Some Thoughts on Jessica Jones

December 1, 2015


Spoiler Warning: This post discusses events from season one of Jessica Jones in detail.

The new Netflix series Jessica Jones has so much potential, and I watched it in the hopes that it might deliver on that. Unfortunately, the show reminded me of something I learned through a series of failed relationships in my 20s: on its own, potential doesn’t mean much of anything.

I was intrigued by the first episode, which introduces Jessica as a tough, flawed private investigator, and in so doing flips the male archetype of the haunted, hard-drinking noir PI. At times, Jessica Jones reminded me of another show about a young female investigator, the cult favourite Veronica Mars (which is amusing, since star Krysten Ritter played a supporting role on that show). It’s not just the fact that they’re both investigators that makes the two women similar. Just like Veronica Mars and many other “strong female characters,” Jessica Jones’ rough edges, the aspects of her character that fuel her internal conflicts and make her tough, badass, and emotionally wary, originate in her history as a survivor of rape and psychological abuse. Of course, we need stories about survivors, models of women (and men) who do the heroic work of putting one foot in front of the other and trying to heal after suffering traumatic experiences. But too often, a history of abuse is used as part of a female hero’s origin story, part of what gives them their strength. (more…)

Some Brief Thoughts on The Martian

November 24, 2015


I decided to go see The Martian by myself one night after a long day at a conference. It was late, the film didn’t start until 10:40, which after the commercials, trailers, and technical problems, meant 11 o’clock. I was already yawning and worried that I wouldn’t stay awake through the film. But it only took ten minutes before I was sucked into this gripping story and by the end of it, I was so energized and excited that I couldn’t go to sleep.  (more…)

Rise of the Tomb Raider Review

November 8, 2015

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Reviewed by: Carolyn Petit

2013’s Tomb Raider reboot gave us a new, and at least superficially more human, Lara Croft. Gone were the cartoonish features and Barbie doll proportions of the legendary adventurer. The new Lara Croft looked like a real person. The story half-heartedly tried to make her act like one, too, showing her feel guilty about killing a deer early on, but Lara’s internal conflict was quickly swept aside as she became a walking arsenal, slaughtering enemies by the dozens with bows, pistols, shotguns and other weapons.

The first teaser trailer for the sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, showed a seemingly troubled Lara in a therapist’s office, so I hoped that this game might be that rare blockbuster action adventure that at least takes violence somewhat seriously. I hoped it might acknowledge that even if you were in a situation where you absolutely had to kill hundreds of really, really bad people to survive, doing so would probably leave you a little traumatized. But Rise of the Tomb Raider doesn’t do that. I won’t spoil exactly how the therapist actually figures into the story, but I will say that it’s not in a way that suggests Lara might actually benefit from therapy after everything she’s been through.  (more…)

Talking Publicly About Harassment Generates More Harassment

October 29, 2015

A few months ago, I posted a series of tweets about some of the most disturbing and vile sexual harassment I have received online.


(Read my entire series of tweets here)

Because the behaviors of online harassers are often so predictable, I feared that doing this would result in a flood of similar harassment, but I felt it was important to speak out about it precisely because men use tactics like this in an effort to silence and disempower women, and because I know that gendered online harassment of this sort is hardly unique to me. It is important that people understand just how ugly and horrifying the epidemic of online harassment can be. This is not something that can be dismissed or ignored; being the target of such sustained, widespread harassment tactics can and does take a very real mental and emotional toll. Nobody should simply have to accept this as the price of participating in social media.

The tweets you see here represent just a small fraction of the responses I received within the first 24 hours of my comments about this particular online sexual harassment tactic. The responses number well into the hundreds and continued to pour in for weeks. Please note that while I’m not sharing any of the copycat responses that included pictures of genitalia or other explicit imagery, I did receive a great deal of those in addition to the responses below.

Content warning for misogyny, gendered insults, victim blaming, sexual violence, sexual harassment, and threats.


Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Review

October 22, 2015

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Reviewed by: Anita Sarkeesian

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is the latest entry in Ubisoft’s long-running open-world franchise, and although the gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from an Assassin’s Creed game, Syndicate distinguishes itself from its predecessors. It stands apart not because of improved mechanics or visual design but because its developers have made noticeable attempts to portray a more inclusive cast of characters.

Syndicate follows twin assassins Jacob and Evie Frye on their quest to liberate the oppressed working class of 19th century London from ruling class thug Crawford Starrick and free the city from the Templars’ control. It’s clear that Starrick is a monster from the first moment we see him because of his evil mustache and his penchant for punching desks.

