Recommends: Tropes vs. Women

Several of you have asked when this will be available, and it's available now!


Note that this is just Part 1 of the series. I recommend following Feminist Frequency on YouTube if you'd like timely updates on the new videos as they come out.

(Video shared with Anita Sarkeesian's consent.)

22 comments:

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Silver Adept said...

Wouldn't be too difficult to generate a story with the whole Zelda/Sheik thing that's already established. Since Sheik ifs supposed to code male, though, I'm not sure that would help much for putting a woman in charge of saving the kingdom (and more importantly, one that doesn't have separate jiggle physics while they run around). Nintendo could simply do the "Other Side" story of Ocarina of Time as their trial balloon for it.

Even though it's not the main Mario series, Super Paper Mario has Peach and Bowser as playable characters with unique abilities that are important. Peach arrives at the beginning of Chapter 2, so she's there for most of the game.

And, not really related, but both Zelda and Peach are really good characters in Smash Brothers.

Lady Viridis said...

Yeah, and I think that sort of meshes with what Nintendo has been doing with Zelda in the LoZ games. They have made an effort, mostly in Spirit Tracks and Twilight Princess, to subvert the captured-and-waiting princess role, and I think they've done a pretty good job. Of course, in Twilight Princess, the focus was never meant to be on Zelda, and I feel like Midna is a pretty strong and interesting character. Game-wise I suppose Midna is a sidekick, but story-wise I certainly felt she was a main character.

To some extent, I kind of agree with Nintendo sticking to their prescribed formula. I love Zelda games, but... I don't know how I'd feel about a new game that starred Zelda as the one running around saving the world. It could be done, but I think it would be very hard to do well. I'd be more interested in playing a female character that was unrelated to the main characters, or for them to make a game involving Link and a new female character on an adventure, and giving you the option to play either or to have control switch between levels. Tetra would be a good candidate for that kind of thing, maybe set at the point where they are exploring New Hyrule. Or a sequel involving Midna. But Zelda herself? I don't know. She's clearly capable with weapons, and yet I always picture her as an ambassador or a diplomat, not someone who generally gets involved with combat.

Lady Viridis said...

Yeah, and I think that sort of meshes with what Nintendo has been doing with Zelda in the LoZ games. They have made an effort, mostly in Spirit Tracks and Twilight Princess, to subvert the captured-and-waiting princess role, and I think they've done a pretty good job. Of course, in Twilight Princess, the focus was never meant to be on Zelda, and I feel like Midna is a pretty strong and interesting character. Game-wise I suppose Midna is a sidekick, but story-wise I certainly felt she was a main character.

To some extent, I kind of agree with Nintendo sticking to their prescribed formula. I love Zelda games, but... I don't know how I'd feel about a new game that starred Zelda as the one running around saving the world. It could be done, but I think it would be very hard to do well. I'd be more interested in playing a female character that was unrelated to the main characters, or for them to make a game involving Link and a new female character on an adventure, and giving you the option to play either or to have control switch between levels. Tetra would be a good candidate for that kind of thing, maybe set at the point where they are exploring New Hyrule. Or a sequel involving Midna. But Zelda herself? I don't know. She's clearly capable with weapons, and yet I always picture her as an ambassador or a diplomat, not someone who generally gets involved with combat.

Ann Unemori said...

Here's a link to a father I take my hat off to, http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/2013/03/awesome-dad-hacks-donkey-kong-so-his-daughter-can-play-as-the-girl-and-save-mario/
Did it so his little girl can play as the girl and save Mario (sorry about the redundancy).
There's hope yet!

Ann Unemori said...

Here's a link to a father I take my hat off to, http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/2013/03/awesome-dad-hacks-donkey-kong-so-his-daughter-can-play-as-the-girl-and-save-mario/
Did it so his little girl can play as the girl and save Mario (sorry about the redundancy).
There's hope yet!

Asha said...

Does anyone else here follow Blister Thumbs on occasion? I go there largely for Angry Joe and Bennett the Sage (lots of dudebro humor but they seem more genuinely interested in the games than most other reviewers that I've seen) and one of the contributors linked to this. The comments are interesting, if awful. They seem to be fully invested in using nothing more than the tone argument, and don't even seem to notice. Its really... ridiculous, honestly.

Asha said...

Does anyone else here follow Blister Thumbs on occasion? I go there largely for Angry Joe and Bennett the Sage (lots of dudebro humor but they seem more genuinely interested in the games than most other reviewers that I've seen) and one of the contributors linked to this. The comments are interesting, if awful. They seem to be fully invested in using nothing more than the tone argument, and don't even seem to notice. Its really... ridiculous, honestly.

