From Feminist Frequency: Damsel in Distress: Tropes vs Women in Video Games

This 3 part Web Series by Anita Sarkeesian, unpacks the many, one-dimensional ways in which women are represented in video games.

If you grew up playing video games like I did, you might notice familiar titles like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and many others in this series.

For some, it can be hard to see sexist patterns or their implications even those that are unintended when playing certain games independently of one another.

However, Anita’s commentary and the way in which she makes connections and highlights the trends one after another illuminates how consistently women are portrayed as damsels in distress in this medium in a way that is undeniable.

For me, watching this series sparked the question of is a game really just a game, or is there a deeper level of socialization taking place?

Great for fans of video games, people interested in examining and dismantling male privilege, sexism, patriarchy, rape culture, violence against women, etc.

Part 1 is featured above.  It’s video description states:

“This video explores how the Damsel in Distress became one of the most widely used gendered cliché in the history of gaming and why the trope  has been core to the popularization and development of the medium itself.

As a trope the Damsel in Distress is a plot device in which a female character is placed in a perilous situation from which she cannot escape on her own and must then be rescued by a male character, usually providing a core incentive or motivation for the protagonist’s quest.”

Full Post at Feminist Frequency


Damsel in Distress: Tropes vs Women Part 2

TRIGGER WARNING: This video contains a handful of graphic scenes involving violence against women. Parents should preview the video first before sharing with young children.”

This is the second in a series of three videos exploring the Damsel in Distress trope in video games. In this installment we look at “dark and edgy” side of the trope in more modern games and how the plot device is often used in conjunction with graphic depictions of violence against women. Over the past decade we’ve seen developers try to spice up the old Damsel in Distress cliche by combining it with other tropes involving victimized women including the disposable woman, the mercy killing and the woman in the refrigerator.”

Full Post at Feminist Frequency


Damsel in Distress: Tropes vs Women in Video Games Part 3

This is the third installment in our three part mini-series exploring the Damsel in Distress trope in video games. In this episode we examine the rare Dude in Distress role reversal and then take a look at the use of “ironic sexism” in retro inspired indie games. We conclude with an investigation of titles that attempt to subvert or deconstruct the traditional damsel narrative.”

Full Post at Feminist Frequency


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



Get New Notes in Your Inbox

Enter your email address to have new notes delivered to your inbox.

Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

You may also like...

Share Your Thoughts: Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: