Second episode of Damsels in Distress resurfaces after disappearance

Sarkeesian's series back on YouTube after community flags remove it

The second episode of Anita Sarkeesian's video series "Damsel in Distress: Tropes vs Women in Video Games" has been published to YouTube, returning after it was briefly pulled by the video service following a number of users flagging it as offensive.

The flagging is thought to be the behaviour of the same crowd who issued verbal attacks, death threats and various other forms of unpleasantness when Sarkeesian ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund the series, easily exceeding her funding targets. The video has now been reinstated by YouTube and can be viewed below.

In this episode, Sarkeesian continues to examine the reduction of female characters to needy, helpless objects to be rescued, citing numerous examples from AAA titles over recent years. The video depicts some strong violence against women and as such comes with a trigger warning.

Related stories

Valve quietly cracks down on Steam hate groups

Several Nazi and school shooter-themed groups deleted, but other toxic communities still remain

By James Batchelor

Female Overwatch League host receives death threats over Women's Day tweet

Soe 'Soembie' Gschwind-Penski besieged on social media for thanking supportive men

By James Batchelor

Latest comments (46)

Andreia Quinta Photographer, Studio52 London4 years ago
Here we go again...
6Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
I enjoyed the first episode and I'm looking to see how her exploration has progressed.

Must watch when I get a chance.
5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Ubisoft Reflections4 years ago
Interesting video!
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (46)
Andreia Quinta Photographer, Studio52 London4 years ago
I can't agree, her views are absolutely biased and she finds exactly what she is looking for - a way to portray women as constant victims - while failing to mention every game where male characters are over-sexualized and/or have their own tropes as the must be hero to save the day/girl.
I agree there is a tendency to cater to lil' teenage boys in games and it reflects on what happens (or almost happens) with certain characters - 'Remember Me' comes to mind. But she keeps having a one sided argument if she doesn't mention the reverse side of the coin, strong female characters like Lara, Samus, Kinoko or Nariko.

She has very good points, but she exposes them in the wrong manner. More-so since she's not even open to dialogue, disabling comments, thus preventing both treats (that's why we can report people) and reasonable questions to be asked.
19Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
gi biz ;, 4 years ago
I didn't know about these videos, but they sure look interesting. In fact there's a lot to be said, and I'm afraid the solution is not as "in reach" as the speaker thinks. Technically it would be very easy to ask the player for his gender before the game starts, and I'd have appreciated the option to swap the roles in Pandora's Tower, as it feels weird to watch my girlfriend playing the man hitting on the helpless girl. Costume Quest from Double Fine offer such an option, and it's so much better to watch my girlfriend playing that.

The problem, in fact, is that many (all?) developers/publishers, before implementing a feature ask the question: "Will this feature make me sell more?" If the answer is no, they drop it. The ability to swap genders and roles surely needs extra animations, graphics, testing, sounds and dialogues, but they won't boost sales, so it's much better to invest into better effects or extra content. The same goes for the Linux ports, the reply I get over and over is: "It will cost me money, and for the same money I prefer to stick in extra gameplay". This effectively discriminates Linux players, as it's better to offer more and more to Windows gamers and nothing at all to us. I hope you see the parallel with girls: there is no market for girly games, so let's stick more and more for male players and who cares about the smaller groups, either they adapt or don't play at all. I'm afraid solutions to these problems are extremely slow - Linux games are slowly coming to existence because of the increasing offer generating increasing demand - but it's taking years. Quicker changes are only possible with laws, so unless Anita is prepared to propose some international law I think it's unlikely we'll see any change in AAA games before 20 years. My point is that these two issues (and many more, really) have a lot in common, and that's the lack of morality. Games are supposed to be funny for everybody, we should be committed to reach everybody, but we all want to be paid, some want to be paid a bit too much, thus we need investors that don't care much about games and force immoral choices.

