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This Exists... Because of A Lady

Anita Sarkeesian Presents: Damsels in Distress Part 2


From Anita Sarkeesian, the woman behind Feminist Frequency, comes Part 2 of her Kickstarter based series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games (get caught up with Part 1 here). There are tons of video games examined in this latest video (check out the description on the YouTube page for a very nice list showing which ones may be spoiled for you if you watch), from 1988′s Splatterhouse, to the more recent Borderlands 2.

Sarkeesian’s first entry in this series received over one million views on YouTube and like before, comments are wisely disabled on this latest installment. If you need a reason why, shortly after the video was uploaded, Sarkeesian tweeted this message, “Looks like my harassers abused YouTube’s flag function to get my new Tropes vs Women video removed. Not the first time it’s happened.” [Editor's note: We'd hoped the video would be back up already but it's not. We will update as soon as it is. In the meantime, you can read the transcript.] [Edit: The video is back up!]

Trigger warning: the video contains scenes of violence against women.

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  • Guest

    The video has been removed from youtube. :(

  • Gordon Borland

    Any idea as to why it was removed ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=559945163 Melodia E. McIntyre

    Don’t they realize this just adds credence to her words?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=559945163 Melodia E. McIntyre

    Misogyny.

  • http://profiles.google.com/gemmaellen Gemma Mason

    Squee! The video may have been removed from YouTube, but at least this means it should go back up some time soon. The first one was amazingly well-produced, and I’ve been waiting for the next ever since I saw it.

    … I may just send YouTube a polite, fan-girl’s note that this is content I really wanna see.

  • Arakiba

    The Youtube Taliban strikes again – imagine how scared and threatened these men must be to not even want the video to be seen.

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    This one is way better. It really got into it, and yet made the point that this doesn’t make the games bad, each one by itself isn’t a big deal, it’s the fact that it is across the board like this.

    Loved it.

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    People are saying this same thing on Twitter… and I have to ask… Is it intended to imply that she isn’t right? That these games are not overusing a poor trope that removes agency from women characters and portrays them as prizes to be won?

    I have never seen this phrasing used except to imply that the original topic was untrue. (Like the Gov. responding to conspiracy theorists lends credence to their words.)

  • Anonymous

    So… their response to her “censorship” of her own comment section is to abuse the ToS of a public video platform to prevent her from presenting her arguments.

    Methinks perhaps certain people are not arguing in good faith. >_>

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507849795 Seanna Tucker

    Things
    that are bull: the fact that Anita Sarkeesian’s latest video has
    already been taken down by people who think that just because she is
    criticizing a medium for it’s lack of diversity, that she is attacking
    their video games and the video game industry.

    It makes me incredibly angry that people do this.

    Criticism is not hatred or attacking. It is simply recognizing that while something may be good, it should be improved upon.

  • Meg

    Anything we can do to help get the video back up? youtube feedback link?

  • http://www.teamugli.com/ Jericho McCune

    I sent a polite and explanatory note to TPTB at YouTube through the feedback link at the bottom of the page. I’m sure it won’t fix things, but maybe if enough people bring enough attention to it, they will address and repair the situation quicker.

    I’ve been waiting quite a while for this. I can wait a bit longer. I’m sure it will be back online soon.

  • Gordon Borland

    god people are pathetic.

  • Anonymous

    Dicks. #LaconicComments

  • http://www.teamugli.com/ Jericho McCune

    It’s back online.

  • http://twitter.com/Tonks07 Mandy

    Exactly. A buuuunch of people don’t seem to understand the criticisim /=/ hating/attacking thing. It totally cool to like problematic stuff. It’s also totally cool to critique that stuff.

    (there was some site or article I’ve seen floating around comment sections about the “liking problematic things,” anyone got that link?)

  • katamanda

    It’s still working for me? Second episode was even better than the first, very interesting and valid points explained in a thoughtful and reasonable manner. So many things I’d never stopped to consider before in video games.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    It was down for about an hour.

  • Anonymous

    “Comments are disabled for this video.”

    “Ratings have been disabled for this video.”

    It’s almost like she doesn’t want any feedback or criticism.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Or she doesn’t want people threatening to rape/kill her. Either or.

  • Anonymous

    It’s back up. I just watched it.

  • Carly Hunter

    Such a well done video can’t wait for the next one.

    Some of those images were hard to watch and the shear amount of them was slightly terrifying

  • Jon E. Christianson

    I was caught in a perpetual state of horror upon watching most of those clips.

    I’m hoping the developers who didn’t mean ill, but just got lazy and beat a super-dead trope horse, are able to watch this video and recognize just how much of a problem this trend is.

  • Anonymous

    I would say it’s ironic that people who take Anita Sarkeesian’s videos as a personal affront have no idea what criticism is, but actually it’s completely appropriate.

  • Anonymous

    YouTube allows users to report abusive comments.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing how this group of people, when backed into a corner, resort to trying their best to silence the voice of reason. I don’t know how Anita can put up with this. Day in and day out. You should see the replies people have left on that tweet alone, but damn she is one strong HBIC. I have the upmost respect for her.

  • vic ory

    I like when games are about games and not gender issues. Must have a lot
    of time on your hands when you try to force cherry picked arguments on
    games that were meant to entertain people.

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    I expected there to be a ton of bad ones, but MAN… I was not expecting ones with censor bars, and the sheer volume of sheer clothing…

  • Jon E. Christianson

    That requires her to endure them in the first place. Reporting them doesn’t make much of a difference when you still have to sit and read through all the rape/death threats in the first place.

  • vic ory

    Right just like Anita silencing comments because besides just ignoring trolls like any sane person, she uses them to further her own victim hood while ignoring comments that make valid arguments.

  • Jon E. Christianson

    We’ll see more of those once we get past Damsels in Distress and move towards the other 10? 11? awful tropes she’ll be discussing.

    >_<

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507849795 Seanna Tucker

    Why can’t entertainment also demonstrate equality?

    Also, I like when games are about games and not gender issues, as well. When games portray some semblance of equality, maybe I’ll be able to enjoy them more.

  • Anonymous

    You may not be familiar with the past events involving Sarkeesian. A quick check of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Sarkeesian#Kickstarter_campaign_and_subsequent_harassment may fill you in, but the short form:

    Previously, she has received death threats, people talking about how she should be raped/beaten to be put in her place, people repeatedly vandalized her Wikipedia page with porn images, and she received harassing comments on Facebook and YouTube to the point that dealing with them would have left little time for anything else.

    If I were someone who was trying to put together films and get a message out, I would probably not feel terribly inclined to spend a huge whopping portion of my time trying to sort through comments about people saying I needed to be raped/beaten/killed, just so I could follow the standard YouTube method for reporting comments. Especially if I had the alternate option of ‘just turn comments off.’

  • Jon E. Christianson

    Ignoring them? She’s had thousands of death and rape threats go her way. You can’t simply “ignore” those. And some of the most persistent idiots go to the point of stalking, which is not something you can simply hit an “ignore button” on.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    I wonder why you’re commenting on a website that discusses gender issues regularly then…hmmm.

  • Anonymous

    Because god forbid someone might just be sick and tired of getting rape and death threats. If she’s silenced comments its because she hasn’t been given any valid arguments other than assholes who have their ass backward view of masculinity threatened.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Just as YouTube allows users to disable comments. She has good reason. People can “criticize” elsewhere.

  • Anonymous

    You must have even more time on your hands to go on gender based websites and try to fight every comment left on this video…

  • vic ory

    Yeah by trolls. Must really be messed up in the head if you take a bunch of internet trolls seriously. Again she could have ignored it but now it mostly her focus point compared to her video series.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    This is your warning: you are skating dangerously close to getting banned here, “vic ory.”

  • Anonymous

    I say do it. All he’s doing is attacking every article that mentions Anita’s video and posting the same ‘enlightened’ views… i guess he’s frustrated that he couldn’t post them on her actual youtube page.

  • http://www.according2robyn.blogspot.com/ According2Robyn

    That’s not all he’s frustrated by. I think this quote from him, from a couple months back, is everything you need to know to understand the tao of vic ory:

    Women already have the power of who gets laid and who doesn’t. Women will always go after the minority of desirable men and leave the majority of less desirable men behind.

  • Anonymous

    I think I just threw up a little in my mouth…

  • vic ory

    Just pointing out your supporting of a blatant hypocritical con artist.

    You’re not gonna see me again. Also, nice job threatening me with the Anita Sarkeesian silencing method.

  • Jon E. Christianson

    Looks like someone isn’t too keen on what he perceives to be “threats.”

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Ahh, there we go. Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.according2robyn.blogspot.com/ According2Robyn

    EVERYBODY STOP OPPRESSING VIC ORY!

    Hey, you over there! Yeah, you, in front of the computer. Were you about to oppress vic ory? I bet you were.

    Shame on you.

  • Anonymous

    I have the tiniest violin playing the saddest song in the world just for you, you poor misunderstood underdog! Bravely fighting against those who DARE to shake the status quo of women objectification! YES! FIGHT ON VIC ORY! FIGHT THE WOMAN!

  • Travis

    That was interesting and relatively balanced. I can’t say I agreed with every point she made, but for the most part it was pretty good.

    I’m eager to see the third installment since it looks like she’ll be addressing what is, IMO, the actual issue in gaming: the lack of games with female main characters.

  • Anonymous

    How very, very interesting! I like apple pie, the color blue, and long walks in the park! But enough about me; this is all really about you, vic ory, and your personal preferences as a man!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    lmao

  • Anonymous

    I’m giving Melodia the benefit of the doubt as I read her post to mean “this is exactly what Anita is talking about” and not “she’s wrong, until you guys speak up and prove her right.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    I know I did.

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    Yeah I remember the original idea was 5 videos each discussing a trope and then all the stretches making it even more videos. It’s something like 20 now…

    It’s funny it surprises me. I have played games since I was 4 and now I make games. Hundreds of games. I should have really noticed it, but I didn’t. *shudder*

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    I have to completely disagree with you. I have actively put down games and never played them again because the female characters are diminished, insulted, and objectified.

    Why does she need your help? Why can’t she save herself?

  • Anonymous

    Any user can report the comments.

  • Anonymous

    Those are criminal acts and should be reported to the police. I guarantee the threats would stop if several of the commenters were made an example of.

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    How exactly are you going to guarantee that? Harassers have been arrested before, and yet harassment hasn’t stopped.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    In a perfect world? Yes. But prosecuting commenters online is not as easy as you’d make it seem. Lots of places don’t even have up to date laws for this sort of thing.

  • Anonymous

    What points would you disagree on?

  • Anonymous

    Games are not “about” gender issues (unless someone made a game about the daily struggles of a gay teenager or a single unemployed mother and nobody told me), but if they are about people and not stacking falling bricks, they unavoidably have gender issues “in them”. And the point is not to make every virtual setting a shining utopia of perfect equality and universal harmony (because that would be A) silly and B) unbelievably boring). It’s to look not only at WHAT is happening, but also WHY. If a game character is acting like a PSA about sexual-harassment there has to be other option available to the player, besides going along with it without a single word of comment. Otherwhise your “why” for that character becomes “that’s the default setting”. And that’s not cool.

  • Anonymous

    It’s just a saying.

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    Precisely. The rape threats, insults, and harassment will continue despite your empty words. That’s not something that anyone ought to go through. So I have to wonder why on earth are you so invested in making her do so?

  • Mina

    This explains so much.

  • Bananas4TheDoctor

    I agree. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would want to play those games at all. Whether it’s a woman character being brutalized or a man, why would someone feel like it’s entertaining to see any character being graphically brutalized?

  • Mina

    There are MANY other places and ways to respond to her videos with feedback and criticism, including her own website, twitter, and facebook page. The not-so-wonderful world of YouTube comments was no longer a place for constructive conversations about her videos. It was almost entirely sexist and racist slurs and violent threats. There is absolutely no reason she (or any of us) should have to read those when viewing her video if she doesn’t want to.

  • Mina

    What blows my mind is the sheer volume of games that use violence against women as a key part of the plot. There are so many! It’s a little shocking. I’ve been gaming in a glorious bubble apparently.

  • Anonymous

    Yeesh, maybe she could report them to the police. Ya know, the ones who handle that kind of thing.

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    Even if reporting threats made via internet comments to the police were a simple matter as all that, that doesn’t answer why you are so adamant that she be subjected to death and rape threats in the first place.

  • devovit

    She mentioned about 70 games in this video alone. How the hell was it not about games?

  • Anonymous

    It isn’t just the violence against women that’s disheartening, it’s that a lot of the time the women are just empty plot devices and the violence against them is only used to encourage the male protagonist to retaliate.

    I think at least part of the problem- which she mentioned sort of in passing- is that in a lot of these games, violence is seen as the only solution. I kinda wish that FPS games weren’t so overwhelmingly popular and that game developers didn’t churn out title after title of violence-based shooters. Not just because violence for violence’s sake gets kinda boring (in my opinion), but because I really REALLY suck at that stuff and wish I could play more games. LOL! Give me more puzzle-based stuff and less kill-all-enemies. Or at least add an option to follow a less reflex-based, kill-oriented arc. Sigh. But that’s probably a digression. You don’t realize just how common these tropes are until you see them laid out.

  • Zachary Cotton

    Have read a lot about this video, both good and bad, and now I finally got a chance to watch it.

    The main idea that I’ve pulled from both this video and the previous one is that writing and plot need to take a more prominent role in video games. Gameplay takes such a huge role that the writers of these games are forced to just kind of shoehorn in a story to give the player a purpose. It’s so easy for bad writers to just rely on whatever is easiest for them to handle. I believe it’s especially hard for game writers because they have to a lot of this with a lot more subtlety. You don’t have the same amount of time to characterize and develop your plot as you would with say a movie or book.

    Also, I have to stick up for Ico (because of my extreme love for the game) in saying that the way I imagined both it and Shadow of the Colossus are as fairytales. Fairytales rely on tropes to tell the story and allow one to fill in their own beliefs and morals. Their beauty and intimacy relies heavily on how simply their story is framed.

  • Carly Hunter

    Because I really hope that it is a problem of ignorance of there being a problem could u maybe hypothesis why people within the industry don’t see it?

  • Piny

    Cart Life is actually a game about a single mom(kinda!, one of the main character/scenarios is about it). I’ve personally have only played a little so I can’t say for certain but it’s gotten pretty good reviews, in case anyone wants to check it out.
    Tangentially related: I love that Anita included To The Moon to the list of games that deal with the loss of a loved person in a positive game, it’s such a hidden indy gem!

  • Carly Hunter

    Ya fairytales that have their origins 100s of years in the past rely on stereotypes but if u want an interesting telling of them in modern times u either need to have complex characterization or completely turn the story on its head. An example is one of my favorite little red riding hood stories has little red turning out to be the wolf!
    A story can be simple and unique relying on stereotypes to tell yourstory imo doesnt make a very interesting or memorable story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Wow. When she gets to the part about mercy killing women as plot points/male character advancement, I must confess I was…REALLY fucking disturbed.

    A lot of these games I hadn’t played, so I only had a vague awareness of how prevalent this is. Seeing a supercut of this trope over and over, all I could think of was, “What is wrong with you people…?”

    And to think, so many men are so assured that sexism is over. If these roles were reversed, and they were faced with this creepy and telling subtext ad nauseum, they would notice and care in a heartbeat.

    I also love how even a smooth journalist like Anita couldn’t resist a snort at the nauseatingly lousy ‘wife arm’. Insert patriarchy-masturbation joke combo here.

