go to content

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.

Posted on

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".

instagram.com

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.

Anita Sarkeesian had to bring her own security guard to #xoxofest because of specific threats against her here. I don't know what to say.

Tim Saylor@tsaylor

Anita Sarkeesian had to bring her own security guard to #xoxofest because of specific threats against her here. I don't know what to say.

12:28 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Visible added security for @femfreq talk at #xoxofest. Anita was amazing!

Brad Dowdy@dowdyism

Visible added security for @femfreq talk at #xoxofest. Anita was amazing!

12:02 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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".

The latest instalment of Tropes is part two of "Women as Background Decoration".

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

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.

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

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

12:00 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

"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."

instagram.com

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

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

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

6:06 PM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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.

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.

instagram.com

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

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

12:04 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Instant and deserved standing ovation for @femfreq at #xoxofest

Scott Andrew@scottandrew

Instant and deserved standing ovation for @femfreq at #xoxofest

12:07 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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

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

12:58 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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

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

12:03 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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

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

12:16 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And goosebumps.

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

Helen Tseng@birdmeat

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

1:49 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

(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

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

12:04 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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

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

12:09 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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

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

12:08 AM - 14 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

H/T The Verge

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss