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Tropes vs. Women video no. 1 lands

Thursday, 7 March 2013 23:56 GMT By Phil Owen

The first edition of Anita Sarkeesian’s video series on video game tropes about female characters has been posted, and it’s all about the Damsel in Distress cliche. Sarkeesian performs a thorough examination of the trope from its roots in other media to its appearance in the early days of gaming and beyond.


The Tropes vs. Women project, which aims to expose systemic sexism of all sorts within games, earned a lot of notoriety last year when Sarkeesian launched a Kickstarter for it and experienced some, eh, harassment for, apparently, trying to take sexism seriously. The Kickstarter was wildly successful, though, and today we get to see the fruits.

You can definitely see where that money went, as production values are high. Check it out:

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84 Comments

  1. freedoms_stain

    Not sure.

    Certainly there are a lot of examples on her Tumblr that I disagree actually feature the “Damsel in Distress” Trope. At least not in any sort of offensively sexist manner.

    I think it’s important to consider context before you start flinging around accusations of sexism.

    Apparently Batman rescuing women in Arkham City is an example of a sexist “Damsel in distress” trope. But contextually Batman also saves an equal if not greater number of men from similar predicaments over the course of the game. Contextually, Batman saves people, the fact that some of them are women is not sexist.

    I could go on but it’s late and I’m tired.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. G1GAHURTZ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXV0XdvTCe4

    #2 2 years ago
  3. polygem

    sexism must stop.
    animal abuse must stop as well.
    to me these really are the main key factors for a better world. the root. stop fighting the symptoms.
    almost everything that helps to get closer to that ideal is good.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Da Man

    #2 Ghz +1

    #4 2 years ago
  5. polygem

    if you google “guy afraid of spider” your world will fall into one million pieces ;)

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Da Man

    No offense, #5..

    But why would I judge based on some exceptions to the rule. You probably missed the point a bit.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. roadkill

    What the heck is up with those eyebrows!? And the earrings? Ha ha! And about the fox female character.. she was strong, she was capa.. LOL!! Yea! Strong and capable women? Lol!! And I’m done watching this. It’s kind of pathetic really. More but hurt women trying to get more attention. Fail..

    #7 2 years ago
  8. silkvg247

    Wow, I just lost so much respect for so many forum regulars.

    I’m sure this video makes a lot of worthwhile points, it really does, but it also threatens taking away things that guys enjoy.. let’s face it, being the hero who saves the chick probably does give a buzz. So whilst the vid is right, and I agree with it, I know from experience and from reading the replies already posted here, it’s a huge fucking waste of time.

    @2&4 That’s called a phobia, something that can debilitate both men and women. It isn’t a natural fear and it usually requires therapy. Or you know, for people to video it and laugh.

    @6 Everyone here is missing the point far more than you can imagine.

    @7 Whilst I agree the earrings are silly it’s her choice in what she wears. I didn’t actually know the starfox game I enjoyed playing to completion used to have the female as the main lead, I found that to be both fascinating and disappointing.

    If you think she is trying to get attention, you are correct. Hence the kickstarter and the videos. It’s entirely about bringing attention to things that need to change, so kudos to your powers of observation there.

    Can I just remind you that some forum posters and at least one news poster is female, so how about you try and keep it civil and respectful.

    Going back to the spider thing, ironically I am making this, which I wasn’t ready to show just yet but it seems relevant:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/116137178/GamesDev/Spidey/index.html

    So yes, what can I say, I’m terrified of spiders because I’m a girl. That’s why I just designed a whole game around one.

    (LMB drag to draw web from a sill or other web, click to hit bugs til they die, arrows to move spidey to bugs).

    #8 2 years ago
  9. freedoms_stain

    @8, Sarkeesian glosses over the fact that Dinosaur Planet always had a male protagonist. She mentions it, but the rest of her commentary makes it seem that Krystal was supposed to be the sole protagonist, which was never the case. Indeed after my 1st watch of the video I was under the impression that Krystal was the sole protagonist (Sarkeesian uses the phrase “the tale of how Krystal went from protagonist her own epic adventure to the passive victim in someone elses…” which cements this idea, despite being a half truth), but that’s not actually the case, Fox replaced the original male Protagonist Sabre and Krystals role in the game was altered.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. YoungZer0

    Yeah, well I certainly never cared about rescuing any ‘chicks’. Either they have a personality that I like, or I don’t care about them. So many videogames do this bullshit.

    “So you’re playing this guy and this guy has this girlfriend and she got kidnapped, now save her, because she’s hot … or something.”

    The ONLY female character I truly cared about and wanted to save was Clementine.

    I’m not going to watch this video, because I already despised this hypocrite way before she had the idea of a kickstarting this series.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. DSB

    I think she’s looking at things from a very onesided perspective. If those designers really hated women so much, why the hell would the entire quest be about saving them?

    If he really hated women so much, the protagonist would say “Fuck that” and head to the stripclub to get drunk and look at some fucking jugs.

    Instead he goes out of his way to save the girl. That’s another aspect of storytelling. Depending on where you put your emphasis, you can make something sound sinister, or you can make it sound benign.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Da Man

    You’re right, #7, we’re equally prone to rats and insects phobias, we have the same hormone system, same skin sensitivity, same psychology, and so forth (plus minus of course) and we should drop these silly prejudices.

