by Hannah Wheelwright and Averyl Dietering
Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak today at Utah State University about feminism and video games. Yesterday, USU received a threatening email that promised a “massacre” unless USU cancelled Sarkeesian’s lecture. The unknown author, who claimed to be a USU student, asserted that “Feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge,” giving details about the kind of guns he was planning to use in the imminent mass shooting. USU did not inform Sarkeesian of the threats; she found out about them via Twitter after she had landed in Utah the night before her scheduled lecture.
Sarkeesian planned on going along with the talk despite the threats–a few of her previous speaking engagements have received similar threats, but the venues promised tightened security and she was able to speak safely. However, after learning that USU “wouldn’t take steps to prevent concealed firearms at the event” because of Utah’s lax gun laws, Sarkeesian was forced to cancel.
Thousands of gamers have been discussing these events online, and according to Business Insider writer Jim Edwards, many of these discussions are centering around the question of whether or not sending death threats to women is really a serious matter. Many of the gamers say that the death threats are “trivial,” and that the real issues are the corrupt links between video game developers and video game journalists.
Yes, you read that correctly: some gamers are saying that death threats are “trivial.”
Are you unsure about your stance on whether or not death threats are trivial? Because this appears to be a common phenomenon, we have developed this quiz to help you find out where you stand on this issue. Choose the answer that most closely resembles your feelings on the subject. Maybe someone else will make a quiz to help you figure out the veracity of the gamer industry corruption claims, but we’re hoping that on the topic of whether or not death threats are trivial, this quiz will be an easy A.
No grading is provided because if you don’t have the self-awareness to tell where we would place you on the scale between 1 (safe to be around women) and 10 (you are about to send us death threats for writing this blog post) then you should not be on the internet. At all.
Do you think it’s okay to send death threats to women?
- No. Never.
- Probably not–what is the exact context? I can’t know for sure till I know the background info. Sometimes it’s okay to threaten to murder a woman, sometimes not.
- Yes, lol, of course it’s “okay”! Everyone knows that they’re just silly pranks! I send death threats all the time!
- I have my freedom of speech so I can tell anyone I want that I’m gonna kill them. Get off my back, big government!
- I don’t think it’s okay, but some women do things to provoke the death threats, so I can’t really blame the people sending them.
Has feminism ruined your life?
- Now that you mention it, a woman did turn me down for sex today and it really pissed me off. I haven’t gotten laid in so long. It’s really hard to be a man in today’s world.
- No–in fact, I think it’s helped my life. Patriarchy hurts everyone.
- I’m not sure if feminism has impacted me at all. I’m more of a humanist myself.
- YES, it’s like every time I try to explain to a woman why she’s wrong, some feminist harpie shrew comes around and asks me to consider my “male privilege.” Sometimes conversations like that where the woman provides moderate pushback to my claims makes me want to murder her.
What do you think about GamerGate?
- I don’t know what it is but it sounds like a whole load of good, clean, game-y fun!
- I think it’s a lot of misogynist nerds feeding off of each other’s frustration about being confronted with their internalized sexism by lashing out within their subculture in really profoundly disturbing and violent ways.
- It’s clearly a movement of diligent gamers who recognize the insidious ways feminists are conspiring to tear down the game industry with their paltry concerns about “sexualization” and “violence against women” as if those things had any real effect on society *phlbbttt*
What do you think when you meet a gamergirl?
- Is that a species of unicorn?
- Usually I’m like “Ew gross get contacts like all the hot people you nerd. And put on some makeup.”
- I think, ”Wow, that is cool that she is pursuing her passions especially against such opposition in a male-dominated industry.”
- I usually ask her a lot of questions about how she balances gaming among her many other responsibilities, like childcare and making sammiches and keeping things running around the house.
Do you think it’s okay to get points in a videogame for beating up and killing a prostitute?
- That’s sickening. I don’t think anyone should get rewarded–whether in real life or in video games–for violence against any women.
- She’s nothing but pixels on a screen. What in the world makes you think that matters or that it would translate into REAL life?
- Neckbeards gotta do what neckbeards gotta do.
- Hm. I mean some points, because of course it’s a good thing to decrease the number of prostitutes, right? But not like a lot of points. I’m not a sexist.
