YouTube trolls must be happy today as Anita Sarkeesian's 'Tropes Vs Women in Video Games' series releases its last video, The Lady Sidekick.
Sarkeesian tells us:
"This video focuses on how female sidekicks and companions in games are often designed to function as glorified gatekeepers, helpless burdens, and ego boosters, a pattern that works to reinforce oppressive notions about women as the ones in need of protection and men as the ones in control, who take action and do the protecting. Games featured in this episode include Ico, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and The Last of Us, among many others."
While it's been vastly unpopular with that sad slice of the internet that really hates women having anything to do with gaming, 100,000s of people have found the two-season series mega-useful and necessary to the wider discussion of how games treat women. Most of the episodes have six-figure viewer counts, and excellent titles including 'Lingerie is not armour' and 'Strategic butt coverings.'
The series began with a tremendously successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 – it aimed for $6k and raised almost $160k – and over the following five years, has produced 16 full episodes and five bonuses, totalling almost five solid hours of analysis.
Sarkeesian has released a statement on the end of Tropes, and her mixed feelings on the phenomenal success but rampant abuse the series has brought her:
"Much of what came in the days and weeks that followed was great. It was exciting and gratifying to immediately see that many people had a real interest in feminist criticism of video games, as we blew past the initial funding goal within 24 hours. In time, we expanded the scope of the project, bringing the number of projected videos up to 12 and planning for longer, more rigorous analyses than I’d originally envisioned.
While this was happening, I was also watching in horror as cybermobs, deeply threatened by the mere idea of feminist analysis of video games, mobilised en masse to disrupt my life. In an effort to instil fear in me and in any woman who might dare to speak out against sexism in gaming, these mobs flooded all my social media channels with vile harassment, made slanderous, racist and pornographic edits to my Wikipedia page, posted private information about me online, made death threats against me and members of my family, and threatened events I was speaking at, among other tactics.
And while the volume of that harassment has ebbed and flowed at times, it has never ceased, and the legacy of Tropes can never be entirely separated from the deep veins of hostility, entitlement, and misogyny that the reaction to the series revealed in some segments of the gaming community."
Props to you, Ms. Sarkeesian. You've done us all a service.
Watch the last episode here, or catch them all on the Feminist Frequency channel.
While this particular video series is over, Feminist Frequency will be continuing, and Sarkeesian says she's got some great things lined up. Otherwise the trolls might actually go outside, and that'd be bad for all of us.