Felicia Day and Anita Sarkeesian: Two Women Enter, Both Win!

So today on “Would You Rather” I will be looking at two women who have made some large contributions to the geek world in different ways. I realize that my past few posts have been a smidgen on the serious side, so today I’m letting my inner fan-girl out and I’m look at two of my female role-models/idols: Felicia Day (left) and Anita Sarkeesian (right).


Naturally, one of your first concerns is probably: who would win in a fight? This is a difficult question to answer because both Felcia Day and Anita Sarkeesian have proven themselves to be valiant warriors against hordes of internet trolls. To determine their overall effectiveness in battle, let’s briefly look at various techniques employed in their most recent battles.

Felicia Day, actress, writer, and one of the masterminds behind Geek and Sundry (“an internet community centered around web videos dealing with comics, games, books, and hobbies) has recently been under attack by ex-Destructoid writer Ryan Perez, and by anonymous internet trolls over the music video “Gamer Girl and Country Boy“. In the case of the YouTube video, most of the negative comments have currently been deleted by mods, or down-voted so many times they aren’t displayed. However, if you look hard enough you can find comments like this, which perhaps gives you a general idea of what Felicia was up against:

back to Felecia, sometimes you can turn down a job, even for a friend.

no good came from this.

it was so bad, and your make-up is terrible.

The yellow shit on your eyes especially made you look like a ghoul, and you totally ruined those tetris pants.

I saw the girl in the ad for those i thought the pants looked pretty hot, but you taught me that the pants really look retarded,and that the other girl was just hot.

whoever did hair,make-up,and wardrobe on this video deserves stomach cancer.

Ah, the good old stomach cancer comments. Other comments were more in this vein:

Felecia can’t even sing, she cant really do much of anything…but i respect the way she puts on the whole geek act to corner the female nerd market and also get paid selling autographs and shit to losers at game and comic cons… everyone needs to get paid and her plan has worked nicely.

Felicia’s way of handling it? Introspective maturity, and letting mods be mods. In her blog post in response to the flaming of her video (the comments I quoted are some of the only negative ones still up, it appears the worst of these were quickly struck down), Felicia Day thanks her fans for sticking up for her, and carefully considers why she feels like the video sparked controversy:

Clearly a segment of guys on the internet HATE “Gamer Girls”. This is the part I don’t understand, why they are so frikkin emotional about it. They hate on this type of girl who “pretends” to game for attention. This archetype they can somehow factually attribute to a few women (then paint the whole gender with the brush) that exploit them for attention, cheapens their hobby with “casualism”…who knows. The irony here is that the “Hot Gamer Girl” is there because….guys click on them/watch them more than non-hot girls. So yeah, talk about creating their own problem, lol.

She calmly addresses the problem, tries to legitimately understand why it happened, and moves on, head held high, relatively unscathed from a horde of negativity. Unfortunately, anonymous trolls are not the only ones that have recently attacked Day for (in their eyes) being a “glorified booth babe.” Ryan Perez, formally of Destructoid recently posted on twitter at Felicia Day:

@feliciaday, Question: Do you matter at all? Do you even provide anything useful to gaming besides “personality”?

This article from Jezebel covers most of the controversy. Clearly, Perez is unfamiliar with the bulk of Day’s work, which has contributed both to gaming culture in the from of The Guild but also to actual video game content like the “Mark of the Assassin” DLC for Dragon Age II. So what was Day’s response to this outrage? A gracious acceptance of an apology after her fans (and BFF Whil Wheaton) defended her and Perez was fired. Felicia Day’s battle strategy could be best described as turning the other cheek, and being the better (wo)man. Unless you say she’s not a gamer. Watch this amazing video for Whil Wheaton’s advice on how to respond to trolls, and Felicia Day’s defense of herself as gamer:

So, clearly Felicia qualifies as a troll vanquisher, even though she typically employs non-violent means. Anita Sarkeesian., though still nonviolent, can best be understood as constant crusader against trolls, in the media and on the internet. Sarkeesian’s series of videos “Tropes vs. Women” look at various tropes that many popular culture texts share and perpetuate. These well-researched videos have helped illuminate misogyny in popular culture for many people. The videos are frequently used in classrooms across the country to introduce good media criticism to beginners in the field.

While the “Tropes vs. Women” series has had the occasional troll comment, this did not prepare Sarkeesian for the response that she was greeted with when she announced a new project “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. Here’s the intro video to the series:

Hardly the most offensive video out on the internet, yet this short video inspired attacks on her Kickstarter, attacks on the Feminist Frequency website,  and an online game where players got to beat up Anita Sarkeesian. Not exactly a rational response to a woman that j wants to point out a few stereotype in gaming. Sarkeesian’s response has been to continue the project, with the help of over $160,000 that her Kickstarter raised. With the help of fans and other concerned people, Sarkeesian’s videos will come out in the near future with a bonus set on trolls on the internet. So not only did the trolls fail to take down her Kickstarter, Website, and Videos, they only fueled Sarkeesian to make more videos, this time (unlike the initial proposed project) specifically to look at trolls. Considering the success of Sarkeesian’s previous videos, I honestly can’t wait to see her counter-assault (video) on troll culture.

So, which of these women would win in a fight? For once I’m going to say it doesn’t matter.  In culture women are often pitted each other in the whole ‘divide and conquer’ tactic. I can’t imagine a world where either of these women would fight each other, and I’d much rather celebrate both of their careers and troll-handling skills. I might be tempted to fight Felicia Day for her awesome yellow chair, or Anita Sarkeesian for her successful website and video series, but ultimately I’d rather hold them up as role-models to emulate as I begin my entrance into cyberspace.


  1. I’ve seen a few movies//webisodes//whats-its with Anita Sarkeesian. I liker her, and I liker her approach. She doesn’t go for the defend defend defend, attack attack attack approach so commonly found in both men and women’s defenses of their sex, and representations of.

    I like that she acknowledges [in that video] the good that can come from video games [increased cognitive ability, among others…], and goes on to say, ”but here’s the problem.” She weighs the good with the bad, and it’s “super effective” [lol @RPG slang]. So, I guess let’s go with Anita Sarkeesian – because she’s a badass. Great blog.

  2. Great post! I had no idea Felicia Day went through that with Ryan Perez at Destructoid.

    Thanks for posting the video with her and Wil Wheaton talking about how to deal with internet trolls… pretty inspiring stuff! What’s interesting to me is that a lot of responses to Internet trolls and haters involve taking the “argument” to a higher level, making it about haters in general or why some people have a problem with girl gamers, or something like this. I guess it just shows that the mature response is not to take it personally.

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