Meet Brianna Wu: She's risking everything to make gaming safe for women
Brianna Wu is a female video game developer who has received more than 44 death threats in the last five months. Why? For daring to lead one of the largest professional game-development teams of women in the field, and for speaking out on women in tech issues like Gamergate.
Last weekend, when a man in a skull mask posted a video on YouTube about how he planned to kill her, Wu had her last straw. (Gamergate supporters have already released her home address and sent her threats that caused her to flee her home.) She wrote an article for Bustle earlier this week declaring “I’m doing everything I can to save my life except be silent.”
So, why is Wu so willing to speak out, even with her life on the line?
Because she knows it’s worth it. She knows her fight will have a serious impact on the lives of women across the globe.
“Software increasingly defines the world around us,” Wu wrote. “It’s rewriting everything about human interaction – I spend a lot more time on my iPhone than I do at my local civic center. Facebook, Apple, Tinder, Snapchat and Google create our social realities—how we make friends, how we get jobs, and how mankind interacts. And the truth is, women don’t truly have a seat at the table.”
The result of this exclusion is women getting harassed on social platforms like Twitter that they need to use for networking and personal reasons. The result is companies like Uber not recognizing sexual assault as a serious problem they need to fix before women can feel safe in their cars. The result is companies like Wikipedia disciplining feminists in the argument over the Gamergate page, while men continue to go unpunished.
Wu is fighting to end this sexism in the only way she knows how: by involving more women. She said it best on her own Twitter account:
Wu is calling for change. She’s calling for Reddit and their female CEO to stop letting hate groups operate on their website. She’s calling for the FBI and law enforcement to take action based on the death threats she and other feminist gamers receive on a daily basis. She’s calling on Twitter to ban trolls who create new accounts once their last one was banned. She’s calling on the Obama administration to prosecute the owner of 8chan, who leads a group that broadcasts the personal information of people vulnerable to targeting.
Let’s not forget that she’s making these demands when she knows each one results in a few more death threats at her door. Now that’s serious bravery.
So thank you, Brianna Wu, for making—or at least trying your hardest to make—the tech world a safer place for women everywhere.
Image via Twitter