    It’s also completely normal when your wife’s salary is better while you’re having a beer at home, all sensitive and inferior.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Gnosis

    @11: He goes out to save the girl, so he can feel awesome and manly afterwards. Or something.

    I just don’t know. As you said, her perspective is very onesided. It’s not much better than the other side, that’s screaming “KEEP YOUR VAGINA AWAY FROM MY HOBBY!!!11″. In my opinion it’s a very hard topic and needs a lot of dialogue and that’s not what she’s delivering.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Dragon246

    We all have different opinions on this. I, for one don’t need videos to tell me that we have a problem in society. Seriously, all need is starting treating everyone equally and this problem will solve itself.
    I haven’t watched this completely, but it seems she is bending facts, going by what Freedom said. She is just giving more ammunition to haters and decreasing the credibility of the videos. This is what I hate about orgs. like PETA and other activists, they are working for the right cause, but the wrong way.
    But if this changes something for the better, I will be very happy.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DSB

    @11 I get the argument she’s trying to make, and there is of course some sense in it.

    The extreme you suggest just sounds very hypothetical to me. I mean you could “suppose” that these guys are saving women to lull them into a false sense of affection and security, facilitating a lifetime of brutal spousal abuse.

    In Sweden, I believe Marios mustache would widely be referred to as a “hustrumishandler stache” or a “wifebeater mustache”. I guess Princess Peach is gonna be walking into a lot of doors.

    But it just kinda stops being credible long before we get to that point :P

    #15 2 years ago
  16. polygem

    @11: it´s not about hating women. it´s about showing them as the perfect victims while males are shown as the heroes…you can love women, be polite and nice toward them but you can still be a sexist. thing is, man and women should have the same rights. women aren´t weaker than men. i can still be a “real man” without being a sexist macho douche. it´s all about respect. peach should rescue mario from time to time. i agree with her about that.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. silkvg247

    @11 There’s nothing here about hating women.. so.. eh?
    @12 I suggest you do some research on phobias.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Da Man

    Reminds of this stellar game from the App Store, ‘Saving private sheep’..

    To genderless society and beyond.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. G1GAHURTZ

    “women aren´t weaker than men.”

    Are you serious?

    #19 2 years ago
  20. DSB

    @17 Fair enough, but the suggestion is obviously that this trope is harmful to women.

    I think it’s harmful to writing more than anything else. Games writing in general sucks ass, but that just further confuses me as to why we’re talking about women instead of the fact that the general quality of writing is very low.

    It’s easy, and it works. It’s the same with rape scenes in a movie. It makes everybody sick and angry without the writer ever having to write something that’s actually intelligent, to truly earn those emotions.

    If you really just need a quick and dirty motive to send someone on a quest, a woman is obvious. Speaking as a guy, I think most of us have done incredibly stupid shit for women, so it’s instant recognition.

    To me there’s a big difference between making an easy choice and making an odious one.

    How many times have we been the result of a super soldier experiment? How many times have we saved the earth from annihilation? How many times have we saved the universe?

    Games writing is stupid, and to me singling out one trope ahead of all the others just seems completely reactionary.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. silkvg247

    @20 I agree on most points.

    She isn’t singling this trope out, it’s the first of many to come.. :)

    @18 Games that appeal to wide audiences aren’t a bad thing..

    #21 2 years ago
  22. G1GAHURTZ

    I watched her presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZAxwsg9J9Q

    And while it’s no doubt one sided, I do feel that she has been victimised very harshly, just for stating an opinion.

    She does manipulate and omit many facts, which goes against her IYAM, because she really doesn’t need to.

    Sexism clearly exists in gaming, although it’s not on the level that she’s attempting to suggest, where guys have been brainwashed, by pixels, into considering women to be worthless.

    Also, my initial video link was simply to make it clear that there are differences between the sexes.

    That doesn’t justify sexism, but trying to say that there is no difference is idiotic.

    Find me a single war throughout the entire history of mankind, where women fought in numbers and defeated men.

    It never happened.

    Men (being stronger) have fought and protected/raped and pillaged women (and children) long before modern media existed.

    And before anyone comes up with names like Jeanne d’Arc, I’m not talking about the 1-2% exception to the rule.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. polygem

    “Find me a single war throughout the entire history of mankind, where women fought in numbers and defeated men.

    It never happened”

    dude THIS IS sexism!

    ““women aren´t weaker than men.”

    Are you serious?”

    are you seriously asking me this?
    what means strength to you? body size? muscle power?

    sexism again man…

    it´s not about the biological differences in sexes. not at all.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. G1GAHURTZ

    Why is it sexism?

    Educate me.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. DSB

    War may not favor women physically, but that’s really much less of an argument in the modern era.

    They think and shoot just as well as men, so I don’t see why they shouldn’t be given the opportunity to fight if they want to.

    The problem for a lot of countries is the fact that they’re far more likely to be raped if captured, and that’s not something any military wants to see on the evening news.

    In Scandinavia it’s been confirmed that the vikings used to have female “kings”, which means they would have had to have been deemed worthy in terms of security among other things. You also have stories of female berzerkers, so I think that just reflects war as being about more than brawn.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. silkvg247

    @22 You know, I’m not saying they’d ever turn up in the same or greater numbers, but since you asked – the reason women haven’t been in the wars you depict is because they weren’t *allowed* to be there.

    Women weren’t allowed on the frontlines. In most cases, still aren’t.

    THAT is sexism, regardless of the reasons.

