“#GamerGate exists so that gamers may enjoy an unbiased, objective appraisal of video games.
#GamerGate exists so that gamers can enjoy video games without ideologues, hipsters, and cultural critics and their buzzwords of privilege and moral panic echoing in our ears.
#GamerGate exists so that video gaming culture can continue to grow naturally, and not forced by the words of a cowardly cultural critic who cannot answer criticism and their legion of well-meaning but ultimately destructive followers.”
Words from one of the allegedly more “moderate” gamers from the now infamous Gamergate debacle.
It is the same movement from which threats of assassination and mass murder were made regarding the planned lecture by Anita Sarkeesian at Utah State University last week.
And she is not the only one who has received direct threats against her life concerning her work in relationship to video games.
Yes. Video. Games.
What, the actual, fuck.
First of all, I will come out with a full disclosure that I am not a part of the gaming community and therefore admittedly am an outsider commenting on and critiquing the seemingly rampant sexism and misogyny present in the gaming culture.
I am however a member of the human community and more importantly the female portion of said community and being a member of this oft pissed-upon, denigrated and abused group I must call fucking shenanigans on this, and share my outrage.
Bullying is a real thing. Individuals are unfairly targeted by mean people in any number of settings, at any given stage in life. This sucks. Victims of bullying, abuse or any form of physical or emotional violence will often seek camaraderie amongst others, whom like themselves, have been unfairly targeted and abused. Their bond may be strengthened by a mutual interest in music, food, locale, or say, video games. Totally understandable.
When members of this sub-culture collective begin hinging their identity upon the exclusion, ridicule and actual bodily threatening of other members of their own community they must be called out A) because intimidating people through threats of violence is not cool regardless of how much you were tormented in high school and B) because they are just games.
With all due respect to sub-culture community and its therapeutic benefit to targeted individuals, they are just games. And no matter how good the game, and how much one has found ones self and ones tribe through that medium, they are just games. And no matter how attacked you feel personally when your community/favourite game/character/what the fuck ever is being criticized by the media, or other gamers or gaming critics, they. are. just. games.
I recognize I am coming to this subject with a whole whacking load of privilege – white, upper-middle class, English-speaking, Western-bred, ablebodied privilege. I was only marginally excluded and teased in school, and do not have lasting emotional or physical scars from those encounters. I recognize this privilege and with conscious and cultivated empathy charge that, they are just games. All of the pain, all of the exclusion, all of the social torment and angst will not be solved through the violent exclusion and targeting of vocal female gamers. Shooting up a lecture hall or blowing up an awards ceremony will gain nothing aside from fearful notoriety, judgement and further social exclusion.
So what’s the point?
After all, it’s just a game.