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Crime Games Your Rights Online

Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls 1262

Posted by timothy
from the bad-childhoods-never-end dept.
Sonny Yatsen writes: Anita Sarkeesian, the creator of Tropes vs. Women — a video series exploring negative tropes and misogynistic depictions of women in video games — reports that she has been driven from her home after a series of extremely violent sexual threats made against her. Her videos have previously drawn criticism from many male gamers, often coupled with violent imagery or threats of violence. The Verge story linked has this to say: The threats against Sarkeesian have become a nasty backdrop to her entire project — and her life. If the trolls making them hoped for attention, they've gotten it. They've also inexorably linked criticism of her work, valid or not, with semi-delusional vigilantism, and arguably propelled Tropes vs. Women to its current level of visibility. If a major plank of your platform is that misogyny is a lie propagated by Sarkeesian and other "social justice warriors," it might help to not constantly prove it wrong.
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

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  • *Dons asbestos suit* (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:51AM (#47774083)
    Is there anything to corroborate this? Sounds like great publicity.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:03AM (#47774193)

    Because she has form. She is known to have lied about being a gamer, and to have lied about the content of games. See about a million youtube discussions thereof for extensive evidence.

  • by admiralh (21771) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:05AM (#47774223) Homepage

    And of course they are all posting as "Anonymous Coward."

    I think Slashdot ought to consider that some articles, especially those about anonymous internet trolls going open loop, might be set to not allow anonymous posting.

  • Re:Here we go again (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:14AM (#47774337)

    You don't respond to a feminist critique by sending her death threats.

    You don't need to, the Feminists manufacture them against themselves. Just Google Meg Lanker-Simmons.

  • Re: Her work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:21AM (#47774449)

    I'm not insulted either. Mostly because, like you, I'm male.

    That's not the gender she insulted...

  • by eepok (545733) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:24AM (#47774495) Homepage

    Note: I did not write any of the comments about which you speak, but I've noticed the phenomenon and have paid specific attention to the discussions that evolve out of similar situations. That said...

    It has nothing to do with women in particular. It has to do with unbridled cynicism.

    People of certain privilege levels who fight against a particular issue and are then victimized by that specific issue are *cynically* thought to have manufactured the harm. Try these other headlines on for size and see if you don't have an inkling of cynicism:

    (1) Fundamentalist Christian Claims Homosexual Couple Denied Him Service Due to Religion
    (2) American Military Base in Afghanistan Attacked by Terrorists
    (3) British National Party Activist Attacked in Immigrant Neighborhood

    In each one of those hypothetical headlined situations, a genuinely innocent-acting person could have been harmed. The Fundie Christian could have been wearing a cross and the homosexual couple could have been vehemently atheist. The American Military Base could have already ended operations with the terrorist group attacking the base as a cheap shot. And the BNP member could have been walking through the neighborhood with no BNP or otherwise offensive indicia.

    But most people's immediate reaction is to going to be to doubt the pure innocence of "the" victim", but "THIS" victim. The cynicism is based within the very specific context of a specific situation, not in the general context of "sexuality".

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:27AM (#47774537)

    I wonder what else will surface in this story?

    http://i.imgur.com/zHPLIan.jpg [imgur.com]

    Oh gosh, look the screenshots of her evidence tweets came twelve seconds after the tweets themselves, from someone who was not logged in and hadn't done a search.

    Almost as if she'd created the account, threatened herself, logged out, hit the back button on her browser, and taken the screenshots just in time for the release of her new video. Never you say? What motivation could she possibly have to pull such a damselling fraudulent stunt you ask? Maybe the over €150,000 of donations she got last time perhaps?

  • by Rurik (113882) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:27AM (#47774545)

    Agreed, especially in the case of one Reddit troller (who was fired from his job... good riddance):
    http://gawker.com/5950981/unma... [gawker.com]

  • Re: Her work (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mcvos (645701) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:32AM (#47774589)

    I don't care if they think rationally or not. Death threats are not acceptable. The people sending them are some really low scum. And we rational, level-headed people should work together to make sure the angry irrational people don't gain any more ground.

