Many thanks to Linda for supplying the following transcript 😉
[0:00] Thunderf00t: So Feminist Frequency has put a lot of work, and research, into her latest video of “Tropes vs Women”:
[0:07] Clip: “Each video in this new series will be between ten and twenty minutes long, with well-researched, in-depth analysis”
[0:13] Thunderf00t: Indeed, Anita told us just how seriously she would take the research on this video:
[0:18] clip: “As you might imagine, this project requires an enormous amount of research”
[0:21] Thunderf00t: -using her skills as a “pop culture critic”
[0:24] clip: “As a pop culture critic”
[0:25] clip: “Now, I’m a pop culture critic. I am a feminist, and I’m a woman”
[0:29] Thunderf00t: To make sure that this was very well-researched:
[0:32] clip: “This is an incredibly ambitious project because of the scope and scale of the research and production involved”
[0:37] Thunderf00t: Well let’s just see how well-researched this video actually was, shall we?
[0:41] clip: “So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the damsel-in-distress”
[0:45] Thunderf00t: For instance, she describes Double Dragon Neon, like this:
[0:48] clip: “Most recently, Double Dragon Neon in 2012 reintroduced new gamers to this regressive crap, yet again. This time in full HD”
[0:56] Thunderf00t: -without mentioning that the game Double Dragon Neon ends like this:
[1:09] some guy: Awww! Right in the baaalls!
[1:13] Thunderf00t: Which I kid you not, she then goes on to describe like this:
[1:16] clip: “-pattern of presenting women as fundamentally weak, ineffective, or ultimately incapable, has larger ramifications beyond the characters themselves. And-“
[1:24] Thunderf00t: Yeah. That’s right. The game that ends with Marian, breaking a twenty-foot tall, super-space lich man in half like a toothpick, by punching him in the balls, is apparently:
[1:36] clip: “the pattern of presenting women as fundamentally weak”
“or ultimately incapable”
“has larger ramifications beyond-”
[1:47] Thunderf00t: I think we’re gonna have a fundamental disagreement about what constitutes “well-researched” here, Anita. Now, this really wasn’t the best damsel-in-distress you could’ve used in your first “Tropes vs. Women” video.
I mean, really, did you have to start with a straw man in the title? Do you really think that tropes as specifically adversarial to women? Maybe I should title this video in a reciprocatively fair fashion. Maybe something like: ‘Feminism versus Facts’. You know, not just scoring on the parody, but on the alliteration as well.
[2:21] But like I say, Feminist Frequency’s ability to find patterns that don’t exist, is rivaled only by her ability to miss the most important, and bloody obvious pattern of all: these games are not made to keep feminists happy. These games were not designed to subjugate women. These games were designed to be fun to play, and thereby make a profit for the designer. And this is the point [that] seems to have completely eluded Feminist Frequency during her twenty minute analysis. And yeah, this does mean that in the case of the original Double Dragon, that if you’ve only got about seven seconds to explain the plot—trust me, seven seconds. I timed her—then the characters are obviously gonna tend to be fairly one-dimensional, and the storylines, simple.
The damsel-in-distress of course, is just one of the simple story lines you can set up very easily. Why? Because most people in healthy relationships care for each other and therefore, immediately willing to make significant sacrifices for their loved ones.
Indeed, the very fact that they’re willing to make such sacrifices does not show that you are thinking as your partner as the “ball” in the “game of patriarchy”-
[3:34] clip: “I’ve heard it said that in the game of patriarchy, women are not the opposing team. They are the ball.”
[3:39] Thunderf00t: -but it’s in fact a token of how much you care about them. I mean, let me just give you a couple of scenarios here, Anita. Billy’s girlfriend gets punched in the stomach, and abducted by a gang of thugs. Which of the following options defines the healthier relationship? That, he immediately sets out, risking his own safety to try and protect his loved ones. Or that he decides, ‘she’s a grown adult and can look after herself’. And then goes home to polish his car.
