New Anita Sarkeesian Video Looks At Gaming's 'Ms. Male' Trope

Feminist Frequency continues its 'Tropes vs Women in Games' series, this time spending some time analysing female characters who are kind of copy and paste versions of the male lead — only with added stereotypical stuff like the colour pink, bows, interest in shopping, amongst other things.

Think, for example, of Ms. Pac Man. Or heck, if you want to look beyond games, think about how the story of Adam and Eve centres around the idea that Eve was made out of Adam's ribs. The video goes into much more detail about these examples, which Sarkeesian calls 'Ms. Male characters.'

Sarkeesian goes on to argue that these characterizations are limiting, because female characters then tend to be either defined by their relationship to the male lead — or worse, their only defining characteristic is that they are women in a cast that is otherwise full of men.

And as usual, while you may not always agree with Sarkeesian's ideas, they're certainly thought-provoking. If nothing else, relying less on tropes — regardless of what kind they are — can only be a good thing in my books. Hopefully the discussion here about her ideas can remain civil and not be knee-jerk reactions to the video...unlike some of the folks on YouTube:

Turned ratings on for my new video as an experiment. 100 dislikes before anyone had the time to finish watching it:

— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) November 18, 2013

Eventually, you'll be able to find a transcript of this video here.


    Very enlightening as usual. I really enjoy Anita's videos.

      I tend to agree, her ideas and views are interesting. People may not like her fir whatever reason but it's good to have someone who is passionate about females in video games

        Nicely put. There's nothing like having your mind expanded by a perspective that contradicts your own. But most people greet opposing opinions with hostility, which stunts your enlightenment.

        That said, I find very little I disagree with in regards to this video. It's a problem that has bugged me for a while, in particular when a female's defining trait is simply that she's female, as if that's enough.

        I have opposed many of her views in prior videos, but I appreciate having my views challenged and she always makes at least a few very valid points. I don't dislike her, I just disagree sometimes.

        Those people who always come out of the woodwork to heap on the abuse in response to her videos are just being childish. Guess what? It's OK to disagree!

        People may not like her fir whatever reason

        I used to be a strong promoter for Anita and this series. I was disappointed to see the video I've linked below though. It does seem like she's invented a new persona as a gamer to coincide with this project, rather than being a fan as she suggests.

        Of course this doesn't invalidate everything she says as some haters would hope, but it does remind me to take everything she says with a pinch of salt..

        Last edited 21/11/13 1:00 pm

        The problem is that every time I watch an Anita Sarkeesian video, it just annoys the hell out of me because it's poorly researched, purely superficial, and highly opinionated. She and Jim Sterling produce content of roughly the same "quality".

        There are important points to be raised about the subject matter at hand: the portrayal of women in gaming, how women are treating in the gaming industry, and how women are treated by the gaming public at large. These are all important issues, but the blatantly biased and superficial manner in which Sarkeesian does it just makes the whole exercise a tirade rather than an avenue for reasoned and intelligent discussion.

        Of course, the rabid and disgusting behaviour of her initial detractors basically threw all the opportunity for a reasonable discussion out the window. The problem is that because of her unwillingness to engage even a subsection of the Internet at large means that whenever she DOES pop her head up those people who were already against her are going to jump up and downvote her even more readily because of that reluctance.

        In short, the haters suck, but we NEED rational debate on this. The problem is that Anita's videos don't really fill me with the confidence that she's really done her research, or simply ignores everything that doesn't fit with her confirmation bias... and that's a real disappointment to me too. I wanted her to come out with some really thought provoking and knowledgeable content.

        Edit: Having watched the first ten minutes now... I understand why some people downvoted it without watching all the way through. *sigh*

        Last edited 22/11/13 5:09 pm

      I think it's a bit hypocritical that she has previously criticised the lack of a strong female lead in games, and yet here she turns around and blasts the female Shepherd character, who by most accounts was better done than the male Shepherd character.

        She didn't blast the the character, she praised it, in regards to the voice acting.

