Tag Archives: anita sarkeesian

Feminists in Games Workshop 2013

From left to right: Rachelle Abelar (of Geek Girl Con), Samantha, Quinnae, Anita Sarkeesian (Feminist Frequency) and Mitu Khandaker (DearAda and TheTiniestShark).

From left to right: Rachelle Abellar (of Geek Girl Con), Samantha, Quinnae, Anita Sarkeesian (Feminist Frequency) and Mitu Khandaker (DearAda.com and The Tiniest Shark).

This past weekend (May 31st to June 1st, 2013), Quinnae and I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the 2nd Annual Feminists in Games Workshop in Vancouver, British Columbia at The Centre for Digital Media. This interdisciplinary workshop brings together a wide array of academics, developers, industry professionals and activists who work on feminist issues in games and technology.

This year, we tripled the attendance of the 1st Annual FiG Workshop. The weekend was also a historic occasion in The Border House history as well because it marked the first time Quinnae and I could meet in person. I could dedicate this entire post to describing how much fun it was to hang out with Quinnae in Vancouver but instead I’ll share a brief run-down of the workshop proceedings!

If I had to select one theme of FiG 2013, it would be this: as feminists in games, we are excited about the exponential growth of our movement over the last year but we are also realizing the need to develop new strategies to deal with increasing amounts of resistance and harassment. As feminist scholars, activists, developers and professionals continue to challenge the medium and the culture surrounding it, others seem to be clinging more firmly than ever to conservative traditions of exclusivity. Continue reading

Damsel In Distress: Part 2 is Online

The second installment of Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs Women in Video Games series is now online–again, after being briefly removed from YouTube thanks to some jerks flagging it. It’s the second video about the Damsel in Distress trope. Please be warned that the video contains some graphic depictions of violence against women, used as examples. Watch the video above or read the full transcript at the Feminist Frequency site.

Watch the First Tropes vs Women in Video Games Video

The first Tropes vs Women in Video Games video is here! It covers the history of the Damsel in Distress trope and the classic games that make use of the trope (over and over and over…). There is a transcript available at the Feminist Frequency blog. You can also see a staggering collection of examples of video game damsels at the Tropes vs Women tumblr.

Border House DLC: This Week in Videogames


  • Big releases: Far Cry 3, and “Dragonborn” DLC for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
  • Also, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has been born again as an iOS app. Eh, there are plenty of  console-to-iOS reboots of much better games. Like Baldur’s Gate, which also hit iOS this week.
  • We also got the box art for BioShock: Infinite last weekend, which appears to feature every FPS protagonist ever. Infinite is slated for a March 2013 release.
  • A new trailer for The Cave, from Double Fine studios, showcases the cast of playable characters. (Joystiq) The game comes out in January 2013.
  • And finally in free advertising courtesy Border House, here’s some footage about Peter Molyneux‘s newest game GODUS. (Kotaku)
  • In case you missed it, Anita Sarkeesian hosted a TED Talk this week! The Feminist Frequency creator talked about her Tropes vs Women in Videogames project, and the unbelievable amount of hateful, mysogynistic backlash she’s received.
  • This week in Bad Ideas: to promote Hitman: Absolution, the developers created Hire Hitman, a Facebook app that lets you take “hits” on your friends for reasons such as “her small tits” or “his big gut.” I would say that you just can’t make this up, but apparently, some people can. Square Enix, the game’s publisher, has apologized, and taken the site down. (RockPaperShotgun)
  • What’s the next big thing on Xbox? We don’t know, but apparently Black Tusk Studio—formerly Microsoft Vancouver—does, and they’re not telling. (Joystiq)
  • In other future news, there’s going to be a thing called “All the Bravest.” Square Enix just filed for trademark and domain registrations on it. (GameInformer)
  • Remember Ouya? Developers’ consoles for those wishing to design for this Kickstarter darling will ship Dec. 28. (Joystiq)
  • The Humble THQ Bundle is doing good by THQ. With nine days left to go in the pay-what-you-want sale, the company’s stock as jumped by 40%. The success of Humble Bundle’s monetization system with games from big studios could have wider implications for the videogame market. (Joystiq) EDIT: The games in the THQ Bundle are NOT DRM-free, which was previously a key point of Humble Bundle’s mission. (Ars Technica)
  • Guys! Boyfriend Maker is still a thing! The controversial app was pulled from the iOS store but is still available via Android, though now with a filter of moderate functionality.  (DigitalTrends)
  • BioWare is throwing all the writers at the next DLC for Mass Effect 3, responding to criticism of their last DLC, Omega, and, of course, the game’s controversial ending. (DigitalTrends)
  • BioWare also wants you to know that they’re still working on Star Wars: The Old Republic, so don’t go! (Eurogamer)
  • A sequel to beloved 1999 RPG Planetscape: Torment is officially in the works! (Ars Technica) Plus, it looks like the original is getting a Steam release. (Gameranx)


