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…. When we critique violence against women, we’re often talking about violence in which women are being attacked or victimized specifically because they are women, which then reinforces or perpetuates a perception that women as victims and men as noble, brooding heroes... “Two, avoid violence against female characters in which there is a sexualized element.”, She praised BioShock Infinite’s presentation of a Columbia police force whose male and female cops wear similar uniforms. We’re so excited to announce that the Games and Online Harassment Hotline is officially launching on August 3, 2020. 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. I believed there was something wrong with how I was playing the games. To contact the author of this post, write to stephentotilo@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @stephentotilo. 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. Remember, at this point I thought women simply couldn’t exist in video game communities, but here she was to prove me wrong. Coronavirus: How Is The Tourism Industry Suffering? How do you assess which portrayals of women in games attract or repel male or female gamers? 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. 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. A year on … She said she’d spoken with “well-meaning” game developers about how to handle female enemies. 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. “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. “The blue one looks cool,” she said of the women. I just feel so unwelcome, and as a teenager that stuff is really hard to shake. 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. Throughout her NYU talk I was struck by both her negativity and her positivity. In order to really participate, though, there’s a bit of required viewing. 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. To explain #GamerGate briefly, a female-presenting game developer named Zoë Quinn published a beautiful text-focused game based on her experience with depression. But I didn’t see all that till much later. 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 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. “Motion capture and animations for female characters often have them looking like they’re walking down a runway at a fashion show,” she said. Would it be bad to have more playable female characters? 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. Sarkeesian’s list of eight things included several straightforward requests. “Equal opportunity sexual objectification is not the answer here,” she said. 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. “Simply putting women in the line of fire is not in and of itself a problem,” she said. “Yeah,” she replied, and rolled the character intro for Wonder-Pink. I saw her trying to draw clear lines all throughout her NYU talk, and I could sense what a fraught endeavor that was. Is she perfect? (Update - 2:26pm: As a reader pointed out, a second is playable in the game’s DLC.) If you agree with her worldview, you’re likely with her on many or all of these eight things. ), Have female characters of various body types. 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! 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. In fact, it was a recommendation from a Nerdcubed video that led me to my first TvW video. Welfare In Sport: Campaigning For Mental Health In UoN Sport, Sports Society Spotlight: UoN Thai Boxing, It’s always fight week- MMA Saturday 7th Dec 2019, Interview With The ACS For Black History Month, Nottingham Forest 1-2 Bristol City: Lamouchi On The Brink Of Exit, The Shuffle Generation: How The Rise Of Streaming Platforms Has Influenced The Creation Of Music. 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. When Anita Sarkeesian launched a YouTube series on misogyny in video games, she received death threats and was forced into hiding. "How long is your game?" 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. 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. 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. Anita Sarkeesian (1983–) is a feminist social critic who documents sexist portrayals of women (and to a lesser extent LGBT and racial minorities) in popular media such as video games and movies.Sarkeesian runs a YouTube channel and website, both titled FeministFrequency.She is the perfect demon for Reddit to hate: woman, feminist, and not a supermodel. 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." I’d seen most of her Tropes gaming videos, of course, and, frankly, not had much issue with them. It doesn’t help that Sarkeesian was one of the strongest voices behind #GamerGate. Anita Sarkeesian became the target of a misogynist backlash after advocating for more diversity in video games. She showed Team Fortress 2. When the female character sits, she lays on the side of her legs. 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. Her list was brand new. The first TvW video has 47 thousand dislikes to 15 thousand likes. How Does The Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine Work? Record female character voiceover so that pain sounds painful, not orgasmic, Include female enemies, but don't sexualize those enemies. It wasn’t that I was wrong to like this stuff, it was that people weren’t comfortable with me liking it for some dumb reason. 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. 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 … She fought back a bad cough throughout an hour-long presentation but frequently elicited applause or laughter as she spoke. I saw a woman loving gaming, and it made me realise that I had a place in gaming too. So even though I was playing a lot of games—these kinds of games—I still refused to call myself a gamer, which I don’t think is uncommon.”, She would later emphasize the idea that “you can love something and be critical of it.” That, she said, “is so important to what I do and is really important to engaging with any kind of pop culture.”. “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. For speaking engagements contact Soapbox Inc.. For literary inquiries contact Inkwell Management But now I’m veering into negativity, and this article isn’t about that. First, she seemed to be challenging claims that she thinks games make people do things. Wonder-Pink wears pink. Sarkeesian didn’t lay out those questions, but those are the ones implicit in her critique. Video Game Adaptations: A leap of faith in ignoring non-gamers? It made me determined to not let angry men take away what I loved, to not let fear ruin my enjoyment of the medium. 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. 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. She’s blamed for ‘ruining’ every game release with a hint of a decent female characterisation since 2012. 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. 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. TikTok: A New Platform For Aspiring Arts-And-Crafters? Talk of gameplay brought Sarkeesian to her final point. 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. Anita Sarkeesian’s age is 37. It seemed like a subset to another argument about female character animation. Even more surprising? Anita Sarkeesian is a Canadian-American feminist media critic and public speaker. An NYU security guard stood in front of the audience, watchful, as she spoke. Introduction To Medics Sport- What’s The difference? But screw all that; here was another woman who enjoyed gaming enough to analyse it, and demand better from it. 