Unfortunately, her conclusion to her video is entirely non-sequitor, as she provides no strong examples for discussion to  support her initial thesis that “Damsels in Distress” is a commonly occurring trope that disempowers female characters. She has not given us one good game with a true plot or story to analyze that includes both male and female characters. In all of the games that she’s discussed, “women” hardly even appear, as characters like Zelda, Peach, >random girlfriend of main character< are even “characters,” much the same that the protagonists themselves are hardly characters. Instead, they’re faceless placeholders used to facilitate an action-adventure game that doesn’t derive its entertainment or enjoyment from its plot or story. Do you really think that Princess Peach is a more influential female character in media than, say, Aya Brea, from Parasite Eve? Or Zelda is more influential than Yuna, from Final Fantasy X?

One of the most damaging things that Anita does towards the end of her video is to make incredibly strong claims while providing zero evidence that only serve to further the “preaching to the choir” mentality that she’s gone into the video with. Is it really a “fact that a large percentage of the world’s population still clings to the deeply sexist belief that women, as a group, need to be sheltered, protected, and taken care of by men?” We’re at an all time high right now for equality between the sexes. While problems definitely still exist, statements like these make it sound as though women are still fighting for suffrage. To complement this, she goes on to say that “the belief that women are somehow a naturally weaker gender is a deeply ingrained, socially constructed myth, which is…reinforced and perpetuated when women are continuously portrayed as frail, fragile and vulnerable creatures.” Did anyone see ANY of the Alien movies? Ripley was incredibly powerful. What about Kill Bill? Hell, let’s just stick to video games, games where plot is actually a central element to the game, and let’s see if we can find any with strong, female roles:

  • Baldur’s Gate
  • Beyond Good and Evil
  • Bioshock
  • Civilization
  • Devil May Cry
  • Diablo 3
  • FarCry 3
  • Final Fantasy (almost every game)
  • Fire Emblem
  • Halo series
  • Half-Life series
  • Heavy Rain
  • Mass Effect series
  • Metal Gear Solid series
  • Mirror’s Edge
  • Oni
  • Parasite Eve series (the villain AND the main character are powerful women!)
  • Perfect Dark
  • Resident Evil series
  • Saints Row
  • Silent Hill 3
  • Starcraft series (Kerrigan is incredibly powerful, as is the Matriarch from the Dark Templar)
  • Street Fighter series
  • Tomb Raider series
  • Warcraft
  • Xenosaga

When you take a look at the large amount of games that are produced today that actually attempt to construct a decent plot, you’ll find that a large majority of them portray women in a non-helpless light, if women are involved a lot, and that’s saying something when you consider that video games are primarily marketed to men. This says a lot in dispelling the idea that “the Damsel in Distress trope [is] a recurring trend [that helps to] normalize extremely toxic, patronizing and paternalistic attitudes about women.”

It’s good to talk about these problems, as women definitely do face a lot of problems in the gaming industry. I believe that anyone who turns a blind eye to problems like these and pretends that “everything is fine” is doing a disservice to both themselves as players and the entire gaming industry. That being said, i’s equally important to make sure that the problems you are addressing are actual problems, so as not to derail the conversation and steer it towards something of little to no relevance.