  • Zachary Cotton

    I think that works well when you’re re-imagining an already existing fairytale. Most everyone knows the general story of Little Red Riding Hood so you would need to add more in order to give your retelling of it merit. However, I think in the case of Ico, which is looking to create a completely new fairytale the writer has to rely fairly heavily on the tropes of the past in order for people to recognize what it was supposed to emulate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    What do you mean, ‘the actual issue in gaming’?

    Did you miss the part about the glorification of violence and mercy-killing toward women? Or is that not an ‘actual issue’?

  • http://twitter.com/Tonks07 Mandy

    You rock. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    I said feedback and criticism. Where do death-threats fit into what I said?

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    You seemed to acknowledge the link in the previous four comments you’ve left. But since you’ve apparently forgot that all of a sudden, exactly how do you propose she open the comment section to “feedback and criticism” without also allowing a tide of death threats, rape threats, sexist slurs, and other vile attacks? Magic?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.jeans Jamie Jeans

    *reads your comment, and laughs, in that funny but wow, it’s so sad how ignorant you are kind of way*

    Yeah, you’re just not thinking on this one, are you?

    I mean, seriously, have you not read, either here or through the links provided above what people have been doing to try and shut her up? Stalking, death and rape threats, someone made a “Beat Her Face In” game on newsgrounds!

    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? That’s nothing compared to how angry men get when their crappy attitudes towards women are pointed out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.jeans Jamie Jeans

    *reads your comment, and laughs, in that funny but wow, it’s so sad how ignorant you are kind of way*

    Yeah, you’re just not thinking on this one, are you?

    I mean, seriously, have you not read, either here or through the links provided above what people have been doing to try and shut her up? Stalking, death and rape threats, someone made a “Beat Her Face In” game on newsgrounds!

    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? That’s nothing compared to how angry men get when their crappy attitudes towards women are pointed out.

  • Anonymous

    This isn’t just one or two rude comments, it’s DOZENS. Who has the time or energy to go through and report ALL of them? And while you’re reporting those, dozens more show up because the Word Has Gone Out and the trolls are descending en masse to flood all the legitimate comments to the bottom of the list (or, you know, report the legitimate ones as abuse to try and get THEM removed). Meanwhile, the filth, violence, and hatred is all over the comments section and everyone coming by has to see it. “Just ignore it” is easier said than done, especially if you have triggers. Reporting comments isn’t a guarantee. And it doesn’t stop it from happening. Making “an example” of someone- or a few someones- doesn’t matter when there are dozens upon dozens of others willing to step up to the plate. The police are limited in what they can do and very often can’t do anything at all. You make it sound easy, but it isn’t.

  • Anonymous

    Um. Providing feedback and criticism like you are right now?

    I wasn’t aware that Youtube comments were the only way to provide serious philosophical and artistic criticism.

  • http://www.facebook.com/myron.byron Myron Byron

    In other words, you want women to continue wading through digital cesspools filled with triggering/harmful abuse. No thanks. The misogynists have had about two years now to demonstrate that they have nothing worth saying. Just close the comments.

  • Anonymous

    By reporting them to the police.

  • Anonymous

    I like to think of Youtube comments as a sort of modern-day crowd-funded Dadaist movement. Their complete incomprehensibility is a meditation on the nature of meaning.

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    So we’re back where we were before: why do you insist she subject herself to these threats in the first place that she then report to the police?

  • Anonymous

    Do you think she would be as popular as she is today if not for the backlash? I’m not saying they were right.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t have a right to not be offended.

    Surely her defenders can help with the reporting.

  • Anonymous

    It’s where the video is hosted. It’s the most direct way to provide feedback.

  • Anonymous

    That is why nobody takes feminist theory seriously. Because its not a social science theory that can be picked-apart, dissected, critiqued or examined. The supporters want it locked away and taken as gospel with no questions asked. It’s basically just another religious doctrine.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. Because she is going to wade through thousands of youtube comments calling her a b**** (and much worse), looking for those rare bits of intelligent dissent, and a wonderful exchange of ideas is going to happen.

  • Anonymous

    Why can’t her ideas stand up to criticism?

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I agree with you. From a pure readability standpoint, YouTube comments are awful.

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    Rape and death threats aren’t criticism.

    Again, why are you so adamant that she be subjected to these?

  • Anonymous

    Okay so if you know how horrible Youtube comments are why do you want her to have to go through the pain of seeing nonstop comments of pure hatred and threats directed at her. They already showed what they would do with the power to comment before in a number of her videos and even today by getting it flagged within an hour of it being posted?

  • Anonymous

    If you want to actually have a conversation regarding her video, why don’t you actually watch it and write a thoughtful reply on this blog, or the countless other blogs that will be discussing it. Right now you’re just derailing the conversation, while complaining you can’t have a conversation. Honestly, I’m not convinced you even want to have the conversation at all.

  • Carly Hunter

    If ur creating something completely new why do u need to emulate something? Isn’t the point of doing something new is to not emulate the past?

    If ur using preexisting concepts to create a story u don’t need to follow old concepts like damsel in distress etc to nod towards preexisting concepts. Names images characters etc can all do that for you without falling back on tired stereotypes that are a symptom of sexism.

    I’ve read stories that have damsel in distress etc type of situations but they work because the women are given agency and structure. They aren’t just characters that exist as extensions of a hero they have value in their own right and actively work within the story to help themselves and others. My point with that is even if it is necessary to use tropes with some creativity and good writing it is possible to move beyond the stereotype versions. Of course this is th harder road to travell but isn’t that what’s required for excellence?

  • Anonymous

    For realsies. I actually think this video is much more effective than the first one, purely for the sheer volume of examples provided. The amount of repetition would be utterly hilarious, if it weren’t also so incredibly gross. Like she says, it’s not so much the examples in isolation, as it is seeing them all lined up next to one another. Woman after woman getting mercy-killed while murmuring “thank you…”

    But that’s the thing, isn’t it? A single woman getting murdered to motivate the hero doesn’t make a “Fridging.” It’s thirty years’ worth of women getting Fridged.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody said they were! If I saw death threat comments on her videos, I would report them!

  • Anonymous

    Who is “they” anyways? Who is this nameless, faceless entity?

  • Anonymous

    Ok, here’s one: she cherry picks like crazy. Hundreds of games come out in a year and she only pics extreme examples that support her preconceived beliefs. It’s called confirmation bias. Look it up.

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    Yes, *after* the threat has already been made. You seem to fail to understand that reporting threats, insults, and slurs–whether to YouTube or to the police–requires being subjected to them in the first place.

    Again, WHY do you want her subjected to threats, insults, and sexist slurs so very much?

  • Anonymous

    Stop being obtuse. It isn’t cute or clever or insightful or thought-provoking. By this point in the conversation you know exactly who “they” are–the crowd who overwhelm comments threads with nothing but insults and rape and murder threats.

  • Anonymous

    Ok fine, you’re right. She should just lock herself in a room and never, ever leave. Because somewhere, sometime, she could be subjected to something that offends her.

  • Anonymous

    Still looking for a name/group.

  • Anonymous

    Wow good job on just spewing out questions and defenses without even listening. You seem to be here only to fight which is down right childish. Congratulations on that. I’m sure you’ve achieved much today

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    We’re not talking about “somewhere”, “sometime”, “something”, or “could”. She *has been*, and by all indications will *continue to be* subjected to death threats, rape threats, and tirades of sexist slurs.

    You seem to think that she needs to invite this upon herself. The rest of us, having something I like to call “empathy” and “common decency”, do not.

  • Anonymous

    One doesn’t walk into a French restaurant and demand that the chef prepare sushi. Likewise, what you are doing–trying to demand that every space on the internet conform to your views, is likewise inappropriate. It’s also misguided. You’re perfectly free to make comments or criticism on the overwhelming majority of the internet. You’re free to do it here, but mostly you haven’t, instead whining about how you can’t do it over there. It is a fictitious, non-existent problem that there are no spaces for criticism of Anita Sarkeesian.

  • Anonymous

    By your reasoning, if we knew who they are- they’d be made an example of and we’d all be on our merry way. But that’s the “fun thing” about the internet! You can be as anonymous as you want and get away with shit like this. Hell the one guy who made the punching game promoted it on his twitter and was he brought to justice? Not at all

    A name? A group? There isn’t one- it’s a very angry mob of people hiding behind their usernames

  • Travis

    Video games glorify violence against both genders. Women are hardly singled out in that regard. When’s the last time you saw Solid Snake murder and pile the bodies of a platoon of women?

    And while some tropes may be lazy, that doesn’t automatically make them invalid as storytelling tools. The vast majority of player characters are male, as a result the vast majority of female characters are NPC. And all NPCs exist to support the player character and advance their story.

    I don’t have a problem with cliche tropes.

    I do have a problem with the fact that they are so one-sided.

    Where is the raging widow going on a murder spree to avenge her dead husband? Where’s the girl who fights tooth and nail to save her boyfriend, but instead has to kill him to save the world? Where is the bad enough dudette who has to save the president’s whiny son?

    IMO, the problem doesn’t come from the roles female characters are put into, it comes from the ones they aren’t.

    Until there are more female main protagonists in video games, female characters are going to be defined by NPCs, which is no good for anybody.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Ok then, why does she think these crimes aren’t worth reporting to the police?

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    Uh, she’s blocked comments so that these crimes don’t happen to her in the first place. That’s been the entire point of this comment thread, which you appear to have missed.

  • Anonymous

    So am I. I honestly don’t get it; why people are so threatened by or angry at Ms. Sarkeesian. Dismissiveness from ignorance? Yeah, that makes perfect sense to me (I think it’s wrong, but I grok). On a visceral level, I don’t understand the volume of hatred and violence directed against her for these vids. It isn’t that I don’t understand sexism, but with the Tropes Vs. Women series, it’s like it’s become some sort of sick game, one trying to outdo the the rest with how shockingly vile they can be specifically to Anita Sarkessian specifically over these videos, particularly with how much academic rigor goes into them. Perhaps that’s what’s most threatening about them.

  • Anonymous

    What make you think she hasn’t tried?

  • Anonymous

    There’s something quite… distinctive… about the willfully (falsely?) obtuse such as TestSalad.

  • Anonymous

    Almost to the point of being ridiculous wouldn’t you say?

  • Zachary Cotton

    I think of it like the neoclassicism era in music. These guys did really new stuff but they used the forms of the past. It’s more of a framing devise than just completely stealing something. I agree with you that when use tropes you should be try to do something different with them to create something that is truly your own. It is completely required to create something excellent. The main point that I’m trying to make is that if you’re going to use tropes that can be easily associated with something offensive than you should at least be conscious of it. Being conscious of these issues will help you steer clear of creating blank states. I would argue that most of the examples she used in the video don’t really give personality to any of the characters and that they are all subservient to the gameplay and that’s the main issue with game writing. I stick up for Ico because its choice to emulate fairytales give an actual meaning to the lack of characterization in all of it’s characters.

  • Anonymous

    Do you have an actual criticism of the video? Care to make it with even *one tenth* the academic rigor or balance of Ms. Sarkeesian, or do you prefer to whine about not being able to make comments on one video? Seriously, 99.7% of the whole F$&%ing internet is available to you if you do have something to say about the *content* of the Feminist Frequency Tropes Vs. Women series. Go to town, dude.

  • Anonymous

    I am fully aware of what confirmation bias is. I do statistical data analysis for a living.

    I think she demonstrated what she set out to demonstrate, which is that there are certain narratives which appear over and over again in video game writing. She didn’t mean to say that every single game has this theme (“women often get murdered to advance male characters”), or even a majority of games. Faith and Samus Aran can and do exist in the same universe as this trope. But there’s an identical narrative which gets repeated over and over again, and she cited concrete examples. Some of the examples are fairly high profile games, as well, like God of War. It’s not like she’s the only person to have noticed this trend, either – women have been complaining about “fridging” for years (Simone first wrote about it back in 1999). As a counterpoint, I’d ask you to name a comparable sample of examples of the trope being reversed. Not just men suffering and advancing the plot, mind you. Use the *exact* situation she’s mentioning: men (usually a two-dimensional one) suffering, so that a strong female lead can go on and save the day. Men dying and having their soul stolen. Men turning into hideous monsters and then begging for a woman to put them out of their misery, while whispering thank you. But hey, guess what she’s talking about in the next video?

    Sarkeesian’s main thesis is “This is a pattern which happens a lot in games, and here is my opinion on why it’s bad.” The latter part is opinion, of course. I’m curious as to what kind of proof you want for the first part, beyond what she’s already shown? Comprehensive searches of databases of annual videogame releases, showing the frequency of “ladies getting murdered to make dudes strong”? Plots of these tendencies as a function of time? What level of statistical significance will you accept?

  • Anonymous

    My goodness do I hate FPS- I watched the whole game play of Bioshock Infinite and had to skip over half of the videos to get to the plot within the murk. It was an awesomely done game but I just don’t see how people can play those kind of games…
    It was nonstop shooting at some parts

    Give me a puzzle or a word based game and I’ll be in my element.

  • Mina

    Yes, I agree that several of the characters featured are “good” characters that really do have some things going for them. However, I don’t think the point of the video was pointing out poor examples of women that are helpless one hundred percent of the time. Rather, it was to point out the weird trend in which SO MANY games violently kill off an important female character in order to drive the male character’s plot forward. In that, even the more “admirable” female characters do indeed fit in with the trope.

  • Carly Hunter

    Giving characters agency isn’t just about characterization its also about action within the narrative. Even if characterization is simple what are they doing within the story? If the hero is fighting to save the princess what is she doing during the fight? Is she helping or being passive?
    Also in a visual media it can also involve angles, costume, expressions etc. What are the creaters trying to make u think and feel about a character?
    when characterization seems simple its often the action speak louder than words concept that is used to create characterization. So it isn’t just the verbal or written stofytelling that is important

    Ive never played ico so im going off of general assumptions based on synopsis videodiscussion and general gaming trends. So what I say may or may not apply to this specific game

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Ah, of course. So where’s the Men’s Rights Frequency videos? After all, according to you, both genders are equal victims. Nope!

    When it comes to violence, men are at LEAST given agency and power. Women? They’re usually the victims of it, all under the gauze of ‘deserving it’, ‘needing it’, ‘they tried to fight back GIRL POWER but they failed oops’, or ‘well, that’s life!’. This isn’t equal.

    No, this sort of portrayal doesn’t benefit either side, in the long run. Anita Sarkeesian also says as such at the very end, noting how the patriarchy frequently ‘limits forms of expression and emotional outlets for men’. But men, at least, aren’t rendered useless, helpless, sexualized and/or irrelevant by it. That’s the key difference here.

    So, yeah, you could boil it down to just not giving enough diversity to women’s roles. That IS a solution. But analyzing as to WHY we constantly choose women for these specific roles, dissecting each disturbing pattern under a critical light, is also very important.

    I don’t prefer one method over another when it comes to patriarchy: it’s a multi-headed beast, and we need more than one approach in order to slay it.

  • Anonymous

    But wouldn’t the Empress in Dishonored have been more awesome if she and her bodyguards fought their way out of the coup, and the player takes the role of an assassin in the counter-revolution restoring the imperial family? And she’s more awesome still when they take her back. Did she have to die, just for the assassin Corvo to be cool?