    If you want to relate that one directly to gaming, think of your COD and BF’s where we have no representation whatsoever, nor are we even given the option to be female.

    There are differences between the sexes, I think we all know that (and remember in the current age it is debatable what “strength” means”) but in gaming we are completely equal. So I’d like to think games writers can think of both genders when making games. That’s all this lady is trying to help achieve so cut her some slack eh.

    The worse thing I saw on this video was the American ad for Zelda.. will you get the girl, or play like one? I mean really.. REALLY? That’s just mind blowing.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. polygem

    why do you think women didn´t fight in those wars? what´s the reason for it? because they are biologically weaker than men? don´t you think women are just as brave as men? what about using bows or whatever. you do not need to swing a broadsword or a warhammer to fight in a medievil war. it´s not about women being too weak to fight. they are very capable of that. they didn´t fight because of sexism. because men established a system of sexism that still works today. where´s the female pope? where´s a female mula…are they not blessed enough by god?
    fact is women and men are born on the same planet. they have the same rights by nature. it´s that simple. you can then look at who is better for which job due to biological or whatever differences…

    #27 2 years ago
  28. freedoms_stain

    Just like to point out that games with a class system (i.e. BF, TF2) often only have one model per class because otherwise you start to muddy the waters when it comes to class silhouettes.

    If you look at the majority of class based games each class has a very definite unique silhouette, this serves to let the player immediately know what they’re up against and whether or not they should engage or avoid. If you introduce multiple models per class that system starts to break down. Instead of having x number of silhouettes to keep track of you have 2x or more. It’s an example of good design really.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Da Man

    Many irl females certainly think just as good, if not better than internet living mindphuckery posting nerds.

    That’s for sure.

    You guys better copy paste some more. Helps keep the site alive.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. G1GAHURTZ

    @26:

    I’ve got nothing against the lady, as such. I’m not attacking her. She’s raised an issue for debate, so I’m joining the debate.

    Anyway… The responses to what I said about war were were pretty much as I expected.

    It’s also where Sarkeesian’s whole video game argument falls apart. She doesn’t appear to have considered some basic points of human nature and human history.

    Sure, if you take modern wars as your benchmark, you might ask why an able woman couldn’t fight for her cause. Modern wars are becoming less and less about front line combat, and more about technological superiority.

    But if we go back to a time of tribal conflicts, of hand to hand combat and horses, which is a far, far greater period of time in human history, we don’t see any evidence that women fought on the same level as men.

    In fact, sadly enough, we still see in existence today, the cultural love of having male children, which no doubt, goes back to a time where the more men you had, the more of a chance your tribe/village had of survival.

    There weren’t always millions of people in the world, and we weren’t always living in ‘peace’.

    The fact is, a tribe of men is pretty much always going to annihilate a larger number of women in any conflict of equal weaponry.

    So basically, the point that Sarkeesian attempts to bring, which is that women shouldn’t be looked at as needing protection, is deeply flawed.

    It’s not just caused by videogames, and is actually a real part of human nature. Sure, there are some very strong women, who could easily defend themselves against some of the world’s weaker men. But on the whole, that’s not the case.

    Sarkeesian has almost neglected to look at the basics of human nature, and attempted to put us all in a modern bubble, without any history, in order to more easily lay ‘blame’.

    She has some very valid points, and I support a lot of what she says.

    But when it comes to this ‘there’s no difference between the sexes’ part, she’s well off course.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. YoungZer0

    @27: Oh yes, the poor women who had to stay at home and watch the kids, while their men had to fight and die in the most brutal way possible.

    Women didn’t go to war because survival was important. If the man dies, then the woman could at least take care of the kids. If both fight and die who takes care of the children?

    We don’t have that situation anymore. We are over-populated. Yet, men are still the first to die. The first in line. Survival of the species isn’t important anymore, the safety of women shouldn’t be more important than that of men now. So where are the feminists fighting for the right of women to be drafted? Or is that another privilege only men can enjoy?

    #31 2 years ago
  32. silkvg247

    @28 It’s a good job mother nature / god / [insert your deity here] didn’t think that way, isn’t it? ;)

    @30 You entire argument seems to stem from the assumption that we haven’t evolved as a species at all over the past few thousands years. I’d like to hope we have.

    Would men annihilate women in a physical test of strength? Yes! But on what planet in this day and age would that scenario ever occur? And what is your point anyway? You seem to keep concluding that physical strength is somehow a factor here – maybe when we were cave-people it was, but can you really argue it’s a necessity now? I’d sooner pick a mate for their wits than their muscles.

    The point being made in the video (I feel) is that in games we don’t have the same constraints as real life, so why are we being held back by them? A woman can be strong in a game. Anyone and anything can be a good lead character. It’s all about the writing.

    Girls, more than anyone, are aware that they are physically weaker. You must realize that this makes us yearn all the more to play a strong female character – for all the same reasons as a skinny kid likes playing his favorite superhero. But we don’t get that option. Instead, we’re constantly represented as the victims. It’s borderline depressing.

    @31 If you think women haven’t been campaigning to be “allowed” to fight for their country then you, sir, have had your head under a rock. Heck, I applied for the army when I was 16 then promptly changed my mind upon seeing the massive checklist of jobs I couldn’t apply for due to being female. Not only frontline but even trombone player. Yes, you need testicles for that one.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. Da Man

    Pretty much standard situation there, Ghz versus next-gen species/internet liberals.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. G1GAHURTZ

    @32:

    My point is in response to Sarkeesian’s assertion that the idea of the ‘damsel in distress’ is purely a construct of modern media.

