"To all the men who turned their misogyny into a game"
March 12, 2015 9:45 AM   Subscribe

"What I couldn't say" by Anita Sarkeesian, part of the "What I couldn't say" session at the All About Women Festival at the Sydney Opera House this week

More great "What I couldn't say" talks:
Mia Freedman
Larissa Behrendt
Jane Caro
Randa Abdel-Fattah
Tara Moss

Or for those who are truly into this, here is the Complete Panel Session
posted by hydropsyche (79 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ohhhhh man, that opening. Love it.
posted by boo_radley at 9:52 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


She's a hero.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:53 AM on March 12, 2015 [20 favorites]


From an unofficial transcript (for those who can't watch video): "What I couldn’t say is “Fuck you!” ~laughter and applause~ To the thousands of men who turned their misogyny into a game; a game in which gendered slurs, death and rape threats are used to try and take down the big bad villain — which in this case, is me."
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:55 AM on March 12, 2015 [24 favorites]


Thanks for the link to the transcript, Doktor Zed.

Not threadsitting, but I do want to say that I intentionally didn't include that pull-quote because the speech (and what she didn't say) is a lot more than just "Fuck you", with a lot of thought about how Sarkeesian has changed her entire life in response to what she has been through. I hope that everyone will watch or read the speech before commenting.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:03 AM on March 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


how Sarkeesian has changed her entire life in response to what she has been through

The supermarket piece is what really hit home for me. For those of you who can't listen to the video for one reason or the other (or just have a habit of not rtfa), she has to tell people who recognize her in public to please not mention the location to anyone.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:11 AM on March 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


I watched that with a feeling that we (meaning I) have failed her greatly.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:11 AM on March 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Awesome. She is so great. When she talked about how she carefully words everything, is hypervigilant about every aspect, it's clear. It's sad that she has to do that to negate the fools who will purposely misconstrue something. It also has turned into a demonstration of just how incredibly talented she is because her videos are so well done they are for most intents and purposes, flawless. I think about others who I adore, whose videos are just 3-4 minutes, and how difficult the process is, according to them. Now just sit back and think about what Anita is doing on top of that in crafting and recrafting to get to the level she achieves, and then on top of that her videos are like 20 or 30 minutes long. It is nothing short of phenomenal.
posted by cashman at 10:16 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Comments are disabled for this video."

For some reason, that one little coda depressed me more than anything. It seems there is nothing she can say that won't be perceived as fodder for the web-enabled juggernaut of mob misogyny with which she contends.
posted by itstheclamsname at 10:17 AM on March 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


The tone argument. Ugh.
posted by Dashy at 10:19 AM on March 12, 2015


she has to tell people who recognize her in public to please not mention the location to anyone

Haven't had a chance to rtfa yet. This is horrifying.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:19 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Go on with your bad self Aneeta!
posted by Captain Chesapeake at 10:24 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


That woman is a god-damned hero.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:25 AM on March 12, 2015 [19 favorites]


This video was originally uploaded with comments enabled. It didn't go well. No point in rehashing those YouTube comments-- let me just say that if you ever hear something to the effect that Anita Sarkeesian is "avoiding criticism" by disabling comments, that's false. What she is really avoiding is a litany of abuse and sexist insults.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 10:26 AM on March 12, 2015 [30 favorites]


The fact that she can't even be funny anymore is a damned shame. Because she is, hella funny.

She's winning, but the price is pretty damned high.
posted by suelac at 10:27 AM on March 12, 2015 [27 favorites]


I have had the opportunity to speak to her twice at successive Geek Girl Cons in Seattle. The second was just a matter of shaking her hand while she was surrounded by a circle of supporters. The first, however, was when she was sitting behind a table in the artist's alley just chilling out with a couple of friends who happened to have a table there.

She's warm, she's friendly, she's incredibly sharp and she's goddamn hilarious.

At one point, I said, "Whenever your name comes up, I tell people the only problem with Anita Sarkeesian is that she's right."

Anita said, "I KNOW! I KEEP TELLING PEOPLE THAT, TOO!"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:34 AM on March 12, 2015 [95 favorites]


What she is really avoiding is a litany of abuse and sexist insults

Also, nobody is obligated to accept criticism. Really. I can't stop you from commenting on my work in public, but I don't have to listen to it.

