Well hello there first time visitor that wandered over because I dared reference a controversial hashtag! Welcome to my little corner of the internet. Please, stay a while. Peruse my archives. Get informed. Check out LabRat’s and Popehat’s posts on the subject. Or, you know, skip straight to the comment section and tell me how I’m wrong, dox me (heh*) since I’m a girl and a gamer with an opinion, or write me off as a “Social Justice Warrior**”. It’s really up to you.
Seriously, why is this still a thing? Yes, there is a real and needed conversation that needs to happen about ethics in game journalism. Hell, all journalism. Hanging this around a non-controversy about a positive review that never happened of a boring game that no one wants to play because the developer’s jilted ex wrote a screed about said game developer whoring herself out for a review that never happened is not exactly the place to start. While some well-meaning people are trying to have a rational conversation, this particular hashtag has brought out a subset of bonafide misogynists the likes of which have been quite rightly run out of the rest of polite society.
Don’t like Anita Sarkeesian? Great, me neither. I think the vast majority of what comes out of her pie hole is whiny tripe, and most of the time she should be laughed off the stage. Which would be the rational response. Threatening her? Publishing her home address? Yeah, not cool. Seriously, we’re dealing with the kind of people that think a reasonable response to a woman complaining about sexism in gaming is to design a video game where the player gets to punch a woman in the face. Classy. You know what would have been a completely reasonable response to her asking for money to make feminist videos? Not give her any money. I sure as heck didn’t. Other people did. That’s how the free market works. No one is forcing you to support her.
Observant readers will have caught that I only said most of what comes out of her pie hole is whiny tripe. That’s because some of what she says is true. There is sexism in the gaming industry. But honestly, we’ve come a long way since Atari had a game about raping Native American women and Nintendo created a strong female character only to have her flaunt her pixelated body around in a bikini as a reward for finishing the game.
Also, Gamergate itself has shown the world that women are unjustly targeted, bullied, and harassed in gaming. Fine, so I’ll agree that Anita Sarkeesian intentionally stirs up the masses with her diatribes. And yes, I believe she has fabricated some of the threats she claims. But Felicia Day? She wrote one post (which has apparently been taken down) lamenting the ugliness surrounding the Gamergate controversy and was doxxed herself.
You know what, I like some of the tropes in gaming. I like the idea of teaching our sons that if they learn of a damsel in distress that they should battle demons to save her. I also want to show our daughters that there is no shame in being rescued. At the same time, I want our daughters to know that they are allowed to kick some bad guy(or girl) ass and save themselves too. Also, I like strong women portrayed as sexy. I don’t want to feel like I have to make a choice between being strong and capable or sexy and feminine.
Gaming is not being invaded by women. We’ve been here all along. Must I show you my Atari 2600? How about my Magic deck? Oh right, just tits. The perpetually offended social justice warriors will continue to be perpetually offended. It’s what they do. What aren’t going to be able to do is drive young white men out of gaming. Game developers will continue to make games that sell, and young white men are a good chunk of the market share. For everything wrong that Anita Sarkeesian says, she’s right that women are a good chunk as well, and we’d like to be marketed to. Really, people are mad that there are women saying, “Hey! I have money here that I’d like to throw at you if you’d just not kick so much sand in my face.”
Is it really too much to ask for women to be treated like people? Why that such an offensive to request to a subset of the gaming community is beyond my comprehension. What’s even more baffling is seeing otherwise mature, rational people defending the behavior of that subset. Or at the very least, affiliating themselves with them.
I point out: even 4chan has banned gamergate discussions. Why? Because those threads have extensive doxxing and coordinated harassment planning in them. Which is one of those few things 4chan doesn’t permit. When fucking 4chan has disavowed you because of your shitty tactics, it’s time to re-evaluate your life choices and choice of allies in particular. –LabRat
It’s time to disavow gamergate. Give the hashtag over to the trolls and let it collapse in on itself. If we need to talk about the issues it has brought to light, fine. But really, I just want to go shoot zombies in the face.
*I’m not skeered of you.
**Does that come with armor and a big sword? Bet it shows lots of skin. Chainmaille bikinis are so 1998.