Visitors to The Gaming Gang probably realized long ago I’m a bit of a throwback. While I still love what’s hot and fresh– thereby unapologetically kneeling with fellow members of the Cult of the New – I’m old school in a lot of respects which leads me to dig games which have more than a handful of rules pages, comics which subscribe to the theory of story over splash panels and don’t have a manga influenced panel in the mix, or movies and TV shows which entertain me but also leave me thinking about what I just watched long after the screen has faded to black.
One area I’m certainly not anywhere near being old school is in a misogynistic attitude toward women. Ever since I can remember I’ve always “loved women.” Not in the obvious, “Yeah, let’s get those clothes off you,” sort of way either; in fact, the first indication I ever had that I had grown to manhood was when I realized I didn’t picture every woman I met naked. Yet as long as I‘ve been kicking it I’ve always enjoyed the company of women – the varied opinions women I’ve known have voiced (although I’d debate them to death if I disagreed), unique perspectives I’ve been lucky to hear, and simply the great pleasure I’ve taken from much of the time I’ve spent just shooting the shit or hanging out with women.
This past week yet another hate filled cesspool opened up aimed at a woman involved in the gaming industry: Brianna Wu, a developer of an SF action puzzler titled Revolution 60. I’ll be the first to point out I’ve never played Revolution 60 nor heard of Brianna Wu until a few days ago. For me it doesn’t matter if her game is a steaming pile or she’s the most amazing developer to hit the scene, at no point should anyone ever have to have tweets like these below directed toward them.
I’m not going to jump into the whole Gamergate debate here because there are some legitimate issues GG has raised about game journalism and reviews aimed at the gaming public. Readers probably think this is mainly the video game community (that’s the Gamergate focus) but there are plenty of problems with table top gaming and comic book reviews too where it comes to kissass reviewers giving a pass to titles because they want to keep the flow of free games, movies, comics and swag flowing to their doorstep. Or, we now see so-called lords of gaming reviews taking cash for thinly veiled advertisements disguised as reviews.
On the flip side of that coin I also wonder why it seems the powers behind Gamergate seem to be more concerned with raking itty bitty Indie publishers over the coals (usually with a woman, or women, heavily involved in the creative process) rather than companies who are churning out dreck which millions of buyers will end up feeling majorly bilked after purchasing. These days the public is best served realizing nearly everyone taking to the internet has some sort of fucking agenda in mind; I’m not too cool with what I think the Gamergate agenda is in reality.
It’s an agenda which is too prominent for my liking: Raining piss and vinegar on women who dare to make inroads into what’s been, since the beginning of time, a male dominated industry. Or at least defending what they feel is some god given appointment to watch the watchmen rather than invest energy into making our community a better place for all. If the little guy or gal gets hurt in the process so be it. Hey, if you toss out some good rape-y references in the meantime to scare the girlies out of the loop? Even better!
When did we hit this lowlight in Geek culture? Some might say this is the way things have always been but I disagree. Way back in the day, my friends and I were always digging the latest geekiness but never took someone else’s not understanding of what we loved as a personal affront. Nor did we try to sell everyone on the things we were into; my ex-fiancée used to spend her Saturday nights watching Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman while Elliott, Paul, Ed, and the rest of the guys might have been playing Epic Warhammer 40k, Fletcher Pratt, Silent Death, or maybe I was in the midst of running my latest Call of Cthulhu campaign. Although she was always welcome, I didn’t expect her to join in on the fun (which she did from time to time and actually had a blast – although she didn’t completely get involved because that would make her “goofy” – her word) and I certainly wasn’t pissed because she didn’t “get it.”
I’ll bet that was the way of life for a lot of guys and girls who were geeks before geeks were cool. Or at least being a geek was acceptable. BTW, I still have a problem with the term geek because it still makes me think of the circus freak who bites the heads off chickens. I swear, I might cook a mean chicken breast, I’ve never taken part in any poultry slaughter…
Where we start to encounter our biggest problem with the underlying misogyny beginning to run rampant through our hobby are the facts A) everyone has an avenue to voice their displeasure and B) mommy and daddy misspent a lot of years telling these haters they were special and the world was their playground. Do you think Elliot Rodgers’ parents let him in on the great fact the world is a big bad wolf waiting to huff and puff your place on the planet out of existence? Absolutely not. It was more along the lines of, “Oh, Elliot you’re gonna take the world by the horns and ride that bronco into the sunset. Don’t forget the girl of your dreams while you’re at it!” Mom and Dad want you to feel wonderful; the rest of the world? Not so much. The sooner people realize that, the better. Elliot Rodgers didn’t clue into this great truth and it left six people dead.
Let’s get into this rape-y shit too. I see nearly every diatribe against women in the hobby degenerate into what I like to call Dueling Rapists; a seemingly endless line of posts about more and more horrendous ways to rape the subject of the forum thread or tweet stream. I can’t make it any clearer: Rape isn’t funny. Rape isn’t clever. No one secretly wishes to be raped. Rape is about as close as you can get to ending someone’s existence outside of murdering them.
I love what seems to be the endless handwringing over what’s at the base of the hate too many gamers, of any stripe, are spewing toward women though. “Let’s conduct this study,” “Let’s bring in someone who writes about video games for the… wait for it… Wall Street Journal,” “Let’s put together a top ten gallery which requires our readers to scan through ten paragraphs and multiply our Google Adsense views by a factor of ten…”
Better yet? Let’s just call the kettle black.
People who tweet hatred for the things they supposedly love aren’t part of our culture. These folks are just assholes with keyboards. I’m not saying you shouldn’t voice an opinion or take a company to task which you think has let you down; far be it for me to ever say you shouldn’t voice an opinion but how about basing that opinion in some sort of reality?
Mass Effect didn’t end the way you hoped? Captain America is now a black guy? Thor’s a chick? The Indie game you spent $4.99 on isn’t your bag of tricks?
Get the fuck over it!