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In this video series, Feminist Frequency will explore five common and recurring stereotypes of female characters in video games
In this video series, Feminist Frequency will explore five common and recurring stereotypes of female characters in video games
6,968 backers pledged $158,922 to help bring this project to life.

OMG! 1000 backers! (and about that harassment stuff)

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. 

Harassment & Backlash

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.

Comments

    1. Creator Kelsi on June 16, 2012

      I am so thrilled that this was able to get serious funding. Though it terrifies me to see the reaction and the nastiness towards you--as a woman I've certainly experienced my share of sexist behavior, slut shaming, etc. but never anything on this level. It's deeply frightening to me that what gets this reaction is simply calling out and analyzing sexist tropes--I admire your fortitude in the face of it all. Thanks for going forward with this incredibly important project.

    2. Creator Michael Mucha on June 15, 2012

      I encourage you not to delete any of the nut speech from YouTube. A portion of them are not anonymous, and many of those who think they're posting anonymously are not, and their ugliness is now public record.

      Helps wake the rest of us up.

      And there was that great comment about how you must have offended the Troll God :)

    3. Creator Medea Fröderos Sandbladh on June 15, 2012

      I decided to back your project because it seemed as the best way to show my support and gratitude for the work you do. And as a female gamer and feminist I can not let the hatred just pass by. I hope the amount of you have raised as compared to the goal you set is a message to those who wants to silence not just you, but all of us. Plus, I think you are awesome and talented. Go, make videos.

    4. Creator Simon Ochsenius on June 15, 2012

      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.

    5. Creator Keyan on June 14, 2012

      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.

    6. Creator Leslie Owens on June 14, 2012

      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.,

    7. Creator Elijah Taylor on June 14, 2012

      DAMN! Over $125,000!? Perhaps there are more intelligent, caring people out there than thick-headed haters after all.

      It really does make me happy to see how all the attempted bullying against Sarkeesian has backfired. Being a male gamer myself, it really breaks my heart to see gamers showing such dreadful behavior over a woman who wants to educate about sexism in games. It gives kinder male gamers like me a bad reputation and there's no reason for it. Men think that they're so macho that they can be justified enough to do this and that exposing sexism in games makes them less of an alpha male or destroys games. Either that or they just really hate women. I'm very glad to be supporting this video series and I can't wait to see it.

    8. Creator emerald green on June 14, 2012

      All the response you need to the sexist pigs is the stats of the funding. This project has been funded TWENTY ONE times over and still has 40 hours to go. I'm a huge fan of Anita's and video games and this video series is going to be amazing. Keep kicking ass!

    9. Creator Naomi Clark on June 14, 2012

      I know you're probably awash in ideas, thoughts, and suggestions from friends about what to do as a stretch goal, but let me toss my vote in as well -- what if you incorporated the Tropes series as originally planned into a longer documentary -- like your own take on a Michael Moore format (which would be very different than his I'm sure) where you go around and talk to developers, publishers, gamers, women in the industry about how to get beyond where we are right now and make games that respect women, get women involved in gaming, and make a better world? I bet you could totally do it!

    10. Creator Christopher D. Spencer on June 13, 2012

      This is fantastic. Over 100K now and I wouldn't be surprised to see it hit 150K. Those idiot trolls have done nothing but draw support to your cause. Such delicious irony.

    11. Creator Molly on June 13, 2012

      OMG this has doubled since my last visit! So many people want to hear you. I can't express how much I appreciate what you've done. I get looked down on for being a feminist, but it's because of you that I've been able to proudly identify as one. I really think you could put that money into efforts to really change things.

    12. Creator Renee Perry on June 13, 2012

      A friend linked to the New Statesman article. I'm contributing for you to keep working and talking.
      Thank you!

    13. Creator Benjamin Wenham on June 13, 2012

      Maybe i am over stating my naivity a little. Between HAWP, and occasionally reading http://fatuglyorslutty.com/, and general being involved with both computer and table top gaming, i knew we had problems. But the scale of the stupid my fellow male gamers are expressing over this. It burns!!!

    14. Creator Jeff on June 13, 2012

      I'm in the same boat as you Benjamin. Exactly the same.

    15. Creator Cat Rambo on June 13, 2012

      I donated because of the trolls. It's a shame that such vitriol has emerged, and it should baffle me, but as a longtime female gamer (3 decades and counting), it's unsurprising and sad.

    16. Creator Cheer Up, Thad on June 13, 2012

      I am a man, and I donated over the lack of respect for women in online gaming. I know this because I sometimes play games using female models, and the results end up becoming as awful treatment from other online players.