And, of course, anyone who wants to read or post criticism of her work has a thousand places other than in her Youtube comments. There's no shortage of forums allowing for that (complete with the nearly-obligatory ethnic slurs and misogynist ranting).
posted by suelac at 10:43 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


For some reason, that one little coda depressed me more than anything. It seems there is nothing she can say that won't be perceived as fodder for the web-enabled juggernaut of mob misogyny with which she contends.

Yeah, all of her YouTube comment threads are disabled. For good reason. Her critics will of course characterize that as "censorship" because they don't know what the word means.

Hell, all YouTube comment threads should be disabled.
posted by brundlefly at 10:45 AM on March 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


(In retrospect, "critics" was an inappropriately charitable word to use.)
posted by brundlefly at 10:46 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


So I recently took a programming course. The class was probably 80% male (which is a huge improvement on last year's numbers, I'm told!), so the instructors, who were all male, made an effort to make the women in class feel included and supported by naming our class after a famous female video game character.

At orientation, the instructors told me a funny/sad little story about how difficult it was to find a non-sexualized picture of the character to print and hang on the classroom door. I went to lunch with some of the men in class on the second day of class and found myself retelling this story. Didn't present it as my own story, just said it was something our (male) instructors had told me, isn't that funny/weird, ha ha.

One of the guys sitting next to me turned and spit, "Okay, MS SARKEESIAN." When I didn't respond because I was kind of stunned, he said, "Do you even know who that is?!"

And I just said, "Yes, I know exactly who she is. Thank you."

(He then went on a ten-minute rant about ethics in video game journalism so I understood he wasn't giving me a compliment, but fuck it. I know a compliment when I hear one. She is awesome.)
posted by Yoko Ono's Advice Column at 10:46 AM on March 12, 2015 [153 favorites]


Ohmigosh, that Jane Caro is great. I love a salty woman!
posted by amanda at 10:46 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


brundlefly: Hell, all YouTube comment threads should be disabled.

I disconcur.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:54 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


What I couldn’t say is, “I’m a human being.” I don’t get to publicly express sadness, or rage, or exhaustion, or anxiety, or depression; I can’t say that sometimes the harassment really gets to me — or conversely, that the harassment has become so normal that sometimes I don’t feel anything at all. The death threats come through on my social media, and it’s just become a routine: screencap, forward to the FBI, block, and move on.

Thanks for posting this. I'm going to forward this to someone I know who's going through a similar thing, because she spoke out about something awful here that some people refuse to accept. The abuse she has received daily on social media for the last 5 months has been so upsetting to witness, and the fact that she has to "stay strong" lest the bastards see a chink in the armour and feel like they've won is another layer of dehumanisation. I hope she can take some inspiration from this incredible woman.
posted by billiebee at 10:54 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


the speech (and what she didn't say) is a lot more than just "Fuck you"

Quite so - "What I couldn't say" is the theme of her entire speech, of course , which really delves into how circumscribed she feels when her every comment, online or IRL, is pounced on by GGers and their ilk. It runs the gamut from the proudly four-letter defiance at the opening to an admission of her own vulnerability. It's as though she's the dehumanizing center of a Venn diagram of online harassment, mob misogyny, and celebrity stalking.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:55 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks for this. I'd like to add that yesterday Congresswoman Katherine Clark published a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, asking it to call on the Justice Department to crack down on this type of harassment against women. Also reported here: Rep. Katherine Clark wants the FBI to crack down on Gamergate and online threats
posted by shw at 10:55 AM on March 12, 2015 [31 favorites]


Also, nobody is obligated to accept criticism. Really. I can't stop you from commenting on my work in public, but I don't have to listen to it.

Seriously. Have you noticed how no art museums let you scrawl your thoughts on the wall beneath the paintings anymore.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:55 AM on March 12, 2015 [28 favorites]


Oh, you still can, you just have to be quick about it.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:59 AM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


"Have you noticed how no art museums let you scrawl your thoughts on the wall beneath the paintings anymore."

Shit, completely off topic but that would be a great idea in an art gallery.
posted by I-baLL at 10:59 AM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I’m angry that I’m expected to accept online harassment as the price of being a woman with an opinion.

I'm angry too. And part of that anger is the powerless I feel to change that, but on reflection I'm not powerless, just gotta keep my eye on the long game, the long term, (which is cold fucking comfort for someone in her shoes right now.)

