Anita Sarkeesian to kick off Women's Empowerment Month at SMC
Anita Sarkeesian, the internet video feminist and media critic who has been featured as "Gaming's Feminist Advocate" in TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential People of 2015" list and part of Twitter's new Trust and Safety Council is coming to Santa Monica College, headlining a series of lectures and events as a part of Women's Empowerment Month here at SMC. Sarkeesian is scheduled to give her talk, "I'll Make a Man Out of You: Redefining Strong Female Characters" at the Main Stage of the Theatre Arts Complex on March 8th at 11:15 am with "first come, first serve" seating available to the public. The head of the non-profit Feminist Frequency, Sarkeesian is a well known figure in the world of internet feminism who became embroiled in controversy once her Youtube video series "Tropes Vs. Women" targeted the subject of video games. In 2014, this controversy followed her into the real world as well, as a talk she was planning give at Utah State University received a mass shooting threat and was subsequently canceled. She later went on to appear on ABC News and The Colbert Report following this incident speaking on the subject of Gamergate.
Coming to SMC may be a nostalgia trip for Sarkeesian, as Interim Associated Dean Of Student Life Dr. Nancy Grass confirmed that she is a SMC Alumna who used to be a research assistant for Grass in the early 2000's. Since SMC is Sarkeesian's alma mater, she agreed to reducing her speaking fees to $5,000. As the AS budget for the entirety of the Women's Empowerment Month events came out to $21,000 and there are a number of notable speakers scheduled to appear discounts like these have been critical to SMC being able to host a full series of talks throughout the month.
In addition to Sarkeesian these other speakers were announced at the semester's first AS meeting on February 17th by the Director of Student Advocacy Kymia Mahjouri. The speakers include: Rosa Moreno on March 10th, Jackson Katz on March 17th, Mara Brock Akil on March 22nd, and Helena Lazaro on April 19th. There will also be screening the film "No Más Bebés" on May 17th as part of this initiative, which is brought to SMC by AS, SMC Global Citizenship, and the SMC Associates.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story stated that Sarkeesian's usual speaking fee of $20,000 was reduced to $5,000 because of her association with Santa Monica College. This was posted after confirmation from two sources: AS President, Jesse Randel, and Interim Associated Dean of Student Life, Nancy Grass.
Following publication of this story, The Corsair was contacted by Grass and Vice President of Student Affairs, Mike Tuitasi, informing us that Anita Sarkeesian's organization, Feminist Frequency, had contacted them asking us to remove the line about Sarkeesian's usual speaking fee, saying that it was incorrect. Grass then recanted her initial quote about the fee. We then removed reference to her usual speaking fee and reached out to Feminist Frequency for verification of her actual speaking fee and are still awaiting a response.
We should have issued an editor's note when the initial change was made. We apologize for the confusion.