Ever since I began my Tropes vs Women in Video Games project, two and a half years ago, I’ve been harassed on a daily basis by irate gamers angry at my critiques of sexism in video games. It can sometimes be difficult to effectively communicate just how bad this sustained intimidation campaign…
An excellent look at why what is happening in gaming journalism is relevant to the entire field of journalism:
“Because the pieces themselves are worth peanuts, I was expected to produce like 10 of them a day. That may not sound like a lot, but believe me, you start to feel like you’re on an assembly line they way these articles are cobbled together. And because your labour is valued based on what you’re producing and not what it takes to produce it, you quickly start to feel overworked and brutally underpaid (I was making about $200/mo). On the other hand, the system is kind of set up to seduce writers shouldering for visibility into jobs like this, producing an enthusiast press that is willing to work more or less for exposure. As a writer working in this system, you’re basically a low-level functionary with no leverage to seek information beyond what a publisher wants on record. Being able to gain access to these companies is fundamental for games press to exist, so editorial isn’t really in a position to demand very much most of the time. As such, you end up with a press that mostly operates like cheap PR.”
Even before the Kickstarter fundraising finished she was subjected to death and rape threats. Someone made a game where players could beat her up, she was subjected to racial and sexist slurs, and she was labelled a liar and a con artist. Sarkeesian became a lightning rod for attacks from anyone pissed off at the concept of serious literary criticism of gaming, especially from a feminist perspective.
And, again, what Sarkeesian is doing is standard pop culture criticism, of the kind that films and books have been subjected to for decades