This week Anita Sarkeesian cancelled a speech at Utah College after the school received a threat of a mass shooting if Sarkeesian was allowed to speak. The school decided to go ahead with the speech after consulting law enforcement officials, but Sarkeesian decided to cancel the speech after learning that students with a valid concealed arms permit would be allowed to openly carry concealed weapons during the presentation, as is allowed by law.
Let’s glance over the fact that the school had to legally allow people with weapons to attend the speech after threats claimed that the proposed shooting would be the “deadliest school shooting in American history” because open carry laws are horrendously backwards and ridiculous. The treatment that Sarkeesian is receiving is the issue I wish to focus on in this post. Of course the person making these threats against Sarkeesian doesn’t represent the gaming community nor those who disagree with Sarkeesian’s videos and opinions, but it does represent an greater issue in the community as a whole. Sarkeesian, whose videos have focused on reoccurring themes in video games that dehumanize and trivialize women, is an academic, proponent, and a member of the video game community. Threats, violence, and dismissal are no ways to respond to those with opinions and perspectives that we don’t share. The amount of backlash and vile given from people in the gaming community towards Sarkeesian and other video game academics who seek to challenge the norm has been absolutely unsettling and unwarranted. Death threats aside, we as a gaming community should not stand for name calling, dismissals of opinions without proper argument, or anything of the sort. We need to show to the community and the world that these types of threats and acts are NOT OKAY. A great portion of the world still sees the gaming community as one that is uneducated, and childish; we need to show them that we are not.. We need to stand up for those who are attacked, regardless of if we agree with their perspective or not. An attack on Sarkeesian should be seen as an attack on the gaming community. If free speech and the conversing on differing ideas and perspectives can’t be allowed in our community then we all suffer. The gaming community needs to come together on this issue or face losing the blossoming diversity we have cultivated in recent years.