Apologies Anita

Anita Sarkeesian is the creator and host of Feminist Frequency; an online video series that discusses how women are portrayed in popular media.

Now my experience with Anita and Feminist Frequency is extremely minimal. So minimal in that I’ve only just accidentally stumbled upon Anita’s Twitter feed and have yet to watch an episode of her web series. But what pushed me to write this was the disturbing comments directed towards Anita on Twitter (I can only assume this harassment seeps in via other sources as well) which she has been documenting on the same platform.

Most, if not all, of these comments stem from her criticism of the male dominated culture of video gaming. And quite frankly it boggles the mind to read this garbage.

Example of calm and rational debate. No, wait…

When I was a kid, I remember being introduced to video games little by little. At the arcade, at a friend’s house, etc. My siblings and I grew up with the impression that video games were a diversion. Like a TV show or comic book. It wasn’t a way of life, it was something to pass the time for a little bit. Essentially a toy. Perhaps more complicated than other toys but a toy. And sure maybe these toys were geared more towards boys than girls but unlike Barbie or G.I. Joe video games didn’t have the “pink means girlie”/“camo means manly” stamps that most toys did.

It was one of those toys where everyone got a turn. You played for a certain amount of time or until you died and than you passed the controller. Sometimes two of you would play together or against each other and you’d have to wait to switch off after one of you couldn’t hold it anymore and had to go to the bathroom. Some of you were better at some games than others but everyone found a game or two that they excelled at regardless of what their pants contained.

Now as we got older some of us grew out of video games. We were done playing with that particular toy. But some of us didn’t. Actually a lot of us didn’t. We kept playing. We got older, our tastes matured. We didn’t watch the same TV shows or movies, we didn’t listen to the same music and since video games were no longer toys to us; we wanted something that matched our tastes. It makes sense. If video games aren’t toys anymore they’re just another form of media, and that media needed to catch up. It’s a shame that it’s now overtook us.

When the transition began and the ones who left their video game toys behind started to get off the train, home console technology got more complicated. The shift from 3, 6 or 8 buttons on a controller became 9 or 13 with a d-pad and a joystick or two. Two dimensions became three. For some of us it was too much and we moved on to other things. A good chunk of those who opted out around this time were female and video gaming became severely more of a boy’s club. We wanted to play with our toys more and new control schemes and z-axis be damned.

We stuck with it. So much so that a diversion became an obsession. The club became a lifestyle. “I am gamer. Hear me pwn!” This lifestyle was just for the boys. The girls would never understand. And truth be told in my own personal experience I haven’t met many women who are avid gamers or even semi-casual gamers but what does that have to do with anything? I don’t know a lot of men who are avid with their sewing or do any sewing semi-casually but that doesn’t mean that their fingers won’t allow them to perform the movements necessary to complete the task.

So I’d like to apologize to you Anita on behalf of actual people. I don’t do a whole lot of taking things seriously but some nonsense is just too stupid to ignore. I’m sorry you have to read and listen to such horrible filth just because you have a brain and a mouth. I’m sorry.

To those of you threatening another human being with horribly violent, excessively abusive and homicidal actions. I urge you to take what you’ve written and say it out loud to yourself in public. Maybe you’ll feel different about yourself afterwards. Maybe you really are that far gone.

I know that somethings will never be as they should but, for those of us that know what really matters, we can choose to live in the real world and let the rest stagnate in their own bigotry. I prefer to live in the real world, thanks. The one where my mom kicked my ass in Mortal Kombat 2 every now and then. The one where I once stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning and watched my sister play Columns until she reached level 54.

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