    That is what she’s saying here.

    She does go back to Greek mythology, but, overall, she’s try to assert that modern media, of which gaming is a huge part, is at the root of reenforcing a baseless stereotype.

    She asserts that women are as capable of saving themselves from any danger as men, and that it’s only the ‘subliminal messages’ from Miyamoto, et al, that are stopping us from realising this.

    This, I completely disagree with, and my point is that the idea of the ‘damsel in distress’ is based on the realities of human history. Not just a movie or a video game.

    Men have always protected women from other men (and spiders!), and the ‘plots’ of many videogames are a reflection of that reality, rather than being a cause for an unjustified stereotype.

    So if she wants to look at the ‘damsel in distress’ trope, she should look at real history, and see that there is a very real basis for it.

    @27:

    The notion that women simply weren’t allowed to fight is a complete nonsense, because it’s a known fact that tribal warriors would kill the men of opposing tribes, and take the women.

    There are countless historical examples of this.

    If the women were capable of fighting, they would have defended themselves.

    @33:

    lol!

    #34 2 years ago
  35. silkvg247

    @34 Oh ok, so it’s the woman’s fault that when she applies for a front line position she will be auto-rejected? I see, I see.

    Regarding tribal warfare, women were disallowed by their *own tribesmen* to carry weaponry letalone learn how to use it. In fact they’d probably be cast out if they even suggested they wanted to be a warrior rather than be a fuck/baby machine. So once again, you can blame sexism for their predicament and vulnerability – it’s a catch 22.

    Why don’t you think a woman would be able to escape? Escaping a hostile situation usually involves brains over brawn and I’m pretty sure the genders are relatively equal in their capacity for thought. You are once again relating “strength” as the solution, but ironically not one of the examples shown of men escaping involved the use of their strength!

    She quite clearly explained that the modern trope came from the fact that historically, women “required” rescue (at least according to the male artist/author) – and this fed into all forms of media. But is that an excuse to keep the trope around today? Surely not, because that would once again suggest we as a species are not evolving. We are, and games need to keep the fuck up.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. G1GAHURTZ

    Regarding tribal warfare, women were disallowed by their *own tribesmen* to carry weaponry…

    Source?

    Where did you get that from?

    I do know about this sort of stuff, since I’m a descendent of a near-extinct, native American, warrior tribe, and I’ve never come across any literature to back up what you just said.

    It also makes zero sense; since, as I said, women were captured and assimilated into the conquering tribe, so if they were able to fight, people would have been much less inclined to want them in the first place.

    Why don’t you think a woman would be able to escape?

    That’s not what I said.

    Just look at the historical reality.

    Men killed men and took the women. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. They took women that were as intelligent as they are today, if not, more so.

    The bigger your tribe, the more sons you have, the more warriors you raise, the stronger and more powerful you become.

    Men took women.

    It actually happened, and it wasn’t videogames that made them do it.

    But is that an excuse to keep the trope around today? Surely not, because that would once again suggest we as a species are not evolving.

    Maybe Miyamoto will change his ways when a woman can knock out Wladimir Klitschko.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. Eregol

    @26 I think the majority of people see that advert as stupid and sexist. It’s a long time ago and we have’t seen another quite as bad as that one.

    I haven’t watched the video yet, and I don’t know what else she’s going to touch upon, but she needs to use more recent examples if she wants to get her point across (Like Hitman Absolution’s nun video trailer). Using an advert made 15 years ago when the industry has moved on (granted it’s still not perfect, but it’s better than it was) makes her argument a little less relevant.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. OrbitMonkey

    Y’know the colour pink was actually a favorite colour for boys up till about 1910 or so. Blue was the traditional colour for girls…

    Obviously that’s got nothing to do with videogames, but it does shine a light on what we take as historical accuracy.

    Such as the role woman have played in our cultures. Chances are they were a lot tougher than the traditional male romantic view of them.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. Samoan Spider

    ^38 Glad someone pointed this out. I didn’t want to wade in but nice one.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. silkvg247

    @37 She’s said in part 2 she will cover the more modern examples.

    @36 See once more my argument about our evolution as a species. Just because something was, doesn’t mean it is.

    Men killed women, they also killed men. A lot of men – and you know what? the victor of a battle is decided based on superior tactics and/or technology and not whether some soldiers are beefier than others. So again, where are you going with this one? Where’s the relevance?

    Would women make good tacticians and engineers? Damn right they would. They have the brains, all they lack is the encouragement to even consider an advancement in that field – which again is something to blame on sexism.

    You know, all of this is quite de-railed anyway. You’re countering an argument that “we should see females used as more than just a prize” with “men can fight better hurr durr”. Sorry but that’s really how it sounds.

    The arguments presented in this video are quite simply – if we don’t get away from this trope then we’ll never get to the point where we can see more creative storytelling with a broader range of main characters – something that everyone would benefit from.