[4:09] clip from American Beauty: “1970 Pontiac Firebird. The car I’ve always wanted, and now I have it. I RULE!”
[4:14] Thunderf00t: Personally, Anita, I think that most women would regard the latter, as a relationship-ending lack of commitment. But Anita’s take on an abducted loved one, is a little different.
[4:26] clip: “One way to think about a damseled character is via what’s call the subject-object dichotomy. In the simplest terms, ‘subjects’ act, and ‘objects’ are acted upon. The subject is the protagonist, the one who the story is centered on, and the one doing most of the action.
So the damseled trope typically makes men the subject of narratives, while relegating women to the role of object. This is a form of objectification, because as objects, damseled women are being acted upon. Most often becoming or reduced to a prize to be won, a treasure to be found, or a goal to be achieved.”
[4:58] Thunderf00t: Or a loved one to be helped. I mean, Jesus girl, you are one sick puppy. So in your mind, if my girlfriend gets abducted, I can’t want to protect her. Or to keep her safe, without turning her into an object.
[5:12] clip: “-while relegating women to the role of object. This is a form of objectification, because as objects, damseled women are being acted upon.”
[5:19] Thunderf00t: I mean, damn. I thought I was cold. But that—that’s inhuman. Even the raptors in Jurassic Park showed more empathy than that. I mean really, by your feminist reasoning here, hospitals—you know, the places where patients come to be “acted on”—are actually ‘objectification centers’, where people are turned into merely objects to be acted on. And doctors—they’re not medical help providers. They’re the biggest objectifiers of all. Or the police. When someone gets abducted, are the police now to sit idly by because they can’t help without turning the abductee into an object? Yeah, it’s something they learned in Anita Sarkeesian’s “feminism class”. And this is the “well-researched” feminism that you weren’t taught in schools.
[6:04] clip: “-including seven new bonus videos, and a classroom curriculum”
[6:07] Thunderf00t: Yes, it really is this simple. It’s a sign that someone cares, that they are willing to make these sacrifices.
[6:13] clip from Star Trek (2009)
[7:21] Thunderf00t: This is a concept powerfully understood by almost anyone, with a sense of human empathy. Now sure, you can overanalyze this till you come out with your desired conclusions. Like, how selfish George was to rob his pregnant wife of a sense of agency by acting on her, and turning her into an object in the game of patriarchy. But your game, not only displays an inhuman lack of empathy—it’s facile.
Look, I’m gonna use this exact scene that you take from Dragon’s Lair in your Damsel in Distress video. And use my “well-researched” “pop culture critic skills” to come up with a similarly bogus conclusion to yours:
‘Have you ever noticed how men in games, almost always fall into one of the few stereotypes or clichés? We have to remember, that this regressive sexism is turning men into one-dimensional, clueless objects incapable of solving even the simplest of problems. Like, cages are locked with keys.’
[8:23] clip from Dragon’s Lair
[8:26] Thunderf00t: ‘-without the cerebral intervention and puppeteering from an intellectually manipulative woman. It’s simply turning men into barely house-trained Neanderthal objects, for the purpose of doing the dangerous work for a woman.’
[8:41] some guy: “I’m starting to feel bad. Like, I love my girlfriend Marian. But like, these guys didn’t actually do anything”
[8:52] Thunderf00t: ‘We have to understand that such derogatory stereotypes are detrimental to our society and our cultural ecosystem. But to see really how much this regressive crap degrades men, you only have to compare how many ways there are for the princess to die in this game versus the knight. That’s right, the whole game is one purpose-built, giant death-trap for the man. And whereof by some miracle he survives, he wins the honor of being puppeteered for some object by the princess.
Or, for that matter, let’s compare how many coherent sentences either can offer. The knight’s only dialogue in this entire game is screams, and of muffled screams, as he’s killed over, and over, and over again. Why couldn’t he be a thinking hero, who talks to the dragon and thoughtfully negotiates a mutually agreeable settlement? Why does this game have to dehumanize the man, by making his only course of action killing things?
