Open letter to Anita Sarkeesian

Gaming, Social Issues
Updated:

First Damsel in Distress Video

Second Video | Third Video

Thunderf00t’s response

Part 2 | Another non-sexist anti-trolling rebuttal | A very thorough critique of Sarkeesian’s conclusions

Oh man, you stirred up quite the hornet’s nest. Say, it’s no good that you’ve been harassed, but you should *absolutely* respond to thoughtful critiques of your work. At the very least, you should respond to Thunderf00t’s video. Some of his comments are a tad ad hominem, but he’s no troll. You need only respond to genuine rebuttals. Right now, it looks as though you’re casting all refutations of your arguments as harassment, and I doubt that’s what you mean.

Here are just a few questions it would be productive for you to respond to, or at least think about:

  • Do you believe that the only, or primary, source of negative backlash against your work are people who are committed to propagating patriarchal dominance?
  • In your third video, you said: “A true subversion of the trope would need to star the damsel as the main playable character. It would have to be her story.” Are you sure that there are no other ways to subvert that trope? Is that really the only way to turn it on its head? Are you suggesting that people who don’t design games with the storyline you specify are always endorsing a negative stereotype? Is Zelda Link’s story? Is Link Zelda’s story?
  • Is Lara Croft an example of an empowered female protagonist or a sex object? You should certainly share your views on her, because I don’t think the answer is easy.

I strongly encourage you to respond to intelligent criticism of your work. You’re making more enemies than you need to by whitewashing the very understandable umbrage taken by the “gaming community” due to the severity of your accusations. If you suddenly show up at a LAN party and say “All of your favorite games promote sexism, and you as well unwittingly do so” to a group of, for the most part well-read and experienced individuals, of course you’ll get a ream of negative response. To then characterize that response as typical of the people who disagree with you is simply intellectually dishonest.

Please do not make it so easy for people to lampoon you. Tell us why you think Thunderf00t’s analysis misses the point. Or maybe there is some veiled harm in Chris Carter’s cool-headed refutation?

What say you?