        I think the point she makes about Femshep is that there is actually very little difference between the two shepherds beyond voice and romance options. While this is a good thing, it also makes playing either less distinctive.

          I really commend Bioware for the male and female options. I didn't think it was a huge problem that both characters had an almost identical script as Mrs Shepard was done as a bit of a tomboy. I liked how for the third game they made progress by putting up identical trailers featuring the Mrs Shepard and offering a reversible cover. Still, Mrs Shepard wound up being the alternative to Mr Shepard and it's never the other way around, which is a tad unfortunate, but nonetheless Bioware showed some progressive and commendable behavior and I support that.

            1) Well yeah. Being a soldier is going to likely have one be a tom boy, surely?
            2) I guess the Femshep being the alternate is a reflection of audience size.
            3) Absolutely commendable that the ME series has a strong female option that isn't diminished in any way, IMO, as a choice - you get just as good as game regardless which sex you pick.

              1) Well yeah. Being a soldier is going to likely have one be a tom boy, surely?

              Not necessarily. Not that I know from experience because the only soldiers I know in real life are male. But It worked really well for Mrs Shepard, her character didn't feel like a re-skin with a female voice actor reading the male character's lines.

              2) I guess the Femshep being the alternate is a reflection of audience size.

              Why would the size of the audience have anything to do with a male character being the default?

              3) Absolutely commendable that the ME series has a strong female option that isn't diminished in any way, IMO, as a choice - you get just as good as game regardless which sex you pick.

              Agreed. I played as Mrs Shepard and I enjoyed every second of her as a character.

                1) I know a few female soldiers (got some family in the armed forces). To a woman they're what we'd call 'tom boys'; not men, of course, but definitely tom boys.

                2) Because they pander to their audience, generally. Similarly why most superheroes are male.

                3) Which is awesome!

                  2. Oh, you mean the size of the male audience. I thought you means the size of the audience in general.

                  No no, audience in general. The people that play games on consoles and PCs (and not on phones or facebook) skews heavily towards male, though less than it used to.

                  The good news is that as more women get into gaming and more women get into development we'll see more instances like Mirror's Edge and Mass Effect becoming available to us.

          Isn't that the point? Gender should be a non-issue, it shouldn't matter which one you choose to play.

            The point is that there's rarely a choice and when the choice is given, it's often stereotypical crap.

            It is an issue. The same as race, sexuality, and gender are issues. You don't have to care, but whether you like it or not, there is an issue. The issue pervades every aspect of life for some people. They can't even have leisure time without being constantly confronted with this issue.

              I think you might have taken my reply out of context. I was replying to this post.

              I think the point she makes about Femshep is that there is actually very little difference between the two shepherds beyond voice and romance options.

              I didn't say there wasn't an issue, I said there shouldn't be an issue, and I said that there being very little difference between the two Shepards is the point - it makes gender a non-issue.

          I thought the point she was making was that male Shepard is far more prominent in the games marketing, enforcing the notion that he is the default/canon Shepard, despite the fact that in the actual game they are entirely equal options. she doesn't criticize anything inside the game itself.

          Last edited 19/11/13 1:10 pm

            That was her point exactly. She also mentioned that "Shepard" is used to refer to the male version, while "fem-shep" is used to refer to the female version, as though the character's name is reserved for the default gender while "fem" needs to be added to the female version to distinguish her by gender. But then, wasn't it the fans who coined these different names? If so, then this particular point of hers is moot because it's the fans and not the developers who dubbed them as such.

              I think it's cyclical in nature to be honest. I think these subtle biases have been a part of our culture for a long time and naturally, when these people start making video games, they bring their subtle biases into the game design. It's like a chicken or the egg thing, people create media, media influences people, people influence media. Actually, that's not exactly a chicken or egg scenario but you get my point.

              The bottom line is, with expanded minds, the people who create the media we consume can be more active in dressing and correcting these biases. And you can't hope to hold an entire culture accountable for reinforcing biases, but people who make movies, games, books etc are better targeted, especially considering their powerful influence.

