Okay, so I wasn’t going to blog about this. Partially because I didn’t want to get internet hate for it, but also because the amount of complete and utter stupid involved in the whole scandal makes me want to hit my head against a wall. Also, I don’t think I’ll be able to hold back my sarcasm and will probably end up insulting someone. But I will try my best.
Right, for those who don’t know, GamerGate started when an ex-boyfriend (who’ll probably never have another relationship again. Just saying.) of Zoe Quinn, developer of the game Depression Quest, published a blog post accusing her of sleeping with games journalists who recommended her games. Understandably, this led many gamers to question the ethics of games journalism and whether game developers and journalists are too closely connected to be objective. (Which is fair enough) You would think that gamers would ask for ALL the people involved in these accusations to be investigated to, you know, see if there’s an truth to them.
Hahahahahahaha! No. Are you kidding? It’s the internet!
Instead, a small yet highly vocal minority of gamers decided that it was appropriate to not only to harass Quinn online, but send her death and rape threats, attacking anyone who calls them out for being misogynistic. This also expanded to the further harassment of feminist critic, Anita Sarkeesian as an episode of her web series Tropes vs Women in Video Games was released amid the scandal. All this under the guise of fighting ‘corruption’ in games journalism and claiming that the issue isn’t about gender at all.
Okay. Right. Keep telling yourself that.
You can claim that you have a just cause and I’m all for being against corruption in not just games journalism, but journalism in general, but that does not give you the right to harass ANYONE (Not just women) or send them death threats. By only targeting the woman involved and anyone who defends her, you ARE making it about gender and misogyny. Not only that but you are not endearing people to your cause. People won’t give you what you want, if they just see you as irrational bullying extremists who are prone to knee-jerk reactions when they read something based off someone’s word. Not people you would want to deal with.
You’re harming the gaming community as a whole. You’re giving gamers even more bad press; that we’re miserable, appalling immature entitled babies that feel the need to bully and harass others when they voice an opinion that we don’t like. Worse, you’re tarring male gamers with the same sexist brush. Men who are otherwise accepting of women playing video games, who don’t really care whether the person they play with has two x chromosomes or not. You are illustrating the points that anyone has ever made about the games industry (and geek culture in general) being sexist. (Well done there guys.)
But! More importantly, your campaign of online harassment and death threats completely misses the point. Newspapers and journalists are ignoring your cause, choosing instead to highlight the appalling behaviour that you’ve shown instead of investigating the notion that maybe, yes, games journalists are a little too chummy with game devs and that maybe that isn’t right. Your actions have taken attention away from the issues that you have been trying to raise. *slow claps*
Not only this, but you’re scaring away people from the games industry; talented people who might have made amazing games. People who may have wanted to get into gaming but now won’t because they’re scared they’ll get bullied. I mean the fact that I was reluctant to write this post in case I got hate, shows that the gaming industry isn’t a safe place for anyone right now, regardless of gender.
So yeah, stop using the whole ‘we’re trying to end corruption in games journalism’ spiel as a way of justifying your misogyny. You’re fooling no one. If this wasn’t an issue of gender, then why are you targeting the only woman involved? Why aren’t you harassing the male games journalists who, if the allegations are true, are as much to blame as Zoe Quinn for all of this?
The sad thing is, it probably won’t get through to the self-righteous morons who are doing this, they’re too set in their ways to really listen to any criticism or differing opinion. They’re too busy accusing people of being white knights and social justice warriors to be open to any kind of irrational debate. (If they’re anti-SJW, what does that make them? Social Injustice Warriors? Yay for social injustice!)
As someone who dabbled, but only got into gaming in a big way in the last few years, I’ve found that most male gamers have been accepting of me. Hell, most of them don’t actually care about the fact that I play video games and I happen to be female. (Though a lot of them seem to assume I play JRPGs for some reason. I don’t. I just can’t get into them. Sorry.) I guess I’ve been quite lucky in that I haven’t experienced much in the way of sexism in gaming or geek culture in general. In fact, two incidents only particularly stick out for me; one where a guy asked me what a nice girl was doing playing violent video games (Oh how scandalous!) and one where some guy told me that I shouldn’t worry, that lots of girls these days were getting into gaming and sci-fi and fantasy. (Um, really? Thanks for that reassuring piece of information, it’s not like the majority of my female friends grew up playing video games or loving fantasy and sci-fi or anything.) It just depresses me when people who belong to a community that has been friendly and accepting towards me pull crap like this, it reinforces my lack of faith in humanity.
So you may mock me and call me a fake geek girl or a gurl gamer or whatever, I don’t really care. (I have a habit of out-geeking a lot of the geeky guys I meet. Besides who gave you permission to decide on who is a geek and who isn’t?) What you’re doing isn’t really trying to raise an issue about the ethics of games journalism, it’s bullying and as everyone knows, the worst bullies are the ones who stand by and watch without ever saying anything so that’s why I’m calling you out. I refuse to let something I love be spoilt by toxic people who have to resort to bullying to get their point across.
Thank god that’s over with. I’m sorry about the rant, but it had to be said. Here’s a picture of a funny dog to lighten the mood.