Her list was brand new. Sarkeesian talked about how a more expansive range of female characters can open games up to new stories and experiences, but she doesn’t flat-out say that it’d make an okay game more fun. Anita Sarkeesian zodiac sign is a Leo. , Speaking at the XOXO Festival in September 2014, Sarkeesian described the allegation that she and other women fabricated harassment as itself being a form of harassment. She said she’d spoken with “well-meaning” game developers about how to handle female enemies. In conclusion, Anita Sarkeesian isn't the epitome of feminism or a representative for all ladies (and guys) who are upset with how women are portrayed in games. Gaming industry veteran Anita Sarkeesian launched a harassment hotline for the entire gaming industry amid a turning point in the industry.. Would it be bad to have more playable female characters? Anita Sarkeesian is an expert at feminism and video games and is not a con artist. That used to be the question a video game. Why not sometimes let a character of any type be helpless or play up their gender?—and yet it also seemed to be the one where she was trying hardest to find ways through it and where she felt like there were the worst potential negative impacts. She complimented the latest Borderlands for upping the number of playable women heroes in each of the original base games from one to two (more if you count the DLC). She’s done this through a series of online videos for her non-profit, Feminist Frequency, and in lectures at conferences and even at some game studios. She fought back a bad cough throughout an hour-long presentation but frequently elicited applause or laughter as she spoke. Arguments about the depiction of women, however, will find a sympathetic ear among those who, like Sarkeesian, believe that less sexualized and more diverse presentations of women will make games more approachable—more fun—for more people. Anita Sarkeesian (/sÉËrËkiËziÉn/; born 1983) is a Canadian-American feminist media critic and public speaker. So even though I was playing a lot of games—these kinds of games—I still refused to call myself a gamer, which I don’t think is uncommon.”, She would later emphasize the idea that “you can love something and be critical of it.” That, she said, “is so important to what I do and is really important to engaging with any kind of pop culture.”. The first video in the Tropes vs Women in Video Games series was released on March 7, 2013. The threats, one of which was issued by a person who claimed to be affiliated with Gamergate, specifically cited the 1989 Ãcole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as inspiration. She ran clips of how male and female characters sit in Destiny, a game that imbues its heroes of either gender with the same capabilities. “I’m happy if she cared at all and wanted to come,” Sarkeesian said, “but I seriously doubt people from Gamergate’s intentions of coming to an event where I am speaking...I think if anyone in this audience is here for Gamergate they are not here because they genuinely care and want to learn. For speaking engagements contact Soapbox Inc.. For literary inquiries contact Inkwell Management By Anita Sarkeesian and Carolyn Petit Published Dec. 17, 2020 Updated Dec. 18, 2020 It should come as no surprise that 2020 was a monumental year for the video game industry. Gamers are obviously debating this. Under her breath she added: “I don’t even know if I want to say that now, but whatever.”, She said she’d “bought into the bogus myth that, in order to be a real gamer, you had to be playing GTA or Call of Duty or God of War or other testosterone-infused macho posturing games which often had a sexist, toxic culture that surrounded them.  The resulting criminal trial against critic Gregory Alan Elliott is regarded as having significant implications for online freedom of speech in Canada. , On January 23, 2015, Feminist Frequency issued its first annual report and announced they were planning two new video series tackling the "positive" portrayal of women in video games, as well as the "portrayal of masculine identities in games". Anita Sarkeesian As she documents on her site, she was targeted by a â¦ 2. ... Anita Sarkeesian receives a Womenâs Media Center Award in 2016 Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images. Would it be bad for a given game not to? This video series is created by Anita Sarkeesian and the project was funded by 6968 awesome backers on Kickstarter.com. I don’t think there’s an easy answer, and it doesn’t seem to me like there’s a rule that would work across the board. , In March 2014, Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak and receive an award at the 2014 Game Developers Choice Awards.  In May 2015, Cosmopolitan included her in its list of the "50 Most Fascinating People on the Internet".  She appears in the 2015 documentary GTFO. At her talk, she showed a photo of herself as a kid, playing the Super Nintendo with a childhood friend.  