              Last edited 19/11/13 1:28 pm

                It's something that is far more widespread than a lot of people realise. Basically, anything female in the English language is tagged as such. Anything without a tag is automatically male. We don't have a lot of genderless ways of referring to things and when we do remove gender, it usually denotes male as a default.

                  I remember reading D&D manuals back in highschool and they always referred to the players as 'he' and for one more modern edition they changed it to her, as in "when a Barbarian reaches 12th level she can choose a new skill". There was a lot of outcry about it. No one cares if it's a he. The X-men aren't all men, we call a group of people 'guys', we call humans mankind. You're right. Male is default, standard, normal.

              It's interesting, but the people I talk to differentiate between MShep and FemShep only to talk about how FemShep's voice actor does a better performance over MShep overall.

            It should be noted that EA highly geared the marketing of ME3, the most marketed game in the series, mostly towards femshep, even holding competitions to decide how she should look. Maleshep just got the generic soldier look while Femshep didn't end up with stereotypical Blonde-big tits. She ended up somewhat different thankfully. ME3 definitely broke away from this and was by all accounts a very equal game in terms of gender. Infact, I would go as far as saying it was a gender neutral game. A rarity these days.

              Is holding a beauty contest to decide to look of a female character really a good thing?

                Is assuming the public wants Femmeshep to look a certain way a good thing? Would we have been better off with blonde, buxom femmeshep?

                Last edited 19/11/13 3:59 pm

                  Her breasts increased in size each game apparently.

                  Not arguing for or against, just a random observation

                  Last edited 20/11/13 1:07 pm

          I think that's how it should be. Changing gameplay or narrative based on gender will see to further perpetuate gender as a defining characteristic of a person, which I argue is unnecessary.

            Nicely said mate. As long as it doesn't automatically mean a masculine women or a feminine man in order to shoe horn in a gender choice, I'm keen.

          True, but if there was a major differences between the two, wouldn't the complaint them become that there is gender division being played out, and that it implies that either is not capable of being equal to the other?

    It's unfortunate that I tend to agree with most of what Sarkessian has to say, but I really, really cannot stand the way she presents her ideas, and this prevents me enjoying her videos.

      I agree completely, she comes across as incredibly condescending. also the fact that she has the comments on youtube disabled which disallows "intelligent" (lol) conversation kind of annoys me, Its basically saying "I'm right and no one has the right to a differing opinion".

        I think you might have a very different concept of what Youtube comments are, compared to the rest of the world... :P

        Are Youtube comments really necessary though? This video was always going to be shared places like here where the discussions can take place. Youtube as a forum adds little.

        If you've seen some of the filth that gets thrown at her you'd probably call that a good thing.

      As I've said both in her defence and in being one of her (hopefully less shitty) detractors, I think that the things she brings up are discussions we really need to have. Problem is, her standard of research and general presentation of the issues she raises make the whole thing terrible to watch or discuss.

      We need to have these discussions, but she isn't the one to lead them.

    Isn't most of what she says just fairly obvious? So how sad is it that it has to be said?

    I don't understand the point she is trying to make. She highlights these items as though there is a flaw but doesn't offer any suggestions about what should change.

    Also not surprised to see this coming from Patricia.

      well she did offer how things can be done better, by simply not designing a character where all the elements of the character are not to distinguish them as female. create characters that just happen to be female but it just a tiny element of their character like how male characters aren't defined by the fact that they are male.

      In a nutshell, she is saying that female characters are rarely portrayed as female "and" something else, whereas male characters are the default gender and therefore can dress any way they like and can have interests and personalities depicted in their design.

      This leads to female characters being depicted as male characters but with bows, lipstick and so on to have much the same effect as putting on a beard to signify wisdom, a fedora to signify a suave gentleman, sunglasses and shorts to signify a surfer or what have you, we use a bow and lipstick to signify it being female, not because it is a unique female character but because it is a unique male character in that it is female and this step here is where the character development stops.

      Their isn't a point if you are looking for A is bad and we should do B
      It is an exploration of the trope of video games focusing on the way females are portrayed.
      Is basically a focused subset of tvtropes done in video form

      It's simply analysis for the sake of provoking debate, not every flaw needs fixing and sometimes just acknowledging the existence of a flaw is enough to cause changes (if necessary).