On a vaguely related note, I'm looking forward to the day, years from now, when we can openly talk about the ideas she raised. Right now, people interpret any comments (from people they don't know well) as either with her or against her, and respond accordingly. There will come a time when her insight becomes an actual groundwork instead of being either gospel or treason, and in that ground another part of her legacy will grow.

But in the meantime, Sarkeesian; you're a big damn hero.
posted by anonymisc at 11:01 AM on March 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


Thanks for posting this. I'm currently trying to help a family member understand why feminism is still not only relevant but necessary, and this is a succinct and awesome summation of a lot of what I've been trying to get across. It's been emailed, along with background on the magnificent Sarkeesian - wish me luck.
posted by greenish at 11:02 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whenever I hear about her I wonder what could be done to help her be less harassed. Is there anything ordinary people can do?
posted by feets at 11:09 AM on March 12, 2015


And, of course, anyone who wants to read or post criticism of her work has a thousand places other than in her Youtube comments.

Yes, I've heard of Reddit.
posted by foldedfish at 11:10 AM on March 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


one way for people to help is to donate to her company.
posted by nadawi at 11:14 AM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Thanks for posting this, hydropsyche.
posted by nangar at 12:23 PM on March 12, 2015


Thanks for this. I'd like to add that yesterday Congresswoman Katherine Clark published a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, asking it to call on the Justice Department to crack down on this type of harassment against women.

What confuses me - just from a political perspective - is that this seems so obvious. I get that the FBI and Justice Department might not view these crimes as macho enough for them to address; I do wonder why so few legislators or state governors and attorneys general have taken this on as a cause.
posted by kanewai at 12:26 PM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


scaryblackdeath: She's warm, she's friendly, she's incredibly sharp and she's goddamn hilarious.


Seconded. I had the good fortune to hear her speak a couple of years ago in Vancouver and chat with her. Such a lovely woman, and so thoughtful and charismatic when she speaks about her experiences.
posted by averysmallcat at 12:32 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ugh, that's just gut-wrenching. She is amazing, but you really have to wonder what is so fundamentally broken in our public discourse that she should end up in this position. It really is one of the deep and difficult problems of the internet era that this kind of harassment is so easy, and so scalable. I don't disagree that companies like Twitter should do more and the cops and so on should do more, but I think even if they put in place the best imaginable policies it would amount to little more than a slight drop in pressure in the general firehose of hate.

The "easy" answer, of course, is to change society so there isn't the ready pool of fuckwads out there to carry on this bullshit--but not only is that obviously a long, hard struggle, it's also the case that it really doesn't take that many people to keep shit like this alive. I'm sure if you did a general poll of the wider public and asked them who Sarkeesian is, her name recognition would be very, very low. I doubt a majority of people have even heard of Gamer Gate, and of those who have I would guess that a majority could tell you, at most, that it's "some nerd thing." And yet, that's enough to turn her life into a fucking ongoing nightmare. Because she produces some smart, insightful commentary on video games. Ugh, again.
posted by yoink at 12:37 PM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


[I'm sure if you did a general poll of the wider public and asked them who Sarkeesian is, her name recognition would be very, very low. I doubt a majority of people have even heard of Gamer Gate, and of those who have I would guess that a majority could tell you, at most, that it's "some nerd thing."

As an aside, does anyone have a suggestion for a summary of what MRAs are, what the movement means, etc for someone that is coming into it cold? I was trying to explain it to a friend who's dealt with some of the entitlement from men that seems to be the basis of the MRA movement and was trying to explain what it was and why it might be relevant to him. I struggled because everything was so gigantic in my head that I failed to be able to explain it in a clear, concise way. He had never heard of gamergate or Sarkeesian either.]

posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:32 PM on March 12, 2015


I was trying to put Sarkeesian's experience in historical context, and remembered that many of the early women activists (suffragists, abolitionists, etc.) were often yelled down or threatened, not simply for the content of their speeches, but for the fact that they were women, speaking in public. Such behavior was considered beyond shocking, and 19-century GG types mocked, threw vegetables, and shouted at them.
posted by emjaybee at 1:44 PM on March 12, 2015 [17 favorites]


I was trying to put Sarkeesian's experience in historical context, and remembered that many of the early women activists (suffragists, abolitionists, etc.) were often yelled down or threatened, not simply for the content of their speeches, but for the fact that they were women, speaking in public. Such behavior was considered beyond shocking, and 19-century GG types mocked, threw vegetables, and shouted at them.

