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.
Leave a comment below, send an e-mail to themalesofgames@gmail.com or follow @TheMalesOfGames on Twitter.

29 comments:

  1. In my eyes, whatever sympathy, whatever respect I may have had for Sarkeesian, if I ever had any for her at all, is gone. I officially hate Anita Sarkeesian. No, I don't mean I detest what she represents, I mean I detest HER. While before many have called her a plagiarist, a con artist, a liar, and a thief, we can now, with solid evidence, call her a heartless, inglorious bitch. May her career end soon, not in a blaze of glory, but like a whimper in the night. May her character be forever mocked not just in gaming, but also in academia. May her name forever become synonymous with academic dishonesty, opportunism, toxic feminism, and everything negative in feminist critique of gaming. And of course, may the victims of this shooting rest in peace, and may their families be given justice.

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  2. I don't think I have ever encountered or heard from a single feminist in history that one could call sane.

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  3. I saw that brought up in one of the groups I follow on Facebook the other day, needless to say, I was not all shocked that Anita Sarkeesian or any of her ilk would stoop so low even if it did absolutely leave me appalled and disgusted. I can only hope that more people on the fence or with and open enough mind will see posts like this by Feminists where their mask is completely torn off and their vileness exposed for all the world to see. I don't are who you (the collective "you", not "you" as in the The Males of Games, I love all of your stuff, can't get enough of it) but you say crap like what Anita Sarkeesian did, you're not striving or pushing for any kind of equality at all, you're nothing but a sexist and just as bad if not worse than what you claim to be fighting against.

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    1. Well said, can't argue with any of that. Thanks for saying you love my stuff.

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    2. Thank you :) I might not always leave comments, but I'm definitely always reading whatever new pieces come out of you blog. They're always really informative and a good source of information, not to mention well-written too.

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  4. Each time there is a tragedy, you see people spit bullshit just to contribute to the media circus and sells their political agenda to the public opinions. Fact-check and investigation are thrown out the windows.

    SJWs (social justice warriors) claimed it was just an usual white male shooters and drew parallel with Ferguson but when they know he was a native American they go full damage control.

    I cannot stand the word "sexism" becauseit's synonymous for me with sensationalism, no investigation, no fact-check, buzzword and click-bait.

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  5. After doing some research, I want to add if Sarkeesian wanted to exploit so much the shooting she should at least congratulate the female teacher who at the risk of her life fought with the shooter and saved the other student's lives but unfortunately she didn't prevent the shooter's death.

    It would be too much for Sarkeesian to acknowledge the achievement of another woman.

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    1. Don't give her ideas. It's all we need for Anita to use that woman's bravery as a reason to be more sexist against men.

      In your previous comment, you mentioned the killer's race and that thought occurred to me too. After the Elliot Rodger shooting, there were articles about "white guy killer syndrome", even though he wasn't white. I was wondering if the same thing happened here.

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    2. About Marysville he didn't happen really due to shooter was revealed as a goldenboy native American. He was well-integrated in the school community, accomplished sportive with a brilliant future. People didn't understand his motivation because two of his victims were his cousins. It is said it's because he didn't stand his break up with his girlfriend.

      If he was white he would be another story.

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  6. Welp, I was just banned from TV Tropes for calling her a bigoted opportunist after she made those statements. I have no regrets.

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    1. Good for you. You did nothing wrong. She was both bigoted and an opportunist, so you were factually correct.

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    2. Yup. I knew I'd be banned for it, I was done with TVT anyway - might as well give the middle finger to bigots on the way out.

      Also, nice to see you're on Twitter. Followed!

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    3. Thanks a lot! I've followed you too.

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    4. I wish you would have screen captured your comments exactly. If all you did was post an opinion on a person without use of foul language, then you ought to show the world how people use censorship to censor opinions.

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  7. I seriously don't know what Anita wants anymore, or "feminists" like her want, in fact I don't know what SJWs want anymore. I mean, they complain and complain about everything, yet they don't propose a solution, they go hating and attacking people they don't know, for me that is more toxic than playing, let's say Bayonetta or Dragon's Crown because at the end of the day we make fan-art, videos, music, we have fun; they just make bitter post that will be forgotten when media decides to jump in another controversy Bandwagon, in the same way people stopped caring if a videogame was violent, satanic, racist, etc.