Preceding the release of last year’s Unity, Ubisoft came under intense public criticism for its repeated lack of playable female characters in the core games. 2012’s Assassin’s Creed III had a tie-in game, Liberation, starring a female protagonist, but it was not a core entry in the series and in its initial release was relegated exclusively to handheld. Syndicate is a clear response to gamers’ increased desire for more capable and powerful female options. Promotional materials for the game emphasized Jacob as the primary protagonist, leaving some wondering just how big a role Evie would play. From Syndicate’s first moments, we see the twins together, and after completing a short mission with Jacob we immediately start playing as Evie. Throughout the game, each twin is assigned specific missions that are catered to their individual interests in London’s liberation, but outside of that, players are given the choice to alternate between the siblings while navigating Syndicate’s open world.


State of Play: Creators and Critics on Video Game Culture

October 20, 2015


A piece I co-wrote with Katherine Cross on the dynamics of sexist harassment in online gaming is featured in the new essay collection The State of Play: Creators and Critics on Video Game Culture, edited by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson. I’m proud to be represented alongside insightful, thought-provoking work by Evan Narcisse, Zoe Quinn, and others.

Available for purchase on Kindle and Hardcover





Limited Edition ‘FREQ’ tanks & tees!

October 12, 2015

freq-ladies-2_large freq-uni-2_large

Feminist Frequency is launching our very first t-shirt and tank with a sleek 80’s-inspired design. Shirts are available in men’s and women’s cuts ranging from extra small to 4XL and can be shipped all around the world. These limited edition shirts will only be available until October 30th, 2015 and will never be printed again.

Get yours before they’re gone forever at!

UN Report on Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls

September 25, 2015


I visited the United Nations on September 24th to speak at the launch of the Broadband Commission Working Group on Gender’s Report on Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls. At the event, I spoke about the need for social media sites to reimagine how their systems function in order to build tools that actively deter online harassment.

You can read more about the event here.

Women as Reward – Special DLC Mini-Episode

September 14, 2015

This totally free supplemental add-on content pack for our Women as Reward video examines how women’s bodies are used not just as a reward for in-game actions but also, via paid downloadable content, as a reward for spending actual money. We then address the most common defense of this kind of objectification and commodification of women’s bodies: the argument that “sex sells.”

This video is intended as a supplement to our Women as Reward video, which we recommend watching first:

Press Image for Media Use:


The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects. This video series is created by Anita Sarkeesian and the project was funded by 6968 awesome backers on

Dead or Alive 5 (2012)
Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (2013)
Enslaved (2010)
Far Cry 4 (2014)
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2012)
Mass Effect 2 (2010)
The Saboteur (2009)
Saints Row: The Third (2011)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (2012)


Women as Reward

August 31, 2015

Content Warning: This educational episode contains game footage of a graphic sexual nature.

This episode explores the numerous ways in which the Women as Reward trope manifests in video games. The trope occurs when women or women’s bodies are employed as rewards for player actions, a pattern which frames female bodies and sexuality as collectible or consumable and positions women as status symbols designed to validate the masculinity of presumed straight male players. We then discuss how this trope both reflects and reinforces the pervasive, socially constructed mentality of male entitlement that operates in the background of our culture.

Press Image for Media Use:

The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects. This video series is created by Anita Sarkeesian and the project was funded by 6968 awesome backers on

Alice: Madness Returns (2011)
Asura’s Wrath (2012)
Castle Crashers (2008)
Conan (2007)
Dead Rising (2006)
Defender of the Crown (1986)
Donkey Kong (1981)
Double Dragon (1987)
Dragon’s Lair (1983)
God of War (2005)
God of War 3 (2010)
God of War: Chains of Olympus (2008)
God of War: Ghosts of Sparta (2010)
Grand Theft Auto 4 (2008)
Grand Theft Auto 5 (2013)
Joe & Mac Returns (1994)
Kid Kool (1990)
Lollipop Chainsaw (2012)
Mafia 2 (2010)
Metal Gear Solid 4 (2008)
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (2004)
Metroid (1987)
Metroid II (1991)
Metroid Fusion (2002)
Phelios (1990)
Rad Mobile (1991)
Ratchet & Clank (2002)
Resident Evil 5 (2009)
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence (2006)
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (2015)
Ride to Hell: Retribution (2013)
Rings of Power (1991)
S.P.Y. Special Project Y (1989)
Shadowgate (1987)
Shellshock: Nam’67 (2004)
Sid Meier’s Pirates! (2001)
Splatterhouse (2010)
Stanley Parable (2013)
Super Hang-On (1987)
Super Metroid (1994)
Super Off Road (1989)
Tales of Vesperia (2008)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989)
The 3rd Birthday (2011)
The Final Round (1988)
The Saboteur (2009)
The Witcher (2007)
The Witcher 2 (2011)
The Witcher 3 (2015)
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 (2002)



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