Anita Sarkeesian didn’t plan to become the example that exposes toxic misogyny within gaming – and tech – culture. When she started her web series Tropes vs Women, cataloguing how women are often reduced to decorative or sexual objects in pop culture, the self-described ‘big geek’ says her aim was to expose feminist theory to a wider audience.
But after she focused the series on video games’ depictions of women as princesses and sex workers, she was beset by a torrential backlash from reactionary pockets of the internet under the hashtag #GamerGate. Death threats, hate mail and vicious personal attacks have become part of her daily life … but instead of cowering, she’s used her experience as an opportunity to highlight the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces.
Sarkeesian’s graceful defiance under fire – and her brand of no-BS cultural criticism – are a beacon to women who want to see themselves reflected in the art they love. She’s explained GamerGate to Stephen Colbert, broken records on Kickstarter and been profiled by everyone from Rolling Stone to the New York Times. ‘Creating new stories with new perspectives is going to make games more interesting,’ she says. ‘We can be critical of the things we love.’
Anita Sarkeesian will discuss the #GamerGate firestorm, Feminist Frequency and her award-winning work at the crossroads of technology, art and pop culture – and then join Sophie Black in conversation.
Anita Sarkeesian is presented in association with Sydney Opera House’s All About Women festival.
Anita Sarkeesian is a media critic, blogger and the creator of Feminist Frequency, a video web series that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. In particular, her work highlights issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spac... Read more
Sophie Black is a journalist, broadcaster, writer and editor with a focus on the environment, politics, media, the internet and parenting in the end times. She writes regular features and opinion for The Guardian and The Monthly. Black has worked in senior management across cultural and media organi... Read more
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