In some contexts, however, I think she's plain wrong and just picked the wrong examples. Games wanting to immerse the player in a medieval environment are expected to embrace the culture of the old times. It's a fact that 5 centuries ago a girl couldn't be a knight, it's a fact that Dante Alighieri was lovesick, and so I expect Dante's Inferno, Assassins Creed and all the likes to stick to the man-centric vision of the old times. If you want to go fantasy, like in Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and so on, you obviously have more freedom and in these examples I fail to see a clear, illogical dominance of male characters.

My final point is that I'd really appreciate some law, rule or anything to level down some of the insanities in our industry. As long as revenues influence everything about production, we can only expect a few exceptions out of the mass of games being produced. By that I don't mean I'd want an indiscriminate introduction of "dudes in distress", but if a nerdy scientist as in Dead Space can be a fit, muscular and combat trained character, I believe a girl warrior could find her place in the plot as well. And please, no high heels in fighting situations. I'm sure female American soldiers don't wear high heel boots on the field either.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
gi biz ;, 4 years ago
@Andreia: I agree she's not naming examples that would contradict her (I mentioned Game of Thrones although it's not a game, Lara is a very fitting example). The thing is that I can't come up with as many examples as she did. It's the same as saying "ok, but Unreal Tournament 2004 *does* run natively on Linux, so it's not true AAA games don't get ported".
5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Smith Dev 4 years ago
Why not duel boot?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Patrick Heyer Story Contributor 4 years ago
While I think that she raises important and interesting points in her videos, I do think that she is using specific language and wording (relegating women to victims herself) to convey a very biased message which doesn't help the discussion much (it starts discussions, so that's something). It's called "Tropes vs Women" for a reason.

But that's a good discussion right there - should we start thinking harder about how we portray women in games so that we don't support old and clichèd gender roles? The answer is yes! Should we take into account that only portraying male "doers" in games relegating women to extras or damsels in distress is cementing the perceived roles of men and women in our society? Definately! Should we take into account that a game's interactivity has a bigger impact on how players understand gender roles than in passively consumed media? Again, yes! Do I welcome the idea of having female soldiers in Battlefield 4 wearing the same body armor as the male soldiers do? About time!

If wish this series would be more like "hey, this is how I felt about these things, other women will feel differently, but you should understand that these tropes can have unfortunate implications if seen in a specific light" instead of "no matter what the intention or the actual effect of these games is, they are insidiously victimizing or condoning violence against women".

Because I for one am quite shocked how somebody could interpret the things happening in these games in such negative ways. I've never seen these women like that, I've never understood my role as a player the way she tells us, I've never felt about the things I did in these games the way she tells us I should've. But there is no room in her videos for this and that's unfortunate.
5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 4 years ago
Saw the video... I cant help the examples she used are all one sided. Then what can you expect from a channel called feminist frequency... I dont expect any feed back as these topics are really open ended and left to peoples perspective.

What bothers me is that alot of the examples she used are clips of those violent scenes towards woman, without explaining the story or context behind them. Take the death of the boss in metal gear and it was well in context with the story. The other thing is woman are killed in games but so are men, why didnt she put examples of those. And its not always over a woman. And finally the loss of a loved one, man or woman, or the need to save someone, man or woman, is really the easiest thing to use in order to kick off a story about a character going onto a journey of some kind. And at least me I dont think Ive viewed these as violence towards a woman. So while she makes many valid points... she see's things from a feminist view point. So naturally her view will be biased and one sided.

I don't see this as violence towards woman, just violent period. She singles out woman as victims, her herself playing the victim, when men get killed just as much or even more. I don't want to say everything she says is rubbish, I don't wanna be as closed minded as her, but I dont go along with most of what she says. Damsel in distress, victimizing someone and loss of a loved one are catalysts used, that can virtually kick of any story. Its an easy way to conjure a story, regardless of characters gender.

Anyway, how much kickstarter money did people throw at her. Those videos are fairly easy to make.

