A lifelong gamer, documentary filmmaker Anita Sarkeesian became increasingly interested in discussing the way women are represented in gaming. Sarkeesian started a Kickstarter in 2012 to fund her planned documentary, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. The video project will explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games. Sarkeesian hopes to highlight the larger recurring patterns and conventions used within the gaming industry rather than just focusing on the worst offenders.
Now, whether you think it’s good or bad, it is simply impossible to deny that women are almost exclusively portrayed in video games as bustily and as scantily clad as possible, except when they’re portrayed as pretty princesses in need of a rescue. It’s such a common trope that it’s only notable when a game deliberately evades it (like the Mass Effect series). Exploring that seems like an excellent way of helping the gaming community come to grips with the way nearly 50% of us have to accept there will be few, if any, playable avatars that aren’t reduced to their sex appeal.
Naturally, Sarkeesian’s pitch attracted an incredible outpouring of hostility, ranging from insults, to outright threats of rape. Her wikipedia page was defaced. A DDOS attack brought down her site. One enterprising group of sexist pricks even created a game in which you could beat Sarkeesian up. A multitude of angry male gamers screamed their outrage at the very notion that sexism might be real, by proceeding to demonstrate just how sexist the community can be. (Some of them even insistedmisandry is a far worse problem.) And all because she had the gall to ask people to fund a (GASP) documentary exploring the way game developers treat women in their games.
Emily Matthew’s report on sexism in gaming was extremely interesting and highlights just how prevalent sexism is in the gaming world.
It’s frustrating that with women constituting 47% of gamers, theres still an outrageous number of ‘oops-sexism’ outbursts from people who surely must know better, and worse, that the rush to defend these outbursts is as full of bile as ever.