"How long is your game?" For the last three years, Anita Sarkeesian has been talking about how women are treated in games and has slammed the widespread sexism she sees in the portrayal of female game characters. So, I thought I’d take the time to explain what Sarkeesian’s series did for me, and why I am so grateful for her sacrifice. We’re so excited to announce that the Games and Online Harassment Hotline is officially launching on August 3, 2020. Is she perfect? If you’ve got a project or speaking event you think I’d be a good fit for please reach out! "), "Lingerie is not armor" (Dress female characters as something other than sex objects. There’s no long-standing oppressive construct of men being seen as sexual objects and reduced to that in real life.”. “At least half of the options should be women and, really, it would be great if it was more than half the options were women, and I know some people think I’m completely loony when I say that.”. Anita Sarkeesian saved me from abandoning the medium I now want to base my career on. Lots of people got mad about that, and Quinn’s ex-boyfriend made an awful blog post about how they’d slept with a journalist for a positive review. Playing: Watch Dogs Legion (need to get back to RDR2, Iconoclasts, Arkham Origins, Sushi Striker, Samus Returns, and Ghost Recon Breakpoint). No changes made to this image. That used to be the question a video game. Anita Sarkeesian, a respected pop-cultural critic whose series of videos under the Feminist Frequency banner critique the perceived sexism still prevalent in mainstream video games. I believed there was something wrong with how I was playing the games. There’s a part of me that wants to give up on gaming, even though enjoy it so much. “The blue one looks cool,” she said of the women. For more content including uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved! Shorter version, if you just want the list of the list of what she says are "Eight things developers can do to make games less shitty for women", paraphrased from my notes... not that a lot of this pertain to action games and probably make more sense if you're thinking about first and third-person shooters, the Arkham games, and stuff like that: “Fixing this is, of course, incredibly easy,” she said when talking about games that may have several playable protagonists but offer few, if any, who are women. As Sarkeesian pointed to fan-art that imagined Team Fortress 2's cast as being all women I thought about her position as an advocate. This article is a thank you note to Anita Sarkeesian. Sarkeesian is a blogger and critic who founded the Web site Feminist Frequency, where she discusses sexist and misogynistic tropes in video games and critiques gamer culture. Anita Sarkeesian is a pundit, videoblogger and media critic best known as the host of Feminist Frequency, a web series in which Sarkeesian reviews and analyses common tropes in popular culture from a feminist viewpoint. Four main playable protagonists, one of them female. “Yeah,” she replied, and rolled the character intro for Wonder-Pink. This was a friendly and game-savvy crowd. Russian Oligarchs And An American Invasion: Stories Of The Transfer…, The Story Of Notts County’s Season So Far, Nottingham Forest 1-0 Derby County: Spoils Shared In East Midlands…. The people who make Dragon Age didn’t get this kind of security. You just don’t see anything approaching this variety of body types in weights and sizes with female characters.”, She pushed for more representation of women of color in games, and more that are neither reducing such women to ethnic stereotypes nor so divorced from their cultural history that it “is eased or invisible.” She praised Never Alone, a game featuring a female character from an Alaskan tribe. As Sarkeesian discusses how sticking mascara and earrings on a blob doesn’t make it a nuanced female character, remember that this content made some people so mad she was forced to cancel a talk at Utah State University in 2014 due to terrorist threats. She fought back a bad cough throughout an hour-long presentation but frequently elicited applause or laughter as she spoke. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sarkeesian mentioned her time in grad school, which I believe was the same time she was saying in that clip that she wasn’t a fan of games. It made me determined to not let angry men take away what I loved, to not let fear ruin my enjoyment of the medium. She’d push. Gamers are obviously debating this. I immediately wanted to hear what she had to say, astonished at her bravery. She made me re-evaluate things I’d just accepted as part of being a gamer; she challenged me to not just accept the status quo in this medium I so adore. Much of what she showed in them—the propensity for games to depict a disappointingly narrow range of female characters, of often using women in games as props to motivate players, of regularly sexualizing