The Lady Sidekick – Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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This episode examines how female sidekicks and companions in games are often designed to function as glorified gatekeepers, helpless burdens, and ego boosters, a pattern that works to reinforce oppressive notions about women as the ones in need of protection and men as the ones in control, who take action and do the protecting.

We then feature some games with relationships that subvert traditional power fantasy mechanics, putting players on something closer to equal footing with their AI companions as they offer examples of what real communication, compromise, and mutual support in games might look like.

Full transcript for this episode:

The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects. This video series is created by Anita Sarkeesian and the project was funded by 6968 awesome backers on


Bioshock Infinite (2013)
Ico (2001)
Resident Evil 4 (2005)
The Last of Us (2013)
Prince of Persia (2008)
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2002)
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010)
The Legend of Zela: Ocarina of Time (1998)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)
Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (2006)
OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (2006)
Blast corps (1997)
Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (2007)
Killzone 2 (2009)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
Gears of War 3 (2011)
Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
Tomb Raider (2013)
Gears of War 4 (2016)
One Night Stand (2016)
The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014)
The Last Guardian (2016)

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