feminist frequency

Geek Girl Con: Building a More Positive Geek Culture

Geek Girl Con Cosplayersby Jarrah Hodge

This is Part 2 of my Geek Girl Con posts recapping the panels on online sexism and harassment. To read part one, click here.

If you found Part 1 depressing, know Part 2 is more action-oriented. Even though what’s going on online in an attempt to silence and intimidate women speaking out on feminism and geek culture is terrible, Geek Girl Con panelists did have some suggestions. I’ve broken it down into two areas: suggestions around dealing with the online misogyny directly now, and suggestions about how we can work to change systems to build a more positive, feminist online culture for the future.

Dealing With the Current Situation – Protecting Yourself and Your Communities:

Having gone through this the most recently and most publicly, Anita Sarkeesian had concrete tips for anyone who’s experienced online threats and harassment or who is considering creating content that might be subject to these kinds of attacks: Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism, Pop Culture 2 Comments

Geek Girl Con: Speaking Out on Online Sexism

Anita Sarkeesian and Maile Martinez

by Jarrah Hodge

(trigger warning for misogyny and language)

This past weekend I headed down to Seattle for the second annual Geek Girl Con, which I’d been to the year before. Last year I really enjoyed the Con but found there was a bit of a lack of panels taking a really critical look at sexism and misogyny within geek culture. This year was a huge improvement on that front, and since I went to a whole bunch of panels in this general vein, I’m not going to recap every single one. Instead I wanted to broadly share some of the problems/issues the various panels identified in this post, then do a follow-up looking at panelists’ tips and suggestions for change (as well as posts on some other issues/topics covered at the Con).

On the issue of the sexism, harassment and misogyny that exists in geek culture, there were no shortage of truly appalling examples presented. Anyone who went to the panel: “Go Make Me a Sandwich: Barriers in Online and Fan Spaces”, would not have been able to argue that there was no sexism online. On the panel were Regina Buenaobra, a Community Manager at Arenanet; Colette Vogele, an attorney involved with the group Without My Consent; Feminist Frequency vlogger Anita Sarkeesian; and Grace, Co-Founder of fatuglyorslutty.com.

Even having followed the blogging and reporting around Anita’s recent experience with violent sexism in the gaming community, it was disturbing to see examples of some of the YouTube comments and tweets she received projected on the big Con screens. She broke down what she saw as the main factors in this online harassment, noting that it is: a manifestation of real-life privilege, designed to silence, violently defensive of the status quo, rooted in entitlement and male privilege, and involved in the policing of masculinity and performing misogyny through invites by community members to others to “one-up” each other through more extreme forms of harassment. Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism 4 Comments

Don’t Feed the Trolls

Some trolls created an online game inviting players to “beat up Anita Sarkeesian”

by Alicia Costa

As I was stopped at the light today one of the young men in the SUV next to me leaned out his window and screamed, “Now THAT’S a great ass!” to a young woman crossing the street. She looked clearly startled and not at all flattered by the outburst.  It literally made me recoil as I know exactly what that girl feels like. In fact this exact same thing happened to me last week while walking to meet a client. And I’m sure if you are a woman reading this you can relate to this situation.

This got me thinking about how much sexual harassment women are receiving and internalizing on a daily basis and I’m tired of it. Many men seem to think by hiding in their cars and shouting out the window- or behind a computer screen they have full license to do and say whatever they want about our bodies.

In previous weeks feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian  of Feminist Frequency came out and laid out all of the harassment she was getting in response to a project she created about the lack of well-rounded female characters in video games.  Everything from the defacement of her Wikipedia page, to continued threats of sexualized violence, to a video game where the player can virtually punch a picture of Anita until her face in it turns black and blue.

While trying to process Anita’s experience and reconcile my own experiences of misogynist hate emails and nasty comments on things I’ve written over the years I started to think about other forms of harassment I’ve received on the internet. Read more

Posted on by Alicia Costa in Feminism, Pop Culture 3 Comments

Introducing Feminism F.A.Q.s

Feminism FAQs Title Screenby Jarrah Hodge

This International Women’s Day I wanted to do something special. IWD is a chance for us to reflect on the movements we’ve made toward gender equality as well as considering the work that still needs to be done. Something I’ve been asking myself over the past year is how I can help take the next step. I’m really proud of my work on Gender Focus but I wanted to add another element that would help myself and other feminist bloggers with the myths we always hear about feminism, and the frequently-asked-questions people who are respectful but hesitant about calling themselves feminists.

