June 13, 2012

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Pop culture media critic Anita Sarkeesian runs Feminist Frequency, a site where she regularly posts installments in an ongoing webseries from a feminist/fangirl perspective. Last year she created a series called Tropes vs. Women (curated for Bitch Magazine), where she explored "the reoccurring stories, themes and representations of women in Hollywood films and TV". Now she's planning to make another series focused specifically on the representation of women in video games. The project will consist of 12 videos (plus classroom curriculum) that highlight "the larger recurring patterns and conventions used within the gaming industry, rather than just focusing on the worst offenders". Some of the tropes covered include "Damsel In Distress", "Fighting Fuck Toy", "Mrs. Male Character", and "Sexy Sidekick". Sarkeesian has a Kickstarter campaign going for the project, and she's already raised almost $90,000 (her goal was only $6,000) despite a recent veritable shitstorm of harassment from online assholes; her Wikipedia page was repeatedly vandalized, she received thousands of awful comments on her YouTube video (including plenty of the classic 4chan-spawned "tits or gtfo"), and of course she got tons of messages through Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter, email, and her website, telling her things ranging from "get back in the kitchen" to threats of death and rape. As Sarkeesian points out, unfortunately this sort of thing happens to women online pretty frequently, and all of this harassment is for a video series that she hasn't even made yet. However, judging from how much she's raised, it seems that most people are finally starting to realize that a) this is a really important project and topic, and b) trolling is for losers


Click here to check out the Kickstarter. As Sarkeesian is also a proponent of remix culture and fair use, you'll be able to download all of the videos for free as they're released.

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