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Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games is here at last

- March 8th, 2013

They called her names. They threatened her. They even made a video game about punching her in the face. But the haters couldn’t stop pop-culture critic Anita Sarkeesian from producing her Kickstarter-funded video series, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.

The first episode hit the tubes today, and be warned, it goes after some of gaming’s sacred crows. But, as Sarkeesian says: “Remember that it’s both possible and even necessary to simultaneously enjoy media while being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects.”

Amen, sister.




‘Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian’ maker disappears from Twitter

- July 9th, 2012

Ben (Bendilin) Spurr, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., man who made headlines after creating a video game where users could punch feminist blogger Anita Sarkeesian in the face has disappeared from Twitter. His account has been suspended, and the Twitter Powers That Be have not said why.

This comes after two straight days of defending himself online from people who find these kind of shenanigans abhorrent. He repeatedly insisted he deplores sexism, despite a Steam profile that indicates otherwise.


Toronto activist Steph Guthrie was one of the first people to call out Spurr on Twitter, sparking a long and drawn out debate, out of which a lot of thoughtful posts and discussions were born. Guthrie has documented the whole thing in a very thorough Storify, seen below:

Read more…

Sault Ste. Marie man gives Canadians a bad name

- July 6th, 2012


Ben Spurr has honoured his community and this great nation of ours by designing a video game in which participants get to beat the living crap out of a young woman. Specifically, U.S. blogger Anita Sarkeesian, who had the nerve to plan to eventually discuss tropes of women in videogames.

It’s a heartwarming tale of a hometown boy done good. Writes the Sault Star:

The backlash includes the game, which was posted to by a user calling himself Bendilin, 25, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

The game’s creator accuses Sarkeesian of “scamming,” money out of donors, and claims she, “Uses the excuse that she is a woman to get away with whatever she damn well please (sic).”

Ah yes! It’s a classic twist on the Nigerian Royalty scam, but instead of duping people out of money on false pretenses, Sarkeesian accepts voluntary donations through a reputable fundraising site and explains exactly what she’s going to do with the money. Genius!

In the game, cleverly named “Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian,” users click on a picture of the research student and watch as she develops bruises and cuts. But in case you were worried there might be some misogyny at play here, relax! The game’s creator has rationally explained that his artistic endeavour “isn’t about ‘punching women.’  It’s about punching a selfish person. There’s a difference.”

What a beautiful expression of gender equality. I hereby declare sexism defeated.






Good men should tell trolls harassment’s not cool: Jay Smooth

- June 15th, 2012

Good men need to speak up when misogynists run rampant, says radio host and video blogger Jay Smooth on the heels the threats and harassment on Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter pitch for an exploration of gender tropes in video games.

There’s lots of good stuff in here, but my favourite line has to be:

When you bully and harass a woman for speaking her mind all you do is show us is that you’re afraid of that woman’s voice and you don’t think you can beat her intellectually without using a cheat code.

Video via ThinkProgress’ Alyssa Rosenberg, who has been writing about male allies in video games and how they can take on the trolls.



An ode to the haters

- June 14th, 2012

In light of the recent swarm of threats and insults on Anita Sarkeesian’s video for her Women Vs. Tropes in Video Games Kickstarter page, or the bizarre flack The Guild‘s Felicia Day has faced over a  benign video about a gamer girl’s love for a country boy, this song about YouTube trolls couldn’t be more relevant.

You can download the tune by Clever Pie and Isabel Fay on iTunes with proceeds going to an anti-bullying charity.

Anyone who’s ever been told to f— off and die by an Internet commenter will find this very cathardic. Warning: The lyrics are NSFW-ish.

Can you spot the Doctor Who guest appearance?

Thanks to @Mel_Wood for the tip