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Anita Sarkeesian

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The she-witch herself, complete with hat, warts, green skin, and...wait a minute.
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Anita Sarkeesian (1983–) is a Canadian-American feminist social critic who documents sexist portrayals of women (and to a lesser extent LGBT and North American racial minorities) in popular media such as video games and movies. Sarkeesian runs a YouTube channel and website, both titled FeministFrequency. She is the perfect demon for Reddit to hate: woman, and a feminist.

While Sarkeesian is well-known in Internet feminist circles and her work has been used in university classrooms,[1] she is most noted for the hatred she has received from anti-feminists, especially Gamergate, which include constant harassment and death threats.[2] This transformation from feminist to target of often-misogynistic hate gave rise to the term "Anita's Law" and brought to light sexism in the video gaming community.


Personal background[edit]

Sarkeesian was born to Armenian-Iraqi parents in Toronto, and later moved to California. At California State University, Northridge, she earned a BA in Communication Studies, then went on to York University for an MA in Social and Political Thought. During her graduate education, she wrote a thesis titled "I’ll Make a Man Out of You: Strong Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy Television," in which she developed her critique of portrayals of women in geek culture.


She entered the world of feminist vlogging on May 20, 2009 (three years before the shitstirring began) with a vlog post discussing the renewal of Dollhouse and the cancellation of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Some highlights:

  • She has hailed sci-fi series Caprica for outing a gay character without making it some pointlessly huge deal (but lamenting that he is, nonetheless, a murderer);[3]
  • Spent time explaining that provocative beer-serving fembots are, by their very nature, sexist (like we didn't already know that);[4]
  • Pointed out showing men as lying sexist idiots in the media is bad for men as well;[5]
  • Why HuffPo needs to stop the pseudoporn linkbaiting and "articles";[6]
  • Explains why just because 'sex sells' doesn't mean it's OK to use half-dressed women to sell crap;[7]
  • Pointed out that just because an actress is an adult, if she's most known for playing a child it's still a problem sexualizing her;[8] and
  • Pointed out that from 1960 to 2010, only seven winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture featured a male and female ensemble cast, four were primarily about a woman, and the remaining 39 were about one or more men; as well as the incredibly low levels of representations of women in film production,[9] and that there is a very low pass rating for such Oscar-nominated movies even today.[10]

Sarkeesian did a series titled Tropes vs. Women that focused on stereotypical portrayals of women in movies. The run included:[11] "The Manic Pixie Dream Girl,"[12] "Women in Refrigerators",[13] "The Smurfette Principle",[14] "The Evil Demon Seductress",[15] "The Mystical Pregnancy",[16] and "The Straw Feminist".[17] The project was scrapped for the much larger and more in-depth series of the same name which focused on video games. The series met intense criticism, much of it from anti-feminists and MRAs; in particular, Thunderf00t posted a series of responses.

Another major video series focused on the differences in the way toy ads (and toys themselves) target different genders. Sarkeesian focuses on how products for girls focus on being pretty and cooking, cleaning, and children, while products for boys focus on being strong/violent, adventure, and building things. The series included: "Toy Ads and Learning Gender",[18] "LEGO Friends - LEGO & Gender Part 1",[19] and "The LEGO Boys Club - Lego & Gender Part 2".[20]


[T]here are some solid criticisms you can level at [Sarkeesian's] work. I'm not 100% on her side, you know. She's not perfect by a long shot and her video series seems already to be a little off base, with some of the examples she's named as targets. But we can't talk about that anymore, because the debate's not about whether she's right or wrong. The debate was invalidated when people tried to ruin her life en masse. The chance to debate her on merit was lost once people started threatening to rape her.
—Jim Sterling, on how GamerGate's response(s) to Ms. Sarkeesian ended up shifting the debate (from the general public's perspective) from female game characters to the treatment of real-life women in gaming.[21]

In May 2012, Sarkeesian launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of a series of videos to expand her Tropes vs. Women series to look into video games. Her proposal was fully funded for US$6,000 by the end of its first day, and a couple of weeks later she had 8 times what she had initially asked. Soon thereafter, she became the target of numerous threats and a sustained campaign of cyberbullying from the, let's say, uncivilized part of the gaming world and other Internet denizens. She was threatened with physical assault,[22] rape, and murder, failed attempts were made to hack her various accounts and find out her personal information (such as phone number and home address), and her videos were mass reported for everything from piracy to terrorism. Newgrounds user Bendilin Spurr actually created a game called Beat up Anita Sarkeesian which allowed players to simulate doing exactly what the game's title implied.[23] Another indie game portrayed her as a misandrist cult leader who was planning to kill all men.[24] Her Wikipedia article was repeatedly vandalized, and she has had to deal with literally millions of insulting comments, many of a profoundly batty nature, as well as some driven by misplaced anti-Semitism. There were accusations that Sarkeesian had deliberately provoked some of this behaviour by posting on 4chan's /v/ board, though due to the anonymous nature of the board and a userbase infamous for false flag trolling, both on- and off-site, proving such is difficult at best.