List of well written interesting female characters Female commander Shepard in Mass Effect, Female (Boss) character in Saints Row, Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, Alex from Half Life, Lara from TombRaider, Ashe from final Fantasy 12 who is hardly a victim. Samus from Metroid who we rarely see outside of her armor or even speak and everyone still loves her. I also like Nariko from Heavenly Sword, Meryl Silverburg & The Boss from metal gear who is are well written. Then we have Morrigan from dragon age. And Even alot of female characters such as Miranda and Tali are all depicted very well in mass effect. Miranda has a great ass but she is hardly a push over.

I mean we can go on about princess peach, but who saves her? A short, fat, italian Plumber from New york that eats mushrooms. Not a hunk of a guy like in most media. Even chun-Li from street fighter is portrayed as a strong female character. Capcom has a game coming out called "remember me" that has a very interesting female lead. And alot of games, allow you to choose a male and female protoganist and in most cases allowing the male or female character to have equal rolls.

She showed alot of clips of woman getting there asses kicked, however unless you play the game and see how those situations came about, I cant see how people who havent played those games will understand. In the case of Metal Gear were you have to shoot the boss, it plays well in the context of the story. And while I do acknowlage that she made very valid points, I dont think she will ever mention a game, that goes against what she is saying and I consider most of what she says biased on a single belief.

Frankly I think there is something for everybody, You can use the same archetypes over and over again or get a little creative. Look at Ellie from "The last of Us", and Sarah Kerrigan from Star Craft, who doesnt even want to be saved...

Edited 12 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 29th May 2013 5:20pm

2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development4 years ago
I'm sure it's more one-sided ranting from someone clearly not even open to discussion, with ears and comments fields closed. It seems to me to be absolutely bizarre why anyone watches this stuff. I for one have not this time around, and only did the first time to confirm my expectations of the content.

For all I know she may even have some valid points, but I don't want to hear about anything from anyone who doesn't want to hear back. Your views are not more important than mine or anyone elses.


Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 29th May 2013 1:53pm

5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop4 years ago
"I haven't watched the video but here are my opinions on it" good grief.
27Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jade Law Senior concept artist, Reloaded Productions4 years ago
Well that was a bias pile of crap.
Yes there are stereotypes and no not all games use them.. same for men and women.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
Are people still ranting that she leaves the comments closed on her youtube videos? Given that 99% of the comments on youtube videos that feature a woman tend to be along the lines of "tits or GTFO", I hardly expect leaving it open would lead to much in the way of a balanced discussion. She's not censoring people, she's just acknowledging that it'd be a waste of time trying to pick out anything worthwhile.
17Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
gi biz ;, 4 years ago
"A short, fat, italian Plumber from New york that eats mushrooms."
Racism is another issue in videogames, indeed. Thanks for reminding us.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Each to their own. I thought it was great, and she makes extremely valid points that are vastly in the minority compared to the normal gaming discussions. Good on her.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Taylan Kay Designer / Lead Programmer at Black Gate Studios, Nerd Corps Entertainment4 years ago
Disabling comments on YouTube is my SOP for anything I ever post, on account of never ever having got anything useful out of the profanity-laden, inane, and often irrelevant drivel that passes for an online dialogue these days. I would be even less inclined to have the comments enabled with an audience that is known to utter death and rape threats.
8Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Nic Wechter Senior Designer, Black Tusk (MGS Vancouver)4 years ago
Youtube commenters are the absolute lowest gutter trash of the internet, disabling them is the only sane thing she could do.
14Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Christopher McCraken CEO/Production Director, Double Cluepon Software4 years ago

Being a lightning rod for this topic just further divides people on this issue. When there are adults in the room, I'll be more keen to actually engage in this dialog. But, as it stands, I will not accept Anita Sarkeesian as a spokeswoman for this issue. Not when there are plenty of other strong women talking about this, without the need to control or contort the message. Sarkeesian is not open to freely exchange ideas. She wants to impose her view, and only her view. You cannot discuss rational things with people who are unwilling at every turn to see any side but their own.