Have you ever considered that a massacre of young college students would be a good way to address your concerns about video games?
- I mean I guess if I tweeted at that one angry feminist who loudly criticizes the video game industry, and she didn’t tweet me back, within say 12 hours, then yeah I think I would consider it.
- C’mon, you chicks are taking this way too seriously. No one has ever committed a mass shooting who had a connection to or history of playing video games.
- I’m so obsessed with being able to use mostly naked women as human shields in my games that I will do anything to protect that God-given (and capitalism blessed) right.
- Um no, I would never consider a massacre of anyone, for any reason. How can anyone rationalize even making a claim about that?
If the event or gathering at which you had planned to commit a massacre was cancelled and your plans for that mass shooting thus thwarted, do you think a reasonable way to have your concerns about feminists heard would alternatively be to kill every feminist on the college campus?
- Men are being left behind in our society today and it’s all the feminists’ fault. Getting rid of any of them sounds good to me.
- The only problem is that vile misandrist harpies are sometimes disguised as hipster college youth, so, idk if it’d be reasonable but it would be hard to accomplish.
- REASONABLE? No, even if I hated feminists, there cannot be any amount of justifying or rationalizing violence against anyone but much less women that would be appropriate.
- Oh please, no one actually kills women and blame feminism. Hey why are you googling Elliot Rodger?
Do you think that fantasizing about killing women is a normal part of being a man?
- No, I’m not a horrible person, who do you think I am?
- Of course I do, every man dreams of the day he gets to obliterate a woman from the face of the video game earth. Can’t wait!
- Women just don’t understand men. They don’t know what it’s like to be a man with brute instincts and muscles and testosterone in the modern age of political correctness and metrosexuality and women in pantsuits.
- I wouldn’t be a man if I didn’t love me some woman murdering on ye olde Game Cube!
Should women be allowed to create and play video games without fear of being murdered in real life?
- Psh, no, women should face death threats for any job outside the home, obvi.
- I mean, if she is unattractive then I guess it’s only fair that people have their free speech to make death threats against her. But if she’s hot then that would be really mean.
- She is probably making a video game about like putting on makeup, so who cares?
- I guess that’s not cool.
- YES OBVIOUSLY. What is wrong with this quiz?
Should universities and organizations who invite someone to speak and then receive death threats against that person inform the person that they have received the threats prior to the scheduled lecture?
- No, that doesn’t even make sense, you should leave them in the dark, it’s not like their life is at stake
- Holy f*ck of course you should tell the speaker ASAP after you get the threat!
- Only if the speaker has been nice to you leading up to that point in preparation for the event. You can’t reward bad behavior.
- Only if you really cared if the speaker might die, so I mean, they should consider telling the speaker for sure.
If a fellow told a woman that he was going to “write [his] manifesto in her spilled blood,” how likely would you be to rationalize or laugh off his threat?
- Very likely–maybe he just means her menstrual blood, because she’s a feminist harpie who probably refuses to wear tampons or pads, I heard feminists do that, it’s so gross I hate feminists.
- Somewhat likely–people say a lot of wild things on the internet and I think women should just accept that they will have to live in a constant state of fear and harassment. It’s their punishment for Eve eating the apple.
- Somewhat unlikely–I mean that’s just a little creepy, right?
- Very unlikely–this statement is part of a huge and complex web of violence against women that is unacceptable and it’s ridiculous that there are even people making excuses or trying to rationalize away the fellow who makes this kind of threat.
How did you do? Did you pass the test? If so, congratulations! If not, don’t worry–apparently there are dozens of gamer forums where you’ll fit right in. Feel free to depart our harpie shrew waters for those rough seas of manliness and circle jerking to the sight of women being exploited, objectified, and brutally murdered in video games. We–the women of reality, that is–will be over here working to destroy the kyriarchy that yes, hurts you too. Please stop justifying reasons why it might ever be okay to send someone a death threat. And Anita, thank you for your continued bravery in the face of such visceral and terrifying harassment.
In the name of the ultimate gamer, Jesus, amen.
(P.S. This is satire. You should NEVER send death threats to anyone under ANY circumstances. That should be abundantly clear.)