We reached 1000 backers! AMAZING! FANTASTIC! BEAUTIFUL!
And now both the classroom curriculum and the video about the Top 10 Most Common Defenses of Sexism in Gaming will be made! This last video seems all the more necessary given the other news I have to report.
As some of you may be aware, this project has recently been subject to a coordinated online harassment effort waged by various online video game forums vowing to "take me down". I always expect a certain level of harassment when discussing gender issues online. This time however, it's a more organized and sustained effort than I've experienced before.
The intimidation and harassment effort has included a torrent of misogyny and hate speech on my YouTube video, repeated vandalizing of the Wikipedia page about me, organized efforts to flag my YouTube videos as "terrorism", as well as many threatening messages sent through Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter, email and my own website. These messages and comments have included everything from the typical sandwich and kitchen "jokes" to threats of violence, death, sexual assault and rape. All that plus an organized attempt to report this project to Kickstarter and get it banned or defunded. Thankfully, Kickstarter has been incredibly supportive in helping me deal with the harassment on their service.
The sad thing is this kind of backlash happens all the time whenever women dare to speak up about gender and video games.
I've archived a very small sample of the extraordinary level of harassment and misogyny at the link below. Be warned, it's extremely vile.
[Major Trigger Warning] http://wp.me/pwSlB-BS
What's most ironic about the harassment is that it's in reaction to a project I haven't even created yet. I haven't had the chance to articulate any of my arguments about video game characters yet. It's very telling that there is this much backlash against the mere idea of this series being made.
Aside from all of that, I am extremely encouraged by all the backers of this project and the fact that so many of you care about the representations of women in video games. All of your kind words, support and encouragement have been much appreciated these past few days. I am even more determined and committed to creating this video series. Thank you all so much!
Stay tuned for more updates.
I am not a gamer, but I have been a female comics/sci-fi fan for decades (I'm 60 now). I always wondered at the image of virtually nude women packing armaments in the comics - ouch! But what really hides in the comics, and likely the games, is the violent misuse of women. I once saw a comic on the stand - with no restrictions on it! - about a serial killer who killed women and hung them on meat hooks and sliced off steaks. Seriously. The abuse you've suffered is a trend resulting directly from that cavalier treatment of women as objects, not human beings, during the formative years of adolescents. I hope you are able to shift that trend in the future.,
I am not a gamer, but have played occasionally. I have friends, male and female, who are gamers. My contribution is not a 'pity' vote, but a 'you rock and as the mom of a daughter, I am glad you're doing what you do" support vote.
Elijah Taylor already said pretty much exactly what I had planned to comment, so I won't repeat it. I'm a man, I support this kickstarter and I'm ashamed of any other of the same gender as me who are part of the backlash that Anita Sarkeesian has been hit with.
Another article reflecting on the previous history (original post here)
Posted: June 16, 2012 | Author: nickfalkner | Filed under: Education | Tags: Anita Sarkeesian, education, ethics, higher education, hypatia, hypatia of alexandria, kickstarter, learning, reflection, STEM, thinking, women in computing | 2 Comments »
I read metafilter.com relatively regularly because aggregators help funnel information and their filter bias is not completely exclusive. An article that popped up recently dealt with the Kickstarter project of Anita Sarkeesian, who was asking for $6,000 to make a web series about “tropes vs women in video games”. There’s a New Statesman link here that you can follow for the whole unpleasant story but, assuming you’re in a hurry, let me summarise it for you.
Here is a direct quote from Sarkeesian:
The intimidation and harassment effort has included a torrent of misogyny and hate speech on my YouTube video, repeated vandalizing of the Wikipedia page about me, organized efforts to flag my YouTube videos as “terrorism”, as well as many threatening messages sent through Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter, email and my own website. These messages and comments have included everything from the typical sandwich and kitchen “jokes” to threats of violence, death, sexual assault and rape. All that plus an organized attempt to report this project to Kickstarter and get it banned or defunded.
You know what makes my heart sink? “The typical <x> jokes” because, of course, as a woman, I’m sorry, as a known woman on the Internet, she has seen and heard at least some of this before, just because she’s a woman. On her Wikipedia page, to quote the New Statesman article:
There are also references to Sarkeesian being “of Jewish descent”, an “entitled <racial epithet>” and having a “masters degree in Whining” (because why stick to one prejudice, when you can have them all?)
I can’t give you any more quotes because I try to keep this blog generally readable and there’s not much more I can say without having to ‘Adult rate’ this post.
Last year I attended a public seminar given by Professor Caroll Seron, who was a visiting international scholar in sociology and law at Flinders University, usually at UC Irvine, with talk entitled “The Changing Landscape of Women in the Professions: Why women study law and not engineering”. I went along, as an educator in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), I’m always looking for insight into why our female enrolments are so low and how we can improve them. What was most depressing about Professor Seron’s talk was that young women have similar reasons for going into engineering, they tend to do better financially but they tend to get relegated to gender roles once they go into work experience or work place environments, and then they leave. That is, a big group of mostly men will get the women to do what they think women should be doing, rather than letting them practice as engineers with their male counterparts.
It should come as no surprise that if you run a two-speed environment, or a free/constrained partitioning, the people that you are excluding will get the message and then they’ll leave. Which leaves fewer women in engineering, which gives us the same ‘women’s work’ nonsense workplaces.
So, much as I would like to think that it’s only the mindless Internet trolls that would act in such an obvious way, Professor Seron’s work suggests that the insidious attack on the validity of women in certain parts of the workplace is happening everywhere, every day. Until we address it, until we fix our culture, until we recognise that professional qualifications represent a capacity to do a job, regardless of which genitals we have, then what happened to Anita Sarkeesian is just a more obvious and, in some horrific ways, more honest account of how women are thought of every day, if they have the audacity to enter a ‘male sphere’.
Someone asked me for a name for a metadata repository today – for research and education. I suggested Hypatia. 2000 years and we haven’t got this rubbish sorted out yet? Seriously? Let’s strive for better.