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Obscene images, hate sites and a game where people are invited to beat you up have been inflicted on Anita Sarkeesian.
Not even 2000 people viewed that game and nobody even liked it. If you think that's bad you should see what else has come up on Newgrounds about popular personalities throughout its colourful history. And rape diagrams? Gimme a break. One awry google search will bring up a ton of grotesque 'fan art' of the Mythbusters, but nobody cares. What this article shows is that there are some bad image macros of her, two explicit drawings which are supposed to be puerile for the sake of humour, an angsty idiot made a terrible flash game which is basically just a slideshow, and that someone vandalised her Wikipedia page (the horror).
You'll also probably find that the "personal details" are the sort of things that only get on the internet if YOU put them up there. There aren't an army of evil hacker "trolls" who hack into your computer like a bad episode of 24 and magically attain all of your info. It's almost certain that she put up her details publicly somewhere, and someone else found them. You've probably given more of your information to more nerfarious people through your Facebook profile.
Helen here -
"And good god, it's more important for the government to deal with nasty things said to you on the internet than dealing with them yourself? Wasn't this a liberal magazine?"
Confused by this. It's almost as though you haven't read the entire rest of the article where I show that this is more than "nasty things said to you on the internet".
What she's experienced is nothing compared to what some kids have to put up with. It genuinely sickens me how media outlets portray the victims of evil "trolls" who have only recieved the sort of attention you're supposed to ignore (because it's not worth acknowledging) and seem to advocate government censorship to protect us from nasty things on the internet, and seemingly ignore people who are actually having their lives ruined by other people. What you've shown consist either of venomous satirical image macros (which happen to quite literally anyone deserving of one), things that don't even have an iota of significance in the grand scheme of things (which as a poorly made flash game which was released yesterday and didn't even have 2000 views), or Wikipedia vandalisms, which are common and so insignificant they hardly amount to anything of any significance.
What's essentially happened is a typically idiotic narcisist with no idea what she's talking about in regards to anything and finds misogyny and rape in quite literally everything has recieved a ton of criticism for being an idiotic narcisist with no idea what she's talkin about, and cried "LOOK! MYSOGINY!", and PC authoritarians are flocking to her aid because she's only a woman and shouldn't be treated like any other idiot on the internet. Call me crazy but I remember feminists tended to address real issues and actually be thick skinned and utterly determined. Her idea of feminism isn't so much based on The Yellow Wallpaper as it is a feeble excuse to gloat to everyone how great her shit stinks and everyone else is wrong or a mysoginist.
NEILWB23, thanks for standing strong with us in unity to fight these peddlers of reverse-hate who mind-rape us with their terrible arguments.
"Don't treat people like crap" is NOT reverse-hate. There is no hatred involved in her documentaries. Complete straw man.
You're free to disagree with her stance or feel she's too biased to present an even view.
But none of the things cited in this article are justified. This is hate at its purest form, expressed in the most juvenile and deplorable ways imaginable. Death and rape threats made against her, hacking her website, and all other manners of harassment aren't "I disagree with you," it's "Shut up and go away or we will force you to go away."
That's silencing a critic rather than delivering criticism in return and is unacceptable.
There's already a ton of valid criticism against her available, and all you have to do is watch any of her videos to see what sort of person she is and the integrity of her work. There's one flash game which came out yesterday which looks like it was made by some dumb teenager with anger issues, nothing of value has actually been lost, and I can guarantee that "death and rape" threats are blown massively out of proportion. Ironically, what you pointed out as silencing criticism is precisely what she's doing, except she's crying to the masses about receiving puerile comments from idiots on the internet (and who hasn't?) to de-legitimise the genuine criticisms against her.
Really, Neil, you can't see the bullying here? You think it's OK to call people racial epithets and threaten their bodily integrity?
Should we do this to your mom, your kid, your brother, your grandpa? Just because we don't like what they say? Would they feel safe if we did?
Very well done post.
The cynic in me does not see a brave woman, but an opportunist... what better way to generate money? Surely those attacking her so repulsively are doing so of their own, flawed volition, but the brave sharing reliably invokes strong disgust in others, and disgust, along with fear, are two of the strongest emotional drivers for spending money.
But that's just the cynic in me... a small part which is very rarely completely right.
The reality is that, yes, women do not have a fair shake in video games. I think using the word "tropes" to describe the situation is kind of... silly... but the core issue is entirely correct.
However, I will explain this to you, and you won't even have to give me $6,000.
