Author: jsteichen

Sarkeesian Fears Nothing


“The video game industry caters to a straight, white, male demographic,” said Anita Sarkeesian, the keynote speaker of the 2014 Digital Ethics and Policy Symposium. Ms Sarkeesian touched on the topic of what it means to be a gamer and what the demographic of gamers looks like; however, the portion that most stuck me was the amount of abuse and lash back she has received through her commentary on the video gaming industry. Gaming has changed over time. What started out as a way to detox for the male testosterone has turned into a universal way to release stress and relax. Anita has noticed that game makers and certain people within the original demographic do not appreciate her YouTube channel dedicated to changing this perceived view point on what gaming is and the view of women players, as well as, female game characters.

Anita speaks through her YouTube channel Feminist Frequency on the issues of women inside and outside of gaming. However she has received more than just hate emails as a response. Vandalism to her Wikipedia page, threats of car bombing, rape, and death, hateful tweets and YouTube videos, and subscriptions to porn sites are just a few of the types of abuse she has suffered from. She has been named the “villain” of the gaming world. And why? Because she feels that women should be perceived appropriately in video games and as gamers, along with trying to help people accept that gaming is for everyone. She went on to talk about how there are conspiracy theories of her bleaching her skin, she has mind controlling powers, and that she makes up all these threats to get attention. Her response to the threats and conspiracies was a shaking of her head and a long laugh. She blows off the thought of being hurt or abused and seems to fear nothing. How? If I was placed in her shoes I would request a security guard to walk me everywhere I go.

Anita fears nothing. She sees these hateful people as whimsical children. Sitting there listening to her make fun and laugh at these hateful, menacing people was intimidating but empowering. She is so passionate and dedicated to what she is talking about that she doesn’t care who tries to hurt or stop her. Her belief in the equality for not just women but everyone to be included and treated fairly by the video gaming industry is so inspiring.   However as someone that agrees with her my fear to stand up and support her frightens me. I could not handle the amount of abuse she goes through daily. Death, rape, and car bomb threats would make me want to go into hiding, not broadcast myself further. Anita’s speech was fantastic, but what truly stuck with me was the fact that this woman seeks equality so much she has no fear when it comes to spreading her message. She is an icon for the future development of video games and opinions that surround them. I can only hope that her work helps equalize the place women have inside and outside of the gaming world.




It started out like the Amazing Race. We were all put into a coat closet and told to figure our way out, then from there explore the space we were exposed to. I was so confused I ended up just telling my virtual self to go north, south, east, or west. When discussing LamdaMoo in class I was thoroughly puzzled as to how this virtual world worked. No pictures, no video, just words? Didn’t seem like it was possible to be honest.

As I logged into the game I was astonished by how much text there was to explain where I was and what was going on. During the in-class portion of the experience I was overwhelmed due to the fact that so many people were logged into the game and that I could see their progress. This part of the game frustrated me because I couldn’t read the text describing my setting because updates kept moving the description out of my view. I was so flustered because I wanted to go to Paris or experience something beyond the confines of the house but never did. It was a competition between my fellow classmates and I.

As I tested out LambdaMoo at home I still didn’t experience much success. When it comes to reading lots of text I am the most impatient person. I resorted to doing the same thing I did in-class which is just tell my virtual self to go north, south, east, or west. I’m so glad that virtual games have updated because although LambdaMoo isn’t a difficult game to navigate I still found it too frustrating for me to want to try to comprehend. Basically, I find video or electronic games do not pique my interest in general, so the fact that this game didn’t have any visual aspect to it made it even harder for me to want to play it.

To summarize after testing it out I don’t think I would ever play the game again mainly due to the extensive reading it forces the player to deal with. If I play a game I want it to be mind numbing and easy enough for me to figure out.

Feed Me Your Likes

“Yes social media is a type of Utopia because you can make yourself look as good as you want yourself to. You don’t have to post your flaws on social media.” Growing up I have viewed social media as a question mark, like a black hole. We never think of the permanence of what we post on social media because we don’t understand the technicalities and because my era was born into a tech savvy community. Social media is a second language to the new era.


I am a victim. As my classmate Billy so eloquently stated, social media is a type of utopia. I believed it was at least. Look at my Instagram for example, the pictures below are all pictures I have posted within the last month. All edited* pictures of myself. Could I be more vain? Why do I post pictures of myself so frequently? Because I get a certain type of gratification when I reach a certain amount of likes or receive more than one comment on a post. I build up this image of myself to gain a feeling of popularity and worth. Sad, right? I would rather try out ten different filters on a picture than build a physical resume, or at least that’s how it feels when I scroll through my Instagram profile.