Sarkeesian has taken ownership of the abuse and marshaled it to demonstrate the prevalence of sexism in the gamer community.[25] The fact that she did not keep silent about what she was experiencing led to media coverage of the vitriol sent her way and a further outpouring of support for the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games project, pushing it to nearly US$160,000 when the original 30 day projection was done.

In April 2013 she reported an attempted DDOSWikipedia attack on her website.[22]

Mirror's Edge Catalyst[edit]

Sarkeesian held a conference at DICE and tweeted about it; this apparently sparked with a user on Destructoid who goes by the name "TheKodu"[26] and decided to make a blog post based solely on that. They then go on to state that she was hired by EA to "help" make Mirror's Edge 2:

So what is Ms Sarkeesian meant to be doing for EA ? Well EA thought it would be a great idea to set her to work "helping" the team making, possibly the only female lead game EA has really going still in, the Mirrors Edge series... "I can relate to a lot of fellow female gamers who did not get into this game due to its difficult controls", that’s what she’s reported to have said.[27]

Reported to have said in only one very unreliable source: a post on 4chan[28] that she debunked,[29] the blather continues, taking way too long to say nothing of worth. Alas, in fact they have no reliable sources for anything they just claimed except that the DICE event itself actually occurred. If you think that the comments on the blog would reflect a measured, sceptical approach to such unsupported claims, you must not have been paying attention. Someone went so far as to make a petition[30] to get her fired from a position she didn't even have. Of all the faults of EA, twice winner of the "Worst company in America" award,[31] apparently the most egregious is hiring someone that some people have intense hatred for. Which they didn't actually do.

EA attempted to put the myth to rest:

This petition is based on inaccurate information. EA is not working with Anita Sarkeesian on development of Mirror’s Edge.

But that only prompted more conspiracy-minded replies, including:[32]

So if she isn't working with DICE as part of the development team, then what is she doing?

She must surely be having some kind of input into the games development but with EA answering the questions asked, without really answering them, leaves too much open to interpretation. Even if she is there to make sure the game is being developed in an unsexist (is that even a word?) way, then she would surely be involved in the games development.

And if not this game then what else?

EA needs to answer these questions clearly and precisely.

Anything else is just political speak which we all know is bullsh*t.

Look who ever at EA decided to write this response, clearly was drunk. We need confirmation that the woman in question (Anita Sarkeesian) is not collaborating, providing input nor working on anything that has to do with anything you (EA and partners) are developing.

"Anita Sarkeesian, is not nor ever was a registered party assisting in the development of EA: Mirrors Edge. We have not requested nor recieved[sic] any input from Anita Sarkeesian on Mirrors Edge, and have developers working without her opinion on the game." Just say that, literally all you have to say is in that sentence and then the 48,000 people won't dislike you enough to sign a petition against you! :D

So yeah, unless you come clear and clarify this, I'm still gonna dislike you EA. Seriously, where you are right now, having this kind of publicity, is kind of the wrong publicity. You're just gonna make that grave deeper my friends. But I trust you won't make any dumb decisions, we don't need another Enron.

How EA's statement could be read as anything other than a simple blanket clarification is an open question. The petition was not closed until around October 2015.[33] At least the people signing it are in the illustrious company of such luminaries as good ol' Adolf.[34]

Explosively Gamergate[edit]

For more information, see: Gamergate

In 2014, she was offered an award by Game Developers Conference and invited to speak at their event. Somebody decided to call (email really) in a bomb threat to some of the organization's developers and guests saying it would go off unless her award and speaking engagement were rescinded. Needless to say this was a hoax nobody bought (though the San Francisco police swept the venue anyway).[35] Later in the year, she released a new video, but this had the unfortunate timing of being around the same time as the false allegations against indie game developer Zoe Quinn were ramping up into what became Gamergate. The mob, which was already made up of the same people who had been attacking Sarkeesian for years at this point, refocused their attention on her; she received some rather specific death threats over Twitter, causing her to flee her apartment for an evening.[36]

About a month and a half later she was scheduled to speak at a Utah State University event on October 15. On the morning of October 14, university staff received an anonymous e-mail threat, which warned that "a Montreal Massacre style attack [would] be carried out" unless the event was cancelled.[37] The author of the threat claimed that "feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all the others they've wronged," and that this would be "the deadliest school shooting in American history."[37] The university initially remained determined to proceed with the event as planned.[37] However, Sarkeesian ultimately cancelled her appearance after learning that the university could not restrict concealed firearms under Utah state law.[38] In an interview with ABC's Nightline the following January, Sarkeesian revealed that she now has an armed escort for any public speaking engagements.[39]

