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Open Dialogue and Closed Minds

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This might only be tertiary in relation to video games, but it's something that I feel still needs to be talked about, which is odd because it involves conversation in the first place. Recently there has been no lack of talk about the issue of women's portrayals in video games; from the whole hoopla over the Feminist Frequency Kickstarter (which I've already covered in part), to discussions regarding the direction that the recent reboot of the Tomb Raider series seems to be taking. There's even an article asking whether booth babes should still be at E3.

Now whether you think that all of this is people being overly reactive, or if you think there's actually some validity to any of these concerns is completely up to you. If you agree, then feel free to agree, if you disagree, then feel free to disagree, even agree or disagree vehemently. All of that is your personal choice, and I believe that these discussions, conversations, and debates are truly important.

That's why the one thing I can't stand is empty-handed dismissal of the point raised under any guise.

You've probably read the comments, or at least could guess what they are: things like "A woman saying that video games are sexist should get back into the kitchen," or someone saying that anyone that wants to remove booth babes is "A prude who's just trying to ruin our fun in the name of political correctness run amok." They aren't always the same comments, and they are nowhere near that tame a great deal of the time, but it all comes down to the same mentality.

All of these comments, no matter where they are found, all pretty much boil down to one thing: trying to shut down the argument by saying that the conversation being presented doesn't need to happen in the first place, or is altogether wrong in happening. I cannot state how much this enrages me, because dissent is one thing, but trying to kill the conversation altogether is pretty much never the acceptable thing to do in any case.

There will be topics that any number of people feel shouldn't be tread upon, or that the message being delivered is way off base; that's fine, that's fine because if you want to disagree, and try to convince the other side that they are in error while still being open to the fact that you could also be in error, or that there may be a middle ground or greater compromise to be found somewhere.

However, if a you or anyone else goes into a conversation with a mindset that "hey, I'm right, I'm going to either convince, or shout down everyone else" then nothing gets accomplished. Now I'm not saying that the comments on articles or (god forbid) Youtube are going to be the breeding grounds for steps forward in any regard, but remaining civil and open in these places shouldn't be a foreign concept.

What I'm ultimately saying is that this seems to be a time of tumult for at least one aspect of the games industry. A lot of people have said that we need to grow up. I don't know offhand if that's entirely true, but I do know that at the very least if we don't need to grow up we do need to grow, and growth can only occur if it's not stifled in the very stages of seeding. If you find a topic that screams controversy, or an opinion that you disagree with or even find offensive, then I beg of you, don't turn away with a dismissal. At the very least engage yourself, consider the other side of the conversation, and why you feel the way you do. Then, at long last, we can start to move forward.


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