    Mina is right that the impact of many games and bad tropes is the broader issue, but it’s also worth looking at whether or not folks get lazy with otherwise good characters. There are probably other, more creative ways to tell stories than to resort to “kill the woman to give the guy something to avenge.” Doesn’t matter much how cool she used to be, if she’s nothing more than a corpse after the first cut scene.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Good link is good

  • Anonymous

    I agree. Seeing that many clips in rapid succession was stunning.

  • Mina

    You DO have that right in this instance. It’s called disabling YouTube comments. Everyone who makes a YouTube video has every right to disable comments if they so choose. We are not entitled to a comments section on Anita’s videos. There is no reason she owes one to us. If she doesn’t want the hassle of the horrific comments (which yes, “just ignore the trolls,” but a barrage of threats and slurs hurts all the same), then she is perfectly within her rights to just avoid it in the first place. There is absolutely no good reason to take offense at her decision.

  • Jon E. Christianson

    The mercy killing bit made me the most sick. And there was a lot of competition.

  • Zachary Cotton

    Both actions and agency provide characterization. Games require action to characterize more than any other medium in my opinion. When I say writing I mean much more than the words that are spoken, I mean every aspect that can be included by the plot.

    In the case of many of the games that were mentioned in the video I feel as though all of these aspects of characterization (action, voices, and looks) is lacking. Not just for the female characters but for every character as well. It’s easy to latch on to the protagonist because that’s who you are playing and it’s not difficult to make up whatever you want for their personality (One of the reasons why I believe that so many characters are mute in games but that’s a different issue). I think that if the designers actually sat down and thought about what each of their characters actually is than they can get past using what is essentially the same character for each game and also using other characters (especially females) as plot points just to get to the next gameplay spectacle.

    I understand the issue of all these offensive tropes against females found in games but I believe that the bigger issue is that often times game writing falls behind the writing of other mediums. The “good” examples that she pointed out in the video are all aspects of developers taking the time to figure out the story they wanted to tell before diving right into making the gameplay. Passage, one of the “good” examples she pointed out, is very simple in its story. Even though you have no clue about either of the two characters goals and beliefs there is still a connection to them with the player. This is a due to a conscious decision made by Jason Rohrer to let the gameplay develop the character. He was aware of this and the game is praised. I believe that the other games weren’t aware of how to characterize and their game became examples of what not to do.

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    Scary part, I know about a dozen examples she didn’t use.

    And I know there are a ton of games I haven’t played.

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    Honestly, it’s so ingrained that games have bad stories and just use tropes I barely even notice it when I play. It’s only when I have cognitive dissonance that I really notice it. And to be honest, most “game writers” are people who get thrown into doing it at the studio and may or may not actually know how to write.

    And from the guys in the industry, they simply do not notice it. It never occurs to them that having these tropes repeated over and over would be a bad thing. When you point it out, they are just as shocked and appalled as everyone else.

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    But I am a woman, I want to play the woman not the guy who wants to sleep with her.

  • http://www.facebook.com/myron.byron Myron Byron

    This is why nobody takes the hordes of misogynist trolls seriously. The comment sections are closed, but instead of posting their own videos, or going to Twitter, or Tumblr, or Facebook, or pursuing any of the countless other avenues in this internet age, they whine and cry about censorship. The sexist trolls know that they don’t have a leg to stand on; their only tactic is to attempt to bombard people with triggering material. Turn off the fricking comment sections. Let them wallow in their own filth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Try ‘mob mentality’ or ‘patriarchy’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Yeah. It got to a point where I was like, “There’s MORE examples? This keeps going? Make it stop!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/liam.shiels.1 Liam Shiels

    “…your wife is murdered and you must rescue your daughter”

    The repetition got to the point of ridiculouslness and it made me laugh.

  • Carly Hunter

    I think we pretty much agree on video game writing problems :P
    Where I disagree is when u say most of the games problems stem from a lack of characterization. They don’t create blank slates for people to think whatever about. Every detail guides how to think about a character which is characterization. The problem is the framework that they are creating.
    I’ll pick on your ico fairytale analogy. You said that fairytales in their simplicity allow people to put their own morals and beliefs to them. To a point yes this is true but even in their simplest form you are limited in how you think about it based on the structure of the narrative. Even if it doesn’t seem like the story was outright trying to make you think something it most likely was. Most of the timethe nudges are discreet and made to be invisible to the viewer.
    Point is that even if its suttle the narrative does manipulate your perspective.
    I don’t think in all cases that characterization needs to become more complex (even though personally id find it more appealing) it needs to change what perspective it is trying to lay out.

  • Carly Hunter

    I guess these videos should be mandetory viewings then :P

  • This fellow right here

    “When’s the last time you saw Solid Snake murder and pile the bodies of a platoon of women?”

    Metal Gear Solid 4 – there was at least one big long section where you fought women soldiers. Although “platoon” is stretching it (platoon is A LOT of people – about a thousand, I think?). Note that generally, the MGS series DOES discourage killing to a certain degree (mostly for pragmatic or psychological reasons, although the moral issue is raised often) – you could definitely use non-lethal weaponry, but your companions did not.

    Also, Snake did kill a few woman in the earlier games – Sniper Wolf is the most obvious one.

  • Travis

    I’ve actually only played the first two, but hey, good on them. One step closer to equality I suppose.

    And yeah, Sniper Wolf is what brought that to mind because of all the people Snake kills in the game, Wolf is not just the only woman, but the only one he really seems to respect.

  • Travis

    I’m with you right up until you start comparing NPCs to PCs.

    Sticking with the MGS train of thought, you can compare Meryl to Cyborg Ninja, or Otacon, or even Johnny Sizaki. But you can’t compare her to Solid Snake.

    Men are given agency and power… when they are PCs. Which is too often the case but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s silly to compare the two.

    And yes, if it weren’t for NPCs, there’d be hardly any female characters at all, which, as I’ve been saying, is the problem.

  • Eisen

    I agree with you here, that men are – of course – victims of violence in games. And its definitly right that males in games get the most violence – they are soldiers, evil scientists, mutants, and all other form of enemy one could imagined and therefore get killed by the hero, and most of the time there are very few women around those enemies.

    But it’s different from the violence to (most) of the female characters. They are – most of the time – armed, clearly represented as dangerous, skilled and under normal circumstances tough guys (or monsters, mutants – these are also mostly male, or definitly have a male body). Of course they will die or at least fail in their attempts, because – of course – you are the hero, therefore you must overcome them.

    Females usually not having this kind of luxury. If they are truly skillfull and dangerous and are in the position to fight the hero, they are a rare exception (Sniper Wolf). The violence female characters in games usually deal with is different – they are victims, helpless, and can’t compete with the male characters arround them. Even if they are experts at something, it’s often softskills, so that they are powerless in physical confrontations and need the heroes help – or are killed by the male enemies.

    But I get your idea. If the roles of both genders were more equally shared or spread, it wouldn’t matter if the damsel is a girl or a guy. “It just happens to be a woman this time.” – but I think what you are talking about, is the ultimate goal – absolute equality. The state that it isn’t important if a role has a female or male character, that noone lifts a brow if there was a “Goddess of War” Game, and even guys would play this game with the same feeling of awesomeness, even if the character isn’t male (or at best: isn’t hetero, white, etc.).

    I hope we get there someday. But today I think you skipped some important steps towards this goal. I think first we have to improve the “roles” of female characters in games, the roles that they have NOW. Because how should we get this equality, if one gender in games is so absurdly misrepresented?

  • Eisen

    Of course you can criticise her. In fact, you can do this all over the internet.
    But she doesn’t have to listen.

  • Eisen

    You’re just saying she should be thankful for all the hate. Yeah, I totally got it.

  • http://www.widdershinscomic.com/ Kate A

    I remember watching my husband play through Prey and being really disturbed by the mercy-killing the girlfriend part, she really does scream all throughout it. It’s not horrible in a ‘horror genre’ sort of way, it’s horrible in a ‘what’s wrong with you people’ sort of way, which is a very different note to be striking.

  • http://www.widdershinscomic.com/ Kate A

    The Empress dies before the game’s even began, we don’t have a chance to explore the fact that she ruled the country in the slightest, and instead only explore her plot relevance as a dead person.

    That’s where the problem lies, you see? You can create a fascinating, deep, complex female character, but if you axe her right away just to give the male protagonist motivation, that right there is where the problem comes in.

  • Mattias Berntson

    Christopher LaHaise, are you a bad enough dude to save the President?

  • Mattias Berntson

    I have yet to see a single valid argument against Part 1 of the video series, besides that some parts would benefit from being fleshed out a bit.

    Not from repeatedly-linked-to thunderf00t or KiteTales, who both missed the point entirely, or from anyone else.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    And everyone should sleep with him or we’ll be proving his point that all women are evil!

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    When she does people complain that she’s “playing the victim card”. Can’t win really =P

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    There’s an entire internet for that. I’m sure she doesn’t ignore posts online made about her. She’s retweeted a few of them before.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    You’re a scrappy little troll, aren’t you?

  • Anonymous

    It’s most likely just a bunch of 12 year olds trolling her.

  • Anonymous

    And she doesn’t want to see criticism.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody is threatened by then; they (like me) just want to point out logical inconsistencies with her arguments.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t heard of any arrests or action by the police.

  • Anonymous

    No, actually she demonstrated that there are certain narratives that appear over and over in the games that SHE CHOSE to highlight, not in the overall games released each year. Her opinion that the games SHE CHOSE have poor story lines in terms of portraying women is certainly a valid opinion but it’s not indicative of the overall market. It’s like saying that ALL CARS are too fast based on the top speeds of Ferraris and Porsches.

  • Anonymous

    Did I say anything about censorship? I’m just saying that she doesn’t want anyone to see criticism of her ideas.

  • Anonymous

    13 year olds from 4chan are the patriarchy now?

  • Anonymous

    Or let others see the criticism…..

  • Anonymous

    It’s a simple question. Looking for a yes or no here. Was she helped by the trolls?

  • Anonymous

    True.

  • Anonymous

    Got anything besides name-calling?

  • Robert Vary

    Well, yes, but WHY is it a goal for the narrative? WHY aren’t you playing as her? These things didn’t just “happen,” designers made active (though maybe unthinking or lazy) choices to put these tropes in the game. And of course these tropes are useful. That doesn’t mean they’re the primary ones that should be used. As others have said, why don’t we see more women saving men? Or men saving, say, their fathers, or brothers, or sons? That would be precisely as useful in a narrative and emotional sense as the “damsel in distress.”

    Because that’s the POINT. Yes, these tropes are useful, but there are a bazillion options that DON’T rely on showing women as a powerless motivating plot device. So why does it keep happening?

  • KaputOtter

    I’m taking this opportunity to explain further why this trope is sexist. It’s something Anita explains herself at several points in the essays. The trope exists because of the way game companies capitalize on emotional elements to sell games. The damsel trope is specifically a male power fantasy, and one which has very strong sway in selling games to adolescent males. This is an already established and reliable demographic for game sales and that’s the reason why game companies are continuing to use the same trope over and over, and to push the boundaries of the violence and emotional manipulation — because it works. It sells games. But only to the intended demographic, which is mostly adolescent males. If we saw more role reversal in women saving men from games, I’m sure we’d see more women gamers. Literally the only instance I can think of where Nintendo has broken their own trope, is in Metroid — and we can thank Sakamoto for that, not Miyamoto. Personally speaking my favorite games of all time sidestep this issue completely, such as Mario Kart, and remain truly original and creative classics such as Katamari Damacy, Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Flower and Journey. It would be so amazing to see a cultural shift towards more creative games like this — instead of more boring boring boring boring violence, of any kind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/myron.byron Myron Byron

    Do you realize how transparent you are? I mean, seriously, do you honestly think we’re idiots? We KNOW what you’re doing.

  • http://twitter.com/LanceBravestar1 Lance Bravestar

    I hate how people act as if disabling the comments section renders people incapable of making criticism or opinions on her work. If people want to criticise her, they can just make their own videos or blog posts, where they can be held responsible for their words and opinions.

    In a comments section, it’s easy for someone to write “get raped lol”, and never be held accountable for it. But making videos and blog posts are different, because the author’s identity, be it real-life or online persona, is far more visible, and they have to really think of what they’re going to say.

  • Anonymous

    Except, as I said in my post, she *didn’t* say “All cars are fast.” She said, “The car industry has shown a pattern of producing a specific type of car, which is fast,” and then listed the top speeds of Ferraris and Porsches.

    You’ve dodged my question, though. What should she do? What level of evidence, what analytical methods would be satisfactory to you? Given, again, that her thesis is “This is a pattern which repeats itself a lot,” and not “This is a pattern in every single game.”

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Got anything besides butt-hurt?

  • http://twitter.com/LanceBravestar1 Lance Bravestar

    I have a question regarding the trope: Is it still a “Damsel in Distress” if said Damsel is not the only one in Distress? Because this episode uses Lili Zanotto from Psychonauts as an example, but she’s only one of the many people in the game who are similarly “in Distress”, which consists both male and female characters.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    I think Damsel in Distress generally refers to the object of the main character’s goal. Sure, the whole world could be in peril but it’s the damsel that drives the protagonist to do something about it.

  • Joshiva

    I was walking down the street yesterday. Down a dark alley I saw an elderly lady being accosted by two men. I kept walking. She screamed for help but I just hollered over my shoulder, “save yourself, grandma!”
    I rounded the corner with a warm glow in my heart. I had just done a great thing for women everywhere. Anita Sarkeesian would be proud of me.

  • Anonymous

    It’s perfectly okay to think that Dishonored in isolation is not sexist. I’ve personally played and enjoyed the game myself, though I think the actual plot could be better-written. And like Anita says, many of the tropes are motivated by the plot, rather than being intentional sexism.

    These identical patterns get repeated over and over again, however, and that’s the issue. We’re told that a female character is good and strong or beautiful, but before we get a chance to know her, she’s cut down so that Corvo (or whatever main male character) can seek revenge. But the opposite almost never happens. After a while, it tends to grate, or to make you think “Why does *this* keep happening?” Which is what Sarkeesian is asking. At the very least, the continual re-use of the trope smacks of unoriginality. (But seriously, the worst part of Dishonored was the story and dialogue.)

  • http://twitter.com/thatfilmgirl Nat

    As someone who only does RPG or stealth games, Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite are the only FPS I do (barring Mass Effect). It’s a crossover game and it’s the story that keeps me going. They do a great job of weaving in valuable plot points into the shooting that I can put up with it to get the reward.

  • http://twitter.com/LanceBravestar1 Lance Bravestar

    Oh, I see. That’s true, I guess. In Psychonauts, the main objective was more “saving the girl, while also saving everyone else.”

    Now, does that mean that the trope is less about the woman’s role on her own, and more about her role relative to a man? Like, what if the main protagonist is also a woman?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Point out away, look there is a WHOLE PAGE OF COMMENTS ON THE INTERNET about the video, why don’t you enlighten US, since you seem to feel your arguments are so sound they can not dared to be allowed to see the light of day!

  • Anonymous

    Way to completely miss the point. And sound like a turd.

  • Guest

    I was walking down the street yesterday. Suddenly down a dark alley I saw an elderly lady being accosted by two men. What should I do? But then I remembered what Anita Sarkeesesian had taught me. This woman didn’t want my help. In fact any interference would cause bitter offence.
    I kept walking. I heard her cry out in terror, but I just hollered over my shoulder, “that’s it – save yourself, grandma!”
    A warm glow filled my heart. I knew I’d made Anita proud.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl
  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    What part of feminist theory are you critiquing here? Because all I see is a toddler shitting all over a thread.