Very few women work in that industry. VERY few. And I assure you, it is not because women are refused work or advancement in the video game industry. Many video game companies, at least in the United States, would desperately love the add more women to their employment... I mean, they are woefully absent of a segment that represents half the population in their marketing and design!
No, it is in many ways that women (generally) don't seem to be encouraged into fields that lead to those jobs; or that women (generally) simply do not enjoy the industry; or that women (generally) dislike an ancillary aspect of the job, such as the hours, the compensation, the stress, etc.
Or perhaps there is another root cause of that issue.
But the sexism of video games is simply because... there aren't many women that MAKE video games. So the men who mostly work in the industry are in an environment where they are rarely around women professionally, (and this has probably been the case since their college courses).
Now, I have no clue what spending $60k+ on YouTube videos could do to help THAT. But I don't make YouTube videos, and something does need to be done about that, so I wish her luck.
But my reticence to her proposed plan of action for a problem I agree with is something that I expressed by donating to Child's Play instead of her Kickstarter, and I don't feel upset that others are throwing their money at her. These people clearly want her do to exactly what she said she was going to do.
So I have seen many people being rather defensive about the abuse she receives. Not the particular and specific things she has experienced, but in general. And you know what I've seen from them? Almost entirely it has been in the vein of "well, I can see how someone would disagree with the concept of this fund raiser", and when you confront these people directly with the actual attacks she has received, they quickly understand that to be categorically unacceptable.
But look at that part I have in quotes... that has an interesting assumption rolled in... It assumes that the thing which is being described by a feminist as misogyny is simple disagreement with her. I'm not sure exactly why that is something that many people seem to have initially assumed, but I have to believe there is a reason, valid or invalid, that a huge number of people assumed that was what she was talking about initially.
It seriously never occurred to you that maybe women are discouraged from entering the field BECAUSE of the blatant sexism?
I also find the idea that male artists will inherently create women as (largely sexual) props unless a woman gently takes the pen away from them to be pretty absurd.
Yes, it would be better if women weren't so underrepresented in the industry, but while related it is NOT the same issue. There shouldn't need to be any women involved at all for us to demand better.
Women aren't discouraged from entering the industry, there's plenty of women working in the industry and if they felt blatant sexism then I'm sure the 100s of female voice-actresses would be voicing their opinions of it. This alleged sexism in the industry is just another way to decry something that people don't have the slightest clue about. I'm very much reminded of the Resident Evil 5 racism scandal from a few years back. People tend to look on the surface and are never willing to actually look anywhere beyond the superficial.
On your topic of male artists being told to put the pen down; you do realize that most of the overtly sexual female characters and protagonists are designed by women right? The adolescent male fantasy character Bayonetta is a female design. Most of the Japanese games (which are the ones heavily renowned for the impossibly well endowed women) have female artists that design their females in such a way. Hell a woman redesigned Heather partially in Silent Hill 3 just so they could make her more sexually appealing, even though the original male artists were the ones who didn't want to give Heather sex appeal because they wanted a realistic depiction of women vs the sexual sensibilities of depicted in most games.
Your implied statistics are ridiculous.
How so they're not implied they're true? Actually do some research before you imply that my "implied statistics are ridiculous." What a woman can't create a sexually appealing video game character? Only men are the gross pigs that'll do that? And if you're implying men are the only ones who objectify women and essentially say "you gotta be sexy" and all those stereotypes than I suggest you read an issue of Cosmo.
Roberta Williams was interviewed in 2006 and reported no barriers to entry for women.
Also, the woman who do go into the industry are just as capable as enjoying creating those female sexual props. The developer of Skullgirls got into a huge row with the feminist crowd, and the artist responsible for a lot of it was a woman, who also liked to draw guro images! Imagine that, a chick crazier than most of the guys.
So yeah, she's going to go into the industry to make the kinds of games SHE wants. Nothing is stopping you from creating a Kickstarter to make the games YOU want.
You have one example of a prominent women who has been making games since the 80s, when the industry was much, much different. Others will have examples of women who have felt harassed, unwelcome, and treated much worse than their male counterparts. I know someone who was basically drummed out of a game design program because of the harassment she faced.
The common element to both your comment and mine is that both are anecdotal, and neither are sufficient to sway an argument. They cancel each other out.
