Anita Sarkeesian announced this morning that she is choosing to shut down Feminist Frequency after 14 years of operation.
Sarkeesian, founder and executive director of the nonprofit, said in her post that the choice to close the influential project comes after quite some time of increasing burnout, despite, or perhaps because of, the importance and influence of the work.
“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,” Sarkeesian said. “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.”
The plan is for the organization to gradually reduce its operations over the coming months, shutting down completely in early 2024. They have already stopped accepting new donations, with plans to present a final annual report around closing time next year.
As for other projects under the organization’s umbrella, the podcast Feminist Frequency Radio will continue with its current co-host Kat Spada, with all archived video and audio content produced by Feminist Frequency remaining online. Additionally, the text-based Games and Online Harassment Hotline will continue to be available through September 30, with resources staying up on its website indefinitely. The Hotline’s director, Jae Lin, will continue to run the accountability support space Respec, which provides resources to help those who have caused harm within the industry take accountability.
“It was so meaningful to grow the Games Hotline out of Feminist Frequency; it made all the difference in the world to be a project that was created and led by directly-impacted people,” Lin said on the project’s closure. It’s been a privilege to reach nearly 650 people and support them in their moments of struggle, need, loneliness, hopelessness, anger, hurt, and everything in between. For three years, we got to offer this unique resource to the games community that was infused with compassion, trauma-informed care, social justice and abolitionist values, digital security guidance, and games industry and cultural awareness, and it really mattered.”
Over the course of its run, Feminist Frequency has been highly influential in elevating discussion both of the portrayal of women in videogames and the treatment of women in the industry. Numerous major developers have attested that the organization’s work influenced their own, and the organization’s publications have been widely celebrated, even receiving a Peabody award last year.