In the second season premiere of Tropes vs. Women, Feminist Frequency's video series, media critic and host Anita Sarkeesian goes in-depth on the lengths developers go to in emphasizing — or hiding — characters' butts.
Specifically, Sarkeesian assesses games' use of "stategic butt coverings," as she terms it. Among the 37 titles referenced are Batman: Arkham City, Tomb Raider and Golden Axe: Beast Rider, each of which features or obscures the backsides of its characters in unique ways.
"This episode examines the ways in which designers often employ camera angles and clothing choices as tools to deliberately sexualize and objectify female protagonists of third-person games," according to the episode description. To drive home what Sarkeesian considers these intentional design choices, she contrasts how the portrayal of women's glutes differs from that of men's — or, rather, how men's derrieres are often hidden completely.
You can watch the video above or read the full transcript at Feminist Frequency's website.
Unlike past entries in the Tropes vs. Women series, which examines the depiction of women in games, "Strategic Butt Coverings" runs at just under seven minutes long. On the second season's Kickstarter campaign page, Sarkeesian wrote about how this is one of several changes planned for the project in the upcoming year.
"Instead of incredibly long videos that focus on one trope and deconstruct hundreds of examples, we are going to break it down into smaller bite-size pieces," she explained, describing them as more focused in nature than the longer season one episodes.
There are eight episodes currently planned for season two, with topics ranging from lingerie, exoticism and the difference between "fighting and fucking" in games. There's no release schedule for the episodes planned as of yet, and the focuses of the installments are subject to change.
Feminst Frequency is also working on a classroom curriculum and lesson plans designed around the series. The nonprofit organization recently launched a guide to best practices for online harassment prevention, as well.