Tropes and Dopes: Why You Shouldn’t Care About What Anita Sarkeesian Has To Say

She's off her royal rocker!

She’s off her royal rocker!

Hey, gang. I wasn’t planning on making a blog entry today, but I learned that Anita Sarkeesian (aka Feminist Frequency) released the first video in her Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games series. On a previous episode of Animation Aficionados, you may recall an aside comment I made that Sarkeesian was basically going to go after easy targets like Princess Peach, who is already well known for being one of the “worst” examples of the passive female stereotype, or the “Damsel in Distress.”

But what is actually wrong with this? First of all, as many of you know, my stance on tropes is that they’re unavoidable. Tropes exist as archetypal states from which you evolve characters. New ideas are few and far between. We fall in love with the same character concepts over and over. We should just accept this and not worry about it.

And from that perspective, I’m simply going to state that being the damsel in distress is Peach’s role in the games. I will concede that there’s a possibility of the trope being so common in video games as to be insulting to female gamers, but I don’t think that’s the case here. By Anita’s own admission, there are plenty of examples of females who don’t fall into this category at all. Rather, it seems that Anita is just on a witch hunt and wants her Nintendo princesses to act like tomboys, even though that completely nullifies the object of the games.

While we're at it, why don't we just remove all tension from video games?

While we’re at it, why don’t we just remove all tension from video games?

Anita dances around the concession that Peach does have an active role in other games, such as Smash Bros. and the sports games, but since they aren’t the “main series”, they’re dismissed out of hand. Look, Anita. You can’t just play that elitist crap, like the side-games don’t count. It’s true that they’re outside the platforming Mario games, but they’re still perfectly viable games that are popular with kids, which portray Peach, Daisy, and Rosalyn as active participants in a video game. (In fact, speaking of Rosalyn, Anita just kind of glosses over her entirely.)

I realize that Anita’s argument here is that the gaming medium itself does not cater to her by providing enough strong, female protagonists. She wants positive female representation in video games. But that’s where I get to sink my teeth into her a bit more. It’s clear to me that either she’s not a gamer on the level of your average video game fan, or her gaming taste is so narrow that it’s kept her away from games that feature female characters in larger roles. (Or maybe she’s just a snob, since she doesn’t seem to think that sports games count.)

You see, it shouldn’t really shock anyone that a simple platformer with no story arc to speak of would have such a simple objective as a rescue mission or that the character you’re trying to rescue doubles as the love interest. Oh, and golly gee, the protagonist is likely to be a guy.

Here’s a thought. Maybe game designers are too busy making -oh, I don’t know- a fun game and not necessarily putting much thought into whether or not people like Sarkeesian are going to come along to skew the game’s objective into a message that was never intended by its designers.

Secretly hates women!

Secretly hates women!

Sticking to her usual agenda, Sarkeesian insists on her sophomoric subject-versus-object dichotomy, in which the subject of the game is the protagonist, who is the actor, and the female is an object, being acted upon, thus being “objectified” It’s come to my attention that Anita either willfully oversimplifies the roles of these characters in the game, or she has no idea what “objectification” means.

Furthermore, Anita’s issue with objectification doesn’t seem to ever reach outside of sexuality. If it did, then she might notice that almost every NPC falls into the category of “objects” being “acted upon”, like all the hundreds of goombas and ninjas we’ve slaughtered on our way to the final boss. Do these enemies have some sort of involvement in the overall story? No, they’re just objects that we slay with genocidal glee, because they’re nameless, faceless drones meant to impede our progress. They are as close to objects as a character in a video game can get.

Princess Peach at least has a name and a personality.

If we move into games that allow for more complex storytelling, like adventure or role-playing, then suddenly the roles of female characters change dramatically. Story-driven games allow female characters to become much more heroic and badass. This is the case with characters like Ellen Fisher, Clair Redfield, Samus Aran, and female Shepard. You see, as games become more expressive, then characters tend to be more varied, including and especially female characters.

What about me, Anita?

What about me, Anita?

The RPG genre is particularly noteworthy for its female protagonists. The first major character in a console role-playing game was Alis Langale in the game Phantasy Star. And she wasn’t a healer or a summoner. She carried a sword and was your primary attacker. Maybe Anita will choose to skip over characters like this and opt for attacking easier targets in later videos, such as the crazy-sexy-cool females of Final Fantasy X-2.

