Why I’m Not Reviewing The Most Recent TvW…

28 May

Well, I was going to post a review on Anita Sarkeesian’s most recent Tropes vs. Women in Videogames in a followup to the last one, but I guess it’s going to have to wait. Possibly up to ten days.

Why? Because YouTube took it down. Sarkeesian posted on Facebook:

Looks like my harassers may have abused YouTube’s flag function to get my new Tropes vs Women video removed. Not the first time it’s happened. We are looking into the issue now and will update you all as soon as we know the full story and can get the video restored.

Official YouTube protocol requires some paperwork and up to 10 days’ wait to get a video restored that was flagged repeatedly (even if fraudulently), so it may end up taking that long before this one comes back, although hopefully the YouTube powers-that-be are aware that this was likely and are willing to move a little more quickly.

So why was it flagged? Possibly legitimately, as Sarkeesian’s original post stated that some of the content might be upsetting due to violence against women. It might be that the gaming companies whose products were featured wanted it removed for rights infringement (I don’t know which companies that might be). Or it might be what everyone seems to be assuming – that anti-Sarkeesianites have struck again with malicious intent.

Honestly, I hope it’s legitimate, not because I don’t want to see the video, but because at least then I can have some hope for human decency. But I highly doubt it. I’m sure it is what most people believe it to be, and that disgusts me. It disgusts me that women are still diminished, marginalized, and even attacked for speaking their minds.

Yes, in other places women have it far worse – institutionalized abuse and assault, unwanted circumcision and genital mutilation, cultural inferiority, and so on. And I think all those things should stop, too. But the fact that we are in a country that claims equality and still tacitly permits the silencing, ostracizing, and marginalizing of women should not be treated lightly (see Tudor Jones’s recent comments on women in finance or Fox news’s on-air treatment of women for non-gaming examples).

Permitting the smaller actions – like unfair flagging of Sarkeesian’s video – can produce a slippery slope: first flagging videos, then dismissing women’s voices from public forums, then excluding them from the workplace… As though all those things don’t already happen, to one degree or another. Refuse to allow them, and you (anyone) refuse to sanction the kind of actions that produce sexism and rape culture. Small steps, no matter how small, will eventually get us to where we need to be. Bigger steps move us faster, yes, but even the small ones move us forward.