Love her or hate her, Anita Sarkeesian has stirred up the industry with her outspoken views on feminism. What started as a decent YouTube channel with a couple hundred thousand views, she addressed the role of females in books, movies and other pop culture mediums. Anita then took to Kickstarter to help fund her goal of making a video series that would cause both friendly discussions and angry rage-filled rants. Enter, Tropes vs Women in Video Games.
Anita Sarkeesian is a media critic and the creator of Feminist Frequency, a web series that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. Her work focuses on deconstructing the stereotypes, patterns and tropes associated with women in popular culture as well as highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces.
Anita Sarkeesian earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies at California State University Northridge and her Master’s degree in Social and Political Thought at York University. She’s been featured in major publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, WIRED Magazine, and much more.
It’s a bit of a love-hate relationship I have with Anita. While I enjoyed her videos, and I agree with some of her views, I couldn’t help but feel skewed to still think she was wrong in some respects. And therein lies the great thing about freedom of speech, we’re all entitled to our own opinion. While people may not have agreed with her, she still had every website buzzing about the role of women in videogames. Anita held up a mirror to society and showed us that sometimes male protagonist can be shallow mindless characters.
Just as interesting as Anita herself is the fallout she received from public forums. From hate mail to death threats, Anita was either praised and seen as an inspiration, or looked down on as an overblown feminist. She has inspired other people to counteract her statements, which in turn, led to a deeper more analytical discussion on the game industry. Some people even went out of their way to mention other races that have been discriminated against in video games.
While her videos may be done they still seemed to be talked about. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, I couldn’t help but think that articles about homosexuals in games wouldn’t be prominently posted on the front pages of popular outlets if it wasnt for the fact that Anita made it okay to tackle issues like this. Issues we still face in an industry that is nearly forty years-old.
Anita lectures and presents at universities, conferences, and game development studios internationally. She’s been a presenter and panelist at various fan, media, and technology conferences. She continues to spread her word and hopes to make a difference in the videogame industry. I hope she continues to make these videos, and inspires others to talk about other tropes that certain characters face. Because whether you agree with her or not, she caused discussion in the video game community, and thats something to talk about.