Saints Row Dev Responds to Feminist Frequency Critique

"I think it's fair to be called out."

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Steve Jaros, Studio Creative Director at Saints Row developer Volition, has responded to the latest video in Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes vs. Women In Video Games series, which outlines the trope of women used as background decoration in games.

Jaros posted a link to the video via Twitter the day after it was released. "This is something we all should be better at," he said. "Yes the original saints Row is listed here. Yes it should be."

While speaking with The Escapist, Jaros admitted that there is a problem with the way women are portrayed in games. "I think that we shouldn't be portraying senseless abused women and I think that if I could go back and hop in a time machine I would have done things differently."

Jaros says that Volition has gotten better at representing women in Saints Row games over time, and that the team debates and tries to dress and address female characters in ways that don't sexually objectify them.

"I think it's fair to be called out on your s**t," he said. "I think that it's a sad man that can never be self-reflective. I think that we tried to go and carry ourselves with respect, and try to respect sexuality and respect gender as much as we can, and sometimes we fail but hopefully we'll do better and continue to get better."

Sarkeesian has faced waves of harassment since the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series debuted, but things escalated to a terrifying level this week with death threats that drove her to contact the police and leave her home.

The most recent episode in the Tropes vs. Women In Video Games series, the second part of a program called Women As Background Decoration, was published on Monday. The series was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2012.

Yesterday, Volition announced a standalone Saints Row expansion subtitled Gat Out of Hell for PC, 360, PS3, Xbox One, and PS4, as well as a port of Saints Row IV for Xbox One and PS4.

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Avatar image for Fallen_Lord

More typical biased reporting. Please provide real proof to the "death threat" that made poor little Anita run and hide. People who actually do investigate things have cast some serious doubts on the validity of the tweets. A more realistic and accurate account would be that her latest video was bombing with hardly any views upon release but then suddenly Anita is back in the spotlight thanks to another death threat that had some really opportune timing. The woman that hates damseling really cannot stop playing the role of a damsel herself.

Avatar image for vexermaster


Please Volition, Don't listen to this garbage! You are one of the few games that let people play as women in a fun game! I beg you, don't ruin saints row and it's unique blend of comedy, action, and fun! I made up an awesome super cool female protagonist and yet, these feminists don't even give you credit for allowing something that should be considered cool! PLEASE READ AND DON'T RUIN SAINTS ROW!

Avatar image for deathblow3

uuugh i guess saints row is dead last i check the attacked everything they could in that game heck you could run around naked and increase the sizes of everything on your avatar man or woman. i guess you could add male hoes but then no one would do the missions.

Avatar image for daikkenaurora12

The next Saints Row is going to be so reserved and bland.

Avatar image for homey_d_clown

While I agree with the IDEA that women should not be sexualized, this will never happen until women stop sexualizing themselves!

"Just because I'm dressed this way does not make me a wh0re!" Which is true, Gentlemen, that is true. Just because they dress a certain way doesn't mean they are a certain way.... All right, ladies, fine. You are not a wh0re. But you are wearing a wh0re's uniform.” - Dave Chappelle

Avatar image for rarson

While I agree that it's not right to sexualize all women in all video games, I don't think it's necessarily wrong to portray sexualized women. After all, women sexualize themselves when they dress up for a night out. That's a huge problem that I have with the feminist movement in general. It seems that it often wants things both ways. On on hand, a woman wants to be treated as an equal, and on the other hand, she bemoans the death of chivalry when a man doesn't hold the door open for her.

Obviously I'm speaking in generalities, and specifically of the feminist movement and not women in general. But the point is that women often dress themselves to look and feel sexy. It's wrong to ignore that and act like all sexualized depictions of women in video games are wrong.

Avatar image for amillionhp

<< LINK REMOVED >> Spot on, yet i can tell you what the responses to this are and why women are essentially justified to do whatever they want to themselves while simultaneously shaming every man on earth. Its the patriarchy and man in general who are ultimately responsible for every dark side of women. It sounds like completely absurd, entitled, selfish nonsense but i promise that is basically the gist behind feminism. Of course a counter argument will be carefully phrased and presented in such a way to entice pity but rest assured, the final take-away point behind all of it is... its YOUR FAULT.

Avatar image for rarson


(I know this was posted a while ago, but I just read it, so forgive me for such a late reply.)

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for women empowering themselves and righting societal wrongs, but I think feminism, like any movement, becomes misguided once traction is gained. Sure, women don't want to be treated as objects, but just because someone portrays a woman as a sexualized character doesn't mean that all women are objects. That's an absurd conclusion to draw, but that's exactly the conclusion that is drawn when one acts like ALL sexualization of women is wrong. I mean, women are sexualizing themselves at times. So clearly that's not the case.

I just wanted to clarify my point, because I'm not against feminism or anything like that, I'm just against knee-jerk overreactions and complaining about things that don't deserve any real attention.

Avatar image for Prometheus

When are you going to upload your next sexy Jessica Nigri cospay video, Gamespot?

Avatar image for Mega_Skrull

Sarkeesian is a terrible and pretty offensive representation of women

Avatar image for Prometheus

The argument doesn't get better by repeating it all the time.

Avatar image for musalala

LOL what was he supposed to say? F Anita?

Avatar image for daikkenaurora12


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Avatar image for JusticeSoulTuna

"I think that we shouldn't be portraying senseless abused women"

Meanwhile, male characters will continue to die in horrible, over the top and sometimes humiliating ways in the always disproportionate ratio to female characters. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Avatar image for stryker1121

<< LINK REMOVED >> But that's not what the issue's about. This is not about men but about how women are being portrayed in games. Why deflect the issue?

Avatar image for daikkenaurora12

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Both sides have issues.

Avatar image for pound-u

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Pointing out blatant hypocrisy is not deflecting.

Avatar image for rarson


He's not deflecting the issue, he's pointing out how absurd it is to focus on.

Avatar image for AyatollaofRnR

Someone from gamespot ask IO Interactive how they feel bout feminist frequency gleefully misrepresenting their game Hitman Absolution in her last video.

Someone with no credibility shouldn't be calling other people out.

Avatar image for chieflion

chicks should not be offended by pixels.

Guys play video games. Girls do to. But the game is what they should be focused on, not the fact that boobs are there. Developers make games for people to play, i wouldn't play saints row if all the chicks were educated working women that wear kakis and black and white blouses, **** that, i play saints row cuz its flat out ridiculous, tit jiggling, zany mayham. and above all its fun.

Avatar image for b1ank

Bet she never made mention that guys can be "sexually objectified" the same way in these games. If she did, then colour me surprised

Avatar image for gosushi

<< LINK REMOVED >> You've gotta love the double standards of this pointless charade.

Avatar image for Zloth2

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Did either of you two actually LOOK or did you just assume?

Avatar image for gosushi

Yeah, I watched a clip, but anyone who has just making assumptions could easily be forgiven - these click bait articles don't shed much light on the topic.

Did you bother to watch any?

Avatar image for MasterSatsujin

RIP Saints Row 2009-2014

Avatar image for waterturtle

Whether you think Ms. Sarkeesian is right, (she is and provides a lot of information to back it) she has a right to voice her opinion. Go a head, check the US amendments. She post on HER site on HER youtube channel. YOU are the ones looking for those videos. The backlash for her voicing how she feels is ridiculous and Steve Jaros is right that "it's a sad man that can never be self-reflective." She has a right to say what ever she wants and shouldn't fear for her safety just like you can post here and not worry. The comments like "the less I feel she should have a say involving women in video games" or "they're doing it because she's a liar and a con artist" (not sure what shes lying about) that remind me of those people who hold up signs from 60 years ago saying "whites only." Now, I'm not saying you two feel this way, just saying that it is comments like that come from people who are afraid or don't like change (again not saying you two think that.) The idea of something new scares people, whether that be minorities using the same bathroom as Caucasians or women being allowed to vote or gay marriage being legal.

There is a bigger issue that feminist are trying to fight and this is a small step in the right direction. If we start planting ideas that women can be the protagonist and not be sexuliezed in the head of or youth while playing a game, maybe that will help change the bigger picture later on down the road. And in the mean while allow ALL 45% of gamer who are women to feel comfortable playing any game (I know that's impossible) than even better
Avatar image for Fallen_Lord


People like you who kowtow to feminists in the name of political correctness are just one of the problems. SJW's are trying to infect everything with their agenda as it makes them lots of money. It is not just games that they are profiting from. Have you heard of the stink SJW's are raising in the atheist community? Try reading this article, maybe it will open your eyes a little.


Avatar image for waterturtle

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Also, the article you posted doesn't really have a whole lot to support it. Most of it is subjective or speculation. And you realize the situation in this article is the same situation the Ms. Sarkeesian is in right? If we're going to speculate the Bonniers probably didn't want that kid to kill himself. However there are Tweets and comments that are very threatening, a game where all you do is beat Ms Sarkeesian's face and vial doctored photos of her. All documented.

Avatar image for waterturtle

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> First off, none of what you say is relevant to anything I posted or this particular situation, just your opinion about me personally. But I suppose we can talk about this new subject.

Its not about political correctness, its about what's morally right. This articular you posted is about ONE situation and these women in this ONE particular situation are possibly radicals.... Like any situation, a group should not be held responsible for radicals nor grouped with them. I have meet feminist who are so narrow minded, I feel like it hurts the movement they are apart of. I don't support any type of bullying, especially online. I feel its one of the most cowardice things someone can do. And yes, I fell like its wrong to make THAT much money off of a movement. It's also wrong to use your connections to cover it up, but I'm sure a lot of feminist also feel that way. Are you the type of person who hates all Muslims because a handful terrorize free countries?

I consider myself a male Feminist and I'm a masculine man. I watch football, drink beer, itch my ass and have a fantastic handlebar mustache. I think people have this idea that male feminist men are, well, feminine. And there are a lot of us, WITH our eye open, seeing how women are being treated on a daily basis, not denying whats going on.

I do appreciate you bringing up this new topic.... that has nothing to do with what I had to say. It definitely needed to be talked about.

Avatar image for SaudiFury

<< LINK REMOVED >> "If we start planting ideas that women can be the protagonist and not be sexuliezed in the head of or youth while playing a game, maybe that will help change the bigger picture later on down the road. "

Gaming, it's meant for pushing my social agendas on children. Won't someone think of the children?!

your no better then the busy body mothers worried about hard rock music (Frank Zappa anyone), Dungeons and Dragons, Violence in video games (Jack Thompson).

your just the latest incarnation and you don't even know it. Too busy wanting shove your agenda on EVERYTHING think it's what's best for everyone

Avatar image for spacecadet25

Women interfering with artistic visions of game developers, that's ultimately what this comes down to. Do women get upset about painters that paint nude women? Do women get upset when they see men sexualized in the covers and within the pages of romance novels?

Women wouldn't like it if men banded together and tried to dictate the content of stories and the covers of romance novels that they don't read, so why is it o.k. for non-gamers to band together to try to dictate the content of games?

And if there's a lot of women interesting in AAA games (not just mobile), then they need to get into the industry and make the games they want. Just like romance novels, women write those, they didn't try to force like Tom Clancy to write romance novels instead of military novels he wants to write.

Avatar image for Gary_Stanton

<< LINK REMOVED >> "Anita Sarkeesian interfering with artistic visions of game developers, that's ultimately what this comes down to."

FiX'D. You're welcome.

Avatar image for spacecadet25

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> She's not the only one that tries this, if that's what you're implying. Otherwise I don't know what you meant there.

Avatar image for SaudiFury

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> If the past few weeks have shown us anything. She really isn't. and it's not always a she either.

Avatar image for deactivated-58b0b257815cf

This is sad. Why do developers care what this charlatan says?

Avatar image for charlieholmes

I love that it's so easy for people to say the right thing. Rarely is it easy for them to actually do them!

There-in lies the real problem!

Avatar image for Yamakoichi

I get she isn't a gamer, I get she lied about even playing the games in her videos as shown by hidden tapes from her talks, she stole the material and even takes things 100% out of context like the gears of war references in earlier videos but there are still two problems, A. even if they are false death threats are childish and B. yes there is a problem with women in games and media. :/

Avatar image for Orga777

I always wondered why people take what she says as close to the vest as they do. For everyone to claim she is such a terrible person, they sure give her all the free publicity in the world. Ever think that just ignoring her and letting her have her opinion as a much better idea? Because, really, it doesn't hurt you at all guys, so stop acting like a bunch of spoiled children. She isn't going to take away your games, and I think having more gender balance in video games is only GOOD for us as consumers. Mostly because it can give us new stories and experiences instead of the same usual crap we tend to get.

Avatar image for SaudiFury

<< LINK REMOVED >> That's kinda what was happening then the alleged death threat came in and the gaming bloggers and their friends in liberal-side of journalism wrote their pieces thrusting her back into the spotlight.

her previous two videos were not doing that well prior to this. Nor was she the talk in gaming circles nearly as much. because she was old news. and if people can learn to ignore her, she'll fade away into the background.