Here's Anita Sarkeesian's First 'Tropes vs. Women In Games' Video

It's been a long road for feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian. Last summer, she ran a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new video series examining sexist tropes in video games—her goal was $6,000 and she raised nearly $160,000. In the midst of the Kickstarter drive, Sarkeesian was subjected to a brutal, organized harassment campaign (someone even made an online game that simulated punching her in the face), all of which drew even more attention to her project.

As Sarkeesian explained to Kotaku, the extra funding gave her the opportunity to increase the scope and scale of the project, but it's also meant a lot more work, and some delays. She's now released the first episode in the series, which takes a look at the "Damsel in Distress" trope. Certainly a prevalent trope, that one.


Sarkeesian has already launched a tumblr to highlight many examples of this particular trope, and this video will take a deeper look. Give it a watch.

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Sigh, this is everything that is wrong with the academic/practitioner divide. Conceptually her arguments are sound, and yes, in an ideal world we would have balance of gender roles, but these choices (like male lead over female lead) are driven by market research, which shows that people who will buy the game want or expect certain tropes or gender roles.

Its good to draw attention to these tropes in a hope to educate the consumer, but doing it in this obnoxious patronizing "im smarter than you" is not going to educate the consumer, its going to alienate them further. Want to make a change? Spend that 160,000 on making a game that breaks those tropes, and show that there is a market for it.

Until there is a market for it, you wont see change. You cant fault a consumer and profit driven industry for making products that cater to consumer demand and reduce the risk of loss.