Sarkeesian's reaction[edit]

Following all that's happened, she has expanded her video series to cover positive representations of women in video games as well as planning to examine representations of men and masculinity.[40]

Sarkeesian disabled the like/dislike feature and comments on all of her YouTube video, and strictly moderates the Feminist Frequency Twitter account. As an experiment, Sarkeesian left the like/dislike feature open on a newly-released video; it got about 100 dislikes before it could have even been completely watched.[41]

There has been a recognised effect from the attacks on Sarkeesian:

  • The rabid attacks against her, turning her into a victim and pushing public attention towards her, are probably the major reason why she managed to get so much money from her Kickstarter, which has allowed her to make a living as a feminist activist and commentator.
  • Industry professionals have gone out of their way to stand up for her,[42] and have since showered her in a truckload of awards for awareness of sexism in video games.[43][44]
  • There is now an adage called Anita's Irony that exists because of her:
Online discussion of sexism or misogyny quickly results in disproportionate displays of sexism and misogyny.[45]


Sexism vs violence[edit]

See the main articles on this topic: Video game § Violence and Video game § Sexism
Sarkeesian's claims that sexist tropes in video games make gamers more sexist are just as bullshit as claims that violence in video games makes gamers more violent.[46]
Firstly, Sarkeesian's point also includes the idea that sexist depictions of women in popular media perpetuate sexist ideas in society, which could occur even without making people sexist. By analogy, The Birth of a Nation could promote racist ideas even if it did not make people racist.
Secondly, the claims of Jack Thompson (and others) that video games cause violence have been mixed and misrepresented. Although the American Psychological Association has found that children playing video games do not show an increase in violent or aggressive behavior generally, they did find that children who played violent titles saw an increase in aggressive behavior.[47] The APA therefore highly discourages allowing children to play these games. However, according to psychologist Christopher Ferguson, "newer studies "with better methods" have typically failed to find much evidence of a connection between brutal games and even minor aggressive acts, let alone violence";[48] he has also described the evidence linking video games to sexism as "weak".[49] There have been several studies examining the potential link between video games and sexist attitudes, which Sarkeesian cites in the supplementary material to her videos;[50] even if the science ultimately proves her wrong, she's at least made an attempt to prove her point with valid studies.

Censoring video games[edit]

Sarkeesian wants to ban video games.[51]
While Jack Thompson and supporters of the "video games cause violence" claim (see above) pushed for legislation to ban certain, specific titles and to hold the developers responsible in murder cases, Sarkeesian has limited herself to criticism of their content. People still froth at the mouth when she expresses her personal opinions on video games, particularly when it regards her personal distaste in violence as a mechanic. People leapt on her when she criticized Fallout 4[52] and the new DOOM at E3 2015,[53] prompting her collaborator Jonathan McIntosh to tell the mobs that they don't want to ban anything when they're critical of it[54] but only encountered her detractors doubling down on their original conclusions.[55] She's expressed similar opinions with other violent media, saying she didn't find Mad Max: Fury Road a feminist masterpiece[56] which others disagreed with,[57] but there's no MadMaxGate out to get her. Imagine that.

Not a real gamer[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Fun:Real Gamers
"She lied to us about having been an avid gamer since she was younger! There's a video[58] of her saying she hates games years before doing this series!"[59][60][61]
Except I'm doing video games, that's not exactly the fandom – I'm not a fan of video games – I actually had to learn a lot about video games in the process[.]
not a misquote of Anita Sarkeesian[62]
Back in 2010, she didn't consider herself a "gamer" or even a fan of video games because she says she had "bought into the bogus myth that, in order to be a real gamer, you had to be playing GTA or Call of Duty or God of War or other testosterone-infused macho posturing games which often had a sexist, toxic culture that surrounded them." She was playing video games, but she wasn't a fan of these particular games, and that drove her away from saying she was a "fan".[63] She has photos of herself playing SNES as a child[64] and she had begged her parents to get her a Game Boy, to which they ultimately acquiesced, but she still disliked the culture surrounding video games and was repulsed by its sexism.
It's extremely disingenuous to keep harping on about this one statement she made 14 years ago when in the time since then she's dedicated her life and career to reviewing video games. She gives talks at major tech conferences. She is asked for input at major studios. Also, the same year she said "I'm not a fan of video games" she went to the Canadian Video Game Awards.[65]

"Smiles like a white person"[edit]

In a now-removed video, Jordan Owen asserted that Sarkeesian had "learn[ed] to smile like a white person" to seem more "mainstream".[66]
It's unlikely she's not white, given she's of Armenian descent. No further comment as this "argument" is so stupid, we'll let it speak for itself.