In fact, in the video, Sarkeesian chooses a screen shot of the original Final Fantasy, which is many times more primitive than Phantasy Star. In the opening scenario, the Light Warriors are tasked with rescuing Princess Sara. It should be noted again that Anita made sure to select the most archaic example of the series, whereas even with the next edition on the Famicom, a female character is present from the very start and is not defined by any tropes that Sarkeesian would normally find demeaning. But, you know, why mention that?

See, this is the problem with Anita’s whole approach. Savvy, seasoned gamers can see right through her and will be more than aware that she’s carefully selecting her examples and not putting them into a more appropriate context. There are a wide variety of female character types in video games, and the damsel in distress is just one of them. In fact, Anita really didn’t do a good job of finding any notable examples outside of Peach and Zelda.

And if that’s the case, then why should we even care about the damsel-in-distress trope in the first place?

When you get right down to it, females do have positive representation in video games, which means that this…

Look!  Representation!

Look! Representation!

makes this…

DERP!

DERP!

…look stupid in comparison.


Free shit!

Free shit!

Take careful inventory of the games she has in these stacks. Let’s see how many of them she actually uses over the course of the series.

49 thoughts on “Tropes and Dopes: Why You Shouldn’t Care About What Anita Sarkeesian Has To Say

  1. Why do people give her free stuff? They should be giving those games to needing kids, not a internet lady. (That just make me mad)
    I don’t agree with her, the spin off games should be counted to, not just the main games.
    I can’t believe I waste my time on that video 🙁

    • I think this video affirms what a lot of people were saying, which is that in spite of the resources she had available to her, we can just expect the same level of discourse from her that she’s always given. There’s nothing in this video that she couldn’t have gotten from a couple weeks worth of wading through TV Tropes and Wikipedia.

      The games that she has at her disposal don’t really serve as research material as it does game footage. And then what happens to the games after she’s done with them? Does she keep them? Well, had she actually done something profound with all those games (and yes, I know this is only the first video), I wouldn’t have a problem with her keeping the spoils of her research. I’m not the sort of person that believes into pressuring people to be charitable. But she didn’t do ANYTHING with the games featured in this video aside from capture footage; footage which she could have just as easily gotten from YouTube, and under completely legitimate circumstances. In fact, she does exactly that for footage that she couldn’t get from the games (i.e., commercials for Doki Doki Panic).

      Aside from the games that she can keep for as long as she wants, she also gained the freedom to live comfortably off the donations while she works on the project full time. Again, I don’t have a problem with this, except that already, we can see that the result is poorly researched gibberish that we’ve already heard before. I would be pissed if I was a backer and saw this.

      The only legitimate uses of her ill-gotten backing thus far are a few graphics that she paid someone to make for her, such as the images of Zelda and Peach in action wear. That’s the only thing that seems to have gone to someone who did actual work.

      This is just lazy.

      Anyway, here’s a palate cleanser…

    • We’re concerned, because a lot of what she says is poisonous and misleading. I was both delighted and disappointed in this video, if that makes any sense. Delighted because I was amused to have predicted the video with such accuracy. But disappointed, because I thought she would have put a little effort into it. I felt like I was wasting my time even writing this.

      This’ll probably be the last I’m going to say about her, since this isn’t a gaming blog, and there will almost certainly be much harsher critiques coming from actual journalists.

      • That I can see. But I´m wondering more on why is she getting this much media coverage. People are clearly paying attention to her wether they agree or disagree, but what sets her apart from the usual uninformed internet critic? That said…what is up with needing a kickstarter donation to make the usual run of the mill internet video review? I mean, I can understand the AVGN asking for money to make a movie, but THIS is something I could do in my nap time.

    • The concern that many people have is that she is being seen as a subject matter expect of the game industry to the non gaming public. Consider the past when Jack Thompson ushered in the “Murder Simulator” meme into mainstream culture, or the 90s when Joe Lieberman railed against video game violence.

      Gaming is not seen as a valid form or art. It is still considered a distraction tool for minors. Every time an ill-informed SME is showcased in the media it hurts the commercial and cultural impact of the gaming industry, culture, and community.

      • I´ve seen the usual idiotic medium bashing before, I´m just amazed and puzzled at people paying this much attention to someone doing youtube reviews and taking it seriously. I really don´t get how people are so “aware” that she was going to make a video about this. I mean, seriously, the only reason I´m looking up her name now is because you guys singled her out.

