Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Be a Grownup

(related: Today's article at The Escapist re: Men's Rights Activism an NO MA'AM)

I find myself wishing that I disagreed with friends and colleagues on "important" matters more than I do, because it would be greater evidence for the truth that I don't really fall into ideological lockstep with... well, any one thing, really. You can swear up and down that you own more than one pair of shoes, but if someone has only ever seen you wear the one pair you can't really prove it.

In the spirit of that: I don't agree with some of the points made/research cited in the finale few minutes of the most recent Tropes vs Women installment - at least not in the broadest sense. I do, in fact, think that while the ability of art and media to influence the psyche, beliefs and even behavior of those who consume it is undeniable; that it's also entirely possible to not be influenced (in a negative way or to a tangible degree) by it.

I know this because I have played more violent video games and watched more sick/depraved movies than almost anyone I know - along with viewing pornography, sleazy softcore television, occasionally attending establishments like Hooters or even strip clubs - and yet my actual real-life beliefs and behaviors still get me labeled a "Social Justice Warrior" by the Interweb troll community. There's two possibilities to be drawn from that: Either I'm some kind of superior, next-level evolution of a human being capable of consuming and processing "ugly" media without negative effects... or any human being of sufficient intelligence and self-awareness can do so. I'd like it to be #1, but it's probably #2.


Those final bits at the end aside (it would be inaccurate to call it the episode's "conclusion") ...if you're a gamer (a person, really, but a gamer especially) and you can watch the succession of clips involving sex-worker NPCs in games (beginning at about 5:23) and not be just a little bit fucking embarrassed for the medium, I just don't know what to say to that. Much like the montage video laying out the depressing sameness of gaming protagonists from this year's E3... it's pretty damning when you see it just laid out in the open like that.

Sidenote: This episode is particularly useful in laying out what the actual use/value of the series is about: Namely, using gaming as a specific reference-point to explain bigger points of feminist/sociological theory in relatable terms - in this case, philosopher Martha Nussbaum's "objectification theory" (see: 10:22).