The Internet has always been “new”. It’s not something that has stayed static for enough time for everyone to get used to it – It is a means of communication that many people still struggle to understand today, even those who think they’ve got it all under control. Issues such as privacy online have been highlighted time and time again – For example, that time we were all super-stoked to be hitting up Kate’s place for a mad party.
The openness of the Internet, and particularly social media sights like Twitter and Tumblr, leads to us communicating with people all over the world, and often with people we have never actually met. It’s some of these people that we know as “trolls”, or just douche-bags with private or nameless accounts spewing hate to unsuspecting Internet users.
This weeks readings of women online lead me to think of one example in particular of online vitriol; the constant attacks faced by Anita Sarkeesian, creator of Feminist Frequency. Sarkeensian is a feminist and gamer, who created a Kickstarter program designed to fund an online video project which would aim to discuss the representation of women in video games, and hopefully change the stereotypes of both female gamers and game-characters.
This project lead to a large online backlash described by Amanda Marcotte of Slate.com as “absolute avalanche of misogynist abuse”.
The project lead to offensive comments being posted online, vicious tweets about her and the vandalisation of of Wikipieda page, which became covered in pornographic images and links to porn websites. This lead to the top Google search result for ‘Anita Sarkeensian’ being the sentence “Anita Sarkeesian is a feminist video blogger and c**t”.
This horrendous display of sexisim is something that many women have been fighting against for years, and the internet has provided a constant challenge for women who use it.
I have placed a video below of Anita Sarkeesian’s TED talk, where she shares her experiences during the creation of her project.