    Should we see more heroic/playable women in games? Yes please! I still think fondly back to my days alone with the original Phantasy Star. the first, and one of sadly few, games that had a non sexualised, strong female lead. The fact it was an amazing game in it’s own right helped too.. but being able to actually relate to the avatar I was playing.. you have no idea how that feels, you’re a guy, you get it on every game, it’s taken for granted. That’s part of the reason why you are completely oblivious to what all this fuss is about.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. The Dude

    I actually never knew about this girl until now. Watched the video and yeah, good stuff. I’ll be watching the later vids when they’re out too. I don’t agree with *everything* she says, and I think there’s room for argument in some cases… but I respect what she’s saying.

    I think it basically boils down to female characters having a far less variety in their characters and roles than men do, and I can understand women feeling pigeon-holed in works of fiction. (IRL is another issue… just gonna stick to the vidya games here).

    By the way – on a side note,silkvg247, I remember you saying the other day about a female Assassin’s Creed character perhaps being able to use her sexuality to lure in potential kills (which I though was a good idea). I was watching Anita’s videos on YouTube and came across this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VeCjm1UO4M&list=UU7Edgk9RxP7Fm7vjQ1d-cDA which deals with that subject actually. What do you think about what she says? She think’s it’s bad, but I don’t really think so…

    #41 2 years ago
  42. silkvg247

    @41 I won’t agree with everything she says either.

    I think there’s nothing wrong with having a sexy, tantalising female use her sexuality to lure in and kill enemies. As long as she’s actually a strong character and it isn’t just being used as a temp/side character to show sexy scenes (like a lot of her examples in that vid were).

    If I see or play such a character I expect her to have a much larger agenda, a reason for her behaving this way. I expect that as an assassin I’d have to find my target, work out his desires and lure him in accordingly. Then kill him. Job done.

    I agree with precisely what you said.. we need a wide variety of females in games, this involves seductress with a purpose, knight, hero, mad scientist, sane scientist, anything you can think of. Let’s see women being more than objects of desire and damsels, basically.

    #42 2 years ago
  43. G1GAHURTZ

    You’re countering an argument that “we should see females used as more than just a prize” with “men can fight better hurr durr”. Sorry but that’s really how it sounds.

    Maybe that’s what you’re reading into my words, but it’s not what I’ve ever said.

    My point about men being stronger is that it’s part of proving that the ‘damsel in distress’ is not just a sexist construct of Hollywood and the games industry.

    It has a justified base in reality.

    It’s not the case that us men are being taught, by video games, that women are property that needs to be saved or fought over. The ‘damsel in distress’ has it’s origins in a reality that existed long before video games.

    So, while I might agree with Sarkeesian about the portrayal of women in video games to a certain extent, she’s misdiagnosed the problem by ignoring both basic human nature, and history.

    Shes looking in the wrong place, and found the wrong reason. The ‘damsel in distress’ wasn’t invented by Hollywood, or Miyamoto.

    She’s wrong there, and the proof of that is that men have fought over/protected/raped/killed women long before Hollywood or Miyamoto were around.

    So what would she say about the idea of a ‘damsel in distress’ if she lived in medieval times? Because not only would she find a plethora of such damsels, but she wouldn’t have modern media to blame.

    Anyway, as you say, all of this is a separate issue to “we should see females used as more than just a prize”. Even so, she tries to justify this proposal in the wrong way, by blaming video games and Hollywood, and that’s where the problem lies.

    If she said ‘we should see females used as more than just a prize because we want girls to grow up as strong, intelligent, productive human beings’, without trying to twist and manipulate the argument by ignoring the reality of human nature, then that’s another matter entirely.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. Clupula

    @27 – Actually, there is a dispute about whether or not there was a female Pope.

    Of course, if the legend is true, then she didn’t live long after people discovered she was female.

    It’s one of those things that can’t really be proved or disproved one way or another. She supposedly hid herself as a man and took the name of Pope John XX. However, there is no historical record of a Pope John XX. Yet there were both a XIX and a XXI, which certainly does lend a little bit of credence to it the belief that her name was stricken from record once she was killed by an angry mob. There are many people who consider her a feminist invention, yet the legend of her existence was fairly known all the way back to the 13th century.

    #44 2 years ago
  45. YoungZer0

    @32: Then go ahead, show me some of those campaigns where women fight for the ‘right’ to be drafted. And what country do you exactly live in? Usually women in the military have something called affirmative action. Dunno about you, but If I was a soldier in a warzone, I don’t want the gal next to me be held to lower standards just so she could have a better chance of being taken for the job.

    #45 2 years ago
  46. Clupula

    If the women were capable of fighting, they would have defended themselves.

    Wow, that certainly does sound like a case of blaming the victim. See, here’s the thing. You say that men would invade a village and rape all the women, and that the women were raped and enslaved because of their inherent weakness. But you’re forgetting something. One, that the women in the village were probably unarmed and untrained. I think just about any army could conquer a large group of people who were unarmed or, at least, nowhere near as prepared for battle, whether male or female. If the women who had been “conquered” had had access to equal training and equal equipment, then I think that there would have been some cases of women repelling men who had already defeated the men of their villages.

    Even if there weapons left in the village, which there were probably not many of, do you think you can just hand a man a sword and expect him to be able to ward off armed attackers? So, why would you use that as an example of the weakness of women?

    Women have been traditionally physically weaker than men by upbringing, not by nature. The most dangerous person I know is a woman, yet her twin sister who hasn’t had any sort of military training probably couldn’t win a slap fight. It’s all about how much women have been allowed to train, not by how we’re born. Let’s not pretend that all women are petite little flowers who will fly away if a strong wind blows or that all men are walls of pure muscle.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. Clupula

    @45 – I don’t think I’ve ever seen women call for the right to be drafted (in fact, I don’t think anyone wants to be forced into military service), but they’ve certainly fought for the right to be on the front line in the States (a right that was recently granted).