female characters to a comical degree—had rung true to me. One: avoid violence in which women are framed as weak or helpless. “I’m happy if she cared at all and wanted to come,” Sarkeesian said, “but I seriously doubt people from Gamergate’s intentions of coming to an event where I am speaking...I think if anyone in this audience is here for Gamergate they are not here because they genuinely care and want to learn. YouTube is where I found my middle ground. Sarkeesian’s list of eight things included several straightforward requests. Feminist Frequency is raising funds for Tropes vs. Women in Video Games on Kickstarter! Those are the ones that supporters and critics of her views on women in games are likely to debate for a long time to come. It doesn’t help that Sarkeesian was one of the strongest voices behind #GamerGate. Apologies for the error.). This is not a new topic. Don't over-emphasize female characters' rear ends, not any more than you would the average male character's. Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist cultural critic, has for months received death and rape threats from opponents of her recent work challenging the stereotypes of women in video games. Anita Sarkeesian to create new series looking at masculinity in video games New, 361 comments By Ross Miller @ohnorosco Jan 26, 2015, 2:12pm EST Occasionally, as she went through these suggestions, Sarkeesian would mention counter-arguments. Why not sometimes let a character of any type be helpless or play up their gender?—and yet it also seemed to be the one where she was trying hardest to find ways through it and where she felt like there were the worst potential negative impacts. 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Sarkeesian recommended that designers of fantasy and sci-fi games put female characters in similar armor and uniforms as their male counterparts and praised Dark Souls, Natural Selection 2 and XCOM for having more practical outfits. For the last three years, Anita Sarkeesian has been talking about how women are treated in games and has slammed the widespread sexism she sees in the portrayal of female game characters. “Everything depends on framing, right? They won’t move people who might linger on the likely fact that changing how characters sit in Destiny or walk in Arkham City probably won’t make those games play any better. Sarkeesian didn’t lay out those questions, but those are the ones implicit in her critique. “Motion capture and animations for female characters often have them looking like they’re walking down a runway at a fashion show,” she said. There are actually some other female characters among the 101 heroes of the Wonderful 101, but of the playable ones, only one is a woman. Sarkeesian talked about how a more expansive range of female characters can open games up to new stories and experiences, but she doesn’t flat-out say that it’d make an okay game more fun. Blogger, YouTuber, and media critic best known as the mind behind the Feminist Frequency blog and YouTube channel. It seemed like a subset to another argument about female character animation. I noted her words, about what “should be” and what “would be great” and it got me thinking again about the enthusiasm and anxiety people have about her influence. Book to Film Adaptations – Is This The Same Character? “Simply putting women in the line of fire is not in and of itself a problem,” she said. Her list was brand new. “It’s as if the person directing the mo-cap session told the model to walk in the most seductive or sexy way possible rather than just asking her to walk the way a soldier or intergalactic bounty hunter or any ordinary woman going about her business might walk.”, Even sitting could be a gender issue, she showed. Going through her list, she called for game developers of third-person games to “de-emphasize the rear end of female characters,” which she said after contrasting how Catwoman’s butt sways in the third-person Batman game Arkham City with how male characters like God of War’s Kratos have their butts covered by loincloths or trenchcoats. Would it be bad for a given game not to? Image: feminist frequency That’s not really her point. Violence against female characters should never be sexy.”