On Wednesday’s (Oct. 29) “Colbert Report,” host Stephen Colbert welcomed Anita Sarkeesian, one of the figures at the center of Gamergate. In case you’ve somehow missed it, Colbert nicely sums it up:
“Gamergate involves some male gamers harassing women who are speaking out about the portrayal of women in video games, presumably after the initial shock that women were speaking to them at all. Leading the charge is media critic and World of Warcraft tribute name Anita Sarkeesian,” says Colbert. “Gamergaters say the scandal is really about something called ‘ethics in video game journalism’ and claim collusion between critics like Sarkeesian, female game developers and the media to favor softer, more female-friendly games.”
Upon welcoming Sarkeesian to the stage, Colbert starts with his patented schtick: “Let’s call this what it is — you and the other femi-Nazis in the gamer world are comin’ for our balls to snip ’em off, put ’em into a little felt purse and take ’em away so we have to play your non-violent games, right?”
Sarkeesian says no, that is not what Gamergate is about. Gamergate is about speaking out against the hypersexualized, misogynistic portrayal of women in video games.
“We’re seeing this influx of different kinds of games and that’s what Gamergate is responding to. They’re responding to the fact that we’re saying gaming can no longer be this little boys’ club anymore,” says Sarkeesian. “There are many of us women who have been playing games our whole lives and so they’re lashing out because we’re challenging the status quo of gaming as a male-dominated space.”
In response to the charge of unethical behavior in video game journalism, Sarkeesian says that that argument “is a way to reframe the fact that this is actually a tax on women.”
“Ethics in journalism is not what’s happening in any way, it’s actually men going after women in really hostive, aggressive ways,” says Sarkeesian. “That’s what Gamergate is about. It’s about terrorizing women for being involved in this industry, for being involved in this hobby.”