Feminist Frequency’s 2015 Annual Report

January 26, 2016

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The Feminist Frequency team is pleased to present our annual report for 2015. The report features a list of our accomplishments throughout the year, highlights from media coverage, our financial information, some fun data about who watches our videos and how, and our plans for the new year, which we’re very excited about.

We hope you’ll take a moment to join us in looking back at 2015 and looking ahead to 2016; we think you’re gonna love some of what we have in the works.

Download the Feminist Frequency 2015 Annual Report [PDF].

Strategic Butt Coverings

January 19, 2016

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This episode examines the ways in which designers often employ camera angles and clothing choices as tools to deliberately sexualize and objectify female protagonists of third-person games. To illustrate that this is no accident, we contrast the ways in which women’s butts are frequently emphasized with the great lengths often taken to avoid calling attention to the butts of male characters. We then present some examples of female-led third-person games that humanize rather than objectify their protagonists.

This is the first episode in season two of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. For more on the format changes accompanying season two, please see our announcement here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/566429325/tropes-vs-women-in-video-games/posts/1469466

Press Image for Media Use: https://www.flickr.com/photos/femfreq/23844341504

ABOUT THE SERIES
The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects. This video series is created by Anita Sarkeesian and the project was funded by 6968 awesome backers on Kickstarter.com

37 GAMES REFERENCED IN THIS EPISODE
Alan Wake (2010)
Alice: Madness Returns (2011)
Assassin’s Creed (2007)
Batman: Arkham City (2011)
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015)
Bayonetta (2009)
Beyond Good & Evil (2003)
Binary Domain (2012)
Blades of Time (2012)
Bully (2006)
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (2014)
Dante’s Inferno (2010)
Devil May Cry 4 (2008)
Gears of War 3 (2011)
Golden Axe: Beast Rider (2008)
Heavenly Sword (2007)
Just Cause 2 (2010)
Kane & Lynch 2 (2010)
Life Is Strange (2015)
Lollipop Chainsaw (2012)
Max Payne 3 (2012)
Metal Gear Solid 4 (2008)
Ninja Gaiden II (2008)
Prince of Persia (2008)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003)
Red Dead Redemption (2010)
Remember Me (2013)
The Saboteur (2009)
Sleeping Dogs (2012)
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008)
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (2010)
Tomb Raider (1996)
Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness (2003)
Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008)
Watch Dogs (2014)
Wet (2009)
X-Blades (2007)

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That Dragon, Cancer Review

January 11, 2016


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Reviewed by: Carolyn Petit

Grief is…normal. Losing people we love is part of life, something almost all of us experience from time to time. Some circumstances that lead to grief, however, are more rare and more cruel than others. That Dragon, Cancer is a symbolic journey through the lives of creators Ryan and Amy Green as they face a plight that is incomprehensible to most of us: Their son, Joel, was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of childhood cancer that affects the brain. What makes That Dragon, Cancer so effective is the honesty with which the Greens let us into their hearts and minds; by doing so, they create a portrayal of hope and grief and love that is at once entirely their own and one that anyone who has suffered loss can relate to.

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Quick Audience Survey

January 4, 2016

As we enter 2016, Feminist Frequency is looking to expand our pop culture analysis with new videos and other exciting projects. To help us do that, we want to know more about what matters to you, our supporters and followers. Please take this very quick survey to help us make Feminist Frequency better than ever!

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

December 31, 2015


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Reviewed by: Anita Sarkeesian

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Back in May of 1980, Darth Vader revealed a shocking secret and left moviegoers to ponder its implications for three long years: He was Luke Skywalker’s father. The truth is that I have a deep, dark secret of my own: I’m not a Star Wars fan. Not having grown up with them, I first watched the original three movies sometime in my early twenties, then again a few years later. Both times I had the same reaction: They were fine. Clearly, they were an important part of cinematic history. But I wasn’t converted to Star Wars fandom the way millions of other viewers had been. So during Christmas, when a friend asked me if I wanted to go see it, I agreed, but was skeptical that I would enjoy myself. Much to my surprise, I did. It’s a fun movie and, unlike the tedious and lifeless prequels, it’s a solid Star Wars film, a spirited and exciting sci-fi adventure.

