How to demonstrate that Sarkeesian is right

Anita Sarkeesian released a new video the other day, so of course Anita Sarkeesian had to go stay with a friend the other night because she got such direct graphic threats complete with her actual address attached.

Since the project launched on Kickstarter way back in 2012, the gaming community has been treated to an incessant, deeply paranoid campaign against Tropes vs. Women generally and Sarkeesian personally. This includes a flood of violent comments and emails, videos documenting ways in which she’s not a “real gamer,” a game in which you can punch her in the face, and a proposed documentary devoted to exposing the “lies” and “campaign of misinformation” from what is, again, a collection of opinions about video games. Also, now, she’s apparently spent the night with friends after contacting law enforcement about “some very scary threats” against her and her family. She’s published a page of extremely violent sexual threats from the person who apparently drove her to call the police; in it, the user mentions the location of her apartment and threatens to kill her parents, who the user names and claims to be able to find.

That shouldn’t happen.

This is an unusual low in the Anita Sarkeesian saga, but death threats in general are more or less par for the course for many women (and men) online. They can easily cross the line from bluster to menace — UK journalist Laurie Penny, for instance, contacted police in 2013 after being sent a very specific bomb threat. In this case, the vitriol might have been compounded by the support her latest video received from popular developers and media figures. Joss Whedon and William Gibson, among others, mentioned it, and Tim Schafer of Double Fine — known for Psychonauts and the Kickstarter-funded Broken Age spent several hours fielding responses after urging everyone in game development to watch it “from start to finish.”

So it becomes imperative to underline how right she is by performing the whole violent-threat dance that exemplifies the kind of thinking she’s talking about.

The threats against Sarkeesian have become a nasty backdrop to her entire project — and her life. If the trolls making them hoped for attention, they’ve gotten it. They’ve also inexorably linked criticism of her work, valid or not, with semi-delusional vigilantism, and arguably propelled Tropes vs. Women to its current level of visibility. If a major plank of your platform is that misogyny is a lie propagated by Sarkeesian and other “social justice warriors,” it might help to not constantly prove it wrong.

Wouldn’t it be nice if misogyny were just a big fairy tale?


  1. says

    Tweeted about this on Twitter, some be-fedora’d gentlemen have plans afoot to create a blockbuster film about how “SJWs” have over taken the tech and gaming scene. Nicely dissected by Dave Futrelle here ->

    Their patreon is already up to thousands per month to make this craptastic straw man extravaganza. Their aim is for 15K a month, *minimum*…

    One thing you can be sure of is that they won’t be relentlessly attacked, threatened and harassed because of this project of theirs. Even if it is successful and gets the obscene amount of money they want to burn on it. Even if like the last lot who raised money to challenge her they run away with it! Actually there are two things you can be sure of, the second being they’ll not let this fact challenge their belief sexism/misogyny is over and Anita is making a big deal over nothing.

  2. says

    Nate, that’s not a bad suggestion, except that I imagine Anita already receives a deluge already, so any thanks offered for her work and support in the face of abusive opposition should be brief and to the point.

    If anything is clear, it is the reaction to Tropes vs Women in Video Games gives an even stronger example of Helen Lewis’ observation that the commentary on any feminist article tend to justify the need for more feminism. And the proliferation of awful argumentation from the likes of Phil Mason (and the abuse of Sarkeesian he encourages in his followers) only makes it more difficult to find measured and reasonable counter-critiques of Sarkeesian’s work – they are needles in a heap of straw.

  3. quixote says

    I hadn’t realized the trolls were so furious because sexism is over and Sarkeesian is making a big deal out of nothing. How interesting. Then they must also be deeply concerned about other things that are over. Do they threaten people who insist only one angel can dance on the head of a pin? Do they gang up on the Twitter account of the Orthodox Patriarch for creating schism among the faithful?

    (What I want to know is what do you DO about these jerks in real life? They need to be banned without shutting anyone else up. Maybe make it illegal to make any physical threats? Even in “jest”? At least maybe they’d have to come up with more creative insults then?)

  4. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ Quixote :

    Do they threaten people who insist only one angel can dance on the head of a pin?

    That’s not true though! I reckon the accurate answer to that was given by Ranger Marcus from Babylon 5 – as many as want to!

    Seriously though, that’s a good point and of course tehanswer is thatsexism isn’t over, some fools merely want to pretend that is whilst exhibiting it themselves.

    I believe there’s some kind of a law about the comments on feminism proving there’s still a need for feminism , yes? (Lewis’es law is it a la comment #3 Xanthë, Amy of my threads?)

  5. sailor1031 says

    Wouldn’t it be nice if misogyny were just a big fairy tale

    It isn’t nice even as a fairy tale. Even fairy tales do great damage.

  6. doublereed says

    @1 oolon

    I was so confused when they talked about “high-quality video” when I CAN’T HEAR THE MAN IN THE SUIT. His audio is so bad.

  7. Crimson Clupeidae says

    On another forum, that is apparently run rampant with mysoginists, the MRAs are all convinced that the tweets were faked/set up by Anita to prove her point.

    …as if that’s even necessary.

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