From childhood, there is a seemingly natural divide between girls and boys. Yes, this has to do with the “cooties” phase, but this is also the root of the perpetual patriarchal society that we have today.
From the playground, there are formations of groups that separate girls from boys. The “girls only” clubs usually involve gossip and birthday party planning. The “boys clubs” however, also taken by personal experience, involve fort building, teasing, and rejection of all things “girly”. The “boys clubs” ran the playground, and claimed territories that belonged to them. If a girl was to trespass, they were teased, and even sometimes physically forced away one way or another. This resulted in a hierarchy on the playground. Not only was there the obvious drama within the “girls clubs”, but also the “boys clubs” were on top and a force to be reckoned with.
The saying “power in numbers” is very true, however this power that is generated can be used for good and bad outcomes. This power does not come from individuals; it is a result of people feeding off of each other for support that works as a catalyst. It is a realization at a young age, and used throughout adulthood. When this power is abused, and gains so much force behind it due to the people who have fueled it, it can have a very deteriorating effect on those holding the power, as well as those who are the victims.
Anita Sarkeesian is an example of a woman who was harassed as the result of what a grown up “boys club” would resemble, or what she called a “cyber mob”. She created a project called Feminist Frequency to demonstrate and deconstruct the portrayal of women in video games. Most female characters are over sexualized and poorly represented in video games, which is also common with media in general. This project was completely criticized by men who were avid gamers and tried to put an end to her “feminist schemes” by harassing her with threats of rape, violence, sexual assault and death. The perpetrators who have labeled video games as a male dominated space targeted her gender. This “boys club” was fueled by the support of other men on message boards , where they displayed their contribution to the harassment towards Sarkeesian for approval. Similarly to on the playground, this cyber “boys club” considered this harassment a game, which it most definitely was not.
Anna Sarkeesian did not let the efforts of the “boys club” silence her, and is currently continuing her efforts to deteriorate the portrayal of women in video games around the world. She has created a class curriculum that educators can use to help educate young children. She believes that there can be a cultural shift that will allow women to be active participants in our world, and not be silenced or dominated by men.
Although she failed to be silenced, do you think Sarkeesian’s project will continue to create uproar by avid gamers?
Do you think that women should be portrayed differently in video games?
Do your find it alarming that male gamers today have such a problem with changing the portrayal of women in video games? Why do you think that this over sexualized image is so worth keeping?
Do you feel as if we are living in a male dominated society? Is it changing?
Link to TEDx Women 2012 talk by Anita Sarkeesian (Also seen in GNDS 125 class) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player%20_embedded&v=GZAxwsg9J9Q#