  • Our own Quinnae had an article in Bitch Magazine entitled “Game Changer: Why Gaming Culture Allows Abuse… and How We Can Stop It.”
  • Kotaku has a feature on Thomas Deer, a cultural liaison officer at the Kahnawake Language and Cultural Centre who worked with the Assassin’s Creed III developers. Among his input was the recommendation to take out the ‘scalping’ feature that the developers had planned for the game.
  • At Gameranx, Daniel Starkey talks about how he based Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard after his mother, the person who first got him into science fiction.
  • For more BioShock Infinite goodness, here’s Ken Levine’s interview with Wired Magazine, where he discusses the game’s influences.
  • This article from Gameological Society about affectionate gestures in videogames is very touching. Sorry, bad joke. I’m just bitter because they didn’t include the hand-holding in Ico.
  • On The Mary Sue, Becky Chambers talks about how Mass Effect 3: Omega lead her to muse about the continued relevance of gender debate.
  • Here’s a parody of the Dumb Ways to Die video featuring videogame characters. (And here’s the original, for reference)

 Bonus Levels

  • Below, one valiant geeklady rips into the “fake geek girl” myth.

[Watch This] Anita Sarkeesian’s TED Talk

Anita Sarkeesian wearing a gray blazer over a black shirt, standing in front of a black background with indiscernible white text over it.

Because gaming culture can not have enough fierce feminists, and we’re huge fans of Feminist Frequency and supporters of Anita Sarkeesian, I command you all to watch her TED talk.

Sadly, the trolls of Reddit have already started to outrage over this video and are currently dominating the comments at that link (that’s a warning — don’t read them unless you want to be angry) so I’m sure Sarkeesian could use some support over there.

Anita Sarkeesian at TEDxWomen

Friday Awesome: Jay Smooth on Internet Harassment

This afternoon, the fantastic Jay Smooth released a video about gamer internet harassment, prompted by the harassment of Anita Sarkeesian for her Tropes vs Women in Video Games Kickstarter. The video is embedded below, along with a transcript.

So a couple of weeks ago I made a video about how sometimes internet trolls are sad and annoying, and other times internet trolls are still sad, but also genuinely destructive and dangerous. And this week we’ve had a great example of that second type of trolling with the sexist gamer dude attack on Anita Sarkeesian.

Anita does the web video series named Feminist Frequency–which, if you watch my stuff, you should already be watching hers–and recently she set up a Kickstarter page for a new project looking at the representation of women in video games. And after the Kickstarter page went up, a whole bunch of gamer dudes decided, even though they haven’t heard what her opinion is yet, that the mere idea of this woman presuming to form an opinion about them at some point in the future was so frightening that they had to organize a scorched-earth campaign of harassment and bullying against her. And Anita has handled the whole situation incredibly well, and her project has wound up getting more support and funding than ever, so in this instance, the private army of sexist dudes has only succeeded in proving her right and making her stronger.

But it’s still been an intensely ugly spectacle that raises a whole lot of questions about why this happens so often and why so many dudes think it’s okay to persecute and harass and abuse women online. A lot of these dudes, if you challenge them, will tell you that they don’t have any real feelings about this, and they’re just trolling for the fun of it. That they don’t really hate women, they just think that it’s funny to treat women as if they hate them. And that–I mean, first of all, you’re lying to yourself, there’s clearly more to it than that, and second of all, that doesn’t make it any better! Only someone who hates women and sees them as less than human would even think that’s a meaningful distinction. And I don’t know what I could say that would get through to someone who is so invested in detaching from their own humanity, so I–I’m just going to think about that and come back to it.

And for now, I’m just going to say to everyone else, and especially my fellow dudes, that when you see something like that going on, you–and by you, I mean we–have an obligation to speak out against it more often. It’s really not cool for us to just shrug our shoulders and say, “That’s just 4chan being 4chan.” And it’s REALLY not okay for you to jump in to somebody’s discussion of this harassment and derail it with a bunch of comments about, “But sure, harassment is bad, but men are discriminated against, too! Feminists are always making something out of nothing buh buh buh buh buh!” No, man! Now is not the time for that! If you need to have that debate, there are plenty of other times for that. If you need to show off your debating skills and try to make fetch happen with the misandry thing, there’s plenty of other times for that. If you want to debate Anita Sarkeesian’s critiques of video game culture, there’s plenty of times for that, like for example, after she makes the critiques.

But none of that stuff is the issue right now. The issue right now is the bullying and abuse and harassment that she’s facing. And you should recognize that harassment is wrong and that’s what matters right now, regardless of your political position on “misandry” and men’s rights and bluh bluh bluh bluh bluh. This kind of abuse and harassment matters, and when it happens in our corner of the internet, we need to treat it like it matters. We need to speak up and let them know that we’re not impressed by how edgy and fearless they are. That we think it’s pathetic that they really think that sandwich joke is funny. That when you bully and harass a woman for speaking her mind, all you do is show us that you’re afraid of that woman’s voice, and you don’t think you can beat her intellectually without using a cheat code. No matter what scene on the internet is your scene, if you are a dude on the internet, and you see other dudes in your scene harassing women or transgender people or anyone who is outside of our little privileged corner of the gender spectrum, we need to speak up. We need to treat this like it matters. We need to add some extra humanity into our scene to counteract their detachment from their humanity.