There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Anita Sarkeesian, feminist media critic and creator of the series “Tropes vs Women”, within the gaming community. She has been casted as a villain, given death and rape threats, and has even had a video game made of her in which you brutally beat her face through mouse clicks.
Sarkeesian argues that women, in video games, are often represented in the form of tropes (cliché plot devices) that work to objectify and typecast the female gender. Her first three videos work to deconstruct the “damsel in distress” trope and how it has stunted narratives within video games. In her opinion, Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, and many other canonical games have persistently used the “damsel in distress” as a plot device, making women into a trophy to be won for the male protagonist.
These ideas have infuriated gamers, yet there is a large community that has contributed to her Kickstarter campaign and continues to support her work. Sarkeesian has received a lot of positive attention through several interviews with gaming news outlets, like IGN and gamespot, and in the newspapers of New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Globe. She was even invited to talk for TEDxWomen concerning harassment found within the online community.
Anita Sarkeesian is someone who is worth hearing out. It is a hard argument to swallow, especially for those who feel like she is attacking nostalgia itself, but it is an important one. Even as writers, it can help to move us past using tropes, clichés, and stereotypes towards crafting stories that represent both genders in realistic ways.
Check out her website Feminist Frequency and the first three installments of her video series “Tropes vs Women” below.