Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian has launched the first video in her "Women as Background Decoration" series, dissecting how women are portrayed as non-playable sex objects in video games and the real-world effects these images have on players. Women as Background Decoration is the second series in Sarkeesian's Tropes vs. Women video campaign, which raised $158,922 on Kickstarter in 2012.
In part one, Sarkeesian breaks down how women are hyper-sexualized and transformed into objects in many games, allowing players to use, abuse and dispose of female sex workers as if they were things, rather than people. She covers series such as Grand Theft Auto, Fable, Fallout, Sleeping Dogs, Watch Dogs, Hitman, Red Dead Redemption, Duke Nukem, Dishonored and The Godfather.
"These games systematize sexuality in ways that dehumanize women, essentially turning them into vending machines dispensing sex, along with other goods and services. Their worth as characters is measured entirely in terms of what they can give to the player .... When men are depicted using female NPCs as tools or commodities, their actions are portrayed as part of what makes them powerful, which is by extension part of what makes the player then feel powerful."