  • http://rightcrafttool.blogspot.com/ Sign Ahead

    For me, Ico’s a great example of “deeply flawed things that I still love.” The “solve every puzzle twice” mechanics? Love ‘em. The main character’s story? Love it. It’s touching, engaging and heroic. The graphics and environment? I still love them, even though the game is 12 years old.

    Warning: Light spoilers for a 12 year old game ahead….

    But the damsel? Her character and her story are both kinda creepy. Aside from one brief, brilliant moment (I actually cheered when it happened), she’s just a thing that gets dragged around the map. Ico drags her one way. The shadowy baddies drag her another way. Then her mother shows up and drags her off somewhere else. She has no agency of her own. Even though she’s on screen almost as much as Ico, she’s barely even a character.

    …end spoilers.

    From a mechanical viewpoint, I understand why she has to be so passive. And, like I said above, I absolutely loved the game’s mechanics. But when the game falls onto the the “heroic boy, helpless girl” stereotypes, it becomes disappointing and a little bit creepy. It’s good points are still very, very lovable. But also deeply flawed.

  • Anonymous

    What a terribly disingenuous analogy.

  • Eisen

    It’s more her role relative to the main character. It would be (in my opinion) still be a damsel in distress if she was saved by another woman – as long as she is shown like the ones Sarkeesian mentioned.

    But I think I never saw a game like this. If, then I guess it would be a “mother saves child”-story (obviously a daughter, because a son could help himself and maybe ends up to save his mother, not the other way round, as I saw it in some movies or TV series).

  • Anonymous

    I don’t mind the shooting itself, exactly, but A) my computer is super cheap, so games tend to lag, making aiming difficult, B) I have practically zero hand-eye coordination anyway, and C) I get stressed out/overwhelmed very easily and that makes my aiming even worse. The closest I can get is playing Portal 2 because the targets are stationary.

    If FPS was just a niche market it wouldn’t matter, but the vast majority of all popular titles are shooting/violence-based games. I wonder if Anita will address that in depth later on? How the sheer prevalence of these kinds of games not only imply that “violence is the answer” but that men are only good for shooting things and can’t apply critical thinking (beyond battle tactics) in order to solve problems. Is it really that fighting and killing are all guys care about (other than saving the boobs- I mean, chick) or would there be interest in other styles of gaming if they were more available/trendy? Not that game devs would ever take a chance like that, of course. Bah.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Paul Ballard in Dollhouse. IMO, he was deliberately and repeatedly fridged, in an attempt to point it out. Because when a man is fridged, it’s obvious to people watching, as we are used to men having the own agendas and motives, but everything about Ballard revolves around Echo. That’s why his Season one plot is so frustrating, it’s so motiveless, because it’s entire purpose is to get him IN the Dollhouse.

  • Christopher LaHaise

    I certainly hope that isn’t the criteria which got me selected. o.O

  • Christopher LaHaise

    Which I think was the point.

  • http://www.silverpixiefly.com/ Silverpixiefly

    Because they sell games. Big studios rarely partake in risky options. They want the easy return of their investment. I personally think Anita and those like her blow things out of proportion or miss the real battle entirely.

    We don’t see more women saving men because major studios believe the only people that would play are women, and women (to them) are not a major market. Again, it goes back to the easy money. Same reason Madden rarely gets a face lift and a new Call of Duty comes out every year.

    The battle should not be a big “F-You” to these games everyone seems to find threatening to women suddenly. You can’t change the past, but you can change the future. I am sure the point of these videos is to do that, but she does not have the best reputation and puts people on the defensive. What we should be doing is trying to figure out why women aren’t taken seriously as a buying power in video games.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Well the trope also creates a woman that is weak and victimised. So if the story was a woman rescuing a woman the trope would still be relevant here if the person to be rescued is weak and helpless. Often these characters don’t have any personality at all and exist as more of a concept than an actual character.

    Whether the protag is male of female, video games are still using a victimised character as a plot device .

    On the flip side, it often implies that men can’t/won’t get their shit together unless the object of their desire is taken from them. Sarkeesian mentions this when she talks about male protagonists going on a journey to reassert their masculinity or whatever.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Because as soon as women talk about video games they get scared off by territorial assholes. The reaction to Sarkeesian’s first video should be evidence enough of this.

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    I was going to make a comment that the most painful part of that video was being reminded of the Bionic Commando remake, but that segment on the dead damsels was really rough. She almost didn’t even need to saying anything after each clip since they drove the point home themselves.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Since she was paid more than $100,000 to buy it, I’d hope that the videos involved some rigor.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I’m surprised that people have lashed out against the series at all. Do they also feel threatened by PBS, documentaries, the Discovery channel, or DVD commentary tracks?

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    I don’t know why considering stuff like Terminator were a a huge success.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Only when it’s a woman talking about games =P Women are scary, yo!

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    They’re setting a *terrific* example and in the process creating a new stereotype. I’d burn them alive if it were legal and I knew where they lived.

  • Eisen

    Sarah Connor was cool, but when she finds her son, he does take the lead… or it accured so to me. The boy is very mature, and I never had the thought that it was Sarah who really saved him. Maybe I should watch it again, it’s a good movie nontheless.

  • Robin

    Hard as it is to choose, I think the worst bit about the mercy killings is how the camera habitually drifts over a garter belt, or a bit of cleavage in a ripped dress, or an arse shot…. just before killing the woman. Dear god, you have to sexualise her RIGHT BEFORE killing her as well!?

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    Thank goodness for Twitter. :) Everyone is talking about them, so everyone is watching them, and it’s pretty awesome seeing game devs respond.

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    Regardless of her reputation or her presentation, if she doesn’t speak up, who will?

    I already know game developers she has reached. People who are making these games, hearing her arguments, not agreeing with them completely, but taking them into account.

  • Carl Jackson

    Does anyone know if this video was made before Jim Raynor got the fridge treatment? It’s an exception that proves the rule type, but its omission seems glaring given the popularity of Starcraft.

  • http://www.silverpixiefly.com/ Silverpixiefly

    That is a bit of a blanket statement. I won’t deny women get harassed to a degree when they play video games, especially on-line games/multiplayer. But I find the men who bully the women also bully other men. The issue is is less about sexism and more about proper conduct when playing with other people.

    I have been harassed for being a girl playing video games, yes. I didn’t let it scare me off, though. And I didn’t see any evidence of it in her first video at all. (I assume we are talking about the first video in this particular series.) In fact, she has not discussed the actual players. Her focus is on the games themselves.

    Your response to my comment exemplifies my problem with how people tackle these issues. That one sentence “Because as soon as women talk about video games they get scared off by territorial assholes.” has so much wrong with it. You come off way too confrontational, like you want to pick a fight. I am not saying that it was or was not your intent to do so. Regardless, it will not open the lines of communication. We need to start responding in a more productive manner. What is it we want? If the game industry were to become willing to listen, how could they achieve what we are asking?

    I, personally, would like to see more games geared towards women. I had this conversation with my husband last night, actually. He asked me to specify what I meant by games geared towards women because, “As a guy, I don’t know what you mean when you say that. When I hear games for girls, I think of those DS games.” It never even occurred to me that someone might interpret it that way. I calmly explained that I don’t mean games marketed to young girls, but games to grown women. So I thought for a second and replied, “More female protagonists. Like FemShep.” I honestly believe that most men would not have a problem with more female protagonists. Many would probably embrace it.

  • http://twitter.com/EmberDione Kim Pittman

    Dishonored was the only one I was willing to argue the point on.

    The Empress was not killed because she was a woman, or even to set up Corvo’s story. She was killed because she was Empress by people who wanted power. If the game was just about Corvo, it would have ended at the point that he was free, or the point where he regained Emily. Her death was the catalyst for throwing all of Dunwall into even further turmoil than the rat plague had already caused.

    Although, the flip side of that is… (SPOILERS) the object he gets all his hints from is speculated to have formerly belong to the Empress. YECH. How disturbing is that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Bazilio/100000132443742 Eric Bazilio

    “In [insert game], your [insert helpless female character] is brutally murder and then you have to rescue your daughter.”

    It’s pretty damn embarassing how many times she got the opportunity to repeat that sentence. Also hilarious, but mostly embarrasing.

  • Daniel E. Jacobs

    you know sitting back and listening to these two I am shock on how deep the problem actually is… I hope these videos actually start a long talk on how video games are made. I have been following Jim Sterling and the people at Extra Credit for sometime both have been talking about the sexism in gaming, and I knew that it was there but this has really REALLY has show a light on just bad it really it… I knew it was bad… but I didn’t know it was Horrible!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Bazilio/100000132443742 Eric Bazilio

    I could not grasp what the hell you were talking about with the “wife arm”.

    And now I know I didn’t want to.

    It’s like they were trying to one-up the whole “women i refrigerators” thing. Well, congrats! o/

  • Carly Hunter

    I think we generally agree on the issue of writing in video games :P
    Id add to what ur saying about the blank slate characterization its not just the lack thats the problem its lazy characterization too. Not all these video games lack characterization u can tell a lot of work and detail goes into the visuals for these games (we’ve both said this is apart of characterization) maybe a characters background or personality isn’t fleshed out but it still has this part to it. These games clearly show the perspective the creator is trying to make on the characters. Strong virile hero and petit feminine lady two of the main kinds. They start falling into the trap of this is what the audience wants to see so this is what we are going to do.

  • Jesse

    it’s fuckin unbelievable to me the bullshit people say in response to her videos. She so BLATANTLY CLARIFIES what she is saying and not saying and people still claim things that are obviously false. She says OVER AND OVER that just because something has as sexist element to it doesn’t mean it’s bad, doesn’t mean the creators intended to be sexist, doesn’t mean that the game itself is not still good, etc.

    She could not be more fair and nice and clear about what she’s saying and people still twist it into total lies and self-serving bullshit just so they can diss on feminism. So pathetic and disgusting.

    oh and i love the new video!

  • Anonymous

    Not sure, no–but then Starcraft does do a bit of back-and-forth on the damsel/dude-in-distress. After all, as Jim in the first SCII release, you’re trying to save Sarah. She mentioned ep3 would deal with the games that include role reversals, so if it was made post-heart of the swarm, maybe we’ll see that addressed. I’d like to see her comment on the new Tomb Raider, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    “This constantly killing women off is getting a little stale. Any way we can get rid of a woman, but not REALLY get rid of her? And no ghosts, Steve. We’ve done that too.”

    “How about making her the protagonist’s demon arm?”

    “Concept art, now!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Oh, I. Hear. You.

    We can’t even DIE properly. Can’t count how many times in a videogame, where a woman is knocked out or injured (and occasionally just plain ol’ killed) I saw the camera pan over her butt, or linger on her curvy bits.

  • Anonymous

    I blame the failure of modern secondary school education to teach proper reading comprehension.

    (Actually, I think this can explain a lot of shitty internet comments out there.)

  • Carly Hunter

    I think I disagree with u about the issue not being about sexism. If you haven’t already go watch the ted talk about anita and the attacks that are perpetuated on her. Really feminism is the only thing I can think of that consistently gets this much shit spread all over it.
    I also think the bullying u talk about that happens to men to its still about sexism. Most of slurs they throw are about degrading those men’s masculinity in order to shore up their own. Its the online equivalent of being a tough manly man but youre actually just a huge ahole. Sexism perpetuated on both men and women. However it’s women that are attempting to break into this field and change things so the very worst is lobbed at these women.

    As to being to confrontational rarely does the status quo get changed by passively asking nicely. Besides people have been asking nicely for a long time and most of the time they get a response of this is just what people want its not our the creators fault that we make these kind of things. Imo if these headhonchos want video games to be taken seriouly as an art form on par with movies televisio and books they need to start taking responsibility for what they are creating. Anita’s videos have basically been confrontational free she is not attacking anyone in her videos simply pointing out trends that exist. Id even say she goes out of her way to eliminate any confrontational issues in her videos.

    If people come off as being a bit angry about the sexism in video games its understandabl responce to continuouly being ignored or downplayed. What needs to happen is that more people become frustrated and angry which is what these videos seem to be doing. Then the status quo will change cause thats what it takes.
    And honestly using ahole to describe the people attacking anita on a regular basis seems pretty accurate :P

  • Carly Hunter

    Good to hear :D

  • Carly Hunter

    I think apart of what makes it *entertaining* is the dehumanising quality that the games actively create. Their just images and representations not real *people*. But to ya to enjoy most really bad ones I feel like a lot of desensitization is apart of the process.

  • Anonymous

    This was another excellent, thoughtful, measured video. I bet 99% of the a$$hats gripng about it don’t have the attention span or basic human intelligence to watch it to the end.
    Hoping part 3 won’t take as long to appear as part 2.

  • Curtis Owings

    A hard video to watch. I was kind of excited about Dishonored and now I’m not. I’m also saddened to see so little originality being explored. I just can’t understand why in works of complete fiction we can’t come up with different stories.

  • Jesse

    yeah that’s definitely one of the main things that i see as a massive failure of education in the US (and maybe other places?). People seriously do not know how to read properly or think critically on a massive scale. It’s really disturbing. You say things directly to people and they literally can not understand you. ugh.

  • Anonymous

    “That is a bit of a blanket statement. I won’t deny women get harassed to a degree when they play video games, especially on-line games/multiplayer. But I find the men who bully the women also bully other men. The issue is is less about sexism and more about proper conduct when playing with other people.”

    It’s not a blanket statement; it’s the truth. Sexism/ misogyny/ racism etc are all very real and alive today, right now. These things carry into the groups/cultures that we like, say video games. It is reflected and regurgitated to the point where we think of it as “truth”. And no, a person who is misogynistic isn’t just a bully; they specifically think women are below them. They may bully men too but being an equal opportunity asshole doesn’t mean their attitudes towards a certain gender are null and void.

    “I have been harassed for being a girl playing video games, yes. I didn’t let it scare me off, though.”

    Your experience does not speak for all of us. I am a woman with a mental disability that makes me react more painfully to loud noises/certain words/situations, etc. This makes me more likely to get “scared off” from video games. And that’s just one example, because even I don’t speak for all women. In other words, this is an incredibly privileged response.

    “You come off way too confrontational, like you want to pick a fight.”

    Why not? It’s righteous anger; you’re damn fuckin’ right we have a right to be angry about inequality. That shit needs to die hardcore, like fuckin’ yesterday. See, I’m just angry. It’s a human emotion that is normal and healthy. Please be aware that you’re coming off like a silencing technique; though I doubt it was your intention.

    “”More female protagonists. Like FemShep.”‘

    FemShep rawked, from what I heard (did not play the game). You know the downside to her? She is chosen at the beginning of the game by the player to be either gender. In reality, Shepard is just who you want them to be. Now if FemShep was the ONLY character you had, then yeah, rawk on. Also agree; we need more female protagonists, more strong characters who happen to be female.

  • Anonymous

    And I posted before reading your response, so I said the same things, basically :p But well put! :)

  • Anonymous

    Are you implying that she was paid a “ridiculous” amount of money, it “better be good”?

  • Robin

    It’s very undignified. Will we never learn!?

  • Anonymous

    You should still play Dishonored! It’s not without its faults (essentially, the plot), but it’s still a blast to play through, particularly if you like sneaking your way through moody neo-Victorian cities. The fact that you can play the game without killing a single human being makes it a bit different than the standard revenge-o-matic murderfest first person game, too.