  • Re: Her work (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:34AM (#47774621) Homepage Journal

    No, my worldview really does allow for a little flexibility when stakes are extremely high.

    Let's just all agree that Sarkeesian is not Hitler. She posted videos with opinions.

  • Re:Her work (Score:2, Interesting)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:38AM (#47774677) Journal

    Your argument is basically:

    I'm really ok with this being shitty because it makes the world EQUALLY shitty.

    Lovely. How about being the better person and not accepting shittiness in your life instead?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:45AM (#47774733)

    No. My first instinct was that a woman with a track record of lying and twisting/misrepresenting the truth is potentially lying and twisting/misrepresenting the truth.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:51AM (#47774809)

    Gross generalizations are the problem with things like "tropes vs women" in the first place.
    It is completely acceptable, and considered humor, for men to be treated like a more mentally deficient Homer Simpson with the twisted libido of Randy Marsh. If anyone complains that this (and every ad from like 1990 to around 2010 where the men are drooling morons or a big baby and only his "mother knows best" wife can save the day) is somehow sexist, they'll be laughed out of the building, and possibly get in shit for such a misogynist statement if they complained 'round work.

    Yet somehow, a scantily clad woman in a chainmail bikini is oppression - even when it was conceptualized by a woman, edited and approved by another woman, and the design phase included sentences like "can you make her jiggle like back when I was nursing? she'll be totally obscene in that!".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:00AM (#47774899)
    The reason people suspect these are the persons who actually do stage publicity stunts and abuse. See Zoey Quinn. The biggest harm by persons like her is that persons like Anita get suspected. With so many liars around it's not easy to believe people without first checking the facts. Posting as anonymous because if you immediately don't jump into the self flagellation bandwagon you're going to get massive public shitstorm poured on you.
  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:07AM (#47774983)

    AC, as you are an expert on irrational, unfounded statements could you please explain the rational behind this:

    http://i.imgur.com/zHPLIan.jpg [imgur.com]

  • Re:Her work (Score:1, Interesting)

    by gweihir (88907) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:09AM (#47775007)

    This may be fake. We only have her word. And we know that she has gotten a lot less attention lately than she wants...

  • I think a poster on the escapist forums but it most succinctly: "The gaming community is being bullied for profit".

    The gaming community is being singled out for being misogynist, over the film/tv industry, over the music business, over religious groups, because they are a relatively easy target who won't put up as much of a fight. While it's almost certain that Sarkeesian has received threats, let's be honest, they do not carry anywhere near the same weight as those which would come from, say, a religious group who was called out for being conservative. Gamers also lack the PR money to respond, which would be readily available to entertainment companies. Overall, it's a fairly safe group to criticize.

    I'm sure that misogyny exists in video games, but no more (and I would argue to a lesser extent) than that seen in general society and other forms of entertainment. Yet Sarkeesian and her backers have launched what amounts to an internet crusade against the most counter-cultural -- and I would argue visibly progressive -- media industries.

    Her videos present selectively chosen examples from several video games, purporting to show that games are actually hateful towards women. Many of us have played several of these titles, and can judge how exaggerated such claims are. Indeed, using Sarkeesian's techniques, it would be perfectly possible to go through these games and more, and selectively picks clips and examples "proving" that games and the gaming industry promote animal cruelty.

    Yet no-one makes the animal cruelty argument about video games. And the reason is I think obvious -- The misogynist argument makes more money. Sarkeesian has been backed to the tune of $150,000 to makes these videos. Sites like Kotaku generate huge ad-revenue from the inevitable click-bait headlines which follow from these exaggerated claims. The more games who take the bait, who defend their hobby from these accusations, the more revenue goes to the people making and promoting them.

