There is a
duality with videogame characters: they are not real people therefore they
can’t be objectified or forced to do things, but at the same time they are
designed so we can empathise and relate to them. Anita somehow gets this
backwards, she constantly treats characters as if they are real people but at
the same time she completely disregards them on basis of their looks.
that everything about characters like Cia and Bayonetta are secondary to their
sexual behaviour, completely ignoring what are the actual motivations of the
characters like Bayonetta’s search for an identity or Cia’s unhealthy lust for
examples only work because she’s purposely framing them that way. Ironically in
her championing for female diversity and empowerment she is constantly judging
female characters by the looks only, a remarkably sexist behaviour.
Many of the
complains that Anita has it that these characters exist explicitly for sexual
gratification of straight male players.
true that game designer and developers keep in mind what the audience likes,
they are primarily creating what they
like. For example, Bayonetta’s designer (Mari Shimazaki) says that she made Bayonetta in accord the three
keywords she was given (women, modern witch, 4 guns) and she came up with the
designs, which she considers to be her preference in attractive women.
will do what they like, and if the audience, composed by straight, homosexual
and bisexual people, likes it, they will continue doing that. Those designs
aren’t there to provide sexual gratification they’re just visually appealing.
doesn’t like the justifications creators a giving to why some characters have a
determinate appearance is fine, but she shouldn’t be stating it as if it were
the objective truth, especially when she’s trying to contradict the creator of
noteworthy is that after discussing the explanations (or excuses), she arrives to the “maybe
that what she wants to wear” which prompts her to state the these are fictional
characters and therefore not real, contradicting herself at the beginning of
the episode where she treated those characters as real by stating that they were forced into these
attires, as if they had a choice in the matter but they had been denied agency.
Anita offers a solution to this “Fashion” problem, showing women in practical
attire in sports competitions and military settings; that is actually a good
solution as long as the game wants to take a realistic or semi-realistic
approach to character designs, which it doesn’t have to
be always the case.
segment is about the expression of sexuality, but Anita’s wording makes it hard
to understand the line she follows, I think she want’s depictions of female
sexualities that aren’t just linked to the act of sex but the expression of
sexualities as a source of emotions that help connect with a character, which
is actually a great thing, so I don’t see why it should be limited to women only,
male characters would benefit immensely too, form being able to express their
sexuality in a way that isn’t always a sexual one.
complains that Ms. Pac-man has no characterization.
See? That’s the
about one dimensional characters having no depth.
And you know
why? Because the designers were lazy. It’s not because they think men are the
norm, is because they had created something. But people complained, they wanted
women on it. So they put a bow on the generic, bland main character and called
it a day.
And that’s it.
Because the truth is that this kind of characters are only a fraction they don’t
represent a majority. There is a world out there of marvelous well written and
developed characters that girls and boys can have as a role model.
Anita, you could’ve used 5 of the 25 minutes of the episode to expose the
problem and the use the other 20 to give examples of well written developed
characters and encouraging people to be creative and create even more
outstanding female characters; instead you only gave 1:47 minutes to a few
personally approved games, and wasted the other 23:13 you are complaining about
pink bows and wondering why many people would like to play as male Shepard.
You are not
only overexaggerating a problem, you don’t even bother to bring up the solution.
I apologize if
this has been more of a rant than an actual review.
(Some transcribing notes at the end of the retype.)
Do remember that: everything I retyped here represented the thoughts of the Original Poster. I agree with most of it, disagree with (a very small) part of it, but all of them are the post of the OP verbatim:
Tropes vs women in gaming: The sinister seductress
episode deals with female sexuality. Or at least that is what I was led to
think because it spends a rough total of half of the video talking about mythology
and religion. Not that these two topics can’t be linked (because they are) but
still it wasn’t what I was expecting.
on the table very nice and lecture about how the old myth of Pandora, the story
of Adam and Eve and other folk tales and mythological figures were designed to
other women. While the discussion could be an interesting topic on its own, she
links it to the depiction of female characters that combines sexiness and grossness
to create something creepy and unsettling.
one little detail.
literally no proof that one is causing the other.