      I agree. It's great that she is perceptive enough to research then deliver an in-depth analysis on the stereotypes, but she needs to offer solutions. We are all aware of the stereotypes, tropes, and generalisations, however it is offering remedies to these situations not emphasising the negatives.

      Perhaps she designed the clips to motivate the viewer to protest or take some form of action. SHe may have created them for the advertising revenue which assists in the formulation of an income. It might be that she has a passion for the cause and this is the most effective avenue to reach the largest proportion of people.

      Either way there may well be reasoning behind her videos, but not offering resolutions, blocking comments - be it offensive or otherwise, and regurgitating the same unresolved issues does not help the cause of equal rights in arts and the media.

      She should offer:
      * A solid conclusion to the issue discussed. Rather than her generic, 'this occurs in... This happens because... This started during...'
      * Reasonable avenues to change the trope such as writing to the developer, artist, publisher, distributor, or rights body, or boycotting said developer.
      * Highlight other tropes as there are other minorities affected. There is evidence of poor representations of women be it the gender role or the sex within the entertainment industry, but so are other ethnicities (see Shadow Warrior & Call of Duty). Highlighting all tropes would create an investigative approach to the entire industry and the forced conventions. In addition, there is no need to support or defend an issue because it affects you. There are straight people that support gay rights, Caucasians who protest racial inequality for blacks, Asians etc.

      I kind of agree, it's like she's complaining that female characters have been made to look female. In real life, men have very few identifying factors, we have plain hair, no breasts, our clothing is typically less interesting and we rarely wear jewelry, it makes sense for female characters to have those attributes as they are typically only adorned by females in reality.
      It's also kind of odd that she points these things out while wearing over the top hoop earrings and having a long hair style. By her own arguments she's made herself the "ms male' of gamers.

      But she did offer suggestions on what should change, citing example set out by indie games that use female characters who don't use stereotypical signifiers to establish gender, and have distinct personalities other than "is a female".

      Also not surprised to see this coming from Patricia
      Completely destroyed the credibility of your comment.

    This woman's opinion is misguided and stupid thinking that basic marketplace forces are actually purposeful calculated moves by oh you guessed it campers patriarchy as if all men were members of a secret organisation like we're the Illuminati or something, what ms Sarkeesian with her tinfoil hat level concepts fails to realize is that there aren't any "feminist games" only because no one ion their right mind would buy one.

    Moments after Eve is created from Adam's rib, God prophesies that Eve will be responsible for the destruction of evil and saving the world while Adam gets to stand around and look important.

    Last edited 19/11/13 12:24 pm

      It took several pages to establish Harry Potter as fantasy; as opposed to the first line onward in Genesis. I much prefer hearing about the real world examples of sexism rather than reference to an old book that nobody with their head screwed on straight would listen to. I appreciate what you're doing Anita, this industry needs to develop and diversify.

        I don't identify as a religious person, but her examples of biblical sexism are usually taken so terribly out of context (hopefully not on purpose).

        "if you want to look beyond games, think about how the story of Adam and Eve centres around the idea that Eve was made out of Adam’s ribs." The article referenced it cardiacunicorn, shadow just gave a rebuttal to the implication of sexism since the beginning of human story telling . Also, by saying that you prefer real world examples, are you implying that either the bible doesn't exist in the real world, or that video games are somehow more real than a book? Perhaps you mean current examples rather than old ones, or only those in video games rather than from without, which are more poignant.

        Are you implying that educated people can't take the bible as fact (or at least creationism), or that they can't derive wisdom or "truths" from the bible in some capacity?

    The moment I saw this article heading, I cringed at the thought of all arguments that have already likely transpired over this video...

    Side note: didn't the US editor say we'd be "seeing more articles on alternate views or academic counterpoints to these videos"? When's that starting?

      When the basement doors are opened and the Febreeze canisters rolled in.

