I note in passing that two series of games specifically were not mentioned in the Tropes vs Women video I discussed yesterday.
- Call of Duty
- FIFA (also Madden, et al)
While she wasn’t aiming for an exhaustive summary I think it’s worth noting that the two most popular, best selling franchises of recent times don’t actually ping the anti woman radar. I’m sure they are also aimed at the same audience and tend not to attract female players (although sports games might surprise us if we had the actual figures, I was always a sucker for Football Manager frex), but they’re not seen as problematic in the same way.
This isn’t to say that all is fine and well in the world of gaming, but it simply isn’t true that games need to include semi naked chicks or horrible things happening to female love interests to sell well.
"Women, listening to anti-suffrage speeches, for the first time knew what many men really thought of them."
– Rebecca West
Check out the second video in Anita Sarkeesian’s series on Tropes vs Women in Video Games, it’s really very good.
She shows multiple examples of the tropes she discusses to hammer home how common they really are. There is no doubt that there is a pattern here. There’s also much food for thought, particularly around how common the plot twist is where a male protagonist has to use violence against a woman in order to save them. And yes, she does note that you can find a rationale for any example in isolation but when you look at them all together, there is a larger context.
Doone notes that these tropes are harmful to men also, and I agree. Also, why shouldn’t the death of a man provoke as much emotion as the death of a woman in games?
It will surprise no one to learn that the Youtube page was targeted by attacks (it got flagged up so much they took the video down and she had to appeal). That the Kotaku comments went about as well as you could expect. I find that my reaction to the vile torrents of abuse that feminist writers attract is pretty close to West’s observation from the quote at the top of the page – I never knew so many men hated us so much. Or so passionately. That’s why it is so important to keep talking about these things.
Speaking of suffragettes, ironically next week is the 100th anniversary of the day Emily Wilding Davidson threw herself under the King’s horse at Epsom, a martyr for the suffragette cause. The Guardian has a really strong piece discussing what activists today can learn from the suffragette movement (and damn those women were hardcore.)
We need those who refuse to see any conceivable option but victory. Women like the one who wrote to the Daily Telegraph in 1913. "Sir, Everyone seems to agree upon the necessity of putting a stop to Suffragist outrages; but no one seems certain how to do so. There are two, and only two, ways in which this can be done. Both will be effectual. 1. Kill every woman in the United Kingdom. 2. Give women the vote. Yours truly, Bertha Brewster."