Hell, you don't even have to go that far back. This documentary (which I recommend highly) has clips from the 1960s of women trying to speak on stage at New Left rallies and getting shouted off the stage by men (men who thought of themselves as left political radicals!) simply because they were women trying to speak in public.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:59 PM on March 12, 2015 [19 favorites]


She is amazing, but you really have to wonder what is so fundamentally broken in our public discourse that she should end up in this position.

Well, part of it is the complete misunderstanding of the nature of free speech, I think; the other, I think, is the complete misunderstanding by technological idealists of human nature.

I feel like the internet was supposed to give our "superegos" a chance to shine, to ascend fleshy bonds. What seems to have happened instead is that our collective "ids" decided to emerge and smear filth over everything. Instead of a noble forum of ideas presented anonymously that could be discussed without bias for the person presenting it, it's a gladiatorial ring where anyone recognizable is immediately targeted for destruction by anonymous crowds.
posted by qcubed at 2:12 PM on March 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well, part of it is the complete misunderstanding of the nature of free speech, I think; the other, I think, is the complete misunderstanding by technological idealists of human nature.

Alternately, it's because violently stupid misogyny is even more prevalent in gaming and the tech industry than it is in American society as a whole.

Which is to say, I think the business about free speech is a distraction. Although it is true that many male techies misunderstand what free speech means, the underlying problem isn't that too many male techies misunderstand what free speech is. Instead, the problem is that too many male techies hate women, and make a habit of issuing detailed death threats to women who speak in public, and too many male techies choose to loudly ignore what their compatriots are doing.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:19 PM on March 12, 2015 [35 favorites]


Alternately, it's because violently stupid misogyny is even more prevalent in gaming and the tech industry than it is in American society as a whole.

I don't disagree here, to be honest. I also don't think that the free speech thing is a distraction--in some ways, because of how the internet was born, there's an expectation (right or wrong) that anything can be said. Those broadband pipes became a Deepwater Horizon drill to the collective id, the id that is violently, stupidly, aggressively bigoted (but Obviously Not really), enabling it and allowing it to seep out and muck everything up.
posted by qcubed at 2:32 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


As an aside, does anyone have a suggestion for a summary of what MRAs are, what the movement means, etc for someone that is coming into it cold? I was trying to explain it to a friend who's dealt with some of the entitlement from men that seems to be the basis of the MRA movement and was trying to explain what it was and why it might be relevant to him. I struggled because everything was so gigantic in my head that I failed to be able to explain it in a clear, concise way. He had never heard of gamergate or Sarkeesian either.

The RationalWiki page on the movement seems to be a good introduction:
The men's rights movement, also known as men's rights activism (MRA), masculism or "The Men's Human Rights Movement,"[2] is a movement that believes that social, legal and economic discrimination against males is present in society to the extent that fighting it deserves an organized effort mirroring feminism.

[...] The term "movement" is itself challenged, since "men's movements" function more as a social salve,[3] rather than actually redressing inequality in the overall social structure. There remain relatively few barriers to men's achievement in the world compared to women's, and few real areas where one can demonstrate a "lack of equality."[4] Where such inequalities (apparent or real) do actually exist, it is important to critique if they're a result of feminism or if they derive from cultural attitudes which long predate it. Indeed, it'll be difficult to find feminists who push ingrained prejudices such as "men are strong enough to look out for themselves and don't need support."

Men's rights activists have been criticized for privilege blindness and their tendency towards "mansplaining." Frequently, MRA arguments rely on gross generalizations (often extrapolated from anecdotal evidence) and outdated views (e.g. "Men do all the hard work and have to work outside of the home, while women get the easy jobs"). Men's rights activists also have a reputation for palpable anger, based on their personal experiences of relationships, divorce, or the law. This stereotype is common to almost all fringe groups, however, as can be seen from the "angry feminist who wants to destroy men" stereotype (which has even greater currency in pop culture).
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:38 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


She's winning, but the price is pretty damned high.

I think she's won what there is to win, for the moment. The world has changed, in a tiny but significant way, and she's made it change. The wave's rolling back, but that's just because that's how change works.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:39 PM on March 12, 2015


I feel like the internet was supposed to give our "superegos" a chance to shine, to ascend fleshy bonds. What seems to have happened instead is that our collective "ids" decided to emerge and smear filth over everything.

