Tropes vs. Women in Video Games may have started out as a social media campaign, but it quickly turned into a social media minefield. (That’s an understatement.) Almost as soon as Anita Sarkeesian launched her Kickstarter campaign for a five-video series, she became the victim of “organized and sustained” harassment. According to an update on her Kickstarter page on June 7, 2012:
“The intimidation and harassment effort has included a torrent of misogyny and hate speech on my YouTube video, repeated vandalizing of the Wikipedia page about me, organized efforts to flag my YouTube videos as “terrorism”, as well as many threatening messages sent through Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter, email and my own website.”
The abuse at that time was serious enough that she needed to leave home, but the hatred didn’t become a hashtag until August 2014, when her name became connected with that of Zoe Quinn, creator of the narrative fiction game Depression Quest and victim of a vitriolic tirade by her ex-boyfriend that mushroomed into a cautionary tale about online harassment (another understatement) with Anita as the poster child. Her Kickstarter may have reached its target in the first 24 hours, but ultimately it was the boys trying to crush her who propelled her to become one of Time‘s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet.
For my own web series, I’d work to align myself with Geek & Sundry, the online production company led by Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton. Day’s web series The Guild set the standard for online content, and she and Wheaton are the celebrity darlings of geek culture. They feature a variety of web series on their site, not to mention every social media outlet known to man and one I didn’t even know about–Twitch. Its new editor-in-chief Rob Manuel hopes to “bring the geeky world of games, comics, entertainment, and fashion to a wider audience.” They’re most active on Twitter and YouTube, so that’s where I’ll focus my early efforts.