Disagree with a woman? Make a video game about punching her!


This is a thing that happened.

Helen Lewis wrote an article on the New Statesman yesterday on the online harassment experienced by Anita Sarkeesian, which I’ve been following for a while. To recap:

American blogger Anita Sarkeesian, who launched a Kickstarter programme to raise $6,000 to research “tropes vs women in videogames”. Donating was - and I really can’t stress this enough - completely voluntary. There are Kickstarters for all kinds of things: for example,  a “dance narrative featuring some of NYC’s most compelling performers that celebrates the pursuit of love and the joys of imperfection” doesn’t sound like my kind of thing, but God Bless Them, they are 89% funded towards their $12,000 goal. 

But a big swath of the internet wasn’t prepared to live and let live in Sarkeesian’s case, and began spamming her YouTube video comments with a pot-pourri of misogynist, racist and generally vile abuse. Each one individually was grim; together they constituted harassment. (You can read the full story in my blog here).

Since then, Anita Sarkeesian has been subjected to a good deal more harassment…

Read her post for the full rundown, but it includes: image-based harassment, rape threats, hate sites, and death threats. One man, Ben Spurr, created a game in which users could punch Sarkeesian’s face and bruising would appear …

This whole situation is so frustrating and sad. But one thing needs to be said: the actions of a few cannot be attributed to the whole. The men I know who are active within “gaming culture” are generally awesome people. Thank goodness those who actively participate in viciousness and misogyny are - for the most part - the exception, and not the rule.