Wow, that's eerily similar to the background story of The Forbidden Planet.

The part about her never feeling completely safe is what hurts the most for me. Having to give such careful consideration to where and when she will appear in public. Asking people not to reveal her location.

It strikes me that she's very much a victim of terroristic threats and acts, and you'd think that in the Era of the War on Terror, with law enforcement asking the government for mo' money and broader data mining powers at every turn to fight terrorists, something could be done about the situation she and other women who dare to be outspoken are facing. You'd think that anyway. Facts on the ground repeatedly suggest otherwise.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:49 PM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't disagree here, to be honest. I also don't think that the free speech thing is a distraction--in some ways, because of how the internet was born, there's an expectation (right or wrong) that anything can be said. Those broadband pipes became a Deepwater Horizon drill to the collective id, the id that is violently, stupidly, aggressively bigoted (but Obviously Not really), enabling it and allowing it to seep out and muck everything up.

See, the reason why I think the free speech / nature of the Internet discussion is a distraction is because we've all been bathing in that particular misogynist id since long before the Internet. Like, 1960s "left" men didn't need an Internet to deploy violent sexualized threats to shout down women who tried to speak at rallies. Moreover, the "misunderstanding of free speech" argument is undermined by the fact that there's never actually been a genuine expectation that "anything can be said" on the Internet; to take the example that's right in front of our faces, there's never been any real expectation that women can freely say anything they want (or even anything at all) on the Internet. And that's why I think it's important to keep the focus on the misogyny, rather than crediting the idea that people are being led astray by misguided ideas about what free speech means. The "misunderstanding of free speech" line is at best, a cover story for the actual processes at play.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:16 PM on March 12, 2015 [17 favorites]


Thank you for this. I got myself embroiled in some internet controversy yesterday and I really needed this.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:24 PM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I mean, I see your point about stuff from the 1960s and all, but it seems to me that in some ways, it's harder to scale the in-person stuff? Don't get me wrong, I agree that misogyny is at the root of it, it's just that I don't know if that's the immediate reason why current discourse is so bad?

What we're seeing now is very much like a DDoS of women's voices on the internet, in the form of vile misogyny and threats, to sea-lioning/"JAQ" off questions, and so on. I really don't know what happened in the past, but it seems to me that the mob mentality of the internet is crazy fickle, making the 15 minutes of fame ever shorter, but the 5 months of infamy ever longer, which exacerbates the whole problem.

As far as the "anything can be said", I'm not sure I agree with you completely--I think it's perverse and horrifying that yes, anything can be said if you're anonymous. Once it comes out that someone is a woman, or different from "normal", whatever that means, that's when all of those rules seem to change. And that really sucks.
posted by qcubed at 3:28 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Honestly, my main point is that the Internet isn't even particularly bad. Basically, that this isn't a new thing happening in a new way on a new medium, it's the same old thing happening in the same old way on a new(ish) medium.

I'd add a proviso to your statement: instead of describing the Internet's historical attitude toward speech as "anything can be said if you're anonymous," I'd say it's more "anything can be said if you're anonymous... so long as what you're saying doesn't threaten patriarchy," because even anonymous anti-patriarchal speech draws terroristic responses.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:43 PM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


The thing that's changed pretty recently is that anonymity is disappearing online, and women can be tracked down and harassed/doxxed/stalked far more easily than ever before. I blame social media because the rise of that seems to have multiplied the problem to the levels we're at now. It's just so easy to ruin someone's life immediately and perhaps even erroneously and the rumor has gone around the world before the truth got its boots on.

Women have always been hated and put down, it's just gotten easier to do.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:19 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was privileged to see her speak a few days ago and spoke to her briefly after the presentation. She is a damn inspiration. She mentioned one of her fears is the chilling effect this kind of harassment has on other women who want to speak critically online about *any* kind of topic but they're afraid to because they see what happens when you do. I related to her how I had something similar happen (on a much much smaller scale) that basically caused me to immediately delete all my comments because I was terrified that it might turn into men revealing my personal details online.

