Let Zelda Be Zelda

The damsel in distress cliche, enshrined in our video games.
This is fantastic. I’ll definitely be watching more of Anita Sarkeesian’s videos.

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23 thoughts on “Let Zelda Be Zelda

  1. I love Anita’s work. She’s informative, clear and provides succinct evidence to support her conclusions. It only saddens me more when defensive people rise up to call her conclusions erroneous in order to bolster and protect their own opinions, much to the detriment of our society.

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  2. Just saw this:
    Father hacks ‘Donkey Kong’ for daughter, makes Pauline the heroine

    When Mike Mika saw the disappointment on his daughter’s face when she realized Pauline wasn’t a playable character in Donkey Kong, he felt a call to action. Thankfully Mika happens to be a competent developer, and after a few late-night hours spent hacking the NES version of Nintendo’s classic, he accomplished the role reversal his daughter had wished for. Mario was now under Donkey Kong’s control, and Pauline was tasked with rescuing the plumber in distress.

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  3. Watching the whole things makes me wonder a bit about the influences in my own life. As it turns out, I never played many of the games she showcased, and the ones I did play, I never got into much. It is an interesting thought exercise to consider how I might be different if I was enthralled with such games as a child or young adult.

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    • How is that at all a “counter”? It’s a bunch of well-poisoning, ad hominems, strawmanning, and red herrings.
      Here are each of the person’s “counters”:
      1) “Anita closed comments on her videos.” Irrelevant to the content of the video’s arguments.
      2) “She picked on Nintendo!” She said that this was only part one of her discussion of the damsel in distress trope.
      3) “Sure, Peach got kidnapped a lot, but it’s a running gag!” That’s Anita’s freaking point! This is a trope. This person clearly has no clue what a trope is.
      4) “Only Mario is able to defeat Bowser. Only Link is able to defeat Ganon. This is why Peach/Zelda are not the heroes!” Completely ignores the question of why Mario and Link are the only ones who can defeat them (assuming that’s even true). Also ignores the fact that the reason they are fighting is to save the princess (which is the trope Anita is pointing out!). This is not a counter to the trope, but evidence supporting its existence.
      5) “The game is NAMED AFTER ZELDA!” Irrelevant.
      6) “I hate the re-imagining of Peach/Zelda. They are fine as they are.” Doesn’t counter the trope or demonstrate how it’s wrong. It shows that this person buys into the trope as a useful plot device.
      That attempt at a “counter” is quite laughable.

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    • I’m sorry, but you completely lost me at

      The announcement video was bombarded by a whole host of misogynistic comments on YouTube and that would garner Sarkeesian even more attention. She used those comments and posted screen captures of them on her blog to supposedly highlight the ignorance of her detractors, but this was a calculated decision.

      Yes, being bombarded by a whole host of misogynistic comments and then showing them to people only “supposedly” highlights the ignorance of her detractors while it’s actually a calculated decision.
      Because she should have mind controlled people into not doing misogynistic things to her, or should have hidden it, or at least not mentioned it, or something.
      Also:

      Donations were closed on June 16, 2012. By then, Sarkeesian received $158,922 in pledges from 6,968 donors. It took her until March to actually post a video in her series. Even if she did purchase more video games with that money, she made out like a bandit.

      It fascinates me that people don’t actually need to wait for her to actually complete her project (and in many cases, even start releasing any of it) before going off about she “made out like a bandit.”
      1) How in the bloody hell would you know? Where did you get your information on what she’s done and how much it cost?
      2) Do you think that “making out like a bandit” is somehow a bad thing? Are we going to whack on Dawkins for making lots of money off of the God Delusion?
      3) You talk about “even if she did purchase more video games” as if that’s somehow in doubt. Are you claiming that she didn’t?
      And please, for the love of squid, don’t go on about how she got way more money than you think was reasonable for the project. People freely decided to give her the money. If you think it wasn’t worth it, take it up with the masses.

      Sarkeesian knew about the level of support and opposition she really had, and that would play a role in mid-2012.

      Anita Sarkeesian: Mind controlling psychic. Not only is she at fault for the way people treated her, but she knew it would happen!
      She should just stick to picking lottery tickets. She’d make a fortune!

