Conservative Group to Video Game Gender Critics -- "Stand Down"

American Enterprise Institute's Christina Hoff Sommers says gender critics "do a lot of cherry-picking and they ignore the fact that the world of gaming has become inclusive."


The conservative-minded American Enterprise Institute has released a video that addresses the recent issues in the video game industry regarding sexism and misogyny. Resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers outlines her stance in her Factual Feminist video above, saying that the debate surrounding these controversial topics is superficial, created by "gender police" who don't have much of a real argument.

"Now gamers are dealing with a new army of critics: gender activists and, I don't know, hipsters with degrees in cultural studies," she says. "And these critics are concerned that gaming is largely a hetero-patriarchal capitalist pursuit. Why, they ask, isn't it more inclusive? Why must there always be male heroes? Why are females portrayed either as damsels in distress or sex objects?"


Sommers acknowledges that critics have "made some useful points" about sexist tropes and narratives in gaming, but claimed that "they do a lot of cherry-picking and they ignore the fact that the world of gaming has become inclusive."

Overall, the gender critics are skipping over important facts in an effort to destroy the "male video game culture," Sommers says.

"There are games that fit a vast array of preferences and games with responsibilly proportioned and appropriately garbed female protagonists," Sommers says. "Yet the video game gender police have become so harsh and intolerant; relentless. Many of them want more than women on both sides of the video screen. They want the male video game culture to die."

Also in her video, Sommers points out that it shouldn't be much of a surprise to learn that men are often drawn to video games that feature male heroes and sexy women. "Could that be because they are, uhh, male? There is no evidence that these games are making males racist, misogynist, homophobic," she says.

In fact, Sommers argues that data shows that millennial males, those born and raised in a time when video games were all around them, are "far less prone to these prejudices than previous generations."

She goes on to argue that calling out games for the way they often feature male characters is like arguing that it's not fair that shows like Oprah or The View, or women's magazines, privilege the female perspective.

Sommers' video also uses footage from Feminist Frequent creator Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes vs. Women in Video Games video series. Sarkeesian recently made headlines after she published Twitter posts and emails that documented threats to her life as a result of her criticisms about gender issues in video games. Sommers says the "new culture critics" have latched onto these attacks, using them to prove that there exists a "patriarchal pathology" at the heart of gamer culture, when in fact this is not the case.

"I have spent the last few weeks looking into the gamer culture, talking to gamers, looking at the data. I don't see pathology or imminent death. What I see is a lively, smart, creative sub-culture consisting mostly of tech-savvy guys from all over the world. But also including a small, but distinct group of very cool women. If you love games, they don't really care about your age, your race, your ethnicity, your gender, your sexual preference. They just want to game. My suggestion to their critics--stand down."

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

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