At the presentation she was asked how she saw the gaming world looking in ten years time. She said that was a question of hope and depending on how she was feeling on any given day, her answer would change. I have to agree with her. Today I am feeling incredibly disheartened about it. I am feeling like the "gamergaters" have won. They have been successful in silencing many women online, including myself, from engaging in these topics. People suck.
posted by liquorice at 4:43 PM on March 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


It strikes me that she's very much a victim of terroristic threats and acts, and you'd think that in the Era of the War on Terror, with law enforcement asking the government for mo' money and broader data mining powers at every turn to fight terrorists, something could be done about the situation she and other women who dare to be outspoken are facing. You'd think that anyway. Facts on the ground repeatedly suggest otherwise.

This is basically the comment I was going to make. We passed all those awful anti-terror laws and I guess we are stuck with them now, so it would be nice if at least they could be turned to some good use by going after these shitheels with the full force of the federal government.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:35 PM on March 12, 2015


I was trying to explain it to a friend who's dealt with some of the entitlement from men that seems to be the basis of the MRA movement and was trying to explain what it was and why it might be relevant to him. I struggled because everything was so gigantic in my head that I failed to be able to explain it in a clear, concise way. He had never heard of gamergate or Sarkeesian either.

A few days ago somebody posted a link to an analysis of Gamergate which concluded that relatively few people were actually involved; the participants were just obsessively posting and reposting under tens (hundreds?) of accounts. I think this might be why it hasn't hit the radar of many people: if you never encounter a Gamergate victim or villain it will all seem a bit distant.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:36 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is basically the comment I was going to make. We passed all those awful anti-terror laws and I guess we are stuck with them now, so it would be nice if at least they could be turned to some good use by going after these shitheels with the full force of the federal government.

That we have to even ask this question points out the lie behind the whole "anti-terror" legislation and associated funding. None of it was ever actually about terrorism.
posted by odinsdream at 7:08 PM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


At the presentation she was asked how she saw the gaming world looking in ten years time. She said that was a question of hope and depending on how she was feeling on any given day, her answer would change. I have to agree with her. Today I am feeling incredibly disheartened about it. I am feeling like the "gamergaters" have won.

Nope :)
Speaking from what I see in the games industry, the techies are flocking to her side. She won a long time ago. Gamergaters are the bad guys who are threatening techies and co-workers and need to DIAF. You won't hear much about how technies view Gamergate because the industry works under gag orders - no-one can publicly say any thing on any topic unless the thing being said has already been officially released by PR. But for the same reason, gamergaters also don't see how techies view them, and so are are still digging themselves deeper. Gamergaters may be numerous and vicious and around every corner and hurting people, but they're not representative of gamers (which is almost everyone of a certain generation these days), nor are they representative of the people who create games. The industry has high turnover and a steady stream of young inexperienced people entering it, and so there will always be bad attitudes trickling in, and a poisonous company culture can result if too many end up in the same place at once, but the tide is turning against this and enclaves will eventually start to become rarer.

Where will we be in ten years? If you want sexist tripe in your games, you'll still have options to find it (Ironic since GG reactionary lashing-out is driven by the perception that this is at risk). If you want diverse character options, that'll be normal. Plenty of games will offer both. As always, nothing will please all of the people all of the time. More people than ever will be gaming. Some of the super-high-budget blockbuster games will be inclusive in ever-more carefully studied and focus-group-tested ways, because high budget requires high sales which requires maximal demographic appeal. (Some of those focus group findings would discomfort or be disbelieved by progressives (SJWs) and similarly other findings would anger reactionaries (GGs) but no-one will get upset because the research will stay in-house. Ten years probably isn't enough time for a new generation of industry demographics to have arisen, so many of the efforts along the way will be good-intentioned but clumsy, mocked by both progressives and reactionaries. Today the range of games is already massively broadening, and that might not be sustainable for some business models and types of games, but there will never be a time - now or in the future - when you can't find terrible games to point at, and there will never be a time - now or in the future - when you can't find paragon games to point to.

That's where the games and the people who make them are going. Gamer (public) culture on the other hand - what the public does with the games once they pass out of the hands of the techies, that's a different question, and one I'm not equipped to make predictions about. FWIW my observation is that the public is much more toxic than techies - people in the industry are interacting with each other in person as professionals, not through anonymous forums like much of the public does, etc. They're fundamentally different situations.
posted by anonymisc at 7:24 PM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Disclaimer: I wouldn't want to hang around a shithole company or a toxic culture, so my observations may have a bias / echo-chamber in them, but I think toxic culture is enough of a production liability that the healthier companies will outcompete.

