clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Siskel and Ebert made their own 'tropes vs. women' video in 1980

New, 207 comments

Anita Sarkeesian made waves by pointing out how often the bodies of hurt or even murdered women are used as background decoration in video games, but the argument that the suffering of women is an overdone trope in pop culture isn't new. In fact, Siskel and Ebert made the same point about movies.

They devoted an entire episode to it, in fact. On television. By the time this video was shot in 1980, the show was already airing in close to 200 stations, and was the "highest-rated weekly entertainment series in the history of public broadcasting" according to Wikipedia.

"These films are coming out week after week, playing to millions of people, and the dominant image is ... women like that, cowering in the corner, knives being brandished in their faces, being raped, being sliced apart, that's what going on in American movies," Gene Siskel argues in the video. "That's why we're doing this show."

It's interesting to see how other art forms deal with these issues, and how long this sort of criticism has been leveled against pop culture from all sorts of critics, even critics as well regarded and widely seen as Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.