Harassment of Females in the Gaming World Has to Stop, and Males Need To Do Something About It

anita-sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian, a pioneering kick-ass fem-positive trope-buster of our modern age, has been threatened with her life. This has got to stop. As a feminist immersed in the world of gaming, Sarkeesian known for her Feminist Frequency site has been outing the hidden (and not so hidden) misogyny and lopsided sexism found in video games. What she maybe didn’t sign up for was ducking death threats and absolutely sickening messages of hate lobbed against her from members of the gaming community.

Though she’s dealt with threats before, Sarkeesian was forced to cancel her speaking event at Utah State University Wednesday, not because of the threats, as she clarified via Twitter, but because even though a massive shooting was threatened to go down, guns were still permitted in the venue space under Utah law.

This New York Times piece details the horrible and depressing situation Sarkeesian is going through, as well as highlights other female members of the gaming community who have received harassment or similar terrible threats.

The threats against Ms. Sarkeesian shined a spotlight on a harassment campaign against female game developers and critics that has shocked many people in the industry with its virulence — and that shows no sign of abating anytime soon. The reasons for the attacks on the women vary somewhat, but all of the targets have in some way assailed the conventions of games and the mostly male culture of fans around them.

Some opponents of the women have rallied around the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate, though it isn’t clear how many of them are involved in or support the more extreme threats against the women. On Wednesday, as word of the latest threat against Ms. Sarkeesian circulated online, the hashtag #StopGamerGate2014 became a trending topic on Twitter.

Last week, an independent game developer in Boston, Brianna Wu, said she was driven from her home by threats of violence after she poked fun at supporters of GamerGate on Twitter. Another developer, Zoe Quinn, was also harassed beginning in late August and said she has not been able to return home.

Threats are threats, and words are words, but at what point do we take action? Because sometimes words, especially on the internet, are powerful weapons, too. It’s time for not just the ladies, but the boys and men to stand up against these attacks. You know, this is what Emma Watson was talking about. Remember #heforshe?

To get personal, when I first encountered Anita’s videos online I was caught off guard by how alarmingly subtle some of the sexual discrimination is in video games. I mean, there are a lot of obvious things, but we tend to miss a lot because it’s just the “norm.” Thank you Anita, for pointing out that just because it’s familiar and we’re used to it doesn’t mean it’s ok. Here are a couple of her greatest hits.

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