  • Curtis Owings

    Well that is heartening. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    How is a mass killing of male NPCs equal to what is being talked about here? How does that fit into discussions of misogyny and sexism?

  • http://www.silverpixiefly.com/ Silverpixiefly

    I never said sexism wasn’t alive. And you are right, I wasn’t meaning we should be silent. I am trying to state that a volatile approach is not the way to handle the problem. We need to be calm, collected, and open to at least a little compromise. More so, saying FemShep’s downside is that you chose to be FemShep could not be farther from the truth. That is a positive in my book. I have the choice to play a game as the gender of my choosing and I get the same basic story either way. FemShep is treated different, for the most part, in the game as someone who played as a male. They didn’t make her weaker or change her armor to something skimpy. The only changes I encountered are the romances, for obvious reasons, and a few times where she encounters sexism. And she puts them in their place.

    That is where I have my biggest problem. Here a major studio found a compromise to make everyone happy. What is your response? That because there is a male option it isn’t good enough? And we wonder why this is such an uphill battle. Rome was not built in a day. I would love to see more games with strong female leads, but find fault when someone tries to meet us half way isn’t helping.

    You have righteous anger? That is great. Now put it to good use. Be active in explaining your why you are angry and be willing to come up with some plausible solutions. But do it in a way that doesn’t put the listener on the defensive. We can spark change without inflaming an angry mob with pitchforks.

    We also need to be clear on who our audience is. Tackling the on-line bully issue is a separate one from getting for female protagonists. Sadly, I think the latter will not be embraced by big studios for a while. Which is why I hope we can catch the attention of Indie developers. “Hey, big game companies don’t want our money, do you?”

    Again, I am far from trying to silence. I am just stating that calling everyone assholes is useless and really serves no purpose. If we are going to have these conversations we need to not come off in a way that the opposition can dismiss us. Bonus points if we can make the opposition look like the crazy and irrational ones instead.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm…it’s okay to ask what I was trying to get across. Otherwise, it’s seriously belittling to converse with you; if you want to improve on that, I’m all ears. Otherwise, please do some self-reflection.

  • Joanna

    Hmm… it’s been a while for me too. But she was pretty badass in T2.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Nope. I agree with you, that she was paid a ridiculous amount of money, but not that it “better be good.” Just that I’d hope it would be. Robert Downey Jr. is paid ridiculous amounts of money, but I wouldn’t riot in the street if he phoned in his next performance…there are typically consequences for that sort of thing, that I don’t have to worry my silly little head over. I am appalled by her timeline, though, thus far, but the videos have been good, they seem to have been well researched, and she does a good job of explaining what she is going to cover in each segment in a very lawyerly way, so the outcries of, “She missed this example, she didn’t include this or that,” are from idiots that weren’t listening carefully. All in all, it’s good stuff.

  • http://www.silverpixiefly.com/ Silverpixiefly

    Believe it or not, it feels the same conversing with you. I understand if we can’t/won’t come to an agreement on things. I firmly stand behind what I said, as I am sure you do with what you have said. I felt the need to say my piece, you responded, and I responded back. I see nothing wrong with what I have said or asking for us to be willing to compromise. This all stems from me not thinking we should just go around claiming the reason no one listens to us is because we are all scared away by assholes. That was my original comment you responded to, I believe.

  • http://melancholywise.tumblr.com/ Sophie

    Several people made the point that it would be nice to get some other people’s points of view, even just in quote form, which I think is fair, though I understand that that isn’t really part of what she’s trying to do. It’s pretty hard to find any valid arguments amid all the idiotic trolling.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I always try to murder an equal amount of each gender when I play violent games to avoid seeming sexist in my murdering.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I’m still surprised by the reaction she’s received. People don’t react that vehemently about bloated gas prices.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Er…I clearly posted in the wrong spot. Sorry!

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Anyone actually played the game and know how that works, plot wise? Cuz WTF.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I agree with you that a wonderful place to start making things better is right at the beginning with character selection. Having diverse options and the ability to create your protagonist always increases immersion and adds heaps of replay value.

    And freaking Peach should be a playable character. Two Toads is just obnoxious. But that’s my personal gripe.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I believe it; communication has broken down. It’s not about disagreeing, it’s about not empathizing. I can see you’re not doing that. And no, I do not stand behind your idea of “asking nicely” of our oppressors to stop oppressing. How a person reacts in inequality is their business and right to them at the time, due to their personality, past, etc. Same with harassment, or trolling, or bullying; any type of abuse. Reacting with your own violence I would say is a step too far (depending on the situation, ie self defense), but anger? No; anger is NEEDED. Also also, the points your bringing up…have been brought up before to derail feminist theory, and will no doubt be brought up again. And again…and again…

  • Anonymous

    LOL!! Well, what of the games (which I believe are most?) that only have male NPCs to kill? Now I do agree that is a HUGE problem, but it’s derailing to mention that when we’re talking about devaluing women.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think any one particular game listed was necessarily considered bad because they used the tropes she’s pointing out, (though some are for other reasons). I think she was just trying to show the saturation of said trope… that at this point it’s just lazy. It might work perfectly well in an individual game, buuuuut if everyone is doing it then the trope might be a crutch more than most would like to admit.

  • Whiskey Rose

    I don’t really like her videos, mostly because of poor research on her part. Videogames can be really sexist, but saying that the context of a story doesn’t matter is BS. Also looking at them through the scope of tropes and ‘y is sexist because x happens’ kind of simplifies things, and gets them wrong.

    The best example I can think of is Breath of Fire IV and the search for Elina. I’ve played this game, which I doubt Anita did, and remember very clearly that it wasn’t just used for a male character’s arc. Her little sister was looking for her too, it effected her as well. And she had a much better example at hand, the death of Mami. That was just used for a male character’s arc and would have been a better example. Yet she overlooked it, which would have been really had to do unless you haven’t played the game.

    She also seems to forget that Angle featured in both Borderland games. It was only right at the end that she became a mercy kill, up until then she helped the possibly female characters out. She also tricked them, she wasn’t just a damsel.

    Yes videogames can be sexist, but there’s more to it then characters deaths and tropes. There’s an issue with representation in general that needs to be looked at, without the agenda of ‘all games I claim are sexist are’ behind it.

    Anita doesn’t deserve the flack she gets, but not everyone who points out some of the flaws in her produce is a sexist pig. Some of us are women who want a deeper look into the issue, who also post things that try to look at the issues.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Ok, you said in your original post: “why women aren’t taken seriously as a buying power in video games.”

    1) The preconception that women don’t play games.

    2) The fear of excluding the current market by appealing to women.

    3) Sexism in the industry and community and the need to keep it as a “boys only” club.

    4) A predominately male industry who don’t know how to appeal to women because we’re aliens or something.

    When I was talking about Sarkeesian’s first video I was refering to her Kickstarter one, where all she did was talk about talking about games. She was in no way attacking the industry and yet she was grossly harassed, sent death threats, had her Wiki defiled by pornographic images and even had a game made where the goal was to beat her up. There is a lot of hate in the gamer community but it might change when the industry stops appealing to immature shit heads over and over again.

    ” I honestly believe that most men would not have a problem with more female protagonists.”

    You’re right. Most men don’t. And I know a lot of men who are tired of being appealed to through tits and explosions. Everyone wants a change except the industry and the shit heads who keep giving them money for the same crap over and over and over again.

    We’re all shouting at the industry for change but they’re hesitant because they prefer to do things the easy way.

    Was that a productive response or was it too confrontational for you? =P

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Before I begin to respond, let me say that I mostly agree with you, and Metal Gear Solid is a terrible example, Travis. For one thing, Meryl is the only character in that entire game that, as an easter egg, can be spotted in her skivvies twice if you perform certain unnecessary actions (thus, it’s an award), and Snake identifies her by the sway of her ass as she walks. That’s unique to her. The only scene that’s even in the same zipcode MIGHT be the shirtless fist fight near the end of the game since it POSSIBLY implies homoerotic intentions on the part of Liquid Snake and I’m sure we’re all aware of how often Disney likes to impart similar “unwholesome” qualities on their villains to provoke distaste from the audience. Well, you mentioned sexism in your previous post and I think that door swings both ways and you can’t have an honest discussion about only half the human race. I think that SilverPixie had it right that FemShep and other games that allow character options or full character creation on the onset do loads to eliminate comfort zones and free up developers to offer both more positive and negative roles to female NPCs in games. There was quite a bit of talk about Bioshock Infinite a few weeks back and the female rebel leader, Fitzroy, whether her portrayal was positive, negative, stereotypical, and so on. This also leads to some disturbing stuff. I’ve seen videos of a stronghold that someone created in Skyrim where they had filled their banquet hall seatings with female NPCs’ corpses. Their heads were on the plates. Granted, that has more to do with Skyrim’s allowance of gratuitous dismemberment than a developer’s intended role for female characters…actually, know what? Terrible example. I take it back. But it’s awful, and I guess I wanted to share. Honestly, I don’t think it’s really a HUGE problem. Most of the games that I have played lately, Bioshock Infinite, Skyrim, Fallout, and even this little (awesome) timewaster, FTL, have as many female NPCs to butcher as male.

  • Whiskey Rose

    I’m one of the ‘a$$hats’ that gropes about them. I’ve watched them all the way through and she has a point, but it’s not very well portrayed. Some of the examples here are taken out of context.

    Angel appeared in both Borderland games, through she was both an ally and a villain of sorts (not the best of words).
    Breath of Fire IV had a better example of a female character just there to be character arc. She basically there to be love interest and then a reason for a roaring rampage of revenge.

    I, and others, do not say that she doesn’t have a point. But that for the amount of research she claims to put in, she draws some rather shallow conclusions. I don’t hate her or her ideas, but I just think she could do better in terms of research.

    And before you say it, I’m not a hater. I find her haters and more rabid fans to be the snakes biting each others’ tails. The feed each other, whilst also doing themselves no good.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Any chance you could clearly define “our oppressors” so that I can start arguing with you about that?

  • Whiskey Rose

    A little late to point this out, but Angel doesn’t really count as a Damsel in Distress. Throughout the game she isn’t the main goal, the goal is the key, and stopping Jack using it. Up until near the end of the game, the characters don’t know Angel is human. You’re not there to save her, you are there to stop Jack.

    I know that is a small point but it’s kind of overlooked. It’s also a point that seems very hard to miss when you play the game, since everyone goes on about the key and not Angel.

    In fact Lilith becomes more of a Damsel later, which is important since she is a very powerful female character. Who ends up being used by a man, who controls her via a mind control collar. She goes from being a badass to being used like that, entering an area she was warned against entering.

    There is a bigger case for sexism in Lilith then in Angel.

  • Anonymous

    Most things in pop culture CAN be boiled down to tropes, and in this case for clarity she’s only examining one single trope. Most games contain multiple tropes. The nuances may differ, but there’s very little new under the sun, as they say. Trope is just a newer term for looking at a field of study that’s been around for a long time, and they’re excellent shorthand to use when identifying trends. In other words, the ‘more to it’ you refer to is identified by the trope, at which point you can start digging into the “why is it like XYZ.” Joseph Campbell’s books and studies on myth is a good example of more academic, less pop culture-specific work if you want to dig deeper into the ideas of underlying patterns in just about every story we tell.

    As she mentions in the video, when you examine a single video game, it looks like less of a problem, because the ‘why’ can be explained away within the game’s universe. It’s when you step back and view the entire thread that it becomes so disturbing. Sure, Angel had other roles in Borderlands—primarily that of a mysterious occasional helper (which is itself another trope) Yes, you can play a female character (you get the vast choice of: one. Unless you get the DL, in which case you get two to pick between) but that actually doesn’t change the role that Angel ends up filling. Again, games/films/books/TV contain multiple tropes, and while she may not start as the Damsel, she becomes the Damsel. You find out she’s Jack’s daughter, trapped this entire time, and to rescue her (and get that key you want) you must kill her. That fits the trope exactly, especially when you consider that Angel herself is barely fleshed out for you until almost the very moment of your character needing to kill her–up until then she just keeps your character moving by alternatively helping or betraying you. It’s at the moment when you might start feeling sorry for her/want something better for her/want to rescue her that it turns out you can only do so with a ‘mercy kill.’

  • Whiskey Rose

    I stated in a recent reply, but I don’t think Angel really counts, since we don’t know about her up until that point. Anita had a prefect example in borderlands though, Lilith. Why not point out how powerful women are sometimes reduced to nothing?

    When you step back many games become disturbing. In most you spend a great amount of time murdering mooks without a second thought, because they don’t matter. Players are awarded points for how they kill someone, which range for guns to bombs to whatever else you have at hand.

    Context means that a characters actions can be viewed as a whole, then judged. Angel wasn’t the end goal of Borderlands 2, she was used by her father. Who then controlled a character who appeared to be holding the idiot ball, despite being very capable.

    Also I know about how stories work, I’ve done a fair amount of study myself. But tropes are just one piece of the problem and you don’t need to focus on each one for over an hour. Sexism has roots beyond the ‘character a is/acts as trope a’.

    I’d ask the issue isn’t the existence of these tropes, but rather there are so few female leads to counter them with. And for the amount of female character there are, how many of the strong ones get ‘depowered’ later?

  • Anonymous

    Most of us agree games are sexist, but itemizing the overwhelming number of examples can galvanize others into thinking about it (and hopefully working to change it) too. There are people in this comment section alone who are saying things like “wow, I didn’t realize how far this went…” Yes, context is important, but so are trends. It may just depend on if you want to approach the problem from a micro or macro perspective. I think both are valid.

    Totally agree on Lilith, she should be included there. I can only assume she wasn’t brought up because she was focusing on the mercy kill stuff? Or it was a bad oversight.

  • Whiskey Rose

    A bit of both perhaps?
    She focused a fair amount on Mercy Killing and Death, but there were mentions of other ideas. There could be a chance she’s saving it for later, in which case fair enough.

    I admit to preferring macro perspectives, or at least the idea of one trope each video. That way you have room to admit crossing the tropes together, and getting to the point quicker. I’m assuming that the third vid will be the last one on that trope, and perhaps give some examples of how to pull it off without being sexist.

    And maybe it’s because I’m a girl who plays games, but I’m pretty aware of the issue. The issue isn’t the tropes to me, but the lack of balancing things out. Male character can be used in the same way, but it’s even out by number of male leads. If the games industry just tried to use more female leads it might not be so much of an issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Ooh, I didn’t know this. Now I want to play it even more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    I usually avoid explaining this stuff to ‘gamers’, as collectively they’re so used to being at the top of the pack and calling the shots they can’t find a good reason to listen to a woman. Much less women that point out their privilege.

    I’ve found more success in confining it to one or two gamers, usually friends, who are less likely to brush me off based on how I look. Change starts out small.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    I didn’t bring up NPCs or PCs. If you’re referring to how pretty much all the women shown in the above example are NPCs, then we could look at games with women as the main characters and how they are treated. It’s a shame they aren’t as numerous, though.

    In the end, I’m pretty much with you as well, all for the ‘this isn’t a real issue’ part. My main point is that any and every conversation about feminism is absolutely vital to the motion, since just TALKING about it such a leap for many to take in the first place.

    We need more women in general, yes a hundred times. A lot of reused tropes would die by that alone (The Bechdel Test would also get some lovin’). But I just don’t agree with determining what’s the most important thing to talk about in feminism. There are just too many sides to the issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    Now that I think about it, Mass Effect is a little unique in this regard, in that it frequently has women NPCs in shoot-outs. Soldiers, mercenaries, assassins, thugs, etc.