(In Sarkeesian's defense, the people who flagged her and got the video pulled are no better than the rabble who threatened her. Silencing someone because you don't like what they the same thing as say....shutting off all dialog or comments...)

There are no adults in the room on this issue, and the kids are sugared up, running rampant.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Colin Payne game designer; artist 4 years ago
These are some of the longest comments I've ever seen, on this or any other forum.

I don't agree with her, not 100%, possibly not even 50%. But she really is doing a great job of getting other people thinking and talking about a hugely important issue. Which is simply fantastic.
9Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 4 years ago
"A short, fat, italian Plumber from New york that eats mushrooms."
Racism is another issue in videogames, indeed. Thanks for reminding us.
I dont know whats so racist about my comment, but also I forgot to mention he stomps on turtles for a living... that right there can be animal cruelty... :)

@ Andreas Gschwari=====>Thats a really good read

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 29th May 2013 11:10pm

2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
David Jennison Senior Character Artist at Gunfire Games 4 years ago
I have watched several of her videos. And, like everyone else has said, she does bring up some very valid points regarding stereotypes and perpetuating tropes. As a character artist, I have been battling for more realistic female characters in our industry instead of the big-chested babes-in-metal-bikinis, characters that are *only* their bodies instead of their personality.

Here is the problem- her argument is one of a shrill fundamentalist. The 'flavor' of her arguments will sound very familiar to anyone who has attempted to debate with religious fundamentalists.

She references the injustices that most are very aware of, violence against women and wage inequality for example- both are problems in our society that need to change.

Then she draws a direct line from these very real problems to the fictional characters in games, movies, etc, with the mantra- art "influences" society.

Violence against women has been around for a lot longer than games or movies or Greek myth. And I would assume was much more prevalent before them. Rapists need no subconscious nod from a game to justify their cruelties anymore than the Columbine kids did. This argument is old, tired, and false.

She also completely ignores the hard wiring of human males to "save" and protect women. Sorry, its called instinct and it ain't going away for the next hundred thousand years until our gene pool purges it.

What this comes down to, as with all fundamentalists, is a lack of trust and respect for artists and the audience. She doesn't trust the masses to differentiate between real life and fiction. And she does not support the freedom of the artist to tell the story that they want to tell. She believes that all art should be a public service announcement holding the hand of the audience and guiding them towards enlightened thinking. That is not art. That is called propaganda.

Basically, she wants everybody to see the world the way she sees it and if they don't then she wants to control the message.

Women may be (probably are) smarter than men. But they are built physically weaker. And in a medium that simulates physical combat, being played by males, that tends to lead to stories that involve protecting or *gasp* saving them. What guys does not want to "save" his girlfriend using his physical prowess. That's like chimp-brain ingrained.

She is clearly an intelligent person and I hope she reaches her own goals. But if she truly wants to help the plight of women in our world, she should focus on human trafficking and the rights of women in the middle east instead of trying to police art in the country that is among the farthest along in gender equality.

I'll get off my soap box now.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Jennison on 29th May 2013 5:29pm

6Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Bryan Robertson Gameplay Programmer, Ubisoft Toronto4 years ago
With respect, have those that claim she's coming from a position of extreme bias, ever thought to question whether or not they're allowing their own biases to affect their opinion of her position? Maybe it's just me, but personally, I'm not seeing the crazy "fundamentalist" that a lot of other people seem to be seeing here.

And especially in her second video, her opinion seems to come across as much more nuanced to me than people are portraying it. I mean, people are asking questions like "but what about the depiction of men?", when that's something that she explicitly addresses as a bad thing in the video.
9Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 4 years ago
Found this amusing

"So if some thugs come and punch your girlfriend in the stomach and take her away, your not going to do anything about? And if you do something about it your automatically making it seem like she is some object, like a ball?" "Is showing someone you care, that bad???"

