Northeastern to host online gaming harassment discussion

Monday, November 9, 2015

Northeastern Illinois University’s Department of Justice Studies and Women’s Resource Center will host a panel discussion about harassment and threats against women in the world of online video gaming on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 4:15-5:30 p.m. in the Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs on the Main Campus, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. in Chicago. Parking permits are required and can be purchased at the Parking Facility.

The “Game Over?” panel will feature Fruzsina Eordogh, digital cultural journalist; Keisha Howard, founder of Sugar Gamers; Margaret M. Ogarek, deputy supervisor for the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Division in the Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney’s Office; and Adam M. Messinger, Northeastern assistant professor of Justice Studies.

Recent events such as threats to video game developers Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu and cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian—a controversy that became known as “Gamergate”—has placed sexism and the glorification of violence targeted at women in online gaming in the national media spotlight.

Messinger said that dating back to 2013, it was all too easy to explain the “GamerGate” controversy as the work of a few “crazy” men.

“What is important to recognize though—what guests of Northeastern’s ‘Game Over?’ panel presentation will learn—is that ‘GamerGate’ is just the tip of a very large iceberg,” he said. “It is part of a much longer backlash against gender equality, which has often been most effective when it tries to kill the messenger. If the advocates of feminism can be mocked or threatened, their message gets silenced too.”

The panel will set a context for discussion about the ethics of free expression on the Internet, the realities of policing cyberbulling and the interconnections between popular entertainment and sexism.