Anita Sarkeesian isn’t liked by many people in the gaming community. Why? Well because they view her as a femenazi bitch – which she isn’t, might I add. This perception is due to her tropes vs women videos, posted a few years back, about the violence women in video games have to deal with. In her second video, she talks about the different types of tropes that are mostly based on the damsel in distress dying in some way for the sake of the male protagonist. I think this is her most “noticeable” video because let’s face it, she is ripping at the most violent games to make a point.
Now I, myself, do understand that the amount of violence towards women IN ANY MEDIA is alarmingly high. I am 120% for changing up the stories more and more until this isn’t a problem anymore. What I am at a lost for is the message she is trying to give out.
See for me, I would think the message would be “Video games like these desensitize us to the deaths of real women”. Because you know, according to a UN report* one of their key findings was that “Rates of women experiencing physical violence at least once in their lifetime vary from several per cent to over 59% depending on where they live.” So this is real, this is huge on a global scale and could be a true statement. But what she goes for is “Male gamers see these games and think females dying for them is OK. Also, male writers and game developers don’t change the script”
And I’m not saying this can’t be a true statement either. Because I’m not a psych major I cannot confirm nor deny this claim, but what I can say is that it is not just male writers and game developers. One of the video games she gave as an example of violence, Gears of War 2, was written by a woman. And that is maybe one of the most mocked games for being so “dude man bro.” Everyone thought for the longest it was written by a man, but no. It was written by a lady.
So the real question I have for Sarkeesian is this: At what point does it stop being an issue of how men view violence against women and become one of how women view violence against women? Because I think that is a stronger, more sincere way of looking at one of the biggest issues we talk about in this day and age. We can’t really move forward until women understand how they view their fellow women because of these video games or any other form of media.
So yes, Anita Sarkeesian is right, even if not many people like the way her message is given. Or the message is lost in translation, I should say. She is right that video games and the industry do play a role in how women are viewed in the real world. But it isn’t just how men view women, its how women view women. The gaming world is 42% women after all**. It’s time to flip the script and dig a little deeper.