. Sarkeesian, a Canadian-American feminist and media critic, won the award for creating a series of videos titled Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, which … TikTok: A New Platform For Aspiring Arts-And-Crafters? The list was a surprise—not really for its content but for its explicit charge for change. Anita Sarkeesian is the creator of the award-winning Tropes vs Women in Video Games, a critically acclaimed video series exploring the history of women’s representation in gaming that has garnered nearly 14 million views on YouTube alone. That’s how she set up her first request to game developers: “Avoid the Smurfette principle,” a reference to both having just one female character in an ensemble cast and the character limitations that can spring from that. For speaking engagements contact Soapbox Inc.. For literary inquiries contact Inkwell Management And she rejected clothing female characters in cleavage-emphasizing armor whose “only functionality is to titillate young straight male player base.” For the latter, she said the amount of skin shown wasn’t the issue and recommended that game designers look to the outfits of real female soldiers and athletes for inspiration. At this point I’m already scared of online gaming because female names and voices are targeted and treated… differently. To be specific, she was describing “eight things developers can do to make games less shitty for women.”. At the same time I was trying to find my place within the video game community, a woman speaking up about games’ misogynistic tendencies was being threatened with violence near-constantly. In fact, it was a recommendation from a Nerdcubed video that led me to my first TvW video. In 2012, she was introduced to a larger audience after launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new web series exploring the negative tropes surrounding women in video games. Inquiries. Can you guess what color the woman is?”, Several people in the audience shouted the predictable answer: “Pink!”. I didn’t have to risk the online bit – the scary part where people could discover I’m a girl any minute and start calling me slut and whore when I messed up or did well- instead, I can just watch other people play! Even more surprising? She is the founder of Feminist Frequency, a website that hosts videos and commentary analyzing portrayals of women in popular culture. If not, well, you’re unlikely to see much here you can back. She talks about issues that she feels have been entrenched in games but go under-discussed. A lot of negativity has been published about Anita Sarkeesian’s video essay series Tropes vs Women in Video Games (TvW); there was negativity at the time, and there’s still negativity now. Those latter arguments clearly and directly pertain to whether a game would be more or less fun or engaging for any player, which for many gamers is the paramount gaming concern. They are coming here to be, like, ‘oh my god, that woman, that horrible evil woman that’s ruining video games.’”, She said she’d written Gamergate off, that there was no convincing them. The Among Us Phenomenon – Why Is It So Popular? Picture this: It’s 2014; I’m fifteen years old. So I’ll take a cue from my younger self and say I don’t care about being a “gamer,” but I sure do love video games. She’s done this through a series of online videos for her non-profit, Feminist Frequency, and in lectures at conferences and even at some game studios. I truly recommend you watch her series, and decide if it even slightly deserves the rage it whipped up. She talked about getting nostalgic while in college and buying a Super Nintendo to play Super Mario World. So, with that in mind here are two things to keep in mind when designing female characters. The abuse directed at Quinn exploded, and any female voice that spoke up against it became targets of an organised harassment campaign that had less to do with ethics in journalism than misogyny and hatred. From what I've seen of it, The Puppeteer is a delightful upcoming PlayStation 3 game starring a boy. Did Nottingham Forest Make A Mistake Firing Sabri Lamouchi? There’s a pre-Tropes vs. Women in Video Games clip, after all, of her introducing a video about gaming by telling a college class in 2010 that “I’m not a fan of video games. The Shuffle Generation: How The Rise Of Streaming Platforms Has…. 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Video games are more important than ever before, and so is cultural criticism of them. Anita Sarkeesian, 30, was raised on computers. She described her relationship with gaming as “complicated,” credited the Wii for getting her back into gaming and showed a slide of Mario Kart Wii, World of Goo, Guitar Hero and Angry Birds. I’d previously reported about a bomb threat against Sarkeesian’s GDC acceptance speech nearly a year prior. “The male characters get to be short and stocky or heft gorillas or equipped with a massive power suit. I had attended Sarkeesian’s NYU talk because I wanted to hear her outside of the pre-recorded Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games that she’s been making for the last couple of years. I’d seen most of her Tropes gaming videos, of course, and, frankly, not had much issue with them. Anita Sarkeesian: Faith from Mirror's Edge and Jade from Beyond Good and Evil are two of my all time favourite female characters. Anita Sarkeesian’s age is 37. Arguments about the depiction of women, however, will find a sympathetic ear among those who, like Sarkeesian, believe that less sexualized and more diverse presentations of women will make games more approachable—more fun—for more people. Remember, at this point I thought women simply couldn’t exist in video game communities, but here she was to prove me wrong. A year on … Anita Sarkeesian is a Canadian-American feminist media critic and public speaker. So it’s easy to see how two people might sit through the same Sarkeesian presentation and think “This completely matters” and “This doesn’t matter at all.”