Anita Sarkeesian concludes her latest installment of the feather-ruffling Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games series with a pertinent question: Why do we think depictions of brutalized women are necessary to make a game feel real?
After a thoughtful and lengthy dissection of how video games use violence against women as background decoration or lazy character development, singling out games like Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Bioshock, Watch Dogs, God of War and Hitman, Sarkeesian explains:
It’s so normalized that when these elements are critiqued, the knee-jerk response I hear most often is that if these stories did not include the exploitation of women, then the game world would feel too unrealistic or not historically accurate.
What does it say about our culture when games routinely bend and break the laws of physics and no one bats an eye? When dragons, ogres and magic are inserted into historically influenced settings without objection? We’re perfectly willing to suspend our disbelief when it comes to multiple lives, superpowers, health regeneration and the ability to carry dozens of weapons in a massive invisible backpack, but somehow the idea of a world without sexual violence and exploitation is deemed too strange and too bizarre to be believable.