  2. I’ve read two separate articles on Anita Sarkeesian, including this one just this morning. I expect the usual faceless internet attackers who are faceless and hide behind anonymous screen names, but to see an editorial on Animation Aficionados criticizing what she is doing came as a surprise. My biggest issue with this piece aren’t your criticisms about her being selective of her targets like Princess Peach, but rather your title of the piece. “Why You Shouldn’t Care What Anita Sarkessian Has To Say”. By stating that you are simply dismissing her, and ignoring her. If what she is doing stirs up debate and something to discuss, let’s debate and discuss, rather then dismiss her like she isn’t worth you or anyone else’s time. Then how are you any better then the nameless, faceless internet troll who simply calls her a derogatory name or threatens her life? For what, questioning the video game industry? If you work for or represent the video game industry, as a commentator, or personality, shouldn’t you also question the video game industry as well?

    • Everyone has the right to say anything…. Including responding to anything. We aren’t trolls making anonymous comments about her… We’re saying due to her dishonesty and the fact that she uses catch-22’s, she can attack any game or media as she wishes.

    • To answer your question bluntly, what sets me apart from a nameless, faceless internet troll is, obviously enough, I’m not nameless and faceless, I’m not calling her nasty names or making threats, and I’ll stand behind my words if I need to.

      The reason why I say nobody should care about what she says was spelled out in the article. She’s vapid and pedantic, and it’s easy to demonstrate that this is the case, because it’s all coming from a very narrow perspective of someone who does minimalist research, in which she spouts nothing I haven’t heard before. She’s dismissive of anything that doesn’t conform to her narrow-minded agenda, and she won’t acknowledge positive female representations in video games, and will come to absurdly contradictory conclusions to avoid admitting that someone like Samus Aran is a good video game character. The fact that she uses selective targets IS a reason to not take her seriously.

      And you may call this dismissive, but it’s with dismissive contempt that Anita Sarkeesian treats her own critics. Nowhere has she ever responded to reasoned, constructive arguments against her, even from other feminists. She opts to only respond to trolls, which she gleefully displays to the public as if that represents the gaming community as a whole. If Anita can’t be bothered to take accountability and confront the people who disagree with her in a calm, constructive manner, then again, I have to conclude that there’s no reason to take her seriously.

      Period.

    • The headline for the piece is standard fair attention grabbing / link click bait that has been done by traditional and social media outlets for decades. He did not attack her in the subject so I am unsure where the problem is.

      If you wish to use word association then why did you link this topic to people threatening a woman’s life early in your post? Phrase placement like that is no better then calling someone a Nazi because you do not agree with them.

    • If you read this article, then it´s pretty clear that Neil DID pay attention to what she had to say, evaluated it, and THEN dismissed it. And then wrote an article saying what he found in what she said and why he felt that way.

      The article itself, the examples shown and the pretty thorough study of what was being stated already shows more concern and care than what miss Sarkeesian did in her video.

      You´re asking how is Neil different from the faceless trolls that threaten her life? Well, for once, those faceless trolls are hiding, Neil isn´t, and Neil isn´t threatening her life…that would actually mean the opposite of ignoring and dismissing her…I mean, that would show a LOT of butthurtism and pain generated by her statements while Neil just went “I see what you did there, I´m not falling for that and I´m letting people know”.

      EVERYONE is entitled to an opinion. And to write it up and publish it on the internet. It is GREATLY appreciated that they don´t resort to anonimity or name calling when they do so. And that´s why Ms. Sarkeesian can make a video about how she feels about stuff. And Neil can make an article about how he feels about that too. And you can write a comment saying how you feel about that too…and I can write a comment saying…etc…etc…etc…

    • Plus, when it comes to doing something that creates discussion, anyone typing stuff like “LINK IS TOTALLY GAY” these days sparks discussions everywhere, so just upsetting people isn´t much of an accomplishment in my opinion.

    • Between her skill at razzle-dazzle and whatever it is that the media is getting out of her, she’s becoming the next Dave Grossman. That comparison is apt, because she comes at popular culture from a position that it is “wrong” (morally wrong) and needs to be “fixed.” (ie. made virtuous) Which is the position of Frederick Wertham, Jack Thompson, Will H. Hays, Mary Whitehouse, Patricia A. Pulling and well, quite a large number of historical figures remembered for having their boots on somebody’s neck.