That said, while it's won, I also think the drumbeat against sexism needs to be kept up. It's easy to relax and fall back into old habits, no malice required.

posted by anonymisc at 7:33 PM on March 12, 2015


When she talked about how she carefully words everything, is hypervigilant about every aspect, it's clear. It's sad that she has to do that to negate the fools who will purposely misconstrue something.

The sad thing is, even then they will just lie about what she said.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:41 PM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm so, so angry that these women aren't getting any response or protection from the government for this kind of thing and that the gaters can fuck up their lives without any consequences. The fact that it is left completely up to them to provide security for themselves is fucking awful; I can't believe that Sarkeesian has to rely on telling people in the grocery store to please not mention her. It's really shitty.

I mean, yeah, there are lots of tech people who think GG is awful, but GG is still winning in the area that they care about: their ability to ruin the lives of women who disagree with them. It's gonna take a lot more than the silent agreement of people with the excuse of gag orders that they're a bunch of awful chodegoblins; we need changes to how existing platforms work and shifts in gaming culture to be less accepting of bigotry, including the casual bigotry that you so often see in game and on game forums.
posted by NoraReed at 11:05 PM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I got derailed by GG. I didn't only mean silent agreement, I meant silent action. Her criticisms of the art are being accepted and people are starting to act on them. It's a slow boat to turn, but change is coming.
posted by anonymisc at 11:55 PM on March 12, 2015


The MRA are a group of men who have gotten together to collectively prove that the distribution of intelligence in men has a flatter curve than in women by providing unequivocal evidence of the left side of said flatter curve.
posted by lastobelus at 1:41 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's worth watching some of the other videos. Tara Moss is incredible!

As far as how things can change, my boys (13 and 9) are both gamers and Aiden, the oldest, is outspoken about how fucked up sexism is when he sees it whilst playing. My niece Sarah and her girlfriend Talita are also gamers and they too are fearless in their commitment to playing the games that they love and fucking off anyone who dares comment on their gender/sexuality.

If nothing else, I have helped them see that they don't just have to sit back and take it or indeed join in with it and I think I've really helped to give them some words to combat that, and it's in a big part due to words that I've gotten from the amazing people on Metafilter.
posted by h00py at 4:44 AM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


anonymisc, I'm not sure I agree with your assessment, but I do see signs of improvement and I hope we do see a future where women aren't as afraid of online harassment as me and my friends are.
posted by brainwane at 7:37 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


brainwane, that's an amazing resource. Also really depressing, because I had not heard of some of these. (Admittedly, much of that might have been my youth; I really only remember the decade before the turn of the century.)
posted by qcubed at 8:32 AM on March 13, 2015


a former gamergater talks about what led them to, and then away, from participating, here lies my hatred
posted by nadawi at 9:01 AM on March 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


> I'm so, so angry that these women aren't getting any response or protection from the government for this kind of thing and that the gaters can fuck up their lives without any consequences.

I think it's going to take a lot of political pressure to get the FBI to take on-line threats and harassment seriously, and investigate and prosecute people who do it. But we need to apply pressure to get them to do that.
posted by nangar at 9:37 AM on March 13, 2015


brainwane, I'm not sure what you mean. Of all the incidents listed in your link (post-Sarkeesian / Tropes vs Women (March 2013)) the only incidents involving people who make games were game-industry women (such as Brianna Wu, Zoe Quinn) being insulted/threatened by members of the public or other industries. If anything, perhaps the conspicuous absence (of the people who make the games) could reaffirm confidence. Obviously the list is far from comprehensive - things are far from 100% stellar, I don't mean to imply otherwise. The mountain being climbed is a big one.
posted by anonymisc at 10:51 AM on March 13, 2015


brianna wu is constantly saying that men in the tech industry don't give enough of a shit, if they give any shits whatsoever, if they aren't actively telling her that it's not that big a deal and joking about her circumstances. i'll take her word that she doesn't feel as supported as you think she is and that what support she has isn't close to being enough.
posted by twist my arm at 11:21 AM on March 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


anonymisc, I am probably coming to this thinking more about the larger tech industry in general, rather than the video games worlds specifically.