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End of the Year Donation Drive

December 30, 2015

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Here at Feminist Frequency, we’re really excited about the new year. Our new logo is just the first step in a lot of big things we have planned, and we’d really love for you to be a part of it all. To mark the start of what’s to come, if you donate $25+ or become one of our monthly sustainers before Dec. 31st, we’ll send you one of our brand new Feminist Frequency stickers. And because we are an official 501(c)3 nonprofit, all your donations to us are tax deductible. Just visit our donate page to make your pledge today!

Thank you so much for your support. Here’s to 2016!

 

Redesigned Feminist Frequency Logo

December 12, 2015

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Design work of any kind is a pretty challenging endeavour and I’ve found that logo design is one of the hardest. How do you encapsulate all the feelings, goals, and aspirations of an organization in one relatively abstract icon? Right after the Tropes vs Women in Video Games Kickstarter we realized we needed to redesign our original logo so that we could create motion graphics for the new series. That process took several months, several designers, and endless iterations, but ultimately I was very happy with the results. I said yes, go, design done! Then I quickly realized, this isn’t a logo, it can’t be used as an icon, and it’s not flexible enough to put on backgrounds of different colors. Oops.

I learned from my previous mistakes. I reached out to Cory Schmitz whose work, if you are a fan of video games, you would probably recognize all over the place. I said, “Cory, make me something awesome! But that also fulfills all these criteria.” And thus began our year-long process to get to where we are today.

The current design weaves in all of the original ideas I wanted but in a subtle way, and I’ve found that everyone sees something a little bit different in it. You might see the two Fs sitting opposite each other representing our initials, or a wave pattern to signify media frequencies. You might even see talons like I initially did, or a cute little family of birds!

We experimented with many different colours  and I kept gravitating back to the hot pink. Some iteration of a bright pink has been a part of our logo design since the beginning and I wanted to keep that historical thread, plus I just really like hot pink. Lastly, you might have noticed a lot of Arabic influence in our previous design. We consulted a lot of Arabic typography books to understand the beautiful written language of Arabic, and it was important to me to integrate that into this new design, too. I gravitate toward Arabic script for two reasons: 1. It was a personal nod to my family and cultural background, and 2. Because Arabic script, unlike English letters, has this incredible way of weaving together boldness and softness at the same time, embodying a complex range of qualities that feels very appropriate to the work we do.

Now that the logo is complete, we are working on designing our brand new website which will launch sometime early next year, and we are working on getting stickers and t-shirts for the many of you who have been requesting it! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on all those announcements!

Harassment Through Impersonation: The Creation of a Cyber Mob

December 10, 2015

At last year’s XOXO festival, I spoke about two insidious ways that online harassment manifests: conspiracy theories and impersonation. I’d like to share an especially pernicious example of the latter, which demonstrates how harassers can make use of malicious impersonation to deliberately incite a vicious cybermob.

On July 12, I made a few tweets criticizing the representations of women in Batman: Arkham Knight. Now, it’s pretty standard for any tweets I make on this topic to be met with plenty of angry responses, but in this case, the influx of replies was particularly vitriolic, and included demands that I stop criticizing the game. In fact, the tweets vehemently insisted that this was an inappropriate time to be criticizing video games at all.

I saw these angry tweets before I read the news that beloved Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata had tragically passed away.

Shortly thereafter, my Twitter feed became flooded with misogynist harassment, hate, and threats. For some reason, most of this abuse mentioned Mr. Iwata. This was strange to me, since I’d never mentioned Mr. Iwata in any of my work about video games, and my only comment on his passing was a retweet of a heartfelt GIF bidding him farewell, using images from The Wind Waker.

In the process of investigating what specifically had triggered this flood of harassment, I found images circulating on Twitter and Tumblr of two fake, inflammatory tweets that I had never written.

fake iwata tweets -- 071205

The Photoshopped tweets should have been too ridiculous for anyone to believe. The coldness they displayed in response to Iwata’s death was so clearly designed specifically to make people angry, and the statements were sheer nonsense. (Also, the second tweet is actually 141 characters long.) But after an hour, the torrent of abuse only seemed to be escalating, so I decided to clarify that these were in fact obvious fakes.

iwata-clarification-tweets

My clarification did not stop the flow of harassment.

