If you have no idea what #GamerGate is or what it has become over the last couple of months, read this article and peruse its links. If that’s a little too much for you, I’ll quote a blog post I’ve linked later on in this article:
“Think back to the very beginning, when this whole thing started. You had a game developer who had sex with a games journalist. People discovered this, and (wrongly) thought that the journalist had written a positive review of her game because of it.
Right there, any creator with a lick of common sense could have ended this whole issue with the simple words “I had sex with people in the industry, but I made sure it was nobody who would review my work or otherwise help me get ahead”. Just like that, she would have taken accountability for the actions while emphasizing that they were harmless, and no one would care.
Instead, you saw something different: rather than addressing this as though it were an attack on the developer specifically, she (and the journalists she was apparently associated with) addressed it as an attack on female developers as a group. People who had legitimate concerns about favors in journalism were publicly dismissed as being against female developers. Gaming media pushed the narrative that the attack had nothing to do with the developer’s actions, and everything to do with the groups she identified as a part of. To proto-Gamergate, though, it wasn’t about the group – it was about the individual, and no one seemed to see that.”
This is where the division began, where one side chose to make it about journalistic integrity based on somewhat misinformed claims – that did expose a greater issue of journalistic corruption in the industry, however – and the other side chose to make it about fighting against the industry and its supporters as the industry is in direct support of the oppression of women and suppressing them, generally speaking.
As far as I can tell, one side of the debate is going on about journalism ethics and protecting their image while the other side is going on about how women are oppressed in the industry. Each side are filled with their internet trolls whose only purpose is to rile up the other side because, let’s face it, a lot of the people engaged in this “debate” have big old targets painted on their backs for people like this. Each side has their misinformed followers who seek not to inform themselves or stand for their beliefs but rather to win the “debate”, punish the other side, and sling mud the entire time. Each side has their fundamentalists who feel that the other side is pure evil and should be punished using the most cruel and thoroughly evil methods, possible, all while furiously and fervently flying their own flag as often as possible. However, through all this, the core ideas of misogyny in the industry and journalistic integrity have both gotten lost as it’s less of a fight between two groups who aren’t even fighting about the same thing but rather turned into a war about who’s right and who’s wrong.
It’s gotten so bad that even honest to goodness publications are sincerely afraid to write about the subject neutrally for fear of backlash. It’s gotten so bad that the actual fight about real oppression in the world in general, including real harassment of women, is ignored so that this “debate” can be fought and won by a side. It’s gotten to the point where honest and logical opinions are disregarded because they do not fully support the side of choice.
Whose Flag Am I Flying?
Well, when I first started researching this issue, I supported the #GamerGate hashtag pretty fervently on Twitter, as someone who is not just a gamer but is also a freelance journalist. I believe that with an unbiased view of things journalism is a better place to be as a writer that allows for people to get the facts and, even when they are biased, allows the readers to make their own choices based on those opinions. If you start corrupting that, people are less informed and manipulated more. It’s pretty simple as to why a publication would do this: money talks and bullshit walks… and with this mentality, the publication can make more money by accepting, for lack of a better word, bribes from those that would benefit from bias and manipulation. I cannot support corruption of that sort even if I do understand its purpose.
The support got stronger as the feminism agenda gained more gas because I wanted to keep the focus on the issue at hand but the general mainstream media deflected attention away from the issue of corruption in journalism – because, I mean, of fucking course, they would – and made it more about the fundamentalists and how they represent us as a group, turning us into some kind of hate-machine whose focus was to harass women at every turn, turning the industry into a resort of manly men whose focus was only to oppress women and their agendas.
However, as the curtains start to get pulled back, and things start to peel away, I realize that both sides are actually fighting for the same thing and I didn’t feel comfortable writing about this very topic until I read this blog post: both sides just want justice for their cause, for their hurt to be justified, and for there to be accountability for the other sides’ actions. #GamerGate supporters have done a good job, in my opinion, in supporting a positive outlook as there is constant shaming and reporting of those caught, in their side, bullying, threatening, and otherwise being generally terrible people. They believe that hatred begets hatred and those few trolls who are seeking attention and vilification aren’t representative of their cause just because they use the hashtag. In all honesty, #GamerGate just seeks the accountability of those in the gaming industry who seek to manipulate and otherwise belittle them for their own personal and corporate benefit. The other side feels massively oppressed and somewhat rightly so: gender based oppression and harassment isn’t exactly a new issue and its one that has come a long way and has a long way to go. A certain sect of feminists with no realistic classification usually picks apart the hot issue for the moment and attaches a feminist agenda to it and this is where this side comes along in the #GamerGate thing, seeking gamers out as their next target to seek accountability for decades of oppression and harassment. While misogyny does happen in the industry, it happens everywhere as misogyny – and misandry, I might add – is embedded in our culture as North Americans. Even if you took away all the misogyny in all of the gaming industry’s facets, one would have to still change the hearts and minds of an entire continent. They are looking in the wrong places to seek this and yet they fight with all their might against an entire group because a number touting a hashtag decided to make their lives, in their account, a living hell.
I try to stay out of the arguments, generally, though, because this kind of fight only comes from one general desire: to selfishly feel better about one’s self and opinions. This doesn’t come from a positive place as it spreads a kind of victimization culture that seems to really be digging deep into us as a people in today’s society; everyone’s a victim, life’s not fair, everyone else is the villain, no one can do anything about it, you best believe I’m going to spend as much effort as possible whining about it. When it boils down to it, nobody has to read the corrupt publications and – I know I’m gonna get hung on a cross for this one – some people can just stop being hypersensitive and grow a thicker skin, especially on the internet. This is, for the most part, a non-issue, that would be solved by, instead of seeking accountability from others, start to hold themselves accountable.
That being said, I believe in the original core ideals of #GamerGate and I always will. As usual, though, leave it to people to ruin that for me.