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    • Oh, and I forgot to include this:
      There is a painful irony is seeing

      The announcement video was bombarded by a whole host of misogynistic comments on YouTube and that would garner Sarkeesian even more attention. She used those comments and posted screen captures of them on her blog to supposedly highlight the ignorance of her detractors, but this was a calculated decision.

      alongside

      And I think that this anger was stoked by the way in which she monitored the comments. The positive comments (and some that opposed her, albeit less aggressively) would be approved on most videos, which the rating bar may or may not be up. That created a positive environment for her supporters, and it was even more jarring when she allowed all comments to be shown when she announced her Kickstarter project. In the meantime, Sarkeesian knew about the level of support and opposition she really had, and that would play a role in mid-2012.

      and

      First, as TAA mentioned, no comments are even allowed on the video, so even the supporters are being silenced.

      So, if she shows the misogyny she is receiving, it is a calculated decision designed to help her “make out like a bandit.” If she doesn’t, she is “monitoring” and “silencing.”
      Oi.

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      • I didn’t write that article, I linked to it. And if they are criticizing the game/franchise for what it is, then maybe don’t play it?
        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HateDumb
        “The Genre Alien: The Genre Alien is a rather amusing hater, a less focused version of the Foe Yay variety. They will make it clear that they utterly hate a genre, or a series. Nevertheless, they seek works in that genre out. They see examples of it and then complain how much it sucks. Interestingly, they are likely to criticize stuff that makes the genre what it is. (For instance, they might complain about kiss scenes in romance movies, blood and swearing in Die Hard, or soft rock band America not being “heavy enough”.) They may be constructive, or attempt to be constructive, but when they start complaining about Fundamental Genre tropes as “weaknesses” or suggest rewriting the show in its entirety and changing the story to fit how they would view it as an improvement, (This is not considered constructive criticism in the creative writing field) then it pretty much stops being constructive criticism and starts to veer into “Destructive Criticism” territory. This brings out a subspecies called The Mad Editor.
        The Mad Editor: This is a subspecies of the above. This person frequently suggests a complete rewrite of the work, but they view it as improving it, even if it involves Flanderizing or Bowlderizing the work, completely derailing the characters, or complete genre-shifts and abandoning the work in its entirety. This very often overlaps with the Periphery Hate Dumb. These people often break out in vicious flamewars with types of Fan Dumb, making it hard to discern who is who. Remember; constructive criticism is an attempt to tell the creator how they can do it better the way they want to, not how you want to.”
        And he wasn’t saying she tricked people into insulting her, merely that she used the fact that they insulted her to her own advantage as a way to try to silence legitimate criticism.
        I personally have been trying to get a message through to her (which contains no insults or sexism or anything offensive, just asking what she is doing with all of that money specifically) and she has censored and ignored and refused to respond to it.

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      • “And if they are criticizing the game/franchise for what it is, then maybe don’t play it?” – This I would consider a typical tell-tale sign of sexism, racism or misogynism. “If women don’t like being groped in the bus, then maybe don’t take it?” Thanks for putting it in your very first line, it tells me immediately what you are like, and saves me from reading the rest of your lengthy post.

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      • I didn’t write that article, I linked to it. And if they are criticizing the game/franchise for what it is, then maybe don’t play it?
        I’m having trouble following the logic here. By that argument, if you don’t like the “Tropes vs. Women” series, then maybe don’t watch it or read about it? I mean, it’s clearly labelled as “media criticism from a feminist perspective”, so it’s not like you don’t know what to expect.
        I personally have been trying to get a message through to her (which contains no insults or sexism or anything offensive, just asking what she is doing with all of that money specifically) and she has censored and ignored and refused to respond to it.
        I’m sorry, but how is that any of your business? Do you routinely write to authors in genres that you don’t even read, and ask them for a full accounting of how they spend the advances that they get from their publishers? That’s just insulting and offensive, no matter how politely you phrase the question. Getting ignored is about the best you can expect.
        Really, this obsession seems a little unhealthy. You know, there’s probably a new book out in some genre you like. I bet you’d be a lot happier if you read that instead of stressing over Anita Sarkeesian.

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      • Clearly you didn’t watch Anita’s video. She stated quite bluntly that she enjoys these games and plays them, but it’s important to recognize the problematic ways that games and pop culture replicate stereotypes and sexism.
        What, exactly, has been the “legitimate” criticism of Anita Sarkeesian? The link you gave contains no legitimate criticisms, as I pointed out earlier. Besides, before she closed comments on her older videos, I saw her often engaging with people questioning her videos. I think you severely underestimate the amount of shit going her way since Kickstarter.
        Further, unless you’re a backer, you have no freaking place to ask her how she spends her money. This was not a publicly funded program that you are somehow entitled to information about. It was all private donations. Plus, she’s explained how she’s using the money if you go actually read some of the stuff she’s written and said since the Kickstarter project ended. She does not owe you any explanation or any response–quit being so self-righteous.

