#GamerGate, Non Gamers, and Bad Reputations

If you have any connections whatsoever to video games or the gaming world, or even if you have none of those but have been on the internet at all in the last month or so, you’ve probably heard about GamerGate. The underlying sexism in the gaming world has been bubbling up and coming out in the form of a lot of disgruntled menfolks harassing women for being involved in gaming, all under the guise of “journalistic ethics”.

I have very little to say about the particulars of this situation that haven’t already been said, as I am not a gamer and I know almost nothing about the gaming industry. Miri has a great round up post of articles written about the incident, which are more thorough than I could ever be. So why am I writing a blog post about this? Because so far all of the voices I have heard have been from within the gaming community, and as someone on the outside it’s very clear to me that Gamergaters are doing themselves no favors right now. Here’s the truth gaming community: every time I hear about GamerGate I want less and less to do with you. Despite having many gamer friends, an active interest in nerd culture, and the beginnings of an interest in gaming, I am now 100% not interested in being actively involved in the gaming community and it is entirely because of the harassment that women have received.

There are lots and lots of people out there who are getting their first picture of gaming and the type of people who game (beyond the stereotypes of movies  and media) from GamerGate and the incidents surrounding Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu. There are lots and lots of people who don’t do much gaming, don’t follow the media around gaming, and really haven’t given it a whole lot of thought…until now, when they’re reading articles about it, seeing vitriol posted on their social media, and hearing these names pop up again and again. You can bet that many people who wouldn’t have given gaming a second thought before now are going to be forming opinions about gamers due to this controversy.

This might be what you were looking for. Maybe you wanted the attention. Maybe you are still mentally five year olds who are convinced that any attention is good attention. If that’s the case, I want you to know something: Gamergaters are not coming off like the heroes here.

Throughout the articles that I’ve read about GamerGate, one of the common threads has been that gamers feel like victims: no one likes them, they’re stereotyped as lazy, fat, losers who live in their parents basements and eat Doritos all day, and the only place that they can be safe is in the gaming community. They cry out again and again that they just want the safe haven of games to be free from developers who get good reviews by sleeping with reviewers, from journalists who take sides or push “social justice” agendas on them, from women who want to criticize their games into nonexistence. Society has rejected them, and they just want their community to be their own.

Somewhere, buried in the confusion about purpose, GamerGate appears to be about the desire to be respected as a community. Update from the rest of the world: if you want society to treat you better and respect your community as a legitimate space for art, self-expression, and decent relationships, the way to do that is not by making rape and death threats to anyone who criticizes you. That actually makes you look even worse than the previous stereotypes, and will probably end with you feeling even more victimized because you’ve managed to earn the derision of society at large through horrible, abusive behavior. If you do want the respect of the world at large, you might have to act like adults, engage critically with other people, and be willing to talk through differences of opinion. Until you do that, gaming will continue to be stigmatized as childish and silly.

So if Gamergaters think that they’re improving their community or making headway into society by using their current tactics, they are dead wrong. What they’re actually doing is gaining themselves a fairly horrible reputation with everyone who wasn’t already a part of the community.

It’s quite possible that GamerGate had to happen, that this is the growing pains of a space that previously had been the haven for those who were hurt and lonely. It’s quite possible that the gaming community will come out of this much better, and will draw in new voices and perspectives, and gain respect. It’s possible. But from the outside it looks like the temper tantrum of a bunch of overgrown children who don’t want to let other people play in their sandbox, and if this outsider is anything like other outsiders, it is not endearing you to society at large. You thought you had a bad reputation before? You have made it so much worse for yourselves. Sometimes bad reputations are deserved, and right now you are making it clear to the world that yours definitely is. If what you want is respect, then you better start earning it.

Yours truly,

Everyone else

6 thoughts on “#GamerGate, Non Gamers, and Bad Reputations

  1. PhantomX0990 says:

    ‘You people’? Bit harsh.

    Just… wow, Olivia. You’ve just lost my support. -Ashley B.

    • Margo says:

      I don’t know what exactly you mean by “support,” but it’s a little ridiculous to stop supporting a person just because you disagree with their take on a single issue, a take that doesn’t actually hurt or harm anyone.

    • oj27 says:

      Yeah, I’m really not sure how I was asking you to support me.
      But honestly if the fact that I’m not ok with a group of people doxxing, harassing, and threatening other people bothers you that much then maybe we really don’t have much in common.

      • PhantomX0990 says:

        Just got the notification of the replies, my bad.

        Honestly, I shouldn’t read shit when drunk. I believe I misinterpreted a part of it. I thought you were being harsh on the gaming community as a whole there. The truth is, a lot of us are just passionate about something we love, just like anyone else would be.

        Lesson learned, only internet when sober, you make an ass of yourself otherwise. All I can say was that at least I had decent grammar.

        Sorry.

        *slinks away into nothingness*

  2. PhantomX0990 says:

    Actually, I have a few questions about mental illness I’d like to talk to you about. I mean, I know we’re not really close at all anymore, but I really, honestly, don’t have anyone to talk to about it in my life right now. Would you be willing? I think my contact info is on my profile somewhere.

  3. yoshiality says:

    http://www.polygon.com/2014/11/7/7174809/blizzard-president-harassment-its-not-right

    Article doesn’t really do it justice, but if you saw/knew the context you could tell how heart it felt it was.

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