Anita Sarkeesian

American blogger

Anita Sarkeesian (born 1983) is a Canadian-American feminist media critic, blogger, and public speaker. She is the founder of Feminist Frequency, a website that hosts videos and commentary analyzing portrayals of women in popular culture. She has received particular attention for her video series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, which examines tropes in the depiction of female video game characters.

Anita Sarkeesian in 2011


  • Anita Sarkeesian: For me, the big picture has always been culture change, and pop culture was just a vehicle and a medium through which cultural change can happen or it can be influenced by; so it's not actually about video games. But it's about video games, right?
  • Anita Sarkeesian: I think it's important to recognize that harassment is, as someone had mentioned, not just what is legal and illegal, right? Harassment is threats of violence, but it's also the day-to-day grind of "you're a liar", "you suck", making all these hate videos to attack us on a regular basis, and the mobs that come from those hate videos, et cetera.
"When you start learning about systems, everything is sexist, everything is racist, everything is homophobic, and you have to point it all out to everyone all the time." ("How to Be a Feminist", 2015)
  • Geraldine Doogue: I'm intrigued by Anita saying she had to learn about systems. You had to learn about the sociology of systems and structural change, and that was obviously quite a journey for you.

    Anita Sarkeesian: Yeah, absolutely. I sort of joke about how it was the most liberating thing that ever happened to me, and also the most frustrating for everyone around me. Cause, like, when you start learning about systems, everything is sexist, everything is racist, everything is homophobic, and you have to point it all out to everyone all the time. So there's a good year of my life where I was the most obnoxious person to be around. And then you settle into it, you start to understand, like, oh, people have been living within these systems, and it was just sort of a liberating moment for me. You learn how to pick and choose your battles and that sort of thing.

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games (Feminist Frequency, 2013–2015)

"It's both possible, and even necessary, to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects." (Damsel in Distress: Part 1 (Mar 7, 2013))
  • We can trace the "woman as reward" trope all the way back the beginning of the medium itself as […] upon successful completion of many arcade games, players were rewarded with a related "smooch of victory" trope, so named for the kiss the hero received as a reward for rescuing a kidnapped princess. Sometimes the prize is blatant, as with the "standard hero reward" in which the king will give his daughter to the hero. On other occasions it's taken a step further by employing the parallel of "sex for victory" or "rescue sex" trope.
    • Women as Reward (Aug 31, 2015)
  • If you want to get to know a character, learn about their interests, goals or desires, their butt is probably not going to give you that information.
    • Strategic Butt Coverings (Jan 19, 2016)
  • Since mobile, indie and retro inspired games are built on a legacy of inequality in the medium the new wave of 80s and 90s nostalgia has brought with it a resurrection of the worst of the old-school damsel in distress stereotypes. Indeed, many of these new titles essentially function as love letters to the trope as a way of paying homage to classic games of years gone by.
    • Damsel in Distress: Part 3 (Aug 1, 2013)
  • It's both possible, and even necessary, to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects.
    • Damsel in Distress: Part 1 (Mar 7, 2013)
  • Why are […] female characters in combat roles wearing high-heels? With all the fighting, running and climbing these women have to do, dressing them in high-heels is clearly a decision rooted in sexualized aesthetic pleasure rather than believability.
    • Body Language & The Male Gaze (Mar 31, 2016)
  • For this video I tried to get a glimpse of Batman's rear end, but it's as if his cape is a piece of high-tech Wayne-Industries equipment designed to cover up his butt at all costs.
    • Strategic Butt Coverings (Jan 19, 2016)
  • The "mystical pregnancy" is one of the tropes that I loathe the most, because while other tropes represent women in stereotypical ways, this one hits us on a biological level.
    • The Mystical Pregnancy (Jul 28, 2011)

What It Feels Like to Be a Gamergate Target (ABC News, 2015)

  • It gets worse and worse, it reinforces this idea of women as sexual objects, right; there's this idea of women as playthings for their amusement … [that] we are not meant to be treated with respect.

The Colbert Report (Comedy Central, 2014)

"Well, maybe the princess shouldn't be a damsel and she could save herself." (The Colbert Report, 2014)
  • Well, maybe the princess shouldn't be a damsel and she could save herself.

Ordinary Woman: Just a few days left! (Feminist Frequency, 2016)

  • When the media we create excludes girls and women, fails to depict them as leaders and innovators or treats them as little more than side-kicks, love interests and sex objects, is it any wonder that women are systematically excluded and under-represented in so many careers and leadership positions?

Shutting Down Feminist Frequency (Aug 01, 2023)

  • I'm exhausted. I know that it's not unusual for nonprofits to have a life cycle shorter than a lot of people would like, but there are unique challenges when they're so entwined with an individual (me) who has become a symbol (oops), for better and for worse. I'm hoping that it will be valuable to share the reality of the bone-deep burnout that comes from consistently saying yes to the growth of Feminist Frequency, often at the expense of protecting my personal boundaries, and the workload of our team. While I've already said my piece about the harassment that myself and others have experienced over the years, reflecting on it now I can express both a sense of pride that conversations about online abuse have become part of our lexicon, and a reality that it has come at the cost of my health and wellbeing.


  • There's no such thing as sexism against men. That's because sexism is prejudice + power. Men are the dominant gender with power in society.
  • Not a coincidence it's always men and boys committing mass shootings. The pattern is connected to ideas of toxic masculinity in our culture.


  • Anime is the most disgusting, sexist, and misogynistic form of media to ever come out of Japan. Anime defiles women and caters to perverts and losers. These cartoons are corrupting teenagers and promoting rape culture.
    • Andrea Hardie (4 October 2014), @JudgyBitch1, Twitter, falsely attributing a fabricated screenshot of an over 140-character tweet to @femfreq

Quotes about Anita Sarkeesian

  • Shortly after the abuse of Quinn began, Anita Sarkeesian, a prominent feminist media critic and blogger, began to receive a similar wave of threats. … When Sarkeesian released a new video in her Tropes vs Women series, the mob, already attacking Quinn, connected the two women, seeing them as part of the same 'threat', and trolls began to abuse Sarkeesian as well. After her address was found and posted online, amid a mass of renewed death and rape threats, Sarkeesian, like Quinn, was forced to flee her home.
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