Video Game Avenger

By: Rachel Auslander 

Anita Sarkeesian is a woman on a mission. That mission is to educate the world about the

portrayal of women in pop culture narratives, and change the future representation of

women in media for the better. She began her efforts by creating a video series, “Tropes

vs. Women,” published on her website and YouTube, Feminist Frequency. In this video

series, she analyzes sexism in pop culture, from advertisements to the Bechdel test in

movies, to make feminist theory more accessible. With the rising popularity of her

videos, she began to focus only on the portrayal of women in video games, discussing the

damsel in distress, as well as other issues. Women make up half of all gamers, yet most

of the video game industry objectifies women as sexual objects.

Sarkeesian’s videos have not pleased everyone, unfortunately, and have received major

backlash from male gamers. Sarkeesian, as well as game developers Zoe Quinn and

Brianna Wu, received a huge amount of online harassment during the gamergate

controversy, in which the girls’ private information was leaked and they were given

numerous rape and death threats. The harassment hasn’t stopped, and Sarkeesian speaks

out against online threats and harassment, and showcases some of the worst tweets

against her on her Twitter. Male gamers, as well as other men, have been intimidated by

Sarkeesian’s videos, due to the fact that she is breaking the objectifying mold, and is

being heard, not just seen.

Online harassment is a huge problem and really needs to be taken seriously. Domestic

violence against women in real life is just beginning to be reprimanded for, and online

harassment needs to be seen in that manner as well.

When Sarkeesian talked to Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report, I couldn’t really tell if

he was kidding at first. He interrupted her, and made some comments that sounded more

derogatory than sarcastic. By the end of their talk, Colbert proclaimed himself a feminist.

However, he didn’t end up facing online harassment after he said that, despite the fact

that there are plenty of people who talk about being a feminist online and in real life as if

it’s an insult. Sarkeesian and many other young women face online harassment everyday

just for trying to educate people about feminism. Last time I checked, that’s a double

standard.

Time Magazine referred to Anita Sarkeesian as the “Video Game Avenger,” which is a

perfect title. Sarkeesian has been fighting for the representation of women, and like the

Avengers, she has a lot of power to reckon with, so the angry gamers better shape up.


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  • published this page in Blog 2015-09-13 20:32:08 -0400
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