Friday, December 26, 2014
Why We're in Gamergate...and What You Can Do to Stop It
A bit over a week ago, I wrote an article I intended to submit to Reaxxion. I've been looking for my big break in alternative journalism, I wasn't too familiar with the site and its staff, and as they said they'd consider hiring, I decided to submit this article. Roosh V emailed me saying it was too long and academic, but if I could shorten it up they would print it. So I worked to shorten it, which was no easy thing, and then sent the finished draft. Roosh applauded, but since sending, I saw some articles he had written, which genuinely disgusted me, so wrote him back, politely stating that I no longer gave him permission to post the article; I didn't want the association. I do not wish to be associated with people who genuinely want to keep women out of video games, or shame them for the same sort of libertine behavior he applauds in men. I thus posted the blog here instead, and up until now, I didn't reveal the history behind the article.
I am doing it now, because I have gained, among many approving watchers, a certain trouble maker who wants to call myself, and others in Gamergate, to terms; alleging the same old shit that we're some monolithic hate mob who are here because we have been brainwashed by people trying to manipulate autistic people and others into doing the far-right's bidding. To this I say, no, and now offer up some history.
For roughly half of this scandal's duration, I had hardly any idea what it was. I believe ToddintheShadows posting about it was the first I had ever heard the term, but as he advised people who hadn't heard of it before not to waste time watching the video, I didn't. My real first acquaintance with this mess was on a certain Internet forum, which I used to support enthusiastically, but have become more critical of lately. (Because I'm a far nicer person than my critics allege, I'm not going to name names.) The mods took the side of two psychotically anti-Gamergate members. Had these people left it at condemning anonymous doxxing and threatening people, things probably would not have escalated; it's not like I disagreed. However, they opted to make the discussion into a platform to push their views onto others, and attack them for the slightest disagreement. I had no opinions about Gamergate up until that point, but I did have some about Anita Sarkeesian, and somehow, people did not like that I was questioning whether she had lied about being harassed--it was obviously motivated by misogyny, they said; never mind that she has a history of lying--or condemning her for using a school shooting for pushing her agenda. They called me and others all sorts of horrible things, and the mods just stood by and let it happen because they, too, were anti-Gamergate. Nothing but absolute conformity was good enough for these people; they even attacked suggestions that the best way to defeat Gamergate was giving people a more reputable, moderated space to air their grievances.
I had enough, and started watching a few of the videos the pro (or at least, not totally anti)-Gamergate people had posted, finding that I liked them. I started researching this scandal, and came to conclude that this sort of abuse I suffered wasn't a new thing; it mirrored the sort of presumptuous, autism-bashing diatribes journalists hurled at people in their "Gamers are Dead" articles. The logic behind each is exactly the same; come up with traits--mental, physical, or otherwise--you think are associated with the type who anonymously threaten people, and attack people for those traits in absence of any proof they did anything. The result is preemptive fear-mongering that makes it unpleasant to look a certain way, dress a certain way, talk a certain way, or opine a certain way, without being seen as a potential terrorist.
So I'll repeat what I often have: The reason I, and many others, am in Gamergate, is because we felt we had no other choice.
Let that sink in, because evidence is mounting. The mass-hysteria spewed by the anti-side means people are getting lumped into the other side, with all of its bad reputation, regardless of whether or not they voluntarily go into it. Before there was Gamergate, there were Gamers, and the gaming journalists, more than anyone else, set this in motion by stating where they stood on these people. They left them out in the cold, so what were Gamers supposed to do? Accept that fate, when the majority of them had done nothing to earn it? Lay low in hopes of proving them wrong about their nature, when there was already a huge risk of people everywhere being convinced of that nature because the media's able to make their spin the loudest? Not seek out the support of the few others who care about them? The choice was pretty easy, and I'm not the first to make it. I won't be the last, and if the anti-Gamergate side wants it to stop at all, they had better take a good hard look at what they're doing to stoke this fire.
Returning to my earlier point, I've made attempts to explain that I do not condone the statements of Roosh V, and if I can make people disassociate me with him, that would be nice, but I can't; people make that choice themselves. I suspect Roosh V is coming out in favor of Gamergate for much the same reason Anita Sarkeesian is coming out against it; because the journalists chose to conflate this into an issue of misogyny when it wasn't really, but now that genie is out and people's pre-existing grudges are fired up. People see where the battle lines are drawn, and choose which side they'll fight on based on a lot of things. I, for my part, would have originally liked to stay neutral; I thought of myself as Ricky Bobby at the end of Taladega Knights, having been abandoned by every sponsor, he paints his stock car solely with a picture of his pet cougar and the large font word, "Me". Yet things have gotten to the point of polarization where I felt I had to choose where I stand, and sorry, but I don't regret siding with Gamergate; its people have showed me love for what I say while the anti-side hates any perspective that isn't completely in line with theirs and hates any identity tropes they've concluded lead to villainous acts.
I'm not in Gamergate because I like Roosh V. I'm not in Gamergate because I share Adam Baldwin's politics; I'm still quite left-leaning. I'm not in Gamergate because I'm unaware of where American Enterprise Institute and Breitbart fall politically. I'm not in Gamergate because any of these people speak for me, personally. I'm in Gamergate because I'm a Gamer, an aspie who possesses many of those "Gamer" traits the media is trying to paint as evil, and who's seen them belittled to a lesser extent for my whole life, a critic of Anita Sarkeesian, and I'm fed up with authorities who have a problem with those identity tropes. So to whoever sides with those authorities, check yourselves before you wreck yourselves. We didn't abandon you; you abandoned us, and it's up to you to quit making your presumptuous blanket statements about everyone who's not you if you ever want us back.