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      • Hell, she asked for a little, and the massive outpouring of cash came after she started getting dog-piled by sexist shitbags.
        Had she decided to use that money to take a 6 month tropical vacation to recover from that, I’d have considered it equally well spent.

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  4. So the existence of a video game is equal to being groped now? What, is someone tying you down and forcing you to play these games at gunpoint? Are the games sprouting legs, walking out of the store, and invading your house? What bullshit.

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    • “So the existence of a video game is equal to being groped now?” Feigning ignorance to further your cause is silly. The type of argument is equal. It’s a template. “If you think X is Y, don’t do X”, where X is something any person should be able to do under normal circumstances, and Y is something unpleasent for a subset of people wanting to do X. If women want to play video games (why shouldn’t they?) but encounter sexists tropes every step of the way, that’s wrong, period. You don’t tell them to not play, you denounce it. Instead, you think it’s fine, defend it, and tell women to take a hike out of game land. That is exactly the stereotypical sexist, misogynist gamers behaviour we’ve come accustomed to, and which should be eradicated by the roots, starting with the game companies themselves.

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  5. sez matthewlaboratory: “So the existence of a video game is equal to being groped now?”No, it is not, nor do I know of anyone who has argued that the “the existence of a video game is equal to being groped”. If you do know of any person who has made that argument, please do direct this question at them; directing this question at people who have not, in fact, made that argument… well, it does not reflect well on your intellectual capacities, reading comprehension in particular.
     
    “What, is someone tying you down and forcing you to play these games at gunpoint?”
    Again: No. Again: I do not know of anyone who actually is making the argument you’re sneering at. Again: This is a question that would be best directed to people who are, in fact, making the argument you are sneering at. Again: Directing this question at people who are, in fact, not making the argument you are sneering at, is a peculiar act which reflects poorly upon your reading comprehension at minimum, and may also reflect poorly on other aspects of your intellectual capacity.
     
    “Are the games sprouting legs, walking out of the store, and invading your house?”
    Yet again: No. Yet again: I do not know of anyone who is actually making the argument at which you’re sneering. Yet again: You really ought to direct this question at people who actually are making the argument you’re sneering at. Yet again: Directing this question at people who are, in fact, not making the argument at which you sneer, does not reflect at all well on your reading comprehension, and may also be indicative of related flaws in your intellectual capacity in general.
     
    “What bullshit.”
    Yes, the arguments you sneer at in your comment are indeed bullshit. Since none of those arguments are actually being made by anyone I am aware of, least of all Anita Sarkeesian (or Paul Fidalgo, for that matter), I fail to see what the point of your comment is.

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  6. And let me add another note on my own: The argument that “everyone gave their money freely” doesn’t work, because consider this.
    Let’s say you have a friend who needs a new TV. Being generous, you decide to buy them a TV and give it to them. But then you find out that 100 other people have also given your friend a TV. Naturally you would expect your friend to give back all of the TVs save one, right? After all, he/she doesn’t need 100 TVs. However your friend decides to just keep them, because everyone gave them of their own free will (even if they weren’t aware that your friend had more than enough TVs already).

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  7. And one more thing: As the writer of the blogs I linked somehow confused Dawkins with Darwin, I’ll answer this one myself too:
    “2) Do you think that “making out like a bandit” is somehow a bad thing? Are we going to whack on Dawkins for making lots of money off of the God Delusion?”
    If Mr. Dawkins had announced his intention to write an atheist book, and asked a bunch of anonymous strangers to donate a certain amount of money to him to pay for it, and ended up getting a lot more money than he asked for/needed, and refused to give it back, then yes.

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  8. @MatthewLaboratory #9: “Let’s say you have a friend who needs a new TV. (…) Naturally you would expect your friend to give back all of the TVs save one, right?”
    No, I would not expect that. I would expect they’d sell the 99 TVs and donate the money to charity, or use it to fix something else in their lives. That’s for example what Avicenna did when he needed a new laptop.

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  9. Well then you must be rich enough to not care that you bought and gave away an expensive TV to someone who didn’t need one.

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