Despite sexist remarks, an Internet smear campaign, and more than a few death threats, “feminist pop culture critic” Anita Sarkeesian has successfully ended her Kickstarter run for the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games webseries with way more funding than even she might have expected.
Sarkeesian’s video project, aimed at analyzing and deconstructing common stereotypes of female video characters, rose to the top of the gaming industry’s news cycle amid a huge amount of backlash from anonymous users on YouTube, Wikipedia, and through her Twitter account. At the very worst, it revealed a disturbing amount of mass sexism from people within the gaming community, as noted by Destructoid‘s Jim Sterling:
As well as comments on her looks and offers to put a penis in her, Anita’s also had a fair few anti-Semitic comments thrown her way, because why not, right? All because she wanted to make a video series that nobody’s even seen yet.
All I can wonder is … why? I’m not even going to attack or criticize anybody who may have issued threats or written someone off for being a “Jew” because what’s the point anymore? I am, however, curious as Hell as to what the endgame is with attacks like these. After the Jennifer Hepler thing, I am racking my brains to work out who this helps and how because, as far as I can see, there is really nothing to be gained from turning the gamer community into something so viciously hostile and intolerant of differing opinions.
However, an even larger portion of people saw some genuine value in Sarkeesian’s pitch, and as a result, her initial goal of $6000 was completely blown out of the water by roughly $153,000 in extra funding from almost 7000 backers. In fact, the project’s $6000 goal was met within the first 24 hours of the Kickstarter funding’s launch back on May 18th, leaving the whole thing to snowball from there.
Over the course of that month, news sites from New Statesman to Rock, Paper, Shotgun to The Escapist picked up wind of the vitriolic hate aimed at Sarkeesian over the Internet, which arguably drew more high-profile attention to her cause as it got worse. More of Sarkeesian’s current and past work can be seen at her website, Feminist Frequency, or her Tumblr page of the same name.