Gamergate is something that is making headlines a lot recently. Like many people, I have remained silent on the issue, hoping that the fear-mongering beast would simply run out of food and starve. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. Gamergate continues to exist both in the minds of psychotics on the internet, and otherwise reasonable people who have never once thought about their cause to completion. As you can tell, I’m not fond of the movement. Gamergate is the antithesis to what I believe should be the relationship between gamers and developers, publishers, journalists, etc. In a perfect world, there would be respect between the parties, and when that respect was undermined in some way, people would act like adults rather than children desperate for a cause to champion and a devil to yell at. Today I’d like to take a brief look at Gamergate, brief because of my schedule not because of my fear of reprisal – I’m the wrong gender for that.
Gamergate began due to allegations that one Zoe Quinn was sleeping with game journalists to get hype for her game. This was later proven to be utterly false. This sparked off hatred for gaming journalists with people citing various isolated incidents such as the firing of Jeff Gerstmann and treating the entire industry as totally corrupt. To make a long story short, the original goal of Gamergate was allegedly for gamers to stand up and demand transparency from gaming journalists and the industry as a whole. This is an understandable, if somewhat childish, resolve. After all, publishers clearly don’t tell gamers everything, especially when we look at several botched releases such as Aliens: Colonial Marines and Watch Dogs. Trying to prevent problems like this from coming up again is admirable. The way that Gamergate allegedly wanted to to it – a huge amount of internet scorn from people coming across as mindless college protesters – was not the way to go about doing it in my opinion. Personally, change happens faster with negotiation, with working together with industry insiders who have always been more than willing to work with the community. But this point doesn’t matter. Gamergate has never, from day one, done anything about industry corruption. Though many proponents seem to believe they are fighting the good fight. I have not seen a single positive thing come out of the movement. Instead, Gamergate has been an excuse for blatant, targeted misogyny.
I don’t want to spend too long condemning the misogyny of Gamergate. Why? Because it’s so obviously unacceptable that even people involved with Gamergate decry the practice. To put it bluntly, Gamergate has been used in order for incredibly insecure men to take their disgusting views on the road. Many female members of the industry have been the target of death and rape threats through social media. Anita Sarkeesian, a woman who deserves exactly zero hatred on the internet, has been the frequent target of attacks. Other women, who aren’t worth numerating, have also been attacked. People seem to think that if women don’t like sexist practices and culture then they are simply ‘social justice warriors’ and have nothing meaningful to say. This ignores the fact that there might actually be a problem, but it’s not worth looking into the minds of these people. The base misogyny is unacceptable period. There is no industry, no profession, no casual relationship where this would be at all tolerated. The gaming industry has always been full of casual sexism, which was always a complete disgrace. Now, that casual sexism is all grown up, and we have violent, raging threats to women. I have never been more embarrassed to write for the industry. I’ve thought about quitting due to the background sexism present throughout the internet before, but I toughened it out. These attacks though. They are… well, there’s nothing more to say about them.
Many Gamergate proponents try to justify themselves by condemning those guilty of rampant misogyny, but, realistically, they aren’t much better. Those who don’t launch threats against women, who totally buy into the fight the corruption message, as far as I’m concerned, these people are the worst kind of self-congratulatory academic-style protester. They post messages on message boards, but never get involved with the actual politics of the industry. Then they sit back and relax – a job well done – before screaming at people over the internet, believing like a complete dullard that their opinion on the internet actually means something (I have no such illusion over this post). These people do nothing for actual change other than to highlight that there is a problem. They don’t try to fix anything, work with the industry they so like to bash, or get involved. They simply do the least amount of work to feel like part of the process. In other words, they don’t do anything. Utterly ineffectual people with the belief that they are ‘changing the world’ are useless to actual change. If you actually care about the industry and want change, get involved.
That’s my real problem with Gamergate. It makes people feel like they’re doing something, while it further divides consumers and producers. When a gaming website covers the very real threat of misogyny, some Gamergate proponents start putting on their tinfoil hats and accuse these websites of trying to coverup the real issues as if some children bickering on the internet are bigger issues than death threats against prominent female figures in the industry. There’s so much distrust, and it’s no longer easy to simply point the finger at the publishers. Prior to Gamergate, that was easy. Now? Now, I see guilt on both sides. Gamers participating in Gamergate don’t seem to want to do anything constructive. Shouting blame at the top of your lungs doesn’t change anything. All it will do is force industry people on the defensive, and these are reasonable people. Nobody gets involved in gaming journalism because they just hate gamers so much. These are passionate, educated people that get treated like garbage. Even the insinuation that they’re paid off, which has gotten thrown around long before Gamergate is an insult.
That’s all I have to say. I don’t intend on talking about Gamergate again in the future.
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer