Feminist critic reminds us of forgotten female legends

'They couldn’t have picked a better way to celebrate Women’s Day,' one attendee said

Sarkeesian's presentation about her book at the ROM.  Rhythm Sachdeva/Toronto Observer

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto celebrated an early International Women’s Day on Tuesday with a lecture by feminist media critic and advocate Anita Sarkeesian. She brings neglected stories about girl power back to life.

Sarkeesian, the executive editor of Feminist Frequency, a nonprofit organization that looks at how women are represented in pop culture, is known for “Tropes Vs. Women in Games”, a YouTube series that discussed how the game industry negatively characterizes women.

She is now turning to the representation of women in historical narratives. Partnered with author and activist, Ebony Adams, Sarkeesian discussed their book, History vs. Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don’t Want You To Know.

The book profiles 25 women throughout history whose stories have been overlooked by most researchers and educators.

“We want to tell you about the legendary figures who didn’t make it into your history books, movies, and bedtime stories,” Sarkeesian said. “And to destroy the false notions of what women are capable of.”

Sarkeesian aims to bridge the gaps in historical records of women of colour and capture stories that marvel women’s victories as well as exploits.

During her talk, she also discussed the importance of acknowledging female villains, she hopes to shatter age-old stereotypes and gender roles imposed on women.

The lecture was followed by wine, cheese and a book signing.

Sarkeesian signs a fan’s book at the ROM .(Rhythm Sachdeva/Toronto Observer)

“The content she produces is amazing, and she’s just a really strong woman,” said Mellie Doeri, who attended the event. “They couldn’t have picked a better way to celebrate Women’s Day.”

Sarkeesian’s talk is a continuation of the ROM’s #MeToo & the Arts series, which involves film screenings, panel discussions, and arts performances.

The series was initially launched last year and has now developed to an ongoing cultural discussion about history, gender, and power dynamics.

“Anita was our first choice as she’s an incredibly well-spoken and talented woman from the GTA,” said Erin Kerr, co-ordinator of adult programs, events, and commercial services at the ROM.

“What she brings to the table from her ‘history vs. women’ dialogue and experience with the gaming industry is very topical and the ROM really does want to become a place that is a centre for hosting important conversations.”

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Posted: Mar 6 2019 9:23 am
Filed under: Arts & Life eGaming Features