The only connection
is that apparently, they are similar, somehow. But by that logic, a featherless
chicken is a man, is it not?
the equation in the Doom 3 book is correct. Because taking concepts like fertility
and healthy and twisting them into something demonic is creepy. And yes, those
concepts are related to women BUT THEY
ARE NOT AN EXPRESION OF THEIR OPINIONS ON WOMEN. They are just there
because they’re thematically fitting in the setting:
is supposed to be a mixture of a silk worm and a woman, thus explaining her appearance.
was creepy in Dante’s inferno (A game that, to date, I sadly been unable to
play), yes but she was also a decaying corps in a hell that twist everyone according
to their sins.
for all I know Cailleach it’s just a monster who is female.
part of the episode is dedicated to those females that use seduction to get her
way. Which of course is also wrong because makes female sexuality threatening
to males. Missed by that much Anita, what is threatening is not the sexuality,
but the women. Who use sexuality as a weapon. That sexuality doesn’t need to be
controlled, but if the woman in question is evil, it’s obvious that the main
character will try to stop it.
that combine the two of the aforementioned examples are a lesson in that you
shouldn’t trust someone in looks alone, Anita this is not a very deep lesson.
So what are
women supposed to be Anita? They can’t be grotesque, they can’t be overtly
sexual, they can’t be passive, if they are active in a way that doesn’t defy your imposed “status quo” they are not
valid either. So where is the diversity here? Because limiting how women can be
can’t lead in any way to an increase of diverse characters.
The second episode of The FREQ Show is here! Today we’re taking on Trump and the lazy ways many on the left mock him. Make no mistake, we should all criticize him, but homophobic jokes and body-shaming jabs reinforce the same brand of toxic masculinity that brought us here in the first place. Watch now!
just can’t believe it… Here I am going into debt trying to make something of
myself in college and then some girl puts up a Kickstarter page and makes a
cool 158,922 dollars while barely putting out content, and this is the
mean… I guess it really pisses me off extra since videogames are my favorite
artistic medium in the world, and since I pretty much consider liking
videogames an essential to critiquing them. Anita said she doesn’t even
like them. She ain’t in no position to be objective here.
Everytime someone mentions women being objectified in videogames,
though, my mind can think of plenty of men being objectified, too.
Those are just the ones off the top of my head… I think Japan is definitely a little bit better at objectifying the two genders equally. For some reason I couldn’t think of too many American ones. Anyway. I’ve seen plenty of women on Tumblr and DA and wherever else
say, ‘daaang Serph got a nice ass’.
. I mean, I don’t do that. When I was playing
Digital Devil Saga I wasn’t think 'Serph got a nice ass’ I was thinking, 'holy
crap I gotta outrun this jailkeeper’.
Look, a lot of people like to be pandered
to. I’m not one of them, but it’s fine that other people are, and game
designers should be allowed to pander to demographics so they can make more
money. Of course, since Anita probably doesn’t even play videogames, she has no
idea that fully-dressed women in videogames DO exist, and she never even
mentions female characters with depth, regardless of how they dress. Just
because a character likes to dress sexy, or a real human being likes to dress
sexy, doesn’t mean they have no depth and can’t be likable. I know that women are generally more objectified than men, but who cares about the woman to man objectification ratio? Women and men are not dehumanized because they like to show off their bods, dammit.
I always like to think of Palutena from Kid Icarus as a good
example of this. Palutena is not the most sexualized woman in a videogame at
all, but she is a little bit sexy and I actually really like her design. It’s
elegant and graceful, and it’s not demeaning. But I really like Palutena so much because she plays
so well off of Pit. Their dialogue in KI:U was really witty and fun and had a
lot of heart, and the game would probably be significantly more bland without
her in it. I like how much she helps Pit throughout the game, too. And I have
to admit, sometimes it is hard for me to get past a character that’s TOO
extremely objectified. Especially if it’s during a serious cutscene and a
female character is literally wearing an outfit where her butt is showing. But
for the most part, I’m just too old to care. It just really bugs me that Anita
just discounts, overlooks, or pans all the female characters I’ve loved in
videogames for the dumbest reasons.
Remember, Zelda is a bad character because
she wears pink and pink is a gender signifier. Anita just discounted Paula as a
character because she wears the color pink, even though Paula is the one who
prays with her whole heart at the end of the game, and the day is saved because
Personally, I like it best when the day is saved exclusively
thanks to a man and woman. It’s probably one of the reasons Xenogears and Baten
Kaitos are two of my favorite RPGS ever. Those games are fuckin’ beautiful. Not
just beautiful. Fuckin’ beautiful.