      However, in most cases, you’ll find those historical figures were just the heads of moral panic parades. They all took the position of saintly defenders of virtue, and they all tried, successfully or not, to kick the crap out of some aspect of culture that they found to be wrong. So, now Anita Sarkeesian is being put forward as the latest saintly defender of virtue, ready to smite wicked, “regressive crap” (In full HD, no less!) like Double Dragon Neon.

      So, basically, with that “regressive crap” comment, the mask slipped (she carefully kept it in place for most of her video, though if you are paying attention there is a drumbeat that’s drumming out, “this should not exist.”),. She doesn’t think Double Dragon Neon should exist. (I’m actually glad for “regressive crap” though, it’s a little honesty from Mini-Tru, which is so very rare. It’s nice that even though she knows she has to be careful, she can’t help but unleash her inner hate now and then.)

      Now, this could have lead to a lively debate, with people taking the “pro” and “con” position, and taking up whether videogames are currently evil, morally reprehensible creations or whether they are actually good and wholesome. However, as is common in videogame debates, taking the “games are good and wholesome” position is the pariah position. As Joseph Lieberman might say, “you are actually defending Mortal Kombat, can’t you see how destructive and degrading it is to the human spirit.”

      Well, in this case, you are either a woman-hater (or a self-hating woman) if you take the “video games are not morally degraded in their depictions of women and don’t need to be ‘fixed'” position. (I personally think that just like you find more variety of subject matter in videogames then most popular culture, you also find a lot more variety in the depiction of women in videogames then in mainstream popular culture. However, I don’t even much feel like defending video games when I find the opposition position to be so cultish and unreasonable. It would be like trying to defend Dungeons and Dragons to Jack Chick. That dog won’t hunt.)

      The worst thing? She is, herself, a highly belligerent and combative person. But if you decide you don’t want to be her punching bag and try to argue back, then you’re a wicked man (or woman) for your temerity in attacking Saint Sark, Scourge of Videogame Misogyny.

  3. I wish she would have done more with this video because the video games universe could always use more well written female characters both heroine and villain ( and not the some fan-service moments ), but all I gathered in this video was the first 15 minutes explaining to me an archetype I already knew (the damsel in distress) and the last was just ” put more females in your games ” without really giving examples on how it could be done well and not a copy paste thing where the attempt might alienate the other half of the fan-base. I sincerely hope her future videos are better in this regard.

    • Spoiler alert: They’re not going to be better.

      There are some that will disagree with the arguments I made above, and they can make some pretty reasonable arguments. But not Sarkeesian. What you saw was pretty typical.

      In fact, I can assure you that it’ll get worse, because moving outside of the damsel in distress, she’s got some real issues with female characters actually being assertive, because then they become too much like men.

      Wait, what?!

      Yeah, that’s right. Anita has a very slim margin for what defines a good female character, and she’s not fond of gender-ambiguous roles. This is stuff that OTHER feminists are okay with.

      Speaking of things that other feminists are okay with, Anita is pretty much against female autonomy when it comes to sex work or anything that puts a woman in charge of her own sexuality. That puts her at odds with our friends over at Filthy Figments among other things, obviously.

      Plug My Duck put it best. She’s basically the Jack Thompson of gender criticism.

        • Yeah, but that’s not the point. The point is that Jack Thompson and Anita Sarkeesian share a common goal of attacking art that they don’t like and assuming that that gaming medium ought to serve a purpose other than art’s sake.

          It’s like I said in our PM, it’s wonderful that video games improve hand-eye coordination and social skills, but they didn’t, would that be a problem? Of course not.

          Let’s say someone came down on webcomics and complained that they aren’t serving a value to our society. My response would be, “Fuck you” to whoever said something so stupid.

          Video games don’t have to deliver social messages to appease these people, and that’s why need to tell Sarkeesian, Thompson, Hillary Clinton, Tipper Gore, and Joe Lieberman to all shut the fuck up.

  4. Oh look, she turned off her youtube comments for that video. Boo Hoo.

    Seriously though, she’s a scam. There are such big targets such as Lara Croft or Chun li, etc, etc., yet she uses ‘weak’ characters like Princess Peach to get her points across? WOW. is she just fanwanking her Nintendo princesses hard and wants them to be something they’re not?

    Also I hear she use Kickstarter to start THIS? A YOUTUBE show that anyone can do for FREE? Did I hear wrong? Kickstarter needs to do something about letting any shmuck in. That’s just absurd. Damn, lady.