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  8. We need to seriously address connections between rape, vanity and toxic ideas of womanhood before more woman make themselves prone to rape.

    Not a coincidence it's always women and girls who get raped. The pattern is connected to ideas of toxic femininity in our culture.

    An important question few are asking: Why are 98% of rape victims female? Here's a 2012 article on the phenomenon. victimblamer.com/6942/but-what-...

    Rapes are one tragic consequence of a culture that perpetuates toxic ideas of femininity. This is how vanity can harm women too.

    Our culture is deeply sick when simply asking questions about how toxic femininity may harm women leads to hours of hate on twitter.



    And to dear Ms. Carolyn Petit:
    It is not "woman-hating" to want to examine & challenge the ways in which vanitied femininity harms women. Quite the opposite.

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  9. I recently posted a comment mentioning that Anita was stupid enough to tackle such an issue using twitter and added that it's ridiculous that she expects no backlash from this fiasco.
    I posted that comment on this website:
    http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/

    Guess what, my comment did not get past moderation. Hmm.... I wonder why......

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  10. As a gamer I keep to myself. I can only imagine what it must feel like to those that actually involve themselves in the industry and various communities.

    I just hope that Anita doesn't just fall. That she falls and takes it all down with her, so that in the future we can have women rising up and denouncing sexism in video games and misogyny in the gaming community, and people will take one look at them and go "Oh, it's the next Anita Sarkeesian". I'll be happy if we get a future like that.

    I'm also, as much as I'd like to not care at all about it, not freaking happy with the gamer identity being likened to massive evil beast or as bad as ISIS. Different topic altogether but seriously, why?

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  11. You never explained why 98% of mass shootings are done by males. You just gonna ignore that?

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    1. I can't answer that. I don't know the circumstances surrounding mental health treatment for the sexes in the U.S. nor do I know how easy it is to purchase weaponry. I do, however, know that the U.K. has produced serial killers like Rose West, Myra Hindley and, more recently, Joanna Dennehy who haven't had "toxic masculinity" to blame for being murderers.

      Likewise, you criticise me for ignoring male shooters but I didn't see Anita Sarkeesian bringing up Valerie Solanas; the feminist who wrote the SCUM Manifesto and tried to kill Andy Warhol and two other men. If she'd succeeded, that 98% figure -- if it is indeed true -- would be lower. So where do we place the blame for Solanas' actions? "Toxic femininity"?

      Regardless, placing the blame for a horrific crime at the feet of all men is a disgusting stereotype. Note the Photoshopped tweet in the blog above and how inappropriate and offensive it is. It's the same as blaming child abuse solely on women or theft solely on the black community. Anita Sarkeesian's misandry deserves to be called out and she has no place offering a criticism on gender issues when her own views are so biased and offensive.

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  12. And, yes patriarchy does affect men in sexist ways. You have any ideas how many fucking times in my life I have been looked down upon for "not being man enough" in many different situations of my life? Don't bullshit on it because you have your own "Man Power" agenda to promote.I'm a male and I disapprove of your message.

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    1. Objecting to sexist stereotypes is apparently a "man power" agenda now, whatever the hell that is.

      What's bizarre about your comment is you object to being referred to as "not being man enough" but you accept a feminist saying that mass shootings are due to masculinity. How on earth is this "patriarchy" being sexist towards you here, unless Anita Sarkeesian is part of it?

      I've already written about the imaginary friend called patriarchy here, if you're interested:

      http://themalesofgames.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-problem-with-patriarchy.html

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    2. So what are you implying? That men are extremely prone to mental instability? I find that highly unlikely. It's society's pressure on males, a society run by men. Come on, dude, are you seriously trying to deny millenia worth of mankind that has had tons of patriarchal societies and think it has absolutely no impact on us today? Are you seriously trying to be delusional?

