Violence Against Women in Video Games


I learned about about this Damsels in Distress series via Wired magazine, in which the creator explores misogynist tropes in video games. Here's the first in the series; I've embedded the second video above.

I'm not a gamer, and although the use of the "damsel in distress" archetype in video games didn't surprise me, the second video was disturbing. I did not know that so many games require the gamer to kill a woman to proceed to the next level, and that in many cases she is literally "asking for it," i.e., asking the protagonist to kill her (usually because she has been transformed into a "beast" and needs to return to her "pure state").

Also upsetting: that the series creator received so much misogynistic social media hate for this project.

I'm a semi-conscious male. I've been aware of concepts like Patriarchy and Male Privilege for at least the last twenty years of my life, and although I'm aware that I indulge in the male gaze and objectification, I make conscious attempts not to take advantage of the inherent power I have as a man. And fortunately, my wife calls me on it when I revert to old behaviors. Having asserted that I am on occasion "part of the problem," I'm a father of a teenage girl, and I don't want her to grow up in a culture in which the tropes explored in these videos go about unquestioned by her peers. I encourage any parent to watch this series with their children (once they're old enough to understand the concepts and are mature enough to view some disturbing imagery).

I appreciate Anita Sarkeesian's courage and intelligence in putting herself and this message out there.

Tags: video

Last built: Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 12:50 PM

By Jeffrey Kishner, Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 9:45 AM.