In 2012, Gamasutra considered the harassment and success of Feminist Frequency a catalyst that led to new attention on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the gaming culture and industry. If youâve got a project or speaking event you think Iâd be a good fit for please reach out! This free, nonprofit service comes from Anita Sarkeesian, the head of the Feminist Frequency who started a movement to expose sexism in games with â¦ The World Part II", "Bomb Threat Targeted Anita Sarkeesian, Gaming Awards Last March", "FBI investigating death threats against Feminist Frequency creator Sarkeesian", "Gamergate: the community is eating itself but there should be room for all", "Anita Sarkeesian explains why she canceled USU lecture", "Feminist cancels speech at USU after terror threat", "Feminist games critic cancels talk after terror threat", "USU students, faculty protest terrorist threats against critic of video games", "Fixing Everything That's Wrong with Gamergate Starts with You", "Anita Sarkeesian cancels Utah State speech after threat", "Anita Sarkeesian, Video Game Critic, Cancels Speech After Threats of Massacre", "Feminist video-games talk cancelled after massacre threat", "Anita Sarkeesian interview: 'The word "troll" feels too childish. Sarkeesian’s list of eight things included several straightforward requests. “Motion capture and animations for female characters often have them looking like they’re walking down a runway at a fashion show,” she said. , In 2011, Sarkeesian co-authored the essay "Buffy vs. Bella: The Re-Emergence of the Archetypal Feminine in Vampire Stories" for the anthology Fanpires: Audience Consumption of the Modern Vampire. In the middle of this tension, Anita Sarkeesian introduced a Kickstarter campaign for her Youtube series, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, that â¦ Its creator was the feminist and critic Anita Sarkeesian, and these videos would become the next season of Feminist Frequency, an ongoing web series that âexplores representations of â¦ ", "Anita Sarkeesian launching new video series focused on masculinity in games", "Anita Sarkeesian's next Feminist Frequency project tackles women's history", "Feminist Frequency and Crash Override Partnership", "In Virtual Play, Sex Harassment Is All Too Real", "Feminist Take on Games Draws Crude Ridicule, Massive Support", "Leveling (Up) the Playing Field: How Feminist Gamers Self-Identify and Learn in Online Communities", "Gamer campaign against Anita Sarkeesian catches Toronto feminist in crossfire", "Internet Trolls Up Their Harassment Game With, "Man charged with harassment after Twitter attacks", "Ruling in Twitter harassment trial could have enormous fallout for free speech", "ProcÃ¨s pour harcÃ¨lement criminel sur Twitter", "Anita Sarkeesian Responds to Beat Up Game, Online Harassment, and Death Threats on Stephanie Guthrie", "Toronto Tweeter Causes Uproar Over Violent "Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian" Game", "Feminist website creator to speak at LLCC Oct. 10", "Critic assails portrayal of women in video games", "The Most Dangerous Woman in Videogames - Anita Sarkeesian", "Hyper Mode: Anita Sarkeesian vs. “The other four are similar, long legged, slender, mostly sexualized armor, high heels, lack of pants.” She contrasted that to the men.  She later moved to California and identifies as Canadian-American. "Harassment is the background radiation of my life," she later remarked in a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story on her work and the video game industry.  On May 17, 2012, she began a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of short videos that would examine gender tropes in video games that was featured as a campaign of note on the official Kickstarter blog. In a vacuum, this might seem strange, but the idea that Sarkeesian doesn’t care much about games has been part of the narrative against her. , Soraya Murray identified Sarkeesian as emblematic of "a burgeoning organized feminist critique" of stereotyped and objectified portrayals of women in video games. The game industryâs silence was shameful. , The harassment of Sarkeesian and other women in gaming was featured in the January 14, 2015 edition of Nightline. She doesn’t buy it, pointing out that it’s common to, say, see female characters’ breasts jiggle and rare to see male characters’ penises do the same. The Tropes vs Women project triggered a campaign of sexist harassment against Sarkeesian that included rape and death threats, hacking of her webpages and social media, and doxing. Four main playable protagonists, one of them female. ), Have female characters of various body types. Anita Sarkeesian: Faith from Mirror's Edge and Jade from Beyond Good and Evil are two of my all time favourite female characters. “If you asked me at the time, I would probably have said I wasn’t a gamer,” she said. Utah looks bad in global media...", "Stephen Colbert