    Again, either she’s a scam, or she’s just damn confused about what she wants. I wanna hear what women (those who disagree with her) say about this whole thing.

    • Yes, the only thing different between this video and the videos she was already making is an upswing in production values and visual resources. The money that she got hasn’t aided her argument one bit. It’s the same shit she’s always been producing.

      • Damn.

        If she’s such a champion of women everywhere(Ugh, can’t believe I said that), why don’t she just use those ill-gotten gains for a good cause like helping abused women or cancer(even though not related to video game)? Instead of upping the quality of her videos about video game female characters with nothing new to say?

        I’m quite amazed at the amount of people online who support her.

        I feel your pain, man. I’ll be heeding your advice about her.

  5. Well, the backers are getting what they paid for honestly. You can’t fault them for that. They paid for a higher production value show and they got it. Even if the content is a bit vapid.

    I know I was more than a bit disappointed with this first showing. Yes, it has been a long running joke about the relative worthless state of most female characters in video game. A quick look through the rolls shows that they are usually just there for eye candy… but I didn’t need thousands of dollars in ‘research’ to do that. Just years of experience and a quick pairing of that experience with a decent search engine could produce the same results. Heck, I am sure a quick dash over to deviant art could pull up some graphics better than the ones in the video.

    Now, going to go a bit after the comment of dismissing the sports and party games because… well.. they are dismissible. I know the Mario and Zelda franchises are actually quite terrible in terms of any kind of coherent story from one game to the next. Nintendo is quite abysmal at any kind of prolonged storytelling that moves from one game to the next to be honest in this regard… with Metroid being something that kinda has a story only if you squint really hard for the longest time and Zelda wiping it’s rear with it’s story when it comes time for the next game.

    But don’t go saying that any of the Nintendo brawl, cart racing, party, or sports games do anything to actually define the characters involved. They are just using iconic characters because it brings the rather brainless legions in desperate for something interesting for the system they invested in. They are rather generic games that you can pretty much substitute or replace the characters with any other character and would get a similar experience. Peach, Mario, or Link could easily in a party, cart, or sports game be replaced with… well… anyone. You only choose them because you like the design a bit, not for their personality. Thus, they are dismissible. They are disposable trash games that do little to contribute to anything.

    Now, is she right? No. She said some really dumb things and made a bad first video. And you are right, it is going to get worse.

    Should she have needed all that money for ‘research material’ and only a very mediocre improvement in video, sound, and production values? No.

    But go into the next videos in the series without the preconceptions generated by this one and watch each new train wreck with open eyes and wonder because the body parts will be flying.

    • Dude, you can say that to there other games to. You can replace Mario with anybody and it won’t change the game. Also Nintendo is focus on game play, not the story.
      “I just feel that the Mario games are something that should be a much more bright and active experience,” he said. “With the Mario games, you don’t need to have such a complicated setting where you have these particular characters with complicated backstories that can weigh down the bright and fun feel of the game.”
      From Miyamoto
      Anyway I like those sport, cart and fighting games, I play them with my brothers, they are fun games. In those games they do display a personality with there victory or defeat

    • Well, I didn’t say that the sports and party games do anything to define the characters. Yes, these games are ridiculously non-canon (to the point that there are baby versions of characters existing in the same time and space), but I do feel that they still count as representation. For one, it’s not like Mario has much of a canon in the first place. And second, even if they are interchangeable, I don’t think that negates their value for being inclusive with the female characters and representing their personalities. And again, this was also in response to Anita’s whole damsel-as-an-object mentality.

      Let’s take, for example, something like Bionic Commando, in which your goal is to rescue Super Joe. Is Super Joe an object? I would say no, but I don’t think it’s because he doesn’t give you a smooch at the end of the game. He is a reward, certainly, but only in so far that it means that you’ve beaten the video game. And Super Joe is even less of a character than Peach is. The reason why it’s called the damsel trope is because Anita wants to link sex, and only sex, to objectification.

      As an aside, I think it’s important to note that Anita’s concept of male sexuality is extremely warped, if she really thinks that this is what males are thinking when they’re playing Super Mario Bros. I’m not trying to turn a women’s issue into a men’s issue, but it does need to be said. And while Peach has certainly been sexualized by the fan base (most notably on deviantArt) those depictions are pretty indiscriminate when compared to female characters who aren’t demsels. Plainly said, men like sexy girls, but it doesn’t mean that they think that Peach’s rescue has a sex reward connotation in the video game.

