This isn’t the first time we've written about Anita Sarkeesian, of Feminist Frequency and Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. And we have a feeling that it won’t be our last. She has some amazing stuff in the works and it's guaranteed to ruffle internet feathers. (Because of the overwhelmingly negative reaction to her videos and the incredible voice of her supporters, she's already become an expert feather rustler. Now anything she does automatically becomes a web war because of this intense polarization.)
Last time we checked in with Anita, we looked at the first part of her Tropes vs Women in Video Games series and crazy-controversial (in some non-BUSTy corners of the internet), Damsel in Distress: Part One. In it she was discussing the familiar framework of brave hero/poor maiden. The second video picks up where the first left off, but it is decidedly more contentious because it introduces graphic depictions and a frank discussion around violence against women in video games. It has also made her a target for collective internet misogyny. Released on May 28th, her video was immediately attacked and flagged as inappropriate. The comments will not be repeated here, but they included death and rape threats, as well as the usual web-troll hate speech. The video eventually went back up and is, without a doubt, a worthwhile way to spend 25 minutes of your time.
TRIGGER WARNING: This video contains a handful of graphic scenes involving violence against women.
It's hard enough to be a female gamer in an established "boys' club" world. But Anita has experienced the worst of this. Having the guts to discuss sexism in video games has earned her negative comments, flagged videos, and even a video game designed in her likeness where pissed off dude gamers can beat up an Anita Sarkeesian avatar. This negativity brought supporters to Anita’s Kickstarter and helped her raise much more than she asked for. It’s great to know that there are so many more people on the side of education and the positive depictions of women in media than there are negative fear-mongers on the side of oppression and anonymous internet sexism.
Any vocal feminist knows how quickly speaking up for injustices can earn you negative feedback and backlash, but Anita dared to make her thoughts on gaming public on the internet, a media arena primed for battle. We'll be keeping an eye out for her future videos. According to her Kickstarter, they will include some of the following topics:
The Sexy Sidekick
The Sexy Villainess
Voodoo Priestess/Tribal Sorceress
Women as Reward
Mrs. Male Character
Unattractive Equals Evil
Man with Boobs
Positive Female Characters!
Video #12 - Top 10 Most Common Defenses of Sexism in Games