I'm not going to defend the deplorable and hateful crap Anita has been subjected to, you're right, that's ridiculous and that kind of crap needs to stop because it makes it very hard to have any sort of reasonable conversation about the topics at hand. However, Anita herself is also someone I can't defend because she misrepresents things to make her poorly reasoned points, ignores constructive criticism (like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6gLmcS3-NI and this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZueOCLGt1tw - and the countless others on YouTube just like them), and has the audacity to beg for money on kick starter to fund videos she is already producing (and *earning money for via advertising*) when countless other people make videos on YouTube all the damn time without asking for donations. Her kick starter is a shameless cash grab and her arguments regarding feminism and video games are weak.
The harassment she's received is deplorable, no question, it does nothing to help the conversation and only adds to the worthless noise. Unfortunately for Anita, she is part of the worthless noise herself.
Her points are weak?
There are obviously plenty of valid points to be made there, and since she hasn't made the critiques yet what makes you assume her points are weak?
And just because other people do something for free doesn't mean a professional can't be paid for it. For example: EVERYTHING.
If anything, you've explained why you won't donate to the kickstarter. Wonderful; neither did I, but I didn't feel the compulsion to defend that.
This article is not about whether her feminist points are valid, it is about the fact that she cannot express a though online without all this hate from every corner of the web. It is despicable that anybody would defend the hate she is receiving online.
Kickstarter is commonly used to fund for-profit projects, and no one is obligated to fund any project they don't like. That is how the site works and does not make Sarkeesian's project any more of a cash grab than any other project on there.
Furthermore, you haven't even heard her discussion of video games yet, so how can you presume her arguments are weak? I wouldn't rely on the videos you posted, which attack her for both doing research to write her thesis and failing to cite research in her videos.
The explosion of documentaries on Kickstarter lead me to believe that it's just a way to get around the "no awareness campaigns" rule. Posting YouTube videos is zero effort and I think it's breaks the spirit of Kickstarter's rules.
How can a Kickstarter be a "shameless cash grab"? All she did was ask, no? Is it that hard just to say no to someone on the internet?
Also, that first video on her thesis reminds me of a hapless student with whom I had a Literary Theory seminar class. She couldn't get her head around the idea of using a theoretical framework either.
Because she is shamelessly asking for handouts to produce videos she already produces and can therefore produce without the need for a handout. Furthermore, she currently earns money for her videos in the form of YouTube advertising, further reducing the need for her to ask for handouts. She has given no explanation as to why she needs this money when asked these questions and has in fact deleted comments from people asking why she's trying to get money for this when she already earns money for the videos she's producing.
This is like the producers of one of those home improvement shows on tv asking for donations. They're already getting money through advertisements and through product placements from Sears or Home Depot on their show, why the hell do they need to ask for donations? Anita is no different in that regard.
So just don't donate any money to her. There, your problem is solved. You're welcome.
Again, so what? That's how business works. If you want the product enough to pay the asking price, you pay. If you don't think it's worth the asking price, you don't. Who are you to tell her she's not allowed to charge what she believes is a fair amount?
Over 25,000 projects have been successfully funded--sorry, "asked for handouts"-- through Kickstarter. Get back to me when you've gotten all worked up about every one of their balance sheets.
Most of which are projects that needed funding to do something new. They were not asking for funding to continue doing something they were already doing and earning money for doing.
If Blizzard today started a kick starter drive to fun World of Warcraft, something they're already doing, already earning money for, I'd have a problem with it. What Anita is doing is *exactly the same thing* but on a smaller scale.
Why would you have a problem with it?
Call me crazy but I don't like it when people ask for things they don't need and don't deserve. If Blizzard did with WoW what Anita is doing with her videos people would be freaking out about it and calling it out for what it is. She doesn't need to handouts and she doesn't deserve them so she shouldn't be asking for them. It's unethical and ridiculous of her to do so.
I'm not trying to say there isn't a legitimate issue with feminism in gaming (though personally I think the issue is with the way gamers treat women online, not with the games themselves), I just think it's unethical for her to be asking for handouts when she doesn't need them.
Furthermore, she has a history of making poorly reasoned arguments and misrepresenting the facts to paint a picture that conforms to her own viewpoints of a topic. There is something to be discussed here, there is legitimate dialog that should be taking place, but she is contributing just as much noise as the idiots that are harassing her. The only difference is that her noise is more dangerous than the trolls harassing her because her noise is less obvious.
A lot of people thought she needed and deserved this. Seriously, you want to tell people what they can do with their own money?
"Call me crazy..."
Okay. You're crazy.
