Dear Anita Sarkeesian & Jonathan McIntosh E3 Is Not Your Soapbox

Dear Anita Sarkeesian & Jonathan McIntosh E3 Is Not Your Soapbox

After a good solid year and a bit of refusing to cover the topic, Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh have became a problem. They may have been at the forefront of a movement that has brought in change and awareness, but that message has long been tainted by those few looking to further their name, and salary, rather than their cause. I don’t speak for anyone but myself, I don’t subscribe to any movements across social media, I’m just another quiet voice on the internet, merely expressing a concern and distrust.

For those who have followed the astronomical rise of Anita Sarkeesian, it’s hard to not have a opinion on her. Some see her as modern day icon, others see her as a false prophet. However way you look at it, she has power and influence, the problem is, she’s wasting it for further herself and not a cause. Her Tropes Vs Women In Video Games video series is where she made her name. Slated as a in-depth look at how women are portrayed in video games. This series was successfully funded, and only some of the videos followed.

 

The series resulted in both Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh being placed in a position of influence, with immunity from criticism and question. This was the case until recently, both Sarkeesian and McIntosh have started to take liberties with their offence, showing their lack of knowledge or interest in the media at the same time. With every big release, or reveal, both of them would take to twitter to project how said game was furthering some kind of social issue. The Witcher 3 was a recent target for McIntosh who showcased a huge lack of knowledge of the franchise, resulting in social media (his most powerful tool) being turned on him.

Both McIntosh and Sarkeesian have bee suspected of telling lies when it comes to their connection with video games. Videos have been floating around the internet now providing proof that they had no prior interest in the media, this has became increasingly more evident.

While E3 is seen as a time for celebration for video game consumers, it’s seen as another marketing opportunity by Team Fem Freq. Bethesda kicked off E3 with a wealth of fantastic showings of their most popular franchises Fallout and Doom. Both games are 18 rated, both games have a legacy. Doom is known for it’s gore, it’s demonic themes, the balls to the wall shooting. This was unacceptable for Sarkeesian, who blasted the violence on show, as well as looking down on those who cheered at the brutality on screen.

This was the first of many complaints she projected, but the Doom jibs resonated with me the most for various reasons. Doom is what Doom has always been, to expect anything else is stupid. It’s the same as turning up to a Saw film and expecting to see a romantic comedy. The main reason I hold such disdain towards her tweets was the fact she started to look down on the people who enjoy Doom. As someone who enjoys a number of things that are often judged as ‘lesser’ entertainment (MMA, grind house cinema, horror films) I’m well aware of how snooty people can be. Anita is looking down at people because she sees them as lesser beings, purely because they like something she does not.

 

 

Her reaction to Doom was not that of simple dislike, it was much deeper, much more venomous. She didn’t simply just look past the game as something she is not interested in, she targeted it as a harmful creation. The snobbery is palpable, you can almost feel her sneering at those enjoying action displayed on screen. This wasn’t Doom, this was a ‘problem’. It’s bizarre to think that anyone in 2015, who claim to have a long running interest in video games, can still be shocked by Doom’s violence. Anita is constantly in a state of flux with what she’s actually offended by, but one thing is clear, if it’s an adult game, then it’s inherently ‘wrong’.

That’s the key thing in play here, Adult games do not sit well with both McIntosh and Sarkeesian, and neither do a lot of ‘kid’ games. If it has blood, a male character that has any ounce of masculinity, then the game is looked down on. Doom is not trying to make a statement on modern society, it’s not a analogy, it’s a video game where you battle Hell with shotguns and chainsaws.

It’s fine to not enjoy violent video games, but claiming they’re ‘not normal’ while looking down at their fans, that’s ignorant. Violence without context is worthy of criticism, but Doom’s violence has context, which is fact that is lost on Team Frem Freq. It’s frustrating that Anita does not seem to understand the appeal of Doom, or what Doom is, or even has a ounce of respect for Bethesda/ ID.

The lack of respect is running theme throughout Team Fem Freq’s feedback on Bethesda’s E3 showcase, and a running them of theirs in general. There’s a chilling touch of Mary Whitehouse to the reaction to Doom, a genuinely creepy similarity between the two ‘figures’ of pop culture of modern times and the past. As they, history has a habit of repeating it’s self, and this seems especially true, with both of them amassing the same levels of vocal detractors.

 

Dishonored 2′s inclusion of a female lead was also bemoaned, purely because the game offers a choice of genders to play as. This was the lowest of the low, a true white flag in the sinking Fem Freq ship which resulted in a number of replies on twitter. Once vocal supporters of Fem Freq even began to question her. It seems like nothing is ever good enough, unless it fits her exact criteria for is, or isn’t, sexist. This was Dishonored 2′s official reveal, on the biggest stage of them all, and the female lead took center stage, but all because the player had a choice between playing a male or female, it was considered a ‘saddening’ reveal. You can have your cake, eat it, and still be utterly displeased it would seem.

Anita’s reactions towards Fallout 4 supports the concept she struggles to accept adult video games. After the crafting system was shown in all it’s glory, her first port of call was to instantly relate back to video game violence. With a sly backhanded compliment she tweeted ”The #Fallout4 crafting system is cool. Imagine how much cooler it could be if it wasn’t SO focused on building stuff to kill other stuff.” It’s not yet clear if Fem Freq has ever played a Fallout game, let alone even seen one before E3, but the core concept of the game is apparently lost on her.

One of the primary themes of Fallout, from day one, is survival. The world is ravaged, people are on the brink, supplies are limited, it’s human nature turn primal in this environment. It all comes back to the point about the violence having context. You can’t talk a Deathclaw out of mauling you, regardless of how high you speech level is. You can’t sit down and debate the ethics of killing with a fire ant. You survive by killing these creatures, you can also survive by talking your way out of situations, a fact she blissfully ignores, or is unaware of.

 

These last two tweets sum her up perfectly. She makes bold statements, and uses a social issue a shield to fend away legitimate criticisms. There’s plenty of video games that focus on human interaction, with little to no violence. Did she honestly expect the likes of Doom and Fallout to drop their weapons and became some sort of bizarre ‘talk it’ simulator?  Her tweets, much like McIntosh’s, display their lack of familiarity with the games, as well as their biased approach to adult titles. Bethesda made no secret of what  they were showing at E3, yet Anita still came armed and ready, complete with a dislike towards violence in video games.

To her, this was not a opportunity to see these games running, it was merely a business opportunity she could exploit, like a leech, sucking the blood from actually talented people. When your career and relevance solely relies on how many issues you can create, should we be shocked by Anita Sarrkeesian and Jonathon McIntosh’s behavior?

Neither of them want to progress the industry, nor do they want a better product for me, you, or anyone else. They want to keep creating the issues, keep creating the sensationalism. They are not people who enjoy games, they are people who enjoy power and accolades,  even if that means stomping on the hopes of a movement, while dehumanizing anyone who dare question them. E3 is not your soap box Anita Sarkeesian, it’s not your next pay day Jonathon McIntosh.

 

 

 

Sean Halliday


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