At 40 years old, Anita Sarkeesian has this physical status:
Sarkeesian launched her website Feminist Frequency in 2009, while a student at York University. She created the site in an effort to create accessible feminist media criticism. Videos created for the site analyzed social and cultural gender structure and popular culture from a feminist standpoint, such as applying the Bechdel test to pictures nominated for the 84th Academy Awards in 2012 and highlighting Lego's role in reinforcing cultural norms.
In 2011, Sarkeesian partnered with Bitch magazine to create the video series Tropes vs. Women. The series examined common tropes in the depiction of women in media with a particular focus on science fiction. The series comprises six videos dedicated to tropes such as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Women in Refrigerators and the Smurfette Principle.
In 2011, Sarkeesian co-authored the essay "Buffy vs. Bella: The Re-Emergence of the Archetypal Feminine in Vampire Stories" for the anthology Fanpires: Audience Consumption of the Modern Vampire. She spoke at conferences and workshops about media criticism and video blogging, and was interviewed by UK Sunday newspaper The Observer in March 2012 about modern media culture, stating: "I think to the extent that it could be creating authentic, human female characters, it is a push towards a more feminist media."
In March 2012, Sarkeesian and her blog were listed in the journal Feminist Collections's quarterly column on "E-Sources on Women & Gender". Her blog has been utilized as material for university-level women's studies courses, and she has spoken at universities on the topic of female characters in pop culture.
Sarkeesian was inspired to start a video series on female representation in video games after she was invited to speak to developers at Bungie. On May 17, 2012, she began a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of short videos that would examine gender tropes in video games that was featured as a campaign of note on the official Kickstarter blog. The threats and harassment she received in response generated widespread media attention, and resulted in her ultimately far exceeding her funding goal of $6,000. The final amount raised was $158,922 from 6,968 backers. While stating that the support Sarkeesian has received "stands at a counter" to the harassment, Sal Humphreys and Karen Orr Vered, writing in Television & New Media, suggest that the harassment Sarkeesian received may ultimately serve to discourage other women from following Sarkeesian's lead for fear of being subjected to similar attacks.
Sarkeesian initially planned to release the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series in 2012 but pushed it back explaining that the additional funding allowed her to expand the scope and scale of the project. The first video in the Tropes vs Women in Video Games series was released on March 7, 2013. The first three videos discuss examples of the "Damsels in Distress" trope, in which passive and often helpless female characters must be rescued by the male hero. Chris Suellentrop of The New York Times referred to the first four videos of the series as "essential viewing for anyone interested in video games", and cites it as the reason why he asked Nintendo producer Shigeru Miyamoto about the themes of damsels present in his games, to which he responded "I haven't given it a lot of deep thought over the years".
Colin Campbell writes at Polygon that Feminist Frequency has had a demonstrable effect on the games industry, stating, "video games have seen a rise in the number of positive women and minority protagonists and a decrease in the tropes [Sarkeesian] discusses" since the launch of the project. In January 2015, as part of a $300 million effort to increase diversity and inclusivity in the technology sphere, Intel announced it would partner with Feminist Frequency and other groups to help promote increased career opportunities, engagement and positive representation for women and minorities in technology and gaming.
On January 23, 2015, Feminist Frequency issued its first annual report and announced they were planning two new video series tackling the "positive" portrayal of women in video games, as well as the "portrayal of masculine identities in games".
On March 8, 2016, Feminist Frequency launched a crowdfunding campaign for an animated video series called Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History. The planned 5-episode series will explore the lives of historical women such as Ida B. Wells and Emma Goldman. The video series was released in 2017.
In March 2016, Feminist Frequency began a formal partnership with the Crash Override Network, agreeing to serve as its fiscal sponsor. Crash Override is a support group for victims of large scale online abuse formed by game developers Zoë Quinn and Alex Lifschitz in the wake of the Gamergate controversy.
The Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series ended with its final episode, "The Lady Sidekick", posted on April 27, 2017. Sarkeesian announced that Feminist Frequency would produce another series.
In March 2019, Feminist Frequency returned with a three part miniseries on Queer Tropes in Video Games that is similar to Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.
According to Axios in March 2022, "Reflecting on her work and its impact during a Game Developers Conference talk ... Sarkeesian says that making [Tropes] videos today might be 'not impossible, but harder,' as there are fewer examples and 'the pattern is less egregious.'"
In October 2022, Sarkeesian began a new video series on online streaming service Nebula called That Time When, which "looks at the moments when pop culture and politics collide in modern history".
Media scholar Soraya Murray calls Sarkeesian emblematic of "a burgeoning organized feminist critique" of stereotyped and objectified portrayals of women in video games.