TLF: Digital Damsels in Distress

31 May

After the debacle the other day in which the second installment in Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs. Women in Videogames was taken down off YouTube due to flagrant abuse of the flagging system, I was quite pleased to note that YouTube got it back up quickly (which of course confirms the erroneous nature of the flagging… *sigh*).

Now that YouTube has restored Damsels in Distress Part 2, I do actually have something to say about it over at The Learned Fangirl. There are other voices out there, as well, including Destructoid, which labels the video “about as inoffensive as that last one,” which, while not a ringing endorsement, isn’t condemnatory, either. Jason Thibeault refers to it as “nonexistent” over on FreeThoughtBlogs, and then spends most of his post talking about its removal from YouTube (edit: To be fair to Jason, this term was used as a reference to continuous comments he received from trolls back when the Kickstarter got going that Sarkeesian was going to “take the money and run,” and isn’t a slur against the series in any way). In a slightly more positive (rather than apathetically neutral) spin, Andrew on GeekNative says that “it’s an intelligent commentary on the role of women in video games…from a feminist point of view,” and then pretty much leaves it at that.

And it should be telling that these are about the only things I found that weren’t simply reposts of the video saying “Here it is!” So while this post was really only going to link to my thoughts and those of others, when I tried to find others who had something interesting to say, I discovered that I had more to say about that.

So why aren’t we paying more attention to what Sarkeesian has to say than we are to the fact that her video was “down” for several hours? Why is it being termed “inoffensive” and “nonexistent”? And why are these the most negative terms appearing in media when there are clearly hordes of slathering trolls flagging the video to get it pulled?

Honestly, I find the lack of conversation almost more disappointing than I would if the trolls were setting fire to the internet, because if there are trolls bearing torches, then that means that the villagers have revolted, and in this context, that can’t be a bad thing. I want people to have things to say – positive, negative, whatever. What I don’t want to see is apathy, because apathy leads us to complacency, and that’s exactly where we were and why Sarkeesian started this whole thing.

So I’m going to do my little bloggy part to start a flame war, set fire to a few pairs of misogynist pants, and hope to set off a few sparks that will breed something bigger.

4 Replies to “TLF: Digital Damsels in Distress

  1. Just so you know, I only referred to it as non-existent because prior to the videos hitting YouTube, I was at one point inundated with anti-Anita trolls claiming she’d taken the money and run. Bit of an in joke aimed at my regulars. Sorry for any confusion.

    • Oh, I remember that, and I assumed that was at least part of what was going on, but the fact that no one IS talking about it at the moment except to really say it got taken down really lends a kind of deep irony to the term.

      I didn’t intend my use of the term to be condemnatory of your post – I made one the other day about the clip’s disappearance from YouTube, too. I just found your term and post more worth quoting than the plethora of “Hey look it went away!” posts I found elsewhere.

      • Heh. No worries. And yes, that’s definitely worth discussing here. While the false flag tactic was odious, the actual contents of the video are way more worthwhile topics of discussion.

        If I see any trolls anyplace, I’ll send them your way. Flame on! 😀

  2. I boosted signal on the video but I was 1) massively busy around the time it came out and 2) very sick for two weeks after that. There were interesting things in the video and a few I hadn’t thought about in the way that she presented them, but not fundamentally anything that I want to debate online. I think it’s a good video, and I’m likely not the target audience.

    Also to be honest, I was kind of upset about how the first video was received by online feminists and I’m not interested in picking nits about it (which is what a lot of the “debate” I saw seemed to be). She’s not going to make some sort of magic bullet that ends sexism forever. :/

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