Earlier this week, Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $6,000 for a series of free videos about “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games“. (Full disclosure: I’m a backer, so you know I’m biased in favor of this project happening.) When I hear about videos on tropes in video games, I think, “Oh, cool, that could be interesting. I’ll check that out.”
This is certainly not a project I’d ever get angry about, but I’m forgetting a few things: the word “feminist” is involved and a woman is daring to eventually mention her opinion on video game tropes in a video no one will be forced to watch. Yeah, so that always ends well. If you don’t want to click on the link, here’s a summary: thousands of antisemitic and sexist comments were posted under Sarkeesian’s video about the upcoming project, several people flagged her YouTube videos as “terrorism” in an attempt to get them removed, her Wikipedia page was defaced with insults and pornography, and some very enlightened individuals invited her to get cancer and threatened to rape her.
What the f–k, internet? Seriously, what the f–k? Poor little persecuted hegemons might be reminded that other types of people exist by YouTube videos nobody is forcing them to fund or watch. Quick, threaten to rape somebody who mentions feminism. That’ll prove sexism is over.
Anybody who’s paying attention knows there’s plenty of misogyny in gamer culture as well as plenty of telling backlash tinged with creepy threats of sexual violence against any female who mentions sexism in gaming communities. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Thankfully, there’s a silver lining to this fat, knuckle-dragging cloud of douchebaggery. Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter page reached its funding goal in under 24 hours, and it has now exceeded that goal by over 2300%.
Now that Sarkeesian, who had until this project not solicited Kickstarter funding, has more money to use for research and filming, she’s expanded the scope of the videos she plans to produce. Each of the 12 videos will run 10 to 20 minutes and explore issues related to the representations of females in videogames. Topics include “Damsel in Distress,” “Women as Reward,” “The Fighting F#@k Toy” and “Top 10 Most Common Defenses of Sexism in Games.” She is also planning on developing a classroom curriculum for teachers. [Wired]
Sarkeesian also tells Wired, “Given all the backlash, the project is now going to evolve to include a much larger component about online harassment and treatment of female gamers in videogame culture, because what’s happening to me is not an isolated incident.”
If only it were.