takes on Gamergate with Anita Sarkeesian", "How media critic Anita Sarkeesian turned Stephen Colbert into a feminist", "Anita Sarkeesian educates Stephen Colbert on Gamergate", "When Jumping into Gamergate Turns into Fearing For Your Life", "In the Documentary 'GTFO,' Female Video Gamers Fight Back", "I Am Tired: The Costs of Online Harassment", "The 5 trends that defined the game industry in 2012", "Women In The World: 125 Women of Impact (No.92)", "The Last of Us Claims a Top Video Game Prize", "Anita Sarkeesian, Riot co-founders win GDCA 2014 Special Awards", "A Day of Honors for Women in the Video Game Industry", "Anita Sarkeesian, more up for nominations at Women in Gaming Awards", "Anita Sarkeesian on GamerGate: 'We Have a Problem and We're Going to Fix This, "The Most Influential People on the Internet", "Anita Sarkeesian - The 100 Most Influential People", "Anita Sarkeesian: An Agent of Change Through Pop-Culture Critique", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anita_Sarkeesian&oldid=998592860, 21st-century American non-fiction writers, Game Developers Conference Ambassador Award recipients, California State University, Northridge alumni, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia extended-confirmed-protected pages, Pages which use embedded infobox templates with the title parameter, Pages using Sister project links with hidden wikidata, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 January 2021, at 03:08. “It should not be too much to ask for for representations of people of color whose cultural backgrounds are acknowledged and woven into their character in ways that are honest and validating.”. , She received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from California State University, Northridge in 2007 and then earned a master's degree in social and political thought from York University in 2010. She recounted her efforts to get her parents to buy her a Game Boy. “So, you’ve heard of The Wonderful 101?” Sarkeesian asked her audience, as she finally got into the Eight Things Developers Can Do To Make Games Less Shitty For Women. They are coming here to be, like, ‘oh my god, that woman, that horrible evil woman that’s ruining video games.’”, She said she’d written Gamergate off, that there was no convincing them. “Happily, this is another easy one to solve,” she said, when lamenting the sexualized grunting that she often hears from female game characters who are supposedly engaged in combat. Clip- montage. This thread is intended to be an examination of Sarkeesian's work and its place in popular culture. She talked about getting nostalgic while in college and buying a Super Nintendo to play Super Mario World. There’s a pre-Tropes vs. Women in Video Games clip, after all, of her introducing a video about gaming by telling a college class in 2010 that “I’m not a fan of video games. Attackers posted disparaging comments online, vandalized Sarkeesian's article on Wikipedia with racial slurs and sexual images, and sent Sarkeesian drawings of herself being raped by video game characters. There are seven main heroes. Anita receives at least 50 threats every 3 seconds. And she rejected clothing female characters in cleavage-emphasizing armor whose “only functionality is to titillate young straight male player base.” For the latter, she said the amount of skin shown wasn’t the issue and recommended that game designers look to the outfits of real female soldiers and athletes for inspiration. Well most likely she have never played a single video game in her hole life. She’d push. I’d met her in person briefly last spring, before she won an Ambassador Award at the Game Developers Conference for her work critiquing video games. Sarkeesian was born in Canada and grew up near Toronto. This coincided with the ongoing harassment of ZoÃ« Quinn as part of the Gamergate controversy. Little of this is bound to be easy, and each of her eight requests are likely to stir debate about what gamers want, what developers can or should do, and what makes for better video games that more people will enjoy playing. Wonder-Pink wears pink. The university and police did not believe the threats were credible inasmuch as they were consistent with others Sarkeesian had received, but scheduled enhanced security measures nonetheless. Sarkeesian recommended that designers of fantasy and sci-fi games put female characters in similar armor and uniforms as their male counterparts and praised Dark Souls, Natural Selection 2 and XCOM for having more practical outfits. That might explain why her criticisms of gaming occupy a different spot than other people’s criticisms about, say, free-to-play game design, game length, or downloadable content. She also kept talking, surprisingly, about how easy change in gaming could be. Inquiries. , On February 11, 2019, Sarkeesian appeared at the University of Alberta's Myer Horowitz Theatre with the presentation "I Am Tired: The Costs of Online Harassment" during the Level Up: Gender Based Violence Prevention Week.  