    I have to credit Anita, I disagree with some of her views, but she makes some informed and well composed arguments.

    On ther otherhand, I dislike Patricia's derivative, horse turd articles that usually follow Anita video.

    Did anyone else notice that Anita was wearing makeup, had big eyelashes, big hoop earrings and had her hair in a ponytail? Clearly a female, what a gender stereotype!

      She can't help the size of her eye lashes. Her hair isn't in a ponytail. But she is wearing lipstick, for which the primary purpose is evoking the vagina.

      Last edited 19/11/13 12:38 pm

      Yes, and I thought that was a brilliant move on her part. One of the points she was making was about the feminisation of a male character by adding eyelashes, earrings, makeup and a hair-tie, and how in every instance she mentioned, it resulted in the character being defined as "being female", rather than anything else. Her presentation of herself with those markers, while still presenting interesting and thought-provoking ideas, was a great example of how these markers don't need to limit the character's personality.

        Or, she just likes wearing that stuff.

          No one likes wearing ear-rings that big.

            Hey there's always someone out there who likes something wierd... lol

      Not sure where the humour or point is in this, thought I'd explain. Stereotypes stem from generalisations about what the average member of a group should be, in several instances you could be correct and they will match several of those features. The trouble with stereotypes isn't the person being typed, but the person viewing them, namely yourself in this case. The bad part of stereotyping is in assuming that because some characteristics line up with a stereotype, the rest does as well. Just got to remember that the variation inside of (common e.g. race, gender) stereotypes in guaranteed to be larger than the variation between their variants e.g. men & women.

      She followed the prescribed steps required to be recognised as a person of the gender she identifies as. Clearly anything she says regarding that prescription is rendered null!

    While agree that she has some very good points, her method is fundamentally flawed, and somewhat redundant.

    While there was about 4 minutes of great arguments, the following 19 minutes of repeating those same arguments, followed by, what makes this truly flawed, a paltry 2 minutes of counter point argument with little to no input on what can be done to remedy the issue

    While I don't expect a solo debate, I do expect that any well conceived argument should start by presenting the idea at hand, expanding those ideas, present counterpoints, present potential remedies to the issue at hand, present conclusion

    This was simply a presentation of 4 minutes of ideas, 19 minutes of beating us around the head with it, and a 2 minutes cram of counterpoint smashed right up to a poorly constructed conclusion

      I think a quick montage would be much better than repeated examples of characters. I think most people would get the idea after the Ms. Pacman example.

      "Fundamentally flawed" is the best way to describe Anita. It's sad that the loudest voice is also the most derivative. She contends that most sexism is subtle and subconscious, the way people think about what a woman is but she applies this same subconscious sexism that she's trying to stamp out, towards men. Because women are portrayed a certain way, there's an assumption that the gun-toting, white male in combat gear represents what men are perfectly. To me, this is just as much of a trope as the woman who likes shopping.

      I always thought that equality was gained through discussion and understanding but that's the one thing Anita doesn't provide. Her attitude on why she doesn't engage in discussion is understandable but severely inhibiting. The audience has a lot to blame for a number of things; obviously for acting like morons but then we've got the other side who've just decided that criticism of Anita means you're arguing or a moron who doesn't understand the issue. Now we've got blind detractors and blind supporters. I personally believe that surrounding yourself with the same views and ideas all over prevents progress and that Anita herself should heed the advice. I think that if she expects people to open their minds to 20mins of lecturing about something that is in some ways different but in most ways exactly the same as what she's said previously; she needs to have a similarly open attitude but that doesn't appear to be the case.

      Now we're left with someone who is able to wave and point their finger without being open to any sort of scrutiny who's being blindly lauded by some as being somehow enlightening in expressing views that have been said before and already explored in greater detail. She has a right to weigh in on the issue of course, it's just that I personally give my adoration to the many women who open up to the media and discuss this issue with actual attention paid to solutions, not the one who refuses to be challenged.

        Yep, definitely agree with this viewpoint. Unfortunately it's not just Anita. Feminism discussed all across the internet is oft filled with people taking this stance. Circular reasoning regarding things like The Patriarchy for example. The whole Us vs. Them stance which is literally the antithesis of progress in terms of achieving equality.

