Anita Sarkeesian is controversial because honestly, a lot of gamers on the Internet are seventeen, they still think feminism is “hoes up, bros down,” and are unable to take any sort of criticism about any aspect of their life, especially when it’s one with merit. As a result, whenever Sarkeesian rolls out a new video about misogyny in video games, Twitter becomes a river of poison. And Joss Whedon, for one, has had enough of it.
Honestly, whenever misogyny in the gaming industry comes up, there are one of a handful of responses: “Chicks don’t game anyway,” “She’s just listing off stuff from Wikipedia,” and “She’s wrong because I say so.” The last one is the easiest: Just look up how many rape/death threats Sarkeesian gets for saying “Hey, sometimes video games don’t treat women very well! Maybe they should stop doing that!”
To tackle the first two, yes, they do game quite a bit. But even if they didn’t, so what? That’s not the problem. The problem is that culturally speaking, a game developer never stopped and thought “You know, maybe this is kind of creepy. Maybe I should consider another way of approaching the effect I want to create.”
Secondly, is Sarkeesian breaking new ground? As Whedon points out, it’s not so much the depth of the analysis as the sheer number of examples you can find. It’s not that one or two developers do this sometimes, it’s that almost all of them do that almost all of the time. That’s pretty damn depressing.
It’s not that video games need to stop doing things, it’s that they need to start doing things better. It’s that simple.