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Submitted on
August 1, 2013


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Today marks the 3rd installment of Anita Sarkeesian's "Tropes vs Women in Gaming" series about the Damsel in Distress trope. This time the topic is about approaching the flip side of the coin, games where there is a female protagonist in charge, and why they either fail or aren't enough to combat the reoccurrence of the "kidnap princess" gameplay mechanic.

Once again... what the hell is everyone getting so angry about? She has a very valid point, AND she goes into detail about both why ironic subversions aren't beneficial to an overall goal of equality, AND offers suggestions on how to make a damsel in distress game work where the damsel is the protagonist you play as and isn't a hyper sexualized  character.

All of this is basic gameplay creation 101 stuff, things anyone just starting to make games in the industry should be learning or trying to achieve, and the fact that more people AREN'T trying to fix things is part of the reason why Anita even needs to make videos like this in the first place.

Bottom line, I agree with a lot of what she suggest. And, let me remind you, that being critical about the gaming industry and understanding that there is lingering sexist things about certain games DOESN'T mean you CAN'T enjoy those games. It's a little depressing that she has to keep re-stressing this same point, but apparently it's something people can't grasp very well. It's OK to acknowledge that things like "Fat Princess," while meant to be funny, are also kinda sexist and mean spirited. And it's OK to acknowledge that while Princess Peach did get a game of her own, it was a cheaply made stereotypical "women have emotions so let's use that as the main gameplay mechanic" piece of crap that it was. I can acknowledge that Super Princess Peach had faults and was kinda shitty...AND I LIKED THE GAME.

Guys... this series is nothing to be scared of. You don't need to make "response" videos trying to deconstruct what she's saying and "prove" her wrong. Because when you do that, you're just making the rest of the gaming community look like sexist assholes by confirming what she's talking about. CLARIFICATION: YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY MAKE RESPONSE VIDEOS BECAUSE SHE IS NOT 100% CORRECT, I JUST DO NOT THINK IT'S A GOOD USE OF YOUR TIME You want to fight the "evil feminist" that she is? Acknowledge that she has a point and then DO something to FIX it. Either by pointing out to game developers that you don't like this trope, or heck, even make your own independent game where the female character is strong and can support herself without looking like a glorified T&A realdoll.
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chichichichipndale Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Trolls trolling the trolls.
KLBowserGannondorf Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013
Why does she disable comments on this video?
CarmenFoolHeart Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Because she has gotten some very impolite commentary and even death/rape treaths.
KLBowserGannondorf Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013
Oh okay....
Mifune013 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm not sure if you've seen this yet, but I found a reasonable counter argument to Anita's project.
Unlike other responses, this one focuses more on how the argument is presented.
Permafry42 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2013  Student General Artist
My problem with some of her other videos is that she makes a lot of equally sexist remarks and arguments towards men, and then claims that it's not equality sexist. She has in some videos acted like her own definition of the straw hat feminist, not realizing that she is indirectly supporting that false stereotype. She does more harm to dealing with the issue of sexism than good because she perceives gender injustice from a clearly biased, emotion-driven one sided perspective. That said, her tropes vs women videos are not nearly as bad as some of her older videos. However, she has already been shown by many other youtubers to be factually wrong about certain examples of sexism she displays. I will have much more respect for her work when she is willing to mature enough to spend an equal amount of time showing how male characters are falling prey to false male power stereotypes, and how that discriminates against men. If she is going to complain about how art such as video games represents (or misrepresents) women as a gender, then she must also show how art such as video games represents (or misrepresents) men. Otherwise, rather than fighting for gender equality, she is only further creating a gap between genders by creating a false narrative that women are always on the recieving end of sexism. Sexism is wrong, but showing only half of the story is a form of sexism too because it mislabels men as sexist bigots, while labeling women as the victims of male sexism (in Anita's world the only type of sexism worth fighting against).
Porkkish Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2013   Digital Artist
I don't really have anything against the topics she is addressing, since I pretty much agree with them personally. BUT my main issue with her is the way she addresses some of these issues. For example, on her second video in about 22:37 she says the following:

"On the surface, victimized women are framed as the reason for the hero's torment, but if we dig a little deeper into the subtext, I'd argue that the true source of pain stems from fellings of weakness and/or guilt over his failure to perform his socially proscribed patriarchal duty to protect his women and children."

Not because the main character might have actually loved and cared about his family...?

Also, I can't help, but to get this feeling, when watching her videos, that she thinks that men in general only see women as property.
kimyona123 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Though you might not read this due to this very great amount of responses:


Thank you for always providing interesting information in your journals. I'm not really a gamer (well I play games, but no web-connected ones, since I do not like this dependency and I want to be 'alone with the game'), but I really appreciate all the stuff you talk about in your journals.

Especially the Damsel in Distress-journals helped me find some ideas for university classes (Critical media analysis).

So, thank you :)

gothic-chocobo Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013
I'm a gamer and I don't play multiplayer games. I spend my whole day with people and the rest of the world, so Video games are my alone time. It doesn't make you "not a gamer" just because you want to enjoy it alone.
ChazFullmetal Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Student General Artist

Beyond Good and Evil is still one of my all-time favourite games, and I still love to play it. Hell, I even adore seeing it mentioned in just about anything, seeing how it was unjustifiably under the radar for a long time despite the fact that it was loved by critics and gamers alike (The ones who played it at least).


The quality of the game is not dependent on the gender of the characters involved so long as they are handled correctly. Jade makes for an awesome protagonist and she doesn't get sexualised at all, and both the male supporting characters - Pey'j and Double-H - are not as useless as a lot of video game sidekicks are.


That's what I mean by being handled correctly - where, regardless of gender, the characters are important and functional to the story. Both Pey'j and Double-H were useful in the game's combat and were able to do things that Jade couldn't, but Jade still did most of the legwork, being the player's character and therefore the hero of the story. (I'm not going to say heroine because I believe it's unhelpful to refer the men and women heroes with separate words for the same role. A hero is a hero)


My reaction to the video was probably the sort of thing that Anita was hoping for (I think) - whilst sceptical going into it, and indeed attempting to find faults with her argument, I had to concede that she was right. About a lot of things. No other way around it, not that there should be. Honestly, now that I've seen this I want to go over some of my stories and overhaul them to avoid blatant damsels :I

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