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 29th May 2013 7:10pm

1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development4 years ago
>> "I haven't watched the video but here are my opinions on it" good grief.

Come on Anthony. Biased diatribes are best avoided, as some of the crap might stick in your brain, eventually jading you. If my "assumption" about the content was even slightly off, please do tell.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 4 years ago
Honestly there isnt much to watch. i had posted prior to watching them and then later watched them, just so my post can have more validity to it. but I didnt have to change my post all that much, cause the nature of the subject isnt something we havent heard of before. I watched both videos and I gotta say they are pretty hard to watch, since I find this woman so dispicable. Its not even the subject matter, its how she goes about it. Its really hard to listen to a person who is so adamant about there belief and their perspective on things, and shuts out others point of view. When the subject can be viewed from multiple angles. I wonder if she has ever been in a healthy heterosexual relationship. What i find amusing is how people just throw kickstarter money at her for making these crappy videos.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development4 years ago
That's the sad irony, the woman herself is a walking stereotype.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Bill Garrison Studying Student, DigiPen Institute of Technology4 years ago
@David Jennison

"Then she draws a direct line from these very real problems to the fictional characters in games, movies, etc, with the mantra- art "influences" society."

That actually isn't what she says. If you watch the video posted above, she specifically says, games with violence against women don't directly translate to raving misogynists. Her point is that a systemic pattern of female portrayals impacts how society views women broadly.
5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Bill Garrison Studying Student, DigiPen Institute of Technology4 years ago
@Andreia Quinta, said
"while failing to mention every game where male characters are over-sexualized and/or have their own tropes as the must be hero to save the day/girl."
I actually think her point is that treating male characters like heroes and female characters like victims is biased, against women. I think she might be suggesting that treating women in narratives like they no power or agency is misogynistic. Do you have a rational for why portraying female characters as victims, and objects of violence is actually empowering to them?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 30th May 2013 3:21am

5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Jace Merchandiser 4 years ago
I'm almost surprised that a few people in here expected her to have an open dialogue with people on Youtube of all places. Nothing good ever comes from that, especially in controversial situations like this. I understand the need for discussion so that she can be presented with an opposing viewpoint but Youtube is absolutely not the place for such a thing.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Eric Leisy VR Production Designer, Nike4 years ago
I agree with her disabling comments on YouTube - We've all looked at Youtube videos, and seen the comments. They are utterly offensive, even on things as simple as a music video. I think this woman's videos are important to exist, and as some have said on here - it may appear to be one sided - but lets great real, these things ARE real. Women have been sexualized and "abused" as objects in games since we first started putting women in games. Anyone who's been drawing in games, me included, has probably drawn more than their share of buxom sexualized babes. Anyway, this whole thing with this girl breaks my heart the way she has been harassed by the internet and the male ego at large. It would be wonderful if people could have an adult conversation about this topic, but its been proven time and time again that the internet denziens don't have the maturity to engage in adult conversation over the internet with devolving into hate speech.
5Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
From my crazy colllection alone, I can whip up a list for this woman full of positive female characters or at least female characters who aren't victims, star in their own games and can counterpoint some of the rhetoric she seems bent of exposing. But I won't just because it would be a wasted effort to someone who's hell bent on proving a point that, at the end of the day is skewed unfairly. That and hell, I may as well do a Kickstarter campaign to fund that response (although I'm too damn lazy to start compiling titles)...

She's seeing what she wants to see and wants people to approve of it (or doesn't care whether they do or not), and has been funded by those who think there's merit in her work. So that's that... unless she's willing to expand her actual game history knowledge outside of the snuff reels she's creating just to claim some sort of higher ground as a expert on violence against digital women...
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Shane Sweeney Academic 4 years ago
I'm constantly confused by the reaction against media criticism. Whether it be queer studies, feminist studies, race studies etc. Every medium has armies of academics exploring these issues, why is anyone shocked video games has them too? Shouldn't we be proud?