Seriously, the relationship between Fei and Elly is extremely well written, positive, eye-opening, and indicative of the things men and women can accomplish together. That’s what made it so great.
According to a legend handed down in Nisan… God could have created humans perfectly… But then, humans would not have helped each other… So that is what these great single-winged angels symbolize… In order to fly, they are dependent on one another.
On further inspection, the left angel looks somewhat masculine… … while the right one looks somewhat feminine. -Xenogears
making a review of this now that is over is kind of a moot point. But truth be
told I never sat down watched what all of this is about. Now that I have seen
it, freedom of expression allows me to say what I think about it.
Now I could
make a minute by minute review of the episode(s), but I don’t have the time so
I decided to make a bullet point of the main issues I have with the episode(s):
The “videogames cause sexism” line
Talking about that is like beating a dead horse,
but I have to make reference to it. Anita constantly (but never overtly)
references how this trope born out of outdated gender roles is constantly reinforcing
said outdated gender roles and enabling an “epidemic” of gender violence
against women. Given that it has been proven that videogames don’t cause an
increase of violence in people it’s highly unlickely that they do cause a rise in
sexism. The only prof Anita brings to the table is that there are sexist people
in the world and that there are sexist moments in videogames. Therefore, Anita
is constructing a cause effect where there is none, given that a very similar
cause effect has been disproven.
Female characters are objects,
either a prize or leftovers in a fridge
1. Women are objects. In videogames
everything is an object. They’re pixels, data, not real. So you can’t objectify
something that is already an object. But given that one of videogames
objectives is immersion, will leave that aside for a moment. Anita proposes
that the damsel is a prize to be won, devoid of any kind of characterization.
While that is true in the oldest games (I’d like to point out that the rescuer
didn’t get any more characterization either), nowadays the are far more
developed, even if I must admit that more often than not said characterization
revolves around the rescuer.
2. The woman is a prize. It is not.
Plain and simple. Because when she is saying that, she’s erasing the emotional
factor that pushed the saviour to go rescue the damsel. Peach is not a prize,
she’s Mario and Luigi’s friend, as well as the rule of the kingdom they live
in. All of those protagonists that have their daughters kidnaped are fathers,
those whose girls are kidnaped are boyfriends in a committed relationship, and
so on. When doing this Anita is striping those Damsels of the characterization
they have while simultaneously saying that the male saviours don’t or can’t
feel any kind of emotion.
3. The woman in the refrigerator. I’ll
admit this trope is, usually, a shallow attempt at drama. But again Anita is erasing
the emotional connection and depth that there is between the characters.
Male characters are owners or a “male
1. The male saviour wants to get back a
position or regain his masculinity. Another sweeping generalization. This one
goes linked to the first two in the fact that the male saviour is more
concerned in regaining his possession or his masculinity rather that the
emotional bond that he and the damsel share. Anita states that the male desire
of revenge doesn’t come from love but from shallowness or emasculation. These
reaches it’s peak in the section of “the euthanized damsel” where Anita’s many
references to mutilation, deformity or monstrosity makes me think she’s
implying the male saviour is doing this not out of mercy to a suffering soul
but because the damsel is no longer pretty, all while she constantly ignores
the context of these situations and the emotional impact that these carry.
2. The male character is a “male power
fantasy”. Or is to say an avatar which the skinny ugly virgin nerd can feel hot
powerful and sexual. What is being said here is that the player (always a
straight male) is playing because he obtains some kind of sexual gratification
out of it. Instead of playing the game because it’s cool or the gameplay is challenging
or engaging. It also conveniently ignores the themes of male disposability that
are so present in the damsel in distress trope: men throw themselves in front
of danger without regard from themselves to save someone they love, whether
they survive or not doesn’t matter as long as the damsel does.
Ironic sexism vs satire and
deconstruction of sexist tropes
Anita says that games poking fun of this trope
keeps being sexist. This misses the point that satire needs of an audience that
understand what is being said. They do that, because they expect the audience
to know it’s a stupid trope, that should not hold any value in real life.
