Citing Burnout, Anita Sarkeesian Shutters Feminist Frequency

Citing Burnout, Anita Sarkeesian Shutters Feminist Frequency

Photo: Mike Pont / Contributor (Getty Images)

After nearly 15 years, feminist game critic Anita Sarkeesian’s non-profit organization Feminist Frequency will cease operations in early 2024. The news was delivered via official press release with Sarkeesian citing endless burnout and exhaustion from growing the site over the years, which she says has proven unsustainable.

Having launched as a media outlet just a few short years before Sarkeesian’s Tropes v. Women in Video Games video series, Feminist Frequency ignited discourse around the portrayal of women in games and the treatment of women in and around the industry. It also served as a lightning rod for controversy and endless harassment of herself and many other women in the industry. Feminist Frequency would go on to serve as a non-profit organization and media outlet promoting diversity while raising awareness of sexism and discrimination in the games industry. This work included initiatives like the Games and Online Harassment Hotline, which, too, will cease main operations in late September.

In the official press release announcing the closing, Sarkeesian said that despite feeling pride over the impact Feminist Frequency has had over the years, the work has taken its toll:

I’m exhausted. I know that it’s not unusual for nonprofits to have a life cycle shorter than a lot of people would like, but there are unique challenges when they’re so entwined with an individual (me) who has become a symbol (oops), for better and for worse. I’m hoping that it will be valuable to share the reality of the bone-deep burnout that comes from consistently saying yes to the growth of Feminist Frequency, often at the expense of protecting my personal boundaries, and the workload of our team. While I’ve already said my piece about the harassment that myself and others have experienced over the years, reflecting on it now I can express both a sense of pride that conversations about online abuse have become part of our lexicon, and a reality that it has come at the cost of my health and wellbeing. And so, while there has been so much value to this project, and its different iterations over the years, there is also value to projects coming to an end when they can no longer be best served.

As stated in the press release, ReSpec, the accountability support program which offers resources for those who have done harm and wish to embrace accountability and change, will continue on. Likewise, the Feminist Frequency Radio podcast will continue to be hosted by Kat Spada, and Tropes v. Women will also remain public.

As a non-profit organization, Feminist Frequency is no longer accepting donations as of August 1.

Full disclosure: Kotaku’s current managing editor was formerly employed by Feminist Frequency.

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