Stephen Colbert identifies himself as a “gamer,” so it was no surprise that the “Colbert Report” host tackled the controversy known as “Gamergate” on his show Wednesday night. And to help educate himself, he brought on game critic Anita Sarkeesian, host of the Web series “Feminist Frequency.”
Colbert, in his conservative guise, took the skeptical view of Sarkeesian’s argument, that video games have perpetuated a male dominated culture with objectified portrayals of women and should become more inclusive to welcome the large number of female gamers.
“You first attacked male gamers for enjoying looking at big breasted women with tiny armor that barely covers their nipples,” Colbert said. “What is wrong with that? I like what that looks like. I’m a man, baby!”
“One of the problems with that is that it reinforces that myth that women are sexual objects and sexual playthings for male amusement. And we’re not,” Sarkeesian responded.
Sarkeesian, who has been a vocal critic of these games, has been the object of death threats. She recently canceled a speaking engagement at Utah State University after threats of a mass shooting were made and the university would not act to restrict guns at the event.
“Why do you think women are being threatened?” Colbert asked. “Because it’s almost entirely women who are being threatened in Gamergate.”
“I think women are being perceived as threatening because we are asking for games to be more inclusive,” she responded. “We are asking for games to acknowledge that we exist and that we love games.”
Colbert suggested women have “separate but equal games.”
While Sarkeesian rejected that notion, she did point out that the influx of new games, particularly in the indie and mobile spaces, have shown that gaming can no longer be a “male dominated space.”
That drew applause.
“Do you hear the applause for the idea of a male dominated space?” Colbert asked.
But in the end, even the great debater had to concede one point for Sarkeesian.
As a man who believes in equal rights for women, he too could identify as a feminist.
See the full interview here.