Here is a very small sample of the harassment I deal with for daring to criticize sexism in video games. Keep in mind that all this is in response to my Kickstarter project for a video series called Tropes vs. Women in Video Games (which I have not even made yet). These are the types of silencing tactics often used against women on the internet who dare to speak up. But don’t worry it won’t stop me!
[MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING]
NOTE: These 100+ comments were left over the course of a two hour period on YouTube. They represent only a tiny fraction of the
hundreds and hundredsnow thousands of similar comments left on my video. The screen capture is unedited.
In addition to the torrent of misogyny and hate left on my YouTube video (see below) the intimidation effort has also included repeated vandalizing of the Wikipedia page about me (with porn), 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 very supportive in helping me deal with the harassment on their service. All my backers have also been amazingly encouraging over on the project page too!
Lara Croft had a key code where you could play her in the nude. Now, whether or not you believe in games potential impact on the way people think (when it comes to violence, it seems clearly untrue that they are a major driver – the brain is good at separating fact from fiction) – the kind of response, organized, violent response, that the mere idea of the production of a research into the obvious misogyny of video games elicits is striking.
The fear and threat that these people feel and project on Youtube and Wikipedia is fascinating, and scary.
In fact, I think this is even a more important result than the study of the video games itself. Yes, there needs to be a complete overhaul in the representations of women in all kinds of media. Yes, it’s great somebody is doing public education materials (using Youtube for its very best purposes!) crowd funding it (again Internet at its best). It’s all clear evidence of the most beautiful and important uses of the Internet.
In the end though, it’s the comments that really highlight how far we still have to go and how violent (speech like this, esp. on Internet, is certainly violence) the fight against the domination of patriarchal paradigms still are.