Anita Sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian

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About

Anita Sarkeesian is a videoblogger and media critic best known as the host of Feminist Frequency[1][2], a web series in which Sarkeesian reviews and analyses common tropes in popular culture from a feminist viewpoint. In 2012, she was introduced to a larger audience after launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new web series exploring the negative tropes surrounding women in video games.

Online History

Anita Sarkeesian’s first Feminist Frequency video was uploaded to YouTube on May 20th, 2009. Titled “Dollhouse Renewed? Why not Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles?,” the video discusses Fox’s decision to renew the “Dollhouse” series and cancel “Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles,” comparing the misogyny found in the former to the empowered female characters found in the latter. Sarkeesian’s YouTube video was later reposted to the Feminist Frequency blog[11] on June 22nd, 2009.

In March 2010, Sarkeesian launched a Facebook fan page[17] for Feminist Frequency, which has gained more than 24,000 likes as of January 2013. In March 2011, Feminist Frequency paired with Bitch Media[13] for a six-part series titled “Tropes vs. Women”[12] in which Sarkeesian analyzes different tropes found in pop culture and the negative female stereotypes they perpetuate. In the premiere video, Sarkeesian analyzed the trope Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Reputation

Criticism

Sarkeesian has seen strong opposition online, as many viewers have criticized her feminist viewpoint as being too radical. On October 23rd 2011, YouTuber TheAmazingAtheist released a video titled “Everyone’s a Cry Baby” (shown below), in which he argues Sarkeesian’s viewpoint as extremist. Other bloggers have shared criticism of the series on their personal blogs as well as in comments on gossip blog Oh No They Didn’t[15] and Yahoo! Answers.[16]As of January 2013, there are nearly 50 search results on YouTube for “Feminist Frequency criticism.”[14]

Kickstarter and Harassment

On June 4th, 2012, Sarkeesian announced a spin-off series that would focus specifically on video games, along with a Kickstarter fundraiser[3] to finance the series. The proposal of the series instantly elicited hateful responses, with Sarkeesian receiving death threats and hate mail from angered members of the video game community and other anti-fans. On June 7th, she published a selection of the thousands of hateful comments left on her Kickstarter video.[18] Three days later, she documented the vandalism that appeared on her Wikipedia page[19], which was defaced with pornographic images.



Throughout June, the overwhelming amount of hateful comments and harassment targeted at Sarkeesian was documented by the Daily Dot[20], Carbon Games[21], Destructoid[6], the Mary Sue[22], Wired[23], 16×9[8], the New Statesman[24] and Kotaku.[7][25] On July 5th, 2012, Newgrounds user Bendilin Spurr[4] posted a flash game titled “Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian”[5], however the game was taken down from the site on the following day. Despite all the negativity, the Kickstarter proved to be a success, raising $158,917 over the course of a month. Sarkeesian was then invited to video game studio Bungie[9], as well as TEDxWomen 2012[10] in support of the project.



On September 4th, 2012, a Redditor submitted an image to /r/Gaming[26] pointing out the fact that the Kickstarter-funded web series didn’t launch on time and accusing Sarkeesian of soliciting backers for information relating to games using damsels in distress, which the poster perceived as doing the ground work for her. The post generated more than 1,200 comments regarding the web series as well as the the general failure of Kickstarter projects launching on time as originally promised. On the following day, the gaming news site Gameranx[27] responded to the Reddit post, noting that the series was still in production and that Sarkeesian anticipated the launch of the first video in late fall or early winter. However, by mid-January, none of the videos had been released. A discussion of the Kickstarter’s failure to follow through appeared on the Escapist forums[28] on January 17th, 2013.

Personal Life

Anita Sarkeesian was born in Toronto and grew up in California. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a master’s degree in social and political thought, during which she completed a thesis titled “I’ll Make a Man Out of You: Strong Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy Television.”[29] In 2011, Sarkeesian coauthored an essay comparing the main female characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight for an anthology titled Fanpires: Audience Consumption of the Modern Vampire.[30] She maintains a personal Twitter account[31] and Flickr account.[32]



Search Interest



External References

[1]YouTube – Feminist Frequency’s channel

[2]Feminist Frequency

[3]Kickstarter – Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

[4]Newgrounds – Bendilin’s Profile

[5]Newgrounds – Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian

[6]Destructoid – Interview: Anita Sarkeesian, games, and Tropes vs. Women

[7]Kotaku – Feminist Game Critic On Her Online Attackers: They Cast Me ‘in the Role of the Villain’

[8]Youtube – 16×9 : Dangerous Game: Tropes vs Women bullying

[9]Gamespot – An Interview With Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency

[10]YouTube – Anita Sarkeesian at TEDxWomen 2012

[11]Feminist Frequency – Dollhouse Renewed? Why not Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles?

[12]YouTube – Tropes vs. Women Playlist

[13]Bitch Media – Tropes Vs. Women

[14]YouTube – Search results for "feminist frequency criticism

[15]Oh No They Didn’t – Feminist Frequency’s Take On The Hunger Games

[16]Yahoo! Answers – Have you heard of ‘Feminist Frequency’?

[17]Facebook – Feminist Frequency

[18]Feminist Frequency – Harassment, Misogyny and Silencing on YouTube

[19]Feminist Frequency – Harassment via Wikipedia Vandalism

[20]the Daily Dot – Anita Sarkeesian documents sexism in video games and on Kickstarter

[21]Carbon Games – Anita Sarkeesian vs the Trolls

[22]The Mary Sue – THE ALL-TOO-FAMILIAR HARASSMENT AGAINST FEMINIST FREQUENCY, AND WHAT THE GAMING COMMUNITY CAN DO ABOUT IT

[23]Wired – Feminist Take on Games Draws Crude Ridicule, Massive Support

[24]New Statesman – Dear The Internet, This Is Why You Can’t Have Anything Nice

[25]Kotaku – Awful Things Happen When You Try to Make a Video About Video Game Stereotypes

[26]Reddit – [Misleading Title]Not only has “Tropes vs Women in Video Games” failed to meet its due date, Anita Sarkeesian is asking her backers to do her work disguised as a survey

[27]Gameranx – What’s Going On With Feminist Frequency’s Tropes vs. Women In Video Games?

[28]The Escapist – Where the hell is the Tropes Vs. Women video(s)?

[29]Wikipedia – Anita Sarkeesian

[30]Feminist Frequency – Buffy vs. Bella: The Re-Emergence of the Archetypal Feminine in Vampire Stories

[31]Twitter – @anitasarkeesian

[32]Flickr – anitasarkeesian’s Photo Stream

Recent Videos 23 total

Recent Images 13 total

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