    Then again, Mass Effect is a bit ahead of the curve when it comes to diversity. Not without hiccups, but decent.

  • PaulRingo

    As someone who has played a lot of games, even some of the games talked about in this video, I can’t help but agree with Anita. I often am left wanting in a games narrative for something more complex. Part of the reason I love games is being immersed within a new or alien world, exploring that world and getting lost in the details. Graphics and art style are always getting better. Unfortunately, narrative and story with some exceptions – doesn’t seem to progress along the same line. Hopefully with the new gaming systems coming out, game studios can give themselves the task of one-upping each other, not just on the realism of the games graphics and believability of game mechanics, but also on the stories being portrayed and the portrayal of women in those stories.

  • Anonymous

    “Anyway, in direct response to you, you mentioned sexism in your previous post and I think that door swings both ways and you can’t have an honest discussion about only half the human race.”

    If you mean me, then yes, I agree. I suppose I would say if a person is trying to make a safe place/discussion for a specific marginalized group, then it’s derailing to bring up “but what about X privileged group?” No, not the time or place. So, in this video series, it’s appropriate that Anita Sarkeesian speaks heavily on women’s issues, and touches lightly how it effects men as well. So I strongly disagree that she “should be talking about men as well”. Now, discussing this video, maybe.

    “SilverPixie had it right that FemShep and other games that allow character options or full character creation on the onset do loads to eliminate comfort zones and free up developers to offer both more positive and negative roles to female NPCs in games.”

    Indeed they do, I agree with that. I would simply take that a step further and ask why are there more straight-up female protagonists. If you can choose a gender, that doesn’t really count towards female lead games. So I would say that’s still an issue, though a simple fix for now. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love those games, which are typically rpg.

    So am I mistaken in that the shoot-em-up games do have about as many female NPCs as male? I honestly don’t know since I don’t play them (though I could probably look it up on the internet…but I don’t know how to phrase what I’m looking for). As for Bioshock, I’m watching my husband play it, and there are a lot of things that disturb me about the way it handles race. I had no idea the game was going to deal with these issues…and I just wonder if they’re being done right (I have a feeling they are not). I would also lean towards Fitzroy being stereotypical, though so far she’s one of my favorite characters. (The main character you play being one of my LEAST favorites, because you’re an absolute, insufferable asshole). Also, that Skyrim video is terrible!

  • Anonymous

    Lol! Well said :p The ones who are more privileged, and whom do not recognize it and/or don’t take the time to self reflect. There is not one giant monolith of evil white dudez twirling their mustaches or some shit. It takes a random word, or phrase, or laugh at some joke to make me feel dehumanized, less-than. My husband does this a lot; while communication between us has gotten a lot better, there will (probably) always be those earth-shattering fights where I need to defend my gender (or someone else’s marginalization) from him. It’s a constant fight for me Expecting More of him, although the only reason we’re moving forward on this is because he actually DOES more, and listens to me. So, that got more personal then I thought, but I hope that clears it up.

  • http://twitter.com/witchfury Bel

    I don’t think you’ve looked very hard, then.

    Part 1 is basically a primer on the damsel in distress trope that uses video games as the example and talking point without ever really engaging with the way in which the medium transforms the message. Both parts one and two have a tendency to erase the player and their role in mediating the story – the exception to that being the discussion of the euthenized damsel trope.

    And, of course, there is the fact that she is not actually saying anything that feminists in the gaming space haven’t been saying for years. I know it’s 101 but it’s hard not to find the whole thing a little patronizing.

  • http://twitter.com/witchfury Bel

    I honestly don’t think it’s specific to games.

  • http://twitter.com/witchfury Bel

    People can play those games because they enjoy them and fictional violence doesn’t especially bother them. I don’t think you need to be judgemental about it.

  • http://twitter.com/witchfury Bel

    Yeah, she said something about using damsels as a form of emotional manipulation overtop of Ico and really lost me at that part. Most of her examples weren’t questionable, though, which I found was not so much the case in the first video.

  • http://twitter.com/witchfury Bel

    Dishonoured is a strange animal. The actual storyline you go through is really quite unoriginal, predictable and boring, but pieces of how they carry it off gave me a lot of pause, particularly with regard to what happened to Jessemine.

  • http://twitter.com/witchfury Bel

    Completely agree with you. It really frustrates me that she has become a mover and shaker in this discussion after having apparently parachuted in to a conversation that has been going on for a lot longer and in much more depth.

  • http://twitter.com/witchfury Bel

    Jessemine as a badass killer assassin wouldn’t have worked half as well as what actually happened to her. I still don’t know how I feel about The Heart but it was, I think, the most intensely intriguing thing to come out of the entire game.

  • http://twitter.com/witchfury Bel

    Super disturbing but super awesome as well, given the lovecraftian horror of the setting.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    In reference to your first paragraph, I was speaking directly to you in this situation, not about general safe spaces, so yes.

    I lean toward stereotypical, too, as a better description for Fitzroy rather than disenfranchised or patriot. I’m not sure if there are an equal amount of female and male NPCs in Infinite (I’d wager not) though I remember plenty in the previous games.

    I agree, that the protagonist (DeWitt) is a terrible human being, but that is part of the story. He’s NOT a good example of a “male PC”, rather, I think of him as the protagonist of Bioshock Infinite, as if it were a film or a book, rather than as an immersion experience. When your husband gets to the final areas, you might want to watch. The story goes to very dark places and DeWitt is NEVER (in my opinion) pardoned for his awful nature. But…it’s a twisty story. I liked the ending very much.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    It does. I have no qualms with that definition, especially since it’s a personal one rather than a blanket. :)

  • Anonymous

    I had meant that you’d still play as Corvo, but working for a surviving-and-in-hiding Jessemine and other loyalists to defeat the coup. As you do the bloody work, she works some politics, international relations, etc. behind the scenes, all to pave the way for an eventual return to the throne. It isn’t so much about revenge, but if you’re the only surviving bodyguard and all your buddies had been killed during the escape, revenge is still in there. Not the same story, but not without potential.

    My own goal isn’t to see a trope banned, but that when folks realise that they’re using a trope with a problematic history (Damsel in Distress combo-ed with Women In Refrigerators), folks step back and see if there’s another way to tell a similar story which doesn’t require the dis-empowerment of or violence against women in the same way. That’s a goal I try to keep in mind with what little I write myself, and I think it would be a decent one to see applied more broadly.

  • Carly Hunter

    Thanks well put right back at you:)

  • http://twitter.com/witchfury Bel

    Ah, okay, you’re advocating the Zelda approach. I think I prefer what they did more, though. I don’t like that they fridged her, but I think what they did with the Heart once she was dead was perfectly horrifying. She comes to be the character you know the most about, and feel the most for. As far as fridging victims go, I think she occupies a pretty unusual space.

    But that’s just speaking about one example in particular. Overall I found the writing of the actual plot in Dishonored – including her fridging – to be pretty lazy, and I always think that a dead lady in some dude’s past is a lazy way to drive the story. I just wanted to talk about Dishonored in particular because I think it’s an unusual and macabre example, and I’m still working through what I think of it.

  • Anonymous

    These are 20 min videos. Not doctoral treatises, and they’re menst to be accessible to most people. Of course they will be a bit superficial, but unlike most other videos criticising games she does put them in a wider social context and explains in correct terms why it is problematic outside gaming. She also points out that most game makers don’t do this because they love violence against women, but that they are stuck in patterns set in place even before there was such a thing as arcade games and that they need to think a bit more outside the box. Or at least be aware of the trope they are using.

    You are welcome to disagree with her and state your reasons, I’m willing to listen – I don’t think she is infallible or necessarily presents the whole picture. But when the critique often boils down to “she hates games and gamemakers” when she very clearly and eloquently shows that she doesn’t is what I call a$$hat reasoning. Sweeping accusations that it’s too shallow is also lazy critique that states nothing about what may be wrong with her points. Be specific to counterbalance the supposed shallowness.
    Also looking forward to the next installment outlining good examples in gaming, instead of focusing on the bad.

  • Anonymous

    And to be clear – I was NOT saying that anyone who cirticise her is an a$$hat! Of course not.

    However those who react like she’s on a mission to sdestroy gaming and is doing this because she hates games are.
    Critique is good. Threats and hate speach is not.

  • Whiskey Rose

    Okay, my main issues with her are as follows.

    She’s had two videos so far, on the damsel in distress trope. Two videos with a very lengthy posting break between them, each on about twenty mins long. And there is at least one more video to go, maybe more. And she plans to do this with how many tropes?

    The way in which she’s doing this seems very lengthy, when it could be done quicker. A trope each video would allow for her to have tropes crossing into each other and be more focused. Right now she’s sort of dragging it out a little, when the point is gotten. We know why the trope is bad, also I’d count Mercy Kill as a trope all by it’s self.

    She could very easily say everything she has said in one video without it losing meaning. All writers are taught that the best way to write is to say it as shortly as you can. She could have done a much briefer history lesson and then explained how it’s appears. She waffled on about women being turned into objects and repeated herself. Her audience doesn’t need that.

    She’s also going on about one trope, just outlining the bad of it. There are no examples of how it can be used correctly, and it could very well be used right. Mass Effect has Liara, who starts out as a damsel and by the third game she’s got a lot power. In Borderlands 2 you end up having to save a man called Roland.

    Anita also manages to overlook some better examples in the games she uses. Lilith is a far better example of the D-in-D trope in action, because she’s meant to be a powerful character. She a strong female who ends up carrying the idiot ball, then getting reduced to a powerless damsel.

    The other issue isn’t really with her per-say. It’s that this discuss has been going on for donkey’s years, that people have gone into this subject in a bit more depth, explaining where the real issue lies. Just type in ‘sexism in videogames’ into google and you’ll understand my point. It’s not that her work has no place here, but when compared to the other’s I’ve seen it is somewhat lacking.

    One video explained the issue with the videogame industry best. It’s that the industry believes it’s audience won’t react well to a female lead. Publishers actively put developers off having female leads in their games, which just leaves them as background characters.

  • Whiskey Rose

    Agreed, though that isn’t down to her. That’d because of some very horrible character giving her an enemy,

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    I’d say it’s completely fair for her to say the context doesn’t matter given the subject matter of the video. Anita Sarkeesian point wasn’t that all of these games were bad because of they contained a dead damsel. Just that there is a disturbingly large amount of them.

    Now if she had been specifically targeting Breath of Fire 4 then the context would matter, but as things are it’s just listed as one of the many titles that invoke the trope.

  • Momo

    It is kind of disturbing that you say “she does not have the best reputation” as this is often used against a woman to downplay her opinion or to easily throw her opinion out all together. What reputation, anyway? The only people who would be threatened by Anita’s videos are those who are overly emotional and can’t get past their own emotions (anger, mainly) to hear what she’s actually saying.

  • Momo

    “As to being to confrontational rarely does the status quo get changed by passively asking nicely.” Absolutely. Not sure why some people take offense to Anita unemotionally pointing out truths and seem to think that because she isn’t pandering to their delicate feelings that she is threatening and should be silenced. Any woman who does not pander is usually called a b*tch.

  • Momo

    “We need to be calm, collected, and open to at least a little compromise.”

    And when has Anita in any of her videos been anything BUT calm, collected and open to “at least a little” compromise?

  • Momo

    This stood out – the way women are in general naked or half naked or sexually exposed and made sexually vulnerable as they are threatened, beaten or being murdered. This mixes sexual titillation with violence and is the beginning of conditioning the brain to connect the two. Sexy murder, sexy death, sexy blood…everything has to be sexy for men. It’s perverse and dangerous. Men don’t think anything of it, which is very scary considering male against female violence (and not even to the point where he’s hitting her, but he is demeaning her, thinking of her as less than or as “deserving” of being hurt.)

  • Momo

    Can you even imagine a scene where a man is being brutally murdered and has his penis exposed and the protagonist is a female who then has to say, shoot him in the head? Doesn’t anyone but me see how messed up that is? Why must sexuality be involved when we’re talking about murder? That’s very serial killer-esque (BTK did this to real people, and even children.)

  • Momo

    how did your husband feel about it?

  • Momo

    What’s also disturbing is the lack of male outcry at their being manipulated in these ways.

  • Momo

    You’re being judgmental by judging it the way you do. Who says being judgmental goes only one way?

  • Momo

    Or the woman without pants at all. Because men need to be sexually aroused constantly.

  • Momo

    Like porn.

  • Momo

    True. I have often imagined scenes where men are victimized and thought, “I wouldn’t want to play or even see that. That isn’t something I want to fill my head with.” Watching men be dehumanized or sexually brutalized is not what I want to see. I am just wondering what the motivation is for those who want to see this happening in general and to women specifically.

  • Momo

    This also happens constantly in “casual” games i.e. adventures and HOGs on Big Fish Games. One of the most overdone plots is a CHILD being abducted and the female protagonist must save the child (either their own or someone else’s.)

  • Momo

    What male gamers should be angry about is how game developers are manipulating them into handing over their money and dictating what should be “fun” for them. They give you one choice and one definition: violence. That’s it. Why aren’t men upset about being treated as idiot brutes by the people who are making the games? The games say a lot about what devs think goes on in a male’s mind.

  • Momo

    Another take on the Little Red Riding Hood story is the film Freeway with Reese Witherspoon and Keifer Sutherland. Very black comedy and worth watching.

  • Momo

    I don’t think Anita could be portrayed as hating games or gamers as she is a gamer and has played games since childhood (as all would know who have seen the full series of her videos.) I think it is her passion for video games that causes her to want them to be better.

  • Momo

    I would not mind seeing a series about your POV if you’d like to make one. The best way to combat what you think is missing from one series is to answer it with your own. It would be a good thing for the balance you are seeking, and I’d watch it.

  • Whiskey Rose

    Yes, but as I’ve said most games become disturbing once you take them out of context. In many of them you go around killing people or whatever gets in your way. It’s this type of argument that is used to say that videogames cause real-life violence.

    If she used context them a lot of her argument could become even stronger. Take Dante’s Inferno (the game), it’s bad enough that the LI dies and is basically hero bait. She’s also nude during her death, which is basically used for shock value. But when she DOES become powerful it’s coupled with an overly-sexual outfit. And let it not be forgotten how one of the evil women was shown, aka sexualised to the extreme. This is meant to be a game based around the nine circles of hell. Even in Context it’s sick and wrong.

    I know I’ve gone on about Lilith, but she’s probably the embodiment of the issue. She’s a pretty smart character with a lot of power. She ends up carrying the idiot and not listening to a very clear warning, then is controlled through the use of a collar. You get scene of her talking about how horrible it is, it has some pretty creepy undertones. And she was a strong character. Even with context that’s still pretty screwed-up.

    The point about Breath of Fire 4 was more about the avoidance of a better example. She had a character whose sole purpose was to act as a dead love interest, rather than someone whose context was a little more than damsel in distress.

    Mami was just a nice girl we knew nothing about, who got caught up in something far bigger than herself. Her entire purpose was to be used as a way for a male character to go bat-shit crazy. Love the game though I, that was just very mean way to show how evil the bad guys were. Especially when there was a male character who could have been used. Don’t tell me that love is stronger than friendship to someone who understands neither.

    If you put the games in context and showed how completely screwed-up some of these scenes are, it makes a stronger point. She made a very good point when she used the Prey example, because even in context it’s fucked-up (sorry, no other way to say it). Despite everyone hating the new Duke game, she made a good point with it. Because even in context it was sick. The best way to make the point is to make it undeniable and use the most effective samples.