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So really is it a utopia? I believe it is an amazing way of quickly updating the world on life events and staying in contact, but other than that Instagram is pointless. I have never experienced the dystopia of Instagram, but there are recent cases that have been brought to my attention. For example, a fan of Taylor Swifts posted a photo of herself and tagged Taylor in the photo. The girl’s comment underneath the photo was a quote from one of Swift’s songs about heartache. The girl was ridiculed for posting the picture. Swift saw the post and read the comments from these vicious people and decided to leave one of her own. She told the fan that she hated to see her upset and that her prince charming would come someday. Swift also responded to the bullies by telling the girl how she should continue to be herself because these people aren’t worth her time.


Seeing the harassment that this fan went through makes me scared of how capable people are of hurting and destroying each other’s self of steam. Although there was a light at the end of the tunnel, the damage was still done. Hiding behind a screen to edit pictures and comment makes social media have dystopian qualities. There needs to be a better and safer way to express ourselves technologically, without the negative and consequential backlash.


I remember being a freshman in high school and being obsessed with making random status updates on my Facebook wall. It seemed to be the norm that everyone kept each other in the know by posting Facebook status updates. However, when Twitter came about these Facebook statuses became extinct. Within 140 characters I can send a message to my friends and followers about what I am doing, how I am feeling, or quote an inside joke. Twitter allows me to simplify my life and situations without risking the internal debate of feeling obnoxious and clogging up peoples Facebook home screens with posts such as this.


Through Twitter I can feel connected with celebrities, global and local news, and most importantly my friends. Twitter helped keep me involved in the lives of those I love while I was abroad last semester. Being seven hours ahead of the US while studying in Rome made communicating difficult with everyone back home. But it was nice to know that every morning I could feel a little more comfortable and at home in this foreign country by quickly glancing over my Twitter feed and see what all my friends were doing or talking about.


The hash-tag wasn’t used on Twitter until a year after I made my account. At first I was skeptical and unsure as to how to use it; but, I quickly grew accustomed to seeing it used and made up my own interpretation as to when it was appropriate to add in a tweet. I remember telling one of my high school teachers that hash-tags are a type of summary to the message you are writing. However, hash-tags can be used also as a way of connecting to others or causing connections to other threads. For example our #comm200 thread links our class and other people using that hash-tag to each other. By clicking on that blue hash-tag we can see what other people have tweeted about who have also used the same tag.


Twitter is a way for me to vent, share, explore, and update myself in 140 characters or less.


Jen Steichen (picture)

The Current Medium

When I was in fourth grade I remember being assigned a research project on the person we were most infatuated with in history. I chose to write my paper and do my project on Neil Armstrong. I was thrilled to start my first independent research project, so that weekend my dad allowed me to use the home computer to write out my paper and cue cards on Neil’s life and accomplishments. I remember waiting for the internet to load up and then gawking at the all the options I had to help me learn about Neil’s life. I felt like I was looking at a digital library.

When being asked what my first experience was using new media, this instance came to mind because I remember sitting with my eyes glued to the computer screen in my family room, tediously trying to understand what was and wasn’t important about this American heroes life. I also remember being taught how to hold my fingers over certain letters in the middle row of the keyboard, along with how to access and create a word document.

After reading Gitelman and Pingrees’ article it’s hard to believe that at one point I had to wait for the computer to dial up and that I had to take a basic typing and computer functions classes. When I think of “New Media” today I think of Google Glass, the iPhone 5s, Siri, and tablets that have disconnecting keyboards. In Gitelman and Pingrees’ article I liked how they described New Media having different mediums throughout history. Throughout time “New Media” has had a different definition to everyone; whether it be a typewriter, phonograph, record player, DVD, or iPhone, media is constantly being improved and updated.

Media will continue to be new because of this constant need to make things easier and more accessible. I can’t believe how within ten years my whole perspective of computers and life has been altered just through the improvements of electronic technology. It also somewhat saddens me to see kids be so comfortable using tablets and smart phones. Technology is useful but can be so detrimental. I feel like it challenges everyone to choose between a virtual reality and the reality we actually, physically live in. Regardless, New Media now has, what I would consider, a new medium in 2014 than it did in 2004, but who knows how long it will be till this current medium is replaced.



Jen Steichen