When Is A Joke Not A Joke? When It's A Trope. 'Damsel In Distress: Part 3 - Tropes VS Women In Video Games' Is Live


Media critic and filmmaker Anita Sarkeesian is back with a third installment of her "Tropes vs. Women" video series, this time looking at the game industry's sometimes awkward attempts to subvert traditional gender roles in games. Over 23 minutes, Sarkeesian breaks down why simply acknowledging a trope isn't in and of itself commentary (and some times just as bad as the trope it's calling out).

I'll let you dig into the video and Sarkeesian's analysis for yourself, but there's some meaty stuff here--including the inclusion of "Super Meat Boy" and otherwise excellent indie games which homage the damsel in distress motif of the past with a wink and a nod, while not actually providing any commentary. But as Sarkessian points out, when a helpless heroine is still at the center of many modern games, there's really no commentary being offered by replicating it with a dash of irony thrown in.

Let's switch tropes for a minute (kind of) and look at "Far Cry 3," that oh-so-problematic shooter which recycles the same "white savior" legend used in pop culture ever since the British began dreaming of an Empire, all under the blanket of "satire." The thing is, most of the depictions of minorities in that game are no different from other tone-deaf depictions of helpless/hapless/or noble savages in Kipling. If the thing you're commenting on is already an extreme, making it "more" extreme doesn't add anything to the conversation.

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