By: Rachel Edwards
The men’s rights movement is no stranger to feminism in the media. On occasion feminists find themselves on a large platform, but very few capture attention like Anita Sarkeesian. While the average radical gets noticed on Youtube, Anita has made national news. Her allegations of cyberbullying have placed her into the public eye, and have even managed to make her a consultant for video game companies that are hoping to be more progressive.
Many have speculated as to why she has such a following, but the answer is clear: Anita is telling women what they want to hear. They want to believe that the problem of sexual assault and domestic violence is as simple as removing or changing undesirable media. As much as we want to believe that people have become more sophisticated viewers, they love this kind of story. They like hearing that women are oppressed, that their weaknesses are an illusion, and that there is but one obstacle in their way.
In business, appearance is everything. As long as the product looks good, no one will care what you’ve swept under the rug. Anita’s product, her message of radical academic feminism, is packaged neatly as criticism of video game culture. It reinforces what they’ve believed all along: that the media turns us into mindless puppets, and that we are incapable of making our own decisions and forming our own opinions. She is pandering to a demographic that consists of people that are easily offended and believe that the media must cater to their whims.
What these people fail to see is one very important fact: there is no evidence to suggest that video games, movies, or television shows make people more violent or even affect their perceptions of gender negatively. Anyone that has had a high school history class can easily tell you that the violence within modern first world countries is nothing when compared to the violence of the past, and some of the more horrendous acts that are committed everyday by people that have never even heard of video games.
If the “evil influential game” theory were true, you would expect there to be an increase of violent crime in the countries that have violent video games, but we do not see that happening. What we see is that there is a portion of the population that will always commit crimes regardless of the media that they are exposed to. This is not what people want to hear. They do not want to hear that people are incredibly complicated and that we still aren’t sure why some will always do terrible things. They want the message that they have the answers and that all they have to do is control the media, and everything will be fine.
In recent months, it’s come to light that not even Anita’s message will be enough to keep her afloat. Online scandals of her business practices have begun to pile up. Anita, who claimed to be a lifelong gamer, was seen saying that she wasn’t a gamer at all in a recording of one of her college presentations. Before that incident, she was caught using game footage (not her own) from Youtube, and this month it was revealed that she used art without permission from the artist for promotional graphics.
These incidents would be enough to persuade most people to stop supporting Sarkeesian, but what has been the final nail in the coffin is her treatment of the artist Tamara Grey Smith. Every faux apology from Sarkeesian to Smith has been worded to suggest that Anita is sorry for upsetting her, and not because she did something that was ethically wrong and illegal. She recently posted a long statement on her Tumblr and her website stating that she feels she was completely right in doing what she did, but that she was going to take down the art anyway as a “sign of good faith.” In short, she is saying that she is right, you are wrong, and the rights of artists don’t matter, and that she is going to comply with the artist’s request because she wants to cover her ass and appear nice for doing it – as if to say that the artist should be grateful that she was acknowledged at all.
What Anita doesn’t know is that the amount of female artists online is immense. They are everywhere. They are on every form of social media, and one thing they loathe, more than anything else, is an art thief.
It’s pretty bad when your treatment of someone is so vile that you lose an enormous chunk of your demographic. To make things even worse, she was caught in yet another lie. When Anita Sarkeesian was in talks with the artist, she said something rather interesting. Anita stated that her company, Feminist Frequency, was a non-profit organization. This is something that she has claimed on more than one occasion. The other thing that Anita didn’t know was that professional artists like Tamara are used to needing contracts to make sure they get paid. They are also familiar with the fact that non-profits need documentation from the IRS to call themselves a non-profit. So when Tamara asked for proof of this, Feminist Frequency went into damage control mode and almost nothing was heard from them for days.
While they were scrambling around, trying to figure out what to do, a follower of Jordanowen42 found the website that kept records of licensed businesses in the state of California. This told us that Sarkeesian was licensed as a corporation in 2013. That wasn’t enough for me, so I did some digging of my own, and found the website that keeps records of licensed non-profits in the state of California. Feminist Frequency was completely absent from the list.
I posted this information on my personal blog and it wasn’t long before the information was spreading around the internet. I also took the liberty of alerting Tamara of this fact, not knowing if she would receive the message. Tamara took things a step further and checked the IRS charity database, and guess whose company was still not on the list. Sarkeesian was not even on the list of people that filed the paperwork and were rejected. Which means that, not only is she not a non-profit, but she never attempted to file the paperwork in the first place.
She makes money being a professional feminist and victim, assures people that she isn’t making money at all, and continues to collect donations.
If ever there was a better example of how the media fails us, it’s the coverage of Miss Sarkeesian. While many speculate as to the level of her deception, her motives are clear. She does not care about the rights of anyone. What she cares about is cold hard cash being funneled into her bank account, while appearing to be a benevolent figure for gender equality. Only time will tell if her efforts as a consultant have caused irreparable damage to the gaming industry.
You can find more of my writing and nerdy tidbits on my tumblr at naughtynerdess.tumblr.com