So Anita Sarkeesian has released another Tropes vs Women in Video Games video which you can watch here. And of course the comments likes and dislikes have been disabled, so that no one can really offer rebuttal to what she states in the video using her “expertise”. And like every other video in her poorly researched series, she sets out to cherry pick certain video game characters and franchises. So here’s some of the more egregious stuff:
- Anita points out A Perfect Dark advertisement for the Nintendo 64 and that it emphasizes femininity and doesn’t show any other aspect of the character. But wait didn’t game designer Martin Hollis, find inspiration in a number of fictional heroines such as Dana Scully from television series The X-Files, and the original La Femme Nikita when designing Joanna Dark?
- Anita argues that Ivy from Soul Calibur should have armor because the characters use sharp deadly weapons. Oddly she makes no mention of her male counterparts like Heishiro Mitsurugi, Voldo or Maxi just to mention a few. Seems Anita has never heard of Swords and Sandals genre or Peplum (Pepla plural). Argues that the female characters should all be dressed practically not stylistically.
- She then applies the same argument to another fighter franchise Street Fighter and more specifically Cammy, you know the series that also has characters like Zangief, Ken and Ryu in them.
- Anita presents a Martial arts outfit ( Judogi) as more practical fighting wear. A Judogi is in no way a more practical outfit to fight in. They are used for Judo practice and competition, not fighting period.
- Anita then goes off about how sexualisation is evil and suggests that women can’t own being sexy because it’s done for a presumed straight male player. Casually forgets to mention character who use their sexuality as a weapon, including Miranda Lawson (Mass Effect), Bayonetta, Morrigan (Dragon Age) and Citra (Far Cry 3) just to mention a few.
- She also presents characters from Metal Gear Solid as being a problem. You know Metal Gear Solid, the series that regularly has “sexualized” and capable male and female characters, in a way that no hand-waving about ‘male power fantasies’ could explain away. Of course the people complaining about Quiet were completely unaware of this, because they weren’t actually fans of the series to begin with.
- Anita also seemed shocked at how Bayonetta’s attacks are “Almost like something from a BDSM club” LOL WHAT!? I don’t think she knows what BDSM club really is.
- Accuses Bayonetta of being objectifying not empowered. The very same game with a well developed story, a female character with her own motivations and desires. And a personality. She is strong and compelling not because she avoids her sexuality as a character, but because she subverts it while demonstrating a massive amount of personal agency in the games.
- Anita addresses “Maybe that’s what she wants to wear” and her counter is in essence “They’re fictional so they have no will and should only wear what I want them to because reasons”. So fictional characters can’t really make decisions of their own. That also means that a fictional female character can never be seen as empowered or strong or anything positive, because everything was ultimately designed by a creator. If she can’t ever own her sexuality, she can’t ever be smart or resourceful or clever or kind, either. This shit literally makes no sense.
- Goes after Quiet (Metal Gear Solid 5) and claims it’s convoluted and absurd in terms of writing in the reason for Quiet to be semi nude the entire game. But it is not like other characters don’t get equally ridiculous origin stories. I mean…Raiden is a thing in the Metal Gear Solid universe were he has lubricant for blood.”Because Nanobots”
- Goes after Cortana (Halo franchise) and claims she was created to titillate the player. But actually one of the reasons why she is nude is to attract and demand attention from people around her. And she does this to catch them on the back foot so that they are on their guard when they’re talking to her. Frank O’Connor explains it nicely in an article here.
- Anita then goes on about how sex in games isn’t done the right way as it’s presented and not in a consensual way but a reward way. Forget’s to mention Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls, The Witcher and a whole bunch of other games.
Her latest video is her once again just her cherry picking certain franchises and video game characters to fit her arguments and narrative. And you don’t really need to look hard to find good examples to debunk some of her rather shallow arguments. I don’t think anyone wants there to be less women or poorly represented women in games or any other media for that matter. But just because Anita is offended by something, does not automatically make it offensive to others or that it needs changing. Instead of liberating female gamers and creating a level playing field for everyone with her videos, she creates resentment and hostility in the gaming community. She is not part of the solution but part of the problem.