About Feminist Frequency Reviews

March 17, 2016

A Message From Our Managing Editor

This is an exciting time for us here at Feminist Frequency. We’ve just announced our brand new series, Ordinary Women, and the response to that has been wonderful to see. We’re also thrilled to be launching our monthly newsletter, in which we’ll be sharing interviews with amazing women and keeping you in the loop about all things FemFreq. Finally, I’m particularly excited to tell you that we are about to make video game reviews a more consistent part of our programming.

As you may know, I’ve spent years working in games criticism, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to bring that experience to my work here. What excites me most about reviewing games for Feminist Frequency is the fact that considerations about matters of representation don’t have to feel shoehorned into reviews that treat such issues as secondary. Rather, they can be given the importance that they deserve, and be discussed not as something that exists entirely separate from other aspects like graphics and gameplay, but as part of the interconnected whole that makes the game what it is. We’re a small team, of course, with a number of other projects going on, so we have to remain selective about which games we review, but my hope is that we can contribute to the conversations that take place around some of the most important and impactful games of the year, from indies to mainstream blockbusters.

One thing that I always hope people take away from Feminist Frequency’s work is an understanding that engaging thoughtfully and critically with media isn’t just important; it’s also enjoyable. Our experience of games is richer and more rewarding not when we “turn our brains off,” but when we stay engaged intellectually and emotionally in what a game is saying and doing.

As we look forward to the release calendar for the rest of 2016, we’re very excited to be ramping up Feminist Frequency Reviews. Thanks for joining us; this is gonna be fun.

Carolyn Petit
Managing Editor

Hitman (2016) Review

March 17, 2016

Reviewed by Carolyn Petit

The latest entry in IO Interactive’s long-running Hitman series, simply titled Hitman, is here. Or, rather, part of it is here. Hitman currently includes two training scenarios and one full-fledged assassination, with new locations to be added in the coming months.

The game starts with a flashback section that serves as both a tutorial and an introduction to the mysterious Agent 47 for players who might not be familiar with him from earlier games. But the thing about Agent 47 is that there’s not much to know. He’s as unsure about his past as we are. In this new Hitman, he’s not ruthless. He’s not vengeful. He doesn’t seem haunted by his past or by the things he does. He just seems dispassionate and detached in the extreme. And the Hitman games are supposed to be a kind of assassination fantasy, a chance to play out the kind of perfectly executed hit that we see glorified in movies, pulled off by a killer for whom it’s all just business. But it’s worth asking ourselves, if extreme emotional detachment is part of that fantasy, why is that something that we admire? Why do we want to step into the shoes of a character who seemingly can’t feel much of anything?

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FREQ, our new monthly newsletter, has arrived!

March 10, 2016

The debut issue of FREQ, our new monthly newsletter, has gone out to thousands of subscribers! Each month, FREQ will bring you the latest news and updates from Feminist Frequency, as well as interviews with some of the most inspiring women in media. Our first issue features an interview with Jane Ng, the environmental artist who created the amazing world of Firewatch.

Check out the first issue here to see what you can look forward to in FREQ each month!

Make sure you dont miss out on future issues. Subscribe now to get FREQ delivered directly to your inbox every month!

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Announcing “Ordinary Women” Crowdfunding Campaign

March 8, 2016

Feminist Frequency is proud to announce a crowdfunding campaign for Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History, a new video series that spotlights the incredible true stories of women in history. This series is something that we’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

Visit our campaign page for more information!

Rather than heroes, leaders and innovators, women are too often depicted—and treated—as secondary characters in history, objects of affections, damsels to be rescued, or merely the wives, mothers and assistants to the men who achieved important things. But a closer look back at history can tell a different story, one full of defiant, daring women who challenged stereotypes and refused to settle for the status quo.

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Narrated by Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian, Ordinary Women will tell the stories of exceptional women from history: Murasaki Shikibu, the inventor of the modern novel; Ada Lovelace, the writer of the first computer program, Ching Shih, a pirate captain; Emma Goldman, a political revolutionary; and Ida B. Wells, a civil rights leader and journalist. Each episode will features an original score and original animation, with a distinct visual style inspired by its subject.