At Geek Girl Con last summer I attended a vlogging workshop with the amazing Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency and Maile Martinez of Reel Grrls. It hit me – it’s hard to find a more accessible medium than vlogs. After some brainstorming I decided to launch a series of short videos dealing with the feminism F.A.Q.s we always hear.

Here’s my first installment, which answers the question: “But…aren’t we all equal now?/Why do we still need feminism?” I thought it was an appropriate topic for IWD.

I also created a Facebook album of easily-sharable images with stats on why we still need feminism. Take a second to check it out and share your favourite on your Facebook profile or page.

Because the videos are designed to be less than 2:30 in order to be accessible, they’re going to be a little bit general and they will inevitably leave some things out. My hope is that they will prompt even more questions and engage feminists and potential future feminists in respectful dialogue.

Just from the first video I’ve learned some lessons about editing and flow that I’ll be trying to apply in future. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think, and if you have a question you’d like to see me answer in a video, please comment below!

 

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism, Pop Culture 7 Comments

Geek Girl Con: Media Literacy, Criticism, and Production

Anita Sarkeesian Leah Wilson, and Kristy Guevara-Flanagan at Geek Girl Con

Anita Sarkeesian Leah Wilson, and Kristy Guevara-Flanagan

“For me the only dangerous media is the unexamined media.” That was the sentiment, expressed by Leah Wilson, behind the Geek Girl Con panel on Media Literacy, Criticism, and Production. I was particularly excited about this panel because it featured the awesome Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency as well as Kelsey Wallace and Kjerstin Johnson, who were my editors when I was writing the Revenge of the Feminerd series for Bitch Magazine blogs. The other panelists were Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, director of The History of the World as Told by Wonder Woman as well as Wilson, editor of Smart Pop Books. The panel was moderated by Maile Martinez, programming director at Reel Grrls.

So what is media literacy?

Kjerstin replied that media literacy helps us see media as more than just entertainment: “It’s not just a comic but something that’s affecting people’s lives.”

Kristy said media literacy for her has been a tool that’s helped her learn from what others have created when creating her own things.

Kelsey pointed out that media literacy is about asking who made the media and why. It involves looking at the financial and social interests behind the media you’re consuming. But Kelsey said she feels media literacy has an “unfortunate bad rap of just about hating on something,” when actually in her view it’s about loving something so much that you’ll get into it to that level.
In a similar vein talking about the bad rap that media literacy can get, Anita added, “I think about it as being a fan from a marginalized community.” Anita continued that media literacy can happen in simple and everyday ways: “I think we are being media literate when we have conversations with our friends.”

Another question that was asked was about the potential for feminists and others discontented with mainstream media to be producers of alternative media. The panelists could all think of examples of great indie comics, webseries, and other positive alternative media, but Kelsey cautioned that we shouldn’t give up trying to change mainstream media: “Taking equipment up and doing it yourself is one way, but it also puts onus on consumers instead of corporations. We also need to demand more from companies to make stuff we like,” she asserted.

After discussing some debatable “strong woman characters”, the panel closed with some recommendations for how to respond to the lack of representation of marginalized bodies (specifically people with disabilities, people of above-average weight, and people of colour) in the media. One panelist pointed out a big problem is that when marginalized bodies are portrayed, the whole focus seems to be on the person’s difference.

“I don’t have an answer. It sucks. And I think it’s important to be angry about it. And to be vocally angry. Tweet about it and write about it,” Anita replied.

“It’s really important to recognize your privilege and position as a consumer and challenge yourself to seek out media from people who come from marginalized experiences,” Kjerstin suggested.

If you want to re-live the whole panel, you’re in luck! Kjerstin Johnson did an audio recording that you can find on Bitch Radio.

-Jarrah

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism, Pop Culture 5 Comments