If you’ve been following gaming news for more than a decade, chances are you’ve heard about Feminist Frequency. It was a series that was created by feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, which observed and criticized various forms of entertainment through a feminist lens. The content she published attempted to address topics of gender, representation, and debate everything related in media. Anita’s work grew in popular with the release of her series “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” on YouTube, which caused a divide among gamers, media personalities, and everyone remotely interested in video games. But now after 15 years of publishing content online, Feminist Frequency is coming to an end.
A post on the Feminist Frequency website has a letter from Anita Sarkeesian announcing the shutdown of the group. All operations there will cease come to the start of the new year, with most of the content they produced being archived online for everyone to view. As far as donations made to the group by people, they will be canceling new donations and not accepting any more as of August 1st, 2023. This brings everything they were doing to a full stop.
During an interview for a feature with Polygon, Anita Sarkeesian announced that she was ending Feminist Frequency. Her reasoning for bringing it to an end was the overwhelming stress and workload to produce content, among other personal reasons she felt ultimately led to her decision. “I’m ending Feminist Frequency because I’m extremely burnt out… I can’t vacation that off. I can’t offload that anymore.”
The interview with Polygon goes into the history of Feminist Frequency and its challenging relationship with video games and the gaming audience. Many have criticized Anita’s work over the years, including the various episodes of “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” that have brought up divisive topics about many popular video games including The Legend of Zelda, Beyond Good and Evil, and many more. The series eventually came to an end in April 2017. Anita also revealed that this wasn’t the first time she had thought about ending Feminist Frequency, as she had considered shutting it down multiple times in the past.
“I don’t think we talk about that enough… You built this whole thing, and why would you give it up? But sometimes it’s actually better that we can move on to new things… to take risks and do things that challenge us.” According to Anita, there doesn’t need to be a major blowout or controversial ending in order to bring things to a close. While that may be a reason for Feminist Frequency coming to an end, her experiencing burnout may be a larger factor in the decision to bring things to a close.
Although a lot of discussion about video games and the portrayal of women in them have come from Anita Sarkeesian’s content with Feminist Frequency, it wasn’t without turmoil. Anita and her channel first became a familiar name after news reports of the reactions she received to her content across many platforms. Issues of online harassment became a frequent topic of discussion, as well as the challenges of being a woman in the games and tech industries. In the Polygon interview, Anita expressed how the exhaustion from everything would get to her and how severe it became over time. “I was so over talking about abuse, the dog and pony show of trotting out my abuse… At that point, at my talks about online harassment, I started to be like, ‘I’m not talking about my experience anymore. It’s online. You can go and check it out. I’m not retraumatizing myself for the sake of this audience anymore.’ And that’s when I started realizing that I’m just really fucking over this.”
As for when Feminist Frequency will eventually end, the organization will disband at the end of 2023. While there was an audience for Anita Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency’s content, it may have not been enough to keep things moving for the group. Their YouTube channel has well over 200K subscribers currently, but view counts on videos have been very low. Newer content on the channel has barely been able to make it past 1,000 views, despite being focused on current entertainment. For Anita Sarkeesian, it may have been time to step back from the overly stressful workload. But for others who have watched Feminist Frequency for a long time, it may have been time to bring things to a close.
What do you think about Anita Sarkeesian shutting down Feminist Frequency? Did you watch any of their content about video games? Let us know your thoughts about everything in the comment section down below!
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