Why is this conversation necessary?

On July 6, 2012, news of a video game simulating the assault of games feminist Anita Sarkeesian (@femfreq) prompted me (@amirightfolks) to confront its creator, Sault Ste Marie's @Bendilin Spurr, on Twitter. An hours-long discussion ensued among hundreds of Twitter users.

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  1. It all started when I read the New Statesman update about the escalating harassment and violence faced by Anita Sarkeesian, who made a Kickstarter for a video series on the representation of women in video games. Give this a read for context, it's pretty horrifying.
  2. This Huffington Post article focuses specifically on the most disturbing type of abuse Sarkeesian has faced so far: a video game created by a 25-year-old man from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, in which players can click to watch bruises and contusions appear on her face.
  3. The HuffPo article links directly to the game in question, which has since been removed from the site. However, a description of the game (and the NewGrounds user who created it) remained.
  4. The maker's username made him easy to find on Twitter, and the comments in his Twitter feed confirmed this was the same person. I asked the internet:
  5. THE INTERNET SAID YES.
  6. Knowing full well the can of worms I was about to open, I'll admit my heart was in my throat as I tweeted:
  7. And then, because I wanted him to face "real-life" consequences for his misogyny too, I gave prospective employers (and the Sault Ste Marie press) some context via the HuffPo story above.
  8. His first response was so baffling and idiotic that I LOLd IRL.
  9. It sure is, Bendilin! So then...
  10. I call this the "artistic expression" argument. A couple of responses to that:
  11. Yes - why NOT make a game about...well, ANYTHING except a woman being assaulted as retribution for expressing an opinion?!
  12. Ha, okay. We can agree there. But he didn't stop with the "free artistic expression" thing. One of his other bullshit arguments: Anita Sarkeesian is selfish (for asking for money to execute a research-based video project, which people have donated to of their own free will).
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