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Crime Games Your Rights Online

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

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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  • Here we go again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:53AM (#47774095)

    Yes the subject is uncomfortable and no she isn't completely correct. Her arguments open to plenty of valid criticism that the female gender is not always misused in video games.

    The problem is and will always be a reactionary subset of people who cannot be peer pressured into behaving like sane human beings on the Internet. You don't respond to a feminist critique by sending her death threats.

  • by Rurik ( 113882 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:54AM (#47774099)

    Trolling against her proves many of her points. Many take trolling as a sport to revel in their anonymity, but the threatening comments are extreme.

    In my opinion, her videos are, in places, poorly researched with many leaps of logic mixed with heavy opinions. But, they still contain very valid points and can be civilly debated.

    Evolve, people. At least keep the trolling to a respectable severity.

    • But that's no longer trolling.

      Evolve, people. At least keep the trolling to a respectable severity.

  • by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:58AM (#47774133) Journal

    It seems to me that the first few comments made to Slashdot about this story is indicative of the problem at large. The first comments (made by anonymous cowards) immediately conjectured that Sarkeesian is to blame, that she concoted the death threats as a publicity stunt.

    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?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:03AM (#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.

    • Just tell them (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:09AM (#47774263) Homepage 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?

      Come on, we all know why it is. Just fucking tell them. Tell them that it's their first instinct because they don't want to believe that they could be part of the problem, however slightly. Tell them that they don't want to believe that people they know and call friends are actually acting like complete shitbags. Tell them that you know that they've been hurt, that they feel worthless and useless and powerless, and that you know they feel more powerful and thus more worthy and useful when they make someone else feel even worse about themselves.

      And then tell them that the only way that they're ever going to feel better is by helping to create a world where we don't just shit all over one another. Because you've got to tie it into their self-interest.

      Naturally, most of them won't listen right away. But perhaps eventually, after continuing to try making the world shittier as a way of making it a nicer place to live, they will start watching where they shit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Why is it, when faced with stories like this, is your first instinct to claim that the woman lied or made it up?

      For the same reason when a woman is raped they immediately blame her for getting herself in that situation.

      She shouldn't have gotten drunk.

      She shouldn't have worn that short skirt.

      She shouldn't have been walking alone at night.

      I once worked with a guy who said if a girl in college got raped when she was drunk it was her fault, except of course if it was his daughter in whi
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:45AM (#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 ADRA ( 37398 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:31PM (#47775319)

        Blame is a poor choice of words, but there are definitely activities that cause your probability of being the victim of crime to improve dramatically. If I walked down Harlem yelling racial slurs, I'd have a better chance of getting shanked or shot than say the middle of Austria where'd they just think you're nuts and lock you in an assylum.

        I'm not saying its right or not, but life choices can and do lead to consequences. Do we want to live in a better society where women don't feel afraid to walk down the street at night? Absolutely. Are we there yet now? Not for most of the world. So to -blame- a woman for doing what she should be entitled to do like any man can do is wrong, but surely she puts herself in greater jeopardy for creepers and assholes, absolutely.

    • by eepok ( 545733 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:24AM (#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 Yunzil ( 181064 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:46AM (#47774747) Homepage

      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?

      Because years of experience on the Internet has made it so that my first instinct is always to think that a story is a lie or a fabrication no matter the sex of the person involved.

    • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:53AM (#47774837)

      I do know that this article is poorly written. They mention Zoe Quinn being harassed, but in reality, that harassment was people trying to discover the truth about whether or not a games journo was promoting her game at the same time that he was having an intimate relationship with her. Zoe Quinn is a despicable human being - and it's not because she's a woman. Let me give you an example from the long line of proof of what she's done.

      There's a group called The Fine Young Capitalists that were trying to host a game jam specifically directed at female developers - the entire point was to promote women in gaming. TFYC were getting funding for it, and then Zoe Quinn stepped in and had them shut down, implying that they were being misogynists. In reality, she wanted them shut down because she was hosting her own game jam, which had become a bloated, fund-sucking monstrosity that still has no concrete details as to when or where it's taking place. All of this is proven fact. By the way, TFYC did get their game jam funded.. by 4chan.. and it's pulling in plenty of female developers.

