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Feminist Frequency's Anita Sarkeesian Announces New Project

Sarkeesian is reaching beyond the world of video games for new series called Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History.


Feminist Frequency's Anita Sarkeesian, who created the Tropes vs. Women in Video Game series, has announced her next project--and it's not about video games at all. The new series is called Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History and it's all about "challenging stereotypes, smashing the status quo, and being defiant." Like Tropes vs. Women, Sarkeesian is looking to raise money for the new series by crowdfunding, launching a Seed & Spark page this week asking for $200,000.

"Rather than heroes, leaders and innovators, women are often depicted and treated as secondary characters in history, objects of affections, damsels to be rescued, or merely the wives, mothers, and assistants to the men who achieved important things," Sarkeesian said. "Instead, we're taking a look back at the amazing women throughout history who defied gender stereotypes and changed the world, to remind us that the stories we tell about women--in TV shows, comic books, video games, and in real life--often reflect the limitations placed on them, rather than the world-changing feats they've already achieved."

Ordinary Women will document the stories of women you may not have learned about in your history classes, including Murasaki Shikibu, Emma Goldman, Ching Shih, Ada Lovelace, and Ida B. Wells.

Each episode will feature original animation with its own visual style inspired by the woman in question. Additionally, Sarkeesian's clothing and makeup will take inspiration from the woman she's talking about.

"Given how rarely female leaders and innovators seem to show up in the stories we tell about historical greatness, it might be easy to conclude that women haven't really done that many extraordinary things," reads a line from the project's crowdfunding page. "Worse, the absence of women from these narratives not only impacts the way society sees women, but the way women and girls see themselves. In reality, women have always done important and ground-breaking things, even if they didn't always make it in the history books. We hope that our project can help shift perceptions of what girls and women can do, not just in exceptional cases but in perfectly ordinary ones."

Critics of the Tropes vs Women series said Sarkeesian took things out of context in an effort to make her case. According to a story from The Los Angeles Times, Sarkeesian has hired writer/researcher Laura Hudson to "make sure the facts presented in Ordinary Women are airtight."

Should Ordinary Woman reach its funding goal, the first episode, which documents Shikibu's story, will premiere in September 2016. The second and final season of Tropes vs Women is also wrapping up later this year.

For lots more on Ordinary Women, including a breakdown of the budget, backer rewards, and a timeline, check out the Seed and Spark page and this LA Times story.

For her work on the Tropes vs Women series, Sarkeesian was named to the "2015 Time 100," a list of the most influential people in the world that year, according to the iconic magazine. The show hasn't been without its detractors, as some in the online community have lashed out at Sarkeesian, sending all manner of horrific harassment and threats her way.

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