In March 2015, Time magazine included Sarkeesian in its list of the thirty "Most Influential People on the Internet", and in April of that year, chose her for the Time 100, the magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Sarkeesian never acknowledged the security, and she only briefly mentioned the online harassment she’s received for her work. By contrast, she praised the presentation of the female character in the new third-person game Life Is Strange. Her supporters cheer the idea that her influence may transform the medium; her critics fear that. She spelled out what she wants to see done, what she thinks game developers should think about doing differently.  Chris Suellentrop of The New York Times referred to the first four videos of the series as "essential viewing for anyone interested in video games", and cites it as the reason why he asked Nintendo producer Shigeru Miyamoto about the themes of damsels present in his games, to which he responded "I haven't given it a lot of deep thought over the years". So, with that in mind here are two things to keep in mind when designing female characters. , In August 2014, Feminist Frequency issued a new Tropes vs Women in Games episode. But in say, Watchdogs, the scene she uses in her video is one where the main character is trying to break up a human trafficking ring.  Videos created for the site analyzed social and cultural gender structure and popular culture from a feminist standpoint, such as applying the Bechdel test to pictures nominated for the 84th Academy Awards in 2012 and highlighting Lego's role in reinforcing cultural norms. She told Colbert that video games often portray women in a manner which "reinforces the cultural myth that women are sexual objects" and that her goal is not to censor video games, but to raise awareness of how women can be portrayed in more realistic, less stereotypical ways. Attackers posted disparaging comments online, vandalized Sarkeesian's article on Wikipedia with racial slurs and sexual images, and sent Sarkeesian drawings of herself being raped by video game characters. Possibly GTA V was one of the only games in modern times where women were really objectified, they were used to regain health. Anita Sarkeesianâs zodiac sign is Leo. The situation was covered extensively in the media, placing Sarkeesian at the center of discussions about misogyny in video game culture and online harassment. That’s how she set up her first request to game developers: “Avoid the Smurfette principle,” a reference to both having just one female character in an ensemble cast and the character limitations that can spring from that. Clip- Princess Peach: Mario! Anita Sarkeesian has made quite a name for herself online with her "Feminist Frequency" web series. , Sarkeesian and her work have come to much greater public attention following the announcement of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games and the harassment she subsequently faced.  In 2013, Newsweek magazine and The Daily Beast named Sarkeesian one of their "125 Women of Impact".  Crash Override is a support group for victims of large scale online abuse formed by game developers ZoÃ« Quinn and Alex Lifschitz in the wake of the Gamergate controversy. ", On October 29, 2014, Sarkeesian was interviewed on The Colbert Report where she discussed the harassment she suffered at the hands of GamerGate and her views on making video games more inclusive. , Sarkeesian's elevated profile led to speaking engagements on sexual harassment and online communities at the TEDxWomen conference and several universities. “Yeah,” she replied, and rolled the character intro for Wonder-Pink. The list was a surprise—not really for its content but for its explicit charge for change. “It’s as if the person directing the mo-cap session told the model to walk in the most seductive or sexy way possible rather than just asking her to walk the way a soldier or intergalactic bounty hunter or any ordinary woman going about her business might walk.”, Even sitting could be a gender issue, she showed. An NYU security guard stood in front of the audience, watchful, as she spoke. Going through her list, she called for game developers of third-person games to “de-emphasize the rear end of female characters,” which she said after contrasting how Catwoman’s butt sways in the third-person Batman game Arkham City with how male characters like God of War’s Kratos have their butts covered by loincloths or trenchcoats. The people who make Dragon Age didn’t get this kind of security. Playing: Watch Dogs Legion (need to get back to RDR2, Iconoclasts, Arkham Origins, Sushi Striker, Samus Returns, and Ghost Recon Breakpoint). In 2012, she was introduced to a larger audience after launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new web series exploring the negative tropes surrounding women in video games. The animation arguments were interesting but also demonstrated Sarkeesian’s emphasis on the critique of what players see, more than what they do.  