This is probably one of the scariest posts I've ever written. Merely mentioning #GamerGate, the misogynist scandal that's been setting the gaming world on fire, is grounds for online attacks, vicious comments, and doxxing. (Doxxing is the release of personal information, such as someone's address.) I've avoided talking about it because there were better and more prominent people who have already said their bit. There's also the whole thing with Felicia Day getting doxxed the minute she wrote a compassionate post about the topic.
I'm not Felicia Day. I'm not even a particularly good gamer; a lot of my gaming is done from the backseat. But I cried over Mordin's death, shuddered at Dead Space's Stalkers, spend hours every day in a gothic underworld, laugh at reviews, and I can tell you who some of the top stars in DOTA 2 are--as well as their original teams and the shakeups that happened after the recent international.
My point is, I'm still enough of a gamer to give a crap about this. And because I'm a feminist on the internet, I care even more. I'm probably safe, due to my relative anonymity, but merely opening my face and mentioning the topic is a risk. Well, it's still worth talking about.
Gamergate is not about "responsibility in gaming journalism". Zoe Quinn did nothing wrong, but her ex-boyfriend made allegations that she'd cheated on him with a gaming journalist--which didn't result in a career bump of any kind, and which happened while they were on a break. Furthermore, it's none of our business what a woman does with her body, regardless of who she is or where she works. Anyway. The other target has been Anita Sarkeesian. I don't agree with every bit of her analysis, but she's very good at evaluating things according to trends. She's good at providing an intro to feminism. And for this, and for calling out the gaming industry on sexist writing issues, she's gotten death threats and bomb threats.
If the Gamergate crowd actually wanted to make gaming journalism and people within the industry more responsible, they'd stop threatening physical violence and act like real journalists themselves. They'd do their research. They'd focus on things that matter, like the 322 match-fixing issue that's setting the DOTAverse on fire right now. They would stop going after women who haven't done anything wrong.
And if the actual gaming journalists and reviewers were responsible human beings, they'd address their fanbase and tell them to stop making bomb threats, doxxing people, and harassing them. A few have, but a few other prominent celebrities have just put an unintentional seal of approval on events. Still others haven't said anything, which is worse.
So, how do we stop Gamergate? We address it. We, as geeks, stand together and say that we will not support people who make sexist attacks or death threats against other fellow geeks. Or non-geeks. Or anyone. The thing is, "we" needs to include everyone--not just the feminists and PoC. We need the white dudebros who don't want to be represented by Gamergate to speak up, to reject what a few handfuls of lonely, hurt, reactionary people have said about women and gaming.
This is starting to happen. And sexism is starting to become unacceptable. Unfortunately, people still do it without realising that they're saying something awful.
Which brings me to a Yahtzee Croshaw article that made me so sad, I lost sleep over it. But that'll have to wait until next time.