      There's also the part where she's declaring harassment because people are trying to find out the truth about whether or not she unethically used an intimate relationship with a games journalist to promote Depression Quest. The fact that she had an intimate relationship with Nathan Grayson is a big deal, especially considering that they officially started dating less than a week after Grayson's article was published, and there is evidence that the relationship may have existed before that but was kept away from public view.

      Everyone, even 4chan, have admitted that the sex scandal is about the game journo (and the sites he worked for), not about Zoe Quinn. Every single thread on the issue is filled with people specifically telling everyone NOT to harass her, or to wear Five Guys t-shirts (according to her ex, she cheated on him with five different guys during their relationship, one of whom was Nathan Grayson) to cons where she would be present. I think everyone but the media recognizes at this point that the Quinn scandal is about corruption in journalism - the only reason anyone even cares about Zoe Quinn's sex life is because it highlights the possibility for corruption on Nathan Grayson's part.

      Now, I'm not saying that Zoe Quinn ISN'T being harassed outside of the investigation into the facts of the Grayson case - in fact, I'm sure some idiots, including some idiots from 4chan, are doing that. However, the article's author makes it seem like the Grayson affair is being investigated so closely simply to harass Zoe Quinn, which could not be further from the truth.

    • by Karganeth ( 1017580 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:02PM (#47774933)

      Why is it, when faced with stories like this, is your first instinct to claim that the woman lied or made it up?

      Iti s not because a woman wrote it, its because SARKEESIAN wrote it. FYI she's a fucking professional flamebaiter. She riles people up by creating the most offensive and inflammtry, and MISLEADING videos then cries to the press "help, people are being mean to me". She asked for it and she got it. She WANTS this publicity because it further helps her continue this cycle of bullshit. Do your homework on her before being a SJW (ending your 'people be being mean to her because she woman' ) and you will quickly understand the hatred for her.

    • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:58PM (#47775699) Homepage 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? []

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:02AM (#47774181) Journal
    I think this woman is a liar and an attention seeker, but she certainly doesn't deserve that sort of attention. An violent mob is morally repugnant, a self promoting professional victim is simply a pitiful individual.
  • by admiralh ( 21771 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:05AM (#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.

  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:08AM (#47774251) Homepage
    Obviously such behavior is abhorrent, but it doesn't do to claim that most people that fit in any category are psychos publicly and then be surprised when a few people exibit the behavior and say essentially: See that proves it!. I could easily say all republican are, or all democrates are $INSERT_VOLATILE_CLAIM and then act surprised when a few of them behave that way and say "See! I told you so!", and it would be a similiarly foul conclusion.

    News flash: A lot of people who play video games are immature and / or kids, and a subset of them will behave in this manner when provoked.

    The only conclusion that can be drawn from this, assuming it happened as described, is: "Hey, this is what happened". Anyone surprised it happened doesn't understand the human race at all. It was pretty much guaranteed to happen.
    • by digsbo ( 1292334 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:34AM (#47774611)
      Yes, and, I think it is an interesting thought experiment to take that small minority of bad actors from Ferguson who rioted, and see what would happen if we publicly blamed ALL the black protesters for their actions. Then you can see how silly it is, to say we have a "culture of misogyny", when really we just have some individual people who act in an antisocial and sometimes illegal manner. Blame the offenders, not some arbitrary group they are part of.
  • Slashdot too huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:13AM (#47774317)

    This is EVERYWHERE amongst gaming circles right now, it's really hit the goddamned fan.

    There's this line drawn in the sand and both camps are insisting you MUST be either on side A or side B, there's no middle ground.

    Let it be known, trolls threatening people or harassing them is lame, it's stupid and they deserve mockery. No one should have to endure that.
    The vast vast majority of the politically correct camp, arguing for equality are certainly correct.

