There are a couple of inspirations for this post, first among them Anita Sarkesian, better known as @femfreq on Twitter and the creator of Feminist Frequency, a sometimes great, sometimes awful YouTube channel devoted to dissecting how women are portrayed in video games and media. Sarkesian is at worst kind of an idiot, and at best someone of reasonable intelligence whose work is lacking a certain critical lens and a healthy amount of quality control. The other is this post by a friend of mine on how the public reacted to Miley Cyrus’s performance at the VMAs.
Sarkesian doesn’t allow comments on her videos and I’ve never seen her respond to mentions on Twitter. Which is understandable because the vast majority of the people that disagree with her, or have problems with some of the points she makes, can’t get past criticizing her for her gender with words like slut, whore, bitch, cunt, and actual rape threats. Yes, this is a thing that happens. As my friend points out in his post, we’re not very good at coming up with healthy legitimate criticisms of women who (in our minds, because most things are subjective) suck at whatever they’re attempting to do.
A large part of the reason for this is because the aforementioned terms are easy and thoughtless. People feel wronged in some way and they want to elicit the largest response in the least amount of time while expending as little effort as possible. This is essentially why Michael Richards said ‘nigger’ a whole bunch of times a few years ago.
It takes effort to sit down and say “I hate this…okay why do I hate this? What did this person do ‘wrong’ and what could they have done better?” If all you can come up with is a bunch of four and five letter words, or a bunch of code words for those four and five letter words, you’re a bigoted misogynist. Hooray.
Unfortunately that leads to those in charge bending over backwards to satisfy those idiots instead of taking a stand on behalf of the women they employ. It’s why we end up getting force fed a bunch of generic pretty blondes in sports instead of the actual brilliant women that exist in sports media. (And apologies to those who happen to be both.)
Debasing women in this way doesn’t aim towards any laudable goal, just the inevitable landing point of things being shittier for all of us.