Lots more online outrage this week, and while there are a lot of issues I’d like to talk about, thein the has been on my mind for awhile now. This is a very divisive issue in both the video gaming and table top communities, and I wanted to discuss a few mistakes I see being made in the Feminists’ efforts to change things for the better.
Before jumping in let’s discuss general argument technique for a moment. I subscribe heavily to the methodology of Dale Carnegie, the writer of “How to . He touches on a number of points throughout his book, attempting to teach the reader how to achieve their goals by winning people over to their way of thinking. Chiefly amongst the techniques he teaches is this: YOU CANNOT ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS BY WINNING AN ARGUMENT. I may be phrasing that wrong, but the gist is that even if you prove someone completely 100% wrong, you will have put them on the defensive. They will be bent against you, and in the end you will have failed to get what you wanted. This doesn’t mean you don’t assert your opinion, it just means you must be mindful that if someone believes in cause or idea then you have to exercise restraint in attempting to bring them around to your way of thinking. “
I’m not going to parrot the whole book here, merely stating that to lay down the groundwork for my overall point. In my opinion Carnegie’s technique is some of the best advice on how to win hearts and minds, and many folks in all walks of life would have much more success if they took the tenants from his book and practiced them in their daily lives.
Now, one of the worst things you can do is go on the attack against the other side, slinging insults at them as you go. Unfortunately, we see this all to often in many sensitives debates, such asand abortion. This is no way to get what you want, no one is going to magically come along to your line of thinking when you’re calling them a bloody moron.
I read this article a friend of my posted the other day entitled “Every Misogynistic Argument You’ve Ever Heard About Video Games”. This article made my blood absolutely boil, and the sad part is on a basic level I agree with the author. He correctly believes that the gaming community has a misogynist mindset, and that girl gamers are often treated poorly by the game developers and the gaming community at large. The part I don’t agree with is the way he asserts this. The way he gets his point across is the problem. Here is an excerpt:
“Get over yourself. Your greasy ponytail and
This is no way to change hearts and minds. In fact, if you’re looking to hurt your cause, then well done, because that’s actually what you’re doing. Even people who are flat out 100% wrong will stick to their guns if faced with someone flinging insults like that at them. I read over most of that article the first time I looked at it. I was trying desperately to find points that was actually a well made, or well asserted, and all I could find were some half way decent points backed up by generalizations and insults.
Not all feminist advocates in the gaming community are this bad. Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency is generally pretty good about asserting her opinions in a level headed manner on her and blog posts. She has several series of videos on a variety of topics, and while I don’t always agree with her, at the very least she gets me to listen even if I object to some of the points she makes.
The only issue I have with her is I feel that she occasionally, like many other blog authors, will bait the community as a whole in an effort to prove her point by saying “GOTCHA!” when they respond just as she intended them to. For example, after Microsoft announced the new Xbox at E3 she made a sort of snarky post on Twitter.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) June 10, 2013
I understand her frustration here as a female gamer. I think she’s right in that there could be more female protagonists in the current and upcoming generation of video games. The above post could have likely been worded a little better, however, as the gaming community had quite a lot to say in response. She posted the worst of the responses on her blog “Twitter vs Female Protagonists in Video Games”.
Were the responses justified in saying what they did? No. Did she perhaps put them on the defensive by the way she worded her post? Yes. Was she perhaps baiting the community into responding the way she knew they would? I think so, but I can’t be 100% certain of that.
I don’t want you to misinterpret what I’m saying. I am pretty much on the side of the folks that say we need to take a healthy look how we treat women in gaming. The point I am trying to make here is the same point I make to folks in the Marriage Equality and abortion debates. You cannot rush in guns blazing and force these people to see your side of things, and then make fun or lash out at them when they refuse to see the light. That doesn’t work. This requires a softer touch than that.
Feminists need to examine their tactics if they want to see a change, because otherwise they are just hurting the very cause they feel so strongly about.
- Twitter Trolls Take Aim At Feminist Blogger (huffingtonpost.com)
- Video Game Culture – Community (instabyte.wordpress.com)
- Strong-female protagonist game jam kicks off in Vancouver to fight industry sexism (business.financialpost.com)