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New Tropes vs Women in Video Games Episode Takes on Women as Reward

We all knew this one was coming.

“Content Warning: This educational episode contains game footage of a graphic sexual nature.”

In this episode of Tropes vs Women in Video Games, Anita Sarkeesian points out examples of how women’s bodies are used to reward the actions of gaming’s all-too-frequent target audience: straight men.

Of course, the episode kicks off with Metroid. While it’s great that Samus is a female protagonist and has been for a long time, it’s important to remember that the journey of the Metroid franchise started by sexualizing her more and more depending on player performance, and the trend continued for years.

However, that’s not to demonize Metroid. It’s but a very prominent example of a long list of games that demonstrate how the male gaze and objectification of women that pervade all our media and culture manifest in video games. And beyond that, as Sarkeesian mentions, we like the Metroid games and Samus as a female protagonist—mostly. That just makes it more important that we point out the things that went wrong.

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Dan is a video game modding hobbyist and secret ninja who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa Brown, and his dog, Liz Lemon, both of whom are the best.