I wanted to celebrate International Women’s Day by featuring a woman who has done a phenomenal job in bringing attention to women’s issues, especially in popular culture: Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency.
The best way to talk about her is to let her speak for herself in one of her best videos to date: Damsel in Distress: Part 1 — Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. It is the first video in a series made possible by her successful Kickstarter project. Please make sure to watch all the way through to the end.
I’m grateful for Ms. Sarkeesian’s ability to think critically about pop culture in a way that is engaging, but more importantly, for providing us with a vocabulary to articulate our thoughts. She reminds us that:
” … it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects.”
Her segment on Princess Peach’s appearance in Mario Bros. 2 brought me back to an interview I went on last year at a file storage and sharing website company. In one of
their many attempts to be “hip” and/or “clever” during the interview process, they asked what my favorite video game was. When I said Mario Bros. 2, I received some pretty condescending looks from the two guys sitting across the table. Then they looked in disbelief and proceeded to ask me why, exactly, it was my favorite game. I told them that it was the only game I remember from my childhood where I could choose another girl as a playable character. I also mentioned that I favored her flying ability. Then they continued to ask if I had another favorite game, as if somehow my answer wasn’t good enough.
So thank you, Ms. Sarkeesian for asking the unpopular questions, for bringing reason and intelligence to the table, and staying strong in the face of adversity. And thank you for reminding me that identifying with a game because it has a playable female character is a good enough reason for it to be my favorite.
How will you be celebrating?
Check out a few of these other sites celebrating International Women’s Day:
And if you have another ten minutes, check out Anita’s talk about cyber mobs at TEDxWomen:
[Thank you to Guebara for making the image above available for reuse.]