[9:52] I mean you say as much in your own video. ‘Yes, it’s the “beat-‘em-up” trope being used here to propagate the socially harmful myth that men are unthinking psychopaths who can only solve problems by beating them up, or killing them. You watch this media, and yet you fail to see the blatantly misandric elements in this game. Like this woman, punching a man, as spitefully as she can in his sexually reproductive organs. It’s a deeply symbolic gesture of how much these games despise men, by causing them as much pain as possible, while simultaneously stopping them from reproducing.’
[10:32] some guy: “Awww! Right in the baaalls!”
[10:36] Thunderf00t: ‘How simple do you need this hatred of men in these games to be? Now I’m not saying that all games that employ such tropes are automatically tying to reinforce and amplify the socially harmful stereotypes that men are easily controlled, brainless, fighting, troglodytes. But this does help to normalize extremely toxic, patronizing, and demeaning attitudes about men.’
[11:04] But like I say, you can overanalyze this to you leisure until you can parlay it into whatever desired conclusions you want. But it won’t change the real fact of why these games are like they are. Because they serve a market. It’s basically the same reason there are all these beauty magazines; because they serve a market.
[11:27] And it’s the same reason that you in your videos wear lipstick, eyeliner, nail varnish, and those big girly earrings. It’s not because you’ve made this conscious decision that women are naturally too ugly and unappealing, and therefore need to use these appearance-enhancing cosmetics. Although, I’m pretty certain that if a certain pop culture critic feminist were to be researching and analyzing your very video, she would happily bundle you into one of a few stereotypical women in the media, concluding that you’ve simply become a chill girl and sister-punisher by donning the Barbie-pink bondage-shackles-of-patriarchal-expectation by adorning yourself with attention-grabbing trinkets and by painting your face to resemble mild arousal.
[12:15] Trust me, it would be just as trivial to pin you into the role of the willing servant of this non-existent, scheming patriarchy as it was for you to parlay the damsel-in-distress into a systematic attempt to subjugate women.
No. You, like they, serve a market. The market you serve is telling feminists that they are oppressed. If you really thought there was a market for these feminist games, why not do the empowered-woman thing and lead by example, and design and market these games successfully yourself? I suspect that you know full-well that the reason these feminist games don’t exist, is not because the patriarchy is conspiring against you. It’s simply because there’s not a market for them.
[13:03] Look. Let’s be honest. We both know the free market doesn’t care what your ideology is. It only cares if it will turn a profit. Yeah. What you’re proposing is not viable. And this is why you’ve shown this masterly reluctance to cash in on this goldmine of feminist gaming that you think is out there. And this is the fundamental reason why you are a critic and not a creator. I mean, why take the risk of making a game that will almost certainly be an expensive failure, when you have this guaranteed market of selling the idea that ‘you are being systematically being oppressed by the patriarchy’, to feminists?
But the sad thing is, even if they did make this game exactly as you wanted—you know, like that game you were lamenting at the beginning of your video:
[13:52] clip: “The game was to star a sixteen year old hero named Krystal, as one of two playable protagonists. She was tasked with travelling through time, fighting prehistoric monsters with her magical staff, and saving the world. She was strong. She was capable. And she was heroic . . . Pretty cool, right? Well, it would’ve been. Except the game never got released.”
[14:18] Thunderf00t: And it’s a good thing it was never released, too. Because if it had been, it would’ve simply helped to ‘reinforce sexist, and downright misogynist ideas about women.’
You see, if your comprehensive research had included the master’s thesis of the feminist, Anita Sarkeesian . . . Oh. Well, if your research had actually included your own master’s thesis, titled, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You: Strong Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy Television”, you would’ve realized that—I’ll let this guy explain:
[14:49] clip from Instig8iveJournalism, “Anita Sarkeesian Part 1: The College Graduate: “She argues that strong, empowered, female characters still aren’t feminist because they’re only pretending to be men . . . According to her, any women in a TV show who shows strong leadership, is only doing so in a charade of strictly masculine trait . . . the second diagram illustrates what she wants TV to give her. Once again—at odds with herself. Notably, she proposes significantly fewer positive feminine traits than positive male traits, with women hilariously unable to show confidence, or self-control.”
[15:17] Thunderf00t: Not only that, but in your feminist world, ‘strong’ is only a favorable attribute for the masculine.
[15:25] clip: “She was strong-”
[15:27] Thunderf00t: This is just what it’s like to play this game of constantly moving goal posts, with this sort of feminism. It doesn’t matter what the game that’s made is. The conclusion will always be:
[15:40] clip: “games tend to reinforce and amplify sexist, and downright misogynist ideas about women.”
[15:46] Thunderf00t: However, the part in your video where you go from finding patterns that don’t exist, to La-La Land, is here:
[15:52] clip: “The belief that women are somehow a naturally weaker gender, is a deeply ingrained, socially constructed myth. Which of course, is completely false. But the notion is reinforced and perpetuated when women are continuously portrayed as frail, fragile, and vulnerable creatures.”
[16:09] Thunderf00t: Uuhh.BULLSHIT. You see, we are part of a sexually dimorphic species. That is, males and females, tend to have different physical characteristics. Look, the reason that we divide the Olympics up by sex, is not because we are inherently sexist. It’s because men and women tend to have different traits. On average, in the upper body strength, it’s almost fifty-percent difference. Ugh, come on. Tell me again how this is really a myth.
[16:38] clip: “The belief that women are somehow a naturally weaker gender, is a deeply ingrained socially constructed myth. Which of course is completely false.”
[16:46] Thunderf00t: I’ve not seen this study yet. But I’m gonna go out there on a limb and predict that there will be no correlation whatsoever between the number of damsel-in-distress video games and the ensemble differences in the upper body strength between men and women.
[17:01] However, many who take a few seconds to read the Wiki page on ‘sexual dimorphism’ in humans, might come across this, where someone seems to be suggesting exactly that: “The smaller differences in the lower body strength may be due to the fact that during childhood, both males and females frequently exercise their leg muscles during activities like running, walking, and playing. Males, however, are socially pressured to enhance their upper body muscles, leading to a wider difference in upper body strength” (Wikipedia, “Sexual Dimorphism)
[17:31] But this is the cute thing—when you actually take a closer look at those references, and you find this: “The Gender and Science Reader brings together the key writings by leading scholars to provide a comprehensive feminist analysis of the nature and practice of science.”
And just, take that to heart for a second. A ‘feminist analysis’. Not an objective analysis. Not a scientific analysis. A feminist analysis.
[17:59] Now let’s compare that to some of the other studies like: “One study of muscle strength at the elbows and knees—in 45 and older males and females—found the strength of females to range from 42 to 63% of male strength. Another study found men to have significantly higher hand-grip strength than women, even when comparing untrained men with female athletes” (Wikipedia, “Sexual Dimorphism”)
Hmm. And both of those from peer-reviewed scientific journals. I think I’m almost to the point where I can track down the difference between objective scientific research, and feminist research.
[18:37] clip: “As you might imagine, this project requires an enormous amount of research.”
[18:40] Thunderf00t: I’m now also firmly of the opinion that one of these has a place to be taught in schools. And the other, doesn’t. I also note in passing, Anita, that you have disabled comments and ratings on your video. Which, has become the standard line of people on YouTube who peddle bullshit that cannot stand up to public scrutiny. I also note the reason you say you’re doing this, is a claim of victimhood. But let me offer you an alternative suggestion. The pushback you get, might mention that you’re a woman.
[19:12] clip: “I’m a woman.”
[19:13] Thunderf00t: But it’s not because you’re a woman. The pushback that you get might mention that you’re a feminist.
[19:20] clip: “I am a feminist
[19:21] Thunderf00t: But it’s not because you’re a feminist. Now the reason you get this pushback, as, I hope this video has amply explained, is because what you say is bollocks”
[19:34] clip: “Now, I’m a pop culture critic”