How do you assess which portrayals of women in games attract or repel male or female gamers? Going through her list, she called for game developers of third-person games to “de-emphasize the rear end of female characters,” which she said after contrasting how Catwoman’s butt sways in the third-person Batman game Arkham City with how male characters like God of War’s Kratos have their butts covered by loincloths or trenchcoats. Near the start of her talk, she apologized for being sick and said it was the first time she’d been ill in two years. If you agree with her worldview, you’re likely with her on many or all of these eight things. I actually had to learn a lot about video games in the process of making this.” (Correction - 8/13/16: The clip was from 2010, not 2011. ), Have female characters of various body types. “Fixing this is of course incredibly easy,” Sarkeesian said. The people who make Dragon Age didn’t get this kind of security. She recounted her efforts to get her parents to buy her a Game Boy. “This is supposed to be a hardened space warrior and yet she is still sitting around like she’s Ariel from The Little Mermaid,” Sarkeesian said. Featured image courtesy of Liks Digital on Unsplash. Welfare In Sport: Campaigning For Mental Health In UoN Sport, Sports Society Spotlight: UoN Thai Boxing, It’s always fight week- MMA Saturday 7th Dec 2019, Interview With The ACS For Black History Month, Nottingham Forest 1-2 Bristol City: Lamouchi On The Brink Of Exit, The Shuffle Generation: How The Rise Of Streaming Platforms Has Influenced The Creation Of Music. For example, she said that impractically-sexualized costumes communicate that a female character’s “value and worth is tied to ability to arouse straight young men.” But she added that some of her critics say that male characters are sexualized, too. After playing what she said was an audio clip of a female League of Legends champion in combat (above) she called for less sexualized female-character voice-acting/grunting—”start with trying to make pain actually sound painful instead of orgasmic”. Wonder-Pink wears pink. The Science Show Episode 4 – World Toilet Day, The Science Show Episode 3 – Black History Month. Her work as a media critic, public speaker, and producer who thrives at the intersection of digital culture, accessibility, and social justice helped create a new lexicon … So I’ll take a cue from my younger self and say I don’t care about being a “gamer,” but I sure do love video games. She fought back a bad cough throughout an hour-long presentation but frequently elicited applause or laughter as she spoke. When the female character sits, she lays on the side of her legs. I noted her words, about what “should be” and what “would be great” and it got me thinking again about the enthusiasm and anxiety people have about her influence. How do we truly determine the impact of the characters we see or control on how we relate to those characters or view the world? Nine playable classes, none of them women. Sarkeesian didn’t lay out those questions, but those are the ones implicit in her critique. Anita Sarkeesian was one of these voices who spoke out, and thus became a very high profile target because of her previous feminist work. Anita Sarkeesian saved me from abandoning the medium I now want to base my career on, Google Anita and the first video results are people trying desperately to disparage her. How To Travel The World In A Night Like Santa! Jim Wilson/NYTimes/Redux S he started with a … “It should not be too much to ask for for representations of people of color whose cultural backgrounds are acknowledged and woven into their character in ways that are honest and validating.”. Anita Sarkeesian is a Canadian-American feminist media critic and public speaker. It can be argued the event primarily targets a hardcore audience, but there's no escaping the way it represents video games on a global scale. That used to be the question a video game. The added protection, I was told, was “the result of NYU Public Safety’s extensive security audit of the situation,” though NYU did not specify, despite my asking, if they were there in response to any specific threats. It’s a tricky argument, right? Even more surprising? Image: feminist frequency She fielded one audience question from a guy who said a female Gamergate supporter had been at the talk, had shaken her head at much of what Sarkeesian had said, had left early and, this questioner wanted to know, what Sarkeesian would say to this woman. She’s done this through a series of online videos for her non-profit, Feminist Frequency, and in lectures at conferences and even at some game studios. She also kept talking, surprisingly, about how easy change in gaming could be. When Anita Sarkeesian launched a YouTube series on misogyny in video games, she received death threats and was forced into hiding. Talk of gameplay brought Sarkeesian to her final point. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The Shuffle Generation: How The Rise Of Streaming Platforms Has…. “When I say that media matters and has an influence on our lives, I’m not saying it’s a 1:1 correlation or a monkey-see, monkey-do situation,” she said, “but rather that media’s influence is subtle and helps to shape our attitudes, beliefs and values for better and for worse. “Happily, this is another easy one to solve,” she said, when lamenting the sexualized grunting that she often hears from female game characters who are supposedly engaged in combat. Coronavirus: How Is The Tourism Industry Suffering? Playing: Watch Dogs Legion (need to get back to RDR2, Iconoclasts, Arkham Origins, Sushi Striker, Samus Returns, and Ghost Recon Breakpoint). “The other four are similar, long legged, slender, mostly sexualized armor, high heels, lack of pants.” She contrasted that to the men. “There are small things that come up that, you’re like, ‘That’s awesome.’ And then five other things that come up that’s like, ‘Are we still doing this?’” Throughout her description of the eight changes she’d like to see, she repeatedly mentioned games that she thought were handling things badly, but she also routinely highlighted games that she thought were doing things well. At her talk, she showed a photo of herself as a kid, playing the Super Nintendo with a childhood friend. Anita Sarkeesian is the creator of the award-winning Tropes vs Women in Video Games, a critically acclaimed video series exploring the history of women’s representation in gaming that has garnered nearly 14 million views on YouTube alone. Image use licence here. I had attended Sarkeesian’s NYU talk because I wanted to hear her outside of the pre-recorded Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games that she’s been making for the last couple of years. Of course, I didn’t realise that the community had rejected her. In her intro video she’s worried about her makeup. Those latter arguments clearly and directly pertain to whether a game would be more or less fun or engaging for any player, which for many gamers is the paramount gaming concern. For the last three years, Anita Sarkeesian has been talking about how women are treated in games and has slammed the widespread sexism she sees in the portrayal of female game characters. First, she seemed to be challenging claims that she thinks games make people do things. “It’s as if the person directing the mo-cap session told the model to walk in the most seductive or sexy way possible rather than just asking her to walk the way a soldier or intergalactic bounty hunter or any ordinary woman going about her business might walk.”, Even sitting could be a gender issue, she showed. Her material had rung true to me even as I’d recognized the complications of calling for diversity in creative work and even as I’d noticed that, sure, if you look closely enough, you can find an admirable female character even in a game that is frequently described as being insulting to women. "How long is your game?" In the middle of this tension, Anita Sarkeesian introduced a Kickstarter campaign for her Youtube series, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, that points out … The list was a surprise—not really for its content but for its explicit charge for change. “You get to be my guinea pigs,” she said as she took to the podium in front of a couple hundred developers, game design students and gamers, “to see how this all works.”. “At least half of the options should be women and, really, it would be great if it was more than half the options were women, and I know some people think I’m completely loony when I say that.”. They both infer a lot from her analysis of games, but at her NYU talk she left no ambiguity. If you’ve got a project or speaking event you think I’d be a good fit for please reach out! She wanted to reach “fence-sitters,” people “who are like, ‘I’m interested, and I don’t know if I agree with you, and I’m curious.’”, As little as Sarkeesian mentioned her critics, I sensed that a lot of the start of her talk was designed to address their criticisms. Is ‘I’m A Celeb’ Bad For The Environment? Sarkeesian is an advocate. We’re so excited to announce that the Games and Online Harassment Hotline is officially launching on August 3, 2020. I saw her trying to draw clear lines all throughout her NYU talk, and I could sense what a fraught endeavor that was. Get Crafty With Your Old Editions Of Impact! “The ideal here,” she said, “is to design combatants who just happen to be women.”. Developers, publishers and gamers could hear and decide for themselves what’s best to do. “Because she’s the Smurfette, her personality is: girl,” Sarkeesian said. She said that she knew that some people didn’t consider those “real” games but that she counted them as some of her favorites. As Sarkeesian discusses how sticking mascara and earrings on a blob doesn’t make it a nuanced female character, remember that this content made some people so mad she was forced to cancel a talk at Utah State University in 2014 due to terrorist threats. of episodes14 Production ProducerJonathan McIntosh Release Original networkFeministFrequency YouTube Original releaseTropes vs Women in Video Games March 7, 2013 – April 27, 2017 External links Official website Production website Tropes v… ‘Horrified with Horror’: The Academy Awards’ Relationship With Horror Films. When you’re constantly told that you aren’t allowed to enjoy something that you love, the only logical solution your brain reaches is that you are the anomaly. How do you balance creators’ freedom with the need or desire to open a game up to a broader audience? And she rejected clothing female characters in cleavage-emphasizing armor whose “only functionality is to titillate young straight male player base.” For the latter, she said the amount of skin shown wasn’t the issue and recommended that game designers look to the outfits of real female soldiers and athletes for inspiration. When we critique violence against women, we’re often talking about violence in which women are being attacked or victimized specifically because they are women, which then reinforces or perpetuates a perception that women as victims and men as noble, brooding heroes... “Two, avoid violence against female characters in which there is a sexualized element.”, She praised BioShock Infinite’s presentation of a Columbia police force whose male and female cops wear similar uniforms. How Does The Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine Work? Occasionally, as she went through these suggestions, Sarkeesian would mention counter-arguments. Her videos openly criticised the medium’s blatantly misogynistic tropes: The damsel in distress, female characters presented as rewards to the player, the sexualisation and objectification of women throughout most mature games… Honestly, these were problems I found in most of my media, so I wasn’t shocked by the series’ content. I learnt hope and determination from Tropes vs Video Games, for sure, but I also learnt that the problem with games wasn’t me. You just don’t see anything approaching this variety of body types in weights and sizes with female characters.”, She pushed for more representation of women of color in games, and more that are neither reducing such women to ethnic stereotypes nor so divorced from their cultural history that it “is eased or invisible.” She praised Never Alone, a game featuring a female character from an Alaskan tribe. The abuse directed at Quinn exploded, and any female voice that spoke up against it became targets of an organised harassment campaign that had less to do with ethics in journalism than misogyny and hatred. Four main playable protagonists, one of them female. She is the founder of Feminist Frequency, a website that hosts videos and commentary analyzing portrayals of women in popular culture. Sarkeesian never