After watching Anita Sarkeesian’s video about the tropes of women in video games I felt one thing in particular: how is this a thing? How is it that the only thing that seems to interest these game makers is the consistent objectification of women? It is little wonder that stereotypical images of gamers are male. Aren’t we bored of this stereotype? 

One of the most interesting quotes I found in this video was when she said, “in the game of patriarchy, women are not the opposing team. They are the ball.” To me, this really hit home. I feel like one reason boys may find games like this interesting have nothing to do with winning over a woman or winning her back, but rather to do with beating some other form of masculinity that stands in opposition to this male. Women have the unfortunate role of playing the pawn throughout history of humanities and literature simply because it is easier to imagine the woman needing saving while the men essentially can “punch through walls” to be their own saviors.Another thing I recognized about this trope was how subtle all of this patriarchy is. I never had noticed this in games growing up. I played the Legend of Zelda with my brothers growing up, and I never really thought too much about the damsel in distress until now. I remember waiting my turn to play the console wanting so badly to be as good as my older brother at this game. I do also recall, however, always wanting to have Zelda be my character when I played Super Smash Brothers so that I could quickly turn into Chic. I guess in some way this is a little bit of a redeeming quality of the game creators.

Overall watching all the compilations of the “damsel in distress” trope that Sarkeesian brings up in this video made me laugh out loud. I cannot believe how common this element is in every video game. For women, this is not a win, but I believe we can do better as we go forward trying to change this role. Women can be their own subjects and heroes rather than the objects to be acted upon.

 

Categories: Gaming

3 Comments

Daniel A Webb · October 16, 2018 at 11:35 pm

When watching this video I had a very similar reaction. I, as a man, am allowed to act however I like and if I want something I am afforded societies approval in striving for it. Women are often barred from certain careers, social interactions, and even getting their car worked on. It kind of sucks how women are so often treated as just a piece in a mans life.
When I got to thinking about all the games I’ve owned I realize almost none of them feature a playable female, and some of them don’t even include women. It was just crazy to me how little attention is paid to having interesting women in video games.
Side Note: Zelda is a terrible Smash Bros character, and Sheik is a top-tier Goddess

Maika Kagawa Bahr · October 17, 2018 at 1:12 pm

I agreed with you and had the same reaction: “How is this [still] a thing?” Why have movies and television made a lot larger strides toward equality. Movies aren’t perfect yet either, but at least there are movies like the new Star Wars where the lead character is a woman. In video games, it is much harder to find a woman who isn’t a damsel in distress or an overly “masculine” tom-boy.

I also loved that part where Sarkeesian said that “in the game of patriarchy, women are not the opposing team. They are the ball.” The conflict is always between males and women are the possession that is passed around as a prize. Hopefully this trope won’t be a thing anymore, but I think we are still far from finding equality in videogames.

Marcela Marrugo · October 17, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Sarah, I had a really similar experience in that I never really noticed the trope growing up. It makes me wonder if males notice it, or if they are just trying to advance in the game and win. In the game makers’ minds, and in the players’ minds, is it about saving the damsel in distress, or is it about using the damsel as a ball in the game? Either way, it reduces women to objects, things that are acted upon. It’s kind of frustrating that with all of these movements for equality going on, the “damsel in distress” post is so overlooked and accepted in our society. If we let things slide so easily, will they ever change?

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