Feminist Gaming Critics Mocked for Moral Panic over E3 Game Trailers

id Software/Bethesda Softworks
id Software/Bethesda Softworks

Video game publisher Bethesda Softworks had its E3 showcase on Sunday, June 14. The studio premiered role-playing game Fallout 4, first-person shooter DOOM, stealth title Dishonored 2, and strategy card game The Elder Scrolls: Legends.


But Bethesda’s more violent titles were met with dissatisfaction from feminist critics Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh, the pair behind the Feminist Frequency video series which critiques games and the gaming industry.

Stealth game Dishonored 2 seemed like the perfect fit for Sarkeesian and her co-writer McIntosh, as gamers can choose to play as a male or female character and can also choose to complete the game by not killing anyone at all. However, Sarkeesian and McIntosh were still unimpressed. Aside from the following tweets, others were redacted after receiving critical responses.

This statement seems a bit odd when considering that defenders of modern feminism claim the movement’s goal is equality for all genders when they are accused of promoting misandry.

Sarkeesian and McIntosh also lamented the violence displayed in both DOOM and Fallout 4.

But a distinction between fiction and reality was absent from these critiques and others. Without context, Sarkeesian’s tweet could describe a real-world mutilation, that which, unlike violence in media texts, bears direct real-world consequences. While McIntosh’s discrimination between violence in video games and movies likely stems from the person’s ability to passively watch or actively create the violence, the violence itself is still fictional.

McIntosh initially tweeted that there must be “something deeply deeply seriously wrong with anyone” enjoying the violence on display in the DOOM reveal, but later deleted it.


His attempts later to try to frame gamers criticizing his attacks on the game as being overly defensive seemed disingenuous as a result of his earlier statements.

Here were some gamers’ responses:





One commenter noted the tendency of gaming critics never to be satisfied.


The mocking continued:




But some of the more genuine comments highlighted an ideological disparity between gamers and the feminist critics that seek to regulate the industry.


This libertarian mindset, which supports open dialogue and an analytical public sphere, is not shared by Feminist Frequency, which has authoritatively blocked comments on its videos since well before #GamerGate. Feminist Frequency and #GamerGate have taken drastically different routes at E3; while the cultural critics continue to complain and conflate real-life and fiction, #GamerGate supporters have started a gaming journalism ethics initiative named Deepfreeze.it, which aims “to supply a reader with easy-digestible information to determine the reliability of an individual writer or outlet.”

This latest faux-outrage comes in the wake of #GamerGate blocklist creator Randi Harper’s accusations of author Vivek Wadhwa trying to “silence women” and “profit off feminism” in an Amazon book review that did not actually address the book’s content. Amazon removed the review, and well-known Gothic-horror author Anne Rice publicly condemned Harper’s bullying tactics.

Follow Rob Shimshock @Xylyntial on Twitter.


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