Female Video Gamers Fight Sexual Harassment

Women are often treated badly online, and now it's getting attention

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 2, 2012 11:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – At first, competitive fighting gamer Miranda Pakozdi tried to laugh off her coach's comments about her bra size or body, his tendency to train the team webcam on her legs and chest, and even the time he sniffed her as a punishment. But when she heard him defend his behavior, arguing that "the sexual harassment is part of our culture," she quit. It's one of a few recent incidents that have gotten the video game community talking about the abuse it often showers on women, the New York Times reports.

In another incident, feminist moviemaker Anita Sarkeesian posted a Kickstarter campaign for a video documenting sexist tropes in games, only to be showered with negative comments and personal threats—one man even made a Flash game in which players punched Sarkeesian in the face. But there are positive signs as well. Sarkeesian's video wound up trouncing its goal, and many women are now speaking up about their experiences with blogs like this one. Microsoft recently promised to revamp its X-Box Live system to better police harassing comments.

Anita Sarkeesian uses a controller in this screenshot from her kickstarter video. The campaign drew loads of rancor from male gamers.
Anita Sarkeesian uses a controller in this screenshot from her kickstarter video. The campaign drew loads of rancor from male gamers.   (Kickstarter)
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At about the one minute mark in this interview, Miranda Pakozdi says that being a girl is "a disadvantage ... because of how other people often treat me."   (YouTube)
Anita Sarkeesian's video promoting her Kickstarter project.   (YouTube)

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The gaming industry is actually in the process of changing. I think there's a small group of male gamers who feel like gaming belongs to them, and are really terrified of that change. - Anita Sarkeesian

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