Gamergate & the Boys’ Club

So I lied. My day began with every intention of doing a Flashforward Friday. Between the dead Internet modem at home (and Con-cast telling me it’ll be 5-10 business days before a new one arrives) and a morning of errands before I could make it to Mox & wifi, I decided to address something I stumbled into last week.

No Girls Allowed

Gaming: No Girls Allowed?

If you didn’t catch last Friday’s post on Breaking into the Boys’ Club, you really should read it. I set it up to post last Friday while I was attending PAX Prime for the first time. Little did I know that amidst my post, “#GamerGate” unveiled across social media, creating chasms between gamers. (If you aren’t familiar with #GamerGate, this article is a decent article about what’s going on.)

From what I caught during PAX, there are about a dozen sides to this. On one side, you have gamers who support the inclusion of females in the gaming industry and fandom, and gamers who are also tired of the objectification of women in video games and media. On another side, you have gamers who feel women need to shut up and make them a sandwich.  You have the media, who caught wind of the schism in gaming and began reporting that “gaming was dead.” The backlash then pitted media against gamers.

Some gamers spoke out against PAX for “caving to feminists” and then rallied against sites like The Mary Sue for backing the idea of gaming for all. Other gamers were mad that sites like Kotaku made deals for reviews of games. (I hate to break it to gamers, but book publishers have long paid for positive reviews of books. This isn’t a new thing, folks. Not that it’s right, but it’s nothing new.)

Death threats and harassment grew so bad that several female game developers actually quit the industry over this. Some say that they are upset at the idea of game devs exchanging favors for positive reviews in the media, but their upset stems from rumors that Zoe Quinn exchanged sex for positive reviews of her game, Depression Quest.

All one has to do is look at the reviews to see that if she did, she didn’t get what she “paid” for at all. The reviews of the game are abysmal, even before #GamerGate began. That aside, who Ms. Quinn sleeps with is nobody’s business. At all. Not to mention the fact that there is no evidence that any of this is true. Just lots of rumors and finger pointing.

I came into this debate a little late, and I don’t pretend that I know all the facts or who said what when, but I know that gaming has been a boy’s club for a long, long time. In the past five years, women have jumped into gaming feet first. People like Felicia Day & the rest of Geek & Sundry gamed. They weren’t “booth babes,” but gamers & geeks who enjoyed tabletop and console games. Folks who enjoyed fandoms and didn’t care about gender, size, ability, or race. It was beautiful to watch. So many male gamers supported inviting women into the former boys’ club, and finally, we felt like we belonged.

Women in gaming

Twitter was flooded w/ tweets this past week, denouncing women as gamers and devs, & threatening them when they spoke out. It’s sickening, to be honest.

Real gamers don’t care about those things. They are in it for the fun and joy of gaming. As my husband said:

Games are what we do for fun. Why would we purposely inject this fucking bullshit into what we do for FUN!? Games are what we do to get away from bullshit.

If a gamer girl is a threat to you, you’re doing it wrong. This entire GamerGate has become a giant ball of “he said, she said” and honestly, hurts everyone. I don’t care how it began. I don’t care who started it. I care that my family has been shattered by its own hand. We’re attacking ourselves and blaming one another for it.

All I know is that Zoe Quinn has not affected my gaming experience in a negative way, while all the witch hunters have caused talented people to leave the industry. Guess who I’m going to be mad at?  There is enough room in gaming for everyone, folks.

In conclusion: Screw all this drama. Imma play a game.

(Image from Family Guy is Copyright 20th Century Fox and used under Fair Use.)


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