Joss Whedon[edit]

"She (and other feminists) chased Joss Whedon off of Twitter!"
Not even close to correct.[67] In fact, she was the second person to write him a message asking if he was okay.[68]

Scammer, part I: Alex Mandossian[edit]

"Sarkeesian has a history of running scams! She's advertised teleseminars for multi-level marketing guru Alex Mandossian,[69] as well as a seminar manager and coordinator for Bart Baggett, a self-professed handwriting analysis expert featured in a pick-up artist directory!"[70]
If Alex Mandossian really is a multi-level marketing guru, then due to the way multi-level marketing works, Anita Sarkeesian trying to sell his teleseminars would indicate that she is the victim of a barely-legal scam, not the perpetrator. As for Bart Baggett, the very same article which exposed her for working with a pick-up artist later revealed that none of the work she did with Baggett was related at all to picking up women:

UPDATE: Mr. Baggett has since contacted me and wished certain points to be amended in this article. I agreed, as the original draft failed to represent his viewpoint or portray him with adequate balance. He wished to clarify that the seminars Anita Sarkeesian assisted him with were self-help oriented and primarily [65% or more] attended by women over the age of 40, and not events purporting to offer strategies to pick up women. In regards to his qualification as a handwriting expert, Mr. Baggett states that in excess of 45 judges, from the state and federal level, have confirmed him to be a handwriting expert and held his testimony admissable in court.

Furthermore, even if Bart Baggett's qualifications as a handwriting analysis expert are suspect (most accusations against him from Gamergate conflate his acumen as a forensic handwriting expert with the pseudoscience of graphology), there is still no evidence to show how she had gotten the job with him. The earliest evidence of their professional relationship provided is from 2005, before she had received her masters degree in 2010,[71] and it stands to reason that she had worked with Bart Baggett during college. It's just as likely that she had chosen to work with Baggett out of convenience and not because she agreed with his practices or beliefs.

Scammer, part II: Number of videos[edit]

"She's a scam artist! She promised us [insert number] videos in [insert timeframe]!"[72][60]
Her detractors seem woefully unfamiliar with a whole load of perfectly reasonable arguments about why such funding campaigns for projects tend to arrive late. When the scale and scope of Kickstarters change the people running them generally do need to change their original plans to fit with the larger goal they achieved and to change what they were going to do, which takes time.[73]
Anita decided to change the goals for "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games" after earning more than 37 times its original Kickstarter goal.[74] Initially, she was going to examine only a "handful of examples for each trope", but she went on to reference 182 games when covering the "Damsel in Distress" trope and 548 other examples throughout video game history.[75]
Also, initially the videos were going to be 10-12 minutes long, which would total around 2hrs 30mins for 12 videos. Anyhow, her "Damsels in Distress" episode alone went on for nearly 1hr 15mins, with the total of all videos in the series at 6hrs 01mins. If we divide it by her initial goal of 2hrs 30mins, she hasn't just delivered on producing the amount of material she's promised, she's over-delivered by over twice as much as promised.
It's utter insanity on the part of the mob opposing Sarkeesian to think that an absurdly literal reading on how many episodes she needed to have apparently released now is somehow the only thing that matters when determining the value for money her backers have gained from supporting her project, when in reality we would imagine her backers are actually delighted about how much the project expanded, and that Sarkeesian is out there very efficiently raising awareness about the issues of sexism in video games and in the gaming industry, catching the attention and support of high profile people and organizations, particularly game developers. And unlike the people that her critics latch onto (Sargon, Thunderf00t, Rogue Star, The Sarkeesian Effect creators), Sarkeesian has actually released a financial report for everyone to see, and of course she's also submitted tax forms to the IRS as part of being a non-profit, so it ultimately takes tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories for anyone to believe she's somehow hood-winking the IRS.
And of course, even if one is not a financial backer or in general a supporter of Feminist Frequency, one can still watch their videos for free on YouTube and there is nothing making them either watch or donate to any Feminist Frequency produced video, so there's no need to worry about netting Sarkeesian more money through those means. Whereas if one looks at the recent example of The Sarkeesian Effect, one can see that this "documentary", at the time of writing, exists behind a paywall so you can only watch it if you give Jordan Owen more money. Somewhat ironic and hypocritical considering that the documentary claims she is a "scam artist", and yet there has not been nearly the same backlash towards Jordan Owen and Davis Aurini that Anita Sarkeesian has received. Compare also to Sargon of Akkad, who still retains good standing in GamerGate circles despite crowd-funding for a video game, "Necromancer",[76] that never even saw the light of day.

