For those not familiar with the long, sordid and mind-bendingly awful tale of Anita Sarkeesian and her Kickstart campaign, here’s a link to the Wiki history. I do warn you, if you dig past the article into the examples of misogyny and hate that was thrown her way for daring to speak on the topic of gender roles in video game characters, bring a barf bag. It’s not pleasant stuff. Or if you want to skip opening your mind up to that level of filth, you can click here and listen to the incomparable Jay Smooth lay out why the attacks on Anita were terrible not just for gamers, but for humanity as well.
Yet, she overcame the onslaught and rode the wave to a massive online fundraising windfall, enough to fund her video series and then some. The first installment of her series: Damsel in Distress Part 1: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games is now up for your viewing pleasure. It’s around half an hour long, but truly worth the time. I grew up on the games she references, yet I never felt like she was attacking the games themselves, rather she peeled back the layers of culture behind the games which helped direct the gender norms they pushed.
What do you think about the thesis she brings?
Post Note: The Dad of a 3-year old girl hacked an old version of Donkey Kong to switch the gender roles. Here’s a video showing Mario as the distressed victim and Pauline as the rescuer.