#11 Online Harassment

This is first post in the series of #stopsexism Initiative. Anita Sarkeesian, gave a TEDx talk in TEDxWomen 2012 curated and produced by Paley Center for Media. In this TEDx talk Anita talked about a real story that she faced in her life for being a feminist, a woman and because through feminist frequency-which deconstruct miss-representation of women in media. Feminist frequency talks about sexism, gender issues in TV shows, comic books and video games.

As video games are increasing at an alarming rate but this video game industry present sexual objectified, demeaning, misogynist portrayal of women. So, Anita took initiative and launched a fund raising campaign on kickstarter to make videos about how video games sexually objectify women and misogynist. But Gamers are not at all excited with this, which leads to online bullying, online harassment against this project and Anita faced sexist backlash.

Anita suffered from massive online hate campaign, all her social media flooded with rape threats or vulgar messages. Messages like “Tits or get fuck out”, “Wouldn’t it be funny if five guys raped her”, “I would totally rape Anita Sarkeesian” and there are so many which saddened me, even i don’t have the courage to write all these. It’s not a joke, it’s not just a backlash it is angry misogyny. Her Wikipedia article was vandalized with sexism, racism and pornographic images. A comapign was started by Anita’s haters to prove Anita as fraud and report her social media profiles. So, these haters had also leaked personal information about Anita-her phone number, address, etc. Even, hack down her email, knock down her website and this list goes on and on. These haters have not stoped, they made a misogynist game, in which you need to punch a face and that face was Anita’s.

We generally don’t think online harassment as social activity. But this online harassment against Anita,  is not a game but angry misogyny. It’s not boys being boys, it’s not just how internet works. It’s not a game. This can be described as cyber-mob, whether this is a cyber mob or handful of hateful comments. This leads to sexism and supporting gender biases where women are silenced, marginalized and exclude from full participation. How to keep women away?- By creating an environment which is toxic and hostile to women.

Let’s engage women and men and ask women not to be silent. We can create a cultural shift, where women without fear of threats and harassment can  be active participants in digital world.

I would highly recommend you to watch this TEDx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZAxwsg9J9Q

To know more about feminist frequency: http://www.feministfrequency.com/

Stay tuned for more blog posts related to #stopsexism Initiative. Thanks for reading!


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