    This does not represent a genuine feminist movement. This represents a business model. Gamers are being singled out and bullied -- over religious conservatives, over music video directors, over corporate policies towards women -- because gamers are an easier and more lucrative target. Gamers are "hate-baited" with very, very ugly accusations painting them as haters of women, so that their predictable responses can be farmed out to ad-servers and marketing firms. Bullied; for profit.

    I've played video games since 1990; I do not hate women; My hobby does not hate women; The vast majority of people who play video games do not hate women. Please, Sarkeesian's of the world, turn your attentions to the people who do.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:22AM (#47775199)

    That's very interesting. Of course, so is this: http://i.imgur.com/zHPLIan.jpg [imgur.com]

  • by rebelwarlock (1319465) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:40AM (#47775451)
    I think the threats against her are retarded. The only way to kill her is to stop giving her attention. She would shrivel and die if no one listened to her nonsense.
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:41AM (#47775459) Homepage Journal

    Isn't it also "genuine sexism" to assume she's not lying? Or rather, to attack the people who speculate that she may be?

    Judging from the general responses received by the "might not be true" camp, I'd have to say "yes" to my original quandary.

    Personally, I don't trust her, not because she's a woman or anything stupid like that, but rather because I don't trust anyone I don't personally know.

  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:58AM (#47775699) Journal

    You must ask yourself honestly : Why is it, when faced with stories like this, is your first instinct to claim that the woman lied or made it up?

    http://i.imgur.com/zHPLIan.jpg [imgur.com]

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:05PM (#47775803)

    That doesn't in fact answer the questions raised in the image. In any case, I believe a healthy dose of suspicion is justified given this sort of carry on - don't worry, it's only a few seconds long: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:10PM (#47775893) Homepage Journal
    Overall, it's a fairly safe group to criticize.

    I'm sure the FBI agent that is right now being assigned to investigate the death threats she received will agree with you completely.

    My hobby does not hate women; The vast majority of people who play video games do not hate women. Please, Sarkeesian's of the world, turn your attentions to the people who do.

    The vast majority of gamer's don't hate women, but they do love escaping into their power fantasies, where they are tough, strong and desirable and where females (you know, the other 50% of the planet) are treated as objects and she has called you out for it. If this isn't the absolute stark truth, then why is it even a story? There are plenty of nut jobs on the Internet that are ignored by everyone because they are crazy and nobody cares what they say. The fact that she is getting all this negative attention from misogynistic bullies shows just how utterly correct she is. She is telling the truth and that scares people.

    If gaming is so squeaky clean and there isn't any truth in what she has to say, why wouldn't you welcome shining a bright light on the industry and behavior of gamers? She is 100% correct in all her analysis, and I'll even go farther and say what she hasn't said, that the hobby is crawling with shit bag women haters who can only have some self-esteem because they are bullying others.
  • Re: Her work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent,jan,goh&gmail,com> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @01:05PM (#47776833) Homepage

    Damnit. I was going to use some mod points, but I feel like I need to respond here.

    Yes, a lot of men die in games. It's not really up for debate.

    But when women die in games, they die as props or as a kind of sick joke (and it's usually a really unintentional joke, honestly). It's more a reflection of our attitudes at large about what a woman is worth than something solely limited to games per se, but that doesn't make it okay to have it in games.

    I'm a (veteran--13 years, 3 companies) game developer, and I watch each of her videos with a lot of interest. She's not trying to make me feel bad, she's trying to make me pay attention to what I'm doing. I make games to entertain people, not to make a broad swathe of the population feel bad.

    I'd like to stop using women as props in our games. I'd like to see more women as protagonists or just interesting characters in general. If there's a good reason to show a woman or a man dead in the game, that will still be okay. But when it happens, I'm going to be running through a little checklist in my head from now on. Was it necessary? Does it advance the game? Is it really a crucial bit of atmosphere, or could we do without it? Would it just be a good idea to hold off on showing this bit of violence given what we know about rape statistics and the deaths of sex workers?

