Feminist Frequency Launches Final Women Vs. Tropes in Video Games Video in a Bittersweet Moment
Five years ago, back when Feminist Frequency was a simple YouTube show, and two years before “Gamergate,” feminist pop culture critic, Anita Sarkeesian posted what she thought would be a modest crowdfund. She launched a Kickstarter campaign for a video series she called “Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games.” Today, thanks to the campaign being anything but modest, she has posted the final video in the two-season series.
Earlier today, Sarkeesian sent out a message to her Kickstarter backers letting them know about the video, titled “The Lady Sidekick,” which “examines how female sidekicks and companions in games are often designed to function as glorified gatekeepers, helpless burdens, and ego boosters, a pattern that works to reinforce oppressive notions about women as the ones in need of protection and men as the ones in control, who take action and do the protecting.”
She explains the process of creating them a bit, and also expresses how bittersweet it is to have this series come to an end after living with it for five years.
“It’s a bittersweet moment, bidding farewell to this series,” Sarkeesian writes. “It’s definitely time for it to be over, time for Feminist Frequency as an organization and for me personally to move on. But I keep thinking about all the ways that the world of video games has changed since that day, almost five years ago, when I first took my modest little Kickstarter live. It hasn’t all been for the better, but some of it definitely has. There are conversations happening now, among players and among creators, that weren’t happening before, about who games are for (everyone!), about what impact they can have, what they can tell us about humanity, empathy, race, gender, sexuality, the world we live in, and the world we want to create for ourselves.”
Many of those who were trolling her efforts often brought up the fact that it was taking “so long” for the video series to be done, and pointed to that as a sign of fraudulence and corruption, as if she were swindling backers out of money. (PS – as a backer, as long as there are updates, and someone doesn’t pack up and move to Guam never to be heard from again, I can wait for a quality, well-researched project) However, Sarkeesian acknowledges that even supporters were understandably frustrated. She then explains that, thanks to the generous support of her backers, her vision of the project was able to expand, which also made each episode and trope more time-consuming:
“Now, I want to emphasize something here, just to give you an idea of how much the vision for the project evolved in the wake of the Kickstarter’s tremendous and unforeseen success. What had originally started as plans for five videos, each approximately 10 minutes in length, eventually premiered with three videos all devoted to just one single trope! In total, those three videos came in at over an hour and ten minutes in length! Doing meticulous, comprehensive research spanning the entire history of video games as preparation for those episodes was tremendously difficult and time-consuming, but looking back, I believe the results speak for themselves. ”
This attention to detail has made the entire series incredibly worthwhile. Something I’ve always admired about Sarkeesian’s criticism is that it’s based in deep research and knowledge. You might not always agree, but you know that she’s arriving at her conclusions based on actual facts and game play. The show itself is really well-produced, too.
Here is the entire list of videos in this series if you’d like to catch up:
1. Damsel in Distress: Part 1
2. Damsel in Distress: Part 2
3. Damsel in Distress: Part 3
4. Ms. Male Character
5. Women as Reward
6. Women as Reward: Special DLC Mini-Episode
7. Women as Background Decoration: Part 1
8. Women as Background Decoration: Part 2
1. Strategic Butt Coverings
2. Body Language and the Male Gaze
3. Lingerie Is Not Armor
4. Are Women Too Hard to Animate?
5. All the Slender Ladies: Body Diversity in Video Games
6. Sinister Seductress
7. Not Your Exotic Fantasy
8. The Lady Sidekick
Positive Female Characters – The Scythian
Positive Female Characters – Jade from Beyond Good and Evil
Animated Short: The Legend of the Last Princess
Animated Short: Imperfect Dark Trailer
5 Ways Men Can Help End Sexism
When all is said and done, that’s 4 hours and 50 minutes of feminist video game analysis that Feminist Frequency has created. We’re thrilled that the series is finally complete, and we’re looking forward to seeing whatever Feminist Frequency has in store next!
(via Kickstarter, image: screencap)
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