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. She recounted her efforts to get her parents to buy her a Game Boy. 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. 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). The people who make Dragon Age didn’t get this kind of security. Inquiries. 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. 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. 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. “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. I also learnt that the problem with games wasn’t me. 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. Sarkeesian is an advocate. I’d previously reported about a bomb threat against Sarkeesian’s GDC acceptance speech nearly a year prior. 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. “It should not be too much to ask for for representations of people of color whose cultural backgrounds are acknowledged and woven into their character in ways that are honest and validating.”. In her intro video she’s worried about her makeup. By contrast, she praised the presentation of the female character in the new third-person game Life Is Strange. Ultimate, Summer TV Picks #4: Four Weddings and a Funeral, An Incomplete List of All The Foodie Gifts, Review: Best Bars And Restaurants In Nottingham, We Read It (So You Don’t Have To) – Normal…, Nott-Experts-Ep.8: A Day Out in Nottingham, Netflix and Chill #1: True Crime Documentaries, Kiah’s New Releases Roundup – Taylor Swift, Dodie and Sody, Gemma’s New Releases Roundup – nothing, nowhere, Bladee & Mechatok,…, F1 Driver Grosjean ‘Getting Better And Better’ After Bahrain Grand…, ‘Records Are Made To Be Broken’: Lewis Hamilton, A 7-Time…, How I Coped With Doubt And Pressure In Sports Training, The BUCS Headliner: Ladies Lacrosse team suffers gut-wrenching loss to…, Golden BUCS Nationals for University of Nottingham Sport, Nottingham’s Sporting Hub: A Trio Of Grounds On A Single…. On Anita Sarkeesian, Sexism In Video Games, And Why We Need To Have The Conversation Erik Kain Senior Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. The metal detectors, and the overall heightened security presence at Sarkeesian’s talk, were impossible not to notice. “Everything depends on framing, right? "), "Lingerie is not armor" (Dress female characters as something other than sex objects. 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. Anita Sarkeesian saved me from abandoning the medium I now want to base my career on. 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. “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.”. No changes made to this image. 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. 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. “The male characters get to be short and stocky or heft gorillas or equipped with a massive power suit. 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! In 2014, she appeared on an episode of Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report discussing GamerGate and gender inclusivity in video games. 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. 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… As always, she is so right on when it comes to connecting male entitlement to the representation of women as consumable objects. At her talk, she showed a photo of herself as a kid, playing the Super Nintendo with a childhood friend. “It’s very much like one step forward, two steps back,” she said. 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? That’s not really her point. YouTube is where I found my middle ground. I want to add a drop of positivity to this discussion, no matter how small. Anita Sarkeesian ends web series that rocked the world of gaming Anita Sarkeesian breaks down the way video games portray women as "exotic" fantasies. “Don’t make the enemies or villains hyper-sexualized,” she said, “because again it creates a scenario in which violence against women is gendered and infused with elements of titillation. 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. Feminist Frequency is raising funds for Tropes vs. Women in Video Games on Kickstarter! If not, well, you’re unlikely to see much here you can back. Playing: Watch Dogs Legion (need to get back to RDR2, Iconoclasts, Arkham Origins, Sushi Striker, Samus Returns, and Ghost Recon Breakpoint). The community sent her death threats, doxed her, and even sent her images of her being raped by video game characters. Image: feminist frequency “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.”. (And if anyone says anything about ethics in journalism, I will come wail outside your house at 3am until you start making better choices.). 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. Anita Sarkeesian: Faith from Mirror's Edge and Jade from Beyond Good and Evil are two of my all time favourite female characters. Would it be bad for a given game not to? Blogger, YouTuber, and media critic best known as the mind behind the Feminist Frequency blog and YouTube channel. This then introduces me to video game community at large, especially channels like The Warp Zone and Nerdcubed. ‘Horrified with Horror’: The Academy Awards’ Relationship With Horror Films. 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. Again, I repeat: Suddenly, the problem wasn’t me. 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." Among Us With AOC: Politics and Games Done Right. The Shuffle Generation: How The Rise Of Streaming Platforms Has…. Sarkeesian never acknowledged the security, and she only briefly mentioned the online harassment she’s received for her work. That used to be the question a video game. Anita Sarkeesian, 30, was raised on computers. Anita Sarkeesian was not so sure. Interview With Maddie Craig From ‘Familiar Strangers’ @NNT, Ancient Theatre Through Modern Eyes – Looking At Medea, Circe…. Developers, publishers and gamers could hear and decide for themselves what’s best to do. She showed a slide of Left 4 Dead 2. When you’re constantly told that you aren’t allowed to enjoy something that you love, the only logical solution your brain reaches is that you are the anomaly. It’s a tricky argument, right? Her supporters cheer the idea that her influence may transform the medium; her critics fear that. 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. She said that she knew that some people didn’t consider those “real” games but that she counted them as some of her favorites. 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. Animate female characters to move the way normal women, soldiers or athletes would move. Of course, I didn’t realise that the community had rejected her. 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. 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 dad was a networking engineer, and she spent the majority of her free time as a kid rocking a Game Boy. 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. 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. To be specific, she was describing “eight things developers can do to make games less shitty for women.”. An NYU rep told me they hadn’t set up metal detectors for any Game Center talks before. Set up metal detectors for any game Center talks before asked me at the time, I would have! 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