Feminist Frequency, a web series run by Anita Sarkeesian that explores “representations of race, gender, sexuality, class and ability in popular culture,” launched a Kickstarter campaign a few weeks back for a new series of videos entitled Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. The project will examine and comment on female video game character stereotypes throughout gaming’s history.
Asking for $6,000, the project was funded within 24 hours of going live. A week later, thanks to even more funding from 600 backers, the project expanded its scope from five episodes to 10 plus an 11th video focusing on positive female game characters.
The next week, the campaign had garnered over $20,000 in backing, allowing Sarkeesian to up the production quality. Another week and over $26,000 in backing expanded the project again to include a "Top 10" video listing the most common defenses of sexism in games and a classroom curriculum that schools can use in tandem with the video series.
And then someone pissed in the punchbowl.
“The intimidation and harassment effort has included a torrent of misogyny and hate speech on my YouTube video, repeated vandalizing of the Wikipedia page about me, organized efforts to flag my YouTube videos as "terrorism", as well as many threatening messages sent through Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter, email and my own website,” Sarkeesian said. “These messages and comments have included everything from the typical sandwich and kitchen "jokes" to threats of violence, death, sexual assault and rape. All that plus an organized attempt to report this project to Kickstarter and get it banned or defunded. Thankfully, Kickstarter has been incredibly supportive in helping me deal with the harassment on their service.”
Sarkeesian posted a snapshot of a portion of the YouTube comments she has received.
But, despite a bunch of internet dingbats railing against opinions and arguments Sarkeesian hasn’t yet made in a video series she hasn’t yet produced, the project currently has over 3,000 backers who have funded the project to the tune of $75,000.
And it still has three days to go. You can check out its Kickstarter page right here.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen