If you are a person who gets their video game news from the Penny Arcade Report, this won’t be new to you. If you’re a person who doesn’t read video game news much at all, this is not a post that will enhance your views of the subculture.
The article is here, and I strongly recommend you read it. I’m going to be summarizing the issue pretty succinctly, so it’s definitely worth a read.
Cross Assault, a Capcom-sponsored event is “the world’s first fighting game reality show.” It features ten contestants, with half being experts of the Street Fighter games and other half being highly proficient at Tekken. Since the show is streamed live online, there’s evidence on the web of all of the reprehensible behaviour that was featured on it.
The primary individual I’m going to be writing about is Aris Bakhtanians, the coach of the Tekken team. To sum up his stance on women and fighting games, he’s quoted as saying that sexual harassment and the fighting game community are “one and the same thing.”
The victim of the harassment in this case is Miranda “Super Yan” Pakozdi, a member of his team. She forfeited a match due to mistreatment by her coach. Below is a video of the first day of the show. Below that are quotes pulled from the clip, in case you didn’t want to hear/watch all of that.
Miranda vs. Sheri mud wrestling cage match, what do you think, Miranda? [. . .] That’s the theme, mud wrestling. And then I get the winner?
How does Miranda smell?
Miranda, I want to know your bra size.
I want to hang a Mona Lisa in the ladies room with the eyes cut out.
That’s all from the first four or so minutes of the video. I’m not certain of whether or not all of the quotes can be attributed to Bakhtanians.
The Tekken coach did email Patrick Klepek at GiantBomb.com with a full apology. To sum up where he’s coming from, he cites the origins of the fighting game scene in arcades as a large part of the subculture. People trash-talked a lot back then and he is, in part, afraid that bringing this world into the public eye will censor a lot of what created it in the first place.
This was a combination of the people taking things out of context and my own inability in the heat of the moment to defend myself and the community I have loved for over 15 years.
In other news, yesterday podcaster/writer Mur Lafferty posted on her website a response to a New York Times article from last year titled “‘Tough, Cold, Terse, Taciturn and Prone to Not Saying Goodbye When They Hang Up the Phone.’” In the article Carina Chocano derided the “strong female characters” that appear in pop culture are defined primarily by being the “strong, silent type.” She also complains that the aforementioned women also show little to no traditionally feminine traits.
Lafferty’s post, “Strong Female Characters, My Own Definition” argues that these characters do exist, and that that they’re “[women] who can take action, who [aren’t] passive.” The following quote was also the one featured on i09’s article [where I discovered the articles]. It’s a good one.
Strength is taking charge of your own destiny and not waiting on others to do so. You don’t have to swear and drink and beat people up and slay monsters. You’re allowed to cry and take care of children and cook and get your heart broken and dress up and date and get pregnant. But when decisions have to be made, a strong character makes them and doesn’t wait for someone else. When a monster is chewing on your true love, you hit it with a stick (or pick up the sword that’s RIGHT THERE.)
I also highly recommend reading both articles, as Lafferty’s fuller, more complete definition manages to soundly trump Chocano’s.
To end this all off with my favourite subject, comics, Kate Beaton, Carly Monardo, and Meredith Gran created Strong Female Characters last summer, a clear parody of how they saw women portrayed in the media. With names like Georgia O’Queefe, Queen Elizatits, and Susan B. Assthony, these are three ladies who know how to pose while showing off as much of their assets as [in]humanly possible. They featured in a decent number of strips, all hilarious, which can be read at Kate Beaton’s site here.
This has been attitudes towards feminism in the past week. Three.
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