With my heart stuffed full of a million different emotions, today I share the news with you that Feminist Frequency is closing. Our staff and Board members have done so much to help me prepare to make this announcement today, but it still feels like taking a deep breath and jumping off a diving board to communicate this message to the countless people who have turned to Feminist Frequency, supported our work, and buoyed me up over the past fourteen years. Below, you can read more details about our programs and the plan for operations coming to a close, but first I want to just share more personally about how this decision was made.
After I made the conclusive decision that the time had come to close Feminist Frequency, my first fully-formed thought was: “Holy fuck!” We—that’s all of us who have been on this journey together—have done so much. We made changes to an industry that were desperately needed, shaking up the status quo and distributing content in the early days of video punditry. While we weren’t the first voices in the conversation about inclusion in gaming, we were part of building a community that meant more to its members than we could ever have anticipated. Seeing even more people take up this mantle and continue the work has been heartening; many people working within the industry, even people I have been critical of in the past, have supported and worked to create real change. So I know you’re asking: why now?
The best answer I can give is the honest truth: 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.
And to you, the human being reading this letter to the very end, who’s been along for the ride and supported me, and the staff, and the mission of all this work… thank you. I’ve written a lot here about an organization, yet words fail me when it comes to talking about every single individual that made wonderful things come out of the last fourteen years of Feminist Frequency. SO MANY PEOPLE were both impacted by and made tangible impressions on me as an individual and on this work, rippling throughout the community. You’ve given me strength when being the face of this thing took its toll, and you’ve been there for each other in a rapidly-changing online landscape. So please, remember to stand up for those in need of an ally, and keep being critical of the media that you love. And crucially: be kind to yourself; we’re no good to others if we don’t take care of ourselves.
So what does this mean going forward? Read on for details…
- For me, it means prioritizing rest and taking time away from the direct responsibility of being the face of a mission, for the first time in a decade and a half. You can stay in touch with me at my website or on various social media @anitasarkeesian.
- For Feminist Frequency, it means a gradual ceasing of operations, shutting down completely in early 2024.
- The Games and Online Harassment Hotline will be available through September 30, after which time its fantastic leader Jae Lin will continue to operate its accountability support space ReSpec, and the website will stay live with critical resources for building a safer games culture.
- Our podcast, Feminist Frequency Radio, will continue to be helmed by its co-host Kat Spada. “Tropes v. Women” and our full video archive will remain online, available as a free media criticism resource indefinitely.
- And we will be sure that our community is kept informed of all closing details as a final annual report will be published and a celebration for community and industry partners will be held in early 2024.