Misrepresenting game mechanics in Hitman: Absolution[edit]

"She lied about Hitman: Absolution! You lose points for killing people!"[77][60][78]
As part of her discussion on "Women as Background Decoration" (which includes sample footage from dozens of games), Sarkeesian says that in one level of Hitman: Absolution the player can attack exotic dancer characters in order to progress through the level, and they are only there for the sake of being sexualized female characters.[50] This led to a deluge of nitpicking and complaints that the player actually loses points for killing civilian characters such as the stripper (or otherwise indulging in "unnecessary confrontation and bloodshed"),[79] and thus Sarkeesian had concocted a situation which was not exemplary of normal play to make a point. This led to so much furore, mostly caused by Phil Mason, that Sarkeesian actually made sure to spend a good portion of her 2015 speaking engagement at The Conference as to why this isn't their "smoking gun" to completely dismiss all of her arguments.[80]
As Sarkeesian says in her video, "in-game consequences for these violations are trivial at best". There is no real penalty for knocking out NPCs as long as you aren't spotted doing so, despite a loss in statistical points, and this loss is negated by hiding their bodies. She also points out how the game only gives the player the option of either knocking out or killing civilian characters, such as in another level where the player knocks out a stripper character and hides her body in order to set up a situation to beat the level. She makes a comparison with the Grand Theft Auto series, where the player can be penalized for stealing cars with police attention, despite that being one of the core mechanics of the game. Neither killing civilians in Hitman nor stealing cars in GTA result in losing either game, only temporary nuisances that can be negated through further play. And the sandbox nature of these games means there's multiple ways to complete an objective. But this was never the point of her video. It was to say that the developers of Hitman intentionally included partially or fully naked women characters whose sole purpose is to be eye candy or be attacked by the player in some fashion. Anything about the game's points system is a red herring meant to completely detract from her actual argument. She finds the inclusion of the exotic dancers and strippers sexist as well as the ability for the player character to attack them, which was a conscious decision by the development team (although technically you can attack or kill anyone in Hitman, regardless of consequences).
In other words, if the developers didn't want players to interact with or ogle the strippers, why does the level take place in a strip club? In terms of the story, it's to assassinate the club's owner, but more generally it appears to be for titillation; however, there is a major tonal shift when you come across the body of a dead stripper who's obviously been murdered in a derelict building next door, and you can also overhear a group of police officers talking about wanting "to close the place down"[81] while "arguing about the merits of fucking titty dancing".[81] Whether that makes the whole thing better or worse is debatable.

Stealing Let's Play footage[edit]

"She stole Let's PlayWikipedia footage from gamers![82][60][83] It means she didn't actually play the games!"
This claim is partially correct and partially incorrect.
Using Let's Play footage recorded by other players doesn't indicate whether or not Sarkeesian herself also played the game. And whether she did or not is also irrelevant to her commentary on any sexist content within the game.
Other popular game discussion videos (such as those that list the "Top 10 Most [Adjective] [Noun]s!") also use stock footage of games, including Let's Play footage, as do mainstream media broadcasters when covering video games.
As for the issue of "stealing" footage from gamers, video game content — like all copyrighted material — is obviously the intellectual property of its creators, not its players. As stated in her videos' fine print, Sarkeesian's use of this content is covered within fair use provisions of American copyright law[note 1] YouTube does have a robust (if not alarmingly overzealous) DMCA takedown system available should any game developers feel that Sarkeesian's videos overstep fair use and violate their copyrights. Any players attempting to assert copyright over video games they have merely recorded are unlikely to be taken seriously.

Stealing fan art[edit]

"She stole fan art[60] and used it for profit!"[84]
Sarkeesian acknowledged that she did use fan art of the Dragon's Lair character Princess Daphne which was drawn by Tamara Smith, but had done so unintentionally as she and her team thought it was a piece of promotional artwork for the game. She apologized for the mistake and removed Smith's artwork from a collage it had been used in, even though their use of the artwork would have probably constituted fair use under the transformative rule.[85] She also addressed concerns that Feminist Frequency is a non-profit organization, and is registered as one in California. She also pointed out that Smith had published an open letter before she and her team could respond and was also in direct contact with people responsible for doxxing her, her team, and her family, which made them apprehensive to deal with the issue publically.[86] Others looking into the situation also took note of how Smith did not update her original open letter to acknowledge Sarkeesian's response until a day after the fact.[84]

Disabling comments section on YouTube[edit]

