Links roundup for 28 June 2012

Here’s a roundup of women in fandom stories that might be of interest to fans:

  • One good part of online fandom is that women are able to share experiences and support, particularly when their fandom experiences are unpleasant solely because they are women. One consistent problem is their lack of representation, either as creators or as characters. Writer Alex Dally MacFarlane complained about “the (almost) unrelenting sausagefest” going on in science fiction anthologies: “Mike Ashley even managed to get an anthology of SF Stuff that’s 0% women, because apparently no woman has ever written a mindblowing SF story or something. Oh oh but they’re just choosing the best stories, aren’t they!…To really drive the point home, there was also a copy of War and Space: Recent Combat on the shelf. It’s edited by Rich Horton and Sean Wallace. It’s got a strikingly similar theme to that Watson and Whates anthology, AND YET…they’ve managed to find stories by 11 male authors and 9 female authors, making it 45% female authors.” MacFarlane offered to edit an anthology herself and in comments it was recommended she try setting up a Kickstarter project.
  • Unfortunately it was on Kickstarter that a particularly ugly case of woman bashing recently took place. Feminist Frequency writer Anita Sarkeesian creates videos focusing on problematic portrayals of women in video games and sought funding to do more on the issue. The result was trolling that “included everything from the typical sandwich and kitchen ‘jokes’ to threats of violence, death, sexual assault and rape. All that plus an organized attempt to report this project to Kickstarter and get it banned or defunded. Thankfully, Kickstarter has been incredibly supportive in helping me deal with the harassment on their service.” In fact, the silent majority not only funded her project, but raised over twelve times her original goal.
  • Sarkeesian’s experience was hardly unusual, as a BBC feature showed. The article featured various female gamers who have spoken out about the issue and focused on XBox Live as a site where abuse was common. They also pointed out the sizable female demographic, a factor echoed in this article on technology use in The Atlantic. Yet as Emily Whitten complains, a lot of companies still don’t get it when it comes to marketing to female fans: “I am often disappointed, as both a shopper and a comics fan, by what’s offered to female fans in the way of comics merchandise, and generally by the way the industry seems to view the female demographic…I don’t understand why it’s taking so long, or why there’s such difficulty in marketing to women (and in, simultaneously, not insulting them in the process).”

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