Why? Because many of those spreading the fakes knew they weren’t real. They just didn’t care, because their goal was simply to discredit me and to generate so much animosity against me that I would stop speaking critically about video games.

A Twitter user who tracks GamerGate found the origin of the attack on 4chan and shared proof that the harassers knew they were spreading misinformation. They were the ones doing exactly what many of the harassers they spurred on accused me of doing: callously using a man’s tragic death as an opportunity.

They seized it and turned it into a weapon to use against me.

Some harassers knew, others were tricked, but the end result was a cybermob of hate that lasted most of the week.

The intense harassment and threats continued pouring in, along with accusations that I had simply deleted the tweets from my account.

Posts on 4chan encouraged the spreading of these fake tweets through anonymous posts like:

071215 - @srhbutts - iwata fake tweets - 4chan1

071215 - @srhbutts - iwata fake tweets - 4chan2

Impersonation quotes are created in an attempt to discredit and destroy their target. Perpetrators manufacture absurd and offensive statements which they believe are actual representations of the target’s beliefs, so in my case, they created quotes reflecting their view of who I am and what I might say about an event like this, which is not actually rooted in reality. These fake tweets exploiting the death of a beloved figure in the gaming industry were created intentionally to spread misinformation and incite others to attack me.

This cybermob grew both through the participation of individuals who knew the statements were fake but were willing to use them as an excuse to harass me, as well as those who had been duped into believing that I would say something so horrible because it’s consistent with their perception of me as a monster with nefarious plans to destroy all video games.

What follows is a small sample of that mob:

Content warning for misogyny, gendered insults, victim blaming, violence and harassment.

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Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment

December 8, 2015

onlinesafetyguide-illustration

Three women who have survived sustained online abuse are releasing an easy-to use digital handbook designed to help others speak freely and safely in digital spaces.

Anita Sarkeesian director of Feminist Frequency, Jaclyn Friedman, anti-rape activist and founder of Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) and Renee Bracey Sherman, reproductive justice activist and author of Saying Abortion Aloud, have been forced to learn a lot about how to protect themselves against cyber mobs, stalkers and harassers. Now they’ve collaborated to make all of their experience available to anyone else who fears they might be targeted, or who is already under attack.

Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment, launched today at onlinesafety.feministfrequency.com, features a warm, friendly tone and easy-to-use navigation designed for use by people who may be experiencing fear or trauma. It details best security practices for social media, email, online gaming, website platforms, and ensuring privacy of personal information online, as well as the documentation and reporting of harassment, and caring for oneself emotionally during an online attack.

Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment was made necessary by the failure of social media services to adequately prevent and deal with the hateful targeting of their more marginalized users. As this guide details, forcing individual victims or potential targets to shoulder the costs of digital security amounts to a disproportionate tax of in time, money, and emotional labor. It is a tax that is levied disproportionately against women, people of color, queer and trans people and other oppressed groups for daring to express an opinion in public.

Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment can be found at onlinesafety.feministfrequency.com and is currently available in English, Spanish, and Arabic. More information on the creators can be found at http://onlinesafety.feministfrequency.com/#about-us

5 Ways Men Can Help End Sexism

December 2, 2015

What role should men play in working towards an end to sexism? How much or how little should men be helping? In this video we will explore answers to those questions and share a few suggestions for how men can respectfully approach feminism. We also explain why ending sexism can be beneficial for men too!

This is the 2nd Feminist Frequency video hosted by Jonathan McIntosh which addresses men and sexism. The 1st video highlights the “25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Male” and you can watch that one here: http://feministfrequency.com/2014/12/02/25-invisible-benefits-of-gaming-while-male/

This video was created as a bonus stretch goal promised to the backers of our Tropes vs Women in Video Games kickstarter.

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LINKS & RESOURCES

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