Why Anita Sarkeesian can only do harm to gaming

Anita Sarkeesian Kickstarter

Recently, the name of a self-proclaimed popular culture critic has been all over the major game sites. Anita Sarkeesian has managed to take the full attention of the gaming press by storm. Her site is called Feminist Frequency, and she tries to be a warrior of justice defending the oppressed women in the world of gaming. Fighting for her righteous cause, she focuses on both the harassment women have to endure while playing games online, and the portrayal of women in games, which is, according to her, usually overly sexualised. Recently, her Kickstarter project aiming to gather funding for a video series presenting just how badly women are objectified in games, raised over $160,000 – a large part of which came not from women, but from “white knights” – an embarrassing portion of male gamers internet users that feel the urge to defend a woman whenever they think she needs defending. Now, I hate to be confrontational in any way on this site… But, as a relatively objective, not to mention male gamer with quite some experience with not only gaming, but also the way it is portrayed in media, by both game journalists and ones not very familiar with what gaming really is, I am sure you can already tell that I think Anita Sarkeesian is full of crap.

I give credit where credit is due, and Anita does deserve quite a bit of credit. For one, I have a great doubt whether she’s even really much of a gamer – her videos so far have not really proven that, the fact she decided to buy a bunch of games with part of the Kickstarter money she got only further shows it. Yet, she’s managed to make herself into the speaker of female gamers, she’s been invited to comment on the problems women face in gaming on several major websites and even on TV. And, again, the Kickstarter. She managed to strike a chord with her presentation, and not just any chord, but a $160,000 chord. Nearly 7000 people actually donated. Fame (15 minutes of it, but hey, a vast majority of people never get that far), check. Money, check. Anita is a success. But how does that affect gaming, the very tool leading to that success?

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