"She has disabled comments in her videos! Which means she doesn't want to take criticism!"[87][60][88]
Sarkeesian disabled comments on her videos on account of being subjected to death threats, rape threats, and vicious misogynistic and anti-Semitic insults in the comment sections. Not only do these kinds of comments constitute ad hominem arguments, but many of them are legally actionable.
YouTube comment section in general, at the very least, is not a good place for discussions. YouTube has very poor threading support (there's 500 reply comments limit), comments can be edited at any time (it only shows "(edited)", but not when it was edited, unlike Reddit), and places the responsibility of moderation on the uploader (very few of whom actually act on it).[89]
To say that anyone who disables the comment section "doesn't want to take criticism" appears overblown. For example, PewDiePie, has disabled the comment section on all his videos for a time[90] simply because of the spam and trolling. He also agrees that the comment section is a horrible place to have meaningful discussions and would rather it happen on his personal forum or anywhere else.
Even if we ignore statements that are not even wrong, addressing such comments is like an unending Gish Gallop where most people won't see the refutations of already-raised points anyway. Most people simply don't have the time to read through mountains of shit just to address the very rare good points and will either ignore or disable the section altogether.[89] This isn't "unable to take criticism" any more than, let's say, the president refusing to go outside and talk to every single anti-vaxxer protesting outside the White House.

Use of prejudice plus power definition of sexism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Prejudice plus power
There’s no such thing as sexism against men. That's because sexism is prejudice + power. Men are the dominant gender with power in society.
—Yes, she actually Tweeted this[91]

For flipping once, here's an outrageous Sarkeesian quote that wasn't just fabricated mined by antifeminists.

Sarkeesian's analysis is attempting to shed light on the systemic sexism in which men are given preferential treatment over women. For anyone attempting such an analysis with real ambition, however, it's certainly not impossible to end up a wee bit reductionist, even as pertains to something so obviously complex as human society at large. Science is self-correcting, and mistakes are allowed.

"Everything is sexist"[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Quote mining
Everything is sexist, everything is racist, everything is homophobic and you have to point it all out.[92]
Don't you see?! She's a feminazi!!

At one point, she did indeed breathe out those same words in that order. But those weren't the only words, and more importantly — what was the context?

Turns out, the above "quote" isn't even really a quote per se, but rather a mere sentence fragment, deliberately stripped of the context in which it was uttered. Notice, for instance, that the beginning was capitalized to make it look like this was a standalone sentence.

Let's examine the full quote in its original context:

I sort of joke about how it was the most liberating thing that ever happen to me and also the most frustrating for everyone around me, because like when you start learning about systems everything is sexist, everything is racist, everything is homophobic and you have to point it all out to everyone all the time, so there is a good year of my life. There is a good year in my life where I was just the most obnoxious person to be around. And then you settle into it, you start to understand like oh people have been living within these systems and it was just sort of liberating movement for me and you learn how to pick and choose your battles and that sort of thing.[92]

So, no — she's never said full stop that "everything is sexist, everything is racist, and you have to point it all out".

To the contrary, her explicit message in the above passage was to say that when she was younger and understood less, she thought that, but — crucially — she no longer does, through self-deprecating humor (having the audience laugh when at the part where she said that "everything is"), and calling herself obnoxious and "frustrating for everyone around her". Indeed, that she no longer does "point it out" was her point.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. "The multimedia clips included in this video constitutes a 'fair use' of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright law which allows for criticism, comment and scholarship."


  1. Anita Sarkeesian, "Support My Kickstarter Project - Tropes vs Women in Video Games", YouTube
  2. Anita Sarkeesian, "One Week of Harassment on Twitter", Feminist Frequency (
  3. "Caprica and the Queerness of Sam Adama"
  4. "Fembots, Advertising and Male Fantasy"
  5. "What Liquor Ads Teach Us About Guys"
  6. "The Huffington Post's Linkbait Strategy"
  7. "Retro Sexism and Uber Ironic Advertising"
  8. "Glee, GQ and the Sexualization of Young Girls"
  9. "Women's Stories, Movies and the Oscars"
  10. "The Oscars and The Bechdel Test"
  11. Tropes vs. Women (2011) by Anita Sarkeesian (Last updated on Mar 7, 2013) YouTube.
  12. feministfrequency (March 22, 2011). "#1 The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (Tropes vs. Women)". 
  13. feministfrequency (April 6, 2011). "#2 Women in Refrigerators (Tropes vs. Women)". 
  14. feministfrequency (April 21, 2011). "#3 The Smurfette Principle (Tropes vs. Women)". 
  15. feministfrequency (May 19, 2011). "#4 The Evil Demon Seductress (Tropes vs. Women)". 
  16. feministfrequency (July 28, 2011). "#5 The Mystical Pregnancy (Tropes vs. Women)". 
  17. feministfrequency (September 22, 2011). "#6 The Straw Feminist (Tropes vs. Women)". 
  18. feministfrequency (November 16, 2010). "Toy Ads and Learning Gender". 
  19. feministfrequency (January 30, 2012). "LEGO Friends - LEGO & Gender Part 1". 
  20. feministfrequency (February 5, 2012). "The LEGO Boys Club - Lego & Gender Part 2". 
  21. Jim Sterling, Anita Sarkeesian - The Monster Gamers Created, Jimquisition.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Feminist games critic cancels talk after terror threat: Anita Sarkeesian cancels talk at Utah State University over threats of ‘the deadliest school shooting’ in US history by Alex Hern (15 Oct 2014 06.30 EDT) The Guardian.
  23. Internet Trolls Up Their Harassment Game With 'Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian' by Sarah O'Meara (06/07/2012 08:52am BST | Updated July 6, 2012) Huffington Post.
  24. Boxxyquest The Gathering Storm,
  25. Her TEDxTalk was basically just about the attack campaign
  26. #Gamergate and the price of freedom Archived from the original at, 2 February 2013.
  27. The Sarkeesian, The Dice and The Mirror. Archived from the original at, 2 October 2012.
  28. Anita Sarkeesian discussing Mirror Imgur.
  29. XOXO Festival (October 7, 2014). "Anita Sarkeesian, Feminist Frequency - XOXO Festival (2014)". 
  30. Remove Anita Sarkeesian from Mirror's Edge 2 game development. by Danielle Bristol (c. 2014)
  31. EA Makes Worst Company In America History, Wins Title For Second Year In A Row! by Chris Morran (4.9.13 12:00 PM EDT) Consumerist.
  32. Gators get an actual response from EA on their false petition as well as Anita in a video disproving her involvement. Gators still don't believe them because EA is shady and Anita is a liar. You can't win with them. (December 18, 2014) Reddit (archived from December 22, 2014).
  33. Remove Anita Sarkeesian from Mirror's Edge 2 game development. by Danielle Bristol (c. 2014) (archived from October 7, 2015).
  34. (hateful post) by Adolf Hitler, Imgur.
  35. Bomb Threat Targeted Anita Sarkeesian, Gaming Awards Last March, Stephen Totilo, Kotaku, 17 September 2014
  36. Campbell, Colin. "Sarkeesian driven out of home by online abuse and death threats" August 27, 2014
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Cimaron Neugebauer, "Terror threat against feminist Anita Sarkeesian at USU", Standard-Examiner
  38. Erin Alberty, "Feminist cancels talk at USU after guns allowed despite shooting threat", The Salt Lake Tribune
  39. Juju Chang, "When Jumping into Gamergate Turns into Fearing For Your Life", Nightline
  40. Stuart Dredge, "Anita Sarkeesian launching new video series focused on masculinity in games", The Guardian
  41. Turned ratings on for my new video as an experiment. 100 dislikes before anyone had the time to finish watching it: by Feminist Frequency, @femfreq (10:26 AM - 18 Nov 13) Twitter (archived from 6 Jan 2014 23:47:25 UTC).
  42. Say Mr. Gears of War himself, one of the biggest dudebros out there.
  43. Anita Sarkeesian, Riot co-founders win GDCA 2014 Special Awards, Gamasutra
  44. A Day of Honors for Women in the Video Game Industry, The New York Times
  45. Internet Rules and Laws 2.0
  46. 16 minutes 17 seconds into '8 Anita Sarkeesian FAILS | #FemFreq'
  47. American Psychological Association, APA Review Confirms Link Between Playing Violent Video Games and Aggression"
  48. APA/CNN, "Do video games lead to violence?"
  49. The Relationship Between Video Games and Sexism? There is little evidence, but findings get hyped anyway. by Christopher J. Ferguson (March 30, 2017) Psychology Today.
  50. 50.0 50.1 Anita Sarkeesian, "Women as Background Decoration (Part 1)", "Feminist Frequency"