The assumption her goes with the line of
thinking that games cause sexism (against women only). Women as damsels is
sexist because it reinforces the gender roles, but the reverse doesn’t hold any
water. In here let’s study where this need men have to protect women comes
from. Many will say that is a paternalistic attitude because she is the weaker
gender. In my opinion that is not actually true (but there are men who do cling
to this idea), men protect women because the future of our species hangs from
them, they’re special and must be protected at all costs (from here also comes
the gender role of male disposability mentioned before). While coming from this
explanation what Anita says is still kind of true (the damsel and the dude don’t
hold the same “weight”) in the Damsel in distress trope what pushed the saviour
to act is an emotional attachment, therefore it doesn’t really matter the
gender of the “damsel”.
Why it’s the trope still prevalent
There are many reasons why. One of them is,
like Anita mentioned it’s a very old trope, so there is a lot of material to
take inspiration from (or just recycle), another is that is an easy resource,
and another one is that it allows us an escapist option, a world where we can
take matters into our own hands.
My opinion on this is that while the trope
doesn’t need to go away and doesn’t cause sexim, and in fact the trope itself has been simplificated focusing only in the woman and ignoring the man and the connection they have. Still I must add that diversification from the traditional Damsel in distress needs to be encouraged, and allow more women rescuing women (like in Bayonetta 2) women rescuing men
(Anita does mention some of these, but of course they’re not good enough), or
men rescuing men (The Evil Within does a good job with having to rescue Joseph
As concluding remarks I just want to point out
that what Anita is doing is not presenting a conclusion that comes from analysing
and making a critique of modern and old videogames, but she is charry piking (and
sometimes not even that because she has to take away the context for the
example to fit) what is best to push a preestablished narrative
that serves an agenda.
To understand why is talking again about sexist moments in videogames as the cause of a “rampant epidemic of sexism and
violences directed at women” (that is not an exact quote, but its
the overall message I’m getting from her videos) we need to go to the end of the video. In the closing
segment of the episode Anita states the everything that she has
covered comes from a place of male entitlement. This behavior exists,
I’m not going to deny that, but the actual prevalence of this
behavior is far exaggerated, specially in blogging websites like this
presents six categories in which a woman can be reduced to a prize,
so here there is what I think of each one:
In this category the only example that could actually work out is
Samus from Metroid, but it’s worth pointing out that came out in a
time when videogames were considered a boys club, therefore it was
geared to this kind of audience (not that this is a justification,
but it explains why is the way it is). The rest of the examples
related to the damsel in distress giving a reward to the hero, and
wile those rewards are highly idealized (which is the actual problem
with this trope), the concept itself is not unreasonable, after all
common sense dictates we should give at least a thank you to those
who help us.
ties this to the male gamer need to feel his masculinity validated,
assuming that every men who plays this games is ONLY to see
the boobs at the end, which is more the exception then the norm
eggs: “Easter eggs are intentionally hidden secrets or JOKES
that the developers conceal inside of their games”, Anita your own
words betray you, because as you said they’re jokes, made for shits
and giggles nothing else, it only becomes a problem with Anita’s
personal world view that these meaningless actions are somehow going
to turn boys into entitled men .
costumes: The issue with this category is that Anita assumes that
an alternate non-canonical skin, that makes a woman show more, well,
skin somehow diminishes how seriously you can take a character, so
she is saying that a sexualized character is some how less (well
ain’t that sexist Anita?), because it wears a costume that caters
to the male straight demography (what are bisexuals and lesbians?).
This is obviously a problem that only women face because sexualized
skins for men are a “power fantasy” and in any case
are pushing any kind off beauty standard (and are, of course, straight
men those who like to look at a big musclebound hunks).
Anita doesn’t tell is that characters wearing these costumes is an
option left to the player, and 90% of the time completely unnecessary
to complete the story, and the majority unlock them for pure personal
enjoyment, not to tell everyone the they have unlocked the skin with
the lowest cleavage.
I’ll agree with Anita in something: Alice Madness returns
has amazing non-sexualized alternate skins.
points: Unlike the three previous categories, were examples are
easy to find. In here I got stuck with the examples provided by
Anita. So when you have only three games, that is barely an example
of the norm.
Much like the skins, these are more often than not completely
optional, and the decision is placed once again in the players hands
(quite literally I must say). Again, you can perfectly ignore them if
you want and again bisexual and lesbian women exist.