    #47 2 years ago
  48. YoungZer0

    @47: The draft is still something that only applies to men and I don’t understand why it’s still there to be honest. Either we draft all, or none.

    #48 2 years ago
  49. SlayerGT

    Why didn’t she just get backers and kickstart her own game? I don’t understand the point of this..

    #49 2 years ago
  50. Clupula

    @48 – Well, in the States, at least, the draft was rescinded after Vietnam, but there are still politicians calling for its return, every now and then.

    And as for the “all or none” part, while I agree with you, the way drafts have worked in most places has never been all of even the male population. It’s usually been easy for any male with any sort of money or connections to buy their way out of serving.

    #50 2 years ago
  51. freedoms_stain

    @49, until I see some evidence to the contrary, circlejerk.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. G1GAHURTZ

    @46:

    “Women have been traditionally physically weaker than men by upbringing, not by nature”

    That’s so wrong on so many levels.

    The case of David Reimer is clear and conclusive evidence against the nurture over nature argument.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer

    #52 2 years ago
  53. Clupula

    @52 – Ummmm…did you read the article you sent me? Because if you did, you might have seen the part that said:

    “Dr. Money forced the twins to rehearse sexual acts involving “thrusting movements” with David playing the bottom role. As a child, David Reimer painfully recalled having to get “down on all fours” with his brother, Brian Reimer, “up behind his butt” with “his crotch against” his “buttocks”. In another sexual position, Dr. Money forced David to have his “legs spread” with Brian on top. Dr. Money also forced the children to take their “clothes off” and engage in “genital inspections”. On at “least one occasion”, Dr. Money took a photograph of the two children doing these activities. Dr. Money’s rationale for these various treatments was his belief that “childhood ‘sexual rehearsal play’” was important for a “healthy adult gender identity”.”

    You don’t think the fact that the doctor was obviously forcing children to sexually abuse each other doesn’t taint the results a little bit. In fact, probably was a bit part of why David killed himself?

    I’m not sure what you thought you were doing by bringing this particular subject up, but all it proves is that if you abuse someone enough, they’ll probably want to die. That’s not really what we’re talking about here.

    #53 2 years ago
  54. G1GAHURTZ

    The point is that he was raised as a girl, given a vagina and breasts, clothed in girl’s clothes, named with a girl’s name, given girl’s toys to play with and female hormones, but even after all that, he still went bak to being a boy/man.

    This nature vs nurture argument that you’ve mentioned is over, and the case of Reimer is conclusive proof that gender and gender roles cannot be forced on a person.

    It wasn’t to do with him committing suicide, but that every effort in the world couldn’t stop him from wanting to be his true self.

    This idea that girls are brainwashed/conditioned into being soft and fragile that you also touched on, and that is also the cornerstone of many feminist arguments, has been well and truly refuted by Reimer’s case.

    #54 2 years ago
  55. SlayerGT

    I would also like to add to my previous comment, being the male that I am, by saying that I would like to nibble on Anita’s elvish like ear tips…she’s cute.

    #55 2 years ago
  56. Eregol

    Watched the vid. Got to say I agree with most of what she says, but I can’t help but feel she’s over egging the pudding at times. Reads way too much into some things.
    But, mostly, I agree.

    #56 2 years ago
  57. OrbitMonkey

    The thing is that the damsel in distress theme is a invention of modern cinema. All the stories of old were cautionary tales for girls, about trusting wicked men & more often than not saw them ruined, or barely escaping with their lives.

    #57 2 years ago
  58. Kalain

    The main issues I find with her are that she has a very Blinkered, 1 sided view on this whole ‘Tropes‘ issue without actually looking at the whole picture.

    There are probably just as many Male Tropes in games as there are female ones, yet, instead of highlighting how each of the characters in games, male and female, are put into certain roles, she just concentrates on how her narrow point of view.

    She brings up some points, but until she looks at it from the point of view of a Game Player I’m really not going to take her seriously.

    #58 2 years ago
  59. salarta

    Meh, I’m not sure how worthwhile this video series is. Sure, issues of sexism in video games will be highlighted, but it would be kind of a dick move for anyone to claim anything mentioned in the videos needed to be changed in the industry when we eagerly accept and defend other forms of sexism. You can’t really say that a princess needing to be rescued by a big strong man is a deplorable staple when you accept other games saying it’s realistic for a woman to start out wanting someone to rescue her when faced with danger.

    #59 2 years ago
  60. Clupula

    @54 – Yes, but you’re completely white-washing the sexual abuse involved in this case. That’s like saying that you can give someone a choice of Coke or Pepsi, a person will choose Coke 99% of them, but not mentioning that you shocked their testicle every time they reached for the Pepsi can.

    The doctor’s behavior completely invalidates the entire experiment. When you have a doctor whose obviously interested in children in a sexual manner using them for his own jollies, there is nothing that can come out of the case.

    #60 2 years ago
  61. salarta

    @60: That’s some high stakes Pepsi right there. Still worth it.

