Feminist Frequency marks the start of a new month with today’s episode of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, which critiques the predominantly thin bodies on display in the medium. You can watch host Anita Sarkeesian analyze "All the Slender Ladies" above.
Blizzard Entertainment is among the developers criticized for almost exclusively focusing on trim women, despite the otherwise diverse roster of fighters in Overwatch. Other competitive team-based games are also taken to task for their representations of women, including League of Legends and Dota 2, and Street Fighter is called out as well.
"This isn’t just an issue in fighting games, MOBAs, and other titles that give players a range of characters to choose from," Sarkeesian said. "Female characters across the board are often limited to that same specific body type," defined as narrow-waisted, large-chested and sexually appealing.
There are exceptions that prove the rule, she adds. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 and even Overwatch include characters old and young, big and tall, thin and less so. It’s imperative that studios continue to spotlight diverse women in their projects, Sarkeesian mentions at the video’s end.
"When female characters’ bodies are liberated from the need to uphold narrow, limiting cultural beauty standards," she says, "the resulting range of representations can not only make games themselves more interesting; it can encourage us to see all women as the desirable, autonomous, fully human individuals that we are."
Tropes vs. Women in Video Games is currently in its second season. Season two is set to be the Kickstarter-funded YouTube series’ last. Feminist Frequency is launching another video series about female representation this fall, after funding it through a successful campaign earlier in the year.