In an unhinged, Trump-like Twitter rant, Feminist Frequency blasted Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for having a sexist plot in the current year.
“There is so much to admire in BOTW,” the nonprofit organization led by Anita Sarkeesian Tweeted. “It’s gameplay is incredible. But that absolutely doesn’t excuse its use of tired, sexist plot devices.”
They also lambasted critics for giving the game a perfect review score, which apparently shows they “don’t give a damn about how women are represented in games.”
For years the group has been on the cutting edge of nitpicking and handwringing about the problematic content found in video games.
They are criticizing Zelda for its “damsel in distress” trope, which they see as a sexist Scarlett letter for any game which dares to use it. But did they even play the game or, at the very least, read a synopsis? If they had, the group would have realized that Zelda is not a helpless princess in distress, but a bad ass heroine in her own right.
Warning: the following contains major spoilers from Breath of the Wild.
In past Nintendo games, the damsel in distress trope went like this: A princess is captured by a baddie, and the male hero rescues her.
But at no time in BOTW is Zelda kidnapped. It’s actually a clever role reversal. Throughout the game, Zelda is keeping the antagonist, Ganon, trapped in Hyrule Castle with her magical powers. She cannot defeat him on her own, but needs the help of Link and various other heroes of Hyrule.
Before the events of the game, in a fight with Ganon, Zelda and Link, Link dies like a bitch and Zelda has to take charge and keep Ganon from escaping and destroying the world. While Link is being brought back to life, Zelda sets everything in motion for Link’s return. She’s basically in charge the whole time. Link just follows her plan by waving his (probably phallic) sword around.
She even wears super woke, ready for action clothing that Sarkeesian advocates for women in video games.
The entire conceit of all Zelda games is that Link and Zelda hold equal pieces of the puzzle (Triforce) necessary to defeat Ganon. She doesn’t need Link to sweep her off her feet and do all the fighting for her, she needs him because they must use both their skills to defeat the final boss.
In the final fight, Link gets sidelined at the end, and Zelda must step in to finish him off, sealing Ganon away with her magic. Even the imagery of this encounter is reminiscent of the corporate art installed on Wall Street recently where the bronze girl stares down the bull. That “feminist” scene literally happens in Breath of the Wild before Zelda deals Ganon the final blow.
Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency are like reactionary feminists. They often have knee-jerk reactions to video games, they don’t play and don’t fully understand.
Perhaps the most “problematic” part of the group’s Twitter rant was when they chided reviewers for giving the game a perfect score despite BOTW’s sexism. If Feminist Frequency-brand feminism, which is sex-negative and almost Dworkinian, was used to review games, almost everything short of Tetris would get a point penalty. Unless, of course, you view the phallic, penetrating imagery of Tetris as anti-feminist, then it would be literally every game.