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Their accomplishments are a reminder that the stories we tell about women too often reflect the limitations that have been placed upon them, rather the things they can do–and have already done. We hope that our project can help shift perceptions of what girls and women can do, not just in exceptional cases but in perfectly ordinary ones.

Learn more and support our campaign by visiting: https://www.seedandspark.com/studio/ordinary-women#story

Feminist Frequency and Crash Override Partnership

March 3, 2016

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Crash Override and Feminist Frequency are proud to announce a new partnership. As of March 1, 2016, Feminist Frequency, a 501(c)3 non profit organization is the fiscal sponsor of Crash Override. By accepting tax-deductible donations through this partnership, Crash Override will be able to greatly expand operations, assist more people, and create more resources for the public, all for free. Together, Feminist Frequency and Crash Override will work to make a safer internet for everyone.

“Crash Override is an invaluable resource in combating online harassment and helping targets when they are most vulnerable.” said Anita Sarkeesian, Executive Director of Feminist Frequency. “This partnership helps further Feminist Frequency’s mission of ending online harassment and I’m thrilled we can support this essential work.”

In addition to this partnership, Crash Override has completely updated the organization’s website and developed a new free tool to combat online abuse called COACH – Crash Override’s Automated Cybersecurity Helper. Co-founder Zoe Quinn used a tool normally used to make games to make an interactive, easy-to-follow security checklist that allows anyone to secure their accounts, remove personal information, and protect their privacy at their own pace.

“We’re hoping that COACH can use the strength of interactivity to assist even more people. By taking huge guides and breaking them down into smaller step-by-step bites, we hope to bring practical digital self-defense to an even wider audience,” said Zoe Quinn, co-founder of Crash Override.

Crash Override, founded by Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz, is a crisis support network, advocacy group, and resource center for people who are experiencing online abuse. Since launching in January 2015, their crisis helpline has supported over 1,000 people, and countless more have been assisted by the tools and guides in their public resource center. Crash Override has advocated for our clients to tech giants like Twitter and Google, and in the public eye at Congress and the United Nations.

More information about Crash Override can be found at www.crashoverridenetwork.com

 

FREQ: A Feminist Frequency Newsletter

March 3, 2016

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Today, we’re very excited to announce FREQ, our new, monthly e-newsletter. Each month we’ll bring you updates on all things FemFreq, and we’ve got a big announcement coming very soon so trust us when we say that there will be lots to talk about!

Each newsletter will also include an exclusive interview, and we’re thrilled that our inaugural issue features a conversation with Jane Ng, the environmental artist who created the amazing world of Firewatch.

We’ve got a lot that we want to share with you. Don’t miss out on any of it. Subscribe to FREQ today!

On Twitter, Conspiracy Theories, and Information Cascades

February 22, 2016

On February 9th, Twitter announced the formation of a council made up of over 40 organizations, of which Feminist Frequency is one. These organizations are not involved in micromanaging Twitter on a daily basis or making decisions with regards to action taken against accounts or tweets, but rather, have been assembled to consult with Twitter generally about how to best navigate the challenges of allowing freedom of expression while also fighting abuse. In the days since the announcement, a wild conspiracy has formed that presents me as an Orwellian villain with the power to control what others can and can’t say on Twitter, despite the fact that, again, Feminist Frequency is just one of more than 40 organizations on a council that also includes groups like GLAAD and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Blog posts have been written, video rants have been filmed, and hundreds of tweets have been posted as this ludicrous conspiracy has spread. According to this conspiracy, any opinions I don’t agree with are being quietly silenced, while the people expressing them are being ominously “shadowbanned.” As the conspiracy spread, I went from just being a member of the council, to being in charge of the council. A few tweets even characterized me as being in charge of Twitter entirely!

