures in video game journalism.

If Gamergate fancies itself the Rebel Alliance, then Anita Sarkeesian is Emperor Palpatine… if Emperor Palpatine made really valid observations about the inherent flaws of the Rebel Alliance and just wanted to make the world a more equal and inclusive place. While the school considered it safe for the talk to continue, Sarkeesian decided to pull out of the event because the school was barred by state law from disallowing legal guns on campus during the event. “They’re lashing out because we’re challenging the status quo of gaming as a male-dominated space,” Sarkeesian says.

Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency YouTube videos have endured frequent and sustained ire and harassment from many gamers who have gone on to become Gamergate proponents—just read her mentions on Twitter, or the comments on just about any blog post that mentions her work in a positive light. His satirical conservative stance provided Sarkeesian with the perfect setup to articulate her thoughts on the issue. “We are talking about ethics in gamer journalism,” Colbert playfully warned Sarkeesian. “Do you understand how huge that is? Since he’s a man, chances are Colbert won’t wake up today to a barrage of death and rape threats, one of the main points of his interview with Sarkeesian. “Why do you think women are being threatened? It’s a war cry that has been turned into a running joke, which is something that will tend to steal the thunder from your movement, no matter what it’s about.

Because it’s almost entirely women being threatened in Gamergate,” Colbert said. “[Former Minnesota Vikings kicker and loud opponent of Gamergate] Chris Kluwe talked about this. But the second accidental result of GamerGate is that the feminist critics and developers they’ve been trying to silence have been given an absolutely enormous amount of airtime across mainstream media outlets as a result of their harassment. If we can’t trust ‘Entertainment Tonight’ or TMZ, where would we be?” Sarkeesian fired back with the argument that turning GamerGate into an ethics-in-journalism debate “is a compelling way to reframe the fact that this is actually an attack on women….It’s actually men going after women in really hostile, aggressive ways. Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn, the holy trinity of GamerGate villains, have all gotten their names in print or their faces on air from outlets from the New York Times to MSNBC (Sarkeesian also recently penned her own NYT op-ed).

In recent years, the definition of “gamer” has expanded, with adult women now considered the largest demographic in gaming thanks to huge growth in mobile and social games. Gamergate pushback came from those who don’t necessarily want to make room for those games or see them as legitimate, especially compared with console games, something Kluwe articulated in a recent post for Medium: When people think of “gamers,” I want them to think of Child’s Play, and athletes who play competitive League of Legends, and all the normalization we’ve accomplished over the years. GamerGate has turned to “neutral” parties like YouTube’s Total Biscuit, who in turn hasn’t attacked the games press at their request, but rather invited them to speak with him about the issues at hand.

And for all this talk of boycotts of various sites, traffic is almost universally up among gaming sites this fall, as GamerGaters like reading about themselves in print more than avoiding the articles they claim to despise. Representative who relaxes by playing first-person shooters! “Let’s call this what it is,” Colbert said. “You and the other feminazis in the gamer world are coming for our balls to snip ‘em off and put ‘em into a little felt purse and take ‘em away so we have to play your non-violent games, right?” Sarkeesian started to answer: “There is something going on, and what it is is women being harassed and threatened and terrorized — ” but Colbert cut her off. “After you first attacked male gamers for enjoying looking at big-breasted women with tiny armor that barely covers their nipples,” he said, leaning in to play up his signature brand of faux-sincerity. “What is wrong with that? From the very beginning, it’s been hateful trolls who have propelled Anita Sarkeesian from random person trying to make a YouTube video series for $6,000 to penning NYT editorials and guesting on Colbert. Obviously she’s a great critic as well and her actual supporters have helped her rise also, but without all the hate she’s endured, it’s likely she would never become the industry icon she currently is today.

This is why you hear claims of “false flag” attacks all the time, when 4/8channers realize that their dastardly plans to silence these women have gone awry, so really it’s them faking death threats against themselves to raise their profile and attract more media attention. This is of course a complete and utter lie, but these groups can’t police themselves effectively at all, and it only takes one of their craziest members to sign up to Twitter and unleash another torrent of threats.

It’s right there in Sega Genesis.” “No matter what all these feminist critics say, I’m not ashamed of my hobby — that’s why I do it alone in my basement,” he said. “Because news flash: What I do in a video game doesn’t reflect the way I act in the real world. It was taken by NYMag’s Adrian Chen, who followed around 8channers and GamerGate supporters as they met up in real life, got drunk and partied at a strip club. I’m in no way mocking their appearance because I was one of these kids years ago, awkward and often alone, and enamored with a dozen different nerdy pursuits, video games included (note: I am still awkward and love all the same nerdy things). But back then, the internet wasn’t as much of a widespread place to vent anger, and connect with others who wanted to vent the same sort of anger as you.

I recently read another NYT op-ed that wondered if video games could survive GamerGate after it’s put such a black mark on an industry that up until this point appeared to be thriving. GamerGate has been a hugely negative movement, but in the end, has only strengthened the resolve of those it’s tried to target the most, game journalists and female industry figures.

And from time to time there will be serious ethical breaches from specific people at specific outlets, as is the nature of any form of journalism, yet that doesn’t need to bring about condemnation of an entire industry. If this myriad of voices requesting “better” games journalism believes they have solutions to the problems that exist in the industry, I hope they can turn from complaining on Twitter to making their own outlets and attempting to fix what problems they see (be they real or imagined).

But when your rallying cry has become a meme and your most hated figures are garnering support and sympathy and having their message broadcast to the entire world, I think it’s hard to imagine you’ve accomplished any of your goals.

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