‘Feminist Frequency’ Calls ‘Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ Sexist With Series of Tweets

The Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild

Feminist Frequency, the non-profit organization ran by Anita Sarkeesian, creator of the Tropes vs Women in Video Games Youtube series, has called out The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for being sexist.

In a series of tweets posted to the account yesterday, Breath of the Wild is called out for having “sexist plot devices” and suggests critics don’t mention blatant sexism in video games if the game is good. Mention is made of the memories Link collects throughout the story and how the game acknowledges the ongoing problem of Zelda being a damsel in distress but doesn’t do anything about.

This isn’t the first time The Legend of Zelda has come under fire for being considered sexist. Ocarina of Time was called classist, sexist and racist in an article on Salon.

Anita Sarkeesian rose to fame for her role in Gamergate in 2014. She received death threats and was forced to move out of her home through all of this controversy according to an interview with The Washington Post. She even had YouTube delete her Feminist Frequency channel for a little while.



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The way I see it, Anita will only be happy if we have a female playable character in BotW. Zelda is an extremely well-developed character, and not really a damsel in distress. She traps Ganon’s power for 100 years while fighting the biggest battle of her life inside of him. Moreover, we see her have more of a personality than previous iterations. She has a role outside of being the princess, and she even resents the responsibility she feels she was born with. Moreover, we see, very clearly, that she’s a scholar; she’s not a damsel, and she’s not a warrior. She’s consistently intrigued by the world around her.
Is this Zelda neurotic? Sure. But we can’t really get rid of that without making her a Mary Sue – or we could, but she wouldn’t be relatable. She has the fate of the world on her shoulders, and she’s taken a big risk trusting Link, even if she doesn’t really have a choice.
You can write three or four paragraphs about her that involve how she *feels* about what’s happening in the world, as opposed to in other games, where you can really only speak to what she experiences/how the plot moves her forward.
Zelda is actually a huge leap forward for women in gaming in this version. And it’s too bad that Anita’s really too narrow-minded to see that. If she spent less time talking about women in gaming on a surface level, and more time actually engaging with her subject matter, she could do a lot more good. The last I really heard from her, she talked about women representation in gaming, and how developers dress and pose women. She and many other people focus way too much attention on the physicality of women in gaming, and the quantity of women in gaming, and that’s a common mistake I see feminists making.
It doesn’t matter if you have a full roster of women in your game if they don’t offer anything to the plot, aren’t well-developed, and don’t fit the context of the story.
Although we need to look more at how we dress women in games (Zelda looks great this time around- no stereotypical dress with pink hues) and she does have valid points in some areas, I think she’s really been missing the target lately.


Can we talk about the fact that Gerudo Town doesn’t allow men inside? And that Link has to disguise as a girl to infiltrate it? And that the Guard are nicer to Link if he’s disguised as a girl? And that the guards will throw Link out of town even after being accepted by the Gerudo chief if he puts normal clothes again?


So, does the game actually say mechanically or narratively that structuring the town this way is a good thing? Mechanically it is annoying to get in and narratively the town isn’t some utopia; it is basically the same as every other town. If anything, the average player will see this as reverse sexism rather than as an endorsement of “the Matriarchy” or whatever term is used this week.


Yes it does actually
“It is our sacred tradition and it shall be respected!” says one Gerudo guard.
“Disgusting voe are not allowed in our holy village.” says a gerudo woman patrolling from Oasis to gerudo town.
Ironically enough this is the least sexist Zelda game to date. Zelda herself is by and far the most relatable and realistic she’s ever been. She wanted to be the hero, not the princess. And throughout the course of Links memories we see a side of her for the first time, lashing out at Link because she doesn’t believe she needs protecting, yelling at him to stop following her, and trying to do everything alone. Meanwhile we see that Link sees the opposite, to him SHE IS THE HERO, she has sealed Ganon away for 100 flipping years *alone*, and he follows her because he wants to, not because he has to.

A particular scene resonates extremely well with the concepts of fate/destiny, to counter free-will.
“What if you didn’t want to be a knight, what if you didn’t want anything to do with it, would you still become a hero then?”
As players we almost never question the *reason* that Link is the Hero and Zelda is the Sage. Link is Courage, Zelda is Wisdom, that’s all there is to it. To us it just comes naturally, but for one of the few times in Zelda history we see both Zelda and Link *as people*. Who make mistakes, for example Link fails to defeat Ganon the first time, which is what got everyone in this mess in the first place. Zelda’s refusal to share information and ask for help, ultimately leads to everyone being extremely unprepared for Ganons attack on Hyrule, and the King himself admits that he could do nothing but watch as his Kingdom fell into complete ruin almost overnight.
All of the Champions who lose their lives cannot pass on because of their perceived failures.
The entire game makes it clear that being a hero is more than “being chosen” it’s *choosing* to use your gifts for your fellow people that makes you a hero. It’s not enough to be “destined”. And the first step is admitting that no one can do *anything* alone.

Also there is no *reverse sexism* there is just sexism. And Gerudo town is “The center of wealth and trading in the kingdom of Hyrule” according to the chieftess’s bodyguard.
AKA the most wealthy, lucrative, decorative, well guarded, second largest village in the game. Run only by women. Where literally being a man is illegal.
Now, I don’t give a damn about Gerudo town being sexist, because *that’s the point*, their culture revolves around the EXTREMELY LOW male birth-rates. And the last time they had a male in canon his name was Ganondorf, so you can’t blame them for being a little careful. It only makes more sense that they would at least be cautious around men, I’m not offended because I have to dress Link in drag just to proceed with the main quest, if anything I think it’s funny and exciting. And it’s interesting to see how other characters treat Link if he’s a girl. In fact, you could say that it highlights the struggles of a woman for male players because a great many characters think you can’t do the sidequests they give you, by virtue of being a “delicate flower”, many characters also have the ultimate ulterior motive of basically going on a date with you so I’d say it literally shows us male players a “day in the life of a female hero”. In quite realistic fashion if I do say so myself.

TL:DR This game is not sexist, inf act quite the opposite and I doubt Anita Sarkeesian has even played the game let alone gotten to Gerudo village, and no, it’s not because “shes a girl and girls are bad at games!” it’s because from what I’ve seen, she doesn’t actually play video games, at all. And the few times she’s played live, she’s terrible at them.

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