      The problem with Anita’s whole approach is that her mentality dictates that as soon as the damsel becomes helpless and in need of rescue, that makes her an object, because she becomes a goal in the game to be reached. But by that definition, Super Joe is an object. At this point, I would ask Anita if being the object is the problem or being sexualized is the problem. Or maybe it’s some combination of both. But no matter what, I don’t expect a clear answer.

      The problem here may very well be that there are far more Peaches than Super Joes. On the other hand, most of the examples given in Anita’s own video come from the 8-and-16-bit era, which is when narrative in video games was still at its infancy, so it’s no surprise that objectives were simpler. In modern games, Peach and Zelda are really the only two that are even still relevant.

      Should there be more games with female protagonists? Yeah, but I don’t necessarily expect that from Mario. Peach is who she is. The only games in which I found her conspicuous by her absence (and I’ve said this before) was New Super Mario Bros. Wii, in which she clearly ought to be one of the playable characters.

      And on the topic of Zelda, I’m really not sure what Anita or anyone else expects. True, Zelda is another demsel, but again I don’t think damsel automatically means “object”. Zelda is a character, and she does have a role in the game, which has gotten larger in recent incarnations. And again, my point here is that while this is Zelda’s role, I’m not arguing that this is the female’s role in all video games.

      What really surprised me, though, was that Anita didn’t bring up that Zelda isn’t even a necessary component of the games. There is at least one game (Link’s Awakening) in which she does not appear at all, another (Majora’s Mask) in which she makes a cameo in a flashback, and yet another (Oracle Of Seasons) in which her appearance is entirely dependent upon what order you played the Oracle games in.

      I do appreciate your comment, and for what points we may disagree upon, I do think we can agree that Anita is a hack and that people who are interested in social progress need to be a little more careful of what they throw their money at.

      For every video that comes out, I’m going to keep pointing out that this cost $160,000 to produce.

      • Ahem, I have ten words for Anita Sarkeesian, “Are you a Bad enough Dude to rescue the President?”

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTy_-BLlRFU

        My favorite Damsel in Distress character is Shodan in System Shock II. (I seriously love that game.)

        The reason why Mario is rescuing a lady is because Donkey Kong was ripped off from King Kong, and one of the things King Kong is famous for is kidnapping Faye Wray and climbing the Empire State Building.

        http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/feature/23122

        So, from the beginning the game was emulating an old American movie. They later changed up the trope in Donkey Kong Junior, where Junior has to rescue his father.

        When the two series diverged, Mario continues to rescue a lady. I don’t care enough to say maybe it was a bit lazy to not mess with his motivation, because all I really cared about was jumping on things, not the laughable “plot.” (Me playing Super Mario Brothers, “Yeah, princess…. whatever, where’s that Tanooki suit!”)

        Whereas Donkey Kong (Senior, I guess Junior must have died in Mario’s traps, Requiescat in Pace.) tends to rescue his hoarded bananas.

        A lot of the character design of Mario was based on the limitations of the medium back when he was created. To create a convincing female character back when Mario was created, you would have had to go with some kind of exaggerated female silhouette. Either a variant of the bathroom stall woman in a dress, or trucker mudflap type. Neither of which would have evolved into something to please Sark. ).

        Oh, also, “Or maybe she’s just a snob, since she doesn’t seem to think that sports games count.” Snob pretty much defines her. She’s not a gamer or a person who likes video games very much, but she realized that:

        “criticizing really old Christmas songs that are still widely popular” == Internet Kook

        “criticizing video games” == 160,000 Yankee dollars

        Even a simpleton like me can do that math.

        Nintendo, or the Japanese games industry itself, need their own counter Sark to trash Western games (preferably with more grace and wit) to even up the playing field. (I’m just kidding, that’s not a trade war I want really to see…. although I guess it’s already started with the American games industry feting Sark.)

  6. I wish people would refrain from making personal attacks on her character, intelligence, or motives and stick with countering the arguments she is making. The gaming community is at a disadvantage with this type of debate because our community is young vocal and impulsive.

  7. What would happen if we’d expose Anita Sarkeesian to Bioware’s video games such as “Mass Effect” or “Dragon Age”. Those franchises have women who will not go gently into the night. And are people you may wish you knew in real life.

  8. I’m glad you guys posted this. I heard about this woman before and how she said the character from Bastion was sexist. She said she was nameless and some other things that weren’t true because she didn’t play through the game to learn the truth. It annoys me as well that a sham like this gets so much attention, games, and money.

