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I don’t get it

(I didn’t intend for this to be such a long read but that’s how it worked out)

I’ve tried to raise my kids in such a way that celebrates diversity, the diversity of individuals and independent thought. I’ve told them that it’s not only that it’s okay if someone doesn’t agree with you, that it’s different viewpoints that bring about a greater collective, a better stage for discussion, a way for each of us to learn and grow both individually and as a whole. It’s a beautiful thing that we’re not all alike, that we each have unique aspects to us and it’s the combination of those parts that make us stronger. It’s not that you won’t find common ground with others. You absolutely can! That’s how we make friends, after all. It’s about respecting others and their rights to think or feel differently than you do. If you don’t respect another’s rights then, in my opinion, you can’t expect anyone to respect yours.

It’s a two-way street, that.

I found my common ground with other gamers. I LOVE playing video games on my computer, my consoles, even my phone. I played games in arcades growing up, at friends houses, whenever I could. As I got older I was shamed for playing games and learned I couldn’t talk about my hobby with just anyone. Finding a gaming community online was both freeing and fortifying for me. I no longer felt alone or that I had to hide it.

That feeling of acceptance, of not being shunned, it’s a magnificent thing!

My gaming community is made of up men, women, young, older (some older than me and I’m 43), people with kids, grandkids, people with careers, people who live at home with mom and/or dad, people who enthusiastically visit cons, movie premieres, shop Black Friday sales, bar hop, never (much) leave the house, religious folks, atheists, Doctor Who fans, pie-lovers, coffee addicts, tea drinkers, die-hard sports fans (#goBEARS!), people who can barely stomach seeing sports related messages and tweets. My group of gaming friends cover a wide and diverse group of people from so many different walks of life. And it works because of our common ground, our love for gaming. When someone is in need you can expect to see messages of encouragement. Likewise when someone is celebrating a boss fight or a job promotion, a birth or new elite gear, we celebrate with them. We’ve found we have more in common than just gaming and do relish those connections but we don’t shun each other for our differences. What we do, when we find something that we just don’t like or agree with, is filter that bit out. Ignore it figuratively or otherwise.

Why slam someone because they’re different?

This #gamergate mess caught me off guard. I first heard of it through one of my Twitter buddies. They are a passionately compassionate person that regularly gives their time to support rights for others. They are accepting and encouraging. They wanted to help rid the gaming press of corruption and insist on a code of ethics. I will admit that I didn’t pay this much attention at first, if at all. I eye-rolled at the idea of game reviews being legit. I’ve never done reviews for a couple of reasons, one being that if you give me the product for free I’ll feel more obligated to write a positive review. I’ve never thought of review sites as …. well, as trustworthy for opinion and when I’m reading an article somewhere and I get that first whiff of ‘they gave me it for free’ I tend to leave and go elsewhere. I don’t think negatively of the writers for this as I’ve always assumed the ‘review freebies’ either came with strings or strings heavily implied beit it on the part of the giver OR receiver and it’s their job. When I want to learn more about a game I’m thinking of buying I look for people who are posting about their experience, not ‘doing their job’. It’s just my preference really, and that has peppered my view of what I thought #gamergate was all about.

Now I’m so gosh darned confused I don’t even!

I had never heard of Anita Sarkeesian before #gamergate happened. I do not consider myself a feminist in any way. I stand for people rights where color, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs …. none of that makes you better or more … anything. I believe there’s a time and a season for all of us both individually and collectively. I believe that our differences make us stronger and that no one group should have more rights than another. Gender, for instance, should never have to enter the ring of equality. Equality doesn’t see curves anymore than it sees eye-color. ‘Least, in my utopia, that’s how it would work.

The last week or so I’ve been trying to understand exactly what #gamergate is for, why it is and who the players are. I’ve read countless blogs both for and against, picking apart the many heads of this beast we’re calling #gamergate. It was, for me, like a horde of hungry zombies with no discernible direction. How in the hell does wanting ethics in game journalism spiral into rape and death threats against women in the gaming industry??? That’s the part that was throwing me for a loop, one I just could not understand. Then last Friday happened and I saw some of these threats being hurled against  Brianna Wu and her family … I just said that in past tense when it’s not anywhere near an ‘over and done’ thing for her, Anita or Zoe Quinn. They’ve fled their homes in fear, afraid to go back.

I know exactly what that’s like only my attacker was just one person and he had a face. We knew him and, for us, it was over after a couple of weeks. I know the fear but, in all honesty, I was never really sure he would have followed through on his death threats. My attacker was mentally ill, very sick, but he’d raised me (my step-father) and I’ve always wondered, ‘could he have really gone through with it?’ I was very fortunate in that once the cops found him, it was completely over for us. Haven’t heard from that man in over 20 years now.

Women in the gaming industry are being attacked. I’ve read stories of hostile working environments where, every day, they’re ‘not good enough’ because they’re female. How does that even happen? Why does that even matter? If you can do the job, why does your gender EVER come into question?? And now, in the name of #gamergate, horrible and vicious threats are being made to encite fear against women, and men, in the gaming industry.

I just don’t get it.

I do not hold the same beliefs as Anita Sarkeesian. I don’t feel, as a female gamer, that I’ve been victimized or portrayed in a bad light. It could be the games I play … I play what I want and don’t spend money on games that I don’t want. I don’t feel threatened by Anita either. I think there’s PLENTY of room in the gaming industry for everyone and, honestly, that’s exactly how it should be. I play games for a fun escape from real life, not wanting to emulate my life. I want to kill orcs. I want to behead dragons. I want to be the hero and the games I play allow me to do just that. The games Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu made don’t appeal to me in the slightest but even though I won’t play them, I absolutely applaud them having made them. Not because they are women but because they were able to make a game they believe in. There’s room for everyone.

