New Criticals

We Have a Problem and We’re Going to Fix This

Anita Sarkeesian is perhaps one of the best known, and most written about, media critics working on video games and gamer culture.  In 2012 she ran a successful Kickstarter to fund a series of videos exploring gender in gaming.  Nearly immediately, she became the focal point of an intense campaign of harassment, ridicule, and threats of violence. A recent breakdown of a typical week of tweets directed at Sarkeesian showed “57 abusive tweets, 15 were death threats and 13 threatened rape. A further 31 were explicitly violent in nature, including inducements to suicide, wishes for her death (expressing the hope that she will die, as opposed to direct death threats) and general sexual violence (distinct from direct rape threats).” Sarkeesian has had to flee her home, cancel speaking engagements due to threats of a repeat of the École Polytechnique massacre, and alter her daily normal life out of fear for her safety.  In a narrative tragically common with many-on-one harassment, Sarkeesian reports that the actions of her online harassers have caused significant disruption to her life, her sense of safety, and her sense of self.