Anita Sarkeesian launching new video series focused on masculinity in video games
Cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian is planning to follow her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games YouTube series with a new project in 2015 exploring representations of men and masculinity in games.
Sarkeesian revealed the new project in the annual report for her Feminist Frequency organisation , as well as her plans to launch another new series focusing on positive female characters in games, while continuing to point out negative examples with new episodes of her existing show.
The organisation is aiming to build on nearly 5.8m views of its YouTube channel in 2014 – a year in which Sarkeesian became a target for harassment from some elements of the online Gamergate campaign.
In October, she was forced to cancel a planned talk at the Utah State University , after an anonymous email threatened “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if the event was allowed to go ahead.
In her annual report, Sarkeesian says her experiences in 2014 has led to an expansion of Feminist Frequency’s focus to include “advocacy around ending online hate and abuse, analyzing and advancing awareness of how gendered harassment operates online”.
“Privately, I am working with online feminists to strategize long-term solutions to deal with the epidemic of online abuse and create mechanisms for support. I am also consulting with tech and gaming companies on how to address issues of online harassment in their own communities.”
In 2015, Feminist Frequency will hire more staff, rebrand its organisation and website, and start selling merchandise, according to the report. Sarkeesian launched the organisation in 2012 after raising $159k on crowdfunding website Kickstarter .
In a new post on her Kickstarter page , Sarkeesian provided more details about the emotional toll that online harassment took on her in 2014.
“Every time I post anything online there is a predictable wave of harassing messages in response. However, when I publish an episode of Tropes vs Women in Video Games the vicious wave of harassment can carry on for weeks or even months.
Instead of the satisfaction that typically comes with completing and publishing a big project, I am often forced to turn off my computer and avoid Facebook, Twitter and email, sometimes for days at a time. In addition to the sexist harassment, the death and rape threats have been persistent and have ranged from annoying to criminal.”
Sarkeesian noted that while the harassment existed “long before the mob began self identifying as ‘GamerGate’”, the emergence of that online campaign “caused the hate and vitriol targeting women in gaming to intensify exponentially”.
Now a not-for-profit organisation, Feminist Frequency will continue to raise money in 2015 to tackle this and related issues, having received $230k in December 2014 alone, fuelling a proposed budget of $400k for 2015.
“It means more critical media analysis, more videos, and more efforts to raise awareness and develop solutions around the epidemic of online harassment,” wrote Sarkeesian, who also delivered a message of defiance in the annual report.
“My whole team is committed to this work and we are not going anywhere.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015