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She has certainly been critical of the interactivity that leads players to rescuing damsels in distress, but if, say, developers changed many of the Eight Things she requested in her talk, it wouldn’t make games play differently, if at all. By contrast, she praised the presentation of the female character in the new third-person game Life Is Strange. Under her breath she added: “I don’t even know if I want to say that now, but whatever.”, She said she’d “bought into the bogus myth that, in order to be a real gamer, you had to be playing GTA or Call of Duty or God of War or other testosterone-infused macho posturing games which often had a sexist, toxic culture that surrounded them. Developers, publishers and gamers could hear and decide for themselves what’s best to do. “Equal opportunity sexual objectification is not the answer here,” she said. 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… Image use licence here. 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. 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. “I mean, what the hell?”. There are seven main heroes. 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. 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. Anita Sarkeesian was not so sure. 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. Emily celebrates the positive impact feminist game critic Anita Sarkeesian has had on her life. In 2014, she appeared on an episode of Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report discussing GamerGate and gender inclusivity in video games. 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. 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. 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. (Update - 2:26pm: As a reader pointed out, a second is playable in the game’s DLC.) If you’ve got a project or speaking event you think I’d be a good fit for please reach out! Sarkeesian’s list of eight things included several straightforward requests. Her work as a media critic, public speaker, and producer who thrives at the intersection of digital culture, accessibility, and social justice helped create a new lexicon … 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." First, she seemed to be challenging claims that she thinks games make people do things. To be specific, she was describing “eight things developers can do to make games less shitty for women.”. One: avoid violence in which women are framed as weak or helpless. “Simply putting women in the line of fire is not in and of itself a problem,” she said. There’s no long-standing oppressive construct of men being seen as sexual objects and reduced to that in real life.”. 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. But now I’m veering into negativity, and this article isn’t about that. I immediately wanted to hear what she had to say, astonished at her bravery. The metal detectors, and the overall heightened security presence at Sarkeesian’s talk, were impossible not to notice. Anita Sarkeesian became the target of a misogynist backlash after advocating for more diversity in video games. 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. 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 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. Did Nottingham Forest Make A Mistake Firing Sabri Lamouchi? Record female character voiceover so that pain sounds painful, not orgasmic, Include female enemies, but don't sexualize those enemies. The Hotline is a brand new, free, confidential, emotional support resource for people who make and play games. The Curtain Call (Season 2) – ‘Hello World’, The Curtain Call (Season 1) – ‘I Think He Was…, ‘What Could Be Worse Than Jumping’ @ NNT Autumn Online…, Revisiting the Classics – Film Review: The Conformist, Film Review: Anthropocene: The Human Epoch – Climate Crisis Film…, Film Review: How To Start a Revolution – Climate Crisis…, Gaming Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer…, Gaming Review: Super Smash Bros. Anita Sarkeesian saved me from abandoning the medium I now want to base my career on. This article is a thank you note to Anita Sarkeesian. 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. Anita Sarkeesian is a Canadian-American feminist media critic and public speaker. “Just give players more diverse options. No changes made to this image. Throughout her NYU talk I was struck by both her negativity and her positivity. 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? 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. “Happily, this is another easy one to solve,” she said, when lamenting the sexualized grunting that she often hears from female game characters who are supposedly engaged in combat. The Among Us Phenomenon – Why Is It So Popular? Image: feminist frequency Anita Sarkeesian brings Tropes vs. Women in Video Games to a close "This is one of the most emotionally complicated projects I've ever created." “Yeah,” she replied, and rolled the character intro for Wonder-Pink. She has received particular attention for her video series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, which examines tropes in the depiction of female video game characters. Turning The Tide On Climate Change: Carbon Taxes And Ecocide…, New Study Aids Scientists In Protecting Bowhead Whales, The Future Of The Environment With The Arrival Of Biden…, Review Of Vogue Article “How Fashion Is Distancing Itself From…, The PrettyLittleThing Mask-Dress: A Review, Top 10 Tik Tok Trends – Style Staples Originating from…. What did shock me was seeing a woman unapologetically criticise video games with authority like she’d never doubted her place in the community. 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”. 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. 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. Near the start of her talk, she apologized for being sick and said it was the first time she’d been ill in two years. Animate female characters to move the way normal women, soldiers or athletes would move. 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. YouTube is where I found my middle ground. 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. But I didn’t see all that till much later. Anita Sarkeesian was one of these voices who spoke out, and thus became a very high profile target because of her previous feminist work. At her talk, she showed a photo of herself as a kid, playing the Super Nintendo with a childhood friend. 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. Anita Sarkeesian, 30, was raised on computers. Introduction To Medics Sport- What’s The difference? Blogger, YouTuber, and media critic best known as the mind behind the Feminist Frequency blog and YouTube channel. Little of this is bound to be easy, and each of her eight requests are likely to stir debate about what gamers want, what developers can or should do, and what makes for better video games that more people will enjoy playing. In this video series, Feminist Frequency will explore five common and recurring stereotypes of female characters in video games 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. 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.”. 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! 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? I want to add a drop of positivity to this discussion, no matter how small. 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. Is she perfect? 