    #61 2 years ago
  62. Clupula

    @61 – *pushes button*

    #62 2 years ago
  63. roadkill

    @8 Oh I respect all of vg247′s editors. And a few other people. Very few. But pretty much everyone else? I have no respect for them.

    edit: You see, I’ve never been to war so I don’t know how women do there but I’ve studied martial arts and yes I’ve seen awesome girls fighting but if you were to match the best of them vs the best of men they would have obliterated. So that’s why we have male characters saving the world/galaxy or w/e because we are more capable.

    #63 2 years ago
  64. G1GAHURTZ

    @60:

    Your analogy is somewhat extreme, and not really relevant in this instance.

    The claim from the feminists is that girls are conditioned to be girls, because society (or ‘men’) puts them into a ‘box’ that has already determined what they should/shouldn’t like, and how they should act.

    Well in the case of Reimer, the whole world around him, including his parents, a psychologist, and even the outward appearance of his body told him what he should/shouldn’t like, and how he should act. Yet between the ages of 9 to 11, he “failed to identify as a girl”. He wasn’t told about what happened to him until he was 14.

    Obviously, the clear sexual abuse that took place is terrible, and would clearly have caused him harm, but it’s not correct to imply that he only didn’t want to be a girl, because of it, and that he would have been happy as a girl had it not happened.

    In order to do that, you would have to believe that sexual abuse causes people to “fail to identify” with their sex. But where is the evidence of this?

    Both boys and girls suffer trauma in their lives, but I don’t see any evidence that such trauma would cause someone to “fail to identify” with their gender.

    #64 2 years ago
  65. OrbitMonkey

    I wonder why Feminists never advocate the use or their sexuality? Men are physically stronger, true, but even the strongest men have been brought down by a smarter more sexually aggressive women.

    Just seems odd, that they’d try to diminish this advantage.

    #65 2 years ago
  66. Clupula

    @64 – But how do you know? You can’t prove a negative! You can’t say he would have been the same if the abuse had not happened. The very presence of it makes all possible lessons learned from this inconclusive. Not to mention, you’re acting like one case proves a rule.

    That’s not how science works. That’s not how facts work.

    #66 2 years ago
  67. Dragon246

    I missed the arguments. But if people are saying that girls (or boys) behave like girls only because they are trained by society is just plain false. Its a mixture of societal and genetic factors. Men are made stronger physically, that’s a proven fact and beyond any doubt. Although about brains, nothing conclusive has been found, so we can safely assume there is no difference there. And that’s all that matters.
    Males and females are born almost equal except in physicality and sexuality. All other differences are too minute to differentiate or a caused by society.

    #67 2 years ago
  68. G1GAHURTZ

    @66:

    Reimer had already started to reject the idea that he was a girl, long before the abuse took place.

    So to say that the abuse was a cause for him rejecting his ‘new’ sex can be discounted. He was already rejecting what everyone around him was forcing on him long before the abuse took place.

    In fact, the abuse apparently only happened in a last ditch effort to brainwash him into believing that he was a girl.

    See it in Reimers own words here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noqRhuE8_XA

    I’m not presenting any rules here, but this case clearly dismantles the argument that society dictates human roles.

    #68 2 years ago
  69. OrbitMonkey

    @68, Mate, all it dictates is that humanity can be fucked up. Period. I’m sure Mengele would have had something interesting to say about nature versus nurture, but I wouldn’t listen to that fucknut either.

    #69 2 years ago
  70. Dark

    http://s214.beta.photobucket.com/user/Nordic_might/media/motivator7d62414696ec76.jpg.html

    #70 2 years ago
  71. Cobra951

    My barometer on such stories only involves freedom. I am against losing any of it, including the freedom to engage in traditional roleplaying. Rabid feminists can bark all they want, as long as they don’t try to bite me.

    #71 2 years ago
  72. Joe_Gamer

    She presents a very biased and sensationalized side of it all. “The hero’s journey”(aka save the damsel/town/world) has existed in ALL storytelling mediums since man(zing) first put charred stick to cave wall, pointing a finger at games and spouting grossly exaggerated hyperbole is worse than useless, I’d say it’s downright detrimental to any discussion of equality. Putting one side of the argument on the defensive through dishonest attention seeking videos like this only serve to make any rational discourse we MIGHT have had even more difficult.

    Also, the notion that women are NOT physically weaker than men always cracks me up. The fact is that in most modern societies physical confrontation between genders is almost non-existent(save for bus drivers of course) so most people have a very poor understanding of the STAGGERING difference in strength between men and women. When I was serving in Korea we had a commander who fucking LOVED MMA and I got stuck assisting the Brazilian jujitsu instructor for all of the battalions hand to hand combat drills. Now I’m only 5’10 and about 170-180lbs at the time so not particularly big and certainly not particularly strong but whenever my sparring partner was female it was ludicrous, like wrestling a kitten except a kitten might get a painful nip on your fingers. Until the zombie apocalypse throws us all back to the middle ages and it’s time to “re-populate”(thunk…drag…) this difference in strength is mostly meaningless, but pretending it doesn’t exist at all? That’s foolish.

    #72 2 years ago
  73. Sini

    New God of War has a trophy called “Bros before Hoes”, don’t tell the bitch or she’ll go batshit crazy.

    #73 2 years ago
  74. Digital Bamboo

    I thought the video was good, if a little dry. One of the more intelligent videos on the topic of video games I’ve seen.

    A lot of nonsense flying around this thread, though in fairness I haven’t read every last post (and don’t want to get dragged into it). I will call bullshit on the notion that men are stronger than women and THAT’s the reason why we see more male characters saving the world in video games.

