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Feminist Frequency explores positive female characters with Sword & Sworcery

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

"When archetypal fantasy heroes in games are overwhelmingly portrayed as men, it reinforces the idea that men's experiences are universal, and that women's experiences are gendered," says Anita Sarkeesian in this inaugural episode of "Positive Female Characters in Video Games," a new subject in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series.

The video Illustrates the archetypal fantasy hero who happens to be female is the Scythian, whose woeful errand comprises the story of Capybara Games, Jim Guthrie and Superbrothers' Sword & Sworcery EP.

In the video, Sarkeesian points out that the Scythian's value as a female character is not diminished, and perhaps even supported, by the fact that it's easy to miss her gender entirely. S&S doesn't use the Scythian's gender as a twist reveal, but a player can easily assume that the hero on the quest is male until the game quietly establishes otherwise, after the first section of story is completed. Not a twist, but perhaps a teaching moment for some players.

Judging by the end of the video, we can also expect a forthcoming analysis of what makes Beyond Good and Evil's Jade a notable example of positive gender representation from Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.

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