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Trolling to the Finish Line

Posted on June 15, 2012 AT 03:33pm

I’ve come to accept that certain things on the internet will just never really go away. Sexism, racism, death threats, and just downright unpleasant people tend to frequently annoy anyone that tries to express their own opinion. Thankfully, I’m lucky enough to not have these sorts of things myself, but judging by what can come from such actions I may be willing to open up a few positions for people to professionally harass me.

See, recently there has been a rather negative reaction to a Kickstarter started by Feminist Frequency‘s Anita Sarkeesian. Her aim was to raise enough money to create a web series about the issue of sexism in video games that would be free to view after they were done. By doing this she hoped to further the conversations going on about the topic in the industry and the general public, a goal that I can say is rather worthwhile and from the looks of things, incredibly necessary.

Now, I could join the hordes of journalists that are currently pissed off at people on the internet across the world for the various slanders aimed at Sarkeesian. But I won’t since that has already been covered quite thoroughly. Instead, I’ll just simply laugh at how all the people who have wanted nothing more than to shut her up and get her to stop making videos have gotten the exact opposite of what they wanted. Instead of giving up like many of the trolls hoped, she kept going and now has the backing of several news groups that have given her a ridiculous amount of exposure that she otherwise probably wouldn’t have had.

Let’s take a look at the list of media groups that have put out an article on her Kickstarter or in support of her:

• From Samus to Lara: An Interview With Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency Interview with Carolyn Petit - Gamespot
• How Anita Sarkeesian funded a project about video game sexism, and ignited an internet firestorm - PMSClan

Dear Internet This Is Why You Can’t Have Anything Nice - New Statesman
• Feminist Take on Games Draws Crude Ridicule, Massive Support - Wired
• Think sexism’s OK in games, you may be in the wrong century - Guardian
• Online Misogyny: Can’t Ignore It, Can’t Not Ignore It - Slate
• Lara Croft battles male jerks - Salon

• Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games Vs. The Internet - Rock Paper Shotgun
• When There’s So Much Bullshit Online, You Forget How to Feel - Jezebel
• This Week In Harassment - The Borderhouse Blog
• Kickstarter Video Project Attracts Misogynist Horde - The Escapist
• Feminist Frequency Kickstarter project smashes target - Games Industry
• Backlash to the Feminist Frequency Kickstarter - Geek Feminism
• Awful Things Happen When You Try to Make a Video About Video Game Stereotypes - Kotaku
• The All-Too-Familiar Harassment Against Feminist Frequency, and What The Gaming Community Can Do About It - The Mary Sue

Now, there are at least a few names on that list that should stand out to you, and if they don’t then you don’t spend enough time on the internet. Almost all of these agencies have a reach of at least a hundred thousand or so and some of them have many times that number. Think about that for a second. Fifteen different news groups have just reported in favor of her Kickstarter project and have actively supported her it. Now factor in the amount of people who frequent these sites on a daily basis and you basically ensured that her project will succeed.

As I’m writing this, her project has about $140,000 pledged to it, almost $60,000 of that was in the last three days or so due to news coverage. Now that number is impressive on its own, but when you consider that originally she wanted only $6,000 for the production costs, you have to stop and laugh since she now has about twenty three times her goal to work with. The threats launched against her have helped make her originally five part series into a twelve part one with increased technical prowess, better equipment on hand, and also a classroom curriculum aspect to help educate people. I think that last part is something we really need considering the rampant stupid that seems to permeate the internet when things like this come up.

So what’s the moral of this story? If you don’t like what someone is trying to do on the internet, don’t try and spread the hate. If you do, then you’re only helping them reach a wider audience and potentially pissing off a lot of people with more testicular fortitude than you. If you want another example of why you don’t do this, the girl who made the song Friday is now richer than many of us will ever even think of being because we couldn’t stop pointing and laughing with our friends.

As for you Anita; keep up the good work and good luck with your series.

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