. Featured image courtesy of Liks Digital on Unsplash. The first TvW video has 47 thousand dislikes to 15 thousand likes. After playing what she said was an audio clip of a female League of Legends champion in combat (above) she called for less sexualized female-character voice-acting/grunting—”start with trying to make pain actually sound painful instead of orgasmic”. The series’ thumbnails made no attempt to hide that they were presented by a woman- Anita Sarkeesian’s face was prominent and proud. I saw her trying to draw clear lines all throughout her NYU talk, and I could sense what a fraught endeavor that was. A Festive Formula: What Makes The Perfect Christmas Movie? In her intro video she’s worried about her makeup. Anita Sarkeesian became the target of a misogynist backlash after advocating for more diversity in video games. Many games use violence as their main means of interaction, she noted, and some developers were uneasy about if or how to put female enemies in harm’s way. of episodes14 Production ProducerJonathan McIntosh Release Original networkFeministFrequency YouTube Original releaseTropes vs Women in Video Games March 7, 2013 – April 27, 2017 External links Official website Production website Tropes v… It can be argued the event primarily targets a hardcore audience, but there's no escaping the way it represents video games on a global scale. Test-Tube-Treat: The Future Of Lab-Grown Meat, Seasonal Specials: An Italian-English Christmas. I heard a few attendees mutter about this being necessary or finding it absurd that a talk about women in gaming, of all things, required this kind of presence. She fielded one audience question from a guy who said a female Gamergate supporter had been at the talk, had shaken her head at much of what Sarkeesian had said, had left early and, this questioner wanted to know, what Sarkeesian would say to this woman. ), Have female characters of various body types. In a vacuum, this might seem strange, but the idea that Sarkeesian doesn’t care much about games has been part of the narrative against her. Anita Sarkeesian released a new video in her Tropes vs Women in Video Games series on August 31, this time taking on the “women as reward” trope. The added protection, I was told, was “the result of NYU Public Safety’s extensive security audit of the situation,” though NYU did not specify, despite my asking, if they were there in response to any specific threats. If you agree with her worldview, you’re likely with her on many or all of these eight things. “There are small things that come up that, you’re like, ‘That’s awesome.’ And then five other things that come up that’s like, ‘Are we still doing this?’” Throughout her description of the eight changes she’d like to see, she repeatedly mentioned games that she thought were handling things badly, but she also routinely highlighted games that she thought were doing things well. She said she’d spoken with “well-meaning” game developers about how to handle female enemies. In order to really participate, though, there’s a bit of required viewing. “It was released in 2013 for the Wii U. She recounted her efforts to get her parents to buy her a Game Boy. I actually had to learn a lot about video games in the process of making this.” (Correction - 8/13/16: The clip was from 2010, not 2011. Also, like the Impact Entertainment Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved. Talk of gameplay brought Sarkeesian to her final point. ‘Horrified with Horror’: The Academy Awards’ Relationship With Horror Films. But now I’m veering into negativity, and this article isn’t about that. Anita Sarkeesian talks about exposing gaming’s most toxic trends with sheer data "A conversation happened in games that was previously only happening in the shadows." The community sent her death threats, doxed her, and even sent her images of her being raped by video game characters. There are seven main heroes. My dissertation this year is about video games. Anita Sarkeesian ends web series that rocked the world of gaming Anita Sarkeesian breaks down the way video games portray women as "exotic" fantasies. What did shock me was seeing a woman unapologetically criticise video games with authority like she’d never doubted her place in the community. She doesn’t buy it, pointing out that it’s common to, say, see female characters’ breasts jiggle and rare to see male characters’ penises do the same. For example, she said that impractically-sexualized costumes communicate that a female character’s “value and worth is tied to