Saturday, 25 October 2014

Anita Sarkeesian's Sexist Exploitation of a Mass Shooting

I've been procrastinating about writing a blog regarding Polygon's low Bayonetta 2 review score since they posted it last week but this couldn't wait. As some of you may know, there was a school shooting yesterday in Marysville, Washington, leaving two people dead (including the gunman) and four others in critical condition.

I woke up this morning and went on Twitter to see the following tweets from Anita Sarkeesian:

There are a few good reasons to bring up mass shootings with regards to debating an agenda. To discuss the possibility (or necessity) of gun control laws. To point out the poor record of supporting mental health issues and campaign for change.

To push a ridiculous, pseudo-scientific claim about "toxic masculinity" is not a good reason. It's nothing but shameless exploitation of a tragedy to push a sexist agenda. According to Anita the problem isn't guns. It isn't failure to diagnose and treat severe mental health issues. It's men. "Toxic masculinity", to be more specific.

It's one thing to use such a disgustingly sexist phrase as that but acting like pointing it out is helping men -- "this is how patriarchy can harm men too" -- is just ridiculous. Imagine applying the phrase "toxic" to any other characteristic of any other demographic and acting as if it's actually for their benefit. "Toxic homosexuality", for example.

Edit: Created this for Twitter, so I figured I'd post it here too. Feel free to spread it around.

I've already written about the patriarchy argument and how it fails to get to the root of many serious issues that affect men and women. Let's assume for a minute that the patriarchy exists; has the patriarchy ever described a characteristic innate to men as "toxic"? No, yet Anita is happy to do so. How exactly is the "patriarchy" harming me? They aren't stereotyping my entire sex in the way that a popular feminist is happy to, nor are they saying there's something wrong with me just for being male.

As Cathy Young's tweet above points out, it's important to keep in mind that this isn't Anita throwing out her "toxic masculinity" phrase as part of a TEDxWomen or Conference talk. She's branding mass shootings as something inherent to masculinity. Not only does it ignore female mass murderers but paints it as a male problem. Then claims that she's "helping" men by telling them.

I wasn't the only one to point this out but it has to be said: Anita Sarkeesian is now on the same level as Jack Thompson. For those who don't remember, Jack's big claim was that the Columbine massacre was the fault of gamers and he used it to fuel his anti-gamer crusade. Anita is doing the exact same thing and using a mass shooting to promote all the sexist views she wants. She even took the opportunity to plug a book that she had written a blurb for on the back cover:

Left-click for larger view.
Understandably, Anita's sexist exploitation of a tragedy caused some backlash against her. Rather than taking on board the criticism and considering making an apology, Anita did what she always does; claims she was harassed. It's almost reached the point of self-parody:

Yes, Anita actually claimed that a backlash against exploiting a tragedy to push a sexist agenda was "hate". I don't think I've ever used the phrase "professional victim" to describe Anita, as others have, but it's an accurate description; she poses as a damsel in distress to gain further magazine interviews, newspaper coverage and talks about being harassed. This is no different and I don't see any reason why it wouldn't happen; following the shootings by Elliot Rodger in May, feminist bloggers and journalists leapt on the opportunity to blame "male entitlement", "male rage" and "male privilege". Laying mass shootings at the feet of men is apparently common amongst modern feminist "hipsters with degrees in cultural studies" (as the wonderful Christina Hoff Sommers put it when describing Anita's video game criticism).

After this, I don't want to see anyone claiming all Anita is doing is "making videos about wanting equality in video games", as Anita has claimed in the past during her talks. That was never true. The same applies for those who say "feminism is for equality". This is just another example of how that is not the case. In fact, if there are any feminists, especially feminist gamers, this should be the straw that breaks the camel's back when it comes to reasons to denounce Anita as your spokesperson. If the flawed arguments, the bias, stealing videos from others without permission, stealing artwork from others without permission, the whole "prostituted women" instead of "sex workers" controversy and dismissing male victims of domestic violence didn't do it, this should.

In the link I just posted about part two of Anita's Damsels in Distress video, I wrote "her heart may be in the right place". Obviously, I withdraw that statement. There is no reason for any moral person to support Anita Sarkeesian or anyone else who would exploit a tragedy to push their own agenda. More than that, she is a prime example of why I refuse to support modern feminism. I actually follow plenty of feminists on Twitter who I like but it goes without saying that people like Anita Sarkeesian have made the feminist movement about misandry. Not equality.

This is a picture that I posted back in May, following the Elliot Rodger shootings. It's as true now as it was then:

Credit to Europa-Phoenix.
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