Tropes vs. Women in Video Games Kickstarts Raging Internet Trolls
Being a gamer who also happens to be a girl can be rough, but personally I can’t say I have it that bad. I have many male gamer friends who are supportive and don’t base their interactions with me or their expectations of my abilities on the fact that I have breasts.
Having said that, though, I’m not that outspoken. I’m pretty downright cowardly, actually. All those male gamer friends I have? I knew them IRL before we started gaming together. I use a semi-feminine handle when I play games online, but I don’t talk much and when I do I try to only interact with people I already know. I avoid male-dominated games like FPSs and fighting games. I would never dream of playing an online game with strangers and having voice chat turned on. I don’t speak up when someone’s being sexist or misogynistic, even among my friends. I’m afraid I’ll be harassed if I respond, so I usually just pretend I wasn’t listening. I just want to play the game in peace, and it’s easier to do that by just phasing into the shadows and allowing stupid people to continue being dicks.
Anita Sarkeesian, however, isn’t like me. She’s strong. She stands up to misogyny and sexism, even in the face of harassment and personal threats. She runs a blog and web series called Feminist Frequency which deals mainly with “feminist pop culture criticism,” but also includes commentary on race, ethnicity, and other stereotypes in books, television, movies, music, and video games. She’s highly educated and highly motivated to critique and change the world around her.
Recently, she began a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of a new five-episode web series called Tropes vs Women in Video Games in which she plans to “explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games.”
“As a gamer, a pop culture critic and a fan, I’m always working to balance my enjoyment of media while simultaneously being critical of problematic gender representations,” she explains on her Kickstarter page.
“…I’ll produce a 5-video series…entitled Tropes vs Women in Video Games, exploring female character stereotypes throughout the history of the gaming industry. This ambitious project will primarily focus on these reoccurring tropes: the Damsel in Distress, the Fighting F#@k Toy, the Sexy Sidekick, the Sexy Villainess, and Background Decoration.”
With the help of Kickstarter, she reached her goal of $6,000 in less than 24 hours.
Unfortunately, she’s been receiving a lot of backlash via email, Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter, YouTube, her website, Wikipedia, and a myriad of other vessels. She’s received threats of rape and death, among other things. Some YouTube users have apparently tried to get her flagged as a terrorist (because I guess leaving thousands of scathing, poorly spelled comments wasn’t enough for them). Some have reportedly tried to get Kickstarter to ban her project (thankfully they haven’t). Her Wikipedia page has even been vandalized with insulting language and pornography.
In light of all this, I certainly wouldn’t blame her if she decided to scrap the project, at least until everything blows over, to ensure her own safety.
Yet she’s still going forward and producing her series as planned. She’s already reached her goal twenty times over and she still has 24 hours to go as of this article. She’s gotten so much more money than she’d planned, she’s adding lots of extras, including an additional seven episodes covering more tropes, and higher production quality overall, and even a classroom curriculum.
The irony is that Sarkeesian likely wouldn’t have gotten so much money if it wasn’t for all the harassment she’s received. She probably would have funded the project without any problem, but I don’t think anyone expected such overwhelming support–nearly $150,000 from over 6,000 backers. Thanks to the number of major online publications who reported on this fiasco, people flocked to Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter page to show their support.
So, I guess all the misogynists inadvertently did a good deed by helping get the word out about this project and showcasing a widely-appealing reason for people to donate?
Whatever, we’ll take it. Thanks, misogynistic idiots!