Conservative think-tank the American Enterprise Institute has weighed in on the issue of sexism and misogyny in video games, arguing that the whole thing has been cooked up by "feminist tech writers" and "concernocrats."
The AEI offers many opinions on many subjects and is generally considered to be representative of ideas associated with American right wing thinking. Many of its senior members served in the last Bush administration.
In a video hosted by resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, the AEI argues that hardcore games are aimed at men and therefore ought to be free to feature imagery appealing to that audience. Sommers argues that criticizing games for featuring male characters is like criticizing daytime TV shows like Oprah for heavily featuring female issues.
Sommers has written multiple books critiquing modern feminism, including Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women and The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.
"Are there video games that are riddled with sexism?" asks Sommers, voicing-over an image of a scantily clad young woman in a video game. "Do they promote a culture of misogyny and violence that must be dismantled? My answer is no."
The argument focuses on critics of games who point out that gaming culture has traditionally served a heavily male demographic with images that favor stereotypes of dominant males, while relegating women to subservient fictional roles, such as damsels in distress, or objects of sexual gratification.
Showing footage of documentary maker Anita Sarkeesian, Sommers mocks researchers as "gender activists and hipsters with degrees in cultural studies," while acknowledging that they make "some valid points."
She argues that because games don't make people violent, sexual imagery in games could not contribute to misogyny. In any case, she continues, millennials are "far less prone to prejudices."
Critics of games only want "the male video game culture to die," she says.
She claims that those who disagree with feminist critics have used "logic, evidence and humor" to state their case, although she mentions that Sarkeesian and others have faced serious threats.
Sommers says that she has spent "the last few weeks" looking into gaming culture and talking to gamers, and that critics of gaming should "stand down."