On her “Factual Feminist” podcast, the American Enterprise Institute’s Christina Hoff Sommers claims that those affiliated with GamerGate are “a voice for moderation in today’s fevered debates over sex and gender.”
According to Sommers, GamerGate is merely a group of gamers who either “believe there is too much corruption and cronyism in gaming journalism” or “are weary of cultural critics who evaluate video games through the prism of social justice.”
“Millennials, who were born and raised in video game nation, are far less sexist, homophobic, and bigoted than earlier generations,” she continues, claiming the burden of proof that video games make individuals more sexist lies with those who oppose GamerGate.
“Critics might respond that we should be unforgiving of sexist tropes even if video games can’t be proven to cause misogyny,” she says. “But what counts as sexism is unsettled — even among feminists.” As proof, she notes that she believes the video game character Bayonetta, pictured below, is a symbol of female empowerment, whereas Anita Sarkeesian says “everything about Bayonetta’s design is created specifically to appeal to straight male gamers.”
Sommers claims Sarkeesian is wrong because “‘gaze theory’ has evolved since 1975, and it turns out that spectators might be able to gaze at a woman’s beauty and also identify with her on a human level.”
“Now, many men — not all of them, but many — do like images of sexy women,” she says. “But why shame them for this? Traditionally, women, gays, trans people have been policed and humiliated for their sexuality. That is wrong. Today, it’s open season on the sexual preferences of straight males. That’s also wrong.”
She does address the death threats targeting those who oppose GamerGate, but claims that there’s no proof that GamerGaters are responsible for them. “Now, I deplore the fact that female critics and game developers have been threatened,” she says.
Moreover, she claims that she’s “learned that several people inside of GamerGate, including two women, have received death threats too. Many in the media are treating GamerGate as a ‘damsel in distress’ story. Well, damsels are in distress, but they’re on both side of the controversy.”
Watch the entire episode of the “Factual Feminist” podcast below via YouTube.