ability to arouse straight young men.” But she added that some of her critics say that male characters are sexualized, too. She ran clips of how male and female characters sit in Destiny, a game that imbues its heroes of either gender with the same capabilities. Her work has also had an impact on video games, where more creators are … Of all of Sarkeesian’s requests, I could see this being viewed as the most well-intentioned but creatively stifling one—Why not sometimes have a sexy female enemy? But I didn’t see all that till much later. I’d met her in person briefly last spring, before she won an Ambassador Award at the Game Developers Conference for her work critiquing video games. “Fixing this is of course incredibly easy,” Sarkeesian said. That used to be the tough one. “Because she’s the Smurfette, her personality is: girl,” Sarkeesian said. “The ideal here,” she said, “is to design combatants who just happen to be women.”. This then introduces me to video game community at large, especially channels like The Warp Zone and Nerdcubed. “If you asked me at the time, I would probably have said I wasn’t a gamer,” she said. They are all color-coded. She said that she knew that some people didn’t consider those “real” games but that she counted them as some of her favorites. Wonder-Pink wears pink. How do we truly determine the impact of the characters we see or control on how we relate to those characters or view the world? They both infer a lot from her analysis of games, but at her NYU talk she left no ambiguity. Sarkeesian never acknowledged the security, and she only briefly mentioned the online harassment she’s received for her work. Tropes vs. Women in Video Games Title card used in the videos GenreVideo game culture Directed byAnita Sarkeesian Presented byAnita Sarkeesian Theme music composerMatt Joynt, Nathan Sandberg Country of originUSA Original languageEnglish No. When Anita Sarkeesian launched a YouTube series on misogyny in video games, she received death threats and was forced into hiding. In response to Sarkeesian’s thoughtful critique of games she clearly loved, the community sent her death threats, doxed her, and even sent her images of her being raped by video game characters. She made fifteen-year-old me feel allowed to love video games, and let me ignore the men that still- to this day- try to force me out of this community. By contrast, she praised the presentation of the female character in the new third-person game Life Is Strange. She wanted to reach “fence-sitters,” people “who are like, ‘I’m interested, and I don’t know if I agree with you, and I’m curious.’”, As little as Sarkeesian mentioned her critics, I sensed that a lot of the start of her talk was designed to address their criticisms. She also kept talking, surprisingly, about how easy change in gaming could be. To explain #GamerGate briefly, a female-presenting game developer named Zoë Quinn published a beautiful text-focused game based on her experience with depression. An NYU security guard stood in front of the audience, watchful, as she spoke. I don’t think there’s an easy answer, and it doesn’t seem to me like there’s a rule that would work across the board. In the middle of this tension, Anita Sarkeesian introduced a Kickstarter campaign for her Youtube series, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, that points out … Giving players more playable female characters is the first step toward female characters, like their male counterparts, being defined more by who they are rather than simply by their gender.”, What Sarkeesian was talking about sounded like a quota, because, well, it is. I learnt hope and determination from Tropes vs Video Games, for sure, but I also learnt that the problem with games wasn’t me. Throughout her NYU talk I was struck by both her negativity and her positivity. We’d e-mailed several times when I was reporting stories. 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Get Crafty With Your Old Editions Of Impact! Her videos openly criticised the medium’s blatantly misogynistic tropes: The damsel in distress, female characters presented as rewards to the player, the sexualisation and objectification of women throughout most mature games… Honestly, these were problems I found in most of my media, so I wasn’t shocked by the series’ content. I wasn ’ t lay out those questions, but at her talk, and I could sense what fraught. And butt on the ground, knees up starring a Boy “ well-meaning ” game should. T about that when Anita Sarkeesian launched a YouTube series on misogyny in video games on Kickstarter talk of brought. See much here you can back of these eight things developers can do to make games less shitty for ”. Among Us with AOC: Politics and games done right, `` Lingerie not... Negativity and her positivity when Anita Sarkeesian saved me from abandoning the medium I now want to base career... 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