    From my perspective as a game developer (even though I'm a programmer), she's not blunting my ability to tell a story, but honing my desire to focus on the important parts of a story and make it better for everyone. This is criticism that the industry needs, and needs to respond to if it wants to be credible in the world. AAA games are huge and expensive to make. We can't afford to be sloppy with our storytelling any more. Players are interested in next generation graphics and AI and all that fancy stuff, but we need more strong critique and scrutiny to bring us up to the next generation of narrative and storytelling that I think they also desire.

    (And to the trolls that seem to be lurking in the thread, do you notice how two people can have a discussion without it devolving into name calling and threats? There's zero need for any of the shit she's had to put up with. Adults can have discussions.)

  • Re: Her work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kielistic (1273232) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @01:46PM (#47777361)

    But when women die in games, they die as props or as a kind of sick joke (and it's usually a really unintentional joke, honestly). It's more a reflection of our attitudes at large about what a woman is worth than something solely limited to games per se, but that doesn't make it okay to have it in games.

    Men die in the same way! And in much more gruesome and jovial manners. I think when this occasionally happens to women and it's considered more important is more of a reflection of our attitudes of men's lives being less important than women's than any negative view there is of women. You can't honestly believe that male video game characters do not die in heinous ways more than female characters. You don't think it's interesting that you find that totally normal for men and something that needs to be stopped for women? Women cannot be the same part of a narrative as a men unless they can actually be put in the same part. Which according to Sarkeesian and yourself they cannot be because *reasons*.

    I'd like to stop using women as props in our games. I'd like to see more women as protagonists or just interesting characters in general. If there's a good reason to show a woman or a man dead in the game, that will still be okay. But when it happens, I'm going to be running through a little checklist in my head from now on. Was it necessary? Does it advance the game? Is it really a crucial bit of atmosphere, or could we do without it? Would it just be a good idea to hold off on showing this bit of violence given what we know about rape statistics and the deaths of sex workers?

    Given that we know men are far more likely to be murdered or die in war would it not be a good idea to hold off on this bit of violence? You can do what you want in your games. But when you're trying to tell other people they're being bad or "insensitive" based on the games they create or like to play you actually are trying to make them feel bad so that they stop.

    The worst part about her criticisms is that she actually doesn't understand the tropes she's talking about. Or she just makes up new tropes. Tropes are pretty much a necessary part of storytelling. That's why we call them tropes. They've been around since the advent of storytelling. All stories are just rehashes and variations of old ones.

    This is criticism that the industry needs, and needs to respond to if it wants to be credible in the world.

    I really can't agree with that. Using her same irrational argument style you could paint that same problems onto any media. You think playwriting needs to respond to this criticism if it wants to be credible in the world? Shakespeare the misogynist! The gaming community tried to respond with the appropriate "you're going to have to do better" and explained why to her. She chose instead to focus on people making fun of her for saying stupid things. Everybody with civil disagreements went on and did their own things because she chose to ignore them and make a spectacle out of crazies instead.

    This is criticism that the industry needs, and needs to respond to if it wants to be credible in the world.

    Every AAA title made in the past 20 years disagrees with your assertion. Every AAA movies as well. Every AAA book. Unfortunately mass appeal appears to correlate extremely strongly with mass stupid.

    Some people really aren't playing games for the story telling. Some people are. Games should not be limited to targeting only one of those groups.

    You talk about trolls again like there has not been plenty attempts to discuss this in a civil manner. The reason Anita focuses on trolls is precisely so she can ignore actual criticism. She has literally ignored it all while waving her hands and screaming "look at all the hate! This is proof I'm right". A lot of us have seen this behaviour before and know that it has zero credibility.

  • Mod this up please...

    Not sure why. Most people on Slashdot should realize that screenshot of a web browser showing a page that says "12 seconds ago" doesn't necessarily mean that the corresponding message was created 12 seconds before the screenshot, but just that the page was refreshed 12 seconds after the message... and then the page could have sat, displayed from local RAM, for minutes or hours before a screenshot was taken.

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