  • Whiskey Rose

    I writer a couple of things now and then, but I’m not much of a video-maker. I’m not a very good public speaker and most of what I would say has been said.

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    I’ve never played Breath of Fire IV so I can’t say if Mami would have been a better example than Elina. If I had to guess though, the latter probably stood out more for the body horror and mercy killing.

    If anything though, the fact we’re having an argument over whether Anita Sarkinseen included the best examples of the problem proves her point that there are way too many instances of this in modern video games.

  • Whiskey Rose

    I’ve never said there aren’t enough instances, just that it’s pretty much a case of ‘context makes it look worse’. Anita doesn’t need to take them out of context, and it look a bit shallow that she has. In-depth these events are horrible and it works best to show it.

    By that point of Breath of Fire IV, you’ve sort of become a little numb to the crap the bad-guys pull. If you ask I’ll go into it, but let’s just say the events that take place are just one war crime after another.

  • Whiskey Rose

    I’d say Dishonoured is good, if only because it gets stealth based gameplay right. The story-line isn’t very good and you’ll be able to just what is going to happen a mile off. The actual setting for it is interesting, as well as the background events…such as the whole Outsider thing. Really wish they had explored that side of things a little more.

  • Carly Hunter

    Cool thanks haven’t watched it

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    There are 28 games covered in that video. If Anita Sarkinseen gave the full context to even half of them, I’m guessing the run time on the video would be pushing the 2 hour mark.

    Now, she could have cut down the total number of games so she could go into more depth on each title, but I think that’s missing the point.

    The purpose of the video was not only to show how the damsel in distress trope has become darker over the years, but how distressingly common the darker version show up.

    I won’t lie, watching that video made me feel super uncomfortable about the state of the games industry, especially the euthanized damsel segment. The fact that maybe there might have been a better example for one or featured games doesn’t lessen that in my mind.

  • Anonymous

    It’s interesting that you say they’re being overly emotional, because the attitude is so rarely portrayed that way, though it’s absolutely the case. Anger is one of the emotions that’s OK for a man to express, even though it’s no more rational than any other emotional outburst—it’s only when women express emotion that it becomes a losing argument. And of course, if a woman doesn’t express emotion, she’s “cold”, “too academic”, a “bitch”. It’s one of those traps where you can’t win either way.

  • Anonymous

    This comment is awesome and you are awesome. “Help, help, I’m being oppressed!”

  • Anonymous

    It’s a problem in crime shows too. I remember one where the woman was killed in a bathtub just so they could show her naked corpse. Talk about mixed messages.

  • Anonymous

    Which is interesting because the early episodes of Dollhouse seem to be setting up… well, a Damsel In Distress relationship between Ballard and Echo. “Mysterious young girl! Spirited away by an evil organization! Captivated by her photo! Rescue her at any cost!” And then it gets flipped on its head.

  • Carly Hunter

    I disagree with the taking them out of context business.

    I think what she is doing is putting them into context with the entire industry. Just because the character is more complex doesn’t mean they aren’t part of a larger pattern.

    As to their simplicity I don’t think their target audience is people like u who already know about the literature already out there. It’s for the naysayers and people who just never realized how prevalent these tropes are. Its to get people to open their eyes and start looking more deeply at the issue. Honestly from personal experience if you start getting to complicated right at the beginning the average person will tune you out and not learn a single valuable thing from you.

    The main problem the sexism in videogames conversation has had is that it hasn’t engaged a wider audience and itbseems these videos are succeeding at this. To make people realize there is a problem kinda need to hammer the point home while you have people’s attention.

  • Whiskey Rose

    I’m not saying it should. I watch this and most of what she brings up is stuff I’m pretty aware of, I’ve read around it. Maybe that is why I think she’s going about things wrong, if only because the damning is in the detail.
    A list of where things appear is fair, but giving a couple of examples of contextual d-in-d would be very effective. Showing the audience just how screwed things can get, even with the storyline in mind, would be really effective. Maybe a bit of both would be good, give them the list then shine a light in the eyes.

  • Whiskey Rose

    Firstly if this is for the naysayers, then she’s already failed. Sorry but if someone isn’t willing to face a topic that’s been discussed already, then this isn’t going to change that. Just look at what the vocal twits have already said, not that it should stop her. I just hope it isn’t for the naysayers.

    I’m not sure who the target audience is, but I’d guess it’s those who like games and the feminist movement, I say this because her website is obviously built for those with at least an interest in feminism.

    The problem has been branched to ‘wider audiences’ before. The Escapist is one example of where this issue has been brought up. The problem is that those who disagree are stuck in their ways, they are very aggresive towards anything that isn’t blind agreement. They view it as a threat.

    Also what I’ve mentioned isn’t really hard. It’s just look at a story and how a character is used, similar to what she’s already doing. All I think she should do show just one or two in-depths looks. She can keep the list, but also show the extent of how screwed-up these tropes can be. Show the viewer that even in context they aren’t right.

    She had Dante’s Inferno, she had the Darkness 2 and she had Borderlands 2. These three games have some real big foul-ups of D-in-D, which are foul-ups even in their context.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    As someone who played/plays both Borderlands games, I can’t get away without mentioning this.

    What makes Angel a damsel is the fact that she was searched for and specifically adopted by Jack for the purposes of acting as his conduit/charging mechanism for the key. Granted, we have no idea about this in the first game, but we definitely find it out when Angel appears to double-cross us at Jack’s orders.

    She’s a damsel who *isn’t* the main focus of the protagonist. So, a sidelined damsel, basically, since her rescue isn’t the player’s focus.

    A way that Borderlands 2 could have made it so that Angel was *not* a damsel, would been to — rather than [SPOILERS for Borderlands 2!] have you disable her shields and kill her to stop the key from being charged [/SPOILERS]– have her help you to disable her shields and then have her HELP YOU FIGHT JACK AND SURVIVE and finally be allowed to take hold of her own agency. Rather than making her destruction the whole point, make her rescue the point that actually winds up benefitting everybody (well, except for Jack). THAT is how you write scenarios where a woman can be imperiled, but can achieve empowerment on her own terms. Rather than making her what you have to get through in order to get to Jack, she could have helped to knock down the door to get him.

    Angel is a Siren, herself, and a fairly powerful one, from the looks of things. She’s able to phase shift and directly interface with Hyperion locks and Catch-A-Rides all over Pandora. We don’t see any computers or anything in her little shielded pod, so the only thing I can figure is that she’s directly interacting digitally with the systems somehow, using her Siren abilities.

    The way things shake out, even with her incredible abilities (stuff Jack can’t do himself – making her technically the more powerful one), Angel’s still treated like a damsel because she’s at Jack’s mercy and is following his whims and desires (Jack’s words to Angel always had the air of order to them — who knows what kind of punishments Angel might have undergone for attempting to defy him) rather than her own.

    So yeah, it is actually pretty significant that Angel is placed in this position. Even Lilith winds up being a damsel as Jack abducts her to take Angel’s place. The only character that I can think of that’s not a damsel (from the main game) is Maya from B2 — granted, she wound up in an unpleasant situation (with the cultists who were wanting Maya to kill people for not paying their tithes) but I didn’t get the impression it was involuntary on her part, just that it wound up being a situation that wasn’t all it seemed to be.

    I’d be really curious to see what Anita has to say about the new Tomb Raider — man, was that ever an ick-fest.

  • Carly Hunter

    Firstly I said naysayers and people who never saw how bad the problem is. I wasn’t talking about the aholes that think rape threats etc are appropriate these people are beyond help. I was talking about rational human beings who play games and live in a bubble where they don’t see the problem therefore don’t thinknit exists.

    There are a number of people just on this site who have said it has opened their eyes to the systemic problem. That people within the industry are talking about it. Which is great and if it can influence even just a few of these people its done a good thing.Just because she is a feminist and her website displays this doesn’t means her target is other feminists. The internet is a great tool to spread info to a great many different people.

    As to in-depthly analysing specific problematic games this goes hand in hand with who she is trying to reach. Just look at how people have gotten a little defensive about her including games that they like in a list of many games without her actually calling them bad games. Even pretty much outright stating there are good games in this list that they contain storylines that are apart of a larger pattern.

    What do you think would happen if she started out in-deptly criticized specific games? People would get very defensive and ignore the rest of what she is saying. She seems very deliberately to downplay this reaction. If you are trying to reach people within the industry this seems like a good idea since video games are art and artist can be very sensitive about their babies even if they’re baby is a 7 foot killer cyborg :P

  • Ruby Dynamite

    They get to reap the benefits of it — ie. they get to feel like the big hero for saving the girl — of COURSE they’re not going to say anything about it xp

  • Whiskey Rose

    I’d say that Angel is only a damsel when the plot twist hits, in terms of narrative and player point of view. The knowledge isn’t known until right at that point, when you are forced to kill her. The double-cross didn’t imply to me she wasn’t an AI, I’ve seen a lot of AI based characters pull similar moves.

    From what I remember she never states during the double-cross that she is Jack’s daughter. And we know that Jack is a little insane anyway, his way of talking to her could have just been his…personality in play.

    It would have been nice to see her live, but I view what happened to Lilith as worse. Anytime a strong female character is brought to that state, it’s more of a blow. Especially given how she talks after being controlled.

    I was under the impression that Angel was Jack’s daughter by blood, that doesn’t change much but if her sought her out for that purpose it does imply a lot more.

  • Whiskey Rose

    Firstly those who have gotten defensive and offended would have been anyway, no matter how small the mention of their game. As someone who has been in the gaming community for a while, I can say that people will rush to defend their gams. It doesn’t matter how big or small the criticism is, they will cry about it.
    Downplaying a reaction to avoid offending people is a bad idea, or at least to me it is. If you want to make a point you have to make it in full, even if a gamer gets overly offended. She needs to start showing the audience how screwed-up some of these characters can be, it’ll make a better point.
    Sure some will ignore her, but they are the ones who would do it anyway. They might SAY they will start caring but they probably won’t, they just want to look good.
    Also when I say naysayer, I mean those who have heard about the state of the games industry and still ignore it. If the industry actually does something about it, I’ll be happy. Because there needs to a change, one were publishers stop putting developers off having female leads.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    A character’s damsel status isn’t decided mid-stream and then remain ‘locked in’ as it were after the story has been told. You have to look at the story AS A WORK in order to determine what she is. Based on all the information Jack and Angel tell us and all the stuff we hear about in the logs, I’d say her damsel status is pretty well established. I don’t recall the exact dialogue about the whole double-cross scenario — Angel just screws you over and it isn’t until later that she explains the situation. We do hear Jack refer to Angel as his daughter in audio logs prior to that big final showdown, iirc, though.

    In both games, Angel refers to herself as an AI — but as we find out later, she’s a flesh and blood human being.

    Double checking the Wiki, it turns out I was not entirely correct and misinterpreted the audio logs — Jack didn’t adopt Angel after all, however he did still tether her to the nerve center of his computers and basically forced her to do his bidding. So yeah. Damsel.

    And I don’t think you’re really noticing what you’re saying here — you’re trying to insinuate a dichotomy, a difference, between Lilith and Angel. Saying it’s sad when characters like Lilith are crippled, but you don’t really seem to give a toss one way or the other about Angel when ANGEL IS JUST AS STRONG, just as capable and just as powerful. Saying – yeah, it would have been NICE if she’d been okay, but man, it’s sad to see… that’s … yeah. I think you might want to take a closer look at why you’re doing that.

    You’re insinuating that Angel is weak, that it’s okay not to feel quite as upset or angry at the fact that she died (or you had to sacrifice her) because she was weak. But that it’s sad to see a ‘strong’ character like Lilith be brought low. Even though, like I pointed out, as far as powers go – Angel and Maya and Lilith are all shown to be about equal in terms of strength and capability. Angel was tethered to the machine (judging by some of the audio logs) at a very young age — so, again, damsel. Kidnapping Lilith temporarily and using her to give the vault key the last little bit of juice it needed does *not* compare in any way, shape or form to a child being put into a machine by her father and (from what I gather) living there as a prisoner for her entire life.

  • Whiskey Rose

    I’m not. It’s sad when a character is used like that, but to me it’s worse when the makers of the game can’t have strong female characters. That a female character is taken down a peg through a plot railroading, that she is forced to carry a huge idiot ball is worse.

    Angel to me isn’t a damsel because she never askes to be helped. She’s a Mercy Kill and that’s just as bad, but not a D-in-D because we’re never forced to try and save her. Angel only tells us where the key is, she never states ‘and you need to kill/save me’. That’s what I mean, we don’t know she’s trapped and she never tells us to help her.

    Lilith is a character we are forced to save, who askes for help. We shown how horrible her being controlled is, it’s a very sickening bit for me. Angel being controlled was bad, but it was a different sort of control.

    Angel was a Mercy Kill and probably a Broken Bird, if you want to use tropes. But to call her damsel misses that she never asked for help, that we are never forced to try and save.

    Call her a Mercy Kill and complain about that side of things. But I don’t think she’s a D-in-D, both tropes are need to be treated as different things.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    So how can you kill someone in order to relieve them but that character is NOT a damsel in distress?

    Again – read what you’re saying and really think about it. You’re contradicting yourself.

    The whole point of a damsel in distress is putting a woman into a highly unpleasant, dangerous situation that they have to be or should be rescued from, because it’s painful, humiliating, hurtful, etc. Being force-fed Eridium to the point where you cannot live without it (drug addiction parallels) and being forced to charge a vault key while being isolated from everything and everyone else but the voice of your absolutely insane father? Yeah, that sounds like a party! Where do I sign up?

    Like I said – damsel. Just because she doesn’t come out and ask for help doesn’t mean she’s not one. Asking for help isn’t a required tenet of a damsel. Because her situation assigns victimhood to her just by sheer dint of the circumstances we find her in. Isolated, addicted, highly powerful but absolutely helpless to stop Jack all at the same time. If the character’s situation is such that it inspires sympathy, that you find yourself thinking ‘man, I’d hate to have to live that way/go through that’ – if it gives you the feeling that you want to help that character in some way? Then she’s a damsel.

  • Whiskey Rose

    Read through what I said, I might have added a few things. I haven’t made any statements that go against what I say.

    To me she is a Mercy Kill, not a Damsel in Distress. D-in-D is about having to save or the plot forcing you to save someone, not just wanting to save them. A Mercy Kill is having to kill someone, being left not other choice.

    She’s a victim and I won’t say any different, but there needs to be an understanding of the different tropes. A Mercy Kill is when you are forced to kill someone, such as in Bioshock. Sure the guy was controlling you, but the fact that he needed killing would mean he was a damsel. And I doubt he was.

  • http://www.widdershinscomic.com/ Kate A

    We didn’t really talk about it in depth or anything but he wasn’t all ‘woo yeah kill my mutant lady’, nor did he put the game down and stop playing. If I ask him about it now he’ll probably pull a face and go ‘ugh yeah that’.

    So basically, found it distasteful but may need a bit of a think to unravel why.

  • Anonymous

    I wish she would at least put up a moderated comments section…just a moderated one so that all the abuse could just get filtered out :(

  • Whiskey Rose

    In her defence, I’m pretty sure you can’t do that with Youtude, The abusive comments she has gotten are extremely disgusting, no-one should have to deal with that or read them. It would be nice if she could allow comments with the risk of overly vocal morons.

    Still discussion goes on through other channels, so it’s not a total lose.

