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A Plea to GamerGate: Please Stop

For those who are not aware of GamerGate, MRAs (men’s rights activists), man children, and many levels of Adam Baldwin being a douche canoe, give this very detailed timeline of the issue a read.

I will give you the gist of it. This all began when a jilted ex-lover of Zoe Quinn accused her of sleeping with a video game journalist in order to get positive reviews for her indie game, Depression Quest. That’s it, really. I kid you not. But that one event, which happened almost a year ago, turned into a chaotic, ad hominem filled argument between a broad spectrum of female gamers and game developers and the men who like to criticize and belittle them.

Bearing this in mind, is there really any surprise that many people believe that the video games industry and geek culture have a serious problem with the way women are being treated? As a fan and member of these cultures, it breaks my heart immensely.

When I was a three year old, my father taught me how to play video games on our NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). I played Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 and 3 with him, along with a whole host of other games. My father and grandfather introduced me to the world of video games, and I was hooked. I had the NES, SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System), Atari, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, N64 (Nintendo 64),  Playstation, Plastation 2, XBOX, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, Sega Game Gear, Game Boy Color, Playstation 3, Playstation 4 and XBOX One (I even play on the PC too).

I’m a hardcore gamer.

So when I heard of GamerGate and read articles like this one and this one, it made me ashamed to call myself a “gamer.”

It’s bad enough that video games are a long way from truly diverse portrayals of women. It’s bad enough that there is a huge lack of people of color in a lot of video games. It’s bad enough that I belong to two cultures that are often subtly, sometimes openly hostile towards women from all walks of life that do participate in these cultures because women dare to have an opinion.

Because women dare to voice their concerns and critiques about our cultures, they are often subjected to some seriously fucked up threats, like when Anita Sarkeesian, who was already used to threats for her writing on games and feminism had to cancel a college campus speaking engagement after someone threatened the school with  “the deadliest school shooting in American history.” This has gotten so bad, that many women have been discourage from going into the video games industry, even as journalists. I am well aware that I could be faced with rape and death threats by even writing this editorial and addressing this issue.

Gamergate Gamer and journalist, Anita Sarkeesian
Gamer and journalist, Anita Sarkeesian. Flickr photo

Yes it is that bad.

This movement would have made more sense if it was actually about “Ethics in video game journalism.” This was and is the excuse that GamerGaters (which consist of whiny man children, MRAs, Adam Baldwin and a small 0.1% of people that believe it is actually about “ethics in video game journalism”) use. However, this movement has become nothing short of a hate group whose main goal is to harass, threaten, demean and discourage women from voicing their opinions, creating content, or existing in these spaces.

While ethics in video gaming journalism is a legitimate issue that needs to be addressed and discussed (such as certain publications withholding reviews of video games before they come out to the masses and then releasing these reviews after these video games have been released. Please refer to the game, Destiny, as an example of this tactic), this is the worst possible way to get support, for anything.

GamerGaters, I want you to consider the next questions carefully. What have women done to you? Why are you so angry about the fact that we like the same things that you do and that we have something called “opinions”? Why must you feel threatened by our presence, by the fact that we want to exist in the gaming and geek spaces? What major damage and hurt did you experience to the point that you feel the need to threaten women with extreme acts of violence? Why do you not open up your ears, minds and hearts to the things that your female peers have to say? They are explaining and declaring their concerns from their perspective and experiences. Does it really destroy you and invalidate your masculinity if you listen to us and what we have to contribute? If you don’t agree, that’s fine, but it’s still no excuse or justification for the online harassment, death and rape threats.

gamergate burning joystick
From “Gamergate Trolls Aren’t Ethics Crusaders, They’re a Hate Group.” -Jezebel

I had a student, a female student, in my class this past school year. During our time at Recess, she would tell me all about Super Mario, and many times, she told me that she wants to work for Nintendo, that she wants to make video games, and that she wants to work as a voice actress for video games. This is why I do what I do. This is why I want to bring GamerGate down.

I fear that one day, she will make her dreams come true, only to be faced with this kind of bullshit and fear for her own safety when she is faced with the many death and rape threats that Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, Felicia Day, Zoe Quinn and countless other scores of women and men that have dealt with and still endure from GamerGate.

This is why I will continue to fight the good fight. For my student, for the female and male video game journalists, for the women in the video game industry, for the female fans in both video game and geek cultures, for my father, for my grandfather and most importantly, for myself and my future daughters and nieces.

Your move, GamerGate, but you are losing this fight.


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