#Gamergate has been tainted by a sick group of people who fear change. They fear difference. I don’t understand why Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu or any other women in the industry has to mean change for them. Demographics are going to change regardless of who’s working in the industry. It’s how life works. That doesn’t mean they can’t keep playing the games that makes them happy. It doesn’t mean they have to listen to Anita, for instance.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be so afraid that you feel you have to resort to such depravity and work so hard to ruin another’s life. But, then, I’ve never been a coward.

I think there are some very honest and well-meaning people in #gamergate who absolutely do not condone the violence we’re seeing. I think they’re fighting for a cause they believe in because they want to make the world a better place. I also think a group of cowards have worked very hard to ruin this for everyone.

I wish I knew exactly how to bring this to a swift and safe end, a resolution that would bring about a much needed change for the gaming industry. I do not think it’s fair that a group of individuals have ruined #gamergate and turned it into hate. I do think that’s what has happened, however. That hashtag is ruined and for those still fighting the fight for better ethics in the industry, you have to extend that to include a fight against those who have worked so hard to use your cause to encite fear against the industry you’re fighting to make better. Rise above. Your hashtag is hurting people and that has to count for something.

 

 

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Posted on October 15, 2014, in Gaming and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I think the big problem in understanding what GamerGate has a lot to do with the fact that the narrative itself is the battleground:

    If gamers can convince you that GamerGate is about exposing corruption in the gaming industry, especially in gaming journalism, the gamers win.

    If gaming journalism can convince you that GamerGate is a misogynist movement dedicated to harassing women and forcing them out of the industry as well as the hobby, they win.

    Both sides have already conquered some territory, so both non-gamers and non-games journalists have strong opinions based on what they’ve heard. Gamers have to fight an uphill battle on this, though. Because their foe IS the media itself, the media is doing what it does best to take control of the narrative and convince everyone else that gamers are the bad guys.

    And since the mainstream media has historically been predisposed to see video games as an evil, moral blight on society (Jack Thompson, or FOX News’ infamous segment on Mass Effect 1), they’re all too happy to support gaming journalism in painting gamers as misogynist and hateful toward women.

    It’s why you hear all about Brianna Wu, Anita Sarkeesian, or Zoe Quinn’s struggles with harassment, but you don’t hear about the harassment women who support GamerGate has received.

    I’ll honestly be surprised if any mainstream media outlet, much less any games news outlet, covers how a female, feminist faculty member at Cornell University who supports GamerGate got doxxed and was told to shut up if she knew what was good for her, or else they’d stab something sharp up her vagina and twist. I doubt any of them will talk about the transgendered GamerGate supporter who had their bank account hacked into.

    No one except people of GamerGate themselves talk about the harassment that non-male, non-white GamerGate supporters have received. And when it’s brought up to people who are openly anti-GamerGate, it’s either ignored or shouted down.

    It’s absolutely depressing.

  2. Gamers have always been the scapegoat for issues that could have been created for a number of reasons such as with Columbine, where those shooters were obviously mentally unstable rather than video games telling them to kill people. It’s simply easier to pull out an M-rated game, pick some footage out of context and claim that it is misogyny and the cause for all social evils rather than deal with other factors that could have caused this, such as bad parenting or bullying.

    It’s funny that you brought up Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and Brianna Wu. I can tell you that while most people in #GamerGate are absolutely disgusted with their lies and practices (sex for favors, cancelling the comments section despite calling yourself a pop culture critic, abandoning two attempts to build bridges over the whole thing just to blame the whole movement for the actions of one extreme individual on TV), none of them are likely to actually threaten them. The major reason is because harassing them would only give corrupt game media and TV more ammo to write clickbait articles discrediting the movement but also because we believe in actual discussion without threats or doxxing. There will always be trolls that do extreme actions, but to paint all of #GamerGate as terrorists will not help the situation. Its like might as well say that creationists do not believe in all of science, or that every Muslim is chanting death threats to America because of Osama Bin Laden.

    #GamerGate continues despite the many calls for a new hashtag. Even if this hashtag is supposedly poisoned, moving to a new hashtag will only divide the movement and will not end the harassment done by SJWs towards pro-GG. This hashtag has a constant amount of tweets each day despite the launch of Destiny, the #heforshe campaign, and constant mudslinging done towards us.

    It also says alot about corrupt video games journalism and SJWs that the best hashtag they can use against #GamerGate is #StopGamerGate2014. Usually in controversial issues, both sides try to promote a positive feeling such as with the abortion debate where its either pro-life or pro-choice:both of them have positive connotations. Anti-Gamergate can only say they are against something rather than promoting positive change. For SJWs, they do not want to build bridges, only burn them. Brianna Wu received death threats and had to leave her home which I feel sorry for her, but the media neglects to mention that she was already anti-gamergate, created sock puppet accounts to troll gamergate, and has literally rejected two attempts for a more reasonable interview so that she can slander all gamers on national TV http://yiannopoulos.net/2014/10/13/about-radio-nero-episode-4/ .

    I suggest that you visit the facebook group Corruption in Video Game Journalism where the #GamerGate supporters gather on FaceBook and you will see that there is still use in this group. You may still say that the few have ruined the hashtag, but there is still hope for the many that carry on. I am against censorship and the BS known as the “Gamers are Dead” articles: for we are just beginning to walk the road to change and are not going to stop until journo ethics and transparency is achieved(without violence, threats, or hacking/doxxing of course).

I love reading your comments. Thanks!

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