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The Sarkeesian Effect: Inside the World of Social Justice Warriors (2015)

The Sarkeesian Effect focuses on the controversy surrounding feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, Social Justice Warriors, and the GamerGate movement. The title is a play on 'The Streisand Effect'.

Director:

Jordan Owen

Writer:

Jordan Owen
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jordan Owen Jordan Owen ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Bradley Wardell Bradley Wardell ... Himself (as Brad Wardell)
Jack Thompson Jack Thompson ... Himself
Karen Straughan Karen Straughan ... Herself
Hanna Wallen Hanna Wallen ... Herself
Rachel Edwards Rachel Edwards ... Herself
Mercedes Carrera Mercedes Carrera ... Herself
Cathy Young Cathy Young ... Herself
Christina Parierra Christina Parierra ... Herself
Nick Robalik Nick Robalik ... Himself
Timothy Meehan Timothy Meehan ... Himself (as Tim Meehan)
Mallorie Nasrallah Mallorie Nasrallah ... Herself
Jason Miller Jason Miller ... Himself
Jim Goad Jim Goad ... Himself
Paul Elam Paul Elam ... Himself
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Storyline

The Sarkeesian Effect focuses on the controversy surrounding feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, Social Justice Warriors, and the GamerGate movement. The title is a play on 'The Streisand Effect'.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gamergate | independent film | See All (2) »

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sarkeesian Effect See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

JO42 Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Cathy Young: They will find some jerk on the internet saying something really really asinine, or someone deliberately trolling, someone saying sexist things to upset feminists. It's this really toxic vicious cycle because I think people know by now that feminists get very upset by things people say on the internet. So, you know, if you want to get a rise out of someone one of the easiest ways to do that is to get on the internet and just make a rape joke or say something misogynist or whatever. And then you...
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User Reviews

 
Unexpectedly good, the addendum "for what it is" quite unnecessary
17 September 2015 | by kiddo1-1See all my reviews

It's a sad side effect of all the drama surrounding this production that the only people left who are still willing to give this movie a watch are now the tiny handful of its most stubbornly dedicated backers, together with the people it criticizes and the friends of Owen's former business partner, both of the latter groups being driven solely by the desire to rip it apart in order to have a few cheap laughs. Everyone else is either too busy pretending this project never happened, or actively distancing themselves from it. And it's a shame, because despite the impossible odds, this is a pretty good flick.

Let me make myself perfectly clear: I didn't donate to TSE Patreon, in fact the entire idea of filming a documentary rebutting Sarkeesian seemed incredibly redundant. The hyping and bravado displayed by both creators was honestly cringe worthy, especially considering the fact that neither of them had ever made even a remotely decent movie and, judging from their previous work, didn't seem at all capable to handle a project of such seriousness and ambition. Add the repeated public falling outs, the budgetary restrictions, or the horrendous quality of the raw footage, and the end result seemed clear: the movie will be nothing but another YouTube video consisted of a series of poorly shot and barely related interviews repeating what everybody already knows, with amateurishly constructed arguments and no additional value, and thus will only serve to stroke the ego of people who have always agreed with its basic premise and are willing to delude themselves into thinking that this isn't crap both as a critique, and as a filmmaking venture. Imagine then my surprise when I press the play button and see that the movie is none of these things.

First things first, the atrocious raw footage has been, with the use of a few neat visual tricks, transformed from embarrassing unwatchable train wreck into something that doesn't really stand out all that much and, believe it or not, sometimes looks like quite a charming quirk – it's hard to believe that one of the accusations levied against Owen was that he knows nothing about editing. The laughable goal to "make this movie for our parents" has shockingly been achieved without the film seeming didactic or repetitive, and Owen's voice-over presents a clear, easy to follow timeline of events and ideas, all skillfully intercut with the raw footage enriching them with many new insights and much interesting information. The progression of arguments is logical, something the rough draft completely lacked. Owen explains Sarkeesian's background, the growing rift between media and consumers and how exactly it led to GamerGate, the origins of social justice warriors and their go-to MO, the connection between Sarkeesian, sex-positive feminism and the idea behind NotYourShield (again, the rough draft mucked this up), and why Sarkeesian of all people returned into the spotlight during GamerGate, a controversy which at first glance has absolutely nothing to do with her. Barring a few moments at the very end the movie is mercifully free of armchair psychology, and the end ties everything up in a way I don't think has been done before, turning The Sarkeesian Effect into an unexpectedly touching and occasionally funny story with a happy ending where the underdog wins, the princess known as gaming is saved, and the villain gets laughed out of the building. Now that's what I call a play on tropes.

Not to completely blow Owen's trumpet, the time devoted to several of the interviewees seems way disproportionate to what they have to say, certain technical issues remain (e.g. Cathy Young is virtually unintelligible), the animated sequences ARE kinda ugly (though the idea to animate the Anita snuff fanfic certainly must be appreciated), and the last 30 minutes are devoted solely to the ending(s), one of which takes a form of imitating the style of Ayn Rand – nothing against Rand per se, it was just strange to hear her talk through Jordan's mouth.

Overall, this is a remarkable achievement and nothing to be ashamed of. So if it means anything, Jordan, you knocked this one out of the park.


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