Round Four: Harassment and the Geek Blogosphere

Planet Comic 01, digital comics museum

Anita Sarkeesian’s (Feminist Frequency) Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games Kickstarter was met with some initial excitement and some predictable disdain. Then the harassment campaign hit. After thousands of comments threatening her with death and rape, the defacement of her Wikipedia page, and an attempt to have her pitch video flagged as ‘terrorism’ and removed from YouTube… Anita’s Kickstarter has raised $144,025, 24, far greater than her original goal of $6,000. As Carolyn Petit from Gamespot put it,

My feeling is that these kinds of reactions only underscore the need for serious considerations of feminism in games; if the idea of a project like this generates this kind of misogynistic outrage, clearly there are serious problems with women’s portrayals in games and their place in gaming culture that need to be addressed. And the harassment campaign smacks of desperation to me, which gives me an odd kind of hope. If this small, vocal contingent is working so hard to derail the project, maybe they’re scared, and if they’re scared by these ideas, then maybe we are getting closer to a gaming culture that is welcoming to everyone.

This week, comic artists reacted to Guillem March’s anti-cheesecake (so ‘sexy’ it’s no longer sexy? so backbreakingly bizarre it kills boners at fifty paces?) cover to Catwoman #0, with countless parodies and endless lolz. This too, inspired a backlash, but one so petulant as to be met with, well, more mockery. The response to the cover has been so negative that Bleeding Cool has speculated that it might be pulled.

So in light of these events, and in light of the harassment bloggers like Laura Hudson (Comics Alliance), Kelly Thompson (She Has No Head) and Sue (DC Women Kicking Ass) have faced, simply for daring to be women bloggers, I thought it was about time that we tackled the issue.

Announcing round four of Women Write About Comics:

Harassment in the Geek Blogoshere

July 7-8

  • As always, the carnival is open to all kinds of responses, from blog posts, to vblogs, to resource lists, to comics. (I really, really want to see some comics this time, you guys).
  • Women, LGBTQ and people of colour are by far the most likely targets of harassment, both online and offline. This topic obviously invites feminist, anti-racist and queer activist responses. Which, yay!
  • I’ve shortened the posting interval from a week to a weekend, in hopes that deadline pushers won’t push things quite so far this time. As always, if you can’t meet the deadline, get in touch, and I’ll be happy to include your submissions after the fact.
  • I understand that tackling this issue might inspire some anxiety in you. Look for a post about this issue, later today.

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Megan Purdy

Megan Purdy

Publisher of all this. Megan was born in Toronto. She's still there. Philosopher, space vampire, heart of a killer.