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    3. And, yes, I am of sound reason to accept that we, as men, have bias. A black man defending another black man has bias. A woman defending a woman has bias. Me trying to defend men is bias. I have come to learn never to accept bias opinion and statements, I always see what others perceive. Because to think oneself as incapable of wrongdoing is both egotistical and insane.

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    4. It isn't a case of men being more prone to mental instability but for it to be less socially acceptable for men to open up about their problems and therefore mental illness going undiagnosed. The same criticism about not being "manly" enough you wrote about earlier is a perfect example. Men are expected to be strong and emotionless, unlike women who are encouraged to be more open. As for "patriarchy", I said all I needed to say in the blog post but again, blaming men for all of society's ills is just a dumb, sexist, illogical, anti-scientific, overly-simplified scapegoat. How you can you so readily accept people that say "toxic masculinity" is the reason for mass shootings and men are to blame for all society's ills, absolving every other group, but object when someone says "you're not manly enough"? I'm sorry people have said that to you but you're accepting something so much worse. Like trading a punch in the chest to a knife in the face.

      You're right to say "to think oneself as incapable of wrongdoing is both egotistical and insane" but what is blaming "patriarchy" for all society's ills if not feminism attempting to avoid taking responsibility for wrongdoing? There's evidence of NOW opposing shared parenting, feminists groups suppressing data showing men are as likely to be victims of domestic violence as women and feminist groups opposing a "shovel-ready" stimulus plan after the recession because it was too "male-dominated" (as blue collar professions were the ones hit hardest by the recession).

      As for men showing bias, men have actually been showing to have in-group bias at a far less severe level than women:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15491274

      And although I welcome open comments on my blog, I must ask that you do not refer to me as "delusional" or any other insults.

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    5. Apart from mental health issues, men and women might have different patterns when dealing with that, either due to socialization or biology. Men commit more mass shootings, yes, but murder over all is more equal and women are more likely to commit certain kinds of it, such as infanticide. The methods of killing also differ. Poison is more often used by women and very unlikely to be used in a mass shooting.

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  13. Going back to the topic of gaming, when are people like Anita Sarkesian going to do what was done in the past and create her own video game company to make the games she wants to see (like this example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivia_Records)?

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  14. The comparison to homophobia is completely nonsensical.
    1. Pedophile rape is not nearly as skewed towards gay as mass shootings are skewed towards men.
    2. Pedophile rape (and rape in general) is committed by men overwhelmingly, meaning you could even be proving Anita's point.
    3. Toxic masculinity has nothing to do with being a man. If you spent 5 minutes googling you would know that toxic masculinity is just a set of social norms that encourage men to express their emotions by engaging in violence and penis measuring instead of more healthy outlets. Being a man does not immediately make you "toxic" like you are trying to imply with this comparison to pedophilia.

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    1. Alright, allow me to make a different comparison; with the exception of sexual abuse, all forms of child abuse are committed by women more than men.

      If I created campaigns saying "teach women not to abuse children" or "don't be that girl" regarding child abuse, it would come across as sexist. If I invented nonsensical, BS-riddled pseudoscience about "toxic femininity", it would be (rightly) mocked by the majority, who wouldn't take it seriously, and considered sexist by those who would.

      Saying "toxic masculinity =/= men" is such a cop-out. It's like saying "patriarchy" is not used to refer to men, even though it's a term used to describe men and used when talking about how the evil patriarchy oppresses women.

      "Toxic masculinity", if anything, is an even more ludicrous term in the way you're describing it; firstly, you're saying things like violence is a masculine trait, which is offensive in itself and ignores violent women (or have they been influenced by "toxic masculinity" too)? You've assigned a negative trait as "masculine" and then are saying we should move away from it, which is incredibly insulting.

      Secondly, just the concept that "masculinity has nothing to do with being a man" is ridiculous. It's like saying acting has nothing to do with movies. It makes no sense. Masculinity is not the inherently evil characteristic you've decided to brand it as. Ludicrous attempts like yours to paint it that way is why people view feminism as a movement not focused on equality but one that has done more to widen the gap between genders by being more sexist that the groups they claim to be fighting against.

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