Exposing The Hate One Woman Gets For Examining Video Games

Anita Sarkeesian wanted to make a web series about how women are portrayed in video games. She asked the world for $US6000. Some of the people who thought that was interesting and worth doing have given her just shy of $US159,000.

Some of the people who thought it was not worth doing have defaced her Wikipedia page, written vile things to her on YouTube and... well, that's what she already told us about in mid-June. But, wait, there's more, as Sarkeesian explains in a new post on the Feminist Frequency blog:

In addition to the aggressive actions against me that I've already shared, the harassers launched DDoS attacks on my site, attempted to hack into my email and other social media accounts and reported my Twitter and YouTube accounts as "terrorism", "hate speech" or "spam". They also attempted to "dox" and distribute my personal contact info including address and phone number on various websites and forums (including hate sites).

Tropes Vs Women: Video Games is the name of the project. It'll be a video series. It hasn't even been made yet. That hasn't stopped the trolling. I guess I should quote the mission statement of Sarkeesian's project, though that implies that there is some mission statement out there that she could have had that would have merited this reaction — and that the only reason this reaction is condemnatory is because Sarkeesian's mission statement doesn't seem to merit the attacks sent her way.

Here's the beginning of her Tropes Vs. Women: Video Games mission statement, to the extent that it even matters:

I love playing video games but I'm regularly disappointed in the limited and limiting ways women are represented. This video project will explore, analyse and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games. The series will highlight the larger recurring patterns and conventions used within the gaming industry rather than just focusing on the worst offenders. I'm going to need your help to make it happen!

World-ending stuff, huh?

It's not always that easy to be a woman in the world of gaming, but this is ridiculous.

Sarkeesian writes: "After struggling with whether or not to make the extent of the attacks public I've decided that it's ultimately important to shed light on this type of abuse because online harassment and bullying are at epidemic levels across the internet."

Agreed. It's absurd. There are far smarter and funnier ways to disagree.

Image Based Harassment and Visual Misogyny [Feminist Frequency]


    That woman is going to show how women get harassed in video games! Let's harass her!

    Well done, internet.

      Its like that guy in Greece whose party got accused of being backwards and violent by the opposition so he punched her in the face.

    All I ask is with all these backers and the sheer amount of money being thrown her way, that this be a quality and informative series.... rather than most of the crap that litters Youtube.

    On the subject though, these attacks are so juvenile and immature, I hope the best for Anita and may these attackers be hacked, exposed and ridiculed for their douchebaggery!

    The human race will never move foreword at this rate, idiot + idiot = more little idiots

      There has always been idiots, and civilization is still progressing.

        I can see that by how much humanity has progressed in its attitudes towards other people and their acceptance of new or challenging ideas.


    People being jerks on the internet, it's nothing new. It's disgusting, (in this case), but it's nothing new. I'm looking forward to the series and am glad I backed it.

    There is actually an Aussie-based indiegogo campaign in progress that is looking to make an effort to adjust male behaviour towards female gamers. "Sending the MESSAGE (Men Making Gaming Less Awful For Women).


      thumbs up for this
      i'll be following this closely

    While she should not have had to put up with the awful stuff she did during this campaign, judging based on what I've seen of her other works, she is one of the last people I'd want to make such a production.

    She planned this reaction from the beginning. All her other videos have comments disabled, she deliberately left them open because she knew exactly what would happen. And it worked spectacularly well, she duped $150k from suckers so she can continue to make the same shitty youtube videos with out having to worry about paying rent anymore.

      You're wrong. Only a few of her videos have comments disabled.. I admit leaving the comments open on that particular video was probably as much an awareness campaign as it was marketing , Still, the videos are a point of view only, I find them interesting but not gospel, they're decently well researched and this project is proving to be pretty interesting in general.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      Though I should probably not feed the trolls, let's at least be constructive here.

      saltyblakey, please consider that it's not just that people are being insulted (though that's bad too) by anonymous strangers, but that women unfortunately seem to attract more of it, more often, and in sexist forms. "Go make a sandwich [because of your genetics]." is more harmful to hear someone say to you than "You're a terrible shot noob get out of the server."

    Why did she even do a kickstarter in the first place? She has the equipment already and she is going to release it on youtube for free, so what is the money for?

      she bought several consoles and around 300 games

    So does she actually...play...video games?

    And here we go, Kotaku commenters proving the rule.

    She "knew this reaction would happen" and yet the people who support her are suckers. So, she knew that even talking about gender equality would erupt into a violent storm of hate, and yet she's NOT meant to want to do anything about it?

    "Sand in *there* vagina" - a brilliant example of a mouth-breathing pig who can't tell the difference between trash talking and misogyny. Using that really creative phrase is exactly the kind of idiotic, sexism you don't understand.

    She started a Kickstarter because doing good research takes time. Time she can't spend doing other things, such as working for a living. She's committed to this project in a big way--obviously that kind of money does obligate her to raise her game a bit, but we'll just have to wait and see.

    And "does she actually play videogames" is A) irrelevant and B) a great example of assuming that a GIRL can't POSSIBLY play games! A) You do not have to be an ant to study them. B) Again, reinforcing the need for this sort of project. Do you have ANY reason to believe she doesn't play videogames other than her gender?

      I can agree with or abide by most of your points, except for the last one.
      Without having some significant degree of insight into the medium specifically, she risks only being able to give a superficial assessment.

        That's where the research comes in. Like I said, you do not have to BE an ant to study them. You don't have to BE a gamer to learn about them, or the medium. In fact, the critical distance achieved by a good researcher is at least as valuable as the special insights gained by a member of the culture. She may well be able to see past many assumptions that are taken for granted by long-time members of the community and ask "why?" in ways gamers do not.

