FIRST THOUGHT: On Being Heard
Do you ever feel like no one notices you? You sit at the conference table, try to give your opinion, clear your throat and say, “Ahem…” But your boss doesn’t hear you. His ears are always listening when one of your male co-workers wants to put in his two cents. What’s with that?
I think most of us are repulsed by the phrase, “Women should be seen, not heard.”
Today, it’s time to speak up, because your voice matters. It’s time to be seen and heard.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 52 Percent
If you glance down the Target aisle at Xbox and Playstation games, based on the game titles and subject matter, you might think only boys play them. Their covers usually feature a burly man who just returned from the battlefield.
From the get-go, we like to categorize: Pink is for girls; blue is for boys. One of these categories is video games, which are usually branded as toys for boys. But, hey, not so fast. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, women make up more than half the gaming audience, at 52 percent.
I’ll let today’s brilliant Woman to Watch show you why that is.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Anita Sarkeesian, Founder of Feminist Frequency
When media critic Anita Sarkeesian started calling out sexism in video games, the Internet got mad. Really mad. In 2009, she started a nonprofit called Feminist Frequency, through which she and her team critique how women are portrayed in the media.
A few years later, Sarkeesian started a Kickstarter campaign to fund her “Tropes vs. Women” YouTube series. It brought in $160,000 more than she requested, making it clear that women were ready to be heard.
In the series, Sarkeesian analyzes games for how female characters are portrayed—from body language, to objectification, to stereotypes. She challenges the gaming community to accept that statistic I previously shared—that, yes, women do game, so they ought to be more included.
Since her Kickstarter, Sarkeesian has been the target of the kind of menacing online harassment that’ll make you sick to your stomach. Plenty of gaming guys feel threatened by her voice. She forges on, though, because she’s making a serious impact, whether those dudes like it or not.
Time magazine named this lionhearted lady one of its 100 Most Influential People in 2015 for giving female gamers the courage to speak out and take ownership of a hobby they’ve loved for a long time.
Sarkeesian’s years of critiquing the media’s exclusivity have pushed her to delve into an even bigger boys’ club: history. In 2016, Sarkeesian launched a new Kickstarter campaign called “Ordinary Women,” which will tell the rebellious stories of women who historians failed to mention in the history books. Sarkeesian’s resilience will leave you awestruck. Despite the death threats, she tirelessly educates society on behalf of women, and we’re all better for it.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Natalie Dormer, the actress who plays Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones, also thinks it’s time for a change. She said:
“The ‘money men’ now know that it’s not going to damage their revenue to have a fully fleshed-out, three-dimensional female in the lead. It doesn’t hurt to write for 50 percent of the population.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.