Anita Sarkeesian’s latest video in the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series came out in the last few days, and it’s a doozy. While the series overall looks at how representations of women* accord to sexist and oppressive stereotypes, and why that might be a bad thing, this particular piece demonstrates just how prevalent the trope of the damsel in distress is in modern blockbuster gaming, and just how damaging that is to the accurate representation of her gender.
There are of course some people, and I use the word in its loosest possible sense, who would rather the YouTube series didn’t exist. They’d rather that everyone just stopped talking about female players, and just went back to assuming that gaming is an exclusively pastime. They’d like us to go back to sleep, thank you, and when we don’t they get upset. Sarkeesian has been accused of bad faith, of stealing from the people who dared to back her campaign on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. She’s been accused of being a rabid feminist, of simply being hateful to men. And, most problematic of all, she’s been accused of ignoring harmful tropes against men that might blunt here argument.
The problem is that institutional sexism, misogyny and rape culture towards women exist, whereas structural misandry just don’t real.