    How many male characters are portrayed realistically in games? Next to none. Almost all have superhuman stregth/endurance/agility, etc. Therefore, since video games are pretty fucking far removed from reality as it is, why not have more females in heroic roles? It’s no less believable than the shit we see males do in video games.

    Also, I have to laugh at how quick some guys are to equate “men” with only the very strongest elite athletes, special forces & professional fighters, as if that’s representitive of men as a whole, (while of course ignoring the many millions of obese, sedentary, weak-as-a-kitten men that are out there).

    Fuck it. I’ll cut it off there. Liked the vid.

    #74 2 years ago
  75. Da Man

    Looks like reality check hit a nerve amongst educated next gen species :(

    Internet is the land where women are just as strong as men, drugs don’t harm people and shitty processors are a matter of opinion.

    #75 2 years ago
  76. Gekidami

    “You can definitely see where that money went, as production values are high.”
    You’re kidding, right? I havent watched the whole thing, but quickly skipping through it all i see is a women in front a green screen mixed with some video game footage. This the same production value you find on a load of other YT videos that didnt ask for money.

    #76 2 years ago
  77. OrbitMonkey

    Yeah this thread is just full of guys agreeing with Ms Sarkeesian…

    #77 2 years ago
  78. silkvg247

    I’m not sure how this derailed into an argument about differences in *physical* strength between the sexes but somehow we keep coming back to it. Could it be because it’s the one thing that men know they have over women, therefore cling to it?

    Here’s an interesting story about my weekend so far.

    I spent all day Saturday at my friend’s stag do, wearing a comedy beard so that I could be the manliest of men. We went to spend a day doing archery, was good fun.

    What was interesting, the experienced archers did really well as you’d expect. The non archers, like myself, scored between 50-80 points. I got 70, which put me above a lot of the men. Am I super strong for a woman? No, I’m weak as a kitten, but archery is a prime example of a weapon that needs accuracy and finesse over strength, and I found I had a good eye even though my arms were shaking and often throwing me off. Also, and this is the main point, it shows that untrained men and women are just as bad as each other, and would be just as fucked if they were part of an invaded town.

    I’ve just re-watched the video and I honestly think the comment about strength isn’t supposed to mean physical strength – it’s just that guys automatically take it to mean that. You can have a strong heart and use it to rule a nation at a time where women are seen as dish washers and child bearers. You can have a strong mind and help to cure cancer. You can have a strong will and never give up against all the odds.

    All three of those traits to me, make a stronger and more interesting character (male OR female), than a beefcake.

    So yes, I think “strength” has been taken entirely out of context here. It would have been nice to talk more about the damsel never having any of the strengths I mentioned rather than, as per every thread about sexism, ending up with the conclusion that men can lift more than women therefore we should just shut the fuck up.

    #78 2 years ago
  79. OrbitMonkey

    I’m sorry Silkvg247, I can’t possibly take you seriously until I see you opening a jar of pickles!!

    It’s a well known, historical fact, that mans ability to open jars, led to humanity’s place atop the foodchain.

    #79 2 years ago
  80. silkvg247

    @79 Run it under a hot tap and it’ll pop off much easier – a little tip for the guys that want to look uber strong in the face of jar adversity!

    #80 2 years ago
  81. silkvg247

    And just to prove I was telling a true story, here you go. Bob (my alias for the day) is indeed the manliest of men.

    http://youtu.be/egUvZlNNRjY

    #81 2 years ago
  82. YoungZer0

    Cool story, Bob. :3

    I’d also like to encourage everyone to watch her Bayonetta review:

    http://youtu.be/XbihPTgAql4

    She deleted it from her original account and it was re-uploaded by another user.

    I find it rather ironic that Sarkeesian is complaining about the damsel in distress stereotype. This is the same woman who is in the habit of disabling comments, ratings and viewing statistics on her videos.

    Before announcing her Kickstarter project, Sarkeesian spend several dozen videos lecturing half the population what they should or should not be sexually aroused by. She left the comments on some of the videos unmoderated, took screenshots of the more abusive ones, posted them on her blog, gathered sympathy and of course MONEY.

    If that wasn’t enough she went on to give TED talks about how horribly mean people were to her.

    So what’s her problem with the damsel in distress? The fact that it reminds her of herself?

    #82 2 years ago
  83. DSB

    So it’s true, videogames do turn you into a violent psychopath. Shooting arrows at fictional characters just wasn’t enough for you, was it silk? You people make me sick.

    #83 2 years ago
  84. The Dude

    I have to admit, I’ve watched quite a few of Anita’s videos now, and while at first I thought “hey, good for you”… I’m finding her more and more like one of those “feminists” who find misogyny in just about everything! It dilutes what feminism actually is – equality between men and women, which I’m sure everyone here believes in.

    Just as an example, she finds the lyrics to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” to be sexist (seriously) & all about how women are supposed to want a man and nothing else to be satisfied, all submissive like. Which is funny because the song mentions nothing about wanting a “man”… it says “you”, which could very well be another woman. Either way, it’s a love song! And then she goes on about Justin bieber covering the song and sounding like a *stalker*! Basically, in the same situation, men = aggressor, women = victim. Double standards?

    Ugh, this is not feminism and is the reason why many people (including women) think feminism is weird!!

    And that Bayonetta review was rediculous.

    #84 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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