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'Gamergate' Is Just A Microcosm Of Sexism

caption: GeekGirlCon programming director Jennifer K. Stuller kicks-off a viewing of "Supergirl" at a 2013 event at Central Cinema.
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GeekGirlCon programming director Jennifer K. Stuller kicks-off a viewing of "Supergirl" at a 2013 event at Central Cinema.
Flickr Photo/GeekGirlCon (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Jennifer K. Stuller, local writer and a co-founder of Seattle's GeekGirlCon, about the Gamergate controversy and diversity in geek culture.

Interview Highlights

On bomb and death threats received by GeekGirl Con and media critic Anita Sarkeesian:

For her this has become the ‘terrorist threat of the day’ type of thing which is really sad and scary. Nobody really thought anything was going to happen, but for a place that's built on inclusivity and safety and a space to be free it was frustrating and alarming. But it didn't deter anybody from being like, ‘No, this is our space. You can't have it.’”

On women breaking into the geek market

When I first went to San Diego Comic-Con in 2006 I would go look through the long boxes of comic books and be completely ignored by the people staffing these booths because I wasn’t supposed to be there, I wasn't a ‘real’ customer.

Women have found ways to bypass this … And the thing is there's room for more and it's good for business to actually embrace a larger market. I mean women are saying, ‘Here take our money, this is what we want.’”

On the problem of the “damsel in distress” trope in entertainment, including gaming:

This is a story as old as the world is itself, as long as storytelling has been, where the woman isn’t in the heroic role. And so women become a prize, that the goal is to win the prize and the prize is a female character.

On the hostility coming out of an “enlightened,” 21st century culture:

It is very puerile behavior, right? It feels very adolescent in its manifestation, doesn't it? And also feel it also feels very much like a game.

Some of these campaigns are even given game like names like Operation Disrespectful Nod… it sounds like a game and it's not.

These are people's lives and it's shocking to me. No matter what these people are feeling, or how they don't feel like they're being heard, it's terrifying the complete lack of empathy.

Why you can trust KUOW