Oh sweet CJ, readers, sometimes I hate everyone on the Internet but you all.
Anita Sarkeesian makes fantastic Internet videos about feminism and pop culture as part of Feminist Frequency. Recently, she started a Kickstarter project to raise $6000 to complete a new video about ladytropes in video games. We’ll start with the good news – she raised the money she needs and then some. We’ll get to the amount at the end, because it’s really good and I like building suspense.
The bad news? The Internet He-Man Shit Stain Brigade (now with 100% more festering for the same low price!) attacked with everything in their vicious, horrible, awful arsenal. You can follow the story here, but I would strongly recommend you stay away from some of the links she includes to the actual abuse.
What’s especially nauseating about the attack is how familiar it is to many (if not most) other women who have dared to try to do something on the internet. The Internet He-Man Shit Stain Brigade is why I don’t write under my real name. While my experience wasn’t as frightening or well-organized as Sarkeesian’s (I received some horrible porn in my email, someone tried to get me fired from my real life job, I got actual letters in the mail, the site I ran was hit with several waves of relentless trolling) it was still pretty scary, and during a time when women weren’t talking about these experiences. What did I do to earn all this scorn? I started a forum that competed with someone else’s forum, and some of his members liked my forum better. I know, I know, I’m an unrepentant menace.
Many Internet gaming and lady-spaces have written about this, including Wired (Feminist Take on Games Draws Crude Ridicule, Massive Support), Slate (Online Misogyny: Can’t Ignore It, Can’t Not Ignore It), Geek Feminism (Backlash to the Feminist Frequency Kickstarter ) and our old friend Jezebel (When There’s So Much Bullshit Online, You Forget How to Feel). Jezebel’s take was pretty interesting. EIC Jessica Coen originally passed over the story because this kind of attack is so widespread, she’s become completely numb to it. She reconsidered and reported the story herself, and I hope it’s a sign she’ll consider reporting on more stories like Sarkeesian’s. Choosing not to talk about the abuse women receive online won’t make it go away, the more we share our stories the more power we take back from the Shit Stain Brigade. Several months ago, Sady Doyle assembled a stomach turning list, Men Call Me Things, from women all over the Internet. As horrifying as Doyle’s examples are, the abuse women of color face on the Internet is even more disturbing. While sharing our stories won’t stop bigoted buttholes from spewing their bile, forming a metaphorical Red Rover line of women who are Sick. Of. This. Shit. at least lets us all know we’re not alone.
Many of you are Internet old timers like I am, and I’m sure you have many examples of women who’ve been targets of feces-throwing Internet dwellers. I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.
Oh, and as of right now, Sarkeesian has raised $134,495.00. I can’t think of a better way to flip the bird at her detractors.