Toronto feminist Stephanie Guthrie received death and rape threats for criticizing the Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian game. Anita Sarkeesian is the creator of the award-winning Tropes vs Women in Video Games, a critically acclaimed video series exploring the history of womenâs representation in gaming that has garnered nearly 14 million views on YouTube alone. How do we truly determine the impact of the characters we see or control on how we relate to those characters or view the world? Newgrounds user Bendilin Spurr actually created a game called Beat up Anita Sarkeesian which allowed players to simulate doing exactly what the game's title implied. , On March 8, 2016, Feminist Frequency launched a crowdfunding campaign for an animated video series called Ordinary Women. As Sarkeesian pointed to fan-art that imagined Team Fortress 2's cast as being all women I thought about her position as an advocate. When asked by ABC News why there was so much anger, she responded "I think it comes from this idea that gaming is a male-dominated space, and that games are for men by men... it's a very misogynist backlash". The added protection, I was told, was “the result of NYU Public Safety’s extensive security audit of the situation,” though NYU did not specify, despite my asking, if they were there in response to any specific threats. After playing what she said was an audio clip of a female League of Legends champion in combat (above) she called for less sexualized female-character voice-acting/grunting—”start with trying to make pain actually sound painful instead of orgasmic”. When the guy sits, he just sits, feet and butt on the ground, knees up. That used to be the tough one. Anita Sarkeesian. “It actually isn’t equal.” Her view of how women are seen in much of society and culture is fundamental to her arguments: “Women are thought of and represented as sexual objects to be used by and for the sexual pleasure of others in society, and men are not viewed that way. ", In March 2012, Sarkeesian and her blog were listed in the journal Feminist Collections's quarterly column on "E-Sources on Women & Gender". First, she seemed to be challenging claims that she thinks games make people do things. Developers, publishers and gamers could hear and decide for themselves what’s best to do. , The Utah State University threats resulted in public attention to misogynistic and violent harassment on the Internet, along with the propriety of concealed weapons on university campuses. Sam Machkovech â¦ Anita Sarkeesian: Tropes vs Women in Video Games Anita Sarkeesian is a powerful example of the positive ways in which the internet connects people and oers opportunities. This was a friendly and game-savvy crowd.  Discussions occurred in a range of publications and outlets, including The New York Times, The Guardian and New Statesman. Gender Breakdown of Games Featured at E3 2019. The metal detectors, and the overall heightened security presence at Sarkeesian’s talk, were impossible not to notice. “It was released in 2013 for the Wii U. These events helped bring the issue of pervasive sexual harassment in video game culture to mainstream media attention. Her material had rung true to me even as I’d recognized the complications of calling for diversity in creative work and even as I’d noticed that, sure, if you look closely enough, you can find an admirable female character even in a game that is frequently described as being insulting to women. She showed Team Fortress 2. Animate female characters to move the way normal women, soldiers or athletes would move. Her master's thesis is titled I'll Make a Man Out of You: Strong Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy Television. Many Leos will have a large group of friends that adore them. “There are small things that come up that, you’re like, ‘That’s awesome.’ And then five other things that come up that’s like, ‘Are we still doing this?’” Throughout her description of the eight changes she’d like to see, she repeatedly mentioned games that she thought were handling things badly, but she also routinely highlighted games that she thought were doing things well. Minutes after I walked through a metal detector—and some time before she was flocked by well-wishers at the best-attended gaming lecture I’ve ever been to at New York University—I recently listened to the media critic Anita Sarkeesian describe eight things she’d like to see changed in video games. ", "Why Gaming Culture Allows Abuse... and How We Can Stop It", "Tropes vs Anita Sarkeesian: on passing off anti-feminist nonsense as critique", "Anita Sarkeesian shares the most radical thing you can do to support women online", "Editorial: Utah's laws place gun rights over free speech", "Feminist Speaker Questions Utah's Campus Gun Laws", "Game critic Sarkeesian avoids Utah due to foolish gun