        It's diluting the 'brand' of Feminism with a whole bunch of pseudo-Feminism, and making it harder every day for the women and men who actually espouse the healthy stances and worldviews of these movements to effect real change.

        Last edited 19/11/13 5:18 pm

          Agreed. I never did understand why Feminists who loathe sexism and gender stereotyping, do it so often on the net at the top of their lungs.

    This is something I've noticed in a lot of games, and which has started to bug me. For example, games where I'm able to create any character I want, but the developers still assume I've gone for the default male character. While playing Skyrim, there were a few times when NPCs referred to my female character with male pronouns. That really screws up my immersion in the game, and only goes to show that, even these days, developers think "male" is the default choice.

      But that happens in real life ; )

      Once, while public speaking I referred to a women in the front row as "this gentlemen here" and as the words left my mouth I knew they weren't a man (they were dressed very neutrally). It was beyond embarrassing and I could not apologize more afterwards. Perhaps they should patch that in for Skyrim. Keep the male references in there but then have the NPC try to awkwardly apologies afterwards "I'm so so sorry, you're wearing very thick armour and I didn't recognise your femininity, I mean not that it's the thing that defines you ... but I just saw the armour and assumed you were a soldier and ... not that a women can't be a soldier, I'm sure there's plenty of really powerful female heroes out there ... I mean heroines ... I mean ... ugh ... I feel so embarrassed right now."

        Excellent idea. I would certainly find that amusing. And then I would stab that NPC for the hell of it. :D Also, I don't know who I feel sorry for more; you for a minor brain fart, or that poor woman for accidentally being called a gentleman (I'm guessing she wasn't particularly masculine looking).

    The women in games "problem" proboly wont be fixed until there are alot more women game girls, get your laptops out and start programing....If Anita here is right there is a whole market sector getting ignored and ready to throw you millions of there dollars. I'd give it a go but I have no real idea what women want.......I guess a sandwich making, beer serving type game?? possibly with some sort of shoe upgrade system??

    Last edited 19/11/13 1:11 pm

      It's quite surprising really that there aren't more female leads in games, seeing that in Australia at least, 47% of gamers are female.

        Because gamers dont necessarily equal games designers.

        Just because everyone can drive a car, doesn't mean we all want to be F1 drivers.

          That's kinda true. 50% of parents are male but a startlingly small percentage of men work in childcare. Game design is slowly shedding it's image of being a boys club. Incidentally, I used to work in childcare, I was a solitary male but women were always SO encouraging of me. They believed the more men that became involved in childcare, the higher their pay rates would be o_O

            Wish game designers could be as supportive of their female colleagues. You paint a nice contrast, I also work in a female dominated sector, they are so lovely, supportive and want more men in the industry.

        "seeing that in Australia at least, 47% of gamers are female."
        For the definition of "gamer" that simply means plays some kind of game, some one plays bejewled on the bus, and this study has them as a gamer because of it. what I'm getting at is that this study was merely about playing games, any games, even if it is just to kill time on public transport. It didn't look at casual gaming vs more serious gaming ect.

        Mm, isn't that 47% figure wildly inaccurate though? It includes people that occasionally play a game, and is an estimate, rather than those that identify as a gamer?

        As has been pointed out many times, I like to go to the movies, but I'd never call myself a movie buff.

          But does that mean that if everybody keeps making movies that belittle or completely disregard your existence as a movie watcher are ok? Do you not wish to see movies that are interesting to you? Do you not feel that you should be able to say "Hey, I want movies that I think aren't shit!" and not have everyone attack you for it?

            Of course not, and nice failure at a logical argument in suggesting I was saying anything of the sort.

            I was simply and only pointing out that the 47% figure is inaccurate. Nothing more.

              What your post implied was that those people's opinions were irrelevant.

                If the percentage quoted includes people that aren't gamers - that is, people who don't play console or PC games - then how is it relevant to the types of games we're talking about (like Mass Effect)?

