This post is well overdue. I first heard about Anita Sarkeesian’s work from a trusted friend who is an initiated feminist, intelligent and a very active gamer. I initially believed him when he introduced her work as fraudulent and misrepresentative. Then I investigated personally.
Anita’s aim is to critically examine the representations of women in pop culture narratives and their implications. She provides clear evidence for the points she makes, in the form of actual game footage, official statistics and peer-reviewed scientific studies among other examples. Anita puts links to the material she uses under her videos and articles, thereby encouraging critical evaluation of her own criticism, and above all: self-initiated education on the subjects she discusses.
In the absence of any other context, this type of approach is characteristic of honest, socially responsible, worthy of support work. Here I am showing you part 2 of her Tropes vs. Women Series exploring the Women as Background Decoration trope in video games. You be the judge.
If you are well-versed in and comfortable with the brand of feminist discourse I promote here, the arguments Anita makes in this video will probably be second nature. The trouble is that her most passionate (and abusive) ”critics” appear to be having an entirely different conversation.
In this conversation, Anita Sarkeesian is attacking gaming while not being a ”real gamer” (because she is a woman and has not played enough games), she is blatantly lying about misogyny in games and the extent of the abuse she receives as part of a plot to take people’s money by acting the ‘professional victim’. Read that again.
This is a good time to mention that her project is not for profit and includes the development of a free to use school curriculum.
If you would like to test her claims, you can examine them further here
along with the evidence she quotes and other critics’ opinions. As ever, please go beyond this.
As per the abuse, Anita has received death and rape threats so specific to her and her whereabouts that she was forced out of her home; there was an online campaign to shut down all of her social media outlets; abuse was posted on each of them, including pornographic images in her likeness as well as a game created to allow players to physically abuse her.
This is an incredibly predictable response considering the theme of Anita’s work and her being a woman. Similar tantrums have been thrown many times, but the level of misunderstanding in this situation is astounding.
It is very easy to retaliate in anger when something we love is seemingly being threatened at its roots. But this is not an attack on games or the gaming world.
Games and various other media are incredibly powerful and can play very positive roles in people’s lives. Anita enjoys gaming. She is working to take away the negative influence they can have in order to make them an even more positive experience for players. This cannot happen until depictions of females are confined to dead or victimised damsels.
That is all.