2013 has given us some good, some bad, and some ugly, same as every year. Also the same as every year: Some of the stories we’ve posted have struck a chord with our community of readers and gotten you talking to the tune of thousands of comments in the last 12 months. We love you guys, have we said? With the year drawing to a close, we present to you the stories that most got your metaphorical tongues metaphorically wagging.
Anita Sarkeesian is back with the fourth video in her Tropes vs Women In Video Games series. We’ve moved on from Damsels in Distress to a pair of separate but related tropes: The Smurfette Principle and Ms. Male Character. Ms. Pac-Man, this one’s for you.
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.
Anita Sarkeesian runs a blog called Feminist Frequency and a long running, fascinating webseries of the same name where she examines the ways in which media and most often modern popular culture subtly and not-so-subtly support and perpetuate misogynistic ideas. I love her videos not because I necessarily agree with everything she’s ever said ever (you know, because we are not a single consciousness) but because when I do disagree with her, her detailed approach prompts me to calmly, privately examine why. This is not the case for 100% of human beings, however, and when she began a Kickstarter campaign to gain the means to expand her series to cover video games, it became the go-to example of overblown, vicious, flailing hate directed at a woman by self-identified members of the video game community. The net result of the harassment campaign (in numbers anyway, which is not to discount important qualitative things like personal peace of mind, or the outside perception of the video gamer community) was to encourage others to fund her campaign more than twenty-six times over what she’d initially asked for.
Naturally, the first video in her series is great: slickly edited, reaching back to Greek myths and forward to modern remakes of classic games, and she opens it with an idea that we here at The Mary Sue are all to familiar with: “Remember that it’s both possible and even necessary to simultaneously enjoy media while being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects.”
We’ve had quite the year here at The Mary Sue. Looking back on it now, we can say without any snarkiness, it was a great one. Part of that has to do with all of you, the folks who visit our site daily to participate in (usually) engaging conversations. When we post an article, we hope it garners discussion, even if that discussion is about how much Peter Jackson must have spent on shampoo for The Hobbit or how hilarious tap dancing zombies are. Some posts never get any comments (and how sad they must be) but others take on a life of their own when a particular topic gets readers talking whether the topic was controversial or not. We like it when things remain civil and do our best to step in when they don’t, but it’s always interesting to see different perspectives. Here now are our Top 10 Most Talked About Stories of 2012 on The Mary Sue.