The critic was viciously targeted by trolls after speaking out about sexist tropes in video games. She explains how she is still fighting to change the industry and writing a book celebrating women overlooked by history
It has been five years since the feminist critic and blogger Anita Sarkeesian became the target for a staggeringly vicious online hate campaign after producing the online video series Tropes vs Women in Video Games. Given the scale of the harassment she has been experiencing non-stop for half a decade – including a continuous barrage of rape and death threats, a bomb scare and a game in which players can punch an image of her face – it’s almost surprising to see her so relaxed and at ease, having played a couple of rounds of Mario Kart at the Guardian’s London office. It’s only when she speaks that she reveals a cautiousness most of us lack; Sarkeesian chooses her words carefully, ever mindful of what may spark even more abuse. “The biggest difference is that I don’t monitor our social media any more,” she says.
Sarkeesian is the founder of Feminist Frequency, a not-for-profit educational organisation “that analyses modern media’s relationship to societal issues such as gender, race and sexuality”. She suffered under Gamergate, the campaign conducted under the guise of representing those concerned about ethics in game journalism, but which was, in reality, a hashtagged rallying cry for those wanting to harass women in the games industry. As Feminist Frequency tweeted in June of this year, “Gamergate still exists, still harasses marginalised voices and still affects our daily lives. The abuse has never stopped.”