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 the “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.
Due to the nature of the topic, this video comes with a trigger warning for violence against women.
For more information and a full transcript visit: http://www.feministfrequency.com/2013/05/damsel-in-distress-part-2-tropes-vs-women/
The Damsel in Distress: 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 an incentive or motivation for the protagonist’s quest. This is most often accomplished via kidnapping but it can also take the form of petrification, a curse or demon possession. Traditionally the woman in distress is a love interest or family member of the hero; princesses, wives, girlfriends and sisters are all commonly used to fill the role.
Damsel in the Refrigerator: A combination of the Women in Refrigerators trope and the Damsel in Distress trope. Typically this happens when a female character is killed near the beginning of a story but her soul is then stolen or trapped and must be rescued or freed by the male hero. Occasionally time travel or some other form of resurrection may be involved in the quest to bring the women in question back from the dead.
Disposable Damsel: A variant of the Damsel in Distress trope in which the hero fails to save the woman in peril either because he arrives too late or because (surprise twist!) it turns out she has been dead the whole time.
Euthanized Damsel: A combination of the Damsel in Distress trope and the Mercy Killing trope. This usually happens when the player character must murder the woman in peril “for her own good”. Typically the damsel has been mutilated or deformed in some way by the villain and the “only option left” to the hero is to put her “out of her misery” himself. Occasionally the damsel’ed character will be written so as beg the player to kill her.
Some of you might be interested in this :)
Watch it while you can, because this video has been flagged as inappropriate and removed automatically by YouTube (yay for bot moderators), and it hasn’t even been up for 24 hours yet. Angry little boys are desperately trying to attack by deleting her videos, since they can’t post their shitty “stay in the kitchen” comments on her YouTube anymore.
Wow, it’s pretty disturbing and gross watching all those clips back to back. I’m really glad Anita Sarkeesian is doing this series - these tropes are important to point out.
A montage of women being brutally assaulted, beaten, raped, tortured and killed sampled from the mainstream top-selling games on our market right now is really hard to defend. This episode should be an eye-opener.
Anita Sarkeesian fucking kills it in this video. She’s thorough and articulate, nothing more I can ask for. Still, I look forward to Part 3 where she covers subversions or break-out molds of the Damsel because it’s hard not to feel a little hopeless by the end of this segment.
It’s an amazing watch, though, and important if you are part of the video game culture both as a consumer or creator.
gah, I still need to watch this!
if seinfeld was a show about video games id be george costanza
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I was playing dragon ball advanced adventure again and i was clearly INSPIRED. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING
This made me laugh so dang hard.
that’s almost too cruel
I had to do this once with Privateer II: The Darkening. It gained a bit when he said “I bet you didn’t play it through, I bet somebody just told you how…” and I was able to smile gently and say “God, possibly, since I wrote the game.” And plainly the Deity was with me that day, as I happened to be carrying docs from my UK agent (who’d done the deal) that showed not only that I was the writer, but the five-figure sum I had been paid. …It was a happy day for me. Not so much for him. I’d never had a referent for the word “slink” for a full grown male before. As in “slink away in utter dejection.” I smiled for at least three days without stopping. And am smiling now… I had completely forgotten about this.
Reblogging because “I beat the game” is fantastic, but “I wrote the damn thing” is even better.