It’s hard to believe that it’s been three and a half years since Anita Sarkeesian launched the Kickstarter for Tropes vs Women in Videogames. The project was funded by people excited about the prospect of videogames being deconstructed and analysed through a feminist lens and it has absolutely delivered thought provoking and refreshing criticism of the way women are represented in videogames. But it has also led to harassment, death threats, and indescribable violations of privacy for Sarkeesian and those who support her. Despite this, Tropes vs Women in Videogames has continued to put out content, although the project has now been going much longer than its initial six month plan.
The first episode of the second series was uploaded to YouTube yesterday, and with it Anita Sarkeesian updated the project’s Kickstarter page with an announcement of plans to change up the format a little. In an attempt to balance her health and the project she has already put so much time into, Anita has decided to make the Tropes vs Women in Videogames videos shorter, but more frequent, writing: “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.” She also revealed the planned topics for these episodes, which are subject to change.
The plan is to complete the series within the year, but the completion of series 2 will be the absolute end of the project. Although stating she’s “really proud” of the work she and her team have done on Tropes vs Women in Videogames, Anita also says “Tropes took over my entire existence, both personally and professionally[…] 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 […] 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.”
It’s unfortunate for fans of the series, but when you read about the toll the project has taken on Anita’s physical and emotional health it’s understandable that she wants to bring things to a neat close, continue the work of Feminist Frequency in other areas, and take back control of her own life.
You can watch the first episode of the second series, “Strategic Butt Coverings” over on YouTube now.