I'm willing to believe that, in public, at the office, and under their legal names, approximately everyone who spends big chunks of time making video games (freeware, indie, AAA, what have you) supports Sarkeesian, Wu, et alia. But a substantial fraction of the really committed assholes online, the ones who cover their tracks, are technologists (by hobby and/or profession). So, I'm wary.
posted by brainwane at 11:37 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Twist my arm, you are hearing things that I am not saying, and I think you are concurring with me while you think you are disagreeing. I am failing to convey my message, so let me try a metaphor: It is presidential election day 2009, and even though only a few of the results have been tabulated, I'm calling it for Obama. That does not mean I claim that none of the remaining states will vote McCain, I'm not saying that no shitty governors will be elected or that they won't use their position to do shitty things. I'm certainly not saying the Republican party has vanished off the face of the earth or turned Democratic. I'm saying that from what I've seen, Obama has won and Obama will influence the future path of the nation. I might have mis-weighed the numbers, I might be wrong. It's a prediction. But I have confidence. To my eye, the writing is on the wall. I would like to think (but I don't know) that Brianna Wu remains in the industry because she believes the same thing.
posted by anonymisc at 1:39 PM on March 13, 2015


To expand on your analogy, anonymisc, what everyone else is pointing to is how the results of the 2010 midterms brought the Republicans to power in many (though not all) States, and this in turn has granted them a not-inconsiderable amount of power in shaping things both at the local and national level.

Don't assume that they'll go without a fight.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:31 PM on March 13, 2015


Yup, that's part of why I chose that analogy. :)
posted by anonymisc at 2:40 PM on March 13, 2015


I'm all for better ethics in video game "journalism." (Most of it would probably be better described as 'coverage' than 'journalism.') Let's start with the game reviews that make up most of the category.

When are the Gators going to turn their ire on IGN and all the other similar shill news and reviews sites that make up the vast majority of the genre, with their largely male writers/reviewers? But, no, the biggest threat to the integrity of video game journalism can't be the captive relationship of coverage outlets to publishers, it has to be who some prominent women in the field have slept with. Which quickly becomes a transparent excuse to complain about 'SJW's and the discomfort or unfairness of the erosion of privilege by evolving socioeconomic configurations of gender, sexuality, and etc.

It's a sad, sad reactionary movement without any actual cohesive ideas or goals and that only a very few miserable buffoons will want to acknowledge their support for a few years down the road.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:00 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


It baffles me.
Anita launched her Kickstarter in 2012, and then someone made that video game about hitting her face (HuffPo).

Nearly two years later, this shitstorm starts. How does that not carve a Bagger 288 size hole in the oft repeated ethics narrative? Among numerous other things, like the "Gaming is Dead" articles not being *all* published on the same day, and those that were having explicitly mentioned their points of inspiration/departure.

Sorry, don't mean to derail. Just been stewing on this.

I just shook my head when she mentioned being careful with her words. I ran across dissections of this talk before even seeing the original, despite following a goodly number of sympathetic twitter channels.

There were apparently 120 response videos this week alone. wtf
https://twitter.com/ashleylynch/status/576479761045803008
posted by Jack Karaoke at 6:55 PM on March 13, 2015


That's pretty amazing. It was pointed out yesterday also that, as a result of attacks by Adam Baldwin on GaymerX, the LGBT-friendly gaming org, their mentions jumped from 20 or so a day to 1500. That said, given the work rate and volume of text produced by any given Gamergater, that might not represent a huge number of people.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:06 AM on March 16, 2015




More on Ashley Judd.

On a related note: NYT Monica Lewinsky profile.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:24 PM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing I've noticed lately, is if I watch an Anita Sarkeesian video, for the next few days YouTube recommends I watch various anti-Anita screeds by the weird losers who make it their life's work to pretend she is the anti-Christ.

I assume this is either due to the flooding of YouTube with anti-Anita videos or simply a very dumb algorithm. Either way it's gross bordering on embarrassing. Either the majority of people watching Anita's videos are hate-watchers, or YouTube just so happens to suggest that you consider watching the people who want her destroyed. Get your head out of your ass, Youtube! Good lord.
posted by SassHat at 2:28 PM on March 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Really great piece by Campo Santo's ombudsman, Duncan Fyfe, about the studio's environment artist Jane Ng, and whether by suggesting they would probably not hire Gamergaters she was breaking the law (no) and should be fired (no).
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:44 PM on March 30, 2015




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