She's not "asking for a handout." She's asking people to support the work she feels passionate about. And people decided to do so. If you don't want to, that's your choice. If you want to think they're stupid for supporting her, also your choice. But she used a legitimate source to ask for funding for an artistic project, just like thousands of other Kickstarter users.
It's money for a service. We give money, she makes a product. We watch said product. Blizzard doesn't need to do that for WoW because they are already getting your money for their service. YouTube will be giving her money for advertising because she is driving traffic to her site. Again, money for service.
If that's a handout, I recommend you stop getting handouts from your employers for the work you do for them.
"Blizzard doesn't need to do that for WoW because they are already getting your money for their service."
My point exactly. Anita doesn't need to ask for a handout because she is already getting money for the videos she produces.
Glad to see we agree. It's a shame you had to ruin it by contradicting yourself.
I doubt we agree, unless you are suggesting that because Blizzard charges a monthly fee for WoW that they shouldn't charge for a purchase of the game itself? Or shouldn't charge extra money for premium items? Or do anything else to raise revenue?
Basically, your argument boils down to the suggestion that a person/company only needs one revenue stream, and that any others are superfluous. Sarkeesian may have found that the revenue from advertising was not sufficient to cover her costs, and thus did a Kickstarter for her artistic pursuit. If we were to take your argument to it's conclusion, Blizzard shouldn't have made Diablo III, since WoW was still making money for them. Or to continue my point, if you have one job already, you don't need any money from investment returns, or Christmas money from your grandmother.
Kickstarter isn't a handout - it's an exchange of money for a promise of a product. It's another way of doing business, and a way to empower artists to achieve their goals by getting funding for the project. Sarkeesian has every right to use that service to solicit funds for her Tropes project, regardless of any other revenue source.
It's pretty clear that you have no idea how fundraising works, let alone how business works. It's also clear that your hostility towards Sarkeesian's project has nothing to do with the money she raised, except that you somehow feel offended that she was able to do so.
"If we were to take your argument to it's conclusion, Blizzard shouldn't have made Diablo III, since WoW was still making money for them."
This is you completely missing the point. WoW was making money for them and they used that money to make Diablo 3. They didn't ask for handouts because A) they didn't need to and B) people would have freaked the hell out if they did precisely *because* they were still making money on WoW and can fund the development of D3 on their own.
Anita is still making money on her other videos (WoW in the above example) and instead of asking for money to make her new video (D3 in the above example) she should use her own money from the other videos she's made. Instead, she's taking advantage of a fundraising system to raise money she *doesn't* need. This may be "business" but it's shady, manipulative, unethical business. Instead of funding her own video with the money from her other videos she's preying on idiots to donate money to her so she can make more money. Now all the money she makes on her other videos is pure 100% profit because stupid people would rather pay Blizzard (Anita) to develop and market D3 instead of expecting Blizzard to do that themselves and then sell the damn game like every other studio on the planet.
It just occurred to me that the entirety of your argument rests on the idea that she doesn't "need" the money. And that rests entirely on your omniscient understanding of her financial situation. I would be impressed, except that I know you are merely inferring what her financial needs are based solely on your own viewpoint and little factual information.
If you'll recall, she only asked for $6,000. She got over ten times that in support, and increased the size and scope of her project accordingly. Thus, she is still given her supporters (investors) a return on their money.
That's the market at its best. You can disagree with her project (but I'd call you on that, too), but calling her out because other people overwhelmingly supported her project just smells of sour grapes.
If you feel that someone is asking for something they don't need or deserve, don't give it to them. Kickstarter is not a government-imposed tax, and if somebody else thinks a person on Kickstarter deserves their money, it's not your place to tell them how to spend their money either.
At any rate, even if she had been asking for something that she didn't need or deserve, she doesn't deserve rape threats because rape threats are not an appropriate punishment for anything, ever. The appropriate punishment for asking for things you neither need nor deserve is not getting them. Why is this hard?
Not once did I defend the rape threats or other harassment she has received. In fact I condemned it.
Thanks for taking the effort to pretend you read and understood my argument though, it makes you seem informed enough that maybe somebody will listen to you. Kind of like what Anita does.
Except that the point of the article is that because she is outspoken about her project, she is receiving threats. And some the people threatening her claim to be doing so for the very same reason you are upset: that she was successful.
The point many of the comments here are making is that the threats and some of the "criticism" even on this comment board are sufficient cause for Sarkeesian to go ahead with her project. You may not be making misogynistic or threatening comments, but enough others are that it makes a convincing case for the necessity of something like what she is doing.
