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In this video series, Feminist Frequency will explore five common and recurring stereotypes of female characters in video games
6,968 backers pledged $158,922 to help bring this project to life.

The Future of Tropes vs Women; An End in Sight

Posted by Feminist Frequency (Creator)

(Just here for the video? Skip down to the bottom for the next episode in the series)

2015 was our first full year as a nonprofit, and throughout the year I assessed what Feminist Frequency’s short-term and long-term goals should be. After seeing the goals and scope for Tropes vs Women in Video Games balloon far beyond my initial imagining, it's important to me to set reasonable expectations for future projects. So, I spent a fair bit of time last year laying the foundation for FemFreq to grow. I continued and expanded our advocacy and consciousness-raising efforts, worked on a complete overhaul of our logo and website, and put together a great team who have been diligently helping me prepare exciting new programming to launch this year.

I’m really proud of the work we have done with Tropes vs Women in Video Games; we took traditional feminist media criticism and developed our own framework for analyzing and deconstructing games via an accessible and engaging format that appeals to a wide-ranging audience. As I’ve talked about before, this project took on a life of its own beyond anything I could have conceived of on that spring day 3 1/2 years ago when I hit publish on a modest Kickstarter. As with many early Kickstarters that were wildly overfunded, we expanded the project accordingly, increasing its scope with each stretch goal. I was so excited that you were so excited about feminist media criticism. By the time we started creating the episodes, however, it was clear the project had become an ambitious beast. Each trope started becoming its own multi-part miniseries that took months and months of research and writing and production. So here we are, over three years later, working on a project that I thought was simply going to take six months to complete.

The reality is that Tropes took over my entire existence, both personally and professionally. For me, the work of Feminist Frequency has become synonymous with constant daily harassment, death threats, bomb threats, intense public scrutiny and profound violations of privacy that have spilled over into the lives of my friends and family. Along with all of this came an impossible pressure to never get any detail or fact wrong; even when our research was impeccable, harassers would act as though we were lying and start wild campaigns to generate more hostility toward us and our work.

The enormous amount of stress caused by the harassment, along with how the project unfolded, took a huge toll on my physical and emotional health. I have been dealing with depressive tendencies for the better part of my life but with my physical health declining and the added pressure of this project, my depression became quite intense. Looking back from a place of greater clarity and balance, I don't know how I managed to survive from day to day, let alone how I continued to step into the public eye online, in newspapers and magazines, and even on national television. Many of my personal relationships were strained or collapsing, and getting out of bed every day felt like climbing up a mountain. There was no end. I was going to be doing this tropes project forever. FOREVER.

In short, I burned out. In some activist communities we talk a lot about burnout because so many of us sacrifice our health, our relationships, our personal lives, in order to try and make positive change in the world. But I don’t believe this needs to be an either/or situation. I realised there had to be a way to balance my health and this project I deeply believe in. That’s why I’m making a change to how I complete this project, and I think you will like it.

But first, just a recap of what we have done already:

And we are currently working on: 

  • Bonus Video: Top 10 Common Defenses of Sexism 
  • Classroom Curriculum and Lesson Plans

We plan on completing Tropes vs Women in Video Games within the year but it’s going to look a little bit different. 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. We’re going to publish shorter, more focused episodes, by taking the theories and concepts from the remaining tropes and presenting them in 5-10 minute long videos around a very focused topic. These are the topics we will create (titles might change):

I’ve been working hard with my team and am excited to show you the new format - With no further ado, here's the first episode. I hope you enjoy it.

Camille Klein, Marty McGuire, and 86 more people like this update.


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    1. SL

      Dear Anita,

      This was the first-ever Kickstarter project I ever backed. And I'm so happy to have managed to contribute in a small way to such a massive, informative, incredibly well-organised, researched and delivered project. I can't imagine the toll it must be taking on you. I just wanted to send my support and let you know how much I appreciate you and your team's work.

      Like others have said, you can only carry on doing such awesome work if you take care of yourself first. For every negative, mean person out there, please know that there are at least 10 or more nice ones to take their place who really value what you do.

      Sending you all the positive vibes! And thanks for putting me onto some cool games :)

      If you ever find yourself in the Kansai region of Japan, let me know!

    2. Hans Peter Bak

      Yep. Bryan Hanks is so right. ^^
      I like what you have done with your hair Anita. :)

    3. Bryan Hanks on

      Anita - thank you so much for all you've done. I share the sentiment with others that this has been my best "return on investment" kickstarter ever, and I'm proud to have been able to contribute in some small way.

      I hope that you will take care of yourself *first* - the project is not more important that you are. That you have the strength to get up every day, despite the intense negativity directed towards you (and none of it--NONE--is your fault!), is a testament to your strength of character.

      I believe you have a made a real difference and I am profoundly grateful for you. If you're ever in Houston, I'll buy you a round for sure. :)

    4. jularlmin on

      Of all the kickstarters I've backed, this is one that regularly produces high quality content. Plus, you have been given a platform to share your research through talks and appearances on television, so it's great to see the success of this kickstarter even if the updates haven't been frequent. Looking forward to seeing more of the new format, and good luck with whatever you aspire to do after this. You've made huge and great changes to one of the biggest industries out there, so thank you for everything you've done so far!

    5. Missing avatar

      Ed on

      This is still great, you and your collaborators are still awesome, and I'm already satisfied with the content you've put out so far -- anything else is gravy.

      Please, stay healthy (like it seems you've been trying to do), and I truly thank you for fighting so hard for this. There are so many people out there that care deeply about you and the work you all are doing. Thank you.

    6. Josh Rubenoff on

      Really appreciate you sharing, Anita. Excited to see more work from you in the future!

    7. Marian Evans on

      Bravissima! What a fantastic job you've done. And your team. You've totally outperformed my expectations. Sending you all strength and every good wish for whatever comes next. I fervently hope you'll feel able to step away if you need to, for rest, recreation and rebuilding. Many many thanks for these resources and for your example of extraordinary creativity and courage, over a sustained period.

    8. Shervyn von Hoerl

      Thank you for everything you have done. It a simply amazing and informative body of work that has really helped me think about this issue.

      I am truly sorry it has been this hard on you and I hope this new format really is easier on you.

    9. Luke Meeken on

      This is a fantastic idea. I'm a high school digital art teacher who uses the TvW videos in my game design units, but I've typically had to make my own 5-minute edits of the videos to leave time for class discussion and project time. Making the videos shorter and more focused, while retaining the thoughtfulness and rigor of the longer eps, will make it so much easier to use these in class.

    10. Jason VandenBerghe on

      I tell everyone that this Kickstarter has paid off more than any other, before or after. 10/10, would fund again.

      You've done more than enough. Your continued dedication is astonishing. Thanks - and bravo on adjusting for your own limitations, you actual human being you. :)

    11. Forar on

      Thank you, for you and your team's long hours and hard work. These episodes aren't just entertaining and informative, they have become frameworks to help articulate the issues seen in gaming that some of my friends don't quite grasp.

    12. Missing avatar

      Ray Muirhead on

      Great work Anita - be well!

    13. AndreasH

      I think you're on the right way with the short form videos. Sure, in the earlier videos you neede to show you were talking about pervasive trends, not just about a few carefully picked outliers, but I think you just proved it can be done within a shorter video, too.

    14. Michael Barnes on

      Indeed please take care of yourself so we can enjoy your insights for many years to come.

    15. Missing avatar

      hyenaboy on

      I think everyone who backed this will agree you've done everything you can to finish what you've started and I admire your commitment in the face of the awful harassment campaign. I hope an end in sight lifts the burden a bit. Thank you for your dedication!

    16. Rik Spruitenburg on

      Another great video. I think the change in format reflects both a better understanding of the actual points you hope to convey and a better understanding of how to make enjoyable videos that contain that information. Still a very happy supporter.

    17. Dinah Sanders on

      Thank you for all your hard work. Glad you've found a way to combine giving us the smart critiques we want while taking good care of yourself. Looking forward to the rest of this one and to your future projects!

    18. Ross Cowman on

      I'm both thrilled with all the work you've done and your plans for concluding this project. FF could not have come at a better time for our culture. thank you!!!

    19. Alia Thabit on

      Brava, Anita! Props to you for keeping going in the face of such opposition. You give us all permission to speak up <3

    20. rayvyn2k on

      Thank you so much, Anita, for everything you have done, and continue to do. Your work is appreciated so much by so many people. Thank you for being strong and brave, even when you didn't feel either. Personally, I am a better person for having supported this project and I get so much out of all of the videos. I'm proud to say that I'm a Fem Freq! Keep up the good work.

    21. David E. Wheeler on

      Fantastic work, Anita. All the respect in the world for how you have persisted in the face of extreme adversity and burnout. Thank you.

    22. Oscar F'n Wilde on

      Thank you very much for the incredibly challenging fight you've done on your behalf for the last two years.

      As a gamer, I've become aware of the the privilege I have in getting games that fulfill male fantasies. And just how sad anonymity has made the vitriol spewed by an angry minority of gamers.

      Thank you for taking so much fire for being willing to fight against it. I hope 2016 is bright for you and you can put your health and friendships first! We're all here for you!

    23. supercrazy on

      Thank you, Anita, for the fantastic work. It is inspiring and wonderfully presented. All the surfaced vitriol goes to show how immensely important your work is. You're a hero.

    24. Steve Wark on

      Great titles for Season 2! I kinda hope they don't change after seeing what you did with "Strategic Butt Coverings." I admit it: I giggled.

    25. David Rutten on

      Great job on the entire series so far, looking forward to the new format. The contrast between 'Tropes' and your opposition could not be more stark and laughable.

    26. Rahul Choudhury on

      Keep going, looking forward to the new approach!

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      multijoe on

      You were put in an uneviable position, as long as the kickstarter money is going to FemFreq projects I can't really fault you for changing the stretch goal parameters a bit. Here's to a less hideous 2016!

    28. Duane Wilson on

      Keep up the good work. Even though it must be incredibly frustrating on every level i'm proud to support you and the team. Rock on!