    • This is a common problem with Sarkeesian. She isn’t really a gamer, so when she reviews videogames (which is really what these videos about videogames boil down to) she doesn’t actually play all the way through them. For example, in her Bayonetta video she thought Cereza was Bayonetta’s daughter.

      This is a problem because it seems like some forces are trying to put her into the role of the “videogame gender equality ombudsperson.” Meanwhile Sarkeesian is moving from being a minor critic from a fairly uninspired radical feminist perspective on popular culture, to being a critic who focuses exclusively on videogames (and that’s purely because “that’s where the money is.” Nobody is going to convince me it’s for any other reason than that.) .

      Now, I’m hoping she’ll turn out to be a Michael Medved (a political critic of the film industry from a religious conservative perspective, but who only has small influence outside his followers) rather than a Frederick Wertham (an individual who stamped his mark on the comic book industry from his position as a critic in the 1950’s, something the comic book industry still hasn’t recovered from).

      Time will tell I guess.

  9. Man you guys are going scorched earth on her too? I’m of the mind that there is room for different viewpoints and feminist critiques/interpretations of things like video games. But with that said I don’t think she is the best person to present the feminist view on video games, her stuff is just so light weight and airy and the fact she had to kickstart the whole thing is always going to be something people hold against her.

    • No, I’m going Hans Christian Anderson on her, but I’m being drowned out by the crowd talking about what a fine set of clothes those two swindlers made for her.

  10. All I keep thinking is, if someone waved a copy of Beyond Good and Evil in front of her she wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. Of course sark would probably just ignore it like other games with positive heroines. I think I saw the Orange Box in that stack of hers, suppose she’ll ignore that too.

    By the way Mr. Neil, who are the two women next to Samus in the good example picture? Are they from Fire Emblem and Phantasy Star?

  11. *sigh* I saw the video. OK she at least acknowledged good roles in Kyrstal from Dinosaur Planet pre-Starfox Adventures and Zelda as Sheik and Tetra. Perhaps she’ll eventually talk about good female roles like the ones in BG&E and Orange Box; or perhaps it’s wishful thinking.

    I wish Peach and Daisy were playable in NSMarioBrosU, even Toadette-Toadette would have been easy to put in! Oh well, I’m grateful for the new mode in this Year of Luigi.

  12. I just have one more comment. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the best way to avoid having your game criticized by Anita Sarkeesian is to have no female characters in it at all.

  13. Ok, I might be stating the obvious or just thinking too much, but is Sark trying to imply that men should keep their hands off creating female characters and only women “know better”? It seems that way to me. Could be the reason why she’s dodging the reasonable counter-arguments and going only for the trolls. Because it’s from Men. So much for equality.

    Have to admit, no matter how much of a crazy motherf**ker The Amazing Atheist is, he really hit it on the nail about Anita being the damsel-in-distress herself by disabling ratings and comments and going on stage about how she’s being attacked.

    Someone quoted to me that feminist like her want all the roses, but none of the thorns. Can’t remember the exact words, but that’s roughly what I remember.

  14. At 3:11, the explanation of “demoiselle en detresse” is the most pretentious thing I’ve ever heard. It adds nothing to our understanding of the term. It’s just the same phrase in two different languages.

  15. I think we need a bonus episode with your female contributors. (I loved the Escaflowne episode)

    All in all, this video wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Just a basic explanation of the trope, and a bunch of examples. Clearly skimmed from secondary sources (read the Wiki article on damsel in distress and compare). Nothing I “disagree” with (aside from some hardline feminist language), but could have been done in a few paragraphs.
    I think doing these videos as a survey of “video games” is going to make everything come off vary shallow. This video series is going to be a “glossary” rather than a text book.

    What’s most missing to me, is any examination of how and why this tropes are prevalent, aside from a very dismissive comment about “adolescent power fantasies. It seems to me she just videofying a feminism text book rather than making video essays. That is, putting original thought and compelling perspectives.
    Which is fine, but not what I’m interested in.

    For a contrast here’s and example of a video about tropes (secondarily) that has a much more interesting and personally compelling. It’s even more constructive to the feminist agenda I think. (Sarkeesinan would not agree).

    http://www.screwattack.com/shows/partners/game-overthinker/game-overthinker-episode-32-i-heart-bayonetta

    Contrasting these two videos shows that “production value” is not the same as “value”.

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