This one is probably the weakest. Because here women are not being
reduced to prizes. Actions are. Actions so specific an niche that
could be considered easter eggs, which as I have mentioned do not
mater because they are obviously jokes. Not to say that Anita keeps
treating all the trophies as equal when even the image that
accompanies her in the screen contradicts her, it’s not the same
beating a sex minigame than upgrading all of the weapons and skills.
The funniest part of the segment is how she connects it to the trophy
wife trope: as in the bragging rights are the women themselves and
not the fact that you have completed the game.
it before, videogames don’t cause sexism the same way they don’t
cause violence, even if they have sexist moments, even if they have a
sexist undertone overall.
Anita’s entire premise for making these videos is a lie.
A Sarkeesian contradiction that I havent seen anybody talk about.
I was going to save this for when she came out with her fighting fucktoy video(seriously, I’m really looking forward to that one), but at the rate Anita Sarkeesian puts out videos, itll be another year before that happens, so fuck it I’m doing this now(and may re-iterate the point as necessary).
In her review of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate she makes a point that the existence of a trans-man in Victorian London shouldnt be seen as a problem because(and I’m paraphrasing here) Assassin’s Creed takes place in an explicitly fantastical universe where all sorts of unrealistic things happen throughout the series.
And I have to say…thats not a totally unreasonable position to take. I havent played AC:S so I cant comment on how these characters are handled, but I dont have any particular objection to this chain of reasoning.
But in her Women as Reward video, part of her objection to certain females alternate costumes(particularly Metroid and Resident Evil) is that they are in appropriate and unrealistic for the setting and missions of the characters involved. Never mind that these series are just as fantastical and unrealistic as AC(in fact Metroid is even more so), and that RE in particular already has plot holes you could drive an ocean liner through. And that these arent even the official, canon costumes of these(not to mention the mens alternate costumes are usually just as impractical and unrealistic)
So apparently, according to Sarkeesian realism doesnt matter when it comes to how people were actually treated in history, but is absolutely critical when it comes to women’s costumes. Even if those costumes are non-canon alternate costumes meant for fun*.
But hey maybe ‘consistency’ is just a racist, sexist, capitalist, white-supremacist patriarchal construct?
*On a side note: Isnt it a little ironic that she is literally reducing these women to what they wear? I mean she even straight up says at one point that the change in costume ‘reduces’ these women to sex objects, as if that somehow eliminates their personalities or badassery(actually if anything it makes them MORE badass if you ask me).
is centred around the premise that certain female characters exist as some kind
of tool that helps you advance both the plot and the gameplay.
the video by poisoning the well against Bioshock Infinite by stating that the
games handling of the revolution plot of the game is wrong. Those intentional
lines have the objective of positioning you against the game, so you are more
inclined to believe her theories. Then she introduces us to Elisabeth, which she
promptly reduces to a lock piking tool. Key word being reduces. Look, I haven’t played Bioshock Infinite, but by watching
the cutscenes alone you can already see how Elisabeth is much more than that just
a lock-piker, she has her own story going on, her character is dynamic and evolves
along the course of the game. Similar things can be said about Eli, from The
Last of Us (a game which I have played), where her emotional journey and her
bonding with Joel, as well her playable section, are ignored in favour of complaining
that she doesn’t know how to swim.
has completely reduced a character to a tool, then she complains they’re a
tool. A self fulfilling prophecy, after all we are talking about tropes.
aside Anita’s wilful mischaracterization of videogame characters to serve her
own ends and let’s talk about the ideology behind this video.
premise is that those roles reinforce the notion that men are protectors and
women are victims, this happens because there is a power imbalance: the women
is essentially useless in a situation and needs a man to solve a situation (and
then, the horror, she thanks him). Of course Anita completely ignores that what
maters here is not the gender but the skills required to solve the situation. The
same way that when a male character wants to help a female character is because
they care not because they are a woman. Their gender is not their defining
characteristic, is just another part of who they are.
complains that that sidekicks are only an extension of the main characters, but
that’s only because she has stiped them of everything that makes them more than
that, if you take them as whole characters with their own storylines intertwined
with the main character you see that what there is, is a strong synergy between
them. Or in some cases the main character is only there to further the
sidekicks story, which is the main plot.