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. “This is supposed to be a hardened space warrior and yet she is still sitting around like she’s Ariel from The Little Mermaid,” Sarkeesian said. “When I say that media matters and has an influence on our lives, I’m not saying it’s a 1:1 correlation or a monkey-see, monkey-do situation,” she said, “but rather that media’s influence is subtle and helps to shape our attitudes, beliefs and values for better and for worse. 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. 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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. Editor-in-Chief. The people who make Dragon Age didn’t get this kind of security. Wonder-Pink wears pink. 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. “Everything depends on framing, right? “It actually isn’t equal.” Her view of how women are seen in much of society and culture is fundamental to her arguments: “Women are thought of and represented as sexual objects to be used by and for the sexual pleasure of others in society, and men are not viewed that way. Picture this: It’s 2014; I’m fifteen years old. Video Game Adaptations: A leap of faith in ignoring non-gamers? 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. Sarkeesian didn’t lay out those questions, but those are the ones implicit in her critique. We’d e-mailed several times when I was reporting stories. Would it be bad to have more playable female characters? 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. That’s not really her point. I just feel so unwelcome, and as a teenager that stuff is really hard to shake. The community sent her death threats, doxed her, and even sent her images of her being raped by video game characters. Remember, at this point I thought women simply couldn’t exist in video game communities, but here she was to prove me wrong. As always, she is so right on when it comes to connecting male entitlement to the representation of women as consumable objects. 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. She talks about issues that she feels have been entrenched in games but go under-discussed. To contact the author of this post, write to stephentotilo@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @stephentotilo. 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’d push. 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. 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. As easy as she had suggested some of the changes in gaming could be, so much of this is likely to be controversial—and not just because someone might be sexist. 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. Can you guess what color the woman is?”, Several people in the audience shouted the predictable answer: “Pink!”. TikTok: A New Platform For Aspiring Arts-And-Crafters? 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. News by Chris Bratt, Contributor Featured image courtesy of Liks Digital on Unsplash. If you agree with her worldview, you’re likely with her on many or all of these eight things. She complimented the latest Borderlands for upping the number of playable women heroes in each of the original base games from one to two (more if you count the DLC). How To Travel The World In A Night Like Santa! 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. Apologies for the error.). 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. Book to Film Adaptations – Is This The Same Character? Emily celebrates the positive impact feminist game critic Anita Sarkeesian has had on her life. And in my experience, confident creators could deal with this kind of critique, could take from it what they found productive and stand up for their authorial independence about what didn’t mesh. She spelled out what she wants to see done, what she thinks game developers should think about doing differently. 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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 … Media can inspire greatness and challenge the status quo or sadly, more often, it can demoralize and reinforce systems of power and privilege and oppression.”, And, second, it seemed to me she was being careful to clarify whether she loves games. She showed a slide of Left 4 Dead 2. For speaking engagements contact Soapbox Inc.. For literary inquiries contact Inkwell Management So, with that in mind here are two things to keep in mind when designing female characters. Moreover, it’s worth bearing in mind the obvious, that she’s a feminist and that her view is that men and women are perceived very differently in society. 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. This then introduces me to video game community at large, especially channels like The Warp Zone and Nerdcubed. “The blue one looks cool,” she said of the women. During an unscripted Q&A, she said that modern gaming’s depiction of women was really bad. I saw, as cliché as it is, that I was not alone. Get Crafty With Your Old Editions Of Impact! “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. A Festive Formula: What Makes The Perfect Christmas Movie? The Science Show Episode 4 – World Toilet Day, The Science Show Episode 3 – Black History Month. Anita Sarkeesian ends web series that rocked the world of gaming Anita Sarkeesian breaks down the way video games portray women as "exotic" fantasies. Also, like the Impact Entertainment Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved. “Because she’s the Smurfette, her personality is: girl,” Sarkeesian said. “You get to be my guinea pigs,” she said as she took to the podium in front of a couple hundred developers, game design students and gamers, “to see how this all works.”. 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. “It’s very much like one step forward, two steps back,” she said. 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 … 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. She recounted her efforts to get her parents to buy her a Game Boy. "), "Lingerie is not armor" (Dress female characters as something other than sex objects. When Anita Sarkeesian launched a YouTube series on misogyny in video games, she received death threats and was forced into hiding. 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. “Fixing this is of course incredibly easy,” Sarkeesian said. If not, well, you’re unlikely to see much here you can back. Her material had rung true to me even as I’d recognized the complications of calling for diversity in creative work and even as I’d noticed that, sure, if you look closely enough, you can find an admirable female character even in a game that is frequently described as being insulting to women. Would it be bad for a given game not to? It doesn’t help that Sarkeesian was one of the strongest voices behind #GamerGate. “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.”. She spelled out what she wants to give up on gaming, though. ‘ I ’ d spoken with “ well-meaning ” game developers about how easy change in gaming could.! Dress female characters to move the way normal women, soldiers or athletes would move abandoning medium... Her intro video she ’ s the difference time as a kid anita sarkeesian video games... 2014 ; I ’ m fifteen years old lays on the ground, knees up kid... Argument about female character animation gaming videos, of course incredibly easy, ” she.... S DLC. also, like the impact Entertainment Facebook page for articles! 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