Friend of the blog Anita Sarkeesian of the awesome Feminist Frequency is the latest target of a harassment campaign by misogynist gamers. She has written about the wave of harassment she has received via KickStarter, YouTube, and the vandalizing of her Wikipedia page. The methods are disturbing, but familiar. This is all in response to her KickStarter project Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, a series of videos for her Tropes vs. Women series that will focus on games. As of this writing, the project has over 2,000 backers and raised nearly $50,000, well over the original target of $6,000.
It’s nice that the number of backers doubled once news of the harassment campaign started getting around. But the video game community needs to do more. It’s well past time for the video game community to own up to and condemn the fact that there is a subset of us dedicated to organized mob harassment of people who criticize games in any way, but particularly when it comes to social issues like misogyny, racism, and homophobia. It’s time to stop rolling our eyes about how awful gamers and nerds are. We are gamers and nerds, and this is our community. If you know someone who is involved in this sort of thing, tell them that it’s not cool. Condemn this sort of behavior on forums, on Twitter, wherever you have a voice. If you don’t feel safe doing those things, then don’t (safety is most important), but if you can, speak up. This is a perfect way for allies who want to do more to do so. Let harassers know they are the ones who aren’t welcome in video games, not the people who make thoughtful criticism out of love for the medium. Games don’t belong to them, and the community has no need for people who harass and try to silence criticism.
And by the way, there’s still time to back the project.