How Video Games Use Women as Background Decoration

Trigger warning: This video contains graphic depictions of violence against women.

Misogyny is omnipresent in our society, but it has an especially widespread presence in video games. Female characters in games (if present at all) rarely play any significant role. Instead, they’re often reduced to background decoration used to advance the male protagonist’s journey — often through hypersexualized and/or violent means.

Check out this video in a series produced by Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian, who has been the target of vicious harassment — even being driven from her home due to death threats — for shining a spotlight on the misogyny present in many video games. Show your support for Anita and Feminist Frequency by helping spread her videos via their Feminist Frequency YouTube channel and by following her on Twitter @femfreq.

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Anita Sarkeesian is a media critic and the creator of Feminist Frequency, a video webseries that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. Her work focuses on deconstructing the stereotypes, patterns and tropes associated with women in popular culture as well as highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces. Anita lectures and presents at universities, conferences and game development studios internationally. She has been interviewed and featured in publications such as The New York Times, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail and The Boston Globe. Her videos are freely available via the Feminist Frequency YouTube channel and widely serve as educational tools in high school and university classrooms. Follow her on Twitter @femfreq.