acknowledged the security, and she only briefly mentioned the online harassment she’s received for her work. By contrast, she praised the presentation of the female character in the new third-person game Life Is Strange. In response to Sarkeesian’s thoughtful critique of games she clearly loved, the community sent her death threats, doxed her, and even sent her images of her being raped by video game characters. Book to Film Adaptations – Is This The Same Character? As Sarkeesian pointed to fan-art that imagined Team Fortress 2's cast as being all women I thought about her position as an advocate. A year on … Anita Sarkeesian’s age is 37. Anita Sarkeesian ends web series that rocked the world of gaming Anita Sarkeesian breaks down the way video games portray women as "exotic" fantasies. Her work has also had an impact on video games, where more creators are … Can you guess what color the woman is?”, Several people in the audience shouted the predictable answer: “Pink!”. Blogger, YouTuber, and media critic best known as the mind behind the Feminist Frequency blog and YouTube channel. That’s not really her point. Much of what she showed in them—the propensity for games to depict a disappointingly narrow range of female characters, of often using women in games as props to motivate players, of regularly sexualizing female characters to a comical degree—had rung true to me. The animation arguments were interesting but also demonstrated Sarkeesian’s emphasis on the critique of what players see, more than what they do. Anita Sarkeesian, 30, was raised on computers. Did Nottingham Forest Make A Mistake Firing Sabri Lamouchi? “If you asked me at the time, I would probably have said I wasn’t a gamer,” she said. To contact the author of this post, write to stephentotilo@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @stephentotilo. Her list was brand new. Would it be bad to have more playable female characters? I’d previously reported about a bomb threat against Sarkeesian’s GDC acceptance speech nearly a year prior. It wasn’t that I was wrong to like this stuff, it was that people weren’t comfortable with me liking it for some dumb reason. Anita Sarkeesian is braver than any man that will ever put up content that attempts to destroy her, and I will defend her until my dying breath. She made me re-evaluate things I’d just accepted as part of being a gamer; she challenged me to not just accept the status quo in this medium I so adore. For the last three years, Anita Sarkeesian has been talking about how women are treated in games and has slammed the widespread sexism she sees in the portrayal of female game characters. Arguments about the depiction of women, however, will find a sympathetic ear among those who, like Sarkeesian, believe that less sexualized and more diverse presentations of women will make games more approachable—more fun—for more people. Remember, at this point I thought women simply couldn’t exist in video game communities, but here she was to prove me wrong. Anita Sarkeesian brings Tropes vs. Women in Video Games to a close "This is one of the most emotionally complicated projects I've ever created." So, with that in mind here are two things to keep in mind when designing female characters. Anita Sarkeesian, a respected pop-cultural critic whose series of videos under the Feminist Frequency banner critique the perceived sexism still prevalent in mainstream video games. Should Netflix Add A Disclaimer To ‘The Crown’? Violence against female characters should never be sexy.”. Sarkeesian recommended that designers of fantasy and sci-fi games put female characters in similar armor and uniforms as their male counterparts and praised Dark Souls, Natural Selection 2 and XCOM for having more practical outfits. “Yeah,” she replied, and rolled the character intro for Wonder-Pink. And in my experience, confident creators could deal with this kind of critique, could take from it what they found productive and stand up for their authorial independence about what didn’t mesh. For more content including uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more,  follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved! She described her relationship with gaming as “complicated,” credited the Wii for getting her back into gaming and showed a slide of Mario Kart Wii, World of Goo, Guitar Hero and Angry Birds. Also, like the Impact Entertainment Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved. At the same time I was trying to find my place within the video game community, a woman speaking up about games’ misogynistic tendencies was being threatened with violence near-constantly. Shorter version, if you just want the list of the list of what she says are "Eight things developers can do to make games less shitty for women", paraphrased from my notes... not that a lot of this pertain to action games and probably make more sense if you're thinking about first and third-person shooters, the Arkham games, and stuff like that: “Fixing this is, of course, incredibly easy,” she said when talking about games that may have several playable protagonists but offer few, if any, who are women. That might explain why her criticisms of gaming occupy a different spot than other people’s criticisms about, say, free-to-play game design, game length, or downloadable content. “It was released in 2013 for the Wii U. Gamers are obviously debating this. “I’m happy if she cared at all and wanted to come,” Sarkeesian said, “but I seriously doubt people from Gamergate’s intentions of coming to an event where I am speaking...I think if anyone in this audience is here for Gamergate they are not here because they genuinely care and want to learn. Among Us With AOC: Politics and Games Done Right. Anita Sarkeesian to create new series looking at masculinity in video games New, 361 comments By Ross Miller @ohnorosco Jan 26, 2015, 2:12pm EST She has received particular attention for her video series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, which examines tropes in the depiction of female video game characters. So is cultural criticism of them TvW video online Harassment she ’ d spoken with well-meaning... Been entrenched in games attract or repel male or female gamers orgasmic, Include female enemies, but at bravery. Mind here are two things to keep in mind when designing female characters should never sexy.. 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