    However,... much like religion and many other things in life, there are hardcore fundamentalist type nutcases hijacking things. Pushing it to the extreme.
    If you're a gamer who keeps your finger on the pulse, be it forums, podcasts, news articles, etc, you may have noticed there always seems to be someone, somewhere looking for a reason to find a flaw with what is being said, specifically to the political correctness of it. Something being said is offending someone. It honestly comes across to me like there's some kind of merit badge for being the most guilty, "No,.. no it's *ME*! I'm the one most aware of these issues and *I'm* the most offended on behalf of X Y or Z demographic"
    These people then go on to belittle others and they are endlessly finding new ways to be offended, they've been labelled "SJW's" and honestly I hate to say it but it's a fitting description for some of these people.

    I listened to a recent Eat-Sleep-Game podcast about 6 months back and one of the people on that, who is, well infamous for his excessive guilt tripping (mainly of himself) was discussing something regarding a game with a fellow journalist, something was said and he basically said something along the lines of "well that was clearly due to racism" (or sexism or homophobia) or some such. The problem was, what was said wasn't, it had nothing to do with it, it was completely off the cuff. You could basically hear the person he was talking it with do a o_O wtf. (sorry I don't recall finer specifics) This endless race to be *THE* best person and endlessly thinking about X Y or Z agenda.

    I don't know where the line gets drawn, it seems any little thing is promoting "rape culture" or sexism or some such. I don't want to offend people, I genuinely, honestly do not want to - I don't want to be ignorant and just point and laugh or say stupid things. However I feel like the goalposts are constantly moving. What's not sexist according to politically correct group A, may be a "trigger" for politically correct group B and therefore I'm some kind of scum.

    I really tire of reading my twitter feed and feeling guilty, or feeling like I'm supposed to feel guilty about something or other.
    This post may read like I'm either condoning the actions of the idiot harassers or at least sympathising with them. I'm not. I can say I feel frustrated posting online for fear that *something* I say will offend someone, I'm expressing the frustration through anxiety, keeping my mouth shut and avoiding discussion about the topic. I'm not exploding at people, I'm not threatening, I'm hot even REMOTELY condoning the behaviour of those attacking others. I'm simply saying both sides aren't perfect.

    It's not often I post using anonymous on slashdot but on this topic, I have no choice, because it seems, you're with or against us, I can't begin to argue in any way that hey, maybe both sides are being a bit nutty, unless I outright 100% admit, NOPE YOU GUYS ARE 100% RIGHT AND THEY ARE EVIL or some such. Honestly this is now worse than politics.

    I've got no doubt this post will offend someone somehow, there's no intention to, I don't take delight in offending whoever you are, I'm sorry it offends you. All I can say is, I'm not surprised someone, somewhere is offended, that's life, you can't be everything to everyone.

    God help us slashdot, please take note of dupe news articles though and please let us only discuss this particular event the once this month, I can't take much more of this, it's killing the internet.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:27AM (#47774535)

    Yes, even don't send them death threats.

  • Jeez. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by therealkevinkretz ( 1585825 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:50AM (#47774797)

    I think this over-the-top PC trend is mostly shallow self-crongratulatory (or self-flagellating) mental masturbation - and the groups engaging in it are in their own feedback loop, in frenzied agreement with each other. It's like blaming domestic volence on old silent movies where the good guy saves the woman ties to the railroad tracks.


    Threats and intimidation are wholly unacceptable responses to pretty much *any* idea or (non-violent) opinion or position. Such a response to something that might seem shallow and silly is not only unacceptable, but has the unintended consequence of giving credibility to the silliness.

  • by jmhysong ( 1560115 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:56AM (#47774865) Homepage

    I found her Youtube channel about a month ago and watched a number of her videos. They were informative, entertaining, and well written. I didn't see anything that I disagreed with and thought she was spot on in many cases. It is ridiculous that she has to suffer abuse for just stating the obvious, that there flaws with the way women are depicted in media and video games.

    Anyone who gets so defensive about a video game they didn't develop or take any part in really needs to re-evaluate their mental health.

  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @12:40PM (#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.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"