  • ACF

    While I mostly agree with this video, I do have one objection I wanted to make. When talking about the “mercy killing” trope, she includes some examples where the female character, in sound mind and of her own volition, requests that the hero sacrifice her in order to achieve some greater goal. She presents these alongside scenarios where the female character is possessed, infected, or something similar and needs to have it beaten out of her or be put down. She goes on to say this promotes violence “for a women’s own good”. While I think she’s quite correct about this statement applying to the infection/possession type scenarios, I think it’s a mistake to include the sacrifice type scenarios in this. If this is legitimately presented as being the female character’s decision, then I think it gives the character some agency (especially if she convince the male character to do something he otherwise wouldn’t, because she recognizes that it’s for the greater good). Further, it helps avert the still fairly common trope, “the expendable gender”, where women aren’t allowed to make any of the sacrifices that men can make (in order to protect women), which of course feeds into the notion that women are weak and need to be protected. By allowing women to make the same decisions, and to sacrifice their lives, just as men can in stories, then it helps promote the idea that they are equal.

    That said, the sacrifice variations of the mercy kill trope aren’t entirely free of problems. When a woman is making the sacrifice, there seems to be a much stronger tendency to require men to pull the trigger than when men are willing to sacrifice themselves, which DOES play into the “violence against women for good”. However, it’s not as inherently problematic as the possession/infection type scenario.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    That is the stupidest. Thanks!

  • Russ Rosin

    I have an idea why the male gaming community is so vocally negative about these videos. It’s the irrational fear that the end goal of these videos is to ultimately remove these tropes from gaming altogether. The headspace they operate from is: “My likes and preferences are a reflection of my value as a human being, therefore an attack on them, is by extension, an attack on me.”. Combine that with massive insecurity fueled by latent guilt and you have a sense of why they feel so threatened.

    “It’s their porn (for all intents and purposes) and they’ll be damned it they let you take it away from them.”

    I do find it interesting that the majority of titles listed in the video as bad examples were big-budget console titles while the more positive examples were small budget titles offered on platforms such as Steam. I have a feeling for gaming to really change the status quo has to come crashing down. As long as Console developers can make enough money off the “Dudebro”-segment of the market, they’re not going to diversify they’re audience. Once that dries up, they’re going to basically be dinosaurs trying to live off of insects.

  • David Ouillette

    I agree with her views for the most part (she does go a little myopic sometimes), but the problem is she doesn’t give any meaningful options. Stories of men rescuing women from evil go back throughout time. It is easy and it works. Quick, think of three other reasons you would go through hell and back against all odds?

  • Matthew Dolby

    Why are you giving this idiot attention? She clearly doesn’t want to foster discussion by having her comments disabled. A lot of her arguments are one sided, and don’t really bring much to the table as far as regarding the problem. She doesn’t even offer any solutions to the proposed problem, if there’s even a problem in the first place. I’ve watched both of her videos and the only thing that I got out of them was the fact that this woman clearly doesn’t understand the medium, OR basic story telling structure.

  • Ethan Miller

    Not sure if you are familiar with the youtube community or not.

    But, ANYONE who post an opinion and put him/herself under the big spotlight will be targeted by some hate message. A lot of youtubers, both males and females, have to deal with the same situation, and I don’t see them shutting down their comment system. If Anita is going to censor the comment because of trolls, it not only limits others from having a constructive discussion but it also shows Anitia’s one-sided argument attitude and the fear that her research cannot stand up to scrutiny.

  • Roberta

    Literal Hell and back (since that is a common story-line)?
    1. My own soul has been captured and is corrupting my body slowly, and I must enter Hell to retrieve it before I become pure evil.
    2.Important political leader/scientist/doughnut shop owner was taken, and the protagonist has no affiliation to them other than the need to see good done, perhaps because of their career, and the hero must slay Hades for those precious Boston Creams.
    3. A villain does something horrible. I don’t, he/she blows up Pluto for shits and giggles. Turns out he/she sold his/her soul to the devil, and the hero must enter Hell to exact justice and if possible, restore Pluto to it’s Dwarf Planet State.
    That took 5 minutes. Not the most fleshed out points, but there you go. Relying on the same trope over and over again just because some gamers like it while it hurts a whole other demographic is just lazy. Easy doesn’t mean good.

  • David Ouillette

    I like the first idea. I’d play that… then again I play almost anything if the gameplay is good enough.

  • Roberta

    I think that is the point of this video. Ms. Sarkeesian makes it clear that good gameplay and a storyline that doesn’t treat women like crap are possible, but many game developers don’t see the problem with relying on an old cliche. We as women are tired of being portrayed as locked in high towers, kidnapped only so the hero has reason to get his lazy ass off the couch and save the world, or killed because it “looks cool” and is somehow necessary. We have been reading, watching, and playing that line for centuries. It gets old.

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    Can you provide an example of what you’re looking for, because I’m am not following your logic. You say you understand her not going into depth with every title, but do want some examples of the context beyond what’s already in the video.

    It sounds like you want a plot analysis of Breath of Fire 4, to get the proper context, and I’m not sure that would work within the context of the videos.

  • Whiskey Rose

    When I say context, a quick explanation of what leads up to these events and how the character fits into this. Like with Elina a quick run down of what led to her imprison, that she went on what amounts to a mission of peace.

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    Maybe that would work for a text companion piece, but I’m not sure that would be a good idea for a video. While the exact context for the Damsels in Distress may vary, at a general level they are all going to have the same story: a female character of some importance to the male protagonist is taken away, and his quest is to rescue her.

    The way the video is structured she does give a bit of context on the games she uses to lead off or end a segment before listing games that have similar scenarios. I also noticed that these book ending titles tend to be from the last five years so it’s more likely the viewer will be at least familiar with them whereas Breath of Fire IV is a PS1 title from 2000.

    I imagine this was a deliberate choice, to show that both the trope is alive an well now, and had been around longer than people may have thought (I certainly wouldn’t have guess that a Breath of Fire game had a euthanized damsel. The last game in the series I played was the second one, which I remember being a fairly light-hearted JRPG for the most). I personally feel it would have been less effective to do it the other way round.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have much to add other than Prey has PLENTY of horrific material in it: long before you get to the mercy-kill, you see young children being brutally and graphically killed by alien-possessed children. Then you have to shoot said alien-possessed children.

    By the time you even get to your girlfriend you’d be a broken shell of a human being, by all rights.

  • Whiskey Rose

    I think you played a different game then me. Breath of Fire 2 had a two mothers die, a sister turned into a giant bird and a father dead or trapped in a machine for the rest of his life. Not really light-hearted.

    I get your point here, but ignoring context skips over so many point. Shadows of the Damned was skimmed over, when Anita could really have brought the point home.

    She could have pointed out the female character was once a strong warrior, who ended up tortured. Or just how much the tortured is shown in-game, for the sake of a male character arc.

    There are other examples, but the point is that these were missed. Sure she tells us how alive the trope is, but not how ugly the thing. The Prey examples worked because she showed a clip that summed it up, a stupid plotline gone very wrong.

    Saying how much the plot comes up works, but then same can be said for a lot of tropes. Best friends die a lot in games, children can’t be killed or just don’t show up in some. And the mercy kill is a hell of crap-shot, as is Killing of Mercutio.

    Showing us why these tropes are so sexist would be nice. Because the portrayal of a female death differs than that of a male death, and it’d nice to show this. Not by comparing, but by bringing to light what lengths are gone to.

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    Have you watched the first video in the series? Not only did that video go over the history of the trope and explain why it was problematic. Plus, when she goes over the helpful damsel she does give a bit more context on the titles along the lines of what you seem to be looking for.

    The second video is more like a super cut, and by showing the clips in rapid succession it shows just how common and lazy the trope is. There wasn’t a need to show why these specific tropes were sexist, since the first video explained why the core damsel in distress was sexist.

    On the subject of comparing the portrayal of female death and male death, I think that would be better served in another video. Perhaps the third video will include some subversion of the trope (both failures and successes).

  • Whiskey Rose

    I watched the first video and it was explaining the trope. Despite some disagreements with what she left out and what she said didn’t count, it worked better. Because she at least tried to explain the issue.

    Showing how often the trope shows up shouldn’t take half an hour, Like I said a lot of points were glossed over, points that could have been used to bright to light more of the issue. This isn’t just a problem with women being used as a ball in a ball game, that is just one part of it.

    It isn’t just down to them being helpless, or how often women get used as an objective. I don’t think its about control and submissiveness either, but that’s another thing all together.

    She misses out on how often violence against women is used as a motive. How often we’re meant to see just how horrible it is, but how ham-handed these attempts can be. Not that it’s encouraged, but that it’s a cheap shot at heart-strings, along with depowering towards female characters.

    One of the biggest problems with the game industry on whole, is she actually pointed out rather well. They keep using the same formulas; that they think so little of their audience they put developers off having female leads.

    Again she had ammo on the Mercy Kill (I think it should counted as a trope all on its own) and the dark and edgy stuff. If she went into the same sort of detail she did previously, it would have been great. No-one can make excuses when the stupidity of the plot is staring them in the face.

  • Whiskey Rose

    The discussion is probably because the vocal and stupid part gaming community reacted badly, as in ‘I don’t want to be grouped with these people’ badly. There were rape threats, hate and a fair amount of abuse thrown at her, I saw some of it. Complaining about her starting a Kickstarter is pretty stupid, look at some of what that site allows.

    You don’t really have a point with the story telling structure point, since not many games understand it either. In some of those examples there wasn’t really a need for a damsel to show up, it felt ham-handed. There other than a small link between Sirens and the purple stuff (not even going to try and spell it), there wasn’t that much of a need for Angel to be human.

    Handsome Jack was already planning on using the Warrior, he didn’t need motivation. We already knew he was evil, and that part didn’t humanise him in the slightest. Other than making he player kill a child and watch Lilith get captured, just what was the point of it? Why couldn’t that event have happened without Angel being human, since the lore around that wasn’t established by that point?

    I’d say I know enough about telling a story to know that some of what games pull is BS. There are a lot of ass-pulls, carryings of idiot balls and general bad writing. For every game with a good plotline, there’s about five or so with bad ones. That is just one of the issues with the medium

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    Okay, I think I get your point now. Though have have to say after essentially watching a supercut of the Mercy Kill, I’m not sure I could watch a full video of it.

    If this omission bothers you so much, why not create a response for it? It doesn’t necessarily have to be in video form, though I have to say it seems like one of the most effective ways to get the message across. The conversation shouldn’t end at Anita Sarkeesian and the more people talk about it, the more awareness is raised.

    Also, it might be worth mentioning that the Damsel in Distress isn’t the only trope video game trope the series. According to the Kickstarter page there are going to be twelve different topics examined, though I don’t know if they’re all going to follow this three part format.

  • Whiskey Rose

    My question would be which tropes she looks into. For all my ragging am interested in that, hopefully she’ll look at the faux action girl. It shows up a lot and is used to try, and make people think that games are never sexist.

    I do write about this sort of thing, but I’m not focusing on videogames right and have limits on the time I have. I have seen other folk talk about and other pieces, they’re interesting to read and listen to. Just avoid the comment sections if you don’t like the odd moron.

    A full video of Mercy Kill might be harsh, but it’s that is the best way to get the message across. Tropes can be used well, but videogames are a whole kind of trip up here, and not just with gender. Bad writing has always been a sore spot for me, so you can probably guess my issue with videogames.

  • Anonymous

    ” I know it’s 101 but it’s hard not to find the whole thing a little patronizing.”

    Yeah, I hear you. But I think once you get past the smugness and patronizing tone, there is some interesting facts here and there. A few story patterns/elements that can’t be ignored and such.

    On a side note: to those who are posting KiteTales and Thunderf00t, try to include Jim Sterling in as well. Your welcome!

    Sexist trolls, keep away and keep an open mind. Stop threatening Sarkeesian and her followers. It won’t accomplish anything, obviously. Life is too short for that kind of garbage. But hey, who’s going to listen to me?

    Feminism versus FACTS (RE Damsel in distress)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJeX6F-Q63I

    More than a Damsel in a Dress: A Response
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJihi5rB_Ek

    Jimquisition: Anita Sarkeesian – The Monster Gamers Created
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MxANWWhpMs

  • Jake Brown

    I agree with what you’re saying it just irked me at the time because i felt certain characters weren’t getting their due appreciation for awesomeness.

  • Jake Brown

    I really must stress that I wholeheartedly agree with the main point of the video (subpoints etc) I just felt the inclusion of certain characters in the video diminished them by inclusion and that slightly annoyed me because like anybody I like strong characters. I guess at this point I’m starting to tell myself “No uterus no opinion” but I just feel that some of the characters mentioned are much more than the trope and deserve less flak.

  • Jake Brown

    i completely agree with the point of the video. To be honest I just feel protective of characters I liked.

  • Jake Brown

    And I want you to have the opportunity to play as a woman. 45% of gamers are female. There need to be more games with female protagonists.

  • Jake Brown

    I agree with you and I agree wholeheartedly with the point of the video. I’m definitely not arguing against the video, just saying that some theatric devices can be useful used in moderation. key word moderation. I think that the main problem with sexism in the gaming community is the lack of female protagonists rather than the prevalancy of these tropes. 45% of gamers are women and there should be more games centered around them.

  • Anonymous

    This is by far the best video response I have found that summarize my thoughts on this whole thing (and far more eloquently). It’s refreshing to find a response to Sarkeesian’s two vlogs that doesn’t accuse her of being a scam artist, attack feminism, or worse, deny entirely that there is no sexism in games.

    Damsel in Distress | Critical Context
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGFWQEQUT5g&list=FLZdfGkx_fYopTvUNwMBu4Nw&feature=mh_lolz

    This is a little depressing. I understand we are only two videos into this project of her’s but it’s already crashing (seemingly; there‘s still hope).
    I was hoping we would get a well-researched in-depth analysis. Instead, we’ve got opinions and over-analysis disguised as facts. No objectivism, just bias.

  • Anonymous

    “Why does she need your help? Why can’t she save herself?”

    You don’t believe that someone in need is automatically weak and diminished? Don’t we all get a little help sometimes.

  • Anonymous

    “However I do not agree that tropes are completely useless and “insidious” in storytelling.”
    I hear you on that. Although games could benefit in doing a little “shake up” in their stories. I mean, look at games like PRIMAL for the PS2. You play as a demon-hybrid female on a quest to save her boyfriend and restore balance to he worlds. Oh did, I mention there’s a living stone gargoyle that assists you?

  • Anonymous

    There’s a actually quite a few games where we can play as female character. Games not called Tomb Raider.

  • Anonymous

    Lazy writing and the fear it’s not going to sell well. You know, BS like that. It drives me crazy.

  • Anonymous

    Oh but Silverpixiefly, you’re not supposed to say that. You are supposed to say that the industry is filled with vile and spiteful men who just want to keep women down.

    Sarcasm aside, I hear what you are saying but there’s got to be some developers/publishers out there who have to lead by example. It’s not just the consumers who have speak up, if you know what I mean.
    If I came off as hostile, I apologize.

  • Eric Rogotsky

    I created a response to Anita’s first video. I would do this one, but I have yet to watch it. I would post the link here, but I think people would think I am spamming or something and that is not my intent. Check check out my twitter or you tube channel under thegaminggoose and you can find it.

  • Jake Brown

    thats the most metal thing I’ve ever heard

  • Anonymous

    CHECK. IT. OUT.