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Entertainment, Movies, Television and Games!

Hello and welcome to the Lilith Press Magazine's section for articles about Entertainment, Movies, Television and Games! If you are looking for music there is a separate section for music.

Our purpose here is to introduce you to other forms of entertainment which will enlighten, educate and amuse you.

Sincerely,
Suzanne MacNevin
British-Canadian Feminist Writer


Gamergate: Lessons, Reflections and Moving Forward: Critically evaluating technology in the twenty-first century

By Saleem Daya - February 2015.

Most social media addicts vividly recall the “gamergate scandal.” To many, gamergate was merely a hashtag: a minor incident that waned into the digital sea of social media. Much like Kony 2012, or nonsensical mayan predictions about the end of the world, it became relegated to nothing but background noise: subtle whispers barely heard.

In reality, gamergate was, and is about something much more pervasive. It’s about something far more infectious, toxic and detrimental. It represents a distinct socialization process that promotes gendered oppression and expects complacency on the part of the oppressed. It is evidence of the reality that hierarchical thinking concerning gender persists as a dominant framework in society. This framework stipulates that women are instrumental in the sexual sense: that their utility and value is viewed only within the context of what they offer sexually and reproductively. In the most dehumanizing economic terms, the female body is understood as an object with diminishing marginal utility where utility is simply a matter of sexuality. Once a woman’s sexual utility is exhausted, she is discarded, effectively treated as an expendable asset.

GamerGate

Assuming that a portion of those reading this are male, I can only imagine some of your reactions. “C’mon. We have equality. We live in a democratic society. Woman are allowed to: vote, hold jobs. They’re given access to numerous opportunities. Hell, my boss is a woman. What are you talking about?” For a moment let’s forget about the logical fault of supposing that your personal experiences are somehow indicative of the lie that “everything’s ok.” Let’s also forget about statistics concerning gendered abuse, the glass ceiling, and female underrepresentation in practically every field with the exception of fields that have been traditionally viewed as female. Forget about the fact that woman on average are paid 77 cents on the dollar for the exact same job a male does , and forget about widespread sexual abuse and slavery which, statistically are much higher among woman .

And no, this is not in some distant “Developing” country on the periphery of human existence. This is within our continental borders: within the borders of societies that have come to define themselves around principles of justice, equality and freedom.

Your assertion of political equality lacks evidence. Consider for instance the issue of race. It is well known that incarceration rates are disproportionately high among visible minorities, with massive rates among Black and Latino populations. These populations are routinely subjected to discrimination and racism that manifest in systematic inequalities at the social and economic levels. Declarations of political equality mask sociological realities and lull civilians into a false sense of security. They “sanitize” history and establish a narrative that is far too self-congratulatory. It is a narrative that assumes an issue can be solved simply by saying so.

Declarations of political equality detach us from reality. They make us falsely believe that everything is ok, and thus we assume that inequalities that exist within and beyond our societies are the result of individual faults and not a result of a system that propagates them. The rhetoric of political equality thus evidently

How does this Relate to Gaming?

In many ways, the gaming industry assumes that everything is ok. They operate under the false misconception that the manner in which women are portrayed in games is entire socially acceptable. The Gamergate movement demonstrates a misogynistic and delusory understanding of gender thinking and its impact on the content and focus of video games. Anita Sarkeesian (a female gamer and feminist who was at the center of the gamergate scandal) poignantly asserts that woman are understood as background noise and as expendable objects in videos. She asserts that, often woman are used in the instrumental sense to confirm and validate notions of hyper-masculinity.

She furthermore asserts that women are treated as expendable assets and as objects to advance the plotlines of a predominantly male story. In her video entitled, Women as Background Decoration: Tropes vs. Women in video games, Sarkeesian demonstrates the degrading depiction and instrumentalization of women in video games. Most importantly however, she identifies the very real psychological and cognitive impacts of simply viewing sexually objectified female bodies – a recurring motif in video games. In the final minutes of her video Sarkeesian states the following:

“Studies have found that after having viewed sexually objectified female bodies, men disturbingly express less concern for the physical safety and well-being of women. Furthermore this perception is not limited to only sexualized women. In what's called the spillover effect, these sexist attitudes carry over to perceptions of all women, as a group, regardless of their attire, activities or professions. Researchers have also found that,after long-term exposure to hyper-sexualized images, people of all genders tend to be more tolerant of the sexual harassment of women and more readily accept rape myths."

These facts are important given, that video games are increasingly becoming a more immersive experience for gamers. The use of social media platforms and communication mediums within video games makes the experience of gaming a social endeavour, where gamers are able to connect and communicate with one another. This entails that the experience of gaming becomes more than simply an individual activity undertaken within an isolated setting. It comprises a community of individuals in constant contact with one another, transmitting ideas, and concepts within a vast network. Propagating ideas and reproducing narratives thus becomes an easy task.