      Also, I saw a copy of Mirror's Edge in one of the shots, and hope to see that the main character in Mirror's Edge to be pointed out as a female character who is not sexually exploited, and who stands strong against male peers. That is something to throw onto the table for the crew working on Mirror's Edge 2.

    17. Creator Matt in the Hat on June 13, 2012

      I can't wait to see the videos! Don't let the haters get you down, and good luck!

    18. Creator Benjamin Wenham on June 13, 2012

      I wasn't going to back this. The project was interesting, but it was already well beyond funded and money is tight.

      You see, I naively thought that most male gamers probably thought in a progressive manner about issues of gender, and that a token $1 support would just be kind of insulting. But yeah, if such organised efforts are underway, I kind of think everyone who can, aught to make it clear they support this, even if they can only afford a dollar.

    19. Creator John Doherty on June 13, 2012

      I would have liked to think otherwise, but the (disgusting and deeply disappointing) level of backlash only proves that a series like this is very desperately needed. So now I get to not only help a worthwhile cause, I also get to spite a whole bunch of jerks, if only a bit.
      Stay strong.

    20. Creator Jenna on June 12, 2012

      keep your head up lady. You're doing important stuff and we respect you :)

    21. Creator Zombie Orpheus on June 12, 2012

      We're proud to back this important project and are promoting it to our fan community.

    22. Creator Dora Fang on June 12, 2012

      so important. i've shared this on twitter and facebook. and have backed you. keep up the great work. don't let your voice be silenced. thank you.

    23. Creator Joseph Sealey on June 12, 2012

      Go Anita, anything that can make a dent in sexism in the video game industry is a massive step forward!

    24. Creator Michelle Hermark on June 12, 2012

      I first got onto the internet in the early 90's and the reaction to my being female was shocking. Even in text based multi-user games (MUDs, MOOs, and MUSHs). Most girls and women I knew at the time used non-gender specific handles. I made the choice to keep an obviously feminine sounding name when posting and playing online. On one particular MUD, the harassment got really bad (guys wanting cyber and topless pics), one day I logged on to find my "title" to indicate that I was the girlfriend of the Head Admin's brother. (Which was true.) Only then did they start treating me like a person. I changed it back, but the cat was out of the bag. I didn't like that kind of information being announced like that, but in the end it made them afraid to mess with me. I shutter to think what they were saying and thinking behind my back though.

      While in a conversation with my parents about not revealing important personal information on the internet, I commented that my habits were forged being female and on the internet in the early to mid 90's. My parents were very surprised by what I had to say about that experience. I had never mentioned it to them, and I don't know why.

      So good on ya for speaking openly about an important topic about which you feel strongly.

    25. Creator Bridget Crucetts on June 12, 2012

      GO ANITA! I love your other videos and I'm so excited about this project.

    26. Creator Ralph Hogaboom on June 12, 2012

      Go, Anita, go!

    27. Creator David Stoneking on June 12, 2012

      The first time I heard about this project was in an article on the escapist regarding the harassment and backlash that you're dealing with. I have two young daughters myself and I'd definitely like to see the videogame community grow to be a more positive influence on them as they get older. Keep it up!

    28. Creator Jörg Reisig on June 12, 2012

      I cant imagine what it feels to stand against such huge wave of pure hate against your person.
      I increased my pledge and i hope that Kickstarter will not cave in.

    29. Creator Eleanor Cable on June 12, 2012

      Why is it that these morons think that you're victimising them just because you want to improve the quality of the video games industry? Do they honestly feel threatened by the idea that someone wants to talk about the way women are treated in the media?

      From the way they're talking, one would think that you're pulling a Jack Thompson and saying that video games cause women to beat their husbands, rather than challenging their right to see women as sexual objects.

      About the only valid point they have is that male characters in video games are generally crap too... but improving the quality of female characters and the representation of women can only have a positive effect on the way males are portrayed as well, so obviously they must be scared that the same manly, macho robot idiots they're complaining about being portrayed as might disappear along with the porn actresses that are pretty much any female character not voiced by Jennifer Hale (yes, that is hyperbole).

    30. Creator Callum Langstroth on June 12, 2012

      I found out about this project through Kotaku/Destructoid reporting on the harassment you have been subject to. Congrats on not letting the idiots get to you and hopefully you'll get a lot more backers from all this.

      Their agression and ignorance can hopefully be turned against them.

      You've got my money and I can't wait to see the finished series!

