Since this is my last post on this blog I decided to make it a challenge to myself. I decided that first of all it will be difficult because it will be personal plus it will also be quite different from what I wrote before. Looking back at my work during this class I can’t help but notice that my attitude towards social media is dominantly positive. That’s why today I will deal with a touchy issue that sits deep under my skin. My most important online identity is that of a female gamer. Just that statement in many types of social media could open a storm of controversial opinions and possible abuse. That’s what happened in the case of Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist who one day decided to study biased portrayals of women in video games. She launched a Kickstarter campaign that would allow her to gather enough funds to develop a series of videos on the subject . By appealing to general audience she opened a Pandora’s box and was forced to face a massive amount of rage, abuse and online mobbing. Her case became an example in fight against misogyny and inequality in the video gaming industry. Her problems were broadly covered by mainstream media yet her history still seems incomplete to me. What I would like to do in this article is to present a perspective that strongly differs from the most common representation of the problem. I’d like to introduce other factors that affected the whole situation and that might also give a better understanding of social media interaction. I know this is an impossible task for a simple blog post but I do hope that what I can present here can be a good starting point towards a bigger goal in the future.
The abuse Anita faced was of various kinds. She had to handle offensive language, her websites were hacked, her Wikipedia content was filled with pornographic content and she even received threats of violence. As she and most of interested media described it, it was a backlash of the anti-feminists that do not want to see a woman messing with their favorite hobby .
Is it really as simple as that? I do not in any way approve of the aggression Anita Sarkeesian, or any other female online for that matter, had to face but what I’d like to discuss is that bringing the whole argument to matters of gender seems to be a damaging oversimplification. My first argument might sounds silly but as they say “haters gonna hate”. A recent study shows  that there are people who simply thrive on hating the work or character of others. In the era of social media it is easier to voice your hate and make it tangible for those you previously might have never affected. Of course, pure haters make up a small group but I do believe they are important in terms of inciting online violence. They provide the opening of a conflict more docile people might never have the courage to provide.
Furthermore, charges towards Sarkeesian were also of a different kind. She stated on multiple occasions that she is a gamer herself and that the medium of video games is personal and close to her. Yet what users online managed to dig up, once again through social media channels, implies that she lied to her public . It is hard to judge to what extent online investigations may unearth trustworthy information yet the possibility of Anita lying about her gaming past was a source of great upheaval to her audience. Her motivations behind the kickstarter project were also questioned as many believed what she is doing should be done for free and with no financial backing. Such claims can be easily retorted  but they do nonetheless add to possible frustration of online audience.
Is there then a possibility that what online community tried to do was to control the quality and legitimacy of journalism on it’s own topic? Yes. Question we might ask is – where is the line between feedback and control and pure abuse? Why do opinions expressed on social media platforms so easily change into unlimited floods of hate? As previously mentioned, many commentators would like us to believe it is connected to the gender issue but similar reactions happen also in cases of men. Often hate can be also connected to manifestations of less mainstream sexualities or subcultures. Even though such an observation might seem simple it is vital to notice that negative feedback of social media is a much broader problem than just an example case for feminism. It has to be addressed in a more general manner and cases such as Anita Sarkeesian do it more harm than good by re-routing the necessary attention.
As time has shown, many claims against Sarkeesian’s work were correct. In over a year since her kickstarter project was fully backed she released one video out of 12 promised, she didn’t upgrade her production values and to exemplify her tropes she used video material of other gamers without any credit. The video she did release has been criticized for being very subjective and biased . It has also been pointed out as a very superficial presentation of a real issue in video games . The flaws of her work, even though they do not excuse it, shed new light on the abuse she faced before and will possibly incite a new look into the matter.