Obviously, gender/sexual orientation/race bias in games isn't the same as "hate speech". Why do people get upset when we throw around the word racism or sexism? The western world *mostly* condemns genuine hatred towards other races/sexes. That's obvious. The type of sexism/racism that is interesting and worth exploring is why women get 20% less pay then men. Why identical resumes with black sounding names get less calls for job interviews. It's not because wider society hates women or other races. Hell many of the people offering these positions or pay raises may indeed be women or black.

The stuff worth exploring is this mild pervasive kind of racism/sexism that lays just below the surface of our entire culture. It's not evil, but it exists empirically everywhere within how we relate to each other culturally. So obviously this is reflected in our cultural works of art and story telling. It's not the fault of video game developers or film makers that sexism/racism pervades throughout their story telling, but that is no reason to pretend it doesn't exist. It's worth exploring, it's worth talking about and has been talked about in every other medium. Why should video games be exempt?

I've also read some of the criticism above and I am confused how and why anyone can think counter examples will prove she is wrong? She is making an inductive argument, not a deductive argument. Showing examples of games that don't have damsels doesn't prove their isn't a trope. Showing examples of games where damsels are on equal footing with the protagonist for brief periods doesn't prove their isn't a trope? Citing female protagonists (the Lara Croft argument) doesn't prove their isn't a trope?

I'm especially confused how citing examples of tropes involving men is proof their isn't tropes involving women? Their are lazy tropes used everywhere, she is very publicly an academic who exclusively explores female tropes, not race related tropes or sexual orientation tropes or male tropes. If anyone feels she isn't exploring a wide enough variety of tropes, go explore them yourself! Their are 10's of thousands of academics exploring various forms of bias in media. You could be one too! We need more, not less.

If you now say to yourself "Wow, what a waste of time exploring this stuff" then that's a valid position but it's pretty crazy to think it's controversial to explore these sorts of issues. People have been doing it for decades across all media.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 30th May 2013 8:25am

11Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tim Ogul Illustrator 4 years ago
Having watched the first one, Youtube suggested to me several counterpoint videos, some of which were crap, but others were considerably better researched than he own pieces, and presented a far more broad view of the issues she claims to be studying. I'll have to check this one out when I have more time.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Lukas Arvidsson Artist 4 years ago
I think some of you here are way overreacting.

All that she says is:

There are too many games which portray female characters as a damsel in distress. She also agues that this is lazy and bad in a number of ways and that it is a result of a male power fantasy.

What is there to disagree with? Sure she might say it in a way which many find uncomfortable, but she is still speaking the truth about many of the games she is showing. Sure there are some good examples of the portrayal of women in video games. That is good! But most games does not score high in this regard, isn't that something we should work on to improve?

I can absolutely not understand the controversy around this!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Lukas Arvidsson on 30th May 2013 9:14am

13Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Gareth Donaghey Customer Support Agent, Blizzard Entertainment4 years ago
There's a few mentions of agreeing with her stance of blocking youtube comments.
Sure YT commentary isn't worth anything, and you have the right to do whatever to your own channel. But you are missing the point on why you shouldn't do this no matter the industry or topic, especially if you are trying to gain something from it.
And that is you block discussion and counter-arguments to whatever you demand of others.
It is especially ironic when you want more equality from whatever it is, be it gender, economic, scientific, economic, etc, and then deny those any say back. That's not how progress is made, only reinforcing an echo chamber to your own ideals and possible flaws in your logic.
4Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts4 years ago
Any video where the writing of Duke Nukem 3D / Forever is compared to Dishonored is something I am going to dismiss. She either hasn't played these games, in which case she has no right to bring them up since she will miss the context entirely, or she is intentionally ignoring the quality of the writing just so that she can use the example to fuel her own viewpoint.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
David Jennison Senior Character Artist at Gunfire Games 4 years ago
To be clear, I am well aware of the tropes in games about female characters as I stated earlier. I think we should explore the issues of tropes, stereotypes in media to look for patterns.

