Saturday, November 10, 2012

Anita Sarkeesian.. wish I would of heard about her sooner!

Anita Sarkeesian is a "feminist media critic who focuses on depictions of women in popular culture" (Wikipedia). She is known for her blog website and her youtube videos that are also displayed in the blogs. She closely examines the representation of women in tv shows, movies, video games, etc. She has also spoken in universities and has had many interviews on her works. She pretty much makes our classroom discussions accessible to other people. What I mean by this is that she informs and teaches people how to think critically of the constant media we're being bombarded with in a quick 6-10 minute video. Which makes it really accessible, in comparison to doing readings like we have done for this class, in which only people truly into the matter would read on their own. 
I know I've posted 2 videos about her previously. But what's also really interesting to me is her Lego critic. 
Part 1
Part 2

She mentions how there has been studies that prove Legos are a great gateway for "childhood development". The Lego company apparently invested in thousands of dollars to research in order to create a product that would appeal to girls more considering they've been exclusively advertising for boys. But all that was concluded was nothing different from the stereotypes that are already established. Friends is the name of the new lines of Legos advertised exclusively to girls. It involves a land where girls can build houses where they can cook, shopping malls where they can shop, and salons where they can get their hair done. Yeah, all that kind of nonsense. Anita mentions how instead, they could have involved more girl figs in the Lego world, instead of creating completely different world with different girl characters that are nothing like the guy figs. 

What's most interesting to me is the whole research they've done. Though I would like to believe that they didn't do much research, but rather copy everything we already ASSUME girls would like, it is most likely that the results were that girls liked Friends. And the bigger question is WHY?! Well for starters, these girls that were used as testers for the product probably already had these ideas implanted from home and the media. Mom has probably bought her barbie dolls, and easy bake ovens, and a baby with a stroller, and her room is probably saturated in pink because she saw it on TV and asked for it. So there's really no way of escaping the reality of the fact that these stereotypes are so embedded that even a 5 year old will pick to play with Friends. So who's to blame Legos, right? Eh… let me not let them off so easily. 
The SPARK movement actually petitioned against the new theme because of the gender stereotype. They were able to hold a meeting with the company and they explained they wanted more involvement of girls in the Legos by adding girls to their advertisement and boys to the Friends line. And though the SPARK movement believed they had come to an agreement with the company, the company simply claimed to have done all those things and didn't change a thing.

And if it hadn't been for Anita Sarkeesian, I wouldn't have even thought about Legos and nor would I go research on what has been done about it, to find the SPARK movement. So these alternative media are obviously very informative and easy to reach out to. Though I know not everyone would go out of their way to research like I did, I do believe she can be very successful. Anita's current project, the tropes vs. women in video games Kickstarter entails more of how much of a success she has the potential to be. She has asked for donations to get her project going and has received over $30,000. Specially after people had continuously began harassing her over the internet. Though it's horrible, it's actually helped get more media attention so then people who sympathize with her are actually finding out more about her and what she does. This allowed her to be more visible to the mainstream world and hopefully become successful in showing the world that we can change the way we view our world. 


  1. It seems extremely silly to think that girls don't enjoy playing with legos as long as it isn't completely saturated with shades of pink. It's the reinforcement of stereotypes over and over again without any type of actual observation of children at play that leads them to this sort of conclusion. Even as a child, I played with legos and so did many of my female classmates, despite it being considered a 'boy's toy'. Our genitalia hardly effect our interests as much as the mainstream media would like to believe. Most likely, if it wasn't for the constant genderization that's instilled in every child growing up, none of these 'rules of thumb' with boys and girls would exist.

  2. Fernanda,
    It really saddens me that although it seems that Anita’s project is growing, there are so many people unaware that these issues exist. I wonder why our culture is so consumed with things that destroy us, as women, and just people in general. So many people turn away from positive messages. I am hopeful that enough people will follow and be like Anita and turn this society around for the best. Good example on how important alternative media can be.



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