Within the context of sexist and misogynistic content in video games, propagating and reproducing narratives of misogyny and sexism becomes easy. The Gamergate scandal illustrates this. Gamers were quick to respond to Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian with lude, disrespectful and sexist comments. In many cases, there were very serious death threats issued against the women that lay at the center of the issue. Gamers were able to leverage social media as a platform to reproduce and reinforce existing sexist conceptions of gender, conceptions which are ubiquitous in video games.

Even more worrisome is the role of technology in enhancing the gaming experience by simulating real life encounters. As graphics technology and AR (augmented reality) improve, video games are beginning to mirror reality in the extent to which they are able to engage gamers. This means that for many the game itself becomes a form of reality where the gamer is not simply an isolated individual controlling a character through a device, but rather where the gamer is the character itself. This is fact is vital considering that, even in the absence of AR technology, video games significantly alter perceptions of reality. In a study conducted by Nottingham Trent University and Stockholm University, researchers found that frequent gamers transferred elements of the video games they played into real life scenarios, an affect termed Game Transfer Phenonmena (GTP) .

Studies conducted by the National Research Council found higher physiological arousal and an increased prevalence of aggressive thoughts as a result of playing AR video games. This implies that, as Augmented Reality continues to penetrate the space of gaming, the cognitive and neurological impacts can be significant and severe. Considering that contemporary video games are laden with copious amounts of violence and sexism it is plausible to suppose that violent, aggressive and misogynistic behavior will become commonplace amongst gamers. This is especially alarming considering that gaming is becoming increasingly prevalent among all age groups. As a result distinct narratives about human behaviour are likely to be continuously reproduced unless tempered by an awakened conscious and an adoption of responsibility on the part of BOTH the gamer and the developer.

It is important that we recognize that gaming is not the experience of an isolated individual engaging in an emotionally detached activity. Gaming is in fact a very immersive and emotional experience. It is an attempt to enter a different reality in which the player is a central agent. With this activity, there exists a certain amount of responsibility as gaming can significantly shape distinct cognitive processes that in turn impact how we act within society. It is foolish and delusory to operate under the assumption that games do no harm.

Their impact is subtle, yet profound. We must critically evaluate how technology intersects with gender and begin to understand the ways in which it can be used to reproduce toxic perspectives and dehumanizing ways of viewing others. While the Gamergate scandal may have seemingly faded into obscurity, it reminds us of the responsibility that accompanies the use and development of technology. We should seek to channel technology to elicit the best in who we are rather than using it as a tool to reproduce destructive belief systems. It must be used as a tool to enhance and build upon our humanity rather than demolish it.

References

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/gender-wage-gap_n_3941180.html
  • http://www.equalitynow.org/node/1010
  • http://www.gamespot.com/articles/new-study-finds-games-altering-perceptions-of-reality/1100-6335875/


    Crop Circles

    Crop Circles - Geometric Entertainment

    By Suzanne MacNevin - August 2013.

    I find crop circles to be incredibly entertaining - and documentaries about them are likewise entertaining.

    But what I find very interesting about crop circles is how they are very intelligent geometric shapes - shapes that could not be made by nature in the form of ball lightning or other similar phenomenon - but are instead are intelligently made geometric shapes, sometimes even mimicking animals, plants, chemical formulas and even DNA code.

    In which case who is making them? Men as some kind of hoax going back to the 1960s? No. I think not because there is no errors. Each one is perfect and there aren't any half-finished shapes. Nor has anyone ever been caught doing it. If men were making these there would be tracks, there would be mistakes made, they would get caught once in awhile. And that just isn't happening.

    Crop Circles

    Which opens to the possibility of alien visitors who apparently are obsessed with geometry.

    Or more specifically, communicating with humans about geometry, as this is clearly a message meant for human eyes since we have for a century now mastered how to fly mechanically and are able to see crop circles from the sky.

    So if the shapes are meant for us, what are they saying. Honestly I think (and I am not alone in this theory) that the crop circles are there to teach us more about geometry. Because everything has a geometric shape. And if we want to study the nature of the universe and how it works then geometry plays a very important role.

    Thus it is my humble opinion that aliens are trying to teach the human race more about geometry in the hopes of promoting math and science - and boosting the IQ of humans over the longer term.

    Crop Circles

    Which also means that aliens probably think that most humans are too stupid to figure out geometry and need an extra push to feel inspired to learn more about it.

    In the documentary below you will hear a host of other theories - including some theories that indicate that people have been over-thinking the message. I myself follow the Marshall McLuhan quote: "The medium is the message." and it isn't any more complicated than that. The message is geometry. And our natural curiousity will cause us to study and learn geometry.

    And during the process we also learn that geometry is beautiful, fun, interesting, and you never really get tired of it because we are surrounded by geometry every day. Even the human body is geometrical.

    So it certainly won't hurt to learn more about geometry - and due to their beautiful and entertaining value I say it is rather pleasing. Plus it is nice to know there are aliens out there who are trying to teach us something instead of trying to obliterate us like in various Hollywood movies.

    Crop Circles

    Crop CirclesCrop Circles



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