Saturday, April 29, 2017

The End of a Kickstarter

The other day, Anita Sarkeesian dropped her last video in the Tropes vs. Women series. Entitled The Lady Sidekick, she explores how female sidekicks are primarily in place to reinforce traditional attitudes or provide an ego boost for the (male) protagonist, rather than as fully formed characters who don't necessarily need male protection.

It's hard to believe that there was a time before Anita's Kickstarter back in 2012, because it feels like we've aged so much since then. It was a relatively simple idea: a short series of five 10 minute videos exploring stereotypical tropes concerning women in video games. But thanks to the visibility garnered by haters, her Kickstarter blew up the gamer corner of the internet. The series then expanded well beyond its originally intended scope into two full seasons worth of videos, along with bonus content, and generated a lot of discussion on both video games and gamers themselves.*

The funny thing is, the more the Gamergate crowd tried to silence Anita and others, the more positive interest they received. Anita would have never landed on the Colbert Report were it not for the haters, and her videos received far more interest and views as well.

Do I agree with everything Anita presented? No. But really, agreement on all items presented is not the point. She made me think, and by doing so she forced me to confront things I'd simply accepted as "the way things are".

So here's a toast to Anita Sarkeesian. I wish her well.

*It may be only April, but I think that might be the understatement of the year.


  1. I did enjoy the whole series very much, though I think this last episode is a fairly weak one to go out on.

    I just wish this whole thing hadn't brought as much ugliness and misogyny in gaming to the forefront as much as it has. After I liked her first couple of videos, YouTube kept trying to recommend me videos of guys ranting about "feminazis" and such. I eventually just had to tell it to stop recommending me anything based on those videos.

    Bringing up her name has also become like a bit of a litmus test for sexist guys. I remember being quite shocked and appalled when I listened to a podcast and somehow Anita came up and all four of the (male) hosts immediately went into a rant about how much they hated her, "stupid bitch" etc. Made me sad because I had previously always enjoyed their content.

    1. Back when Spinks was actively blogging on Welcome to Spinksville, she'd posted a quote from Rebecca West, writing about the Suffragettes, that stuck with me: "Women, listening to anti-suffrage speeches, for the first time knew what many men really thought of them."

      Anita was a similar litmus test, exposing the misogyny of gamers, whether they realized it or not. I've been put in similar situations, where I've known people professionally and then when I become friends with them in social media I discover a slimy underbelly that they hid from sight.

  2. Wow, time passes by quickly. I remember when her project was still in the kickstarter process like it was yesterday.

    Although I haven't watched her complete series loyally (I'm more of a reader than a video watch type of girl), I really like what I've seen. In my opinion, the crazy amount of resistance Anita has met with illustrates how far we still have to go. I have a great deal of respect for her going out there and doing what she believes in. For me that's simply inspiring.