                  You made the movie example. Whether you made an argument for it or not, you implied that anyone who doesn't play the type of games you consider to be 'gamer' games, their opinions shouldn't be included in the survey. Fact is that they provide a large chunk of the money that goes into the industry no matter what you think of the validity of their opinions and that their wants as customers (especially among female customers) aren't being met.

                  You made the point that you shouldn't be included in a survey about movies. By the same token, it implies that if there aren't any movies that are made for you without being awful, pandering crap, then that's ok. After all, you aren't a 'film buff' just like those people aren't 'gamers'.

                  No, the point made was that enjoying a form of entertainment doesn't make one a gamer - it requires self identification as a gamer, and most of those that play facebook games and such don't identify as much.

                  I didn't make that point at all - I said that I wouldn't be considered a 'movie buff' just because I like the occasional film. If it were a survey of movie buffs then no, I shouldn't be considered. If it was a survey of anyone that watches movies, well, that's different.

      I'd give it a go but I have no real idea what women want.......I guess a sandwich making, beer serving type game?? possibly with some sort of shoe upgrade system??
      This reminds me of a conversation I was having with a male friend of mine. I mentioned that video games rarely have fan-service to titillate straight female gamers, to which he replied developers should add some full frontal male nudity for female gamers to enjoy. I then had to explain to him (in between bouts of laughter and in the middle of a crowed restaurant at lunch time) that for women, titillation isn't all about the money shot (so to speak), and that the penis is actually kinda weird looking (think naked mole rat).

        If you're looking for female oriented fan-service, you should check out the otome game genre. They're predominantly Japanese, but are games created purely for a female audience, complete with pretty boys and romance plots.

          Not into pretty boys or romance plots. I was thinking more along the lines of characters like Nathan Drake or Ezio or something.

          Now that I've had a bit longer to think, I think this way of thinking is exactly the sort of thing Anita is trying to change, even if it wasn't intentional. Why is it that fan service for female gamers is kept within a specific sub-genre while male gamers get fan service in all genres? For example, I've been replaying Arkham Asylum (getting more trophies) and two out of the three female characters who play an important part of the main story are wearing next to nothing (Dr Young being the third, and most dressed, female character). Ivy is wearing nothing but a tiny pair of undies and a shirt with only one button done up while Harley is wearing a very mini mini-skirt and a push-up bra. There's at least one scene where the player gets a good view of Ivy's arse. Meanwhile, of all the male characters who are important to the plot (random goons and guards don't count) all but two are fully dressed. The two who are showing some skin, Scarecrow and Croc, aren't treated as sexual objects (admittedly, that would be kinda weird if they were). So, why is it that male gamers continue to get fan service while female gamers have to go for that previously mentioned sub-genre? It's because straight male is the default gender in not only characters, but it's presumed to be the default gender of gamers. I'm comfortable enough in my sexuality to not mind some perky boobs or shapely lady butt in games, but it would be nice if the same consideration that is given to male gamers was also given to female gamers.

            Why is it that both Thor movies have had extended scenes with Hemsworth shirtless, but no bare ladies in it?

            Short answer? They're pandering to their market.

              You're completely missing the point. Gaming is no longer solely a male only past-time (to be honest though, I doubt it really was to begin with. Every adult female gamer I know, and I know a lot, have grown up playing games. Heck, I started with the Atari and been gaming ever since). While the percentage of female gamers may not actually be the 47% as recently been reported (I don't know if that counts casual Facebook gamers or not), there's still a lot more of us than there used to be, and more of us getting into gaming as time goes by. Why should developers continue to ignore us and only pander to male gamers? They run the risk of alienating a growing portion of their market, and ultimately that's really just shooting themselves in the foot.

                I'm not missing the point at all. They're mostly ignoring you because you're still a small percentage.

                That's it, really.

                I don't agree with it, but it's how it is.

              Clearly, the occasional, rare example to the contrary completely obliterates the cultural norm!

