Response to Anita Sarkeesian of the site Feminist Frequency has been so violent and threatening the videogame critic has had to leave her home


More women are playing videogames than ever before. In fact, a recent study from the Entertainment Software Association found that they now make up 48 percent of American gamers. But the games themselves are not necessarily welcoming to women — and there are plenty of online trolls ready to attack anyone who says as much. Just ask critic and scholar Anita Sarkeesian, whose videos on her site, Feminist Frequency, focus on the problematic portrayals of women in games. The response to her latest installment — posted on Aug. 25 and discussing the use of ”women as background decoration” in titles such as Mafia II and the Hitman franchise — was so intense (including multiple death threats), she fled her home. ”A lot of games still have these harmful representations,” Sarkeesian tells EW. ”In order to help the industry grow, we need to be actively critical of this. Developers [need] to recognize that it’s not okay.” Sarkeesian did find some vocal supporters, including Joss Whedon, who waded into the Twitter fray to say Feminist Frequency ”is just truth telling. Deal.” In the end, Whedon tells EW, the discussion of sexism is a necessary part of the $21 billion industry’s growing pains. ”Look at the beginnings of rap and horror movies, where terrible things were happening or being said [about women],” he says. ”Ultimately they became [more] inclusive.”