When Anita Sarkeesian released the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games Kickstarter in summer of 2012, she most likely had no idea that she was about to start the misogynist storm of the century. However, she valiantly martyred herself for women in gaming, and brought attention to some serious problems women face when trying to participate in the gaming subculture.
In the two years following the horrible personal attacks on Sarkeesian’s series, issues surrounding women in gaming have become more prominent in the gaming community. Where once they were only spoken of in hushed whispers among friends, now many gaming journalism websites regularly post features on women, and even call out companies that think women are too hard to animate.
A more noticeable shift in this conversation has come about with the release of the latest Feminist Frequency video, Women as Background Decoration: Part 2.While there has been the usual rabble around the internet decrying the current video, for the first time two major personalities – one specifically in gaming culture and one in popular culture at large – have spoken out in defense of these videos.
Tim Schafer, the founder of Double Fine Studios and creator of gaming favorites such as Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, and more recently Broken Age, shared the video on twitter, emphasizing that it was a must-watch for all video game professionals.
I think everyone who makes games should watch this video from start to finish. http://t.co/5W56lFNVp2
— TimOfLegend (@TimOfLegend) August 26, 2014
Then, out of nowhere, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer himself stepped into the arena sharing the following thoughts.
While there have always been men and women within the game industry who have supported Sarkeesian’s project, it feels like the first time a game developer not already aligned with a feminist gaming movement has stepped forward on her behalf.Joss Whedon’s input is not particularly surprising, but support of the video will be felt not only in the gaming community, but in larger geek-culture as well.
This follow’s Sarkeesian’s winning of the 2014 Game Developers Choice Ambassador Award, which honors an individual who have helped the game industry advance to a better place. It may have taken over two years and thousands of trolls for the Feminist Frequency videos to get the support that they deserve, but it’s great to see large names in the industry publicly admiring her work now.