PewDiePie and Sarkeesian Make Time’s ’30 Most Influential People on the Internet’ List
Seeing Anita Sarkeesian and PewDiePie's names on Time's list of the 30 Most Influential People on the Internet is a sign that the gaming community remains highly relevant in today's world. PewDiePie, a Swedish YouTube personality whose real name is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, has become immensely popular over the past two years on YouTube, being the website's most subscribed channel. Kjellberg's account currently has 34.8 million subscribers as of last month and his channel has received over 8 billion total views on his videos where he plays games and commentates on them. This past summer, we reported that a Variety survey found PewDiePie was more influential to teenagers than most popular celebrities.
Anita Sarkeesian is known for being a feminist public speaker, blogger and media critic. In particular, she has become a widespread controversy in the gaming world due to her critiques of video game tropes portraying women as the stereotypical damsels in distress or heroines whose games focus more on their hypersexualized features and not their accolades or actual strengths. She has become a primary target for Gamergate supporters whose ideals conflict with her own. The extremist side of Gamergate has resulted in threats of bombings and school shootings at the conventions and universities where Sarkeesian's speeches were scheduled.
Here's what Time had to say about Kjellberg and Sarkeesian:
Nevermind Fox or AMC. With 35 million subscribers (and nearly 8 billion total views), this Swedish gamer’s YouTube channel broadcasts some of the most-watched programs in pop culture, which just so happen to be…clips of himself playing video games, with charismatic narration. Early on in his rise to fame, Kjellberg upset some fans by making rape jokes. But the 25-year-old later apologized, and has since gone on to give indie game-makers invaluable exposure and commandeer his “Bro Army” to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities like Save the Children.
Amid the #Gamergate controversy, this Canadian-American feminist [Sarkeesian] became perhaps the most public critic of sexism in the gaming community (via her blog,YouTube channel and Twitter account), which earned her thousands of fans—and almost as many enemies. (She says she received death threats.) More recently, her blog, Feminist Frequency, got funding from Intel’s initiative to promote diversity in tech.
Despite whatever stance you could have on these two controversial gaming-related Internet personalities, it's still nice to see any kind of representation from the various video gaming communities on a list of Time's Most Influential People on the Internet, which included the likes of Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, President Obama, Ta-Hehisi Coates and Gwyneth Paltrow.