laws. I saw her trying to draw clear lines all throughout her NYU talk, and I could sense what a fraught endeavor that was. They won’t move people who might linger on the likely fact that changing how characters sit in Destiny or walk in Arkham City probably won’t make those games play any better. She wanted to reach “fence-sitters,” people “who are like, ‘I’m interested, and I don’t know if I agree with you, and I’m curious.’”, As little as Sarkeesian mentioned her critics, I sensed that a lot of the start of her talk was designed to address their criticisms. Anita Sarkeesian (Photo credit: â¦ Supporters donated almost $160,000 to the project, far beyond the $6,000 she had sought. , Colin Campbell writes at Polygon that Feminist Frequency has had a demonstrable effect on the games industry, stating, "video games have seen a rise in the number of positive women and minority protagonists and a decrease in the tropes [Sarkeesian] discusses" since the launch of the project. Emily celebrates the positive impact feminist game critic Anita Sarkeesian has had on her life. They both infer a lot from her analysis of games, but at her NYU talk she left no ambiguity. Transcript. Many games use violence as their main means of interaction, she noted, and some developers were uneasy about if or how to put female enemies in harm’s way. “When I say that media matters and has an influence on our lives, I’m not saying it’s a 1:1 correlation or a monkey-see, monkey-do situation,” she said, “but rather that media’s influence is subtle and helps to shape our attitudes, beliefs and values for better and for worse. You just don’t see anything approaching this variety of body types in weights and sizes with female characters.”, She pushed for more representation of women of color in games, and more that are neither reducing such women to ethnic stereotypes nor so divorced from their cultural history that it “is eased or invisible.” She praised Never Alone, a game featuring a female character from an Alaskan tribe. We’d e-mailed several times when I was reporting stories. , After the Utah State University death threats, Rolling Stone called her "pop culture's most valuable critic," saying that "the backlash has only made her point for her: Gaming has a problem". “Don’t make the enemies or villains hyper-sexualized,” she said, “because again it creates a scenario in which violence against women is gendered and infused with elements of titillation. She said that she knew that some people didn’t consider those “real” games but that she counted them as some of her favorites. I noted her words, about what “should be” and what “would be great” and it got me thinking again about the enthusiasm and anxiety people have about her influence. How do you balance creators’ freedom with the need or desire to open a game up to a broader audience?  In December 2014, The Verge named her as one of "the 50 most important people at the intersection of technology, art, science, and culture". July 23 - August 22. As easy as she had suggested some of the changes in gaming could be, so much of this is likely to be controversial—and not just because someone might be sexist.  The threats and harassment she received in response generated widespread media attention, and resulted in her ultimately far exceeding her funding goal of $6,000. Don't over-emphasize female characters' rear ends, not any more than you would the average male character's. , Sarkeesian launched her website Feminist Frequency in 2009, while a student at York University. Sarkeesian is an advocate. They named this call for inclusion one of the "5 trends that defined the game industry in 2012". Nine playable classes, none of them women. Throughout her NYU talk I was struck by both her negativity and her positivity. Violence against female characters should never be sexy.”. Banner from Anita Sarkeesianâs Tropes vs Women in Video Games Kickstarter campaign. “Just give players more diverse options. A variation, when talking about how male and female characters animate very differently in some of the big-budget games she’s been playing: “The solution is obvious: just animate your women moving and sitting the way real women might move.”, Avoid the Smurfette principle (don't have just one female character in an ensemble cast, let alone one whose personality is more or less "girl" or "woman. She has spoken to TEDxWomen, XOXO Festival, and the United Nations' Broadband Working Group on Gender, and appeared on The Colbert Report discussing her experiences of harassment and the challenge of attempting to improve gender inclusivity in gaming culture and the media. “Fixing this is of course incredibly easy,” Sarkeesian said. , Sarkeesian initially planned to release the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series in 2012 but pushed it back explaining that the additional funding allowed her to expand the scope and scale of the project. 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