Anita Sarkeesian Explains The “Radical” Way To Help Support Women Who Are Harassed Online

Speaking at XOXO Festival, the Feminist Frequency creator examined the roots of her own harassment, and explained how to help other women who have been harassed.

1. Speaking to the crowd at XOXO Festival, Anita Sarkeesian revealed that “one of the most radical things you can do” to help women who have been harassed is to “actually believe women when they talk about their experiences”.

2. The talk marked the media critic’s first public appearance since she was driven out her home last month when very graphic threats were made against her and her family. She had her own security at XOXO due to further threats.

4. Sarkeesian posted the graphic and upsetting threats that were made against her and her family on Twitter.

In doing so, her audience was given a small but shocking view into the type of harassment she’s experienced in response to her Kickstarter-funded webseries Tropes vs Women in Video Games.

The series, part of Sarakeesian’s non-profit, educational webshow Feminist Frequency, explores the “five common and recurring stereotypes of female characters in video games”.

5. The latest instalment of Tropes is part two of “Women as Background Decoration”.

Sarkeesian is no stranger to online harassment, but as she explained during her XOXO Festival talk, Tropes has sparked a particularly furious (if not violent) reaction in the gaming community.

6. In the talk, Sarkeesian examined the roots of her harassment and the conspiracy theories around her, saying: “Falsehoods about me are initially pushed by detractors who use them to post to 4Chan and Reddit to rally more people to the cause.”

After death/rape threats, @femfreq then gets denial of hers (and women's) experience online #xoxofest

— Deanna Zandt (@deanna)

7. “It’s bouncing from Twitter to Tumblr to Facebook to YouTube and back again. Once the cascade reaches a critical mass, it no longer matters what the facts are. It becomes a viral meme.”

“We are blamed for the abuse we receive and regularly told that we are either asking for it or inventing it entirely,” Sarkeesian added.

8. Sarkeesian says her perpetrators “do not see themselves as perpetrators at all” but rather as “noble warriors”.

Sketchnotes of @femfreq's #xoxofest talk yesterday on tactics of online attacks: impersonation & conspiracy theories.

— Jason Alderman (@justsomeguy)

If you’ve got the stomach to read what these noblemen have to say about Sarkeesian, their response to her talk on Reddit is a perfect example.

10. But the audience at XOXO Festival were nothing but supportive and celebratory of Sarkeesian and her request to simply “listen and believe” women like her.

11. She received a standing ovation.

Every single person at #xoxofest just stood up to cheer @femfreq. So proud to be here. Thank you, Anita.

— Phil Nelson (@philnelson)

Instant and deserved standing ovation for @femfreq at #xoxofest

— Scott Andrew (@scottandrew)

So happy @femfreq is enjoying a lot of support at #xoxofest! Thank you every1 for trying to make gaming a better space and community.

— J de Kanter (@jdekanter)

14. And inspired awe.

That awe you feel when you are in the presence of the bravest person you've ever seen. @femfreq inspired that. #xoxofest

— Jean MacDonald (@macgenie)

15. And gave people hope.

Watching the reaction to @femfreq at #xoxofest gives me such hope. Standing ovation when she took the stage!

— Matthew Bogart (@MatthewBogart)

16. And goosebumps.

Despite the heat, still have goosebumps from @femfreq's #xoxofest talk + my other favorites today @songadaymann @rachelbinx @NeoLucida

— Helen Tseng (@birdmeat)

17. (And even tears.)

I'll admit I teared up a little when @femfreq took the stage. It takes real courage to keep going out there. #xoxofest

— Jennifer Robbins (@jenville)

18. And when she asked where the “feminist army” was?

So @femfreq just asked, rhetorically, "where is the [feminist] army"? I'd say that's the most crucial question posed at #xoxofest

— Mara Zepeda (@marazepeda)

19. It appeared to be right there in the room with her.

I think we found Anita Sarkeesian's feminist army. Holla! #xoxofest

— alex franceschini (@alexx_rae)

H/T The Verge

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