My problem with her approach is it is not exploration. Watch more of her videos. She has one on the "straw feminist" and criticizes The Powerpuff Girls for perpetuating negative stereotypes against feminists. The Powerpuff Girls, about three butt kicking little girls is somehow anti-feminist. That show has done more to empower little girls and their imagination that she could ever hope to do.

It wasn't until I had watched several of the videos that I could put my finger on what was wrong with her argument.

Media reflects culture. It is expression of the cultural subconscious. If she want's to find the root of sexism, she needs to look at history and evolutionary biology instead of screening art with the purpose of cherry picking manifestations of attitudes. She needs to study the Japanese culture which produces a lot of her examples. Japan is way behind in gender equality.

I am not in the "I love games, so leave my games alone" camp. But because her arguments are so flimsy in so many places, she works against her cause of equality and likely turns off many who would normally take sexism seriously.

There are REAL issues facing women and they aren't in the Powerpuff Girls. Her cause is noble, she is turned around in her thinking.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Jennison on 30th May 2013 5:04pm

1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Bill Garrison Studying Student, DigiPen Institute of Technology4 years ago
Is there not a bevvy of counter arguments and critical comments on this very website? Have you checked the RE: videos form other YouTube users? Many of these videos (even ones from women) argue from a Male Rights Movement perspective, and call Anita a misandrist, or hater of men. Both Andreia Quinta and Paul Johnson in this thread call Anita's videos are "biased."

So the assertion here pretty clear. It isn't just that Anita's arguments are flawed, it is that her world view as a feminist disturbs many people. The people critical of her locking YouTube comments are not concerned with a "democratic debate" about the issue (which isn't Anita's responsibility to conduct anyway). They simply want an an anti-feminist point of view to be heard.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Bill Garrison on 30th May 2013 7:06pm

3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Cori Myers CEO/Owner, Gameinatrix.com4 years ago
I haven't watched it yet, but am interested to see. I didn't know she'd completed it, but wrong or not, there is WORSE than this on Youtube, why they would pull it without watching, I don't know. We've had videos pulled we were IN and told we couldn't post it. Anyway looking forward to watching these.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tom Keresztes Programmer 4 years ago
why they would pull it without watching, I don't know.
YouTube pulls videos automatically when lot of people report a video as offensive. Some people are just pissed off by her selective censorship. Video-game fans are not the right target for this sort of political agenda as even a hint that Nintendo is not the best company has a tendency to start a flame war. Applying censorship in a flame war usually does not go down easily....
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tim Ogul Illustrator 4 years ago
Ok, I got around to watching it. It was better than the first one, but terribly mixed. The back half was far better than the first, because the first half seemed entirely about shock value, pulling the most violent five seconds out of dozens of games, which made no sense without their proper context. She also used many games that should clearly not be used as a reflection of the industry as a whole, any more than grindhouse movies should be used to highlight "the nature of Hollywood in general."

I think she made some valid points though in the back half of the piece, and as a whole it would have been a lot more effective had she actually presented her material in it's proper context, for example by not comparing bomb shockvalue shovelware to serious major released games. It also would have helped her case if she had presented a more even balance of examples, like when showing the numerous cases in which a female NPC is turned into a villain, also show the equally, if not more numerous cases of male NPCs being turned into villains. She highlights a scene where Richter Belmont must kill his possessed girlfriend, but not the scene in which that exact same Ricter Belmont is himself possessed and must be killed by Alucard in the earlier SotN.

I think the principle problem she addresses has nothing to do with women as damsels, and is entirely about women as consumers. Women play games, but they don't play them in the same numbers as young males. If I'm playing a game, I sometimes play as a female character, but if I do, I make whatever efforts are possible to play her as a lesbian or asexual character. I have no interest in pursuing a relationship with a male character if I have the option to avoid it. I would imagine that most male players would have a similar attitude. Since the majority of gamers are male, developers who are only able to produce a game with a single protagonist are more likely to make it a protagonist that their male consumer will identify with. This can be a female character, but even if it is, the character is likely to be one designed more to appeal to a male gamer than a female one.

Is that sexist? Strictly speaking, yes, but deservedly so. The goal in making a game, at least a AA game, is not to raise the discourse around female empowerment, it's to sell as many units as possible. If women want to see more games targeted at them rather than at men, all they need to do is make up a larger block of the customer base, enough that a AAA game can do great on their purchases alone, like Twilight or The Notebook. That women are more often seen as the object to be rescued is merely a side effect of the fact that men (behind the controllers) are more like to be the ones rescuing them, and would find a kidnapped wife more compelling than a kidnapped husband, or a kidnapped friend. If women would like to see more men as the "damsels," the simple answer is to buy more games.

She highlights certain games that she thinks "do it right," like Dear Esther, but not one of them was a major AAA title. They were all small indy games. Those games can afford to be more art projects than commercial products, because they have much smaller budgets. The same traits that work for a game like that simply can't be expanded to apply to a game that's intended to sell 4m+ units at $60 a pop.

Overall I think whatever positive influence her messages might contain have been washed out by the clear biases and stereotyping of her presentation.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development4 years ago
>> "With respect, have those that claim she's coming from a position of extreme bias, ever thought to question whether or not they're allowing their own biases to affect their opinion of her position?"

Actually that's a fair question in principle. However, for example my own views are mine alone and I'm presenting them as such. Seems to me that Ms Sarkeesian is presenting her views as undeniable truths from a public soapbox, and worst still, collecting money for this deliberate "representation".

EDIT: And you'll note that I am also willing to engage with anyone who might question my views... No comment disabling for me.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 31st May 2013 1:53pm

2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus4 years ago
@Paul Johnson - to be fair, a major reason she turned off comment and rating fields is specifically because of things like this. It's one thing for us to say this - I myself am on record as saying she's "always been a coward" in reference to just that point - but I had to rethink my position when 1) Ben Kuchera also disabled comments on his article about her video, and 2) we're not getting daily rape and death threats, and 3) no one has ever made a game where the single objective, even the single mechanic involved in its entirety, is to inflict visceral and violent damage to my face.

Frankly, and I say this as someone who is most definitely not a fan of her work - it's poorly sourced, poorly researched, and takes the view that men are generally evil, no questions asked - we can't even begin to have an intelligent discussion about this subject when one side of the debate is only capable of repeating the word "cunt" over and over again.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tim Ogul Illustrator 4 years ago
Disabling ALL comments doesn't really solve anything though. Just permanently ban all the malcontents and use the comments section as bait. The trolls' behavior is inexcusable, but that doesn't mean that they should be allowed to win by drowning out all reasonable discourse on the topic.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development4 years ago
@Christopher. I don't blame he either if that's what was happening. It's very unfortunate and I'm sure she'll be using it as proof of her point in the next installment. But when people can't register their responses, even appalling ones, the value of the soapbox drops to zero. Maybe she should just take the hint and jack it in.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Shane Sweeney Academic 4 years ago
Enough with the YouTube comment disable rants, its nitpicking dismissal at it's worst. . This is a much wider pattern.

Truck loads of gay/race/feminist commentators turn off comments on YouTube. It's often a full time job just dealing with it on controversial issues. Being an academic does not mean you are trying to create discourse with absolutely everyone. It's about producing waves in culture. This thread is one example. The counter replies published by people in this very thread is also part of the ongoing debate, the endless negative angry 4chan crowd is not constructive.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.