        Critical self-consciousness is not something I've seen an overabundance of in average gaming culture.

          Wow, you're clever. Go read a book.

            Adam has read many books. He is currently finishing his thesis.

    To be honest, this seems to have occurred on June 13th according to the above image (3 days to go, closed on June 16th), so almost a month ago.

    I understand that this is a terrible showing of "the internet" in action, but the cynical part of me sees this as the hype around her work has died off, and release this now (a month later) simply throws a bucket of fuel on the fire so everyone goes back to that righteous rage stage.

    It's an effective marketing technique for sure, but meh.

    She didn't deserve the harassment, it was stupid.

    But when I went to look at her Kickstarter pitch, I don't think she deserved to have it funded 25 times over the goal, either. People were showing their support in a tangible way in response to the attacks, which is great, but based on the pitch videos I don't think the project is going to do anything special that we haven't seen a hundred times before on Youtube or gaming news websites by women who seem, at first glance, much more qualified to discuss the subject.

    But hey, maybe when the videos come out I'll be proven wrong. The whole affair leaves a bad taste in my mouth either way.

      I pledged a buck, just because it makes more of a difference to put my money where my mouth is than just complain about the complaints on the internet.

    Stupid sexist assholes and their internet antics. Those people harassing the sexist asshole really should knock it off though - that kind of behaviour is unacceptable. I especially liked the part when her female privilege prevented her from caring that both genders are regularly represented in offensive, shallow and limiting ways by jackasses in the business of selling their stuff to particular demographics... that was cute.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    My only issue with it is the 'kickstarter issue'. Anyone can put something up on there in an attempt to get funded, and from her campaign video, it seemed that what she was setting out to do did not require funding at all.

    Now that she has ~$US159,000, I hope she does more with the money, and makes the series more than what she initially set out to do.

    Just. Umm. Throwing this out there... but isn't the research, and content already going to be polluted by this?

    (spoiler: yes it is)

    Lol this is the internet, have you ever played an online game? Men call other men faggots just for killing them, it's the anonymity of the Internet that does this. Take away the anonymity, people start getting treated with respect because they cant hide, but this will never happen on the Internet.

    My only issue is that's she's getting an incredible amount of money just to do what so many social/womens/media/games studies students are already doing with their PHDs for FREE.

    And of course there's no way that it's not going to be one-sided is it?

      To be fair, she has done her masters in cultural studies, you can download her thesis from her website. She just asked for some money to subsidise the time she will be spending on this project which she will be distributing for free. No one forced anyone to give her so much money, people chose to back her project, so there's no point blaming her for getting so much more than she wanted.

        It's true that a lot of the blame rests on the backers for allowing this to go overboard. I'm just saying that I understand the outcry by many who thinks it's wasted money. At the moment she hasn't given a great deal of information about how the money will be spent, and so far looks like she will get to sit around playing games and watching movies until eventually making a bunch more of the same videos she made before (which apparently just point out terrible stereotypes for our education.)

          I don't think it's oveboard, most of the backers only gave $10 or so, which doesn't seem overboard for an individual to contribute, I happily paid ten dollars to see this series made. We'll see how the money will be spent I guess, I don't think there's any point in judging what she might be doing with it until she's actually started using it. Speculation is pointless. I know one of the projects is rebuilding her website to focus on security, which seems like a very sensible use of some of the money given the attacks on her website.

            I don't know the exact rules of Kickstarter, but I was under the impression that the project organiser could close their project from new funds at any time after the goal has been reached. Basically, with the knowledge that she may not require so much of peoples money she could have stopped it while it was reasonable. Of course whether or not you agree that people who ask for money need to have that kind of responsibility is another thing. I disagree that speculation is pointless, with this being a 'pay before it's made' system, the only way to consider value for money is to speculate. It's why so many of Kickstarters pitches go into laborious detail on what they will do in order to assure their backers that it's money well spent.

            The value of money applied to her websites for security is another whole argument since it's a problem that has occurred separately and is both concerned with expected attacks, and dynamic attacks based on the whole media popularity shift.

              That's fair enough, but she was under no obligation to close donations, no more than anyone was obliged to donate. And I see what you mean about speculation, but seeing as there have been no announced plans for much of the extra money I don't think it's fair to be criticising her for using so much money to laze around playing games when a) that is part of the research and quite a bit of forgone potential income and b) we don't know what she is using it for yet.

              I don't think I've seen any backers complaining about the use of the money for her website security. If her phone number or address get leaked, she could be in danger and certainly at risk of much more threatening and personal attacks.

    I'd take that harassment for $159K US!

    On another note, I can't really take her seriously especially if she posts videos called "there are too many dicks in games" and others about Lego being sexist. That's abit over dramatic.

      If you watch the video you would see that she back up her claims fairly well.

    ForeverPandering already made an excellent video on this kickstarter, which sums up my views pretty well.

    She has a problem with how women are portrayed, but it's ok that men are portrayed as all being late 20 somethings with brown hair?

    At least the women in videogames aren't all the same person like men are.

    Joanna from Perfect Dark?
    Faith from Mirror's Edge?
    DOA girls?
    Virtua Fighter girls?

    They all couldn't be more different from each other. Is the problem the boobs?

    Yeah, because all men in videogames aren't all ripped and muscular.

    Last edited 28/12/12 2:31 pm

    Physically strong women = Man with boobs: Shit character
    Physically weak women = Damsel in distress: Product of the Patriarchy

    I look forward to the series finally being completed. In 2021.

    Can you say Duke Nukem?

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