    It really annoys me to hear Mass Effect criticized in this way. I always play as male character in a game because I am a male. I customise the character to look like me, The character is an extension on myself. Mass Effect had a great representation of races e.g. African American, Latinos in strong roles. Homosexual characters were treated with respect and had leading roles.
    When I played Mass Effect it reminded me of star trek, in that a mixed race/gender/homosexual crews will be the norm in the future. Jennifer Hale's Sheppard's trailer was great example of how bioware clearly cared for that character. I really felt Anita's speach had some interesting points until she started to split hairs on Mass Effect.

    Didnt she turn out to be a fraud, that hasnt actually played any of the games she mentions, and her boyfriend wrote all the scripts for her???

    I actually dislike this video. My reason is simple, her main focus was on Ms Pacman, yes she's right it's just Pacman with a few graphical changes, but in relation to games, well what do you expect. You can't really give much personality in that sort of game, Pacman had no personality either.
    The only really modern game mentioned was ME3. Where she felt that the female Shepard was just the female version of a male charater (to which I say yes, yes it is) and that the promotional material was all about Male Shepard. I'll be honest, all I remember of ME3 advertising was story after story about Female Shepard and her hair colour.

    A lot of her aguments to date have been about "why can't we have strong female leads, that are just as capable as a male", but Miss Pacman fails because a male character did it first, and ME3 fails because it didn't do enough promotion of the female Shepard?

    This particular video just feels lazier than the previous ones...
    Meanwhile I have to ask, anyone know how long it took to make this video, feels like >4 months to me.

    I get what she's saying but it's such a yawn. If she spoke less robotically and drilled it down to a 5-10 minute video I probably wouldn't have started skimming through after a while.

    ... good points nonetheless.

    The whole series kinda feels moot to me.

    If the majority of gamers are male, why would developers create characters that alienate the majority of it's customers; driving down sales? If, as some say, half of all gamers are female, (Which I'm skeptical about. How many do you know personally?) why change the formula that has already been successful with other females?

      Its kind've like you just said why shouldn't character design be exclusive to and inclusive of men if the majority of gamers are men, and the opinions and feelings of women who have a problem with the male-oriented status quo should be ignored because some women are gamers anyway...? Think on that for a second, pretty inconsiderate.

        I think he's saying from the point of view of developers / publishers who profit from it (i think).

        I was speaking from a pure business point of view. It's less profitable.

    I laughed at the end when she began citing examples of female characters she deemed acceptable, when Claire from Thomas Was Alone came up. "Of course! She's happy when all characters have no signifiers to the point of being bland nondescript shapes". But then I saw the rest too. The difference between the female characters at the end and the 'Ms. Male' tropes are very clear. I think her main points are very valid, and I know that if I was a woman, I would have a problem with female characters being defined by make-up and bows.

    I was surprised when she began ripping Mass Effect though, the female Shepard is awesome, and Shepard is so gender neutral. I understand the point about the marketing and 'male is default', but its hard to design a marketing campaign using both variations that doesn't confuse the audience. And to just dismiss the reversible cover as an afterthought? Come on, that's praiseworthy.

    My favourite female protagonist in my favourite game is Jade from Beyond Good & Evil.

    I have a problem with Mario's mustache... and male sheps stubble... and every other male character with facial hair, a ripped body and a deep husky voice. Why do video game designers try to convey the attributes of the characters in their narratives? Why can't they all just make polygons with no distinctly humanoid shape, with no voice or any other defining characteristics, less someone who doesn't identify with the designers choice of character, gets offended and makes a bunch of videos about it.
    Really, there is no question that sexism has been, and is now slightly less of a problem in our society. But why am I supposed to get the angry that a bow in a characters hair, when there are limited pixels for boobs or a vagina, represents them as a woman?

    I know this really has nothing to do with anything but damn those earrings are huge. You could light them on fire and get tigers to jump through them.

    Next time I want to show the difference between a male and female character I'll use big fuck off earrings.

    I still remember the glorious day we men decided in our secret Patriarchy meetings that we would depict all female characters with hair ribbons and lipstick, because that was the most effective way to oppress women worldwide. Still paying dividends I see.

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