Do you object to artists charging more than material cost and time for their paintings? After all, they would probably have painted them anyway. Asking for more money than you absolutely need is called "business". Not being willing to pay is called "consumer choice". Ther is nothing unethical about it.
Also, in what way are her arguments "poorly reasoned"?
Also, as for poorly reasoned arguments you can look at her videos on YouTube now where she argues about video games. You can also look at interviews she's given on the topic, to help you out: http://www.destructoid.com/a-response-to-some-arguments-in-anita-sarkees...
The bottom line is, she doesn't know wtf she's talking about.
What an artist does adds value to the materials used to create it because they are creating something new with those materials that would otherwise not exist. When they ask somebody to pay for something they've created they're asking somebody to buy something they can see, touch, hear, whatever... The customer knows what they're getting and the object / art has already been created. The artist is not saying "I'd like to paint the next Mona Lisa but I need you to buy me paintbrushes and paint and a canvas." While at the same time making money hand over fist producing other paintings for people to buy.
When somebody starts a kick starter to fund a project that they otherwise cannot fund themselves, and is something new that they are not already making money on, then that's not unethical and is perfectly justifiable. People judge the project and decide for themselves if it's something they'd like to contribute to. Anita is asking for money to produce something that she's already producing and earning money on. She's no different than the theoretical "next Mona Lisa" painter who is making money on other paintings and has no need to request donations to make this one.
You're creating artificial distinctions. Bottom line is that she's creating a product and asking a price. Something that every business on the planet does. We can all take it or leave it. Personally I didn't contribute, but can see no reason she shouldn't be allowed to ask.
I don't see how I've made an artificial distinction. Somebody asking for a donation to create something they could not otherwise fund is different than somebody asking for a donation to create something that already create on a regular basis and earn money from and can therefore fund. There's nothing artificial about it.
Anyway, we're getting nowhere with this so I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
I just want to know how this differs from any other business. Apple are minted, and could give away their products for cost, but they are in business to make a profit, and that's what they do. Blizzard could give away their expansions and take only monthly fees, but they don't, because people seem willing to pay. A product is worth what people are willing to pay—if they ask too much, they risk the product failing, but that just makes them lousy business(wo)men, not unethical scroungers.
Apple doesn't ask me to fund their research and development of the iPhone. They developed it using the money they've earned on their other products. They then produced the iPhone and sold it to anyone that cared enough purchased one.
Anita on the other hand has the money and capability to produce her video and is asking for handouts anyway. If she just produced it using the money she earns from her other cideos and then tried to sell it, in addition to earning money from it via advertisers, fine whatever, that's just like a typical business model that you describe. What she's doing is nothing like a typical business model though. She's taking advantage of a system that she has no real need for. It's unethical, plain and simple.
Yes, Apple DO ask you to fund their research and development—every time you see an Apple advert, that is them asking you to give them money—that money goes into further R&D and (massive) profits. And if you don't want to, you don't pay. Every for-profit business that offers a product asks you to pay, and pay more than they need, for that is exactly what a profit is.
What can possibly be unethical about a 100% voluntary charge? NO-ONE is compelled to pay. So who's getting ripped off?
"every time you see an Apple advert, that is them asking you to give them money"
There is a difference. Apple doesn't say ,"Hey everyone, we have a great idea for a new smart phone. Give us money and we'll get to work on researching it and developing it so you can have it later on down the road." They're asking me to give them money for a product they created by funding the research and development on their own with the money they've earned on other products they've created (like the Mac, iPod, etc). Not once have they asked anyone to give them money to fund the production of a product they didn't already create. You're trying to argue that she's just somehow operating a business like any other but your argument is terribly thought out. You either have no idea how business actually works or you're too blind to see the logical fallacy in your own comments.
Just like Apple has done with the Mac and iPod to fund the iPhone - Anita should be using the money she's already earned on her prior and current videos to fund this new one.
But hang on, you've said she makes the videos anyway? Doesn't that mean she IS using money she's already earned to make it?
Let's look at Apple again. First they do R&D. Then, prior to announcing a new device, they manufacture a whole heap of them. Then, following the announcement, they ask for your money, and if you're willing, you give it to them and get the device in return. By your argument they should give the first batch away—they'd already made them, so it'd be unethical to ask the first buyers for a hand-out, no?
Kickstarter is just another model to get people who want to sell something in touch with people who want to buy it. So long as no-one is compelled to take part, and backers get what they paid for, it's ethical. Again: who's getting ripped off here?
Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She tweets @helenlewis