Aidan Bird said...

This is so incredibly exciting!

Aidan Bird said...

This is so incredibly exciting!

Ann Unemori said...

FWIW, the Mario Franchise does tend to poke fun at itself over this.

Ann Unemori said...

FWIW, the Mario Franchise does tend to poke fun at itself over this.

Lady Viridis said...

It's an important topic, and an interesting one. One thing that it's important to remember--and I kind of wish she had mentioned this-- is that Donkey Kong was one of the first video games that had any sort of actual plot. That's part of what made it such a huge hit, and, I'm sure, is a big part of why the Damsel-in-Distress is so often used as an excuse plot. It made ridiculous amounts of money for Nintendo and allowed them to successfully dominate the market for years until Sega came along, so of course they were going to keep using the formula, Everyone else wanted a piece of Nintendo's success, so of course they were going to keep copying the formula. Thus we get an entire generation of games all using the same thin plot.

Lady Viridis said...

It's an important topic, and an interesting one. One thing that it's important to remember--and I kind of wish she had mentioned this-- is that Donkey Kong was one of the first video games that had any sort of actual plot. That's part of what made it such a huge hit, and, I'm sure, is a big part of why the Damsel-in-Distress is so often used as an excuse plot. It made ridiculous amounts of money for Nintendo and allowed them to successfully dominate the market for years until Sega came along, so of course they were going to keep using the formula, Everyone else wanted a piece of Nintendo's success, so of course they were going to keep copying the formula. Thus we get an entire generation of games all using the same thin plot.

Silver Adept said...

I like this a lot. I also noticed (perhaps it will come in part two) how she mentions that women in distress are often an Excuse Plot. A lot of the games mentioned have the intro sequence where the damsel is kidnapped, and you don't really see them again until you finish the game and rescue them. It would be just as easy to use something else (The President has been kidnapped by ninjas!) as the excuse plot, so why does it tend toward using women related to the hero in some way?

If it's the same reason as the popularity of pulp novels like Tarzan and John Carter, as she mentioned early on in part one, then I would expect video games and systems to be heavily marketed to young adolescent men who are often told they have to be heroes and that any non-heroness or lack of (entitlement to) women is because of insufficient masculinity. Et voila. Pulp it is.

Silver Adept said...

I like this a lot. I also noticed (perhaps it will come in part two) how she mentions that women in distress are often an Excuse Plot. A lot of the games mentioned have the intro sequence where the damsel is kidnapped, and you don't really see them again until you finish the game and rescue them. It would be just as easy to use something else (The President has been kidnapped by ninjas!) as the excuse plot, so why does it tend toward using women related to the hero in some way?

If it's the same reason as the popularity of pulp novels like Tarzan and John Carter, as she mentioned early on in part one, then I would expect video games and systems to be heavily marketed to young adolescent men who are often told they have to be heroes and that any non-heroness or lack of (entitlement to) women is because of insufficient masculinity. Et voila. Pulp it is.

Ann Unemori said...

At first reading I thought this was about the mega-popular site Tv Tropes. Now there's a way to fill up the entire day, whew! For the record, that site seems to be pretty balanced about women, and about people in general.

Ann Unemori said...

At first reading I thought this was about the mega-popular site Tv Tropes. Now there's a way to fill up the entire day, whew! For the record, that site seems to be pretty balanced about women, and about people in general.

AnnaLK said...

I notice that she's disabled comments for the video, presumably because of hateful trolls. This saddens me, because (a) it's the kind of thing on which there could be a great conversation, if trolls would just keep away, and (b) I wanted to comment and tell her she's awesome.

So, Anita, if you're reading this: you're awesome.

Fourscythe said...

Finally.

Feel like I've been waiting forever for these. I very much enjoy her deconstructions, even if I don't always agree with them. Not sure if I like some of the new design though, kinda distracting.

As for the content. Yes.

I think that covers it.

chris the cynic said...

I kind of regret not contributing enough to get the research materials or whatever it was. At that point she'd already gotten more funding than asked for to the point that me pitching in that much wouldn't have made any difference to the project, but it still would have been nice to get the behind the scenes stuff.

On the other hand, even though it wasn't objectively that much money (25 dollars as I recall) subjectively, from the point of view of me the broke person, it was a lot of money. So I gave myself time to think it over, then forgot until it was too late.

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