Here is a very small sampling of tweets. Messages like these have been spreading for weeks:

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Of course there isn’t a shred of truth to this perception, but for the people spreading it, the truth is irrelevant. The tweets, blogs and videos are designed to incite rage and enlist more people to join the crusade against me. They are designed to make me out as a powerful enemy of free speech who is determined to crush the expression of any idea she doesn’t agree with, and they conveniently support the perception some have created that I am not a feminist pop culture critic but rather some kind of diabolical supervillain, hell-bent on creating an oppressive society.

This conspiracy and others like it are themselves a manifestation of misogyny, borne out of a deep distrust and hatred of women. They’re designed to foster fear and serve as a warning to other women about what awaits them if they challenge the status quo. Rather than replacing the pre-existing conspiracies, this new one fits neatly in with the others that have been and continue to be proliferated. It’s as if I’m a folk demon and this is yet another horror story people whisper to each other about me and, by extension, about what effects feminism may have on our culture if this imaginary menace is allowed to spread.

These absurd characterizations, unquestioningly accepted as true, then serve as the justification for more extreme forms of harassment. I know how this works because I’ve been down this road many times before. In fact, I talked about exactly this same phenomenon at XOXO in 2014, in my talk on information cascades and conspiracy theories. If you watch the talk now, you’ll see that while the story being spread about me may be different, the tactics haven’t changed at all.

Feminist Frequency’s 2015 Annual Report

January 26, 2016

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The Feminist Frequency team is pleased to present our annual report for 2015. The report features a list of our accomplishments throughout the year, highlights from media coverage, our financial information, some fun data about who watches our videos and how, and our plans for the new year, which we’re very excited about.

We hope you’ll take a moment to join us in looking back at 2015 and looking ahead to 2016; we think you’re gonna love some of what we have in the works.

Download the Feminist Frequency 2015 Annual Report [PDF].

Strategic Butt Coverings

January 19, 2016

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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. To illustrate that this is no accident, we contrast the ways in which women’s butts are frequently emphasized with the great lengths often taken to avoid calling attention to the butts of male characters. We then present some examples of female-led third-person games that humanize rather than objectify their protagonists.

This is the first episode in season two of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. For more on the format changes accompanying season two, please see our announcement here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/566429325/tropes-vs-women-in-video-games/posts/1469466

Press Image for Media Use: https://www.flickr.com/photos/femfreq/23844341504

ABOUT THE SERIES
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 Kickstarter.com

37 GAMES REFERENCED IN THIS EPISODE
Alan Wake (2010)
Alice: Madness Returns (2011)
Assassin’s Creed (2007)
Batman: Arkham City (2011)
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015)
Bayonetta (2009)
Beyond Good & Evil (2003)
Binary Domain (2012)
Blades of Time (2012)
Bully (2006)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (2014)
Dante’s Inferno (2010)
Devil May Cry 4 (2008)
Gears of War 3 (2011)
Golden Axe: Beast Rider (2008)
Heavenly Sword (2007)
Just Cause 2 (2010)
Kane & Lynch 2 (2010)
Life Is Strange (2015)
Lollipop Chainsaw (2012)
Max Payne 3 (2012)
Metal Gear Solid 4 (2008)
Ninja Gaiden II (2008)
Prince of Persia (2008)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003)
Red Dead Redemption (2010)
Remember Me (2013)
The Saboteur (2009)
Sleeping Dogs (2012)
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008)
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (2010)
Tomb Raider (1996)
Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness (2003)
Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008)
Watch Dogs (2014)
Wet (2009)
X-Blades (2007)

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That Dragon, Cancer Review

January 11, 2016


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Reviewed by: Carolyn Petit

Grief is…normal. Losing people we love is part of life, something almost all of us experience from time to time. Some circumstances that lead to grief, however, are more rare and more cruel than others. That Dragon, Cancer is a symbolic journey through the lives of creators Ryan and Amy Green as they face a plight that is incomprehensible to most of us: Their son, Joel, was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of childhood cancer that affects the brain. What makes That Dragon, Cancer so effective is the honesty with which the Greens let us into their hearts and minds; by doing so, they create a portrayal of hope and grief and love that is at once entirely their own and one that anyone who has suffered loss can relate to.

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