  51. Sarkeesian Effect Duo Reanimates Defeated Corpse of Jack Thompson (November 19, 2014) Zen of Design.
  52. Anita Sarkeesian, "The #Fallout4 crafting system is cool. Imagine how much cooler it could be if it wasn’t SO focused on building stuff to kill other stuff.", Twitter
  53. Anita Sarkeesian, "This level of extreme violence shouldn’t be considered normal. It's not an excuse to say it’s expected because DOOM. That’s the problem #BE3", Twitter
  54. Jonathan McIntosh, "Think about it without getting defensive. No one wants to ban DOOM. But what message does that send to the world about the gaming community?", Twitter
  55. Jonathan McIntosh, "So much reading comprehension fail in my mentions.", Twitter
  56. Anita Sarkeesian, "I’m not one to shy away from expressing unpopular opinions. So here goes. I saw Fury Road. I get why people like it. But it isn’t feminist.", Twitter
  57. Jill Pantozzi, "Review: Mad Max: Fury Road Is a Lovely Orgasm for Your Eyes", The Mary Sue
  58. Vimeo video. Relevant statements begin at 12:00.
  59. Jef Rouner, 8 "Criticisms" of Anita Sarkeesian That Are Utter Bullshit\Houston Press, 21 October 2014.
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 60.4 60.5 Anita Sarkeesian - Rotten Websites Wiki. Archived from the original on March 25, 2021 04:20:13 UTC.
  61. 18 minutes 26 seconds into '8 Anita Sarkeesian FAILS | #FemFreq'
  62. “Women and Pop Culture” Class Visit at SMC, Second Video, 12:49
  63. Stephen Totilo, "How Anita Sarkeesian Wants Video Games To Change", Kotaku
  64. A SNES controller in the hands of Anita Sarkeesian as a child
  65. Anita Sarkeesian, "The First Canadian Video Game Awards", Feminist Frequency
  66. Jordan Owen on Anita Sarkeesian's "White Person Smile" (private video) by Nate Franklin (Apr 3, 2016) YouTube.
  67. Joss Whedon Calls “Horsesh*t” On Reports He Left Twitter Because Of Militant Feminists
  68. Good to know I didn't personally drive Joss off Twitter with all the stuff I DIDN'T say about Avengers 2 *eyeroll* by Feminist Frequency, @femfreq (12:08 AM · May 6, 2015) Twitter (archived from 7 May 2015 03:00:57 UTC).
  69. "What does Anita Sarkeesian's endorsement of internet marketing predators say about her character?", KotakuInAction
  70. Brian Whittemore, "Anita Sarkeesian Unmasked: Feminist Icon or Con Artist?", Guardian Liberty Voice
  71. Sheelah Kolhatkar, "The Gaming Industry's Greatest Adversary Is Just Getting Started", Bloomberg Businessweek
  72. Finish the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games video series and give your backers what they were promised. by Dan Fawaz, ' (archived from 15 May 2015 06:56:14 UTC).
  73. 9 reasons Kickstarter projects ship late: Manufacturing disasters, packing chaos and the whims of Apple are just a few of the unexpected obstacles these Kickstarter creators faced. by Stacy Cowley et al. (Last updated December 19 2012 01:27 PM ET) CNN Business.
  74. The Future of Tropes vs Women; An End in Sight by Feminist Frequency (January 19, 2016) Kickstarter.
  75. "How Our Tropes vs Women project has expanded and transformed"
  76. "Steam Greenlight Page Necromancer,"
  77. Anita Sarkeesian and Hitman by Adrian Chmielarz (Aug 19, 2015) Medium.
  78. Critic Anita Sarkeesian receives online death threats after latest Feminist Frequency video on games by Jeff Grubb (August 27, 2014 4:06 PM) VentureBeat.
  79. Hitman: Absolution Game Guide (11 May 2016) Game Guides.
  80. Anita Sarkeesian - Hate and heroism, relevant part starts around 11:00.
  81. 81.0 81.1 Amber 'Hitman Wiki.
  82. Vicsor's Opinion: FemFreq's Sources. Archived from the original on March 25, 2021 13:09:54 UTC
  83. 13 minutes 10 seconds into '8 Anita Sarkeesian FAILS | #FemFreq'
  84. 84.0 84.1 Aja Romano, "Fanartist who accused Sarkeesian of art theft banned from Reddit", The Daily Dot
  85. Rich Stim, "Fair Use: What is Transformative?," Nolo.
  86. Anita Sarkeesian, "Recently, it came to our attention that we had accidentally used a piece of fan art...", Feminist Frequency
  87. 18 minutes 48 seconds into 'Feminism versus FACTS (RE Damsel in distress)'
  88. 17 minutes 59 seconds into '8 Anita Sarkeesian FAILS | #FemFreq'
  89. 89.0 89.1 Scott, Tom. Reflections on the Gender-Neutral Prounouns video. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  90. PewDiePie Disables YouTube Comments for Good by Rob Crossley (September 3, 2014 at 5:15AM PDT) GameSpot.
  91. There’s no such thing as sexism against men. That's because sexism is prejudice + power. Men are the dominant gender with power in society. by Feminist Frequency, @femfreq (6:25 PM - 14 Nov 2014) Twitter (archived from 19 Aug 2015 07:20:30 UTC).
  92. 92.0 92.1 "How to Be a Feminist Panel, All About Women 2015", Sydney Opera House Talks & Ideas Archive, March 9, 2015. Statement occurs at 32:30.