Make Canoe my Homepage

Anita Sarkeesian proves Internet trolls won’t keep women away

- June 12th, 2012

There’s a certain type of dude who believes that men deserve to have things like comic books or video games all to themselves. They think their nerd culture is sacred place that feminism can’t touch. A place free of those nagging womenfolk. A safe space to indulge in misogyny, free of repercussions.

But as they spew their anonymous hatred, in-game or online, they’re faced with the increasingly obvious fact that no, they don’t get gender dibs on entire facets of pop culture. Not only will women continue to engage with nerd culture and carve out their own niches, but they will also continue to criticize its many, many flaws. There are a lot of us, our concerns are valid, and we’re not going anywhere.

That’s what the god awful commenters on blogger Anita Sarkeesian’s* Kickstarter page learned, when despite their flood of threat and insults, her bid for a Tropes vs. Women in Video Games video series earned 10 times (and counting) the funding she was seeking. See the pitch below:

Have no doubt: Commenters threatening Sarkeesian and telling her to get back in the kitchen are trying to silence her and any other woman who dares express her opinion on so-called boys’ toys. But their efforts will fuel the opposite effect. As The Mary Sue’s Becky Chambers rightfully notes this serves as a reminder that we need to keep talking about gender issues in video games:

And gamers, we need to keep talking about gender portrayal (and race portrayal, and everything else portrayal) in games. Storytelling tropes and the harassment of women players are two separate topics, but as the attack on Anita Sarkeesian has shown, they are closely intertwined. Our debates and critiques about game content are how the industry checks our pulse. These discussions are the most recent chapter in the ongoing analysis of artistic meaning, something that our species has been engaged in for millenia. It is vital to the further evolution of games as a creative medium that we keep talking about these things. We may argue and disagree and fail to reach consensus, but as long as the conversation can flow unhindered with civility and respect, everybody wins in the end. Forcibly silencing someone through bullying or disingenuous tactics (such as erroneous YouTube flagging) is reprehensible, regardless of which side of the debate you’re on.

Oh, and  thanks to her more than 3,000 backers, Sarkeesian is going ahead with the project. Sorry, boys.

* If you’re not familiar with Sarkeesian, I highly recommend you check out her Women Vs. Tropes in TV and film video series. It’s funny and eye-opening and I can’t wait to see what she does with her new project.

Subscribe to the post

Leave a comment

 characters available