tropes vs women

Explaining Molly as a "Mirror"

Since I’ve been asked about this specifically a number of times I thought it would be helpful to just make a post.

So “Molly is John’s mirror” not some clever subtext that someone in the tinfoil hat brigade discovered. It is, in fact, a very old trope of the “Ms. Male” or “Distaff counterpart” that certain fans are applying here.

Basically it means taking a male character, slapping a female signifier on him, and voila! Same shit, new character.

One of the most recognizable examples is Ms. Pac Man. In order to appeal to the female market. Media Execs simply slap a lipstick and bow on whatever they happen to be making at that moment and hey! look! inclusivity! Buy our stuff, dumb ladies!

Here are some reasons why this is problematic:

1. It diminishes the female character’s role to her relationship with a male.

2. It does not leave room for dimension as this character is not her own person. She is merely a “girl version” of someone else.

3. It reduces female identity to shitty gendered signifiers (pink, frills, sparkles etc…)

Usually this goes hand in hand with the “Smurfette principle”. Where women are tokenized as the “girl” in an all-male cast. She may be a character that has other qualities but the one given highest import is that she is female in a way that remains very rigidly within the scope of the social gender binary.

This is not how Molly Hooper was written. She’s being read that way by fans who have a lot of internalized misogyny that they are projecting onto her character.

So far the only overlap I have seen is that Molly likes ugly jumpers and she’s nice.

But Molly wears ugly jumpers far more often than John, yet it’s a characteristic that belongs to him by default?

And let’s be honest, John is really not that nice. I mean sometimes kinda, but only if there’s something in it for him. (eg: getting to be the “hero”, flirting with women, looking superior to Sherlock) but apart from that, he’s just kind of a jerk who treats his non-neurotypical friend like some lovable “idiot savant”. Any one of us who met him in person would probably instantly label him as a “fuckboy” because well… the shoe fits.

Molly has a level of kindness that is completely unprecedented. Her kindness and loyalty are her trademark characteristics and I, personally think, that it’s very not good to hand that off to John just to make him seem better or to apply more validation to a fan-made narrative that actively works to erase female characters.

It’s definitely something to unpack and examine.

One Week of Harassment on Twitter

Ever since I began my Tropes vs Women in Video Games project, two and a half years ago, I’ve been harassed on a daily basis by irate gamers angry at my critiques of sexism in video games. It can sometimes be difficult to effectively communicate just how bad this sustained intimidation campaign really is. So I’ve taken the liberty of collecting a week’s worth of hateful messages sent to me on Twitter. The following tweets were directed at my @femfreq account between 1/20/15 and 1/26/15.

Content warning for misogyny, gendered insults, victim blaming, incitement to suicide, sexual violence, rape and death threats.

Tuesday, January, 20th

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015


Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Friday January 23rd, 2015

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Sunday, January 25th

Monday, January 26th

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Sexism in Video Games: A Battle of Agendas (Feminists Vs. Gamers)

There is a glaring deficiency of strong female characters in the video game medium, what with most representatives of said gender falling into one of two groups: 1) one-dimensional sex doll-like eye candy created solely to pander to the narrow-minded fratbody demographic (as seen in most Action and Fighting Games) or 2) expendable background characters with whom the player can enter into a romantic relationship and ultimately bed in a quick softcore PG-13-esque cutscene as an optional side-mission of sorts (as seen in most Western RPGs).

We at Cheshire Cat Studios recognize this as an important issue that needs to be dealth with and would love to see more well-written and versatile characters of BOTH genders populating the video game medium in the future. HAVING SAID THAT, we wouldn’t have been ourselves had we decided to remain silent when certain ‘activists’ unabashedly exploit the aforementioned issue to pursue their own twisted agendas and become filthy rich. 

We begin by expressing our discontent with Anita Sarkesian’s misguided gender war and then move on to discuss the duplicity of the feminist movement when it comes to reshaping the game industry, the overt hostility towards female player characters from game publishers, and even 'real-life’ gender politics in the context of video games (i.e., is it possible for a player to fully immerse themselves in the game if they’re playing as the opposite sex?).

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Our latest episode of Tropes vs Women in Video Games focuses on the Ms. Male Character trope and briefly discusses a related pattern called the Smurfette Principle. You can watch, share and “like” it on YouTube now!

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Too good