    31. Creator Christopher D. Spencer on June 11, 2012

      The Escapist covered the backlash, which is how and why I found out about and helped fund this project. There's a sense of beautiful irony in the fact that the high level of backlash they've created is clearly increasing your project funding. Here's to hitting another $5K!

    32. Creator Eric on June 11, 2012

      Those comments pissed me off to the point that I have made a pledge.

    33. Creator Doug Farrell on June 11, 2012

      I've got to be honest, my motivation for backing is equal parts wanting to support what you're doing, and wanting to inflate the total to further enrage the embarrassments to humanity that are harassing you.

    34. Creator Michael Zions on June 11, 2012

      It's precisely that brutish backlash which led me here to donate. Thanks for continuing your project and refusing to break.

    35. Creator Marvin Harris Jordan III on June 11, 2012

      This treatment is sick. Thank you for staying strong and continuing though. I look forward to seeing the series.

    36. Creator Daniel Eavenson on June 11, 2012

      So you might have enough money now to find a bunch of those commenters and pay Jay and Silent Bob to go beat the crap out of them. Just a wild daydream.

    37. Creator ATL on June 11, 2012

      I don't have much time for gaming anymore, but I'm still very interested in keeping up with video games and the discussions surrounding them. I'm thankful for the work you do and for the time and extensive amounts of research you do for each video. Your videos, especially the later ones, have great quality (as in, very high-def) and I am proud to be a backer for this important work.

    38. Creator Sarah Sharp on June 11, 2012

      Stick with it! I love the idea of this project, and it *needs* to be made. Don't let the trolls get you down. :)

    39. Creator Tomas Lif on June 11, 2012

      Can't wait for when the videos are out! Great job!!

    40. Creator Nathanael Edward Bassett on June 10, 2012

      I've used your videos in the past as part of a media literacy class I teach for an after-school non-profit. I'm not what you'd call a "gamer" anymore, although I do play some games, and it seems that video games are one of the strongest holdouts of an industry catering to a demographic or a internal culture that perpetuates those values. One only needs to get on Xbox live, look at the way gamers responded to Penny Arcade's "dickwolves" incident, or casually use the word rape to understand that women are usually shut out of the culture of games. While the game itself reinforces that through the content, the players are entrenched in that sexism. I know you're focusing on a sort of content analysis, but I'd also be weary of the sociology of gaming culture. The harassment you're getting is their self-defensive reaction to having an entire worldview within that subculture threatened.

    41. Creator Ben McKenzie on June 10, 2012

      It's small consolation, but I know a few people who've been convinced to back the project by the vitriol being sent your way! It's hard to continue to think there's not a problem with at least some parts of games culture when faced with such abhorrent behaviour. I'll keep spreading the word and I can't wait to see the final results.

    42. Creator Eliot Lash on June 10, 2012

      I am so, so sorry about this. It's unbelievable how awful some people can be.

    43. Creator Ross Wilson on June 10, 2012

      Thanks for everything, Anita. I'm a long-time fan and promoter of yours. Please keep up the great work! I'm proudly backing you.

    44. Creator Susan on June 9, 2012

      Best of luck. Your project looks amazing and I'm proud to back it.

    45. Creator Devin terSteeg and Hollie DeFrancisco on June 9, 2012

      I only read a handful of those disgusting comments. Humanity doesn't make any sense to me any more. I hope all the hate encourages you to prove them wrong, and all the love encourages you to keep it awesome. Good luck!

    46. Creator Christine Soto (deleted) on June 9, 2012

      I saw an article on Daily Dot about your project and harrassment you've received. I have made a pledge in order for gamers and the wider public to recognize that sexism is not tolerable, either in video games, online, or in our daily lives. Thanks for addressing this important issue!

    47. Creator William Howard on June 9, 2012

      The behaviour in those comments makes me feel a bit ashamed to be a male who plays video games. Wish I'd heard about this earlier, so I could've backed it when you still needed the cash to meet your funding goal, but I'm happy to back it now. Thanks for producing something to challenge the status quo.

    48. Creator Leef Smith - "Mission: Comics & Art" on June 9, 2012

      Uggh! Awful stuff. Definitely good to see this a s validation that you're doing good work!

    49. Creator Mathilde Svensson on June 9, 2012

      What a storm of stupid. I just feel more and more grateful to you and more and more excited about watching these videos while reading all those comments.

    50. Creator Phoebe Murphy on June 9, 2012

      This just makes me want to up my pledge, soon as I get paid. Sorry you have to deal with this shit :(