If, by now, you haven’t heard of Anita Sarkeesian’s video series entitled Tropes vs Women in Games, then you should consider expanding what it is you pay attention to. The most recent two-part topic (Women as Background Decoration) has just released its second instalment, and the video has been met with widespread critical praise and endorsements by many. Some of those endorsements have come from people like Joss Whedon and Tim Schafer. If you haven’t yet watched this episode (you don’t really need to have watched the first part) then you can find it embedded after the jump. It’s thought provoking and well worth your time.
Because the gaming world has a sizable portion of trolls and man-children in it, Sarkeesian’s work is often vehemently opposed and criticised. While some of her work is debated in an academic sense, all too often there are vocal individuals dismissing her efforts on emotional grounds. This latest episode, however, has seen a violent increase in vocal opposition from degenerates on Twitter. One particular individual was so incensed by Sarkeeisan’s latest video that he found out her home address and threatened to break in and rape her. Sarkeesian alerted the authorities but had to leave her house to stay with friends.
This latest episode of Tropes vs Women in Games focuses on how casual violence against women (particularly sex worker NPC characters) is often used to convey a gritty tone. It also highlights the fact that very often these NPCs’ bodies are arranged and presented to make them still arousing for heterosexual male gamers. During the episode, Sarkeesian pulls multiple examples of this from AAA games that have received lauded receptions from gamers and press. It’s a little awkward to watch scenes from Assassin’s Creed II, Red Dead Redemption, The Witcher, BioShock 2, and Far Cry 3 within the context that Sarkeesian presents them. As awkward as you might feel while watching this (I certainly did, because while I may have scoffed at the blatant portrayals while playing those games, I certainly did not understand the extent of how negative that portrayal was) you should still watch it.
It’s also important to realise, as Sarkeesian herself reiterates, it’s entirely possible to enjoy media while also being critical of it. Clearly, however, the person who made these threats of rape and murder was incapable of seeing his AAA gaming favourites in this light. Or he was just a sociopath to begin with. Or he’s yet another asshole hiding behind Internet anonymity. This type of behaviour is not OK. It’s never OK. We shouldn’t allow it. And now that I’ve expressed my personal feelings on the matter, I should probably tag this article as “Opinion”.
Don’t be assholes. Just be nice instead. People will remember you for it.