I’d like to point out that this is not a trope on its own (it doesn’t even appear
in Tv Tropes, one of the largest webs dedicated to the recompilation of
tropes), and hangs loosely from the Damsel in distress trope (this trope is referred
in the video), which as I have mentioned in my review of that episode mentioned
is not sexist, but needs more diversification. The same could be applied here,
this situation is not sexist, and doesn’t cause sexism either, but the media needs
to diversify we can have more representation of male and female character on
It’s our birthday month and we’re taking a trip back through the archives, and, lucky for you (or not, depending on your sense of humor), we found Tropes bloopers! Here’s some of the less serious footage you didn’t see.
Tropes vs Women in gaming: Not Your Exotic Fantasy
examples are based in what is essentially a stereotyped understanding of
tribalism by western and Japanese audiences and content creators (Japan is refenced
in the video but not when discussing this, I point in out because in her
examples we find Cia from the Legend of Zelda, Elena from Street Fighter, and
Sheva from Resident Evil, all from Japanese companies).
My take on
this is that the designers used the “tribe” factor as an excuse to give the
character a skimpy costume. So the bone to pick here is an aesthetic one rather
than social and cultural stigmatization suffered by black women in The United
States of America; that while a problem on its own, it only marginally and tangentially
touches the trope discussed here.
moves on to complain that those examples are not respectful representations of
real life cultures, and actually cultural appropriation by white people (remember
that there are some examples that were designed by Japanese people, but I guess this doesn’t
fit the narrative). I’m not going to deny that racist depiction of cultures in
videogames do not exist, but what she misses is that many of her examples are
tribes that don’t exist in real life so there is culture to be damaged. Going
on with the cultural appropriation, this term is used to talk about how white
people appropriate things from other cultures, but this ends up being people
bitching about white people wearing a hairstyle, clothing or tattoo that is part
of another culture, to the point that if there was any significance behind the
word it has been lost in the buzz.
To sum it
all up, Anita framed white game designers using “tribalism” as an aesthetic as
the reinforcer of the suffering of black women in the USA and the cultural appropriation
of various unsepecified cultures, while completely ignoring that many of these designs were
made by Japanese and that the most if not all of the examples provided are from
either fictional or purposely vague tribes and therefore are not appropriating
We’ve already revealed the new Red Archer who was added for the Dark World Expansion, but she’s not the only new playable character. In fact, there’s 10 new archers total! We’re filling out the cast by adding an alternate for every single fighter. Some are different versions of the same archers from the past or future, or even an alternate timeline, and a few are entirely new characters.
Our first addition is the alternate Green Archer: Vigilante Mask, the original green archer’s fearless protégé. Even as a master archer, it can be difficult for a child to be taken seriously in battle. She created her masked alter ego to inspire fear in the hearts of her adversaries. Plus she thinks it looks super badass.
Next up is the alternate blue archer. If you keep up on gaming news she may seem familiar - her appearance is loosely based on feminist games critic Anita Sarkeesian. Anita’s work has been an inspiration to the TowerFall team. Her “Tropes vs Women in Games” video series gave us a valuable new lens through which to assess our character designs. TowerFall is about bringing people together, so it’s vitally important that the cast of playable characters makes everyone feel invited to join in. Simply put, this wouldn’t have occurred to me if not for Anita, and feedback from players has reinforced how important it really is. We’re very excited to immortalize Anita in a small way, as the alternate Last of the Order.
Fate has not been kind to our Assassin Prince. Much of his desert kingdom was obliterated by the plummeting Moonstone, and his royal father was soon overthrown in the ensuing uprising. The prince returned home to win back the throne, but suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the usurper. He was robbed of his eyesight and left to crawl away, humiliated. Alternate Pink is the Blind Prince.
When the portals linking TowerFall to its Dark World began appearing, the first thing to emerge was alternate orange, the Loyal Kingsguard. The original Orange Archer became a wanted man after his infamous betrayal of TowerFall’s king, but this shadow doppelgänger reflects the soldier’s darker side, that aspect of him that would remain loyal to the corrupted monarch. His design is inspired by Alucard from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
We still have five alternate archers left to reveal. We’ll post them as they’re ready in the coming weeks :)